Wednesday 31 August 2016

What is the ‘self’ we are investigating when we try to be attentively self-aware?

In a comment that he wrote today on my previous article, Is it incorrect to say that ātma-vicāra is the only direct means by which we can eradicate our ego?, a friend called Viveka Vairagya wrote:
You say self-enquiry is nothing but “attentive self-awareness”. I get the “attentive” and “awareness” parts. I don’t get the “self” part coz all I am aware of now is my body and thoughts, including the “I-thought”. So, do you mean I should be attending to the awareness of “I-thought”? That could make sense coz it is kinda attending to the snake (I-thought) and finding lo and behold that it is a rope (self). So, why then don’t you say self-enquiry is “attentive I-thought-awareness”? I hope my doubt makes sense.
The following is my answer to this:

Viveka Vairagya, the aim and purpose of self-investigation (ātma-vicāra) is to find out what this ‘I’ or ‘self’ actually is. We are always aware of ourself, but our self-awareness is now confused, because it seems (in the view of ourself as this ego) to be mixed with awareness of our body and other things.

What is called the ‘ego’, ‘thought called I’ or ‘I-thought’ is what we now experience ourself to be, namely this ‘I’ that rises in waking and dream, grasping a body as itself and thereby experiencing itself as ‘I am this body, this person called Viveka Vairagya [or whatever]’. This is not our self-awareness in its original pristine form, but in a mixed and distorted form. However, it is still the same fundamental self-awareness. It is like a rope being seen as a snake rather than as it really is.

When we see a rope as a snake, it is still the same rope, and has not undergone any change. Only our perception of it is wrong. Likewise, when we see ourself as this finite ego, we are still the same infinite self-awareness, and we have not undergone any change, but as this ego our perception of ourself is wrong. That is, our awareness of ourself is distorted by being mixed and confused with awareness of other things that we mistake to be ourself, primarily a body (though not always the same body).

In order to see the rope as it is, all we need to do is to look very carefully at what now seems to be a snake, because when we look at it carefully enough, we will see that it is not actually a snake but only a rope. What we were seeing all along was just a rope, but we simply mistook it to be a snake. Likewise, in order to see or be aware of ourself as we actually are, all we need to do is to look very carefully at ourself, who now seem to be this ego or ‘I’-thought, because when we look at ourself carefully enough, we will see that we are not actually this finite ego (a limited body-mixed self-awareness) but only pure and infinite self-awareness. What we were aware of all along was only pure self-awareness, but we simply mistook it to be this adjunct-mixed self-awareness called ‘ego’ or ‘I-thought’.

You say that all you are aware of now is your body and thoughts, including the ‘I-thought’, but whereas we are aware of other thoughts (including our body and everything that we perceive as this seemingly vast universe) as objects, we are aware of ourself, this ego or ‘I’-thought, as the subject, the one who is aware both of itself and of all other things (which according to Bhagavan are all only thoughts projected and simultaneously experienced by ourself as this ego, like everything that we experience in a dream). Therefore there is a fundamental difference between our awareness of other things and our awareness of our ‘I’-thought, because this ‘I’-thought alone is what is aware of everything else, and it is our basic self-awareness, albeit mixed up with awareness of other things.

Therefore instead of looking at anything that is seen (any phenomenon of which we are aware), we should look at ourself, the one who sees (or is aware of) everything. This simple practice of trying to look back at the seer or looker, namely ourself, is what is called ātma-vicāra, self-investigation, self-attentiveness or being attentively self-aware.

Regarding your question, ‘So, why then don’t you say self-enquiry is “attentive I-thought-awareness”?’, we generally talk about being self-aware rather than being I-aware, because though ‘I’ and ‘myself’ are two words that refer to the same thing, we use each of them in a slightly different grammatical context, and in hyphenated words we generally use ‘self-’ as an abbreviation of ‘myself-’ or ‘oneself-’. Moreover, though Bhagavan taught us that our ego is a thought — our primal thought and the root of all other thoughts — and therefore referred to it as the ‘thought called I’ (‘நான் என்னும் நினைவு’ (nāṉ eṉṉum niṉaivu) in Tamil) or ‘I-thought’ (‘अहं वृत्ति’ (ahaṁ-vṛtti) in Sanskrit), this ego does not seem to us to be a thought but instead seems to be ourself, so it is more natural for us to talk about self-awareness than ‘I-thought-awareness’.

Still more importantly, though our ego is a mixture of pure self-awareness and adjunct-awareness (centred around our basic adjunct, namely a body), and is therefore called cit-jaḍa-granthi (the knot formed by the entanglement of self-awareness with non-conscious adjuncts), when we investigate our ego what we are seeking to know correctly is not any part of our adjunct-awareness (the non-conscious or jaḍa portion of this cit-jaḍa-granthi) but only our essential self-awareness (the conscious or cit portion of it), so we should be trying to isolate our essential self-awareness from all our adjuncts by focusing our attention on ourself (this essential self-awareness) alone. This is what Bhagavan indicated when he said (as recorded in the final chapter of Maharshi’s Gospel: 2002 edition, p. 89):
The ego functions as the knot between the Self which is Pure Consciousness and the physical body which is inert and insentient. The ego is therefore called the chit-jada-granthi. In your investigation into the source of aham-vritti, you take the essential chit aspect of the ego; and for this reason the enquiry must lead to the realization of the pure consciousness of the Self.
What is translated here as ‘the pure consciousness of the Self’ is pure self-awareness, which is what we actually are, and what he calls ‘the essential chit [cit or awareness] aspect of the ego’. Since we are the fundamental self-awareness from which the ego or ‘I’-thought (ahaṁ-vṛtti) and everything else appears in waking and dream and into which it all disappears in sleep, what he calls ‘your investigation into the source of aham-vritti’ is investigating our actual self, the pure self-awareness that we always truly are.

Like an illusory snake, the ego or ‘I’-thought does not actually exist as such, but is just an illusory phantom that seems to exist so long as (and only so long as) we are aware of anything other than ourself , and are therefore not attending exclusively to ourself. At night in a dark forest in which only a little moonlight can filter through the dense swaying foliage of the trees, we may imagine that we are seeing many ghosts moving about in the shadows, but if we look carefully at any of those ‘ghosts’, we will see that it is no such thing, but only the filtered light of the moon. Each ‘ghost’ seems to exist as such only when we look elsewhere, but disappears when we look at it directly. Likewise, this ghost called ‘ego’ or ‘I-thought’ does not actually exist, so it seems to exist only when we look elsewhere, and it dissolves and disappears when we look at it directly.

Therefore looking directly at this ego is the only way to dissolve it or annihilate it. If we try to kill an illusory snake by beating it with a stick, it will never die, because it is only a rope. The only way to ‘kill’ it is to look at it carefully and thereby see that it was never a snake but only a rope. Likewise we cannot annihilate our ego by any means other than by just looking at it and seeing that it is not actually the ego or ‘I’-thought that it seemed to be, but is only our pure immutable self-awareness, in whose clear view nothing other than ourself exists.

Therefore one thing we need to be cautious about when we use terms such as ‘the ego’, ‘the thought called I’ or ‘the I-thought’ is not to objectify or reify whatever we take these terms to mean, because what these terms denote is only ourself as the seer or experiencer of all other things, and as such we are not an object but only the subject, the awareness in whose view alone everything else exists. However, though this ego is the subject that knows all other things, so long as it seems to be such it is no more real than any of the things it sees or knows, as we will discover if (and only if) we investigate it. It is never actually anything but an illusory appearance, whose source and only substance is our actual self, which is eternally adjunct-free and immutable self-awareness.

Since this ego-awareness (or ‘I-thought-awareness’ as you call it) is just a seemingly limited and distorted form of our fundamental self-awareness, which alone is real and which we always experience, even when it seems to be this ego or ‘I’-thought, what we need to do is to see through its illusory outward appearance and recognise the fundamental self-awareness that it actually is. Therefore what we are seeking to know when we investigate ourself is not this illusory ego, which does not actually exist, but only our pure self-awareness, which alone is what actually exists. However, in order to see ourself as pure self-awareness, we must look through this ego or ‘I’-thought, which is what we now seem to be, and thereby see the real substance that underlies its illusory appearance, which is the pure self-awareness that we actually are.


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Anonymous said...

Thanks Michael. I had the same exact question as Vivek.

Sanjay Lohia said...

I thank Michael for this article. According to me, a few useful portions in this article are:

1) Michael: Therefore one thing we need to be cautious about when we use terms such as ‘the ego’, ‘the thought called I’ or ‘the I-thought’ is not to objectify or reify whatever we take these terms to mean, because what these terms denote is only ourself as the seer or experiencer of all other things, and as such we are not an object but only the subject, the awareness in whose view alone everything else exists.

Reflections: In my manana, I quite often tend to objectify or reify the terms ‘the ego’ or ‘the thought called I’. Why do we do it? We do this because we consider our ego to be something different from our pure, non-dual self-awareness. This shows our lack of understating. As Michael has clarified, the ego is only ourself, but in the role of the experiencer; therefore, it is the awareness in whose view alone other things exist. If the ego stops experiencing things other than itself, it will drop its adjunct-awareness, and thus remain merely as our pure self-awareness.

2) Michael: Still more importantly, though our ego is a mixture of pure self-awareness and adjunct-awareness (centred around our basic adjunct, namely a body), and is therefore called cit-jaḍa-granthi (the knot formed by the entanglement of self-awareness with non-conscious adjuncts), when we investigate our ego what we are seeking to know correctly is not any part of our adjunct-awareness (the non-conscious or jaḍa portion of this cit-jaḍa-granthi) but only our essential self-awareness (the conscious or cit portion of it), [ . . . ]

Reflections: It is important to note that our ego is a mixture of pure self-awareness and adjunct-awareness – centred around our basic adjunct, namely a body. Generally it is understood that our ego is a mixture of our pure-awareness, and ‘a body and mind’. However, Michael has made it clear that our ego is a mixture of pure-awareness and adjunct-awareness. Therefore, this ego consists not only of a body and mind, but also consists of all the adjuncts of our body and mind. As per my understanding, this clarity is lacking in other recordings and explanations of Bhagavan’s teachings.

Zubin said...

I’m curious if it is even possible to look at the I-thought?

It seems the I-thought is only there as the foundation — a peripheral feeling or assumption — when the mind is busy.

But the moment you try and turn towards it you only see I AM.

I think many people shortchange themselves, getting focused on the phrase ‘I-thought’, when it seems all you can be aware of when you look towards it is the Self — and it is precious how simple and beautifully mundane that is!

Viveka Vairagya said...


The "I AM" that you see when you turn to the I-thought is nothing but the chit portion of the I-thought, the I-thought being "I-am-the-body" in which only the "I-am" is the chit portion, but you don't necessarily straightaway catch the I-am portion and you have to extricate it from other thoughts that stand in the way of its clear sight, such as "I-am-this" and "I-am-that".

Viveka Vairagya said...

“Knowledge without practice accompanying it is superior to practice without knowledge. Practice with knowledge is superior to knowledge without practice accompanying it. Karmaphala tyagah Nishkama karma as of a Jnani - action without desire - is superior to knowledge with practice.”---Talks with Sri Ramana Maharshi, Talk 129

Zubin said...

Hi Viveka,

I understand what you're saying, but I respectively disagree.

In my experience when you look towards the I-thought, all you see is I AM, the same consciousness which is not bounded by the body.

If someone is seeing other thoughts that stand in the way, then they did not look towards the I-thought directly, i.e. they did not truly look to the subject.

Viveka Vairagya said...

Hi Zubin,

I think you might be right. In a way, amidst all the thoughts you are asking "who is the thinker?" and you straightaway land on the subject/I/I-am.

By the way, are you aware that Nisargadatta Maharaj (also) advocated that the only practice you need to adopt to realize the Self is the paying exclusive attention to the I-am thought-feeling.

If you had to describe, how would you describe how the I-am feels when you land on it to the exclusion of all other thoughts?

Viveka Vairagya said...

Interview with Sri Sadhu Om

Check out

Bob - P said...

Thank you Michael for your latest post and all the helpful reminders in it including what you said below:

[Like an illusory snake, the ego or ‘I’-thought does not actually exist as such, but is just an illusory phantom that seems to exist so long as (and only so long as) we are aware of anything other than ourself , and are therefore not attending exclusively to ourself]

In appreciation.

R Viswanathan said...

"In order to see the rope as it is, all we need to do is to look very carefully at what now seems to be a snake"

In relevance to the above statement, I found very beneficial discussion (for me) by Sri Nochur Venkataraman in his commentary for Ulladhu Narpadhu (for verse 3):

It is because the mind (or ego) becoming temporarily inactive (mano layam), happiness results in Sushupthi (deep sleep, bereft of dreams); and it is because the mind is annihilated that bliss results in realization (sakshathkaram). That is why one should try for destruction of mind in waking state. How will the mind become non existent? When self (or Atman) is known. If one looks at the rope by flashing a light on it, the imagined snake disappears. Similarly, when the teaching of Guru becomes experiential, it becomes clear to an aspirant that the adjuncts, mind and body, that have been hitherto ascribed or assumed for self, do not have apparent existence of their own without self.

One who knows that there is no water in mirage will never pay attention to appearance of mirages. Similarly, the realized being (jeevan muktha) does not pay attention to the adjunct, the body, even if it appears to exist due to Prarabtha, since he knows that such adjuncts are not true.

Making a thing non-existent externally is Rupanasam, and making it non-existent internally without desire or aversion (without Raaga or Dwesha) by knowing that it is not true is more important in Jnana Margam. The reason being that even if a thing is destroyed and made non-existent, if the desire or aversion still exists for it, thoughts about it will continue to give trouble from within.

Viveka Vairagya said...

Ramana Maharshi on Existence and Awareness During Sleep

(from Maharshi's Gospel, 13th ed., 2002, Book II, Ch VI, pp. 93-94)

D: To me sleep is a mere blankness.

Maharshi: That is so, because your waking state is a mere effervescence of the restless mind.

D: What I mean by blankness is that I am hardly aware of anything in my sleep; it is for me the same as non-existence.

M: But you did exist during sleep.

D: If I did, I was not aware of it.

M: You do not mean to say in all seriousness you ceased to exist during your sleep! (Laughing). If you went to sleep as Mr. X, did you get up from it as Mr. Y?

D: I know my identity, perhaps, by an act of memory.

M: Granting that, how is it possible unless there is a continuity of awareness?

D: But I was unaware of that awareness.

M: No. Who says you are unaware in sleep? It is your mind. But there was no mind in your sleep? Of what value is the testimony of the mind about your existence or experience during sleep? Seeking the testimony of the mind to disprove your existence or awareness during sleep is just like calling your son’s evidence to disprove your birth!

Do you remember, I told you once previously that existence and awareness are not two different things but one and the same? Well, if for any reason you feel constrained to admit the fact that you existed in sleep be sure you were also aware of that existence. What you were really unaware of in sleep is your bodily existence. You are confounding this bodily awareness with the true Awareness of the Self which is eternal. Prajnana, which is the source of ‘I-am’-ness, ever subsists unaffected by the three transitory states of the mind, thus enabling you to retain your identity unimpaired.

Prajnana is also beyond the three states, because it can subsist without them and in spite of them. It is that Reality that you should seek during your so called waking state by tracing the aham-vritti to its Source. Intense practice in this enquiry will reveal that the mind and its three states are unreal and that you are the eternal, infinite consciousness of Pure Being, the Self or the Heart.

Sanjay Lohia said...

What is the difference between the teachings of Sankara and Bhagavan? ~*~ (Extract from David Godman’s blog)

David: In the early 1980s an English magazine called Arunachala Ramana appeared for a few years. During its brief lifespan several interesting items appeared on its pages which, to my knowledge, have not appeared elsewhere in the Ramana literature. I will add a few of these pieces to the blog over the next few days. The first is an interview which its editor, M. N. Baboo, had with Sadhu Om. It appeared in the February 1982 issue.

Question: What is the difference between the teachings of Sankara and Bhagavan?

Sadhu Om: Basically, they are one and the same. The only difference lies in the clues that they gave. Sankara and the ancient sastras said that self-enquiry is the path, but the only clues that they gave for the practice of self-enquiry were, ‘You are not the body, mind, etc., you are Brahman’. People failed to understand the purpose behind these clues, and so they started meditating, ‘I am not this, I am That’. In other words they were thinking only about ‘this’ and ‘that’, and were not attending to ‘I’. Therefore, knowing that people had misunderstood these ancient clues, Bhagavan, who is Sankara himself, has come again and given a simple clue: ‘Who am I?’ This is a positive and direct clue because in ‘Who am I? there is only ‘I’ and no ‘this’ or ‘that’. There is no room for us to think about things other than ‘I’. Thus Bhagavan has shown us a simple clue which will surely turn our attention only towards ‘I’. Attention to the mere feeling ‘I’ is the correct technique of self-enquiry.

Reflections: Sometime back we were discussing: how only Bhagavan has given us a clear, simple and direct path to self-knowledge or brahman, and why the traditional advaita Vedanta and other advaita teachers have given us not so clear, simple and direct path. What Sri Sadhu Om says here is important, because even Adi Sankara did not spell out the simple path of attention to ‘I’ (and only ‘I’), as clearly and as emphatically as Bhagavan. Yes, Sankara has spoken about self-enquiry, but these utterances are few and also he has not explained the method of self-attentiveness as clearly as Bhagavan.

We are asked to repeat ‘I am not this body, mind . . . ; I am brahman’ as a general prescription by most of the advaita teachers, although these teachers may be misinterpreting the original teachings. However, Bhagavan is very clear: find out ‘Who am I?’, and this we can do only by trying to attend persistently to ourself alone.

Zubin said...

Hi Viveka,

I only recently read I Am That by Nisargadatta and liked it.

For me, self-enquiry is not only about trying to pay exclusive attention to I AM, but to (subtly and in the background) regularly question what I am seeing, with the aim to fully and finally resolve who I am.

It is hard to describe the I AM feeling, but I will try.

When I look towards I AM, and when my mind is not running away from it, there is a feeling of effortless peace in the body, and I see that that peace is no different than I AM.

I ask if what I am feeling is bounded by the body. By asking, the mind objectifies a little less and the I AM feeling is now unanchored. I see it as a Presence infusing the keyboard I am typing on and the trees out the window. It is not owned.

If I stare at anything, and my mind is not running to something else, I see no difference in that which infuses it and me. It is all I AM.

What is even more beautiful, for me, is when intense emotions arise — such as a longing to deepen into Self.

If I stare at that feeling (and question if it is different than me) I immediately see that it is also I AM. Quite wonderfully, and with a calibre as intense as the feeling, I AM as love for the feeling simultaneously arises, until the feeling itself dissolves. All that then remains is a deeper feeling of self-recognition in everything as I AM.

I have found nothing at all in all of existence, in the world of form or mind, that is not seen as I AM when the mind stops. But yet, my mind is still noisy and full of vasanas when not minded, so I am trying to practice enquiry more regularly.

Sorry if I’ve typed too much. Once I start trying to find words for these things, it’s hard to stop!

Ken said...

Please note Michael's previous discussion of Nisargadatta, entitled: "6. The teachings of Sri Ramana and Nisargadatta are significantly different" at

which would be better than my restating it with less clarity. :)

Sanjay Lohia said...

We have a lot to learn from our dream and sleep (HAB pdf * page 122 * chapter: Who am I?)

Michael: In our search for the absolute reality, dream and sleep are both crucially important states of consciousness, since they each give us essential clues concerning the true nature of our real self. Dream is important to us because it clearly demonstrates the fact that our mind has a wonderful power of imagination by which it is not only able to create a body and a whole world, but is also able to delude itself into mistaking its own imaginary creation to be real. Sleep is important to us because it clearly demonstrates the fact that we can exist and be conscious of our own existence even in the absence of our mind.

Reflections: We are so enamored by our current waking state (which according to Bhagavan is just another dream), that we overlook the importance of our dream and sleep. As Michael says, these two are both crucially important states of consciousness. Both these states teach us very important lessons, and therefore are crucial to understanding Bhagavan’s teachings with clarity and depth.

In our dream we take ourself to be awake, so how can we be sure that our present wakeful state is not actually just a dream. In each of our dreams we experience ourself to be a body, and consequently experience a world through the five senses of that body. Thus, in all our dreams we take ourself and that dream-world to be real. But when we wake up we come to understand that that dream-world was merely our imagination. Likewise, our present waking state could be our imagination; therefore, it could be no more than just another dream. Can we ignore this important lesson obtained by analysing our dream experience?

Likewise our state of sleep is also very important. We surely exist in sleep, and exist without experiencing any mind, body and world; therefore, we are different from this mind and body. How do we experience our body, thoughts and world in our waking and dream states? We experience these by our consciousness or awareness -that is, we are ‘aware’ of our body; we are ‘aware’ of this world. However, in sleep we are aware that we exist, but are not aware of any body or mind. Does that not indicate that we are pure-awareness and nothing but pure-awareness? This inference seems quite plausible.

We do not experience any world in our sleep, so it may or may not exist as an independent entity while we are not experiencing it. Again this hypothesis is fundamental to Bhagavan’s teachings. If our present waking state is a just a dream - and it indeed is according to Bhagavan – then this world is non-existent while we are not experiencing it. This seeming solid and ever existing world, which we take to be real, could be merely our mental fabrication. We know that all our dream-worlds exist only while we are experiencing it, and becomes non-existent when we wake up. Likewise, according to Bhagavan, this or any other world does not exist - even as a seeming reality – when we are not experiencing it. A crucial point to be assimilated . . .

Zubin said...

Hi Ken,

Thanks for that link on this blog about the differences in the teachings of Ramana vs Nisargadatta. I'm still new to this site and am going through all the old posts, so that was a great read.

I agree with what Michael says, that when Nisargadatta mentions 'being aware of thoughts, their influence on you, their expressions, words & deeds, etc.', that it does seem so indirect and unnecessary to do that.

Then Michael mentions that Ramana, contrastingly, says to 'ignore thoughts by attending only to ourself...'

I used to 'ignore thoughts' by always shifting attention back to I AM. But now I am ignoring them by ignoring their content, by seeing through them to I AM. It's a subtle difference, but for me it has been invaluable.

Viveka Vairagya said...

Thanks Zubin for sharing your experiences with "I Am" practice.

Viveka Vairagya said...


You write in that "If we are not extremely vigilant to be keenly self-attentive — that is, to cling firmly to ‘I am’, our fundamental consciousness of our own being — when we withdraw our attention from all external viṣayas (which are mere thoughts), we will become drowsy and fall asleep." So, if I am thought-less and at the same time not falling asleep or feeling drowsy, can I assume that I am automatically attentively self-aware. If not, what else could I be attending to - blankness? The reason I ask that is it is difficult to know what self-awareness feels like to be sure that we are attentively self-aware. So, perhaps I should ask you what it feels like to be "attentively self-aware". But you write somewhere that that is for everyone to try and experience with trial and effort and not something that can be put into words. That puts me in a bind. Isn't there any pointer to make things easy?

Viveka Vairagya said...

An 'Aha' Moment with regard to self-awareness/I-am-ness


With regard to my previous comment above, I have been pondering over it for the last few hours. Then suddenly I have had an 'aha' moment when the truth dawned on me. The reason I was having difficulty in knowing what self-awareness/I-am-ness feels like was that I was looking for it as I would look for an object away for myself, whereas it is 'I' myself that I had to be looking for. When that insight struck me I was able to slip into attentive self-awareness/I-am-ness without too much of a hitch. What attentive self-awareness feels like is inner feeling of rest, ease and peace. It is really very simple, but can seem difficult if not understood properly. Ain't that so? I look forward to your comments on this comment or the previous one.

Sanjay Lohia said...

Viveka Vairagya, you asked Michael: ‘So, if I am thought-less and at the same time not falling asleep or feeling drowsy, can I assume that I am automatically attentively self-aware. If not, what else could I be attending to - blankness?’ Michael may choose to respond to your questions; however, in the meanwhile I would like to share my manana on your two comments:

We can enter into a momentary thought-less state, say, after a sudden shock, fright, intense fear, excitement and so on. During such extremely brief moments we can be thought-less but alert – that is, not in a sleep like state. So we are ‘automatically attentively self-aware’ or at least 'automatically self-aware' during such brief moments. However, we will very soon lose this state if we do not make efforts to remain attentively self-aware, by trying to keep our attention on ourself alone.

Yes, as you imply in your second comment, we generally look for an object - ‘the Self’ - when we try to do self-enquiry. Sometimes misleading terminologies - like ‘the Self’ - makes it appear that we have to look for some object other than ourself, and not try to be attentive to ourself alone. We (our ego) are the subject, ‘I’, which are experiencing all the objects. Therefore, we just have to focus our entire attention on ‘I’ (ourself) when we practise self-examination.

As you say, ‘What attentive self-awareness feels like is inner feeling of rest, ease and peace’. Such a practice induces inner feeling of rest, ease and peace, because being attentively self-aware is not an action. When we rest in our actionless self-awareness, we are in a perfectly relaxed and peaceful state, because we are peace itself. All unrest, unease and disturbance are only due to our constantly moving away from our place of rest – by thinking endless thoughts.

Viveka Vairagya said...

Thanks Sanjay. You wrote "We can enter into a momentary thought-less state, say, after a sudden shock, fright, intense fear, excitement and so on." Indeed, moreover, in such states we are even said to experience aham-sphurana, right?

Sanjay Lohia said...

Viveka Vairagya, aham-sphurana or just sphurana means a fresh clarity of self-awareness, or a greater degree clarity of self-awareness, or a clearer shining of ‘I’. Therefore, momentary thought-less state is aham-sphurana. Michael has written many useful articles on this topic. You may wish to read them for a better understanding of what this term denotes. The list of articles is as follows:

Ahaṁ-sphuraṇa: the clear shining of ‘I’

1. Demystifying the term ‘sphuraṇa’ (1st July 2014)

2. Self-awareness: ‘I’-thought, ‘I’-feeling and ahaṁ-sphuraṇa (8th July 2014)

• ‘I’-thought, ‘I’-feeling and ahaṁ-sphuraṇa
• நான் நான் (nāṉ nāṉ) means ‘I am I’, not ‘I-I’
• The exact meaning of sphuraṇa is determined by the context in which it is used
• When we try to attend only to ‘I’, it shines more clearly
Aham-sphurana is an experience that cannot be described adequately in words
• தன்னுணர்வு (taṉ-ṉ-uṇarvu) means self-awareness rather than ‘I’-feeling
The Path of Sri Ramana explains the practice of ātma-vicāra more clearly than any other English book
Viśēsa-jñāna and aham-spurippu
Ātmākāram is nothing other than ātman itself
• A paradox: sphuraṇa means ‘shining’ or ‘clarity’, yet misinterpretations of it have created so much confusion

3. A paradox: sphuraṇa means ‘shining’ or ‘clarity’, yet misinterpretations of it have created so much confusion (12th July 2014)

Ken said...

Quote: "What attentive self-awareness feels like is inner feeling of rest, ease and peace" and "When we rest in our actionless self-awareness, we are in a perfectly relaxed and peaceful state, because we are peace itself."

I sometimes watch talks on Youtube by "Adyashanti" and so far, I have yet to find anything that he says that contradicts Ramana. He likes to use the formulation "Rest as awareness". Here is a short video about that, which seems to me to be totally in sync with Michael's expositions of Ramana's teachings:

Viveka Vairagya said...

Thanks Sanjay for referring me to the 3 articles of Michael on aham-sphurana. I have just now finished reading them, and they have indeed demystified the term for me. I should also like to say Thanks Michael for being our superb guide to Bhagavan's teachings.

Viveka Vairagya said...

1978 Mountain Path Article on Nisargadatta Maharaj

Check out

Viveka Vairagya said...

Nisargadatta Maharaj on Guru


Maya is difficult to grasp. She blocks the path to Self-realization, UNLESS THERE IS DEVOTION TO THE GURU.

By adhering to the Guru's word, you will grow spiritually and be happy in household life as well.

THE FACT 'I AM NOT THE BODY' CANNOT BE UNDERSTOOD WITHOUT THE GRACE OF THE GURU. The Guru's word, 'I am pure consciousness' is as good as a mantra.


'Oh Guru, your true nature is my own Self, I see no difference in them, and that is how I have surrendered to you'. THIS SHOULD BE YOUR CONVICTION.

One who holds onto the Guru's word that 'I AM THE SELF-LUMINOUS ATMAN' will find it easy. The highest charity is to offer Self-knowledge.

If you want the Guru's grace, take the word of the Guru as authority.

When you realize yourself, you will understand the world at the same time. You will know what 'you' are. HAVE THE FIRM CONVICTION THAT I AM WHAT THE GURU TOLD ME.

Your conviction should rest in the Guru's word. 'Guru initiated me' means he told me about my true nature. Believing it to be true if one behaves with conviction, then the Truth will be known.

Either you become determined through the Guru's word, or keep on stumbling in vain.

In the body, God is experiencing Himself with the feeling 'I am'. The Guru's word is your beingness; this should be your conviction.

To meditate on the Self is possible only with the grace of the Guru. Such meditation is unique, not commonly found in the world.

The Guru liberates you. He initiates you by saying, 'your true nature is like my own'. He gives you the mantra, not taking you as male or female, but as the consciousness that listens.

The greater the faith in the Guru, the earlier the success. If you take your Guru as a human being, your consciousness will harass you.

With the grace of the Guru, the understanding could come in an instant. Do not impose body-consciousness on the Guru who is without quality and without form.

Devotion to the Guru opens your eyes. That which is seen without the eyes is superior. Before the eyes open, the light has got a dark blue shade. As soon as the eyes open, it becomes colorless. Be loyal to the Sadguru. Do not impose your body-consciousness on Him.

Without faith in the Guru, you will wander about going to various teachers and holy places. If you follow your Guru's word it will not be necessary to go anywhere.

ever subsisting said...

Viveka Vairagya,
than you for quoting "Ramana Maharshi on Existence and Awareness During Sleep

(from Maharshi's Gospel, 13th ed., 2002, Book II, Ch VI, pp. 93-94)".

The ability to retain our identity unimpaired blossoms from prajnana which we evidently can call the fourth state because it is beyond the three states of the mind.
So let us persistently trace the aham-vritti to its source and thus reveal that we are the eternal, infinite consciousness of pure being, the self or the heart.
Arunachala. Om Namo Aruna Achala Siva.

Viveka Vairagya said...

Insentient Things Being Made Up of Consciousness: A Puzzle


It is a matter of curiosity that when all that is there is the Self and the Self is nothing but pure consciousness, then how come the body which is part of the Self is said to be insentient when it is made out of nothing but consciousness like the wave is made out of water. I am not saying the body is not insentient like any matter, but I find it puzzling that when matter's basic constituent is consciousness because that is all there is, it is nevertheless insentient. I have read somewhere that it is akin to dead nails being produced by living cells. Could I trouble you to elaborate on this puzzling issue?

Dragos Nicolae Dragomirescu said...

I observed that the more you practice the more you tend to refine you "approach" so-to-speak to the practice. I used to describe it as "pay attention to the looker/seer", but now I would describe it as "ignore everything else (the body, thoughts, world etc...) and be/rest in your being"...

Nofretete said...

Viveka Vairagya,
logic can never puzzle out an answer to all the questions put by the mind.
Our mind is obviously unable to solve our baffles or enigmas.
Remember the questions "What was prior/first the egg or the hen ?" or "What was first here the tree or its seed ?".
Because many appearances and phenomena remain a mystery to us we indispensable and necessarily should find out to whom appears the mind or what/where is the mind's source or real nature. Of course to bow the proud head of this ignorant ego is not done out of its enthusiasm. We will encounter bitter resistance of that ego. Nevertheless we have to eradicate its root completely. May our sadguru stand by us.
Om Namo Bhagavate Sri Ramanaya.

Diogenes said...

ignoring all seems to be easy but how to rest unimpaired in our being ?

Dragos Nicolae Dragomirescu said...

... we keep on trying ... :)

Dragos Nicolae Dragomirescu said...

This approach was described by Bhagavan as

" Just as a pearl-diver, tying a stone to his waist and submerging, picks up a pearl which lies in the bottom of the ocean, so each person, submerging [beneath the surface activity of their mind] and sinking [deep] within themself with vairāgya [freedom from desire to experience anything other than self], can attain the pearl of self."

Nan Yar, paragraph eleven

... so it would be more accurate as ""ignore everything else (the body, thoughts, world etc...) and try to merge in your being"..."

...words of course, but they become helpful once we go on trying...


Ken said...


You stated: "Insentient Things Being Made Up of Consciousness: A Puzzle"

This is where Ramana's oft used analogy of a Movie is helpful.

Let us suppose you are watching a movie about Sherlock Holmes. The movie is fictional - none of the events in the movie actually happened, and in fact Sherlock Holmes was never a human being, since he is only a character in novels.

But watching the movie, you become involved with the characters, and in fact, when Sherlock is hit by a criminal, you flinch in dismay.

Sherlock appears to have a "body", but that body is insentient, because - as Ramana points out - if the movie theater lights are suddenly turned on, then Sherlock and his "body" vanishes.

Note that the Self is what is watching the movie, and is also is what is there when the lights are turned on.

So, Ramana says that the above is analogous to our physical world.

Dragos Nicolae Dragomirescu said...

also verse 28, Ulladu Narpadu

Like sinking [immersing or diving] in order to find an object that has fallen into water, diving [sinking, immersing, piercing or penetrating] within [ourself] restraining [our] speech and breath by [means of a] sharp intellect [a keen, intense, acute and penetrating power of discernment or attention] we should know the place [or source] where [our] rising ego rises. Know [this].

So I would say it's not just "lazy being", simply ignoring thoughts and being (in a kind of lazy way), we should really try to merge with all our power in the source..

easier said than done... but this is the way, as far as I understood it...

Ken said...

Vivek - also, please note Michael's previous discussion of Nisargadatta, entitled: "6. The teachings of Sri Ramana and Nisargadatta are significantly different" at

which would be better than my restating it with less clarity. :)

Sanjay Lohia said...

Viveka Vairagya, may I share my reflections on the questions you asked Michael; however, only Michael will be able to answer them accurately.

Yes, ‘matter’s basic constituent in consciousness because that is all there is’. In fact all matter, including our body, is nothing but our ego’s imagination. Therefore from the perspective of our true, non-dual consciousness, any sort of matter just does not exist – even as a seeming appearance. But matter or insentient objects do seem to exist in our imagination, and it is these imaginations which make our pure-consciousness ‘impure’. Thus we (our ego) always experience a seemingly impure consciousness.

However, our aim, when we practise atma-vichara, is to experience an absolutely clear and pure consciousness, or is to isolate our awareness from all its impurities (all seen objects). Therefore, we have to reject all our jada thoughts or objects, in order to experience ourself as we really are. Therefore, for practical purposes of our sadhana, we have to consider every object that we experience to be just our imagination, and therefore non-conscious. This non-conscious materiel has to be filtered out of our consciousness, and only then our consciousness can become pure.

As Michael writes in his article: drg-drsya-viveka: distinguishing the seer from the seen:

The only means by which we can give up or keep away all dṛśya is by trying to see the seer or ego (dṛś), but though we try to do so, we will never actually be able to see the seer, because when by trying to see it we manage give up all dṛśya, the seer will also cease to exist as such, and what we will then see is only what we actually are, which is neither dṛś nor dṛśya, because there is nothing other than ourself either for us to see or to be seen by. That state in which we see or are aware of nothing other than ourself is what Bhagavan describes in this verse as ‘real knowledge’ (உண்மை உணர்ச்சி: uṇmai uṇarcci) or ‘seeing the reality’ (तत्त्व दर्शनम्: tattva darśanam).

Conclusion: Thus all drsya (thoughts or objects we experience) should be treated as jada (insentient), but when we experience ourself as we really are we will realize that no jada (insentient) object ever existed, and therefore what exists is just ourself as we really are: pure, infinite consciousness.

Diogenes said...

thanks for your replies.
But 'my being' seems not to be very interested that this ego merges in it.
Rather it seems to intend to let me wait outside. My power of attention is seemingly still (too) weak.
Sometimes I wish me shooting to the moon and get lost there.

ever subsisting said...

"Note that the Self is what is watching the movie, and is also is what is there when the lights are turned on."
The seer is only the ego ! The self does not watch any movie.

Ken said...

Ever subsisting:

No, the ego is actually the Self in another form. That is the teaching of Ramana. As Sadhu Om states:

" Though in its pure nature 'I' is the Self, it is taken to be impure because of its attributes which are alien to it and experienced as 'I am-this', 'I am-this body', 'I am-a man' or 'I am-so and so'. Hence, the attributes appended to 'I AM' alone,
are the 'root-impurity'. Till this impurities are removed, Self, Existence-Consciousness (Sat-Chit) is called ego. The true purpose of Yoga is only to remove this root-impurity. "

As Ramana states "The body cannot say 'I'. " So, 'I' is always the Self, and that is the big clue.

Ken said...

There is a big misunderstanding in the New Age community that "ego" is a separate corrupting influence that attaches itself to an otherwise good human being. Some New Agers believe that animals and tribal people do not have an ego, that it is an evil creation of modern people.

However, since the ego is the "I am this physical body" identity, then all human beings (other than realised beings - jnanis) have an ego, and Ramana's efforts to prevent future rebirths of his cow, Lakshmi, shows that animals have ego too (as seems logical since they react as if their physical body is their identity).

Ken said...

Diogenes -

Ramana (and others) are clear that when the individual being makes it clear to the Self that it wants to end the ego, then it will happen, and if it does not happen, it is because the individual being does not 100% want it.

For example, imagine that a child pesters its mother to take it to see a movie. So, she drives them a long distance, and pays the money for two tickets.

Halfway through the movie, the child says "I don't like this movie, I want to go home". After going to all that trouble, the mother wants to be sure that the child really does not want to see the rest of the movie, before she gets up and takes them home.

ever subsisting said...

if the ego would be nothing other than the self there would be no need of any sadhana.
With your words and terms: the 'root-impurity' is watching the movie. The self cannot be a watching subject because it is said to be only being-consciousness.

Diogenes said...

'the individual being' and 'ego' are one and the same. Therefore an individual being is not in the position to 'make (anything) clear to the Self'.

Ken said...

ever subsisting-

Ironically, your last message is answered by last post to Diogenes, which is the post directly before your last post. :)

The Self is not "only being-consciousness". The Self is God, as Ramana and many other sages have stated.

The Lila (play) of the Self (Brahman/Atman) is that it "veils" itself so it itself thinks it is limited. As "veiled", it is watching the movie. When it decides to stop watching the movie, and the lights go on, it then sees it is actually the Self. Hence "Self-" "realisation", i.e. realizing that it is the Self.

Ken said...

Diogenes -

You stated:"'the individual being' and 'ego' are one and the same."

Essentially true.

Quote:"Therefore an individual being is not in the position to 'make (anything) clear to the Self'."

But it IS in that position. That is Ramana's technique.

The ego stops giving attention to "2nd person and 3rd person", i.e. sense perceptions and thoughts.

The Self sees this and if it is convinced of complete sincerity, then it terminates the ego (this is the "action of Grace performed by the Self" according to Ramana - paraphased).

One point that needs to be made, in light of some of the comments is that the One Awareness which IS the entire Universe is not stupid. People seem to have an impression of a dumb mechanical force. But it is "conscious" and "aware" !!

So, since the Self IS your own basic awareness, then it is entirely aware of everything you have ever thought, said or done.

Ken said...

Here is a direct quote from Ramana Maharshi from Ulladu Narpadu, and a paraphrase by Sadhu Om, translated by Michael James:

Because we, who are joined with sight, see the world,
accepting one principle (or ‘first thing’) which has a manifold
power is indispensable. The picture of names and forms,
the seer, the co-existing screen and the pervading light – all
these are He, who is Self.

Explanatory paraphrase : Because we, the ego or
individual, whose adjunct-nature is the faculty to see things
as other than ‘I’, see this world of multiplicity, it is
indispensable for us to accept the existence of one first
principle which has a power to appear as many. This world picture, which consists merely of names and forms, the seer
of this picture, the screen or supporting base upon which
this picture appears, and the pervading light which illumines
this picture – all these are only He, that one first principle,
who is none other than the real Self.

Dragos Nicolae Dragomirescu said...

Diogenes, nice talking to you...

I believe I finally understood what we should do. We should dive into ourselves. Personally right now i think this is the best description. I used to think that we merely have to ignore thoughts and attend to our sense of being (in a kind of lazy way) but the more I practice the more I realize this is not the most correct approach. We should dive with all our mighta withing ourselves (we should penetrate willfully into the deepest recesses of our being). Those two verses are a golden mine as to describe graphically the technique. I feel this is the right technique. It got clear to me. It depends on ourselves to " tye a stone to our waist and submerge" willfully... We should give it our best...


Dragos Nicolae Dragomirescu said...

It's hard indeed... sometimes I too wish I lived inside a cave :)) lol ... the more we try the more I feel resistance will lessen... but what happens to me (I'm a graphic designer)... when I submerge a little... a lot of energy/inspiration comes ... and don't want to continue... I want to use the energy... I feel like a thief... trying to steal from the source and not destroy myself... (I understood why Ramana used to say the ego it's a thief :) )

ever subsisting said...

due my limited knowledge of English my remark did not come out clearly. Please instead of "only" read: the self is said to be "nothing but" being consciousness.

What you mention as 'Lila(play)of the Self(Brahman/Atman)' that it veils itself and hereby is thinking itself to be limited I consider only as metaphorical story in order to give an explanation to us ignorant egos. At least from the viewpoint of this ego there is no logical and convincing reason why the real self as the only existing reality should veil itself. Consequently the 'unveiled' self is never watching the movie, at most in its veiled form/shape.
Yes, when the light goes on the ego sees itself as the actual self - what is generally called 'self-realisation', although the eternal real self is always 'realised'. Otherwise it would not be worth to be striven for its permanent awareness of it by us ignorant egos.

Diogenes said...

oh it is very fine to accept the idea of a basic awareness which we (can) assume as the self. But is it enough to be 'entirely aware of everything we have ever thought, said or done' ? As far as I am concerned I want to have absolute certainty that according the incomparable sage of Arunachala we are actually nothing else than pure infinite self-awareness which alone exists as the one omniscient omnipresent and omnipotent reality.
Because our mistaken adjunct-awareness to be a separate ego or 'I'-thought prevents us from seeing the real substance that underlies the ego's illusory appearance, let us recognise our fundamental self-awareness.

Diogenes said...

Dragos,nice talk with you.
How did you become such a good diver ?
I could not even jump down from the rock of illusion let alone immerse my head under the surface of the water. Because the dense ignorance causes still too much buoyancy I did not even found an appropriately heavy stone to tye it to my waist in order to submerge deeply enough. Fortunately any spark does not cease to glow in my heart.

Ken said...

In the commentary on Ramana's Ulladu Narpadhu verse 15, Sri Sadhu Om says something that I heard Eckhart Tolle say, which I had not otherwise seen stated. So, it is interesting to see their agreement. Sadhu Om states:

"If the present is experienced as one’s mere being, ‘I am’, devoid of all thoughts, it is real; but if the same present is experienced as one of the three times in which thoughts of the other two times (past and future) occur, it is unreal. (as the thoughts can only be about past or future)."

Tolle put it more like "The present moment is what you really are."

Ken said...

So, a mathematical version might be:

Existence-Consciousness-Bliss = The Present Moment

Dragos Nicolae Dragomirescu said...

Hi Diogenes,

I am as bad diver as anyone else. I had many doubts about the correct approach, but now it got crystal clear. So at least I know what I should do. But it builds up, any small attempt to dive draws grace (because we are doing it willfully) so I finally got the necessary confidence that sooner or later I will achieve the goal (destroy myself as an ego).

There was a passage in Laksmana Sarma's Maha Yoga that describes it well (he spent many years with Bhagavan and received direct tutoring on the Teaching) that caused so much confusion in my mind, confusion who was cleared only recently. I actually become obsessed (in a good way) with this Teaching, it's all I ever care about, that's why I know that sooner or later I will achive the goal. (this may sound arrogant but I believe we need to build this confidence, and we can build it only by trying and getting clear about what we should do)... I digress...

... the passage was:

"The Sage describes the method of the Quest in the
following: “Just as one dives into a lake, seeking a thing that
has fallen in, so should the seeker dive into the Heart, resolved
to find wherefrom rises the ego-sense, restraining speech and
the vital breath.”* This brings out the devotional aspect of
the Quest; as the diver devotes himself to his purpose — the
recovery of the lost article — by restraining the breath and
diving with all his weight, so too the seeker must be devoted
to the finding of the real Self — the source of the ‘I am’ in the
ego — by the ingathering of all the vital and mental energies
and directing them Heartwards. The resolve to find the Self is
the dynamic element in the Quest, without which there can
be no diving into the Heart; the question ‘Who am I?’, or
‘Whence am I?’, implies this resolve. To him that so dives,
says the Sage, success is assured; for then, says he, some
mysterious force arises from within and takes possession of
his mind and takes it straight to the Heart; if the seeker be
pure of mind and free from love of individuality he would
yield himself unreservedly to this force and get the highest of
all rewards; for whatever a man is devoted to, that he gets,
and there is nothing higher than the real Self."

Unfortunately I have not found anything more helpful than simply trying and trying and keep trying no matter what our thoughts/mind might tell us, or how difficult we may find it... we may try all sorts of other things (meditation, devotion to a form of God, prayer, thinking about all the miseries of life, thinking that we will soon die... etc etc... I did not find them especially useful to build determination... we forget so quickly about our intent...)

I also believe it's important to realize that we should not expect some progression on our attemps to dive withing our being... we may have a turbulent mind some time and simply try to dive and have a very good attempt (or who knows, maybe the final attempt :) ) or we may feel peaceful in the mind, and we may not want to try to dive because we find it pleasant..

So, in conclusion I simply think we should be hopeful, optimistic and full of confidence in achieving this goal no matter what our minds moods might tell us on day or the other (becuase we have Bhagavan behind us) and we should just keep on trying as often as we can and stop worrying if we progress or not... Trying trying trying like desperates :)) (in an optimistic way I mean)...

Keep in touch,

Diogenes said...

can other people know and tell me what I really am ?
Only I by myself can really know what I actually am. How to experience one's own real nature can and must therefore be found only by the seeker itself. Telling me that I am Brahman can only be a valuable advice. To experience the alleged inherent uninterrupted sat - chit - ananda by the seeker there is (evidently) no help from "outside".

Diogenes said...

thank you for your detailed reply. Congratulations on having got the necessary complete confidence to achieve the goal to destroy this actually non-existent ego.
All my previous attempts to dive into the heart did not satisfy me/my ego. Because of that failures - even although spending ten visits (added up from January 2000 till February 2016 to one year) on Arunachala Hill - I developped in some respects an aversion or resistance to dive 'into the deepest recesses of my being'. Since as I did just a little like to learn my exercises in school I resist doing any exercise-like sadhana. Is there any hope ?
As Bhagavan said "yes, there is hope" I try to keep possession of the ball.
Kind regards.
By the way: Some ten years ago I have seen in Tiruvannamalai (at the Daya Dharma guesthouse) a young Roumanian showing his book written by him in English with the title "Ajati" or similar. Do you know the writer or his book by any chance ?

unmay said...

in the first paragraph of your answer to Viveka Vairagya you write:
"We are always aware of ourself, but our self-awareness is now confused, because it seems (in the view of ourself as this ego) to be mixed with awareness of our body and other things."
Before we have found out what this 'I' or 'self' actually is, we still do not know anything for certain. Therefore should you not hint at your statement cautiously and write as follows - to be on the safe side?:
"We seem always to be aware of ourself, but our self-awareness seems now to be confused, because…"

Ken said...

Here is something that I think is another clue.

From Ulladu Narpadu Verse 24, by Ramana Maharshi as translated by Sadhu Om and Michael James:

"The insentient body does not say (or feel) ‘I’. Existence
consciousness (sat-chit, the real Self) does not rise (or
subside). (But) in between (these two) an ‘I’ rises as the
measure of the body that is in between the body and the
real Self a limited ‘I’ – consciousness in the form ‘I am this
body rises in waking and subsides again in sleep). Know that this (‘I am the body’ – consciousness) is (what is called
by various names such as) the knot between consciousness
and the insentient (chit-jada-granthi), bondage (bandha), the
individual soul (jiva), subtle body (sukshma sarira), ego
(ahantai), this mundane state of activity (samsara) and mind

foggy dew said...

how to solve the entangled self-awareness from its non-conscious adjuncts ?
How could the self-awareness at all got entangled with non-conscious adjuncts ?
That stupid thing is that all the nonsense can be told to us ignorant idiots; it serves us right. So we get easily crushed between appearances and reality.

entanglement said...

when you say in the last paragraph:
"... we must look through this ego or 'I'-thought, which is what we now seem to be, and thereby see the real substance..."
How can we as the not actually existing illusory ego 'look through this ego or 'I'-thought i.e. through ourself ? Would you please explain the meaning of that statement in more detail ?

Ken said...

foggy dew,
Anything that is a "form" is an adjunct.
The Self (atman) is:

* The present moment
* The formless
* The "life" in things - it is what enlivens things
* That which is looking
* Love (noun)

Dragos Nicolae Dragomirescu said...


I believe there is a lot of hope, even if we don't seem we are making progress. Sometimes some life situation need to be finished or have to be gone through before we see more light (karma has a lot of weight, although theoretically it should not matter, we can go withing no matter what). Patience and perseverance... what else?!! :) We should not get discouraged! :) Personall I'm so so very happy I build some confidence and I am able to "see" a little (from time to time) through the dense fold of the body/thoughts and our ignorance(this was quite recently after many many years of pain in the spiritual search). At least I could say I am not mistaken of the right "direction" I should go (within I mean) What I say should not be understood as arrogance, I have not "achieved" anything, I did not become "enlightened" :). I think I just understood it somehow more clearly, that's all... I had such a confused idea of what should be achieved, I think now I finally begin to make some progress in getting more clear about the path...

I found it very helpful to pray to Bhagavan/God to be shown more clearly what should be done. It seems to have worked a little for me. I was so desperate one time, I prayed not for enlightenmet I prayed from all my heart "at least show me the right direction to go, at least make me understand clearly". I thinks this small token of grace was given, I am humbled in my heart for it, I feel it's up to me to ignore the body and world and establish myself in That awareness independent of everything else.

All the best,

PS: I don't know that guy (I don't read or listen to other stuff too much anymore)

All the best,

foggy dew said...

it is scarcely comprehensible that between the subtle consciousness (pure self-awareness) and the gross inert insentient (non-conscious) physical body consisting of matter (adjunct-awareness) functions the ego as the knot (called chit-jada -granthi).

Diogenes said...

thanks again for your reply.
Your humble pray to Bhagavan to show the way more clearly sounds highly reasonable, sensible and proper. I enjoy looking at your way. You are surely on the right track.
That is enough stimulus to me to try to make an entreaty to Bhagavan/Arunachala too with humility in full reverence - in complete absence of pride and arrogance.
All the best !

Ken said...

It is worth noting the following: human society treats thoughts as less significant, speech as more significant, and action as the most significant. For example, if you think about a crime, it does not matter in human society; if you talk about a crime, it matters more; but only if you commit a crime with physical action, does human society really care.

But Ramana treats physical world worship (puja) as less significant, speaking worship (japa) as more significant, mental worship (meditation) as yet more significant, and worship with no physical, speech, or thought component (self-attention) as the highest.

mixed and confused said...

"Likewise, in order to see or be aware of ourself as we actually are, all we need to do is to look very carefully at ourself, who now seem to be this ego or ‘I’-thought, because when we look at ourself carefully enough, we will see that we are not actually this finite ego (a limited body-mixed self-awareness) but only pure and infinite self-awareness. What we were aware of all along was only pure self-awareness, but we simply mistook it to be this adjunct-mixed self-awareness called ‘ego’ or ‘I-thought’."
When I read correctly, the mistake to be this adjunct-mixed self-awareness was committed/done by our pure self-awareness. However, that makes no sense. I do not grasp it.

Ken said...

mixed and confused wrote:"When I read correctly, the mistake to be this adjunct-mixed self-awareness was committed/done by our pure self-awareness. However, that makes no sense. I do not grasp it."

This is what is called "The Play of Consciousness" (lila in Sanskrit).

Ramana's movie theater analogy makes it easier to understand. We go to a movie theater, and forget our real identity, and instead, we get caught up in the protagonist's drama. When the hero is struck by the bad guy in the movie, we are dismayed. When the hero triumphs, we feel good.

The world is the same thing. The Self makes the "mistake" of identifying with a character in the world. It is entertaining, but if we want liberation from the movie, we need to stop watching the movie, and instead remember our real identity.

Michael James said...

Mixed and Confused, the ‘we’ in the passage you cite is only ourself as this ego and not ourself as we actually are. What we actually are is only pure self-awareness, which is never mixed or confused with anything. What is mixed and confused is only our ego, which rises as this adjunct-mixed self-awareness that we now mistake ourself to be.

Our pure self-awareness is never in any way affected by this, just as a rope is never affected by its being seen as a snake. The mistake of seeing the rope as a snake is made by an ignorant onlooker, so it is only in the view of that onlooker that the snake seems to exist. Likewise the mistake of seeing pure self-awareness (ourself as we actually are) as an adjunct-mixed self-awareness (ourself as this self-ignorant ego) is made by this adjunct-mixed self-awareness, so it is only in the view of this adjunct-mixed self-awareness that we seem to exist as such.

Our ego (this adjunct-mixed self-awareness) does not actually exist, but paradoxically it seems to exist only in its own self-ignorant view. This is the wonder called māyā, which means ‘what is not’ or ‘she who is not’. The simple solution to this paradox that Bhagavan has taught us is for ourself as this ego to look very carefully at ourself, because if we do so carefully enough we will see that we are not this ego but only pure self-awareness, and that therefore this paradoxical ego or māyā has never actually existed or even seemed to exist.

How can that which does not exist seem to exist in the view of itself? It can never happen, and according to Bhagavan it has never happened, as we shall discover if we investigate ourself keenly and carefully enough.

Michael James said...

Ken, in your latest comment you say, ‘The Self makes the “mistake” of identifying with a character in the world’, but this is not the case. ‘The Self’ (ourself as we actually are) is just pure and immutable self-awareness, which can never make any mistake or identify itself with anything, and in its clear view no world or characters in it exist or even seem to exist, as I will explain in more detail in an article I began to write yesterday and hope to complete today. All these things seem to happen only in the self-ignorant view of our ego and not at all in the clear view of ourself as the pure self-awareness that we actually are.

mixed and confused said...

to assume that the self as our pure and immutable self-awareness makes any mistake can at best given on the stage of the theatre of the absurd or anywhere in the country of "Absurdistan". Please read Michael's reply to you.

mixed and confused said...

many thanks for clarification that paradoxical appearance of this ego which has never actually existed. Merely our ignorant considering from the self-ignorant view of us confused onlookers makes that total bewilderment. I am looking forward to your new detailed article.

Bob - P said...

This is why Michael's blog is so incredibly helpful.
It helps improve our understand of Bhagvan's teaching.
In appreciation.

Bob - P said...

Apologies I misspelt Bhagavan in my last post.

mixed and confused said...

yes, the correct understanding of Bhagavan's teaching is replaceable with nothing.
So let us strive for substituting the clear view of pure self-awareness for our self-ignorant view.

Ken said...

To "mixed and confused":

That is why I put "mistake" in quote marks, which is a conventional shorthand that indicates that the word is being used in the discussion in a way that may not be rigorous.

That is why I used Ramana's movie analogy. The Self definitely wants to see the movie, otherwise the movie would not even exist.

However, a lot of this strains the ability of words to symbolize. But more discussion is a good thing, as it sheds more light on the situation (the more closely we look at the "snake", the more likely we are to see that it is only a "rope".)

Ken said...

"Bob - P said... Apologies I misspelt Bhagavan in my last post."

Actually no need for apologies since the word is not an English word, and is spelled in English (i.e. the Latin Alphabet) many different ways - Bhagvan, Bhagawan, Bhagwan, as well as Bhagavan.

It is an honorific, a title, rather than a name (like "Sir"), and so I personally do not use it for referring to Ramana, since many people in other discussions use it for a variety of different teachers (although on this blog, it always refers to Ramana, of course).

Bob - P said...

Thank you Ken.
All the best.

Mouna said...


Bhagavan, although you are right to say it is honorific, it is not like "Sir".
In general, Bhagavan means God or The Lord, both in manifested or unmanifested form (Nirguna or Saguna).

The word Sri is more in tune with the translation "Mr" or "Sir".

Also, there is a suffix to show respect in most of the hindu languages, "ji", that is added at the end of a name, like in your case would be "Ken-ji", which in literal translation means "respected Ken".

Rob P said...

Thank you to Michael for his continued work, devotion and love here over the years and everyone else that contributes too. I don't have anything to add to this fantastic discussion,
I just wanted to show my gratitude. Keep diving :)

mixed and confused said...

I do not like the idea to be entangled in 'The Play of Consciousness'(lila).
My life is too precious to be torn hither and thither by a gambling celestial dreamer or God.
How do you know that 'the Self definitely wants to see the movie...'?

missing ingredient said...

Rob P,
do not hesitate to address your comment to Michael as second person("you").

mistaken identity said...

That this 'I-thought' did grasp a body as itself and thereby experiences itself as 'I am this body and this person' is the action of karma and maya.
Obviously I was powerless in face of that destiny.

Ken said...

mixed and confused wrote:"How do you know that 'the Self definitely wants to see the movie...'?"

Because there is nothing other than the Self, so there is nothing that can force the Self to do anything.

The Self is alone, so it decides to "veil" itself and limit itself as a multitude of "individuals". This is the Lila, the play. It then puts a method of waking up into the dream ("sadhana").

In Advaitic Shaivism (which Ramana stated was equivalent to Vedanta, in "Talks"), veiling and unveiling are powers of God/Self (existence-consciousness-bliss).

Viveka Vairagya said...

Competency for Self-Enquiry


K.V. next questioned Maharshi:

Who is the Adhikari, i.e., the person competent to launch on this Atma Vichara, the Self-quest? Can anyone judge for himself if he has the necessary competency?

Maharshi: This is an important preliminary question. Before Atma Vichara is started some antecedent experience, some achievement in the moral field is essential.

People having varied experiences in the world, at one stage develop a disgust or repulsion (vairagya) towards sense attractions or, at any rate, an indifference to such attractions, and feel forcibly the miserable transient nature of this body through which these attractions and enjoyments are had. This may be the result of the practice of devotion or some other upasana in this life, or of such devotion or other good works performed in previous lives. People with minds thus purified and strengthened are the adhikaris, the ones competent to launch on Atma Vichara or enquiry into the Self; and these are the qualifications or signs by which one can determine such competency.

This is how the 1998 Ramanasramam edition of Sri Ramana Gita presents the question and the answer:

Question: Who is considered fit for this enquiry? Can one by oneself know one’s own fitness?

Bhagavan: He whose mind has been purified through upasana [worship] and other means or by merit acquired in past lives, who perceives the imperfections of the body and sense-objects, and feels utter distaste whenever his mind has to function among sense-objects and who realises that the body is impermanent, he is said to be a fit person for self-enquiry.

By these two signs, that is by a sense of the transitoriness of the body and by non-attachment to sense-objects, one’s own fitness for self-enquiry can be known. (Sri Ramana Gita, chapter 7, verses 8, 9, 10, 11)

Viveka Vairagya said...

Is There Consciousness in Deep Sleep?

Check out

Viveka Vairagya said...

Another One on Consciousness in Deep Sleep

Check out

Ken said...

Viveka -

There are 7 billion people with 7 billion viewpoints on "Consciousness in Deep Sleep". All of the readers of this blog can type "Consciousness in Deep Sleep" into a web search, they have no need of someone else doing that.

So, there is no point to pasting various people's opinions into the blog comments.

Either you yourself have an opinion to state, which is always appropriate, or else post Ramana Maharshi's viewpoint.

Ken said...

And the "Competency for Self-Enquiry" post was indeed very intersting, thanks for posting that.

mixed and confused said...

as I told already I do not like the fairy story of "Lila-play".
There is not the slightest reason for any masquerade - to veil and unveil itself.
Fairy tale literature is suitable only for children's story hour.

Senachtenre said...

it is said that what we are seeking to know is only our pure consciousness- our pure self-awareness. Has anybody since Sri Ramana's physical death testified/seen the real substance that underlies the illusory appearance of this ego ?

Ken said...


If someone said "I have seen the real substance that underlies the illusory appearance of this ego" - how would you know they are telling the truth?

IIRC, Ramana said "only a jnani can recognize another jnani".

So, from my reading, the basis of this web site is a logical examination of who we are, and our actual situation.

The sage Vasishta (tutor of Ramana) who is said to have written The Yoga Vasishta stated:

"The remark of even a child is to be accepted, if it is in accordance with reason; but the remark of even Brahma Himself, the creator of the world, is to be rejected like a piece of straw if it does not accord with reason"

So, on this web site, we use our reason to determine who we are, and our actual situation.

In my experience, and I believe in Michael James' experience, Ramana Maharshi's reasoning is the best explanation of these things.

Ken said...

mixed and confused,

There is not any other possible explanation for the ego, that is in accord with Advaita, "non-duality", other than Lila. Since the Self is everything, then there is no second entity that can do something to the Self. The only way that there could be an apparent multiplicity is for the Self to will limitation upon itself.

Any contrary reasoning is welcome.

Mouna said...


Sage Vasishta was the tutor of Rama, one of the incarnations of Vishnu (that gave birth to the epic poem Ramayana), not of Ramana (if you were referring to Ramana Maharshi), although Bhagavan (Ramana Maharshi) often quoted Vasishta's teachings.


Ken said...

oops - sorry - that was a typo. The mind was thinking so much of Ramana, that it typed "Ramana" instead of just "Rama".

Thanks for pointing that out.

Senachtenre said...

yes, my question is of no avail. I know nothing of any importance.

mixed and confused said...

you are right. Explaining the non-existence of the ego in one way or another includes always any doubt. Therefore we should not expend our energy and waist our breath on getting an answer regarding that point.

mistaken awareness said...

Quotes form Sri Ramanasramam:

"EVERY living being longs always to be happy, untainted by sorrow; and everyone has the greatest love for himself, which is solely due to the fact that happiness is his real nature."
How (is it possible) to miss our own nature ?

Ken said...

mistaken awareness,

How is it possible to lose our sunglasses, when they are on top of our head? :)

Some of the explanations in brackets in the following are my own:

Question: What is happiness?

Ramana Maharshi: What is called happiness is merely the nature of the Self[one's basic thought-free Awareness]. Happiness and the Self are not different. The happiness of the Self alone exists; that alone is real. There is no happiness at all in even a single one of the [many] things in the world. We believe that we derive happiness from them on account of aviveka [a lack of discrimination, an inability to ascertain what is correct]. When the mind is externalised, it experiences misery. The truth is, whenever our thoughts [that is, our desires] get fulfilled, the mind turns back to its source and experiences Self-happiness alone. In this way the mind wanders without rest, emerging and abandoning the Self and [later] returning within. The shade under a tree is very pleasant. Away from it the sun’s heat is scorching. A person who is wandering around outside reaches the shade and is cooled. After a while he goes out again, but unable to bear the scorching heat, returns to the tree. In this way he is engaged in going from the shade into the hot sunshine and in coming back from the hot sunshine into the shade. A person who acts like this is an aviveki [someone who lacks discrimination], for a discriminating person would never leave the shade. By analogy, the mind of a jnani[wise man] never leaves Brahman[the Absolute Ground of all Being], whereas the mind of someone who has not realised the Self is such that it suffers by wandering in the world before turning back to Brahman for a while to enjoy happiness. What is called ‘the world’ is only thoughts. When the world disappears, that is, when there are no thoughts, the mind experiences bliss; when the world appears, it experiences suffering.

Ken said...

mistaken awareness: "How (is it possible) to miss our own nature ?"

"Just as the sun cannot be seen in a densely clouded sky, so one’s own Self cannot be seen in a mind-sky which is darkened by a dense cloud of thoughts." - Ramana Maharshi from Guru Vachaka Kovai.

Viveka Vairagya said...

Sleep as a State of Consciousness in Advaita Vedånta

Check this out for the above eBook -

Viveka Vairagya said...

The Conscious Subject Persists in Deep Sleep

Check out

Sanjay Lohia said...

Chit-jada-granthi ~*~ (Maharshi’s Gospel Book-2 * eleventh edition 1984 * page 80)

The ego functions as the knot between the Self which is pure Consciousness and the physical body which is inert and insentient. The ego is therefore called the Chit-jada granthi.

Reflections: A knot is formed when we tie the corners of two strings, and when we untie this knot what remains are just the two strings. The knot had no existence before it come into existence, and will have no existence after it is untied, and therefore even when it seems to exist it does not really exist. Our ego is like this knot. It is non-existent though it seems to exist.

To use another analogy, we can say that our ego is like a water bubble, which is in between and joining our pure-awareness and our adjunct-awareness. This flimsy bubble is holding these two together, and when this bubble bursts, these two - our pure-awareness and our adjunct-awareness - will fall apart. This flimsy bubble is like our ego.

Many of us have difficulty in understanding that the atma-jnani is just pure-awareness, and is therefore not aware of any body or world. The chit-jada-granthi has been cut asunder in the atma-jnani, and without this granthi how can he be aware of any body or the world? Therefore the atma-jnani is not aware of ‘his’ body or this world even in the least. He is pure-awareness and only pure-awareness, and therefore his experience is only 'I am I'.

Viveka Vairagya said...

Ramana Maharshi on "I" in Sleep

Bhagavan seems to say in the below two Talks that the "I" in sleep is anandatman or subtle vijnanatma, which is different from vijnanatma of wakeful state only in name and functioning, but not different ontologically, as they refer to the same "I', which makes sense coz the "experiencer" of sleep (anandatman or subtle vijnanatma)has to be the same as the "rememberer" of sleep in waking state (vijnanatman).

from Talk 314
A man says “I slept happily”. Happiness was his experience. If not, how could he speak of what he had not experienced? How did he experience happiness in sleep, if the Self was pure? Who is it that speaks of that experience now? The speaker is the vijnanatma (ignorant self) and he speaks of prajnanatma (pure self). How can that hold? Was this vijnanatma present in sleep? His present statement of the experience
of happiness in sleep makes one infer his existence in sleep. How then did he remain? Surely not as in the waking state. He was there very subtle. Exceedingly subtle vijnanatma experiences the happy prajnanatma by means of maya mode. It is like the rays of the moon seen below the branches, twigs and leaves of a tree.

The subtle vijnanatma seems apparently a stranger to the obvious vijnanatma of the present moment. Why should we infer his existence in sleep? Should we not deny the experience of happiness and be done with this inference? No. The fact of the experience of happiness cannot be denied, for everyone courts sleep and prepares a nice bed for the enjoyment of sound sleep.

from Talk 318
D.: How are we in sleep?
M.: Ask the question in sleep. You recall the experience of sleep only when you are awake. You recall that state by saying “I slept happily”.
D.: What is the instrument by which we experience that state?
M.: We call it Mayakarana as opposed to the antahkarana to which we are accustomed in our other states. The same instruments are called differently in the different states, even as the anandatman of sleep is termed the vijnanatman of the wakeful state.
D.: Please furnish me with an illustration for the mayakarana experiencing the ananda.
M.: How can you say “I slept happily”? The experience is there to prove your happiness. There cannot be the remembrance in the wakeful state in the absence of the experience in the sleep state.

Sanjay Lohia said...

Turning within is subsiding; it is therefore cessation of action (video dated 23-4-2016 * 1:39 minutes onward)

Michael: Obviously, it is the ego that has to turn within, but when the ego turns within, it finds that it is non-existent. We talk of turning within, as if it is an action – now we are turned out; we have to turn within. But this again is the limitation of our language, because what turning within actually is, is subsiding – it is cessation of action. It is dissolving . . .

Reflections: I used to think that our practice of self-investigation entails a bit of action to start with – that is, I used to think that our ego has to initially act when it tries to turn within, but that very soon all its actions cease, and it remains in the state of being. However, as Michael has clarified this turning within entails no action. In fact, it is the cessation of all action.

Ken said...

Viveka Vairagya -

There are 7 billion people with 7 billion viewpoints on "Consciousness in Deep Sleep" or any other spiritual topic. All of the readers of this blog can type "Consciousness in Deep Sleep" into a web search, they have no need of someone else doing that.

So, there is no point to just pasting various other people's opinions into the blog comments, whether directly or just as links.

Either you yourself have an opinion to state, which is always appropriate, or else post Ramana Maharshi's viewpoint.

The whole point of Michael's site and blog is to narrow things down to only Ramana Maharshi's viewpoint, not Joe Bob or Jane Smith's viewpoint and not other Advaitans' viewpoints, such as Nisargadatta or Krishnamurti.

So, by pasting other people's viewpoints, you are actively opposing Michael's attempts to focus on Ramana Maharshi's viewpoint. Michael clearly allows you or I to express our own viewpoint, don't abuse that by posting other people's viewpoints, unless they are quoted within your own opinion.

I hope this is clear and understandable.

I think it is a general principle, we should also not do this on other sites (for example, it is not appropriate to post Ramana quotes on Hare Krishna sites).

Mouna said...

Ken, greetings

Would you allow me to make an observation on your most recent posting?

You said: "Either you yourself have an opinion to state, which is always appropriate, or else post Ramana Maharshi's viewpoint.”

I think what Viveka Vairagya is doing with all these posts about deep sleep is investigating the matter, trying to understand, from various points of view, this cornerstone topic in Bhagavan’s teachings.

I don’t see anything wrong in presenting to this blog different points of view about the topic that may allow a serious discussion about it.

Michael already wrote some posts on the subject, there is ample literature about Bhagavan’s reference to it, but if someone needs to dive deep into any subject, to my understanding, there is nothing wrong to quote other sources, it is always ”manana”.

Let’s not transform, within reasonable limits, this so helpful Michael’s blog into another religion, limiting our conversation ONLY to what this person or that person said, to this or that point of view, even if they are as important understandings as Bhagavan’s or Michael's.
If done with respect for others and oneself, every addition to a better understanding could be always helpful to one or another member of this blog, we can never know.

No one can have or has the Truth, neither Bhagavan nor Michael, simply because we are the Truth, and for that reason the only thing we can do is through serious sravana, manana and nidhidyasana of our own try to unrealize the unreal.


Ken said...


There is one subtle distinction which I think you (and perhaps Viveka Vairagya) are missing.

That is the distinction between:

- Just pasting links to other writings on the web


- Stating a comment or opinion, which then includes a link to some other writing on the web.

The latter would be something like:

" I really like Joe Bob's viewpoint on Deep Sleep and how it relates to 'I am' - what do you guys think about it? You can find it at"

When it is done that way, it is a personal comment, and the link is merely included.

In contrast, what I often see Viveka Vairagya do is to just post links and there is no evidence that he has even listened to them or read them himself. One comment thread, he posted many many links to a variety of peoples' awakening experiences. Naturally, there is no way to tell whether those experiences are real, fake, or sincere but mostly imaginary. So, they are irrelevant and pointless.

In 2016, there is no lack of resources - we have no lack of youtube videos and personal experience writings. Instead, what is more valuable is the focusing - in which Michael is very skillful.

Lastly, if someone expressed a desire for more information on a particular subject, then it would be fine to make a post with a list of links as a response to that specific request.

Viveka Vairagya said...

Hi Ken,

I do not agree with your criticism. I do see a value to other visitors of this blog from the links I post from time to time, because I read them myself and find something of value in them that other visitors to this blog can benefit from. If you do not like to follow such links, then you are free to ignore them.

And I agree with Mouna's reply to you because it says better than what I could have said myself.

mistaken awareness said...

you quoted that according Ramana Maharshi 'the happiness of the Self alone exists'. How can in spite of that statement be a 'mind-sky which is darkened by a dense cloud of thoughts' ? At least the existence of such a mind-sky does not follow the law of logic.

missing ingredient said...

Viveka Vairagya,
yes, in 2016 there is no lack of resources, videos and writings but a complete lack of being aware of our natural pure happiness. Could you please furnish us with the latter (quickly) ?

misty awareness said...

is it not said that there is nothing but the real self ?
If true, why should we unrealize the unreal which cannot at all exist ?

Viveka Vairagya said...

missing ingredient,

to be "aware of our natural pure happiness" we should give up thoughts. To the extent we are prepared to do that to that extent we will be "aware of our natural pure happiness".

apramada said...

Viveka Vairagya,

D.: Please furnish me with an illustration for the mayakarana experiencing the ananda.
M.: How can you say “I slept happily”? The experience is there to prove your happiness. There cannot be the remembrance in the wakeful state in the absence of the experience in the sleep state.

10 September 2016 at 15:11

Viv, what you have quoted here is a very cogent and irrefutable argument.
It hits the nail on the head.

missing ingredient said...

because it is said that there is only pure self-awareness there cannot be any thoughts at all. So what should I give up ?

Viveka Vairagya said...

missing ingredient,

When it is said there is only the rope, it does not mean that your illusion of the snake is non-existent for the time being. Similarly, when "it is said that there is only pure self-awareness", it does not mean that there are no thoughts present as illusion on the ever-present pure self-awareness. Surely, you do not mean to say that you are not experiencing thoughts right now as you read this.

Ken said...

Viveka Vairagya,

It is excellent when you yourself comment in your own words, as in the last few posts.

So, all that I am asking, is that when you yourself have watched the hour-long video in the link, then say something about why you are posting it, and what value you have received from viewing it (and same for links to text articles).

That is all.

Viveka Vairagya said...

Hi Ken,

I agree with your suggestion above. Henceforth, whenever I give links to text or videos I will also give relevant comments on them to guide the readers.

apramada said...

to give relevant comments is a good idea and in my opinion better than only giving links because due my lack of knowing perfectly English I do not look videos at all.

missing ingredient said...

no, when it is said that only self really exists then it is clearly stated that nothing other can really exist.
Experiencing thoughts is not a matter of really existence but only a seeming phenomenon.

Viveka Vairagya said...

missing ingredient,

I don't have any objection if you choose to term thoughts as "not a matter of really existence but only a seeming phenomenon" because it all depends on what one means by "existence" or "existing".

missing ingredient said...

then it is clear:
seeming existence is a matter of complete indifference to real existence, in other words : real existence is not affected by any thoughts.

Viveka Vairagya said...

missing ingredient,

You are right in saying "real existence is not affected by any thoughts" in as much as the water in a mirage does not wet the desert sand.

Regarding your earlier query about "being aware of our natural pure happiness", when you sit for self-enquiry, just try to be aware of your awareness to the exclusion of thoughts. Whenever thoughts occur, divert your attention from them to the background awareness that is present.

missing ingredient said...

diverting attention from thoughts to the present 'background awareness' is just another thought. However, the underlying stream of pure awareness remains unimpaired.

rejoice eternally said...

Rejoice, rejoice, fortunately this ego is not a substantial reality.

mula avidya said...

why do I not experience my self-awareness in its original pristine form also in waking and dream ? As far as I remember I have not been up seriously to anything. What was my crime against my/our fundamental self-awareness ?

where am I? said...

a question for Michael, and whoever has an insight on it,
although my main practise is atma vicara (non action, just being), as a secondary practice ,occasionally during the day, i observe-recognize the fact that all thoughts appear spontaneously at the exact moment of their perception and so i am not the controller-producer of them. do you think that such a practise could benefit the main practise by undermining the solidity of ego? or would you stick to the main practise alone?

sat - bhava said...

Where am I ?,
you as your fundamental self-awareness are surely not the thought-producing machine but this/your ego-driven mind. I would not occupy the mind with the appearance or perception of thoughts because you attend to them unnecessary. I would recommend to you to be careful and to stick only on your 'main practise' atma vicara.
All the best.

Zubin said...

Hi where am I?,

I can only speak for myself, but I have found it invaluable to augment my self-enquiry practice with related practices.

My main practice, throughout the day, is returning to I AM.

But in my sitting practice (4x20 mins in a given day), my goal is to watch Self infuse everything. For example, if I catch myself thinking, then I watch the purity of I AM infuse those thoughts and also be the only thing remaining when they dissipate. Seeing over and over again that I AM is all that is true has helped me erode my attachment to thoughts.

So I think, as long as whatever extra you are doing is not giving life to mind/identity, but rather seeing the single Truth of yourself, then it has value.

Mouna said...

where am I?, greetings

The understanding (or observation/recognition) of not being the producer of one’s thoughts or non-doership in general is certainly one of the major cornerstones of Bhagavan’s teachings and hindu philosophy in general. At the same time, once that is and was understood, to my experience, there is no need to keep referring to it every time, but rather, I believe is more important to trace the source of that from where thoughts rise and abide thereof, as suggested by Bhagavan Sri Ramana.

Furthermore, all thoughts, perceptions, feelings and sensations, no matter who produces them are only made of awareness/existence, so with that understanding, if we choose to 'observe’ our thoughts instead of the ground from which they rise, we should be arriving (if we look “through” them) to the same ‘place’ of unlimited, borderless and timeless silence.

where am I? said...

thank you all for the answers
Mouna, is the "looking through" thoughts, perceptions, etc. a kind of seeing a "sameness"? like every experience has the "same" taste which is no other than self-awareness reflected?
when attention is really relaxed and still, it certainly seems to be the case, but is this what you point to?

Mouna said...

where am I?

"like every experience has the "same" taste which is no other than self-awareness reflected?"

yes, in a sense, what I was referring to is that every object, being either material ("outside" world) or psychological (thoughts, feelings etc..) are made of (figure of speech) awareness/knowledge. The "sameness" you are referring to actually will be discovery of this essential nature or fabric that objects are made of, a little bit like discovering the H2O element in water, ice or clouds. Even the fabric of the ego projection is also made of sat/cit, the only difference with reality is that is an error of perception.

As you can induce by my struggling with these concepts, words are sooo limited...

wrong perception said...

made of awareness/sat /chit is yet not per se a distinguishing feature of high quality. You may consider the unpleasant and unbearable decision of a tyrant or mass murder. Concepts are often not watertight.

Mouna said...

wrong perception, greetings back to you

I am not sure I understood you correctly, otherwise tyrant, mass murderer, saint, computer, cloud, blog, depression, tree, water, a thought, a sensation and all of the other ten thousand things, all essentially sat/cit, because they are (even if apparently) and we know it.

But agreed, for some objects of cognition, it is harder to swallow that they share the same essential nature (i.e. Bhagavan and Hitler)...

kaivalya said...

"Likewise, in order to see or be aware of ourself as we actually are, all we need to do is to look very carefully at ourself, who now seem to be this ego or ‘I’-thought, because when we look at ourself carefully enough, we will see that we are not actually this finite ego (a limited body-mixed self-awareness) but only pure and infinite self-awareness. What we were aware of all along was only pure self-awareness, but we simply mistook it to be this adjunct-mixed self-awareness called ‘ego’ or ‘I-thought’."
To see that we are not actually this finite ego is in my experience not sufficient to free oneself from one's sufferings caused by the slavery of this ego-bound limited body/adjunct-mixed self-awareness.

wrong perception said...

yes it is hard to swallow, that some offsprings are cast in the same mould as Bhagavan. But our view of ignorant fellows is of no significance, isn't it ?

Mouna said...

wrong perception,

"But our view of ignorant fellows is of no significance, isn't it ?"

In the big scheme, none at all!

wrong perception said...

but may we admit the necessity of an executive power to carry out some karma ?

Mouna said...


yes, absolutely, but not forgetting that that executive power is also weaved into and part of the ego's projection.

wrong perception said...

but however, as we are taught: the ego is still the same fundamental self-awareness.

Mouna said...


"but however, as we are taught: the ego is still the same fundamental self-awareness."

yes, but only from its own (the ego's) point of view.
From self-awareness point of view (figure of speech) there is no ego, neither executive power, world etc...

From ego's point of view there is self-awareness and superimposition of "itself" onto self-awareness. In other words, for the rope there is no snake, but the snake sees itself as an error of perception superimposed on the rope (talking about "spiritually advanced snakes"!).

wrong perception said...

yes, that 'spiritually advanced snakes' make always troubles. Smile.

wrong perception said...

I let this ego now rest in sleep. The clock shows 3 h 27 MET.

Mouna said...


Have a good night deep sleep my friend.

and :)

wrong perception said...

thanks , have a fine evening on the Pacific coast.
And :)

foolish tenth man said...

How to keep the mind always in atma[oneself] ?

Viveka Vairagya said...

Panchakosa Prakriya (The Secret of the Five Sheaths)

Here is Swami Sarvapriyananda's Youtube video (approx. 1 hr long) on Panchakosa Prakriya (The Secret of the Five Sheaths), which gives good reasons why we cannot be any of the 5 sheaths, in short, not the body and mind, and rounds off by telling who we actually are (can be seen as a commentary on the 1st three Q&A of Who Am I? of Bhagavan Sri Ramana Maharshi) - check out

look at yourself said...

Hey foolish 10. man,
if you are truly dedicated to understand Bhagavan's teachings and putting it into practise: try to attend to yourself alone ! According to Michael James: By looking very keenly at yourself in complete isolation (kaivalya) from everything else, self-attentiveness is the only way we can destroy this illusory ego.
Come on !

Peepul Tree said...

"The Guru is pleased with him only who gives himself up entirely, who abandons his ego forever. Such a man is taken care of wherever he may be. He need not pray. God looks after him unasked. The frog lives by the side of the fragrant lotus, but it is the bee that gets the honey."

kamandalu said...

foolish tenth man,
count 1 2 3 ...and 10 ! Do not overlook yourself, you very fool !

kamandalu said...

Oh Peepul Tree,
lets get the honey.

Viveka Vairagya said...

Panchakosa Prakriya (The Secret of the Five Sheaths)

Here is Swami Sarvapriyananda's Youtuve video (approx. 1 hr long), which gives good reasons why we are not any of the 5 sheaths, in short, not the body and mind, and rounds off by telling who we actually are, again by giving good reasons (can be seen as a commentary on the 1st three Q&A of Who Am I? by Bhagavan Sri Ramana Maharshi)- check out

(Apologies if the above message is appearing posted twice coz I posted it earlier but it seems to have disappeared)

Sri Arunachala Tattuvam said...

Peepul Tree,
is your guru pleased with you or do you only chat like a frog sitting under a lotus leaf ?

Viveka Vairagya said...

Panchakosa Prakriya (The Secret of the Five Sheaths

My god, something funny is going on. I posted this twice, and it appeared for a brief while and disappeared, so I will try one last time, so here goes:

Youtube video link posted last two times ( is by Swami Sarvapriyananda (approx. 1 hr long), which gives good reasons why we are not any of the 5 sheaths, in short, not the body and mind, and rounds off by telling who we actually are, again by giving good reasons (can be seen as a commentary on the 1st three Q&A of Who Am I? by Bhagavan Sri Ramana Maharshi [given below])

1. Who am I?
The gross body which is composed of the seven humours (dhatus), I am not; the five cognitive sense organs, viz., the senses of hearing, touch, sight, taste and smell, which apprehend their respective objects, viz. sound, touch, colour, taste and odour, I am not; the five cognative sense organs, viz., the organs of speech, locomotion, grasping, excretion and procreation, which have as their respective functions, speaking, moving, grasping, excreting and enjoying, I am not; the five vital airs, prana, etc., which perform respectively the five functions of in-breathing, etc., I am not; even the mind which thinks, I am not; the nescience too, which is endowed only with the residual impressions of objects and in which there are no objects and no functionings, I am not.

2. If I am none of these, then who am I?
After negating all of the above mentioned as ‘not this’, ‘not this’, that Awareness which alone remains – that I am.

3. What is the nature of Awareness?
The nature of Awareness is Existence-Consciousness-Bliss.

Anonymous said...

Hello everyone,

Would someone be so great and explain for my benefit what makes you a devotee of Ramana, what do you consider makes you one?

Thank you

apramada said...

I am a devotee of Sri Ramana Maharshi, the sage of Arunachala, because I want to be himself.

ananya-bhava said...

Viv, like your comment appearance, disappearance and reappearance are also the fate of this ego.

rejoice eternally said...

Bhagavan Sri Ramana is our own heart or self. So we are easily devoted to him alone.

leaf-plate-stitcher said...

Anonymous, Bhagavan is our sadguru because he is an outstanding convincing real sage.

blazing fire of Jnana said...

the expression and radiation of Sri Ramana's eyes is irresistible and merciful.
Such a look has only a real teacher of mankind. His teaching is unsurpassed clear, awe-inspiring, noble-minded, sympathetic and encouraging. He is the brilliant diamond of our epoch, free from suspicion, simply incomparable.
Om Namo Bhagavate Sri Ramanaya-Arunachala.

get established in the real said...

Ramana's perfect self-knowledge is reliably flowing from the experience of silence.
He shows us the authentic way/method of enquiry in quest of the self.

Atma dhyana said...

Out of grace Bhagavan is leading us out of the dense forest of relativity.
According him atman alone exists and is real. He is teaching us how to experience the illimitable spirit and that 'I am ' is all the time that which senses in everybody and in every mind.

ever existent said...

for those that have sincere devotion to guru Ramana, he is the most auspicious.
The dense cloud of our sorrow is calmed by his kindness.

sat - bhava said...

as the Maharshi has confidently affirmed, firm and disciplined inherence in the atman constitutes self-surrender to the supreme lord. The means to abide in the self is to begin enquiring inwardly "Who am I ?". That is the adequate means for the necessary subsidence of mind. Through the extinction of our mental taints arises the light of consciousness of the one real self. He that has earned the grace of the sadguru will undoubtedly be saved from the deception brought about by immaturity.

original & pristine said...

Ramana's grace consists in the act that he shines in the heart of every one as the self. That power of grace does not exclude anyone, whether good or otherwise.

striving after liberty said...

he that has himself crossed the ocean of relativity can alone help others to cross the same. By the mere power of our own treacherous mind we cannot attain peace by diving into the heart. Bhagavan is in the heart and draws our mind inwards by the might of his grace.

unimpaired identity said...

Sri Ramana teaches us how to cultivate the constant and deep contemplative 'rememberance' (smrti) of the true nature of the self. If only the mind is kept under controll...

kaivalya said...

if you ask, "What is the benefit of sacrificing the innumerable sensual pleasures and retaining mere consciousness, Bhagavan replies that the fruit of Jnana is the eternal and unbroken experience of the bliss of self.
In order to realise that inherent amd untainted happiness, which indeed we daily experience when the mind is subdued in deep sleep, it is essential that we should know ourself. According Sri Bhagavan Ramana for obtaining such knowledge the enquiry 'Who am I' in quest of the self is the best means.

svarupa-smarana said...

Ramana says: 1. Know that self, which is to be enquired into and attained in the heart as the state of happiness through the requisite tapas of self-attention, is only the state of Silence[mauna], which is experienced by removing the delusive and worthless knowledge of differences along with its root, the ignorance or wrong knowledge 'I am this body'.
2. Know that the one real 'I' appears to be many 'I's because of the body-outlook[i.e. of the wrong outlook that each body is an 'I']. But through the outlook of self, the one eternal existence-consciousness, know them all to be one.
3. Know that the path of jnana and the path of bhakti are inter-related. Follow these inseparable two paths without differentiating one from the other.

eradicate this ego said...

Ramana recommends: know well that the experience of bliss exists only in self and never in this life of delusion, and hence achieve self-knowledge, which is the space of grace and the final stste of supreme silence.

Anonymous said...

Thank you so much apramada, original & pristine, eradicate this ego, ever existent, sat - bhava, Atma dhyana, kaivalya , striving after liberty, unimpaired identity, svarupa-smarana, atma dhyana, ever existant, rejoice eternally, leaf-plate-stitcher, blazing fire of Jnana & get established in the real for your kind and beautiful comments, I will take everything on board.

ever existent said...

because you expressed twice your sincere thanks to me, I will give an extra reply with some statements:
Man, the deluded ego-mind cannot be freed from confusion and fear [of birth and death], unless he subdues himself by taking refuge under the protection of grace; for [by any other means], the force of past karmas [i.e. vasanas] is unconquerable.(Guru Vachaka Kovai,300).

Man's real nature is happiness. Happiness is inborn in the true self. His search for happiness is an unconscious search for his true self. The true self is imperishable; therefore, when a man finds it, he finds a happiness which does not come to an end.

No matter how many thoughts thus occur to you, if you would with acute vigilance enquire immediately as and when each individual thought arises to whom it has occured, you would find itis to 'me'. If then you enquire 'Who am I ?'the mind gets introverted and the rising thought also subsides.

Not to desire anything extraneous to oneself constitutes vairagya(dispassion) or nirasa(desirelessness). Not to give up one's hold on the self constitutes jnana(knowledge). But really vairagya and jnana are one and the same.

All the best.

Atma dhyana said...

you said 'thank you' two times to me. Therefore I will add two quotes of Guru Ramana Vachana Mala to you:

Only the one, whose mind is ripened by supreme devotion to Him, can attain Deliverance through zeal for the Quest of the Self and inward turning of the mind.(Guru Ramana Vachana Mala, 87).

Perfect devotion is just the persistence of identity with the One-all-embracing Reality, which shines forth when the false 'I' is destroyed utterly in the Heart, by the process of seeking the Self. (Guru Ramana Vachana Mala, 123).

Take care. Kind regards.

Ken said...

apramada said...

your comment is a little scanty. Would you please tell what you want to express ?

Ken said...

One person is acting as if they are many.

No harm on a blog such as this, but it is silly.

Although I suppose one could look upon it as an example of "ek jiva". :)

Mouna said...

Ken, greetings

Thank you for the link you provided. It clarifies some points for me.
I always wondered why, specially in forums like Michael's blog, people feel the need to "hide" their identities... (Mind you, someone might observe that I myself use an a.k.a. name like Mouna, although I didn't have any problem disclosing my name and the ways to contact me through email like some people did).
In the past there was a 'wave' of different anonymous that populated this blog, now it seems that 'anonymous' became creative with all these fancy 'advaita' names.
It not at all a judgement, since after all we are a relative free speech and respectful of one another group of people, but I am nevertheless curious as to what motive someone would like to have to take a different name or series of names... Sometimes I wonder if a "famous" personality in the advaita circles would like to be anonymous in order not to expose her/himself!... Otherwise why a regular guy like we all are here will have the need to not disclose him/herself? For fun maybe?
In any case, as you said, it really doesn't matter as long as what that person writes makes sense or not.

That is one of the shortcomings of blogs like this one (technically speaking I mean) that we cannot know the email of the person writing. In the past I was a member of an advaitin list and each time one will write a posting one's email address would be displayed also. That gave the possibility of having discussions "off list" that were very useful in some cases to understand one another without having to ventilate it for everybody.

So I suppose this anonymity question will be a mystery as long as this great blog will continue to exist...

Carlos Grasso (aka Mouna, Ojai-California - "")

apramada said...

what is an "ek Jiva" ?

Ken said...

I don't know Sanskrit grammar, and I see it is usually put as "eka jiva".

Mouna said...
This comment has been removed by the author.
Mouna said...
This comment has been removed by the author.
apramada said...

Mouna and Ken,
you or we should ask Michael whether he dislikes when someone comments on his blog using more as one pseudonyms.
I use for years to comment under different sometimes 'fancy advaita' names only on the spur of the moment.

Mouna said...


As I said before, my commentary wasn't a judgement, but simply curiosity about why people do post under different names or anonymity. Apparently in your case was just for fun. At the same time I wonder what would that take for someone to reveal who they are and where they live, not that it matters for the rest of us, but think about it, it would be an interesting personal psychological exercise in style (for our ego) if everybody would be transparent about who they are when they post an opinion... don't you think so?
If I am not mistaken, I think Michael already addressed once the issue and as usual, he is very tolerant and accepting about it.

Mouna said...


Final thought on the topic.
Imagine you invite people to your house to have a discussion about a certain subject and everyone appears with different masks that you can't know if the persons know you, are already friends of yours, famous speakers on that topic, male, female, etc... it will be a little weird, right?
Internet provide that kind of "personality" (root word "persona" from the greek "per sonare" or to sound through, that were the masks used in greek tragedy to hide the actor from the character of the play) that secures the ego in place preventing "unwanted' exposure.


Ken said...

If anyone has a reason to email me, mention it in the blog comments and I'll add it to my profile.

apramada said...

in my case my used pseudonyms give me some protection which is necessary because I often post to a certain extent some rubbishy remark. Therefore it is better to hide my spiritual weakness behind some masks and take cover. Whithout staying under cover I would not dare to venture daring statements. A number of challenging comments got often Michael's detailed replies or explanations to my better understanding. On the other hand what you write about the invited discussing guests I concede that you are right.

Mouna said...


"in my case my used pseudonyms give me some protection which is necessary because I often post to a certain extent some rubbishy remark. Therefore it is better to hide my spiritual weakness behind some masks and take cover.”

This is very interesting, because from one point of view you are not sure about your remarks, or you lack the confidence to sustain them against critique, but from another point of view you are courageous enough to demask your ego exposing it with statements like the one above… I don’t want to fall into the trap of analyzing behavior or anything close to that but what do we have to lose in all this by exposing ourselves, and being ourselves as we are? Certainly not much, only illusions about ourselves.

In any case, thank you for your bold and honest response.

apramada said...

thank you for your reply.
Some of my comments are written by me only by present/current instinct without any particular reasoning. Nevertheless in certain respects this way helps me to make my ego more easy to see through. As you say, of course we can lose only our illusions about ourselves. But when I would write in this open/public forum under my full name my person would be transparent for everybody also in my nearby vicinity. I definitly do not aspire to be very well known in such way as in so called "social media". Striving for change society is not my my main concern. Rather I would strive for change my own behaviour first. Only after being more assured in my spiritual development and maturity I may consider to uncover this (my)person -without adopting an attitude of reserve or seclusion/playing hide and seek.
By the way: regarding your interesting etymological digression: personare is not Greek but Latin.
Kind regards !

apramada said...

my recent comment (few minutes ago) disappeared.
Maybe it will reappear soon.

Mouna said...

apramada, greetings

Completely understand your concern.
Thank you for your honesty again. You were very conscientious about this topic, making honor to your name, apramada.
All's well.
Thank you for correcting my misunderstanding about "personare/persona", always thought about Greek tragedy in relation to this but I was mistaken.
And as for the posting, this blog is "behaving" strangely sometimes, my last posting I had to do it three times and kept disappearing to "reappear " three times in the end, so afterwards I had to delete it two times!

Till soon.

Sanjay Lohia said...

Bhagavan never had any conversations ~*~ (Michael’s video dated 9-7-2016, 1:25 onward)

Devotee: [After experiencing ourself as we really are] can we no longer go into conversations? Can we no longer eat? If everything disappears, how do we know what is the food and what is the plate?

Michael: You make brahman sound a pitiable character. He is sitting there all alone – no one to talk to.

Devotee: I do not understand.

Michael: None of us understand, otherwise we wouldn’t be having this conversation. What we actually are, is the infinite, indivisible self-awareness that is called brahman. Now all this multiplicity seems to exist because we have risen as an ego. If this ego dissolves back into its source - which is brahman, which is what we really are – what will remain is only brahman. There will be no one to have any conversation with, but we will have no desire to have any conversation.

Devotee: But Ramana used to have conversations even after his enlightenment…

Michael: Bhagavan never had any conversations; the body which we mistook to be Bhagavan had conversations, but Bhagavan said, ‘I am not this body’.

Devotee: But he was taking care of so many people, cows…

Michael: When you say ‘he’, you are referring to a person – a body, a mind. Bhagavan said: ‘I am not this; I am that which is shining in you as ‘I’’. Because we mistake ourself to be a body, we mistake him to be a body. In one verse of Ulladu Narpadu Anubandham he says: The jnani is like a person sleeping in a cart. When a person is sleeping in the cart, they don’t know whether the cart is moving or whether it is standing still or whether the bulls are unyoked. It is all the same to the person sleeping in the cart. So also to the jnani, whether the body is active or seemingly in samadhi or asleep, it makes no difference.

Devotee: So how do they experience difference?

Michael: Bhagavan’s experience is only self-awareness, nothing else. . . If you want to know what Bhagavan is, find out what you are. You cannot know what Bhagavan is until you know what you are.

Reflections: The Bhagavan existing in and as the core of our heart is always conversing with us. He is constantly urging us to turn within. However this Bhagavan can never converse with us in a person-to-person basis, because he is the formless, immutable, infinite awareness. Therefore the real Bhagavan can never talk to us in a physical sense.

Zubin said...


Awesome coincidence! I just moved down to Ojai last year. I love the weather and energy down here. If you ever want to meet up and chat about advaita, drop me an email:


Mouna said...

Zubin, greetings!

What a lovely coincidence! (is it?)
It does pay off to have our info exposed!
We will get together when you will come back from your trip, for sure.

Till then, all the best

Ken said...

I think discussions like the one posted by Sanjay, inevitably involve the questioner using the wrong language.

Michael has made a distinction between "Self" "ego" and "person".

The ego is the knot between the Self and the person. When the knot is "untied" the ego goes away, and the jnani only experiences the Self.

But no teachings ever say that the "person" is destroyed by that.

So, after realization, the "person" Ramana Maharshi then taught for 50 years, otherwise we would not be having this discussion.

The ego is an identity. So, as expressed by Ramana in various conversations, the jnani no longer has an identity of "Ramana Maharshi" (or "Venkataraman"), which is just some person, not "I".

But some writers do refer to the Self having some awareness of the person which previously was its identity.

And in fact, Ramana referred to unrecognized jnanis amongst those who came to receive food at the ashram. (I'll look for the exact quote.)

Here is an example (adapted from one created by Ram Dass) - it is a crude example, no need to comment on the example's flaws, it is just to illustrate an idea:

Suppose someone is driving his 1990 Ford Fairlane and has a sudden brain clot that leads to a partial amnesia. He begins to drive erratically and is pulled over by a policeman who says "Get out of the car".

The man replies "What do you mean 'get out of the car'? I am a 1990 Ford Fairlane."

Whereupon the policeman opens the door and pulls him out of the car. At that point, the man says "Wow - I am not a 1990 Ford Fairlane".

This does not cause the car to vanish. What has occurred is that the policeman's actions cause the man's self-identification to change.

Afterwards, the man can resume driving - but he no longer thinks he himself is a 1990 Ford Fairlane.


There is very significant meaning to Advaita's standard of permanence for use of the terms "existence" and "reality", but I think one can go too far in the opposite direction.

When you are in the desert, and see a mirage, then the oasis is really not there. But there was an "occurrence" called a mirage. And, in fact, a helpful person might go there and put up a sign "Sorry, that oasis is just a mirage." And we are grateful to such people.

Ken said...

Here is a quote from Ramana (admittedly unsourced and thus unreliable, but there are many such quotes, and it seems unlikely that all such quotes were invented by the translator) from "Ramana Maharshi – Be As You Are – by David Godman":

Q: It is said that the shock of realization is so great that the body cannot survive it.

A: There are various controversies or schools of thought as to whether a jnani can continue to live in his physical body after realization. Some hold that one who dies cannot be a jnani because his body must vanish into air, or some such thing. They put forward all sorts of funny notions. If a man must at once leave his body when he realises the Self, I wonder how any knowledge of the Self or the state of realization can come down to other men. And that would mean that all those who have given us the fruits of their Self-realization in books cannot be considered jnanis because they went on living after realization. And if it is held that a man cannot be considered a jnani so long as he performs actions in the world (and action is impossible without the mind), then not only the great sages who carried on various kinds of work after attaining jnana must be considered ajnanis but the gods also, and Iswara [the supreme personal God of Hinduism] himself, since he continues looking after the world. The fact is that any amount of action can be performed, and performed quite well, by the jnani, without his identifying himself with it in any way or ever imagining that he is the doer.
Some power acts through his body and uses his body to get the work done.

Q: Are there not illustrations given in our books to explain this sahaja [natural] state clearly to us?

A: There are. 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?


I can imagine some people being more comfortable - and thereby more successful - with self-investigation practice after reading these quotes, rather than only reading the technically correct ones about what "exists" (due to the permanence standard).

back the way we came said...

today the thought came into my awareness to ask:
What is the difference between thought and awareness ?
Could you please describe the essential points ?

peewit said...

back the way we came,
may I give an answer to your question ?
If I am not wrong: a thought is (like) a wave on the ocean (of awareness).
Without the ocean (awareness) there cannot be any wave (thought).
Therefore a thought is a kind of awareness.

sandalwood said...

back the way we came,
a thought is particularly a grasped form of awareness.

vivarta vada said...

sometimes we can read that when a wish is fulfilled the mind subsides temporarily.
What exactly does it mean ?

Ken said...

Awareness is formless, thought has a form.

Awareness is "I" without anything after that (in other words, not "I am a man, I am Ken, I am a fool, I am hungry" etc.) - but not the word "I".

Awareness is only in the present moment, awareness IS the now. "Now" means that which is illuminated by awareness. The Self and Now are the same thing.

Memories and speculation are therefore thoughts, words are always thoughts, because they always involve memories, i.e. the verbal thought "I am Ken" is the memory of "I" "am" and "Ken" recently having occurred.

In Ramana's definition of "thought", sense perceptions are also thoughts.

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