Sunday, August 3, 2008

The Power to Enlighten

Apologies for my lengthy absence. Other activities have been demanding my attention over the last week or so.

Today’s topic is, ‘Why is it that some jnanis have the power to enlighten devotees, while others don’t? And how do those who have that power go about transmitting it to those who deserve it?’

It is a subject that has intermittently intrigued me over the years but I have not come to any definite conclusion since the people whose authority I respect – Ramana Maharshi and those direct disciples I have associated with and written about – have either not commented on these specific points, or they have come to differing conclusions.

I will start by giving two extracts from a dialogue that Annamalai Swami had with one of his visitors:

Question: Are there differences in the degree of realisation of the Self? For example, Ramana was widely acclaimed as a Sadguru. Is your understanding the same as Ramana’s?

Annamalai Swami: You see a big lamp before you. Your own lamp is unlit. So you bring your lamp to the lamp which is already burning. And when you go away from that lamp, you have your own lamp, your own light. Wherever you go, from that point on, the light is with you. The state of jnana is the same for all. Anyone who realises the Self is in the same state of peace, which is beyond the mind.

Though the experience of the Self is the same in all cases, it is true that some jnanis end up helping a lot of people, whereas others, who are equally enlightened, may help fewer people. Some jnanis do not teach at all. They live ordinary lives and are rarely, if ever, recognised for what they really are.

Water can be in a well or it can be in a lake. It is the same water, but one source can quench more thirsts than the other. A small lamp can light up a room, whereas a big one can light up a whole street. Bhagavan was one of those big, blazing lights that could light up a huge area. He guided and brought light to many people.

Question: Swamiji is saying that some jnanis are big lamps and that others are small. Do the small lamps become bigger, or do they always remain the same?

Annamalai Swami: Whichever light you go to, the light is always the same. This business of the lamps is just an example. What I am trying to say is, only a few people have the capacity to guide a large number of people towards the truth. Realising the truth is one thing, but guiding others towards it is something else. All jnanis are not equally capable when it comes to guiding others. (Annamalai Swami Final Talks, pp. 44-5, 2006 ed.)

Question: I read somewhere that Bhagavan said that jnanis have the power to link the individual mind to the supreme Self.

Annamalai Swami: Yes. A big ship can carry many people to the other side of the ocean, and a small ship can carry only a few people.

Question: And some jnanis don’t carry anyone at all.

Annamalai Swami: These jnanis who don’t have disciples don’t appear to be helping anyone, but their power, the power of their realisation, is having a beneficial effect on all beings. It is true, though, that some jnanis pass away without teaching anyone directly. Lakshmi the cow and Bhagavan’s mother are examples of this. (Annamalai Swami Final Talks, p. 48)


* * *

When I wrote my post ‘Who were you Ramana?’ some of the responses I received tried to make the case that some jnanis were superior to others simply because they attracted more disciples, lived saintly lives, enlightened some of their devotees, and so on. I took the position that Annamalai Swami confirms here: that all jnanis were equal in their jnana. However, it is true, as Annamalai Swami notes in these replies, that some have the power to enlighten, whereas others do not. This is not related to their state of abiding as the Self, since jnana is the same for all. Some other factor is involved.

In 1993 Papaji made the following remarks about J. Krishnamurti. The first paragraph is Papaji’s words. The subsequent two are my comments on them, taken from Nothing Ever Happened, volume two, p. 230:

I listened to Krishnamurti while I was in Switzerland. I liked him very much because I could find no fault in him. I am a hard person to satisfy but I will say that he was, no doubt, an enlightened man. But something was missing. The power to transmit that enlightenment to others was not there.

Papaji’s assessment, though it seems to be harsh, was shared by Krishnamurti himself. In a book commemorating his birth centenary Evelyne Blau, a long time associate of his, wrote: ‘For fifty years he had taught, spoken and travelled all over the world. Why was not a single person transformed? He [Krishnamurti] was certainly concerned with this problem.’

As Krishnamurti lay dying in California, a tape recorder was running to record his final words. Shortly before he died he said, ‘Where did I go wrong? No one got it?’

Apologies to those of you who are Krishnamurti fans, but I think his own words on this topic are hard to refute.

So far as I am aware Bhagavan never gave any explanation as to why some jnanis have the power to enlighten while others don’t. I called up Venkatasubramanian, my Tamil collaborator, while I was writing this piece to see if he could remember any such quotes, but he drew a blank as well. If there are any such references, I would love to see them posted in the ‘responses’ section.

With no guidelines from Bhagavan on this subject, I will review the ideas of what three of his devotees (Annamalai Swami, Lakshmana Swamy and Papaji) had to say. The first theory comes from Annamalai Swami:

Question: Does Swami understand Jesus Christ to be a jnani like so many other jnanis, or was he something more than that?

Annamalai Swami: If the ego is destroyed, only non-dual consciousness remains. There is no higher or lower in that state.

You cannot say that one jnani is in a different state from another. You cannot say that Jesus Christ is better than Bhagavan, or vice versa. There is no higher state than that of the jnani, and there is no jnani who is superior to any other jnani.

Although the inner state of all jnanis is the same, their outer activities differ because each of them has a different destiny to fulfill. Some will be teachers and some will not.

If there is water in a glass it will quench the thirst of one man; if there is water in a big pot, it may quench the thirst of thirty of forty people; if there is water in a well, it can quench the thirst of all the people in a village or a town. Some spiritual aspirants have done tapas only for their own realisation. After realisation they may be able to help a few people. But some jnanis have done prolonged tapas not only for their own realisation, but also to help liberate others. The jnanis who have done this kind of tapas become world famous masters and have many followers. (Living by the Words of Bhagavan, p. 310)


* * *

Since jnanis never do anything for a reason or for any particular goal, and since they see no one as different from themselves, or unenlightened, I am assuming that Annamalai Swami is referring to tapas done prior to the moment of realisation. His idea seems to be that tapas done with a strong desire that its fruits should benefit others results in a jnani who has the power and capacity to help and enlighten others. I am also assuming that this tapas can be spread over more than one lifetime. If one wants to include Bhagavan in a theory of this sort, then one would have to say that his tapas was done in some other incarnation.

More than twenty years ago I was sitting with Lakshmana Swamy on the lower slopes of Arunachala. We were speaking about the same topic. This is a summary of what I remember him saying that day:

‘If one sits quietly after realisation, a great power is accumulated. The longer one sits quietly, the stronger the power. This is the power that the Gurus use to enlighten others. You cannot make a choice to sit quietly or not sit quietly. That is just part of your destiny. If it is your destiny to sit quietly for years after your realisation, then that power will be available to help others later on.’

This is a somewhat different proposition from Annamalai Swami’s. There is no desire to help others; no tapas is done for the benefit of others. If there is a destined long period of quiet, Self-absorption, a reservoir of power will accumulate which can benefit devotees later on.

Bhagavan spent most of his first decade at Arunachala intensely absorbed in an inner Self-abidance that made it difficult or even impossible for him to extrovert his attention and lead a normal life in the world. Was this the source, or one of the sources, of his great power? I have no idea, but I do know from Bhagavan’s own comments that the power of the Self in him was so strong, it made his body shake and tremble. We are all familiar with Bhagavan’s comments that having the power of the Self in the body is like having an elephant entering a weak hut:

Annamalai Swami: Sometimes Self-realisation makes the body very weak. Bhagavan’s body used to shake a lot. When he was asked about this, he would sometimes say, ‘If an elephant enters a weak hut, what will happen to the body?’ The elephant was Self-realisation and the weak hut was his body. (Living by the Words of Bhagavan, p. 269)

Most of us have seen the film of Bhagavan with his head shaking as if he had a mild case of Parkinson’s disease. It wasn’t any kind of disease; it was simply the Self agitating the body. The slight oscillations of the head were there for most of the time, but whenever Bhagavan went into an inner Self-abidance in which he would be unaware of his body or the world, all the shaking would stop. The same thing would happen when he was transmitting power to a particular devotee, or just radiating it in general to people in his vicinity. T. M. P. Mahadevan has recorded the following observation:

Even when I first saw the Master [in 1928], his head had begun to nod. The shaking head seemed to me to be saying ‘neti’, ‘neti’ (not this, not this). And, all of a sudden the nodding would stop, the vision of the Master would become fixed, and the spirit of silence would envelop everyone present. (Philosophy of Existence, section three, Ramana experience)

Kunju Swami has also noted (sorry, can’t remember the exact reference) that Bhagavan’s use of a walking stick was not just for helping out his rheumatic knees: he apparently couldn’t balance very well when he was standing still. The walking stick gave him a tripod-like stability when he had to stop to speak to someone. This was probably another manifestation of the ‘elephant in the weak hut’.

If Bhagavan could mitigate the shaking of his body and lessen the effects of the ‘elephant’ by looking at devotees and transmitting power and grace to them why didn’t he do it more often and give his body a rest? Lakshmana Swamy gives his answer to this rather selfish question in the following interesting remarks:

Lakshmana Swamy: Although the power and grace of the Self are infinite, the Guru must use his body to transmit this power. The body could not stand the strain of giving so much grace to many people in such a short time. The body would weaken and die within a very short period. Instead of weakening his body by wasting his power on all the immature devotees who come to see him, the Guru saves his power and his health by only transmitting large amounts of grace to the good devotees who deserve it. [But] if the devotee’s mind is ready, the grace will automatically start to flow.

Ramana Maharshi used to give darshan to hundreds of people every day, but most of these people only received a brief glance or a smile. He was not transmitting power to most of these people.

When he was once asked if he would tour India and give darshan to all the thousands of devotees who could not come to Tiruvannamalai, he replied, ‘I cannot give darshan to everyone’. I don’t know what he meant by this. He may have been saying that it was physically impossible for him to meet all the thousands of people who wanted to see him, but he may also have been implying that it would have been too much of a strain on his body to give so much power and grace in such a short time. (No Mind – I am the Self, pp. 74-5)


* * *

So, there is a ‘damned if you do and damned if you don’t’ element to this: if the ‘power to enlighten’ builds up in the body, it becomes the elephant charging around in the weak hut, causing health problems; if it is transmitted outwards in large amounts, it also causes problems within the body. In the Gurus I have met and talked to, there always seems to be more power available than outlets through which it can be usefully and safely directed, and that means it stays in the body. Lakshmana Swamy told me once that having all this power made the body quite weak since it wasn’t designed to process these energies all the time. Just as thin wires cannot take a heavy electric current, it would seem that the nervous system of the body is ill-equipped to deal with major and continuous flows of sakti.

There is a third option that I briefly alluded to when I mentioned that Bhagavan would cease shaking his head when he went into samadhi. This seemed to ‘ground’ the energy in some way and, as Krishnamurti Iyer reported, instead of having a deleterious effect on his body, it was actually good for Bhagavan’s health:

N. R. Krishnamurti Iyer: It is clear that Bhagavan, out of his infinite mercy and grace, cures even the fatal diseases of his devotees. Does not Bhagavan’s body suffer on that account?

Bhagavan: (speaking in English) Yes and no.

N. R. Krishnamurti Iyer: Please, Bhagavan, explain in more detail.

Bhagavan: The mukta purusha [liberated being] does not need his body once he has realised the Self. However, so long as he stays alive, he has the power to drain off devotees’ illnesses into his own body. That is why his body suffers for the time being. That is what is meant by the answer ‘yes’.

If he retires into the solitude of a quiet corner and remains in kevala nirvikalpa samadhi, completely oblivious of the body-world complex, the disease received in the body gets dissipated. When he returns to his body consciousness the body is cured and restored to its original health. The duration of that samadhi should be in adequate proportion to the seriousness of the disease concerned.

Sri Sankara Bhagavatpada, who attained Self-realisation at a very young age with a very healthy and strong body, was engaged in ceaseless activity in the state of sahaja samadhi. Out of his infinite mercy he gave relief to hosts of suffering people who came to him with all sorts of serious diseases. He was continuously active, day and night, and never cared to recoup his health by retiring into the solitude of kevala nirvikalpa samadhi. As a result he gave up his body while he was in his early thirties. (The Power of the Presence, part one, pp. 172-3)


* * *

In The Power of the Presence I added the following three paragraphs of my own as a footnote to this story:

In the period that Bhagavan lived in Skandashram he went into a deep samadhi almost every day, usually during the daily evening chanting of Aksharamanamalai. He would be so deeply immersed in this state, the devotees would find it difficult to rouse him for the evening meal. In Enadu Ninaivugal Kunju Swami has related how devotees would shake him and blow a conch in his ear to bring him back to normal. When Bhagavan moved down the hill to Sri Ramanasramam, the frequency of these samadhis decreased, and devotees who were in regular contact with him at the end of the 1920s have reported that such instances were down to about two a week. In the 1930s they occurred more rarely. In the last fifteen years of his life such samadhis are not reported, though there are frequent mentions of Bhagavan going into a state of deep absorption in the Self. At these times he would sit with open unblinking eyes, utterly immobile.

Up till the mid-1930s Bhagavan appeared to be in vigorous, robust health. In film footage taken in 1935, the earliest available, he looks his age (mid-fifties) and appears to be in a good physical state. In films taken at the end of his life his body looks crippled and feeble, and he appears to be a man who is well into his eighties, rather than a man approaching seventy.

In the light of what Bhagavan told Krishnamurti Iyer in this conversation, it is tempting to relate Bhagavan’s good physical condition prior to 1935 to the samadhis that he regularly went into. However, it should also be remembered that visitors and devotees came to him in far fewer numbers during this period. It is possible that his accelerated aging between 1935 and 1950 was due to the far greater numbers of people he had to deal with every day.

One should also remember that this third course (going into samadhi) is not an ‘option’ for a jnani who wants to process energies of this kind. The jnani’s body has a prarabdha that may or may not include going into samadhi; it is not something the jnani himself can choose to do or avoid doing.

I should now like to introduce Papaji to this survey of opinions on ‘the power to enlighten’. At the beginning of this post I gave two quotations from Annamalai Swami and Lakshmana Swami that listed their differing views on how jnanis accumulated the power to become Gurus. Papaji did not subscribe to either of these viewpoints. He maintained that jnanis do not become Gurus with the power to enlighten by doing tapas that includes a desire to help others (Annamalai Swami) or by sitting quietly after realisation and accumulating a store of power that can be used to help devotees (Lakshmana Swamy). Papaji instead maintained that if the Self wants a jnani to become a Guru, it gives him the necessary power and authority to do the job. That power does not have to be earned by prior tapas. I had a dialogue with Papaji on this subject in the early 1990s. I knew that Papaji felt that Gurus are given power and authority by the Self, so I played ‘devil’s advocate’ by suggesting to him more than once that Gurus had to learn how to enlighten people by trial and error. I took this position because I wanted to introduce several incidents from Bhagavan’s own life into the conversation since it might be possible to interpret them in such a light. The following very interesting dialogue ensued:

David: Based on what I have read about Sri Ramana Maharshi, and based on what little I know about your own teaching career, it seems to me that one learns to be a Guru by trial and error. That is to say, enlightenment may be there, the power to wake others up may be there, but the effective use of this power requires some practice and experience. Do you agree?

Papaji: No, I don’t. A Guru does not need to practise. Gurus are born with the ability to teach. Take … Krishna, for example. He was sent to school at the age of six to be taught by his Guru, but his Guru soon discovered that Krishna already knew all the things that he wanted to teach him. In this case the creator of the universe arranged for all the necessary knowledge to be implanted into Krishna’s brain. It is said that the goddesses of knowledge, prosperity and physical energy gave him everything he needed. He didn’t need to learn how to be a teacher, or practise his teachings skills. All the necessary knowledge and skill were there within in him, right from the beginning.

If you are destined to be a Guru, the Self automatically bestows on you all the necessary knowledge and power. It doesn’t send you to school to learn these things; it gives them to you directly…. So I don’t agree that one has to learn or practise anything in order to be a Guru.

Practice is for other professions. If you want to be a political leader, for example, you attach yourself to some political leader and learn all the tricks of the trade from him. But this kind of apprenticeship is not necessary for Gurus.

David: I thought that you would say something like this. Since you feel that Gurus don’t need to practise their art, I want to tell you a few incidents from Sri Ramana Maharshi’s life that seem to indicate the contrary. Perhaps you could comment on them. Shortly after his enlightenment, when he was still sixteen years old, Sri Ramana was sitting quietly at home with his eyes closed. A school friend asked him what he was doing, and he replied, ‘Meditating’.

The friend asked, ‘Can you show me how to do it?’ and Sri Ramana replied, ‘Yes. Sit down, close your eyes and I will show you.’ When the boy had closed his eyes, Sri Ramana put the blunt end of a pencil on his friend’s forehead, between the eyes, and pressed lightly for a few seconds. The boy was suddenly engulfed by a wave of fear and panic.


He jumped up and shouted, ‘You’re trying to kill me! I felt that I was dying! Don’t ever do that to me again!’

Sri Ramana had tried to give him an experience of the Self, but because of the boy’s immaturity, he only induced fear and panic instead. At sixteen years of age Sri Ramana clearly had an instinctive knowledge of how to wake people up, but lacking experience in its use, he didn’t know how much power he could safely transmit. This is one possible interpretation. What’s yours?

Papaji: You say that this is a case of immaturity. I agree, but the immaturity was in the boy who wanted the experience, not in the Maharshi. The Maharshi had the power to enlighten others at this young age, thus proving that the power is innate and not learned, but he couldn’t use it effectively because this boy had too many doubts and fears in his mind. The Maharshi never had any doubts or fears when the Self gave him that direct experience when he was the same age as this boy. The Self revealed itself to him, and he had absolute trust in that revelation. He didn’t doubt it, fear it, or try to escape from it. He surrendered to it and fully accepted it. That showed his spiritual maturity. His school friend, though, showed his unreadiness and his immaturity by panicking and running away from the same experience.

Though the Maharshi showed that he had the power to enlighten even at the age of sixteen, he had not yet assumed the role of Sadguru. That came later when he moved to Arunachala. Arunachala, his own Sadguru, then empowered him and gave him the grace to be a Sadguru in his own right.

David: The next incident I want to tell you is a very well-known one. It took place nineteen years later, in 1915. Sri Ramana’s attendant, Palaniswami, was dying and Bhagavan was trying to give him enlightenment before he died, or at the moment of his death. He put one hand on his head and the other on Palaniswami’s Heart-centre and kept them there until he thought that the individual self had been extinguished. Then, thinking that Palaniswami had realised the Self, he took away his hands. A few seconds later the ‘I’-thought reappeared, left the body through the eyes and, according to Sri Ramana, took rebirth in one of the deva realms.

In this case too there seems to have been a misjudgment of the amount of power that was transmitted. However, Bhagavan learned from the experience. When he tried the same technique on his mother while she was dying six years later, he kept his hands in place for a much longer period.

Afterwards he remarked, ‘I thought that she was liberated but, remembering what had happened in Palaniswami’s case, I kept my hands there for a few minutes longer’.

Doesn’t this story, and Bhagavan’s own comments on it, indicate that Bhagavan learned how to use this technique effectively by trial and error? Didn’t his inexperience with Palaniswami cause him to make a mistake with Palaniswami, and didn’t his failure in this particular case give him the experience to enlighten his mother a few years later?

Papaji: I don’t think that there was a misjudgment or a mistake in this case either. It was not the fault of the Maharshi that Palaniswami failed to realise the Self in his dying moments. I would say instead that the jivatma [individual self] of Palaniswami would not admit any interference from the Maharshi because it was not yet ready for enlightenment. For freedom one needs the grace of the Paramatman [Supreme Self]. And if the jivatman is not worthy, the Paramatman will not bestow that grace. Palaniswami had, by faithfully serving a Sadguru, earned enough merit to go to some heavenly world, but he had not earned the ultimate liberating grace of the Paramatman. That is why the Maharshi could not succeed with him.

On a superficial level it might look as if a mistake was made, but the Paramatman never makes mistakes. If the worthiness is there, freedom automatically comes. If it is not there, no amount of interference by the Guru can bring it about….

The Maharshi was one of those rare beings who, by grace, could transmit complete liberation to others. His mother and the cow Lakshmi received this ultimate gift of grace, as did others both known and unknown. (Nothing Ever Happened, volume three, pp. 351-356)

* * *

The next aspect of this intriguing subject that I want to discuss is: ‘How does the Guru choose whom to direct his power at, and does not the act of choosing suitable targets imply some kind of sankalpa in the Guru?’ First, I will give three explanations from Lakshmana Swamy:

Lakshmana Swamy: Why did Ramakrishna love Vivekananda more than any of his other devotees? If the jnani sees only the Self everywhere, how can he appear to treat one devotee differently from another? The same thing happened at Ramanasramam when Ramana Maharshi was alive. In the late 1940s many people noticed that Sri Ramana appeared to give G. V. Subbaramayya more love and grace than anyone else. How can this be so?

It is true that the jnani sees the Self in all devotees, but when he looks into a devotee’s eyes he also sees the devotee’s mind. If the jnani sees that there is great devotion or a pure mind free from thoughts, then the love and grace will start to flow towards that particular devotee. Not all devotees have reached the same stage of development, and so the love and grace are not equally distributed. Because of this the jnani may ignore some people and shower his grace on others. The same grace is available for all, but it cannot be given until the devotee starts to surrender his mind to the Self.

Very advanced devotees who have reached the effortless thought-free state do not even have to go to the jnani. The jnani will come and sit at their feet and give them enough grace to realise the Self. Such is the power of self-surrender. (No Mind – I am the Self, pp. 77-8)

Lakshmana Swamy: The Self or the Guru is an infinite ocean of grace. Ramana Maharshi has said that if you approach this ocean with a cup, you can only take away a cupful; if you come with a bucket, you can only take away a bucketful. The amount of grace which one receives is proportional to the degree to which one surrenders. If you surrender completely, then you will receive enough grace to realise the Self.

When the Guru looks into a devotee’s eyes, he is looking into the devotee’s mind to see how far it is humbling and surrendering itself to the Self. If the Guru sees that the devotee’s mind is quiet and humble, then the grace will automatically flow. (No Mind – I am the Self, p. 74)

Question: Does the grace of the Guru flow automatically or does the Guru exercise some control over who receives it and who does not?

Lakshmana Swamy: Grace is always flowing from the form of the Guru. If your mind is quiet you will automatically receive it. But if a Guru sees that a particular devotee is full of devotion or free from thoughts, he may respond to the devotee’s state of mind by increasing the flow of grace towards him. So you can say that grace is always flowing, but that sometimes the flow is increased because the Guru is deliberately projecting it. (No Mind – I am the Self, p. 61)


* * *

These explanations, and other similar ones, indicate that the ‘picking and choosing’ are not arbitrary, nor do they indicate that the Guru has a personal preference for one devotee over another. The flows of grace – seemingly directed in one direction but not another – are actually natural and automatic responses to the states of mind of the people who have entered the Guru’s presence, either mentally or physically. Annamalai Swami, speaking about his own experiences of being in Bhagavan’s presence, came to similar conclusions:

Annamalai Swami: If you enter a dark place with a lamp, light falls on everyone who is near you. You don’t have to tell people, ‘I have a light,’ because they will all be aware of its presence. In the presence of a jnani like Bhagavan the spiritual darkness of devotees is put to flight by the radiant light of jnana. In Bhagavan’s case this light cleaned and calmed the minds of those who were near him. When mature devotees basked in this light, they sometimes had an experience of the Self. The radiation of this spiritual power was Bhagavan’s mauna diksha [initiation through silence]. He radiated this power quite effortlessly. It was not done by an act of volition; it was a natural consequence of his realisation. Bhagavan didn’t need to speak about the Self. He was the Self, and he radiated its power all the time. Those who were receptive to this power needed no verbal explanations from Bhagavan. The spoken teachings were only for those who were not able to tune into his silent radiation. (Living by the Words of Bhagavan, p. 335)

* * *

I spoke to Papaji about these occasions when the Guru seems deliberately to choose to give a devotee a transmission of grace. Though he often appeared to do this himself, he dismissed the suggestion that there was any partiality or personal preference involved:

David: I want to ask you a few questions about sankalpa [will, intention, volition]. Ramana Maharshi often said that the Guru, like the sun, has no sankalpa. That he shines equally on all. That those who are ready for realisation get it, and those who are not do not. According to this explanation, the Guru does not pick and choose the recipients of his grace, he simply radiates it indiscriminately, and those who are mature enough benefit from it. This is a very simple and satisfying explanation, but it only seems to be half the truth … When [T. K. Sundaresa Iyer] wrote … ‘Grace is flowing over the sentient and the insentient,’ Bhagavan made him change it to ‘Grace is directed…’. You have also said that on many occasions in the past you deliberately tried to give certain people a direct experience of the Self. If the Guru really has no sankalpa, what is the explanation for the occasions when the Guru appears to pick ands choose the recipients of his grace?

Papaji: The Guru never picks out one person to be the recipient of his grace, nor does he reject anyone. When one is ready, one is automatically attracted to the light of the indwelling Atman. The light does not choose: when one is attracted to it, one automatically moves towards it. It is like the moth and the flame. The moth is attracted to the flame by its nature, not by any sankalpa that it has. There is no sankalpa in either the moth or the flame. It is the nature of the flame to burn, and it is nature of the moth to fly towards the light. Each is behaving according to its inherent nature. The candle stays still and burns brightly. It does not call the moth, but the moth flies towards it. The moth offers its form to the light, burns, and becomes the candle itself. (Nothing Ever Happened, volume three, p. 330)

* * *

When I did the editing and page-making for Nothing Ever Happened, I included a facsimile of an entry that Papaji made in his journal in 1983. It seems to summarise his position on this topic very elegantly.

In fact I do nothing to anyone.
Every soul receives what it deserves.
Since I am the source of consciousness,
I allow its desires to be fulfilled.
(Nothing Ever Happened, volume three, p. 336)

It is the experience of just about everyone who has sat with a great Guru that experiences happen, and that they seem very clearly to be instigated and executed by the Guru himself. How then can the Guru say, as Papaji says here: ‘In fact I do nothing to anyone. Every soul receives what it deserves?’

The solution to this apparent paradox – that the Guru says he does nothing yet clearly is giving experiences to the people around him – lies in what Bhagavan called the ‘sannidhi’ or ‘presence’. The Guru himself does nothing, but by abiding steadfastly in the Self, an energy or a presence is created that takes care of the needs and desires of the devotees who approach him. This was well explained by Bhagavan in a reply he gave to Narayana Iyer:

One day when I was sitting by the side of Sri Bhagavan, I felt so miserable that I put the following question to him: ‘Is the sankalpa [wish] of the jnani not capable of warding off the destinies of the devotees?’

Bhagavan smiled and said: ‘Does the jnani have a sankalpa at all? The jivanmukta can have no sankalpas whatsoever. It is just impossible.’

I continued: ‘Then, what is the fate of all of us who pray to you to have grace on us and save us? Will we not be benefited or saved by sitting in front of you or coming to you? What use is there then for family men like me to gain by coming here to you?’

Bhagavan turned graciously to me and said: ‘Just as a trouble (or arrow) that comes to destroy the head goes away carrying with it only the turban, so a person’s bad karma will be considerably reduced while he is in the presence of a jnani. A jnani has no sankalpa but his sannidhi [presence] is the most powerful force. He need not have sankalpa but his presiding presence, the most powerful force, can do wonders, save souls, give peace of mind, even liberation to ripe souls. Your prayers are not answered by him but absorbed by his presence. His presence saves you, wards off the karma and gives you the boons as the case may be, involuntarily. The jnani does save the devotees, but not by sankalpa, which is non-existent in him, only through his presiding presence, sannidhi.’ (The Mountain Path, 1968 p. 236)

This reply has not, so far as I aware, been repeated anywhere else in the Ramana literature. It is undoubtedly a key passage on the nature of the Guru and the way that he functions and helps devotees. I once read out this statement by Bhagavan to Papaji and then asked him about the process by which desires are fulfilled in the Guru’s presence:

David: What about the statement that it is the sannidhi, the presence, that grants liberation, and not the Guru himself? When the Guru appears to wake someone up through a word or a look of grace, who or what is doing the work?

Papaji: … Whenever you go near a saint, whatever desire you have in your mind will be fulfilled. If your desire is for liberation, and if you have that desire in the sannidhi, the presence of the Guru, it has to be fulfilled. But it will only work if you are in the presence of a man who is himself completely desireless. There is nothing that cannot be fulfilled if you are in the presence of a man who himself has no desire.

When I was at Ramanasramam in the 1940s I used to spend hours looking at the Maharshi’s eyes. They would be open and staring, but not focused on anything. Though his eyes were open, they were not seeing anything. Those eyes were completely free of thoughts and desires. The mind is revealed very clearly in the eyes, but in those eyes there was nothing at all to see. In all the hours that I concentrated on those eyes I didn’t once even see a flicker of a thought or a desire. I have not seen utterly desireless eyes like his on any other face. I have seen many great saints during my life, but no one has impressed me as much as the Maharshi did.

If you want freedom, find a man like this who has absolutely no desire, someone who sits unmoving like a mountain. Sit in his presence and see what happens.

You want to know who or what is doing the work when someone gets enlightened in the Guru’s presence. Nobody is doing the work. Enlightenment happens in these circumstances merely because the Guru is abiding in a state of absolute desirelessness. (Nothing Ever Happened, volume three, pp. 337-8)

* * *

Papaji had his own rather amusing variation on this ‘sannidhi takes care of everything’ story. This is how he once explained it to me:
I have a very efficient secretary. I call her ‘Miss Peace’. When people come to satsang, she inspects their minds as they sit there. She finds out what they want or need, and arranges for them to get it. Though she can help anyone with their desires, she is actually looking for pure minds to give herself to. If she finds worthy people, those people experience peace and even become peace itself. She doesn’t bother to tell me what she is doing. She doesn’t need to. She just gets on with her work.
Like a lot of employees, she tries to impress her boss by working hard when I am around. But when I am not there, she tends to slack off a bit. That’s why I have to turn up and sit in Satsang Bhavan [the place where Papaji gave satsang every morning] because if I didn’t come, she wouldn’t do so much. My physical presence is needed there to make her work properly. It doesn’t really matter what I do while I am there because she is actually doing all the work. I can answer questions, give people advice, tell them to do enquiry, or ask them to sing a song. It’s not important what I do. The important thing is that while I sit there, seemingly occupying myself with devotees’ affairs, Miss Peace is actually taking care of all their needs and desires.
This seeming activity that appeared on the substratum of actionless immobility was summed up in an elegantly phrased entry in Papaji’s 15th February 1983 journal: ‘He whose work has ceased with the dawn of knowledge does not find an opportunity to do or say anything, even though in ordinary people’s eyes he is doing work.’

I have not so far quoted much material from Bhagavan himself since he didn’t have a lot to say about the way that the Guru used power to help devotees and bring out their liberation. However, there is one key story in which Bhagavan does explain how the Guru uses his power, and what the limits of that power are. It is T. K. Sundaresa Iyer’s captivating narrative, entitled ‘A Walk to the Lake’, which appears in his memoir At the Feet of Bhagavan. Here is the story in full:

The Samudram Lake at the foot of Arunachala Hill near Sri Ramanasramam is very extensive; neither summer rains nor winter monsoons in Tiruvannamalai fill this lake save once in a way, when it overflows.

Thus it overflowed once long years ago. The sight of it was very grand, and the outflow was as wide as a river. The tank really seemed that day like the ocean of its name (Samudram). Bhagavan told us that it held this name because a certain local ruler had this tank constructed as a miniature sea to give his queen an idea of what a sea would look like; for she had never seen the sea and wished to do so.

People thronged to look at the overflowing lake, and then came to Bhagavan to talk about it. One morning the devotees in the hall expressed to Bhagavan a desire to visit the lake, and he was kind enough, human enough, to accept the suggestion; so we all went for a stroll to see it. The tank bund is about a mile long; we walked about a mile from the ashram to the tank, and then the whole length of the bund. The presence of Bhagavan with us, and his words, were more interesting to us than the brimming tank and the grand view of the wide waters at the foot of holy Arunachala.

Bhagavan talked of many things on that walk with us, but at this distance of time I remember only two topics that interested me.

At one place he pointed out a palmyra tree which had decayed in the embrace of a parasitic banyan tree. Some bird had dropped a banyan seed into the palmyra, and as it began to grow the palmyra became cloven and stunted in its own growth. Drawing our attention to this phenomenon, Bhagavan remarked that this is just what the look of grace from a jnani does. One look into a soul, and the whole tree of past tendencies and prejudices (vasanas), gathered up through long cycles of past births, is burned up and decays away. Then the reality of the Self is experienced. Thus he explained to us the effect of contact with the great and he said the supreme jnana obtained with the touch of the saint can never be won through the study of any number of scriptures, or by any store of good deeds, or by any other spiritual practices and efforts. Later, on return to the ashram, I put this in verse form as below:

A bird drops seed upon a tree and causes its decay. So Guru’s grace rays knowledge into the seeking mind. Replacing ego-shadows with resplendent jnana’s light.

The point of this verse, brought out fully in the Tamil, is that made by Bhagavan himself. The seed of the huge banyan tree, which grows to shelter hundreds, is one of the tiniest and represents unselfish benevolence. The seed of the palmyra which is so large, grows into a tree which can hardly shelter a single man from the sun, and so well represents the selfish ego. Yet this tiny seed can be dropped by a bird in its droppings, and while it grows it can demolish the palmyra tree itself. So the tiny seed of grace can destroy the great tree of egoism.

Then when we actually came to the overflowing outlet at the end of the lake, we all marvelled at its width. We stayed there for some time, and then returned.

On the return walk we happened to pass the sluice at the centre of the bund. Pointing to this, Bhagavan remarked: ‘Look at this small outlet, as compared with the big one at the end! But for this small hole, through which the stream of water trickles, the vast contents of the lake would not be helpful to vegetation. If the bund breaks it will be a regular deluge, and the entire crop will be destroyed. Only if the water be served under proper regulation through this sluice are the plants helped to grow. So too is it with the divine consciousness. Unless the bliss of this consciousness is gifted through the grace of the Guru in controlled outlets, the soul cannot be helped to the destruction of its tendencies of the past; for in this way the Self, abiding as such in its oneness with the divine, is established in the Guru’s state of being. Holding on to its being-consciousness, the work of destroying the past (vasanas) proceeds as and when thoughts arise to push the mind into action. This work becomes possible only in the proximity of the Guru. Hence the Guru is himself like the sluice and irrigates souls with grace from his ocean of kindness, needed so that the Self may abide and the old tendencies be withered away. But if the bund is broken, the full force of the whole lake rushes through and sweeps everything before it. This resembles a practitioner (sadhaka) receiving the full force of divine consciousness without the intervening and mitigating grace of Guru’s sluice; he dies without the benefit of having the tendencies destroyed.’

This idea too I later put down in the form of a Tamil verse to this effect:

Water flowing through a channel carries off great heaps of sand;

So mountain masses of the ego are washed away by grace.


* * *

Before I continue with a few comments on Bhagavan’s remarks, I will add a few pictures and photos to illustrate T. K. Sundaresa Iyer’s narrative. I live quite close to the end of the Samudram dam that Bhagavan walked along in 1931. This is a photo of the overflowing lake that one of my sisters took when she visited me in 2005. In the last eleven years (the time I have been in this neighbourhood) the lake has overflowed three times. Most years the winter rains fill the lake to about half or three-quarters of its capacity.



The trees in the background on the top of the dam are the palmyra trees that Bhagavan spoke about. They are native palm trees that thrive anywhere. Their trunks are used as roof beams. In Living by the Words of Bhagavan Annamalai Swami narrated an incident in which Bhagavan told him to use palmyra beams for his roof, adding that the roof in his own childhood house had been supported by them. The leaves of the palmyra are woven into a kind of thatch and used for roofing; there is also a juice that is secreted by the trunks that is used to make alcoholic drinks. Fermented for a day it turns into ‘toddy’, a beer-like beverage, and distilled it becomes ‘arrack’. The fruits (nongu) are also eaten. There a few stories in the ashram literature of people offering them to Bhagavan.

The next photo is of the banyan tree that Bhagavan pointed out. The Samudram Lake bed, seen to the left of the tree, is currently dry. In most years it starts to fill at the beginning of the winter monsoon season. By March or April it is usually dry again.




The following photo is of the same banyan tree, taken from the bottom of the bole, looking up. You can just make out the trunk of the original palmyra tree (the straight, long, cylindrical object) shooting vertically out of the centre. Its crown is obscured by the higher leaves of the banyan tree. The banyan tree would have been a lot smaller in 1931 when Bhagavan saw it and commented on it. When I first saw this tree about thirty years ago and realised that it must be the tree that Bhagavan commented on, the crown of the palmyra tree was still sticking out of the top of the banyan tree.



Samudram is, as I remarked earlier, currently empty. This is a photo of Arunachala and the dry lake bed I took about three days ago from a rock just next to the sluice gate. We are in the middle of a serious drought at the moment, so much so that water is only coming down the government taps for about an hour a day. The hydo-electric turbines in many of South India's dams have been turned off to save water, so we are not getting much electricity either.



Now I will go back to the ‘power of the Guru’ discussion.

Bhagavan’s statement that the power of the Guru would kill devotees, without enlightening them, if it was unleashed at full strength was echoed in a reply that Lakshmana Swamy once gave:

Many devotees ask, ‘Why can’t you give us all the infinite grace of the Self and give us all Self-realisation? This is not possible because the minds of such people are not pure or humble enough. If a Guru gives a large amount of grace to such people, the shock will kill them. Imagine a car going at top speed. If the car suddenly hits an obstacle and stops, the occupants will all be killed. The mind is like a car; to stop it suddenly is dangerous. Meditation applies the brakes to the mind. Unless he has purified and slowed his mind by meditation, the devotee cannot safely receive the full force of the Guru’s grace. (No Mind – I am the Self, pp. 74-5)

I mentioned the comments Bhagavan made on his walk to Samudram Lake to Papaji. An interesting dialogue ensued:

David: In 1931 Bhagavan was taken to see a local dam that was overflowing at one end… On his way back to the ashram Bhagavan pointed out the sluice gates and commented, ‘The grace of the Guru is like this large lake. If the water is given out in measured quantities, it can irrigate many fields and be of benefit to anyone.’

Then, pointing to the floodwaters, he added, ‘But if it goes out uncontrolled, it only causes destruction. The full force of the Guru’s grace would kill someone who was not ready for it. The body would die, but not the vasanas. The person would have to be born again. So, the Guru regulates the grace and only gives out what can be assimilated and used.’

Papaji: Yes, I agree with all this. The Guru can transmit an enormous amount of power and grace to a devotee, enough to kill the body, but not the latent tendencies in the mind. When the body dies, those pending latent tendencies will manifest in a new form…. There are limits to what a Guru can accomplish. These limits are not in the Self, for the Self is limitless. The power of the Self cannot work on an unreceptive mind. If the soil is not fertile, no amount of rain falling on the ground can make it grow. The rain cannot make crops grow in a barren land.

David: You yourself have experimented with this power and have found its limits. In one of the first conversations I had with you, you remarked, ‘I used to force people to have experiences of the Self, but I don’t do it any more’.

I said, ‘Why not? If you can see that someone is on the brink of getting it, don’t you want to give them a push?’

You replied, ‘I used to think like that, but not any more. I found that although I could give people these experiences, I couldn’t make them stick. When I stopped pushing, the mind just came back again. So now I don’t do it any more. I have come to realise that if the mind is not free from all vasanas, it will always reassert itself later.’

Papaji: Yes, this is true. I used to force some people to have experiences, but I don’t do it any more. I can give this experience to anyone for a short time, but it is not within my power to make the experience stay. One who has been granted this experience by the Guru has to guard it himself till the end of his life.

If one who is not free from vasanas is pushed into having a direct experience, that experience will not stay. The mind of such a person will eventually come back with all its former force.

David: Both you and Ramana Maharshi experimented with various types of transmission. The conversation I just mentioned, in which you said that you used to force people to have experiences, is an example of your own experimentation. My question is, why does the Self need to experiment with different techniques to wake people up? If the individual self vanishes completely after enlightenment, why doesn’t the Self take over and function perfectly, without apparent mistakes and failed experiments.

Papaji: The Self does not have any techniques to wake people up. There are no experiments taking place. From the standpoint of the Self there is no one who has awakened, and no one who is still asleep. I have already said, ‘The Self never makes mistakes because there is nothing with which it can make a mistake’. The Katha Upanishad says:
The Self reveals itself to itself. You cannot attain it by learning, nor by hearing about it from anyone; nor by yoga, not by concentration, not by charity, not by progeny. I reveal myself to him whom I choose.

If there are worthiness and holiness, the Self will reveal itself. If there are not, it will not. Experiments and mistakes belong to the mind, not the Self. (Nothing Ever Happened, volume three, pp. 358-60)

* * *

And that, I think, is the point at which I will stop my ruminations. When I started this blog I said that ‘I propose to use this blog primarily to air my occasional musings on any matters relating to the life and teachings of Ramana Maharshi’. Today was a classic ‘musing’ day in so far as I aired a lot of ideas and opinions, some of which contradicted each other, without coming to any definite conclusions. I welcome any feedback on any of the issues I have raised.


406 comments:

1 – 200 of 406   Newer›   Newest»
Anonymous said...

Seems like 3 or 4 posts in one. Going back to the starting question of the difference between enlightened beings, early Buddhism had similar issues. In early Buddhism such beings are equal in wisdom but distinguished along the lines of exposure to the Dharma and the acquisition of siddhis (especially the 3 vidyas) from the practice of samadhi. So you have Buddhas (born when the Dharma has died out, perfected the 3 vidyas, can teach and re-establish the Dharma); Hidden Buddhas (born when the Dharma has died out, not perfected the vidyas, cannot teach and remain hidden); and arhats (who hear the Dharma). The latter may have developed the vidyas and be suited to teaching if they have practised samadhi, if not they are dry-visioned arhats unfit for teaching. Some early schools also held that the bodhisattva path to Buddhahood was different to the path to arhathood and involved great comapassion for others, an idea that was taken up by Mahayana Buddhism. All this is mentioned from distant memory because it seems that Buddhism came up with some of the same answers that you have collated.

Ravi said...

David,
Very interesting topic!A deep one as well.First,about JK-Papaji's observation is exactly what I have always felt-HE FAILED TO CONNECT with his listeners!
The clue to this intriguing question is to be found in exploring THE SAPTABHOOMIKA-Sri Bhagavan had touched upon this by saying that the Gnani belongs to the Fourth plane.Incidentally the SAPTABHOOMIKA was the Talk that my Master was covering for the last 10 weeks(Sunday evenings).He concluded it yesterday.
The only other Great Master who had covered this topic is Sri Ramakrishna-they are scattered in the various pages in the Gospel.
Sri Ramakrishna used to ask the Teachers(who were preaching)-"Have you got the Power of attorney?".
For instance in 'M's presence,he was talking to the Mother-'Mother ,you are giving only one Kala(1/16) of your power.Oh!I see.It is Enough".-Master Mahasaya,later wrote the Kathamrita and lived till 1932 and most of the Great Monks of the Ramakrishna order were his students!(M's Life is so beautiful-I refrain from even talking about it.Otherwise ,I will have to dislodge you from this BLOG!).
All those who want to know about M-i will refer to Dr Paul Brunton's 'A Search in Secret India' where Paul Brunton-an Agnostic talks about the pull exerted by 'M'-Just like a peacock hankering for the opium it was fed on day one returns over and over again at the sametime on subsequent days!'How Great must be the Pull of the Master if his pupil exerts this sort of attraction"-wonders Brunton.

May be,I will try to be more OBJECTIVE about this topic a little later on.Just wanted to share that there are sources
(MOST AUTHENTIC!) available where this topic is broached.
Salutations!

Anonymous said...

David,
Have you ever experienced the illuminating Light and Love that shines through a jnani?
Did you ever ask any of those you interviewed for their grace? Did you ever feel the presence that stops the mind?
If so, would you talk about your experience?
Thanks for this piece.

David Godman said...

anonymous

This Buddhist classification is quite interesting. Does anyone know the Buddhist explanation of how you end up in any particular group?

Someone once mentioned the boddisattva vow to Bhagavan: the notion that one promises to put off one's own enlightenement in order to help others to attain it first. The idea is that you choose not to move on to the state yourself until all other beings have attained it.

Bhagavan's wry comment on this was that this is like saying 'I will not wake up until all the people in my dream have woken up first'.

David Godman said...

Ravi

'May be,I will try to be more OBJECTIVE about this topic a little later on. Just wanted to share that there are sources
(MOST AUTHENTIC!) available where this topic is broached.'

I think we would all appreciate input from other traditions on this topic.

David Godman said...

anonymous

'Have you ever experienced the illuminating Light and Love that shines through a jnani?
Did you ever ask any of those you interviewed for their grace? Did you ever feel the presence that stops the mind?
If so, would you talk about your experience?
Thanks for this piece.'

Yes I have, and such moments have been the highlights of my life. If I had to list the ten best experiences of my life, I would have no hesitation in saying that all ten would be experiences sitting in the presence of beings who convinced me they were jnanis.

I have never asked for such experiences, nor have I ever been a beggar for grace or love.

Bhagavan has said: 'Just keep quiet; Bhagavan will do the rest.'

I know that grace is ultimately unearned, but my approach has always been to be as silent and thought free as I can. The rest I leave to Him.

The moments of returning to the source under the benign and loving gaze of a jnani are, for me, reminders of what life is all about. The states of utter silence and peace show me why I incarnated; they show what I have to do to stop it happening repeatedly.

I don't call it light and I don't call it love, although I know other people like such terms. For me, the true benefit of sitting with a jnani is an unperturbable, effortless rock-solid peace.

Ed said...

This whole discussion admits the notion that the guru is separate from the disciple; and that separation is real. All jnanis and especially Ramana say and know there exist no separation. Until you investigate and see that all that exists is the Self, these speculations will continue; once this is seen, these notions will appear irrelevant, maybe even silly.

Clemens Vargas Ramos said...

This discussion is really, really interesting and complicate enough that I don't dare to contribute anything of my own immature thoughts about it, except a few generally spoken words.

"I reveal myself to him whom I choose."
Katha Upanishad

I always loved this statement because it says what the disciple can do to get enlightenment, grace or the power of the guru: nothing. The only way for him to do anything is at most to think about the question why he wants to get anything at all.

Clemens Vargas Ramos
Oldenburg, Germany

David Godman said...

Ed

Don't spoil our fun! Some of us still like to think about such things.

The Guru, says Bhagavan, is the lion who roars in the elephant's dream and scares him enough to wake him up, upon which he knows that the Guru's form was unreal, even though the energy it conveyed did its work.

Why are some forms scary enough to facilitate an awakening and others' not?

Shiva Patil said...

Dear David, As you have mentioned (from Kathopanishad)
"The Self reveals itself to itself. You cannot attain it by learning, nor by hearing about it from anyone; nor by yoga, not by concentration, not by charity, not by progeny. I reveal myself to him whom I choose".

It seems UG also sounds like this about his famous "Calamity".

It is great David...you are doing a wonderful job...thanks

Broken Yogi said...

As Ramana said, the true Guru is the Self, and the Self does not act, does not "transmit", and knows no separation at all between Guru and devotee. The problem with trying to figure these things out in relation to human beings - Gurus and their devotees - is that we tend to see ourselves and the Guru apart from the Self, and so introduce notions that are intrinsically false, even if seemingly inevitable and even obvious.

We identify with these human bodies, and we identify the Guru with the body of our human Guru. This is not wrong, in that so long as we are so humanly identified, as Ramana says, the Guru must also appear in human form, and we most relate to that human form as the Self alive. But that doesn't really tell us what is going on, and can even be misleading, in that we may still conceive of the Self as a great "Other".

If we could see this process of awakening in reality, we would likely see that nothing is going on at all. The human devotee and human Guru are dream appearances, whereas enlightenment means waking up from the dream. How can that process be part of the dream itself? It can't. The real process doesn't have anything to do with what we see or think is going on in the dream, or even with our speculations about it. It's one more thing to let go of.

This I think is why Ramana recommended we simply be still and do nothing. Awakening has nothing to do with what we do in the dream, or even how we relate to the Guru who appears in the dream. He is telling us to simply stop dreaming, stop engaging in the dream, and stop perpetuating the dream. He gives us nothing that we don't already have. He simply points us to the Self that always stands in the very place we are moving out from. The peace of the Self is something we relinquish in order to seek objects - even the object the Guru's human body represents. It is regained the instant we cease that game and stand still. The Guru does nothing in the process, and that is why it works.

Stef said...

Dear David,

I really enjoyed the last 2 posts.

‘If one sits quietly after realisation, a great power is accumulated. The longer one sits quietly, the stronger the power.
This story of Lakshmana Swamy is interesting because of his long periods of silence and solitude compared to the others.

"If I had to list the ten best experiences of my life, I would have no hesitation in saying that all ten would be experiences sitting in the presence of beings who convinced me they were jnanis".
Are you willing to share with us whether Lakshmana Swamy made it to the top 1?

Thanks again for the nice post,

Stef

Ravi said...

Broken Yogi,
What you have mentioned is quite LOGICAL and what is more has the backing of Great Gnanis.
Yet,Equally Great Gnanis have maintained a diametrically opposite position(ULTIMATELY WE TAKE WHAT WE WANT!We come back to S.!)
I will give you a classic example.Here is Sri Ramakrishna Saying-"Mother ,Do not Give me BrahmaGnana!I Spit on BrahmaGnana!"-Sri Ramakrishna definitely knows what he is talking and this is defnitely not the raving of a delirium patient!

Again he says-"Why should I play only ONE NOTE-NEE-I want to play all the seven notes in the Octave!"

What is this 'I' he is referring to?Since he is referring to this 'I',does it imply that he is not a Gnani?(No Gnani has said anything to the contrary).

Again DAVID was mentioning that Gnani have no Sankalpa-These are assumptions.
1.Why did Sri Bhagavan decide not to eat one day and what was the result?(He ended up eating more than his usual Quota!)

2.Sri Ramakrishna often had to do a SANKALPA to DRINK water.His MIND was always Soaring to the Realm of the 6th Gnana Bhoomika-To stop it ,he had to GENERATE this Desire for DRINKING-This brought him back to the 5Th Gnana Bhoomika where he could recognize Others(as his self)and yet talk to them.HE NEVER DRANK THE WATER!It was just to bring the Mind down to the consciousness of the External World!

More of these later and with exact links in the Gospel!
I am also trying to LAY MY HANDS ON THE YOGA VASISHTA WHICH COVERS THE SAPTABHOOMIKA!(FOR ME SRI RAMAKRISHNA'S STATEMENT IS GOOD ENOUGH BUT I UNDERSTAND THAT I CANNOT PUT IT ACROSS TO YOU.)

The 5th Gnana Bhoomika is Called 'Asam Shakti' and Great souls like The Buddha,Sri Bhagavan,Adi Sankara,Vivekananda had operated from this plane.(Even here there is a big variety!).They come down from the 6th plane to this level and consequently a Tremendous Liberating Energy is unleashed!(Pls note that this list is not exhaustive!Imagine people trying to figure out whether their MASTER or Guru figures in this ELITE list!What confusion it may create!Can we understand why BHAGAVAN was DIPLOMATIC(borrowed from David)on this and just said that Gnani belongs to Plane no.4!)

This is just to say that this topic is worth a consideration.

As I have been repeatedly stating Every Thesis has an equally weighty Antithesis!

All that can be said is 'BRAHMAN ALONE IS!".Any further qualifications,additions,subtractions is opn for different standpoints!

SO THERE is a variety here!

Salutations!

Clemens Vargas Ramos said...

UG's "calamity":

In some ways I found UG's statements not so helpful for spiritual seekers - apparently UG liked to take things to extremes. This statement in my eyes is quite clear:

"If you have the courage to touch life for the first time, you will never know what hit you. Everything man has taught, felt, and experienced is gone, and nothing is put in its place. Such a person becomes the living authority by virtue of his freedom from the past and culture." (Mind is a Myth)

Saint John of the Cross in La noche oscura said: "For the righteous man there are no laws any longer. He for himself becomes the law."

(Unfortunately my English is horrible. Do I make myself understood? I don't know...)

nonduel said...

Broken Yogi,

I liked your post very much. I think that enlightenement cannot be "attained". There is nothing "one" can "do". Because that "one" doesn't exist. They are all unreal actors on a screen.

The natural tendencies are to put effort, to do something, while it has been often pointed out that it has to be without effort.

Only the ego "does" with effort.

I like Sri Ramana's: "do you have to repeat you are a man to know that you are a man?"

Only to surrender to what we already ARE.

All the rest is the ego chewing on duality.

As you wrote: Be still and do nothing (Sri Ramana)

It is like thinking that one needs effort to wake up in the morning.

S. said...

salutations to all:
david, it's nice to see you back...the latest post is definitely a 'yorker' that could plausibly outwit even a sanath jayasurya (ravi, as ramprax said, your sanath jayasurya analogy was simply brilliant)...from this it is quite obvious that am utterly ill-equipped to contribute anything of worth...but i would
like to say a thing: i have always respected david's plain talk that also reflects in almost all of his writings ('almost' because i haven't read all of david's works)...even in this contentious topic, it is easy to observe that simple objectivity, wherein he just chronicled whatever lakshmana swamy, papaji, and annamalai swami had to say, and left it there!

now, why am i highlighting this? please don't get me wrong, for am not at all against anyone's expression of their opinion (after all, what am scribbling here, isn't that too just another opinion?)...my request to all of you is that given the nature of this territory, it will simply be more honest to qualify with 'in my opinion'...for god's sake {am just using a phrase, not that i have begun to believe in 'god' :-)}, please treat this only as a request and not as any kind of criticism...have deliberately restricted to a small sample from some of the most recent comments in the last two threads (for illustrative purposes only...let me also add that i have the highest respect for all of you):

ravi: We need to understand that SRI AUROBINDO clearly had the 'NIRVANIC EXPERIENCE' even before the ship that carried him back to india from England touched the shores-Nirvana walked into me Without even saying 'may I come in Sir!'.(Please note I anticipate that it was only 'manolaya' and not 'Manonasa' type of response. Suffice to say this was not so).
nonduel: i AM is brahman; I think that enlightenement cannot be "attained". There is nothing "one" can "do". Because that "one" doesn't exist. They are all unreal actors on a screen.; Only the ego "does" with effort.; Only to surrender to what we already ARE.All the rest is the ego chewing on duality.
broken yogi:we tend to see ourselves and the Guru apart from the Self, and so introduce notions that are intrinsically false, even if seemingly inevitable and even obvious; If we could see this process of awakening in reality, we would likely see that nothing is going on at all. The human devotee and human Guru are dream appearances, whereas enlightenment means waking up from the dream. How can that process be part of the dream itself? It can't. The real process doesn't have anything to do with what we see or think is going on in the dream, or even with our speculations about it.; Awakening has nothing to do with
what we do in the dream, or even how we relate to the Guru who appears in the dream.


my point is: how do you folks say all this with so much of evident conviction? have you 'experienced' all that you say? if not, either mention the source or, if you don't remember, say 'i have read or heard' etc...we all understand that these are not issues that are within the range of the intellect; in the case of issues that can be analysed by the mind (say mathematics or logic etc.), it may be quite appropriate to bluntly put forth one's own hypothesis substantiated by a precise series of arguments, but i doubt whether the same can be extended to the issues that we are expressing here...

let me elaborate a bit on this by little incident that happened a few days back: a very good friend of mine, after his recent trip from tiruvannamalai, was sharing the details of his trip...as part of the talk he said, that (he heard from someone which raised doubts in him too) since bhagavan did not explicitly say that papaji and lakshmana swamy realized the self, unlike the case of mastan swami or sivaprakasam pillai, he was not too sure whether papaji and lakshmana swami indeed realized... naturally, i didn't have any answer but i did ask him 'leave papaji and lakshmana swamy, how do you know bhagavan had realized? after all, nobody certified the same about bhagavan'...i hope you must have begun to notice the obvious difficulties coming up here (see, this is not the issue with going on doubting)...issues connected with this thing called realization are simply beyond the scope of the supposed-ajnani (as much as it is beyond the scope of 'darkness' to talk anything of 'light')...the best one could perhaps say is 'the scriptures say so' or, 'i have read/heard' etc...

nonduel said 'i AM is brahman' - i have no clue what that 'brahman' is...why should it not a be a fantastic concept that may mean next to nothing?...broken yogi said 'How can that process be part of the dream itself? It can't' - i dream and i am awake, but i have never been able to observe the transition from one state to the other because either am sleeping & dreaming or am in the waking state; to say 'it can't' obviously requires you to be in a state from which you could 'watch' these two states...is this what people call 'turiya'? have you been in that state?...ravi said 'aurobindo had the nirvanic experience' - of course, you did refer to aurobindo's statement but when you added 'suffice to say this was not so', the simple question re-surfaced 'how do you know'...if you say 'the way they lived', then yes, thats probably the best possible evidence, but the same can't be said because of someone's writings (the writings of hegel were so obfuscatory that they often used to get admired because of their impenetrability! of course, the scholars who did see great ideas in them were evenly matched by those scholars who failed to see anything of worth)

let me yet again clarify that hope am not hurting anyone...nor am i saying anything against the voicing of opinions; but if it is an opinion then kindly qualify... until the self is realized, i wonder what truth is there in it to talk with conviction of the non-existence of the mind? as far as am concerned, i wouldn't really know about all this until i experience the 'rock-solid peace' that david referred to earlier...

my salutations to all of you...as bhagavan suggested, the best wishes i can convey to all of you is by my trying to do vichara :-)

Ravi said...

S.,
Thanks for putting things on a 'Rational Platform' so to say.
"the writings of hegel were so obfuscatory that they often used to get admired because of their impenetrability! of course, the scholars who did see great ideas in them were evenly matched by those scholars who failed to see anything of worth"(This is true of Sri Aurobindo!One of his disciples had the cheek to tell Aurobindo that only 2 persons understood it-Sri Aurobindo and THE MOTHER!)
This seems to be validating what I HAVE ALWAYS FELT and which I have been voicing over and over again-That For every point,there is an equally weighty counterpoint!Ultimately we end up with taking what is SERVICEABLE.In 'I AM THAT',Maharaj said exactly this!Do not recollect where(Share your reluctance to remember the exact page,reference).
coming to the 2 points that you have come up with:
1.The Disclaimer about Sri Aurobindo-Within the brackets what I have expressed is to simply say that I have considered that arguement while making the MAIN point.(If I have to take up this topic in full,this may take another BLOG!Well,I am too LAZY to do that!)Unfortunately,the WRITTEN COMMUNICATION has its limitations,as compared to the INTERACTIVE FACE TO FACE communicartion;EVEN IN FACE TO FACE interaction what is NONVERBAL carries the MAIN MESSAGE!WHAT IS NOT EXPRESSED IS MORE PREGNANT than what is!
How do you think that I GOT YOU!(IT REQUIRES VERBAL TO FERRET IT OUT!NOT THE ENTIRE PART but a peep atleast!)Yet this requires a Great Sensitivity to figure this out.

2.THIS TOPIC IS DISCUSSED PURELY AS A THEORETICAL ARGUEMENT(Not Intellectual but based on statements of what are CONSIDERED 'ACCEPTED' ,'ACCLAIMED' Great Masters).I do understand that if we apply RIGOUROUS PHILOSOPHICAL APPROACH this is a futile exercise on MY part.I AM NOT COMPETENT to handle this.

3.IF you ask me 'OK.You do not have a philosophical Background.DO YOU HAVE PERSONAL EXPERIENCE,FIRST HAND to back you up?"-I have to admit that I DO NOT HAVE ANY.Then WHY are we discussing this TOPIC?Well,since you appreciate CRICKET(Yorker!),this is something like what we discuss when we come back after witnessing a Cricket match-"So and so SHOULD have Held his end up,SO AND SO did not BOWL to the FIELD,Captaincy was very poor -he should have given more Overs to SO and SO,etc.This is like this!
'WASTE OF TIME?'-You may ask!'YES'-What is TIME for but to be wasted!IT CEASES TO BE A WASTE when IT LOSES ITS SIGNIFICANCE!(in TIMELESSNESS IF THERE IS SUCH A STATE-learning to speak your language!)

Salutations!

P.S:Please keep your critical comments flowing.ADDS more MASALA!it is like adding a pinch of Salt to the Sweet Dishes!Yes,they do to the one called SARKARAI PONGAL(A Sweet Pudding made of Rice and Sugar)

IMPORTANTLY-it will provide a Good opportunity for all doing SELF ENQUIRY to see if they are the 'I' or the 'Brahman'they think they are.Remember the KRISHNA KISHORE 'KHA',how Thakur told him -'You are Kha'!(This is a secret code to S!Others please excuse!)

Broken Yogi said...

tmtzuuaS,

While I appreciate your humility and skepticism, I think you should simply assume that anything anyone says, ever, is merely their own opinion, and is not authoritative. This includes not only myself, other posters here, but also even great figures such as Ramana, Papaji, Ramakrishna, the scriptures themselves, etc. Otherwise, we are either arguing from authority, or by ad hominem attack on each other's lack of authority. This way lies chaos and ruined dialogue. Instead, rather than having everyone tirelessly preface every sentence with "IMO", we can just presume it, for ourselves and everyone else. That way we end up arguing about the actual merits of the issue, rather than who said what, and how authoritative that person ought to be taken. We of course give more weight to our favorites spiritual voices, but we have to keep in mind that they can be wrong also, or at least not complete in each and every one of their statements and given context. It is for us in any case to discern the truth, and not merely rely upon others for the final authoritative word.

I appreciate David's style also, and his habit of presenting a number of contradictory points of view without weighing in on one or the other, and letting us try and figure it out for ourselves. I think that is the correct attitude for laying out a discussion. But as you can see, we have a number of jnanis saying quite different things about the same topic. If they can't agree, how can we be expected to? And should we in any case? There's the expectation somehow that there's an "answer" to questions like these, short of realization itself, and I don't think there is one. All we have are a bunch of opinions that contradict, which is exactly what you would expect from duality. Nothing wrong with that. If anything, it helps us to see that even the "authorities" on this subject are not authoritative, and that we have to develop our own discrimination. This is not done by being a milquetoast, I don't think, and never venturing one's own opinion for testing in the marketplace. We may even notice that the people we consider the most "authoritive" are those with whom we feel the most intuitive agreement in the first place. So citing our favorite spiritual figures is often just a way of reinforcing our own ideas about these things, rather than allowing them to be challenged. Meaning, they shouldn't be cited as authorities, just as eloquent exponents of a particular argument or viewpoint.

Now, my words carry no particular authority at all. But then again, no one's really do. The only way to confirm these arguments is by directly inspecting them in your own experience. If they have value, then good, if not, toss them, regardless of who made them. But wanting to know what kind of experience each of us has had that makes us think the way we do is fruitless, if you are trying to determine whether what any of us says is true or not. If it isn't true for you, that's all that counts. So examine it in relation to your own experience, and argue for or against it from that perspective, and you can't be "wrong".

Broken Yogi said...

Ravi,

Regarding your comments, I can't say that I agree with Ramakrishna's teachings on this. Once again, I simply don't like to argue from, or with, authority. I do love Ramakrishna, but not everything he taught rings true to me. I am not much concerned with elite lists or who is on them and who is not. I'm not much for levels and planes either. I think all of that is beside the point. If I were to chose, I'd probably go with Papaji's views on this matter, that the Self merely makes use of various jnanis to do the Self's work as needed. The Self is the One who enlightens, not the human Guru. The Self awakens various siddhis in jnanis as needed. The Self uses everything and everyone to fulfill its purposes, and we cannot see these things in total, not even the human mechanism of the jnani sees all of this clearly, because it is not taking place in the human mechanism itself. THe words of the jnani come from that human mechanism, however, and so they cannot fully describe what is going on. The jnani who knows himself as the Self does so directly, not using the human mechanism as an intermediary, so the human mechanism doesn't get the full picture or communicate it in words in its full sense. It sees only what its own siddhis allow it to see. Without those siddhis being activated, it is unable to clearly describe what is going on, and unless there is a need for those siddhis to be activated, there is no point in such knowledge being given through the human mechanism.

Papaji had certain siddhis activated in him, and knowledge of them in kind. Ramana had his own siddhis activated. They were realized as the same Self, but their descriptions of the process of how the Self works were limited to the siddhis awakened in them. The Self has no interest in awakening siddhis in jnanis who have no use for them, nor does it care to make them all consistent with one another in any conditional sense. The Self has its own purposes, it's own siddhis, and they are not like the siddhis of men, developed for man's purposes and according to man's logic.

So perhaps Krishnamurti developed a siddhi for teaching, but not for giving the experience of realization, because the Self had its own purposes irregardless of what Krishnamurti may have wanted. Likewise with Ramana, who had siddhis for both, but perhaps was lacking in some other area. Once realizing the Self, the jnani simply doesn't care about such things, because he knows himself as the Self, and the body is merely doing the will of the Self in any case. There is no mind to differentiate between them, and no mind to be finding things out independent of the Self. The body has its own life, and its own brain-mind, but this only sees and knows what the siddhis awakened in it see and know, and nothing else. These are not the same as siddhis developed by the mind through the medium of desire to acquire knowledge and power in the world. Interpreted them as if they were leads to false notions of what their function is and how they work.

Ravi said...

Broken Yogi,
Please change your name to INTEGRATED YOGI!(or BREAKING YOGI!-means breaking our ignorance!)What you have written is quite rational and practical.All the same,we do require 'S' type of approach to maintain the Balance.Here ,I find that David has been cited as Neutral!Yes, as far as this thread is concerned!Kindly refer to THE GENESIS of this thread and you will find DAVID had taken the Premise that ALL GNANIS ARE THE SAME,NO DIFFERENCE,THAT HE HAS BASED IT ON HIS EXPERIENCE WITH DIRECT DISCIPLES OF SRI BHAGAVAN,etc.I think it was my citing Sri Annamalai Swami's Talks -'The Final Talks'that seemed to have again opened the TOPIC!Had I Mentioned any other X,Y or Z perhaps this thread may not have been opened!(THIS IS NOT TO TAKE AWAY ANY CREDIT FROM DAVID.HE DESERVES ALL THE CREDIT and more.I AM ONLY REFERRING TO OUR ATTENTION SPAN!)AGAIN I AM ASSUMING THAT DAVID HAD COME TO HIS FINISH LINE before all this!It need not be so!This is how it happens-we go on REVISITING some of these topics in the face of new evidence/new ideas.WE MAY OR MAY NOT ACCEPT THE CHANGE.
Yes,what you have said is perfectly true-ULTIMATELY IT IS A QUESTION OF 'WHAT IS ACCEPTABLE',what is serviceable.There is no RIGHT or Wrong,and the aim of these discussions is to understand this ever recurring phenomenon.THE GAIN IS THAT WE LEARN TO RESPECT OTHER'S POINT OF VIEW.IMPORTANTLY WE ALSO UNDERSTAND OUR OWN IN A NEW LIGHT.THIS IS DEFINITELY WORTH IT.

There are a few conceptions that are floating around and recurring:
1.A GNANI Does not perceive any Difference-implying that 'Guru' 'disciple' differences do not exist.SO THERE IS NO GURU ,NO DISCIPLE!What the Gnanis mean(as I understand!...S...!)is THAT THEY DO NOT EXIST AS WE CONCEPTUALISE!(Sri Ramakrishna's ELEPHANT STORY!)
I think that we need to DISTINGUISH between 'Difference' and 'Distinction'.ABSENCE OF DIFFERENCE does not mean ABSENCE OF DISTINCTION.Just like in our body THE RIGHT HAND is as much a PART of our BODY as the LEFT.Yet we tend to be either 'Right handers' or 'Left handers'.THERE IS THIS DISTINCTION.

2.GNANIS do not have any SANKALPA-From what DAVID had written ,Papaji says that earlier that he had been giving a 'PUSH' to some seekers,but later changed his 'approach'?Does ALL THIS HAPPEN UNDER THE DIRECT PROMPTING OF THE SELF,or IN OTHER WORDS THE SELF CHOSE TO ACT THAT WAY and the gnani does not DO ANYTHING on his own.
MY master has thrown some light on this-(As I understand!)-All this means is that the GNANI is ACTING WITHOUT BIAS(without like or dislike).THIS IS ALL.NOT THAT SOME OMNISCIENCE,OMNIPOTENCE,NEVER FAILING POWER IS ACTING!If that is so,then why is it that some person who does not get any help from ONE GNANI,gets the help from another Gnani (ASSUMING THAT ONLY THE SELF IS REVEALING THE SELF TO THE SELF!).Some of us seems to be pushing this idea to a level where the GNANIS would love to become DISCIPLES to UNDERSTAND THIS TRICK!

There may be a few more SUCH assumptions/Notions and it will be good for us to be aware that there may be such shortsightedness in our understanding.HERE 'S' approach will be a great Help.

Salutations to you.

Ravi said...

Broken Yogi,
'THe words of the jnani come from that human mechanism, however, and so they cannot fully describe what is going on. The jnani who knows himself as the Self does so directly, not using the human mechanism as an intermediary, so the human mechanism doesn't get the full picture or communicate it in words in its full sense.'

Very interesting idea that you have expressed.I remember that ou said n one of your earlier posts'I am not a fan of Sri Aurobindo'-Yet THIS IS PRECISELY THE 'FOCUS' of Sri Aurobindo's INTEGRAL YOGA.
I am not sure if you have read Aurobindo.THIS IS WHAT HE SAYS-THAT HUMAN INSTRUMENT-The Mind is a POOR INSTRUMENT to Organise Life.ITS VISION OF THE DIVINE IS AN IMPERFECT GROPING!THE SUPERMIND if it manifests,will have this FACILITY to TRULY COGNIZE THE SUPERCONSCIENT TRUTH and can organise Life in a MORE Harmonious way.
I respect your freedom to decide not to accept sri Ramakrishna or X,Y or Z.
Yet,if you have the idea that you seem to have ,it is worth exploring Sri Aurobindo and then move on to sri Ramakrishna(if you feel like!).
THE IDEA THAT YOU HAVE EXPRESSED IS THE KEY TO SRI AUROBINDO'S INTEGRAL YOGA!worth exploring.

Salutations to you!

Clemens Vargas Ramos said...

Ravi; ... The Mind is a POOR INSTRUMENT to Organise Life...

One may say so. It is interesting to compare it with this beautiful passage in Vasisthas Yoga (by Swami Venkatesanda):

"To the wise, the mind is an obedient servant, good counsellor, able commander of the senses, pleasing wife, protecting father and trustworthy friend.

(...)

Rama, he who treads the superior path, though he dwells in this body which functions as the potter's wheel does by past momentum, is untainted by the actions that might be performed. In his case, the body exists for his pleasure and for the liberation of his soul; he does not experience unhappiness in it.

To the ignorant, this body is the source of suffering; but to the enlightened man, this body is the source of infinite delight. While it exists the wise man derives from it great pleasure and the delight of enlightenment; and when its life-span comes to an end he does not regard it as a loss at all. Hence, to the enlightened person the body itself is a source of infinite delight. And, since it transports him in this world in which he roams freely and delightfully, the body is regarded as a vehicle of wisdom. Since it is through the body that the wise man derives the different sense-experiences and gains the friendship and affection of others, to him it is a source of gain. The enlightened man reigns happily while dwelling in the city known as the body, even as Indra the king of heaven dwells in his city.

The body does not subject the wise man to the temptations of lust and greed, nor does it allow ignorance or fear to invade him. The intelligence that governs the wise man's body is not drawn out by the excitement which the ignorant call pleasure, but it rests within in a state of contemplation."

arvind said...

David,

You have really dug up for us every possible anecdote / quote on this topic. It is no mean feat given the multifarious sources you have had to tap into. And thanks for locating the Palmyra-Banyan trees and enclosing pictures of the same. Have made a note to try and have a look-see when one is there next.

Also, I believe your ‘sannidhi’ argument is a very logical and convincing one. As you have said, “the solution to this apparent paradox – that the Guru says he does nothing yet clearly is giving experiences to the people around him – lies in what Bhagavan called the ‘sannidhi’ or ‘presence’. The Guru himself does nothing, but by abiding steadfastly in the Self, an energy or a presence is created that takes care of the needs and desires of the devotees who approach him”. And the accompanying Narayan Iyer anecdote is a magnificent one.

I just have one comment of my own to offer. This is in relation to your remark:

“I took the position that Annamalai Swami confirms here: that all jnanis were equal in their jnana. However, it is true, as Annamalai Swami notes in these replies, that some have the power to enlighten, whereas others do not. This is not related to their state of abiding as the Self, since jnana is the same for all. Some other factor is involved”. And again, “So far as I am aware Bhagavan never gave any explanation as to why some jnanis have the power to enlighten while others don’t”. And that you would love to receive any references, if found, for the same.

I believe that this question falls into a ‘sort of’ rhetorical question category that can have no answer. Let me explain. In this very post you have quoted the opinion of 3 enlightened Masters. Sri Annamalai Swami, Sri Lakshman Swamy and Papaji. Each one’s opinion is a little different. Can we find a reason why their opinion is different ? Given that all 3 are Jnanis, and Jnana is the same for all, should it follow that all that they think and say should be identical thereafter ? Obviously not. Then that would imply that Jnana reduces the Jnanis to a sort of automaton or robot from an assembly line, that parrot out identical & fixed speech as is recorded within; or that do or act in an identical pre-programmed manner.

So the answer to the question ‘why some Jnanis have the power to enlighten while others do not ?’ is the same as the answer to, ‘why some Jnanis have one opinion on a topic and others have another opinion ?’, or the same as the answer to, ‘why does one Jnani get up at 4 O’clock in the morning everyday and another at 7 O’clock ?’, or the same as the answer to, ‘why does one Jnani like oranges and the other apples ?’. What I am suggesting therefore, is that this is a ‘sort of redundant’ question and thus a fruitless search. If the questions were asked in respect of an ordinary human being, we would say – that this is human nature. It varies from person to person. So similarly we have to say, perhaps, that – “this is normal Jnani nature, it varies from Jnani to Jnani”. Or perhaps we can use one of Sri Bhagavan’s ‘Brahmastras’ – and say that this is all because of their ‘prarabdha’ karma. I do not think that we can get closer than that on this one.

I believe that perhaps this is why we cannot find any explanations from Sri Bhagavan on this matter in any of the ‘talks’. There is none to be given.

Notwithstanding the above, I do believe that we have to still continue to search and keep asking all the redundant / rhetorical questions as well. Because in the search for answers, fruitless or otherwise, we are able to pick up valuable insights into Jnana, and the sadhana thereof.

Ravi said...

Ramos,
Thanks very much.Truly appreciate your interest in digging up treasures!YET,we are not referring to A MIND THAT IS A MASTER AND NOT A SLAVE-THIS IS THE IMPORTANT POINT-THE MIND FREED FROM ALL ITS DELUSIONS-IS STILL THE MIND!

This is what Sri Aurobindo says-'The aim of supramental Yoga is to change into this supreme Truth-consciousness, but this truth is something beyond mind and this consciousness is far above the HIGHEST MIND-consciousness. For TRUTH OF MIND is always RELATIVE, uncertain and partial, but this greater Truth is preemptory and whole. Truth of mind is a representation, always an inadequate, most often a misleading representation, and even when most accurate, only a reflection, Truth's shadow and not its body. Mind does not live in the Truth or possess but only seeks after it and grasps at best some threads from its robe; the supermind lives in Truth and [is] its native substance, form and expression; it has not to seek after it, but possesses it always automatically and is what it possesses. This is the very heart of the difference.

Compare this with what Sri Ramakrishna says-"But vijnana means knowledge with a greater fullness. Some have heard of milk, some have seen milk, and some have drunk milk. He who has merely heard of it is “ignorant.” One who has seen it is a Jnani. But he who has drunk it has vijnana, that is to say, a full knowledge of it. After having the vision of God one talks to him as if He were an intimate relative. That is vijnana. "
Supermind is this Vijnana.
you may be interested in this interesting article .This is the link:
http://www.vedanta.org/reading/monthly/articles/2006/9.ramakrishna_ideal.html.

Salutations!

Broken Yogi said...

S,

"broken yogi said 'How can that process be part of the dream itself? It can't' - i dream and i am awake, but i have never been able to observe the transition from one state to the other because either am sleeping & dreaming or am in the waking state; to say 'it can't' obviously requires you to be in a state from which you could 'watch' these two states...is this what people call 'turiya'?"

I should have addressed this. Keep in mind that I am using dream/awakening as a metaphor, not a literalism. What I have in mind is this: if someone is trying to wake you up from a deep sleep, maybe they shake you, make a loud noise, pour water on your face, etc. But you, still sleeping, do not see any of this. Instead, you incorporate these sensations in your dream. You perhaps dream that an earthquake is happening, then an explosion, then a flood. You interpret these efforts to awaken you to something happening inside your dream, when in reality they are being generated from outside the dream, and you have just interpreted them from the perspective of the dream because you don't know of any other kind.

So when we encounter the Guru and experience his awakening "pushes", perhaps we are simply incorporating the real process, which is occurring outside our dream, into the dream itself. So we dream of the human Guru, and his teachings, and his glance and touch and all his various siddhis and graces, and imagine that this is what is going on, when in fact something is happening outside the dream, shaking and prodding our real body to wake up, not the dream body we think we are while we dream. We have simply tried to make the process into something we can understand within the dream, which is really our way of prolonging the dream rather than allowing it to wake us up. Who is gracing us with all these teachings and blessing? It is not the one we see in the dream. It is the One who stands in the waking world and prods us to wake up with Him, to see Him in the world of reality, not the world of our dreams.

As for Turiya, yes, this is part of the process, but even in turiya we are still observing the dream. We are not actually fully awake. It is a half-way state that still does not know who the Witness is. A distinction remains that is real in the dream only, but not real in waking.

Also, I appreciate your efforts to instill humility in us all. I cannot say that my convictions are true, I can only say that I speak from my convictions. To me, that is the only way to confront and go beyond them. It is necessary to know what we are convinced of, and speak from that point of view with full conviction, if we are to be moved beyond the mind. Otherwise we never know what it is we have to transcend in ourselves. I am sure I am convinced of many things that are utterly false, I just don't know which are which. Maybe you can help point them out for me?

Clemens Vargas Ramos said...

... The Power to Enlighten ...

I needed some days to think about it and to develop a few thoughts which I try to express in English:

a) I don't believe that there is any power to transmit from somebody to someone else. I believe that what is needed is the perfect stillness and "inner listening" (Jean Klein) of the mind. And it happens in this stillness that knowledge arises (or not). There are no guaranties for nothing. At the end I can't see any direct link between the physical/mental/psychic presence of a Jnani and the disciple in relation to knowledge. My feeling is that it is only the mind trying (as it were) to create causes and effects related to a process which is completely unknown. And "stillness" does not mean the cease of the movements of the body or soul - it means intuition.

I like the definition from Raphael, an italian advaita teacher, saying in his Yoga - Initiation into the Transzendent (I try to translate it into English; sorry for the quality):

"The path of Jnana demands a retraction of the person into itself; a sort of an active internalization; a sort of a centripetal movement; a mind able to comprise the whole of the objective manifestation and its indwelling life with one flap of its wings".

b) I like the rational approach of Vasisthas Yoga saying: 1) Universe, world, mind, soul, man and god etc. are the creation of the (cosmic) mind. 2) Realization of this is possible by stilling the mind. 3) Stilling of the mind is attainable by the cease of its cravings. 4) The cease of the cravings is possible when there is the clear understanding that there is nothing to gain or to loss in this world (the mind believes to see). (Not to forget: There are no guaranties...)

c) Instead of thinking about the power of the (physical) guru I would propose to think about the question of what happens exactly when someone "awakes"? Inquire into the effect means to inquire into the cause. What is the essence of "awakening"? (Or: what is the essence of a true teacher?)

d) It is my personal experience that the enormous psychic power of some gurus often is confused with true guruhood. Years ago I met with a prominent female guru, and 7 years later, thinking and thinking over and over again this meeting, I still not have the feeling that I got any kind of KNOWLEDGE from this person. Whereas I got a lot of true (that's my feeling) knowledge and inner quiescence by simply reading and contemplating the holy scriptures or the talks of Sri Ramana and others.

e) And last but not least: The question of who is a true guru, why he/she is it, and how the relationship between him and the disciple works is valuable. But in the end: Is it of any use for me, the disciple? Isn't it much easier to answer the question for myself what the quality of a good disciple is? "Teachers there are a lot. But were are the disciples?" I like this assertion saying that "it is in solitude that all comes to you what you really need to have".

Clemens Vargas Ramos
Oldenburg, Germany

David Godman said...

Siva Patil

Yes, UG was a good example. He didn't want it, and he wasn't looking for it, but still it came. And even when it came there was no gratitude. He is the only person I have ever heard of who said that they were 'enlightened' and wished they were not.

I met him a few times in the 1970s and had some good talks with him. In the last few years of his life he got more and negative and abusive, and I have to say I gave up on him when I started to hear reports of the insulting things he was saying about Bhagavan.

David Godman said...

Stef

I couldn't really pick anyone for the top spot even if I wanted to. All I really remember from each of them is eyes looking at me and showing me who I am. Sometimes loving eyes, sometimes fierce eyes, sometimes smiling eyes, but all doing the same job. As Bhagavan said in Guru Vachaka Kovai, and I paraphrase, 'When the eyes of the Guru meet the eyes of the disciple, words are no longer necessary'.

David Godman said...

Arvind

I don't expect jnanis to enjoy the same kind of food or have the same habits, bit I do find it a bit odd when they can't agree about jnana.

I spoke to Saradamma about twenty years ago and she said, 'Being a jnani doesn't mean that one is omniscient. If someone comes here and says "Hyderabad is the capital of India" and I don't know from my own knowledge that this is not true, I might believe him. But there are areas where no one can fool me. If someone says "I love you" or "I want to get enlightened" I automatically know how true that statement is. I don't need to validate it from a piece of knowledge I have acquired from somewhere. My direct experience of the Self can validate or invalidate such statements. Jnana gives incontrovertible knowledge in several areas. If someone tells me some so-called jnani has said that he is going to be reborn, I know that they are not a jnani. There is something inherent in jnana that gives you the irrefutable direct knowledge that rebirth is not possible under any circumstances.'

Perhaps jnana doesn't include the direct knowledge of where the power to enlighten comes from, which is why there are these disagreements. Even Papaji's 'The Self chooses whom to give the power to' begs the question since it gives no clue as to why one jnani is picked and not another.

David Godman said...

Clemens Vargas Ramos said...

I disagree with you about the reality of the Guru-disciple transmission. Consider this answer from Annamalai Swami:

Question: Some people realise the Self just by hearing the Guru’s words. How is this possible?

Annamalai Swami: Disciples who are spiritually very advanced can realise the Self as soon as they hear the truth from an enlightened Guru, because the words of such a being have great power. If you are in this advanced state, they will reach your inner core and reveal to you the peace that is your real nature. When the Guru tells you that you are the Self, there is a power and an authority in those words that can make them become your own reality. If you are pure and ready, no practice will be required. One word from a jnani and his state will become yours too.
(Final Talks. p. 24)

I have heard Nisargadatta Maharaj and Papaji say exactly the same thing.

When a Guru with power and authority says 'You are Brahman' or 'You are consciousness' to a mature devotee, those words can become the devotee's own experience. When other people who don't have that same power tell those same devotees the same thing, nothing happens.

Since we have a regular contributor who adores Ramakrishna, he can correct this half-remembered statement: 'Milk is distributed throughout the cow, but if you want some, you go to the udder to get it.'

Meaning, of course, 'The Self may be immanent, but if you want some, you have to go to the Guru, the place where the flow can be channelled to you.'

Ravi said...

DAVID,
I did not want to comment on UG!I also read about his STUPID comments on Sri Bhagavan and also on JK with whom his relationship was PURE JEALOUSY!UG 's personal Life(Family) was also a WRECK!I have not read about a more wayward character than this person.
This also goes to prove how important it is to LAY THE FUNDAMENTALS OF LIVING without which one is open to all sorts of things!
Sri Aurobindo's LETTERS ON YOGA are a valuable resource of all sorts of spiritual experiences!These were letters written by him to his disciples in response to their queries and experiences.Almost like an encyclopaedia;therein is a chapter on something he calls as the INTERMEDIATE ZONE!This is an area of great danger,where the Sadhaka is open to all sorts of inimical influences and without the guidance of a Guru and discipline,can fall prey to ASURIC forces!He will have a magnified view of himself as a REALIZED person!Some may feel that they are Avatars and saviours!
This is one more reason to develop virtues like Humility,as this acts as a shield against such influences!
Sorry,suddenly I have shifted gears and switched onto something IRRATIONAL!
Yes,these things are there and development of virtues are insisted upon to shield one from going astray.OUR HUMAN ignorance itself acts as a shield;yet as the powers of the Mind develops through sadhana ,one is more prone for this sort of exposure!

May Sri Bhagavan's Grace be ever with us!

David Godman said...

Clemens Vargas Ramos

'The question of who is a true guru, why he/she is it, and how the relationship between him and the disciple works is valuable. But in the end: Is it of any use for me, the disciple? Isn't it much easier to answer the question for myself what the quality of a good disciple is? "Teachers there are a lot. But were are the disciples?" I like this assertion saying that "it is in solitude that all comes to you what you really need to have".'


There is a Papa Ramdas story about this. Someone once complained to him that there were no longer any good Gurus in the world.

Ramdas replied,'There are always great Gurus in the world. The real shortage is of good devotees.'

David Godman said...

I have read all the way down to comment thirty-two. I have nothing more to add to the comments up to that point except to say that I enjoyed reading all your responses.

One afterthought, though, for Clemens Vargos Ramos about the reality of the Guru-disciple transmission. All the teachers I know and have been with have said that it was their Guru's grace that enabled them to realise the Self. They didn't attribute it to the Self within, or say that they were destined at that moment to find out who they really were. They all said, 'My Guru gave me this gift' and for the rest of their lives they had unflagging gratitude for the bestower of that precious gift.

Ravi said...

Friends,
Atlast ,I have gathered a few threads on this topic from the Gospel of Sri Ramakrishna.
Just summarizing what Sri Ramakrishna has said:
1.Not all can teach-Only those EMPOWERED by the Divine can.
2.The Role of Guru is covered.
What is not covered is the difference between JEEVAKOTIS and the ISWARAKOTIS(Nityasiddha).This will be covered after a couple of days(Hopefully).

SRI RAMAKRISHNA ON GURU:
1. "Do you know my attitude? As for myself, I eat, drink, and live happily. The rest the Divine Mother knows. Indeed, there are three words that prick my flesh: 'guru', 'master', and 'father'.
"There is only one Guru, and that is Satchidananda. He alone is the Teacher. My attitude toward God is that of a child toward its mother. One can get human gurus by the million. All want to be teachers. But who cares to be a disciple?
Difficulty of preaching-
"It is extremely difficult to teach others. A man can teach only if God reveals Himself to him and gives the command. Narada, Sukadeva, and sages like them had such a command from God, and Sankara had it too. Unless you have a command from God, who will listen to your words? -page 141,The Gospel Of Sri Ramakrishna

2." In the same state he said, addressing the devotees: "That which is Brahman is verily Sakti. I address That, again, as the Mother. I call It Brahman when It is inactive, and Sakti when It creates, preserves, and destroys. It is like water, sometimes still and sometimes covered with waves. The Incarnation of God is a part of the lila of Sakti. The purpose of the Divine Incarnation is to teach man ecstatic love for God. The Incarnation is like the udder of the cow, the only place milk is to be got. God incarnates Himself as man. There is a great accumulation of divinity in an Incarnation, like the accumulation of fish in a deep hollow in a lake."-Page 283,Gospel of Sri Ramakrishna.

Salutations!

Ravi said...

Friends,
Here is more from The Gospel of Sri Ramakrishna:
""When the lamp is lighted the moths come in swarms. They don't have to be invited. In the same way, the preacher who has a commission from God need not invite people to hear him. He doesn't have to announce the time of his lectures. He possesses such irresistible attraction that people come to him of their own accord. People of all classes, even kings and aristocrats, gather around him. They say to him: 'Revered sir, what can we offer you? Here are mangoes, sweets, money, shawls, and other things. What will you be pleased to accept?' In that case I say to them: 'Go away. I don't care, for these. I don't want anything.'
"Does the magnet say to the iron, 'Come near me?' That is not necessary. Because of the attraction of the magnet, the iron rushes to it.
"Such a preacher may not be a scholarly person, but don't conclude from that that he has any lack of wisdom. Does book-learning make one wise? He who has a commission from God never runs short of wisdom. That wisdom comes from God; it is inexhaustible. At Kamarpukur I have seen people measuring grain. It lies in a heap. One man keeps pushing grain from the heap toward another man, who weighs it on a scales. So the man who weighs doesn't run short of grain. It is the same with the preacher who has received a commission from God. As he teaches people, the Divine Mother Herself supplies him with fresh knowledge from behind. That knowledge never comes to an end.
Can a preacher ever lack knowledge if but once he is favoured with a benign glance from the Divine Mother? " Page 466,Gospel of Sri Ramakrishna.

2." It was three or four o'clock in the afternoon. M. found Sri Ramakrishna seated on the couch in an abstracted mood. After some time he heard him talking to the Divine Mother. The Master said, "O Mother, why hast Thou given him only a particle?" Remaining silent a few moments, he added: "I understand it, Mother. That little bit will be enough for him and will serve Thy purpose. That little bit will enable him to teach people."-page 270,gospel of sri ramakrishna(M Later wrote the Gospel and most of the illustrious monks as well as lay devotees were disciples of 'M'.For further info on M,I suggest that you may read -1.A Search in Secret India -by Dr Paul Brunton and 2.Autobiography of a yogi-Paramahansa Yogananda).

Salutations!

Ravi said...

Friends,
This is about the experience of Brahman-whether the 'I' survives,etc.

"What Brahman is cannot be described. Even he who knows It cannot talk about It. There is a saying that a boat, once reaching the 'black waters' of the ocean, cannot come back.
Parable of the four friends
"Once four friends, in the course of a walk, saw a place enclosed by a wall. The wall was very high. They all became eager to know what was inside. One of them climbed to the top of the wall. What he saw on looking inside made him speechless with wonder. He only cried,'Ah! Ah!' and dropped in. He could not give any information about what he saw. The others, too, climbed the wall, uttered the same cry, 'Ah! Ah!', and jumped in. Now who could tell what was inside?
"Sages like Jadabharata and Dattatreya, after realizing Brahman, could not describe It. A man's 'I' completely disappears when he goes into samadhi after attaining the Knowledge of Brahman. That is why Ramprasad sang, addressing his mind:
If you should find the task too hard, Call upon Ramprasad for help.
The mind must completely merge itself in Knowledge. But that is not enough. 'Ramprasad', that is, the principle of 'I', must vanish too. Then alone does one get the Knowledge of Brahman."
A DEVOTEE: "Sir, is it possible then that Sukadeva did not have the ultimate Knowledge?"
MASTER: "According to some people, Sukadeva only saw and touched the Ocean of Brahman; he did not dive into It. That is why he could return to the world and impart religious instruction. According to others, he returned to the world of name and form, after attaining the Knowledge of Brahman, for the purpose of teaching others. He had to recite the Bhagavata to King Parikshit and had to teach people in various ways; therefore God did not destroy his 'I' altogether. God kept in him the 'ego of Knowledge.' " -page 268,Gospel of Sri Ramakrishna.

Salutations!

Broken Yogi said...

David wrote the following in reply to Clemens:

"All the teachers I know and have been with have said that it was their Guru's grace that enabled them to realise the Self. They didn't attribute it to the Self within, or say that they were destined at that moment to find out who they really were. They all said, 'My Guru gave me this gift' and for the rest of their lives they had unflagging gratitude for the bestower of that precious gift."

I thought this criticism could equally apply to what I have said, and want to clarify. Although I have said that it is really the Self who is acting through the human Guru, and that the human Guru is just the way our minds re-create and re-interpret the Self's Grace as it moves to awaken us, this in no way should detract from the importance of the human Guru. I could only say that our dream-life appears to have a structure to it, and part of that structure is the Guru-appearance, by which the Self makes itself known to us, as us. Without these appearances, the Self is simply not known to us. I like David's quote from Ramakrishna about the udder of the cow. Yes, for some reason our dreams are structured like the cow - we dream of the whole cow, but we also dream of the udder as the way to drink the cow's milk. This does not detract from either the cow or the udder, it is simply the way our mind interprets the Grace of the Self, and for that reason it should be honored as the very Self. When the Guru enters our dream he makes the whole dream holy, he is the source of holiness, just as the udder makes the cow a source of nourishment.

I also like what Ravi quoted from Ramakrishna:

"The Incarnation of God is a part of the lila of Sakti. The purpose of the Divine Incarnation is to teach man ecstatic love for God."

The Guru is how the Sakti appears within the dream (lila) of consciousness. The dream is unreal, and all the appearances within the dream are also unreal, but the love of the Guru is the penetration of the real world into the dreams we are obsessed with. I recall that Nisargadatta was once asked if there was anything real in this world, and he said yes, the love you feel for one another is real, this love is the only real thing you ever experience, that even while the appearances of those you love are not real, the love is real. The Guru manifests this pure love that draws us beyond the dream, into the waking world. One could say that all the Guru really does is love us until we notice that this love is real, is the only reality in our dream, and let the reality of the Guru's love become our reality. Enlightenment is nothing more than total acceptance of the Guru's love.

Maneesha said...

My two cents:

Whose power are we talking about, when we say "power to enlighten"? Does it refer to the physical body of the Guru?

If yes, Is physical body of Guru different from rest of the physical bodies?

If no, How can then be difference in power to enlighten?

And then, what about the 21 Gurus that Lord dattatreya had? Who all enlightened whom all?

Ravi said...

Friends,
Sri Aurobindo on the Guru:
"The Teacher of the integral Yoga will follow as far as he may the method of the Teacher within us. He will lead the disciple through the nature of the disciple. Teaching, example, influence, -- these are the three instruments of the Guru. But the wise Teacher will not seek to impose himself or his opinions on the passive acceptance of the receptive mind; he will throw in only what is productive and sure as a seed which will grow under the divine fostering within. He will seek to awaken much more than to instruct; he will aim at the growth of the faculties and the experiences by a natural process and free expansion. He will give a method as an aid, as a utilisable device, not as an imperative formula or a fixed routine. And he will be on his guard against any turning of the means into a limitation, against the mechanising of process. His whole business is to awaken the divine light and set working the divine force of which he himself is only a means and an aid, a body or a channel.
The example is more powerful than the instruction; but it is not the example of the outward acts nor that of the personal character, which is of most importance. These have their place and their utility; but what will most stimulate aspiration in others is the central fact of the divine realisation within him governing his whole life and inner state and all his activities. This is the universal and essential element; the rest belongs to individual person and circumstance. It is this dynamic realisation that the Sadhaka must feel and reproduce in himself according to his own nature; he need not strive after an imitation from outside which may well be sterilising rather than productive of right and natural fruits.
Influence is more important than example. Influence is not the outward authority of the Teacher over his disciple, but the power of his contact, of his presence, of the nearness of his soul to the soul of another, infusing into it, even though in silence, that which he himself is and possesses. This is the supreme sign of the Master. For the greatest Master is much less a Teacher than a Presence pouring the divine consciousness and its constituting light and power and purity and bliss into all who are receptive around him.
And it shall also be a sign of the teacher of the integral Yoga that he does not arrogate to himself Guruhood in a humanly vain and self-exalting spirit. His work, if he has one, is a trust from above, he himself a channel, a vessel or a representative. He is a man helping his brothers, a child leading children, a Light kindling other lights, an awakened Soul awakening souls, at highest a Power or Presence of the Divine calling to him other powers of the Divine."-Synthesis of Yoga-Sri Aurobindo

Ravi said...

Maneesha,
Both of your questions are already answered!
1.Satchidananda(self,God) alone is the GURU.
2.Yes,The Guru's Body mind complex is diffrent than others!It acts as the channel-udder of the cow means this!
Coming to the Avadhuta and his gurus!It only means that EXALTED SOULS do not require the HUMAN CHANNEL.(Adi Guru Dattatreya,the Avadhuta is still ACTIVE!sadhaks still are able to tune in and receive the Grace!).
I am afraid that this DREAM analogy is not helpful beyond a certain limit!For one thing,it MAY INDUCE a rsponsibility shunning attitude towards life!(in a subtle way!may not be apparent!).Already we see that the GURU has been pushed into the dream state(although,i do understand what Broken Yogi is saying!).Sri Ramakrishna recalls an incident concerning one of the pseudo gnanis who was a Gross liar!This guy used to justify that ALL IS UNREAL;and he further used to add "If Everything is unreal,then can TRUTH itself be Real?Even that is unreal!".I am not suggesting that any of us will go that far!

maneesha,to put it in another way,the ELEPHANT narayana is NARAYANA for the Great souls;The MAN narayana is the GURU; if we care to listen to him then he becomes NARAYANA to us.

Hope you got your 2 cents worth!In case you want more ,you HAVE TO PAY FEES IN DOLLARS IN ADVANCE AND REGISTER FOR MY COURSE(Heavily booked!).I will let you know the 5 star hotel where this is being organised!

Salutations!

David Godman said...

Maneesha said...

My two cents:

Whose power are we talking about, when we say "power to enlighten"? Does it refer to the physical body of the Guru?

If yes, Is physical body of Guru different from rest of the physical bodies?

If no, How can then be difference in power to enlighten?

And then, what about the 21 Gurus that Lord Dattatreya had? Who all enlightened whom all?


The power belongs to no one, but it can be channelled through the appropriate sluice gate. He who has a functioning sluice-gate that can regulate the flow according to the needs of the devotees is the Guru.

Bhagavan's body was somewhat different from other bodies. When Rangan, his old school friend, commented that his skin at Skandashram was smooth, whereas in their childhood days it was rough, Bhagavan replied by saying, 'That was the old body. It was burned by jnanagni [the fire of jnana].'

Dattatreya learned something from each of his twenty-four gurus, each of whom was physical, or at least perceptible. I would say that Dattatreya was one of those rare beings who didn't need to associate with a Guru in the traditional way.

Shiva Patil said...

Dear David,
Thanks...
Whether Bhagavan (1879-1950)commented on Swami Vivekananda (1863-1902) and Sri Ramakrishna Paramahansa (1836-1886).

Warm regards...shiva patil

David Godman said...

Shiva Patil

Dear David,
Thanks...
Whether Bhagavan (1879-1950)commented on Swami Vivekananda (1863-1902) and Sri Ramakrishna Paramahansa (1836-1886).



Surprisingly little, given that they lived in the same era and were all quite famous teachers. Their names come up in Ramanasramam books once in a while, but I don't recollect Bhagavan himself making any comments on either of them.

Bhagavan has said that there was a copy of Vivekananda's famous 1893 Chicago lecture in his house in Madurai, but he had never bothered to read it.

Ravi said...

Shiva patil,
Here is a reference to Ramakrishna -from devaraja Mudaliar's Day by Day with Bhagavan.
I am copying it as the subject matter is ver relevant to our discussion,especially what Swami Shivananda said aboout surrendering to THE GURU.Devaraja Mudaliar is asking the classic questions,like why shivananda is modifying what Sri Ramakrishna had said,Bhagavan's typical response,and how devaraja mudaliar winds up!
The reason for shivananda modifying the original statement is understandable considering that the devotee who put the question to him had not seen Sri Ramakrishna-LIKE OUR MANEESHA.
Very interesting to read this!

"In the afternoon I was reading a recent issue of Prabuddha
Bharata. There I found that one disciple asked Shivananda, a
direct disciple of Sri Ramakrishna Paramahamsa, “It is said
Paramahamsa once said, ‘Those who have come here will have
no more births.’ Did you hear him say so? What does it mean?
Will only those who came to him and saw in the flesh and
worshipped him be saved, or even those who have only heard
about him and worshipped him?” It is said Shivananda replied,
“The above remark of Paramahamsa is found in all the books,
and it means that both classes of people will be saved, provided
however they have surrendered unto him.”
I pointed out, “All that Paramahamsa said was, ‘Those who
have come here will have salvation.’ Why do these people make
this addition, ‘provided they surrender unto him?’ If a man makes
complete surrender to God, Self or Guru he is of course saved.
That is well known. To a man who is able to make complete
surrender, sat sang is superfluous.” Bhagavan said, “When
Paramahamsa said ‘People who come here’ the words really imply
‘People who have come and surrendered themselves here’.” I
said, “If he meant it, would he not have said so? I believe there
are people, to approach whom, is to obtain salvation, whether
we are able to surrender completely or not. Did not all the crowd
that went to attend Saint Sambandar’s marriage, including the
pipers and drummers, get salvation? The drummer and piper had
no idea of making complete surrender.” Bhagavan remained silent.
Then he said, “It is said Sundarar got a vimana and went to heaven
and that he invited others to join him, but that none came forward.
But in Tukaram’s life it is said that he went to heaven with his
body and that he took twenty-one people with him.” To look up
this last reference, I brought Bhakta Vijayam in Tamil and
Bhagavan read how Tukaram, before going to heaven with his
body, invited everyone to go with him and, after seven days, he
went with twenty-two people to Heaven.
In this connection, I told Bhagavan, “It has come down as
a sort of tradition, and I have also heard it said, that Bhagavan
once told some disciples that those who are here (i.e., with
Bhagavan) need not worry about their salvation, even as upper
class passengers, having informed the guard, may quietly go to
sleep in their berths and will be awakened and detrained at
their destination by the guard. I have not been able to find out
when, where and to whom Bhagavan said words to the above
effect.” Bhagavan said nothing in reply. But so far as I am
concerned, the fact that he did not deny it in words or by facial
and it means that both classes of people will be saved, provided
however they have surrendered unto him.”
I pointed out, “All that Paramahamsa said was, ‘Those who
have come here will have salvation.’ Why do these people make
this addition, ‘provided they surrender unto him?’ If a man makes
complete surrender to God, Self or Guru he is of course saved.
That is well known. To a man who is able to make complete
surrender, sat sang is superfluous.” Bhagavan said, “When
Paramahamsa said ‘People who come here’ the words really imply
‘People who have come and surrendered themselves here’.” I
said, “If he meant it, would he not have said so? I believe there
are people, to approach whom, is to obtain salvation, whether
we are able to surrender completely or not. Did not all the crowd
that went to attend Saint Sambandar’s marriage, including the
pipers and drummers, get salvation? The drummer and piper had
no idea of making complete surrender.” Bhagavan remained silent.
Then he said, “It is said Sundarar got a vimana and went to heaven
and that he invited others to join him, but that none came forward.
But in Tukaram’s life it is said that he went to heaven with his
body and that he took twenty-one people with him.” To look up
this last reference, I brought Bhakta Vijayam in Tamil and
Bhagavan read how Tukaram, before going to heaven with his
body, invited everyone to go with him and, after seven days, he
went with twenty-two people to Heaven.
In this connection, I told Bhagavan, “It has come down as
a sort of tradition, and I have also heard it said, that Bhagavan
once told some disciples that those who are here (i.e., with
Bhagavan) need not worry about their salvation, even as upper
class passengers, having informed the guard, may quietly go to
sleep in their berths and will be awakened and detrained at
their destination by the guard. I have not been able to find out
when, where and to whom Bhagavan said words to the above
effect.” Bhagavan said nothing in reply. But so far as I am
concerned, the fact that he did not deny it in words or by facial
203
expression is enough to convince me that Bhagavan must have,
in some unguarded moment, uttered these words (of great hope
to lazy men like me)." Page 202-203 of Day by day with Bhagavan-Devaraja Mudaliar

Ravi said...

Shiva patil/Friends,
Sorry that there was a problem with the 'cut and paste' from Day by day with Bhagavan.
I want to share with you an excerpt from the Life of Ramachandra Dutta,a householder disciple of Sri Ramakrishna(a cousin of Swami Vivekananda).This is a classic example of GURU BHAKTI-HERE THE SAME QUESTION WHAT DEVARAJA MUDALIAR HAD ASKED FIGURES-How Ramachandra Dutta had absolute Faith that even the casual acquaintance with a Holy person like his master is beneficial!

"Rama Chandra Datta, a householder disciple of Sri Ramakrishna, had unflinching faith in the Master and his love and devotion for him was exuberant. He used to say that any place Sri Ramakrishna visited even for a day became a holy place, and that whoever came to the Master and served him once was blessed. Ram further asserted the horse carriage which Sri Ramakrishna took to visit the Calcutta devotees, along with its coachman and horses, were all sanctified by the touch of the Master.

Ram’s attitude was considered extreme by many, and once someone sarcastically remarked: ‘ If that is true then what is there to fear? So many people have seen Sri Ramakrishna on the street and so many coachmen have driven him. Do you think all these people will get liberation?’ Ram Chandra’s face turned red, and he vehemently replied: ‘Go and take the dust of the feet of the sweeper of Dakshineshwar who saw the Master. This will make your life pure and blessed.’


The Master said to Ram: ‘How is it that you have not yet taken me to the new garden you have purchased for holding kirtan? Let us go one day to your garden to see what it is like.’ Ram was exuberant. Immediately he arranged everything for the Master’s visit. On Wednesday, December 26, 1883, M. recorded in The Gospel of Sri Ramakrishna:

Sri Ramakrishna, accompanied by Manilal Mallik, M., and several other devotees, was in a carriage on his way to Ram’s new garden….

Master (to Manilal): ‘In order to meditate on God, one should try at first to think of Him as free from upadhis (limitations). God is beyond upadhis. He is beyond speech and mind. But it is very difficult to achieve perfection in this form of meditation.

But it is easy to meditate on an Incarnation – God born as man. Yes, God in man. The body is a mere covering. It is like a lantern with a light burning inside, or like a glass case in which one sees precious things.’

Arriving at the garden, the Master got out of the carriage and accompanied Ram and the other devotees to the sacred Tulsi-grove. Standing near it, he said: ‘How nice! It is a fine place. You can easily meditate on God here.’

Sri Ramakrishna sat down in the house, which stood to the south of the lake. Ram offered him a plate of fruit and sweets which he enjoyed with the devotees. After a short time he went around the garden.

In sacred memory of Sri Ramakrishna’s visit to the garden and because he had mentioned it as an ideal place for meditation, Ram named the place ‘Yogodyana’ (garden for practising yoga). Ram gave the mango tree the name Ramakrishna-bhog’ (delight to Ramakrishna), and to the lake where the Master had washed his hands and feet he gave the name ‘Ramakrishna-kunda.’ In the northeast corner of the garden Ram planted a Panchavati (a grove of five trees) at the Master’s suggestion. After the passing away of the Master, his relics were enshrined on the spot near the Tulsi-grove where the Master had bowed down. A temple was later erected there.

On January 17, 1899, at 10:45 p.m., Ram breathed his last. His body was cremated on the bank of the Ganga and the relics were placed next to Sri Ramakrishna’s temple at Yogodyana. Before he passed away he told his disciples: ‘When I die please bury a little of the ashes of my body at the entrance to Yogodyana. Whoever enters this place will walk over my head, and thus I shall get the touch of the Master’s devotees’ feet forever."

Salutations!

Broken Yogi said...

Ravi,

I appreciate your comments. No, I've read very little of Aurobindo, and know very little of his views on these matters. If my views seem similar to his, well, either we are both right, or both wrong, I don't know which. My impression, however, is that these ideas are derived from traditional sources that long predate Aurobindo, but I may be wrong.

I agree with you that the problem here is in having conceptualized views of jnanis, who themselves have no conceptual minds. We can't seem to help imposing our concepts on those who have no concepts, and no use for concepts, as if we are in some way superior to them because we have such highly developed concepts about them, and they don't.

There's a problem in talking about jnanis at all, as you bring up by mentioning Papaji's discussion of his early attempts to direct his "power" to devotees. The problem is one of language, in that when a jnani says something about himself, the conventions of language turn this into a dualistic process of subject and object, which is how all language works. In reality, however, the jnani sees no distinction between subject and object, so when Papaji talks about using or experimenting with the siddhi of realization, it's as if he's talking about something different from himself, when he isn't. Or if he says that the Self does this or that, as if the Self is something different from himself. These conventions of speech make no sense, and have to be taken with a grain of salt when a jnani describes his own actions. To him, there is no actor performing an action, and no object that he performs and action upon. But language requires him to speak as if these distinctions are real, so when a jnani speaks about them it sounds as if he's an actor performing actions upon objects, when that isn't what's going on at all. It's one reason why silence is a superior teaching. It has no room for confusion by the rules of grammar.

Perception itself is built on the same rules of subject-object presumption, so when we see a jnani "enlightening" a devotee, we think that a superior person, the jnani, is directing some power on the inferior person, the devotee, and the result of this action is enlightenment, when this again is just a lie that presuming perception to be true makes inevitable. To understand this process, we have to reject these dualistic perceptual distinctions and see this process in reality, which is itself to say we have to be enlightened also. Any way you look at it, there is no correct understanding possible in the conceptual mind, and no "answer" short of our own enlightenment.

Ravi said...

Broken yogi,
"In reality, however, the jnani sees no distinction between subject and object, so when Papaji talks about using or experimenting with the siddhi of realization, it's as if he's talking about something different from himself, when he isn't. "
I tend to differ a little,although I agree that unless we experience this for ourself we can never be sure of these things-I do not believe that the Gnani will lose all distictions;I understand that he will not see any difference.No one ceases to be a HUMAN with its associated body mind complex,and if the gnani as long as the gnani has to EAT and TAKE CARE of this complex ,he HAS THE DISTINCTION.I understand that only in NIRVIKALPA SAMADHI all these things are obliterated.
Further it is only common knowledge that a devotee who does not benefit from association with one Gnani finds association with another Gnani beneficial.This shows that there is some CUSTOMIZATION that seems to be active here.

Salutations!

S. said...

salutations to all:
a few days back i had humbly asked about the 'conviction' with which people express...today, would like to say that the more i read the comments here, i wonder 'how beautifully you folks write' :-) just to illustrate, i find ravi's comments delightfully informative, (broken) yogi's views cogently insightful, scott's reflections touchingly inspiring etc. etc. (yogi: you had asked me to point out any flaws or errors in your opinions; let me confess my incompetence for the same)...not to speak of david whose writings are always enlightening.

my repeated salutations to all of you

i had also come across the quote from srimad bhagavatam that arvind alluded to in his excellent post...many a times have i pondered as to why wasn't i given the few things that i had desperately desired for (they were quite ordinary and atleast didn't seem unreasonable)...though not always from the angle of comparison, i have hardly ever succeeded in spotting a talent in me for anything, and there have been quite a few occasions when these had left me helpless... besides my parents, owing to strange circumstances, i haven't known anyone at all in my kith and kin...some of my best friends (who were definitely wonderful people) left me for the flimsiest of reasons!...i don't know what grace is but i do appreciate the fact that if one attributes the so-called good things to grace, then one should also credit grace for the so-called bad things of life...just an observation from experience...thats all

coming to the latest blogs 'power to enlighten' and 'jnanabhoomikas' ...though it didn't matter much to me, rather i couldn't understand, the divergent opinions in 'power to enlighten' were interesting... laughed when it occurred that i may not even be in the 'subheccha' stage! hence, 'why some jnanis have the power and some apparently don't' not only seemed remote but also plausibly irrelevant to me...

but one issue did keep surfacing: the katha upanishad says 'the self is attained or realized by him/her whom the self chooses'...this has come up frequently in the latest blogs...what do you folks think this could possibly mean? what does it mean for the atman to possess and exercise a choice? if the self alone 'is', then any choice is redundant; wouldn't it be a contradiction for the self to be afflicted with the frailty of choice? and if this has meaning only within the realm of the mind operating on an empirical platform, then in that case it is meaningless because in any case, it is beyond the mind to describe what the self does or doesn't... will be glad to know your opinions [will take it as 'your opinion' for granted when you post your comments :-)]
perhaps, for those who walk on the path of devotion, this is like 'god's will'...if above all god stands for completeness, then god shouldn't be having any business to 'will' since 'to will' implies desire (and desire goes in step with choice), and thus a god with desire is a contradiction
...sorry if this sounds stupid to some and arrogant to others, but if am arrogant, then god with a will might be the greatest egoist of all :-) does it sound like the 'dark' commenting on 'light'? (haha)

i always feel like conveying my very best wishes to all of you... and thus, in the spirit of bhagavan's teachings, the best i could possibly do is to do self-enquiry :-)

Broken Yogi said...

Ravi,

"I do not believe that the Gnani will lose all distictions;I understand that he will not see any difference.No one ceases to be a HUMAN with its associated body mind complex,and if the gnani as long as the gnani has to EAT and TAKE CARE of this complex ,he HAS THE DISTINCTION.I understand that only in NIRVIKALPA SAMADHI all these things are obliterated."

This is an interesting argument that I've gone back and forth with myself. My sense of it is that the jnani loses all distinctions between Self and other, between Self and body, Self and mind, Self and devotee, etc. Thus, there is no distinction in reality between anyone and anything. This is not the same as the distinctions between "things". So there is still the capacity to distinguish between one's foot and one's hand, or between one's body and someone else's body, because these are just conventions. Yet neither is distinct from the Self, and are seen in the Self as one Being with many forms and "faces".

This is the difference between samadhis of absorbtion and "sahaj" samadhi. In samadhis of absorption, nothing is experienced but the Self. Yet when objects arise once more, they are seen as distinct from the Self. In Sahaj, there are no objects seen at all. Instead, there is only the Self, and what formerly were experienced as objects are now experienced as the Self. This does not mean that the functional forms disappear into a soup, and one cannot walk down the street or chew gum. It simply means that one does not see any distinction between the street and the Self, or gum and the Self, and in that sense, there is no true distinction between the street and the gum. The distinctions are purely functional and obviously meaningless in reality, and have no power to impinge upon self-realization, regardless of how functionally active the jnani may appear to be.

Broken Yogi said...

S,

That business about the Self "choosing" who will realize the Self always seemed mysterious to me also after I first read about it in Papaji's talks. Something about it seemed right, though, even if I can't say quite what it is. After I read Papaji talking about this, my reaction was to pray to the Self, "Well, then choose me!" Which was kind of a funny prayer, but it also felt right. In answer, I could feel the Self saying right back to me, "If that's what you want, then choose Me!" So it's kind of a mirrored thing, the point being that on both sides there must be a choice. The Self must choose us, and we must choose the Self. Perhaps these are really the same thing, just looked upon from two different angles. So if we want the Self to choose us, we must choose the Self. By choosing the Self, the Self is choosing us. The important point being that we must actively choose the Self, rather than just passively wait for the Self to choose us.

This is very much like the issue of how one acquires the desire for liberation itself. We have to choose to desire liberation, not merely have it handed to us. And yet, the first sign of Grace is that we have the desire for liberation at all! Either way you look at it, Grace comes first.

Ravi said...

Broken Yogi,
"Yet neither is distinct from the Self, and are seen in the Self as one Being with many forms and "faces". "
What you have said is something like what the Purusha Sookta says-"Sahasra sheer shaa purushaha!Sahasra aksha sahasra paad!"
I am not competent to deny this!What I do know is that Sri Ramakrishna has said-"The Wave belongs to the ocean but not the other way around".
There is one beautiful moment in the Gospel of Sri Ramakrishna where the Master asks a question to M and M replies with Great Clarity.Sri Ramakrishna says-"It is because of the Guru's Grace that you have understood!",as if the GURU is some third person!

Salutations!

Ravi said...

S,
Your brief touch on your personal side is poignant.My master always emphasises-RATIONALISE YOUR RELATIONSHIPS!The very nature of Human relationship is this WANING!He will recite uRRAr yaar ulaRo Uyir kodu pombozhuthu ...kuRRAlaththaane kooru.(Who is the relative when the Life departs!).
We are all eagerly exchanging notes today-who knows what is lined up next.It is the very nature of human relationships to wane.This is what I invariably tell my friends in the various cities where I have lived-Please do not expect mails/regular exchanges,if we need to be connected let it not be at a MEMORY level-Just dive into yourself and if you find this wonderful thing called LOVE understand that WE ARE CONNECTED.If you do turn up at the place where I live,I will be only too glad to receive you.THIS IS ALSO VALID FOR THIS FORUM.

coming to the beautiful saying from the Katha Upanishad "the self is attained or realized by him/her whom the self chooses"-this finds its echo in Manikkavachakar's Tiruvachakam-"AVAN ARULAL AVAN TAAL VANANGI"(Through his Grace to worship his Feet!) and in Sri Aurobindo's "He who chooses the infinite has been chosen by the infinite".
My master gives the following beautiful story by way of illustration:This is akin to a PRINCE playing with his friends the Game of something like 'EYES BOYS'-The Prince is playing this game with his friends-He is calling out their names and goes in search of them at the same time guarding the home position.Seeing the Prince running breathlessly,The Minister suggests to the prince-"Oh Prince!You are the All powerful PRINCE!If only you ORDER all the other boys have to SHOW UP.Why are you running breathlessly to and fro?The Prince tells him -'Minister what you say is PURE LOGIC-What we are at is PLAY.I Enjoy this!".
Yes,it is the ANANDA element that is involved in this-What Sri Ramakrishna says -"I do not want to be stuck at the Highest note NEE-I want to play all the Seven Notes"-A profound TRUTH.(BEYOND LOGIC!).I have noted some comments on "I WANT TO BE APART FROM SUGAR TO TASTE SUGAR"-as if this is Duality,etc.Friends,I know this much that when someone like Sri Ramakrishna is endorsing this,I prefer to go with this!Why?He is saying this after seeing all the dimensions!As he says so beautifully -The man who is seated at the foot of the tree knows that the Chamaleon takes on different colours!
Remember when Sri Ramakrishna asked Naren what he wanted, Naren said that he wants to be a bee that stays at the fringe of the Honey and sip it!naren added-If I fall into the Honey,I will die!Sri Ramakrishna immediately clarified -My child THIS IS NOT LIKE THAT-THIS IS THE OCEAN OF IMMORTALITY-BY FALLING INTO IT YOU BECOME IMMORTAL!it is clear from this that Sri Ramakrishna has SEEN THAT SIDE as well.
This is one reason why I adore(David's words)Sri Ramakrishna-He has this unique ability to reach out to the dumbest of the dumb,yet rise to the Highest High depending on the situation!Besides,his simple DIRECT way of getting into the heart of the matter with a tale or parable that AT THE SAME TIME offering just the RIGHT SHADE of MEANING AND PURPOSE TO THE DIVERSE SET OF ASPIRANTS AT VARIOUS RUNGS OF THE LADDER OF LIFE
is something that fascinates me.THIS IS THE REASON THAT GREAT INTELLECTS were swept of their feet by this INTUITIVE GENIUS.

The point that the SELF chooses the self-is simply an expression of DELIGHT-its own volition,THE HIGHEST DEGREE OF FREEDOM-INCLUDING THE FREEDOM TO PLAY FOOL!
To be fool!To become fool!-WHY NOT?

Salutations!

Clemens Vargas Ramos said...

...That business about the Self "choosing" who will realize the Self always seemed mysterious to me...

To be mysterious is the essence of Reality. Therefore we are told not to forget to realize this. To forget the helplessness of his concepts is typical of the mind. Like many other people I like wonderful and elaborated explanations. But there comes a time when the feeling arises: Now this threshold, called "Maya", is crossed - words are no longer of any use. In lenghty discussions we all notice this phenomena happening when arguments cancel each other out=duality. If we try to UNDERSTAND something we need very intelligent concepts (like Advaita) for not to get lost in labyrinths. There comes an end where we are told: Now you know how far this can take you. Now try to realize that what this concept is pointing to. If we LOVE something there might be no end in hearing over and over again the words of the scriptures or the gurus - because they become an expression of this mystery of Reality. The essence of the scriptures or of the words of the Guru is not really an arguing or a discussion of something - they are prayers or songs. Forgetting to pray or to sing means to drop into "Maya".

...the katha upanishad says 'the self is attained or realized by him/her whom the self chooses'...this has come up frequently in the latest blogs...what do you folks think this could possibly mean?...

It means that the way of the Self/God/Absolute Reality is completely unknown - not only for the mind, but also for the human guru. Therefore the need to realize the mystery of Reality. All mystics of mankind say: This can not be known - only mystic love can realize it. The highest form of knowledge ist mystic love. "Love is Gods true form." (Ramana)

Ravi said...

Ramos,
"If we LOVE something there might be no end in hearing over and over again the words of the scriptures or the gurus - because they become an expression of this mystery of Reality. The essence of the scriptures or of the words of the Guru is not really an arguing or a discussion of something - they are prayers or songs. Forgetting to pray or to sing means to drop into "Maya". "
You said it!I wish to add that this is what my master had also said in a slightly different way!

Salutations to you!

Ravi said...

Broken Yogi,
Somehow I missed commenting on this GEM from your earlier post.I had this in mind but THIS GOT nested!Here it is:
" I recall that Nisargadatta was once asked if there was anything real in this world, and he said yes, the love you feel for one another is real, this love is the only real thing you ever experience, that even while the appearances of those you love are not real, the love is real. The Guru manifests this pure love that draws us beyond the dream, into the waking world. One could say that all the Guru really does is love us until we notice that this love is real, is the only reality in our dream, and let the reality of the Guru's love become our reality. Enlightenment is nothing more than total acceptance of the Guru's love."
Nisargadutta Maharaj's statement that LOVE IS ONLY REAL THING THAT YOU EXPERIENCE IN THIS WORLD is truly a BOMB SHELL.No other 'JNANI' had said this!(In this manner-They have said SELF IS LOVE,etc).Maharaj is truly ORIGINAL!
Salutations to you!

Clemens Vargas Ramos said...

On the question of "Power to Enlighten" I needed some more days to develop my own poor thoughts about it. And in connection with what I have said related to the interpretation of Katha Upanishad, this is what I can say about this, and it is as simple as it sounds:

1) Enlightenment is transmitted by the Self.

2) Enlightenment not necessarily depends on any preconditions (pureness of mind etc.)

3) Human Gurus are allowed to transmit enlightenment via authorization from the Self.

4) Human Gurus unable to transmit enlightenment are Gurus having no authorization from the Self.

5) In every single case it is only the Self giving enlightenment to someone It chooses.

--------------------

arvind said...

Folks, A lot of the posts here have focused on the Katha Upanishad’s purported saying to the effect that ‘the Self is attained or realized by him/her whom the Self chooses', or, ‘I reveal myself to him whom I choose’. A lot of arguments have been developed on the above premise. And I have read them with increasing alarm.

This is because, I believe, that the above is an erroneous translation of the original Sanskrit text.

A little bit of background first. The above quote is taken from the 2nd half of verse 23 in part I, chapter II of the Katha. The Sanskrit is what scholars love to call ‘archaic’. And like all texts taken from the Taittiriya-Krishna-Yajurveda, certain Sanskrit words cannot be easily understood. And here the confusion arises basically in the meaning of the word ‘Vrinute’ in the 2nd half of the verse. What meaning is assigned to this word dramatically changes the meaning of the shloka.

The venerable Monier-Williams dictionary lists 2 meanings for words developed from ‘Vr’. Though I will not go into all the nuances of the same, one of the roots does mean “to choose”, or “to select”. This is what has been picked up by virtually all recent or modern translators. And so they have declared “the Self reveals itself, to whom the Self chooses”. After all it makes for a very catchy and mysterious phrase.

It is my own firm belief however, that texts from the Vedas are written in very pure, inspirational Sanskrit. They are written with certain ancient ‘codes’ and ‘symbology’ if you will. One which can be understood only by a great bhakta or a great Guru, rather than by the great scholar merely.

And that is why the commentary of Sri Adi Sankaracarya becomes so critical. As folks would be well aware, he has written extensive commentaries on all the major Upanisads, including the Katha. [Now it is also required to keep in mind the criticisms that modern scholars throw against Sri Sankaracarya; (i) his commentary is biased in that he interpreted Sanskrit words to suit his Advaita-Ajata philosophy; (ii) in effect – that he did not know his Sanskrit too well. Frankly (ii), the relevant one here, is laughable.]

I believe that not only was Sri Adi Sankaracarya a great Sanskrit Master, he was also one of the very few who really understood the ‘key’ to the Vedas; the ‘key’ that is known only by the great Gurus only. I would consider his interpretation the far more authentic.

So what did he say about this verse ? He said ‘Vrinute’ means ‘prays to’, in the sense of ‘seeks to reach’; and the meaning he assigned to the 2nd half of verse 23, quoted here from his commentary is:

“to a desireless man who seeks for the Self alone, the Self becomes known of its own accord [through Its Grace]. How is it known ? This self, of that seeker of the Self, reveals Its real body, ie. Its own nature.”

Now, it may be remembered that this verse also appears in the Mundaka Upanisad as verse (III, ii, 3). And there too, the Acarya has made almost identical remarks. The whole verse then translates as:

“This Self is not attained through study, nor through the intellect, nor through much hearing. By the very fact that he (i.e. the aspirant) seeks for It, does it become attainable; of him this Self reveals Its own nature.”

So the question of the Self ‘choosing’ does not arise. It is my submission, that the Great Acarya would have been quite aware of the root of ‘Vr’ as “selects” and “chooses”. But he squashed all such interpretations of this verse even back then.

[Translations are taken from “Eight Upanisads – with the Commentary of Sankaracarya”, Vol I & II, translated by Sw. Gambhirananda; Advaita Ashram, Calcutta; taken from both Mundaka & Katha Upanisads].

So, I would submit folks, if you believe that Sri Adi Sankaracarya can be relied upon on this, as compared to modern translations, then perhaps you need to redefine and reshape the thoughts you have formed or expressed in your posts earlier with respect to the Self “choosing”. The basic premise itself was then, erroneous.

David, in his original post, towards the end, has mentioned Papaji’s making comments on the Katha verse - as the “Self chooses”. But I believe Papaji would have simply found the quote from a modern English translation of the Katha without Sri Sankaracarya’s commentary. He probably never saw the original Sanskrit verse. And I think he himself has shown hesitancy in going with the Self “choosing”, for he immediately clarified that “If there are worthiness and holiness, the Self will reveal itself. If there are not, it will not.”

Still, I would consider Sri Bhagavan, however, to be the ultimate authority on this matter, like every other matter. I cannot recall whether He ever spoke about this verse. David, if you can remember something from Him on this topic, it would be great.

Ravi said...

Arvind,
Thanks very much for going into the verse from the Upanishads and bringing out the relevant points.
As I understand the issue is one between Self Effort and Grace!
IT IS VERY CLEAR THAT THERE IS NO FREE LUNCH.
Grace is not CAPRICIOUS that it will arbitrarily favour someone by CHOOSING him!This is what all the Sages have said that one HAS TO ASPIRE,SEEK!IMPORTANTLY WHAT THEY have added to what sankaracharya has said is that EVEN THIS SEEKING IS GRACE!Adi Sankara himself would have said it in one of his many Hymns!(may be sivananda Lahari or soundarya lahari-I do not know).HENCE IT IS THAT the SELF CHOOSES THE SELF may be correct BUT NOT IN THE WAY it was getting fabricated!This perhaps,is the reason that Sri Aurobindo has beautifully said-"HE WHO CHOOSES the infinite has been chosen by the infinite".
I warmly recommend Sri Aurobindo's Excellent commentaries on the Upanishads-They are available as pdf downloads from the aurobindo ashram site.

Finally,"Still, I would consider Sri Bhagavan, however, to be the ultimate authority on this matter, like every other matter."-Here ,I wish to differ,in that this is not a matter of 'AUTHORITY'!IT IS ONLY A QUESTION OF UNDERSTANDING.No 'AUTHORITY' will matter if the understanding is not there.

Thanks very much!

Salutations!

Broken Yogi said...

Arvind,

Thanks for that very clear elucidation of the "choosing" issue as far as the Katha Upanishad goes. It sounds like you've gotten it right. However, I didn't base my comments on the Katha Upanishad, but on Papaji's mention of this matter of the Self "choosing". I agree that Papaji probably picked this up from some translation of the Upanishads, but that doesn't make the sense of it entirely wrong. As I said, the matter of "choosing" is a mutual one. We must choose the Self, and the Self in turn must choose us. It is perhaps impossible to say which comes first, the chicken or the egg. The choice is clearly a Divine Matter, not one of the dualistic mind. Contemplating this choice is a way of going beyond the dualistic mind, in that both choices must coincide, ours and the Self's. The only way this can occur is if we and the Self are One.

David Godman said...

Arvind

Excellent post on the Katha Upanishad verse!

Papaji did know Sanskrit quite well, but he tended to read most of his books in translations. I attended his wife's funeral in 1992. Afterwards, he said to me that the pandit who had been engaged to do the rites had mispronounced several of the key phrases. So, Papaji knew enough Sanskrit to know that a 'professional chanter' wasn't doing his job properly.

I agree that Papaji probably picked up this idea from one of the translations that indicated 'choosing' by the Self, rather than seeking by the seeker.

Papaji did have a curious ability to give excellent and spontaneous commentaries on texts, even ones that he couldn't read or understand in the original script. He told me that there had been a few occasions in his life when scholars had come to him for explanations of ambiguous or confusing scriptural verses.

He said, 'They would show me some text in a book, and my first reaction would be to tell them "I don't know this language well enough," but then my mouth would open and some expert commentary would come out of it, which would entirely satisfy the person who had asked the question. It didn't come from anything I knew or had learned; it was just the Self giving the person the answer he needed.'

Unfortunately, no one, so far as I am aware, put the original Katha Upanishad verse in front of him and asked him to comment on it.

Having said that, I think that the sentiments expressed in the standard translation of the verse resonated with him.

He told me once, 'Sometimes people walk into my house and I get the feeling, "This is a good person who is capable of having a direct experience". I work with him or her for days, trying to get him or her to look at the Self, but nothing happens. Then someone else walks in and I think, "This person is never going to get it," and five minutes later he does. It's all a mystery to me, why some people have the capacity to have this experience whole others don't.'

I should stress that he is talking about the temporary but direct experiences of the Self that many people experienced in his presence. He conceded that if the person was ready by virtue of being naturally and effortlessly thought-free, then the Self would automatically reveal itself. For those who are mature and ready, the element of 'revealing itself to whom I will' is taken out of the equation.

Lakshmana Swamy used to say, 'People come and ask for Self-realisation, thinking it is some kind of gift I can give to anyone. The Self bestows that gift on devotees who have, through their own efforts and practice, reached the effortless thought-free state. If you sit in front of a jnani in that condition, the Self will have no choice but to bestow itself on you. If you haven't reached that state, you won't get it. Asking for it won't make it happen. You have to do the work yourself and reach the effortless thought-free state to qualify for this final liberating grace.'

Lakshmana Swamy once quoted this Katha Upanishad verse and after saying 'The Self chooses whom it will' he added, 'The Self chose Sarada'.

Later, I asked him, 'You said the Self chose Sarada. You also picked her out from all the thousands of people whom you have seen over the last twenty-five years because you knew that she could realise the Self. When you first looked at her, what did you see that convinced you that this was someone who could realise the Self?'

He replied, 'I searched her mind again and again, but I couldn't find a single bad thought anywhere in her'.

And that was before she even started her sadhana. For the next three years she did nama-japa meditation on Lakshmana Swamy's name and form around the clock. At its most intense, she was doing japa eighteen to twenty hours a day and dreaming about Lakshmana Swamy at night. The power of her devotion was so great, he said he didn't sleep properly for three years. The energy from her devotion would hit him in little jolts and wake him up. At one point he asked her to stop doing her sadhana at night so he could get some sleep.

She replied, 'I can't. I don't have that choice any more.'

I often tell this story to people who ask about the path of devotion.

I tell them, 'If you can focus, with continuous love, on your Guru twenty hours a day in your waking state, dream about him for the other fours hours, and keep him awake at night with the power of your bhakti, then you are heading in the right direction.'

It puts most of our feeble efforts into perspective.

Here is someone who was 'picked' by the Self, but who also had to do a massive amount of hard practice before the Self was willing to reveal itself fully. The Self 'picks' but the devotee also has to demonstrate, through intense sadhana, that the choice has been a worthy one.

One day Lakshmana Swamy told me, 'The Self ordered me to enlighten Sarada'.

I quizzed him about this and found that it wasn't really an order that was transmitted and received in any conventional way.

In his follow-up explanation he said, 'The power and grace of the Self was compelled to liberate her because she had so much love. She had reached this effortless thought-free state and the Self responded by bestowing liberation on her.'

Clemens Vargas Ramos said...

...with respect to the Self “choosing”. The basic premise itself was then, erroneous.

Can the ego choose?

Can we say: I, the ego, will prepare myself, and THEN the self is able to bring enlightenment? Could this be the truth?

And I think he himself has shown hesitancy in going with the Self “choosing”, for he immediately clarified that “If there are worthiness and holiness, the Self will reveal itself. If there are not, it will not.”

And WHO decides about worthiness and holiness? Papaji, the ego or the self?

"I reveal myself to him whom I choose."

Astonishing to find sheer atheism here. Why people don't like the idea that there is NOTHING they can do to get enlightenment?

Clemens Vargas Ramos said...

This idea "If there are worthiness and holiness, the Self will reveal itself. If there are not, it will not." is in my eyes nothing else then a hidden form of the "I-thought" saying: At the end it is ME bestowing enlightenment!

A very pathetic idea and a complete misunderstanding.

An explanation might be that Papaji don't wanted people to do nothing whereas the urgent need for them existed to do something.

But why not telling people the whole truth? That there is nothing they can really do? And then guiding them into total trust, total willingness not to try to gain anything?

Ravi said...

Ramos,
"And WHO decides about worthiness and holiness? Papaji, the ego or the self?

"I reveal myself to him whom I choose."
You have raised a very valid point!This is what David was mentioning that no degree of virtue or merit can EARN SELF REALIZATION.Yet it is also true that without such seeking the SELF cannot be attained.
This is like SELF EFFORT is a NECESSARY CONDITION BUT NOT SUFFICIENT CONDITION.

Arvind is referring to the NECESSARY condition!
You are referring to the SUFFICIENT CONDITION(in the sense that there is no sufficient condition!The Self chooses self!)
BOTH of you are Right!WE WIN!
Salutations!

Clemens Vargas Ramos said...

...Yet it is also true that without such seeking the SELF cannot be attained.
This is like SELF EFFORT is a NECESSARY CONDITION BUT NOT SUFFICIENT CONDITION. ...


No, I completely disagree. WHO decides what "seeking", "effort", "necessary" and "sufficient" is?

It is the Self. The Self bestows enlightenment to whom IT wants and when or where IT wants. It is Gods total free will and power to do anything HE wants. It is Gods way to do it the way HE wants it do to.

To dismiss this is ignorance.

Ravi said...

Ramos,
This seems to be an AVATAR of Bhagavan's Brahmastra!Please go through my earlier mails on this topic.I think I have covered what you are trying to say!

Salutations!

arvind said...

Thank you Clemens, Broken Yogi & Ravi for your perspectives on the alternate meaning attributed to the Katha verse in my post.

And thanks David, especially to you. You have the rare gift of laying out very simply, the bare bones of any tricky argument, interspersed with marvelous anecdotes from all the very holy people you have met. I loved all the conversations and instances you have related from the lives of Papaji, Lakshman Swamy & Sardamma. Hope you have plenty more of them tucked away for us.

Also I am sorry if my post was hurtful to anyone. I know my writing has the big fault of being too rough and blunt at times. Sincerely, the intention was never to put any viewpoint down, but just to offer a fresh perspective - from one of the great sages of all time.

The Acarya was a Great Master of Advaita-Ajata. And, personally, I found that his interpretation offers great hope to a simple mumukshu like me on the path. He has in effect said that – just the mere fact of ‘sincerely’ seeking the Self is enough ! The rest will be taken care of by the Grace; forget about everything else.

Personally, I am very happy with that. And I will hold the Great Acarya to it !

Clemens Vargas Ramos said...

This discussion shows how we are get caught in a pure intellectual understanding of words. The truth is not in words, not in the scriptures, not even in UTTERANCES of the guru. Repeating words without understanding their true meaning, which is an EXPERIENCE, is useless.

I told recently that years ago I met a female guru. This (short) meeting was catastrophic. This women was nothing else then pure arrogance, presumption and ignorance. I didn't mention that her beloved teacher was Papaji, "my spiritual father", as she liked to say.

Years over years I brooded over the question why Papaji sent so much false teachers into the world - not only my opinion but of devotees of him too. Papaji knew about his false teachers. According to a devotee he said: "This will purify their minds."

But what about the disciples of this false teachers?

Now it seems that the answer to this period of my life was revealed in the course of this discussion here: This women was a false teacher because her own teacher was false too.

Believing that my (guru) ego is able to transmit enlightenment und forgeting that this is by the Self is truly ignorance. And for such a person one thing is clear: When there comes no enlightenment then the disciple is the problem, not the guru.

Therefore I once wrote into my diary: When the truth is understood 80% or even 99%, but not 100%, then this is exactly the same as understanding nothing.

I don't want to offend someone here - I am only expressing what I found out as being my personal truth.

David Godman said...

Clemens Vargas Ramos said...

On the question of "Power to Enlighten" I needed some more days to develop my own poor thoughts about it. And in connection with what I have said related to the interpretation of Katha Upanishad, this is what I can say about this, and it is as simple as it sounds:

1) Enlightenment is transmitted by the Self.

2) Enlightenment not necessarily depends on any preconditions (pureness of mind etc.)

3) Human Gurus are allowed to transmit enlightenment via authorization from the Self.

4) Human Gurus unable to transmit enlightenment are Gurus having no authorization from the Self.

5) In every single case it is only the Self giving enlightenment to someone It chooses.

* * *


1) 'Transmitted' in not really the right verb since it implies movement of something from one place to another. The Self can make someone aware of itself, but it cannot move energy or power from A to B. It's all Self.

2) I disagree with you completely on this one. If the purity is not there, the Self will not reveal itself.

3) and 4) I agree.

5)I disagree again. The Self doesn't have options to choose from: 'This person or that one.' The Self has no sankalpa: no facility to make a choice, random or otherwise. Those who are drawn to it experience it. Their efforts are reciprocated by a revelation from the Self. The Self does not initiate the exchange.

David Godman said...

Clemens Vargas Ramos

This women was a false teacher because her own teacher was false too.


Don't throw the baby out with the bathwater. Papaji disowned most of the teachers who were teaching in his name, and many of the ones who announced that they were going to give satsang didn't have his initial permission at all.

Clemens Vargas Ramos said...

I like to summarize my own poor thoughts on Power to Enlighten, because after nearly a week I feel now able to express what I meant. And this involves in a tricky way the "pain" issue too:

The belief that:

a) I can facilitate enlightenment by doing sadhana or
b) My Guru can facilitate enlightenment after my "ripeness of the mind" (or other preconditions)

is in my eyes a complete misunderstanding of the vedanta. I never found in vedanta a single statement saying that I, a human being, or the guru as a human being, can persuade the self to transmit enlightenment. I found only this: Enlightenment is grace, in every single case.

Grace = Another name for "no one knows exactly why or how it happens".

"I reveal myself to him whom I choose."

For the ego obviously this sounds shattering.

But not for the true devotee. He/she knows: I'm not doing sadhana to GAIN anything. I'm doing it to LOOSE myself. I'm doing it because I love it to sacrifice my ego to the lotus feet of the Lord. And I don't come and ask him: When do You come to hand over my rewards to me? For all my endeavors?

And this was what my soul tried to express with the "pain" issue: The true sadhana in my understanding is to burn in love for the Lord, i.e. saying: "I don't want anything from You. I only like to be Your lover, but do with me as You like. I hate it to be separated from You, but as I am a human being there is no other choice for me. I hope to be united with you at the end of my life but if You decide otherwise it would be no problem for me."

And why I'm doing so? Because of the clear understanding and realization (jnana) that nothing else is of worth, only this love has worth.

And this is what i meant originally with "pain" - the pain of mystic love.

And the things go even further: This is not only true for sadhana (which is temporarily). This in my eyes IS enlightenment, which lasts for ever.

"The absence of thought is bhakti. It is also mukti. Bhakti is Jnana Mata, i.e., the mother of jnana."
Gems of Bhagavan

What comes first? The mother or the daughter? And can the daughter become "more" than the mother? Obviously this means that the daughter is an emanation of the mother, i.e. a part of her. It wants to say that without bhakti (i.e., nothing for ME, all for YOU, I don't want to gain anything) jnana is impossible.

Jnana without love is dry, dead. Love without jnana is sensual love, not divine love. jnana + divine love = Enlightenment = Mystic Love. Mystic Love = Devotion to the lotus feet of the Lord.

Indescribable, inexpressible except for tears, prayers or songs - mysterious, not known by the mind.

"I reveal to whom I choose."

Understanding this thoroughly means to burn in love.
----------------------

Bhakti is often misunderstood as a physical thing, i.e. washing the feet of the Guru etc. This confusing of God with the human body is natural, human. No one says that anything is wrong to prostrate to the Guru or to wash his feets. But Bhakti is more - it is the total willingness not to GAIN anything for myself but to leave it to the Lord to do with me like he wants. It means to live "with no ground under my feet" (Mother Teresa). And many people fear this - because their mind can not develop the firm conviction and experience that in this total helplessness there is something guiding me. They can not really TRUST.

"Do at first what I want you do." (i.e., lay down your ego). "And afterwards I will take care of you!"

But don't try to gain anything, don't take it literally. That is the mystery in that. This mystery has to be realized.

The ultimate reality is this love and devotion. It is easy to understand. No complicated sadhanas are necessary - only trusting.
----------------------

Years ago someone said to me: "I was in a process where I forgot the world. But my soul told me that I was in danger. Friends helped me to get out of this."

Hearing this, I said to myself: "Mother and child hand in hand are crossing the street, both looking at each other, smiling. No danger!"

When he had waited a little bit longer he wouldn't have come to this conclusion.

Waiting is the essence. Waiting for nothing.
----------------------

This is my last post here. This discussion here was astonishing and revealing for me. If someone wants to say something to me, this is my email: vargasramos@gmx.net. You can say everything you want - that I'm right, that I'm wrong, that I'm a complete idiot or something else - I will answer each mail in a friendly manner.

My salutations to all.

David Godman said...

Clemens Vargas Ramos

Astonishing to find sheer atheism here. Why people don't like the idea that there is NOTHING they can do to get enlightenment?


How do you account for the very high proportion of people who get enlightened after doing intense sadhana, or being with a Guru, and the very low percentage who get enlightened without that background?

Do you accept that being with a Guru and doing sadhana increases your chances of getting enlightened, even if the final decision on which sadhaka gets enlightenment and which one doesn't rests with a choice of the Atman?

If you take the second position, there there is something you can do: as a result of your practice you end up being one of the candidates the Self chooses from. The people who don't practise don't end up in that group.

If you take the first position, you are not far away from U. G. Krishnamurti's stance that enlightenment is a random occurrence that can't be given by a Guru or attained by a devotee. He saw it as a 'disease', a physiological change in the way the brain works that afflicts some people and not others.

I asked UG this same question thirty years ago: 'Why is it that most people who claim they are enlightened have a background of being with a Guru or doing intense practice? If there is nothing we can do, this group of people wouldn't be producing more jnanis per capita than other groups.'

He said it was just coincidence and refused to give any explanation as to why things worked out that way.

Ravi said...

Ramos,
Get the point in what you were trying to say in putting us through this merry go round!
"Believing that my (guru) ego is able to transmit enlightenment und forgeting that this is by the Self is truly ignorance."
Truly so!This is what Sri Ramakrishna tells Master mahasaya(M)when 'M' answers his question with great clarity.Sri Ramakrishna says-"It is because of Guru's Grace that you have understood this!",as if this GURU IS SOME OTHER THIRD PERSON!As he said-'Satchidananda alone is the GURU".

Sorry to read about your experience.Your question is very valid-THAT BEING A GURU IS A GREAT RESPONSIBILITY.When 'M' was asked by Sri Ramakrishna to teach,M was most reluctant.The Master simply told 'M' that if he does not choose to serve the 'MOTHER',Mother will appoint a 'STRAW' and will carry on with her work-NOBODY SHOULD THINK HE IS INDISPENSABLE-'M'complied to this suggestion and carried out this work for nearly 46 years after his Master's passing away.He used to say-"I live by the side of an ocean.I serve a few pichers from this to those who come.What can I speak of but his words!"

Sri Bhagavan never encouraged any propaganda.He never was interested in any lineage,etc.I know that annamalai Swami was DITTO Bhagavan-He was pleased to copy Bhagavan in HIS DRESS as well!Except for papaji,none of Sri Bhagavan's devotees EVEN CONSIDERED TO HAVE DISCIPLES-may be a few earnest souls would have tagged along.That is it.
There are many things that will never be clear to us.I believe it is safe to keep away from what is not clear and carry on with what is clear.

Salutations!

David Godman said...

Clemens Vargas Ramos

I posed my last questions before your last post appeared here. We must have been writing at the same time. Your last comments have clarified your position a little.

Thanks for your contributions to the blog. I am sure we have appreciated them, even those we do not necessarily agree with.

Ravi said...

Ramos,
Your sudden exit is totally unexpected and sudden.All I can tell you is that you are on a quality BLOG Satsangha-with genuine devotees.None of the type you may have encountered as your post suggests.
I am not contacting you ON YOUR EMAIL-I THINK I HAVE SAID ABOUT THIS in one of my posts here.

I appreciate your earning for love-YET,I FEEL THAT LOVE IMPLIES TOTAL ACCEPTANCE(not just tolerance) OF THE UNPLEASANT AND PLEASANT.It will be a pleasure to see your contributions from the yoga vasishta,upanishad,etc.

Wishing you the very Best!

Salutations!

nonduel said...

Can I "do" something to Self-Realised? Like most and probably all of you here, I was intrigued with "life" at about 11 years of age. Reading all sort of books, and asking questions that were weird at that age. Why?
Why are we all tormented with Enlightenment?
Nonduel, Ravi, David etc. do not exist. It is like saying that the waves exist by themselves.
Like thinking that the actors in our dreams exist.
Then who can do anything to Self-realise?
Only the ego can think that he can do something, and the ego is an illusion, a delusion, ignorance.
There is only One without a second. And Self doesn't have to do anything to self-Realise.
If that is accepted, and one is convinced, then the only thing one can "do" is to abide in the self. Can anything not come from the Self, which is one without a second?
This waking dream, with all the caracters playing a role, the buildings, mountains etc. are delusion. The way out is awakening, or having a lucid dream (Self-Realisation).
I do not think one can "do" anything except Being. All sages say that it is effortless, and there is nothing to "do". Sri Ramana didn't contradict any devotee who ask if he could do Japas, Yoga etc. but if asked directly for Self-Realisation he replied Self-Enquiry, nothing else.
All is One without a second, All Is Brahman. Then who else can do anything?

Ravi said...

Nondual,
"All is One without a second, All Is Brahman. Then who else can do anything?"

I know that I have a body to feed.I know I have a family to support.I know I have to earn money for this.I know I have to work in an office or some business to earn this money.I know that I have to interact with other people for this.
I know that there is no FULFILLMENT in this.I am trying to find a way out of this.I got to read about the lives of others who have gone through similiar experience.They have said that they have found a way out of this impasse.'VEDAHA METAM PURUSHAM MAHANTAM;ADITYA VARNAM TAMASAH PARASTHAAT".I examine whether they are speaking the Truth.THESE ARE MEN OF INTEGRITY WHO LIVED TRANSPARENT LIVES.I do not have any other better alternative than to try their prescription.I find that my present life is improving.I am able to tackle problems with equipoise.This has strengthened my Faith.I am on my way-The only way is the WAY OF EFFORTS-NOT TO DO is something I have not experienced except in the SLEEP state when I think I am not doing.It has given me rest and recouped me.So May be there is some truth in not doing as well.Yet,I have not reached a state when this is choiceless.
This is where things are.
the Other thing that is precious to me is LOVE and sharing.I have yet to FIND a REASON why this is so.I have not bothered also.I have also experienced PEACE-only of the Mind.I do not know if there is anything beyond-yet,I trust the Great sages when they say that there is such a thing called SELF.

I have not got over the Feeling of Body consciousness.Brahman/Self(apart from the ego 'i')are just CONCEPTS for me.
Theoretically I have read about these things.I have left it there.
This is all there to this.

This is the path I travel-It is real to me.I trust the GURUS and leave it to them to advise me.Yes,I know that advises will come that this is all delusion.
I know it is not.
Yes,I am happy.I wish others the same.

Salutations!

nonduel said...

Ravi,

I hope no one took/takes my post as a critic and/or passing judgement. Just expressing my understanding.
When you write about Love and sharing, Love IS what you ARE.
Just for the fun of it, read your post again and consider it through Vichara. You will find that it is the ego who is laying down those analysis.
And the ego IS a delusion out of ignorance, it doesn't exist!
We already ARE the SELF, thus what could there be possibly for "us" to "do"?
All the experiences, the Sadhanas, the search for the guru, the Scriptures...everything is ONE. All that IS GRACE.
When you do meet a Jnani, what you are in fact experiencing is the SELF. This is why the Jnanis say that everything is the Self, all "individuals" are Jnanis.
All the difficulties, questions, are from the ego, which is an actor on the screen...he doesn't exist!

nonduel said...

Reflecting a little more, I wrote about conviction in previous posts. This lead me to Sri Nisargadatta when he said that his Guru told him "You Are He" and he never doubted. For three years he dwelved in this I AM. He often said this to visitors and devotees, and afer a while even told them to leave because that "knew" everything, and just to dwelve in the I AM.
I humbly think that theres a thin line one has to cross where he stop doubting and questionning and just BE. Sri Ramana said somthing like: """Does a man has to say continously that he is a man to be convinced he is a man?""
Either one is convinced or he is not. Then the search continues, the questions, the difficulties. Like the story of the necklace.
All the rest is only from the ego, and I am not that.

Ravi said...

Nondual,
It is the GURU speaking through you!Yes,You are right that when we are in the presence of a Gnani-What you experience is the SELF.My master calls this MOMENTARY Samadhi.
I appreciate your earnestness and NON THEORETICAL genuine way of reaching out.
Thanks very much.

Salutations!

Ravi said...

Nondual/Friends,
"Yes,I know that advises will come that this is all delusion."
Sorry!What I have meant is the ADVICE from others-Not the Gurus!
Please excuse.

Salutations!
P.S:I have expressed in that fashion to say ACTIVITY is part of LIFE.what has to be seen is whether the 'I' is associated with these things.WHAT IS DOING AND NOT DOING?WHAT IS ACTION?

nonduel said...

Dear Ravi,

I would call all of you Sri. Because we are One, Brahman. This conviction brings tears and Love.

Through all of you, Grace is flowing. Self playing with Itself.

The ego is very clever to keep "us" outward, in duality, bringing a continous flow of thoughts, questions, difficulties which we chew on. All the while we are "outward". This comes from a strong habit.

The heart of the teaching is to turn the mind within, at the "I-thought", to BE. To dwelve in the I AM. Self-Attention, awareness aware of awareness.

All the rest is brought about from the ego, and only keeps us in duality.

Just my humble understanding, no more.

Ravi said...

Nondual,
Just want to ask you-whether the path of Devotion appeals to you?

For me this gives a deeper level of involvement and EXTINGUISHES thought (although momentarily) than through 'Self Enquiry'.I have a greater predeliction towards the devotional temperament and surrender.

Salutations!

nonduel said...

Dear Ravi,

Self-Enquiry IS devotion. Keeping the attention on the self, knowing that I AM is the Self, Brahman, is devotion.

nonduel said...

Dear Ravi,

By the way, my user's name is nonduel. Non-dual= english non-duel= french. My mother tongue is french.
Since you always finish your posts with "Salutations", I presume you are too?

Ravi said...

Nonduel,
Thanks for correcting me.Nice to know that you are French!I am Indian-Tamil is my language.

" Keeping the attention on the self, knowing that I AM is the Self, Brahman, is devotion."-This does not work the same for me!My Bhakti is of the Dualistic kind(Understand it is duel in French)-It is surrendering to the Guru.This operates at a deeper level than the Awareness on the 'I' Feeling which gives a sense of peace and not Love!

may be what you say is true in the nondual sense-I have not got to that state as yet.

I truly appreciate your involvement ,sicerity and earnestness.
May the Blessings of all the Great Masters be with you!

Salutations!

Clemens Vargas Ramos said...

A last reminder:

From the book, Divine Grace Through Total Self-Surrender by D.C. Desai, Bhagavan read out the following quotations by Paul Brunton for our benefit:

Divine Grace is a manifestation of the cosmic free will in operation. It can alter the course of events in a mysterious manner through its own unknown laws, which are superior to all natural laws, and can modify the latter by interaction. It is the most powerful force in the universe. It descends and acts only when it is invoked by total selfsurrender. It acts from within, because God resides in the Heart of all beings. Its whisper can be heard only in a mind purified by self-surrender and prayer. Rationalists laugh at it, and atheists scorn it, but it exists. It is a descent of God into the soul’s zone of awareness. It is a visitation of force unexpected and unpredictable. It is a voice spoken out of cosmic silence - It is ‘Cosmic Will which can perform authentic miracles under its own laws’.
Gems from Bhagavan

"I reveal Myself to him whom I choose."
"The Self is formless reality - unknown to the mind. Don't try to see forms in it - they are all illusory."

No one can know the ways of the Lord - not even Bhagavan, Papaji, Nisargadatta, Jesus or Buddha. No one.

Ravi said...

Ramos,
Will you please explain what you want to convey.How is one to know whether he is chosen by the Self?If not,what is one to do?

"No one can know the ways of the Lord - not even Bhagavan, Papaji, Nisargadatta, Jesus or Buddha. No one."-Who is THIS LORD?IF no one can know him,what do we have to do with him?WHY DO I NEED THIS LORD?

I THINK YOU NEED TO EXPRESS YOURSELF IN HUMAN TERMS.THIS IS CERTAINLY BEYOND ME.rgk

Salutations!

nonduel said...

Quote:
"""My Bhakti is of the Dualistic kind(Understand it is duel in French)-It is surrendering to the Guru.This operates at a deeper level than the Awareness on the 'I' Feeling which gives a sense of peace and not Love!

may be what you say is true in the nondual sense-I have not got to that state as yet.""" End of quote.

Both ways are dualistic until Self-Realisation. Actually, ALL Sadhanas are dualistic. Only the Self is one without another.

The Guru and the Self are One and the same. One uses what works best for himself, this is listening to the Guru within. This, to "me" is Grace.

Ravi said...

Nonduel,
Very true!
Thanks very Much.
Salutations!

Clemens Vargas Ramos said...

... Who is THIS LORD?IF no one can know him,what do we have to do with him?WHY DO I NEED THIS LORD?
I THINK YOU NEED TO EXPRESS YOURSELF IN HUMAN TERMS.THIS IS CERTAINLY BEYOND ME..


I didn't say that now one can know the Lord (God), because He is your own Self. I said that no one can know the WAYS of God - and that is a simple empirical fact. "No one can know his ways" means: no one can persuade God to do what I want him to do. Because he is God. Can you do anything on your own? Can you get all the things you want to get? No. You could not even breath without Him. Did you cause your own birth? Will you cause your own death? No. Could you create stars and living beings? Man could not even create a fly.

Why? You are not the doer. HE is the doer. He decides what to do and in which way.

So why are people trying to FIND OUT the ways of God?

1) They like it.
2) They need it to give explanations to people demanding explanations.
3) They can not trust in the ways of God.

You can not know whether you are chosen by the Self because it is the ego that wants to know this. Because it wants results. Remember my letter from Ramanashramam.

The only possibility to do something is to do nothing else then sacrifize all your desires (included the desire to become enlightend) and hopes to the lotus feet of God. That is the meaning of surrender.

Surrender means: Look into yourself, find the source of your true being inwards, not outwards. You will never find your own true being in the world, not under friends, not in an ashram, not in spiritual groups, never. But you do find it in solitude, in the solitude of yourself.

"Be still" means: Be with yourself in yourself. Feel all the hopes, the fear to be alone for ever, all desperation not to have friends and happiness, all your latend tendencies coming up in true solitude. It's a fact. True solitude means: A complete understanding that NOTHING in your world can give you happiness. And then burning in desperate seeking within for God. And then, one day, finding his love, his friendship, feeling his unity. But don't try to PERSUADE him to come - maybe it works, maybe not. God is only to be find in complete desirelessness, in complete hopelessness. This is the truth, told by all mystics of mankind.

Desirelessness includes the desire to become chosen by the Self.

That was all I tried to express. In my eyes this has the strong backing of Ramana and the vedanta. If not then I myself may have a strong misunderstanding on this.

Work hard to understand this. But don't expect results. This is true spiritual love. Ramakrishna expresses exactly the same understanding of divine love. Ramana said the same about it in "Gems" quote.

The mother loves her child. Does she expect something from the child as a reward?

Broken Yogi said...

I find this discussion with Ramos about Grace very interesting. I'm sorry he's not posting anymore, because I thought he had some very valuable things to say.

For my part, I think Ramos is right, that we can't "increase our odds" of having the Self choose us or achieving enlightenment. I don't think it works that way. Yes, it's true that those who do sadhana with a Guru are usually the ones who become enlightened. But why did these people devote themselves to practicing under these Gurus in the first place? The answer is Grace. Meeting the Guru is a matter of Grace.

The mere presence of a desire for enlightenment is itself a sign of Grace. There is no ego in the world that would ever genuinely desire enlightenment - hence, all true desire for enlightenment is due to Grace. We cannot make ourselves desire enlightenment, and we cannot motivate ourselves to practice. Only Grace can do this.

I recall meeting a prominent Tibetan Buddhist lineage-holder by chance once. We got to discussing Grace, and he said that the Guru's Grace was the key to the entire enlightenment process, but that discipline came first. I argued that Grace came first. He counter-argued that first the disciple must discipline himself, show effort, do all the basic practices, and that by doing so he would open himself to the Guru's Grace. I had just picked up this fellow's book, which was all about his relationship with his Guru, and the relationship between the Gurus and devotees of his lineage, and I asked him if his meeting with his own Guru had come about by his own efforts, or by Grace. He said, by Grace, and I repled, then Grace comes first. He was left silent, and I think I won the argument then and there.

The point being that the very teaching which tell us to practice comes to us by the Grace of all the Gurus who have come before us and inspired us to practice. Our practice is not, itself, a way to "get Grace", but is a natural response to Grace. Our practice is itself a Grace we must always be grateful for. We are not the ones in control of our practice, "doing" it. Practice is a Grace. Enquiry is a Grace. The impulse to practice is a Grace. It's certainly true that if we deny that impulse we are denying Grace, and in denying Grace we reduce our chances of enlightenment to zero, but it's equally true that to try to generate efforts that will result in Grace is fruitless.

It's important to see the whole of spiritual practice as a Grace, as a spontaneous manifestation of the Grace of the Guru, in which our only involvement is to respond naturally to Grace as it is given. The great good news is that Grace is always given, in all kinds of ways, including the contributions of all the people on this blog. And Grace is enough. Grace is even the source of what we might call "effort" on our part, which is really not effort, but just a natural response to the gifts of Grace given us by the Guru, by the Self.

It is the response to Grace that "increases" our chances of enlightenment, because the only chance of enlightenment we have is Grace. We have zero chance on our own. But we cannot increase our chances beyond those of Grace itself, because it is not necessary to do so. If we practice in the hopes that our efforts will inspire the Self to give us more Grace, we are badly mistaken. We are then practicing in the absence of Grace, in the hope of Grace coming to us at some future time, when the real process always works as a present response to Grace already given and received. The real process is always presently conscious of Grace and is presently responding to Grace. It never works the other way around, working from an absence of Grace and trying to stimulate a response of Grace from God or Guru. That is the method of sin, of "missing the mark", of presuming an absence of Grace in our lives. The relationship to the Guru is a constant attention to his Grace and a constant response to Grace, which is itself driven by Grace. Our only real involvement in that is to get out of the way of Grace, and stop impeding its progress in us.

Broken Yogi said...

I see Ramos made a wonderful reply just as I was writing my last post. I'm glad to see you back, Ramos! I really love what you have to say.

Ravi said...

Ramos,
Thanks for your response in HUMAN TERMS-IT IS THE GURU speaking through you!Yes,Everything is an act of Grace-This is what is meant by HE WHO CHOOSES THE INFINITE HAS BEEN CHOSEN BY THE INFINITE.

Broken Yogi,
Glad to see the GURU speaking through you!

Friends,
What I have observed is that basically we are speaking two languages here-The Language of the Intellect and the language of the Heart.We are so constituted that we understand one language better than the other.Rare few are the ones who are equally at home in both the languages.
Further when we read OTHER's POSTS it helps to UNDERSTAND what is the Language that he or she has expressed and it helps to talk in the same LANGUAGE To that Person.

There are some inherent pitfalls in each of these approaches-Jnana and Bhakti!
The JNANA approach ,if not handled by a MATURE mind would lead to sterilising vain intellectual groping which will serve only to FATTEN the ego or the 'I' sense.One will be living in THE IVORY TOWER of his pet ideas.

The 'Bhakti'approach if not handled with discrimination would lead to just sentimental Effervescence and narrow minded rejection of any fresh injection of LIGHT.

What is it that one can do to avoid these pitfalls-I have felt that INTEGRITY and HUMILITY are sine quo non.I have repeatedly seen that these are 'VIRTUES'.It will be helpful to see these as 'ATTITUDES' which can be 'IMBIBED'.To give a concrete example of how this can be 'imbibed' is this-how does one feel when one reads 'Living by the words of Bhagavan'.HUMILITY is only this Feeling.How to sustain it?THROUGH SATSANGHA ALONE!IT CANNOT BE 'DEVELOPED' in the hothouse of the 'INTELLECT'.IT IS THE 'HEART' that comes into PLAY.

This is the reason that Sri Ramakrishna says that KNOWLEDGE is MALE that cannot ENTER THE INNER COURTS where women live!It is only DEVOTION that can enter the inner court.

The other thing that I would like to share is that for a devotee,it helps to read the Lives of Sages and saints-not confine to just one set of Gurus-this helps to broadbase the devotion;NOTWITHSTANDING the recommendation of the EKA NISHTA.

I have found the 'FOUR AIDS' chapter in Sri Aurobindo's SYNTHESIS OF YOGA most helpful as it CLEARS beautifully all the basic elements in Sadhana like no other-The Four are 'THE SHASTRA' ,'The Guru' 'UTSAHA or personal Effort' and 'Time or Kala'.This is available as free download -I mean the Synthesis of Yoga.

A rare few may not require anything like what David had mentioned HOW THEY HAVE STARTED FASHIONING THE PEARL AFTER RECEIVING THE RAIN DROP OF GRACE.

The important point I SEE in RAMOS latest post is this-Do not project the GURU through the INTELLECT as if HE IS THE OMNISCIENT OMNIPOTENT GOD!This is what S.had said when I called Bhagavan is someone UNIQUE!My LANGUAGE IS THE LANGUAGE OF THE HEART.NO COMPARISON comes into play unlike the INTELLECT that will immediately like to weigh and judge and compare.
I appreciate 'S' simple uncomplicated ,may be CLINICAL approach-This has ABSOLUTE INTEGRITY about it and may ride rough shod over the MAGNIFIED EGO and may be Painful-ThIs pain IF FELT by the 'I' is the way that a GURU WILL OPERATE.Living with a TRUE GURU is not easy!IT WILL BE VERY HURTFUL TO THE EGO and will cause immense PAIN.(RAMOS)We need to decide whether we want TRUTH or COMFORT;most probably it will be COMFORT.We need to wait until we want TRUTH nothing but that.YET IF THERE IS HUMILITY ,THIS PAIN IS ABSOLUTELY not there.It is only a Joy to be in the presence of the Guru.

Thanks very much Ramos,Broken(Integrated)YOGI .

Salutations!

Clemens Vargas Ramos said...

Yes,Everything is an act of Grace-This is what is meant by HE WHO CHOOSES THE INFINITE HAS BEEN CHOSEN BY THE INFINITE.

Yes, but let me add this: It is in fact the Infinite choosing you. Believe me. You have NO CHOICE to object or to agree. This is the meaning of "HAS BEEN CHOSEN BY THE INFINITE".

If God decides to make you enlighten you will become enlightend. If he decides not then you will never. There is nothing you can do about it except for to understand this. And this understanding is what "HE WHO CHOOSES THE INFINITE" refers to.

It is nothing else then complete willingness to love or to do the will of God/Self WITHOUT knowing what His will might be.

The important point I SEE in RAMOS latest post is this-Do not project the GURU through the INTELLECT

Exactly. All our ideas related to God, Self, Brahman, Reality, Guru, Enlightenment and anything all are sheer ideas - not the truth. "The Self is formless reality. Creator of all objects, but itself free from objectivity." The danger is to fall into beliefs not backed by reality. The human world as a whole is fallen into the deep well of this danger.

IF THERE IS HUMILITY ,THIS PAIN IS ABSOLUTELY not there.It is only a Joy to be in the presence of the Guru.

I understand this standpoint, and one can say so, because it is one part of it. My feeling is that this joy is of a very special kind - it includes the pain of love. Ramakrishna has always expressed it this way - at all times he was longing for the Mother.

Let me say some words to the difference between jnana und bhakti or Ramana and Ramakrishna: There is no difference. All this is only a difference of the taste of the One Reality.

Ravi said...

Ramos,
"Let me say some words to the difference between jnana und bhakti or Ramana and Ramakrishna: There is no difference. All this is only a difference of the taste of the One Reality."

True Ramos,
some like to eat fish curry,some like to eat Fish Soup,etc-MOTHER KNOWS WHAT THE CHILD NEEDS AND HAS PREPARED THESE DISHES.
I prefer this HUMAN version-suits my taste.

Salutations!

Clemens Vargas Ramos said...

...some like to eat fish curry,some like to eat Fish Soup,etc-MOTHER KNOWS WHAT THE CHILD NEEDS AND HAS PREPARED THESE DISHES.
I prefer this HUMAN version-suits my taste....


Yes, my friend, but never believe it to be HUMAN - in fact it is Divine.

David Godman said...

Clemens Vargas Ramos

Good to have you back, defending your convictions.

God may be omnipotent, and that may give him the option of granting enlightenment to anyone at any time, but that does not mean that he frequently exercises that choice.

In Christianity God is held to be omnipotent, but he does not use his omnipotence to end suffering or send everyone to heaven. He gives free will to each soul and allows it to choose between courses of action. If the soul chooses to believe certain things or do certain things, it is rewarded by an afterlife in heaven. I know that this is a crude simplification, but I am just using it to give an example of how, in Christianity, God is held to run the world: he makes up rules; there are rewards for those who live by them and punishments for those who don't.

However, being God, he always reserves the right to act 'deus ex machina' (literally, 'God out of the machine'). Being omnipotent, he can break his own rules whenever he chooses for any reason or no reason at all.

According to Bhagavan Iswara, the personal God, makes the rules and runs the world we live in. He has ordained that actions will have consequences, good and bad. One subset of those rules prescribes how jivas can get close to God and become one with him. This is Bhagavan describing one such route:

Question: When does one get the company of sadhus?

Bhagavan: The opportunity to be in the company of a Sadguru comes effortlessly to those who have performed worship of God, japa [repetition of God’s name], tapas, pilgrimages, etc. for long periods in their previous births. There is a verse by Thayumanavar [a Tamil poet-saint who lived several centuries ago] which points out the same thing:

For those who, in the prescribed manner,
have embarked upon the [pilgrim] path
of divine images, holy sites and holy tanks,
a Sadguru, too, will come
to speak one unique word,
O Supreme of Supremes!

Only he who has done plenty of nishkamya punyas [meritorious actions performed without any thought of a reward or consequence] in previous births will get abundant faith in the Guru. Having faith in the Guru’s words, such a man will follow the path and reach the goal of liberation.(Living by the Words of Bhagavan, p. 220)

That is to say, spiritual effort performed over a long period of time produces punyas (spiritual merits) that give one the opportunity to be with a Sadguru. And there, if one is ripe, liberation may happen. You might still say that it is God's choice whether, even in these circumstances, he chooses to liberate a jiva or not, but personally, I think it would be somewhat churlish of him to refuse to bestow his enlightening grace on a jiva that has played by these rules over several lifetimes and reached the point where the rules say he is entitled to liberation.

In theory, God, being omnipotent, has the power to grant liberation, or refuse it, to anyone, irrespective of his or her background. To argue otherwise is to challenge God's omnipotence. In practice, though, he abides by his own rules. Those who follow the prescribed route ultimately attain liberation, while those who do not remain in samsara. There may be a few 'deus ex machina' exceptions, but if you want liberation, your chances of success will dramatically increase if you agree to abide by God's rules.

Broken Yogi said...

My understanding of Ramana's teaching about free will and pre-destination is that in reality there is no such thing as free will, and that everything is pre-destined. However, he also said that even though this is true, everyone should act as if they have total free will and that nothing is pre-destined. Which makes perfect sense to me.

Ramos' arguments have a ring of truth to them, but they are a poor recommendation for those in living in duality to live by. The idea that we should think of ourselves as powerless to choose enlightenment is a false teaching based on an incomplete understanding of non-dualism - or, rather, a failure to understand dualism. To live in dualism means to embrace free will and choice. The only way to rebuke free will and choice is to transcend dualism by becoming enlightened. But to dismiss these while not being enlightened, while yet being trapped in duality, is the height of self-negating folly. To reject the power of one's own will and choice is to negate the very power that actually does bring us to the verge of enlightenment.

The paradox here is that "God's choice" is not separate from our own, because in reality we are not separate from God. To conceive of God's choice as being something done apart from our own life is to conceive of a God who lives completely separate from us, when this is exactly the opposite of how things really are. We are in no way separate from and apart from God, so our choice is not separate from God's choice. When we choose the Self, this merely mirrors God's choosing us. There is, in reality, no distinction between the two. It is only in our minds that this distinction seems real. So we must choose the Self, and act as if that choice has meaning, because it is really the Self in us choosing to be Itself.

On the other hand, I'm not sure David's argument that one can essentially "earn" one's way to liberation by doing the right sadhanas. If this were the case, there's be a helluva lot more enlightened people out there. The Self doesn't respond to that kind of practice. The Self is not so easily fooled, or bought off. One doesn't get the gift by playing by the rules. One has to surrender even those notions as sheer folly. Oftentimes it's the prodigal son who gets the father's blessing, not the son who stays loyal and does all the right things. The opportunity to be with a Satguru is not earned by spiritual practice, but by seeing the failure of spiritual practice, and every other kind of worldly effort. One comes to the Satguru as a failure, that is how one earns the "right" to the Grace of the Guru. Otherwise, all one brings is more ego - a spiritual ego, perhaps, but just as much an obstruction to the real spiritual process as any worldly seeker.

Ravi said...

David,
"For those who, in the prescribed manner,
have embarked upon the [pilgrim] path
of divine images, holy sites and holy tanks,
a Sadguru, too, will come
to speak one unique word,
O Supreme of Supremes!"

Thanks very much!I was looking for this wonderful,wonderful saying(for want of a better word)of Thayumanavar and was wanting to put it here!
Thayumanavar was one Great Sage who came closest to POINTING WHAT CANNOT BE POINTED as my master used to say!His Hymns had such a Blend of Wisdom and Devotion that it is a DELIGHT when My master Recites his PARPOORANANANDAM(INFINITE BLISS)!This was dear to Sri Bhagavan who used to say it is DEVAMRITA(DIVINE ELIXIR).

There is an interesting incident in the Life of Sri Ramakrishna when MATHUR,son in law of Rani Rasmoni,who built the Kali temple,asked Sri Ramakrishna whether GOD is OMNIPOTENT.On Sri Ramakrishna answering him in the affirmative,Mathur told him that he can accept it only if say for instance God can make a plant yielding red flowers YIELD A WHITE ONE!The very next day Sri Ramakrishna showed Mathur a Branch of the plant which had a Red coloured and a white coloured Flower,FRESHLY BLOSSOMED!Mathur said-"BABA(Father)I have to accept what you say!".

I understand that you have highlighted the importance of Self Effort,and the concept of God as an omnipotent Being.What you have said about christianity is as an ORGANISED RELIGIOUS belief(This is true of Popular beliefs in any other religion).The Mystic elements have been practised in monasteries-you have the likes of St Francis of assisi ,Brother Lawrence,Saint theresa(not the one we know who lived in India) who were true Gnanis.Yet,it is true that the Regimentation of organised Religion has not allowed Free exploration and practice.

The story of Abhisikshananda is a very interesting one!He was truly a great soul-A PRACTISING christian ADVAITIST.

The sage of Kanchi was very clear that EVERY RELIGION IF PRACTISED SINCERELY WILL LEAD ONE TO THE SAME GOAL.He used to insist that CHRISTIANS should stay rooted in their Faith,even while exploring and incorporating the Best Practices of others.His advice to Muslims is the same as well.Ofcourse ,he made allowance for exceptions.THE POINT IS THAT THIS CHOICE SHOULD NOT BE ONE OF NOVELTY ALONE.
We have the Great example of Sri Ramakrishna to back the above point.
I am sure that this subject is a deep one and hazarding any general guideline will not be possible.

What can be said is this-Brothers/sisters,you do not need to leave your home to seek Truth.

Salutations!

Ravi said...

Broken Yogi,
"The idea that we should think of ourselves as powerless to choose enlightenment is a false teaching based on an incomplete understanding of non-dualism - or, rather, a failure to understand dualism. "
I did not read RAMOS this way at all!Just see how differences arise in OUR READING of what someone has communicated.How the INTELLECT STARTS extrapolating-Understanding is not possible this way.


IMAGINE A PERSON WHO IS TALKING ABOUT PAIN ON ACCOUNT OF TAMING THE EGO-Does he not understand the value of Self Effort?

We can go on in endless loops!Do we have to pounce on each and every statement made by someone?

Salutations!

David Godman said...

Ravi

"For those who, in the prescribed manner,
have embarked upon the [pilgrim] path
of divine images, holy sites and holy tanks,
a Sadguru, too, will come
to speak one unique word,
O Supreme of Supremes!"

Thanks very much! I was looking for this wonderful, wonderful saying (for want of a better word) of Thayumanavar and was wanting to put it here!

If you want to look up the original, it's Paraparakanni verse 156.

nonduel said...

Dear Ramos,

I agree completely with you. Clear and to the heart of the teaching.

Clemens Vargas Ramos said...

.. Yes,Everything is an act of Grace - This is what is meant by HE WHO CHOOSES THE INFINITE HAS BEEN CHOSEN BY THE INFINITE. ...

A note related to the semantics and grammatics of this statement:

"HAS BEEN CHOSEN" = past perfect

"HE WHO CHOOSES" = present

... meaning (in my eyes):

a) At first the Infinite decides to choose the individual.

b) And because of that the individual chooses the Infinite.

I see this as a relationship of effect and cause. I don't believe that it means: "The individual chooses first and then the Infinite chooses it". This implies possibly further that the individual before to be chosen by the Infinite not even has the idea to choose. Because then the individual could "ask" the Infinite to choose him - that the individual in fact doesn't know anything about the Infinite - and that it is the Infinite making him become aware of the Infinite.

Because otherwise a statement like that would be possible: "He who chooses the Infinite is choosen by the Infinite".

"I reveal Myself to him whom I choose."

I'm not a grammarian and can't really express this in English. Maybe someone else could analyze this sentence the way Shankara used to do it.

Clemens Vargas Ramos said...

.
.

... new simple musings on semantics of "I reveal Myself to him whom I choose.":

"Reveal to him" means: Revealing Myself to this "him" is necessary because the "him" has not the least idea that I exist. Therefore I have to reveal Myself to him. Revealing = showing my true being.

How a "him" not knowing anything about My true being could even have the idea to choose Me?

.
.

David Godman said...

Clemens Vargas Ramos said...


... new simple musings on semantics of "I reveal Myself to him whom I choose.":

"Reveal to him" means: Revealing Myself to this "him" is necessary because the "him" has not the least idea that I exist. Therefore I have to reveal Myself to him. Revealing = showing my true being.

How a "him" not knowing anything about My true being could even have the idea to choose Me?

That's an interesting perspective. Meister Eckhardt once wrote: 'Do not waste your time praying to God for the welfare of Conrad and Henry, for in the sight of God Conrad and Henry don't exist.'

Clemens Vargas Ramos said...

.
.
... Do not waste your time praying to God for the welfare of Conrad and Henry, for in the sight of God Conrad and Henry don't exist. ...

Yes, perhaps he wanted to say the same as Ramana said with: "There are no 'others'. Self alone is."

But in this interpretation I wanted to emphasize that what "He who has choosen the Infinite..." says too: That the individual has to be waken up (because it lives in avidya) to the Infinity by the Infinity (and it's grace).
.
.

Ravi said...

David/Ramos,
"That's an interesting perspective. Meister Eckhardt once wrote: 'Do not waste your time praying to God for the welfare of Conrad and Henry, for in the sight of God Conrad and Henry don't exist."
Better call them over to this BLOG so that they can get introduced to each other!We will be free from doubt!
Hope they have Broadband connectivity.

Broken Yogi said...

Ravi,

When I was criticizing Ramos for taking a position that we are powerless in this whole matter of realization, I was referring to this passage from his post:

If God decides to make you enlighten you will become enlightend. If he decides not then you will never. There is nothing you can do about it except for to understand this.

This presumes God is a separate person, who "decides" these matters in a fashion independent of us, who have no power in this matter. I suggest this is exactly the opposite of the real situation. This view presumes that we are the ego, when in reality we are the Self. That is why self-enquiry is so essential. It destroys the notion of ourselves as separate ego, and the notion of Self as a separate God who decides our fate. Without self-enquiry we become trapped in this dichotomy of powerlessness, thinking of ourselves as separate from the very Reality that is our very Self, and thus unable to know ourselves as we really are. Self-enquiry cuts right through that delusion of powerlessness.

So we can do something about this situation: we can enquire of who we really are. Ramana said that to do so changes everything, and makes our previous "fate" obsolete. Even a little bit of self-enquiry empowers us greatly, and feeds upon itself to make us strong and confident in our ability to practice, to know the Self directly as ourselves, and to cut through delusions.

Now, if I have misinterpreted Ramos I am very sorry, I'm just not sure how else to see his passage. If I am being purely intellectual here, and am missing the real thrust of his argument, I am also sorry.

Broken Yogi said...

Let me clarify the point I was trying to make in the last post:

Choosing to practice self-enquiry is choosing the Self. This is within our power to do, and the Self responds in kind to our attention to the Self by choosing us as well.

nonduel said...

David,

You wrote about Sri Nannagaru on this blog, when you wrote about the errors in transcript of a book. I do not know if this is the right place for this, but could you tell me a bit more about him?

Ravi said...

Broken yogi,
"Now, if I have misinterpreted Ramos I am very sorry, I'm just not sure how else to see his passage. If I am being purely intellectual here, and am missing the real thrust of his argument, I am also sorry."

Yes ,you have missed the thrust of the arguement.
No,you do not have to feel sorry.Kindly look at all of Ramos Posts.You will get what he is trying to convey.USE THE LANGUAGE OF THE HEART.
------------------
"Choosing to practice self-enquiry is choosing the Self. This is within our power to do, and the Self responds in kind to our attention to the Self by choosing us as well."
Yes,I KNOW THAT YOU HAVE 'UNDERSTOOD' YOUR POINT.Yes,it is Valid.Please try to understand in like fashion the other person has also 'understood' his point and THIS IS VALID as well.
It will be a good idea to see if we are doing SELF ENQUIRY effectively when we have such discussions.If we are not OPEN and FREE-rest assured that we are only RIDING A TIGER-yes we are RIDING!No Questioning that fact;What is it that we are riding?This is more important.
IT IS ONLY LOVE THAT WILL LEAD TO UNDERSTANDING.-without this we cannot do SELF ENQUIRY.

Salutations!

Broken Yogi said...

Ravi,

I don't think you've explained what you think Ramos meant in the quote I highlighted, or how I've misinterpreted him. Suggesting that others here are lacking in love and self-enquiry, however politely, without explaining how that shows itself in their postings, is not very helpful. It's what's called an "ad hominem" argument, and I think it should be avoided.

Ravi said...

Broken Yogi,
"It's what's called an "ad hominem" argument, and I think it should be avoided."

Salutations to you!

David Godman said...

nonduel

David,

You wrote about Sri Nannagaru on this blog, when you wrote about the errors in transcript of a book. I do not know if this is the right place for this, but could you tell me a bit more about him?

There is a huge amount of information about him on his site:

www.srinannagaru.com/

nonduel said...

David,

Yes I know that site of Sri Nannagaru. I was just curious to know more when I read about him on this blog. Personal accounts like those you have written about the Sages that you have/had contact with.

arvind said...

Hi folks,

I think a substantial amount of clarity in our understanding gets lost if, within us, we blur the significant distinctions between the ‘Self’ and ‘God’, especially in the manner they are defined in the classical scriptural texts. It is worth revisiting that again here.

The following is probably all very well known to everyone here. And so please forgive me for repeating it. [This is, of course, the Advaita view. If we get into the Dualistic systems, the arguments would be quite different.]

As per Vedanta, the Self is the Substratum, the Pure Consciousness that alone is. When we speak in this context, then there is nothing else. There is no God, no world, nor any you and me, nor any speck of anything else. Only Consciousness Is. Since it cannot be described in any way, the scriptures say that the ‘nature’ of this Self is ‘Sat-Chit-Ananda’ [Being-Consciousness-Bliss]. But even that is an approximation. In fact, though Sri Bhagavan has Himself described the Self thus, He has gone on to say in truly golden words:

“Even though we usually describe the reality as Sat, Chit, Ananda, even that is not quite a correct description. It cannot really be described. By this description all that we endeavour to make plain is that it is not asat, that it is not jada [insentient] and that is free from all pain.” [“Day by Day, Pg 41 (22.11.1945)]

All of Vedantic literature concerns itself basically only with this Self, the ‘Infinite’, the ‘Purnam’. And when we are talking in context of such a Self, then clearly the Self cannot ‘choose’. Because very simply, there is no other to choose. Whom will it choose ? There is no world, or you and me, or God even. There is only It. And besides, in the first place, this Self has no ‘movements’ or ‘ripples’ of the nature of taking decisions like ‘choosing’, or any sankalpas.

Continuing with Advaita-Vedanta literature, ‘God’, world, you and me, all come up in the ‘Self’ the Substratum, like ‘silver in mother-of-pearl’. This is not to say that ‘God’, you and me, and others in the world are all identical in their authority or powers. ‘God’ would be the first Entity to arise on the first, very very slight ‘movement’ in the Self. Or, more accurately, when Maya arises, due to certain “inexpressible” reasons, God is the first entity to arise. He has been given different names in scripture. He is the ‘Lord’ of the World that He creates. He is the ‘active principle’ with respect to the ‘inactive’ Self. So He is the repository of all the ‘Powers’ that exist or can exist in the world. And thus He has all Powers to create or run the world as He ‘chooses’. That He does or does not with certain ‘Karmic laws’, or with basic ‘Dharma laws’, is for the moment outside the purview of our discussion here; so is the minefield of Drishti-Srishti. But this ‘God’ can certainly ‘choose’. He can ‘choose’ you, me, or anyone or anything as He wishes. His criteria for ‘choosing’, however, is kept aside for now.

Again in Vedantic literature, since all the above entities rise in the Self, and subside in the Self, they have said that – the Self is all, the Self is God, the Self is the world and so on. But we must keep in mind that they say – ‘all is the Self’ in the sense of all having the Self as the ‘substratum’.

The foregoing is not my opinion or thinking, it is a summary of the Advaita system. It could have some minor details missing here and there, and I have left out all the technical terms, but I believe it is reasonably accurate.

Now for some opinion. Here, one is mindful that this is truly an area where even ‘angels fear to tread’. The great teachers have all warned that, especially those who are beginners on the path like me, should not be expressing their own views in great detail and conviction on the Self or God and such matters. Because, the true understanding of such things is beyond the purview of the mind. “First realize the Self, and then talk”. And so I will be brief and stick to the safe areas.

Firstly, the great teachers, be it Sri Bhagavan or others, have often used the term ‘God’ for the ‘Self’ in alternation depending on the context on hand. Then, we, who are reading their words now, have to make an adjustment to the effect that – has Sri Bhagavan used the word ‘God’ in the sense of the ‘Self’ here ? An example is when Papaji in 1945 or so, in Tiruvannamali, asked Sri Bhagavan, “Can you show me God ?” Sri Bhagavan replied, “No, I cannot. Because to see God, is to be God. God is not an object to be seen, but the Subject Itself.” Now Papaji was already seeing ‘God’ physically, every day, as Lord Krishna. But still he asked Bhagavan to be shown ‘God’. And Bhagavan replied accordingly - in the sense of ‘God’ as the ‘Self’ or the ‘Infinite’, not in the sense of God as the ‘Lord of the World’.

I believe, once we keep this adjustment in mind, a lot of the sayings of the great teachers will be found to be consistent with the scriptures and with each other.

So when Papaji says in the original post above, “I reveal myself to whom I choose; if there are worthiness and holiness, the Self will reveal Itself. If there are not, It will not”; under the principles as above, this can perhaps be refined and re-written as:

“The Self is revealed to whom God, the Self’s Active Power, has chosen. If there are worthiness and holiness, God, the Self’s Active Power, will choose you, and the Self will reveal Itself. If there are not, God, the Self’s Active Power, will not choose you, and the Self will remain hidden.”

I think that makes a lot of sense then.

And what about the criterion for ‘God’ choosing ? The ‘worthiness’ and ‘holiness’ bit. All I will say is that, firstly, I do not think that between God and the Self you can ‘go’ for any one alone and rant against the other all the time and expect God to be happy and ‘choose’ you. I think you have to worship or pray to, or seek, both, since both are, essentially, “Not-Two”. And so in the teachings of all great Masters, be it Sri Bhagavan or Sri Sankara or others, there is no conflict between Jnana and Devotion. One flows smoothly into the other.

And as for the actual ‘criterion’ that God uses to ‘choose’ ? Is it because we choose Him that He chooses us ? Or is it some qualities related to our earnestness in seeking; or how much we love Him, or of the dharma we follow or don’t follow ? I think that each person, essentially, in how he practices his spirituality, is how he tends to define that criterion. And so this necessarily involves substantial and often conflicting variety. And endless debate. How God Himself defines this, is another matter and for that we have to quietly listen to the words of the Great Masters. And one will leave it at that for now.

Apologies in advance if the foregoing is in any manner hurtful to anyone. I was, in fact, clearing the cobwebs in my own very confused head basically, and have then thought to type out and post my musings here, in the hope that they will find resonance with at least one or two others.

Ravi said...

Arvind,
Thanks for putting things in a good perspective.
"Now for some opinion. Here, one is mindful that this is truly an area where even ‘angels fear to tread’. The great teachers have all warned that, especially those who are beginners on the path like me, should not be expressing their own views in great detail and conviction on the Self or God and such matters. Because, the true understanding of such things is beyond the purview of the mind. “First realize the Self, and then talk”. And so I will be brief and stick to the safe areas."

This is truly my view as well.I DO NOT HAVE ANY ATTRACTION towards these!

THIS IS TRULY A JUNGLE OUT THERE-as it is said-SABDA JAALAM MAHAARANYAM(WORD PLAY IS A HUGE JUNGLE!).Whether SELF alone exists,whether it first manifested,WHETHER THERE WAS A BEGINNING AT ALL-implies time!-WHO MANIFESTED FIRST-WHAT HE CAN DO OR CANNOT DO-All these are truly beyond me-occassionaly a certain CURIOSITY may draw me but I have never been able to sustain any VITAL interest in these matters!
I am simply not cut out for this sort of a thing!I JUST ADMIT PLAIN IGNORANCE AND TOTAL LACK OF INVOLVEMENT IN THESE MATTERS.
I know that our Restless nature is the cause of misery.I know what is to be done to get rid of this restless Nature and return to the quieter aspects of my self.I ALSO VALUE THIS PRECIOUS THING CALLED LOVE,which can only be Felt but never DEFINED.Yes it can be MANIFESTED-in sharing,in understanding,in being grateful,in giving oneself.This is what GOADS me in Sadhana.
SELF ENQUIRY ,I employ as a TECHNIQUE during the Dry Periods of my Sadhana;As Seekers we know that Devotion and love CANNOT BE WILLED.There is a cyclic nature about them,as the Gunas have their Play.They may be covered and one has to go about the activities in a spirit of surrender and patiently wait FOR THE DROPS OF RAIN.
As I said that I keep up the Satsangha with the Masters,by reading their LIVES and Teachings.AS MANEESHA had rightly observed this helps to STAY CENTRED.
My master has given the FUNDAMENTALS OF SPIRITUAL LIVING and this is sufficient for me.I have tried to share some of these aspects-especially the ones on RIGHT LIVING-things which appear as 'Moral virtues' have a deeper significance.
I am certainly interested in BHAKTI related matters.Kindly share anything,I will be ALL EARS.

Namaskar!

Broken Yogi said...

Arvind,

Thanks for bringing up these aspects of the matter for discussion. I think you are right that there is much confusion in terminology, especially in using the words "God" and "Self" interchangeably, which doesn't always work.

But beyond the semantics of the issue is, I think, a serious matter in the "cosmology" of non-dualism, and it relates to the core of the discussion of the Guru and the power to enlighten.

I'll divert for a moment to a personal visionary experience about this I had years ago which I can't help let influence my views, and it has support in the Vedantic literature so I'll describe it. In this vision, I saw the entire manifest universe as an "infinite formless form". It was like an ocean of consciousness, and on the very "surface" was an infinitestimally thin "oil slick" of light, shining beautifully and brilliantly, within which all the created worlds appeared. It was obvious that these lights and forms were merely the "shine" of the Self, not some separate creation, but it was also clear that a false perspective was possible.

This "shiny oil slick" was in some sense infinitely thin, resting upon an ocean infinitely deep, and yet it was entirely the same as the ocean. And yet, I could see that the forms and beings in these infinitely thin created worlds were not aware of the infinite depth of their own being. They only saw the superficial surface of the ocean, not its depth. And so they suffered, believing themselves to be limited to the appearances of this world. They could not see the truth of their situation, they could not see the infinite depth of the Self.

And yet, there was a saving Grace in these worlds as well, seeing as they were not separate from the Self. Within these worlds a great Power appeared, the Goddess Power, which was the only real appearance of the Self within these worlds. This is the Guru Power, and it worked within the context of the manifest worlds as the very Power of the Self, attracting people beyond their limited vision to see the reality of the infinite Self. By following this Power, which manfiested in and through these manifest worlds, all beings could know their real Self. But it was clear that this was the ONLY means for doing so, that there was no alternative to this Guru Power. It was also clear that this Guru Power acted as a conscious Being, a force of living Consciousness, not as some inert or merely cosmic force, like a law of nature. It was both the Self, and a Being, at least as viewed from within the manifest worlds. It was clear that the Guru is the Form and Power the Self takes, at least from within the perspective of the manifest worlds. In reality, this Power is merely the Self as we are able to see it from within the world. It is the perspective of the manifest worlds that makes it seem to be a "Person" who acts and chooses.

I think there is some validity to this notion in the scriptures, and even in the teachings of Advaita and Ramana. The Guru Power is transcendental, not defined by the worlds we seem to be limited to, but is the link to the Transcendental. And so the power to enlighten is the Power of the Self as it appears in the conditional reality, which is the Guru. The living human Gurus such as Ramana are invested with this Power by the Goddess Herself, and she acts in and through them as "windows" beyond the conditional worlds into the infinite depth of the Self.

In that sense, the "first Person" is none other than the Self, and is not an illusion of the conditional mind. It is the Power of the Self alive within the illusory worlds of form. They are illusory only in the sense of being seen apart from their own depth in the Self. The Guru Power restores to us the Vision of the Self, which sees all things in the Self. Thus, there is no separate "creation". There is only the infinite light of the infinite Self.

So it's possible for the Self, in the form of the Guru Power, the Goddess Power, to "choose", to act, to influence, to interact with, any and all conditional beings. In fact, the Guru Power is the very means created by the Self for this purpose. This is why in some sense the old saying that the Guru is greater than God is true, because the Guru is the form of the Self taken to help conditionally deluded beings into understanding their real nature, their infinite depth, and to shed the false view that they are separate from the Self. The problem with saying that the Self doesn't act or doesn't appear is that this only applies to the notion of the Self as separate from the conditional worlds, when in fact the Self never is, and simply appears within the conditional worlds as the Guru Power, the Goddess, as love and Grace. That Power is the same as the Self, which is never created or born, and yet it appears within the worlds of creation and birth anyway, because nothing can be separate from the Self, and thus even the Self appears in these illusions, yet even so always standing at the heart of their consciousness.

Anyway, these are puny words that don't do justice to the reality I am trying to describe, which is of course simply indescribable, and overwhelmingly beautiful beyond words.

nonduel said...

The biggest difficulty is trying to describe, understand, and to explain non-dual Reality with duality concepts. Thus when we first read and try to understand Sri Ramana's answers to devotees which seemingly appears as contradictions, it takes time to see through it.
This discussion, like all discussions on Advaita is very stimulating and creates enthousiasm. It also, nourishes the mind.
On the other hand, it is also helpfull in keeping the fire alive and motivate us in Self-Attention.
It is obvious that when we dissect very tenious points of the teaching, that we often get lost in semantics. Mainly because we are mixing non-dual with duality and we have to discriminate and tip toe through to understand what the other is trying to say. Hence occasional misunderstanding.

I liked this: “First realize the Self, and then talk”. Fits me perfectly!

Ravi said...

Broken yogi,
Interesting to read your comments!
"So it's possible for the Self, in the form of the Guru Power, the Goddess Power, to "choose", to act, to influence, to interact with, any and all conditional beings. In fact, the Guru Power is the very means created by the Self for this purpose. This is why in some sense the old saying that the Guru is greater than God is true, because the Guru is the form of the Self taken to help conditionally deluded beings into understanding their real nature, their infinite depth, and to shed the false view that they are separate from the Self. The problem with saying that the Self doesn't act or doesn't appear is that this only applies to the notion of the Self as separate from the conditional worlds, when in fact the Self never is, and simply appears within the conditional worlds as the Guru Power, the Goddess, as love and Grace. That Power is the same as the Self, which is never created or born, and yet it appears within the worlds of creation and birth anyway, because nothing can be separate from the Self, and thus even the Self appears in these illusions, yet even so always standing at the heart of their consciousness.

Anyway, these are puny words that don't do justice to the reality I am trying to describe, which is of course simply indescribable, and overwhelmingly beautiful beyond words."
I simply refer to this as MOTHER or GURU with whom one can establish a conscious relationship.It is like the Child KNOWS its FATHER ,YET DOES NOT KNOW WHAT THE FATHER IS DOING IN HIS OFFICE,WHAT HIS PORTFOLIOS ARE,WHO ALL WORK WITH HIM,etc.
This is what Sri Ramakrishna says-
"Do you know my attitude?As for myself,I eat,drink and live happily.The REST THE DIVINE MOTHER KNOWS!"
Again,In page 98 of the Gospel,Sri Ramakrishna(As DAVID has said-I adore him!)says-"Anyone and everyone cannot be a guru.A huge timber floats on the water and can carry ANIMALS as well.But a piece of worthless wood sinks,if a man sits on it,and drowns him.Therefore in every agae GOD INCARNATES HIMSELF as the Guru,to teach Hu,manity.Satchidananda alone is the Guru.
What is Knowledge?And what is the Nature of this ego?GOD ALONE IS THE DOER,AND NONE ELSE-that is knowledge.I am not the doer;I am a mere instrument in his hand.Therefore I say:'O Mother,Thou art the operator and I am the Machine.Thou art the indweller and I am the House.Thou art the Driver and I am the carriage.I move as thou movest me.I do as thou makest me do.I speak as thou makest me speak.Not I,not I,but Thou,but Thou"
somehow this unsophisticated way of putting things in a HOMELY fashion is what I find tremendously attractive and SINKS deeply.THIS IS LIKE EATING HOME BAKED DOUGHNUT AT HOME than to EAT THE SAME IN A STAR STUDDED RESTAURANT.The TASTE is different and more appealing(to me!)

Salutations to you Friends.

Ravi said...

Nonduel,
YOU SAID IT!
"On the other hand, it is also helpfull in keeping the fire alive and motivate us in Self-Attention.
It is obvious that when we dissect very tenious points of the teaching, that we often get lost in semantics. Mainly because we are mixing non-dual with duality and we have to discriminate and tip toe through to understand what the other is trying to say. Hence occasional misunderstanding."

Beautifully put!core point!What I have found helps is this-to remember that the 'other' person is WANTING TO CONVEY SOMETHING.may be he or she does not know HOW TO EXPRESS it;may be that WE HAVE NOT HEARD rightly.just one of these things.

I HAVE JUST ASKED RAMOS on the Bhakti approach to GURU.This is on the other thread-I think the OPEN THREAD ON VICHARA.here I find 'BROKEN(INTEGRATED!)YOGI' has given some good HEART WARMING HINTS!
Just wanted to say this-LIKE BRAHMA trying to figure out the CREST OF THE HUGE FLAME ARUNACHALA,we tried to reach the top and were grounded!Luckily we DID NOT GET HOLD OF A FLOWER like Brahma did!So NOW WE HAVE THE OPPORTUNITY TO DIG LIKE VISHNU!
hope something comes out of this.

Salutations!

Broken Yogi said...

What I think I was trying to say, is that "God" can sometimes refer to the "Creator", Iswara in Hinduism, which is a dualistic personal concept, but it can also refer to a "personal" non-dual God, as Guru, which is not the same thing as a dualistic division of the Self, but as a non-dual manifestation of the Self in the midst of the manifest, dualistic world. This refers not to a conventional person or deity, but to the forms the Self uses to enlighten those who have become deluded into experiencing themselves as merely limitation, rather than transcendent Being.

Ravi said...

Broken Yogi,
I have got the essence of what you have said-The fine distinctions are beyond me!
Thanks very much!
Salutations!

arvind said...

Ravi,

Thanks for all the inspiring words. You have mentioned how you would love to read something on Bhakti. So has Jupes. Sri Bhagavan has talked about ‘Devotion’ a lot and His golden words on this are a joy to read. And there is no one who can do justice to Sri Bhagavan’s anecdotes and words as can David. And so perhaps we should request David to put up something in a new post.

David, please, whenever you are able to, would you consider putting up a new post with ‘Bhakti’ as the theme ?

Non Duel,

Thanks for your remarks. They are wise and show an ‘old head’ on your shoulders. The remarks I had made regarding “Realize & talk etc” were solely intended for me only, as I have this fault too – of going on & on in expressing my own ideas, ad nauseum. But you please do write more, one has enjoyed all your comments.

Broken Yogi,

I loved your post and thank you for sharing with us your vision. It would have been a marvellous experience and I can understand when you say how it has influenced your views. Such a spiritual experience would have become imbedded deeply into your mind and its memory and the feelings it generated, would remain forever within you.

For the initial post you made on your vision, I quite agree that mostly, what you have described, is quite in consonance with Vedantic literature. And you have described your experience and thoughts in most beautiful and carefully chosen words. Thank you for that.

In this post what you have briefly only hinted at as:

“Within these worlds a great Power appeared, the Goddess Power, which was the only real appearance of the Self within these worlds” ..… “In reality, this Power is merely the Self as we are able to see it from within the world.” ..… “In that sense, the "first Person" is none other than the Self, and is not an illusion of the conditional mind.”

you have clarified further as:

“What I think I was trying to say, is that "God" can sometimes refer to the "Creator", Iswara in Hinduism, which is a dualistic personal concept, but it can also refer to a "personal" non-dual God, as Guru, which is not the same thing as a dualistic division of the Self, but as a non-dual manifestation of the Self in the midst of the manifest, dualistic world.”

I think then we hit some serious bumps on our Vedantic-Advaita road.

If we say that there is a “non-dual manifestation of the Self, in the midst of the manifest, dualistic world”, we are in effect saying there is a “Reality”, a “Sat”, in the illusory world. That, the world we see and sense around us all the time, which is as totally non-existent and illusory as is our dream world, has in effect an element of manifestation that is “Real”.

Personally, when I face a doubt as to whether something is “Real” or not, I simply put it to test using Sri Bhagavan’s great ‘Drishti-Shristi’ Brahmastra: “Does it exist in deep sleep ?”.

When we go into deep sleep, all the world, the people, the forms of the Great Gods and Goddesses, the form of the Guru, all disappear. There is nothing. But when one wakes up one can say that there was a ‘sense of continuity of existence’ throughout the states of waking, deep sleep and then waking state again. Not in the sense of the same physical ‘Arvind’ waking up as the one that went to sleep, but in the sense that ‘I’, or my sense of myself, felt that the same ‘I’ existed and continued during the deep sleep period, even when nothing else was there.

Sri Bhagavan has said that, this sense of ‘I’ is a glimpse of the “Reality”. It is the Self. It is the only thing that there is. Nothing else is. And because It is the only “Reality”, you have a sense of only “That” when the illusory world disappears in deep sleep.

If then there was a “non-dual manifestation of the Self, in the midst of the manifest, dualistic world” that manifestation would survive in the deep sleep state. It does not. During deep sleep only the Self, in the Absolute sense, Is.

It may be argued, that the manifestation actually is a “non-dual manifestation of the Self, in the midst of the manifest, dualistic world”, but it reverts back to the Self during deep sleep. But then how is it different from all the other manifestations in the world ? They too are seen during waking, but revert back into the Self during deep sleep.

And if it be argued that, this manifestation of the Guru is a “non-dual manifestation of the Self, in the midst of the manifest, dualistic world” because this manifestation has the unique ability to enlighten others; the “non-dual manifestation” bit still does not follow. It is agreed that a great Guru has the ability to enlighten other people. But we cannot say that this ability arises because he is a “non-dual manifestation”. We have already shown that he too disappears in deep sleep like every other manifestation.

So all we can say is: the Guru is the Self Itself. The ‘form’ that we see, or the body as is manifested in the world, is not the Real Guru. ,But then we too are of the world. And within the context of the ‘world’, the body and form of the Guru is a great blessing to us, a form to be loved and adored and prayed to.

And as to why certain Jnani-Gurus can enlighten certain people easily, and others not, my personal opinion is that it is an indeclinable / unanswerable question for non-Jnanis. It cannot be approached any closer than for us to say – it is due to Prarabda. [I made a post on this idea up the thread somewhere, but I think that was poorly worded and not at all very clear].

best wishes

Broken Yogi said...

Arvind,

Thanks for bringing up these very important points about the Advaita cosmology. You are right that if it doesn't continue in the deep sleep state, it isn't "real". But the power of the Guru, this underlying Power that fuels the spiritual process, does indeed continue through the deep sleep state. If it didn't, when Ramana went to sleep, he would no longer have been Guru, and there would have been no Silent Presence emanating through him. I think the testimony of all hid devotees was that this Silent Power was always active in and through him, whether he was awake or asleep or dreaming. Likewise, this Power was active in devotees of Ramana whether they were awake or asleep or dreaming.

I'm not suggesting that Ramana's gross bodily form is the "manfiestation of the Self". in some mythical avataric sense. I'm saying that the Guru-Power is itself the manifestation of the Self, and that it is always active regardless of the state of consciousness. In the waking state, it is active through the Guru's physical body, and yet it is also active in the sleep state as well. It is always continuous, constant, and uninterrupted by the states of consciousness, drawing our consciousness into perfect harmony with the Self, until we realize that we are the Self.

The Guru Power is not derived from the manifest appearances of the world, but comes directly from the Source, beyond the ego. It is not a conditional power or force, but is the Power that is at the source of all conditional powers and forces. It is the Power which gives life and consciousness to everything.

Now, as to whether the world is "real" or not, this depends a lot on how we understand the concept of "real" and "unreal". If we take this to mean "existent" and "non-existent", we cannot say that the world we see before us is non-existent. It clearly exists. The difference is that it exists not as the literal world we think we see, but as the Light of the Self. The Self is beyond all forms and concepts, but is inclusive of all forms and concepts. Nothing exists outside the Self, it is the screen upon which all forms appear. Thus, the forms that appear are not non-existent, what is unreal about them is the notion that they exist independent of the screen, on their own, as some self-existing eternal form. In reality, they are simply the Self.

One way of putting this is that the Self has two aspects, Purusha and Prakriti - Consciousness and Energy. Shiva-Shakti. This does not mean that the Self is dualistic, it only means that the dualistic mind separates these two into seemingly separate aspects, when in fact they are a unity. It is like quantum mechanics which sees light as both wave and particle. In reality it is neither, but depending on how one looks at light one sees these two inseparable aspects.

So the Self is not "dark". It is Light, and yet it is also Consciousness. Light itself is Self-Aware. So all the forms of this universe are also the Self, are Self-aware, and yet no form is, in itself, the Self, except at heart. This is why we may realize the Self, because we are, at heart, the Self, and this is true of all seeming forms in this universe. The universe of forms is, in ultimate realization, entirely real, as the Self, as the Light of the Self, and yet, also entirely a dream of the Self, uncreated. This is of course impossible to say correctly or make into a doctrine, because the Self cannot be held in any concept or described by any language. One must stand in the Source to know the Power of the Self. While alive in form, then, we can only know the Source through its manifestation as the Guru Power, which draws us into the Source through its own attractive Power. This is why those who are serious about realizing the Self are naturally drawn to the Guru Power in whatever forms it manifests through for our sake.

Ravi said...

Arvind/Broken Yogi,
Interesting to read your ideas on the world,the self,the Guru,etc.
Broken Yogi's point is valid-that the Guru Power as he calls it-I prefer to call it as 'Mother'-all power including what we are now doing-THINKING WHAT IS OR WHAT IS NOT-or WHAT CAN BE AND WHAT CANNOT BE-ALL THIS IS within the Realm of MOTHER.
That the Guru power 'seems' to be inactive is based on our experience of 'Sleep'.In Fact we are sleeping ALL THE TIME-in WAKING ,DREAMING and SLEEPING!The power- 'MOTHER' -is active throughout.It is taking care of our autonomous Nervous System (breathing,heart beat,etc) and continues SUSTAINING LIFE all through.
Now we may ask -That is all fine-Does the 'HUMAN GURU'(as THE MIND! is telling us)OPERATE LIKE THIS?
The answer to this is -YES!
I will give two examples-
1.SWAMI VIVEKANANDA-One day,The Disciple found Swami Vivekananda tossing in bed-V told the disciple-I FIND THAT'I' AM DROWNING in a ship along with all others!THE MORNING NEWSPAPER carried the news item that a SHIP had sunk off the coast of Japan.

2.When Sri Ramakrishna was dying of cancer(Ramos!-you mentioned about someone's enlightened perspective!)-as He was sleeping-almost bereft of Life-The Thought crossed Naren's mind-'THIS PERSON CALLS HIMSELF AN 'INCARNATION'.IF HE CAN 'AFFIRM' NOW IN THIS STATE OF HEALTH,I MAY ACCEPT THAT THIS IS SO".As soon as this thought crossed his mind-Sri Ramakrishna opened his eyes and said-Naren!He who was Rama,He who was Krishna Is Now THIS RAMAKRISHNA-not IN YOUR VEDANTIC SENSE!
This changed the scepticism of Naren REGARDING THE TRUTH BEHIND INCARNATION.

The point that I am trying to express here is -TO KNOW THAT THE GURU(Human=Divine,although the MIND will NEVER EVER comprehend this-Like the Frog in the well)IS AWAKE throughout!

3.FROM MY MASTER-one day,someone found that the Lights were on in the Master's room at 03:00 hrs.They asked him-sir,The Lights were on at such an hour!
Master said-Yes!Whenever anyone THINKS OF THIS PLACE-the Thoughts reach me-and I do the NEEDFUL.
Master recounted this in the course of his talk by way of explaining some idea.ONE NEEDS TO EVE'S DROP whenever he let go of such matters!
So where are we?IS THE HUMAN GURU THE SAME AS THE 'DIVINE GURU'?IS TRUTH DUAL OR NON DUAL?I will only refer to the Sri Ramakrishna parable of the MAN UNDER THE TREE and THE CHAMALEON ON THAT TREE!Yes,the chamaleon is red in colour;Yes it also takes the Green colour;Also Brown and so on-THE CHAMALEON IS INDISPUTABLE-What is disputed is only the colour of the chamaleon-THE MAN UNDER THE TREE alone knows what colours it may take.

one Last point-OK!What if the 'HUMAN GURU' leaves this world?after he dies and now there is no WAKING,DREAMING or SLEEPING state -all that pertained to his terrestrial existence!
In the Life of Vivekananda,this is a very moving incident-After Sri Ramakrishna's passing away,the young Boys-Ramakrishna's disciples-took Sanyasa and as monks were continuing their sadhana.NAREN in the course of his wandering as a Sanyasi(MONK)came across a GREAT RAJA YOGI called Pav ahaari Baba(means who LIVES on Air!)Naren who wanted to continue his sadhana wanted to totally dispense with such ANIMAL NEEDS Like EATING,EXCRETING,etc-He thought if only I can learn this art of AIR EATING from the Raja yogi,he will be free to continue his sadhana in THE HIMALAYAS in an unimpeded manner.He approached PAV AHAARI BABA regarding this-The Yogi told him that he can Teach the SCIENCE-but for that Naren has to be INITIATED AS A DISCIPLE.Naren agreed to this and the Date was fixed for the INITIATION.Just the Night before the INITIATION day,Naren had a vision of Sri Ramakrishna standing and just looking at him with compassion.
Naren Decided not to proceed with the Initiation on that day and it was rescheduled.Again he had this vision of Sri Ramakrishna looking at him.Naren now felt ashamed of himself!He told pav ahaari baba that he did not want to go ahead with the program.
Thanks for putting up with my long winding stories.

Sri Ramakrishna's parable of two friends in a mango garden -One goes about plucking a Ripe mango and enjoys the sweet juice of the mango-The other friend starts wandering and counting the number of trees in the garden.By then the Gardner BLOWS HIS WHISTLE and the friends had to leave the garden!

Salutations!

Clemens Vargas Ramos said...

... Naren now felt ashamed of himself!He told pav ahaari baba that he did not want to go ahead with the program. ...

It is interesting to watch all this vasanas going on in this great personality. It shows a true spiritual path. Someone fights and he wins at the end.

nonduel said...

Dear Arvind,

My last post wasn't in any way pointing towards anyone, please believe me on this. If ever, in a post, because of the words used (I'm french), it leaves the impression that I am, it's involontary.

All members here are like drops on the same wave, ready to merge in the ocean.

All the posts here, is the Self cleaning the veil of ignorance. That's Grace!

I think that there has to be a LETTING GO. This is surrender for me. LETTING GO of everything.

There is ONLY SELF, and I AM SELF.
What can "nonduel" possibly "do"?
Doesn't this Truth bring a relief, a peace, a joy?

But "we" are like billiards balls, running all over, hitting the sides of the pool table. If I can only fall in that pouch!!!

This is why I like to keep it simple, I AM. All the rest is the ego who likes to complicate things because this is the fuel that keeps it existing.

But like I said, it also keeps me going towards the extinction of the ego. Like Self-Attention, on the "I-thought" is using the mind to destroy the mind.

I appreciate all the posts from the SELF!

Namaste

Broken Yogi said...

Ravi,

Yes, I like the reference to the Guru-Power as "Mother". This is found not just in Ramakrishna, but in such pure Advaitic texts as the Tripura Rahasya, where the "Mother-Power" is defined as the pervading Force alive in all three states, waking, dreaming, and sleeping - the "three cities".

There's a definite tantric side to the Advaitics, including the whole Bhairava tradition of Kashmir Shaivism, and the Goddess/Kali/Devotionalism side of Advaita. I think Ramakrishna favored this kind of Advaita, rather than the dry type. But even Ramana was really much more tantric than many assume.

Ravi said...

Nonduel,
<"All the posts here, is the Self cleaning the veil of ignorance. That's Grace!

I think that there has to be a LETTING GO. This is surrender for me. LETTING GO of everything.

There is ONLY SELF, and I AM SELF.
What can "nonduel" possibly "do"?
Doesn't this Truth bring a relief, a peace, a joy?

But "we" are like billiards balls, running all over, hitting the sides of the pool table. If I can only fall in that pouch!!!

This is why I like to keep it simple, I AM. All the rest is the ego who likes to complicate things because this is the fuel that keeps it existing.

But like I said, it also keeps me going towards the extinction of the ego. Like Self-Attention, on the "I-thought" is using the mind to destroy the mind.

I appreciate all the posts from the SELF!">
THIS IS GNANA-where the mind does not come into play.This is Bhakti.
Thanks for your wonderful words!This is what Sri Ramakrishna means by EATING THE MANGO.The SPECULATIONS are what he calls COUNTING TREES BRANCHES NUMBER OF LEAVES IN EACH TREE,etc.

ARVIND,
At the same time ARVIND,your posts are wonderful-surely they are not COUNTING the leaves!As Nonduel has beautifully put,it is Grace that WANTS US TO EXPLORE and find more than we expected.THIS IS COLLABORATIVE learning.

Broken Yogi,
You mention about Tripura Rahasya-My master is very fond of this and has given a series of talks(in TAMIL)on the WONDERFUL QUEEN WHO WAS A GURU TO HER HUSBAND!Master cites this also as one reason why TRADITIONAL preachers did not give it due importance-MALE CHAUVINISTS-this is master's word for these people.
coming to Sri Ramakrishna and tantra.SRI RAMAKRISHNA WAS A MASTER OF TANTRA!Is there a Path that this ADVENTURER DID NOT EXPLORE?He practiced all the 64(Hope I got the number right)TANTRIC PRACTICES under the guidance of a WOMAN-Bhairavi Brahmani-About whom it is said that she was the embodiment of learning.THESE WERE VERY BIZARRE PRACTICES(to the uninitiated mind)The TRUTH BEHIND THE TANTRA is TO RECOGNIZE THAT NOTHING IS IN VAIN IN THIS MANIFESTED UNIVERSE-particularly what is deemed as AVIDYA MAYA by traditionalists.THE TANTRIC SEEKS TO CONFRONT THIS AVIDYA MAYA IN A HEADON COLLISION-and wants to unmask the TRUTH behind it.THIS IS ONLY FOR THE RARE ,PURE AND BRAVE few.Sri Ramakrishna had all these basics when he undertook this sadhana.THE CULMINATION OF THESE PRACTICES CAME MUCH LATER with the Shodasi pooja where he worshipped his 'WIFE' as THE MOTHER.IN THE ANNALS OF SPIRITUAL HISTORY THIS IS THE ONLY PLACE where this has happened.(Our Holy Mother Sarada Devi later revealed -I WAS NOT MYSELF THEN!,on being asked how she such a shy person who respected her husband as Guru and Thakur'lord'accepted this WORSHIP by her husband).Reading these chapters in Sri Ramakrishna's life can BE AN IMMENSELY PURIFYING experience.
Sri Ramakrishna Practiced the Tantra,The VEDANTA(His guru was TOTA PURI-a RANK ADVAITIST -WHO NEVER RECOGNISED THAT THE WORLD EVER EXISTED IN ALL THE THREE STATES).totapuri never stayed in any place for more than 3 days.Never lived under a roof.He came to Dakshineswar and Discovered Sri Ramakrishna and HE SOUGHT HIS DISCIPLE,not the other way round.HE APPROACHED SRI RAMAKRISHNA,The temple priest that he will initiate him into ADVAITA VEDANTA.Sri Ramakrishna immediately told him-LET ME ASK PERMISSION FROM MOTHER-Tota puri thought that Sri Ramakrishna meant by MOTHER his HUMAN MOTHER!Instead he found that R headed towards the Kali temple-'OH!Immature Child!He still believes in these Toys!-This is how Tota puri thought.Sri Ramakrishna was told by Mother-My child,Go ahead.I have sent this person-Learn from him.Sri Ramakrishna ,like a joyous child came back to Tota puri and told him his mother has granted him permission.Tota puri then initiated him into Advaita Vedanta-Sri Ramakrishna practiced this for 3 days and was in Nirvikalpa Samadhi much to the amazement of Tota puri himself.THE MOST IMPORTANT THING was what happened subsequently.TOTA PURI WAS TO BE TAUGHT ONE MORE LESSON By THE MOTHER!A LESSON THAT he had to learn through his disciple!Tota puri had a sturdy constitution and had NEVER KNOWN ILLNESS ALL HIS LIFE-If you are familiar with INDIANS-HE WAS A PUNJABI!-This Tota puri Developed STOMACH PAIN-Sri Ramakrishna used to tell him-You do not recognise Mother-This is all her play-Tota puri would have none of this nonsense!R would go to the doctors and fetch medicine for his GURU.None of it helped for THIS IS NOT SOMETHING CURABLE by Earthly medicine.THE PAIN would not go but THEN TOTAPURI HAD MASTERED THE ART OF WITHDRAWING THE MIND FROM THE BODY and merging in Brahman.THE PAIN WOULD NOT leave him.One Night he decided to get rid of the source of pain-Get rid of the body-He Just PlUNGED INTO THE HOOGLY RIVER(GANGES)and decided to do a JALA SAMADHI-To His Amazement He waded through and Reached the other side!HE COULD NOT EVEN DROWN AND TAKE HIS LIFE!-He sat on the other Bank and went into contemplation!HE REALISED THE TRUTH OF 'MOTHER'.He just swam back and reached the Dakshineswar temple.THE PAIN WAS GONE!Next day morning Sri Ramakrishna approached Tota puri and FOUND A DIFFERENT TOTA PURI!SERENE AND JOYOUS!NO SIGN OF ANY PAIN!TOTA PURI COULD NOT LOOK R IN THE EYE!'Your MOTHER'-I have FOUND Her,SAID TOTAPURI-He recounted this story.Sri Ramakrishna like a child was cutting capers!SEE YOU DID NOT ACCEPT MY MOTHER!MY MOTHER IS REAL!.
Sri Ramakrishna has referred to 'NANGTA'(The NAKED one-TOTA PURI NEVER WORE ANYTHING EXCEPT A LOIN CLOTH)in THE GOSPEL OF SRI RAMAKRISHNA.
Sri Ramakrishna TAUGHT EACH OF HIS TEACHERS!They came to be taught,more than to teach.The Mother arranged for all these.R says-I EAT ,DRINK AND MAKE MERRY.THE REST MY MOTHER KNOWS!-THIS IS TRUE GNANA-It contains dual,Nondual and every other aspect and MORE.

I request all Sadhakas to read the beautiful lives of all the Great saints and Sages.

This has been an EXHILARATING EXPERIENCE FOR ME.Thanks for providing this platform where I COULD LISTEN TO MY TALK!

Salutations!

Ravi said...

Nonduel,
"we" are like billiards balls, running all over, hitting the sides of the pool table. If I can only fall in that pouch!!!

Your EXPRESSION in these terms is worth a million!Many many things are conveyed beautifully!
1.NO BALL GETS INTO THE POUCH by itself!
2.EVERY BALL IS THINKING ITS MOTION is IT'S 'VERY OWN'.-Like Self Effort!
3.EACH BALL IN COLLIDING WITH THE OTHER BALLS THINKS IT IS PUSHING THEM INTO THE POUCH!
4.THE BILLIARDS PLAYER ALONE PUSHES THE BALLS INTO THE POUCH,EITHER DIRECTLY OR INDIRECTLY-THROUGH THE OTHER BALLS.

KNOWING THIS IS GNANA.COMPLYING WITH THIS IS BHAKTI.

Thanks very Much.

Salutations!

Clemens Vargas Ramos said...

Meister Eckhart (c. 1260–c. 1328)

Now I might ask, how stands it with the soul that is lost in God? Does the soul find herself or not? To this will I answer as it appears to me, that the soul finds herself in the point, where every rational being understands itself with itself. Although it sinks and sinks in the eternity of the Divine Essence, yet it can never reach the ground. Therefore God has left a little point wherein the soul turns back upon itself and finds itself, and knows itself to be a creature.

God alone must work in thee without hindrance, that He may bring to perfection His likeness in thee. So thou mayest understand with Him, and love with Him. This is the essence of perfection.


The masters say: That is young, which is near its beginning. Intelligence is the youngest faculty in man: the first thing to break out from the soul is intelligence, the next is will, the other faculties follow. Now he saith: Young man, I say unto thee, arise. The soul in itself is a simple work; what God works in the simple light of the soul is more beautiful and more delightful than all the other works which He works in all creatures. But foolish people take evil for good and good for evil. But to him who rightly understands, the one work which God works in the soul is better and nobler and higher than all the world. Through that light comes grace. Grace never comes in the intelligence or in the will. If it could come in the intelligence or in the will, the intelligence and the will would have to transcend themselves. On this a master says: There is something secret about it; and thereby he means the spark of the soul, which alone can apprehend God. The true union between God and the soul takes place in the little spark, which is called the spirit of the soul. Grace unites not to any work. It is an indwelling and a living together of the soul in God.

God is nameless, for no man can either say or understand aught about Him. If I say, God is good, it is not true; nay more; I am good, God is not good. I may even say, I am better than God; for whatever is good, may become better, and whatever may become better, may become best. Now God is not good, for He cannot become better. And if He cannot become better, He cannot become best, for these three things, good, better, and best, are far from God, since He is above all. If I also say, God is wise, it is not true; I am wiser than He. If I also say, God is a Being, it is not true; He is transcendent Being and superessential Nothingness. Concerning this St Augustine says: the best thing that man can say about God is to be able to be silent about Him, from the wisdom of his inner judgement. Therefore be silent and prate not about God, for whenever thou dost prate about God, thou liest, and committest sin. If thou wilt be without sin, prate not about God. Thou canst understand nought about God, for He is above all understanding. A master saith: If I had a God whom I could understand, I would never hold Him to be God.

Clemens Vargas Ramos said...

Meister Eckhart:

You should know, that that which God gives to those men who seek to do His will with all their might, is the best.

Now thou mayest perchance say: How can I tell whether it is the will of God or not? If it were not the will of God, it would not happen.

Clemens Vargas Ramos said...

Meister Eckhart:

All creatures are a pure nothing. I don’t say they are insignificant or a something: they are absolute nothing. Whatever hasn’t essence does not exist. No creature has essence, because the essence of all is in the presence of God. If God withdrew from the creatures for just one moment, they would disappear to nothing.

Clemens Vargas Ramos said...

Meister Eckhart:

All that a man bears for God's sake, God makes light and sweet for him...
If all was right with you, your sufferings would no longer be suffering, but love and comfort.

*

If God could have given to men anything more noble than suffering, He would have redeemed mankind with it: otherwise, you must say that my Father was my enemy, if he knew of anything nobler than suffering.

*

True suffering is a mother of all the virtues.

Ravi said...

Ramos,
Thanks very much or your Meister Echart Posts.IT IS ONLY THAT THE "LANGUAGE" is different.
I also like Brother Lawrence.I like the way he achieved Self Realization or GOD-just by looking at a TREE BEREFT OF LEAVES-(That THIS LIFELESS THING SHOULD SPRING TO LIFE at the appropriate time!-This is just the thought process!THE TRUE THING IS ONE OF 'WONDER' and 'GRATITUDE'.THIS IS HOW AWAKENING happens-(not through intelligence or will as you have said.)
I like to recall how Broither Lawrence was always Happy and serene, WASHING DISH PLATES AND DOING PEDESTRIAN CHORES while the other monks were busy with their 'contemplation' and other devotional practices!WHO WAS FREE?HE or those monks!

ONE GETS TO KNOW ONESELF BETTER IN TELATIONSHIPS-to see whether one s focussing on the 'Ego I' or whether one is TRULY SELF CENTRED which is the objective of Vichara.FOCUSSING ON THE 'EGO I' by 'SELF ENQUIRY' is nothing but getting into a smaller loop of the chain of thoughts -instead of the MANY BRANCHED dissipating pattern of Thoughts that one is used to.It surely gives SOME PEACE as the mind does not dissipate itself.

YET THIS IS NOT SUFFICIENT.THIS IS AKIN TO THE POLICE DOG SNIFFING TO FIND THE THIEF-HERE THE DOG IS EXPECTING A REWARD OF A BONE ON PROVIDING A CLUE.quite different to this is the SNIFFING OF THE HMV (HIS MASTER'S VOICE)TYPE OF A DOG SNIFFING ITS WAY TO TRACE ITS MASTER-HERE THE DOG IS NOT AFTER A BONE-IT FINDS ITS MASTER!THE Quality of SNIFFING is very different!THIS SNIFFING is the Bhakti way.The Other one is just the 'MIND' doing some exercise!IT requires to be motivated by a reward in some form or other.

I HAVE TRIED TO USE THE LANGUAGE OF THE 'INTELLECT' for a change!MAY BE YOU WILL BE MOTIVATED TO SAY-'Better be yourself.This is plain torture!

Salutations!

Clemens Vargas Ramos said...

... I HAVE TRIED TO USE THE LANGUAGE OF THE 'INTELLECT' for a change!MAY BE YOU WILL BE MOTIVATED TO SAY-'Better be yourself.This is plain torture! ...

Not at all. It's MANANA, isn't it? You talk to yourself, and in talking to yourself He speaks, and that way you understand and express at the same time. Expressing is understanding and understanding is epressing. Thank you for revealing a deep process of understanding. Why being "still"? It makes much more sense to talk with each other to express enthusiasm. Enthusiasm in itself is what God wants us to have - enthusiasm for Him.

arvind said...

Non Duel, Ravi, Clemens and everyone,

Thanks for the great comments.

“All members here are like drops on the same wave, ready to merge in the ocean. All the posts here, is the Self cleaning the veil of ignorance. That's Grace !”

Thank you Non-Duel for the great lines. They are very inspiring.

Broken Yogi,

Thanks for your post which I really enjoyed reading. Clearly you have thought a lot on spiritual matters and you are also able to express the same so nicely ! I liked your sweet words with respect to Guru Power and how it is a great blessing to all seekers.

But, taking a cue from Non-Duel’s lines above I am emboldened enough to mention just a few points that struck me from your remarks. These are not my opinions being passed on what you have said, which I respect a lot, but am just trying to bring into focus what I think are Sri Bhagavan’s and scriptural teachings with respect to some of your remarks. I do hope you and everyone else would forgive my impertinence in attempting to do so.

“But the power of the Guru, this underlying Power that fuels the spiritual process, does indeed continue through the deep sleep state. If it didn't, when Ramana went to sleep, he would no longer have been Guru, and there would have been no Silent Presence emanating through him. I think the testimony of all his devotees was that this Silent Power was always active in and through him, whether he was awake or asleep or dreaming.”

Of course the Guru Power emanated from Sri Bhagavan whether He was awake or asleep or dreaming. And it was testified thus by all devotees. But when we pose the question “Does it exist in deep sleep ?”, we are then posing the question not in context of Sri Bhagavan’s deep sleep, or any other person’s deep sleep, but YOUR deep sleep. Sri Bhagavan & all devotees who slept or kept awake, are part of the world that is created when YOU awoke & came out of deep sleep. The question is thus asked by YOU in specific context of yourself. When YOU were in deep sleep did Sri Bhagavan & the devotees exist ?

Sri Bhagavan was similarly quizzed by Swami Madhavatirtha: “While I am sleeping, other people who are awake continue to see the world.”

Sri Bhagavan: “The people who are awake at that time are part of the world [whose existence you are trying to prove], so what they say cannot be taken as a piece of admissible evidence. At that time [when you were asleep] it [first] has to be proved whether or not other people exist. That which has to be proved cannot be taken for granted as existent. Their existence has to be proved independently, but such proof cannot be found.” [“Power of the Presence” I, Pg 256. David, thanks a million again for having all these crucial conversations translated]

When YOU were in deep sleep all you had was a sense of ‘I’, and that too became apparent only after YOU woke up. YOUR experience during the deep sleep state was that there was nothing. No people, no Broken Yogi even, no world, no Gurus, no Powers of Gurus, no Gods, nor any Powers of Gods. ONLY THE SELF was (Is). This was your experience and is the empirical experience of every one of us when we go into deep (dreamless) sleep.

And so Sri Bhagavan said that He is not the body or the beautiful form seen by all, but that He is the Self Itself.

[This is the basic viewpoint from the Drishti-Srishti system, which along with Ajata forms the core of Sri Bhagavan’s teachings, and the acme of Vedantic-Advaita thought. The starting point is specific and starts with YOU, or the specific individual person making the query.]

Folks, I know that these are very difficult ideas to understand or to express and I must beg forgiveness, in me you have a very poor exponent of both understanding and expressing ! I am just giving it a shot anyway …

And the other point I thought to bring up was the remark:

“Now, as to whether the world is "real" or not, this depends a lot on how we understand the concept of "real" and "unreal". If we take this to mean "existent" and "non-existent", we cannot say that the world we see before us is non-existent. It clearly exists …” ( … and so on)

I think your explanation of how the world is “real” and “really existing” was an inspired one and can perhaps work well for some in a practical sense even though you have mixed-in Advaitic and Dvaitic thought there. I just want to bring out that the Vedantic texts and Sri Bhagavan, however, accord a very simple & straightforward definition to “Reality” or “Existent”. Only that is “Real” - “that exists ALWAYS”. Very simply, if something disappears during any of the 4 states of sleeping, dreaming, waking and Turiya, then it is not “Real”. Sri Bhagavan has repeatedly made remarks to that effect. Here are some:

[From “Day by Day”, Pg 102 (26.1.1946); Devaraja Mudaliar had the pamphlet on Madhava’s Philosophy, given to Sri Bhagavan by a visitor, in his hands. He writes:]

I said, “… But I find that this author also asks, as I sometimes used to feel, ‘Why should we refuse to treat anything as real unless it exists always?’ Bhagavan said, “How can anything be said to be real which is only a passing show?” Balaram also quoted Bhagavad Gita which says, “That which exists never ceases to exist. That which does not exist (at any time) has no existence.”

Also: Sri Bhagavan said, “What is the standard of Reality? That alone is Real which exists by itself, which reveals itself by itself and which is eternal and unchanging. [“Gospel”, Chapter III “The Jnani and the World”]

My apologies once again for dragging on this discussion.

Best wishes

Ravi said...

Arvind,
Yes,very familiar arguemet.Although Bhagavan had put this sort of an arguement-(Other than the experience of Brahman,everyother thing expressed IS ONLY A MIX,an ALLOY only-NOT DEFINITIVE).What is the World-Only what is perceived.Yes.BUT IS THAT ALL?THERE MAY BE MANY THINGS THAT WE DO NOT PERCEIVE.DOES THAT MEAN THEY DO NOT EXIST?LIKE SOUND DOES NOT EXIST for the DEAF person.DOES THAT MEAN THAT SOUND IS NON EXISTENT.WE can only SAY THAT THE DEAF IS SHUT OUT of this experience.This is true of any state-waking,dream or sleep.
CAN WE BASE EXISTENCE OF THE WORLD(of which we are a part) ON THIS BASIS?ALL WE CAN SAY IS THAT THE 'I' IS SHUT OUT ,BUT IT IS STILL PART OF THE WORLD PROCESS.OTHERWISE HOW DOES ONE GET UP ON BEING CALLED?
This is something like a poser what I read in YA PERLMAN,the wonderful author of popular science books (USSR).In that a Squirrel is sitting on the bark of a tree and a man wants to take its photograph.As The man tries to take a snap,the squirrel manages to hide itself on the diametrically opposite side of the Tree.The Man circles the TREE once,yet is never in a position to take that snap.
Now the Man can claim that he has gone round the tree on which the squirrel is hiding,and hence can claim that he has gone round the squirrel as well.ONLY HE HAS NOT BEEN ABLE TO TAKE A SNAP.
The Squirrel may claim that the man had never encircled it,as the man could never take that snap.It always managed to outwit him!
This is something like this!A SOPHISTICATED WAY of the OSTRICH burying its head and claiming that the world does not exist.
We can only say that WE ARE NOT CONSCIOUS OF THE WORLD.But the world can still INTRUDE WHEN IT WANTS TO.

I know that Bhagavan as well as the other sages want to convey something deeper than what we imagine.Yet this is not as simple as what our Intelligence makes out to be.

Somehow,I have never been impressed by this arguement,notwithstanding my love and respect for Bhaavan.

Salutations to you!

Ravi said...

Arvind,
Your latest initiative on the Nature of Reality-Specificall whether the World is Real-is an interesting one!
What I have understood on the basis of what the sages have said is that THE WORLD SEEN APART FROM BRAHMAN is UNREAL-An appearance without substance.THIS SUBSTANCE is BRAHMAN.THE WORLD SEEN AS BRAHMAN IS REAL-Something like Gold and Gold Jewelery.Both are GOLD.This s the experience of THE SAGES that THEY SEE THE WORLD AS BRAHMAN.Sri Ramakishna explains this so simply He says any number of zeros will make sense if the Zeros Follow a ONE.Now once this one is perceived in the Front,The ZERO also assumes a new significance.

Salutations!

arvind said...

Ravi,

Thank you for your comments. Honestly, they show that you are a wonderful and wise person. I really admire how you are so easily able to produce your wonderful little parables and then use them to defend your views. And all your posts here are so full of enthusiasm and devotion that they are a real pleasure to read.

And unfortunately, it is true, I agree wholeheartedly ! I am just a silly goose who carries-on harping in a silly way !

I just thought to include the following quote:

[starts] 15. Thus, to have the direct experience and conviction or feeling in all respects, at all times and in all states, that I am that ‘Immense I’ – what is called the ‘ripe I’ – is the meaning of remaining in Bhavamukha. When one reaches the state of Bhavamukha, all the ideas such as ‘I am the son of so-and-so’, ‘I am the father of so-and-so’, ‘I am a Brahmana’, ‘I am a Sudra’, and so on, are completely washed off from the mind and no sign of them is left; and one always feels that the one is the ‘immense I’ pervading the vast inconceivable universe. The Master, therefore, always taught us: “My children, all the I’s such as ‘I am the son of so-and-so’, ‘I am the father of so-and-so’, ‘I am a Brahmana’, ‘I am a Sudra’, ‘I am a Pandit’, ‘I am rich’, and so on, are ‘unripe I’s’; they bring about bondage. Give up these and think, ‘I, am His devotee’, ‘I am His son’, or ‘I am a part of Him’. Keep this mood firm in your mind.” Or he would say, “Tie the non-dual knowledge (Advaita-Jnana) in the hem of your cloth and then do whatever you like.”

16. The reader will perhaps say: “Was not then the Master a true follower of the doctrine of non-dualism ? Did he not accept the full implication of the non-dual doctrine founded by Sankaracarya, in which the very existence of the universe has been denied ? For the Master, you say, upheld a difference in the Divine Mother Herself (Svagatabheda) and saw Her existence in the two different aspects of Nirguna as well as Saguna.” No, it is not exactly that. The Master accepted all the three doctrines of non-dualism (Advaita), qualified non-dualism (Visishtadvaita) and dualism (Dvaita). But he used to say:

“These three doctrines are accepted by the human mind according to the stage of its progress. In one stage of the mind dualism finds acceptance; the other two are then felt to be wrong. In a higher stage of spiritual progress the doctrine of qualified non-dualism is regarded as true; one then feels that the Reality, which in Itself is eternally devoid of attributes exists in sport as always possessed of attributes. One then cannot but feel that not only is dualism wrong but there is no truth in non-dualism also. Finally, when a man reaches the ultimate limit of spiritual progress with the help of Sadhana, he experiences the Nirguna nature of the Divine Mother and remains in oneness with Her. All the ideas, such as I and you, subject and object, bondage and liberation, vice and virtue, merit and demerit, are then all merged in the One.” [ends]

Do you know Ravi, and everyone, who is the “Master” who is referred to here and whose golden words are quoted ?? And who wrote these words ?

best wishes

Clemens Vargas Ramos said...

... All the ideas, such as I and you, subject and object, bondage and liberation, vice and virtue, merit and demerit, are then all merged in the One.” [ends]

Do you know Ravi, and everyone, who is the “Master” who is referred to here and whose golden words are quoted ?? And who wrote these words ?...


I don't know the name of the person, but I isn't this the essence of the vedanta?

Particularly the Avadhuta Gita sings this over and over again:

"45. I am neither of the nature of the void -
nor of the nature of non-void.
I am neither of pure nature nor of impure nature.
I am neither form nor formlessness.
I am the supreme reality of the form of its own nature."


"Duality and none duality mysteriously exist together as One Being" = indescribable, inexpressible absolute Reality unknown to the mind but experienced as sat-chit-ananda.

Ravi said...

Arvind,
I know this much that Sri Ramakrishna used to say this-"“Tie the non-dual knowledge (Advaita-Jnana) in the hem of your cloth and then do whatever you like.”
Also "The BhavaMukha "is defined differently as compared to what Sri Ramakrishna used to be in.Truly ,I do not recognise Sri Ramakrishna in the way it is presented here but for the clues like Divine Mother,Bhavamukha and "-"“Tie the non-dual knowledge (Advaita-Jnana) in the hem of your cloth and then do whatever you like.”

Salutations!

The rest of the teaching is an interpretation by some intellectual mind-not quite the same as what Sri Ramakrishna has said in the Gospel.

arvind said...

Thank you Clemens for the lovely Avadhuta Gita verse. And yes, as you have accurately mentioned, the quote in my post really reads like the essence of Vedanta.

Ravi,

In fact, but for a slight difference in terminology, the words quoted could have been said by Sri Bhagavan. But of course, they are the actual words of Sri Ramakrishna as recorded by Sarat Chandra.

Some background. Sarat Chandra was one of Sri Ramakrishna’s favourite ‘children’ and the person in whose lap an ecstatic Sri Ramakrishna once went and sat. He said, “I was testing how much weight he could bear”. The other devotees immediately understood that Sri Ramakrishna had some big responsibility for Sarat Chandra in mind. And so it was. As Swami Saradananda, he was the life-long secretary of the Ramakrishna Mission and Math, a very difficult job in the early years. He wrote what is the sort of “official” biography-cum-teachings of Sri Ramakrishna in a monumental 5 volumes in Bengali entitled “Sri Ramakrishna Leelaprasanga”, translated into English as “Sri Ramakrishna, The Great Master”. The quote is taken from this book, Vol I, pg 443.

Yes, you will not find these words of Sri Ramakrishna as quoted above in the ‘Gospel’. In fact, there are lots of words and teachings of Sri Ramakrishna in this book and in other books that you would not find in the ‘Gospel’. The ‘Gospel’ is NOT the complete source for Sri Ramakrishna’s teachings. Don’t get me wrong. The ‘Gospel’ is one of my favourite books too, and ‘M’ one of my all-time favourite writers. But ‘M’ was such a great bhakta, he was so deeply seeped in bhakti-bhava, that he saw nothing but bhakti everywhere. Incidents related to Advaita and Sri Ramakrishna’s observations thereof probably just did not register with him. In fact, so powerful and sweeping was the bhakti and writing of ‘M’, that the book heavily influenced Heinrich Zimmer & his editor Joseph Campbell, and Zimmer wrote that famous chapter in the “Philosophies of India” entitled “Who seeks Nirvana ?”, which has guided, ever since, how influential scholars around the world look at Sri Ramakrishna.

According to me, if you base your understanding of Sri Ramakrishna’s teachings just on the ‘Gospel’, that would be just like basing one’s ideas of Sri Bhagavan on the writings of just one person, say Sri Ganapati Muni. You would miss out all the observations of other equally great devotees like Sri Muruganar, and all the reminiscences and talks. Would that be the correct picture you would get of the life & teachings of Sri Bhagavan ? And so to understand Sri Ramakrishna and his teachings, all that has been written by other close devotees also, in many vast volumes, has to taken into account.

And so when people quote Sri Ramakrishna to support their views against Advaita that he said, “I spit on Advaita”, or that “I want to taste sugar, not be sugar”, they are doing him and his teachings a grave injustice. Sure he said this, but in the context of a completely dualistic orientation at that point. And sure his primary orientation was always towards bhakti. But his views overall were as given by me in his actual words as quoted in the post above. And thus like all the Great Masters his words read quite like what could have been written by any one of them.

Oops ! Its nearly 1.15 am, and I can barely keep my eyes open. Goodnight Ravi & everyone.

Ravi said...

Arvind,
I see the point in your administering this test.I do not want to CONTEST whether Bhagavan said this or whether Sri Ramakrishna said something differently,etc.THAT HAS NEVER BEEN MY APPROACH.
However,I do know that THE GOSPEL IS THE MOST ACCURATE SOURCE OF INFORMATION on SRI RAMAKRISHNA's Teachings.THIS HAS BEEN CERTIFIED BY HOLY Mother Sarada Devi and Swami Vivekananda.Your take on 'M' is completely misplaced.'M' was a Tremendous scholar in Sanskrit and was deeply learned in THE UPANISHADS,PHILOSOPHY(EASTERN and Western).Literature(Kalidasa).He could teach sanskrit at a college level.'M' is one of the disciples to whom Sri Ramakrishna taught 'ASHTAVAKRA GITA',not to Sarat who became swami Saradananda.

'M''s own path leaned towards Monism and the 'impersonal'-but under the guidance of the Master bloomed into all round proportions.

coming to Gospel of Sri Ramakrishna-Why this is considered the Authentic source?It is simply that 'M' just set it the way it was spoken,with a STENOGRAPHIC precision-JUST AS IT WAS SPOKEN!This is the most amazing thing that has happened.NO ONE HAD SUCH A BOSWEL-is Alduos Huxley's True appreciation of this work.
'M' has given the how he has gone about RECORDING this work.This is a gret lesson for anyone who wants to Record anything-IT IS JUST LIKE THE RECORDING done in the courts for EVIDENCE purposes.
One Needs to read what 'M' has spoken regarding the Gospel and more IMPORTANTLY lived.This is recorded in a series called M-The Apostle and THE EVANGELIST.None of the Master's other disciples were EMPOWERED by The Master-not even Vivekananda.In fact during Sri Ramakrishna's Lifetime,Sri Ramachandra Dutta published the First book of Sri Ramakrishna's sayings-Sri Ramakrishna asked him not to do the same once he came to know about this.
I will give you a little later how 'M' had gone about his job.It is truly amazing!
Coming to your actual problem-Trying to reconcile what sri Ramakrishna had said with What Sri Bhagavan had said-Just drop the 'intellectual comparisons' and speak the language of the Heart.You will be able to resolve the differences.This has not been a problem for me.TO SAY THAT THE GOSPEL IS NOT AUTHENTIC AND THAT 'M'IS ONLY A DEVOTEE-I am afraid that this reveals one's unfamiliarity regarding these things.
Ditto with Sri Aurobindo as well.Unless we try to understand and learn to broadbase our understanding,we will be hugging our pet understanding only.
I HAVE NEVER TRIED TO STEER ANY ARGUEMENT-In fact this is the only reason that I am not for any Discussion along PURELY THEORETICAL Grounds!
I will get back to you with more facts,so that you get to see the Kathamrita in a different Light-not as one of the Teachings-BUT THE TEACHING.Sri Ramakrishna had commissioned 'M' for this purpose and this is what Vivekananda and the Holy Mother CONFIRMED .
You may dismiss my understanding of these things-To say that 'M' was not qualified or had his point of view in writing the kathamrita -is something I KNOW is wrong.

Salutations!

Ravi said...

Arvind/Friends,
I am posting something which may not be of interest to you.Yet,it is something that is valuable,to learn how to record anything valuable!
So,This is from VOLume 9 of 'M,The Apostle and The Evangelist':

M. (to Antevasi) – The first class of evidence is that which is recorded by the writer on the same day after seeing with his own eyes, and hearing with his own ears what Thakur said or did. The second class is that which is recorded much later though it was heard and seen by the author himself. And the third class is that which was collected by hearing from others. Along with it there is another class of evidence which one comes across at times. It can be termed as fourth class of evidence. The writer has mixed up what he himselfWhat the writer himself heard and saw, but did not write it immediately, he has mixed it up with what he heard from somebody else.

M. (to Antevasi) – The Kathamrita is the first class evidence. What I saw Thakur doing with my own eyes and what great sayings I heard from my own ears, I recorded them in my diary on the same day on returning home. Sometimes I wrote for days together, for there were long conversations on some particular days. I have recorded all these divine sights and divine words in the Kathamrita. In the main part of the book, I was present in all the scenes narrated therein.

Antevasi – The reminiscences of Ashwini Dutt and the story of Baranagar Math etc. have also found a place in the Kathamrita.

M. – Not in the main text. They are written in the appendices. In the main book, there are all such direct evidences that I saw with my own eyes and heard with my own ears.

"It is very valuable for the lawyers. They are cultured men, you see. Haven’t you seen what Ashwini Dutt has written? He says, ‘Am I so fortunate as M. that I could write about Thakur giving the day of the week, the date and the position of the stars?’ Before writing about Thakur he has offered his apology by saying so. Please bring the Kathamrita."

M. reads out what Ashwini Dutt, a devotee of God and a patriot, has written about Thakur. It forms the appendix to part I of the Kathamrita.

M. (to Jagabandhu) – Just hear what he says. He writes, ‘But I have not come with a fortune such as M. that I should be able to write the day, the date and the time of the darshan of his holy feet and record exactly all that fell from his blessed lips. I am writing as far as I can remember. It is possible that I may assign the talk of one day to some other day. Besides, I have forgotten so much.’

A Certain Bhakta – Swami Bhumananda said, ‘Master Mahashay has given three kinds of evidences to dishonour Sarat Maharaj’s Lila Prasanga (Sri Ramakrishna the Great Master).’

M. (wonder-struck and sad) – What is this? How does he know why it was written? I don’t accept what he says. Let him say what he wants. Who can stop him?

M. (to a devotee) – No other Aavatara had [a record] like this. It is not in the world history .

"Swami Vivekananda knew it. He wrote to me, ‘The move is quite original and never was the life of a great teacher brought before the public untarnished by the writer’s mind as you are doing.’

"The other books which are coming out are all confusing because they contain second and third class evidences.

"This book is the first record in the world containing such an account of the conversations and life of an avatara.

"The coming out of the Kathamrita has done another big good. In future, whosoever writes a diary or a book shall be greatly benefited by knowing about these three classes of evidences. While writing on any subject, they will be very careful while offering their opinion on it.

"Since ‘the Kathamrita’ has been written on the basis of first class evidence, the lawyers, the scientists and then the wWesterners will be able to appreciate the real value of this book."

M. (to Antevasi) – Just read the page where these three classes of evidences are talked about.

Antevasi (reads) – (The main portions are).

"First — Direct and recorded on the same day... this kind of version is obtained by direct seeing and hearing — along with the year, the date, the day of the week and the lunar date.

"Second — Direct but unrecorded at the time of the Master... this kind of version is also very good. The record of the other avataras is generally of this kind..... Herein there is a greater possibility of mistakes than what is recorded immediately.

"Third — Hearsay and unrecorded at the time of the Master... what one hears about the life from the devotees, all belongs to the third class.

"At the time of the writing Sri Sri Kathamrita M. relied on the first class evidence…"

M. – All these volumes (of the Kathamrita) were written after so much of seeing and hearing. I had to read the Law of Evidence. They do not know it. If there is a slight mistake in the evidence the whole value of it goes down.

M. (to Antevasi) – Haven’t you read the Law of Evidence, and the Criminal Procedure Code?

Antevasi – Yes Sir, I have read them the way one studies in colleges. I read in broad outlines.

M. – You have seen it. A slight mistake is detected in the evidence and it almost spoils the whole case. The lawyer says to the judge, ‘My Lord, he is not reliable.’

"The force that direct evidence has is not there in what one has heard from somebody. That is why, the judge asks, ‘Did you see it yourself?’ By seeing and hearing oneself there is a greater force. And if one says, ‘I have heard it so,’ it has no force.

"I visited the court so often. By seeing and hearing all this I have arrived on this conclusion. (Laughing) W.C. Bannerji once said, ‘My Lord, he is an English speaking witness.’ Such persons enjoy more respect. They are very reliable because when it goes into the hands of a translator some difference creeps in. It is not exactly the same."

Thakur often used to call 'M' if he wanted to discuss something with the devotees.He wanted 'M' to be Present.If for some reason 'M' was not present,R used to reopen the topic by saying-'We discussed these things in your absence'!HE KNEW THAT 'M'WILL COME OUT WITH THIS WORK that will benefit Mankind.

Arvind,in case you are interested you will be able to read Vols 8,9 and 10 of the wonderful book-"M,THE APOSTLE AND THE EVANGELIST' from this website-www.kathamrita.org

Wishing you the very Best!

Ravi said...

Arvind,
I have not explained what sri Ramakrishna had meant by 'I spit on Advaita' and 'I do not want to be sugar,but want to taste Sugar'.
This should be not seen as his disowning the Advaitic experience.He always used to make this distinction between Gnanis and Vijnanais-He used to say that the Vijanai has a FULLER realization(not Higher).He enjoys the Empirical reality as well.This is the point in his Saying-'I want to play ALL THE NOTES in an Octave'.
Swami Saradananda's take on Bhavamukha is his own Interpretation.It was not the 'BIG I'That The Master had;It had all these shades and notes in an octave.This I had brought in to say that there are Different Standpoints.R does not project the Dvaita,Vishishtadvaita,Advaita as an Ascension-LIKE WHAT SARADANANDA HAD PROJECTED_Each one more valid than the other as the seeker advances.Sri Ramakrishna SAW THIS AS DIFFERENT STATES IN WHICH THE SOUL ENJOYS THE DIVINE.He used to give the Illustration of Hanuman -How he used to maintain these different Bhavas with regard to Rama.THIS IS THE DEFINITIVE position-Based on The Master's own words and not on someone's(however great)interpretation.IN ONE SENSE THIS IS WHAT AN ADVAITIST ALSO PRACTICES TOWARDS THE GURU!Sri Ramakrishna justs extends this to the Empirical reality.Sri Aurobindo carries this forward.
I have said this just to state that there are different points of View-As Sri Ramakrishna Has repeatedly said-NO PHILOSOPHICAL SYSTEM CAPTURES THE WHOLE OF IT-He says-I accept the Vedanta,The Tantra and The Puranas(The Incarnation aspect is not part of Vedanta).All these are valid.

You will find in that earlier Post where M dismisses these OTHER WRITINGS as they were not PURE!
Most of Saradananda's LEELA PRASNGA was HEARSAY.This is still valuable that we get to know some interesting things about Sri Ramakrishna.YET THIS IS NOT ON THE SAME FOOTING as THE GOSPEL.
Also,'M' was like his Master-Outwardly a Devotee and Inwardly a PUCCA Gnani!If we are basing our opinion of 'M' on what Paramahansa Yogananda or Paul Brunton had written-These are true-Yet does not cover the other aspects of 'M'.To some extent the book-M,The Apostle and The Evangelist' will give us some of these other aspects of M-HOW HE WAS STEEPED IN THE VEDIC TRADITION-A VEDIC SEER.

For your information there is another gospel of Sri Ramakrishna by Swami Abhedananda,another direct disciple of Sri Ramakrishna-This also comes up for discussion somewhere in M ,THE APOSTLE AND THE EVANGELIST.Yes,there are other less reliable versions.

I HAVE OFFERED MY UNDERSTANDING ON THIS BASED ON THE EVIDENCE AVAILABLE.I am not interested in any Arguement or to prove anything.I may not understand these things properly but certainly I am not interested in bagging any arguement.This is not me.
I understand that there will be opposite points of view.This has been my constant refrain-That opposite points of view are valid-more often than we think!

Salutations!

Salutations!

arvind said...

Ravi,

Thanks for all the information and detailed analysis. And also for the double salutation ! Truly I do not deserve even one ! Sincerest apologies too, I seem to have upset you or hit a raw nerve somewhere.

[Folks & David, apologies to you also, in my continuing this diversionary discussion which has nothing to do with sadhana. But Ravi is a very sweet person and he has made some very passionate remarks and I thought I need to tender one more comment.]

Ravi, I respect your views on ‘M’. Like I said he was one of my favourite writers too. And he has all my respect as a very holy man and writer. I never said that the ‘Gospel’ is not ‘authentic’; I said it is not the ‘complete picture’, that’s all. In fact, personally, I prefer ‘M’s’ Gospel to Sarat’s book too. I believe ‘M’s’ book is like ‘Letters from Sri Ramanasramam”, by Saradamma, whereas Sarat’s book is like Arthur Osborne’s “The Teachings of Sri Ramana Maharshi in His own Words.” To the reader each has its value.

So I respect Sarat, Swami Saradananda too. And I do think you are being unfair to this gentle, simple and holy man [as everyone who has known him has written] when you dismiss what he wrote as hearsay and his own concoction. He too, like ‘M’, spent his life seeped in Sri Ramakrishna. He too, besides doing his official duties with devotion and diligence, was very close to Swami Vivekananda and his aide in the US, I think; and also the main person responsible for looking after all the worldly day-to-day needs of the Holy Mother right till the end. I hope you have read his book at least when you said what you said about this gentle soul.

Also you have said, “Coming to your actual problem – trying to reconcile what Sri Ramakrishna has said with what Sri Bhagavan has said. Just drop the intellectual comparisons and speak from the heart …. ”

I thank you for the advice and will keep it in mind. But I would clarify that I was not at all trying to reconcile the two. If I wanted to do that I would have made my above post when you first quoted Sri Ramakrishna, and not some 100 ( ! ) of your quotes later. My writing was prompted by the remarks you made that you are “not impressed” with Sri Bhagavan’s arguments on Advaita. “Yes, very familiar argument”, “Bhagavan has put this sort of an argument …” and so on was what you said, a bit condescendingly. I just thought that I should then make a point by quoting Sri Ramakrishna back at you saying exactly the same thing. Perhaps then you would get “impressed”.

Best wishes

Ravi said...

Arvind,
Thanks very much.Just to reply to the few doubts that you may have-
1.Yes,I have read the Book,Sri Ramakrishna,The Great Master.
2.I have great regard for Swami Saradananda who was a pillar support to The Holy Mother and who built the udbodhan.Yet,this does not mean that HIS VERSION IS Authentic.From The VERY Language we can make ou that this is not the way Sri Ramakrishna will express himself.The Language and expression is quite intellecual.
3.I do not believe it is 'Bhagavan's' Arguement-These are some of the STANDARD Arguements that are part and parcel of ADVAITA Vedanta.Bhagavan was least interested in any of these arguements.He was POINTING the TRUTH to the Disciple and was only employing this Standard Tool.WE SHOULD USE THESE AS POINTERS and NOT AS ABSOLUTE TRUTH.In I AM THAT ,Nisargadutta Maharaj brings this point-All these different view points ARE ONLY SERVICEABLE.You may take what you want.Nothing is absolutely TRUE in these.
4.This is one point,I will like to share with all-ADMIRATION is not the same as LOVE.There are always differences in THOUGHT PROCESS,CONCLUSIONS.Yet,this has nothing to do with one's love or regard for the other person. This is what Naren told Sri Ramakishna.He never accepted Sri Ramakrishna's VIEWS on many things.Yet,He loved him all the same.
I have given the required clarifications for the Kathamrita.

THE DOUBLE SALUTATION(Perhaps this gave you the impression that you have touched a Raw spot!)is simply due to a few additions.The Google verification Does not permit the posting straight away.I need to enter it the second time after pressing SUBMIT.Just before the Second SUBMIT,I had added some more points and the SECOND SALUTATON was part of this!You deserve This as also others who have patiently put up with all this!

Do Remember what I HAVE SAID ABOUT Sri BHAGAVAN which perhaps Started this Thread!That should offset any doubts that you may have in PLACING my WORDS in the Right context.

Wishing you the Very Best!

Ravi said...

Friends,
I warmly recommend 'I am That'-conversations with Nisargadutta Maharaj.Maharaj's aproach is truly original and very refreshing.
I remember how Maharaj had said that the ONLY REALITY IN THE EMPIRICAL WORLD IS LOVE!(Broken Yogi had said this in one of his posts).Here there is something from this book which brings this out-Also interesting is Maharaj's take on other spiritual masters-
"Q: The Yoga of living, of life itself, we may call the Natural Yoga (nisarga yoga). It reminds me of the Primal Yoga (adhi yoga), mentioned in the Rig-Veda which was described as the marrying of life with mind.
M: A life lived thoughtfully, in full awareness, is by itself Nisarga Yoga.
Q: What does the marriage of life and mind mean?
M: Living in spontaneous awareness, consciousness of effortless living, being fully interested in one's life -- all this is implied.
Q: Sharada Devi, wife of Sri Ramakrishna Paramahamsa, used to scold his disciples for too much effort. She compared them to mangoes on the tree which are being plucked before they are ripe. 'Why hurry?' she used to say. 'Wait till you are fully ripe, mellow and sweet.'
M: How right she was! There are so many who take the dawn for the noon, a momentary experience for full realisation and destroy even the little they gain by excess of pride. Humility and silence are essential for a sadhaka, however advanced. Only a fully ripened jnani can allow himself complete spontaneity.
Q: It seems there are schools of Yoga where the student, after illumination, is obliged to keep silent for 7 or 12 or 15 or even 25 years. Even Bhagavan Sri Ramana Maharshi imposed on himself 20 years of silence before he began to teach.
M: Yes, the inner fruit must ripen. Until then the discipline, the living in awareness, must go on. Gradually the practice becomes more and more subtle, until it becomes altogether formless.
Q: Krishnamurti too speaks of living in awareness.
M: He always aims directly at the 'ultimate'. Yes, ultimately all Yogas end in your adhi yoga, the marriage of consciousness (the bride) to life (the bridegroom). Consciousness and being (sad-chit) meet in bliss (ananda). For bliss to arise there must be meeting, contact, the assertion of unity in duality.
Q: Buddha too has said that for the attainment of nirvana one must go to living beings. Consciousness needs life to grow.
M: The world itself is contact -- the totality of all contacts actualised in consciousness. The spirit touches matter and consciousness results. Such consciousness. when tainted with memory and expectation, becomes bondage. Pure experience does not bind; experience caught between desire and fear is impure and creates karma.
Q: Can there be happiness in unity? Does not all happiness imply necessarily contact, hence duality?
M: There is nothing wrong with duality as long as it does not create conflict. Multiplicity and variety without strife is joy. In pure consciousness there is light. For warmth, contact is needed. Above the unity of being is the union of love. Love is the meaning and purpose of duality."

This is something which I find is Truly Oiginal for an Advaitic proponent.

As I have said-Maharaj Scintillates!

Salutations!

Clemens Vargas Ramos said...

...As I have said-Maharaj Scintillates!...

You said it, my friend. I translated nearly 60% or so of "I am that" into German. The other part already was translated and published. For German readers here I can send a link to scribd where this translation could be found.

This raises the general question for me if it would be possible here to exchange digitized books or part of books with each other?

Ravi said...

Friends,
I am That -is available as a pdf download from this site:
www.maharajnisargadatta.com/I_Am_That.pdf

Clemens Vargas Ramos said...

Ravi and friends, anyone knows u.s. vedanta teacher Jean Klein (already passed away)? He is brilliant and comparable with Nisargadatta. I never found a teacher having such a command of language.

Here are some book descrptions:

Jean Klein

Canadian teacher John de Ruiter is also astonishing.

Ravi said...

Ramos,
You seem to be a voracious Translator!Truly appreciate your dedication and 100% commitment to Spiritual living.

Truly inspiring!

Clemens Vargas Ramos said...

...You seem to be a voracious Translator!...

I love it. I programmed my own personal website with 36 MB of all digitized texts and books I "eated" in the past 7 years. Unfortunately I cannot make this available to the public because of copyright issues. Davids blog then gave me the wonderful idea to start a blog and to place snippets of this books there. A new possibility to share, to enjoy AND to meditate again on all this texts.

Ravi said...

Ramos,
Thanks very much.Never knew Klien.
This is from the link that you have provided.
"“The root of all desires is the one desire: to come home, to be at peace. There may be a moment in life when our compensatory activities, the accumulation of money, learning and objects, leaves us feeling deeply apathetic. This can motivate us towards the search for our real nature beyond appearances. We may find ourselves asking, ‘Why am I here? What is life? Who am I?’ Sooner or later any intelligent person asks these questions.

What you are looking for is what you already are, not what you will become. What you already are is the answer and the source of the question. In this lies its power of transformation. It is a present actual fact. Looking to become something is completely conceptual, merely an idea. The seeker will discover that he is what he seeks and that what he seeks is the source of the inquiry.”

Klien Talks about Home Coming.I remember how David felt when he was circumambulating Arunachala-That he has arrived home!

This is one unmistakeable signal.

Clemens Vargas Ramos said...

.
Jean Klein worked with a special king of body yoga leading to the a higher awareness of inner energies. The following descriptions say something about this kashmir technique. Perhaps you guys in India know something more about this:

The teachings of Jean Klein belong to the "direct way". In this respect Jean Klein is on a par with teachers like Ramana Maharshi, Atmananda Krishna Menon and Nisargadatta Maharaj. A distinction between Jean Klein and these teachers is that Jean Klein was a practitioner of yoga-bodywork and he transmitted this art to those who were interested. The kind of bodywork as transmitted by Jean Klein originates from Kashmir and therefore may be called "Kashmiryoga".

Ravi said...

Ramos,
No idea about Kashmir Yoga!For me,now I Read only for Satsangha.When I was young,I had this penchant for Reading.Now it has drastically come down."I am That"-is the only new book that I am reading after a pretty long Gap.

As Sri Ramakrishna says-Time to bring the Music Notation to the Fingers!

Clemens Vargas Ramos said...

..."I am That"-is the only new book that I am reading after a pretty long Gap....

Really? I thought you to be a strong reader. Or do you meant that you are not reading NEW books much? That's the same with me. I'm eating books like chocolade. MANANA - you know. I have not at all knowledge like a scholar - Im only "eating" them - that's all - looking for words and sentences only my soul knows what to look for exactly. Words are power, and texts to.

Gangaji, u.s. vedanta teacher, said: This holy words are so powerful that they have effect even when babbled by a parot.

Ravi said...

Ramos,
Yes,I meant the 'new' ones.It is important to do manana as you said.I do it the Bhakti way-Yes,The Only one I need is The Kathamrita-I know the Teachings by heart.I only read to participate in Satsangh.You just add my name to the others who are figuring in those scenes.Yes,This is all that I do.I am sure you will get it!

I truly appreciate your asking for the Right cues!
Salutations to you Ramos.God Bless you.

Clemens Vargas Ramos said...

...The Only one I need is The Kathamrita...

I hate it that many german translations are so incomplete, Kathamrita too. We have a tendency here to think: "This or that the reader don't need to know!"
Completely wrong. The german translation of "Talks" of Ramana partly simply is disfigured. It's a pity.

Kathamrita is all a man needs to know. Being on a lonely island and have Kathamrita solely that's really more then one need to have, isn't it?

Ravi said...

Ramos,
Very True for us(You and me).Ofcourse,every person may have his favourite-one needs to find what is it that appeals to him/her-and Plunge into it.
It is unfortunate that the Translations in German are incomplete.I thought right from Max Muller times,a lot has been translated into German.Anyway for you Ramos,it must not be a problem I suppose.Yes,for those who cannot follow English-This will be a problem.
Translating the Kathamrita is not easy-The Right Flavour has to be given.It is easier to translate Pure Philosophical Thoughts.

Clemens Vargas Ramos said...

Ravi, sounds strange but do you have in India these days a person like Ramakrishna? Which person could be compared with him?

S. said...

salutations to all:
it was wonderful to go through the several beautiful opinions that have been finding expression in the blog...a very nice platform for people to share in the spirit
of a conversation...
a request: some of you write as if you are preparing a textbook! if possible, please write in simple sentences...that could make our talk 'simple & direct'

a few times, i did feel like writing something or the other but then remembered the powerful 'first realize, then talk'... please treat my occasional writings as my limitations...

ravi, thank you for the tons of
information that you so generously
offer...but as far as your latest
discussion wth arvind goes, guess you should give 'it' to arvind... it may not be fair to treat the kathamrita to be more authoritative than the lilaprasanga...
i remember vivekananda mentioning that on many an occasion, after making sure that there are no householders in the vicinity,
thakur used to assemble the few bright young teenagers and speak in glowing terms of the subtleties of renunciation in the light of advaita vedanta...
it is quite possible that saradananda attended many such sessions to which M. was not privy to...if you subscribe to 'authority', then it would be appropriate to consider
saradananda's work to have nearly the same legitimacy as that of M.'s...after all, we are talking about two exemplary direct disciples of thakur...
of course, both of you are welcome to my 'camp'...i don't care much about any authority :-)

arvind and (b) yogi: read your delightful summaries/views on advaita as a school of thought... both of you seem to have a strong leaning towards proving or disproving using the tools of 'logic'...assuming that you were talking about the 'system' and
not the 'state' & are also quite open to suggestions, would request you to spare some time going through the compelling objections raised by some of the brilliant
thinkers of the madhva school... this could plausibly offer an element of robustness to some of your very interesting dreamy speculations (not that am a dvaitin) :-)
even a little careful study would reveal that some of the critical tenets of the advaita school, logically speaking, rest on fragile foundations...just some unsolicited food for thought :-)

am swayed by neither, though am inclined to the advaitic view...my reasoning is a little different: (very briefly) as a school of thought, advaita perhaps comes closest to the purposelessness of creation...life on earth may be no more than a freak accident of evolution...to trace any of these
things to 'god' is perhaps just a
concoction of the security-seeking mind, whose very attribute is to offer one reason or the other for everything (sort of the mind abhorring a vacuum)...

aren't these just another kind of 'speculations'? of course yes, but with a difference...these are at least based on a sincere scientific quest unlike the
delusions of organized religion...
if you value honesty as a necessary pre-requisite, in my opinion, to say 'i don't know' is lot more honest than the probable 'fiction' of god's will :-)

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

Ramos,
"Ravi, sounds strange but do you have in India these days a person like Ramakrishna? Which person could be compared with him?"

Ramos-Every day This is a question that I always wonder about.THE ANSWER IS KNOWN.Yet the question is asked with a!!! and not with a ???.
Yes,as a Bhakta we expect an answer.Here it is-!!!

Truly ,the only person that I have found who comes anywhere close -Each person may have his views-is Mata amritanandamayi.Her Biography and life is inspirational.Her teachings are downright simple-straight from the Heart and rich in wisdom.Her singing the Kirtan and going into samadhi ,etc.

Coming back to Sri Ramakrishna-Yes ,a totally disarming ,enchanting,electrifying Presence!You have indeed put a Brahmastram!
Salutations!

Ravi said...

S.
What meets the Eye is only a 'Fraction' and not the Whole-Please read my take on the Kathamrita in the context of the Discussion on Advaita-Whether Advaita(as a Philosophy or State)is the FINAL,ULTIMATE statement on Existence.In This Context we were EXAMINING WHAT SRI RAMAKRISHNA had said(NOT MEANT!)-Here Kathamrita is unimpeachable in the sense that it verbatim reproduces WITH STENOGRAPHIC precision what the Master had said.Swami saradananda's Lila prasangha does not do the same.THE ISSUE IS NEVER 'M' VERSUS 'S'.(I do not think I have to write my Autobiography to cover other aspects of the 'Ramakrishna Sangha!'-Rest assured that I have place for many other things!).

If there is any Hidden Teaching of Sri Ramakrishna that does not Figure in The Kathamrita-Please do let me know.I understand that the 'Emphasis' will be different for the 'Monks' and 'The Householders'.Just that the Master customized it to suit the needs of the individual!THIS IS WHERE ,I FIND THAT SRI RAMAKRISHNA was unique-how he did not stop Surendra Mitra from DRINKING alcohol,allowed Girish Ghosh his libertine Freedom,etc.HE COVERED THE ENTIRE SPECTRUM of Humanity-you have a sample of each-How Vinodini got Transformed after the 'Chaitanya Play'!These Form the CORE of Sri Ramakrishna Phenomenon.DEFINITELY NOT WHETHER HE ADVOCATED ADVAITA Philosophy OVER and ABOVE THE other systems.

Talking about Sri Ramakrishna,I can get lost!So,To come back to the POINT,S-Is There a more authentic Recording than Kathamrita-The answer as far as I know is-NO!I am not saying that M was there all 24 hours and was Present during each and every conversation that the Master had with any of the disciples.NO.Yet,it is a fact that the KATHAMRITA covers about everything that the Master SAID without INTERPRETING the words.This is its UNIQUE feature and the other books on Sri Ramakrishna DO NOT HAVE this!I have cited What M had to say-and till date I have not seen any counter to these from any quarters.

The other point,I have tried to bring out is about 'M'.We do not seem to have much about this wonderful personality.Imagine that so many of the monks were students of 'M' -we hardly have any reminiscences of 'M'!I have always felt that this is a serious lapse on the part of RK mutt and mission that they have not given enough attention to one who has given the Kathamrita!
I have not seen a single article from the RK mutt circle that anywhere comes close to Paramahansa Yogananda's Sweet Portrayal of 'M'.This is a chapter that I go over and over Again!The other one is from Paul Brunton which is rivetting in its own way!

These seem to be the only TWO pictures of 'M' available!

Sometime back in one of my earlier Posts,I have mentioned about the wonderful Series -'M,The Apostle and The Evangelist'-which has been done by Swami Nityatmananda,a disciple of 'M'.This follows the methods that M had so meticulously followed -This series of recording of the conversations of devotees with 'M' reveals interesting facets of 'M' that are simply fascinating.IF WE GET BACK TO KATHAMRITA in the light of this aspect,WE CAN APPRECIATE HOW 'M' HAS SET ASIDE ALL 'PERSONAL' LEANINGS and was simply devoted to the RECORDING of the Master's words-SO THAT PEOPLE LIKE YOU AND ME can now deliberate on this and take what we can!I Hope I HAVE MADE MY PREMISE CLEAR to you,S!
Simply view what I have expressed in this context without EXTRAPOLATIONS AND AT THEIR FACE VALUE.
This is one problem that I have always encountered in expressing our view or opinion in WORDS.In a conversation you HAVE NON VERBAL cues and that sets the TONE in a more accurate fashion.To BRING the same tone in a WRITTEN FORM requires skill and Discipline-for me,I am a bit lazy about this!(hence the Typos and Grammatical mistakes,AND MORE IMPORTANTLY-THE WRITE AS I SPEAK type of approach that may lend itself for a different type of message UNINTENDED).

Coming to your sober and sane -"a few times, i did feel like writing something or the other but then remembered the powerful 'first realize, then talk'... please treat my occasional writings as my limitations..."-I fully appreciate this outlook.I also prefer this myself-If I strictly go by this,I may be out of this BLOG!or end up as just a reader!
My point in taking part in the SPECULATIVE discussions is simply to see the FUTILITY side of it!That is the spirit with which I have taken part-Otherwise I am just not interested in these speculations at all.

IMPORTANTLY,I have found as you have observed very APTLY-"as a school of thought, advaita perhaps comes closest to the purposelessness of creation"-VERY VERY TRUE!THERE IS A GREAT DANGER in pushing things to this extreme!In tender minds(Age is no criteria!)THIS CAN OFTEN DISTORT THE WHOLE PICTURE OF LIFE-as something that is a Nuisance if not a burden, and which one should get away from-How People are Ready to PACK THEIR BAGS AND LEAVE!(The discussion on pain-RAMOS YOUR DEFINITION OF PAIN is Excluded here!-how everything is taken away by the lord,etc.)THIS IS SOMETHING THAT IS SUBTLE and does affect one's LIFESTYLE-One gets through Life somehow with an apology of a Living!This is the GREATEST DANGER-and this is where correction is required with a LIFE AFFIRMING PHILOSOPHICAL ourtlook,which at the sametime does not take away anything from the CHALICE!This is the Ramakrishna Pioneering spirit of SEVA and 'I SPIT ON ADVAITA'rebellion.THIS FORMS THE FOUNDATION FOR SRI AUROBINDO's LIFE AFFIRMING INTEGRAL YOGA-A Back to Basics of the VEDIC AGE-using modern language and expression-THE AGE THAT PROCLAIMED THAT MAN SHOULD LIVE FOR 100 YEARs,WEALTHY,HEALTHY,STRONG AND PURPOSEFULLY.Surely makes sense to do this fine adjustment.YES,WE MAY STILL ASK -'WHAT IS THE POINT BEHIND ALL THIS-DEATH IS GOING TO CLAIM US ANYWAY-WHAT IS THE 100 years-AN IOTA in timelessness!'-Sure it is!Yet this iota is precious and it is what counts!
This is the genesis behind any 'Arguement'(Read it as discussion)that I participate in.

Hope I have explained my premise.There may still be gaps-These try to fill it not with the mind but listen to what your heart says as well.

One Request S.Pl do come in every now and then!Also do not forget to bring in the apples and oranges!Not just your pumpkins!

Salutations to you!

Ravi said...

S.
Understand that it will be difficult to keep track of what has been posted by a certain individual.Often this leads to communication Gaps-The Person who posts -thinks that he is STANDING on some premise.THIS PLATFORM is never seen by the READER who processes it as a STANDALONE statement!

Coming to your wondering whether any one of us is willing to join 'your camp'(Any Patent!)on 'Authority'-Please refer my post to Arvind on 08/08 in this thread-What I have expressed!-"Finally,"Still, I would consider Sri Bhagavan, however, to be the ultimate authority on this matter, like every other matter."-Here ,I wish to differ,in that this is not a matter of 'AUTHORITY'!IT IS ONLY A QUESTION OF UNDERSTANDING.No 'AUTHORITY' will matter if the understanding is not there."
You have to decide to which camp that I belong to.I do not know!The Oranges or the Lemons!

arvind said...

S.

Thank you for your comments. I love the way you write in ‘smalls’ ! If this is an expression of how you have actually managed to downsize your mind/ego please do share the secret of how you did that. I desperately need to knock down my own mind/ego which is just too large and goes careening-off in all directions !

But seriously, the Ultimate Truth is after all, inexpressible. It cannot ever be exactly described or ‘known’. It comes down to a matter of realization rather than understanding. So all the great systems of dualism or non-dualism (and even those of Edmund Husserl or Bertrand Russell for that matter) take us to a point and leave us there. You know this S.

For me, my “Advaita-Vedanta” is the “Teachings of Sri Bhagavan”. The classical school of Advaita-Vedanta comes only secondarily into the picture. Still, one finds that the two are virtually identical. And I believe that within Sri Bhagavan’s teachings there is an answer to every vexed question, as much as is “expressible” in this world, whether it relates to dualism or non-dualism.

You have mentioned “compelling objections raised by some of the brilliant thinkers of the Madhva school”, and that “critical tenets of the Advaita school, logically speaking, rest on fragile foundations” ...

Why do I get the feeling of being a lamb led to the slaughter ?, but do mention which compelling objection or tenet resting on fragile ground you had in mind; just so we avoid a dry discussion for discussions sake, I would be grateful if it were an objection you personally support, or a tenet you personally find fragile, and a resolution of which would be useful to you.

Best wishes

Clemens Vargas Ramos said...

... For me, my “Advaita-Vedanta” is the “Teachings of Sri Bhagavan”. The classical school of Advaita-Vedanta comes only secondarily into the picture. Still, one finds that the two are virtually identical. And I believe that within Sri Bhagavan’s teachings there is an answer to every vexed question, as much as is “expressible” in this world, whether it relates to dualism or non-dualism. ...

This is my conviction too. Sri Ramana is the true interpreter of the essence of vedanta in modern time. In particular His approach to self inquiry/vichara is unequalled.

Ravi said...

arvind,
"I love the way you write in ‘smalls’ ! If this is an expression of how you have actually managed to downsize your mind/ego please do share the secret of how you did that."

Beautifully put Arvind!

"And I believe that within Sri Bhagavan’s teachings there is an answer to every vexed question, as much as is “expressible” in this world, whether it relates to dualism or non-dualism."
This Faith and conviction is all that matters.

Wishing you the Very Best!

S. said...

salutations to all
ravi: liked your apples/oranges/pumpkins analogy...in this blog, everyone i could think of writes so beautifully that there is a veritable shower of not only apples and oranges but also cashews and almonds...not to speak of the nectar that david keeps pouring so often :-) but as the whole thing is so heavily skewed towards the 'old one' (einstein used to address god as the 'old one'), let me play a little bit of the devil's advocate :-) lest the dish gets toooooo sweet!

your writings are as inclusive as thakur himself, and really thank you for that...also agree that as regards thakur's teachings, the kathamrita may not have left out anything of significance...yet, given this context, i guess arvind's point was that it is still reasonable to say that the kathamrita's clear emphasis on the bhakti path may not be the whole thing...thakur had another side, the jnana side, that comparatively got revealed a lot more to the monastic disciples...obviously, this has nothing to do with whether M. was a jnani or not... yes, the kathamrita is one of its kind, which stood beyond the dilution of personal interpretations...still, that wouldn't imply that thakur had nothing more to say than what M. so faithfully recorded...

Ravi said...

S.
Thanks very much for playing devil's advocate!Let me clear that I have no difference of opinion on Arvind's point that Thakur had his Gnana side!

"...yet, given this context, i guess arvind's point was that it is still reasonable to say that the kathamrita's clear emphasis on the bhakti path may not be the whole thing...thakur had another side, the jnana side, that comparatively got revealed a lot more to the monastic disciples..."

I think ,I had covered this somewhere a little after you had posted how 'Thakur' meant Bhakti!Very glad now to hear from you that he stood for Gnana as well!Remember how the Elephant has Tusks to show to the outside world(Bhakti) and Teeth for chewing!(Gnana)or the relationship is vice versa(like Naren for example).I do not think it was a Gnana versus Bhakti issue at all that was discussed-What I have been debunking was the idea that the world does not exist in deep sleep.The other corrolary that I had brought out that the world is Brahman,just like Gold and Gold jewellery.(As the Sages have explained and not from personal experience).

"Coming to apples and oranges"-I hope you got it properly-i have taken this liberty-this is what I have said in my post earlier that 'much is held in abeyance'-I have referred to this aspect behind your Facade of atheism!(pumpkin-Hope you got my terminology right!).

coming to your trying to prevent the dish from becoming tooooo sweet-This only means that you have to keep adding your pinch of salt!Please do come in more often(with some oranges at least-I have toned down my expectations!).

As for your trying to play Devil's advocate-you need to bring in a 'weighty' issue!

I liked the way you have ended-"still, that wouldn't imply that thakur had nothing more to say than what M. so faithfully recorded..."-Thank you very much-Truly Thakur is unfathomable and If I have at all given any impression to the contrary,I stand corrected.This is what I meant by 'Apples and oranges'!
I like what Arvind said about using small case;I just read my mails and found them a horrible mix of big and small.I am sure that this would have also made it difficult to get the message intended.
Thanks very much!

Salutations to you!

Ravi said...

Friends,
Just want to share my views on this often encountered Arguement-
"the world does not exist in deep sleep".
I mean this to imply that just like we remain undisturbed during sleep by the intrusion of the 'world process',we may truly remain so during the waking hours as well -If only we know our true nature as the' gold in gold jewellery'.The form of the jewelery may change from say,a necklace to a Bangle.Some may prefer not to keep the gold in the form of a jewellery,but as gold biscuits.Others may prefer to display the Gold ornaments and exchange notes on the designs,etc.This is the difference between Jnani and a Vijnani that sri Ramakrishna talks about-Both are wearing gold only-The Vijnani wears Gold in the form of Necklaces,Bangles,and what have you!This is what he means by 'I like Playing all the seven Notes'.
Now getting back to the Arguement itself-Whether the world truly does not exist-The answer is No!As long as a jiva is alive(Gnani as well as Agnanis)it is under the sway of 'world process' or shakti(Mother)as sri Ramakrishna had called Brahman.
We may again say-That for the Gnani it is ever the same-There is no world!Sri Bhagavan used to say-Whether this doubt(regarding the world) is for the Gnani or Agnani!if it the Gnani,he will know for sure!If it is for the Agnani,let him find the Truth of his self!
In both cases it becomes irrelevant to discuss whether the world is real or not!Surely there is no better arguement possible!

As far as we are concerned -World is very much Real and it is a beneficial Sadhana to consider each and every living Being as the Self.Is there a better Example than Sri Bhagavan who treated even a 'stone' as a living thing-how sri bhagavn felt deeply when the devotees removed the stone slab from Viroopaksha cave!(This is something that I have not read but only heard.I will like to hear more about this )How he loved the animals and treated everyone as the self.
I do not regard Bhagavan for his Gnana at all!There were many others who who have covered this aspect.There are so many others(Robert Adams being one example)who have said it equally well or even more tuned to our language.Where I find Sri Bhagavn INIMITABLE AND UNIQUE(sorry about this arvind!cannot avoid using the upper case)is this samadarshana-how nobody was his equal and he considered everybody his equal!There is a very moving Reminiscence of Bhagavan by Swami Ranganathananda which ends with this point of view-A verse by Adi Shankara glorifying the state of Sthithapragnya-'No army with him,yet infinitely strong!No one his Equal yet He sees everyone his Equal'.This is my Bhagavan.

Salutations to you!

S. said...

maRai~ndhida mUdiya mAya iruLai
aRam pAvam ennum aru~nggayitRAl katti
puRam thOl pOrththu e~nggum puzhu azhukku mUdi,
malam sOrum onbadhu vAyil kudilai
mala~nggap pulan ai~ndhum va~njjanaiyaic ceyya,
vila~nggu manaththAl, vimalA unakku
kala~ndha anbAgik kasi~ndhu uL urugum
~nalam thAn ilAdha siRiyERku ~nalgi
~nilam thanmEl va~ndhu aruLi ~nILkazhalgaL kAtti,
~nAyiR kadaiyAyk kida~ndha adiyERkuth
thAyiR ciRa~ndha thayA Ana thaththuvanE

--------------------------------------
i am hidden by the darkness of mAya (ignorance) caused by my strong karma. i am bound tightly by the rope of good and evil. i am enveloped on the outside by skin that covers all the filth and worms inside my body. i am stuck in this hut of nine entrances that keeps leaking waste. these five senses are conspiring against me. i am a dog-like lowly person with an animal-like mind that had no deep love for you. o the one without blemish! yet, you came on this earth and blessed me by revealing your holy feet. o the embodiment of all knowledge, you showed a greater love than a mother would on this lowly person who is inferior even to a dog...
(Tiruvaasagam; Sivapuranam Lines 51-60)
those of you who are inclined to surrender would love these lines... despite my agnosticism (which is not the same as atheism), am mesmerised by these lines :-)

Ravi said...

S,
Wonderful Gift from you!Thanks very much-Thiruvachagathirkku Urugaathaar Oru Vachagathukkum urugaar!(those who melt not listening to 'Tiruvachagam'(composition of Saint manikka vachagar-favourite of sri Bhagavan and muruganar)melt not to any other!
Yes,sorry about that inadvertant use of the word-Atheist.Anyway it is only a mask-any other mask will do!
Salutations to you S!

P.S:I am listening to the songs from the gospel which the RK mutt has issued in CD form.Just wonderful-If we understand Hindi,we can follow the Bengali easily.

nonduel said...

Dear Ravi,

"""Just want to share my views on this often encountered Arguement-
"the world does not exist in deep sleep""".

From "Advaita Bodha Deepika" page: 66
Quote:
"""D.: Should the universe be a myth, your conclusion will. Is this universe only a myth?

M.: First there is the authority of the "srutis" which say that in dissolution there remains only the non-dual Self and in creation the names and forms are by Naya superimposed on it like the name and form of a snake on a dimly visible rope.

Secondly, reasonning shows the illusory nature of this universe because it is seen to appears and disappear like the unreal visions in dreams.

Thirdly, the sages have proclaimed their realisation that all this is but illuory and that only Brahman is real.

Therefore all this universe is really false. Now it is but right to say that being the witness, the self is the sole cause of all this universe which is but an illusory appearance on the Self. The illusory effect cannot be separate from the basis. just as the foam, bubbles and waves are not different from their origine, the sea, so also the phenomena of the Universe are but the Self falsely presented. therfore the Self is "non-dual" and there cannot be duality." (end of quote)

Reality is unchanging, what is transient cannot be Reality. What has to be sustained by awareness, consciousness to exist cannot be Reality. Without consciousness, objects cannot exist, while awareness exist by Itself. Consequently all objects have their source in awareness and only awareness IS.

The world exist for the ego in duality, and it cannot exist apart from awareness, Self which is the source.

Ravi said...

Nonduel,
Kindly read what sri bhagavan had to say that i have mentioned in that post-"Whether this doubt(regarding the world) is for the Gnani or Agnani!if it the Gnani,he will know for sure!If it is for the Agnani,let him find the Truth of his self!"
No amount of reasoning or citing of authority will really help.
Actually for me(Ego or otherwise)the world exists now!This is the point that I have made in that post.As long as 'I' exist,the world exists.If the 'I' ceases then any way debate is not required!This is Bhagavan's wise counsel.Just see how many iterations we are going through ,going exactly through the same gate in and out!

Salutations!

S. said...

salutations to all: (in 2 parts)
(pardon me for the for the complicated language...my understanding is very meagre, so please excuse me for all the errors in content)
part 1
arvind: you write beautifully... laughed out loud on seeing your comment on 'feeling of being a lamb led to the slaughter' & 'downsizing the ego'...unlike most of you, am not even a novice...if i ever get to learn the tools of slaughter (vichara is one such tool but can't claim to have 'learnt' it), the first target will be this mischief- making mind and that will be the end of 'me' :-)...regards 'downsizing', the credit should go to 'notepad' and the 'keyboard' (hahaha)...with the exception of formal documents, i don't use the capslock...but it's true that i have a sort of natural disdain for using the capital 'I'; and since starting with 'am' or 'have' or 'would' etc makes sense, pre-fixing with an 'I' can be dispensed with :-)
you aren't alone in ailing from the influence of the ego...take the blog itself: the very need to justify or clarify one's own stand is a clear evidence of such an influential dominance!

coming to your question on whether there are issues where i tend to 'personally' agree more with dvaita than advaita, all i can say is:'personally' no but 'logically' yes...as said earlier, am not even a novice but would like to say that dvaita and advaita are complex thought structures built with axiomatic reasoning... notwithstanding the 'chinks', the systems by themselves are on sophisticated logical foundations (logic is again a much misused word but here the reference is to the way 'logic' is understood in rigorous philosophy)...given the nature of david's beautiful blog, which is filled with mature and sincere seekers of the first rank, am afraid whether this is the appropriate platform to discuss polemical issues involving cumbersome dialectics (of course, the dvaitins and advaitins themselves believe that an understanding of these bones of contention are irrelevant to one who seeks truth alone)...

further, they also demand a profound understanding of samskrit prosody and vedantic epistemology ...though i have sampled,yet am miles away from even a basic proficiency that is necessary to appreciate the debates of idealism vs. realism (a systematic study of the canonical texts is one of my objectives for this decade!)

arvind also wrote: [... For me, my “Advaita-Vedanta” is the “Teachings of Sri Bhagavan”. The classical school of Advaita-Vedanta comes only secondarily into the picture. Still, one finds that the two are virtually identical. And I believe that within Sri Bhagavan’s teachings there is an answer to every vexed question, as much as is “expressible” in this world, whether it relates to dualism or non-dualism.]
i agree...let me add two points:
(i) all these excursions of thought are strictly intellectual and hence inferior and irrelevant to the pursuit...i have a fascination for these and i also believe that since i haven't come to a stage where i can do vichara all the time, need to keep myself occupied with something serious... at least, this intellectual pre-occupation is far better than the emotional junk that invades all of us

(ii) bhagavan spoke from the Olympian heights of his own experience...he never claimed that this is advaita or any other thing ...it were the people who started saying that they are similar... bhagavan on his own never claimed or endorsed any this or that system over any other...the one thing he recommended to one and all was 'self-enquiry', and that shall be my sadhana for the rest of my life :-)

[wonder what this 'rest of my life' means - 33 years have passed and have hardly grown out of my immature childishness! :-( ]

S. said...

salutations to all: (in 2 parts)
(pardon me for the for the complicated language...my understanding is very meagre, so please excuse me for all the errors in content)

part 2 continued...
(the capital letters in between the terms imply the dirgha svara)
nonetheless, let me give a few pointers (solely to illustrate): there has been a lot of talk in the blog on the 'reality of the world experience'...since most of you subscribe to the advaitic view, do have a look at the dvaitic view (of course, you are exempted if any of you is talking from one's own experience but if you are merely parroting what sankara has to offer, then request you to peruse the views of the opposition)...

an understanding of this issue has to be preceded by something more fundamental, i.e., the theory of error...(this is a very very brief outline)... the advaitic view rests on the 'anirvachanIya khyAti' ('theory of error'), which basically treats an object of illusion as neither real and existent nor unreal and nonexistent; this category of what can neither be 'defined' nor 'described' is sandwiched between the real and the unreal leading to a double cognition (this can be illustrated in the perception of silver in nacre)... epistemologically, it is as if, the sensory input and avidya collude in a mysterious way to cause the origination of silver and the undefined origination lasts for the duration of the illusion itself...

the dvaitins argue that the advaitic premise of the subsequent cognition of the substratum terminating the hitherto indescribable production of silver in nacre is inconsistent with their other view where they go on to deny the existence of silver itself in the triple states of space-time...on the one hand, the premise of the anirvachanIya-khyati is that the advaitin cannot attribute non-existence to the object that manifests in the given illusion because it is illogical to suppose that the nonexistent can be presented as existent; on the other hand, the illusion itself can be explained only if the contrary is considered since only then an error can be spoken of...the observer sees the silver because, as per this khyAti, the silver does appear as existent... this has to be the case because if the illusion is presented as nonexistent or 'as an illusion', then there can't be the perception of an illusion to begin with...

let me leave it here...let me refrain from the powerful extensions of these arguments... suffice to say, that the way madhvA goes about with his theory of abhninava-anyatha khyAti, on the basis of the logically sustainable 'sakshIpramaNa' and the upajIvya pratyaksha etc. to offer a consistent solution to these vexatious issues, including the reality of the world question, is definitely admirable and worth pondering...believe me, the logic is so penetrating that it will compel you to reconsider everything you had taken for granted in advaita :-(

let me conclude that arguably, though a little separated in time, the greatest debate in the annals of indian philosophy (especially vedanta) was undoubtedly between vyAsatirtha & madhusUdhana... though the advaitins believe that madhusUdhana's advaitasiddhi successfully answered all the objections of vyAsatirtha's nyAyAmrita, many modern scholars do not agree with this claim...the aforementioned works are very deep and at the present i grossly lack the ability to comprehend all their features...[surendranAth dAsgupta, whose history of indian philosophy is the best (s rAdhAkrishnan pays a lot of tribute to dAsgupta's unique contribution) goes on to say that for sheer encyclopaedic knowledge, vyAsatIrtha is simply unrivaled with no equal!]

if you wish to 'study' advaita and dvaita without prejudice, then besides the excellent translation of the brahmasUtra sankara-bhAshya by gambhIrAnanda, it is highly desirable to also read the brilliant work by b.n.k sharma (a true scholar of all systems of vedanta even though he leans on the dvaitic side)...this work is called 'brahmsUtrAs and their principal commentaries' (in 3 exhaustive volumes)...sharma's vast erudition and venerable schoarship shines in every line of the text (these books are very hard to get today and haven't succeeded in getting a copy myself, though i have searched quite a bit for it...sometime back, found a tattered copy of sharma's wok in the rk mutt library at hyderabad, and the above lines are based on that text)...

my apologies to david (and to everyone else) for writing such a long comment...

Broken Yogi said...

S,

I am not qualified to debate the deep philosophical distinctions between Advaita and dvaita. I think both have their advantages and disadavantages in philosophical terms. But that is not the focus of my interest in either one. I am interested in the benefits of using either approach in regards to practice and realization, and that's where I would tend to find the Advaitic approach generally superior, though I think dvaita also has its advantages for many people and especially for us beginners.

I think Ramana made a great statement when he said that we should not try to apply Advaita to ordinary life, or even to the relationship to the Guru. In those respects, dvaita is the preferred approach. It is only in the direct approach to spiritual truth that we make a non-dual approach. And even there, the non-dual argument is essentially a criticism of how we live and approach truth, and not intended as a substitute thought system that we should adopt in place of dualism. The practice of self-enquiry is itself a dualistic practice, intended for those living dualistically, but aimed at critiquing dualism rather than merely exploiting or extending it.

The Advaitic approach is a constant criticism of dvaita, but it is not a rejection of dvaita, which is hard to comprehend. Rather than rejecting dvaita, it merely observes dvaita, and by merely observing it, neither acting or re-acting, it paves the way for the transcendence of dvaita. If it were to reject dvaita, it would be creating a new dualism, just as it would be if it were to embrace dvaita. Instead, it simply stands in the transcendental position that can reveal the limitations and illusions of dvaita.

This is not to say that bhakta, puja, or any of the ordinary forms of dvaita are false approaches. They simply have their limitations which must be transcended by taking the transcendental position of advaita. There is such a thing as non-dual bhakta and puja, in both practice and realization. There are even forms of advaita that take an inclusive approach to dvaita, such as "qualified non-dualism". All of this only matters to me to the degree that it actually informs and helps my own practice grow.

I recall Nisargadatta saying that non-dualism shouldn't be taught to children, because it would actually hinder their human development. I think this can apply as well to the early stages of spiritual growth. One must develop at least a basic human spiritual maturity to make proper use of non-dual approaches, otherwise it can actually hinder spiritual development. It can even hinder ordinary human development if used improperly by immature people.

That said, I don't believe there is any serious contest between dvaita and advaita when it comes to spiritual realization. It's a false dualism to suggest that there really are two ways to realize the truth. The notion that there is the jnanic, non-dual approach, and then the bhakta, dvaitic approach is a false dichotomy. There are certainly differences in style, but in substance even the bhakta approach must be non-dual in nature to acheive realization. Dvaitic bhakta can even be said to have a negative effect on one's prospects for realization by reinforcing a mindset that reifies the dualistic divisions of mind as universal in nature, rather than as merely an extension of illusory mind itself. Encouraging people to hold onto their particular objects of devotion as the goal of spiritual practice is itself a form of misleading devotion that inhibits realization. On the other hand, it is fine to use such things as discardable aids to practice that outlive their usefullness at a certain point, as in Papaji's exhausting of his mantra shortly before his non-dual realization through Ramana's Grace.

arvind said...

S.

“Jaya Sri Hanumanji” ! Don’t be surprised S. at the greeting. One has been a life-long bhakta of Hanumanji and when one enters the world of Sri Madhvacharya, one spontaneously feels nothing but love. And as we all know Sri Madhavacharya was an Amsa of Hanumanji.

Thank you for your comment.

Part 1 (1). Personally, I like to pray when I cannot do Vichara. S., it is highly recommended for you too ! Even logically, it is a far more useful thing than fascination with abstract theories, even if you do not feel any “devotion” per se. Just suppose there is actually God ? Agnosticism allows the possibility of a 50:50 chance. I think those are good odds.

(2) I agree with you totally. That is why Sri Bhagavan’s teachings have such immediacy and authority. He first Realized, and without any scriptural or religious sadhana of any sort. Then to His own astonishment He found that His experience had been written about before, by the sages of yore. And as He was offered religious books to read by devotees, one can sense the joy with which He marked out shlokas and passages and whole texts, which mentioned exactly what He experienced. And these texts were mostly of the Advaita-Vedanta school and specifically closely allied to the thoughts of Sri Sankaracarya.

Sri Sankaracarya or any of the other Acaryas or sages from other schools, from times immemorial, have all gone through the grind of first espousing a particular school and then realizing the Ultimate. And so their support for their own particular doctrines is quite understandable. But here we have the example of a sage, who never espoused any system to achieve Realisation. But then we find that His experience tallies with Advaita-Vedanta. I think that is staggering.

[“Talks”: Talk No. 189; 19th May 1936]

D: Is Maharshi’s teaching the same as Sankara’s ?

M: Maharshi’s teaching is only an expression of His own experience and realization. Others find that it tallies with Sri Sankara’s.


Also, I believe that Sri Bhagavan was never happy with all the technical terms and jargon associated with the doctrinal aspects of the teachings of any of the schools. I believe he was sometimes tossed these terms on the sly by interested devotees. For instance, He was asked about “Yathartha” which is a technical term in Sri Madhva’s philosophy, or “Akhandakara-Vritti”, which is a technical term of Advaita, and many more. And each time Sri Bhagavan brushed aside all the jargon and gave a simple direct answer.

Part 2

Sri Madhavacarya was a great intellectual. In fact it’s one of the world’s great ironies that the person who espoused Bhakti with such ferocity was the person who created such a complex Dualistic philosophy. From the time he formalized his doctrine, I believe the people who really understood the meaning of his technical terms, and could relate it to practical Bhakti-bhava in a manner conducive to realizing God, can be counted on one hand. And I am not sure that Dr. B.N.K. Sarma is one of them, however great and venerable a scholar he might be.

You have chosen to go with the technical terms in your post. So let me add another observation. No one has ever won an argument between Advaita, Dvaita-Advaita and Dvaita conclusively using the doctrines and tenets as ammunition. Great geniuses that the Acaryas were, and their successors are, they have utilized their brains in debating endlessly and no one has really completely vanquished the other. What we need to get at really is - does any one system actually describe the World as it is ?

So down to brass tacks. From what I gather, you have expressed reservations about basically “anirvancaniya khyati”. The problem comes when you treat this tenet also as an artificial device created by the Acaryas to explain tricky philosophical conundrums, like the problem of silver in mother-of pearl.

Leaving aside the Paramarthika, Vyavharika, Pratibhasika split, what we have is that basically - are the objects of the world real ? Or are they like silver in the mother-of-pearl ? “Sat-Asat-anirvaciniya” simply means that the objects can be BOTH depending on the perspective you see it from. Till there is a “subject-object” relationship existing the objects are seen as real i.e the silver in the mother-of-pearl is seen as silver which is the state of an ordinary person. But it is actually just an illusion, so it is ALSO unreal at the same time. And when the “subject-object” relationship is destroyed, i.e. when the “subject” alone is, then the substratum alone is.

What Madhva essentially says in his “Abhinava-anyatha-khyati” is just borrowed from the Buddhists, with a ‘twist’. He has brought in a few technical terms like “Badha” and “Yathartha” and your famous “Sakshi” Simply put, he agrees that there is illusion in that there is no silver in the mother-of-pearl. But he says even when there was the illusion, there is sense contact with an “objective” entity, a “distorted presentation” if you will. In effect, there is still perception even if it is that of an illusion. And thus the Advaitists are wrong. And the implication is that there is ALWAYS a “subject-object” relationship at ALL TIMES. There is no time when this “subject-object” relationship disappears.

So we come back to our “deep sleep” illustration. Madhava specifically says the above holds good even in deep sleep. He says, that after deep sleep we say “I slept long and happily”. This shows that we who slept had awareness of the duration of time and the experience of happiness. And thus “subject-object” relationship existed even in deep sleep.

Like I said, Sri Bhagavan’s teaching has the answer to most vexed questions. And He has said in golden words to the effect: “Do not mix up the 3 states”. The implication is - When you were in the deep-sleep state THEN did you feel happy ? THEN did you feel time passing ? It is only after YOU WOKE UP and came into the waking state that you felt happy and felt time had passed. Why didn’t you say you were happy WHEN YOU WERE IN DEEP SLEEP ?

And then the whole edifice of Sri Madhva’s “Abhinava-anyatha-khyati” falls apart.

best wishes

PS: Its 2.30 am and am very sleepy; hope it is “deep-sleep” ! I was actually headed into bed after watching a late night movie on TV when I came in to shut the PC and noticed your posts. I am sorry if in haste I have left out anything. Also, I have deliberately not used technical terms so as to let everyone get the flavour of what we were talking about. Goodnight S.

Ravi said...

Friends,
just wanted to share what papa Ramdas says:
"In the Vision of God, Volume 1, by Swami Ramdas, pg 240


YOUR OWN EXPERIENCE


One night a number of students, headed by a leader, came to interview Ramdas. They belonged to a sect called Charvak, allied to materialism. Their leader discussed 'till one o'clock, contending that the body was all and that life was intended only for material enjoyment. Everything was merely nature and its work; their was no such thing as Soul, spirit or God as controller of the worlds.

Ramdas told him at last: "Friend, Ramdas cannot prove to you by mere arguments the existence of God, nobody can. Ramdas from his own experience can boldly assert that there is God. Until you yourself get the experience, it is natural that you should deny Him. But a time will come when you too will have faith in Him."

Namaskar!

Ravi said...

Friends,
I always enjoy reading this article on Papa Ramdas by his disciple -Swami Satchidananda.It covers about everything that we have discussed and more!This is a long post.Do take your time!

"If anyone wants me to tell them something about Beloved Papa, I ask them to visualise what it would be like if, by some divine alchemy, Love and Bliss were to coalesce and stand before them as one luminous entity. That is how Papa can be seen with the naked eye.

Papa was indeed the very image of Love and Bliss divine. What was the source of that Love? When he opened out his heart to Ram, his eternal Beloved, Ram flooded his heart with never-ending, never-fading Love. This happened when Papa turned to his beloved Ram with pure devotion and utter self-surrender, turning his back on the world and the attractions it might hold for him. It was born of the realisation of his oneness with the Infinite and the Eternal Self. Every fibre of his being then thrilled to the sweet rhythm of Love. Bliss ineffable flowed over and saturated him, rising like an artesian spring from the heart's core when Papa realised the entire universe of name and form as the vibhuti or manifestation of the Self.

In the state of pure Bliss-consciousness he carried on his spiritual ministry till his last day on earth. Through his talks and actions he gave those who sought him a taste of the love and bliss divine. The purest pearls of wisdom that fell from his tips spread sweetness and light all round, dispelling gloom, fear and anxiety that held the people in a tight grip. Earnest seekers were lifted up to higher levels of consciousness, getting a glimpse of the true life of the Spirit, with the result that a deep yearning for that life was kindled in them. Papa's talks were often punctuated with jokes and laughter. The total impression left on the mind of the listener was never to be forgotten.

Once, to illustrate the futility of empty, theoretical advaitic knowledge, Papa narrated the following story. He was staying in a small mandir in Jhansi when a man approached him and asked, "Who are you?"

"I am Ramdas," he replied simply.

"No, you speak a lie there," returned his visitor. "You are Ram Himself. When you declare you are Ramdas, you do not know what you say. God is everything and in everything. He is in you and so you are He. Confess it right away.

"True, dear friend," Ramdas replied, "God is everything. But at the same time, it must be noted God is one, and when He is in you and everywhere around you, may I humbly ask to whom you are putting this question?"

After a little reflection, the man could only answer, "Well, I have put the question to myself ".

Papa always stressed the necessity of absolute honesty and sincerity as essential in the great Quest. Better an honest, dualistic bhakti than a hypocritical advaita. Whereas bhakti, however dualistic, will lead ultimately to jnana as jnana mata, the mother of jnana, advaita practised only with the head leads merely to confusion and hypocrisy.

Another incident illustrates this point well. When Papa was staying at Mount Abu he was taken to meet a "great saint", Swami Kaivalyananda, a young sannyasin living in a cave, his body completely shaved, but surrounded by a number of books.

Papa approached him and prostrated.

With a look of surprise, the sannyasin asked, "To whom are you offering this salutation?"

"To Ram," Papa replied.

"Who are you?"

"Ramdas. "

"Ramdas. Ramdas, funny, isn't it? There is only one Truth. Why do you assume this false duality?"

"It is Ram Himself, being One, who has chosen to be many. "

"Wrong," retorted the advaitin. "He is always One; many is false, illusion."

"Truth has become God and His devotee for the sake of lila, the divine play," Papa responded.

"Why play?"

"For love and bliss; so when Ramdas prostrates before you, it is yourself who do it in the form of Ramdas," Papa went on.

"Bosh!" cut in the sannyasin. "There is only one, never two." "Then to whom are you talking, dear Swamiji," asked Papa, pulling out his brahmastra.

The sannyasin reflected a while and had to reply, "To myself".

"Exactly. You assume there are two although in the light of absolute Truth there is only one."

"No, no--no realised person believes in duality," maintained the advaitin, getting jumpy. "Here, take this book and read it. You will understand things more clearly, I assure you. It is written by me." He pressed Papa to accept it. Noticing the author's name on the cover, Papa noted that he referred to himself as "Swami Kaivalyananda, M.A."!

Papa, known as Vittal Rao in his purvasrama days, was born in 1884 at Hosdrug, Kerala, to Sri Balakrishna Rao and Smt. Lalita Bai, a devout Saraswat couple. Papa lived the ordinary life of a householder until he was thirty-six. During that time he experienced many trials and tribulations from the worldly point of view, but in his case they caused him to enquire deeply into the true meaning of life. A wonderful transformation was wrought in him of which nobody had any inkling until he was suddenly fired with an intense wave of dispassion. He came to realise the futility of worldly pursuits, and the need for real, everlasting peace and happiness. Inspired by the teachings of Sri Ramakrishna, Swami Vivekananda and Swami Ram Tirtha, Papa became thoroughly convinced that God alone can give one eternal peace and happiness. The path of pure devotion and self-surrender shone forth for him with an irresistible appeal. All attachments to family, friends and business dropped away just as a fully ripened fruit falls from the tree. He was inwardly ready to give himself up wholly and unreservedly to God.

At that critical time, his father, noticing his son's waning interest in secular pursuits and his waxing love for and devotion to God, initiated him into the Ram mantram and assured him that by repeating it unstintingly he would, in due time, find the true peace and happiness he was thirsting for. As the mantram took hold of him, Papa found his life filled with Ram. It was then that he renounced the samsaric life and went forth in quest of God as a mendicant sadhu. This first year of Papa's new life is described by him in his autobiography, In Quest of God.

It was thus on one morning in December 1922 that Papa left hearth and home by train from Mangalore. He did not know where he was going, nor was he anxious about it. He only knew that he was obeying the divine command of his beloved Ram, and was therefore sure that He would guide him unerringly. The mantram "OM SRI RAM JAI RAM JAI JAI RAM" was ever on his lips and in his heart. Besides chanting the divine Name, Papa's practice was to look upon everything in the world as forms of Ram--God--and to accept everything that happened as happening by the will of Ram alone.

Papa was thus directed to Srirangam. Here he bathed in the holy Cauvery and, after offering up his old white clothes to the sacred river, he donned the ochre robes of a sannyasin and underwent spiritual rebirth. As prompted by Ram Himself, Papa assumed the new name of Ramdas (servant of Ram) and took the inviolable vows of sannyasa, renunciation. Papa never referred to himself in the first person ever again.

With the name of God constantly on his lips, Papa continued his travels in the company of itinerant sadhus. The journey took him to Tiruvannamalai, where he stood in front of Bhagavan Ramana and prayed for his grace.

About this experience Papa himself has said, "The Maharshi, turning his beautiful eyes towards Ramdas, and looking intently for a few minutes into his eyes as though he was pouring into Ramdas his blessings through those orbs, nodded his head to say he had blessed. A thrill of inexpressible joy coursed through the frame of Ramdas, his whole body quivering like a leaf in the breeze."

In that ecstatic state he left Maharshi's presence and went to spend nearly a month in a cave on the slopes of Arunachala in constant chanting of Ramnam. This was the first occasion that he went into solitude. After twenty-one days, when he came out of the cave he saw a strange, all-pervasive light: everything was Ram and only Ram.

Papa continued his travels, which took him to many parts of India, including the sacred shrines in the Himalayas, and then on to Bombay and finally back to Mangalore, where he spent three months in the Panch-Pandava cave at Kadri. It was here that he had his first experience of nirvikalpa samadhi. About this experience he writes: "For some days his meditation consisted of only the mental repetition of the Ram-mantram. Then, the mantram having stopped automatically, he beheld a small circular light before his mental vision which yielded him thrills of delight. This experience having continued for some days, he felt a dazzling light like lightning flashing before his eyes, which ultimately permeated and absorbed him. Now an inexpressible bliss filled every pore of his physical frame. When this state was coming on, he would at the outset become oblivious of his hands and feet and gradually his entire body. Lost in this trance-state he would sit for two or three hours. Still, a subtle awareness of external objects was maintained in this state.

"For two years from the time of the significant change which had come over him, Ramdas had been prepared to enter into the very depths of his being for the realisation of the immutable, calm and eternal spirit of God. Here he had to transcend name, form, thought and will--every feeling of the heart and faculty of the mind. The world had then appeared to him as a dim shadow--a dreamy nothing. The vision then was mainly internal. It was only for the glory of the Atman in His pristine purity, peace and joy as an all-pervading, immanent, immortal and glowing spirit.

"In the earlier stages this vision was occasionally lost, pulling him down to the old life of diversity with its turmoil of like and dislike, joy and grief. But he would be drawn in again into the silence and calmness of the spirit. A stage was soon reached when this dwelling in the spirit became a permanent and unvarying experience with no more failing off from it, and then the still more exalted state came on: his hither inner vision projected outwards. First a glimpse of this new vision dazzled him off and on. This was the working of divine love. He would feel as though his very soul had expanded like the blossoming of a flower and by a flash, as it were, enveloped the whole universe, embracing all in a subtle halo of love and light. This experience granted him a bliss infinitely greater than he had in the previous state. Now it was that Ramdas began to cry out, 'Ram is all. It is He as everybody and everything!' This condition was for some months coming on and vanishing. When it wore away, he would instinctively go into solitude. When it was present, he freely mixed in the world, preaching the glory of divine love and bliss. With this externalised vision Ramdas' mission began. Its fullness and magnificence was revealed to him during his stay in the Kadri cave, and here the experience became more sustained and continuous. The vision of God shone in his eyes and he would see none but Him in all objects. Now wave after wave of joy arose in him. He realised that he had attained to a consciousness full of splendour, power and bliss."

In his accounts of his travels and dealings with devotees, humour was never far from Papa's lips. Always a keen sense of proportion levelled the absurd to the mundane and raised the mundane to the sublime.

Once Papa was rambling aimlessly through a bazaar, not begging, indeed indifferent to food, as he was on a water fast.

"Who is that man?" a passer-by enquired of a merchant, pointing at Papa. The merchant replied, tapping his temple, "He is a half-cracked".

Papa, overhearing the remark, went up to them to correct the merchant's words. "No, brother, not merely half-cracked. Why not say full-cracked, which is the truth?" So saying, Papa passed on his way.

Any doubt about Papa's sense of proportion is washed away completely by the "Boot-kick Puja" episode. Papa had been staying at Limbdi, where he was being sumptuously looked after and treated with the utmost respect. Every day more than a hundred people came for his darshan and satsang. Never attached to such externalities, as soon as Papa received the inner command of Ram to quit the place, he left. The tedious train-ride was broken at several places by a change in trains. One occurred at about ten at night.

Entering a third-class carriage, Papa found that it was very full, and everyone was lying down at full length on their bedding, leaving no room for any other passenger. Somehow, however, Papa found a perch at the feet of a particularly short passenger. At the next station, a number of new passengers poured into the carriage. These had to stand in the narrow passage between the seats, while not a single sleeping passenger made room for them. Papa felt that he should give up his seat for one of them and so quietly slipped down to the floor and stayed there. His former perch was, of course, immediately taken.

At the next station, a fresh set of passengers came in. The rush was now so great that they began tramping through the passage with their heavy boots, searching for some available place to sit. Papa, crouching on the floor like a rabbit, received their kicks with no small delight. He rolled himself down and twisted his body into a figure 8 in order to take up the least amount of room. Station after station new passengers came in. They crowded the passage to well-nigh suffocation point. Some of the sleeping passengers were even forced to sit up. So Papa was treated with boot-kicks from all four sides. Seated passengers had to knock against him when changing the position of their legs. The ones standing in the passage added their share whenever they were shoved. Papa's only covering was a single cloth from head to foot. He looked not unlike a cloth bag on the floor. Reflecting upon the situation, Papa said to himself:

"Ramdas, only a few hours ago you were receiving puja (worship) at the houses of several devotees with flower garlands, sandal paste and arati (waving of lights). That was one kind of puja. Now here you are, immediately afterwards, getting another kind, with boot-kicks! Where is the difference? Is there any less Ram in the one than in the other?"

And so Papa went on chuckling to himself throughout the rest of the journey.

He travelled all over India many times during the next few years and finally settled down in a small ashram built by one of his devotees at Kasaragod, Kerala. It was here that Mother Krishnabai had his darshan and decided to dedicate her life to his service. Mother Krishnabai tells of her own life and realisation in her autobiography, Guru's Grace. By God's will, circumstances caused them to leave Kasaragod and settle down in Kanhangad, where the present Anandashram was founded in the year 1931. This Ashram became a field for them to put into practice the universal love they had gained as a result of their universal vision. Although Papa attained mahasamadhi in 1963 and Mataji Krishnabai in 1989, the motto of the Ashram continues to be Universal Love and Service.

About man's relationship with God, Papa says, "Man is God playing the fool," meaning that man is essentially divine, but that Divine has put a mask of ignorance on Himself and pretends individuality. When He is ready to tear off the mask, the individual gets tired of worldly life and seeks peace and everlasting happiness. He then goes to a wise man, accepts him as his Guru, does sadhana as prescribed by him, and by virtue of sadhana and the Guru's grace, all the vasanas accumulated over lifetimes are washed away and the mind is made pure. Thereupon the mask is torn off and the individual realises "I AM BRAHMAN". When and in whom He chooses to reveal Himself is a mystery. Papa emphasised the need of absolute surrender to the Divine Will. He would say, "His will is supreme. If we are conscious of this always, there is no struggle in life at all. When we surrender to God's will, we put all our burdens on Him. He is only too willing to carry everything. Surrender means strength, peace, bliss and wisdom. But when the ego raises its head, all these disappear and man becomes a puny, care-worn creature. God has made man a blissful being."

"What is meant by surrender? Surrender means to know and feel that all our actions are God's actions; all our movements are His movements. If we live our life with this attitude, our ego-sense will gradually disappear. The whole universe is the play and form of God's sakti. When once we know that all are forms of the one Divine, all separateness will be lost in the great realisation."

Papa acknowledged himself as a visishtadvaitin:

Papa: Ramdas is not a pure advaitin. He believes in the co-existence of dvaita and advaita. The jivanmukta retains a higher subtle individuality; he moves about and acts in the world realising that he and God are one. Ramdas in this body is active in doing things. Whatever he may do, he is at the same time conscious that he is the eternal and all-pervading Reality. So, in that state there is separation and unity simultaneously.

S.: Is there no state when the jivanmukta can lose his individuality in the One and be free of birth?

Papa: That is possible. That is what the jnanis do. They do not believe in the existence of a higher individuality at all. As soon as the lower individuality is dissolved, they cease to exist as separate entities. There cannot be any rebirth for them. Adi Sankaracharya was one of that type.

Having realised his oneness with the Absolute, Papa maintained a subtle individuality to enjoy his relationship with the Divine as a child towards its mother or a servant towards its master. He had great reverence for all saints and sages. Whenever he referred to them, he would say that he was only a child of all saints. He had great respect and reverence for Bhagavan Sri Ramana. Of him he has said, "Sri Ramana Maharshi was in all respects a remarkable saint. After realising the Eternal, he lived in the Eternal. His advent was a veritable blessing on this earth. By his contact thousands were saved from the clutches of doubt and sorrow. He lived what he preached and preached what he lived. He exerted a wonderful influence and created in the hearts of ignorant men and women a consciousness of their inherent Divinity. He awakened the sleeping soul to the awareness of its immortal and all-blissful nature. By his very presence he rid the hearts of people of their base and unbridled passions. The faithful derived the greatest benefit by communion with him."

As Papa had attained realisation by taking to uninterrupted chanting of the divine name Ram, coupled with contemplation of the attributes of God, he always extolled the virtue of nama-japa in sadhana. Based upon his personal experience, Papa assured all seekers that nama-japa would lead them to the supreme heights of realisation of one's oneness with the Almighty. On the power of the Divine Name he has this to say: "The Divine Name is pregnant with a great power to transform the world. It can create light where there is darkness, love where there is hate, order where there is chaos, and happiness where there is misery. The Name can change the entire atmosphere of the world from one of bitterness, illwill and fear to that of mutual love, goodwill and trust. For the Name is God Himself. To bring nearer the day of human liberation from the sway of hatred and misery, the way is the recognition of the supremacy of God over all things and keeping the mind in tune with the Universal by the chanting of the Divine Name."

May Beloved Papa, who is everything and beyond everything, continue to bless and lead all to the supreme goal!

OM SRI RAM JAI RAM JAI JAI RAM"

Salutations!

Ravi said...

Friends,
This another wonderful papa Ramdas story!How papa had a simple way of clearing the doubts(very much like Bhagavan):
"Many people met with Papa Ramadas. Once a man asked him, “You are still chanting the Mantra, ‘Sri Ram Jaya Ram Jaya Jaya Ram’. Have you seen Bhagavaan? If you have, then where is the need for continuing to do the japa?” Papa Ramadas gave a wonderful answer, which I like very much. It was a place where a river was mingling with the sea. Papa Ramadas asked him, “Has this river mingled with the sea?”
The man said, “Yes!”
Papa Ramadas, “Well! Is the river still flowing?”
The man, “Yes. It is still flowing.”
Papa Ramada, “You say that the river is flowing but also say that it has mingled with the sea. How is it possible?”
What a wonderful reply to the question put forth? Papa Ramadas explained his state with an apt illustration. "

Salutations!

S. said...

salutations to all:
thanks to all for their wonderful comments... arvind, laughed when you spoke about 'my' reservations against one of the advaitic view... not at all...as i said earlier, these are the dvaitin's objections, not mine (what do i know? am incompetent to find flaws either in dvaita or advaita)...as systems of thought, they have their strengths & weaknesses, pros & cons, so to say

[regarding your comment on that there are only a handful who have known to transmute this complex theory into simple devotion, would simply say that there 'could' be many of whom we may not be aware; likewise on your comment on bnk sharma, my answer is again 'we can't say'...even otherwise, he has never claimed to be a guru or anything like that...in my opinion, he is a great scholar and whose works demonstrate scientific rigor and intellectual honesty... as a professor, he deserves our highest respect & humble salutations...thats all]

though jayatirtha offers his own reasonable clarifications on the abhinavAnyathA-khyAti being quite different from both the nyAyA doctrine of anyathA-khyAti and the buddhistic concept of asat-khyAti, yet wouldn't want to stretch it further because let this blog be free of philosophical quibbles & metaphysical jargon...
the only reason i mentioned this as an example was not to claim the superiority of one over the other; rather to humbly suggest that those of you who feel inclined (intellectually) to the advaitic view may do justice if you could pause and reflect on the dvaitin's objections as well, which by themselves quite often possess an undeniable logical validity...

notwithstanding my own leanings towards kevalAdvaita (in a way, it's idealism that attracts me to husserl's phenomenology or darwin's evolution or hofstadter's strange loop) :-)
so, is the world real or unreal? does the self alone exist? are brahman and jiva one and the same or eternally different? is there any theory that explains better than the other? etc etc etc...
my answer to all such questions: i don't know

what i do know is this: here is a man who from his own experience lived and taught freedom...here is a man whom we call bhagavan who said, just like the great buddha (in my words), 'i have known the truth of existence; and if you wish to learn, i can tell you a method to realize the same for yourself; try it out and know for yourself whether it works or not'
this appeals to me (there are many things that bhagavan says which i neither accept nor reject, for 'i don't know')...hence, let me try it out (vichara) and discover the truth for myself :-)
(whenever i laugh, i insert a smiley...guess, infected by M.'s kathamrita)

arvind said...

S.

Thanks for your comments. I enjoyed reading all your remarks. I agree with you about what you have mentioned about the “handful known to have transmuted this complex theory” and about Prof. Sarma. I was out of line there in my comment and apologize for the same. I actually picked up on Dr. Sarma from Swami Tapasyananda’s [of Sri RK math, Chennai] criticism of his take on certain aspects of Sri Madhva’s teachings.

I think what you have mentioned with respect to Sri Bhagavan towards the end is enough to take you very very far. For I believe that Vichara alone is enough. Slowly but surely it adds on all that will be required for a person – be it devotion, or dharma, or good habits or whatever.

Best wishes

arvind said...

Hi Folks,

I was just browsing some of the older posts and came upon David’s first post on this blog,
“God the Scriptwriter”. I was struck how, in very simple words and a beautiful manner, David has explained certain difficult, but key elements of Sri Bhagavan’s teachings. It also struck me how much we miss David’s detailed posts.

I thought it worthwhile to copy portions of David’s marvellous exposition here. The full post is under “April” 2008.

[starts]
”The Ordainer controls the fate of souls in accordance with their past deeds - their prarabdha karma. Whatever is destined not to happen will not happen, try hard how you may. Whatever is destined to happen will happen, do what you may to stop it. This is certain. The best course, therefore, is for one to be silent.”

This statement encapsulates several key elements of Bhagavan’s teachings …

First, the term ‘ordainer’ refers to Iswara, the generic personal God of Hinduism, and not to the unmanifest Self. The relationship between the two was explained by Bhagavan in Guru Vachaka Kovai, verses 449 and 1218:

“Other than as thoughts, jiva [the individual self], Iswara and the world do not exist.”

”The unmoving basis, the screen, is Brahman. The moving pictures that appear on that unmoving screen are jiva, Iswara and the world. You should know that everything which is perceived [on the screen] is maya.”

The mind brings an illusory world into existence, dividing it into a seer and seen: a jiva who appears to inhabit the body, and an external world that is witnessed by it. When this projection takes place, Iswara, the God who supervises this creation, is also created. This God, the God who creates and sustains the world, is a mental creation, meaning that when the mind dies, the jiva, the world and God die with it, leaving Self alone. Iswara allocates karma to devotees and ensures that each devotee experiences the consequences of his and her actions. Here are some interesting answers that Paul Brunton elicited from Bhagavan on Iswara and his role in devotees’ lives:

“Question: Is there a separate being Iswara who is the rewarder of virtue and punisher of sins? Is there a God?

Bhagavan: Yes.

Question: What is he like?

Bhagavan: Iswara has individuality in mind and body, which are perishable, but at the same time he also has the transcendental consciousness and liberation inwardly.

Iswara the personal God, the supreme creator of the universe really does exist. But this is only true from the relative standpoint of those who have not realised the truth, those people who believe in the reality of individual souls. From the absolute standpoint the sage cannot accept any other existence than the impersonal Self, one and formless.

Iswara, God, the creator, the personal God, is the last of the unreal forms to go. Only the absolute being is real. Hence, not only the world, not only the ego, but also the personal God are of unreality. We must find the absolute – nothing else.” (Conscious Immortality 1st ed, pp. 7, 8, 10, and 180-1)

That is to say, Iswara will exist and run the world while the individual projects creation, but he will cease to exist when the Self is realised and one knows oneself to be unmanifest Brahman. Since Bhagavan defines ‘reality’ as that which does not come and go, and as that which has its own inherent being, Iswara is not ultimately real since he comes and goes with the appearance and disappearance of the jiva. He is not permanent, unchanging being in the way that Brahman is.

How does Iswara, ‘the ordainer’, allocate destiny? Here is Bhagavan explaining the process, using an interesting and novel analogy:

“A man might have performed many karmas in his previous births. A few of them alone will be chosen for this birth and he will have to enjoy the fruits in this birth. It is something like a slide show where the projectionist picks a few slides to be exhibited at a performance, the remaining slides being reserved for another performance.” (The Mountain Path 1982, p. 23)

And here is a second quote on how this process works:

“Individuals have to suffer their karmas but Iswara manages to make the best of their karmas for his purpose. God manipulates the fruits of karma but he does not add or take away from it. The subconscious of man is a warehouse of good and bad karma. Iswara chooses from this warehouse what he sees will best suit the spiritual evolution … of each man, whether pleasant or painful. Thus, there is nothing arbitrary.” (Conscious Immortality, 1st ed. p. 376)

The point of the slide-show analogy is that the slides are arranged in a fixed sequence. The choice of slides and the order in which they display are determined in advance by Iswara. This is ‘God the ordainer’ determining which actions a jiva will perform, and in which order.

Bhagavan did not seem to regard the laws of karma as being inherent in creation. They were, instead, a ‘divine ordinance’, a rule made by God, rather than a fundamental property of created matter. This was explained in the first verse of Upadesa Saram, which Bhagavan begins with the sentence ‘Action bears fruit by the ordinance of God’. This is Bhagavan’s reply to a question by Krishna Bhikshu, who asked who or what this ‘God’ was in this sentence:

”Question: In ‘Karthuragnaya prapyathe phalam’ [‘actions bear fruit by the ordinance of God’] who is the karta [God, or the supreme doer]?

Bhagavan: Karta is Iswara. He is the one who distributes the fruits of actions to each person according to his karma. That means He is saguna Brahman [manifest Brahman]. The real Brahman is nirguna [attributeless] and without motion. It is only saguna Brahman that is named as Iswara. He gives the phala [fruits] to each person according to his karma [actions]. That means that Iswara is only an agent. He gives wages according to the labour done. That is all. Without that sakti [power] of Iswara, this karma [action] will not take place. That is why karma is said to be jadam [inert].” (Letters from Sri Ramanasramam, 11th August, 1946)

[Ends]

Clemens Vargas Ramos said...

Besides:

** Ignorance **

Perhaps it is interesting for some here to know that in Germany we had a philosopher (Nicholas of Kues (1401 – August 11, 1464) writing a treatment called "Of Learned Ignorance" (De docta ignorantia).

His famous statement (I try to translate it): "The Greatest is where there exist nothing being greater beyond it."

Nicolaus of Cues

Ravi said...

S.
'(whenever i laugh, i insert a smiley...guess, infected by M.'s kathamrita)'

Good one!RECORDING faithfully!He who can enjoy good humour is indeed spiritual!All the Great masters had a tremendous sense of Humour!may be you can contribute your 'apples and oranges' in this area-Like Thakur's 'Krishna Kishore Kha!'

Wishing you the Very Best!

Arvind,
Yes,it is indeed Good to visit and revisit many of these earlier posts by David.I fully agree with you that David has this unique gift in presenting facts in a simple,cogent manner without bringing himself in-Very Much like 'M'.

Thanks very much.

Ravi said...

David,
"As Krishnamurti lay dying in California, a tape recorder was running to record his final words. Shortly before he died he said, ‘Where did I go wrong? No one got it?"

I was deliberating on this statement by JK.Also on your 'apologies' to JK fans!I Respect JK but not exactly an adorer.
I just recall an incident from the Life of The Sage of Kanchi-He was asked by a reporter-"Why there is so much confusion in the World?"-The Sage gave an answer that simply gagged the Reporter!He said-"It is just on account of deficiency in my Tapasya!"-I think JK's statement is somehow like this-It is the 'Total Responsibility'That a Sage feels!I am sure that such a sensitive and intelligent being Like JK would have to wait till his last breath to realise what a common man could without any deliberation what so ever(opinion based on ignorance).Moreover who was helped in what way by JK ,is it possible to know!How JK when asked as to why he gave his talks said-Might as well ask the Flower why it spreads its Fragrance!

Some food for Deliberation!

Ravi said...

David,
Further Deliberations on JK!
Saint Ramalingam 'VaLLaLar' also said something like JK-In Tamil he said-'kadai Viriththane KoLvaarillai'-meaning-'I laid bare the Truth,but there are no Takers!-'KADAI',in tamil it can mean Bazaar or as is apt here,it means the 'Final'(Truth){courtesy-My Master}.
Sorry-I should have waited to collect all these and posted together!
Namaskars!

nonduel said...

Dear Avind,

Quote:

"""Iswara the personal God, the supreme creator of the universe really does exist. But this is only true from the relative standpoint of those who have not realised the truth, those people who believe in the reality of individual souls."""

What is the "effect", if any, on one who has the relative knowledge, but hasn't Self-Realised.

On Prarabdha, Iswara, on rebirth...

S. said...

salutations to all:
many thanks to david's blog...this has helped in getting to know so many sincere seekers...am from hyderabad, india...please let me know if any of you visit hyderabad :-)

my mail id is ns.srinivas@gmail.com

ram (ramprax)and i are close friends...we typically visit tiruvannamalai twice a year...as our journey to tiruvannamalai is either via chennai or bangalore, please let me know if any of you are located at these places...it will be a blessing to meet any of you in person...

arvind: thank you for your suggestion on 'pray if not doing self-enquiry'...though i don't 'pray' as such, yet i do keep humming and even reciting the aksharamanamalai or a few thevaram songs or a few hymns from the kathamrita...despite my agnosticism, which i can't deny, it's also true that on quite a few occasions, the bhava of a 'child' gets in sort-of involuntarily...my job is just to make merry, isn't it?...as a 'child', it is the Mother's headache to pray for me :-)))

arvind said...

Dear Non Duel,

Thank you for your comments.

“What is the "effect", if any, on one who has the relative knowledge, but hasn't Self-Realised. On Prarabdha, Iswara, on rebirth …. ”

I presume that you are referring to a person who understands in a theoretical way that there is only the Self, the Pure Consciousness and that the Iswara, world and the jiva are illusions within the Self; but who has still not Self-realized, though he is doing his little sadhanas ... the situation of most of us.

His prarabdha Karma, which has already been chalked out for him by Iswara for this life will carry on till his death. Since the “cards” are dealt to him he cannot really choose to do a particular virtuous act as he wishes, so as to please God. Though of course, he will act “as if” he is making a choice to do that virtuous act or any other act. What he can do is show the proper “virtuous” attitude towards any act or “card” that is dealt to him. “Act” as if he is not the doer, “act” as if he is an instrument of God’s Will and so on. If the “card” that is dealt means the loss of his wealth or prestige, he should not take it to heart and curse his luck & everyone else, but take it as a gift of Grace from God; if he is suddenly given a lot of wealth, he should not take it as it is something he has earned by dint of his own efforts, and so on. And thus he should continue his sadhana as far as he can. In which he has complete “choice”, as it is determined not by his physical acts, but by the mental “attitude” he takes even in each act and in day-today situations.

That is why Sri Bhagavan emphasized so much that true sadhana & vichara is one that continues throughout the day, and carries on irrespective of the situation the person is in.

I remember a wonderful remark made by Arthur Osborne in the Mountain Path 1983, Pg 9: “The only real measure of success in life is the state of mind and character one has attained when the time comes to leave it; the only full success is spiritual enlightenment, realization of the Self.”

When such a person dies without realizing the Self, God with great love & compassion will go through all this person’s “Karma-slides” held in a storehouse with Him, so to speak. God will lovingly select certain “slides” for this person’s next life which will be expertly set in such a way so as to make Self-realization possible, or at least to bring him even closer in his next birth.

For those persons who have not lived their life as above, it is not as if God will react against them. Since they have not remembered God, or the Self, or done sadhana, or held virtuous thoughts, God also does not interfere, that’s all. So the “Karma-slides” in the storehouse for this person’s next life, will be picked up in an automatic-Divine-law sequence. They will not be specially chosen by God. And as the Karma-slides are virtually infinite, this person will continue in the samsaric-karmic rounds of birth & rebirth for a very long time or until sense dawns on him and his “attitude” changes.

Non Duel, I hope the foregoing is what you had in mind when you asked your question. This is my own belief as per the teachings of Sri Bhagavan. Forgive me, everyone, if you consider this completely off the mark.

Best wishes

nonduel said...

Dear Arvind,

That is exactly what I have in mind. Thank you!

The "intellectual" knowledge does in fact influence the Sadhaka. Even if just on the "as if" aspect as you pointed out.

From there on, with Self-Enquiry, the attention, with time, is less and less outwardly at objects.

Inner changes occurs in which one surrenders and discriminate. There are less and less doubts, and questions and more just BEING.

These changes can be (or not), I do not know, part of the "slides" predetermined by God.

Thus this brings the question about "free-will". The answer to this will either be yes, it is all Prarabdha. Consequently one is being at the mercy of Iswara, God. Or no, one has a certain free-will that can "affect" the course of Prarabdha.

You also bring out a point that is part of my question also:

QUOTE:

"""When such a person dies without realizing the Self, God with great love & compassion will go through all this person’s “Karma-slides” held in a storehouse with Him, so to speak. God will lovingly select certain “slides” for this person’s next life which will be expertly set in such a way so as to make Self-realization possible, or at least to bring him even closer in his next birth."""
End of quote.

Ravi said...

Jupes,
Salutations to you!I will take a day or two to carry forward the 'Bhakti' approach.since you are having problem opening the Vichara thread,please let me know where it will be convenient for you to view;I will post it there.
Hope you find your way to this message!

Broken Yogi said...

Arvind,

Thanks for that description of how reincarnation and prarabda work in the context of non-dual practice. I've always found it interesting how Ramana says that all action is predestined, and yet we have the freedom to realize even in the midst of whatever actions come our way. Grace is available at all times, regardless of what circumstances seem to arise. It always seems as if our choices are choices in action, when in reality they are choices in attitude, or "asana".

Clemens Vargas Ramos said...

.

Dear friends,

I like to have material about Seshadri Swami and F. H. Humphreys.

I know already that what is in "Living by the words of Bhagavan". in "Talks" and in Arthur Osbornes book "Path..." etc.

But does anybody knows of more material, or of biografies? David, could you please say something on this?

Thanking you.

Ravi said...

nonduel,
"Inner changes occurs in which one surrenders and discriminate. There are less and less doubts, and questions and more just BEING."

Self Surrender and Vichara meet at a point in Awareness!Beyond thoughts and beyond Feelings!

Thanks very much!How Right this is!

Salutations!

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