Thursday, 13 July 2017

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

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

Pure self-awareness is what we actually are, so unless you can deny your own existence it is not nothing, and hence not nothingness either (as I explained in much greater detail in one of my earlier articles: Self-knowledge is not a void (śūnya)).

Pure self-awareness is ‘nothingness’ only in the sense that it is devoid of phenomena, but phenomena are actually nothingness , because they are illusory appearances that seem to exist only in the view of the ego, which is itself not real, so they do not actually exist.

Therefore pure self-awareness is actually devoid of nothingness. It alone exists, so it is the only thing, and hence it is everything, because there is nothing other than it. It is absolute fullness — the fullness of infinite, indivisible, immutable and eternal sat-cit-ānanda: being (sat), awareness (cit) and happiness (ānanda), which are one and the same thing.

This is why Bhagavan concluded verse 12 of Uḷḷadu Nāṟpadu (the meaning of which I discussed in detail in Uḷḷadu Nāṟpadu verse 12: other than the real awareness that we actually are, there is nothing to know or make known) by saying that since it shines without any other to know or to cause to be known, what we actually are is real awareness, and it is not nothingness or a void:
அறிவறி யாமையு மற்றதறி வாமே
யறியும துண்மையறி வாகா — தறிதற்
கறிவித்தற் கன்னியமின் றாயவிர்வ தாற்றா
னறிவாகும் பாழன் றறி.

aṟivaṟi yāmaiyu maṯṟadaṟi vāmē
yaṟiyuma duṇmaiyaṟi vāhā — daṟitaṟ
kaṟivittaṟ kaṉṉiyamiṉ ḏṟāyavirva dāṯṟā
ṉaṟivāhum pāṙaṉ ṟaṟi

பதச்சேதம்: அறிவு அறியாமையும் அற்றது அறிவு ஆமே. அறியும் அது உண்மை அறிவு ஆகாது. அறிதற்கு அறிவித்தற்கு அன்னியம் இன்றாய் அவிர்வதால், தான் அறிவு ஆகும். பாழ் அன்று. அறி.

Padacchēdam (word-separation): aṟivu aṟiyāmaiyum aṯṟadu aṟivu āmē. aṟiyum adu uṇmai aṟivu āhādu. aṟidaṟku aṟivittaṟku aṉṉiyam iṉḏṟāy avirvadāl, tāṉ aṟivu āhum. pāṙ aṉḏṟu. aṟi.

English translation: What is devoid of knowledge and ignorance [about anything other than itself] is actually aṟivu [knowledge or awareness]. That which knows [or is aware of anything other than itself] is not real aṟivu [knowledge or awareness]. Since it shines without another for knowing or for causing to know [or causing to be known], oneself is [real] aṟivu [knowledge or awareness]. It is not a void [or nothingness]. Know [or be aware].
The absence of any phenomena seems to be nothingness only in the view of the ego (which is the false awareness that he refers to here as ‘அறியும் அது’ (aṟiyum adu), ‘that which knows’, meaning that which knows or is aware of things other than itself), because we seem to be this ego only when we are aware of phenomena, so awareness of phenomena is the very nature of the ego. It appears and co-exists with the ego in waking and dream, and disappears with it in sleep.

Since the ego does not exist in sleep, in its view sleep seems to be a state of nothingness. However, though the ego does not exist then, in sleep we exist and are aware of our existence, and hence after waking we know ‘I slept’.

The ‘I’ that existed and was aware that it existed in sleep is not the ego but what we actually are. However, since we now experience ourself as this phenomena-knowing ego, we seem to be not aware of ourself as we actually are, and hence we do not have a clear impression of what we were actually aware of in sleep, which is nothing other than the pure self-awareness that we actually are.

All this will become clear to us to the extent that we practise being keenly and persistently self-attentive, because the more keenly and persistently self-attentive we are, the more familiar we will become with self-awareness in isolation (or at least relative isolation) from all phenomena.


1 – 200 of 262   Newer›   Newest»
real aṟivu said...

"What is devoid of knowledge and ignorance [about anything other than itself] is actually aṟivu [knowledge or awareness]. That which knows [or is aware of anything other than itself] is not real aṟivu [knowledge or awareness]. Since it shines without another for knowing or for causing to know [or causing to be known], oneself is [real] aṟivu [knowledge or awareness]. It is not a void [or nothingness]. Know [or be aware]."
It is not a little strange that the term "knowledge " has here clearly recognizable negative overtones ?
"...only in the view of the ego (which is the false awareness that he refers to here as ‘அறியும் அது’ (aṟiyum adu),‘that which knows’, meaning that which knows or is aware of things other than itself), because we seem to be this ego only when we are aware of phenomena, so awareness of phenomena is the very nature of the ego. It appears and co-exists with the ego in waking and dream, and disappears with it in sleep."
So 'awareness of phenomena' is just/rather an other word/term for "mind" - if I have not got this point wrong.

Noob said...

In my opinion:
Knowledge pertains to a dream while 100% self awareness does not as at 100% self awareness dreaming must stop as there is nothing to be known.

real aṟivu said...

Are we not instructed by Bhagavan to 'know the knower' or
to 'be aware of who is aware' ?

pūrṇatva said...

Obviously 'Knowing' in the above sense is used for having something only in the mind.
Therefore it means only wrong knowledge.

Noob said...

to know the knower is the instructions for us, the ego

Noob said...

frankly : to know something is a feature of a mind... hence no knowledge once the mind is dead, however to be aware is also a synonym, the subtle difference is in our hearts

Noob said...

also, when ppl say that we know that we were born from a mother and father, the question still pends what was first - the dream that evolved into the waking state or was the waking state that influenced the dream?

nanavu-tuyil said...

"...the question still pends what was first - the dream that evolved into the waking state or was the waking state that influenced the dream?"
What use/gain would we have to know the answer to that question ?

Sanjay Lohia said...

The following transcript in taken from the video: 2017-07-08 Ramana Maharshi Foundation UK discussion with Michael James on the power of silence (56 minutes onwards). I have tried to paraphrase Michael's ideas:

We fall asleep every night because of tiredness, because our constant mental and physical actions make us too exhausted, and therefore we are not in a position to continue thinking and acting. However, Bhagavan was never tired or exhausted, because he (the real he) never acted in any way whatsoever. Yes, we saw his body and mind acting, but according to him he was not that body and mind, and therefore he never acted, and as a result was ever fresh, ever energetic.

We may consider our body to be like a machine, say like a car, and we may consider our mind to be like a computer (since it processes information). A car may run out of petrol, and a computer may run out of battery. In order to re-energize these we have to put some energy from outside – that is, we have to put some petrol from outside in case of a car, or have to plug in our computer in the volts. Only such measures can give them power to run again. We can’t keep them idle for, say, eight hours and expect them to regain power again, can we? But how do we regain energy and power simply by sleeping? This renewed energy after we get up from sleep indicates that we (our source) are the place of all power and energy.

The source of all energy is ourself- our pure self-consciousness. Because the jnani is always established in his true state, he is ever full of energy, and therefore he does not need any sleep to re-charge his batteries, as it were. Yes, at times Bhagavan seemed to be sleeping, but in fact he was ever alert. People used to sleep in Bhagavan’s hall, and if someone woke up and looked at Bhagavan he may be seen to be asleep (that is, he may be seen with his eyes closed), but if any one even stirred a little he would at once open his eyes.

real aṟivu said...

Sanjay Lohia,
actually it is a great miracle that even the spurious ego and mind live on the power and energy of their/our source - our pure self-awareness.

phenomena-knowing ego said...

"However, though the ego does not exist then, in sleep we exist and are aware of our existence, and hence after waking we know ‘I slept’."
The fact that we after waking know that we slept is indeed significant, important and considerable.
Wow, do we live really for ever and ever ?

"The 'I' that existed and was aware that it existed in sleep is not the ego but what we actually are. However, since we now experience ourself as this phenomena-knowing ego, we seem to be not aware of ourself as we actually are, and hence we do not have a clear impression of what we were actually aware of in sleep, which is nothing other than the pure self-awareness that we actually are."
In all probability this above statement seems to tell the truth.
Presumably the ascertainment of the truth has to be pursued (only) by making own inquiries into that subject. May I put the question whether there is any proof of truth for it ?
Or is there already produced evidence to back up the correctness of this statement ?

prajnana said...

"All this will become clear to us to the extent that we practise being keenly and persistently self-attentive, because the more keenly and persistently self-attentive we are, the more familiar we will become with self-awareness in isolation (or at least relative isolation) from all phenomena."
What would you do in my case ?
From somewhere or somehow I do not have not much inclination to be keenly and persistent self-attentive, although I am engaged in a study of the writings/teachings of Sri Bhagavan Ramana Maharshi of Tiruvannamalai/Arunachala for some time/years.
The reason for that behaviour is apparently that my practice is nearly always interwoven with the inability to be fully and meticulously or thoroughly self-attentive because I am lacking in the required vigilance.

nanavu-tuyil said...

"Pure self-awareness is what we actually are, so unless you can deny your own existence it is not nothing, and hence not nothingness either ...".
Can we trust our own maya-deceived ego-awareness which - as has been proved - makes a fool of us and (possibly) leads us to believe in a perfect undeniable or unquestionable "own existence" ?
Can we trust our ego which is not even aware of what it actually is, namely pure self-awareness ?

Sanjay Lohia said...

The following extract is taken from the video: 2017-04-23 (afternoon) Ramana Maharshi Foundation UK: discussion with Michael James (1:04 onward). I have paraphrased Michael’s words, and have also mixed my own manana with his ideas:

Whatever value we give to anything is entirely subjective: that is, we give value to things depending upon our likes and dislikes. Gold has a lot of value for most of us, but it is no better than mud for a sage. So there is no objective value in this world. Therefore, we have to decide what we should value the most, or consider to be our paramount duty. As Bhagavan once said:

Only by knowing Self can we attain real and enduring happiness; so long as we do not know Self we will be endlessly courting and experiencing misery; therefore our first and foremost duty is to know Self. All other efforts will only end in vain.

Bhagavan says ‘All other efforts will only end in vain’, but don’t we give great value to ‘all other efforts’? Don't we foolishly ignore that which Bhagavan wants to give us? Yes, we do foolishly give value to everything else, but fail to value our practice of atma-vichara.

We have to ask ourself, do we want what is real or not? If we want what is real, we should question the reality of everything. Bhagavan has pointed out to us, why we cannot be what we take ourself to be. We consider ourself to be this body, but where was this body in our sleep? If we can exist without this body (as in sleep), we have to seriously doubt whether or not we are this body. And if we are not even sure about our true identity, how can we be sure about our knowledge about anything else?

Thus we have to doubt everything, in fact, according to Bhagavan, we should doubt even the doubter: ‘may be this doubter itself is false’… Therefore, we should investigate and find out who we really are.

What is the benefit of such self-investigation? Since we were perfectly happy in sleep, but now have all these troubles, problems, dissatisfaction and so on, we have to infer from this that taking ourself to be this body could be the main cause of all our dissatisfaction. So how can we give up this ‘I am this body idea’? According to Bhagavan, we can give it up only by self-investigation.

Thus sooner or later we will be drawn to Bhagavan’s teachings, because without attending to ourself we will not experience what we actually are, and without experiencing ourself as we actually are we will be ‘endlessly courting and experiencing misery’, to use Bhagavan’s words.

prajnana said...

Sanjay Lohia,
1. "Only by knowing Self can we attain real and enduring happiness; so long as we do not know Self we will be endlessly courting and experiencing misery; therefore our first and foremost duty is to know Self. All other efforts will only end in vain."
We all would like to know or be what we actually are.
But can we by free will change leading our shadowy existence ? If it is not destined for someone by prarabda karma to give up immediately or at least soon the 'I am this body-idea' he or she will not be able to practice persistent self-investigation.
2. Your question "We consider ourself to be this body, but where was this body in our sleep?" is easily to answer. Your wife would certainly confirm that during your sleep-state your body was lying in bed.

"Willingness" is samsara too said...

prajnana, it is true, prarabhda karma determined even your last comment, it was determined that you would be writing this exact comment.

But at any time you have the freedom to not identify with the body and its action. You said FIRST we have to give up the "I am the body idea" and then we'll be able to practice persistent self-investigation.

You have it backwards. if you could give up the "I am the body idea" before doing vichara, vichara would not be necessary anymore. The "I am body idea" is so strong it is mostly not on a conscious level, without vichara that idea will persist. Because vichara will clear vasanas and unconscious vasanas will come up to the "surface" to get rid once and for all.

Re. the wife seeing the husband's body - I have heard that argument before many times... Let me just say that there are no "others", so there is only "you", everything else is a projection, incl. Salazar, Sanjai Lohia, Michael James, and your wife ;-)

Now let your mind digest that! LOL

prajnana said...

yes, you are right, after annihilation of the "I am the body idea" atma-vichara is not necessary anymore.
The freedom to not identify with the body and its action may be theoretically "in any time" but that freedom is in our experience certainly restricted and steered by one's prarabdha.
Re. the wife's attestation to the presence of the husband's body is of course applicable only in the relative sense/reality of the seeming world-appearance.
As you imply: In absolute pure self-awareness nothing else can neither actually exist not even seem to exist.
But what is after mental digestion of your statement and LOL ?

"Willingness" is samsara too said...

prajnana, it is not only "theoretically" so but in all reality. Prarabhda karma determines one's interest and desire to look for freedom but the actual decision if we attend to the mind or body or Self is ours only. We cannot use prarabhda karma as an excuse for that.

I said let your mind digest that because a mind cannot really grasp that, maybe somewhat conceptually but not really. Alas only a direct experience of Self will do.

I find it always funny when I read elaborate stated "philosophies" like the "there are no others" when it can only be a mental image until it is finally directly experienced. To play around with these concepts is a dead end.

However, that does not pertain to what Michael does or Sanjay Lohia's nice excerpts of Michael's videos. I feel inspired and encouraged reading that even after so many years on a spiritual path. There is a fine balance with everything, walking on the razor's edge. :-)

Sanjay Lohia said...

prajnana, only our free-will can enable us to give up our ‘shadowy existence’. Our ego is nothing but a shadow or a formless phantom, and therefore we can ‘destroy’ it only by looking at it closely and keenly. Destiny plays no part in our practice of self-investigation, because destiny controls only our outward life. Therefore, destiny can never stop us from turning within.

Yes, if I get up from sleep my wife will confirm that I was asleep sometime back, but should I believe her? No, if I consider Bhagavan’s teachings, I should not believe her. Why? It is because Bhagavan says everything comes into existence only when our ego comes into existence, and therefore it is only when my ego comes into existence that I project a person called ‘Sanjay’ and also project a wife. If I have to believe my wife, I should ask her to come to me while I am asleep and confirm that I (Sanjay) exist then and only then I should believe her. But can she ever come to me while I am asleep?

All this may sound quite fantastic and unbelievable, but Bhagavan has clearly thought us that this is true. How to find out whether or not this is true? The only way is to investigate ourself and look at this ego hard enough. This will make it vanish. Only then we can know with certainty about these matters.

According to Bhagavan, our final state will be that of ajata (non-born, non-created). Once we experience ajata we will experience that anything called 'world' never existed in the first place, and therefore we will clearly understand that whatever we experienced earlier (wife, world or whatever) was just our ego’s imagination. Hence these were just our dream creations, and therefore existed only in our mind.

When we are operating in this world, we should act in it as if it is real? But we should step back and totally ignore this world-appearance when we are trying to practise self-investigation.

prajnana said...

"Alas only a direct experience of Self will do."
For that we have to pay any price. Even our most "precious" ego must urgently retreat from our really virtuous target.

prajnana said...

Sanjay Lohia,
"Destiny plays no part in our practice of self-investigation, because destiny controls only our outward life. Therefore, destiny can never stop us from turning within."

But...In a certain degree the quality/intensity/depth/strenghth and particularly the steadfastness of our practice of self-investigation depend quite well on our prarabdha.
Yes, yes...once we experience ajata we will experience...
We speak here about a future occurence though highly desired already now.
As you say "Only then we can know with certainty about these matters."
Kind regards.

prajnana said...

Sanjay Lohia,
when you say "I should ask her to come to me while I am asleep and confirm that I (Sanjay) exist then and only then I should believe her. But can she ever come to me while I am asleep? " that is too much to expect. You are asking the impossible.
Not only that she cannot come to you while you are asleep how would you ever be able to perceive her fictitious confirmation of the existence of your resting body when your mind is then absent ?

kalpita said...

Sanjay Lohia,
"Our ego is nothing but a shadow or a formless phantom, and therefore we can ‘destroy’ it only by looking at it closely and keenly."
That project of destruction of the ego will possibly prove to be difficult if not impossible because how to look at a formless phantom ?

"Willingness" is samsara too said...

prajnana, you said: "But...In a certain degree the quality/intensity/depth/strenghth and particularly the steadfastness of our practice of self-investigation depend quite well on our prarabdha."

I don't believe so, "quality", "intensity", "steadfastness", etc. are judgments of the mind. Something we cannot rely on, in fact the mind tries to undermine vichara with arguments like that.

To wallow in notions of intensity, progress, difficulty is the very reason why we are bound. These thoughts have to be abandoned. It is highly recommended to acquire the attitude that realization is happening THIS very moment. And not listening to the whining of the ego about insurmountable obstacles.

It is always good to remember that we ARE already Self and only the thought(s) that we are not is the obstacle. Bhagavan was very clear about that!

prajnana said...

what you say is surely not wrong. However, I depicted my own impression and view about the fact that my practice of self-investigation falls almost constantly into difficulties. Thinking that we are already self is unfortunately not of the same value as direct self-rememberance. The wallow in the mud of unfavourable notions is only the consequence of my unsatisfied yearning for being aware of my real nature.

"Willingness" is samsara too said...

prajnana, of course the thought "I am Self" is not making one self. Why? Because it is not believed, "deep down". But if we can believe Annamalai Swami, affirming with deep intent and love "I am Self" can weaken the wrong belief to be a body and mind. Of course that cannot be done mechanically.

I also struggle from time to time and I have observed that I go through guna cycles. When sattva is predominant vichara seems easy and less obstacles are perceived. When it switches to a more rajasic mode I have problems to stay focused and my mind wanders a lot. Finally if tamas raises its ugly head I am not interested at all in vichara, I whine and struggle with everything and only prayer to the guru can help me then. In that phase I do not even attempt vichara what is perfectly fine.

Good luck my friend!

prajnana said...

so sometimes we sit in the similar shit and the tamasic terror let us whine for mercy.
Take care and good luck too my friend and fellow sufferer !
Now the mind desires to vanish soon behind the wall of sleep.

Sanjay Lohia said...

kalpita, I agree, if something is totally formless, how can we look at it? Let me try to put this more clearly and accurately:

Michael often gives us the following example. Let us suppose we are waking through a forest in dark, and there is hick foliage all around us. We may experience some phantom-like creatures following us. This could be a result of moonlight filtering through the foliage and thereby giving us a wrong impression that there are some frightening creatures near us. However, when we turn towards these creatures, we will find that there are no such creatures, and therefore our fright will disappear.

These phantoms are like our ego. It does not actually exist, but seems to exist as long as we do not at it keenly. Once we look at our ego hard enough or long enough it will take flight, and thereafter all our problems will be over, never to return again.

kalpita said...

Sanjay Lohia,
yes that given example illustrates what you/is meant.
By the way, you suppose walking through...thick foliage (not waking...hick...).
As long as we do not (....)look at it keenly...

Roger said...

Salazar says:
"quality", "intensity", "steadfastness", etc. are judgments of the mind. Something we cannot rely on, in fact the mind tries to undermine vichara with arguments like that.

Yes, it might be the case that obsession with "quality" and so forth is a distraction.

But Bhagavan also says:
The degree of freedom from unwanted thoughts and the degree of concentration on a single thought are the measures to gauge spiritual progress.

kalpita said...

any obsession is seldom or never auspicious.

"Willingness" is samsara too said...

Roger, it is easy to misunderstand Bhagavan. Especially if one tries to understand with the mind.

"Who" measures? Only the mind/ego. And therefore you've entered already delusion. I am pretty sure Bhagavan didn't make that comment to people so they would measure their "progress" to what he's said. It is a pointer to take to the heart and then forget about it!

Your mind clings at concepts and specific meanings, the truth is beyond that. How often do I have to repeat that the mind has to shut up? Hellooooooooooo ;-)

"Willingness" is samsara too said...

But, but, but, but .............

That's the mind resisting the truth which appears when it shuts up!

Ravi said...
This comment has been removed by the author.
Ravi said...

Have deleted the comment above meant for another thread here...after posting it in the other thread.

Sanjay Lohia said...

kalpita, I thank you for pointing out the typos in my last comment. Our ego is the first error, and as long as this error seems to exist we are prone to make errors in whatever we do.

kalpita said...

Sanjay Lohia,
no matter.
Nevertheless it is said that (even) the ego is supported by brahman for the purpose of its seeming rising and setting. So we seem to have to win over brahman in order to avoid the fundamental error of the ego's arising. But anyhow that sounds a little absurdly.

Sanjay Lohia said...

I would like to take some of Bhagavan quotes and share my manana (reflections) on these quotes. I welcome discussion on these comments so that it helps all of us deepen our understanding of Bhagavan’s teachings.

Bhagavan: The prime duty of a Guru is to establish the certainty of His existence in his disciples and having done that he is free to leave.

My note: Bhagavan is ourself as we really are, and therefore he can never leave us, nor can we ever leave him. He is the infinite, unchanging reality, other than which nothing exists. So he is ever available to us. His presence and power is as potent now, as it was when he was in his body.

When Bhagavan was about to drop his mortal coil, the devotees around him were very sad thinking that Bhagavan was about to leave them. In order to lift their morale he repeatedly told them: where can I go, I am here. ‘Here’ means ‘everywhere’, because ‘here’ is ‘everywhere’, thereby indicating that he was not the body that they took him to be. He is the eternal presence, and therefore his grace or love is always flowing towards us.

We just have to turn within, where he is ever available, keenly and steadily, and he will take over our entire life. Gradually but surely we will be pushed out of the picture. We should have no doubts about this.

kalpita said...

Sanjay Lohia,
when Bhagavan is "ourself as we really are" or "the eternal presence" you seem to start from the assumption that "we" are at present somebody other. But can we be at all anything other than what we actually are ?

Turning 180 degrees can only be imagination said...

From reading previous comments I know that the pre-dominant stance on this blog is that a Jnani in a body is not necessary and I can see the reasoning why. Bhagavan is Self and Self is the inner most “core” of our being. Therefore one can tune into that without the need for a guru in flesh and blood.

Strangely though, gurus like Papaji were quite adamant that a living guru is necessary for most, that sat-sang in the presence of a realized guru is priceless. However it requires extremely good karma to come into that situation.

So what are those supposed to do who never were in the presence of a Jnani? I’d say to go on with vichara and not to worry about that, Bhagavan will send a guru when the time is ripe and if it is necessary. That might be in a next life.

However one should not minimize the importance of a living guru just because one does not have had the opportunity to be in the presence of one. One does not have to call the grapes sour just because they hang far up there.

I am wondering, how many on this blog have the desire to be in the presence of a Jnani in flesh and blood? I personally cannot imagine that anybody would scoff at an opportunity like that. I certainly would travel around the world to meet an enlightened master.

However, I don’t believe that there is currently a public known Jnani anywhere.

Sanjay Srivastava said...

"However, I don’t believe that there is currently a public known Jnani anywhere."

We may like to think that had we been in Bhagavan's times, we would have surely recognised him and rejoiced in his satsanga. However, let us not forget that even in Bhagavan's times many who came for his darshan went away un impressed. For most part of Bhagavan's life, very few people recognised him. His fame spread only at the fag end of his physical life. So even if a true jnani is living somewhere, unless our prarabdha is such, we will not be able to meet him. Or even if we meet him, we may not be able to recognise him.

Sanjay Lohia said...

Sanjay Srivastava, I totally agree with you. We can never know a jnani. He could be a rikshaw puller. How can we say with certainty he is not.

"Willingness" is samsara too said...

Sanjay Srivastava, yes I agree with you, unless the Jnani is publicly recognized as such it is impossible to know for sure. Papaji too became only well known in the last years of his life, before that it was impossible to even find him unless it was supposed to be that way.

bhāvaṉātīta said...

are we not permanent in the presence of a Jnani or of jnana ? That we are aware of it only in dreamless sleep is quite another matter.
Is not Arunachala Hill called the very embodiment of Siva-jnana ?
That we are not aware of and attracted to it is quite a different matter.
For my part I consider Arunachala Hill in its full subtle significance as my satguru.
Even I am not yet worthy of it I try to prove myself worthy of it at least finally. So a "public known Jnani" is here quite well though it consists not of flesh and blood but of rock, boulder and above all of the bright light of jnana.
As Sanjay Srivastava generally remarks meeting and recognizing a true jnani is a case of prarabdha and discovery/cognition.

Ramesh said...

Only Jnanam (Arivu) Exists (unconditionally, without any time / space / vyakti restrictions too).

Jnani, Prarbdha etc do not exist at all.

sat - bhava said...

your first statement "Only Jnanam (Arivu) Exists (unconditionally, without any time / space / vyakti restrictions too)." is inprinciple certainly correct.
Your second claim in its strict sense seems to be at least debatable.
But then you would possibly explain that discussion does not exist at all.

Sanjay Lohia said...

kalpita, our true nature is anadi, ananta, akhanda sat-chit-ananda. However we feel that we are limited in time and space, as this body, don’t we? Therefore, we do feel that we are separate from our timeless and spaceless existence, and it is only because of this limitation that we require a guru and his teachings. Only a real sadguru can guide us to come out of this limitation.

When we experience a world, we first limit ourself to a body, and it is only through the senses of this body that we project and experience this world. We are the infinite whole, but we seem to be confined within this body. This confinement stifles and suffocates us, as it were, and we want to break free.

This urge to break free from our self-imposed (or ego-imposed) confinement is what make us do all sorts of sadhanas. However, we have to finally practise self-investigation, because only this practice can free us of all our limitations. The root of our bondage in our ego, and this ego can be annihilated only by looking at it keenly and vigilantly. Sooner or later we will come to know that this ego never existed in the first place. Therefore there was never any bondage.

Sanjay Lohia said...

Salazar, you say, ‘I am wondering, how many on this blog have the desire to be in the presence of a Jnani in flesh and blood? I personally cannot imagine that anybody would scoff at an opportunity like that. I certainly would travel around the world to meet an enlightened master’.

We all have felt the desire to meet a jnani in flesh and blood. However, having come to Bhagavan’s teachings we soon realise that the jnani is not flesh and blood. He is what we really are. As Bhagavan used to say ‘jnana alone is the jnani’. Since jnana (pure self-awareness) is what we are actually are, we can find the real jnani only in the core of our heart.

Isn’t it much simpler to turn within and be in communion with the inner ‘jnani’? Why should we go around the world searching for 'an enlightened master', which we or may not find. Even if we find one can he give us any teaching which is more clear, simple and direct than the teachings of Bhagavan? Having come to Bhagavan we need no other guru.

Ravi said...

The need for a Self Realized Guru to guide the earnest aspirant is a very pertinent and interesting topic and it is well worth our attention.We may consider two excerpts from 'Talks with Sri Ramana Maharshi'.

1.Talk 198,Sri Bhagavan says:"A person begins with dissatisfaction. Not content with the world he seeks satisfaction of desires by prayers to God; his mind is purified; he longs to know God more than to satisfy his carnal desires. Then God’s Grace begins to manifest. God takes the form of a Guru and appears to the devotee; teaches him the Truth; purifies the mind by his teachings and contact; the mind gains strength, is able to turn inward; with meditation it is purified yet further, and eventually remains still without the least ripple. That stillness is the Self. The Guru is both exterior and interior. From the exterior he gives a push to the mind to turn inward; from the interior he pulls the mind towards the Self and helps the mind to achieve quietness. That is Grace. Hence there is no difference between God, Guru and Self".

2.Talk 282:D.: It is said that the Guru can make his disciple realise the Self by transmitting some of his own power to him? Is it true? M.: Yes. The Guru does not bring about Self-Realisation. He simply removes the obstacles to it. The Self is always realised. D.: Is there absolute necessity of a Guru for Self-Realisation? M.: So long as you seek Self-Realisation the Guru is necessary. Guru is the Self. Take Guru to be the Real Self and your self as the individual self. The disappearance of this sense of duality is removal of ignorance. So long as duality persists in you the Guru is necessary. Because you identify yourself with the body you think the Guru, too, to be some body. You are not the body, nor is the Guru. You are the Self and so is the Guru. This knowledge is gained by what you call Self-Realisation. D.: How can one know whether a particular individual is competent to be a Guru? M.: By the peace of mind found in his presence and by the sense of respect you feel for him. D.: If the Guru happens to turn out incompetent, what will be the fate of the disciple who has implicit faith in him? M.: Each one according to his merits.

If we have followed the lives of great devotees like Muruganar,Annamalai Swami,Kavyakanta Ganapathy muni,etc...they were drawn to Bhagavan and some of them after having been acquainted with his they did seek his physical proximity and got caught up in the teaching in an inescapable manner.


"Willingness" is samsara too said...

Sanjay Lohia, of course and I am not proposing to go out there and start looking unless there is the real deal and the location is already known.

Thank you for all of the responses.

"Willingness" is samsara too said...

And....I'd not go to a sat-guru for his teachings but to just be in his presence.

Ravi said...

Necessity For a Self Realized Guru continued...

We will next consider Sri Annamalai swami's diary (This is published in Tamizh and not yet translated into English) entry no 33:

33. On the night of 18.2.38, a devotee asked Sri Bhagavan: “How long should one stay with the guru? I read in The Sunday Times-Kanjangad Swami Ramdas had written that it is good for one to stay away after having satsanga(with the guru) for a few days and knowing the means of Sadhana. Contrarily if one stays put, it will be akin to the stunted growth of a small tree growing in the shade of a big tree. I do not know whether this is right or wrong. Sri Bhagavan should clarify this.”

Sri Bhagavan pointed out the following verse from Kaivalya Navaneetham, (chapter2, verse 2):

"The pure minded and earnest seeker of knowledge
Adheres to the guru like a young monkey clings to its mother,
Right from the moment of wrong identification with the body constituted of five elements
Till the moment of attainment of Nirguna videha mukti."

He further said: For one who does gurukulavasam (staying with the Guru) always and forever inseparably, like a person and his shadow, where is the question of his leaving it and going out? What does it mean to stay in it? For such a one it is gurukula vasam only at all places.

It appears as if Bhagavan and Papa Ramdas are not saying the same thing ...but this is only seemingly so...for Bhagavan did ask Annamalai Swami to stop visiting him...we know that story too well ...and this is exactly what Papa Ramdas had said!


Sanjay Lohia said...

Ravi, what Bhagavan says in Talk 198, as quoted by you, is quite pertinent to our discussion. Our spiritual journey begins with dissatisfaction and ends only with complete satisfaction. The journey between these points is called sadhana.

Bhagavan says, ‘The Guru is both exterior and interior. From the exterior he gives a push to the mind to turn inward; from the interior he pulls the mind towards the Self and helps the mind to achieve quietness’. Though guru is both exterior and interior, the job is the exterior guru is point us to the interior guru, and having done so, his job is over.

Thus we should eventually give up even our attachment to the name and form of Bhagavan, because he resides only in our heart. His outward form was a temporary and perishable manifestation, whereas he is eternally residing in us as ourself.

Ravi said...

Necessity for a Self Realized guru continued...

It is clear that there is a role for an 'outer' guru in flesh and blood and there is the inner guru ever present to draw us inwards...and although we make this sort of a distinction,the guru is one only.

If we consider that the teachings(words of the Guru)are available in printed format and one can read them and dwell on them ....Is this the same as contacting the 'outer guru' ? For what is he going to tell us in addition to what is already said in the printed matter...and which in turn is elaborately 'explained' in forums like this?...and further more as devotees of 'Bhagavan' we already have 'Bhagavan' as our guru? is just that we have to earnestly pursue the teaching.

The above line of thought looks very valid but its strength has to be assessed and this deserves a critical examination...Just what is the teaching? is that the 'ego' that we identify as the self is to be seen as an impostor and shown the door...there is nothing else to be done.

What is the 'ego'?...It is that which isolates us and shrinks us...and does it get eliminated by our being devotees of 'bhagavan'?...Just who is 'our Bhagavan'?...Is he 'Bhagavan' if we differentiate him from 'other' gurus and cling to him?...and does it serve any purpose if we limit 'his teachings' to the 'words' he spoke or to the works he 'wrote'...and that too only the 'authentic' of his disciples...and insulate ourselves from all other teachings that also serve precisely the same purpose...ending the reign of the ego and its isolation.

We may say that we do not want to be 'confused' by looking at 'other' teachings by 'other' gurus!...If we are clear regarding the 'teachings' of Bhagavan where is the question of getting confused in whichever way they are stated by 'other' gurus.

Friends,please do not take me amiss...I am saying this in right earnest ...many of us do have this difficulty although we may not be aware of this or we do not wish to confront this...and this is precisely where the 'outer' guru will be of tremendous help and aid...he can deliver the needed 'Hammer blows' to make us come to our senses and provide true clarity...Most of us definitely need this 'outer push' of an external guru so that we grow sensitive to the pull of the 'inner' guru who is our very Self...and hence fundamental and universal, the jagadguru.


Turning 180 degrees can only be imagination said...

From what I have read about the lives of Jnanis, they all (with the exception of Bhagavan) were in contact with a living sat-guru (during their last life) and these encounters have been significant. Now we are talking about highly advanced devotees who were in their last lives. Now why would these encounters happen if there would not be a need for it?

And they were all “attached” to the guru until they let it go. When you are in the presence of a sat-guru your heart can open and a very powerful love for the guru can come up which sweeps away everything else. To let go of that seems almost impossible.

Ravi said...

we shall continue this topic in a leisurely thing is that it will help us in our sadhana.

For the moment,let me state one simple thing that all devotees of Bhagavan learnt in his presence...Bhagavan called everyone as 'swami'...Annamalai Swami,Kunju Swami,etc...all are only swami(Self) and not Asamis(persons) ...this is the spirit with which I shall address one and all here...and all that I am sharing is for my manana only.


Roger said...

Of course there are Jnanis living today.

The problem is that this is a theoretical discussion and not a practical one. If this were a practical search for a jnani... we would be earnestly searching in the world to find a jnani matching our temperament. We would be intently examining all available spiritual teachers, visiting those that appear promising, and keeping our attention open all the time in case you might meet an unassuming jnani on the street, or meet someone who might point to someone else who might know the jnani. The only requirement is openness, and openness is probably not present.

This discussion is just entertainment and speculation.

A big blockage to discovering a jnani is the very strong and narrow opinions here about Bhagavan's work. Opinions are so narrow here that even a large segment of Bhagavan's work (such as Talks and many other works) are denied. Since even Bhagavan's work is not accepted entirely.. how could a living jnani who would undoubtedly be somewhat different be accepted?

You can not find... because you hold so many mental preconceptions that prevent seeing. Quite frankly, Salazar already knows everything so how could he find?

If you are of a devotional nature... on this site you are taught to examine words compare them to a narrow portion of Bhagavan's writings. To apply the advaita language filter. But this prevents you from seeking and recognizing a true jnani with the heart.

This blog is more like a philosophy club. How many people actually meditate (call it Atma Vichara if you like) 1-2 hours per day every day as Bhagavan recommends below? I'll bet there is not one person here who does. The priority here is internet discussion, and not looking inward.

From "A Search in Secret India" by PB:
"The life of action need not be renounced. If you will meditate for an hour or two every day, you can then carry on with your duties. If you meditate in the right manner, then the current of mind induced will continue to flow even in the midst of your work".

There is a blog, I can find it if anyone wants, where Michael says something like 'put the attention inward, when the attention is profoundly focused... the world and body are lost from attention even if the eyes are open'.

It seems people here are willing to defend Michael's teaching endlessly... but who actually attempts to reproduce Michael's teaching above 1-2 hours a day every day ?!? Nobody!

I'll bet Michael does not even practice this. I read here where Michael asks for the donation of funds so he can do his work and teaching full time. I would be really impressed if he asked for funds to allow him to mediate atma vichara style many hours a day.

Ravi said...

The Necessity of a Self Realized guru(Sadguru) continued...

Here is an excerpt from 'Letters from Sri Ramanasramam' where Yogi Ramiah is discussing this with Bhagavan:
Yesterday morning Yogi Ramiah questioned Bhagavan thus: “Swami, some disciples of Sai Baba worship a picture of him and say that it is their Guru: How could that be? They can worship it as God, but what benefit could they get by worshipping it as their Guru?” Bhagavan replied, “They secure concentration by that.” The Yogi said, “That is all very well, I agree. It may be to some extent a sadhana in concentration. But isn’t a Guru required for that concentration?” “Certainly, but after all, Guru only means guri, concentration” said Bhagavan. The Yogi said, “How can a lifeless picture help in developing deep concentration? It requires a living Guru who could show it in practice. It is possible perhaps for Bhagavan to attain perfection without a living Guru but is it possible for people like myself?” “That is true. Even so, by worshipping a lifeless portrait the mind gets concentrated to a certain extent. That concentration will not remain constant unless one knows one’s own Self by enquiring. For that enquiry, a Guru’s help is necessary. That is why the ancients say that the enquiry should not stop with mere initiation. However, even if it does, the initiation will not be without benefit. It will bear fruit some time or other. But there should be no ostentation in this initiation. If the mind is pure, all this will bear fruit; otherwise, it goes to waste like a seed sown in barren soil,” said Bhagavan. “I don’t know, Swami. You may say that a hundred times or a thousand times. To be sure of one’s own progress, a living Guru like you is required. How can we give the status of a Guru to a lifeless portrait?” he said. With a smile on his face, Bhagavan said, “Yes, yes,” nodding his head and then kept silent. Brother, all I can say is that that smile and that silence were radiant with knowledge and wisdom. How can I describe it?

We may recall that Paramahansa Yogananda said that had he stayed a few more days with Yogi Ramiah(also called rama Yogi),he may have stayed there and not returned to America!


Ravi said...

The Necessity of a sadguru continued...

26th February, 1947
This afternoon a Tamil youth approached Bhagavan, and asked, “Swamiji! Yesterday morning you told the Gujarati lady that renunciation means internal renunciation. How are we to attain it? What is internal renunciation?”

Bhagavan: Internal renunciation means that all vasanas should be subdued. If you ask me, ‘How to attain that?’ my reply is, ‘it is attainable by sadhana.’

Question: Sadhana requires a Guru, doesn’t it?

Bhagavan: Yes! A Guru is required.

Question: How is one to decide upon a proper Guru? What is the swarupa of a Guru?

Bhagavan: He is the proper Guru to whom your mind is attuned. If you ask, how to decide who is the Guru and what is his swarupa, he should be endowed with tranquillity, patience, forgiveness and other virtues capable of attracting others, even by a mere look, like the magnetic stone, and with a feeling of equality towards all — he that has these virtues is the true Guru. If one wants to know the true Guru swarupa, one must know his own swarupa first. How can one know the true Guru swarupa, if one does not know one’s own swarupa first? If you want to perceive the true Guru swarupa, you must first learn to look upon the whole universe as Guru rupam. One must have the Gurubhavam towards all living beings. It is the same with God. You must look upon all objects as God’s rupa. How can he who does not know his own Self perceive Ishwara rupa or Guru rupa? How can he determine them? Therefore, first of all know your own real swarupam.

Question: Isn’t a Guru necessary to know even that?


Ravi said...

The Necessity for a Sadguru (Letters from Sri Ramanasramam) continued...

Bhagavan: That is true. The world contains many great men. Look upon him as your Guru with whom your mind gets attuned. The one in whom you have faith is your Guru.

The youth was not satisfied. He started with a list of great men now living, and said, “He has that defect; he has this defect. How can they be looked upon as Gurus?”

Bhagavan tolerates any amount of decrying of himself, but cannot tolerate even a little fault-finding of others. He said with some impatience, “Oho! you have been asked to know your own self, but instead you have started finding fault with others. It is enough if you correct your own faults. Those people can take care of their faults. It looks as if they cannot attain salvation unless they obtain your certificate first. That is a great pity! They are all waiting for your certificate. You are a great man. Have they any salvation unless you approve of them? Here you blame them, elsewhere you will blame us. You know everything, whereas we know nothing, and we have to be submissive towards you. Yes! we shall do so. You go and please proclaim, ‘I went to Ramanasramam; I asked the Maharshi some questions; he was unable to reply properly, so he does not know anything’.”


Ravi said...

The Necessity for a Sadguru (Letters from Sri Ramanasramam) continued...

The youth was about to speak again in the same strain, but another devotee prevented him from doing so. Bhagavan observed it, and said, “Why do you stop him? Let all keep silent, and let him go on speaking as long as he pleases. He is a wise man. We must therefore lie low. I have been observing him ever since his arrival. He was originally sitting in a corner with all his questions carefully assorted and kept ready bundled up, as it were. He has since been moving and coming nearer day by day till at last he has come close enough and has started asking questions. After hearing the lady questioning me yesterday, he decided to show off his knowledge and so has opened his bundle. All that is in it must come out, mustn’t it? He is going to search the whole world and decide the Guru swarupa for himself. It seems he has not so far found anybody with the requisite qualifications for being his Guru. Dattatreya is the universal Guru, isn’t he? And he has said that the whole world was his Guru. If you look at evil you feel you should not do it. So he said evil also was his Guru. If you see good, you would wish to do it; so he said that good also was his Guru; both good and evil, he said, were his Gurus. It seems that he asked a hunter which way he should go, but the latter ignored his question, as he was intent upon his aim to shoot a bird above. Dattatreya saluted him, saying, ‘You are my Guru! Though killing the bird is bad, keeping your aim so steadfast in shooting the arrow as to ignore my query is good, thereby teaching me that I should keep my mind steadfast and fixed on Ishwara. You are therefore my Guru.’ In the same way he looked upon everything as his Guru, till in the end he said that his physical body itself was a Guru, as its consciousness does not exist during sleep and the body that does not exist should therefore not be confused with the soul — dehatmabhavana (the feeling that the body is the soul). Therefore that too was a Guru for him. While he looked upon the whole world as his Guru, the whole world worshipped him as its Guru. It is the same with Ishwara. He who looks upon the whole universe as Ishwara, is himself worshipped by the universe as Ishwara — yadbhavam tadbhavathi (‘as you conceive you become’) What we are, so is the world.


Ravi said...

The Necessity for a Sadguru (Letters from Sri Ramanasramam) continued...

There is a big garden. When a cuckoo comes to the garden it will search the mango tree for fruit while the crow will only search the neem tree. The bee searches for flowers to gather honey, while the flies search for the faeces. He who searches for the salagrama (small holy stone) will pick it up, pushing aside all the other stones. That salagrama is in the midst of a heap of ordinary stones. The good is recognised because evil also coexists. Light shines because darkness exists. Ishwara is there, only if illusion exists. He who seeks the essence, is satisfied if he finds one good thing among a hundred. He rejects the ninety-nine and accepts the one that is good, feeling satisfied that with that one thing he could conquer the world. His eye will always be on that single good thing.” Bhagavan said all this in a resounding voice and then remained silent. The whole hall was steeped in a dignified silence. The clock struck four. As though it were the original peacock that had come to salute the lotus feet of the Arunachala Ramana that destroyed the demon Surapadma, and to offer praises to him, the Ashram peacock entered the hall from the northern side and announced its arrival by giving out a resounding cry. Bhagavan responded to the cry by saying, “Aav, Aav” (come, come) and turned his look that side.


Ravi said...

The Necessity for a Sadguru continued...

Friends,so how do we go 'hunting' for a sadguru?...Even if we meet one,can we recognize him?...Is this the way of going about it?

Do we make a list of all publicly known Gurus and start evaluating them as was done by the boy in 'Letters from Sri Ramanasramam'?

Roger said...

thanks Ravi, that was a great post.

Ravi said...

We will continue this topic seeing examples in real life ...from the lives of other great devotees as well...Actually it is the Guru who has to find us...although we may think that we found him...I am not sure how many here have read the autobiography of Sri Dilip Kumar Roy,Disciple of Sri is called 'Sri Aurobindo came to me'...Dilip Kumar Roy is quite fond of Bhagavan and used to seek Bhagavan's sannidhi...He has composed poems on Bhagavan.


Ravi said...

The Necessity for a sadguru :
Example 1-Sri Annamalai Swami pulled up by Sri Bhagavan.

In the mid 1940s,when Bhagavan began to find it difficult to walk,Arumugam and I levelled and cleared the path on which Bhagavan usually took his daily walk.The path ran through the ashram to palakottu and then back to the ashram via the lower slopes of the hill.To make a smooth surface we put mud on the path and covered it with soft sand.We also installed a tall stone at a place where there was a break in the slope so that bhagavan could hold on to it while he was climbing.The path needed occasional maintenance because the herds of goats which roamed around the lower slopes of the hill frequently kicked thorny twigs onto it.One day,as I was walking along this path,I noticed several new thorns.I took a branch from a nearby tree and swept the path clean.
That night,when I went to the ashram for darshan,Bhagavan asked me,'who cleared that path?'
I told him that I had decided to clean it because I had noticed some thorns while I was out for a walk.
Bhagavan then asked me rather sharply,'Why are you reflecting on this act which you have done?'(I recall swami telling me this story-it seems Sri Bhagavan said-Oh!nee pannayO! meaning -Oh!you did it!-Ravi)
I immediately understood that Bhagavan was trying to tell me that I should not have the idea,'I have done this service for Bhagavan'.I was not aware that I was dwelling on this thought but Bhagavan must have seen it in my mind.
'You can see my mind.I was not aware that I was thinking,"I have done this".I just cleared the path because I didn't want Bhagavan to tread on any thorns.'
Bhagavan responded by saying,"If you do not look back at the acts that you have done,a lot of benefits will accrue to you.'
Bhaavan still seemed to be suggesting that I was consciously dwelling on the act so I told him again,'Bhagavan knows that I was not consciously thinking,"I did this job"'.
Then I quoted a verse by Thayumanavar:O God,you know my mind,you know my actions.If,inspite of this,you chase me away from you,I shall have many troubles.'

Bhagavan smiled at my quote and didn't pursue the matter any further.

Excerpted from 'Living by the words of Bhagavan'-David Godman

The Verse of Thayumanavar is verse No.33 (Wreath Pervasive supreme):

உள்ளம் அறிவாய் உழப்பறிவாய் நான்ஏழை
தள்ளிவிடின் மெத்தத் தவிப்பேன் பராபரமே. Verse 33 of parApara kaNNi

Thou knoweth my heart,Thou knoweth my distress Helpless am I.If Thou reject me,
In anguish extreme will I be, Oh Para Param!

Sri Annamalai Swami truly did not know that there is a subtle play of ego lurking behind his selfless and loving service to the Guru ...and Bhagavan pulled him up for that.


Sanjay Lohia said...

On the topic of guru

Bhagavan: The Guru will go with the disciple in his own path and then gradually turn him into the supreme path at the ripe moment. Suppose a car is going at top speed, to stop it at once or to turn it at once would be attended by disastrous consequences.

My note: Bhagavan clearly taught us that the only practice that can annihilate our ego is atma-vichara, and that most other methods can be a roundabout and extremely lengthy ways to finally come to atma-vichara. However, sometimes when devotees asked him whether they can follow methods other than self-investigation, Bhagavan seemed to approve other methods like japa, murti-dhyana, pranayama and so on. It was because Bhagavan responded to individual needs, beliefs and aspirations.

Bhagavan seemed to go along the devotees’ path, but subsequently gradually tried to turn them to his direct path of self-investigation. As Bhagavan says in the above quote of his, ‘Suppose a car is going at top speed, to stop it at once or to turn it at once would be attended by disastrous consequences’. Therefore, he seemed to approve many other paths in spite of knowing fully well that those paths cannot take the devotee far. He felt that some practice is better than no practice.

However, the devotees that came to him with an open mind and wanted to receive what Bhagavan wanted to give them, he recommended only the practice of self-investigation. He knew its its unique efficacy by his direct experience.

Ravi said...


"However, the devotees that came to him with an open mind and wanted to receive what Bhagavan wanted to give them, he recommended only the practice of self-investigation"

A Jnani has no there is nothing that he 'wants to give' or 'recommends'...What is appropriate for the earnest seeker is given or communicated.
Here is an incident as narrated by Professor Swaminathan:
"Once in the 1940s, I was sitting outside the hall with many devotees. Bhagavan was reclining on a couch. A group of learned pandits was discussing passages from the Upanishads with great enthusiasm and profundity. All, including Bhagavan, appeared to be attentively listening to the interesting discussion when, all of a sudden, Bhagavan rose from the couch, walked some distance and stood before a villager who was standing looking lowly with palms joined. All eyes turned to Bhagavan and the villager who was standing at a distance. They appeared to be conversing. Soon Bhagavan returned to his couch and the discussion was resumed.
Being curious to know why Bhagavan had to go to meet a villager, I slipped away from the discussion and caught up with the villager before he left the Ashramam. He told me that Bhagavan was asking why I was standing so far and also asked my name, about my village, what I did, and about my family etc. I enquired, "Did you ask him anything?" The villager replied, "When I asked him how I could earn his blessings, he asked whether there was a temple in my village and the name of the village, the name of the deity. When I told him the deity's name, he said, go on repeating the name of the deity and you would receive all the blessings needed"
I came back to Bhagavan's presence, but lost all interest in the discussions. I felt that the simple humility and devotion of a peasant had evoked a far greater response from our master than any amount of learning. I then decided that though a scholar by profession, I should always remain a humble, ignorant peasant at heart and pray for Bhagavan's grace and blessings."

The villager was certainly open minded and he received the upadesa from bhagavan...Now we also know that when another group of villagers visited Bhagavan and in the presence of Kavyakanta Ganapathy Muni,Bhagavan (seemingly) advised self enquiry...and when the muni accosted bhagavan and said that it would have been more appropriate had bhagavan advised them to do japa...Bhagavan said 'I only told them what I know'!...This advice may well be for KavyaKanta Muni than for the villagers en masse!...The Ways of the Lord are quite subtle and cannot be taken at its face value.

I am aware that Sri Sadhu Om used to maintain what you have said in your post.


Ravi said...

The Necessity for a sadguru:

Example 2: Muruganar is warned by Bhagavan
The Incident that I am narrating here is from a Talk by Sri V Ganesan at the Narada Gana Sabha ,Chennai,India a couple of years ago.( Year 2013 or so)...It is available as a recording along with Nochur Sri Venkatraman's exposition on 'nAn yAr' that took place for 7 days at the Narada Gana sabha.

Bhagavan was almost confined to a small room (Mahanirvana room) where he was lying on the cot,terminally ill and and looked after by the attendants...The pain was excruciating and the devotees were helpless...Muruganar approached Bhagavan and overcome by emotion rolled on the floor in front of Bhagavan entreating that Bhagavan should not leave them...Bhagavan called Muruganar and warned him with the words 'Yemaandhu pOgaathe... Dehatma Buddhi...Jagrathe'(Don't get deceived...this is dehatma buddhi...Be aware!)

Recounting this incident To Ganesan,Muruganar said "I did not suspect that the Dehatma Buddhi was not yet vanquished...and yet Bhagavan was pointing out what I was not aware of it"!

Ganesan while narrating this incident said:"Muruganar had all along lived closely with Bhagavan and had composed over 40000 verses and yet Bhagavan is warning him of the trace of dehatma Buddhi still lurking somewhere!"

This goes to show how an 'outer' guru is quite invaluable to show our blind spots which we may not be aware of.


Ravi said...

The Necessity of a Sadguru:

We shall see more examples of disciples being corrected by the sadguru. What is the role and function of the Sadguru?
Here is an excerpt from Sri Aurobindo:
The Teacher of the integral Yoga will follow as far as he may the method of the Teacher within us. He will lead the disciple through the nature of the disciple. Teaching, example, influence, -- these are the three instruments of the Guru. But the wise Teacher will not seek to impose himself or his opinions on the passive acceptance of the receptive mind; he will throw in only what is productive and sure as a seed which will grow under the divine fostering within. He will seek to awaken much more than to instruct; he will aim at the growth of the faculties and the experiences by a natural process and free expansion. He will give a method as an aid, as a utilisable device, not as an imperative formula or a fixed routine. And he will be on his guard against any turning of the means into a limitation, against the mechanising of process. His whole business is to awaken the divine light and set working the divine force of which he himself is only a means and an aid, a body or a channel.

The example is more powerful than the instruction; but it is not the example of the outward acts nor that of the personal character, which is of most importance. These have their place and their utility; but what will most stimulate aspiration in others is the central fact of the divine realisation within him governing his whole life and inner state and all his activities. This is the universal and essential element; the rest belongs to individual person and circumstance. It is this dynamic realisation that the Sadhaka must feel and reproduce in himself according to his own nature; he need not strive after an imitation from outside which may well be sterilising rather than productive of right and natural fruits.

Influence is more important than example. Influence is not the outward authority of the Teacher over his disciple, but the power of his contact, of his presence, of the nearness of his soul to the soul of another, infusing into it, even though in silence, that which he himself is and possesses. This is the supreme sign of the Master. For the greatest Master is much less a Teacher than a Presence pouring the divine consciousness and its constituting light and power and purity and bliss into all who are receptive around him;And it shall also be a sign of the teacher of the integral Yoga that he does not arrogate to himself Guruhood in a humanly vain and self-exalting spirit. His work, if he has one, is a trust from above, he himself a channel, a vessel or a representative. He is a man helping his brothers, a child leading children, a Light kindling other lights, an awakened Soul awakening souls, at highest a Power or Presence of the Divine calling to him other powers of the Divine.

nivrtti said...

"His whole business is to awaken the divine light and set working the divine force of which he himself is only a means and an aid, a body or a channel."
Is not the divine light already and always wide awake ?
How could there be any need to awaken it ?

Ravi said...


"only that day dawns to which we are awake"-David Thoreau

There is a verbal meaning and an implied meaning in the language of the scriptures and sages...we need to take the implied just means that we have to awaken to that Divine Light which is ever present and shining of its own accord...and the guru removes our ignorance and awakens us to this light within.

This is how Sri Aurobindo expresses this:
"We know the Divine and become the Divine, because we are That already in our secret nature. All teaching is a revealing, all becoming is an unfolding. Self-attainment is the secret; self-knowledge and an increasing consciousness are the means and the process"

It is enough if we take what is clear to us...the rest we may leave.

Sri Ramakrishna says: Too much reasoning throws the mind into confusion. You get clear water if you drink from the surface of a pool. Put your hand deeper and stir the water, and it becomes muddy .


Roger said...

Hi Sanjay,
you say 'atma vichara is the ONLY way'.

Please examine your practice and tell us in your own experience if atma vichara is working for you. That is the thing which really matters. Whether or not Atma Vichara is theoretically more advanced does not matter at all!! If Atma Vichara is only a belief system for you... then it's not working. Can you sit for 1-2 hours productively in atma vichara meditation? What is it like? How would you know if it's working?

The teaching here is that one must go with Atma Vichara because it is the highest and only way. This is like saying at age 6 years old one should enroll in an advanced PhD degree program (before learning to read!) because the PhD program is the highest & the ONLY way to get an aerospace rocket scientist job.

Obviously, the 6 year old will never succeed in a PhD program without doing all the prerequisites, in fact, since reading is not taught at the PhD level, the 6 year old will NEVER even get even the basics. Teaching must be matched to the individuals level AND their temperament.

You are told that other teachings like "Talks" are less useful or not useful because Bhagavan would change the teaching for people on different levels, and he would teach different things to different people.

But people ARE at different levels and people have different temperaments (ie some resonate with Jnana yoga, others with Bhakti yoga etc)!!!
If this is not considered... then there is NO ENTRY to atma vichara because the prerequisites and individual temperament have been ignored.

I am appalled at Michael's teaching (and it comes from Sadhu Om) for example in the last paragraph of the prior blog: he says that all spiritual practices except for Atma Vichara are just activities of the ego.

This discourages people from doing the necessary prerequisites. And it encourages competition and comparison with other teachings. Competition and comparison and the defense of Michael's teaching we see on this blog are an outward competitive movement of the ego, not an inward practice.

The Michael James / Sahdu Om teaching has departed from Bhagavan's teaching:

1) Bhagavan may have occasionally taught "belief" to people if it was appropriate for their developmental stage. Michael James emphasizes belief as a basic tenant. I wonder if this comes from Christianity. Michael James teaches: "What you should believe.... You must believe..."
Did Bhagavan teach this to everyone?
Belief becomes predominant when teachers are no longer able to lead students to the direct experience. And subtly, when we are told to "believe Bhagavan", as Bhagavan did not emphasize belief, what is really being taught is to believe Michael James.

2) Bhagavan did write and teach at an advanced theoretical level (advaita and the works Michael translates). BUT when Bhagavan taught an individual he ALWAYS met that person at their level AND gave them teachings for their temperament.
Michael James emphasizes ONLY the theoretical level and thus people here are blocked off from the necessary prerequisites. And Michael James discourages people from studying the practical works of Bhagavan. As a consequence, this blog is ABOUT Atma Vichara, but the actual practice remains elusive.

Therefore, as the teaching here differs from Bhagavan's, This is Michael Jame's teaching. We could call it: James-ism or James-ianity?

Turning 180 degrees can only be imagination said...

Roger, your comments become more and more hostile. You are yelling into a corner and only the echo of your own voice is coming back.

Kafarnaum said...

Roger Isaacs,
I am never tired of listening to your "clever and entertaining" sermon and your "brilliant considerations". Carry on with your fantastic Isaacsism.

Turning 180 degrees can only be imagination said...

It is a salient point that all other activities than atma-vichara are an activity of the ego. If that is not understood or being questioned then Bhagavan's atma-vichara has not been grasped. And therefore whatever that person is doing is rather "cargo-cult" inquiry as David Godman used to call it and that will never lead to Self-realization.

Ravi said...

Annamalai Swami Diary Entry No.20:

‘So and so is great….’, ‘nay, the other one is great…’-Such a debate raged for days together among the devotees of Bhagavan. At last the matter was referred to Bhagavan for adjudication. They asked Bhagavan “what is right”? Bhagavan did not respond and remained silent. As there was no consensus as to what was right and who was great, the debate continued vigorously,now in Bhagavan’s very presence. ‘What is this?looks like they are not going to spare me!’- Realizing thus, Bhagavan the beguiler('maayaavi' is the word Annamalai swami uses) began to speak. Like a deceitful person, he spoke endearing words first to one group and then to the other. He ended up by imparting words of wisdom:
“Irrespective of whatever one may attempt to project, That which is alone endures. People cannot decide to confer bondage or moksha on anyone. It is usual for each one to think that the whole world should recognize and praise him; yet by such thinking one cannot attain happiness or greatness. He who does not satisfy god (seeks fulfillment in god) is lowly only. Iswara exalts the devotee who surrenders his body and mind to him in whichever way, to be acknowledged and admired by the world."

Sri Bhagavan then quoted the following three songs from vairagya satakam, sivabodha saram and Sivananda lahari respectively:
1. You desire that the world should proclaim you as a Great one
The iswara who resides in you alone confers Bondage or freedom
What avails it if others know it or not
Be devoted to the Lotus feet of God, Oh mind
Then iswara would raise you to be acknowledged and admired by the world. -vairagya satakam

2. The Scriptures extol the greatness of those
who do not seek their own greatness
Pray tell me, who else shall bear the load of worldly pain
Other than those who trumpet that they are great? -sivabodha saram

3. O Consort of Bhavani! Is there anything that cannot be attained by one who worships your lotus feet? From him Yama(the Lord of Death) keeps away fearing a kick on the chest, the celestials do him nirajana (offering of the camphor light) by the light of diamonds set in their crowns and the peerless bride Mukti(liberation) shall lock him in embrace . What is impossible for him to attain? -sivananda lahari (Verse 65)

Sanjay Lohia said...

Yes, Roger, in my own experience atma-vichara is working for me, and it is my conviction that it will work for anyone who gives it a sincere try. Are you willing to give it a try? It does not appear that you are.

Sanjay Lohia said...

Ravi, as you write: ‘The Ways of the Lord are quite subtle and cannot be taken at its face value’. I agree. You also say, ‘A Jnani has no there is nothing that he 'wants to give' or 'recommends'...What is appropriate for the earnest seeker is given or communicated’.

Yes, a jnani has no sankalpa; if he has sankalpa he is not a jnani. From his non-dual perspective he may have nothing to give us, but from our perspective we have a lot to take from him. In Bhagavan’s view he had no disciples, because he experienced nothing other than himself, but isn’t he our sadguru? Are we not seeking his guidance?

The jnani is pure selflove, and he loves us as himself. Therefore from our perspective his love is automatically doing whatever needs to done for our spiritual upliftment. However, he does everything without doing. It is his very presence which makes things done. It is like the power and presence of the sun that makes the worldly activities possible.

Any jnani’s or master’s response is according to the state of our mind, and our same questions may get different responses from him. The villager in your example needed or aspired for that response, and Bhagavan was just responding to his state of receptivity. His response was absolutely appropriate in every situation.

Once someone asked Bhagavan, ‘If I attain atma-jnana will my actions be always correct’, or something to that effect. Bhagavan replied: ‘It has to be, because in such a state you [your ego] will not act, but only God will act through you, and his actions are always perfect and appropriate’, or something to that effect.

Hector said...

Hi Roger.

Hope all is going well.

Nāṉ Yār? - Paragraph One

[Since all living beings desire to be always happy without what is called misery, since for everyone the greatest love is only for oneself, and since happiness alone is the cause of love, [in order] to attain that happiness, which is one’s own [true] nature that is experienced daily in [dreamless] sleep, which is devoid of the mind, oneself knowing oneself is necessary. For that, jñāna-vicāra [knowledge-investigation] ‘who am I’ alone is the principal means.]

I must admit to me it does seem Bhagavan is saying first hand that his teaching is "Who am I" /jñāna-vicāra and according to him it is the principal means. According to my dictionary "Principal" can mean most important or main so according to Bhagavan it is the most important or main way to know what we are? It is therefore the main or most important practise he recommends to everyone.

What are your thoughts on this paragraph written by Bhagavan?

Nāṉ Yār? - Paragraph Twelve

[God and guru are in truth not different. Just as what has been caught in the jaws of a tiger will not return, so those who have been caught in the glance of guru’s grace will surely be saved by him and will never instead be forsaken; nevertheless, it is necessary to walk unfailingly along the path that guru has shown.]

So if Bhagavan says his main or most important teaching is jñāna-vicāra this paragraph seems to suggest Bhagavan is saying we must follow his path of jñāna-vicāra? It is his personal recommendation to everyone.

Please would you share our thoughts on this.

Continued below.

Hector said...

Continued from above.

Nāṉ Yār? - Paragraph Sixteen

[Since in every [spiritual] text it is said that for attaining mukti [liberation] it is necessary to make the mind subside, after knowing that manō-nigraha [restraint, subjugation or destruction of the mind] is the ultimate intention [or purpose] of [such] texts, there is no benefit [to be gained] by studying texts without limit. For making the mind subside it is necessary to investigate oneself [in order to experience] who [one really is], [but] instead [of doing so] how [can one experience oneself by] investigating in texts? It is necessary to know oneself only by one’s own eye of jñāna [true knowledge, that is, by one’s own selfward-turned awareness]. Does [a person called] Raman need a mirror to know himself as Raman? ‘Self’ is within the pañca-kōśas [the ‘five sheaths’ that seem to cover and obscure what we really are, namely our physical body, our prāṇa or life-processes, our mind, our intellect and the seeming darkness or ignorance of sleep]; conversely, texts are outside them. Therefore investigating in texts [hoping to be able thereby to experience] oneself, whom it is necessary to investigate [with an inward-turned attention] having removed [set aside, abandoned or detached] all the pañca-kōśas, is useless [or unprofitable]. [By] investigating who is oneself who is in bondage, knowing one’s yathārtha svarūpa [own actual self] alone is mukti [emancipation]. The name ‘ātma-vicāra’ [refers] only to [the practice of] always keeping the mind in [or on] ātmā [oneself]; conversely, dhyāna [meditation] is imagining oneself to be sat-cit-ānanda brahman [the absolute reality, which is being-consciousness-bliss]. At one time it will become necessary to forget all that has been learnt.]

Bhagavan says here that ātma-vicāra is the only practise to keep mind on itself, we know from paragraph 1 that ātma-vicāra is Bhagavan's main or most important teaching for everyone and from paragraph 12 that we should follow his advice / teaching unfailingly.

Also here in paragraph 16 he is reinforcing his advice again and also saying

[At one time it will become necessary to forget all that has been learnt.]

This to me seems to suggests that he is recommending ātma-vicāra and saying that is all we need to understand and most importantly we must put it into practise. He also seems to suggest that anything else we focus our attention on (like me writing this to you lol!!) is a distraction from this simple practise which he recommends to all as the principal means to discover what we are.

Roger please note I am not out to try and prove you wrong far from it, I enjoy reading your posts very much.

It is just from what I have read in Nāṉ Yār? it does seem pretty logical and straight forward in terms what Bhagavan recommends we do and not do. His teaching seems pretty clear. Plus he wrote all this first hand in a very short, clear and simple way.

However this all depends if what he wrote has been translated properly? I think this highly likely but nothing is a 100% certain of course.

Cheers Roger.


Ucayali said...

Sanjay Lohia,
"The Ways of the Lord are quite subtle and cannot be taken at its face value".
"...only God will act through you, and his actions are always perfect and appropriate".
Can we therefore generally summarize that even the World Wars together with Hitler's Holocaust and Nazi-terror as well as natural desasters, famines, earthquakes, tsunamis, volcanic eruptions, forest fires, environmental polution and disasters, climate change, crime and mental deficiency and all other evils are not only egotistical abortive developments but quite perfect and appropriate divine actions or at least happened according our prarabdha ?

Ucayali said...

How can we ourself/ourselves exist ?
How can anything exist at all ?

Ravi said...

What you have expressed is Quite true.

"Any jnani’s or master’s response is according to the state of our mind, and our same questions may get different responses from him. The villager in your example needed or aspired for that response, and Bhagavan was just responding to his state of receptivity."

The 'Outer' Guru gave that message to that villager and through him, Professor Swaminathan received the same(inner Guru)...The message received by Professor Swaminathan precious...Yes,Guru is one.


Sanjay Lohia said...

Ucayali, there is only one power which has projected this world. Most believe that this one power is God, but according to Bhagavan this one power is the ego.

Let’s first take the more traditional view that says that God has created this world. Your question is, how God can create a Mahatma Gandhi and a Hilter at the same, because one represents pure non-violence and other is nothing but violence. How can so many crimes, disasters etc. take place, if this world is created by God?

To understand this point let us take the example of the epic, Ramayana. It was written by the sage Valmiki. Valmiki in his epic drama had to create both Rama and Ravana (assuming that what he wrote was a mythological fiction).Thus he had to create the good and the bad together. We can question, how can a sage like Valmiki create Ravana, the symbol of evil? But it was all fiction. Likewise God has supposedly created this world, but he knows that everything in it (whether good of bad) is just fiction.

Now let us reflect on Bhagavan’s teachings. Bhagavan says in v. 26 of Ulladu Narpadu that when this ego comes into existence everything comes into existence. That is, whatever we see outside in this world is merely our ego’s creation, and therefore whether it is a Gandhi or a Hitler, whether it is a Rama or a Ravana, whether it is a natural disaster or a great scientific discovery, all these our creations of our ego. Not only this, these happenings take place only in view of the ego which has created these.

Let us carefully read what Bhagavan says in paragraph 4 of Nan Yar:

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.

Ucayali said...

How can even sleep, God, Valmiki and atma-svarupa exist ?

Guhai Namashivaya said...

"How can we ourself/ourselves exist ?"
Just trying an answer : Because we could not prevent us from existing.

Guhai Namashivaya said...

"How can anything exist at all ? "
All what exists is contained in ourself. So your second question is led back to your first question.
Kind regards

"Willingness" is samsara too said...

Yes even torture, rape, etc. is "God's will". We often use the term grace and usually believe that means something "good", a boon or a favorite outcome or just simply a blessing. Grace is also a divorce, the loss of one's fortune, the death of one's child, etc.

We can help it but judge and relate to everything from the viewpoint of our mind/ego and therefore distinguish between good and bad. There is neither.

That's why atma-vichara is extremely important in order to transcend duality.

Can we measure spiritual advancement? Not really, but I'd say it is a good sign if one has equanimity if the wife cheats or one loses a child (something terrible for all) or something earth chattering like that. Because the equanimity shows that one is centered more in Self than to be attached to this dream world.

"Willingness" is samsara too said...

And with "equanimity" I mean inner calmness, outwards the body can look agitated and stressed depending on one's prarabhda katma.

Ravi said...


"Yes even torture, rape, etc. is "God's will".

" I'd say it is a good sign if one has equanimity if the wife cheats or one loses a child (something terrible for all) or something earth chattering like that"

Does it mean that if I am a docile 'wife' and am raped, I have to accept it as my Prarabda or God's will or both?...Or is it the Prarabda of the assaulter/God's Will...and I only need to maintain my equanimity through the practice of Atma Vichara at that time as ever...or is it the prarabda of my husband that his wife should suffer such a treatment?

Looks like an uphill and impossible task ...Kindly clarify.

I find that Michael has discussed a case where a 'Guru' was charged with Rape...and this is here:

I just searched here for any article on the topic and found the above.


Ravi said...

It is the nature of water to flow downwards, but the sun’s rays lift it up towards the sky; likewise it is the very nature of mind to go to lower things, to objects of enjoyment, but the grace of God can make the mind go towards higher objects.

Holy Mother Sri Sarada Devi

Turning 180 degrees can only be imagination said...

It is the parabhda karma of the victim and the perpetrator. The victim will react according to her karma and either report the crime, or defend herself and possibly kill the perpetrator or just let it happen and doesn't say anything.

The victim has NOT the freedom to decide to be docile or to vigorously defend herself, it will happen as it was pre-determined.

The point is that the victim (and perpetrator) ought to not identify to what happens to the body and mind.

I.e. a woman could end up as a prostitute according to her prarabhda karma, it is certainly never the choice of any prostitute that she has become one. Even when the prostitute believes she did.

A prostitute can be a saint in not identifying with the actions of her body and simply attend to Self.

Ravi said...

A few video talks of J Krishnamurti:

1. (Is there another instrument of inquiry than thought? | J. Krishnamurti)

2. (Show me how to dissolve the ‘I’ | J. Krishnamurti)

3. (How does one go to the very source of thought? | J. Krishnamurti)

nivrtti said...

obviously you mean "earth-shattering" not "earth chattering".

Tulasi said...

Sanjay Lohia,
" all these (are) creations of our ego. Not only this, these happenings take place only in view of the ego which has created these."

Therefore we would be well advised to not rely on our ego.

Tulasi said...

Unless I am very much mistaken J Krishnamurti was (only) a philosopher not a jnani of Sri Ramana's calibre.

Ucayali said...

May I repeat my questions:

How can we ourself/ourselves exist ?

How can anything exist at all ?

Additional question: Do we really exist ?

Ucayali said...

Does anybody (of us) possess the 'philosopher's stone'?

Turning 180 degrees can only be imagination said...

nivrtti, you are correct of course ;-)

Ucayali, there is nothing that exists but Self. "We" don't exist, but "I" exists and that is undeniable.
Now that is way too abstract, why not directly experiencing it through keenly attending to "I"? The only way to know. Otherwise it is only an imagination.

Turning 180 degrees can only be imagination said...

Tulasi, I believe that Bhagavan stated (as did Papaji) that J. Krishnamurti is a Jnani.

However I don't feel attracted by his philosophy and why go to another fountain when one already drinks from the splendid fountain of Bhagavan's wisdom? I am sure that I won't miss anything in refraining from his books.

Less is more. ;-)

Roger said...

Hi Hector,
Regarding Nan Yar paragraph 1:
‘who am I’ alone is the principal means.

MJ (Michael James) says "Atma Vichara (who am I?)" can also be called "Self Attention".

"Self Attention" is a common theme with all Masters... but Masters differ in temperament and so it is expressed somewhat differently. No Master or School can claim exclusive rights to "Self Attention" because it is an innate human potential and virtually all Masters point to it in some way or another.

"Self Attention" is the actual inward practice.

When any school claims that their teachings are superior to all others, this is not Atma Vichara rather it is the outward egoic practice of religious superiority and intolerance. There is great evil in this. Look at all the wars over religion.

Broadly, "Self Attention" IS the "ONLY" way but in this case the description of "Self Attention" must be broad enough to include all Self Realized Masters of different temperaments. Can we say that Buddha, Krishna, Mahavira, Jesus (include all the Masters that you're aware of) did not practice or teach Atma Vichara specifically and therefore could not possibly be enlightened? Ridiculous. Can we say that true spiritual practice did not exist before Bhagavan's Atma Vichara and so nobody could have been enlightened before Bhagavan? Of course not.

All spiritual teachings are in the form of words and concepts which are limited. All spiritual teachings are in the relative world, all Masters can only speak through their limited mind/body mechanisms which have certain preferences and so all teachings are in the relative world and none are absolute.

It is fine and good to say that Atma Vichara is the ONLY way for ME and Bhagavan is all that I need.
But when we say Atma Vichara is the only way for everybody else then this is not an inward practice, we have crossed the line into religious superiority. When imply that other teachers are lesser in value simply because they are not Bhagavan then this is religious superiority.

Salazar says and MJ confirms the following often:
It is a salient point that all other activities than atma-vichara are an activity of the ego. If that is not understood or being questioned then Bhagavan's atma-vichara has not been grasped.

Salazar goes on to say that other activities "will never lead to Self-Realization.

This is not much different than what Christian's are taught "Jesus is the ONLY son of God..."
It is egoic religious superiority. You can see immediately that it's false because it is an outward movement of ego making claims in the world about all other spiritual practices, it has NOTHING to do with actual inner practice or guidance about inner practice.

One reason Masters say their way is the ONLY way is to try and give confidence to weak followers. This worked fantastically well for Maharishi Mahesh Yogi, all sorts of pseudo science was done which proclaimed T.M. as the best for everyone, it was the ONLY scientifically verified technique, therefore the ONLY useful technique. MMY's organization made $1-2 billion dollars by harnessing the egos of followers to support the organization and buy expensive techniques. But... eventually any outward egoic programming has to be unlearned. Competition with other teachings MAY help the Master to spread his teachings... but competition is not actually a spiritual teaching, competition is an outward activity, not inward and can lead to violence.

Religious superiority & intolerance is really not appropriate in the modern world.

At least, that's how it appears to me, perhaps you see it differently. A genuine respect and curiosity about other teachings will actually help us to learn about our own Master.

Ravi said...

Request you to give the JK talks a try...see if there is anything we find helpful in it...It all put together may not take about an hour or less...There is no Philosophy or anything like that...he just points a few things that may perhaps help in vichara...Assuredly we may stick to whatever we are doing anyway.

Turning 180 degrees can only be imagination said...

I said that "cargo-cult" inquiry will never lead to Self-realization.

Other practices will lead to Self-realization in the context as a preparation for atma-vichara/surrender. Every practice MUST finish with the mind moving back to the heart, there is not other way in the end. And that is not some religious dogma but the statement of sat-gurus like Bhagavan and Papaji.

Therefore Jesus Christ, the Buddha, Kabir, Sai Baba of Shirdi, Huang-Po, etc. all became enlightened in moving the mind back to its source. They may not have called it Self-Inquiry but it was the same "process".

Of course that is my gullible mind believing Bhagavan in the hope he is not deceiving me ;-)

Ucayali said...

of course I would like to directly experience the "truth". But - unfortunately I did not succeed in trying to be keenly attentive to 'I'.
That is the reason why I put these "abstract" questions.
Therefore I must start again and try to improve the intensity of my practice.
As you say there is no other way to know. Mere imagination is rather worthless.

Anonymous said...

Mind must be without any movement, it must be still with the stillness of no motive. Mind cannot invite it. The mind may and does divide its own field of activities as noble and ignoble, desirable and undesirable, higher and lower, but all such divisions and subdivisions are within the boundaries of the mind itself; so any movement of the mind, in any direction, is the reaction of the past, of the `me', of time. This truth is the only liberating factor, and he who does not perceive this truth will ever be in bondage, do what he may; his penances, vows, disciplines, sacrifices may have sociological and comforting significance, but they have no value in relation to truth.
================= J. Krishnamurti

But this is exactly the same thing as not "rising as the ego", as said in a previous article by the author.

Ucayali said...

which method does set the mind in the required stillness ?

Jericho said...

please explain your term "cargo-cult" in more detail.

Sanjay Lohia said...

Anonymous, J. Krishnamurti says, ‘Mind must be without any movement, it must be still with the stillness of no motive. Mind cannot invite it’. Does it tally with Bhagavan’s teachings? Our aim is to make the mind permanently without any movement. But if we experience a mind without any movement in our waking state, it will no longer remain a mind, but will get transformed as our true self.

However, when Krishnamurti says that the mind cannot invite stillness, this does not confirm with Bhagavan’s teachings. The mind can invite stillness by working towards this aim. How? It is by keenly and persistently investigating our ego or mind. Bhagavan used to say that mind-control in not our birth-right, and that therefore if we want such stillness, we have to work towards it.

Moreover Krishnamurti doesn’t make clear how can the mind remain without any movement without ‘inviting’ it. Yes, we can go to sleep without inviting sleep and thus remain without thoughts, but does he want us to always sleep.

Sanjay Lohia said...

Ucayali, you have asked a few questions. May I try to answer them?

You ask, ‘Do we really exist’? Do you have any doubts about your own existence? If you do, then who is asking these questions? Obviously, you are asking these questions. We clearly know that we exist, because we aware of ourself.

You also ask, ‘How can anything exist at all’? We experience many things which seem to exist; however, they may or may not actually exist – that is, they could merely be our imaginations. However, these things seem to exist because we are aware of them. Whatever phenomena we experience could be a dream, but this dream exists because we (this ego) project and experience it.

You also ask, ‘How can we ourself/ourselves exist’? Our true self is anadi-ananta-akhanda sat-chit-ananda (beginningless-infinite-unbroken being-awareness-happiness). It exists because it exists. No cause can be assigned to our primal, non-dual, infinite awareness. It is only when our ego rises, does the chain of cause and effect come into existence.

Ucayali said...

Sanjay Lohia,
thank you for you reply.
You say:
1. " We clearly know that we exist, because we aware of ourself."

That awareness of ourself could also be merely a dream or imagination.

2. "Whatever phenomena we experience could be a dream, but this dream exists because we (this ego) project and experience it."

How can a dreaming, projecting and experiencing ego exist at all or even seem to exist ?

3. "Our true self is anadi-ananta-akhanda sat-chit-ananda (beginningless-infinite-unbroken being-awareness-happiness). It exists because it exists. No cause can be assigned to our primal, non-dual, infinite awareness."

How can our primal, non-dual, infinite awareness exist at all ?

Evidently our mind cannot find any satisfying answer.

Hector said...

Hi Roger

Great post.

Yes I agree "Who Am I" Atma Vichara" " Self Attention" Inward practise" as you say are all the same practise. Bhagavan himself said that nothing he taught is new it is all there in the ancient texts. Bhagavan has just simplified it into his own teaching (bad expression I know).

I think Michael James is basically saying that inward practise is the only way to discover what we are and outward practise although helpful at cultivating one pointedness can not in itself help use discover what were are. But it can be helpful.
I think all the masters are saying the same thing. For example I found Nisargadatta along the way and he was saying the same thing although using slightly different terminology, which is fine.

Roger in your message to me you said:

[Broadly, "Self Attention" IS the "ONLY" way but in this case the description of "Self Attention" must be broad enough to include all Self Realized Masters of different temperaments. Can we say that Buddha, Krishna, Mahavira, Jesus (include all the Masters that you're aware of) did not practice or teach Atma Vichara specifically and therefore could not possibly be enlightened? Ridiculous. Can we say that true spiritual practice did not exist before Bhagavan's Atma Vichara and so nobody could have been enlightened before Bhagavan? Of course not.]

Yes very good point, I agree. I also personally believe that all the above master are the same one master manifested in different forms. Not sure if you share the same belief?

I think when it is said that Atma Vichara is the only way to realise what we are is actually true but it may not be what everyone needs on their spiritual journey. However Bhagavan did say it is the principle means for all so he does seem to be saying that inward practise / vichara is for everyone at any stage on their path? But I do see your point. Maybe if someone finds it hard to turn their attention within they may find other outward practise beneficial to help them in time to be able to practise inward attention as you put. Yes?

For me personally I really like Bhagavan's teaching it just makes sense to me and seems very simple and logical plus I am attracted to Bhagavan as a teacher so it is for me. But like you say each to their own. I of course would never try to force my opinion on to someone else. I am sure Michael James is the same, he never seems to try to convert visitors to his understanding just comments and expresses his understanding of Bhagavan's teaching.

You may feel differently on this.

I think we are both practising the same thing Roger not that it matters if we aren't. You call it "Inward attention" I call it "Self attention" or "Investigating myself". Nisargadatta calls it "Abiding in the I am" Where I am means "ego". Different words for the same practise. It is my understanding that Jesus was teaching the same thing and the Buddha too like you previously mentioned.

I am generally interested Roger but please could you describe your own practise please.

Great post.
Thank you for getting back to me.

Ravi said...

Appropos of your comment on that excerpt of JK that anonymous(swami) has posted...

You have said..."Moreover Krishnamurti doesn’t make clear how can the mind remain without any movement without ‘inviting’ it."

If you have seen the video talks of Jk viz a viz the link that I had posted yesterday...JK points to a very very elementary Fact regarding the thinking....He puts a question 'What is Thinking?'....He Further Points out 'I am asking 'What is thinking?' and not 'What to think about?'....'What is Thinking?'...He then points out 'If I ask you your name ,where you live readily respond to it on account of being familiar with it...and when a question is put regarding something you are not completely familiar,you take your time to fetch the answer either from your memory or from some source outside,until you get the answer and then revert back with the answer.All the while there is this movement of thoughts in the mind(fetching...analysing...sifting...storing...answering)....Now if there is a question about which you know nothing and you are aware 'I don't Know'...and if this 'don't know' is not cursory but actually...if from your very core if there is complete understanding that 'I Don't Know'...then 'Is there thinking?' ...JK puts this question and invites the listener to actually observe this...In the 'Don't know' both the thinking and thinker are absent.

Please watch the not read JK...We may readily see the tremendous earnestness of the 'speaker' and if we only learn to 'listen' we would learn what cannot be learnt by decades and decades of Sadhana.

Please give it a try.


Anonymous said...


I have a feeling the following quote will appeal to you.

Death is for many of us the gate of hell; but we are inside on the way out, not outside on the way in.

George Bernard Shaw.

Ravi said...

I wish to share here some fundamental observation...this is not meant to be disrespectful to any of the participants here:
1.In pursuing Jnana have we become jnana bandha (prisoner of knowledge)
2.In differentiating Bhagavan from other Masters,have we created 'our bhagavan'?
3.In our zeal to 'Practice' the teaching,have we stopped living it.
4.In Rejecting the world as a creation of 'ego' have we substituted it with our own 'world of Belief'?
5.In thinking about vichara,have we missed the essence of vichara and have turned it into a 'method' or a 'process'?

I have also made an observation earlier...and this is regarding Roger Isaacs and his posts...I find that he has something valid to say, although I will ignore the charges and counter charges and personal accusations...I wish that such a mixture does not creep in here and that all exchanges should be friendly and with mutual respect.

I have often wondered how ordinary people who do not pursue anything 'spiritual' fare much much better in communicating with each other and sharing their ideas...I have seen the bonhomie among the Drunkards at the local wineshop,how the tipsy guy is supported by a sober guy!...wonder if ordinary people can do this,why not those who are striving to get rid of their 'ego' and its isolation...Why cannot spiritual aspirants observe this decorum?

I find that ordinary laymen who do not pursue any sadhana are often more open and receptive to anything said...there is nothing like 'Oh,this I already Know' ...there is no comparison with anything that they are familiar with.

There was a hard hitting phrase that Roger Isaacs had used when he called this forum as 'A Philosophy club'...It is a hard to digest statement and it cannot be generalized in such a sweeping manner and applied to all participants here...but all the same one can take it as a 'check point' and see if there is any validity to it.

Request you to bear with my observations...I certainly do not intend to hurt anyone here with these observations...and will only be too happy if the observations are totally unfounded and misplaced.


Sanjay Lohia said...

Ravi, I just now tried listening to the talk by JK whose transcript was posted by you, but sorry to say I was not able to proceed after watching a few minutes. What to do, some of us are so blinded by this brilliant sun called ‘Bhagavan’ that now we are not able to see any further.

Is this one-pointedness good or bad? I believe, such focused faith and trust in one’s guru is necessary, otherwise one cannot proceed far. We have to go on digging at one place in order to dig a well, and only such focused digging can make fresh water available. Some devotees want to take the best of all guru’s, and they are free to do so, but some like to take the best of one guru. The best of Bhagavan are his three texts:

~ Nan Yar?
~ Upadesa Undiyar
~ Ulladu Narpadu

Michael has been tirelessly emphasizing that if we study and reflect on these three core texts of Bhagavan, we need no further teachings. Of course, these have to be read, re-read, and put into practice. I am fully convinced by what Michael has been emphasizing.

"Willingness" is samsara too said...

I totally agree with Sanjay Lohia's previous comment.

Jericho, you can google the term "cargo-cult".

Ravi said...

Thanks very much for your response and for giving the videos a try...Yes,each one has to proceed by what he/she is convinced about.
Muruganar said how he was blinded by The sun Of Bhagavan...and this meant that the darkness of the ego had vanished...and use of a pair of eyes to see anyone other than Bhagavan was meaningless for him.
The Best of Bhagavan...I truly do not know what it may be...all words are on par to,I would say the Best of Bhagavan is only himself or The Self... the ever present silence...and this is Here and Now.
'Practice' is another trick of thought to postpone what is present now...Vichara can be an immediate thing.
However,I do respect faith and conviction of the individual...and it is not at all my intention to disturb it or change it.
Wishing you the very Best.

"Willingness" is samsara too said...


if you want to explore the context of "cargo-cult" inquiry go to David Godman's website and read the interview he gave to Maalok. The comment about "cargo-cult" inquiry is on page 2.

Roger said...

regarding "cargo cult": there is a great article on "cargo cult science" on wikipedia and I'll copy most of it below. The term "cargo cult science" was first used by physicist Richard Feynman. Thanks to Salazar for stimulating research.

In short, an example is when a researcher doing an experiment uses or is affected by another persons results.

For me, this has direct application to Atma Vichara. "Who am I?" IS research, it is a question to which only "I" can find the answer, not any 3rd party. Bhagavan and others haven spoken about their results... but we have to do our own research and find the result within.

an excerpt from Feynman's speech explaining "cargo cult"
In the South Seas there is a cargo cult of people. During the war they saw airplanes land with lots of good materials, and they want the same thing to happen now. So they've arranged to imitate things like runways, to put fires along the sides of the runways, to make a wooden hut for a man to sit in, with two wooden pieces on his head like headphones and bars of bamboo sticking out like antennas—he's the controller—and they wait for the airplanes to land. They're doing everything right. The form is perfect. It looks exactly the way it looked before. But it doesn't work. No airplanes land. So I call these things cargo cult science, because they follow all the apparent precepts and forms of scientific investigation, but they're missing something essential, because the planes don't land.

Feynman cautioned that to avoid becoming cargo cult scientists, researchers must avoid fooling themselves, be willing to question and doubt their own theories and their own results, and investigate possible flaws in a theory or an experiment. He recommended that researchers adopt an unusually high level of honesty which is rarely encountered in everyday life

Unknown said...

Ravi, very nicely captured:
"1.In pursuing Jnana have we become jnana bandha (prisoner of knowledge)
2.In differentiating Bhagavan from other Masters,have we created 'our bhagavan'?
3.In our zeal to 'Practice' the teaching,have we stopped living it.
4.In Rejecting the world as a creation of 'ego' have we substituted it with our own 'world of Belief'?
5.In thinking about vichara,have we missed the essence of vichara and have turned it into a 'method' or a 'process'?"

well, at least your last three points apply to to some degree to me when observing what 'i' is doing. Like right now- can 'i' look at itself and at the same time look outside of itself analyzing and processing your words and then the ones written here in response?! No, of course not. Stillness is the sine qua non condition for knowing God- 'i' is not still and therefore cannot 'know being God'.'i' is agitated, caught in the world of forms/ideas, seeing others, attacking and defending [what?!!!], expressing itself as a separate entity... It is not operating spontaneously- this expression of thoughts is not necessary as no any other words are necessary for just Being. On the other hand, these stains labeled words help me see behind them, the white background of the screen and remind me of reality- that's their only purpose. As such, it feels right to just drop 'all of it' and stop here.

Turning 180 degrees can only be imagination said...

Ravi, re. your "fundamental observation" in your comment on 21 July 2017 at 12:41:

I can only say, huh? Because it seems more that you are bringing in something based on your own biases. Also, you seem to be the "passive aggressive" type, and I don't want to hurt you with that statement either ;-)

Roger can mope around until the end of his days, I couldn't care less. I don't see any benefit in pursuing this kind of exchange nor to read your copy and paste jobs in the attempt so "share the light".

I share the same approach as Sanjay Lohia (and I suppose the majority on this forum does too).

There is absolutely no need to add to that nor is there the faintest desire to do so!

Ravi said...

Thanks very is not at all necessary for thought trying to end thought and going in a circle....Very much so sir.
The Following sayings of Sri Ramakrishna come to my mind and I am sharing it for the benefit of one and all:
1. The almanac forecasts the rainfall of the year. But not a drop of water will you get by squeezing the almanac. No, not even one drop.

2.How long should one reason about the texts of the scriptures? So long as one does not have direct realization of God. How long does the bee buzz about? As long as it is not sitting on a flower. No sooner does it light on a flower and begin to sip honey than it keeps quiet.

3.Suppose, there are treasures in a room. If you want to see them and lay hold of them, you must take the trouble to get the key and unlock the door. After that you must take the treasures out. But suppose the room is locked, and standing outside the door you say to yourself: 'Here I have opened the door. Now I have broken the lock of the chest. Now I have taken out the treasure.' Such brooding near the door will not enable you to achieve anything.

To be forever caught up in words(teachings) is something like this...and what is not done today will not be done tomorrow....and the practice is prolonged endlessly...and one starts looking forward to the next birth!

Hence the Masters always emphasize the Here and Now and not give any sort of excuse to postpone the Living of the teaching.
The JK Video talk is emphasizing this aspect and experientially pointing out what it is to end thought.

Ravi said...

Roger Isaacs,
Interesting to know what Feynman had said...David Godman would normally give the references if he states something....may be in the conversation it was given the go-bye.
Thanks very much.

Roger said...

Hi Ravi,
Regarding "cargo cult", a portion of Godman's comments: Any technique that encourages the mind to associate with objects or thoughts is not self-inquiry, and it will not make the mind disappear.

So by "cargo cult" Godman means making the mistake of placing meditation on objects above pure attention on Self. He is placing Atma Vichara in competition with other methods just like Michael does: this is short sighted.

Atma Vichara is NOT in competition with all the other methods.

Rather they work hand in hand. One has to intelligently understand the process. When the mind and emotions are wild and prevent sustained inward attention... then it can useful to practice a method to quiet the mind and emotions (whatever yoga suits your temperament). If the attention remains focused within & wordless inquiry is sustained, then no effort is required: effort has served it's purpose and has fallen away.

Bhagavan says that various methods of subtle effort result in the "cessation of mental activities". Then one is "I AM" or a wordless Atma Vichara.

FIRST we have to attend to cessation of mental activities, THEN once this is attained at least temporarily... we can rest in wordless inner attentive inquiry.

Bhagavan even includes Hatha Yoga as a potential way of leading to cessation of mental activities. The question is: what works for you?

Talk 191.
Mr. Cohen, a resident disciple, was speaking of yoga method.

M: Mr Patanjali’s first sutra is applicable to all systems of yoga. The aim is the cessation of mental activities. The methods differ. So long as there is effort made towards that goal it is called yoga. The effort is the yoga.

The cessation can be brought about in so many ways.

(1) By examining the mind itself. When the mind is examined, its activities cease automatically. This is the method of jnana. The pure mind is the Self.

(2) Looking for the source of the mind is another method. The source may be said to be God or Self or consciousness.

(3) Concentrating upon one thought make all other thoughts disappear. Finally that thought also disappears; and

(4) Hatha Yoga.

All methods are one and the same inasmuch as they all tend to the same goal.

It is necessary to be aware while controlling thoughts. Otherwise it will lead to sleep. That awareness, the chief factor, is indicated by the fact of Patanjali emphasising pratyahara, dharana, dhyana, samadhi even after pranayama. Pranayama makes the mind steady and suppresses thoughts. Then why develop further? Because awareness then is the one necessary factor. Such states can be imitated by taking morphia, chloroform, etc. They do not lead to Moksha because they lack awareness.

Ucayali said...

would you please further explain why the given Quote of George Bernhard Shaw would appeal to me ?

Turning 180 degrees can only be imagination said...

An excerpt of Roger's last comment: "[...] The question is: what works for you? [...]"

Exactly! And what works best for me is atma-vichara and I suppose for the majority too. So why can Roger not give us the same freedom of choice of practice he's demanding for himself? He does what he believes is best for him and we do what we believe is best for us. It is as simple as that.

But that is not what Roger really wants, he just wants to argue for the arguments sake, and his mind won't rest until everybody has agreed with it. THAT is his favorite practice, everything else is just pretense.

Kafarnaum said...

it took a long time to recognize Roger's favorite practice.
He seems to want to become a celebrated star-commentator or simply to win the highest acclaim as a scholar in the discipline of superficial knowing about awareness.

Ravi said...

Roger Isaacs,

"Atma Vichara is NOT in competition with all the other methods."
Yes... it is not the 'method' but the shraddha with which that gets done which is important...A simple Prayer can be effective to put the mind in a state of silence.

"A magic leverage suddenly is caught
That moves the veiled Ineffable’s timeless will:
A prayer, a master act, a king idea
Can link man’s strength to a transcendent Force
."-Savitri,The Epic poem (Sri Aurobindo)

The King idea is the same as 'the peerless one word' (oppuyarvilla Or mozhi)that The Guru speaks without speaking in Bhagavan's appalam song ...or it can be an act like how Mahabali after giving up his Kindom and all the worlds,gave himself upto the Lord who came to him in the form of a Dwarf(vamana avatara)...We may recall Bhagavan's words to Brunton when he said that the possessor be given up along with possessions...Bhakti,Karma and Jnana ...whatever be the approach done with shraddha draws the grace of God...and ultimately it is this that matters.

As for David,I know him and he does recommend all the auxiliary practices like Giri Pradakshina(To a friend in the US he recommended that she should have the bhava of walking around arunachala whenever she goes for a walk),Parayana (The Daily Parayana or Chantings that go on in the Asramam),Self study,Prayer...If you have gone through david's blog(no fresh posts for a long time) and if you are patient enough to scan through David's responses in the comments column you will find him recommending all this...I have often met David in The Samadhi hall of Sri Ramanasramam where he would go around the samadhi of Sri Bhagavan as the evening parayana is on...but then what he has said is that atma Vichara is something where everything is negated and the attention is on the 'ego' sense...and in this sense it does not involve subject-object relationship.

Certainly it cannot be a 'one size fits all' type of an approach...and variations in sadhana to suit the individual predilection and temperament is indeed needed...and this is why different masters guide people along 'seemingly' different paths...but the acme of all paths is where the devotee gives himself up and God alone is.

As Lord Jesus said:"For whoever wants to save their life will lose it, but whoever loses their life for me will find it."


Ravi said...

Roger Isaacs,
Had to split my long message into two...sorry.

In India,this truth is common knowledge and the Sankaracharyas who are advaitins, would still practice all the rituals ,pujas,observe all religious festivals,encourage People to serve social causes like Education,providing Medical facilities,etc...and yet they are steeped in the advaitic Tradition...Advaita is not in contradiction with any Siddhanta but is a fulfillment of all Siddhantas and as such is all inclusive.

We may Recall that it is the Sankaracharya of Kanchi who directed Paul Brunton to go to Bhagavan...that is nicely covered in 'A search in Secret India'

So,it is not as if Hard core advaitins are at variance with the practices of the common man...they encourage everything while yet maintaining the absolute rigor in advaitic Sadhana.

Even in Sri Ramanasramam we shall find all the practices like Puja,Chantings,Singing,Veda parayana,Public Reading of 'Talks with Sri Ramana Maharshi'(Devotees sit wherever they like and listen to someone reading the conversations from Talks -a Microphone and loudspeakers at a moderate volume help the people sitting outside also to listen)...The Asramam maintains a Dedicated Traditional School for Brahmacharins to learn Vedic Chanting...and the Vedic Chants are a daily observance and it is a delight to see that people from across the world sitting and listening to it in wrapt attention.

Roger,as you are interested in Research ,it will be nice if you make a trip to Sri Ramanasramam and stay here...the Asramam provides nice Lodging facilities and We also may get to experience what it is like eating in the same place where Bhagavan sat down to eat...that place is still set aside for Bhagavan...So,think about it.

Kafarnaum said...

do you not self sometimes make contributions to gossiping ?

Ravi said...

I apologize for the inconvenience...have addressed Roger in detail as I can sense where he comes from...I am aware that this Blog is maintained so well by Michael James and I do not intend to detract from it...and I have already taken too much space and possibly the patience of devotees here.
Yes,I will stop all gossip.
Roger...In case you wish to share anything you may mail take time to read mails...For your information please.

Roger said...

Hi Michael, Salazar, Sanjay,
Certainly I grant you freedom of choice. And Sanjay it is great that you are blinded by the brilliant sun called Bhagavan.

But.. while I grant you freedom of choice, must I also allow you to demand that YOUR approach is the ONLY one for all humanity? Aye! there's the rub!

Salazar, the conflict is in you. How do your neighbors respond when you tell them that Atma Vichara is the ONLY way and whatever they practice is just for the ego? Your approach is not only in conflict with all others, but also with other works of Bhagavan (like Talks).

Michael, I'm sure you're totally aware of all this: The Bhagavan from "Talks" challenges the Bhagavan you translate. Are you content to teach an approach which emphasizes part of Bhaganan's work but not the other? While your teaching emphasizes one aspect of Bhagavan over another... it cannot be right ! It leaves one part of the teaching is in conflict with another.

One way to peace seems to be to show genuine respect for other approaches, to treat other approaches as being potentially equal and look for their genius.

Turning 180 degrees can only be imagination said...
This comment has been removed by the author.
"Willingness" is samsara too said...

Roger, it is a fact that atma-vichara/surrender is the only way to enlightenment. Why is that a conflict to others? Nobody is asked to believe that. Bhagavan, Murugunar, Sadhu Om, and Michael are not forcing anything upon anybody. They merely state a fact. If that is not believed, fine - so be it. It is not expected from anybody to swallow that.

So again, where is the conflict?

The conflict is with those who cannot let go of their own idea that this statement is wrong and need confirmation that their own idea is the correct one.

And there is no Bhagavan from Talks and a Bhagavan from Ulladu Narpadu, that is an invention of your confused mind. An immature mind has not the ability to discern the various, often contradictory, comments of a sat-guru. It can only truly be understood with the heart, beyond the reasoning and logic of mind.

Sanjay Lohia said...

Salazar, yes, nobody is forcing anybody to believe that the only practice which can enable us to experience ourself as we really are is self-investigation. Anyone can believe anything, and who are we to deny them their right. Because we are fully convinced that self-investigation is the only means to annihilate our ego, and that without annihilating our ego we cannot solve all our problems, we like to share this message with anybody who is interested in Bhagavan’s teachings.

Moreover this blog is the perfect place to discuss Bhagavan’s teachings, and we are just trying to reinforce his teachings, primarily for our own benefit. Nobody is forcing Roger or anyone else to read this blog. They can stop reading it if they find the ideas being discussed here are repulsive. Like we switch off our TV if we not want to watch, we can likewise switch ourself off from reading this blog.

However, to many like me this blog and the website, Happiness of Being: The Teachings of Bhagavan Sri Ramana Maharshi, by Michael are nothing but Bhagavan’s grace. It is our precious companion on our journey to freedom, and therefore we would like to keep our association with Michael and this blog until we reach our destination. We can just thank Bhagavan and his wonderful instrument Michael as we proceed on this journey.

Sanjay Lohia said...

The following extract is taken from the video: 2015-04-11 Ramana Maharshi Foundation UK: discussion with Michael James on self-investigation (1:30 onwards):

Michael: Because in Bhagavan’s experience he alone exists, he loves everything as himself, because there is nothing other than himself. So whatever is there, he loves as himself. So Bhagavan’s love for us is infinite; our love for ourself and our love for others in finite. We cannot conceive of the infinite.

So how great Bhagavan’s love is, we can see signs of his love in the kindness that he showed to animals, to people of all types – good people, bad people; rich people, poor people. He showed equal love to all creatures. That is just an indication to us. His love is far-far greater than even that, but at least that gives us some inkling of the extent of love: the impartiality and totality of his love.

My note: If we really understood the extent of Bhagavan’s love, we will gladly leave all our worldly concerns in the loving hands of Bhagavan. We do not do this, because we do not trust him, or at least do not trust him enough.

Kafarnaum said...

Roger Isaacs,
if you would apply your stubbornness instead in insisting on repeatedly stating confused conclusions in making sincere efforts to clear your understanding of Bhagavan's fundamental teaching you could certainly benefit by occupying yourself with Michael's blog.

Anonymous said...


You wrote earlier -

Can we therefore generally summarize that even the World Wars together with Hitler's Holocaust and Nazi-terror as well as natural disasters, famines, earthquakes, tsunamis, volcanic eruptions, forest fires, environmental pollution and disasters, climate change, crime and mental deficiency and all other evils are not only egotistical abortive developments but quite perfect and appropriate divine actions or at least happened according our prarabdha ?

I believe Sri Ramana's teaching that each and every detail of worldly human life is predetermined. So it seemed to me that Bernard Shaw's quote was just giving a name to your description of the world, and suggesting why death is not to be feared.

My third and last comment on this blog, and thanks to all.

Tulasi said...

to consider Papaji as a sat-guru - equating him with Sri Ramana - seems to be going too far.
"Sitting in the Old Hall and praying to Bhagavan" should not derogatorily be dismissed as being "not a direct path to Self". It all depends on the intensity of the prayer whether there is a feasible path or not...
"Going around Arunachala a thousand times" may actually "lead to Self" even though one or more thoughts about a cute girl have arisen. It is crucial to which amount of attention such thoughts were maintained. If such a walker would come back quickly to his only task of self-attention he certainly will not lose his way of auspicious practice.

Ucayali said...

thank you for your explanation and final comment. Now I have a faint idea what G.B. Shaw wanted to express. As you seem to imply we in our pure self-awareness
can never die. Therefore we should not even fear the death of the body along the five sheaths. But we should be aware of the value of life even with a mortal body.
So let us find soon what we actually are, soon, soon, soon...

Ravi said...

Thanks to you all for bearing with me...Thought of sharing this excerpt from Sri Ramakrishna:

"One doesn't get Brahma Jnana by merely talking about it. Some people feign it. (Smiling) There was a man who was a great liar; but, on the other hand, he used to say he had the Knowledge of Brahman. When someone took him to task for telling lies, he said: 'Why, this world is truly like a dream. If everything is unreal, then can truth itself be real? Truth is as unreal as falsehood."

Without cherishing good values in Life and living ,it is vain to talk about vichara and one's practice of it.

As Sri Ramakrishna Says:
"A monk's kamandalu goes to the four principal holy places with him, but it still tastes bitter. Likewise, it is said that the Malaya breeze turns all trees into sandal-wood. But there are a few exceptions, such as the cotton-tree, the aswattha, and the hog plum".

Holy satsangh with Bhagavan is a very sacred opportunity...and one should take care to be worthy of it by removing all negativity in oneself...and not be like the cotton-tree ,aswattha or the hog plaum that does not benefit from the Malaya breeze.

Am I giving this Advice? Yes... take it or leave it...It does not matter to me in the least.

Wishing you all the Very Best...Adieu

Roger said...

Hi Salazar,

You are focused on the question "what is the best, only, most direct way" to enlightenment.

This good, but it is a somewhat misleading and incomplete question.

Imagine a big pyramid of vegetables at the grocery store. You are focused on the vegetable at the top of the pyramid. But... if one at a lower layer is removed the pyramid falls down.

A thing can be essential and yet not be the only or most direct or topmost on the pyramid.

For me for example, I am not overweight, but I have the Kapha (ayurveda) disease aka disease of heaviness, so I have to try and avoid sweet heavy foods and overeating (always flirting with disaster), get strong exercise, take bitter herbs, fast, do hatha yoga every day. Otherwise, my body (and then the mind) have a tendency to get lethargic, sluggish... and then attentiveness is elusive.
Do I have the meaning correct: too much sweet heavy cake with ice cream is called manolaya? Can I go to the restaurant and ask for "manolaya"?

A really big component of the "way" is the cessation or relative cessation of mental and emotional activity. And this is where all the different yogas are useful. Without this... Atma Vichara, the flow or sustained inward attention will not be attainable due to all the mental distractions.

So, my friend (and in this context "friend" is deeply felt & genuine) when you said earlier that you struggle with atma vichara, I am not doubting that atma vichara is at the top of the pyramid for you, only that other elements must be attended to in order to remove the struggle: for example: use whatever means necessary (esp some type of meditation which resonates with you) to discover cessation of mental activity... then Atma Vichara will be effortless.

One of my favorite instructions from Barry Long: you have to get your life right (or get your life in harmony ). otherwise, there will be too many mental and emotional distractions and you will not be able to settle down inwardly. Everything in life must be examined with the intent to achieve a harmonious (sattvic) mental state which is a foundation for further practice.

"Willingness" is samsara too said...

Tulasi, there are no differences between Jnanis and as much as I love Bhagavan, to make him superior or special over other Jnanis is simply not correct. Because they are, as we, Self and there are no distinctions in Self. However for us as devotees, even though we are Self too, it is appropriate to revere the sat-guru and don't see him as equal. Muruganar considered himself never as “equal” to Bhagavan, even after realization, that is the hallmark of a true devotee.

I did not dismiss praying to Bhagavan in the Old Hall, I tried to make a point. Same for the rest. Going around Arunachala has benefits according to Bhagavan but you won't get enlightened by that activity. If that would be the case I'd move there and spend the rest of my life walking.

I have to admit, I deliberately chose examples which may touch cherished beliefs. In any case, I do not insist to be right, that is my understanding and before realization it cannot be absolutely correct and that is what I like about Michael's comments since he always starts with Bhagavan's works and then leads from there to his own understanding.

I am exploring my understanding in posting comments on this blog and discussing it with others. If people want to deepen their understanding they should focus on what Michael is posting and a few others post great comments too.

Sanjay Lohia said...

The following extract is taken from the video: 2014-09-13 Ramana Maharshi Foundation UK: discussion with Michael James on annihilating the ego. Michael says the following in the very last few minutes of this video:

Devotee: When one experiences jnana, does one forget everything – like their name, who they are …

Michael: No, they are ignorant, completely ignorant. The only thing that a jnani knows is ‘I am’. We have infinite knowledge, because we know all these things, but the jnani knows only ‘I am’. That’s why Bhagavan said, there is nothing new for us to know. We just have to unlearn all the wrong things we have learnt.

Because the jnani seems to be a person, as a person with a body and mind his knowledge is limited like our knowledge. But he knows the only thing that is real, which is ‘I am’. So in fact he knows everything. But when we talk of the jnani knowing everything, we think he knows all these things. He knows only ‘I am’, which is all there is really to know. In his experience that alone exists.

So by our mind we cannot understand the state of a jnani.

Tulasi said...

in other words: I do not consider Papaji as a jnani.
Girivalam/pradakshina around Arunachala enables quite well loss of the ego provided the ego is ripe to fall from the tree of ignorance. I cherish the belief that walking in full attention to 'I am' or Arunachala - without any mental distraction - is of immense/immeasurable value.

Roger said...

Hi Hector,
Sorry, I have not responded to a post you made a while ago. Perhaps it is too hostile here for personal conversation. You can always write me at: roger[dot]isaacs[at]gmail[dot]com

Hi Tulasi:
That is a powerful statement! thanks!
I cherish the belief that walking in full attention to 'I am' or Arunachala - without any mental distraction - is of immense/immeasurable value.

Salazar you say:
Papaji said: "Prayer, religious rituals of any kind, pilgrimages, pujas, etc. will not lead to Self-realization.
..... pray[er] to Bhagavan [is] not a direct path to Self).

But Bhagavan says: Talk 318: "Prayer is not verbal. It is from the heart. To merge into the Heart is prayer. That is also Grace."

There are often suggestions that I read Michael.
But Michael is not Bhagavan. If Papaji is not a Jnani even less so Michael.
The main problem with me here is that I post Bhagavan from Talks. How very strange that this is not acceptable. In some ways... Michael James is placed above Bhagavan.
It is instantly obvious when Sanjay quotes Michael versus a direct quote from Bhagavan, huge difference.
If Michael has no teaching of his own, then why so often do we hear from Michael instead of Bhagavan?

"Willingness" is samsara too said...

Tulasi, you don't consider Papaji to be a Jnani, I do.

"Willingness" is samsara too said...

Roger, what Bhagavan meant with "prayer" in Talk 318 was not the prayer most people do and that is praying to a religious entity. That is the prayer I was referring to and that is what is most commonly understood by people as prayer.

I don't believe that you grasp Bhagavan and it is most revealing that you cling at quotes from the Talks. IMO the Talks are poison for an immature mind.

What you do with the Talks (using quotes to seemingly contradict things) is a perversion of mind, nothing less than that, sorry old chap.

venkat said...

From JK:

But the urge, the desire for comfort; we never question if there is any comfort at all, psychologically, inwardly. Or is it an illusion which has become our truth? You understand? An illusion can become our truth. I wonder if you understand all this. The illusion that you have god... that there is god - that god has been created by thought, by fear. If you had no fear there is no god. But god has been invented by man through fear, through loneliness, through despair, wanting this everlasting comfort. So we never question if there is comfort at all, which is deep, abiding satisfaction. Because we all want to be satisfied, not only with the food that we eat, satisfied sexually, satisfied by achieving some position of authority and therefore having comfort in that position, in that state. Don't you know all this?

So, let's ask if there is any comfort at all, if there is anything that will be gratifying, satisfying from the moment we are born till we die. Don't listen to me - find out. Give your energy, your thought, your blood, your heart to find out. And if there is no illusion is there any comfort? If there is no fear do you want comfort? Comfort is another form of pleasure.

So, sir, this is a very complex problem of our life, why we are so shallow, empty, filled by other people's knowledge, by books, why we are not independent, free human beings to find out. Why we are slaves. This is not a rhetorical question. This is a question each one of us must ask. And in the very asking and the doubting there comes freedom. And without freedom there is no sense of truth.

Tulasi said...

although I hold Papaji in high respect perhaps both our considerations are wrong.
However, we report only on considerations of ajnanis.

Roger said...

If anyone is interested in Krishnamurti, here is the online repository and you can sign up for one quote per day to be emailed.

Relationship is the mirror

Relationship is the mirror in which we can see ourselves as we are. All life is a movement in relationship. There is no living thing on earth which is not related to something or other. Even the hermit, a man who goes off to a lonely spot, is related to the past, is related to those who are around him. There is no escape from relationship. In that relationship which is the mirror in which we can see ourselves, we can discover what we are, our reactions, our prejudices, our fears, depression, anxieties, loneliness, sorrow, pain, grief. We can also discover whether we love or there is no such thing as love. So we will examine the question of relationship because that is the basis of love.

Mind Without Measure p 79

"Willingness" is samsara too said...

Tulasi, Papaji is either a Jnani or not, so one of us has come to the wrong conclusion.

I suppose many have a problem with Papaji because he had sex with a young European woman while he was married and fathered a child. That is a vast difference to Bhagavan's saint like life. However one cannot judge the actions of a Jnani and that is something many have a problem with.

If Papaji is not a Jnani then he is also a liar and cheat and David Godman was conned and Papaji's biography is just a huge fairy tale. Something doesn't add up here and it would David Godman look like a gullible fool. And I am pretty certain that he isn't.

Sanjay Lohia said...

Salazar, we do not have much problem with the fact that Papaji got married to a much younger woman even which his first wife was alive, but because of our assessment that he did not convey Bhagavan’s teachings with much clarity. Though he claimed to be a disciple of Bhagavan, he was unclear and misrepresented Bhagavan as far as the practice of self-investigation is concerned. Yes, he talks about the efficacy of self-enquiry, but look at what he once said in one of the videos.

Somebody asked him how often should one practise self-enquiry, and if it should be practiced continuously. Papaji replied: ‘No, only once’. Isn’t it a confusing reply?

David Godman may consider Papaji to be a jnani, but that does not necessarily qualify him to be jnani. It could be the intuition of David, but such an intuition may not be necessarily true. David has written extensively on Bhagavan, Papaji and other 'gurus', but that doesn’t qualify him to make such a judgement.

According to David even Laksmana Swamy was a jnani. And how did he come to such a conclusion? According to his own testimony, he came to such a conclusion because when he met Laksmana Swamy for the first time, he felt an indescribable peace which he had never felt before. That convinced him that Laksmana Swamy was a jnani. Isn’t this an totally unreliable yardstick to judge the inner state of some other person? Again we know Laksmana Swamy misrepresented Bhagavan’s teachings in many ways, like by saying that one needs a physical presence of a guru for the final self-experience to take place, and so on.

So we should not easily believe somebody when they say that such-a-such person is a jnani, because we cannot easily say who is jnani and who is not.

venkat said...

I think that when Papaji commented that self-enquiry needs to be done "only once" (and by the way elsewhere he urged his followers to practise self-enquiry), he meant that one should do self-enquiry with earnestness and sincerity, without the mind thinking it is a "practice" that will over time, lead to a goal. Done in this way, he is implying, will eliminate the ego is one go. A 'practice' of self-enquiry is mind's way of postponing in time.

It is akin to what Sadhu Om wrote, in Essence of Spiritual Enquiry:
"The perfect awakening into the state of Self-knowledge happens in just a split second. That state is not attained gradually over a long period of time."

As for the need of the physical presence of a guru, such satsang is supposed to enable a seeker to directly experience the peace radiating from a jivanmukta more efficaciously than any other method. And so for many, may enable them to gain conviction in the teaching. In Ulladhu Narpadu Anubandham, Bhagavan writes:

v.5: Neither the holy tirthas which are but water, nor the forms of deities made of stone and earth, can ever equal the great Sats. Ah! What a wonder! Tirthas and deities bestow mental purity after immeasurable time, but the sages bestow by a mere glance, instantly, purity of mind beyond measure.

Lashmana Sarma, who wrote, according to Bhagavan, the best commentary on Ulladu Narpuda, commented on this verse:
"When a jivanmukta lives embodied in the world, one should make haste to be in his presence, and endeavour to become a fit recipient of his look of grace."

Tulasi said...

that ego/mind bound discussion done in a competitive spirit is superfluous and pointless.
Let us primarily try to become drowned in the clear light of jnana. Then we wii know "pretty certain" what and who is a jnani.

"Willingness" is samsara too said...

Sanjay Lohia, what you say about Papaji can also then be applied to Bhagavan. How do you know that he is a Jnani? Because he gave a teaching which appeals to you and is more detailed than Papaji's?

What is a fact is that nobody on this blog KNOWS that Bhagavan is a Jnani. We take that on faith value as we have with any Jnani like Jesus Christ and the Buddha. Just because these Jnanis are more prominent and popular doesn't prove that they are Jnanis.

venkat made some great points and I concur with it.

Sanjay Lohia, I respect your opinion but I do not share it. It feels for me that you put Bhagavan on a pedestal and that in a negative sense.

As much as I cherish Bhagavan's teachings I can say that Papaji's seemingly "unclear" teaching has contributed a lot to deepen my understanding and I see him as a "contemporary Bhagavan" who as a Jnani in his own right has conveyed the truth through Self. That truth may not appeal to you but that cannot be taken as a reason to dismiss him.

By the way, you may sing a different tune if you'd have attended one of his sat-sangs.

Said that, no need to argue about it further, I'll just put in the back of my mind that some on this blog dismiss Papaji and that's it. Your loss ;-)

"Willingness" is samsara too said...

Tulasi, you opened that can of worms and now you are trying to close it. You went from "Papaji is not a Jnani" to "I hold him in high respect" to "let us become drowned in the light of Jnana".

Of course, "let us be drowned in the light of Jnana", but then we don't have to make ANY comments on this blog. Since we do and share mostly our opinions, your "let us be drowned in the light of Jnana" is a cop-out, nothing less than that ;-)

Roger said...

regarding "jnani status":
An important characteristic is that the teacher resonant with the seekers temperament and developmental level. In this sense, even if a person is a jnani... they many not resonant, their style may differ.

And..,. even if a person is a jnani, they have internally realized god... but externally they are somewhat stuck with the mind/body vehicle they have in the world. There have been certain jnanis (nobody that is discussed here) who's moral and ethical nature was weak and so they tended to still have these issues in the world even after realization.

Also... as any issue can be spoken about from multiple perspectives... the jnani may address it from one angle one day and the opposite angle later: I've seen this. I can see an angle where Papaji makes sense... although it may not be the angle I generally prefer.

I agree with Salazar (wait... what did i say?) that some teachers are popular which may just mean they are excellent at marketing and intellectual knowledge & presentation... but they may not be speaking from personal experience.

Anyone who has been around children... their lack of conditioning often results in their speaking the truth better than conditioned adults. So... wisdom may be found anywhere regardless of "status".

So... for me it is convenient to not believe anyone at all. :-)
Although, everything is "grist for the mill".

It's great that enlightened people have flaws. This warns us that the only perfection is within and not in any outward form. The record has been cleansed... but I'll bet Jesus didn't pick up his underware and left his cloths on the floor etc...

real aṟivu said...

"...conveyed the truth through Self. That truth may not appeal to you..."
Truth is another word for self. So truth is the self. But can truth be conveyed i.e. transmitted or imparted at all ?
If truth does not appeal to someone then in any case it seems to be hopeless to find it.

"Willingness" is samsara too said...

real arivu, the truth can only be conveyed from the heart to the heart. Papaji always stressed to not listen with the mind and not to memorize anything.

"Willingness" is samsara too said...

Hey Roger, you are agreeing with me, are you sure ;-)

Tulasi said...

now the ego's tendency to endless discuss even subjects which it is not at all able to comprehend and judge is evident.
By the way I wrote "Let us primarily try to become drowned in the clear light of jnana". That is not the same as you wrongly quoted "let us be drowned...".
So when you reproached me with having commited cop-out you obviously missed the target.
Besides you first "opened the can of worms" on 20 July 2017 at 23:30 by naming Papaji as a sat-guru ("...statement of sat-gurus like Bhagavan and Papaji") and admitting with it your "gullible mind". Smile.

real aṟivu said...

okay. But is it not said that there is only one "heart" ?

Roger said...

Yes, Salazar, I agreed with you (in a limited fashion),
Do you think it's the phase of the moon?
Quick... what else can we discuss?
Perhaps we will not be expelled for our bi-directional pig-headedness after all.

Good day,

Hector said...

Hi Roger
That's o.k.
If you don't mind I would prefer to communicate through the blog comments if that's o.k?
I don't mind posting my own practise, I am happy for anyone to criticize it or poke fun. Sometimes there does seem tension in the comments I agree.

Basically my practise is not set in stone as such. I try most mornings immediately on waking in bed to shift my attention back onto myself or observe the observer if that sounds right? I am still aware of phenomena and practise either with my eyes open or closed it doesn't matter to me I just go with the flow. I have found sometimes the more I focus my attention inwards or back on to myself (180 degrees) my perception of things other than myself lessens as my attention is more on myself.

On one occasion everything disappeared like I had my eyes closed but they were open but only for a few seconds then my surroundings reappeared but were faded until I finished my practise. But I appreciate that was nothing but a temporary experience I had so nothing to write home about.

I try to do this simple practise for anywhere from 10 - 30 minutes. I personally find longer harder and my ability to focus my attention back on myself reduces.

I do the same before sleep, exactly the same.

If I have some spare time throughout the day I will do the same but only for maybe 5 minutes.

The rest of my day I try my best to always if possible keep my attention even if it is weak back on to myself the observer. So it is a all the time low intensity practise with a few more intense practise periods scattered through the day especially morning and night.

It terms of progress it is hard to judge. My understanding is I will never know when I have succeeded because the ego will merge with myself as I really am.

I have noticed a improvement in terms of how intense I am able to turn my attention back on to myself but I don't say that to brag (lol)!!! far from it I just mean I do feel an improvement in my ability to attend to myself compared to things other than myself. But as Bhagavan said the only real sign of progress is perseverance.

So I shall keep going and keep trying to improve the intensity of my focus when I attend to myself or investigate my own awareness.

If you don't want to share you own practise schedule I completely understand.
Regardless best wishes to you Roger.


"Willingness" is samsara too said...

real arivu, yes there is only one heart. And yet there is a heart-to-heart conveyance from the sat-guru to the ajnani. Good grief, another one of these contradictions! ;-)

"Willingness" is samsara too said...

Tulasi, actually you started it with proclaiming that JK is not "a Jnani of Bhagavan's calibre".

Where are we, in elementary school, my teachers is way better than yours?

And re. my admittance of a "gullible mind", what was tongue-in-cheek by the way, referred to that atma-vichara is the last "practice" everybody will end up with. It had nothing to do with who is a Jnani or not.

I suggest to read more carefully my comments, thank you very much.

If you want to observe the ego's tendency "to endless discuss even subjects which it is not at all able to comprehend" then stay on this blog because that's about the majority (if not all) of the comments. Frankly, that is an ego's statement to look clever but it really has shot its own foot as it always does. ;-)

"Willingness" is samsara too said...

Roger, you agree with me in a "limited fashion". Thanks God, now the world makes sense again..... LOL

Roger said...

Salazar, regarding "limited": you've to take what you can get. :-)

Tulasi said...

you seem to live in a simple world: what you does not want to see you actually don't see. Excellent and fantastic !
What you seem to propose I don't feel any wish to observe the ego's tendency to endless....which is anyway already evident.
By the way, my foot is totally unhurted and free from any harm. ;-)

Sanjay Lohia said...

Salazar, the following extract is taken from an article by Michael called: No differences exist in the non-dual view of Sri Ramana (Interview on Celibacy: Part 3):

Question 3: Papaji said that none of his Western students were enlightened, that obviously would have included all the well known western teachers out there today who claim they belong to his lineage.

He said that no one was holy enough to receive what he knew. He said that he gave them spiritual lollipops and hinted they were enlightened to get the ‘leeches’ off his back. These are direct quotes of Papaji himself in the book ‘Nothing Ever Happened’.

Do you know if Sri Ramana ever gave Papji or anyone else permission to teach his version of atma Vichara?

Michael: Regarding the sayings of ‘Papaji’ (HWL Poonja) that you refer to here, I do not know how accurately these have been recorded, but if these are what he actually said, I find it very strange that anyone who claims to be a disciple of Sri Ramana should say such things, because they seem quite opposed to all that Sri Ramana taught, and they display a strong bhēda-buddhi or sense of difference, which is quite alien to his teachings and experience.

A visitor once praised Sri Ramana, saying to him, ‘Your realisation is unique in the spiritual history of the world’, to which he replied in English: ‘What is real in me is real in you and in everyone else. Where is the room for any difference?’ (as told to me by someone who was present at the time). Since in his experience the only thing that actually exists is self, ‘I am’, he did not see any difference between himself and others, so he never claimed to know anything that was not known by others, and he often said that in his view there is no one who is ignorant of self.

My note: In the course of our discussion, when we quote other gurus, and try to compare their teachings with the sayings and teachings of Bhagavan, we just try to say how the teachings of those gurus do not match with Bhagavan’s teachings in certain aspects. This should not be taken as a personal criticism. Papaji may be a jnani or he may not be one, that is not the point.

Like in the above extract, Michael clearly brings out the difference between the teaching styles of Bhagavan and Papaji. The choice is ours: we have to decide which teaching resonates with us. We can even chose the best of both gurus, like probably you seem to be doing. It is perfectly fine. We all approach our sadhana in different ways, and what appeals to us today may not interest us tomorrow.

I have myself studied many books by and on Papaji, like Nothing Ever Happened (in three parts), and frankly I read them with interest. But now I feel that the style and substance of Bhagavan and Papaji teachings are quite different, and since I am more attracted to Bhagavan’s teachings, I try to stick to his teachings.

Sanjay Lohia said...

The following extract is taken from the video: 2014-02-08 Ramana Maharshi Foundation UK: discussion with Michael James on self-investigation. The extract is not verbatim, but is a paraphrase of Michael’s words:

Michael: Guru will never tell us: ‘you are making good progress’ or ‘you are not making progress’. The idea of ‘spiritual progress’ is meaningless to the guru, because who makes or doesn’t make progress? It is only our ego, and if the guru says these things, he is confirming that we are egos. Moreover, even if the guru sees that we are making progress, why should he say so and thereby reinforce our egos.

Bhavagan never saw any ajnanis; he never saw anyone as ignorant. That is why he didn’t give his teachings unless and until they asked for his advice. When he never saw anyone as ignorant, how could he go and tell them; ‘you are ignorant, and therefore you should investigate and find out what you actually are’? Bhagavan gave his teachings only when people came to him and said, ‘I am miserable. How do I find happiness?’ He said, ‘You are happiness. Experience yourself as you actually are’.

People have fanciful ideas of what guru is. They feel that he is person like us; however, this is completely false. Guru is not a person; he is what we really are. If we want to experience guru, we have to turn within and experience him in and as our heart.

Devotee: So all gurus are one…

Michael: There is only one guru. There is no at all. All is the expansion of the ego; guru is one.

"Willingness" is samsara too said...

Sanjay Lohia, I concur with most of your two previous comments.

Michael said that Papaji comments seem quite opposed to all what Sri Ramana taught. That might be the case from the viewpoint of a scholar who likes to maintain the purity of the teaching. But if we accept the premise that Papaji is a Jnani, and that came over very clear in “Nothing Ever Happened”, then we have to accept that it was not Papaji but Self which conveyed these “confusing” teachings in comparison with Sri Ramana.

Also, there is no “lineage” of Bhagavan in the traditional sense, and with that nobody has the official permission to carry on Bhagavan's teaching.

It's funny, I don't find Papaji's teaching confusing at all and he conveyed Bhagavan's teaching in the essence. However there is also a huge component which is quite different to Bhagavan's “pure” teaching, but that doesn't mean it is wrong or misleading.

So I feel enriched by Papaji and don't see that as a contradiction at all. Of course that is a personal preference and if you feel more comfortable with focusing solely on Bhagavan I certainly can understand that.

I wonder what David Godman has to say to that topic? I may email him and ask him about his thoughts.....

Sanjay Lohia said...

Salazar, if you feel fit you may share your exchange of e-mails with David Godman (on this topic) with all of us. It will be interesting to read that.

Just one thing: you have called Michael as ‘scholar’. In my opinion, it would be grossly unfair to call him merely a scholar. Yes, he writes extensively on Bhagavan’s teachings, but he is a great devotee, a very ripe bhakti. He is great inspiration to many like me, and his devotion to Bhagavan and teachings is second to none. Whatever little I know about Bhagavan’s teachings is mainly because of him. I will be always grateful to him for guiding me on various spiritual and personal matters.

For example, he was the one who convinced me (along with one other expert) that I should adopt a vegan diet. This diet is the most healthy and ethical way of eating, and I have benefited a lot from consuming such a diet. I cannot thank him enough.

Turning 180 degrees can only be imagination said...

Sanjay Lohia, I concur and it was not my intention to minimize Michael at all in calling him [just] a scholar.

Hector said...

Hello Sanjay
I am a vegan too for animal welfare reasons. For me it just seems the right thing to do. It is good to also know that Bhagavan recommends it in Nan Yar? Paragraph 9 for helping calm the mind and make it easier to turn within. I was a vegan before finding Bhagavan. I don't miss the other foods at all !! I am so glad I went Vegan. I would consume milk if I had my own cows to look after so I know they are well loved and cared for all their life. But unfortunately I don't have any cows and I don't trust the dairy industry at all.

Sanjay Lohia said...

Hector, I am glad to know that you are also a vegan. In today’s world this is the only ahimsa (non-violent) diet, and as you say, it also helps to keep our mind calm and clear. This diet definitely aids our practice of self-investigation, because a sattvic diet induces a sattvic mind, and such a mind makes it that much easier to turn within.

According to an expert, we should try and keep away from all the food-products which are advertised. Dairy products are widely advertised, so we should view these products with suspicion. Do we find any advertisements for, say, bananas or carrots? I don’t see it, at least in India. Anything healthy and natural is generally not advertised, whereas all unhealthy, processed food are advertised. So we should try and avoid these types of food.

Hector said...

That is a such great point you make:

[Do we find any advertisements for, say, bananas or carrots? I don’t see it, at least in India. Anything healthy and natural is generally not advertised, whereas all unhealthy, processed food are advertised]

I never thought of that, it is so very true!!
My vegan diet is very high in fat from avocados, olive oil, freshly ground flax seeds etc.
My doctor ran some blood test as I have not had any done for 15 years as I don't often go to the doctor. He was really pleased with all my results especially blood lipids. My dentist is also very happy with my teeth. So the diet seems to keep me reasonably healthy as well as helping with my practise of ahimsa and vichara.

But I know Bhagavan would say Hector why worry so much about the body? Turn within, So very true.

Thanks Sanjay I am very glad you are happy with your Vegan diet too.

Roger said...

Hi Sanjay,
I have a serious complaint against you which is also a suggestion made in the deepest love and awe of Bhagavan.

There is discussion of who is a jnani and who isn't. You generally quote Michael. But Michael (by his own admission, although this could change some day) is an A-jnani. Sanjay, it seems that your guru is the AJNANI Michael James. I'm just pointing out that there is an alternative. :-)

Sanjay says "Michael's teaching is second to none": using Salazar's words as Salazar is my language tutor: "Bull Shit!" (as cows are revered in India bull shit must not be such a bad thing although we would just not want it in the dining room?).

Michael is very specifically second to Bhagavan. And second in such a way that there is no comparison at all. Comparing Michael to Bhagavan is like comparing an infant to Einstein, or comparing a grain of sand to Mount Everest.

We do not need a supposed "scholar" to impose himself in between us and Bhagavan, we can hear Bhagavan directly both through writings and the heart.

I am not being disrespectful, I am being very passionate about Bhagavan and doing my best to tell the truth as I see it. And... if you feel that I am off base then surely let me know. Evidence follows.

Case in point: Michael says:
Michael: Guru will never tell us: ‘you are making good progress’ or ‘you are not making progress’. The idea of ‘spiritual progress’ is meaningless to the guru, because who makes or doesn’t make progress? It is only our ego, and if the guru says these things, he is confirming that we are egos. Moreover, even if the guru sees that we are making progress, why should he say so and thereby reinforce our egos.

Absolute bull shit (steaming and aromatic).

Here is what Bhagavan actually said about the matter of "progress":
talk 427
M.: The degree of freedom from unwanted thoughts and the degree of concentration on a single thought are the measure to gauge the progress.

Talk 73.
M.: Does not one find some kind of peace while in meditation? That is the sign of progress. That peace will be deeper and more prolonged with continued practice. It will also lead to the goal. Bhagavad Gita - Chapter XIV - the final verses speak of gunatita (one who has transcended the gunas). That is the final stage.

The earlier stages are asuddha satva (impure being), misra satva (mixed being), and suddha satva (Pure Being).

Of these, the impure being is when overpowered by rajas and tamas; the mixed being is that state in which the being - satva - asserts itself spasmodically; the suddha satva overpowers rajas and tamas. After these successive stages there comes the state transcending gunas.

Talk 565.
A gentleman from Mysore asked: How is the mind to be kept in the right way?

M.: By practice. Give it good thoughts. The mind must be trained in good ways.

D.: But it is not steady.

M.: The Bhagavad Gita says: Sanaissanairuparamet (The mind must gradually be brought to a standstill); Atma samstham manah krtva (making the mind inhere in the Self); Abhyasa-vairagyabhyam (by practice and dispassion).

Practice is necessary. Progress will be slow.

Talk 637.
There was some question about progress.

Sri Bhagavan said that progress is for the mind and not for the Self. The Self is ever perfect.

Roger said...

Hi Hector,

Regarding diet: I am a vegan although not 100% strictly and it works well for me, but this is because it is appropriate for my disease tendency, as well as morally. But the issues are more complex.

Just as people have different spiritual temperaments, different career skills, different creative skills... bodies are also different and require different therapies. No single solution works for everyone, either in health or in spiritual practice or career etc... I practice and consult in a modified from of Ayurveda (see the book "Ayurveda Revolutionized" by Tarabilda), I believe that Ayurveda as currently practiced is off base but still useful. There are 6-8 basic different disease tendencies.

A person has one of these tendencies for disease for life:
The person will may tend to be too hot or too cold, or in other words agni or metabolism can be either too high or too low in western terms.
Or a person may be too dry or too oily.
Or a person may be too heavy or too light.
And there are a couple of mixed types.

So... a person can have a tendency to get congested and be overweight, sluggish, lethargic and heavy: this requires lightening therapy: being vegan is excellent here, fasting is good.

But... on the other side, a person may have a tendency to have a too high metabolism and be too light, they require more nutrition. Fasting in this case may be deadly. For example: both Michael Jackson and Prince fall in this category: their metabolism tended to be too high and they needed MORE nutrition. In the end the both self destructed because of this. Certainly the moral issues of eating meat may be important, but in the case of these rock stars... if they snacked on chicken throughout the day... this would probably have grounded them out sufficiently that they might still be around. Seems like they were both vegan and had zero body fat, so vegan actually contributed to their issues, although, if one objects to meat.. then other sources of protein could be used.

So... no single solution works for all people either for health, or spiritual practice etc...

Hector said...

Hi Roger

Glad you your diet is working for you and is helping you with your disease tendency.

[So... no single solution works for all people either for health, or spiritual practice etc...]

Yes couldn't agree more and I am sorry if my post gave that impression to you?
In my posts to Sanjay I was just talking about my own personal experiences with the vegan diet, whether low fat or high fat or any other given macronutrient profile. I would never try to tell anyone else what to do or give the impression that I have all the answers.

You are obviously very passionate about Ayurveda Roger and highly recommend it during your consultations. I am sorry you think that Ayurveda is currently being practised off base. But I am sure not all forms of Ayurveda will work for all people. So it is good there are choices I suppose. Or if someone finds Ayurveda to be unhelpful they have other nutritional strategies to explore to find what works best for them as we are all different as you very rightly say.


Roger said...

Hi Hector,
I'm not taking a position against you, just sharing my view... and if your's is different then it may enrich me. It seems you've found something that works for you so that is fantastic.

In the case of modern ayurveda versus what I like: As with virtually everything, there can be differences of opinion and such differences may be useful for contemplation.

Maybe you know something of Ayurveda so I will say:
I find all the classic texts and current experts to be of great value, insight and worthy of deep contemplation.

My teacher says that modern ayurveda has lost some integrity a long time ago. For example, while modern ayurveda says that a person's disease type will be the same as the outward body type and that for example your disease might be diagnosed & predicted by things like the outward hair & eye color, I believe that the disease tendency is not linked to the body type. So... this works for me, my build is slim... but I suffer from the disease of heaviness which means my outward body type is opposite my real disease tendency. Over the years I have visited numerous practitioners (Lad, Svoboda, Joshi, T.M. MDs) and have found for me that they didn't get this distinction and so their advise sometimes caused further imbalance.,

But... you may see it differently in which case I look forward to your opinion. It is an issue for contemplation.
Although the body is not as real as it seems... it's hard to be inwardly attentive when you're not healthy.

Have a good day Hector,

Sanjay Lohia said...

Roger, you write to me: ‘it seems that your guru is the AJNANI Michael James’. Michael doesn’t consider himself to be a guru. However, what he teaches us is extremely valuable, and it should not bother us whether he is a jnani or an ajnani. He doesn’t say, ‘Believe me’. He says, like Bhagavan, ‘Investigate yourself and find out what you are'. Therefore, he definitely doesn’t acts as our Guru. Yes, as they say, he is our friend, philosopher and guide.

I didn’t say Michael’s teachings are second to none. What I meant was that his understanding of Bhagavan’s life and his understanding of Bhagavan’s teachings is second to none. This is my opinion.

Regarding the yardstick of progress, Bhagavan has always emphasized that the only real sign of progress is perseverance. Bhagavan also added, as you quote him, ‘The degree of freedom from unwanted thoughts and the degree of concentration on a single thought are the measure to gauge the progress. Does not one find some kind of peace while in meditation? That is the sign of progress. That peace will be deeper and more prolonged with continued practice. It will also lead to the goal’. Yes, all these signs are merely bi-products of our perseverance.

However when Michael says, ‘Guru will never tell us: ‘you are making good progress’ or ‘you are not making progress’. The idea of ‘spiritual progress’ is meaningless to the guru…’, how does it contradict what Bhagavan says above? Bhagavan gave us the yardstick to measure our progress, but he doesn’t come and tell anyone: ‘you are making progress’ or ‘you are not making any progress’. Therefore, Michael doesn’t contradict Bhagavan in any way.

Michael is definitely not coming in between Bhagavan and ourself. He is just clarifying and expanding his teachings. I can say for myself that he has brought Bhagavan nearer to me that it was before. Therefore, he is a perfect instrument of Bhagavan in every sense.

All the best.

Sanjay Lohia said...

Bhagavan: Spoken words are of no use whatsoever if the eyes of the Guru meet the eyes of the disciple.

My note: Bhagavan’s form and Arunachala’s form have one thing in common. As we look at them, the power of their forms turns our gaze towards ourself. This is their unique quality. Therefore, strictly speaking we need no verbal or mental communication with their forms. We just have to look intently at these forms, and such dhyana (concentrated attention to the form of Bhagavan or Arunachala) will do its work: that is, it will make us turn within.

However, when Bhagavan says, ‘Spoken words are of no use whatsoever if the eyes of the Guru meet the eyes of the disciple’, it has a deeper meaning. Guru exists in and as ourself, so if we want to contact the real ‘eyes’ of Bhagavan, we have to look within by our inner eye - that is, we have to contact Bhagavan in our heart by our inward turned self-attention.

sat - bhava said...

Sanjay Lohia,
I really admire your patience to make attempts at an explanation to someone who lays such stress on pronouncing Michael James as an ajnani. I would not become committed to such efforts which are obviously of no avail.

Hector said...

Hi Roger
I didn't think you were taking a position against me even though you are fully entitle to. I just thought my previous post may of been misleading which is down to me and how I wrote it. It may of given the wrong impression that I recommend that everyone should be a vegan and be a high fat vegan for that matter like me (lol)!! Which isn't the case of course.

However I must contradict myself because part of me would very much like everyone to become vegan purely from an animal welfare perspective but not from a health perspective. But in fairness even if everyone was a vegan it will never completely remove the problem of the mistreatment and disrespect shown towards animals.

The problem according to Bhagavan is the one who sees the problem (ie) the ego.

Even though I am happy healthy vegan so to speak I personally don't believe it is the healthiest diet from a purely physiological perspective. I may be wrong of course but I think there are more healthier ways of eating. Veganism can be very restricting resulting in less than optimal micronutrient intake and total calorie consumption. But this can be effectively and easily addressed with effective planning.

I am sorry but I won't be able to enrich you with regards Ayurveda as I am ignorant about it. It is great you have found a teacher you respect on the subject after visiting many experts on Ayurveda. If your teacher says that modern Ayurveda has lost some integrity a long time ago it is very sad if that is the case and your teacher is right.

My own diet is based on years of trail and error and experimenting with my own body. I have found what works very well for me but which will ultimately not work for everyone. So I would never recommend anyone else follow my diet as it is specifically tailor made to me. It could negatively affect their energy level, body composition, metal health and blood work (especially blood lipids).

My diet is vry simple now and it keeps me healthy. I became vegan purely for animal welfare reasons not for health reasons. I am happy because it helps me with my practise of Ahimsa and I do honestly feel it helps me with my practise of self investigation.

Roger if you don't mind I will leave it there as the subject of nutrition really does excite my mind as it was a very strong passion of mine for a very long time.

Plus this blog is about Bhagavan and his teaching. Admittedly he did comment on diet and advocated a vegetarian based diet and Ahimsa but he did not over complicate things (lol)!!.


Roger said...

Hi Hector,
I guess I'm looking for any excuse possible to talk about the body so I interjected myself into your conversation. It is fascinating: the gross physical body is transcended eventually, the body is as fine as space or a thought or nothing in awareness at all.. but health is essential as a basis for practice.

I agree with your "trial and error" approach totally. There is no substitute for awareness.

Although, to make fun and word play, you said "trAil and error", "Trail" not "Trial". And this is really funny because the more I hit the "trail" and hike the healthier I am. :-)
I take your sentence as a personal omen that I should hit the trail. But there have just been too many mosquitos recently.

Also, it seems that the disease tendency is not only the way the body tends to get out of balance, but also habits.
I mean, Prince and Michael Jackson wasted away, their habit was to be vegan, but in some ways vegan was counter productive for them because they didn't get enough substance.
And me on the other hand, I get too congested and lethargic, but my habit is to hang out at the dessert bar which is really bad.
So, it seems disease extends into the ego habits and desires.

Hector said...

Hi Roger

I am glad you posted what you did to me.

(lol)!! Yes I see I misspelt "trial" !! but I like your word play with it !!
I really good trail would be walking around Arunachala!!

I am lucky where I live as there are not really any mosquitoes and I do enjoy walking.

It is hard to know exactly what diet Prince and Michael Jackson followed as their lives were shrouded in secrecy and the media always had a field day with them.

Funny you say about your sweet tooth! I am the complete opposite, deserts or sweets never tempted me including the dreaded chocolate!!! I was always a savoury person it just shows how different we all are.

Anyway enough about our diets and celebrities, how is your practise going and what do you find works best for you? Do you complement inward attention / vichara with other techniques? I am generally interested.


venkat said...

"I didn’t say Michael’s teachings are second to none. What I meant was that his understanding of Bhagavan’s life and his understanding of Bhagavan’s teachings is second to none. This is my opinion."

You have no idea whether Michael's understanding is second to none, or not. It is simply a belief: a case of your reading of his translations and interpretations fitting in with your pre-conceptions and pre-conditionings. Until you think for yourself, you can never be free. And to do that you need to question and challenge, not parrot.

And if you whole-heartedly believe in Bhagavan's teaching fair enough - but have the humility, at least 'you' have disappeared, not to lecture that other sages are ajnanis, or lesser jnanis, and only Bhagavan (as you / Michael interpret him) is correct.

Roger said...

Hi Hector,
One of perhaps multiple comments:

My intent is to be inwardly aware all the time.

In more detail:
JRK says "the observer is the observed". This made more sense to me when I heard Osho commenting on it. Osho said something like: what Krishnamurti is trying to say is as follows: typically we have one arrow of attention going out to the world, "world" also includes the outward mental and emotional activities. What to do is to make our "arrow of attention" double ended. Then there is the usual arrow of attention going outward... and another arrow going inward simultaneously. Google on "osho double arrow". Funny to have Osho offering to clarify "K". Osho says this "double arrow" metaphor may come from Gurdjieff and/or Patangali.

Note: "double arrow of attention" appears to be entirely different than Michael's recommendation. Michael is apparently concerned with just the "inward arrow" by itself (which is fine and good if its your style) and he has the unusual assumption that the world will permanently disappear.

"double arrow of attention" is identical with maintaining attention on "I" while being active in the world. "Active" may just mean having eyes open and observing what is seen outward while also observing inwardly.

The single inward arrow with world temporarily disappearing is nirvikalpa samadhi.
The double arrow with attention inward during activity is savikalpa samadhi. Both lead to permanent sahaja samadhi. (Bhagavan, "be as you are", godman)

"Willingness" is samsara too said...

I highly doubt it that Osho and Gurdjieff were Jnanis. Papaji made fun of Osho and his "followers" and was not pleased when quite a few of them showed up at his place after Osho's death.

And you stubborn fool, neither nirvikalpa nor savikalpa samadhi is leading to the natural state. It seems you are ignoring (either deliberately or by sheer stupidity) Bhagavan's comments about it. Gosh, why am I even replying to such a BS comment [again].

With every comment you reveal your minds utter confusion.

Unknown said...

In my case, even if I try to keep the arrow of attention in the single direction of I, I am unable to do it. It is always with double arrow (or no arrow as in sleep or samadhi). The only difference is in which direction it is more pronounced. Ordinarily, attention is on the outside phenomena and I is barely remembered. During atma vichara practice, it is more pronounced towards I, but still phenomena are in the awareness.

real aṟivu said...

Sanjay Srivastava,
do not care about perceiving phenomena.
Take a break and have a rest. Then try to fix your attention again towards the mind, ego and its source. Don't give up (the fight) !
Do not forget what Michael writes: "Pure self-awareness is not nothingness but the only thing that actually exists".

Turning 180 degrees can only be imagination said...

real arivu, good point, the goal is not to eliminate phenomena - there is no goal. If the mind wants to have phenomena eliminated then it will eventually create the state of manolaya which some call Samadhi. But that is a trap of mind. Any goal is a trap. As we all know, the natural state cannot be attained nor can anything lead to it. For some reason even people on this forum don’t seem to get that.

Atma-vichara has to be done with utmost gentleness; it is a relaxed and effortless event. It seems only to be an effort for the mind since it has to “shut up” and that is of course an effort for the mind ;-)

I see it as a huge mistake to ponder about “single arrow” and “double arrow”! It just creates conflicting thoughts and makes atma-vichara unnecessary complicated. These terms are an impediment.

real aṟivu said...

"As we all know, the natural state cannot be attained nor can anything lead to it."
Additionally one should remember clearly that the natural state cannot be lost.
To my instinct too the arrow-allegory seems at least unnecessary.

Hector said...

Hello Roger
Thanks for your reply.

I have definitely heard of JRK and Osho but I am ignorant about their work. However I am sure like with other teachers there is a lot of wisdom in what they say. They have obviously been a great help to you on your Own journey.

The double ended arrow approach I have heard of but I can't for the life of me remember where I heard about it? Kind of like two way looking. Keeping attention inwards and outwards at the same time. Maybe you could say it is the middle way. Attention is not just inwards or outwards but in both directions simultaneously. Balanced with no effort to go in either direction.

Roger a quote from Nisargadatta immediately came to mind:

“Wisdom is knowing I am nothing,
Love is knowing I am everything,
and between the two my life moves.”
― Nisargadatta Maharaj

Maybe he means a similar thing. Very interesting.

Most of my own practise throughout the day is very similar to this as I am aware of my surroundings as I have to interact with the world but my attention is also on myself the observer. So your own practise and the double arrow approach you speak of resonates with me personally.

The only difference I can see is the times I put aside morning and before bed or when I have some spare time I do try to turn my attention inwards as much as possible. So in this case it would differ to your practise as I am focusing more attention inwards compared to outwards and it is not a balanced practise like yours.

However Roger the most important thing is we are actually doing something aren't we. We are not just theorizing about it or writing / talking about it but we do our practise and it is a very important part of our life. We are trying and experimenting to see what works best for us. For example I find if I spend about 2 minutes just saying "I" over and over again in my mind (not out loud) it does seem to help me turn my attention within / back on to myself. I don't do it for more than a few minutes it's kind of like a quick warm up before I practise vichara. Others might criticise this or say it is stupid but it works for me so I do it.

Who cares if our practise is slightly different.

Thank you for taking the time to describe your practise to me and I hope it goes well.


Roger said...

Hi Hector,
I love that quote from Nisargadatta. It is one of the most brilliant I've ever heard emphasizing the fullness of Being out of existence (pointed to by Ajata) AND the fullness of God in existence "Love is Knowing I am Everything". Yes, the finest quality of God in existence is Love. Stunning! So yes, it seems the single inward arrow is "nothing" and the double arrow is "everything" but just another metaphor for practice.

I prod Michael because as far as I can tell his philosophy emphasizes "Nothing" over "love is knowing I am everything". But this is not just an issue with Michael, seems that Sankara's Advaita philosophy was so brilliant and perhaps due to the message being carried on by monks that eventually "Nothing" became predominant over "love-Everything".

I will say more about my practice in following posts. Mainly because I do not want Salazar's fingers to atrophy.

But... whatever my practice, my outward philosophy in the world is expansively integral: different things work for different people, although I talk about my style... I don't expect anyone to adopt it, and I genuinely look forward to hearing from those who are different from me as they complete me. For example, I am so much "negation" that I need to feel the devotional side for completion.

I also do a significant amount of looking just inwardly or predominately inwardly. I try being inwardly focused all the time, driving a car is a great meditation time as is walking, but also meditating lying down, sitting with eyes closed, or eyes open for a long time. Or switching back and forth between 30 minutes sitting and then doing jobs around the house and then back. The more effort I put into it the more results. Can I maintain the same inward focus in activity as with eyes closed sitting? No... but it is the intent.

I think "experimenting to see what works best" is essential, it is the way. Whatever the wise have said... the interesting thing is discovering it within. Atma Vichara is inward research.

Thanks a lot, I really appreciate the opportunity of 2 way (or more) sharing without judgment or competition (I appreciate you too Salazar). There is a great joy in it? And we learn and feel a clarity of enthusiasm together?

Roger said...

the first few verses from The Philosophy of Consciousness Without An Object by Franklin Merrell-Wolff.

Consciousness-without-an-object is.
Before objects were,
Consciousness-without-an-object is.
Though objects seem to exist,
Consciousness-without-an-object is.
When objects vanish,
yet remaining through all unaffected,
Consciousness-without-an-object is.
Outside of Consciousness-without-an-object
nothing is.
Within the bosom of Consciousness-without-an-object
lies the power of awareness
that projects objects.
When objects are projected,
the power of awareness as subject is presupposed,
yet Consciousness-without-an-object remains unchanged.
When consciousness of objects is born,
then, likewise, consciousness of absence of objects arises.
Consciousness of objects
is the Universe.
Consciousness of absence of objects
is Nirvana.
Within Consciousness-without-an-object
lie both the Universe and Nirvana,
yet to Consciousness-without-an-object
these two are the same.

venkat said...

Salazar, you are right to say that nirvikalpa samadhi is not regarded as necessary - though the pontiffs at sringeri math, arguably the most senior authorities on Sankara's, have said that it can be an aid along the path. In Shankara's Vivekachudamani, which Bhagavan translated into Tamil. there are a number of references to nirvikalpa samadhi as important.

Bhagavan is noted as saying in Talks (which I appreciate that you may dispute its authenticity):

"Abiding permanently in any of these samadhis, either savikalpa or nirvikalpa, is sahaja. What is body consciousness? It is the insentient body plus consciousness. Both of these must lie in another consciousness which is absolute and unaffected and which remains as it always is, with or without the body consciousness. What does it matter whether the body consciousness is lost or retained, provided one is holding on to that pure consciousness? Total absence of body consciousness has the advantage of making the samadhi more intense, although it makes no difference to the knowledge of the supreme."

«Oldest ‹Older   1 – 200 of 262   Newer› Newest»