Wednesday, 7 June 2017

Why should we believe that dream is anything other than a fabrication of our dreaming mind?

A friend wrote to me last night saying that his father and brother believe that when one dreams ‘the dream is really you leaving the physical body and going to some other realm and interacting with other souls’, and that he always had trouble believing this idea, but asked me: ‘What is the best argument philosophically to counter such an assertion?’ The following is what I replied to him:

People will believe whatever they want to believe, and as far as metaphysical beliefs are concerned, such as the one you refer to, we cannot conclusively prove that any of them are wrong (though all of them obviously cannot be right) until we experience ourself as we actually are, because as this ego we are metaphysically ignorant. Indeed metaphysical ignorance is the very nature of the ego, because the ego is nothing but an awareness of ourself as something other than what we actually are.

We can logically prove that we are metaphysically ignorant, because we experience ourself as one thing (this body) in waking and another thing (a different body) in dream, and we do not experience either of these things (or any other phenomena) in sleep. Since we are aware of ourself in all these three states, we cannot be anything that appears in one or two of them but not in the other one. Therefore since we are ignorant of what we ourself actually are, we should be sceptical about everything else that we as this self-ignorant person believe or seem to know. This is why Bhagavan taught us that the first thing we should doubt is the doubter itself, namely ourself as what we now seem to be.

As far as the belief that you refer to is concerned, why should we believe anything in the absence of any evidence or good reason to believe it? As Sadhu Om often told me, Bhagavan used to say ‘Do not believe what you do not know’, and this principle was implicit in all his most fundamental teachings.

To claim that in dream we leave our body and go to some other realm and interact with other souls is a mere supposition, so why should we believe it? Why should we believe that that other realm or those other souls exist anywhere other than in our own mind?

Suppose you dream of meeting your Dad and brother and having a conversation with them, if you ask them the next day whether they remember that conversation they will laugh at you. Then who were those ‘other souls’ who were impersonating your Dad and brother in you dream? The most plausible explanation, and one that most of us instinctively believe as soon as we wake up from a dream, is that they were a fabrication of your dreaming mind, so why should we believe anything else on the basis of mere supposition or wishful thinking?

211 comments:

1 – 200 of 211   Newer›   Newest»
Urubamba said...

"Since we are aware of ourself in all these three states, we cannot be anything that appears in one or two of them but not in the other one."
Waking and dream are states of the mind. But is sleep also a state of the mind ?
Who is exactly in the state of sleep ? In other words: who is the sleeper ?

Noob said...

When I am waking up from a sleep I only remember "nothingness" or "blankness", but waking up from such a state is not instant, I am increasingly beginning to be aware of other things, with body senses coming first via dreaming (even for a moment) and then waking.
The only thing that exists in all of the 3 states is the notion of "I". In waking and dream I is aware of many other things while in deep sleep it is aware of "nothingness".

Noob said...

So yes, according to my experience sleep is also a state of mind though very subtle. Please share experiences of your sleep.

Noob said...

That feeling of "nothingness" is very relaxing.

Michael James said...

Urubamba, ‘I am awake’, ‘I was dreaming’, ‘I was asleep’: the ‘I’ in all these three statements is the same ‘I’, but when I am awake I seem to be this body, when I am dreaming I seem to some other body, and when I am asleep I do not seem to be any body at all. Therefore though it is the same ‘I’ in each case, it seems to be something different in each case.

Therefore the answer to your question, ‘who is the sleeper?’, is that the sleeping ‘I’ is the same ‘I’ who now seems to be awake. So who is this ‘I’? The answer to this question can be found only by looking deep within oneself to see what one actually is.

The difference between sleep on one hand and waking and dream (which according to Bhagavan are both only dreams) on the other hand is that in sleep ‘I’ exists alone as pure self-awareness, whereas in waking and dream the same ‘I’ seems to be mixed and confused with other things, such as a body and mind, so in such a condition it is an adjunct-mixed form of self-awareness.

As an adjunct-mixed form of self-awareness ‘I’ is a notion (a thought or idea), but as pure self-awareness it is not a mere notion but the one reality: the only thing that actually exists. Therefore contrary to what Noob says in his first comment, the only thing that exists in all of these three states is not the notion of ‘I’ but what ‘I’ actually is, which is pure self-awareness.

Regarding your other question, ‘But is sleep also a state of the mind?’, sleep as such is not a state of the mind, because the mind is not present in sleep, but when we regard sleep as one of our three states rather than as the one real state that underlies and supports the transitory appearance of waking and dream, it seems to be a state of the mind, namely the state in which the mind has temporarily subsided.

Noob said...

Probably I have not fell into a deep enough sleep yet.

Noob said...

If there is no "I" notion in the deep sleep, how come we keep waking up (or falling into a dream)?

Anonymous 40 said...

Hi Michael

I have a question please linked to your recent YouTube video upload 03/06/2017 were you discussed verse 5 of Uḷḷadu Nāṟpadu. I didn't know if I should post it in the comments under your video or here in your most recent article comments? I chose the latter, I hope this is o.k.

I found the video very helpful but I found something you said a bit confusing and it didn't make any sense to me.

You said the body is made up of 5 sheaths and they all appear simultaneously. The body consist of all five not one without the other and all five sheaths must be present to experience the world. So when the ego simultaneously rises, projects a body and identifies with that body and experiences the world through the sense of that body all five sheaths are present.

But this doesn't explain near death experience and out of body experiences were the ego dissociates with the physical body in a way so the physical body is viewed in its awareness and it instead exists in a more subtle form / subtle body. A world is still viewed including the physical body it was previously identified with and took to be itself. This world is experienced through the senses of the subtle body.

Therefore I argue it seems the body the ego identifies with does not have to consist of all five sheaths at the same time like you say. Plus not all five sheaths are required to view the world.

I would like your feedback on this if you have time please.

Thanks.

Noob said...

From the logical points of view, if in a deep sleep there is only our pure self awareness that is aware of nothing but itself, then we should not wake up as the illusion has been completely dissolved. Saying otherwise is like stating that you had known the truth and are coming here to tell us about it. And since we are waking up, it means either we have not had the deep enough sleep yet or that self awareness in our deep sleep is not pure enough, which means it is at least tainted with the notion of "I" as this notion is the 1st to arise.

Sanjay Lohia said...

Remember God is your silent invisible partner!!

Someone shared the following message with me. Since I found it quite meaningful, I felt like posting it on this blog:

A night before the day of matsya vedh (piercing fish eye) competition, Krishna and Arjuna are conversing . . .

Krishna says, ‘Arjuna, take care, put your step forward and concentrate on the eye of the fish’.

Arjuna says, ‘If I have to do everything, then what will you do?’

Krishna in a very soft tone tells him, ‘What you can’t do, I will do’.

Arjuna asks, ‘And what is it that I can’t do?’

Krishna answers. ‘I will keep the water steady …’

Remember God is your invisible partner!!

My note: In fact, in this partnership God is the ‘Managing Partner’ and we are just his silent partners. Whatever happens is only due to his grace, but we foolishly assume doership of all our bodily and mental actions: these are not our actions but are the actions as ordained by the supreme ruling power. This is what Bhagavan teaches us through his note to his mother.

Noob said...

From my point of view, in "my" deep sleep there is still a notion of "I" but though it is not aware of any other gross phenomena, it is not fully aware of itself yet, as it is aware of the "nothingness" , the "void", the "blank" feeling.

Urubamba said...

Michael,
many thanks for your reply in which you make clear the terms in question .
Although I asked about the state of sleep you refer in your answer to three "statements" about our three states in which each the 'I' is the same 'I' which makes (now) these three statements. Certainly your reply includes the proper answer to what I have questioned.
Because in waking the states dream and sleep are chronological finished in the first statement 'I am awake' the verb is in the present time whereas in both the other cases the verb is naturally in the past tense ('I was dreaming' and 'I was asleep'). So evidently in waking we can talk about those past states after they are over.
When you say that the 'I' in each case (waking, dream and sleep) is the same 'I' and that the sleeping 'I' is the same 'I' who now seems to be awake you are implying that there is an 'I' which exists continuously in unbroken succession.
Such a continous (uninterrupted, constant and nonstop) 'I' seem to be only our real perpetual changeless imperishable everlasting own pure self-awareness which is said to be our real nature.
You further point out a fundamental difference between a mere notion of 'I' and what the permanent 'I' actually is, pure self-awareness.
Clearly you emphasize that sleep is rather the one real state that underlies and supports the transitory appearance of waking and dream. Only when we regard sleep as one of "our" three illusory states - which are mere figments of our imagination - it seems to be also a state of the mind, namely the state in which the mind has temporarily subsided.
At this opportunity we should recall that the only state that truly exists is our natural state of wakeful sleep, named turiya and also 'atita'( that which transcends the above mentioned three mind-bound states), the non-dual state of true self-knowledge.

Noob said...

We can call the states whatever fancy names we can imagine, but having known the true state and then subsiding back into delusion defeats the logic.

Noob said...

Thus since we claim that we see the world we have not known the truth.

Noob said...

To Sanjay Lohia:
I think it is wonderful example that "I" cannot achieve anything. I think the closest it can get is the state in the sleep when it is aware only about "That nothingness", but since this "I" has abandoned almost all the phenomena it holds onto this nothingness to survive, and there it has no volition of its own in its primal state, thus it cannot become aware of itself unless "Grace" picks it up and puts back where we belong. Of course this is just my opinion.

Vilcomayo said...

Sanjay Lohia,
"Whatever happens is only due to his grace, but we foolishly assume doership of all our bodily and mental actions: these are not our actions but are the actions as ordained by the supreme ruling power."
Do you really believe that the ordainer will bear the full responsibility also for my bad/wrong actions and thoughts ?

Urubamba said...

Michael,
am I correct in assuming that the essential difference between sleep and turiya is that in sleep the mind has only temporarily subsided whereas in our real state of turiya the mind does not exist not at all or not any more ?
Are there some more significant differences ?

Michael James said...

Urubamba, yes, the only difference between sleep and turīya is that turīya is eternal and immutable whereas we seem to come out of sleep. However this difference is not real, because it is only from the perspective of the ego in waking or dream that we seem to have come out of sleep.

If we investigate ourself keenly enough we will find that we have never come out of sleep, and that sleep is therefore our only state and the one real state, otherwise known as turīya or turīyātīta, as Bhagavan implies in verse 32 of Uḷḷadu Nāṟpadu Anubandham:

நனவு கனவுதுயி னாடுவார்க் கப்பா
னனவு துயிற்றுரிய நாமத் — தெனுமத்
துரிய மதேயுளதாற் றோன்றுமூன் றின்றாற்
றுரிய வதீதந் துணி.

naṉavu kaṉavuduyi ṉāḍuvārk kappā
ṉaṉavu tuyiṯṟuriya nāmat — teṉumat
turiya madēyuḷadāṯ ṟōṉḏṟumūṉ ḏṟiṉḏṟāṟ
ṟuriya vatītan tuṇi
.

பதச்சேதம்: நனவு, கனவு, துயில் நாடுவார்க்கு, அப்பால் நனவுதுயில் ‘துரிய’ நாமத்து எனும். அத் துரியம் அதே உளதால், தோன்றும் மூன்று இன்றால், துரிய அதீதம். துணி.

Padacchēdam (word-separation): naṉavu, kaṉavu, tuyil nāḍuvārkku, appal naṉavu-tuyil ‘turiya’ nāmattu eṉum. a-t-turiyam adē uḷadāl, tōṉḏṟum mūṉḏṟu iṉḏṟāl, turiya atītam. tuṇi.

English translation: For those who experience waking, dream and sleep, waking-sleep, [which is] beyond [these three], is called turya [or turīya, the ‘fourth’]. Since that turya alone exists, [and] since the three [states] that appear [or seem to exist] do not exist, be assured [that turya is actually] turya-v-atīta [turīyātīta, beyond the ‘fourth’].

Sleep seems to be a third state only because of the appearance of waking and dream, which appear only because of the rising of the ego, so when we find that the ego (and consequently waking and dream) does not actually exist, what will remain is only sleep, so sleep alone is what is called turīya or turīyātīta.

Urubamba said...

Michael,
thank you for your reply.
"...what will remain is only sleep, so sleep alone is what is called turīya or turīyātīta."
If I don't make a mistake what you name here as 'sleep' has evidently to be understood as that what we are taught to know as the term 'waking sleep'.
Otherwise it would sound too simply when in order to remain in my natural state (turīya or turīyātīta) I only had to try to avoid waking and dream.

Michael James said...

Urubamba, how can we avoid waking and dream except by not rising as this ego? And how can we avoid rising as this ego except by being so keenly self-attentive that we experience ourself as we really are?

It is as simple as that, provided that we are willing to sleep eternally in our natural state of pure self-awareness. However as this ego we are not yet willing to sleep thus, so we need to cultivate such willingness, which we can do only by persistently trying to be self-attentive as keenly and as often as possible.

Urubamba said...

Michael,
admittedly, haha, idiotically I was thinking of a short cut - to shorten the procedure - my first thought was taking a sleep-inducing drug.
Of course only intensifying self-attentiveness will be the proper path to prevent rising as this ego. Thanks.

Dragos Nicolae Dragomirescu said...

"we cannot conclusively prove that any of them are wrong [say, either these are dreams created by our own mind or realms which we visit and come back-- my emphasis ] until we experience ourself as we actually are"

This is not correct.

If we experience what Bhagavan experienced none of this has ever existed so how can we ever know if our present 'reality' and the dream states are actually just dreams or different realms we temporarily find ourselves in?! We will never know that... cuz all this will cease to exist

We were offered the best metaphysical belief that helps us from scattering our mind so much outside (this is nothing but another dream). It does not mean this is the actual truth.

Sanjay Lohia said...

Noob, you say ‘I cannot achieve anything’, but it can ‘achieve’ the only thing which it worth achieving – that is, it can turn back and merge in its source, which is what we really are. It can slowly and gradually try to give up its hold on everything external by clinging to itself alone. So, definitely it can surrender and obliterate itself, and that will be its greatest achievement.

But we foolishly want to achieve this and that in this world; we foolishly cling to our desires and attachments. However, we cannot always achieve what we want in our external life, because our worldly life is a product of our destiny. Thus we will always be dissatisfied if we continue to direct all our attention outwards. In this regards, even our thoughts are outside ourself, even they are anya (something other than ourself).

In sleep we are not aware of ‘nothingness’ but we are simply aware. This pure-awareness is our true nature. There is no ‘nothingness’ is sleep; on the contrary there is fullness in sleep. We are full of what we really are. Yes, from the perspective of our ego we can say that there was ‘nothingness’ in sleep, because we experienced no objects then.

It is not very clear what you mean when you say ‘Grace picks it up and puts back where we belong’. Grace doesn’t force us to become this ego again, but it is only our pramada (our self-negligence) which propels us to become this ego again.

Diogenes said...

Dragos,
"We will never know that... cuz all this will cease to exist".
Necessary is to know primarily who we actually are.
After that we are aware of nothing other than ourself alone; that may certainly be sufficient. Pure awareness of our real nature does never cease to exist. Such real knowledge does therefore not require any further cognition (of other circumstances or realms of fancy).

Michael James said...

Anonymous 40, regarding your question about ‘near death experiences’ and ‘out of body experiences’, according to Bhagavan whatever we experience is a dream, so such experiences are just another variety of dream experiences.

In some texts it is said that whereas in waking we identify ourself with the gross body (sthūla sarīra), which is the annamaya kōśa (the ‘sheath composed of food’), in dream we identify ourself with the subtle body (sūkṣma sarīra), which is said to consist of the prāṇamaya, manōmaya and vijñānamaya kōśas (the sheaths composed of life, mind and intellect), but according to Bhagavan what we now take to be waking is just a dream, and therefore the body that we now take to be ourself is a mental projection, as is the body that we take to be ourself in any other dream, so a dream body is as gross or as subtle as our present body. While we are dreaming our dream body seems to be as physical as this body now seems to be.

Though accounts of near-death and out-of-body experiences may seem to imply that during such experiences one has no physical body (sthūla sarīra or annamaya kōśa), if one considers such accounts more carefully it should be clear that that is not actually the case, because such experiences invariably entail perception of a world (whether this world or some other dream world), and perception of any world is always from a location in that world. For example, some people who have had a near-death experience report that they were looking down on their dead body from above and could see the doctors and nurses trying to resuscitate it. In order to see their body from above, they must have experienced themself as being located a certain distance above it, and in order to be located anywhere in physical space they must have experienced themself as if they were a physical form. That physical form may have been experienced as something invisible, inaudible and intangible, but it was physical nonetheless, because if it were not it could not have been experienced as being located in physical space. In other words, it is like dreaming that one is invisible, inaudible and intangible and yet able to perceive the dream world from a particular location in it.

As Bhagavan asks in verse 4 of Uḷḷadu Nāṟpadu, ‘உருவம் தான் ஆயின், உலகு பரம் அற்று ஆம்; உருவம் தான் அன்றேல், உவற்றின் உருவத்தை கண் உறுதல் யாவன்? எவன்? கண் அலால் காட்சி உண்டோ?’ (uruvam tāṉ āyiṉ, ulahu param aṯṟu ām; uruvam tāṉ aṉḏṟēl, uvaṯṟiṉ uruvattai kaṇ uṟudal yāvaṉ? evaṉ? kaṇ alāl kāṭci uṇḍō?), which means ‘If oneself is a form, the world and God will be likewise; if oneself is not a form, who can see their forms, and how [to do so]? Can what is seen be otherwise [in nature] than the eye [that sees it]?’, thereby implying that we can perceive a physical (or seemingly physical) world only if we experience ourself as a physical (or seemingly physical) body.

While we are dreaming, the world we perceive seems to be physical, and we seem to be a small part of that physical world, namely a physical body. Likewise, the world we now perceive seems to be physical, and we seem to be a small part of it, a body located within it, but this world is actually no more physical than the seemingly physical world that we perceive in any other dream.

(I will continue this reply in my next comment.)

Michael James said...

In continuation of my previous comment in reply to Anonymous 40:

This is why Bhagavan says in verse 5 of Uḷḷadu Nāṟpadu (which I have discussed in more detail both here and here):

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?

As he implies here, whatever body we currently experience as ourself is a form of five sheaths (pañca kōśa), not just four or fewer sheaths, and without such a body, we could not perceive any world.

Does this make more sense to you now? Think about it carefully. Could we perceive a world if we were not located somewhere within it? And in order to be located within it, must we not be experiencing ourself as a form that is in some sense physical: that is, of the same nature as the world we perceive?

maravadu said...

Michael,
"...according to Bhagavan whatever we experience is a dream, so such experiences are just another variety of dream experiences."
Did Bhagavan never explain what a dream is ?

Sanjay Lohia said...

Vilacomayo, why should the ordainer bear the full responsibility of our bad and unrighteous thoughts and actions? In fact, we have to bear the full responsibility of all our actions. As long as we experience ourself as this ego, we cannot escape such responsibility.

The ordainer or God is just instrumental in dispensing the fruits of all our good and bad actions. Thus whatever we experience - good or bad - is according the will of God.

Vilcomayo said...

Sanjay Lohia,
"Thus whatever we experience - good or bad - is according the will of God."
Following your above opinion then the ordainer would ultimately be responsible also for the rising and setting of the ego. But such an assumption seems to be rather absurd.

maravadu said...

Michael,
do we at all know why we as (our mind-consciousness) are weaking ?
Do we at all know why we as (our mind-consciousness) are dreaming ?
Do we at all know why we as (our mind-consciousness) are sleeping ?
(Why) Should we need to know the answer of above questions ?
Only one who is firmly and permanently established in turiya has no need to put such questions from the ego's viewpoint because his ego-mind has dissolved/merged in reality.

Salazar said...

There is nobody who is taking responsibility. To believe that is reaffirming the ego and therefore counterproductive. Furthermore all the actions a jiva performs are determined by his prarabdha karma. The idea that the ego has something to do with it is the reason to be bound.
I.e. if the life script, already determined by birth, makes one to rob a bank, or worse, kill a person then that was unavoidable since birth. The crucial point is if there is identification with that action or not. For most there is identification and with that a possible variety of emotions between satisfaction or remorse and guilt depending on the vasanas of the jiva. And with the identification there is a karmic responsibility which will, or won’t, play out later.

But all of that “happens” in the realm of imagination and to worry and think about responsibilities (or anything else for that matter) is just perpetuating delusion.

I remember Michael saying that we are supposed to be compassionate etc. and I can agree with that noble notion, however, if we, as devotees, can or will be compassionate is also not “our” doing but already determined and one is either compassionate or one is not. We have no choice in that matter. The only real choice we have is to either identify with ones actions or not. The so-called free will is an imagination as everything else; it is an expression of the ego’s attachment and desires. One’s so-called “free will” cannot alter prarabdha karma; it just keeps the delusion alive that “we” decide what we do.

I’ve read somewhere that a Jnani can alter the prarabdha karma of a jiva but that goes into the paradoxical realm what a mind cannot possibly comprehend. From my own experience I find that faith into one’s guru, Bhagavan, if sincere, has a tremendous impact.

Everything can be reduced to, am I identifying with that person and apparent actions, or not? Anything else is a procrastination of the ego to avoid its inevitable demise.



Anonymous 40 said...

Michael,

Thank you for your feedback on my question.
I have re read your reply quite a few times and reflected on it. You make good points and explain them very well.

If you have time please would you be kind enough to explain in terms of Sri Ramana Maharshi's teaching and your in depth understanding of it what is happening with regards the ego and the body it has grasped (including all 5 sheaths) during an OBE or NDE occurring in the waking state.
I must admit I would find this most helpful, hopefully others will too.
Thank you.

Salazar said...

I personally always wondered what people get out of spiritual concepts like the 5 sheaths and the particularities about them etc.? What can one do with that? To accumulate more thoughts to an already huge pile of thoughts which can only but lead astray? Why analyzing and dissecting objects of a dream? Waste of time, IMO.

tortoise rock said...

Salazar,
"There is nobody who is taking responsibility. To believe that is reaffirming the ego and therefore counterproductive. Furthermore all the actions a jiva performs are determined by his prarabdha karma. The idea that the ego has something to do with it is the reason to be bound."
Did you read that in a book or how elso do you know that ? Your assertion seems to come from the realm of imagination or preconceived concepts.
Why should we believe in the immutable fate written in a "life script" ?
That what is fated is at most a certain setting or bounds in life. Many affairs to some degree are subject to our free will and control. However that extent may be determined by our prarabdha karma.
In my opinion we are ruled by our destiny/fate/prarabdha only to that extent to which our ego-mind has not subsided to reality ('I am').

maravadu said...

Michael,
I must correct partly my comment. Corrected it should mean:
do we at all know why we (as our mind-consciousness) are waking ?
Do we at all know why we (as our mind-consciousness) are dreaming ?
Do we at all know why we (as our mind-consciousness) are sleeping ?

Salazar said...

Tortoise rock, you said and I quote “Your assertion seems to come from the realm of imagination or preconceived concepts.”

Anything posted on this blog is coming from the realm of imagination and preconceived concepts. If you want to go that route to determine what comment is valid or not then I suggest you talk to a Jnani. Otherwise whatever you hear from somebody is from the realm of imagination!

There are only two group of people, Jnanis (or better Self) and Ajnanis who share their imaginations.

Re. your last sentence: So how do you determine to which extent your ego-mind has or has not subsided to “I am”? You can’t!!! Therefore the whole notion of how much we are really ruled by destiny can only be determined by a Jnani.

Bhagavan said that even lifting an arm is pre-determined; he didn’t say that that lifting of an arm won’t happen if one has subsided into reality. That even a small thing like that is determined by birth one can easily conclude that also anything else, like your and my response on that blog, is/was pre-determined – a dream.

Anyway, I believe that the ego is very cunning and it uses things like the notion of “free will to some degree” to ensure its survival ;-)

Best wishes to you.

tortoise rock said...

Salazar,
of course we have free will perhaps only to a limited degree.
When you write: "So how do you determine to which extent your ego-mind has or has not subsided to “I am”? You can’t!!! Therefore the whole notion of how much we are really ruled by destiny can only be determined by a Jnani." I must reply that I as the ego am not the ordainer whose exclusive task it is to determine to which extent...
Besides we do not know in which context Bhagavan may have said the quoted statement.
Admittedly you are right in saying that only a jnani is able to instruct us in all essential aspects of real knowledge.
As you say the ego is very cunning in order to prevent its death. Indeed very cunning...
Also all the best to you.

tortoise rock said...

Salazar,
and another thing:
"...one can easily conclude that also anything else, like your and my response on that blog, is/was pre-determined – a dream."
Could you please tell me what a dream really is ?

Salazar said...

tortoise rock, to be clear, the only free will we have is to either identify with a body/mind or not. The actions of a body is totally independent of the mind/ego, it is animated by Self. Even Bhagavan did not direct the actions of his body, it was also determined by the karma of his body. I say karma of his body, there is no karma for Self and therefore, paradoxically, even though the actions of his body was predetermined - that what he really is was unaffected by it.

When Bhagavan's mother was unhappy that he's left his hometown he gave his famous response (paraphrased) “that everything is preordained and therefore it is best to remain still”. He referred to his body moving from his hometown to Tiruvannamalai. So he confirmed that even his body, the body of a Jnani, had no choice but to move to Tiruvannamalai. His body had not the power to remain at his hometown, it had to move. I am referring only to his body, the actual Ramana or Self cannot move and all notions of movement, karma, or free will are irrelevant for a Jnani or Self.

You are asking what is a dream? I'd point to the classic advaita vedanta concept of what is real or not. That what is real never changes and that what changes is not real. That what is not real is a dream, an imagination of mind.

But that's just concepts, I personally like the highest truth that nothing ever really has happened, there were or are no sufferers, there are no jivas, no freedom nor bondage, only Self.

Also, what is gained by defining the concept of a dream? Nothing. The mind is useless and conceptual knowledge is more an impediment than helpful.

tortoise rock said...

Salazar,
Sri Ramana's move to Tiruvannamalai could have been not only determined by the karma of his body but moreover by the magnetic power of Arunachala-Siva. Due the tremendous attraction/suction of Annamalai his body could not stay longer in Madurai.
Thank you for your consistent description of dream.
Is not your remark "But that's just concepts, I personally like the highest truth that nothing ever really has happened, there were or are no sufferers, there are no jivas, no freedom nor bondage, only Self." just a concept ?
As long as we use the mind as our tool its conceptual knowledge serves its purpose.
Sorry, by reason of family duty I have to leave now my room immediately. See you later.

Salazar said...

tortoise rock, we can split hairs about the true reason of Bhagavan's move. One can say that Bhagavan's attraction to Arunachala-Siva was also his karma and so there was no choice but to go there. I don't and have never felt an attraction to Arunachala, so until now my karma is not leading me there. Also to imply a "pull" of a mountain is a subject-object relationship between the mountain and Bhagavan. How can Self be pulled by Self?

I don't want to minimize the importance of Arunachala and I certainly believe Bhagavan's description about that holy mountain. However I feel that I won't go visiting there and I don't believe that I would be missing something. Because I trust Bhagavan and when he wants me there in this life I'd end up there. If not then other locations have a higher spiritual benefit for me than Arunachala.

I don't know what compelled me to write these comments here (no choice, karma :-) but the longer I practice Self-Inquiry the less I am interested in conceptual knowledge. The real knowledge comes in silence.

Best wishes and farewell.

Sanjay Lohia said...

The following extract is a rough transcript from the video: 2017-06-03 Sri Ramana Center, Houston: discussion with Michael James on Uḷḷadu Nāṟpadu verse 5 (27 min to 32 min approx.):

Michael: Though it is said in the ancient texts that the anandamaya-kosa or karana-sarira is the only sheath that remains in sleep, according to Bhagavan that is not actually the case. Bhagavan said generally it is considered that sleep is a state of ignorance, and sleep is a state of knowledge, but, in fact, actually it is the opposite that is true: sleep is a state of pure, perfect self-knowledge, is a state of pure self-awareness, and waking and dreams are the states of self-ignorance.

Bhagavan has said that the root cause of all problems that arises is the ego. It (these problems) rises because of the ego and in view of the ego. So since the ego doesn’t exist in sleep … it is only this ego that is enveloped by these five sheaths. What we actually are, brahman, is not enveloped by anything. So if the ego doesn’t exist in sleep, how can it have any kosas? How can the anandamaya-kosa exist in sleep in the absence of the ego?

Bhagavan says in v. 26 … ‘if the ego comes into existence everything comes into existence; if the ego doesn’t exist everything doesn’t exist’. So there is nothing, not even the karana-sarira not even the anandamaya-kosa, in the absence of the ego.

Why we have to say that the ego is absent in sleep, because the ego is nothing but the wrong knowledge of ourself. The ego is the mixed-awareness, ‘I am this body’, but in sleep we do not experience ourself as ‘I am this body’ - we are not aware of anything other than ourself. So there is absolutely no ego in sleep.

(I will continue this transcript in my next comment)

Sanjay Lohia said...

In continuation of my previous transcript:

So it is only for the sake of people who want to have an answer as to how this ego arises in waking and dream, it is said that ‘sleep is a state of self-ignorance’, and that is how it appears from the perspective of waking and dream. Why does sleep seem to us to be a state of ignorance? It is because we (the ego) were not present there. What was present in sleep was only pure self-awareness that we actually are. But because we as this ego don’t experience ourself as pure self-awareness, but we experience ourself as mixed self-awareness, in the absence of this mixed self-awareness in sleep it seemed we didn’t know anything.

In sleep we were perfectly aware, but we weren’t aware of anything. Because we mistake awareness of things to be real awareness, we think that sleep is a state devoid of awareness, but actually it is state of pure-awareness – awareness without any objects. So there is no ego in sleep, there is body in sleep. None of the five sheaths were present in sleep.

So these five sheaths come into existence simultaneously, and they disappear simultaneously. Therefore, Bhagavan’s firm conclusion is: ‘the body is a form composed of five sheaths’. All these five sheaths are included in the term ‘body’. The implication is that none of them exist in isolation. All together (one whole) is what we call a ‘body’ or this ‘person’. When I say, ‘I am Michael’, Michael is the name of this person, but this person is not just a dead body. It is a living body – a body with a mind, with a personality, with likes and dislikes ….

Obviously when I say, ‘I am Michael’, I am ignorant of what I actually am, so the self-ignorance is there. So all these go together, and therefore they are inseparable. We can’t separate one from the other. The whole world depends upon my taking myself to be these five sheaths.

Sanjay Lohia said...

Sri Michael James

Sir, in my last comment I quoted you as saying:

So these five sheaths come into existence simultaneously, and they disappear simultaneously. Therefore, Bhagavan’s firm conclusion is: ‘the body is a form composed of five sheaths’. All these five sheaths are included in the term ‘body’. The implication is that none of them exist in isolation. All together (one whole) is what we call a ‘body’ or this ‘person’. When I say, ‘I am Michael’, Michael is the name of this person, but this person is not just a dead body. It is a living body – a body with a mind, with a personality, with likes and dislikes ….

My questions are: Are the terms ‘body’ and ‘person’ synonymous? From what you say above, it appears to be so. If they are different in some ways, how exactly are they different? I would appreciate if you could clarify this. With regards.

tortoise rock said...

Salazar,
a sage of the type of Bhagavan Sri Ramana is certainly totally unaffected by any kind of karma.
Only in the limited view of ajnana may appear the concept of a subject-object relationship between Arunachala Hill and Bhagavan. To comprehend and to know why Arunachala-Siva-self pulled Ramana-self we must first be free of all adjuncts.
May I remember you that Arunachala-Siva-Ramana is one and the same identity.
So when you practise self-enquiry as Ramana taught us you are indeed attracted to Arunachala itself/himself.
It is said that Arunachala is Siva himself and therefore all other holy locations of the world get their light merely from Arunachala.
The real Arunachala is in your heart. Because in truth there is nothing but Arunachala so in the view of a jnani you are nothing other than Arunachala. Obviously you as the seeming ego has neither a need nor a merit to visit physically Arunachala, the very light of jnana in the material form of a hill.
As you imply the real knowledge is silence which is only another word for Arunachala. Therefore you in your essence are only silence.
Best wishes to you too and farewell.

maravadu said...

Sanjay Lohia,
thank you for your transcriptions of Michael's recent Texas discussion.
But "So there is no ego in sleep, there is body in sleep. None of the five sheaths were present in sleep."
If there are none of the five sheaths present in sleep how can there be a body in sleep ? Is not the body considered also as a sheath ?
Or did you by mistake only omit the word "no" between the words "is" and "body" ?

Noob said...

If we say we feel fullness in sleep, its a work of ego. Only the I notion can feel such things, same as with mine nothingness. At one time we should look not in texts but at what is in front of us.

Noob said...

You say the ego is not present in the deep sleep, have you ever experienced it? If this I had experienced the true state, it would not be posting here. Otherwise you are saying only you can sleep deep enough in this imaginary world to get to the truth but somehow you have forgotten all of it when you woke up or moved to a dream state.

Noob said...

do you have 2 "i" s

Noob said...

also lets not forget that if we take the world as a dream then whatever Bhagavan said is also a part of this dream including Him, the truth that Grace is conveying through him to us maybe not very easy to grasp...

Salazar said...

I see the 5 sheaths discussion is still going on. What does it matter and what changes an explanation which might satisfy someones doubting mind? Are we closer to Self getting a satisfying explanation? No, of course not.

I enjoyed and benefited from Michael's detailed description of Self-Inquiry and I resonate strongly with everything by Sadhu Om, however at some point one has to let go of endlessly regurgitating the same concepts on and on, people throwing the same stuff at each other, everybody eager to show their "understanding". I see the same monikers showing up for years and besides Michael who is assisting beginners anybody else should have cut the umbilical cord by now.

Conceptual knowledge becomes quickly a trap, the extremes one can observe with the "classic" advaita vedanta proponents like Dayananda who actually stated that Bhagavan could not be enlightened since he didn't study with a "qualified" teacher.

There are plenty of stories by sages who describe the futile attempts to grasp Self with the mind and refer to the simple illiterates who became enlightened to not listen and trying to understand with the mind but with the heart. These stories are geared to all those who read endlessly spiritual books or frequent constantly spiritual blogs.



Noob said...

whoever says they have an experience of heaven is lying

Noob said...

we should cut the umbillical

daisilui said...

Salazar
"Conceptual knowledge becomes quickly a trap"
"Are we closer to Self getting a satisfying explanation? No, of course not."

i fully agree with you and the rest you say but then i cannot ignore the fact that i [and you] keep coming back here and i must ask myself- 'what for?' and ask you what means " anybody else should have cut the umbilical cord by now."

i would like to think i have cut it even if i keep buzzing around in these kind of circles of blogs and videos, eager to show my understanding too, once in a while...

from time to time i'm also asking myself- 'why did Ramana read the newspapers?' until the question comes back to me 'who is Ramana?', and then 'who is itching to show understanding/exchange ideas, talk, talk, talk about one of the few interests i have; 'who has interests?'... Then i may think about some teachings that say 'the body behaves spontaneously' as a measure of 'perfection/progress' but the question comes 'what body?!'

"These stories are geared to all those who read endlessly spiritual books or frequent constantly spiritual blogs."
Well, i like stories and i learned to not blame this illusory body-mind for liking and disliking and even for lapses in the vigilance of being the witness of these moods.

It took my quite a while to understand that all these 'important discussions' and teachings are meant for improving our lives as humans by knowing the Self but have nothing to do with being the Self. i don't know how things work for others but for me, as soon as i itch to say something [smart or stupid, regardless] i cannot be the Self. When i am the Self, unveiled by the 'itching me' i can only be silent because there is no more i and opinions about this and that.

Wittgenstein said...

What is this causal body, really?

The idea that the ego takes up the causal body (kāraṇa śarīra) in sleep is naïve. If it were true the ego can be said to exist in all states and hence actually real, which is absurd because we know it is only apparently real.
As Bhagavan teaches us that both waking and dream appear real in their own time (eighteenth paragraph, Nāṉ Yār?), there cannot actually be any difference between the gross body (during waking) and the subtle body (during dream). Each one is actually as gross or as subtle as the other. Therefore, we can bundle them together into one body, namely the gross body. If we classify so, the causal body can now be taken to be the subtle body, as it is subtler than the other two.

Now, the gross and the subtle body can only co-exist during waking or dream and there can be no body whatsoever during sleep. This is clear when Bhagavan says in Maharshi’s Gospel that there is enduring sleep even in the waking state and we are our essential self in sleep. However, the enduring sleep in waking state is not sleep per se but distorted sleep.

If we compare these teachings with the nature of ego, we find many similarities. For example, Bhagavan says the ego cannot stand alone (fourth paragraph, Nāṉ Yār?) and it can come into existence only by grasping a body, grosser than itself. That is to say, their appearance (and disappearance) is simultaneous, with the ego causing the gross body (verse 26, Uḷḷadu Nāṟpadu and eighteenth paragraph, Nāṉ Yār?). Further, there is no ego and nothing grosser than that in sleep. What appears as ego in waking and dream is actually our essential self because Bhagavan says in Day by Day that there is actually no difference between mind (the essence of which is ego) and the (essential) self because when the mind is turned out, it appears as this ego and everything else and when turned in, it is nothing other than our essential self.

Having found these similarities, it is anybody’s guess that kāraṇa śarīra is the ego. It is not that ego has taken up kāraṇa śarīra (subtle body), but it is kāraṇa śarīra (subtle body) itself, causing and appearing simultaneously with the gross body. That is why it is called the causal body. It would be redundant to put the ego behind the kāraṇa śarīra. Does Bhagavan say that the subtle body is the ego? Of course he says that. He says in verse 24, Uḷḷadu Nāṟpadu that the ego is the subtle body (நுட்ப மெய் | nutpa mey). He also says that in fourth paragraph of Nāṉ Yār?. If we think he is referring to the body we have in dream, it would be a failure to understand his teaching, as the body in dream is as gross as the body in waking. Being subtler than the gross bodies in waking and dream, the ego cannot be seen anywhere in the waking or dream world, as it is not an object and only objects appear in the world. The ego is the projector of all objects and without it no object can be seen and it is certainly none of the projected objects. This is just like how the physical eye does not appear in the entire visual field but nothing in the visual field can be seen without it.

I will continue in my next comment.

Wittgenstein said...

In continuation of my previous comment:

It may be noted that some authors on Bhagavan’s teaching identify the ego with vijñānamaya kōśa, the intellectual sheath (as it appear in Talks) but we can ask whose intellect, can’t we? Ego grabs the intellect but it is not the intellect. On the other hand we cannot say ego grabs the kāraṇa śarīra, because that would be redundant as everything that can be stated about kāraṇa śarīra can be stated about the ego, as we discussed.

As we saw, kāraṇa śarīra or the sleep as the background in waking state (the ego) is distorted sleep (distorted essential self). When we keenly look at this distorted sleep, it will be resolved into sleep per se (or our essential self). Although we cannot experience this kāraṇa śarīra (the ego) as on object, it is still given in our experience of waking and dream as the ‘background’ awareness. This is the only non-objective experience (or awareness) we have among the manifold of objective phenomena. This non-objective kāraṇa śarīra or distorted sleep is called sphuraṇa and the one and only lead we have for our investigation into our real nature. A constant search for the source of this sphuraṇa is the direct path, as Bhagavan once told Kavyakanta. This distorted sleep (kāraṇa śarīra or ego) is the ‘memory’ of actual sleep (our actual self) we have in waking and sleep. Whole of our investigation is hence recollecting our sleep (as sleep is our real nature) and hence it is aptly called self-remembrance (or sleep-remembrance), svarūpa-smaraṇa. Our goal is to successfully recollect our sleep, which we now seem to have forgotten. Can something be as simple as that?

Nalakankar Himal said...

daisilui,
"...as soon as i itch to say something [smart or stupid, regardless] i cannot be the Self. When i am the Self, unveiled by the 'itching me' i can only be silent because there is no more i and opinions about this and that."
Do not forget you are never not "the Self". Even when you get an itch so say something smart or stupid your "Self" has not vanished off the face of the earth.
What has vanished is only your attention to it. Then your attention was driven out ot displaced by your forgetfulness. So you are always and uninterruptedly the self if unveiled or veiled by the 'itching me' because in truth there is nothing but the self at all.

Nalakankar Himal said...

Salazar,
"Are we closer to Self getting a satisfying explanation? No, of course not."
Yes, we cannot be closer to "Self" - because we are nothing but the self which is as such the very closest. Only in the limited view of this ego we seem to be separated and far from the "Self".
Let us rather try to investigate to whom appears the "showing understanding" and to whom appear the same monikers...
Let us look keenly who is irritated by any kind of "omniscient fools".
We all have a several choices and the free choice to "read endlessly spiritual books, frequent constantly spiritual blogs" or to play the role of a simple illiterate. Of course we should make a careful choice. As you imply the best choice is to let the mind rest forever in the heart.

Nalakankar Himal said...

Wittgenstein,
when you assert that sleep is our real nature could you please explain in detail what sleep is ?

Anonymous said...

This distorted sleep (kāraṇa śarīra or ego) is the ‘memory’ of actual sleep.

Didn't quite understand the above line. Shouldn't it be 'actual sleep is in the memory of distorted sleep' ?

Another question: nature of actual sleep is: sat chit ananda. If that is the case, is the feeling of love also a property of just ego? Is love=attachment?

Wittgenstein said...

Nalakankar Himal,

We cannot explain in detail what sleep is.

What can be described in detail are objective phenomena. However, what remains in sleep is pure awareness and it is not an object. Pure awareness is self-awareness that is not mixed with awareness of any other objective phenomena. Hence it cannot be described. Also, it does not mean pure awareness and sleep are different. Sleep is pure awareness.

How, then, do we know it is our real nature, if we cannot describe it? Because we are self-aware in sleep but both self-aware and aware of other phenomena in waking and dream. Therefore, what is common and survives in all the three states is self-awareness and hence it is our real nature, although it cannot be described in objective terms. If we ask how we can be sure that we are self-aware in waking and dream, we should counter it by asking if it is possible at all to be aware of anything else without first being self-aware. Obviously it is not possible. Self-awareness endures in all three states and hence it is our real nature.

daisilui said...

Nalakankar Himal
<>

Then why bother to talk at all; does the Self need to remember that there's nothing but the Self?!

"What has vanished is only your attention to it. Then your attention was driven out ot displaced by your forgetfulness. So you are always and uninterruptedly the self if unveiled or veiled..."

Does the Self need to have attention/who has attention, who is forgetting what?! i cannot be at the same time the ego and the Self; i cannot be a human, driven by fear and desire and the Self at the same time. As long as you are a human identified with your body-mind problems and issues, you're not the Self [even if there is clear intellectual understanding about what the Self is]. There's only one choice- be this or that but not both.

Being is incompatible with doing and mixing up these concepts, i.e. that the doing happens in the being, is a whiny way of the ego to make some allowance for its existence [like the wave and the ocean, the cloud and the sky...- there are no waves and no clouds!] A clear understanding of what the Self is helps but abiding in the Self is when the proverbial rubber hits the road, so to speak... But who wishes to abide in the Self, anyway?! Is that the Self?! No, it is the ego!

All this talk cannot happen in the Self; this is at the relative level of reality [which in truth is unrealitly]. In reality this talk doesn't happen at all, the same as any discussion or teaching about the Self, which are meant to improve the life of an illusory and elusive ego in permanent search for happiness.

Wittgenstein said...

Anonymous (11 June 2017 at 13:51),

I put ‘memory’ within quotation marks to mean sleep (as it actually is) is distorted or clouded by other objective phenomena during waking and dream. Since it is distorted, it remains like a ‘memory’. But it is not in the memory of ego, as this ‘memory’ itself is the ego.

Love is also another name for sat-cit-ānanda and in the most perfect form (as in sleep), it is self-love, which is desire for ourself. In waking and dream, this self-love is distorted as other-love, where the ‘other’ can be anything in the world. ‘Other-love’ is synonymous with ‘other-attention’ (opposite to self-attention) or ‘other-attachment’. However, self-love is self-attachment, which in fact is no attachment at all, as something is always attached to itself by default.

daisilui said...

Nalakankar Himal
For whatever reason quoting you as the first sentence in my comment didn't post so here it is again:

"Do not forget you are never not "the Self"."

Wittgenstein said...

In continuation of my discussion with Anonymous (11 June 2017 at 13:51):

Loving others (‘other-love’) is a function of ego, self-love is not. In fact ego will stop functioning when it stops desiring or loving others (or other things), as desirelessness is egolessness.

Nalakankar Himal said...

Wittgenstein,
since you regard "sleep" as pure self-awareness which is the state of our real nature (or the one all-transcending state 'Iam') I agree that we cannot describe in detail or in objective terms what "sleep" exactly is. But in order to distinct our fundamental state of true knowledge from the ordinary state/term "sleep" which means usually a state of the mind I think we should use more accurately the term "waking sleep".

Anonymous said...

Thanks Wittgenstein. What you have described- I have never thought like this before. Nice explanation.

Nalakankar Himal said...

Daisilui,
you are correct in saying " i cannot be at the same time the ego and the Self; i cannot be a human, driven by fear and desire and the Self at the same time. As long as you are a human identified with your body-mind problems and issues, you're not the Self [even if there is clear intellectual understanding about what the Self is]. There's only one choice- be this or that but not both."
As I stated previously we indeed are never anything other than the self.
But if we superimpose at the same time self with the recognition/identification "I am a human being with fear and desire" then we need to investigate to whom this wrong identification appears. So you must distinct clearly between being and superimposing.
Of course only the ego wishes to abide in the self because self is the birthplace of the ego from which it has seemingly arisen and where it has to return.

Your reflections "All this talk cannot happen in the Self; this is at the relative level of reality [which in truth is unrealitly]. In reality this talk doesn't happen at all, the same as any discussion or teaching about the Self, which are meant to improve the life of an illusory and elusive ego in permanent search for happiness."
may be wrong or right.
But one should primarily investigate to whom such ideas appear.

Salazar said...

daisilui, I don't expect anyone to heed the suggestion to cut the umbilical cord. Why? Because it is not in our power to make that decision, we have a seemingly free will to say, alright, I won't post anymore on that blog. However, that will only happen if that is in alignment with your prarabdha karma. If we keep posting the so-called free will tells itself, shoot, I can't make it happen, I have weak will power, something like that. Or, if not, we say, yeah, I made it happen. But that is an illusion of course. Nobody makes anything happen. The resistance to the truth of that last sentence is why we are seemingly bound.

“Why did Ramana read the newspapers”? Because it was his prarabdha karma, his body had no choice.
Yeah, yeah, I know, there is the concept or idea that a Jnani is beyond that, and he is. As Self. But the body of a Jnani is as much directed by karma as the body of a ajnani.

Papaji, another Jnani, mentioned that he never knew where his body would move, when he was on a walk he did sudden turns and when he was asked why he went this particular path he answered 'I have no idea'. According to David Godman Papaji often ended up in places where he had to meet a certain individual who was ready to experience Self through him.

You said you learnt to not blame your body. Well, if we are compassionate to others or ourselves is as much preordained as everything else. The idea is to not even identify with that what is compassionate. Compassion can be as much a trap as any other concept.

Wittgenstein said...

Nalakankar Himal,

Yes, as you say if the reference point is waking state and if we do not understand that self-awareness endures in sleep and think of it as a dull (unconscious) state (suṣupti), we need to elevate its status by adding consciousness (jāgrat) to it, by making it appear as if there is a fourth state called jāgrat-suṣupti (waking sleep). However, Bhagavan is a master in chopping off redundant concepts and providing us a neat package with bare minimum concepts, till we finish the job. In this approach, if we were to follow Bhagavan and understand self-awareness endures in sleep, why should we add the jāgrat component to it? It all depends on how far we are going to walk with Bhagavan and of course he walks with our pace, as it is not a race. Please take it as you feel comfortable. Bhagavan is there with all of us.

Diogenes said...

Salazar,
illusion,karma, choice, trap
idea, concept, consideration, identification,
much preordained...
what else more will appear in the view of ajnana, ego, maya and who is affected by all that ? Everything arises with the ego. But this ego is the centre of the multitude of thoughts and as such the antithesis of real peace. Therefore what we should be seeking is our real self that we are aware of constantly, without any break. We must allow our mind which is the embodiment of self-ignorance to abide firmly and rest peacefully in our heart, the innermost core of our being. Because self-consciousness is the very nature of our being let us cultivate incessant self-rememberance and merge in Arunachala which shines in the heart as 'I am'.

Nalakankar Himal said...

Wittgenstein,
I too like it without redundant concepts. I am not the inventor of the term jagrat-sushupti (wakeful sleep). Yes, we are taught that atman is present in all the three states. But is it not said that the three states are all illusory and therefore the so-called wakeful sleep is the only real state ?

Salazar said...

Diogenes, if you would truly take your own advice instead of projecting it onto others you'd not post comments here. In posting comments your are contradicting your own statement.

And no disrespect, but when I read somewhere from someone one more time that old and overly (ab)used comment "let us cultivate incessant self-remembrance and merge in Arunachala" then .....

Can we move on, we all know that by now, instead of keep repeating it - DO IT!

Can anybody see the contradiction between posting concepts on this blog and simultaneously evoke the mantra of self-remembrance? They cancel each other out.

Diogenes said...

Salazar,
it doe not matter that my comment does not meet with your approval. I do not claim to be excluded from my statement. Of course you are free to react angrily. Your appeal to me to " do it" is entirely right. But somehow I do not feel any constraint to request for your consent in advance.
Kind regards.

daisilui said...

Salazar
"Can anybody see the contradiction between posting concepts on this blog and simultaneously evoke the mantra of self-remembrance? They cancel each other out."

On one hand i kinda can see that but going a tad deeper i don't see much difference between posting concept and self-remembrance- who is doing one or the other, isn't the same i?!

But i am not i, the one who has ideas and posts a comment, does self-remembering, reads newspapers, responds to comments, teaches others, tolerates the body/has compassion...

Nalakankar Himal advises to investigate who is the one who has ideas... well, thanks... like how many times do i have to look at the rope to see it is a rope and not a snake?! So yeah, i know very well that it is the snake that has ideas!

But getting back to your question, here's one bakc [from my perspective] "can anybody see that any efforts to acquire the 'right' understanding and abide as the Self are not of the Self?" i.e., does the Self need to abide as the Self?! i'd say that the Self has nothing to do with this so i only can take all this as entertainment [be that of a very fine nature but nevertheless still entertainment].

Who would feel guilty of spending time in entertaining opinions rather than abiding in self-remembrance if not the ego?! So i'd say let the ego do its pirouettes and be whatever it appears to be while not accepting its existence. If the ego appears to be happy, don't spoil it by investigating to whom does this [illusory] happiness come; if the ego is not happy then, yes, do it- get it happy again. Bottom line though: the Self wouldn't care less one way or another!!!

Salazar said...


Diogenes, yes, your comment irritated me and I have no problem to admit that. I don't have to pretend to be dispassionate ...

My irritation was based on the flip-flop attitude on this blog and I do not necessarily exclude myself from that. What I mean is that we discuss spiritual concepts like destiny, karma, trap, and so on and I can see a value in that (to a certain extend) unless it is constantly repeated; but then most often someone then brushes that all away and evokes to focus solely on the Self. YES!!!! Absolutely.

But don't we know that not already? Do we need a reminder of that? Why stating the obvious?

I started my first comment on this blog in that spirit, the last sentence of that comment was and I quote:” Everything can be reduced to, am I identifying with that person (mind/body) and apparent actions, or not? Anything else is a procrastination of the ego to avoid its inevitable demise.”

That is pretty much the same notion as your [irritating] comment to me. Now, you either have not read this particular comment by me or you don't see or recognize that my last sentence is pretty much saying the same as your comment. It is like I am saying, the sun is hot and bright, and then you post a comment later, hey Salazar, the sun is hot and bright. Huh? Well, I observed that kind of exchange all the time on this blog and when I observed it it was rather amusing but being involved in it it is rather irritating.

As I said in one of my last comments, “at some point one has to let go of endlessly regurgitating the same concepts on and on, people throwing the same stuff at each other, everybody eager to show their "understanding".

So I said this and what is Diogenes doing? Throwing the obvious at me. Is anybody truly reading the comments here and not seeing or realizing the extreme redundancy of most of them?


Diogenes said...

daisilui,
"If the ego appears to be happy, don't spoil it by investigating to whom does this [illusory] happiness come;..."
Of course you may enjoy your happiness to the full. But to investigate to whom any illusory happiness comes is just a classical case to which self-investigation is necessarily applicable.

Diogenes said...

Salazar,
regarding your questions "But don't we know that not already? Do we need a reminder of that? Why stating the obvious?" it may be worthy of consideration that mere mental knowing is never sufficient. To call something in the mind again (and again) frequent repetition/reiteration/revision of forgotten mnemonic phrases seems to be quite necessary.
That we all are eager to show our "understanding" is just the nature of the ego.
Jnana as such does certainly not need any discussion. So from the viewpoint of jnana many or most and ultimately all of the comments here may be redundant. But this blog is dedicated to discussing the philosophy and practice of the spiritual teachings of our sadguru, Bhagavan Sri Ramana. If you can't bear the "extreme redundancy of most of the comments here" you have the choice to refrain from visiting this blog.
Farewell.

maravadu said...

Michael,
"Why should we believe that that other realm or those other souls exist anywhere other than in our own mind?"
One can easily assume that the mind itself must be a vast basin filled with mental fabrications of all kinds. Some time or other we will have a flood. What (container) will then collect the overflowed masses of thoughts, ideas, concepts, fancies, assumptions, suppositions, theories, postulates, inferences, surmises, convictions, tenets, notions, views, beliefs, opinions, judgements, sentiments, conclusions, assessments, reflections, cogitations, considerations, speculations and ruminations ?
The ordainer will surely know what shall happen with them.

Salazar said...

Diogenes, thank you and noted. But do we have really a choice? Not according to Bhagavan, the only choice we have is to either identify with the so called actions and thoughts of a person-mind/body or not; therefore it is already preordained if we come or not come to this blog.

Yes, I really do not want to keep repeating that previous sentence....

Sanjay Lohia said...

The following extract is a rough transcript from the video: 2017-06-03 Sri Ramana Center, Houston: discussion with Michael James on Uḷḷadu Nāṟpadu verse 5 (1:13 to 1:18):

Devotee: Mind and ego, are they different?

Michael: Well, essentially, yes. As Bhagavan explains in v. 18 of Upadesa Undiyar …. He says, ‘Thoughts alone are the mind … of all the thoughts, the thought called ‘I’ is the root. Therefore, what is called the mind is ‘I’’.

Generally, we use the term ‘mind’ as a collective name for all thoughts, for all mental phenomena … but these thoughts is constantly changing. It’s is bit like saying, ‘All the water flowing in the river Ganga or Thames or whatever is river … but actually it is constantly flowing water. So what can we identify as river? We can identity its bed as the river, because the water is constantly changing. Similarly with mind: the mind is constantly changing. What is the bed of the mind? The bed of the mind is ‘I’. It is only ‘I’ who rises and thinks all these thoughts, who is aware of all these thoughts. That ‘I’ is the ego, the first thought called ‘I’, as Bhagavan calls it. So that is what the mind essentially is.

So thoughts are often uses as a collective term for all thoughts, for all phenomena, but what the mind essentially is is only the ego. So in most cases when Bhagavan is referring to the mind he is referring to the ego, but in some cases he is referring to other thoughts. So we have to understand from the context …

We can explain the same thing in another way: the mind consists of two aspects, the objective aspect and the subjective aspect. The objective aspect is all the mental phenomena that make up the mind – all the thoughts, feelings, emotions, perceptions, conceptions, beliefs, hopes, fears … all these mental phenomena are the objective aspect of the mind. They are all things that we experience - they are all seen, rather than the seer. But the seer is the one who is aware of all these mental phenomena - that is ‘I’. So that is the subjective aspect of the mind.

(I will continue this transcript in my next comment)



Sanjay Lohia said...

In continuation of my previous comment:

So whether the water is there or not in the river, the bed is there. In the case of mind it is not like this, because as other thoughts subside as in sleep, the ego ceases along with it. So the ego never exists without other thoughts. But the ego remains unchanging and thoughts are always changing so long as it is acting, but again it subsides back in sleep, so the ego is not permanent.

So essentially what the mind is, is only the ego. Bhagavan often used the term mind as a synonym for the ego.

maravadu said...

Sanjay Lohia,
"But the ego remains unchanging and thoughts are always changing so long as it is acting, but again it subsides back in sleep, so the ego is not permanent."
Is it not contradictory to say on the one hand that "the ego remains unchanging" and on the other hand that "the ego is not permanent" ?
Can a unreal phantom at all remain unchanging ? Is it not said that only reality is the unchanging immutable substratum of any/all change/mutation ?

Salazar said...

daisilui, you said and I quote: “I cannot be at the same time the ego and the Self; I cannot be a human, driven by fear and desire and the Self at the same time. As long as you are a human identified with your body-mind problems and issues, you're not the Self.”

I don’t think that this is correct. We are only Self, even when there is an identification with fear and desires. It is imperative to refuse to give that imagination of a body/mind any reality. Remember, that we are a body and mind with fears and desires is only an idea, an imagination, nothing else.

And fear and desires are Self too, they appear and disappear within Self. As is pain and pleasure, etc. Bhagavan experienced pain but it was no big deal for him because he did not reject it (because with rejection rise accompanying thought processes, I don’t like it, moan, moan, etc. which amplify that pain) since he recognized it as Him too.

So, no – we are ALWAYS Self, believing otherwise is refusing to see the rope and exclusively attend to the snake.

Diogenes said...

Salazar,
"And fear and desires are Self too, they appear and disappear within Self."
What appears and disappears within self cannot be the "Self too" but the ego because the self is said to be unmovable and unchangeable/unalterable.

Roger Isaacs said...

Well, this is very disconcerting. The advertising line "happiness of being" sounded great.

But now, it's clear that any "happiness of being" (happiness without dependence on an object) is really the anandamaya kosha (the bliss sheath). AND we are told that all the sheaths are an ultimately an illusion. In the Unmanifest (aka ajata), there can be no happiness or any qualities or characteristics of any kind.

The "happiness of being" line s "bait and switch" advertising!

It's just like when I heard about "The Democratic People's Republic of Korea (North Korea)". Wow, a democracy dedicated to the people, but of course N.K. is neither democratic nor a government for the people.

There should be a foot note: "Happiness of Being... is an illusion" .... or perhaps more specifically: "the non-happiness of complete non-existence".

Mouna said...

Roger, greetings

Real "happiness" (ananda), the one that is one with "being" (chit) and "existence" (sat), is not an illusion.
As I understand, "Happiness of Being" refers to that kind of happiness, not the one we mistakenly take, in our illusory existence, as pleasure.

Salazar said...

Diogenes, according to the sages they are Self too. That includes the ego.

That is not my direct experience (of course) and I am just parroting Jnanis. However it IS my experience that when I don't resist fear or pain (and don't engage into a train of thoughts about fear and pain) both sensations are actually no big deal. The tendency to resist is strong though and sometimes resistance still happens.

Salazar said...

Diogenes, there is no separation between Self and other phenomena. How could it be? There is only Self. That makes very much sense for me on a conceptual level.

Diogenes said...

Salazar,
my understanding of the mentioned issue can be expressed as a short stereotyped phrase:
according the sages the self includes the ego but is conceptual not the same even though the ego is in essence nothing other than self.
If the mind becomes extroverted it is the ego. In contrast - if the mind remains introverted and does not arise from its source then it is called the self.
Of course you are right in saying that there is only self and that "other phenomena" cannot therefore be separated from self. But the illusory ego cultivates its own wrong/limited view and mistakes itself for the self.

Salazar said...

Diogenes, you said "the Self includes the ego but is CONCEPTUALLY not the same". Huh?

Well, are we interested in CONCEPTS or in direct experience? If you want to immerse yourself in concepts, be my guest - however I am not interested in worthless sophistry.

Do you understand that the whole process you described is an IMAGINATION? A model of sorts but ultimately nonsense? There is actually no cultivation, how can something illusory cultivate anything?

Summa iru



Roger Isaacs said...

Hi Mouna,
I hope you are well. Thanks, I did not consider SatChitAnanda with regard to the "sheaths".

For me... the 5 or 7 sheaths, 3 bodies etc.. are very useful for contemplation.

In my evolving opinion (and your's will probably be different):

Quoting Michael: "ajāta vāda is the contention that no creation has ever occurred even as an illusory appearance"

Ajata (Sat) is so pure that it does NOT admit happiness, ananda, or transcendental love. That is why "sat" is semantically distinct from "ananda": they are entirely different.

This is the fascinating quality of Being as the triad of Sat-Chit-Ananda: this definition includes both Sat (Ajata the unmanifest) AND manifest creation (Ananda) together. "Being" is both the pure unmanifest and the manifest creation. Manifest creation seems to be typically considered on this blog as only an illusion.

Love (ananda, bliss, happiness) is "a" (or "the") finest quality of manifest creation... but Love is only seen IN EXISTENCE, there is no place for Love/Happiness in Ajata (out of existence).

This is why I find it humorous that Michael would call his work "happiness of Being" because his whole approach is intently focused towards unmanifest creation (Ajata): no body, no world in awareness (and hence no happiness or love or ananda).

Mouna said...

Hello Roger, hoping you also wellness and… happiness. :)

I think there are some concepts displayed in your posting that we don’t seem to understand in the same way.
I’ll try to explain my point of view.

First of all, we are dealing with concepts here, and all concepts are of the mind, I think we agreed on that.
We need to consider those concepts as pointers, not as descriptions, since brahman or even ajata cannot be fully described with words.

Ajata is not sat, literally speaking “ajata" means “unborn/uncreated” while “sat” means pure existence. You might say that they are the same in some way and I would agree with that in part but those concepts actually serve to point out different things.
Ajata is a metaphysical and philosophical point of view about the ultimate reality, the last level after shrishti-drishti and vivarta.
Sat is, with chit and ananda, the essence of brahman, and even if they point to different aspects (existence, awareness, bliss or peace) they are one and the same, inseparable from each other.

Manifest creation is a projection of ego, is not “being", appears to “be”, but is not, so the only “being" it has is ignorance and illusory existence (no “sat”)

Love is not “ananda”, in common parlance it is just another expresion of the ego. Ananda is bliss the sense of fulfillment and peace, absolute peace, like the one we experience in deep sleep where there are no others, no problems, pain, suffering, but borderless peace full of existence and awareness..

This is my take on these words, and I invite friends to correct me if wrong.
These words they all have specific meanings, some wider than others, so we can’t extrapolate them randomly without risking confusion.

So I still think that “Happiness of Being” refers to the limitless and pure happiness (ananda) that we really are when we realize who or what we really are (being/sat)

Thanks,
Be well,
m

daisilui said...

Diogenes
"But to investigate to whom any illusory happiness comes is just a classical case to which self-investigation is necessarily applicable."

'classical case'? well, not in my case... i'd rather let happiness be without linking it to a cause or identifying with a receptor. This way, the elements that make it an illusion disappear. Every day i can find plenty of opportunities of 'no happiness' for self-investigation if i really need to go there...

daisilui said...

Salazar, you said:
"We are only Self, even when there is an identification with fear and desires. It is imperative to refuse to give that imagination of a body/mind any reality. Remember, that we are a body and mind with fears and desires is only an idea, an imagination, nothing else."

you have taken this out of the context so here's the context again: i replied to N Himal's "What has vanished is only your attention to it. Then your attention was driven out ot displaced by your forgetfulness. So you are always and uninterruptedly the self if unveiled or veiled..." saying:

\\Does the Self need to have attention/who has attention, who is forgetting what?! i cannot be at the same time the ego and the Self; i cannot be a human, driven by fear and desire and the Self at the same time. As long as you are a human identified with your body-mind problems and issues, you're not the Self [even if there is clear intellectual understanding about what the Self is]. There's only one choice- be this or that but not both.

Being is incompatible with doing and mixing up these concepts, i.e. that the doing happens in the being, is a whiny way of the ego to make some allowance for its existence [like the wave and the ocean, the cloud and the sky...- there are no waves and no clouds!] A clear understanding of what the Self is helps but abiding in the Self is when the proverbial rubber hits the road, so to speak... But who wishes to abide in the Self, anyway?! Is that the Self?! No, it is the ego!//

The point i tried to make was related to ongoing mixing up of the doer with the Self in these discussions, attempting to find a connection between the two. The ego [i.e. in this case the one who directs attention to the Self hoping to become the Self by effort- of attention] cannot ever become anything other than what it is- a phantom that comes into existence and prevails by grasping form, through attention. The life of the ego may improve through these doings, the person may become a wise person but that has nothing to do with Being. Self-investigation is a good practice for the mind to quiet itself, at a certain stage but, as you say "It is imperative to refuse to give that imagination of a body/mind any reality" although thoughts may continue to come [in fact i think i am saying pretty much the same thing in my second paragraph]. To me this is a different stage but stages are still of the relative [unreality] as, in truth, there are no stages at all in simply being

R Viswanathan said...

"First of all, we are dealing with concepts here, and all concepts are of the mind,"

I give below the reply I got from Sri Robert Butler (who translated in English Bhagavan's teachings in the form of many books). Very beneficial for all Bhagavan devotees, I would think.


Dear Viswanathan

You say:

<< if you can formulate your conceptual understanding of what truly exists...>>

Concepts are purely of the mind of course. I can only echo what Bhagavan advises. When thoughts arise, trace them back to their source in the sense of being, the 'I'. Then see if these questions arise. We must perforce abandon all our conceptual understandings, however grand, or we will descend into the territory described by Bhagavan in Ulladu Narpadu 25:

உருப்பற்றி உண்டாம். உருப்பற்றி நிற்கும்.
உருப்பற்றி உண்டு மிக ஓங்கும். உரு விட்டு
உரு பற்றும். தேடினால் ஓட்டம் பிடிக்கும்
உரு அற்ற பேய் அகந்தை ஓர்.

It is hard indeed for us to abandon the search for 'reality' with the aid of the mind. This of course is the meaning of surrender, and the explanation of how surrender and vichara, in the end, are the same thing.

Best Regards

Robert

Diogenes said...

Salazar,
we agree that concepts do good service provided that they are correct. That means that concepts at least should come near to direct experience.
Yes, the whole projecting process of the ego is only imagination.
The illusory character of the ego is just brought to light by its simulating of false facts. The ego is a perfect champion in pretending to truth.

Diogenes said...

daisilui,
you surely admit that "letting happiness be without linking it to a cause or identifying with a receptor" happens to the ego. According to Bhagavan we should try incessantly to investigate from what source the ego seems to arise.

Diogenes said...

R Viswanathan,
could you please translate in English which territory Bhagavan described in U.N. 25 ?

Diogenes said...

daisilui,
to amplify what has been said :
if in your case your happiness flows from pure awareness you might remain there forever in the light of just being.

R Viswanathan said...

"could you please translate in English which territory Bhagavan described in U.N. 25 ?"

I would think that Sri Robert Butler meant the territory of ego (rising by clinging onto something and getting nourished, too, by clinging onto something or the other - concepts) when he stated that we must perforce abandon all our conceptual understandings, however grand, or we will descend into the territory described by Bhagavan in Ulladu Narpadu 25.

I find that Sri Michael James has this to say about Ulladhu Narpadhu verses 25 and 24 ia an old article (http://happinessofbeing.blogspot.in/2009/06/ulladu-narpadu-explanatory-paraphrase.html.):

In verse 25 he describes this false ‘I’ as உருவற்ற பேய் அகந்தை (uru-v-atra pey ahandai), the ‘formless ghost-ego’, and says that it comes into existence by grasping form (that is, by attaching itself to a body), endures by grasping form (that is, by attending to thoughts or perceptions of a seemingly external world), feeds and grows (flourishes or expands) abundantly by grasping form, and having left one form it grasps another form. That is, since this ego has no form (no finite and separate existence) of its own, it can seemingly come into existence and endure only when we imagine ourself to be the form of a body, and it flourishes when we attend to any form (anything that appears to be separate from ourself).

Having thus explained how this ‘I’ rises, endures and flourishes, he explains how it can be destroyed, saying தேடினால் ஓட்டம் பிடிக்கும் (tedinal ottam pidikkum), which literally means ‘if [we] seek [search, investigate, examine or scrutinise it], it will take flight’. That is, since this ego is a ‘formless ghost’ and since it can therefore rise and endure only by ‘grasping form’, when it tries to ‘grasp’ (or attend to) itself, which is not a form, it will subside and disappear.

In verse 24 he begins by reiterating the truth that this non-conscious body does not say ‘I’, and then he says that being-consciousness (sat-chit) does not rise (appear or come into existence), but that in between being-consciousness and this non-conscious body one ‘I’ rises as the ‘measure’ of this body (that is, a spurious consciousness ‘I’ rises as ‘I am this body’, assuming the boundaries of bodily existence, being confined within the limits of time and space). This false ‘I’, he says, is chit-jada-granthi (the knot that binds together consciousness and the non-conscious), bondage, the soul, the ‘subtle body’, the ego, the mind and this samsara (‘wandering’, the state of incessant activity, passing through one dream-life after another).

Diogenes said...

R Viswanathan,
many thanksy for your detailed and fully informative reply.
Arunachala.

Diogenes said...

Because the ego will not voluntarily choose to end its extremely disastrous stay/residence we have to try to force the ego as often as possible in an awkward position in which it finds itself compelled to take flight. Only to put a prohibitive sign ("ego is not permitted to remain in this area between being-consciousness and this non-conscious body") is not sufficient because the ego certainly would ignore this sign with a look of impertinent disdain. Therefore persistent self-investigation is the best weapon in this merciless fight.

Diogenes said...

'Guru Vachaka Kovai', verse 99:
The world does not exist apart from the body; the
body does not exist apart from the mind; the mind
does not exist apart from Consciousness; and
Consciousness does not exist apart from Self, which
is Existence.
Sadhu Om:
Therefore it can be concluded that everything is
Self, and that nothing but Self exists.

Sanjay Srivastava said...

To many people this may seem trivial, but to me it looks very important. I do not remember ever having a dream where my character was not present. I don't think it can be a mere coincidence. Just wondering if anyone here has ever experienced a dream where his character was not present? Or is there any logical impossibility in having a dream where ones own character is absent?

beyond night and day said...

Sanjay Srivastava,
if I understand your description rightly then this case is very plain.
Because the mind is the only dreamer it is quite naturally that the ego's character is always present in dream.

Roger Isaacs said...

Hi Mouna,

Regarding your statement "Manifest creation is a projection of ego...". This is the basic teaching here: no ego... then no body or world. I don't understand it.

This seems like good advice for a style of meditation seeking nirvikalpa-samadhi (no awareness of body or world). But it does NOT appear to work as a general philosophy.

If the body and world are a projection of the ego, then Bhagavan had an ego because he certainly had a body in the world.

If the body and world are a projection of the ego, then Bhagavan was either temporarily not enlightened when he was active in the world speaking & teaching & eating.. or he was not enlightened at all.

How do you understand this issue?

If the body & world are projections of the ego.... then no enlightened person could ever exist in the world, no enlightened person would ever be able to speak and act in the world. We would not know about enlightenment because nobody could speak of it!

Regarding the original issue:
I experience profound well-being in deep meditation. This well-being is unshakable, profound, totally encompassing, sort of like the full midday sun in a warm room after you've been out freezing in bitter cold weather. But... when the attention goes to a subtler level of "no body, no world" the well-being vanishes along with awareness of the body & world. So my "well-being" seems to be associated with manifest creation, it is not the "happiness of being" that is described here which is said to be known in the state "no body, no world". So... there is opportunity for me to contemplate further. I'm trying to understand my experience with respect to ancient descriptions.

R Viswanathan said...

"I experience profound well-being in deep meditation......
I'm trying to understand my experience with respect to ancient descriptions."

Please see whether you get some help from this old post of Sri David Godman, in which he made a statement: "Such experiences may be mediated through a still-existing latent ‘I’-thought, but even so, they are always impressive when they happen."

http://sri-ramana-maharshi.blogspot.in/2008/09/glimpses-of-self.html

tortoise rock said...

Roger Isaacs,
"So... there is opportunity for me to contemplate further. I'm trying to understand my experience with respect to ancient descriptions."
It seems you in the mean time could grasp that there's always something [new] to learn. Yes, take the opportunity to go deeper in your contemplation and investigate further to whom appears that "profound well-being in deep meditation".
Regarding Bhagavan's body:
1. born by the projection of his ego: 1879
2. dissolution of his ego: July 1896 with maintenance of the at that time projected body
3. 1950 take off his body
Please note that generally the reach of the mind's considerations is limited, all the more as jnana is concerned.

Sanjay Srivastava said...

"If the body and world are a projection of the ego, then Bhagavan had an ego because he certainly had a body in the world."
This argument is not correct.
Bhagavan had a body in my perception. So it was a projection of my ego.
We do not know about Bhagavan's perception.
In fact, I always experience only my perception. Entire world including Bhagavan is a projection of my ego.

Mouna said...

Sanjayji, greetings

"In fact, I always experience only my perception. Entire world including Bhagavan is a projection of my ego."

I was thinking in answering Roger but you took the words out of my mouth as we say, I couldn't have put it better and more concise.

But I do have a small commentary about the wording you used.
Sanjay doesn't have "an ego", ego (the only one that seemingly exists) has "a Sanjay"...

svatma-bhakti said...

Sanjay Srivastava,
"Entire world including Bhagavan is a projection of my ego."
If your statement is true which lesson shall we learn from that remark ?

tortoise rock said...

Sanjay Srivastava,
"We do not know about Bhagavan's perception."
I I remember correctly Bhagavan told us that he lost his body-consciousness after July 1896.

svatma-bhakti said...

Roger Isaacs,
"If the body and world are a projection of the ego, then Bhagavan was either temporarily not enlightened when he was active in the world speaking & teaching & eating.. or he was not enlightened at all."
Bhagavan was indeed not enlightened - because he is the light of jnana itself.

daisilui said...

svatma-bhakti

"Entire world including Bhagavan is a projection of my ego."
If your statement is true which lesson shall we learn from that remark?

i'd firstly say that this is more than just a remark... it is a fundamental truth [in the relative realm though...] that seems to be ignored quite often in discussions around here.

Just look at your own experience- does the world exist outside your perception [of it]? Anybody or anything, including Bhagavan? If you agree that this is not the case, the next question would be- 'where does it come from, i.e.the world/the perception]?' Well, does anything exist if you don't give your attention to it [give it a name]? So it appears that you're the cause of the world by projecting all this and identifying with some of its components .

So i'd suggest that one of the lessons you could to learn from this 'remark', as you call it, would be- never mind others, look at [your]self, learn what you need to know from your own experience/test what others are saying about anything [if you decide to mind them...].

Perhaps Sanjay could add to this or have a different opinion- don't trust him though, [and me neither] :)

svatma-bhakti said...

daisilui,
according to Bhagavan's recommendation I do not believe what I do not know.
With kind regards.

Sanjay Srivastava said...

"If I remember correctly Bhagavan told us that he lost his body-consciousness after July 1896."

Still we have access to his words only, which are part of our world.
There is no way to access anyone else experience.

Roger Isaacs said...

The jargon "no ego, no world, no body" is not true from all viewpoints. Certainly this is not true from the point of view of bystanders, nor is it true from Sahaja Samadhi which integrates activity in the world without loss of Samadhi. Obviously from the viewpoint of other people Bhagavan continued to exist as a body and interact in the world. So the jargon creates confusion. I've have heard some here express deep concern that if they advance spiritually their body and world might disappear.

A clearer explanation can be understood by diving into Michael's discussion of the sheaths or koshas above.

The human is expressed as 5 koshas or sheaths. The outer most sheath is the physical body or food sheath. Those of us in duality consciousness have our awareness almost totally confined to this sheath.

Michael is quoted above as saying "all five sheaths must be present to experience the world". Clearly Bhagavan experienced the world.... so all 5 sheaths must have been present. BUT... unlike those whose awareness is confined to the food sheath... Bhagavan is established in the higher sheaths (and beyond). So... from that perspective, Bhagavan had lost "body consciousness / food sheath consciousness" in a sense... but his food sheath physical body is still present but as a remnant, a distant shadow instead of locked in the foreground of awareness.

By definition, when Bhagavan says he has "lost body consciousness" it is a body in the world is speaking these words!

The "no ego, no body, no world" makes sense from the style of meditation seeking nirvikalpa-samadhi which by definition is literally "no body, no world" in awareness. But is does not makes sense as a general philosophy without further clarification.

Michael seems to assume that "no ego, no body, no world" is the only effective style of meditation simply because that's all that Bhagavan wrote or spoke about in the early works. And "no ego, no body, no world" occurs in sitting meditation. You'd better not be driving a car or operating machinery when the body and world disappear. :-)
That would be even worse than texting while driving.

But Bhagavan is more liberal: Godman quotes Bhagavan saying that both nirvikalpa-samadhi (no world, no body) AND savikalpa-samadhi (transcendence during waking state consciousness) lead directly to liberation (or "enlightenment" or Sahaja or whatever term as no concept is sufficient).

So, we can pursue subjective inquiry all the time, even during waking activity.

Realization of "no ego, no body, no world" does not necessarily by itself deliver total freedom.
No matter how deep you go into "no ego, no body, no world"... while you are alive in a body... you MUST come out, for example to eat. Sahaja Samadhi integrates permanent all the time natural Samadhi with awareness of apparent body & world AND "no body, no world".

tortoise rock said...

Sanjay Srivastava,
"Still we have access to his words only, which are part of our world."
Is it not said that Bhagavan in his real essence is our own true nature to which direct "access" is possible by permanent preventing us from rising as this ego.
Our world-experience is just the result of the embarrassing rising of the ego.

svatma-bhakti said...

Roger Isaacs,
"The jargon "no ego, no world, no body" is not true from all viewpoints."
The reason is that by taking jnana as our model/standard of truth not all viewpoints are true.

svatma-bhakti said...

Roger Isaacs,
"Realization of "no ego, no body, no world" does not necessarily by itself deliver total freedom."
Total freedom from ignorance is not a matter of delivery. Deliverance from ignorance
may result from humble and persistent self-investigation.

svatma-bhakti said...

Roger Isaacs,
"Sahaja Samadhi integrates permanent all the time natural Samadhi with awareness of apparent body & world AND "no body, no world"."
Only by trying it out you will know whether your assumption/idea/picture of Sahaja Samadhi is true.

Noob said...

From the viewpoint of my friend with whom I had a chat during my dream, the dream world for surely existed as we discussed certain matters relevant to that world, I bet he was surprised when I woke up....

Michael James said...

Sanjay, in answer to your question, ‘Are the terms ‘body’ and ‘person’ synonymous?’, what we call a person is a body composed of five sheaths: namely a physical body along with the life, mind and intellect functioning in it, all of which collectively seem to be oneself because of one’s underlying self-ignorance, which is therefore the fundamental sheath that gives rise to and supports the appearance of the other four.

As explained by Bhagavan in the first two sentences of verse 5 of Uḷḷadu Nāṟpadu, ‘உடல் பஞ்ச கோச உரு. அதனால், ஐந்தும் ‘உடல்’ என்னும் சொல்லில் ஒடுங்கும்’ (uḍal pañca kōśa uru. adaṉāl, aindum ‘uḍal’ eṉṉum sollil oḍuṅgum), ‘The body is a form of five sheaths. Therefore all five are included in the term body’, when he uses the term ‘body’ he is referring collectively to all these five sheaths (body, life, mind, intellect and self-ignorance), because whenever we experience ourself as a body, that body is always one that is living and functioning with a mind and intellect, and it seems to be ourself because we (as this ego) are self-ignorant

Therefore if we understand the term ‘body’ in the sense in which Bhagavan uses it, then yes, it is synonymous with the term ‘person’. However, the term ‘body’ is often used in more limited sense to refer only the physical form, such as when we say that after death it is customary to bury or cremate the body, so when it is used in that sense it is not synonymous with the term ‘person’. Therefore we have to understand from the context in which sense the term ‘body’ is being used and whether or not is it therefore synonymous with the term ‘person’.

Sanjay Lohia said...

Sir, I thank you for this clarification.

Vilcomayo said...

Michael,
"...all of which collectively seem to be oneself because of one’s underlying self-ignorance, which is therefore the fundamental sheath that gives rise to and supports the appearance of the other four."
Am I wrong in assuming that the fifth sheath is the most subtle of all the five sheaths ?
I conclude that therefore the ego too consists of the mentioned five sheaths. When it is said that in dreamless (deep) sleep the ego does not exist or vanishes may we infer that all the five sheaths in deep sleep have vanished along with the ego ?

Roger Isaacs said...

Hi Svatma-Bhakti,
We seem to have a similar perspective.

Your earlier comment is perfect: "according to Bhagavan's recommendation I do not believe what I do not know"
Buddha and many others have said something similar.

Regarding discussion about the limitations of concepts and language.
Imagine that you are eating a strawberry sitting with a friend who has never tasted a strawberry. How can you transfer the taste essence of the strawberry to your friend using language? It is totally impossible, language and concepts are extremely limiting. We can just hand the strawberry to our friend and tell him to take a bite. BUT, when it comes the subtler subjective reality... concepts and language (ie any guru or teacher or teaching) can only point vaguely, concepts and language are extremely unreliable.

Next story:The parable of the blind men and the elephant is useful: I may be holding the elephants ear and announce that an elephant is like a fan, someone else has their arms around the elephants leg and says that an elephant is like a tree. People have different temperaments, different backgrounds, different cultures, all of this results in our seeing different aspects of the elephant. This parable is from the Jain tradition and the doctrine of Anekantavada ("Not One"):
https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Anekantavada
Basically it says that reality is very complex, multisided and always changing and therefore no single philosophy, teacher, Master, or doctrine could ever adequately describe reality. Although, this does not necessarily mean that all doctrines are true, nor does it mean that Anekantavada is true either. I love it: a philosophy which includes the assumption that it might not be correct.

Therefore, I believe that the only real truth, only real authority is within. External authority may provide useful ideas for contemplation but are at the most just suggestions.

Although of course almost always I am right! (ha, that was a joke).

svatma-bhakti said...

Roger Isaacs,hi,
1. "BUT, when it comes the subtler subjective reality... concepts and language (ie any guru or teacher or teaching) can only point vaguely, concepts and language are extremely unreliable."
The teaching of a sadguru does not "point only vaguely" but directs very directly to the right direction. However the ability to distinguish of our ego is extremely unreliable.
2. "Basically it says that reality is very complex, multisided and always changing and therefore no single philosophy, teacher, Master, or doctrine could ever adequately describe reality."
To that statement one might counter that reality as such is very simple and unchangeable. What is complex, multisided and always changing is our view or perception of reality.
When Bhagavan had no objection that we follow the philosophy of Vedanta as a guiding principle we should with a clear conscience have confidence to it.
3. "Therefore, I believe that the only real truth, only real authority is within. External authority may provide useful ideas for contemplation but are at the most just suggestions."
Yes, it is said that Brahman is inside. But in order to be fully aware of that inner truth we should not overlook the importance to exhaust that high-quality "suggestions" which are given only for the sake of acting according them.
4. "I love it: a philosophy which includes the assumption that it might not be correct."
Our ego always naturally tries to escape to hold on to a true philosophy.

Sanjay Lohia said...

The following extracts are taken from the video: 2017-06-10 Ramana Maharshi Foundation UK: discussion with Michael James on ‘God is love’. I found these portions worth reflecting upon, and therefore the following transcripts (which are not so accurate) will help me (and perhaps others also) in such reflection:

1 Devotee: There is a quotation from Nisargadatta Maharaj: ‘Wisdom teaches me that I am nothing, and love teaches me that I am everything …'

Michael: As the ego we are nothing; as brahman we are everything … we are everything because we are the only thing … everything doesn’t mean many things. Bhagavan says in Nan Yar: ‘What actually exists is only atma-svarupa’ … the real form of ourself.

2) We are never satisfied, are we? We always have desires – that is what is meant by dukha. Buddha said embodied existence is dukha. Dukha is usually translated as ‘suffering’, but more accurately it means ‘a state of discomfort’. We are all ill at ease; we are not completely relaxed. Some desire or fear is always niggling us.

So long as we exist as this ego, we can never be satisfied. Sri Ramakrishna Paramhamsa said: ‘that is the proof that you are Brahman’ … because we cannot be satisfied by whatever we achieve. Even if we have all the wealth in world, have all the pleasures in the world, we will still be dissatisfied, because we cannot be satisfied with anything less than what we actually are.

Because we are infinite and whatever else we achieve is only finite, we can never be satisfied with what is finite. Even the satisfaction we feel is only the finite satisfaction, which itself is a type of dissatisfaction.

3) So there is no short-cut, because what can be nearer to us than ourself. So how can we take a short-cut back to ourself. We just to have to look at ourself as we actually are. No short-cut is possible, and no alternative route is possible. If you want to see the sun, you have got to look at the sun – it is simple as that.




Como Lönzo said...

Sanjay Lohia,
indeed dissatisfaction and disappointment drive us the most to seek our true nature.
The quoted quotation of Paramahamsa Sri Ramakrishna's is actually very true.

Sanjay Lohia said...

The following extract is also taken from the video: 2017-06-10 Ramana Maharshi Foundation UK: discussion with Michael James on ‘God is love’:

When usually someone said to Bhagavan that they were going, Bhagavan would usually nod or say, ‘yes’, but when Tinnai Swami asked for Bhagavan’s permission to leave, Bhagavan said: Iru. Iru simply means ‘be’, or in normal usage it means ‘wait’ … because Tinnai Swami was obviously a very-very ripe soul and having read Bhagavan he was already practicing very deeply, when Bhagavan said, Iru, that was enough to annihilate his ego then and there. After that his behaviour because strange … he was just going around begging his food, his hair grew, he was living in rags …

Bhagavan had swallowed his ego, and from then onwards he lived as a sadhu … he looked crazy by normal standards … but that one word Iru Bhagavan said to him … So sometimes one word from Bhagavan is sufficient, but why is it sufficient? Because that was the last push … he was already trying to turn within … that one word was the last push within.

There were people whose egos were annihilated in Bhagavan’s presence, but it was not because of Bhagavan’s presence … Bhagavan’s physical presence may have had a driving effect, but so many people who lived with Bhagavan for 40-50 years, and they still had big egos. Bhagavan said just like the shadow at the foot of the lamp never moves away, there are people who spend their whole life at the feet of jnana-guru, but the darkness of their ignorance never diminishes.

That doesn’t mean that living in Bhagavan’s presence was useless. Those people would have been benefited, but the benefit wasn’t obvious to outsiders. I have known people who were with Bhagavan … who even after so many years with Bhagavan ... after Bhagavan left his body … they still had very-very big egos. Because of their immaturity it will take time for that effect to fructify.

So we shouldn’t think that we will get ‘self-realisation’ by just being in Bhagavan’s physical presence. Bhagavan says, ‘Those who come under the glance of guru will surely be saved and never be forsaken’. After saying that he says, ‘However, it is necessary to follow unfailingly the path shown by the guru’. The path shown by the guru is to turn the mind within. So unless we do that even Bhagavan cannot save us. Bhagavan will not save us until we turn our attention within, because unless we are willing, Bhagavan isn’t going to force jnana upon us. We have to be willing to accept it.

In order to receive Bhagavan’s guidance what we have to do? Very simple: we have to turn within.

Chomo Lönzo said...

Sanjay Lohia,
thank you again for your transcript.
"‘However, it is necessary to follow unfailingly the path shown by the guru’.
The path shown by the guru is to turn the mind within.
So unless we do that even Bhagavan cannot save us.
Bhagavan will not save us until we turn our attention within, because unless we are willing, Bhagavan isn’t going to force jnana upon us. We have to be willing to accept it."

What shall we do in case that we have evidently difficulty in turning the mind/attention within and have not already that required willing ?
At most we can pray for it. Would such a pray help in anyway ?

Chomo Lönzo said...

Sanjay Lohia,
at my visits at Arunachala I regularly visit the samadhi-shrines of Sadhu Om and of Sri Tinnai Swami which are next door to each other. Mentioned Sri Tinnai Swami seems to have lived a quite extraordinary inner life. Presumably he was really a very "ripe soul".

daisilui said...

"I do not believe what I do not know"

How can you believe something that you know?!

svatma-bhakti said...

daisilui,
I said only that "I do not believe what I do not know".
As you seem to assume - as an argument from the contrary - I do not doubt what I know or at least believe to know - provided that I can come to have trust in it.
Besides "knowing something" is no contradiction to believe something. Believe means also to accept that something is true. So to believe that one's experience is true so long it is not disproved (as being wrong) is not quite out of the ordinary. On the contrary it is not at all an exceptional case.
Smile.

daisilui said...

svatma-bhakti
we may have a different understanding of logic here- to me believing is not knowing and vice-versa; they are mutually exclusive. In my maternal language knowing and believing are not interchangeable; there is a clear distinction between the two. The expression 'i beleive' implies trust without proof/accepting something as true without certainty [which is obtained by knowing] or supposing something. Sometimes it is also used when there is certainty but only to avoid directness, which in some parts of the world is not appreciated, but that's a different matter.

Knowledge is that which is obtained either indirectly/intellectually by learning, e.g., the laws of physics and mathematics, or directly either by observation/experiment [through the senses] or by being [like in 'i am'].

Atheists deny the existence of God based on the lack of proof; they say 'i only believe it when i see it'. 'Seeing it' does not require belief but observation...

Anyways, not a biggie... as it doesn't really matter :)

Sanjay Lohia said...

Chomo Lonzo, Yes, if we have difficulty in turning within, which obviously most of us have, we can resort to prayer to Bhagavan or Arunachala (which are one and the same). Bhagavan has thought this by example through his heart-melting poems in Sri Arunachala Stuti Panchakam.

The question is not prayers, but what should we pray for? As Michael has been emphasizing, we should only pray for the annihilation of our ego or for Jnana. We should pray for more and more love for Bhagavan, for more and more help in turning with.

Such prayers will surely bear fruit, because by such prayers we are channeling our love for self-investigation. Thus such selfless prayers or pleas will accelerate our inward journey and therefore are quite useful, especially to those who are by nature more attracted to devotional practices.

Roger Isaacs said...

Hi Sanjay and all,

What is the best role of "belief" in the spiritual quest? I can imagine that this might vary widely among people of different temperaments. But Bhagavan suggested a "direct" way. If there is direct experience or a definite way to direct experience... then why the need for "belief" at all?

Seems like there is a great danger of become enamored with belief which is just a pattern of thought and can keep the attention on the level of surface level thought. I am thinking of the Christian religion (and others) which became fixated on their beliefs: separating people into believers versus non-believers and persecution of non-believers.

Sanjay, Michael has commented on the subtly of "Who am I?" (although I don't remember exactly what he said). Basically, a silent wordless thoughtless inquiry is more powerful than literally thinking internally "WHO AM I?"

Perhaps the same might work for prayer. So... rather than construct a prayer of specific thoughts, or internally thinking a specific request, is it possible to simply feel at a deep level love for Bhagavan? Wordless and very subtle, it can be done anytime. Is it possible to just melt into this, surrender into it?

Or... some schools introduce a specific thought/prayer, BUT... then go back to silence for 15-30 seconds to attentive awareness before introducing the thought again. But then.... I am not an official adviser. I am a heretic as you know. :-)

Bhagavan says:
The life of action need not be renounced. If you will meditate for an hour or two every day, you can then carry on with your duties. If you meditate in the right manner, then the current of mind induced will continue to flow even in the midst of your work..."

Bhagavan continues: The current induced during meditation can be kept up by habit, by practicing to do so. Then one can perform his work and activities in that very current itself; there will be no break. Thus, too, there will be no difference between meditation and external activities."

Do people here actually meditate for and hour or two every day? Setting aside time to give up all thinking and emotional activity of the mind to go deeper into silent inquiry?

I believe (ha) that actually doing self inquiry (in some way) is infinitely more beneficial than either belief or philosophic speculation.

Sanjay Lohia said...

Roger, if we believe in Bhagavan words and try to follow his teachings, we should doubt everything: we should doubt whether or not this world actually exists; we should doubt whether or not there is God separate from us; we should even doubt the one who doubts. Thus as Michael often reminds us, Bhagavan’s path is the path of radical skepticism. Yes, we should believe what Bhagavan says, but such belief is not absolutely necessary to our practice of self-investigation.

‘Who am I’ enquiry entails a wordless and thoughtless self-investigation, and thus we need not use verbal or mental thoughts such as ‘who am I’? We can use such verbal reminders to a very limited extent, but these are not strictly necessary.

When we feel a deep sense of love for Bhagavan (towards the name or form of Bhagavan or towards the real Bhagavan in the core of our heart) that itself is a mighty prayer. The more we love Bhagavan the more we will attend to him, and such attention is our spiritual practice. We may call it ‘self-investigation’ or ‘prayer’, in its core these terms means the same. Again what is real surrender? It is to surrender our ego to the real Bhagavan within, and this can only be done by self-attentiveness.

Should we meditate at fixed times every day or mediate as and when we feel like doing so? In the beginning we may set aside some fixed time every day, but this fixed time meditation may not be very useful in the long run. Whenever we get some free time we should try and turn our attention towards ourself. Suppose if I take a long-haul flight from India to London. This flight may be of 9 or 10 hours. Do I really need to think anything during this flight which may be of immediate importance? It is unlikely, so why not just spend these 9 to 10 hours mainly in self-contemplation. This is just an example.

Of course we should try and meditate more deeply and more exclusively at times, but such exclusive meditation need not be at fixed times every day.

Yes, doing self-investigation is definitely much more useful and efficacious that any philosophical discussion, but discussing and thinking about Bhagavan’s teachings is also extremely useful – especially as an powerful aid to our self-enquiry. We cannot be mediating the whole day and therefore the second best thing we can do after self-meditation is to read, think and discuss about Bhagavan’s teachings. This is why this blog is so useful, because it gives us a wonderful platform to understand Bhagavan’s teachings with increasing clarity. Such clarity about the path will aid our practice.




svatma-bhakti said...

daisilui,
no matter,the meaning of the English verb 'believe' is actually diverse and depends on the context in which it is used. Admittedly I knew in which sense your question was put.
But I was anyhow in the cheerful mood for joking and wanted just to wriggle out of giving a serious answer. Please do not be cross with me about that.
May I guess your maternal language ? Presumably It is an Indogermanic language, maybe an Roman or Slavic language. Perhaps is it Romanian or Czech ?
I promise next time I will try to reply seriously.

Chomo Lönzo said...

Sanjay Lohia,
thank you for your encouraging answer. Because I take a personal interest in turning the mind within I suffer from the fact that my attempts to practise self-investigation are often not very promising. So I resort to sincer prayer to Arunachala that it may happen that I can go down into the deepest depth of the/my heart.

Chomo Lönzo said...

Roger Isaacs,
direct experience of our real nature may quite well be possible through persistent self-investigation. But in case of slow success at one's practice of self-enquiry one must have belief that one is on the right track.

Chomo Lönzo said...

Sanjay Lohia,
to cultivate a deep love to be what we really are demands to surrender our ego to the real Bhagavan in us. But to be able to surrender the ego totally to our real nature there should be already that love for surrender as a prerequisite. So let us become willing to get free from all delusion of a separated ego.
Arunachala.

Salazar said...

Sanjay Lohia, I have enjoyed most of your contributions, however I don't share your opinion and I quote “but discussing and thinking about Bhagavan’s teachings is also extremely useful – especially as an powerful aid to our self-enquiry [...] the second best thing we can do after self-meditation is to read, think and discuss about Bhagavan’s teachings”.

I don't believe that one can judge one mental activity as “better” or more “spiritual” than another. That is the ego talking. In fact, “thinking” or discussing about Bhagavan's teaching is as good or as bad as i.e. watching a ball game. Both activities will not yield Self-realization nor be an aid to it.

That one can increasingly better understand Bhagavan's teaching through the mind is part of Maya. Because one can not.

Therefore there is no “second best thing” after vichara/surrender. Sadhu Om suggested to pray to Bhagavan in times of mental turmoil, Annamalai Swami suggested to affirm “I am Self” when vichara/surrender doesn't seem possible.

Both activities are way better (as an alternative to vichara) to use the mind than anything else. Discussing and reading is a waste of time, however that will be only realized after the mind has exhausted its desire to discuss and accumulate concepts.

Vicente Peneda said...

Salazar,
"Discussing and reading is a waste of time, however that will be only realized after the mind has exhausted its desire to discuss and accumulate concepts."
You may be right in stating above conception which is only your personal view.
Judging the view of others is just mental activity.
What gain do you derive from breeding inflexible opinions ?

Salazar said...

Vincente, what gain do YOU derive from breeding inflexible responses? ;-)

You say "just mental activity": Contrary to all of the other comments on this forum? LOL

Roger Isaacs said...

Chomo Lonzo says "...in case of slow success at one's practice of self-enquiry one must have belief that one is on the right track..."

"Belief" about spiritual practice has the danger of being a mental idea without real substance. Experimentation, practice and intelligent analysis of results are required.

Perhaps more than "belief" it is also a matter of confidence or determination? Perhaps "slow success" at self-enquiry is an indication that a practice should be supplemented with other techniques? Why are results "slow"? Are results "slow" or "no results at all"?

The "scientific method" makes more sense and in this case no beliefs need be assumed. Choose something that appears good , do it, and see if the results are promising. If results are not good... why not? And always keep an open ear & mind for improvements. It seems that the inner guide or environment will often supply improvements as they are needed.

This is deeply moving and a bit disturbing to hear that multiple people are committed to this path... and yet frustrated because results are difficult to attain.

Bhagavan is teaching a graduate level course. "Who am I?" sounds simple and convincing but to get a focused, flowing continuous attention on "I" is not easy because it is very advanced and abstract.

As multiple people here have difficulty with "Who am I?" _WHY_ haven't you considered supplemental techniques? WHY hasn't Michael dealt with this challenge effectively?

Sanjay, you recite Michael's teaching well. But I have also heard you speak out against other approaches. It seems you've painted yourself into a corner: you are totally committed to Michael's approach, but it's not working, and you can't possibly consider any supplemental techniques because they fall outside your conceptual framework. How long due you plan on staying in a "practice is not working" state before making some sort of change?

Vicente Peneda said...

Salazar,
as long as we can still laugh about us everything is fine.
You shall have a nice sunday.

Chomo Lönzo said...

Roger Isaacs,
do not stick so closely to wording.
With 'belief' I meant one should be convinced that one is on the right track.
Read exactly: I spoke about 'slow success' not 'slow result'.
"As multiple people here have difficulty with "Who am I?" _WHY_ haven't you considered supplemental techniques? WHY hasn't Michael dealt with this challenge effectively?"
Having difficulties does in no way refute atma-vichara as a practicable discipline.
Your recommendation of "supplemental techniques" or "making some sort of change" is certainly kindly meant. But the ego's turmoil gives no cause for concern or complaint and even to claim that atma-vichara is a "not working practice". Rather it is quite naturally that the ego is getting shaken/shook by persistent self-inquiry. The ego's report of "slow success" is only dipping into its bag of tricks. If the ego comes under attack from all directions it breaks out in a cold sweat or gets into a panic. As reaction then it may report trickily "slow success" and consider "any supplemental techiques".

Salazar said...

My 2 cents to having difficulties: Because one experience difficulties does not automatically imply that something different is to consider. To question the validity of vichara is to question Bhagavan. And it is alright to question Bhagavan. Because that is, IMO, the first step: Do I consider Bhagavan as my guru? Do I unconditionally accept him? If yes then I have to have faith in that what he teaches and don't let difficulties discourage me.

But of course there are many other paths and there are plenty who are not attracted to Bhagavan's teaching and that is perfectly alright. However if Bhagavan is ones guru then one cannot get around vichara/surrender, it is as simple as that.

self-ignorant ego said...

Ha, Roger Isaacs, the notorious "heretic" is back in town. Doesn't he bring some pepper in the discussion ?

Vicente Peneda said...

Salazar,
"Do I consider Bhagavan as my guru? Do I unconditionally accept him?".
An other question is whether Bhagavan will accept us as 'disciple'.
If we are not ready to surrender fully to our real nature we will find us relegated to the "many other paths".

self-ignorant ego said...

How can I become immediately aware that I am not separated from God ?

self-ignorant ego said...

God is love. Although the ego is not even aware of his love may there be at all liberation from the bondage of ignorance ?

self-ignorant ego said...

May I ever be transformed into that what is called the real 'I' or self ?

self-ignorant ego said...

Today I feel much love just to be the true self. Arunachala might you help that my sat-vasana overcomes my outward going desires (vishaya-vasanas) ?

Roger Isaacs said...

Hi Self-Ignorant-Ego,

You say the notorious "heretic" is back in town. ?

Yikes, sounds like I need to get a new identity.

You say How can I become immediately aware that I am not separated from God ?

That is an interesting question. How are you doing at answering it?
What have you done or un-done to facilitate this? What do you see as challenges or work to be done?

If no one can give you a "silver bullet" to become immediately aware.... do you have a long term strategy?

self-ignorant ego said...

Roger Isaacs,hi,
regarding "heretic" I only quoted you addressing "I am a heretic as you know. :-)" two days ago. Your unmistakable writing style would not be hidden even behind a new choosen identity.:-)
"That is an interesting question. How are you doing at answering it?
What have you done or un-done to facilitate this? What do you see as challenges or work to be done?".
Regrettably I evidently don't have the power to remove all obstacles all at once.
Therefore I have to be content to eradicate them step by step. That sounds like "slow success". When I was young I simply was silly enough to lose track of what's going on. So I easily fell into the ego's trap. Now in my late sixties I try to catch up on what I has neglected to do because of my dense blindness and ignorance. Now - as a long-term strategy - I try to do what is in my reach. That is to manage persistent self-investigation which gradually seems to clear the field. I hope to get the perseverance to overcome or transform our arch enemy, the puffed up ego which blockades my efforts for many years. But it should be soon - before I flake out from tiredness.
I feel like climbing Mount Everest and being caught in a tiny tent in height 7000 m because of a bad snowstorm for some weeks. Only such one will rise upwards who has developped the power of endurance.
Goode God, may Arunachala stand by me.

Salazar said...

Vicente, Bhagavan is accepting anybody who is sincere. Actually, I don't believe that we, the mind/ego, have much say into that anyway. To which path we are attracted to is determined by our past life inclinations and one can say that we may have had an encounter with Bhagavan in a previous life. And I'm not talking necessarily about his last life but about those before that.

Vicente Peneda said...

Salazar,
yes, if we consider Bhagavan not as appearance in human form but as that as what he is said to really be namely as our own real self or our pure self-awareness then we can hope that "he" loves us as "himself". Therefore we should clear our heart and mind of all our "old ideas, beliefs, desires and aspirations" as Michael wrote some time and somewhere. That is the reason why I try to understand all his teachings clearly and coherently even then when they are not in accordance with my ego's experience and perception.
Moreover Bhagavan said that God, guru and our self are in truth one and not different.

samsari said...

"How can I become immediately aware that I am not separated from God ? "
In theory the answer is very easy : Destroy instantly - here and now and for ever - your ego by subsiding it in its source. In practice there may some difficulties and hindrances to be surmounted. Best wishes.

Salazar said...

"How can I become immediately aware that I am not separated from God ? "

The "I" = ego which we mistake as the true "I" = Self will never become aware of not being separated. To "try" to become aware is a sure way to stay deluded forever ;-)

self-ignorant ego said...

Salazar,
trying to become aware of the true 'I' is to be done/undertaken quite well by the ego alone.
Of course the self is never unaware of itself.

Salazar said...

It is always better to consider oneself as Self (at all times) and nothing else. And discussions and questions about "how" are re-enforcing the notion of being something which is only an imagination. Every question, every idea about how etc. is strengthening the ego/mind.

Funny, everybody will be agreeing with the last sentence. However a split second later that is forgotten and a new discussion about 'how' and 'what to do' arises - LOL

svabhāva said...

One is never unaware of being one/ident with God.
But we do mistakenly superimpose/combine our fundamental self-awareness with the limited ego-awareness.

self-ignorant ego said...

Salazar,
when we are about to deny the seeming power of maya we will not really benefit from that.

Salazar said...

svabhava, actually I don't believe that the ego has a separate or limited awareness, there is only awareness. To be frank, IMO, to analyze the apparent limitations of the ego and the metaphysical description of how it functions, the 5 sheaths, etc. is a waste of time. Sorry guys.

Again, what is to be gained in knowing that? Nothing at all.

We know that we 'cover up' the Self with the rubbish of our mind/thoughts. Discussions about 5 sheaths, limitations of the ego, etc. belong to that rubbish!

Instead of adding up to the pile of rubbish in form of concepts, REMOVE the rubbish in refraining from any discussions, thought processes, 'pondering', etc. etc.

We have to REMOVE, not to add ;-)

Salazar said...

self-ignorant ego, there is nobody who could benefit from anything! It is not about denying maya since it is an appearance on Self too, it is about to ignore maya.

svabhāva said...

Salazar,
what you say is on the one hand quite correct. It is said that there is only awareness. But on the other hand you too speak of concept-rubbish which you postulate to remove. If we were not held in the grip of the ego then we had nothing to do at all. But I understand your objection which is certainly to some extent justified.
Permanent consideration of the ego's limitations may easily obscure our view of the unveiled and undisturbed self.

self-ignorant ego said...

Salazar,
your viewpoint is double-edged.
If there were no subject which could benefit from anything then we can consistently and logically conclude that there is also nobody who had to ignore maya.

Salazar said...

Svabhava, it doesn't matter if it is permanent or a one time consideration, there is nothing to be gained. That has to be clear, otherwise you keep making excuses.

Salazar said...

self-ignorant ego, the path to Self is paradoxical. If you, or better your mind, want to grasp Self-realization you must fail. So when your mind makes "logical conclusions" it has already failed.

There is nobody who makes an effort, it just seems that way. Now Self-Inquiry is mandatory for all who still have subject-object relationships (including me of course). However, if you have truly grasped Self-inquiry then you know that there is no subject-object relationship in that process (ideally). And Self-Inquiry is not really a process. Because a process is a subject-object relationship.

We all fail with Self-Inquiry because subtly or not so subtly we still maintain a subject-object relationship (in form of subtle thoughts) and when that drops, Self is around the corner.

svabhāva said...

Salazar,
it is now night-time in Central Europe. Thanks for giving your opinion and responding.

self-ignorant ego said...

Salazar,
I don't maintain that I have "truly grasped self-enquiry". I am just working my way towards it. As you imply as long as we stand in the shadow of the ego we are caught in duality.
Like svabhava I now look forward to fall asleep soon by leaving the realm of the ego and mind in dreamless sleep. Thank you for having discussion with you.

Salazar said...

self-ignorant ego, neither I have truly grasped Self-Inquiry, I am struggling as much as most do.

I like to keep it simple, that's why I like to go back to the basics. Many seem to be fascinated with all of these spiritual concepts, but at the end they are just obstacles.

Good night to you guys.

Roger Isaacs said...

For me the discussion about what and how to practice is fascinating.

In my view, the individuals right, let's call it a necessity, to determine their own practice is sacred. Certainly there are many cases where I will challenge people, generally this involves cases such as: they claim to know what's right for me better than I could know for myself, or they claim to know what is best for everyone else whoever lived etc... If Krishna were on this blog, there are many here who would be giving him instruction and telling him that Karma Yoga couldn't possibly work, they would tell Krishna to ask "who am I?" and come back later.

I do not have any particular issues with Bhagavan's teaching, however, I have a lot of issues with Michael's interpretation. This originates from when I first started posting here and was told that my personal practice could not be of any ultimate value. And in this case nobody had taken the trouble to actually hear what I do!

Michael's teachings are not faithful to Bhagavan in significant ways.
Michael emphasizes some works. But the works which actually record how Bhagavan taught, like "Talks" are said to be "inaccurately translated" or unduly influenced by a translator and thus not considered.

Yes, it seems possible that there are some minor translation errors. However, a significant portion of "Talks" was reviewed by Bhagavan. It is too brilliant to have come from any translator.... and it's a lot different than what you are told. Rather than written philosophical works... it records how Bhagavan actually taught. IMO the reason people are having difficulty arises here. Personalized instruction is necessary, a persons "temperament" must be taken into account.

Here are some excerpts from "Talks" which have a bearing on our recent discussions: (I made a comments in parens).
Bhagavan did not give a fixed instruction to all people like Michael does, he personalized the message for each individual, he could sense what the individual needed.

continued in next part

Roger Isaacs said...



Talk 40:
D.: Is intellectual knowledge enough?
M.: Unless intellectually known, how to practice it? Learn it intellectually first, then do not stop with that. Practise it.

Maharshi then made certain remarks: “When you adhere to one philosophical system (siddhanta) you are obliged to condemn the others. That is the case with the heads of monasteries (matadhipatis)”. (isn't that interesting, that's exactly what has happened here, all other systems other than atma vicara are condemned)

All people cannot be expected to do the same kind of action. Each one acts according to his temperament and past lives. Wisdom, Devotion, Action (jnana, bhakti, karma) are all interlocked. Meditation on forms is according to one’s own mind. It is meant for ridding oneself of other forms and confining oneself to one form. It leads to the goal. It is impossible to fix the mind in the Heart to start with. So these aids are necessary.

Talk 107
Later the Yogi asked: How is the spiritual uplift of the people to be effected? What are the instructions to be given them?

M.: They differ according to the temperaments of the individuals and according to the spiritual ripeness of their minds. There cannot be any instruction en masse.

Talk 251
D.: It seems difficult. May we proceed by bhakti marga?

M.: It is according to individual temperament and equipment. Bhakti is the same as vichara.

D.: I mean meditation, etc.

M.: Yes. Meditation is on a form. That will drive away other thoughts. The one thought of God will dominate others. That is concentration. The object of meditation is thus the same as that of vichara.

Talk 282.

D.: Does the Tantrik sadhana bring about Self-Realisation? M.: Yes.
D.: Which worship in Tantra is the best?

M.: It depends on temperament.

Talk 580

D.: Is a Jnani different from a yogi? What is the difference?
M.: Srimad Bhagavad Gita says that a Jnani is the true yogi and also a true bhakta. Yoga is only a sadhana and jnana is the siddhi.

D.: Is yoga necessary?

M.: It is a sadhana. It will not be necessary after jnana is attained. All the sadhanas are called yogas, e.g., Karma yoga; Bhakti yoga; Jnana yoga; Ashtanga yoga. What is yoga? Yoga means ‘union’. Yoga is possible only when there is ‘viyoga’ (separation). The person is now under the delusion of viyoga. This delusion must be removed. The method of removing it is called yoga.

D.: Which method is the best?

M.: It depends upon the temperament of the individual. Every person is born with the samskaras of past lives. One of the methods will be found easy for one person and another method for another. There is no definiteness about it.


Talk 17

D.: Does Maharshi enter the nirvikalpa samadhi?

M.: If the eyes are closed, it is nirvikalpa; if open, it is (though differentiated, still in absolute repose) savikalpa. The ever-present state is the natural state sahaja.

(you see, it is not just "no ego, no body, no world", Bhagavan was in two states, God is both NOTHING and EVERYTHING, Michael only considers "nothing" aka ajata.)

(I, Roger here, said earlier, it doesn't matter how long you stay in the "no ego, no world, no body state... you have to come out, here Bhagavan says it:)

Even if one is immersed in nirvikalpa samadhi for years together, when he emerges from it he will find himself in the environment which he is bound to have. That is the reason for the Acharya emphasising sahaja samadhi in preference to nirvikalpa samadhi in his excellent work Viveka Chudamani.

Talk 465

how can nirvikalpa samadhi be of any use in which a man remains as a log of wood? He must necessarily rise up from it sometime or other and face the world. But in sahaja samadhi he remains unaffected by the world.

(Michael says: "no ego, no body, no world". Here Bhagavan directly contradicts it)

What does it matter whether body-consciousness is lost or retained? When lost it is internal samadhi: when retained, it is external samadhi. That is all.

self-ignorant ego said...

Salazar,
what do you understand by "going back to the basics" ?
Ultimately we should be able to overcome even the obstacles of "being seemingly fascinated with all of these spiritual concepts". When it is said that it is "spiritually" or by divine will destined to all human beings that our real nature i.e. being brahman itself has to be developped then it is certainly wrapped already in (us). According to Bhagavan : What is destined to happen to one has to happen absolutly.

Thangakkai said...

Roger,
do you not come out again with the same old story of being at issues over Michael's interpretations ? You seem to be a highly unapproachable character in the sense that arguments given by Michael James don't arrive at you or at least you are not taking notice of it. I remember well a long reply of Michael to you regarding the necessity of atma vichara. He explained in great detail why other sadhanas than atma-vichara are not so effective. He never "condemned" other systems. Believe me I read this blog throughout for some years. Without a moment's hesitation you roar over the fact that Michael studied many years with Sadhu Om Bhagavan's teachings. To all appearances you did not study anything with comparable value. Therefore it would be more proper when you don't lay your musings about the philosophy and practice of true self-knowledge as taught by Sri Ramana so very thick. There is no urgent need for your superior attitude.

Salazar said...

self-ignorant ego, I concur with your last comment. Let me add to my previous comments that I am not judging or condemning any activities on this blog or anywhere else. In fact, this blog is the most interesting I have encountered on the web.

It seems though that a few cherish studying and discussing Bhagavan's teachings and judge that as superior to other activities. And that is not true. We all know that the mind cannot get Self-realized and all musings and "realizations" of the mind are, in terms of Self-realization, worthless and rather an obstacle. That has to sink in deeply.

Going back to the basics is the notion that one really needs to read only one book by Bhagavan, Nan Yar, and then apply that to practice. That's it. There is truly nothing more needed than possibly faith.

Have a great day!



Roger Isaacs said...

Hi Thangakkai,
Your allegiance is misplaced. You have total allegiance to Michael. You should have no other allegiance than to the stillness within, to the alert attention within. That is the real Bhagavan.

"Thou shall have no other Gods before Me". from the bible, "no gods" meaning no-thing, no thought, no ideology, no emotion, no belief system.... placed higher than your perfect inward attention.

Or perhaps you prefer the Bhagavad Gita 18:66: "Abandon all varieties of dharmas and simply surrender unto me alone. I shall liberate you..."

Yeah, abandon attachments to all teachings.

Multiple people here honestly and innocently mentioned some difficulty about practicing Atma Vicara. And you will not even consider words of Bhagavan from a different source where he discusses these issues? Where is intellectual curiosity? You believe that intellectual curiosity is unnecessary or counterproductive?

You have placed Michael's ideology in between you and Being.

Your letter argues for the authority of Michael James. I say the only authority is within.

How can you have allegiance to Michael or Bhagavan when you are told repeatedly that Bhagavan is only a projection of your ego?!?

It is exactly as Bhagavan said in Talks:
“When you adhere to one philosophical system you are obliged to condemn the others. ”.


If you have genuine allegiance to Bhagavan, why is it that you deny his words from other sources without due consideration and contemplation or curiosity?

Bhagavan says:
"The degree of freedom from unwanted thoughts and the degree of concentration on a single thought are the measures to gauge spiritual progress."


You are the only one that can take responsibility for yourself.

Sit down right now and go immediately into the deepest meditative state that you can. Can you sit for 15 minutes without having a thought, without getting lost in discursive thinking, can you sit with perfect inward attention for 5 minutes? 1 minute?

This is the real test. How did you do at it? How much have you improved over last year?

Do you really think that defending Michael's ideology, or memorizing more teachings will have any affect at all towards becoming established effortlessly in the current?

Regarding "current" please read:
http://sri-ramana-maharshi.blogspot.in/2008/05/bhagavans-death-experience.html

Salazar said...

Roger, nobody here claims to know what is best for everyone else. I have never seen that mentioned on this blog the last years. That must be an imagination of your mind.

Re. Michael, he is not perfect and I am sure that he knows that ;-) As everybody else he has his own samskaras who let him approach Bhagavan’s teachings in a certain way. And you talk about Michael’s “teachings” – what nonsense! I am certain Michael does not consider his scholarly work of the most important texts of Bhagavan as “his” teaching. That would make him as presumptuous as your mind’s belief to be able to judge Michael’s work. You are not even a devotee of Bhagavan but nonetheless you claim to “know” better than a long time devotee. Something doesn’t add up here.

Why the compulsions to repeatedly stuff your opinion down our throats? I have read the same thing a few months ago and now it is coming up again. If you maintain that your spiritual practice is better than vichara I have no problems with that and I wish you luck. Do whatever you like, however don’t get irritated when the people on this forum believe that vichara is superior to any other practice. Let them be and move on with that what you consider best for yourself. No need to create friction which is of course the ego what thrives on that. It is a sure way to avoid Self-realization.

And to your last comment: It is not about an allegiance to Michael or of “his” authority that is something your mind is making up. Does your ego crave the allegiance and authority you project?

And never mind how much someone has “improved” over last year. Firstly there is no “improvement”, any improvement is a fantasy of mind and the attention to that keeps one in delusion, and secondly, what is it your business to inquire about “others” so-called progress?

Who challenges? Only an inflated ego.


Identity Appropriator said...

Roger Isaacs

You say, and I quote, "Michael's teachings are not faithful to Bhagavan in significant ways. Michael emphasizes some works. But the works which actually record how Bhagavan taught, like "Talks" are said to be "inaccurately translated" or unduly influenced by a translator and thus not considered."

Do you know that the works Michael emphasises are the ones that Bhagavan wrote himself? Nan Yar?, Updesa Undhiyar, and Ulladhu Narpadhu were not merely reviewed by Bhagavan; these works were written by him.

What would you consider a more comprehensive and faithful representation of Albert Eistein's views about the theory of relativity: a scientific journal reviewed by him, or a thesis written by him specifically on that topic?

Thangakkai said...

Roger Isaacs,
perhaps Bob Dylan's song "Blowin' in the Wind" is any use to you:

"How many roads must a man walk down
Before you call him a man
How many seas must a white dove sail
Before she sleeps in the sand
Yes, 'n' how many times must the cannon balls fly
Before they're forever banned
The answer, my friend, is blowin' in the wind
The answer is blowin' in the wind
Yes, 'n' how many years can a mountain exist
Before it's washed to the sea
Yes, 'n' how many years can some people exist
Before they're allowed to be free
Yes, 'n' how many times can a man turn his head
And pretend that he just doesn't see
The answer, my friend, is blowin' in the wind
The answer is blowin' in the wind"

Thangakkai said...

Roger, if you like Bob Dylan's song of 1962 with music of Peter, Paul and Mary:
https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=Ld6fAO4idaI

Roger Isaacs said...

Hi Identity Appropriator,
you one of those identity thieves? :-)
Yes, I am aware of the argument that the works which Bhagavan may have wrote should be given more weight. But I read everything.

Your argument has value.. but there are many possible positions. Can we consider multiple positions? Or, is only the "official position" allowed? I am not satisfied without turning over every stone. For me, an "official explaination" without consideration of all possible investigations creates kind of a rigid system governed by authority and this discourages curiosity and openness, an official authoritarian explanation is unscientific. Perhaps curiosity and openness might help with practice of Atma Vicara? After all, it is an open question: "Who am I?"

IMO, the way to peace both inwardly and outwardly is to investigate, allow, and consider all positions and largely leave them all open for intelligent discussion. This is scientific.

My other perspective:
If all that Bhagavan had to say was limited to a few works... then every satsang for generations would have simply repeated those few works. Every lecture would have simply involved handouts of those earlier works. I consider every word that Bhagavan could have written or spoke to be nectar. I yearn to hear EVERY word and hold the words for contemplation. Bhagavan could speak for centuries on end and say something different each time, and each time it would be the pristine truth and not repeating from the past.

Creation is complex and contradictory and beyond explanation. But the human mind & ego wants to find JUST ONE explanation... there is no single explanation, only different perspectives.

A good example: You may know that light behaves or has properties of both a wave and a particle (these are opposites).
https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Wave%E2%80%93particle_duality

If the nature of light was a religious issue, we'd have 4 sides locked in mortal combat with each other for eons killing millions. The different warring parties would be:
1: one side claims light is a wave
2: another claims light is a particle
3: another claims both
4: another claims neither.

Now, Michael says all the time "no ego, no body, no world" etc. This arises from quotes from Bhagavan.
And elsewhere Bhagavan says the opposite in talk 465 and confirms this position in other places:
"What does it matter whether body-consciousness is lost or retained? When lost it is internal samadhi: when retained, it is external samadhi. That is all."

This issue of the character of the body is like the nature of light as both particle and wave: apparently contradictory, a paradox. Both of these statements are equally correct depending on the perspective (this is supported by other sages) so IMO it is up to us through contemplation to hold BOTH ideas and not take positions.

Albert Einstein wrote brilliantly regarding the "light" paradox: "It seems as though we must use sometimes the one theory and sometimes the other, while at times we may use either. We are faced with a new kind of difficulty. We have two contradictory pictures of reality; separately neither of them fully explains the phenomena of light, but together they do."

Michael in multiple cases chooses one side of a paradox while Bhagavan describes both and this leaves Michael's teaching lacking. This is the best most concise description of the issues I have with Michael's work.

Roger Isaacs said...

Hi Salazar,
Your post seems confused.

You say "nobody here claims to know what is best for everyone else" but then in apparent contradiction you say "people on this forum believe that vichara is superior to any other practice".

My position is that I must do my community service and point out that religious superiority & elitism has been responsible for massive suffering, torture, killing & wars for thousands of years. We have the opportunity to stop this cycle now. Let's take a stand against religious elitism and superiority today.

You say that i am not a devotee of Bhagavan. Apparently you conclude this because I post quotes from "Talks" which is not considered a primary document? A devotee would not post or express passion about "Talks"? Something doesn't add up here Salazar.
If Bhagavan were here, we would have to tell him that "no... you are discussing views which are not approved by Michael... this is not allowed."
Is being a "devotee" of Bhagavan equate to being a Michael James clone?

You claim that I am irritated.... but instead you appear irritated.

In one post you say "neither I have truly grasped Self-Inquiry, I am struggling as much as most do.
This suggests a desire for improvement. And more profoundly it suggests general difficulties with the teaching!! is there anyone who really gets it?
but then in the next post you say that "improvement is a fantasy of mind... delusion".

I can see how this would lead to frustration: you are struggling but you absolutely do not believe in improvement: no way out for you!

You are struggling. But you do not seem to have an openness to other perspectives that might ease your suffering: no way out for you!

Roger Isaacs said...

Thangakkai: your language?
https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=woyiOn-Dgms

Salazar said...

Roger, you have formed a strong opinion about a number of things and I have little interest to keep arguing about your misunderstandings. That is Bhagavan's job in form of your karma. It will give your ego exactly what it needs ;-)

Re. Self-Inquiry, I am doing just fine, you read too much into people's comments, especially since your mind has already tighten up its position and now just keeps arguing for the sake of being right, it even has found a nice and “noble” justification, 'I am doing a service for the community' ;-)
I believe you have maneuvered yourself into a dead end.

There is only improvement for the ego and only an ego does believe in improvement. That is maya of course. That includes feelings of frustration, it's the ego talking and we know that the ego is either an arrogant bast... or a whiny little wimp. Take your pick.

To close, your mind makes way too many assumptions, 'someone is frustrated, that means something has to change to ease suffering'. Nope, wrong conclusion.

Nothing has to change at all, just the belief that something has to change or is wrong.

Salazar said...

Addendum to "nothing has to change at all, just the belief that something has to change or is wrong."

And the only effective means to that is Self-Inquiry. If you like it or not.

ulladu-unarvu said...

Salazar,
""nothing has to change at all, just the belief that something has to change or is wrong."

Do you know it or is it rather your assumption ?

Salazar said...

ulladu-unarvu, does it really matter? Since any communication is coming through the mind, anything is an assumption or imagination; including ‘knowledge’, because it can only be conceptual knowledge which is irrelevant in terms of Self-realization.
Jnana, true knowledge, is beyond the mind and not approachable by the mind.

So when people on this forum make statements they are all inherently flawed. Michael does a great job to support concepts with the main works by Bhagavan and is elaborating from that basis. And that is as good as it gets (in terms of true knowledge) short of the presence of a Jnani. However that is not Jnana.

When I said ‘does it really matter’ I’d like to emphasize the un-importance of all of our comments here. The mind is the main obstacle, so what do we do? Nonetheless using the mind to try to grasp what it simply can’t.

Jnana is actually very simple. Just stop believing the mind and be your self. That’s it! Nothing else has to be done.

Even no books or texts are necessary for that. So why is that not working then for most? Because we simply don’t believe it ;-) It is even not believed by many who hear that directly from a Jnani – that is the power of maya. And yet it is not powerful at all, we, our self, are giving maya that power! Quite hilarious…..

“Nothing has to change at all, just the belief that something has to change or is wrong.”

I could dig and find a statement by Bhagavan who said the same thing - but what would it matter? Would it change your belief contrary to that it might has been just my assumption? No, of course not!

By the way, are you perhaps Roger in disguise? ;-)


Roger Isaacs said...

Hi Michael, Salazar and All,
Salazar says: "nothing has to change at all, just the belief that something has to change or is wrong."

That is another belief!

I suggest the following:
Please, let's stop the Advaita babble as it's just more mental activity,
let's drop any discussion about Atma Vicara versus other systems,
drop all philosophic advaita talk, drop all concern with defending Vichara etc..
All these things just obscure the actual practice.

There is really only one thing that matters: that is getting firmly, clearly, confidently established in your PRACTICE (not philosophic speculation or defense) of Atma Vichara.

I'm sure there are many here who will agree with me: life has nothing of greater value or importance than being firmly established in Atma Vichara practice.

I'm not at all talking about any teaching that I might have, this is just COMMON SENSE.

I say "vichara", but for me, "a rose by any other name would smell as sweet": pure inward attention can not be exclusively claimed by any particular school or teaching. I did not come to this from Bhagavan's teaching.

Salazar (and others) you have been innocent and honest: vichara practice is difficult. Bhagavan says the same (in talks). This is because it's a very advanced practice and abstract. NOT because there is any defect in you... and not because there is a defect in Vichara.

I tell you the following and please any who thinks this is wrong please explain why:

If you have difficulty being inwardly still during sitting (or walking etc for example) practice of Vichara... if while doing the practice you are overwhelmed by thoughts.... then some supplemental or adjunct practice is useful to still the mind so that then vichara can be practiced effectively.

Note: by Michael's definition, "who am I?" is silent wordless inward attention, perhaps the intent is a curiosity seeking who you really are. It has nothing to do with any mental utterance of the phrase "who am I?".

This is beyond words and different for everyone, but it is essential to try to describe it:
What you are looking for is something like: a continues flow of attention or "current of mind" which is a heightened state of inward attention or concentration which is focused enough that extraneous thinking is subdued.
If this (or something like it) is not happening... if you are still thinking compulsively on the surface level of the mind/emotions then you might consider supplemental techniques.

This is a matter of inward research and you have to evaluate your own practice. When you perform what you consider to be vichara... what happens? Do you reach some state of heightened attention? OR are you bombarded with constant thoughts as during typical life?

Now... the issue might arise... if I do some supplemental technique... then I'm no longer doing Vichara, I'm no longer following Bhagavan's suggestions: NO, while the mind and emotions are taking you away... do something to quiet them. At the instant when the mind becomes still THEN you are able to effectively practice Vichara and any other technique falls away.

What supplemental technique or adjunct to practice?
I suggest that we have an openness about the options. The most important thing is finding something that suits your temperament and the options are very broad. Somehow something may be presented.

As far as I know, Michael is not opposed to using adjuncts or supplemental techniques.... but he does not go into them.

The situation that I believe I see is this:
You all are convinced that Atma Vichara is the best, most direct etc...
BUT... the technique is so advanced that some (or most?) can not really go directly into it because of the unruly mind and emotions. You are taught that all other techniques are lesser in value. So this discourages you from seeking help to find something which will quiet the mind enough so you can actually practice Vichara!

Again... in my opinion this is just common sense.

Roger Isaacs said...

Salazar says:
By the way, are you perhaps Roger in disguise? ;-)

God forbid! At least when the rascal "Roger" is identified clearly as sending something we can just delete it immediately!

Salazar said...

Roger, you said 'that is just another belief'! So what is then your common sense? Or all of the other baloney in your last comment ;-) The TRUTH?

Or what about your incessant babble?

Geez guy, your mind is fooling itself badly - look into the mirror!

Summa iru.

Mephisto said...

In all honesty, we first have to investigate scrupulously if Sri Bhagavan Ramana Maharshi was at all a devotee of himself. Then we may follow to the guidelines and directives which ordered us Mahatma Roger Isaacs.

ulladu-unarvu said...

Salazar,
the good message: there seem to be many egos. But there is only one heart.
Or do we need at all a new Messiah ?
By the way, your suspicion that I could be Roger in disguise is not confirmed.
But the worst thing is: The most time I still wear my ego as a disguise.

Salazar said...

ulladu-unarvu, only the people who keep mentioning a messiah are attached to the concept of it. For others that concept doesn't even arise. So if one gives importance to any arising concept one already has succumbed to delusion.

ulladu-unarvu said...

Salazar,
even when "one already has succumbed to delusion" one has the chance to overcome this ego in every moment. Or do you consider that also as a deceptive concept ?
By the way, my question about the necessity of a new messiah was put only as a rhetorical one.

Salazar said...

Ulladu-unarvu, you asked me is “one has the chance to overcome this ego in every moment” a deceptive concept?

I believe that ultimately every concept is deceptive, even the concept of Bhagavan. Because also Bhagavan, even the term “Self” is a concept and the mind thinking about it makes it deceptive. Because any concept comes up in form of a thought and with giving that thought any relevance or reality we automatically moved away from that what we are.

A concept can only “exist” with the activity of the mind: And an active mind is attending to second and third persons (= concepts/objects) instead to the first person. In the beginning thoughts and concepts are inevitable, and ie. the concept of ‘I’ll realize Self now” is a useful one [better is “I am”], but that has to go at the end too.

Why can the concept of “one has the chance to overcome this ego in every moment” be deceptive? Because with that sentence one has already confirmed that we are not Self but that ego what needs to overcome something. And so with attending to that concept (instead to “I”) we already have shot ourselves in the foot. The ego imagines something which doesn’t exist and therefore keeps being deluded.

It is absolutely wrong to approach Self-realization from the viewpoint of the ego that has to attain or overcome something! One has to always affirm that we are Self, to not even give the thought of “I am the ego/person” etc. the chance to come up.

Self-Inquiry is not a method to overcome or attain anything, if that is believed one is not correctly doing Self-Inquiry and one is wasting time. I said “Self” is a concept because the sages unanimously said that what we call Self cannot be described. It is beyond subject and object, beyond the grasp of the mind/ego.



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