Wednesday, 15 April 2020

The dreamer is ourself as ego, not whatever person we seem to be in a dream

A friend called Reinhard recently sent me what he described as ‘a pleasant exchange with David [Godman] about ajata and the discrepancy to ‘our’ ordinary perception’ and wrote, ‘If you have some comments, they are always welcome’.

Part of the context in which their exchange took place was that on page 2 of his article Swami Siddheswarananda’s views on Bhagavan’s Teachings David discussed the meaning of verse 534 of Guru Vācaka Kōvai, and in that context he quoted the following passage from his book Living by the Words of Bhagavan (2nd edn, p. 236):
It is a fundamental tenet of advaita that the world is projected by the individual mind that sees it. Some people think that this means that each individual jiva projects its own world, but Bhagavan taught that this is not the correct perspective. He maintained that the jiva which sees the world is the only jiva that exists, and that all the other people whom this jiva sees are merely imagined projections of the first jiva. Since all things and all beings are merely the externalised projection of the jiva who sees them, it follows that when this jiva is absent or destroyed, the other beings and things simply cease to exist.

Chadwick once questioned Bhagavan on this topic: ‘If the world exists only when my mind exists, when my mind subsides in meditation or sleep, does the outside world disappear also? I think not. If one considers the experiences of others who were aware of the world while I slept, one must conclude that the world existed then. Is it not more correct to say that the world got created and is ever existing in some huge collective mind? If this is true how can one say that there is no world and that it is only a dream?’

Bhagavan refused to modify his position. ‘The world does not say that it was created in the collective mind or that it was created in the individual mind. It only appears in your small mind. If your mind gets destroyed, there will be no world.’
Referring to this passage Reinhard asked David, ‘Although I think that I have no real difficulty to follow the teachings of Bhagavan intellectually and to some degree intuitively, it seems hard to understand that part which is expressed in Chadwick’s discussion in Living by the Words’, in reply to which David wrote:
Bhagavan never supported the ‘Chadwickian’ compromise. The world (according to Bhagavan) is present when the ‘I’ that projects and sees it exists and is taken to be real, and entirely absent when it is not. The world and its contents (including ‘others’) have no reality outside of the seer that projects and sees them.
thereby echoing what Bhagavan taught us in verse 26 of Uḷḷadu Nāṟpadu, namely:
அகந்தையுண் டாயி னனைத்துமுண் டாகு
மகந்தையின் றேலின் றனைத்து — மகந்தையே
யாவுமா மாதலால் யாதிதென்று நாடலே
யோவுதல் யாவுமென வோர்.

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

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

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

English translation: If ego comes into existence, everything comes into existence; if ego does not exist, everything does not exist. Ego itself is everything. Therefore, know that investigating what this is alone is giving up everything.
In reply to Reinhard’s email more generally David also wrote, ‘A good source to get information on this is Guru Vachaka Kovai, verses 18-101’, and since Reinhard began his email saying that he had re-read two of David’s articles, Ajata and Swami Siddheswarananda’s views on Bhagavan’s Teachings, David replied that I had ‘had a go at explaining this’ in What is the correct meaning of ajāta vāda? and had ‘also given a critique of Swami Siddheswananda’s wrong ideas about Bhagavan’ in Metaphysical solipsism, idealism and creation theories in the teachings of Sri Ramana.
  1. Distinguishing ourself as ego from the person we seem to be is very important if we are to understand Bhagavan’s teachings correctly
  2. Whatever may happen is the sweet will of Bhagavan, given to us to help us follow his path ever more diligently and unwaveringly
  3. When Bhagavan talks about ēka jīva, what he means by jīva is ego, the one dreamer and perceiver of all phenomena
1. Distinguishing ourself as ego from the person we seem to be is very important if we are to understand Bhagavan’s teachings correctly

In the first of his emails to David Reinhard had written:
Although I think that I have no real difficulty to follow the teachings of Bhagavan intellectually and to some degree intuitively, it seems hard to understand that part which is expressed in Chadwick’s discussion in Living by the Words:

It seems still rational to conceive the creation, the world to be the dream of Brahma, a divine mind, sharing a commonality for all beings, jivas.

But Bhagavan contradicts this by stating the world to be a projection of our limited personal mind. That is the hard thing if we accept a common knowledge, the corona virus and climate change happening in a world we all share. Hard to conceive that all that is MY IMAGINATION only!

Then suicide would be a relief for these challenges — but of course, the ‘dream-crisis’ wouldn’t need any other help but my waking up! :-)
Since Reinhard had asked for any comments I may have on this, I replied:

When you say, ‘Hard to conceive that all that is MY IMAGINATION only!’, it is important to understand that this is not Reinhard’s imagination or dream but only ego’s. Reinhard is just a part of this dream, albeit a central part, but the dreamer is ego. As ego you now mistake yourself to be Reinhard, so it seems to you that Reinhard is experiencing all these things, but what is actually experiencing it is only ego, who currently experiences itself as ‘I am Reinhard’.

When we are dreaming, it seems to us that all the other people in our dream are seeing the same world that we are, so there seems to be what you call ‘common knowledge’, but as soon as we wake up we recognise that none of those other people were seeing anything, so there was no common knowledge but only ego’s private knowledge of its own dream. Not only were none of the other people seeing anything, but even the person we seemed to be was not seeing anything. What was seeing it all was only ego.

Therefore if our present state is just a dream, as Bhagavan says it is, then there is no common knowledge, and no person is seeing any of this. It is all only ego’s dream, so it is experienced only by ego and not by any person, not even by Reinhard.

Distinguishing ourself as ego from the person we seem to be is very important if we are to understand Bhagavan’s teachings correctly. This person, meaning all the five sheaths (body, life, mind, intellect and will), is an object, something perceived by us, and we as ego are the subject, the perceiver of all these things.

If we are willing to accept that all this is just ego’s dream, that is the simplest possible explanation for the appearance of all this multiplicity. Only for those who are unwilling to accept this is it said that this is ‘the dream of Brahma, a divine mind, sharing a commonality for all beings, jivas’.

These are two different levels of explanation given in advaita to account for the appearance of duality. The contention that this is God’s or Brahma’s dream is a form of sṛṣṭi-dṛṣṭi-vāda [the view that creation occurs prior to and independent of perception], whereas the contention that it is ego’s dream is what is called dṛṣṭi-sṛṣṭi-vāda [the view that perception is what causes the appearance of creation, as in a dream]. The latter is the explanation favoured by Bhagavan, because it is the simplest and most useful explanation for those who seek to give up all attachment to this dream by investigating who am I, this ego who is dreaming all this.

However, the ultimate truth is not even dṛṣṭi-sṛṣṭi-vāda but only ajāta, because if we investigate ego keenly enough, we will find that what actually exists is not ego but only pure awareness (just as if we look at an illusory snake carefully enough, we will see that what is actually there is not a snake but only a rope), so there never was any ego and hence never was any dream.

2. Whatever may happen is the sweet will of Bhagavan, given to us to help us follow his path ever more diligently and unwaveringly

In reply to this Reinhard wrote:
I can only agree to the philosophy and have also done before. For me, it is the love and trust in Bhagavan, his authenticity and wisdom I could never doubt, which makes it acceptable to follow a theory which is not yet confirmed by direct experience. I am well aware of the philosophical systems you mention and the many instances Bhagavan used them according to the capacity of the hearer.

The gap or the clinch comes in when outer pressure like the corona crises, the climate change seem to impinge upon us, as any form of suffering would. Even when we trust Sri Ramana with all our heart we still have to meet the pressing issues of existence and the desire to validate his teachings become maps to move in a sound direction.

With other words: theory is fine but no solution to close the gap. Only our sadhana will, and I trust it does.

I am writing to you — you are a dream character of my ego — and I am one of yours? :-)
in reply to which I wrote:

I agree with you that the only solution is practice. All that Bhagavan taught us had one sole aim, namely to guide and encourage us to investigate and surrender ourself, and whatever ‘theory’ he taught was intended to support us in our practice of self-investigation and self-surrender.

Regarding your question, ‘I am writing to you — you are a dream character of my ego — and I am one of yours?’, according to Bhagavan there is only one ego, just as in a dream there is only one dreamer. So whose dream is this? It is the dream of the one who is aware of it, and that one is the one and only ego. Both Reinhard and Michael are characters appearing in the dream of that one ego, namely ourself. As ego we always experience ourself as a character in our dream, but that character is no more real than any other character, and it is not the dreamer (the perceiver) but one of the phenomena dreamt (perceived) by the dreamer.

Regarding issues such as the coronavirus crisis and climate change, when such things appear in our dream, they should urge us to try to wake up from this dream, and if we find it challenging to face them, we should consider such challenges to be opportunities given to us to go deeper in our practice of surrender. Why are we concerned about such things? Why do we find them challenging? Because of our desires and attachments. Therefore we must gradually learn to let go of all our desires and attachments and to accept whatever may happen as the sweet will of Bhagavan, given to us to help us follow his path ever more diligently and unwaveringly.

3. When Bhagavan talks about ēka jīva, what he means by jīva is ego, the one dreamer and perceiver of all phenomena

In a subsequent email Reinhard gave me the passage from Living by the Words of Bhagavan that I quoted at the beginning of this article, in which David quoted Bhagavan as saying in reply to Chadwick, ‘The world does not say that it was created in the collective mind or that it was created in the individual mind. It only appears in your small mind. If your mind gets destroyed, there will be no world’, and referring to this he wrote:
Regarding the theory you mention of ‘eka jiva’, this passage seems to emphasize not so much the one ego as the common creator behind all seeming multiplicity but rather ‘your small mind’. The one jiva model seems to be closer to a Divine projector of a multiplicity while the one jiva projecting all keeps only a narrow gate (reminding of Christ’s narrow gate) and puts all responsibility of exploring the root of the I-thought for dissolving the seeming multiple world view.
In reply to this I wrote:

When Bhagavan talks about ēka jīva, what he means by jīva is ego, the one dreamer and perceiver of all phenomena. Though in his reply to Chadwick he says that the world ‘only appears in your small mind’, what he means by ‘mind’ in this context is likewise only ego, which is the perceiving element of the mind.

Like many other words, the term ‘mind’ is used in various different senses, so we need to understand from the context in what sense it is used on each occasion. In many contexts it is used to refer to the totality of all thoughts or mental phenomena, but in most cases in which Bhagavan used it he was referring to ego, which is the first thought (the ‘thought called I’, as he often described it) and the root of all other thoughts, as he explained in verse 18 of Upadēśa Undiyār:
எண்ணங்க ளேமனம் யாவினு நானெனு
மெண்ணமே மூலமா முந்தீபற
      யானா மனமென லுந்தீபற.

eṇṇaṅga ḷēmaṉam yāviṉu nāṉeṉu
meṇṇamē mūlamā mundīpaṟa
      yāṉā maṉameṉa lundīpaṟa
.

பதச்சேதம்: எண்ணங்களே மனம். யாவினும் நான் எனும் எண்ணமே மூலம் ஆம். யான் ஆம் மனம் எனல்.

Padacchēdam (word-separation): eṇṇaṅgaḷ-ē maṉam. yāviṉ-um nāṉ eṉum eṇṇam-ē mūlam ām. yāṉ ām maṉam eṉal.

அன்வயம்: எண்ணங்களே மனம். யாவினும் நான் எனும் எண்ணமே மூலம் ஆம். மனம் எனல் யான் ஆம்.

Anvayam (words rearranged in natural prose order): eṇṇaṅgaḷ-ē maṉam. yāviṉ-um nāṉ eṉum eṇṇam-ē mūlam ām. maṉam eṉal yāṉ ām.

English translation: Thoughts alone are mind. Of all, the thought called ‘I’ alone is the root. What is called mind is ‘I’.

Explanatory paraphrase: Thoughts alone are mind [or the mind is only thoughts]. Of all [thoughts], the thought called ‘I’ alone is the mūla [the root, base, foundation, origin, source or cause]. [Therefore] what is called mind is [essentially just] ‘I’ [ego, the root-thought called ‘I’].
All other thoughts are objects perceived by ego, whereas ego is the subject, the perceiver of them all, so no other thoughts can exist without ego, and hence ego is the one constant thought, the thread on which all other thoughts are strung, as he says in verse 2 of Āṉma-Viddai. This is why he says that ego is the mūla (the root, base, foundation, origin, source or cause) of all other thoughts, and that it is therefore what the mind essentially is.

Since we as ego are alone what perceives all phenomena, and since there is no creation other than perception, we, this one jīva or ego, are the sole creator of this appearance of multiplicity. Therefore to bring this dream of multiplicity to an end, all we need do is eradicate ego, which we can do only by persistent practice of self-investigation and self-surrender.

387 comments:

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Reinhard said...

The main point after our exchange is clearer: all models only want to further our investigation, manana lead to nididhyasana and samadhi. Their function is to trigger our interest to move beyond our common worldview and the love and trust in Bhagavan can be of the greatest help for that.
It is a very fruitful contemplation with you, dear Michael! Namaste.

Asun said...

Teachings are useful to the extent that they confirm and put into words for us what we already came to know through silence, without having words or concepts to express it, and point out to the direction to follow from that point on. Giving explanations on the part of the teachings expressing what we haven´t come to know by ourselves is adding confusion to confusion. I´d suggest you to take a look at your book “Happiness and the art of being” and to correct all what you wrote and you wouldn´t write now or would express in a very different way, Michael.

I agree with what you say that we need clarity and discernment to understand the teachings but mere acceptance of words we haven´t the meaning for, since we haven´t first- hand knowledge of it, don´t get us anywhere. Leaving those parts of the teachings aside by now, is the best. Important thing is having the right meaning for the words so that we can go on walking the walk in the right direction as indicated by the teachings, not having the words for the meaning, unless to teach others to be our role as it was in the case of Bhagavan.

Sanjay Lohia said...

As spiritual aspirants, how should we view this coronavirus pandemic?

We can interpret this pandemic in various ways. We are destroying all our resources. We are polluting our world beyond all limits, causing global warming. We are acting in ways which are very unjust. Some people have superabundance, while others don’t have enough to sustain themselves. We treat each other badly, but we treat animals even worst. So, some feel that animals are having their revenge on humans by spreading this virus. So we can interpret this pandemic as a wake-up call on many different levels.

However, as spiritual aspirants, we need to view this pandemic differently. These are challenging times for many of us. We may be worrying about our health or the health of our near and dear ones. We may be worried about our job, about the economy. So we may have many reasons to worry. However, if we are following the path of surrender that Bhagavan has taught us, we can take this situation to be a good opportunity to surrender ourself. We need to understand that Bhagavan is taking care of all our problems and concerns, so we need not be worried about anything. We can surrender most effectively by turning our attention within.

Perhaps one spiritual benefit is that this virus reminds us how fleeting and uncertain our lives are. When things seem to be OK, when we seem to be in good health, we easily become complacent and forget that death can come at any moment. So remembering the ever-present imminence of death is very good for us on this spiritual path. A lot of efforts we make in this world – acquiring wealth, planning for our future, planning for our retirement – they are all based on the assumption that death is far away. But we can never be sure how far the death is. So what is happening now is a strong reminder of the importance of self-surrender. We need to surrender all our burdens to Bhagavan.

We can live our lives happily only by being free of desires, attachments, likes, dislikes and so on, and we can become carefree only the extent to which we surrender ourself. That is, not being carefree in a superficial way but in a deep way in which we are in a state of undisturbed equanimity, and which is possible only through surrender. So this current crisis, if we use it properly, could be beneficial for our spiritual progress.

So we can respond to this crisis in a much deeper way. Of course, we should be trying to live a life of ahimsa by causing minimum harm to other sentient beings. We should try to keep our ecology clean by causing minimum carbon footprints. All these things are necessary, but these are more superficial. We need to go much deeper when we are following Bhagavan’s path. So merely giving up bad outer habits is not sufficient. We need to give up our bad inner habits, and the origin of all our habits is our rising as ego. That’s the root, and that’s what we need to deal with, and that can be dealt with most effectively by the path of self-investigation and self-surrender.

• Edited and paraphrased extract from the video: 2020-04-11 Ramana Maharshi Foundation UK: discussion with Michael James on Ēkāṉma Pañcakam verse 5 (00:56)

My reflection: What Michael explains brings the focus on the need to surrender more and more. We shouldn’t just respond to this crisis more superficially but much more deeply, as Michael has beautifully outlined above.

anadi-ananta said...

Michael,
section 1.,
while reading your article, in mind appears a picture of a huge swarm of bees. Each bee experiences itself as an individual and therefore identifies with its individual separate bee-body and bee-mind/soul. In this picture I would compare the swarm (of bees) with ego and the many individual bees with different persons. Is that comparison an appropriate metaphor for the the ego's mistaken experience to be a particular person ('I am this person') ?

Salazar said...

Asun, that's a great tool, "leaving parts of teachings alone". I found that certain parts cannot be completely grasped intellectually (at a current point in time) and it makes most sense to leave that alone. Later it might be clearer just by itself, one cannot "think oneself to an understanding" but be receptive to self or, in other words, surrender to it.

Who wants or needs to understand? The ego, therefore it can only be a temporary aid.

Reinhard said...

"Just abandon the myriad Dharmas, discard reason, let go of loss and gain, good and bad, this instant, and return to yourself and look cuttingly—who is it that looks? When you thoroughly penetrate this, the clarity stands out as lacquer black as a coal goose standing in the snow."

- Bassui Tokusho's letter to Ven Gekukaku, a Zen master 13th century

Sanjay Lohia said...

Asun, you have suggested Michael: ‘I´d suggest you to take a look at your book “Happiness and the art of being” and to correct all what you wrote and you wouldn´t write now or would express in a very different way, Michael’. Michael has explained that the way he had expressed his ideas in his HAB, he does not do so now exactly in the same manner. Obviously, he has been refining the ways he expresses his ideas over the years.

However, no words can explain the higher spiritual truths. These can only be indicated.
Have you watched Michael’s recent video: 2020-04-11 Ramana Maharshi Foundation UK: discussion with Michael James on Ēkāṉma Pañcakam verse 5: This verse says:

What always exists is only that ēkātma-vastu [oneself, that one substance]. If at that time the ādi-guru [the original guru, Dakshinamurti] made that vastu known [only by] speaking without speaking, say, who can make it known [by] speaking?

So when even Dakshinamurti had to ultimately resort to silence in order to make that vastu (the ultimate substance) known, how can Michael or anybody else reveal the truth in words? Moreover, if people are not willing to understand, even the clearest explanations will not help them. So all we need to do is to put whatever we have understood into practice. Things will become clearer and clearer as we progress along the path of self-surrender and self-investigation.

I had unending doubts and I wrote 100s of emails to Michael in the past in order to clarify my doubts. But very few doubts remain now as far as the theory of Bhagavan’s teachings is concerned. Obviously, my understanding is still far from perfect, but the state of perfection can only be reached when we lose ourself in Bhagavan.



Asun said...

No, Sanjay, I haven´t watched that video, I´ve unsubscribed the channel.

Only knowledge is self-knowledge or “I am”, as well as the answer to all questions, anything we need to know, that will tell us, here is the summary of Ramana´s teachings and of any other genuine teaching. How many interpretations do we need of that?

Books, talks and discussions, are only for those who can´t separate self-awareness from body-awareness and hold onto it just for the love of it, and they can be endless, if not confusing and rambling:

“Sleep is having forgotten one’s existence consciousness, “I am,” and having drooped”, says Sadhu Om and Michael repeats in his book HAB explaining that “Self-forgetfulness is the sleep that underlies all the dreams that we ever experience, including our present dream, which we mistake to be a state of waking. This sleep of self-forgetfulness is what enables us to imagine that we are a limited person who feel a particular body to be I, and who perceives a world of multiple objects through the five senses of that body.”

Isn´t feeling “a particular body to be I” the definition of ego and, therefore, according to what Michael wrote in his book, the secondary form of maya that “perceives a world of multiple objects through the five senses of that body”? So, where his astonished response to my comment on this, as if I was saying a nonsense never heard before, comes from?

And he continues:

“The primal form of maya that first enables us to forget ourself is our power of self-obscuration, while the secondary form of maya that then enables us to imagine a multitude of thoughts and objects that are seemingly others than ourself is our power of dissipation. In waking and dream we experience the effects of both of these two forms of maya, but in sleep we only experience the effect of the primal form of maya, the power of self-forgetfulness.”

So, is it or is it not only pure awareness what exists and we experience in sleep as Bhagavan says and Michael urges us now to accept. Was Sadhu Om Ramana´s devotee with the clearest understanding of his teachings or wasn´t he and he would have refined his understanding too, to the point that we couldn´t recognize the previous one?

Really, if this is clarity, lights out and let´s go.

People think that Michael writes and talks to help them to understand Ramana´s teachings but it is people who writes and talk and ask to help Michael to understand Ramana´s teachings, though appearing to be the opposite, adhering to his last insight as if it was the ultimate truth on the teachings. I won´t play this game never again. Let him look after himself.

Bob said...

nevertheless, it is necessary to walk unfailingly in accordance with the path that guru has shown

Sanjay Lohia said...

Svarupa-smarana alone is sufficient

Bhagavan teaches us in paragraph 11 of Nan Ar?:

If one clings fast to svarupa-smarana [self-remembrance] until one attains svarupa [one's own actual self], that alone will be sufficient.

So Bhagavan is clearly implying here that if we are sincerely trying to practise atma-vichara, we need not practise any other sadhana. Michael James said in one of his recent videos: ‘Investigate yourself and surrender yourself. There is nothing more to add to that, and there is no teaching which is superior to that’.

However, I do not think we have really understood the uniqueness of Bhagavan’s teachings. We need to understand the uniqueness, the directness, of self-investigation in order to practise it wholeheartedly. As Michael says, ‘there is no teaching which is superior to that’.

Anonymous said...

Bhagavan’s teachings are based on his experiences. So unless one attain that state it is hard to understand his teachings. I have stopped reading his teachings since I have realized that all I have to do is : look within. I have given up the desire and wanting to understand everything.

Salazar said...

Asun, what a comment! The last paragraph leads to an unexpected conclusion, not sure what to make of that. By the way, I never was under the impression that Michael (or any other "teacher" like David Godman), writes and talks to help others. It's their vasanas and they have no choice doing that what they are doing. If they believe that they [as the ego] "help" others then that would be ego-delusion even if some people are feeling that way.

Your conclusion is not so far-fetched though, I comment here to articulate my understanding and that process seemingly deepens my understanding or it empties my mind of concepts. Eventually, I intuitively feel, that process will not be needed anymore and I'll just stay silent.

However, I do not see this as a game as you said, I see it as a symbiotic relationship where both parties benefit from that. Of course if your vasanas make you believe to see this as a game then you either leave or forget about that and keep commenting.

Either way, it is not in your power to decide that (even if you think you do or can) :-)

Salazar said...

Asun, I agree with you that, IMO, deep sleep is not "pure consciousness" but a very subtle stage of the body before thoughts arise (very close to "pure consciousness" though). My reasoning is if deep sleep would be pure consciousness then there would be not any remnants of mind or body and that would equal to liberation or manonasa.

However, out from deep sleep, or the anandamaya kosha, thoughts rise up again to form the gross body and world, or to form the subtle body (grosser than the anandamaya kosha) what we call dream.

Also, pure consciousness is beyond the waking state, dream, or deep sleep, the three koshas. Therefore it cannot be also solely deep sleep.

Now I'd like to see that with direct experience :-)

Sanjay Lohia said...

Anonymous, you say, ‘Bhagavan’s teachings are based on his experiences. So unless one attain that state it is hard to understand his teachings. I have stopped reading his teachings since I have realized that all I have to do is: look within. I have given up the desire and wanting to understand everything’.

We cannot understand Bhagavan’s teachings in a day, but we can definitely cultivate our understanding by sravana (reading and listening) and manana (reflection, thinking deeply) of Bhagavan’s teachings, and we can deepen our understanding by nididhyasana (the practice of self-investigation and self-surrender). So the more we engage in sravana, manana and nididhyasana, the more our understanding will mature. And these three are a continuous process in the life of sadhaka. These should happen all the time, and each one helps and strengthens the other two.

Yes, our prime task is to look within as much as possible, as frequently as possible, as keenly as possible. However, the more we read and understand Bhagavan’s teachings, the easier it will be to look within in a correct way. The more we reflect on Bhagavan’s path, the clearer the way will become. Bhagavan’s teachings are like a map. We don’t discard the map until we reach our destination. So why should we discard Bhagavan’s teachings before we reach our destination, which is experiencing ourself as we actually are?

Moreover, can you look within all the time? No, it is not possible for the majority of us. So when we are looking outwards, what is the best thing we can do? The best thing we can do is to read and reflect on Bhagavan’s teachings. Such reading and reflecting give us the immediate benefit of chitta-suddhi (purification of our will) if nothing else. Of course, they motivate us to turn within and stick to our self-ward journey. So we shouldn’t underestimate the value of reading and trying to understand Bhagavan’s teachings to the best of our ability.

Are you convinced by these arguments in any way?


Sanjay Lohia said...

Salazar, you say, ‘By the way, I never was under the impression that Michael (or any other "teacher" like David Godman), writes and talks to help others. It's their vasanas and they have no choice doing that what they are doing’. Michael helps himself and at the same time helps others when he writes or talks about Bhagavan’s teachings. If Michael still has ego (or more accurately, if ego still has Michael) he definitely gets benefitted by talking and writing about Bhagavan’s teachings.

However, to say that Michael’s vasanas forces him to write and talk about Bhagavan’s teachings may not be a very useful way of trying to Bhagavan’s teachings. According to me, Michael is a highly pure and evolved channel of grace. Bhagavan is using Michael’s body, speech and mind in a wonderful way to broadcast Bhagavan’s teachings. This is how I see it, so I remain ever grateful to Bhagavan and his chosen instrument, Sri Michael James.

Salazar said...

Sanjay, I have no objection to your comment.

Sanjay Lohia said...

Thanks, Salazar.

Anonymous said...

If you look at the core teachings of Bhagavan, all he has taught is only ‘to go within’. The more humble one becomes, more he/she will just practice it and not find a need to read anything more on that practice. The ‘going within’ process itself will become the teacher and guide the person. The need to learn more outside of ourself itself in my opinion is an activity of ego. Sravana, manana etc are all within you and not outside of you. There is more to learn and unlearn within you than from outside of you. Instead of spending the time in reading the same teachings again and again , if one spends the same amount of time in going within, he/she can learn more.

Rob P said...

Great article Michael, thank you so much. I have been reading the linked articles by yourself and David in recent weeks, so great timing!

All thanks to Bhagavan yes - but with all the videos and articles, your endless devotion to the truth ... just wanted to show my gratitude

Stay well everyone


Anonymous said...

Hi Sanjay,

Didn’t mean to be offensive in my prev. comment:).. i feel so nice being at home and being silent most of the time. I have stopped reading any spiritual book. So was just expressing my views..

anadi-ananta said...

Anonymous,
is it not said that we in our real substance are always "within" ?
Therefore avoiding going outwards is certainly at least equaly matched for going within.:-)

Sanjay Lohia said...

By turning our attention back towards ourself, we are turning our attention back towards Bhagavan

By turning our attention back towards ourself, we are turning our attention back towards Bhagavan. What is shining within ourself behind this veil of ego is Bhagavan as ‘I am’. So this is the truest and the deepest path of devotion that Bhagavan has taught us. Bhagavan’s nature is love, and the path he has taught us is love because only love can lead us to love.

• Based on the video: 2020-04-11 Ramana Maharshi Foundation UK: discussion with Michael James on Ēkāṉma Pañcakam verse 5 (45:00)

• My reflection: The way Michael explains these things is so beautiful, so I never get tired of reproducing his sayings over and over again. I love doing it, and this is also my tapas.

anadi-ananta said...

Sanjay,
how many variations of 'Bhagavan' do we have/know ?
Nr.1 - "What is shining within ourself behind this veil of ego is
Bhagavan as 'I am'."
Nr.2 - "Bhagavan’s nature is love,...".
Nr.3 - "Bhagavan has taught us...".

Nr.1 and Nr.2 - interior view: inner Bhagavan being our real nature, grace, brahman, atma-jnana, atma-svarupa, god, (supreme) self, love...
Nr.3 - exterior view: Bhagavan as our teacher and sadguru Sri Ramana Maharshi having had also a bodily form residing at Tiruvannamalai from 1896 till 1950

Or is there only one Bhagavan, including both Nr.1,Nr.2 as well as Nr.3 ?
Or do you possibly think there are some further variations of Bhagavan ?

Asun said...

Salazar, with my last paragraph I mean that Michael is in the process, still walking his walk, and that to walk my walk, I´ll talk only by myself in here, can´t consist in following the trace left by someone else´s footsteps who still is walking, because only this someone else knows what drives his steps which can be clarity as much as confusion but in any case, not my clarity nor my confusion. Blindly adhering to his conclusions, now this then the opposite, is of not help at all.

If I quote Sadhu Om, the book he wrote entitled “A light on the Teaching of Bhagavan Ramana Maharshi” and ask about what he wrote in this book, that according to Michael contradicts Bhagavan´s teachings, and Michael himself repeats it and explains in his own book , his response, if he is here to help others to understand Bhagavan´s teachings and not just to express his own conclusions urging others to accept them, can´t be that “if we want to understand Bhagavan’s teachings more deeply, clearly and correctly, we need to accept that nothing other than pure awareness exists in sleep”.

Did Sadhu Om write a book with that title to confirm the teaching Bhagavan gave to those who didn´t accept his teaching and then Michael repeats it and explain it in his own book? Very consistent all of it. He may or may not have his reasons for discarding this now and if I have put my trust in Sadhu Om and Michael to understand this teaching because supposedly they are ten steps ahead of us, I have to know his reasons because it is part of my process of understanding which, anyway, I´ll follow on my own and if it leads to discard what Sadhu Om and Michael wrote in their books, I will, and if not, I won´t, but not till then and only because Michael to say it.

This is why I say that he is not writing and talking to help people to understand Ramana´s teachings but rather using people´s comments and questions, those which he consider to be suitable for it, to clarify and dive into his own understanding that then he expresses in some article, for the greater glory of the teaching or of himself, not sure yet. Also because it is not only me who is aware of this dynamic he is following, others are aware too and they seem to accept it. There is a response in one of his videos by Viswanathan R. to someone complaining about the Spanish boy talking too much in which he says that it has to be so because that helps Michael to dive deeper in his own understanding so, that seems to be our role regarding to Mr James in this game he, and all of us, are playing in here but that I won´t play never again. I did it once and the result was a very good and helpful article, but not anymore. If this is something reciprocal, as you say, fine, but if reciprocity is subject to Michael´s personal interest, it is not such a one. As I said, let him look after himself. So I´ll do. I´m not so lazy and blunt or passive as for waiting for someone else to do my job, becoming a mere clapping spectator of his process. That and nothing is the same. It is my process and my relying and trust are on myself, not even in Ramana´s teachings which are just an aid and punctual guidance.
On the other hand, mimesis shown by some in this blog is really worrying, “is that clear now?”

Sorry about the extension of my response. I´m sure I´m not telling you anything you don´t already know. I´m just saying it out loud.

Sanjay Lohia said...

There is only one guru

About the term ‘adi-guru’ – ‘adi’ means original. Actually, there is only one guru. When we look outwards, we seem to see many gurus. There was Dakshinamurti who taught in silence. There was Krishna who taught Arjuna, and there were Jesus, Buddha and others. So it may seem that there are many gurus, but guru is only one. As Bhagavan says at the beginning of the 13th paragraph of Nan Ar, ‘God and guru are in truth not different’.

Since God is one, guru is also one. As Bhagavan often used to say, ‘God, guru and atma are all one and the same’. That is, God and guru is nothing but our real nature. Guru by its grace, by its infinite love, appears outwardly in human form in order to tell us to ‘turn back within’.

Bhagavan often used to say that grace is the beginning, the middle and the end. It is grace that has manifested in the form of Bhagavan. It is grace that has attracted us to Bhagavan and his teachings. It is grace that drives us to put his teachings into practice. It is grace that gives us the strength to persevere, and finally, it is grace that will swallow us. So everything is grace – from the beginning until the end. To tell the truth, there is only grace, nothing else.

• Based on the video: 2020-04-11 Ramana Maharshi Foundation UK: discussion with Michael James on Ēkāṉma Pañcakam verse 5 (00:28)

My reflection: Most of us have a chosen guru, but how many gurus are actually there? There is only one guru. So this is another unique revelation by Bhagavan. Actually, Bhagavan is the only guru that exists because Bhagavan is not that body which we mistake him to be. So all other seeming gurus are merely other forms of Bhagavan. So, in fact, Bhagavan is the adi-guru.

Sanjay Lohia said...

Except the path of self-investigation, there is no exact method of ‘how to surrender’?

A friend: How to surrender? Do we surrender by doing nothing? So, how to practically surrender?

Michael: Firstly, we are not able to do 'nothing'. Even when you are lying in bed, you are not doing ‘nothing’. You are lying on your bed. So long as you are identifying yourself with your body and mind, whatever state your body and mind is in, you have doership. ‘I am lying’, ‘I am doing nothing’ – it is all doership. So the only way to do nothing is to cease rising as ego, and thereby cease identifying ourself as this body and mind.

Secondly, there are different degrees of surrender. Surrender begins as our devotion to God. We want to accept whatever happens as God’s will – ‘whatever is happening is happening for my good’. Reflecting on this way can be an aid to surrender. But surrender means ‘letting go’, so to the extent we let go of other things, to that extent we are truly surrendered. As ego, we can let of other things only to a certain extent because the very nature of ego is grasping.

We are always grasping something or other, so if we want to let go completely, we need to free ourself of ego. So ultimately it is only by self-investigation that we can let go of everything else. By being self-attentive we not only let go of other things, but we also let go of ego. So ultimately self-surrender can be complete only by self-investigation.

However, until we have gone deep in the path of self-investigation, yes, accepting everything as Bhagavan’s will, learning not to be perturbed by joys and sorrows of life – all these things are part of surrender. However, except for the path of self-investigation, there is no exact method of ‘how to surrender’? There are aids to surrender: such as reflecting in certain ways, but the actual surrender means letting go.

Is there a method to let go? No, because every method involves something, and letting go means letting go of all methods, letting go of everything. In order to let go of everything, we need to cease grasping everything else. We need to cease grasping everything else and grasp only ourself. To the extent we grasp ourself, to that extent we let go of our hold on other things so ego subsides.

If we could surrender merely by lying on our bed the whole day, then surrender would be very easy. But that is not surrender - that is laziness.

• Based on the video: 2020-04-11 Ramana Maharshi Foundation UK: discussion with Michael James on Ēkāṉma Pañcakam verse 5 (02:03)

My reflection: So self-investigation is the only clear, sure and direct path of surrender. It is the one infallible means to surrender. We can adopt other methods of surrender like nishkamya-bhakti and reflection in certain ways, but we have not commenced the final leg of surrender until we have commenced self-investigation.

Sanjay Lohia said...

Bhagavan said if our true state had a beginning, it will certainly have an end, but it has no beginning

A friend: People say once you know the truth, you can’t unknow the truth. What do you say?

Michael: Truth is only one and you are that. So either you know yourself as you actually are, or you do not know yourself as you actually are. Once we know ourself as we actually are, that is a state of infinite, eternal, indivisible, immutable pure awareness and happiness. That cannot change. It is not even we achieve it at one stage and never lose it. Once ego is eradicated, we will see that is our eternal state. We have never been other than that. It is eternal, so it has no beginning and no end.

Bhagavan said it is had a beginning, it will certainly have an end, but it has no beginning. It is only from the perspective of ego that we feel ‘one day I am going to realise myself’. When we realise we will clearly know that there was never any ego, so there was never ever any self-ignorance. Self-realisation is a state of pure awareness, and that alone is real, and that alone exists eternally. That’s why Bhagavan said the real state is beyond liberation and bondage because liberation has a meaning only if there is bondage.

But when we know our real nature, we will know that we were never bound. So our true state is beyond knowledge and ignorance, beyond bondage and liberation – beyond all dualities. It’s immutable, never changing.

The friend: So we hold on that pure awareness?

Michael: You cannot let go of that. You don’t have to hold on to that because you are that. There are no two things – one to hold on to the other. Even now you are that but in order to see you are that you need to look at yourself keenly.

• Based on the video: 2020-04-11 Ramana Maharshi Foundation UK: discussion with Michael James on Ēkāṉma Pañcakam verse 5 (01:59)

Rajat said...

Reinhard says in his comment, "all models only want to further our investigation".

Is Bhagavan's teaching that this world is a dream also solely meant to convince us to investigate ourself? If this world is a dream, that means this world is unreal, and an unreal world can give, at best, only unreal happiness. But our quest for happiness is not unreal but very real, because Bhagavan himself 'legitimises' it in the first paragraph of Nan Yar -
"Since all living beings want to be always happy without what is called misery, since for everyone the greatest love is only for oneself, and since happiness alone is the cause for love, [in order] to obtain that happiness, which is one’s own nature, which one experiences daily in [dreamless] sleep, which is devoid of mind, oneself knowing oneself is necessary.

So to help us in our search for real happiness Bhagavan revealed the path to real happiness, guiding us away from the unreal happiness and misery of this world. If not for Bhagavan's radical revelation that happiness only lies within, we would have been truly lost. What an unfathomable act of kindness Bhagavan has done by giving us his teachings!

Michael said in response to my email asking about whether and how we can take Bhagavan's teachings as our friend, especially if we feel at times quite lonely even in the midst of friends and family, "Bhagavan's teachings are certainly my best friend, because they are my constant companion and guide. You ask in what way, to which the answer is by repeatedly studying them, thinking deeply about them and most importantly by trying our best to put them into practice."

I think in a way we can say that Bhagavan has already extended his offer of friendship because somehow his teachings have made their way into our lives. And if we are in want of a true friend we only have to study Bhagavan's teachings and practice self surrender and vichara..

Michael then said in that email, "Regarding loneliness, I understand what you mean, because we are alone in this world, however many friends and family members we may have, but if we are dedicating ourself to following Bhagavan's teachings we need not feel lonely, because he is always within us, shining within us as 'I' and gently drawing us back to himself. We never feel loneliness in sleep, so loneliness is just a state of mind, and hence we can overcome it by turning within to investigate ourself, the one to whom feelings of loneliness occur."

Michael James said...

A friend wrote to me, ‘I got a simple question, i.e, “be self attentive to your self”, In waking state my awareness is mixed awareness, i.e. ego, so “be attentively aware of myself” - does it mean attend to ego awareness knowingly (or aware who is aware of phenomena). My understanding is waking awareness (chithabhasha or reflected awareness) cannot know the pure awareness, unless it reveals itself’, in reply to which I wrote:

Ego differs from pure awareness only in appearance and not in substance, just as what seems to be a snake differs from the rope only in appearance and not in substance. If we look at the snake carefully enough, we will see that it is not a snake but just a rope. Likewise, if we attend to ego keenly enough, we will see that it is not ego but just pure awareness.

As you say, ego, which is just a seeming awareness (cidābhāsa), cannot know pure awareness, but it can dissolve and lose itself in pure awareness, after which only pure awareness remains, and pure awareness always knows itself. This is what Bhagavan meant in verse 21 of Uḷḷadu Nāṟpadu when he concluded: ‘ஊண் ஆதல் காண்’ (ūṇ ādal kāṇ), ‘Becoming food is seeing’. That is, we can know pure awareness only by being devoured by it.

Sanjay Lohia said...

Bhagavan: We consider it intelligent to plan and live wretchedly

The following are extracts from my recent email exchange with Michael:

Michael: Regarding planning, it is natural for us as ego to plan, but all planning is unnecessary, because everything has already been planned by Bhagavan, so we need to gradually wean our mind off its planning habit. The more we leave all our burdens, including the burden of planning, to him, the better it is for us. I often fail in this regard, but we just have to keep on trying.

Sanjay: Yes, I agree. All our planning is unnecessary because Bhagavan has already planned things for us. Can we ever hope to improve on his plans? We are being foolish if we think so. As you say, ‘so we need to gradually wean our mind off its planning habit. The more we leave all our burdens, including the burden of planning, to him, the better it is for us’. On the topic of planning, I recall what Bhagavan says as recorded in Day by Day:

Bhagavan: You may place any amount of food before the squirrels, but they will eat what they need and leave the rest behind. We consider it intelligent to plan and live wretchedly. See how many animals and birds live in the world without planning and stocking. Are they all dying? Monkeys too don't build nest or stock things. They eat what they can find and go and perch on trees when night falls. They are quite happy.

How beautiful and it is so relevant, especially in these uncertain times. Bhagavan also said in Day by Day that rat, for instance, takes everything it finds and stocks it in its holes. Thus Bhagavan implies that we should not live like rats but live like squirrels and monkeys. That is, we should live a carefree life depending fully on Bhagavan grace.

Sanjay Lohia said...

Bhagavan’s teachings are our best friend

Michael says in his comment addressed to Rajat: ‘Bhagavan's teachings are certainly my best friend, because they are my constant companion and guide’.

My reflection: Yes, so very true in my case too. Bhagavan’s teachings are like my friend too because I am with them for a majority of my time in the day. These teachings are also my companion and guide, as in the case of Michael. How do we nurture any friendship? We do so by being with our friends and by enjoying their company. So likewise we need to nurture our friendship with Bhagavan’s teachings by enjoying their company.

Bhagavan’s teachings are our only reliable guide. This guide will not fail us if we sincerely seek its guidance. Michael says his teachings are like a map, and we need this map to guide us until we reach our destination.

anadi-ananta said...

Sanjay,
regarding the topic of planning and "carefree life":
Acting without planning (and stocking) may be applicable to sadhus but not to householders whose sphere of responsibility is not confined/limited merely to themselves. Bhagavan's grace does not exclude the use of one's brain. A householder always would be sensible not to behave rashly or/and not to renounce reasonable conduct.

Salazar said...

anadi-ananta, your comment on 18 April 2020 at 10:30 shows again how little you have grasped from Bhagavan's teaching.

It doesn't matter if there is the role of a sadhu, householder, or if one lives alone or has a family of ten. What gives you the idea that Bhagavan's grace does not exclude the use of a, excuse me, "brain"? That statement is, I am sorry, nonsense.

Salazar said...

Asun, your comment is noted. Now I am not sure how relevant is the opinion from someone of what Michael seemingly needs to go deeper.

My best wishes.

Sanjay Lohia said...

If we are dedicating ourself to following Bhagavan's teachings we need not feel lonely

Michael wrote to Rajat:

We are alone in this world, however many friends and family members we may have, but if we are dedicating ourself to following Bhagavan's teachings we need not feel lonely, because he is always within us, shining within us as 'I' and gently drawing us back to himself. We never feel loneliness in sleep, so loneliness is just a state of mind, and hence we can overcome it by turning within to investigate ourself, the one to whom feelings of loneliness occur.

My reflection: As we move forward in our spiritual journey, we will find ourself to be more and more isolated. Even our family and friends may not understand us, and we may not understand them. This is natural because we are now moving in opposite directions. We are trying to move within, but they are still stuck up in this superficial world. So we are lonely.

However, as Michael says, ‘if we are dedicating ourself to following Bhagavan's teachings we need not feel lonely, because he is always within us, shining within us as 'I' and gently drawing us back to himself’. So we have Bhagavan’s teachings to fall on no matter where we are in our lives. So Bhagavan comes closer to us even while our family may move away from us.

Bhagavan’s love is our constant companion, and his grace is driving our lives. So we are enjoying Bhagavan’s company. We should let others enjoy this world as long as they want to.


Sanjay Lohia said...

Anadi-ananta, whatever Bhagavan has taught is a teaching for all of us. Bhagavan wants even the householders not to stock or hoard because he will give us whatever the things we need at the appropriate time. Our lives are a living testimony of this truth. However, we don’t listen to him and try to stock and hoard and consequently suffer. Why we suffer? It is because we don't live a Bhagavan-dependent life but ego-dependent life, and such life is always misery.

Sanjay Lohia said...

Our mind is still running towards this world because we have not had enough of this world

As ego, we are always looking for something new and interesting, and that is the problem. Until we give up all our desires and attachments, until we give up our desire for anything vishesha (vishesha means ‘anything special’ or ‘anything different), until we are satisfied just being what is, we won’t be willing to surrender ego.

Some people used to ask Bhagavan, ‘Bhagavan, though we have heard your teachings, why are our minds still going outwards?’ Bhagavan said, ‘because you have not had enough of this world’. So we still find this world interesting with all its news, wars, coronaviruses and all these things – these still capture our interest. Though it is a very unpleasant world, we are still fascinated by it.

So until we give up our fascination with this world, until we are ready to be satisfied with the state of mere being like the state of sleep, we don’t be willing to surrender ourself. Only when we become tired of all these endless dreams, will we be ready to surrender ourself completely and remain in the state of eternal sleep, which is eternal silence, happiness, love and happiness.

• Based on the video: 2020-04-11 Ramana Maharshi Foundation UK: discussion with Michael James on Ēkāṉma Pañcakam verse 5 (01:46)

Yo Soy Tu Mismo said...

Thank you very much Sanjay for your love to the teachings and for share this each day

anadi-ananta said...

Chief inspector, high priest and really clever headmaster Salazar has spoken. By the way, I never claimed to be a "much-grasper". This blog is not only for the upper class, also "little-graspers" are allowed to comment.
Best wishes.

Salazar said...

Living a care-free life as Sanjay has outlined goes along with "dropping of the baggage on a train". We all agree that is is stupid to carry baggage on a train. So why do we carry the baggage of the idea that we are the one's who are planning? That is what Bhagavan referred to when he talked about dropping baggage, he talked about dropping the baggage of the delusional idea of being the doer who is "providing" all this stuff. That is false! Because Bhagavn already has provided for that what is needed.

It seems for the mind it is planning, but that is maya, a delusion. Things will unfold the exact same way if we are thinking we plan or of we do not think about planning at all. That's a tough one because the ego is addicted to control, even after having read Bhagavan's pointers the ego cannot really believe what Bhagavan is saying. So it either goes in denial or finds a seemingly plausible rationalization to squeeze Bhagavan's teaching into its belief system.

As Bhagavan has stated, EVERY action of the body is predetermined by birth, that includes of course the purchase of a train or plane ticket at the right time and the purchase of goods etc. These actions do not have to be planned or even thought about, that is not necessary, it will happen as planned.

If the ego could really accept that its "intelligence" and so-called "efforts" [trying to affect the phenomenal world] are just wasted energy and are mostly actually an obstacle than help, like being worried if one can get a ticket and so on, then one can truly just "BE" and rejoice.

Until one can live totally and entirely in the present moment (without any concerns of the past and future), one will not realize self.

Salazar said...

anadi-ananta, you can comment as much as you like. However please allow me to point out the false notions about Bhagavan's teaching in many of your comments.

That brain comment of yours is another low-point of your stubborn mind.

My point is, you keep avoiding the truth of Bhagavan's teaching and keep posting your never-ending doubts without having made some progress whatsoever. We all cannot adhere practically to Bhagavan's teaching completely, but at least we should be able to adhere to it conceptually and stop questioning, as you keep doing, his teachings. It's quite annoying.

anadi-ananta said...

Sanjay,
why lamenting, even unreal ego is "Bhagavan-dependent".
Bhagavan is giving already and ever what we need at the appropriate time. Ego will get finally annihilated if one is ready for it. Is not Bhagavan the all-ruling power which gives the final ruling ?

anadi-ananta said...

Salazar,
should you not plainly look at yourself ? You apparently think you did eat wisdom spoonfully.:-)

Salazar said...

anadi-ananta, if you'd completely understand what "looking at oneself" means in its full context you'd realize the irony of your comment.

And again you are mixing absolute truth with relative truth, using an absolute truth argument to refute a relative truth one.

You said, "you apparently think you did eat wisdom spoonfully."

Hm, so that "should you not look plainly at yourself" suggestion is just for others but not for you I suppose? So besides being confused and insufficiently informed of Bhagavan's teaching you also seem to be a hypocrite.

anadi-ananta said...

Sanjay,
you say today, at 17:28, "Though it is a very unpleasant world, we are still fascinated by it."
Such statement can make only one who is blind in one eye. This world is certainly not completely unpleasant. If someone is not able to see or feel all the good aspects/divine work in this world one rapidly should go to bed.:-)

Rajat said...

In a recent video Michael explains that there is no midway between ego and self. Either we are aware of ourself as ego or as we really are. Michael has also explained that in our attempt to be self-attentive sometimes we turn 90 degrees towards ourself, sometimes 100, gradually moving closer and closer towards facing ourself as we actually are, 180 degrees. So it seems separating ego from its adjuncts is a gradual process of refinement, and this process takes us from 0 degrees to say 179.9 degrees. But whether we have turned 0 degrees or 45 or 179.9 we are still aware of ourself as ego. Finally when we look at ego carefully, after having stripped it of all adjuncts, the 180 degree happens and we are aware only of ourself as we really are. So it seems that though there are no steps or stages in this practice, it is both gradual and instantaneous.

Sanjay Lohia said...

Yo Soy Tu Mismo, I am glad that to know that others are benefitted by whatever I post. I have to thank Bhagavan wholeheartedly for giving me so much love for his teachings. His teachings are so fascinating, isn’t it?

I thank your group for your love for Bhagavan’s teachings. You are making good use of Michael’s vast, almost unlimited, knowledge of Bhagavan’s life and teachings. Michael is a rare gem, so the more we remain in his company, the more we will also start loving Bhagavan and teachings. So please continue posting the videos of Michael. Thank you.

Sanjay Lohia said...

Anadi-ananta, Michael said, ‘Though it is a very unpleasant world, we are still fascinated by it’, but you feel, ‘This world is certainly not completely unpleasant’. We exist as ego only because we find this world not completely unpleasant. So our attachment to this world keeps our ego and this world intact.

However, the more we attend to ourself, the more we start finding this world uninteresting and insipid. So only when we completely lose all interest in this world, will we be willing to turn a full 180 degrees within to face ourself alone. This will end our journey.

Sanjay Lohia said...

Salazar, I agree with you when you say, ‘Until one can live totally and entirely in the present moment (without any concerns of the past and future), one will not realize self’. Our past is already over, so we cannot undo it now. Things happened in the past only in accordance with our prarabdha, and things will happen in the future, likewise, only in accordance with our prarabdha. So it is foolishness to regret our past or worry about our future.

So we should focus only on our present. However, the word ‘present’ has a very deep meaning in Bhagavan’s teachings. Only we (atma-svarupa) are present and everything else is absent. Let us read and reflect the verses 15 and 16 of Ulladu Narpadu where Bhagavan talks about time:

15: Past and future stand holding the present. While occurring, they too are actually the present. The present is the only one. Not knowing the reality of now, trying to know the past or future is trying to count without one.

16: When we investigate, except we, where is time, where is place? If we are a body, we will be ensnared in time and place. Are we a body? Since we are the one, now, then and always, the one in place, here, there and everywhere, there is we, we. Time and place do not exist.

So we should try to know the reality of the present, and we can do only by trying to turn our entire attention within. We are present here and now, so we cannot know what is here and now by looking away from ourself. We are in really timeless and spaceless. So eventually when we experience ourself as we actually are, we will know that time itself was a fiction, a creation of ego.


Michael James said...

Asun, since before I briefly replied to one of your comments in my comment of 13 April 2020 at 12:25 I have been meaning to write an article in reply to several of your recent comments in order to clarify why it is sometimes said that self-forgetfulness remains in sleep, why such explanations are appropriate in certain contexts or in reply to certain questions, and why they do not actually contradict the deeper truth that what exists in sleep is only pure awareness, even though superficially they seem to do so. I have not had time to write this article yet due to other pressures, but I still hope to do so when I have time, so please bear with me. I understand your concern about this issue, and it certainly deserves clarification.

Though I have not yet had time to write what I intend to write, it is fresh in my mind, so when answering other questions in the discussion I had yesterday via Zoom with a group of Bhagavan’s in Houston I occasionally touched on this subject obliquely, so if you would like to watch the video of that discussion, 2020-04-18 Sri Ramana Center, Houston: discussion with Michael James on Uḷḷadu Nāṟpadu verse 39, or listen to an audio copy of it, you may find in it some ideas that could at least partially clarify this matter for you.

anadi-ananta said...

Sanjay,
the world is nothing but brahman. If you consider brahman "completely unpleasant" you must put the blame for your sight on your eye.

Michael James said...

Anadi-ananta, regarding your comments of 18 April 2020 at 22:09 and 19 April 2020 at 10:00, in which you argue that ‘This world is certainly not completely unpleasant’, please consider what Bhagavan teaches us in the fourteenth paragraph of Nāṉ Ār?, particularly in the following portions:

சுகமென்பது ஆத்மாவின் சொரூபமே; சுகமும் ஆத்மசொரூபமும் வேறன்று. ஆத்மசுகம் ஒன்றே யுள்ளது; அதுவே ஸத்யம். பிரபஞ்சப்பொருள் ஒன்றிலாவது சுகமென்பது கிடையாது. அவைகளிலிருந்து சுகம் கிடைப்பதாக நாம் நமது அவிவேகத்தால் நினைக்கின்றோம். மனம் வெளியில் வரும்போது துக்கத்தை யனுபவிக்கிறது. [...] ஆனால் அஞ்ஞானியின் மனமோ பிரபஞ்சத்தி லுழன்று துக்கப்படுவதும், சிறிது நேரம் பிரம்மத்திற்குத் திரும்பி சுக மடைவதுமா யிருக்கிறது. ஜக மென்பது நினைவே. ஜகம் மறையும்போது அதாவது நினைவற்றபோது மனம் ஆனந்தத்தை யனுபவிக்கின்றது; ஜகம் தோன்றும்போது அது துக்கத்தை யனுபவிக்கின்றது.

sukham-eṉbadu ātmāviṉ sorūpamē; sukhamum ātma-sorūpamum vēṟaṉḏṟu. ātma-sukham oṉḏṟē y-uḷḷadu; aduvē satyam. pirapañca-p-poruḷ oṉḏṟil-āvadu sukham-eṉbadu kiḍaiyādu. avaigaḷilirundu sukham kiḍaippadāha nām namadu avivēkattāl niṉaikkiṉḏṟōm. maṉam veḷiyil varum-pōdu duḥkhattai y-aṉubhavikkiṟadu. [...] āṉāl aññāṉiyiṉ maṉamō pirapañcattil uṙaṉḏṟu duḥkha-p-paḍuvadum, siṟidu nēram birammattiṟku-t tirumbi sukham aḍaivadum-āy irukkiṟadu. jagam eṉbadu niṉaivē. jagam maṟaiyum-bōdu adāvadu niṉaivaṯṟa-bōdu maṉam āṉandattai y-aṉubhavikkiṉḏṟadu; jagam tōṉḏṟum-pōdu adu duḥkhattai y-aṉubhavikkiṉḏṟadu.

English translation: What is called sukha [happiness or satisfaction] is only the svarūpa [real nature] of ātmā [oneself]; sukha and ātma-svarūpa are not different. Ātma-sukha [happiness that is oneself] alone exists; that alone is real. What is called sukha is not found [obtained or available] in even one of the objects of the world. We think that happiness is obtained from them because of our avivēka [lack of judgement, discrimination or ability to distinguish one thing from another]. When the mind comes out [from ātma-svarūpa], it experiences duḥkha [dissatisfaction or suffering]. [...] But the mind of the ajñāni remains experiencing duḥkha [by] roaming about in the world, and for a short while obtaining sukha [by] returning to brahman. What is called the world is only thought. When the world disappears, that is, when thought ceases, the mind experiences happiness; when the world appears, it experiences duḥkha.

anadi-ananta said...

Michael, thank you for your comment.
But I dare to maintain that at least my experience even in the midst of world-appearance some happiness or satisfaction can be seen or felt by our senses. Of course I don't claim having transcended the mind of the ajñāni and avivēka [lack of judgement, discrimination or ability to distinguish one thing from another]. :-)

Sanjay Lohia said...

Does Bhagavan change our prarabdha in exceptional circumstances?

The following is an extract of my exchange with Sachal in the comment section of Michael’s video: 2020-04-12 Ramana Satsang group, Bay Area: Michael James discusses the path of self-surrender:

Sachal Tyagi: Thank you for this talk Michael. I have one question about Surrender . I read in the book on your website , The Path Of Sri Ramana-Part 2 by Sri Sadhu Om. In the chapter of Karma, it says that when one truly and totally surrenders.. Then the Bhagavan (I Am) takes over and has the Power to arrest, stop or change the Prarabdha as Bhagavan wants...

I also read this in the book, Living by the words of Bhagavan by David Godman .. In that Annamalai Swami also said that when one totally surrenders to the I Am, then and only then the Supreme takes over and has the power to mold the Prarabdha of the Jiva in the best suitable direction..

What does this mean Michael? Because Bhagavan also said to his mother that Destiny can't be altered even an iota and this is certain...

PS : I understand that when one totally surrenders to the will of Bhagavan then this question about Prarabdha becomes irrelevant . However I just wanted to know that what Sri Sadhu Om and Annamalai Swami wanted to imply by saying this.. Does it really happen that Bhagavan can change anything or is it just said as an encouragement to totally surrender to Bhagavan??

Sanjay Lohia: Sachal, the following is 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.

So I do not think Bhagavan has indicated at any place that God changes our prarabdha for whatever reason. I also remember having read in Sadhu Om’s book that there have been certain instances when God has indeed changed the destiny of certain devotees. Why did God change their destinies? My question will be, how can we be sure that their destinies were changed? They may have imagined that their destinies have been changed by God, but the imagined change could be part of their original destiny.

Moreover, how will we benefit in any way if we want our destinies to be changed? If our outward life is just a dream, what will we gain by wanting and trying to change this dream? Our only task should be to wake up from this dream and not pray to Bhagavan to change this or that in our worldly life.

If Bhagavan has ordained our destiny, he must be having the power to change it as and when he wants to change it. However, according to my understanding, Bhagavan does not change our destiny. He has ordained our destiny keeping our spiritual progress in mind, so why would he change our destiny now? If he changes our destiny, then it would prove that he was wrong in the first place. We can say that Bhagavan is forced by his infinite love to change our destinies in some exceptional cases, but I doubt if this really happens. Michael may clarify this subject further.

Anonymous said...

Not really Sanjay. World is real and is nothing but self. Instead of losing interest in world , one should start seeing the real Self in the world.

Anonymous said...

I agree. I just replied to Sanjay saying similar to what you have said.

Salazar said...

It is imperative to realize that any pleasantness experienced through the senses is poisoned. To deny this is ignorance. It is the ignorance of the attachment to the body.

Why or why is that not accepted? Why is it not recognized that this persistence of claiming happiness through the senses is the very nature of bondage? As long as one claims to experience happiness through the senses one will never taste true happiness.

Oh I know, let's just call this world Brahman. And from that we conclude, bingo - if the world is Brahman then my pleasure and all objects I perceive must be Brahman too. Alas, here one omits one crucial fact and that is that Bhagavan taught that the world is only Brahman if it is perceived as self and not as an object. Any experience is through an object and thus cannot be Brahman.

Salazar said...

Anonymous, so who is seeing self? One cannot see self in the world, that is false! To try to see the world as self is quite ignorant.

anadi-ananta said...

Is the entire life predestined in all its details ? Or is there also predetermination only for definite/particular periods of lifetime ?
For instance if one is destined to experience a difficult life and especially a strenuous, wearisome, hard, complicated or thorny childhood and if one has overcome this difficulties with bravery and great patience then perhaps destiny could become changed for the following chapter(s) in life in which living conditions are more friendly and therefore coping with life becomes much easier.

Asun said...

Michael,

When my dog-friend passed away and body-awareness, form and name, dropped off, what remained was the one that only exists, pervading everything and nothing since everything is just an appearance and therefore nothing in itself but at the same time the one that exists, as it happens with gold and the different forms it can adopt. I could experience it because I could leave aside form and name and concentrate all attention only on love which is what is the one that only exists, extremely subtle I must add, so, and since in sleep body-awareness drops off, I have no problem in accepting that what remains in sleep is the one that exists and that, therefore, in sleep we experience ourself as what we really are, likewise we do in any other state, as soon as the body-awareness drops off. I also agree with what you say in this video that that is what is constant, and body-awareness along with all what it brings about, is what comes and goes and, therefore, what is really exceptional.

You also say in this video that we can´t recollect that we experience ourself as what we really are in sleep because now we are not aware of ourself as what we actually are and that, if we are not aware of ourself as what we actually are now, we cannot be aware of what we actually were in sleep, that our recollection of sleep is clouded by our present self-forgetfulness, but this doesn´t fit with my own experience since, in spite of not being aware of ourself as what we really are now, I still can recollect the experience of the one that exists at that moment during the waking state so, in my view, there must be something else to sleep and this something else to me is that, while in the waking state ego which is ultimately pure awareness and what is aware of itself as self-awareness as well as of the body or as “I am this body”, can make use of its tools in order to know itself as what it really is, in sleep it can´t make use of intellect which is its tool to discriminate nor of its will to turn towards itself because they become deactivated due to the prevalence of the guna tamas which is a feature of mind which implies that mind-ego-self-forgetfulness still remains in sleep , meaning that “in sleep we only experience the effect of the primal form of maya, the power of self-forgetfulness” as you wrote in your book HAB and that “sleep is having forgotten one’s existence consciousness, “I am,” and having drooped” as Sadhu Om states in his book S.S. So, yes, what remains in sleep is the one that exists but not “only”.

Obviously, you can argue that what I experienced wasn´t the true experience of the one that only exists and you would be right, otherwise I shouldn´t be here anymore, but this is the only light I have and I can make use of. Now, if you can ruin my reasoning, I hear you. There is no rush.

Sorry about the extension of my response.

Salazar said...

A devotee of Bhagavan is not supposed to overcome the hardships of this world (the dreamer tries to alter the dream) but to recognize/realize that these hardships are not real. To try to overcome hardships is ignorance. It is the ignorance of the attachment to the body.

There is nobody who is overcoming any hardships. The hardship and the seeming overcoming of it is entirely imagined. That's why vichara is imperative, without vichara these are just empty and meaningless words.

Anonymous said...

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


The above is from ulladu narpadhu. World cannot exist without self as substratum. World is not a lifeless entity. World is contained in Self. The knot (ego and self) projects the world. So when we keep eliminating the egoness within us, our outlook towards the world will change and we and world will become just the same Self when we completely eradicate the ego.

Bhagavan in the above verse didn’t explicitly say that world doesn’t exist for realized beings. He only said that for realized beings truth will shine as the very basis of the world. He didn’t get rid of the word ‘world’ at all.

One of the core principle of hindu philosophy is to treat everything as God, if I understood it right:) . Hence we have so many gods. This outlook to see godliness in world is very important for us to make progress in our practice.

anadi-ananta said...

No joke, one must be on one's guard: even so called spiritual practice evidently can make one cracking up and blinded. In spirituality one seems to be never out of danger to be victim of considerable dulling of one's mind.:-)

Sanjay Lohia said...

Our willingness to surrender to God is what is called bhakti or love for God

In order to surrender to God, only one thing is required on our part: our willingness. That willingness is what is called bhakti or love for God. So God is taking care of everything, but he has given us one little responsibility. We must be willing to surrender ourself to him. God is ready to swallow us here and now, but he will not do so until we are willing to give ourself to him. God will not kill us until we are willing to be killed by him - kill us means to dissolve the ego, remove this seeming distinction between him and us.

This willingness is bhakti, and Bhagavan said bhakti is the mother of jnana. Jnana is a state in which we dissolve and lose ourself completely in God. So we must be willing to let go.

• Based on the video: 2020-04-19 Yo Soy Tu Mismo: Michael James discusses doership and responsibility (1:01)

My reflection: Simply simply beautiful!

Michael has explained our spiritual journey so beautifully and clearly. God is taking care of everything in our material and spiritual life, and he is even willing to destroy this ego here and now. All he needs from our side is our willingness to be destroyed by him. This willingness is real bhakti or real love for God.



anadi-ananta said...

Sanjay,
"God is taking care of everything in our material and spiritual life, and he is even willing to destroy this ego here and now."
Therefore God can/may/will also develop the required willingness which is real bhakti or real love for God.

Salazar said...

Anonymous, that "core principle" of Hindu philosophy is a lesser practice for those who have not understood the teachings from Bhagavan. So treating everybody as God is not a bad practice but it is a minor practice since it cannot lead to realization. It is, as so many lesser practices, a subject-object relationship.

Now this endless discussion about the "reality" of the world, good grief I am not interested in that. Too many discussion already have passed on this blog about that.

In short, to try see the world as self is ignorance. Why? Not because the world is not self, but that this would be a subject-object relationship. One can only see the world as self AS self. And that leads back to vichara. You, the entity Anonymous, will NEVER be able to see the world as self. So once that is understood one will not pursue further this minor practice.

Sanjay Lohia said...

Some explanations are useful on this path, but more explanations lead to endless philosophy

A friend: We talk about prarabdha karma, but what happens in our first life?

Michael: [laughs] It all started when ego rose, but if you want to find out how ego rose, you don’t have to go back in time, unlike the scientists who have to go back in time to find out when Big-Bang started. We as ego start each and every moment. So let us find out here and now how does ego rise? In order to see how it arose, we have to look at it very carefully.

Suppose a rabbit is coming out of its hole, but every time it peeps out since you are looking at it, it goes back in. But when it sees you are not looking at it, it goes out and plays. Ego is like that, so we need to constantly keep an eye on that rabbit hole – that is ourself. Where is this ego peeping out from? If we are keeping a constant watch on ourself, ego will be hiding and waiting for us to be inattentive. So if we attend to ourself keenly enough to find out how this ego rose, we will eventually merge back into our source. Then we will find ego never rose. So the problem is solved.

Ultimately all this is maya, and ego itself is maya. And maya is anirvachaniya, which means inexplicable. We cannot explain maya, so let us not try explaining it. Let us see how it came into existence. Since maya is nothing but ego, let us investigate ourself. When we investigate ego, we will find there was never any such thing. So, prarabdha, agamya, sanchita and first life never existed in the first place. What exists is only ‘I am’.

So if we try to explain maya, it is endless. That’s the job of the scientists and philosophers. All their attempts to explain this manifestation is their attempt to explain this maya. They can go on for yugas after yugas after yugas, but they cannot explain these things fully. But if we really want to understand the secret of maya, we need to turn within and see that maya simply doesn’t exist.

Some explanations are useful on this path, but more explanations lead to endless philosophy. We can write volumes and volumes and volumes of explanations, but ultimately we have to come back to practice. Why ultimately – here and now we have come back to practice. Why delay things? Bhagavan has given us some explanations and those explanations are useful to help us turn within.

Whatever Bhagavan taught us, his sole aim was to help us turn within. So all that matters is that we turn within. So if the explanations help us to turn within, well and good, if not forget the explanations. Simply turn within. That’s all that matters. Our intellects are like Brahma – going up and up and up, and going up or outside can have no end. We need to subside with. That is the end.

• Based on the video: 2020-04-18 Sri Ramana Center, Houston: discussion with Michael James on Uḷḷadu Nāṟpadu verse 39 (1:20)

Salazar said...

Trying to overcome hardship (or anything for that matter) and to try to see the world as self have both something in common: They are a subject-object relationship, or an outward attention. How can that outward attention accomplish anything but to grow evermore the outward phenomenal world or maya? It is counterproductive and a delusion.

That must be clear for every devotee of Bhagavan. It is a fundamental truth.

Asun said...

“even so called spiritual practice evidently can make one cracking up and blinded.”

Anadi-ananta, it is not spiritual practice what “makes one cracking up and blinded”. Had you written that even practicing self-investigation we still seemingly crack up and get blinded, I would agree. Becoming aware of it, it is due precisely to the practice shedding light on darkness and dispelling it.

Sanjay Lohia said...

We do want liberation, but we don't want it enough

Actions are finite, so finite actions can only bring about finite results. Liberation is beyond all limitations, so actions cannot be a cause of liberation. That’s a fundamental principle of Bhagavan’s teachings and also of Shankara’s teachings.

Liberation has nothing to do with prarabdha. Liberation is the annihilation of ego or non-rising of ego. So we can attain liberation only by turning our attention within. Prarabdha cannot make us turn our attention within. That is entirely up to us. Do we want to turn within or not? So it is our will that determines whether we turn our attention within or continue facing outside. Prarabdha determines what are to experience so long as we are facing outside.

Do we want to turn within and surrender ourself? Do we want to see ‘who am I?’ Who is this ‘I’ which is rising and who wants to do this and that? So whatever our destiny may be, we are always free to investigate ourself and thereby attain liberation. All that is required is willingness. If we really want liberation, it is ours here and now. The problem is we say we want liberation, but we also want so many other things. Only when we give up all desires for everything else and want only liberation, then liberation is very easy.

Bhagavan once jokingly said: 'Everyone who comes here says they have come here only for liberation, but if I show them even a small sample of liberation, all the crows will fly away and I will be left sitting here alone'. We do want liberation, but we don't want it enough. Our love for liberation should be all-consuming. We need to give up all other desires and desire just to be - not to rise or know anything.

• Based on the video: 2020-04-19 Yo Soy Tu Mismo: Michael James discusses doership and responsibility (00:39)


anadi-ananta said...

Sanjay,
thanks again for your transcription.
When you write yesterday (at 17:17) at the end of your comment "We need to subside with." you presumably mean instead the word "with"..."within (ourself)" or "inside" or "inwards".

anadi-ananta said...

Asun,
as you say, our practice should shed light on darkness and dispelling it.

Yo Soy Tu Mismo said...

Añadí-ananta and that requires not only turning inward but identifying very finely and clearly all the deceptions that we continue to retain as the person we think we are

anadi-ananta said...

Yo Soy Tu Mismo,
of course, the error of forgetting one's true nature is actually disastrous.

Sanjay Lohia said...

Anadi-ananta, what I meant was 'We need to subside within'. Thank you.

Col said...

All you have to do is look. But where? Don't focus on the world focus on self. It is just like riding bike. Persistence, persistence, persistence.

What is important is sincerity and humbleness. Let go and surrender your desires, surrender your sense of doership. Let the heart guide you to the centre. That is to say let love guide you.

Written word and the beautiful poetry will not compare to the happiness one will feel to let go of the world. Why must we continue to suffer with our will? What are you looking for that is already here now?

Sanjay Lohia said...

We have to be patient and persistent if we want to win this battle

Bhagavan ends the 11th paragraph of Nan Ar? by saying:

So long as enemies [namely viṣaya-vāsanās] are within the fort [namely one’s heart], they will be continuously coming out from it. If one is continuously cutting down [or destroying] all of them as and when they come, the fort will [eventually] be captured.

All our likes, dislikes, desires, attachments, hopes, fears and so on are dragging our attention outwards. All these are called vishaya-vasanas. Bhagavan compares these vasanas to our enemies within a fortress. If we want to capture this fortress, we need to surround it, metaphorically speaking. This fortress means our heart. So we lay siege to this fortress by turning our attention within. So long as we continue to surround it, the enemies will continue to come out. They come out in order to distract our attention away from ourself.

Bhagavan says as and when they come out, if we continue cutting them with the sword of vichara, eventually we will capture the fort. When most of them have come out, a few who remain inside can no longer defend the fortress. So then the way is free for us to go inside and capture the fortress.

So we have to be patient and persistent if we want to win this battle. All we need to do to win this battle is that whenever our attention is diverted outwards, we need to turn it back within. By doing so we are killing our enemies - our vishaya-vasanas. So the enemy army is becoming weaker and weaker. Eventually, it will be easy for us to capture the fortress.

• Based on the video: Based on the video: 2020-04-19 Yo Soy Tu Mismo: Michael James discusses doership and responsibility (01:33)

Note: ‘Siege’ is a military operation in which enemy forces surround a town or building, cutting off essential supplies, with the aim of compelling those inside to surrender.

R Viswanathan said...

"One cannot see self in the world, that is false! To try to see the world as self is quite ignorant."

I remember that there was an interesting article by Sri Michael James with the given below title when I shared my excitement upon reading Sri John Grimes' book:
"If we investigate the ego closely enough we will see that it is only brahman, but however closely we investigate the world we can never thereby see that it is brahman"

http://happinessofbeing.blogspot.com/2018/03/if-we-investigate-ego-closely-enough-we.html

Salazar said...

Sanjay, the longer I practice the more it becomes painfully clear how little my willingness really is. Also, one can really not blame anything outside of ourselves, it is truly us who is the obstacle. Thank God for the grace of Bhagavan, without it we'd be all doomed.

Sanjay Lohia said...

In the ultimate analysis, we are responsible for our rising as ego and for whatever we are experiencing now

Rossriver75: Michael, could you please clarify how it is I am “free” to choose to look either “inwardly” or “outwardly”? How is that choice different from any other “right” or “wrong” decisions that I make in my daily life, and for which I am in those cases not responsible?

Sanjay Lohia: Rossriver75, in the ultimate analysis, God doesn’t want us to rise as ego and to experience this or that, or do this or that. So we are responsible for our rising as this ego and for whatever we are experiencing now. We may not be able to change whatever we are to experience in our external life, but whatever we experience is just the fruit of our actions which have done in the past by our will. So in this sense, we are responsible for whatever is happening in our life. So whatever we are seeing or experiencing in front of us as this life is like a cinema show. We cannot change it by our will. However, we are free to walk out of the movie hall.

Likewise, as long as we looking away from ourself, we will experience whatever we are destined to experience, but we are always free to turn back our attention away from everything else to face ourself alone. So we can transcend our prarabdha by not paying attention to it. And when this ego is destroyed, all our three karmas are destroyed along with it never to appear again.

• Extracted from the comment section of Michael’s video: 2020-04-19 Yo Soy Tu Mismo: Michael James discusses doership and responsibility

Salazar said...

Sanjay, "what happened to our first life?". I had that thought in the past too because one wonders how all of this accumulated karma came about. Like how and why became 'I' attached to certain things or beliefs?

I have to laugh reading that Michael laughed hearing this question. Because questions like that just perpetuate maya, the story of the [imagined] ego. So thoughts like that are not productive at all, quite the opposite, it feeds the ego and keeps the story alive.

It takes some time to realize that we just have to focus on vichara and be unconcerned about what this body is doing and what this mind is thinking.

The other day my body came into an (for the mind) embarrassing situation and it is the perfect example how we react to that because of the identification with that body. It created the usual mind story until it was caught and stopped and I just dropped it.

One could entertain all kind of thoughts: What do people think about me, is my promotion affected by that, is my boss now thinking less of me, etc.

But that's all irrelevant since that embarrassing situation already had happened when this jiva seemingly was born/arose. Without the thought story and the belief to be actually that body and mind, what really had transpired? Nothing!!!

Because self is beyond this dream of a body and mind. The mistake is to pay attention to the embarrassing situation instead to just self. With full attention to self anything else transpiring would not even have been noticed and thus did not happen.

Sanjay Lohia said...

Until our doership goes, we are the doers of whatever our ego may be doing or not doing

Blueskythinking83: I would love to wake up and do nothing all day. But I know that I must at least try to do something to change my lot. For me this means studying to get a degree. But I don't always feel motivated to do this. How can I make peace with this apparent conflict within me?

Sanjay Lohia: Blueskythinking83, you say, ‘I would love to wake up and do nothing all day’. In this current situation, we are rising every day and doing nothing from our normal worldly perspective, but how is this helping us? We still experience ourself as this ego that is doing nothing. So our doership is still intact. As Michael explained to a lady in one of his recent videos, even if one remains in one’s bed the whole day, one is still doing things because one is still identifying with one’s body and mind which is lying in bed ‘doing nothing’.

So our aim is not to do ‘nothing’, but our aim is to sever our connection with our body and mind which seeming does something or does nothing. So until our doership goes, we are the doers of whatever our ego may be doing or not doing.

You believe you must try to do something to change your lot and for this, you think you need to study to get a degree. However, if you are destined to get a degree, your body and mind will be made to do all that is necessary to get this degree. So, whether you get a degree or not will depend on your destiny. You need not be bothered about it. If you are not destined to get a degree, in spite of all your efforts you will not able to get this degree. You may even drop out in the middle of your studies.

You wonder, ‘How can I make peace with this apparent conflict within me?’ Bhagavan answers you by saying ‘by remaining silently being’. How can we remain silently being? We can do so by remaining attentively self-aware as much as possible. We should remember that we are like a passenger on a train. This train is not only carrying us but also carrying all our suitcases. So we should travel happily by putting our luggage on the luggage rack instead of foolishly carrying them on our heads. This means that our external life is being taken care of entirely by one supreme power, Bhagavan. So we should place all our worldly burdens on Bhagavan and live our lives happily.

• Extract from the comment section of the video: 2020-04-19 Yo Soy Tu Mismo: Michael James discusses doership and responsibility



Salazar said...

anadi-ananta, re. your comment on 21 April 2020 at 12:18, that is not what Yo Soy Tu Mismo meant. It seems you are deliberately ignoring what Yo Soy is hinting at ... and if not then I really start to wonder ....

anadi-ananta said...

Salazar,
in ignoring - deliberately or not - what others mean just you are a master. And on the other hand starting wondering is never too bad... :-)

anadi-ananta said...

Salazar,
and what the Spaniard almost before lunch hour expressed today, everyone safely can take literally as a general rule because no one is immune to the delusion of the erring mind and its confused thinking.

Salazar said...

Re. the "virus", Professor Ionnadis from Stanford University finished a comprehensive anti-body test of 3,000 subjects from a county close to Stanford, CA and the results confirm that the death rate of the Wuhan-virus is about the same as of the ordinary flu.

According to that,he added, all of the world-wide shutdowns and quarantines are way overboard and are more harmful than actually useful. Something I, and many others, suspected the whole time.

Now are politicians going to apologize and conceit to their hysteria? No, in fact this data will be ignored and this hoax will go on as planned. Big Pharma also still needs to make money from their vaccine which will be ineffective since by the time it is ready the virus will have mutated (as all flu viruses do) and the effectiveness will be around 25% or less.

In fact, it is suggested by epidemiologists who are not in the pockets of Big Pharma to not take that vaccine when it is ready for multiple reasons.

Sanjay Lohia said...

Bhagavan: Even though one places whatever amount of burden upon God, that entire amount he will bear - part one

Rajat: @Sanjay Lohia thanks you for your helpful reply. This question is very relevant to me too. Say if i have to get a better job i have to do some courses. Now if i am meant to get the job this body and mind will be made to do those courses. If im not meant to get a better job it doesn't even matter if i do the courses because i won't get the job anyway.

The latter case is clear but in the former case how exactly will the body and mind be "made to do the courses"? Because there are a whole lot of steps to doing those courses, starting right from opening the laptop, and it seems those are all choices that I have to take. I know from Bhagavan's teachings that nothing is in my hands, that no matter what i try to do or what choices i try to take, what happens is already predetermined.

I end up choosing not working on those courses, partly because of laziness and lack of motivation but also because Bhagavan has said that if it is meant to happen it will happen, and not otherwise. Does this mean that if im meant to get the better job I'll suddenly find myself inspired and motivated to get that job?

I think the main problem is that I want to get the better job. I don't know if it's in my destiny to get the better job. If I drop the luggage on the train as Bhagavan advises i will definitely not try to do those courses, which is fine if it's not in my destiny either. But if I am meant to get that job, I should choose to do those courses. How will this choice be taken for me?

Maybe my current company will shut down or I'll be fired, and then the only choice will be to get a better job if I am to survive and pay rent. But even then I could ask myself, why should I survive, and to choose to get a job, Bhagavan will take care of that.. I think there shouldn't even be a desire to survive, we have to be so unconcerned with this outward life, only then have we really surrendered to Bhagavan and put the luggage on the train as he advises.

Still the question remains, at this moment, should i just sit quietly, trying to be self attentive, or should i open that course and work in it.

Rajat: @Sanjay Lohia You say the train is not only carrying us but also our luggage. Here i think 'us' refers to the ego, because ego is holding on to adjuncts or luggage. In what way is Bhagavan, the train in the analogy, carrying this ego? Does it mean he is carrying the ego towards liberation, which is It's own annihilation? Have i stretched the analogy?

To be continued in my next comment:

Sanjay Lohia said...

Even though one places whatever amount of burden upon God, that entire amount he will bear - part two

Sanjay Lohia: Rajat, Krishna says in Bhagavad Gita that the mystery of karma can never be understood by anyone. So we can never clearly understand how our agamya (the actions we do by our will) and our prarabdha (which includes our predestined actions which our body, speech and mind do in order for us to experience whatever we are destined to experience) work and interact with each other.

If you are destined to get a new job, you will be somehow made to do all that is required to get this new job. Even if you remain totally self-attentive and therefore are not willing to look for a new job, someone will wake you up from your self-attentiveness and prompt you to apply for this job, and you will automatically follow the prompting. So things will happen as they are meant to happen and when they are meant to happen. Your body, speech and mind will be made to apply for this new job even in spite of your not wanting this job, and you will get also this job. Bhagavan teaches us in the 13th paragraph of Nan Ar?:

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

So what I suggest is that you place all your burdens on Bhagavan. Pray to him wholeheartedly – ‘Bhagavan, you know my situation better than I know mine? So take care of me in the way you feel appropriate. I leave everything on you’. Once you do so, just forget about your bodily life, and remain as much self-attentive a possible. You have now left your luggage on the train that is Bhagavan. He will make you do whatever needs to be done. Please try this out and see what happens.

When I said the train is carrying us and also carrying our luggage, by ‘us’ I mainly meant the person we seem to be, which in our case is Rajat or Sanjay. So Bhagavan is carrying all the burdens of Rajat or Sanjay, whether we know it or not. Bhagavan is taking care of Rajat and whatever or whoever is dependent on Rajat. However, Bhagavan is also guiding this ego to its destination, so Bhagavan is constantly serving this ego and the person this ego seems to be in various ways.

You ask, ‘Does it mean he is carrying the ego towards liberation, which is It's own annihilation?’ Yes and no. Bhagavan’s grace is definitely working overtime, metaphorically speaking, to see that we surrender. Grace is the beginning, the middle and the end of our sadhana. However, we (this ego) need to yield to this grace. We need to be willing to be consumed by grace, and this willingness is absolutely crucial. We need to be willing to turn our entire attention within and be willing to drown in the infinite clarity of pure self-awareness. So we have to play our small part by attending wholeheartedly to Bhagavan. He will do the rest.

• The above is a reproduction of the comments from the comment section of Michael’s video: 2020-04-19 Yo Soy Tu Mismo: Michael James discusses doership and responsibility


Sanjay Lohia said...

Salazar, our friend asked Michael; ‘We talk about prarabdha karma, but what happens in our first life? He was asking a perfectly logical question? A philosopher or a person learned in the religious texts may have answered this question quite differently. They would have confused us by giving us some philosophy or some religious interpretation. What is the use of such answers? However, what Michael explained brought back our attention to the origin of ego.

Our first life and all the subsequent lives make sense only if they are real. But if they are mere dreams, why to unnecessarily go on analysing it? What Michael said in this regards needs reiteration:

Whatever Bhagavan taught us, his sole aim was to help us turn within. So all that matters is that we turn within. So if the explanations help us to turn within, well and good, if not forget the explanations. Simply turn within. That’s all that matters. Our intellects are like Brahma – going up and up and up, and going up or outside can have no end. We need to subside within. That is the end.

So Bhagavan’s teachings are unique. They keep our focus on the task at hand. What is the task at hand? Turn within here and now - turn within and go within deeper and deeper - turn within and stay in-turned. Everything else is a distraction.

Sanjay Lohia said...

The attention we pay to anything other than ourself is a thought

The attention we pay to anything other than ourself is a thought. Thoughts always have an object. So, when we are thinking of or aware of anything other than ourself, that is a thought. The attention we pay to ourself is the subsidence of all thoughts. So the more we turn our attention within, the more we are withdrawing from all thoughts. The more keenly we focus our attention on ourself, the more the other things recede into the background. These other things are just thoughts. So our thoughts are leaving us to the extent we attend to ourself.

To the extent we attend to ourself, ego subsides and since ego is the first thought, all other thoughts subside with it. So the way to go beyond thoughts is to attend only to ourself. All other thoughts seem to exist only in the view of ego, so when we don’t rise as ego, there are no thoughts.

However, we shouldn’t be concerned about thoughts because these thoughts couldn’t have arisen without our being aware of them. So let us take it that thought has arisen to remind us to attend to ourself. So our whole interest should be on attending to ourself. We can forget about thoughts. Let thoughts take care of themselves. They are not a problem. Our problem is to attend to ourself. That is why Bhagavan said in the sixth paragraph of Nan Ar?:

If other thoughts rise, without trying to complete them it is necessary to investigate to whom they have occurred. However many thoughts rise, what [does it matter]? As soon as each thought appears, if one vigilantly investigates to whom it has occurred, it will be clear: to me. If one [thus] investigates who am I, the mind will return to its birthplace [oneself, the source from which it arose]; [and since one thereby refrains from attending to it] the thought that had risen will also cease.

• Based on the video: 2020-04-18 Sri Ramana Center, Houston: discussion with Michael James on Uḷḷadu Nāṟpadu verse 39 (1:01)

anadi-ananta said...

Salazar,
the question "what happened to our first life?" - because one wonders how all of this accumulated karma came about - is related to the question how ego came into its seeming existence.
Why do we laugh hearing these kind of questions ? Although "questions like that just perpetuate maya, the story of the [imagined] ego" and "thoughts like that are not productive at all, quite the opposite, it feeds the ego and keeps the story alive." they are just very important, because we (as the mind) can't answer them to everyone's satisfaction.
In fact the reason or origin of ego's mysterious appearance is from the very start quite well enigmatic and remains a guessing game.
The solution to that puzzle/riddle can only be supplied by full Siva-consciousness which is bestowed only by grace in the blissful state of supreme mauna.
Therefore that mystery will finally put us on the right track of keen self-investigation/vichara combined with unquestioning self-surrender.

Sanjay Lohia said...

Salazar, you say, ‘Big Pharma also still needs to make money from their vaccine which will be ineffective since by the time it is ready the virus will have mutated (as all flu viruses do) and the effectiveness will be around 25% or less. In fact, it is suggested by epidemiologists who are not in the pockets of Big Pharma to not take that vaccine when it is ready for multiple reasons’.

I agree. Vaccines are not a permanent solution to any pandemic like this coronavirus. How many vaccines can they make? By the time a vaccine is made for this virus, some new virus may appear on the scene, as it has been happening all these years. So we need to look at our own mistakes. We need to correct our diet and lifestyle. We need to stop viewing animals as commodities. We need to preserve our fast-depleting resources and take care of our environment. We also need stricter population control.

If our fort is strong, no outside enemy can dare to attack us. Even if they attack us, they will be defeated. Likewise, if our body’s immunity is strong, no outside viruses can affect us. So we should take care of our diet and eat the diet meant for us, humans. Our body is made up of the food we eat, so if we consume correct food we will inevitably have a healthy body. This is our best protection against this virus or any other disease. This is my view.


Salazar said...

anadi-ananta, it seems you imply that some of my comments (those addressed to you very likely) are by the erring mind.

Alright, fair enough. However instead of hiding behind this general dismissing statement why don't you specify what exactly is erred and why? And then we may can put some light on it. Otherwise it is advised to ignore you by everyone on this blog.

Anything what I've commented to you is based on Bhagavan's teachings. In fact, nothing is actually difficult to understand so I suppose that your deep seated beliefs do not allow you to accept [some of] Bhagavan's truth.

But we'll never know unless you specify it. And not with these general platitudes you usually make, like "the error of forgetting one's true nature is actually disastrous".
Be specific or hold forever your peace :-)

Anonymous said...

About vaccines, a doctor I knew said once that it is not advisable to take vaccines, since it can cause other harmful illness (cancer) long term. He never took vaccines himself. I don’t think death rate is same with COVID. The impact of covid is definitely not over rated.

Sanjay Lohia said...

Emotion is an investment in a particular thought

Michael: We are allowed to attend to only one thought – the ‘I’ thought. All other thoughts flourish when we attend to them. Suppose you have a fear about this virus catching you, the more you think about this, the more your fear will grow. For the normal people, we may say ‘instead of thinking of this fear, think of something else – watch TV or something’. By turning our attention away from that thought, we weaken that thought.

But we are on the spiritual path. So we don’t just want to get rid of this thought of coronavirus, but we want to get rid of all thoughts. We can get rid of all thoughts only by attending to ourself.

A friend: Sometimes the emotions are just too strong, so it seems impossible not to get carried away by these emotions.

Michael: Yes, emotion is an investigation in that thought. Sometimes thoughts are much stronger because we are emotionally invested in them. Suppose you have the fear of this virus, there is emotional energy in this fear. The emotional energy gives strength to this thought. So sometimes we are just not able to give up that. But don’t worry. It will pass.
The nature of the emotion is to move. That’s why it is called e–motion. If you are overcome by some emotion, let it be. When it passes, then attend to yourself.

If the emotions are too strong, we can pray to Bhagavan – ‘Bhagavan, I have this strong emotion or fear or whatever. Please take this burden off me. I can’t take it anymore. I can’t deal with this state of my mind’. Surrender to him. That can help.

• Based on the video: 2020-04-18 Sri Ramana Center, Houston: discussion with Michael James on Uḷḷadu Nāṟpadu verse 39 (1:16)

Salazar said...

Sanjay, it's funny that one has to explain to devotees of Bhagavan what doer means. That term cannot be used in the common understanding of 'doing' but as the understanding that one identifies with the actions of the body and mind.

One can also not decide to sleep all day long or doing nothing, if that is our prarabdha then we will be doing nothing all day long. We cannot decide that, we just "believe" that we decide that thus become the "doer".
So a workaholic would think something is wrong with him if he on some day just sits around doing nothing. But that all is part of the story and ultimately irrelevant, irrelevant is only self.

So we either attend to self or not. There is nothing else to talk about :-)

However for many, even those who are interested in Bhagavan's teachings, the notion that one's decisions are irrelevant and a fiction and dream is hard to swallow. Of course I am not talking about attending to self, since that transcends the "doer" and therefore is the only thing what is or goes beyond the dream of being a jiva.

And yet it is not surprising, the attachment to the body is that great and mostly subconsciously that these false ingrained beliefs take time to vanish.

Col said...

Think I understand what u mean. There never was a world it was always self.

Sanjay Lohia said...

Sir (Michael James), please correct or add to my following reply to Rajat if you feel fit. Thank you.

Rajat: @Sanjay Lohia Thank you for your helpful and clear reply. Thank you also for your advise to surrender all burdens to Bhagavan. This is very sound advice that i will certainly try to practice! Thank you.

Since person is also an adjunct of the ego, the person must be part of the luggage in the train analogy, I feel. That whose luggage this person is, is ego. So doesn't 'us' in the statement that Bhagavan is carrying both us and our luggage towards our destination, really refer to ego?

Sanjay Lohia: @Rajat, Bhagavan teaches us in verse 5 of Ulladu Narpadu:

The body is pañca-kōśa-uru [a form composed of five sheaths, namely a physical structure, life, mind, intellect and will]. Therefore all five [sheaths] are included in the term ‘body’. Without a body [composed of these five sheaths], is there a world? Say, without [experiencing oneself as such] a body, is there anyone who has seen a world?

In this sense, the body means the person we seem to be. So, as you say, this body or this person is an adjunct of this ego. However, this ego has no connection with this world except through this body or person, which is Rajat in your case. So since you identify yourself with Rajat, you take all of Rajat’s burdens in this world to be your burden. However, all these burdens belong to Rajat and not to you. Rajat wants to earn money so that Rajat can support himself and his dependents. Rajat has to work using his body, speech and mind. So ego comes into the picture only when Rajat comes into the picture.

You ask, ‘So doesn't 'us' in the statement that Bhagavan is carrying both us and our luggage towards our destination, really refer to ego?’ I think, ‘us’ in this statement refers to the body or the person that we seem to be. Only when I take myself to be Sanjay, do I seem to be having all of Sanjay’s burdens. But am I Sanjay? I cannot be, because Sanjay is just an adjunct which comes and goes. Sanjay is not there in sleep, so I cannot be this Sanjay. If I am not Sanjay, then who am I? So we need to try to turn our entire within back towards ourself in order to experience ourself alone.

Once we manage to experience ourself as we really are, we will find that we are not this ego ('I am this body' idea) and therefore we were never any person that we seemed to be. So we never had any burdens. All our supposed burdens were part of maya.

This is how I understand this subject. I would request Michael to clarify this subject if he thinks my understanding is not perfect, and therefore it needs to be refined.

• Extracted from the comment section of Michael’s video: 2020-04-19 Yo Soy Tu Mismo: Michael James discusses doership and responsibility

Michael James said...

A friend wrote to me recently: “I have a question regarding our awareness in sleep. Did I hear you right in this that when we fall asleep we are fully aware because I is in sleep. So after we wake up we remember that I slept well. Also you did you mention once that being aware in sleep (laya) is like putting the cart before the horse. That is why we wake up from sleep once the body rejuvenates. Whereas if we let the mind and breath settle down (nasa I saw this term in Upadesha Saram) it will drop the body mind intellect and stay permanently in the Self.”

In reply to this I wrote:

Awareness is our real nature, so we can never cease to be aware, and hence we are aware in sleep, even though we are not aware of any phenomena. Awareness of phenomena is the nature of ourself as ego, so it exists only when we rise as ego, namely in waking and dream.

According to Bhagavan awareness of phenomena is not real awareness but only a semblance of awareness (cidābhāsa). Real awareness is only pure awareness, which means awareness that is aware of nothing other than itself. Pure awareness is what is always shining within us as ‘I am’, our fundamental awareness of our own existence (sat-cit).

In sleep (or any other state of manōlaya) we exist just as pure awareness, because we are aware of nothing other than ourself. However, ego is not destroyed in sleep, because it does not exist then. That is, when we as ego fall asleep, we subside due to tiredness, and as a result of our subsidence pure awareness shines all alone. This is what I meant when I said that when we fall asleep the cart goes before the horse. The cart is the subsidence of ego, and the horse is the shining forth of ourself as pure awareness.

In order to be destroyed, ego must subside as a result of the shining of pure awareness. That is, in waking or dream we as ego must try to be aware of ourself alone by being keenly self-attentive. If we attend to ourself keenly enough, we will thereby cease to be aware of anything else, and thus we will be aware of ourself as pure awareness, as a result of which ego will be annihilated.

In this case the horse (the shining forth of ourself as pure awareness) goes before the cart (the subsidence of ego), so our surrender of ourself is complete, and thus our sādhana is brought to a successful conclusion.

Sanjay Lohia said...

Our karmic experiences are impetuses given to us by Bhagavan to walk out this cinema of life, but we need to be willing to walk out

In continuation of my exchange with Rossriver75:

Rossriver75: “We are free to walk out of the movie hall”. Yes, that’s the difference. But what is the source of the impetus to do that? Doesn’t that depend on situations prior to that? Karmic experiences?

Sanjay: Rossriver75, we may receive any amount of impetus from outside to walk out of the movie hall, but we will walk out only if we are willing to walk out. Suppose I am in a movie hall watching an extremely interesting movie and I receive a phone call from one of my friends. He wants me to come to his house because of some medical emergency. What do I do? If I leave this hall and go to my friend’s house, I will miss watching this movie. So I have to decide what I want to do?

Likewise, our karmic experiences are impetuses given to us by Bhagavan to walk out of this cinema of life, but we need to be willing to walk out. However, we are not willing to walk out because we find this world to be an extremely interesting place in spite of all the troubles it seems to be giving us. But if we want to walk out, we can do so here and now. How? We can do so by turning our entire attention within to face ourself alone. If we are able to do so, our ego will be destroyed here and now, and without ego there can be no cinema show of this world. So we have walked out of this world stage never to return again.

^ Extracted from the comment section of the video: 2020-04-19 Yo Soy Tu Mismo: Michael James discusses doership and responsibility

Asun said...

“Asun,
as you say, our practice should shed light on darkness and dispelling it.”

anadi-ananta, it should and it does, but as long as today´s clarity is tomorrow´s confusion, it can´t be spoken of clarity nor said that there is clarity.

Clarity is silence and kind of “wow, what happened?” meaning: nothing has happened here or so that is all right, then.

Sanjay Lohia said...

Let us not expect to find love and peace in this world

The world always has tensions. There are so many egos, and all are trying to grab a little more for themselves. Some are grabbing much more for themselves. People identify themselves with nationality, religions, race and all such differences. Since time immemorial there have been tensions between people, and even among non-human species we find predators and preys. So this world is always a place of tension and completion.

To pray for love, peace and harmony is not wrong. What is wrong is to believe that we can ever hope to find these things outside ourself. The world has some good things, but it is not a place of peace and harmony. If we want love and peace, we need to first and foremost find it within ourself because love and peace is our real nature. If we turn within and find that we are love and peace, we will experience nothing other than love and peace. So let us not expect to find love and peace in this world. We just need to surrender ourself to love. Love is ever-present.

^ Based on the video: : 2020-04-19 Yo Soy Tu Mismo: Michael James discusses doership and responsibility (1:12)

anadi-ananta said...

Salazar,
you say "Anything what I've commented to you is based on Bhagavan's teachings. In fact, nothing is actually difficult to understand so I suppose that your deep seated beliefs do not allow you to accept [some of] Bhagavan's truth."
It should be clear to us that (y)our comments are only based on (y)our specific way of interpretation of Bhagavan's teachings. This way is again the result of (y)our imaginations which in turn are feeded by (y)our experience of life, life-story, life-style, habits, habitat, circumstances, life philosophy, perspectives of life, love of life, life situation, living conditions, and so on. So we all have deep-seated beliefs. Life will show us if they are/were useful/good and suitable for our development or not. Therefore we may think or see things differently and have different views.
Regarding "general dismissing statement" ("erring mind") and your suggestion to specify ("what exactly is erred and why?") I only can tell you that I do not like discuss at length for instance when contributions of participants seem to be heavily contaminated by arrogance and haughtiness. If one takes a lofty tone with me or dismisses loftily my opinions I don't want to start an endless fight.
By the way and to set your mind at rest I do not at all
consider my comments as free from flawlessness or impeccability. Of course they all grow just the same on the field of "erring mind".:-)

anadi-ananta said...

Salazar,
sorry, instead of "feeded" it should be fed(Past participle of the irregular verb "feed").

Sanjay Lohia said...

Even to feel guilty we have to rise, so we shouldn’t give room to the rising of that feeling of guilt

A friend: I accidentally hurt someone at work. What should one do when one hurts someone else’s ego?

Michael: We may sometimes hurt others without any intention on our part. Whatever is done is done. You cannot undo it. Maybe in some way you can reassure that person and put him at ease. Bhagavan says we should not dwell on our past actions because we cannot rectify our past. Whatever is destined to happen will happen. So we should surrender ourself completely.

We shouldn’t even dwell on the feeling the guilt. We have to leave it to Bhagavan to take care of even our guilt. Bhagavan will take care of all things. The more we surrender our burdens to Bhagavan, the more carefree we will be and the easier it will be to turn deeper within. So ultimately we need to wean our mind off from external things because our external life is already predestined. All our actions are not predestined, but many of our good and bad actions are predestined. So it could be predestined that you would hurt this person.

The friend: But I feel guilty of hurting him.

Michael: It’s natural. When we hurt someone we feel hurt because we didn’t mean bad. But we shouldn’t dwell on that for too long. It’s our ego which is playing its part here. So we need to subside, subside and subside. Even to feel guilty we have to rise, so we shouldn’t give room to the rising of that feeling of guilt.

The friend: Should I apologise?

Michael: We can’t say simply because sometimes we may apologise to appear humble. We may take pride in appearing to be humble. Our aim is not to appear humble but to be really humble. If it takes swallowing of pride to apologise, that may be beneficial. If we genuinely want to apologise, then that is good.

However, the trouble with our outward actions is that these can easily trick us. We do not want to pride ourself in humility. So there is no simple answer to such questions. Our aim is to subside more and more, so to the extent we subside, to that extent it is good. As Bhagavan teaches us in the last (20th) paragraph of Nan Ar?:

If oneself rises [or appears] [as ego or mind], everything rises [or appears]; if oneself subsides [disappears or ceases], everything subsides [disappears or ceases]. To whatever extent sinking low [subsiding or being humble] we proceed [or conduct ourself], to that extent there is goodness [benefit or virtue]. If one is [continuously] restraining [curbing, subduing or reducing] mind, wherever one may be one can be [or let one be].

• Based on the video: 2020-04-18 Sri Ramana Center, Houston: discussion with Michael James on Uḷḷadu Nāṟpadu verse 39 (1:16)

My reflection: So we should not dwell on any emotions like guilt for long because we are sustaining our ego by doing so. Ego is an extremely tricky fellow. First it will create problems for itself, and then it will cling to those problems in order to sustain itself. So the idea is not to cling to any emotion, whether seemingly good or bad. We need to let go, let go and let go. We can let go most effectively by clinging more and more to ourself.

R Viswanathan said...

"The world always has tensions. There are so many egos, and all are trying to grab a little more for themselves."

However, in the present article, Sri Michael James states:

"according to Bhagavan there is only one ego, just as in a dream there is only one dreamer. So whose dream is this? It is the dream of the one who is aware of it, and that one is the one and only ego."

Asun said...

R Viswanathan, meaning of words depends on the context.
There is only one ego and there appears to be many persons. Person or the complex body we identify with is often mistaken with ego which is much more subtle than the former.

By the way, Michael, I got it. As you said in some occasion, the simplest explanation is always the true one. Anyway, it is good to go into what is not, then, it is easier to give it up. Thank you :)

anadi-ananta said...

Regarding the vada "there is just one perceiver (ēka-jīva)" and Viswanathan's above comment "It is the dream of the one who is aware of it, and that one is the one and only ego." Am I [as a person] aware of ego, or is ego aware of me as a person ?
Or are both views correct ?

Sanjay Lohia said...

Bhagavan: Contemplate by a subtle mind where this ‘I’ rises

Cristoval Jesús Amado: @Sanjay Lohia Who are "WE"? And who or what is the ego? As per Bhagavan there is ONLY the Self or Atma Swarupa (Absolute Consciousness). He also said there appears to be only "one ego" (due to maya and non-inquiry) which (the one ego) has no real existence in actuality. Michael James may also comment on this if he wishes to.

Sanjay Lohia: Cristoval, Bhagavan sometimes used the Tamil term equivalent of ‘we’ to mean the inclusive form of the first person singular pronoun ‘I’. Bhagavan has explained what ego is in verses 23 and 24 of Ulladu Narpadu:

23: This body does not say ‘I’. No one says ‘In sleep I do not exist’. After one thing, ‘I’, rises, everything rises. Contemplate by a subtle mind where this ‘I’ rises.

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

Yes, Bhagavan has said that what exists is only atma-svarupa, which is absolute consciousness. However, we feel that we see this world in front of us, we see so many jivas in this world and we also imagine a God who is taking care of this world. According to Bhagavan, everything apart from ourself (atma-svarupa) is the imagination of this one ego. This ego brings along with it this world and a God which seems to apart from ourself, and when this ego subsides, everything else subsides along with this one ego.

• Extracted from the comment section of the video: 2020-04-19 Yo Soy Tu Mismo: Michael James discusses doership and responsibility


Sanjay Lohia said...

R Viswanathan, ‘The world always has tensions. There are so many seeming egos, and all are trying to grab a little more for themselves’.

Does the addition of the word ‘seeming’ make the meaning clear? There is only one ego which sees many egos, but when we look at this one ego closely and keenly, we will find that even this one ego doesn’t really exist. What exists is only atma-svarupa, says Bhagavan.

Salazar said...

Viswanathan, I do enjoy your comments and your particular style articulating them.

Sanjay Lohia said...

What is called sukha is only the svarūpa of ātmā [oneself]

In continuation of my dialogue with Rossriver75:

Rossriver75: Sanjay Lohia Not meaning to sound flippant, maybe I don’t want to leave the theatre because I feel the world to be a fair 50-50; that is to say, excitement of pleasures and miseries in waking life, and the blissful absence of everything in sleep. I couldn’t bear this daily life non-stop, but I don’t want what I imagine to be full-time sleep either.

Sanjay Lohia: Rossriver75, we are all living extremely flippant lives. If we were not, we wouldn’t be here writing all these comments. We still find this world-theatre an exciting place. However, can this world ever give us real sukha (happiness, satisfaction, ease)? According to Bhagavan, this waking life itself is dukha (unhappiness, dissatisfaction, uneasiness). So if we want real and eternal sukha, we cannot find it at any place except in eternal sleep, which is our true nature. Bhagavan teaches us the 14th paragraph of Nan Ar?:

What is called sukha [happiness, satisfaction, joy, ease, comfort or pleasantness] is only the svarūpa [the ‘own form’ or real nature] of ātmā [oneself]; sukha and ātma-svarūpa [one’s own real nature] are not different. Ātma-sukha [happiness that is oneself] alone exists; that alone is real. What is called sukha [happiness or satisfaction] is not found [obtained or available] in even one of the objects of the world. We think that happiness is obtained from them because of our avivēka [lack of judgement, discrimination or ability to distinguish one thing from another]. When the mind comes out [from ātma-svarūpa], it experiences duḥkha [dissatisfaction, discomfort, uneasiness, unpleasantness, unhappiness, distress, suffering, sorrow, sadness, pain or affliction]. In truth, whenever our thoughts [wishes or hopes] are fulfilled, it [the mind] turns back to its proper place [the heart, our real nature, which is the source from which it rose] and experiences only ātma-sukha [happiness that is oneself].

• Extracted from the comments on the video: 2020-04-19 Yo Soy Tu Mismo: Michael James discusses doership and responsibility

anadi-ananta said...

Sanjay,
"In truth, whenever our thoughts [wishes or hopes] are fulfilled, it [the mind] turns back to its proper place [the heart, our real nature, which is the source from which it rose] and experiences only ātma-sukha [happiness that is oneself]."
And what is the reason why the mind decided - obviously of its own free will - not to remain where it is (at its proper place) and instead to move again to improper places ? Are these reasons known at all to the mind itself ? Or which reason or situation could have forced/compelled it to leave its proper place, its source ?

Sanjay Lohia said...

What is the greatest good we can do for God?

A friend: What is the meaning of all this that is happening in this apparent dream?

Michael: This dream has whatever meaning we give to it. It’s we who give meaning to things. So what meaning do we want to give to this dream? If we are wise, we will take the purpose and the meaning of this dream to surrender ourself. We cannot have a greater purpose than this because by investing and surrendering ourself we will wake up from this dream and see what we actually are. So let us take this to be the meaning of this dream.

If we want, we can take any other meaning. People have so many aims and ambitions. For some people, the meaning of this dream is to accumulate a lot of money or to enjoy a lot of pleasures. But so long as we have such aims and ambitions, we will be experiencing one dream after another. But if we tired of dreaming, if we want to wake up, then the meaning and purpose of this dream is to investigate and surrender ourself. So it is up to us what meaning we give to life.

The friend: I want to surrender to God, but God doesn’t need my surrender. So this seems to be a meaningless dream.

Michael: You say God doesn’t need us to surrender to him. That is true in a sense. God doesn’t need anything, but God is infinite love, and he loves us as himself. So because he loves us, he wants us to be happy, and the only way to be truly and infinitely happy is to surrender ourself. So in a certain sense, we can say that God wants us to surrender ourself, not because God wants anything for himself but for our sake.

God wants us to be happy because happiness is our real nature. By rising as ego, we are denying ourself our real nature. So God, who is our real nature and therefore infinite love, wants us to be happy as we really are. So in this sense, we can say that our surrender is according to the will of Bhagavan.

Of course, ultimately, God doesn’t need anything, but in order to make sense of this, we have to think this way. What is the greatest good we can do for God? If we surrender ourself completely, then we are freeing him of the responsibility of bringing us back to himself. So, figuratively speaking, we are saving him a lot of trouble.

• Based on the video: 2020-04-19 Yo Soy Tu Mismo: Michael James discusses doership and responsibility (1:40)

R Viswanathan said...

"R Viswanathan, meaning of words depends on the context.
There is only one ego and there appears to be many persons. Person or the complex body we identify with is often mistaken with ego which is much more subtle than the former."

"Does the addition of the word ‘seeming’ make the meaning clear?"

My thanks for the above answers.

I found that the following article by Sri Michael James gives a little more clarity:
'There is only one ego, and even that does not actually exist'
https://happinessofbeing.blogspot.com/2017/03/there-is-only-one-ego-and-even-that.html

Especially, the answer in the comment section (Michael James said..16 March 2017 at 12:58):

"when Bhagavan taught us that there is only one ego (which is called ēka-jīva-vāda, the contention that there is only one jīva or ‘soul’) and that ‘we are that’, he did not intend us to try to apply this teaching in our outward activities or to behave in this world as if no other person were aware of anything. So long as we are behaving outwardly in any way whatsoever, we do so as a person, so this person seems to be aware, and hence all other people also seem to be aware."

"in the view of the outward-facing ego there will always seem to be many other egos, whereas if the ego turns within to look at itself alone, all it will see is only pure self-awareness (awareness that is aware of nothing other than itself), which is what we actually are."

For the query "Am I [as a person] aware of ego, or is ego aware of me as a person ? Or are both views correct ?", I reproduce a passage from the comment section of the article,
https://happinessofbeing.blogspot.com/2016/05/the-person-we-seem-to-be-is-form.html:

Michael James said...6 May 2016 at 14:22: "what we have to investigate is not this person (the set of phenomena we seem to be) but only our ego, the one who rises and grasps this person as ‘I’, because this person is an object experienced by us as this ego, whereas this ego is the experiencing subject, the one who is aware of this person as if it were itself."

The following passage from the main article also clarifies:
"this ego seems to exist only when it experiences itself as a person, so it is natural for us to confuse our ego with whatever person this ego currently seems to be. If we think carefully about the matter, however, it is clear that there is a distinction between this ego and whatever person it currently experiences as itself, because whatever person it experiences as itself in this or any other dream exists only in that respective dream, whereas this ego exists (or seems to exist) in each and every dream. Therefore this ego or jīva is not the person it seems to be."

Sanjay Lohia said...

K Viswanathan, I thank you for your helpful comment.

Sanjay Lohia said...

Bhagavan: Your only duty is to be, not to be this or that

Our aim is to be free of doership, and in order to be free of doership we also have to be free of our responsibility for other things. That is the sole responsibility Bhagavan has given us. He would take care of all our other responsibilities. We need to be inwardly very courageous to accept that Bhagavan is taking care of everything.

Now we are not sufficiently willing to surrender ourself, but by following this path of self-investigation and self-surrender, gradually we will become more willing to surrender ourself. So that is our responsibility. In order to avoid this responsibility of turning within, we find so many excuses. We are almost always evading our responsibility of turning within. So we should clearly and firmly understand that our only responsibility is turning within.

In Talks, Bhagavan says, 'Your only duty is to be, not to be this or that'. We have absolutely no responsibility other than that because everything else is being taken care of by our destiny in accordance with the will of Bhagavan. So let us not delude ourself into thinking that we have other responsibilities. Whatever other responsibilities we seem to have, our body, speech and mind will be made to do whatever is necessary. So that need be no concern of ours. The only thing we need to be concerned about is investigating and surrendering ourself.

• Based on the video: 2020-04-19 Yo Soy Tu Mismo: Michael James discusses doership and responsibility (00:40)

R Viswanathan said...

"And what is the reason why the mind decided - obviously of its own free will - not to remain where it is (at its proper place) and instead to move again to improper places ? Are these reasons known at all to the mind itself ? Or which reason or situation could have forced/compelled it to leave its proper place, its source ?"

From Talks with Sri Ramana Maharshi:
"20th June, 1936; Talk 213.
Mr. B. C. Das asked why the mind cannot be turned inward in spite of repeated attempts.
M.: It is done by practice and dispassion and that succeeds only gradually. The mind, having been so long a cow accustomed to graze stealthily on others’ estates, is not easily confined to her stall. However much her keeper tempts her with luscious grass and fine fodder, she refuses the first time; then she takes a bit; but her innate tendency to stray away asserts itself; and she slips away; on being repeatedly tempted by the owner, she accustoms herself to the stall; finally even if let loose she would not stray away. Similarly with the mind. If once it finds its inner happiness it will not wander outward."

I also recall an anecdote (heard in one of the discourses by Sri Nochur Venkataraman) about Bhagavan very patiently catching hold of baby squirrels and putting them back in the basket as and when they ventured to run out of the basket. Bhagavan has apparently explained the reason for doing this and used it to stress the need for the mind to remain inwards in order to be free from misery: until the time the baby squirrels get to know that there is a danger of being caught by cats, we need to do this. Similarly with the mind - one needs to practise turning within as and when it is found to have strayed outwards.
I see this incident reported in the given below link:
http://greatmaster.info/ramanamaharshi/ramanaincidents/ramanamaharshi-incidents3-35/

anadi-ananta said...

"...whereas this ego exists (or seems to exist) in each and every dream. Therefore this ego or jīva is not the person it seems to be."
So as a so-called person one is somehow possessed by this one ego. Therefore a 'person' is qualified as an insentient adjunct of ego.
However, on the other hand each person would claim to just experience himself or herself as a separate entity and insist on his/her total independence from any unknown and mysterious ego.
Ha, but now Bhagavan Ramana arrives on the scene and teaches us ēka-jīva-vāda by saying that there is only one ego (jīva) and in this way declares our usual awareness as a false creation of the deluded mind. So what shall we do being in such an inner conflict ? :-)
Ignoring Bhagavan's teaching is hare-brained.
We rather should mistrust our personal experience and would be well-advised to strive to the best of one's ability for attaining Bhagavan's knowledge.

Sanjay Lohia said...

Ego seems to be something separate, even though in substance ego is nothing but God

Bhagavan sang in verse 101 of Aksharamanamalai:

Like ice in water, melt me as love in you, the form of love!

This is a beautiful analogy. If you have an iceberg floating in the ocean, all around is the ocean and even the iceberg is essentially ocean. In substance, the iceberg is no different from the rest of the ocean. It may seem different or separate because of its frozen condition, but essentially iceberg is also the ocean.

Likewise, ego seems to be something separate, even though in substance ego is nothing but God. Bhagavan implies in this verse that God is the form of infinite love. So ego is like a frozen piece of love. When we surrender ourself, we, this little piece of frozen love, melt into the infinite ocean of love. So whatever way we may look at it, our surrender and our willingness to surrender ourself is absolutely essential.

Everything indeed in God, and there is only God. There is nothing other than God, but so long as we rise as ego, we seem to be something separate. So to experience that there is only God, we have to melt as love and thereby dissolve back into him and cease to be even seemingly separate from him.

• Based on the video: 2020-04-19 Yo Soy Tu Mismo: Michael James discusses doership and responsibility (01:06)

Sanjay Lohia said...

Is there a dramatic point in a sadhaka’s life when he gets a glimpse of his real self? - part one

A friend: Is there a dramatic point in a sadhaka’s life when he gets the glimpse of his real self all of a sudden?

Michael: Real spiritual path is not about some dramatic experience. We are trying to know the truth of the experiencer, so we are not seeking any dramatic experience. We simply want to know what we actually are.

We cannot easily measure our spiritual progress because the more vairagya and bhakti we have, the more clearly we will be aware of all our shortcomings – how strong our vishaya-vasanas are. So our progress is a gradual process. But we do not have a mid-way between ego and our real nature. Either we are aware of ourself as we actually are, or we are not aware of ourself as we really are. So long as we are aware of anything other than what we actually are, that is ego. So ego is a wrong or erroneous awareness of ourself. Instead of being aware of ourself as ‘I am I’, we are aware of ourself as ‘I am this body’.

So the only way to get rid of this ego is to know ourself as we actually are. A point will come at which we finally manage to let go of everything and turn our attention fully towards ourself. At this point, this ego will be finished. So when our real nature becomes clear to us, it will not be some dramatic happening. In fact, it is no happening at all because ego will simply slip away and we will clearly see what we actually are. However, we will also see that we were always that. So since we were always that, it is not something that has actually happened.

So it seems it is a happening from the perspective of ego, but when it actually happens, it is no happening at all. Bhagavan used to humorlessly say that a time will come when we will laugh at ourself at all our past efforts to attain that which was always ours. We are making all this effort to attain what we actually are.

To be continued in my next comment.

• Based on the video: 2020-04-12 Ramana Satsang group, Bay Area: Michael James discusses the path of self-surrender (41:00)

Sanjay Lohia said...

Is there a dramatic point in a sadhaka’s life when he gets a glimpse of his real self? - part two

We are on a spiritual journey. We are slowly but surely returning to our source, but when we reach there, we will find that we were always there. We are already that, so there is nothing new. All we want to know is ‘Who am I?’ What we will be when we know ‘who am I’ is what we are even now. Bhagavan used to say if jnana were a new experience, whatever will come will also go. If it were a new experience, we will lose it one day.

Jnana is ever-present. We are ever-liberated. That is why Bhagavan said liberation is beyond bondage and liberation. Only if we are bound, we will be liberated. But we are never bound, so we can be never liberated. Liberation seems to be real so long as we rise as ego. When we attain ‘liberation’, we will find that we were ever liberated. We have never really risen as ego.

So all we should be concerned about is surrendering to Bhagavan. Let liberation be the next moment or a thousand janmas (births) away, what does it matter? Our only concern is we have to surrender to Bhagavan. Let him take care of everything. Let him worry about our bondage or liberation. Put the whole burden on him, and travel happily in the train.

But we have to seriously follow the path of self-investigation and self-surrender that Bhagavan has taught us. Only our practice will enable us to put our luggage aside. Only then we will be happy. If we are not following the path, we will be carrying all our burdens on our head, so we will be suffering.

• Based on the video: 2020-04-12 Ramana Satsang group, Bay Area: Michael James discusses the path of self-surrender (41:00)

anadi-ananta said...

R Viswanathan,
many thanks for your comment,
however, my yesterday's question (to Sanjay of 23 April 2020 at 17:27) was put only in the particular respect of the (special) situation after occasional and therefore temporary fulfilment of the mind's wishes or hopes ("In truth, whenever our thoughts [wishes or hopes] are fulfilled, it [the mind] turns back to its proper place [the heart, our real nature, which is the source from which it rose] and experiences only ātma-sukha [happiness that is oneself].")

anadi-ananta said...

Sanjay,
thanks again for your video-transcription.
Re. "Like ice in water, melt me as love in you, the form of love!"
"Everything indeed in (*) God, and there is only God. There is nothing other than God, but so long as we rise as ego, we seem to be something separate. So to experience that there is only God, we have to melt as love and thereby dissolve back into him and cease to be even seemingly separate from him."
(*: it is meant "is")
What can make an iceberg realize that it is essentially nothing but the ocean ?
How can an iceberg get convinced that it has to break with its beloved frozen condition and has to turn into liquid ocean-water and thus lose its (seeming) life or status as an individual passenger ?
Should not primarily the ocean himself reveal its identity to the iceberg ?

Bob said...

For those who may be interested:
In the current issue of the Mountain Path (April 2020) at the bottom of page 7 is a notation about Robert Adams.

Asun said...

“Should not primarily the ocean himself reveal its identity to the iceberg ?”

Sure, especially if the iceberg is an annoying, frustrated, perpetually upset blind guy full rather of self-importance than of self-love.

Have a beer, man, and relax. Do us all that favor.

Salazar said...

Bob, yes - I noticed that notation too and it seems for me that this editorial comment was mainly done to convey the [new?] position of the editor and possibly the ashram.

Steven Strouth did also more digging and it seems that there are more holes in Robert Adam's story i.e. his supposedly interaction with Joel Goldsmith.

But the ramifications are going even further because one must come to the conclusion that Adams was a con-man. Now if he was indeed a con-man, why then did the "Jnani" Papaji read out loud the teachings of a con-man in his sat-sangs?

I believe because of that David Godman has not changed his stance towards Adams and he seems still to consider him as a Jnani. Maybe he has to because if not it could fester some doubts about Papaji and that would be a rather tough one.

anadi-ananta said...

Asun,
there is always a lovely smell in the kitchen when you are cooking, isn't it ?

R Viswanathan said...

"however, my yesterday's question (to Sanjay of 23 April 2020 at 17:27) was put only in the particular respect of the (special) situation after........"

I am sorry. I don't know why I assumed that the main objective of your question is to know why the mind does not stay put in the place where there is eternal peace, but, instead turns outwards or how such an outgoing mind can be coaxed to return to the place where there is eternal peace. And that is the reason I gave the quote from Talks and a reference to an anecdote. I hope that you would soon get a satisfactory answer for your question which I now infer is specific to know the reason for the mind to turn inwards to its home upon fulfillment of its wish or for the mind to turn outwards once again instead of staying home.

Sanjay Lohia said...

The real feet of your guru is what is shining in you as 'I'

Michael often narrates the following incident:

Janakimata worshipped Bhagavan as God and guru. Once when she came to the ashram, she spotted Bhagavan walking back from the goshala. She went up to him and bowed down and put her head on his feet. Bhagavan looked down at her with a smile and said, 'What are you doing?' She said, 'I am holding the feet of my guru'. Bhagavan said, 'These are not the feet of your guru. This body and its feet are perishable. So if these are the feet of your guru, they will pass away one day. The real feet of your guru is what is shining in you as 'I'. Hold those feet. They alone will save you'.

My reflection: Bhagavan is what is shining within us as ‘I’, so we need to unceasingly attend to ‘I’. We need to grasp it with all the love at our command and with all the power at our command. Only this will save us, as Bhagavan clearly said.

anadi-ananta said...

R Viswanathan,
thanks again. Let us see whether the mentioned situation of the mind's brief/short-term return to its birthplace after fulfilment of one's wish is actually a specific matter.

Asun said...

Well, anadi-ananta, it can be cooked a good phony and detractor of Ramana in disguise with the ingredients of your comments, always contradicting Bhagavan´s teachings, with your apparently friendly and innocent questions and responses that are quite insidious, actually, not to speak of the obfuscation, discouragement and tedium you are constantly, persistently spreading in every Michael´s article.

“even so called spiritual practice evidently can make one cracking up and blinded.” (and this is just one example)

Really? Whom do you think you are fooling?

Rajat said...

Michael, in your first video on Ulladu Narpadu you mention that on the request of Kavyakanta Ganapati Sastri, Bhagavan selected a verse from the main text to be the second Mangalam verse, and to fill the gap he composed a new verse. Could you please tell which was the new verse that Bhagavan composed? Thank you.

Anonymous said...

Asun,

The reality is each of us is fooling ourselves. If I argue with you trying to prove my point, i am fooling myself in that process, since i am arguing with the assumption (delusion) that I know and understand everything.It is play of my ego. I really don’t understand anadi’s posts. But I do feel that until one of us is really enlightened, there will be comments disagreeing with others.

anadi-ananta said...

Asun,
I am really sorry about your insinuation that my comments and questions are intended as constant insidiousness, obfuscation, discouragement and tedium and so on.
I regret also having aroused your consternation. Be assured I have no malicious intentions when my comments/questions are sometimes put spontaneously and directly.
Naturally it seems sometimes appropriate to react like an echo to supposed unfriendly vilifications. By God, Zeus and Jupiter, I am not the devil as which you want to see me. I only try to find my way to discover the truth of Bhagavan's teaching albeit on the admittedly poor level of my experience and understanding. Please consider that your way of interpretation of comments is at present somehow over-sensitive. Dear Asun, may hopefully your nerves calm down soon.

Salazar said...

Asun, I do concur with you, however that matter is closed for me. I prefer to ignore foolishness and self-pity.

Sanjay Lohia said...

Outwardly the person Bhagavan seems to be is a like a mirror

Sometimes people came to Bhagavan and told him about calamities, and he would shed tears. Bhagavan said the jnani is like a mirror. Whatever comes before it, it reflects that. So, sometimes Bhagavan got angry with people when that was the appropriate thing to do. Sometimes Bhagavan wept with people when that was the appropriate thing to do.

But when you look at the mirror, you can smile at yourself or you can weep to yourself, but the mirror is unaffected by whatever expressions you make. Likewise, what Bhagavan actually is is unaffected by all these things. But outwardly the person he seems to be is a like a mirror. This is one reason why people understand Bhagavan is so many different ways.

Everyone sees Bhagavan through their own coloured glasses. So some people will say Bhagavan is red, some will say he is green or yellow. Because being unaware of their own glasses, they do not know the real colour of Bhagavan. If we want to understand Bhagavan correctly, we need to remove our own coloured glasses, which is ego. Only when we have eradicated this ego, can we know Bhagavan as he actually is. So long as we see Bhagavan as a person, we are seeing an appearance. We are not seeing the real Bhagavan. But the love and compassion, and clarity of pure knowledge shone through him so brightly even through that appearance.

So as Bhagavan said, who can understand the state of the jnani? It’s beyond our comprehension. If we want to understand him, we have to surrender ourself completely. We have to be swallowed by him. In verse 21 of Ulladu Narpadu, Bhagavan says ‘becoming food is seeing’. He says here:

If anyone asks what is the truth of many texts that talk of ‘oneself seeing oneself’ and ‘seeing God’ [the reply is]: Since oneself is one, how is oneself to see oneself? If it is not possible [for oneself] to see [oneself], how [is oneself] to see God [who is the real nature of oneself]? Becoming food [to God] is seeing [both oneself and God]. [In other words, ego being swallowed and consumed entirely by the infinite light of pure self-awareness is alone real seeing.]

So only when we are swallowed by Bhagavan, will we know his real nature. So no one has seen Bhagavan unless they have been swallowed by him completely. Then no one will remain to say ‘he is like this or like that’.

• Based on the video: 2020-04-11 Ramana Maharshi Foundation UK: discussion with Michael James on Ēkāṉma Pañcakam verse 5 (1:40)

Sanjay Lohia said...

This ego does not have a single reason even to exist

My exchange with Bubba the Self:

Bubba the Self: rossriver75 […] we are all (in our own various ways) in the same boat as you! We are constantly dissatisfied in life so we have goals and ambitions, but like chasing a mirage in the desert, we feel like if we could just get the next thing, then that hit of pleasure will sustain us for a little longer, and that’s how our life goes. […] We have forgotten what true happiness is and it cannot be found in this world. We still are not spiritually mature enough to understand that everything we have ever wanted is only found in our source and nowhere else. So there is absolutely no good reason to want to exist in this world.

Sanjay Lohia: Bubba the Self, as you rightly say, ‘there is absolutely no good reason to want to exist in this world’. So strikingly true! This ego has not even one good reason even to exist, but not only it seemingly exists but on top of that it foolishly has so many aims and ambitions. So the more this ego impresses upon itself that it has no business even to exist, the more willing it will become to surrender itself.

What has this ego given us which we can say is of any lasting value? Absolutely nothing! Bhagavan says that this ego and the ego-created world is itself misery. So ego has no business to live. What sustains this ego? It is only its desires and attachments that sustains it. Ultimately, we can remove this ego only by self-investigation because that is the only one infallible means to destroy it along with all its desires and attachments.

• Extract from the comment section of the video: 2020-04-19 Yo Soy Tu Mismo: Michael James discusses doership and responsibility


Sanjay Lohia said...

The purpose of life is to cease rising as ego or to see that ego has never actually risen

In yesterday’s Zoom meeting of RMF UK, Michael beautifully said something to the following effect:

The purpose of life is to cease rising as ego or to see that ego has never actually risen.

We need such clarity of purpose if we want to destroy this ego. We are on a suicide mission – actually it is an egocide mission. All our worldly aims and purposes are only keeping this ego alive. So we should try to give up all our other aims and ambitions and devote all our time and effort on eradicating this ego. All our other aims and plans are just keeping us bound.

Sanjay Lohia said...

Ego itself is all these three - Brahma, Vishnu and Shiva

My exchange with Bubba the Self:

Bubba the Self: It is commonly stated that "Shiva destroys the ego/universe at the end of each cycle which then allows for a new Creation." Many Hindu commentaries or sources keep talking about "cycles" of creation where it seems like ego arises through Brahma, Vishnu sustains it, then self investigation happens through Shiva being totally absorbed within himself and then the ego/universe is destroyed. But they keep saying that it will be recreated and destroyed over and over. What is the point of that? Bhagavan says that self investigation will destroy all universes forever because the ego is destroyed once and for all. But these sources seem to be hinting that the ego will rise again (and create again in another cycle). Another quote: "According to Hinduism, creation follows destruction. Therefore Shiva is also regarded as a reproductive power, which restores what has been dissolved. As one who restores, he is represented as the linga or phallus, a symbol of regeneration." Can you comment on this Michael?

Sanjay Lohia: Bubba the Self, we can see the creation of this world from two perspectives. One is srsti-drsti-vada and other is drsti-srsti-vada. Srsti-drsti-vada means the contention that this world has been created long before our perception of it. This is how science and almost all of the religions look at the creation of this world. However, Bhagavan’s primary teaching is drsti-srsti-vada, which means this world is created because of our perceiving it. So Bhagavan teaches us simultaneous creation. We can take the dream example here. The dream world is created by our very perceiving it.

In Hinduism, it is believed that Brahma is the creator, Vishnu is the sustainer and Shiva is the destroyer of this world. Hinduism believes that this cycle of creation and destruction is a recurring process. However, in the context of Bhagavan’s teachings, ego itself is all these three - Brahma, Vishnu and Shiva. Ego creates this world by merely looking away from itself, it sustains the world by continuing to look away from itself and it can destroy all creation here and now if it looks at itself and itself alone.

Once this ego is destroyed it can never spring back to life again. So there is no reoccurring process of creation here. Ego can have endless dreams, but once it wakes up to its reality, it will never dream again.

• Extract from the comment section of the video: 2020-04-19 Yo Soy Tu Mismo: Michael James discusses doership and responsibility

anadi-ananta said...

Sanjay,
when you say "So ego has no business to live. What sustains this ego? It is only its desires and attachments that sustains it...".,
you evidently overlook ego's strongest desire namely its longing for incessant happiness. Are we not taught that ego is in its essence but pure self-awareness ? Therefore ego is sustained or kept alive first and foremost by its basic substance namely pure awareness. So if one wishes to remove this ego one has only to untie the knot between body and pure awareness which is chiefly and best done by keen self-investigation. May we all be free of all mental confusion and thus be able to practise such an investigation.

Sanjay Lohia said...

Our first and foremost duty is to save ourself

Bhagavan teaches us in verse 291 of GVK:

If one wants to be saved, one is given the following true and essential advice: just as the tortoise draws all its five limbs within its shell, so one should draw the five senses within and turn one’s mind self-ward. This alone is happiness.

Sadhu Om: This important advice, to withdraw the mind from the five senses and to turn it self-ward, is not given to one and all; it is given only for the benefit of those who wish to save themselves, and not for those who are still vainly hoping to save the world. Such people, who want to save the world, will find no taste for self-attention, and thus they are not yet fit even to save themselves, let alone to save the world; unless one has first learnt to swim, it is vain and futile to jump into the water to save others.

My reflection: Our first and foremost duty is to save ourself, and once we are able to do that, we can then think about saving the world if need be. How to save ourself? We can do so by withdrawing the mind from the five senses and by turning in self-wards. Bhagavan said to Janakimata, ‘Attend unceasingly to the ‘I’ in your heart. Only your inner guru can save you’. So outside guru can ever save us. We have to save ourself by immersing ourself within ourself.

However, once we save ourself, we will find that we do not have anyone else to save because everyone else is just our imagination. So by saving ourself, we are automatically saving others. So our duty is to save ourself by forgetting about others.

Sanjay Lohia said...

How can I accelerate my progress towards my goal of atma-jnana?

The most important thing is our practice of self-investigation. We need to examine how much we care for this practice. We need to examine how much effort we are putting in turning within. If we are not trying to turn within to the best of ability, we are not making progress. Simple! However, if we are putting in the required effort to turn within but are still not seemingly making progress, we can look at the following areas and see if we could add any or all of the following as aids to our practice of self-investigation:

(1) Self-investigation is the nididhyasana, but are we supporting it enough with our sravana and manana of Bhagavan’s teachings? Our sravana and manana are most powerful supports to our nididhyasana.

(2) Are we consuming sattvik food in limited quantity? If not, we have to start doing this. Bhagavan said that our digestive track should be clean, so we should be careful to take easily digestible food. He advised against consuming any stimulants. Bhagavan said that proper diet is the best aid on this path.

(3) As and when required, we can chant the names Ramana or Arunachala mentally wholeheartedly. These names have the power to turn our attention within. Of course, such chanting cannot be a substitute for our practice of self-attentiveness. But it can be a great support when we are not able to turn within or when we are not able to keep our strong vishaya-vasanas at bay.

(4) We need to examine our lives and simply it whenever and wherever possible. A simpler life is always helpful in our spiritual journey. We should be satisfied with whatever God has allocated in our prarabdha. We should remember we need very little money to live, and Bhagavan will look after us if we are totally dependent on him.

(5) We need not interfere in the lives of others. They are not our responsibility - 'Bhagavan is taking care of them as he is taking care of me'.

(6) We should live as humbly as possible. We need to take clues from Bhagavan in this regard. We all know he was humbler than the humblest. This will help us to subside more and more.

(7) We shouldn’t try to become a guru. We may have acquired some basic knowledge of Bhagavan’s teachings, but this knowledge is to be used in our own sadhana. So we should be careful – ‘are we trying to act as a guide or a guru?’ That is not our business. We may share our understanding of Bhagavan’s teachings with others, but this should be done in the spirit of trying to deepen our own understanding of Bhagavan’s teachings. We should discuss as friends and therefore as equals.

Have I left out any points? Please feel free to chip in. Thank you.

Sanjay Lohia said...

Being knowing the substance, which exists as accomplished, is accomplishment

Bhagavan teaches us in verse 35 of Ulladu Narpadu:

Being knowing the substance, which exists as accomplished, is accomplishment. All other accomplishments are just accomplishments achieved in a dream; if one wakes up leaving dream, are they real? Will those who, standing in the real state, have the unreality be deluded? Know.

So our job is to know the substance which exists always accomplished. What is that substance? It is our atma-svarupa. How to know atma-svarupa? We can know it by turning our entire attention within to face ourself alone. Only such a 180 degree turning of our attention towards ourself can destroy ego. Only such a turn will enable us to wake up from our current dream.

All other siddhis such as asta-siddhis, eight kinds of paranormal powers that some people try to achieve by meditation or other yogic practices, are just siddhis achieved in a dream, wrote Michael while explaining this verse. In our context, all our worldly accomplishments are like accomplishments achieved in our dream. We may be the richest person in the world or the President of the US or the best singer in our country or whatever. However, all these are mere dream accomplishments – totally useless when we wake up from our dream.

If we properly understand even one verse of Ulladu Narpadu, it is such a great help in our sadhana. That is why Michael and Sadhu Om feel that Ulladu Narpadu is simply unmatched. All the Vedas, Upanishads and other such lofty texts come nowhere near to the direct and clear teachings of Ulladu Narpadu.

Sanjay Lohia said...

Look within; see yourself; this world and its miseries will end

The following is an extract from the newsletter ‘The Maharshi’ published by the ‘Arunachala Ashrama’, USA (May/June 2020 issue):

Also appropriate to this moment in which our outer life is being impacted by this great natural calamity, is a conversation with Sri Bhagavan which took place on Oct. 23, 1936 and has been recorded in Talks:

Devotee: There are widespread disasters spreading havoc in the world, e.g. famine and pestilence. What is the cause of this state of affairs?

Maharshi: To whom does all this appear?

D: That won’t do. I see misery around.

M: You were not aware of the world and its sufferings in your sleep; you are conscious of them in your wakeful state. Continue in that state in which you were not afflicted by these. That is to say, when you are not aware of the world, its sufferings do not affect you. When you remain as the Self, as in sleep, the world and its sufferings will not affect you. Therefore, look within. See the Self! There will be an end of the world and its miseries.

D: But that is selfishness.

M: The world is not external. Because you identify yourself wrongly with the body you see the world outside, and its pain becomes apparent to you. But they are not real. Seek the reality and get rid of this unreal feeling.

The present circumstances, in fact, remind us strongly that whatever we experience in this life, is bound to go and will not stay with us. That is, no matter what wealth, fame, talents, etc., we pursue, the happiness experienced from them will also be impermanent. That happiness which is our real nature is the true happiness, and we are that consciousness, says Sri Bhagavan.

So, as we all experience the effects of the current circumstances, as we laud and are thankful for the efforts of all who are working tirelessly for the good of many, as we continue to extend a hand of support or service or encouragement to others to the extent of our capabilities, let us remember Sri Bhagavan’s advice to surrender to that Lord of all who sustains the universe:

Place your burden at the feet of the Lord of the universe who accomplishes everything. Remain all the time steadfast in the heart, in the transcendental absolute. God knows the past, present and future. He will determine the future for you and accomplish the work. What is to be done will be done at the proper time. Don't worry. Abide in the heart and surrender your acts to the divine.

(The end of the extract)

Sanjay Lohia said...

We should polish the mind on the stone called the mind

The following is the explanation of verse 899 of GVK by Sri Sadhu Om:

Sadhu Om: Refer to the second line of verse 5 of Sri Arunachala Ashtakam, in which Sri Bhagavan sings, ‘Just as a gem is polished, if the mind is polished on the stone called mind in order to free it of flaws, it will shine with the lustre of thy grace’. That is, only when the mind attends to itself will it be freed from flaws and thereby shine as the reality, the pure ‘I am’. By attending to second and third persons, the mind will only gather impurities. Therefore, by engaging in any activity or sadhana other than self-attention, the mind will never die. It will die only when it attends to its own form in order to find out ‘What am I?’ or ‘Who am I?’ This truth was discovered by Sri Bhagavan from his own direct experience. Meditating upon or scrutinizing anything other than the mind is neither introversion [antarmukham] nor a means to know the reality. Only self-attention – the practice of the mind’s attending to the first person singular feeling ‘I’ – will drown the mind in self and thereby destroy it. This therefore is the only path to attain and abide as the reality.

My reflection: So our job is to polish the mind on the stone called the mind in order to free it of its flaws. What are these flaws? These are all our vishaya-vasanas, which are our liking to attend to things other than ourself. So our flaws are all our desires, attachments, likes, dislikes, hopes, fears and so on. The more we polish the mind on the stone called the mind, the more these flaws will start fading.

A time will come when these flaws will become negligible. So now we are in a better position to destroy ego which has these flaws.

Sanjay Lohia said...

Bhagavan is teaching us through his life how we should live our lives in this world

The following is an extract from an article by Dr Sarada (taken from the magazine ‘The Ramana Way’ - April 2020 issue), published by the RMCL, Bangalore, India:

As a boy of sixteen he [Bhagavan] leaves house at the call of Arunchala. On arrival he throws away into the tank what little money remains with him, his clothes and even his sweets that remain uneaten. No depends on anything to provide him anything whatsoever. Food, clothing and shelter are accepted in the manner given from time to time. There is no asking for anything.

My reflection: Bhagavan is teaching us through his life how we should live our lives in this world. If we want to live a happy and carefree life, we have no other option but to follow Bhagavan's path of self-surrender.

Sanjay Lohia said...

Dīpa-Darśaṉa Tattuvam

In this video Michael also discusses another verse composed by Bhagavan, தீபதர்சன தத்துவம் (Dīpa-Darśaṉa Tattuvam), The Significance of Seeing Deepam:

[By] giving up the mind, [the false awareness] ‘this body alone is I’, [and by] that mind abiding only in the heart by self-attentiveness [or looking at ‘I’], seeing the non-dual real light of ‘I’ is the actual truth of seeing the light [on] Annamalai, which is called the centre of the world.

After quoting this verse, Michael discusses its meaning:

Since today in Deepam (02/12/2017), I thought it would be nice to start with this verse Bhagavan wrote 86 years ago on the Deepam day explaining the significance of seeing deepam. While explaining the significance of deepam, Bhagavan is very very clearly explaining his teachings and what the practice is.

Even the clause ‘which is called the centre of the world’ has a deep significance because whatever world we experience ourself to be in, the centre of any world is only ourself. Suppose if we say ‘here’, it is the point in space where the body is, and suppose if we say ‘now’, it is the point in time where the body is. Which body? The body which I take to be myself.

So I as this ego seem to be the centre of this world, but what is the centre of ego? It is ‘I’. What is real in ego is only ‘I’. The body is an adjunct that comes and goes – it is something which is temporarily added to us. So the essence or centre of ego is the real ‘I’, which is what we really are, the pure self-awareness. So since ego always experiences itself as the centre point in space and time – the point ‘here’ and ‘now’, ego is the centre of the world. And since ego is nothing but our real ‘I’, this real ‘I’, which is Annamalai, is the centre of the world.

Therefore, so much deep meaning is packed into this verse where Bhagavan explains the significance of seeing the deepam. This is the core of Bhagavan’s teachings.

• Based on the video: 2017-12-02 Sri Ramana Center, Houston: discussion with Michael James on Uḷḷadu Nāṟpadu verse 11 (00:00)


Salazar said...

Sanjay, re. number 6) - that notion is contaminated with self-deception. How can the ego ever be humble? An ego cannot really be humble. Humility is the absence of the ego.

The ego can only be humble when being attentive to self. As soon as that attention has faded away humility is gone and is replaced by arrogance, pity, anger, jealousy, etc.
These emotions may be subtle, however they are ready to unfold on particular situations. When Bhagavan sees that we are feeling humble (or better the ego believes to be humble) he gives us an experience/encounter which will show how humble (or how dispassionate) we truly are/have. A reality check of some sorts :-)

In fact, all of our experiences in the phenomenal world are a reminder or hint to turn within.

Salazar said...

One more comment re. the whole Robert Adams issue: Frankly, if Robert (or any other object/body) is a guru or not can only be of interest for people at a certain point of their spiritual evolution. As we know, there is only one guru and that's it.

Steven Strouth is for some reason putting out effort to find more facts which show that Adams' statements cannot be verified and therefore are a lie. He even is in a dialog with people who make comments on his "interviews". He considers that as a healthy thing.

Alright, fair enough. I see this as total irrelevant and it is just more drama and a story transpiring in the phenomenal world. Why would someone like Strouth, who considers himself, as it seems, as very knowledgeable about spiritual matters, waste his time with things like that? It is after all, an infatuation with the phenomenal world .... (of course, it's prarabdha, but as a seeker, why not being aware of its transient nature and therefore drop it as it transpires and then this whole drama will very likely die on its own accord?) :-)

Okay, that should be it for me.

Yo Soy Tu Mismo said...

Salazar, in connection with your writing of April 27, 2020 at 5:51 p.m., don't you think that, for example, the ego of Shri Sadhu om or Shri Muruganar, just before the complete 180-degree turn, was an infinitely purer (or humble) ego than that of almost anyone who had not yet turned around enough? Obviously it is still ego but there are also degrees of purification of the mind to true humility. Therefore, we could only speak of true humility as long as there is no longer an ego but as long as there is apparently an ego, we could differentiate between "an arrogant person" and "a humble person" even if it is not pure humility but in progress of being one.

Anonymous said...

I agree to this totally.

Sanjay Lohia said...

Salazar, Bhagavan teaches us in the 20th paragraph of Nan Ar?:

If oneself rises [or appears] [as ego or mind], everything rises [or appears]; if oneself subsides [disappears or ceases], everything subsides [disappears or ceases]. To whatever extent sinking low [subsiding or being humble] we proceed [or conduct ourself], to that extent there is goodness [benefit or virtue]. If one is [continuously] restraining [curbing, subduing or reducing] mind, wherever one may be one can be [or let one be].

So, I agree, as long as we rise as ego we cannot be perfectly humble. Our rising as ego is itself arrogance. However, as different egos or persons, we do have different degrees of humility. We can also cultivate our humility. However, if we want to be truly and perfectly humble, our ego needs to subside for good.

Aham said...

.


“My desires dropped away….I didn’t long for anything. I didn’t even have a name. To put it romantically, I was completely free.”

And 19:52


.

anadi-ananta said...

Yo Soy Tu Mismo,
you refer to Salazar's writing of April 27, 2020 at 5:51 p.m.,
but Salazars comments of April 27, 2020 appear at other times. Obviously you mean his comment at 19:10 (reference 'humility').

Yo Soy Tu Mismo said...

Exactly Anady Ananta, thank you for the correction

Sanjay Lohia said...

Bhagavan will do all that is necessary to ensure that one day we are ready to flower

Why are we all sitting here and talking about this subject? We could be doing so many other things. Bhagavan has planted a seed of interest for his teachings in our heart, and now we find this subject more and more interesting. We are on a suicide mission. Sooner or later, we are going to get too close to the flame that is Bhagavan, and we are going to get burnt. We know that, but still, we can’t leave the flame. Somehow we are doomed to die!

So Bhagavan has put that seed of love in our heart, and he is never going to cheat us. Bhagavan prays to Arunachala – ‘to me who had no love for you, you gave me this little bit of desire for you; so now do not cheat me’. Bhagavan said that as a prayer, but I take that as an assurance. Bhagavan will never fail us.

We may not have enough love for Bhagavan's teachings and we may not be sincerely following it, but once Bhagavan plants a seed, he will work on it tirelessly. He will nurture it and make sure that seed grows into a beautiful flower. We may not be ready to flower yet, but we are being attended by the best gardener on this earth. He will give us the water, the nourishment and all the favourable circumstances. When the winter comes, he will take us into the greenhouse to protect us from the cold. He will do all that is necessary to ensure that one day we are ready to flower.

• Based on the video: 2017-12-02 Sri Ramana Center, Houston: discussion with Michael James on Uḷḷadu Nāṟpadu verse 11 (51:00)

Salazar said...

Yo Soy, first let me say that I do not know anything about the humility of Sadhu Om and Muruganar, it would be an assumption based on what I might have read about them.

Now if we believe in this phenomenal world, and it appears we believe to be that body, then we automatically accept notions of change and time because that is how we perceive this phenomenal world. However on the other hand, Bhagavan taught us that there is no time and change, it is imagined, thus stages of humility must be imagined too as are the objects we are perceiving which are supposed to contain these differences.

Sanjay, I believe that one cannot take Nan Yar literally in the sense you are doing it. Bhagavan gives us there pointers how to perform vichara from the reference of the phenomenal world and so he gives pointers within the parameters of this imagined world, but not to be taken for real since reality is not change of any kind. Change and degrees of difference are an illusion.

Michael has mentioned the same much more eloquently than I do here, maybe I stumble over it and I'll reference to it.

To believe in degrees of humility equals to the belief in this phenomenal world. How can we be free while believing in those degrees? It is impossible. So it's better to sooner than later drop these false notions. What is it that ONLY can see these [imagined] differences? The ego. I believe we are in the process to realize its non-existence and with that the non-existence of degrees of humility. One cannot be free while believing in degrees of humility.

Now that might not be acceptable for some seekers and that is perfectly fine for me. Why it is false will be dawning eventually.

Salazar said...

Also, let's not forget that the "complete 180-degree turn" is only a pointer, it does not reflect reality. In fact it is an imagination since that what seemingly turns does not exist.

In fact, that supposedly turning is also entirely a projection of the ego. Pointers can be helpful or they can be conceptual obstacles depending how the mind looks at it.

That turn analogy is for me helpful to understand that as long as one perceives the phenomenal world [as an object] one is not done with vichara. However vichara is beyond any spatial parameters, in fact it must be beyond these parameters because if not one would just keep playing in maya.

There is no movement from the phenomenal world to svarupa, as in degrees of turning, it is the instant recognition that there is only svarupa in the first place. Timing and purification are projections of the mind.

We are supposed to leave others alone, so why are we concerned about the humility of others like Sadhu Om or anybody else? In fact why bringing up humility at all instead to BE.

Mārtiņš said...

Salazar when you practice self inquiry or self surrender you must drop even Robert Adams.

anadi-ananta said...

Sanjay ,
re. your comment of 27 April 2020 at 15:39,
instead of 'Arunchala' you mean 'Arunachala'.

Salazar said...

Martins, I concur.

anadi-ananta said...

"...why bringing up humility at all instead to BE."
Without humility one certainly will not be able to just being.

Anonymous said...

Right:)

Sanjay Lohia said...

Salazar, you say, ‘Also, let's not forget that the "complete 180-degree turn" is only a pointer, it does not reflect reality. In fact it is an imagination since that what seemingly turns does not exist. In fact, that supposedly turning is also entirely a projection of the ego’.

Everything other than ourself as we actually are is an imagination of ego, so our supposed 180 degrees turn towards ourself is also imagination. We are supposedly facing 180 degrees away from ourself, so we now we have to turn 180 degrees towards ourself. However, whether we say we are turning away from ourself or we say we have to turn towards ourself, we are speaking from the perspective ego.

However, from the perspective of ourself as we actually are, we have never faced away from ourself, so there is no question of turning within to face ourself.

Sanjay Lohia said...

Carl Jung was afraid to see Bhagavan

Carl Jung was afraid to see Bhagavan because his whole work was based on his research on the mind. But Bhagavan said if one researched the mind correctly to see what it is, one will see that there is no such thing as mind at all. So the whole of Jung’s life’s work will all amount to nothing if he were to accept Bhagavan’s teachings. So like all of us, he was afraid to let go.

But we are hardly better. We may be flying around the flame which is Bhagavan and his teachings, but we are too afraid to get too close to this flame, aren’t we? We still are not ready to take the plunge and sacrifice ourself in that flame, in that deepam.

• Based on the video: 2017-12-02 Sri Ramana Center, Houston: discussion with Michael James on Uḷḷadu Nāṟpadu verse 11 (56:00)

Sanjay Lohia said...

Bhagavan says being aware of anything other than ourself is ignorance

As this ego, we definitely need to know things other than ourself, but knowing things other than ourself is tiring. So as this ego we get tired after 16 hours of knowing things other than ourself. We get so exhausted that we subside back into sleep. But when ego subsides and we don’t know anything, we don’t cease to exist, do we? So we don’t need to know anything other than ourself in order to exist as we really are. As ego, we need to be aware of other things to exist, but Bhagavan says being aware of anything other than ourself is ignorance.

Though we may understand this at a surface level, none of us really understand it. If we really understood it, our attention would turn within and we would merge back into our source. Why are we still clinging to things other than ourself? We are doing so because we still do not fully understand and accept what Bhagavan said. Why don’t we understand it? It is because we don’t want to understand it. We still think we get happiness from the things of the world. We still think knowing things of the world is real knowledge.

• Based on the video: 2017-12-02 Sri Ramana Center, Houston: discussion with Michael James on Uḷḷadu Nāṟpadu verse 11 (47:00)

anadi-ananta said...

Sanjay,
"We still think we get happiness from the things of the world. We still think knowing things of the world is real knowledge."
Continuing the "why"-questions, let us ask too "Why do we think wrongly ?"
Because xyz...
And why xyz...
Because abc...
Finally we end up again at question xyz and perhaps we will continue asking round in a circle beginning again with question abc...
It would be nice if we actually break through the asking barrier into the field of knowing. :-)

Anonymous said...

Interesting video about Maine Hermit.

Salazar said...

Sanjay, my point was not that turning within is an imagination, but that "degrees" of turning within are an imagination (or any degrees, like how much humble somebody is), big difference. One cannot quantify that degree, nobody can. Even Sadhu Om stated that one cannot know (the jiva) one's "progress". And that is valid for humility too.

I am not minimizing the value of vichara or of humility. However one cannot quantify it, that is an delusion of the ego. That was my original point. So it is quite ignorant to proclaim the degrees of humility of others even that of Sadhu Om and Muruganar who are, in all reality, a projection of our mind as are degrees of humility.

Salazar said...

What an annoying habit to take a little piece of somebodies comment and then make a contradictory statement to it without considering and addressing the entire comment. It seems for me it's just the ego's obsession with argument and with the underlying dynamic of a never-ending dispute.

anadi-ananta said...

Looking primarily at one's own obsessions is not only advisable but a matter of urgency.

Salazar said...

Purification is as real as our body. So if we believe that we get born and die then that what believes that also gets "purified" in the same fashion. If we do not get born and die then we also do not get purified.

Thus only one can be real. Take your pick.

Is the snake purified into a rope? The [seeming] problem (contamination or objectified consciousness) and [seeming] solution (purification) are one and the same. One cannot exist without the other one. That's called a dyad. It is a delusion, maya.

In other words, a seeming purification can only exist with a contamination, thus both give themselves reality, as does the ego.

Since objectified consciousness gives purification its reality purification can ONLY exist in objectified consciousness. Since purification exists only WITH or IN objectified consciousness it cannot ever be or gain/reach svarupa. In fact, the very idea of purification is an obstacle to realize self!

Bhagavan made that clear in the Maharshi Gospel and elsewhere.

R Viswanathan said...

There was some discussion earlier here in this blog on the mind turning inwards upon apparently experiencing happiness outside of oneself. I was hoping that there would surely have been some statement by Bhagavan himself asserting this, and my hope came true upon reading Bhagavat Vachanamrutham (Tamil version of 'Talks with Sri Ramana Maharshi', translation by Sri Viswanatha Swami). I give below the English original version, although I find the Tamil version, much more clear (to me) and appears (to me) as very close to the language style that would have prevailed during the conversations.

Talk 254.Talks with Sri Ramana Maharshi

D.: Through poetry, music, japa, bhajan, beautiful landscapes, reading the lives of spiritual heroes, etc., one sometimes experiences a true sense of all-unity. Is that feeling of deep blissful quiet (wherein the personal self has no place) the “entering into the heart” whereof Bhagavan speaks? Will practice of that lead to a deeper samadhi, and so ultimately to a full vision of the Real?

M.: Again, there is happiness at agreeable sights, etc. It is the happiness inherent in the Self. That happiness is not alien and after. You are diving into the Pure Self on occasions which you consider pleasurable. That diving reveals the Self-existent Bliss. But the association of ideas is responsible for foisting this bliss on to other things or happenings. In fact, it is within you. On these occasions you are plunging into the Self, though unconsciously. If you do so consciously you call it Realisation. I want you to dive consciously into the Self, i.e., into the Heart.


Sanjay Lohia said...

Bhagavan says instead of overlooking the obvious, look straight at the obvious – look straight at yourself

A friend (F): I am not aware of myself.

Michael (M): When have you ever been not aware of yourself?

F: Right now I am not aware of myself.

M: You are not aware of yourself! Who is the one who says ‘I am not aware of myself’? You are aware of ‘I’ because you say ‘I am not aware of myself’. Not only you are aware of ‘I’, but you are also aware of ‘myself’ that you are not aware of. You are using the words ‘I’ and ‘myself’, and you are saying you are not aware of them. A bit confusing, isn’t it?

F: Yes, it is Michael. That’s the whole point.

M: That is ego because ego itself is the confusion. The one thing which we are always aware of is ourself. The awareness of other things can come and go, but we are always aware of ourself. The problem is we overlook self-awareness. Bhagavan often used to say that basic self-awareness is like a screen in the cinema. The screen is always there. All the time we are watching the cinema, we are actually watching only the screen. But we are more interested in all the images flashing across the screen.

Bhagavan says instead of overlooking the obvious, look straight at the obvious – look straight at yourself. We are always self-aware, but generally, we are negligently self-aware. Because we are more interested in other things, we neglect the basic self-awareness which is the support for everything. So instead of being negligently self-aware, all Bhagavan asks us to do is to be attentively self-aware.

It is not difficult at all. It seems difficult because we want to be aware of other things. We are not giving our full attention to ourself. The one thing which we are clearly aware of is ourself. Self-awareness is the very foundation of our experience. Like you said,’ I am not aware of myself’. How can ‘I’ not be aware of itself? So self-awareness is so obvious. We need to be interested in knowing what we are – not knowing ourself as a person but ourself as the mere self-awareness.

According to Bhagavan, this simple self-awareness that we always experience all the time is the supreme and the only reality. Bhagavan said that there is nothing new to know. If jnana were a new knowledge, what comes will also go. So there is not a single person who doesn’t have jnana here and now. The problem is we have got full jnana plus ajnana. So we just have to get rid of ajnana. This ajnana comes with ego. By investigating ego, we find that ego doesn’t exist. When ego ceases to exist, ajnana will cease to exist along with it.

• Based on the video: 2017-12-02 Sri Ramana Center, Houston: discussion with Michael James on Uḷḷadu Nāṟpadu verse 11 (1:40)

anadi-ananta said...

"In fact, the very idea of purification is an obstacle to realize self!"
That statement seems to me as utterly wrongly directed.
I think the contrary: If mind is sufficiently purified, self - which is anyway ever pure and realized - alone remains free of superimposition.

anadi-ananta said...

R Viswanathan,
thanks for your given comment,
because I rejected some time ago the general statement that there could be no happiness in sense perception.
"...You are diving into the Pure Self on occasions which you consider pleasurable. That diving reveals the Self-existent Bliss...On these occasions you are plunging into the Self, though unconsciously. If you do so consciously you call it Realisation. I want you to dive consciously into the Self, i.e., into the Heart."
Therefore the beauty, loveliness, gracefulness, radiance etc. seen in the world for instance in a beautiful landscape (can) lead us to dive within, on condition that one is able to grasp such beautiful radiance, atmosphere...
Similar to that can be impressions from music, poetry, arts...or simply the smile of a child.

R Viswanathan said...

"In fact, the very idea of purification is an obstacle to realize self!"

I would think that ideas are thoughts and hence are said to be an obstacle for realization. Yes, in 'Talks', Bhagavan has said on many places that thoughts are the main obstacle in the path.

Talk 618.
M.: See wherefrom the thought arises. It is the mind. See for whom the mind or intellect functions. For the ego. Merge the intellect in the ego and seek the source of the ego. The ego disappears. ‘I know’ and ‘I do not know’ imply a subject and an object. They are due to duality. The Self is pure and absolute, One and alone. There are no two selves so that one may know the other. What is duality then? It cannot be the Self which is One and alone. It must be non-Self. Duality is the characteristic of the ego. When thoughts arise duality is present; know it to be the ego, and seek its source.
The degree of the absence of thoughts is the measure of your progress towards Self-Realisation. But Self-Realisation itself does not admit of progress; it is ever the same. The Self remains always in realisation. The obstacles are thoughts. Progress is measured by the degree of removal of the obstacles to understanding that the Self is always realised. So thoughts must be checked by seeking to whom they arise. So you go to their Source, where they do not arise.

Talk 462.
Your nature is Peace and Happiness. Thoughts are the obstacles to realisation. One’s meditation or concentration is meant to get rid of obstacles and not to gain the Self. Does anyone remain apart from the Self? No! The true nature of the Self is declared to be Peace. If the same peace is not found, the non-finding is only a thought which is alien to the Self. One practises meditation only to get rid of these alien fancies. So, then, a thought must be quelled as soon as it rises.

On the other hand, I would also think that everyone would agree how important is the purification of mind, too, as revealed by Bhagavan in many places in 'Talks'

Talk 155.
Maj. Chadwick: It is said that one look of a Mahatma is enough; that idols, pilgrimages, etc. are not so effective. I have been here for three months, but I do not know how I have been benefited by the look of Maharshi.
M.: The look has a purifying effect. Purification cannot be visualised. Just as a piece of coal takes long to be ignited, a piece of charcoal takes a short time, and a mass of gunpowder is instantaneously ignited, so it is with grades of men coming in contact with Mahatmas.

Talk 189.
D.: What does Maharshi say about hatha yoga or Tantric practices?
M.: Maharshi does not criticise any of the existing methods. All are good for the purification of the mind. Because the purified mind alone is capable of grasping his method and sticking to its practice.

Talk 564.
One of his questions was: “Now that I have had the darshan of Sri Bhagavan and it is enough for me, may I throw away all the charms, tantras and pujas into the river?”
M.: Daily puja as prescribed in the Dharma sastras is always good. It is for the purification of the mind. Even if one feels oneself too advanced to need such puja, still it must be performed for the sake of others. Such action will be an example to one’s children and other dependents.

Asun said...

Body is in mind so, I´d rather say that purification is as real as mind, and mind is the “wondrous power” in ourself that isn´t but ourself which is just being yet, as soon as this power rises, maya or the doing, there is duality and therefore along with pure mind or “I am”, we have the impure mind or ego, “I am this body”. By abiding as “I am” and turning towards our source we know ourself as what we really are or “I am I”, mind is swallowed by ourself and it is known that it never existed as something separated or different from ourself. There is not "obstacle to realize self" because ourself is always realized but by attending to other things than ourself, we are ego or the impure mind because ego is made up of vasanas we project-perceive as the world and by looking for, or getting some satisfaction in the world, believing that it is real, having forgotten ourself which is the only real and perfect satisfaction, we acquire more vasanas due to attachments, desires, etc., overcoming them in order to be able of abiding as “I am”, requires and is purification. Those who claim otherwise, are deceiving themselves. Overcoming vasanas is self-surrender and abiding as “I am”, is self-investigation.

Salazar said...

Viswanathan, exactly! Purification is a thought. How can a thought be real, ANY thought. The idea of purification sustains the ego, alas many do not grasp that.

Asun, I hear you but my comment is not saying that there are no vasanas and vichara is not necessary, it is saying that applying the concept or better being attached to the concept of purification, especially in the way Yo Soy used it with his Sadhu Om and Muruganar examples, is an obstacle.

Even though there seems to be a process of "eliminating vasanas", to take that as real and have that idea held in mind is an obstacle and realization is impossible [holding that idea].

Anyway, it's hard to grasp since the meaning is beyond duality and as such inconceivable for many.

So many neo-advaitans got it wrong, but some here on this blog too. In the beginning I thought Michael belonged among those but I realized he is not.

Sanjay Lohia said...

Does God hear our prayers?

A friend: Does God hear our prayers?

Michael: [laughs] So long as we take ourself to be a person, we also take God to be a person. Now you just asked me a question, didn’t you? You think there is a person called Michael who is hearing your questions and giving you answers. But supposing in your dream you were to ask someone, you will also get an answer. While dreaming, you believe there is a person who is answering your questions. But when you wake up you realise that the person you asked that question was just a figment of your imagination.

So just like you believe Michael is hearing your questions, it is equally true that God is hearing our prayers. That is so long as we rise as ego and experience ourself as this body, in effect the world is real and God is real as someone other than ourself and other than the world. But when we wake up we realise that neither God nor a world as something apart from ourself was real. God is real, not as something other than ourself but as ourself - as our own reality.

• Based on the video: 2017-12-02 Sri Ramana Center, Houston: discussion with Michael James on Uḷḷadu Nāṟpadu verse 11 (1:09)

Asun said...

Ah, ok, then you say it in the sense that it is said in “Nan Ar” to renounce to the thought “I am a sinner”, Salazar. Sorry, I found I bit confusing your comment. Thanks for clarifying.

Salazar said...

Yes Asun, "I am a sinner" goes along the same line.

Bhagavan in his wisdom encouraged even for those who realize that purifying actions and rituals are not necessary to still do them for the sake of others who will be inspired by it. For a long time I could not get that until I realized that it is my pride and lack of compassion what brushed away this suggestion.
So purifying rituals are even beneficial for prideful blokes like me since they help to surrender one's pride.

anadi-ananta said...

"Purification is a thought. How can a thought be real, ANY thought. The idea of purification sustains the ego, alas many do not grasp that."
Purification of mind is less a thought than rather a necessity.

Martin said...

There is one verse about purity of mind in GVK:

142.
If those who are unfit even to live a life of religious
morality, take to a critical study of Vedanta, it is
nothing but a pollution of the purity of Vedanta.

Muruganar: This verse emphasises that the purity of mind
and heart is essential for those who take to the study of
Vedanta.

Salazar said...

Martin, GVK 142, yes - because if Vedanta is taken and analyzed with solely the logical mind it surly will yield a distorted understanding. That's why studying Bhagavan's teaching is ineffective if it is not accompanied with vichara. There are examples on this blog which show very clearly what transpires when there is a lack of vichara.

Nonetheless, the idea [or concept] of purification sustains the ego. Because realization requires that [the concepts of] Vedanta is dropped entirely. It is only helpful in the beginning, eventually it will be, like all concepts and ideas, an obstacle. In fact, vichara is the only thing which is never an obstacle, everything else will be at some point.

Salazar said...

Bhagavan in the Maharshi's Gospel:"[...] Truly there is no cause for you to be miserable and unhappy. You yourself impose limitations on your true nature of Infinite Being, and then weep that you are but a finite creature. Then you take up this or that sadhana to transcend the non-existent limitations. But if your sadhana itself ASSUMES THE EXISTENCE OF THE LIMITATIONS, how can it help you to transcend them?
You are always that Self and nothing but that Self. Therefore, you can never be really ignorant of the Self; your ignorance is merely a formal ignorance like the ignorance of the ten fools about the 'lost' tenth man. It is this ignorance that caused them grief. [...]"

Capitals by me.

Analog to this teaching by Bhagavan goes the idea of purification because also purification, as sadhana, itself assumes the existence of the limitations and therefore can never transcend them!

anadi-ananta said...

"You yourself impose limitations on your true nature of Infinite Being,...
...your ignorance is merely a formal ignorance like the ignorance of the ten fools about the 'lost' tenth man."
From the above quotation it is perhaps equally derived that any limitations seemingly or actually imposed on our true nature of infinite being can be or are transcended by one who practises a purification-sadhana, at the latest when (s)he recognizes the actual non-existence of any limitations.

R Viswanathan said...

Talk 80.
“If a man considers he is born he cannot avoid the fear of death. Let him find out if he has been born or if the Self has any birth. He will discover that the Self always exists, that the body which is born resolves itself into thought and that the emergence of thought is the root of all mischief. Find wherefrom thoughts emerge. Then you will abide in the ever-present inmost Self and be free from the idea of birth or the fear of death.”
A disciple asked how to do it.
M.: The thoughts are only vasanas (predispositions), accumulated in innumerable births before. Their annihilation is the aim. The state free from vasanas is the primal state and eternal state of purity.

Talk 13.
“Is a Master necessary for realisation?” Mrs. Piggot asked first.
M.: The realisation is the result of the Master’s grace more than teachings, lectures, meditation, etc. They are only secondary aids, whereas the former is the primary and the essential cause.
Devotee: What are the obstacles which hinder realisation of the Self?
M.: They are habits of mind (vasanas).
D.: How to overcome the mental habits (vasanas)?
M.: By realising the Self.
D.: That is a vicious circle.
M.: It is the ego which raises such difficulties, creating obstacles and then suffers from the perplexity of apparent paradoxes. Find out who makes the enquiries and the Self will be found.
D.: What are the aids for realisation?
M.: The teachings of the Scriptures and of realised souls.

At this point, I gratefully reproduce the words of Reinhard since they seem to reflect very well what is in my mind, too:
"it is the love and trust in Bhagavan, his authenticity and wisdom I could never doubt, which makes it acceptable to follow a theory which is not yet confirmed by direct experience."
"all models only want to further our investigation, manana lead to nididhyasana and samadhi. Their function is to trigger our interest to move beyond our common worldview and the love and trust in Bhagavan can be of the greatest help for that."

Asun said...

I use to start the day having a cup of decaf coffee and a quick look at some pages dedicated to Bhagavan´s teachings on fb. In one of these pages, one day I came across with this quote from “Conscious Immortality” by P.Brunton, shared by Reinhard:

"These truths are not realized because the samskaras have not been destroyed. The roots of doubt and confusion are samskaras, which must be cut. The latter is done by following the practice prescribed by the guru. The guru leaves it to the seeker to do this part so that he might by himself find out its truth. Practice renders the seeds of vasanas ineffective."

That practice prescribed by the guru “renders the seeds of vasanas ineffective” meaning that it is not necessary to focus on them which could streghthen them, agrees with what Sadhu Om says and Michael has explained and clarified in some of his articles on this blog (they are my reference for understanding Bhagavan´s teachings, that´s why I´m here and not somewhere else), as well as with my own experience. I think this is what Salazar is trying to highlight.
We have to understand Bhagavan´s teachings as a perfectly coherent and consistent whole. Taking one paragraph from here, a sentence from over there to support our own beliefs, is to distort them.

anadi-ananta said...

R Viswanathan,
yes, I too fall in with Reinhard's beautiful words:"it is the love and trust in Bhagavan, his authenticity and wisdom I could never doubt, which makes it acceptable to follow a theory which is not yet confirmed by direct experience."

However, I cannot find the other sentences "all models only want to further our investigation, manana lead to nididhyasana and samadhi. Their function is to trigger our interest to move beyond our common worldview and the love and trust in Bhagavan can be of the greatest help for that." as Reinhard's words in Michael's article of 15 April 2020.

Asun said...

Note to my previous comment:

Quotations are Bhagavan´s words as recorded by P.Brunton.

R Viswanathan said...


"However, I cannot find the other sentences "all models only....... as Reinhard's words in Michael's article of 15 April 2020."

Sorry, anadi-ananta. Those words are Reinhard's, which appeared as comment for the article (first comment): 15 April 2020 at 11:27

Salazar said...

Yes Asun, we do not want to focus on vasanas nor purification, we just want to BE via vichara. We all do not believe Bhagavan when he said, "You are always that Self and nothing but that Self."

In fact we all run around believing (mostly subconsciously), "I am NOT self". And from that all other false notions arise like purification etc. Even though Bhagavan called self "eternal state of purity", that does make purification real, it just describes a quality referenced to non-self.

However in thought-less self, attributes like purity are non-existent.

Salazar said...

Of course I meant "that does NOT make purification real" ....

Asun said...

Well, Salazar, it is obvious for most of us that what prevents us from completely turning towards our source and merge with it, it is our inclination to take this body to be “I” and the attachments and desires it brings about and we have stored. We should rather to acknowledge and face it, without becoming obsessed with vasanas, than to hurriedly make an abstraction out of them. The idea that vasanas and purification of mind are mere concepts or notions, is just an idea or notion too, as long as we don´t know ourself as what we really are.

“I am” is the door to ourself but also to ego or “I am this body” and we are constantly fluctuating between both hence, the importance of being keenly attentive to not be caught by the false awareness or to be aware of having been caught by it and to bring attention back to ourself. This is the process we are in, knowing ourself and loving it the more we know it, as well as knowing what we are not and discarding it. This is how mind becomes clearer and clearer which is what is purification, actually. IMO

anadi-ananta said...

R Viswanathan,
ah, yes I see, thanks. One has to agree with his view.

Salazar said...

Asun, Bhagavan made clear to not regard the unreal for real. As such one should not regard purification as real. So it is only something the ego uses to make itself feel better (in most cases) but is irrelevant in regards of self-realization. One cannot purify oneself into self. It is impossible.

But enough, if people need that term why not, just bear in mind that this is maya too.

anadi-ananta said...

Regarding Salazar's comment,
...running around and believing (mostly subconsciously), "I am NOT self"...
"However in thought-less self...".

Even believing the opposite "I am self" is only a thought which is non-existent in thought-less self.

anadi-ananta said...

"One cannot purify oneself into self. It is impossible."
Is that true ???
Is not a purified mind just self ?

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