Saturday 4 December 2021

What are vāsanās and how do they work?

A friend wrote to me asking whether the following is ‘a reasonable terse description of the meaning of the term vāsanā’:

vāsanā: an inclination, which has been imprinted through one’s past actions and experiences, to desire having a particular or type of experience
This article is adapted from the reply I wrote to this friend.

Friday 26 November 2021

The Ramaṇa mahāvākya: ‘நான் நான்’ (nāṉ nāṉ) or ‘अहम् अहम्’ (aham aham), ‘I am I’

I have recently been trying to complete a detailed explanation about the song Āṉma-Viddai that I began to write more than two years ago but never had time to complete, so if it is Bhagavan’s will I hope to be able to post that here within the next few weeks. In the meanwhile, since the teaching ‘நான் நான்’ (nāṉ nāṉ) or ‘अहम् अहम्’ (aham aham), ‘I am I’, is such a fundamental and central principle of his teachings, but one that is sadly so overlooked and neglected due to a widespread misinterpretation of it and a consequent failure to recognise its profound significance, I decided to post this extract from the explanation I have written for verse 2 of Āṉma-Viddai:

Thursday 18 November 2021

Appaḷa Pāṭṭu (The Appaḷam Song): Tamil text, transliteration, translation and explanation

Bhagavan lived mostly in Virupaksha Cave on the eastern slopes of Arunachala from 1899 till sometime around the middle of 1916, when he moved higher up to Skandasramam. A few months before this move, in about January 1916, his mother, Aṙagammaḷ, came to live with him, and it was during the brief period when she lived with him in Virupaksha Cave that he composed this song, அப்பளப் பாட்டு (Appaḷa-p-Pāṭṭu), ‘The Appaḷam Song’. One of the most detailed accounts of how he came to compose this song is what has been recorded by Suri Nagamma in Letter 102 of Letters from Ramanasramam (2006 edition, pages 208-11), but in brief the story is as follows:

Tuesday 7 September 2021

Other people seem to be real because we seem to be a person

A friend asked me, ‘As we believe there is only one dreamer so why is it that when this dreamer awakens all don’t awaken?’, in reply to which I wrote:

Sunday 29 August 2021

Is anything other than ourself intrinsically existent?

A friend wrote to me:

Thank you very much for all your contributions to elucidate Bhagavan’s teachings. One of the points (or implications?) of the teachings that confuses me the most is the statement that the world that I’m so sure exists independently of ‘me’ is exactly a dream (yes, the difficulty is "exactly", or maybe "literally"?). In fact, strangely, that statement didn’t shock me too much in the sense that I naturally had some acceptance for it the first time I heard about it. However, after much thinking (although I know that one can’t intellectually figure this thing out), I still can’t figure out how one can reject the following alternative hypothesis. Please help explain if you find some time. Sorry for the English because I’m not a native speaker.

Thursday 5 August 2021

We abide as ourself only to the extent to which we attend to ourself alone

A friend wrote to me today:

When I abide in the self an intense nose pressure comes out. On previous paths this has happened with a chest pressure then a nose pressure which have both released. Now this nose pressure is getting stronger and stronger the more I abide in the self. Has Ramana talked about anything like this happening? Any advice?
In reply to this I wrote:

Monday 12 July 2021

Freedom, surrender and clinging fast to ‘I am’

This brief article is adapted from a reply I wrote to a friend today.

As you say, our life (in the sense of our outward life as a person in this world) is preordained, so it is not in our hands, but though we are not free to change what has been allotted to us to experience, we are free to want to change it and to try to change it, but using our freedom in such a way is obviously futile and just immerses us further in saṁsāra, the great ocean of incessant activity. The only wise way to use our freedom is to turn within to cling firmly to ‘I am’, thereby surrendering ourself completely to him.

Tuesday 29 June 2021

The nature of ego and its viṣaya-vāsanās and how to eradicate them

A friend wrote to me about an experience that happened to him one evening in a particular set of circumstances:

As I was walking home, my mind suddenly entered into a very quiet state. The rate of new thoughts arising became very slow, and I found that with only a tiny amount of effort, I could just remain in the quiet space without verbal thoughts.

Wednesday 23 June 2021

Self-investigation is not a matter of one ‘I’ looking for another ‘I’

A friend wrote to me recently asking, ‘When I try to look within for “I”, I am unable to find it or its source. What is my mistake and how should I practice vichara correctly?’, in reply to which I wrote:

Monday 17 May 2021

Can self-investigation boost the mind or kuṇḍalinī or cause sleeplessness and other health issues?

A friend wrote to me saying ‘I keep on practicing Self-Enquiry and I feel that the practice of Self-Enquiry affects the kundalini in my body and for some reason boosts my mind’, and he went on to describe other problems that he felt were caused by his practice, particularly sleeplessness and other health issues. This article is adapted from the replies I wrote to him.

Thursday 13 May 2021

Learning how to be self-attentive

A friend sent me a series of three emails, in the first of which he wrote:

With regards to Self-investigation, I have a few questions:

1. Am I investigating the ego/individual self, with the aim of finding the falsity of it?
2. Or am I investigating the true Self, with the aim of uncovering my true nature?
3. What is the best approach to achieve the goal?

Wednesday 12 May 2021

Could what exists ever not exist?

A friend wrote to me:

I recently watched your YouTube video discussing the above verse [the first maṅgalam verse of Uḷḷadu Nāṟpadu] as I was having some troubles understanding it. I have a few questions that have not been cleared yet. It is about the first sentence of that verse:

Monday 22 March 2021

The second and third paragraphs of Nāṉ Ār?

In this article I will discuss the history behind the second paragraph of Nāṉ Ār? and the practical and philosophical significance of what Bhagavan teaches us in the third paragraph.

Thursday 18 February 2021

In what sense is ego actually just pure awareness?

In my previous article, In what sense is it true to say ‘everything is one’?, I wrote:

So Bhagavan is the ultimate reductionist: All phenomena are just thoughts; thoughts are just mind; mind is just ego; and if instead of looking at anything else we look keenly at ourself alone, we will find that ego is actually just pure awareness. Therefore pure awareness is all that actually exists: it is ‘one only without a second’ (ēkam ēva advitīyam).

Tuesday 2 February 2021

In what sense is it true to say ‘everything is one’?

A friend wrote to me recently, ‘I think I got this part wrong: “Everyone is oneself”. You would say I am saying “Many is one”, right? What would you say? There is just one?’, in reply to which I wrote:

Saturday 30 January 2021

Is it possible for us to have a ‘glimpse of Self’?

A friend wrote to me asking, ‘Can the practice become constant? Turning attention inward, I remain there (I-AM). Where does effort stop? I had glimpses of Self, how to remain there? Is it at all possible?’, in reply to which I wrote: