Wednesday, 20 May 2020

Self-investigation as the way to love

In April of last year a Finnish friend, Jussi Penttinen, invited me to Helsinki, where he had arranged for me to give a talk and answer questions at a meeting organised by Forum Humanum. A video of this meeting, 2019-04-03 Forum Humanum, Helsinki: Michael James discusses self-investigation as the way to love, is available on my YouTube channel, Sri Ramana Teachings:


An MP3 audio copy of this video is available here in my MediaFire folder, Discussions with Michael James.

Without any preplanning on my part, what I said in the first seven and a half minutes of this video turned out to be an elaboration of what Bhagavan wrote in the first paragraph of Nāṉ Ār?:
சகல ஜீவர்களும் துக்கமென்ப தின்றி எப்போதும் சுகமாயிருக்க விரும்புவதாலும், யாவருக்கும் தன்னிடத்திலேயே பரம பிரிய மிருப்பதாலும், பிரியத்திற்கு சுகமே காரண மாதலாலும், மனமற்ற நித்திரையில் தின மனுபவிக்கும் தன் சுபாவமான அச் சுகத்தை யடையத் தன்னைத் தானறிதல் வேண்டும். அதற்கு நானார் என்னும் ஞான விசாரமே முக்கிய சாதனம்.

sakala jīvargaḷum duḥkham eṉbadu iṉḏṟi eppōdum sukham-āy irukka virumbuvadālum, yāvarukkum taṉ-ṉ-iḍattil-ē-y-ē parama piriyam iruppadālum, piriyattiṟku sukham-ē kāraṇam ādalālum, maṉam aṯṟa niddiraiyil diṉam aṉubhavikkum taṉ subhāvam āṉa a-c-sukhattai y-aḍaiya-t taṉṉai-t tāṉ aṟidal vēṇḍum. adaṟku nāṉ ār eṉṉum ñāṉa-vicāram-ē mukkhiya sādhaṉam.

Since all living beings want [or like] to be always happy without what is called misery, since for everyone the greatest love is only for oneself, and since happiness alone is the cause for love, [in order] to obtain that happiness, which is one’s own nature, which one experiences daily in [dreamless] sleep, which is devoid of mind, oneself knowing oneself is necessary. For that, jñāna-vicāra [awareness-investigation] called ‘who am I’ alone is the principal means.
The verse composed by Sadhu Om that I refer to at 1:38:42 is:
இஷ்டமுனக் கில்லாத எச்செயலும் செய்யேனான்
இஷ்டமுனக் கில்லாத எச்சொல்லும் சொல்லேனான்
இஷ்டமுனக் கில்லாத எந்நினைவும் எண்ணேனான்
இஷ்டமிதை நின்னருளால் ஈடேற்றி வைப்பாயே.

iṣṭamuṉak killāda ecceyalum seyyēṉāṉ
iṣṭamuṉak killāda eccollum sollēṉāṉ
iṣṭamuṉak killāda enniṉaivum eṇṇēṉāṉ
iṣṭamidai niṉṉaruḷāl īḍēṯṟi vaippāyē
.

I will not do any action that is not [according] to your wish.
I will not say any word that is not [according] to your wish.
I will not think any thought that is not [according] to your wish.
Fulfil this wish [of mine] by your grace.
The following is a transcript of this video:

0:05 Michael James: The one thing that we are all seeking is happiness. Happiness, unalloyed happiness, that is, happiness without any misery. Not only human beings, every sentient creature is seeking happiness. Whatever we are trying to achieve, whatever we are seeking in life, we’re seeking it because we think it makes us happy. So our motivation, our ultimate motivation, is this strong yearning for happiness.

1:13 And for whom do we want happiness? It is for ourself. Of course we want others to be happy, those we love, we want them to be happy. But why do we want others to be happy? Because when the people we love are happy, that makes us happy. If they are unhappy, it makes us unhappy.

1:58 Even kindness and compassion: why we are kind and compassionate to others? We don’t want to see them suffering because seeing them suffering is causing suffering to us. So even the most selfless love is based on this fundamental desire that we all have for our own happiness.

2:42 And, why we want happiness for ourself? Because we love ourself. However much we may love other people, our love for ourself is greater than our love for them. And the cause of love, what makes us love something, we love whatever makes us happy.

3:21 So according to Bhagavan the ultimate cause of love is happiness. Happiness is what causes love.

3:44 We love to be happy, and we also love ourself. And because happiness is what causes us to love everything, that is a clear indication that happiness is our real nature. That is, if we didn’t have a fundamental recognition of the fact that happiness is our real nature, we wouldn’t have love for ourself.

4:36 And another piece of evidence that we have that happiness is our real nature: in waking and dream we experience a mixture of happiness and unhappiness, pleasure and pain, but there is one state in which we experience happiness without any pain, without any unhappiness. That is the state of sleep.

5:24 In sleep we are separated from everything else. We are not aware of body or mind or world or anything. We are aware only of ourself. And in sleep the happiness we experience is perfect happiness. It is not contaminated by the least unhappiness. Since we experience happiness when we are all alone, that is another further evidence that happiness is our real nature.

6:13 Translator: You mean, even when we are alone?

6:15 Michael: Alone in sleep. In sleep we are separated...

6:18 Translator: Oh, in sleep. Sometimes when people are alone they are unhappy.

{Laughs}

6:23 Michael: They’re not really alone. They are with their thoughts.

6:36 So since we have so much love for ourself, and since our real nature is happiness, in order to experience the happiness, to permanently experience the happiness that we are, to experience unalloyed happiness, without any contamination, we need to know what we actually are. This is why Bhagavan said that we need to investigate ourself, to find out what we actually are.

7:31 Generally if we are asked who we are, we will have a ready answer: ‘I’m Michael’. And if people ask, ‘Who is Michael?’, I will have a story to tell: I was born in such-and-such a place, I lived here, I lived there, I did this, I did that. Then the whole story of our life, we identify with that, because we identify with the person that we seem to be. I’m just using this name, Michael, because it happens to be the name of this body, but whatever our name is, it is the name given to a body. Because we now experience ourself as if we were this body.

8:46 But if this body were actually ourself, we couldn’t be aware of ourself without being aware of this body. But in dream we are aware of ourself, but instead of being aware of ourself as this body, we’re aware of ourself as some other body. The general belief we have is that when we are dreaming, our body is asleep on a bed, and we are imagining some other body, some other world. So in dream we have no awareness of this body at all, but we are aware of ourself. So since we’re aware of ourself without being aware of this body, this body cannot be what we actually are.

10:16 Though this body isn’t what we actually are, it’s what we now seem to be. In the same way in dream we seem to be a body, but it happens to be some other body. So we cannot be any body that we seem to be.

10:51 So there is a fundamental flaw in our present awareness of ourself. We are now aware of ourself as if we are something which is not what we actually are.

11:16 It could be argued then that though we are not this body, not this waking body and not the dream body, it’s the same mind in both states. So since we are the same mind in both waking and dream, is the mind what we actually are?

11:45 Translator: Is?

11:46 Michael: Is this mind ... Instead of being the body, are we the mind? But the same principle applies there: If we are this mind, we cannot be aware of ourself without being aware of this mind.

12:17 But what is this mind? It’s just a series of changing thoughts. But though the mind is changing, we remain unchanged.

12:37 Some years ago our whole view of the world was different. When we were a child, for example, we didn’t know what we know now. Our beliefs, our attitudes, so many things that we believed then we don’t believe now, so many attitudes we had then we don’t have now, so many memories we didn’t have then we do have now.

13:13 So body and mind are both changing. But we, the ‘I’, remain the same.

13:28 Now, for example, we remember our childhood. Certain events in our childhood, we remember ‘I saw this’ or ‘I did this’. So the ‘I’ that had those experiences as a child is the same ‘I’ that is now experiencing this. So whereas all other things are changing, we remain unchanging. We are the experiencer; everything else is something that we experience. So whereas all experienced things are changing, the experiencer, the perceiver, remains the same.

14:39 So that is one reason why this mind cannot be what we actually are, but another reason is: We are aware of ourself as this mind in waking and dream, but in sleep we’re aware of ourself without being aware of this mind.

15:19 Most of us when we are told that we’re aware of ourself in sleep, our immediate reaction is: ‘No, I am not aware of anything in sleep’. It is true we are not aware of anything in sleep. That is, we are not aware of anything in the sense that we are not aware of any phenomena. But we are now aware that we were in a state in which we were not aware of any phenomena.

16:16 So how do we have this memory of having been in a state where we were not aware of any phenomena if we were not aware in that state?

16:39 We could say that in sleep we are aware of the absence of phenomena, but even that is not quite the right way of expressing it, because now, for example, we can be aware of the absence of any dogs. There are no dogs in this room. But we are aware of the absence of dogs only when we think about it. So when we talk of being aware of the absence of something, it assumes some type of thought is there. But in sleep there are no thoughts, so it’s only now, in this waking state, that we can say phenomena were absent in sleep. What we were actually aware of in sleep was only ourself. We were aware of absolutely nothing else whatsoever.

18:16 So the fact that we were aware of ourself in sleep without being aware of this body or mind means this body and mind cannot be what we actually are.

18:39 But this brings us back to the first point we were talking about: Though we were not aware of any phenomena, we were perfectly happy while asleep. This indicates that happiness is not something other than ourself. So happiness is what we actually are.

19:23 According to ...

19:26 As a result of this type of analysis, in vēdānta it is argued that our real nature is sat-cit-ānanda: sat means what is, that is, we exist, I am. So that is sat. Cit is awareness, but cit isn’t ... cit is pure awareness.

20:14 As we know when we analyse our experience in these three states of waking, dream and sleep, the difference between sleep, on the one hand, and waking and dream, on the other hand, is that in all three states we’re aware, but in sleep we are just aware, whereas in waking and dream we are aware, and we are aware of things.

21:18 So ... awareness is our real nature, that is, pure awareness, awareness that we experience in sleep.

21:38 That same awareness is present now, but in addition to that fundamental awareness, there is also awareness of phenomena. So awareness of phenomena comes in waking and dream, it goes in sleep. That is, it appears in waking and dream, it disappears in sleep. But whether awareness of phenomena appears or disappears, we remain as the fundamental awareness.

22:48 Bhagavan used to use an analogy: he compared pure awareness to like a screen. Sometimes the awareness of phenomena are projected on that screen, like pictures on a cinema screen. But whether pictures appear on the screen, or no pictures appear, the screen remains.

23:37 So pure awareness is like that screen, whereas awareness of phenomena is like the pictures projected on the screen. Sometimes that picture appears, sometimes no picture appears. So that is the cit. Cit means awareness, that pure awareness that is like the screen. That is the cit aspect of sat-cit-ānanda.

24:29 When we’re aware of phenomena, we’re aware of a mixture of pleasure and pain, happiness and unhappiness. But in sleep, where we’re not aware of any phenomena, we also don’t experience any unhappiness.

25:02 If we’ve had a good night’s sleep, when we wake up in the morning and someone says, ‘Did you sleep well?’, ‘Oh yes, I slept very happily, very peacefully’.

{Laughs}

25:19 That happiness or peace, that is the ānanda aspect of the sat-cit-ānanda. So what we actually are is sat (what is), cit (pure awareness) and ānanda (pure happiness).

25:50 But now we don’t experience ourself as such. We experience ourself as this person, a body and mind. In sleep, when we remain as sat-cit-ānanda, we have no problems, but in waking and dream, when we experience ourself as a person, we experience so many problems.

26:39 So the root of all problems is this false awareness: ‘I am this body’.

26:53 ‘I am this body’ means I am the whole bundle: the body, mind, the whole package, because we never experience ourself as a body without experiencing the mind along with it. So body and mind always present themselves as one package. That package is what we call a person.

27:34 We experience ourself as a person in waking and dream, and we have problems. We don’t experience ourself as a person in sleep, and we have no problems.

28:00 But what is it that is now experiencing itself as a person? What experiences itself as a person is not the pure awareness. It is a mixed awareness that is aware of itself as ‘I am this person’. That pure awareness is just the awareness ‘I am’, whereas what we are now experiencing ourself as is this mixed awareness ‘I am this body’. This mixed awareness ‘I am this body’ is what Bhagavan calls ego.

29:15 So ego appears in waking and dream, disappears in sleep.

29:28 So ego is the root of all the problems.

29:35 The body and the mind are not a problem. Phenomena are not a problem. The problem is we are aware of ourself as ‘I am this body and mind’, and we’re aware of phenomena as ‘I am aware of these phenomena’.

30:10 So this ‘I’ that is aware of itself as ‘I am this body and mind’, and the ‘I’ that is aware of phenomena, that is ego. So ego is an erroneous self-awareness: an awareness of ourself as something other than what we actually are.

30:50 So how to get rid of this wrong awareness of ourself? Obviously the only way to get rid of the wrong awareness is to be aware of ourself as we actually are. This is why we need to investigate ourself, to see what we actually are.

31:24 So what is called ‘self-knowledge’ is nothing but awareness of ourself as we actually are.

31:39 This is not a new knowledge that we are to gain, because we’re always aware of ourself as ‘I am’ The problem is that now we are not aware of ourself just as ‘I am’, we are aware of ourself as ‘I am this body and mind’.

32:13 So we need to be aware of ourself just as ‘I am’, as we actually are, not as this body and mind that we seem to be.

32:36 So how to know ourself? In order to investigate anything, in order to know anything, what is the fundamental tool we use? It is attention or observation.

33:07 When scientists do research, they do research on so many things. If they are astronomers they need big telescopes, electronic telescopes, to see faraway planets, or if they are microbiologists they need microscopes. If they are atomic physicists they need this big thing they’ve got in CERN in Switzerland, an accelerator or whatever they call it, they need so many additional tools.

34:07 But some scientists don’t need all these tools. For instance, if they are scientists, if they are zoologists, and they are observing the behaviour of birds, they don’t need any tools, they can just watch.

34:29 But whether they need all these other tools or not, they still need the tool of the five senses, and the mind.

34:46 So to observe anything other than ourself, we need at least the mind, to observe our thoughts, we need the five senses, to observe anything outside.

35:05 But to know ourself, we don’t need any of these tools, these instruments. We don’t need microscopes or telescopes, we don’t need the five senses, we don’t even need the mind. We just need that power of observation, that power of attention.

35:39 That power of attention, which we use to know all other things, we need to turn away from other things, back towards ourself, to know ourself.

36:01 But all other things are objects. It is relatively easy for us to know objects, because we have been accustomed since the beginning to using our attention to know things other than ourself. But all objects are relatively gross. Even our thoughts and feelings are relatively gross. Compared to all other things, we are extremely subtle.

36:58 So many people when they start trying to investigate themself, they find it difficult to understand because they think: ‘we are not an object, so how to attend to something that is not an object?’ But though we are not an object, we are nevertheless aware of ourself, so that ... our fundamental experience is self-awareness.

37:47 But though we are always self-aware, generally we are neglecting our self-awareness, because we are more interested in other things. So we are always self-aware, but we’re negligently self-aware. So instead of being negligently self-aware, we need to be attentively self-aware.

38:30 So self-attentiveness is not like attending to an object. It is just a matter of being attentively self-aware.

38:47 Translator: Say that again.

38:49 Michael: It is just a matter of being attentively self-aware. So this is the practice of self-investigation.

39:04 But as I said, because we’ve been accustomed to using our attention to attend to objects, which are relatively gross, our power of attention has become like a very blunt instrument. So our power of attention needs to be refined and sharpened. It needs to become very clear and sharp, in order to be able to focus itself on ... in order for us to focus our attention on ourself.

40:13 So in order to sharpen our power of attention, in order to refine it, make it a very refined and acute, sharp instrument, we need to ... the way to sharpen it is to practice trying to be self-attentive. So the more we try to be self-attentive, the keener and clearer our power of attention becomes, and the easier the practice becomes.

41:08 But when we try to put this into practice, we all have difficulty. The reason we have difficulty is because, in order to focus all our attention on ourself, we need to let go of everything else. But because of our desires and attachments, we are unwilling to let go of other things.

42:00 So we need to practice this attempt to be self-attentive, we need to practice it patiently and persistently.

42:17 At every moment in our life, we have a choice: either we attend to other things, or we attend to ourself. The more we make the choice to attend to ourself, even if only for a few moments at a time, the greater our love to attend to ourself, the greater the love grows, and the more our desires and attachments become weaker.

43:17 So by trying to attend to ourself, we are slowly weaning our mind away from its desires and attachments for other things.

43:40 But we who are trying to be self-attentive, we are ego, we are the false awareness ‘I am this person’. If we manage to turn our attention within and be aware of ourself alone, we’ll be aware of what we actually are.

44:23 But as soon as we are aware of what we actually are, we will ... this false awareness ‘I am this person’ will be destroyed. We can explain this with a simple analogy: If in the dim light we see a rope on the ground, we may mistake it to be a snake. So because we misperceive the rope as a snake we feel fear. So we are unwilling to go further, because this snake is lying there in our path. So we may take a stick and start beating the snake. But however much we beat it, we can’t kill it.

{Laughs}

45:53 There is only one way to kill that snake: we have to look at it very carefully. If we look at it very carefully, we see it’s just a rope. As soon as we see it’s a rope, that misperception, that belief that it’s a snake, and all the fear and everything that went along with that belief, is destroyed immediately. Having clearly seen that it’s a rope, we can never again misperceive it as a snake.

46:50 So just as the snake is a misperception of the rope, this ego is a misperception of ourself. The ego is an awareness of ourself as something other than what we actually are.

47:23 So if we once turn our attention and see what we actually are, this ego will be destroyed forever, just like the snake is destroyed by seeing the rope. But since it is now the ego that is investigating itself, if it sees what it actually is, it will cease to exist.

48:12 But as this ego we don’t want to die, so we do all we can to avoid looking at ourself. That’s why, when we try to turn our attention within, all the seeds of desire and attachment in our mind, they all rise to try and draw our attention outwards.

48:58 These seeds of desires and attachments, they are what are called ... in Sanskrit they are called viṣaya-vāsanās. Vāsanā means the inclination or the tendency or propensity to attend to [something]; viṣaya means phenomena.

49:20 Translator: To?

49:22 Michael: The inclination to attend to phenomena. In other words they are our desires and attachments, our likes and our dislikes, our hopes and our fears, in a seed form. [Such] are vāsanās.

50:11 But whose vāsanās are they? They are ego’s vāsanās.

50:21 So ego is like the commander-in-chief, and the vāsanās are like the soldiers. So in order to protect the commander-in-chief, the soldiers will fight. So ultimately the spiritual path is a battle within our own will.

51:02 On the one hand there’s our love to know ourself as we actually are, on the other hand there’s all our likes, dislikes, desires, attachments, hopes and fears for other things. So every time we try to turn within, we are ... in this battle we are siding with the love to turn within.

51:45 So all our desires and attachments will fight against us. But slowly slowly, if we are patient and perseverant, patiently persevere in this practice, we will strengthen our love to know ourself, and we will weaken our desires and attachments for other things.

52:32 Bhagavan’s path, this is what I’ve described so far, is the path of self-investigation.

52:48 Bhagavan sometimes said there are only two ways: one is self-investigation, the other is self-surrender. But though he sometimes presented them as if they are two paths, he also made it very clear that actually they are one and the same path. The path of self-surrender means we have to let go of everything.

53:37 Without investigating ourself we can, to a certain extent, surrender our desires and attachments. That is, by having love for God, and developing the attitude ‘thy will be done’, by calmly and peacefully and joyfully accepting both the good and the bad in our life we can to some extent surrender our desires and attachments. But we cannot completely give up all our desires and attachments without giving up their root, the ego.

54:48 If we have a very thick bush, we can try trimming it, cutting so many leaves and branches, but so long as the root is there, it will continue sprouting more leaves and branches. In the same way, however much we try to give up our desires and attachments, so long as the ego is there, we’ll be sprouting new desires and attachments.

55:37 So in order to give up all our desires and attachments, we need to give up the ego along with it, along with them. That is, instead of just cutting the leaves and branches, we need to cut the root. Once we’ve pulled out the root, the bush will never sprout more leaves and branches.

56:13 So that is why it is called self-surrender. The ego has to surrender itself.

56:30 So how can ego surrender itself? What is the ego? The ego is nothing but a wrong self-awareness, an awareness of ourself as something other than what we actually are. So since ego is a wrong awareness of ourself, we can surrender it only by being aware of ourself as we actually are. So in order for ego to surrender itself, it needs to investigate itself: who am I?

57:20 So to a certain extent we can surrender by the path of dualistic devotion, by developing ... by cultivating love for God. But in order to surrender ourself completely to God, we need to turn our attention within, to see what we actually are.

57:57 So we cannot investigate ourself without surrendering ourself, because every time we’re turning our attention within, we’re letting go of other things, and to the extent that we let go of other things, ego subsides. So there can be no self-investigation without self-surrender, and without self-investigation self-surrender can only be partial.

58:53 So in the initial stages of the path of self-surrender, we may practice without self-investigation: we may be just trying to give up our desires and attachments, and for that faith in God, love for God, is very helpful.

59:32 Because if we believe this whole life, it’s all guided by God, everything, whatever happens, because God is all-knowing, all-loving and all-powerful. Because he’s all-knowing, nothing that can happen that he doesn’t know about; because he’s all-powerful, nothing can happen that he doesn’t allow; and because he’s all-love, he won’t allow anything to happen that is not good for us.

1:00:20 If we have true love for God, we should be ready to accept both the seemingly good things and the seemingly bad things, because we know everything is ... whatever happens, it’s his sweet will for our own good. So having love for God is a very, very great help in this path.

1:01:01 But who is God? God is the one infinite whole. If God is infinite, nothing can be other than him. If we were something other than God, then God would be limited. So if God is infinite, we cannot be other than him.

1:01:43 So we ultimately have to come to the understanding: God is not something other than ourself. God is our own real nature. So if we love God, we want to know God fully. And if God is our own real nature, that means we have to know ourself.

1:02:17 So the path of love, the path of devotion to God, ultimately has to lead us back to this path of self-investigation, because we cannot know God without knowing ourself, because God is ourself.

1:02:44 God is what we actually are. God is sat-cit-ānanda. That is, he exists, he is what is; he’s all-knowing, so he’s infinite awareness; he’s the ocean of infinite happiness; and he is perfect love, infinite love. That is our real nature.

1:03:27 So knowing ourself and knowing God is one in the same thing. Even now we know God, because God is ‘I am’, and we are all aware that ‘I am’. The problem is we are now aware of ourself as ‘I am this person’.

1:04:04 Bhagavan often used to point out in the Bible, when Moses asked God ‘Who are you?’, God replied, ‘I am that I am’. That is, he is the ‘I am’ in every one of us.

1:04:31 And according to the story given in the Bible, God gave Moses the ten commandments, and the first commandment was ‘Do not take the name of thy Lord in vain’. So what is the name of God? ‘I am’. So if we say ‘I am Michael’, ‘I am this person’, that is taking the name of God in vain.

{Laughs}

1:05:15 Because I’m equating Michael with God.

1:05:20 The reason in the New Testament, it’s not very clear in most translations, but the reason that the Jews were so angry with Jesus, and why eventually they wanted to crucify him, was he often said ‘I am’. For example, at one time he said: ‘Before Abraham was born, I am’. So in the view of the Jewish, the priests, they considered this is blasphemy. And on the last night, before they arrested him, they asked him, ‘Are you the Messiah?’ or they asked some question, in many translations it’s said: ‘Yes, I am he’. What he actually said is: ‘I am’.

1:06:54 Translator: Are you?

1:06:56 Michael: Yes, they asked: ‘Are you the Messiah?’ But he didn’t say ‘yes’. What he said is ‘I am’. By saying ‘I am’, that was the final confirmation for the priests: this man is blaspheming, because he’s taking the name of God. So that is why Jesus was crucified. So in the Jewish tradition that name ‘I am’ was so much respected as the name of God.

1:07:43 Translator: Say that again.

1:07:44 Michael: In Jewish ... in the Jewish religion, the name ‘I am’ was so much respected as the name of God. So when Jesus said ‘I am’, that, for them, that is like saying ‘I am God’.

1:08:18 So why Bhagavan pointed these things out, about God saying to Moses ‘I am that I am’ and about Jesus saying ‘before Abraham was I am’, is to show even ... not only in Vedanta but even in the Jewish tradition and Christian tradition, and even Islam is coming from Judaism, in that tradition ‘I am’ is the ultimate name of God. ‘I am’ is the name of God because he is our own real self.

1:09:24 So when we understand this, it gives a completely different meaning to another thing that Jesus said: ‘I am the way, the truth and the life. No one comes to the father except through me’. Many Christians interpret that: Oh, Jesus is the way, the truth and the life. No one can go to God except through Jesus. So unless you become a Christian, you cannot go to heaven. But actually what Jesus said had a much deeper meaning. When he says ‘I am’, he’s not talking about the person Jesus, because the person Jesus was born hundreds of years after Abraham, but he said ‘Before Abraham was born, I am’.

1:11:02 So what he means by ‘I am’ is not the person Jesus. He meant the ‘I am’ in each one of us. And that ‘I am’ is the way, that is, it’s only by turning back within that we can find God; that ‘I am’ is the truth, it’s the ultimate reality; it is the life, that is, it’s the source of all life, it’s the awareness ‘I am’; and ‘no one can come to the father except through me’: that means no one can reach God except through ‘I am’, by turning within.

1:12:16 But it is natural in all religions that people give a gross interpretation to what is ... When sages talk, they talk often in metaphorical language because the truth cannot actually be expressed in words, but people give a very literalist or gross meaning to what the sages say, and so they misunderstand them.

1:13:11 But Bhagavan has revealed in very clear and unambiguous language the only way to know God is to know ourself, because God is ourself. The only way to experience perfect happiness is to know ourself, because we ourself are perfect happiness.

1:13:56 And the only way to experience perfect love is to know ourself, because we are love, because we are the source of all love.

1:14:17 So ...

{Applause}

1:14:27 Translator: So shall we let people ask questions?

1:14:29 Michael: Yes, yes.

1:14:31 Questioner 1: {Finnish}

1:15:13 Translator: He said that he was reminded of this Buddhist doctrine that we have like three different bodies. He also mentioned those Buddhist terms that the soul is like visiting these different bodies, and that this understanding could be united with Bhagavan’s understanding.

1:15:38 Michael: I don’t know so much about Buddhist philosophy, but ultimately the truth is one. It may be expressed in many different ways, and it may be presented in different ways to suit people of different levels of spiritual development, but ultimately everything needs to come back to this.

1:16:28 One of the basic teachings of Buddhism, something that is repeated many times in different places in the Pali texts is ... in Pali it is: ‘sabbē dhammā anattā’. That means: all dharmas are anātmā, are not self, are not oneself. Dharma there, in that context, means phenomena.

1:16:58 So what Buddha ... Buddha’s fundamental teaching is: ‘all phenomena are not oneself’. This is exactly the same as the teaching of Bhagavan. Because phenomena are things that appear and disappear.

1:17:33 But whether phenomena appear, as in waking and dream, or disappear, as in sleep, we remain. So no phenomena can be what we actually are. So all phenomena are not oneself.

{silence}

1:18:19 Questioner 2: {Finnish}

1:18:45 Translator: She is saying that now we are coming slowly to Easter time, and then Jesus was crucified and then he overcame death, so is this really then at the core, and or what would be the meaning of this?

1:19:02 Michael: Yes, Jesus, um, I don’t know the Bible very well, but in various passages in the Gospels Jesus said: ‘Unless you die and are born again, you cannot come to me’. So the crucifixion and the resurrection of Jesus was symbolising that teaching of Jesus.

1:19:48 Translator: Do you mean the death of the ego?

1:19:50 Michael: Yes, so ‘dying’ means we have to die as ego. And when ego dies, what remains? What we really are. So we are not literally born again, but with the death of ego in effect it’s like being born again.

1:20:27 If we look very carefully at the snake, the snake disappears, and the rope remains. So we can say in a metaphorical language, the snake has died, and it is born again as a rope.

{Laughs}

1:20:58 So that is what is symbolised by the crucifixion and resurrection of Jesus. So that crucifixion has to happen in our own hearts. That is, the ego has to be crucified, and we have to be resurrected as we really are.

1:21:42 Translator: So they are saying the same thing?

1:21:46 Michael: Yes.

{Laughs}

1:21:53 Questioner 3: {Finnish)

1:22:10 Translator: She’s asking what would be the practical ... like sādhana or state of practice, in which you can practise in order to attain self-knowledge, so that you don’t lose your life just going to work and taking care of things?

1:22:33 Michael: The most useful practice is this practice of self-investigation.

1:22:47 But this practice of self-investigation is not like other types of meditation. That is, people usually think that to meditate you have to sit quietly, you have to close your eyes or whatever. But for self-investigation, we need to meditate on ourself.

1:23:22 Whatever else we may be doing, we are always aware ‘I am’. So even while doing other work, we can be meditating inwardly, at least to some extent: part of our attention can be on ourself, on ‘I am’.

1:23:50 If we consider our life from morning to evening, we do various activities: we work, and we eat food, and we walk, and we travel by bus or we drive the car, so many activities we do during the day. But most of the activities we do don’t require much attention. Even driving a car actually requires little attention: once you’re a skilled driver, you’ll drive almost like on autopilot.

1:24:50 So most of our activities throughout the day we are doing without needing to give much attention to it. So generally we are thinking other thoughts. We are thinking about problems, we’re thinking about ... maybe looking forward to going on holiday with our family, maybe ... I mean so many thoughts are going through our mind all the time. Most of the thoughts we think in a day are not actually necessary.

1:25:43 That is, we indulge ourself in thinking, when it’s not really necessary. So instead of thinking of other things, we can be thinking of ourself, we can be attending to ourself. So this self-investigation, self-attentiveness, can go on even in the midst of other activities.

1:26:28 Many people find ... initially they think this is very difficult to do. So to explain how ... What is required is love.

1:26:50 Because we care so much about things in our life: we care about our ... the problems we have at home, or the problems we have in office, we care about the holiday we’re going to go on, we care about so many things. We think about the things we care about, the things that we are interested in.

1:27:24 We generally don’t attend to ourself, because we’re more interested in other things. But if we have real love to know ourself, we will naturally be turning our attention to ourself, even in the midst of other activities.

1:27:59 To illustrate this I sometimes give an example: Suppose a very dear friend of ours has had an accident, and is in intensive care in hospital. The doctors are doing all they can to save our friend’s life, but they say: We can’t say, they may live or they may die. Only ... it will take a few weeks to see whether they can recover or not. So knowing our friend is there sick in hospital, will we not be often thinking about them? ‘Will I ever be able to talk to them again?’ We’ll think of all the happy memories we have with that friend. ‘Will we be able to do the same things again?’ So in the midst of our day-to-day activities the thought of our friend will be constantly coming to our mind. Even when we’re working in the office, the thought of our friend will be coming to our mind.

1:2:58 Because of the love we have for that friend, the thought of them will be constantly coming to our mind whatever we may be doing. And because we are thinking about them so much in the waking state, even in dream we’ll be thinking about them.

1:30:25 If we had so much love to know ourself, to surrender ourself to God, that we have love for our friend, we would be turning our attention within, attending to ourself, even in the midst of other activities.

1:30:52 That is why the key to the spiritual path is love. Without love we will not investigate ourself, and without love we certainly won’t surrender ourself. Because actually love and surrender, self-surrender, are one and the same thing.

1:31:23 If we truly love someone, we don’t think about what we can get from that person we love; what can we give to the one we love. We want to make them happy. We want to give ourself to those we love, because only when they are happy will we be happy. So wherever there is genuine love, there is that willingness to give oneself.

1:32:15 So if we truly love God, we will want to give ourself wholly to him. So whatever type of spiritual path we may be following, the key is love.

1:32:41 So actually there’s only one spiritual path; that is the path of bhakti: the path of love. And the ultimate practice in the path of love, the path of bhakti, is to turn our attention within, because God is our nearest and dearest: he is our own self. Our attention doesn’t have to go outwards to know to God, it has to turn back within. But it will only turn back within if there is great love. So the simple answer to your question is love.

1:33:57 Questioner 4: Would you be saying that prayer can help us on this path?

1:34:02 Michael: Yes. What is prayer? When we pray we are asking for something, aren’t we?

1:34:07 Questioner 4: Yah.

1:34:08 Michael: So if we pray to God, ‘Give me health, give me wealth, give me all these things’, such prayer is not going to help us very much. If we pray to God for health, wealth, happiness, all these things, our love is not for God; our love is for what we can get from God.

1:34:53 So the prayer of asking for things from God, that is not the prayer that will really benefit us on this path.

1:35:14 It may help us to a little extent, because at least when we’re asking God for this or that, we’re at least at that time thinking of God. And if we consider God to be a means to our end, and we keep on asking God for things, ...

1:35:33 Translator: If we keep ...?

1:35:34 Michael: If we keep asking God for this or that, every time we get what we’ve asked for we’ll be grateful to God, and slowly, slowly we will come to understand: When God is so loving that he gives me whatever I want, why should I be asking God for gifts? Why don’t I ask for God himself?

1:36:18 So most religious people are asking God for this or that, but slowly, slowly their love will mature, and instead of having love for the things they can get from God, it will grow into love for God himself.

1:36:54 So once we have true love for God, not for what we can get from God, but for God himself, what are we going to pray for? When we truly love someone we want to give ourself to that person, so the best prayer is the prayer: ‘I want to give myself to you. I am too weak to do so. You make it possible for me to surrender to you’.

1:37:38 When I was living in India, the first eight years I was in Tiruvannamalai, I worked very closely with a disciple of Bhagavan called Sadhu Om. Like Bhagavan, Sadhu Om was a poet. He wrote thousands of verses expressing his love for Bhagavan. Very, very beautiful and heart-melting verses he sang.

1:38:42 One particularly beautiful prayer, a prayer that is very dear to my heart, is one verse.

1:38:48 The verse is:

1:38:51 இஷ்டமுனக் கில்லாத எச்செயலும் செய்யேனான் (iṣṭamuṉak killāda ecceyalum seyyēṉāṉ). That means: I will not do any action that is against your wish.

1:39:11 இஷ்டமுனக் கில்லாத எச்சொல்லும் சொல்லேனான் (iṣṭamuṉak killāda eccollum sollēṉāṉ): I will not speak any word that is against your wish.

1:39;24 இஷ்டமுனக் கில்லாத எந்நினைவும் எண்ணேனான் (iṣṭamuṉak killāda enniṉaivum eṇṇēṉāṉ): I will not think any thought that is against your wish.

1:39:36 இஷ்டமிதை நின்னருளால் ஈடேற்றி வைப்பாயே (iṣṭamidai niṉṉaruḷāl īḍēṯṟi vaippāyē): By your grace fulfil this wish of mine.

1:39:49 That is, in the first three lines he wants to surrender body, speech and mind, he wants to surrender everything to God, so that ... he doesn’t want to do any action, or to say any word, or to think any thought, that is against the wish of God. That is, he wants to surrender everything to the will of God.

1:40:30 But how is it possible for us to surrender ourself? We may have that desire to surrender ourself, but it is only by his grace that we will be enabled to do so.

1:40:51 So that’s why I say, if we truly love God, we will pray only for one thing: to enable us to surrender ourself wholly to him. In other words, we’ll pray for the annihilation of our own ego.

1:41:20 Because God is our own real self. What comes between us and God is ego. So only by surrendering this ego can we truly become one with God.

1:41:44 Becoming one with God is what is called yōga. Yōga means joining. But in advaita they don’t talk of yōga, because first you have to separate in order to join. We are never truly separate from God.

1:42:20 That is why Gauḍapāda, who was an ancient sage, he was the guru of Adi Sankara’s guru, and he wrote a commentary on the Māṇḍūkya Upaniṣad, called Māṇḍukya Kārikā, he talks there about asparśa yōga. Asparśa yōga means ‘untouching union’.

1:43:08 Translator: What was the form of yōga?

1:43:11 Michael: Asparśa yōga: that means untouching yōga. And that has a very deep meaning, because how can two things join unless they touch? So ‘asparśa yōga’ is actually a contradiction in terms. But why he used this term: to emphasise we don’t have to actually join with God; we need to separate ourself from ego.

1:44:06 So asparśa yōga: the state in which we don’t touch this body and mind as ‘I’, the state in which we remain just as ‘I’, without touching anything else, that is the state of asparśa yōga.

1:44:30 That is the state of oneness with God. That is attained by complete surrender.

116 comments:

Michal Borkowski said...

Dear Michael,

I have recently been reading The Ribhu Gita. Besides what's written in all of Bhagavan's literature about its significance, could you comment on it? Was reading it a practice that you and Sadhu Om participated in?

Sincerely,

Michal

Michael James said...

Michal, no, Sadhu Om and I never participated in any reading of the Ṛbhu Gītā, and the only thing he ever said to me about it is that the importance Bhagavan is purported to have attached to it has been overhyped, and that the only benefit of reciting it is that it could perhaps help to create and reinforce faith in the basic principles of advaita in the minds of those who lacked such faith.

Bhagavan’s teachings, particularly as expressed by him in his own original Tamil writings, are far deeper and more practical than any expression of advaita found in older texts, so when we have have direct access to his own works, why should we feel any need to study any other texts such as the Ṛbhu Gītā? They may be useful primers for those who need them, but Bhagavan’s teachings provide a far more advanced level of study, because he has in many respects refined and clarified the ancient teachings of advaita, offering us original teachings that are far more simple, clear, comprehensive and coherent than anything that can found in any earlier texts.

Above all, his teachings are extremely practical, and he has explained and emphasised the actual means to experience the truth of advaita far more clearly than in any ancient texts.

Asun said...

Thanks for this, Michael. Now we can say, yes, we have been to the university :)

Comment by “To whom, to me, who am I” about his finding on happiness in your previous article´s thread got me thinking because, in spite of Bhagavan´s statement in these verses of “Nan Ar”, I´ve been all this time believing that it was love the source of happiness, not the opposite as you confirm and explain in this talk. It may seem a detail lacking of importance but truth is that this perspective makes a big difference with regard to my perspective and understanding about what´s going on in the practice. Not easy to discern as one is in the process because they feed on one another. Now it is clear what is meant by “knowing ourself” and “loving ourself”.

Very interesting the reading you make of “taking the name of God in vain” as well as your explanation of “Asparsa yoga” which is the title of the chapter 51 of Sadhu Om´s book Sadhanai Saram I didn´t read, awaiting for a clarification on the previous ones and the sleep issue that you also discuss in this talk. It´s amazing how everything is connected.

Thanks also for the transcription. A great reading.

Sanjay Lohia said...

The more we turn our attention within, the more clarity will shine forth, and this increased clarity will bring with it more love to know ourself

Michael: Most of us start on this path with strong desires and attachments. These desires and attachments in their seed form are called vishaya-vasanas (inclinations to be constantly directing our attention towards phenomena). Because of these strong vishaya-vasanas, whenever we turn our attention back towards ourself our attention quickly jumps out again towards other things. This happens because our desire to be aware of other things, our interest in other things, is stronger than our love to know ourself.

So we can weaken our desires and attachments only by patient and persistent practice. The process will be long if our desires and attachments are strong when we start. So we should be realistic on this path. We shouldn’t think that we will be able to transform ourself overnight, so we shouldn’t be having high expectations. We have to be ready to follow this path for as long as it takes.

What we seek to know is never far away because what we are trying to know is ourself. So if our love to know ourself was strong enough, we could easily know ourself here and now. We still don’t know ourself here and now because we still have more interest, more liking, to be aware of other things than to be aware of ourself alone.

A friend: How to increase my devotion to the practice?

Michael: The more we turn our attention within, the more clarity will shine forth, and this increased clarity will bring with it more love to know ourself. This clarity is sometimes called viveka (the power to judge correctly what is real from what is unreal, to distinguish the place of true happiness from the places of seeming happiness and so on). Our devotion is called bhakti, and our bhakti and viveka go hand in hand. The more viveka we have, the more we will love to know what we actually are. Also, along with bhakti and viveka, we will acquire vairagya (freedom from the desire to seek happiness in anything other than ourself).

So the only way is to patiently and persistently persevere in the practice. We have no substitute for the practice of self-attentiveness. When Bhagavan was questioned, he often turned the questions back to the questioner. So in one way or another Bhagavan was directing us to put the teaching into practice. The more we will practice, the more we will cultivate the love to practice, and the more our interest in other things will gradually wane.

• Based on the video: 2020-05-17 Yo Soy Tu Mismo: Michael James discusses how to ignite unwavering devotion (00:05 & 00:21)


Unknown said...

Michaelji, can we send transcripts of your videos..to you.. I have made some transcripts of my favourite parts

Sanjay Lohia said...

Unknown, if you feel like, you can post these transcripts as comments here. We will enjoy reading them. Also, I will have company. I have been posting such transcripts for quite a while now. Thanks.

Michael James said...

Yes, Unknown, you may certainly send me any transcripts you have made (or make in future), and if you consider them to be verbatim or close to it, I will pass them on to the two friends who are now systematically making transcripts. When you send them, please indicate clearly which portions of each video they are transcripts of, and how close to being verbatim they are.

Aham said...

.


Always wonderful to listen to Mr James speaking about Truth.
Thank you.


.

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

GVK verse 321:

Dr T.V. Venkatasubramanian, Robert Butler and David Godman's translation-
You may have acquired all the virtues and renounced all the vices; you may have renounced totally all your relationships and have no attachment; you may have completely performed al the many penances enjoined upon the virtuous by the scriptures; but however great you may be by virtue of your intellect and accomplishments, will you attain the experience, the state of kaivalyam [oneness] that is wholly bliss, until you obtain, as a result of meritorious karma, the good fortune of seeing the jnana-Guru?


I think that "seeing the jnana-Guru" also includes "coming across the teachings of the jnana-Guru (Bhagavan)". After reading this translation, I was confused by the phrase "as a result of meritorious karma". Since our taking to self-investigation is not governed by any karma, should not our meeting the Jnana-Guru also not depend upon any karma, however meritorious? Also, since karma is limited, can it lead to something infinite, such as meeting the Jnana-Guru who is infinite and eternal being-consciousness-bliss?

I then read Sri Sadhu Om and Michael's translation and could not find this phrase there.
Sri Sadhu Om and Michael's translation-
Though one has shaken off all vices, secured all virtues, renounced all relatives, and observed all the austerities prescribed by the Shastras, can one reach Eternal Bliss unless one meets the Jnana-Guru? [No, one cannot!]

Asun said...

Thanks for these quotes, To whom?.

It is our choice, our will, to attend to our fundamental awareness of our existence, “I am”, by giving up attending to other things, or to attend to other things by neglecting self-awareness. Karma has nothing to do with it, that´s quite misleading, as you point out, only grace and there is nothing mysterious to grace, it is just love. Grace of god and the guru are always present, it is our own grace what is necessary, i.e., our love to attend to ourself. Any earnest aspirant can experience god and guru´s grace that is the response of the love of ourself for ourself to our love for ourself. As the saying goes, when we take a step towards god, he will take ten steps towards us. It is by grace, our own love to attend to ourself, that we turn within, it is by grace that we persevere in our practice and it is by grace that we can abide as “I am”, having given up attending to other things, completely merge into ourself and, only then, meet jnana-guru which isn´t but true self-knowledge or the knowledge “I am I” preventing us from mistaking ourself to be “I am this body-person” never again. “Eternal bliss”.

Michael has explained the practice and process of self-investigation and self-surrender in this talk and in many other talks and articles and how our will is purified or our tendency to attend to other things is weakened by the practice yet, still there are those who insist on “shaking off all vices, secured all virtues, etc.” before being attentively self-aware which can take us eons and lead us nowhere, as if we weren´t always self-aware, right here and now, or there was something preventing us from turning within other than our own unwillingness to do so. I call this “self-deception”. We are constantly being given “the proper education and understanding to take to self-inquiry” as it is put in verse 327 of GVK. From there on, it is up to us.

Sanjay Lohia said...

God’s mere presence ordains the fruits of our actions, and his mere presence manifests as grace and draws our mind within

God’s mere presence ordains the fruits of our actions. His mere presence manifests as grace and draws our mind within. So God doesn’t do anything or know anything. In GVK, it is said that God or guru is sarvagya (all-knowing), but actually, God doesn’t know anything because there is nothing to know. God does know sarva (all), but sarva is only one thing. So because God knows that one thing, he knows everything.

From the limited perspective of ego or mind, God is aware of everything that is happening. So from this limited perspective of ego, God is all-powerful and God does all the things. But this is a superficial level of truth. However, the deeper level of truth is God doesn't do anything. God isn't aware of anything. God doesn't love anything except itself. But by loving itself it loves everything because nothing is other than itself.

We obviously cannot understand this by our little mind. If we want to understand it there is a simple way: Bhagavan has told us to turn and look within. See yourself. See yourself and you see everything. The whole thing will become clear then, but the whole thing will be just one thing because there is nothing else.

• Based on the video: 2018-08-18 Sri Ramana Center, Houston: discussion with Michael James on Uḷḷadu Nāṟpadu verse 19 (1:04)

anadi-ananta said...

To whom? To me. Who am I?,
if we shake off all vices, infinite and eternal being-consciousness-bliss which is in essence the same as the jnana-guru will according to Bhagavan remain because it is never outside of us.
Nevertheless, all who may feel the need or the innermost conviction to perform the prescriptions and observe the austerities imposed by the shastras shall in all frankness do their task.

Salazar said...

Well, it seems that some people here prefer to prune the branches of the 'I am the body' - idea (as in vices, virtues, etc.) thoroughly ignoring GVK and Bhagavan. It seems that there is a wall which cannot be penetrated by these jivas. They cling at it with such vehemence that one must wonder what they are not ready yet to grasp ....

Michael James said...

Tomorrow, 23rd May, between 10 am and 12 noon EST, the Ramana satsang group in Farmington, Connecticut, will be having their Saranagati 2020 celebration, for which the theme is ‘Surrender / Summa Iru’. The schedule for this meeting, at which I have been invited to talk, is given here, and it will be streamed live at Farmington Satsang — Saranagathi for anyone who is interested to watch.

Since I have an extremely slow and unreliable internet connection where I am now living, my participation in this meeting is not guaranteed, but whatever may or may not happen is according to the will of Bhagavan.

Asun said...

That´s perfectly fine, respectable and the frankness out of question, anadi-ananta. I myself was determined to follow that path and very happy when I met the perfect guidance for it, someone who shall always be very dear to me, but I didn´t suit and, after a while enjoying this “satsang”, I was pushed away and drawn towards Ramana and his teachings I perfectly fit with.
Where that innermost conviction to perform tapas comes from but from ourself? It is not our tapas what finally brings us to self-inquiry but grace or the love of ourself in response to our love for ourself which is the reason why we do tapas. This is known in due course. You had never been so clear, usually I find your comments are confusing and driving to confusion, sorry to say :)

Asun said...

Thank you for telling, Michael.

Salazar said...

As long as one is aware that "observing the austerities imposed by the shastras" cannot result into self-realization, then of course whoever feels the need to do it, do it. For me it's a waste of time.

And that is not Bhagavan's teaching; he may not have objected to it, but he certainly would have not endorsed it as the direct path to self. In fact he made clear that this cannot lead to self, then why do it at all?

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

Thanks Asun. I checked out verse 327 of GVK that you mentioned,
"Taking to Self-enquiry – as the result of a proper education and understanding – not straying away through the petty senses, and being firmly established in the Heart as the mere Self-Effulgence, is truly following the Sadguru’s Upadesa"

I am finding GVK is a very helpful text. Many verses such as this one, are simple but full of meaning and stress the importance of self attention, of considering the world to be a dream, of not being swayed by our senses and desires, of not falling in the delusion that there is happiness in the world, etc. I think that while Bhagavan's teachings are certainly not a set of beliefs, still, some beliefs are very conducive to our practice, such as the belief that there is no happiness in the world.
We cannot believe the world to be a dream perhaps, because we have no way of proving this, but we can have a suspicion that the world is a dream, from Bhagavan's very logical teachings, and that itself is helpful to push us to find out what is real beyond shadow of doubt, the reality of I, our own real nature.

Asun said...

No, Salazar, that´s not Bhagavan´s teachings. Shadu Om says that Ramana did enough tapas for all of us so, we just have to leave all our burdens to him and to attend to ourself which is what really makes us happy, though the former is a great relief and it is worth experiencing it. Some need it, some don´t.

Salazar said...

To whom? I consider GVK as the "Bible" of Bhagavan. It's comprehensive and touches all relevant subjects. For me it is the most important book or text that exists (one can add a few others). It is always a thrill reading a few verses from it.

Asun said...

Yes, exactly, To whom? Michael always says that that´s the only aim of Bhagavan´s teachings. "Slowly, slowly, gently, gently" :)

Salazar said...

Yes Asun, I did tapas for several decades believing the shastras, I spent days where I meditated for several hours and did pilgrimages and many other things.

Then I came across Bhagavan's teachings and realized that he is my guru as self. And with that the irrelevance of the shastras which are actually more misleading than helpful. But then one may say that I had to do first tapas in order to realize its futility .....

Asun said...

There you go :)

Karen Taylor said...
This comment has been removed by the author.
R Viswanathan said...

"I have recently been reading The Ribhu Gita. Besides what's written in all of Bhagavan's literature about its significance, could you comment on it?"

Just in case of the unlikely event of not having accessed this link:

https://www.sriramanamaharshi.org/resource_centre/audio/sri-ribhu-gitai/

The audio rendering is in Tamil.

Sanjay Lohia said...

When we see the sun of pure awareness, we will be blinded

When Bhagavan passed away, some people requested Muruganar to accompany them to pilgrimage to Varanasi and other places. Muruganar said: 'What could I see? I have seen the sun and my eyes have been blinded. I can't see anything else'. He meant that he had seen the sun that is Bhagavan, so he had no eyes for anything else. When we see the sun of pure awareness, we will be blinded. When ego is dissolved, in the absence of ego, who is there to see anything?

• Based on the video: 2019-07-13 Ramana Maharshi Foundation UK: discussion with Michael James on Nāṉ Ār? paragraph 20 (00:59)

My reflection: Unfortunately, I have still not been blinded. I still have much interest in things of this world. However, I am confident that I will be eventually blinded. I hope it will happen soon because we can be liberated only when we are blinded.

Sanjay Lohia said...

Eventually, we need to completely disassociate ourself from our body

Blueskythinking83: Michael, when my mind is quiet, I drop down into a sense of intense aliveness and peace within me. It feels like the body is almost lighting up. Is this aliveness the same as awareness? I cannot seem to go any deeper by asking who is this aliveness occurring to? I am wondering if I am on the right track as far as turning within goes.

Sanjay: Blueskythinking83, the more we attend to ourself, to our clear sense of ‘I’, the more we are on the right track.

You say, ‘I drop down into a sense of intense aliveness and peace within me. It feels like the body is almost lighting up. Is this aliveness the same as awareness?’ Yes, the more keenly we attend to ourself, the more alive we will become and the more energy we will seem to have. However, it may seem that our body is lighting up because we are still identified with our body. In fact, the more keenly we attend to ourself, the more we should be separating ourself from the body and everything else associated with our body. So though our body may seem to light up the more we attend to ourself, eventually we need to completely disassociate ourself from our body.

You say, ‘I cannot seem to go any deeper by asking who is this aliveness occurring to?’ We should not be actually asking such questions, but should be turning within to investigate ‘who is feeling this aliveness?’ So this is the correct way to proceed. We need to investigate ourself more and more until pure awareness alone remains.

• Extract from the comments on the video: 2020-05-17 Yo Soy Tu Mismo: Michael James discusses how to ignite unwavering devotion

Sanjay Lohia said...

We should look at ourself or attend to ourself without qualifying what we are looking at

Blueskythinking83: Some years ago, I was engaged in a regular meditation practice. I would notice that some days I would feel dull after meditating, sometimes irritable as if from sleeping too much. I read some advice that one should not continue if they feel dull afterwards and stopped meditating. My practice involved closing my eyes and just being still. I would often feel like the state was similar to deep sleep. Now when I do self-inquiry, I reach that same state almost immediately. I am wondering if what I am doing is wrong. Can anyone help me?

Michael says that one must turn their attention or awareness inwards. I tend to try to close my eyes and look into the darkness within. I am aware that this space is only seemingly dark due to our ignorance. But I am also worried that I am doing something wrong.

Sanjay Lohia: We should stop our practice of self-investigation if we will feel it is becoming a strain. We should resume it again when we are fresh.

You say, ‘I tend to try to close my eyes and look into the darkness within. I am aware that this space is only seemingly dark due to our ignorance. But I am also worried that I am doing something wrong’. I am not sure what you mean by saying ‘look into the darkness within’. We should look at ourself or attend to ourself without qualifying what we are looking at. Moreover, to say that we look at the darkness within is not quite accurate. We are in fact looking at the bright light of pure awareness. Our awareness of ourself is clear, so how are we looking at the darkness?

Yes, as you say, our inner space may seem dark, but the more we look within, the more we will find that we are pure light and nothing but pure light, metaphorically speaking.

• Extract from the comment section of the video: 2020-05-09 Ramana Maharshi Foundation UK: Michael James discusses ajāta and other subjects



anadi-ananta said...

Sanjay,
"...we can be liberated only when we are blinded."
I may add "by the sun of pure self-awareness".
So in order to bask in the sun we need to take off our sunglasses with the high sunprotection factor of the integrated UV filter and look directly into the bright sunlight ...:-)
Similar to the optic nerves of the eyes which will then be no longer protected from the highly harmful ultraviolet radiation of the sunlight, without the protective mechanism of (the sunglasses of) ignorance the (eye of) ego will be defenceless at the mercy of the inherent pure self-awareness.

Sanjay Lohia said...

Anani-ananda, yes, only the sun of pure self-awareness can blind us. What is protecting us from this sun of pure self-awareness? What are the sunglasses we are wearing made of? These sunglasses are made up of our strong desires and attachments for the things of this world. So we need to take off these sunglasses. How can we do so? We can do so to a certain extent by various practices other than the practice of self-investigation, but if we want to remove these sunglasses as quickly as possible, atma-vichara is by far the most powerful and effective means.

Atma-vichara will not only remove our sunglasses but will also make us blind eventually. That is, vichara will not only weaken our desires and attachments but will eventually destroy this ego itself.

Sanjay Lohia said...

Compassion means ‘suffering within’

The more the mind becomes refined and subtle, the more its selfishness drops off. The more we empathise with other people.

The kindest of all people was Bhagavan. He was so kind that when he accidentally disturbed the hornets’ nest, he felt so sorry that he left his thigh there and let the hornets sting his thigh until they were fully satisfied. Any the hornets stung only that one thigh and nowhere else. So that is the ultimate kindness. Why was Bhagavan so kind? It is because he had no ego.

There are people who make a lot of show of all the ‘good’ they do. They may proudly think ‘I am a philanthropist. I have given so many billions in donation’ and such things. But that is not true compassion. True compassion is when you see someone suffering and when you really, really feel this suffering. Compassion means ‘suffering with’ literally.

• Based on the video: 2019-09-28 Yo Soy Tu Mismo: Michael James discusses the teaching that there is just one ego (00:31)

Sanjay Lohia said...

Correction: The title of my last comment should have been:

Compassion means ‘suffering with’

Salazar said...

I am wondering, if there was no ego in Bhagavan, who or what had compassion? Who "suffered with"? Without an ego, there is no suffering with or having compassion with.

Also, it was not Bhagavan who did not move that leg, that is as much a projection as if one sees Bhagavan as a Jnani. One cannot have it both ways, seeing Bhagavan as self and then seeing Bhagavan as self AND that entity what made the decision to not move that leg.

It must be clear for anybody that Bhagavan did NOT make that decision. Thus we are projecting our idea of compassion on another object. That is a delusion.

anadi-ananta said...

Perhaps Bhagavan's leg would tell us whose decision it was. :-)
What could stop the self supreme at all to enable the hornets to take revenge on Ramana's leg ?

Salazar said...

There are no hornets and legs in relation to the supreme self. How many times has to be said that this is all a projection [by ego]? Hellooooooooooooooooooooooo ... earth to ignorance, is ignorance grasping the concept of an ego's projection? Apparently not otherwise we would not keep reading false comments like that.

Anonymous said...

Salazar, Bhagavan didn’t move the leg, but the Self, also called God or supreme power moved the leg, leg also being God.

Anonymous said...

Salazar,

As long as you write in this blog, arguments should be made from duality perspective and not from Bhagavan’s perspective.

Salazar said...

Anonymous, no - you do not grasp Bhagavan's teachings. You cannot grasp Bhagavan from a duality perspective [alone] and in fact, you will never realize self form the perspective of duality or mind/ego!!!! That is a fact!!!

Salazar said...

Anonymous, I am afraid you are a little out of your league here. Michael makes plenty of comments from the absolute viewpoint, why are you not asking him to only make arguments from the perspective of duality?

That request by you reveals your great ignorance about vichara and Bhagavan's teachings.

anadi-ananta said...

Let us be content that the river will certainly reach the ocean.
So why being easy prey of the mind's samsara ?

Salazar said...

Bhagavan made extremely clear that his "experience" is also our experience. There is no viewpoint of the ego and as long as one clings to the reality of a viewpoint of an ego one will be bound.

Thus to see the world from the viewpoint of duality is the original sin. It is very laughable that Anonymous demands to adhere to the original sin. Because she has not grasped vichara and Bhagavan! Bhagavan has taught to not see the world from the viewpoint of the ego! Is that not clear?

Why do we have to go over the same ignorance over and over again? No wonder many people have left this blog....




Salazar said...

There is no path from the ego to self! If one believes that then one has not grasped the rope/snake pointer. It is impossible for the snake to become the rope, it is the rope. Thus all tapas cannot change what one already is.

All what is needed is to remember self with vichara. Everything else affirms and sustains the [idea of a] snake.

It is also a mistake to analyze the practice of vichara from the viewpoint of the ego/mind. That is not what Bhagavan taught and is entirely conjured up by jivas.

As soon as the mind is doing that it has arrived at ignorance [aka thoughts of mind] since it has left vichara. So describing vichara as a gradual process must be false since a gradual process is withing duality. Thus believing in a gradual process is as false as believing in a sudden awakening the next moment.

I am afraid that Michael is incorrect with his assumption of a "gradual process" of vichara. Where did Bhagavan state that? I can nowhere find that assumption.

A "gradual process" with vichara is as much a false sense perception of the mind as the many other sense perceptions.

Sanjay Lohia said...

We have been foolishly doing the dharma of the person we take ourself to be

We have been doing the dharma of the person we take ourself to be. This is not our dharma. Our dharma is to be: just be mere 'I'. Hold on to 'I' and you are holding on to dharma. Let go of 'I' and hold on to anything else and you are letting go of dharma.

Why is adharma thriving in this world? It is thriving because adharma is thriving in our heart because we are attending to things other than ourself. If we want to restore dharma in the world, we need to cling to ourself. We will then restore dharma in our heart, and what is in our heart we will see everywhere.

• Based on the video: 2014-02-08 Ramana Maharshi Foundation UK: discussion with Michael James on self-investigation (00:23)

My reflection: So very true. I have been doing all the duties of Sanjay thinking that I am Sanjay. But if I am not Sanjay, I am foolishly attending to someone else's duties. So from now onwards I should try to attend to only my duty. What is my (this ego's) duty? My only real duty or responsibility is to turn within and see what I actually am. All my other supposed duties and responsibilities are mere ignorance.

Why am I still attached to Sanjay and all that I imagine is Sanjay’s? It is because even though I may understand intellectually that I am not this body and mind or that I am not Sanjay, mere intellectual understanding is not enough to disentangle myself from Sanjay. So I need to go deeper and deeper and deeper in my practice of self-investigation. I need to lose my ego in the infinite ocean of pure self-awareness before I can be free of Sanjay and all of Sanjay’s dharmas.

Sanjay Lohia said...

Salazar, you say, ‘I am afraid that Michael is incorrect with his assumption of a "gradual process" of vichara. Where did Bhagavan state that? I can nowhere find that assumption’.

Could you please elaborate on this? Where and in what terms did Michael talk about this so-called ‘gradual process’ of vichara?

anadi-ananta said...

Experience shows that cleaning (removing the mud out of) the well in order to be at the clear source needs some time. Of course this can be called a "gradual process". Even Ramana's death experience in Madurai (July 1896) occurred only gradually albeit tremendously quick.

Sanjay Lohia said...

Why do we have a job or do some business?

Why do you attend to these day-to-day things? Why do you have a job? Ultimately, it is all desire. Because we want to preserve our life in this body, we do all these things and we think these are necessary.

Bhagavan has said that whatever actions are necessary to experience your prarabdha, you will be made to do those actions, but such actions do not require your attention. So even if you attend only to yourself and nothing else, your body and mind can continue to act, and you may not even be aware of these actions. So the actions can go on.

Slowly, slowly we have to separate ourself not only from the actions but from the doer of actions. Who is the doer of actions? They are our body, speech and mind. It is because we identify ourself with these instruments that we say, ‘I am doing’, ‘I am thinking’, ‘I am talking’, ‘I am hearing’ and so on.

It’s all a matter of interest. If you take no interest in your actions, the actions can go on, but you will have no interest in them. All your interests are your desires. If we are so much interested in knowing ourself as we are now in knowing other things, we would attend only to ourself and not to other things. But because we have more interest in knowing other things than in knowing ourself, we are attending more to other things.

However, slowly, slowly we have got to wean our mind away from its interest in anything other than ourself.

• Based on the video: 2019-07-13 Ramana Maharshi Foundation UK: discussion with Michael James on Nāṉ Ār? paragraph 20 (1:31)

Anonymous said...

Yes first step is to realize and get convinced that God is greater than anything and anyone that exists in the world. we have to give up the need to be more capable than the other, more wealthier than other, and also give up the need to find what our passion and purpose is in this world.

Sanjay Lohia said...

Anniyam il anbu

Bhagavan sings in verse 5 of Sri Anunachala Pancharatanam:

O Arunachala, he who, with a mind surrendered to you and seeing you always, without (a sense of) otherness loves everything as your form, triumphs having drowned (and lost his individuality) in you (self), who are the form of bliss.

Yesterday, I saw a Zoom meeting on YouTube with Michael and other devotees. It was titled ‘Farmington Satsang – Saranagathi’. A devotee recited verse 5 of Sri Arunachala Pancharatnam. Michael commented on this verse before coming to the topic of the day. He said as follows:

At the beginning of today’s meeting, Aruna recited verse 5 of Sri Arunachala Pancharatanam. In that verse, Bhagavan uses a very deep and deeply meaningful term – anniyam il anbu. That means ‘love without another’. That is a beautiful description of the love Bhagavan has for us.

In Bhagavan’s view, we are not other than him. As he said in the 1st sentence of the 7th paragraph of Nan Ar: ‘What actually exists is only atma-svarupa’. So that is Bhagavan’s experience, and Bhagavan is obviously none other than our atma-svarupa. So in his view, there are no others. He doesn’t see any of us as other than himself.

This anniyam il anbu is the key to true surrender. Only to the extent, we understand that Bhagavan is our own self will we be willing to give ourself to him. As ego, we can never have anniyam il anbu because the very nature of ego is to see others. But to the extent to which we lose ourself in the annniyam il anbu, the otherless love that Bhagavan has for us, to that extent will we love him as ourself or be truly willing to surrender to him.

So these words anniyam il anbu are so deeply meaningful. It is the key to self-surrender. It’s the key to the whole of Bhagavan’s teachings because the whole of Bhagavan’s teachings ultimately is nothing other than giving ourself entirely to Bhagavan by complete self-surrender. That is what Bhagavan’s path is all about.


anadi-ananta said...

Sanjay,
"But because we have more interest in knowing other things than in knowing ourself, we are attending more to other things."
Knowing ourself" seems to be not so important because such knowledge seems not to offer much cheerfulness and happiness. Because we strive always to be happy we keep an eye out for other things.

anadi-ananta said...

Sanjay,
you mean Sri Arunachala Pancharatnam (not:Anunachala Pancharatanam).:-)_

Sanjay Lohia said...

We as ego do not act

I reproduce below a copy of my WhatsApp exchange with my friend Dileep:

Sanjay Lohia: Michael James: We have been doing the dharma of the person we take ourself to be. This is not our dharma. Our dharma is to be: just be mere 'I'. Hold on to 'I' and you are holding on to dharma. Let go of 'I' and hold on to anything else and you are letting go of dharma. Why is adharma thriving in this world? It is thriving because adharma is thriving in our heart because we are attending to things other than ourself. If we want to restore dharma in the world, we need to cling to ourself. We will then restore dharma in our heart, and what is in our heart we will see everywhere.

Sanjay: So very true. I have been doing all the duties of Sanjay thinking that I am Sanjay. But if I am not Sanjay, I am foolishly attending to someone else's duties. So from now onwards I should try to attend to only my duty. What is my (this ego's) duty? My only real duty and responsibility is to turn within and see what I actually am. All my other supposed duties and responsibilities are mere ignorance.

Dileep Simha: We as Self have no duties, we attend to our selves quite naturally and effortlessly. So, the snake called body/mind only need not be superimposed on the Self. That superimposing is also the seeming act of ego which doesn't exist. If we drop that superimposing whenever it seems to happen, rest all the Self - Body/mind is naturally at peace.

Sanjay Lohia: We as atma-svarupa or even as ego have no duties. What has duties is the person that we seem to be. So Sanjay or Dileep has duties: that is the body, speech and mind (that are part of this person) have duties. But since we as ego identify ourself with these instruments of actions, we wrongly assume that we are acting.

We as ego exist and are aware even though this ego is just a seeming existence and awareness and not the real existence and awareness. So we just are. We have nothing to with actions. However, we as ego have desires and attachments, and these desires and attachments drive our body, speech and mind to act in various ways. But we should remember that we are not the person that acts. So we need to disentangle ourself from the person we seem to be. We are trying to do this very thing when we practise self-investigation

Sanjay Lohia said...

Yes, Anadi-ananta, it should have been: Sri Arunachala Pancharatnam. Thanks.

anadi-ananta said...

One of the concluding verses of Sri Arunachala Pancharatnam:
"Arunachala Ramana is the Supreme Self (Paramatman)
who blissfully exists as consciousness (as the pure adjunctless consciousness "I am") in the cave of the Heart-lotus of (all) different souls (jivas) beginning with Hari.
When the mind melts with love and reaches the cave (of the heart) in which the benign Supreme dwells, the eye of (true) Consciousness will open and you will know (this) Truth, (for) it will (become manifest) reveal itself."
Praise
"Glory to the beneficent Name of Divine Arunachala !
[...]". (Sri Muruganar)

(Taken from Arunachala Ramana - Eternal Ocean of Grace
Book 2 - Teachings)

Does anyone know what "beginning with Hari" means ?

anadi-ananta said...

Sanjay,
re. your WhatsApp exchange,
"We as ego exist and are aware even though this ego is just a seeming existence and awareness and not the real existence and awareness. So we (as atma-svarupa) just are. We have nothing to (do) with actions. However, we as ego have desires and attachments, and these desires and attachments drive our body, speech and mind to act in various ways."

Round brackets put by me.

It is always to my full amazement that even ego as a mere semblance of awareness has apparently the power to "drive our body, speech and mind to act in various ways". :-)
Presumably the reason and basis for that is our prarabdha karma as a whole/in its entirety.

Salazar said...

Sanjay, Michael mentioned that either in a recent comment or in an recent article. I do not exactly where and I do not want to look for it.

But I do not want to pursue that issue any further. I feel very comfortable with Bhagavan's teaching and vichara and I do not need nor do I have the inclination to argue about the "correct" teaching.

People can imagine God being greater than anything and also imagine to improve themselves and with that imagine to realize self to their heart's content .... I certainly do not want and even cannot hold them back from these foolish ideas. If Bhagavan cannot with his texts, how could anybody else :-)

anadi-ananta said...

It seems that everybody carries his own special backpack of "foolish ideas" and imaginations.
However, though truth has many forms and names and reflects itself in many ways it is ultimately only one.

Salazar said...

Well then you are not able to move with that heavy backpack of yours.

-Truth is ultimately only one- How clever of you :-D

Now I am waiting for Yoy Soy to call this phrase excellent and we all can sing Kumbaya.

Anonymous said...

ego as a mere semblance of awareness has apparently the power to "drive our body, speech and mind to act in various ways".


I totally disagree with the above statement. It is God’s power that drives our body, speech and mind to act in various ways. We due to delusion think ego does everything.

The desires and attachments belong to ego, but what drives action is the God.

Sanjay Lohia said...

Anonymous, ultimately, the support of all our actions is only God’s power. So, even this ego derives all its power from God’s power. However, the very nature of ego is to have desires, and by using these desires, ego drives our body, speech and mind to act in various ways. This is how agamya is created. However, our body, speech and mind are also made to act in accordance with our prarabdha.

So there are two forces which enable our body, speech and mind to act, and these two forces are will and destiny. Sometimes these forces act in sync and sometimes not in sync.

anadi-ananta said...

Anonymous,
because ego is in essence god your statement that "the God drives action" is not entirely wrong.
According to Bhagavan ego does everything. Shall we therefore accuse Bhagavan of suffering from delusion ? :-)

Sanjay Lohia said...

We should pull the door of happiness and not push it

Yesterday I listened to Dr Ambika Kameshwar in one of her Bhagavad Gita talks. She said (quoting a WhatsApp message received by her):

We are going on pushing the door of happiness, trying to open it. But we should actually turn it inwards. We should pull this door and not push it.

My reflection: What this means is that we are trying to look for happiness in outside things and events. This is akin to pushing the door of happiness. However, happiness doesn't lie in any of the objects of this world. Bhagavan has made this clear. So if we want to find true happiness, we need to pull this door of happiness within. That is, we should turn within and go deep, deep within ourself. Our atma-svarupa is the only place where true happiness can be found.

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

Question: How can we become more earnest in our search for the I?

Michael: "That is the big question. What Bhagavan has given is something so, so simple. Simply turn our attention towards I, and we can experience it as it really is. Why we don’t experience it as it really is, because we are lacking in earnestness. We have too much love to experience other things, so we are not yet ready to experience I alone. Because we cannot experience ourself as we really are, and experience anything else along with it. It’s this or that, we have to make a choice. And we are all, every moment of our life, we are choosing to experience other things, rather than experiencing I alone. So this is where Bhakti comes in. The love we have to experience I alone, that is the real Bhakti, according to Bhagavan, that is svatma-bhakti. So how to get that, [how to] cultivate that? The only way is to practice what Bhagavan has taught us. The more we practice turning our attention towards I, the more we will cultivate that love. The Bhakti will be increased and so will the vairagya. Vairagya is the lack of any desire to experience anything other than I. So they are just two sides of the same coin, Bhakti and vairagya. Both will be increased the more we attend to I. Because the more we attend to do, the less.. as I was saying earlier, our power of attention is a very very powerful thing. By our power of attention we have created this whole vast universe. What is the supreme power in the universe? It is attention. The attention which each one of us is what has created this world. So by attending to things other than ourself, the world thrives, the world is nourished, the mind is nourished. If we turn our attention back towards I, deprived of the water of our attention, all thoughts, all desires, everything will dry up and wither, wither away, lose its strength, and the love to remain attending only to I, that will increase.

So it seems difficult to us, but there is no other way. And it’s difficult only because we don’t want it. So how to increase the earnestness? By trying, trying, trying. The more we..the very fact that we’re trying for that, is itself, at least one percent of earnest is there, has to be there, for us to even try a little. So it’s going to be a snowballing process. The more we let that snowball roll and roll and roll, the bigger and bigger it becomes, the greater and greater its momentum. So we may be able to practice only just one percent of the time in the day we may be attending to I, 99% of the time we’re attending to other things. Doesn’t matter. Cling to that 1%. Slowly slowly as we do this with more and more love, that 1% will become 2%, 3%, 4%, until our whole life will be swallowed by this.

Sadhu Om often used to say, we should allow the camel’s nose into the tent. That’s referring to a Sufi story, that an Arab was travelling in the desert with his camel, and at night they stopped, and he put up his little tent. And his tent is only big enough to hold him, and the camel sleeps outside. And the desert is very very hot in the daytime but bitterly cold at night. So he snuggled up inside his little tent and fell asleep, and after some time, he found the camel had put its nose in the tent to keep at least its nose warm. So he thought ok, poor animal, its carrying me all day, let its nose be warm. And when he next woke up, his nose and also his two feet were inside. And next time four feet were inside. And by the time he woke up in the morning, he was outside and the whole camel [was inside] [laughter]. So also, we should allow the camel’s nose into the tent, just allow a little bit of self-attentiveness into your life. And it will, it will do its work.

Every time we turn our attention to I we are opening our heart to Bhagavan. Every time we turn our attention towards anything other than I we are closing our heart to Bhagavan. So if we want Bhagavan to enter and occupy our whole heart, we must try more and more to attend to I. There’s no other way."

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

Above extract is from 2014-02-08 Ramana Maharshi Foundation UK: discussion with Michael James on self-investigation, 28:40 onwards

anadi-ananta said...

re. heavy backpack,
one must pay close attention that one's heavy laden weight does not result in sinking deep in the ground.:-)

anadi-ananta said...

Sanjay,
"Our atma-svarupa is the only place where true happiness can be found."
Is atma-svarupa in "our" possession ? Is it "our" property ?
Can it at all be in or come into somebody's possession ?

Sanjay Lohia said...

To whom? To me. Who am I?, by happy coincidence, I was watching this very video this morning: 2014-02-08 Ramana Maharshi Foundation UK: discussion with Michael James on self-investigation. Thank you for this transcript.

Sanjay Lohia said...

Anadi-ananta, yes, as you imply atma-svarupa is not our possession. It is what we actually are. So ‘our atma-svarupa’ is not the best way to describe our true self. We can easily delete ‘our’ before atma-svarupa to make the meaning clearer. Thank you.

Sanjay Lohia said...

We need to get rid of this ego by hook or by crook

Just In: The ego is not my amigo

Sanjay: Yes, Just In, ego is not our amigo. I have come to know that ‘amigo’ means a friend, chiefly in Spanish-speaking areas. Ego seems to us to be our amigo because it is our constant bedfellow, but in fact, ego is our main enemy. It is the thief who has stolen ourself from ourself, metaphorically speaking. That is, ego has estranged ourself from our true nature. It has stolen our natural happiness and has made our life miserable.

So we need to get rid of this ego by hook or by crook. Thankfully Bhagavan has given us a very simple means of getting rid of this ego. All we need do is to look at ourself very very keenly and this ego will vanish forever.

• Extract from the comment section of the video: 2020-05-23 Sri Ramana Satsang, Connecticut: Michael James discusses just being and self-surrender

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

Apologies for the typos in the transcript in my last comment.
Corrections:
1. In the first paragraph, it should be "the more we attend to I", instead of "the more we attend to do".
2. and "The attention that each one of us has, is what has created this world" instead of "The attention which each one of us is what has created this world"
3. In the second paragraph, it should be "at least one percent of earnestness is there" instead of "at least one percent of earnest is there".

Sanjay, that is indeed some coincidence :) especially considering the fact that there are over 200 videos on Michael's channel!

Usually when I want to distract myself from the dissatisfaction of life I go to social media or the news or some book or music, etc, the usual avenues of distraction, but there is clearly no satisfaction to be found anywhere. Listening/reading Bhagavan's teachings is the one distraction to end all distractions, so at least a little bit, though not yet nearly enough, I find myself drawn to try to study and practice Bhagavan's path.

Salazar said...

Sanjay, yes we are "atma-svarupa." However all this talk on this blog especially from those who need to talk from the viewpoint of the ego are denying that fact. They all chime in, "we are atma-svarupa" and then next there is a BUT.

So then that is really just empty talk. If we are atma-svarupa, why then the idea that there is a change from ego to svarupa? When will it dawn that the idea of a necessary change is the very reason for ignorance and of being [seemingly] bound?

It seems that vichara has not been understood and it cannot really be understood by the mind since it's beyond duality. Without practicing it Bhagavan's teaching must be a mystery and thus no wonder about the many confused comments here.

Martin said...

16. Sat-Sanga – Association With the Real

56. For those who have been blessed with the
rare and great good fortune of gaining true sat-
sanga, all the heaps of gold in the seven worlds
cannot be compared with that treasure called sat-
sanga, because by such sat-sanga they will cross
the ocean of ignorance (ajnana), which is so difficult
to cross, and thus they will attain in this very life the
unequaled state of liberation, which is so difficult to
attain.

This is one verse from Sadhus Om book.
Im little confused. So.. If this self-knowledge is so difficult.. where can we get satsang? But in this verse it is written that satsang is a very rare thing. That means that true satsang is available only to some fortunate devotees.

Salazar said...

The only true satsang is with one's self. Thus attending exclusively to self is true satsang. It is available to everyone with a desire for liberation.

There is nothing easier than self-knowledge: It is the sense of existence, of being unobstructed by thoughts. We know that we exist - "I am" -, that intrinsic knowledge of existence (without a thought) is self. That is always and we only seemingly do not notice it because we attend to the outside or phenomenal world.

What is difficult is to wean away the mind from its obsessive need and desire to attend to objects. Thus vichara is required, what directs attention back to self, that subtle sense of existence.

Sanjay Lohia said...

Martin, it may be rare to have satsang with a true sage (the atma-jnani)in his/her bodily form. But the highest form of satsang is atma-sanga, and this is available to all the jivas. What does sat mean? It means the reality. And what is real? Bhagavan says that what exists is only atma-svarupa, so only atma is real.

OK, we may feel that we have had no opportunity of satsang with Bhagavan, but where is true Bhagavan? Let us read what Michael wrote in one of his articles:

All that is now required is for us to turn back within to see what we actually are, as Bhagavan taught us in the verse Aruṇācalaramaṇaṉ (which is the Tamil version of a verse he wrote in reply to a devotee who wrote a verse in Malayalam asking him to say whether Bhagavan Muni Ramana is Hari (Vishnu), Sivaguru (Subrahmanya), Vararuci or Yativara (Siva)):

Aruṇācalaramaṇa is paramātman [the supreme spirit or ultimate self] rejoicing as awareness in the cave of the heart-lotus of [all] different jīvas [life-forms] beginning with Hari [Viṣṇu]. Heart melting with love, reaching the cave where the sublime supreme dwells, the eye that is awareness opening, you will [thereby] know what is innate [your own real nature, the indwelling Aruṇācalaramaṇa]; [because] it will come out [meaning it reveal itself].

So we can truly have satsang with Bhagavan only when we turn back within and try to attend to our fundamental awareness. This awareness is the true form of Bhagavan.


Salazar said...

Here in the US many people love to be busy, they are busy from the early morning until they go to bed. They do not like the idea of retirement or prolonged non-activity because they get quickly bored and disturbed by their inner world. They are highly rajasic. They tend to drink alcohol and take drugs.

They also, in being busy, avoid with that coping with their inner world what is mostly unpleasant emotions. For those vichara must be hell since it is [actively] doing nothing, just being. Those people will not be capable of performing vichara since they cannot even lie down at a swimming pool without getting antsy.

But then again it takes many, many incarnations to be able to perform vichara, usually after many life times have been spent with prayer, self-less work, etc.

Salazar said...

Since things can be quickly misunderstood, when I said "vichara is doing nothing, just being" then that does not refer to the actions of the body. We are not the body, thus its actions are independent from vichara. These actions may be the result of past karma an ego conjured up, however that is all maya. It is best to drop these notions forever.

One can say "God is performing the actions of the body" as an aid to avoid the identification with the body since there is really no body nor ego, we make that up.

Okay, so the actions of the body or entity we take to be, are not real and irrelevant, they go on WHILE attending to self. There is NO connection between self and the assumed actions of the body. The ego just gives it reality in believing it is real.

For most it takes some time to be able to perform vichara while the body is acting, the habit to identify with the actions of the body is usually overpowering. Again, we are NOT the body and in practice we are oblivious to the actions of the body and only attend to self!

Salazar said...

Also attending to self means, as also Sadhu Om is stressing, BEING self. There is nobody who attends to self, only self itself. If there is the idea that there is an entity who attends to self one is deluding oneself. As Bhagavan taught, there are not two selves, one who is attending to the other one, or an ego? attending to self. That is false and very important to grasp!

Again, the ego cannot and is NEVER attending to self! If that is questioned one may have to re-read some of Sadhu Om's works.

Salazar said...

When Bhagavan said that "mind is attending self" he was not referring to the ego. He was referring to the "I" or self which, as mind, either attends "outwards" what makes it the ego, OR, attends "inwards" [vichara] what makes it self.

Or along the snake/rope analogy, mind outwards is the snake, mind inwards is the rope. But there is only one mind or one "I" [without a second] - self!

Salazar said...

Once the previous comment has been grasped then it immediately becomes clear why trying to "improve the ego" or trying "to be humble", as in the ego becoming more humble, is a fools game.

Because "trying to improve the ego" is equal with the mind attending "outwards", thus sustaining the idea of an ego. As it is with all outward actions as thoughts/ideas.

That's why any tapas but vichara will prolong samsara.

Anonymous said...

All religions postulate the three fundamentals, the world, the soul, and God, but it is only the one Reality that manifests Itself as these three. One can say, 'The three are really three' only so long as the ego lasts. Therefore, to inhere in one's own Being, where the 'I' , or ego, is dead, is the perfect State.

In the above verse, Bhagavan states that reality manifests as world. When one is in duality, we can definitely say reality is the one that manifested as world. When one is enlightened ,then for him, world doesn’t exist.

Salazar said...

Anonymous, but that is your mistake, we are NOT in duality, the ego makes that up.

There is no distinction between enlightenment and non-enlightenment. That would be two selves again, just as a different definition. That difference exists only for the ego and it will ALWAYS exist for the ego. Thus one will be stuck as ego unless one drops that false notion.

The only question what is relevant is, do I want to attend to self or do I want to dabble in the imaginations of the outside world as ego? If the world exists or not is absolute irrelevant!

Salazar said...

When I say "if the world exists or not" is absolute irrelevant I refer to vichara and the inner process. It would be foolish running around exclaiming "we are one" when the mind seemingly still exists.

However, as a devotee of Bhagavan, our aim is to cut through maya with vichara and let prarabdha (what happens in the phenomenal world) unfold. No need to share personally to somebody else one's process. Most won't understand, heck a few even here do not fully grasp vichara.

Salazar said...

If the world exists or not is only relevant for the ego. It is the mind attending "outwards" as ego. Bhagavan taught to not attend outwards but attend inwards to self. Reading texts and trying to comprehend texts is attending outwards or to ego too.

That's why we, eventually, have to drop reading anything and attend only to self. But for most trying to not get caught up in one's train of thoughts should be the first step of vichara. Everything else unfolds from that.

Salazar said...

The issue of enlightenment or non-enlightenment exists only when one turns "outward" as ego. As soon as one turns "inwards" as self that issue is non-existent. It is as non-existent as it is non-existent being in deep sleep.

That is all what is needed. It cannot be more simple as that.

It's either vichara or dabbling in the imaginations of an ego and these imaginations are endless.

Palani said...

Hello Michael and all Bhagavan devotees,

I wanted to ask your views and thoughts on emotional healing. Recently I was reading a book called Heal your life by Louis Hay and few other books. Healing begins, first by recognising the wound, and second, by trying to find the root cause. And we need to heal the root cause or to see where the unease or trauma stems from. Until we understand the root cause of pain and heal our past emotional wounds, we cannot be open to a deep experience of our natural self awareness and peace.

Asun said...

Palani,

Michael is quite radical. The response bellow is from him, though he talks on physical illness, probably he would say more or less the same with regarding to “emotional wounds”:

“According to Bhagavan, all phenomena are a projection of our vasanas, so this applies equally well to illness as to whatever else we may experience. Our body and this entire world are just a projection of our vasanas, so when such is the case illness is likewise. However, what determines which vasanas are projected as what phenomena is prarabdha, so we need not try to analyse or interpret why we are are currently experiencing this or that, whether illness or anything else.

No phenomena are real, and nor are any vasanas. They are all just a passing show, as is ego, the experiencer of them. What is real is only 'I am', our fundamental awareness of our own existence (sat-cit), so that alone is what we need be concerned about. Everything else should be ignored as far as possible, and if there is anything that we do not ignore, that is due to our unwillingness to surrender completely.

We need not be concerned about prarabdha (which includes whatever we experience), because prarabdha is the fruit of our misuse of our will in past lives (dreams), which cannot now be changed. What we should be concerned about is not misusing our will here and now by allowing our attention to go outwards, away from ourself.”

Salazar said...

Hi Palani, the root cause of all afflictions is the ego. Emotional wounds and trauma are thought patterns which are heavily charged with a deeply believed story which is mostly subconscious. They can distract easily from vichara if the upcoming thought story is not stopped in its tracks immediately when forming.

Trauma can be very challenging, I myself had episodes of PTSD and during those phases I had to resort to other means than vichara, like prayer, surrender, exercise and others.
However it is a false idea to propose the solution as "understanding the root cause of pain".

The root cause of pain is the ego and its thought patterns. There is no other cause. I've read Hay about 30 years ago and her concepts are on a more superficial level which validates the existence of a body/mind with problems which could be solved within that body/mind level. It cannot according to Bhagavan. The maximum one could gain is temporary relief.

"Understanding" anything is on a mind level, that cannot work, only attending to self will bring the ultimate understanding which is not on a mental and emotional level.

Also, there is no "deep" experience of self and peace. What could make that judgement? I can say from my own experience that self and peace does not change, it is always the same now and for eternity. All perceived changes, like more deep or shallow, are by the mind and not self.

Martin said...

Sanjay and Salazar thank you for your answers.

Salazar my mind is also sometimes rajasic. I need to remember vichara more and more.

Sanjay i just dont know if all these gods really exist. I have never seen Hari even in my dreams.

Sanjay Lohia said...

Eventually, we will lose ourself in complete and irrevocable peace and satisfaction.

blueskythinking83: @Sanjay Lohia i may have asked before and I may have experienced it but now I feel like I dont know. How do we look within?

I quiet my mind. Sometimes I am aware of my bodily sensations. When the awareness of those goes away, I feel like I am aware but of nothing. Is that the space to remain in. I may be washing dishes when I take my attention within where it seems to be rooted in peace. If we are doing it correctly, do we experience peace, satisfaction? Am I doing it right?

Sanjay Lohia: Blueskythinking83, you ask, ‘How to look within?’ It is a difficult question to answer because you need to attend to yourself or look within yourself. How can someone else guide to look within yourself? Bhagavan used to say that this path is subjective and not objective, and therefore no one need tell you as to how to look within yourself. He used to say ‘Do you need to be shown the way inside your own home?’

When we practise self-investigation, we may be aware of bodily sensations, but we should ignore these sensations and focus on the one who is having these sensations. You ask ‘I feel I am aware but of nothing. Is that the space to remain in’. Yes, we should remain in the space or state where we are aware of nothing other than ourself. That is, we should try to remain in a state in which we are not aware of any phenomena.

You ask, ‘If we are doing it correctly, do we experience peace, satisfaction?’ Yes, that is true. The more correctly we do, the more peace and satisfaction we will experience. Eventually, we will lose ourself in complete and irrevocable peace and satisfaction. All we need to do is to persevere in attending to ourself until we experience such complete peace and satisfaction.

• Extract from the comments on the video: 2020-05-09 Ramana Maharshi Foundation UK: Michael James discusses ajāta and other subjects

Sanjay Lohia said...

So long as we rise as ego, we are not in the state of just being

Once Bhagavan said jokingly, 'Everyone says it is so difficult to stop thinking, but however much effort I make I cannot think a single thought'. So if we follow Bhagavan's path, we will eventually find that rather than turning within and surrendering ourself to him being difficult, it would be difficult to rise and think of anything else. It will become first nature to us to be as we actually are because that is actually what we are always.

So Bhagavan’s path is the most natural path, the most direct path and the happiest path – carefree path. The true sign that we are truly following Bhagavan’s path is that to the extent we are following Bhagavan’s path, to that extent we are free of all cares, concerns and anxieties. To the extent we are following Bhagavan’s path, to that extent we are traveling happily without carrying the burden on our head.

That is the path of surrender; that is the path of self-investigation. And that is summa-iruppadu (just being) because the state in which we don’t rise as ego is the state of just being. So long as we rise as ego, we are not in the state of just being.

• Based on the video: 2020-05-23 Sri Ramana Satsang, Connecticut: Michael James discusses just being and self-surrender (25:00)

Sanjay Lohia said...

Only the place where the thought called ‘I’ does not exist even a little is svarūpa

Surrender and summa-v-iruppadu (just being) are one and the same thing. So long as we rise as ego, we are not in a state of just being. We are always in the state of just being, but when we rise as ego, we seem to be rising, and therefore everything else comes into existence. So the state of summa-v-iruppadu is the state in which we don’t rise as ego. This is very clearly implied by Bhagavan in the four sentences towards the end of 6th paragraph of Nan Ar?:

Only the place where the thought called ‘I’ does not exist even a little is svarūpa [one’s own form or real nature]. That alone is called ‘mauna’ [silence]. Only to [the state of] thus just being [does] the name ‘jñāna-dṛṣṭi’ [‘knowledge-seeing’, the experience of true knowledge] [refer]. What ‘just being’ (summā-v-iruppadu) is is only making the mind subside [cease, dissolve or die] in ātma-svarūpa [the ‘own form’ or real nature of oneself].

• Based on the video: 2020-05-23 Sri Ramana Satsang, Connecticut: Michael James discusses just being and self-surrender (02:00)

Sanjay Lohia said...

Bhagavan says taking any burden on our head – even taking the burden of thinking – causes suffering

Bhagavan says taking any burden on our head – even taking the burden of thinking – causes suffering. Whereas, we if can put aside the burden we can be really happy. So the path of surrender is the path of happiness. To the extent we leave our burden to Bhagavan by turning our attention within and lovingly attending to ourself in our heart, we can happily travel carefree through life. All the suffering we experience in our life is the suffering we are taking upon ourself by carrying our little burden on our head.

If we surrender completely to Bhagavan, there will be no room for suffering because there will be no one there to suffer. When we attend only to Bhagavan, who is ever-shining as ‘I’, there will be no rising as ego. Arunachala Ramana is what is shining in our heart as arivu, the pure awareness ‘I’. He is shining in the heart of all jivas from Hari downwards to the smallest ant.

So if we truly love Bhagavan, we should turn our attention within thereby give ourself entirely to Bhagavan. That is what he means by putting our luggage aside and travelling happily. The alternative is to carry our luggage on our head and suffer. So the choice is ours.

• Based on the video: 2020-05-23 Sri Ramana Satsang, Connecticut: Michael James discusses just being and self-surrender (21:00)

Palani said...

Thanks Asun and Salzar for your kind reply and time.

So instead of looking at root cause of our current emotional feeling or trauma (which are again thought patters), one need to attend to one self.

Sometimes, I do try but those emotions are heavily charged that it feels almost impossible to inquire or look at one self calmly. Hence was wondering if there is any better way to handle it.

Salazar said...

Palani, from my own experience vichara becomes then difficult because the attention goes to the emotions. The emotion is not liked and rejected, it is associated with something unpleasant, bad etc.

However that is not true, we just believe the [subtle] thought-story which judges these sense perceptions as undesirable and the mind wants that emotion to go away. And then mind does what is does best [on its level], it analyzes the "problem" and tries to solve it.

The "solution" is to realize that there is no need for a solution and that upcoming emotions and negative feelings are harmless, they are neither good nor bad. Only the mind magnifies these emotions in disliking them and trying to fix it. The sense perceptions by themselves are not bad at all, the mind makes it bad with the mostly unnoticed thought story accompanying the emotion.

The attitude to try to fix things has to be dropped.

As I said before, when vichara did not work for me, I prayed to Bhagavan, exercised, did japa, anything what felt appropriate to take off the mind from attending these emotions. One has to get creative and there is no real blue-print here, what worked for me may not work for you.

Also, somebody suffering i.e. from a bipolar disorder should take appropriate medication since certain [stronger] disorders need to be treated, even for a devotee of Bhagavan, on a body/mind level. There is no need to be dogmatic and declare that vichara only will fix it when vichara seems to be difficult to do.

Now those are only temporary tools, only vichara gives the inside that these emotions are not my emotions, emotions are created by the mind, self is not touched by it unless self gets involved with the non-self aka mind/body/emotions in giving it attention.

The ultimate goal is to withdraw all attention to outward phenomena what includes emotions and stay with self [alone].

Sanjay Lohia said...

Let us take care of our diet

If we want to progress in our sadhana, we should take proper care of our diet. The more my stomach is filled with excessive or heavy food, the more uncomfortable I feel. So it becomes difficult to turn within with a heavy stomach. Whenever my stomach is empty, I find it easy to turn within. So as Bhagavan has indicated, we should be very particular in consuming only mita sattvika ahara.

Sanjay Lohia said...

The desire for things outside ourself obscures the happiness which is already within us

When we turn our attention within, we are turning our attention towards our own fundamental awareness of our own existence: our basic awareness, our self-awareness before the addition of adjuncts. We are attending to ‘I am’ rather than the awareness ‘I am this body’. That basic self-awareness ‘I am’ is the original light that illumines the mind and enables it to know other things.

The more we turn our attention within, the more we are bathing our mind in the light of pure awareness, and therefore the more our mind is clarified. The more our mind is clarified, the more we get that clarity of discrimination, that clarity of discernment, the ability to recognize where happiness is actually coming from.

Our desires agitate our mind, and when our desires are satisfied that agitation subsides, and therefore we experience the happiness which is already within us. The raging desire in our mind is what obscures the happiness. When that desire is temporarily satisfied, we experience a little bit of the infinite ocean of happiness that is our real nature. So the desire for things outside ourself obscures the happiness which is already within us.
So rather than constantly trying to satisfy our desires, we should try to get rid of our desires. That is the way to be happy. If we don’t have desires we will be perfectly happy. Desire is the very antithesis of happiness.

So the more clarity we have, the more clearly we are able to discern where the happiness actually comes from. So we will not be so easily distracted by the seeming pleasures of the world. That happiness which we seem to derive from things other than ourself is actually coming from only within ourself.

So all that is required is that persevere in the practice. If we preserve in the practice, the clarity will come and everything will fall into place. The more clarity we have, the more love we will have to turn within because the more we will be able to discern where happiness comes from. Proportionate to the clarity we have, we will have love to turn within. And to the extent we have love to turn within, to that extent we will lose our desires, our likes and dislikes for other things. So we will be less easily deluded by the seeming pleasures of life.

• Based on the video: 2020-05-24a Yo Soy Tu Mismo: Michael James discusses how to discern the source of happiness (04:00)

anadi-ananta said...

Sanjay,
"If we preserve in the practice,...".
Presumably you mean 'persevere'.

Michael James said...

Karen, regarding your comment of 22 May 2020 at 22:55, which I now see you have deleted but in which you asked, ‘how to proceed when one fails to know what love truly is? This love spoken here cannot be any love previously known through the senses, correct? In this case, is the prayer for the annihilation of this ego best?’, we cannot know what love truly is until we know our real nature, because love is our real nature. However, though we do not now experience love in its pure form, we all experience it at least in a distorted and contaminated form, as Bhagavan implies in the first sentence of Nāṉ Ār?:

சகல ஜீவர்களும் துக்கமென்ப தின்றி எப்போதும் சுகமாயிருக்க விரும்புவதாலும், யாவருக்கும் தன்னிடத்திலேயே பரம பிரிய மிருப்பதாலும், பிரியத்திற்கு சுகமே காரண மாதலாலும், மனமற்ற நித்திரையில் தின மனுபவிக்கும் தன் சுபாவமான அச் சுகத்தை யடையத் தன்னைத் தானறிதல் வேண்டும்.

sakala jīvargaḷum duḥkham eṉbadu iṉḏṟi eppōdum sukham-āy irukka virumbuvadālum, yāvarukkum taṉ-ṉ-iḍattil-ē-y-ē parama piriyam iruppadālum, piriyattiṟku sukham-ē kāraṇam ādalālum, maṉam aṯṟa niddiraiyil diṉam aṉubhavikkum taṉ subhāvam āṉa a-c-sukhattai y-aḍaiya-t taṉṉai-t tāṉ aṟidal vēṇḍum.

English translation: Since all living beings want [or like] to be always happy without what is called misery, since for everyone the greatest love is only for oneself, and since happiness alone is the cause for love, [in order] to obtain that happiness, which is one’s own nature, which one experiences daily in [dreamless] sleep, which is devoid of mind, oneself knowing oneself is necessary.

All our desires are just a distorted form of love, and the driving force behind all of them is our fundamental desire to be happy, which is nothing other than our love for our own real nature, which is infinite happiness. Therefore since we all love to be happy, we can proceed on the spiritual path by understanding and accepting that happiness is what we actually are, so in order order to experience the happiness that we all desire we need to turn our attention back within and thereby know ourself as we actually are, which is pure awareness, love and happiness.

Sincere, heart-felt prayer for the annihilation of ego is certainly beneficial, because true prayer is our heart crying out for what it most earnestly desires, which is happiness and which can be achieved only by annihilation of ego.

Sanjay Lohia said...

Anadi-ananta, yes, it should be 'persevere'. Thanks.

Sanjay Lohia said...

Sir (Michael), in your comment addressed to Karen you wrote, ‘All our desires are just a distorted form of love, and the driving force behind all of them is our fundamental desire to be happy, which is nothing other than our love for our own real nature, which is infinite happiness’.

My question is, in what sense are all our desires just a distorted form of love? How can we say that our love is distorted into desires? Thanks.

Asun said...

Sanjay, you can find the answer to your question in chapter 13 “The nature of desire” of Sadhu Om´s book “Sadhanai Saram”, we can freely download from Michael website.

Sanjay Lohia said...

Bhagavan, without your help one more life will be wasted

In his comment addressed to Karen, Michael explains, ‘Sincere, heart-felt prayer for the annihilation of ego is certainly beneficial, because true prayer is our heart crying out for what it most earnestly desires, which is happiness and which can be achieved only by annihilation of ego’.

I have done some vichara, but this ego is still intact. But I have not tried much of sincere, heart-felt prayer for the annihilation of ego. So I will try such prayers and see what happens. Why should we underutilise any weapon in our armoury to fight this ego?

Bhagavan, please end this misery. This ego-based bodily existence is nothing but misery. You know I am trying to turn back within to merge in you, but all my efforts have been unsuccessful. So help . . . please . . . without your help, one more life will be wasted. So come to my rescue asap! I do not know when destiny will take this body away. You know this body is no so healthy, so it may not last long. So . . . come to my help fast!

Sanjay Lohia said...

Correction: You know this body is not so healthy, so it may not last long. So . . . come to my help fast!

Sanjay Lohia said...

Asun, yes, the answer to my question is indeed there in section 13 of Sadhanai Saram by Sadhu Om. Thanks.

Sri Sadhu Om explains in verse 25:

When by one’s own inexpressible power one imaginarily sees the one real self as many objects (the soul, world and God) and thinks oneself to be one among those objects, then one’s own natural self-love, which transcends thought, will assume the form of a thought and will appear to oneself, the individual who imagines thus, as desires for those objects, which are seemingly other than oneself.

Sri Sadhu Om answers my question even more directly in verse 26:

Of all things, is not oneself the most beloved? When one limits oneself by imagining oneself to be a body, one sees all these things (the world and God), which are truly nothing but one’s own self, as objects other than oneself, and hence one has desire for those objects. That desire is only a distorted form of the true self-love that is one’s own very nature.

So our true self-love is not a thought but our true nature. But when we love seemingly other things, this self-love transforms itself into a thought or a desire for those seemingly other things, and this desire is a distortion of self-love. Sri Sadhu Om further explains in verse 35 that ‘This desire and aversion are a twofold reflected shadow of our real nature, which is our real nature, which is bliss (ananda) and love (priya)’.

Sanjay Lohia said...

Coronavirus has helped shut down the whole world’s activity so that one can be at home without distractions and practice atma-vichara

Bubba the Self: I don’t consider coronavirus to be undesirable at all. I see it as Bhagavan’s love who has helped shut down the whole world’s activity so that one can be at home without distractions and practice atma vichara. It has helped me so much and in my opinion, it is one of the greatest blessings that has ever happened in this dream/life. I don’t even see the virus itself as real (no more real than a dream) and I have absolutely no fear of it because I see it as only Bhagavan’s love and not a threat at all. Only the ego is fearful of it...

Cristoval Jesus Amado: Until and unless you as ego actually get the virus and are unable to breathe and will be forced to go hospital for precious oxygen.

Sanjay Lohia: Bubba the Self, I totally agree with you. Everything that happens is Bhagavan’s grace, his infinite love for us, and this infinite love has brought us face to face with this coronavirus. So, this coronavirus has to be a blessing. As Michael said this coronavirus is a wake-up call to all at many levels.

However, I believe, we can say all these things because perhaps we are not much directly affected by this situation - perhaps no one has become ill because of this virus in our case. We do not know how we will view this virus if we or any of our near and dear ones are affected by this.

• Extract from the comment section of the video: 2020-05-24c Yo Soy Tu Mismo: Michael James discusses desire, destiny and mental projection

Sanjay Lohia said...

We should remain like a dead person in all worldly affairs

Sri Sadhu Om says in verse 29 of Forty Verses on Renunciation (Turavu Narpadu):

He who remains like a dead person in all worldly affairs without rising as 'I' under any circumstances, is alone the most exalted among the renunciates; he alone is the jivanmukta; he alone is a true non-doer (because he has no sense of doership). Therefore, he alone is a true karma yogi.

My reflection: Yes, we should try to be like a dead person in all worldly affairs. How can we do so? We can do so, says Sadhu Om, by remaining without allowing our ego to rise under any circumstances.

Being active in the world can never give us the ultimate satisfaction we are all looking for. In fact, our interest in the affairs of this world is keeping us perpetually dissatisfied. It is because we want so many things from this world, but our desires are never fully satisfied. Some of our desires are satisfied but many are not. So if we want permanent and eternal satisfaction, we have no other option but to give up all our desires. And we can give up all our desires only by not rising as ego.

We have taken enough interest in this world and seen its outcome. Now let us try to completely ignore this world and focus all our love and attention on knowing ourself alone.

Sanjay Lohia said...

We should pass the days by accepting whatever comes to us by God’s will

Sri Sadhu Om says in verse 26 of Forty Verses on Renunciation (Turavu Narpadu):

With the firm dispassion (vairagya) of not cherishing or hoarding anything for the morrow (having an unshakable faith that God will provide you each day with whatever is good for you), pass the days by accepting whatever comes to you of its own accord on each occasion without giving any work to your brain (to investigate whether each thing which comes is good or bad and to decide whether it is to be accepted or rejected).

My reflection: Yes, this is what we should aim for. Such an attitude may seem difficult, but I am sure we can reach this state complete self-surrender by persevering more and more in our practice of self-surrender and self-investigation.

Sanjay Lohia said...

Coronavirus deaths: ultimately, it is all maya - no one is actually ill and no one is actually dying

Bubba the Self: @Sanjay Lohia There are no exceptions in Bhagavan's teaching, no special cases for coronavirus or this or that. Regarding your 2nd paragraph, you are speaking from the assumption that the virus is real, just like Michael talks about people argue reality/creation from the POV that this dream is real. It is not. Then again, I am writing to you with the illusory assumption that there are people out there that are real. I have a long way to go :)

Remember perception and projection are happening simultaneously, and the world is an illusion that only one ego sees, just like one dream scene after another. If there is no perception of people becoming ill of a fantasy virus, then there is no use in the ego imagining/assuming that somewhere out there people are becoming ill (that's what the news is for, to create the perception of an outside world). The news is a lie, just to fool this ego into believing that a world out there actually exists and all this stuff is happening in the imaginary world. It's only real if I continue to believe it. Just like Bhagavan says- I assume the world continued to exist when I fell asleep, but it did not. The world disappeared when I slept, and came into existence when this ego arose. So just like that, is this situation of people becoming ill or dying. There is only one ego in this dreamworld experiencing this life, and all other dream characters only appear to be experiencing this and aware of this, but it is not the case. Only because of news and fear propaganda, this ego might believe that such things are happening, but if there is no perception, it doesn't even come into seeming reality. That's why I ignore the news and enjoy the blessing of this gift of Bhagavan.

Sanjay Lohia: Bubba the Self, yes, all news is false, so all news related to coronavirus has to be also false. When no one has been born, how can anyone die? So, ultimately, it is all maya - no one is actually ill and no one is actually dying.

However, as long as we take this person (Sanjay or whatever) to be real, we will also take this world to be real. The more we practise self-investigation and self-surrender, the more we will begin to separate ourself from the person we seem to be. The more we separate ourself from the person we seem to be, the more the other things will also start to fade from our awareness.

So, our job is to practice more and more self-investigation and self-surrender. Everything else will automatically fall into place. We simply cannot wish coronavirus away by imagining it to be false. We have to see our own [ego's] non-existence first before we can see the non-existence of this coronavirus and everything else.

You say, ‘That's why I ignore the news and enjoy the blessing of this gift of Bhagavan’. That’s wonderful!

• Extract from the comments on the video: 2020-05-24c Yo Soy Tu Mismo: Michael James discusses desire, destiny and mental projection



Sanjay Lohia said...

What we project is most favourable for us for our ultimate salvation, for the ultimate freedom from ego

Though this waking state is a dream and is our own projection, we cannot project whatever we want. If we could project whatever we want, we would be constantly trying to fulfil our desires. We would be feeding our desires more and more and thereby making ourself more and more miserable. It is because stronger the desires, the more they agitate our minds, and the more dissatisfaction they bring to us.

The aim of Bhagavan is to free us from desires and not to satisfy our desires. So sometimes giving difficulties is the effective way of weaning our mind away from our desires. When our efforts to achieve what we want are disappointed many, many times, we slowly begin to look for satisfaction elsewhere. So we become willing to search for happiness within ourself.

So it wouldn’t be beneficial for us to project whatever we wanted because ultimately happiness doesn’t lie in projection. Happiness lies in turning within and subsiding within. In order to project the world, we have to rise as ego, identify ourself with a body and experience all this. This is a recipe for dissatisfaction. If we want satisfaction, we have to cease rising as ego. There is no other way.

Moreover, what we project is most favourable for us for our ultimate salvation, for the ultimate freedom from ego. To want to change anything is going against the path of surrender – wanting to change anything is carrying our burden on our head. It’s a recipe for misery. If we want to happy, the only way to be happy is to surrender. To the extent we surrender, to that extent we will be happy. Surrender means first giving up the strength of our desires and attachments, but ultimately surrender means not rising as ego.

To someone who has surrendered, it doesn’t matter what happens. All suffering is caused ultimately by our rising as ego, and when we rise as ego, we bring all our desires and attachments along with it. The stronger the desires and attachments, the more we suffer.

• Based on the video: 2020-05-24c Yo Soy Tu Mismo: Michael James discusses desire, destiny and mental projection (5:00)



anadi-ananta said...

Sanjay,
you write on 28 May 2020 at 07:23
"We have taken enough interest in this world and seen its outcome. Now let us try to completely ignore this world and focus all our love and attention on knowing ourself alone."

How can one completely ignore this world when one shares the view that "all these things (the world and God) are truly nothing but one’s own self".
You may read in this connex your own comment of 27 May 2020 at 15:01 in which you write:

"Sri Sadhu Om answers my question even more directly in verse 26:
Of all things, is not oneself the most beloved? When one limits oneself by imagining oneself to be a body, one sees all these things (the world and God), which are truly nothing but one’s own self, as objects other than oneself, and hence one has desire for those objects. That desire is only a distorted form of the true self-love that is one’s own very nature."

Salazar said...

As the snake the world appears as objects, as the rope the world is the rope [and not an object].

In order to be the rope one must exclude the world as an object, otherwise the rope will stay hidden.

That seeming contradiction can only be solved with vichara. When will ego stop dabbling in concepts it can never comprehend [fully]?

anadi-ananta said...

What Michael states in his comment of 27 May 2020 at 11:10
I would like to make stand out in bold type:
Therefore since we all love to be happy, we can proceed on the spiritual path by understanding and accepting that happiness is what we actually are, so in order to experience the happiness that we all desire we need to turn our attention back within and thereby know ourself as we actually are, which is pure awareness, love and happiness...and which can be achieved only by annihilation of ego.

Salazar said...

Yes, and since the ego sees the world as objects, the world will be "annihilated" too.

anadi-ananta said...

Because annihilation of the world is tantamount to annihilation of one's own self it is clearly not possible. So if one sees all these things (the world and God), which are truly nothing but one’s own self, as objects other than oneself then one has necessarily to refrain from this wrong view.

Salazar said...

It seems you are either not capable to comprehend or you just like to argue. I am tired of this whole "is the world real or not talk". For how many years now is this sordid concept floating around this blog?

And it just keeps coming up, again and again.

Bhagavan suggested to realize the self and then see if that issue is even relevant or not. I say it is only relevant for the ego. The remedy is vichara.

Two questions for the ego: How does an object-less world looks like? What does the world look like when there are no distinctions seen? Can the mind that even imagine? It's beyond duality.

Karen Taylor said...

Sincere appreciation, Michael, for answering my question even though I had deleted it. I have actually grown tired of my own questions and commentary as mentioned during your satsang on Saturday; it's all too distracting. All questions are suddenly being dissolved, and only peace remains. Thank you, Sanjay, for that heartfelt prayer which is also now my own. May Bhagavan's Grace annihilate this ego in this lifetime. Thy will be done. May peace of mind be with us all no matter the appearance of things. This one is going off-line for now. :)

anadi-ananta said...

With respect to Karen's comment,
May peace of mind be with us all no matter the appearance of things.
This one remains along the line of pure awareness, love and happiness - now and for ever.-:)