Thursday 24 August 2017

The ego is a spurious entity, but an entity nonetheless, until we investigate it keenly enough to see that it does not actually exist

A friend wrote to me yesterday:
You prefer using ‘ourself’ or ‘oneself’ or ‘I’ instead of ‘the Self’. It is because by using ‘the Self’ we tend to objectify ourself. So this point is clear. But then why do we use ‘the ego’? Are we likewise not objectifying ourself by using ‘the ego’?
The following is adapted from the reply I wrote to him:

There are two levels or dimensions to the problem of using the term ‘the Self’: at a grosser level it tends to objectify ourself (implying that we are an object), but at a subtler level it tends to reify ourself (implying that we are a thing or entity).

Since our real nature (ātma-svarūpa) is neither an object nor an entity (because it is the vastu, the ultimate substance of all entities, and the adhiṣṭhāna or ādhāra, the fundamental ground from which and in which they all appear), we have to guard against such a confusion. However, in the case of our ego the problem is slightly different, because as the ego we are not an object but the subject, but as the subject we are an entity — the first entity and root of all other entities.

Therefore we should not objectify the ego, but until we investigate it keenly enough to see that it does not actually exist, we cannot avoid reifying it (that is, considering it to be an entity), and we must do so in order to distinguish and isolate it from all the objects of which it is aware, including all the adjuncts that it mistakes to be itself. Only when we isolate it from all its adjuncts will it dissolve and disappear forever, and then only will we know that there never was any such entity at all.

As Bhagavan clearly explained, though the ego seems to be both ourself and whatever adjuncts it mistakes to be ourself, it is actually neither ourself nor any adjunct, because it does not actually exist, as we shall discover if we investigate ourself keenly enough. The fact that it is neither ourself, who are sat-cit (being-awareness), nor the body, which is jaḍa (non-conscious or insentient), is explained by him in verse 24 of Uḷḷadu Nāṟpadu:
சடவுடனா னென்னாது சச்சித் துதியா
துடலளவா நானொன் றுதிக்கு — மிடையிலிது
சிச்சடக்கி ரந்திபந்தஞ் சீவனுட்ப மெய்யகந்தை
யிச்சமு சாரமன மெண்.

jaḍavuḍaṉā ṉeṉṉādu saccit tudiyā
duḍalaḷavā nāṉoṉ ḏṟudikku — miḍaiyilitu
ciccaḍakki ranthibandhañ jīvaṉuṭpa meyyahandai
yiccamu sāramaṉa meṇ

பதச்சேதம்: சட உடல் ‘நான்’ என்னாது; சத்சித் உதியாது; உடல் அளவா ‘நான்’ ஒன்று உதிக்கும் இடையில். இது சித்சடக்கிரந்தி, பந்தம், சீவன், நுட்ப மெய், அகந்தை, இச் சமுசாரம், மனம்; எண்.

Padacchēdam (word-separation): jaḍa uḍal ‘nāṉ’ eṉṉādu; sat-cit udiyādu; uḍal aḷavā ‘nāṉ’ oṉḏṟu udikkum iḍaiyil. idu cit-jaḍa-giranthi, bandham, jīvaṉ, nuṭpa mey, ahandai, i-c-samusāram, maṉam; eṇ.

அன்வயம்: சட உடல் ‘நான்’ என்னாது; சத்சித் உதியாது; இடையில் உடல் அளவா ‘நான்’ ஒன்று உதிக்கும். இது சித்சடக்கிரந்தி, பந்தம், சீவன், நுட்ப மெய், அகந்தை, இச் சமுசாரம், மனம்; எண்.

Anvayam (words rearranged in natural prose order): jaḍa uḍal ‘nāṉ’ eṉṉādu; sat-cit udiyādu; iḍaiyil uḍal aḷavā ‘nāṉ’ oṉḏṟu udikkum. idu cit-jaḍa-giranthi, bandham, jīvaṉ, nuṭpa mey, ahandai, i-c-samusāram, maṉam; eṇ.

English translation: The jaḍa body does not say ‘I’; sat-cit does not rise; [but] in between [these two] one thing [called] ‘I’ rises as the extent of the body. Know that this [the adjunct-mixed self-awareness that rises as ‘I am this body’] is cit-jaḍa-granthi [the knot formed by the entanglement of awareness with an insentient body, binding them together as if they were one], bandha [bondage], jīva [life or soul], the subtle body, ahandai [the ego], this saṁsāra [wandering, perpetual movement, restless activity, worldly existence or the cycle of birth and death] and manam [the mind].
In this verse ஒன்று (oṉḏṟu) is a noun that means ‘one’ in the sense of ‘one thing’ or ‘something’, so ‘நான் ஒன்று’ (nāṉ oṉḏṟu), ‘one [called] I’, implies something called ‘I’, and then in the next sentence he refers to it as ‘இது’ (idu), which means ‘this’ or ‘it’. Thus in this verse he indicates that the ego is a spurious entity (because it poses both as ourself and as a body, even though it is neither), but it is an entity nevertheless — or rather it seems to be an entity so long as it seems to exist, as it will until we look at it carefully enough to see what we actually are.

The fact that it is a spurious entity that seems to exist only so long as we look at other things instead of looking keenly at ourself alone is also indicated by him in the next verse, verse 25 of Uḷḷadu Nāṟpadu, in which he refers to it as ‘உருவற்ற பேய்’ (uru-v-aṯṟa pēy), a ‘formless phantom’, which comes into existence, stands and flourishes only by grasping forms (things other than itself), and which will cease to exist if we investigate it keenly enough:
உருப்பற்றி யுண்டா முருப்பற்றி நிற்கு
முருப்பற்றி யுண்டுமிக வோங்கு — முருவிட்
டுருப்பற்றுந் தேடினா லோட்டம் பிடிக்கு
முருவற்ற பேயகந்தை யோர்.

uruppaṯṟi yuṇḍā muruppaṯṟi niṟku
muruppaṯṟi yuṇḍumiha vōṅgu — muruviṭ
ṭuruppaṯṟun tēḍiṉā lōṭṭam piḍikku
muruvaṯṟa pēyahandai yōr

பதச்சேதம்: உரு பற்றி உண்டாம்; உரு பற்றி நிற்கும்; உரு பற்றி உண்டு மிக ஓங்கும்; உரு விட்டு, உரு பற்றும்; தேடினால் ஓட்டம் பிடிக்கும், உரு அற்ற பேய் அகந்தை. ஓர்.

Padacchēdam (word-separation): uru paṯṟi uṇḍām; uru paṯṟi niṟkum; uru paṯṟi uṇḍu miha ōṅgum; uru viṭṭu, uru paṯṟum; tēḍiṉāl ōṭṭam piḍikkum, uru aṯṟa pēy ahandai. ōr.

அன்வயம்: உரு அற்ற பேய் அகந்தை உரு பற்றி உண்டாம்; உரு பற்றி நிற்கும்; உரு பற்றி உண்டு மிக ஓங்கும்; உரு விட்டு, உரு பற்றும்; தேடினால் ஓட்டம் பிடிக்கும். ஓர்.

Anvayam (words rearranged in natural prose order): uru aṯṟa pēy ahandai uru paṯṟi uṇḍām; uru paṯṟi niṟkum; uru paṯṟi uṇḍu miha ōṅgum; uru viṭṭu, uru paṯṟum; tēḍiṉāl ōṭṭam piḍikkum. ōr.

English translation: Grasping form, the formless phantom-ego rises into being; grasping form it stands; grasping and feeding on form it grows [spreads, expands, increases, rises high or flourishes] abundantly; leaving [one] form, it grasps [another] form. If sought [examined or investigated], it will take flight. Investigate [or know thus].
By saying all this about the ego, Bhagavan is not objectifying it, because every object is a form, and he says the ego is formless, but he is reifying it, because it seems to be an entity until we investigate it keenly enough to see that it does not exist and has never existed. When we see this, we will also see that nothing else except ourself has ever existed, because everything else (all objects or phenomena) seems to exist only in the view of this ego, so it all comes into seeming existence along with the ego and ceases to exist along with it, as he explains in verse 26 of Uḷḷadu Nāṟpadu:
அகந்தையுண் டாயி னனைத்துமுண் டாகு
மகந்தையின் றேலின் றனைத்து — மகந்தையே
யாவுமா மாதலால் யாதிதென்று நாடலே
யோவுதல் யாவுமென வோர்.

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

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

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

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

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

English translation: If the ego comes into existence, everything comes into existence; if the ego does not exist, everything does not exist. [Hence] the ego itself is everything. Therefore, know that investigating what this [the ego] is alone is giving up everything.
Since the ego will cease to exist if we investigate it keenly enough, and since nothing else (except ourself as we really are) can exist if it does not exist, Bhagavan concludes this verse by saying: ‘ஆதலால், யாது இது என்று நாடலே ஓவுதல் யாவும் என ஓர்’ (ādalāl, yādu idu eṉḏṟu nādal-ē ōvudal yāvum eṉa ōr), ‘Therefore, know that investigating what it is alone is giving up everything’. That is, if we investigate this primal entity keenly enough, it will cease to exist and all other entities will cease to exist along with it.

As Bhagavan says in the first sentence of the seventh paragraph of Nāṉ Yār?, ‘யதார்த்தமா யுள்ளது ஆத்மசொரூப மொன்றே’ (yathārtham-āy uḷḷadu ātma-sorūpam oṉḏṟē), ‘What actually exists is only ātma-svarūpa [the ‘own form’ or real nature of oneself]’, so no entity ever actually exists, but so long as the first entity, the ego, seems to exist, other entities will also seem to exist, because it can never seem to exist without projecting and grasping other entities, some of which (such as a body) it takes to be itself. However if we look at this first entity keenly enough, we will clearly see that what seemed to be this ego is only ātma-svarūpa, the nature of which is just pure, infinite, indivisible and immutable self-awareness, so no such entity as the ego has ever existed as such, and hence no other entity has ever existed either, nor has any entity ever even seemed to exist (because they could seem to exist only in the view of the ego, which itself does not ever seem to exist except in its own non-existent view). To see this, all we need do is look at ourself carefully enough to see what we actually are.


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Anonymous said...

Talk 286.
D.: Why can we not remain in sushupti as long as we like and be also
voluntarily in it just as we are in the waking state?
M.: Sushupti continues in this state also. We are ever in sushupti. That
should be consciously gone into and realised in this very state.
There is no real going into or coming from it. Becoming aware of
that is samadhi. An ignorant man cannot remain long in sushupti
because he is forced by nature to emerge from it. His ego is not
dead and it will rise up again. But the wise man attempts to crush
it in its source. It rises up again and again for him too impelled by
nature, i.e., prarabdha. That is, both in Jnani and ajnani, ego is
sprouting forth, but with this difference, namely the ajnani’s ego
when it rises up is quite ignorant of its source, or he is not aware of
his sushupti in the dream and jagrat states; whereas a Jnani when
his ego rises up enjoys his transcendental experience with this ego
keeping his lakshya (aim) always on its source. This ego is not
dangerous: it is like the skeleton of a burnt rope: in this form it is
ineffective. By constantly keeping our aim on our source, our ego
is dissolved in its source. like a doll of salt in the ocean.
D.: Sri Ramakrishna says that nirvikalpa samadhi cannot last longer
than twenty-one days. If persisted in, the person dies. Is it so?
M.: When the prarabdha is exhausted the ego is completely dissolved
without leaving any trace behind. This is final liberation. Unless
prarabdha is completely exhausted the ego will be rising up in
its pure form even in jivanmuktas. I still doubt the statement of
the maximum duration of twenty-one days. It is said that people
cannot live if they fast thirty or forty days. But there are those who
have fasted longer, say a hundred days. It means that there is still
prarabdha for them.
D.: How is realisation made possible?
M.: There is the absolute Self from which a spark proceeds as from
fire. The spark is called the ego. In the case of an ignorant man
it identifies itself with an object simultaneously with its rise. It
cannot remain independent of such association with objects.
This association is ajnana or ignorance, whose destruction is
the objective of our efforts. If its objectifying tendency is killed

it remains pure, and also merges into the source. The wrong
identification with the body is dehatmabuddhi (‘I-am-the-body’
idea). This must go before good results follow.
D.: How to eradicate it?
M.: We exist in sushupti without being associated with the body and
mind. But in the other two states we are associated with them. If
one with the body, how can we exist without the body in sushupti?
We can separate ourselves from that which is external to us and not
from that which is one with us. Hence the ego is not one with the
body. This must be realised in the waking state. Avasthatraya (the
three states of waking, dream and deep sleep) should be studied
only for gaining this outlook.
The ego in its purity is experienced in intervals between two states
or two thoughts. Ego is like that caterpillar which leaves its hold
only after catching another. Its true nature can be found when it is
out of contact with objects or thoughts. Realise this interval with
the conviction gained by the study of avasthatraya (the three states
of consciousness).

Anonymous said...

Talk 285.
D.: If the Self be itself aware, why am I not aware of the same, even
M.: There is no duality. Your present knowledge is due to the ego and only
relating. Relative knowledge requires a subject and an object. Whereas
the awareness of the Self is absolute and requires no object.
Remembrance also is similarly relative, requiring an object to be
remembered and a subject to remember. When there is no duality,
who is to remember whom?
D.: What happens to the created ego when the body dies?
M.: Ego is ‘I-thought’. In its subtle form it remains a thought, whereas
in its gross aspect it embraces the mind, the senses and the body.
They disappear in deep slumber along with the ego. Still the Self
is there; similarly it will be in death.
Ego is not an entity independent of the Self in order that it must be
created or destroyed by itself.

Anonymous said...

Talk 76

The yogi's aim must be to destroy it and not to sink in laya [?]. In the peace of dhyana , laya ensues but it is not enough. It must be supplemented by other practices for destroying the mind. Some people have gone into samadhi with a trifling thought and after a long time awakened in the trail of the same thought. In the meantime generations have passed away in the world. Such a yogi has not destroyed his mind. Its destruction is the non-recognition of it as being apart from the Self. Even now the mind is not. Recognise it. How can you do it if not in everyday activities.

ajāta said...

what is your question - if you have any ?

ahandai said...

how can one investigate a spurious entity (‘உருவற்ற பேய்’ (uru-v-aṯṟa pēy), a ‘formless phantom’ keenly enough ?

Sanjay Lohia said...

Our intellect goes after our prarabdha-karma, and this is called in Sanskrit ‘buddhi-karma-anusarini’

The following extract is taken from the video: 2017-07-08 Ramana Maharshi Foundation UK discussion with Michael James on the power of silence. It is not verbatim:

Michael: Jnana has nothing to do with karma. Karma is an action; karma is finite. How can a finite thing give an infinite fruit? The fruit of karma are only for the ego. If we do good karma, we will experience good fruit; and if we do bad karma, we will experience bad fruit. But however many karmas we may do, we cannot attain jnana as a result of karma. Who is doing these actions, and who is experiencing its results? Bhagavan says in verse 38 of Ulladu Narpadu that if we are doer of actions, we will experience the resulting fruits, but if we investigate who is the doer of actions, all the three karmas will slip away.

He says very clearly in the first of the two verses of Upadesa Undiyar: The fruit of karma will pass away, but remain as seed, which will cast us into the ocean of karma. Therefore karma cannot give liberation. The only way to free ourself from karma is to free ourself from the karta, the doer of actions, and we can free ourself from the doer of actions only by knowing what we actually are.

So Bhagavan used to say prarabdha affects only the outward turned mind, and not the inward turned mind. Prarabdha can never prevent us from turning our attention within.

Bhagavan will make us do whatever actions we are destined to do, like a puppet-master. Supposing if you are destined to earn a PhD, you can’t earn it without studying very hard and writing thesis, and all these things. So if you are destined to do PhD, you will be made to do whatever actions are necessary to achieve that. That could be your prarabdha.

If I am destined to run over by a bus, at that moment I will think that I can cross the road quickly, and I will run across the road and will be hit by the bus. My mind will be made to do what is called in Sanskrit ‘buddhi-karma-anusarini’ - the intellect or mind going after the prarabdha karma, being dragged by that – that is destiny driving the intellect.

(I will continue this in my next comment)

Sanjay Lohia said...

In continuation of my previous comment:

Our free-will is always present. We are now experiencing certain destiny. We can either like it or dislike it, or we can just be indifferent to it. So we are constantly reacting. We are constantly trying to avoid unpleasant things, and are trying to experience pleasant things. So our body, speech and mind are driven by prarabdha, but they are also being driven by our free-will at the same time. Both of these two forces are acting in our lives.

What we do by our free-will will not change what we are destined to experience. So long as are mind is turned outwards, what we are destined to experience we will always experience. However, there is one way in which we can avoid experiencing our prarabdha.

We can use our free-will and try to change things in some way or another, or we can keep quiet. The choice is ours. But how can we keep quiet? Bhagavan doesn’t mean that we should avoid doing any action by body, speech and mind, because if we are destined to act we will be made to act by body, speech and mind. So what Bhagavan means by being silent is not refraining from doing any action by body, speech and mind. What he means is refraining from rising as the ego, by turning our attention within.

So if we want to avoid prarabdha, the only way to avoid it is not to attend to it, not to attend to anything that is happening, not to face outwards. We need to turn our attention towards ourself, merge back into our source. That is liberation. So liberation will not be brought about by any action.

Sanjay Lohia said...

ahandai, ‘investigation’ means close examination, inspection or exploration of a particular thing, or of a particular incident. When Bhagavan says that our ego is a ‘formless phantom’, he is describing the nature of our ego or the original state of our ego.

However, when we experience this ‘formless phantom’ it is no more a formless phantom, because when we experience it, it has already attached itself to a body. So we experience it only as a tangled mixture of our body and mind. When we investigate ourself, we have to attend to the awareness aspect of this tangled mixture.

Therefore, as Michael implies in this article, whenever we experience our ego, we experience it only as an entity, ‘I’, and we can investigate this entity only by keenly attending to it.

I am sure Michael will explain it much better, if and when he has time to do so.

. . said...

Sanjay Lohia, another great article by Michael paraphrased by you. Prarabdha goes on in every second of our lives, every scratch, every little thing is prarabhda, and no outward action is determined by the ego. If we are vegetarian or eat meat, that’s prarabhda too. So if anybody of Bhagavan’s devotees still eats meat, don’t beat yourself up, that’s as much destiny as if a Hindu eats beef what may create inner turmoil unless one does atma-vichara.

So we seem to be a puppet, at least what happens to the body, however we are not victims of prarabhda because we can transcend prarabdha with atma-vichara. The actions of the body will go on as destined, but the inward identification loses its hold.

Sanjay Lohia said...

Salazar, as long as our attention is turned towards things other than ourself, we are bound by our prarabdha, but to say that ‘no outward action is determined by the ego’ may not be quite correct.

We are at least free to like or dislike our prarabdha, and we are likewise free to try and change our prarabdha. All these, our likes and dislikes, and our effort to change of prarabdha are all actions by the ego. Yes, we will not be able to change anything, but our trying to change things by using our body, speech and mind is our ego’s actions. Such actions that are responsible for our agamya.

The ego is also free not to act, so here also it is free. As long as it acts it is bound, but it has complete freedom not to act by remaining self-attentive.

When you say, ‘If we are vegetarian or eat meat, that’s prarabhda too’, I am not sure if we can look at it this way. May be Michael can help us here. I certainly feel that meat eating is totally unjustifiable, and we should try and stop consuming it, if we presently consume the same. However, I am not sure if our eating or not eating meat is decided by our prarabdha. May be others can give their opinion on this.

. . said...

Sanjay Lohia, yes, we are "free" to like or dislike. But is that really freedom? We can like or dislike but nonetheless it is determined by praradhba what will happen. So, what is the point to dwell on agyama since we'll never know if it is or not? So we can split hairs here about the certain phrasing of terms or see at the bigger picture what I believe you do.

Also, I find it funny that you believe that that what you eat would be not destined. Why should that not be destined as everything else? And you fall into the same mistake in seeing that as an excuse for doing something which seems not appropriate. Michael suggested to you to become a vegan and you did. But that only happened because it was destined to be that way. It was not because your ego got more sattvic or whatever convenient explanation somebody would come up with.

There are always holy cows or concepts we are attached to, in your case that you could decide about your diet. Obviously you can't. You just believe that and since you are defending that you seem to be attached to being a vegan.

So what is better, to eat meat and to be unattached by that fact or to be a vegan but to be attached to it? I'd say the former.

And I am not saying that to advertise to consume meat or to say that diet is irrelevant. My take why Bhagavan suggests a vegan-like diet even knowing that that is also destined by praradhba is that his word has a certain power which plants a seed in the consciousness of that jiva and that seed may come to fruit in the same or one of the next lives.

ahandai said...

Sanjay Lohia,
thank you for your comment.
Between not objectifying the ego and reifying it we are seemingly standing on a razor's edge.

R Viswanathan said...

"how can one investigate a spurious entity (‘உருவற்ற பேய்’ (uru-v-aṯṟa pēy), a ‘formless phantom’ keenly enough ?"

in p152 of Sri Ramanopadesa NoonMalai Vilkkavurai (Tamil book), Sri Sadhu Om has this to say:

"As long as (or until) the ego, which first rose up to see (or attend to) the second and third person objects, continues to do the task of seeing (or attending to) them, it will not subside (or get crushed). Since the ego does this task of seeing others to maintain its survival, it will remain alive by continuing to do that task. Therefore, the mind has to be given the task of observing itself. Though self-observation by the mind has been suggested here, it really is not an action. Therefore, the mind (or the ego) is deprived of the job that was helping its survival, and will subside in its source and disappear."

I would think that in this context, by investigation, one really means switching attention from the objects (second and third person) to the subject (first person, ego) and dwelling there.

I found the following post by Sri David Godman very beneficial, both the article and the comments, especially by Sri David Godman and அவனடிமை.

ahandai said...

R Viswanathan,
thank you for your quotations of Sri Sadhu Om.
I will go through these texts as soon as I find time.

Sanjay Lohia said...

Salazar, it seems that according to you we do not have any free-will, and therefore all our actions are only according to our prarabdha. But Bhagavan clearly says in his original writings, and also in his recorded teachings that our ego very much has free-will. Yes, our free-will cannot overrule our destiny, but nevertheless as long as our ego lasts, it has free-will. For example in verse 38 of kalivenba version of Ulladu Narpadu Bhagavan says:

If we are the doer of actions, which are like seeds, we shall have to experience the resulting fruit. But when, by enquiring ‘Who is the doer of actions?’ oneself is known, the sense of doership will disappear and the three karmas [agamya, sanchita and prarabdha] will also fall away [since the ego, the doer of the actions and the experiencer of their fruit, will no longer exist]. This indeed is the state of liberation [mukti], which is eternal.

Bhagavan clearly implies in the above verse that all the three karmas (agamya, sanchita and prarabdha) are operational as long as our ego exists, and all three will simultaneously disappear when our ego is destroyed.

Without our freedom to do agamya, the entire karma theory will fall flat. Our present destiny is the result of our actions done in the past by our free-will. Yes, we may not know which of our actions are according to our prarabdha and which are according to our agamya, but both these forces are surely operational in our lives.

Anonymous said...

From My Recollections, Devaraja Mudaliar

One summer afternoon I was sitting opposite Bhagavan in the old hall, with a fan in my hand and said to him: "I can understand that the outstanding events in a man's life, such as his country, nationality, family, career or profession, marriage, death, etc., are all predestined by his karma, but can it be that all the details of his life, down to the minutest, have already been determined? Now, for instance, I put this fan that is in my hand down on the floor here. Can it be that it was already decided that on such and such a day, at such and a such an hour, I shall move the fan like this and put it down here?"

Bhagavan replied, "Certainly." He continued: "Whatever this body is to do and whatever experiences it is to pass through was already decided when it came into existence."

Thereupon I naturally exclaimed: "What becomes then of man's freedom and responsibility for his actions?"

Bhagavan explained: "The only freedom man has is to strive for and acquire the jnana which will enable him not to identify himself with the body. The body will go through the actions rendered inevitable by prarabdha and a man is free either to identify himself with the body and be attached to the fruits of its actions, or to be detached from it and be a mere witness of its activities."

Sanjay Lohia said...

Salazar, as far as I am concerned the jury is out whether the food we consume is fully decided by our destiny, or we can by our free-will alter our diet. I think we will go the higher court - Sri Michael James – on this matter.

However, we cannot just ignore the immense suffering some of us inflict on our animal friends by murdering them, merely to satisfy our taste buds. Thus in the context of vyavaharika-satya (transactional or worldly reality), we have to assume that we have free-will to consume meat or to refrain from consuming it. To me it is very clear that it is totally morally unjustified to consume meat.

I am sure we would not want that we are slaughtered in most inhuman slaughter-houses, like the animals are, and that our meat is then sold to some cannibal tribe. If we would not like this, why should we even think of killing animals? Michael once explained that human suffering is no different from animal suffering. Both feel pain and pleasure, both want to stay in their bodies for as long as possible.

Moreover, consuming animal-food is also not good for our spiritual life. Consuming meat agitates our mind, and therefore Bhagavan always insisted on a vegetarian diet. He says in the ninth paragraph of Nan Yar?:

By mita sattvika ahara-niyama [the restrain of consuming only a moderate quality of sattva-condusive food], which is the best among all restrictions, the sattva-guna [the quality of ‘being-ness’, calmness and clarity] of the mind will increase and [thereby] help will arise for self-investigation.

Ravi said...

sanjay Lohia,
Wonderful last two posts...To deem Prarabdha as something unalterable and fixed in an absolute sense is untenable.
It would be an appropriate time to consider a clear exposition by a great sage,Sri Chandrasekara Bharati,the Shankaracharya of Sringeri.


Ravi said...

If lifting a finger is prarabdha and dropping it down is equally prarbdha...and we can do both exercising our free will it means that freewill is potent...If we are crippled physically there is no question of lifting the finger or dropping the finger and we may attribute it to Prarabdha and say that Prarabdha is potent...Life is always a mix of such abilities and disabilities ...and whatever abilities we have need to be put to good use ...and today we do have contraptions to overcome physical disability in the form of artificial limbs...Our fundamental nature is Intelligence and there is simply no limit for this intelligence if we care to exercise them...this is true for both the outer and inner realms...whatever was deemed impossible yesterday is possible today...and it is part of wisdom to exercise the intelligence in a manner conducive to one and all.

Michael James said...

Ahandai, in reply to your question, “how can one investigate a spurious entity (‘உருவற்ற பேய்’ (uru-v-aṯṟa pēy), a ‘formless phantom’ keenly enough?”, the spurious entity that Bhagavan describes as ‘உருவற்ற பேய் அகந்தை’ (uru-v-aṯṟa pēy ahandai), the ‘formless phantom-ego’, is nothing other than ourself, and since we are always aware of ourself, we can investigate it simply by being keenly self-attentive.

Since we are always self-aware (not only in waking and dream but also in sleep), and since we are not aware of anything else constantly, our fundamental experience is only self-awareness, and it is the background against which awareness of anything else appears and disappears, like the screen on which cinema pictures appear and disappear. Therefore if we can investigate anything else, we can equally well investigate ourself, even though we now seem to be a formless phantom that has grasped the form of a body as ‘I’.

The basic tool of any investigation is observation or attention, so just as we can investigate other things by observing them, we can investigate ourself by keenly observing or attending to ourself. All other things are objects, and each object is a form of one kind or another, whereas we are not an object but the subject, which has no form of its own, so attending to ourself is much subtler than attending to anything else.

Since we are not an object or a form, the term ‘attending to ourself’ may seem confusing and potentially misleading, so rather than saying ‘attending to ourself’ it may be clearer to say ‘being self-attentive’, but however we express it the meaning is the same.

Why do we need to be self-attentive in order to be aware of ourself as we actually are? Though we are always clearly self-aware, we are now aware of ourself as if we were a body (a person consisting of a physical form endowed with life, mind and intellect), but this is not what we actually are, because whatever body seems to be ourself is an object that appears in our current state and disappears in sleep or in any dream in which we experience ourself as if we were some other body, so at present our self-awareness is mixed and confused with awareness of other things. Therefore in order to be aware of ourself as we actually are we need to focus our entire attention on our self-awareness and thereby experience it in complete isolation from everything else.

The reason why we are aware of ourself as things that are other than what we actually are is that we are currently more interested in being aware of other things than in being aware of ourself alone. Therefore, though we are always self-aware, in waking and dream we are generally negligently self-aware, so we need to remedy this negligence (pramāda) by trying to be attentively self-aware as much as possible.

This is all that investigating the spurious entity or ‘formless phantom’ called ego entails, so what could be simpler than this?

Sanjay Lohia said...

Salazar, in continuation of our discussion, I remembered one more point on the topic of free-will and destiny. When Bhagavan says in verse 38 of Ulladu Narpadu, ‘If we are the doer of actions, which are like seeds, we shall have to experience the resulting fruit’, he is here talking about the actions done by our free-will (agamya-karma).

Only when we do actions by our free-will will we experience its resulting fruits. Such karmas done by our free-will will not only generate the corresponding fruit, but also leave behind further seeds. That it, these actions will leave behind vishaya-vasanas or karma-vasanas, and thus will caste us into further actions. Therefore, Bhagavan says karma cannot give us liberation, because liberation entails permanent cessation of all karmas.

The actions that we do as our prarabdha do not leave behind any fruit, because they are themselves the fruit of our past actions.

In fact, our cycle of karma-seeds-fruits-more seeds-more karmas, and so on starts only when we first exercise our free-will to do the first karma. It is only when we do the first karma that we get caught up in the endless cycle of karmas. This first karma is our original sin, to use the Biblical terminology.

Therefore, we have to stop acting, and we can stop acting by exercising our free-will once again. Therefore, we use free-will to start acting and also to stop acting.

So our free-will (agamya-karma) is the very foundation of the karma-theory. Without agamya there will be no sanchita and no prarabdha, and without using our free-will in the right direction we cannot get liberated.

Noob said...

If this world is like a dream, there is no free will in dreams.

Noob said...

So basically the free will has only 2 options - to see the dream or not.....

Purification of mind does NOT reflect on one’s outward behavior, a purified mind is no mind and any perceived behavior is illusion said...

Sanjay Lohia, to make it very simple, the mind has no power whatsoever to influence the actions of the body - NEVER EVER! So if your pararabhda makes your body to eat meat all of your life then it will be that way, you have no power to influence that. You have to discriminate between the actions of the body and the mental activity of the mind. Both have nothing to do with each other except in the way that the mind believes it is responsible for the actions of the body, what it isn't. Don't you see that the reaction of the mind is the problem, not the fact of eating meat or in a more drastic example by killing a person.

Ahimsa is a concept of the phenomenal world as is the Christian "Thou shall not kill". Now it is encouraged to follow these moral rules, but that is actually misleading because we don't want to follow rules, we want to TRANSCEND them. If you stay attached to even a noble sentiment like ahimsa you cannot realize Self because you are stuck with one of the dyads.

All these moral rules like ahimsa or the Christian 10 Commandments are guiding rules for the ignorant masses, but all of that we have to let go, eventually.

So agyama-karma is created by the mental activity of the mind, NOT by what the body is doing. I.e. prarabhda lets the body eat meat, your mind can react to it and either judge that as good or bad. That reaction creates agamya-karma, but not the action of the body of eating meat.

ANY little action of the body, anything from the birth of the body until it dies is destined. What food you eat, if you marry or not, if you have kids or not, if you have a healthy diet or not, if you travel to a place or not, if you scratch your behind or not, if you take the trash out or not, if you post a comment on a blog or not, etc., etc.

Murugunar says in Guru Vachaka Kovai, once that is clear one does not have to worry about diets, getting food, being treated for an illness or not, because it is all taken care by prarabhda. The ONLY job of the jiva is to not get attached or involved with anything mentally. Because what will happen will happen, no matter how big or how insignificant the action of the body.

Sanjay Lohia, if your mind believes that a vegan diet is superior to any other diets it has not only created an attachment, but it also creates fresh karma because now you have to have another live(s) to fulfill the desire for vegan food.
If prarabhda gives you meat for a meal and your mind judges it as bad you are creating fresh karma and samsara keeps going. If you just eat the meat without judging it as good and bad and when in the next day you get rice and beans and you are oblivious to that too (without missing the meat) then you are on the right track.

Not by being a food nazi :-)

Again, no matter where we are spiritually, the actions of our bodies are absolutely independent from the activities of the mind! The mind can NEVER EVER influence or direct the actions of the body! That is what Bhagavan conveyed.

The mind can only work on that it does not erroneously believe that it really has the power to do so.

Purification of mind does NOT reflect on one’s outward behavior, a purified mind is no mind and any perceived behavior is illusion said...

And "friends", "intelligence" is an ignorant assumption of the mind. We do not want intelligence, we want Jnana. Jnana transcends intelligence or knowledge and ignorance.

Purification of mind does NOT reflect on one’s outward behavior, a purified mind is no mind and any perceived behavior is illusion said...

Sanjay Lohia, you say "without using our free-will in the right direction we cannot get liberated."

Sounds good, but if you mind believes that it has moved in the right direction in believing that it changed actually your diet you did not make a step in the right direction but you re-enforced samsara. Because that very belief of the mind that it COULD make a change is the belief in a do-er. I thought we want to work on the realization that we are not a do-er?

The ONLY way free will works is that the mind either identifies with the actions of the body or not. If your mind believes it has made the decision to change your diet it has identified with the body. Don't you see how powerful that identification is that even you, who does atma-vichara still falls for the imaginations of your mind?

That's why I keep posting about prarabhda because quite a few people here are confused about that.

Ravi said...

" the mind has no power whatsoever to influence the actions of the body - NEVER EVER!"

Does the body act independent of the mind?It is elementary knowledge that all actions of the body are impelled by thought...and it is elementary knowledge that we can exercise our freewill to support or discourage a thought into manifesting as action...No belief is needed...This is what is called 'niyama' or restraint...and Bhagavan has clearly mentioned the helpfulness of 'AhAra niyama' in nAn yAr...and this clearly means that such a restraint can be exercised...and not just this,Bhagavan was categorical that all those who stayed with him in the Ashrama had to comply with this niyama...they may do whatever they wish elsewhere but not in the asramam (we are aware of the story involving Maj Chadwick).

Bhagavan clearly states in nAn yAr :By mita sāttvika āhāra-niyama [the restraint of consuming only a moderate quantity of sattva-conducive food], which is the best among all restrictions, the sattva-guṇa [the quality of ‘being-ness’, calmness and clarity] of the mind will increase and [thereby] help will arise for self-investigation.

If Satva guna can be 'increased',it means that we can exercise our free will to do that...and we must exercise such a control are are expected to do this...It is another matter whether we care to do it or not...It is clear that a satvic mind is needed for self-investigation and it is very much within our power to facilitate a preponderance of satva(increase of satva).

This is part of Sadhana chatushtaya...and Bhagavan refers to this in the appalam song(Hope this song is not considered out of syllabus or not among the authentic teachings!).

Without sadhana chatushtaya there can be no true mumukshutva and without mumukshutva there cannot be true enquiry and without true enquiry there cannot be knowledge of the Self.

If we clearly see that Self attention is not possible because we lack means that we have missed sadhana chatushtaya...and a back to basics approach and introspection is necessary...Things are not going to change tomorrow if we do not take care of it today...and day after will be no different.


Noob said...

Ravi, if you accept that the present world is nothing but a dream, logically there is no will in a dream. Can you change what you are dreaming of in your sleep? if you can, than that is sidhi, the thing we must avoid at all cost.

Noob said...

it may seem that the thought is what controls the action, but since you are the one who is aware of the thought and also of an action, that means both thought and action are objects to you. look at the subject!!!!

ahandai said...

many thanks for your additional illustrative explanation of the essence of self-attentiveness.
The reason why I put this question is that I am still not able to remedy this pramada - although you ask what could be simpler than this.
Obviously I am slow on the uptake.
So I have to keep on trying to experience (my) self-awareness "in complete isolation from everything else".
I am grateful to you for it.

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

Ravi, what was the story about Maj Chadwik?

Noob said...

In our dreams we also have thoughts

Ravi said...

" Can you change what you are dreaming of in your sleep?"
Yes.Certainly the quality of our dream can be changed...No siddhi is involved...If we bring about order in what we think in our waking consciousness,it will automatically bring about a similiar change in the quality of our dream...and also bring about a qualitative change to our sleep....Sleep will be truly Sushupti and not a dull sleep.

Let us leave these things aside...What makes us believe that we cannot restrain our thought?Why we cannot encourage or discourage a thought? it is clearly siddhi is involved...Let us take for example the rising of 'anger'...if we are recognize it as it rises,we certainly can identify it as harmful for us and nip it in the bud before venting it out through a harsh word or a rash action...This is absolutely possible and the more and more we exercise such a restraint it would become natural to us...This is the only way to bring about a preponderance of satva.


Noob said...

Ravi, you seem to imply that you can change what your dream is when you fall asleep.

Restraining your thought is a good activity.The goal is to stop thinking all together.

Noob said...

Ravi, b
But you are already in a dream.

Noob said...

Anger is also a part of this dream...

Noob said...

and also lust as many other things we seem to want to restrain. The best way is to stop dreaming

Ravi said...

"Restraining your thought is a good activity.The goal is to stop thinking all together"
just like body need not be dispensed with,thought also need not be dispensed with...All that is needed is to stop identification with thought...Just like space is space whether objects occupy it or not.

Silence does not mean that thought should not be there...Thought is needed to function in the world.
Let us take the example of an actor...He dons various roles in different movies but he does not mistake the role as his identity...He is all the time aware of who he is even when he dons all the different roles...and when he is not playing any role,he still remains himself...The roles are just a superimposition and do not alter his identity.

Now if we have to stop identifying with the thought,we cannot do it during sleep...less likely to do so in Dream...we may do it only in the waking consciousness...and this means that we need to be less sleepy and less dreamy in our waking state...and our being less sleepy(tamas) and less dreamy(rajas) in our waking state means that our mind has to be subtle and alert...and this state of the mind is what is called a 'Satvic mind'...and we have to put in effort towards bringing about this preponderance of Satva.

So 'good activity' helps in this fashion to exercise eventually the ONLY WORTHWHILE CHOICE...not to identify with thoughts.


Noob said...

Everyone wants to take credit that they controlled "anger" "lust" "hatred" "hunger"

Noob said...

Waking consciousness may happen to be like a dream. We cannot do either identifying or not identifying. We just have to wait. What identifies is not us. Even if tomorrow there is no world...

Ravi said...


"Everyone wants to take credit that they controlled "anger" "lust" "hatred" "hunger" " is for our own benefit...not to win applause or acclaim from others...We eschew poison because we realize that it is harmful to us...Quite the same with anger....or hatred...We know that these things disturb us...we cannot be happy if we are this not enough reason why they need to be eliminated or restrained?


Ravi said...

Sanjay Lohia,
Here is the Reminiscence of Sadhu Arunachala (Major Chadwick):
Bhagavan said that the principal Sadhanas we should practise were to eat only Satvic food and observe Satsanga. He laid down no other rules. He said that the mind was entirely created by the food we ate which must be healthy and strictly vegetarian. However he never interfered with people or enforced such things on them. The food in the Ashram was very hot, South Indians being used to eating such food, but Bhagavan did not complain, he himself was a Southerner. His attitude was that they know what to do and if they preferred not to do it that way that was their look-out. However he was dead against meat-eating. Once in my early days someone spread the rumour that I was preparing meat dishes in my kitchen. It was, of course a lie, my food was actually much more Satvic than the Ashram food. When Bhagavan heard this story he said, “We don’t want that sort of thing here.”

-excerpted from A Sadhu’s Reminiscences of Ramana Maharshi

Sanjay Srivastava said...

" Can you change what you are dreaming of in your sleep?"

'Yes.Certainly the quality of our dream can be changed...No siddhi is involved...If we bring about order in what we think in our waking consciousness,it will automatically bring about a similiar change in the quality of our dream...'

This example does not prove dream character's free will.
The change you mention was brought about by the waker- not the dreamer.
Allow me to paraphrase Noob's question.

"Can you as dream character change what you are dreaming of in your sleep?"

Ravi said...

Sanjaya Srivastava,
"Can you as dream character change what you are dreaming of in your sleep?"

Why not?Have you not dreamt a dream in which you take charge and overcome a challenge?...i am not speculating...This happens and is not a speculation...and this can happen only if we take charge of our waking state.

Infact there are people who get caught up in nightmares...they dream the same dream over and over again...and certainly this can be addressed by doing the necessary course correction in their waking state...and eventually these nightmares can be overcome,i.e the Dream character learns to overcome it.


Purification of mind does NOT reflect on one’s outward behavior, a purified mind is no mind and any perceived behavior is illusion said...

That a vegan diet is sattvic is not the point here. Yes, Bhagavan said that himself and I absolutely accept that statement. The POINT is that it is not in our power to decide what we eat no matter what Bhagavan recommended. So this comment is absolutely irrelevant and pure ignorance in relation to my previous comments.

"Friend", if you want to entertain the illusion that your mind can "intelligently" shape its destiny, be my guest, that is indeed your mind's free will to identify with the actions of your body. So be it.

Sanjay Lohia, the scope of prarabhda is even much larger: Not only is every jiva's action predestined, but every thing else in this phenomenal world, from a super nova exploding somewhere in the universe to a little leaf falling down to the ground. Both events happened exactly at their predestined time.
Ants running around on a hill, their every movement is predestined.
The slaughter of General Dyer in Amritsa was as much predestined as any other atrocity including the dropping of two nukes in Japan. Gandhiji's murder, Gandhiji making racist comments about the blacks in South Africa and so on.

Nothing in this phenomenal world happens by "accident". Every action is Divine Will, not ours, how can one be so arrogant to even believe that?

Anyway, keep identifying with the actions of your body, because that's what you do every time your mind believes it makes a decision. That is, for Pete's sake, SAMSARA!!!

Ravi said...

"The POINT is that it is not in our power to decide what we eat no matter what Bhagavan recommended."

You may speak for yourself ...that you do not have the power to change...I know quite a few who decided to give it up and did give it up...You may call it 'ignorance' or 'prarabdha' or freewill...The point is that one can give it up.

Purification of mind does NOT reflect on one’s outward behavior, a purified mind is no mind and any perceived behavior is illusion said...

Good grief, if someone decides to give something up is predestined too. Giving up, not giving up, that dyad is keeping us in samsara.

Ravi, you are quite ignorant and I sensed that from your very first comment. Please refrain talking about things you obviously don't grasp.

Purification of mind does NOT reflect on one’s outward behavior, a purified mind is no mind and any perceived behavior is illusion said...

"Who" for Pete's sake is giving up? The do-er we are supposed to not identify with? That is quite hilarious reading these comments ;-)

Ravi said...


"Ravi, you are quite ignorant and I sensed that from your very first comment."

Yes...I prefer this 'ignorance' to your brand of'wisdom'...If the 'ignorance' can keep me happy and contented why change it? I have decided to be 'ignorant' it prarabdha if you prefer.


Purification of mind does NOT reflect on one’s outward behavior, a purified mind is no mind and any perceived behavior is illusion said...

Your mind can affirm for thousands of yugas that it is happy and content, but that is as much samsara as anything else.

And that is not my brand of wisdom but Bhagavan's. So your mind can complain to him that it is denying reality. Oops, is that not why we are supposed to do atma-vichara to avoid believing any thoughts? Well, we can make the exception of the thought that we have will power, can't we? LOL

Ravi said...

"And that is not my brand of wisdom but Bhagavan's".

What do you think about your statement-"The POINT is that it is not in our power to decide what we eat no matter what Bhagavan recommended"...What is the worth of any wisdom if it cannot be put to use...please think it over...if you think you can do,you would do it...if you think you cannot,you will cannot be attributing these things to your infallible all encompassing 'prarabdha'.

I note that you consider yourself as a disciple of Bhagavan...Does it make one a disciple if one maintains that the Guru's recommendation cannot be followed although one appreciates the infallible wisdom of the Guru...Just think it over...Forget for a moment that it comes from an ignorant and deluded person.


Roger said...

The concept of "free will" is relative. First, It can be addressed from the perspective of duality. In duality consciousness... there is an ego which claims doer-ship. To say that there is no free will, no do-er here is a delusion.

But, with Self Realization... there is no doer. How could there be free will (in any traditional sense) when there is no doer?

The real issue is Salazar's position which allows ONLY the advaita viewpoint and is unable to accept or articulate our everyday experience. Salazar has insisted that there is no "doer", that there is no such thing as "duality". While at the same time Salazar says that he "struggles" with Atma Vichara which shows that he is not Self Realized.

So while claiming that there is no duality, Salazar creates this duality drama of taking sides with the Advaita position and denying the duality position of our everyday experience.

Purification of mind does NOT reflect on one’s outward behavior, a purified mind is no mind and any perceived behavior is illusion said...

I have nothing to add. The only choice we have is either to identify with the body or mind or not. There is no other choice. That is Bhagavan's statement and is the paramount "recommendation" which overrides recommendations like diet etc. which are an aid but have nothing to do [directly] with Self-realization.

And it is not only diet, I just picked that because I knew that quite a few are attached to that particular diet. That attachment, if not given up, will prevent Self-realization! And that doesn't mean that one has to give up the vegan diet and, frankly, I should not even have to make that additional explanation, but alas it seems necessary to avoid further silly misunderstandings.

There are many levels of teachings by Bhagavan and he adjusted his recommendations to the level of maturity of the devotee or questioner. I am not Bhagavan, but it appears you are not ready yet for the next step.


Purification of mind does NOT reflect on one’s outward behavior, a purified mind is no mind and any perceived behavior is illusion said...

Roger, what is the "real issue". Your ego projecting its garbage onto others? Exactly!

Ravi said...


"The only choice we have is either to identify with the body or mind or not. There is no other choice."

If it is the only CHOICE,why have you not exercised it?...if you attribute not exercising it to prarabdha,it means that the ONLY Choice is conditional...and if it is conditional it implies further choices to satisfy the condition...and this annuls the ONLY nature of that choice and makes it null and void.

If you argue that you are exercising the ONLY choice and it is not effective it again means that it is not a choice at all.

Either you have to admit that you have NO choice and surrender totally or you have to admit freewill and work towards exercising that choice/choices(self effort)...Choice is always for the 'doer' that is it.


Purification of mind does NOT reflect on one’s outward behavior, a purified mind is no mind and any perceived behavior is illusion said...

Ravi, it is a little more complicated than that. And yet is is not complicated at all.

And I am not arguing, I am repeating Bhagavan's advice, it is not my problem that your mind cannot grasp it. What else can I say?

I have no desire to convince you. Take it or leave it. It is Bhagavan's job anyway [to convince you] and not mine.

Anonymous said...

The Illusion of Conscious Will
By Daniel M. Wegner
Do we consciously cause our actions, or do they happen to us? Philosophers, psychologists, neuroscientists, theologians, and lawyers have long debated the existence of free will versus determinism. In this book Daniel Wegner offers a novel understanding of the issue. Like actions, he argues, the feeling of conscious will is created by the mind and brain. Yet if psychological and neural mechanisms are responsible for all human behavior, how could we have conscious will? The feeling of conscious will, Wegner shows, helps us to appreciate and remember our authorship of the things our minds and bodies do. Yes, we feel that we consciously will our actions, Wegner says, but at the same time, our actions happen to us. Although conscious will is an illusion, it serves as a guide to understanding ourselves and to developing a sense of responsibility and morality.

Approaching conscious will as a topic of psychological study, Wegner examines the issue from a variety of angles. He looks at illusions of the will—those cases where people feel that they are willing an act that they are not doing or, conversely, are not willing an act that they in fact are doing. He explores conscious will in hypnosis, Ouija board spelling, automatic writing, and facilitated communication, as well as in such phenomena as spirit possession, dissociative identity disorder, and trance channeling. The result is a book that sidesteps endless debates to focus, more fruitfully, on the impact on our lives of the illusion of conscious will.

Aseem Srivastava said...

Ravi, Salazar, Sanjay, Roger, Noob and other participants:

I agree with the statement that "the only choice we have is to identify with the body or not".

However, once we make the former choice, we do seem to have innumerable other choices. For instance, choices regarding diet, regarding how and where we spend our time, and so on. So long as and to extent to which we pay attention to the phenomenal world and body, we are recommended certain restrictions and positive injunctions regarding our mode of living and thinking. Hence the recommendation by Bhagavan of following mita sāttvika āhāra-niyama [the restraint of consuming only a moderate quantity of sattva-conducive food]. In the context of phenomena-awareness, such recommendations, if followed through, are conducive for atma-vichara.

Once we make the latter choice of not identifying with the body-mind (and we can do so only by attending to ourself), we are automatically free from all restrictions. True freedom is the isolated experience of intransitive self-awareness, where there is no one to make any choices and consequently no disagreements, doubts, or desolation.

Sanjay Srivastava said...

"Can you as dream character change what you are dreaming of in your sleep?"

'Why not?Have you not dreamt a dream in which you take charge and overcome a challenge?..'

So, taking charge and overcoming challenge was not a part of the dream script.
Is this your argument?

'.i am not speculating...This happens and is not a speculation...and this can happen only if we take charge of our waking state.'

It only means that you can affect your dream not from dream state itself but only from waking state.
And on this analogy, you can affect your waking-dream not from waking-dream state, but only after you have woken up from waking-dream.

Correct me if my argument is wrong.

Sanjay Lohia said...

Ravi, in continuation of our present discussion, I have the following comments to make in response to your remarks:

1) Yes, when we exercise our free-will, we use our mind or intellect to direct our speech and body to do certain tasks, or not do certain tasks. So likewise we can impress upon ourself, if we want to, that we should change our diet to a more sattvic one. However, this right may not be absolute, if our prarabdha has other plans for us.

For example, I am a vegan, but if I am made a hostage and kept inside a house at a gun point for 5-6 days, I may have to consume dairy products after a day or two, if that is the only food which my captors give me.

2) Yes, it is a good point you make: ‘If Satva guna can be 'increased’, it means that we can exercise our free will to do that’, and Bhagavan clearly teaches us that we can increase our sattva-guna by consuming a more sattvik diet.

3) Our night-dreams are exactly like our waking-dreams. All the three type karmas (prarabdha, agamya and sanchita) are present in all our dreams. So we have a particular set of prarabdha even for our night-dreams, and likewise we can exercise our free-will in such dreams.

4) Yes, we can control out thoughts of desire, lust and so on, if we want to. But if these thoughts are part of our destiny then we have no control over such thoughts. It could be my destiny to kill a criminal. When I see him committing the crime, I might become very angry, and in a fit of anger might kill him. This anger may be an unavoidable part of my destiny.

5) By the way, thank you sharing the extract from Reminiscence of Sadhu Arunachala (Major Chadwik). Bhagavan was very clear: no meat or intoxicants for sadhakas. However, the choice is ours, at least to a large extent. At least, this is how I feel.

Anonymous said...

The fact that the appearance of a thought in time happens at the same instant that we are aware of it, is in the actual experience of everybody the realization that we don't choose thoughts. There is no gap where we can manipulate the appearance of the next thought. There is no control of anything that manifests, other than a thought that claims the existence of a "me" that controls. And that thought of course happens spontaneously, out of nowhere.

Ravi said...

Aseem Srivastava/Friends,
By and large we seem to be in agreement...It is part of the discipline of a disciple to have sraddha in the recommendations of a guru...and if he has it,he should be able to put in the needed self effort and would put in the efforts in that direction...and he need not believe in any so called prarabdha(it is a belief only!) that may enable or disable him...The Very fact that one is born a human being,has the grace of a guru and endowed with Mumukshutva means that he is fully empowered...there is no force that can stop him from exerting to realize the Self except his own...and he can and he should have the conviction that this is so...He cannot be referring to a third person and keep justifying how this cannot be done unless prarabdha permits is as simple as that.

What is Prarabdha?is it our own making or some arbitrary thing imposed by a capricious something that has chalked out a plan in some unknown primeval past?...if it is our own making ,it surely can be undone by us.

This is what Vivekananda says:
We are responsible for what we are, and whatever we wish ourselves to be, we have the power to make ourselves. If what we are now has been the result of our own past actions, it certainly follows that whatever we wish to be in the future can be produced by our present actions; so we have to know how to act.

As long as one has the sense of doership,it does call for purushakara (Self effort)...sadhana cannot be done otherwise...We can keep speculating and debating but that would not lead anywhere.

As Regards this statement(it is possible that it is not the intention):
"True freedom is the isolated experience of intransitive self-awareness, where there is no one to make any choices and consequently no disagreements, doubts, or desolation."

True Freedom is not an isolated experience...Self Awareness is not exclusive,rather it is All inclusive...We tend to think of Self Awareness as an intensified form of egoistic awareness...and hence the use of the word 'isolation'...The rest of the sentence is perfectly okay.


Ravi said...

" that thought of course happens spontaneously, out of nowhere."

How can thought arise spontaneously out of nowhere?Thought always arises from the store of past actions i.e memory...This is what is referred to as vasanas...We cannot think of something that we have not experienced.
Why speculate?Try to observe each and every thought that arises.


Sanjay Lohia said...

Aseem, I agree with your comment addressed to all of us.

We have a choice to identify with our body, or not to identify with it by remaining self-attentive. However, once we identify with it, which we invariably do in our waking and dream states, we do need to make other innumerable choices. However, if our ego is destroyed by self-investigation, there will be no one to exercise any choice, and therefore we will have no choices to make thereafter.

So it would be wise if we try to choose what Bhagavan wants us choose. If we claim to be his disciples we should at least try to obey him. We may not always succeed, but we should at least try.

He expects us to be humble in all situations, he expects us to lead a simpler life, he expects us to consume a more sattvik diet. Bhagavan would not have given us all these teachings, if these were not possible.

Anonymous said...

you are speculating. "The store of past actions" is just the content of the thought.
See nakedly without beliefs, right now, in your direct experience, not in the content of the thought, but in the actual appearance of the thought.
Do not engage the intellect. It will offer more beliefs.

Ravi said...

There is no belief...What do you mean by thought if it does not have a content?...Does a thought exist without a content?...Please give an example so that we can understand each other.

Anonymous said...

No, thought does not exist without content.
What I mean is to not pay attention to the content, but to the "event" of "having a thought".
For example, a thought content is "basketball", another thought content is "Self-realization", both these thoughts, regarless of the meaning, are "events" or better "appearances" that happen without any manipulation by "us". If we think "Oh, but I can control my thoughts", then we can see that this thought just happened without "Me" controlling it.
"Control" is just the content of this thought. Outside the thought, it doesn't exist, does it?

Ravi said...

Agreed...We can be aware of thought without getting caught up with it...and this is what self enquiry is all about.
If were caught up in thought,it is certainly possible to be aware of it as say anger...Initially we may be swept off our feet and allow it to erupt...but by and by We learn to become aware of it as it rises...and abort its manifestation in word and action...This way we gain 'control' over it,until it leads us to a point where we learn to disassociate ourselves at the root level.
Anyone can put this into practice and validate this.

Aseem Srivastava said...
This comment has been removed by the author.
Aseem Srivastava said...
This comment has been removed by the author.
Aseem Srivastava said...

Ravi, Namaskar.

With reference to the the following paragraph of your comment:

True Freedom is not an isolated experience...Self Awareness is not exclusive, rather it is All inclusive...We tend to think of Self Awareness as an intensified form of egoistic awareness...and hence the use of the word 'isolation'...The rest of the sentence is perfectly okay.

The reason for qualifying "experience of intransitive self-awareness" by the adjective "isolated" is that intransitive self-awareness is ever-present in all three states of waking, dream, and sleep. However, in waking and dream this self-awareness seems to be mixed up with awareness of other things, while in sleep it alone remains. Therefore, in waking and dream we do need an 'isolated' experience of self-awareness in order to break free from all mistaken awareness of who we really are. This can be achieved by self-attention, ie, by trying to focus our power of attention onto our self-awareness.

Moreover, isolated self-awareness is the very antithesis of egoistic awareness. Egoistic awareness is the experience: "I am this". Self awareness is the experience: "I am I".

Further, self-awareness is, paradoxically, all-inclusive, as self is all there actually is. Self alone exists; even this seeming world is in reality only oneself. Therefore, if we want the experience of complete oneness with all that exists, Bhagavan, Gaudapada, and Adi Shankaracharya (and probably various other sages) say that that can be achieved by an experience of pure adjunct-free self-awareness.

Purification of mind does NOT reflect on one’s outward behavior, a purified mind is no mind and any perceived behavior is illusion said...

Aseem said, "if we choose to identify with the body we do seem to have innumerable other choices".

But the whole point of Bhagavan's teaching is to NOT identify with the body. Of course that seems difficult in the beginning nonetheless there should be nothing else in our minds. IF we can't help it and succumb to the identification with the body then we should not add to the illusion of having a body to also believe that we have actual choices. Aseem said we SEEM to have choices, exactly! We seem to have but we really don't! To entertain the possibility of "choices" is reinforcing duality and samsara.

It is silly for a devotee of Bhagavan to go along that route. That the jiva has no choice to manipulate the outward actions of the body is explained with prarabhda. The mind can use its "will power" to fight its own imaginations with atma-vichara, but to believe it can make the choice what the hand puts into his mouth is delusional. That is one of the imaginations it is supposed to get rid of with realizing the true "I"! That "I" doesn't make any choices. Bhagavan stressed that we are Self, always, to go into that mind game of "seeming choices" is not what he had in mind with that.

Sanjay Lohia, I won't respond to your points, you are clearly attached to your vegan diet and we can leave it at that.

I have to say I am disappointed to read these kind of opinions on a forum which discusses Bhagavan teachings, there is no jiva, it only seems that way. What is a seeming choice? You guys keep the dream alive with that belief!

Nothing else to add.

Ravi said...

Yes...I did sense that you have meant it that way...To recognize Gold in differently shaped ornaments,it is enough to pay attention to the substance which is fashioned as these ornaments...It does not necessitate the dissolution of the shape of the ornaments into a shapeless mass of gold to recognize that it is gold...Ditto with the waking and dream state...It is enough to recognize that all the three states of sleep,dream and waking are not apart from the Self...No 'isolation' in the usual sense of the term is involved in this.
Anyway,as long as we understand the sense in which we use the 'word' it is quite okay.

Ravi said...

The argument that exercising choice not to identify with the body alone seems to be the only choice doable(because Bhagavan has said so ) but exercising choice to adopt a vegetarian diet (the very same Bhagavan has said so) may or may not be doable depending on prarabdha does not seem to be tenable at all.
Do it and then decide whether it is doable or not...This is being factual...If this is not a 'Choice' then consider it as an 'imperative'...we will then be able to do it...It is another matter if we do not wish to comply with that recommendation.
It is not an isolated instance of not complying with the recommendation from Bhagavan to adopt a vegetarian diet...ditto for maintaining a respectful attitude toward others...not to think that one alone is right...and if we explain everything as subject to prarabdha and overlook these recommendations of just means that one cannot consider oneself as a Disciple...Period.

Sanjay Lohia said...

Friends, we have been relentlessly discussing about the roles of fate and free-will in our lives. We cannot obviously reach a consensus on this topic, because there is no clear cut demarcation between these two forces. What we can definitely say is that, as long as our ego is intact both these forces are very much operational in our lives. If somebody disputes this fact, then they have clearly not understood the karma-theory.

In this regard, it would be useful to consider the following verse 19 of the kalivenba version of Ulladu Narpadu:

The argument as to which wins, fate or free-will, which are different from each other, is only for those who do not have knowledge of the root of fate and free-will [namely the ego, which is itself unreal]. Those who have known [the non-existence of] the self [the ego self], which is the one base of fate and free-will, have given them up [i.e. have given up both fate and free-will, and also the argument about them]. Say, will they get entangled in them again?

So the only way to conclusively end this debate is to find out the root of fate and free-will. Their root is obviously our ego. If we investigate ourself keenly enough, we will find out that there is no such entity as the ego.

Once our ego is destroyed we will experience our atma-svarupa (real nature of oneself) as it really is, and as a result we will experience only pure, infinite, indivisible and immutable self-awareness. Thus we will clearly know that fate and destiny were mere ideas, because the ego which experienced fate and free-will was itself an unreal mental fabrication.

Therefore, the practical import of discussing about these - fate and free-will - is to investigate and find out, ‘who has fate?’, ‘who has free-will?’ Otherwise we will keep running around in circles, with no end in sight.

Moreover the idea of fate and free-will in not integral to Bhagavan’s teachings. We need to investigate, ‘who thinks that fate is supreme?’, or ‘who thinks that free-will is supreme?’ This is Bhagavan’s path. His path is not of argument but of keeping quiet, and we can keep quite by remaining attentively self-aware as much as possible. So ultimately we have to come to Bhagavan’s real teachings: silence.

Whether our body, speech and mind works according to fate or according to free-will, it should not concern us much. Our job is to keep our attention firmly fixed on ourself, and having done so, we should let fate and free-will do whatever it wants to do.

Ravi said...

Sanjay Lohia,
Well said.
There may be seekers who may find it useful to have clarity on the subject of fate vs freewill...have referred to the excellent dialogue with Sri Chandrasekhara Bharati,Shankaracharya of Sringeri...Anyone who reads it with an open mind and goes through the dialogue would be benefitted...There is no need to arrive at is enough if each one of us gain clarity ,for eventually this is the whole point of any discussion...not to score points.

I am posting a brief excerpt here:
H.H. : I hope you are pursuing your studies in the Vedanta as usual?
D. : Though not regularly, I do make some occasional study.
H.H. : In the course of your studies, you may have come across many doubts.
D. : Yes, one doubt repeatedly comes up to my mind.
H.H. : What is it?
D. : It is the problem of the eternal conflict between fate and free-will.
What are their respective provinces and how can the conflict be
H.H. : If presented in the way you have done it, the problem would baffle
even the highest of thinkers.
D. : What is wrong with my presentation? I only stated the problem and
did not even explain how I find it to be a difficult one.
H.H. : Your difficulty arises in the very statement of the problem.
D. : How?
H.H. : A conflict arises only if there are two things. There can be no
conflict if there is only one thing.
D. : But here there are two things, fate and free-will.
H.H. : Exacly. It is this assumption of yours that is responsible for your
D. : It is not my assumption at all. How can I ignore the fact that the
two things exist as independent factors, whether I grant their
existence or not?
H.H. : That is where you are wrong again.
D. : How?
H.H. : As a follower of our Sanatana Dharma, you must know that fate is
nothing extraneous to yourself, but only the sum total of the
results of your past actions.
As God is but the dispenser of the fruits of actions, fate,
representing those fruits, is not his creation but only yours.
Free-will is what you exercise when you act now.
D. : Still I do not see how they are not two distinct things.
H.H. : Have it this way. Fate is past karma; free-will is present karma.
Both are really one, that is, karma, though they may differ in the
matter of time. There can be no conflict when they are really one.

Those interested may read the entire dialogue and it is of tremendous practical value(and not a theoretical discussion)


Purification of mind does NOT reflect on one’s outward behavior, a purified mind is no mind and any perceived behavior is illusion said...

Sanjay Lohia, if free-will is not "integral" to Bhagavan's taeching, why are you being so defensive about the fact that "you" never made a choice to switch to a vegan diet? You just believe you did. What is so threatening that you not even entertain the possibility?

Well guys, cling at that delusion, suit yourself.

Roger said...

This is an interesting and animated discussion, thanks.

Salazar says "The only choice we have is either to identify with the body or mind or not"

Perhaps the only real choice is Self Attention, but I do not see discovering the reality of the body as a "choice", it's a realization as the product of Self Attention.

Salazar says "That is Bhagavan's statement and is the paramount "recommendation" which overrides recommendations like diet etc. which are an aid but have nothing to do [directly] with Self-realization"

The appropriate "aid"s may not be direct but may still be essential. It seems that on this site that the essential aids may be marginalized to the point that they may not be done then the way is blocked.

Hi Ravi you say: "How can thought arise spontaneously out of nowhere?Thought always arises from the store of past actions i.e memory"

It would seem that insight can arise which is not related to vasanas? Otherwise, how could the great Sages speak of wisdom from a new perspective?
When I am inwardly still driving down the road... and a thought arises from stillness "turn right at the next street"... I suppose you could say that this is related to past actions (the destination has been chosen already) but it seems just practical and not related to the vasana emotional burden.

Sanjay, you say: "So it would be wise if we try to choose what Bhagavan wants us choose."

This can be a "psychological projection" imagining that some wise person wants us to do things. The Christians believe that Jesus wants them to do certain things. We should do what is right for us... with suggestions from Bhagavan. (IMO)
We don't need a "monitor" or ongoing mental comparison with a projected ideal.

"Self Awareness is not exclusive..."

The teaching on this site seems to suggest that self awareness is exclusive: no body and no world in awareness, exclusive "I" and then the world and body "die". This is one perspective on practice.
But this ignores the reality of samadhi in activity: it is entirely possible, if not necessary, to have exclusive awareness on "I" while being active in the world, samadhi "with" changes.

Salazar says: "the whole point of Bhagavan's teaching is to NOT identify with the body"

See the numerous comments about the body being a "current of energy": Bhagavan in Talks, the death experience and Search in Secret India, Nisargadatta Maharaj, Swami Annamalia, Franklin Merrell-Wolff on and on and especially Barry Long's "stillness is the way".
Simply put your attention on the body, perhaps the hands, if this is done deeply and sustained you will notice a subtle sensation of energy or tingling. This is the entry into the "vital body" or "energy body". Both the hindus and buddhists have the concept of the "three bodies" and they are unlikely to agree on anything unless it is true? Ha!
Putting attention on the energy is like an anchor that stops unwanted thoughts. As this ripens, the energy body becomes predominant and the physical body is secondary if present at all. So you are no longer identified with the body. Further, with full attention on the energy body, just as the gross physical body dropped away, the energy body drops away... and you are "no body, no world". This is still preliminary to the final transition... but it seems like the ideal "waiting room" or "reception area".

If you want to know the truth of the body... just put your attention on the body in a focused sustained way and they the reality of the body is discovered.

R Viswanathan said...

I copy-paste below what Sri David Godman has to say as a comment in his post:

"In UIlladu Narpadu, verse 19, Bhagavan wrote:

The debate "Does free will prevail or fate?' is only for those who do not know the root of both. Those who have known the Self, the common source of free-will and fate, have passed beyond them both and will not return to them.

Debates about free will and destiny can only persist as longer as there is an idea that there is a 'chooser', someone who decides what he or she shall do or not do. After realisation the illusory chooser vanishes, and all actions are performed by the Self without any prior 'Should I do this? Should I do that?' You can only argue about this matter while you still believe that there is an entity that has choices. When that belief and that entity vanish, concepts of destiny and free will vanish along with it."

The whole article and the comments to this article, especially those by Sri David Godman as answers to comments or questions by some are so very beneficial.

Purification of mind does NOT reflect on one’s outward behavior, a purified mind is no mind and any perceived behavior is illusion said...

R Viswanathan, yes of course, David brings it to the point.

People may repeat that what David said and every head is nodding, however deep down in the crevices of their minds they cling at their cherished power of being able to make a decision without realizing that that very idea is keeping them in samsara.

Bhagavan: The actions of the body are not animated by the mind. They are animated by Self.

Some here (or most?) seem to ignore that. Instead they cling on some undigested stuff they have read somewhere and from that they have woven their own ego-serving version of free-will............

To ignore the fact that the body is not animated by the mind is delusion.

Ravi said...

"Hi Ravi you say: "How can thought arise spontaneously out of nowhere?Thought always arises from the store of past actions i.e memory"

It would seem that insight can arise which is not related to vasanas? Otherwise, how could the great Sages speak of wisdom from a new perspective?
When I am inwardly still driving down the road... and a thought arises from stillness "turn right at the next street"... I suppose you could say that this is related to past actions (the destination has been chosen already) but it seems just practical and not related to the vasana emotional burden."

You have raised an interesting point and I appreciate what you have stated...It is not that each individual is an island with his separate store of thoughts (I am setting aside the eka jiva vada for the moment)...The thought of another certainly can influence 'me' and vice versa...and this thought can also surface in 'my' consciousness...Example:My Loved one can be in distant America while I am sleeping in India and it can awaken me (This happens and one can validate this)...The other example is that of a strong mind influencing a weak mind ...Likewise there are thought formations in the form of akasic records and in quiet moments,it is possible to tune into those records and they may surface as thoughts through us...Sri Aurobindo has written about this...We may find that even the same scientific discoveries and inventions have happened in different places through different persons without their being aware of each other having come upon the same discovery! Example:Marconi in Italy and alexander Popov in Russia are said to have invented the Radio communication at about the same time.
Vivekananda,Bhagavan Ramana and J Krishnamurti appeared on the world stage within a few years apart from each other and taught Jnana Yoga...The Terminology may differ but they all taught the same thing.(There is an interesting article by Arthur Osborne on this)

The aspirations of people may manifest through a Divine being like the avatars...and Bhagavan is on record referring to it is as the 'Parechcha Prarabdha'...This is what is implied by the well known statement of Lord Sri Krishna in The Bhagavad Gita:
paritranaya sadhunam vinasaya ca duskrtam dharma-samsthapanarthaya sambhavami yuge yuge-
In order to deliver the pious and to annihilate the miscreants, as well as to reestablish the principles of religion, I advent Myself millennium after millennium.

Satsangha with the sages and guru is recommended so that we catch the insight that they have gained...without our assimilating it in a so called conscious way of volition...It just sneaks into us.

To summarize:There is nothing so called 'new' in the realm of thought and everything is a rehash of the old only...if we have the access to what has always been around...I can take it up in greater detail but not in this forum.

If we take into account the realm of the Occult it will open up more such things...and it is not at all necessary for a sadhaka to pay attention to all that...The potential of the Mind is tremendous and it is not at all possible to exhaust it and it can take one on the path of pravritti and that can be a dangerous proposition for a sadhaka.


Purification of mind does NOT reflect on one’s outward behavior, a purified mind is no mind and any perceived behavior is illusion said...

According to Robert Adams, thoughts arise from nowhere and disappear into nowhere. The notion of a memory is ridiculous. There is no such thing. It is simply imagined.

To whom do thoughts appear? Only to an imagined entity.

Who cares about akashic records etc.? Dreams within a dream ;-)

Ravi, you really have to let go of all of these worthless concepts you've accumulated. They will not get you a millimeter closer to Self. But it is certainly hard for the ego to do that, what would you do without them? You couldn't post of all of that useless stuff on a blog anymore...............

Roger, I am starting to wonder if most here really do atma-vichara (as you keep saying), because many here are strongly attached to "their" thoughts. Don't you guys see that thoughts have nothing whatsoever to do with you? I am speechless and wonder about the maturity of some here.

Anonymous said...

Talks with Sri Ramana Maharshi, No 28

D: If ‘I’ also be an illusion, who then casts off the illusion?
M.: The ‘I’ casts off the illusion of ‘I’ and yet remains as ‘I’. Such
is the paradox of Self-Realisation. The realised do not see any
contradiction in it. Take the case of bhakti - I approach Iswara and
pray to be absorbed in Him. I then surrender myself in faith and by
concentration. What remains afterwards? In place of the original
‘I’, perfect self-surrender leaves a residuum of God in which the ‘I’
is lost. This is the highest form of devotion (parabhakti), prapatti,
surrender or the height of vairagya.
You give up this and that of ‘my’ possessions. If you give up ‘I’
and ‘Mine’ instead, all are given up at a stroke. The very seed of
possession is lost. Thus the evil is nipped in the bud or crushed in
the germ itself. Dispassion (vairagya) must be very strong to do
this. Eagerness to do it must be equal to that of a man kept under
water trying to rise up to the surface for his life.
D.: Cannot this trouble and difficulty be lessened with the aid of a
Master or an Ishta Devata (God chosen for worship)? Cannot they
give the power to see our Self as it is - to change us into themselves
- to take us into Self-Realisation?
M.: Ishta Devata and Guru are aids - very powerful aids on this path.
But an aid to be effective requires your effort also. Your effort is a
sine qua non. It is you who should see the sun. Can spectacles and
the sun see for you? You yourself have to see your true nature. Not
much aid is required for doing it!
D.: What is the relation between my free-will and the overwhelming
might of the Omnipotent?

(a) Is omniscience of God consistent with ego’s freewill?
(b) Is omnipotence of God consistent with ego’s freewill?
(c) Are the natural laws consistent with God’s free-will?
M.: Yes. Free-will is the present appearing to a limited faculty of
sight and will. The same ego sees its past activity as falling into a
course of ‘law’ or rules - its own free-will being one of the links
in that course of law.
Omnipotence and omniscience of God are then seen by the ego to
have acted through the appearance of his own free-will. So he comes
to the conclusion that the ego must go by appearances. Natural laws
are manifestations of God’s will and they have been laid down.

Roger said...

Hi Salazar,
Well, there was a recent eclipse... so we can get along briefly, if only in imagination. :-)

You say: "Roger, I am starting to wonder if most here really do atma-vichara (as you keep saying), because many here are strongly attached to "their" thoughts"

Although it seems like I am being disrespectful in asking if "do most here really do Atma Vichara? Does Michael actually practice Atma Vichara?" ...I certainly apply the question to myself first and regularly. That is how I ended up here as I wanted to research everyone (such as Bhagavan and Nisargadatta) just to see if I anything had been missed. What really is "I AM" as discussed by Nisargadatta? What does "who am I?" really mean in practice? New details about "what is it really?" emerge sometimes here in discussion. (thanks to all)

If Ravi and I require a more detailed explanation... what of it? If you Salazar naturally prefer a pure advaita approach... what of it? These seem like just the natural variations. Although perhaps we could look for overlap in our perspectives or look for something mutually supportive. And Salazar I do appreciate your natural skill at Advaita, and I learn from it... although personally I would not direct it out to oppose traditional knowledge because I see relative knowledge and advaita as applying to different realms each with their own set of rules.

Salazar, you say: To ignore the fact that the body is not animated by the mind is delusion.

The gross body is animated by the vital body (also known as: the energy body, the subtle body, sambogakaya etc...). When the vital body is withdrawn from the gross body... the gross body is dead instantly. If we are able to locate the vital body / "current" in awareness... then thought is sublimated.

Roger said...

Hi Ravi,
Loved your discussion of thoughts and vasanas and I agree totally although will try to say in it a different way.

It does seem that there is 1 container per person in the Psyche, for example a container "vasanas for Roger". It seems that while Roger is not able to maintain Self Attention during an episode... then the vasana container (much like Netflix) will continue to replay that episode with variations as instructional material. I love Barry Long's comments on this: the Psyche is an extraordinary mechanism, WHATEVER WE PUT INTO THE PSYCHE gets replayed. Thus the extreme importance of facing life's challenges with gratitude.

But as you say, in addition to the personal vasana container... thoughts can leak in from others. I've experience this in a strange way: sometime... thoughts arise and it is like "that's not me... where did that come from?" And... thoughts of loved ones or those close to us leak in: I remember when my father was critically ill. My parents hid this fact from us... and yet without being informed that he was ill at all I was inexplicably profoundly overwhelmed with grief.
Paul Brunton says something like: "telepathy is possible not because thoughts travel through space but because thoughts and space are aspects of Mind. (the higher Mind, not the human mind)"

The "personal vasana container" exists with larger container of racial, national & family "heritage" (heritage meaning "crap" Ha!). Currently, in the U.S. some are taping into the container of Nazi and U.S. civil war slavery vasanas.

Some such as Bhagavan must experience a great portion of the Psyche far far beyond any normal personal limits... although it is so incredibly "vast" I'd expect that nobody sees all.

I like your comments on similar events in different parts of the world: pyramids being build in Mexico and Eygpt at the same time. We start to see a deeper character of the Cosmic Mind. We are personally working with the lowly human mind.. but there must be incredibly vast intelligence at a cosmic level behind it.

And yes, there are dangers, P.B. has whole chapters on the dangers. Weak minds can be overtaken by psychic entities, anger is an obvious entity, when under control of strong anger we are actually possessed (love Eckhart Tolle's story on this). and there are those taken over by psychic passion for the nazis.

Ah, but I sense poor Salazar must be foaming at the mouth... so I will stop here. :-) (that comment is slightly affectionate to Salazar)

Roger said...

Hi Anonymous,
loved your quote Talk #28.
It is true that the Talks sometimes have typos and there is no overall organization, and I still wonder about the meaning of some. But many times they are amazingly brilliant and IMO are a necessary compliment to the "pure" works.

Anonymous said...

Albert Einstein...
I do not believe in free will. Schopenhauer’s words: ‘Man can do what he wants, but he cannot will what he wills,’ accompany me in all situations throughout my life and reconcile me with the actions of others, even if they are rather painful to me. This awareness of the lack of free will keeps me from taking myself and my fellow men too seriously as acting and deciding individuals, and from losing my temper.

— Albert Einstein (1932), “My Credo”, Aug [5]

Purification of mind does NOT reflect on one’s outward behavior, a purified mind is no mind and any perceived behavior is illusion said...

Roger, I agree with you: You and Ravi and anybody else can explore whatever they want and it is certainly none of my business. I do wish you and Ravi well, I called you names before but that is the past and I feel no animosity to you and anybody else on this blog.

I am disappointed about of some of the viewpoints here, IMO they don't reflect Bhagavan's teachings, nor the teachings of Annamalai Swami or Murugunar. Granted, people repeatedly quoting certain phrases by Bhagavan and a number of people share those and join in “chanting” these phrases, but when it comes down to actual insights I don't find much. Most of it is just repetitive quotes. It seems to be much on a surface level.

What is fine too but that gets quickly old. Anyway, it is what it is.

“Akashic records”, when I came across that concept for the first time 30 years ago I was in awe and was into similar stuff as Ravi is entertaining these days, but that was quickly discarded and I am amazed that somebody who feels attuned to Bhagavan is actually taking this irrelevant concept and quite a few other irrelevant concepts seriously. I hope Ravi uses his “willpower” and does some house-cleaning ;-)

Good luck with these “bodies”. Beats me what that has to do with Self-realization. That is just on a mind level, and the mind tends to bamboozle and trick the jiva without him even noticing it.

Anonymous said...

Look at the delightful sense of humour, the utter impersonality of the great sage..charming, instructive, benevolent says the devotee...what one would have given to exchange a few jokes with him and hope for a miracle...

T. S. Anantha Murthy, The Life and Teachings of Sree Ramana Maharshi

Is There Time or Space For Me?

After the breakfast was finished, I purchased a photo of Sri Ramana from the book stall of the ashram. I desired to get it from the hands of the sage himself. Carrying it in my hands I went into the hall and prostrated to Sri Ramana, who was seated in jagrat state. There was no one else in the hall on that occasion. That was a surprise to me. I told him that I had purchased his photo and that I desired to receive it from his hands. Having said so, I gave the photo to him. He graciously stretched his hands and took it from me and looked at it for half a minute without saying any word by word of mouth. He was pleased to give it back to me. I received it with great satisfaction.

Then, I wanted to obtain his blessings before I left the ashram. So, I went near him once again and stood for a minute looking at him. I addressed him and said in English, "Bhagavan, I have enjoyed great peace in your presence. Permit me to return to Bangalore. May I know if I can receive your help when I reach Bangalore? I pray for your benediction." The benevolent sage was till then reclining on the sofa. He dramatized the parting scene. He sat up vertically on the sofa and with a kind but loud tone he said in English as follows: "What? Is there time, place or distance for me?" After putting this question to me, he reclined on the pillows of the sofa and closed his eyes. His words and gestures were charming, instructive and benevolent. They indicated perpetual compassion and love of all who pray for his aid. His gracious words are ringing in my ears, even after thirty-four years.

T. S. Anantha Murthy, The Life and Teachings of Sree Ramana Maharshi

Namo Ramanaya said...

Bhagvan's gracious words are actually always "ringing in our ears" only when our mind opens its windows/ears to them.

Sanjay Lohia said...

Ravi, Salazar, Aseem and others, in March 2015 I had exchanged a few emails with Michael on the topic of diet. Since we have been discussing this subject over the last few days, I thought I should share Michael’s views on the topic. This is as much a reminder to me as to others, and therefore it is written in that spirit. I reproduce extracts from 3 of his emails. Michael says:

a) As Bhagavan says in Nan Yar?, mita sattvika ahara is an aid to atma-vicara, but since atma-vicara entails attending as little as possible to anything else, we should not give more than the minimum amount of attention to consuming mita sattvika ahara. Fortunately mita sattvika ahara entails eating only simple foods, so it does not require much attention once we have understood what foods are most sattvika.

b) We should try to be sure that whatever we eat is sattvika (and generally any food whose production causes himsa [violence] and any food that is not healthy for the body is not sattvika), but he also said that we should not allow our mind to dwell excessively on worldly matters. Therefore we can infer that it is beneficial to gain basic knowledge about what food do not cause himsa and are healthy for our body and mind, but once we have sufficient knowledge of this kind we should not think too much about such matters, but should focus our attention and effort on self-investigation.

c) In this dream life all these [the need for sattvik vegetarian or vegan diet] seem to be real, so we have to live in this dream accordingly, but we should not be too preoccupied with such things, because our real aim is only to investigate and experience what we ourself really are.

Namo Ramanaya said...

you say "I am disappointed about of some of the viewpoints here...".
Is there a better starting position for the continuity of self-investigation than a disappointed mind ?

Namo Ramanaya said...

"...and the mind tends to bamboozle and trick the jiva without him even noticing it."
Therefore our main task is clearly confided to us: we have to explore whether the mind is our real nature. In other words let us investigate 'Who am I' ?

Sanjay Lohia said...

If we have ambition to be self-realised, we are going to be sorely disappointed, because we will no longer be there to enjoy it

The following extract is taken from the video: 2017-06-10 Ramana Maharshi Foundation UK: discussion with Michael James on ‘God is love’. As usual this is modified by me:

Michael: Sadhu Om’s wrote verses in Tamil. One of them he translated into English, which is something to the effect, if I remember correctly:

A naked lie it would be, if any man were to say that he realized the self by diving with, through proper enquiry set in. Not for knowing but for death, this good for nothing ego’s worth. It is Arunachala alone which is self, by which the self is known.

So if we have ambition to be self-realised, we are going to be sorely disappointed, because we will no longer be there to enjoy it.

Bhagavan said if jnana is something to be attained it would be lost. Jnana is always present. Jnana is not gaining anything, it is just losing everything. Getting rid of ego is jnana. It’s not an attainment, it’s a loss.

Sanjay Lohia said...

Anonymous, thank you for sharing the extract from the book: T. S. Anantha Murthy, The Life and Teachings of Sree Ramana Maharshi. It is a great message which Bhagavan gave to T. S. Anantha Murthy:

'What? Is there time, place or distance for me?'

Bhagavan gave out the secret of his real nature to this blessed devotee. We consider Bhagavan to be the body, but he was constantly telling us directly or directly: 'I am not this body. I am the timeless and spaceless reality'. What is timeless and spaceless? Only atma-svarupa (our true form), and therefore he exists in us as ourself, 'I'.

Therefore, if we want to meditate on Bhagavan, we have no other option but to turn within and contact him there. Therefore, self-investigation is the only way to surrender to Bhagavan.

Sanjay Lohia said...

Anonymous, Albert Einstein said, ‘I do not believe in free-will’. Our friend Salazar also doesn’t believe in free-will, so Salazar is in august company (meant to be a light-hearted joke)!

Some do not believe in destiny, and some do not believe in free-will. Our dilemma is whom should we believe, because both these view-points cannot be correct at the same time. Therefore, we need to investigate the one who has these different view-points.

When by such investigation we discover our true nature, we will find that there was no much thing a mind, and therefore these ideas like ‘free-will’ and ‘destiny’ were mere ideas. Ultimately ‘free-will’ and ‘destiny’ are as unreal as our ego or mind.

Therefore, what we believe in doesn't matter. The only thing which is important is, 'who believes this?; 'who am I?'

Ravi said...

Apropos Sri Anantha Murthy recounting the way he received the picture of Bhagavan as well as the wonderful message...Here is an excerpt from The Gospel of Sri Ramakrishna:

MARWARI DEVOTEE: "Sir, what is the meaning of the worship of the Personal God? And what is the meaning of God without form or attribute?"
MASTER: "As you recall your father by his photograph, so likewise the worship of the image reveals in a flash the nature of Reality.
"Do you know what God with form is like? Like bubbles rising on an expanse of water, various divine forms are seen to rise out of the Great Ākāśa of Consciousness. The Incarnation of God is one of these forms. The Primal Energy sports, as it were, through the activities of a Divine Incarnation.
"What is there in mere scholarship? God can be attained by crying to Him with a longing heart. There is no need to know many things.
"He who is an Āchārya has to know different things. One needs a sword and shield to kill others; but to kill oneself, a needle or a nail-knife suffices.
"One ultimately discovers God by trying to know who this 'I' is. Is this 'I' the flesh, the bones, the blood, or the marrow? Is it the mind or the buddhi? Analysing thus, you realize at last that you are none of these. This is called the process of 'Neti, neti', 'Not this, not this'. One can neither comprehend nor touch the Ātman. It is without qualities or attributes."

Again he says:
Keeping the pictures of holy persons MASTER: "One should keep pictures of holy men in one's room. That constantly quickens divine ideas." BANNERJI: "I have your picture in my room; also the picture of a sādhu living in the mountains, blowing on a piece of lighted charcoal, in a bowl of hemp."
MASTER: "It is true that one's spiritual feelings are awakened by looking at the picture of a sādhu. It is like being reminded of the custard-apple by looking at an imitation one, or like stimulating the desire for enjoyment by looking at a young woman. Therefore I tell you that you should constantly live in the company of holy men."

Sri Anantha Murthy offered his house in chennai to the service of Bhagavan and it is The Ramana Kendra,Mylapore in Chennai.Interestingly the Shirdi Sai Baba temple and The Ramakrishna universal temple are a walking distance from the Ramana Kendra...and BV Narasimha Swamy's samadhi is there in this Sai Baba temple.


Namo Ramanaya said...

Sanjay Lohia,
"We consider Bhagavan to be the body, but he was constantly telling us directly or directly: 'I am not this body. I am the timeless and spaceless reality'. What is timeless and spaceless? Only atma-svarupa (our true form), and therefore he exists in us as ourself, 'I'."
Instead of "directly or directly" you presumably wanted to write "directly or indirectly."
When Bhagavan "exists in us as ourself,'I'," so what else does remain in us beside him ?

Ravi said...

Thanks very much for your kind solicitude...Please allow me to express myself in your 'prarabdha' language...It may be my prarabdha to serve in a 'Non Vegetarian Hotel'(Realm of Thought) as a does not mean that I have to eat Non Vegetarian food at home...I use my so called freewill to eat wholesome Sattvic food as per the Guru's prompting...In other words,I have to serve what customers(devotees) are interested in (it may be their need and way) and I cannot force what I eat at home on them.

As for your disappointment at meeting 'people'(are they not imaginary?) not put it at the door of prarabdha but exercise your freewill to get rid of it.
As Sri Ramakrishna says in the Gospel (All gurus are Bhagavan only...your grounding in advaita should stand firm here):
"You see, mere study of books avails nothing. One may recite the written part for the drum glibly from memory, but to play the drum is exceedingly difficult."

Verbal understanding of advaita is one thing and living it is altogether another thing...Otherwise we may believe in one thing while all the time contradicting it in everyday life.

This is the reason that the wise ones have given a two pronged approach-Practice of Dharma for the day to day living along with the inner pursuit of Reality...They go hand in hand and without the foundation of Dharma ,a mere mental edifice of any teaching is as flimsy as a sand castle...I know that this is hard to may think that one is knocking at the doors as it were,but then it may only be our imagination...better to become a 'nobody' and 'ignorant' one at that.

Living with a Guru(outer) grounds one in Dharma and quickens the inner flame of attention...If one is not blessed with the so called outer guru,one still has to pursue the path with due to attention to all the principles of living (Dharma)...and assuredly the 'seeming' freewill can be exercised if we are clear that we are born as humans and have an iota of interest in spiritual verities...Hope we are not mistaking ourselves as a 'Lamb' in the Parable of the Lion that bleated like lamb .

I do find that you have softened quite a bit in your you are in a position to exercise the 'freewill' or if you prefer to call it the other way,your 'prarabdha' is leading you towards it.

Wishing you the very Best.


Purification of mind does NOT reflect on one’s outward behavior, a purified mind is no mind and any perceived behavior is illusion said...

Sanjay Lohia, regarding your diet comments, you are missing the point, I was not questioning the validity of a diet (no matter which one) but that you believe that you made the decision to change your diet. What kind of diet that is really doesn't matter. Amazing how people don't seem to get the point, Ravi lectured too about the benefits of certain diets. That was not the point!

Also, you said, “[...] Therefore, what we believe in doesn't matter [...]”.

If that would be really the case with you then how come that you believe to have changed your diet and why were you arguing that you really did? So you do “believe”, and I might add, I am certain you believe in quite a few things.

You cannot say what we believe in doesn't matter and then, i.e., post about the benefits of a diet or anything else. Because ANY comment by you is derived from your beliefs. You don't know it, you only believe it!

You have maneuvered yourself into an illogical justification loop, you cannot have both.

Therefore the best thing is to remain silent. LOL (Sorry, couldn't resist)

Sanjay Lohia said...

Namo Ramanaya, thank you for pointing out my typo. Yes, it should have been ‘directly or indirectly’.

Bhagavan exists in us as ourself and only he exists, because we as this ego are non-existent. However, metaphorically speaking he doesn’t seem to exist as long as we experience ourself as this ego, this mixed self-awareness ‘I am this body’.

To experience him as he really is we have to remove ourself from the picture, and we can do so only by focusing all our attention and interest towards ourself, by shifting the focus of our attention and interest away from everything else.

. . said...

Ravi, I don't concur with most of your last comment, especially that my "softening" is based on free will. How do you know? You don't! You just assume it because it is derived from your belief system which is entirely imagined.

Every concept is just a thought which is believed in. Since thoughts are ephemeral objects which are more like reflections of a mirror, the contents of those thoughts are irrelevant and only reflect unresolved desires and issues. I.e. the concept of "memory". How do you know that there is a memory? Have you seen it? Where is it? Or is memory just another thought? Since thoughts are ephemeral irrelevant objects which appear and disappear out of nowhere, how can the thought memory have any validity?

Of course by only conceptually reflecting on it you'll never get that. But after protracted meditation you'll see eventually that thoughts coming up in awareness are not you or your thoughts. There is a clear distinction between a thought and "I". And if it is seen by direct experience that a thought has no relevance than all concepts collapse and only "I" remains.

Talking about it is a waste of time. Figure it out, stop accepting things you have not verified by yourself with direct experience. Now that is just the beginning but a necessary step to take a step back from thoughts.

Then it also becomes clear that "I" never makes a decision, decision just happen and I suppose by the power of Self. Now where "I made that decision" comes into play is that your mind has the thought "I make that decision" and that is in unison with the apparent decision and since a thought is automatically and habitually immediately believed in you have identified with it as "you". And that is the delusion and it can be verified by actual experience that this is not the case.

So how is the mind coming to the conclusion to be a do-er? Only in believing ephemeral, insubstantial thoughts which are not "I". The thoughts are not the problem, to believe them and to take them as "your" thoughts is the problem.

Sanjay Lohia said...

Salazar, I did change to a vegan diet around three years back, but when did I claim that this change was brought about by my free-will? It could have been a result of my destiny or a result of my free-will or a result of the combination of both destiny and free-will. The workings of karmas our beyond our understanding, as Sri Krishna says in Bhagavat-Gita.

However, as long as we experience ourself as this ego, we seem to have free-will, and we seem to have choices. Therefore it seems to us that we are making these choices, and we obviously choose what seems most appropriate in given situation.

Even if this diet change was a result of my destiny, I will still claim that I have done so, as long as my ego is alive. We consider all the actions done by our body, speech and mind as our actions, because we identify with these instruments. It makes little difference whether the actions we do are dictated by destiny or are according to our free-will. Our doership is intact in both the cases, because without doership we have no connect with karma. This is what Michael explained me.

You said in one of you previous comments addressed to me that I was attached to my vegan diet. You are also surely consuming some sort of a diet. Are you willing to consider changing it to a vegan diet? If not, then you also not attached to you diet, aren’t you?

Our ego cannot exist without its desires and attachments, because it is these very desires and attachments which keep it alive. Therefore to say that I am attached to my diet, but you are free from all attachments may not to true. If you experience yourself as the person called ‘Salazar’, you definitely have desires and attachments, because without these you will not experience yourself as ‘Salazar’.

Sanjay Lohia said...

Salazar, I wrote: 'If not, then you also not attached to you diet, aren’t you?' Please read this as 'If not, then you are also attached to your diet, aren't you?'

. . said...

Sanjay Lohia, of course do I have attachments, that is a matter of course since I am not enlightened.

And to imply that because someone is not changing their diet means that they are attached to their current diet is a false conclusion. Firstly, there is no freedom to make that decision to change a diet, it either happens or it doesn't, so it is really not up to "us". And secondly, as I mentioned in a previous comment (I wish people would really read my comments AND remember the main points so I don't have to repeat myself constantly), non-attachment means that you eat what prarabhda is serving you, so on one day it maybe meat, and you eat that without any likes and dislikes, and the next it is maybe rice and beans and you eat that without any likes and dislikes without missing the meat or vice versa.

Why I said that you must be attached to your diet is that you are seeing a vegan diet as superior and that is a judgment based on an attachment.

And where did I say that I am free from all attachments? I didn't, that is entirely made up by your mind. I stated an example how not being attached looks like in regarding to food. That was not in relation to me at all. Re-read my comment.

Yes, there seems to be free will. But according to Sadhu Om it can only work in alignment with prarabhda, that means prarabhda is only happening and the free will only expresses itself in either not liking prarabhda because what happens is not in alignment with your will or liking it because prarabhda happened to be in alignment with your will.

What that means, whatever your free will is, prarabhda happens no matter what and independent from any "will". So in fact, it is really not free because, according to Sadhu Om, the so-called free will CANNOT change prarabhda!!!!!!

. . said...

The only way to change prarabhda is to realize Self. And still then the body will act according to prarabhda, but there is nobody anymore who is concerned about it.

Roger said...

The "process" from just beginning meditation (using one of the yogas or Atma Vicara) is about will power: the will to keep the mind and emotions still. But it is a process of increasing subtly. Eventually grosser effort falls away or becomes very refined and one is able to be still by mere intention. But do we attain "choiceless awareness" without will... or supreme development of the will as a latent power? Is it development of the will... or surrender? Or both?

There is the corrupt apparent human will... which falls away or evolves. Then there is the Lord's will which supports all of creation. Do we say that we become "totally without will" OR do we become one with the Lords will? Do we have no responsibility at all or transcendental responsibility for all of creation?

Certainly lower human forcefulness & demands & narrow personal interest are relinquished... but are we to believe that Lord Krishna, Lord Buddha, Lord Jesus had no "will"? (I might include Bhagavan but it seems he resonates more with the unmanifest beyond creation) We might just as well say that the "Lords" exemplify "will".

Language and concepts fail. There is just no single way of describing it. Perhaps how one describes it depends more on "temperament". A Kundalini Yogin (the warriors path) may speak about development of the latent power of will or alignment with the Lords will... whereas a Jnana Yogin (discrimination) may speak about choiceless awareness.

Arjuna or a samurai warrior on the battle field facing down an opponent in a life or death struggle might describe "mushin" or "no mind" as a the manifestation of higher will. Or the Jnana Yoga type might describe it as utterly choiceless: no will at all.

Ultimately... language and concepts simply can not give an adequate description. Different conceptual descriptions all point to the a single reality but from different angles or they point to something which is entirely beyond the human experience.

. . said...

There is "will power", but that works only directed against the imaginations of the mind in an inward fashion. The actions of the body have absolutely nothing to do with the mind and therefore there is no "will power" regarding to a body.

That Bhagaban moved away from home was not because of his "will" but because prarabhda moved his body from one location to another. But Bhagavan actually never moved. Where can the substratum of any phenomena move to? Any "movement" is an imagination of mind.

. . said...

Roger, the Arjuna story is to explain prarabhda, he had never the choice to avoid battle, he was destined to do so and of course he did. That is the meaning of that story.

And how a battle ends is also destined. When on D-Day the allies stormed the coast of Normandy, it was destined which soldier would die or not. So if you'd have been a soldier on that day no "will power" or the smartest "decision" would have prevented your death if you were destined to die on that day. That's just how it is.

Ravi said...

It is enough if you understand need to agree or understand what I have said...Just to add that all thoughts are for the ego only and are avatars of the 'I' thought...self enquiry is an examination of the 'I' thought sans its avatars or forms,as the 'I' thought is the root of all thoughts...and the I thought dissolves leaving behind pure awareness...Calling it as 'I' is only a way of expressing it...In that Awareness ,there is no such a thing as 'I' or 'That' or any other...all these are just 'words'.Is there anything in deep Sleep that calls itself 'I'?
You need not accept any of what I have stated...and I certainly do not mind what you think of me...Be true to your own conviction...I do not quite see that.

Ravi said...

You keep harping on Destiny,Prarabdha and Predestined...Just who 'decides' and 'when'?What is meant by 'Pre'?
I am sure that you should be in a position to answer to an ignorant person like me?

. . said...

Ravi, thanks for rehashing the obvious, I believe I've read that here and elsewhere countless times.

Do you have any actual direct experience to share besides conceptual knowledge?

Ravi said...

"Do you have any actual direct experience to share besides conceptual knowledge?"
What do you think of your question?...Is it valid?
Suppose I say 'Yes' what is your response;Suppose I keep quiet,What is your Response...Suppose I say 'No' what is your response?...How are you going to be benefitted in each case?
think about it.

. . said...

Ravi, funny, now YOUR tone is becoming snide.

What happened to your "will power"? LOL

Ravi said...

Please do not duck the question...Answer it in all seriousness...Please do not imagine 'TONE'.

. . said...

Ravi, just let it go, take a break and look at your minds habitual compulsion to argue and see how that alone keeps you in delusion.

You are a victim of the cleverness of your mind as Papaji used to say ;-)

. . said...

Whatever I say will be a concept. Look at the thoughts which appear in your awareness and see that they are not "your" thoughts and that they have no validity at all. Do that for a while and in a year or so we talk again.

Ravi said...

"You are a victim of the cleverness of your mind as Papaji used to say ;-)"

Yes...this is the 'Reading Glass' that you are donning all the time...and this is how you have been looking at all the comments of others...if you set it aside you will be able to look at yourself clearly...and then you will be in a position to empathize with what others have to say and understand them...and even if the Glass is half full or quarter full,you will be in a position to see the 'fullness' part rather than seeing the 'emptiness' part of it.

Think about it.

By the way,this Ignorant person is eagerly awaiting your response to the foolish question regarding 'Predetermined' 'Prarabdha' that he has raised.


Roger said...

regarding predestination:
I have heard two jnanis describe this situation. One says something like:
If it were predestined that a bullet will go through your car windshield and kill you, then after sufficient practice of Self Attention, the bullet may be reduced to a rock which would merely injure you... and after more practice of Self Attention the rock might be reduced to a hail stone... and eventually a rain drop because the karmic need for the event has been reduced and eliminated by your practice.

This challenges the notion of a rigid fixed timeline and events.

. . said...

Ravi, you say "think about it". Absolutely not!!! Because "thinking" is the problem ;-)

Seriously, watch your thoughts for at least a year, stop arguing and conceptualizing, and experience first hand how your assumptions and "thinking" is based on false assumptions. In a year you can share your observations.

I'll not go further with you in futile conceptual back and forth bickering. "Think about it", what would change if I give you an answer? "Think about it". LOL

luggage on the head said...

is it not astonishing which magnificent entertainment can provide such "jnanis" ?

. . said...

Roger, there is no time. Predestination is always now. Predestination is a concept like anything else, including Kundalini, no-mind warriors etc.

But to explain certain happenings in the phenomenal world one has to fall back to concepts. But they never can capture reality.

"Clever" minds abuse the switch between the viewpoint of the absolute and the phenomenal world and make seemingly challenging comments which are not helpful at all. But once a mind is stubbornly arguing nothing can hold it back ;-)

Ravi said...

"Ravi, you say "think about it". Absolutely not!!! Because "thinking" is the problem ;-)"

Why should thinking be a problem? Neither the body or thought is a problem...identifying with body and thought is a problem.

Will it help if I say 'Observe' it? I am not sure of it either...anyway,leave it.

What about 'Predetermined' and 'Prarabdha' question?...Still awaiting your response.


Ravi said...

You seem to maintain two standards...If you are cornered you dismiss it as 'concept'...You do not mind employing the same 'concepts' to others comments and they metamorphose into inviolable absolute imperatives...So,not sure whether they are truly concepts or infallible imperatives...I am referring to the Phenomenal world view only...being ignorant I do not bother about the absolute may enlighten me regarding the predetermination or prarabdha...understand that these are relevant to the phenomenal only.


Ravi said...

You maintain that 'Thinking' is the problem...Does it mean that Scientists,mathematicians,lawyers,technicians and teachers have to give up their profession in order to realize the Self?...They have to employ thought in their profession...and until they give up 'thinking'(and hence their profession) they cannot do self enquiry...Looks like Bhagavan has not considered all this before advocating this path for all irrespective of their profession...Is Asceticism the only way?

is it that the profession carried on by the professionals with their thinking mind would after realization be carried on by the 'body' without the mind(since mind is no longer there in manonasa!) through the wonderful 'Prarabdha'?

If as you say that the body is (then) animated by the Self(wonder what that means),wonder how Self deserts the body at the time of death of the body...Looks like there is something amiss in all this.

Being ignorant I do not wish to go into what happens to the body and mind post realization...but would like to know if the professionals can carry on their thinking and pursue self enquiry without giving up their profession.

I understood from Bhagavan's teachings that it is enough if we stop identifying with the body and thought but thinking as such is not a bar to realization of the Self...but you seem to be saying that thinking is a problem...and you claim to have a sound understanding of Bhagavan's teaching and that you are his disciple for over 30 years... you should be in a position to clarify the position.


Roger said...

Luggage on the head, you say:
is it not astonishing which magnificent entertainment can provide such "jnanis" ?

oops, sorry I forgot that I was not quoting the "house jnani".

Salazar, does it ever seem suspicious to you that you know everything?

Sanjay Lohia said...

To follow Bhagavan’s teachings we need to live a double life . . .

I once wrote the following email to Michael. The actual copy of my email and Michael’s reply is printed below:

Revered Sir,

Bhagavan says, ‘Really one should lament having left one’s real state and taken birth in this world, and not celebrate it as a festive occasion’.

But we find even the apparently advanced devotes of Bhagavan celebrating their or their near and dear one’s birthday or marriage anniversaries. […]

My question is should we wish others on their birthdays and marriage anniversaries, or should we refrain from doing so?

Thanking you and pranams,



Dear Sanjay,

We should not attach any importance to birthdays for ourselves, but for the sake of others who are attached to such things, we can go along with the harmless social convention of wishing them a happy birthday.

As Sadhu Om often used to say, to follow Bhagavan’s teachings we need to live a double life, inwardly taking interest only in trying to experience ourself alone, while outwardly acting as if we are interested in the world and all the people we meet in it.

With love and namaskarams,


My note: As Michael implies, outwardly we have to act in this world as if the world is real, but inwardly we should constantly try and impress upon ourselves that this world is utterly unreal. This will require constant sravana, manana of Bhagavan’s teachings, and above all will require relentless nidhidyasana (self-investigation).

However, though we should thus act in this world, but, Michael also once said, we should simultaneously try to minimize our interactions with this world. This should entail less of socializing, less of watching TV, and so on. It is because if we interact too much with this world, we will have very little time to try and experience ourself alone.

However, whenever we interact with others, we should act normally and can follow harmless social conventions.

It is like the advice Vasistha gave to Rama: ‘Oh Rama, play your part in this world as if this world is real, and act appropriately in every situation you encounter, but inwardly remain calm and poised in self’. This is not exactly what Vasistha said, but I believe it brings out the import of his advice to Rama.

Yuvaraj said...


You have shared a gem - the dialogue with Sri Chandrasekara Bharati, the Shankaracharya of Sringeri. It comes at an important time for me. Let me see if I can articulate this...

I thought the ideas of Free-will and Fate were clear in my mind. But when faced with a hard problem recently and when it came to putting it into practice I did not want to. Lately, I have been on a streak where many hard problems are resolving on their own and so I knew this would resolve on its own too! It did not this time, but actually worsened and finally took me to a point of possible danger. I realised that I was being Tamasic (running away from a problem) and not Sattvic and was not putting my lessons into practice. My rajasic nature finally emerged and to good effect. I see praises of Sattva everywhere but think rajasic energy has a very important place too in spiritual life (for me atleast).

It was a hard lesson and hopefully will never forget it. My big lesson from Bhagavad Gita is about Swabhava...Swakarma...Swadharma. Or in my own words...doing work in alignment with my Swabhava will not only help excel in my work but also make me a better person. Or stated another way...Life is all about honest and complete self-expression. Such a life's journey will take me to a point where rajasic energy will give way to sattvic. I see some of my old desires have weakened or fallen away. Few others still seem rock solid! So hope I am right about this conclusion...else happy to be corrected in the journey ahead.

When later I came across Bhagavan's teachings and the idea of non-doership of Advaita without the grounding in the idea of Swabhava I could have easily misunderstood the idea of non-doership and become Tamasic and very nicely mistake it for Sattva.

I realise that as long as I feel I am the body and this mind, I have a Free-Will. I am reminded of the saying, "you influence the stars; and stars influence you." The operative word is "you". Or Dvaita in action but Advaita in attitude.

A spiritual teacher and well wisher had forewarned me about this as I entered the world of Bhagavan some years back and how it could possibly put people astray later in the journey. He would know as he was for many years a close associate of a respected and popular guru before he moved on to Bhagavan. But then I thought I knew it all!

Looking forward to more lessons in the journey ahead.

Ravi said...

Sanjay Lohia,

"To follow Bhagavan’s teachings we need to live a double life . . ."
I appreciate what you have posted and it is indeed the way of Spiritual living...although the word 'double life' seems to have a negative connotation as if one is merely putting on a farce act in which one does not truly believe in...yet,that is only seemingly so.

I love the way Sri Ramakrishna puts it in his inimitable way:
"I tell people that there is nothing wrong in the life of the world. But they must live in the world as a maidservant lives in her master's house.'
Referring to her master's house, she says, 'That is our house.' But her real home is perhaps in a far-away village. Pointing out her master's house to others, she says, no doubt, 'This is our house', but in her heart she knows very well that it doesn't belong to her and that her own house is in a faraway village. She brings up her master's son and says, 'My Hari has grown very naughty', or 'My Hari doesn't like sweets.' Though she repeats, 'My Hari' with her lips, yet she knows in her heart that Hari doesn't belong to her, that he is her master's son.
Thus I say to those who visit me: 'Why don't you live in the world? There is no harm in that.Do all your duties, but keep your mind on God. Live with all - with wife and children, father and mother - and serve them. Treat them as if they were very dear to you, but know in your heart of hearts that they do not belong to you. But always keep your mind, on God. Know for certain that house, family and property are not yours. They are God's. Your real home is in God.

This is spiritual living and there is absolutely no conflict between the so called secular and spiritual attitudes.

luggage on the head said...

please quote your "house jnanai".

Namo Ramanaya said...

as you said the so-called wordly/secular life is (nothing other than) the playground of our inner "spiritual attitude" - for practice purposes.

Ravi said...

Yes...what you have to say is very very relevant and important...and every sadhaka would do well to critically examine deep seated beliefs, biases ,deceits (like tamas masquerading as sattva),blind acceptance of a doctrine,sweeping generalization,etc...and above all what you call as 'honest self expression'.

Th Dialogue on Fate -Freewill with Sri Chandrasekhara Bharati swami is comprehensive and rational...I have not come across anything better than that in all spiritual literature...and anyone who is keen to understand the subject would do well to go through that article.

The Fundamental point is whether the sense of 'doership' is there or not...if it is present,karmic cycle follows....As long as one is a sadhaka he has to contend with it.

Thinking that there is 'no doer' is no different than thinking that there is a 'doer'...even if that thinking takes the form of a strong conviction that there is NO does not alter things a is a useful inner attitude to maintain inwardly but that attitude cannot spread its tentacles outwards and debunk the freewill of the 'doer'...In other words the so called Prarabdha of a 'Non doer' is no different than the Freewill of a 'Doer'...Just a little thought would make this clear...How can Prarabdha accrue without a Freewill in action? Does it fall from the Sky or some capricious Dictator of an Ishwara has predetermined an exile of one billion years for a jiva...This is patently an absurd idea.

The Other thing that came up for discussion with regard to the recommendation of a vegetarian diet...and our good friend Sanjay Lohia has expressed how he resorted to a vegetarian diet as per bhagavan's recommendation and found it beneficial...This is a FACT.

Factual things are what we are concerned about...and not speculation whether that switching is on account of Prarabdha or freewill...Certainly the 'Doing' was factual and beneficial too...and that is what matters.

If we are a Diabetic and Doctor advises that we should cut down on sugar ,would we not change our lifestyle? Do we speculate whether our Prarabdha would permit it or not? ...Yes,when our Life is in danger all such speculation would be set aside and it is only what we truly are would be left...if we are with God,we would take it in the stride...Now ,there is simply no point in saying that this too is 'Prarabdha'!!!...Then 'Prarbdha' is only a pet idea that is used to explain anything and everything and has absolutely no sense or relevance whatsoever.
To sum up...In the language of the Vedas...'Uththistata,Jagrata,Prapyavaranibodhata'...'Arise,Awake and approach the Great and learn'...Be up and Doing.


Ravi said...

What is the true essence of the ONLY Choice?...It just means this...God or world?There is only one choice in this sense...and if we choose God,such a choice may involve a single step or several steps or a lifetime or lifetimes...and this depends on where one stands presently in terms of the hunger for God(Self may be more fashionable!).

Sri Ramakrishna says:"All will surely realize God. All will be liberated. It may be that some get their meal in the morning, some at noon, and some in the evening: but none will go without food. All, without any exception, will certainly know their real Self."

Spiritual teachings are not there to cripple us but to encourage us...and we need to maintain this fundamental sense and not take them in a literal sense...How does it matter whether lifting the finger or dropping it is prarabdha or not...Why not call it simply incidental and irrelevant to the serious and supreme purpose-Realization of God?

Sri Ramakrishna says: "Nothing remains if God is eliminated. The number increases if you put many zeros after the figure one; but the zeros don't have any value if the one is not there."


Sanjay Lohia said...

Ravi, whatever way the sages articulate it, their message is clear: ‘act in this world as if you are acting in a play, but remember that you do not belong to this stage’. I believe Sri Ramakrishna was a past master at narrating such parables.

In other words, we should try to get out this samsara, but till we are able to do so, we should remain as an actor here. However, eventually the actor (the ego) and all its acting will become a thing of the past. This is the state of atma-jnana.

I fully agree when you write to Yuvaraj: ‘How can Prarabdha accrue without a Freewill in action? Does it fall from the Sky or some capricious Dictator of an Ishwara has predetermined an exile of one billion years for a jiva...This is patently an absurd idea’. We should not leave behind the rules of simple logic even while trying to understand the metaphysical principles.

It is simple, our prarabdha (destiny) cannot come into existence without previous actions done by our free-will. We do not need to be a great scientist or a mathematical genius to understand the logic behind this fact. Can there be an object without a subject? Can there be smoke without fire? Can there be a child without a mother? If something says that these are possible, then they are clearly being illogical.

I also agree when you say, ‘How does it matter whether lifting the finger or dropping it is prarabdha or not...’ Yes, we believe and know that we can lift a finger, and therefore we should try lifting it whenever we want to. Of course, our destiny can come in between and obstruct this action of ours, but until it obstructs, we can lift our finger by our free will. At least, this is what we believe.

Sanjay Lohia said...

Ravi, there is a typo in my second last paragraph. Its last sentence should read: If someone says that these are possible, then they are clearly being illogical.

Ravi said...

The Arunachala Akshara Mana Malai -marital garland of letters is like a lifegiving fount of Nectar for the pilgrim soul of a sadhaka...and every devotee would find it highly beneficial to steep oneself in that Lahari(Ocean of Nectar)...self enquiry and self surrender are just two sides of the same coin...even to say that is not accurate say that they are one and the same thing is more accurate.

In verse 28,Sri Bhagavan says:
சாப்பா டுன்னைச் சார்ந்துண வாயான்
சாந்தமாய்ப் போவ னருணாசலா .

Depending on you who are food ,as food (for you)
I shall attain peace,O Arunachala

I have often observed that some of these wonderful gems do not get shared and dwelt upon by devotees...perhaps they do not provide much fodder for the mind to speculate...yet,there is simply no substitute for the attitudes(Bhava) that these wonderful Hymns help foster in the heart of the devotees...and no better way than this to help the mind subside.


Sanjay Lohia said...

Ravi, on this forum, we do give more importance to Bhagavan’s texts Nan Yar?, Ulladu Narpadu and Upadesa Undiyar. It is because Michael feels that these texts contain Bhagavan’s teachings in its purest and clearest form. Bhagavan has explained his teachings in a most systematic and coherent manner in these three texts.

However, Michael also gives sufficient importance to the verses from Sri Arunachala Stuti Panchakam, especially to the verses from Sri Arunachala Aksaramanamalai. I have seen him (in his videos) getting quite emotional while quoting some of these verses. Michael favourite verses from Sri Arunachala Aksaramanamalai seems to be verses 1, 44 and 101, if I am not wrong.

Verse 1: O Arunachala, You root out the ego of those who think ‘Arunachalam’ in the heart.

Verse 44: O my Arunachala, You said, ‘Turning back, daily, see the ‘I’ with the inner eye; it will (then) be known.

Verse 101: O Arunachala! like ice in water, graciously melt me as love in You, the form of love.

The English translation of verse 38 which you have quoted doesn’t seem to be very clear. The following English translation, as it appears in the book Sri Arunachala Stuti Panchakam by Sri Sadhu Om, seems clearer:

O Arunachala, was it merely to eat food by depending upon You that I came to You as a Sadhu (a religious mendicant)? (Did I not come to You in order to satisfy my spiritual hunger by attaining union with You?)

This verse is important because it teaches that we should not pray to Arunachala or Bhagavan with kamya-bhava, but should do it only in niskamya-bhava. Arunachala is not there merely to look after our food, clothing and shelter, but is there to satisfy our spiritual hunger, and our spiritual hunger cannot be satisfied until we merge in Arunachala or Bhagavan.

Sanjay Lohia said...

Even to think ‘I have to surrender to Bhagavan’ is a huge presumption, because where is any ‘I’ other than Bhagavan

The following extract is taken from the video 2017-05-13 Ramana Maharshi Foundation UK: discussion with Michael James on importance of practice:

For the surrender to be complete the ego has to be given up, and the only way to give up the ego is to investigate it, to turn our attention back to see ‘who am I, who have risen to surrender myself to Bhagavan’.

Even to think ‘I have to surrender to Bhagavan' is a huge presumption, because where is any ‘I’ other than Bhagavan.

keenly enough said...

Sanjay Lohia,
what you call a "huge presumption" does not hurt someone because the thinker of such a thought (the ego) does not actually exist - albeit that is seen only after keen investigation.

Ravi said...

Sanjay Lohia,
My tamil is fairly okay...and I have to say that the translation you have referred to goes more by consideration to the grammatical construction rather than the spirit of the such it is contrived...'santham' is interpreted as 'sadhu' which is just not correct...Santham is tranquility or peace...There are a few other verses which are not interpreted in a straight forward manner...Hymns serve to instil the bhava of devotion and not as a platform for philosophical treatise.

The sense of the verse is - the devotee approaches the Lord Arunachala to partake of the Peace and in the process gets dissolved and one with the Lord and ...This is parabhakti.
It is there in Taittriya upanishad as well...'Aham annam aham annam aham annam' ...This 'annam' is the 'Sappadu' or Food and it is the Aham.

In fact there is the interesting story of Muruganar aproaching Bhagavan for clarification regarding a particular verse (verse 48) here...and bhagavan clarified that a particular word is used in the colloquial sense ...Muruganar hesitatingly pointed out to Bhagavan a grammatical error in construction of that word ...and Bhagavan asked him to correct it...Muruganar was petrified and submitted to Bhagavan 'Bhagavan,It is a sin to correct the compositions of Sages...Please permit me to split the word and make sense of it'!...Despite Bhagavan assuring him to correct it Muruganar retained it but split it in a different way and it still gave a nice meaning ....although it no longer had the sense or meaning that Bhagavan indicated.

The Verse is :
46. துப்பறி வில்லா விப்பிறப் பென்பய
னெப்பிட வாயே னருணாசலா.

There is the colloquial sense in which Bhagavan had used the word 'vAyenarunachala'...and as per tamil grammar rules it should have been 'vAvenarunachala'...and Muruganar wanting to retain the 'letters' (aksharas) of the original split this as 'vAy yEn Arunachala' and translated it as 'why a mouth'?...The Translation ran something like 'Of what worth is this birth without self knowledge , Why a mouth to compare,O Arunachala' ...I have translated that literally...What Muruganar's version means is 'What use is this birth without self knowledge,it is not worth speaking about at all,O Arunachala'.

I am aware that Michael James has maintained the original sense here.

I am saying this to say that there are these considerations of Grammatical construction that have influenced the commentaries...I steer clear of such considerations and would like to preserve the simple sense as it appeals to a simple devotee sans learning.

There are also verses which have been translated to somehow preserve an advaitic sense...yet Bhagavan had clearly said that all such mentations were not there for him when the composition spontaneously poured out...He therefore advised devotees to tap into the Bhava(Bhakti attitude) that it engenders in the devotee...and all such translations that are contrived to conform to grammatical or philosophical framework misses this raw sense of devotion...We may recall how Bhagavan was filled with Awe when he heard the word 'Arunachalam' from that relative who had just arrived from Tiruvannamalai ...Bhagavan had no inkling of any philosophical system or so called advaitic experience...that came later.

The purpose of these Hymns is to infuse in us an unsophisticated love for God or Self.

I have not stated this to create any controversy...but it is important to get into the Bhava...One of the best exponents currently is Nochur Sri Venkatraman...and his talks are available in English as well...Warmly recommended.


Ravi said...

Sanjay Lohia,

"Even to think ‘I have to surrender to Bhagavan’ is a huge presumption, because where is any ‘I’ other than Bhagavan."

The Devotee has no presumptions about anything...He does not know anything about anything and prays to Arunachala to Grant him Knowledge and Devotion and redeem him...'Lord,I don't know anything;I do not have any bhakti;I do not have any Knowledge;Please grant me your grace and redeem me.'...He trusts that although he does not know the Lord,the Lord surely knows him and will respond to his anguished call...and he receives the response as a unmistakeable presence that stills his mind and infusing him with Love and Peace...He knows that God is Love and Peace...and this is his nature as well...God is his very self.
This is the way in which these Hymns impact him.


ahandai said...

Sanjay Lohia,
referring to your comment of 25 August 2017 at 09:13:
"However, when we experience this ‘formless phantom’ it is no more a formless phantom, because when we experience it, it has already attached itself to a body. So we experience it only as a tangled mixture of our body and mind. When we investigate ourself, we have to attend to the awareness aspect of this tangled mixture."

Regarding your above statement that the ego is experienced as "a mixture of our body and mind" I would object that this is not entirely correct. Rather it is more accurate to say that the ego as cit-jada-granthi is a mixture of the insentient body (jada) and our being-awareness (sat-cit).

Anonymous said...

one of the problems with prarabhdha is that people use it both ways. On the one hand they will say, "No one can defy their prarabhdha." and on the other hand they will say that "don't try to escape your prarabhdha" as if you had a choice in the first place to escape. In reality we see our prarabhdha only in retrospect. If I end up for a couple of years in America, then I will say that my prarabhdha was meant to keep me there for 2 years, later in retrospect.

So in effect, at the present moment we do have a choice or even if we don't we don't know of it as long as we consider ourselves and ego. So to me the best way to act is assume I have a free will and then accept the outcome.

One of the best advice regarding decision making and free will that I have seen is given by Swami Tatwananda in the following discourse on Bhagavad Gita, but unfortunately its in Tamil.

smrti said...

I am not the one who is directed by prarabdha.

Anonymous said...

We must believe in free will, we have no choice.

Isaac Bashevis Singer

Namo Ramanaya said...

As Michael said in the final sentence of his article of Friday, 19 September 2014
How to avoid doing āgāmya and experiencing prārabdha?
"Therefore attending to nothing other than 'I' is the only means to avoid both doing āgāmya and experiencing prārabdha."
And he too said:
"However, though we can give such hypothetical examples to illustrate the possibility that actions that we do according to our prārabdha may either be also impelled by our free will and thus constitute an āgāmya, or may not be so, we should bear in mind that such examples are intended to be just illustrations of possibilities, and not to imply that we actually have any sure means by which we can ascertain whether or not any particular action that we do is an āgāmya. We cannot and need not ascertain this, and if we try to do so, we will thereby be distracting ourself from our real aim, which is only to ascertain who am I. Trying to ascertain who am I is ātma-vicāra (self-investigation), whereas trying to ascertain anything about the karmas we do is anātma-vicāra (investigation of something that is not ourself)."
So let us frankly and by our free will avoid anātma-vicāra (investigation of something that is not ourself).

Sanjay Lohia said...

Namo Ramanaya, thank for reproducing the extract from one of Michael’s old articles: How to avoid doing agamya and experiencing prarabdha?

As Michael says, ‘Trying to ascertain who am I is ātma-vicāra (self-investigation), whereas trying to ascertain anything about the karmas we do is anātma-vicāra (investigation of something that is not ourself)’. If we are frank with ourself we have to admit that we hardly do atma-vichara, but are most of the time engaged only in anamta-vichara.

Therefore we are the very antithesis of a true devotee of Bhagavan. I certainly speak for myself when I say this, and probably this is true for most of us. So the only solution is to reverse the process: we need to try and do more and more of atma-vichara, thereby reducing the time we spend of anamta-vichara.

How does it matter whether our destiny is supreme or our free-will is supreme? As long as we are attentively self-aware, these questions are meaningless. We have come to Bhagavan to know ‘who am I’, and not to find out about free-will and destiny.

That is why Michael once said that the karma-theory is not central to Bhagavan’s teachings. What is central to Bhagavan’s teachings is our concern to stop all our karmas forever, and we can do this only by trying to practise non-stop self-investigation.

This ‘non-stop’ part may look too much in the beginning, but this is what Bhagavan wants us to aim for. Atma-jnana will not be served to us on a platter. We need to relentlessly work towards it.

keenly enough said...

Sanjay Lohia,
you wanted to write anatma-vicara not twice "anamta"...

Sanjay Lohia said...

keenly enough, thank you, yes, it should have been anatma. I thank you for you keen observation.

Sanjay Lohia said...

Ravi, since I do not know Tamil, I cannot say which English translation (either the one by Sri Sadhu Om or the one by you) of verse 28 of Sri Arunachala Aksaramanamalai is more true to the original Tamil. However, I would like to share an extract from the Introduction of the book Sri Arunachala Stuti Panchakam Commentary: Sri Sadhu Om by Sri Michael James:

Because Sri Bhagavan composed these hymns in Tamil, appreciating the depth and richness of the meaning of these verses is not easy. Even many devotees whose mother tongue is Tamil need help in order to be able to appreciate the many different shades of meaning that are contained in these verses. Whereas we can clearly define the meaning of many of Sri Bhagavan’s philosophical verses, such as the verses of Ulladu Narpadu and Upadesa Undiyar, no one can define the meaning of many of his devotional verses, because the meaning we see in them at any time is a reflection of our then state of mind.

Sri Sadhu Om, whose translations are published in this book, was perfectly qualified to interpret the many meanings contained in these verses, though he never claimed to have expressed all the possible meanings. In fact, he sometimes used to tell us that a new meaning for a certain verse had suddenly struck his mind, so this book probably does not contain all the meanings that he ever saw in any particular verse.

The reason why Sri Sadhu Om was so well qualified to interpret these verses was not only that he was a great Tamil poet himself, nor that he had enjoyed many years of close literary association with Sri Muruganar, but was primarily because of the depth of his own devotion and the true spiritual experience that had been bestowed upon him by his sadguru, Bhagavan Sri Ramana.

(I will continue this in my next comment)

ocean of bliss said...

30 August 1896: Ramana's body reached Tirukoilur and the nearby temple Arayaninallur.
Om sivaya namah - namasivaya - prostration to the Auspicious One !

Sanjay Lohia said...

In continuation of my previous comment addressed to Ravi:

As Michael explains, there are many shades of meaning contained in each of the verses of Sri Arunachala Stuti Panchakam. Therefore, there could be different shades of meanings even in verse 28 of Sri Arunachala Aksaramanamalai.

Also, as Michael writes, Sri Sadhu Om never claimed to have expressed all the possible meanings of these verses. Therefore, Sri Sadhu Om may have agreed with your interpretation also. Michael also writes: ‘no one can define the meaning of many of his devotional verses, because the meaning we see in them at any time is a reflection of our then state of mind’.

Therefore, I think, we need to keep this in mind when we judge any interpretation of such inspired devotional poetry. Even when I listen any ordinary film song or a ghazal (a Arabic/Persian/Urdu poetry, with rhyming couplets and a refrain), I can read different meanings in these songs at different times.

You say, ‘Hymns serve to instil the bhava of devotion and not as a platform for philosophical treatise’. It could be true to a large extent, but it may not be fully true for all devotees. The devotees who are of more philosophical bent of mind can read deep philosophical meanings even in the devotional verses. I certainly read deep meaning in these verses.

Like when Bhagavan talks about Arunachala, we can interpret it in two ways. Either we can take Arunachala to mean the physical hill, or we can take it to mean ourself as we actually are. Both the meanings are true from different perspectives.

Like there is Hindi bhajan with the refrain, 'Chal Arunachala, chal Arunachala, chal Arunachal chal . . .', meaning 'let us go to Arunachala, let us go to Arunachala…'. When I listen to this song I take it mean to ‘let us proceed to Arunachala within us’. I am sure many will take it to mean ‘let us proceed to Tiruvannamalai in order to be near the hill’. Both the meanings are perfectly OK.

Let us take verse 46 of Sri Arunachala Aksaramanamalai:

O Arunachala, of what use is this birth without vichara-jnana (knowledge born of self-enquiry)? (Therefore) come to make it (my birth) worthy (by graciously enabling me to attain such knowledge).

When we read this verse, are we not channeling our love for self-investigation? Are we not reminding ourself that self-investigation is our paramount duty, and without such investigation this birth is of no use? Therefore, these verses can certainly help to deepen our philosophical understanding of Bhagavan’s teachings.

Obviously, as you say, ‘The purpose of these Hymns is to infuse in us an unsophisticated love for God or Self’. One will be a fool if one denies this aspect of these verses. These verses certainly appeal more to those who are of devotional bent of mind.

Ravi said...

Sanjay Lohia,
This is not to discourge you...Yes,It is not the knowledge of language alone that is needed...that goes without saying,but then in these matters if the Lord can give the understanding to Sadhu Om,he may do the same to even lowly people like us...we need not doubt this possibility...and language wise also the translation what I have shared is this is how I have shared what I have done.

Ravi said...

" It could be true to a large extent, but it may not be fully true for all devotees. The devotees who are of more philosophical bent of mind can read deep philosophical meanings even in the devotional verses. I certainly read deep meaning in these verses."

What is the deepest meaning of the philosopical bent of mind?...that we are close to the Lord and the Lord is our very Self...This is devotion when the sophistry of the mind/intellect is dissolved...This is the realm of Devotional Hymns.


Sanjay Lohia said...

Ravi, I never said Sri Sadhu Om’s interpretation of this verse has to be the only way to interpret this verse. Your interpretation can be more true to the origin Tamil, but, as I said, I have no means of judging it.

We are moving in the same direction (Godwards or selfwards), and therefore our goal is same. This is all that matters. We are co-passengers in our journey to infinity, as it were.

I am in no case doubting your devotion. It obviously is much more than my devotion. As least I don’t have that bhava of surrender.

. . said...

From the article by Michael: “[…] Therefore we should not objectify the ego, but until we investigate it keenly enough to see that it does not actually exist, we cannot avoid reifying it (that is, considering it to be an entity), and we must do so in order to distinguish and isolate it from all the objects of which it is aware, […]”

Alright sounds good, however people seem to misinterpret that statement. The reason why there has to be a reifying of the ego is mainly to not get the delusional view of ”all is one” with a subsequent [delusional] disregard of one’s environment including other jivas.

But that does NOT mean that one should adhere to the belief, oh, as long as I feel I am a body and mind I am this body and mind or ego. That is ignorance and confusion. And to conclude since I believe I am this body and mind I have free will is simply wrong.

It is rather, since I believe I am this body and mind, I BELIEVE TOO I have free will. And that is true, you just believe you have but you don’t. Non-doership is not tamasic, which is another ignorant belief because non-doership has nothing to do with actually doing something but NOT TO IDENTIFY with it! So, dear jiva, you have not grasped what really non-doership (something very basic) means and subsequently you must have arrived to many more confused and convoluted beliefs due to a lack of maturity.

So there could be plenty of intense action going on and still there is non-doership! If that is not clear something is amiss here.

To make something very clear: Even if we believe or feel to be a body and mind, we are NOT and we should not even assume that we are at any second of your lives. That is Annamalai Swami’s and others very statement! To cultivate that notion is plain wrong and if people here think differently, then they have not only misunderstood Bhagavan but also Michael, unless he entertains the same notion I cannot possibly believe he would.

To cling at free will is to cling at this body and mind. No wonder people like Ravi get so excited about this topic, it hits a nerve and core belief and the ego has to defend that belief at any cost ;-)

And is Ravi or anybody else following my suggestion how one can practically find out that there is no free will? No, of course not, instead their egos just keep rationalizing with all kinds of undigested stuff from the Gita and elsewhere. It is easier to just conceptualize than to actually look.

eternal reality said...

Oh Arunachala, make my birth worthy by graciously enabling me to attain such precious knowledge - atma-jnana.

smrti said...

let us first find out what we actually are by looking keenly enough at that spurious entity called ego.

. . said...

smrti, your comment is just fluff. What is the point? What has that to do with my last comment?

Anything else to share, maybe elaborate instead to hide behind sayings which you just abuse as a platitude?

Ravi said...


"To cling at free will is to cling at this body and mind. No wonder people like Ravi get so excited about this topic, it hits a nerve and core belief and the ego has to defend that belief at any cost ;-)"

Through the grace of Arunachala(understand that you view it as another hill of stones!),I am able to lift my hands and eat comfortably and sleep comfortably...what is there to care or defend?...As I have already said that your belief-'There is no doer',you may exert to realize that as a Reality...and not bank on your blessed prarabdha to effect that...anyway,as you have already blessed me that 'I' will have to wait for another thousand births (am sure that you did not refer to a thousand thoughts but the calendar birth and death) to understand the fundamentals of enquiry,I am not overtly concerned about that...better to eat,play and sleep,for what else the body can do anyway-be it freewill or prarabdha?....ha ha ha.


smrti said...

my given recommendation seems to be a platitude only in the view of a garrulious mind.
Kind regards.

. . said...

smrti, spare me your "holier than thou" attitude. Before you give recommendations, master them yourself and then you maybe in the position to give recommendations.

Ravi said...


Only Salazar can give advices,call others 'Fakes' 'Ignorant' etc...He is practising self enquiry and is a a great disciple of Bhagavan for over 30 years...All others cannot point out anything to him...He already knows these things...If anyone here has any doubt,Salazar will be gracious enough to dispel those doubts and share his unfathomable wisdom...someone who is in touch with Michael may recommend that this information be displayed alongside the Heading of the Blog so that newcomers recognize what a privilege it is that they can exercise(freewill believers only!) and benefit from Satsangh with our only 'nondoer'...Hail salazar!Hail Arunachala(Salazar does not accept Arunachala,so thought this order is better),Hail Ramana!Praise be to all devotees!

smrti said...

your instruction is entirely right and makes definitely sense. Therefore it should carried out by all of us, even by the instructor himself.

. . said...

Ravi, with your comment ("I am not overly concerned") you try to exude a carelessness which is betrayed by your attachment to free will based on all of your past comments. Now you say that you don't care but that is simply an attempt to pretend something you wish you were.

You keep doing that. Like your affirmation to be happy etc.

Is that your particular spiritual path? Wishful affirmations for the improvement of the body and mind so it can become "better". Jumping from one thing to another, "friends" there is only one choice, blablabla.

Yes, there is only one choice, are you adhering to it? No, instead you keep busy with all of the stories your mind has accumulated with the desperate need to "bless" others with unsolicited advice. So much confusion...........

. . said...

Ravi, nice comment, I'll send you a picture of me and then you guys can set up a statue of me in your home town and everywhere else in your state.

Ravi said...

If you mean 'encouraging others' is advice,yes I do it...but then don't you think it is better than always snapping at others and showering 'unsolicited' criticism at others?...As I have already pointed out that it is not easy to get any message subtle or gross to get past your supercilious disposition...If Arunachala or Bhagavan Ramana could not do that,it certainly is not our business as well...I have now come to the conclusion that in your case it does seem that there is only prarabdha in operation and in any case by your own admission you do not have 'freewill' to counter that... I understand why you are strongly convinced about it.


Ravi said...

"Ravi, nice comment, I'll send you a picture of me and then you guys can set up a statue of me in your home town and everywhere else in your state."

Wonder we will have the Freewill to do so...As I have stated,I am now getting converted to 'prarabdha' camp...but that is only limited to dealing with you...ha ha

. . said...

smrti, after a while it is the same with all "spiritual" blogs, people chant the teachings of their teacher in unison. If somebody voices something differently, people or better egos get offended, especially if somebody seems to have a better understanding. Because, the ego thinks it has to be done in a humble way forgetting there is never humility with the ego. The mind has always an idea "how it is supposed to be" what is as much maya as evrything else.

Then people keep pointing fingers at each other to do what they are supposed to do. "Why are you telling me that, WTF about you?" It never fails...........

Anybody on this forum who believes to be more humble than anybody else here is deluding himself. Guys grow up.

. . said...

Ravi, you have not the faintest idea what parabhda entails and you keep making comments about prarabhda which show clearly that you have no clue. Your conclusions are simply wrong and your examples are plain silly. As your pals idea of non-doership.

I am not convinced of prarabhda, I know by direct experience. So no argument can refute that and my encouragement was only done that you can have the same knowledge by actual practice. Instead you keep pointing your finger at me, and insinuate a huge ego. Fine, if you are happy with that. Just do it. I do not have to pretend to be humble.

That's it. My bad that there would be an openness for that, instead I encountered walls of stubbornness, a hostility to the very idea of no free will.

Do what you want, any word here to that topic is futile.

Ravi said...

Yes Guru...You know by direct experience...and we are just toying with ideas...ha ha.
Don't you think with all your super experience you do not have to pretend to be humble but can actually be that...Strive for this experience...your 30 years of self enquiry has not done anything towards that...Take a look.

Roger said...

Hi Salazar,
You say "I know by direct experience ... I do not have to pretend to be humble"

Who is this center of personality "I" which claims to know something proudly?

. . said...

Ravi, you can mock me as much as you like, however you cannot take away that knowledge. And if you would let go for once with the identification with your mind then you'd know that you cannot "strive" for humility, it is a natural by-product and can't be cultivated. That is a delusion of immature seekers.

And it appears, you fall into that category. All of your flowery comments are just fluff, without any actual substance. As soon as you trail of from borrowed quotes ignorance is seeping through your comments. Just face the truth see your hypocrisy re. humility.

Ravi said...

"Ravi, you can mock me as much as you like, however you cannot take away that knowledge"

I have only shown a mirror for you to look...and you do not seem to like what you see there...what you are seeing in the mirror is not me but yourself...the mocking is just that and it is your mind's way of interpreting what it sees...If you wish to see a better image you should know what to do...As per your admonition,I refrain from giving 'unsolicited' 'advice'

"And if you would let go for once with the identification with your mind then you'd know that you cannot "strive" for humility, it is a natural by-product and can't be cultivated."

Why not?It depends on where you are...To be apart from the thoughts and not paying attention is just elementary...Is the 'I' dissolved in pure awareness?...and does everything takes place in this unitary awareness?...In which case,where is the Prarabdha?Where is the Freewill? For whom?

As for 'hypocrisy vs humility' do not have to be a hypocrite...If you know that there are always things you do not know,that itself would bring about humility...In your case you again would know what to do,and I refrain from anything further.


. . said...

Roger, do you have an actual question or is that your attempt of showing me something I don't seem to recognize?

Where is "proud" coming from? I merely stated a fact. It is noting special and I am just an ordinary guy as everybody else. That experience was not samadhi and I have it actually often. It is obviously still perceived by a mind and therefore is is just a passing step, however that experience removed quite a few obstacles and it has added some clarity. Does that make me a guru or special, of course not.

I had actually several mystical experiences which were also interesting and helpful in a sense, but that's just along the path to the natural state. Some have those, some don't, and it ultimately doesn't matter. By the way, these experiences were confirmed, so they are not just some hallucinations.

Papaji and Robert Adams, contrary to Michael, saw experiences like that as an important event and Papaji encouraged to never discard them but, of course, also to not get attached to these. Both said that there are signs of spiritual maturity, even when the orthodox interpretation is that there cannot be any signs because that would be just the mind. I have to say that I rather go with Jnanis even when they seemingly contradict the "law".

. . said...

Ravi, just look into your own mirror, if you actually do that you'll have to spend a long time there cleaning up all of your projections.

You did mock me and you cannot hide from that fact with some psycho-bubble.

how is the weather ? said...

Now again there appears again all the egotistical superior attitude.
You really should be ashamed of yourself, you crowd of clowns.

Ravi said...

"You did mock me and you cannot hide from that fact with some psycho-bubble."

Yes,I did point out those things and by their very nature they do have that sort of a quality...Have I added anything from my side?...No...I have just put together your perspectives,responses and presented to you...and it certainly presents a mixed picture.

you seem to be making a case for your mystical experiences...and seem to think that others are wallowing in concepts...same pattern seen over and over again.


. . said...

Ravi, do you have any idea how fake your "namaskar" is? As I said from the time of your first comment here, you may have an idea what that conceptual means but in most, if not all, comments to me you raped that phrase and surly did not adhere to it.

"Namaskar", "friends", do you treat friends or yourself like that? At least I am aware of my arrogance and my renewed animosity to you and I openly admit it.

Papaji suggested to ignore people like you and I think I am taking his advice. Nothing good comes out to have a dialog with the likes of you!

. . said...

Ravi, so what are you saying, you had "mystical experiences" too and they were better than mine? LMAO

. . said...

how is the weather ?, it is always a pleasure to be in the company of a fellow clown ;-)

Ravi said...

"Ravi, do you have any idea how fake your "namaskar" is?"

How happy i am that you are asking this question again!...Irrespective of whatever masks we wear,we are only the Self...and all differences are on account of these masks...and this should not prevent us from losing sight of the underlying Reality despite outer differences...'Namaskar' is salutations to this Underlying Reality.

If we live this, it helps to maintain the presence,the awareness ...and prevents us from slipping into being caught up in the vortex of emotions like anger,jealousy...Anyone can try it.

This is Sri Annamalai Swami's advice...and it may be practised by anyone and validated...Nothing mystical about it.

As for whether another one perceives it as Fake or pretense...that is entirely up to them...we need to be true to ourselves...It assures us peace and tranquility...We are not here to win accolades or approbations from others...We wish that everyone progresses in their aspirations.


how is the weather ? said...

As already the title of that representational article reveals ("The ego is a spurious entity...") we currently enjoy ourself sitting in the first row of an amusing Punch and Judy show. Should we not soon lose interest and mood in that pitiful show ?

Ravi said...

how is the weather,
My apologies...Did not know about 'punch and Judy' show...Looked up to see what it is and looks like a perfect fit here...Puppet show...ha ha.
I enjoy the names with which people post Luggage on the Head,noob(presume it is no object),ahandai etc and yours too.

. . said...

how is the weather, nobody is forcing you to read the comments. And nobody asked you for your opinion. How constructive were your two comments? I think they were just as arrogant and judgmental as that what your ego's perceived.

Since this is a blog I guess anybody can chime in here, alas there is no quality control and one either has the choice to put up with that or simply leave. Oh, actually there is no choice, it just seems that way. So, weather boy, your comment was simply inevitable but don't take my word for it. Try to experience that truth for yourself. My unsolicited advice for the day, and I guess for the free will clingers, that is due to "my" bad will power and not prarabhda. We "there is no free will" clingers just use prarabhda to justify bad behavior ;-)

Apparently prarabhda only works in the way one's ego's belief system allows it, otherwise free will reigns.

Ravi said...

"We "there is no free will" clingers just use prarabhda to justify bad behavior ;-) "
Yes...Prarabdha is one thing and vasana is another...What to do with the vasanas,you know.

Noob said...

all the differences die out upon death

Noob said...


Purification of mind does NOT reflect on one’s outward behavior, a purified mind is no mind and any perceived behavior is illusion said...

The vasanas are exterminated by the mental intention to not identify with the actions of the body and mind by being attentive to "I" only without any adjuncts. The body may rape a woman or kick a person, to identify with these actions as, "oh my, I am a real bad person, I must better myself" is keeping one in samsara, because one keeps identifying with an imagined entity. The ONLY way out of that is to [try to] not to identify with the actions of that body through self-inquiry while raping a woman. Now usually a rapist is not a devotee of Bhagavan but I use that extreme example to make a point.

If the rapist can successfully be fully attentive to "I" while the body is raping that woman, he does not create any karma and also vasanas are destroyed. Vasanas influence parabhda at birth, and that will determine every action of the body, but the mind can take a step back in not identifying with the actions as "my" actions through atma-vichara.

There is no "my" responsibility but only in the form of a thought. If atma-vichara is practiced successfully, that thought cannot come up and with that there is no do-er or responsibility. A thought comes up --> responsibility, "my" action; no thought comes up --> no responsibility, no do-er. What the body does is irrelevant.

It is all in the head. "Morals", diet rules, ahimsa and all that.

When Arjuna had no choice but to fight his enemies he seemingly violated not only ahimsa, but killed with every raise of his arm men who had families who were forced to live without the foremost provider. Much suffering was created. So Arjuna seemingly created tons of bad karma, he must have been a very despicable person indeed. ;-)

Ravi said...

Let us leave aside the Bhagavad Gita...Have you studied it under a guru?...If not,we may not make much sense of it...central to understanding Arjuna's position is the principle of Swadharma...and the very war had to be conducted after exhausting all options of Peace and against the Forces of adharma...and there are social,ethical,moral and spiritual dimensions to be covered and this cannot be discussed in a blog.

Is there a difference between Prarabdha and Vasana?We may discuss this if you wish.


Purification of mind does NOT reflect on one’s outward behavior, a purified mind is no mind and any perceived behavior is illusion said...

I don't see a point in discussing vasanas etc. You can do that with the others here.

"Social, ethical, moral and spiritual dimensions ", frankly, who gives a damn my dear?

That is all kindergarten stuff. Forget the Gita, forget the Upanishads, forget all the concepts. The ONLY thing what counts, do you identify with the entity Ravi or not? If yes, i.e. with the idea of becoming a better person, or reading any texts, etc. you sustain samsara, if not (and through summa iru or atma-vichara) you'll transcend the entity Ravi.

Everything else is postponement.

Please let's stop this futile exchange, I don't see any benefit in it. Frankly, I'd prefer if you just ignore me.

Noob said...

Death will stop the process of looking for a guru...

Noob said...

Doesthisshit even exist?

Noob said...

How can you destroy anything in a dream?

Ravi said...

If I may point out through a simple example,your meeting me in this forum is Prarabdha...Why should you alone be engaging me in exchanges and vice versa and why not others?...This is prarabdha...In the Process of Exchange,which could have been and should be only exchange of ideas,the emotional makeup with which the act is colored is Vasana...This vasana has been strengthened by repetition in the course of our daily life ...It has been given free play and the tendency had gathered momentum...and this is brought into play here...and this again creates more and more Karma in the form of unproductive exchanges...I have presented a simple picture...and the same vasana(which we can exercise our Freewill to handle) will manifest in all our other dealings and the karmas so engendered would again visit us as Fruits as well as sow the seeds for future karma.

Where is the question of self enquiry when we are tossed about and buffeted by anger,hatred?... as long as passion rules there cannot be any enquiry.
Hence the need for Sattvic food and way of life...this has nothing to do with Prarabdha.
Your vasana may force you to say 'I know all this...Do not come and tell me Kindergarden stuff',but know that you can certainly exercise your Freewill to change the course of the dialogue...It has nothing to do with Prarabdha.

You keep on harping on a rapist(vasana) and how through self enquiry he shall not accrue Karma even in the act of raping...that is only a supposition like saying that if a barren woman is pregnant,she can still go for abortion and be without a child.

I have not found you discussing anything with a clear, rational is all from your subjective perspective only...and no discovery or understanding can come from that.I am open for a dialogue or calling it off as well...that depends on you...I have nothing to prove to you or anyone else.


Purification of mind does NOT reflect on one’s outward behavior, a purified mind is no mind and any perceived behavior is illusion said...

Noob, people here seem to be interested in this dream world and keep identifying with that dream. They are talking about "rational minds". Huh? What is that? What is rational? Is freedom rational? Is there a mind at all? People here are caught in a loop of cause and effect where there really is no cause and effect.

That we have to do something about anger is just an idea. Vasanas are ideas too. Papaji was very clear that the only reason why we are bound is that we believe in Gods, in karma, in vasanas, in what not, and freedom is simply to discard all ideas. Destiny or not destiny, it doesn't matter. Intelligence and being rational are just BS ideas as everything else.

Papaji always insisted only on summa iru and only reluctantly advocated self-inquiry because he knew it could have a negative effect in getting attached to that and I can see that very much on this forum. Even atma-vichara has to be let go including ideas of diets, dharma and all other concepts.

But I am afraid people here don't even grasp attachment or non-attachment, how the suggestion by Bhagavan to use a vegan diet can backfire if one is attached to it. Then it is worse than any other diet. But even Sanjay Lohia doesn't seem to understand that.

Anonymous said...

Albert Einstein..

"I do not at all believe in human freedom in the philosophical sense. Everybody acts not only under external compulsion but also in accordance with inner necessity. Schopenhauer’s saying, “A man can do what he wants, but not want what he wants,” has been a very real inspiration to me since my youth; it has been a continual consolation in the face of life’s hardships, my own and others’, and an unfailing well-spring of tolerance. This realization mercifully mitigates the easily paralyzing sense of responsibility and prevents us from taking ourselves and other people all too seriously; it is conducive to a view of life which, in particular, gives humor its due."

Ravi said...

As I was looking up what Punch and Judy show was all about,came across an Einstein quote:
"Unthinking respect for authority is the greatest enemy of the truth "- Albert Einstein
It is here:
Yes,humour is a healthy aspect of living as you have said.

Anonymous said...

Alan Chadwick.. A Sadhu's reminiscences
The first question I asked Bhagavan was why Christ
called out from the cross. If he was a perfect Jnani then
surely he would have been indifferent to all suffering.
Bhagavan explained that though a Jnani has attained
Liberation already and for him there can be no such thing
as suffering, some may appear to feel pain, but this is only
a reaction of the body. For the body continues to have its
reactions. It still eats and carries out all its natural workings.
All its suffering is apparent only to the onlooker and does
not affect the Jnani, for he no longer identifies the Self
with the body, he lives in a transcendent state above all
Besides this, it is immaterial to him where and when
he leaves the body. Some of them when passing appear to
suffer, others may pass while in Samadhi and quite
unconscious of the outer world, while yet others may just
disappear from sight at the moment of death. This
conversation is especially interesting in view of what
happened in the case of Bhagavan himself during the last
days. He certainly appeared to suffer terribly, at night
when he was unaware that anybody could hear him, he
lay on his couch, groaning and calling out. At that time
it was indeed difficult to realize that he, as a Jnani did not
feel pain in the same way as we do, but that he saw it as
something apart from him, as a dream which could be
regarded objectively. When Milarepa was dying he was
asked if he did not feel pain, his agony was so obviously
great. “No,” he replied, “but there is pain.” Pain was
certainly there for the body. If one is identified with the
body one feels it and associates oneself with it. But for the
Jnani who sees the body always as something apart from
himself, pain is only an experience outside his reality.
There is pain but somehow it is not his.

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