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.
  1. Self-realisation (ātma-sākṣātkāra) is not ‘cosmic consciousness’ but awareness of oneself alone
  2. Uḷḷadu Nāṟpadu verse 6: the cosmos does not exist independent of the mind that perceives it
  3. Nāṉ Yār? paragraph 3: unless perception of any world or cosmos ceases, there can be no self-realisation (svarūpa-darśana)
  4. Nāṉ Yār? paragraph 4: when we see what we actually are, no world or cosmos will seem to exist
  5. Uḷḷadu Nāṟpadu verse 26: if we seem to be the ego, phenomena seem to exist, and if we do not seem to be the ego, no phenomena exist at all
  6. Uḷḷadu Nāṟpadu verse 13: awareness of phenomena is not real awareness (jñāna) but only ignorance (ajñāna)
  7. Since sleep is devoid of multiplicity or diversity (nānātva), it is pure self-awareness, whereas waking and dream are states of dense ignorance
  8. Upadēśa Undiyār verse 13: the only difference between manōlaya and manōnāśa is that the ego will rise from manōlaya but never from manōnāśa
  9. In order to be annihilated our ego must turn its entire attention keenly back towards itself alone to see what it actually is
  10. Since viṣaya-vāsanās are the ego’s urges, none of them can survive when the ego is annihilated by ātma-sākṣātkāra
  11. Upadēśa Undiyār verse 17: if we investigate it keenly enough, we will find that there is no such thing as an ego or mind
  12. Uḷḷadu Nāṟpadu verse 38: if we investigate it keenly enough, we will find that there is no ego and hence no bondage, so liberation is eternal
1. Self-realisation (ātma-sākṣātkāra) is not ‘cosmic consciousness’ but awareness of oneself alone

In asking Bhagavan the question that he refers to in this passage Chadwick seems to be equating ‘Cosmic Consciousness’ with ‘Self-realization’. What people mean by the term ‘cosmic consciousness’ is not clear, but the term itself does not suggest any state that could be equated with any of the various meanings of the term ‘self-realisation’. ‘Cosmic’ is an adjective derived from ‘cosmos’, which means universe, the totality of all physical phenomena, so ‘cosmic consciousness’ clearly implies some state in which there is awareness of physical phenomena, which is not our aim if we seek the annihilation of our ego along with all its viṣaya-vāsanās (propensities, inclinations, likings or desires to be aware of phenomena).

‘Self-realisation’, on the other hand, is a term that refers not to awareness of the cosmos but to either awareness of or a condition of oneself. In psychology and most English dictionaries ‘self-realisation’ is defined as fulfilment of one’s own potential as a person, but since the late nineteenth century the same term has come to be used quite frequently as a translation of the Sanskrit term ātma-sākṣātkāra, which actually has a completely different meaning to the usual meaning of self-realisation. In the term ātma-sākṣātkāra, ātman means oneself, sākṣāt literally means ‘from having eyes’ (being the ablative case of sākṣa, which means ‘having eyes’ or ‘with eyes’) but is generally used to mean directly perceived, and kāra means making or doing (or what makes or does), so sākṣātkāra means ‘making directly perceived’ or ‘directly perceiving’, and hence ātma-sākṣātkāra means ‘direct perception of oneself’ in the sense of being directly aware of what one actually is.

What is aware of the cosmos or any other phenomena is only the ego, and it is aware of phenomena of any kind whatsoever because of its viṣaya-vāsanās. However, the ego and its viṣaya-vāsanās are inseparable, because having viṣaya-vāsanās is its very nature, since it seems to exist only when it is aware of phenomena, and hence its fundamental desire for its own survival gives it a strong urge (vāsanā) to cling firmly to awareness of phenomena (viṣayas). Therefore we cannot free ourself from all viṣaya-vāsanās without annihilating their root, the ego.

The ego is nothing but a false awareness of ourself — an awareness of ourself as something other than what we actually are — so we can annihilate it only by being aware of ourself as we actually are, which is the state called ātma-sākṣātkāra. Therefore, since ātma-sākṣātkāra entails the annihilation of the ego along with all its viṣaya-vāsanās, and since the ego alone is what is aware of the illusory appearance of phenomena, there can be no awareness of phenomena or ‘cosmic consciousness’ in the state of ātma-sākṣātkāra, and hence ātma-sākṣātkāra is a state in which we are aware of nothing other than ourself.

Presumably when Chadwick used the term ‘self-realisation’ he was using it in the sense of ātma-sākṣātkāra, but it seems that he did not understand very clearly that in ātma-sākṣātkāra there can be no awareness of anything other than oneself. However, he did at least understand that self-realisation is not exactly the same as ‘cosmic consciousness’ (whatever that term may mean), because earlier in the same book (A Sadhu’s Reminiscences, 3rd edn, pp. 25-6) he wrote:
In Western books one reads of people who had flashes of illumination. One Dr. Bucke collected and published records of many such. But whereas the Realization of Bhagavan was permanent, this was not the case with those described by Bucke, which were never more than temporary flashes, lasting usually no more than half-an-hour. The effect of such may remain for some days but it will invariably pass with time. I asked Bhagavan about this, how it could be so and he explained to me that which comes as a flash will disappear in a flash. Actually it is not Self-realization they experience but Cosmic Consciousness where they see all as one, identify themselves with Nature and the Cosmic Heart. In Hinduism this is called Mahat. Here a trace of ego remains even during the experience and a consciousness of the body belonging to the visionary. This false sense of “I” must go entirely, for it is the limitation which serves as bondage. Liberation is final freedom from this.
Since in this passage Chadwick distinguishes ‘cosmic consciousness’ from self-realisation, it is not clear why he later seemed to equate them in the passage that the Ramana Maharshi Foundation quoted on their Facebook page. Moreover, since he wrote (in the latter passage) that in reply to his question Bhagavan implied that it is certainly possible to lose self-realisation after gaining it, we have to doubt what exactly he asked Bhagavan, because any experience that can be gained and then lost is not self-realisation in the sense of ātma-sākṣātkāra. If ‘cosmic consciousness’ entails awareness of the universe or of physical phenomena, as the term seems to imply, it can certainly be lost, because whatever is gained at one time will certainly be lost at a later time, which is why Bhagavan often emphasised that liberation (which is another term that refers to ātma-sākṣātkāra) is eternal, being our own real nature, as we will discover if we investigate our ego keenly enough.

2. Uḷḷadu Nāṟpadu verse 6: the cosmos does not exist independent of the mind that perceives it

From what Chadwick wrote in the earlier of these two passages (the second one that I quoted above), it seems that what he means by the term ‘cosmic consciousness’ is a state in which one identifies oneself with nature and the ‘Cosmic Heart’ (whatever he imagines that to be) and feels that everything is one, which means that it is just a state of mind, because what is aware of the seeming existence of everything and of nature (in the sense of all physical phenomena collectively) is only the mind or ego, as Bhagavan states unequivocally in verse 6 of Uḷḷadu Nāṟpadu:
உலகைம் புலன்க ளுருவேறன் றவ்வைம்
புலனைம் பொறிக்குப் புலனா — முலகைமன
மொன்றைம் பொறிவாயா லோர்ந்திடுத லான்மனத்தை
யன்றியுல குண்டோ வறை.

ulahaim pulaṉga ḷuruvēṟaṉ ḏṟavvaim
pulaṉaim poṟikkup pulaṉā — mulahaimaṉa
moṉḏṟaim poṟivāyā lōrndiḍuda lāṉmaṉattai
yaṉḏṟiyula kuṇḍō vaṟai
.

பதச்சேதம்: உலகு ஐம் புலன்கள் உரு; வேறு அன்று. அவ் ஐம் புலன் ஐம் பொறிக்கு புலன் ஆம். உலகை மனம் ஒன்று ஐம் பொறிவாயால் ஓர்ந்திடுதலால், மனத்தை அன்றி உலகு உண்டோ? அறை.

Padacchēdam (word-separation): ulahu aim pulaṉgaḷ uru; vēṟu aṉḏṟu. a-vv-aim pulaṉ aim poṟikku pulaṉ ām. ulahai maṉam oṉḏṟu aim poṟi-vāyāl ōrndiḍudalāl, maṉattai aṉḏṟi ulahu uṇḍō? aṟai.

அன்வயம்: உலகு ஐம் புலன்கள் உரு; வேறு அன்று. அவ் ஐம் புலன் ஐம் பொறிக்கு புலன் ஆம். மனம் ஒன்று உலகை ஐம் பொறிவாயால் ஓர்ந்திடுதலால், மனத்தை அன்றி உலகு உண்டோ? அறை.

Anvayam (words rearranged in natural prose order): ulahu aim pulaṉgaḷ uru; vēṟu aṉḏṟu. a-vv-aim pulaṉ aim poṟikku pulaṉ ām. maṉam oṉḏṟu ulahai aim poṟi-vāyāl ōrndiḍudalāl, maṉattai aṉḏṟi ulahu uṇḍō? aṟai.

English translation: The world is a form [composed] of five [kinds of] sense-data, not anything else. Those five [kinds of] sense-data are sensory phenomena [perceptible] to the five sense organs. Since the mind alone perceives the world by way of the five sense organs, say, is there [any] world besides [excluding, if not for, apart from, other than or without] the mind?
What he refers to here as ‘மனம்’ (maṉam), the mind, is the ego, because though the term ‘mind’ is often used to refer to all thoughts or mental phenomena collectively, the root of all mental phenomena is only the ego, so what the mind essentially is is just the ego, the primal thought called ‘I’, as he explains in verse 18 of Upadēśa Undiyār:
எண்ணங்க ளேமனம் யாவினு நானெனு
மெண்ணமே மூலமா முந்தீபற
      யானா மனமென லுந்தீபற.

eṇṇaṅga ḷēmaṉam yāviṉu nāṉeṉu
meṇṇamē mūlamā mundīpaṟa
      yāṉā maṉameṉa lundīpaṟa
.

பதச்சேதம்: எண்ணங்களே மனம். யாவினும் நான் எனும் எண்ணமே மூலம் ஆம். யான் ஆம் மனம் எனல்.

Padacchēdam (word-separation): eṇṇaṅgaḷ-ē maṉam. yāviṉ-um nāṉ eṉum eṇṇam-ē mūlam ām. yāṉ ām maṉam eṉal.

அன்வயம்: எண்ணங்களே மனம். யாவினும் நான் எனும் எண்ணமே மூலம் ஆம். மனம் எனல் யான் ஆம்.

Anvayam (words rearranged in natural prose order): eṇṇaṅgaḷ-ē maṉam. yāviṉ-um nāṉ eṉum eṇṇam-ē mūlam ām. maṉam eṉal yāṉ ām.

English translation: Thoughts alone are mind. Of all, the thought called ‘I’ alone is the root. What is called mind is ‘I’.

Elaborated translation: Thoughts alone are mind [or the mind is only thoughts]. Of all [thoughts], the thought called ‘I’ alone is the mūla [the root, base, foundation, origin, source or cause]. [Therefore] what is called mind is [essentially just] ‘I’ [the ego or root-thought called ‘I’].
In this verse and elsewhere in his teachings Bhagavan uses the term ‘thought’ (எண்ணம் (eṇṇam) or நினைவு (niṉaivu)) to refer to mental phenomena of any kind whatsoever, and according to him all phenomena are mental phenomena (‘thoughts’), because no phenomenon exists independent of the mind that perceives it. Since all thoughts or mental phenomena other than the ego are just objects perceived by it, and since none of them are aware either of their own existence or of anything else, they all depend for their seeming existence on the ego, which is the only thought that is aware of anything. Therefore the perceiving element of the mind is only the ego, and since it is the core of the mind and its only constant element, what the mind essentially is is just the ego.

Therefore when Bhagavan asks rhetorically in verse 6 of Uḷḷadu Nāṟpadu, ‘உலகை மனம் ஒன்று ஐம் பொறிவாயால் ஓர்ந்திடுதலால், மனத்தை அன்றி உலகு உண்டோ?’ (ulahai maṉam oṉḏṟu aim poṟi-vāyāl ōrndiḍudalāl, maṉattai aṉḏṟi ulahu uṇḍō?), which means, ‘Since the mind alone perceives the world by way of the five sense organs, is there [any] world besides [excluding, if not for, apart from, other than or without] the mind?’, what he implies is that the world or cosmos does not exist independent of the mind or ego that perceives it. He explains the reason for this in the first sentence of this verse, ‘உலகு ஐம் புலன்கள் உரு; வேறு அன்று’ (ulahu aim pulaṉgaḷ uru; vēṟu aṉḏṟu), which means, ‘The world is a form [composed] of five [kinds of] sense-data, not anything else’.

Here the term ‘புலன்கள்’ (pulaṉgaḷ) means sense-data, the perceptual impressions (sights, sounds, smells, tastes and tactile sensations) that we seem to receive through the five senses. Though we generally assume that these impressions are caused by an external world that exists independent of our perception of it, we experience exactly the same kind of impressions in dream, and while dreaming we likewise assume that they are caused by an external world that exists independent of our perception of it, but as soon as we leave one dream and enter another state in which we experience such impressions, we are able to recognise that the perceptual impressions we experienced in the previous state were just our own mental projection, and that the world consisting of those impressions therefore did not actually exist independent of our perception of it.

In other words, the world we perceive in a dream is nothing other than a phenomenon consisting of five kinds of perceptual impressions, all of which are our own thoughts or mental phenomena, and according to Bhagavan any world that we experience in any state is likewise just a form or phenomenon consisting of five kinds of perceptual impressions. Therefore he says that no world exists independent of our perception of it, and since what perceives any world is only our mind or ego, he asks rhetorically whether any world exists besides the mind.

3. Nāṉ Yār? paragraph 3: unless perception of any world or cosmos ceases, there can be no self-realisation (svarūpa-darśana)

Since the mind or ego is nothing but an erroneous awareness of ourself, it seems to exist only when we are not aware of ourself as we actually are, and hence it will cease to exist as soon as we see what we actually are. Since seeing what we actually are is what is called ātma-sākṣātkāra, in ātma-sākṣātkāra there can be no mind or ego and hence no awareness of any world or cosmos, as Bhagavan explains unequivocally in the third paragraph of Nāṉ Yār?:
சர்வ அறிவிற்கும் சர்வ தொழிற்குங் காரண மாகிய மன மடங்கினால் ஜகதிருஷ்டி நீங்கும். கற்பித ஸர்ப்ப ஞானம் போனா லொழிய அதிஷ்டான ரஜ்ஜு ஞானம் உண்டாகாதது போல, கற்பிதமான ஜகதிருஷ்டி நீங்கினா லொழிய அதிஷ்டான சொரூப தர்சன முண்டாகாது.

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

If the mind, which is the cause for all awareness [of phenomena] and for all activity, subsides, jagad-dṛṣṭi [perception of the world] will cease. Just as unless awareness of the imaginary snake ceases, awareness of the rope, which is the adhiṣṭhāna [base or foundation], will not arise, unless perception of the world, which is a kalpita [a fabrication or figment of the imagination], ceases, seeing svarūpa [one’s own form or real nature], which is the adhiṣṭhāna, will not arise.
The term that I have translated here as ‘seeing svarūpa [one’s own form or real nature]’ is ‘சொரூப தர்சனம்’ (sorūpa-darśaṉam), which is a Tamil form of the Sanskrit term स्वरूप दर्शन (svarūpa-darśana), which means the same as ātma-sākṣātkāra, so in this passage Bhagavan teaches us very clearly that there can be no ātma-sākṣātkāra or ‘self-realisation’ unless perception of the world (jagad-dṛṣṭi) ceases. That is, if we perceive any world, we are not aware of ourself as we actually are, and if we are aware of ourself as we actually are, we cannot perceive any world or cosmos. Therefore ‘cosmic consciousness’ has nothing to do with self-realisation (ātma-sākṣātkāra or svarūpa-darśana) and is in fact the very antithesis of it.

4. Nāṉ Yār? paragraph 4: when we see what we actually are, no world or cosmos will seem to exist

The reason why it is not possible for us to see what we actually are so long as we perceive any world is explained by Bhagavan in more detail in the following extract from the fourth paragraph of Nāṉ Yār?:
நினைவுகளைத் தவிர்த்து ஜகமென்றோர் பொருள் அன்னியமா யில்லை. தூக்கத்தில் நினைவுகளில்லை, ஜகமுமில்லை; ஜாக்ர சொப்பனங்களில் நினைவுகளுள, ஜகமும் உண்டு. சிலந்திப்பூச்சி எப்படித் தன்னிடமிருந்து வெளியில் நூலை நூற்று மறுபடியும் தன்னுள் இழுத்துக் கொள்ளுகிறதோ, அப்படியே மனமும் தன்னிடத்திலிருந்து ஜகத்தைத் தோற்றுவித்து மறுபடியும் தன்னிடமே ஒடுக்கிக்கொள்ளுகிறது. மனம் ஆத்ம சொரூபத்தினின்று வெளிப்படும்போது ஜகம் தோன்றும். ஆகையால், ஜகம் தோன்றும்போது சொரூபம் தோன்றாது; சொரூபம் தோன்றும் (பிரகாசிக்கும்) போது ஜகம் தோன்றாது.

niṉaivugaḷai-t tavirttu jagam-eṉḏṟōr poruḷ aṉṉiyamāy illai. tūkkattil niṉaivugaḷ illai, jagam-um illai; jāgra-soppaṉaṅgaḷil niṉaivugaḷ uḷa, jagam-um uṇḍu. silandi-p-pūcci eppaḍi-t taṉṉiḍamirundu veḷiyil nūlai nūṯṟu maṟupaḍiyum taṉṉuḷ iṙuttu-k-koḷḷugiṟadō, appaḍiyē maṉam-um taṉṉiḍattilirundu jagattai-t tōṯṟuvittu maṟupaḍiyum taṉṉiḍamē oḍukki-k-koḷḷugiṟadu. maṉam ātma-sorūpattiṉiṉḏṟu veḷippaḍum-pōdu jagam tōṉḏṟum. āhaiyāl, jagam tōṉḏṟum-pōdu sorūpam tōṉḏṟādu; sorūpam tōṉḏṟum (pirakāśikkum) pōdu jagam tōṉḏṟādu.

Excluding thoughts [or ideas], there is not separately any such thing as world. In sleep there are no thoughts, and [consequently] there is also no world; in waking and dream there are thoughts, and [consequently] there is also a world. Just as a spider spins out thread from within itself and again draws it back into itself, so the mind projects the world from within itself and again dissolves it back into itself. When the mind comes out from ātma-svarūpa, the world appears. Therefore when the world appears, svarūpa [one’s own form or real nature] does not appear; when svarūpa appears (shines), the world does not appear.
What Bhagavan refers to here as ‘மனம் ஆத்ம சொரூபத்தினின்று வெளிப்படுவது’ (maṉam ātma-sorūpattiṉiṉḏṟu veḷippaḍuvadu), ‘the mind coming out [or emerging] from ātma-svarūpa [the ‘own form’ or real nature of oneself]’, is the rising of ourself as the ego or mind. Only when we thus rise and stand as this ego or mind does any world seem to exist, as he clearly implies by saying in this context: ‘மனம் ஆத்ம சொரூபத்தினின்று வெளிப்படும்போது ஜகம் தோன்றும்’ (maṉam ātma-sorūpattiṉiṉḏṟu veḷippaḍum-pōdu jagam tōṉḏṟum), ‘When the mind comes out [or emerges] from ātma-svarūpa [the ‘own form’ or real nature of oneself], the world appears’.

Just as the world we perceive in a dream is merely a projection of our own mind and therefore does not exist independent of our perception of it, according to Bhagavan this world and any other world that we may perceive is likewise just a mental projection and therefore does not exist independent of our perception of it. Since what projects and perceives this or any other world is only our own mind or ego, a world can seem to exist only when we experience ourself as this mind or ego, and since this mind or ego is merely an erroneous awareness of ourself, it seems to exist only so long as we are not aware of ourself as we actually are. Therefore when we see what we actually are, which is what Bhagavan refers to here as ‘சொரூபம் தோன்றும் (பிரகாசிக்கும்) போது’ (sorūpam tōṉḏṟum (pirakāśikkum) pōdu), ‘when svarūpa [one’s ‘own form’ or real nature] appears (shines)’, no mind or ego will seem to exist, and hence no world or cosmos will seem to exist.

5. Uḷḷadu Nāṟpadu verse 26: if we seem to be the ego, phenomena seem to exist, and if we do not seem to be the ego, no phenomena exist at all

All experience or states of awareness can be classified into just two simple categories, namely awareness of phenomena and awareness devoid of phenomena. Waking and dream are states in which we are aware of phenomena, whereas sleep is a state in which we are aware without being aware of any phenomena.

Since all phenomena are projected and perceived only by our mind or ego, and since our mind or ego cannot stand on its own without being aware of phenomena, any state in which we are aware of phenomena is a state in which we are aware of ourself as the mind or ego, and any state in which we are not aware of any phenomena is a state in which we are not aware of ourself as the mind or ego. Therefore as Bhagavan says in verse 26 of Uḷḷadu Nāṟpadu:
அகந்தையுண் டாயி னனைத்துமுண் டாகு
மகந்தையின் றேலின் றனைத்து — மகந்தையே
யாவுமா மாதலால் யாதிதென்று நாடலே
யோவுதல் யாவுமென வோர்.

ahandaiyuṇ ḍāyi ṉaṉaittumuṇ ḍāhu
mahandaiyiṉ ḏṟēliṉ ḏṟaṉaittu — mahandaiyē
yāvumā mādalāl yādideṉḏṟu nādalē
yōvudal yāvumeṉa vōr
.

பதச்சேதம்: அகந்தை உண்டாயின், அனைத்தும் உண்டாகும்; அகந்தை இன்றேல், இன்று அனைத்தும். அகந்தையே யாவும் ஆம். ஆதலால், யாது இது என்று நாடலே ஓவுதல் யாவும் என ஓர்.

Padacchēdam (word-separation): ahandai uṇḍāyiṉ, aṉaittum uṇḍāhum; ahandai iṉḏṟēl, iṉḏṟu aṉaittum. ahandai-y-ē yāvum ām. ādalāl, yādu idu eṉḏṟu nādal-ē ōvudal yāvum eṉa ōr.

அன்வயம்: அகந்தை உண்டாயின், அனைத்தும் உண்டாகும்; அகந்தை இன்றேல், அனைத்தும் இன்று. யாவும் அகந்தையே ஆம். ஆதலால், யாது இது என்று நாடலே யாவும் ஓவுதல் என ஓர்.

Anvayam (words rearranged in natural prose order): ahandai uṇḍāyiṉ, aṉaittum uṇḍāhum; ahandai iṉḏṟēl, aṉaittum iṉḏṟu. yāvum ahandai-y-ē ām. ādalāl, yādu idu eṉḏṟu nādal-ē yāvum ōvudal eṉa ōr.

English translation: If the ego comes into existence, everything comes into existence; if the ego does not exist, everything does not exist. [Hence] the ego itself is everything. Therefore, know that investigating what this [ego] is alone is giving up everything.
In other words, when we seem to be this ego, phenomena seem to exist, and when we do not seem to be this ego, no phenomena seem to exist — or exist at all — so all phenomena are just an expansion or projection of ourself as this ego. Therefore, since we seem to be this ego only because we do not investigate or attend to ourself keenly enough, and since the ego will therefore cease to exist if we investigate it keenly enough, Bhagavan concludes this verse by saying that investigating what this ego is will result in our giving up not only the ego but also everything else, namely all the phenomena perceived by it.

6. Uḷḷadu Nāṟpadu verse 13: awareness of phenomena is not real awareness (jñāna) but only ignorance (ajñāna)

Since the ego is just a false awareness of ourself, and since phenomena seem to exist only in the deluded view of this unreal ego, in verse 13 of Uḷḷadu Nāṟpadu Bhagavan says:
ஞானமாந் தானேமெய் நானாவா ஞானமஞ்
ஞானமாம் பொய்யாமஞ் ஞானமுமே — ஞானமாந்
தன்னையன்றி யின்றணிக டாம்பலவும் பொய்மெய்யாம்
பொன்னையன்றி யுண்டோ புகல்.

ñāṉamān tāṉēmey nāṉāvā ñāṉamañ
ñāṉamām poyyāmañ ñāṉamumē — ñāṉamān
taṉṉaiyaṉḏṟi yiṉḏṟaṇika ḍāmpalavum poymeyyām
poṉṉaiyaṉḏṟi yuṇḍō puhal
.

பதச்சேதம்: ஞானம் ஆம் தானே மெய். நானா ஆம் ஞானம் அஞ்ஞானம் ஆம். பொய் ஆம் அஞ்ஞானமுமே ஞானம் ஆம் தன்னை அன்றி இன்று. அணிகள் தாம் பலவும் பொய்; மெய் ஆம் பொன்னை அன்றி உண்டோ? புகல்.

Padacchēdam (word-separation): ñāṉam ām tāṉē mey. nāṉā ām ñāṉam aññāṉam ām. poy ām aññāṉamumē ñāṉam ām taṉṉai aṉḏṟi iṉḏṟu. aṇikaḷ tām palavum poy; mey ām poṉṉai aṉḏṟi uṇḍō? puhal.

English translation: Oneself, who is jñāna [awareness], alone is real. Awareness that is manifold is ignorance. Even ignorance, which is unreal, does not exist apart from oneself, who is [real] awareness. All the many ornaments are unreal; say, do they exist apart from the gold, which is real?
‘நானாவாம் ஞானம் அஞ்ஞானம் ஆம்’ (nāṉā-v-ām ñāṉam aññāṉam ām) literally means ‘jñāna [knowledge or awareness] that is manifold is ajñāna [ignorance]’, which implies that awareness of many things (or of multiplicity) is ignorance. This ignorance is unreal, as he says in the next sentence, and what is real is only ourself, as he says in the previous sentence: ‘ஞானம் ஆம் தானே மெய்’ (ñāṉam ām tāṉē mey), ‘Oneself, who is jñāna [awareness], alone is real’.

What he means by saying that we alone are real is that we alone are what actually exists, and that whatever else may seem to exist does not actually exist. Therefore the real awareness that we actually are is single, infinite and indivisible, because nothing other than it actually exists to limit it or divide it, but when we seem to rise as the ego, this one infinite awareness (jñāna) seems to be divided as a subject (the perceiving ego) and numerous objects (all the phenomena perceived by it). This divided awareness is what he describes here as ‘நானாவாம் ஞானம்’ (nāṉā-v-ām ñāṉam), ‘awareness that is nānā [manifold, various, diverse, separate, different or distinct]’, and he says that it is ignorance (ajñāna) and unreal (poy), meaning that it has no substantive existence, since it is just a false appearance.

Therefore of the two kinds of experience or states of awareness that I referred to at the beginning of the previous section, namely awareness of phenomena and awareness devoid of phenomena, awareness of phenomena is not real awareness but only ignorance, whereas awareness devoid of phenomena is alone real awareness, because it is what we actually are, since nothing other than ourself actually exists. That is, our real nature is just pure awareness, which is not aware of anything other than itself, and since it alone actually exists, it is the adhiṣṭhāna, the base or foundation (as Bhagavan says in the third paragraph of Nāṉ Yār?), without which awareness of phenomena could not even seem to exist, as he implies in the third sentence of this verse: ‘பொய் ஆம் அஞ்ஞானமுமே ஞானம் ஆம் தன்னை அன்றி இன்று’ (poy ām aññāṉamumē ñāṉam ām taṉṉai aṉḏṟi iṉḏṟu), ‘Even ignorance [awareness of multiplicity], which is unreal, does not exist apart from oneself, who is [real] awareness’.

Therefore the only experience or awareness we should take interest in is awareness devoid of phenomena, because it is the only awareness that is real, and it is what we actually are. Hence the aim and purpose of practising self-investigation (ātma-vicāra) is for us to cultivate passionate interest (love or bhakti) in being aware of ourself alone and thereby to wean our mind away from its interest in being aware of anything else whatsoever.

7. Since sleep is devoid of multiplicity or diversity (nānātva), it is pure self-awareness, whereas waking and dream are states of dense ignorance

Though we generally take waking and dream to be states of real awareness and sleep to be a state of ignorance or non-awareness, Bhagavan teaches us that the opposite is the case, because the awareness we experience in waking and dream, namely awareness of diverse phenomena, of which we seem to be a part, is what he calls ‘நானாவாம் ஞானம்’ (nāṉā-v-ām ñāṉam), ‘awareness that is manifold [or diverse]’, which he says is அஞ்ஞானம் (aññāṉam), ignorance (ajñāna), and பொய் (poy), unreal, whereas the awareness we experience in sleep is devoid of both the ego and all phenomena, and hence of any multiplicity or diversity (nānātva), so it is the real awareness about which he says, ‘ஞானம் ஆம் தானே மெய்’ (ñāṉam ām tāṉē mey), ‘Oneself, who is jñāna [awareness], alone is real’.

This is why he said (as recorded in in the first chapter of Maharshi’s Gospel, 2002 edition, page 9):
Sleep is not ignorance, it is one’s pure state; wakefulness is not knowledge, it is ignorance. There is full awareness in sleep and total ignorance in waking.
Sleep seems to be a state of ignorance only from the deluded perspective of the ego, which was absent in sleep. We ourself were present in sleep, though not as the ego but only as the pure self-awareness that we actually are, so we are aware of having been in sleep (which means that we were aware of being in such a state while we were in it), but since we now mistake ourself to be this ego, which was not present in sleep, we cannot recall clearly what we experienced in sleep, which was only ātma-svarūpa, the real nature of ourself.

Since there was no ego or any phenomena in sleep to cloud and obscure the pure self-awareness that we actually are, Bhagavan says that there is full awareness in sleep, and since the presence of the ego and diverse phenomena in waking and dream obscures our pure self-awareness and makes it seem to be an awareness of multiplicity (நானாவாம் ஞானம்: nāṉā-v-ām ñāṉam), he says that there is total ignorance in waking and dream.

8. Upadēśa Undiyār verse 13: the only difference between manōlaya and manōnāśa is that the ego will rise from manōlaya but never from manōnāśa

Differences seem to exist only in waking and dream, in which we are aware of phenomena, because in the absence of any phenomena there is no multiplicity or diversity (nānātva) and hence nothing that could be different or distinct from anything else. The Sanskrit term नाना (nānā), which in Tamil is spelt as நானா (nāṉā ), is an adverb that means differently, variously, distinctly or separately, but it is often used as an adjective meaning different, diverse, various, many, manifold, separate or distinct from, and it is in this adjective sense that it is used in Tamil, so when Bhagavan says in verse 13 of Uḷḷadu Nāṟpadu, ‘நானாவாம் ஞானம் அஞ்ஞானம் ஆம்’ (nāṉā-v-ām ñāṉam aññāṉam ām), ‘awareness that is nānā [different, diverse or manifold] is ignorance’, he clearly implies that awareness of any differences or diversity is ignorance (ajñāna) and hence unreal (poy).

Moreover, since differences seem to exist only in the view of the ego (and hence only in waking and dream), there are absolutely no differences in any state in which the ego is absent. In other words, in states such as sleep, in which we are aware only of ourself and not of any phenomena whatsoever, there are absolutely no differences.

However, though there are no differences in the absence of the ego, and hence in the absence of any phenomena, from the perspective of the ego in waking and dream there seem to be two different kinds of state in which the ego and all phenomena are absent, but the only difference between them is that one is temporary whereas the other is permanent. In other words, from one such state the ego or mind will sooner or later rise again, whereas from the other it will never rise again, as Bhagavan points out in verse 13 of Upadēśa Undiyār:
இலயமு நாச மிரண்டா மொடுக்க
மிலயித் துளதெழு முந்தீபற
      வெழாதுரு மாய்ந்ததே லுந்தீபற.

ilayamu nāśa miraṇḍā moḍukka
milayit tuḷadeṙu mundīpaṟa
      veṙāduru māyndadē lundīpaṟa
.

பதச்சேதம்: இலயமும் நாசம் இரண்டு ஆம் ஒடுக்கம். இலயித்து உளது எழும். எழாது உரு மாய்ந்ததேல்.

Padacchēdam (word-separation): ilayam-um nāśam iraṇḍu ām oḍukkam. ilayittu uḷadu eṙum. eṙādu uru māyndadēl.

அன்வயம்: ஒடுக்கம் இலயமும் நாசம் இரண்டு ஆம். இலயித்து உளது எழும். உரு மாய்ந்ததேல் எழாது.

Anvayam (words rearranged in natural prose order): oḍukkam ilayam-um nāśam iraṇḍu ām. ilayittu uḷadu eṙum. uru māyndadēl eṙādu.

English translation: Subsidence [of mind] is [of] two [kinds]: laya and nāśa. What is lying down [or dissolved in laya] will rise. If [its] form dies [in nāśa], it will not rise.
In this context laya means temporary dissolution or abeyance of the mind or ego, whereas nāśa means its annihilation or destruction, which is permanent. However, this difference between manōlaya and manōnāśa is not experienced by us either in manōlaya (such as in sleep) or in manōnāśa, because it seems real only from the perspective ourself as this ego in waking and dream. That is, after we have come out of sleep or any other state of manōlaya, such as a coma, general anaesthesia, death or nirvikalpa samādhi, such states appear to us to be temporary and hence distinct from manōnāśa, but there is absolutely no difference between the actual experience of manōnāśa and any kind of manōlaya.

Either the ego is present or it is absent. That is, either it seems to exist or it does not seem to exist. If it is present, we perceive phenomena, multiplicity, diversity and differences, whereas if it is absent we are aware of nothing other than ourself alone, unclouded by the appearance of any multiplicity or diversity (nānātva) of any kind whatsoever.

Therefore the problem we face is only the seeming existence of ourself as the ego. Though the ego is absent in manōlaya, no kind of manōlaya is a solution to our fundamental problem (namely the ego itself, which is the root of all other problems), because from any state of manōlaya the ego will sooner or later rise again with all its viṣaya-vāsanās intact and reinvigorated with fresh energy derived from ourself, its source. Therefore what we should aim to achieve is not manōlaya but only manōnāśa.

9. In order to be annihilated our ego must turn its entire attention keenly back towards itself alone to see what it actually is

There are various causes that can make the ego subside in manōlaya, and according to the cause that brings it about manōlaya is called by various names. The ego subsides in sleep because of tiredness or exhaustion, it subsides in general anaesthesia because of certain drugs, it subsides in coma or death because of damage to the physical organism that it took to be itself, and it subsides in nirvikalpa samādhi because of certain practices of yōga or meditation.

The reason why the ego will sooner or later rise from any of these states of manōlaya with all its viṣaya-vāsanās intact is that none of the various causes that bring about manōlaya are sufficient to annihilate it. Since the ego is just an erroneous awareness of ourself, it can be annihilated only by turning its entire attention keenly back within (towards itself alone) to see what it actually is. That is, being a wrong awareness of ourself, it can be destroyed only by correct awareness of ourself.

Though we experience correct awareness of ourself in manōlaya, our ego is not thereby annihilated, because it is not present in manōlaya to be annihilated. That is, in manōlaya we become aware of ourself as we actually are as a result of (and hence subsequent to) the subsidence of our ego, but in order to be annihilated our ego must subside as a result of (and hence subsequent to) our being aware of ourself as we actually are.

Metaphorically speaking, we can say that when we subside in manōlaya the cart is being put before the horse. The cart is the subsiding of the ego, and the horse is being aware of ourself as we actually are. In order to eradicate our ego, we must put the horse before the cart. That is, absolutely clear awareness of ourself as we actually are must precede the subsidence of the ego.

However, saying that it must precede the subsidence of the ego does not mean that there will be any gap between our seeing what we actually are and the annihilation of our ego. As soon as we look at ourself keenly enough to see what we actually are, our ego will thereby be annihilated instantaneously.

Seeing what we actually are is what is called ātma-sākṣātkāra (direct perception of oneself) or svarūpa-darśana (seeing one’s ‘own form’ or real nature), so since it instantaneously annihilates the mind along with its root, the ego, ātma-sākṣātkāra is manōnāśa (annihilation of the mind), and hence it is permanent and irrevocable, as Bhagavan indicates in verse 13 of Upadēśa Undiyār by saying: ‘எழாது உரு மாய்ந்ததேல்’ (eṙādu uru māyndadēl), ‘If [the mind’s] form dies [in nāśa], it will not rise’.

10. Since viṣaya-vāsanās are the ego’s urges, none of them can survive when the ego is annihilated by ātma-sākṣātkāra

During the process of self-investigation (ātma-vicāra) our viṣaya-vāsanās will be gradually weakened, because every time we choose to be self-attentive rather than attending to any phenomenon (viṣaya) we are strengthening our sat-vāsanā (our inclination, liking or urge just to be by attending to nothing other than ourself) and correspondingly weakening the vāsanā (inclination, liking or urge) to attend to that phenomenon or any other one. However, we cannot eradicate all our viṣaya-vāsanās until we eradicate their root, our ego, because our ego cannot survive without clinging to phenomena, so viṣaya-vāsanās, which are our urges to cling to them, are the fuel that keeps our ego alive.

Since viṣaya-vāsanās are the ego’s urges, none of them can survive when the ego is annihilated by ātma-sākṣātkāra. Therefore what Chadwick recorded about his question and Bhagavan’s answer in the passage quoted at the beginning of this article is confused and misleading, firstly because self-realisation in the sense of ātma-sākṣātkāra or manōnāśa is permanent and can never be lost, since no ego or mind remains in ātma-sākṣātkāra either to have gained it or to subsequently lose it, and secondly because by annihilating the ego ātma-sākṣātkāra destroys all its viṣaya-vāsanās along with it.

Moreover Chadwick wrote, ‘In the early stages of Sadhana this was quite possible and even probable’, in which ‘this’ refers to ‘once having gained Self-realization to lose it again’, but whatever may be gained in the early stages of sādhana (spiritual practice) is not self-realisation in the sense of ātma-sākṣātkāra, because ātma-sākṣātkāra is the final goal of sādhana, and when it is attained all sādhana must come to an end, because it eradicates the ego, thereby leaving no one behind to do any sādhana.

11. Upadēśa Undiyār verse 17: if we investigate it keenly enough, we will find that there is no such thing as an ego or mind

From the perspective of ourself as this ego self-realisation (ātma-sākṣātkāra), annihilation of the mind (manōnāśa) or liberation (mukti or mōkṣa) seems to be a state that is not now present and that is therefore to be attained at some time in the future. However, though this seems to be the case from the perspective of this ego, it is not actually so, because according to Bhagavan what is called by various names such as ātma-sākṣātkāra, manōnāśa and mukti is actually our natural state (sahaja sthiti), so it is eternal and unchanging, and can therefore never be either gained or lost.

Since it is already ours, we cannot gain it, and since it is our real nature, we can never lose it. Why then should we practise self-investigation (ātma-vicāra) in order to gain what is eternally ours?

Though ātma-sākṣātkāra (direct perception of ourself) is our natural and eternal state, from the perspective of ourself as this ego it does not seem to be so. It is a state of perfect clarity of pure self-awareness, absolute peace and calm and infinite happiness, yet what we as this ego now experience seems to be quite the opposite. Therefore if what Bhagavan tells us is the truth, there is something seriously wrong with our present perspective. That is, we are not seeing ourself as we actually are.

Therefore we need to free ourself from this wrong perspective in order to see what we actually are. But how can we do so? What is the cause or root of this wrong perspective? It is only the ego, because it is the ego’s perspective. We now seem to have this wrong perspective because we seem to be this ego, so to free ourself from this wrong perspective we must free ourself from this ego, which is a delusive awareness of ourself as something other than what we actually are.

When we appear as this ego in waking and dream, everything else appears along with us, and when this ego disappears in sleep, everything else disappears along with it, leaving us peacefully and happily all on our own. Therefore this ego is the sole cause for the appearance of everything else, including our wrong perspective, our dissatisfaction, our deficiencies, our miseries and all our other problems, so to correct our wrong perspective and to get rid of all our other problems, thereby restoring us to our natural state of pure self-awareness and infinite happiness, all we need do is to eradicate this ego.

Therefore though from the perspective of ourself as this ego ātma-sākṣātkāra, manōnāśa or mukti seem to be the ultimate gain, it is not actually a gain of anything but a loss of everything, including the ego. However, when the ego is consumed forever in the infinite clarity of pure self-awareness (ātma-jñāna), it will not seem to us as if anything has been lost, because the ego and all the phenomena perceived by it do not actually exist even now. They merely seem to exist, but only in the view of the ego, which itself does not actually exist.

If the existence of the ego now were real, it could reappear at any time, but it does not actually exist at all, even now, as we shall discover if we investigate ourself keenly enough to see what we actually are. This is stated clearly by Bhagavan in verse 17 of Upadēśa Undiyār:
மனத்தி னுருவை மறவா துசாவ
மனமென வொன்றிலை யுந்தீபற
      மார்க்கநே ரார்க்குமி துந்தீபற.

maṉatti ṉuruvai maṟavā dusāva
maṉameṉa voṉḏṟilai yundīpaṟa
      mārgganē rārkkumi dundīpaṟa
.

பதச்சேதம்: மனத்தின் உருவை மறவாது உசாவ, மனம் என ஒன்று இலை. மார்க்கம் நேர் ஆர்க்கும் இது.

Padacchēdam (word-separation): maṉattiṉ uruvai maṟavādu usāva, maṉam eṉa oṉḏṟu ilai. mārggam nēr ārkkum idu.

அன்வயம்: மறவாது மனத்தின் உருவை உசாவ, மனம் என ஒன்று இலை. இது ஆர்க்கும் நேர் மார்க்கம்.

Anvayam (words rearranged in natural prose order): maṟavādu maṉattiṉ uruvai usāva, maṉam eṉa oṉḏṟu ilai. idu ārkkum nēr mārggam.

English translation: When one investigates [examines or scrutinises] the form of the mind without neglecting [forgetting, abandoning, giving up or ceasing], anything called ‘mind’ will not exist. This is the direct [straight or appropriate] path for everyone whomsoever.
What he refers to here as ‘மனத்தின் உரு’ (maṉattiṉ uru), ‘the form of the mind’, is the ego, because as he explains in the next verse (verse 18, which I cited in the second section of this article) the ego, which he refers to as the primal thought called ‘I’, is the root and essence of the mind. If we investigate this ego keenly enough, we will find that there is no such thing at all (not even as an illusory appearance, because how could any illusory appearance seem to exist only in its own view?), because what actually exists is only ourself, the one eternal, infinite, immutable and indivisible sat-cit-ānanda (being-awareness-happiness).

12. Uḷḷadu Nāṟpadu verse 38: if we investigate it keenly enough, we will find that there is no ego and hence no bondage, so liberation is eternal

As Bhagavan often explained, liberation is our ever-present state, not a state to be gained by us in future, because if it could be gained, it would sooner or later be lost, since everything that comes must sooner or later go. Only what is eternal can remain forever. This is why he frequently emphasised that liberation is eternal, because it is our real and natural state. For example, in verse 38 of Uḷḷadu Nāṟpadu he says:
வினைமுதனா மாயின் விளைபயன் றுய்ப்போம்
வினைமுதலா ரென்று வினவித் — தனையறியக்
கர்த்தத் துவம்போய்க் கருமமூன் றுங்கழலு
நித்தமா முத்தி நிலை.

viṉaimudaṉā māyiṉ viḷaipayaṉ ḏṟuyppōm
viṉaimudalā reṉḏṟu viṉavit — taṉaiyaṟiyak
karttat tuvampōyk karumamūṉ ḏṟuṅkaṙalu
nittamā mutti nilai
.

பதச்சேதம்: வினைமுதல் நாம் ஆயின், விளை பயன் துய்ப்போம். வினைமுதல் ஆர் என்று வினவி தனை அறிய, கர்த்தத்துவம் போய், கருமம் மூன்றும் கழலும். நித்தமாம் முத்தி நிலை.

Padacchēdam (word-separation): viṉaimudal nām āyiṉ, viḷai payaṉ tuyppōm. viṉaimudal ār eṉḏṟu viṉavi taṉai aṟiya, karttattuvam pōy, karumam mūṉḏṟum kaṙalum. nittam-ām mutti nilai.

English translation: If we are the doer of action, we will experience the resulting fruit. [However] when one knows oneself by investigating who is the doer of action, doership will depart and all the three karmas will slip off. [This is] the state of liberation, which is eternal.
What he refers to here as ‘வினைமுதல்’ (viṉaimudal), ‘the doer of action’, is the ego, and since doership and karmas exist only for the ego, what he implies when he says that doership and all the three karmas will depart when one knows oneself by investigating who is the doer of action is that they will cease to exist along with their root, this ego. That is, since the ego is not real but just what we seem to be so long as we are aware of the seeming existence of anything other than ourself, if we investigate it by looking at it keenly enough, we will see that what we actually are is just pure self-awareness (just as if we were to look carefully enough at an illusory snake, we would see that what it actually is is just a rope), and hence we will no longer seem to be the doer of any actions or the experiencer of any fruits of actions.

Since what seems to be bound is only the ego, when we investigate it and find that there is no such thing but only pure and infinite self-awareness, which is ever free, we will see that eternal freedom or liberation (mukti) is our real nature, and that bondage has never actually occurred. This is why Bhagavan ends this verse by saying: ‘நித்தமாம் முத்தி நிலை’ (nittam-ām mutti nilai), which means ‘the state of liberation, which is eternal’, and which implies that the state of absolute freedom that remains when the ego has been found to be ever non-existent is eternal: that is, without any beginning, interruption or end.

This is also clearly implied by him in verse 28 of Upadēśa Undiyār:
தனாதியல் யாதெனத் தான்றெரி கிற்பின்
னனாதி யனந்தசத் துந்தீபற
      வகண்ட சிதானந்த முந்தீபற.

taṉādiyal yādeṉat tāṉḏṟeri hiṟpiṉ
ṉaṉādi yaṉantasat tundīpaṟa
      vakhaṇḍa cidāṉanda mundīpaṟa
.

பதச்சேதம்: தனாது இயல் யாது என தான் தெரிகில், பின் அனாதி அனந்த சத்து அகண்ட சித் ஆனந்தம்.

Padacchēdam (word-separation): taṉādu iyal yādu eṉa tāṉ terihil, piṉ aṉādi aṉanta sattu akhaṇḍa cit āṉandam.

அன்வயம்: தான் தனாது இயல் யாது என தெரிகில், பின் அனாதி அனந்த அகண்ட சத்து சித் ஆனந்தம்.

Anvayam (words rearranged in natural prose order): tāṉ taṉādu iyal yādu eṉa terihil, piṉ aṉādi aṉanta akhaṇḍa sattu cit āṉandam.

English translation: If one knows what the nature of oneself is, then [what will exist and shine is only] anādi [beginningless], ananta [endless, limitless or infinite] and akhaṇḍa [unbroken, undivided or unfragmented] sat-cit-ānanda [being-awareness-bliss].
Here the adjectives anādi (beginningless), ananta (endless) and akhaṇḍa (unbroken) clearly indicate that sat-cit-ānanda (being-awareness-happiness), which is all that we will experience if we are aware of our real nature, is eternal. And since ananta also means limitless or infinite, it implies that it alone is what actually exists, because if anything else existed or even seemed to exist, that would limit it and thereby make it finite. Therefore since it is eternal and infinite, it can neither be gained nor lost.

Unlike both experience of phenomena and states of manōlaya, which come and go, liberation or manōnāśa can neither be gained nor lost, because it is our natural and eternal state. Therefore what is sometimes called the attainment of liberation, manōnāśa or ātma-sākṣātkāra does not actually entail gaining anything, but only losing everything along with its root, the ego. And what remains alone when the ego and everything else has been lost is our real nature, which can never be lost, because it is the eternal reality, the only thing that ever actually exists.

Gain and loss or any other kind of change can only occur in time, and time seems to exist only in the view of the ego. Therefore, when we find the ego to be ever non-existent, we will clearly see that there never was any such thing as time, and hence that no change of any kind whatsoever has ever occurred or could ever occur. This is the ultimate truth (pāramārthika satya), which is called ajāta: the truth that there has never been any birth, arising, origination, appearance, occurrence or happening of any kind whatsoever.

158 comments:

bhāvaṉātīta said...

Michael,
section 3.,
"Therefore ‘cosmic consciousness’ has nothing to do with self-realisation (ātma-sākṣātkāra or svarūpa-darśana) and is in fact the very antithesis of it."
I agree with that statement.
Nevertheless, to a certain degree I sustain myself on the memory of a flash out of the blue of having become ecstatic some 35 years ago when I was standing in a dense crowd of people/passengers while I was returning home from my daily work in a public bus. That flash-experience took at most five seconds and was accomponied by celestial/heavenly ecstatic guitar and organ music in a rhythm at breakneck speed. When I left the bus at the next station the whole experience was over.
At that time I had only practice of meditation for some 5 years.

daisilui said...

"...sat-cit-ānanda (being-awareness-happiness), which is all that we will experience if we are aware of our real nature, is eternal. ....Therefore since it is eternal and infinite, it can neither be gained nor lost."

This seems like a contradiction that doesn't fit with the rest of the text, i.e., the promised effect of the conditional 'if'... we do something [who is to do anything?!]... is precisely the 'gain' of a future state, hoped for by all the seekers, ignorant of the fact that 'it' [being-awareness-happiness] is not a state and it "can neither be gained nor lost" [as all of the text following is in support of this understanding].

Salazar said...

Hi daisilui, that thing of not being able to attain since we are already Self and nonetheless because we, as Self, confuse us with the limited ego/mind/body and therefore have to “re-identify” with Self is certainly a contradiction and Bhagavan marveled about it as a mystery.

That contradiction is not an easy thing to grasp for the mind and it resulted into a few confused “philosophies” from some of the Neo-Advaita proponents.

That’s also why Papaji said that any practice won’t result into enlightenment. Why? Because any practice is done with the goal of a result but one cannot gain what one already is. So a practice will just maintain the illusion.

Bhagavan’s Self-Inquiry is nothing else than to stop doing and just being. Being as in the sense of “I am” with no adjuncts (as it has been said a Million times on this blog). As soon as a thought creeps up, that being is gone.

And the mind/ego is not helpful at all. It pretends to be but the ultimate agenda of the mind is to maintain its existence. That’s the other contradiction. The mind is just a phantom, but in this phenomenal world it is extremely powerful. It can create (literally) heaven or hell. It will create that what one desires or imagines how things are. If there is an idea how enlightenment is supposed to be then the mind will eventually manifest that idea or imagination.

We are addicts of objects and as it is with all addicts, we have to hit rock bottom before the mind realizes it is actually powerless and that the power is coming from Self. And only then true surrender can happen.

Most or all of us have not hit rock bottom yet.

ātma-sākṣātkāra said...

Michael,
section 12.,
"English translation: If one knows what the nature of oneself is, then [what will exist and shine is only] anādi [beginningless], ananta [endless, limitless or infinite] and akhaṇḍa [unbroken, undivided or unfragmented] sat-cit-ānanda [being-awareness-bliss]."
Therefore we have to cease to be under the illusion that we ever did not kow what the nature of ourself is. Arunachala, may you help me/us stop to be deceived by mistakenly believing that bondage has ever actually occurred. So, Annamalai, teach me/us to carry out that required investigation of the unreal(!!!) ego keenly enough. Did you not already indicate that liberation is eternal ? Not to know oneself is just an unbearable picture.

jeremy lennon said...

Thanks Michael for this wonderful forum and thanks Salazar for the reference to addiction which is very pertinent.The admission of powerlessness will surely help. atma-saksatkara, you touched on the same issue, that of finding the status quo unnacceptable or unbearable.

daisilui said...

“Either the ego is present or it is absent. That is, either it seems to exist or it does not seem to exist. If it is present, we perceive phenomena, multiplicity, diversity and differences, whereas if it is absent we are aware of nothing other than ourself alone…"

There are some outstanding questions that have puzzled me about this manōlaya and manōnāśa business:
- if the ego is absent who is to confirm that? Ego can only confirm its [imaginary] presence but not its absence
- The permanency of manōnāśa [if i understand the meaning of the term correctly]- ‘permanent’ is about time, i.e., it was not permanent before it became so; how can something that changes/is time bound be real? Eternal on the other hand is out of time as it has no beginning and no end. I understand that the experience of no ego is the same; the only difference between the two looks like consisting of the amount of time it lasts- temporary vs permanent [but then it could be said that the permanent becomes eternal; despite having a beginning, it has no end]. On the other hand ‘temporary’ is an illusion… It looks like all this analysis has nothing to do with reality….
- Manōnāśa, the state in which ‘we are aware of nothing other than ourself alone’ makes any further discussion impossible from this position. Only an outsider may question whether a jnani lives and acts like any other, or not and only an outsider can provide a response. If the jnani is not aware of any phenomenon, that includes himself as an individual, and any activities related to it, who is there to report the state of the jnana [“absolute peace and calm and infinite happiness”]?! How can nothing/nobody report anything and how do the ajnani reach this report?! It appears that there is some kind of hallucination of the ajnani that projects and then sees a body performing, listens to a mind-projected teaching and then makes it a sacred dogma to follow for achieving the unachievable- this would rather be the ajnana marga, ha! But then the ajnani himself is a hallucination around the presence of a personal ego. All this business feels like a big joke that’s missing the punch line, hard to put in words, but then what good are all these words for and who is there to listen to them?! Inevitably, all this and any verbosity must end in silence.

Salazar said...

Manonasa is not permanent. Because "permanence" can only exist with the reference to "impermanence". Manonasa is neither, it just IS. It is beyond any spatial parameters including time and a mind can never comprehend that. In fact, with the direct experience of manonasa there is nothing left what could describe that "state".

No Jnani ever could and ever will be able to describe that state. A Jnani can only point to it, or, like Murugunar, give it a bunch of describing attributes, but that's about it.

And there is no "hallucination", it is simply the long-time habit of believing the thought stories which appear to awareness. They range from gross to very subtle to hidden in the subconscious. It is not a hallucination, more a self-induced (pun intended) "hypnosis" ;-)

Sanjay Lohia said...

Every time we fail to turn back within, we are missing an opportunity

The following extract, which is not verbatim, is taken from the video: 2017-06-10 Ramana Maharshi Foundation UK: discussion with Michael James on ‘God is love’:

Michael: People often came to Bhagavan and complained that when they try to meditate, so many thoughts arise and disturbs them, and asked what should they do. Bhagavan used to say: ‘it is only proper that these thoughts come out, because unless they come out how can you destroy them’.

Every time when a thought arises, we have a choice either we follow it or turn our attention within. So every time we turn back within, we are strengthening our love to be self-attentive. Every time we fail to do so, we are missing an opportunity. We are not going backwards, but are missing one opportunity to move forward, as it were.

So we have to constantly practise this more, more and more … By doing so we refine our power of attention, and increase our love just to be. The love and sharpness of attention are not separable. The more we cultivate that love, the more we will be willing to let go of things, and we have to let go to surrender.

We just have to practise, and practise, and practise and practise … until sooner or later we will succeed.

My note: So contrary to what many ‘gurus’ say, unceasingly practise is indispensable. Bhagavan has also said in the sixth paragraph of Nan Yar:

If [one thus] investigates who am I, the mind will return to its birthplace [the innermost core of one’s being, which is the source from which it arose]; [and since one thereby refrains from attending to it] the thought which had risen will also subside. When [one] practises and practises in this manner, to the mind the power to stand firmly established in its birthplace will increase [that is, by repeatedly practising turning our attention towards our mere being, which is the birthplace of our mind, our mind’s ability to remain as mere being will increase].

daisilui said...

Practice...

is usually used in the way of a body-mind activity done at certain intervals in time, followed by rest. i prefer to look at this concept starting from a 'highest truth' angle- 'i am not this body'. This body practices, for example badminton footwork or paddle strokes. At those times body and mind are fully engaged in the execution of specific movements but even if the cloud of attention to form is temporarily covering the knowing of being, sooner or later the wind of change pushes it away and the substratum of being shines forth and the knowing of being replaces the knowing of moving [although obscured, the knowing of being is never 100% absent]. Living as such is not a practice; how can i practice being/what is happening when i don't practice, do i cease being?! Being is not a choice, being this or that, is.

But sure, i admit, there was a time when it felt like practice was needed, when reality was always revolving around the body-mind-I and 'being' was seen as one form of passing time in a more 'useful' manner[for the purpose of gaining something, i.e., possibly happiness or wisdom or both...]

nāṉā-v-ām ñāṉam said...

Michael,
7. Since sleep is devoid of multiplicity or diversity (nānātva), it is pure self-awareness, whereas waking and dream are states of dense ignorance

"...since the presence of the ego and diverse phenomena in waking and dream obscures our pure self-awareness and makes it seem to be an awareness of multiplicity (நானாவாம் ஞானம்: nāṉā-v-ām ñāṉam), he says that there is total ignorance in waking and dream."

Is it not said that making efforts to lose the ego is possible only in waking ?

Supposing I at best will annihilate the ego today or tomorrow while waking would we then continue to name waking a state of dense ignorance ?

bhāvaṉātīta said...

Sanjay Lohia,
"When [one] practises and practises in this manner, to the mind the power to stand firmly established in its birthplace will increase [that is, by repeatedly practising turning our attention towards our mere being, which is the birthplace of our mind, our mind’s ability to remain as mere being will increase]."
Let us hope and let there grow our conviction that our practice will work in this manner.

Sanjay Lohia said...

bhavanatita, if we consider Bhagavan to be our sadguru, we should not doubt his words. The more we practise, the more our power and love to practice will increase. It is like a snow-balling process.

Our practice will progressively refine our power of attention and will simultaneously also increase our svatma-bhakti. As our svatma-bhakti increases, our vairagya will also increase. Thus we move once step forward (towards our goal) by our every little attempt to turn inwards.

This practice will work, and this is the assurance by Bhagavan. Our doubts will unnecessary create mental hurdles. Bhagavan stresses this point in the tenth paragraph of Nan Yar:

Without giving room even to the doubting thought ‘Is it possible to dissolve so many vāsanās and be [or remain] only as svarūpa [my own actual self]?’ it is necessary to cling tenaciously to self-attentiveness.

Sanjay Lohia said...

The world is what is seen

The following extract, which may not be verbatim, is taken from the video: 2017-07-22 Sri Ramana Center, Houston: discussion with Michael James on Uḷḷadu Nāṟpadu verse 6. Michael explains this verse 6 in detail:

The sights, the sounds, the tastes, the smells and the tactile sensations, all these perceptual impressions (sense impressions or sense objects) are what constitute the world. Apart from this there is no world. These five types of sense perceptions are impressions to the five sense organs. Because the mind alone perceives the world through the five senses, Bhagavan asks, is there a world besides or apart from the mind?

Generally we assume that these impressions are caused by an external world, and that that external world exists independent of our perception of it. But the same perceptual impressions we experience in dream also, and while dreaming we assume that our dream world exists independently of our perception of it. As soon as we get up from dream, our identification with our dream body is broken, and as soon as that identification is broken we no longer see that world as real.

We take the world in dream to be real as long as we are dreaming. What is real is only ourself. Because we are real and because we experience a body as ourself, the body seems to us to be real, and because the body is part of the world, the whole world seems to be real. Because the body can’t be real and all other objects unreal.

As soon as wake up from dream we immediately recognise that whatever we experienced in our dream was real. We recognise that it was our mental creation, and more often than not we are very relieved to discover that it was indeed unreal. There wasn’t any external world in our dream. According to Bhagavan, this world is exactly like our dream. It is also our own mental creation. It is only because we perceive the world that it seems to exist, but actually it doesn’t exist independently of our perception of it.

Bhagavan used to often explain the exact meaning of the Sanskrit word loka (world). Loka means sight or what is seen. So the world is what is seen, because the world is nothing other than what is perceived, and it doesn’t exist independent of our perception of it.

My note: The contention that this world is created by our mere act of seeing it is called drsti-srsti-vada - that is, it is only when we perceive a world that it seems to exist. It is also called yugapat-srsti - that is, it is only our sight which instantaneously creates this world.

We create this world and then we ourself get caught in it. So now we have to dismantle this world, as it were. How can we do this? We can do this only by removing the very foundation of this world, and this foundation is nothing but our ego (the ‘I-am-this-body’ idea). We can destroy this foundation only by our persistent self-investigation. There is no other direct way.


Sanjay Srivastava said...

"Generally we assume that these impressions are caused by an external world, and that that external world exists independent of our perception of it."

Add to it that nobody has ever experienced a world independent of perception of it; nor anybody will ever be able to do so. Therefore our belief in the existence of an outside world independent of our perception is an unverified and unverifiable assumption. In other words a mere superstition.

Sanjay Lohia said...

We are guided by what we are looking for

The following extract, which is not verbatim, is taken from the video: 2017-06-10 Ramana Maharshi Foundation UK: discussion with Michael James on ‘God in love’:

• When we turn back within to experience ourself alone, what is it that guides us? If we want to see the sun, what guides us to see it? It is only the light coming from the sun that guides us. So we are guided by what we are looking for.

• Unless we turn within, even Bhagavan cannot save us. He cannot save us because we are not willing to turn our attention within. Bhagavan is not going to force jnana upon us. Even when we are in the presence of a guru, we have to turn within to know ourself, and when we turn within, where is the physical presence of the guru? So we don’t need a physical guru to experience jnana.

Sanjay Lohia said...

Eventually we will find that it was grace which was doing sadhana, because we are nothing

The following extract, which is not verbatim, is taken from the video: 2011-07-09 Ramana Maharshi Foundation UK: discussion on Sri Ramana's teachings with Michael James:

Guru is not actually doing anything. He just is. But because we are caught up in activity, it appears to us that grace is acting. Bhagavan outwardly exists at the form of Arunachala, and he is also there in every picture of his. The other very important place where Bhagavan exists is in form of his teachings. The only purpose of Bhagavan appearing among us was to give us his teachings. So these are all the outward manifestations of his grace.

Though he is always teaching us in silence, but we don’t have the capacity to hear that silence. Therefore, all his teaching in words is to make us turn within, so that we may listen to his real teachings. His silent upadesa is shining within us as ‘I’.

In fact every time when we make even a little effort to attend to ‘I’, that is actually his work. Since the nature of the mind is outgoing, so any effort we make is by the power of attraction that is drawing us within. As Bhagavan says in Nan Yar?, just like the sun rises without any liking, desire or effort, yet in its presence all the activities of this world take place, so by the mere presence of God or self all these things are happening in the world. Our mind rises and is active by the power of its presence.

Actually we require no effort to do self-investigation. What requires effort is to go outwards. If we could remain just attending to self, we could do it 24 hours a day, 7 days a week. We wouldn’t get tired, and we wouldn’t need sleep. But we need sleep because we are making so much effort to go outwards all the time.

And when we fall asleep, how do we get strength once again? How is our energy resuscitated? When we switch off our mind for 8 hours in sleep where does that energy come from to spend another 16 hours thinking, which is a lot of hard work, and therefore requires another 8 hours of sleep. We get the energy from self, because when we go to sleep we merge in self. It’s like plugging your charger into the mains. The mains is our heart.

The motivation we have to practise atma-vichara is grace. Actually it is not we who doing sadhana, it is grace that is doing sadhana. We just have to let the grace do sadhana through us.

My note: We recharge our energy by sleeping, but foolishly spend this fresh supply of energy to run after unnecessary thoughts or other worldly pursuits. So we should try and conserve our energy, as much as possible, by remaining silent. We should try and use this energy to practise keen and frequent self-investigation, because we need a fresh and energetic mind to repeatedly turn within.


bhāvaṉātīta said...

Sanjay Lohia,
"Eventually we will find that it was grace which was doing sadhana, because we are nothing....."
We are certainly not nothing !
Presumably you missed to continue after the word "nothing" and so the sentence sounds uncomplete.

Sanjay Lohia said...

bhavanatita, no, the sentence ‘Eventually we will find that it was grace which was doing sadhana, because we are nothing’ is not incomplete. These exact words were spoken by Michael.

When we experience ourself as this ego, we as this ego are nothing, because our ego has no substantive existence. It seems to exist, but does it really exist? We all know that this ego is just an imaginary knot between pure-awareness and its various jada (insentient) adjuncts, starting with a body. Thus it an an imaginary entity which exists only its own view, and therefore how can it have any real power?

Thus what Michael is saying here is that since we as this ego do not even actually exist, how can we attain atma-jnana merely by our efforts. The attracting power of grace (which exists in and as our heart) is unceasingly pulling us towards itself. We just have to let this grace do its work by not rising as this ego, and by trying to attend to ourself, as frequently and as keenly as possible.

Bhagavan has also said that grace is the beginning, grace in the middle and grace is the end. Grace as prarabdha creates our outside circumstances conducive to our sadhana, and from inside unceasingly pulls us within. Thus all credit for our sadhana should go to grace, which is the infinite love that Bhagavan has for all of us.

bhāvaṉātīta said...

Sanjay Lohia,
when you say that the mentioned sentence is actually complete I must definitely reply that this sentence is as such simply wrong.
We are never nothing.
Even when we mistakenly identify us as this ego we are not nothing, because whithout the support of pure awareness the ego would not even be able to appear as the knot between jada and chit. Therefore we never can be nothing.
As Michael wrote in his article of Wednesday, 8 March 2017 There is only one ego, and even that does not actually exist, section 4. Uḷḷadu Nāṟpadu verse 12:
we are not nothingness but pure awareness.
So on the contrary what we actually are is infinite self-awareness.
Also in the headline of Michael's article of Thursday, 13 July 2017 we read: Pure self-awareness is not nothingness but the only thing that actually exists

Sanjay Lohia said...

bhavanatita, yes, ‘Pure self-awareness is not nothingness, but the only thing that actually exists’. The nature of this pure-awareness is beginningless, infinite, unbroken being-consciousness-bliss. But don’t we experience ourself as this body and mind? Don’t we experience ourself (as this body) limited in time and space? Thus at present we experience ourself completely different to what we really are.

This confused entanglement of awareness and body is called the ego. As this ego we are nothing, but as pure-awareness we are everything, or rather as pure awareness we are the only thing. As this ego we are totally dependent on grace in every which way, and our sadhana is also guided only by the power of grace. Without grace we cannot even begin our sadhana. Isn’t it grace that we find ourself caught up in the tiger’s jaws: Bhagavan’s net of grace? How are we attracted to his teachings? Isn't this his power of love (grace)?

Michael was trying to stress this point when he said: 'Eventually we will find that it was grace which was doing sadhana, because we [as this ego] are nothing'. Does it make sense to you now?

Hector said...

Sanjay you said ‘Pure self-awareness is not nothingness, but the only thing that actually exists’.

Yes according to Bhagavan "I am I" is empty of everything that is unreal and full of everything that is real namely itself. So to me it seems he is saying it is not emptiness or nothing or a void for that matter but the only existing self aware being that is aware of nothing but itself and experiences itself as pure eternal blissful love. Sounds wonderful doesn't it but I think words can not capture its wondrous beauty. Bhagavan said as far as I know that it is like us trading a copper coin for an infinite priceless treasure.

Why is my hand grasping the copper coin with such vigour?

Back to practise.

H

bhāvaṉātīta said...

Sanjay Lohia,
the latter version reduced to "we [as this ego] are nothing" sounds more correctly than the first one.
Nevertheless, in view of saying that the ego is in essence pure awareness, as long as we are wrongly identified with that phantom we can scarcely maintain that we are "nothing".
But on the other hand I do well understand in which context the sentence was used.
So we can quitely make a point here now, Sanjay.
KInd regards.

Sanjay Lohia said...
This comment has been removed by the author.
Sanjay Lohia said...

Hector, yes, no words can capture our real beauty? Michael once said that we (that is, we as we really are) are eternal beauty, and every other beauty we see in this world is fleeting, and therefore it will sooner or later wither away.

Yes, Bhagavan once said that holding on to our ego and all its attachments is like holding on to an insignificant quarter paisa coin. (In India during earlier days there used to be quarter paisa coins). If we give up this insignificant coin, in return Bhagavan promises us infinite wealth.

That is, if we give up our ego, we will gain the infinite happiness which is our eternal nature, and all our problems will end forever. But somehow we seem to be holding on to our ego, as if it were the most precious thing in this world. No doubt we are very-very foolish.

Yes, unceasing practice is the only way to give up our ego. Bhagavan used to say that no one has succeeded without perseverance.

nāṉā-v-ām ñāṉam said...

Sanjay,
"Bhagavan used to say that no one has succeeded with perseverance."

Of course you mean ...no one has succeeded "without perseverance".

Sanjay Lohia said...

nāṉā-v-ām ñāṉam, thanks. I have already corrected this error in my new comment.

Hector said...

Thanks Sanjay.
Yes practise and perseverance is the key I agree.
Even if it appears difficult at times with and no sign of apparent progress we must keep going relentlessly.
H

Sanjay Lohia said...

Each verse in Ulladu Narpadu or every sentence in Nan Yar? has very-very deep meaning

The following extract, which may not be 100% verbatim, is taken from the video: 2016-12-11 Sri Ramana Satsang, New Jersey: Michael James discussing Uḷḷadu Nāṟpadu maṅgalam verse 2 (1:31 onwards):

Bhagavan’s words are pointers. We have to think deeply about those pointers, to try and put them into practice.

When we are turning our attention back to ‘I’, what are we turning our attention to? We are turning our attention to the inner light, the light of awareness. This whole world is illuminated by what? We say physical light is illumining the world. But what is illumining that physical light? It is the mind light. What is illumining the mind light? That is the pure self-awareness.

So we are turning back to that pure self-awareness. That’s the source of all lights. So we gain clarity to the extent we turn within. The more we turn within, the more we understand what self-attentiveness is, the more we understand the meaning of Bhagavan’s words. If we have never tried to practise what Bhagavan taught us, our understanding of his path will be very imperfect.

We take any verse in Ulladu Narpadu or any sentence in Nan Yar?, so deep-deep meaning is there, but that meaning becomes clear to us only when we read it repeatedly, think about it carefully, and above all put it into practice. By putting into practice, we are clarifying our mind, gaining greater and greater clarity, and when we read the same thing again, we will find deeper and clearer meaning in Bhagavan’s words …

Bhagavan said to Laksmana Sharma: ‘According to purity of the antarkarana, the same teaching reflects in different ways’.

nanavu-tuyil said...

Sanjay Lohia,
thank you for giving this rendering.
Pure self-awareness as the light of the light...
In order of practice "light of awareness" sounds to be something abstract. Turning our attention to the 'I'-thought for me is a bit more concrete.
Nevertheless it is important to remember that also (even) the mind light is fed only on the light of pure self-awareness.

Sanjay Lohia said...

nanavu-tuyil, what we actually are is an abstract and a featureless reality, and therefore we cannot form an accurate picture of the same. However, we know that we exist, and therefore when we practise self-investigation, we should try and attend only to ‘I’, ourself.

We have to attend to ‘I’, and this ‘I’ is ourself. When we say ‘ourself’, this ‘ourself’ can either mean our ego, or can mean our real self. Though this thought called ‘I’ is another name for our ego, but in order to keep it simple, we should remember that we have to attend to ‘I’ (awareness aspect of our being). In this context to say that we have to attend to ‘I’-thought could be slightly confusing.

nanavu-tuyil said...

Sanjay Lohia,
to avoid to be slightly confused we should remember that the 'I'-thought or ego is our basic self-awareness, albeit mixed up with awareness of other things.
Michael wrote in his article of Wednesday, 31 August 2016
What is the 'self' we are investigating when we try to be attentively self-aware ?
"... Therefore looking directly at this ego is the only way to dissolve it or annihilate it. ...
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."

nanavu-tuyil said...

Sanjay Lohia,
in addtion to my above comment the following of the same mentioned article might be useful to keep in mind:
"...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."

Sanjay Lohia said...

nanavu-tuyil, in his article Ulladu Narpadu – an explanatory paraphrase, Michael has paraphrased the verse 24 of Ulladu Narpadu as follows:

In verse 24 he begins by reiterating the truth that this non-conscious body does not say ‘I’, and then he says that being-consciousness (sat-chit) does not rise (appear or come into existence), but that in between being-consciousness and this non-conscious body one ‘I’ rises as the ‘measure’ of this body (that is, a spurious consciousness ‘I’ rises as ‘I am this body’, assuming the boundaries of bodily existence, being confined within the limits of time and space). This false ‘I’, he says, is chit-jada-granthi (the knot that binds together consciousness and the non-conscious), bondage, the soul, the ‘subtle body’, the ego, the mind and this samsara (‘wandering’, the state of incessant activity, passing through one dream-life after another).

As Bhagavan explains, our ego has many names like chit-jada-granthi, bondage, the soul, the ‘subtle body’, the ego, the mind and samsara. However, when we are talking about our practice of self-investigation, we cannot use many of these terms, if we want to maintain clarity. For example, we cannot say that we should keenly investigate the samsara, or the bondage, or the subtle body. when we practise atma-vichara, because if we do so it would be confusing.

Bhagavan asked us to find out Nan Yar?: meaning ‘who I?’ or ‘who am I? Therefore, in the context of our practice of self-investigation, we should try and stick to the words ‘ego’, ‘I’, ‘ourself’ or ‘oneself’. That is, we can say: we should keenly and persistently investigate ‘I’/ ourself/ oneself/ ego. To keep things clear, we should avoid using other synonyms of the ego in this context.

In one our satsangs at the local Ramana Shrine, our teacher told us that we should look keenly at our chit-jada-granthi to discover what it really is. He could have simply said: ‘look keenly at yourself’ or ‘look keenly at your ego’. We clearly know ‘I’ or ‘I am’ but do we really know what chit-jada-granthi is?

Bhagavan used very simple and clear terms, and therefore we should try to follow his example by keeping our terminology as simple and clear as possible.


Salazar said...

Sanjay, I really like your comments and yes, we clearly know "I am", and that is actually all we know for sure. Everything else is conceptual until directly experienced.

It is my impression that many make vichara unnecessarily complicated and with that are not doing properly vichara. Michael gave many great pointers but as long as mind thinks it has to figure it out or has to do anything regarding vichara one has already sunk into the abyss of confusion. If one has not grasped vichara from Nan-Yar or Sadhu Om's instructions nothing else will shed light on it.

And Bhagavan's Self-Inquiry is often not the Self-Inquiry of other teachers. So it is better to refrain to read anything about vichara which is not by Bhagavan or his closest disciples.

venkat said...

Salazar, how do you know that Bhagavan's self-enquiry is "truer" or more "efficacious" than others, especially if you haven't read others?

Salazar said...

venkat, why asking the obvious? Of course I don't - nor do you.

I think it is a matter of faith in Bhagavan. Why looking somewhere else? My point is once one has found a satisfactory approach one should stick with it and avoid comparisons of any kind.

In unison with Sanjay Lohia, all what one needs is the main three, four texts by Bhagavan.... Anybody is free to disagree with that, but then what are they doing on this forum?

jacques franck said...

From Sri Ramanaparavidyopanishad The Supreme Science as Taught by Sri Ramana By Who

93

This teaching of the unreality of the world is not addressed to those who look upon the body itself as the Self, or consider the Self to be the owner of the body.
For these people the world is real, not unreal.

----------

The teaching has to be adapted to the person being taught. The same teaching is not good for all. Here it is shown that he who believes that the Self is not the body, but the owner of it, or the dweller therein, is for this purpose in the same category as the one who believes the body itself to be the Self.
Why is it that the world is real to these people?

94

The teaching – that the trinity of the soul, God and the world is unreal – is indivisible.
If one is convinced that one of these is real, the other two also will appear to be real.

----------

That is, the teaching must either be accepted as a whole or rejected wholly. There is no option to split it up and accept it partially, rejecting some of it.

95
To those who seek deliverance, the teaching is that all these three are equally unreal.
This teaching must [therefore] be accepted, exactly as it is taught, by those who are earnestly seeking to win deliverance by the extinction of ignorance.

----------

For different aspirants there are different paths prescribed. This particular teaching is addressed only to those who believe that for them deliverance must come by right awareness.
An analogy is next given to explain the indivisibility of the teaching.

96

One who is wise will either accept the teaching as a whole, or reject the whole of it.
Who can make use of half of a hen for cooking, reserving the other half for laying eggs?

----------

A hen must be killed and cooked for food, or the whole hen must be allowed to live for laying eggs. The same indivisibility is characteristic of this teaching.
Now we come to a discussion of the objections of those who assert the perfect reality of the world.
On what evidence do they base their belief?

jacques franck said...

http://happinessofbeing.blogspot.fr/2016/01/why-do-i-believe-that-atma-vicara-is.html

Why is it so necessary for us to accept without reservation the fundamental principles of Bhagavan’s teachings?

venkat said...

Salazar, the path of jnana yoga / atma vichara is one of knowledge. Jnana, self-investigation is not one of faith and belief. Consequently since this is an investigation, considering other texts may well provide different pointers. If one follows your advice of refraining from reading, you won't know what you have missed. Just as a devout Christian, because s/he is loyal to the Bible, will not know what s/he is missing, and may never come across Bhagavan.

The continual exhortation that everything else leads to an abyss of confusion, may be the case for you, but may not be for others. There are other jnanis, who also might have something useful to say. Shankara for a start.

And as far as I am aware, I don't believe that one needs to take an oath of loyalty to Bhagavan, to appreciate Bhagavan, and Michael's work on this site?

Salazar said...

Venkat, I disagree. Bhagavan's atma vichara is not a path of knowledge in the sense of accumulating conceptual knowledge. And Bhagavan's atma-vichara is not an investigation as the “classic” advaita vedanta proponents describe it. There is no investigation at all and if you believe that then you have not grasped Bhagavan's method.

Jnana is not the knowledge of mind, it is when the mind is gone. It is beyond knowledge and ignorance. So adding more concepts for the mind is not improving anything and it can only add confusion in most cases. Sure there are other Jnanis but one, faithfully attended to, is more than enough!

Faith into ones sat-guru is imperative, reading a text by another Jnani is absolutely not necessary in order to become Self-realized. Shankara is well respected, however there is no need to read anything by him – reading his philosophy is not leading to Self-realization! Nobody ever has become realized by reading texts.

And yes, an oath of loyalty to Bhagavan is needed, either he is your sat-guru or not. If not then you are wasting your time coming to this blog.

Sanjay Lohia said...

Salazar, yes, according to Bhagavan everything besides ‘I am’ (our atma-svarupa) is conceptual, and therefore it exists only in our own mind. This world is projected by our own mind, and is experienced only by that same mind. Bhagavan has made this very-very clear. This world is what our mind makes us see.

Yes, as you imply, most make atma-vichara unnecessary complicated. The common misconceptions about this practice are:

• As and when a thought arises, we have to repeatedly question ourself verbally: ‘who is thinking these thoughts’;‘who am I?’
• We have attend to our heart on the right side of the chest
• We need to allocate fixed times to do this

So I agree with you when you say that ‘it is better to refrain to read anything about vichara which is not by Bhagavan or his closest disciples’. To me the clearest explanation about the actual method of practise is given by Sri Sadhu Om and Sri Michael James. I think Sri Nochur Venkataraman has also explains its actual method quite clearly, but since he mixes a lot of other things with atma-vichara, he more often than not dilutes the topic.

For example, one of our friends often reminds us that we have to do this practise until and unless we experience thought-free consciousness. This is a very confused way to describe the final goal of self-investigation. We need to practise until and unless we experience with absolute clarity what we actually are. We experience thought-free consciousness every day when we fall asleep, but are we in anyway near to atma-jnana by our sleeping?

nanavu-tuyil said...

Sanjay Lohia,
why I referred to your transcription of the 2016-12-11 New Jersey-video and what I tried to emphasize is that we can investigate only the ego because the mind cannot immediately attend to the light of our pure self-awareness alone.
However thank you for your lecture

nanavu-tuyil said...

Sanjay Lohia,
"We experience thought-free consciousness every day when we fall asleep, but are we in anyway near to atma-jnana by our sleeping?"
Yes, of course because atma-jnana is our natural being and is only another name of sleep.

nanavu-tuyil said...

jacques franck,
who is the Who, the autor of the given opanishad ?

nanavu-tuyil said...

Salazar,
one should really avoid to sink into the abyss of confusion.
Namely primarily the own ego.

jacques franck said...

nanavu-tuyil the autor is : Sri Lakshmana Sarma

The author, Sri Lakshmana Sarma, came into the fold of Bhagavan Sri Ramana in 1927. Revering him as the embodiment of both Lord Dakṣiṇāmūrti and Sri Aḍi Śaṅkara, he surrounded to him completely. For more than twenty years he moved closely with the Master, and under his personal guidance delved deeply into his teachings.
Once he played with the Sage about his inability to understand classical Tamil in order to appreciate his work “Uḷḷadu Nāṟpadu” (Forty Verses on Reality). Bhagavan then taught him the elements of Classical Tamil language, after which Sri Sarma began composing verse translations in Sanskrit and submitting them to Bhagavan for his approval. If his approval was not forthcoming, he would continue to recast the entire verse to ensure correctness and consent. Bhagavan once commended his efforts and remarked that it was a great tapas for him to go on revising his translation any number of times until his approval was obtained. The present work is an example of this tapas.
Sri K. Lakshmana Sarma was born in 1879 at Pudukkottai (the same year in which Bhagavan Sri Ramana was born). He passed Intermediate studies at Pudukkottai, obtained a Degree of Bachelor of Arts at Tiruchirappalli and obtained a Law Degree in Madras. From his early school days he evinced much interest in Sanskrit and attained proficiency in the language.
Sri Sarma worked as a civil lawyer for the Government and as an Official Receiver. He was also a courageous social reformer and from 1918 was committed to Mahātma Gandhi’s Freedom Movement. While residing in Pondicherry from 1920-25, he developed and promoted the system of Nature Cure, of which he became a respected authority. His magnum opus on the subject, Practical Nature Cure, is a standard Text book. He also founded the English monthly, The Life Natural.
In 1927 Sri Sarma came into the fold of Bhagavan Sri Ramana. Revering him as the embodiment of both Lord Dakṣiṇāmūrti and Sri Śaṅkarācārya, he surrendered to him completely. He lived with Bhagavan for more than twenty years, during which period, under the Master’s guidance, he delved deeply into his teachings.
Once he pleaded with Bhagavan about his inability to understand classical Tamil in order to appreciate his work Uḷḷadu Nāṟpadu”. Then Bhagavan taught him the elements of classical Tamil language, while learning one verse at a time. Sri Sarma composed verses in Sanskrit and submitted them to Bhagavan for his approval. If his approval was not forthcoming, he would continue to recast the entire verse to ensure correctness and consent. Bhagavan once commended his efforts and remarked that it was a great tapas for him to go on revising his translation any number of times until Bhagavan’s approval was obtained.
Sri Lakshmana Sarma preferred the pen-name of ‘WHO’, so as to leave open the choice as to who was the writer, Bhagavan or himself— so surrendered was he to the Master. He has authored the famous work Maha Yoga, which contains the teachings of Sri Ramana Maharshi. This popular book has been translated into many languages the world over. Other books authored by Sri Sarma are Sri Ramana Hṛdayam/Revelation and Guru Ramana Vacanamālā in Sanskrit and English and a Tamil commentary on “Uḷḷadu Nāṟpadu”. The present work Sri Ramana Paravidyopanishad is essentially Vēdānta Sāram, the Supreme Science of the Self as taught by Sri Ramana Maharshi.
Sri Lakshmana Sarma, after a long life of dedication, passed away at the ripe age of 85 in 1965.

jacques franck said...

And also :

Here is a remarkable work called by the Author “Sriramanaparavidyopanishad — The Supreme Science as taught by Sri Ramana.” The Author Sri Lakshmana Sarma (‘WHO’), who was born in the same year as Bhagavan Sri Ramana, was fortunate to have spent more than Twenty years in close association with Bhagavan. During this period, he imbibed the teachings of Bhagavan, made a deep study of it with his background of Vēdāntic Knowledge and even had the privilege of learning personally from Bhagavan the full import of ‘Uḷḷadu Nāṟpadu’, the Tamil composition of Bhagavan containing an exposition of the nature of the Ultimate Reality and its Realization in the brief compass of forty verses. The wisdom contained in this exalted work and the oral teachings given by Bhagavan from time to time, which Sri Lakshmana Sarma was convinced as being identical with the teachings of the Upanishads or the Vēdānta, was ably and logically presented in the excellent work MAHAYOGA or The Upaniṣadic Lore in the Light of the Teachings of Bhagavan Sri Ramana”, first published in 1937. The present work serialized in 42 instalments during 1956- 61 in the journal “Call Divine” dedicated to Bhagavan’s teachings, somehow was not published in book form till date.
This work is as complete a treatise on the teachings of Bhagavan as Mahayoga was. The only differences are:
1. It is a poetic work in Sanskrit consisting of 701 Verses composed in mellifluous Upajāti Metre.
2. Though it is not divided into chapters or subjects as MAHAYOGA was, it contains a concise, complete, authentic and logical exposition of the philosophical background of Bhagavan’s Teachings together with the Practice shown by Bhagavan for the Realization of the Self or the Ultimate Reality.
3. While Mahayoga contains, in addition to the gist of Bhagavan’s Works and Teachings, the author’s own expositions of the various topics dealt with, the present work almost entirely consists of Bhagavan’s Teachings expressed through his various works and talks with devotees; but they have been presented concisely and precisely in sweet Sanskrit language in poetic form.
4. One can easily discern the logical flow of the subjects and their explanations from beginning to end, making the work a complete guide to every sādhaka who wishes to pursue the direct path of Self-enquiry for Enlightenment.

jacques franck said...

... and :

The uncompromising conviction of Sri Sarma on the identity of Upaniṣadic (or Vēdāntic) teachings and their path to Self-realization (as expounded by Sri Śaṅkarācārya) with Bhagavan’s own teachings and Realization, is powerfully brought out in this Sanskrit composition. In fact, this work accomplishes the same purpose in respect of Bhagavan’s teachings as Vivekacūḍāmaṇi of Sri Śaṅkarācārya achieves in respect of the teachings of the Upanishads.
Rightly has it been called “Sriramanaparavidyopanishad” which can be paraphrased as “The True Knowledge concerning the Supreme Spirit or the Ultimate Reality as taught by Sri Ramana”. Science, as understood by modern language, is a branch of knowledge involving systematized observation and experiment. Here, the word “Science” has been used for observation made by the inward turning of the mind to find one’s own True Nature and the practical realization of the Truth that is the Self through such Quest. The diving within to accomplish this purpose, after the restraints of all thought-constructs through such Quest, is the only practical method taught by Bhagavan for Self-realization and Liberation.
The value of this work which has been presented by Sri Sarma with clarity, completeness and precision can be appreciated by any Sādhaka who reads this wonderful work and makes it a part of his daily svādhyāya (or scriptural study). It will be superfluous to add anything to this preface over and above what Sri Sarma has expounded with such clarity and precision in this work. May the community of Sādhaka be enlightened by going through this exalted work and understanding and practicing the Teachings contained in it. Sri Sarma’s own Translations and explanations, which are short and to the point, will enable the readers to comprehend fully the entire Teachings.

nanavu-tuyil said...

jacques franck,
thank you for your full reply.
You seem to be sure that Sri Lakshmana Sarma has understood correctly Bhagavan's teaching. So do you comprehend to study his books as worthwile ?

jacques franck said...

Here the answer by Michael about the question of Lakshmana Sarma from the blog : http://happinessofbeing.blogspot.fr/2016/02/the-role-of-logic-in-developing-clear.html

jacques franck said...
There is also : Revelation - Sri Ramana Hridayam by Lakshmana Sarma the uḷḷadu Nāṟpadu in sanskrit, is it a reliable one?
And what about the book of Lakshmana Sarma Sri Ramana Paravidyopanishad ?
Thanks
11 March 2016 at 10:55

Michael James said...
Jacques, Revelation is Lakshmana Sarma’s English treanslation of Śrī Ramaṇa Hṛdayam, which is his own Sanskrit translation ofUḷḷadu Nāṟpadu. Śrī Ramaṇa Hṛdayam is certainly a much more accurate and reliable translation than Sat-Darśanam, because he translated it and revised it many times with the help and guidance of Bhagavan, who explained to him in detail the meaning of each verse. Since it is written in verse, it is not an exact translation, but it does generally convey the correct meaning of each verse.
It is many years since I read Śrī Ramaṇa Paravidyōpaniṣad, but as far as I can remember it does seem to convey an accurate picture of Bhagavan’s teachings, and it records some interesting sayings of his that have not been recorded elsewhere.
I believe generally that everything that Lakshmana Sarma wrote on Bhagavan’s teachings is more or less reliable, because Bhagavan had explained his teachings to him in great details and he sincerely tried to understand them correctly. I do not think his explanations of the actual practice of ātma-vicāra are particularly clear or deep, and generally his explanations of Bhagavan’s teachings are not as deep or as useful as Sadhu Om’s explanations, but they are certainly much better than those of most other devotees who have written books on Bhagavan and his teachings.

11 March 2016 at 23:30

jacques franck said...

I think that Lakshmana Sarma (even probably less accurate from the translation of Michael) is a good one in the sense he has lived many years near of Bhagavan and he has had some explanation about Ulladu Narpadu et certainly other topics..

:)

Sanjay Lohia said...

nanavu-tuyil, I am sorry if you felt that I was trying you lecture you. I agree, we should keep our ego in check by trying to remain attentively self-aware (to the extent possible), even in the midst of our spiritual discussions. So your point is well taken.

You seem to suggest that ‘atma-jnana is our natural being and is only another name of sleep’. Yes, atma-jnana can be called ‘eternal sleep’, because once we experience ourself as we really are we will remain totally oblivious of this body and world, just like we are in asleep. Therefore, from the perspective of our atma-svarupa, there cannot be any difference between the states of sleep and jnana. In both these states we experience only pure self-awareness, without the least awareness of anything other than ourself.

However, from the perspective of our ego, sleep and atma-jnana seem to be two different states. As this ego we subside in sleep, but sooner or later come out of it. However, once we experience ourself as we actually are (when our ego is annihilated), we (our ego) will never come out of it again.

At least this is how I have understood this topic.

nanavu-tuyil said...

jacques franck,
thank you again for your hints and giving also Michael's opinion about Lakshmana Sarma's books in general.

nanavu-tuyil said...

Sanjay Lohia,
no matter. Kind regards.

Hector said...

Sanjay, great post.

The thing I find interesting is that sleep from the ego/person perspective during waking appears to be a blank gap so to speak. However because the ego/person was not there in sleep it can not conceive of what sleep actually is.

As you know according to Bhagavan what we really are is "I am I" and a description he gave for it was Satchitananda representing "existence, consciousness, bliss as one thing not three separate components. So therefore sleep must be a joyous blissfully happy state, the one true state, what we actually are. Not a blank so called gap.

I like Sri Sadhu Om's description of waking, dream and sleep like a hall being split into three by the erection of two walls. The one true state now appears to be one of three separate states of consciousness. But when the walls come down that one seeming temporary state of sleep become what it always was, the only one and true state because waking and dream have been removed. Or seen not to exist is maybe better than to say removed?

When I think of sleep like this it motivates me Hector the person the ego has identified with and takes itself to be to practise vichara to remove this misperception of what I am.

Best to you.
H

ātma-sākṣātkāra said...

Sanjay Lohia,
yes we can say that there actually is nothing other than sleep, which is atma svarupa.

nanavu-tuyil said...

Hector,
as you assume, in sleep waking and dream do not appear.
Be what you always are.

Salazar said...

nanavu-tuyil, what else than the ego could be the source of confusion? ;-)

Again, that's why vichara is so essential, it is the only true "antidote" for the ego.

Sanjay Lohia said...

Salazar, I like this: 'vichara is so essential, it is the only true "antidote" for the ego'.

Or we can put it this way: the only disease is the ego, and the only medicine for this disease is atma-vichara. Such a simple message, but it probably takes us many-many births to understand this truth and put it into practice.

nanavu-tuyil said...

Salazar,
referring to your yesterday comment at 18:03 (..." but as long as mind thinks it has to figure it out or has to do anything regarding vichara one has already sunk into the abyss of confusion. If one has not grasped vichara from Nan-Yar or Sadhu Om's instructions nothing else will shed light on it."
I only wanted to express that sometimes or even often those who raised an admonitory finger run the risk of sinking "into the abyss of confusion" - without naming someone personally.
When you imply with it that the mind has nothing "to do reagarding vichara" may I object that just the very mind has to pursue vigilantly self-attention (atma-vichara).
Or what do you think which subject has to carry out that effort ?

nanavu-tuyil said...

Sanjay Lohia,
in the view of atma-svarupa even thousands of births is only one moment.
So why worry about many births ?

Salazar said...

nanavu-tuyil, if you were referring to my ego, yeah - I can not hide it any longer: It is humongous and that's why I am truly grateful that a thousands of births is only one moment since it seems it may take that long before my ego gives up.

Being does not need a mind or any mind activity - that is true atma-vichara.

nanavu-tuyil said...

Salazar,
who has to carry out that "true atma-vichara" of your design if not the mind ?
But of course, when the mind has completely subdued to our real nature of just being then there wouldn't be any need of atma-vichara. As you imply pure being is certainly free of mind.
Unfortunately there seem to be some a confused mixture of self-awareness and awareness of other things (called the ego). From that we cannot succeed effortlessly which means using the mind as a tool.
If I am mistaken please inform me.

Salazar said...

nanavu-tuyil, there is no confusion at all, it seems you are the one who is confused. So you are mistaken and herewith informed of that ;-)

nanavu-tuyil said...

Salazar,
please do explain in more detail in which point I am mistaken.

Salazar said...

nanavu-tuyil, when Bhagavan was asked “how” to do vichara he answered, “how can I explain how it looks like in your very own home”. No further explanation came forward of “how” to do it. Because one cannot make the “I am” an object.

We know that we exist and no thought is necessary to know that. We exist and know that we exist BEFORE any thought(s). That is where vichara is pointing to and the mind cannot lead or go to it.

Bhagavan’s analogy of “using a thorn pulling out a thorn” referred to using the mind in form of the question “who am I” to stop the thought process and point to the gap between thoughts. In that regard the mind is used, however, as soon as the mind has stopped, the mind has become useless. The stopping process with the mind is a crutch and by itself it cannot lead to Self. Eventually one does not need anymore the mind to ask that question.

So there is either thoughtless “I am” or not. There is no in-between or mixtures of awareness’s, which is in fact all subtle mind activity.

You asked who has to carry out vichara? Well “you” don’t because “you” are just a bunch of thoughts and as such cannot “do” vichara. How can a thought do anything? It can’t!

So who is doing it then? LOL Well, what could it be besides a bunch of thoughts? Bhagavan made a nice comment about that contradiction and I quoted it before in a previous comment……

nanavu-tuyil said...

Salazar,
thank you for your instruction.
Regarding "Bhagavan made a nice comment about that contradiction and I quoted it before in a previous comment……" please be so kind and mention the date of that previous comment.

Sanjay Lohia said...

Bhagavan says, ‘leaving the body like a corpse we should turn within’:

The following extract is taken from the video: 2017-03-04 Sri Ramana Center, Houston: discussion with Michael James on Uḷḷadu Nāṟpadu verse 2 (1:08 onwards). However, it is not 100% verbatim:

It is good sometimes to set aside a few moments or minutes to go within. Obviously when we are driving or something we cannot go very deep within, but we can and should be attentively self-aware even in the midst of other activities.

But sometimes we want to try to go deeper within, so we set aside everything. It need not be at fixed times every day. Some people like to sit in padmasana, some people like to sit in an arm chair. Bhagavan even lay down at the time when he investigated himself. So we can practise in any posture.

Bhagavan says, 'leaving the body like a corpse we should turn within'. It doesn’t matter whether the body is sitting or … some place where we can forget everything, forget about the body and all its concomitant problems, at least for a few moments, and try to focus our attention only on ourself. That is very good, because our final victory will come only by such focused self-attentiveness.

But, as you say, we are able to do it better in the midst of other activities. It is because at such times we are not able to go very deep within, and therefore the existence of our ego is not threatened. So our ego is able to tolerate a little bit of self-attentiveness. However, when we sit down and try to go deeper within, our ego is really scared, because if we go very deep within the ego will be finished. So the deeper we go the stronger the resistance.

Our ego rebels when we sit for such exclusive self-attentiveness, because it doesn’t want to die. It knows that one split second of 100% self-attentiveness and it will die. So we put up tremendous resistance. It’s like 1% of us is trying to be self-attentive, but the other 99% is rebelling against it.

So it’s a battle, but slowly-slowly if we persevere we will succeed. Bhagavan says in Nan Yar?, once we have come under the glance of guru’s grace, we will certainly be saved, but he says, however, it is necessary to follow without fail the path shown by the guru. We will repeatedly fail in our attempts like a child learning to walk, but sooner or later we will succeed if we persevere.

As Bhagavan says, we should tenaciously and unleavingly cling to svarupa-dhyana (meditation on ourself). Svarupa means ‘our own form’, ‘our real nature’.

My note: We are always what we are, but we seem to become someone else, and therefore our entire sadhana is to try to become what we actually are. Isn’t it ironical? We reside in eternal shade, but go out into the scorching sun and then make all sorts of efforts to return to shade. Isn’t it foolishness?



Hector said...

This extract taken from the video: 2017-03-04 Sri Ramana Center, Houston: discussion with Michael James on Uḷḷadu Nāṟpadu verse 2 explains what I meant in a previous comment to Salazar about intensity of practise (vichara) through the day. The big difference is Michael explains it much better (lol)!!!

Cheers.
H

Salazar said...

nanavu-tuyil, the mind and ego cannot investigate itself, with that you would make the thief a police man, something like that was said by Bhagavan. I apologize, I have no idea where I posted that comment.

However there is no investigation in a literal sense, it is a direct self-attentiveness which will eventually reveal the non-existence of the ego, which will, as in the previous comment by Sanjay Lohia, put up a fight.

By the way, I am no instructor or teacher, I am exploring my understanding with all of the other people on this blog. I hope that some of my comments could help but that is not the reason why I am commenting here.


Sanjay Lohia said...

Children appear to be innocent because their horns haven’t yet sprouted

The following extract is taken from the video: 2017-05-20 Sri Ramana Center, Houston: discussion with Michael James on Uḷḷadu Nāṟpadu verse 4 (1:13 onwards). However, it is not 100% verbatim:

Devotee: Does a child have an ego? I don’t think so.

Michael: Every child has an ego. Bhagavan used to say about children: ‘their horns haven’t yet sprouted’. Children appear to be innocent because their horns haven’t yet sprouted.

Devotee: But the ego is there?

Michael: Yes, the ego is there.

Another devotee: The mere fact that they have a body means that they have an ego, right?

Michael: Yes, yes … children’s ego is in a germinating state, it is beginning to sprout, but very-very quickly you see the personality. When you see 2 or 3 children in a group (say, a group of children in school), you already find politics is there. Some one likes to take the leadership role; someone competes with them.

You can find the beginning of a human society even in a group of very-very small children: some children would be quiet and watchful, some will try to assert themselves, some will be very timid. Go to the play group of small toddlers, and you will see the egos manifesting there in many ways.

Devotee: Is the law of karma applicable even for children? Are the children accountable for what they do?

Michael: Yes, yes … may be less so, still they are accountable. We will find that one child will bully another child, so karma-vasanas [propensities to act in certain ways] are already manifested prompting it to do so.

Devotee: So, Michael, it is better not to have kids at all then.

Michael: Yes, it’s better not to have any progeny. Every thought we have is a progeny, isn’t it? The whole world is our progeny, according to Bhagavan. So if you can remain without progeny, remain without children, but so long as you are producing all these progeny - every day you wake up, you produce the whole world - why not produce a few children in the world?


nanavu-tuyil said...

Salazar,
when you state that "the mind and ego cannot investigate itself",
congratulations, you seem to have designed your own style of self-investigation.
However, according Michael James in Bhagavan's atma-vichara the ego very well has to investigate itself and to find its source.
What/who else does in your experience/practice investigate the ego ?
We certainly agree that self-investigation is not an investigation of any object or phenomenon but only ourself, the awareness that experiences all objects and phenomena. We may consider the following ideas:
Directing the focus ot our attention towards ourself means also withdrawing our attention from everything else by trying to focus it only on our own self-awareness.
Investigation into the source of the 'I'-thought is taking the essential chit-aspect of the ego.
Because the self does not need to be enquired into we must remove its coverings through enquiry into the nature and origin of the false entity (ego) that is covering it up. Of course, our aim is to be attentively aware of ourself alone.
As long as our awareness of ourself is still mixed with awareness of other things we should experience ourself as we really are.
Atma-vichara refers only to keeping the mind always in atma (oneself).

By the way, what is the reason why you are commenting on this blog ?

nanavu-tuyil said...

Salazar,
additionally I found some other statements of Michael:
Friday, 31 July 2015
By attending to our ego we are attending to ourself
In certain contexts it is of course necessary for us to distinguish our ego from ourself as we actually are, because our ego is not what we actually are, but drawing this distinction is not necessary or helpful in every context, because what seems to be our ego is nothing other than ourself as we actually are. This seeming paradox can be reconciled by considering the analogy of a rope that seems to be a snake. The snake is not what the rope actually is, but what seems to be the snake is nothing other than the rope as it actually is.

If we were walking along a narrow path in semi-darkness and were to see what seems to be a snake lying on the path ahead of us, we would be afraid to proceed any further and would wait till the snake had moved away. However, if after waiting for a while we see that the snake does not move, we may begin to suspect that it is not actually a snake, in which case we would cautiously move forwards to look at it more closely and carefully. If it were not actually a snake but only a rope, our investigation or close inspection of it would reveal to us that what we had been looking at and afraid of all along was only a rope, so our fear of it would dissolve, and with a sigh of relief we would continue our walk along the path.

Our investigation or close inspection of the seeming snake would begin only after we have begun to suspect that it may actually not be a snake but only something else, such as a rope, so once this suspicion has arisen, we would stop insisting to ourself that it is a snake that we are looking at, but would instead consider it to be a seeming snake and perhaps a rope. This is similar to our position when we begin to investigate ourself, this ego. We investigate ourself or look closely at ourself only because we suspect that we may actually not be the ego that we now seem to be, but may instead be something else altogether. Now that this suspicion has arisen in us, we need not continue insisting to ourself that we are only an ego, but can with an open mind begin investigating ourself in order to find out whether we are this ego or something else.

According to Bhagavan, what we actually are is only the one single, indivisible and infinite reality, from which this ego and everything else appear in waking and dream and into which they disappear in sleep, so we are now investigating ourself in order to verify for ourself whether we are the finite ego that we now seem to be or the infinite reality that he says we actually are. Since this is our present position, we obviously should not insist to ourself that what we are investigating is only this ego and not ourself as we really are, because such a rigid idea would be opposed to the very spirit and purpose of our investigation.

We are investigating ourself only to find out whether we are this ego or something else, so how can a rigid idea that we ourself whom we are investigating are only an ego and not what we actually are help us in our investigation? Surely such an idea is only an obstacle to our investigation. In order to find out what we actually are, we need to set aside the idea that we are only this ego and investigate ourself to see whether or not we are the ego that we now seem to be.

Since we now experience ourself as this ego, when we begin our self-investigation (ātma-vicāra) we seem to be investigating ourself as this ego, but if this ego is not what we actually are, we will sooner or later find that we ourself whom we have been investigating are not actually this ego but only what we really are. In other words, by investigating ourself we will experience what we actually are and will thereby shed the false experience that we are this ego.


To be continued

nanavu-tuyil said...

Salazar,
continued from previous comment
Our ego is only an erroneous experience of ourself — an experience or awareness of ourself as something other than what we actually are — just as the illusory snake is only an erroneous perception of the rope. Though it seems to be a snake, what it actually is is only a rope, so if we look at it carefully we will see that it is not a snake but only a rope. Likewise, though we seem to be this finite ego, what we actually are is only the one infinite reality, so if we look at ourself carefully we will see that we are not this ego but only the infinite reality.
1. Our ego is distinct from our real self only to a limited extent
2. The terms ‘the self’ and ‘the Self’ are an indirect and confusing way to refer to ourself
3. Upadēśa Undiyār verses 24 and 25: the essential oneness of our ego and our real self
4. We cannot look at our ego without actually looking at ourself
5. Uḷḷadu Nāṟpadu verse 37: even when we experience ourself as this ego, we are actually what we always really are
6. Why did Bhagavan sometimes say that all we need investigate is only our ego?
7. Uḷḷadu Nāṟpadu verse 33: we are not two selves, for one to be an object known by the other
8. Upadēśa Undiyār verse 21: our infinite self is always the true import of the word ‘I’
9. David Godman’s reply citing Muruganar’s explanation of verse 44 of Akṣaramaṇamālai
10. Śrī Aruṇācala Akṣaramaṇamālai verse 44: reconsidering the meaning of Muruganar’s explanation
a. Muruganar’s explanatory paraphrase (poṙippurai) of verse 44
b. The initial sentences of Muruganar’s commentary (virutti-v-urai)
c. Muruganar’s explanation of ‘oneself’ (taṉai), the viṣaya for investigation
d. Muruganar’s clarification about the viṣaya for investigation
e. The inaccuracy in Robert’s translation of this clarification
f. Muruganar’s explanation of ‘daily see by the inner eye’ (diṉam aha-k-kaṇ kāṉ)
g. Muruganar’s explanation of ‘facing within’ or ‘facing I’ (ahamukham)
11. Uḷḷadu Nāṟpadu verse 32: when we are told ‘that is you’ we should investigate ‘what am I?’
12. Upadēśa Undiyār verse 19: we should investigate the source of our ego, which is what we actually are
13. Guru Vācaka Kōvai verse 579: ourself whom we are investigating and ourself whom we seek to know are not different
14. Guru Vācaka Kōvai verse 1094: what we should attend to is our svarūpa or own real self
15. Pādamālai: some verses that do not specify whether we should attend to our ego or our real self
16. Pādamālai: some verses that indicate that we should attend to ourself as we really are
17. What then was the actual view of Muruganar?
18. Conclusion: however it may be described, there is only one correct practice of self-investigation

to be continued

nanavu-tuyil said...

Salazar,
in continuation of my previous comment,
Some extracts of the above sections:
"…we cannot directly experience ātman (ourself as we really are) so long as we experience ourself as this ego, so even though ātman is actually our own form or svarūpa (and hence our ego’s own form or svarūpa), we currently experience our ātman or svarūpa only indirectly through the medium of ourself as this ego. Therefore it is only through the medium of our ego that we can investigate or attend to ātman, so the immediate scope or subject matter of our self-investigation (ātma-vicāra) is not ourself as ātman but only ourself as ego.
Therefore what Muruganar meant by the term ‘விசாரத்துக்கு விஷயம்’ (vicārattukku viṣayam) is the immediate scope or subject matter for investigation, so when he wrote that the viṣaya for vicāra is not ātman but only ego, he did not mean to deny that we can investigate or attend to ātman but merely intended to explain that we can investigate or attend to ātman only indirectly through the medium of our ego. This is the same idea that I tried to explain in the fourth section by means of the analogy of seeing the sun through the medium of a relatively thin curtain. Because the curtain veils and therefore partially obscures the sun from our vision, we cannot see the sun as it actually is so long as the curtain intervenes, yet it is nevertheless the actual sun that we are seeing through the medium of the curtain. Likewise, because our ego (or rather its adjuncts) veils and therefore partially obscures our ātman (ourself as we actually are) from our experience, we cannot experience ourself as we actually are so long as the curtain of our adjunct-mixed ego intervenes, yet it is nevertheless our actual self or ātman that we are experiencing through the medium of our ego.

Therefore whenever Muruganar implied in Guru Vācaka Kōvai, Pādamālai or any of his other works that we should attend to or hold on to our svarūpa or own real self, he was not in any way contradicting his explanation that the ‘விசாரத்துக்கு விஷயம்’ (vicārattukku viṣayam), the immediate scope or subject matter for investigation, is not ātman but only ego. Because we now experience ātman in a distorted form as this ego, the immediate form in which we can investigate or attend to ātman is only this ego, so this ego alone is the viṣaya for our investigation.
Though Bhagavan described this practice of self-investigation (ātma-vicāra) in various different ways, he made it clear that these are all just various descriptions of one and the same practice. Therefore whether he described it as investigating our ego, investigating the source from which this ego rises, or investigating what we actually are, the practice he was describing in each case was the same, because we are only one self, so though we now seem to be this finite ego, what we actually are is the source and substance of this ego, which is the one infinite reality, other than which nothing exists. We can experience ourself as we really are only by investigating, closely observing or keenly attending to ourself, and since we are only one self, there cannot be more than one way in which we can investigate ourself.

To be continued

Salazar said...

nanavu-tuyil, hold on to your horses, you are suffocating me with all of these concepts. We could now argue endlessly and before we do that - you won, you are right and I am absolutely wrong.

YOU WON!!!!

nanavu-tuyil said...

Salazar,
in continuation of the previous comment:

Since we now seem to be this ego, we need to investigate this ego to see what we actually are, but since we ourself are what now seems to be this ego, we cannot look at our ego without actually looking at ourself (what we really are), just as we cannot look at an illusory snake without actually looking at the rope that it really is. Therefore if anyone thinks that self-investigation entails looking only at our ego and not at our real self, they are just clinging to one particular way of conceptualising this single practice and excluding other ways of conceptualising it. However, so long as we try to attend to ourself alone, it really does not matter whether we conceptualise this practice as attending to our ego, attending to our real self or attending to both, because when we actually try to do so we need to set aside all mental concepts and try to experience only ourself, the sole source of all concepts, who now seem to be the experiencer of them, even though we are actually untouched by them.

Generally speaking it is best if our understanding of this practice is not too rigid or bound by fixed ideas, because rigidity of understanding is created by attachment to particular ideas or limited viewpoints and can stifle true investigation, which is an open and fluid process of inward discovery that is best aided by a nuanced understanding that is able to see the real intent behind whatever words may be used to describe it."

nanavu-tuyil said...

Salazar,
if you read my comment you would become clear in your mind about what we were talking.
So you would be the real winner.
Thank you for sharing your attention.

Salazar said...

What does it matter if we call what is attended to ego or self. That has no effect at all for vichara.

I've read what you posted by Murugunar and I have no objections. I still don't agree with your previous comments (where you've set a trap and lured me in to show how "better" you have grasped the teachings ;-) ****ego, ego***) but I am tired to nitpick about something what is very clear for me.

It is difficult to put in words what is clear in the heart. Because there a few contradictions which, in order to explain properly, need pages of pages of words and then there is always somebody who has a certain viewpoint and starts arguing again.

I absolutely agree with the rigidity. Funny that you are mentioning that because you came over as a vichara sectarian who has to defend the holy grail of vichara as understood by you.

Salazar said...

It is said that the ego is investigating the ego. But is it? Annamalai Swami (and Bhagavan, Muruganar, etc.) stressed to never entertain the notion to not be Self. If we entertain the concept that we, as an ego, are doing vichara we have already violated that notion. So instead it is Self investigating the apparent ego. Both statements are concepts anyway and ultimately irrelevant. Unless somebody wants to cling at a certain concept and with that continue samsara.

Why splitting hairs about the nature of ego and Self which are identical? The former is with adjuncts, the latter without. What matters only is if one still entertains the notion of duality or not. If yes, Self has to be attended to, if not one has realized Self. That's it.

All of that endless talk about the five sheaths and what not are not improving anything of the fact of the above. And attending Self is not investigating it. It is just a figure of speech. Ultimately we have to arrive at summa iru and there is no activity, attending, investigating, etc. of any kind.

Sanjay Lohia said...

Suicide is the answer, but killing the body is not proper suicide

The following extract is taken from the video: 2017-05-20 Sri Ramana Center, Houston: discussion with Michael James on Uḷḷadu Nāṟpadu verse 4 (1:05 onwards). It is not 100% verbatim:

Michael: We say atma-vichara is very-very difficult. It seems difficult to us. Why does it seem difficult? When we are able to know all these different things, how can it be difficult to know ourself? The reason it seems difficult is because we are not yet ready to let go, because we are still clinging to the form of this body. We still take this body to be ‘I’.

We cherish the body: we want tasty food, warm clothing, comfortable house, so many things we want for this body. We want security; we want more money in the bank. We want this; we want that.

Devotee: But suicide is not the answer, is it?

Michael: Suicide is the answer, but killing the body is not proper suicide. ‘Sui’ means ‘oneself’, so ‘suicide’ meaning ‘killing oneself’. Killing the body is not killing ourself, because the body is not ourself. We have to kill ourself, the ego. That is the solution.

My note: Attempting to kill our body is perhaps the worst thing we may try doing, but attempting to kill our ego is definitely the best thing we can do. If we manage to kill our ego, it will be the greatest blessing not only on us, but also on this entire world. Bhagavan teaches us this truth in Guru Vachaka Kovai. So let us strive to turn within with more and more vigour. Every moment is an opportunity to do so. Either we grab the opportunity, or let it go past. The choice is wholly ours.


nanavu-tuyil said...

Salazar,
we use the mind to illuminate our understanding and to clear up our misconceptions.
We all try to come nearer to the nearest. Attempts of defending "the holy grail of vichara as understood by me" serve only to clarify the field of concepts about it.
When we ultimately will be able to 'summa iru' there would be no need of investigation and so on. Until we are there we should try to have a clear picture so far as possible. Nobody wants to remain in samsara.

nanavu-tuyil said...

Sanjay Lohia,
let us call it more accurately "egocide".

Sanjay Lohia said...

nanavu-tuyil, yes, I agree ‘egocide’ is a more accurate term for what we are aspiring for. We are marching joyously to egocide! However, we should remember that egocide is much-much more difficult in comparison to bodily suicide.

Our body is a fragile instrument, and therefore we can kill it relatively easily, but our ego is a stubborn and a solid thing. It usually takes tremendous sustained effort and extraordinary willingness to commit egocide. However, once we are under the glance of Bhagavan’s grace, our death is a foregone conclusion. We just have to march on. Bhagavan is leading us in this march, and we just have to blindly follow him. We have nothing to worry.

nanavu-tuyil said...

Salazar and all,
it would be worth knowing in which context the metaphor of the thief and the/a policeman was used by Bhagavan. Who could quote the story ?

venkat said...

Liberation is just the elimination of the ignorant belief of the ego. To do this, jnana yoga is to use the mind to analyse the veracity of what it has taken for granted and through discrimination discard what is not true. One has to use the mind to go to the limits that mind, rational analysis can take you. And then, ultimately one arrives at the final discernment of the "I" from the ego, and thence no mind, no attention to thoughts. Thus atma vichara begins with an intellectual analysis and detachment from all that is not true, viveka and vairagya, and ends in attention on the 'I'.

Unless one tries to understand and apply the understanding of egolessness in daily living (i.e. viveka and vairagya), how can one truly practice atma vichara?

From Sadhu Natanananda:

'The realisation of that which submits when all trace of "I" is gone is good tapas' - this indeed is Bhagavan's way. Therefore an aspirant should unceasingly examine inside himself whether the I-am-the-body belief is present in each one of his thoughts, words and deeds. Inner attachment is not destroyed by meditation alone. It is possible to destroy the root of ego only by the practice of remaining unceasingly in the witness state in such a way that the ego is not allowed to rise, even in dream.



taṉṉai viḍādiruttal said...

Michael wrote at the end of his article of Wednesday, 21 January 2009
What is self-attentiveness ? appropriately to the previous discussion:

"Let me now conclude this long article by saying that though it may be described in various ways, the practice of self-investigation and self-surrender that Sri Ramana has taught us is actually extremely simple and clear, both to understand and to practise. To surrender our false self, our mind or ego, and thereby to know our real self, the only effort we need make is to be keenly and vigilantly self-attentive. What can be easier than this? We are always conscious of ourself as 'I am', so how can it be difficult for us to be self-attentive — that is, just to be with our entire attention focused keenly and exclusively upon this essential self-consciousness, which we always experience as 'I am'?

If this simple practice does appear to us to be at all difficult, complicated or unclear, that is only because our complicated and confused mind makes it appear to be so. Let us therefore not allow ourself to be confused by this self-deceiving mind and its endless doubts and uncertainty, but instead separate ourself from it entirely by persevering tenaciously in our effort to follow this extremely simple and clear path shown to us by our sadguru, Bhagavan Sri Ramana — namely the thought-excluding (and therefore mind-excluding) practice of ātma-vichāra or keenly vigilant self-attentiveness, which is the only effective means by which we can completely surrender our thinking mind and thereby rest in eternal peace."

jnanagni said...

Did not the Makedonian/Albanian nun-saint Mother Theresa of Calcutta also completely surrender her mind to the real self which she called Jesus Christ ? She served and cared for her next who were in need of care by egoless, unconditional and unquestioning charity on the foundation of her love to all human beings.

nun mati said...

Sanjay Lohia,
"...but our ego is a stubborn and a solid thing. It usually takes tremendous sustained effort and extraordinary willingness to commit egocide."
Presumably you wanted to express the contrary: so you should replace the verb "commit" by "avoid" (ego-cide) ?

Sanjay Lohia said...

nun mati, no, what I wrote was what I intended to write. We need tremendous effort and willingness to commit egocide, because to avoid egocide we need no special effort. If we let our mind do what they are used to doing, we will never be able to destroy our ego.

That is, our mind is always facing outwards, and as a result it is always preoccupied with enjoying this world-show. If we do not willingly halt its outward pursuits, and do not repeatedly try and turn to it within, how can we kill our ego?

In other words, our ego has to very carefully look at itself, and if it manages to put its entire attention on itself, it will see that it never existed in the first place. This is egocide (mano-nasa), and this mamo-nasa does require great effort.

Sanjay Lohia said...

Sorry, the last mamo-nasa should have been mano-nasa.

padam said...

Regarding the analogy of thief and policeman I can quote two statements.
1.) Michael James wrote in his article of Tuesday, 28 April 2015 (Witnessing or being aware of anything other than ourself nourishes our ego and thereby reinforces our attachments)
"Bhagavan once said something to the following effect:
The attempt to destroy the ego or the mind through sadhanas other than atma-vichara is just like the thief assuming the guise of a policeman to catch the thief that is himself. Atma-vichara alone can reveal the truth that neither the ego nor the mind really exists, and enables one to realise the pure, undifferentiated Being of the Self or the Absolute.

Having realised the Self, nothing remains to be known, because it is perfect Bliss, it is the All.

Our mind is the thief that has stolen our real identity, and substituted it with a counterfeit one, namely itself, so as long as we try to do any sādhana that requires the retention and use of this mind, we would be like someone who relies upon a thief to act as a policeman trying to catch the thief. Our mind or ego rises and is sustained by directing our attention away from ourself towards other things, so as long as we allow it to continue doing so, we can never destroy it. The only way to destroy it is to turn our attention back towards ourself alone, because as soon as we try to attend only to ourself, our mind or ego will begin to subside and disappear, since it cannot exist without grasping anything other than itself."

2.) Article of Wednesday, 11 November 2015
(Sleep is our natural state of pure self-awareness)
section 14. Why the re-emergence of our ego from sleep cannot be adequately explained, and need not be explained
"According to Bhagavan, our ego does not actually exist, so the only way to ‘destroy’ it is to investigate what it is and thereby to discover by our own experience that it does not actually exist. Trying to destroy it by any other means would be like trying to kill an illusory snake by beating it with a stick. Since the illusory snake is only a rope, it cannot be killed by any amount of beating, because it has never actually been alive. If we assume that our ego exists, whatever we may do to destroy it will only perpetuate the illusion that it exists, so Bhagavan advises us not to assume that it exists but instead to look at it carefully to see whether or not it is real. If we look carefully at ourself, who now seem to be this finite ego, we will find that what we actually are is just an infinite expanse of pure self-awareness and that we have therefore never been this ego, just as if we look carefully at what seems to be a snake we will find that it is actually just a rope and has therefore never been a snake. This is the only way to ‘destroy’ what seems to exist but does not actually exist.

This is what is implied by Bhagavan in the following passages recorded in the first chapter of the second part of Maharshi’s Gospel (2002 edition, pages 50-4). In answer to the question ‘Why should Self-enquiry alone be considered the direct means to jnana?’ he explained:

Because every kind of sadhana [means] except that of atma vichara [self-investigation or self-enquiry] presupposes the retention of the mind as the instrument for carrying on the sadhana, and without the mind it cannot be practised. The ego may take different and subtler forms at the different stages of one’s practice, but is itself never destroyed. [...] The attempt to destroy the ego or the mind through sadhanas other than atma vichara, is just like the thief assuming the guise of a policeman to catch the thief, that is himself. Atma vichara alone can reveal the truth that neither the ego nor the mind really exists, and enables one to realise the pure, undifferentiated Being of the Self or the Absolute."

nun mati said...

Sanjay Lohia,
okay, I thought you raised the ego's stubbornness and efforts to refuse its "ego-cide.

Noob said...

Can anyone here change their dreams?

Sanjay Lohia said...

Noob, as long as we are dreaming we cannot change our dream. We can try changing it, but we will not succeed. However, we can lessen the impact of our dream on us to the extent we are self-attentive, or we can even stop dreaming altogether if we are able to put our entire attention on ourself.

It is like, if we are watching a film in the theatre, as long as our attention is on the film, we cannot change the script or its enactment even a bit. However, if for some reason we start to fall asleep, we can to that extent lose experiencing the film, and if we fully fall asleep we will not experience the film altogether. We can also decide to walk out the theatre, and never return to watch the remaining film.

Our walking out of the theatre depicts our experiencing ourself as we really are. If we are able to do this, we will wake up from our present dream, and thereafter we will never dream any dream again.

Sanjay Lohia said...

The following extract is taken from the video: 2017-06-03 Sri Ramana Center, Houston: discussion with Michael James on Uḷḷadu Nāṟpadu verse 5 (27 minutes onwards). I have paraphrased Michael’s ideas:

Though it is said in the ancient texts that the anandamaya-kosa or the karana-sarira is the only sheath (kosa) that remains in sleep, according to Bhagavan, that is not case. Bhagavan said that generally in is considered that sleep is a state of ignorance, and waking is a state of knowledge, but exactly opposite is the case.

Sleep is a state of complete knowledge or of pure self-awareness, and waking and dream are the states of self-ignorance. While we are awake, we forget what we actually are, and as a consequence experience ourself as this erroneous awareness, this ego. Therefore, in waking and dream we experience our ego and all its creations – this vast world. All this - this ego and all its creations - is a product of self-ignorance or self-negligence.

Bhagavan says is v. 26 of Ulladu Narpadu that when the ego comes into existence, everything comes into existence, but since the ego is not there in sleep how can anything else exist in sleep. Therefore, since the ego does not exist in sleep, none of its kosas (coverings) can exist in its absence. Our true state, which is none other than brahman, is not covered by any kosas, and what exists in sleep is only brahman, therefore there can be no covering there.

Why do we have to say that there is no ego in sleep? It is because the ego is just a wrong knowledge of ourself, the knowledge ‘I am this body’. But since there is no such wrong knowledge in sleep, there cannot be any ego is sleep, and without this ego there cannot be any kosas.

So it is only for the sake of people who want to have an answer to ‘how ego rises from sleep?’, that it is said that sleep is a state of self-ignorance, because this is how it appears from our perspective of waking and dream. In waking and dreaming we experience ourself as this mixed self-awareness, ego. However, in the absence of this mixed self-awareness in sleep it seems to us that we didn’t know anything then.

We know many things in our waking state, and this knowing many things is considered to be real knowledge, however we do not know any of these things in sleep, and therefore knowing no things in sleep is considered to be ignorance. However, exactly opposite is the case.

So our ego and all its five sheaths appear together in waking, and also disappear together in sleep; therefore, none of these sheaths can exist in isolation. All these five sheaths form our body or person.

venkat said...

Sanjay

If in sleep the ego is not there, then this must apply even more so on death of the physical body. Since the ego arises as the knot between the body and the Self-awareness, if the body is killed there can be no body for the ego to attach to.

Since you are the expert on this, could you explain why suicide is not the most direct path to liberation.

thanks.


jacques franck said...

venkat said from the blog : Blog 181: The fundamental law of experience or consciousness discovered by Sri Ramana|- Questions/Answers

Question : 2 Three points to note: (A) The ego ends when the body dies. (B) The ego is an illusion and the world a dream. (C) According to Ramana Maharshi, there is no reincarnation. Given those 3 points, why is suicide not a recommended option for liberation?

Michael : You say, ‘The ego ends when the body dies’, but that is not actually the case, because though our ego now experiences itself as a particular body, it is equally well able to experience itself as another body, as it does whenever it dreams. Just as the ego creates a body for itself in a dream and experiences it as itself, it has created this body that it now experiences as itself. Therefore at the end of the life of our present body, our ego may subside temporarily in sleep, but whether it does so or not, it will sooner or later project another body to experience as itself. This is how the illusion of repeated births and deaths (or ‘reincarnation’ as you call it) occurs.
Therefore it is not quite correct to say as you did, ‘According to Ramana Maharshi, there is no reincarnation’. According to him neither birth nor rebirth (or reincarnation) is real, because the ego itself is not real, but so long as the ego seems to exist, the oft-repeated cycle of birth, death and rebirth will also seem to occur. Therefore we cannot attain liberation from this cycle of birth and death merely by killing our present body.
The real culprit is not this or any other body, because they are all just a creation of our own mind, like any body that we experience as ourself in a dream. The real culprit is only our ego, which gives rise to the illusion of mind, body and world, so what we need to kill is not our present body or any other body, but only our ego. And since our ego is only mistaken experience of ourself, the only way to kill it is to experience ourself as we really are - and the only way to experience ourself as we really are is to investigate ourself by trying to be exclusively and clearly self-attentive.

Noob said...

Attention is a feature of the mind. It is only the grace that can free us.

Noob said...

Attention should be reduced only to I before the grace has a chance to free us.

Noob said...

to Sanjay, can the ego choose when to exit the cinema?

venkat said...

Hi Jacques

Thanks for your response.

I think the counter to this is four-fold:

1) In Ulladu narpadu, v25/26, Bhagavan says that the ego arises as a result of the nexus between the body and consciousness. If the body is not there, then the ego cannot be

2) If the ego is prior to the body, and therefore the mind, then the no-mind, no-thought state cannot be equivalent to jnana/liberation, because the ego can still be there, even without a mind (since it is prior to it).

3) If one argues that the mind=ego, and both are prior to the body, then that actually gives a semi-reality to the ego, since it has a continuity to it (through re-birth). But the vedantic teaching is that logically, experientially that that is real which exists always; and because the ego is not there in sleep (or at death) it cannot be real. However, we are now contradicting this by saying it exists, and has continuity, across multiple births.

Sanjay Lohia said...

Noob, if we are watching a very exciting film, it may be extremely difficult for us to convince ourself to leave the movie mid-way, and walk out of the hall. Likewise, since we find this life-drama too real and interesting, we are extremely attached to it, and therefore it seems difficult to exit this life-theatre.

However, if we have sufficient love and willingness to experience ourself as we really are, we (our ego) can walk out of this illusory show at this very moment. We can do this only be putting our entire attention on ourself.

Even if we are not able to exit now, we can start preparing for our exist by investigating ourself at every given opportunity. As we go on practising, our vishaya-vasanas will start reducing (in numbers and their strength), and when they become extremely weak, we have to give it a final blow, and these vasanas along with their mother, our ego, will disappear forever. This is mukti, nirvana or whatever we may call it.

So answer to your question is, yes, the ego choose to exit the cinema-hall here and now? No one has forced us to be in the hall and watch the movie. We have come in by our own volition, and therefore likewise we have full freedom to exist by our own volition. There is no power outside ourself which can prevent us in exercising this choice.

Anonymous said...

Since you are the expert on this, could you explain why suicide is not the most direct path to liberation

I can see some sarcasm in the above statement. It would be better for you to read and understand all of Michael's posts before raising this question.

Sanjay Lohia said...

Anonymous, I agree. Michael’s posts, articles, videos, translations and other materials on his website contain everything. If we read them carefully, we will have very few questions. Michael has done unbelievable manana - reflections on Bhagavan’s teachings. It would be wise if we take advantage of his manana. He has done all the hard homework for us.

venkat said...

Anonymous - You are right, the sarcasm was unnecessary, but the question (and my response to Jacques, who rightly summarised Michael's perspective) is I think valid.

venkat said...

Sanjay

You need to realise that you cannot truly benefit from relying on someone else's mananas. I agree that Michael has done us a great favour by translating Bhagavan's work and sharing his understanding of this.

The whole point of the Vedantic sravana - manana method, is that first you hear the truth (sravana), and then you reflect on it, tear it to pieces, to confirm for yourself its veracity (manana).

Advaita Vedanta is the most beautiful, perfect, rational philosophy that I have come across. And Bhagavan, as Sw Chinmayananda said, was the "cream of the upanishads". You let yourself down, and you go against the spirit of their teaching, by simply repeating someone else's knowledge, however devotionally you do so.

In the matter of liberation, there can be no shortcut to doing the hard homework yourself.

Anonymous said...

I am not sure if your question is valid. Ego and the projection of world/body arises simultaneously. Nothing is prior to anything else.

Anonymous said...

Venkat, I think to tear any teaching into pieces, one should first develop compassion and humility and thereby develop the ability to tear it. Just analyzing something with only intellect is not going to produce any results.

Sanjay Lohia said...

venkat, yes, we have to do our own manana, but others’ manana can definitely fuel our own manana. As you imply, it is only our own manana which can really benefit us, but shouldn’t we take advantage of the manana done by the likes of Sri Michael James? We should. A budding scientist has to do his own experiments, but should he not learn from the experiments conducted by his predecessors? He should.

As for repeating what Michael says or writes, I don’t mind doing so. I admit that I do it, and it helps me in my own manana. According to me, when I repeat whatever he says or writes, I get attuned to his years of reflection. What is better, to repeat what I already know, or to repeat what a devotee like Michael knows? I am refining and deepening my understanding of Bhagavan’s teachings by being in close contact with Michael’s ideas.

Yes, there is no short-cut to liberation, and we all have to do our hard work, but for this reason should we ignore what Sri Sadhu Om and Sri Michael James have written and said? Reading and reflecting on their words, and even repeating what they have written can be a part of our hard work. I definitely see it this way.

Salazar said...

Manana has its place but one should keep in mind that it is only a minor aid for Self-realization. Show me where Bhagavan stressed the importance of manana, quite the opposite he stressed that only direct experience counts.

I am certainly no friend of the proponents of "classic" advaita vedanta and a good example is James Swartz whose approach is quite strange. He of course considers himself for Self-realized but in addition to that he has a list of Self-realized people on his website who became Self-realized through him. He also said that he's met thousands of enlightened people throughout India..........

I guess we must do something wrong and quickly jump on the easy-train with James Swartz and one can join the thousands of enlightened people everywhere ;-)

Sanjay Lohia said...

Our body and mind are bound by destiny, but are we also bound by it?

The following extract is taken from the video: 2017-08-05 Sri Ramana Center, Houston: discussion with Michael James on Uḷḷadu Nāṟpadu verse. 7 I have paraphrased Michael’s ideas:

Michael: If it is our destiny, sorry … let me be more precise about it, if it the destiny of our body and mind to earn and support our family, our body and mind will be made to do that. Even if we constantly try and turn our attention within, these outward things will go on. However, it is only when we allow our attention to come outward that any of these things actually happen.

Things happen in a dream only while we are experiencing them; likewise things happen in this so-called waking state, which is another dream, only while we are experiencing them. When there is no dream-world, there is no dream-happening.

But now we have come to the final leg of our journey, and here onwards it is a straight path directing us back to our source, which is ourself. Bhagavan says, ‘this is the direct path for all’. We should try to minimize our concerns about other things, because the more we are concerned about other things, the less we will be turning our attention within.

Make-oneself Great-Again said...

Sanjay, thank for your translations of the video of Michael, but why do you paraphrased Michael? I think his ideas are clear...

_/\_

venkat said...

Salazar

Swartz is not a good example of a 'proponent of classic advaita'. He has clearly not understood Advaita, but concocted his own confused version of it, and which he then calls traditional vedanta.

As you say, many people these days want a quick-fix . . . to attend a couple of seminars, watch some videos, and then want to be certified as a jnani. And where there is demand . . . there is a supply of gurus who are happy to award a certificate, following of course, a (fee-paying) programme of study.

They have even come up with a concept of being a jnani, but still having vasanas, which you can subsequently 'work' through. Swartz seems to go further to say that a jnani can have desires and seek to fulfil them, as long as they are within the law. Very strange concept of non duality and liberation. Pity he doesn't seem to have read the bhagavad gita. He also criticises Bhagavan's "who am I", and argues that Bhagavan only became enlightened when he read the vedantic texts.

Please don't judge advaita on what these snake-oil salesmen have to say.

Salazar said...

venkat, my exposure to advaita is mainly through Bhagavan and his disciples. I've read a little bit by shankara what I liked, but I never felt the desire to go into depth with it. I grasped the main points (I think ;-) and I'd like to confirm the philosophy with direct experience.

Bhagavan is not an "advaita guy", it just happened that his experience coincides to most what shankara postulated. I'd say if someone is attracted to go into depth with advaita then that is certainly an excellent path.
My preference is to keep mental activity to a minimum, I've read way too many books and texts as it is.

venkat said...

Salazar,

Advaita is a philosophy / path of realisation expounded by self-realised sages centuries ago. Bhagavan arrived on his own at that same realisation, that the ancient rishis had. And, as you say, he subsequently found that his experience tallied with shankara / advaita.

While he is not an "advaita guy" in the sense that he didn't arrive at his realisation through its teachings and he is entirely non-partisan, his teaching is consistent with advaita, and he draws extensively on its literature - including Bhagavad Gita and Gaudapada's Mandukya karikas, let alone the various works of Sankara that he translated into tamil, and the books such as Ashtavakara Gita that he recommended to Annamalai Swami.

So it would be a mistake to say that Bhagavan was not an advaita guy - what he did however was to point simply and cogently to a direct path which had become obscured in the scholarship of advaita. And made it clear that one did not need to read endlessly, once you've grasped the fundamentals. Funnily enough, the obfuscation has now become greater due to the likes of Swartz.

PS You obviously know that you can't confirm the philosophy with direct experience, because there won't be an ego to register that experience. Even desiring a direct experience . . .

Sanjay Lohia said...

Make-oneself Great-Again, I usually paraphrase the transcripts from Michael’s videos, because I feel such paraphrase helps me in my own manana. As we know, he is very clear in whatever he writes.

Sanjay Lohia said...

The following is an extract from the video: 2016-07-17 Spiritual Intelligence World Forum: Spiritual Intelligence and the question ‘Who am I?’ As usual, this is not verbatim:

So if we feel inclined to begin on this path, it may seem a journey, and this journey may seem to be very long. So to travel on this journey we need patience and perseverance. Bhagavan once said, referring to this path of self-investigation:

Perseverance and more perseverance; patience and more patience.

So we need tremendous dedication to travel on this journey. We should patiently and tenaciously persevere until we experience ourself as we really are. There is nothing as worthwhile as embarking on this voyage of self-discovery.

Some people assume that practising self-investigation is selfishness. They feel that when there are so many problems in this world, why should one waste one’s time on one’s own salvation? However, investigating ourself is not selfishness, because trying to gratify the ego is selfishness. Actually self-investigation is the very antithesis of selfishness; it is complete self-surrender, complete self-denial.

Our ego seems to exist as long as we are aware of other things, and when we try and investigate ourself, there is no such as ego. Bhagavan says this is direct path of all; this is true renunciation of everything.

Sanjay Lohia said...

We are learning to practise, as we practise self-investigation

The following extract is taken from the video: 2013-08-10 Buddha at the Gas Pump interview with Michael James. As usual, this is not exactly verbatim:

Another term that Bhagavan used is the Tamil equivalent of self-attentiveness, which is basically what self-enquiry is: turning out attention towards ‘I’ to know what it is.

The vichara is often translated as enquiry, 'self-enquiry', but I personally prefer the term ‘self-investigation’, because it is enquiry, but enquiry in the sense of ‘investigation’, rather than enquiry in the sense of questioning or anything.

There is a lot of signification in the choice of that word ‘investigation’, because it is a path of discovery. If someone asks, ‘what is self-attention’, we can give clues, but ultimately each one of us has to find that out for ourself, and ultimately when we find out what is self-attention - pure self-attention – that itself is the goal. That is self-knowledge.

We are learning to practise, as we practise it. The more we investigate, the more we understand what the practice is, but not understand it in a verbal way, but understand it experientially. Our ability to focus our attention on our mere being gets refined as we practise more and more. We discover more and more about it as we go along.

So we are all learners on the path.





Salazar said...

Sanjay Lohia, that is so very true, "we are learning to practice, as we practice it". At first it is like we "look" for a unfamiliar place and after a while it becomes more apparent and eventually there is a glimpse that that (what we are looking for) is what we really are but just have turned away from it.

I like investigation also better than enquiry, however any term can be potentially misleading. Investigating implies some sort of doing, but being (as in being self-attentive) is not doing.

I still assert that the ego cannot investigate itself, Michael said that in deep self-enquiry the ego puts up a fight. So it is "investigating" itself and simultaneously it is putting up a fight? Not a chance....

It is only by the grace of Self that we, who mistakenly identify us with that body and mind, even get the notion to look for our true "identity". That goes along with the question why Self would come up with such an elaborate scheme in the first place? Self got bored and then somehow "created" apparent entities who live dream lives with apparent pleasure and pain until that "entity" gets so tired of that "independence" that it wants to "come back".

But that never ever happened but in the imagination of mind which is Self with all of these adjuncts. No sage has ever satisfactorily explained the reason of samsara in the first place but some said it would be clear after realization. Well Papaji "looked" for an explanation but could never find one..........

Sanjay Lohia said...

Salazar, you write: ‘No sage has ever satisfactorily explained the reason of samsara in the first place but some said it would be clear after realization. Well Papaji "looked" for an explanation but could never find one..........'.

Yes, no sage has ever satisfactorily explained the reason for the appearance of samsara, because in their clear experience anything called this samsara (world) does not exist, actually it has never existed. So how can they explain the creation of a thing which has never come into existence? Bhagavan says in the seventh paragraph of Nan Yar?:

What actually exists is only ātma-svarūpa [our own essential self]. The world, soul and God are kalpanaigaḷ[imaginations, fabrications, mental creations or illusory superimpositions] in it, like [the imaginary] silver [seen] in a shell. These three appear simultaneously and disappear simultaneously. Svarūpa [our ‘own form’ or actual self] alone is the world; svarūpa alone is ‘I’ [our ego, soul or individual self]; svarūpa alone is God; everything is śiva-svarūpa[our actual self, which is śiva, the absolute and only truly existing reality].

In the clear view of sages like Bhagavan, nothing exists other than self (atma-svarupa), and they are therefore not aware of anything which is kalpanaigal (an imagination or a mental creation). Why? It is because they don’t have any such thing called an ego or mind to be aware of any imagination. They know only beginningless, infinite, unbroken being-awareness-happiness, and therefore the limited name and form of this world doesn’t even have a seeming reality for them.

How can one explain an illusory appearance of a snake over a rope? How can one explain the birth of child to a barren woman? It is impossible to explain such things, because these are maya (that which is not).

If we carefully investigate our ego, we will find that it does not exist, and therefore no such thing as this world has ever existed. So it is understandable that Papaji didn’t find an explanation for the appearance of this world, because nobody can find an explanation of a non-existent thing.


Salazar said...

Sanjay Lohia, yes - I expected an answer like that and I have given a similar answer in a number of discussions I had with devotees wondering about the same thing.

But just to play devil’s advocate: As much as this all is an imagination, nonetheless we have “carefully to examine the ego” in order that is does not exist. Now that “examination” is as much an imagination as everything else, isn’t it? And here is the contradiction: On one end we are supposed to see all that as an imagination but on the other hand the “imaginary” ego has to be examined and with that premise of examination it cannot be imaginary anymore. Because why has something imaginary to examine its own imagination??? The Fata Morgana looks at its own unreality? Huh?

That mystery, I suppose, is what Papaji wanted to figure out.

What do you think, Sanjay? Anybody else is welcome to join of course.

Sanjay Lohia said...

Salazar, yes, our self-examination is as much an imagination as our ego, but such self-examination will get rid of all our imaginations, including our imaginary self-examination. Our ego is not real, but it seems to be real as long as we are looking at things which seem to be other than ourself; however, when we closely look at ourself, we will eventually discover that we as this ego don’t exist, and in fact have never existed.

If a thorn has pricked one of our legs, we may use another thorn to take out the earlier thorn, but when we are able to do so, we will throw away both the thorns. Likewise we need the thorn of self-investigation to investigate the ego, which is like another thorn. However, once we are able to destroy our ego, we will throw away both these thorns: self-investigation and the ego.

So, yes, anything other than ourself is an imagination, but if we want to get out of this imagination, we should find out the root of all imaginations and then destroy it. The root of all our imaginations is our ego, and we can destroy this root only by observing it very keenly. Bhagavan says in v. 26 of Ulladu Narpadu that if the ego comes into existence, everything comes into existence, and therefore this world comes into existence only when we rise an ego. So if we are able to remove this ego, we will remove the very foundation of this world-illusion.

Thus once this world disappears, we will clearly come to know that it was never there in the first place, and we will therefore have no need to explain its appearance.

Aseem Srivastava said...

Salazar

On one end we are supposed to see all that as an imagination but on the other hand the “imaginary” ego has to be examined and with that premise of examination it cannot be imaginary anymore. Because why has something imaginary to examine its own imagination???

आत्म विचार (Atma vichara) entails attending only to the essential चित्त(chit) aspect of the ego. This consciousness of our own being, unlike awareness of phenomena, is what is real, according to Bhagavan and Vedant. We are not to examine the unreal (or imaginary) phenomena, but to attend only to the ever present self-shining awareness of our being. Therefore, the contention that 'something imaginary has to examine its own imagination' is incorrect.

jnanagni said...

Salazar,
"On one end we are supposed to see all that as an imagination but on the other hand the “imaginary” ego has to be examined and with that premise of examination it cannot be imaginary anymore. Because why has something imaginary to examine its own imagination??? The Fata Morgana looks at its own unreality? Huh?"

We all have sometimes and repeatedly our "doubting days".
The seeming - that is the actually non-existing - ego has first to discover its own non-existence. Thus it will find its real essence.

Salazar said...

Aseem Srivastava, you say, “Therefore, the contention that “something imaginary has to examine its own imagination" is incorrect.”

Exactly! I was referring to the usual notion “to investigate the ego” which I never liked because that statement leads to the incorrect contention above. The examination can only be of Self, the ever present self-shining awareness of being. It may be via the first thought “I” but that is just more concepts seemingly explaining processes in an imaginary realm.

So you correctly made the point I was aiming at….

Salazar said...

Jnanagni, I for sure have my “doubting days” once in a while, but my comment was not based on that ;-) What works for me is my devotion and faith in Bhagavan when these days should appear……

jnanagni said...

Salazar,
yes, yes, placing one's trust in the bright light of internal jnana is the best reaction to the helplessness of the mind's powerless pondering.

Aseem Srivastava said...

Salazar, when it is said that we should investigate the ego, we should understand it to mean that we have to investigate (or pay attention to) the essence of the ego, which is the consciousness of our own being.

The Sanskrit term आत्म विचार (atma vichara) can be translated into English as 'self investigation' / 'self attention' / 'self reflection'. Here, the 'self' referred to is oneself, the first person pronoun 'I', the intransitive self awareness, with no black and white distinction made between oneself as an ego and oneself as we actually are (the 'Self' as you call the latter).

Salazar said...

Aseem Srivastava, I like that - "[...] with no black and white distinctions made [...]" ....

I guess we have wrapped up that topic about the various definitions of ego/Self....

Right now I am asking myself why I made the last recent comments at all. I guess my mind needed to prattle along.

jnanagni said...

Sanjay Lohia,
as you imply our ignorance is an unbearable desaster.
So let us recognize the right path to eliminate all the obstacles on our way to truth.

Sanjay Lohia said...

jnanaagni, actually any ego or ignorance doesn't exist, because if it exists we have to admit of two realities: ourself as we actually are and ignorance. Yes, this ego or ignorance seems to exist, but does it really exist? Water in a mirage seems to exist, but does it really exist?

The only path to directly know that the ego or ignorance doesn't exist is to keenly look at ourself. There cannot be any other way. The only way to know that illusory snake doesn't exist is to look at it very carefully. We will eventually discover that it was only a rope.

Sanjay Lohia said...

The following extract is taken from the video: 2017-05-13 Ramana Maharshi Foundation UK: discussion with Michael James on importance of practice. This is not verbatim:

Michael: Bhagavan is not going to come and kill our ego until and unless we are willing to surrender it to him. He is not going to ever force it on us. However, he will work from within to make us ready to surrender ourself.

To the extent we turn within, to that extent we are giving up our hold on external things and the ego is thereby subsiding, and to the extent that the ego is subsiding we are leaving Bhagavan to do his work.

If the prey is in the jaws of a tiger and if it always struggling, the tiger is not going to eat it until it stops struggling. Only when the prey stops struggling will the tiger consume it. Likewise we should stop struggling if we want Bhagavan to swallow us, and we can stop struggling only by trying to repeatedly turn our attention back to ourself.

My note: The role of grace in our sadhana is far-far greater than our individual effort. The only thing we have to ensure is that we do not obstruct the work of Bhagavan, and we can help Bhagavan by keeping quiet or by remaining attentively self-aware as much as possible.

Ultimately Bhagavan will swallow us, but we can delay the inevitable by struggling unnecessarily. How do we struggle? We struggle by constantly running after our thoughts, and this world is nothing but a collection of our thoughts. So we should try and ignore this world, and try to focus all our attention and energy on keeping quiet.

As Michael says, this is the only way to let Bhagavan do its job, and his only job is to destroy our ego. He just wants our little assistance, but most of the time we are not willing to assist him. In other words we are not yet ready to receive what Bhagavan wants to give us. So we clearly know what we should be doing, but do not do it, knowingly or unknowingly.

Roger Isaacs said...

Hi Venkat,
You say: "Advaita is a philosophy / path of realisation expounded by self-realised sages centuries ago. Bhagavan arrived on his own at that same realisation, that the ancient rishis had. And, as you say, he subsequently found that his experience tallied with shankara "

And then you say "PS You obviously know that you can't confirm the philosophy with direct experience, because there won't be an ego to register that experience. Even desiring a direct experience . . .

Your comments appear inconsistent:
How could Bhagavan and Shankara find Advaita in their experience... while at the same time we are "unable to confirm the philosophy with direct experience"?

If an ego is required to "register experience".... then Bhagavan and Shankara had egos.

If Advaita cannot be experienced (or Realized?)... then it would be of absolutely no value and nobody would ever be able to speak about it.

jnanagni said...

Sanjay Lohia,
to be(come) ready to receive Bhagavan's grace is already grace.
To be(come) "willing to assist him" helping us in surrendering and destroying our ego is already grace.
Not to obstruct Bhagavan's work is already grace.
Not struggling by constantly running after this world is already grace.
Therefore let us be able to get blessed with grace, Arunachala.

jnanagni said...

Sanjay Lohia,
to be able to look keenly at ourself is above all grace.

Sanjay Lohia said...

jnanagni, I fully agree with you latest two comments. We cannot probably fathom how much grace or Bhagavan is helping us in our inward journey. However, we instead of helping Bhagavan, are obstructing his work by constantly attending to things other than ourself. We are being ungrateful to Bhagavan by ignoring his loving pull from within, and we do this by our unceasing objective attention.

We should reverse this by trying to be as much self-attentive as possible. Bhagavan needs this little help from us. In return he willing to do everything for us.

jnanagni said...

Sanjay Lohia,
is it not just grace that we exist at all - albeit we seemingly experience us at present merely as this mixture-awareness called ego ?

ātma-sākṣātkāra said...

What grace to find that there is no such thing as an ego or mind !
How can we ever miss to try meeting the pre-condition that we investigate the ego keenly enough ?

Sanjay Lohia said...

We accumulate money and strive for so many things, as if all things are going to be permanent

The following extract is taken from the video: 2017-05-13 Ramana Maharshi Foundation UK: discussion with Michael James on importance of practice. These are Michael’s ideas, but not exactly in his own words.

So long as we take ourself to be a body, we can conceive our death. We know we are going to die one day. But can we conceive our own non-existence? We can’t. Bhagavan says that in a battlefield when soldiers see their comrades dying around them, they may become afraid. They know that they could die but not the next moment. It is because we know that we are going to exist; we are not going to cease to exist. But because we take the body to be ourself we impose that on our body.

How do we live in this world? We accumulate money and strive for so many things, as if all these things are going to be permanent. But one day all those things are going to go away. What gives this illusory dream a sense of permanence? Because we are permanent, we superimpose our own immortality upon our body, and though we don’t think that this body is going to live forever, we live as if this body is going to live forever.

My note: So very true. We know at the back of our mind that this body will not remain forever, but we somehow ignore this fact. We go on with our life as if everything will be as they are now. The circumstances in which we live keeps on changing, but we do not feel that we will cease to exist at any time.

As Michael say, it is our immortality that makes us believe that we are going to exist forever, but foolishly superimpose this sense of immortality on our body.




venkat said...

Roger,

Good spot - on my inconsistency - I was using ill-chosen words. Thanks.

Shankara never really describes any experience, beyond saying "neti, neti". It is akin to Lao Tse's aphorism "the tao that can be spoken of, is not the tao".

Because any experience is experienced by an experiencer, and is part of duality. So Bhagavan, in concurring with Shankara, is basically agreeing with his analyses of our experience, i.e. his neti, neti, and his pointing to sat chit ananda that we are.

All the sages to a person say discard all experiences that come to you and plough on. This aim to gain some transcendental experience is just another desire of the ego. It is not non-duality, and hence missing the point.

And actually no one can speak about advaita - one can point towards it, but finally only silence can speak of it.

As for its worth, is it not worthwhile to not be driven by an illusory ego, that says I am separate from the world and need to grab everything I can for my own enjoyment. Is it not worthwhile to find that the meaning of life that we are taught by society is entirely nonsense, and to arrive at the freedom to live simply, peacefully, independently of how others have taught you to live?

Krishnamurti once said "aloneness is a life lived without influence". What better way to live life than this? That is the priceless value of this teaching, not some silly chase after a personal mystical experience.

ajāta said...

Michael,
section 12.,
"Therefore, when we find the ego to be ever non-existent, we will clearly see that there never was any such thing as time, and hence that no change of any kind whatsoever has ever occurred or could ever occur. This is the ultimate truth (pāramārthika satya), which is called ajāta: the truth that there has never been any birth, arising, origination, appearance, occurrence or happening of any kind whatsoever."
Who will remain in that eternal state of absolute freedom to find that the ego is ever non-existent ?

Michael James said...

‘Who will remain in that eternal state of absolute freedom to find that the ego is ever non-existent?’

You alone will.

Noob said...

Do you guys arguing about this and that even exist?

ajāta said...

Michael,
thanks for your reply.
Obviously you are referring to the real nature which (is that what) I did not find till now.

ajāta said...

Noob,
yes, it is said that our real nature is the eternal reality, the only thing that ever actually exists.

ajāta said...

Michael,
section 1.,
"In the term ātma-sākṣātkāra, ātman means oneself, sākṣāt literally means ‘from having eyes’ (being the ablative case of sākṣa, which means ‘having eyes’ or ‘with eyes’) but is generally used to mean directly perceived, and kāra means making or doing (or what makes or does), so sākṣātkāra means ‘making directly perceived’ or ‘directly perceiving’, and hence ātma-sākṣātkāra means ‘direct perception of oneself’ in the sense of being directly aware of what one actually is."
I am sitting now in my room but ātma-sākṣātkāra does not come over me.
Anything seem to be wrong in my perception. What can I do now ?

Sanjay Lohia said...

The very nature of the ego is to have desire

The following extract is taken from the video: 2017-05-13 Ramana Maharshi Foundation UK: discussion with Michael James on importance of practice. As usual, this is not exactly in his own words, and I have also mixed my own manana with Michael’s ideas:

According to Bhagavan, the only worthy aim is the annihilation of our ego, because the ego is the root of all troubles. This world is the projection of our ego, and this world cannot be experienced without troubles. Without the ego there is nothing else – there is just what we really are. What we really are is infinite peace and happiness: sat-chit-ananda.

How to get rid of the ego? Bhagavan says that there are two means: self-investigation and self-surrender. Generally when people think about surrender, they think about what all they can surrender to God – I need to surrender my desires, my attachments, ultimately my will to the will of God. That is the usual conception of self-surrender – thy will be done. We should think that whatever happens happens by the grace of God, and therefore it is for our ultimate good. Through every incident in our life God is training us, teaching us valuable lessons. So whatever happens - whether we consider it to be good or bad – if we surrender to Bhagavan everything is good, everything is his will.

But is it possible for the ego to surrender its will? The very nature of the ego is to have desires, and there cannot be an ego which is sans any desire. Like our body and ego are concomitant, likewise our ego and its desires are concomitant. The ego cannot exist without grasping or attending to forms, and such grasping is the result of our desires. Our desires are the only fuel that gives rise to and sustains our ego.

Therefore so long as we experience ourself as this ego, we cannot completely surrender our will to God, though we should try our best to surrender the same. And even if we could surrender all our desires, we cannot surrender ourself, because it is self-surrender. We have to surrender ourself; the ego has to surrender itself to God.

How is that possible? Though Bhagavan says there are two options, he later makes it very clear that there is only one way to surrender our ego. In order to surrender the ego we have to keenly investigate it. There is no other way.

(I will continue this in my next comment)


Sanjay Lohia said...

The very nature of the ego is to have desire (part two)

Michael says, ‘In verse 22 [of Ulladu Narpadu] Bhagavan asks us to consider how we can meditate upon or know God by our mind, except by turning our mind back within and immersing it in God, who shines within it (as its essential self-consciousness, ‘I am’) giving it light (the light of consciousness by which it is able to know both itself and the appearance of thoughts, objects or otherness)’.

Therefore Bhagavan has made it very-very clear that self-investigation and self-surrender are two sides of the same paper – that is, they are merely two ways of describing the one direct path to experience ourself as we really are.

The ego is a formless phantom, and it rises by being aware of or by grasping phenomena. The ego grasps by attending to things other than itself, and everything other than itself is a form. If the ego instead of grasping other things grasps itself, it will subside and disappear, because it is a formless phantom.

Phantoms seem to exist only when we do not look at them carefully. If we are walking through a dark forest, there may seem to be many phantoms around us, but if we look at any of the seeming phantoms we don’t actually find anything there. Likewise the ego seems to exist so long as we are looking at anything else. When we try to look at the ego to see what it is, it vanishes.

So it is only by investigating the ego that it will cease to exist. So contrary to what many people claim, there cannot be any other way to completely surrender our ego. If they claim that there are other ways, they are ignoring simple logic.




banana breeder said...

Sanjay Lohia,
how can we investigate a formless phantom ?
To investigate instead that phenomena which it is aware of or grasps seems not to be successful.

Anonymous said...

"Who will remain in that eternal state of absolute freedom to find that the ego is ever non-existent ?"

Is there a witness in that "eternal state of absolute freedom" to monitor and know anything?
If yes, then what is this witness, if not the ego? And how can this be called "nonduality"?
Could it be, that to "let the witness go" is the crucial point we miss?
Could it be, that seeking an experience of what is already the case, takes us further deep into illusion?

Sanjay Lohia said...

banana-breeder, sorry, what you wrote is not very clear me. Could you re-word your comment?

Sanjay Lohia said...

Anonymous, what exists in the eternal state of absolute freedom is ourself alone, and we are beginningless, infinite, unbroken existence-awareness-happiness. Therefore there is no witness to witness anything outside of ourself. However, we (ourself as we really are) are there to witness ourself. In fact we are always witnessing ourself and ourself alone, but when this spurious ego comes into seeming existence, we seem to experience things which seem to be other than ourself. This experiencing otherness is ignorance.

Our reality is non-dual, because we are one and not two. This non-dual state is called kevalya - that is, it exists absolutely alone.

Yes, we are seeking to experience what we really are. Our practice of self-investigation is taking us nearer to reality, and therefore is taking us away from illusion. When we practise self-investigation, we do seek to experience what we really are. Why? It is because we now experience ourself as this entangled mixture of body and mind, but are we this body and mind? We cannot be because neither our body nor our mind was there in deep-sleep, but we certainly existed then. So we are seeking to experience what we experienced in sleep, but our aim is never to come out of this blissful sleep again.

The bright sun is always there in the sky, but if it is covered by thick clouds, we cannot experience the bright sun as it really is. Though we can clearly see the light from the sun filtering through the clouds, but we are not able to directly see the sun. So therefore to see the sun we have to wait for the clouds to move aside, and only then we can see the sun as it really is.

Likewise we always exist as we are (like the sun), but our ego and all its by-products seem to have obscured our reality. Therefore, our practise is to remove this veiling and not really to attain our true nature. We are nitya-mukta (ever-liberated), and therefore we do not need to attain ourself, but we do need to remove all our illusory coverings (this mind and world-appearance) in order to experience ourself as we really are.

banana breeder said...

Sanjay Lohia,
my comment reads reworded as follows and I hope it should be clearer to you now:
To investigate the ego means looking keenly at it.
How can we look keenly at something which is a formless phantom ?
Apparently, it would be easier to look keenly at the phenomena of which the ego is aware of. But that is certainly not self-investigation/atma-vichara in the sense of Bhagavan.

Roger Isaacs said...

Hi Venkat,
Thanks for your earlier comments. I pretty much agree with what you're saying and I find your comments useful for contemplation.

Hi Banana Breeder (what a great name),
For me, your comments are very interesting regarding "how can we look at something which is a formless phantom... it would be easier to look keenly at the phenomena of which the ego is aware..."

I am generally Michael's opponent so I don't speak for him, but I've heard him describe something like: if inward attention is focused profoundly and sustained, even with the eyes open, the world and body (all external phenomena or actually ALL phenomena ) will fall away and awareness will be left by itself. In this sense, the body and world as ego have fallen away.

This seems like one possible way, but I don't agree with the ego being the world and body in all cases.

For me it is different as I often meditate "in" the world rather than "out" of it.

For example:
For me, the "ego" could be described as the point where attention becomes involuntarily directed outward and involved with or identified with objects in a compulsive fashion, this "involvement" can actually become a loss of attention. For example, when you are angry... typically, the anger can be strong enough that inward attention or any attention at all is actually lost and you are virtually possessed, if you are swept away by anger... you are actually no longer conscious.

Another example: if you sit and meditate using Self Attention in some way, you may be able to find a sustained inward "flow" of attention on the subjective: the mind is still.
But then... suddenly something arises in mind and you feel almost obliged to jump up from sitting meditation and attend to it... or the attention gets diverted temporarily from the inward focus back outward to some object.

So that is the ego arising. We know that duality is the subject - object mode of existence.
Our attention was more or less inwardly subjective... but then it was diverted onto an object and thus reengaged or lost in subject - object mode.

So Michael seems to suggest that the ONLY way is to achieve or realize an inward focus without phenomena, no world, no body and hence no ego. This "way" is exemplified by Bhagavan sitting eyes closed absorbed inwardly with no body or world in awareness.

But another way is to find the state of Bhagavan aware and interacting in the world.
That is: full inward attention while also in the world.

You can (in some way) become skilled at sustaining the inward flow of attention with eyes closed. Then... after practice it is possible to open the eyes and practice being inwardly attentive while being the world.

But... this is something that has to be practiced experientially.
Any words about it are "lies". Pirsig says something about 'Zen is about nothingness... thus all attempts to speak about it are lies'.
And I suspect it's entirely different depending on if one's temperament is devotional, or discrimination based, or kundalini based etc...

So the "formless phantom" of ego is when we see the attention which was formerly directed inwardly in Self Attention then move outward and become engaged with an object. And just seeing this loss of attention... back to Self Attention.

banana breeder said...

Roger Isaacs,
sorry I cannot reply now because I have to leave my place immediately for one week family holidays.

Sanjay Lohia said...

banana breeder, are you not aware of your body? Do you not experience a world around you? I am sure you do. So who is aware of these? Who is the one who is aware of ‘banana breeder’?
Obviously you experience yourself as ‘banana breeder’. This ‘you’ is the ego. The awareness which says ‘I am banana breeder’ is the ego. You should try and investigate this ‘I’. This is the subject which is aware of all its objects.

This ego is an entangled mixture of chit (awareness) and jada (non-conscious adjuncts). When you experience ‘I am banana breeder’, the ‘I am’ is this compound is the chit portion, and the ‘banana breeder’ is the jada portion. As Bhagavan has explained, we should investigate only our chit portion, ‘I am’, when we investigate ourself.

This ‘I am’, at present, is clouded over by its adjuncts: body and mind. However, the more keenly we attend to ourself, the more these adjuncts will drop off, and what will eventually remain will only be pure-awareness. This is our goal.

Bhagavan called the ego a ‘formless phantom’, because the ego has no form of its own, but seems to take the form of whatever body and mind it attaches itself to. However this formless phantom (the ego) will disappear when we are able to put our whole attention on ourself. Since this ego cannot stand such attention, it will give us a slip, never to return again.

Sanjay Srivastava said...

"are you not aware of your body? Do you not experience a world around you? I am sure you do. So who is aware of these?"

When I look into my experience, only experiencing is there. I do not find anyone who is experiencer.

"woh tegh mil gayee, jis se hua tha qatl mera
kisi ke haath ka, us pe nishaan nahin milta"