Tuesday, 20 June 2017

Concern about fate and free will arises only when our mind is turned away from ourself

What I wrote in one of my recent articles, Do we need to do anything at all?, triggered a discussion about the roles of destiny (prārabdha) and the ego’s own volition or free will (though free will was referred to only implicitly, not explicitly) and how we can determine whether any particular thought arises due to destiny or due to free will. This discussion started from the first comment, in which a friend called Samarender Reddy wrote:
There seems to a problem with what you say. If whatever is to happen is decided by my prarabdha, then whatever motions the body is to go through and whatever the mind has to “think” to get the body to do actions as per prarabdha are also predetermined and “I, the ego” have no say in it. But you also say, “therefore we need not think”. And yet the mind will necessarily think some thoughts as per prarabdha. How do I distinguish thinking or thoughts associated with prarabdha and the other non-prarabdha associated thinking I seem to indulge in? Whenever any thought occurs, how do I know if it is prarabdha or the ego thinking? If I say, ok, whatever thoughts have to occur will occur to make the body do whatever it has to do, then it would seem that one has to be totally silent and not thinking and whenever any thought arises involuntarily I have to consider that as prarabdha thought and act accordingly? Is that what you are saying? Also, in that case will only such prarabdha thoughts then occur which require the body to do something or will such thoughts also occur which do not require the body to do something? I would really appreciate if you can clarify these doubts of mine.
This article is my reply to this comment, and also less directly to some of the ideas expressed in subsequent comments on the same subject.
  1. Any state in which we experience ourself as a body and consequently perceive phenomena is just a dream
  2. The fundamental choice we have is between pravṛtti (going outwards) and nivṛtti (withdrawing back within)
  3. Uḷḷadu Nāṟpadu verse 25: we embark on the path of pravṛtti by rising as an ego, which we do by grasping forms
  4. Uḷḷadu Nāṟpadu verse 5: the body we grasp as ourself is a form composed of five sheaths
  5. None of these sheaths, not even the ānandamaya kōśa, exist or envelop us in sleep
  6. Experiencing oneself as this body of five sheaths cannot but give rise to the sense of doership, which is therefore the very nature of the ego
  7. Uḷḷadu Nāṟpadu verse 19: the ego is the root and foundation of fate and free will, because it alone has free will and experiences fate
  8. The actions of our mind, speech and body are driven by two forces, fate and free will
  9. Bhagavan’s note for his mother: we cannot alter whatever is destined to happen, but we are free to want and to try to do so
  10. Nāṉ Yār? paragraph 13: to be silent, we must be so keenly self-attentive that we do not give even the slightest room to the rising of any thought about anything other than ourself
  11. Śrī Aruṇācala Aṣṭakam verse 6: let any thoughts appear or disappear, we should be so keenly self-attentive that we are completely indifferent to them
  12. Distinguishing thoughts or actions driven by our fate from those driven by our free will is neither necessary nor possible
  13. Uḷḷadu Nāṟpadu verse 38: only by using our free will to investigate ourself can we free ourself from the ego and all its three karmas
  14. Unless our attention is turned outwards, away from ourself, prārabdha cannot bind us or make us think anything
  15. Upadēśa Undiyār verse 2: being the fruit of our past actions, prārabdha cannot make our mind turn within and hence can never give us liberation
  16. Upadēśa Undiyār verses 8 and 9: by the intensity of self-attentiveness we will be in our real state of being, which is beyond thinking
  17. Prārabdha determines what we must experience only so long as we are facing outwards, so it can never prevent us turning back within to face ourself
1. Any state in which we experience ourself as a body and consequently perceive phenomena is just a dream

When we dream we project a body and simultaneously experience it as if it were ourself, and then through the five senses of that dream body we project and perceive a dream world. Since we are real, the dream body seems to us to be real so long as we mistake it to be ourself, and since it seems to be part of the dream world, that also seems to us to be real. However when we wake up our identification with that dream body is broken, so it no longer seems real, and hence we are immediately able to recognise that it was just a mental projection.

Since the dream body and world seem to be real so long as we are dreaming, whatever dream we are currently experiencing always seems to us to be the waking state. Only when we wake up from a dream are we able to recognise that it was just a dream. Therefore how can we be sure that our present state is not just another dream, even though it seems to us to be the waking state so long as we are experiencing it?

According to Bhagavan any state in which we experience ourself as a body and consequently perceive phenomena is just a dream, and hence there is no substantive difference between a dream and what we now take to be the waking state. As in any other dream, in our present state we have projected a body, which now seems to be ourself, and through the five senses of this body we have projected and are now perceiving a world.

2. The fundamental choice we have is between pravṛtti (going outwards) and nivṛtti (withdrawing back within)

Therefore though we seem to experience three alternating states every day, namely waking, dream and sleep, what we now take to be waking and dream are both only dreams, so what we experience is only two kinds of states and not three. Any state in which we perceive phenomena of any kind whatsoever is a dream, and any state in which we do not experience any phenomena is sleep. The former is called pravṛtti (which means moving forwards, onwards or outwards, rising, going forth, appearing, manifesting, exerting or being active) and the latter is called nivṛtti (which means coming back, returning, withdrawing, ceasing, abstaining from doing, resting or being inactive).

Therefore at any moment we have a fundamental choice of just two directions: either we can go outwards following the path of pravṛtti by attending to anything other than ourself, or we can return within following the path of nivṛtti by attending to nothing other than ourself. The path Bhagavan has taught us is the path of nivṛtti, and that is the subject I was writing about in the article on which Samarender wrote the above comment, namely Do we need to do anything at all?.

3. Uḷḷadu Nāṟpadu verse 25: we embark on the path of pravṛtti by rising as an ego, which we do by grasping forms

If we choose to go outwards following the path of pravṛtti, as we generally do most of the time, we experience ourself as a person consisting of a body and mind, who interact with whatever world we perceive around us, and thus we are caught up in doing actions (karmas), which forces us to consider whether we should act in this way or that. All this happens because we allow ourself to rise as this ego, the ‘I’ that experiences itself as ‘I am this body’, so if we want to avoid getting caught up in any activities we must avoid rising as this ego, which we can do only by being so keenly self-attentive that we cease being aware of anything else at all.

As Bhagavan says in verse 25 of Uḷḷadu Nāṟpadu:
உருப்பற்றி யுண்டா முருப்பற்றி நிற்கு
முருப்பற்றி யுண்டுமிக வோங்கு — முருவிட்
டுருப்பற்றுந் தேடினா லோட்டம் பிடிக்கு
முருவற்ற பேயகந்தை யோர்.

uruppaṯṟi yuṇḍā muruppaṯṟi niṟku
muruppaṯṟi yuṇḍumiha vōṅgu — muruviṭ
ṭuruppaṯṟun tēḍiṉā lōṭṭam piḍikku
muruvaṯṟa pēyahandai yōr
.

பதச்சேதம்: உரு பற்றி உண்டாம்; உரு பற்றி நிற்கும்; உரு பற்றி உண்டு மிக ஓங்கும்; உரு விட்டு, உரு பற்றும்; தேடினால் ஓட்டம் பிடிக்கும், உரு அற்ற பேய் அகந்தை. ஓர்.

Padacchēdam (word-separation): uru paṯṟi uṇḍām; uru paṯṟi niṟkum; uru paṯṟi uṇḍu miha ōṅgum; uru viṭṭu, uru paṯṟum; tēḍiṉāl ōṭṭam piḍikkum, uru aṯṟa pēy ahandai. ōr.

அன்வயம்: உரு அற்ற பேய் அகந்தை உரு பற்றி உண்டாம்; உரு பற்றி நிற்கும்; உரு பற்றி உண்டு மிக ஓங்கும்; உரு விட்டு, உரு பற்றும்; தேடினால் ஓட்டம் பிடிக்கும். ஓர்.

Anvayam (words rearranged in natural prose order): uru aṯṟa pēy ahandai uru paṯṟi uṇḍām; uru paṯṟi niṟkum; uru paṯṟi uṇḍu miha ōṅgum; uru viṭṭu, uru paṯṟum; tēḍiṉāl ōṭṭam piḍikkum. ōr.

English translation: Grasping form, the formless phantom-ego rises into being; grasping form it stands; grasping and feeding on form it grows [spreads, expands, increases, rises high or flourishes] abundantly; leaving [one] form, it grasps [another] form. If sought [examined or investigated], it will take flight. Investigate [or know thus].
Since the ego is a formless phantom, whatever forms it grasps are other than itself, but in order to be aware of forms it must experience itself as a form (as Bhagavan explains in verse 4 of Uḷḷadu Nāṟpadu), so the first form it grasps is a body, which it mistakes to be itself. Therefore grasping form is the very nature of the ego, and without grasping form it cannot rise, stand or flourish.

But what exactly does Bhagavan mean by ‘grasping form’ (உரு பற்றி: uru paṯṟi)? How can this formless phantom-ego (உருவற்ற பேய் அகந்தை: uru-v-aṯṟa pēy ahandai) grasp anything? Since it is formless, it can grasp forms (phenomena of any kind whatsoever) only by being aware of them, and since no forms exist independent of it (as he explains in verse 26 of Uḷḷadu Nāṟpadu), it must project them from within itself in order to be aware of them.

Therefore the one fundamental problem we face is simply the fact that we have risen as this ego, because every other problem arises only from this, and so long as this root problem remains, other problems of one sort or another will continue arising. This is why Bhagavan advised us to ignore all other problems and focus all our concern, effort and attention only on eradicating their foundation, this ego, which we can do only by investigating ourself: that is, by looking at ourself very keenly in order to see what we actually are, whether this ego or something that underlies its appearance, just as a rope underlies the false appearance of an illusory snake.

4. Uḷḷadu Nāṟpadu verse 5: the body we grasp as ourself is a form composed of five sheaths

We rise as this ego by projecting and grasping the form of a body as ourself, and as Bhagavan points out in verse 5 of Uḷḷadu Nāṟpadu, the body we grasp as ourself is a form composed of five sheaths (pañca kōśa):
உடல்பஞ்ச கோச வுருவதனா லைந்து
முடலென்னுஞ் சொல்லி லொடுங்கு — முடலன்றி
யுண்டோ வுலக முடல்விட் டுலகத்தைக்
கண்டா ருளரோ கழறு.

uḍalpañca kōśa vuruvadaṉā laindu
muḍaleṉṉuñ colli loḍuṅgu — muḍalaṉḏṟi
yuṇḍō vulaha muḍalviṭ ṭulahattaik
kaṇḍā ruḷarō kaṙaṟu
.

பதச்சேதம்: உடல் பஞ்ச கோச உரு. அதனால், ஐந்தும் ‘உடல்’ என்னும் சொல்லில் ஒடுங்கும். உடல் அன்றி உண்டோ உலகம்? உடல் விட்டு, உலகத்தை கண்டார் உளரோ? கழறு.

Padacchēdam (word-separation): uḍal pañca kōśa uru. adaṉāl, aindum ‘uḍal’ eṉṉum sollil oḍuṅgum. uḍal aṉḏṟi uṇḍō ulaham? uḍal viṭṭu, ulahattai kaṇḍār uḷarō? kaṙaṟu.

அன்வயம்: உடல் பஞ்ச கோச உரு. அதனால், ‘உடல்’ என்னும் சொல்லில் ஐந்தும் ஒடுங்கும். உடல் அன்றி உலகம் உண்டோ? உடல் விட்டு உலகத்தைக் கண்டார் உளரோ? கழறு.

Anvayam (words rearranged in natural prose order): uḍal pañca kōśa uru. adaṉāl, ‘uḍal’ eṉṉum sollil aindum oḍuṅgum. uḍal aṉḏṟi ulaham uṇḍō? uḍal viṭṭu, ulahattai kaṇḍār uḷarō? kaṙaṟu.

English translation: The body is a form of five sheaths. Therefore all five are included in the term ‘body’. Without a body, is there a world? Say, leaving the body, is there anyone who has seen a world?
The five ‘sheaths’ or ‘coverings’ (pañca kōśa) that he refers to here are the physical body (annamaya kōśa, the ‘sheath composed of food’), the life that animates it (prāṇamaya kōśa, the ‘sheath composed of life [or breath]’), the thoughts or mental activity that we experience going on within it (manōmaya kōśa, the ‘sheath composed of mind’), the intellect or power of reasoning and discernment that we experience functioning within it (vijñānamaya kōśa, the ‘sheath composed of discernment [or understanding]’) and the darkness of self-ignorance that underlies and gives rise to the appearance of the other four sheaths (ānandamaya kōśa, the ‘sheath composed of happiness’), which is also called the ‘causal body’ (kāraṇa śarīra).

Whenever we experience ourself as a body, we are experiencing ourself as all these five sheaths, because whatever body we experience as ourself is a living body, so it consists of both the annamaya and prāṇamaya kōśas, and it is not a sleeping or comatose body, so it also consists of the manōmaya and vijñānamaya kōśas, and it seems to be ourself only because of our fundamental self-ignorance, so it is suffused with and held together by the ānandamaya kōśa.

5. None of these sheaths, not even the ānandamaya kōśa, exist or envelop us in sleep

The reason why the fundamental sheath or ‘causal body’ is called ānandamaya kōśa is that it is generally said to be the only sheath that remains enveloping us in sleep, so since sleep is a peaceful and therefore happy state, this sheath of self-ignorance is said to be ‘composed of happiness’ (ānandamaya). However, what is enveloped in these five sheaths is only the ego and not ourself as we actually are, so in the absence of the ego there is nothing that could be enveloped by any of these sheaths, and since the ego is the false self-awareness that appears as ‘I am this body’, it does not exist at all in sleep. Therefore according to Bhagavan in sleep we are not self-ignorant or enveloped by any sheath at all, as he implied for example in an answer recorded in the first chapter of Maharshi’s Gospel (2002 edition, page 9):
Sleep is not ignorance, it is one’s pure state; wakefulness is not knowledge, it is ignorance. There is full awareness in sleep and total ignorance in waking.
It is only from the perspective of our mind in waking or dream that sleep seems to be a state of ignorance, so it was in concession to this perspective that in ancient texts it was said that in sleep we are enveloped by the ānandamaya kōśa, and that this envelopment is the ‘causal body’ (kāraṇa śarīra), the cause for the appearance of the other four sheaths in waking and dream. One of the reasons for this concession to our ignorant perspective is that it provides an answer to satisfy the superficial curiosity of those who ask how or why the ego rises from sleep, but according to Bhagavan the most useful answer to such questions is that we should investigate this ego to see whether it actually exists even now, because if we investigate it keenly enough, we will find that it does not actually exist (just as we would find that an illusory snake does not actually exist if we were to look at it keenly enough to see that it is not a snake but only a rope), and since it does not actually exist, it has never actually risen from sleep. Therefore asking how or why it has risen is like asking how or why the son of a barren woman was born.

The rising of the ego alone causes the appearance of everything else (as Bhagavan implies in verse 26 of Uḷḷadu Nāṟpadu), so the ego is the first cause, and hence there can be no cause antecedent to it. Therefore trying to find what caused the appearance of the ego is futile. Instead we should just investigate it as keenly as we can and should persevere in doing so until we see the one reality that underlies its false appearance, namely the pure self-awareness that we always actually are.

6. Experiencing oneself as this body of five sheaths cannot but give rise to the sense of doership, which is therefore the very nature of the ego

These five sheaths are what envelop us, so to speak, and conceal our real nature when we rise as this ego, thereby experiencing ourself as ‘I am this body’, because whatever body we experience as ourself is composed of these five sheaths, and since we (as this ego) experience it as ourself, in our view it obscures what we actually are, which is just pure self-awareness. Therefore as this ego we always experience ourself as an inseparable mixture of these five sheaths, which together form the three instruments of action, namely mind, speech and body, and hence whatever actions are done by any of these instruments are experienced by us as actions done by us.

This experience that the actions of the mind, speech and body are done by oneself is what is called the sense of doership (kartṛtva buddhi), and it is the very nature of the ego, because we cannot rise or stand as this ego without experiencing a body consisting of five sheaths as ourself, and we cannot experience it as ourself without experiencing ourself as the doer of whatever actions are done by it. Therefore we cannot free ourself forever from this sense of doership without permanently ceasing to rise as this ego, and we cannot permanently cease without investigating ourself keenly enough to see ourself as we actually are.

7. Uḷḷadu Nāṟpadu verse 19: the ego is the root and foundation of fate and free will, because it alone has free will and experiences fate

Therefore rather than concerning ourself with any questions about fate or free will, we should focus all our interest, attention and effort on investigating what we ourself actually are. So long as we seem to be this ego, fate and free will will both seem to exist and to be functioning in our life as whatever person (body consisting of five sheaths) we currently seem to be, but if we investigate this ego and thereby experience ourself as we actually are, we will find that we have never been touched or influenced even to the slightest extent by either fate or free will, as Bhagavan implies in verse 19 of Uḷḷadu Nāṟpadu:
விதிமதி மூல விவேக மிலார்க்கே
விதிமதி வெல்லும் விவாதம் — விதிமதிகட்
கோர்முதலாந் தன்னை யுணர்ந்தா ரவைதணந்தார்
சார்வரோ பின்னுமவை சாற்று.

vidhimati mūla vivēka milārkkē
vidhimati vellum vivādam — vidhimatigaṭ
kōrmudalān taṉṉai yuṇarndā ravaitaṇandār
sārvarō piṉṉumavai sāṯṟu
.

பதச்சேதம்: விதி மதி மூல விவேகம் இலார்க்கே விதி மதி வெல்லும் விவாதம். விதிமதிகட்கு ஓர் முதல் ஆம் தன்னை உணர்ந்தார் அவை தணந்தார்; சார்வரோ பின்னும் அவை? சாற்று.

Padacchēdam (word-separation): vidhi mati mūla vivēkam ilārkkē vidhi mati vellum vivādam. vidhi-matigaṭku ōr mudal ām taṉṉai uṇarndār avai taṇandār; sārvarō piṉṉum avai? sāṯṟu.

அன்வயம்: விதி மதி மூல விவேகம் இலார்க்கே விதி மதி வெல்லும் விவாதம். விதிமதிகட்கு ஓர் முதல் ஆம் தன்னை உணர்ந்தார் அவை தணந்தார்; பின்னும் அவை சார்வரோ? சாற்று.

Anvayam (words rearranged in natural prose order): vidhi mati mūla vivēkam ilārkkē vidhi mati vellum vivādam. vidhi-matigaṭku ōr mudal ām taṉṉai uṇarndār avai taṇandār; piṉṉum avai sārvarō? sāṯṟu.

English translation: Only for those who do not have discernment of the root of fate and free will [namely the ego] is there dispute about which prevails, fate or free will. Those who have known themself [the ego], who is the one origin [cause or foundation] for fate and free will, have [thereby] discarded them. Say, will they thereafter be connected with them?
விதி (vidhi) means the same as prārabdha, namely fate or destiny, and in this context மதி (mati) means will or volition, by which we do āgāmya (fresh actions), the fruit of which are added to our sañcita (the store of accumulated fruit of past actions that are yet to be experienced), from which God or guru selects which fruits are to be experienced by us as prārabdha in each of our lives (which are just extended dreams). The terms ‘விதி மதி மூலம்’ (vidhi mati mūlam), which means ‘the root [base, origin or source] of fate and free will’, and ‘விதிமதிகட்கு ஓர் முதல் ஆம் தன்னை’ (vidhi-matigaṭku ōr mudal ām taṉṉai), which means ‘oneself, who is the one origin [cause, root, foundation or base] for fate and free will’, both refer to our ego, because fate and free will exist only for this ego, so it is their source and foundation, since it is what uses its free will to do āgāmya and consequently experiences fate or prārabdha.

‘விதி மதி மூல விவேகம்’ (vidhi mati mūla vivēkam) literally means ‘discernment of the root [base, origin or source] of fate and free will’, so since the root of fate and free will (vidhi mati mūlam) is the ego, it means the ability to discern, distinguish or find out what the ego actually is, and since the ego as such is non-existent, what Bhagavan implies by this term is the clarity to see what is the real nature of ourself, who are what now seem to be this ego. Only for those who do not have the clarity to see what the ego actually is can any dispute or even concern about fate and free will occur, as he implies in the first sentence of this verse: ‘விதி மதி மூல விவேகம் இலார்க்கே விதி மதி வெல்லும் விவாதம்’ (vidhi mati mūla vivēkam ilārkkē vidhi mati vellum vivādam), ‘Only for those who do not have discernment of the root of fate and free will [namely the ego] is there dispute about which prevails, fate or free will’.

And as he implies in the second sentence, ‘விதிமதிகட்கு ஓர் முதல் ஆம் தன்னை உணர்ந்தார் அவை தணந்தார்’ (vidhi-matigaṭku ōr mudal ām taṉṉai uṇarndār avai taṇandār), ‘Those who have known themself [the ego], who is the one origin [cause or foundation] for fate and free will, have [thereby] discarded them’, if we keenly investigate ourself and thereby see what this ego actually is, we will thereby have discarded, removed or separated ourself from fate and free will, because we will have eradicated their root, the ego. Then by asking rhetorically in the final sentence, ‘சார்வரோ பின்னும் அவை?’ (sārvarō piṉṉum avai?), ‘will they thereafter be connected [or associated] with them?’, he emphasises that we will then have absolutely no connection with either fate or free will.

8. The actions of our mind, speech and body are driven by two forces, fate and free will

When we rise and stand as this ego we always experience ourself as a body, and as that body we have certain needs, such as for air, water, food, clothing, shelter, health and freedom from danger. When these needs are satisfied we feel pleasure, and when they are not satisfied we feel pain or unhappiness, and since such feelings of pleasure and pain seem to be caused by what we experience, they give rise to numerous desires and fears. Therefore as this ego we have a will, which manifests as likes and dislikes, desires and aversions, hopes and fears, and other conative drives such as love, affection, attachment, ambition, greed, jealousy and anger, and since we are free, at least to a certain extent, to choose what we want to like or dislike and how strongly we want to like or dislike anything, our ego’s will is often described as ‘free will’.

Our will drives us to try to achieve or preserve whatever we like or desire and to avoid or escape from whatever we dislike or fear, so our will is one of the major forces driving us to do whatever we do. However, it is not the only driving force, because we each have a destiny to experience, and in order to experience it we need to do certain actions. For example, if I am destined to be awarded a PhD, I will be driven to study, research, write a thesis and do whatever else is required to achieve such an award.

Therefore fate and free will are both driving us to make effort, act and react through mind, speech and body. Sometimes they may be working in synchronisation, such as if I not only want to be awarded a PhD but am also destined to be awarded one, but at other times they are not synchronised, such as if I want and make effort to be awarded a PhD but am not destined to be awarded one, or if I am destined to be awarded one even though I do not really care for such an achievement.

Sadhu Om used to say that our mind, speech and body are like a pen that is used by two clerks, fate and free will, but that fate is the senior clerk and therefore always has the final say on what is written by the pen. Being the junior clerk, free will may want and try to use the pen according to its own wishes, but it will succeed only if fate agrees.

Another analogy we could give is that our mind, speech and body are like a car with dual controls (two steering wheels, accelerators, brakes and clutches), one set of which is used by a driving instructor, and the other of which is used by a learner. Fate is the driving instructor, whose set of controls can always override to learner’s set, and free will is the learner, who can control the car so long as he or she is following the instructions given by the instructor, but at any moment the instructor can take control in order to avert any danger or deviation from the instructions.

9. Bhagavan’s note for his mother: we cannot alter whatever is destined to happen, but we are free to want and to try to do so

This is clearly implied by Bhagavan in the note that he wrote for his mother in December 1898:
அவரவர் பிராரப்தப் பிரகாரம் அதற்கானவன் ஆங்காங்கிருந் தாட்டுவிப்பன். என்றும் நடவாதது என் முயற்சிக்கினும் நடவாது; நடப்ப தென்றடை செய்யினும் நில்லாது. இதுவே திண்ணம். ஆகலின் மௌனமா யிருக்கை நன்று.

avar-avar prārabdha-p prakāram adaṟkāṉavaṉ āṅgāṅgu irundu āṭṭuvippaṉ. eṉḏṟum naḍavādadu eṉ muyaṟcikkiṉum naḍavādu; naḍappadu eṉ taḍai seyyiṉum nillādu. iduvē tiṇṇam. āhaliṉ mauṉamāy irukkai naṉḏṟu.

According to their-their prārabdha, he who is for that being there-there will cause to dance [that is, according to the destiny (prārabdha) of each person, he who is for that (namely God or guru, who ordains their destiny) being in the heart of each of them will make them act]. What is never to happen will not happen whatever effort one makes [to make it happen]; what is to happen will not stop whatever obstruction [or resistance] one does [to prevent it happening]. This indeed is certain. Therefore silently being [or being silent] is good.
In the first sentence of this note Bhagavan affirms that like a puppet controlled by a puppet-master, our mind, speech and body will be made to act in accordance with our fate (prārabdha), and in the second and third sentences he asserts that whatever is not destined to happen will not happen, and whatever is destined to happen will happen without fail. However, though these three sentences may superficially seem to exclude any scope for free will, a closer look at the second and third sentences reveals that in them he acknowledges the role of free will but asserts that it cannot in any way change, add to or subtract from whatever is destined to happen.

The words he uses to acknowledge the role of free will are ‘என் முயற்சிக்கினும்’ (eṉ muyaṟcikkiṉum), ‘whatever effort one makes’ or ‘whatever [or however much] one tries’, in the second sentence and ‘என் தடை செய்யினும்’ (eṉ taḍai seyyiṉum), ‘whatever obstruction [or resistance] one does’, in the third sentence. In the second sentence he says, ‘என்றும் நடவாதது என் முயற்சிக்கினும் நடவாது’ (eṉḏṟum naḍavādadu eṉ muyaṟcikkiṉum naḍavādu), which means ‘What is never to happen will not happen whatever effort one makes [that is, however much one tries to make it happen]’, and in the third sentence he says, ‘நடப்ப தென்றடை செய்யினும் நில்லாது’ (naḍappadu eṉ taḍai seyyiṉum nillādu), which means ‘What is to happen will not stop whatever obstruction [or resistance] one does [to prevent it happening]’.

That is, though we cannot make anything happen that is not destined to happen, and though we cannot prevent anything that is destined to happen, we are free to want and try to make things happen that are not destined to happen, and to want and try to prevent what is destined to happen. Fate (prārabdha) only determines what will happen, and what we have to do to make it happen, so whatever it does not determine will not happen. However it does not prevent us from wanting and trying to bring about what is not destined to happen or to prevent or avoid what is destined to happen, so we are free to want and to try as much as we like, but we cannot thereby change, add to or subtract from whatever is destined to happen.

‘இதுவே திண்ணம்’ (iduvē tiṇṇam), ‘This indeed is certain’, asserts Bhagavan in the fourth sentence of this note, and therefore in the fifth and final sentence he concludes: ‘ஆகலின் மௌனமா யிருக்கை நன்று’ (āhaliṉ mauṉamāy irukkai naṉḏṟu), ‘Therefore silently being [or being silent] is good’. That is, since we cannot prevent or alter even to the slightest extent what is destined to happen, and since we cannot make anything happen that is not destined to happen, the best course is not to want or to try to do so.

10. Nāṉ Yār? paragraph 13: to be silent, we must be so keenly self-attentive that we do not give even the slightest room to the rising of any thought about anything other than ourself

So long as we rise and stand as this ego, we have a free will, and though we can to some extent avoid using our will to try or even to want either to bring about anything that is not destined to happen or to prevent anything that is destined to happen, we cannot entirely avoid using our will in this way. Therefore the only way to surrender our will entirely to God is to surrender ourself (this ego) entirely to him.

So long as we experience ourself as this ego, we cannot entirely avoid having likes, dislikes, desires, aversions, hopes and fears, and these inevitably drive us to try through mind, speech and body to achieve whatever we like, desire or hope for and to avoid whatever we dislike, feel averse to or fear. Therefore as this ego we can never be entirely silent. Our very rising as an ego is metaphorically speaking a noise, and of all noises it is the root and foundation.

Therefore the ego is the very antithesis of silence (mauna), and hence when Bhagavan concluded his note for his mother by saying, ‘ஆகலின் மௌனமா யிருக்கை நன்று’ (āhaliṉ mauṉamāy irukkai naṉḏṟu), ‘Therefore being silent is good’, what he implied is that we should refrain from rising as this ego, which we can do only by being so keenly self-attentive that we do not give even the slightest room to the rising of any thought about anything else whatsoever, as he explained in the thirteenth paragraph of Nāṉ Yār? (particularly in the first sentence):
ஆன்மசிந்தனையைத் தவிர வேறு சிந்தனை கிளம்புவதற்குச் சற்று மிடங்கொடாமல் ஆத்மநிஷ்டாபரனா யிருப்பதே தன்னை ஈசனுக் களிப்பதாம். ஈசன்பேரில் எவ்வளவு பாரத்தைப் போட்டாலும், அவ்வளவையும் அவர் வகித்துக்கொள்ளுகிறார். சகல காரியங்களையும் ஒரு பரமேச்வர சக்தி நடத்திக்கொண்டிருகிறபடியால், நாமு மதற் கடங்கியிராமல், ‘இப்படிச் செய்யவேண்டும்; அப்படிச் செய்யவேண்டு’ மென்று ஸதா சிந்திப்பதேன்? புகை வண்டி சகல பாரங்களையும் தாங்கிக்கொண்டு போவது தெரிந்திருந்தும், அதி லேறிக்கொண்டு போகும் நாம் நம்முடைய சிறிய மூட்டையையு மதிற் போட்டுவிட்டு சுகமா யிராமல், அதை நமது தலையிற் றாங்கிக்கொண்டு ஏன் கஷ்டப்படவேண்டும்?

āṉma-cintaṉaiyai-t tavira vēṟu cintaṉai kiḷambuvadaṟku-c caṯṟum iḍam-koḍāmal ātma-niṣṭhāparaṉ-āy iruppadē taṉṉai īśaṉukku aḷippadām. īśaṉpēril e-vv-aḷavu bhārattai-p pōṭṭālum, a-vv-aḷavai-y-um avar vahittu-k-koḷḷugiṟār. sakala kāriyaṅgaḷai-y-um oru paramēśvara śakti naḍatti-k-koṇḍirugiṟapaḍiyāl, nāmum adaṟku aḍaṅgi-y-irāmal, ‘ippaḍi-c ceyya-vēṇḍum; appaḍi-c ceyya-vēṇḍum’ eṉḏṟu sadā cintippadēṉ? puhai vaṇḍi sakala bhāraṅgaḷaiyum tāṅgi-k-koṇḍu pōvadu terindirundum, adil ēṟi-k-koṇḍu pōhum nām nammuḍaiya siṟiya mūṭṭaiyaiyum adil pōṭṭu-viṭṭu sukhamāy irāmal, adai namadu talaiyil tāṅgi-k-koṇḍu ēṉ kaṣṭa-p-paḍa-vēṇḍum?

Being ātma-niṣṭhāparaṉ [one who is steadily fixed in and as oneself], giving not even the slightest room to the rising of any cintana [thought] other than ātma-cintana [thought of oneself or self-contemplation], alone is giving oneself to God. Even though one places whatever amount of burden upon God, that entire amount he will bear. Since one paramēśvara śakti [supreme ruling power or power of God] is driving all activities [everything that happens in our life], instead of yielding to it why should we be always thinking, ‘it is necessary to do like this; it is necessary to do like that’? Though we know that the train is going bearing all the burdens, why should we who go travelling in it suffer bearing our small luggage on our head instead of remaining happily leaving it placed on that [train]?
The only thing we ever need be concerned about, think about or attend to is ourself, because so long as we think about or attend to anything else whatsoever we are thereby feeding and nourishing our ego, since we seem to be this ego only when we attend to anything other than ourself.

If we attend even to the slightest extent to anything other than ourself, we experience ourself as a small person living for a short time in a vast universe, and it seems to us that in order to survive we need to do this or that. However according to Bhagavan we do not need to do anything other than to be so keenly self-attentive that we do not give room to the rising of any thought or awareness of anything other than ourself, because as he explains elsewhere, everything other than ourself, including this ego, is just a thought, and therefore it seems to exist only when we do not attend exclusively to ourself.

Moreover, by thinking about or attending to anything other than ourself we cannot achieve anything, because so long as we attend to anything else whatever is destined to happen will be made to happen, and whatever our mind, speech and body need to do in order to make it happen they will be made to do. Therefore, as Bhagavan asks in this paragraph of Nāṉ Yār?, instead of surrendering ourself by being so keenly and firmly self-attentive that we give absolutely no room to the rising of any thought about anything else, why should we burden ourself by endlessly thinking ‘I need to do this’ or ‘I need to do that’?

11. Śrī Aruṇācala Aṣṭakam verse 6: let any thoughts appear or disappear, we should be so keenly self-attentive that we are completely indifferent to them

In his comment that I quoted at the beginning of this article Samarender asked, ‘How do I distinguish thinking or thoughts associated with prarabdha and the other non-prarabdha associated thinking I seem to indulge in?’, but this is missing the point of what Bhagavan teaches us in this thirteenth paragraph of Nāṉ Yār? and his note for his mother. We do not need to distinguish between thoughts or actions driven by fate (prārabdha) and those driven by our free will, because as he explained in the first sentence of the thirteenth paragraph we should be so keenly self-attentive that we do not give even the slightest room to the rising of any thoughts about anything else whatsoever.

If we attend to nothing other than ourself, there will be no need — nor any room — for us to be concerned about whether prārabdha is continuing or not or whether it is driving our mind, speech and body to do whatever they are destined to do. As Bhagavan sang in the last line of verse 6 of Śrī Aruṇācala Aṣṭakam: ‘அருள் குன்றே, நின்றிட சென்றிட; நினை விட இன்றே’ (aruḷ-kuṉḏṟē, niṉḏṟiḍa seṉḏṟiḍa; niṉai viḍa iṉḏṟē), ‘Hill of grace, let them cease or let them go on; they do not exist at all apart from you’, in which ‘them’ and ‘they’ (which are words that do not actually occur in the Tamil original but are nevertheless implied in the verbs ‘niṉḏṟiḍa’, ‘seṉḏṟiḍa’ and ‘iṉḏṟē’) refer to what he described in the previous sentence as ‘அணு நிழல் நிரை நினைவு’ (aṇu niṙal nirai niṉaivu), the ‘series of subtle [minute or atom-like] shadowy thoughts’, which he said are seen in the whirl of destiny on the luminous mirror of the mind as a world-picture both inside and outside, like a moving picture formed of shadows projected from a reel of film whirling in a cinema projector and seen on a screen.

According to Bhagavan all the phenomena that we perceive whether in the seemingly external world or in our own mind are all just thoughts, which are projected by the ego whenever it looks away from itself. Therefore any world that we perceive and everything that we perceive in it is nothing but thoughts or ideas projected by and in our own mind, as he says briefly but emphatically in the fourteenth paragraph of Nāṉ Yār?, ‘ஜக மென்பது நினைவே’ (jagam eṉbadu niṉaivē), ‘What is called the world is only thought’, and in more detail in the fourth paragraph:
நினைவுகளைத் தவிர்த்து ஜகமென்றோர் பொருள் அன்னியமா யில்லை. தூக்கத்தில் நினைவுகளில்லை, ஜகமுமில்லை; ஜாக்ர சொப்பனங்களில் நினைவுகளுள, ஜகமும் உண்டு. சிலந்திப்பூச்சி எப்படித் தன்னிடமிருந்து வெளியில் நூலை நூற்று மறுபடியும் தன்னுள் இழுத்துக் கொள்ளுகிறதோ, அப்படியே மனமும் தன்னிடத்திலிருந்து ஜகத்தைத் தோற்றுவித்து மறுபடியும் தன்னிடமே ஒடுக்கிக்கொள்ளுகிறது.

niṉaivugaḷai-t tavirttu jagam-eṉḏṟōr poruḷ aṉṉiyamāy illai. tūkkattil niṉaivugaḷ illai, jagam-um illai; jāgra-soppaṉaṅgaḷil niṉaivugaḷ uḷa, jagam-um uṇḍu. silandi-p-pūcci eppaḍi-t taṉṉiḍamirundu veḷiyil nūlai nūṯṟu maṟupaḍiyum taṉṉuḷ iṙuttu-k-koḷḷugiṟadō, appaḍiyē maṉam-um taṉṉiḍattilirundu jagattai-t tōṯṟuvittu maṟupaḍiyum taṉṉiḍamē oḍukki-k-koḷḷugiṟadu.

Excluding thoughts, there is not separately any such thing as world. In sleep there are no thoughts, and [consequently] there is also no world; in waking and dream there are thoughts, and [consequently] there is also a world. Just as a spider spins out thread from within itself and again draws it back into itself, so the mind projects the world from within itself and again dissolves it back into itself.
However, thoughts can seem to exist only when we attend to them, so if we attend only to ourself no thoughts can appear. Therefore if any thought of any kind whatsoever appears, it does so only because of our pramāda: our self-negligence or failure to attend exclusively to ourself. When our self-attentiveness wavers or slackens, thoughts appear, so if we attend to ourself keenly and steadily enough, there will be no room for any thoughts to arise.

Therefore we should not try to distinguish which thoughts appear due to our fate (prārabdha) and which appear due to our free will, because our sole aim should be to be so keenly and steadily self-attentive that we give absolutely no room to the appearance of any thoughts whatsoever. This does not mean that we should try to prevent the appearance of thoughts (or ‘arrest’ them, as Samarender suggests in a later comment), but simply that we should be so intent on just being self-attentive that we are completely indifferent to their appearance or disappearance, as Bhagavan implied in verse 6 of Śrī Aruṇācala Aṣṭakam when he sang: ‘நின்றிட சென்றிட; நினை விட இன்றே’ (niṉḏṟiḍa ceṉḏṟiḍa; niṉai viḍa iṉḏṟē), ‘Let them cease or let them go on; they do not exist at all apart from you’.

In this context ‘நினை’ (niṉai), ‘you’, refers to Arunachala, which he described in the first sentence of this verse as ‘ஒரு பொருள் அறிவு ஒளி உளமே’ (oru poruḷ aṟivu oḷi uḷamē), ‘only the heart, the light of awareness, the one substance’, thereby implying that it is our true self, which is pure self-awareness, the original light and one real substance, so when he sang ‘நினை விட இன்றே’ (niṉai viḍa iṉḏṟē), ‘they do not exist at all apart from you’, what he implied is that since thoughts do not exist independent of or as other than ourself, we should not be concerned about them but only about ourself, their one real substance, which is pure self-awareness.

If we are concerned about thoughts in any way — about whether they appear or disappear, or whether they appear due to either fate or free will — we are thereby neglecting to be self-attentive as keenly and steadily as we should aim to be. This is why Bhagavan wrote in the sixth paragraph of Nāṉ Yār?:
பிற வெண்ணங்க ளெழுந்தா லவற்றைப் பூர்த்தி பண்ணுவதற்கு எத்தனியாமல் அவை யாருக் குண்டாயின என்று விசாரிக்க வேண்டும். எத்தனை எண்ணங்க ளெழினு மென்ன? ஜாக்கிரதையாய் ஒவ்வோ ரெண்ணமும் கிளம்பும்போதே இது யாருக்குண்டாயிற்று என்று விசாரித்தால் எனக்கென்று தோன்றும். நானார் என்று விசாரித்தால் மனம் தன் பிறப்பிடத்திற்குத் திரும்பிவிடும்; எழுந்த வெண்ணமு மடங்கிவிடும். இப்படிப் பழகப் பழக மனத்திற்குத் தன் பிறப்பிடத்திற் றங்கி நிற்கும் சக்தி யதிகரிக்கின்றது.

piṟa v-eṇṇaṅgaḷ eṙundāl avaṯṟai-p pūrtti paṇṇuvadaṟku ettaṉiyāmal avai yārukku uṇḍāyiṉa eṉḏṟu vicārikka vēṇḍum. ettaṉai eṇṇaṅgaḷ eṙiṉum eṉṉa? jāggiratai-y-āy ovvōr eṇṇamum kiḷambum-pōdē idu yārukkuṇḍāyiṯṟu eṉḏṟu vicārittāl eṉakkeṉḏṟu tōṉḏṟum. nāṉ-ār eṉḏṟu vicārittāl maṉam taṉ piṟappiḍattiṟku-t tirumbi-viḍum; eṙunda v-eṇṇamum aḍaṅgi-viḍum. ippaḍi-p paṙaga-p paṙaga maṉattiṟku-t taṉ piṟappiḍattil taṅgi niṟgum śakti y-adhikarikkiṉḏṟadu.

If other thoughts rise, without trying to complete them it is necessary to investigate to whom they have occurred. However many thoughts rise, what [does it matter]? As soon as each thought appears, if one vigilantly investigates to whom it has occurred, it will be clear: to me. If one [thus] investigates who am I, the mind will return to its birthplace [oneself, the source from which it arose]; the thought which had risen will also cease. When one practises and practises in this manner, for the mind the power to stand firmly established in its birthplace will increase. [...]
Since thoughts can appear and flourish only if we attend to them, if we turn our attention back to ourself whenever they appear we will effectively be annihilating them in their source, namely ourself, the very place from which they arise, as he instructed us to do in the eleventh paragraph of Nāṉ Yār?: ‘நினைவுகள் தோன்றத் தோன்ற அப்போதைக்கப்போதே அவைகளையெல்லாம் உற்பத்திஸ்தானத்திலேயே விசாரணையால் நசிப்பிக்க வேண்டும்’ (niṉaivugaḷ tōṉḏṟa-t tōṉḏṟa appōdaikkappōdē avaigaḷai-y-ellām uṯpatti-sthāṉattilēyē vicāraṇaiyāl naśippikka vēṇḍum), ‘As and when thoughts appear, then and there it is necessary to annihilate them all by vicāraṇā [investigation or keen self-attentiveness] in the very place from which they arise’.

12. Distinguishing thoughts or actions driven by our fate from those driven by our free will is neither necessary nor possible

Not only is it not necessary or even beneficial in any way for us to distinguish between thoughts or actions driven by our fate (prārabdha) and those driven by our free will, but it is also not possible for us to do so, because as this ego we always experience ourself as a body composed of five sheaths (which include both the physical body and the thinking mind), so whatever actions are done by the mind, speech or body that we mistake to be ourself necessarily seem to us to be actions done by ourself. Therefore whether any particular thought, effort or action is driven by our fate or by our free will, or (as in many cases) by both, it seems to us that we are doing it, so our sense of doership (kartṛtva buddhi) prevents us from being able to distinguish thoughts or actions driven by our fate from those driven by our free will.

Moreover, so long as our intellect is turned outwards — that is, towards anything other than ourself — it is a relatively crude, blunt and dull instrument, so it is not possible for it to adequately comprehend how everything is happening according to prārabdha, yet our mind, speech and body are being driven not only by our prārabdha but also by our free will. To us it seems paradoxical that though prārabdha determines everything that happens, we are nevertheless free to use our will to want and to try through mind, speech and body to bring about what is not destined to happen and to prevent what is destined to happen.

How this is possible and how it actually happens is beyond our comprehension, but we have no need to comprehend it, because all we need be concerned about is only trying to see what we ourself actually are. Trying to comprehend karma is anātma-vicāra (investigating what is not ourself), whereas the only vicāra (investigation) worth engaging in is ātma-vicāra (self-investigation), because what is real is only ourself and not anything else whatsoever.

However, though we cannot adequately comprehend how the actions of our mind, speech and body are simultaneously being driven both by our prārabdha and by our free will, and though we need not comprehend this or even try to do so, an analogy can help us to understand how intricately interwoven and enmeshed these two driving forces are in our outward life as a person. Fate (prārabdha) is like the warp (the lengthwise threads) in a tightly woven cloth, whereas free will is like the weft (the crosswise threads). Just as our eyesight is not keen enough to distinguish the individual threads in a fine and tightly woven cloth, our intellect is not keen enough to distinguish the relative influences of fate and free will in each of our thoughts or other actions.

Moreover, though the weft weaves in, out and around the warp, it is closely bound to it and therefore cannot depart from it. Wherever the warp goes, the weft must follow, whether it likes it or not. Likewise, free will can act, going this way and that, but its freedom of movement (that is, its ability to achieve whatever it wants and tries to achieve) is severely restricted by its being so closely bound within the confines of the course of events dictated by prārabdha, so no matter how much it may try to wriggle away, wherever prārabdha goes it must follow, whether it likes it or not.

This of course is a crude analogy, as is any analogy that is used to illustrate an extremely subtle subject, but it is intended only to give a rough idea of how closely and intimately the workings of fate and free will are bound together, even though they are two distinct forces that are often pulling in opposite directions. We can also use it to illustrate another point: Just as the strands of warp are held close together by the interweaving strands of weft, prārabdha functions only so long as we continue to use our free will to attend to anything other than ourself. If we use it to attend only to ourself, prārabdha will cease, because no one will then remain to experience it.

13. Uḷḷadu Nāṟpadu verse 38: only by using our free will to investigate ourself can we free ourself from the ego and all its three karmas

According to Bhagavan, using our free will to attend to anything other than ourself is misusing it, and it is only by misusing it in this way that we do āgāmya (fresh actions), without which there would be no fruit for us to experience as prārabdha. Therefore all karma originates from our misuse of our free will, and hence it can be destroyed only by our using our free will correctly to attend only to ourself.

That is, if instead of attending to anything else we attend to ourself keenly enough to see what we actually are, our ego will be annihilated along with its sense of doership (kartṛtva) and sense of experiencership (bhōktṛtva), and hence all its three karmas (āgāmya, sañcita and prārabdha) will cease to exist, as Bhagavan says in verse 38 of Uḷḷadu Nāṟpadu:
வினைமுதனா மாயின் விளைபயன் றுய்ப்போம்
வினைமுதலா ரென்று வினவித் — தனையறியக்
கர்த்தத் துவம்போய்க் கருமமூன் றுங்கழலு
நித்தமா முத்தி நிலை.

viṉaimudaṉā māyiṉ viḷaipayaṉ ḏṟuyppōm
viṉaimudalā reṉḏṟu viṉavit — taṉaiyaṟiyak
karttat tuvampōyk karumamūṉ ḏṟuṅkaṙalu
nittamā mutti nilai
.

பதச்சேதம்: வினைமுதல் நாம் ஆயின், விளை பயன் துய்ப்போம். வினைமுதல் ஆர் என்று வினவி தனை அறிய, கர்த்தத்துவம் போய், கருமம் மூன்றும் கழலும். நித்தமாம் முத்தி நிலை.

Padacchēdam (word-separation): viṉaimudal nām āyiṉ, viḷai payaṉ tuyppōm. viṉaimudal ār eṉḏṟu viṉavi taṉai aṟiya, karttattuvam pōy, karumam mūṉḏṟum kaṙalum. nittam-ām mutti nilai.

English translation: If we are the doer of action, we will experience the resulting fruit. [However] when one knows oneself by investigating who is the doer of action, doership will depart and all the three karmas will slip off. [This is] the state of liberation, which is eternal.
Like everything else, karma seems to exist only when we look away from ourself, because whenever we look elsewhere we seem to be this ego, and the nature of the ego is to mistake itself to be a body and mind, whose nature is to be active. Therefore the only way to free ourself forever from all kinds of karma is to investigate what we ourself actually are.

When we attend to anything other than ourself, we seem to be this ego, so in order to see what we actually are we must attend only to ourself and thereby be what we actually are, which is just pure self-awareness, ever uncontaminated by even the slightest awareness of anything else whatsoever. Therefore our immediate aim should be to cultivate the liking and habit to be self-attentive as much as we can, and in order to cultivate this liking and habit we need to give up being interested in or concerned about any other subject, including the subtle but complex subject of fate and free will.

14. Unless our attention is turned outwards, away from ourself, prārabdha cannot bind us or make us think anything

Other than ourself, everything that we perceive or experience is just a series of phenomena appearing in a dream projected by ourself as this ego, and what we experience in each dream is determined by the prārabdha of that dream. Therefore though we are free to like or dislike whatever we experience, and also to try accordingly to alter it, add to it or subtract from it, we are not free to actually alter it, add to it or subtract from it in any way at all, as Bhagavan emphasised in the second, third and fourth sentences of his note for his mother:
என்றும் நடவாதது என் முயற்சிக்கினும் நடவாது; நடப்ப தென்றடை செய்யினும் நில்லாது. இதுவே திண்ணம்.

eṉḏṟum naḍavādadu eṉ muyaṟcikkiṉum naḍavādu; naḍappadu eṉ taḍai seyyiṉum nillādu. iduvē tiṇṇam.

What is never to happen will not happen whatever effort one makes [to make it happen]; what is to happen will not stop whatever obstruction [or resistance] one does [to prevent it happening]. This indeed is certain.
Therefore so long as we attend to anything other than ourself whatever we perceive or experience is determined by our prārabdha, but as Bhagavan often said, prārabdha affects only the outward-turned mind, not the inward-turned mind. This has many important implications.

Firstly it undermines an assumption that is implicit in the comment by Samarender that I quoted at the beginning of this article, namely the assumption that we have to experience whatever thoughts our mind is destined to think. So long as our attention is turned away from ourself, we cannot avoid experiencing such thoughts, and whenever we experience them we will always experience ourself as ‘I am thinking this’. However, we can avoid experiencing them, and consequently avoid experiencing ourself as ‘I am thinking this’, simply by turning our attention back within to face ourself alone. Whatever our prārabdha may be, it can never prevent us turning our attention back to ourself, and so long as we are keenly self-attentive we will not be aware of any thoughts (that is, any phenomena of any kind whatsoever) that our prārabdha may throw at us.

Generally we are not able to be self-attentive keenly enough to prevent ourself being aware of anything else at all, so if our self-attentiveness is only partial, we will continue to be aware of thoughts to some extent, but the more keenly self-attentive we are, the less we will be aware of other thoughts, and if we are self-attentive keenly enough, we will thereby give no room in our awareness to the appearance of any thought whatsoever, including the ego, the thought that thinks ‘I am thinking’. (And we should remember here that in this context ‘thought’ does not mean just mental chatter, memories or internal images, but means anything that we perceive other than ourself, because according to Bhagavan (as I mentioned above in section 11) all the phenomena that constitute the seemingly external world are just thoughts projected by our mind, and even we as this ego are just a thought, so ‘thinking’ means being aware of anything whatsoever other than ourself — that is, other than the pure self-awareness that we actually are.) Therefore being self-attentive is the only means by which we can avoid experiencing whatever we as this ego are destined to experience.

In his first comment Samarender wrote: ‘If whatever is to happen is decided by my prarabdha, then whatever motions the body is to go through and whatever the mind has to “think” to get the body to do actions as per prarabdha are also predetermined and “I, the ego” have no say in it. But you also say, “therefore we need not think”. And yet the mind will necessarily think some thoughts as per prarabdha’. Yes, according to Bhagavan the mind will have to think whatever it is destined to think, but are we the mind? If we are the mind, we need to think, because thinking is the very nature of the mind, but if we are not the mind, we do not need to think at all.

So long as we experience ourself as this mind, we will seem to be thinking whatever it is destined to think, but we do not need to experience ourself as this mind. We seem to be this mind only when we direct our attention away from ourself, so if we direct all our attention back towards ourself, we will no longer seem to be thinking whatever the mind may be destined to think.

Attending to ourself is like turning the arc lamp in a cinema projector back on itself. Even if a film reel is rolling in a projector, no pictures will be projected unless the light of the arc lamp is shining through the film. Likewise even if the film reel of our prārabdha is rolling on, so to speak, nothing will be projected in our awareness unless the light of our attention is directed outwards, away from ourself. Therefore if our entire attention is directed back to ourself alone, whatever we as this ego are destined to experience will not appear in our awareness, because we will be aware of nothing other than ourself, and hence our ego will have subsided.

As Bhagavan says in two passages recorded in Day by Day with Bhagavan, ‘The mind turned inwards is the Self; turned outwards, it becomes the ego and all the world’ (11-1-46: 2002 edition, page 106), and ‘The mind, turned outwards, results in thoughts and objects. Turned inwards, it becomes itself the Self’ (8-11-45: 2002 edition, page 37). What he means by ‘mind’ in this context is attention or awareness. Turned inwards, our attention is pure self-awareness, which is what we actually are, but turned outwards, it becomes the adjunct-mixed self-awareness called ego, which immediately projects the entire world and all other thoughts. For pure self-awareness there is no prārabdha, so there is no prārabdha for us when our attention is turned within to face ourself alone. Only when we allow our attention to go outwards, away from ourself towards anything else whatsoever, do we seem to become this ego, for whom prārabdha always exists.

15. Upadēśa Undiyār verse 2: being the fruit of our past actions, prārabdha cannot make our mind turn within and hence can never give us liberation

Two other important implications of Bhagavan’s teaching that prārabdha affects only the outward-turned mind, not the inward-turned mind, are firstly that it can never make us turn our mind inwards, and secondly that it can never prevent us turning our mind inwards. Let us first consider the first of these two implications.

Prārabdha is a karma, in the sense that it is the fruit of actions that we have done in the past, and no karma can ever give liberation, as Bhagavan states unequivocally in verse 2 of Upadēśa Undiyār:
வினையின் விளைவு விளிவுற்று வித்தாய்
வினைக்கடல் வீழ்த்திடு முந்தீபற
      வீடு தரலிலை யுந்தீபற.

viṉaiyiṉ viḷaivu viḷivuṯṟu vittāy
viṉaikkaḍal vīṙttiḍu mundīpaṟa
      vīḍu taralilai yundīpaṟa
.

பதச்சேதம்: வினையின் விளைவு விளிவு உற்று வித்தாய் வினை கடல் வீழ்த்திடும். வீடு தரல் இலை.

Padacchēdam (word-separation): viṉaiyiṉ viḷaivu viḷivu uṯṟu vittāy viṉai-kaḍal vīṙttiḍum. vīḍu taral ilai.

English translation: The fruit of action having perished, as seed causes to fall in the ocean of action. Giving liberation is not.

Paraphrased translation: The fruit of action having perished [remains] as seed [and thereby] causes [one] to fall in the ocean of action. [Therefore action] does not give liberation.
All actions are finite, so they can give only finite fruit, whereas liberation is our natural state, which is beginningless, endless, immutable and indivisible, so it is eternal and infinite, and hence it can never be the fruit of any action.

Since the fruits of actions are finite, each of them comes to an end when it is experienced as part of our prārabdha, but just as the seeds of a fruit remain after it is eaten, the seeds of each action remains even after its fruit has been consumed. The seeds of our actions are what are called karma-vāsanās, the propensity, inclination or liking to do the same kind of action again and again, and each time we willingly do a particular kind of action, our vāsanā or inclination to do such an action again is strengthened. Therefore willingly doing any action, whether by mind, speech or body, perpetuates a vicious circle, and hence Bhagavan says that action ‘causes [one] to fall in the ocean of action’ (வினை கடல் வீழ்த்திடும்: viṉai-kaḍal vīṙttiḍum).

However, in order for us to do any action, whether by mind, speech or body, our attention must be turned outwards, because if it were not turned outwards, we would not be aware of the mind, speech or body, and hence (even if they could do any action without our being aware of them) we would not experience any action done by them as ‘I am doing this’. Therefore all problems arise only when we allow our attention to go outwards, away from ourself.

No action can begin without our attention moving away from ourself, and all actions cease as soon as our entire attention returns to ourself. Since we rise, stand and flourish as this ego only by ‘grasping form’, as Bhagavan says in verse 25 of Uḷḷadu Nāṟpadu (which I cited and discussed above in section 3), so long as we experience ourself as this ego our attention is always directed away from ourself towards whatever forms we are currently grasping, and hence we are as such perpetually engaged in action. Indeed the very movement of our attention away from ourself towards anything else is an action, so we cannot refrain from doing action except by turning our entire attention back towards ourself.

Neither action (karma) nor the fruit of any action (karma-phala) nor any propensity to do any action (karma-vāsanā) can give us liberation, because the very nature of liberation is freedom from doership and hence from all action. Since liberation is a state that is completely devoid of all activity, it cannot be attained by any action whatsoever. Therefore, since prārabdha is just a set of fruits (phala) of our past actions (karma), it can never give us liberation.

Fate or destiny (prārabdha) is the set of experiences that we are destined to undergo in each dream, of which our present life is just one among many, and since those experiences are the fruit of our past actions, they are all other than ourself. Therefore experiencing prārabdha entails directing our attention away from ourself, so it will never by itself make us turn our attention back towards ourself, and left to its own devices it will always tend to draw our attention outwards. Turning our attention back to ourself is therefore not a matter of destiny but only a matter of free will.

If we discriminate wisely, the experiences that make up our destiny may help us to understand why we should turn our attention inwards, but they can never make us turn our attention within, because they are merely the fruit of our past actions, which can never give liberation. Turning our attention inwards is an act of love, so it entails us making a correct use of our free will, which is never bound by destiny.

Since action can never give liberation, the only means to attain liberation must be something that is not an action. Attending to anything other than ourself is an action, because it entails a movement of our attention away from ourself, so we cannot attain liberation by attending to anything other than ourself. However, attending to ourself is not an action, because it does not entail any movement of our attention away from ourself, so it is only by attending exclusively to ourself that we can attain liberation.

Though the term ‘turning attention back to oneself’ may seem to imply an action, what it describes is not actually an action but a cessation of all activity, because we rise and stand as the ego by attending to other things, so when we attend only to ourself this ego will subside and disappear, and what will then remain is only the pure self-awareness that we actually are, whose nature is not doing but just being. Therefore attending to anything else entails rising into a state of activity (pravṛtti), whereas attending only to ourself entails subsiding into our real state of just being (nivṛtti), which is liberation. This is why Bhagavan taught us that liberation cannot be attained by doing anything, but only by just being as we actually are.

16. Upadēśa Undiyār verses 8 and 9: by the intensity of self-attentiveness we will be in our real state of being, which is beyond thinking

Being self-attentive is not an action (karma) or doing (kriya) but is simply a state of just being (summā iruppadu), because to the extent that we are being self-attentive we are just being the pure self-awareness that we always actually are. This is why Bhagavan says in verses 8 and 9 of Upadēśa Undiyār:
அனியபா வத்தி னவனக மாகு
மனனிய பாவமே யுந்தீபற
     வனைத்தினு முத்தம முந்தீபற.

aṉiyabhā vatti ṉavaṉaha māhu
maṉaṉiya bhāvamē yundīpaṟa
     vaṉaittiṉu muttama mundīpaṟa
.

பதச்சேதம்: அனிய பாவத்தின் அவன் அகம் ஆகும் அனனிய பாவமே அனைத்தினும் உத்தமம்.

Padacchēdam (word-separation): aṉiya-bhāvattiṉ avaṉ aham āhum aṉaṉiya-bhāvam-ē aṉaittiṉ-um uttamam.

English translation: Rather than anya-bhāva [meditation on God as if he were something other than oneself], ananya-bhāva [meditation on him as nothing other than oneself], in which he is I, is certainly the best among all.

பாவ பலத்தினாற் பாவனா தீதசற்
பாவத் திருத்தலே யுந்தீபற
     பரபத்தி தத்துவ முந்தீபற.

bhāva balattiṉāṯ bhāvaṉā tītasaṯ
bhāvat tiruttalē yundīpaṟa
     parabhatti tattuva mundīpaṟa
.

பதச்சேதம்: பாவ பலத்தினால் பாவனாதீத சத் பாவத்து இருத்தலே பரபத்தி தத்துவம்.

Padacchēdam (word-separation): bhāva balattiṉāl bhāvaṉātīta sat-bhāvattu iruttal-ē para-bhatti tattuvam.

English translation: By the strength of meditation, being in sat-bhāva, which transcends bhāvana, is certainly para-bhakti tattva.

Elaborated translation: By the strength [intensity, firmness or stability] of [such] meditation [ananya-bhāva or self-attentiveness], being in sat-bhāva [one’s ‘state of being’ or ‘real being’], which transcends [all] bhāvana [thinking, imagination or meditation], certainly [or alone] is para-bhakti tattva [the real essence or true state of supreme devotion].
The term ‘அனனிய பாவம்’ (aṉaṉiya-bhāvam), which Bhagavan uses in verse 8, is a Tamil form of the Sanskrit term अनन्य भाव (ananya-bhāva), which means ‘meditating on what is not other’, so in this context it implies being self-attentive, since we alone are what is not other (ananya) than ourself, as confirmed by him in the relative clause that he prefixed to this term, namely ‘அவன் அகம் ஆகும்’ (avaṉ aham āhum), which means ‘in which he [God] is I’. Since God is I (ourself), meditating on nothing other than I is the correct and most effective way to meditate on God, as he emphasised by saying that it is ‘அனைத்தினும் உத்தமம்’ (aṉaittiṉ-um uttamam), ‘the best among all’.

Therefore what he implied in verse 9 by the term ‘பாவ பலத்தினால்’ (bhāva balattiṉāl), which means ‘by the strength [intensity, firmness or stability] of meditation’, is ‘by the intensity of such self-attentiveness’. That is, the more intensely, keenly and steadily we are self-attentive, the more firmly we will be fixed in our natural state of being (sat-bhāva), which is bhāvaṉātīta: beyond all thought or mental activity. Being firmly established thus in our real state of being without even the slightest mental activity is para-bhakti tattva: the true state of supreme devotion.

Therefore being keenly and steadily self-attentive, without giving even the slightest room to the appearance of any thought, is the supreme good, whereas attending to anything other than oneself is the source, cause and foundation of all that is bad.

17. Prārabdha determines what we must experience only so long as we are facing outwards, so it can never prevent us turning back within to face ourself

Let us now finally consider the second of the two other important implications of Bhagavan’s teaching that prārabdha affects only the outward-turned mind, not the inward-turned mind, namely that prārabdha can never prevent us turning our mind inwards.

Prārabdha determines what experiences we are to undergo at each moment in each of our dreams, of which our present life is just one, so since all such experiences come and go, they are other than ourself. Therefore we can undergo them only when we are facing outwards, away from ourself. This is why Bhagavan said that prārabdha affects or binds us only when our mind or attention is turned outwards.

However, though prārabdha determines everything that we are to experience so long as we are facing outwards, it cannot compel us to face outwards. Whether we face outwards and thereby experience whatever we are destined to experience or face inwards and thereby avoid experiencing whatever we are destined to experience is entirely a matter of our own choice or free will. At each moment we are free to choose either to face outwards or to face inwards.

In this context ‘facing outwards’ means attending to anything other than ourself, whereas ‘facing inwards’ means attending only to ourself. If we want to face inwards, nothing can prevent us doing so, so if we face outwards and thereby experience whatever we are destined to experience, we do so because that it what we want to do. Therefore if we find it difficult to turn our attention back to ourself or to remain steadily facing ourself, that is not because of prārabdha but only because our love to be attentively self-aware is not yet strong enough to overcome our desire to rise as this ego and thereby to be aware of other things.

What uses its free will to desire to experience things other than itself and therefore to make effort through mind, speech and body to experience whatever it wants to experience is not ourself as we actually are but only ourself as this ego. In other words, it is only when we rise and stand as this ego that we use our free will to engage in action (karma). Therefore, since the doer of action is only the ego, it alone has to experience the fruit of whatever actions it has done, and hence since prārabdha is just a selection of the fruits of actions that we as this ego have done in the past, it has to be experienced only by ourself as this ego that we now seem to be and not by ourself as the pure self-awareness that we actually are.

Therefore we are bound to experience prārabdha only so long as we rise and stand as this ego, and in order to rise and stand as this ego we must face outwards. If we turn back to face inwards, our ego will subside, because it can rise and stand only by ‘grasping form’, which entails being aware of things other than itself, and to the extent that it thus subsides it is no longer available to experience its prārabdha.

We rise as this ego not because of prārabdha but only because we have chosen to do so, so as this ego we are free to choose whether to continue standing or to subside. In order to continue standing, we must continue facing outwards, thereby experiencing whatever prārabdha we as this ego are destined to experience, and in order to subside, we must simply turn back to face ourself alone.

Since we can experience our prārabdha only when we face outwards, if we choose to face inwards no prārabdha can touch us. Therefore the choice is ours: either we can choose to face outwards and thereby experience prārabdha, or we can choose to face inwards and thereby be aware of ourself alone.

Therefore there is absolutely no need for us to consider whether any particular thought appears because of our prārabdha or because of our free will, because no thought can appear unless we look outwards, away from ourself, and hence if we turn back within to look at ourself alone, no thoughts of any kind whatsoever will appear. Therefore the only thing we need be concerned about is trying persistently to turn back within to see what we ourself actually are.

Let any number and any kind of thoughts appear or disappear: they should be no concern of ours, as Bhagavan implied in the final line of verse 6 of Śrī Aruṇācala Aṣṭakam when he sang: ‘நின்றிட சென்றிட; நினை விட இன்றே’ (niṉḏṟiḍa ceṉḏṟiḍa; niṉai viḍa iṉḏṟē), ‘Let them cease or let them go on; they do not exist at all apart from you’. Since ‘நினை’ (niṉai) or ‘you’ refers here to the light of pure self-awareness that we actually are, which is the one real substance, it is the only thing that we need be concerned about or attend to. Nothing else matters, so long as we are persistently and steadfastly intent only on being ever more keenly and steadily self-attentive.

104 comments:

D Samarender Reddy said...

Thanks, Michael. Your point is well taken. As I see it from your article, what is of paramount importance and only one of real consequence is to be engaged in unceasing self-attention, paying no heed to the body-mind complex. We have before us the shining example of Bhagavan himself when he remained absorbed in the Self, that is, himself, when he first came to Tiruvanamalai (and of course, ever after), oblivious of his body and the world, though to be sure, Bhagavan had already realized the Self by that time through his death experience in his home town.

arive nan said...

D Samarender Reddy,
let us read Tiruvannamalai not ...anam...

Anonymous said...

Thanks Michael.

Anonymous said...

This is very good, thanks.

10. Nāṉ Yār? paragraph 13: to be silent, we must be so keenly self-attentive that we do not give even the slightest room to the rising of any thought about anything other than ourself

So long as we rise and stand as this ego, we have a free will, and though we can to some extent avoid using our will to try or even to want either to bring about anything that is not destined to happen or to prevent anything that is destined to happen, we cannot entirely avoid using our will in this way. Therefore the only way to surrender our will entirely to God is to surrender ourself (this ego) entirely to him.

So long as we experience ourself as this ego, we cannot entirely avoid having likes, dislikes, desires, aversions, hopes and fears, and these inevitably drive us to try through mind, speech and body to achieve whatever we like, desire or hope for and to avoid whatever we dislike, feel averse to or fear. Therefore as this ego we can never be entirely silent. Our very rising as an ego is metaphorically speaking a noise, and of all noises it is the root and foundation.

Therefore the ego is the very antithesis of silence (mauna), and hence when Bhagavan concluded his note for his mother by saying, ‘ஆகலின் மௌனமா யிருக்கை நன்று’ (āhaliṉ mauṉamāy irukkai naṉḏṟu), ‘Therefore being silent is good’, what he implied is that we should refrain from rising as this ego, which we can do only by being so keenly self-attentive that we do not give even the slightest room to the rising of any thought about anything else whatsoever, as he explained in the thirteenth paragraph of Nāṉ Yār? (particularly in the first sentence):

arive nan said...

Anonymous,
"...we should refrain from rising as this ego, which we can do only by being so keenly self-attentive that we do not give even the slightest room to the rising of any thought about anything else whatsoever,..."
According to my little experience of meditation such a practice seems to be/me nearly impossible. It seems more difficult than dancing on the high wire stretched between London's Westminster Cathedral and the Eiffeltower of Paris.

futile said...

"According to my little experience of meditation such a practice seems to be/me nearly impossible. "

Such a practice requires the active presence of the one who seeks to not let thoughts arise, by the force of his focused attention. Regardless of whether there is success or not in producing the desired state of mind, where there is hope and fear, the point is missed. The Self is not controlling the traffic, a "spiritual" ego does. And because the ego, in gross or subtle forms, is by nature the arising of movement, it can never transform itself to stillness. So basically, it is not impossible, it is futile.

moksha deepam said...

futile,
"And because the ego, in gross or subtle forms, is by nature the arising of movement, it can never transform itself to stillness. So basically, it is not impossible, it is futile."
What you say is not convincing words because if the ego subsides in its source then it quite well "transforms itself to stillness". So rather your statement seems to be somehow futile/pointless/empty.

futile said...

moksha deepam,
So what you say is that when the wave subsides it is transformed to ocean.
Or that in order to sleep, one has to push the waking state away.
The experience of being, though, is not a passing state, not an object to be perceived, and never absent.
The futility lies in trying to grasp it as an object or state, that will give "you" something.

moksha deepam said...

futile,
your words which you now reply are much more convincing so I consider them as correct. You refer clearly to the experience of true/pure being whereas "futility" characterizes only untrue/mind-born transitory phenomena.

Sanjay Srivastava said...

"When we dream we project a body and simultaneously experience it as if it were ourself, and then through the five senses of that dream body we project and perceive a dream world."

Earlier I also thought so. But now I have doubts.

I have recently started jotting down my dreams, as soon as I wake up in the morning. I have noticed that in some of the dreams I do not attach my self to any of the bodies. A dream world is there. Dream characters are there. But there is no character with which 'I' is identified. It is witnessing of a dream where my character is absent. In other words I do not project a body which I experience as myself.

moksha deepam said...

Sanjay Srivastava,
may I give my opinion about the described dream experience ?
When you notice "dream characters are there" you are already identified with the dreamer. It makes no difference if you name the dreamer "the dreaming 'I'. The dreamer is nothing other than the present "dreaming character". Therefore you do quite well a body which you experience as yourself namely the dreamer even when you are not aware of or do not see a complete subtle body. The person who is jotting down his dreams and the dreamer are the same person, first in a gross body then in a subtle one.

John S said...

Michael
Great article!
I have question please if you don't mind or are not too busy.

I am John the person / body consisting of five sheaths that the ego presently identifies with and takes as itself. When I wake up from a dream I can remember it as I never dream I am a different person. When I dream I am always John. If the ego projected a completely new body (five sheaths) / person during dream I would have no recollection of it during waking (which I accept is just another dream).

Bhagavan often mentioned previous lives / rebirth which he said are just other dreams. Therefore waking state, dreams and past lives / re-births all just dreams and equally unreal. The one constant through out all these different dreams is the dreamer, the ego that experiences them, the witness.

My question is if when the ego rises from it's source (myself) it projects a completely new body (five sheaths) / person why can I the person John remember my dreams but can't remember my previous lives?

It's got me stuck Michael?

Personally I can therefore conclude from personal experience that the ego mustn't project a completely new body (five sheaths) / person during my waking and dream. There must be a similarity between the body it projects in the waking state and during dream. Unlike the completely new body (five sheaths) / person it projects to experience a whole new life whether previous of future birth etc.

Please help clarify my understanding of Bhagavan's teaching.

Thank you.

John.

Michael James said...

Sanjay Srivastava, in your comment you say that ‘in some of the dreams I do not attach my self to any of the bodies’, yet you say that you are witnessing ‘a dream where my character is absent’. However, in order to witness a dream, you must be witnessing it from some standpoint or viewpoint within it, and in order to witness it from that standpoint you must be located there.

How could you be located at any place in your dream world if you were not experiencing yourself as some kind of form? That form may be invisible and intangible, but it is nevertheless physical in the sense that it is located at a particular place in the seemingly physical world of your dream.

Moreover, as Bhagavan points out in verse 5 of Uḷḷadu Nāṟpadu, whatever body we experience as ourself is not just a physical form but a ‘form of five sheaths’, because it is a living, thinking and reasoning body, and it seems to be ourself only because we have first enveloped ourself in self-ignorance, so the five sheaths of which it is composed are its physical form (annamaya kōśa), its life or state of being alive (prāṇamaya kōśa), its thoughts or mental activity (manōmaya kōśa), its intellect or power of reasoning and discernment (vijñānamaya kōśa) and its underlying darkness of self-ignorance (ānandamaya kōśa).

Can you deny experiencing yourself as any of these five ‘sheaths’ or ‘coverings’ when you experience yourself witnessing a dream? Can you deny experiencing yourself as being in a particular physical location within your dream world, which entails being a physical form? Can you deny experiencing yourself as being alive? Can you deny experiencing yourself as a thinking mind? Can you deny experiencing yourself as a reasoning and discerning intellect? Can you deny experiencing yourself as self-ignorant?

Urubamba said...

John S,
if you allow to jump in,
Your conclusions
1. "If the ego projected a completely new body (five sheaths) / person during dream I would have no recollection of it during waking (which I accept is just another dream)." and
2. "Personally I can therefore conclude from personal experience that the ego mustn't project a completely new body (five sheaths) / person during my waking and dream. There must be a similarity between the body it projects in the waking state and during dream." actually suggest themselves.
I assume that the subtle body in waking is not substantial different from that in waking. That could also be the reason why we are able to call some dream experienes to the mind again in waking.
Fortune smiled upon us that we usually cannot remember our past lives. That fact may be ordained by the ordainer.

moksha deepam said...

Michael,
your reply to Sanjay Srivastava is magnificent because it contains all decisive points of view. Thanks.

Anonymous said...

Can you deny experiencing yourself as any of these five ‘sheaths’ or ‘coverings’ when you experience yourself witnessing a dream? Can you deny experiencing yourself as being in a particular physical location within your dream world, which entails being a physical form? Can you deny experiencing yourself as being alive? Can you deny experiencing yourself as a thinking mind? Can you deny experiencing yourself as a reasoning and discerning intellect? Can you deny experiencing yourself as self-ignorant?


I have a question on the above lines. When I die, one of my sheath is removed. Does that mean 'ego' also dies?

John S said...

Hi Urubamba

Thanks for your input and please feel free to jump in!!

You said:

[I assume that the subtle body in waking is not substantial different from that in waking. That could also be the reason why we are able to call some dream experiences to the mind again in waking.]

Good point my thinking (maybe wrong of course) is the only difference between the body / person the ego projects during waking and dream is the 5th sheath (i.e.) A different physical body of some kind as the other sheaths like self ignorance, intellect, mind etc must be in both or I would have no recollection of my dream during waking.

Whereas a new life / rebirth the ego projects a whole new body consisting of new 5 sheaths so completely different person and that person will have no recollection of previous births because they are completely different people.

You said:

[Fortune smiled upon us that we usually cannot remember our past lives. That fact may be ordained by the ordainer]

Yes I agree with you on that, thank god!

Hopefully Michael will help and remove our confusion.

John.

Aseem Srivastava said...

Thank you Sri Michael James for this article. It covers the entirety of the teachings in a succinct yet comprehensive manner. Will study this repeatedly until I assimilate every insight.

Ravi said...
This comment has been removed by the author.
Salazar said...

Ravi, I don't agree at all with your notion.

But I do not want to go into a futile argument about free will/destiny which will lead to nothing. Let's realize the Self and know directly first hand instead to rely on Vedanta pundits :-)

Ravi said...
This comment has been removed by the author.
Salazar said...

Ravi, let me ask you this: Who has common sense? Or, who is understanding the law of karma?

There is nobody who has common sense and is understanding anything. I don't believe that you really grasp Bhagavan, nor Sadhu Om. There never was, is, and will be a do-er. The belief to be an entity who makes decisions is the reason to be bound in the first place.

Since you are so far off the teachings by Bhagavan, permit me to ask what you are doing here?

Ravi said...
This comment has been removed by the author.
Ravi said...

Friends,
Wish to share this excerpt from Annamalai Swami's 'Final talks'...this may not be the appropriate place to share it...yet am doing so here...kindly excuse...it may help those who are practising atma vichara and are encountering difficulty in doing so:

ANNAMALAI SWAMI - FINAL TALKS
Annamalai Swami: Bhagavan watched me very closely in the years that I served him in the ashram. One time I went to the Mother's temple where many people were talking about worldly matters.
Bhagavan called me back, saying, 'Why should you go to that crowd? Don't go to crowded places. If you move with the crowd, their vasanas will infect you.'
Bhagavan always encouraged me to live a solitary life and not mix with other people. That was the path he picked for me. Other people got different advice that was equally good for them.
But while he actively discouraged me from socializing, he also discouraged me from sitting quietly and meditating during the years that I was working in the ashram. In this period of my life, if Bhagavan saw me sitting with my eyes closed he would call out to me and give me some work to do.
On one of these occasions he told me,'Don't sit and meditate. It will be enough if you don't forget that you are the Self. Keep this in your mind all the time while you are working. This sadhana will be enough for you.
The real sadhana is not to forget the Self. It is not sitting quietly with one's eyes closed. You are always the Self. Just don't forget it.'
Bhagavan's way does not create a war between the mind and the body. He does not make people sit down and fight the mind with closed eyes. Usually, when you sit in meditation, you are struggling to achieve something, fighting to gain control over the mind. Bhagavan did not advise us to engage in this kind of fight. He told us that there is no need to engage in a war against the mind, because mind does not have any real, fundamental existence. This mind, he said, is nothing but a shadow. He advised me to be continuously aware of the Self while I did the ordinary things of everyday life, and in my case, this was enough".
p. 67

self-enquiry should not become another obsession or preoccupation as a practice but one has to come to it as a 'fresher' and with all openness and earnestness....Warmly recommend Annamalai Swami's talks as also his wonderful biography 'Living by the words of Bhagavan' by David Godman.

Salazar said...

Ravi, I am pretty sure that most on this blog have read Annamalai Swami's book and I personally own it and like it very much.

Re. the first paragraph of your comment at 11:18, if your mind wants to go that route that is fine with me. But again, who is admitting a past?

Because I used the concept of time in a conversation doesn't make it real nor is it some sort of proof that it is. Language happens in the realm of duality and therefore it is confined to it. That what is real is beyond duality and non-duality and therefore many people misunderstand comments by devotees because their minds want to be "logical", alas it will fail since it cannot grasp Self with the mind. Language will always be insufficient in terms of Self-realization.

Also there is no "truth". What is the truth? Who grasps truth?

Good luck my friend.

Sanjay Srivastava said...

@Ravi: I do not see much of a difference in what swami Vivekananda says and what is being said here. As long as we have sense of doership, we have to use it intelligently. Vivekananda's guru, paramahamsa Ramakrishna puts it even more clearly:

From the Gospel of Sri Ramakrishna-

Vaidyanath: “Sir, I have a doubt. People speak of free will. They say that a man can do either good or evil according to his free will. Is it true? Are we really free to do whatever we like?”

Master: “Everything depends on the will of God. The world is His play. He has created all these different things—great and small, strong and weak, good and bad, virtuous and vicious. This is all His maya, His sport. You must have observed that all the trees in a garden are not of the same kind.

“As long as a man has not realized God, he thinks he is free. It is God Himself who keeps this error in man. Otherwise sin would have multiplied. Man would not have been afraid of sin, and there would have been no punishment for it.

“But do you know the attitude of one who has realized God? He feels: ‘I am the machine, and Thou, O Lord, art the Operator. I am the house and Thou art the Indweller. I am the chariot and Thou art the Driver. I move as Thou movest me; I speak as Thou makest me speak.’

daisilui said...

Ravi and Salazar
It seems to me that you both agree on what Ravi was saying:
"Friend,If there is no 'doer' in the first place and only Self alone is...there is no Bhagavan or sadhu om...there is no such a thing as 'their teachings' and more importantly no such a definitive thing called 'Prarabda'....and no michael James or Salazar as well discussing it...this is common sense." and on what Salazar is saying: "Also there is no "truth". What is the truth? Who grasps truth?" and yet it looks like you ignore these 'common sense/truths' by talking your chat seriously.

Salazar also asked in a rhetorical way, i think 'what are we doing here [writing on blogs, entering in dialogues/disputes about the truth- my addition].' Good question that i also ask myself every time i make an entry and the only possible answer i can come up with is, to put it in a blunt way: entertaining/give satisfaction to the ego/mind. The mind likes analysis and logic; alright, but then comes the next step where the ego feels the need to correct what it sees as a wrong thinking, or to find further clarifications to the subject of analysis, or to express an understanding, or... and hence the posting of those thoughts. So why post and, before that, why think? and even before that- who does and what has the Self to do with it. The intellectual knowledge we have about reality, expressed by logic/common sense must say- nothing at all! These discussions aim to enlighten the mind to provide for a better quality of life but, let's be clear- they are nothing more than entertainment which has nothing to do with reality as 'who seeks a better life?!' So why do we keep doing this? i asked Salazar some time ago- why was Ramana reading the newspapers and he replied- it was his 'prarabda.' Well, i'm going back to Ravi's sentence i've quoted here and ask 'who is Ramana/what is prarabda/...?' And i get nowhere, therefore it comes to me that- it is time to shut up and just be...

Salazar said...

daisilui, it is my strong conviction that Bhagavan lets us discuss all of these concepts until, through his grace, we finally - as you have put it - shut up and just be.

What also is very clear to me is that I really do not know anything, if there is some clarity or insight it is solely by the grace of Bhagavan and certainly not my doing.

Salazar said...

One more thing, Sanjay Srivastava quoted, "As long as we have sense of doership, we have to use it intelligently."

Sounds good but there is no do-er, and it doesn't matter if there is a sense of doership or not. To imply that the ego could make any decisions intelligently is delusional.

The sense of doership is not real and to ride on it is perpetuating maya. The body does what it does and it does it WITHOUT the will or directions of the mind/ego! That is extremely important! The actions of the body are animated by Self and determined by karma.

The only REAL choice is if we identify with the actions of the body and/or the thoughts and emotions of the mind or not. There is nothings else "we" can do to escape samsara.

Salazar said...

The last sentence ought to say, "the only REAL choice we have is either to identify with the actions of the body and/or the thoughts and emotions of the mind or not. There is nothings else "we" can do to escape samsara.

Salazar said...

Sorry, one more thing......

Not only are the actions of the body predetermined but also EVERY thought, emotion, decision etc. of the mind. If we identify with it then we are seemingly the ego/jiva, if we don't we are Self.

So to give the actions and thoughts/emotions of the body/mind in unison with the happenings in the phenomenal world any validity is a total waste of time. That is called samsara. Self-Inquiry is the antidote because it is breaking through the habit of giving anything but Self reality.

Anonymous said...

{i asked Salazar some time ago- why was Ramana reading the newspapers and he replied- it was his 'prarabda.'}

My understanding is Bhagavan was beyond karma, He is not the body we take him to be. His so called actions including reading newspapers is only in our ignorant dualistic view.

Ravi said...
This comment has been removed by the author.
Ravi said...
This comment has been removed by the author.
Ravi said...
This comment has been removed by the author.
daisilui said...

Anonymous
"My understanding is Bhagavan was beyond karma, He is not the body we take him to be. His so called actions including reading newspapers is only in our ignorant dualistic view."
Well, there are pictures showing the body of Ramana reading the newspapers [btw. why do you say that is a 'so called action'?] If you accept being bound by 'your dualistic view' how can you see something that is not dualistic, i.e. real? Even if you perceive him as 'superior' in any way, that would still be a false view, would it not?

You took the matter of newspaper reading out of a context, the gist of which was "...there is no 'doer' in the first place and only Self alone is...there is no Bhagavan or sadhu om...there is no such a thing as 'their teachings' and more importantly no such a definitive thing called 'Prarabda'....and no michael James or Salazar..."

As a concession to the idea of ego, at best we should be talking about one mind/ego which projects the world 'here and now', i.e. at the location and time of the subject experimenting the 'so called' life 'here and now'. For example, you reading these lines are the projection of the mind [your mind, the only mind], in addition to all the other complex projections of your immediate environment field of perception and mind speculations about [nonexistent] far away people and places [e.g. daisilui responding to your comment, or the historical figure of a man called Bhagavan that was reading or not reading newspapers...]. i mean, there is no 'our dualistic view', at best you could say 'my', from this perspective. But of course, these words [or any other for that matter, regardless where they seem to come from- daisilui, Ravi, Ramana...] have nothing to do with reality.

Anonymous said...

Daisilui I think you misunderstood my comment and took it out of context.
But thanks for your interesting reply.

moksha deepam said...

daisilui,
"But of course, these words [or any other for that matter, regardless where they seem to come from- daisilui, Ravi, Ramana...] have nothing to do with reality."
Of course these words have quite well something to do with reality because they appear in consciousness. Would you seriously assume that words could be expressed/manifested by anything other than ever-present awareness ?

arive nan said...

Michael,
section 5.,
I always shaked my doubting head when I heard that the fifth sheath, the darkness of self-ignorance, is also called the 'sheath composed of happiness' (anandamaya kosha).
I always was surprised at what kind of "happiness" could be provided by dark self-ignorance.
That was the reason why I did never fully trust that naming-system.
But the most pressing problem is not to be able to investigate this ego so keenly enough that I can "see" its actual non-existence.
But how can it be said that "The rising of the ego alone causes the appearance of everything else and is the first cause..." when it actually does not exist at all ?

Salazar said...

Time to put “Ravi” on the scroll-by list. What else but an inflated ego has the compulsion to show up on somebodies blog and announces that they are in the position to “know” [better] what Bhagavan meant. Then he quotes Ramakrishna and frankly, I am not the least interested what Ramakrishna has to say, I am a devotee of Bhagavan. Mixing the teachings of Bhagavan with Ramakrishna's or anybody else's can only create confusion which we can witness here.

And what you know, “Ravi” likes Roger, what have those two in common? They don't like Michael and feel the compulsion to criticize him. Ravi, your “Namaskar” is so fake I have to throw up. Your whole comment is proving that you have not the faintest clue what that really entails. Bhagavan teaches to be even nice to one's worst enemy, very hard to do. For me especially in regards to pretenders and fakes who defecate on somebodies property.

Urubamba said...

Salazar,
what Ramakrishna "has to say" cannot differ much. Should we not consider both as true Indian sages ?

Ravi said...
This comment has been removed by the author.
Ravi said...
This comment has been removed by the author.
maravadu said...

Ravi,
regarding the holiness of Sri Paramahamsa Ramakrishna, his teachings and wisdom this Salazar is actually not well-informed.

Salazar said...

Urubamba, yes - Ramakrishna is a sage, no doubt about that. If you think you are benefiting from his teachings, please do so. I prefer to immerse myself solely with the teachings of Bhagavan. I did my "guru-shopping" 30+ years ago, it doesn't work for me. By the grace of Bhagavan I am only interested in Him.

IMO, if someone wants to elaborate about Ramakrishna, or anybody else who is not coming directly from the vicinity of Bhagavan, they should do that on a "Ramakrishna"/"sage" - blog.

Ravi said...
This comment has been removed by the author.
Salazar said...

Urubamga, also Sadhu Om was not propagating fatalism, what nonsense! This impression can only come to a biased and immature mind. And you can call praradhba karma “the will of God”, it doesn't change a thing that the jiva's actions are predetermined. Karma or will of God, what does it matter?

Annamalai Swami: ”In every moment you only have one real choice; to be aware of the Self or to identify with the body and the mind.”

I have met quite a few “spiritual” people in my life time and it is amazing how many cling on the idea that they really could shape their destiny (as a jiva in this phenomenal world). What an extremely arrogant attitude! I also realized that conceptual arguments rarely can change those peoples minds, so it must be a matter of grace.

Dialogs between Robert Adams [R] and students [S]:

S: If everything is predetermined as you said, that would leave no room for spontaneity, something just happening on its own freely.
R: Exactly. Nothing happens on its own.
S: But everything happens?
R: Sure, but not on its own.
S: There's no such thing as spontaneous action, right?
R: No. It appears that way but there's not. When I speak of being spontaneous, I'm referring to, just doing everything in the moment, living in the moment, rather than planning for the future.
S: It feels like it's spontaneous.
R: Of course it does. The world also feels real.
S: There's nobody making it happen? It's just happening?
R: That's how it appears. But nothing is really happening.
S: It's all just appearances dancing, playing.
R: It's called false imagination. There is absolutely nothing going on.
S: Well that's nice to know. (laughs) Are you sure of that?
R: I 'm positive.

S: Is there even a choice for a seeker to be a disciple, or a disciple to be a devotee? Or is choice an illusion?
R: No, not really, there is no choice. You're right.
S: It's just their tendency for it?
R: Yes. You're going to do whatever you came here to do. But the only choice you have in life is not to identify with the body. So when you do not identify with the body, you will actually gravitate to where you are supposed to be, and everything will happen. But you're right, we have no choice.
S: There is no me?
R: Exactly. This is why I say those of us who have come here, it is not by choice, it is no accident. You're here because that's where you're supposed to be, that's the way it is, and I'm here because it's where I'm supposed to be. I never chose to be a teacher. I never chose to be anything. But I'm here and you're here. So what are we going to do about it? Why complain?
S: If there is no choice, then you also cannot choose whether or not to identify with the body?
R: That's the only freedom you've got.
S: Do you have that freedom?
R: You have that freedom.
S: But that's plain out and out choice.
R: That is the only choice you have.
S: I was under the impression that there was no choice whatsoever, period!
R: There is no choice whatsoever, period, except not to react to conditions and not to identify with the body. If it weren't for that we would be automatons, but we're not automatons. But the awareness in us, the reality, makes us have that choice, to not identify with the body and not to react to any condition. Everything else is predetermined.

Urubamba said...

Salazar,
when you refer to Sadhu Om, prarabdha karma, Annamalai Swami and Robert Adams you obviously wanted to address your recent comment to Ravi.

Ravi said...
This comment has been removed by the author.
Ravi said...
This comment has been removed by the author.
Salazar said...

Aurobindo was a philosopher and a yogi, I hardly doubt that he was an Jnani. I don't consider him for qualified to teach about Self-realization. Only Jnanis are qualified.

Robert said that fake teachers attract fake students. ;-)

Salazar said...

Of course I meant I HIGHLY doubt that he was a Jnani ;-)

Ravi said...
This comment has been removed by the author.
Mouna said...

Bhagavan Sri Ramana's teachings are very clear and simple. They came to us, through works like Ulladu Narpadu, Nan-Yar and Upadesa Undiyar in an unadulterated form, as the saying goes, right "from the horse's mouth". At the same time, for the unprepared heart and intellect we all have, they may sound cryptic and paradoxical at times. At that point, the work of devotees like Muruganar, Sadhu Om, Michael James, David Godman and others who studied his teachings not only intellectually but also experientially can help enormously to understand them deeper than a superficial reading may reveal.

In the final analysis though, what can be more simple and "direct" than to pay attention to one's own sense of awareness and existence? The Master says this is the key and the clue to unlock every door and solve every doubt, although to the unprepared heart and intellect there could be no relation between that key and our doubts.

It is understandable though, that the Quest (to use Lakshmana Sharma's wording) is both a process and a realization outside time, where we start with the end and finish with the beginning.

Many other traditions, sages and wise men and women taught their way to attain or realize "it", many scriptures has been written with many interpretations about them. We could spend lifetimes trying to understand the many points of view available...

It is normal when climbing a mountain without a compass in a cloudy day to deviate sideways to try to find a better way to get to the hidden top. But once we have the clear view of the top, and we found the most direct way to it, and left the clouds down behind, even if there is still a long way to go to the top, why bother take a sideway deviation that will only stall the climb?

Besides, the Master tells us that actually we are already at the top of the mountain taking a nap, dreaming about how to get there! He invites us to wake up and enjoy the infinity in front of us. Not only that, he tells us how.

Ravi said...

Mouna,
May be you already know this... Nochur Sri Venkatraman is a blessed soul who has experiential understanding of Sri Bhagavan's teachings and with a gift of communicating it to the listeners...It is always on self abidance and none of the theoretical hairsplits...He talks in tamizh,Malayalam and sometimes in English(akshara mana malai for example)...understand that currently Ulladhu narpadhu anubandham is being covered by him(at Sri Ramanasramam)...He also covers srimad Bhagavatham,Sri sankara's vivekachudamani and other works as well...but always gets to the essence,the ever present nature of the Self.
Warmly recommend his talks ...there is a website:
https://www.voiceofrishis.org/programme-listing/

Some of his video talks figure on youtube...you may like to look up.
Namaskar

Ravi said...

Mouna,
Warmly Recommend this latest book by Sri V Ganesan which is available as a free download from here: http://www.aham.com/SagesAndSaints/index.html
In this book Sri V Ganesan (Grandnephew of Bhagavan) has written about Nochur Sri Venkatraman ...please look at the very end of this book.
Namaskar.

Mouna said...

Ravi, namaskarams

Thank you for the suggestion you proposed.
I am aware of and listened to many of Sri Nochur's talks, specially the ones in english, since I do not speak any of the hindu languages. He is a very well versed, eloquent and inspiring speaker. I also attended talks by Sri Ganesan and read his books.
I was also an ardent student of the Gita, Sri Sankara's works and also the Vedantic literature in general through also very eloquent acharyas like Swami Dayananda, Swami Chinmayananda and Swami Paramartananda.
I did recognize at one point that Bhagavan Sri Ramana, for me and for me only, pointed directly, in a very pragmatic, simple and scientific provable way, to the essence of everything I learnt before when I was still searching for clarity amidst the many "ways", scriptures and commentaries available.

Nowadays, a few verses of Ulladu Narpadu, a few sentences of Nan-Yar and thinking about them is all I need to satisfy my still lingering intellectual hunger. While having in my heart Bhagavan Sri Ramana's company (sometimes looking to his eyes on a photo or just imagine him nearby sitting on his couch as if I were there) satisfies my emotional hunger.
All that wrapped in inward attention is all that's needed, for the time being, for this character called Mouna...

But I do realize without any judgement that we are all different and we are all climbing this mountain from different sides. Getting to the top will prove that there is only one "top", not many, although ways to it may differ.

Be well friend and thanks again,
m

Ravi said...

Mouna,
You are indeed a blessed soul...Thanks and wish you the very best.
Namaskar

Salazar said...

Ravi, I don't share your approach nor your inclinations. To take Mouna's analogy, you are climbing at the opposite side of the mountain.

Please refrain from giving unsolicited advice, it can come over only as patronizing. Usually the exact advice you are giving to someone is very likely more fitting for yourself 😀

I still find your "friends" and namaskar fake. If you salute to the one self, why do you need to give it advice too? Only if it is really meant for yourself.



Ravi said...
This comment has been removed by the author.
Salazar said...

Ravi, oh you were joking before - I should have known. LOL

There is nothing I'd like to discuss with you. I already have occupied way too much bandwidth here anyway....

Before I forget, you said, "[...]have only pointed out the error in believing that the present effort has to play second fiddle to the past karma bearing fruit in this life."

If the present effort is to not identify with the body and mind I absolutely agree and that is how I understand to be also Sadhu Om's position.

Everything else is predetermined and any "effort" other than to not identify with the body and mind is an illusion. Because there is no "life".

But my mind is tired to repeat that, and if I say that or not, it doesn't matter at all. I do not have to insist on it and if people prefer any other concept, they are certainly welcome to it.

By the way, you keep mentioning you want to delete your comments... You don't have to do that on my accord, you can leave them or delete them, either way is fine.

Urubamba said...

Salazar,
"Everything else is predetermined and any "effort" other than to not identify with the body and mind is an illusion. Because there is no "life".

Is not life given in order to find the truth ?
Is there at all any truth ?

"... it doesn't matter at all."
Does a fatalistic concept provide any help to find the truth ?

Ravi said...

Salazar,

I did not respond to your question concerning climbing the mountain...there is this Thayumanavar song where he says:

வான்காண வேண்டின் மலையேற லொக்கும்உன்னை
நான்காணப் பாவனைசெய் நாட்டம் பராபரமே.

My 'seeking' to attain you is akin to a man climbing a mountain to see the sky!(meaning you can see the sky from wherever one is!)...God or Self alone is and we are labouring to attain him!

Bhagavan was very fond of Thayumanavar's hymns...you may be interested in a fine article 'Bhagavan and thayumanavar' by Robert Butler,Venkatasubramanian and David Godman..please check: http://davidgodman.org/rteach/Thayumanavar.pdf

If you wish to explore the complete set of Thayumanavar songs(translated into English):
https://www.himalayanacademy.com/media/books/the-songs-of-tayumanavar/web/cover.html

Thank you...am deleting most messages except a few...this is a great site with lots of devoted aspirants...thanks to Michael for offering all this...Bhagavan will assuredly take care of him as also all the devotees.

அருணா சலம்வாழி யன்பர்களும் வாழி
அக்ஷர மணமாலை வாழி.

[Glory to Arunachala! Glory to (His) devotees! Glory to (this) Bridal Garland of Letters (Aksharamana Malai).

Salazar said...

Urubamba, you ask "is there at all any truth"? Not on a conceptual level. And even Self is (according to the sages) not the truth. Because the concept of truth can only come up in form of a thought.

Then you ask, "does a fatalistic concept provide any help to find the truth?"

;-) No concept can lead you to the truth!

That must be a matter of course for any devotee of Bhagavan and who is following Michael's presentation of Bhagavan's most important texts.



Salazar said...

Ravi, you crack me up ;-)

What makes you think that I am not familiar with Thayumanavar (or most of the stuff you referred to in your comments)? I am a long-time devotee and my mind had fallen to the addiction to consume spiritual concepts as most have.

In the beginning of my spiritual path I studied even Ramakrishna and was impressed with his example of Bhakti. It touched my heart and I can say that a seed was planted almost 40 years ago.

The last text I enjoyed awhile ago was Ozhivil Odukkam with the translation by Robert Butler.

Salazar said...

Urubamba,"does a fatalistic concept provide any help to find the truth?"

One can answer that question also in a different way. Once it is accepted that any action and happenings for the body/mind is predetermined one can let go and there is no need to worry (for the ego of course who does the worrying).
So let's say you get fired then the reaction of the mind is usually to remedy that situation with "intelligent" action. Due to maya it believes it has to do something and only its action will provide the necessary change.

Not so! Because that is part of the play of maya and our job is to transcend maya in not identifying with it. If one successfully (after long practice) can not identify with that situation then there are no anxious thought processes and one lives in the moment with no worries from the past (to have been fired) and no concern about the future (to get another job).

That is how we are meant to live or better to be.

Now we may get a job, or we don't. Doesn't matter, only for the ego and its thought processes.

Now of course the thought that what is supposed to happen will happen can create fear with the ego to be "at the mercy of some mysterious power it can't control". That can be so frightening that many seekers rather go into denial instead to surrender and with complete surrender to be raised above and beyond maya.

Urubamba said...

Salazar,
you seem to imply that (the concept of) truth cannot be passed on but by thoughts.
But is that so ? Was that what happened to Mother Alagamal in May 1922 and later to Cow Lakshmi only the power of thoughts ?
The concept of truth necessarily functions as a guiding principle and does at least adapt the ground on which the seed of truth can grow and sprout or open up to the giant tree of true knowledge.

Salazar said...

Urubamba, there is no truth - Full Stop

Nothing can be passed, it just appears that way. Remember Self and everything is fine and nobody will worry about truth and what has happened to other objects.

Uluru said...

Salazar,
we are lucky that maya does have no access on us as we actually are and gets grip only on the ego.

Urubamba said...

Salazar,
perhaps you are wrong because truth is only an other word for Brahman which is said to be the one infinite and indivisible whole, atma-svarupa.

Salazar said...

Urubamba, there is no Brahman. It is also just a concept. It is imagined by the mind.


The sages call it Brahman or some other term. But that can never describe or capture it. Only by direct experience.

In order to get Self-realized we have to drop all concepts, including the concept of Brahman/Truth/"your favorite concept". Because if we don't we'll stay stuck in the realms of the imagination of the mind.

Salazar said...

Urubamba, I just re-read a previous comment by you: "you seem to imply that (the concept of) truth cannot be passed on but by thoughts".

It is just the opposite, thoughts can only but lead you astray. I am puzzled how you can get the impression that I give thoughts any relevance. They don't have any. In fact they are the main obstacle to Self.

I do not want to sound arrogant, but isn't that obvious after i.e. having read Guru Vachaka Kovai? I assume that everybody on this forum has read that book.

daisilui said...

Salazar,

"...our job is to transcend maya in not identifying with it.... Now we may get a job, or we don't. Doesn't matter, only for the ego and its thought processes."

I feel that a clarification is required here- if we transcend maya there is no more 'we' who may get a job or not unless you are talking about a temporary transcendence
that would help the ego to go over its anxieties while doing what it has to do to get a job. The understanding that the Self does not need a job won't stop the ego to search for one, perhaps less anxiously though. A total transcendence into the absolute would not go back to the relative- job, no job, life, ego... There would be no "one who lives in the moment with no worries from the past (to have been fired) and no concern about the future (to get another job)." If there is such one who is that who acknowledges its existence? The Self cannot know it is free of anxieties/concerns because that means it must know what those are in the first place.

This may be a fine nuance of the understanding but i feel it is important to see that the practice is for the ego, once we accept there is an ego. If we start from the highest truth such issues, or any issues for that matter, would not arise- even that is not right by saying that there is someone to start from the highest truth, so... best to remain silent...

Urubamba said...

Salazar,
you say "there is no Brahman. It is also just a concept. It is imagined by the mind."
What you claim is also only a concept and what's more not true, because the sages maintain that our pure self-awareness 'I am' is brahman. That we can be aware of the truth of our oneness/unity with brahman only by direct experience is quite another matter.
Besides, the mind can not at all imagine what brahman is.

Salazar said...

daisilui, you added relevant information and you won't hear any argument by me.

Urubamba said...

Salazar,
regrettably I did not read GVK till now. I became acquainted only with those verses which were quoted by Michael on this blog.
Since you wrote above "Because the concept of truth can only come up in form of a thought." and "It is just the opposite, thoughts can only but lead you astray. I am puzzled how you can get the impression that I give thoughts any relevance. They don't have any. In fact they are the main obstacle to Self." caused me to make this remark about thoughts.

Salazar said...

Urubamba, I don't claim anything. Let's say I offer a viewpoint based on the teachings by Bhagavan and also, in part, on my own experience.

And yes, the mind cannot imagine "Brahman". So what is then Brahman? Whatever your mind is coming up with is an imagination. What is "pure self-awareness"? Whatever your mind is coming up with is an imagination.

Are we chasing our own tails with that exchange? LOL

Urubamba said...

Salazar,
why should we come up with imaginations about brahman or pure self-awareness ?
Indeed, we are acting like in a cabaret act.
Good night.

Salazar said...

Urubamba, you said "why should we come up with imaginations about Brahman or pure self-awareness?"

But doesn't the mind anyway? Is there not a subtle idea about what Brahman entails, perhaps a vague image? Otherwise Brahman would be neutral, a blank of some sorts and we could replace Brahman for the word gobbly-doggly.

And then we could say "I am" is gobbly-doggly. But that would sound strange because the mind has formed an idea what Brahman is. And that can be so subtle that the mind is not even aware of it. With Self-Inquiry eventually one will realize that anything perceived is a concept, an idea or imagination of the mind. And giving that any importance is leading us away from that what we really are.

So let me say that, one minute of Self-Inquiry is better than to study any book by Bhagavan or anybody else. In fact, besides Self-Inquiry and surrender, nothing else is needed [for Self-realization] but the grace of the Guru.








daisilui said...

Urubamba
i understand you insist that Brahman is not a concept, among others because:
"...the sages maintain that our pure self-awareness 'I am' is brahman"
i may be the odd one here but for whatever reason, these Hinduisms [for a lack of a better word] never stuck to me; although i've heard them quite a bit, never had the interest to learn a new lingo/philosophical concepts [in fact quite the contrary, i try to get rid of the useless baggage i've acquired in ignorance over time]. So, brahman means not much to me, just an obscure concept not much different than that of the Judaeo-christian god in my understanding- what use would i have if i knew its deeper meaning?!
In addition, along the same line of argument i'd also ask you who are "...the sages that maintain that our pure self-awareness 'I am' is brahman"- are they other than concepts in your mind [well, there is only one mind but i call it 'yours' because that one mind is where you are when projecting these words and reading them...]

Urubamba said...

Salazar,
you say "With Self-Inquiry eventually one will realize that anything perceived is a concept, an idea or imagination of the mind. And giving that any importance is leading us away from that what we really are."
Because we are nothing other than brahman it should not astonish us when we discover a subtle idea or vague image what brahman is in the mind.
Because we have the choice to give that no importance it would do no harm. That would be certainly the least of my worries as well.
Your statement "one minute of Self-Inquiry is better than to study any book by Bhagavan or anybody else. In fact, besides Self-Inquiry and surrender, nothing else is needed [for Self-realization] but the grace of the Guru." again shows a nice example for a concept, an idea or imagination of the mind. Does not such an argumentation turn round in a circle ?
Besides, brahman is just an other word for the guru's grace. So brahman itself will lead us/our ego sooner or later back to itself i.e. ourself by dissolving us in the storching fire-heat of jnana.
There is not only no great damage if we are led by truth-indicating concepts. Some of us may take fresh heart from the well of pure waters of true concepts.
Remember the metaphor of the fire-stiring stick which is after use then thrown in the fire.

Urubamba said...

daisilui,
again, mind is not a bad boy who sends us to the hell.
Let it do his function to lead us to the ego's source and merge with the heart.
Philosophical concepts were put forward mainly or even only for the purpose of lighting the way home for us doubters who braise in biting ignorance.
As is well known that Indian philosophy already from time immemorial has focussed its eyes on the innermost depths of human questioning. Therefore its systematic terms do not go short of greatest possible far-sighted meaningfulness. So we can trust that what actually exists is only atma-svarupa, the one infinite whole, which is said to be ONESELF.

Salazar said...

Urubamba, you said "[...] again shows a nice example for a concept, an idea or imagination of the mind. Does not such an argumentation turn round in a circle ?"

Yes it does. But then you can include your last two comments and all the others before too.

You said "Besides, brahman is just an other word for the guru's grace. So brahman itself will lead us/our ego sooner or later back to itself i.e. ourself by dissolving us in the storching fire-heat of jnana." ....and.....

"Therefore its systematic terms do not go short of greatest possible far-sighted meaningfulness. So we can trust that what actually exists is only atma-svarupa, the one infinite whole, which is said to be ONESELF."

I do not want to be disrespectful but when I apply the spirit of your last comment to me one can replace those two paragraphs with "blablabla" and in terms of Self there is no difference.

"Storching fire of Jnana" - wow, now with that idea/imagination, enlightenment must be just around the corner. ;-)

Urubamba, don't you see the attachment of your mind to certain concepts in your last two comments alone? But enough! If you have not grasped by now what I want to convey no further comments will do a difference.

Maybe daisilui can be more convincing than me ;-)


daisilui said...

Urubamba
"again, mind is not a bad boy who sends us to the hell.
Let it do his function to lead us to the ego's source and merge with the heart"

When looking at things from the perspective of the absolute reality [the only reality] is better to be keep the mind out of it. At a relative level, sure we can go back and forth discussing aspects of the mind, how it operates, tools it uses, great discoveries of the mind [such as Indian philosophy...], and so forth. There was a time i was keenly interested in all this; not any longer- why? Because after 'threading water' for so long i figured out/realized that mind is not my friend as it got me nowhere, i.e. i don't know about you but mind here did not do anything for Being. The apparent show of color and sound, taste and touch and smell does not do it any longer- i find it repetitive and therefore boring, together with the i that finds it so... So i let it do its apparent function [sorry, i've always had a hard time understanding poetic language such as 'merging with the heart'] without giving it more importance than it deserves...

Salazar said...

daisilui, Urubamba said that mind is not a bad boy who sends us to hell.

Actually, it exactly does that - it wallows in the hell of imagination and if the mind gives that any reality it becomes seemingly reality. And imagination leads inevitably to suffering.

Or even simpler, with mind (and believing it) there is suffering. Without mind (or ignoring it) there is peace.

Now to make the mind an enemy is as much wallowing in imagination as the scorching fire of Jnana. Without the activity of the mind it cannot become a "bad boy".

We don't have to accumulate the concept of "scorching fire of Jnana" or anything else, we just have to BE.

Self is the default, it doesn't need a mind to look for it.

Salazar said...

Before any misunderstandings arise, "Self is the default, it doesn't need a mind to look for it [through attempts to comprehend or analyze)."

The mind can briefly be of assistance with Self-Inquiry when one uses it to ask "who is trying to understand Jnana", answer "I am" and then "who or where is that I?" to point the wandering mind back to the first person. But that is just a crutch, after that there should be no "trying" or any other subject-object relationship but to "be" [quiet].

daisilui said...

Salazar
initially i was going the same way you did, i.e. 'Actually, it exactly does that - it wallows in the hell of imagination' but then it occurred to me that i only can do that if i accept that there is such a thing as 'mind', which is not the case in the absolute reality.
i try to not lose sight of the highest truth when engaging in these tricky discussions that very often loose track and make too many concessions to the unreal... Point in case- the use of self inquiry that you mention of- does the Self need to investigate its source?! Now, getting back to concession, assuming there is an ego which seeks a way out of misery, yes, the mind is the thorn needed to remove itself and then be discarded. i don't know if it's only me or anybody else noticed how some people on this blog [and elsewhere, discussing Reality] fall in love with the analysis of the thorns and the process of removal, forgetting that they should be discarded after they did their job. Some get stuck here for a lifetime without seeing anything wrong with that, on the contrary, believing they are 'on the path' to achieving something great [enlightenment, realization, awakening... whatever] forgetting/ignoring/not being able to understand that any so called 'human achievements' have nothing to do with being the Self

Salazar said...

daisilui, yes, one can get lost with the “process” and spend a life time processing without ever arriving. That is true for all subject-object related sadhanas, so pretty much everything but Self-Inquiry.

How do we know that we are not similarly lost with Self-Inquiry? Because properly done one has already arrived and one is continuing the practice to firmly get established into Self. As long as we perceive a subject-object relationship Self-Inquiry is necessary otherwise we may fall under the same spell some of the so-called Neo-Advaitans have succumbed to.

There are contradictory statements by the sages, on one hand they say one full experience of the Self is enough to be realized. Others say that even after an experience of Self vasanas can one pull back into samsara again and only a Jnani can confirm if one is really done.

But I don’t worry about that; I have faith that things will unfold according to the will of Bhagavan.

Urubamba said...

Salazar,
many thanks for having shared your well-meant revelations with persons who are lacking in understanding and instead have only talent to convey blabulabupalabap and cannot grasp even the clearest messages.
As it is said:"You can lead a horse to water but you cannot make him drink."
So I pray to God that insight in my mind's attachments may happen to me soon.
Bye-bye for now.

Salazar said...

Urubamba, I apologize if I have offended you with the “blablabla” comment. It was not a judgment about the quality or meaningfulness of your comment. It was used to make a point and that had nothing to do with you at all.

In the same spirit I didn’t intend to put you down because you possibly wouldn’t grasp something. What does it matter what the mind grasps?

I don’t believe that eloquence and vast conceptual knowledge is a sign of spiritual maturity, it could be more an opportunity for the ego to inflate itself.

Namaskar

Urubamba said...

daisilui,
'merging with the heart' means that the 'I'-thought - as the primary source of the ego - should subside in its birthplace (place of its seeming origin) from where it seemingly originates.
According Michael James 'Heart' is our essential being or our truly existing reality. 'Heart' is that what we really are, our own very essence, substance or reality.
'Heart' is the innermost core of our being, our own essential reality. In other words "being as we really are" is the only means by which we can experience the absolute reality as it is. Therefore we ourself are the goal that we seek. Our goal is to experience our thought-free self-conscious being.

Urubamba said...

Salazar,
no matter. One who distributes criticism must also be open to it and take/swallow it.
Namaskar. Arunachala.

Ravi said...

Urubamba,

"As is well known that Indian philosophy already from time immemorial has focussed its eyes on the innermost depths of human questioning. Therefore its systematic terms do not go short of greatest possible far-sighted meaningfulness. So we can trust that what actually exists is only atma-svarupa, the one infinite whole, which is said to be ONESELF."

Wonderful and hitting the Bull's eye...You have summed up everything here...The word 'philosophy' is actually called 'Tatva' meaning the essence....the Rishis or seers discovered the Tatva or the very essence of existence directly...and whatever intellectual structure they built around this to make it meaningful and approachable to others is only secondary...Like Atma jnana is common to all the three systems of Vedanta ,i.e Dvaita ,visishtadvaita and advaita....the fundamental experience is the common to all these systems but the presentation is different in terms of the intellect(I know that this would immediately spark a controversy but it is clear to me).

So,the so called Indian philosophy is not speculative as the western ones are but is experiential and the very words that the rishis deployed were mantras that inherently carry the power of suggestion and bestowing the experience to the initiated listener.

Brahman is one such word...and has associated with it the following attributes(although Brahman is beyond attributes)that closely point out Brahman...It is 'Satyam jnanam anantam Brahma'....meaning that which is 'Existence,Knowledge and Infinite'...The Very 'word' 'Brahman' carries the power of suggestion to the initiated ...The suggestion of something Infinite ,vast without our trying to imagine such a thing...so when a sage(and not just a thinker) is pointing out to the seeker:"You are not this finite limited being that you think yourself to be...You are Brahman",the message goes home to the listener who does it with Shraddha...so this is how it is a potent way of freeing oneself.

This is what Bhagavan affirms in the very first verse of Akshara mana malai :You root out the ego of one who Thinks 'Arunachalam' in the heart,O Arunachala.

If the thought 'I am the Body' is the cause of Bondage there is no reason that a counter thought cannot lead to freedom...Logically this is the correct position...If we have hynotized ourself into thinking that we are the limited being dwelling in this body,we can dehynotize ourself out of this...and this is done by negation of what we are not and affirming who we truly are.

Now the objection would be raised ...that Bhagavan has said in Ulladhu narpadhu that this is only an supplementary aid and eventually it is only self enquiry that would help dissolve the ego...so,how then we can justify that the Neti Neti approach would give a similiar outcome?

The simple answer to the above question is that the very same Bhagavan is on record saying that mere chanting of Ribhu Gita would bestow Samadhi!...and Ribhu Gita is just full of these negations and affirmations...Sri Annamalai Swami used to chant select verses from this and I have the recordings...I also have letters from Swami and in each and every letter there is this refrain :Thinking 'Body am I' is the root of all problems.Affirm 'I am not the Body;I am not the thoughts;I am The Atman'Atman is everything(Ellaam in Tamizh)'...He asked me to write this one hundred times and I wrote one letter filled with repetition of this ...and he expressed immense happiness that the stuff has 'Caught on'...I have these letters.

The power that works is the power of Shraddha...and this is not conceptual thinking as it is wrongly projected...and it is potent and this has been the direct experience of many many sages over centuries.

I am happy for you that you have this 'Shraddha'(Faith+Earnestness) and this is Guru's grace...Eventually it is this that counts...not whether one does Vichara or nama Japa or any other.

Wishing you the very Best.

Namaskar

Urubamba said...

Ravi,
thank you for scattering flowers.
Western philosophy has also good sides. But as you say the Indian sages could in addition put the reliability of their discoveries to the test by immediate empirical experience.

"This is what Bhagavan affirms in the very first verse of Akshara mana malai :You root out the ego of one who Thinks 'Arunachalam' in the heart,O Arunachala."
That has as a precondition/prerequisite that one knows one's heart.

All the best to you too.
Namaskar.

Ravi said...

Urubamba,
"This is what Bhagavan affirms in the very first verse of Akshara mana malai :You root out the ego of one who Thinks 'Arunachalam' in the heart,O Arunachala."
That has as a precondition/prerequisite that one knows one's heart."

The words that figure in this verse are expressive if we can appreciate the original...Bhagavan says அகமே நினைப்பவர்-ahame ninaippavar-meaning those who THINK 'Arunachalam' from the core of their being ;he does not say அகமே உணர்பவர் Ahame unarbhavar-which would mean experiencing arunachalam as the core of their Being or the Self...it is only then one may say that one knows the Heart and not before for the Heart is the Self.

அகமே நினைத்தல் (ahame Ninaiththal) is a sort of prescience...like the scent of the master which a dog knows...it has not yet found the master but has a whiff of it...and following this trail reaches the master...the very word 'Arunachalam' is such a scent following which the devotee attains knowledge of the Self or Brahman...This is what happened in Bhagavan's case...as a boy the word 'arunachalam' was echoing in his heart...he had a sort of prescience that it meant something Grand and sublime...something that is not of this world...and it was only when on hearing it from the lips of one of his relatives that Arunachala is Tiruvannamalai(that person had just arrived from that place) that Bhagavan knew that there is indeed such a place on earth...but he still did not know what 'Arunachala' truly meant...only after the Death experience and he left home and reached Tiruvannamalai and beheld the Hill standing Grand and immobile right before his eyes(by now he knew what 'Heart' is)...he could grasp the true significance of Arunachala...a significance that many many others had also expressed before him...that the mere thinking of Arunachala would grant mukti...'Smaranath Arunachala' goes the adage by which it was already renowned for...so all seekers who are earnest and are called have undoubtedly this 'Prescience'...they 'almost' know it and yet know not!...for such fortunate ones,the mere thinking (dwelling) on 'arunachalam' would lead them to the core of their being...The word and what it signifies acts like a magnet and pulls the devotee to be absorbed in the Heart.

In Arunachala Ashtakam verse 1 Sri Bhagavan refers to all the above.

The word may be 'Arunachalam' for some ...The word may be 'Ram' for some ...it may be any 'word' but as long as the unmistakeable prescience associated with that word is there,the rest happens...This is how nama japa also works...it is like how one can follow links of the chain and arrive at the tether-the Heart or the Self...these are not matters for discussion but have to be verified by practice alone...and the power of Shraddha is what is at play in all this.

Namaskar

Ravi said...

Urubamba,
Sharing a post which has the same theme as the above post...have copied it from something i had posted elsewhere a couple of years ago...this from TevAram by Saint Appar...Do we recall how in Madurai,Bhagavan used to stand before the statues of the 63 saints and pray that he be blessed with devotion like them?...Appar is one among the foremost saints in the periyapuranam canon:

"The Great Saint appar swami(also called Tiru nAvukku arasar-literally meaning the emperor of 'the Holy Tongue'-meaning one whose words are perennially inspirational) in his tevAram delineates the path of self surrender in a beautiful and telling fashion:

முன்னம் அவனுடைய நாமங் கேட்டாள்
மூர்த்தி யவனிருக்கும் வண்ணங் கேட்டாள்
பின்னை அவனுடைய ஆரூர் கேட்டாள்
பெயர்த்து மவனுக்கே பிச்சி யானாள்
அன்னையையும் அத்தனையும் அன்றே நீத்தாள்
அகன்றாள் அகலிடத்தார் ஆசா ரத்தை
தன்னை மறந்தாள்தன் நாமங் கெட்டாள்
தலைப்பட்டாள் நங்கை தலைவன் றாளே. (Tirumarai 6,Chapter 25,Verse 7)

munnam avanuDaiya nAmam kETTAL
mUrththi avanirukkum vaNNam kETTAL
pinnai avanuDaiya ArUr kETTAL
peyarththum avanukkE picciyAnAL
annaiyaiyum aththanaiyum anRE nIttAL
aganRAL agaliDaththAr AcAraththaith
thannai maRandhAL than nAmam keTTAL
thalaippaTTAL nangai thalaivan thALE

Earlier she heard His name.
She heard about His being.
Later she heard of His ArUr (abode)
(Realizing) her isolation, she became mad for Him.
She gave up mother and father that day itself.
Left the manners of the world.
Forgot herself, forgot her name too !
The lady headed only to the Feet of the Lord !

This is what happened to Sri Bhagavan when he heard of 'Arunachalam' from that relative of his.Wonderingly,he asked that relative-'Where is it?' in .There was the 'Bhava'-that there is an immensity of supreme goodness and Bliss,very dear to oneself-and this was echoing in his heart even before he heard it from that relative.This 'Bhava' is unlike other thoughts-and in fact serves to push out all other thoughts and itself too.This is what appar swami means when he says-'She gave up mother and father,Left the manners of the world,Forgot herself,forgot her Name too!'-meaning that that the ego was relinquished in perfect surrender or saranagathi(The Lady headed only to the feet of the Lord).

This is how a seemingly 'small beginning'('Earlier she heard His Name') gathers momentum and takes one back home(Aham) to God or Self."
The Word 'Aham' is used in popular sense to mean Home..People ,especially the Brahmins in Tamil nadu use this word 'aham' for home even today.

Namaskar

Salazar said...

Ravi, you said to Urumbamba: "I am happy for you that you have this 'Shraddha'(Faith+Earnestness) and this is Guru's grace...Eventually it is this that counts...not whether one does Vichara or nama Japa or any other."

Firstly, you cannot know that Urumbamba (or anybody else) has faith/earnestness, it can only be an assumption. And that assumption is an imagination of the mind and therefore preventing Self-realization.

What does it matter how much shraddha you possibly have if you are still caught up with the imaginations of your mind as witnessed with every comment you make?

And secondly, to minimize Vichara as you do is simply ignorance. You keep doing that, what is your problem? According to Bhagavan everybody at the end has to come to vichara what is nothing else than the mind moving back to the heart. If that is not done (in conjunction with grace) you'll stay in samsara.

You cannot single out shraddha or vichara, BOTH are absolutely necessary. Unless you want to reform Bhagavan's teachings, it seems your mind is already doing it.

Ravi said...

Salazar,
If Bhagavan or any guru says 'Summa iru' and if you have perfect shraddha,you will just be that from that moment...No other thing is needed...this is what happened to tinnai swami.
Bhagavan's unceasing teaching is this silence...it is only for those who are not receptive and do not have the maturity to benefit from it, that all other means to arrive at it are suggested.
What I have posted for urubamba is for him to understand...if you think it is flattery,it is your problem.(you did not say so...but it tantamounts to this).
By the same token you are assuming who i am based on what i am posting...how about the assumptions that I am fake,ignorant,etc,etc?
I do not wish to hurt you...but I am sure that humility would help your sadhana and i do not find that in you...which explains why your seed sown 40 years back has not sprouted,grown and yielded fruit...this despite your doing vichara.
How is your boasting that you do not care for Arunachala?..and how do you think that it goes with your claim that you are a devotee of Bhagavan and that he is your guru?
Please learn to see the spark of light in others and that would help you.

Namaskar

Salazar said...

Ravi, what you describe about “summa iru” is for people at the end of their journey and they have had done vichara for many life-times. At least that is what Bhagavan shared about people who were “ripe” for mukti. By the way, summa iru is nothing else than the description that the mind has have moved to the heart. So one could say it is the culminating “result” of vichara.

And yes I am assuming too, but what has that do to with my last comment? Last time I checked we are all sitting in the same boat, however there seem to be “Ravis” who keep giving unsolicited advice to those they perceive that they would be in the need of it. How arrogant is that? Urubamba may very well be close to mukti and Ravi has another 100 life times to go………..

And re. humility – LOL …… I can give you that right back! It is always funny when an ego is judging someone else’s humility. It’s the kettle talking to the pot ;-)

About Arunachala, I did not boast anything; you must be Indian since you seem to take my comment about Arunachala personally. To refresh your memory: What I said is that I don’t have any attraction or relation to that mountain. When Bhagavan said that it is Siva, Self or whatever I believe him because I have faith in him.

Bhagavan sees that mountain as Self but I don’t. And not because I am arrogantly dismissing it, I sincerely cannot find in my heart any attraction to it. So why would I pretend something else? What some “devotees” of Bhagavan very well may do.

And I don’t feel that I am missing something with that and Bhagavan would never ever insist that I would or come up with these confused assumptions of yours.

And for pete’s sake, stop giving unsolicited advice you clown.


Ravi said...

Salazar,
I knew that what i have stated will not pierce the thick wall of ego that you have built around yourself...anyway it certainly is not my job to advise you.
What I have posted for the few others have been received by them.
Namaskar

Salazar said...

Ravi, sigh, whatever makes you happy.

You must be an enlightened master since you know the thickness of my ego. I wish you'd be as clear about your own.

"It is certainly not my job to advise you?" Huh? After having giving me several unsolicited advises you now come to that conclusion? It will be only a matter of time before you'll again give someone unsolicited advice, that's where your ego is thriving on. That is pretty obvious and I am not an enlightened master, just a guy who is thrilled to be a devotee of Bhagavan.

I don't give [spiritual] advice unless somebody asks me and even then I don't feel that I am qualified to do so.

So let me return the favor and give you a suggestion, why don't you stop parading around on spiritual blogs and dispense your unsolicited advice and instead learn why that is a huge impediment to enlightenment?

You know, you ought to learn the basics first, because all what you do is throwing rocks sitting in a glass house.

Ravi said...

Salazar,
Nice advice and I take it.
Namaskar

Salazar said...

Ravi, actually my suggestion was nonsense and a little test (how presumptuous of me ;-) to see how much you have grasped of Bhagavan's teachings. Because you cannot stop parading around and stop giving unsolicited advice or whatever. Because if it happens or not, it was Divine Will or praradhba karma.

So to try to improve the “jiva” is an illusion, what has to happen is not to identify with these actions of the seeming jiva/individual. And that means atma-vichara, there is no way around it and if someone cannot do it some other sadhana which helps to stop identifying with the mind/body.

And that's why giving spiritual advice as an ajnani is delusional because it assumes other objects which need advice. Nice way to stay in samsara.

Sorry man, but even that comment here was already predetermined, even before the day we were born.

nanavu-tuyil said...

section 5.,
"...until we see the one reality that underlies its false appearance, namely the pure self-awareness that we always actually are."
In my dense ignorance I must believe nearly all what I hear. But even in my limited view it appears grotesquely: why should the one reality (have no other business than to) serve as support of the ego's false appearance ?