Friday, 25 July 2014

What should we believe?

In my previous article, What is enlightenment, liberation or nirvāṇa?, I wrote:
Since experiencing ourself as we really are is what is called enlightenment, liberation or nirvāṇa, if it dissolves this dream that we call our waking state, then it would also dissolve the appearance of the rest of humanity whom we experience in this dream. If the dreamer wakes up, not only is he or she liberated from the dream, but also all the people who seemed to exist in that dream world will also be liberated from it.

All this reasoning is based upon our supposition that this world is all just our dream, but we cannot know for certain whether or not this is actually the case until and unless we investigate ourself and thereby experience ourself as we really are. So at present all we can say for certain is that if we attain enlightenment, liberation or nirvāṇa, it will not do any harm to the rest of humanity, and that if this world and all the people in it are just like the world and the people we see in a dream, then our own liberation will in effect liberate the whole of humanity.
Commenting on these two paragraphs, a friend wrote to me:

Saturday, 19 July 2014

What is enlightenment, liberation or nirvāṇa?

In an anonymous comment on one of my recent articles, Self-investigation, effort and sleep, someone asked several questions, including the following:
[...] What exactly is enlightenment, liberation, or nirvana, and what use is it really? [...] what effect does it have on the rest of humanity? [...] if there are very, very few (1 in a billion?) who manage to achieve liberation what is the point of it all? It seems a complete lottery to me because the Self chooses whom it will and we cannot know the basis on which it chooses. [...]
He also wrote an email to me referring to this comment, so I replied answering each of the four questions he had asked, and the following is adapted from what I wrote to him:

Saturday, 12 July 2014

A paradox: sphuraṇa means ‘shining’ or ‘clarity’, yet misinterpretations of it have created so much confusion

As a conclusion to my previous two articles, Demystifying the term ‘sphuraṇa and Self-awareness: ‘I’-thought, ‘I’-feeling and ahaṁ-sphuraṇa, I would like to observe what a paradox it is that a word that means ‘clarity’ has created so much confusion. That is, in the sense in which Sri Ramana used them, the terms ஸ்புரணம் (sphuraṇam) and ஸ்புரிப்பு (spurippu) both mean only ‘shining’ or ‘clarity’, so it is paradoxical that they have been misunderstood and misinterpreted to such an extent that their clear and simple meaning has been obscured and that they have therefore created a huge amount of confusion in the minds of his followers and devotees, particularly those who rely upon English translations and interpretations of his teachings.

If the meaning of these terms as they were used by Sri Ramana had been correctly understood and explained in English books, none of the mystery and confusion that now surrounds them would have arisen. When they are correctly understood, they are actually terms that convey profound and rich meaning and that help to clarify the practice and aim of self-investigation (ātma-vicāra).

Tuesday, 8 July 2014

Self-awareness: ‘I’-thought, ‘I’-feeling and ahaṁ-sphuraṇa

During the past few weeks I have written many comments about ahaṁ-sphuraṇa and related subjects in reply to comments that others have written on some of my recent articles, and since Sanjay Lohia suggested in one of his recent comments that I should gather together all such comments and make them available as an article, I decided to compile and adapt them (along with one email on the same subject) as this article, which I hope will serve as a useful supplement to my previous article, Demystifying the term ‘sphuraṇa.

Since this is a long article that discusses various different but related issues, I have divided it into the following ten sections:

Tuesday, 1 July 2014

Demystifying the term ‘sphuraṇa

In two comments on one of my recent articles, Since we always experience ‘I’, we do not need to find ‘I’, but only need to experience it as it actually is, Palaniappan Chidambaram asked me some questions about ahaṁ-sphuraṇa, and I replied in a series of three comments. These questions asked by Palaniappan also started a discussion about ahaṁ-sphuraṇa in a long series of comments on another more recent article, Why do we not experience the existence of any body or world in sleep?, and I replied to some of the points raised in that discussion in several comments towards the end of it. Since in another comment Sanjay Lohia suggested that I should gather together all the comments I have recently been writing in reply to comments written by others and make them available as an article, I will compile and post here all my recent comments regarding ahaṁ-sphuraṇa (perhaps with some additional explanations to link them all together) as my next article: Self-awareness: ‘I’-thought, ‘I’-feeling and ahaṁ-sphuraṇa.

Another friend, R Viswanathan, suggested in one of his recent comments that in the context of this discussion about ahaṁ-sphuraṇa it would useful if I were to reproduce here an article entitled ‘Demystifying the Term Sphuraṇa’, which I wrote last year for the Autumn 2013 newsletter of the Ramana Maharshi Foundation UK. The editor of this newsletter, Alasdair Black, had asked me to write an article for it, so since I am often asked questions about ahaṁ-sphuraṇa, and since a lot of confusion has been created about this term in English books and articles, I decided to write an article to try to clarify what this term actually means. However, when I read that article again in the light of our recent discussions about ahaṁ-sphuraṇa and thought more about this subject, I began developing some of the ideas that I had expressed in it, so this present article is a much enlarged version of that original article.