Thursday, 12 March 2020

What can be simpler than just being self-attentive?

A friend wrote to me recently saying that he had been reading about self-investigation (ātma-vicāra) but was unable to understand ‘how can the I enquire into the I itself’, and while expressing his confusion he asked several questions such as: ‘So how do we comprehend SELF? How do we enquire this SELF? And Who enquires SELF? The mind?’ In reply to this I wrote:

You seem to be complicating what is actually very simple. If we look carefully enough at what seems to be a snake, we will see that it is just a rope. Likewise, if we look carefully enough at ourself, who now seem to be ego, we will see that we are actually just pure awareness.

The snake and the rope are not two different things. They are just one thing, so they differ only in appearance, not in substance. Likewise, ego and our real nature (ātma-svarūpa) are not two different things. They are just one thing, so they differ only in appearance, not in substance. The one substance that appears as ego is our real nature, which is pure awareness, so to see what we actually are we just need to attend to ego keenly enough.

In the case of the rope that seems to be a snake, we are investigating an object, but in the case of ourself who seem to be ego, we are investigating the subject, the perceiver of all objects. In other words, ego is investigating itself, which means that we as ego are investigating ourself in order to see what we actually are.

We are just one self, one I, so this one self needs to investigate itself. In other words, we simply need to be self-attentive. We who are now attending to other things must try to turn our attention back to face ourself alone.

What can be simpler than just being self-attentive? It is extremely simple, in the sense that it is a state of perfect oneness, in which one thing is attending to nothing other than itself, and it is also extremely easy. ‘ஐயே, அதி சுலபம், ஆன்ம வித்தை, ஐயே, அதி சுலபம்!’ (aiyē, ati sulabham, āṉma-viddai, aiyē, ati sulabham!), ‘Ah, extremely easy, ātma-vidyā [the art and science of self-knowledge], ah, extremely easy!’, as Muruganar sang in the refrain (pallavi) of Āṉma-Viddai, and ‘கன்மாதி கட்டு அவிழ, சென்மாதி நட்டம் எழ, எம் மார்க்கம் அதனினும் இம் மார்க்கம் மிக்கு எளிது’ (kaṉma-ādi kaṭṭu aviṙa, jeṉma-ādi naṭṭam eṙa, e-m-mārggam-adaṉiṉum i-m-mārggam mikku eḷidu), ‘To untie the bonds beginning with karma, and to rise [or be resurrected] from the devastation beginning with birth, more than whatever [other] path, this path [of ātma-vicāra] is exceedingly easy’, as Bhagavan confirmed in verse 4 of the same song. If it seems difficult, that is only because our liking to attend to other things is as yet still much stronger than our liking just to be self-attentive, so the only obstacle we face is ourself.

So long as we have desire or attachment for anything other than ourself, holding on firmly and steadily to being self-attentive seems difficult, but the only way to overcome this difficulty is to patiently persevere in trying to be self-attentive as much as possible. Whenever our attention is distracted away towards other things, we must try to draw it back to see ourself, the one to whom all other things appear.


Shiv Sivaram said...

Now simple...........
The key to this is "Self Attention." Hold to the self steadily, without loosing the attention

After I wrote the mail to you found another clue which is on page 153 "SADHANA IS NOT DOING, BUT BEING !!!!

Being cannot be without self attendive.


Sanjay Lohia said...

Bhagavan: If the world enters the man, the whole life will be miserable

Bhagavan teaches us in verse 822 of GVK:

The boat may remain in water, but if water enters the boat it will bring great catastrophe. [Likewise] a man may live in the world, but if the world enters [the mind of] the man the whole life will be miserable.

Sri Muruganar: It is not the world itself but only the attachment towards the world which constitutes samsarabandha [the bondage of mundane existence]. Attachment is caused by the mind, and not by what is outside. No harm will befall one by one’s merely living in the world; but all miseries come into existence only because of one’s desire to enjoy the world.

My reflection: We are walking through a quiet place in the twilight, and we see a prostitute around the corner beseeching us with her alluring looks. She is there all decked up with her revealing dress. How do we respond to her? We may ignore her altogether and walk past her with indifference, or we may look at her with some interest but soon avoid her and walk past her, or we may stop to have a conversation with her and then start negotiating a deal with her. So how we react to this prostitute depends on us.

This world is like a prostitute. It is there beseeching us with all sorts of allurements. How we respond to all the seemingly attractions of this world depends on our will. We may ignore the world or go after it or whatever. It all depends on our choice. So, as Muruganar says, ‘It is not the world itself but only the attachment towards the world which constitutes samsarabandha [the bondage of mundane existence]. Attachment is caused by the mind, and not by what is outside'.

If we are wise, we will try to remove our attachments to this world by whatever means possible because our safety lies in our being free of attachments. If we become infatuated with the prostitute, she will spoil us and may even ruin our family life. Likewise, if we remain infatuated with this world, the world will spoil us and ruin us. This attachment will not let us surrender ourself, and without surrendering we are ruined.

Col said...

In vichara it takes time to wear out ignorance. I would say grace is involved because the persistence is the main thing that is helpful. As long as you are aware of phenomena you are not attending to I as difficult as this sounds to contemplate. Attending to I is being I versus thinking I am attending to I as if it is other than you since you are what you seek. How to be what you already are? Take away ignorance. Why so hard to simply be? The mind imagines it is complicated and thus superimposes a dualistic version. The question how to attend to I goes from frustrating to silly and laughable.

Sanjay Lohia said...

Our sadhana is laughable

Bhagavan teaches us in verse 622 of GVK:

When rightly considered, nothing will be more wonderful and laughable than one’s toiling very much through some sadhana to attain self in the same manner as one toils to attain other objects, even though one really ever remains as the non-dual self.

Reflection: Yes, it is laughable. We are always ourself, which is sat-chit-ananda absolute, and there is nothing other than or apart from us. However, we are putting in so much effort just to ‘attain’ what we already are. So Bhagavan says, ‘When rightly considered, nothing will be more wonderful and laughable than one’s toiling very much through some sadhana to attain self […]’

Sanjay Lohia said...

The only means to control the mind effectively is to know one’s own true nature

Bhagavan teaches us in verse 922 of GVK:

O people who are longing and grieving so much, not knowing in the least the means to destroy the mind so that it will function no more, the means is to experience clearly that the seen [the world-appearance] and the seer [the jiva] are nothing but oneself [self].

Sri Sadhu Om: So long as one experiences a difference between the seer and the seen, the mind can in no way be brought under control. And until one knows the true nature of oneself, one cannot experience that the seer and the seen are nothing but oneself and are hence non-different. Therefore, the only means to destroy the mind and thereby to control it effectively is to know one’s own true nature.

In some translations this verse has been interpreted to mean that in order to end the restlessness of the mind one must ‘look upon all things that are perceptible and the perceiver as self’ (see Guru Ramana Vachana Mala, v. 207). However, this interpretation is wrong, because unless one knows the true nature of self, it is impossible to look upon all things as self. Trying to imagine that everything is self would only be a mental bhavana, and hence it would not be an effective means to make the restless nature of the mind subside. True experience of self-knowledge is the only means to end the restlessness of the mind.

My reflection: We have to destroy the mind in order to destroy the restless of mind. As long as the mind exists, it will be restless because the mind’s very nature is restlessness. The mind is chanchala (fickle, ever-moving, restless). So we can control mind effectively by bringing it to complete standstill, and we can bring it to a standstill only by seeing that it does not exist. So only pure self-experience can destroy ego or mind.

Col said...

This is very well described in my opinion.

chandra said...

how to practice self enquiry sir?
has just to be not doing anything without activity of mind and body,just be?

Salazar said...

No, no, the body still is in activity with vichara (or not depending on destiny), however there is no identification (ideally) with the body and its activities.

Sanjay Lohia said...

Chandra, you ask, ‘how to practice self enquiry sir? has just to be not doing anything without activity of mind and body,just be?’ Yes, the practice of self-enquiry or self-investigation can be described as ‘just be’. You ask, ‘has just to be not doing anything without activity of mind and body,just be?’ Yes, but what you say doesn’t give us the entire picture of the practice of self-investigation because more than just remaining without the activity of mind and body, we need to also focus all our attention on ourself. Bhagavan beautifully describes this method in verse 16 of Upadesa Undiyar:

Leaving aside external viṣayas [phenomena], the mind knowing its own form of light is alone real awareness [true knowledge or knowledge of reality].

What is mind’s own form of light? It is the ‘I am’ aspect of the mind. The mind or ego is an erroneous idea ‘I am this body’. This ‘I am’ aspect is the essential awareness (chit) aspect of the mind. So when we are trying to just be, we need to try to focus all our attention on our essential awareness of the mind. The mind or ego will cease to exist only when it seeks itself with its entire attention. This is what Bhagavan implies in verse 25 of Ulladu Narpadu:

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.

‘If it [ego seeks itself] seeks, it will take flight. Investigate’. This is the most important principle of Bhagavan’s teachings. Ego will not disappear if does not seek itself.

Sanjay Lohia said...

When ego dies, what remains is the absolute reality

Bhagavan teaches us in verse 1222 of GVK:

That which is the consciousness-filled peace [bodhamaya-santa] which shines as that which remains [when the thoughts of bondage and liberation are thus removed by self-enquiry], alone is sadasivam [the eternal reality]. The egoless silence [which shines] as [the true knowledge] ‘That [sada-sivam], which is the ever-existing supreme, alone is ‘I’, alone is the finality of liberation.

Sadhu Om: Verse 40 of Ulladu Narpadu Anubandham should be read and understood here.
Bhagavan teaches us in verse 40 of Ulladu Narpadu Anubandham:

I shall truly declare the essence of the established conclusion of all Vedanta (sarva-Vedanta-siddhanta-sara). If ‘I’ (the ego) dies and ‘I’ (the real self) is (found to be) that (the absolute reality), know that ‘I’ (the real self), which is the form of consciousness, alone will be what remains.

Sri Sadhu Om’s note: Since verses 9, 25 and 40 of this Anubandham were originally composed by Sri Bhagavan as a separate three verse poem it is fitting to read these three verses together. “If the ego, which is the embryo, comes into existence, everything (the entire world of duality) will come into existence. If the ego does not exist, everything will not exist, (hence) the ego itself is everything——” says Sri Bhagavan in verse 26 of Ulladu Narpadu. Therefore, when the ego is destroyed by self-knowledge, all forms of duality – the mind, body and world – will cease to exist, and the non-dual real self, whose form is existence-consciousness-bliss, alone will remain. Such is the final and established conclusion of all Vedanta, as confirmed by the experience of Bhagavan Sri Ramana.

My reflection: We can be truly silent only when we are egoless. This is an extremely important aspect of Bhagavan’s teachings. According to Bhagavan’s teachings, silence, ourself, guru, God, brahman, sat-chit-ananda and pure awareness are all synonymous.

Martin said...

Hi. Im interested in Sri Sivaprakasam Pillai poems. Maybe you know where can i find these poems - in internet or maybe book?. :) thanks.

jagannathan rangarajan said...

Martin, there are some poems in David Godman's books 'Power of the Presence'. If you want to read more, you can perhaps reach out to him.

Sanjay Lohia said...

To really understand Sadhu Om’s inner life, we have to read his songs

Sadhu Om lived a life of perfect humility, so his life is a perfect example of what Bhagavan taught us. I can tell some stories about Sadhu Om, but those stories don't explain his real life because his real life was an inward life, a life of complete surrender to Bhagavan. We could see some hints of that in his behaviour, but to really understand his inner life, we have to read his songs. He has written hundreds and hundreds of songs on Bhagavan.

• Based on the video: 2019-09-29 Yo Soy Tu Mismo: Michael James discusses the life and poetry of Sadhu Om (32:00)

Sanjay Lohia said...


I have no doubt that the outbreak of coronavirus is God’s plan, as everything else is. This virus and its effects are God’s way of doing a great correction at a cosmic level, so we need to look at it with wonder and do our own corrections at our own level. We are being forced to change the way we live, eat and interact with each other. So ultimately this is for our eventual and ultimate good.

As Bhagavan sang to Arunachala, ‘your will is my will and that is happiness for me, my Lord!’ So let us subside more and more in Bhagavan. This is the most effective way of surrendering our will to the will of Bhagavan.

Sanjay Lohia said...

Sir, please give us your views on coronavirus. It has come to India and our cities in a big way and is beginning to impact our lives in various ways. The city I live in is almost shut at the moment. So these are uncertain times, but I am sure something good will emerge out of it in the long run. I would love to hear your perspective on the outbreak of coronavirus and how should we look at it. Thank you.

Sanjay Lohia said...

Whatever is happening in our life is happening because of the consent of Bhagavan’s grace, so enable me to accept it and rejoice in it with my full heart

I will tell and explain the meaning of one of Sadhu Om’s simple songs. This is the one which basically means ‘bestow your grace in any way you want’. In one of its verses he sings (the gist of which is), bestow your grace in whatever way you want. How can I understand that? Is it not useless to ask you ‘bestow your grace this way or that way’? You know everything that is good for me, and you know you are able to give it to me. So, he again sings the refrain, ‘bestow your grace in any way you want. How can I know that? Isn’t it useless to ask you to like this or like that’?

In the next verse Sadhu Om sings (the gist is), whatever is happening in our life is happening because of the consent of Bhagavan’s grace. Enable me to accept it and rejoice in it with my full heart. Let me take joy in whatever is happening in my life. That is, even the things we consider bad are happening only with the consent of Bhagavan’s grace. So we should rejoice even in the bad things that happen in our life. But how can we do that? We cannot do that without grace. So Sadhu Om is praying to Bhagavan to make him accept wholeheartedly whatever happens.

Then in the next verse, he sings (the gist is), destroy everything bad in me, and let the divine knowledge arise. Are you not the one who has more concern for me than even what I have? That is, Bhagavan cares for our salvation more than we do. Therefore, isn’t it useless for me to ask you to bestow grace this way or that way? You know better than me. Not only you know better than me, you care more than me. You give this pure path, which can refer to the pure path of self-investigation and self-surrender which is such a pure path. It can also mean that you are giving me a pure path to live in life. So you are guiding me along the pure path. You cannot bear if I suffer. So from now onwards, why should I have any worry about anything, guru Ramana?

This is a very simple song, but this is typical of the complete surrender of how Sadhu Om lived his life. He lived a life of complete surrender to Bhagavan.

• Based on the video: 2019-09-29 Yo Soy Tu Mismo: Michael James discusses the life and poetry of Sadhu Om (35:00)

Martin said...

One poem i find in Mountain Path [October 1984] - Sri Ramana Vachana Saram. English translation by Sadhu Om and Michael James.

Rob P said...

Dear Sanjay, stay tuned, yesterdays London satsang video soon to appear youtube will include Michael's thoughts and very wise advise on Coronavirus.

Sanjay Lohia said...

Bhagavan puts us through fire, but gold becomes purer by putting it through fire

If we are able to see everything as Arunachala’s will, as Arunachala’s grace, as Arunachala’s boon to us, then even the negative becomes Arunachala’s blessing. Then we will be ever victorious.

What we apparently see as negative, I am 100% sure it cannot be negative. I have seen it in my life. All the so-called difficult times in life I have gone through have made me purer and purer and purer and purer, and I thank God for having given me all those experiences. I will not be where I am today but for all those experiences that he has gifted me. And everybody is in the same boat. Everybody is gifted, actually.

So we need to recognise that it is Bhagavan’s grace which gives us even those moments of strengthening, which is always difficult to go through. He puts us through fire no doubt about it, but gold becomes purer by putting it through fire. He bangs us no doubt very badly, but diamond becomes brighter only by banging, right?

So if we are able to see everything as the master’s grace, master, master, master, everywhere, how can we be ever unhappy?

• Edited extract from the video: Bhagavad Gita Episode 18 by Ambika Kameshwar (Rasa Web Channel)

Sanjay Lohia said...

Martin, you wrote, 'One poem i find in Mountain Path [October 1984] - Sri Ramana Vachana Saram. English translation by Sadhu Om and Michael James'. I tried looking for this poem in this particular issue of the Mountain Path, but I was not able to locate it. So please copy and paste this poem as a comment here, if possible. Thank you.

Sanjay Lohia said...

The happiness in a life free of desire – that is real happiness

There is another song of Sadhu Om of five verses. It says what do I need, and what do I not need, all that one who understands more than me is my Lord. Those who love him, those devotees who need him, he is their father and mother. If that is the case, then after who else do I need to go? That is, if we love Bhagavan, we don’t need to follow anyone else. He is our father mother and father, and we are his children. This is the gist of the whole poem.

In the third verse of this poem, Sadhu Om says, the happiness in a life free of desire - that is real happiness. The jnana which is devoid of thoughts - that alone is the real happiness. The one who gives a life free of fear is only my father. Except that everything given by others is only misery. And in the next verse, he says, ‘Whatever is good to see, he shows me’, and all the other four senses are in his control the same way. That is, everything that is good for me to taste, to hear and so on, he will show me. In the next verse, he says, in each moment he makes me act in an appropriate way.

So this way in every verse Sadhu Om is expressing his total love for Bhagavan and his complete surrender to Bhagavan and how he relies on Bhagavan for everything. Just like a small child depends upon his parents for everything, Sadhu Om depends upon Bhagavan for everything. This is how he lived his life.

So, more than any story than can be told about his outward life, songs such as this shows his real life.

• Based on the video: 2019-09-29 Yo Soy Tu Mismo: Michael James discusses the life and poetry of Sadhu Om (45:00)

Martin said...

From page 229. The Mountain Path [Oct. 1984].


1-2 This is the essence, this is the essence, this is the essence of Sri Ramana's sayings.
3-4 Say who the real 'you' are; attend to yourself; truly you are not the foul-smelling flesh.
5-6 The body is born and the body will die; the body is insentient and in sleep it does not exist.
7-8 Consciousness alone is you; you alone are consciousness; consciousness alone is that which exists without being born and without dying.
9-10 In sleep there is consciousness but there is no body; he who knows that the body did not exist in sleep is you.
11-12 Is there anyone who does not know that the body is born? But is there anyone who knew the birth of consciousness?
13-14 From what is said above, (it is clear that) you are not the body; (therefore) destroy the evil notion that you are the body.
15-16 Always think what your real nature is; do not think of anything else.
17-18 The one thought 'I am the body is the root (of all thoughts); if it subsides, all thoughts will subside.
19-20 The enquiry "Is this body the sentient 'I'?" alone will destroy that thought 'I am the body'.
21-22 He.who has the delusion 'I am the body' will mentally suffer for clothing, food and so on.
23-24 He who destroys the delusion 'I am the body' will not suffer for clothing, food and so on.
25-26 Even though death approaches, be not disheartened; knowing that all is done by God, be (in the actionless and care-free state of Self).
27-28 There is not the least benefit in knowing whether the body is one or two or three (that is, it is useless to try to know whether or not the body has three forms — the gross, subtle and causal).
29-30 If we keenly scrutinize (the feeling 'I') and thereby set aside this body (the gross body which we now identify as 'I'), there will be no room for any other body (to exist).
31-32 Set aside as not 'I' all the appearances which are seen as other (anya).
33-34 Set aside collectively the garbage-like crowd of principles (tattvas) which are other (anya).
35-36 When you think more and more 'who am I', that thought alone will remain and all other thoughts will be reduced to ashes.
37-38 Know that the thought-free state which will remain when even that one thought ('Who am I') has been reduced to ashes, alone is the real 'You'.
39-40 That which exists without rising and subsiding is your real Self, which will shine forth spontaneously.
41-42 Until Self thus shines forth like the sun, pursue (the enquiry 'Who am I') in this manner without fail.
43-44 This is the essence, this is the essence, this is the essence of Sri Ramana's sayings.

Asun said...

Sorry to hear about this virus reaching India too, Sanjay. Here in Spain we are housebound, in principle, for two weeks rather to protect those who are more vulnerable and in order the most serious cases can be attended at the hospitals, they are completely overtaken, than to protect ourselves since, probably, most of us have the virus already. Whether this body has to die due to this pandemic or not, is determined already but our concern is about ego´s death, the dreamer dreaming this dream, and we should surrender it to Bhagavan just for the sake of the love for Bhagavan, not for the sake of salvation or for getting a better dream. That’s the only grace we need, our own grace, our love for ourself. Grace of Bhagavan “the one who gives a life free of fear”, is always here, always flowing.

I watched last Michael´s video a couple of days ago and loved it, especially, the song of the five verses about what is true happiness. Thanks for the transcription.

Keep well and holding onto Bhagavan like a child holds his mother´s hand, trustful and unconcerned about what´s going on in the dream. Burning vasanas, which seem to have popped out suddenly, all at once, outwardly. No doubt that, as you say, many things will change after being showed by Bhagavan what “is good for us to see”, regardless of its ugliness.

According to Rob, we´ll have sat sang soon :)

Sanjay Lohia said...

Asun, I thank you for your heart-touching comment. Yes, our focus should be to destroy ego because this body is going is anyway die one day. So we cannot do much to save it but we need to make extraordinary efforts to destroy our ego. I am sharing a message that we have received from B. V. Chauhan of New Diet System (received through an audio-clip). I know Michael does not have a very high opinion of whatever he recommends. Nevertheless, since I have personally benefitted a lot by the recommendations of B. V. Chauhan, I am sharing his views with you and my other friends and family members(through emails). Since he spoke in Hindi, I have translated it below:

B. V. Chauhan: Friends, as we can see, today the entire world is in grips of the fear of coronavirus. So at this time, it becomes my duty to share my experience with others. I have seen and experienced that whatever disease we have is because of the wrong diet we consume. So we need to clean up the dirt or waste which has accumulated in our body due to the wrong diet and then ensure that new dirt or waste doesn’t go into our body. By taking this precaution, we have received the results which are beyond our imagination.

So now we have to protect ourself. We know in NDS (New Diet System), we take cooked food only once a day during dinner in order to satisfy our taste-buds or for any other reason. Whatever the reason, we now have to leave this cooked food. So now ‘no cooked food at all’ permanently or at least until the time this coronavirus vanishes - so no animal products – no milk, milk products and meat. Increase your fasting as much as possible – increase it to maximum according to your capacity. And when you are not able to fast, only then consume the juices of any fruit, vegetable or green leaves. And take plain water enemas twice daily. One who takes only these precautions will surely get results beyond one’s imagination.

We also know that corona is only troubling humans. There are other countless jivas (sentient beings) living on this planet, but they have no danger. It is because they take their proper diet, but we humans consume food not meant for us.

So let us save ourselves and spread this message. This will be our sewa (service) to others. If people want to believe this message, let them believe. If they don’t want to believe it, is their wish. Thank you and pranam.
(End of the message)

Sanjay Lohia said...

Imagine walking through life with no fear – imagine the difference it makes to your life

Eli Martyr is a friend of mind. He is a fruitarian – that is, he lives on 99% only fruits. He says in his latest video (paraphrased by me) as follows:

Detachment is the greatest gift; detachment is the greatest power. If you eliminate all need and attachment from your life, there is something else you eliminate along with your attachment – your eliminate fear when you eliminate all need. If you eliminate the need for a thing, you eliminate any or all fear associated with that thing. Imagine walking through life with no fear – imagine the difference it makes to your life. We need to train ourselves to live our lives without fear for as many things as possible. Things that frustrated you, one day all those things won’t bother you. One day you will sit defiantly amidst all the things you desired and feared and won’t react in any way. You will stand calm and tall amidst all this. Nothing will move you.

My reflections: What he says is true, and we can train ourselves to give of our needs, desires and attachments to some extent without following Bhagavan’s path of self-investigation and self-surrender, but we cannot completely give up our needs, desires and attachments without following Bhagavan’s teachings. Who has needs? Who is attached? It is ‘I’, this ego, and ego cannot exist without needs and attachments.

So eventually we need to give up our ego if we want to give up all our needs and attachments, and we can give it up only by looking at ourself (ego) very very closely. If we do so, we will see that ego simply does not exist, so we never had any needs or attachments in the first place. This is the direct path for all, says Bhagavan Ramana.

Sanjay Lohia said...

Are we within the body, or is the body within ourself?

The following verses (261 and 262) are from GVK:

261. Though the heart is said to be both inside and outside, it truly exists neither inside nor outside, because the appearance of the body, which is the base of the difference ‘inside’ and ‘outside’, is itself a mental conception.

262. While the body is [in fact] in self, one who thinks that self [or heart] is within the insentient body is like one who thinks that the screen – which is the substratum of that cinema picture – is contained within the picture.

Sri Sadhu Om: The screen is the substratum on which all pictures appear and disappear and in a similar way self is the substratum in which the picture of this whole universe including the body is contained. It is, therefore, incorrect to say that self is within the body. Sri Bhagavan uses this simile to drive home the point that, just as the screen is real and the pictures are unreal, self is the reality and the pictures of the mind, body and universe are unreal. How, therefore, can the real be contained in the unreal?

My reflection: When we practice self-investigation, we turn within our body in order to attend to ourself. However, are we within the body, or is the body within ourself? Even though it may seem to us that we are within our body, but actually our body and everything else is a mere appearances within ourself.

Salazar said...

Is it not illogical to talk about destroying the ego while simultaneously pampering it with the attachment to a particular diet [which is supposedly superior to other diets)?

Touting diets is not Bhagavan's teaching, quite the contrary. He made suggestions to use it as an aid but not to get attached to any suggestions, that makes it a perversion.

The belief that a particular diet will shield us from any disease is a perversion of the mind/ego. It is only Bhagavan who either gives us that disease or not, helps us to recover from that disease or not, and NOT the pathetic attempts and beliefs of a mind/ego! That is as delusional as the lame man who says "just pick me up and I'll be able to fight all enemies".

Where is detachment in that? Eliminating all needs means also eliminating the attachment to a particular diet.

The proper way for a devotee of Bhagavan is to eat whatever prarabdha will be given to the devotee and to be unconcerned about any dietary rules or regulations. That will only work with the mature devotee.

anadi-ananta said...

"Whenever our attention is distracted away towards other things, we must try to draw it back to see ourself, the one to whom all other things appear."
Sometimes I cannot draw attention back to see myself, the one to whom all other things appear. Leaving aside the set of adjuncts by surrendering my awareness of adjuncts by focusing my entire attention keenly on myself I often fail to do. So obviously I have to be on my long way.

Rob P said...

The Truth of Fasting (GVK)

The word ‘upavasa’ has two meanings, namely (1) its literal meaning, ‘living near’ (upa=near; vasa=living), that is, living near God or Self, and (2) the meaning which is generally applied to it, ‘fasting’. In this verse, however, Sri Bhagavan uses upavasa in its literal sense, and He uses another word, unna-vratam, for fasting.

678. Wise people, knowing that not yielding to the taste for the five sense-pleasures is the truth of fasting and that abiding unceasingly in Self is the truth of upavasa [living near God], will always observe [both fasting and upavasa] with great love.

Sadhu Om: The true fasting is not refraining from feeding the stomach, but refraining from feeding the five senses [by not providing them with the objects of pleasure]. Since the word ‘upavasa’ literally means ‘living near’, the true upavasa is ever abiding in Self without leaving it.

Asun said...

How are you doing, Salazar? Are you housebound too? Don´t know where you are writing from.

Salazar said...

Asun, I live in Northern California, the area between Sacramento and Lake Tahoe. Currently we are not housebound, only San Francisco and five surrounding counties implemented that yesterday.

I cannot see that my county would implement that unless it gets crazy here (so far only one confirmed case) or the entire state of California gets ordered to be housebound.

Of course many places were closed, theaters, museums, etc. but that does not affect me personally at all. It is just strange to watch the panic buys in the supermarkets and currently one cannot buy anywhere toilet paper :-)

It surly helps a lot to be a devotee of Bhagavan, I cannot imagine how people cope with that seeming impending doom without the aid of turning within.

Salazar said...

Rob, I am not sure if your post is in connection to my comment about diet, in case it is: Fasting is not a diet.

Sanjay Lohia said...

Salazar, I am glad to know that since you live in Northern California, you are not housebound.

I fully agree with you when you say, ‘It surly helps a lot to be a devotee of Bhagavan, I cannot imagine how people cope with that seeming impending doom without the aid of turning within’. Bhagavan seated in our heart is our only saviour, our only refuge, our only truly safe place. We are in danger outside. So we need to unceasingly turn within, turn within, turn within . . . We need to try to go so deep within ourself that we are never able to come out again even if we want to.

Of course, why would we want to come out of Bhagavan because Bhagavan is the pure, unalloyed, blissful awareness? Why would one want to come back into this miserable world?

Sanjay Lohia said...

This world is nothing but a thought, so this coronavirus is also just our thought, an idea in our mind

Bhagavan teaches us in verse 299 of GVK:

Having come under the sway of grace, ever revel in the dense, blazing mass of supreme knowledge, the feet of Lord Hara, the indestructible reality, without yielding to the mental activities of thinking and forgetting.

My reflection: Our problem is we are experts at leaving the blazing mass of supreme knowledge, the indestructible reality, by yielding to the mental activities. So we should try to give up this bad habit and try to remain within, under the sway of grace, for as long as possible, for as frequently as possible.

This world is nothing but our thought, so this coronavirus is also just our thought, an idea in our mind. So we need not fear this world or coronavirus since everything is merely our own mental creation. We need to drill this into our mind. We can succeed in doing so to some extent, but we will still fear this world and the coronavirus as long as we take this world to be real. So the ultimate solution is to destroy the world, and we can do so only by destroying the root of this world, and this root is ourself, this ego. And we can destroy ego only by self-surrender, by attending to ourself so keenly so that we cease to exist as a separate ego.

This world is nothing but an offshoot of ego, so if ego vanishes, this world also vanishes. We can see this happening every day in our sleep. The world disappears temporarily in sleep, but it will disappear permanently in atma-jnana. So we should aim for only atma-jnana and nothing else. Every other endeavour is eventually foolishness. Whatever we try to do in this world, we are just trying to modify our dream in some way. How will this ultimately help us? We need to think about this.

Asun said...

That´s a very good statistical data, Salazar, great to hear.
I don´t know if being a devotee of Bhagavan following his path is helpful or makes this situation more difficult, when ego feels threatened on a large scale, it can become a strong adversary. Best thing “we” (the person) can do is to remain quiet for duration of the “war” going on “inside” each one of us as burning vasanas up, but no doubt that the toilet paper issue will give rise to the major streams of thinking and great currents of modern philosophy and religions among survivors. Astonishing, lol.

Sanjay Lohia said...

The best taste (ati-rasam) is available only in the state of self-abidance

Bhagavan teaches us in verse 1027 of GVK:

Jnanis know that the taste of self [atma-rasam] alone is the best taste [ati-rasam], and hence they abide in the state of self. Those who do not know that the happiness of self alone is definitely the highest, abide in the state of the world [i.e. they remain immersed in worldly life seeking only mundane pleasures].

My reflection: We look for taste in the food we eat, but Bhagavan teaches us through this verse that the best taste (ati-rasam) is available only in the state of self-abidance. So let us ignore going after external tastes by focussing on enjoying this best taste of our true nature (atma-rasam), which is pure, unbroken and unalloyed bliss.

jacques franck said...

Fire is also a thought but I try not to put my hand in it....

Since I was born the world is a thought but I have to deal with....

And also the words of Bhagavan are also only thoughts but the question who is the thinker Sanjay or Jacques franck...

Until then we have to investigate deeply...

JF 🙏

Sanjay Lohia said...

We have to reap the fruits of our actions

Bhagavan teaches us in verse 271 of GVK:

He who gives dos and don’ts to those who come to him is both Yama [death] and Brahma [the creator] to them. But the truly divine guru is the one who proves to them that nothing is to be newly accomplished by them.

Sadhu Om: Since individuals have to reap the fruits of their actions through innumerable births, the ‘would-be guru’ plays the part of Brahma [creator], by making them perform more karmas and thus making them take more births in order to reap the fruits of these actions.

However, as the sadguru knows the truth that self alone exists without a second, He convinces those who approach him that they are none other than self. When, through the power of his silence, they come to understand this truth, they feel that they have nothing to do, but that they merely have to be. As doing alone is action [karma] but being is not, and as it is only karma that brings birth and death, they are relieved from both Brahma and Yama.

Unlike other gurus who instruct their disciples to do the four yogas [karma, raja, bhakti, or jnana], Sri Bhagavan Ramana makes us stop doing anything in order to discover, 'Who does these yogas?', and thus he turns our attention towards ‘I’, which is the right clue to keep us quiet. This is the nature of the real guru.

My reflection: Why do people come to a guru like Bhagavan Ramana? Sadhu Om says it is ‘because they are unable to bear the fruits of the actions they have already accumulated in the past’. So this coronavirus or whatever we are facing are merely fruits of our actions which have done in the past by our will. So now we have no other choice but bear its consequences. We should bear it calmly talking it to be the sweet will of Bhagavan. I have not even an iota of doubt that this virus and its effects will purify us and cleanse us if we accept it wholeheartedly.

Bhagavan doesn’t want to punish us or harm us in any way, but he wants to show us the way back to our real home. So Bhagavan is showing us the way. What is the way? He is saying come back to nature. He is saying preserve whatever you have – that is, don’t destroy the very environment which is providing you protection. Bhagavan is saying eat what is meant for you. What is human food? According to B V Chauhan and many others, it is only regional, seasonal, original and natural fruits, vegetables and green leaves. How can we eat meat and dairy and still hope to be free of suffering? How can we blatantly inflict suffering on other jivas and then hope to enjoy our life forever?

Bhagavan is definitely showing something to us, telling something to us. Are we sensitive enough to listen to him? Let us attune ourself to Bhagavan’s will. And we need to remember ‘even this will pass!’

Salazar said...

My 2 cents re. the "virus": People are panicking more and more and the various governments are not helping with comments like by Merkel (German chancellor) that 70% of the population will be infected.

Fact is, nobody knows. These are projections interpolating currently exponentially growing numbers. However, in the past these increases have as quickly collapsed as they've appeared.

Currently 9,400 people worldwide have died from that evil virus, however every year 1.6 Million people die from TB, also a contagious disease. So about 4,400 people die every day from TB, where are the measures and quarantines for that? Besides that hundreds of thousands of people die every year from the "normal" flu.

A CDC "expert" said on TV that the coronavirus kills 10 times more people than the "normal" flu. That is not true and actually a lie, nobody has the numbers to make these kind of assumptions. There are many unknowns about the nature of viruses and many experts just regurgitate the theory they are most attracted to.

A former member of the US congress, Ron Paul, called the coronavirus a hoax. He is a physician and very down to earth individual. Here is the link of his recent comment:

Of course that is all happening in the phenomenal world, which tries to get us to take it real [with events like that] instead of looking for that what is truly real.

Nothing is worse than the imaginative power of the mind in situations like that. We can see that everywhere, with our neighbors, with our "leaders" and anybody who has a mind.

Sanjay Lohia said...

When the petty ego merges with self through self-surrender it shines as the supreme self itself

Bhagavan Ramana teaches us in verse 218:

When the opposite poles of a large magnet and a small one are joined, the small one, by gaining the greater power of the large one, becomes one with it and shares the same properties.

Sadhu Om: In this verse a simile is used, without it being explained. The large magnet is a simile for mahat [i.e., God or self], the small one is a simile for anu [i.e., jiva or ego], and their opposite poles are God’s feet and the jiva’s head. Joining their opposite poles, therefore, means that the jiva bows down and places his head beneath the feet of God, and thus loses his individuality by merging in God, and becomes God himself. That is, when the petty ego merges with self through self-surrender it shines as the supreme self itself.

My reflection: If iron filings are placed near a powerful magnet, these filings will get attracted to this powerful magnet. We (ego) are like these iron filings, and since we are always near God and are always attracted to God, God is like this large and powerful magnet. So our attraction to God is natural because we are basically made up of one substance, which is pure awareness. What attracts us to God? It is his pure and unconditional love. It is his infinite happiness. In fact, God is nothing but this infinite love and happiness.

Rob P said...

Dear Salazar
No, my last post was directed at you, it was a reply relating to the 'Increase your fasting as much as possible' comment from Sanjay
Thanks, best wishes

Rob P said...

I meant 'wasn't', would be great if we could edit posts..

stay well everyone

Sanjay Lohia said...

No one who has fallen into the dark hole of arguments will see the sunlight, self-knowledge

Bhagavan teaches us in verse 524 of GVK:

The very nature of argument is to veil the truth. Since it is nothing but an art of illusion and imagination, it will delude and confuse the mind. Therefore, no one who has fallen into the dark hole of arguments will see the sunlight, self-knowledge.

My reflections: So Bhagavan clearly teaches us that unnecessary arguments will confuse the mind, and a confused find cannot experience the sunlight, which is true self-knowledge.

Therefore, we must not fall into the trap of unnecessary arguments with our fellow devotees. We should discuss Bhagavan’s teachings with others only if they are interested to discuss these with us. However, we should avoid all unnecessary arguments. Our primary aim to discuss Bhagavan’s teachings with others should be to keep our own mind on the teachings. We do not know if others are benefitting with our views, but each time we discuss these teachings, we are surely deepening our own understanding. We are deepening our love for self-surrender and self-investigation every time we write a comment here or do similar discussions verbally.

Col said...

Something occured to me, the person who ramana seems to be in the view of others is not the true bhaghavan. He says he is not the body. My feeling is that acts of compassion though they happen and they are wonderful also only happen in the view of the jiva. If we are really honest with ourselves there befalls a feeling that all these actions though wonderful hides a stark truth that it is not the actions by the real bhaghavan but destiny just unfolding. Yes they were done at a certain relative level just as justice is done in the court. It is thus true for all the wonderful acts of love and care shown in the form of tears of sorrow shared with another too though.

The jiva must take this stark truth and also kill the guru perpetually and one must know sincerely speaking that actually ramana is only the pointer and therefore acts done in egos view as irrelevant. Maya is pure delusion and pure sorrow.

anadi-ananta said...

as jacques franck quite rightly emphasizes,
"Since I was born the world is a thought but I have to deal with....".
Because this is certainly an important aspect of truth too, we must learn to deal with the world in a correct manner.
Therefore we should feel inside what is the correct manner in every moment.
Isn't it so ?

Sanjay Lohia said...

Jacques, you wrote, ‘Fire is also a thought but I try not to put my hand in it....Since I was born the world is a thought but I have to deal with....’. Yes, but what is the best way to deal with this world? The best way to deal with this world is not to deal with it all – to ignore it completely. How to ignore the world? We can ignore the world most effectively by clinging to the thing or substance which is apart from the world, and this substance is ourself as we actually are (our atma-svarupa).

As long as we look at it, this world will always frighten us. An example of this is coronavirus. This virus and all its effects seem to be real because we are trying to deal with this world. So now we will deal with this corona in a different way. Now we will deal with it by ignoring it. Once we know the precautions we have to take to keep us safe, why should we be obsessed with this? Why should we unceasingly think or listen or read about this virus or even talk about this? All this may last for a long time, so we would be wise if we focus on other more positive things. Why not listen to Michael’s videos or write comments on this blog or play some games with our children or chat with our near and dear ones?

Why not just ignore everything and get lost in svarupa-dhyana? What can be the better way to destroy this corona and all other viruses and diseases? If we can dismantle our ego, we destroy the very root of all our diseases. What is the root of all our diseases? It is our body. So no ego -> no body -> no corona or any other problem.

You also write, ‘And also the words of Bhagavan are also only thoughts but the question who is the thinker Sanjay or Jacques franck...’. Yes, the words of Bhagavan are also thoughts or ideas, but these thoughts or ideas are pointers which help us get out of the realm of all our thoughts forever. So Bhagavan’s teachings are the best kind of thoughts or ideas we can ever come across. Who is the thinker of the thoughts? It is neither Sanjay nor Jacques. The thinker is only the one ego who thinks all the thoughts? Who is this one ego? The one ego is the one who is thinking all these thoughts or who is perceiving everything? So neither Sanjay nor Jacques can think anything because these are the names of persons, and persons are themselves mere thoughts.

Who am I, the thinker of all thoughts? We need to find this out by self-investigation. So our primary and only real task is to fight and destroy this thinker by ignoring everything else.

Sanjay Lohia said...

We have forgotten our true nature, and that is the cause of all misery

Bhagavan teaches us in verse 407 of GVK:

If the son of God, the jiva who has forgotten his real nature [i.e. self], eagerly enquires within, ‘Who am I that is lamenting over the miseries of life?’, he will realise his greatness, namely that he is truly one with his father – self.

Sri Sadhu Om: This verse was given according to the doctrines of Christianity.

My reflection: We seem to be miserable and seem to be lacking this or that because we have forgotten our real nature, our atma-svarupa. If we investigate ‘Who am I that is lamenting over the miseries of life?’, we will surely realise our greatness, as Muruganar tells us through this verse. We are one with God, so how can we ever be miserable? How can we ever lack anything? We are fullness itself. Bhagavan calls this fullness purna, which means complete in itself. Bhagavan describes our true nature in verse 28 of Upadesa Undiyar:

If one knows what the nature of oneself is, then [what will exist and shine is only] anādi [beginningless], ananta [endless, limitless or infinite] and akhaṇḍa [unbroken, undivided or unfragmented] sat-cit-ānanda [being-awareness-bliss].

Do we need anything more? The following saying by Bhagavan appears on the back cover of the latest Sri Ramanasramam diary:

The cause of your misery is not in the life without; it is in you as ego. All unhappiness is due to the ego; with it comes all your trouble. If you could deny the ego and scorch it by ignoring it, you would be free. If you accept it, it will impose limitations on you and throw you into a vain struggle to transcend them.

So coronavirus is not the cause of our misery. The cause of our misery is we ourself – by ‘we’ I mean ourself as ego. So if we want to deny and destroy ego, we need to ignore it. How do we ignore it? We do so by attending it so keenly that it loses its separate existence and thereby becomes one with atma-svarupa. This is the direct path to freedom.

Col said...

It's good to have you back posting. How are things for you and how is your practice?

Asun said...

We are reminding ourselves the same in different ways. “Holding onto Bhagavan” means self-attention and “like a child holds his mother´s hand”, self-surrender: practice.

We can understand intellectually, for instance, that what Michael shared in his previous article “ Though we appear in two distinct modes, we are just one awareness”, means the eradication of self-forgetfulness or, at least, "the severance of the knot of identification with the body", our only seemingly true disease, but without the clarity provided by the practice it means nothing to us, actually. This clarity which is in itself pure bliss, is non-transferable so, practice is necessary. It also leads “to learn to deal with the world in a correct manner”, since we are trying to overcome tendencies which belong to mind and give rise to thoughts and actions, by abiding in ourself for the love of ourself for ourself as far as possible. In my view, at least.

anadi-ananta said...

abiding in ourself must be trained. For four weeks while sitting in Arunachala's nature every afternoon I did it by trying leaving aside all adjuncts. First three weeks I was quite happy because my long period of vain attempts seemed to have ended. However, in the last few days of the fourth week there was some decrease.
But in any case my confidence having choosed the right path has taken some refreshment.

Sanjay Lohia said...

Because death seems far away, we get caught up in the allurement of this world - part one

Bhagavan’s note to his mother that he wrote 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.

What Bhagavan wrote for his mother is of tremendous support, because as long as we believe we can change anything, our mind will be going outwards. We need to clearly understand that nothing is in our hands. We are free to want to change things and to try to change things, but we are not free to change anything. So all our wanting to change and trying to change is useless. It’s just creating fresh karmas and more fruits for us to experience.

So being concerned about anything other than ourself is useless. So the situation - pandemic - Bhagavan has put us now is a very good reminder. We all know we are going to die one day, but we like to think that death is far ahead. We may think – ‘I will die when I am in my 80s or 90s. I will not die now as I am too young at present’. We will probably continue feeling this way until we are in our 80s or 90s. Death is something which seems far away. There is a reason for that.

Bhagavan said even in a battlefield when a soldier sees its comrades dying around him he still feels ‘I am going to live at least a little longer’. Why? It is because the thought of our own death is never entirely real to us. We know that this body is going to die, but we also know that we are something more than just this body. We are perfectly happy in sleep when we are not aware of the body, but we are aware of our existence at that time. So in deep down, we have a sense that we are something more than a body.

What we are is immortal. The sense of immortality is in all of us. So death always seems far away, and because death seems far away, we get got caught up in the allurement of this world.

• Based on the video: 2020-03-14 Coronavirus and the note that Bhagavan wrote for his mother in December 1898 (13:00)

Sanjay Lohia said...

Because death seems far away, we get caught up in the allurement of this world - part two

We are always thinking that happiness is just around the corner - things will soon be better. So we live life as if we are going to live forever. We make plans for our lives as if we are going to live forever, but can we really live forever? When something like this happens, this brings an immediacy of death. I mean, in this situation any of us can get sick and any one of us may die. None of us is immune to this. Even if there was no pandemic, the truth is our life is never guaranteed. Next moment we walk out into the road and we are hit by the bus, and the story is over. But in our mind, we put death away.

So sometimes Bhagavan gives us these reminders of how fragile our existence in this body is. How insubstantial our existence in this body is. So such reminders are a great help on the spiritual path.

Why we don’t let go of everything? It is because we think we have more time ahead. We don’t want to leave our friends, relatives, possessions and our identity as ‘I am so and so. I have lived such and such a life. I have got such and such a story’. So we identify with so many things. We are just not ready to let go of all these things. We happily give up everything when we fall asleep, but we fall asleep knowing fully well that we will get up the next morning. Death somehow seems scary for most of us because it is a sleep from which we are not going to wake up. So it seems, so long as we take this body to be ‘I’.

So this virus (and all the trouble it seems to be causing us) is a very worrying situation for most of the people, but we can turn it to our advantage on the spiritual path.

• Based on the video: 2020-03-14 Coronavirus and the note that Bhagavan wrote for his mother in December 1898 (13:00)

My reflection: From today, we are closing down our business indefinitely. We hope to restart it when the situation normalises. But who knows we may never be able to restart it. However, I am relaxed and not worried. We need to be safe in these times. We have asked our employees to go back to their home. Bhagavan seems to be writing a new chapter in our life, so we need to wait and watch his plans.

Michael says, ‘So this virus (and all the trouble it seems to be causing us) is a very worrying situation for most of the people, but we can turn it to our advantage on the spiritual path’. I feel, by closing down our business (even though temporarily) we will come to realise that we do not really need this business to survive, so our attachments will grow weaker. Also, probably I will have more time to devote to my sadhana.

So Bhagavan definitely has some wonderful plans ahead. Does he plan to destroy my ego in the near future? Is this all a precursor to my final aahuti (sacrifice), my final surrender in the fire of jnana? Who knows?

Asun said...

Glad to hear that, anadi-ananta. Have you been in Tiruvannamalai recently?

According to Bhagavan, intellectual understanding (reading and reflecting on his teachings) is necessary for strengthening our conviction (that what he taught us is the truth). And according to Shadu Om, reading, reflecting and practicing self-inquiry can become one and the same thing.

You also wrote: “abiding in ourself must be trained”. Yes, that´s the practice and the reason why it is called practice.

Regarding to the apparent “decrease”, Bhagavan says in GVK 944:

“Whatever thoughts may come, their nature is such
that they cannot exist without the indispensable Self;
therefore, not succumbing to inattentiveness
[pramada] such as [will make one feel], “Alas, the
state of Self [Self-abidance or Self-attention] has been
lost on the way”, is also that [i.e. is also the sign of

(granthi-bheda meaning “the severance of the knot of identification with the body”)

We may not notice it at first (the progressive severance of the knot), though, but having the conviction of the impossibility of being “without the indispensable Self” and, therefore, turning towards and surrendering to it, will act on us, inevitably, in that way. We just have to be ready to accept it.

Take care :)

Michael James said...

A friend wrote to me recently asking, “Michael, isn’t it cruel to have the freedom to want and to try to change anything, but not actually be able to change anything? How to understand this ‘cruelty’ and make peace with it?”, in reply to which I wrote:

We are free not only to want anything, but also to want nothing. If we want anything, we are thereby being cruel to ourself, but if we want nothing, we are thereby being kind to ourself.

If we want to be truly happy, we who have wants have the responsibility to give up wanting. If we do not do so, we have no one to blame but ourself.


In reply to this he wrote, “I didn’t mean to point fingers, but just to understand the experience... I guess you are right, we are indeed given the freedom to remove this cruelty, but those wants are just so bloody tempting.. :)”, to which I replied:

Indeed, but our task is to gradually wean ourself off all our wants by patient and persistent practice of self-investigation and self-surrender.

anadi-ananta said...

thanks for your reply,
yes, the slopes of Arunachala/Annamalai Hill recently were my place of refuge for the period of thirty days. What I described as "decrease" of my ability to surrender to self happened actually in the last days of my stay, so in those moments I could not open up to self despite of my intense longing for it. Thank God I somehow could live on the much easier access to myself in the previous weeks. In no way that moments of inattentiveness did plunge me back in the bottomless abyss of disappointment as it occured in former times.

Michael James said...

Another friend wrote to me recently: “Presently I have been listening to your videos on Nan Yar from 2017 to 2019 (month wise talks) and various other ones. I would like to seek your help in throwing more light on ‘vritti jnana’ which you have been telling also in your talks and also I read in ‘Talks with Bhagavan’ and Kaivalya Navaneedham. Have you talked in-depth on this in any of your videos or written?”

In reply to this I wrote:

In this context jñāna means ātma-jñāna (self-awareness), which is our real nature and the one fundamental reality, like the screen on which a cinema picture appears. However, though we are always self-aware, we generally overlook our fundamental self-awareness because we are more interested in other things, just as we overlook the screen because we are more interested in watching the movie appearing on it. Therefore we are usually negligently self-aware, and this negligence is what is called pramāda.

In order to overcome this self-negligence, we need to be attentively self-aware, and attentive self-awareness is what is called vṛtti-jñāna. Since it shines eternally, self-awareness does not eradicate ego, but attentive self-awareness will eradicate it. This is why it is said in Kaivalya Navanītam something to the effect that jñāna is not inimical to ajñāna, so only vṛtti-jñāna can destroy ajñāna.

For more detailed explanations that I have given about vṛtti-jñāna, please see these search results.

Anonymous said...

Sanjay Lohia said...

If we want to be truly happy, we who have wants have the responsibility to give up wanting

Michael wrote in one of his recent comments:

We are free not only to want anything, but also to want nothing. If we want anything, we are thereby being cruel to ourself, but if we want nothing, we are thereby being kind to ourself.

If we want to be truly happy, we who have wants have the responsibility to give up wanting. If we do not do so, we have no one to blame but ourself.

[So] our task is to gradually wean ourself off all our wants by patient and persistent practice of self-investigation and self-surrender.

My reflection: So we should be kind on ourself by wanting nothing. Is it possible not to want anything? It is definitely possible. We have the example of Bhagavan Ramana in this regard. When Venkataraman experienced himself as pure awareness, all his wants, desires, attachments, fears and so on disappeared forever.

How could he leave his home forever with just a few rupees in his pocket? It was because he didn’t fear this world anymore. Why didn’t he fear this world anymore? It is because he saw the reality of this world. In Bhagavan’s view, there is no world but what exists is only pure self-awareness. What did Bhagavan (as the young Venkataraman) do when he reached the Tiruvannamalai temple for the first time? He threw whatever little money was left with him in the water tank there. So Bhagavan was free of all wants, fears, desires and attachments.

Can we become like Bhagavan? But we are already Bhagavan in our true nature. So basically we (as atma-svarupa) are free of all wants, desires, fears, attachments and so on. However, as ego, as this person Sanjay, I seem to be having all these wants, desires, attachments and so on. So I try to hoard because I am fearful of the uncertain tomorrow. I fear the effects of the spread of this pandemic because I feel this will make my life uncomfortable. So as long as I experience myself as Sanjay, I will always be surrounded by problems.

However, am I Sanjay? If I am not, then who am I? Sanjay has to simply vanish before all my desires, wants, fears, likes and dislikes vanish forever. For this, I have to tackle this ego, which is the root of Sanjay. If this ego goes, Sanjay and all his problems will vanish with ego.

anadi-ananta said...

Sanjay ,
"He threw whatever little money was left with him in the water tank there."
According B.V. Narasimha Swami's book "Self-realization" (The Life and Teachings of Bhagavan Sri Ramana Maharshi, first edition 1931) the "water tank there" was the Ayyankulam Tank, which is situated some hundred meters away eastern of the Arunachaleswara Temple, which you call "Tiruvannamalai temple".

anadi-ananta said...

"For this, I have to tackle this ego, which is the root of Sanjay. If this ego goes, Sanjay and all his problems will vanish with ego."
Tackling ego is imperative for us because we obviously cannot root out ego here and now deliberately by mere willpower and strength of mind.

Sanjay Lohia said...

The nature of manifestation is that problems are endless, but all problems begin with ego, and if ego comes to an end, all problems come to an end

If we understand Bhagavan’s teachings, it is such a burden off our mind. Bhagavan gives us the analogy of carrying the burden on our head. We maybe not be able to completely give up our burden, but at least 90% we are relieved of our burden just by understanding and accepting what Bhagavan taught us.

This is still work in progress, but Bhagavan’s teachings relieve us of so much burden. Bhagavan’s teachings make surrender so much easier and the more we surrender, the easier life becomes because the less anything will trouble us. Why we are troubled by things? It is because of our desires and attachments, our likes and dislikes, our hopes and fears – these are what trouble us. If we have no desires, no fears, nothing can touch us at all.

So Bhagavan’s teachings relieve us of so much of a burden. Still there is work to be done, but just understanding Bhagavan’s teachings, accepting Bhagavan’s teachings is such a great burden off our head. Because we take this body to be ‘I’ we desire to live in this body, and everything that threatens this body creates fear in us. So the root cause of everything is ego. Get rid of ego and you get rid of everything.

Bhagavan’s teachings not only relieve us of so much suffering, but they also make things so simple. The problems of the world are always complicated, and we do not have simple solutions to the problems. The nature of manifestation is that problems are endless, but all problems begin with ego, and if ego comes to an end, all problems come to an end. So accept the root problem, and the solution is very simple.

The root problem is ego. The solution: look at yourself and ego will disappear. So so simple!

• Based on the video: 2020-03-14 Ramana Maharshi Foundation UK: discussion with Michael James on Ēkāṉma Pañcakam verse 4 (1:35)

Michael James said...

A new friend wrote to me today:


I have recently come across your videos on Youtube and I have really resonated with your expression of Ramana Maharshi’s teachings. There is one particular idea that my mind is protesting and I was wondering if I could clarify it with you.

This relates to a question in one of your Satsangs where someone asked ‘Why does the ego exist?’ and you explained why this was an invalid question citing the analogy of the ‘barren woman’. Whilst I am able to understand that there is no real ego and hence the question is invalid, there does appear to be an illusion of an ego. However in the case of the barren woman, there is no real son nor is there an illusory son. My mind is therefore having some trouble accepting this analogy and I find myself rephrasing the question asking ‘Why does the illusion of the ego exist?’.

I would appreciate any insight you have with regards to this issue.


In reply to this I wrote:

Yes, ego does seem to exist, but in whose view? Not in the clear view of ourself as we actually are, which is pure and immutable awareness, but only in the deluded view of ourself as ego. An illusion that seems to exist only in its own view is no more real than the son of a barren woman.

That is, if we as ego investigate ourself keenly enough to see what we actually are, we will see that we are always just pure awareness and were never anything other than that, so there never was any such thing as ego. Therefore according to Bhagavan ego is as non-existent as the son of a barren woman.

We seem to be ego only when we look at (attend to) anything other than ourself, but if we look at ourself so keenly that we cease of be aware of anything else, we will see that there is no ego at all, and there never was.

As ego we cannot comprehend this adequately, but if we investigate ourself keenly enough all will become clear, or rather will be seen to have been always clear, because nothing other than the perfect clarity of pure awareness ever actually exists.

Sanjay Lohia said...

If you protect dharma, you will transcend dharma because dharma will protect you in turn

You jolly well follow dharma. Only then you can transcend dharma. So if you protect dharma, you will transcend dharma because dharma will protect you in turn. Dharmo Rakshiti Rakshitah!

In Bhaja Govindam, Shankara says, ‘First find out your wife. Who is that?’ Ok, we are ladies, so we will reverse it. We will say, ‘Who is your husband?’ Bhaja Govindam continues, ‘Who is your son?’ It further says, ‘Isn’t this universe so funny, so strange (vichitra)? Who is your husband? Who is your wife? Who is your brother? Why do you say so and so is mine? It is because that is the zone of maya’.

So the zone of maya allows us to assume us to be that what we are not. It allows us to assume what is not the truth as the truth. And in the next point, it starts projecting further and further falsehoods. That is why Vyasa says, ‘We have gone through so many births, and we would have had thousands of happy moments, and we have had many points of fear’.

We would have had so many mothers, and we would have had so many fathers. We would have had so many husbands or spouses or whatever it is. We would have had so many children through 84 lacs births. Are we associated with everybody and anything? No, we are not. So how false this whole thing is. It’s a series of cinemas. We have had many sequels – Ambika one, two, three, four, five, six . . . We have been going this way. Ambika would have been somebody different then. Imagine we have been doing this again and again and again and again and again.

Then what is the method of getting over it? Do you want to come back here and have one more body-mind system and have one more set of family and relatives, one more point of happiness, one more set of points of fear?

• Edited extract from the video: Bhagavad Gita Episode 19 (RASA WEB CHANNEL) by Ambika Kameshwar

My reflection: How do we get over this series of drama? We can do so only by knowing and experiencing what we actually are. In other words, only self-investigation will enable us to get over this series of drama.

Sanjay Lohia said...

Anadi-ananta, as you say, 'According B.V. Narasimha Swami's book "Self-realization" (The Life and Teachings of Bhagavan Sri Ramana Maharshi, first edition 1931) the "water tank there" was the Ayyankulam Tank, which is situated some hundred meters away eastern of the Arunachaleswara Temple, which you call "Tiruvannamalai temple"'.

I thank you for this clarification. So what I wrote was not correct in this regard.

Sanjay Lohia said...

Anadi-ananta, you say, ‘Tackling ego is imperative for us because we obviously cannot root out ego here and now deliberately by mere willpower and strength of mind’. Yes, we cannot root of ego merely by our willpower and strength of mind. However, do we have any other power at our command except our own will power and strength of mind? We only have our will power at our command, and we need to direct it in the right direction. What is the right direction? It is inwards; it is self-wards. We need to focus all our love to know ourself by ignoring everything else.

Of course, we will not succeed if we do not recognise a much greater power, which is the power of grace. The power of grace is the power of love – the love that our real self has for itself. So eventually we need to yield to this supreme power of grace - yield more and more, more and more, and more and more. We need to grind this ego more and more, more and more, and more and more. This process has to continue until we as ego become completely non-existent.

Since at present (due to this pandemic), most of us are relatively free from our worldly duties, we should therefore wisely use this free time. Bhagavan has given us a golden opportunity to destroy our ego before we become complacent again. That is, this coronavirus has made our live topsy-turvy. This has given a big blow to our huge egos. So this is the time to push it even further into full and final submission. Are you with me on this?

Karen Taylor said...

Yes! Let us "attend to the work for which we came."
Sincere gratitude for all sharing here that has taken me back to the Truth of our egolessness. Namaste'.

anadi-ananta said...

when you say "So this is the time to push it even further into full and final submission. Are you with me on this?", I only might reply:Let us see...The light of pure self-awareness is never absent in our heart.

Sanjay Lohia said...

The story of Krishna and Balram

Received a beautiful message:

Once, Krishna & Balram were walking through a dense forest. It was a scary forest. Suddenly a demon came before them. Balram was petrified seeing a demon and asked fearfully, ‘Who are you?’ The demon answered, ‘I am a demon the size of your fear’. Hearing this Balram was even more scared and the demon grew bigger. The bigger he grew the more scared Balram was. Seeing him grow Balram fainted. Then the demon turned his attention to Krishna. He said, ‘I am demon the size of your fear’. Krishna looked at him nonchalantly and started playing his flute. The demon grew smaller and smaller until he disappeared.

We live in scary times today and we need to let our faith win over fears we have in our mind. Let's make a conscious effort to have our faith in good things in life. Let's remember that faith conquers fear anytime and any day.

My reflections: What we see in front of us as COVID-19 is an enlargement of our own fear. It is like this demon in this story. So what should we do to combat this fear? The answer lies with Krishna. When the demon tried to frighten Krishna, what did Krishna do? ‘Krishna looked at him nonchalantly and started playing his flute. The demon grew smaller and smaller till he disappeared’.

So we should do likewise. That is, we should focus on things other than this virus. Many viruses have come and gone, many pandemics have come and gone, but this world is still intact. Why fear this virus? Our fear and anxiety will lower our immunity and make us weak - mentally and physically. So we should focus on more positive things. This virus has come according to our prarabdha and it will go when its time for departure comes. It has come to give us a message, and when the message is delivered, it will depart of its own accord.

According to me, yes, we do need to take all the precautions against this virus, like frequent and thorough washing of our hands and social distancing by remaining homebound. We also need to definitely work on our immunity, and for this, we have to eat healthily, do physical exercises, take sunbath (if possible, for a minimum 30 minutes daily). If we are strong from inside, nothing can touch us from outside. However, I believe the most important thing we have to do is to listen to the massage which corona is trying to convey to us. I believe this is a time for corrections in our life – corrections in the way we think and behave, corrections in the way we live our life, corrections in what we eat and so on.

Anyway, we need not fear this virus and become paranoid. We may catch this virus and even die if that is Bhagavan’s will, but we shouldn’t let fear and negativity enter our mind. If Bhagavan is the driver of the train we are travelling on, it is foolishness to fear anything. Our train may be passing through a thunderstorm, and we may see through its windows many trees being uprooted and many housed destroyed and such things, but since Bhagavan is driving this train, he will surely not stop before we reach our destination.

So COVID-19 is Bhagavan’s special love for us. This is surely creating havoc in most of our lives, but, I believe, we will thank this in the long run. One thing, it is surely teaching to surrender more and more. It is teaching us that nothing is in our hands and as always there is a power beyond our control which is making everything happen. So we should just silently be, as Bhagavan Ramana advises his mother in the note that he wrote for her.

anadi-ananta said...

you mean of course "listen to the message which corona is trying to convey to us". At present I would advise us against entering into a coronavirus-massage, it certainly would not be favourable for anyone.:-)

Asun said...

Maya is really cleaver in its duplicity hence, the apparent contradictions in what we are told by sages, regarding to the ultimate truth, in order we to attain the ultimate truth.

As reading GVK, I got to the verse 1147 with its corresponding comment by Shadu On sending the reader to verse 17 of Ulladu Narpadu, though it is in verse 18 where the whole thing is revealed.

Verse 17 states:

“To those who have not realized, the “I” is of the size of the body. To those who have, it is limitless. To those who have not realized the Self, as well as to those who have, the body is “I”. To the form the “I” is only the size of the body; whereas to those who have realized the Self within the body, the “I” shines without limits. This is the difference between the two. “

The jnani (the Self-realized) like everybody else, refers to the body as “I”. Whereas the others confine their “I” to the flesh and body and to its height and breadth, the jnani takes his “I” to be the life which pervades the body as well as the limitless space outside it. Realization is the direct and indubitable proof of this truth.

And in verse 18 it is revealed:

“To those who have not realized, the world is confined to the space it occupies. To those who have, it is the limitless substratum of the world.
To those who have realized the Self and to those who have not, the world is real. To the latter its reality is confined to the spatial measurements of the world, whereas to the former it is formless, and shines as the substratum of the world. This is the difference between the two.”


The space which the world occupies is the limit of its reality to the ignorant (ajnani), but to the jnani it is the limitless substratum of the world. Science tells us that space is not material, that is, it is not made of atoms and molecules, like the objects which occupy it, to be visible to the eye. The perception of space by the eye is the worst illusion men suffer. Space is a mental concept, i.e. it is a project by the mind to make the reality of the world plausible. If space is a concept, so should be the objects that occupy it, notwithstanding their atoms and molecules. All the universes and galaxies in the Cosmos are made of atoms and nothing else. But what are atoms after all but the indestructible absolute energy? The jnani experiences this energy as the pure intelligence that is himself. The absolute reality is thus absolute energy as well as absolute energy as well as absolute consciousness — Sat as well as Chit – omnipotent, omnipresent as well as omniscient, the world as well as the creator and seer of the world.

Asun said...

Clever, sorry.

Asun said...

Note to my last comment: Translation and commentary I´ve quoted of Ulladu Narpadu are by S.S. Cohen.

Michael James said...

Referring to a sentence in the fourth paragraph of Nāṉ Ār?, namely ‘மனதின் சொரூபத்தை விசாரித்துக்கொண்டே போனால் தானே மனமாய் முடியும்’ (maṉadiṉ sorūpattai vicārittu-k-koṇḍē pōṉāl tāṉē maṉamāy muḍiyum), ‘If one goes on investigating the nature of the mind, oneself alone will end as mind [that is, oneself alone will finally turn out to be what had previously seemed to be the mind]’, a friend wrote to me: ‘I understand that “oneself” is my real nature, what I really am, and my question: how is it possible that oneself end as mind? Because I understand “end as mind” by “finish” as mind… But if I investigate my mind, my mind will end as oneself? (my real nature) And you explain: [that is, oneself alone will finally turn out to be what had previously seemed to be the mind]. And for my own comprehension this sentence seems to be the opposite??? Because “oneself alone will finally turn out” opposite oneself alone end as mind…. Every time I read this passage my mind becomes puzzled… If you have some advice to comprehend this passage???’

In reply to this I wrote:

Regarding the sentence you ask about, I think I understand the implication more or less correctly, but I am somewhat puzzled by the wording, which is written in very simple Tamil but may have a deeper meaning than I am able to grasp. Both in the essay version and in the 30 Q&A version (which was the one that Bhagavan adapted to make the essay) the main clause of this sentence is ‘தானே மனமாய் முடியும்’ (tāṉē maṉamāy muḍiyum), which literally means ‘oneself alone will end as mind’ (in which the verb முடியும் (muḍiyum) has a range of different meanings), but in earlier versions (see my note 14 on page 40 of the June 1994 issue of The Mountain Path) this clause was written as ‘மனம் தானாக முடியும்’ (maṉam tāṉāha muḍiyum), which literally means ‘mind will end as oneself’, which to me seems clearer. Likewise in all but the first edition (1932) of the 28 Q&A version (that is, in all editions of it since 1936) this clause was written as ‘மனம் தானாய் முடியும்’ (maṉam tāṉāy muḍiyum), ‘mind will end as oneself’.

However, since in his essay version Bhagavan decided to retain this clause in the form ‘தானே மனமாய் முடியும்’ (tāṉē maṉamāy muḍiyum), ‘oneself alone will end as mind’, as in the 30 Q&A version, I interpret this to imply that oneself (one’s real nature) alone will finally turn out to be what had previously seemed to be the mind.

I am sorry I cannot be of any more help in explaining the curious wording of this clause.

Salazar said...

Asun, re. S.S. Cohen: He is not the best interpreter of Bhagavan's teaching, in fact some of his statements appear to be confused, especially re. the "Heart", its supposedly location etc.

There is an interesting article by Michael titled "What is meditation on the heart?" which was posted on Saturday, 29 August 2015. That article sheds some light on the confusion of Cohen.

anadi-ananta said...

you say "Maya is really cleaver...",
what do you mean by the word "cleaver" ?

Asun said...

Thanks, Salazar, I had a look at this article and I also find that what S.S. Cohen says is very confusing, though I don´t discard there may be some truth in what he is rather not saying than in what he says. It was my own experience, many years ago, that a flow of, let´s call it “energy”, surged from this point of the body along with the immediate, spontaneous wordless conviction “I am this”. It lasted only a split second and I didn´t go further so, it always remained as one of those funny things that happens one can´t explain, but I´d say that this flow wasn´t different from the power or “current-force” that Bhagavan says the body becomes when one feels “one with the One that exist”. I think it is felt, at first, rather as surging from a point in the body than the very body becoming that, in some cases, because of the strong identification with the body along with the belief that “ this body is mine”. I agree with what he says that “it exacts the greatest alertness and the most concentrated attention” and no doubt that “it is a direct assault on, rather direct contact with, the very source itself” though I didn´t know it by then, yet, it never would occur to me to focus attention on that point in the body, there is nothing in there, actually, but only to focus attention on self-awareness or “I am” where is the true import, the other is the result of this self-attention or, more precisely, the response of the love of ourself to our love for ourself . If S.S. Cohen found the way or was enabled to directly access this, I don´t know. Bhagavan went much further, anyway.

Thing is that, ultimately, everything, including body though not as it appears to be, is consciousness. Hence, what it is said in the beautiful explanation of the analogy about the dove and the hunter in GVK at the end of verse 1147:

“since after Self-realization nothing (neither the body nor the world) can exist as other than the single unbroken Self-consciousness, even the limited knowledge ‘the body is not I’, which existed during the period of sadhana, will be removed, and the unlimited knowledge ‘the body is also I’ will be attained.”

Or, as Bhagavan puts it:

“If the dove caught in the hand of the hunter is let free,
it will fly away even from the forest [in which it was
caught], [will it not?]” If you ask thus, [the reply is that]
when the hunter, turning back home, goes away [from
the forest leaving the dove]), it [the dove] will remain
[in the forest], since even that forest, which was
[previously considered by it to be] alien, will be [found
to be its] home.”

Karen Taylor said...

Sincere gratitude, Sonjay,for sharing that profound story and reflection! It brought such inward peace. Blessings to you, and this wondrous community!

Sanjay Lohia said...

Karen, I am glad you liked the story of Krishna and Balram which I shared yesterday. I am glad that ‘It brought such inward peace’ to you. In these circumstances, only Krishna and Bhagavan or other such incarnations can show us the way out of the terrible situation we find ourself in.

What happens when the demon turns his attention to Krishna and says, ‘I am demon the size of your fear’. Krishna looks at him nonchalantly and starts playing his flute. The demon grows smaller and smaller until he disappears. How can we start playing our own flute? We can do so by investigating, ‘Who is experiencing this?’ Whatever we may experience in this outside world, we should ignore those things by investigating the one who is experiencing those things?

So who is experiencing this coronavirus and all its effects? I am. Who am I? So in our context, this is how we should play our flute nonchalantly. At present, we seem to be giving much more attention to this demon which has appeared in front of us in the form of this virus. We need to relax by playing our flute more and more.

anadi-ananta said...

regarding the story of Krishna and Balram,
it is plainly a story presumably told in order to teach Balram (and us as well all readers of the story) fearlessness.
For why should Krishna as the embodiment of pure awareness perceive (or be aware of) the demon as any other than pure awareness ?

Sanjay Lohia said...

Anadi-ananta, yes, the story of Krishna and Balaram was told to us in order to teach us fearlessness. Even Bhagavan Ramana’s story is told to us in order to teach us fearlessness. Imagine a 16-year-old boy renouncing the comforts of his home and going to Tiruvannamalai and staying there for 54 years completely dependent on his father, Arunachala. Before leaving, he didn’t think about ‘What will I eat there? Where will I live? How will my mother, brother, relatives, friends think about my decision to quit home?’

So Bhagavan’s story teaches us complete fearlessness. It teaches us how we should live our life. If we want to experience God, if we want to destroy ego, we should be prepared to quit everything. In the path of self-surrender, we are fighting against our desires and attachments, but at times physical renunciation is a manifestation of the renunciation of our desires and attachments. In short, we should be prepared to renounce everything if we want to experience God or ourself as we actually are.

Sanjay Lohia said...

If we are on the path of subsidence, we naturally hide ourself from the world

If we are on the path of subsidence, we naturally hide ourself from the world. No, we don’t go and sit in a cave and hide ourself physically. What I mean is that we don’t make a show of being spiritual because being spiritual is an inward process. So we should act in this world just like anyone else. We should act in an appropriate manner and appear to be no different from anyone else.

So when we are called on by the health officials, by the WHO and others, to wash our hands frequently in order to protect our bodies and other bodies, why should we not do so? We should think about how Bhagavan would behave in a certain situation. If everyone was advised to wash their hands to prevent infection, Bhagavan wouldn’t say, ‘Oh no, I don’t have to do this’. He would just do just like everyone else. Bhagavan was the simplest of the simple, the humblest of the humble. So to the extent possible we should try to be humble, try to be simple. Everyone else is washing their hands, why should we not wash our hands? We don’t lose our spirituality by washing our hands.

What is acting in a dream is a body, speech and mind. These are no more real than the rest of the dream. They are all on the same level of reality or unreality. So let them act according to the seeming reality of the world.

• Based on the video: 2020-03-22 Yo Soy Tu Mismo: Michael James discusses the key role of our will (1:06)

My reflection: Yes, I agree with Michael’s views. We should hide ourself from the world. If we try to show off our spirituality, that means we are not following a genuine spiritual path. Bhagavan says we need to subside more and more and more.

Salazar said...

Asun, yes - without an I or me there is only consciousness.

Re. how Cohen is phrasing certain things, I am not resonating with that without implying that it is false. Where is truth or falsehood in silence?

anadi-ananta said...

Sometimes being self-attentive is sabotaged compulsively by attention to other things. At such moments I remain somehow inevitably in the 'I am the body' feeling and I am not able to surrender my awareness of adjuncts because I cannot focus my entire attention keenly on myself. That means that my real nature seems to be blocked, inaccessible and unapproachable and therefore I feel wretched and miserable. Then not even my tears seeping away in the cracks of Arunachala's granite boulder are of consolation to me.
Some questions arise: is separating myself as pure self-awareness from all phenomena including all the adjuncts that I mistake to be myself the same as separating all phenomena from myself or in other words: is isolating 'I am' from all adjuncts the same as isolating the adjuncts from 'I am' ? Is ignoring all my adjuncts the same as extracting myself as pure awareness from the 'I am the body' feeling ?
If not, what is more effective ?

Sanjay Lohia said...

Coronavirus is a terrifying nightmare which has appeared in our dream of self-forgetfulness to wake us up. So this virus is undoubtedly Bhagavan’s prasad. I know, most of us will not see this pandemic this way, but the more I think about it, the more I feel that we should embrace whatever difficulty this brings to us with open arms.

Coronavirus is Bhagavan's shock-treatment for mentally sick humanity. Bhagavan wants to make us well by giving us this shock treatment. So COVID-19 may seem to us to be a deadly disease which has come to destroy humanity, but actually, it has come to us to remove many of our existing lifestyle diseases. I am sure if we survive this ordeal, one day we will thank this coronavirus!

This virus and effects have already taught me many life lessons. I am sure, my life will never be the same again. It will make me a more moral and spiritual person.

Sanjay Lohia said...

Understanding the dynamics of health, and implementing them in life, allows one the freedom to walk freely knowing that disease cannot afflict them

I received the following message from my friend Eli Martyr (the FreeMelon Society). This is his reply to the story of Krishna and Balram and my thoughts on the current scenario which I had shared with him:

Great great message Sanjay.

Just a couple of my thoughts and additions. I know that it has become axiomatic in religious circles that faith overcomes fear, and that faith in (whichever deity) offers protection and succor and such. You already touched correctly on the fact that it is necessarily to observe proper diet, and lifestyle habits, so i don’t need to reiterate that. Just want to add a clear distinction between two things..

• Fear, is a mental state of anxiety or trepidation to an external condition which may or may not have any basis in reality. The future is unknown, and thus there is no assurance that the anxiety is warranted or not. Fear never helps to solve a problem…

• Danger, however, is real. And caution, is a logical and whole minded approach to that which is “dangerous”.

Faith alone may overcome fear, yes. But faith alone is not enough to overcome danger. KNOWLEDGE… brought on by personal effort and responsibility allows one to circumvent danger. One should only be comforted with the luxury of faith By first UNDERSTANDING that which is regarded as the potential threat. It is through wisdom brought on by personal effort and work that one can cultivate faith BASED on understanding. The doctrine of merely having faith without having to cultivate personal responsibility is one of the most ancient forms of Population Manipulation, and has done extensive damage to human development over the eons.

(** I know you didn’t suggest having such blind faith, I’m just re-iterating for the sake of repetition :) :) ***)

Having Faith in unshakable natural Laws of creation is wise. Having faith in god absent understanding, leads to ruin. In terms of the covid-19.. The Practices the government suggests for us such as Isolation for example, demonstrates that as a population we know very little of the nature of disease. For example.. If Driving a car is feared as something dangerous. A person has 2 choices.. a) Learn how to drive.. b) avoid driving forever, and thus lose the freedoms afforded by being able to safely drive.

Approach a) requires knowledge and understanding.. Approach b) is based in fear and avoidance. So back to covid.. Understanding the dynamics of health, and implementing them in life, allows one the freedom to walk freely knowing that disease cannot afflict them, regardless of how sullied the hands are, or how UN-isolated they roam. Now as for our CURRENT state of awareness… yes, those standard “prevention” protocols could come in handy, because 90% of the population is walking around in a state of near sickness 24/7 and thus susceptible to germs an such. But i just wanted to add further perspective on the great message you’ve already shared with us. Thank you for your service, and God bless!!


Asun said...

Anadi-ananta, attention to ourself is love and attention to other things is attachment. Depending on the situation or our own state, it is easier for us to focus on ourself or to focus on attachment in order to recognize it for what it is which facilitates, to a great extent, getting rid of that we are attached to. When we let go the thing we are attached to, attachment becomes love, or self-attentiveness, itself and that´s what we are left with.

Last night (seems we are going from shock to shock these days :)) my pet passed away and I felt great pain but then I realized that pain wasn´t for him but for myself because I will miss him very much, this is attachment. Attachment mixed, obviously, up with love so, I left him, the thing I was attached to, aside and stayed just with love. The result was really amazing: clarity along with freedom, peace and love pervading everything, including my pet and myself, and nothing. I must say that I could do it because I reminded some Bhagavan´s words I had read recently:

“To reject the bad, you must love the good. In due course that good also will appear to be an obstacle and will be rejected. Hence, you must necessarily first love what is good. That means you must first love and then reject the thing you love. If you thus reject everything, what remains is self alone. That is real love. One who knows the secret of that love finds the world itself full of universal love.“

It is not sentimentalism nor emotional stuff, quite the opposite, it is pure wisdom we can apply in our traineeship in the art of being. We have Bhagavan´s teachings and instructions but it is us who have to apply them, nobody will do it for us. And the basis of Bhagavan´s teachings is that forms and names, everything we see and perceive, are not real. Only awareness is. It is a matter of seeing it for ourselves. Don´t know if this will help :)

Sanjay Lohia said...

I am off to destroy this virus: that is, I am off to my secluded spot to practise atma-vichara!

Bhagavan teaches us in verse 10 of Ulladu Narpadu:

Without ignorance [of other things], knowledge [of them] does not exist; without knowledge [of them], that ignorance [of them] does not exist. Only the knowledge [or awareness] that knows [the reality of] oneself [ego], who is the first [to appear], [by investigating] to whom are that knowledge and ignorance [of other things], is [real] knowledge [or awareness].

Knowledge and ignorance of other things appear and disappear, and such knowledge and ignorance are dependent on each other. When we come to know something, we also come to know that previously we were ignorant of it. According to Bhagavan, nothing exists independent of our awareness of it.

So things seem to exist only when we are aware of them. For example, we see a dream. While dreaming the dream world seems to exist independent of our perception of it. But when we wake up, we realise that it didn’t exist except when we were aware of it. According to Bhagavan, our present state is just a dream. So whatever we see or experience in this dream only exists only because we are aware of it.

What Bhagavan is saying in verse is that knowledge and ignorance about other things are not real. Now we feel we have so much knowledge about so many things, but this isn’t real knowledge, according to Bhagavan. It is because all these other things that we know do not exist independent of our knowledge of them. Nothing other than ourself actually exists, so whatever else we know is a mere appearance.

If we see a rope and mistake it to be a snake, our knowledge about that snake is actually ignorance because there is no snake there. It is only a rope. So knowing anything other than ourself is not knowledge but ignorance, according to Bhagavan. Who knows things other than ourself? It is only as ego that we know other things.

Bhagavan says, ‘Only the knowledge [or awareness] that knows [the reality of] oneself [ego], who is the first [to appear], [by investigating] to whom are that knowledge and ignorance [of other things], is [real] knowledge [or awareness]’.

So this way we have to turn our attention back towards ourself to see what we actually are.
If we attend to ourself keenly enough, we will see that we are not this ego. We are pure awareness.

Based on the video: 2020-03-22 Yo Soy Tu Mismo: Michael James discusses the key role of our will (1:19)

My reflection: So this coronavirus exists only because we are aware of it. We can destroy this virus here and now by ignoring it completely and by being aware of ourself alone. So self-investigation is the only weapon which can destroy this virus and all the fear and panic associated with this virus. We will destroy this virus when we experience ourself as pure awareness.

In the state of pure awareness, we will clearly know the world that we previously experienced was a dream, and we will also know that within that dream there was this terrible nightmare called coronavirus. So our prime task now is not to fight this virus but is to wake up from our dream in which we experience a virus-infected world.

So I am off to destroy this virus: that is, I am off to my secluded spot to practise atma-vichara! Let us all practise atma-vichara as much as possible. There is no better way to fight negativity if nothing else.

Salazar said...

There are reports where people in Spain (and elsewhere) are not allowed to use their own backyard even if they take turns. When two kids were seen playing soccer (football) the police was called. People are putting up posters with “Quédate en casa” (stay at home).

I find this all quite disturbing, way overboard and most puzzling for me is that people just put up with how governments are heavily restricting personal freedoms with the buzzword to "keep you save". Quite disturbing also the high numbers of willing state collaborators who gleefully report their neighbors for any perceived misconducts.

People must be scared senseless that they willingly accept these temporary (?) dictatorships. It reminds me a lot of the time between 1933 and 1945 in Germany and the time between 1917 to 1989 in Russia (former USSR). Many people got reported by their neighbors as it is the case now in Spain and other countries.

Frankly, these things and the overblown actions by the governments of the world concern me (the mind :-) far more than this ridiculous Wuhan virus.

Bhagavan sure knows my hidden vasanas and reminds me to let these crazy things unfold as they will and must.

Sanjay Lohia said...

We need to isolate ourself

As we know the general advice now is to keep ourself in isolation, to maintain social distancing. Likewise, in the spiritual path taught to us by Bhagavan, we need to isolate ourself from everything else. Our problems exist because we are connected to so many things. We are in the midst of all our desires, attachments, fear, likes, dislikes and so on. If we can surrender our will to the will of Bhagavan, and if we can subside back fully in Bhagavan, we will be in total isolation. If we are able to do so, nothing external can touch us.

I think the word they use in sastras for isolation is kaivalya, which means solitude, detachment or isolation. Eventually, our goal is to remain in and as pure self-awareness. Until then, we are not safe from these viruses and other non-ending problems.

Sanjay Lohia said...

Nobody has emphasized the missing link as clearly as Bhagavan - this missing link is ego

What is maya? It is an illusory appearance. You can’t have an illusion without something which has this illusion. But what sees the illusion is not pure awareness but ego. This is the missing link in why a lot of traditional advaita runs into philosophical problems. Nobody has emphasized the missing link as clearly as Bhagavan. The missing link is ego.

It is only in the view of ego that all this seems to exist. So it is only in the view of maya that all the products of maya seem to exist.

This ego is the obstacle. We are both the obstacle and the only solution. By holding on to other things, we are the obstacle. By holding on to ourself, we are the solution because we alone exist. All this seems to exist, but they don’t actually exist.

• Based on the video: 2020-03-14 Ramana Maharshi Foundation UK: discussion with Michael James on Ēkāṉma Pañcakam verse 4 (1:21)

Asun said...

Salazar, the whole thing is quite disturbing. Two weeks ago, I went for a walk in the park near home with my dog (this is allowed) and I took the opportunity for jogging a bit. There was nobody else at that moment in the park but then the police appeared and they asked me to go home just because I was running. On the other hand, I have friends and relatives working at hospitals and I first hand know that many people is getting sick and dying because of this “ridiculous Wuhan virus”, as you call it, people for whom my relatives and friends are putting their own lives at risk to attend them the best they can. If the only way to avoid expanding this virus is staying at home, each one of us has that responsibility. Now, go and make a whole country to stay at home without using intimidation. It is impossible because we are as we are and so long as something doesn´t personally affect us, it just doesn´t exist, and others, we simply don´t care. Obviously, I asked ironically the police if running was forbidden now and they told me that they themselves, and everybody else, would love to be running in the park but that, by now, we can´t. I could understand it, conspiracy theories apart. No doubt that these situations take out the best and worst of us and that there is always people, also in government, who try to use them in their own interest. All of us are fully aware of it, thank you :)

anadi-ananta said...

thanks for your comment. Hope your pet having left you in the night of 25 th to 26 th March was not your dog (running with you in the park two weeks ago). Your behaviour ("stayed just with love"- thus freed from any attachment) was and is really proper.
Regarding "rejecting everything" I would say you must make a crucial exception namely to be what we really are,("remaing as self alone").
As you state in accord with Bhagavan, only pure awareness is. Therefore nothing - even "everything we see and perceive" - is ever on the outside.
By the way, according the way things stand the virus is not flying in the air. So plainly walking or running in the park cannot be infectious. The order given by the police not to run in the park at all shall generally prevent crowds, but rather reminds somehow about the times with general Franco.:-)

anadi-ananta said...

"People must be scared senseless that they willingly accept these temporary (?) dictatorships." I agree, we have already a kind of these dictatorships. I hope that will be only temporary and will vanish soon.:-)

Salazar said...

anadi-ananta, the problem is that governments implement new rules and laws to combat a seemingly bad situation and they take more power and never go back to as it was before.

After the tragic events of 9-11-2001 the US released the so-called "Patriot Act" which empowers the FBI to hold anybody, including citizens, who are suspected (but not proven) to be terrorists, indefinitely and without charge nor legal representation. That is a gross violation of the right of representation and that is still valid, even after almost 20 years of basic non-terrorist action on US soil.

So basically the FBI just have to pick one person, say "we suspect that is a terrorist" and they can hold him for the rest of his live and that person has no rights whatsoever.

Now they are talking about dropping habeas corpus in light of the spreading "virus". So enlarging the "Patriot Act" to include anybody who is not complying with virus-restrictions and possible mandatory vaccinations.

That is quite a bad dream, I say :-)

Luckily we have the tools to wake up from that dream.

Asun said...

Yes anadi-ananta, it was him with me in the park.

I´ve heard the analogy of gold and jewels many times but as if hearing the rain falling down, it is now when I´m starting to understand what is meant by the substratum as being the only reality, and forms and names unreal. It´s really freeing, no dictatorship can touch that.

Sure, that´s the aim, to prevent crowds but I understand that people is not staying at home for me to enjoy the park on my own so, no exceptions can be made, but I found it completely absurd at that moment. Individualism is strongly rooted in us. Just another mirage, though :)

Salazar said...

For anybody who is interested, here is a great article about the "virus", it is by John P.A. Ioannidis who is professor of medicine and professor of epidemiology and population health, as well as professor by courtesy of biomedical data science at Stanford University School of Medicine, professor by courtesy of statistics at Stanford University School of Humanities and Sciences, and co-director of the Meta-Research Innovation Center at Stanford (METRICS) at Stanford University.

Here is the link:

Salazar said...

Since it is important to get expert and unbiased advice, here is the link to a recent YouTube video by Dr. John Ioannidis, same guy as in my comment above. A far cry from the fearmongers at the CDC, NIH and WHO:

Aham said...


The supreme mantra repeats within YOU,



Sanjay Lohia said...

Ultimately, those of us who are going to live are going to live, and those of us who are going to die are going to die

Ultimately, those of us who are going to live are going to live, and those of us who are going to die are going to die. We cannot die before our time, and we cannot postpone death. So that is already decided. So from the spiritual point of view, we need to be looking within. We may be feeling fear of death. Who is feeling this fear? That’s what we need to investigate. That’s the most important thing.

But also why do we feel fear of death? It is because this body seems to be ‘I’. So long as we seem to be this body, we naturally fear the death of the body. Because the body seems to be ‘I’, I have so much desire for and attachment to it. I don’t want to let it go, so I don’t want to die. So when the prospect of death seems very imminent like now, this is a very good opportunity to go deep in our practice.

So from the point of view of Bhagavan’s teachings, we know everything in our life is already predetermined. How long we should live? When we should die? How we should die? It is already decided. So inwardly we should be calm and unperturbed by all these things. However, outwardly we should take all the appropriate precautions not only to protect ourselves but also to protect others.

• Based on the video: 2020-03-22 Yo Soy Tu Mismo: Michael James discusses the key role of our will (1:44)

My reflections: If we really believed in Bhagavan’s teachings, we will not fear death. We would welcome death because it will happen according to Bhagavan’s will. What is death? It is like removing one shirt and putting on another one. I believe Bhagavad Gita explains it this way. Our spiritual journey will continue after we die. Maybe Bhagavan will give us better worldly circumstances to grow spiritually in our next birth or next dream. So birth and death are part of this dream, part of the drama called life. Nothing needs to be feared.

Who is dying? I am dying. Who am I? If at all the thought of death enters our mind, this is how we should respond to it. In any case, Bhagavan has given us an excellent opportunity to turn within by leaving all our cares and concerns at his holy feet. We should be fully prepared to let go of this body here and now!

Sanjay Lohia said...

These difficulties are given to us by Bhagavan to make it easier for us to surrender ourself

Sometimes in life, we are faced with great difficulties. These difficulties are given to us by Bhagavan to make it easier for us to surrender ourself. For example, we are faced with this danger of coronavirus. This could infect any of us. Some of us will only have a minor illness, but some will have a very serious illness and some will die. We don’t know whether we are going to catch it. We don’t know whether just going to have a minor illness or a severe illness or we are going to die. Anything could happen.

All this uncertainty is Bhagavan’s way of reminding us that life is very impermanent. Nothing in life is certain. So if we want to remain unaffected by all these things, we have to surrender ourself to him. So though it is a very worrying and difficult time for many people, on the spiritual path it is an opportunity given to us by Bhagavan to surrender ourself.

• Based on the video: 2020-03-22 Yo Soy Tu Mismo: Michael James discusses the key role of our will (0:43)

My reflection: Yes, Bhagavan has given us a priceless opportunity to surrender ourself. We may not get this opportunity again in this lifetime if we survive this ordeal. So let us make full use of these uncertain times to surrender ourself to Bhagavan. Let us turn within and stay in-turned – stay in-turned for as long as possible – stay in-turned as intensely as possible.

anadi-ananta said...

thanks, what Nochur says " dream operates only mind..." I find clarifying, because in dream I never exactly perveived my own subtle "dream-body".

Rajat said...

These dystopian days good news is hard to come by. But I came across some exciting information on the Ramana Maharshi Foundation UK page -
"Michael James will hopefully be able to take us through the last remaining verse of Ekanma Panchakam (Five Verses on the Self) in the Main monthly Satsang by Zoom on 11 April; after which he will begin to take us through the Sri Arunachala Aksharamannamalai (The Marital Garland of Letters) in the following Zoom Satsangs."
I'm looking forward eagerly to Michael discussing verses from Sri Arunachala Aksharamannamalai.

Rajat said...

Asun, sorry to hear about your pet's passing away. As you describe in your comment of 26 March 2020 at 11:30, seems like Bhagavan's teachings are our sole and unfailing refuge in this life..

Sanjay Lohia said...

Anadi-ananta, yes, I know Nochur often suggests in his talks that our dream and waking are two different types of states. That is, if I have understood him correctly, he says we experience both a body and mind in our waking state but experience only the mind in our dream. However, when he says so he clearly contradicts Bhagavan’s teachings. Bhagavan teaches us in paragraph 18 of Nan Ar?:

To what extent all the vyavahāras [activities, affairs, transactions or events] that happen in waking seem to be real, to that extent even the vyavahāras that happen in dream seem at that time to be real. In dream the mind takes another body [to be itself]. In both waking and dream thoughts and names-and-forms [the phenomena that constitute the seemingly external world] occur in one time [or simultaneously].

So our waking state is another dream – that is, both are 100% identical. In both waking and dream, we experience ourself as this mind. However, in a dream also we take a body to be ourself, even though this body seems to be different from our current waking body.

Unknown said...


How are you...are you fine...the disease is spreading very fast in England...Hope you are well

With love,


Unknown said...


How are you? are you fine? The disease is spreadng in England. Hope you are well

With Love and Namaskaramas


Michael James said...

Thank you for your kind concern, Taranatha. I am fine, and hope you are too. All is in Bhagavan’s hands, so we just need to take all appropriate precautions and leave the rest to him, knowing that whatever may happen is according to his will and therefore for the ultimate good of all concerned.

Asun said...

Yes, Rajat, but mind will never grasp it. Only love of ourself for ourself (grace) can bring the blind to see or rather, to make the blind subside and then truly understand. Choosing ourself above all by giving up our tendencies does inevitably bring clarity about, dispelling a lot of unnecessary pain and suffering along with the illusion of this body alone to be ourself. That was my pet´s last gift, the chance of experiencing pure love. Grace works in ways that we never can comprehend, we have to learn to recognize that it is working and, as Michael says, “ to try our best to yield ourself to it" because, actually, "that is all that is required on our part.”

Looking forward those talks on Ekanma Panchakam and Sri Arunachala Aksharamannamalai here too. Thanks for telling us and for your kind words. Much appreciated.

Take care.

Col said...

Thank you Aham

anadi-ananta said...

we should inform Ramana Maharshi Foundation UK that usually we write "Sri Arunachala Aksharamanamalai":(one 'n' is enough).:-)

anadi-ananta said...

in the given video-talk Nochur says ..."in dream the body is not, mind alone operates,...". Thus he does not explicitly exclude that the mind operates in dream with the aid of an auxiliary vehicle, for instance a subtle dream-body. Therefore his statement is not necessarily contradictory to the penultimate sentence of paragraph 18 of Nan Ar? ("In dream the mind takes another body [to be itself])" quoted by you.

Sanjay Lohia said...

Bhagavan doesn’t ask us to do anything difficult; he just says try little by little to be self-attentive

This spiritual path is a struggle, but it is the most worthwhile struggle we can undertake. Nothing else in life really matters. We all know this life is a passing show. All the things we like are going to pass, and we are also going to pass. ‘We’ means this person, this body which we now seem to be. So, none of the things is of any lasting value. Whatever value we think they have is illusory because it is not going to last.

So the most worthwhile undertaking in this path of surrender – learning how to give up our will - that is, learning how to give up our likes, dislikes, desires, attachments for anything other than ourself. Bhagavan has given us a very very powerful weapon to succeed on the path of surrender, and this weapon is self-attentiveness. The more we try to be self-attentive, the more our likes and dislikes for everything else will drop off.

So though we may feel that we can’t surrender ourself completely now, by patiently and persistently practising self-attentiveness, we can move towards complete self-surrender. So this path Bhagavan has given us is a very simple path. He doesn’t ask us to do anything difficult. He just says try little by little to be self-attentive. If you do that, that is sufficient.

• Based on the video: 2020-03-22 Yo Soy Tu Mismo: Michael James discusses the key role of our will (0:34)

My reflection: In these times, it is foolishness to plan anything for the future, because the future may never come. That is, we may not remain alive to see the future. So we should just plan our today. However, the most important thing we can do today is to try to be self-attentive little by little.

This state of helplessness which we now find ourself in is a good opportunity to recognise the might of the supreme power and turn within and remain subsided. In any case, we have nothing much to do in this situation.

Sanjay Lohia said...

Eli Martyr: My tips for staying fit during this time

This virus still adheres to the same type of principles that any of the respiratory viral infection does. It has enough power to afflict people who are already sick or diseased or not 100% fit. It is affecting the elderly, weak and sick primarily. If you are relatively healthy, relatively strong, this virus is not going to do much to you. If by chance you come down with the symptoms, you are going to bounce back quickly. Fear that is pumped up in your face is so exaggerated, so exaggerated, so overblown.

What are my tips for staying fit during this time? If you are actually concerned about contracting the strain of this virus, then the least you can do is stop eating like a fool – cut out the meats, dairy, processed foods, junk foods – cut all these things from the diet. If you eat simple fruits, leafy green vegetables or maybe the occasional nuts and seeds here and there, you have nothing to worry about. OK.

This virus can only stay in a system in which there is a residual matter which is conducive to its habitation. This virus is like any other flu bug if your body is not full of mucous and acid. It’s going to enter your system, but since it will have no place to build a home there, it’s going to come out. It’s just going to be the end of it. You will never come to know it was there in the first place. That’s for the people who are extremely clean inside.

That comfort is not afforded to people who eat a conventional diet, which is a heavy diet of cooked and processed foods, including or not including meat and dairy. People like that will be more susceptible. So you have to exercise due diligence. But if you are concerned and if you are still eating those things, that’s going to be the issue. Clean up the diet – eat as naturally as possible and you will be as safe as possible!

If you are really, really, really concerned, then fast – just stop eating and start fasting. Drink some water and cut your food to a bare minimum. Cut your eating window down to 2 to 3 hours a day. Fast for a couple of days. This virus is not going to have an effect on you if your body is clean. If you understand the laws of vitality, none of these bugs is going to be of any concern for you.

I [Eli] have absolute zero fear. It’s sad that people who don’t understand the laws of vitality are going around in so much fear. Just clean up your diet immediately, now. Stop buying garbage. Eat naturally – heavy fruits, some vegetables. If you are concerned throw out even the nuts and seeds – just stick to fruits and vegetables and that’s it. Do that and you are going to be fine. If you concerned, then wake up and get healthier. Fast if you are really concerned. If fasting scares you, then learn about fasting so that it doesn’t scare you.

Turn off the news. Turn off government programming. Eliminate fear. All the power is in your court.

• Paraphrased extract from the video: The Corona Classroom PART 1 - ESSENTIAL info + The Shocking Ancient History of Bio-Warfare (33:00 – 38:00 plus 56:00 till the end) from the channel: The FreeMelon Society by Eli Martyr

My reflection: Many people may not agree with Eli’s view, which is understandable. However, Eli’s views and suggestions may appeal to some. It does appeal to me, so I am sharing it with you. His views match with my innermost beliefs. I had some anxiety, but his views have made me stronger.

Eli Martyr stays in Canada, and he is an actor and a fruitarian.

Sanjay Lohia said...

The blossoming forth of heart-lotus is a metaphor for the opening of ego and the shining forth of pure self-awareness

Bhagavan sings in verse one of Sri Arunachala Panchratnam:

Ocean of amṛta [the ambrosia of immortality], which is the fullness of grace, paramātmā [my ultimate self], Arunagiri, who swallow everything by [your] spreading rays [of pure self-awareness], shine as the sun that makes [my] budding heart-lotus blossom fully.

The blossoming forth of heart-lotus is a metaphor for the opening of ego and the shining forth of pure self-awareness. Ego is a form of self-awareness, but it is bound, enclosed within adjuncts. So when ego opens or the mind lotus opens, the adjuncts drop off, and pure awareness alone remains. That is what the metaphorical term ‘budding heart-lotus blossom fully’ signifies.

So Bhagavan pleads with Arunachala to shine as the sun in order to make his heart lotus blossom fully. Now my heart-lotus is beginning to open – it’s beginning to swell, but without the sun it cannot open fully. So only in the presence of the sun, which is Arunachala, can the heart-lotus blossom.

As ego we are always aware of ourself as not just ‘I am’ but as ‘I am this body’, so it is the pure awareness ‘I am’ mixed with adjuncts. That is what is enclosing it. That is the closed heart-lotus. When we turn our attention within, to attend to ourself, we cease to be aware of anything other than ourself. When we turn our attention back towards ourself alone and when we are aware only of ourself alone, that is pure self-awareness. In that light of pure self-awareness, ego cannot stand. So ego is swallowed and everything else is swallowed along with it. That is the opening of the heart-lotus.

So this verse is a very beautiful prayer for grace to bestow the light of pure self-awareness. In other words, it is a prayer for jnana, prayer for true self-knowledge.

• Based on the video: 2020-03-14 Hampstead Heath: Michael James discusses verse 1 of Śrī Aruṇācala Pañcaratnam (20:00)

Asun said...

Michael, is there some article in the archive of the blog about nadi-bandha-granthi (the knot of bondage to the nerves) and abhimana—granthi (the knot of attachment), according to Shadu Om´s explainations in chapter 8 of "The Path of Sri Ramana", part one?

Salazar said...

Looking at the hype and overblown reactions of the "virus" (one cannot look or go anywhere without being confronted with it some way) it is comforting to just be oneself.

When I approached last weekend the cash register in a large natural food store the lady at the cash register yelled at me to back up and "help flatten the curve". I was there a week ago and then nobody policed me, I suppose they implemented new rules. I apologized, waited patiently and then she ordered me to come forward. While I was paying I told myself to skip that store (what is not my regular store anyway) until sanity has returned. If people would truly know how viruses spread then they would know that most of these precautions are mental placebos.

But who would be affected by a treatment like that? For me that lady was Bhagavan reducing my ego a little further. I long for the day when ego is gone for good.

anadi-ananta said...

regarding the mentioned terms 'knot of attachment' (abhimana-granthi) and 'knot of bondage to the nerves' (nadi-bandha-granthi) you may read section 6., of the article of Tuesday, 27 December 2016 The jñāni is only pure awareness (prajñāna) and not whatever person it may seem to be

Michael James said...

Asun, as far as I can remember I have not written anything specifically about abhimāna-granthi and nāḍī-bandha-granthi, because for most of us knowing about such details is not necessary. The only reason that explanation about nāḍī-bandha-granthi is included in The Path of Sri Ramana is that it is what Sadhu Om sometimes explained to people who were particularly interested in the path of rāja-yōga, but as he himself told me all such explanations are not necessary for those who are interested only in the practice of self-investigation and self-surrender.

The only knot (granthi) we need be concerned about is abhimāna-granthi (the knot of egotism, attachment and desire, specifically dēhābhimāna or body-attachment), which is another name for ego, because it is the root of all other problems, so if we eradicate it by self-investigation, nāḍī-bandha-granthi and all other problems will cease to exist along with it.

Anonymous said...

Salazar, the death rate is increasing. So we all have to be cautious. It is not overblown. The lady need not have yelled though. I have not stepped out of the house for weeks.

anadi-ananta said...

you say "If people would truly know how viruses spread then they would know that most of these precautions are mental placebos."
Provided that you know it could you please tell us how viruses spread particularly this new coronavirus ?

Asun said...

Thank you Michael and anadi-ananta, I´ve heard about kundalini and so on but I didn´t ever pay much attention so, I was surprised reading this from Shadu Om. It´s interesting and helped me to clarify some questions arising recently, but just as reading his explanation it becomes clear that the important knot is the knot of attachment and what we have to be concerned about, together with the practice. This has been my conclusion too and kind of reaffirmation, but I wanted to make sure I wasn´t missing something. Great you asked him about and we may have first - hand his response, Michael.

This is the same that you responded when asked about, in the article of 27 December 2016 that anadi-ananta points , “The jñāni is only pure awareness (prajñāna) and not whatever person it may seem to be”, section 6, in a little bit more extended manner (curiously, the name of S.S. Cohen appears in this article too). I´ll copy this bellow since it also responds a recurrent question about jnanis as well as what is meant by pure awareness, and each one can make their own associations:

"As Sadhu Om himself explained to me when I asked him about it, this portion of The Path of Sri Ramana (pages 160-3 and 168-73), in which he explains about consciousness flowing through the nāḍis (the subtle ‘nerves’ or channels through which it spreads throughout the body), is what he had replied to some people who asked him about the connection between the practice of ātma-vicāra and rāja yōga, and he mentioned about consciousness flowing through the nāḍis in the body of the jñāni only because those people had questioned him in a way that showed that they were not yet ready to grasp the fact that the jñāni is not actually whatever body it may seem to be in the deluded view of the ajñāni.

As he explained earlier in this portion (on pages 161-2), ‘Since the source of the mind and the prana is one (the Heart), when the knot of attachment (abhimana-granthi) is severed by the annihilation of the mind through Self-enquiry, the knot of bondage to the nerves (nadi-bandha-granthi) is also severed’, so he told me that from this we should understand that when our mind is annihilated our connection with the nāḍis and hence with the body will be severed completely and permanently. Therefore the consciousness of the jñāni has absolutely no connection with the body, and hence with anything else at all. As Bhagavan says in verse 28 of Upadēśa Undiyār, what the jñāni is aware of is only anādi ananta akhaṇḍa sat-cit-ānanda: beginningless, endless (or infinite) and unbroken existence-awareness-happiness.

Moreover, if the jñāni were aware of the body or of any other phenomena, that would be a viśēṣa anubhava (an experience of something distinctive, special, new or what is not always experienced), and as Sadhu Om explains later in the same chapter (pages 171-2) the experience of true knowledge (jñāna) is nirviśēṣa (completely devoid of anything that is in any way distinctive, special, new or not always experienced). Therefore if we genuinely want to be aware of ourself as we really are and thereby free ourself from this ego that we now seem to be, we need to give up the idea that ātma-jñāna is anything other than pure self-awareness (prajñāna), which being pure is completely devoid of any awareness of anything other than ourself, and which is therefore absolutely intransitive and nirviśēṣa."

Thank you and do not forget to wash frequently your hands :)

Salazar said...

Anonymous, new data suggests that the so-called death rate of the coronavirus is about 0.1% and it is not increasing. Numbers may increase, but not the death rate. So it is about the same rate as of a bad variation of the ordinary flu.

From the news:

"According to an article recently published in the New England Journal of Medicine by Dr. Anthony S. Fauci, Dr. H. Clifford Lane, and Dr. Robert R. Redfield, the case fatality rate may be less than one percent, and the clinical consequences of Covid-19 may be more similar to that of a severe seasonal influenza.

On the basis of a case definition requiring a diagnosis of pneumonia, the currently reported case fatality rate is approximately 2%. In another article in the Journal, Guan et al. report mortality of 1.4% among 1099 patients with laboratory-confirmed Covid-19; these patients had a wide spectrum of disease severity. If one assumes that the number of asymptomatic or minimally symptomatic cases is several times as high as the number of reported cases, the case fatality rate may be considerably less than 1%. This suggests that the overall clinical consequences of Covid-19 may ultimately be more akin to those of a severe seasonal influenza (which has a case fatality rate of approximately 0.1%) or a pandemic influenza (similar to those in 1957 and 1968) rather than a disease similar to SARS or MERS, which have had case fatality rates of 9 to 10% and 36%, respectively."

Salazar said...

anadi-ananta, viruses cannot be stopped unless you are in a truly safe environment. Those lock downs are nor really quarantines, that is impossible for entire countries, so it will and must spread. The game is a possible slow down in the hope that the virus mutates into a more benign form (as it was the case with the Spanish flu) or the population has developed herd immunity.

anadi-ananta said...

Salazar, thanks for your medicine-report.:-)
I too have great hopes that the virus mutates into a more benign form...

Salazar said...

A death rate of 0.1% means that from 1,000 INFECTED people one dies. Those are incredible great odds. If we estimate that maybe 50% (high number) of the population gets infected then the absolute death rate is actually 0.05% or 5 out of 10,000. The chance to die from a car accident is one out of 77, or 13o people out of 10,000 die every year from a car accident.

We need to quarantine all cars!!!!!!!!! :-)

And that's why this whole thing is overblown. Every winter season for eternity people are getting sick from the flu, Millions of them and 100 Thousands die every year due to complications, mostly because it progresses into pneumonia.

The hoax is not the sad fact of a pandemic and that people die, but that this happens every year without the need of shutting down the entire world to save it. And without the need to print trillion of Dollars to bail out banks and hedge funds.

Asun said...

Note to my previous comment:

I don´t mean anything derogatory regarding to Mr. Cohen or the way he used to explain himself though I can understand some don´t resonate with him, quite the opposite. Sometimes, some misunderstandings on our part, bring a clearer and deeper understanding about.

Sanjay Lohia said...

We need not cling to our old ways of life or be afraid of what is to come: we just have to go with the flow

With regards to coronavirus, we have to act appropriately. We have to take all reasonable precautions both to safeguard the person we seem to be but more importantly to safeguard others, but we shouldn’t be acting out of fear. Coronavirus will infect us only if that is our destiny, so it not out of fear of getting sick or dying that we are taking all these precautions. We are doing it because that is the appropriate thing to do. Just like it is not because of fear that we don’t walk out into the middle of the street when there is heavy traffic on it. It is a sensible thing to do.

How does fear arise? It arises when we think too much about these things. When we cling too much to what we have.

After this pandemic goes, the world isn’t going to be the same place again. So many changes will take place and people’s attitude will change. So this is a wake-up call to all of us. We need not cling to our old ways of life or be afraid of what is to come: we just have to go with the flow.

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

My reflection: Michael explains, ‘How does fear arise? It arises when we think too much about these things. When we cling too much to what we have’. So we should try to give up clinging to whatever we have. How to do that? We can do so by clinging more and more to ourself, by turning more and more within to face ourself alone. If fear is there, it is in a way good. That shows that our desires and attachments are still strong, so we need to practise more and more atma-vichara.

We should remember that it was an intense fear of death that enabled young Venkataraman to destroy his ego. So this fear and anxiety can prove to be the greatest blessing if we can use it to go within. How should we go within? We should go within just like the young 16-year-old Venkataraman went within. When the fear of death arose in him, he clung to himself with such intensity that his body actually died for a few minutes. So we need such one-pointedness, such intense focus on ourself and ourself alone.

We are also capable of conquering all our fears here and now. If Venkatraram could do it, why can't we? In fact, Bhagavan demonstrated to us through his famous death-experience that it is possible to vanquish all fear once and for all.

Michael explains, ‘We need not cling to our old ways of life or be afraid of what is to come: we just have to go with the flow’. Yes, we have no option but to glow with the flow. This is always true but is particularly relevant in these uncertain and fast-changing circumstances. How to go with the flow? We can do so by being quiet and by letting Bhagavan guide us from within in every given circumstance.

If we sincerely seek his advice and guidance, he is ever ready to guide us. Bhagavan is our Krishna, and we are like Arjuna. We should be willing to listen to Bhagavan just like Arjuna willing listened to Krishna. We need Bhagavan's guidance much more today than we ever did. The guidance which I have lately received from Bhagavan is that I should simplify my life. I should try coming our of this maya-jaal (the trap of illusion), which are all the false allurements of this dream-world.

Sanjay Lohia said...

As spiritual aspirants, we should always live a low-key life

As spiritual aspirants, we should always live a low-key life. We shouldn’t try to stand out in the crowd, so we have to try to blend with the crowd. We have to try to blend with the background because the spiritual practice has nothing with external actions. OK, there are some actions that people associate with religion, but there is a difference between religion and spirituality. Spirituality is entirely internal.

So our real work is internal. We behave in the external world appropriate to our circumstances in this world. So outwardly we should keep a low profile, but inwardly we should try to detach ourself. The only real problem is our identification with our body and mind. This false identification has to be eradicated. This cannot be eradicated by any external action. It can only be eradicated by turning our attention within, ignoring the external world. Of course, when we detach ourself from the person we seem to be, we detach ourself from everything else. But we need to focus on the root, which is ego.

In most religions, it is accepted that certain people take to the path of renunciation. They become a monk or a sannyasi or whatever. Bhagavan said that is not real renunciation. Real renunciation is internal. Supposing if we become a hermit, we may be still attached to this world. Even a hermit living in a cave by isolating himself from everything else still needs food, clothing – something to keep him warm in the winter. So we can never sever our connection with this world so long as we take this body to be ‘I’ because this body is part of the world.

So whether it be a hermit living in a cave or a businessman or a teacher or a President, whatever it may be, it’s part of the world. So Bhagavan wants us to focus on the root, and the root is ego. Because we have risen as this ego that we feel that I am this person, and all the troubles flow from that.

• Based on the video 2020-03-29a Yo Soy Tu Mismo: Michael James discusses inward detachment and outward behaviour (00:04)

My reflection: Bhagavan’s teachings are extraordinary because these take us to the root of all our problems. We need his teachings now more than ever before. We see that Michael is trying to post as many videos as possible explaining Bhagavan’s teachings. These are highly welcome in these times. We need to loosen our focus on corona and its effects and instead need to focus on Bhagavan, on his teachings and on our spiritual practices.

We should take a sankalpa – 'before this coronavirus vanishes our ego should vanish'. We should try to say goodbye to this ego before we say goodbye to this virus. It is possible, and it will happen, Bhagavan willing!

anadi-ananta said...

"...we just have to go with the flow".
Flow of what ? What do you mean exactly by saying "glow with the flow" ?

Michael James said...

Chandra, I have replied to your comment of 13 March 2020 at 10:20 in a separate article: How can we just be?

Sanjay Lohia said...

Ananda-ananta, Michael said in this particular video: ‘We need not cling to our old ways of life or be afraid of what is to come: we just have to go with the flow’. You have asked about the meaning of ‘go with the flow’. I believe, what Michael meant is that we need to decide what the correct thing is to do in each given circumstance and act accordingly. We need not plan things in advance because the present situation is quite fluid and we do not know what life will throw at us the very next moment in these uncertain times.

Actually, we can effortlessly go with the flow if we try to remain as still as possible. If we stay inwardly quiet, then Bhagavan will guide our body and mind to act in accordance with our prarabdha. So we will remain with the flow as directed and decided by Bhagavan. In other words, we should keep our will in suspended animation. Then Bhagavan would move our body and mind like a puppeteer moves his puppets. The puppets have no will or volition. Likewise, we should have no will or volition. We should act as Bhagavan has planned our body and mind to act. Otherwise, we should be content to remain quiet.

Salazar said...

I apologize that my recent comments are mainly off-topic, however I'd like to add one more link and that link is an open letter to German chancellor Merkel from Dr. Sucharit Bhakdi, Professor Emeritus of Medical Microbiology at the Johannes Gutenberg University Mainz, who calls for an urgent reassessment of the response to Covid-19 and asks the Chancellor five crucial questions. The let­ter is dated March 26.

I hope that more and more physicians speak up and expose this nonsense.

Asun said...

Have just seen the youtube playlist section, was it there already? Direct access to discussions on Bhagavan´s works, all of them ordered from the first to the last verse. Thank you so much, Michael.

Anonymous said...

I have not read the letter, but I think if world leaders are managing and leading this situation in a specific manner, we should comply with it. They may have some info which may not have been made public.

anadi-ananta said...

what do you think which kind of info may the "world leaders" have, that they do not even dare to make it public ?

anadi-ananta said...

Thanks Salazar for your recent "mainly off-topic" comments which provide quite well some useful informations.

anadi-ananta said...
This comment has been removed by the author.
Asun said...

Just for the record: I didn´t go mad when my dog died, unless Michael is even crazier than me since he says at the meeting where he discusses paragraph two of “Nan Ar”, (around 38:46):

“According to Bhagavan, there is only one ego but that one ego it doesn´t really exist, it merely seems to exist so, if we investigate who is this one “I” who perceives all this, what remains is our real nature which is the infinite whole so, actually, we are not excluding everything, in essence we are embracing everything. By rejecting everything we are embracing everything. We are rejecting the outward appearance and embracing the inward inner substance. “

The direct experience is inexplicable and beyond comprehension yet, the conundrum all of us experience when someone near to us dies and suddenly s/he is not here anymore, gets solved. It is as simple as that. We are so convinced of the reality of this world of forms and names (concepts) and of the reality of the forms (bodies) themselves.
It is a great talk, if you are crazy enough to make some sense out of it :)

The only one cheating us is ego, governments are just part of it. Here in Spain we were said by them the same things Salazar is telling now, moreover, they encouraged people in Madrid to attend to a protest rally, two days later, they proclaimed the state of alarm. That it is just a flu and affects only the elders and people with previous pathologies, is not true though it seems that Germany is not posting them so, statics are not very reliable either and, as far I know, American health service is not one of the best. Main problem is a problem of logistic, there is not equipment (artificial respirators) to attend all victims of the pandemic and a simulacrum of quarantine, I agree with Salazar in this, seems to be the only way to minimize the inevitable damages. Some of us fear pain, suffering and death, some fear the curbing or restriction of their civil liberties, some others poverty or economics difficulties and so on and on. Fear is fear. And the whole thing, a complete mess. It uses to happen when Nature “talks”.

Anonymous said...

I don’t know. Why would these leaders risk economy unless there is some valid reason ?

Salazar said...

The current events are part of the Divine play and people react to it according to their vasanas. There are a multitude of opinions based on that and it plays out as it is supposed to. For an aspirant the worst one can do is to get caught up too much into it (ideally of course not at all).

For the devotee nothing really has changed, it is only as much as we allow to get [mentally] involved in these affairs of the phenomenal world.

This is the perfect time to apply vichara and surrender. Let's not forget what we truly are and that nothing can affect or harm that. The more we are not identifying with the body the better we are off.

Salazar said...

By the way, Sweden and Belarus have decided to not shut down their countries, there you can go where you want and get drunk in a heavily populated bar :-)

Another perspective regarding dying and numbers of death: Every year world-wide 40 Million fetuses are killed through abortions. This does not imply any judgment for or against, just the plain facts.

Also, every year about 10 Million die from hunger. Where is the outcry and media frenzy about that? Oh yeah, that's just old news. Why are the current 50,000 death by coronavirus so hyped up? Will it be 10 Million? I highly doubt that.

anadi-ananta said...

Are we in the world or is the world in us ?

Salazar said...

An excerpt from a recent article: "Politics always wins. When this panic is over as the rate of contagions slows down and the death toll does no longer rise, governments will claim that this is so because of their measures even when, in fact, these were unnecessary from the beginning and the infection rate would have fallen anyway."

Exactly my sentiment and of those who are not fooled by government propaganda. Those who believe that governments have only the good of the population in mind are very gullible/naive.

Now I play my role as the "good" citizen, practice "social distancing", wash my hands, etc. and watch that drama unfold. Bhagavan knows what is pushing my buttons and he gently reminds me to just turn within. When I look at the stupidity mainly in Northern America and Europe, not talking about the cruel dictatorship in China who treats their people like cattle, I am getting more and more disgusted and turning in seems like a good idea :-)

Rajat said...

anadi-ananta, when we dream, is the dreaming mind in the dream or is the dream in the mind? In this waking state which according to Bhagavan is also a dream, we assume that the mind is in the world. But there is no basis behind this assumption, because the world exists only in the view of the mind. So what proof do We have that the world existed before, and mind appeared in the world? No proof really. So the world may quite possibly just have appeared in us, the mind. The body is certainly in the world, but we are not the body

anadi-ananta said...

what you say is quite plausible. :-)

Karen Taylor said...

Thanks again, Sanjay, for your thoughtful response plus additional suggestions. Have needed to unplug from technology as even spiritual discourse suddenly seems to agitate this mind. Am finding it increasingly challenging to "play that flute" due to everyone around me focusing on the gloom and doom of the world situation. Folks are naturally dropping from my life because I am focused only on God. Am feeling guilty for having little tolerance toward those speaking from superficial standpoint. Any suggestions from this spiritually uplifting group? Thanks for letting me get this out. Am quite grateful to be able to read everyone's sharing here.

Sanjay Lohia said...

Karen, you say, ‘Have needed to unplug from technology as even spiritual discourse suddenly seems to agitate this mind’. Yes, it is beneficial to unplug from technology periodically. I do this when I try to practise exclusive self-attentiveness and when I try to sleep. However, our task is not to unplug from technology but to plug into Bhagavan, and we can do so most effectively by being self-attentive as much as possible. If we are tightly anchored in Bhagavan, nothing from outside can affect us much.

You say, ‘Folks are naturally dropping from my life because I am focused only on God’. This will happen with every true spiritual aspirant. We cannot remain on the same terms with people who are on a completely different wavelength. However, outwardly we should behave normally within people. We should, in fact, hide our spiritual inclinations from this world. This will help our sadhana.

Karen Taylor said...

Dearest Sanjay, I truly appreciate all you have shared, and the feedback is most helpful. I have also heard this shared previously. I just don't seem to know how to live in this world nor hide these spiritual inclinations as you encourage. I feel a bit hopeless recently, and lost. I feel like a true misfit just about everywhere. Even sharing this, I feel exposed or unfit because you all seem more surrendered. I know comparisons are not helpful, however, your honesty is helping me to be more honest too. Thanks again, and blessings upon you always!