Thursday 27 July 2017

Any experience that is temporary is not manōnāśa and hence not ‘self-realisation’

A recent post on the Facebook page of the Ramana Maharshi Foundation UK was a partial quotation of a paragraph in A Sadhu’s Reminiscences of Ramana Maharshi (3rd edn, 1976, pp. 52-3), in which Alan Chadwick wrote:
Before I came to India I had read of such people as Edward Carpenter, Tennyson and many more who had had flashes of what they called “Cosmic Consciousness.” I asked Bhagavan about this. Was it possible that once having gained Self-realization to lose it again? Certainly it was. To support this view Bhagavan took up a copy of Kaivalya Navanita and told the interpreter to read a page of it to me. In the early stages of Sadhana this was quite possible and even probable. So long as the least desire or tie was left, a person would be pulled back again into the phenomenal world, he explained. After all it is only our Vasanas that prevent us from always being in our natural state, and Vasanas were not got rid of all of a sudden or by a flash of Cosmic Consciousness. One may have worked them out in a previous existence leaving a little to be done in the present life, but in any case they must first be destroyed.
Referring to this, a friend wrote to me: ‘Having once attained is there a chance of unattaining again? This question has confused me for many weeks. I was under the impression that once the ego had been completed annihilated it will never rise again. Yet discussions with fellow devotees on the Ramana Maharshi Foundation page seem to indicate that even once attained it is possible to be lost again if all vasanas [are] not destroyed. What was Bhagavan’s view on this? It disturbs me immensely that having attained one can fall again into the illusion, it also seems to render our practise quite meaningless if that is the case’. The following is my reply to her.

Tuesday 25 July 2017

What is aware of the absence of the ego and mind in sleep?

A friend wrote to me today asking:
If pure awareness simply is and is not aware of anything else because only it exists, and the ego is not there during deep sleep, what knows the absence of the ego and mind during deep sleep?

After waking up, I know for a fact that the ego-mind wasn’t there (in deep sleep). I also know that (due to not having investigated keenly enough) it appears to be here now (in waking).

So my question is, what is aware of both the presence of the ego-mind in waking/dream and its absence in deep sleep? It can’t be pure awareness nor the ego-mind itself.
The following is what I replied to him:

Thursday 13 July 2017

Pure self-awareness is not nothingness but the only thing that actually exists

A friend recently wrote to me asking, ‘What is the difference between nothingness and complete self-awareness? I understand the destruction of the mind is the ultimate goal of the practice, but does that mean we aim to just be nothing at all?’, but then added, ‘Obviously this question arises from an ego that is afraid to not be, but I am curious’. The following is adapted from my reply to him:

Friday 7 July 2017

The non-existence of the ego, body and world in manōlaya is only temporary, whereas in manōnāśa it is permanent

In a comment on one of my recent articles, There is absolutely no difference between sleep and pure self-awareness (ātma-jñāna), a friend called Roger asked me why, if there is no difference between sleep and self-awareness, Gaudapada says in Māṇḍukya Kārikā 3.44 that (in Roger’s words) ‘when during meditation the mind becomes inactive in oblivion (susupti / sleep) the mind should be awakened again, just the same as if the mind is distracted’. From this verse and Sankara’s commentary on it Roger inferred that ‘It seems you teach that sleep is the highest state, your whole teaching is oriented toward this, but Shankara explicitly warns against it’. Therefore this article is written in reply to this and a subsequent comment by Roger.

Thursday 6 July 2017

What we actually are is just pure self-awareness: awareness that is aware of nothing other than itself

A friend recently wrote to me:
You say that the Self is always self-aware. What about then the concept of Parabrahman (where awareness isn’t aware that it is aware). Isn’t this a contradiction? Ramesh Balsekar used this phrase a lot in his teaching for instance.

Can you comment on this please.
The following is adapted from the reply I wrote to him: