Sunday, 24 September 2017

We should not be concerned with anything happening outside but only with what is happening inside

A friend recently wrote to me asking several questions about practising self-investigation (ātma-vicāra) in the midst of family and work life, the role of physical solitude, attachment and detachment, feelings of utter desperation and disillusionment, and about how to live in the world when one feels no connection with or concern for anything other than the practice taught by Bhagavan. The following is what I replied to her:

One thing that Bhagavan was absolutely categorical and clear about is that the entire course of our outward life is already determined by our prārabdha, so we cannot change it in any way, and hence we need not and should not concern ourself with it. What relationships we have with family, friends and others, and what work we do or don’t do are all not in our hands, so we should leave all concern about such matters to Bhagavan, who alone knows what is best for us.

What is in our hands is not any external events but only our own inward response to them. Do we allow our mind to go out to experience whatever prārabdha has been allotted to us, or do we turn it within to be aware of ourself alone; and if we allow it to go out, which vāsanās (viṣaya-vāsanās and karma-vāsanās [propensities, inclinations or urges to be aware of particular phenomena (viṣayas) and consequently to do actions (karmas) by mind, speech and body]) do we allow ourself to be swayed by, to what extent do we allow ourself to be swayed by them, and which do we try to avoid being swayed by – these are choices that we are faced with at each moment in our life.

If we are not vigilant, we tend to allow ourself to be swayed by whatever vāsanās may arise, but if we are following Bhagavan’s path we must try to be constantly vigilant and limit as far as possible the extent to which we allow ourself to be swayed by any of them. The best and most effective way to avoid being swayed by them is to try to turn within to be attentively aware of ourself alone, because the more keenly we attend to ourself the more we restrain and constrict the rising of our ego, which is the root and foundation of all vāsanās.

Trying to be self-attentive as keenly as possible is the practice of self-investigation (ātma-vicāra), which is the pinnacle of self-surrender. However surrender need not and should not stop when vicāra stops. That is, even when we are not trying to be self-attentive we should at least try to limit the extent to which we allow ourself to be swayed by our vāsanās, and we should discriminate (using our vivēka) which vāsanās are more harmful and which are less harmful and accordingly try as far as possible to avoid being swayed by the more harmful ones. This is the practice of partial surrender, the surrender of our will, which will strengthen our ability to investigate and thereby surrender ourself completely.

Regarding your question ‘How do I get on in the world like this?’, that is a matter you must leave in the hands of Bhagavan, because he has already allotted your prārabdha, which alone will determine how you get on in the world. Therefore whenever we feel concern about such matters, we should try to surrender that concern by withdrawing our mind from it.

Whom does it concern? That alone is what should concern us.

To the extent that we are seriously following Bhagavan’s path of self-investigation and self-surrender we will feel that we are unfit to live in this world. Even Bhagavan expressed this feeling in verse 8 of Śrī Aruṇācala Padigam when he sang that Arunachala had robbed him of the ability to live in this world and that to die is better than to live in such a manner, meaning that it is better for the ego to die than to remain suspended without either attachment to the world or sufficient love to surrender itself completely:
வைத்தனை வாளா வையகத் துய்யும்
      வழியறி மதியழித் திங்ஙன்
வைத்திடி லார்க்கு மின்பிலை துன்பே
      வாழ்விதிற் சாவதே மாண்பாம்
பைத்தியம் பற்றிப் பயனறு மெனக்குன்
      பதமுறு மருமருந் தருள்வாய்
பைத்திய மருந்தாப் பாரொளி ரருண
      பருப்பத வுருப்பெறு பரனே.

vaittaṉai vāḷā vaiyahat tuyyum
      vaṙiyaṟi matiyaṙit tiṅṅgaṉ
vaittiḍi lārkku miṉbilai tuṉbē
      vāṙvidiṟ cāvadē māṇbām
paittiyam paṯṟip payaṉaṟu meṉakkuṉ
      padamuṟu marumarun daruḷvāy
paittiya marundāp pāroḷi raruṇa
      paruppata vuruppeṟu paraṉē
.

பதச்சேதம்: வைத்தனை வாளா, வையகத்து உய்யும் வழி அறி மதி அழித்து. இங்ஙன் வைத்திடில் ஆர்க்கும் இன்பு இலை, துன்பே. வாழ்வு இதில் சாவதே மாண்பு ஆம். பைத்தியம் பற்றி பயன் அறும் எனக்கு உன் பதம் உறும் அரு மருந்து அருள்வாய், பைத்திய மருந்தா பார் ஒளிர் அருண பருப்பத உரு பெறு பரனே.

Padacchēdam (word-separation): vaittaṉai vāḷā, vaiyahattu uyyum vaṙi aṟi mati aṙittu. iṅṅgaṉ vaittiḍil, ārkkum iṉbu ilai, tuṉbē. vāṙvu idil sāvadē māṇbu ām. paittiyam paṯṟi payaṉ aṟum eṉakku uṉ padam uṟum aru marundu aruḷvāy, paittiya marundā pār oḷir aruṇa paruppata uru peṟu paraṉē.

அன்வயம்: வையகத்து உய்யும் வழி அறி மதி அழித்து, வாளா வைத்தனை. இங்ஙன் வைத்திடில், ஆர்க்கும் இன்பு இலை, துன்பே. வாழ்வு இதில் சாவதே மாண்பு ஆம். பைத்திய மருந்தா பார் ஒளிர் அருண பருப்பத உரு பெறு பரனே, பைத்தியம் பற்றி பயன் அறும் எனக்கு உன் பதம் உறும் அரு மருந்து அருள்வாய்.

Anvayam (words rearranged in natural prose order): vaiyahattu uyyum vaṙi aṟi mati aṙittu, vāḷā vaittaṉai. iṅṅgaṉ vaittiḍil ārkkum iṉbu ilai, tuṉbē. vāṙvu idil sāvadē māṇbu ām. paittiya marundā pār oḷir aruṇa paruppata uru peṟu paraṉē, paittiyam paṯṟi payaṉ aṟum eṉakku uṉ padam uṟum aru marundu aruḷvāy.

English translation: Destroying [in me] the mind [intellect, intelligence, inclination or will] to know the way to live [subsist or survive] in this world, you made [me] worthless. If you keep [me] in this condition, it will not be happiness for anyone, only misery. Dying indeed is better than this life. O Supreme, who have assumed the form of Aruna Hill, which shines on earth as the medicine for madness [self-ignorance], to me who being possessed by [such] madness am bereft of gain [the achievement of ātma-jñāna or pure self-awareness] kindly give the rare medicine by which one is established at your feet [or in your state].
So he understood your present state of mind when he sang those words to Arunachala, long before you were even born. Like this, all the help and support that we need on our journey back to him he has already prepared and is keeping ready to give us as and when we need it. So let us give up all our petty cares and concerns and try just to surrender ourself to him by investigating to whom they all occur.

102 comments:

Sanjay Lohia said...

Why are we not able to accept Bhagavan’s teachings wholeheartedly?

It is because we are still attached to many of our old ideas and beliefs. We want to hold on to some of our old beliefs, but are nevertheless also trying to add some new beliefs in the form of Bhagavan’s teachings. Somehow, this mixture of different teachings is not auguring very well for us. In other words, if we want to understand Bhagavan’s teachings, we should try to jettison all our old beliefs and ideas (about this world, God and ourself), and wholeheartedly try to accept what Bhagavan is trying to teach us.

As Michael says, which was in turn told to him by Sri Sadhu Om, that if a slate is already scribbled with a lot of things, and if we also try to write Bhagavan’s name on it, Bhagavan’s beautiful name will not stand our clearly. We need to wipe the slate clean, and then if we write Bhagavan’s name on it, we will see the beauty of his name.

Likewise we have to wipe our slate (our mind) clean of all are old beliefs and ideas, and then take on board wholeheartedly all that Bhagavan has taught us. Only then we will see the real beauty and worth of Bhagavan’s teachings. If we try to pick and choose his teachings by saying, ‘I do not like this part of his teachings so I will keep this out', ‘I like that part so I will accept it', this way we can never understand his teachings as he wants us to understand them.

(I will continue this in my next comment)

Sanjay Lohia said...

In continuation of my previous comment:

Some of the fundamental principles of his teachings are:

1) Nothing exists apart from atma-svarupa - implication: do not be concerned about this world, because this word does not actually exist, though it may seem to exist. That is, this world is exactly like our dream-world.

2) Our ego comes into existence by grasping forms - implication: if we give up grasping or attending to forms, we will subside back into our true nature.

3) If the ego comes into existence, everything comes into existence - implication: all our troubles and problems exist because the ego seems to exist. If we can destroy our ego all our troubles will also end.

4) drsti-srsti-vada - our seeing or perceiving creates this world, and therefore no world exists if we do not perceive any world.

5) eka-jiva-vada - only one jiva (ego) exists, and you are that.

6) As long as we experience ourself as the ego, we will be experiencing prarabdha (preordained destiny) and also cannot avoid doing agamya (actions done by our free will). However, our agamya can never overrule our prarabdha.

7) Happiness lies only within - our true nature is happiness, and therefore there is no happiness in any of the things of this world.

8) What exists is also what is aware - ulladu is unarvu.

9) We are beginningless, endless [or infinite] and undivided sat-cit-ānanda [being-awareness-bliss].

10) Guru, God, grace and oneself are identical – they are in fact interchangeable terms.

11) Guru is not the body. He is ourself as we really are.

Have I missed out any?

These are the principles embedded in his teachings, and they are all interconnected. However, if we try and pick and choose from these principles - that is, agreeing with some but rejecting others - we will never be able to form a coherent, clear and comprehensive understanding about his teachings.

vivarta said...

Sanjay Lohia,
principle 1)...which "word" does not actually exist ?

Michael James said...

Sanjay, in reply to your question whether you have missed any of the fundamental principles of Bhagavan’s teachings, it would be very difficult to make a definitive list of all of them, firstly because some principles are more fundamental than others, so to decide which to include and which not to include would entail a more or less arbitrary judgement, and secondly because they are all closely interrelated and form a coherent whole, so most of them are entailed in other ones.

However the list you gave does cover many of the most important principles, but you missed out the most important one of all, namely that the ego will cease to cease if and only if we investigate it.

You may have thought you covered this in the second principle you listed, namely ‘Our ego comes into existence by grasping forms – implication: if we give up grasping or attending to forms, we will subside back into our true nature’, but though this is true, it does not explain how we can destroy the ego, because whenever we fall asleep we give up grasping or attending to forms and thus we subside back into our true nature, but our ego is not thereby destroyed.

Only when we investigate the ego will it forever cease to exist, as Bhagavan explained, for example, in verse 25 of Uḷḷadu Nāṟpadu when he wrote ‘தேடினால் ஓட்டம் பிடிக்கும்’ (tēḍiṉāl ōṭṭam piḍikkum), ‘If sought [examined or investigated], it will take flight’, and in verse 17 of Upadēśa Undiyār:

மனத்தி னுருவை மறவா துசாவ
மனமென வொன்றிலை யுந்தீபற
      மார்க்கநே ரார்க்குமி துந்தீபற.

maṉatti ṉuruvai maṟavā dusāva
maṉameṉa voṉḏṟilai yundīpaṟa
      mārgganē rārkkumi dundīpaṟa
.

பதச்சேதம்: மனத்தின் உருவை மறவாது உசாவ, மனம் என ஒன்று இலை. மார்க்கம் நேர் ஆர்க்கும் இது.

Padacchēdam (word-separation): maṉattiṉ uruvai maṟavādu usāva, maṉam eṉa oṉḏṟu ilai. mārggam nēr ārkkum idu.

அன்வயம்: மறவாது மனத்தின் உருவை உசாவ, மனம் என ஒன்று இலை. இது ஆர்க்கும் நேர் மார்க்கம்.

Anvayam (words rearranged in natural prose order): maṟavādu maṉattiṉ uruvai usāva, maṉam eṉa oṉḏṟu ilai. idu ārkkum nēr mārggam.

English translation: When one investigates [examines or scrutinises] the form of the mind without neglecting [forgetting, abandoning, giving up or ceasing], anything called ‘mind’ will not exist. This is the direct [straight or appropriate] path for everyone whomsoever.

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

Michael James said...

In continuation of my previous comment in reply to Sanjay:

Incidentally, though ‘If sought, it will take flight’ is a suitably crisp translation of ‘தேடினால் ஓட்டம் பிடிக்கும்’ (tēḍiṉāl ōṭṭam piḍikkum), it is not entirely accurately, because the conditional verb ‘தேடினால்’ (tēḍiṉāl) is not passive but active, so a more accurate translation of this key teaching would be ‘If one seeks [it], it will take flight’, or better still ‘If it seeks [itself], it will take flight’.

Here ‘ஓட்டம் பிடிக்கும்’ (ōṭṭam piḍikkum), ‘it will take flight’, is a metaphorical way of saying that it will cease to exist, or rather than it will be found to be ever non-existent, as he says in verse 17 of Upadēśa Undiyār. The reason why it will take flight in this way can be explained in either of two ways: Firstly, since Bhagavan says in the same verse that it is ‘உருவற்ற பேய்’ (uru-v-aṯṟa pēy), a ‘formless phantom’, that comes into existence, stands, feeds itself and flourishes only by grasping form, if it tries to grasp itself it will find nothing to grasp and hence it will subside and disappear. Secondly, since it does not actually exist, like an illusory snake it seems to exist only because of avicāra, non-investigation, so if we investigate it by looking at it keenly enough we will see that it does not actually exist, because what seemed to be this ego is actually only pure, infinite, indivisible and immutable self-awareness, just as if we were to look keenly enough at what seemed to be a snake we would see that it is not actually a snake but only a rope.

This is the most important and fundamental of all the principles of Bhagavan’s teachings, because all the other principles are just the supporting frame or temple in which this most valuable principle is enshrined.

nuṇ mati said...

Michael,
the reason why Sanjay missed out the most important principle is presumably the fact that the ego, although it is said that it is (only) a 'formless phantom', puts up bitter resistance to its investigation[examination or scrutiny].
Therefore - for the sake of avoiding any awkward discomfort - one may feel tempted to refrain from investigating the ego.
Hence the ego will rarely take flight or even be found to be non-existent.

Anonymous said...

Sanjay Loria, your second point

2) Our ego comes into existence by grasping forms - implication: if we give up grasping or attending to forms, we will subside back into our true nature.
----------------
This is, in my opinion, really expresses what it means to "investigate" the ego, it emphasizes "negative" action as the highest of all actions.

Sanjay Lohia said...

vivarta, you say 'Sanjay Lohia, principle 1)...which "word" does not actually exist?'

I thank you for pointing out my typo. Typos and I seem to have become good friends. We enjoy each other's company. However, like the world does not actually exist but just seems to exist, and since our words are part of this non-existent world, they also do not actually exist.

So what I wrote was not wrong!

vivarta said...

Sanjay Lohia,
yes, according to Bhagavan nothing but atma-svarupa does really exist.
All our thoughts and ideas about real and seeming existence together with the thinking ego of all commentators do only seem to exist.
If atma-svarupa alone does actually exist then even Bhagavan does not really exist - however only on condition that Bhagavan is different from atma-svarupa.
Can we be sure that even atma-svarupa does actually exist ?

Sanjay Lohia said...

Sir, as you have rightly pointed out, I did forgot to mention the most important principle, namely that the ego will cease to exist if and only if we investigate it. Though after posting my comments I did realise that I had not mentioned this principle, but I somehow didn’t bother much about it. However, it was for good that I did not mention this, because its omission prompted you to write these two comments.

So I thank you for pointing out the immense importance of this ‘most important and fundamental of all principles of Bhagavan’s teachings’. As you say, 'other principles are just the supporting frame or temple in which this most important principle is enshrined'.

As Bhagavan has explained, ‘If it [ego] seeks [itself], it will take flight’, but we need to clearly understand why it will take flight if we seek it. As you have explained, there are two ways of understanding the logic behind this, and both are equally convincing. With regards.

Dragos Nicolae Dragomirescu said...

It's kind of appalling to realise that the things we are experiencing now are "actions we have done before"... judging by my rising vasanas (which I try to ignore and cling to the "I"/what is aware of them) I can shamefully say I've done a lot of miserable things in the past... (not to mention the sexual ones...) .. what a misery....

power of grace said...

Dragos, greetings to Muntenia,
don't cry and instead try to keep on persistenly investigating the ego.
I too know from own experience how difficult "correct" and responsible dealing with a man's sexual desires can be.

Sanjay Lohia said...

Anonymous, I did write, ‘Our ego comes into existence by grasping forms - implication: if we give up grasping or attending to forms, we will subside back into our true nature’, but as Michael subsequently pointed out, this doesn’t give the whole picture about the practice of self-investigation.

We do need to give up attending to forms, but we need to do this by remaining attentively self-aware. This is the most important and fundamental of all the principles of Bhagavan’s teachings: it is only by remaining attentively self-aware that we can destroy our ego.

If we give up grasping or attending to forms we will subside back into our true nature, but as Michael has explained, ‘it does not explain how we can destroy the ego, because whenever we fall asleep we give up grasping or attending to forms and thus we subside back into our true nature, but our ego is not thereby destroyed’.

Bhagavan has explained this beautifully in verse 16 of Upadesa Undiyar:

Leaving aside external viṣayas [phenomena], the mind knowing its own form of light is alone real awareness [true knowledge or knowledge of reality].

We do need to give up attending to all external phenomena (and thoughts are also phenomena), but we need to do this by trying to focus our entire attention on our ‘from of light’, namely our innermost consciousness.

So to use your terms, self-investigation entails not only a negative ‘action’, but a positive ‘action’, although self-investigation is not really an action but the subsidence of all actions. While we practise, we need to not only give up all outward direction efforts, but more importantly make one-pointed effort to subside back within.




vivarta said...

Sanjay Lohia,
although we undoubtedly arise "from light" you wanted to appeal to focus our attention on our "form of light".
With regards

Sanjay Lohia said...

vivarta, yes, what exists is only atma-svarupa, and Bhagavan is nothing but atma-svarupa. Bhagavan who appeared in a bodily form was a temporary manifestation of atma-svarupa.

You ask, ‘Can we be sure that even atma-svarupa does actually exist?’ What is atma-svarupa? It is our own real 'form', which is nothing but pure-consciousness.

Are you not sure that you exist? You surely do experience yourself as vivarta (or whatever your real name is), and you also surely experience various phenomena through the form of vivarta. All such experiences would not have been possible, if you were not atma-svarupa, because only consciousness can experience itself and also at times experience others.

We may not be aware what we actually are, but we always aware that we are. This is the direct proof that we exist. Our pure existence bereft of all its imaginary adjuncts is nothing but svarupa (what we actually are).

Dragos Nicolae Dragomirescu said...

power of grace,

I'm trying my best... sometimes I'm wondering if getting a girlfriend would momentarily solve the problem. Of course, something that would include mutual respect and shared responsibility... I smoke from time to time... I cannot help it. I tried to stop it and it actually made my practice worse (and my life for that matter), the vasana is way to strong... yet if I some a single cigarette every now and then the vasana leaves me alone and I can keep focusing better on what I need to do... sometimes I believe the same approach would be best regarding sex...

Salazar said...

Dragos, the more you struggle the more you feed the problem. It is far better to have occasional sex than to agonize constantly about it how to minimize or avoid it. I was blessed to never have the desire to smoke and after drinking alcohol in my youth, the desire to drink alcohol left me without any intention to do so or to invest any effort into it. How and why? I have no idea. I was still drinking alcohol when I went on the spiritual path, luckily I felt never bad about it and there was only the occasional thought to better give it up, later then it just went away....

I have occasional phases where strong sexual desires arise and I look at women in my vicinity (like in a cafe) and all kind of thoughts come up imagining doing things with them. If I catch them early enough and be very casual and gentle about it the desire loses it strength and the interest fades away. The desire seem to be still there but it is not acted out anymore in imagination. To feel bad or guilty about it is just feeding the problem, again - it is better to act it out than to agonize about it. The problem is not so much the actual action, but the thought processes around it, good or bad, both keep you in samsara.

Now I wonder in how many ways that comment will be misinterpreted by the people here ;-)

vivarta said...

Sanjay Lohia,
I suppose that only then when we remain as pure existence (as you say "bereft of all its imaginary adjuncts") can we be sure that we actually are nothing but atma-svarupa alone. As this ego which is usually facing outwards and seems to be a person we will never be able to see ourself as the eternal, unlimited and undivided atma-svarupa.

Papanasana said...

Salazar,
hopefully you don't end up like Tom Dooley.;-)
Do you know the old song of the fifties ?

Salazar said...

I am not familiar with Tom Dooley, so you have to enlighten me what you are implying.

Sanjay Lohia said...

vivarta, yes, only atma-svarupa can experience atma-svarupa as it is, but even when we experience ourself as this ego, we still do experience atma-svarupa, but not with full clarity. We may experience ourself as this ego, this mixed self-awareness ‘I am this body’, but its ‘I am’ portion is still our atma-svarupa. But since ‘I am’ portion is mixed up with all our imaginary adjuncts – all centred around our body – we are not able to experience ourself as we really are.

In order to experience ourself as we really are, we need to go deeper and deeper within ourself, and the more deep we go the more our adjuncts are shred, and eventually we will experience ourself as we really are – without a trace of any adjuncts.

Anonymous said...

Sanjay Lohia, Thanks for your response.

Sanjay Lohia said...

Salazar, I agree with what you wrote in your comment addressed to Dragos, in which you talk about sexual desires and so on. In fact Michael has written a few articles on the topic of sex and spirituality:

1) Self-investigation and sexual restrain
2) Ahimsa and sexual morality

The following extract is taken from the article: Self-investigation and sexual restrain:

Question: Do you approve of sexual continence?

Ramana Maharshi: A true brahmachari [celibate] is one who dwells in Brahman. Then there is no question of desires any more.

Question: At Sri Aurobindo’s ashram there is a rigid rule that married couples are permitted to live there on condition that they have no sexual intercourse.

Ramana Maharshi: What is the use of that? If it exists in the mind, what use is it to force people to abstain?

Question: Is marriage a bar to spiritual progress?

Ramana Maharshi: The householder’s life is not a bar, but the householder must do his utmost to practise self-control. If a man has a strong desire for the higher life then the sex tendency will subside. When the mind is destroyed, the other desires are destroyed also.

Question: How to root out our sexual impulse?

Ramana Maharshi: By rooting out the false idea of the body being the Self. There is no sex in the Self.

(I will continue this in my next comment)

Sanjay Lohia said...

In continuation of my comment addressed to Salazar:

However, though there is no harm in indulging in occasional sex (with a consenting adult partner and without betraying the commitment to another partner), we do need to control our sexual urges, like our other more harmful urges.

Michael writes in his article: We should not be concerned with anything happening outside but only with what is happening inside:

What is in our hands is not any external events but only our own inward response to them. Do we allow our mind to go out to experience whatever prārabdha has been allotted to us, or do we turn it within to be aware of ourself alone; and if we allow it to go out, which vāsanās [...] do we allow ourself to be swayed by, to what extent do we allow ourself to be swayed by them, and which do we try to avoid being swayed by – these are choices that we are faced with at each moment in our life.

So our sexual desires are always there (to more or less extent) in the form of vishaya-vasana and karma-vasana for sex. We need to decide, like in case of all our other vasanas, do we allow ourself to be swayed by them, and to what extent do we allow ourself to be swayed by them.

The stronger our vasanas for sex, the more will be the chance that we will be swayed by them. However, as Bhagavan says, ‘the householder must do his utmost to practise self-control. If a man has a strong desire for the higher life then the sex tendency will subside’.





Salazar said...

Thank you Sanjay Lohia, that is exactly how I approach the subject too. Of course the "not be swayed by the vasanas" part can only work inwardly, that means your pararabdha may let have you sex with a partner but you inwardly feel less and less attached to it.

If one carries that effort from past lives it could culminate into refraining from sex altogether.

Papanasana said...

Salazar,
hope you are not unable to take a joke.
But it is only the half joke if you don't know this song of my childhood which was first recorded in the US 1958:
On youtube you can hear the song:
https://genius.com/Kingston-trio-tom-dooley-lyrics

The lyrics of the song start as follows:

"Throughout history, there have been many songs written about the eternal triangle. This next one tells the story of Mister Grayson, a beautiful woman and a condemned man named Tom Dooley. When the sun rises tomorrow, Tom Dooley must hang

Hang down your head, Tom Dooley
Hang down your head and cry
Hang down your head, Tom Dooley
Poor boy, you're bound to die"

and so on ...

Salazar said...

Papanasana, no not at all. Tom Dooley was before my time, I am old but not that old ;-)

I enjoy humor very much, a hearty laughter is great medicine.

Dragos Nicolae Dragomirescu said...

I have read that interview, very useful : http://www.nondualitymagazine.org/nonduality_magazine.celibavyproject.michaeljames.htm

power of grace said...

Dragos,
this interview is given also here on Michael's website Happiness of Being in 5 parts as 5 articles beginning on 15 March 2014 and ending on 11 April 2014.

Salazar said...

I am not a big fan of the Non-Duality Magazine for a number of reasons.

What they say about Papaji is undigested, i.e. that he said that nobody was holy enough to receive what he knew. Yes, he said that according to his biography; however David Godman asked him some questions what he exactly meant and that was of course left out. So that’s pretty sloppy journalism and to confront someone with incomplete info is unprofessional.

Also the question if Papaji was celibate as Bhagavan. Who cares? A Jnani is beyond the rules and conduct of this world. Papaji, as a Jnani, had sex with a young European woman and fathered a child with her while being married to an Indian woman with whom he had also children. Oh my god! Papaji seemingly violated ahimsa, at least from the viewpoint of the immature ajnani. How can that be reconciled by all the do-gooders and moral apostles? ;-)

And what about that inane question if Bhagavan gave permission to teach atma-vichara? Bhagavan did not own anything so there was no reason to give permission; Bhagavan would be the last “individual” who would believe that he needed to give permission.

This all comes from the petty understanding of the ego, as if teachings are owned by anybody. They are not. That’s why anybody who is charging for classes or “intensives” etc. is a charlatan or a low-rank teacher at best.

Anonymous said...

Maharshi Ramana on Atma Vichara
---------
The way is subjective, not objective; so it cannot and need not be shown by another. Is it necessary to show anyone the way inside his own house? If the seeker keeps his mind still, that will be enough.
---------------
From Maha Yoga by Lakshmana Sarma, 10th edition

"Achieving" stillness of mind is the main thing.

Of course, Sri Ramana also said that Atma Vichara is the only way.

Sanjay Lohia said...

Anonymous, Bhagavan says, ‘The way is subjective, not objective; so it cannot and need not be shown by another. Is it necessary to show anyone the way inside his own house?’ Thus we don’t need any ‘guided meditation’, because who can guide us inside our own house? Others can help us in our manana (reflections) part. They can help us by clarifying Bhagavan's teachings, but nobody can help us in our actual practice. This is the journey we have to travel alone.

In fact, we do not have to travel anywhere, but be as we really are. As you say achieving stillness of mind is the main thing. The practice of atma-vichara and trying to achieve stillness of mind means are just two ways of saying the same thing.

ātma-vyavahāra said...

As Michael wrote somewhere in an article of February 2015:

Perfect stillness (mauna/silence) is our natural state, and it is (seemingly) disturbed by the (seeming) rising of ourself as an ego (which is the first of all movements) and our consequent projection of everything else (which is in a constant state of movement or change).

Re-establishment of the stillness of the mind is therefore our aim and goal.

Atma-vichara is the means to achieve it.

Sanjay Lohia said...

atma-vyavahara, yes, re-establishment of the stillness of mind is our goal, but when our mind becomes absolutely still it is no more a mind. It itself is seen as atma-svarupa. In other words, the mind cannot be called a mind if it fully and permanently gets dissolved in ourself.

ātma-vyavahāra said...

Sanjay Lohia,
you say "It itself is seen as atma-svarupa. In other words, the mind cannot be called a mind if it fully and permanently gets dissolved in ourself."

Who will be there then to see the mind itself as atma-svarupa ?

Certainly not the mind.

Who will be there to call the mind as anything else ?

Of course not the mind.

Only we as atma-svarupa will then be left/remain. Don't we ?

Sanjay Lohia said...

atma-vyavahara, when our ego or mind dissolves permanently in ourself, no one will remain to say that our ex mind has now itself become atma-svarupa. When our ego or mind is destroyed, we will not feel that there was once a mind which has now been destroyed, but we will directly come to know that there never was anything called the ego or mind in the first place. When we see the rope as rope, we will directly come to know that was never any snake there.

Sanjay Lohia said...

We are truly free only to the extent to which we are free from our desires and consequently from our ego, which is their root cause

Introduction: Many of us believe that whatever wrong or harm we do to others, we cannot avoid doing so, because such actions were in our destiny. Should we as spiritual aspirants take this view? Michael was interviewed for the Non-Duality-Magazine, and this interview was published in it as an article titled The Celibacy Question. The following extract from this interview should be a useful sharing:

Michael: So long as we experience the existence of other people and other sentient beings, we are morally obliged to avoid as far as possible causing them any harm in any way whatsoever, and as spiritual aspirants we should feel this moral obligation even more strongly than others. We should not feel this moral obligation restricts our freedom in any way, because it should actually help us to curb our desires, and we are truly free only to the extent to which we are free from our desires and consequently from our ego, which is their root cause.

If we truly wish to be free of all moral obligations, we must free ourself from the delusion that we are a person, because this delusion is the sole cause for the appearance of this world, in which so many other people and sentient beings seem to exist along with this person we take to be ‘I’. In order to free ourself from this delusion we must experience ourself as we really are, and in order to experience ourself thus we must investigate what this ‘I’ actually is.

My note: Our ego survives only because of the strength and quantity of its desires. It is similar to our body, which survives because of the quality and quantity of its blood. If we lose a lot of blood in any accident, we will die. Likewise, the more we reduce our desires and attachments, the more our ego will be weakened.

Our desires not only keeps our ego into play by more and more desire induced actions, but each such action leaves in its wake a vishaya vasana, and such vasanas will not let our ego die. Therefore, we should employ all means to keep our desires in check.

Therefore, if we curb our desire or urge to harm other sentient being, we would thereby be weakening our vasanas, and this will in turn help us to weaken our ego. Thus, trying to curb our desires will definitely help us in our fight against our ego.

Sanjay Lohia said...

Our aim is to experience ourself as we really are, and not to experience nirvikalpa samadhi

The following are the last four paragraphs of Michael’s interview, which was published in the Non-Duality Magazine:

Michael: Though kāṣṭha nirvikalpa samādhi is also a state that is devoid of any action of mind, speech or body, it is not a sādhana or practice, but is a state in which the mind subsides as a result of some practice that entails attending to something other than ‘I’. Because it results in this way, it is a state devoid of clear self-awareness, so it cannot help one to experience ‘I’ as it really is.

In order for us to experience ourself as we really are, we must focus our entire attention upon this ‘I’. As Sri Ramana repeatedly made clear, there is no other means by which we can experience what we actually are and thereby liberate ourself not only from all karmas and their fruits (actions and their consequences) but also from the instruments that do karmas (namely the mind, speech and body) and from what experiences their fruit or consequences (namely the mind).

Kāṣṭha nirvikalpa samādhi or any other type of samādhi except sahaja samādhi is just a temporary lull (laya) in the activity of the mind, like the lull that we effortlessly enjoy every day in deep sleep, but it will not bring about complete annihilation of mind (manōnāśa), because it is not a state of clear self-awareness. Since absolutely clear self-awareness is our goal, the only means by which we can achieve it is absolutely clear self-awareness, so by practising ātma-vicāra or keenly focused self-attentiveness we must try to experience our natural state of absolutely clear self-awareness.

This is the sum and substance of the simple and clear teachings that Sri Ramana has given us based upon what he discovered from his own experience.

(I will continue this in my next comment)

Sanjay Lohia said...

In continuation of my previous comment:

My note: What does kastha nirvikalpa samadhi mean? As Michael has explained earlier in this interview, kastha means ‘wood’ or ‘timber’, so kastha nirvikalpa samadhi (which is also called kevala nirvikalpa samadhi) means a state reached by some sort of yogic practice in which one remains like a log of wood, unresponsive or unaware of any world. While we are in such a ‘log of wood’ like state, not a single of our vasanas is destroyed, and therefore it is not a state we should aim for.

Whereas sahaja nirvikalpa samadhi or sahaja samadhi is a state in which though one’s ego has been destroyed, one can appear (in our view) to be aware of the world and behaving like any normal person. Bhagavan, when he was in his body, was in this state. This is the state Bhagavan wants us to aim for, and this can only be achieved by vigilant self-investigation. However, while in sahaja samadhi one may be totally unresponsive and oblivious of the world, like in kastha nirvikalpa samadhi, but one may come out of such a ‘wooden’ samadhi and subsequently start acting normally.

Before coming to Bhagavan we may have given importance to attaining nirvikalpa samadhi, which many consider to be the highest form of spiritual attainment. However, Bhagavan has made it clear that we should not aim to experience any samadhi, because the term samadhi is a rather ambiguous term, but should aim to experience ourself as we actually are.

As Michael explains ‘Kāṣṭha nirvikalpa samādhi or any other type of samādhi except sahaja samādhi is just a temporary lull (laya) in the activity of the mind’, and our aim is not to achieve manolaya but is to attain manonasa’.

ātma-vyavahāra said...

Sanjay Lohia,
you say in your first comment :"Since absolutely clear self-awareness is our goal, the only means by which we can achieve it is absolutely clear self-awareness, so by practising ātma-vicāra or keenly focused self-attentiveness we must try to experience our natural state of absolutely clear self-awareness."
When you thus equate two things - the goal and the means - one might ask if that is practically possible. At least you indicated also the targeted practice.

Sanjay Lohia said...

atma-vyavahara, I think the following extract from Michael’s article Guru Vāchaka Kōvai – a new translation by TV Venkatasubramanian, Robert Butler and David Godman will adequately answer your question:

An almost literal translation of this verse [579 of Guru Vachaka Kovai] would be:

Because of the non-dual nature of [our] enduring self, [and] because of the fact that excluding self there is no other gati [means or refuge], the upēya [the aim or goal] which [we are to] reach is only self and the upāya [the means or path] is only self. Know them to be non-different.

Since our goal and ultimate refuge is nothing other than our own essential self, and since this real self is absolutely non-dual — that is, entirely devoid of anything other than itself — it is not only the goal that we are to attain but is also the only means by which we can attain that goal. Thus Sri Ramana teaches us that in their essential nature our goal and our path are not even to the slightest extent different.

What exactly does he mean when he says that the only means by which we can reach our real self is that same self? How in practice can self be our path? The nature of self is absolutely non-dual being and consciousness, as he explains in verse 23 of Upadēśa Undiyār:

Because of the non-existence of [any] consciousness other [than being] to know being, being is consciousness. [That] consciousness alone exists as ‘we’ [our essential being or true self].

ātma-vyavahāra said...

Sanjay Lohia,
what you say ("in their essential nature our goal and our path are not even to the slightest extent different.") is correct.
whereas indisputably reaching the goal and walking the path are actually different occurrences.
You also could have quoted verse 579 from the Guru Vāchaka Kōvai-translation of Sadhu Om and Michael James:
579. Since Self is the eternal, non-dual Thing and since
there is no means to reach It other than Self-atten-
tion, know that Self itself is the path, Self itself is the
goal, and that they [the path and the goal] are not
different.
Sadhu Om
: The Sages' saying, "I am the path and I am the goal",
is to be recalled here.
Nevertheless indisputably reaching the goal and walking the path are actually different occurrences/proceedings.

ātma-vyavahāra said...

Sanjay Lohia,
sorry, I forgot to remove the line:
"whereas indisputably reaching the goal and walking the path are actually different occurrences."

Anonymous said...

Questioner P: Yesterday, while you were on a walk, you said the first step is the last step. To understand that statement, I think we should investigate the problem of time and whether there is such a thing as a final state of enlightenment. The confusion arises because our minds are conditioned to think of illumination as the final state. Is understanding or illumination a final state?

Krishnamurti: You know, when we said that the first step is the last step, were we not thinking of time as a horizontal or a vertical movement? Were we not thinking of movement along a plane? We were saying yesterday, when we were walking, if we could put aside height, the vertical and the horizontal altogether, and observe this fact that wherever we are, at whatever level of conditioning, of being, the perceiving of truth, of the fact, is at that moment the last step.

I am a clerk in a little office, with all the misery involved in it; the clerk listens and perceives. The man listens and at that moment really sees. That seeing and that perception is the first and the last step. Because, at that moment he has touched truth and he sees something very clearly.

But what happens afterwards is that he wants to cultivate that state. The perception, the liberation and the very perception bringing about liberation; he wants to perpetuate, to turn it into a process. And therefore he gets caught and loses the quality of perception entirely.

So, what we are saying is that any process involves finality. It is a movement from the horizontal to the vertical; the vertical leading to a finality. And therefore we think that perception, liberation is a finality; a point which has no movement. After all, the methods, the practices, the systems imply a process towards a finality.

If there were no conceptual idea of finality, there would be no process.

Sanjay Lohia said...

atma-vyavahara, our goal and our path are essentially non-different. While we are practising self-investigation we try to remain attentively self-aware, and such attentive self-awareness is maintained by effort. Whereas when we reach our goal we will be perfectly self-aware, and this is an effortless state.

In other words, while we are practising self-investigation we are relatively silent, whereas when we reach our goal we will be absolutely silent. In relative silence our thoughts are silent to lesser or greater degree, whereas we will be absolutely free of all our thoughts (including the ego) when we reach our goal.

atma-vyavahara said...

Sanjay Lohia,
may it be so as you say.

Anonymous said...


It seems to me that the tone of the comments on this blog strongly supports Roger’s observations about “aids” to self-inquiry. The underlying emotion is fervent bhakti, both towards Maharshi Ramana and the mountain Arunachala. While arguing the finer points of self-inquiry and setting it apart – falsely, I think – from all other approaches, most commenters including MJ, reveal a deep devotion, bhakti, that often gives the lie to their intellectual arguments. Using different words like “ourself” for the Self, which, we are told, is Sri Ramana himself, does not change anything.

It is obvious even to a novice like me that Sri Ramana was a great bhakta, and was overcome by emotion over stories of masters and devotees from a thousand years ago. He was also a great karma yogin (works), raja yogin (meditation), jnana yogin (self enquiry).

I know what he said, but I prefer to also look at what he did.

Roger Isaacs said...

On this blog, a woman friend writes in and asks about "feelings of utter desperation and disillusionment" as well as other things.

Michael responds with things such as:
that is a matter you must leave in the hands of Bhagavan, because he has already allotted your prārabdha, which alone will determine how you get on in the world. Therefore whenever we feel concern about such matters, we should try to surrender that concern by withdrawing our mind from it.

MJ says: "To the extent that we are seriously following Bhagavan’s path of self-investigation and self-surrender we will feel that we are unfit to live in this world."

I have read & I believe that the deep spiritual feeling of a Bhakti could possibly manifest as what appears to be suffering in some cases. But where is the line between for example deep emotional empathy which might be productive spiritually and on the other hand actually glorifying suffering, or trying to gloss over and ignore challenges in life that should be met with initiative?

There could be a range of situations behind the comment above: "feelings of utter desperation and disillusionment"

MJ is totally unable to make distinctions or educate about it:

1: when faced with challenges in marriage, family and work and life in general... if these situations are generally life supporting ... then yes surrendering in feeling & accepting the difficulties and all the emotional challenges MAY be appropriate for a bhakta. But what about for the Jnana Yogin, or other types?

2: we must also consider: as I'm sure we all know: there are frequent situations in life where one must summon the will and initiative to make changes, perhaps the husband is violent, perhaps the boss is a rapist (current news in the U.S. has Hollywood executives raping actresses). In such a situation are we to simply surrender? We should make a mood: if our boss is raping us... then Bhagavan has allotted this and we should surrender? Although I say these dramatic things to make a point, what about the more common case if our partner just doesn't love us anymore? Should we stay with that? Very likely not, unless you want to pursue suffering.

MJ is unable to articulate that different responses are required for different situations. "praradbha" INCLUDES using very bit of our natural resources in order to make our life more harmonious, to do our duty in the world. Relative harmony in life provides the bedrock for practice.

MJ's entire line of predecessors were totally withdrawn from the world... how does this qualify MJ to speak intelligently about matters of relationships, family and the work environment? It would be refreshing honest to hear "well I know nothing about that, I am UNFIT to offer advise".

[continued]

Roger Isaacs said...

The teaching about prārabdha is interpreted in a way which leans toward encouraging passivity and withdrawal in the world.
Feeling "unfit" to live in this world is REQUIRED as a part of the teaching of Michael James!!! OMG!
I imagine if our outer life is going relatively OK... then we are off the path because we aren't feeling "unfit"?
"Unfit for living" is apparently something we should strive for?
I'd like to see the statistics on suicide for those that MJ counsels.

Michael James' commentary is very disturbing. No doubt the rapists in Hollywood would also advise to the women to accept their allotted role as victum and to be passive.

Bhagavan authorized no one to teach. Thus, claiming this site as "the teaching of Bhagavan" is deceptive. Next, how can this be "the teaching of Bhagavan" when the majority of Bhagavan's work (such as Talks) is denied? More deception.

We are told that "Talks With Ramana" should be avoided because Bhagavan was speaking to people with different temperaments and at different levels of development. But we should take the instruction "we must feel unfit to live in this world" as it applies to all people in all circumstances?

Yes, I can easily imagine that Bhagavan might say "I feel unfit to live in this world".
But does that mean that ALL people for ALL time should strive to feel the same?
Only an immature teaching would promote such dogma.
Masters speak from different perspectives at different times and to different people. That's life, neither life or the way or the description of the enlightened state can be reduced to a rule. Language only points and no single pointer can be called "the ONLY way".

It's as if a modern Master might go out and eat at a fast food restaurant... then for all time all of his followers will only eat at the same restaurant and have the same menu choice. Crazy. The master prefers a certain brand of shoe... so all the disciples forever for thousands of years will only wear the same shoe.

MJ does have skill as a translator (interpreter is a different role) and I think it would be best if he confine himself to being a translator.

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

Roger, I knew it would take only a short time until we're going to disagree again. I don't agree with most of your previous comment.

True surrender means that even a rape is Divine Will and to retaliate is, spiritually speaking, just perpetuating samsara. We have to look at the bigger picture and the first question is, why is that person being raped? That is of course karma related and the victim must have raped or abused someone in a previous life and now that abuse is coming back.

To get back at the rapist is ignoring that the abuse could only have happened as a reaction to a previous act done by the victim. Therefore to break through this endless cycle of the perpetrator/victim relationship one stops entertaining this charade and dis-identifies with the role of a victim or perpetrator.

That doesn't mean that any abuse is okay, but a sadhu has to consider the bigger picture.

Whatever "happens" to us is solely our doing: That is a fact even if it doesn't seem that way!

Roger Isaacs said...

Hi Mouna,
You say: >> Better to remain silent and be thought an ignorant than to speak and to remove all doubt.

Yes, and I suppose that applies to you as well as MJ?

Mouna said...

Hi Roger,

Not to MJ because I never found ignorant statements coming from him.
But for me, Mouna, it certainly applies, I agree with you on that one.

(switch and over)

Roger Isaacs said...

Hi Mouna,
I would say "NO" to Bhagavan remaining silent. I have never heard an ignorant statement from him... but as all masters if you read all of his work he says different things at different times: this is because life is complex and must be addressed from different angles.

As far as MJ, you and I... we are doing our manana through conversation. I object to Michael James as the spiritual teacher who knows "the only way" for everyone for all time. That's just crazy.

But if you find something of value of Bhagavan reflecting from MJ then I celebrate that with you.
But also Mouna, you have not addressed any of my statements directly.

Salazar... will talk with you later, gotta do an errand... or was it errant?

Advik said...

Salazar

Sorry to interject.

[True surrender means that even a rape is Divine Will and to retaliate is, spiritually speaking, just perpetuating samsara. We have to look at the bigger picture and the first question is, why is that person being raped? That is of course karma related and the victim must have raped or abused someone in a previous life and now that abuse is coming back.]

Salazar the victim you see outwardly during waking or dream have they actually done anything? Have they lived previous lives?

[Whatever "happens to us is solely our doing: That is a fact even if it doesn't seem that way]

Yes I agree with you but cannot be 100% certain because it is just a concept that we have acquired from turning outward. But a helpful concept it is if it encourages to turn within.

Advik said...

Typo, should read:

But a helpful concept it is if it encourages us to turn within.

I am sure there are other typo's

Mouna said...

Roger, hi

"But also Mouna, you have not addressed any of my statements directly.“

You are absolutely right on that.
My quote was more of a tasteless reaction than a constructive conversation and exchange, so I apologize for that and shall remove my previous comment.

As for addressing your statements, I do not have neither time nor desire for that, and that is because they are always the same ones in essence, which were addressed in so many ways here in this blog that it makes it worthless to repeat the same song all the time when nobody is listening to the music.

My personal take on all of this? you have a great analytic capacity, but unfortunately is misplaced and tinted with an underlying subtle feeling of anger and the necessity to be acknowledged and approved, which in turns denotes a sense of insecurity.

As you rightly pointed out, I spoke too much with this response, and my previous quote might definitely apply here.
You might respond and have the last word my friend (that I promise to read), but I’m finished with this thread of conversation.
In the final analysis, all this shall pass, so all is well anyways.

Be well,
m

Advik said...

Roger,

I may be wrong but I don't think Michael James will respond. But I appreciate you might not want him to.

Salazar said...

Advik, why are you commenting at all on this blog? Is this blog real? Have you actually done anything on this blog? Who is making statements about waking dreams etc.?

I'd prefer if you'd stay out of my conversations and lecture your concepts somewhere else. Maybe you can tell your unreal mind that it is unreal? So don't share your concepts to an object which does not exist :-)

Can you see how ridiculous you are? But who is ridiculous, where are you......helloooooooooo :-)

Advik said...

Salazar
I was only making you aware of some of the things you had written which contradicted your previous comments and violated your own understanding. Just trying to be helpful because by helping you am I not helping myself? Does that answer your question?

You said:

[Can you see how ridiculous you are? But who is ridiculous, where are you......helloooooooooo :-)

In all fairness Salazar I am not the one getting upset and using terms like helloooooooooo, or other infantile language plus in our previous exchange you swore at me.

I feel my comments (thoughts) maybe proving to be too distracting for you and preventing you from just watching them unaffected. You are reacting to them and losing your grip on yourself.

This is not good it will prevent you from finding yourself.

Yes you are right Salazar.

Salazar said...

Advik, you are simply assuming too much about others and instead of giving unsolicited advice or "making aware of some things" why don't you attend to your own mess and let others sort out their own mess on their own terms?

And what contradictions? Only for the mind.

Infantile language? Helloooooooooooooooo.............. :-)

You say you are not taking yourself seriously? LOL!!!!

Take a hike and never come back.

power of grace said...

Hey guys, heavens above !,
death walks behind you.
Would you not better try to maintain the practice of defying the power of illusion ? Why are you indulging an inclination to experience the ghostly dance of the ego and thus forgetting the reality ?

Advik said...

Power of Grace,
You are right and I agree with you.
Thank you for the reminder.
I thought the banter with Salazar was over to be honest?
But he replied again?
I am not sure why as a response wasn't needed?
It's over but he seems to be unable to let go.
I hope he doesn't reply to me or reference me again in any way on this blog.
Instead he should return to watching his thoughts without being distracted by them. He obviously finds it very hard to do. It can be tough I know because it is a contradiction.
I think vichara could be more helpful which is the exact opposite of watching thoughts and what Bhagavan recommends.
But maybe he is destined to watch his thoughts.

Thanks again Power of Grace.
It's over.
Best to you

Roger Isaacs said...

Hi Mouna,
"insecurity" is when you have to insist that your way is the "only", "most direct", "final way" for everyone.

Roger Isaacs said...

Hi Salazar,

Your proposed strategy is: if we are raped then as MJ says above "turn within to be attentively aware of ourself alone" that is to be passive and not react outwardly, go inward and escape the world into the "no body, no world" state.

This isn't viable.
If you come home and a violent felon is brutally attacking your mother... will you sit down and enter the trance state "no body, no world" and mutter "it's just praradbha, it's just praradbha, it's just the divine will, my mother must have earned this from a previous life..." ?

Of course not, you will immediately rush to the aid of your mother. So your strategy isn't real, it's just an imagination. Of course there is a huge variation in what constitutes moral behavior, some are pacifists, some are warriors, but probably even Gandhi would rush to his mother's aid.

When faced with immediate threat of death to himself or his family... will Arjuna sit down and enter the "no body, no world" state muttering "my loved ones must have earned this from a previous life"?

Apparently you think that we can escape vasanas or karma or praradbha by avoiding action. Somehow by avoiding taking action we will clear out our vasanas.

Not so: this is just mood making and imagination. We do not know what circumstances lead to the current state, nor what might follow, we need only be concerned with what is "right action" for us.

The KEY to freedom is to be inwardly aware (Self Attention) during performance of one's natural duty whatever that might be.

We don't "retaliate", we take the appropriate action, and if it's a violent attack... it's conceivable that ending the attack might also end the attacker... that was the risk he took.

Praraddha is a mystery, you cannot predict what action will be appropriate for all people. To do so is just fantasy. Perhaps you will come back life after life after life to endure brutal violence from felons... and the way to end the cycle is to take the responsibility and initiative to defend yourself. Hey Arjuna, does that sound right to you?

But MJ doesn't teach about action in the world.
The only approach that MJ teaches is "no ego, no world, no body", he doesn't know about how to attain the transcendent state in activity. Bhagavan covers this : samadhi with the presence of objects ALSO leads to sahaja.

The whole approach here seems to be tainted because it's handed down by generations (Bhagavan, Murungar, Sahdu Om, MJ) of people who are only concerned with the monks or recluse way of life. Bhagavan was more inclusive.

Salazar said...

Hello again Roger, at first I'd composed a much longer reply to you but then I changed my mind. To your mother example, yes – most, if not all, will rush to aid one's mother. No doubt about that.
I do not believe that one can avoid action at all. Because even the attempt to avoid action IS action :-)

Now if you want to be an Jnani than you have be able to watch your mother die at the hands of a cruel murderer without being affected by it. Don't forget, for a Jnani there is no difference between a murderer and his mother. But as long as you are a jiva, the murderer and your mother are two objects which are judged by past habits and therefore you'll react within the realms of duality and according to prarabdha.

It is easy to predict what most people would do in extreme scenarios because the main drive of a jiva is to preserve the existence, safety, and comfort of the body.
And yet there are people who are different, like i.e. that Buddhist monk in Vietnam who doused himself with gasoline and burned himself as protest against the war.

If you think that “appropriate” action will change the cycle of samsara you are welcome to do so, I do not share that opinion. The problem is not action or non-action, it is the identification with the doer-ship. We are consciousness, not an object. Consciousness is not doing and not not-doing anything.

I also do not share your opinion about MJ. As far as I can tell he is reflecting Bhagavan's teaching as best as anybody could do. I do not share a few minor things with him but overall I resonate with his approach.

Finally to adhere to Bhagavan's teaching one does not have to lead a reclusive life, Bhagavan very rarely encouraged that. Because your mind will follow you wherever you are and in whatever circumstance you are in.


Papanasana said...

We prick up our ears: Salazar's mind has kindly changed now to a smooth-tongued variant. It would be a welcome development if this change will be constant...

Wittgenstein said...

Ātma-vicāra and suicide

Part 1 of 2

This is a very meaningful reply given by Michael to his friend. The feelings of despair are very common in the spiritual path. However, modern psychiatry would wrongly diagnose that as depression and put the ‘patient’ on some medication. There is one crucial difference between a suicidal and a spiritual person. In the former there is a frustration with something about which there is no hope. If it turns to his favour, the former will change his mind. However, in the latter, there is a frustration with the entire world, because suffering is the very fabric of life and not an iota of happiness can be expected in this world.

Looked from another angle, the spiritual is so greedy that he is not satisfied with limited happiness in this world. He desires complete happiness. Therefore, one who is on the path of ātma-vicāra considers suicide as the very anti-thesis of the enterprise he has undertaken. The suicide he desires is the death of the ego, which Michael notes very clearly in this article. Obviously such a person will feel he is a misfit in this world and such an attitude cannot be faked for a long time.

Bhagavan gets to this point very directly in Nāṉ Yār?, paragraph fourteen when he says, “[…] Happiness is not obtained from any of the objects of the world. We think that happiness is obtained from them because of our lack of discrimination. When [our] mind comes out, it experiences unhappiness. In truth, whenever our thoughts [or wishes] are fulfilled, it [our mind] turns back to its proper place [the core of our being, our real self, which is the source from which it arose] and experiences only the happiness of [our real] self” [bold emphasis mine and translation copied from Michael]. To abide in this source permanently is the aim of everyone in the path of ātma-vicāra.

Given this, it is anybody’s guess that Bhagavan will not provide any false promises and quick fix solutions to problems in life. He would rather ask us to surrender all our burdens to him and get into ātma-vicāra. This is what he taught Sarma when he taught him Uḷḷadu Nāṟpadu. Sarma, in his Tamil commentary on verse 17 of Uḷḷadu Nāṟpadu Anubandham, writes the following (translated by me).

Wittgenstein said...

Ātma-vicāra and suicide

Part 2 of 2

“Those burdens associated with family and body that occur naturally should be faithfully surrendered to God and one should remain without worries. Otherwise to wholeheartedly love Him or to take up ātma-vicāra […] would become impossible. When things stand so, to take up the burdens of the world is laughable. If we think there is One who has created and running this world, we will not entertain such thoughts”. Such a person who surrenders will be protected, says Bhagavan in Nāṉ Yār?, paragraph twelve, provided he takes up ātma-vicāra. So, there seems to be a divine barter here, Bhagavan asking us to do our work (ātma-vicāra), so that he will to do his work (arranging our lives).

That was what Bhagavan taught a practising lawyer (Sarma), not a mendicant. Sarma was spiritual. That is why he expresses his feeling in Chapter 8 of Maha Yoga as follows (reminiscent of the verse quoted by Michael in this article): “That real Self is the Life by which, even now, we are sustained — but for which our existence in relativity would be so intolerable that death would be preferred. […] For even now, in this realm of ignorance, we are sustained by currents — however weak and fitful — of the Happiness of the real Self, trickling through the dense folds of ignorance and sin, in just sufficient amounts to keep us from despair and suicide”. He goes on to quote from a upaniṣad and says very beautifully that a Sage is one who is simultaneously fulfilled of all desires, as we noted earlier. Sarma clearly implies our aim should be to ‘win’ that state of the Sage, not suicide. And to do that, complete surrender is essential.

What about someone who is striving to finding happiness in the world? He will at any cost strive to ascribe reality to the world; otherwise how can he find ‘real’ happiness in the world? Bhagavan likens such a person in Guru Vācaka Kōvai, verse 74 to someone ascribing chastity to a prostitute due his excessive infatuation with her. The message is clear: If you are interested in a prostitute, go a brothel; don’t go to Ramanasramam. If we mix up places, whose fault is it?

Roger Isaacs said...

There is great danger in this "Bhagavan ... will do this work" for us. Surrender everything to Bhagavan...

God has no qualities what-so-ever. If you doubt this then study ajata. Or if you say creation is the manifestation of God.... then EVERYTHING is God. God is either nothing at all... or everything.

When we give Bhagavan or Jesus a special position... then everything that differs is automatically put into competition or devalued: the original non-dual presence of Bhagavan has then become about the duality of competing with other teachings, attention is sucked away from Self into competition.

Jesus had realized God, no doubt about that?
But when Jesus was promoted to God by the priests, and his teaching was declared the ONLY WAY, then Christianity was automatically placed into competition with all other teachings. What followed was nearly 2 thousand years of inquisitions, crusades, burning non-believers, using murder to enforce "the ONLY WAY".

This is precisely what is happening with the message of Michael James. The interpretation is made that Atma Vicara is the ONLY way (which is NOT done in "Talks with Ramana") and MJ regularly finds fault with other teachers. This is duality, competition.

A useful attitude is respect for other teachings in that they may provide insight into our own perspective. Then competition and judgments about others are avoided.

Also, "surrender" to Bhagavan says nothing about what action one might take. It's not a call to passivity in the world or avoidance of activity.

MJs teaching comes from a perspective of renouncing the world due to the people associated with the work. This may be useful for monks.
MJ teaches that the world is the ego. But it's not the whole truth.
It is much subtler:
The world is not the problem, if you are able to maintain inward Self Attention with eyes open in the world... what difference does it make that the world is perceived as long as Self Attention is maintained?

Roger Isaacs said...

PLEASE do not suffer or go into despair, there is no reason to suffer at all, there is nothing spiritual about suffering or despair. Suffering is just more identification with the material, the ego. There is no benefit from it.

If suffering is seen arising... then immediately put the attention on Self.
That is all that is needed. Of course this may require repeated firm attention... but it's a great opportunity.

If "Self" cannot be located, then use some aid that suites your temperament, mantra, breath, energy, discrimination, yoga poses...
If you don't know how to do this... then seek a teacher who can demonstrate effectively and don't give up till you find someone who can help.

The only reason to suffer is if you have some perverse joy in doing do, it's your choice.
Suffering is a choice or at least lack of education.
Of course circumstances may be dire, but realize that you can break out of suffering anytime you want if only briefly by putting attention on Self. And you can repeat, repeat, repeat Self Attention till suffering no longer has a home.

Nobody said...

What I'm going to say is just a thought excercise, my own pondering/wondering about what self-realization is/means, without having reached a definitive conclusion..
because this mind too is subject to uncertainties, and ultimately, being that while we are in the dream we cannot avoid the mind and thoughts, maybe even what self-realization/liberation is is subjective.
This mind too is confused, as Moune posted in another thread, regarding the "snake" vs. "mirage" analogies of vedanta and ajata [Mirage (world) continuing to appear after S-R {vedanta} vs Snake (world) dissapears after S-R/no more dreaming {ajata}].
And after all, for much that anyone can say about S-R, I wonder if it isn't left to ourselves to decide which standpoint to believe or not, and which one will, for us, mean to have or not been liberated/realized..

Having said that, this mind has its set of subjects on which it ponders without reaching a definitive answer..
and there are a few thing I cannot deny that play a role in whatever this mind thinks of and considers whent it thinks about Self-realization, which I'll mention before entering into any further discussion:
- that I/We exist independently of any appearances/experiences of body/mind (as in deep sleep);
- that everythign that seems to exist must have come from a single unique source (source that is that same deep sleep).
- that we experience, alternatively, what we call 'periods' of thoughts and period of just being (no thoughts).. and tha ttime is only perceived, or thought of, when thought(mind are present, and when it is not, the so called time ceases doesn't exist.
- that, as Ramana said, thoughts/mind and world are one, as in the absence of one the other is also absent.


Now, the thought excercise/questions themselves:

- if ajata be the ceasing of perception of the world7mind forever and ever..
then we wouldn't be here: Ramana or [put here the name of your preferred 'enlightened being'] already succeeded at this, so there's nobody writing this text.. which is an absurdity.. at least to a certain extent..

how can it be said so? how can it be really said that nothing ever happened? it can be said so from a theoretical standpoint, as in the known example of What we think about a dream after we have awaken from it. {Did it really happen? the answer, we find, is both yes and no.}
but from that very same standpoint (of looking back after waking up from the dream, and knowing the dream as unreal) we may already say that what seems to be happening now isn't really happening and tehrefore all is alright as it is.

If we enter into that train of thoughts, we can also start questioning the existence of what we know as 'past' (that is, what we are told of by the apearances and/or whatever we didn't happen to 'witness' ourselves), or even if what we call 'yesterday' really existed, as in some sense we could call each day a dream.
In the end, with this sort of thought we gain nothing, lose nothing, everything stays as it is..

So in some sense, at least to this mind, this 'Forever ceasing of the mind' (which I equal with Moksha or the ending of rebirth) doesn't gels (yet).

Also if mind ceases and with it the apearance of the world, nobody could have said 'sarvam khalvidam brahma - All of this is brahma' (Chandogya Upanisad), for then there'd be no one left to refer to 'all' and/or 'this' and make such declaration..
the statement that self-realized beings are unaware of the world yet able to engage with it in a coherent way I can't understand either, to this mind conception it'd be possible for a body to function in the waking state (as we see with people that might talk/scream, and move unaware of it, while dreaming) but not in a coherent way, related to the surroundings.

(to be cont.)

Nobody said...

(cont. I)

- Ramana says look for the mind and it won't be found, and we can tell even from the present state that it is a true statement, 'mind' is a concept, an imagination, we cannot say that this thing or that other thing is the mind, as we can do with a hand a leg or whatever object. It is an abstraction of sorts for an intelligence.
The same can be said of the idea we have of a 'me', what is a 'me'? the body exclusively cannot be because we subsist in its absence, and since there's no such specific thing as a 'mind' either.. and yet bodies appear and thoughts appear and along with them appears this byproduct, this notion of a 'me' that experiences the suffering of the appearances, the likes and dislikes..

But what does happen when we happen to stay quiet? everything else dissolves and only I/We remain thoughtless, as in deep sleep or objectless samadhi..

which brings me to another point which this mind questions:
- that is the 'be quiet' and/or self-enquiry or attention on ourselves, and more specifically, where/when it is said that it should be practiced even while doing activities..
again there is this problem: or we take ourselves to be all and everything and then self attention is just ordinary life as it happens every day, activities and all; or we take the 'be quiet' and neti neti approach so that thoughts fall away and we stand alone thoughtless, in which case I'd say that, rather than paying attention, it'd be called 'not paying attention', for a s long as we pay attention to thoughts they keep going on.. this second approach I find incompatible and totally opposite to any activity.

GVK 433 says: Only the truth of the Self is worthy of being scrutinized and known. takin It alone as the target, one should keenly attend to It in the Heart (i.e. within). IT CAN BE KNOWN ONLY BY THE SILENT AND CLEAR MIND WHICH IS FREE FROM AGITATION AND ACTIVITY.

(to be cont. II)

Nobody said...

(cont. II)

So what this mind thinks about this all then, at least for now, is what follows:

That everyone agrees that when there is stress, anxiety, or whatever that afflicts us, sleep is sought and is the refresher, so yes, cessation of experience is release.
And this is what this apparently existing mind is looking for (cessation).

But I'm reticent to call any cessation permanet (because of what I said ealier).

At most, I'm inclined to say that we might achieve cessation of what seems to be our current person, let's call it a painless death, as if we had gone to sleep and don't wake again (again, as this person we seem to be now, whatever our identity), and, gone this current person and its suffering, the cycle would start again with us imagining ourselves a new person in a new place, and maybe enjoy life for some time eating, playing and on as many other people seem to do.. until we get tired again.

After all, it is only One who is living all our lifes (as in the dream it is only one who animates all the imaginary dream people), and so it is the same One who has lived and will live all the lifes ever to be lived. What is meant is that rebirth might be both untrue and true, untrue from the standpoint of thinking that each particular person is carryong over what had been left to do by another specific person in a previous life; but true from the standpoint that we are eternal and never really die.

Since we as Self are eternal, and the world is in truth (as it is said) not different from ourselves, then it is concluded that even the world/mind, albeit always changing is eternal in nature, that is, it'll keep to spring again and again and that we will have to struggle again and again many more times.. or just live each life as it comes..

After all it is called a lila or play.. isn't the use of a play to entertain?
what follows is that, at least to my understanding, it is possible that we engage in this 'dreaming' because it is entertaining, until at some time we don't find it entertaining anymore and want to stop it, the same way as we as people sometimes watch stupid nonsense things on tv just to kill time, until we get tired and turn off the tv.. at least for a while because we might on another day turn it on again and watch some other stupid movie..
there is the possibility that maybe just maybe, as if exposed to neverending sunlight we will burn and if there'd be endless rain we would't like that either.. even forever thoughtlessness could turn boring after a while.. just imagine if you slept forever.. maybe the way things are now is how they should be, with periods of thoughts(activity intersped with periods of deep sleep/inactivity..


In some way this mind feels like those saying of eastern philosophies, like ying/yang, or full/empty are true:
we can say that we are nothing/empty (but which can also be viewed as full) in deep sleep and everything/full in waking/dream (which can also be viewed as empty), but in each of them I/We always remain.. there's no single moment where we lose perception of our existence.
There's no one doing anything and nothing happens and yet at the same time we are doing all the activities because we are everything that exists.

That's why I said earlier that I find no definitive answer, and maybe it's a matter of perspective, like the half empty/half full glass of water where both statementes are true at the same time without negating the view from the other perspective...

But what do I know? I am not Ramana, though in essence I am. (And so is everyone).



Nobody.

I am. This is the only certainty, all else is uncertain.


{Although this mind did its best to present a clear, tidy text, english isn't its first language, so apologies in advance if it failed to structure and present the text in such a way.}

the ever unmoving One said...

Nobody,
your thought exercise is only entertaining the mind.
Now you know that you are. But now...You must go to explore what you are.
We have the good fortune that Bhagavan Sri Ramana has shown the way with the aid of Michael James' translations together with his explanations even for the West.
Now we must grasp this most precious opportunity with both hands - here and now !
Saying it in sports/soccer terms: me must score that penalty which is given us as the most auspicious present against the ego, the goalkeeper.

Nobody said...

Hi Ever unmoving one!

The thing is that maybe, just maybe, the thought excercise isn't only a stupid thing/mind entertainment as it might seem.
After all it is said that self-realization is a simple simple thing, that on being pointed out can be grasped instantaneously. Perhaps is a mind trick to keep looking for some thing, expecting it to be 'the Self' or 'self-realization', making it way too complicated, when it is already said that Self is all there is now and all that will be forever; if it'd be something all that complicated and obscure it wouldn't be told to the simple people, yet Ramana made no distinctions and explained to all kinds of people and in very simple ways.. but no, we discard the simple, refuse what is pointed to us in front of our face, and go looking for subtler and subtler meanings.. isn't that itself more mind entertainment?
at least I'm open to consider the possibility that it is what's is already in front of the eyes..
As we know it in sleep, we know it in waking and in dream.
It is every thing and it is no thing in particular. The problem arises when we think to be 'only' this particular body, which already has been pointed out that we are not.
Again it has been said that our actual state is like looking for the necklace that never has left our neck, or looking for the tenth man.. consider that this could well apply for us looking for the so called self-realization.

As stated before I choose both approaches: I try to be quiet as much as possible just because I like to be quiet and not do much, yes, you might call me lazy if you want. If some thing called self-realization happens and/or I die a painless death, then it'd be good, and if not, well, at least I get to enjoy as much a tranquil time as possible..
but you might make your own choices, or at least think to do so.. as I think I got to choose what I choose.
because there is the statement that what is going to happen will happen and what is not to happen will not happen, no matter what, as much as we try to change things.
Again, I chose but I did not.

But well, as I said before.. what do I know? maybe I'm just stupid, or crazy.. after all, look at myself, ain't I an imaginary person imagining others, and actually talking to myself?!

the ever unmoving One said...

Nobody,
your choice to try to be quiet as much as possible I consider as decidedly auspicious.
Regarding "self-realization" we should take account of the fact that the self is already and always realized. As you say the missing necklace (of pure self-awareness) has never left our neck. We have to get consciously aware of that fact by removing all (seeming) obstacles which may prevent us from that awareness.
Keep the ball. Kind regards.

Roger Isaacs said...

first some comments to "the ever unmoving One":

I appreciate your comments, but a different perspective:
>> your thought exercise is only entertaining the mind.

Are you saying Sankara was incorrect in advising Sravana (hearing concepts pointing to the truth) & Manana (reflection). Are you ready to give us corrections to Sankara's teaching?
BTW: blind faith "belief" as recommended by MJ has nothing to do with sravana and manana.

You say:
>>Regarding "self-realization" we should take account of the fact that the self is already and always realized. As you say the missing necklace (of pure self-awareness) has never left our neck.

We must discriminate between that which is more real and what is only an imagination if we are to Realize that which never moves.

"the self is already and always realized" has become a cliche, almost a trite remark. It is generally an unthinking repetition from stale memory.

Either one is realized or not.
If you say there is no difference... they why practice Atma Vichara?
If you can't tell the difference between "realized" or not... then better give up.
If you are unable to note the distinction between relative "pure self-awareness" and the the loss of this when the mind moves outward into desires... then how are you to come back to Self Attention?

No offense intended, I am just trying to speak the truth as it seems to me.
As you say I am simply trying to "remove all seeming obstacles..."

Roger Isaacs said...

Hi "Nobody"... and everybody,

>> pondering what self-realization is/means without definitive conclusion

The only thing "definitive" can never be spoken about conclusively. (claims of ONLY WAY are false because no concept could be conclusive)
"Pondering" is very useful as an exercise (paraphrasing P.B.) when in the act of subtle pondering... the mind comes to a stop in rapt clear profound Self Attention. Then manana attains to nididyasana (contemplation rests in stillness realizing insight by identity).

>> because this mind too is subject to uncertainties, and ultimately, being that while we are in the dream we cannot avoid the mind and thoughts, maybe even what self-realization/liberation is is subjective.

"Subjective" is considered unreliable and a dream by those in the objective world.
Ultimately "subjective" is the only thing reliable... but this includes the objective world as a substantial dream.

Self Realization is NOT "subjective" in the meaning "illusory" or "inconclusive". Only all descriptions about it are. Infinite numbers of Sages attempt to describe it and all fail.

>> left to ourselves to decide which standpoint to believe or not...

"belief" has nothing to do with it.
"belief" can be nothing more than a conceptual pointer which are innumerable or a preoccupation of the lower thinking mind.
Abandon ALL belief and find out for yourSelf.

time does not exist

Creation is a progressive manifestation with "nothing" as the only substantial underpinning.
If at the center there is absolutely no movement and no qualities (ajata), then if time and space begin the imaginative dream of creation... time DOES EXIST but just not with the rigid finality typically known, rather, time & space are just definite aspects of the dream.

...continued...

Roger Isaacs said...

>> as Ramana said, thoughts/mind and world are one, as in the absence of one the other is also absent.

there is further detail:
"thought/mind/emotion" claiming doer-ship in the world are what is false, this is one level. This is what must be overcome for S.R.
But the world, while being a projection of the brain and ultimately not solid, is at a different level.
The world still exists (although more like a dream) in the state of S.R. ... at least with eyes open.
This phrase is mis-interpreted in a way which leads to confusion:
It leads people to believe that the world must be erased, not so: only "doer-ship" in the world must be surmounted.
The world can be erased in nirvikalpa samadhi... but when you open your eyes.... it reappears, regardless of S.R. or not. (sort of like a terrifying Stephen King movie, although in S.R. no terror)

It is true that from Nirvikalpa Samadhi (Bhagavan with eyes closed attention inward) the world does not exist, neither do thoughts. But... when Bhagavan opens his eyes the world obviously exists, there is some level of thoughts/mind. But Bhagavan has realized the truth that He is eternal and un-moving. Thought & mind can never touch him although thought may manifest through Grace as Nan Yar, but the impact of those thoughts manifesting as "nan yar" are only seen as if from a great distance and can NEVER touch the infinite Being Bhagavan.

>> if ajata be the ceasing of perception of the world7mind forever and ever..

I have no problem with Bhagavan, concepts ALWAYS fail, and of course the follow-priests introduce more errors.
The problem is that the state being described is totally beyond words.

Check out http://www.franklinmerrell-wolff.com/stimulate/aphorisms/
He and other Realized arrange their words a bit differently.
It appears that Ajata while from our perspective seems separate from the world, and un-moving... eventually there is a paradox: while established in Ajata the never moving, creation is the SAME and not seen differently from the unmoving. The unmoving appears to move, yet remains unmoved.

Wolff:
7: When objects are projected
the power of awareness as subject is presupposed,
yet Consciousness-without-an-object
remains unchanged.


>> "me"
When claims of doer-ship are vanquished... the temporal history of the organism in the dream continues to exist at it's level. The "me" of S.R. still maintains "age, race, driving violations, physical characteristics scars, addiction to ice cream" of the dream body, but if the personal identify has expanded to be the entire universe plus the unmoving foundation... the history of the body is put in perspective.

Nobody, thanks alot, I only speak from a different perspective, I like what you are saying.
But comment on your whole post is beyond the "time" I have available.

>> "I AM", This is the only certainty, all else is uncertain.

"I AM" is only certainty when established in it. While it remains a concept or even a temporary state it too is "temporal" aka "in time".

Nobody said...

In continuing some ideas from previous posts I have to insist that it might be worth considering that the problem comes from this idea that we are a definite thing (i.e. body or mind) instead of everything that is (and at the same time nothing at all) or the doer of a particular action instead of the doer of all actions (or the nondoer).

why is it that there are some actions of the body of which doership over them is claimed -as in walking, eating, etc- but not others? -i.e. we don't go claiming 'hey I just put this hair to grow, this heart to pump blood, these lungs to breathe, and this stomach to digest food', yet all these take place on their own accord..
along those lines of questioning, I'd include choice: 'that choice, is there a 'me' who did it? or it just happened on its own accord?'

when scrutinized this way, couldn't we say that either we are doing all and every action and/or that there's no one doing them? again, not a middle term as in 'I did this, but I didn't do that..'

Nobody said...

Hi Roger! thanks for your comments, and thanks for the link to Franklin Merrell-Wolff, I will have a look at them.

with 'subjective' it was meant exactly that: that, when there are slightly different descriptions, all of which fail to describe it, ain't it left to the subject to decide when he 'has found it'?
e.g. let's say you have a crystal on your hand and I tell you it's a diamond but you think otherwise.. why will you believe me? the opposite also rings true: you might think you have a diamond and someone can come and tell you it's an ordinary crystal, will you believe? and since all others are reflections only, in the end, who decides what is the truth? as you said, it is left to ourselves to find it, hence 'subjective'..

but again since my previous post related to choices and decisions, I'm also in doubt if it is 'me' who decides or if decision happens on its own accord, so I really don't know who decides that either..

{if you comment was misunderstood apologies, again must be my command of english, that isn't 1st language.. but maybe we're saying the same thing with different words?}


Regarding your comment on 'I AM', this opinion is hold by this 'me':
That I AM (or that We Are) is always certain, no matter what.
Doubt or confusion might be regarding what we are. But the knowledge of our existence doesn't need to be established by anything. It is self-knowledge, self-known, not needing anything else to be ascertained.
It is never temporary because no one ever says that it ceased to exist in deep sleep, despite the absence of awareness of body/mind/world. That there is continuity from waking to deep sleep and again to waking is known to all. So, that we are is not a concept. Concept would be 'I am this body' or 'I am this mind'.

Nobody said...

And regarding time and space, go anywhere at any time, and then tell if these words don't apply: 'I AM HERE NOW'. The NOW never ceases to be NOW, only the succession of objects/thoughts perceived make the illusion of the time passing (note that when attention is engrossed in anything the perception of time is lost), same as with 'HERE' it doesn't ceases to be HERE in any place.. and, since we never cease to be either.. it could be said that what appears to be 3 things (I, Here, Now) are in fact one and the same, ever present, and since no time can be excluded from the now, no place can be excluded from the here, and no particular thing can be assigned to the concept 'me/I' again it must be concluded that it's both everything and nothing in particular.

Sorry if it appears repetitive, I cannot help arriving at this conclusion independently of the standpoint.

Roger Isaacs said...

Thanks Nobody, it's a pleasure to talk.

I've done a lot of stuff: T.M. decades ago.
Then a dear friend taught me his perspective on Jnana Yoga: "not this", continuously sweeping the attention clear of all things arising. "not this" arising thought or emotion.. "not this...".
In my STRONG opinion: different things work for different people so I absolutely do not claim that this is "superior" for everyone.
While "sweeping" I noticed an energy in the body.
Then I discovered Barry Long and his book "Stillness is the Way" and while I still "sweeping the attention clear" more and more I just put attention on the "current of mind or energy or sensation" in the body. Bhagavan, Nisargadatta & Barry Long, Wolff all talk about this. It was Nisargadatta's final emphasis. (book: The Ultimate Medicine). But only BL tells you how to go into it.

So... you may be more intellectually inclined than me. I am more "sensation" or "perception" based. People have their natural different skills.
From a sensation perspective:
- put your attention on the body, for example the hands, eventually you will notice a subtle inner tingling.
- find that tingling throughout the WHOLE body simultaneously (a brief explanation which may take some time)
- this is the "current of energy", vital body, prana body, pranamaya kosha, vital breath, it is kundalini but we are going into it as passive kundalini, not stimulating it, it is what we are (quoting Bhagavan from the death experience)
- when you discover the "current" profoundly, YOU ARE the energy, thus finally the age old instruction "you are not the physical body" has been realized. Yes, the "current" is NOT your final identity, it is a layer: BUT... the "current" is your "golden anchor": with attention on the current... the mind does not move.
- THEN... the next step: the energy body begins to wink out: the body prior to energy has no movement in it, at least, there is nothing physical, and nothing energetic. The causal body. Yes, with eyes open, the world still exists but separate from "I", but with eyes closed even time and space fall away. Both states are natural, one is not superior to the other, it is natural to have eyes open and eyes closed?

For a while I've been wondering: have I done everything that I can? What really is "I AM"? what does "Who am I?" really mean?
For me:
"I AM" appears solidly when the physical body refines into the energy body, then the energy body refines into SPACE.
What is left is that which has no other attachments or qualities... there is no movement, it is like "I" as SPACE which stands alone apart from everything... but inclusive of the world and senses which although are distantly present are not distracting.
Of course, this is not Self Realization because it is held with subtle effort.
But although brief and intermittent, it is crystal clear that the only possible outcome is the whole system settling down increasingly to point of profound stillness where then by Grace the jump to the Absolute state happens.

Nisargadatta, final words from his last book the epilogue of "The Ultimate Medicine": Presently, you are to be identified with the vital breath. Then you will realize, like the sweetness in sugar cane, that this touch of "I-am-ness" which is dwelling in the vital breath, will open up. So understand these words, this advice. Assimilate it, and so long as the vital breath is flowing through you, abide in that. If the vital breath is there, you are there and so is Ishwara. In such simplified fashion, nobody has expounded this profound knowledge.

the ever unmoving One said...

Roger Isaacs,
okay, seen from the point of manana Nobody's "thought exercise" has to be regarded as manana. So for my part there is no need to enlighten Sankara. Smile.
If you want to discuss "blind faith belief" with MJ you should face him directly.
If you can't realize the truth of the statement "the self is already and always realized" by declaring it as a trite cliche, are you ready to give us corrections of the Upanishads ?
By the way, there is never a loss of pure self-awareness even when one's mind gets lost by "moving outward into desires". Otherwise you could not come back to self-attention.
Indeed we have to remove all obstacles which prevent us seemingly from being aware of our real nature.

Roger Isaacs said...

Hey "One",

>> If you want to discuss "blind faith belief" with MJ you should face him directly.

Oh, is there different website / blog for that?

Do you think a person can proclaim that he has the ONLY, "most direct", "final way" to God... for all people for all time.... and NOT receive any challenges?

Do you think a person can place himself (his stupid ego) above virtually all other spiritual teachers, can make a career out of saying that "HE knows what Sri Ramana meant", that "HE knows what Sankara meant" (above others)... that other jnanis such as Nisargadatta, Krishnamurti ( on and on) are ALL offbase... AND expect to receive no challenges?

What planet do you live on?

>> If you can't realize the truth of the statement "the self is already and always realized" by declaring it as a trite cliche, are you ready to give us corrections of the Upanishads ?

The "truth" of "the self is already and always self realized" is NOT the conceptual idea. It is enlightenment, NOW!!!!!. Do you know the difference?

Nobody said...

Hi again Roger,
whitout going into much detail I'll say that before this mind knew anything about Ramana, self-realization, yoga, or whatever we like to call all this, about a couple of years ago, there were experiences of 'seeing', as it were, the process and the exact moment where the mind with all its pictures dissolved into nothingness, the mind dissolved but 'I' remained (as in deep sleep we remain).
Around the same time, there were also 'periods' where I got really quiet, like a log, and when people thought I was sleeping and came to wake me up, I had the sensation and knew that I just wasn't sleeping, it felt as if I was thinking of 'nothing' itself, it wasn't that I couldn't remember, it was like if I had been thinking of something but that something had fallen away and I had been left with 'nothing'.. in occasions I'd feel, I'm clueless of how -as I couldn't say I had heard them- the people approaching me and I'd open the eyes quite suddenly or at times I'd sort of come out of that -whatever you call that state' quite startled, of course surprising the people who thought me sleeping. This still happens to me sometimes.

It's after those experiences that I came to know about Ramana, self-realization et al.
And while those experiences were the greatest happiness known to me -the removal of everything- and they have left a sort of desire to be forever in that state, well somehow I have, as said before, my doubts that that is ever possible. If I appear to be more intellectual, is again, in trying to understand what this s-r really is, or rather if it is possible for this state of thoughtlessness to be forever lasting.
Again I can only speak based on what's in front of our eyes, that is, the pictures on the screen.. because if that were so, Ramana's self-realization would have already removed all of them before and forever, that means there wouldn't be us here..

Again, coming back to the example of the Screen in the Theater..
what is pointed in the example? that we are so so engrossed in the pictures that we forget the existence of the screen which ultimately is truer that the pictures.
But are the pictures different from the screen? No. Can it be said that only one of the characters in the picture is the screen to the exclusion of the others? No, all characters are the screen.

And that, I think, might be one of the goals of the vichara, to make us remember the screen, so we stop suffering by identifying ourselves with a particular character, because the statement alone that the screen is there and than we are the screen isn't enough for us, and we refuse to acknowledge the screen from our experience of deep sleep. Then vichara has to be recommended so we can see for ourselves that we are the screen indeed.

Now lets remember this is a special screen, one that is eternal, whose composition is unchanging and that never brokes..
If pictures are seen on it, can it be said that the screen has been turned off once before and it has remained so turned off forever?
Being an eternal screen, wouldn't it be natural that sometimes it's turned on and sometimes it's turned off? and that from another standpoint it is both at the same time? I mean, turn the Tv off and there you have it, clean screen, turn it on and there are always programs going on.. in some sense the programs are always going on whether the Tv is turned on or not.
Both the screen and programs always go on.
but the natural thing of the screen is to sometimes show the movies and programs, not to remain forever turned off...

The thing is we tend to identify with only one of the characters, not seeing that in fact we are them all, and we are the screen too!

the ever unmoving One said...

Roger Isaacs,
if you want to discuss what a person proclaims and places anything above any spiritual teachers then face this person directly.
I do not even know who I am. So how can I know whether and what planet I live on.
I do not even know the infinite one without differences. How can I then know any differences ?

Roger Isaacs said...

>>I do not even know who I am. So how can I know whether and what planet I live on.

diagnosis: Alzheimer's disease.

barn owl said...

Sometimes in this community centre one has to let wash over the strange meeting with queer birds. In the worst case one encounters an extremely gaga. Presumably that is the fate of Alzheimer.

Anonymous said...

'I do not even know the infinite one without differences. How can I then know any differences?'

this seems a contradictory statement: that which doesn't know the one without differences must then know only the differences...

Anonymous said...

@ Roger Isaacs:

'But the world, while being a projection of the brain and ultimately not solid, is at a different level.'

See that the brain you mention is just another object in the world, hence the world can't be a projection of it.

Although it could be taken that that affirmation was made under the common misconception that brain= mind. To be clear I'd rather employ brain= the physical brain, and mind= abstraction for intelligence or whatever you want to assign this concept to. Ultimately mind is just a concept. Something inferred to exist, but which cannot be pointed to with a finger (the same which happens when it is tried to define 'Self').

In saying this, there's no intention to critize, or attack, only to bring this to light, just in case.. if it wasn't needed, nevermind, and apologies.

Best regards.

the ever unmoving One said...

Anonymous,
when one does not know one's true nature of being undivided and limitless why should such one care about any differences at all ?
As you say this only seems but is not contradictory.
By the way that answer was given a bit ironically only in reply to a somehow bigmouthed and boastful behavior of the questioner who not rarely is in the habit of trying to outmanoeuvre somebody.

Anonymous said...

then I have to bow to you Ever unmoving one, for one who has no cares for any differences has eliminated his likes and dislikes, and hence has no problems whatsoever and is ever happy.
I don't know what you're doing here in this blog then! ;-)

may one day I succeed at that!

Anonymous said...

Regarding criticism, my stance is that of avoiding engagement in it unless it is productive, that is, what doesn't helps me improve understanding in any way, only deviates attention from what's really important.
I tend to take what helps and disregard what doesn't.
The words 'Attend for what you came for' come to mind in these cases.

As I don't pretend to be blemish-less, I don't expect that from others either.
I find the pretension to correct others only brings me misery, they'll never be how I expect them to be nor behave according to expectations.

We might like Ramana, but I can think of some people who would even find fault in him because he didn't work, begged, and later on accepted food from poor people.

For me, the only perfect, blemish-less 'thing' is the 'no-thing'.

There you go.

the ever unmoving One said...

Anonymous,
yes, as you seem to understand: bowing down the ego to the light of supreme grace is really destroying bondage. Therefore try to dwell at the feet of Lord Annamalai who reforms the heart of his devotees. May you know the greatness of the experience of abiding as pure being.

Roger Isaacs said...

Hi Anonymous,
This is subjective...there must be several perspectives.
My main concern:
The teaching here says that the world, body and ego are the same. I can see how this makes sense from the type of meditation that MJ recommends where world and body are no longer in awareness. Then... if either world or body arises... you are off the pure state of "I alone". But there are multiple perspectives.

An aside: "no world, no body" is NOT the ONLY type of meditation leading to Realization. There are many including Bhagavan who describe samadhi with objects that is samadhi with world in awareness.

As "Nobody" pointed out, there is a problem calling "world, ego, body" the same: it doesn't allow for the state where Bhagavan is enlightened ... yet still participates in the apparent world. If the world and body consist of ego... then Bhagavan must have had an ego as he participated in the world.

I know there are strange workarounds: that Bhagavan doesn't really exist but is only projected by the observer. I can see how this might work too... but it's a bit clumsy and can be misinterpreted.

You say:
>> See that the brain you mention is just another object in the world, hence the world can't be a projection of it.

The infant is born with a brain in the world.
We're told that at birth the infant's brain is basically blank but with observer present.
I read that at an early stage if a pot is dropped causing a loud sound... the infant both hears and sees the sound because the brain has not learnt to discriminate sound and vision (how they know this I don't have a clue).
So the brain is an object... and it learns how to "project" or present the world to awareness.
Whether or not "projects the world" is entirely correct is an open question.
We also hear that there are a few people who are born blind yet gain vision later in life. They look into the sky, see the moon, and reach out to touch the moon because they missed a critical point in early development where depth perception is learnt. So their brain has not learnt how to "project" the moon into space.

From this angle, the brain is a physical object, and by taking sensory input it learns how to present the apparent world to awareness.

But my point: the "ego" or that which occludes "Self".... is not identical with the world or perception of the world or the body or the brain.
One way of stating it is that the "ego" is that which claims doer-ship. Doer-ship is different than all those previous things: world, body etc...
Another way, the ego is when the attention becomes enamoured with thoughts and emotions and looses attention on Self. But you see, this does not preclude awareness of the apparent world WITHOUT the ego as must have been Bhagavan's state with eyes open.

My concern is that the teaching "the world and body are projections of the ego" leaves us in a place where no progress can be made. The "ego" or that which occludes Self has not been clearly identified and so Self is difficult to isolate. If the "ego" is the world... the only way of destroying the ego is death as the world continues to exist (in some fashion) while the body exists, even for Bhagavan.

.. continued ..

Roger Isaacs said...

I think MJ's presentation is overly simplified and confused and thus leads to confusion. This is from the perspective of other teachers including Bhagavan in "Talks". There is the personal level of an individual brain & world above.
BUT there is also the level of the ultimate substance of creation and the higher states of consciousness.
From the higher states, yes, the world although coherent and persistent is no longer hard & material but more like a dream, or even a subtle thought, or nothing at all.
There is a "projection mechanism" for all of creation, but it is entirely different from the personal level and entirely different than the personal ego.
So... the personal ego can be eradicated... but the projection mechanism of all of creation is much subtler STILL continues (with eyes open), although it maybe known as it's subtler qualities.

Roger Isaacs said...

Hi "Nobody"

>> Being an eternal screen, wouldn't it be natural that sometimes it's turned on and sometimes it's turned off?

I like what you're saying.

My favorite analogy from Barry Long:
Draw a huge circle or a half circle.
Then... draw a cone like an ice cream cone which extends out from the circle but DOES NOT touch it.
The pointy end of the cone is close to the circle but does not touch it.

The circle represents Absolute Being or ajata.
It is so perfectly unmoving and without any qualities that nothing could arise from it ever.
Hence the cone does not touch it.
the "cone" at the small pointy end is the beginning of manifest creation or the Psyche.
MOST of creation is not material, it is the Psyche which starts with very subtle things like the transcendental Idea of space and time. But as thin as pond scum at the wide open end of the cone is the physical material world.

Several things are apparent from this:
there is an eternal state of no-thing-ness, ajata, totally pure without any qualities, no time or space, never moving, it could never even move to create anything.

Also there is a temporal (in time) Creation, most of this is unmanifest and it's incredibly vast. The very thin physical layer appears solid to us... but the higher realization shows it as being more dream like.

So... the only thing absolutely eternal is ajata, the un-created. (screen off)
But Creation is so long lived that it too appears virtually eternal. (screen on)

MJ seems to want to find JUST ONE THING (which is an egoic obsession), he wants Ajata alone without Creation.
But this is an intellectual fantasy and is not true.

There are many possible states of Being: all which reside WITHIN us.
So the screen may appear to be "off", like in normal sleep, or in ajata.
Or the movie may be playing at one of the innumerable levels.
Or, from what I hear, at some high level the distinction between ajata and creation is transcended. Apparently when established in the "un-moving" state... that which moves is also known as "unmoving". See the earlier quote from Wolff etc.
For example: Bhagavan had eyes closed absorbed into no-thing-ness, and had eyes open aware of Creation, perhaps he knew himself as ALL of creation simultaneously. But it is proposed that despite the apparent difference between eyes closed and eyes open... they are the same.

Salazar said...

Hello Roger, it is funny; when I was reading your last (for me confusing) comments I realized how little we actually know. Well that is true at least for me, since your comments confused me maybe I just don’t get what you are saying.

Now you talk about ajata and creation and if there would be a relation between these two concepts. Not as how I understand it. Now I could post some conceptual explanation but how could I possibly talk about ajata? It would be just a repetition of something I’ve read somewhere and the mind “approved” it.

Also you repeatedly keep mentioning Bhagavan’s “state” or “perception” with open and closed eyes…. As far as I understand it, there is no difference for a Jnani. But again, what good does that do unless one has that verified for oneself through direct experience?

Also, I find Barry Long’s circle thing not helpful at all. It just triggers the mind to imagine more than it already does.

I prefer simplicity, I am not even interested in Bhagavan’s description of the 5 sheaths and similar concepts, even if that appears in the holy book Ulladu Narpadu. I wonder why he’s mentioned it at all, because I see that specific conceptual knowledge more as baggage than as a catalyst for Self-realization.

Anyway, my 2 cents added to the pile of concepts.

Nobody said...

To round things out, what was intended with 'my' comments was to bring about the possibility that the so called natural state is already what we all experience as deep sleep+dreaming+waking..
the possibility that the so called self-realization of Ramana was the realization, the 'aha!' that he wasn't only the body, that particular body, but the spirit that pervades everything and always survives, and all else that he explained and told, as he told it. That means, at the face value and without subtler and subtler, 'hidden' meanings.

i.e. let's say we are convinced that the moon has a light of its own, someone else comes and discovers that it is not so, tells us, and explains to us why he says so.
He points out that portions of the moon sometimes are dark, due to the Earth's shadow, which would not happen if the moon was self-luminous, etc, etc.
There are 2 options: a) that on hearing the truth we recognize that what's said is true and we are then established in that belief without doing anything else, or b) believe not, in which case we will be told 'if you don't believe, go check yourself, all that I told you is already there for you to see it' which wouldn't be that hard since the exposition of the truth already contains all that is needed for it to be approved.

In looking for subtler and subtler meanings we might as well be tangling ourselves in definition of words, etc. making it complicated, instead of taking the simple.

That was what my series of comments meant.

May we all be quiet and desire nothing, because that way, life seems a little simpler and there is less suffering (at least of the 'mental' one).

Salazar said...

Hello again Roger, here is a quote which describes your relationship to MJ and is of course valid for anybody on this blog if they are willing to open up to it:

"No one has ever been angry at another human being - we're only angry at our story of them."

Many, especially people with a high intelligence will quickly read over it and immediately move on without picking up the significance of it.