Sunday, 13 May 2018

The ego is the sole cause, creator, source, substance and foundation of all other things

In a comment on one of my recent articles, The ego does not actually exist, but it seems to exist, and only so long as it seems to exist do all other things seem to exist, a friend called Salazar wrote, ‘Did anybody on this blog wonder who is perceiving the thoughts which come into awareness? That what is aware of thoughts cannot be the creator of these thoughts, because a thought is an object apart from that “observer”’. This article is written in reply to this comment and another one written by him.
  1. According to dṛṣṭi-sṛṣṭi-vāda, perception is not only the cause of creation but is itself creation
  2. The awareness in which and to which phenomena appear is not real awareness but only a semblance of awareness (cidābhāsa)
  3. This semblance of awareness (cidābhāsa) is the ego or mind, which is what causes all thoughts or phenomena to appear
  4. The ego or mind causes all thoughts or phenomena to appear only from itself, so it alone is their source or origin
  5. A cause and its effect can occur simultaneously, but logically the cause comes first and the effect comes only after it
  6. Since the ego has created all that it perceives, why does it have so little control over what it has created?
  7. Thoughts come only from ourself, the ego, the one who perceives them, so we alone are the root of all thoughts
  8. Uḷḷadu Nāṟpadu verse 26: everything depends for its seeming existence on the seeming existence of the ego, so when we investigate the ego keenly enough to see that it does not exist, that is giving up everything
1. According to dṛṣṭi-sṛṣṭi-vāda, perception is not only the cause of creation but is itself creation

Salazar, what Bhagavan means by the term ‘thought’ is a mental phenomenon of any kind whatsoever, and since according to his teachings all phenomena are mental phenomena, everything other than our real nature (ātma-svarūpa), which is pure self-awareness, is just a thought. This is why he says in the fourth paragraph of Nāṉ Ār?, ‘நினைவுகளைத் தவிர்த்து ஜகமென்றோர் பொருள் அன்னியமா யில்லை’ (niṉaivugaḷai-t tavirttu jagam-eṉḏṟōr poruḷ aṉṉiyamāy illai), ‘Excluding thoughts, there is not separately any such thing as world’, and in the fourteenth paragraph, ‘ஜக மென்பது நினைவே’ (jagam eṉbadu niṉaivē), ‘What is called the world is only thought’.

Therefore when you write, ‘That what is aware of thoughts cannot be the creator of these thoughts’, that implies that what is aware of phenomena cannot be the creator of those phenomena, or what is aware of the world cannot be the creator of it, but is this what Bhagavan taught us? What did he teach us about creation? Did he teach that creation occurs prior to or independent of perception, which is what we all generally believe, and which is what is called sṛṣṭi-dṛṣṭi-vāda, the contention (vāda) that creation (sṛṣṭi) precedes and is the cause of perception (dṛṣṭi)?

No, he asked us to question whether anything other than ourself exists independent of our perception of it, and he taught us very explicitly and emphatically what is called dṛṣṭi-sṛṣṭi-vāda, the contention that perception (dṛṣṭi) is the sole cause of creation (sṛṣṭi), or more precisely, that perception itself is creation. Phenomena seem to exist only because we perceive them, so our perception of them alone creates their seeming existence. In other words, we, the perceiver, create phenomena merely by perceiving them.

We can understand this by considering our experience in dream. In dream we perceive a world consisting of phenomena of various kinds, including people, just like the world that we now perceive, and just as we now perceive ourself as a person in this world, in dream we perceive ourself as a person in that world. Why does that dream world seem to exist? Only because we perceive it. It does not exist prior to our perception of it, nor independent of our perception of it. Why? Because it does not exist at all except in our perception. It appears only in our awareness, so it would not exist at all if we were not aware of it.

According to Bhagavan any state in which we are aware of phenomena is just a dream, so the world we now perceive is a dream world. This is why he says in Nāṉ Ār? and elsewhere that the world is nothing but thoughts. Do thoughts exist independent of our perception of them? No, they seem to exist only because we perceive them, so they are created only by our perceiving them.

Thinking is a process of forming thoughts and perceiving them, but the formation (creation) of thoughts and the perception of them are not two processes or even two parts of one process, but are one and the same process, because thoughts are formed in our awareness, so they are formed by our being aware of them. Our perception of them is itself the formation or creation of them. In other words, dṛṣṭi is itself sṛṣṭi. There is no creation (sṛṣṭi) other than perception (dṛṣṭi), because there is no existence (sat) other than awareness (cit).

What actually exists is only awareness, so whatever seems to exist seems to exist only because of awareness. Therefore it is only by awareness that anything is created. Without awareness there could be no creation.

Creation is not real but just an illusory appearance, and nothing can appear except in awareness. Appearance requires perception or awareness of it, because if it were not perceived, to whom or to what could it appear? Whatever appears seems to exist only because it is perceived. In other words, whatever seems to exist seems to exist only in awareness, only to awareness, only by awareness and only because of awareness.

2. The awareness in which and to which phenomena appear is not real awareness but only a semblance of awareness (cidābhāsa)

However, the awareness in which, to which, by which and because of which all things seem to exist is not real awareness (cit), but is only a semblance of awareness (cidābhāsa), because real awareness is never aware of anything other than itself. This semblance of awareness, in whose view alone all thoughts or phenomena seem to exist, is not real, because it arises and subsides (appears and disappears) along with all the phenomena of which it is aware, as Bhagavan says in verse 7 of Uḷḷadu Nāṟpadu:
உலகறிவு மொன்றா யுதித்தொடுங்கு மேனு
முலகறிவு தன்னா லொளிரு — முலகறிவு
தோன்றிமறை தற்கிடனாய்த் தோன்றிமறை யாதொளிரும்
பூன்றமா மஃதே பொருள்.

ulahaṟivu moṉḏṟā yudittoḍuṅgu mēṉu
mulahaṟivu taṉṉā loḷiru — mulahaṟivu
tōṉḏṟimaṟai daṟkiḍaṉāyt tōṉḏṟimaṟai yādoḷirum
pūṉḏṟamā maḵdē poruḷ
.

பதச்சேதம்: உலகு அறிவும் ஒன்றாய் உதித்து ஒடுங்கும் ஏனும், உலகு அறிவு தன்னால் ஒளிரும். உலகு அறிவு தோன்றி மறைதற்கு இடன் ஆய் தோன்றி மறையாது ஒளிரும் பூன்றம் ஆம் அஃதே பொருள்.

Padacchēdam (word-separation): ulahu aṟivum oṉḏṟāy udittu oḍuṅgum ēṉum, ulahu aṟivu-taṉṉāl oḷirum. ulahu aṟivu tōṉḏṟi maṟaidaṟku iḍaṉ-āy tōṉḏṟi maṟaiyādu oḷirum pūṉḏṟam ām aḵdē poruḷ.

அன்வயம்: உலகு அறிவும் ஒன்றாய் உதித்து ஒடுங்கும் ஏனும், உலகு அறிவு தன்னால் ஒளிரும். உலகு அறிவு தோன்றி மறைதற்கு இடன் ஆய் தோன்றி மறையாது ஒளிரும் அஃதே பூன்றம் ஆம் பொருள்.

Anvayam (words rearranged in natural prose order): ulahu aṟivum oṉḏṟāy udittu oḍuṅgum ēṉum, ulahu aṟivu-taṉṉāl oḷirum. ulahu aṟivu tōṉḏṟi maṟaidaṟku iḍaṉ-āy tōṉḏṟi maṟaiyādu oḷirum aḵdē pūṉḏṟam ām poruḷ.

English translation: Though the world and awareness arise and subside simultaneously, the world shines by awareness. Only that which shines without appearing or disappearing as the place for the appearing and disappearing of the world and awareness is the substance, which is the whole.

Explanatory paraphrase: Though the world and awareness [the awareness that perceives the world, namely the ego or mind] arise and subside simultaneously, the world shines by [that rising and subsiding] awareness [the mind]. Only that which shines without appearing or disappearing as the place [space, expanse, location, site or ground] for the appearing and disappearing of the world and [that] awareness is poruḷ [the real substance or vastu], which is pūṉḏṟam [the infinite whole or pūrṇa].
The world shines by this semblance of awareness (cidābhāsa), which appears and disappears, because it is perceived only by it and therefore seems to exist only in its view. Therefore though the world and this awareness appear and disappear simultaneously, it is only by this awareness that the world is created or brought into seeming existence. In other words, this awareness is the cause and the appearance of the world is its effect. Whenever this awareness appears, the world appears along with it and because of it, and whenever this awareness disappears, the world disappears along with and because of its disappearance.

3. This semblance of awareness (cidābhāsa) is the ego or mind, which is what causes all thoughts or phenomena to appear

This semblance of awareness (cidābhāsa) is what is otherwise called the ego or mind, and as Bhagavan says in the first two sentences of the fourth paragraph of Nāṉ Ār?:
மன மென்பது ஆத்ம சொரூபத்தி லுள்ள ஓர் அதிசய சக்தி. அது சகல நினைவுகளையும் தோற்றுவிக்கின்றது.

maṉam eṉbadu ātma-sorūpattil uḷḷa ōr atiśaya śakti. adu sakala niṉaivugaḷaiyum tōṯṟuvikkiṉḏṟadu

What is called mind is an atiśaya śakti [an extraordinary power] that exists in ātma-svarūpa [the ‘own form’ or real nature of oneself]. It makes all thoughts appear.
The verb that Bhagavan uses in the second of these two sentences is தோற்றுவிக்கின்றது (tōṯṟuvikkiṉḏṟadu), which is the third person singular present tense form of தோற்றுவி (tōṯṟuvi), which is the causative form of தோன்று (tōṉḏṟu), a verb that means to appear, rise, come into existence or seem to be, so தோற்றுவிக்கின்றது (tōṯṟuvikkiṉḏṟadu) literally means ‘it causes to appear’ or ‘it makes appear’, but in this context it is often translated as ‘it projects’ or ‘it creates’, which is what it implies. Therefore by saying that the mind ‘causes all thoughts to appear’ or ‘makes all thoughts appear’, he implies unequivocally that the mind is what creates the appearance of all thoughts.

As he points out in verse 18 of Upadēśa Undiyār, the term ‘mind’ is used in two distinct senses. In a general sense it is a term that refers to the totality of all thoughts or mental phenomena, but since the root of all thoughts is the ego, the primal thought called ‘I’, what the mind essentially is is only the ego, and hence in a more specific sense ‘mind’ is a term that refers to the ego. The ego is the root of all other thoughts because it is the subject, the perceiving thought, whereas all other thoughts are objects perceived by it.

In the first two sentences of the fourth paragraph of Nāṉ Ār?, cited above, the term ‘mind’ refers to the ego, so when Bhagavan says that it ‘causes all thoughts to appear’ or ‘makes all thoughts appear’ he means that the ego (the subject or perceiver) is what causes all other thoughts to appear. However in the next two sentences, in which he says, ‘நினைவுகளை யெல்லாம் நீக்கிப் பார்க்கின்றபோது, தனியாய் மனமென் றோர் பொருளில்லை; ஆகையால் நினைவே மனதின் சொரூபம்’ (niṉaivugaḷai y-ellām nīkki-p pārkkiṉḏṟa-pōdu, taṉi-y-āy maṉam eṉḏṟu ōr poruḷ illai; āhaiyāl niṉaivē maṉadiṉ sorūpam), ‘When one looks, excluding [removing or putting aside] all thoughts, solitarily there is not any such thing as mind; therefore thought alone is the svarūpa [the ‘own form’ or very nature] of the mind’, the term ‘mind’ refers to the totality of all thoughts, namely the ego and all phenomena perceived by it. Therefore whenever Bhagavan uses the term ‘mind’ we need to understand from the context whether he is using it to refer specifically to the ego or more generally to all thoughts.

What Bhagavan teaches us in the second sentence of this paragraph, namely that the mind (in the sense of ego) is what ‘causes all thoughts to appear’, is further emphasised by him later on in the same paragraph by means of an analogy:
நினைவுகளைத் தவிர்த்து ஜகமென்றோர் பொருள் அன்னியமா யில்லை. தூக்கத்தில் நினைவுகளில்லை, ஜகமுமில்லை; ஜாக்ர சொப்பனங்களில் நினைவுகளுள, ஜகமும் உண்டு. சிலந்திப்பூச்சி எப்படித் தன்னிடமிருந்து வெளியில் நூலை நூற்று மறுபடியும் தன்னுள் இழுத்துக் கொள்ளுகிறதோ, அப்படியே மனமும் தன்னிடத்திலிருந்து ஜகத்தைத் தோற்றுவித்து மறுபடியும் தன்னிடமே ஒடுக்கிக்கொள்ளுகிறது.

niṉaivugaḷai-t tavirttu jagam eṉḏṟu ōr poruḷ aṉṉiyam-āy illai. tūkkattil niṉaivugaḷ illai, jagamum illai; jāgra-soppaṉaṅgaḷil niṉaivugaḷ uḷa, jagamum uṇḍu. silandi-p-pūcci eppaḍi-t taṉ-ṉ-iḍam-irundu veḷiyil nūlai nūṯṟu maṟupaḍiyum taṉṉuḷ iṙuttu-k-koḷḷugiṟadō, appaḍiyē maṉamum taṉ-ṉ-iḍattil-irundu jagattai-t tōṯṟuvittu maṟupaḍiyum taṉṉiḍamē oḍukki-k-koḷḷugiṟadu.

Excluding thoughts, there is not separately any such thing as world. In sleep there are no thoughts, and [consequently] there is also no world; in waking and dream there are thoughts, and [consequently] there is also a world. Just as a spider spins out thread from within itself and again draws it back into itself, so the mind also makes the world appear [or projects the world] from within itself and again dissolves it back into itself.
Here again he uses the same causative verb, தோற்றுவி (tōṯṟuvi), which means ‘cause to appear’ or ‘make appear’ and which implies ‘project’ or ‘create’, saying ‘அப்படியே மனமும் தன்னிடத்திலிருந்து ஜகத்தைத் தோற்றுவித்து மறுபடியும் தன்னிடமே ஒடுக்கிக்கொள்ளுகிறது’ (appaḍiyē maṉamum taṉ-ṉ-iḍattil-irundu jagattai-t tōṯṟuvittu maṟupaḍiyum taṉṉiḍamē oḍukki-k-koḷḷugiṟadu), ‘in that way the mind also causes the world to appear from within itself and again dissolves it back into itself’. Therefore in this paragraph Bhagavan emphasises very strongly and categorically that the mind or ego is what causes all other things (all thoughts or phenomena) to appear.

4. The ego or mind causes all thoughts or phenomena to appear only from itself, so it alone is their source or origin

Since the ego or mind alone is what causes all thoughts or phenomena to appear, from where or from what does it cause them to appear? ‘தன்னிடத்திலிருந்து’ (taṉ-ṉ-iḍattil-irundu), ‘from itself’ or ‘from within itself’, says Bhagavan. Since the world is nothing but thoughts (mental phenomena of a particular kind, namely sensory perceptions), when he firstly says, ‘அது சகல நினைவுகளையும் தோற்றுவிக்கின்றது’ (adu sakala niṉaivugaḷaiyum tōṯṟuvikkiṉḏṟadu), ‘It [the mind] causes all thoughts to appear’, and subsequently says, ‘மனமும் தன்னிடத்திலிருந்து ஜகத்தைத் தோற்றுவித்து’ (maṉamum taṉ-ṉ-iḍattil-irundu jagattai-t tōṯṟuvittu), ‘the mind also causing the world to appear from within itself’, he clearly implies that the mind or ego causes all thoughts (or all phenomena) to appear from itself.

Therefore Bhagavan teaches us very clearly and unambiguously that the mind, which in this context means the ego, is the source or origin from which all thoughts or phenomena appear, and this accords perfectly with our own experience. From where else could our thoughts come if not from ourself? Thoughts or phenomena appear only in our perception and only because of our perception of them, so their source or origin is only ourself, this ego.

5. A cause and its effect can occur simultaneously, but logically the cause comes first and the effect comes only after it

In the fifth paragraph of Nāṉ Ār? he says:
இந்தத் தேகத்தில் நான் என்று கிளம்புவது எதுவோ அஃதே மனமாம். […] மனதில் தோன்றும் நினைவுக ளெல்லாவற்றிற்கும் நானென்னும் நினைவே முதல் நினைவு. இது எழுந்த பிறகே ஏனைய நினைவுகள் எழுகின்றன. தன்மை தோன்றிய பிறகே முன்னிலை படர்க்கைகள் தோன்றுகின்றன; தன்மை யின்றி முன்னிலை படர்க்கைக ளிரா.

inda-t dēhattil nāṉ eṉḏṟu kiḷambuvadu edu-v-ō aḵdē maṉam-ām. […] maṉadil tōṉḏṟum niṉaivugaḷ ellāvaṯṟiṟkum nāṉ-eṉṉum niṉaivē mudal niṉaivu. idu eṙunda piṟahē ēṉaiya niṉaivugaḷ eṙugiṉḏṟaṉa. taṉmai tōṉḏṟiya piṟahē muṉṉilai paḍarkkaigaḷ tōṉḏṟugiṉḏṟaṉa; taṉmai y-iṉḏṟi muṉṉilai paḍarkkaigaḷ irā.

What rises in this body as ‘I’ [namely the ego, the false awareness ‘I am this body’], that alone is the mind. […] Of all the thoughts that appear [or arise] in the mind, the thought called ‘I’ alone is the first thought [the primal, basic, original or causal thought]. Only after this arises do other thoughts arise. Only after the first person [the ego, the primal thought called ‘I’] appears do second and third persons [all other things] appear; without the first person second and third persons do not exist.
When Bhagavan says here that the thought called ‘I’ (the ego) is the first thought and that only after it rises do other thoughts arise, this may seem to contradict what he says in verse 7 of Uḷḷadu Nāṟpadu, namely that the world and awareness (which in this context means the ego, the spurious awareness that appears and disappears) arise and subside simultaneously, but there is actually no contradiction here, because when he says that they arise simultaneously he means at the same time, whereas when he says that the ego is the first thought and that only after it rises do other thoughts arise he is not referring to a chronological sequence but to a causal sequence.

In terms of chronological sequence, a cause must either precede its effect or be simultaneous with its effect, but even when it is simultaneous with its effect, in terms of causal sequence it precedes it, because a cause is what gives rise to an effect, so logically the cause comes first and its effect comes only after it. Consider the example of a moving billiard ball hitting a stationary one. The hit causes some of the momentum of the moving ball to be transferred to the stationary one, as a result of which it begins to move. The hit is the cause, and the movement of the stationary ball is the effect. Both occur simultaneously in time, but in terms of the causal sequence the cause comes first and the effect follows on from it. That is, the hitting comes first, and only after it occurs does the stationary ball begin to move.

It is in this sense that Bhagavan says: ‘நானென்னும் நினைவே முதல் நினைவு. இது எழுந்த பிறகே ஏனைய நினைவுகள் எழுகின்றன. தன்மை தோன்றிய பிறகே முன்னிலை படர்க்கைகள் தோன்றுகின்றன; தன்மை யின்றி முன்னிலை படர்க்கைக ளிரா’ (nāṉ-eṉṉum niṉaivē mudal niṉaivu. idu eṙunda piṟahē ēṉaiya niṉaivugaḷ eṙugiṉḏṟaṉa. taṉmai tōṉḏṟiya piṟahē muṉṉilai paḍarkkaigaḷ tōṉḏṟugiṉḏṟaṉa; taṉmai y-iṉḏṟi muṉṉilai paḍarkkaigaḷ irā), ‘the thought called ‘I’ alone is the first thought. Only after this arises do other thoughts arise. Only after the first person [the ego, the primal thought called ‘I’] appears do second and third persons [all other things] appear; without the first person second and third persons do not exist’. That is, though the ego (the thought called ‘I’) and other thoughts arise simultaneously, in the sequence of cause and effect the rising of the ego comes first, because it is the cause, and the rising of other thoughts comes only after that, because it is the effect.

In an earlier comment you wrote, ‘the ego and thoughts appear and disappear simultaneously. To imply that one of these concepts were there before the other one is rather fishy, I believe that the question what is first, the ego or a thought falls under the category of what is first, the chicken or the egg?’ but this seems to be fishy only if we fail to distinguish causal sequence from chronological sequence. Bhagavan did say (as in verse 7 of Uḷḷadu Nāṟpadu) that ego and other thoughts appear and disappear simultaneously, referring to chronological sequence, but he also said (as in the final four sentences of the fifth paragraph of Nāṉ Ār?) that the ego is the first thought and that only after it rises do other thoughts rise, referring to causal sequence.

Therefore when Bhagavan says that the ego (the first person, the thought called ‘I’) is the first thought to appear and that only after it appears do other thoughts (second and third persons) appear, he does not mean that there is any lapse of time between the appearance of the ego and the appearance of other thoughts or phenomena, but is merely emphasising that the appearance of the ego is the cause and the appearance of all other things is its effect. The ego is the first cause, the cause of all other causes, so all chains of cause and effect begin only after the ego has appeared.

The analogy of the chicken and egg that you mention is not appropriate in this context, because chickens and eggs are links in a long chain of cause and effect, whereas the ego is the beginning or origin of every chain of cause and effect. Like both a chicken and an egg, every cause (or potential cause) is an effect of another cause, except the ego, which is the only cause that is not an effect of any other cause. It is the causeless cause, the uncaused cause, because nothing precedes it, whereas it precedes everything.

A chicken is the cause of an egg, which is in turn the cause of another chicken, and so on ad infinitum, but all such chains of cause and effect seem to exist only in the view of the ego, so they can appear only when the ego has appeared, and they must disappear as soon as it disappears. Therefore the ego is the cause and origin of all other causes and effects. This is why Bhagavan says that it is the first thought, and that all other thoughts (including chickens and eggs and all other chains of cause and effect) arise only after it has arisen.

6. Since the ego has created all that it perceives, why does it have so little control over what it has created?

You conclude that earlier comment by writing, ‘Anyway, I do not think that any clarity of that topic can be found in Bhagavan’s texts, I still favor Robert’s comment and I believe that he is in unison with Bhagavan on this matter’, but there is actually abundant clarity on this topic that we can found in his texts if we know how to look for it. The fact that the ego alone is the root cause for the appearance of everything else is one of the fundamental principles of his teachings and is therefore emphasised by him unequivocally in so many ways in his original writings, particularly in Nāṉ Ār? and Uḷḷadu Nāṟpadu, and also in many of the records of his replies to questions that he was asked.

Earlier in the same comment you asked, ‘Now I am wondering, since the ego cannot control these thoughts which it is supposedly “creating” how can it be the creator of thereof?’ but why do you assume that the creator should necessarily be able to control what it has created? When we dream, is the creator of our dream anyone other than ourself, the dreamer, namely this mind or ego?

Since perception is itself creation, we who perceive a dream are the one who is thereby creating it, but are we able to control all that we perceive in a dream? No, we cannot, and the reason for this is simple: when we create a dream world, we create ourself as a person in that world, and it is only as that person that we perceive that world, so though we are the creator of that world, we experience ourself as a creature in it, and by being a small part of our creation we have to a large extent lost control over it. The same is the case with this world and all that we perceive in it, including all the thoughts that arise in the mind of the person whom we now seem to be.

You are creating this world from moment to moment, but since you experience yourself as a person called Salazar, and since Salazar is a creature in the world you have created, as Salazar you have lost control of most of your own creation. This is the wonderful power of māyā (self-deception or self-delusion), which according to Bhagavan is nothing other than the ego or mind. We have created this world, but we are deluded by our own creation, so we are unable to control this demon that we have conjured up.

This is why in Hindu mythology the first three divine functions, namely creation, sustenance and dissolution, are each attributed to a different deity. According to this allegorical way of expressing the truth, Brahma has created this world, but he is unable to control or sustain it, nor is he able to destroy it, so it is sustained by Vishnu and destroyed by Siva. Of these three forms of God, which two are most highly revered? Only Vishnu and Siva, because creation is not a worthy function, so Brahma, the creator, is not worshipped in any temple, but only in Vedic rituals that are performed for the fulfilment of desires.

Suppose we have an irrational fear or an obsessive desire. That fear or desire is just a thought and it is created only by us, but we have become so caught up in our own creation that we are carried away by it and seem to be unable to control it.

This is not to say that we have absolutely no control over what we think or over other phenomena. We may have some degree of control, but that degree is limited, and the more we are deluded by our own creation, the less control we have over it. However if we patiently and persistently practise self-investigation (ātma-vicāra), our viṣaya-vāsanās (outward-going inclinations, urges or desires) will be gradually weakened, and our mind will thereby be purified. To the extent that it is purified it will be clear, and the clearer it becomes the less dense will be its delusion, so the extent to which we are able to keep a tight rein on our viṣaya-vāsanās, which are the seeds that give rise to thoughts, will increase correspondingly.

7. Thoughts come only from ourself, the ego, the one who perceives them, so we alone are the root of all thoughts

In a later part of the comment whose first paragraph I quoted at the beginning of this article you wrote, ‘So where are thoughts coming from? If patiently investigated one will discover that they come out of nowhere and disappear into nowhere’, but how can anything come out of nowhere? Nowhere does not exist except as an idea or thought, so from where does the idea of nowhere arise? Something cannot come out of nothing, because nothing does not exist, so whatever appears must appear from something.

In the next paragraph of that comment you wrote, ‘it is absolutely clear that they [thoughts] cannot come from the observer of these thoughts’, but from where else could thoughts come if not from ourself, the one who perceives or observes them? Thoughts appear only in the mind, and the source from which they appear is the root thought, the ego (which is why Bhagavan calls it the mūlam, the root, base, foundation, origin, source or cause of all other thoughts). The ego rises or appears only out of ātma-svarūpa (the real nature of oneself), and all other thoughts rise or appear only out of the ego, so the ego is the immediate source and foundation of all other thoughts, and ātma-svarūpa is their ultimate source and foundation.

From what does the illusion of a snake appear? It cannot appear from nowhere or nothing, so it appears from something that (in terms of this analogy) actually exists, namely a rope. However it could not appear from a rope without the intervening medium called ego or mind, because it appears to be a snake only in the view of the ego. Therefore the immediate cause for the appearance of the snake is the ego, in whose view alone it appears, and the ultimate cause of it is the rope, because without the rope there would be nothing to be seen as a snake.

This is just an analogy, so there is a limit to the extent to which it accurately represents the truth to which it is analogous, but what it is intended to illustrate here is that the ultimate source, substance and foundation of the ego and of all thoughts or phenomena perceived by the ego is only ātma-svarūpa, but that the immediate source, substance and foundation of all thoughts or phenomena is only the ego, because it is only in the view of the ego that everything else seems to exist.

Without the ego could any other thought or phenomenon appear? It could not, because the ego is that to which and from which all other thoughts or phenomena appear. Likewise, without ātma-svarūpa could the ego appear? It could not, because ātma-svarūpa is that from which (but not to which) the ego appears.

This is why in the fourth paragraph of Nāṉ Ār? Bhagavan says, ‘மனம் ஆத்ம சொரூபத்தினின்று வெளிப்படும்போது ஜகம் தோன்றும்’ (maṉam ātma-sorūpattiṉiṉḏṟu veḷippaḍum-pōdu jagam tōṉḏṟum), ‘When the mind comes out from ātma-svarūpa, the world appears’, meaning that ātma-svarūpa is the source from which the mind or ego appears, and in the previous sentence said, ‘[…] அப்படியே மனமும் தன்னிடத்திலிருந்து ஜகத்தைத் தோற்றுவித்து மறுபடியும் தன்னிடமே ஒடுக்கிக்கொள்ளுகிறது’ (appaḍiyē maṉamum taṉ-ṉ-iḍattil-irundu jagattai-t tōṯṟuvittu maṟupaḍiyum taṉṉiḍamē oḍukki-k-koḷḷugiṟadu), ‘[…] in that way the mind also causes the world to appear from within itself and again dissolves it back into itself’, meaning that the mind or ego is the source from which the world and all other thoughts appear.

If other thoughts or phenomena did not originate from the ego, that would mean that they originate from something else, in which case they would be able to exist independent of the ego, which is contrary to all that Bhagavan taught us. Why should we believe that anything exists independent of the ego, or that anything originates from any source other than the ego? Since everything is perceived only by the ego, we do not have any adequate reason to suppose that anything exists independent of it or comes from anything other than it. This is why Bhagavan repeatedly emphasised that the ego (which is what he often referred to as ‘the thought called I’) is the first thought and the root of all other thoughts.

8. Uḷḷadu Nāṟpadu verse 26: everything depends for its seeming existence on the seeming existence of the ego, so when we investigate the ego keenly enough to see that it does not exist, that is giving up everything

Since the ego is the sole cause, creator, source, substance and foundation of all other things, in verse 26 of Uḷḷadu Nāṟpadu Bhagavan wrote:
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. The ego itself is everything. Therefore, know that investigating what this is alone is giving up everything.

Explanatory paraphrase: If the ego comes into existence, everything [all phenomena, everything that appears and disappears, everything other than our pure, fundamental, unchanging and immutable self-awareness] comes into existence; if the ego does not exist, everything does not exist [because nothing other than pure self-awareness actually exists, so everything else seems to exist only in the view of the ego, and hence it cannot seem to exist unless the ego seems to exist]. [Therefore] the ego itself is everything [because it is the original seed or embryo, which alone is what expands as everything else]. Therefore, know that investigating what this [the ego] is alone is giving up everything [because the ego will cease to exist if it investigates itself keenly enough, and when it ceases to exist everything else will cease to exist along with it].
In the kaliveṇbā version of this verse Bhagavan extended the first sentence of this verse by adding a relative clause to describe the ego, namely ‘கருவாம்’ (karu-v-ām), which means ‘which is the embryo [womb, efficient cause, inner substance or foundation]’ and which therefore implies that the ego is the embryo that develops into everything else, the womb from which everything is born, the efficient cause (nimitta kāraṇa) that creates or produces everything, the inner substance of all phenomena, and the foundation on which they all appear.

Since the ego seems to exist only so long as we are aware of anything other than ourself, it will dissolve and cease to exist only when we try to be so keenly self-attentive that we are aware of nothing other than ourself. And since all other things seem to exist only in the view of the ego, if we keenly investigate this ego in order to see what we actually are, not only will the ego cease to exist but everything else will cease to exist along with it.

This is why he 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 this [the ego] is alone is giving up everything’.

This is the core and essence of his teachings, so it is essential for us to understand very clearly that the ego is the sole cause, creator, source, substance and foundation of all other things (all thoughts or phenomena). Everything originates from the ego and depends upon the ego for its seeming existence, so if we eradicate the ego we thereby eradicate everything.

1,355 comments:

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Anonymous said...

A nice essay on desire
https://www.psychologytoday.com/intl/blog/hide-and-seek/201411/the-problem-desire

Sanjay Lohia said...

We wake up and project the sound of the alarm

A friend: Actually we [the mind] are aware in sleep; otherwise, how could we hear the alarm?

Michael: From one perspective, yes, the alarm wakes us up. However, according to Bhagavan’s teachings, we hear the alarm only after waking. That is, we wake up and project the sound of the alarm.

Edited extract from the video: 2017-07-08 Ramana Maharshi Foundation UK: discussion with Michael James on the power of silence ~ (0:47 onwards)

venkat said...

Dear Aseem

Not wishing to reopen a much debated topic in this very post . . .

If you take Einstein's quote: "Man can do what he wants, but he cannot will what he wills", and replace "wants" with "wills" you see the essence of what I'd suggest Einstein / Schopenhauer were getting at.

I.e. that we think we can do what we will, but our very will is not in our control. We think it is, but our will, our desires, our predilections, our character has arisen from the vast interplay of a wide variety of factors that were outside our control - our genetics, the country / family / wealth we were born into, the education we received, the friends we made, etc etc. All these influenced our desires and fears. It is this that makes up our ego and our will. And it is in this respect that I think the quote should be understood.

And I suppose it is in this sense that Einstein is saying to have compassion for those who do you injury, for they are just acting out their genetic / environmental programming.

Salazar said...

Anonymous, I have to agree with you, Bhagavan clearly said that doing and experiencing is predetermined. The idea and belief that we actually could change our outwards actions is actually preventing realization since we simultaneously giving attention to the adjuncts. Any interest and intention in outwards action is preventing realization! It does need much to see the validity of this statement.

Bhagavan gave some suggestions for outward improvement to those who could not grasp that and therefore, in his compassion, gave them some aids (like "try to be good") which will eventually arrive (many life times down the road) to the the same conclusion. It would be naive to believe that all of his suggestions are applicable to anyone.

But it requires a certain sense of discrimination, alas that cannot be cultivated either and comes only though many trials and errors of countless incarnations.

Salazar said...

Correction, I meant to say "it does NOT need much to see the validity of this statement."

Aseem Srivastava said...

Dear Venkat,

At the outset of this discussion I wish to define my use of the terms 'will' and 'ego', as below:

Will - sum of its constituents, namely desire, fear, attraction, aversion, likes, dislikes, etc.
Ego - the knot that (seemingly) ties self-consciousness with insentient phenomena

If we agree on these definitions, then let us consider the following passage from your comment addressed to me.

I.e. that we think we can do what we will, but our very will is not in our control. We think it is, but our will, our desires, our predilections, our character has arisen from the vast interplay of a wide variety of factors that were outside our control - our genetics, the country / family / wealth we were born into, the education we received, the friends we made, etc etc. All these influenced our desires and fears. It is this that makes up our ego and our will.

Our will arises from and is inseparable from ourself as an ego. Therefore, it is incorrect to state that our desires (and by extension, our will) 'arise from the vast interplay of a wide variety of factors that are outside our control'. Does my desire for eating a specific type of ice cream today arise from the complex geopolitical relations between North Korea and US? Or does it arise from me?

However, it is true that our will is conditioned and influenced by other factors. For example, our desires are influenced by factors like the quality and quantity of media we consume, the perception of our own limitations, and so on.

My desire for having a specific type of ice cream today may be influenced and triggered by an advertisement that I recently watched, but that desire arises from me and not from the advertisement. That is why I call it 'my desire to have that ice cream' and not 'the advertisement's desire to have that ice cream'.

Another example - as a young child, while observing birds fly by flapping their wings, I may have been inspired to do so likewise, but must necessarily have faced failure in achieving flight by flapping my arms. Therefore, today I am conditioned by my perception of my physical limitation in achieving flight to not desire to achieve flight by such means. However, since my desires arise from me, I can desire to achieve flight by flapping my arms, even at this very moment.

I disagree with what you wrote about the ego - that "It is this [outside conditions and factors] that makes up our ego and our will". The ego - itself being formless and the immediate source and substance of all phenomena - projects and experiences all phenomena, but is not made up of such phenomena.

Apropos Schopenhauer, I expressed my objection to what Anonymous quoted Einstein quoting Schopenhauer. I analysed that categorical statement and demonstrated its untenability. Further, I maintain that while Einstein's encouraging of patience and tolerance towards ourself and others in that passage is commendable, I object to the reasoning (in regard to will) employed by him therein.

Aseem Srivastava said...

Dear Anonymous,

I agree with you that the Maharishi in his reply to Devaraja Mudaliar states that all the actions and experiences are predetermined. He has made similar statements elsewhere. However, it must be noted that he simultaneously implied, in places like in his note to his mother, that our will is not predetermined - that we are free to will what we want.

You conclude your comment by stating

The only way out, then, is to remain a witness - summa iru - and let the body-mind do what is does..Of course, this is easier said than done.

The way out is not to remain a witness and let the body-mind do its course of actions. For, whether or not we 'let' the body-mind do what has been predetermined, it will do what has been predetermined. The way out is to give up attending to what the body-mind has to do, by focussing our attention on the doer. Alternately, the way out can be described as giving up the cares and concerns of our body-mind to the one who has - in his infinite wisdom and power - decided the fate of this body-mind at the time of its birth, by surrendering our will which leads to the attenuation and eventual annihilation of the wielder of will.

venkat said...

Hi Aseem

Your desire for a particular type of ice cream has been conditioned by your genetics, and the type of food you grew up eating. That is why different people have different tastes and different desires. (The example of N Korea in your response is trite and wilfully (!) misrepresenting my contention). What you desire does not come from "yourself" because it is just the outcome of your conditioning. Just as, if you have a persistent desire to achieve flight because you became fascinated by observing birds as a child, and if you were born into the right environment, you may have the opportunity to train to be a pilot.

The 'yourself', the 'ego', was never there. It is a wrong inference that arises from our perception of the world and our identification with the body-mind from which the world appears to be perceived. Shankara writes in his Gita Bhasya 18.50:

"Therefore, we have only to eliminate what is falsely ascribed to Brahman by Avidya ; we have to make no more effort to acquire a knowledge of Brahman as He is quite Self-evident. It is because the intellect is distracted by particular appearances of name and form imagined through ignorance of Brahman, even though self-evident, easily realisable, nearer than all else and identical with oneself appears to be concealed, difficult to realise, very far and different"

Salazar said...

"Will" is not predetermined, however it cannot direct/influence the actions of the body. Otherwise it could overwrite prarabdha what it can't. It (what is will anyway but a thought and as such mind) can only wish/desire/imagine things which will create agamya which has to come to fruition as prarabdha in a later life.

So, as stated by the sages, it should turn within and leave any mind/"will" behind.

The term or concept of "will" is more a source of confusion and to spend time "thinking" about it is wasted as is all what circles around the concept of mind.

Salazar said...

Bhagavan: "Relative knowledge pertains to the world and not to the Self. It is therefore illusory and not permanent. Take a scientist for instance. He formulated a theory that the world is round and goes on to prove it and establish it on an incontrovertible basis. When he falls asleep the whole world vanishes; his mind is left a blank; what does it matter if the world remains round or flat when he is asleep? So you see the futility of all such relative knowledge.

One should go beyond such relative knowledge and abide in the Self. Real knowledge is such experience and not apprehension of the mind."

I am asking myself, why are we talking about "genetics", "will" and how it might be influenced by what, all belong to relative knowledge. All this senseless discussion about relative knowledge is reinforcing samsara.

Anonymous said...

Dear Aseem Srivastava, thank you for your reply. I think the extract below from Devaraja Mudaliar's - My Reminiscences of Bhagavan Sri Ramana is useful as context for discussions of self enquiry. Your comment concerns the part I have bolded.

=========✓

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 (destiny based on the balance sheet of past lives) 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."

This may not be acceptable to many learned people or philosophers, but I am sure I have made no error in transmitting as above the gist of the conversation that took place between Bhagavan and me. Though this answer of Bhagavan may upset the apple cart of our careful reasonings and conclusions, I am satisfied that what Bhagavan said must be the truth. I also recall in this connection the following lines that Bhagavan once quoted to me from Thayumanavar on another occasion: "This is not to be taught to all. Even if we tell them, it will only lead to endless discussion."

It may be well to remind readers that Bhagavan has given his classic answer to the age-old question "Can freewill conquer fate?" as follows in his Forty Verses. "Such questions worry only those who have not found the source of both freewill and fate. Those who have found this source have left all such discussions behind." The usual reaction of Bhagavan to any such question would be to retort: "Who is it that has this fate or freewill? Find that out and then this question will not arise."

=========✓

Aseem Srivastava said...

Venkat,

My example of NK and USA did not misrepresent your contention. It addressed a specific point of objection that I found in your comment, which I will belabour once again.

You wrote

[...] We think it is, but our will, our desires, our predilections, our character has arisen from the vast interplay of a wide variety of factors that were outside our control - our genetics, the country / family / wealth we were born into, the education we received, the friends we made, etc etc.
[Bold emphasis mine]


In response to which I wrote

Our will arises from and is inseparable from ourself as an ego. Therefore, it is incorrect to state that our desires (and by extension, our will) 'arise from the vast interplay of a wide variety of factors that are outside our control'. Does my desire for eating a specific type of ice cream today arise from the complex geopolitical relations between North Korea and US? Or does it arise from me?
[Bold emphasis mine]


You begin latest comment addressed to me by stating

Your desire for a particular type of ice cream has been conditioned by your genetics, and the type of food you grew up eating. That is why different people have different tastes and different desires.
[Bold emphasis mine]


But we are already in agreement on this point, like for example when I wrote prior to your latest comment that However, it is true that our will is conditioned and influenced by other factors.

The point of my disagreement with your original comment is the question of the source of desire.


You further comment:

What you desire does not come from "yourself" because it is just the outcome of your conditioning. Just as, if you have a persistent desire to achieve flight because you became fascinated by observing birds as a child, and if you were born into the right environment, you may have the opportunity to train to be a pilot.


To this, I would reiterate in clearer terms that:

What we desire is conditioned by things other that ourself.
The source of our desire is ourself as an ego, and not anything other than ourself as an ego.


You further state that

The 'yourself', the 'ego', was never there. It is a wrong inference that arises from our perception of the world and our identification with the body-mind from which the world appears to be perceived.

The ego is not a 'wrong inference' (or any inference for that matter). We do not 'infer' the ego when we perceive the world. Nor do we 'infer' the ego when we identify with the body-mind from which the world appears to be perceived.

The very identification of self-awareness with the body-mind from which the world appears to be perceived, is the ego. "I am" is pure self-awareness, "I am this" is the ego. Therefore, the ego can be said to be a 'wrong identification' and not a 'wrong inference'.

Anonymous said...

Dear Aseem Srivastava, you say above,

"The source of our desire is ourself as an ego, and not anything other than ourself as an ego."

The snake is superimposed on the rope. The rope exists but the snake is an imaginary embellishment, an illusion.

Similarly, the ego is an embellishment of basic desires and it is an illusion, not what it seems.

These basic desires arose during evolution of homo sapiens for continuation of the species.

Even RM felt hungry and thirsty but he did not care for any particular food or drink. Nevertheless, evolution made sure that we would not eat rotten food by using the sense of smell and taste, often instinctively.

The senses have their place but when they are taken over and embellished by thought, the trouble starts.

That is my understanding but you may think differently.

Sanjay Lohia said...

Since the ego has bound itself to a body, it has taken on itself all the limitations of the body, and such limitations are bondage

We often hear people complaining: ‘I have had enough. I now want mukti’ and so on. However, perhaps most of us do not stop to analyse who is this ‘I’ that wants mukti? How has this bondage come into existence? What is the direct and sure way to attain liberation? Are we really bound, or is the concept of bondage itself needs to be questioned? All such questions about bondage and liberation have always troubled people. I think Bhagavan has given answers to such questions with absolute clarity.

In this context, let us read what Bhagavan says in verse 29 of Upadesa Undiyar:

Abiding in this state [of infinite and indivisible sat-cit-ānanda, thereby experiencing supreme bliss devoid of [the duality of] bondage or liberation, is abiding in the service of God.

Michael has explained this verse in his video: 2018-08-12 Holland Park: Michael James discusses verses 26 to 30 of Upadēśa Undiyār - (0: 30 onwards). However, before I reproduce the extract from Michael’s video, I would quote verse 24 of Ulladu Narpadu, in which Bhagavan says:

The insentient body does not say ‘I’; being-awareness does not rise; in between one thing, ‘I’, rises as the extent of the body. Know that this is the awareness-insentience-knot, bondage, the soul, the subtle body, the ego, this wandering and the mind.

So, according to Bhagavan, ‘bondage’ is just another name for the ego. The ego itself is bondage because there is nothing else which can be bound. I will now reproduce the extract from Michael’s video:

So long as there seems to be an ego, it is bound by all its limitations. Since the ego has bound itself to a body, it has taken over all the limitations of the body, and such limitations are bondage. And because it has limited itself, it has desires for things other than itself, and these desires bind it more and more. So the very nature of the ego is bondage.

So if we stop rising as this ego once and for all, all our limitations will vanish along with the ego. This is what we call ‘liberation’. So long as we seem to rise as this ego, liberation seems to be a worthy goal to attain. To see its non-existence is the only worthwhile aim for this ego. But when we actually attain liberation, we will find that there was never any ego in the first place, and therefore there was never any bondage. And without bondage, how can there be any liberation? So ultimately this liberation can never happen in its absolute sense.

So that is why Bhagavan says that the ultimate state of supreme bliss is beyond bondage and liberation. Bondage and liberation are just thoughts which are real for the ego, and when the ego ceases to exist, there is no bondage or liberation.

What is the best service we can do to God? It is not rising as this ego, by just abiding in the supreme state of happiness. When we never rise as this ego, we save God from the bother of coming running after us to bring us back to itself. In other words, what God wants us to do is to abide in the state of supreme bliss. He doesn’t want anything else from us. If we do that, we remain in eternal service to God.




Sanjay Lohia said...

Guru Vachaka Kovai - verse 29

This world is only seen without doubts in the waking and dream states where thoughts have risen and are at play. Can it be seen in sleep where not even a single thought rises? Thoughts alone, therefore, are the substratum of this world.

Reflections: In this context, let us read what Bhagavan says in the third and fourth paragraphs of Nan Yar?:

If the mind, which is the cause of all [objective] knowledge and of all activity, subsides, jagad-dṛṣṭi [perception of the world] will cease.

Excluding thoughts [or ideas], there is not separately any such thing as ‘world’. In sleep there are no thoughts, and [consequently] there is also no world; in waking and dream there are thoughts, and [consequently] there is also a world. Just as a spider spins out thread from within itself and again draws it back into itself, so the mind projects the world from within itself and again dissolves it back into itself.

So this world has no existence independent of our perception of it. If we do not properly grasp this point, we will inevitably misunderstand Bhagavan’s core teachings.

Sanjay Lohia said...

Like the state of sleep, the state of dream is also our guru: it has some great lessons for us

Do our dreams have anything worthwhile to teach us? Yes, when our dream comes to end and we come to our present state, we realise how meaningless everything was in our previous dream state. Likewise, when we will rise from our current so-called waking state into the state of real waking, we will realise that our previous so-called waking state was likewise totally and utterly meaningless. All sound and fury signifying nothing.

venkat said...

Thanks Aseem.

I think your last paragraph in your comment to me is consistent with Shankara:

"Therefore, we have only to eliminate what is falsely ascribed to Brahman by Avidya ; we have to make no more effort to acquire a knowledge of Brahman as He is quite Self-evident. It is because the intellect is distracted by particular appearances of name and form imagined through ignorance of Brahman . . ."

Anonymous said...

Sanjay Lohia:

You said : So this world has no existence independent of our perception of it. Quote.

That may be so. But by whose perception and by whose power is the world seen and is there a way to stop it if one wishes the perceptions to stop in waking and dreaming?

Anyone may answer besides Sanjay Lohia.

Aseem Srivastava said...

Anonymous, apropos your comment at 05:21 on 20 August 2018:

As I understand from your comment, you have used the analogy of the snake-rope and compared the ego to the snake (an 'imaginary embellishment'), and the 'basic desires' to rope (which 'exists').

You also describe your use the term 'ego' as "the ego is an embellishment of basic desires and it is an illusion, not what it seems".

While engaging in a conversation that involves sharing of views and insights, it is beneficial to be clear on what each party to the conversation means when employing some terms that are central to the conversation. Doing so reduces the possibility of misunderstandings.

(As an aside, this video provides a humorous illustration of what happens when the participants to a conversation are unsure as to what the other means when employing one term.)

Now that I am (hopefully) clear on what you mean by your use of the term 'ego', I will likewise share what I mean by the same:

I use the term 'ego' to refer to our experience of ourselves as "I am this". The ego is the knot that ties self-awareness ("I am") with phenomena ("this"), but is identical to neither self-awareness nor phenomena. Further, the ego is the immediate source and substance of all phenomena. As can be inferred, this definition of 'ego' precludes anything being causally or temporally antecedent to the ego.

Thus, as per this definition and unlike the meaning ascribed to the term 'ego' by you, there cannot be any 'basic desires' as the substance over which the ego is embellished.

Further, in this conceptual framework, the snake-rope analogy is used in the following sense:
Self-awareness is the rope (that which actually exists); ego is the snake (an appearance superimposed on that which exists).

As you may appreciate, these two frameworks (based on the meaning ascribed to the term 'ego') lead to different conclusions.

Anonymous said...

Dear Aseem Srivastava, thank you for your forbearance, I appreciate it. This reply of mine may also be of interest to the Anonymous who commented before you at 19:35.

You wrote:

I use the term 'ego' to refer to our experience of ourselves as "I am this". The ego is the knot that ties self-awareness ("I am") with phenomena ("this"), but is identical to neither self-awareness nor phenomena. Further, the ego is the immediate source and substance of all phenomena. As can be inferred, this definition of 'ego' precludes anything being causally or temporally antecedent to the ego.
==========
You are using the word "ego" as in verse 26 of Ulladu Narpadu, per MJ's translation, as follows:

If the ego comes into existence, everything comes into existence; if the ego does not exist, everything does not exist. [Hence] the ego itself is everything. Therefore, know that investigating what this [ego] is alone is giving up everything.

Maharishi Ramana has also given an actual physical analogy for the mechanism of drshti srshti vada in Talk 616 towards the end (moths).

Now, without offending anyone in the community I must confess that I do not agree with this kind of metaphysical solipsism.

In this view, the Self (which has no attributes and cannot be known; you can only be the Self, etc) is the material
cause of the universe and everything in it but it does not undergo any transformation whatsoever and remains as it is (was).

Underlying all this, is the advaitic notion of vyavaharika and paramarthika which, in my opinion, puts an end to all useful discussion about the nature of reality.

I used the rope-snake analogy instead of using the term "confabulation", nothing more.

There are very interesting neuroscientific studies of the dream, waking and sleep states that appeal to me more, but that is my shortcoming.

Finally, as you pointed out, our conceptual frameworks are different so we are talking past each other.

So let me thank you once again for your patience and resume lurking on this congenial blog, courtesy of Michael James.

Sanjay Lohia said...

Anonymous, this world or for that matter any world is seen only by our ego or mind. What is the power which makes the perception of the world possible? Bhagavan has answered this in the fourth paragraph of Nan Yar?:

What is called ‘mind’ is an atiśaya śakti [an extraordinary or wonderful power] that exists in ātma-svarūpa [our actual self]. It projects [or causes the appearance of] all thoughts. When one sets aside all thoughts and sees, solitarily there is no such thing as ‘mind’; therefore thought alone is the svarūpa [the ‘own form’ or fundamental nature] of the mind. Excluding thoughts [or ideas], there is not separately any such thing as ‘world’. In sleep there are no thoughts, and [consequently] there is also no world; in waking and dream there are thoughts, and [consequently] there is also a world. Just as a spider spins out thread from within itself and again draws it back into itself, so the mind projects the world from within itself and again dissolves it back into itself. When the mind comes out from ātma-svarūpa, the world appears.

Is there a way to stop perceiving this world? Yes, but there is only one way to do, and that way is by turning our attention back to ourself. When our attention is turned away from ourself, we project and experience a world, and this projection and experiencing the world happen simultaneously – this is called yugapat-srsti (simultaneous creation). However, when we are able to turn our entire attention on ourself our ego or mind takes flight, never to return again.

However, our aim is not to stop perceiving the world; our aim is to experience ourself as we actually are. Let the world or disappear, it should not concern us. Our attention should be focused so keenly on ourself that we should not be aware of what is outside.



Sanjay Lohia said...

Typo in my previous comment:

Let the world appear or disappear, it should not concern us.

Sanjay Lohia said...

The jivanmukta’s cup is full to its brim

A cup may be full to its brim to such an extent that if we try adding even a single drop of water to this cup, the water may spill over. The jivanmukta’s inner state is like this cup. It is so full of happiness, contentment and satisfaction that nothing can be added to it. The jivanmukta is absolutely fearless and absolutely desireless. It is fearless since it knows its complete satisfaction will not go away under any circumstance. It is desireless because all its desires have been burnt in the fire of jnana.

Owning nothing but refusing everything – such is the state of the jivanmukta. Even kings are perplexed and ashamed when they meet a liberated one. They wonder: ‘I have so much power and wealth, but I am still dissatisfied. I am in perpetual fear because I feel my power and wealth may go away tomorrow. But look at this mukta – he is beyond all needs.’ Thus even kings hang their head down in shame when they meet a liberated one.

What did Bhagavan own? As soon as he landed in Tiruvannamalai he threw away even the few coins he then had. What supreme vairagya! He seemed to own just a koupina (loincloth) and a kamandalu (water-pot). Once Ganapathi Sastri told Bhagavan, ‘Bhagavan, I think we can easily live on three rupees a month. What do you think?’ Bhagavan replied, ‘Why even three rupees when we can live even without a body.’ So such is the outlook of the jivanmukta.

There is a popular story about Alexander. On his travels all over India, once he met an old man in ragged clothes crouching down outside a cave. This cave was his dwelling place. It was very cold inside the cave so he had come out for some sun. Alexander was told that he was a great mahatma so he stopped near him and asked him whether he needed anything. The old man kept quiet. Alexander again said, ‘Ask for anything you want. I am the most powerful man on this earth. I can fulfil all your wishes.’ The old man still did not speak anything. However, the third time when Alexander repeated his offer, the old man just waved his hand indicating that Alexander should step aside.

It was cold inside the cave, and he had come out for some sun. However, Alexander came and stood in between this old man and sun. Now, all he wanted was the warmth of the sun which was being blocked, so he wanted Alexander to step aside.

So such is the state of a jnani. He may live like this old man or maybe like King Janaka, but their inner state is the same. Since they are without a body even while seeming to be with a body, they are beyond all wants, likes, dislikes, desires, attachments, fear and so on. Talking about such great ones, Bhagavan used to say, ‘who can understand their state and how?’


Anonymous said...

Sanjay Lohia,

Thanks for the reply of 21 August 2018 at 06:37. I do have a question though on what you said which I could not quite understand and about which I will post a comment later when I have time. You gave a very good answer. You have understood the teachings of Sri Ramana Maharshi perfectly well indeed. Great man.

Sanjay Lohia said...

Bhagavan’s teaching is the simplest of all metaphysics

All these verses of Upadesa Undiyar and Ulladu Narpadu are interconnected. They form a coherent whole – one entails the other. Bhagavan’s teaching is the simplest of metaphysics:

What actually exists is awareness. All multiplicity exists only because we rise as this ego.

Edited extract from the video: 2018-08-12 Holland Park: Michael James discusses verses 26 to 30 of Upadēśa Undiyār

Sanjay Lohia said...

Anonymous, we can understand Bhagavan’s teachings perfectly well only when we understand ourself perfectly well. If we feel we have understood Bhagavan’s teachings, who is this ‘I’ who has understood it? It is the ego. As long as we experience ourself as this ego, we will be deluding ourselves if we think we have understood Bhagavan’s teachings. Our ego has to vanish before we can understand his teachings perfectly, but once our ego vanishes no one will remain to understand or not to understand anything.

venkat said...

Aseem

You wrote to Anonymous: "the ego is the immediate source and substance of all phenomena".

In GVK, Muruganar's commentary on v.62 reads:

"This verse explains the little known fact that the Sahaja state is experienced even in external perceptions. For him who truly knows sense perceptions to be his own Self, the world is not an obstacle. He experiences and enjoys his own Self in all perceptions and rejoices internally and externally without even a trace of the thought of bondage."

For the jnani in the Sahaja state, ie where the ego is no more, your definition implies no further source of phenomenon that can be experienced, which is inconsistent with Muruganar's gloss?

Noob said...

What do we mean by rejoice? If there is the world , then there is the ego, nothing less and nothing more.

Noob said...

If there is no world then there is nothing to experience... and probably then we will if attentive enough will be given the utmost prize, the knowledge of oneself

Noob said...

If not then another delusion is created...

Aseem Srivastava said...

Venkat,

The version of GVK I have is a pdf in English by Michael James and Sri Sadhu Om. In it, v62 reads:

He who knows this world-appearance to be his own form, Supreme-Consciousness, experiences the same Consciousness even through his five senses.

There is no commentary on this verse by Muruganar in the pdf I have. The one that you have posted is as follows:

This verse explains the little known fact that the Sahaja state is experienced even in external perceptions. For him who truly knows sense perceptions to be his own Self, the world is not an obstacle. He experiences and enjoys his own Self in all perceptions and rejoices internally and externally without even a trace of the thought of bondage.

To address the apparent inconsistency that you observe between Muruganar’s commentary and the meaning of the term 'ego' I defined in a comment, I'll go through each sentence of the former.

The first sentence states that the ‘sahaja state’ - which I understand to refer to our effortlessly natural (‘sahaja’) state of self-awareness - is experienced in all external perceptions. Whether we perceive phenomena (in dream/waking) or do not perceive phenomena (in sleep and in the state of isolated self-awareness), we are aware of ourself. Thus the sahaja state is eternal and immutable.

In the first clause of the second sentence, the words ‘truly knows’ refers to the experiential knowledge of sense perceptions being identical to oneself (which implies that there is perception of only oneself), and not mere conceptual knowledge of the identity of all sense perceptions with isolated self-awareness. Therefore, for one with such experiential knowledge, the world is not an obstacle to anything, simply because there can be no world-appearance in isolated self-awareness (as there is only self-awareness in isolated self-awareness). This sentence implies that the world does not appear to the one we consider to have annihilated his ego.

The third sentence talks to us at our level of body-consciousness. It means that: he who we consider to be a jnani, even when he appears to us to perceive phenomena, is actually experiencing his own self; he is in complete bliss both internally and externally to what we perceive to be his body-mind, without having any thought of bondage [or any thought at all for that matter].

Sanjay Lohia said...

We have had some lively discussions on the topic of destiny and will. Michael discusses this topic in detail in his latest video uploaded by in his YouTube channel: 2018-08-18 Sri Ramana Center, Houston: discussion with Michael James on Uḷḷadu Nāṟpadu verse 19. For those who are interested, you can view it by clicking the link:

here

Sanjay Lohia said...

Please ignore my preceding comment as the link in that comment is not working. Hopefully, it will work in this comment:

We have had some lively discussions on the topic of destiny and will. Michael discusses this topic in detail in his latest video on his YouTube channel: 2018-08-18 Sri Ramana Center, Houston: discussion with Michael James on Uḷḷadu Nāṟpadu verse 19. For those who are interested, its link is below:

here

Anonymous said...

Destiny and free will for whom? Destiny of someone or an entity who/which does not exist as he or she is seriously believing to be existing as such and imagining to be exerting free will under the delusion of a doer?

venkat said...

Aseem

That is a bit convoluted isn't it?

Even in the sentence you quote, why would Bhagavan / Muruganar talk about 5 senses? If there is no body / world, what senses or external perceptions can there be? Why even refer to them?

In your dissection of Muruganar's comment, you argue that by "truly knows sense perceptions to be his own self, the world is not an obstacle", what he actually means is that there is no world appearance. I wonder why he didn't just write that, given that he is explaining a GVK verse, rather than taking poetic license.

You explain away the third sentence (which reiterates experiencing self in all perceptions) by asserting that it was addressed to those with body-consciousness. I am not sure how you can draw that conclusion apart from needing to do so, in order to be consistent with the beliefs / concepts you hold in defining the ego?

As an aside, elsewhere in his commentaries on GVK, Muruganar clearly states that it is incorrect to believe that the jnani does not see the world.

Salazar said...

In Michael’s article addressed to me with the title, “The ego is the sole cause, creator, source, substance and foundation of all other things”, (see above of all of these comments), he said and I quote:

“Without the ego could any other thought or phenomenon appear? It could not, because the ego is that to which and from which all other thoughts or phenomena appear.”

Well, Bhagavan obviously had no mind or ego and yet he had thoughts as he’d mentioned and he also was aware of phenomena. Obviously differently than us but he was.

Therefore, that statement above is not correct and I suppose only a Jnani would actually know what that is really about. That goes along with the endless discussion between venkat and Aseem about the same topic.

Michael also said that “the ego is the uncaused cause, because nothing precedes it”.

What about Self? Without Self there could be no ego, but there is Self without ego. So the appearance of the ego and the simultaneously appearing phenomenal world gets its seemingly reality from Self. It is uncaused alright because Self is uncaused too and yet it seemingly creates a cause and effect circle with its uncaused appearance.

My question to all of the pundits on this forum: From where were coming (or what caused) the thoughts of Bhagavan when he talked to his visitors? Because that is the hole of Michael’s logical interpretation since that could not happen according to the statement above.

So my original statement and also quoting Robert Adams who said that “thoughts come from nowhere” doesn’t seem too far-fetched in that regard.




Sanjay Lohia said...

Neuroscientists are trying to find about consciousness, but they are clearly looking in the wrong direction

Nowadays, neuroscientists feel that they are doing research of consciousness. But where are they facing? They are not facing towards consciousness; they are facing towards phenomena. They think they can know more about consciousness by finding what is happening in the brain. They are clearly looking in the wrong direction.

It is like turning your back to the sun and trying to investigate where the light is coming from. If you want to know where the light comes, you have to look at the sun. Simple!

Edited extract from the video: 2018-08-18 Sri Ramana Center, Houston: discussion with Michael James on Uḷḷadu Nāṟpadu verse 19


Sanjay Lohia said...

Since now we are strongly attached to our body, our present dream seems to be extremely consistent

There are different qualities of dreams. How substantial, solid and consistent the present dream seems to depend on how strong is our attachment to our present body. Since now we are very strongly attached to our body, our present dream seems to be extremely consistent. To illustrate, now you are in Houston – you are not going to find that the very next moment you are in Tiruvannamalai. You are well rooted in Houston now. It is because you are well rooted in the body which seems to be rooted in Houston now.

Edited extract from the video: 2018-08-18 Sri Ramana Center, Houston: discussion with Michael James on Uḷḷadu Nāṟpadu verse 19 (1:43 onwards)

Michael James said...

Salazar, Bhagavan gave a very simple answer to the question you asked in your latest comment, ‘From where were coming (or what caused) the thoughts of Bhagavan when he talked to his visitors?’

What he replied to all such questions about the actions of the jñāni and the thoughts that we suppose were behind such actions was: In whose view do such actions appear? They appear only in the view of the ajñāni (the ego), and why do they appear thus? Because in ego’s view the jñāni seems to be a person (a body animated by life, mind, intellect and will) just like all the other people seen by it. When ego subsides in sleep, where are all those other people, including the person the jñāni seems to be? They do not exist or even seem to exist.

In our view Bhagavan appeared in human form in order to teach us to turn within and see what we actually are, and if we do so we will find that we were never a person but only the infinite space of pure self-awareness, which is eternally and immutably devoid of any awareness of anything else whatsoever. That is what Bhagavan actually is. It is only in our self-ignorant form that that infinite space of pure self-awareness, which is our real nature, appeared outside of us as a person called Bhagavan Ramana.

This is why I wrote the passage you refer to in your comment, namely: ‘Without the ego could any other thought or phenomenon appear? It could not, because the ego is that to which and from which all other thoughts or phenomena appear’. This is what Bhagavan taught us, as is clear from so many of his writings, such as verse 26 of Uḷḷadu Nāṟpadu, ‘அகந்தை உண்டாயின், அனைத்தும் உண்டாகும்; அகந்தை இன்றேல், இன்று அனைத்தும்’ (ahandai uṇḍāyiṉ, aṉaittum uṇḍāhum; ahandai iṉḏṟēl, iṉḏṟu aṉaittum), ‘If ego comes into existence, everything comes into existence; if ego does not exist, everything does not exist’, and verse 7 of Śrī Aruṇācala Aṣṭakam, ‘இன்று அகம் எனும் நினைவு எனில், பிற ஒன்றும் இன்று’ (iṉḏṟu aham eṉum niṉaivu eṉil, piṟa oṉḏṟum iṉḏṟu), ‘If the thought called ‘I’ [the ego] does not exist, even one other [thought or thing] will not exist’.

As Bhagavan often said, the human form of guru is like a lion that appears in the dream of an elephant, causing it to wake up. In whose view did that lion exist? Not in its own view but only in the view of the dreaming elephant. Likewise the human form (body, life, mind, intellect and will) of Bhagavan did not exist in his view but only in the view of ourself, the one ego, who is dreaming this entire world and all the people in it.

These are basic principles of his teachings, so if we do not grasp them or are unwilling to accept them, we will inevitably fail to understand the rest of his teachings correctly.

You end you comment saying: ‘So my original statement and also quoting Robert Adams who said that “thoughts come from nowhere” doesn’t seem too far-fetched in that regard’. Your statement and what Robert said may not seem too far-fetched in the view of those who have not grasped the simple basic principles of Bhagavan’s teachings, but if we are ready to accept these basic principles it will be clear to us that all thoughts or phenomena come from nowhere other than ego, and that if we investigate this ego keenly enough we will find that it never existed except in its own self-deluded view and therefore no thoughts or phenomena ever existed either.

Salazar said...

Michael, I expected that kind of answer, not necessarily from you, but here we go:

Firstly, I entirely agree with Bhagavan’s statement, HOWEVER if we take this strictly to all venues then we cannot accept i.e. the notion, “as long as the ego rises it is taken as real and therefore we have to adhere to ahimsa (or any other concept) .....

Consequently we take Bhagavan’s pointer and ..... to whom comes the idea “that the ego rises”? That appears only to the view of ajnani (the ego) ..........

So where is ahimsa in deep sleep? Where is vegan diet in deep sleep? Where is the intention to do vichara in deep sleep?

If we consider ahimsa for real then Bhagavan's body and thoughts are real too. Since Bhagavan's body and thoughts is not real then ahimsa, vegan diet, etc, is not real too.

See, we cannot go with Bhagavan’s viewpoint in certain aspects, but then drop that and evoke suddenly the viewpoint of the ajnani in other aspects.

THAT is my beef, not Bhagavan’s consequent pointers of the non-existence of the ego/mind.

Salazar said...

My point to the above is, anything but vichara/surrender is a concept and is not adhering to Bhagavan's main pointer to Self and only Self.

venkat said...

Michael

The other way to interpret Bhagavan's UN verses is that on "realisation", the "ego" and "world" is that of a burnt-to-ashes rope. Both the ego and the world are no longer taken to be real, in the sense of separately existing, independent entities, but just the Brahman that they have always been. The gold within seemingly different forms of jewellery.

Best wishes

venkat

Anonymous said...

From the discussions above on "where from thoughts or the ego originate?":

So then where do thoughts originate from? If thoughts are same as the mind then according to all the hundreds of posts in this blog thoughts which are none other than mind or ego originates from the Self or Brahman. Where else can they be produced from even if they are seemingly happening and not actually happening except to itself(mind)?.

I quote the recent post by Sanjay Lohia: who said,

Anonymous, this world or for that matter any world is seen only by our ego or mind. What is the power which makes the perception of the world possible? Bhagavan has answered this in the fourth paragraph of Nan Yar?:

What is called ‘mind’ is an atiśaya śakti [an extraordinary or wonderful power] that exists in ātma-svarūpa [our actual self]. It projects [or causes the appearance of] all thoughts. When one sets aside all thoughts and sees, solitarily there is no such thing as ‘mind’; therefore thought alone is the svarūpa [the ‘own form’ or fundamental nature] of the mind. Excluding thoughts [or ideas], there is not separately any such thing as ‘world’. In sleep there are no thoughts, and [consequently] there is also no world; in waking and dream there are thoughts, and [consequently] there is also a world. Just as a spider spins out thread from within itself and again draws it back into itself, so the mind projects the world from within itself and again dissolves it back into itself. When the mind comes out from ātma-svarūpa, the world appears.


Salazar said...

I believe it was established that the mind/ego (or first thought "I") is an uncaused cause and as such there is no origin or originator, all further thoughts stem from the uncaused first thought "I". The ego may gain its apparent reality from Self, however Self cannot and did not create it.

Mouna said...

A curious follow up on the snake analogy.

We go to the shed and we see a coiled snake in the semi dark room. We look for help and an experienced observer take us to the shed and with his flashlight illuminates what is there. We understand then that is not that the snake is gone but that there was never a snake to start with.
Next time we enter the shed we are not afraid anymore because we clearly see a rope (where before we saw a snake), but we still recognize the cooled and textured aspect of the rope which induced us to see a snake.

Clearly, we do not see the snake anymore as Bhagavan implies in UN, but that doesn’t prevent us to see a coiled rope understanding why we were fooled, because of the dimmed light, into believing it to be a snake in the past.

The jnani sees only the rope (absolute existence/consciousness) but understands the illusion created by the illusory appearance of the ego.

The rope is not the snake (unless seen through ignorance), but the snake is the rope (when seen through knowledge)

Ergo, the world need not disappear with real self-knowledge, it is seen as it really is (jivanmukti). It might even be the case that it cannot disappear until complete dissolution of egoic illusion with the death of the body that caused the identification (videhamukti)

Mouna said...

Errata,
“We recognize the coiled nature I the rope” (not the “cooled nature”)

Aseem Srivastava said...

Venkat, with reference to your comment dated 22 August 2018 at 14:13,

All statements about the state of jñāni need to be taken with constant reference to an experiential framework rather than in isolation, if we seek to deepen our understanding about that state. Why? Because if taken in isolation, we may interpret those statements literally and uncritically, leading to conclusions that are in sharp contrast to the conclusions arrived at after a critical interpretation of those statements made with reference to an experiential framework.

What is this experiential framework? It is our own experience of ourself - both that of isolated self-awareness (which is what remains in sleep) and self-awareness along with awareness of phenomena (which is experienced in waking/dream). When analysing any statement about the state of a jñāni, we necessarily do so from the latter experience of ourself.

If we interpret someone to claim that they enjoy a state of non-dual happiness, even while perceiving phenomena, we have no way to verify whether it is actually the case. We can choose either to believe what they say, or to critically analyse their statement using our own experience as a reference and the basic principles of logic as a tool.

If we interpret that the jñāni perceives any phenomena whatsoever, then how is his experience different than that of our’s in waking/dream? Since in our own experience we are dissatisfied to one degree or another when perceiving phenomena, what reason do we have to believe that this is not (or will not be) the case with this interpretation of the state of the jñāni? There is no reason except wishful thinking and/or belief in a literal and uncritical interpretation of some of the statements made by the one we consider to be a jñāni.

Aseem Srivastava said...

In continuation of my previous comment:

I will now respond to each of the objections/queries you raised in that comment.


Even in the sentence you quote, why would Bhagavan / Muruganar talk about 5 senses? If there is no body / world, what senses or external perceptions can there be? Why even refer to them?

Precisely because we assume that the jñāni perceives phenomena, that jñāni makes statements that compel us to realise how inconsistent they are when taken with the assumption that the jñāni perceives phenomena.


In your dissection of Muruganar's comment, you argue that by "truly knows sense perceptions to be his own self, the world is not an obstacle", what he actually means is that there is no world appearance. I wonder why he didn't just write that, given that he is explaining a GVK verse, rather than taking poetic license.

Authors and poets don’t always state everything explicitly. Some statements are made to provoke critical thinking and a reevaluation of our interpretation of those statements.

For example, if we interpret the words ‘truly knows’ in that statement to mean a conceptual understanding of the identity of all sense perceptions with what we really are (‘Self’), and further infer that the world may continue to appear to the jñāni, then our task is done. We have attained this conceptual understanding, and we still perceive the world in waking/dream, so we have attained our interpretation of the state of the jñāni.

However, does this understanding give us lasting peace? Not quite. Therefore, we should reevaluate what Muruganar meant by the words ‘truly knows’ and understand that he refers to actual experiential knowledge of the identity of all sense perceptions with what we really are. Further, we will infer that, since the jñāni is said to ‘truly know all sense perceptions to be himself’, he actually perceives only himself and not anything else. Then, the claim “For him, [..] the world is not an obstacle” would be clearly understood to imply that the world does not appear to the jñāni.


You explain away the third sentence (which reiterates experiencing self in all perceptions) by asserting that it was addressed to those with body-consciousness. I am not sure how you can draw that conclusion apart from needing to do so, in order to be consistent with the beliefs / concepts you hold in defining the ego?

I did not explain the third sentence by asserting that that statement was “addressed to those with body-consciousness”. I merely stated that that sentence “talks to us at our level of body-consciousness”.

Firstly, all statements are addressed to those who are perceived to have body-consciousness. Even when we write an epitaph, we are addressing our memory/imagination of the mind (subtle body) of the dead person. Secondly, when I said that Muruganar talks to us at our level of body-consciousness, I meant that he was referring to our current experience of body-consciousness to explain the state of jñāni.

That sentence states that ‘He experiences and enjoys his own Self in all perceptions’ and not ‘He experiences and enjoys all perceptions in his own Self’. Therefore, with reference to our own experience, we should understand this statement to mean that the jñāni experiences and enjoys his own self (‘svarupa’ - isolated self-awareness) in what we perceive to be his perceptions. Further, the claim that “[He] rejoices internally and externally without even a trace of the thought of bondage” would be understood to mean that the jñāni is in complete bliss both internally and externally to what we perceive to be his body-mind, without having any thought of bondage [or any thought at all for that matter].

Sanjay Lohia said...

Just like an infatuated lover foists chastity upon a prostitute, we foist reality on this world because of our infatuation with it

This world seems to be real because we are in love with it. We like to believe this world is real. This is like an infatuated lover who wants to believe that a prostitute is chaste just because of his love for her. Likewise, we foist reality upon his world; we don’t want to believe that it is unreal. Not only is this world unreal but even the person we take ourself to be is entirely unreal. These are all my mental creations, but I am not ready to accept it. It is because I am so infatuated with ‘Michael’ and the little world he lives in.

So this is why knowing ourself seems to be difficult because we are not willing to let go of all these things. So we need to slowly wean our mind away from all its desires and attachments for all these things.

Edited extract from the video: 2018-08-19 Yo Soy Tu Mismo: discussion with Michael James on self-investigation and love ~ (1:02 - 1: 06)

venkat said...

Aseem,

"If we interpret that the jñāni perceives any phenomena whatsoever, then how is his experience different than that of our’s in waking/dream?"

Because Vedanta is explaining that the cause of our suffering is the mistaken belief that we are a limited body-mind individual, separate from the whole. Once this ignorance is rooted out, then whatever happens to this body-mind is of no-consequence, since there is no identification with it. It is just a show on the screen of consciousness.

"Precisely because we assume that the jñāni perceives phenomena, that jñāni makes statements that compel us to realise how inconsistent they are when taken with the assumption that the jñāni perceives phenomena. "

Sorry that is a non-sensical statement, given the quote it refers to ("He who knows this world-appearance to be his own form, Supreme-Consciousness, experiences the same Consciousness even through his five senses") is entirely consistent with the assumption that the jnani perceives phenomena. (But as I've explained above, does not see these phenomenon as different from the experience of 'his' body-mind perception).

Anyhow, lets agree we have different interpretations of what Bhagavan and Muruganar meant.

Aseem Srivastava said...

Venkat,

I agree that we should conclude our present discussion.

Regards,
Aseem.

Sanjay Lohia said...

By shifting our love towards Bhagavan and away from the things of this world, we can heal all our old wounds

A friend: Sometimes the parents can cause a lot of pain to their children. How can we get over this pain caused by our parents?

Michael: Pain seems to come to us from outside: our parents or other circumstances can cause us pain. However, the real cause of pain is not something outside of ourself, it is our own desires, our own likes and dislikes. If I like something and it is taken away from me, I will suffer. Likewise, if I dislike something and it is forced upon me, I will suffer. Nothing can make me suffer if I have no likes and dislikes.

If we feel pain because of our parents, the way to overcome it is to inwardly surrender ourself. We should accept that those parents have been given to us by Bhagavan to teach us some lessons: these could be not having attachments to or expectations from others. It is because people of this world sooner or later will let us down. Even someone who loves us and is kind to us will eventually let us down because either they are going to die and leave us alone, or we are going to die and they cannot do anything to prevent it.

So only the infinite love of Bhagavan will never let us down because his love is always with us. He can never leave us, and we can never leave him. So rather than expecting anything from the world, we should understand that this world is going to disappoint us sooner or later. The only one who will never disappoint us is Bhagavan. It is because Bhagavan is always shining in us as ‘I’.

So by shifting our love towards Bhagavan and away from the things of this world, we can heal all our old wounds. All the harm done to us by our parents and other people will no longer trouble us. If our parents made us suffer, it was because of their ignorance. To the extent we give up our desires and attachments and are attached only to Bhagavan, we will go beyond all pain.

Edited extract from the video: 2018-08-19 Yo Soy Tu Mismo: discussion with Michael James on self-investigation and love ~ (1: 06 onwards)

Reflections: Like our parents can cause us pain; likewise, even our children can cause us pain. We may have a lot of expectations from our children: we may want them to behave more courteously or to eat healthy food or to do things on time and so on. However, we may be disappointed if they don’t live up to our expectations. So what is the solution?

The solution is the same as outlined by Michael - we should stop expecting anything from them especially once they become adults. We can give them our suggestions as and when we feel we can help them but should not bother whether or not they act on our suggestions. It is after all their life. They will learn by trial and error. We should leave them to the care of Bhagavan because, after all, his love is a thousand times greater than our love for them.


Sanjay Lohia said...

Words cannot express…

Words cannot express how kindly, lovingly and gently Bhagavan is leading us back home. Our love is very-very little, but his love is infinite.

Edited extract from the video: 2018-08-19 Yo Soy Tu Mismo: discussion with Michael James on self-investigation and love ~ (0: 49 onwards)

venkat said...

I just found the relevant GVK I was thinking of.

GVK v1119:
"Though the mind that has been captivated and held under the sway of the shining of pure being may move away to sense objects that are seen, heard, eaten, smelt and touched, as in the past, its knot has definitely been severed through perfect, firm vichara."

Muruganar's gloss:
"There is no rule that the mind whose knot has been cut should not operate among the sense objects. Through strength of practice it can remain without kartrutva, the suttarivu and it can operate among them [the sense objects] wholly as the Self, but it will not in the least become bound by them"

The following talk (at 30mins 30 secs) from Annamalai Swami explains sahaja samadhi, as distinct from nirvikalpa samadhi:

https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=beTgoNekbZ0

Salazar said...

Regarding 'Murgunar's gloss', particularly "through strength of practice it can remain without kartrutva, [...]"


When people read this they are prone to misunderstand, after the "knot" has been cut, who has "strength of practice"? The "operating" can only be effortlessly and there is no strength of practice but figuratively speaking for some reason; I can't possibly fathom why Murugunar would choose this kind of wording.

By the way, without kartrutva one can look at his cell phone at all times of the day and it really doesn't matter. It's anyway prarabdha which let one look at a cell phone or not and it is only a matter of identifying with that action or not.

The ajnani identifies with looking at his cell phone and thinks, "I should not do that, it is not spiritual enough" :), the Jnani looks at this cell phone and is oblivious of that action.

Both do the same thing, the ajnani believes he has to cultivate his cell phone habit, the Jnani having transcended the dyads, is oblivious about that act and neither likes nor dislikes that action. That is freedom, not agonizing about how to cultivate better habits :)

Anonymous said...

No other known spiritual teacher so far that I have come across has explained the different samadhis better than Bhagavan has done.

Salazar said...

Doing nice acts like charity, following ethic rules like the 10 commandments of Christianity, having a healthy/"sattvic" diet, and so on, as commendable as these acts are, denote an interest in this world and are therefore preventing realization.

If these acts are done with a sense of doership then these acts will keep samsara going. Any attention given to these ideas and aids is ignoring Self.

It is more harmful to be attached i.e. to a healthy diet and be proud of doing it by telling people how good it is and that they should switch, than to eat without discrimination but without a sense of doership.

To "like" even "good" things like a healthy diet, good manners, etc. is preventing realization.

To "dislike" bad things like rape and murder (or rude behavior, mouna) is preventing realization.

Because theses likes and dislikes (almost everybody will have those here on this forum) indicate a strong interest and attachment to this world.

That all has to go.

Mouna said...

”That all has to go.”
Easier said than done.
”That all has to go.”
Following this line of thought even this phrase has to go...

Salazar said...

How can there be an experience of pure consciousness when instead we are busy having a correct diet, getting annoyed by someone's rude behavior, are engrossed in enjoying the "majestic" landscape one is hiking through, love listening to great music, be concerned of any happenings in this world like atrocities and catastrophic weather?

How can we complain to have not an experience of Self since it is only lip service that we want it because we are rather busy with this world and its dyads of good and bad stuff.

The ego wants Self as any other pleasurable objects, easy to obtain and be "used" at its convenience, too bad that it can never have an experience of Self :)

Salazar said...

Mouna, you are correct of course, ultimately there are no thoughts nor proclamations, nor teachings etc. needed.

And yes, it's easier said than done. That shows again the greatness of Bhagavan, Murugunar and all of the other sages.

Anonymous said...

Many resident pundits and self-styled Gurus and Bhagavans here who are always hinting to us otherwise preoccupied novices that they themselves have actually realized the Self (atma-swarupa)or direcly experienced the Self just like Bhagavan himself did at age 16 and are just like Bhagavan always in sahaja nirvikalpa samadhi. Such pure Jnanis and bhaktas we have here. Michael James must surely be proud of them indeed.

Mouna said...

Anonymous (the one who posted last, there are so many these days with the same last name!),
What was your question? I missed it.
I am one of those certified jnanis of this blog (diploma upon request) , but the kind of jnani that continues to have perceptions although they are all nondual I can assure you.
I might be able to help you (for free! can you imagine?), so again what was your question my child?

venkat said...

Salazar

I'd agree with your comment about doing good - I probably wouldn't have a few years ago. I would make one observation though.

When Bhagavan was asked what good he was doing for the world by just sitting in the ashram, his response was along the lines of more than can be appreciated.

In BG, Krishna responds, when asked by Arjuna how to recognise a jnani, that his/her actions are only for the good of the world, or as an exemplar to the world, since there is no 'I' in whose self-interest s/he would act. Clearly a jnani does not consciously need to act in such a way; his actions are an inevitable consequence of his egolessness.

What a world it would be if we all lived like Bhagavan - we wouldn't have the technology, the hierarchy, the greed and the narcissism that is evidenced around us today. A simple, peaceful living. As the Ch'an saying goes, "chop wood, carry water".

venkat said...

How odd. Just after writing the last comment, I picked up where I left off in reading Sri Ramanaparavidyopanishad, and the following verses were the first to arise:

261: The wise one should resign to God his cares concerning the good of the world, just as he resigns to Him his cares about his own body and family.

262: The ripe devotee must pass his time, patiently enduring whatever happens to him, whether pleasant or otherwise, without yielding to sorrow or joy, with his heart absorbed in Him.

Salazar said...

venkat, this phenomenal world is exactly as it is supposed to be since it is created by our mind. It could not be any different.

Bhagavan: "Virtue is the result of Jnana, not the means to it."

That is a powerful statement about the futility to "improve" a dyad but to look for what transcends these dyads - Jnana.

Salazar said...

mouna, I am sorry but you have yourself disqualified to be a certified Jnani since you have endorsed the notorious "Neo-Advaitan" Tony Parsons. Anybody who endorses somebody who lectures "pseudo-Advaita" cannot possibly be a Jnani. :)

Also according to this "Anonymous" (when he impersonated 'JaiHind'), everybody is supposed to listen and prostate to me with respect and without question. How can that happen when you are the Jnani? :)

Mouna said...

My dear friend Salazar.
You are absolutely right. I am a fake.
It didn’t take long for you to demonstrate it, they say only a jnani can recognize an ajnani...
But still, I’ll continue to preach as if I wasn’t.
Many people may eventually even self-realize with my words, which in themselves, and as you know, are not fake in themselves!
So please don’t tell anybody, could this be our secret?

Salazar said...

Mouna, I'll keep your secret as long as you let me preach alongside with you.

We together will transform everybody into a certified Jnani in no time. I already printed the certificates ..... :)

Mouna said...

Deal!

love for being said...

Salazar cannot even write Muruganar's name correctly. Can such one ever explain anything of spiritual significance ?

Sanjay Lohia said...

What do we get by being aware of phenomena; we enjoy a little pleasure and so many difficulties along with them

We are the original light. So the more we attend to ourself, the more we clarify and purify our mind and clearer Bhagavan’s teachings will become to us – the less frightening it will seem to be. At first, people are very afraid that everything is going to disappear and only sat-chit-ananda will remain because they are so attached to their awareness of phenomena. But if we practise Bhagavan’s teachings more and more, it will seem less and less daunting, less and less frightening, and more and more attractive.

After all, what do we get by being aware of phenomena day after day? We enjoy a little pleasure and so many difficulties along with them. We have been doing this for millions of janmas (births). So why should we continue? A time comes when we get tired of all these things. Only then we become willing to accept what Bhagavan has taught us and become willing to put it into practice.

Edited extract from the video: 2017-07-22 Sri Ramana Center, Houston: discussion with Michael James on Uḷḷadu Nāṟpadu verse 6 (42:00 to 45:00)


Michael James said...

Venkat, regarding the comment in which you quote a translation of what you believe to be Muruganar’s commentary on verse 62 of Guru Vācaka Kōvai, it is not actually a commentary by him but by some other devotee whose identity is not now known. The reason that you and others believe it is one of the commentaries written by Muruganar on verses of Guru Vācaka Kōvai is that it was included in the third edition (1998) of the Tamil text under the mistaken belief that the explanations written in the third of a bundle of three notebooks were by Muruganar, like the explanations that he wrote in the first two of those notebooks.

The reason why the so-called ‘third notebook’ was bundled along with the other two was not that the explanations in it were by Muruganar but because the verses in it were copies of ones that he composed after the publication of the first edition (1939), which contained about 850 verses. There were perhaps about 1,500 of Guru Vācaka Kōvai that he composed between its publication and 1950, but unfortunately most of them were lost sometime in the 1950s when the manuscripts in which he had written them were accidentally left by a devotee on a train. Fortunately nearly 240 of the missing verses had been copied by a devotee in a notebook, so that notebook was kept by Muruganar in a bundle along with the two notebooks in which he had written explanations for more than 270 of the verses included in the first edition.

After he came to know about the verses that had been irretrievably lost Sadhu Om asked Muruganar to try to remember them, but he was able to remember less than 170 of them, and he humorously wrote a verse saying that his memory was very miserly and would give only that much, so more than 1,000 verses have been lost forever. Therefore when Sadhu Om edited the second edition (1972) he added both the verses that Muruganar had been able to remember and the ones that had been copied in that ‘third notebook’.

The devotee who copied those verses in the ‘third notebook’ also wrote an explanation for each of them, and a few of those explanations appear as if they may have been explanations given by Muruganar, so Sadhu Om asked him about some of them, and he agreed that those particular ones seem to be based on explanations he had given, but said that he had noticed that most of the other ones were incorrect, and he could not remember who had written that notebook. Sadhu Om made a note of the few explanations in that notebook that Muruganar confirmed were based in what he might have said, and he referred to some of them in notes that he included in Guru Vācaka Kōvai Urai, his Tamil prose rendering of all the verses.

(I will continue this reply in my next comment.)

Michael James said...

In continuation of my previous comment in reply to Venkat:

However when the third edition was due to be published someone decided to include in it most of the explanations written by Muruganar and wrongly supposed that the explanations in the ‘third notebook’ must have been given by him, so they too were included. This was a serious error of judgement on the part of the editors of that edition, because not only are many of those explanations incorrect but stylistically they are quite different to any explanations that Muruganar wrote. The explanations he did write are of three kinds: பொழிப்புரை (poṙippurai), which is an explanatory paraphrase, விசேடவுரை (viśēḍavurai), which an additional explanation that supplements an explanatory paraphrase, and கருத்துரை (karutturai), which is a brief summary or gist of the meaning. What he wrote in the first two notebooks of this bundle (and also on page 243 of the ‘third notebook’, where he wrote a poṙippurai for verse 103) were a poṙippurai for each selected verse and a viśēḍavurai for some of them, whereas the explanations written by the devotee in the ‘third notebook’ are in most cases neither a poṙippurai nor a viśēḍavurai but some sort of hybrid of both, and even in cases where they seem to be an attempt at writing a poṙippurai they generally misinterpret the meaning of the verse.

In TV Venkatasubramanian’s English translation of Guru Vācaka Kōvai, which was edited and annotated by David Godman, for many verses instead of giving a translation of the verse he gave a translation of what he believed to be Muruganar’s poṙippurai, which is not a problem in the case of poṙippurais that were actually written by him, but is misleading in the case of supposed ‘poṙippurais’ written by the unidentified devotee in the ‘third notebook’. Likewise he translated Muruganar’s viśēḍavurais as notes, which is useful in the case of viśēḍavurais that were actually written by him, but is misleading in the case of explanations written by that devotee in the ‘third notebook’.

The explanation for verse 62 that you cited in your comment is a translation of the explanation for it written by that devotee on page 98 of the ‘third notebook’, so it was not actually an explanation given by Muruganar and therefore should not be taken to be a reliable account of his view.

Salazar said...

Michael, thank you for this interesting comment, it would be helpful to know which verses have the comments of the unknown devotee. Is it as simple as, i.e., verse 62 to 85 or are these comments in a different chronological order as the verses in GVK? That would make it more difficult to list those particular comments.

Michael James said...

Salazar, I do not have the book at hand at present, but in the translation edited and annotated by David Godman he has given some useful appendices, in one of which he listed which verses were included in the first edition, so none of those verses were copied in the ‘third notebook’, and hence any explanations of them attributed to Muruganar were actually written by him. If I remember correctly, I think there is another appendix where he lists which verses or explanations were from the ‘third notebook’, so if you check that you will see that they are scattered throughout the book.

tattva darsanam said...

So what is written under the name Muruganar should be taken with caution!:-)
Perhaps even all the texts of "Bhagavan Ramana" too are written by some other devotees.:-)
Therefore for safety's sake we should find our way exclusively inside.

Salazar said...

Thank you Michael, yes at the end of the GVK edited by David Godman is an appendix with huge verse references. I never paid much attention to it and wondered why the effort was made to include that information. Now it makes much more sense.

venkat said...

Michael

Thank you for that clarification on Muruganar's comments. Is his comment on verse 1119 properly translated (in my comment above) - it seems to have been derived from his first 2 notebooks?

Thanks

venkat

Michael James said...

Yes, Venkat, Muruganar wrote both a poṙippurai (explanatory paraphrase) and a viśēḍavurai (further explanation) for verse 1119 (verse 753 in the first edition) on page 83 of the second notebook in that bundle, but I would have to read the original very carefully before being able to say how accurate Venkatasubramanian’s English translation of them is, because Muruganar’s Tamil is generally quite difficult to understand, particularly since he often expressed himself in carefully nuanced manner.

Glancing at his viśēḍavurai I see he uses the phrase ‘கர்த்தத்துவமாஞ் சுட்டுணர்வற்று நின்றே’ (karttattuvamāñ suṭṭuṇarvaṯṟu niṉḏṟē), which means ‘standing [or remaining] without suṭṭuṇarvu [transitive awareness], which is kartṛtva [doership]’, so this phrase alone clearly indicates that he was describing the state in which all suṭṭuṇarvu and consequently all kartṛtva has ceased entirely. Since suṭṭuṇarvu means awareness of anything other than oneself, and since knowing anything other than onself is an action (karma) and consequently cannot be done without doership (kartṛtva), this clearly implies that it is a state of pure self-awareness and hence completely devoid of any awareness of anything else.

Therefore I assume that what he means is that when ego, which is cit-jaḍa-granthi, is severed, what remains is only pure awareness (cit), so though in the view of others the jñāni may seem to be a person with a mind that goes out towards sense-objects, it (the jñāni, which is just pure awareness) is actually devoid of suṭṭuṇarvu and therefore not bound even to the slightest extent.

tattva darsanam said...

So if we see a person seemingly with a mind that goes out towards sense-objects we should be guarded because it could be a jnani which is just pure awareness and actually devoid of suṭṭuṇarvu and therefore not bound even to the slightest extent. :-)

Salazar said...

If Bhagavan's teachings have been truly understood then that question if a person is a Jnani or not cannot come up. Why? Because the mind projects this world and there are no persons or other objects, just One (without a second).

There is truly only Self, One without s second, and all objects perceived are made up by mind. To wonder if someone is a Jnani or not is the mind going outwards into the dream/imagination, and with that one is perpetuating samsara.

That's why Bhagavan kept saying to turn (the mind) within, attending to the One without a second. If that is done there are no Jnanis or Ajnanis and that question, or any other question, cannot even come up. Very simple but obviously very hard to truly grasp in its entire implication.

Anonymous said...

But you have not realized the Self or the atam-swarupa like Bhagavan did. You are not a Jnani like Bhagavan is. So whatever comes out of your mind comes out of book knowledge, knowledge borrowed from Michael James and your existence as an ego as "so and so" and not out of your actual and direct realization and first hand experience of atma-svarupa or aham-sphurana. You are merely lecturing from your pedestal to show off that you are superior to others.

Anonymous said...

Typical case of pot calling kettle and finding the fault only in others when also committed by oneself as well:

If Bhagavan's teachings have been truly understood then that question if a person is a Jnani or not cannot come up. Why? Because the mind projects this world and there are no persons or other objects, just One (without a second).

There is truly only Self, One without s second, and all objects perceived are made up by mind. To wonder if someone is a Jnani or not is the mind going outwards into the dream/imagination, and with that one is perpetuating samsara.

That's why Bhagavan kept saying to turn (the mind) within, attending to the One without a second. If that is done there are no Jnanis or Ajnanis and that question, or any other question, cannot even come up. Very simple but obviously very hard to truly grasp in its entire implication. Quote:

27 August 2018 at 02:37


The same person said this also to Michael James: Monday, 18 September 2017:

[What creates all thoughts is only the ego, which is the root and essence of the mind:]


In a comment on one of my recent articles, If we choose to do any harmful actions, should we consider them to be done according to destiny (prārabdha)?, a friend called Salazar wrote, ‘Robert Adams, a Jnani, said that the mind cannot create thoughts. Frankly, I believe rather him than any ajnani’, so since Bhagavan taught us that all thoughts are created only by the ego, which is the root and essence of the mind, I am writing this in an attempt to clear up this and certain other related confusions.

Monday, 18 September 2017:



Sanjay Lohia said...

Guru Vachaka Kovai - verse 29

This world is only seen without a doubt in the waking and dream states where thoughts have risen and are at play. Can it be seen in sleep where not even a single thought rises? Thoughts alone are the substratum of this world.

Reflections: As Michael often reminds us, Bhagavan has given us his core teachings in his three texts: Nan Yar?, Ulladu Narpadu and Upadesa Undiyar. He has set out all the principles of his teachings most systematically and comprehensively in these texts. These core principles are watertight: we cannot take liberties with them or twist them to suit our whims and fancies.

Recently, there were a few comments which suggested that the jnani is aware of phenomena (this world appearance). However, if we understand Bhagavan’s core teachings, it will be almost impossible to come to this inference. What sees or experiences this world? It is the ego. So if we say that the jnani sees the world, we are saying that the jnani is the ego, and therefore we are implying that he is not the jnani.

Bhagavan has made it absolutely clear that this world exists or shines only when we rise as this mind. We can refer to paragraphs 3 and 4 to understand this point. So if one tries to allude that this world is real and will continue to exist even after we die, they have either not understood Bhagavan’s teachings or do not want to acknowledge this clear and transparent message contained in Bhagavan’s teachings.

We are so attached to this world because we have created this world by our own imaginations. Having done so, we do not now want to let go of our imaginations. If we let go, all our hard work will go to waste – the hard work of imagining and giving reality to this ever non-existent world.

All these core principles may not be our direct experience, but at least theoretically they are watertight principles. We cannot play around with them. We need to fully surrender to Bhagavan’s teachings – that is, we need to accept the entire framework of teachings as it is - wholeheartedly. This is the only way to successfully put them into practice.

Anonymous said...

Talk 286.
D.: Why can we not remain in sushupti as long as we like and be alsovoluntarily in it just as we are in the waking state?
M.: Sushupti continues in this state also. We are ever in sushupti. Thatshould be consciously gone into and realised in this very state.
There is no real going into or coming from it. Becoming aware ofthat 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 bynature, 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 egois dissolved in its source. like a doll of salt in the ocean.
D.: Sri Ramakrishna says that nirvikalpa samadhi cannot last longerthan twenty-one days. If persisted in, the person dies. Is it so?
M.: When the prarabdha is exhausted the ego is completely dissolvedwithout leaving any trace behind. This is final liberation. Unlessprarabdha is completely exhausted the ego will be rising up inits pure form even in jivanmuktas. I still doubt the statement ofthe maximum duration of twenty-one days. It is said that peoplecannot live if they fast thirty or forty days. But there are those whohave fasted longer, say a hundred days. It means that there is stillprarabdha for them.
D.: How is realisation made possible?
M.: There is the absolute Self from which a spark proceeds as fromfire. The spark is called the ego. In the case of an ignorant manit identifies itself with an object simultaneously with its rise. Itcannot remain independent of such association with objects.
This association is ajnana or ignorance, whose destruction isthe objective of our efforts. If its objectifying tendency is killedit remains pure, and also merges into the source. The wrongidentification 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 andmind. But in the other two states we are associated with them. Ifone with the body, how can we exist without the body in sushupti?
We can separate ourselves from that which is external to us and notfrom that which is one with us. Hence the ego is not one with thebody. This must be realised in the waking state. Avasthatraya (thethree states of waking, dream and deep sleep) should be studiedonly for gaining this outlook.
The ego in its purity is experienced in intervals between two state sor two thoughts......

Sanjay Lohia said...

There was a typo in my preceding comment:

Bhagavan has made it absolutely clear that this world exists or shines only when we rise as this mind. We can refer to paragraphs 3 and 4 of Nan Yar? to understand this point.

inspector said...

Anonymous,
in order to make your comment in future better readable please do not abstain from using the space key as you did recently at least twenty-six times.

inspector said...

Sanjay Lohia,
later completion of a reference to mentioned paragraphs by stating the literature or amplifying a remark is not a typo in the stricter sense.:-)

Anonymous said...

I have bolded a part of Talk 286 posted above that may explain why I mistake the body for Sri Ramana.

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.

inspector said...

Anonymous,
regarding Talk 286,
thanks for repeating one question of D. and one answer of M. by using the space key in eight cases instead of connecting before the words. Relax - be assured: Ramana does certainly not insist on using the space key properly by correcting the other nineteen typos.:-)

Salazar said...

It is not the first time you’ve posted Talk 286 and I find it a source of possible confusion. I.e. the part “when the ego of a Jnani rises”, that cannot be correct and I doubt it that Bhagavan has said that literally.

The problem with the Talks is that many answers by Bhagavan are not conveying the highest truth but are custom tailored to the maturity of the questioner. Thus many answers do not reflect his true core teaching.

I.e. the nonsense that the Heart or Hridaya, a term Bhagavan occasionally used as a synonym for Self, is located at the right side of the chest. How can that possibly be? Bhagavan made it very clear that there is no individuality and that the Self, or One without a second, cannot be located anywhere. It is a matter of fact but by those who cannot let go of their (also conceptual) attachment to objects and especially the body.

It goes along with the same nonsense of an ego rising with the Jnani. If there is only One without a second, how can it be located anywhere and how could objects, like an ego, rise? These are only imaginary appearances and not real. Attending to and talking about objects is giving them their apparent reality.

An ego only seemingly rises because it gets attention, Jnana is unaffected by “ego” or any other idea/object.

Therefore the mind has to turn within.




Sanjay Lohia said...

We need to try to minimize sexual thoughts; we can try diverting our mind towards other things when such thoughts threaten to overpower us

I think our desire for particular types of food is the most difficult desire to conquer. Since we need food three times a day, we usually have strong likes and dislikes on the type of food we like to eat or like to avoid. Our other bodily needs like our desire for clothing and shelter can be kept in check, especially once we have sufficient of these since we do not need a fresh supply to these on a daily basis.

I think after food, our desire for sex in the second most overpowering desire. From one perspective, the world and all the people we see in it are a result of our desire for sex. Michael was asked a question on sex in his latest video: 2018-08-26 Yo Soy Tu Mismo: discussion with Michael James on doership and desire (1:44). The conversation went as follows:

A Friend: If there is a strong sexual desire which has been fed over the years, what is the best way to weaken and destroy it?

Michael: It is hard to give a simple answer because sexual desires are generally quite strong. That is, as long as we experience ourself as a body, we will have sexual desire in some form or another. We feed our desires by thinking of the objects of our desire. So, as far as possible, we should keep all our desires in check by not feeding them too much. We need to try to minimize sexual thoughts, but we may not be able to avoid them completely.

For some people, it may be appropriate to live a celibate life, but for most it is not appropriate. It is better to satisfy our desire for sex within certain limits. The best is to have a loving relationship with someone. In this way, we can satisfy that desire just enough and then it does not become a big thing. However, if for some reason we are not in a loving relationship, we have to make our own judgments on such matters. But as a general rule, we need to avoid feeding our desires.

When such thoughts threaten to overpower us, we can try and divert our mind towards other things. However, we will never conquer that desire until we get rid of the ego. So the ultimate solution is to turn within and investigate ‘who has these desires?’ Only vigilant self-investigation will get rid of the ego and all its desires.




bright light said...

Salazar,
as you say "there is only One without a second". So no one is forced to rise as an apparent ego. No one is obliged to attend to the ego, objects and body.
Because there is only jnana, how then has the mind to turn within - if it does not exist at all ?
So where is there any problem ?

Salazar said...

I'll not respond anymore to most "black monikers" which can be used by anyone and that is alas abused by the one "Anonymous".

I'll only respond to those who have a google account like Michael, Sanjay, Mouna, or others and to those "black monikers" which I know are not another creation by "Anonymous" like gargoyle, venkat, JohnC, and a few others.

However, it can very likely be that Anonymous is using i.e. venkat's moniker but usually it is easy to recognize by the contents of the comment who is behind it. It is obvious that "Bright Light" is another incarnation by "Anonymous" as so many before.

anadi-ananta said...

Sanjay Lohia,
when sometimes a very strong sexual desire comes over me it is like rowing in a rough sea. Perhaps I did not live life to the full and was too sparing with that desires in my young years. Because I am not always able to reach calm sea very soon I am happy when a good lady keeps company with me and I then can get some satisfaction which ideally should last for the next weeks or months.
Certainly it is not the only obstacle put in my path but the most difficult to surmount.
However, some ten years ago that desire was still more burning. I hope Arunachala will continue keeping me in quiet waters and finally quieten completely that problematic feeling. To remain ego-free without any desire is undoubtedly the highest state of (human and divine) consciousness.

bright light said...

Salazar,
I never chose "Anonymous" as an identity but some other "black monikers".
Of what are you afraid ? If I (very rarely) snap wildly in all directions I do it only out of my biting ignorance.

Sanjay Lohia said...

All dreams, including our present dream, are the result of our desires

All dreams, including our present dream, are the result of our desires. The seeds or the potential form of desires are what are called vasanas. According to Bhagavan, whatever we see outside is a projection of our own vasanas. That is, this whole world is nothing but our thoughts, and the seeds that give rise to those thoughts are our vasanas. So everything is an expansion of our vasanas.

All thoughts, all phenomena, are like plants and the seeds from which those plants have sprouted are our vasanas. So ultimately everything is our desire. Our dreams may not be exactly as we may like them to be, but that is because we have got so many conflicting desires within us. So all the conflicts we see outside are a reflection of all the conflicts within us.

Moreover, though the phenomena we see outside are a projection of our vasanas, what determines which phenomena appear outside is our prarabdha. That is, the phenomena we experience are a result of the fruit of the actions we have done in the past. But why have those actions given us fruits? It is because of the desire with which we did them. So everything boils down to desire.

Why we rise as this ego and see all this? Bhagavan calls it vishaya-vasanas. Vishaya means phenomena, and vasana means the inclination or liking. So vishaya-vasana is the liking to be aware of phenomena. So why do we see phenomena? It is because we like to see them.

So this world is nothing but an expansion of our own desire. But whose desires are they? They are the ego’s desires. So the ego is the root of everything. Therefore to get rid of all these desires and to get rid of all these dreams, we need to investigate ourself and thereby surrender ourself.

Edited extract from the video: 2018-08-26 Yo Soy Tu Mismo: discussion with Michael James on doership and desire (1:52)

Sanjay Lohia said...

Anadi-Ananta, yes, we are all rowing in a rough sea – the rough sea of our vishaya-vasanas. The waves of this sea can sometimes be too gigantic, and therefore at times we are swept away by such waves. However, the more we practise self-investigation, the more these waves will start losing its strength, and eventually, this sea will become perfectly calm. We just need to persevere with more and more determination.

Salazar said...

bright light, you asked, "so where is there any problem?"

Exactly, so what is your question then?

Also you said, "no one is obliged to attend to objects". Is that your experience though? Unlikely, so rather you keep attending to objects and therefore giving them reality.

The mind seemingly exists and it gains its (seeming) existence by the very fact of attending to objects. If that reverts the mind is seen as not having existed at all.

P.S.

I had that kind of question before since people seem not to grasp the paradox of that there is only Self and yet there seems to be a mind which believes to be bound. If you have not grasped that no explaining by me could make a difference.

bright light said...

Salazar,
that seeming paradox is seen only by the mind.
Unless the mind is dissolved in the self that paradox can open up (to the mind).
Is it your experience though that the mind is seen as not having existed at all ?

But how to grasp the seeming paradox of that there is only Self and yet there seems to be a mind which believes to be bound at all ?
Not even one who is fully aware of reality can ever see and/or grasp such a paradox because in his view there is no mind and therefore no paradox at all.

Salazar said...

"Grasping the paradox" is of course just a figure of speech.

I am wondering, why do we have this talk? Or, what is it you are trying to say?

Salazar said...

Some people have dislikes for Neo-Advaita (whatever they project what that is) and then there is the other category of those 'Advaitans' who claim that one needs a "qualified teacher" in order to realize Self.

And what they mean is not a sage or Jnani, no - those are useless according to these pundits, it is somebody who had the training from some other "qualified teacher".

The problem is that Self cannot be realized conceptually with the mind and those Advaitans distort their idol shankara with how they understand "knowledge". That went so far that one of these proponents, I believe it was Swami Dayananda, said that Bhagavan was not Self-realized since he was not tutored by a qualified teacher .....

It's quite amazing how spirituality gets distorted, must be part of the deal.

bright light said...

Salazar,
the mind is a roamer about all over the place. Because of its tendency to roam it tries to feed, maintain/entertain itself at the next opportunity and occasion.:-)
Regarding your question "what is it you are trying to say?": In addition to that above said I cannot find any reason to talk.

anadi-ananta said...

Sanjay Lohia,
I hope that Arunachala residing in my innermost core will help to overcome the teething troubles at the required self-investigation should it be necessary.

bright light said...

Salazar,
if I remember correctly I too read in a "journal"(perhaps 15-20 years ago) that the mentioned Dayananda said:"Bhagavan does not know anything".
Has not even some Dr. written a special book about Bhagavan Ramana and herewith asserting Bhagavan's evident ignorance (about 7-10 years ago) ?

manonigraha said...

Sanjay Lohia,
thanks again for your transcriptions of extracts of Michael's videos.

At a meeting of ‘Yo Soy Tu Mismo’ (a group of Spanish devotees of Bhagavan Sri Ramana) on 26th August 2018 (via Zoom), Michael James discusses doership and desire, explaining that they are both the nature of ego, so we can free ourself from them only by eradicating ego, which we can do only by investigating and thereby surrendering ourself.

Because I do not know Spanish, could you please ask Michael what ‘Yo Soy Tu Mismo’ means ?

Salazar said...

bright light, it seems there will be always people who are questioning even sages like Bhagavan. I.e. I came across a statement where Sri Ramakrishna was described to be a pedophile.

That's where a good discrimination of the mind is required, to be able to discern the good from the bad.

I.e. Yoagananda is seen by many as a sage but from what I can tell he was an advanced yogi but not a sage. He said that he was Arjuna, Shakespeare, and William the Conqueror in a past life and when he was asked if he is an Avatar he said 'yes'. He also said that he will reincarnate again in 100 years to just "lay back and meditate". He also made a number of future predictions to unfold in the 70s and 80s and none of those predicted events came true.

From these clues it is easy to discern that he was not a sage. But tell that to one of his many followers.

Same is true for his guru Sri Yukteswar, who, according to Yogananda, appeared before him after Yukteswar's death and he said that he is living on an astral plane. So also no sage.

Same for Lahiri Mahasaya and Babaji. Babaji is supposed to be a reincarnation of Krishna. Again that makes him more of a fairy tale than an actual sage. Lahiri is supposed to be a reincarnation of Kabir and King Janaka.

Krishna, Kabir, and Janaka were of course sages, but they never could reincarnate again, that is impossible thus Lahiri's story is a lie.

So this whole Yogananda thing is highly questionable including his line of gurus. They included Jesus Christ in their line but that is a fairy tale too.

Anyway, another story in this dream.

Anonymous said...

Salazar was caught red handed as a shameless hypocrite in the "Jnani" "ajnani" terms usage. He should be careful what he posts as it might come back to bite his no good behind. Ajnanis like Salazar who live in glass houses should not throw stones. Listen only to upadeshas of Bhagavan from Jnanis like Micheal James and Sanjay Lohia which comes from their Hearts and not their arrogant heads like that cluless imbecile Salazar's.

Sanjay Lohia said...

Manonigraha, there may be somebody in our group who knows Spanish. If there is one, I would request him or her to let us know the exact meaning of the Spanish phrase ‘Yo Soy Tu Mismo’. It could be that Michael’s knows its meaning. If it is so, I request him to share it with us.

Anonymous said...

Yo Soy Tu Mismo,

I Am Yourself,

according to Google translate

Sanjay Lohia said...

Anonymous, in your comment of 27 August 2018 at 23:02, you have described Michael and me as jnanis. I thank you for your kind words.

However, jnani or atma-jnani in spiritual context has a strict meaning. It describes a being whose chit-jada-granthi has been severed irretrievably. That means it knows itself as it really is. So the term jnani does not refer to a person who merely has a good intellectual understanding of spiritual teachings. Perhaps you were impressed by some of my comments, and therefore you have formed a high opinion of me. However, since I still experience myself as a person called ‘Sanjay’, I cannot be a jnani. I will be fooling myself if I start believing that I am one.

However, Michael could be a jnani. But since he has also denied this, we have to take his words. However, whatever he has been teaching us (which is explaining Bhagavan’s teachings in depth and detail) is of great worth in itself. So we should definitely hold him in high esteem. I think Michael is a perfect combination of heart and intellect – a priceless gift from Bhagavan to all of us. We still have a lot to learn from him.

Sanjay Lohia said...

Manonigraha, I asked the following question on the website of 'Yo Soy Tu Mismo': 'What does 'Yo Soy Tu Mismo' mean? Please translate it into English. Thanks'.

They have replied, 'Sanjay Lohia the meaning is: I am yourself or we are The same'. 

Salazar said...

Sanjay Lohia, do you have that much discrimination to distinguish between sincere admiration and insincere flattery? Anonymous is playing you and apparently you have fallen for it. When somebody calls you to be a "pure sattvic ego" your alarm bells are not going off?

I do not want to get into details but I know this guy from a different forum. I do not want to stoop to his level of communication, but this guy is mainly lying and thrives on conflict. He calls people Jnani to test them for whatever reason and he actually called Michael James a moron as he did with David Godman.

You cannot believe anything he is saying.

Sanjay Lohia said...

All dreams, including our present dream, are a result of our ego’s desires

Michael: So long as there is ego there is desire, and so long as there is a desire there will be dreams. So all states including our present state is a result of our ego’s desires.

~ (Extract from Michael’s latest video)

Reflections: I used to often wonder as to why we have so many dreams. Not only we have these dreams, but our dreams repeat themselves, maybe with some variations as the times goes by.

As Michael has explained, all our dreams are a result of our desires. These desires exist in us as our vishaya-vasanas, which are our inclinations or urges to attend to various phenomena. As long as these vasanas are there within our will, we will unceasingly project one dream after another. These dreams follow certain patterns because they basically originate from the same set of vasanas.

Salazar said...

Vichara and the dissociation from the doer.

Let's say one is cleaning the house and is vacuuming the carpet. While doing that one practices vichara and if that is done with a certain degree of intensity then the question must arise, "who is actually vacuuming"? While attending to 'I am' the action goes on but there is no conscious involvement with it since the attention is with "I am".
Thus, who is vacuuming?

And whose "will" is performing that act? That's a rhetoric question since obviously there cannot be a will be involved in that situation (if ever but as an imagination).

manonigraha said...

Sanjay Lohia,
thanks for enquiring about the meaning of the name of the Spanish group.
Incidentally apart from Spanish Music I like the life stories of the Spanish Saints Teresa of Avila and John of the Cross.

bright light said...

Salazar,
Yogananda's book "Autobiography of a Yogi" was then in the seventies one of my approaches in spirituality. So I will let them (Yogananda, Sri Yukteswar, Lahiri Mahasaya and Babaji) untouched.

bright light said...

Salazar,
indeed I use cleaning a room as a good opportunity to practise self-investigation and thus being aware of the abstract here and now while simultaneously cleaning attentively and carefully.

Salazar said...

bright light, the "Autobiography of a Yogi" was also one of my first spiritual books I've read and I enjoyed it a lot. But things change and now I find it to be an interesting story at best.

I do not want to put down these "gurus", they had their place as everybody else and if someone feels inspired by their teachings I certainly would not hold them back. Or, worse, advertise Bhagavan as the better choice. :)

bright light said...

Salazar, if I were given the choice then I would sit on top of Arunachala-Siva ever-liberated in Bhagavan.:)

sakshat said...

122 years ago - 29 August 1896 - Venkataraman left Madurai for good. In search of his Father and in obedience to his command...
Arunachala was calling him...

Agnostic said...

For Samarender Reddy..

Sam, on May 27, 2017 you commented:

Michael:

There seems to a problem with what you say. If whatever is to happen is decided by my prarabdha, then whatever motions the body is to go through and whatever the mind has to "think" to get the body to do actions as per prarabdha are also predetermined and "I, the ego" have no say in it. But you also say, "therefore we need not think". And yet the mind will necessarily think some thoughts as per prarabdha. How do I distinguish thinking or thoughts associated with prarabdha and the other non-prarabdha associated thinking I seem to indulge in? Whenever any thought occurs, how do I know if it is prarabdha or the ego thinking? If I say, ok, whatever thoughts have to occur will occur to make the body do whatever it has to do, then it would seem that one has to be totally silent and not thinking and whenever any thought arises involuntarily I have to consider that as prarabdha thought and act accordingly? Is that what you are saying? Also, in that case will only such prarabdha thoughts then occur which require the body to do something or will such thoughts also occur which do not require the body to do something? I would really appreciate if you can clarify these doubts of mine. Thanks in advance."

I was wondering if Talk 286 earlier posted by Anonymous has a bearing on some of your questions. Isn't the pure and harmless "ego" that arises in a Jnani something like the "working" mind a la Balsekar? Just as a locus of control for body-mind maintenance?

Agnostic said...

Sam, here is J Krishnamurti saying something similar.

Tradition and Revolution Dialogue 7 New Delhi 25th December 1970

Q: I exist is the central core in all of us. It is the very fabric of our existence.

Krishnamurti: The peripheral expressions of Krishnamurti appear to be a person.

But at the centre there is no person. I really do not know what it means. You are asking, is there in you a centre, the « I am », the sense of « I am ». No. The feeling of « I am » is not true.

P: It is not as obvious as that. But the sense of existence, the core of the ego within us, is unexplored. There is something which holds it together and as long as it remains, what you are saying – the no centre – has no validity for us.

Krishnamurti: There is no movement of the past as the « me » in the centre, in the person. One has to go into this very carefully. As we said the other day, the first step is the last step. The first perception is the last perception and the ending of the first perception is the new perception. Therefore, there is a total gap between the first perception and the second perception. In that interval, there is no movement of thought. There would be the movement of thought when the memory of the first perception remains, not when it is over. Can the mind not empty itself of every perception? Can it not die to every expression, and when it does, where is the root of the « I am »? When the mind is that, is there any movement of pattern taking place? When eyes, ears and desire are non-existent as movement towards or away from something, then why should the mind have any pattern? The seeing is the seer, in that there is no duality, but those who make that statement into an axiom do not experience it and therefore it remains a theory

D. Samarender Reddy said...

Agnostic,

We are treading here on mysterious ground, seemingly inexplicable. So, whatever I opine on the matter may not be the entire truth but only a way of looking at things, while there may be other equally valid viewpoints on the issue.

Regarding working mind vs thinking mind distinction of Ramesh Balsekar, I think it is a fairly useful distinction and could well be that the working mind is the only one operative in the Jnani. The way I like to see it is that, since we have trouble explaining the movements of the body in which the Jnani once "resided", and by movements, I would include speech in it because speech is also nothing but movement of the lips, tongue and vocal cords, we ask how can those movements be occurring if there is no mind operating a Janni's erstwhile body? I think the answer is simple. The divine force that moves the planets and stars, the blood in your veins, without the interference or need for a "mind" in those things, the divine force moves the erstwhile body of a Jnani resulting in bodily actions and speech (including writings). That is not really mysterious in a way because even in us it is the divine force moving our bodies and issuing out as speech and writings (that is why, prarabdha, no free will, Bhagavan's letter to his mother etc.), but in addition to that in ajnanis like us, accompanying that is also corresponding thoughts that deceive us into thinking and feeling and inferring that we are the "doers".

I don't have much to say about what J. Krishnamurti said, except that it is in consonance with what I said above because if a Jnani's erstwhile body has no mind operating it, then the "I am" will also be absent because the "I am" is only a reflection of the Self in the mind.

Agnostic said...

Sam, "inexplicable", is right, utterly inexplicable. Take the following, for example.

Shantammal's Reminiscences

Kitchen and other stories

A visitor while taking leave of Bhagavan expressed a wish that Bhagavan should keep him in mind as he was going very far away and would probably not come back to the Ashram.

Bhagavan replied:

A jnani has no mind. How can one without a mind remember or even think? This man goes somewhere and I have to go there and look after him? Can I keep on remembering all these prayers? Well, I shall transmit your prayer to the Lord of the Universe. He will look after you. It is his business.

After the devotee departed, Bhagavan turned towards us and said:

People imagine that the devotees crowding around a jnani get special favours from him. If a Guru shows partiality, how can he be a jnani? Is he so foolish as to be flattered by people's attendance on him and the service they do? Does distance matter? The Guru is pleased with him only who gives himself up entirely, who abandons his ego forever. Such a man is taken care of wherever he may be. He need not pray. God looks after him unasked. The frog lives by the side of the fragrant lotus, but it is the bee that gets the honey.

wave-less ocean said...

hmm, a taste of honey...

Sanjay Lohia said...

A Paradox

Even though we have a mind and intellect, we cannot know or discern the highest metaphysical truths by using these powerful instruments. Whereas the jnani has no mind or intellect, yet he is clear about all the metaphysical truths. He knows without any of the instruments of knowing. Isn’t it a wonder - a paradox?

D. Samarender Reddy said...

Sanjay, well put.

Salazar said...

There are no Jnanis or Ajnanis, these are projections of the mind. Figuring out things and trying to comprehend conceptually is a projection too. We seem to forget that Bhagavan's main teaching tool was silence.

That silence will bring a Billion times more than a complete understanding of all the teachings of Bhagavan and all other sages (who are a projection) ...

Sanjay Lohia said...

Guru Vachaka Kovai - verse 30

If it is thus said that this world is a mere play of thoughts, why, even when the mind is quiet, does the world-scene, like a dream, suddenly appear in front of us? That is due to the stored momentum of past imaginations!

Reflections: We have been imagining things from time immemorial, and all the seeds of such imaginations are stored within us as vishaya-vasanas – our inclination or urge to repeat these imaginations. Therefore even if we want, we cannot remain quiet for long because ‘the stored momentum of past imaginations’ will make us act in various ways.

Therefore Bhagavan advises us a gentle but steady sadhana. We need to take one step at a time - we should not push ourself beyond certain limits. That is, we should practise for a while but before the practice becomes a strain, should relax and attend to other things.

Bhagavan’s path is sukha-marga – the path of happiness or the path towards happiness. However if we forcibly practise of self-investigation, this sukha-marga can become dukha-marga – the path unhappiness and discomfort. Therefore, we should keep things gentle but walk with resoluteness.

wave-less ocean said...

Salazar,
1.) when you say "There are no Jnanis or Ajnanis, these are projections of the mind."
then you should also consider that not even the projecting mind has real existence.

2.) when you further say "That silence will bring a Billion times more than a complete understanding of all the teachings of Bhagavan and all other sages (who are a projection) ...you must also admit that silence is not a teaching which could be completely understood. Silence is the core of all teaching because in reality there is nothing but silence. Aspirants either keep it or not.

A sage is not a mind's projection but (nothing other than) real self-awareness. How could jnana be ever projected by a limited mind ? The mind can project at best the idea or imagination of jnana.

Salazar said...

wave-less ocean, I agree with you. Also, technically and consequently "Jnana" and a "sage" as "real awareness" is a projection too. Why?

Because terms like "sage", "Jnana", "real awareness", "Self", "sat-chit-ananda" are entirety conceptual and are only POINTERS. The mind can and will never apprehend or grasp what that real means. It can only be a mere imagination and nothing else. And no matter what the mind believes it is, it will be wrong (according to the sages).

wave-less ocean said...

Salazar,
as you imply our beliefs are merely like bubbles on the surface of the water.

But, but, but...I would like to taste knowing and being our real nature - of any believer.
Is it not said that beyond intellectual comprehension one can reach the state of supreme and everlasting bliss ?
So instead of being left forlorn in the wilderness of ignorance let us drink the nectar of the true self - if possible. :-)

Salazar said...

wave-less ocean, we say we want supreme and everlasting bliss. That of course is the ego talking, as soon as the ego realizes that it means literally its death it will do whatever it takes to prevent that.

Imagine you are in the middle of the ocean and you cannot swim anymore and you are sinking and starting to drown. Imagine the panic of the mind/ego looking at its imminent death.

That is what the mind will come up with (the panic of dying) coming closer to realization. At that point it demands just to "live" and forgoes quickly any bliss.

I had an experience of the void which scared the heck out of my mind, it felt like a total empty zone with no objects whatsoever and the scary part was that there was nothing the mind could cling to. I experienced intense fear and was glad when finally the void went away as spontaneously as it had appeared.

My point is, my mind was very scared of being "alone", that was unpleasant enough, how would it feel when it looks at its imminent death?

wave-less ocean said...

Salazar,
your void-experience was certainly quite "unpleasant".
the mind knows instinctively that it (in its substance) can never die.
Therefore the mind lives in hopes to survive even the most dangerous threat of the body and even the most scary moments.
(When I was caught in a steep mountain-rock wall of crumbly rock around 80-100 meters over ground (August 1974) I intensely feared only the pain of the shattering of the head/skull, vertebral column and all the limbs. Somehow I hoped or felt that the seemingly unavoidable death of the body will not be my end. Finally I as the body-mind was lucky to get [miraculously] rescued after 14 hours.)
So I have no own experience of the imminent death of the mind itself - except of the moment of daily falling asleep.:-)

Sanjay Lohia said...

Bhagavan’s real teaching is silence

Michael once clarified that some people believe that Bhagavan’s highest teaching is silence. He said this is not entirely true – Bhagavan’s real and only teaching is silence. When we use the term ‘highest teaching’, we imply that Bhagavan has different grades or levels of teachings. However, whatever he wrote or spoke were just pointers towards silence. That is, there are no real teachings in his written or spoken words if we do not look in the right direction, which is towards ourself.

Who or what is silence? It is ourself as we really are devoid of the ego and all its accompaniments. So if we want to follow Bhagavan’s teachings, we need to look within and find out ‘who am I?’ Bhagavan doesn't let our minds wonder here and there.

Sanjay Lohia said...

Bhagavan doesn't let our minds wander here and there. In my preceding comment, I wrote 'wonder here and there'. However, I feel we can replace the term 'wonder' with 'wander' and still it will make sense.

Anonymous said...

Sanjay Lohia,

Apropos your comment 28 August 2018 at 07:11.\

You said,


Anonymous, in your comment of 27 August 2018 at 23:02, you have described Michael and me as jnanis. I thank you for your kind words. Quote.

You also said : jnani or atma-jnani in spiritual context has a strict meaning. It describes a being whose chit-jada-granthi has been severed irretrievably. Quote.

Yes you are right. I said in that context only and not by mere book knowledge. It was not meant to praise you and mock another. It is just the way things are.

Michael James is a Jnani in the real sense just like Bhagavan is and so are you. Salazar is still in kindergarten. I am afraid he has many more janmas to finish just like I do. That is the state of affairs. Too bad Salazar can't swallow his "big fat ego" even if he wanted too. It just too huge. There is no chance for his granthi to be severed any time soon. He loves his own ego more than his Self or TuriyaAtma.

Best wishes to you.

Anonymous said...

Sanjay Lohia,

Yes. Both you and Micheal James have "pure Satvic (Satva) egos" like Bhagavan. I don't and neither does Salazar. These are hard facts. No praise or mockery intended to anyone including myself.

Salazar said...

wave-less ocean, you said "so I have no own experience of the imminent death of the mind itself."

It certainly needs some preparation to be ready for that. As Michael said, we slowly have to wean off our attachments and desires, and then grace, always with us, will finish the job.

Salazar said...

Sanjay Lohia said recently and I quote, “we should definitely hold [Michael James] in high esteem.”

Yes, that is a good recommendation. Now it is easy to hold somebody in high esteem we “like” or appreciate for whatever reasons. However in order to go beyond likes and dislikes we should hold anybody we encounter in high esteem. Especially those we find irritating and annoying (that is the true meaning of “namaskar”). We are all the same and to focus on a “personality” is perpetuating samsara.

We are all the same and the only “entity” that requires a different treatment is the sat-guru.

So we prostrate for sure to the sat-guru, and then we either prostrate to ALL we encounter or to none. That is Bhagavan’s path.

P.S. As with all aids, this is of course work in progress but if one can truly hold anybody in the same esteem realization is not far away.

Anonymous said...

To Suresh Lohia and others,


"wave-less ocean" is none other than this pretentious idiot Salazar himself. Salazar is talking to himself as "wave-less ocean". Such is his deluded ego. He thinks you all are also such gullible imbeciles like he himself is and will not see through his chicanery.

Anonymous said...

Sanjay Lohia,

That last post from Salazar posted on 30 August 2018 at 16:15 is pathetic hogwash. He is trying to make nice with you. It is just his huge ego showing off to all as if he is such a devoted and forgiving bhakta. It is all nothing but his useless bosh coming out of his rear end.

Anonymous said...

Salazar is also posting under several pseudonyms and talking to himself such as Agnostic, bright light, sakshat, "wave-less ocean" and Bhagavan only knows who else is posing as? Lol! This guy Salazar has gone bonkers.

Anonymous said...

Sanjay Lohia,

You don't have to believe what I say here but I would bet my last pound sterling that the other fellow JaiHind is none other than this dingbat Salazar himself. If you look at his posts they were all aimed at you and he did not want you posting your comments here. Salazar expressed the same kind of posts towards you as well. It appears he wants to be some sort of a guru of this comments section and hates any kind of competition from you. Salazar is jealous of your better and accurate knowledge of Bhagavan's teachings.

Anonymous said...

Sanjay Lohia,

Sorry, that I called you Suresh Lohia earlier. My mistake.

Salazar said...

If I had the power to relieve “Anonymous” from his pain and confusion I’d do that. Alas that is not how it works. We have to arrive to a certain maturity ourselves to realize that anything we perceive as “bad” or “good” in “others” is a projection of mind.

That means anything we are not happy with is our own fault; never the fault of “others”. I’ve seen “Anonymous” treating other people the same way as he does with me. So it is not personal (it never is) and therefore there is not much one can do.

Maybe eventually “Anonymous” will realize that all his issues are his own, his own pretense, his own hypocrisy, his own grandiosity, etc.

“Anonymous” is a good example of a major flaw we all share, we are full of Bhagavan’s teachings and throw around Sanskrit names and quote GVK. But as soon as our ego is challenged a little bit and things are not going our way we quickly have forgotten the teachings and act out with our usual coping patterns.

Sanjay Lohia said...

The investigation - who am I? is not a question, as many believe it to be. It is the answer to all our questions.

Anonymous said...

Anyway respected people (be warned) who are following Bhagavan's way to truth, if you are communicating to someone it will be Salazar himself in disguise and if there are different people communicating under different usernames it will also be Salazar talking to himself under different user names but always giving his worthless upadesha coming from only the username Salazar (actually coming from his rear end and not his Heart if he has one) to the imaginary others who are all Salazar himself posing as others. Such is his mammoth ego.

If you still prefer Salazar's upadesha to Michael James' then that is your wish.

Salazar said...

I am certain it is clear for everybody on this forum but for “Anonymous” that we do not talk about Michael’s upadesa nor mine or anybody else’s but about Bhagavan’s. We are here to deepen our understanding and any other implied motivation is delusional and rather a projection of a mind misguided by malice and deception.

Anonymous said...

No one cares a hoot for your worthless gibberish you post here everyday. But I am in awe of Michael James's posts and replies. His mind boggling upadesha of Bhagavan's teachings in English is simply unparalleled. Your last comment betrays jealousy and disrespect to Michael James's enormous contribution to the spiritual community and is an insult to Michael James. Shame on you.

Anonymous said...

Here is one such excellent post or upadesha from Michael James from another topic "Any experience that is temporary is not manōnāśa and hence not ‘self-realisation’"

which clearly explains Bhagavan's message and teachings.

Ajāta, regarding your questions, ‘how can one focus the attention to ourself alone? We obviously cannot focus our attention to atma-svarupa which is unknown to us. At best we can focus our attention to our ego which is said that it does not actually exist. So do we not be in a dilemma?’, firstly please see the reply that I wrote earlier today to a similar question, which I hope will answer the first of your questions, namely ‘how can one focus the attention to ourself alone?’

Regarding your second sentence, ‘We obviously cannot focus our attention to atma-svarupa which is unknown to us’, ‘ātma-svarūpa’ means the ‘own form’ (svarūpa) or real nature of oneself (ātman), so it is not entirely true to say that it is unknown to us. We are always aware of ourself, and though we are now aware of ourself as if we were something other than ātma-svarūpa, the nature of which is pure, infinite, indivisible and immutable self-awareness, what we are actually aware of is only ātma-svarūpa, but we mistake it to be something else.

We can illustrate this with the analogy of a rope that seems to be a snake. Though we may think that what we are seeing is a snake, what we are actually seeing is just a rope, even though we mistake it to be a snake. That is, we are seeing the rope, but we are seeing it as a snake rather than as it actually is. Likewise, what we are now aware of is only ātma-svarūpa, which is ourself, but we are seeing it as this form-grasping ego rather than as it actually is.

If we look carefully enough at what we mistake to be a venomous snake, we will see that it is actually just a harmless rope. Likewise if we attend carefully enough to ourself, which we now mistake to be this finite ego, we will see that what we actually are is just ātma-svarūpa, which is infinite self-awareness, and therefore never aware of anything other than itself.

As you say, the ego does not actually exist, but just as the snake seems to exist even though it does not actually exist, the ego seems to exist even though it does not actually exist. Therefore just as we can look carefully at what seems to be that snake in order to see what it actually is, we can look carefully at what seems to be this ego in order to see what it actually is.

Therefore we are not in a dilemma as you suggest, because all we need do is to try to look at what we now seem to be, namely this ego, in order to see what we actually are, which is ātma-svarūpa.

26 August 2017 at 15:53

Anonymous said...

Reply to Ajata's other question from 'Sir" Michael James made to another person called Ahandai:


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?

wave-less ocean said...

Anonymous,
you said on 30 August 2018 at 16:43: "Salazar is also posting under several pseudonyms and talking to himself such as Agnostic, bright light, sakshat, "wave-less ocean" ...

This cannot be correct because I commented under "bright light, sakshat, wave-less ocean".


wave-less ocean said...

Salazar,
I agree with your reply of 30 August 2018 at 15:44 ("It certainly needs some preparation to be ready for that. As Michael said, we slowly have to wean off our attachments and desires, and then grace, always with us, will finish the job") to me regarding my comment "so I have no own experience of the imminent death of the mind itself."



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