Saturday, 21 December 2019

Self-investigation is the only means by which we can surrender ourself entirely and thereby eradicate ego

A mutual friend recently wrote to David Godman and me asking us to confirm his understanding on various points concerning Bhagavan and his teachings, including that silence is his highest teaching, that he gave ‘Realization’ to his mother and Cow Lakshmi, that some other people got ‘enlightenment’ just being in his presence, that he ‘said that people come to him in various maturity levels’, that he ‘did not speak about “Atma-Vichara” unless someone asked [him] the easiest and quickest way for Realization’, but that ‘at the same time he has guided few others towards realization’ (referring to what seems to me to be a dubious claim that he ‘never mentioned about Atma-Vichara to Natesa Iyer’ but ‘mentioned to him to look at “Nothing”’), that ‘Time and again Bhagawan said that HE is not the body, which implies that he is LOVE & Awareness’, that he is therefore ‘available to anyone Here and Now’, that ‘on the “Karma” theory/aspect anyone who is destined to succeed in “Atma-Vichara” will get irrespective of they want it or not’, and that ‘He also have mentioned that the effective way for MUKTI/ liberation is either by practice of Atma-vichara or Self Surrender’.

David quickly wrote a brief reply to this, saying “Bhagavan would often ask questioners ‘Who is asking the question?’ which was an invitation to do self-enquiry by focusing on the ‘I’ that was seeking answers. When I have said or written that Bhagavan was non-prescriptive, I meant that he would not suggest a practice unasked. He was not a preacher or a lecturer. However, once a dialogue started, it would often result in Bhagavan suggesting self-enquiry”.

The next five sections are adapted from the reply I wrote to this friend, and of the final three sections, two contain replies I wrote to some other more recent emails of his and one contains a passage that David referred to in connection with an incident I narrated in one of my replies:
  1. Bhagavan does not give us liberation, but turns our attention back to face ourself and thereby enables us to see that we are ever-liberated
  2. Bhagavan made it very clear that the only means by which we can eradicate ego and thereby be liberated is self-investigation (ātma-vicāra)
  3. Nāṉ Ār? paragraph 13: we cannot surrender ourself entirely without investigating what we actually are
  4. Success in ātma-vicāra, namely annihilation of ego, has nothing to do with destiny and everything to do with whether or not we want it enough
  5. What Bhagavan teaches us through silence is exactly the same as what he teaches us by words, but the effect of his silent teachings is much deeper and more powerful
  6. Only by being in the heart as it is (uḷḷattē uḷḷapaḍi uḷḷadē) are we truly sitting in Bhagavan’s presence
  7. Pure awareness, which is our real nature and what shines within us as ‘I’, is the gracious feet of guru, so clinging to that awareness is the means for us to remove the bondage called ego
  8. Bhagavan’s teachings are extremely simple and clear, but at the same time very deep and radical, so they are the perfect medicine for anyone who is tired of this ego-life with all its complications, confusions and deceptions
1. Bhagavan does not give us liberation, but turns our attention back to face ourself and thereby enables us to see that we are ever-liberated

You have expressed many ideas here, some of which are correct and others of which are not so correct.

Yes, Bhagavan is pure awareness and infinite love, so he is always available here and now, shining as ‘I’ in the heart of each one of us.

He himself said that he cannot give us liberation, because he cannot give us what is ours already. What he does do, however, is turn our attention back to face ourself, because if we look at ourself carefully enough, we will see that we are just pure awareness, which is ever-liberated. This is what he did in the case of all those devotees who have attained liberation by his grace, including his mother and Pasu Lakshmi, and he will do it in our case whenever we are willing to surrender ourself entirely to him.

2. Bhagavan made it very clear that the only means by which we can eradicate ego and thereby be liberated is self-investigation (ātma-vicāra)

As David said, Bhagavan didn’t give any teachings unasked, but when he was asked his first inclination was to advise all questioners to look within to see what they actually are, because this is ‘மார்க்கம் நேர் ஆர்க்கும்’ (mārggam nēr ārkkum), ‘the direct path for everyone whomsoever’, as he says in verse 17 of Upadēśa Undiyār. Only if they showed themself to be unwilling to accept this simple and direct teaching would he discuss with them whatever other type of practice they were interested in and encourage them in their own chosen path.

He made it very clear that the only means by which we can eradicate ego and thereby be liberated is self-investigation (ātma-vicāra). For example, in the eighth paragraph of Nāṉ Ār? he wrote: ‘மனம் அடங்குவதற்கு விசாரணையைத் தவிர வேறு தகுந்த உபாயங்களில்லை. மற்ற உபாயங்களினால் அடக்கினால் மனம் அடங்கினாற்போ லிருந்து, மறுபடியும் கிளம்பிவிடும்’ (maṉam aḍaṅguvadaṟku vicāraṇaiyai-t tavira vēṟu tahunda upāyaṅgaḷ-illai. maṯṟa upāyaṅgaḷiṉāl aḍakkiṉāl maṉam aḍaṅgiṉāl-pōl irundu, maṟupaḍiyum kiḷambi-viḍum), ‘For the mind to cease [settle, subside, yield, be subdued, be still or disappear], except vicāraṇā [self-investigation] there are no other adequate means. If made to cease [subside or disappear] by other means, the mind remaining [for a while] as if it had ceased, will again rise up [sprout, emerge or start]’.

What he clearly implies by saying this is that ātma-vicāra is the only means by which we can achieve manōnāśa (permanent dissolution of mind), and that by any other means we can only achieve manōlaya (temporary dissolution of mind), which is not big deal, because we achieve manōlaya every night when we fall asleep. He implied the same in verses 22 and 27 of Uḷḷadu Nāṟpadu:
மதிக்கொளி தந்தம் மதிக்கு ளொளிரு
மதியினை யுள்ளே மடக்கிப் — பதியிற்
பதித்திடுத லன்றிப் பதியை மதியான்
மதித்திடுத லெங்ஙன் மதி.

matikkoḷi tandam matikku ḷoḷiru
matiyiṉai yuḷḷē maḍakkip — patiyiṯ
padittiḍuda laṉḏṟip patiyai matiyāṉ
madittiḍuda leṅṅaṉ madi
.

பதச்சேதம்: மதிக்கு ஒளி தந்து, அம் மதிக்குள் ஒளிரும் மதியினை உள்ளே மடக்கி பதியில் பதித்திடுதல் அன்றி, பதியை மதியால் மதித்திடுதல் எங்ஙன்? மதி.

Padacchēdam (word-separation): matikku oḷi tandu, a-m-matikkuḷ oḷirum matiyiṉai uḷḷē maḍakki patiyil padittiḍudal aṉḏṟi, patiyai matiyāl madittiḍudal eṅṅaṉ? madi.

அன்வயம்: மதிக்கு ஒளி தந்து, அம் மதிக்குள் ஒளிரும் பதியில் மதியினை உள்ளே மடக்கி பதித்திடுதல் அன்றி, பதியை மதியால் மதித்திடுதல் எங்ஙன்? மதி.

Anvayam (words rearranged in natural prose order): matikku oḷi tandu, a-m-matikkuḷ oḷirum patiyil matiyiṉai uḷḷē maḍakki padittiḍudal aṉḏṟi, patiyai matiyāl madittiḍudal eṅṅaṉ? madi.

English translation: Consider, except by, turning the mind back within, completely immersing it in God, who shines within that mind giving light to the mind, how to fathom God by the mind?

Explanatory paraphrase: Consider, except by turning [bending or folding] mati [the mind or intellect] back within [and thereby] completely immersing [embedding or fixing] it in pati [the Lord or God], who shines [as pure awareness] within that mind giving light [of awareness] to the mind, how to fathom [or investigate and know] God by the mind?

நானுதியா துள்ளநிலை நாமதுவா யுள்ளநிலை
நானுதிக்குந் தானமதை நாடாம — னானுதியாத்
தன்னிழப்பைச் சார்வதெவன் சாராமற் றானதுவாந்
தன்னிலையி னிற்பதெவன் சாற்று.

nāṉudiyā duḷḷanilai nāmaduvā yuḷḷanilai
nāṉudikkun thāṉamadai nāḍāma — ṉāṉudiyāt
taṉṉiṙappaic cārvadevaṉ sārāmaṯ ṟāṉaduvān
taṉṉilaiyi ṉiṟpadevaṉ sāṯṟu
.

பதச்சேதம்: ‘நான்’ உதியாது உள்ள நிலை நாம் அது ஆய் உள்ள நிலை. ‘நான்’ உதிக்கும் தானம் அதை நாடாமல், ‘நான்’ உதியா தன் இழப்பை சார்வது எவன்? சாராமல், தான் அது ஆம் தன் நிலையில் நிற்பது எவன்? சாற்று.

Padacchēdam (word-separation): ‘nāṉ’ udiyādu uḷḷa nilai nām adu-v-āy uḷḷa nilai. ‘nāṉ’ udikkum thāṉam-adai nāḍāmal, ‘nāṉ’ udiyā taṉ-ṉ-iṙappai sārvadu evaṉ? sārāmal, tāṉ adu ām taṉ nilaiyil niṟpadu evaṉ? sāṯṟu.

English translation: The state in which one exists without ‘I’ rising is the state in which we exist as that. Without investigating the place where ‘I’ rises, how to reach the annihilation of oneself, in which ‘I’ does not rise? Without reaching, say, how to stand in the state of oneself, in which oneself is that?

Explanatory paraphrase: The state in which one exists without ‘I’ [ego] rising is the state in which we exist as that [brahman, the ultimate reality and infinite whole, the nature of which is pure self-awareness, uncontaminated by the appearance of anything else]. Without investigating the place [namely one’s fundamental self-awareness] where [from which or in which] ‘I’ rises, how to reach [achieve or take refuge in] the annihilation of oneself [ego], [the state] in which ‘I’ does not rise? [In other words, the only way to annihilate ego is to investigate oneself, the source from which it rises, because only when one investigates oneself will one see oneself as one actually is, and only when one sees oneself as one actually is will one forever cease mistaking oneself to be ego, the false rising and subsiding ‘I’.] [And] without reaching [or taking refuge in] [the annihilation of ego], say [or explain], how to stand [stop, stay or abide] in the [real] state of oneself, in which oneself is that?
In each of these verses he asks one or two rhetorical questions, which in both cases imply essentially the same thing. In verse 22 he implies that we cannot know பதி (pati), the Lord who shines within us as pure awareness, except by turning our mind back within and immersing it completely in him, and in verse 27 he implies that we cannot experience ourself as that (brahman), which is likewise pure awareness, without annihilating ego, and that we cannot annihilate ego without investigating ourself, the place or source from which we have risen as ego.

3. Nāṉ Ār? paragraph 13: we cannot surrender ourself entirely without investigating what we actually are

Though he sometimes said that there are only two ways to eradicate ego, self-investigation or self-surrender, on many other occasions he made it clear that we cannot surrender ourself entirely without investigating what we actually are. For example, in the first sentence of the thirteenth paragraph of Nāṉ Ār? he said: ‘ஆன்மசிந்தனையைத் தவிர வேறு சிந்தனை கிளம்புவதற்குச் சற்று மிடங்கொடாமல் ஆத்மநிஷ்டாபரனா யிருப்பதே தன்னை ஈசனுக் களிப்பதாம்’ (āṉma-cintaṉaiyai-t tavira vēṟu cintaṉai kiḷambuvadaṟku-c caṯṟum iḍam-koḍāmal ātma-niṣṭhāparaṉ-āy iruppadē taṉṉai īśaṉukku aḷippadām), ‘Being ātma-niṣṭhāparaṉ [one who is completely fixed in and as oneself], giving not even the slightest room to the rising of any cintana [thought] other than ātma-cintana [‘thought of oneself’, self-contemplation or self-attentiveness], alone is giving oneself to God’. Likewise in the final sentence of verse 26 of Uḷḷadu Nāṟpadu he wrote: ‘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 [ego] is alone is giving up everything’.

4. Success in ātma-vicāra, namely annihilation of ego, has nothing to do with destiny and everything to do with whether or not we want it enough

You say ‘on the “Karma” theory/aspect anyone who is destined to succeed in “Atma-Vichara” will get irrespective of they want it or not’, but success in ātma-vicāra, namely annihilation of ego, has nothing to do with destiny and everything to do with whether or not we want it enough. As Bhagavan used to say, bhakti is the mother of jñāna. Without wholehearted and all-consuming love to surrender ourself entirely, we will not be willing to attend to ourself so keenly that we see what we actually are and thereby eradicate ego forever.

Destiny (prārabdha) is the fruit of our past karmas, so if destiny could determine whether or not we succeed in eradicating ego, that would mean that liberation is the fruit of karma, which cannot be the case, as Bhagavan says unequivocally in verse 2 of Upadēśa Undiyār:
வினையின் விளைவு விளிவுற்று வித்தாய்
வினைக்கடல் வீழ்த்திடு முந்தீபற
      வீடு தரலிலை யுந்தீபற.

viṉaiyiṉ viḷaivu viḷivuṯṟu vittāy
viṉaikkaḍal vīṙttiḍu mundīpaṟa
      vīḍu taralilai yundīpaṟa
.

பதச்சேதம்: வினையின் விளைவு விளிவு உற்று வித்தாய் வினை கடல் வீழ்த்திடும். வீடு தரல் இலை.

Padacchēdam (word-separation): viṉaiyiṉ viḷaivu viḷivu uṯṟu vittāy viṉai-kaḍal vīṙttiḍum. vīḍu taral ilai.

English translation: The fruit of action having perished, as seed it causes to fall in the ocean of action. It is not giving liberation.

Explanatory paraphrase: The fruit of an action having perished, [remaining] as a seed [a karma-vāsanā or propensity to do the same kind of action] it causes [one] to fall in the ocean of action. [Therefore] it [action] does not give liberation.
Karma is finite, so its fruit is finite, and hence it can never give liberation, which is our natural state of pure and infinite awareness. Therefore we cannot attain liberation by doing anything but only by surrendering ourself entirely and thereby ceasing to do anything at all.

To surrender ourself entirely and thereby cease doing anything we need to turn our mind back within to face ourself alone, and if we succeed in doing so, that is not the fruit of any karma but only the fruit of pure love. As Bhagavan used to say, prārabdha can affect only the outward-turned mind, so it can never obstruct us from turning within. Whether we turn within or not is entirely up to us, so if we wholeheartedly wish to do so nothing can prevent us.

5. What Bhagavan teaches us through silence is exactly the same as what he teaches us by words, but the effect of his silent teachings is much deeper and more powerful

You say that Bhagavan’s teaching is silence, which is the highest teaching of all. That is true, because silence is our real nature, and our real nature cannot be revealed by anything other than itself. Whatever teachings he gave us in words were only to point us in the correct direction, namely within, because only when we turn within and thereby merge back into the source from which we rose as ego will we experience true silence.

Ego is the very antithesis of silence, so we can benefit from his silent teaching only to the extent that we are willing to surrender ourself to him. The more ego subsides, the more we will be guided by his silence.

What he teaches us through silence is what Arunachala taught him through silence, and he puts that into words beautifully and clearly in verse 44 of Śrī Aruṇācala Akṣaramaṇamālai:
திரும்பி யகந்தனைத் தினமகக் கண்காண்
      டெரியுமென் றனையென் னருணாசலா

tirumbi yahandaṉaid diṉamahak kaṇkāṇ
      ṭeriyumeṉ ḏṟaṉaiyeṉ ṉaruṇācalā


பதச்சேதம்: ‘திரும்பி அகம் தனை தினம் அகக்கண் காண்; தெரியும்’ என்றனை என் அருணாசலா

Padacchēdam (word-separation): ‘tirumbi aham taṉai diṉam aha-k-kaṇ kāṇ; ṭeriyum’ eṉḏṟaṉai eṉ aruṇācalā

அன்வயம்: அருணாசலா, ‘அகம் திரும்பி, தினம் அகக்கண் தனை காண்; தெரியும்’ என்றனை. என்!

Anvayam (words rearranged in natural prose order): aruṇācalā, ‘aham tirumbi, diṉam aha-k-kaṇ taṉai kāṇ; ṭeriyum’ eṉḏṟaṉai. eṉ!

English translation: Arunachala, what [a wonder]! You said: ‘Turning back inside, see yourself daily with the inner eye [or an inward look]; it [the reality that always shines as ‘I alone am I’] will be known’.
Therefore what he teaches us through silence is exactly the same as what he teaches us by words, but the effect of his silent teachings is much deeper and more powerful. Therefore to avail of the benefit of his teaching through silence, all we need do is to follow what he taught us in words, namely to turn within to see ourself and thereby to surrender ourself wholeheartedly to him, as he implied we must do in the final sentence of the twelfth paragraph of Nāṉ Ār?: ‘எனினும், குரு காட்டிய வழிப்படி தவறாது நடக்க வேண்டும்’ (eṉiṉum, guru kāṭṭiya vaṙi-p-paḍi tavaṟādu naḍakka vēṇḍum), ‘however, it is necessary to walk unfailingly in accordance with the path that guru has shown’.

6. Only by being in the heart as it is (uḷḷattē uḷḷapaḍi uḷḷadē) are we truly sitting in Bhagavan’s presence

Referring to one of David’s videos, Talks on Sri Ramana Maharshi: Narrated by David Godman - Self-Enquiry, the same mutual friend wrote another email to both of us saying:
I was again hearing this presentation. You were mentioning that Bhagawan mentioned that the His highest teaching is in silence and when one sits in the presence of the Jnani, with the mind tuned one can absorb the state of the Jnani.

Bhagawan’s physical form is not there, and I understand that Bhagawan is much more than His physical. If one sit with all earnestness in front of His photo and try to tune to HIS presence at the heart, can one get the same result as one sitting in the Physical Presence of Bhagawan?
In reply to this I wrote:

As you wrote in one of your recent emails, Bhagavan is not the body but pure awareness and infinite love, so he is always here and now, shining clearly in our heart as our fundamental awareness of our own existence, ‘I am’. Therefore his real presence is to be found only within ourself. Only by being in the heart as it is (‘உள்ளத்தே உள்ளபடி உள்ளதே’ (uḷḷattē uḷḷapaḍi uḷḷadē), as he says in the first maṅgalam verse of Uḷḷadu Nāṟpadu) are we truly sitting in his presence, and in order to be in the heart as it is we must stop looking for anything outside ourself and instead turn our entire attention within to face ourself alone.

In this connection we should consider what he once said to Janaki Mata. One day she saw him returning from the gō-śāla (cowshed), and since there were not many people about she thought this was a good opportunity, so she approached him, prostrated and caught hold of his feet. He looked down at her with a smile and asked, ‘What are you doing?’, to which she replied, ‘I am holding the feet of my guru’, whereupon he said: ‘These are not the feet of your guru. This body and its feet are perishable, so if you cling to them you will be disappointed. The real feet of your guru are shining in you as ‘I’, so cling to those feet. They alone will save you’.

Regarding your question, ‘If one sit with all earnestness in front of His photo and try to tune to HIS presence at the heart, can one get the same result as one sitting in the Physical Presence of Bhagawan?’, his photo (and even simple thought of him) certainly has the same power as his physical presence to turn our attention back to ourself, but we can attune ourself to that power (the power of his grace) only by trying to be self-attentive. In other words, we can benefit from that power only to the extent that we are willing to yield ourself to it by letting go of everything else and clinging firmly to him in our heart as ‘I’.

7. Pure awareness, which is our real nature and what shines within us as ‘I’, is the gracious feet of guru, so clinging to that awareness is the means for us to remove the bondage called ego

After reading what I wrote about what Bhagavan said to Janaki Mata, David wrote that it reminds him of the following passage from Natanananda’s chapter in The Power of the Presence (Part One, pp. 116-7):
A certain lady who had a lot of devotion performed a traditional ritual for worshipping sages whenever she came into Bhagavan’s presence to have darshan. She would prostrate to Bhagavan, touch his feet and then put the hands that had touched Bhagavan’s feet on her eyes.

After noticing that she did this daily, Bhagavan told her one day, ‘Only the Supreme Self, which is ever shining in your heart as the reality, is the Sadguru. The pure awareness, which is shining as the inward illumination “I”, is his gracious feet. The contact with these [inner holy feet] alone can give you true redemption. Joining the eye of reflected consciousness [chidabhasa], which is your sense of individuality [jiva bodha], to those holy feet, which are the real consciousness, is the union of the feet and the head that is the real significance of the word “asi” [in the mahavakyatat tvam asi’ (you are that)]. As these inner holy feet can be held naturally and unceasingly, hereafter, with an inward-turned mind, cling to that inner awareness that is your own real nature. This alone is the proper way for the removal of bondage and the attainment of the supreme truth.’
This passage, like most of that chapter, is a translation of an extract from Śrī Ramaṇa Darśanam, a Tamil book in which Natananandar wrote his reflections on Bhagavan’s life and teachings, so it is also included in the English translation of that book (chapter 20: pp. 34-5). I am not sure whether this passage is his retelling of the same incident I wrote about, or whether he is referring to another occasion in which Bhagavan said much the same as he said to Janaki Mata, but in either case this is further confirmation of what Bhagavan taught about the real nature of guru and his feet and how we should cling to them in our heart.

8. Bhagavan’s teachings are extremely simple and clear, but at the same time very deep and radical, so they are the perfect medicine for anyone who is tired of this ego-life with all its complications, confusions and deceptions

In another email the same friend wrote that one of his friends had advised him not to waste his time reading or surfing the internet, but to ‘go within hug and love God and be lost in that love with no expectation’ or ‘just sit still and watch a spot on the floor in front of you’, in reply to which I wrote:

My suggestion would be that rather than stopping all reading (which anyway I suspect you would not be able to do), you should as far as possible limit your reading to Bhagavan’s teachings. He gives us all we need in the way of guidance, and the advantage of repeatedly reading his teachings is that he constantly reminds us and motivates us to put them into practice by trying our best to turn within and thereby surrender ourself to him. Moreover, by limiting our reading to his teachings we avoid unnecessary distraction and the confusion that results from it.

His teachings are extremely simple and clear, but at the same time very deep and radical, so they are the perfect medicine for anyone who is tired of this ego-life with all its complications, confusions and deceptions.

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anadi-ananta said...

(How) can one ever be happy without ceasing to adhere to any concept whatsoever ?

Anonymous said...

Post 18:
This is From living by the words of bhagavan :

Page 267, conversations with Annamalai Swami

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Nothing can cause bondage for the Jnani because his mind is dead. In the absence of mind he knows himself only as consciousness. Because the mind is dead, he is no longer able to identify himself with the body. But even though he knows that he is not the body, its a fact that the body is still alive. That body will continue to live, and the Jnani will continue to be aware of it, until its own karma is exhausted. Because the jnani is aware of the body, he will also be aware of the thoughts and vasanas that arise in that body. None of these vasanas has the power to cause bondage for him because he never identifies with them, but they do have the power to make the body behave in certain ways. The body of the jnani enjoys and experiences thses vasanas although the jnani himself is not affected by them. that is why its some times said that for the jnani there are bhoga vasanas but no bandha vasanas.

The bhoga vasanas differ from jnani to jnani. some jnanis may accumulate wealth, some may sit in silence; some may study the sastras while others may remain illiterate; some may get married and raise families but others may become celibate monks. it is the bhoga vasanas which determine the kind of lifestyle a jnani will lead. The jnani is aware of the consequences of these vasanas without identifying with them. Because of this he never falls back into samsara again.

The vasanas arise because of habits and practices of previous life times. that is why they differ from jnani to jnani. When vasanas rise in ordinary people who still identify with the body and the mind, they cause likes and dislikes. some vasanas are embraced whole heartedly while others are rejected as being undesirable. These likes and dislikes generate desires and fears which in turn produce more karma. while you are still making judgements about what is good and what is bad, you are identifying with the mind and making new karmas for yourself. when new karma has been created like this, it means that you have to take another birth to enjoy it.

The jnani's body carries out all the acts which are destined for it. But because the jnani makes no judgements about what is good or bad, and because he has no likes and dislikes, he is not creating any new karma for himself. because he knows that he is not the body, he can witness all its activities without getting involved in them in any way. There will be no rebirth for the jnani because once the mind has been destroyed, there is no possibility of any new karma being created.

Anonymous said...

Annamalai Swami pg 24 of Final Talks
Quote
Everything we see in this waking state is a dream. These dreams are our thoughts made manifest. Bad thoughts make bad dreams and good thoughts make good dreams, and if you have no thoughts , you dont dream at all. But even if you do dream, you must understand that your dream is also the Self. You dont have to supress thoughts or be absolutely thoughtless to abide as the SElf. If you know that even your waking and sleeping dreams are the Self, then the thoughts and the dreams they produce can do on. They will not be a problem for you any more. Just be the Self at all times. In this state you will know that everything that appears to you is just a dream.

in pg 25, he further explains:
Quote
The waking state which you take to be real, is just an unfolding of dream that has appeared to you and minifested in front of you on account of some hidden desires or fears. Your vasanas sprout and expand miraculously , creating a whole waking-dream world for you. See it as a dream. Recognize that it is just an expansion of your thoughts. Dont lose sight of the Self, the substratum on which this vast believable dream is projected. IF you hold onto the knowledge "I am Self", you will know that the dreams are laso the Self, and you wont get entangled in them.

Anonymous said...

Intellectually , all these make sense. Since I had glimpse of higher state, my curiosity has become more intense. I do understand that I should not be attached to even my experiences. But without having proper understanding of what I experienced, I am finding it difficult to let that go. I am beginning to forget my own experiences now , since its been several years, but I still remember the lessons I learned from it. Bhagavan has also said that world exists as self. Why did he say world exists as self? Instead he could have said world doesn’t exist at all. I think in all his teachings, he meant world as ego doesn’t exist, but as self exists.

Sanjay Lohia said...

Asun, you wrote, ‘ego is a mixture of thought and awareness’. This is not a useful way to describe ego even though this is true in one sense. Ego is chit-jada-granthi: that is, ego is, to borrow Michael’s words, ‘the knot (granthi) formed by the entanglement of awareness (cit) with an insentient (jada) body, binding them together as if they were one'. According to Bhagavan’s teachings, our body is also a thought, so in this sense, ego can be said to be a mixture of thought and awareness.

However, the term 'thought' has a wide range of meaning; therefore, when we merely say ‘thought’, that does not always imply our body, so your description about ego is misleading. The thinker (ego) is also a thought and whatever this thinker (ego) thinks is also a thought.

Steven said...

Anadi-ananti,
You said,
“one cannot state with certainty that this world does not exist when we do not perceive it”
This is something we can state with absolute certainty.
How do we know this?
Because nothing exists without awareness.
The world exists because it borrows existence from Awareness-existence.
It is a reflection of awareness-existence. Without you [awareness] there can be no world. This is logic 101, not something we need to accept on faith.

This concept that it is only the ego that sees the world… what does that mean?
Well, first of all, ego is nothing but a perspective. It is a perspective of separation. So unless you have a perspective of viewing things as separate you cannot view the world as world.

Here’s an example often used in advaita.
You have a lump of clay. Out of the clay you make houses, men, roads, animals, cars, tables, and pots. Sages will look at all that and they will see only clay.

The ego view is to see separate objects. Ego doesn’t even see clay.
Because all the sage sees is clay, he looks with equanimity at all objects. One is not better than another because they are all clay.
On the other hand the ego view is that a car is more valuable than a pot; a human more valuable than an animal.
Again, the sage sees it all as clay.

Clay symbolizes awareness. Everything is made out of awareness equally. The sage sees everything as awareness [clay] but that doesn’t mean he cannot recognize houses and cars and tables. He sees houses, cars and tables, but he is always aware they are made up of clay and only clay.

That is why Bhagavan said, you do not have to stop seeing the image in the mirror in order to see the mirror itself. Similarly, you do not have to stop seeing houses, cars and tables in order to see that they are made up of nothing but awareness [clay].

So no, the sage does not see the world as world, he sees the world as clay [awareness] first and foremost. But as is pointed out in the link anonymous gave us, you couldn’t even operate in the world if you acted like everything is always completely equal, no difference between a cow and a mosquito. The sage can see both views. One is truth, the other an illusory appearance.

Steven said...

That is why in Hinduism the Guru is regarded as greater than Brahman. Brahman can only see the One Ultimate. The Guru can see both perspectives.

anadi-ananta said...

Steven,
"Because nothing exists without awareness."
"Without you [awareness] there can be no world. This is logic 101, not something we need to accept on faith."
Your above statements are clearly only assumption of which you could never provide conclusive proof. What evidence would you can offer ?

Sanjay Lohia said...

Steven, you say, ‘That is why in Hinduism the Guru is regarded as greater than Brahman. Brahman can only see the One Ultimate. The Guru can see both perspectives’. However, according to Bhagavan, brahman (or God) and guru are absolutely identical. God, guru or brahman is what we actually are. Bhagavan teaches in paragraph 12 of Nan Ar?:

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

However, sometimes a distinction is made in the roles of the guru and God. Though they are the same reality, God is seen more in the role of a boon-giver, someone who answers our prayers and guru’s role is to lead us back to reality. So in this sense, the guru’s role is far superior to the role of God. In this sense, the guru leads us back to God, but then we find they (God and guru) are ultimately only one.

Steven said...

Brahman has no consciousness of the appearances of the world. Brahman is conscious of Its own Sat-Chit-Ananda only. Since Bhagavan has realized He is Brahmanic consciousness, we could also use the appellate “Bhagavan” to signify “Brahman”.
If we do this we have to say the words “Bhagavan” and “Brahman” refer to the same identical thing. Two words for the same thing, and then we couldn’t say Bhagavan the guru is greater than Brahman.

However this would do a terrible injustice to Bhagavan. It is precisely because Bhagavan can view the appearance of the world as well as Brahmanic Consciousness that we say Bhagavan is greater than Brahman.

Sanjay Lohia said...

We feel safe when we realise that Bhagavan is holding us light

Bhagavan has given a very gentle path. Like a father and mother protecting and leading us, he leads us gently along this path. Though like others we also fear, we feel safe when we realise that Bhagavan is holding us light. So if we trust Bhagavan and his gentle guidance, we have nothing to fear. Why do we feel fear to lose all these things? It is because of our desires and attachments for all these things. Bhagavan wants us to give up our desires and attachments willingly, but he doesn’t force us to give them up. He just gives a gentle path to follow, which if we follow, slowly but surely our desires and attachments lose their strength and our love to surrender ourself grows.

Atma-vichara is not like other harsh paths like yoga. In ashtanga yoga, one tries to go into samadhi and all those things by controlling the breath and thereby forcibly trying to keep the mind still. However, in atma-vichara we are no trying to force our mind to go within. We are slow slowly trying to wean our minds off its desires and attachments and feeding it with love for Bhagavan. So this is a highly gentle path.

^ Based on the video: 2019-09-28 Yo Soy Tu Mismo: Michael James discusses how to overcome fear of an existential void (00:03)

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. said...

"I didn´t write only “ego is a mixture of thought and awareness”, I specified .." Sorry.

Yo Soy Tu Mismo said...

Regarding your comment Michael from 9-1-2020 at 5:21 pm when you mentioned that "when we see a physical object like a table, what we are really seeing is the light reflected from that object" could you explain this in more detail?

Yo Soy Tu Mismo said...

Michael, Sanjay shares an excerpt from a recent video in which he talks about the necessary skepticism, specifically I am referring to Sanjay Lohia's publication of January 10, 2020 at 7:48 where he says, literally:
"we must be skeptical about everything, and only then can we have faith in Bhagavan's teachings. People generally think that faith and skepticism are opposed to each other, but in Bhagavan's teachings, both are necessary. We need to be sceptical about everything to have faith in what Bhagavan taught us.
In this sense and on a practical level, how does this sceptical attitude develop?

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Mouna said...

So funny, I just lost count of how many times, in Michael’s blog and others I used to attend, the question if the jnani sees the world or not after the ego is destroyed, comes up!
There is always someone new showing up igniting the issue anew... and comments from both sides proving their point fill the screens of our respective intellects.
If there is a Bhagavan in the clouds looking down at us, he must be having so much fun with these terrestrial discussions where nobody knows anything but chat as if we know everything!

"Willingness" is samsara too said...
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anadi-ananta said...

I don't believe anything, least of all I depend upon my own beliefs and experiences.:-)I will see where it will lead to ?

Anonymous said...

How do you know that my experience was just imagination of the mind?

Unknown said...

Mouna, As to your comment of 12 January 2020 at 14:46. Yes, this question has cropped up before here in this blog and as to your comment content, well said and very apt indeed.

"Willingness" is samsara too said...

Because every experience is an imagination of mind.

anadi-ananta said...

Anonymous,
we all had the one or other spiritual experience out of the ordinary.
But that does not help now somehow further. Do we not need fresh insight in our real existence if there is such one ?

Anonymous said...

Who said Salazar? It is just your beliefs that is saying this right? You might have had this belief by following some teachings, the so called logical thinking or by reading books. Did you realize the final state to make a statement that every experience is an imagination of mind?

Anonymous said...

I have already forgotten most of my experience. I am grateful to have experienced such a state though, since it shook my entire core beliefs. I will stop talking about it in future:) .

Anonymous said...

Does anybody have V. Ganesan Anna’s email address? Hoping to meet him during summer.

Anonymous said...

I agree with Mouna to some extent, but how else can one understand Bhagavan’s teachings? Bhagavan happily remained silent most of the time.

Anonymous said...

Question: You say that maya is one of the shaktis. What exactly do you mean by shakti?

Annamalai Swami: Shakti is energy or power. It is a name for the dynamic aspect of the Self. Shakti and shanti [peace] are two aspects of the same consciousness. If you want to separate them at all, you can say that shanti is the unmanifest aspect of the Self while shakti is the manifest. But really they are not separate. A flame has two properties: light and heat. The two cannot be separate.

Shanti and shakti are like the sea and its waves. Shanti, the unmanifest aspect, is the vast unmoving body of water. The waves that appear and move on the surface are shakti. Shanti is motionless, vast and all-encompassing, whereas waves are active.

Bhagavan used to say that after realisation the jivanmukta [liberated one] experiences shanti within and is established permanently in that shanti. In that state of realisation he sees that all activities are caused by shakti. After realisation one is aware that there is no individual people doing anything. Instead there is an awareness that all activities are the shakti of the one Self. The jnani, who is fully established in the shanti, is always aware that shakti is not separate from him. In that awareness everything is his Self and all actions are his. Alternatively, it is equally correct to say that he never does anything. This is one of the paradoxes of the Self.

The universe is controlled by the one shakti, sometimes called Parameshwara shakti [the power of the Supreme Lord]. This moves and orders all things. Natural laws, such as the laws that keep the planets in their orbits, are all manifestations of this shakti.

Steven said...

anadi-ananta, you said:
"Your above statements are clearly only assumption of which you could never provide conclusive proof. What evidence would you can offer ?"

Ok here is the proof.
What would a world in which awareness is absent look like?
Please tell what exists when awareness is removed?
To say something exists already posits awareness there in the first place.
This is not just me saying this, scientists too.
Max Planck considered one of the greatest physicists said:

“I regard consciousness as fundamental. I regard matter as derivative from consciousness. We cannot get behind consciousness. Everything that we talk about, everything that we regard as existing, postulates consciousness.”

Steven said...

Anonymous,
Thanks for the quotes from Annamalai Swami. Clearly said.

anadi-ananta said...

Steven,
(how) can opinions in daydream or even scientific physical findings have ever evidential value of reality ?

Sanjay Lohia said...

Sir, 'Yo Soy Tu Mismo' have asked you a question. In fact, I also wanted to ask you the same question, but somehow I didn’t ask. The following is what they wrote: ‘regarding your comment Michael from 9-1-2020 at 5:21 pm when you mentioned that "when we see a physical object like a table, what we are really seeing is the light reflected from that object" could you explain this in more detail?’ So if you answer this question, it will satisfy my query as well. Thank you.

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anadi-ananta said...

Sanjay,
Michael may also explain how the matter is when I touch that table with my hand and put for instance a cup of tea on it or carry the table in the neighbouring room whether I "touch" and "carry" also only the light reflected from that object.

Mouna said...

Yo Soy Tu Mismo, if I may...
If you google search “reflection of light”, “why we see objects” or “light absorbed vs reflection” to just name a few ways to search, you will get your scientific answer in a myriad of forms. It is a basic scientific subject.

Sanjay Lohia said...

Asun, you claim that ego is the mixture ‘I am’: that is, according to you, ego is formed when the thought ‘I’ mixes with the awareness ‘am’. Have I understood correctly? When I say ‘I am’, what do I mean? I mean that I am certain of my existence, and since I cannot exist if I were not aware of my existence, by saying ‘I am’ I am clearly implying that ‘I exist and am also aware of my existence’. So the term ‘I am’ refers to the awareness of our fundamental awareness.

If I say ‘I am walking’, what I imply is ‘I, who am a body, am walking’ because only a body can walk. Likewise, if I say ‘I am thinking’, what I imply is ‘I, who am a mind, is thinking’ because only the mind can think. So ego is not merely ‘I am’, as you seem to believe, but ego is ‘I am’ mixed up with body and mind. So ego is chit-jada-granthi (a tightly entangled knot of awareness with various insentient adjuncts, like body and mind). Bhagavan used to say, what we are in ‘nan nan’ (I am I) whereas ego is ‘nan idu’ (I am this). So what we actually are is best described as ‘I am I’ or more simply as ‘I am’. Ego is always ‘I am’ plus this and that.

In this regard, we can carefully consider verses 20 and 21 of Upadesa Undiyar:

20: In the place where ‘I’ [the ego] merges, that, the one, appears spontaneously [or as oneself] as ‘I am I’. That itself is pūṉḏṟam [the infinite whole or pūrṇa].

21: That [the one infinite whole that appears spontaneously as ‘I am I’ where the ego merges] is at all times the substance [or true import] of the word called ‘I’, because of the exclusion of our non-existence even in sleep, which is devoid of ‘I’ [the ego].

Bhagavan teaches us in verse 20 that ‘I am I’ or ‘I am’ is the infinite whole or purna, so ‘I am’ cannot be a description for ego. Ego is certainly not the infinite whole. Bhagavan teaches us in verse 21 that this infinite whole is what we actually are, and therefore this infinite whole is the real ‘I’. This is because this real ‘I’ remains in sleep when we are unaware even of ego or any other phenomena. However, when this ‘I am’ is mixed with any phenomena (anything which appears and disappears), this mixed self-awareness is ego.

"Willingness" is samsara too said...
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Steven said...

anadi-ananta, you said:

"(how) can opinions in daydream or even scientific physical findings have ever evidential value of reality ?"

It has the same reality as the question. That would be like asking, “how can dream food satisfy hunger?”
The dream food has the same amount of dream reality as the dream hunger.

By your reasoning you could have just said, "my own question has no reality or meaning." Instead you seem to be saying “my question is real but all answers cannot be real."

anadi-ananta said...

Steven,
I only remanded your offered proof as inadequate. So clearly your assertions remain unproven.

Sanjay Lohia said...

Asun, in his latest video, 2020-01-11 Ramana Maharshi Foundation UK: discussion with Michael James on Ēkāṉma Pañcakam verse 2, Michael says at around 24:00 something to the effect:

When Bhagavan talks about ‘I am’, he is talking about the fundamental awareness ‘I am’. Whether we think ‘I am’ or not, we are always aware ‘I am’, so Bhagavan is talking about the awareness ‘I am’ and not the thought ‘I am’. The words ‘I am’ denotes the awareness of your own existence.

So the awareness ‘I am’ is not ego or any other thought. ‘I am’ is the basis of ego and all the thoughts which come out of it. That is, ego originates from 'I am', and all phenomena originate from ego.

Steven said...

anadi ananta,
I offered logical proof. Please tell me your logic in which the world can exist without awareness present if you find my logical proof wrong.

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anadi-ananta said...

Steven,
I don't claim that "the world can exist without awareness present".
I only said - that we (as dreaming ajnanis) cannot have certainty at all let alone that nothing could exist outside of human awareness. According my logic only a jnani can know with certainty what is and/or what is not. :-)

Turning 180 degrees can only be imagination said...
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Mouna said...

The world cannot exist without awareness, proof of that waking and dreaming (ego)
Awareness exists without the world, deep sleep / pure awareness (self)

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Anonymous said...

When your eyes are open, has the world disappeared? Did Bhagavan say that he doesn’t see the world at all when he was alive? In ulladu narpadhu I think he mentions the screen analogy. If forms really doesn’t exist he would have simply said no screen, no light, no pictures and only awareness exists. Instead he said everything exists as self. Steven said , that is the difference between Guru and Brahman. Guru when alive sees the world because the form is still there with him. After realization all he lost was I am the body idea, not the body itself. In deep sleep the body doesn’t move. In realized being body moves. It appears to me people on this blog are ready to accept Michael’s posts, but not Annamalai Swamy’s talks. Nobody seemed to have tried to understand what he has said.

Anonymous said...

:) If you had that same experience as mine, I would be surprised if you didn’t get attached to it. I will stop here. This is turning out to be a never ending argument.

Anonymous said...

Thanks

Turning 180 degrees can only be imagination said...
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Anonymous said...

My last comment on this topic. Following are from ulladu narpadu.

To those who have not realized the Self, as well as to those who have, the word 'I' refers to the body, but with this difference, that for those who have not realized, the 'I' is confined to the body whereas for those who have realized the Self within the body the 'I' shines as the limitless Self.

To those who have not realized (the Self) as well as to those who have the world is real. But to those who have not realized, Truth is adapted to the measure of the world, whereas to those that have, Truth shines as the Formless Perfection, and as the Substratum of the world. This is all the difference between them.

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Steven said...

anadi-ananta,
you said:“I only said - that we (as dreaming ajnanis) cannot have certainty at all let alone that nothing could exist outside of human awareness.”

In this case you are differentiating “human awareness” from pure awareness.
What is human awareness? Human awareness is pure awareness containing a human body object. But if we discriminate further we can notice that we are not human awareness, we are awareness in which a human object is appearing.
And the point is that no object can appear without awareness being there first.

Thus “the world does not exist when we do not perceive it” is proven syllogically thus:
1.Nothing can exist when awareness is absent.
2. The world is something.
3. The world cannot exist when awareness is absent.
This is one of the most important ways we can use the mind to discover truth.

Shankara called advaita the path of discriminating wisdom. We use the discriminating power of our minds to discover what is true. Syllogism proofs are essential to jnana.
A syllogism is discriminating wisdom. An example is:
All water is wet.
The ocean is water.
The ocean is wet.

Sanjay Lohia said...

Asun, you say, ‘‘I´m not differentiating ego from mind. To me, they are one and the same’. Ego and mind are the same in one sense but different in another sense. Bhagavan makes this clear in verse 18 of Upadesa Undiyar:

Thoughts alone are mind [or the mind is only thoughts]. Of all [thoughts], the thought called ‘I’ alone is the mūla [the root, base, foundation, origin, source or cause]. [Therefore] what is called mind is [essentially just] ‘I’ [the ego or root-thought called ‘I’].

The term ‘mind’ is used in two senses in Bhagavan’s teachings. In the first sense, 'mind' is used as the collection of all our thoughts. In the second sense, 'mind' is used as a synonym for ego. Bhagavan mostly used mind as a synonym for ego because, as Bhagavan says, ego is the root of the mind, and therefore mind essentially is just ego.

Bhagavan says in verse 21 of Upadesa Undyar:

That [the one infinite whole that appears spontaneously as ‘I am I’ where the ego merges] is at all times the substance [or true import] of the word called ‘I’, because of the exclusion of our non-existence even in sleep, which is devoid of ‘I’ [the ego].

We look at the sky and find that the midday sun is fully covered with clouds. However, all of a sudden all clouds make way and the midday sun appears in all its glory. The sun was always there at the back of the clouds, but it appeared in our view only when the clouds dispersed. Likewise, the one infinite whole will appear spontaneously as ‘I am I’ only when ego merges within ourself. This absolute clarity of ‘I am I’ is not newly created, but it was somehow hidden under the clouds of ego and all other phenomena. As soon as ego leaves us, we clearly experience ourself devoid of ego and all its creations.

So when we first experience ourself as we actually are, it will seem a new experience to us. However, we will very soon realise that there is nothing new in this experience because we are always as we actually are. It may look something wonderful from the perspective of ego, but ego will no longer remain to enjoy the wonder of this so-called new experience. So we are eternally real, eternally new.




Sanjay Lohia said...

Anonymous, please refer to your comment of 13 January 2020 at 02:44. Annamalai Swami was asked the question: ‘You say that maya is one of the shaktis. What exactly do you mean by shakti?’ I found the reply given by Annamalai Swami useful. As he says, ‘Shakti is energy or power. It is a name for the dynamic aspect of the Self. Shakti and shanti [peace] are two aspects of the same consciousness’. So things happen as they are meant to happen by this dynamic power of self (atma-svarupa). This power is what is called parameshwara-shakti. So we as egos are powerless in front of this parameshwara-shakti. This shakti moves and ordains all things. Natural laws, such as the law that keep the planets in their orbit, are all manifestation of this all-powerful shakti.

So we should recognise the might of the shakti and keep quiet. This is what Bhagavan advises us to do throughout his teachings. We as ego are completely powerful to make things happen. Such recognition will help us to surrender ourself to Bhagavan. Bhagavan is both – he is the perfect shanti as well as absolute shakti. So we need a unitary vision. That is, brahman and ishvara are not two different things. Ishvara is the inherent power of brahman, but this power is not different from brahman.

anadi-ananta said...

Steven,
already the truth of your sentence 1." Nothing can exist when awareness is absent." is unproven. Not even your excursion in syllogism can magic away the lack of evidence.
My point is: although sentence 1 could possibly be true we do not know it with certainty - albeit admittedly much speaks well for it.:-)

Steven said...

Salazar,

Your comment to Anonymous is the type of comment that I thought is the very reason this board is moderated and I am surprised it was allowed to be published.

This is what happens on message boards when people cannot support their positions they go about with personal attacks toward the people they disagree with.

If you disagree with Anonymous fine, put out your cogent reasoning here and we’d all love to hear it. But to insult and say someone else is not in a position to understand other viewpoints is way below the belt and I hope Michael James follows the rules of the board and removes your post.

anadi-ananta said...

Sanjay,
when you state "So we are eternally real, eternally new.",
is it not more accurate to say "...eternally real, eternally old" ?

. said...

Yes, Sanjay, I could see and follow your line of argument from the "I am" as ourself starting point. No problem.

Steven said...

anadi-ananta,
You said we do not know for certainty the truth of the statement: “nothing can exist when awareness is absent.”

Can you just give me some hint, no matter how obscure or ridiculous, of something that can exist without awareness being present?

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anadi-ananta said...

Steven,
some hint for you whether something can exist without awareness being present:
something that does not depend and/or is not dependent on any/our awareness being present can easily and plainly exist without any/our awareness being present.

"Willingness" is samsara too said...
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Sanjay Lohia said...

Bhagavan proves by his logical argument that we are nothing but happiness

Bhagavan teaches us in paragraph one of Nan Ar?:

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

We all have a greater love for ourself than for any other thing. Even if we love to serve others – whether humans or animals – we do so for our satisfaction. A soldier is prepared to sacrifice his life in a war because he is doing so for his country. Bhagavan says ‘happiness alone is the cause of love’. I want to buy a big car because I feel owning that car will make me happy. So we love those things that we believe will contribute to our happiness.

So Bhagavan gives us a logical argument here. He says, firstly, we all desire to be happy. Secondly, we all have the greatest love for ourself. And finally, happiness alone is the cause of love. The implication is we alone are happiness. Then Bhagavan says ‘to obtain that happiness, which is one’s own nature, which one experiences daily in [dreamless] sleep, which is devoid of mind, oneself knowing oneself is necessary’. So Bhagavan proves by his logical argument that we are happiness, and then he gives another reason to confirm this point. We are happiness because we are perfectly happy in sleep. Sleep is a state devoid of mind, and the only thing that exists is sleep is ourself, and in the absence of everything else, we are perfectly happy.

When we wake up from sleep, we are full of energy and therefore spend the whole day fulfilling our endless desires. But however strong our desires maybe, after spending 16 hours or so of fulfilling our desires, sooner or later, we reach a point when we want nothing more than just to close our eyes and sleep. If we haven’t slept for several days, nothing in this world will attract us more than sleep. Sleep is such a pleasant state, and what exists in sleep? We alone exist in sleep. Since we look forward to sleep, that proves happiness is our real nature.

So in order to attain that happiness, it is necessary for oneself to know oneself. That is if we want to be really happy, we have to know what we actually are and to know what we actually are, jnana-vichara (awareness-investigation) is the principal means.

• Based on the video: 2019-09-28 Yo Soy Tu Mismo: Michael James discusses how to overcome fear of an existential void (14:00)


Turning 180 degrees can only be imagination said...
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Anonymous said...

:) yes I agree I have made confusing statements in the past. All enlightened beings are no exceptions either. They always make confusing statements. So I don’t regret it. I said randomness is part of nature. A teacher I respect said this. It was not something I invented. God doesn’t plan tsunami or earthquake and kill specific creatures on earth at a point in time. Death could be considered as a sad event for you, may not be for God. A narcissistic person may become powerful and wealthy and stay that way until death, that doesn’t mean he/she has earned good karma in the past life. So again outlook plays a role. You agree that world is a dream right? Doesn’t ridiculous meaningless events happen in dream? Why then world is an exception? After all world is also an illusion., but exists as self :) as long as realized soul is alive.

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Sanjay Lohia said...

A sadhu is permitted to beg for food, but true sadhus shouldn’t be asking for money

Bhagavan used to tell his devotees at his ashram not to ask for money. Bhagavan lived like a beggar. Before the ashram and the cooking started, Bhagavan used to go begging his food in the town. A sadhu is permitted to beg for food, but true sadhus shouldn’t be asking for money.

• Based on the video: 2019-09-28 Yo Soy Tu Mismo: Michael James discusses how to overcome fear of an existential void (31:00)

My reflection: Bhagavan never permitted his devotees or the ashram manager to ask for donations for ashram’s maintenance or new projects or similar things. However, his views in this regard were not always kept in mind by his devotees or the ashram manager. On the day Bhagavan arrived at Tiruvannamalai he had some petty coins left with him, but he threw them all into the water tank of the big temple and never touched money again. However, when people donated eatables to his ashram, Bhagavan did not object. When people asked Bhagavan as to why he was against collecting money but had no objection if the food was donated, Bhagavan said, ‘because we cannot eat money’ or something to this effect.

So though food is a biological need of our body, we do not actually need money in any way. Our body's needs are air, water, food, clothing and shelter. Our body particularly cannot survive without air, water and food but it can easily survive without money. Whatever air, water, food, clothing and shelter our body needs will be provided to us by Bhagavan’s grace, so we should not be concerned about these things.

In short, we should be totally unconcerned about our bodily needs, and instead be only concerned about knowing ‘who am I?’ Am I really this body which has so many needs? Logically, we cannot be this body or any other body, and therefore we actually have no needs. We need to give up our attraction particularly for money, wealth and such things. We need extremely deep vairagya to help us to turn within, to help us to go deeper and deeper within.

Sanjay Lohia said...

If we want to experience that perfect and eternal ahhaa, we have to give up ego

So long as we have desires and attachments we cannot be truly happy, and so long as ego is intact we will have desires and attachments, to a greater or lesser extent. So if we want to happy, we have to give up ego. If we are free of ego, we will experience ourself as we actually are, and what we actually are is infinite and unalloyed happiness. Bhagavan says there is not even an iota of happiness in any of the things of this world or in any of the things we desire.

Why we seem to experience happiness when we achieve the object of our desire? So long as we have the desire for that object, we are dissatisfied. When I am feeling hungry, I feel an annoying dissatisfaction. However, when I am offered a nice plate of food and I begin to eat it, I feel some relief from that dissatisfaction. Temporarily, my agitation of mind subsides and to the extent that agitation subsides, I experience happiness. Another simple example, suppose I am desperate to go to the toilet. I am feeling so uncomfortable and finally when I manage to go – ahhaa, such a relief. I feel pleasure because I am free from that discomfort.

Our state of being a body is a state of discomfort, a state of dissatisfaction. We can never be entirely comfortable or satisfied so long as we are aware of ourself as a body. So if we want to experience that ahhaa, the perfect ahhaa, the eternal ahhaa, we have to give up ego. The nature of ego is to be constantly grasping things, which constantly keeps us dissatisfied.

• Based on the video: 2020-01-11 Ramana Maharshi Foundation UK: discussion with Michael James on Ēkāṉma Pañcakam verse 2 (48:00)

Steven said...

Salazar,
You said Anonymous’ messages are confused, but that is because you do not agree with A’s viewpoint. I find A’s messages the most clear sighted and insightful on this board.
But the rule of the board is that if you don’t like someone’s message you lay out your reasoning and explain your believed correct understanding, not that you start insulting and tell people they are incapable of understanding and their comments are of an inferior nature or that you deem them unfit for the board.

Here are the board rules:
All comments are welcome provided that they are relevant to Bhagavan’s teachings and do not contain personal criticism or abuse. Since we do not all understand his teachings in exactly the same way, any open discussion of them will naturally involve disagreement, but any disagreement should be expressed in a polite, respectful and reasonable manner. By all means criticise ideas that you disagree with, but please explain clearly why you disagree with them and do not allow your criticism to deteriorate into an attack on the supposed character, motive or other qualities of any person who expressed them.


When you said to A: “why are you attempting to comprehend what can only be way over your head?… you are truly not in the position to judge comments …” that is not discussing ideas that is insulting someone and has no place here.

If you don’t like the rules of the board, fine, perhaps find a different board?
Or is it a case that you didn’t even notice what you were doing?

And Michael, why are the rest of us constrained by the rules of the board and those who agree with your opinion are free to post ad hominem. Please remove all moderation if some are allowed ad hominem and others are not.

Sanjay Lohia said...

Asun, you say, ‘Almost got it, but not fully yet’. None of us has got it. If we had got it, we wouldn’t have been here. We will get it fully only when we lose ourself in what we are trying to get. Moreover, if someone says, ‘I have got it’, they have not got it because there is still an ego there to say ‘I have got it’. Of course, we are in a process of deepening our understanding, so in that sense, we are indeed getting it more and more. However, we can never get it fully because we will have to disappear before we can fully get it.

Anonymous said...

This will be my last comment and then I will stop posting. Steven has said you are insulting me. I am not affected by your insults , since I am encountering really ill hearted people nowadays and I have been trying to follow Bhagavan’s teaching to handle them. But I do feel that personal attacks should be avoided. Tsunami is God ordained, the effect of Tsunami is not. People don’t die in Tsunami because they did something evil in the past. The power that rules the world doesn’t plan or think. It acts spontaneously. So possibility of something happening randomly to a soul may not be 0 all the time. Concept of karma is mentioned in various scriptures, just not by Bhagavan. I am indian by the way. So karma concept is deeply ingrained in my system, culture etc. Bhagavan has also said more suffering will come to a person who hurts good people than a person who hurts bad people. I believe in that. One may ask: if everything is predestined, how does randomness come into play? I would say randomness is also part of destiny. We as ego don’t have control over events. One who believes in karma cannot say: I have been a good person all the time. Why is bad happening to me? Bad things may happen to someone not because he/she did something wrong in the past, but could act as a trigger for him/her to shed more of the ego. why hurting others is considered evil? Simple: i will end up hurting someone, only because I have more ego. The more I hurt others, more I inflate my ego and it won’t help me at all to come out of birth/death cycle. So the hurt is not actually done to others, but just to the one that caused the hurt. We have control over just how we react to a event. How we react will help us shed our ego or make it inflated. And yes, Bhagavan’s teaching is confusing to me. I will never understand everything until I attain that so called liberation.

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Sanjay Lohia said...

Our vasana is an urge or inclination to act in certain ways and vasana is not based on memory

Michael: Karma is an effect. The cause of karma is our desires and attachments, and our desires and attachments are the very nature of ego. So when we are trying to turn within, we are going against the very nature of ego. The nature of ego is to always grasp something other than itself.

A friend: Karma is memory.

Michael: Not really. Karma simply means action, but what is it that drives us to act? That is our will, which is all our desires, attachments, likes, dislikes, hopes, fears and so on. These are all our vishaya-vasanas. Bhagavan says actions are jada (insentient), but why do we do actions?

The friend: Because of memory.

Michael: Not because of memory – because of our desires and attachments. Memory comes and goes. A vasana is not based on memory. It has got nothing to do with your memory. It is your will. Supposing you have an accident and your memory goes. You forget everything – you forget you are Marry, and you forget your whole life. But you will still have the same vasanas, the same inclinations. If you like pizza and if someone brings pizza before you, you will be attracted to eat it even though you may never remember to have seen a pizza before. When we are born, we have no memories of our past lives, but we are carrying our vasanas.

What causes us to do actions and what causes us to remain to this bodily life is our vasanas, our desires and attachments. Ego comes into existence by grasping form, and all our desires and attachments sustain ego. So we need to give up our grasping nature if we want to give up ego. The more we succeed in being self-attentive, the more we will weaken our desires and attachments, until eventually they drop. When our vasanas become weak enough, we will be finally willing to let go and hold on to ourself alone.

Why do we want to remain as this body and continue with our life? In sleep we are perfectly happy without this body and our life, so why are we so attached to this bodily life?

• Based on the video: 2020-01-11 Ramana Maharshi Foundation UK: discussion with Michael James on Ēkāṉma Pañcakam verse 2 (33:00)

My reflection: Our memories are harmless if we can look at them with detachment. However, our memories can bring our vasanas to the surface of our mind, so in that sense memories usually do bring our vasanas into play.

Anonymous said...

I just read my Yesterday’s comment. I do realize it was not articulated well. I posted another one today. I don’t think Bhagavan ever spoke about randomness, but not sure. For me , believing in randomness has helped deflate my ego and transfer the burden to God.

Turning 180 degrees can only be imagination said...
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Turning 180 degrees can only be imagination said...
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Unknown said...

Steven you said "and Michael, why are the rest of us constrained by the rules of the board and those who agree with your opinion are free to post ad hominem. Please remove all moderation if some are allowed ad hominem and others are not.

Steven you have raised a very pertinent point regarding this matter which raises doubts as to what could be the reasons for Michael to do what you point out he is doing. Let us hear it from the horse's mouth itself. Steven you have been a welcome addition to the blog going by the recent comments from you.

Turning 180 degrees can only be imagination said...
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Mouna said...

I wonder how much of the comments we share in spiritual blogs, including Michael’s, help inflate ego with tasty delicacies while at the same time the cop out is that we are “doing” manana (which certainly is true in some sense).
I am not judging, just raising the issue.
Is manana to be done for years or decades as crutches for lack of nidhidyasana?
What is the ratio between sravana, manana and nidhidyasana in our lives? Do we have to strike a balance between them? Aren’t we (in blog activity which seems to be designed for) unbalanced towards manana than the other two, specially the third?
These are rhetorical questions, mostly for myself, than the need to be answered.
Ego hides in the most conspicuous places.
Food for thought (if there are such thing...)

Turning 180 degrees can only be imagination said...
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Unknown said...

Someone is jealous and acting like a hurt child because his posts are not appreciated but someone else's posts are. LOL!

Col said...

Some random thoughts

Its only in view of ego that there is multiplicity. When we cease rising as ego all that is left is pure awareness. if we want to go deeper we make connections to what the teachings left, point to. We stand up our views to the teachings and see how our views could be based on some overlooked assumptions. I.e. i may not fathom well why i see this or see that yet the world is unreal according to the teachings. It is because I have overlooked a small detail. Perhaps I love my way of seeing the world too much and so I put down the teachings and look for confirmations that correlate to my view.

Since saying at the final realization there never was an ego, then our true nature never saw multiplicity. The ego was unreal all along and thus all we took ourselves to be as the perceiver was only seemingly imagined. I have many night terrors during sleep, I imagine there are moving objects in my room "there is a light moving towards me" I shout to my wife" do you not see it?" . Such is the power of imagination but on investigation taking a closer inspection and the increasing tiredness setting back in i must concede that it was just imagination after all.

If I say here is a chair then I must also say there is a view point from which I stand to perceive it. Atma vichara is turning towards ourself. the ego cannot be found but since we see multicity it indicates it has risen.

Upon fully unrealising the unreal, since pure awareness is only aware of itself, it is at that point being is all that is left. Effort belongs to the ego.

Unknown said...

Salazar, Steven's posts are way beyond your league and he brought life to the discussions. Your posts are mediocre to the point of abject boredom without any substance whatsoever. From my experience in this blog about you so far, we are dealing with a cockroach.

Sanjay Lohia said...

Mouna, I thank you for the comment, which you ended by writing ‘food for thought’. I believe the comments we share on this blog will not inflate our ego if we do so in order to deepen our own understanding of Bhagavan’s teachings. Moreover, if we are trying to turn within to the best of our ability, our ego is thereby automatically kept in check. But, yes, we should examine our aim for being on this blog.

You ask, ‘Is manana to be done for years or decades as crutches for lack of nidhidyasana?’ Why do we try to think about Bhagavan’s teachings? Why do we try to write about them? One word for this is 'love'. Bhagavan has somehow sown the seed of love for his teachings in our heart. At least, I find nothing as appealing as engaging in these pursuits. Just thinking about Bhagavan’s teachings compels me to put them into practice.

You ask, ‘What is the ratio between sravana, manana and nidhidyasana in our lives? Do we have to strike a balance between them?’ Obviously, we should give maximum importance to our practice of self-surrender and self-investigation. So our sravana and manana should be an aid to our practice. In fact, Bhagavan wants us to remain in uninterrupted self-remembrance. So if we are able to do so, we do not need any further sravana and manana. Bhagavan teaches us in paragraph 11 of Nan Ar?:

If one clings fast to uninterrupted svarūpa-smaraṇa [self-remembrance] until one obtains svarūpa [one’s own form or real nature], that alone is sufficient. So long as enemies [namely viṣaya-vāsanās] are within the fort [namely one’s heart], they will be continuously coming out from it. If one is continuously cutting down [or destroying] all of them as and when they come, the fort will [eventually] be captured.

So we definitely need to understand the limitations of our manana – at least, manana is not an end in itself. However, until the fort is not captured (until we do not experience ourself as we actually are), we should continue with our sravana, manana and nididhyasana. Each aids the other two. If it were possible to remain forever in self-absorption, we wouldn't have been here on this blog. Since we are here, this indicates that our desires are still strong. These desires compel us to remain busy in this world. So when we face towards this world, the best thing we can do is to read and think deeply about Bhagavan's teachings.

Our fight against ego is never going to be easy because ego is fighting back with all its might. Its soldiers which are all its desires and attachments make up a highly strong army. However, ego is already cornered. If knows that its end is near but it foolishly continues to fight back. Since grace is on our side, ego is doomed to die, and it will soon die – no question about it. However, we have reason to slacken our efforts.



Sanjay Lohia said...

Mind is like the trunk of the elephant

At one place, Bhagavan says that the mind is like the trunk of the elephant. The trunk of the elephant is always trying to catch something. So what is the best thing for the mind to catch? Catch itself! When we hold on to ourself, we thereby let go of other things, but if we don’t hold to ourself, we will be going out to hold something or the other.

• Based on the video: 2019-09-28 Yo Soy Tu Mismo: Michael James discusses how to overcome fear of an existential void (01:11)

My reflection: Bhagavan teaches us in paragraph nine of Nan Ar?:

Both by mūrti-dhyāna and by mantra-japa the mind gains ēkāgratā [one-pointedness]. Just as if one gives a chain in the trunk of an elephant, which is always moving [swinging about trying to catch hold of something or other], that elephant will proceed grasping it without grasping anything else, in exactly that way the mind, which is always moving [wandering about thinking of something or other], will, if one makes it habituated [to holding] on any one name or form, remain grasping it alone [without thinking unnecessary thoughts about anything else]. Because of the way in which the mind spreads out as innumerable thoughts [thereby scattering its energy], each thought becomes extremely weak. When thoughts reduce and reduce, for the mind which, gaining ēkāgra-taṉmai [one-pointed nature], has thereby gained strength ātma-vicāra [self-investigation] will easily be accomplished.

Michael James said...

As far as possible I prefer not to have to reject any comments that are posted here, and I haven’t felt it necessary to do so for a while, but as several friends have pointed out in the last couple of days, recently some comments have been becoming increasingly ad hominem in their tone. In my role as moderator, I have to strike a balance between on the one hand leaving everyone free to express their own views and to have unfettered discussions with each other about Bhagavan and his teachings, which is what I would like to be able to do, and on the other hand not allowing the tone and spirit of the discussions to descend below a certain level.

So that I do not have to start rejecting any comments again, may I ask you all to take care to avoid even the slightest hint of an ad hominem tone in your comments. As Steven wrote in his comment of 14 January 2020 at 09:13, if any of you disagree with what anyone else has written, please do not insult them or say anything derogatory about them or their understanding, but explain in clear and reasonable terms why you disagree with them. Being derogatory about another person’s understanding does not help them or anyone else to understand more clearly and correctly, whereas pointing out what Bhagavan actually taught us (particularly in his own original writings, which are obviously far more reliable than any other sources) and explaining why you therefore think their understanding is not correct may perhaps help them if they are willing to reconsider what they have understood till now.

Sanjay Lohia said...

Mouna, I would like to correct a couple of typos in my last comment addressed to you. Please look at its fifth paragraph, where I wrote: ‘So we definitely need to understand the limitations of our manana – at least, manana is not an end in itself. However, until the fort is not captured (until we do not experience ourself as we actually are), we should continue with our sravana, manana and nididhyasana’. The second sentence here should have been: ‘However, until the fort is captured (until we experience ourself as we actually are), we should continue with our sravana, manana and nididhyasana’. I often use 'until' in the wrong way.

Also look at the last sentence of its last paragraph, where I wrote: ‘However, we have reason to slacken our efforts’. This sentence should have been: ‘However, we have no reason to slacken our efforts’.

Sanjay Lohia said...

We all know we are going to die when we have to leave all these things, so why not begin to leave them now?

When we have such a loving mother and father in Bhagavan, what we need to fear? As he had assured Perumal Swami, he will not leave us even if we go to hell. He will even come there with us to save us. All we need to do is to yield ourself to him, and he will take care of everything. Even if we find it difficult to surrender to him, let us leave even the burden of surrendering to him. That is, let us pray to Bhagavan: ‘Bhagavan, on my strength I am unable to surrender myself to you. Without your help, I cannot surrender myself, so you make it possible for me to surrender myself’. If we have even that slightest willingness – which we all have because he has given it to us – he will certainly enable us to surrender ourself entirely to him.

So we shouldn't fear anything. Because we have desires and attachments, we naturally fear to lose things, but one day we are going to leave all these things anyway – all the things we hold dear to our life. We all know we are going to die when we have to leave all these things, so why not begin to leave them now? We, in any case, leave all our desires and attachments every night when we go to sleep. So why not start leaving things in the waking state? The more we are willing to leave other things, the easier it will be for us to turn within – the deeper we will go within.

The deeper we go within, the more all the deeper layers of our desires and attachments will rise up along with their corresponding fears. Because if we desire something, we are going to fear to lose it, so fear is the other side of desire. But if we patiently persevere on the path Bhagavan has shown us, whatever desire or fear may arise from within, we shouldn’t allow our mind to follow it. We should just turn back within. This way we go within deeper and deeper and deeper.

• Based on the video: 2019-09-28 Yo Soy Tu Mismo: Michael James discusses how to overcome fear of an existential void (38:00)

anadi-ananta said...

Sanjay,
regarding the conjunction "until",
in the given context of meaning "not before" perhaps you better could use the conjunction "unless".
Or - What says the native speaker of English ?

. said...
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Mouna said...

Thanks Sanjay for the expansion of my comment. (Including correcting your typos)

Michael James said...

Rajat, I have replied to your comments of 31 December 2019 at 13:37 and 4 January 2020 at 02:55 in a new article: What does Bhagavan mean by the term ‘mind’?

Turning 180 degrees can only be imagination said...

Sadhu Om: By allowing falsehood and injustice to thrive in this world, and truth and justice to be suppressed, Bhagavan is testing us. If we allow an ‘I’ to rise and object, he will laugh at us from within: ‘So you still believe this world to be real.’ Therefore our duty is to keep quiet. If we are actually attacked, we must respond as if we were brushing away a wasp, but having taken whatever action is necessary, we should keep quiet, both inwardly and outwardly. We should not brood over the matter or bear a grudge towards anyone who does wrong to us.

Sanjay Lohia said...

Salazar, I thank you for sharing this saying by Sri Sadhu Om. If we are attacked by anybody, we should not respond but simply keep quiet, both inwardly and outwardly. We should not think about the issue or have ill-will towards the person who wanted to harm us or has actually harmed us. Everything happens according to our prarabdha, so everything is a part of a divine plan. This plan has only one purpose and that is to lead us back to itself. So why to hate anyone?

anadi-ananta said...

Sanjay,
you mean "This plan has only one purpose and that is to lead us back to ourself."(not itself)

Sanjay Lohia said...

Anadi-ananta, I wanted to write, ‘This divine has only one purpose and that is to lead us back to itself’. However, what you write is also true: that is, ‘This plan has only one purpose and that is to lead us back to ourself’.

anadi-ananta said...

Sanjay,
if we are actually part of any purpose of the divine or divine plan - which is much the same - in any case we as apostates have to be led back to "ourself".

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