Saturday 27 May 2017

Do we need to do anything at all?

During a recent meeting of the Ramana Maharshi Foundation UK, which was recorded on the video 2017-05-13 Ramana Maharshi Foundation UK: discussion with Michael James on importance of practice, a friend called Alasdair was questioning me, and from 33.46 to 39.51 our dialogue was as follows:
Alasdair: OK, so, if I am lying in bed, and I manage to remind myself that the first thing I have got to think of is ‘who am I?’ and keep the ‘I’-current running, but I also know that shortly after I get out of bed I have got to do certain things in the kitchen, or I have got certain tasks to …

Michael: Who has all these tasks?

A: The little ‘I’, and it is precisely that which …

M: No, it is not the little ‘I’. The little ‘I’ doesn’t have any tasks. It’s Alasdair who has all these tasks, isn’t it?

Saturday 13 May 2017

How to avoid following or completing any thought whatsoever?

A friend recently wrote to me:
I have a question on self-investigation:

I clearly understand that I do not have to complete any of my thoughts when they arise, but, as you explain in your book, have, instead, to use my rising thoughts to remind myself of my thinking mind, that is ‘I’, which in its turn should remind me of ‘I am’.

But I have a problem: when some useful thought (in my opinion) rises, I lose my strong intention to not complete it and just use it as a reminder of everything that it has to remind me. When some thought that I think to be good or useful rises, I try to use it as a reminder, but unsuccessfully and the idea given me by that thought continues living in my mind. That is, usually I do not tend to just stop such thoughts and cannot help completing them.

Could you please tell me what you do in such cases? Sri Bhagavan says that we should not complete any of our thoughts, and as I understand he means exactly what he says: any of our thoughts. He calls them ‘enemies’ that must be destroyed. What does the situation which I describe should look like ideally? How can I ignore such thoughts in a sense of treating them as well as all other thoughts? Please give me an explanation based on your own experience and understanding.
The following is adapted from the reply I wrote to her:

Tuesday 2 May 2017

Does anything exist independent of our perception of it?

In a comment on my previous article, Why is effort required for us to go deep in our practice of self-investigation?, a friend called Samarender Reddy asked:
Take the case of anesthesia. I may be undergoing an operation, for which anesthesia is given. Under the influence of anesthesia, I am unaware or do not perceive the world. But once the operation is done and the anesthetic wears off and I wake up, I might see a big scar with stitches on my abdomen. Can I not thereby conclude that the world existed during the anesthesia for the operation to have taken place even though I was not perceiving it due to the effect of anesthesia. Otherwise, how to account for the fact of the scar on the abdomen, and the consequent relief from pain I might be experiencing. If the world did not exist when I was under anesthesia, then how did the operation take place, as evidenced by the scar and relief of symptoms, and maybe, say, even a specimen of my gallbladder taken out. And if we so concede that the world existed during anesthesia, then analogously can we not conclude that the world exists even during deep sleep. Perception is not the only means to establish a fact, right, with inference and verbal testimony being the other means of knowledge to establish a fact. In the case of anesthesia and deep sleep, while I cannot resort to perception as a means of knowledge to establish the fact of the existence of the world during those states, but surely inference (with regard to cause-and-effect) and the verbal testimony of others can lead me to conclude that the world does indeed exist during anesthesia and deep sleep, right?
In reply to this I wrote the following comment: