Thursday, 23 January 2020

To know what we actually are, we need to cease being interested in any person

A friend wrote to me recently saying he wants to know more about me as a person, including about my family background, such as whether my parents were devotees of Bhagavan and whether all my siblings are also interested in his teachings, and he asked me whether he should try to convince his brothers and sisters to learn about his teachings, because they have other interests and opinions, some of which he disagrees with. This article is adapted from the reply I wrote to him.

Bhagavan’s path is the path of self-investigation and self-surrender, and what we need to investigate is not the person we seem to be but only ego, the spurious entity that is aware of itself as ‘I am this person’.

The person we seem to be is what Bhagavan refers to as ‘body’, because as he clarifies in verse 5 of Uḷḷadu Nāṟpadu, what he means by ‘body’ is not just the physical body but a form composed of five sheaths (the physical body, life, mind, intellect and will). All these five sheaths are jaḍa (non-aware) and asat (unreal or non-existent), so they are not ‘I’, as he says in verse 22 of Upadēśa Undiyār. Ego is neither the body nor sat-cit (because the body is jaḍa and therefore not aware of itself as ‘I’, and sat-cit does not rise), but a spurious ‘I’ that rises in between them as ‘I am this body’, as he says in verse 24 of Uḷḷadu Nāṟpadu. Ego is therefore called cit-jaḍa-granthi, the knot (granthi) formed by the entanglement of awareness (cit) with a body, which is non-aware (jaḍa), binding them together as if they were one. In other words, ego is neither real awareness (cit), which always shines just as ‘I am’, nor the body, but misappropriates certain properties of each of them.

What is real in ego is only ‘I am’, which is our fundamental awareness of our own existence. Therefore in order to investigate ourself, we need to ignore the body or person we seem to be and focus all our interest and attention only on ‘I am’.

Taking interest in the person we seem to be or in any other person is therefore deviating away from the direct and simple path that Bhagavan has shown us. Our life in this world is just a dream, so whatever person we seem to be is not real, and details about this person’s life are just a fiction.

The only thing that is important in our life is that Bhagavan has somehow or other attracted us to his teachings, so we should pay heed to what he taught us and try our best to follow his path. We need not be concerned whether our parents, siblings or anyone else are interested in this path or not. Bhagavan is taking care of them just as he is taking care of us. They may not be interested in his teachings at present, but he knows how best to draw everyone eventually back to him, the source from which we have all appeared, so we should leave all that to him.

This is a solitary path, because it is only when we rise as ego that we are aware of anything other than ourself, so if we are to surrender this ego we need to cease being aware of anything else. As he says in verse 26 of Uḷḷadu Nāṟpadu:
அகந்தையுண் டாயி னனைத்துமுண் டாகு
மகந்தையின் றேலின் றனைத்து — மகந்தையே
யாவுமா மாதலால் யாதிதென்று நாடலே
யோவுதல் யாவுமென வோர்.

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

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

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

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

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

English translation: If ego comes into existence, everything comes into existence; if ego does not exist, everything does not exist. Ego itself is everything. Therefore, know that investigating what this is alone is giving up everything.

Explanatory paraphrase: If 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 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 ego, and hence it cannot seem to exist unless ego seems to exist]. [Therefore] 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 [ego] is alone is giving up everything [because 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].
And as he says in the first sentence of the thirteenth paragraph of Nāṉ Ār?:
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 or self-attentiveness], alone is giving oneself to God.
This person called Michael whom you ask about is just one of the characters appearing in your present dream, so knowing anything about him is of no use to you. Even the person you now mistake yourself to be is just a fiction created by your dreaming mind, so you need to learn to surrender your interest in him also. All you need to know is what you yourself actually are, and the means to know that is the path of self-investigation and self-surrender.

117 comments:

Sanjay Lohia said...

Bhagavan’s path is a solitary path

In the comment section of Michael’s latest video, Bubba the Self has written a comment addressed to me. I reproduce below this comment and my reply to him:

Bubba the Self: Sanjay Lohia Yes, I have even gone to “satsangs” of a Ramana Maharishi group where even several of his relatives (descendants in some form) attend. They have pictures of Sri Ramana, do japa and pooja, children do skits and sing songs organized by their parents, socialize, have food, and then about 5 minutes of silence. It is nice in a way, but It’s more of a blind memorization and recitation of Bhagavan’s teachings, and I don’t get a sense that they truly understand what it is pointing to. They say it is all very complicated and difficult to understand, but to me it’s very simple, far more than the Bhagavad Gita commentary group I was attending. So basically people in this world are only content working their minds on some complex theories, but when something is actually simple, the mind short circuits and doesn’t compute- and then says it’s all so complicated! How upside down it all is. I’ve decided to stop attending all spiritual groups. This is a very intimate path I have to walk alone and no amount of socializing, debating, or potlucks will get me out of this dream to freedom. Listening to Michael on YouTube is good enough for me and it provides all the shravanam and mananam I need on a daily basis. And when I practice atma vichara I become more and more simple minded and the clarity becomes greater and it makes even more sense than the previous day. I’m so grateful for this path that is the only way out.

Sanjay Lohia: Bubba the Self, I agree with you when you say, ‘This is a very intimate path I have to walk alone and no amount of socializing, debating, or potlucks will get me out of this dream to freedom’. Yes, we have to walk on this path alone because we are in fact absolutely alone, whether we know it or not. That is, this is the story about this one ego trying to end its dream. All our socializing, debating or potlucks keeps us bound to our dream, so we have to leave all this and turn within to face ourself alone. No one else can really help us on this path if we are not interested to turn within. Coincidently, Michael has touched upon this very subject and written in his latest article as follows:

This is a solitary path, because it is only when we rise as ego that we are aware of anything other than ourself, so if we are to surrender this ego we need to cease being aware of anything else. As he says in verse 26 of Uḷḷadu Nāṟpadu:

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

As you say, ‘I’m so grateful for this path that is the only way out’. Yes, Bhagavan’s path is the only way out. Some people may not like to hear the simple logic as to why Bhagavan’s path is the only way out, but that should not concern us.

anadi-ananta said...

"...if 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 ego, and hence it cannot seem to exist unless ego seems to exist]. [Therefore] 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 [ego] is alone is giving up everything [because 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]."
Yes, but what shall I do when apparently I not and not am and perhaps never will be able to carry out the required investigation with sufficient keenness ?
"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 or self-attentiveness], alone is giving oneself to God."
Yes,yes, but what shall I do when apparently I not and not am and perhaps never will be able to carry out being completely fixed in and as myself ?
Is trying it again later and later - perhaps till the end of times - the only way out ? What do you say, Arunachala or what does your silence tell me ? Is your silence an expression of your disappointment that I have betrayed your trust ?

Sanjay Lohia said...

Bhagavan asks us: ‘what is the use of knowing everything else without knowing ourself’

Real philosophy is based on scepticism: that is, in real philosophy, we have to question everything and not believe everything blindly. Bhagavan often would say, ‘this is a path of unlearning and not of learning’. What Bhagavan means by unlearning is deconstructing all our old beliefs. That is, understanding that all we had learnt previously was based upon our false assumptions. We come to Bhagavan with so many beliefs. I come to Bhagavan believing: ‘I am Michael. I was born in such-a-such a country at such-a-such a time. Since I have come to Bhagavan, he will teach me how to attain mukti? So in the future, I will attain mukti’ and so on. I come to Bhagavan believing that this world exists independent of my perception of it, so even after I attain mukti, I will continue to see the world until this body dies. We come with so many beliefs.

However, Bhagavan demolishes all our beliefs. He says liberation is not something to be attained in the future. He says all you have to do is to see that you are ever liberated. If you see what you really are, you will directly come to know you were never this person you seem to be. So we have to unlearn all that we had learnt previously in order to understand and accept that there is only one thing we need to know. In verse 3 of Anma-Viddai, Bhagavan sings:

Without knowing oneself, if one knows whatever else, what [value does such knowledge have]? If one has known oneself, then what [else] exists to know? When one knows in oneself that self [one’s real nature], which is the light [that shines] abhinna [without bhinna: separation, division, difference or distinction] in separate living beings, within oneself ātma-prakāśa [the shining, clarity or light of oneself] will flash forth [like lightening]. [This is] aruḷ-vilāsa [the shining forth, amorous play or beauty of grace], aha-vināśa [the annihilation of ego], iṉba-vikāsa [the blossoming of happiness]. ([Therefore] ah, extremely easy, ātma-vidyā, ah, extremely easy!)

Therefore, Bhagavan says all our learning is useless. What is real, what actually exists, is only ourself. All this multiplicity exists only when we rise as ego. If we know ourself, nothing else will exist for us to know. When we have unlearnt everything, what remains is pure awareness, and that is what we actually are. So we have to ultimately unlearn that we are ego. How can we do that? We can do so by seeing what we actually are. To see what we actually are, we have to look at ourself. So what we need to know is only ourself and nothing else.

Nothing is as simple as Bhagavan because Bhagavan is what is shining in us as ‘I’. That alone is real. Nothing else exists, according to Bhagavan. So we need not know anything except ourself.

• Based on the video: 2020-01-19 Yo Soy Tu Mismo: Michael James discusses why Bhagavan’s path is a path of unlearning (01:37)

Salazar said...

anadi-ananta, you will investigate with sufficient keenness, if not in this life then in the next. Your head is in the Tiger's mouth :-)

And yes, we have to move our head to look towards the sun/light in order to be free. If we keep looking away from the light/self, can we blame self to be [seemingly] bound?

anadi-ananta said...

Sanjay says "Nothing is as simple as Bhagavan because Bhagavan is what is shining in us as 'I'. That alone is real. Nothing else exists, according to Bhagavan. So we need not know anything except ourself."
Therefore we need to know ourself. However, Bhagavan apparently doesn't mind that what shines in me as 'I' is still plain ego. Bhagavan, you called me to come to Arunachala twenty years ago and then you showed a preference to behave mostly indifferent towards me. How can I get wind of you(r) shining in me as 'I' when not even one single compassionate word of regret or feeling sorry for me [about my inability to discover you in me] did/does ever pass your lips ? Or do you even make fun of me ?
Your seeming inabsentia in me is unpleasant, unfortunate, unnerving and intolerable. You seem to be quite unmoved by my pleas for mercy. Would you not like to comply with my requests at least to the same extent as I endeavour to remain fully in pure awareness ? If you consider all my previous attempts just as ridiculously poor/trivial please let me know your view and give me at the same time a helping hand. Or is that too much to expect ?

Sanjay Lohia said...

'Sanjay' is just a fiction created by my dreaming mind, so I need to surrender my interest in him

The following reflection is based on Michael’s above article. I am obviously obsessed about Sanjay and everything about Sanjay. But if 'Sanjay' is just a fiction created by my dreaming mind, I need to surrender my interest in him. How to do so? I can do so by taking interest in what is actually real in Sanjay. What is real in Sanjay is only my fundamental self-awareness ‘I am’. So the more I attend to myself: that is, the more I turn within and try to face myself alone, the more I will lose interest in Sanjay and thereby the more I will become interested in what I actually am.

‘The only thing that is important in our life is that Bhagavan has somehow or other attracted us to his teachings, so we should pay heed to what he taught us and try our best to follow his path’, says Michael. So Sanjay’s life is important because Sanjay seems to be attracted to Bhagavan’s teachings. However, who is attracted to Bhagavan’s teachings? The one who is attracted to Bhagavan’s teachings is the one ego which now identifies itself with Sanjay. This ego, therefore, has a two-way attraction. One the one hand, I (ego) am obviously greatly attached to Sanjay and Sanjay’s little and inconsequential life in this world, and one the other hand, I (ego) am also attracted to Bhagavan’s path of atma-vichara. So now this ego’s interest stands divided between these two opposing interests. Grace is pulling it towards itself (which is within); maya is pulling it away from itself (towards the world).

So how do we win this battle? That is, how do I as this ego yield myself fully to the pull of grace? I can do so by practising atma-vichara more and more, and when I am not able to practise, I should at least try to read and think deeply about Bhagavan’s teachings. But the idea should always be to go back to practising atma-vichara because only atma-vichara will dissolve our samsara and thus make us eternally free.

Asun said...

Truth is that we are alone and so long as this truth is not faced and fully experienced, god and bhagavan still are part of the multiplicity or second and third persons, therefore, of very little or relative help, nevertheless, his teachings are very helpful because they encourage us to face and experiencing this truth, unlike society and relatives that almost force us to avoid it, as something that go against nature, to the extent that we have lost completely self-connectedness or self-awareness "feeling" and inner freedom. Now we not only have to face the truth that we are alone, we also have to do it leaving aside everybody and everything else, not going against nature but against the current and inertia, unlearning what we have learned, in adverse environment. Yet, experiencing that we are alone is enjoying it and a basic requirement for practicing self-investigation. Just my view, though.

Sanjay Lohia said...

Our time may be up in this world, who knows?

Bhagavan says in verse 31 of Ulladu Narpadu:

For those who are [blissfully immersed in and as] tanmayānanda [happiness composed of that, namely brahman, one’s real nature], which rose [as ‘I am I’] destroying themself [ego], what one [action] exists for doing? They do not know [or are not aware of] anything other than themself; [so] who can [or how to] conceive their state as ‘[it is] like this’?

In this verse, Bhagavan is talking about what will be our state after ‘I’ has died. Tanmayananda is our real nature, so when we investigate ourself and immerse ourself within ourself (that is when the ego dies), we remain as tanmayananda. That is, we remain as bliss which is our real nature. Bhagavan uses ‘themself’ as a singular form. What Bhagavan implies is that in the clear view of the atma-jnani there are no others, so there is only one atma-jnani and not many. Who is the one atma-jnani? Bhagavan used to say, ‘jnana alone is the jnani’. Jnana means pure-awareness. So what knows pure-awareness is only pure-awareness. So jnani is not any person. Porul and tanmayananda mean the same, namely our real nature.

Bhagavan says, ‘what one [action] exists for doing?’ That is, for the jnani there is no action to be done. In fact, the jnani can never do any action. This is also clearly expressed by Bhagavan in verse 15 of Upadesa Undiyar:

When the form of the mind is annihilated, for the great yōgi who is [thereby] established as the reality, there is not a single doing [or action], [because] he has attained his [true] nature [which is actionless being].

Bhagavan says in verse 31 of Ulladu Narpadu, ‘They do not know [or are not aware of] anything other than themself’. What it implies is that the jnani doesn’t know anything other than itself. In the clear view of the jnani there are no others. There is only that pure-awareness – jnana. Therefore, in the last sentence, he says, ‘who can [or how to] conceive their state as ‘[it is] like this’?’ It’s beyond our conception. What conceives this or that is only our mind, but how can the mind conceive a state in which there are no others?

• Based on the video: 2019-08-03 Sri Ramana Center, Houston: discussion with Michael James on Uḷḷadu Nāṟpadu verse 31 (00:06)

My reflection: We may find that we are not able to keep pace with the ways of this world. At times we may find that we are almost paralyzed: that is, we do not want to act to achieve anything in this world. However, these may be good signs because we cannot achieve anything worthwhile by any amount of acting. These signs indicate that we are losing interest in this world. We don’t want to plan for anything, and we don’t want to try to do anything. These could indicate that ego is losing its grip on this world.

So if this world doesn’t attract us with the same force as it used to earlier, that is a welcome sign. We know Bhagavan’s call is strong in our case, so let us now respond to his call with even greater zeal and one-pointedness. We have had enough of this world. Our time may be up in this world, who knows? It may be the time for the grand celebration, who knows?

anadi-ananta said...

Asun,
when you say "Yet, experiencing that we are alone is enjoying it and a basic requirement for practicing self-investigation." may I put a question
to you ?
If one fully experiences that one (=you=we) is/are alone, why/how should there still be any need for practising self-investigation ?

Mouna said...

Michael mentioned in one of his recent videos (I'll be paraphrasing) that one of the problems of vedantic teachings is that historically, the simple teachings of the Upanishads started to be complicated to understand because all the commentaries, and the commentaries on the commentaries (and the commentaries on the commentaries on the commentaries!) appeared...
Isn't that something that we are doing here?
Isn't that interesting that we are seeing the same process developing right in front of our eyes with Bhagavan's teachings?
This Bhagavan scholar understanding vs that Bhagavan scholar understanding?
I do understand that there are ideas that need to be "unwrapped" because their simplicity hides subtleties that if not understood will defeat their so called "simplicity", but aren't we in a similar process in relation to Bhagavan's teachings as advaita was in relation to Shankara's?
How much longer we will keep "manana" as a cop-out for not being courageous enough to let go of everything with our nidhidyasana?...

Again, I am not criticizing anyone or anything said here since I owe a lot to this blog and also I am the first in acknowledging my limitations in this area, but I am just "simply" raising the question. As one philosopher once supposedly said: "An unexamined life is not worth living"

More food for thought.
thanks

Asun said...

Anadi-ananta,

Abiding in self-awareness is the practice of self-investigation. We are said that practicing self-investigation is necessary till mind subsides and doesn´t rise never again, I guess one knows without doubt when that happens and self-investigation is not necessary anymore. To me, facing and experiencing that we are alone is the easiest and fastest way to focus on self-awareness, that´s why I commented it but if you don´t find it useful, just forget it :)

Asun said...

Sanjay,

Michael also uses to say that we shouldn´t be concern about how far or close we may be from the aim, important thing is to be on the right track and always vigilant, without falling into self-deception and self-complacency.

Sanjay Lohia said...

Asun, I agree. As you say, ‘we shouldn´t be concern about how far or close we may be from the aim, important thing is to be on the right track and always vigilant, without falling into self-deception and self-complacency’. We should definitely keep this in mind.

anadi-ananta said...

Asun,
in any case I am grateful for your comment.:-)

Sanjay Lohia said...

Mouna, you share ‘more food for thought’ and write, ‘Michael mentioned in one of his recent videos (I'll be paraphrasing) that one of the problems of vedantic teachings is that historically, the simple teachings of the Upanishads started to be complicated to understand because all the commentaries, and the commentaries on the commentaries (and the commentaries on the commentaries on the commentaries!) appeared...Isn't that something that we are doing here? Isn't that interesting that we are seeing the same process developing right in front of our eyes with Bhagavan's teachings?’

It may appear to some that Michael is also writing complicated commentaries on Bhagavan’s teachings, or it may appear to some that Michael also just talks like other Vedantic scholars in his videos. However, I do not view his writings or talks (which are partly conversations) in this way.

Michael has given me much more clarity about Bhagavan’s teachings than anyone else has done. In fact, I mostly got or still get highly confused versions of Bhagavan’s teachings from others. Michael has helped me deconstruct my old beliefs in the light of Bhagavan’s teachings, and this has been his great contribution to my life. Michael has encouraged critical thinking in me. Now whenever I hear anyone talk about Bhagavan’s teachings, I can easily separate the grain from the chaff. Moreover, Michael is not adding his own ideas to Bhagavan’s teachings. Some people who did or do commentaries on Vedantic teachings are guilty of adding their own ideas into Vedantic ideas, and thereby they defile the purity of the ideas contained in the original texts.

In short, I can safely say that Michael has made Bhagavan come alive for me. He has clearly introduced me to Bhagavan and his teachings, so I will always remain grateful to him. He is my friend, philosopher and guide.

I agree when you write, ‘How much longer we will keep "manana" as a cop-out for not being courageous enough to let go of everything with our nidhidyasana?’ We should definitely focus more and more on nididhyasana, who can deny that? So we are in perfect agreement here!

Nothing special said...

Mouna

I hear you. Any call to turn within is good.

Mouna said...

Sanjay,
My comment wasn’t about Michael per se, and you can be assured that I share exactly the same thoughts when it comes to be grateful for the contribution he provided to many of us for understanding Bhagavan’s teachings.
I am only noticing, granted, maybe erroneously, a process that seems to replicate what happened with the Upanishad teachings (or Buddha’s and Jesus’) when Shankara appeared on the scene, in relation to Bhagavan’s teachings only seventy years after his passing...
Sadhu Om, David Godman, Robert Adams, Papaji, and many others have also benefit many devotees and followers whom are really grateful for their input on Bhagavan’s teachings but still some of their views seems to radically differ.
It seems to be the nature of things (rather, the nature of the manas-mind) when it comes to spirituality and original teachers, as we say in literature, that the plot thickens... everybody seems to claim (even tacitly) intellectual property of the teachings.

And by the way, I find Michael’s writings, view and reasoning, the most sound and solid of them all, that’s why I keep and shall continue to read his essays.

anadi-ananta said...

Michael,
you say "Bhagavan’s path is the path of self-investigation and self-surrender, and what we need to investigate is not the person we seem to be but only ego, the spurious entity that is aware of itself as 'I am this person'."
Because I experience myself actually (or at least seemingly) as the person I seem to be - how can I/we recognize practically that difference (between ego and person) which you consider as so particularly important to be understood although I am not even aware of it in the least ?
How can I practically/empirically/actually by own experience recognize that even the person I now mistake myself to be is just a fiction created by my dreaming mind ?

Aham said...

.


Terrific Mr James. Your answers have the power to focus the attention and quieten the mind.

Although, it is worth noting that Sri Ramana did share his story occasionally. Sometimes doing so has the power to turn an aspirants attention inward.

Thank you for your great dedication to Truth.


.

Asun said...

Michael tells that Shadu Om used to say” that the more we subside [i.e. the more we remove ourself (the person we seem to be) from the picture], the more we allow the light of Bhagavan's grace to shine through without obstruction.” So, I´d say that his dedication is mostly to himself which is a very good way for us to unlearn egotism and to learn selfishness. Depending on our own clarity and discernment, we´ll see what is going on in this blog and the role that it is playing in our practice in one way or another.

Sanjay Lohia said...

Asun, yes, ‘that the more we subside [i.e. the more we remove ourself (the person we seem to be) from the picture], the more we allow the light of Bhagavan's grace to shine through without obstruction’: Sadhu Om has put it quite beautifully. If our ego raises its head while we are trying to share Bhagavan’s teachings, it will be like blocking Bhagavan’s light from reaching the place where it is meant to reach.

anadi-ananta said...

Michael,
I thought I have published a comment yesterday at around 20:34 UTC.
If you find it please delete this enquiry.

Sanjay Lohia said...

Nature has designed plants to produce edible fruits

Of all the plants, arguably the most sattvik of all foods is fruits. This is because plants produce fruits in order for the fruit to be eaten. If humans or other animals eat those fruits, that is a way of distributing their seeds. If we eat fruits with seeds, the seeds come out with a nice package of fertilizer. That is why nature has designed plants to produce edible fruits.

We can’t live just on fruits. . .

• Based on the video: 2020-01-26 Yo Soy Tu Mismo: Michael James discusses the need for a sāttvika diet (1:19)

My reflection: Michael says, ‘We can’t live just on fruits’. I respectfully beg to differ with him on this point. I have come to believe that we can live only on fruits if we want to or if we are able to, depending on what is available near us. However, since fruits are available in abundance at almost all places, we should not find it difficult to survive and more importantly thrive only on fruits. We may include fruity-vegetables like bell peppers, tomatoes, cucumbers etc. in the category of fruits.

According to my current understanding, the optimal human diet is only fruits, vegetables, greens, nuts (optional) and of course water. We do not need to consume any grains, legumes, heavy starches like potatoes, beetroot and so on. We may survive on foods like grains, legumes, heavy starches, but these are not our ideal food. Moreover, we should ideally never cook our foods. Loren Lockman (a raw food advocate) says in one of his youtube videos:

Our bodies are set up to eat a 100% raw diet. Cooking food creates toxins; cooking food destroys nutrients. Nobody benefits from eating cooked food even if people insist they do. Even a little bit of cooked on a consistent basis is going to negatively impact how we feel and function. It will create toxins in your body. It is not something which could happen, but it is going to happen. There is no exception. Give every creature on the planet cooked food and watch it get less healthy.

Our lives can become so much simpler if we can just consume raw fruits, vegetables and greens. Pick, wash (if required) and eat – so simple! Dr Douglas N. Graham says in his famous book The 80/10/10 Diet:

The practice of eating enough fruit to make complete meals of it is alien to most of us. Yet it is an idea whose time has come. Fruits are designed to be our stable; they contain everything required to be the source and mainstay of our nutritional sustenance. We have been trained to think of fruit as a treat, something to eat at the end of a meal, or perhaps as a snack between meals when nothing else looks good. But I invite you to begin thinking of fruit as real food, and even as a meal unto itself.









Sanjay Lohia said...

The least movement of the mind is samsara (world), and its standing still is liberation

Bhagavan used to say: ‘Samsara is only in your mind. The least movement of the mind is samsara, and its standing still is liberation’. He also said, ‘Whatever draws your mind outward is samsara, and whatever puts your mind back into yourself is liberation’. We are so afraid of this world, but where is this world? It is only and only in our mind. So if we are afraid of this world, we are in fact afraid of our own mind. So if we want to get rid of all fear, we need to get rid of our mind. How to do so? If we look at the mind, we will find there is no such thing as mind. This is the direct path for all, says Bhagavan.

So Bhagavan has made liberation so easy for us. As he says, ‘standing still is liberation’.

Salazar said...

Re. "Dr." Douglas Graham: He is not a physician nor chemist nor biologist, he is a Dr. of Chiropractic.

This diet is rather extreme and Graham's claim that sugar from fruits is not affecting the blood sugar level is outrageously wrong and a dangerous comment.

This is the other side of the extreme to people who suggest to just eat animal protein. Both are quite wrong. As with all, moderation and a balanced diet is key. Also, not every diet is suitable for anybody, what some people may digest well can be very bad for others.

Sanjay Lohia said...

What is the balanced diet for an anteater?

Salazar wrote: ‘As with all, moderation and a balanced diet is key. Also, not every diet is suitable for anybody, what some people may digest well can be very bad for others’. What is the balanced diet for an anteater? I believe it is only ants and termites. An anteater will not try, say, fruits even if fruits are in its vicinity. Likewise, what is the balanced diet for humans? I believe it is only fruits (and vegetables and nuts if we so desire). We should not consume a thing if it is not meant for us, humans.

Moreover, every fruit is balanced in the nutrients we need. That is, most of the seasonal fruits have carbohydrates, fats and proteins in enough quantities for our body’s needs. So if we eat enough of simple fruits and vegetables, these will give us all the macronutrients and micronutrients we need. This is how I see it. Our digestive system has been designed to digest fruits. We just need to try and see what fruits suit us (based on availability). The more the water content in the fruits we consume, the better they are generally digested.

Sanjay Lohia said...

Sometimes it is better to experience what we desire

Bhagavan doesn’t recommend external renunciation. Some people believe that one needs to be a celibate in order to follow the spiritual path, and such restrictions are advised in yoga. However, Bhagavan taught us that our renunciation has to be internal. If we are celibate, we are renouncing the external activity of sexual gratification, but the desire for sex may still exist within our mind. So Bhagavan is concerned about tackling this desire rather than tackling the external acts. So we need to renounce our desires and attachments. Living a celibate life may be helpful, but it can have a counterproductive effect if the desire for sex is still there. So forcibly renouncing the objects of our desire can be counterproductive in some cases.

Sometimes it is better to experience what we desire. Only when we experience this object, we will understand that this object of desire was not what it seems to be. In English, there is a saying, ‘The grass on the other side of the fence is always greener’. That is, the things we don’t have always seem more desirable than the things we have. But when we get something, then we realise that it is not something that we took it to be before we achieved it. So we need to experience certain things in order to help us wean the mind away from the desire for them. Once we experience those things, we understand there was not much happiness in it as we formerly believed there was.

So Bhagavan generally didn’t recommend niyamas (restrictions), but he did recommend one niyama. He strongly advised us to consume mitta sattvika ahara (vegetarian food in moderate quantity) because the food we consume greatly influences our mind. The word ‘ahara’ etymologically means ‘what is taken in’, so ahara in our context does not refer only to food but to any other substance we take into our body. Ahara is metaphorically anything we take in through our five senses. For example, we may like watching violent movies or drinking alcohol or gambling or such things, but all such activities will either make our mind tamasik or rajasik or usually both tamasik and rajasik. These activities will make our mind dull and excite the passions or violent state of mind.

However, to follow Bhagavan’s path of self-investigation and self-surrender we need a sattvik state of mind. So we should eat foods which are sattvik in nature and avoid all activities which will disturb the sattvik nature of our mind. For example, reading, hearing, thinking and writing about Bhagavan’s teachings is conducive to a sattvik state of mind. We need a calm and clear mind in order to investigate and surrender ourself. So Bhagavan recommends a vegetarian sattivik diet.

• Based on the video: 2020-01-26 Yo Soy Tu Mismo: Michael James discusses the need for a sāttvika diet (29:00)

anadi-ananta said...

Sanjay,
thanks again for your video-transcriptios.
In English you may write "sattvic, rajasic or tamasic" food/diet or mind (not sattvik,rajasik or tamasik).:-)

Salazar said...

Sanjay, I was interested in diet and nutrition for 30 years and have read quite a few books across the whole spectrum of different ideas what is seemingly good and what is not. However with vichara that topic is only of minor interest, if at all, for me.

Now to assert that there is a particular ‘ideal’ diet for humans is not based on any evidence but on the prejudices of the particular author. I have seen that argument taken by vegans/fruitions and by the Paleo people. Both have the same flaw of reasoning because causality cannot be proven. Generalizations like this are based on the ideas of people who got quite attached to their particular form of diet.

Common sense though dictates that there cannot be a diet which is ‘good’ for anybody, it depends on the situation like health, age, the person’s specific metabolism, specific circumstances like pregnancy and where a person lives. Somebody who lives at the Arctic Circle cannot have the same diet as somebody who lives in Singapore.
Somebody who is a diabetic should reduce the consumption of fruit to a minimum and add more protein. That should be clear and only fanatics would argue otherwise.

Now here is something I can believe in and that is to eat only that what grows and is cultivated within a radius of, let’s say, 100 miles where one lives; because for Ten Thousands of years people only ate that where they lived because no food was transported from far. That only started the last 50 years or so and one could surmise that a Mango or Banana should not be eaten in Europe since it is something foreign what has not been eaten since the beginning of Homo Sapiens.

But also that is a belief and cannot be proven.

So what then should one eat?

Again common sense, fresh unprocessed food in moderate amounts cooked and prepared from scratch. Avoid refined sugars, stimulants, and everything what is processed what includes vegetable oil which is harmful for people. Good fats are a must and that is ghee, coconut oil, lard and high quality olive oil. Bad oils are most vegetable oils like sunflower oil, canola oil, etc and also margarine and all artificial processed fats.

But that is only a general outline, i.e. I cannot eat Tomatoes because I have a sensitivity to it. A diabetic should avoid any fruit (and of course refined sugars) since it spikes the blood sugar level and that needs more insulin. On the other hand animal protein does not need any insulin for a diabetic. Now what is the better food for the diabetic? That’s quite obvious, isn’t it?
Anyway, let’s not forget that vasanas are the cause of what we eat and why we believe what is good or not.


Asun said...

Anadi-ananta, you asked “If one fully experiences that one (=you=we) is/are alone, why/how should there still be any need for practising self-investigation?”
I´m reading now “Sri Ramanopadesa Numalai” and in verse 10 of Ulladu Narpadu, Bhagavan says:

“The body (deham) is insentient like an earthern pot; since the consciousness ‘I’ does not exist for it (that is, since it possesses no ‘I’- consciousness) and since our existence is experienced (as ‘I am’) daily in (deep) sleep, where the body does not exist, it is not ‘I’ (naham). Within the Heart-cave of those who abide (as Self) having (scrutinized and) known ‘Who is (this) ego-person (who rises as ‘I am this body’) and where is he?’, Arunagiri-Siva, the Omnipresent (vibhu), will shine forth spontaneously as the sphurana ‘He is I’ (soham).”

And in the explanatory note it is clarified:

“In continuation of the previous two verses, in this verse Sri Bhagavan teaches the true import of the ancient Vedantic revelation, “The body is not ‘I’. Who am I? He is I” (deham naham koham soham). In the first two lines He establishes the truth that the body (deham) is not ‘I’ (naham) by giving two reasons, namely (1) that the body is insentient and therefore has no sense of ‘I’ (that is, it has no consciousness of its own existence), and (2) that our existence is experienced as ‘I am’ even in deep sleep, where the body is not known and therefore does not exist. In the third line He teaches that the means whereby one can realize this truth is to abide as Self by enquiring ‘Who am I?’ (koham), and in the last line He reveals that what results from such enquiry is the experience ‘He is I’ (soham). Thus He teaches that ‘the body is not I’ (deham naham) is the initial viveka understanding with which the practice is to be commenced, that ‘Who am I?’ (koham) is the actual method of practice, and that ‘He is I’ (soham) is only the final experience and not the method of practice, as it is often mistaken to be.”

So, it is not the same separating consciousness-I from the adjuncts which is what I meant by facing and experiencing that we are alone, in the sense that world and others, as well as the body, are only my own projection which facilitates to a great extent focusing attention on consciousness-I which is the practice of self-investigation (koham), than experiencing “I alone am” or “He is I” or “I am that” (soham) which is what results from self-investigation.
I could see the difference and this is why I wrote about experiencing that “we are alone” or "I am alone" instead of “I alone am”, but not with enough clarity to explain it. I think it is an important clarification.

Sanjay Lohia said...

As we go deeper into the practice, we penetrate into deeper and subtler layers of ourself

The more we focus our attention on ‘I am’ alone, the more the ego will subside. That means its adjuncts will start to drop off. The more our attention is focused on ‘I am’, the more our attention is withdrawn from all other things. This way we are separating these adjuncts from ‘I am’. This is a very subtle process, but it is never one ego watching another ego. It is we as ego watching ourself until we lose ourself in ourself. That is until we lose ego in what we actually are.

As we go deeper into the practice, we penetrate into deeper and subtler layers of ourself. It is difficult to express it in words because in order to penetrate deeper into those subtler layers, we have to leave behind all words and thoughts. However, even though it does become more and more subtle, but at the same time, it becomes more and more clear.

• Based on the video: 2020-01-26 Yo Soy Tu Mismo: Michael James discusses the need for a sāttvika diet (01:32)

Unknown said...

Sanjay and Michael,

This strange and strict strict vegan diet you propose, for whom is it? Is it only for Bhagavan's devoted followers or all humans? Anyway who are you both to tell or suggest others what to eat and drink and what not to eat and drink? It is sheer conceited arrogance at best.

Salazar said...

Ah, another attempt by our friend "Ego" or "Unknown" or "Anonymous" to post a comment now as "dietician" which may imply it was done by "Salazar" using phrases I have used in the past.

However, "dietician" or "1oth person" has not noticed (yet) that Michael has changed the settings and therefore only the last moniker used will show on ALL of his past comments. So no more hiding my friend :-)

Thank you Michael, that was overdue.

Aham said...

.


Be Still....link



.

Sanjay Lohia said...

All these talks about sattvika food and everything are just aids

If we look at the world, there will always be a problem because the world itself is a big problem. This world is full of injustices and suffering because of human greed and selfishness. However, even without human greed and selfishness, life is still a problem. We are born, we have to undergo the pain of birth and then we have all the difficulties of growing up. Then we become adult and have so many responsibilities, then we grow older, we get sick and eventually die. So life is a problem from beginning to end.

But the root of all problems is ourself as ego. In fact, we are the problem and we are also the solution to our problems. The only way to solve this problem of ego is for us as ego to attend to ourself. All these talks about sattvika food and everything are just aids, but we can eat any amount of sattvika foods, lead a pure life, but all this is of extremely limited benefit if we don’t investigate ourself. So we should bear in mind that the most important thing is to investigate and know who we really are.

• Based on the video: 2020-01-26 Yo Soy Tu Mismo: Michael James discusses the need for a sāttvika diet (01:44)

My reflection: I have no doubt in my mind that fruits are our ideal food. Only fruits and plants have phytochemicals, which are any of various biologically active compounds found in plants. So plants are highly sattvika foods and therefore the best aid if we want to stay in a calm state of mind. However, as Michael implies, sattvika foods are not an end in itself. So the most important thing is to investigate and experience ourself as we actually are.

Asun said...

Hadn´t noticed that, Salazar, thank you for telling. And thank you so much for the detail, Michael,

Rajat said...

Asun,
In your comment of 28 January 2020 at 16:50, instead of "verse 10 of Ulladu Narpadu" I think you mean "verse 10 of Ulladu Narpadu Anubandham". Just thought to point out, because I was a little confused :)

Asun said...

Right, Rajat. Thank you.

Salazar said...

Sanjay, living in a hot climate like South India fruits might be well suited for the heat, however one will suffer when one eats only fruit in a climate with -20 degrees Celsius.

I only eat very little fruit and the majority of my food sources are veggies, slightly cooked or sauteed. Where I live temperatures go rarely below -5 degrees Celsius during winter. I rarely eat wheat based products but I love oat meal (porridge) and have that regularly.

I notice how the body reacts to certain foods (and that can be different depending on the seasons) and I adjust my food intake accordingly. Food is an aid, not the means to anything, that's only Bhagavan.

Sanjay Lohia said...

Salazar, you say, ‘living in a hot climate like South India fruits might be well suited for the heat, however one will suffer when one eats only fruit in a climate with -20 degrees Celsius’. I have to respectfully disagree with you here. Even though I have not lived in a climate with -20 degrees Celsius, I am sure one can live only on fruits and plants even in such a harsh climate. According to me, fruits and plants in their natural form is our only real food, so we will survive and thrive on it under all worldly circumstances.

Mouna said...

Two questions on diet
Do unfertilized eggs have potential life in them?

What is the relationship between a vegan diet and brain function? An article from the BBC tries to dig into the question, click this link to read it.

More food for thought?...

Salazar said...

Sanjay, I have lived for a few years in a cold climate and I can say from personal experience that I could not eat or drink anything "cold". I needed hot food and beverages otherwise I'd be feeling cold and chilled and miserable. Now that might not be the case for somebody else. -20 degrees Celsius though is not real harsh, the American Middle West has that every year or worse, I'd consider harsh temperatures below -30/40 degrees Celsius.

I do respect your belief and you may be right, however I follow a diet which has the best effect on my personal well-being practically tried out over many years. But I also do not want to over emphasize the importance of diet since it could support indirectly an attachment to the body.

I feel that I am still too attached to the idea of diet, ideally I just eat the food without any thoughts about it or any concerns if the diet is right or wrong. Would Bhagavan not ask, "who is eating that food?" or "who believes that fruits are a superior type of food?"

anadi-ananta said...

Sanjay,
Eskimos or other polar people in arctic regions will rarely have plants and fruits. What food would you recommend them to eat ? :-)

Salazar said...

Mouna, if you do some research you'll find that no egg commercially sold in the US is fertilized and that, because of refrigeration, no life can even develop if fertilized.

Another issue: At what stage is a fetus sufficiently human (or have the right to live)? Now that's a hot topic and there is no agreement in science nor religion.

Mouna said...

Salazar, hello friend.
Agree about the eggs. Maybe at the time of Bhagavan, all eggs were fertilized, that's why he might have said that eggs carry potential life.
The best option then could be "free range" chickens' non-fertilized eggs.
About how healthy eggs are is also a different topic...

Anonymous said...

Mouna has sent link that talks about how brain functions are affected by diet. Isn’t brain function considered a sheath? How does that article apply here for self enquiry practice? Vegetarian diet helps purify mind. It doesn’t matter whether IQ is lowered or not. Also I thought Bhagavan said , weaker the body , better it is for self enquiry.

Salazar said...

Yes Mouna, there is no potential life in a non-fertilized egg, it is impossible. Thus I feel comfortable to eat eggs as a good source of protein.

anadi-ananta said...

Asun,
thank you for your yesterday 's comment at 16:50.
As already Rajat wrote you were referring actually to Michael's translation of Śrī Ramaṇōpadēśa Nūṉmālai (Noonmalai) namely Ulladu Narpadu - Anubandham.
However, I cannot see clearly the difference between experiencing/being "we are alone" or "I am alone" and "I alone am". Do not all the three statements equally express what we ultimately call liberation from individuality ?

anadi-ananta said...

Mouna,
eggs industrially produced cannot be healthy right from the start.

Salazar,
regarding "Another issue: At what stage is a fetus sufficiently human (or have the right to live)? Now that's a hot topic and there is no agreement in science nor religion."
In my plain view the answer should be only: from the very beginning of its creation. That is a question of conscience, there is no need to wait for any agreement in science and religion.

Salazar said...

I want to add what I meant with a "balanced diet": It is a diet which incorporates all three major food sources which is carbohydrates, fat, and protein. To remain healthy long-term it is imperative that one eats a fair amount of all three food sources, to reduce the intake to i.e. just carbohydrates must result in deficiencies in the long run.

Now that is acknowledged by all reputable nutritionist short of the extremists.

Mouna said...

“anonymous":
" It doesn’t matter whether IQ is lowered or not. “

read the article, it is not only about IQ…

there are two levels of conversations, wen we talk about the transactional level, relative health matters to keep attention sharp, that’s why there was a discussion about what to eat that can help the practice, plus the ethical side that helps also.
at another level, the self-investigation level, then forget the body (all the sheaths) and turn your attention around-“inwards”.
if we mix levels (although they are not-two) then confusion arises.

"Also I thought Bhagavan said, weaker the body, better it is for self enquiry. “
where did you find that phrase from Bhagavan?

(ps: at the bottom of the every comments parts it says: "This blog does not allow anonymous comments”. Is it still aplicable?)


Sanjay Lohia said...

Salazar and Mouna:

We are prisoners of habit and we like to continue to eat whatever we are used to eating. Salazar says, ‘I have lived for a few years in a cold climate and I can say from personal experience that I could not eat or drink anything "cold". I needed hot food and beverages otherwise I'd be feeling cold and chilled and miserable’. If we accustom ourself to eat enough fruits and plants in their raw (or lightly processed) form, this will increase our immunity level, so we will be less affected by either extremely hot or extremely cold climates. Fruits and vegetables clean us our body and mind; they remove toxins from our body. The cleaner the body, the better equipped it becomes to adapt to different types of weathers outside.

Dr Douglas N. Graham says in his book The 80/10/10 Diet: ‘Neither geography nor the seasons are valid reasons for us to change our diet from 80/10/10’. Here 80 means 80% of our food should comprise of simple carbohydrates and such carbohydrates are easily available in fruits and vegetables. Simple carbohydrates are what our body really needs, and the rest 10/10 (10% fat and 10% proteins) and everything else our body needs are also abundantly available in fruits. Nature makes no mistakes, and fruits are what nature has designed for our body. As an example, our body needs water more than any other nutrient because the body is made up of about 60 to 70% water. Which food has water in abundance? Obviously fruits (followed by other plants).

Mona says, ‘The best option then could be "free range" chickens' non-fertilized eggs. About how healthy eggs are is also a different topic...’. Salazar says, ‘Thus I feel comfortable to eat eggs as a good source of protein’. The sooner we break this protein myth, the better it will be for us. I received a WhatsApp message which had a quote by Joel Fuhrman (M. D.) in which he says; ‘Protein is ubiquitous; it is present in all foods. Protein deficiency is not a concern in the developed world’. So we do not need to consume eggs to get our proteins or whatever.

In an earlier comment, Mouna wondered: ‘What is the relationship between a vegan diet and brain function?’ When we consume a vegan diet, our mind and intellect become clearer and sharper. So our body and mind function much more efficiently and smoothly, and our brain functions will also improve on a vegan diet. Only our own direct experience can prove these things to us.



Asun said...

I understand what you are talking on diet and that “relative health matters to keep attention sharp”, as Mouna puts it but, and the other way round? Can the practice of self-investigation affect the body in a way that we are compelled to give up some old habits because body just can´t deal with them as it used to do? How does self-investigation affect the body?

Asun said...

Yes, anadi-ananta, as Rajat said I was referring to verse 10 of Ulladu Narpadu Anubandha. Apologies for the confusion. It´s ok if you don´t see the difference, just stay with what Bhagavan says.

anadi-ananta said...

Asun,
"...just stay with what Bhagavan says."
If I could I would be happy.:-)

anadi-ananta said...

Asun,
I just noticed that you sometime have lost your previous epithet/byname/cognomen "Aparicio" and Michael seems to have reset all your previous comments to your new name "Asun" in one go with other name adaptions/adjustments regarding former commentator names as "Unknown/Ego etc.:-)

Mouna said...

Asun,
“ Can the practice of self-investigation affect the body in a way that... etc”
I completely agree on this. It does affect how the body (five sheaths) functions.
But at the same time let’s not forget that body is under the law of karma.

Asun said...

It is my real name and surname, anadi-ananta. I had a photography blog where gallery owners could contact me and I didn´t change it when I started to comment in Michael´s blog but I prefer to keep anonymity regarding my interest in Bhagavan´s teachings and what I write in this blog. Resetting affect all monikers, yours too :)

Asun said...

That´s truth, Mouna, we also have to keep in mind that body is under the law of karma. “Transactional level”, as you said, we are a bit like tightrope walkers :)

Salazar said...

Sanjay, I do not recognize Graham as a nutritional expert and as such I do not recognize his nutritional assumptions. One could make solid and backed up arguments against to most of what he speculates about but that would stray away too far from the main topic of this blog.

So you do what you consider is "healthy" and I eat what I consider to be "healthy". I is as simply as that. I have no desire to convince anyone what to eat, that is their business and not mine.

**********************************

anadi-ananta, anybodies moniker is changed to whatever moniker is used in the present, except the past "black" monikers which cannot be referenced through a Google account. So one will see past "anadi-ananta" comments where people address him as "Joseph Bruckner" what suggests that anadi-ananata had used that moniker at that time but was changed to anadi-ananta due to the new settings.

Sanjay Lohia said...

Asun, you ask, ‘Can the practice of self-investigation affect the body in a way that we are compelled to give up some old habits because the body just can´t deal with them as it used to do?’ Yes, the more we practise self-investigation, the more our desires and attachments are weakened, and the more these are weakened, the more we give up or try to give up our old habits. The more we go deeper into Bhagavan’s path, the more we try to simplify our life, and therefore we do try to consume simpler types of food as we progress on this path.

You also ask, ‘How does self-investigation affect the body?’ Actually, when we practise self-investigation, our aim is to get rid of the body and not see its effect on the body. Bhagavan says we should ignore this body like a corpse because it is nothing but a living-corpse: ‘living’ because this corpse seems to be alive, but it is actually dead even now. Bhagavan says the body is asat (not real) and jada (insentient). At another place, Bhagavan says that we should not even say ‘I’ by mouth while we try to find out who we actually are. That is, we should totally ignore the thought about our body in order to experience ourself as we actually are.

Anonymous said...

about anonymous name, i will try to come up with a name for myself. I have to spend some time to fix that.

I might have read in Talks with Bhagavan about dietary needs. Bhagavan prescribed some strange diet to Annamalai Swamy. I have watched his interviews. He looked physically very weak, but mentally healthy. I remember Bhagavan saying somewhere weaker the body is, better it is. I never fully understood why he said that and reason why I didn’t forget it.

My personal observation after observing myself and my siblings:

The entire mental IQ, health, physical health all are predetermined. It is in potential form at the time of birth. The food we eat has very little impact on our health. I feel BBC researcher spent unnecessarily all that time in finding out what is good for health and come up with a pattern. That article could be biased too. Who knows? Sadhu Om/Bhagavan has said : any amount of knowledge about external world is going to wrong until one knows himself. This BBC article has not taken many other important factors into consideration.

I and my sibling ate exactly same food, were brought up exactly in same environment, but we are polar opposites in every aspect.

I eat very little , mostly junk, but my blood results come out to be ideal all the time. On the other hand, I know someone who eats nutritious food and have abnormal blood results. I have also observed, that more happy I am, my health, my brain functioning all of them get better automatically. I can notice fluctuations in my body weight based on my mental state. Does body affect mind or does mind affect the body? I feel it is latter.

All spiritual books enforces saathvic diet only to help reduce the desires. I don’t think it was prescribed to make someone physically healthy or keep someone sharp/attentive. And personally, I have never seen any remarkable difference in people who had only saathvik food in their life. They had exactly same egotistical tendencies as others who ate meat. May be these people may not become violent due to their physical strength. So I never understood fully why diet is being mentioned/enforced in various teachings.

Ethical front: plants also have life and the essence we are made of. Bhagavan remained silent when someone raised this question. So , if we talk about doing ethical things in this world, only ethical thing is self enquiry. Everything else has an element of bad in it. Eating meat or plant doesn’t matter.

And some devotees of Bhagavan were not brahmins. That is the most interesting part of his story. Other indian sages were brahmins and followers automatically remained brahmins. But people who were enlightened under Bhagavan were extremely diverse in caste, race and type.





Sanjay Lohia said...

Asun, one more point, the title of this article is To know what we actually are, we need to cease being interested in any person, Any person or any body means the same in this context. This is what we were trying to discuss in my last comment. If we are concerned about questions such as ‘How does self-investigation affect the body?’, we are being interested in the person we seem to be. I have taken enough care of Sanjay, so now I should try to let Sanjay take care of himself. Our only concern should be ‘who this I which takes itself to be Sanjay’ or Asun or whatever.

Salazar said...

With all that talk about diet, considering Bhagavan's teaching then we know that that what we eat is determined by prarabdha and it was already decided by "birth" what every jiva will eat and get to eat throughout its so-called life. So why worry about that?

Sri Muruganar stated in GVK that it is wise to not to worry about food or getting food since prarabdha will make sure that that what we are supposed to get will unfailingly come if we are concerned about it or not.

So it's better to turn within then to be concerned about diet.

Asun said...

"We" meaning anyone seriously following any so called spiritual path they suit better with.

Anonymous said...

Mouna,
Page 15 in Talks with Ramana Maharshi:

D: we Europeans are accustomed to a particular diet; change of diet affects health and weakens the mind. Is it not necessary to keep up physical health?
M: Quite necessary. The weaker the body, the stronger the mind grows.

After few other conversations,
M: The quality of food influences the mind. The mind feeds on the food consumed.

Then,

M: Ahimsa stands foremost in the code of discipline for the yogis.
D: Even plants have life.
M: so too the slabs you sit on !
D: May we gradually get ourselves accustomed to vegetarian food?
M: Yes. That is the way.

Salazar said...

anadi-ananta, re. when life starts for a human I have no opinion. Because what is "life" for an aspirant? There is no such thing but self.

To get involved with that issue (or all other issues) is entertaining maya, to be avoided by the aspirant. Also, if a woman aborts or not is determined by prarabdha, if she gets introduced to the concept of ahimsa she may adopt it eventually, most likely in a later life and then again, it's up to the vasanas if she aborts in that life or not. If the idea of ahimsa is stronger than other ideas she may keep the child and feels more ethical.

However, what has that all in common? The prevalence of the idea of a doer, somebody who aborts or cherishes life, both entities or roles are fictitious.

One can easily get enmeshed with all of that, however it is all maya. Better to turn away from it.

If I'd be pregnant then instead of pondering to keep that baby or not (of course most will love to get a baby) and considering any ethical issues I'd just turn in and let prarabdha take its course. Since it is already decided if there is a birth or abortion, it is better to hold "I am" than to claim to be the decider of the action of that body.

Mouna said...

anonymous person,

your first statement was:
"Also I thought Bhagavan said, weaker the body, better it is for self enquiry.

and now you say:
Is it not necessary to keep up physical health?
M: Quite necessary. The weaker the body, the stronger the mind grows.


This proves my point (although I don’t take Talks as a reliable source of what Bhagavan said), the weaker the body, the stronger the mind grows, and the stronger the mind grows the more resistant will have to surrender and investigation.
In His answer to the question posed, Bhagavan proves the point (if he really said that) saying that is quite necessary to keep up physical health!

Asun said...

Sanjay,

There are many things we don´t know which can be an obstacle. For instance, I didn´t know that when practicing self-investigation vasanas show up, sometimes in the form of disease. If I know that disease is due to vasanas and part of a purification process, I´ll take it easy and shall accept it not interfering in the process but if I don´t know it, I´ll get worried, I´ll give up the practice and I´ll be interfering. Or if I suddenly realize that something I used to enjoy very much, now I´m not interested in it anymore, I´ll think that I´m getting depressed and I´ll force myself to enjoy it as before thus interfering too, if I don´t know that it is because I´ve discovered inner life´s beauty and world doesn´t shine as it used to do, or whatever. It´s not all about food, we “eat” with the five senses, as Michael explains in this video so, it is rather a matter of knowing in order the person not to interfere but to collaborate than of being concerned about the person. Practicing self-investigation is not a game or a hobby, it is a very powerful weapon we are dealing with and it has consequences we don´t always can identify or face in the right way. We are ordinary people living an ordinary life, we are not in an ashram with a guru, norms and discipline, and we still lack of discernment and clarity of mind. I think it is an apt question never had arised before, though.

anadi-ananta said...

Salazar,
did not you yesterday raise the issue of a foetus's/fetus's right to live ?
As you quite rightly suggest not to entertain maya, I don't intend to discuss this topic or to defend my plain opinion.:-)

Anonymous said...

What do you think of the second line in his answer Mouna?

He also has said body itself is disease , so if body gets disease it is indeed good.

And if you have access to that page, read entire conversation.

Anonymous said...

So Bhagavan is saying it is necessary to be healthy and at the same time weak? I really don’t understand.

Salazar said...

Anonymous, re. your first comment on this thread, proper diet is only an AID and nothing else. Diet cannot change or alter vasanas. It may keep the body in a sattvic condition meaning there are no tamasic (sleepy/lazy/dull) forces due to overeating or alcohol/drugs, or rajastic (agitated) forces due to spices and similar stimulants.

Being sleepy or agitated is not helpful for vichara. That is the only reason why Bhagavan has mentioned that.

The body should not be weak, I am certain about it, but it should also not be strong. It should be in equilibrium so one's attention is not moved away from its sensations due to bad eating and drinking habits. A strong body may create pride etc.

Of course the ego tends to go into extremes and make diet more important than it should be. Then diet has become an obstacle since it spooks around one's mind.

Anonymous said...

Mouna

From that page, again:

M: what do you mean by strength of mind?
D: The power to eliminate wordly attachment.

So I think when Bhagavan said stronger the mind grows, he meant mind gains power to be detached to the world and not other way.

Sanjay Lohia said...

Asun, you say, ‘Practicing self-investigation is not a game or a hobby, it is a very powerful weapon we are dealing with and it has consequences we don´t always can identify or face in the right way’. Yes, the practice of self-investigation is the most powerful weapon we can ever use. Why? Because if we use it properly, it will destroy this entire universe is just a fraction of a second. Bhagavan said (as recorded in Day By Day) that this practice is like an atom-bomb which will destroy this universe instantly. How? This entire universe is a creation and projection of our ego, and when we turn within to look at ourself, we find that we are not this ego but just pure, infinite and immutable self-awareness. So when ego vanishes, this universe also goes along with it then and there. Sadhu Om used to imply that this practice is like a nuclear bomb.

You also say, ‘We are ordinary people living an ordinary life, we are not in an ashram with a guru, norms and discipline, and we still lack of discernment and clarity of mind’. Who is this ordinary person living an ordinary life? It doesn’t matter whether we feel we are living an ordinary or feel we are living a life in an ashram because our task is exactly the same. Whatever our external worldly circumstances, our task is to ignore the person we seem to be, ignore whatever is dear to this person, and instead turn within to find out who is this ‘I’ which now identifies itself as this person – Asun, Sanjay or whatever. Yes, as you say, ‘we still lack of discernment and clarity of mind’, but these will grow to the extent we try to practice self-investigation and self-surrender.

Sanjay Lohia said...

Minimalism is freedom

We all know Bhagavan lived an extremely frugal life. His beauty was in his simplicity. He had no possessions, hardly wore any clothes, ate very little, spoke little and so on. In other words, Bhagavan was a minimalist of an extreme kind. We know we cannot come anywhere near his lifestyle, but we will be well advised to lead as simple a life as possible. I recently heard the following comment by Eli Martyr: ‘The more you are able to not need a thing, the more power you have in this world to conduct your life as you see it. It is freedom’. We may feel that the more things we own, the more power we have, but it is actually just the opposite. The more things we own or like to own, the more slave we become of those things and desires.

Is it possible to live a life without cooked food? I now believe it is. We can live a simpler, happier and relatively self-dependent life if we can just give up consuming cooked food. This could be an experiment in self-discipline and moving towards simplicity. Not eating cooked food could be freedom of sorts. Am I advocating this lifestyle to others? No, because who am I to advocate anything to anybody. I am just reflecting that fireless (kitchen-less) life is a possibility and I am willing to give it a try? Many others have lived this way, and many still live this way even in our modern cities. So if others can do it, why can’t I? There is nothing to lose as long as I am not forcing my views on anyone else.

anadi-ananta said...

Sanjay,
"This entire universe is a creation and projection of our ego, and when we turn within to look at ourself, we find that we are not this ego but just pure, infinite and immutable self-awareness. So when ego vanishes, this universe also goes along with it then and there."
Is that true ?
If that is true we rapidly should get to know it.:-)
Let us - as seeming ego - at first try to get an answer directly from that pure, infinite and immutable self-awareness - if possible.
Would such an ego get an answer at all and if so in which form ?
Presumably it is dependent on how one is asking.

Sanjay Lohia said...

Anadi-ananta, ego has to ask itself as to whether it is merely ego (this awareness ‘I am this body’) or is it pure, infinite and immutable self-awareness in the garb of ego. Who really am I? As you imply, it will get the correct answer to this question depending on how it is asking this question. We as ego should really start believing that we are not this ego but something else. Where was this ego in sleep? If I can exist in sleep without this ego, logically I can never be this ego.

However, our merely understanding that I am not this ego does not make us get rid of ego. We have to directly experience ourself as we actually are, and we can do so only by turning within and looking at ourself with our entire heart and soul. All our efforts until now have been half-hearted, and because of such half-hearted efforts we have failed. So now we need to dive within with all the energy at our command, with all the love at our command. Bhagavan, who is what we actually are, is waiting to receive us with open arms. Why unnecessarily let him wait? Why this ungratefulness on our part? Let us be brave and finish ourself once and for all.

anadi-ananta said...

Sanjay,
I cannot answer your question "Where was this ego in sleep?" because during this period I did not have any perception of it.
You say "All our efforts until now have been half-hearted, and because of such half-hearted efforts we have failed." But first one must be able to make full-hearted efforts. I hope that my fears are unfounded that even after sitting for aeons on top of Arunachala or in its centre I never would find any grain of truth.
I cannot confirm that Bhagavan is what we actually are and that he is waiting to receive us with open arms. On the contrary he has shown me that he has not any need for me and my miserable attempts to melt in him.
However, I cannot but try it again to dive within with all my energy and all my love and leave behind all shortcomings and inadequacy.

Mouna said...

anonymous,
Every response you write proves my point
You are equating the mind with self-investigation.
In any case whoever said that, either Bhagavan or his scribe, I agree with it in the sense that when the body is sick or weak there is a bigger tendency of ego (through the mind), to identify with the body, and for many of us, that may be a bigger chance to loose our attention trying to heal the body instead of make efforts to investigate who is weak or sick.
The same counts for someone who becomes obsessed with a healthy body...
Naturally healthy body and naturally healthy mind without extremes is the best.
The body “is a disease“ in the sense that is the biggest source of ego identification. From an absolute point of view is not real in the first place.

Asun said...

Sanjay,

Person is nothing, it is that which says I am this person what has to be investigated. I´m perfectly fine being an ordinary person living an ordinary life. I can practice self-investigation without anyone around me knowing about it, anywhere and in any situation, it is internal detachment what brings about freedom, no need nor want any power in this world. I can even eat a veal filet if that´s what I´m given at a certain moment without troubling me a bit which is something that an outspoken vegetarian couldn´t do because he depends on diet and is strongly attached to it.
Anyway, regardless of whether you eat cooked or not cooked food, Bhagavan won´t swallow you unless you are well-cooked :)

Sanjay Lohia said...

Sanjay, Michael, Carlos and so on are all pictures on the screen, but what is real is only the screen

Sanjay, Michael, Carlos and so on are all pictures on the screen, but what is real is only the screen. That screen is ‘I am’. So let us forget these pictures because they are just passing shows. Let us hold on to the screen – that is, let us hold on to ‘I am’.

Of late, we have been discussing about the need for a sattvika diet and such issues. However, we should remember why Bhagavan taught us about sattvika diet and its benefits. He taught us about these things to help us to turn within and surrender ourself. That alone is really good. All other things we take to be good are all relatively good. The one absolute good is self-surrender. What remains after ego is surrendered is just pure-awareness, which is infinite happiness and infinite love. That alone is real, and that is our aim. What is shining in us as ‘I’ is the only reality, and that is Bhagavan.

• Based on the video: 2020-01-26 Yo Soy Tu Mismo: Michael James discusses the need for a sāttvika diet (01:56)

Sanjay Lohia said...

Asun, well said: ‘regardless of whether you eat cooked or not cooked food, Bhagavan won´t swallow you unless you are well-cooked’. Bhagavan is in this loving process of cooking us. Or to put it more correctly, we are in the process of cooking ourself because Bhagavan is not different from us. We need to let ego simmer in the fire of jnana until it becomes fully cooked. The moment we are fully ripe, we will be gone. Bhagavan is hungry to swallow us.

Anonymous said...

I think (not 100% sure) Bhagavan’s devotees had to beg for food. So they would not have eaten fresh, nutritious food at all. I know how beggars are treated in India. They are always given stale food. So I still think there is some real inner meaning to Bhagavan’s statement. And as I mentioned earlier, Annamalai Swami was also prescribed a very strange diet and if you see him in his interviews, he looked very weak physically. In Talks book, if we really keep our mind open, we can notice lots of radical statements like this . The REALITY is well beyond what we currently understand via our limited intellect. So I wouldn’t ignore Talks just because it doesn’t make sense to my limited intellect.

Now what are vasanas? What is food? Both are just different forms of energies at deeper level. Why wouldn’t food affect vasanas? Thoughts are just energies as well. As we feed our body more and make it healthy, the more we are feeding our ego( I am the body idea) This is just another way of looking at this.

As I said earlier, I never fully understood the need for saathvik diet. One aspect of it is as you said: I understand it helps keep mind less agitated. But I know several orthodox brahmins who are as agitated as others who eat meat. So personally have not seen anything different in people who have dietary restrictions.

I am neither for or against diets, but I am against any article that tries to advocate what is better diet with help of some stupid research that is conducted over years.

Anonymous said...

Mouna

Let me try to include entire conversation from Talks after few hours.

By strong mind, I understand it as ‘less attachment’, fearless etc. By weak mind, I understand it as fearful, jealous etc.

By strong mind, you understand it as ‘lots of ego’.

My first language is not english, so you may be right. I think you are from one of the European countries.

That answer by Bhagavan in the book is very confusing. But summary of entire conversation is: only vegetarian food in limited quantity is prescribed for a sadhaka.

I didn’t see your article aligning well with Talks.

Hope you get my point.

Salazar said...

Anonymous, you said that you know orthodox Brahmins who get agitated. Yes of course, everybody with an ego gets agitated at some point, sattvic food alone doesn't make one docile. It's the vasanas which control the emotions of an ego.

Again, diet is an AID and not a cure for anything like unrest. Past time emotions are more powerful and supersede any diet how perfect it might be. That's why diet is not that important at all. As long as one keeps the extremes out, like overeating or drinking Gin tonics and smoking ganja or snorting lines of cocaine one has covered most of it.

Also, one can see someone mad and agitated and that could be a Jnani whose body and attitude looks agitated but inwardly he's completely calm and unaffected. One can never judge outwards appearances.

Anonymous said...

Mouna,

Entire conversation is below. You decide if you were fully aligning with this or not. I don’t think the BBC article was same as Bhagavan’s talks. And I don’t fully understand what Bhagavan is trying to convey here either. He starts with saying only veg food is the way, then he talks about veg and non veg can be had in the middle of his conversation? And at the end he says again veg diet is the way.

Mrs. Piggott returned from Madras for a further visit. She asked questions relating to diet regulation.
D.: What diet is prescribed for a sadhak (one who is engaged in spiritual practices)?
M.: Satvic food in limited quantities.
D.: What is satvic food?
M.: Bread, fruits, vegetables, milk, etc.
D.: Some people take fish in North India. May it be done? No answer was made by the Maharshi.
D.: We Europeans are accustomed to a particular diet; change of diet affects health and weakens the mind. Is it not necessary to keep up physical health?
M.: Quite necessary. The weaker the body the stronger the mind grows. D.: In the absence of our usual diet our health suffers and the mind
loses strength.
M.: What do you mean by strength of mind?
D.: The power to eliminate worldly attachment.
M.: The quality of food influences the mind. The mind feeds on the food consumed.
D.: Really! How can the Europeans adjust themselves to satvic food only?
M.: (Pointing to Mr. Evans-Wentz) You have been taking our food. Do you feel uncomfortable on that account?
Mr. Evans-Wentz: No. Because I am accustomed to it.
D.: What about those not so accustomed?
M.: Habit is only adjustment to the environment. It is the mind that matters. The fact is that the mind has been trained to think certain foods tasty and good. The food material is to be had both in vegetarian and non-vegetarian diet equally well. But the mind desires such food as it is accustomed to and considers tasty.
D.: Are there restrictions for the realised man in a similar manner? M.: No. He is steady and not influenced by the food he takes.
20

Talks with Sri Ramana Maharshi
D.: Is it not killing life to prepare meat diet?
M.: Ahimsa stands foremost in the code of discipline for the yogis. D.: Even plants have life.
M.: So too the slabs you sit on!
D.: May we gradually get ourselves accustomed to vegetarian food? M.: Yes. That is the way.

Anonymous said...

I understand what you are saying. Diet influences mind according to Bhagavan. I don’t understand what exactly he means when he says that. And remember he only prescribed vegetarian diet to everybody. So , can someone do atma vichara and also eat meat in limited quantities and become enlightened? I think Bhagavan says : it is not possible.

Sanjay Lohia said...

Attachment to preference is what can be dangerous

Eli Martyr is my friend based in Toronto, Canada. He advocates a fruit-based diet for humans. I shared the details of Michael’s blog with him, and he wrote to me as follows:

It's always so humbling to read the works and endeavors of great men like Sri Raman Maharshi clearly was. Men like this make it so easy to draw inspiration from, and thus positive influence is shared from one to another, and the evolution of human spirit proceeds onward and ever upward. It is so very true about simplicity, and the immense power it gives us to be free from attachment. Always remember: Attachment, and Preference are two very different things. One may have many preferences in life, and this is okay. A Preference is simply a thing chosen more often than another for whatever reason. But Attachment to preference is what can become dangerous. If we can be Detached from even our preferences, then you are truly beginning to experience freedom. I say this knowing full well that i am not there yet, as of course, none of us are perfect. But we don't need to have necessarily achieved perfection, to speak of and pursue perfection. :)

A life free of the burden, effort, and time commitment of cooked is certainly an excellent way to train oneself towards a higher life. The mental fortitude that it builds will not only strengthen your body and mind, but will set the tone for further improvements down the road.

Eli says, ‘But Attachment to preference is what can become dangerous’. This is very true. We decide that something is good for us and we would like to stick to this way of life. Until this point, it is perfectly okay because we do have to decide what is good and what is bad for us and then try to stick to good. But then we may start expecting that others who are near us also try to follow the lifestyle we are trying to follow. However, this is not correct. Like we are free to choose and decide what is good or bad for us, they are also free to choose and decide what is good or bad for them.

So we should be totally unconcerned about whatever choices other people make. It’s their life, so who are we to decide what is good for them? Bhagavan has also asked us not to interfere in the life of others. In other words, Bhagavan wants us to mind our own business.


Sanjay Lohia said...

We are trying to separate ourself from everything else simply by looking at ourself

Ego is an imposter which can only rise and play its mischief when we are looking away from it, but if we look at ego it hides. We haven’t looked at ourself keenly enough and therefore we haven’t subsided yet. The reason why we haven’t looked at ourself keenly enough is that we are not yet willing to let go of everything else. Our desires and attachments are still very strong. However, the more follow this path, the more our desires and attachments will grow weaker, and the weaker they become the deeper we will be able to go within. So this is a process of going deeper and deeper within ourself, of separating ourself from everything else simply by looking at ourself.

So Bhagavan’s path is incredibly simple because what can be simpler than ‘I’. In the state of self-attentiveness, there is only one. We who are attending and what we are attending to are one, and even the attention is ourself. So this is just a state of being ourself. In Sanskrit there is a word to describe liberation, which is kaivalyam. Kaivalyam means isolation. That is we are isolating ourself from everything else. How can we isolate ourself? By holding on to ourself – that is, by attending only to ourself. Everything else seems to exist only because we look at them, so when we look only at ourself everything else drops off. But in order to look at ourself alone, we must be willing to let go of everything else, which we are not willing to do.

However, by patiently and persistently following this path our desires and attachments will grow weaker and weaker, and we will thus become more willing to surrender ourself completely. Until eventually we will reach a point where our love to be just as we are becomes stronger than all our other desires and attachments. Then we will subside completely into our source, and thereby see ourself as we actually are.

So this is a beautiful path Bhagavan has shown us – beautiful in its simplicity. But it requires great great love, which at present we are lacking but which we will certainly gain by following this path.

• Based on the video: 2020-01-26 Yo Soy Tu Mismo: Michael James discusses the need for a sāttvika diet (01:38)

Mouna said...

anonymous,

we are playing with words on a text that might not be Bhagavan’s words.

leaving aside Bhagavan’s directions for a moment, try to experiment, try to investigate the matter for yourself.
in times of sickness, depression, unhealthy anxious stress, and general weakness of the body-mind, see how strong is your concentration of self-investigation.
try the same in times of frenetic positive excitement about something you got or an event you were really wishing to attend, or an long waited accomplishment.

compare those with periods of relative natural health and well being, calm and “ethical” well being.
see what works and what doesn’t to help atma-vichara.

think and experiment for yourself don’t just believe books or internet teachers, have a discriminating… mind for everything you put into your intellect and mind.

Do Not Believe What You Don’t Know! but instead keep an open mind and experiment.
draw your own conclusions, which even if they are misconstrued at the beginning they will dry off after persistent experimentation (sadhana, practice)

once that is done for a while and you come to some conclusions, ask around, share, discuss.
experience is the beginning and the end of everything.
words, often (granted, sometimes useful…), are phantom acolytes of the big manipulator of this seeming experience called life: ego.

I rest my case. good luck

Salazar said...

Mouna, well said, it could have been my words.

Sanjay Lohia said...

All the spiritual teachings we can ever hope to lay our hands on is just for this one ego; isn’t it something extraordinary?

All the spiritual teachings we can ever hope to lay our hands on is just for this one ego because only one ego exists. I have just finished watching Michael’s latest video: 2020-02-01 Sri Ramana Center, Houston: discussion with Michael James on Uḷḷadu Nāṟpadu verse 37. By the way, this video was made just for me, this one ego. How extraordinary, isn’t it? So Bhagavan will give us whatever we need and whenever we need. All necessary information or knowledge or help will automatically come to us according to our destiny or grace or divine plan. It’s all a result of Bhagavan’s love for this one ego, and this one ego is so ungrateful that it is not will willing to give itself to Bhagavan entirely.

So now the time has come to repay Bhagavan’s love. How can we do so? We can do so by loving him more than we love our desires and attachments. Let us go back to Bhagavan by leaving everything behind. This is mukti, and we are here just to be liberated. What else could be ego's aim to exist as ego? Why does darkness exist? It exists to see light. So simple, but only if we are willing to understand!

Anonymous said...

Mouna

Didn’t you believe in BBC article? So are you preaching yourself thru this comment or to me?

Did you ask yourself whether you earned the right and whether you are even capable of telling others what to do and what not to do?

Anonymous said...

Mouna and Salazar,

Be honest, courageous and answer my question, instead of preaching me.

Do you believe that a spiritual seeker can eat meat and attain liberation by practicing Self Enquiry?

Sanjay Lohia said...

In the spiritual path we would like to leave behind tamas, and then eventually we also need to free ourself from rajas

Bhagavan wants us to adopt mita sattvika ahara-niyama (constraint of consuming only a moderate quantity of sattva-conducive food). Mita means moderate and sattvika means which is conducive to sattva. Sattva literally means ‘beingness’ or ‘isness’. Sat means being, existence or reality. Is sattva, the suffix ‘tva’ is similar to the English suffix ‘ness’ – like we say, tallness or calmness. So sattva makes it an abstract quality – the quality of being.

Sattva is one of the three gunas, the three qualities of mind. By implication, sattva means the quality of calmness and clarity. The second quality is rajas, which means the quality of the restless activity. And the third quality is tamas, which means darkness. In this context, tamas means the quantity of lethargy, lack of clarity of mind or lack of moral clarity. That is when the mind is under the sway of tamas, it is not able to distinguish what is right from what is wrong. So tamas (lack of clarity) is the very opposite of sattva (clarity). Tamasik people are cruel, greedy and have all bad qualities. And Rajas is in between sattva and tamas. Rajasik people are constantly active; they always need to do something.

For most people, their mind is a combination of rajas and tamas, but sattva is also always there in some quantity. But rajas and tamas invariably dominate in most people. However, the more we veer to the side of sattva and therefore move away from tamas, generally, we will become kinder and more ethical. Most people are generally quite rajasik – they like to be always active. Rajas mixed with tamas leads to wrong types of actions, whereas rajas mixed with sattva leads to more moral or righteous actions.

So obviously in the spiritual path, we would like to leave behind tamas, and then eventually also free ourself from rajas. Since rajas is the quality of being active, so long as we are active our mind is going outwards. In the spiritual path we are trying to turn our mind within, so we need to have predominantly sattva quality. The more the sattva is dominating in our mind, the easier it will be for us to investigate and surrender ourself. What we are is the subtlest of all things, so we need a very subtle and sharp mind to discern what we actually are. We need a bright and steady light in order to investigate ourself, and that bright and steady light is the light of sattva.

So mita sattvika ahara-niyama is almost indispensable if we want to turn within and find our true nature. We can eat too much of even the sattvik foods, and this will make our mind and body dull. So we need mita ahara (food in limited quantities): that is, we shouldn’t overeat. However, the most important thing is sattvika ahara.

• Based on the video: 2020-01-26 Yo Soy Tu Mismo: Michael James discusses the need for a sāttvika diet (10:00)

Michael James said...

Mouna, I have replied to your comment of 25 January 2020 at 20:08 in a separate article: There are many interpretations of advaita, but Bhagavan’s teachings are the simplest, clearest and deepest.

Anonymous said...

Thanks Sanjay.

Mouna said...

Dear Michael, thanks in advance for your new post, which I’ll take the time to read it slowly.
Mouna

Mouna said...

anonymous,
The honest answer to your question “Do you believe that a spiritual seeker can eat meat and attain liberation by practicing Self Enquiry?” is I don’t know.

I am not preaching anyone to do anything.
What I believe is that if we start “believing” books and “teachers”, bloggers and others without us experimenting the teaching, we will be confused, and I’m talking by experience here.

Just sharing what I understand. Take it or leave it, it really doesn’t make a difference to me and I assume to anymore here.

Be well,
Mouna

Salazar said...

According to Bhagavan, one can be liberated eating meat, although he said that a vegetarian diet is more suitable for vichara.

Asun said...

They are good points and the only way to really know but I think that Anonymous doesn´t practice self-investigation, that´s what s/he said several times, if I remember correctly.

Anonymous said...

Asun

Yes I have said that many times. But I fully understand what self enquiry exactly means. I completed reading Path of Ramana 1st part. Still on 2nd part.

Anonymous said...

Ok. Now I fully understand how you have interpreted Guru Vachaka Kovai verse. I read the English version and I interpreted it differently. I don’t think Michael has posted anything on diet yet. But as Michael has stated many times, teachings can be interpreted differently based on the levels.

Tonight, I will try to explain how I interpreted it. I never was interested in topics around diet, but what caught me is how people interpret teachings and writings based on their core inner subconscious beliefs. I am no exception either.

To whom? To me. Who am I? said...

I feel like I do not know how to live in this world (dealing with society, work, family, etc appropriately), and nor do i have sufficient bhakti, vairagya and viveka to practice Bhagavan's path steadfastly yet.
The first problem is a worldly problem faced in some measure by most people in the world. The second I suppose is faced by most of Bhagavan's devotees. I think Bhagavan does not give much importance to the first problem, except he does say that we shouldn't always be thinking, "it is necessary to act this way, it is necessary to act that way". Basically he says we should surrender our interest in the world to him.

Anyone who doesn't mind sharing, may I ask how you faced difficulties along this path, and also the difficulty of staying on this path itself. What is your attitude towards life in light of Bhagavan's teachings? Any suggestions, to not lose hope or to fall in the trap of self-pity/despair/depression, to not obsess over the difficulties and thereby lose sight of the goal itself, your favourite verses of Bhagavan which give you courage, etc?

And thank you Michael for the gift of this blog and your videos. Can't thank you enough for this elixir 🙏🙏

Love

Sanjay Lohia said...

Salazar, you wrote, ‘According to Bhagavan, one can be liberated eating meat, although he said that a vegetarian diet is more suitable for vichara’. Could you share with us where exactly did he say this? However, I do agree. We can be eating meat and still be liberated because if we want to be liberated the most important thing is our willingness to be liberated. Our prarabdha may compel us to eat meat, but this will not disqualify us to be liberated.

However, consuming a mita sattvika ahara is a great aid if we are aiming for liberation. We are unnecessarily trying to make things difficult for us by hankering after unnatural foods like meat, eggs, dairy, processed and junk foods. Eating all such foods is like putting diesel in a car which is meant to run on petrol. Our body and mind are meant to run on fruit and vegetables – that is our correct fuel. So why not try to put the correct fuel in our body and see how it performs? We may be surprised by the new mileage this fuel will surely give us!

If we consume a plant-based diet our mind will become clear, and this clarity will guide us to our infinite clarity. In this process of consuming a plant-based diet, we will do a great favour to our bodily and mental health, and we will also do a great service to our animal friends who are being harmed in a big way due to meat and dairy industry. Most of us are not able to see the harm we are causing ourself, our animal companions and our environment by consuming foods which are never meant for us. Why can't we see the obvious? It is because our mind is ignorant of its own tamas (darkness or lack of clarity).

Anyway, I may be sounding like a vegan activist, but I can assure you I am not. I am trying to experiment these things on myself. The experiments on myself are my sole focus, but if others are inspired to bring about change in their diet, I do feel glad. I think our food is perhaps our biggest addiction, and if we can rightly tackle this addiction, this will do us a world of good.

Salazar said...

Sanjay, I think I mixed up Bhagavan with someone else. Bhagavan said that, once self-realized, a Jnani could eat meat, it cannot affect the fire of realization or something with that meaning.

So I am not sure if he said specifically that one can be liberated eating meat.

Anonymous said...

I have also had similar feelings like you. Neither able to handle world nor able to be good in spiritual path :) I always feel I am in limbo.

I practice pranayama and take acupuncture treatment regularly. My difficulty in doing self enquiry has been: after I am stuck with a feeling, it never gets removed easily. Whereas pranayama and acupuncture does that cleanup quickly. After I am calm, I am able to ‘be’ . So think of it like this: assume you have a cup filled with water. You spill the water by mistake on the floor. Is it possible to take that water and fill the cup? On the other hand, It would be possible to prevent spilling if you notice it right before it spills right? I feel in my case water (feelings) has been spilled already. So I am unable to trace back and just ‘be’. This has been my difficulty. So I do realize how vasanas are rooted so deep in my system. The only solution I have found to be working when dealing with the world is: don’t consider others as very much separate than you. Have an outlook of seeing everyone else as part of you. All the others are longing for love(the evil narcissists too) just like you. The most self centered people are like that due to the lack they have within them. So try to look beyond those qualities. When you do that, you will start seeing lot of life within you and not dwell in negativity. And be content with your current situation. Which means have desires, but not get attached to desires.

In my case it has been fear—>stress—>desire—>narcissism—>lust—>agitation. Never ends ..

Acupuncture (dominates effect of pranayama)—> removes toxicity in a very strange way—>sense of calmness prevails—>automatically removes desires, lust, jealousy, all other negativity.. But if I dont watch myself, all my deep rooted vasanas will start playing its game again. So its always a fight within you.

Sanjay Lohia said...

Salazar, you wrote, ‘Bhagavan said that, once self-realized, a Jnani could eat meat, it cannot affect the fire of realization or something with that meaning’. Yes, I also remember reading something to this effect. A jnani’s body may eat anything, but the jnani is actually eating nothing. The body has needs, but since the jnani is not the body he or she seems to be, the jnani is beyond all needs. However, I cannot conceive the jnani’s body eating meat or drinking alcohol.

Sanjay Lohia said...

To whom? To me. who am I?, you say, ‘I feel like I do not know how to live in this world (dealing with society, work, family, etc appropriately), and nor do i have sufficient bhakti, vairagya and viveka to practice Bhagavan's path steadfastly yet’. But why do we want to live in this world? If this world is our dream, which Bhagavan says it is, we should not try to live in this world but instead, try to live in and as ourself. If we do not know to live in this world, this is good. It is because if we become experts at living in this world, we will lose sight of our goal. What is our goal? It is not to live in any body and hence not to live in this or any world. We all are lacking sufficient bhakti, vairagya and viveka to practice Bhagavan’s path steadfastly yet. However, the more we try to practise his path, the more all these things – bhakti, vairagya and viveka – will blossom in us.

What is the difficulty in this path? We all face the same difficulty, which is our desires and attachments. These desires and attachments make us live in this body and world. Our foremost desire is to exist as ego and thereby to enjoy so many things in this world. Michael says in his latest video that we are even attached to our sufferings. Our sufferings are not holding us; we are holding our sufferings.

You ask, ‘What is your attitude towards life in light of Bhagavan's teachings?’ The life in this world progressively loses its charm as we proceed along Bhagavan’s path. We should try to remind ourself as often as we can that this world is just a dream, and therefore we need not be concerned about anything happening around us. One of my favourite verses of Bhagavan is verse 44 of Sri Arunachala Aksharamanamalai:

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

Bhagavan gives us an assurance that Arunachala will be known. We just need to play our small part. We need to turn within at every given opportunity to see what we actually are. Eventually, we will succeed in experiencing ourself as we actually are (which is the real form of Arunachala). We simply cannot fail in this path - what more do we want?

To whom? To me. Who am I? said...

Thank you Anonymous and Sanjay for your replies to my comment. Yes, what need is there for us to live in this world.. puts matters in perspective. Only thing that matters is self investigation as taught by Bhagavan. Thank you for the useful reminders.

Anonymous said...

Yes but on other hand there is so much you can learn about yourself by living in this world too. So don’t discard world completely. Do justice to your destiny ordained by God.

To whom? To me. Who am I? said...

Living in this world, we can learn about the person we take ourself to be, but that is not really ourself according to Bhagavan. But certainly there is something to learn from this life. In verse 94 of Sadhanai Saram it is said, "Except in this human body, all these three states [waking, dream and sleep] are not experienced in one lifetime by any soul, whether deva (divine), animal or plant. There-fore, a very great boon indeed is the boon God has bestowed upon us in the form of this human birth, which is such a good opportunity enabling us to in-quire and know the Self." Other than this, what can we learn by living in this world? In my experience just the fire of my desires and attachments gets fanned by indulging in this world. I am nowhere near discarding this world completely, unfortunately :) So I suppose I'll have to continue to live in this world, thereby experience more and more dissatisfaction until finally I've had enough, as Bhagavan said. Is that what you mean by learning by living in this world, that we learn that there is no satisfaction here? If yes then i see what you mean. Yes, destiny ordained by God will invariably take its course, according to Bhagavan, whether we do anything or not, we will be made to act to fulfill the destiny. So we can leave the heavy burden of the luggage of doing justice to our destiny also to Bhagavan :)

I can relate with what you wrote in your earlier comment, when you said " I am stuck with a feeling, it never gets removed easily." I have this problem myself, for example being unable to let go of past embarrassments, anxieties about the future, etc. But I've begun to see that Bhagavan's tool of seeing to whom these feelings arose is a very potent way of dealing with all these problems. It is also like striking two targets with a single stone, because firstly we get rid of these painful bothersome thoughts, and secondly we can become self-attentive in the process.

Anonymous said...

What I meant by learning from the world is: you will get to understand how egotistical you are too :) . I can’t think of any example. The more blows you get in this world, it will make you more humble, if you handle the blows in the right manner. There will be ‘aha’ moments, when you let go of somethings, when you realize desire had caused you to undergo some problems. The aha moments will give you sense of relief. Being depressed , anxious etc have ‘being egotistical’ as root cause. Cause of self pity is less confidence in yourself and cause of less confidence in yourself is you are not comfortable being yourself which has Lack of love of yourself as root cause. So if you trace back like this, your self pity might vanish and you will be able to handle the world and yourself well. Just my thoughts, no teaching has prescribed this :)

Salazar said...

Sanjay, I just came across the quote by Bhagavan about meat, and it is found in "Conscious Immortality", page 59:

"Question: Could one receive spiritual illumination whilst eating flesh foods?
Bhagavan: Yes, but [...]."


Bhagavan said unequivocally "yes". Now I do not want to imply or suggest to eat meat, just the plain facts without any bias.

Sanjay Lohia said...

Salazar, what did Bhagavan say after 'Yes, but...'? We will benefit by his views on this topic. Thanks.

Salazar said...

Sanjay, I didn't quote the rest because I pretty much already paraphrased it on my comment on 2 February 2020 at 19:59. And that was a response to Anonymous' comment on 1 February 2020 at 01:25, where she assumed that Bhagavan denied that one can become enlightened eating meat what is apparently not true.

And that wraps it up for me, I just wanted to post this comment by Bhagavan (of what I was not entirely sure originally) so we have all the facts and not just operate from biases.