Tuesday, 31 March 2020

How can we just be?

In a comment on my previous article, What can be simpler than just being self-attentive?, a friend called Chandra asked: ‘how to practice self enquiry sir? has just to be not doing anything without activity of mind and body, just be?’ The following is my reply to this:
  1. Being aware of anything other than ourself is an action, so in order to just be we must cease being aware of anything else
  2. Though it is necessary for us to cease being aware of anything other than ourself, that is not sufficient, so what is the missing ingredient that is required for us to eradicate ego?
  3. Upadēśa Undiyār verse 23: what we actually are is only awareness (uṇarvu or cit), which is what alone actually exists (uḷḷadu or sat)
  4. In waking and dream, when we have risen as ego, we must try to attend to ourself so keenly that we thereby cease to be aware of anything other than ourself
  5. Upadēśa Undiyār verse 16: what is required is that we withdraw our attention from all other things by being keenly self-attentive
  6. Āṉma-Viddai verse 4: how can we just be without even the least action of mind, speech or body?
  7. Uḷḷadu Nāṟpadu verse 25: the nature of ego is such that we rise, stand and flourish as ego by grasping things other than ourself, and we will subside and disappear if we try to grasp ourself alone
  8. Just being means being self-attentive, and being self-attentive means just being
1. Being aware of anything other than ourself is an action, so in order to just be we must cease being aware of anything else

Chandra, what does it mean just to be? We always are, so we never cease to be, but Bhagavan sometimes described the practice of self-investigation (ātma-vicāra) as ‘சும்மா விருப்பது’ (summā v-iruppadu), ‘just being’, so how can we just be? What is the difference between our present state of being and the state of just being?

Though we never cease to be, in waking or dream we have risen as ego, and as ego we are not just being but also doing. Our very rising as ego is the first doing, and this first doing gives rise to so many other kinds of doing. That is, we cannot stand as ego without being constantly aware of things other than ourself, and in order for us be aware of anything other than ourself our attention needs to be directed away from ourself towards whatever else we are aware of. Directing our attention towards other things is a movement or action, so being aware of any other thing is a doing, a mental activity.

Therefore in order to just be, we need to cease doing anything, and ceasing to do entails ceasing to be aware of anything other than ourself, and ceasing to be aware of other things entails ceasing even to rise as ego. So how to cease rising as ego? So long as we are aware of anything other than ourself, we are thereby nourishing and sustaining our seeming existence as ego, so in order to cease rising as ego we need to cease being aware of anything other than ourself.

2. Though it is necessary for us to cease being aware of anything other than ourself, that is not sufficient, so what is the missing ingredient that is required for us to eradicate ego?

However, though it is necessary for us to cease being aware of anything other than ourself, that is not sufficient, because we cease being aware of anything else whenever we fall asleep, but we do not thereby eradicate ego. Therefore something more than just ceasing to be aware of anything else is necessary, so what is the missing ingredient that is required for us to eradicate ego and thereby remain eternally in our natural state of just being?

3. Upadēśa Undiyār verse 23: what we actually are is only awareness (uṇarvu or cit), which is what alone actually exists (uḷḷadu or sat)

Though we seem to have risen as ego, we never cease to be what we actually are, so our rising is just an illusory appearance and therefore does not in any way affect what we always actually are. What then is the nature of what we actually are? Firstly it is just being, because it never rises to do anything, and secondly it is pure awareness, because it is aware without ever being aware of anything other than itself.

As pure awareness we are never aware of anything other than ourself, so pure awareness is self-awareness devoid of any adjuncts. In other words, it is sat-cit, our fundamental awareness of our own existence, which is what is always shining in us clearly as ‘I am’. The very nature of our existence or being (sat) is pure awareness (cit), so our existence and our awareness of our existence are one and the same thing, as Bhagavan explains in verse 23 of Upadēśa Undiyār:
உள்ள துணர வுணர்வுவே றின்மையி
னுள்ள துணர்வாகு முந்தீபற
      வுணர்வேநா மாயுள முந்தீபற.

uḷḷa duṇara vuṇarvuvē ṟiṉmaiyi
ṉuḷḷa duṇarvāhu mundīpaṟa
      vuṇarvēnā māyuḷa mundīpaṟa
.

பதச்சேதம்: உள்ளது உணர உணர்வு வேறு இன்மையின், உள்ளது உணர்வு ஆகும். உணர்வே நாமாய் உளம்.

Padacchēdam (word-separation): uḷḷadu uṇara uṇarvu vēṟu iṉmaiyiṉ, uḷḷadu uṇarvu āhum. uṇarvē nām-āy uḷam.

அன்வயம்: உள்ளது உணர வேறு உணர்வு இன்மையின், உள்ளது உணர்வு ஆகும். உணர்வே நாமாய் உளம்.

Anvayam (words rearranged in natural prose order): uḷḷadu uṇara vēṟu uṇarvu iṉmaiyiṉ, uḷḷadu uṇarvu āhum. uṇarvē nām-āy uḷam.

English translation: Because of the non-existence of [any] awareness other [than what exists] to be aware of what exists, what exists (uḷḷadu) is awareness (uṇarvu). Awareness alone exists as we.
What we actually are is only awareness (uṇarvu), which is what alone actually exists (uḷḷadu). However, the awareness that we actually are is not transitive awareness (awareness that is aware of anything other than itself) but only intransitive awareness (awareness that is aware of nothing other than itself).

4. In waking and dream, when we have risen as ego, we must try to attend to ourself so keenly that we thereby cease to be aware of anything other than ourself

Transitive awareness is not ourself as we actually are but only ourself as ego. That is, it is only when we rise as ego, as in waking and dream, that we are aware of anything other than ourself, and when we subside back into pure awareness, which is our real nature and the source from which we rose, we cease to be aware of anything other than ourself, as we know from our experience whenever we fall asleep.

We fall asleep because we are too tired to continue attending to other things (which, since no other thing exists independent of our perception of it, entails not only being aware of other things but being aware of them by projecting, creating or fabricating them in our mind, as we do in dream), but though in sleep we are just aware of ourself and nothing else whatsoever, ego is not thereby destroyed, and hence it rises again in either waking or dream. Why is ego not destroyed in sleep? Though sleep is a state of pure awareness and just being, ego is not destroyed in sleep because it does not exist there. That is, pure awareness shines alone in sleep as a result of the temporary dissolution of ego, but in order to be annihilated ego must be dissolved as a result of the shining of pure awareness.

Therefore in waking and dream, when we have risen as ego, we must try to attend to ourself so keenly that we thereby cease to be aware of anything other than ourself. When we attend to ourself so keenly, we will be aware of ourself as pure awareness, which is our real nature (ātma-svarūpa), and thereby ego will be eradicated forever.

That is, ego is nothing but a false awareness of ourself, awareness of ourself as a body, which is not what we actually are, so it can be eradicated only by correct awareness of ourself, awareness of ourself as we actually are. Therefore if we as ego are aware of ourself as pure awareness (intransitive awareness, awareness that is aware of nothing other than itself) even for a moment, ego will thereby be annihilated and can never rise again, because when we see ourself as pure awareness, we will see that we were never anything other than that, and hence no such thing as ego ever actually existed.

Therefore though sleep is a state of just being, from the perspective of ourself as ego in waking and dream, it seems to be just a temporary state of just being, a brief gap between two states of rising. In other words, it is just a state of manōlaya (temporary dissolution of mind) and not the state of manōnāśa (annihilation or permanent dissolution of mind). Only when we see by the practice of self-investigation that just being is our eternal state, without any beginning, end or interruption, will we see that we have never actually risen as ego but have always been as we always are, namely pure intransitive awareness.

Therefore we cannot experience our real and eternal state of just being by any means other than self-investigation. So what exactly is this practice of self-investigation? It is just the simple practice of being self-attentive. The more we try to be self-attentive, the keener, subtler and more refined our power of attention will become, and hence the more keenly self-attentive we will be able to be.

The more keenly we attend to ourself, the more our attention will be withdrawn from all other things, until eventually we will be aware of nothing whatsoever other than ourself, and it is at that moment that ego will be eradicated forever. Therefore being keenly self-attentive is the missing ingredient that I referred to in the second section.

5. Upadēśa Undiyār verse 16: what is required is that we withdraw our attention from all other things by being keenly self-attentive

Withdrawing our attention from all other things is necessary, but it is not sufficient, because we withdraw our attention from all other things whenever we fall asleep, so what is required is that we withdraw our attention from all other things by being keenly self-attentive, as Bhagavan implies in verse 16 of Upadēśa Undiyār:
வெளிவிட யங்களை விட்டு மனந்தன்
னொளியுரு வோர்தலே யுந்தீபற
      வுண்மை யுணர்ச்சியா முந்தீபற.

veḷiviḍa yaṅgaḷai viṭṭu maṉantaṉ
ṉoḷiyuru vōrdalē yundīpaṟa
      vuṇmai yuṇarcciyā mundīpaṟa
.

பதச்சேதம்: வெளி விடயங்களை விட்டு மனம் தன் ஒளி உரு ஓர்தலே உண்மை உணர்ச்சி ஆம்.

Padacchēdam (word-separation): veḷi viḍayaṅgaḷai viṭṭu maṉam taṉ oḷi-uru ōrdalē uṇmai uṇarcci ām.

அன்வயம்: மனம் வெளி விடயங்களை விட்டு தன் ஒளி உரு ஓர்தலே உண்மை உணர்ச்சி ஆம்.

Anvayam (words rearranged in natural prose order): maṉam veḷi viḍayaṅgaḷai viṭṭu taṉ oḷi-uru ōrdalē uṇmai uṇarcci ām.

English translation: Leaving aside external viṣayas [phenomena], the mind knowing its own form of light is alone real awareness [true knowledge or knowledge of reality].
What Bhagavan describes here as ‘வெளி விடயங்களை விட்டு’ (veḷi viḍayaṅgaḷai viṭṭu), ‘leaving aside external viṣayas [phenomena]’, is withdrawing our attention from all other things, but this is just an adverbial clause, which means that it is subordinate to the subject of the sentence, namely the noun phrase ‘மனம் தன் ஒளி உரு ஓர்தலே’ (maṉam taṉ oḷi-uru ōrdalē), ‘the mind knowing its own form of light’. Therefore what he implies here is that by turning our mind or power of attention back within to know our own form of light, we are thereby withdrawing it from all other things.

What he refers to here as ‘தன் ஒளி உரு’ (taṉ oḷi-uru), ‘its own [or one’s own] form of light’, is our real nature, namely pure awareness, which is the light that illumines the mind or ego, thereby enabling it to be aware both of itself and all other things. ‘ஓர்தலே’ (ōrdalē) is an intensified form of ஓர்தல் (ōrdal), which in some contexts means investigating, examining or considering attentively, but in this context means knowing by investigating.

Therefore what he implies in this verse is that when we attend to our ‘form of light’ (our fundamental awareness of our own existence) so keenly that we thereby cease to be aware of anything else whatsoever, what then remains shining alone is ‘உண்மை உணர்ச்சி’ (uṇmai uṇarcci), which means real awareness or awareness of reality. Since the nature of real awareness is to be as it always is without every rising to be aware of anything other than itself, it is what is otherwise described as the state of ‘சும்மா விருப்பது’ (summā v-iruppadu), ‘just being’.

6. Āṉma-Viddai verse 4: how can we just be without even the least action of mind, speech or body?

Therefore in verse 4 of Āṉma-Viddai Bhagavan describes the practice of self-investigation as ‘சொல் மானத தனுவின் கன்மாதி சிறிது இன்றி சும்மா அமர்ந்து இருக்க’ (sol māṉada taṉuviṉ kaṉma-ādi siṟidu iṉḏṟi summā amarndu irukka), ‘when one just is, resting without even the least action of mind, speech or body’:
கன்மா திகட்டவிழ சென்மா திநட்டமெழ
வெம்மார்க் கமதனினு மிம்மார்க் கமிக்கெளிது
சொன்மா னததனுவின் கன்மா திசிறிதின்றிச்
சும்மா வமர்ந்திருக்க வம்மா வகத்திலான்ம —
   சோதியே; நிதானு பூதியே; இராது பீதியே;
      இன்பவம் போதியே.      (ஐயே)

kaṉmā dikaṭṭaviṙa jeṉmā dinaṭṭameṙa
vemmārg gamadaṉiṉu mimmārg gamikkeḷidu
soṉmā ṉadadaṉuviṉ kaṉmā disiṟidiṉḏṟic
cummā vamarndirukka vammā vahattilāṉma —
   jyōtiyē; nitāṉu bhūtiyē; irādu bhītiyē;
      iṉbavam bhōdhiyē
.      (aiyē)

பதச்சேதம்: கன்மாதி கட்டு அவிழ, சென்மாதி நட்டம் எழ, எம் மார்க்கம் அதனினும் இம் மார்க்கம் மிக்கு எளிது. சொல் மானத தனுவின் கன்மாதி சிறிது இன்றி சும்மா அமர்ந்து இருக்க, அம்மா, அகத்தில் ஆன்ம சோதியே; நித அனுபூதியே; இராது பீதியே; இன்ப அம்போதியே. (ஐயே, அதி சுலபம், ...)

Padacchēdam (word-separation): kaṉma-ādi kaṭṭu aviṙa, jeṉma-ādi naṭṭam eṙa, e-m-mārggam-adaṉiṉum i-m-mārggam mikku eḷidu. sol māṉada taṉuviṉ kaṉma-ādi siṟidu iṉḏṟi summā amarndu irukka, ammā, ahattil āṉma-jyōtiyē; nita āṉubhūtiyē; irādu bhītiyē; iṉba ambhōdhiyē. (aiyē, ati sulabham, ...)

அன்வயம்: கன்மாதி கட்டு அவிழ, சென்மாதி நட்டம் எழ, எம் மார்க்கம் அதனினும் இம் மார்க்கம் மிக்கு எளிது. மானத சொல் தனுவின் கன்மாதி சிறிது இன்றி சும்மா அமர்ந்து இருக்க, அம்மா, அகத்தில் ஆன்ம சோதியே; நித அனுபூதியே; பீதியே இராது; இன்ப அம்போதியே. (ஐயே, அதி சுலபம், ...)

Anvayam (words rearranged in natural prose order): kaṉma-ādi kaṭṭu aviṙa, jeṉma-ādi naṭṭam eṙa, e-m-mārggam-adaṉiṉum i-m-mārggam mikku eḷidu. māṉada sol taṉuviṉ kaṉma-ādi siṟidu iṉḏṟi summā amarndu irukka, ammā, ahattil āṉma-jyōtiyē; nita āṉubhūtiyē; bhītiyē irādu; iṉba ambhōdhiyē. (aiyē, ati sulabham, ...)

English translation: To untie the bonds beginning with action, to rise from the devastation beginning with birth, more than whatever path, this path is exceedingly easy. When one just is, resting without even the least action of mind, speech or body, ah, in the heart the light of oneself. The eternal experience. Fear will not exist. The ocean of bliss alone. (Ah, extremely easy, ātma-vidyā, ah, extremely easy!)

Explanatory paraphrase: To untie the bonds beginning with karma [that is, the bonds of action and of all that results from it], and to rise [or be resurrected] from the devastation beginning with birth [that is, to transcend and become free from the miseries of embodied existence, which begins with birth and ends with death], more than whatever [other] path, this path [of ātma-vicāra] is exceedingly easy. When one just is, resting [calmly as pure self-awareness] without even the least karma [action] of mind, speech or body, ah, in [one’s] heart the light of oneself [will shine forth clearly as ‘I am I’]. [Having thereby drowned and lost our finite self (ego) in this perfectly peaceful and infinitely clear state of pure self-awareness, we will discover it to be our] eternal experience. Fear will not exist. The ocean of [infinite] bliss alone [will remain]. ([Therefore] ah, extremely easy, ātma-vidyā, ah, extremely easy!)
What exactly does Bhagavan mean when he says: ‘சொல் மானத தனுவின் கன்மாதி சிறிது இன்றி சும்மா அமர்ந்து இருக்க’ (sol māṉada taṉuviṉ kaṉma-ādi siṟidu iṉḏṟi summā amarndu irukka), ‘when one just is, resting without even the least karma [action] of mind, speech or body’? How can we just be without even the least action of mind, speech or body? To answer these questions we need to understand how action (karma) arises. The first action and the origin or all other actions is the rising of ourself as ego.

As ego we have a will (cittam), which consists of vāsanās (propensities, inclinations or urges) in the form of likes, dislikes, desires, attachments, hopes, fears and so on, and which is what is sometimes called the ānandamaya kōśa (the sheath consisting of [desire for] happiness), the innermost and subtlest of the five sheaths, and the kāraṇa śarīra (causal body), because vāsanās are the seeds that give rise not only to the other four sheaths (intellect, mind, life and body) but to all other phenomena. What drives us to do actions by mind, speech and body is primarily our will, and those actions that are driven by our will are called āgāmya, which is the first of the three karmas, because it is the fruits of āgāmya that we have done in the past that are stored as saṁcita, from which a selection of fruits are chosen for us to experience as prārabdha (fate or destiny) in each life.

So long as we rise and stand as ego, we have a will, and to a greater or lesser extent our will will continue to drive us to do actions at least by mind if not also by speech and body. Therefore we cannot just be without even the least action of mind, speech or body until and unless we cease rising as ego.

Moreover, some of the actions we do by mind, speech and body are driven by prārabdha, namely those actions that are required for us to experience prārabdha, so as long as we continue to rise and stand as ego our mind, speech and body will be impelled to do such actions. However, though they are driven by prārabdha, we will experience such actions as ones done by us, because whenever we rise and stand as ego we mistake ourself to be a person consisting of mind, speech and body, and hence whatever actions they do, whether driven by our will, our prārabdha or both, will seem to us to be actions done by ourself. Since we cannot get rid of this sense of doership so long as we rise and stand as ego and consequently mistake ourself to be a person, we cannot just be without even the least action of mind, speech or body until and unless we cease rising as ego.

7. Uḷḷadu Nāṟpadu verse 25: the nature of ego is such that we rise, stand and flourish as ego by grasping things other than ourself, and we will subside and disappear if we try to grasp ourself alone

Therefore, from whichever angle we may consider it, in order to just be without even the least action of mind, speech or body we need to refrain from rising as ego, so how can we do so? In order to answer this we need to understand the nature of ego, which Bhagavan has explained very clearly in verse 25 of Uḷḷadu Nāṟpadu:
உருப்பற்றி யுண்டா முருப்பற்றி நிற்கு
முருப்பற்றி யுண்டுமிக வோங்கு — முருவிட்
டுருப்பற்றுந் தேடினா லோட்டம் பிடிக்கு
முருவற்ற பேயகந்தை யோர்.

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

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

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

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

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

English translation: Grasping form the formless phantom-ego comes into existence; grasping form it stands; grasping and feeding on form it grows abundantly; leaving form, it grasps form. If it seeks, it will take flight. Investigate.

Explanatory paraphrase: [By] grasping form [that is, by projecting and perceiving the form of a body (composed of five sheaths) as itself] the formless phantom-ego comes into existence [rises into being or is formed]; [by] grasping form [that is, by holding on to that body as itself] it stands [endures, continues or persists]; [by] grasping and feeding on form [that is, by projecting and perceiving other forms or phenomena] it grows [spreads, expands, increases, ascends, rises high or flourishes] abundantly; leaving [one] form [a body that it had projected and perceived as itself in one state], it grasps [another] form [another body that it projects and perceives as itself in its next state]. If it seeks [examines or investigates] [itself], it will take flight [because it has no form of its own, and hence it cannot seem to exist without grasping the forms of other things as itself and as its food or sustenance]. Investigate [this ego] [or know thus].
Since ego is ‘உருவற்ற பேய்’ (uru-v-aṯṟa pēy), a ‘formless phantom’, ‘உரு பற்றி’ (uru paṯṟi), ‘grasping form’, means grasping things other than itself, but how can a formless phantom grasp anything? In this context ‘grasping’ means being aware of, so it is only by being aware of forms, all of which are other than ourself, that we rise, stand and flourish as ego. Therefore we cannot cease rising as ego so long as we continue to be aware of anything at all other than ourself, so we need to let go of our awareness of all other things by trying to grasp ourself alone.

In this verse, therefore, Bhagavan points out two fundamental features of ourself as ego: firstly, we rise, stand and flourish as ego by grasping things other than ourself, and secondly, we will subside and disappear if instead of grasping any other thing we try to grasp ourself alone. In other words, by attending to anything other than ourself we are feeding and nourishing ego, whereas if we attend to ourself, we are thereby making ego subside, as Bhagavan implies in this verse by saying: ‘தேடினால் ஓட்டம் பிடிக்கும்’ (tēḍiṉāl ōṭṭam piḍikkum), ‘If sought, it will take flight’.

That is, if we turn our attention back within, away from all other things, to face ourself alone in order to see what we actually are, ego ‘will take flight’, which means that it will subside and dissolve back into pure awareness, which is our real nature and the source from which we have risen as ego. Because of the strength of our desires and attachments, most of us are not yet able to attend to ourself keenly enough to bring about the complete and permanent dissolution of ego, but to the extent that we do attend to ourself ego will subside.

8. Just being means being self-attentive, and being self-attentive means just being

Therefore the more keenly self-attentive we are, the more ego will subside and dissolve, and the more we thus subside, the less we will be driven by our will to do any actions by mind, speech or body, and the more we will detach ourself from whatever actions these instruments are driven to do by prārabdha. Whether the mind, speech or body is active or not is no concern of ours if our entire attention is firmly fixed on ourself alone, so self-attentiveness is the means by which we can separate ourself from mind, speech and body and hence from whatever actions they may be doing. Therefore it is only by being self-attentive that we can ‘just be, resting without even the least action of mind, speech or body’.

Therefore the answer to your first question, ‘how to practice self enquiry sir?’, is just by being self-attentive, and the answer to your second question, ‘has just to be not doing anything without activity of mind and body, just be?’, is yes, but in order to just be without doing anything we need to be so keenly self-attentive that we thereby cease to be aware of anything else at all.

Just being without doing anything is the being (sat) aspect of self-investigation (ātma-vicāra) and being self-attentive is the awareness (cit) aspect of it, but since there is no sat other than cit and no cit other than sat, because they are one and the same thing, just being means being self-attentive and being self-attentive means just being.

185 comments:

Mouna said...

Hello Michael,
I have a question related to this article.
I noticed that, in my case, repeated efforts for self-attention during the waking state (maybe because attention during waking seems to be powerfully “magnetized” towards things other than ourselves to feed ego through 5 senses perception) are not as powerful as trying by seating quietly (as time permits). Although seating in this kind of “meditation” posture (meditation as Bhagavan defines in the first Mangalam verse of UN) still produces sensory perception, I noticed that distractions are less… powerful, if one wishes to put it in this way.

I’ve heard in the past that Bhagavan said that “meditation” was for beginners (I think it is in “Talks”?) but I am not sure what was meant by that (I don’t read much Talks anymore anyway).
Would you endorse sitting quietly if that could be a complement to be self-attentive during our waking (and dream) hours in order to try to “be aware of nothing whatsoever other than ourself”? What are your thoughts on this matter?
Thank you

Sanjay Lohia said...

Mouna, hope this finds you in good health? You have asked a few questions to Michael. May I try responding to your questions before Michael gives you his reply?

You write, ‘I’ve heard in the past that Bhagavan said that “meditation” was for beginners (I think it is in “Talks”?) but I am not sure what was meant by that.’ The term ‘meditation’ does not have a fixed meaning because one can meditate in many ways. By meditation people usually mean meditation on something other than ourself. They meditate on any name of God or a form of God or a mantra or whatever. So in the context of Bhagavan’s teachings, such meditations can be for beginners. What Bhagavan wants us to practice is self-meditation or atma-vichara.

In fact, Bhagavan said that setting aside separate time for atma-vichara is for beginners or spiritual novices. He said that as we advance on the path we should be trying to be in unceasing atma-vichara. Obviously, when we are engaged in our worldly activities our atma-vichara cannot go very deep, but nevertheless, we can try to keep a part of our attention within even while engaged in our worldly duties. However, in addition to this, it is always beneficial to set aside some time exclusively for our atma-vichara. We may try to decide a particular time and place for it, but it need not always be in this fixed time and place. So we need not be rigid in these things.

You write, ‘Although seating in this kind of “meditation” posture (meditation as Bhagavan defines in the first Mangalam verse of UN) still produces sensory perception, I noticed that distractions are less… powerful, if one wishes to put it in this way’. Whenever we practice atma-vichara, there will always be thoughts as long as our ego is still alive. We cannot avoid it. We can be thought-free only when our ego subsides either temporarily (as in sleep or any other type of manolaya) or permanently (as in manonasa).

When we practice atma-vichara, our aim is to experience ourself as we actually are. Since we are pure self-awareness in our essential and fundamental nature, as long as we are experiencing any kind of thoughts or sensory perceptions, we are not experiencing pure self-awareness. So such thoughts or sensory perceptions are an indication that we have not subsided within fully. The more we turn our attention within, the more we will let go of other things.


Sanjay Lohia said...

This life is just a passing dream, so nothing ultimately matters

What is this life after all? It is just a passing dream, so nothing ultimately matters. What is required is an internal detachment. So we should not think that coronavirus can hurt us. What is the worst thing that can happen from coronavirus? We can die, but what is death? It is just an ending of one dream, and so long as we have attachments another dream will come and this cycle will go on. So nothing can actually hurt us, even though things may seem to hurt us.

If I have a desire for a certain thing and if that if I am deprived of it, that will hurt me. Or if I have a fear of something and if I want to avoid it and if I can’t avoid it, that will hurt me. So the cause of our hurt is our likes and dislikes. If we are free of likes and dislikes, if we have no desires and attachments, nothing could hurt us.

So what strengthens our fear and belief that we are a body? The cause is within us and not outside. So let the outside life go on according to destiny. Inwardly, we need to be detached, and the most effective way to learn to be detached is to practice self-investigation. The more we turn our attention within, the more we are letting go of other things.

• Based on the video: Based on the video 2020-03-29a Yo Soy Tu Mismo: Michael James discusses inward detachment and outward behaviour (00:15)

Mouna said...

Sanjay, hope this also finds you well.
I have a couple of points regarding your comment.

First of all, I might have expressed myself not very clearly creating a misunderstanding, the whole aim of my question to Michael was regarding the statement he usually utilizes: "we must try to attend to ourself so keenly that we thereby cease to be aware of anything other than ourself”. As I was asking, I noticed that setting time (not really on a schedule although experienced traditional meditators say that is better) during the day to sit quietly and closing my eyes to just be self-attentive, for me, works better in the sense that during the daily activities the pull towards phenomena other than ourselves is stronger. I definitely agree with you on try to practice self-attentiveness all the time, no question about that.

There are not many kinds of “meditation", in fact we might reduce that number basically to two: towards and object (god’s name, vipasana, samatha, mantra oriented, and so on) and towards ourself (Bhagavan's description in the first mangalam of Ulladu Narpadu, dzogchen, headless way, etc).
I notice that “object oriented” meditation kept my sanity alive and reduced my stress in these troubled times, as I noticed also that I can also practice “know that to remain within the Heart, as one is, is truly to meditate [upon the Heart]”. they might not be as mutually exclusive as you think, like if you do some jogging and try to be self-attentive.

Finally, could you please point out to me where in Bhagavan’s writings he said "that setting aside separate time for atma-vichara is for beginners or spiritual novices.”?
I don’t know about you but if that is the case, I definitely feel and think myself as a novice/beginner (and have no problem with it!)

My whole question, as I said earlier was gravitating around the idea of "ceasing to be aware of anything other than ourself” and what can help us better to approach that.

Mouna said...

By the way, Michael, have you ever heard about the buddhist “jhanas” meditation concept?
They really come the closest to the idea of "try to be aware of nothing whatsoever other than ourself”...

anadi-ananta said...

Mouna,
"...we must try to attend to ourself so keenly that we thereby cease to be aware of anything other than ourself”.
Question: is there anything other than ourself or outside of ourself ?

Mouna said...

anadi-anata,
"...we must try to attend to ourself so keenly that we thereby cease to be aware of anything other than ourself”.
Question: is there anything other than ourself or outside of ourself ?


That question should be addressed to Michael, he is the one that states the phrase you quoted.

But let me try to answer it (unless it was a rhetorical question) with my intellectual understanding, when ego rises (waking/dreaming), there is an outside (and ergo an inside, subject/object), when ego subsides, no (deep sleep). Other than those three (drishti-shristi), you are right, there is nothing other than ourself (ajata)

Col said...

Mouna do you not love to turn within? Has that love not grown?

My sanity you say. Who's sanity, egos sanity?

Maybe you have not had enough of the world yet.

Sanjay Lohia said...

Mouna, Bhagavan teaches us in paragraph 11 of Nan Ar?:

If one clings fast to uninterrupted svarūpa-smaraṇa [self-remembrance] until one obtains svarūpa [one’s own form or real nature], that alone is sufficient.

Obviously, a beginner on Bhagavan’s path cannot cling fast to uninterrupted svarupa-smarana. However, in this sense, we are all beginners because I do not think any of us are in uninterrupted svapura-smarana.

You asked me, ‘Finally, could you please point out to me where in Bhagavan’s writings he said “that setting aside separate time for atma-vichara is for beginners or spiritual novices?”’ I read this in Talks or Day by Day or somewhere. He could have said this or something to this effect because Bhagavan doesn’t want us to set aside time for atma-vichara. He wants us to be in unceasing atma-vichara.

You say, ‘I notice that “object oriented” meditation kept my sanity alive and reduced my stress in these troubled times, as I noticed also that I can also practice “know that to remain within the Heart, as one is, is truly to meditate [upon the Heart]”. they might not be as mutually exclusive as you think, like if you do some jogging and try to be self-attentive’. I am not sure if I am with you on this point. Maybe what you are trying to convey is not fully clear to me.

Bhagavan teaches us in verse 8 of Upadesa Undiyar:

Rather than anya-bhāva [meditation on anything other than oneself, particularly meditation on God as if he were other than oneself], ananya-bhāva [meditation on nothing other than oneself], in which he is [considered to be] I, is certainly the best among all [practices of bhakti, varieties of meditation and kinds of spiritual practice].

So anya-bhava meditations and ananya-bhava meditation are indeed mutually exclusive, according to my understanding. In anya-bhava meditations, we are attending to things other than ourself, so our attention is outward-directed, whereas in ananya-bhava meditation we are trying to attend to ourself alone, so our attention is inward-directed. So these two types of meditations are diametrically opposite to each other.

You say, ‘My whole question, as I said earlier was gravitating around the idea of "ceasing to be aware of anything other than ourself” and what can help us better to approach that’. Bhagavan’s entire teachings are inspiring us to cease to be aware of anything other than ourself. Bhagavan teaches us in the paragraph 13 of Nan Ar?:

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], alone is giving oneself to God.

So whether we want to give ourself to God or whether we want to know ourself as we actually are, we need to cease to be aware of anything other than ourself.



anadi-ananta said...

Mouna, greetings,
ah, yes, you remind me about Bhagavan's teaching that we, the perceiver, create phenomena merely by perceiving them.
How many roads must a man walk down before he really understands that ? The answer my friend is blowin' in the wind...

anadi-ananta said...

Sanjay,
what is svapura-smarana ?
Presumably you mean self-remembrance or svarupa-smarana.

Sanjay Lohia said...

Anani-ananta, yes, I should have typed ‘svarupa-smarana’. I thank you for pointing out this typo.

R Viswanathan said...

"I’ve heard in the past that Bhagavan said that “meditation” was for beginners (I think it is in “Talks”?) but I am not sure what was meant by that (I don’t read much Talks anymore anyway). Would you endorse sitting quietly if that could be a complement to be self-attentive during our waking (and dream) hours in order to try to “be aware of nothing whatsoever other than ourself”? What are your thoughts on this matter?"

Sri. Mouna, as long as we love to talk, I feel that it benefits us by reading 'Talks' since Bhagavan has answered questions of people like us. If Sri. Nochur who is so well versed with Bhagavan's teachings refers to 'Talks' often, the benefit of reading 'Talks' can easily be felt. I am presently reading the Tamil version of 'Talks' (translation by Sri. Viswanatha Swami) and it is so very nice to read, the language-style, especially, is very much like what Bhagavan might have used.

6th July, 1935 Talk 61.
Mr. Ekanatha Rao: How is dhyana practised - with eyes open or closed?
M.: It may be done either way. The point is that the mind must be introverted and kept active in its pursuit. Sometimes it happens that when the eyes are closed the latent thoughts rush forth with great vigour. It may also be difficult to introvert the mind with the eyes open. It requires strength of mind to do so. The mind is contaminated when it takes in objects. Otherwise, it is pure. The main factor in dhyana is to keep the mind active in its own pursuit without taking in external impressions or thinking of other matters.

Sanjay Lohia said...

If you have really understood what is special about Bhagavan’s teachings, all these old texts will seem like very tasteless food

You have just eaten the tastiest meal in the world, and someone then gives you some very plain food. But you are fully satisfied with the tasty meal, so you don’t want to eat plain food. So our condition is like that. If you have really tasted the uniqueness of Bhagavan’s teachings, if you have really understood what is special about Bhagavan’s teachings, all these old texts will seem like very tasteless food.

OK, it is interesting sometimes to read, to hear how people understand these things, but it won’t help us in our spiritual sadhana. For our spiritual practice, Bhagavan’s teachings are more than sufficient. We don’t have to read anything else.

Just by reading and fully imbibing on a few of Bhagavan’s works we will have a better understanding of ‘traditional’ advaita-vedanta than the so-called traditional advaita-vedantins.

• Based on the video: 2020-03-29b Yo Soy Tu Mismo: Michael James discusses Bhagavan’s teachings and advaita vēdānta (10:00)

Asun said...

So, according to paragraph 6, will which is the subtlest of the sheaths would be the desire for happiness, actually, and the propensities, inclinations or urges which are the vasanas, would be generated by this desire of happiness as ego tries to satisfy it in others things than itself or pure awareness hence, Bhagavan´s instructions in Nan Ar pointing out to ego the true means to find happiness, since desire of ego for happiness only can be fully satisfied by knowing its own form of light and, therefore, the only way for mind to subside once and for all.

Could it be said that this unsatisfied desire for happiness is the darkness remaining in deep sleep that prevents us (funny enough) from satisfying it, i.e., from being aware of the pure awareness which is itself happiness, in deep sleep?

anadi-ananta said...

Mouna,
you may also read Michael's article of Tuesday, 26 November 2019
Is there any difference between being self-attentive and sitting down quietly in meditation?

Mouna said...

Sanjay,
" I read this in Talks or Day by Day or somewhere. He could have said this or something to this effect because Bhagavan doesn’t want us to set aside time for atma-vichara. He wants us to be in unceasing atma-vichara.”

With all due respect Sanjay, this is not the way to answer a simple question.
“He could have said this or something to this effect…?” is that the way one answer questions? Please refer to Michael how he solidly supports his own statements with facts or references.

With all due respect Sanjay: "because Bhagavan doesn’t want us to…/ he wants us...”
Really? how do you know, or, on what basis you know what Bhagavan wants from “us”? You might know (although I really doubt it) what he wants from you, but what He wants from “us”?, really? that sounds like the sermons of the catholic priests who supposedly know what “god” wants us to do.

With all due respect Sanjay, your response lacks any foundation or solidity since you quote sources like Talks or Day by Day (or somewhere!) when even then you are not sure where you read them.

I do appreciate the effort and good intentions you have or had to try to help me answering the question that was originally aimed to Michael with your opinion, but the answer confused (and diffused) the question more than clarified it.

Hope you take this observations in the spirit of what this blog intends to serve, clarifying Bhagavan’s teachings.

Mouna said...

R Viswanathan, thank you for your comment and the pointers you include in it.
Although I seem to contradict myself, I do sometimes hear unabridged audio versions of “Talks” (from YouTube).
You are right, I shouldn’t dismiss it completely, specially when it was that book that actually pushed me into Bhagavan’s teachings and prompt me to start studying them more in deep. But in time, I became a little weary of separating the wheat from the chaff, when I started to realize the subjective character of the scribe's writings.
But I agree, there are many valuable teaching gems there nonetheless, good point.

Mouna said...

anadi-ananta, greetings
"The answer my friend is blowin' in the wind…”

indeed my friend, indeed...

...and let the wind blow.. (Beach Boys 1967)

Sanjay Lohia said...

The death of this body is inevitable and even needed when it is worn out

The acts of creation, sustenance and destruction are all important. Some people believe that God is unceasingly engaged in all these three types of actions, even though Bhagavan differs with this view. I was telling this to my wife in the context of the closure of our business. I was reminding her of the time when we took so much joy in creating our business, then enjoyed it while running it and so now it is the time to enjoy or celebrate its destruction. Moreover, something new can be created only after the old is destroyed.

Shiva is supposed to be the God of destruction. Shiva’s job of destruction is as important as Brahma’s job of creation and Vishnu’s job of sustenance. In fact, Brahma, the creator, is not worshipped in any of the temples in India because he is supposed to have created this world and thus started all this trouble. Michael said something to this effect in one of his videos. So now Shiva is playing his part of destruction much more than ever before. All these coronavirus deaths are just the dance of Shiva. All this destruction is needed in God’s view of things. We may not see things this way but things don’t happen by accident in God’s scheme of things.

A seed has to die for a plant to sprout out of this seed. This plant may produce a flower, and if this is a fruit-producing flower, this flower has to die before the fruit can replace this flower. So the importance of destruction can be seen abundantly in nature. The seasons come in succession. The winter has to die before spring comes, and spring has to die before summer comes, and summer has to die before the autumn comes.

So likewise, the death of this body is inevitable and even needed when it is worn out. We often say that the dead are happy since they are now free of all their troubles.

Friends, do you agree with whatever I have written? Would you like to add to my reflection? The idea is to also see the positive side of death and destruction. I would love if Michael also gives his views on this aspect of death. Even if death is approaching us, should we not encounter the situation more positively? Should we only despise death, or can we celebrate death in some way? Obviously, the idea is not to trivialise the current suffering that people are going through. The idea is to make ourselves prepared for any eventuality.

My above reflection is adapted from an email that I wrote to Michael recently

anadi-ananta said...

Michael,
section 1.,
"...so being aware of any other thing is a doing, a mental activity."
It seems to me that my awareness of anything other than myself is less a doing or an activity than rather a passive automatic unintentional occurrence and thus a kind of involuntary servitude.

Rob P said...

Ramana said many things to those who were not willing to accept the core principles of his teachings

'Talks' is no part of his core teachings for very good reason

Sanjay Lohia said...

Whatever happens to the body, we remain the same

Many people are going to die due to this virus, but what dies is the body. If we have a favourite gold necklace and if it is damaged beyond repair, it seems to be a loss to us. But we can have it melted and have it made into a similar necklace or a bangle or whatever. We can even keep the melted gold in the bank. So we can do a lot of things with our damaged gold necklace. But the substance of the gold remains whatever happens to its forms.

Likewise, whatever happens to this body, we remain the same. Ideally, before the death of the body if we know what we actually are, then the story is over. So we don’t have to come back. But if we still remain in ignorance, then as it is said in Bhagavad Gita, it is just like removing a shirt – we take off one body and take on another body instead. These are just outward veshams, our disguises, our appearances. It is not what we really are.

So we don’t need to be worried. We have been given this body for a certain length of time. We don’t know how long. We have had it now for X number of years. We may have it for a few more years or for a few more days or for a few more minutes or we could be gone the very next minute. We don’t know, but what we know is that none of this is real. What is real is only ourself.

So Bhagavan’s advice at all times is - cling to yourself. If you are worried about something, ‘To whom is this worry?’ Turn your attention back towards yourself. That’s the way of giving up concern about all other things.

• Based on the video: 2020-03-14 Ramana Maharshi Foundation UK: discussion with Michael James on Ēkāṉma Pañcakam verse 4 (37:00)

Sanjay Lohia said...

Everything other than ourself is false

A friend: If one is depressed, then one is inevitably listening to one’s mind. One’s mind is constantly feeding us with false information.

Michael: It’s true. In the final analysis, all the information mind is feeding us is false. Everything other than ourself is false.

• Based on the video: 2020-03-14 Ramana Maharshi Foundation UK: discussion with Michael James on Ēkāṉma Pañcakam verse 4 (58:00)

My reflection: So coronavirus is false, totally and completely false, in the final analysis.

R Viswanathan said...

"Ramana said many things to those who were not willing to accept the core principles of his teachings. 'Talks' is no part of his core teachings for very good reason"

I feel that acceptance of and adherence to the core principles of Bhagavan's teachings might well eliminate any need to resort to reading 'Talks'.

Sanjay Lohia said...

We are not yet willing to let go of everything

The whole of the spiritual path is what we want. The problem is we have conflicting desires at present. We want to be free of all misery or dissatisfaction or suffering, but the price to be paid for that is to give up all our desire for anything else. That is what we find difficult. We are not yet willing to let go of everything.

• Based on the video: 2020-03-22 Yo Soy Tu Mismo: Michael James discusses the key role of our will (33:00)

My reflection: Yes, we are not yet willing to let go of everything. Even in this time of great scare, we are still holding on to our pet desires and attachments. We want to let go, but we are not yet fully willing to let go. As Michael has put it beautifully:

We want to be free of all misery or dissatisfaction or suffering, but the price to be paid for that is to give up all our desire for anything else.

How to give up all our desire for anything else? We can do so most effectively and quickly by attending to ourself more and more. Our aim is clear: we need to surrender our ego with all its desires and attachments. We can surrender these to some extent by other spiritual practices (and by even the sravana and manana of Bhagavan’s teachings) but eventually, we need to turn our entire attention towards ourself if we want to complete the task which we have undertaken.

So let us make use of these lockdowns. Let us lock down our desires and attachments. We have had enough of this world and all its wild ways. Its time to settle down inside our true nature. We want to be safe, and true safety is only within ourself. If we roam outside, we are surrounded by danger. So let us stay within our homes literally and metaphorically!

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

For me Guru Vachaka Kovai is the "Bible" of Bhagavan's teaching, it is more approachable than Ulladu Narpadu and other fundamental texts. And I prefer the Godman version, however if somebody doesn't want to spend the money, the free version by Michael and Sadhu Om is just fine, I like the commentaries there.

That said, I find the Talks as a very helpful supplement, however they can confuse those who are not soaked with the basics of GVK.

Sanjay Lohia said...

Tera Ramji karenge beda paar, udasi man kahe ko kare – part one

Dr Ambika begins this video singing a famous Hindi bhajan: Tera Ramji karenge beda paar, udasi man kahe ko kare, kahe ko kare, kahe ko dareh…. ‘Beda par’ means ‘to get across’. A ‘beda’ means is a fleet of boats or ships, and ‘paar’ is to get across. So this bhajan means ‘Ram will carry your boat across to the other shore, why are you disheartened or sad? Why are you afraid?’ I think this bhajan is quite appropriate in these circumstances. We need not be afraid if we have surrendered to Ram (God). Now, over to the extract from the video:

We should not feel sad thinking we are not progressing spiritually nor should we be afraid of anything. Who is getting us across? Ram! Ramji is taking us across, so we have nothing to fear. But we have the sadhana to do. We need to at least sit in the boat. Then the beda (fleet of boats) will go. We may decide not to get on this boat. We may wait for the next trip. If we do this, we do not commence our sadhana. We remain immersed in samsara.

So we have to get into the boat and then he will take the beda. In fact, Ram is the beda and the boat and the boatman – he is only you. You may not know this. So we cannot avoid our sadhana. Our sadhana is to get on this boat. What exactly is our sadhana? [Dr Ambika quotes the following two verses from the Bhagavad Gita]:

Bhagavad Gita verse 6.25 (verse 27 of Bhagavad Gita Saram): By [an] intellect [a power of discrimination or discernment] imbued with firmness [steadfastness, resolution, persistence or courage] one should gently and gradually withdraw [one’s mind] from [all] activity. Having made [one’s] mind stand firm in atman, one should not think even a little of anything else.

Bhagavad Gita verse 6.26 (verse 28 of Bhagavad Gita Saram): Wherever the ever-wavering and unsteady mind goes, restraining [or withdrawing] it from there one should subdue it [by always keeping it firmly fixed] only in atman.

- To be continued in my next comment.

• Edited and paraphrased extract from the video: Bhagavad Gita Episode – 20 by Dr Ambika Kameshwar: (RASA WEB CHANNEL)

Mouna said...

anadi-ananta,
"you may also read Michael's article of Tuesday, 26 November 2019“
Thank you very much to take the time to research this article for me, really appreciate.
At that time I wasn’t following the blog, so I didn’t read it. Thanks

That article didn’t address my query though. That article addresses what most of us Bhagavan’s addicts of his teachings, think when someone mentions the word “meditation”: the idea of someone sitting straight trying to be aware of her/his breath (object oriented meditation). At the very beginning of the article Michael says: "We can meditate either on ourself or on something other than ourself”, which I also said in response to another comment addressing my question before.

My question was not if meditation was more or equally efficient to erradicate ego as self-investigation or self-attention. My question was only about the phrase "try to be aware of nothing whatsoever other than ourself”, cryptic phrase in one sense since in waking and dreaming there is unavoidable perception, because ego and phenomena are not two in another sense. I don’t even know if that phrase, the way it is put, appears at all in Bhagavan’s writings (like the 180% turn of attention that will cause the ego to disappear). But still, those two concepts, albeit non verifiable, are worth trying the shot, since they are endorsed from reliable sources like Michael and Sadhu Om.

What I noticed is that perceptual distractions during the waking period (like moving around, going about your day, chores, work, family, writing to the blog, etc…) are substantialy reduced if one sits quietly and only tries to be aware of nothing whatsoever other than ourself which, again, at least for me, is very difficult (but not impossible) because there is perception going on.

I wanted to know Michael’s opinion on this but I guess I answered my own question at this point.
Since it works for me, even if the index of terms in someone’s catalog defines it as a beginner, I’ll keep allotting time, when time and prarabdha allows so, to sit quietly, silently and to be aware of nothing whatsoever other than myself…

(BTW, nowadays, why everybody who enters the small room where Bhagavan used to sit at the ashram sits quietly? are they all trying to follow their breath, or if not, all beginners then?)

wishing you all wellness and sanity
m

Sanjay Lohia said...

Tera Ramji karenge beda paar, udasi man kahe ko kare – part two

So slowly slowly we have to turn our mind inwards and not think of anything else. We need to turn our mind inwards because we are so used to being bahirmukham (outward-turned). So we have to become antarmukham (inward-turned). You should not get distracted from this purpose, so your mind has to retain the focus of the task at hand. You need focus to accomplish things even this mundane existence, so imagine the focus you need in your atma-sadhana. It’s the highest. Every time the mind goes astray, it needs to be pulled back to its source. It will be constantly going here and there.

Immediately after this Arjuna’s doubts surfaces. He says, ‘Krishna, it is nice to give me all these instructions, but how will I control my mind? I cannot control it so easily. It is almost like controlling the wind’. Can you control the wind? It is impossible, and the mind is definitely more powerful than the wind. But Krishna says, ‘Don’t give up. Undoubtedly, Arjuna, you are right. It is very difficult’. Krishna explains further it is possible to control the mind with practice (abhyasa) and detachment (vairagya). The mind should be pulled in with vairagya.

However, we need to bring in equanimity and balance in our lives in order to progress spiritually. We need balanced eating, sleeping, work, leisure, talking, walking, everything’. Krishna wants us to bring balance into our lives before we can enjoy yoga or the state of dhyana.

• Edited and paraphrased extract from the video: Bhagavad Gita Episode – 20 by Dr Ambika Kameshwar: (RASA WEB CHANNEL)

Salazar said...

For me any "difficulties" with vichara are directly related to the state of mind at that time. I do not attempt to "reduce" perception, that is a fools game, perception will go on its own accord.

Alas the mind has the tendency to make vichara more difficult as it really is. That includes to set any goals or ideas how it is supposed to be etc.
Vichara works much better for me with eyes open, with eyes closed tamas is just around the corner. To not be interested anymore in one's perception is just changing a habit, and also that habit changes on its own accord. Alas the mind is impatient and has too many ideas and just can't help it to chime in instead to just shut up.

Mouna said...

Salazar, I agree with you.
GVK is a jewel of Bhagavan’s teaching literature through both Bhagavan's own writings and also Muruganar's hands, I put it also at the same level of NY, UN and UI as one of the main resources of Bhagavan’s teachings.
In the Godman’s version, there are a few paragraphs of the introduction that show the value Bhagavan attributed to this text. Here below I reproduced the excerpt (hoping David Godman and the other translators of the book are OK with it, the book is available for purchase through David Godman's website, but not in digital form).

(quote from the actual DG book)
"Bhagavan made an even more significant editing intervention in the introduction that had been written by the editor and compiler, Sadhu Natanananda. Towards the end of this introduction Natanananda had written the following sentence:
In summary, it can be said that this is a work that has come into' existence to explain in great detail and in a pristine form Sri Ramana's philosophy and its essential nature [swarupa].
From Sadhu Natanananda's introduction. Note the handwritten insertion by Bhagavan between the last two words. (There is an image here that shows Bhagavan’s handwritten insertion, refer to the book. My note)

Bhagavan inserted the suffix 'ay' after the word 'idu', which by itself means 'this'. This insertion makes a significant difference to the meaning of the sentence.
The addition of the suffix ‘ay' in this sentence, making the word 'iduvay’, can give two meanings that can be roughly translated as 'this definitely' or this 'alone'. Sometimes both meanings can be taken simultaneously.

Let me explain this in more detail because Bhagavan is making an important statement here. If the sentence 'Out of all the books on the shelf this alone is worth reading’ was translated into Tamil, the words 'this alone’ would be translated by 'iduvay'. The 'ay' suffix isolates one item of a group from the rest - here, the one book from the many - and then makes a statement that refers exclusively to that one isolated component. If 'iduvay' was given the alternative meaning 'this definitely' in the sentence I have just given, the meaning would change slightly to 'this is definitely worth reading'. It is not as absolute and exclusive as 'this alone', but the meaning is substantially the same: one book has been isolated from a group and given a very high recommendation.

Bhagavan's interpolation of 'ay' after the word ‘idu' separates Guru Vachaka Kovai from all the other books of his teachings (or at least the ones that existed in 1939) and then praises it by saying: ‘[out of all the available books on Sri Ramana's teachings] this work alone has come into existence to explain in great detail and in a pristine form Sri Ramana's philosophy and its essential nature'. If the alternative translation of 'ay' is used, it would mean, ‘this book has most definitely come into existence to explain in great detail and in a pristine form Sri Ramana's philosophy and its essential nature’.
Whichever of the two options one takes, Bhagavan's editorial insertion at this point gives an exceptional and unique imprimatur to this collection of teachings.
(end of quote)

Mouna said...

Again, all I am saying is that Michael proposes "try to be aware of nothing whatsoever other than ourself”.
I don’t have any “difficulty" with vichara, or perception shutting off or “ ow to meditate” or concepts like that I am just asking if anybody could expand, pragmatically, on what this phrase ("try to be aware of nothing whatsoever other than ourself”) means in terms of validity. I suppose nobody verified that statement, otherwise, according to this guideline, the person would not be here anymore. It is interesting that nobody can address the question, maybe because I can’t formulate it properly (always a possibility) or because no one can ever verify that statement as a valid one.

“Try to be aware of yourself” (or atma-vichara) is really not difficult or a problem (besides that abidance gets jammed by ego’s rising), but including the words: “nothing whatsoever than...” that is where I am aiming my investigation. So far no one addresses that question, which is: "can we try to be aware of nothing whatsoever other than ourself”?

The only “state” that approaches the “nothing whatsoever other than ourself" is deep sleep and the fourth jhana state of buddhism (nirvikalpa samadhi?) where people actually experiences them and talk from experience, not just by inference from the writings guru's teachings.

In any case, it’s agreed that my question and all responses so far is just mental/conceptual discourse that only seems to pull the mind more and more into external phenomena. Just realized that it might not be the right forum to ask these kind of questions, that actually was, at the beginning, only addressed to Michael. I thought Michael’s response could benefit someone that has the same doubts about that “method”, next time I’ll ask him directly.

I agree that the mind has many ideas and specially answers to others’ questions and "just can't help it to chime in instead to just shut up…”
I’ll be the first starting to follow your advice.

R Viswanathan said...

"That said, I find the Talks as a very helpful supplement, however they can confuse those who are not soaked with the basics of GVK."

I view this way: Guru Vachaka Kovai consists solely of Bhagavan's words (or words of Sri Muruganar, approved by Bhagavan) where as 'Talks' contains Bhagavan's words which came out as verbal answers to questions of different persons. I heard Sri Nochur stating once that it is very rarely did the devotees of Bhagavan staying in the Ashram ask questions to Bhagavan (with the exception of Sri Devaraja Mudaliyar) and that many of the questions have been asked by visitors, but, nevertheless, one can see very regularly in 'Talks' the repeated assertion by Bhagavan: "You are that".

The following passage taken from Introduction, reportedly written by Sadhu Arunachala (Major Chadwick), might reveal the precious nature of 'Talks':

"The completed notes were often shown to the questioners for verification, but the whole had the seal of approval of Sri Bhagavan himself, as the records were always shown to him for his approval or the necessary alteration after they had been entered in the notebook. Thus we may be sure that here we have the exact teaching of the Master, and reading them we once again sit at his feet in the Old Hall, drinking in every word that falls from his lips; enraptured by his smile, the movement of his delicate hands, and his actions; for he was a true artist, often acting the part of the story he was telling, the better to drive home his point.

What more is there to say, but to advise one and all to read this book and try and make it a part of themselves? Not one word to be passed over lightly, or one conversation to be dismissed as superfluous. It is all pure gold. And here again we find the ever-living Sri Ramana Maharshi before us in person, teaching us in his own inimitable words for our benefit and delight."

Sanjay Lohia said...

R. Viswanathan, obviously Major Chadwick had a high opinion Talks. However, now we have come to know that recordings such as Talks and Day by Day have major flaws. I believe Day by Day is a slightly better recording than Talks.

Why did Major Chadwick form an unnecessarily high opinion about Talks? Like we need a genuine expert to judge the true value of a diamond, we need people with a deep and subtle understanding of Bhagavan’s teachings to judge the value of Talks vis-à-vis Bhagavan’s other works like Nan Ar?, Upadesa Undiyar and Ulladu Narpadu. Michael James and Sadhu Om have clearly told us that Bhagavan’s genuine and undiluted teachings can only be found in his original works. These devotees have an extremely deep and subtle understanding of Bhagavan’s teachings, so their opinion matters.

Major Chadwick apparently didn’t have such a clear understanding of Bhagavan’s teachings. For example, Chadwick could never accept the eka-jiva-vada theory of Bhagavan. He also felt that this world cannot be a projection of a single jiva. According to him, this world is more likely a projection of a universal mind or some such thing. So Chadwick’s understating of Bhagavan’s teachings was clearly off the mark.

Likewise, Chadwick formed a wrong opinion about the importance of Talks, and his views are being cited by other devotees who want to put Talks on a pedestal. Metaphorically, we can say Bhagavan’s original works such as Nan Ar?, Upadesa Undiyar and Ulladu Narpadu are like priceless diamonds, whereas recordings such a Talks are like these diamonds mixed up with cheap pebbles. So if we want only diamonds, we will easily find them in Bhagavan’s original works.


Sanjay Lohia said...

Mouna, you wrote, ‘With all due respect Sanjay, this is not the way to answer a simple question. “He could have said this or something to this effect…?” is that the way one answer questions? Please refer to Michael how he solidly supports his own statements with facts or references’.

I am sorry. I was not able to give you the proper source reference of my claim about Bhagavan’s saying. Yes, Michael solidly supports his own statements with facts or references. But my knowledge of Bhagavan’s works is nowhere as good as Michael, so I admit my inadequacy.

R Viswanathan said...

From 'Talks':

Talk 99: A sannyasi asked: It is said that the Self is beyond the mind and yet the realisation is with the mind. Mano na manute, Manasa na matam, and Manasaivedamaptavyam (The mind cannot think it. It cannot be thought of by the mind and the mind alone can realise it). How are these contradictions to be reconciled?

M.: Atman is realised with mruta manas (dead mind), i.e., mind devoid of thoughts and turned inward. Then the mind sees its own source and becomes That. It is not as the subject perceiving an object. When the room is dark a lamp is necessary to illumine and eyes to cognise objects. But when the sun is risen there is no need of a lamp, and the objects are seen; and to see the sun no lamp is necessary, it is enough that you turn your eyes towards the self luminous sun. Similarly with the mind. To see the objects the reflected light of the mind is necessary. To see the Heart it is enough that the mind is turned towards it. Then the mind loses itself and the Heart shines forth.

Sanjay Lohia said...

This coronavirus is also a thought

A friend: Isn’t coronavirus also a thought?

Michael: Yes, the whole world is just our thoughts. But just because this virus is also a thought doesn’t mean that we can get rid of it so easily. The root of all thoughts is ego, so until we get rid of ego, we cannot get rid of our thoughts. The coronavirus, the wars, the famines, pleasures, pains – they will all sprout accompanying ego. If you want to be free of all these things, get rid of ego.

The friend: Isn’t coronavirus the infinite whole too?

Michael: There is only the infinite whole, so there is no coronavirus. The infinite has room for the finite. It is only in the view of this finite ego that all these finite things seem to exist. In the view of the infinite, which is our true nature, there is no coronavirus, no world and no ego – there is nothing. There is just sat-chit-ananda, beginningless and endless.

We worry about the world only when it seems to exist either in our waking or dream. We don’t experience any world in our sleep, so we have no worries or problems in sleep. Bhagavan says don’t worry about this world. Don’t carry it on your head. The train is carrying the burden anyway. This train in Bhagavan’s grace – leave the whole burden on him.

Our aim is to subside within and be calm and peaceful.

• Based on the video: 2020-03-28 Sri Ramana Center, Houston: discussion with Michael James on Uḷḷadu Nāṟpadu verse 38 (1:27)

Sanjay Lohia said...

Arunachala, ocean of grace in the form of a hill - bestow grace!

A friend: Michael, could you quote any verse from Aksharamanamalai to conclude this session?

Michael: Ocean of grace in the form of a hill - bestow grace!

That is the first verse that came to my mind.

• Based on the video: 2020-03-28 Sri Ramana Center, Houston: discussion with Michael James on Uḷḷadu Nāṟpadu verse 38 (1:32)

My reflection: We need Bhagavan’s (or Arunachala’s) grace more than ever before. We need his grace to see goodness even in this situation which seems to be not so good.

However, what is grace? Michael has explained, ‘Grace is the power that draws us back to ourself. But we have to yield ourself to that grace by turning within’.

Sanjay Lohia said...

Bhagavan says our actions are like seeds, and all these seeds will sprout fruits

Sometimes we may believe that because we wanted something, we have achieved it. But this is not true because we want many things, but we don’t achieve all those things. So we can want something, but only if it is in our prarabdha can we achieve it. If we want something and if we achieve it, then the actions we do to achieve it is done both by our will and by our prarabdha. So we cannot say which actions are driven by will and which actions are driven by destiny. Destiny has the final say on what actions we are permitted to do, but within the scope of destiny, we are free to do a lot of actions by our will.

Usually, our will is involved in most of the actions in one way or another, but only those actions will fructify which are necessary to bring out our destiny. So when Bhagavan says, ‘If we are the doer of actions, we will experience the resulting fruit’ – that’s a very simple statement of fact, but actually how that principle works is not so simple. Our desires, attachments, likes, dislikes, hopes and so on are very complex. Since all these drive this cycle of karma – doing actions and experiencing their fruits – the whole process is complex.

But who is the doer of actions? It is the ‘I’ that rises as ‘I am this body’ – that is ego. This rising ‘I’ has doership and that consequently has experiencership. If we experience ourself as the doer of actions, we will also experience ourself as the experiencer of our past actions.

Bhagavan says our actions are like seeds, and all these seeds will sprout fruits. The reason why Bhagavan says this is because these actions give rise to the vast spreading tree of samsara, which is the perpetually revolving cycle of births and deaths.

• Based on the video: 2020-03-22 Yo Soy Tu Mismo: Michael James discusses the key role of our will (00:08)

anadi-ananta said...

Mouna,
"try to be aware of nothing whatsoever other than ourself”,
Therefore being aware of anything whatsoever other than ourself is a big sin.
But how to refrain from committing such an offence ? :-)

Rob P said...

I have the GVK version by Prof K. Swaminathan and I refer to Michael website for his & Sadhu Om's version for a more literal translation for certain verses. I'm not able to source a physcial copy of Michaels & Sadhu Om's version sadly. The third version by Butler, Venkatasubramanian & Godman is highly priced on the net at approximately £45 second hand and £90 new. Slightly cheaper on Godmans website which isn't distributing due to lockdown. It's hugely frustrating so called spiritual bookshops such as Watkins down the road from me have several shelves worth of books on Osho & Mooji yet just can't fill a shelf worth of Ramana books, let alone the jewels like GVK and each version.

Anyhow, after reading some free verses from the Butler, Venkatasubramanian & Godman one, I concluded it's nice but somewhere in between other two versions, which I'm content with.. :)

I love the first verse and thought I'd share the three different translations in English so anyone curious could see the difference albeit based on one verse :)

(Prof K. Swaminathan)
To save from dire despondency
Those who yearn for, and yet are, far,
Far from the goal of final Freedom,
This Lamp of Guru’s wisdom lit
To put to flight the illusion of ‘I’
And ‘mine’, shines as the very Self.

(Michael & Sadhu Om)
This Light [i.e., these verses] of the Guru’s Teachings,
which destroys the base nature of mind – ‘I’ and ‘mine’ – shines as Self,
illuminating our hearts, whenever we long with increasing despair for Grace.

Butler, Venkatasubramanian & Godman)
The Guru abides without the base mental attitude of ‘I’ and ‘mine’,
which exist through their dependence on erroneous understanding.
He is the flame of bodha [knowledge] that will shine as the Self of the seeker,
conferring such a clarity of knowledge in his heart, he will no longer be distressed by his longing for grace.

Sanjay Lohia said...

Rob, some movies are made for masses and some for classes. Likewise, we have some spiritual teachings for classes and others for masses. The teachings of Osho, Mooji and others can be taken to be for masses. That is, these teachings will appeal to a much wider variety of people, so it is not a wonder that these will be easily and widely available in book-shops. Their teachings are not so deep or subtle, and therefore these will be understood and followed by a huge crowd. However, even though Bhagavan’s teachings are becoming increasing popular, but these still have a relatively smaller readership.

Bhagavan’s teachings are undoubtedly the ultimate spiritual teachings. However, his teachings will appeal to few in comparison to the mass ‘gurus’ like Osho and Mooji. We know that it is quite lonely at the top. So Bhagavan is sitting at the very top, so we will always find relatively few people following him. Even Bhagavan has many devotees but very very few genuine followers.

I thank you for sharing all the three versions of verse one of GVK. I believe the version by Sadhu Om and Michael James is the best – the clearest. As I understand, the gist of this verse is that all of Bhagavan’s teachings shine within ourself as our true nature. Since Bhagavan is not different from his teachings and since Bhagavan exists in and as our real self, his teachings also exist in and as our real self. So if we want to read and understand his teachings, we should turn within and ‘read’ our real nature.

In other words, when we are practising atma-vichara, we are not only contacting Bhagavan in his real form but are also reading and assimilating his teachings from its purest source. Do you agree?


Salazar said...

Mouna, to address your question "can we try to be aware of nothing whatsoever other than ourself?" directly:

I'd say directly "no" and indirectly, as with vichara, yes. That implies time of course. To be aware of nothing whatsoever than ourself constitutes (for me) manonasa. Manonasa cannot be "tried". You'd probably say the same. One cannot try something what one really is, one can only remove the ignorance of believing to be bound. And that [complete] removal is to be aware of nothing whatsoever than ourself.

Salazar said...

Rob, that's the problem with translations, they will be always different from translator to translator. English is my second language and I am fluent in two more languages. So I prefer to read books and texts in the original language and go only with a translation when I do not understand the language of the original.

Alas I do not understand Tamil and I tried to find a good English translation of the Tirukkural. Not an easy task and some translations sound rather ridiculous.

There are many discussions about translations and I find often it depends on personal preferences as it is with all things. So another thing people can argue about what may be the "best" translation.

What tickles me though is Sanjay's so obvious bias for Michael and Sadhu Om [opinions]. Do I smell an attachment of some sorts? :-)

Anonymous said...

Beautiful!!!

Asun said...

So, where is the great mystery and difficulty in Michael´s proposal to "try to be aware of nothing whatsoever other than ourself”? The key word is “try” which is the practice of self-investigation and “being aware of nothing other than ourself”, the result of the practice that requires unconditional love, a keen intellect or capacity of discrimination and detachment, all of it provided by the very practice, an earnest and constant practice. Being aware of nothing other than ourself is direct experience, cannot be explained and mind can´t grasp it hence, the saying “those who talk, don´t know and those who know, don´t talk”, not because it to be a secret reserved only for a few but because as S.Murugunar says in verse 999 of GVK:

“Even by those who have united [with Self], the
happiness of union cannot be thought of but can only
be experienced. Those who have united [cannot think
even of] the method by which they have attained [that
state of] Silence, annihilating the ego-sense in that
anandatitam [that state transcending bliss].”

And, at the end of his comment of this verse: “In that state we cannot think that we have followed any path or method”. Yet, Bhagavan, out of compassion, taught the path and method to this pretentious and petulant mind in a very simple and clear way, the same way that Michael openly explains it once and again in his blog for everyone. That´s what I´ve always liked about Michael that he responds everyone and all questions on the basis of Bhagavan´s teachings, without making differences and without being condescending to anyone, thankfully and for his own as well as for all of us benefit, regardless of nonsenses and provocations. What do they matter? We have nothing to gain and everything to lose.

Mouna said...

I thank everyone who commented giving your thoughtful opinions on my original question directed to Michael, that was:
"Would you endorse sitting quietly if that could be a complement to be self-attentive during our waking (and dream) hours in order to try to “be aware of nothing whatsoever other than ourself”? What are your thoughts on this matter?”

I did resolve the matter.
Thank you

R Viswanathan said...

"So Chadwick’s understating of Bhagavan’s teachings was clearly off the mark.
Likewise, Chadwick formed a wrong opinion about the importance of Talks, and his views are being cited by other devotees who want to put Talks on a pedestal. Metaphorically, we can say Bhagavan’s original works such as Nan Ar?, Upadesa Undiyar and Ulladu Narpadu are like priceless diamonds, whereas recordings such a Talks are like these diamonds mixed up with cheap pebbles. So if we want only diamonds, we will easily find them in Bhagavan’s original works."

I see this way: all three literature cited above may be classified as some form of 'Talks'. Nan Yaar (with Sri Siva Prakasam Pillai) Upadesa Undhiyaar and Ulladhu Narpadhu (on request from Sri Muruganar). Even Guru Vachaka Kovai consists of collection of Bhagavan's words in some arranged format. Thus, I value all these four in the same pedestal as 'Talks' as well as Bhagavan's other works such as Arunachala Akshara Mana Maalai or Arunachala Pancha Ratnam or Atma Vidya Keerthanam...., all coming out of Bhagavan, all diamonds.

Furthermore, I genuinely feel that Sri Sadhu Om or Sri Michael James might have had some specific reason if they won't prefer to place all Bhagavan's works in the same category. However, they also don't seem to have raised the kind of questions such as those which many of us raise here, presumably because they have not only understood Bhagavan's teachings clearly well but also have adhered to them in their lives. Therefore, I would think that it would do good to refrain from citing (or repeating the same in one's own style) whatever views that might have been expressed by Sri Sadhu Om or Sri Michael James on 'Talks'.

I also guess that had Major Chadwick written introductory message for any other work related to Bhagavan, he would have expressed his love equally well as he did for 'Talks'.
I can feel how much importance Sri Nochur gives for 'Talks' in his discourses on any other work of Bhagavan or even in his discourses on Bhagavatham or Bhagavat Gita. Yesterday, I heard this from Sri Nochur: in many places in 'Talks', Bhagavan remained silent without answering; and Bhagavan would merely say "the source from which the question arises, the answer comes from the same place - through me".

Om Namo Bhagavate Sri Arunachala Ramanaya.

Sanjay Lohia said...

Asun, you end your last comment by writing, ‘We have nothing to gain and everything to lose’. What you say is the gist of the spiritual path. In Bhagavan’s path of self-surrender, we have everything to lose and nothing to gain. Since we don’t want to lose the things we have, we are holding on to all our attachments with all the might at our command. However, we are being foolish by our trying to hold on to things, which are after all just thoughts or ideas in our mind.

How can we ultimately lose everything? We can do so only by giving up ego because ego is the aadhara or base or root of everything. So we need to cut this root in order to let go of all our desires and attachments, and we can cut this root only by repeated, persistent and deep self-investigation.

We simply need to be willing to lose everything on this path. So this path is for dhiras (extremely brave ones).

anadi-ananta said...

Sanjay,
you mean 'adhara', the one fundamental adhara or underlying base that supports the appearance and disappearance of our mind and everything that is known by it.(not aadhara).

Sanjay Lohia said...

We cannot add to or subtract from our destiny in this lifetime in any way

The following is the reproduction of my exchange of views with Nikola Cvetkovic in the comment section of Michael’s latest video:

Nikola Cvetkovic: Ok in the present moment one can not change anything.. but wouldn't our will in the present become part of prarabdha in the future. If yes, how long will it take, can it not happen in this life, what is the mechanism?

Sanjay Lohia: Nikola, we cannot change what we are to experience in this lifetime, but we are free to want to change and free to try to change whatever we are destined to experience, and such wanting to change and trying to change creates fruits of actions. These fruits get stored in sanchita (our store-house of karma-phalas). Bhagavan selects from this store the fruits what we will experience in our next life (or dream).

So, yes, the result of the misuse of our current will (which are all our desires, attachments, hopes, fears, likes, dislikes) can become our prarabdha in our future lives according to Bhagavan’s absolute discretion. However, we do not experience the fruits of the karma done in this life in this lifetime itself. What we are to experience in this lifetime cannot be altered in any way. So we cannot add to or subtract from our destiny in this lifetime in any way.

anadi-ananta said...

Major Chadwick himself would frankly tell us his opinion, unfortunately we can't ask him anymore.

Sanjay Lohia said...

R Viswanathan, you say, ‘Therefore, I would think that it would do good to refrain from citing (or repeating the same in one's own style) whatever views that might have been expressed by Sri Sadhu Om or Sri Michael James on 'Talks'’. I am not sure why should I not repeat whatever Sri Sadhu Om and Sri Michael James have said about Talks or about Bhagavan's original works. I repeat their views simply because I am convinced by the logic of whatever they have said on this topic. Don’t you often repeat whatever Nochur or others say in their talks? Why do you do so if repeating the saying of others is some sort of a crime?

As you say, Bhagavan would often say, ‘the source from which the question arises, the answer comes from the same place […]’. This is quite significant because everything originates from ego, and ego originates from our true immutable nature. So eventually all the questions and answers can come only out of ourself.

So we should look within for the answers to all our questions and doubts. Bhagavan seated in our heart will surely answer all our questions one way or the other. Bhagavan may, for example, use Michael's body and mind to answer our queries, but the answer is actually only coming out of Bhagavan seated in our heart.

Agnostic said...

Dear Mr. R. Viswanathan: I am in complete agreement with your latest comment regarding Chadwick and Maharshi Ramana. I think you will agree that it is impossible to confine the sage to any single book or utterance, however "genuine" the lexicographers may consider any particular source. For example, GVK is considered "genuine", so what to say of this page from Maha Yoga by WHO....???

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That the Sage is in his real nature mindless, and does not will the actions he seems to do, will be seen from the following: Once the Sage was going about somewhere on the Arunachala Hill, when he accidentally disturbed the hive of a community of wasps, hidden by the dense foliage of a shrub. The wasps got angry and settled upon the offending leg and went on stinging. The Sage stayed there motionless till the wasps were satisfied, saying to the leg: “Take the consequences of your action.”
This incident was narrated by the Sage to many disciples, and so it was known to all.
Long afterwards a disciple-devotee put him the following question:

“Since the disturbance of the wasp-hive was accidental, why should it be regretted and atoned for, as if it had been done intentionally?”
The Sage replied: “If in fact the regretting and atoning is not his act, what must be the true nature of his mind?”2

Here the Sage met the question by another question. The disciple knew his Guru to be a Sage. But it seems that at the time he was not fully aware of the truth that a Sage is one who is a native of the Egoless State and is therefore mindless. Hence he assumed that the act in question was done by the Sage, and based his question on that assumption. The Sage graciously pointed out that the assumption was wrong, and indicated that the so called mind of a Sage is not really mind, but Pure Consciousness; the Sage has confirmed this teaching many times, saying that the mind of a Sage is not mind, but the Supreme Reality.
---------------------

Does this contradict GVK ? Or is it our understanding that is lacking when we carry on about "compassion" for hornets ?

Would it even occur to Maharshi Ramana to use invoke the nature of a prostitute to explain a point or was it a fervent co-authors imagination?

In my opinion, Chadwick, Mudaliar, KL Sarma ("WHO") understood more about this whole quest than anyone else because they sat at the feet of th Maharshi and actually HEARD his spontaneous answers.

Sanjay Lohia said...

This lockdown or house-confinement is a golden opportunity to practise self-surrender

The following is my exchange of views with Abhishek S. He wrote a comment on Michael’s latest video and I replied to him as follows:

Abhishek S: In Ramanar's lifetime also there was Bubonic Plague epidemic (1903,1904,1905?) at time when he was in virupaksha Cave with very very few people around & he was hardly popular/known Imagine in Annamalai all alone with no technology with hardly people around? BLISS

Sanjay Lohia: Abhishek, bubonic plague epidemic or not, Bhagavan was always in bliss. In fact, Bhagavan is bliss itself, so how can he be out of bliss anytime? But what you say is correct. We cannot imagine our lives in this lockdown and house-confinement without technology. This shows how over-dependent we have become on our computers, mobiles and social media. Although these are keeping us occupied, all these are also preventing us from turning within.

So periodically we should just try to shut all these things and try to turn our entire attention within in order to enjoy our inner bliss. This lockdown is a golden opportunity to practise self-surrender. What do you think?

Asun said...

“So this path is for dhiras (extremely brave ones).”
Too much information, dear Sanjay. When I hear the word “brave”, I get scared :)

Sanjay Lohia said...

Mouna, I have found this particular saying of Bhagavan that I was looking for on the topic of ‘spiritual novices’. The following is an extract from the book ‘Be As You Are (edited by David Godman)' – chapter ‘Self-Enquiry – practice’ (page 57):

Question: If a person is engaged in work, there will be little time left for him to meditate.

Bhagavan: Setting apart time for meditation is only for the merest spiritual novices. A man who is advancing will begin to enjoy the deeper beatitude whether he is at work or not. While his hands are in society, he keeps cool in solitude.

By this standard, I am definitely a mere spiritual novice because I do try to set aside some time for my exclusive atma-vichara, even though I do not try to restrict this practice only in these more or less fixed time and place.

Sanjay Lohia said...

Asun, you say, ‘Too much information, dear Sanjay. When I hear the word “brave”, I get scared :)’ Who gets scared? Investigate the ‘I’ that gets scared by too much information. If you do this properly, not only the scare will go, but even the ‘I’ which has this scare will vanish forever.

This is the beauty of Bhagavan’s path. We can make use of all our experiences – whether they are good or bad or whatever – to turn within. If we cling to the experiencer, all its experiences will vanish along with the experiencer. Bhagavan has given us such a simple, beautiful and direct path!

R Viswanathan said...

"I am not sure why should I not repeat whatever Sri Sadhu Om and Sri Michael James have said about Talks or about Bhagavan's original works. I repeat their views simply because I am convinced by the logic of whatever they have said on this topic. Don’t you often repeat whatever Nochur or others say in their talks? Why do you do so if repeating the saying of others is some sort of a crime?"

When there is a danger of inconsistency cropping up, that is when using others' quotes might not reveal the worthiness of the quote. For instance, Sri Sanjay Lohia tried to answer Sri Mouna's question giving reference to Talks or Day by Day, despite being not sure of the source (instead of giving reference to Nan Yaar or Ulladhu Narpadhu or Upadesa Undhiyaar). But, later on, I also see a comment with a statement: "However, now we have come to know that recordings such as Talks and Day by Day have major flaws.". How does one reconcile with this?

Furthermore, Sri Sanjay Lohia makes another statement: "Yes, Michael solidly supports his own statements with facts or references. But my knowledge of Bhagavan’s works is nowhere as good as Michael, so I admit my inadequacy." Under such circumstances, I wondered whether there really is any benefit in using the words of Sri Michael James or Sri Sadhu Om to not place 'Talks' in the same pedestal as other works of Bhagavan.

Quoting others to reinforce understanding of Bhagavan's teaching is not undesirable I feel. That is why I quote Nochur's statements often. Just as I place all Bhagavan's works in the same pedestal, I place all these Bhagavan devotees in the same pedestal since I whole heartedly feel that I continuously benefit by reading their works or by interacting with them or by listening their discourse, which includes Sri Michael James, Sri Sadhu Om, Sri David Godman, and Sri Nochur. I have quoted all of them at different places in this blog.

Finally, I reiterate that I do not ever feel that repeating others' sayings is some sort of a crime.

Michael James said...

Mouna, I am sorry I have not been able to answer your first comment or any of your subsequent comments till now.

There are various ways that your question can be answered. One is that Bhagavan explained in various ways that we need to be self-attentive, and he implied that we need to be self-attentive as much as possible, but beyond that he did not give any detailed dos or don’ts, and I believe the reason for this is that this is a path of investigation, so we each have to find out what works best for us.

When it is said that we need to be self-attentive as much as possible, ‘as much as possible’ means in terms of depth (keenness or intensity), duration and frequency. Generally we can be more deeply self-attentive for only a shorter duration, and if we hold on to self-attentiveness for a longer duration it is likely to be less deep, and there is a whole spectrum of degrees between the two extremes of very deep but short and long but less deep. So which of the two extremes should we aim for? The answer is both (as well as any degrees between them), because each supports the other. The longer we are able to hold on to less intense self-attentiveness, the more intensely (keenly or deeply) we will be able to be self-attentive whenever we are free of other distractions, and vice versa.

In other words, we need to try to be self-attentive at least to a certain degree as frequently and for as long as possible throughout the day, but whenever we are not engaged in other activities, we should try to be more deeply self-attentive. Therefore my answer to your question ‘Would you endorse sitting quietly if that could be a complement to be self-attentive during our waking (and dream) hours in order to try to “be aware of nothing whatsoever other than ourself”?’ is yes, certainly.

When we try to be more deeply self-attentive our bodily posture does not really matter. We may be lying, sitting, standing or walking, but all that matters is that we try to be as keenly self-attentive as possible. Some people may prefer to sit in a traditional meditation posture, and if that seems to help that is fine, but it is not strictly necessary. Bhagavan lay down when confronted with the fear of death, so sometimes we may find lying to be the best posture, and at other times walking or sitting in a comfortable chair may seem favourable. Whatever seems to work well is good.

Regarding your comment of 3 April 2020 at 16:59, in which you say that you do not know whether the phrase ‘try to be aware of nothing whatsoever other than ourself’ appears at all in Bhagavan’s writings, he may not have expressed it in quite these terms, but this is what he clearly implied in many places, such as 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), which means ‘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’, and in verse 16 of Upadēśa Undiyār, which I discussed in section 5 of this article.

Michael James said...

A friend wrote to me recently saying, ‘I wish I could sustain the patience and perseverance. Kindly bless me with good will’, in reply to which I wrote:

Only Bhagavan can bless us, and he is always blessings each each and every one of us, because such is his nature. That is, he blesses us merely by existing and shining in our heart as I.

His grace is never lacking, but what is lacking is our submission to it, because instead of lovingly attending to I, we are frivolously attending to other things. Therefore we need to surrender to his ever-present grace by clinging firmly to self-attentiveness.

The more we cling to self-attentiveness, the less we are obstructing the work of his grace, and the more we are thereby allowing it to give us the patience and perseverance to cling ever more firmly to self-attentiveness.

Sanjay Lohia said...

Know that all one’s experiences will be thrust upon one whether one wills them or not

In continuation of my discussion with Nikola Cvetkovic:

Nikola Cvetkovic: @Sanjay Lohia I agree in principal. Are you sure that the future karma accumulation will ripe only after this life? Are there any exceptions? Do you have some reference point where Bhagavan said that? Thank you for your previous answer!!!

Sanjay Lohia: Nikola, I believe the term ‘prarabdha’ by its very definition means all our predetermined experiences during our every lifetime. At least, this is what Bhagavan’s clearly means by prarabdha. So prarabdha begins at the time of our birth and ends when this body dies. The following extracts from David Godman’s book ‘Be As You are’ can be cited in support of this view. These quotes are taken from the chapter ‘Karma, destiny and free will’.

Page 211: A man may have performed many karmas in his previous births. A few of these alone will be chosen for this birth and he will have to enjoy their fruits in this birth. It is something like a slide show where the projectionist picks a few slides to be exhibited at a performance, the remaining slides being reserved for another performance.

Page 214: Those who know that what is to be experienced by them in this life is only what is already destined in their prarabdha will never feel perturbed about what is to be experienced. Know that all one’s experiences will be thrust upon one whether one wills them or not.

Are things clear now?

Sanjay Lohia said...

No amount of effort can change anything in our external life

In continuation of my discussion with Nikola Cvetkovic:

Nikola Cvetkovic: @Sanjay Lohia Thank you for clarifying and for the quotes. I read some other interpretations that say that Prarabdha can not be changed, but it is only responsible for the most important events in ones life, birth, body, profession, marriage and etc. They say that there is something called Puruṣārtha, or the right action that does affect events in ones current life. Anyway thank you clarifying, I hope our Prarabdha will not be too difficult to understand for us as it unfolds.

Sanjay Lohia: Nikola, can our right or wrong actions change the events or happenings in our life? No, it cannot. This is made abundantly clear by Bhagavan in the note that he wrote for his mother in December 1898:

According to their-their prārabdha, he who is for that being there-there will cause to dance [that is, according to the destiny (prārabdha) of each person, he who is for that (namely God or guru, who ordains their destiny) being in the heart of each of them will make them act]. What is never to happen will not happen whatever effort one makes [to make it happen]; what is to happen will not stop whatever obstruction [or resistance] one does [to prevent it happening]. This indeed is certain. Therefore silently being [or being silent] is good.

So Bhagavan puts it emphatically that ‘What is never to happen will not happen whatever effort one makes [to make it happen]; what is to happen will not stop whatever obstruction [or resistance] one does [to prevent it happening]. This indeed is certain’. So no amount of effort can change anything in our external life.

You say, ‘I hope our Prarabdha will not be too difficult to understand for us as it unfolds’. But why should we understand or even bother about our prarabdha? What benefit will we get by understanding or knowing about our prarabdha? All we need to do is to accept whatever our prarabdha has in store for us. Everything is happening according to Bhagavan’s will, so it is all for our ultimate spiritual good.

So, we need to give up all our concerns about anything other than ourself, and we can do so most effectively by turning our entire attention within to face ourself alone.

Sanjay Lohia said...

Listening and reading about Bhagavan and his teachings is according to our prarabdha, but the love with which we listen and read his teachings is according to our will

My exchange with Bama Kumar in the comment section of Michael’s latest video:

Bama Kumar: Michael is it not listening & reading about Ramana is also is not our choice isn’t it? Thought of purifying our mind or self inquiry is also divine will isn’t it?

Sanjay Lohia: Bama, listening and reading about Bhagavan and his teachings is according to our prarabdha, but the love with which we listen and read his teachings is according to our will. Such love helps in our chitta-suddhi.

However, we do not practise self-enquiry according to the divine will. We practise it driven by our love to practise it. So Bhagavan doesn't force us to practise atma-vichara. He will inspire us to do so in so many ways, but eventually we have to be willing to practice it.

anadi-ananta said...

Sanjay,
"Everything is happening according to Bhagavan’s will, so it is all for our ultimate spiritual good."
How can we be sure that Bhagavan has any will ?

Michael wrote in section 1. of his article of Thursday, 30 May 2019 How can we refine and sharpen our power of attention so that we can discern what we actually are? :
"...Desires, fears and so on, which in their seed forms are what are called viṣaya-vāsanās (propensities to like, dislike, desire, be attached to, want, wish for, hope for or fear viṣayas or phenomena), are elements of the will (cittam), which is the subtlest and deepest of these five sheaths, namely the ānandamaya kōśa (the ‘sheath composed of [love for] happiness’), which is also called the kāraṇa śarīra (the ‘causal body’), so being elements that constitute this sheath, likes, dislikes, desires, attachments, wants, wishes, hopes, fears and so on are a part of the person."

and in this article of Tuesday, 31 March 2020 How can we just be?
we read in section 6.
"As ego we have a will (cittam), which consists of vāsanās (propensities, inclinations or urges) in the form of likes, dislikes, desires, attachments, hopes, fears and so on, and which is what is sometimes called the ānandamaya kōśa (the sheath consisting of [desire for] happiness), the innermost and subtlest of the five sheaths, and the kāraṇa śarīra (causal body), because vāsanās are the seeds that give rise not only to the other four sheaths (intellect, mind, life and body) but to all other phenomena. What drives us to do actions by mind, speech and body is primarily our will, and those actions that are driven by our will are called āgāmya, which is the first of the three karmas, because it is the fruits of āgāmya that we have done in the past that are stored as saṁcita, from which a selection of fruits are chosen for us to experience as prārabdha (fate or destiny) in each life.

So long as we rise and stand as ego, we have a will, and to a greater or lesser extent our will will continue to drive us to do actions at least by mind if not also by speech and body. Therefore we cannot just be without even the least action of mind, speech or body until and unless we cease rising as ego."
When we further consider what Michael wrote in his article of Saturday, 1 September 2018 Like everything else, karma is created solely by ego’s misuse of its will (cittam), so what needs to be rectified is its will

we will easily state that Bhagavan's will - if there is actually such one - is obviously not the same as the above mentioned term 'cittam' (any person's will).
Presumably, what you describe as 'Bhagavan’s will' is meant plainly our all destination which is just being in our real nature of pure self-awareness - free of any adjuncts.

Sanjay Lohia said...

Bhagavan is what we really are, so all these teachings have originated from our innermost reality

In continuation of my dialogue with Nikola:

Nikola Cvetkovic: @Sanjay Lohia First of all, maybe Bhagavan said that because it is best for us to consider it like that, maybe it is not 100% true. We do take some of his words in that manner. It is not possible to say what he said is true or not, because you can explain everything by saying that it was Prarabdha all along...

Secondly most of us are not in 'mind vacuum', so we can't just accept what he said or what he chooses to be our destiny. If one can truly accept then he would be none other then Bhagavan himself. With that in mind I said what I wrote, because it is easier to accept when you understand.

Sanjay Lohia: Nikola, whatever Bhagavan wrote in his note for his mother is 100% true. At least, this is how I look at it. It is said not even a leaf can move but for Bhagavan’s power or will. So there is one supreme power of God which is making everything happen, and this power has also ordained our prarabdha, so we cannot change it by our wanting to change it or by our trying to change it. Let us read what Bhagavan says in the 13th paragraph of Nan Ar?:

Since one paramēśvara śakti [supreme ruling power or power of God] is driving all kāryas [whatever needs or ought to be done or to happen], instead of we also yielding to it, why to be perpetually thinking, ‘it is necessary to do like this; it is necessary to do like that’? Though we know that the train is going bearing all the burdens, why should we who go travelling in it, instead of remaining happily leaving our small luggage placed on it [the train], suffer bearing it [our luggage] on our head?

You say, ‘Secondly most of us are not in 'mind vacuum', so we can't just accept what he said or what he chooses to be our destiny’. If we consider Bhagavan to be our sadguru, I see no harm in being in ‘mind vacuum’, whatever that may mean. Bhagavan has given us the highest, the purest and the loftiest teachings, so why not accept it wholeheartedly? He had no self-interest in giving these teachings because he was above all wants.

Bhagavan is pure self-awareness, which is our true nature. So, Bhagavan is what we really are, so all these teachings have originated from our own innermost reality. So why should we misguide our own self by giving us some false teachings?

Sanjay Lohia said...

Our every desire and attachment will have its consequences

Question: If a thing comes to me without planning or working for it and I enjoy it, will there be no bad consequences from it?

Bhagavan: It is not so. Every act must have its consequences. If anything comes your way by reason of prarabdha, you can’t help it. If you take what comes, without any special attachment, and without any desire for more of it or for a repetition of it, it will not harm you leading to future births. On the other hand, if you enjoy it with great attachment and naturally desire for more of it, it is bound to lead to more and more births.

• Extracted from the book ‘Be As You Are’ by David Godman (chapter 'Karma, destiny and free will') – page 214

My reflection: We may be enjoying a lot of material things now, but we should not be attached to it or desire more of it. As Bhagavan says, ‘if you enjoy it with great attachment and naturally desire for more of it, it is bound to lead to more and more births’.

So the things we possess now may become a trap if we become overly attached to them. We need to keep this in mind. Bhagavan makes it clear that even small desires in our mind can lead to future rebirths. We need not necessarily act on our desires to accumulate fruits of our actions. Of course, if we further act on our desires by our speech and body, this will further create more and more fruits necessitating more and more future births.

So we need to surrender all our desires and attachments as quickly as possible. We should live our life very carefully. Bhagavan may have given us some possessions but these itself will become our bondage if we are not careful.

Salazar said...

From a previous comment by Sanjay Lohia: "Nikola Cvetkovic: Ok in the present moment one can not change anything.. but wouldn't our will in the present become part of prarabdha in the future. If yes, how long will it take, can it not happen in this life, what is the mechanism?"

There seems to be the belief that there is a possibility that one could change something of the dream person, the jiva and its will .... some time in the future.

Well, there is a fundamental misunderstanding and that misunderstanding (as all misunderstandings) stems from the identification with the individual, the body. The idea that there can be something done with the jiva is part of the dream, the erroneous belief to be bound. Any attempts, desires, to try to change the dream just perpetuates that dream with more karma.

There is only one thing that can be done, and that is to go within, to attend to ourself, now and always. That is the only thing which will transcend the phenomenal world and karma. To be concerned and try to change the fate of the jiva is falling for Maya.

As Sadhu Om mentioned, Bhagavan was a revolutionary in the field of sat-gurus, he suggested to start with the default that one is already free and if that is not believed to remove that ignorance. So, contrary to many other gurus, he did not suggest to imagine a "journey" from the jiva to the jivanmukti but to start and end with the jivamukti, the subject.

The imagination of an object, the jiva, reaching the subject, Self, is a delusion, Maya. Thus there is no "mechanism", a mechanism is part of the phenomenal world. What transcends that is vichara/surrender.

Salazar said...

Or, in other words, even the attempt [what is a thought] of the individual to transcend this phenomenal world is Maya. The only thing what is not Maya is [attending to] ourself. That's it, it cannot be easier and clearer than that.

Mouna said...

Michael,
I do really appreciate your response to my question.
Thank you.

Sanjay Lohia said...

Salazar, thank you for your comment. You say, ‘To be concerned and try to change the fate of the jiva is falling for Maya’. Yes, our desire to change our fate and efforts to change our fate creates fruits of karma, and such fruits push us into the cycle of more and more births and deaths. So we should try to remain content with whatever Bhagavan has allocated for us.

Bhagavan is indeed a revolutionary sadguru.

Sanjay Lohia said...

Bhagavan: Make no effort either to work or to renounce - your effort itself is bondage

In continuation of my dialogue with Nikola:

Sanjay Lohia: Nikola, you wrote, ‘Bhagavan gave us the best teaching, because it is true. I just had some developments that pointed out this so clearly!’ I am curious to know, what were these developments that pointed out to you that Bhagavan’s teachings are the best? If you don't mind, please share this with us.

Nikola Cvetkovic: @Sanjay Lohia Nothing special, in my work I was working on something for a long time, and had no results. And now it happened without me investing any effort :)

Sanjay Lohia: Nikola, yes, things happen not due to our efforts but because they are destined to happen that way. Today, I was reading Bhagavan’s saying where he says:

Make no effort either to work or to renounce. Your effort itself is bondage. What is destined to happen will happen. If you are destined to work, you will not be able to avoid it. You will be forced to engage in it. So leave it to the higher power. It is not your choice whether you renounce or retain.

Bhagavan says ‘Your effort itself is bondage’. Isn’t it a unique way of living our life? We should just be. Bhagavan will make us do the actions which are necessary to bring our prarabdha to fruition.

anadi-ananta said...

Sanjay,
"Bhagavan will make us do the actions which are necessary to bring our prarabdha to fruition."
Bhagavan already does it. Could we ever move our little toe without Bhagavan's power ?

Sanjay Lohia said...

Bhagavad Gita: Whatever is happening is happing for the good

In times like this, spiritual texts make more sense. Recently, a cousin of mine sent me a few verses from the Bhagavad Gita. I will share them here through a series of comments. After reading these verses, I replied to my cousin as follows: ‘Golden words. In these times and circumstances, these verses suddenly come alive with so much more meaning and truth. Thank you for sharing’.

Bhagavad Gita: Why do you worry without cause? Whom do you fear without reason? Who can kill you? The soul is neither born nor does it die.

My reflection: All our fears and worry are unfounded because we are deathless. No virus or disease can kill us because we are the eternal, immutable, birthless and deathless reality.

Bhagavad Gita: Whatever has happened has happened for the good; whatever is happening is happing for the good; whatever will happen, will also happen for the good only.

My reflection: So coronavirus is happening for the good. It cannot be otherwise. If Bhagavan is making everything happen, how can this present situation be bad? We may not be able to see the good hidden in this situation, but that shows our ignorance and our lack of trust in God.


Salazar said...

Yes Sanjay, I remember Sadhu Om saying that sometimes Bhagavan kills the aspirant (the body) if that is for the sake of spiritual growth. When I read this for the first time I was not pleased by that idea/possibility. But how much trust and faith do we have in Bhagavan? What do we really know about what we need to experience in order to be motivated to attend more to ourselves?

How much do we cling onto this life? I way too much cling at this life and too often disregard Bhagavan, rejecting his grace. How foolish is that?

Sanjay Lohia said...

Salazar, we all are foolish. Our very existence as this ego clearly demonstrates that we are indeed foolish. We are foolishly holding on to our ego and all its attachments. But what do we gain by clinging to our attachments? Our attachments bring us only misery, dissatisfaction and unhappiness.

Mouna said...

Being aware of thinking is better than thinking about awareness.

Being aware of awareness is better than being aware of thinking.

To be being awareness (beyond thought) is best of all.

Sanjay Lohia said...

Our choices are affecting our internal life, not our external life

A friend: My question is how deeply it is advisable to get involved in all this technical stuff?

Michael: This is not something that we actually have to be concerned about because all these outward things happen according to prarabdha. So, our present dream has all this modern technology. The seeming reality we are in has all these means of communications, and all this technology is spiritually or morally neutral. We can use the same technology to watch pornography or start terrorism, or we can use it to watch videos about Bhagavan’s teachings. So the tools themselves are neutral. It’s what use we make of them that is important.

Arguably a simple life is conducive to spiritual life. We want to lesson this wants.

This technology allows us to communicate in these times of social distancing. So this modern technology is potentially beneficial if we use it wisely. Ultimately, our prarabdha will decide what technology we use to communicate and to what extent we are able to use this or that means of communication. We may have choices in these things. However, our choices are affecting our internal life, not our external life.

Any technology is not in itself bondage. What is bondage are our desire and attachment for that, our likes and dislikes. What binds us is not what happens in our external life, which happens according to prarabdha anyway, but our desires and attachments. So when this technology is here and it enables us to talk about Bhagavan’s teachings, why not use it? Rather than dwelling on other things, listening to the news and worrying about what is happening in the world, why should we not spend our time thinking and talking about Bhagavan’s teachings?

Of course, merely talking about Bhagavan’s teachings is not sufficient. We have to put it into practice. But by trying to talk about Bhagavan’s teachings, we are trying to encourage ourself to surrender a little bit more, to turn within a little bit more. We are slowly slowly trying to cajole our mind into our heart, the cowshed.

• Based on the video: 2020-04-04 Ramana Maharshi Foundation UK: Michael James discusses the path of self-surrender (00:00)

My reflection: Bhagavan has allotted our prarabdha keeping our spiritual development in mind. So if he has allowed us access to the internet, to Bhagavan’s videos, to WhatsApp messages, to emails and so on, why not make use of it judiciously and sensibly? We need not be overly attached to these things, however.

This blog and Michael’s website are a wonderful example of how modern technology can help us better understand Bhagavan’s teachings. This blog and my communications with Michael has been my school, college and university. I have learned so much by reading and listening to Michael, by writing transcripts from Michael’s videos and through my dialogues with my other friends on this blog.

anadi-ananta said...

Mouna,
"To be being awareness (beyond thought) is best of all."
This includes of course even not-knowing what the best is of all.:-)

Sanjay Lohia said...

Correction:

Yesterday, I posted the following verse which I believed was from the Bhagavad Gita:

Whatever has happened has happened for the good; whatever is happening is happing for the good; whatever will happen, will also happen for the good only.

However, now I have come to know that there is no such verse in the Bhagavad Gita. I have come to know that though many people on social media quote this claiming it to be from Gita, this is a misquotation. So it is a lesson for me that it is best to check the validity of any attribution before sharing it further.

I have also come to know that in the same way, many sayings falsely attributed to Bhagavan are shared far and wide on the internet. So we need to verify whatever is shared with us.

anadi-ananta said...

Sanjay,
regarding your yesterday's comment headline and today's correction:

Bhagavad Gita: Whatever is happening is happing for the good

Obviously you wanted to write/quote ...is happening for the good.:-)

anadi-ananta said...

Sanjay,
I would like to temper your negative statement:"Our attachments bring us only misery, dissatisfaction and unhappiness." in saying that these attachments bring us insufficient joy, satisfaction and happiness. The characteristic of our "pleasures" is that they are not persistent/continuous but at best and mostly only temporary. Often our dance of joy ends up very soon.

anadi-ananta said...

Sanjay,
"...it is best to check the validity of any attribution before sharing it further."
"So we need to verify whatever is shared with us."
Good idea ! :-)

Sanjay Lohia said...

If we are not happy, we are not following Bhagavan’s teachings properly

This path that Bhagavan has toughest us is the happiest path because the more we surrender and give up our desires and attachments, give up our concern for anything other than surrendering ourself to God, the happier we will be. The more carefree we will be. So Bhagavan’s teachings are all about happiness. If we are not happy, we are not following Bhagavan’s teachings properly. The more we surrender ourself, the more carefree and happy our life will become.

So we don’t have to wait for enlightenment. If you want to start practising for enlightenment, be happy. In order to happy, stop having desires. You need to stop worrying about ‘It’s necessary to do this; it’s necessary to do that’. So do not think whether you want to Zoom or not. If Bhagavan wants you to use Zoom, you are going to use Zoom anyway. You cannot avoid it. On the other hand, you may desire to use Zoom but you cannot do so if Bhagavan doesn’t want. So leave the burden on Bhagavan. You had no intention to use Zoom, but Bhagavan sent coronavirus, and therefore put you in the situation in which you had to use Zoom.

So, all things happen automatically. We need to cease being concerned about these things. We need to cease being interested in our external life. We should be only interested in one thing: Who am I? What am I? By finding our ‘who am I?’, we will surrender ourself to God because God is what we actually are.

• Based on the video: 2020-04-04 Ramana Maharshi Foundation UK: Michael James discusses the path of self-surrender (00:21)

Salazar said...

Sanjay, even though it is not directly from the Gita, it sounds pretty good :-)

As I understand it, all actions are based on karma and as such are basically neutral and only seen as "good" or "bad" by the mind. However, according to Bhagavan, Ishwara selects before "birth" from the mountain of accumulated karma (good and bad) that karma which is the most helpful for spiritual growth.

From that one can surmise that "whatever happens is happening for good" and hopefully one can transcend karma and wake up from that dream.

Salazar said...

anadi-ananta, you say that our pleasures are not persistent and mostly only temporary and bring us "insufficient joy".

I'd say they are all only temporary and these pleasures are actually all poisoned and thus misery. Some wisdom is required to accept that all pleasures experienced through the senses/mind are misery and to be avoided.

anadi-ananta said...

Salazar,
although I do not scoop from "some wisdom" it seems to me:
even if one enjoys not the full ocean of wisdom, sense perception per se/in itself is not inevitably pure poison/misery/bondage.
What I mainly wanted to express was that just our insufficient joy or happiness-deficiency experienced through the senses/mind is the motivating force to dig deeper for happiness.

Salazar said...

anadi-ananta, it is very simple, either there are sense perceptions (of objects) or there is self. The former is poisonous and misery, the latter is liberation.

Or in other words, sense perceptions are, per se or intrinsically, poisonous and misery.

anadi-ananta said...

Salazar,
if so, is not even the misery of "poisonous sense perceptions (of objects)" inherent in self ?

R Viswanathan said...


"either there are sense perceptions (of objects) or there is self."

https://gitajourney.com/2012/03/12/bhagavad-gita-verse-8-9-chapter-5/

naiva kinchitkaromeeti yukto manyeta tattvavit |
pashyan-shrunvan-sparshan-jighran-ashnan-gachchan-svapan-shvasan || 8 ||

pralapan-visrijan-grihnan-unmishan-nimishan-api |
indriyaaneendriyartheshu vartanta iti dhaarayan || 9 ||

Never do I perform any action – in this manner asserts the one established in yoga, who has realized the eternal essence.

Seeing, hearing, touching, smelling, eating, moving, dreaming and breathing; speaking, discarding, grasping, opening and closing of the eyelids. All this is the senses interacting with the sense objects – this is his understanding.

Sanjay Lohia said...

Bhagavan, I want to take sannyasa

Disclaimer: The following is an imaginary situation and an imaginary conversation with Bhagavan. Bhagavan replies here are my interpretation of Bhagavan’s teachings. These replies are loosely based on his recorded conversations but I have modified it to my imaginary conversation.

Sanjay: Bhagavan, I want to take sannyasa. I have had enough of my business and this world.

Bhagavan: So you think you are a householder now, but why do you think so? Whether you continue in the household or renounce it and go to and live in a forest, your mind will haunt you.

Sanjay: But I have decided to close down my business.

Bhagavan: You are free to decide whatever you want to. Things will happen as they are destined to happen.

Sanjay: So should I not renounce?

Bhagavan: Who wants to renounce? How can one renounce? Real renunciation is only renunciation of ego. As long as ego exists, you have not renounced anything. If you renounce, it will only substitute the thought of renunciation for that of being a family man, but the mental obstacles are always there for you. They even increase in new surroundings.

Sanjay: How will the obstacles increase in my new surroundings?

Bhagavan: This has been the experience of many but your case may be different. Try changing your environment and see the results. However, in most cases, the change in the environment is of no help. The one obstacle is the mind, and this must be overcome whether in the home or in the forest. If you can do it in the forest, you can also do it in your home. So why all this thought about renunciation? Your efforts can be made even now, whatever be the environment.

Sanjay: But Bhagavan, sannyasa is a time-honoured path.

Bhagavan: Do not honour time but try to destroy time by destroying the root of everything, namely your ego.

Sanjay: Thank you Bhagavan. Thank you for guiding me.

Bhagavan: [gives a broad smile as if saying 'I am always guiding you, but how often do you listen?]







anadi-ananta said...

R Viswanathan,
"Never do I perform any action...
Seeing, hearing, touching, smelling, eating, moving, dreaming and breathing; speaking, discarding, grasping, opening and closing of the eyelids. All this is the senses interacting with the sense objects – this is his understanding."
What do you and what can or should we conclude from your given bhagavad-gita-verses-8-9-chapter-5 , in order to destroy our ignorance and thus knowing what we really are ?

anadi-ananta said...

Salazar,
"As I understand it, all actions are based on karma and as such are basically neutral and only seen as "good" or "bad" by the mind."

Though you call all actions as such basically neutral they will create new karma. That "only" the mind sees them as "good" or "bad" plays no roll by it. In other words, the mind's judgement/evaluation/appraisal about his own actions does not exert an(y) neutralizing influence on the consequences/repercussions of "all actions".

"From that one can surmise that "whatever happens is happening for good" and hopefully one can transcend karma and wake up from that dream."
Only the jnani is able to transcend karma.

As I understand it...

R Viswanathan said...

"What do you and what can or should we conclude from your given bhagavad-gita-verses-8-9-chapter-5 , in order to destroy our ignorance and thus knowing what we really are ?"

All that is given below is taken from the same reference, translation for the verses as well as the commentary by the author.

https://gitajourney.com/2012/03/12/bhagavad-gita-verse-8-9-chapter-5/

"Having looked at this list of activities, we say – yes we understand that blinking, hearing, dreaming and so on is automatic. But what about the process of thinking? Shri Krishna says that even the process of thought also happens automatically. Till such time as the ego is sublimated, it drives our mind to generate selfish thoughts. As the ego gets sublimated through karma yoga, selfish thoughts slowly transition to selfless ones. But the self , or the “I”, is just the witness of all these actions for one who has realized the eternal essence. Till then, the “I” thinks that it is the doer.

Only one who has realized the vision of the eternal essence truly knows that he is not the doer. What then, should be the vision of the karmayogi who wants to ultimately have this vision? This topic is tackled in the next shloka."

https://gitajourney.com/2012/03/13/bhagavad-gita-verse-10-chapter-5/

brahmanyaadhaaya karmaani sangam tvyaktvaa karoti yaha |
lipyate na sa paapena padmapatramivaambhasaa || 10 ||

Having offered all actions to the eternal essence, and having cast off attachments, he who performs actions does not get tainted by sins, just like water does not taint a lotus leaf.

"In this shloka, Shri Krishna says that the person who has not realized the self (that includes most of us) offers all actions in a spirit of devotion to Ishvara. Shri Krishna reiterates that if one has selfish desires, karma yoga is the ideal path to follow. The karma yogi works for a higher ideal such as Ishvara, but one who does not follow karma yoga works for the ego.

the karma yogi strives to transcend all four levels of attachment by offering results, actions, doership and non-doership to Ishvara. When he acts in the material world with such a vision, he does not accumulate any further desires, just like a lotus leaf does not get wet even though growing in water.

Attachment can happen at four levels : attachment to the result of an action (I want a reward for singing this song), attachment to the action (I will sing a song only in my way), attachment to the sense of doership (I am singing this song) and attachment to the sense of non-doership (By not singing the song, I am the non-singer of this song). The first three are relatively easier to comprehend. The fourth one arises when one has not properly understood the notion of akarma or inaction from the fourth chapter."

anadi-ananta said...

Sanjay,
yesterday, at 16:54 you wrote in a comment
"...but Bhagavan sent coronavirus",...
Is it not said, that Bhagavan is always shining in our heart as I ?
And is it not said, that Bhagavan abides perpetually in the actionless state ?
How can Bhagavan's omnipresence and ever-present grace include sending coronavirus ?

Salazar said...

anadi-ananta, you said, "if so, is not even the misery of "poisonous sense perceptions (of objects)" inherent in self ?"

I'd say no, self is beyond duality and therefore there is no subject and object and thus there is [cannot be] no misery of the perceptions of objects. Misery is an attribute of duality, a judgment of mind, it is non-existent in self.

Bhagavan said since all is self, the ego delusion is seeded in self. However that info can easily be misused by the aspirant since it can only make sense for a Jnani. The mind cannot fully comprehend its implications since it is also beyond duality.

Sanjay Lohia said...

Catch-22 situation

Bhagavan teaches us in verse 604 of GVK:

‘Is it by Siva’s entering there that the mind [chittam] becomes pure, or by the purification of the mind that Siva enters there?’ Since those who ask thus are so ignorant as to take the one, non-different action as two different ones, we have no answer to give them.

Sadhu Om: Is it not clear that those who ask this question think that Siva’s entering the chittam and the purification of the chittam are two different actions? Unless they really are two different actions, we cannot say that one is the cause and the other is the effect. In truth, however, they are not two but one and the same. In other words, the pure condition of the chittam is itself Siva, and Siva is nothing but the pure chittam, that is, chit. Because the question is thus based upon a false premise, it cannot be considered to be a meaningful question, and hence no meaningful answer for it can be given. That is why Sri Bhagavan says, ‘We have no answer to give them’.

My reflection: We have a catch-22 situation. Our mind (or more specifically its vishaya-vasanas) gets purified when we turn within, but in order to turn within, we need a purified mind. This may seem like a catch-22 situation but it not actually so. If we are intent on turning within, such questions will not arise in us. We will just do what Bhagavan has asked us to do – which is to turn within at every given opportunity. Bhagavan will take care of all such dilemmas.

Anonymous said...

Nice. Thanks :)

Salazar said...

anadi-ananta, re. your comment on 9 April 2020 at 12:34:

"Only the Jnani is able [to do such and such]"

Actually that is false, the Jnani cannot do or be able of anything since there is no doer anymore. Only the jiva can transcend duality and subsequently "realizes" or remembers self. However that seeming transcendence is also the end of a jiva, the end of thought and imagination, the end of any action or movement.

anadi-ananta said...

Salazar,
I agree that our senses as well as our mind and intellect are only instruments of objective knowledge. But they cannot reveal our real nature which seems to transcend them all.
As you ultimately imply knowledge of the supreme self is our highest attainment.:-)
When you say "The mind cannot fully comprehend its implications since it is also beyond duality." you certainly relate the word "it" in "since it is also beyond duality" not with the mind but with "that info" (i.e. Bhagavan's saying) "since all is self, the ego delusion is seeded in self."

Salazar said...

anadi-anata, of course can the senses not reveal our true nature, why would I say previously that all senses are poisonous and misery? How can misery reveal our true nature?

However, if there is something which could transcend duality it is the jiva (via vichara). Now your mind does the old trick of jumping between absolute and relative truth and with that it is entangled in an endless loop of concepts which can never be logically resolved but through vichara.

All what you need to know will be revealed in silence.

anadi-ananta said...

Salazar,
thanks for your comments. In order to subdue the jumping mind I therefore go now immediately in silence.

Salazar said...

anadi-ananta, I do not mean any disrespect, however that is what your are doing: Someone makes a comment using relative truth and you respond to it questioning it with a comment using absolute truth (or vice versa).

Like your comment on 9 April 2020 at 14:43 where you, besides others, asked Sanjay, "How can Bhagavan's omnipresence and ever-present grace include sending coronavirus ?"

This kind of question challenging the relative truth in that way is unproductive and reveals a lack of deeper understanding, IMO. Bhagavan is of course self, but one also can refer to him as a person as long as one has in mind that he's truly self.

Or, in that example, since all is self (or Bhagavan) then the coronavirus is naturally coming from Bhagavan (for the sake of spiritual growth) in terms of relative truth. However since, in absolute truth, there is no phenomenal world (and no spiritual growth) and all of this is an imagination, there is no coronavirus, no suffering and only peace.

Both statements are correct within their level of truth. Now what but the ignorant ego would have the desire to keep challenging these unavoidably contradicting statements? What good is that doing? What can be gained by that? Nothing at all, IMO. It is affirming duality and Maya.

Col said...

:( it is not false

anadi-ananta said...

Salazar,
your explanation is quite interesting but my questions slipped out frankly of my doubt whether Bhagavan - as the supreme being - actually did send COV. By the way, I am far away from claiming that I am right or do possess deeper understanding. I rather am aware of "the ignorant ego". As I already said I wrote these questions particularly the third not after close examination whether they are a justified/legitimated objection. So the fickle mind went ahead unbridled...So when you have critical scruples I cannot respond to them.

Sanjay Lohia said...

We become increasingly aware that our efforts are not enough

My dialogue with Bubba the Self in the comment section of Michael’s latest video:

Bubba the Self: @Sanjay Lohia i agree that this is the perfect time to practice atma vichara. I've been putting more hours into it since lockdown started, and as Michael often says- "we become increasingly aware that our efforts are not enough..." I feel like I'm just now starting day 1 each time I practice...

Sanjay Lohia: @Bubba the Self, yes, we have not made enough efforts until now. If we had made enough efforts, our story would have been finished by now.

anadi-ananta said...

Sanjay,
day 1 is always.
Regarding efforts made enough or not: Ultimately only grace can destroy the mind with its duality.

Mouna said...

Is not the job of a fool to think he knows when he doesn’t? I am that fool...
Isn’t the job of the wise to know only that he doesn’t know? I am wise then...

Is it possible to not know that one knows?
...or should I know that I know?

Keep talking if you wish ... I only hear the silence, the one you can’t hear while drowning in your own words.

Do you know you don’t know? Or don’t you?

Castles made of sand fall into the sea, eventually...

anadi-ananta said...

Salazar,
re. your yesterday's comment at 16:55,
your quotation "Only the Jnani is able [to do such and such]" is wrong.
What I have actually written is "Only the jnani is able to transcend karma."

You agree certainly that the jnani has already transcended karma.
When you point out that "...the Jnani cannot do or be able of anything since there is no doer anymore." you obviously seem to consider transcending karma or having transcended karma as an action, what I would clearly call an imperfect interpretation.
Anyway, your further explanation refers to transcending duality.

Sanjay Lohia said...

God is ‘I am’

We know God because God is ‘I am’, and we are all aware that ‘I am’. The problem is we are now aware of ourself as ‘I am this person’. Bhagavan often used to point out that when Moses asked God, ‘Who are you?’, God replied ‘I am that I am’. That is, he is ‘I am’ in every one of us.

Jesus said: ‘I am the way, the truth, and the life: no man comes unto the father, but by me’. Many Christians believe that when Jesus said this, he was talking about the person ‘Jesus’. So they think unless one becomes a Christian, one cannot go to heaven. But actually what Jesus said has a much deeper meaning.

When Jesus says ‘I am’, he is not talking about the person ‘Jesus’. He means the ‘I am’ in each of us, and that ‘I am’ is the way. That is, it is only by turning back within that we can find God. That ‘I am’ is the truth, the ultimate reality. That ‘I am’ is life. That is, that awareness ‘I am’ is the source of all life. And ‘no one comes unto the father, but by me’ means ‘no one can come to God except through I am, except by turning within'. Sages often talk in metaphorical language because the truth cannot actually be expressed in words, but people give a very gross or literal meaning to what sages say, and so they misunderstand them.

But Bhagavan has revealed in very clear and unambiguous language that the only way to know God is to know ourself because God is ourself. The only way to experience perfect happiness is to know ourself because we are perfect happiness. The only way to experience perfect love is to know ourself because we are love. We are the source of all love.

• Based on the video: 2019-04-03 Forum Humanum, Helsinki: Michael James discusses self-investigation as the way to love (1:03)

anadi-ananta said...

R Viswanathan,
regarding gitajourney.com/2012/03/12/bhagavad-gita-verse-8-9-chapter-5,
many thanks for your reply and giving reference, translation for the verses as well as the commentary by the author. We should always readily comprehend the message of the Lord's song.


R Viswanathan said...

"Regarding efforts made enough or not: Ultimately only grace can destroy the mind with its duality."

As I do often, I refer to Sri Nochur Venkatraman now, too. He said in one of the discourses that any effort will have a beginning and thus an end, too. Thus, if one relies only on one's own effort, the effort will drop off at some point of time.

However, I believe that if at all one begins to make effort to destroy the mind, it is because of grace.

A question then would arise as to why the grace does not remain until the objective is met.

Here, I remember what Swami Vivekananda has reportedly gave this answer when a seeker wondered how to know which is the correct path when there are so many paths advocated for attaining moksha: if the path and destination is made the same, one can be sure of reaching the destination. This answer of Swami Vivekananda reminded me of Bhagavan's (Sri Ramana) teaching: if self attentiveness is chosen as the path one will reach that state of self attentiveness. I communicated this to Sri Michael James very recently, and he agreed that Bhagavan often explained that the nature of the path must be the same as the nature of the goal, because otherwise the path will not lead to the goal. He further added that other paths are for citta-suddhi; the only direct path for the annihilation of ego is self-investigation and self surrender, and it is also the most effective means of to purify the mind. His statement prompted me to express my understanding that in principle and thus in practice self surrender should be the shortest and surest path to which he replied that self-surrender is both the path and the goal, and it can be achieved completely only by perpetual self-attentiveness, which is likewise both the path and the goal.

My thanks to Sri Michael James for this clarification got the typical reply from him: "all thanks are due only to Bhagavan; it is his clarification and not mine. I am just relaying the message like a telephone line."

I would end this post as I began:"Regarding efforts made enough or not: Ultimately only grace can destroy the mind with its duality."

Salazar said...

anadi-ananta, I give up (as so often before with you). You are talking about "imperfect" interpretations? LOL

This whole blog and all books and texts of this world are imperfect interpretations. Even Bhagavan's Ulladu Narpadu is an imperfect interpretation of reality. IMO, the best interpretation one can find anywhere, but still imperfect.

By the way, transcendence does not really exist (in terms of absolute truth). So your mind is again doing his thing, confronting absolute truth with relative truth (or vice versa).

In relative truth transcendence must be an action since it denotes a change of some sorts, furthermore transcendence only exist within the phenomenal world and is an idea as everything else.

There is no way to satisfactorily or "perfectly" explain transcendence, mainly because it is a figment of imagination and the use of this term within the phenomenal world can only be a model to help the hapless jiva to lose his ignorance.

Of course, the mind cannot lose its ignorance in dialogs like this one :-)

anadi-ananta said...

R Viswanathan,
relating to your recent comment I found Michael's statement:
"in verse 11 of Vivekachudamani,..., Sri Adi Sankara says:
Action [karma] is [prescribed only] for [achieving] chitta-suddhi [purification of mind] and not for [attaining] vastu-upalabdhi [direct knowledge or experience of the reality, the true substance or essence, which is absolute being]. The attainment of [this non-dual experience of] the reality [can be achieved only] by vichara and not at all by [even] ten million actions."

Sanjay Lohia said...

R. Viswanathan, I thank you for sharing with us the details of your dialogue with Michael. How beautiful, the way he replied to you – ‘all thanks are due only to Bhagavan; it is his clarification and not mine. I am just relaying the message like a telephone line’. Michael is a true devotee of Bhagavan. So humble, so surrendered! Regarding how grace and effort work in our life, let us read what Bhagavan teaches us in paragraph 12 of Nan Ar?:

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

We have surely been caught in the glance of guru’s grace, so we will never be forsaken but surely by saved by Bhagavan, but we have one duty, which is to walk unfailingly in accordance with the path that Bhagavan has shown. So we have to make efforts by being as much self-attentive as possible. Guru is trying his best to save, but are we willing to be saved by him? If we are not even willing, even the guru’s power may seem to be helpless.

You say, ‘Thus, if one relies only on one's own effort, the effort will drop off at some point of time’. When should our effort end? Not before our ego drops off. So as long as our ego lasts, we need to put in the necessary efforts of clinging to Bhagavan with all the force at our command. Eventually, Bhagavan will finish us off, and we will then clearly see that all our efforts played only a minuscule role in our ego’s dissolution. It was grace all the way. In the context of our sadhana, Bhagavan used to say, ‘grace in the beginning, the middle and the end’.

Yes, perpetual self-attentiveness is both the path and the goal. Bhagavan has made it explicitly clear in GVK (verse 579):

Since self is the eternal, non-dual thing and since there is no means to reach it other than self-attention, know that self itself is the path, self itself is the goal, and that they [the path and the goal] are not different.

So this path of self-attentiveness will effortlessly take us and leave us at our goal because pure self-attentiveness itself is our ultimate goal. Therefore we cannot fail, so we should travel on this path with full confidence. We should be confident that Bhagavan will save us because we are willing to be saved.




Asun said...

Thank you for sharing this, R. Viswanathan.

I´ve been pondering on this subject of effort lately too. The more Bhagavan´s path is understood, the clearer it becomes that it consists mainly rather in being than in doing and being is effortless whereas the only doing required, which would imply effort, is to rely on Bhagavan to carry all the burden which implies complete relax and relax, in turn, is in contradiction with effort so, where is the effort in this path? Relief felt when all effort drops off this way is so great, that it moves to tears and one thinks, now, it is over, all what had to be done has been done hence, having been drawn by Ramana´s path and all one have left to “do” is just to be (self-attentive). But then you are advised: “do not think that it has been your tapas what has brought you here, it has been only grace”, and we realize the extreme subtlety and keenness demanded by this apparently so easy path in order to balance full alertness with complete relax, i.e., self-investigation with self-surrender, as the lines between both are fading away. Ego will fight to the finish.

I wanted to ask if someone knows , is the book by S.Murugunar “Sri Ramana Anubhuti” the same as the book “Sri Guru Ramana Prasadam”?

Mouna said...

R. Viswanathan, greetings
Sometimes words express a state of mind, a state of “thought” if you prefer... sometimes they express a state of heart, they are transparent, light, but nonetheless powerful.

Your comment struck me for its simplicity and yet inner complexity and beauty.
Ideas sometimes are the fabric of a badly constructed dress and other times are the fibers of a masterly painted canvas.

As we used to say in my country of origin, a monkey dressed in silk it will always remain a monkey, that is a good analogy for our mind. But a naked monkey dressed only with its furry skin it’s always beautiful because it is in his natural state.

Thank you for your words, heartfelt, humble, thoughtfully expressed.

Mouna said...

I ask myself,
Do I give the time to simmer what I’ve heard, in silence?
Do I give the time to put my doubts, my questions, my comments, my studies aside and just perceive the fragrance of a silent being here?
If I find the end in the beginning and the beginning in the end why do I spend most of the time in the middle?

Contemplation originally (and loosely) means “to mark out a space for observation (like an augur does)”
So simple, and yet...

Sanjay Lohia said...

Bhagavan teaches us ‘asparsha yoga’

We may have the desire to surrender ourself, but it is only Bhagavan’s grace that will enable us to do so. So if we truly love Bhagavan, we will pray only for one thing – ‘to enable us to surrender ourself wholly to him’. In other words, we will pray only for the annihilation of ego.

God is our own real self, but what comes in between God and us is ego. So, only by surrendering ego can we truly become one with God. Becoming one with God is called yoga (yoga means ‘joining’). But in advaita, they don’t talk of yoga because one has to be separate in order to join, but we are never truly separate from God.

Gaudapada, who was an ancient sage and the guru of Adi Shankara’s guru, wrote a commentary on Mandukya Upanishad called Mandukya Karira. He talks there about ‘asparsha yoga’, which meaning un-touching union. That has a very deep meaning because how can two things join unless they touch? So asparsha yoga is actually a contradiction in terms. But he used this term to emphasise that we don’t have to actually join with God.

We just need to separate ourself from ego. So the state in which we don’t touch the body and mind, the state in which we remain just as ourself without touching anything else, that is the state of asparsha yoga. That is the state of oneness with God. That is achieved by complete surrender.

• Based on the video: 2019-04-03 Forum Humanum, Helsinki: Michael James discusses self-investigation as the way to love (1:40)

anadi-ananta said...

Sanjay,
you mean Māṇḍūkya Kārikā.

R Viswanathan said...

"We just need to separate ourself from ego."

Is not ego actually ourself? I recall that Bhagavan advises us to attend to or seek ego. Furthermore, Bhagavan asserts that when sought, ego, formless phantom will be known to have never existed in the first place, and what remains will be only ourself.

From https://happinessofbeing.blogspot.com/2009/06/ulladu-narpadu-explanatory-paraphrase.html

"In verse 23 he says that this body does not say ‘I’, because it is not conscious; that no one says ‘in sleep I do not exist’ (even though our body and mind do not exist in sleep); and that after one ‘I’ (our mind or ego) rises, everything arises. Therefore he instructs us to scrutinise with a நுண் மதி (nun mati) — a subtle, acute, precise and keen mind, intellect or power of discernment — where this ‘I’ rises, and in the kalivenba version he adds that when we scrutinise it thus, it will ‘slip off’, ‘steal away’ or ‘stealthily escape’.

That is, this false ‘I’ appears to exist only so long as we do not keenly scrutinise it, and it disappears as soon as we focus our entire attention upon it (just as an imaginary snake would disappear when we look at it carefully and thereby recognise that it is only a rope). The fact that this is the nature of our mind or ego — our primal thought ‘I’ — is an extremely important truth that Sri Ramana emphasised repeatedly, because it is a vital clue that explains the unique and infallible efficacy of atma-vichara or self-investigation.

In all forms of spiritual practice other than atma-vichara, our attention is directed towards something other than our essential self — our fundamental consciousness ‘I’ — so such practices will only sustain and perpetuate the illusion of the false ‘I’ who is practising them, and hence they can never destroy it. The only means by which we can destroy this illusion is to withdraw our attention from everything else and focus it exclusively upon ‘I’, because just as we would not recognise the truth that the imaginary snake is actually nothing other than a rope unless we looked at it carefully, so we will not recognise (or truly experience) the truth that this imaginary finite ‘I’ is actually nothing other than the one real infinite ‘I’ unless we scrutinise it keenly."

Michael James said...

A friend wrote to me recently:

EXTRACT BEGINS

Firstly, on a few occasions practising self enquiry, or what I perceive to be self enquiry, I have felt such a stillness that there has been within that stillness a genuine feeling that I can perceive, very clearly the nature of the dream. There is a sense that I could almost let go entirely of the effort it take to maintain the dream and the dream state would collapse altogether. There is still enough fear of what lies in the unknown prior to the dream, due to desire present (primarily attachment to the thought of my wife and daughters) that this doesn’t happen / mind doesn’t allow it to happen. However I feel very much drawn back to this state of stillness at least.

I’m not really sure what the question is there to be honest, maybe I’m wondering if that in itself is simply subtle thought creating another illusion of a dreamlike state to let go of !?

My second question is probably ultimately along the same lines. Working on the assumption that we all originate from / are one consciousness / awareness. Is absolutely everything that I perceive a manifestation of that conscious awareness? For example, and obviously one can never know ultimately if this is unanswerable because of the very nature of this question... am I now writing an email to an aspect of my manifesting awareness and will I receive an answer that ultimately comes from my own awareness?

EXTRACT ENDS

In reply to this I wrote:

Regarding your first point, everything other than our real nature, which is pure awareness (awareness that is aware of nothing other than itself), is a thought. Even that which is aware of anything other than itself, namely ego, is just a thought, though unlike all other thoughts, which are non-aware (jaḍa), ego is a conflation of awareness (cit) with non-aware adjuncts, because instead of being aware of itself just as ‘I am’ it is always aware of itself as ‘I am this body’, and hence it is called cit-jaḍa-granthi, the knot (granthi) formed by the seeming entanglement of what is aware (cit) and what is non-aware (jaḍa).

However, though both the subject (the knower) and all objects (everything known by it) are just thoughts, not all thoughts are equal, in the sense that certain thoughts that are deeper and subtler represent the truth more clearly and accurately than other thoughts. For example, when you say ‘on a few occasions practising self enquiry, or what I perceive to be self enquiry, I have felt such a stillness that there has been within that stillness a genuine feeling that I can perceive, very clearly the nature of the dream’, both the stillness and what you perceived in it were thoughts, because they appeared and hence will inevitably disappear, but they are extremely subtle thoughts, and they may represent the truth more clearly and accurately than most other thoughts.

However, we should remember that however clearly we may see the nature of things, so long as we are aware of even the slightest multiplicity or change, we who are aware of such things are ego, so we haven’t yet reached our final destination. Therefore, whatever may appear, we need to continue trying to keenly investigate ourself, the one to whom it appears.

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

Michael James said...

In continuation of my previous comment:

Regarding your second question, whatever we are aware of does not exist independent of our awareness of it, so all phenomena are just appearances in awareness, just like all that we experience in a dream. However, the awareness in which they appear is the mind, the perceiving element of which is ego, so it is only in the view of ego that phenomena seem to exist. However, ego is not real awareness (cit) but just a semblance of awareness (cidābhāsa), because it appears along with phenomena in waking and dream, and disappears along with them in sleep. That from which it appears and into which it disappears is real awareness (pure awareness), and that is what exists alone in sleep.

Therefore, yes, everything that you as ego perceive is a projection of yourself as ego, but neither ego nor anything perceived by it is real. What is real is only pure awareness, in the clear view of which nothing else exists at all. All other things merely seem to exist but do not actually exist, because they appear and disappear, whereas pure awareness always exists without ever appearing or disappearing and without ever undergoing any change.

Therefore whatever appears appears only from pure awareness. Or to be more precise, all phenomena appear only from (and to) ego, and ego appears only from (but not to) pure awareness.

So when we ask a question, where does the answer come from? Only from ourself, because there is nothing other than ourself from which it could come. Most answers come from ourself as ego, even if they seem to come from others, but to the extent that any answer gives us the clarity to turn back within to investigate and surrender ourself, to that extent it is coming from our real nature, which is source of all clarity, being the infinite clarity of pure awareness

Sanjay Lohia said...

Anadi-ananta, yes, I meant 'Māṇḍūkya Kārikā'. Thank you.

Asun said...

Michael,

You always say that in deep sleep there is only pure awareness but in truth, pure awareness is what there is always during the different states mind goes through: sleep and dream since the waking state is also a dream, however and concerning mind, deep sleep isn´t but self-forgetfulness or complete darkness according to what Shadu Om explains in chapter 49 “Self Knowledge” of Sadhanai Saram, as I understand it, that the state of sleep corresponds to the mind´s mode, or guna, tamas which “limits, immobilizes, impedes, deactivates or dis-solves what the former two create and conserve.”, that is to say, the feeling “I am this body” or rajo-guna and the “The power of clear discernment (sphurana-sakti), which experiences one’s existence-consciousness, “I am,”” or sattva-guna” hence, and so long as this state of self-forgetfulness or tamas is not removed, “an effort arise as an effort (tapas) or practice (sadhana) to know and attain Self.”

This has been very helpful to finally understand why we don´t know ourself as pure awareness in deep sleep but only during the practice in the waking state and why it is forgotten in deep sleep, also to understand mind or maya since Shadu Om isolates it in its entirety from the ever present and changeless pure awareness in such a way that it makes easy to see it for what it is. Later on, he explains why this self-forgetfulness is just an imagination that never has really happened.

Reason why experience of pure awareness during the practice in the waking state is forgotten in deep sleep is because turning attention towards ourself still is a thought or thinking of ourself and therefore, as subtle as it may be and as “clearly and accurately it may represent the truth” as you say in this response you have shared, it is still subject to the mind and its modes, including mode of tamas, isn´t it? This issue has always been a conundrum to me.

Sanjay Lohia said...

When we ask a question, the answer comes only from ourself because there is nothing other than ourself from which it could come

A few extracts from Michael’s latest set of comments:

Michael: Whatever may appear, we need to continue trying to keenly investigate ourself, the one to whom it appears.

My reflection: This is the essence of the practice of Bhagavan’s teachings. We may experience anything, but who is the one who is experiencing it. I am housebound. Who is housebound? I am. Who am I? So we need to turn our attention towards the one who is housebound? I am feeling scared. Who is feeling scared? We just need to see this I who is scared - see him from very very close quarters. This is how atma-vichara works.

Michael: So when we ask a question, where does the answer come from? Only from ourself, because there is nothing other than ourself from which it could come. Most answers come from ourself as ego, even if they seem to come from others, but to the extent that any answer gives us the clarity to turn back within to investigate and surrender ourself, to that extent it is coming from our real nature, which is the source of all clarity, being the infinite clarity of pure awareness.

My reflection: What Michael says is unique: to the extent any answer gives us the clarity to turn back within to investigate and surrender ourself, to that extent the answer is coming from our real nature, which is the source of all clarity, being the infinite clarity of pure awareness. So Bhagavan's teachings come from our real nature because they are powerful reminders to turn back within to investigate and surrender ourself. Bhagavan and his teachings are not different.




anadi-ananta said...

regarding Michael's recent comment of 11 April 2020 at 09:30/31,

welcome warmly in our unreal world which is only a projection of ourself as the unreal ego,... and ego appears only from pure awareness.:-)
Are we now in a right mess/pickle or is in this way given us the best opportunity of eliminating all misery of ignorance ?
Hope our real nature, which is said to be the source of all clarity, will in the end lead us into being the infinite clarity of pure awareness. May we become able to turn within sufficiently keenly and - if thus then clearly recognized as absolutely necessary/indispensable/essential - totally surrender to the one real pure awareness, in the clear view of which nothing else exists at all.

anadi-ananta said...

Salazar,
no matter. And I speak to myself: si tacuisses, philosophus mansisses,( if I had remained silent, I would have continued to be a philosopher).:-)

Sanjay Lohia said...

We have so much knowledge which seems useful, but according to Bhagavan it’s all useless

Bhagavan advises us in Anma-Viddai verse 3:

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].

All the knowledge we have seems to be of value to us. It’s useful to know when we should pay our rent or where to shop or how to work and make money. We have so much knowledge which seems useful, but according to Bhagavan, it’s all useless. If I am this body, I have to pay rent or I have to make money. If I am the body, I need to eat food, breath air and do so many things. So I need knowledge for all these things, but if I am not this body, I don’t need any of these things or knowledge about any of these things.

So according to Bhagavan what we take to be useful knowledge is all useless. In sleep, we don’t have all this knowledge, but we are perfectly happy and satisfied. In waking and dream, the body and world appear and what is the result? We are constantly dissatisfied. Even when we achieve what we want, we want something more. So, all our knowledge of things other than ourself is not giving us satisfaction or happiness. Here knowing means being aware of anything other than ourself.

In the next sentence, Bhagavan says, ‘If one has known oneself, then what [else] exists to know?’ According to Bhagavan, when we know ourself as we actually are, nothing remains for us to know. Here Bhagavan expresses as a rhetorical question, but he says this more directly in verse 27 of Upadesa Undiyar:

Only knowledge [or awareness] that is devoid of knowledge and ignorance is [real] knowledge [or awareness]. This is real, [because] there is not anything for knowing.

That is when we know what we actually are there is nothing else to know. All other things seem to exist only because we have risen as ego. When we rise as ego, we are aware of multiplicity and however much we know, there is so much more we don’t know. So, all these things are a mere appearance. What is real is only ourself.

When one knows oneself that atma-prakasha flashes forth like lightning. It’s a sudden revelation. The pure awareness ‘I am’ shining in each of us is the same. Whether one is the greatest saint or the worst sinner, the light of awareness ‘I am’ is shining equally in all without any differentiation. All the distinctions arise because we identify ourself with a particular name and form. The awareness of myself as a particular person creates all this seeming difference, but actually none of this difference is real. What is real is the one undifferentiated pure awareness ‘I am’.

Asun said...

Don´t know why it is said that in sleep we are perfectly happy, according to Shadu Om sleep is “One’s lying, having forgotten one’s existence consciousness, “I am,” and having drooped” which makes a lot of sense so, as this ego-mind, in sleep we are completely ko (knocked out), not ok or perfectly happy. Being ok or perfectly happy would be being as what we are, pure awareness. Being ko is to be in the state of tamas which is the most undesirable state to be and exactly the opposite to be ok or pure awareness.

anadi-ananta said...

Asun,
regarding your yesterday's (at 17:34) question,

first(i) page of the book Sri Guru Ramana Prasadam
[An expanded and revised version of Part I of the 1960 edition of Sri Ramana Anubhuti]
Composed by Mukavai Kanna Muruganar,
Translated by Robert Butler
page vii: Introduction
...The first part of Sri Ramana Anubhuti, a purely devotional work, which was translated by myself and published in 1998 under the title, Non-Dual Consciousness, the Flood Tide of Bliss, Sri Ramana Anubhuti.
A. Publication History
1. Tamil Editions
The Tamil edition of Sri Ramana Anubhuti, Part I was first published in 1960.
...
This new edition, now containing 1039 verses, was finally published in 2004 under Muruganar's chosen title, Sri Guru Ramana Prasadam.
A Tamil edition of Part II was published by Sri Ramanasramam in 2006, under the old title of Sri Ramana Anubhuti.

anadi-ananta said...

Asun,
we speak of Sadhu Om, (not Shadu).:-)

R Viswanathan said...

"I wanted to ask if someone knows , is the book by S.Murugunar “Sri Ramana Anubhuti” the same as the book “Sri Guru Ramana Prasadam”?"

I thought it best to seek clarification from Sri Robert Butler and he was as always very kind to send his immediate reply to my email. I reproduce that below.

Dear Sri Viswanathan

Yes, I can answer that query. The answer is as follows: Sri Ramana Anubhuti originally consisted of two parts. Part I was published in 1960, but not part II.
Subsequently Part I was reordered and expanded by Muruganar with the help of Sadhu Om but this version did not see the light of day till 2004,
when it was published under Muruganar's preferred title of Sri Guru Ramana Prasadam.
Part II was finally published in 2004, under the original title of Sri Ramana Anubhuti.

To summarise, Sri Guru Ramana Prasadam is the amended first part of the original Sri Ramana Anubhuti and Sri Ramana Anubhuti is the second part of the original Sri Ramana Anubhuti.
The latter has never been translated into English.

I hope this clarifies the matter

With Best Regards

Robert

Sanjay Lohia said...

What is this mind?

What is this mind? As Michael has clarified, the mind is just a series of changing thoughts. He further said that though the mind is changing, we remain unchanged. Some years ago our view of the world was different - our beliefs, our attitudes, our feelings were different. The things we believed then, we don’t believe now. We now have new interests and attitudes.

So our body and mind are both changing, but we remain the same. For example, now we may remember certain events in our childhood. We remember – ‘I saw this or that’, but the ‘I’ that had those experiences as a child is the same ‘I’ that is experiencing this coronavirus pandemic. So whereas all things are changing, we remain unchanging. So the experiencer remains unchanging, and only its experiences change. So the experiencer, this ego, remains the same.

So are we this experiencer, this ego? No, because we are aware of ourself as this ego only in waking and dream but not in sleep. In sleep, we are aware of ourself without this ego, so we cannot be this ego. So if we are not this ego, who am I?

R Viswanathan said...


Sri Robert Butler has since sent me another email:
Dear Sri Viswanathan
Thank you. I should add that I mistyped at one point and should have said that Sri Ramana Anubhuti (part II) was finally published in 2006. not 2004.
With Best Regards
Robert

anadi-ananta said...

R Viswanathan,
re. correction of R. Butler,
2006, that is what I wrote above from reading in the mentioned book.

anadi-ananta said...

Sanjay,
"In sleep, we are aware of ourself without this ego, so we cannot be this ego. So if we are not this ego, who am I?"
An answer to your question could be easily derived by logical inference from your own statement given above: I am that which is aware of itself without this ego.:-)

Asun said...

anadi-ananda, R Viswanathan, thank you very much for your responses. Much appreciated.

Sanjay Lohia said...

Anadi-ananta, yes, we can come to a logical inference by our manana that we are pure awareness and that we are not this ego. However, this may at best be step one because such logical inference will not take us far if we do not experience ourself as this pure awareness. So we should not just stop at some sort of intellectual understanding. We need to turn our entire attention within to actually directly experience who we actually are. This is what Bhagavan wants us to do.

Sanjay Lohia said...

Chanting the names of Ramana or Arunachala certainly does not contradict self-investigation - it can be a powerful aids

The following dialogue is extracted from the comment section of Michael’s video: 2019-09-14 Ramana Maharshi Foundation UK: discussion with Michael James on Āṉma-Viddai verse 3:

Sachal Tyagi: Michael, I read your blog, the Power of Arunachala .. In that Bhagavan says that One Arunachala has the merit of one crore Om Namah Shivay.. So my question is, does holding "I Am" in the mind and investigating where the feeling of I am leads to, also have that kind of merit..? or we can hold the name Arunachala or any other Mantra or name of the Bhagavan or Buddha and identify with it as our own Supreme nature.. Would it not lead to the same goal since it holds so much merit? Isn't merit essential for spiritual progress ...? […]

Michael James: Sachal, holding ‘I am’ is the pinnacle of bhakti, because ‘I am’ is the real nature (svarūpa) of both Bhagavan and Arunachala, so as Bhagavan says in verse 8 of Upadēśa Undiyār ( https://happinessofbeing.blogspot.com/2017/09/upadesa-undiyar-tamil-text.html#uu08 ) holding ‘I am’ is ‘அனைத்தினும் உத்தமம்’ (aṉaittiṉum uttamam), ‘the best among all’.

Talk of merit is for those who seek personal gain, so it does not apply to those of us who aspire to follow the path of complete self-surrender, but whether we are seeking merit or surrender the names of Arunachala and Ramana are uniquely efficacious, because as Bhagavan himself wrote in one verse, ‘அரி ஆதி இதர சீவரது அக வாரிச குகையில் அறிவாய் ரமி பரமாத்துமன் அருணாசலரமணன்’ (ari ādi itara jīvaradu aha-vārija guhaiyil aṟivāy rami paramāttumaṉ aruṇācalaramaṇaṉ), ‘Aruṇācalaramaṇa is paramātman [the supreme spirit or ultimate self] rejoicing as awareness in the cave of the heart-lotus of [all] different jīvas [life-forms] beginning with Hari [Viṣṇu]’.

For those of us who are trying to follow the path of self-surrender, the names of Arunachala and Ramana have a special power to draw our attention back within, so chanting either or both of these names certainly does not contradict self-investigation. Quite the opposite, it can be a powerful aid on this path of self-investigation and self-surrender. However, whenever we feel inclined to chant these names we should yield ourself to their power, allowing them to draw our mind back within to face ourself alone.

My reflection: As Michael points out, ‘the names of Arunachala and Ramana have a special power to draw our attention back within, so chanting either or both of these names certainly does not contradict self-investigation’. So whenever we are not able to turn within, we can chant their names with our whole heart. How we should chant their names is beautifully explained by Michael:

Whenever we feel inclined to chant these names we should yield ourself to their power, allowing them to draw our mind back within to face ourself alone.

We may chant with an attitude of deep contemplation: Ramana, Ramana, (and dive deep within with every chant); Ramana, Ramana (and feel Ramana’s pull with every chant); Ramana, Ramana, (and enjoy the inner peace with every chant); Ramana, Ramana (and enjoy Ramana’s love with every chant); (then gradually try surrendering even this name) Ramana, Raman, Rama, Ram, Ra, R, (finally rest in the inner silence without any further chant for as long as possible).





Sanjay Lohia said...

The more closely we look at ourself…

What is self-attentiveness? We can learn to be self-attentive only by trying to be self-attentive. The more we try to be self-attentive, the closer and closer we come to pure self-attentiveness. So we learn by practice. We need to be looking at ourself ever more closely. The more closely we look at ourself, the greater the clarity and the more easily ego will dissolve. The more closely we look at ourself, the more quickly our desires and attachments for other things weaken, so it will become easy to attend to ourself.

The more closely we attend to ourself, the more closely we will recognise when the attention slips away. The reason it slips away is when we turn our attention towards ourself, we begin dissolving. However, because we are not yet willing to let go, our attention runs outwards to grasp other things because by grasping other things we sustain our existence as ego. So it is life and death struggle for ego, literally.

So by looking at ourself closely, we gain the skill to look at ourself more closely, and we can easily catch our attention when it slips away.

• Based on the video: 2019-09-14 Ramana Maharshi Foundation UK: discussion with Michael James on Āṉma-Viddai verse 3 (1:23)

Asun said...

Sanjay, we are always as what we are, pure awareness devoid of ego aware of anything other than ourself, not only during sleep , also in waking and dream since ourself is not affected by these states we as ego go through. The state of sleep is just another state of mind, a state in which we are not in a better state than a stone or a piece of wood, that´s why we are urged by those who know, to make a proper use of self-awareness during the other two states, because this is the only way light of pure awareness can overcome darkness causing the rise of ego which is what remains in sleep and where the I-thought along with its capacity to experience itself as “I am” merges into, not into pure awareness. This basic darkness is self-forgetfulness, the primal form of maya seemingly obscuring pure awareness. Knew ego itself as what it really is in sleep, it wouldn´t arise anymore or wouldn´t wake to this or any other dream never again.

Salazar said...

Asun, nicely put ...

anadi-ananta said...

Asun,
"The state of sleep is just another state of mind, a state in which we are not in a better state than a stone or a piece of wood,...".
Is it not said that in deep sleep there is no mind at all ?
If so, how can one consider sleep as "just another state of mind" ?

Michal Borkowski said...

Thank you for this post.

R Viswanathan said...

https://happinessofbeing.blogspot.com/2015/11/what-happens-to-our-mind-in-sleep.html

"According to Bhagavan what actually exists is only ourself (as he says, for example, in the first sentence of seventh paragraph of Nāṉ Yār?), so in the view of ourself as we really are there is only one state, which is eternal and unchanging self-awareness. Therefore the three alternating states that we call waking, dream and sleep are not real, but seem to exist only in the self-ignorant view of this illusory mind, which itself does not actually exist."

"since waking and dream seem to exist only so long as we experience ourself as this mind, when we know that this mind has never existed we will also know that waking and dream have never existed, and that the only state that has ever actually existed is our one real state of absolutely pure self-awareness, which is what we previously mistook to be sleep."

Sanjay Lohia said...

Asun, you say, ‘The state of sleep is just another state of mind, a state in which we are not in a better state than a stone or a piece of wood’. Is the state of sleep just another state of the mind? Yes and no. Yes, because from the perspective of our mind, we have three states, namely waking, dream and sleep. So from this perspective sleep is just one of our three states.

However, from the perspective of our true nature, sleep itself is our true nature. So from this perspective, sleep is not a state of mind. It is pure awareness itself. Bhagavan has made this clear. Bhagavan said there is complete ignorance in waking but pure knowledge in sleep. In sleep, we are without ego, and any state in which there is no ego is a state of pure awareness. We are not unconscious in sleep, as you seem to assume we are. We are fully consciousness in sleep, so it would be completely wrong to compare our state of sleep to be like that of a stone or a piece of wood.

However, we have one major problem with sleep. We have no problem while we are asleep, but we rise again as ego from sleep, and this rising again is the only problem with sleep. Yes, we cannot practise atma-vichara is sleep because we need to exist as ego to practise vichara. In sleep, no one exists who can make an effort of any sort. So, yes, we can practise atma-vichara only in waking or dream.



anadi-ananta said...

Asun,
you say "Knew ego itself as what it really is in sleep, it wouldn´t arise anymore or wouldn´t wake to this or any other dream never again."
In other words: Because ego seems to exist only in its own deceived view, therefore also its seeming rising and setting happen only in its own false view.

Michael James said...

In final two paragraphs of the 32nd instalment of ‘The Paramount Importance of Self-Attention’, which appeared in the January 2020 issue of The Mountain Path, I recorded Sadhu Om as saying:

The second and most important of the three conclusions I reached after reflecting carefully on Bhagavan’s teachings is that ego will be destroyed only when it attends to itself alone, because as he says in verse 25 of Uḷḷadu Nāṟpadu, ego is a formless phantom that comes into existence, stands and nourishes itself by grasping form, which means by attending to anything other than itself, so if it tries to grasp itself alone, it will dissolve back into the source from which it arose, which is what he means by saying, ‘tēḍiṉāl ōṭṭam piḍikkum’, ‘If sought, it will take flight’. This is why he implies in so many other places, such as in verses 22 and 27 of Uḷḷadu Nāṟpadu, that we cannot know our real nature and thereby eradicate ego by any means other than turning our attention back within to investigate the source from which we have risen.

The third conclusion I reached, which logically follows on from the second one, is that the more we attend to ego the more it will subside. In other words, in order to keep ego in check we must watch it vigilantly, and in order to surrender ourself entirely we must persevere in our attempts to attend to ourself as keenly and as constantly as possible.

-----

Referring to the last paragraph, a friend wrote to me saying that ‘the more we attend to ego the more it will subside’ should be ‘the more we attend to where the ego rises, the more it will subside’, in reply to which I wrote:

One of the fundamental principles of Bhagavan’s teachings is that the nature of ego is to rise, stand and flourish by attending to anything other than itself, and to subside and dissolve back into its source by attending to itself. This is what he clearly teaches us in verse 25 of Uḷḷadu Nāṟpadu and elsewhere.

And as Swami [Sadhu Om] often explained, attending to ego is itself attending to the source from which it rises, namely ஆத்மசொரூபம் [ātma-svarūpa, our own real nature], just as looking at what seems to be a snake is itself looking at the rope. If we look at the snake carefully enough, we will see that it is not a snake but just a rope. Likewise, if we attend to ego keenly enough, we will see that there is no such thing but only ஆத்மசொரூபம் [ātma-svarūpa].

In other words, ‘who am I?’ and ‘whence am I?’ are just two ways of describing one and the same practice.

The difference between ego and its source is only a difference in appearance and not a difference is substance. Whether we appear as ego or remain as we actually are, we are one, so ego is just an illusory appearance. It does not actually exist but merely seems to exist. It seems to exist only when we look elsewhere (at anything other than ourself), but disappears as soon as we look at it carefully enough: ‘தேடினால் ஓட்டம் பிடிக்கும்’ [tēḍiṉāl ōṭṭam piḍikkum, ‘If sought, it will take flight’, as Bhagavan says in verse 25 of Uḷḷadu Nāṟpadu], and ‘ஆதலால், யாது இது என்று நாடலே ஓவுதல் யாவும் என ஓர்’ [ādalāl, yādu idu eṉḏṟu nādalē ōvudal yāvum eṉa ōr, ‘Therefore, know that investigating what this is alone is giving up everything’, as he says in verse 26 of Uḷḷadu Nāṟpadu].

Asun said...

anadi-ananta, if we consider that sleep is the subsidence of mind and that mind is the I-thought or ego which gives rise to all other thoughts and/or phenomena, there is no mind in sleep and sleep can´t be considered a state of mind, but if we consider that ego is a secondary form of maya being self-forgetfulness the primal one giving rise to ego, I don´t agree with Michael´s inference from the subsidence of ego in sleep that what we experience in sleep is ourself and that it is ourself what underlies the appearance of waking and dream (http://happinessofbeing.blogspot.com/2015/11/sleep-is-our-natural-state-of-pure-self.html) but self-forgetfulness which is what really, and seemingly since we are talking of what is not, conceals pure awareness ever present, not only in sleep but also in waking and dream. I also consider that it is this primal form of maya what remains in the state of sleep, actually, self-forgetfulness is itself the very sleep giving rise to the states of waking and dream along with ego and where ego temporally merges into, due to tiredness while it, self-forgetfulness, remains in sleep as the very sleep also during the states of waking and dream that appear to happen in this sleep so long as ego doesn´t know (remind) itself as what it really is.

It may seem complicated and I may not be explaining myself clearly but to me, this simplifies and clarifies the whole thing quite a lot. If it is not so for you, please, just forget it.

Michael James said...

Asun, regarding your comment of 13 April 2020 at 11:22, how can ego be secondary to self-forgetfulness? If that were the case, it would mean that self-forgetfulness exists independent of ego, which would give rise to the question: for whom is self-forgetfulness if not for ego? In other words, who is self-forgetful? Surely it is only ourself as ego.

Self-forgetfulness is not what gives rise to ego, but is the very nature of ego. Without ego there could be no self-forgetfulness, because in the absence of ego all that exists is only our real nature (ātma-svarūpa), which is immutable pure awareness and which can therefore never be self-forgetful.

When Bhagavan 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.

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.

what he means by ‘everything’ (aṉaittum or yāvum) is everything other than our real nature, so it includes self-forgetfulness and all other forms of māyā. Therefore when ego does not exist, whether in manōlaya (any state of temporary dissolution of mind, such as sleep) or manōnāśa (annihilation or permanent dissolution of mind), nothing other than our real nature exists. This is why Bhagavan taught us that sleep is not a state of ignorance (self-ignorance or self-forgetfulness) but a state of pure awareness (see for example the first chapter of Maharshi’s Gospel (2002 edition, page 9), where it is recorded that he said: ‘Sleep is not ignorance, it is one’s pure state; wakefulness is not knowledge, it is ignorance. There is full awareness in sleep and total ignorance in waking’).

Most people find it difficult to accept that sleep is a state of pure awareness, so it is generally conceded that self-forgetfulness remains even in the absence of ego in sleep, but if we want to understand Bhagavan’s teachings more deeply, clearly and correctly, we need to accept that nothing other than pure awareness exists in sleep.

anadi-ananta said...

Asun,
your unspoken question what was prior (self-forgetfulness or ego) reminds me a bit about the famous question what is prior the hen or the egg.:-)

anadi-ananta said...

Asun,
it seems to me that 'self-forgetfulness' is just/only another name for 'ego'.

Asun said...


Michael, that´s what you wrote in your book “Happiness and the art of being”, that self-forgetfulness is the primal form of maya and ego a secondary form of maya, if I remember correctly. On the other hand, Sadhu Om states in chapter 49 of Sadhanai Saram: “One’s lying, having forgotten one’s existence consciousness, “I am,” and having drooped, is sleep.”

So, as I understand it, there are only two states: the state of wakening or pure awareness aware only of itself and the seemingly state of sleep which is self-forgetfulness, this seemingly state of sleep includes the three states related to ego or “I am this body” : wake, dream and sleep. I accept what Bhagavan says that wakefulness related to ego is ignorance and sleep, understood as the subsidence of ego and, therefore, of self-forgetfulness, is not ignorance but one´s pure state yet, if we consider sleep as the state of self-forgetfulness underlying or giving rise to the three states related to ego which would be, as you say, self-forgetfulness itself (I don´t see contradiction in this) the state of sleep which is the state of ego even in the state of wakefulness, remains being self-forgetfulness or sleep till ego knows or reminds itself as what it is, i.e., till ego wakes up which doesn´t happen in the state of sleep related to ego or “I am this body” and is the experience of all of us.

Sanjay Lohia said...

Bhagavan’s teachings are disorienting

Bhagavan’s teachings are disorienting, in the sense that thy change our orientation or beliefs. We are normally cosy in our beliefs that we are this person and that this world is real. We have built up a whole set of beliefs, but Bhagavan’s teachings challenge our every belief. We do not just have to let go of all our old beliefs but also let go of our interest in all things other than ourself. So it’s a huge huge challenge.

So we can practise Bhagavan’s path and succeed only by patient and persistent practice. For how long? For as long as it takes – whether it is days, months, years, lifetimes, who knows? It could be the next moment. It depends where we are on this journey. We don’t know how far we are from our goal. We are talking metaphorically when we say this because our goal is ourself.

In a sense, how close we are to letting go, we don’t know. All that we know is that we know the direction we have to go in, which is back towards ourself. So let’s continue going in that direction, and sooner or later we will reach the goal we are seeking.

• Based on the video: 2019-06-08 Ramana Maharshi Foundation UK: discussion with Michael James on Nāṉ Ār? paragraph 19 (1:07)

Asun said...

Note to my previous comment:

To make the difference more clear about my understanding of a “sleep” inside another “sleep”, so to speak: it is not the same the sleep of “having forgotten one´s existence consciousness, I am” than the sleep related to ego or “I am this body”, due to tiredness.

Asun said...

“the sleep related to ego or “I am this body”, due to tiredness”… we go through every night in this “big sleep” of self-forgetfulness, I must add.

Salazar said...

Deep sleep for sure is a mystery for most. And if one reflects about it, it must be scary for the ego because it shows its non-existence! It's like death, however the ego is not scared of deep sleep because it knows by experience that it is only temporary and that guarantees the rise of the ego [again].

Now that nothing other than pure existence exists in sleep will be a mystery until it has been directly experienced, meaning one is aware of self while in deep sleep. That seems like an advanced "stage" of vichara.

I remember David Godman talking about people who claim to be enlightened and he said that there is a simple self-test and that is if one is aware in deep sleep or not. It appears that most people who claim to be enlightened do not even comprehend what that means since the identification with the ego is still (as subtle as it maybe) there.

Sanjay Lohia said...

Thoughts fail when we try to think of Bhagavan’s grace

Someone sent me an unpublished video of Michael. The following is an extract from this video:

What we all want is to be happy and carefree. We don’t become happy and carefree by accumulating more and more wealth or any of these things. We become happy and carefree by surrendering all our desires and attachments, our likes and dislikes along with their root, this ego. To the extent we surrender ourself to Bhagavan, to that extent we will be happy.

How can we say how fortunate we are to have been brought to Bhagavan’s path? Words fail... words fail when we try to think of his grace. His grace is beyond our … words fail when we try to describe… thoughts fail when we try to think of his grace. So we just have to keep quiet. That is the only real way to appreciate the grace that Bhagavan has been showering upon us.

My reflection: Michael was actually short of words when he was trying to describe Bhagavan’s grace.


Asun said...

“Asun,
your unspoken question what was prior (self-forgetfulness or ego) reminds me a bit about the famous question what is prior the hen or the egg.:-)”

anadi-ananta, thing is that, by now, I´m convinced that ego is the egg shell and self-forgetfulness, the egg. The same and different thing, depending on how you look at it. This is why this perspective simplifies all of it, because the shell-ego and all its complications sprouting out can be discarded at once. It all gets reduced to self-forgetfulness and self-remembrance. Easiest to be swallowed by Bhagavan too :)

anadi-ananta said...

Salazar,
"...will be a mystery until it has been directly experienced, meaning one is aware of self while in deep sleep."
Is it not said that this is just everyone's experience ? Remaining as self (pure awareness) in deep sleep is just everyone's direct experience. Therefore deep sleep is a mysterious phenomenon only for ego which "is not scared of deep sleep because it knows by experience that it is only temporary and that guarantees the rise of the ego [again]."
Yes, ego's error is to such a high extent tremendous that it is even the victim of its own delusion: the ephemeral phantom ego considers itself as permanent whereas it looks at the eternal awareness of deep sleep as only temporary. Is that not the zenith of its absurd arrogance ? :-)

anadi-ananta said...

Sanjay,
"...because our goal is ourself."
yes,...namely ourself in our real nature.

Salazar said...

anadi-ananta, you said, "Remaining as self (pure awareness) in deep sleep is just everyone's direct experience."

Really? Then why are we (or who is) talking about it? Why are we doing vichara? Why is there a seeming gap of time between evening and morning?

So in fact, the statement above is just intellectual and imaginary with the lack of true knowing. It's the mind's empty regurgitation of something it has read somewhere but has and will never experience.

To accuse the ego of being arrogant and erroneous is quite hilarious. Why? Because it is the ego accusing itself. Does it think that this is smart or being advantageous in some way?

Asun said...

I think that there is rather confusion than mystery. Pure self-awareness is what exists in deep-sleep the same way that it is what exists during waking and dream, in the gap between two thoughts, but this doesn´t mean that we experience it since we lack of clarity and a keen one-pointed attention so, likewise we don´t experience pure awareness in the gap between two thoughts because we are attending only to thoughts or second and third persons, we don´t experience it in deep sleep because due to tiredness we fall into a tamasic state that conceals our true state of pure awareness. This is all to it and the reason why we practice self-attention.
I´m not denying that pure awareness exists in deep sleep nor, for that matter, in any other state ego goes through, I´m only saying that we don´t experience it because of what I said above.

Salazar said...

Asun, I do not agree. But here we drift into semantics, mystery ... confusion, what's the difference, really?

I also do not agree with that particular interpretation in the latter part of the first paragraph. But who could really know but Bhagavan? That's why it is a mystery for me. I have read what the gurus say and intellectually it has been grasped. So no confusion really. But how is that in direct experience? Total different thing now.

Salazar said...

Deep sleep must be a speculation/mystery because only Bhagavan (as the synonym for self] does know. Some say (within the confines of the phenomenal world) deep sleep is the causal body or anandamaya kosha, so the most subtle body and not noticed because it's before thoughts arise. That body is supposed to "cause" the less subtle body (as the dream body, astral body) and the gross body.

So in that case it is NOT tamas, I do not believe one can assign a particular guna to the anandamaya kosha.

Again, that kind of knowledge may appeal to the mind but what else do we need to know but to just attend to self and leave concepts like these alone?

Asun said...

Yes, Salazar, I understand nobody agree with my point because I´m making a difference between this state of sleep ego falls into due to tiredness, because of its activity during the awake and dream states, and the sleep of self-forgetfulness. In my view, the three states ego or mind goes through arise from and subside in the underlying sleep of self-forgetfulness which means that there are only two states: the wakefulness state or pure awareness and the sleep state or self-forgetfulness which includes the three states of awake, dream and sleep. Having ego, the thought I provided with self-awareness, overcome the sleep of self-forgetfulness by knowing itself as what it really is and having merged into its source , the other three states which I consider to be only the alternation between the three gunas mind is subject to, are overcome too since there is not perception nor projection, there is only stillness which is source of inexhaustible energy. This implies that in deep sleep mind remains in a tamasic state which prevents it from experiencing pure awareness I don´t deny is the only that exists in all states though not experienced by us as ego so, by now, I must adhere to the most immature aspirants.

Thank you for reading, anyway.

anadi-ananta said...

Salazar,
your question "Why is there a seeming gap of time between evening and morning?"
can most likely be answered by the inventor of night-time.:-)

anadi-ananta said...

Asun,
"...we don´t experience pure awareness in the gap between two thoughts...".
We could experience it quite well but plainly do not discern/recognize it as such due lack of clariy and keen one-pointed attention, as you say.

Sanjay Lohia said...

Bhagavan says that mere thought of Arunachala is sufficient

Someone sent me an unpublished video of Michael. The following is an extract from this video:

A friend: What are the spiritual benefits of living in Tiruvannamalai? Do you miss being there?

Michael: We are all living in Tiruvannamalai even now. Though we are living far away, Arunachala is ever shining in our heart as ‘I’, so we are never actually away. There is a definite benefit of living in Tiruvannamalai, but Bhagavan knows what medicine we need and when. For example, I was fortunate to live there for 20 years and I was fortunate to go around Arunachala almost every day. That definitely is a great benefit, but Bhagavan knows what we need and when we need it. I was expecting to live my whole life in Tiruvannamalai, but my prarabdha was different, so Bhagavan took me away.

Presently, Bhagavan has enabled me to think, talk and write about Bhagavan’s teachings most of the time, so that itself is same as being in Tiruvannamalai. But if Bhagavan gives us the opportunity to live in Tiruvannamalai, it is certainly beneficial. However, Bhagavan says that mere thought of Arunachala is sufficient. So the physical satsanga is the crudest form of satsanga. Much more important in mental satsanga and the best of all is atma-sanga – that is, the best is turning our attention within and trying to be self-attentive. That is the best satsanga of all.

Bhagavan has taught us that Arunachala is always shining in our heart as arivu, the awareness ‘I’. He says the same thing about himself. So Arunachala or Bhagavan is what we actually are. So if we want their company, we just need to turn within and face self-wards. That is the best satsanga or the best Arunachala-sanga or the best Ramana-sanga.

anadi-ananta said...

Asun, of course I meant "due lack of clarity".

Rob P said...

2020-04-11 Ramana Maharshi Foundation UK: discussion with Michael James on Ēkāṉma Pañcakam verse 5

https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=vomVs22sPKM

Salazar said...

Asun, I hear you and the point you are making between self and what is not self. That makes sense. What does not make sense is your tamas explanation because deep sleep, as I said before, cannot be at all tamas.

In the waking state when we get tired or lethargic then we are in a tamasic state, however as soon as the conscious mind has drifted away from the perception of the gross body/world it enters a very subtle and actually sattvic state, the anandamaya kosha, some call it also the "bliss-body".

The reason why we wake up refreshed in the morning, or returning to the perception of the gross body/world, is because we spent time in that very blissful, sattvic state which "rejuvenates" the mind. If deep sleep would be tamas then, if we then actually could awake, we would be even more exhausted because there was no true rest for the mind being always in tamas {as you insist).

Actually there are yogis who can enter the anandamaya kosha consciously at will (different path and not what Bhagavan recommends) and it is said that many advanced yogis get stuck at the anandamaya kosha or "deep sleep" level because they are satisfied with the constant bliss without going all the way to manonasa.

So deep sleep, as also implied by Bhagavan, is bliss and rather sattvic (if one needs to pick a guna) and for sure NOT tamas. Asun, you seem to lack some knowledge about the koshas what you really not need but then you do when you make false assumptions ....

anadi-ananta said...

Today, 70 years ago, Friday, 14 April 1950 at 20:47(8:47 p.m.) Indian Standard Time (IST):
Tiruvannamalai, Sri Ramanasramam, Nirvana Room,
Bhagavan Sri Ramana Maharshi left his mortal remains.
Arunachala Siva, Arunachala Siva, Arunachala Siva...

Salazar said...

anadi-ananta, you said "can most likely be answered by the inventor of night-time".

I am not sure what you mean with "inventor". If you say the inventor is mind/ego then that's the point, it can NOT be answered by it. If you mean the "inventor" is God or whatever you'd like to name it then what has that to do with the original point I made that "remaining as pure awareness in deep sleep" is NOT everyone's direct experience what you are claiming is the case.

It is only an IMAGINED "direct experience" by your mind based on what you've read. It is your imagination and nothing else!

It is not your direct experience because you are not aware of it. Why? Because you identify with the body.

Thus, it is not everyone's direct experience, only as an imagination of mind. That is called maya or samsara.

Salazar said...

anadi-ananta, you said in a reply to Asun, "We could experience it quite well but plainly do not discern/recognize it as such due lack of clarity and keen one-pointed attention, as you say."

May I ask, what is the point of this comment? We "could" but we "can't" because ......

After all these years you are frequenting this blog, you still are commenting the obvious. It's like one is saying, ice is cold and fire is hot.

The Tao of Bhagavan, let's lament that we are ego and emphasize its shortcomings. We could be free but we are not because we lack freedom :-)

Sanjay Lohia said...

With what attitude does a true sadhu beg for food?

A friend: Bhagavan said that when he went begging, he felt like an emperor. How do we understand this statement of his?

Michael: Everything Bhagavan said he said in a particular context. I suspect he said this to some sadhus telling them that going begging for food is not a shameful thing. If a sadhu is going begging in the correct spirit, then he is not going begging people. They are going looking to see where God has kept food for them.

So it’s a state of complete dependence on divine grace. If you are a sadhu who goes begging, some days you will get no food, some days you may get stale food, and some days you may get a feast. Whatever you get, you accept it with equanimity feeling that is what God has given you that day. So it was perhaps in this sense that Bhagavan would have said when he went begging for food he felt like an emperor.

• Based on the video: 2020-04-11 Ramana Maharshi Foundation UK: discussion with Michael James on Ēkāṉma Pañcakam verse 5 (1:39)

Salazar said...

"Could" or "can" implies uncertainty and possible failure, in fact these words are bondage itself. These words need to vanish from the mind of a devotee. Otherwise it will always be "it could ..." or "it may ...", these words are inherently infused with doubt, they are the epitome of the phantom ego.

Asun said...

Thank you for your reply, Salazar.

You are absolutely right. I haven´t any knowledge about the kosas, had no idea of what you have explained to me about anandamaya kosa and the yogis, and very few about gunas and all these things, I´m using these terms because Sadhu Om uses them and I´m trying to understand what he´s talking about when he talks about sleep that seems to contradict what Ramana says, and in what sense he uses the word in different contexts. When he talks of sleep as “One’s lying, having forgotten one’s existence consciousness, “I am,” and having drooped” I assume that he refers to the rise of ego or the I-thought, and when he talks on the gunas I assume he refers to ego or “I am this body” since the gunas apply to nature and body is part of nature and it is obvious that, concerning to body that consists in the five sheaths, in sleep what prevails is tamas deactivating all of them which to me is a state equal to the state of a stone. My point is that this state of sleep takes place in and due to the true sleep which is self-forgetfulness, as well as the other alternating states, and the reason why I associated this with what Michael wrote in his book about self-forgetfulness being the first form of maya and ego the secondary form but if he himself asks that how can ego be secondary to self-forgetfulness, well, I give up :)

anadi-ananta said...

Salazar,
you ask what the point is of my reply to Asun (13 April 2020 at 23:49).
In the mentioned comment I used a subjunctive construction. As is generally known: "Could" is the modal verb past of can or subjunctive mood of 'can'. Here the subjunctive form indicates possibility. Therefore I expressed nothing other but that the availability of sufficient clarity and keen one-pointed attention could enable one to recognize (one's own) pure awareness in the gap between two thoughts.
Re. your esteemed announcement:"After all these years you are frequenting this blog, you still are commenting the obvious. It's like one is saying, ice is cold and fire is hot."
I am always grateful for impartial criticism. Anyway, not each one is privileged to enjoy your constant attention. :-)

Salazar said...

anadi-ananta, as usual you do not get my point gleaning from your last comment. So be it.

anadi-ananta said...

Salazar,
re. your issued warning about the mentioned auxiliary verbs ("Could" or "can") because "these words are inherently infused with doubt" and are therefore "the epitome of the phantom ego",

When we know that the ego is only a counterfeiting of real self-awareness we are certainly in the position to keep a vigilant eye on it and to counteract that spurious phantom - just without fear of its epitomes.

Daniele Tomasi said...

I understand that by only being self-attentive can we eradicate the ego forever. I just wonder if the self we are being attentive to is our ego or true self? I have heard you say before that when the ego looks at itself it will realise it doesn't exist and thus disappear leaving only the true self (self awareness), but in here you say that the ego should look directly at it's true nature and thus take flight. Is there a difference? If so, what is the difference?