Tuesday, September 23, 2008

Annamalai Swami Interview

Back in July (http://sri-ramana-maharshi.blogspot.com/2008/07/annamalai-swami-interview.html) I announced that by September I would be making available a DVD of an interview with Annamalai Swami that was filmed by a friend of mine in 1993. I had planned to put English subtitles on the DVD, and also have options of subtitles in different languages. Since this will take longer than I thought, I decided to make it available now to anyone who wants a copy without subtitles.
The interview is 73 minutes long and consists of an interview between Jim Lemkin and Annamalai Swami. English translations are provided by Sundaram, Annamalai Swami's attendant. If you are not a native English speaker or are not familiar with Indian accents, you may find the translations hard to follow.

Jim asked that the distribution be done at cost price, and that no one should make any money out of the film. I weighed sample packages at the Post Office yesterday. The total cost (blank DVD, copying, packaging and posting) are as follows:

Within India: Rs 30
Outside India: $1 US

Purchasers in India should send the money by MO. No DDs please. I don't want to spend hours at the bank filling in separate deposit slips for each DD. Customers outside India should pay via Paypal.

My email address is: david_godman@yahoo.co.uk.

My postal address for the MOs is:

David Godman
Sri Ramanasramam
Tiruvannamalai 606603
Tamil Nadu


101 comments:

Mouna said...

Dear David,
Thank you for this opportunity.
I believe many of us will want a copy of Annamali Swami's interview on DVD.
How do we go about with the payment via PayPal (I do have an account), we just punch in your email address?
How much on top of the $1 (US dollar) for shipping?
Could you give us some clues as how to preceed if it's not too much trouble?
Thanks again,
Yours in Bhagavan,
Mouna

Mouna said...

Dear David,

Mouna again, I figured out that you said it's $1 (one dollar) for everything, so please disregard the previous message.
Also one needs to punch your email address in the beneficiary in one's paypal account.
Everything is clear now.
Sorry for the confusion.

Mouna

Ramprax said...

Hi David,

This is exciting news. As I plan to visit Ramanasramam around October 2nd, would it be possible for me to pay and obtain a copy of the DVD from the Asramam?

Thanks & Regards,
Ram

David Godman said...

Mouna

The $1 charge includes airmail postage. There is no extra shipping fee.

Ramprax

I don't think the ashram bookstore will want the headache of stocking a cheap product they can't make any money off. I can though leave a copy with Sethuraman, the bookstore manager, and ask him to give it to you when you visit. You can give him the Rs 30 and he can pass it on to me next time we meet.

I did think of giving out copies at the bookstore with every copy of Living by the Words of Bhagavan that was sold. I think the people there might agree to that.

Ravi said...

David,
Thanks very much for this wonderful service.

Namaskars!

Nandu Narasimhan said...

Oh, many many thanks.

Vic said...

Hi David

Thanks for the excellent blog. A small point, the link to the annamalai post is not working you may have too many ///s after the http

Regards
Vic

David Godman said...

Vic

Thanks for spotting that. I have fixed the link.

A few things seem to be going wrong with Blogger again. The 'recent comments' have lost their subject, and if you click on them, they no longer link to the page where the comments are made. I am getting quite a few random error messages when I try to edit and post; and I have received one report of a very erratic screen display that wasn't there the day before. There's nothing I can do about any of these things since they seem to be a Blogger problem. I hope it sorts itself out quickly.

Umesh said...

Dear David,
Since your giving this away at cost, why not just upload this on a video site like youtube. Save you time & lot more devotees will be benefited. Do you want me to do it after I order copy from you ?
Umesh

David Godman said...

Umesh

I will speak to the copyright owner about doing something like this. I have already received an offer from a friend to load it onto Google videos. I could also put it on a file share programme where anyone can download it for free.

Ramprax said...

Dear David,

Thanks a lot for the DVDs. It is a great boon for people like me who couldn't meet him during his life time.

Regards,
Ram

who.am.i said...

Dear Sir, I am grateful that you are getting this interview out this far.I am wondering if you have any idea on when this might reach California/USA.

David Godman said...

who.am.i

You can have a copy right now if you send $1 to me via Paypal. I have no plans to market the DVD commercially. I just make copies on my own computer and mail them to anyone who wants to see it.

Ravi said...

Friends,
A couple of month's back,my niece and her husband who are in USA visited us.Ram(my niece's husband)gave me to understand that he was attending a 10 day Program in Bangalore by Paramahamsa Nithyananda-the program was on 'Chakra cleansing'.I heard about Paramahamsa Nithyananda for the first time through him.

Subsequently,when I was doing Giri Valam(Circmambulation)I chanced to see this Saint's Ashram on the way (did not enter).

I had heard that Nithyananda had met Sri Annamalai Swami.I came across his article,narrated by Nithyananda:

"My search for spiritual truth began when I was about 10 years of age. My family went to see Annamalai Swami, an ascetic and a close disciple of Ramana Maharishi, the great enlightened Master who lived in my hometown, Tiruvannamalai, many years back. I went there to listen to Annamalai Swami giving a discourse, although secretly I was waiting for the candy that he would give at the end of the discourse.

Annamalai Swami was talking to a group of seekers. On that particular day, in his discourse, he was saying that we are not the body but something beyond it. He further explained that pain and suffering are beyond the body. They do not affect us. I forgot all about the candy. I was surprised to hear this theory. I immediately thought, 'When my mother slaps me, I feel the pain. Then, why is he saying otherwise?


His words continued to ring in my ears. I had an intense urge to experiment and verify his words. I ran back home, took a knife and cut my thigh with it. It started to bleed and I was in terrible pain. My parents were livid. They rushed me to a hospital. I still have that scar on me. After a few days, I went back to meet the swami. I said, 'Swami, you told us that we are beyond the body, and pain and suffering does't exist. But, when I cut my thigh, it bled, and I had intense pain. Why?'The Swami was surprised to hear of my experiment. He was very compassionate. He consoled me and taught me a simple meditation technique. All I had to do was to search for the source of my thoughts or see where my thoughts began. Though I had never meditated before, I decided to try it out.

Gradually, I realized that endless thoughts in our mind formed the first hurdle for spiritual growth. We all have problems with our thoughts. They seem to go one way when we want them to be another way. When we are at work, we are thinking about home. At home we think of work. When we greet people, we are thinking of something else. We edit when and what we speak. Just be a little aware! If we are established in the truth, our inner chatter and outer chattering will disappear. All our thoughts and thinking will disappear. If we are completely truthful, we never have to think, we just need to be and relax. Why do we need to continuously think?

If we have to prepare continuously, whatever we prepare is a lie. When we speak too much, please be very clear that we are lying. We are hiding the truth. We are decorating a lie. Start becoming aware today. Be aware! Be blissful! Experiment with the Truth I have told you just now and you will experience liberation from your very mind."

I happen to visit the site of Nithyananda(Google Search!).I get the feeling that the 'Packaging' is a mixed bag,with a little bit of astrology thrown in.Perhaps there are many in the world who need this sort of 'Packaging' and 'Products' and 'services'.

I happen to be brought up on home 'Food' only and I have no appetite for 'variety'.All the same,I do understand that needs of individuals differ and perhaps different Saints and seers tune their teachings accordingly.

As Thyagaraja,The Great Musician Saint sang in Telugu-'Entharo Mahaanubhavulu,Antariki Vandanamu'-Salutations to all the Great ones!

Best Regards.

vishy said...

Pranam to all Devotees.

Really Annamalai Swamy lived up to expectations of Bhagwan and we are fortunate enough to hear and have to follow their path with dedication and sincerity .

This being wrote an article regarding the Inward journey one has to start in their small life.

Wish to publish this in the blog if permitted .

An inward journey to true happiness

January 09, 2009


D Viswesvaran , explains his tenets for leading a healthy and happy life

Every person in this world came into existence for a purpose — to strive to enhance his life and that of the rest of humanity to its highest and noblest level. To be able to do that, it is important to be the healthiest and happiest that you can — both mentally and physically.

The simplest way of leading a healthy life is to have been introduced to a strict disciplined code of life from childhood. Following a good diet and regular exercise for both physical and mental well-being is important. Some of us have been lucky to have been guided by our parents or teachers. For the rest, the way to good health is fraught with difficulties — they have to be forced into leading a life that is good for them, on the advice of their doctors.

If you keep physically and mentally fit, then the daily routine of living becomes more than just a boring chore. It becomes easier to fulfill your duties and your obligations when you are not lethargic.

The question is whether physical and mental fitness equip a person to be happy and enjoy every moment of his life. Stress is an undeniable part of modern life. So how do you deal with it?

Apart from physical and mental fitness, it is also important that a person stops and looks inward, to be able to recognize, appreciate and adapt himself / herself.

Let us start the journey inwards without disturbing external social commitments. I am sure that irrespective of external shortfalls, looking inwards is the best way to achieve true happiness.

The following steps will help in the realization of self:

Take a break every hour, and be silent for a minute.
Try to understand your inner feelings.
Do not interfere in others’ problems unless required.
Accept that your views are important.
Focus only on important things. Let entertainment remain part of television and cinema. Life is more important than an entertainment channel.
Feel happy to be part of society. Be proud of all the contributions made so far.
Take joy in the fact that you impact not just your life but also the lives of those around you.
Learn to use all your five senses. Take time off to appreciate nature.
If it takes you 30 seconds to 2 minutes to ruminate over the above eight actions, you have succeeded in taking the first steps to being alone with, and realizing your inner self.

If this action becomes a conscious and consistent part of your daily routine, your inward journey will have truly begun. Soon, it will become an unconscious part of your life, and you will have attained true happiness — an inner happiness that is not dependent on time, money or material things.

Anonymous said...

Even though Nityananda claims that he has been influenced by annamalai swamygal, his talks are not vedantic oriented, but appear to be a case of a leaf having been taken out of the book of osho. All this chakra cleaning has not been talked about by annamalai swamygal who lived a very unobtrusive and anonymous life unlike the life of fanfare indulged in by these modern mystics, seeking extrovert glamour.

Anonymous said...

Is the DVD of Sri Annamalai Swami interview still available for purchase? Can I send Rs 30 by MO to you?

David Godman said...

Yes, the DVD is still available to devotees in India for Rs 30. It is also available free of charge to anyone who buys a copy of Living by the Words of Bhagavan at the Ramanasramam Bookstore.

Maneesha said...

David,

I bought a copy of "Living by the words of Bhagawan" during my visit to the Ashram in Jan, for Jayanti. But I did not get a copy of the DVD. Has it been stopped now??

David Godman said...

I have reminded the staff in the ashram bookstore several times that people who buy the book should get a free copy, but many purchasers are still not being told about this offer. Nor are they receiving the DVD. If you still want one, I can post one to you if you let me know where to end it.

Anonymous said...

David,
I don't know if this is a good idea but if you upload the interview on youtube or google videos all of us can access it. I sent you 1$ as soon as you announced the availability of the DVD but it didn't reach me(maybe because the US postal authorities didn't allow it through). Thanks.

Arch

David Godman said...

I'm sorry the package didn't get through. Send me your address and I will send a replacement immediately. I have received a few complaints of non-delivery, usually to US addresses. I don't know what is going on, but I will always be happy to send replacements for anyone whose ordered copy does not arrive.

Anonymous said...

David,
After reading 'Living by the words of Bhagavan', a thought struck me - even though Annamalai Swami was in the presence/service of Bhagavan for a long time, he didn't have an experience of nirvikalpa samadhi until Bhagavan hugged him and induced that experience(at least that was my impression on reading the book). Is this the way enlightenment 'works' for those who are deserving/fortunate enough? They find a jnana guru in a physical garb, who ultimately pushes them to their own natural state by the power of his/her presence? Is the presence of an external guru necessary for almost all the sadhakas except the very ripe ones(like Venkatavan himself), David?

David Godman said...

Some devotees went into samadhi or had a direct experience of the Self at the beginning of their physical association with Bhagavan: Masthan, Muruganar and Lakshmana Swamy are names that spring to mind. Others, such as Annamalai Swami, toiled away at their service and practices for years before having such experiences. Most devotees never had these experiences at all.

Those who were mature enough were drawn to Bhagavan and experienced the fruits of their maturity in his presence. I don't think there was any choosing on the part of Bhagavan; when mature and immature minds came into contact with his power and presence, they each got what they deserved and needed.

When a jiva is ready to subside and experience the Self directly, it will be propelled to a place or circumstances where this can be facilitated. This may be the presence of a living Guru; or it may be a temple dedicated to an ishta deva; or, more rarely, it may happen spontaneously. Ramakrishna had a direct experience while he was watching birds because the inner maturity was there.

The Guru is not omnipotent. He cannot facilitate an experience of the Self in those who are not ready for it. Maturity is a prerequisite just as much as the facilitating presence of the Guru.

So, while I would agree that an external Guru is necessary for all but the most mature, I should also like to add that even the external Guru cannot deliver a direct experience of the Self if the inner readiness is not there.

nonduel said...

Hi David,

This question of being "ready", mature enough is a dichotomy for me. A play of the mind! Self is deluded through the I Am the body idea. As time and space are also plays of the mind.

Since I Am That I AM, how can there be the question of being mature, ready to "attain" Realization, Liberation. This is wanting, trying to become what One IS. In other words, Self-realization is obscured only by the mind.

Isn't considering concepts like being ready, mature enough, adding and strenghtening the mind? In the sense that accepting these ideas in the mind can only re-inforce the I Am the body, of being limited, not worthy enough, having do something(s) etc.

The Rhibu Gita and other scriptures points to the importance of Bhavana, absolute conviction that one is Brahman.

Being convinced that I Am That I AM, where is the question of being "ready", "mature"? Why should one accept or even consider being ready and/or mature?

Sri Nisargadatta said that his Guru, Sri Siddharameswhar, told him you are That I Am and he never doubted.

Only the ego, the jiva can think that he is not ready, mature. Then the ego is obscuring the SELF, and cannot become Enlightened.

Anonymous said...

Scott Fraundorf:

I agree, it seems like that concept set is not necessarily helpful as far as practice, thinking in terms of my own maturity, because that would be "not self-inquiry". All the sages who were the Self, speaking from that perspective, it doesn't seem like they often talked about ripeness or maturity so much, but just encouraged people to realize it for themselves. Since it is what already is, if the mind didn't think it was something else. Adding to the baggage of concepts of what I am (i.e. not mature) would just add to the already cumbersome egoic baggage. Although wasting my time, thinking "I am mature" perhaps that is the same thing, since the Self, especially in the Ribhu Gita, is when all the dualisms are given up, then it is realized.

Anonymous said...

Scott Fraundorf:

From my own experiences attempting Inquiry, it seems even thinking in terms of duality, or difficulty to accomplish, or maturity, the deepest states occur when even those concepts subside. While it may be true what David Godman said, being aware of those concepts of when people meet a Jnani, and when they subside in the Self, those are things that from what I understand, the Self doesn't admit of, being the Self beyond dualisms. And even having the faith that it is possible to Realize the Self, that it isn't a far off goal, who knows, I would assume maybe that is what sets some of the ripe ones from the unripe ones, the belief that it is difficult, or far off, or rare, or there are millions who don't immersed in tamas, seems like a huge obstruction. At the same time, the feeling of being special, or being privileged beyond others, on the verge of Enlightenment, that is seems like an obstruction too, because that is also egoic. One is the insecure ego, one is the megalomaniac ego. Both seem like obstructions.

Anonymous said...

Scott Fraundorf:

That seems like one of the most difficult things to understand (for me), is that i'm not trying to reach something, or attain something. It's a giving up of mental activity toward all sorts of believed entities, situations.But that also in some ways makes it easy, because it's obvious when I'm on the "wrong path". I'm thinking about something that is agitating me for good or bad, or objectifying something. I like how in Song of Ribhu ch.26, "that in which there is no illustrious jnani". It's like even those polar concepts are an obstacle. Becaue I imagine the glory of "becoming a Jnani", and how I'll be worshipped and respected and be successful, which of course you can't Realize yourself with those attitudes, they are the very things to be given up.

Anonymous said...

Scott Fraundorf:

Self-Inquiry is kind of like a decoy deer, or the thief/policeman analogy. I went into it with a positive goal, to become better, but then I find that I'm giving up even the desire to become better.

Arvind said...

Hi Nonduel,
I agree with you. I have been wrestling with this doubt for some time. Here is a quote from the "Talks", talk 123:

M.: You are That. Can you ever remain apart from the Self? To be
yourself requires no effort since you are always That.

So I take it as, one need not put any effort to reach the Self one only needs to put effort in not leaving the Self. i.e.; I believe; the act of thinking which invariably obscures the true state of ones Being.This is possible only by practicing the act of Being. Being quiet. This practice if done for some time may establish one in their true position of Being or Self.

Regards
Arvind

Anonymous said...

"The Guru is not omnipotent." My understanding was that the Guru is not different from God and isn't God omnipotent?
"I should also like to add that even the external Guru cannot deliver a direct experience of the Self if the inner readiness is not there." Ok. So, how does a sadhaka make himself mature or ready? I guess Papaji would say 'Don't give rise to any thought'. If I could do that, wouldn't I be enlightened already? I wish there was an easy way to make oneself mature or ready and an easy way to realize how immature one is right now and how far one needs to go. The factors of maturity and readiness makes the whole process mysterious and sometimes I feel lost not knowing what to do to make progress. If I keep begging/praying for God's grace(that's what I do when I feel my feeble attempts at self-enquiry are an utter failure), wouldn't God relent at some point?

Anonymous said...

From 'Living by the words of Bhagavan':
'Are you an atheist who has no belief in God?' asked Bhagavan.
I was too puzzled to make a reply.
'If one has no faith in God,' Bhagavan eventually continued, 'one will commit a lot of sins and be miserable. But you, you are a mature devotee. When the mind has attained maturity, in that mature state if one thinks that one is separate from God, one will fall into the same state as an atheist who has no belief in God.
You are a mature sadhaka(spiritual seeker). It is not necessary for you to come here any more. Stay in Palakottu and do your meditation there. Try to efface the notion that you are different from God.'

Bhagavan has answered the question on what maturity means.

David Godman said...

nonduel

Annamalai Swami has said many times in his teaching dialogues that a conviction that one is the Self is essential. However, as he rightly points out, such a conviction is the basis of good sadhana, not its culmination. Conviction has to mature into experience through constant effort.

Levels of maturity are recognised by Bhagavan, most notably in his analogy of the three grades of aspirant: wet wood, charcoal and gunpowder. (The 'wet wood' is actually green banana-tree stems in the original Tamil, which makes the analogy even more apt.) Those who can realise the truth by hearing a statement such as 'You are Brahman' directly from the Guru are the gunpowder sadhakas who ignite with a single spark; those who need to contemplate on the words for some time until the conviction becomes direct experience are the charcoal aspirants. Nisargadatta Maharaj would be a good example of this category. Everyone else is immature since they need a long period of drying out before combustion can take place.

The idea that maturity and practice are unnecessary for most people is a lazy delusion perpetrated by neo-advaitins who teach that the goal can be reached, without effort and without practice, simply by an attitude change. Believing 'I am free right now' somehow gets them out of the obligation of having to do anything to turn that concept into an experienced reality.

It is true that Bhagavan has written: 'Self-realisation is an easy thing, the easiest thing there is.' There is a paradox in this, though. Recognising the inherent truth of one's own true nature ought to be very simple, insofar as it is what one is, rather than something one strives to become. However, the mind is not capable of effecting that recognition since it is geared to deal with and process phenomena in a dualistic way. Eradicating the mental habits that direct attention away from the Self, rather than towards it, is the sadhana that needs to be done. When the mind ceases (as a result of long, hard practice) to dwell on objects and instead begins to focus effortlessly on its source, then maturity is attained.

Self-recognition is not going to happen through the mind, through substituting one idea for another. It will happen when the 'I' has been trained to abide at its source. For the vast majority of people, that mature state only arises through effort and practice.

David Godman said...

Anonymous said...

"The Guru is not omnipotent." My understanding was that the Guru is not different from God and isn't God omnipotent?
"I should also like to add that even the external Guru cannot deliver a direct experience of the Self if the inner readiness is not there." Ok. So, how does a sadhaka make himself mature or ready? I guess Papaji would say 'Don't give rise to any thought'. If I could do that, wouldn't I be enlightened already? I wish there was an easy way to make oneself mature or ready and an easy way to realize how immature one is right now and how far one needs to go. The factors of maturity and readiness makes the whole process mysterious and sometimes I feel lost not knowing what to do to make progress. If I keep begging/praying for God's grace(that's what I do when I feel my feeble attempts at self-enquiry are an utter failure), wouldn't God relent at some point?

* * *

Papaji has also said, 'No amount of rain can makes crops grow in sterile soil,' meaning, the power and grace of the Guru is not going to produce results in people who are not equipped to benefit from it.

The 'What do I do to attain maturity?' question is, I hope, answered in the previous post I made. You have to train the mind to look at and be aware of the Self within, instead of allowing it to roam unrestrained in the world of external objects.

Don't worry about whether God or the Self is going to react favourably to your feeble efforts, just make them. And be encouraged by this story which Bhagavan once narrated:

When a sparrow was flying, holding its egg in its beak, the egg slipped and fell into the ocean. The sparrow, anxious to retrieve it, repeatedly dipped itself in the ocean, sucked some water through its beak, came to the shore, released the water and fanned its wings. The sage Narada who was passing that way saw this action of the sparrow, enquired, and came to know the reason.

‘You stupid sparrow! Is this something you can accomplish?’ said Narada.

The sparrow replied, ‘I don’t care whether it is possible or not. If I persevere tenaciously, beyond that it is in God’s hands.’

Narada, delighted with its faith, went to Garuda and told him everything.

Then he said, ‘A creature belonging to your bird tribe is exerting itself with so much faith. Is it proper for you to keep quiet? Can you not help?’
After hearing this story Garuda flew quickly to the sparrow. As soon as he flapped his wings there, all the waters of the ocean separated into two, leaving the egg of the sparrow visible. The sparrow immediately picked it up in its beak and flew away.

Similarly, those who meditate on the Self and do good deeds, if they labour hard without feeling ‘This is a mammoth task! There is no one to help! Is this possible for me?’ then the help of God will come automatically. Will the waters of the ocean get diminished by the sparrow sucking water through its beak and by its releasing it on the shore? The sparrow performed its task with faith [sraddha] and perseverance. Similarly, if anyone makes an effort, it will not fail to bear fruit at some time or other. For all things faith alone is important. For those who engage in good deeds, if they work with faith, the help of God will come, just as it did through Garuda.

Until it comes one should work on the job without any faltering of faith, and with utmost exertion.

* * *

This story appears in the Telugu version of 'Letters from Sri Ramanasramam', at the end of the letter that is dated 27th July, 1948, but it was omitted from the English edition.

Murali said...

Beautiful. Especially that it came from the words of Bhagavan.

Regards Murali

Ravi said...

David/Friends,
"The idea that maturity and practice are unnecessary for most people is a lazy delusion perpetrated by neo-advaitins who teach that the goal can be reached, without effort and without practice, simply by an attitude change. Believing 'I am free right now' somehow gets them out of the obligation of having to do anything to turn that concept into an experienced reality."

David has hit the nail on the head here.I agree with him one hundred percent.We may note that there is no contradiction here in saying Effort is required to get rid of wrong identification with the Non self;it is certainly not required to BE ONESELF.
There is a funny incident in the Life of Sri Ramakrishna regarding a devotee,Krishna Kishore who practised this type of approach.Krishna Kishore used to call himself as KHA(meaning sky or Self).One day Sri Ramakrishna found Krishna Kishore sitting morose.On enquiry ,Krishna Kishore told Sri Ramakrishna that there was some litigation threatening confiscation of his belongings and eviction from his house.Sri Ramakrishna laughed and told him-"Anyway ,what does it matter?How does that affect you?You are KHA!"
Sri Ramakrishna also used to say that a parrot will repeat 'Rama,Rama' but will start squacking when chased by a cat!
This is the danger in restricting oneself to just Bhavana only.

coming to 'maturity',certainly this is quite important as only a MIND cleaned of Dross is fit to merge in the Self.pure mind is the Self.Sadhana is required to cleanse the dross .

Good to see Arvind,Nonduel back after a while!Salutations to you friends.
Best Regards.

nonduel said...

Hi David,

First, please see my comments as thinking out loud, open to discussion and not criticism.

If I am absolutely convinced that I AM THAT, I Am Brahman, then how in the world can I even remotely think that I am not mature ? Brahman isn’t mature? Isn’t ready and thus He has to “do” sadhana?

This is what I see as a dichotomy.

Could “maturity”, be the readiness, the eagerness to accept without any doubt whatsoever what Sri Ramana said? The examples of wet wood, charcoal and gunpowder ? If you are convinced that you are in fact immature, you are like wet wood?

Something like…if you are not ready to accept what the Guru says, then you are not mature enough for the acceptance, you are not convinced! That is the sterile soil!

Maturity can only be for the ego, the mind. Accepting this can only strengthened the ego, and furthermore, implies that it is the ego that can attain Realisation. The ego isn’t mature enough for Self-Realisation and consequently has to do sadhana. All the questions of worthiness, readiness, fertile soil, maturity, cannot be for anything else but the mind, the ego. This is bondage! This is accepting ignorance as the Truth. This is accepting that I am the body, the ego, the mind. Even putting effort is a doing, and the doer doesn’t exist.

Then vicchara, is keeping the attention on the self, the I Am-ness, utterly convinced that I AM THAT. "Effort", sadhana is then BEING what one IS

QUOTES:
""It is true that Bhagavan has written: 'Self-realisation is an easy thing, the easiest thing there is.' There is a paradox in this, though. Recognising the inherent truth of one's own true nature ought to be very simple, insofar as it is what one is, rather than something one strives to become. However, the mind is not capable of effecting that recognition since it is geared to deal with and process phenomena in a dualistic way. Eradicating the mental habits that direct attention away from the Self, rather than towards it, is the sadhana that needs to be done. When the mind ceases (as a result of long, hard practice) to dwell on objects and instead begins to focus effortlessly on its source, then maturity is attained.""

When you say: ""...the mind is not capable of effecting that recognition...""
AND: ""Eradicating the mental habits that direct attention away from the Self, rather than towards it..""

I agree and this is precisely the point I am hinting at. Using and accepting concepts like being mature, ready etc., only reinforce the mind, in the sense that it directs the attention at the mind. Nourishing it in a way.

Comforting, entertaining the mind in these beliefs.

David Godman said...

Here is an extract from Padamalai (page 256)in which Bhagavan speaks of the necessity of maturity for spiritual progress. The verses and comments come from a subsection that I entited Padamalai 'Qualifications for maturity'.

21

When the mind, through the quality of extreme purity, merges in the Heart, it will attain perfection as peace.

22

If the mind that has become one-pointed, like the tip of darba grass, merges with the Heart, the experience of pure being, seemingly impossible to attain, will be very easily discovered.

23

Taking a thick fat crowbar [as a needle], it is not possible to stitch together extremely delicate silk cloth using very fine thread.

Question eleven of Vichara Sangraham asks, ‘Is Self-experience possible for the mind whose nature is constant change? One part of Bhagavan’s answer states:

‘…It is only by the mind that is impure and is under the influence of rajas and tamas that reality, which is very subtle and unchanging, cannot be experienced; just as a piece of fine silk cloth cannot be stitched with a heavy crowbar, or as the details of subtle objects cannot be distinguished by the light of a lamp-flame that flickers in the wind…’ (Self-Enquiry, The Collected Works of Sri Ramana Maharshi, p. 12)

* * *

24

Whatever it is, nothing can be attained without the necessary fitness for it.

I [Balaram Reddy] said, ‘There is a teacher and his disciples. The teacher gives the same instruction to all the disciples sitting before him. How is it that some disciples hear the teachings, put them into practice and make quick progress, while others hear and apply the teachings and make little or no progress?’

The Maharshi replied, ‘Some must have followed that line of teaching in their previous lives, while others may just have begun. Also, some are born more advanced and fit than others.’ (My Reminiscences, p. 3)

Sri Ramana Gita, chapter 7, verses 8, 9, 10, 11:

Who is considered fit for this enquiry? Can one by oneself know one’s own fitness?

[Bhagavan:] He whose mind has been purified through upasana and other means or by merit acquired in past lives, who perceives the imperfections of the body and sense-objects, and feels utter distaste whenever his mind has to function among sense-objects and who realises that the body is impermanent, he is said to be a fit person for self-enquiry.
By these two signs, that is by a sense of the transitoriness of the body and by non-attachment to sense-objects, one’s own fitness for self-enquiry can be known.

Bhagavan: The aspirant may be kritopasaka [one whose worship has culminated in a direct experience of a personal God] or akritopasaka [one whose worship has not]. The former is fit to realise the Self, even with the slightest stimulus: only some little doubt stands in his way; it is easily removed if he hears the truth once from the Master. Immediately he gains the samadhi state. It is presumed that he had already completed sravana, reflection, etc. in previous births; they are no more necessary for him. (Talks with Sri Ramana Maharshi, talk no. 249)

* * *

25

Those fickle-minded people who have not done any sadhana before cannot gain a clear understanding from instructions alone.

26

Except for those who have completed everything and who have a mind that is free from desires, remaining still [summa iruttal] is not easy.

Question: In the practice of meditation are there any signs of the nature of subjective experience or otherwise, which will indicate the aspirant’s progress towards Self-realisation?

Bhagavan: The degree of freedom from unwanted thoughts and the degree of concentration on a single thought are the measure to gauge the progress. (Talks with Sri Ramana Maharshi, talk no. 427)

Question: Is it possible for all people to hold on to that path of self-enquiry?

Bhagavan: It is true that it is only possible for mature minds, not for immature minds. For the latter, repetition of a prayer or holy name under one’s breath [japa], worship of images, breath-control [pranayama] visualising a pillar of light [jyotishtoma] and similar yogic and spiritual and religious practices have been prescribed. By those practices, people become mature and will then realise the Self through the path of self-enquiry. (Letters from Sri Ramanasramam, 12th September, 1947)

Question: Swami, for gaining realisation, is the enquiry, ‘Who am I?’ the only way?

Bhagavan: Enquiry is not the only way. If one does spiritual practice [sadhana] with name and form, repetition of holy names [japa], or any of these methods with grim determination and perseverance, one becomes That. According to the capacity of each individual, one spiritual practice is said to be better than another and several shades and variations of them have been given. Some people are a long way from Tiruvannamalai, some are very near; some are in Tiruvannamalai, while some get into Bhagavan’s hall itself. For those who come into the hall, it is enough, if they are told as they step in, ‘Here is the Maharshi’, and they realise him immediately. For others they have to be told which route to take, which trains to catch, where to change, which road to turn into. In like manner, the particular path to be taken must be prescribed according to the capacity of the practiser. These spiritual practices are not for knowing one’s own Self, which is all-pervading, but only for getting rid of the objects of desire. When all these are discarded, one remains as one is. (Letters from Sri Ramanasramam, 29th November, 1947)

27

Without maturity [desirelessness] in the mind, the abiding experience of sahaja samadhi will not ripen.

28

Unless one has an extremely pure sattvic mind, it will be impossible to have darshan in the Heart of the reality that is jnana.

29

It is due to maturity of mind [chitta-paripaka] that what is very difficult for the many is extremely easy for the very few.

Bhagavan: We have to contend against age-long samskaras. They will all go. Only, they go comparatively soon in the case of those who have already made sadhana in the past, and late in the case of the others.

Question: Do these samskaras go gradually or will they suddenly disappear one day? I ask this because, though I have remained fairly long here, I do not perceive any gradual change in me.

Bhagavan: When the sun rises, does the darkness go gradually or all at once? (Day by Day with Bhagavan, 31st March, 1945)

nonduel said...

QUOTE:
""""The idea that maturity and practice are unnecessary for most people is a lazy delusion perpetrated by neo-advaitins who teach that the goal can be reached, without effort and without practice, simply by an attitude change. Believing 'I am free right now' somehow gets them out of the obligation of having to do anything to turn that concept into an experienced reality."""

Then, tell me my friend... "Who isn't free?"

I do understand what you wrote on the lazy delusion. Just keeping the mind outwardly is laziness and keeps one in delusion, in the "I-am-the-body". The paradox of "doing" VS of Being. Being does require a "doing". This is Sadhana!

It is accepting beliefs that one isn't mature or ready that I am hinting at. Being absolutely convinced that I AM THAT, cannot come with the belief that one is immature...SEE? To cultivate theses sort of beliefs is boundage.

As for sadhana, it is effortless effort that I am thinking of. I think that there's a belief that vicchara requires effort, strong concentration etc... There is no straining to BE. Of course there is paradoxily an "effort" also. This is the delusion of duality!

Ravi said...

David,
"This story appears in the Telugu version of 'Letters from Sri Ramanasramam', at the end of the letter that is dated 27th July, 1948, but it was omitted from the English edition."
Thanks very much for this wonderful and moving story.Truly our puny efforts are to invoke the Grace which alone can liberate.
I fondly recall how I told Sri Annamalai Swami-"All efforts are in vain.Nothing can be achieved through our puny efforts".Swami just did not agree and countered-"VIDAAdHU PIDINGA" in Tamil ,meaning 'Hold on without letting go'.Sri Sundaram who was also present tried to take sides with me and explained to Swami-"He(ravi)means surrendering to God by giving up all efforts".Swami just did not budge!Although Sundaram supported my point of view,I felt less sure about it the moment Swami said what he said.I instinctively felt that Swami was right and my 'conviction' was nebulous!
Salutations.

Anonymous said...

Scott Fraundorf:

I wasn't thinking that practice wasn't necessary, or that it isn't intense, clearly, in my own case it needs to be intense, but that the practice, self-inquiry doesn't include any dualism in it, In the sense that I'm trying to build the firm conviction that the world, and individual I take myself to be are not real. If I'm thinking continuously the world and the individuals in it are real, and that they have "maturity levels",

I wouldn't be focused on the goal of having a silent mind, turned inward, instead it's thinking of objective things. So to focus on others, or the individual I take myself to be, including his/her maturity level, would also not be focused on Inquiry. As soon as I classify my maturity level, oh I'm so far off, such an ignorant ajnani (whether that is true or not, seeing as I get agitated in one way or another far too often, it's probably true), I'm objectifying myself which seems to be exactly what the ego does. It also seems a tamasic state of mind, because maybe I feel bad about how far off I am, which also seems like the mind, which I assume is to be surrendered.

I do alot of such getting distracted, thinking about politics, culture, gossiping in my head about other people, commenting on their "lack of maturity levels", but that is seemingly in teh wrong direction. Same with my own maturity level,

I'm assumingpart of self-inquiry is practicing not believing the individual, the ego is real, practicing Self-Realization. I've taken Inquiry as practicing Self-Realization. Even stopping the effort, is effort. I notice my mind going toward something, I cease that effort, which is effort, because it's breaking the habit of where the mind was previously going.

Anonymous said...

Scott Fraundorf:

I wasn't thinking that practice wasn't necessary, or that it isn't intense, clearly, in my own case it needs to be intense, but that the practice, self-inquiry doesn't include any dualism in it, In the sense that I'm trying to build the firm conviction that the world, and individual I take myself to be are not real. If I'm thinking continuously the world and the individuals in it are real, and that they have "maturity levels",

I wouldn't be focused on the goal of having a silent mind, turned inward, instead it's thinking of objective things. So to focus on others, or the individual I take myself to be, including his/her maturity level, would also not be focused on Inquiry. As soon as I classify my maturity level, oh I'm so far off, such an ignorant ajnani (whether that is true or not, seeing as I get agitated in one way or another far too often, it's probably true), I'm objectifying myself which seems to be exactly what the ego does. It also seems a tamasic state of mind, because maybe I feel bad about how far off I am, which also seems like the mind, which I assume is to be surrendered.

I do alot of such getting distracted, thinking about politics, culture, gossiping in my head about other people, commenting on their "lack of maturity levels", but that is seemingly in teh wrong direction. Same with my own maturity level,

I'm assumingpart of self-inquiry is practicing not believing the individual, the ego is real, practicing Self-Realization. I've taken Inquiry as practicing Self-Realization. Even stopping the effort, is effort. I notice my mind going toward something, I cease that effort, which is effort, because it's breaking the habit of where the mind was previously going.

Anonymous said...

Scott Fraundorf:

DG says:"The idea that maturity and practice are unnecessary for most people is a lazy delusion perpetrated by neo-advaitins who teach that the goal can be reached, without effort and without practice, simply by an attitude change. Believing 'I am free right now' somehow gets them out of the obligation of having to do anything to turn that concept into an experienced reality".

First off good point, well taken.

I would assume that David Godman is more mature then me, however in my own case, this would be an example of something I eventually had to not do. I would get all agitated about the pseudo-neo-advaitins, when I watched their clips on Youtube, I might even curse, what frauds?

But one of the reasons for me to negate that(and i don't think this applies to david godman, I'm speaking for myself) is that I'm objectifying people who even if they did exist are far more complex then I could imagine. But that is also the reason for me to want to negate the "existence" of the world, including the neo-advaitins, is because whatever I think about it, is my own objectification of it. Even if the world were real, my objectification of it isn't real. And that imagination causes me agitation, which is not sattvic. Clearly I spend too much time in non-sattvic states. It's an example though, of classifying another group of people's maturity level, when those people exist in my mind, the focus should be inward, I think. But objectifying myself is also the ego, so even if there is a maturity level, thinking about my own maturity level, or lack thereof, seems a sure way to end up less mature. So I'm just trying to surrender all thought, and let Bhagavan do what is to be done with me, which is hard because the mind wants to be in control, which is why even though classifying maturity levels doesn't seem to help, intense practice of not objectifying at all, seems to me, what inquiry is.

Anonymous said...

Scott Fraundorf:

One last check in, my understanding of Inquiry is that the effort is to cease effort, to surrender effort, even the one who makes effort, which is intense effort, and when the one who makes effort can no more do a thing, and there is no one, they've vanished, that is Self Realization.

Ravi said...

Friends,
There are some very useful points discussed here-'Maturity'and 'Effort'.
Maturity does not involve any comparison of one individual with another-all comparisons are pointless.Maturity simply means one's 'Readiness'to discern Truth and live it-not just 'think' about it.
Effort or Action is never a Hindrance-We do not need to stop Eating,stop breathing,stop thinking-No need to 'stop' Effort-only to get rid of 'doership'.One of the core thing that has to be transcended is 'I am The Body' Feeling.
Sri Ramakrishna used to give the example of a coconut where the Kernel sticks to the shell as long as there is 'water'in it.The Moment the 'water of attachment'evaporates,the Kernel detaches from the Shell and one can FEEL it seperate from the Shell.On Breaking the shell,the Kernel remains INTACT and rolls on to the Ground Freely.This is 'Ripeness' or 'maturiy'.

Best Regards.

Ravi said...

nonduel,
" Being absolutely convinced that I AM THAT, cannot come with the belief that one is immature...SEE? To cultivate theses sort of beliefs is boundage."

Friend,I understand what you are trying to say-that all ideas of insufficiency serve to block the 'opening up'.Yet ,the opposite of this is true as well.To Recognise and understand this 'insufficiency',when this 'insuficiency' ceases to be just an 'idea' and becomes a FACT,then comes humility and with that 'maturity'!This 'insufficiency' instead of becoming a stumbling block,serves to open oneself to Grace and becomes very Potent.

Conviction only lays the Foundation,as David rightly said.Do we require to be 'convinced' that we are Human Beings?we simply know it and be it.

All said and done,one has to proceed with whatever light one has,and move on.All approaches are valid.

Wishing you the very Best.

Clemens Vargas Ramos said...

.

"maturity" and "striving"
------------------------------

The ego can't comprehend this, this should be clear. Because it is trying to gain something for itself. It don't wants to surrender.

God is almighty, and if He wishes a person to get liberated, He liberates this person - even if this person don't wants to get liberated...

"I reveal Myself to home I choose." (Katha Upanishad).

Here nothing is said about "maturity" and "striving".

In my eyes true "maturity" and "striving" means: Surrender to the almighty, all pervading Reality in the sense that I give up the idea to get something for myself - even from God. His will - not "my" will.

And this surrender is the true sadhana and true self inquiry - because it means fighting the ego and it's "strivings". This surrender means suffering for God in the sense that I'm suffering because of my ego, because of a higher goal.

And it is this suffering which is in reality true love for Him. Because every true love hurts. The ego don't wants to suffer in love - it wants to get "rich".

Trying to strive in the sense to get something from God is no surrender - it is business.

"25: Pure devotional service, on the other hand, is far superior to fruitive work, philosophical speculation, and mystic meditation."

"26: After all, bhakti is the fruit of all endeavor."

"27: Furthermore, the Lord dislikes the proud but is pleased with the humble."

(Bhakti Sutras)

"31. Among things conducive to Liberation, devotion (Bhakti) holds the supreme place. The seeking after one’s real nature is designated as devotion."

(Shankaracharya, Viveka Chudamani)

Again: The ego can't comprehend this - this is mysterious for the mind, for the ego. Therefore all the endless arguments. "Maturity" and "striving" are in my eyes advices given to the ego to fight itself, to come to understand the true meaning of surrender.

He is liberated who is aware of the almighty Reality and has no wishes anymore - not even to reach God. To such a person God at His pleasure perhaps gives one of His miracles. But never expect this to come...

.

Ravi said...

Ramos/Friends,
"25: Pure devotional service, on the other hand, is far superior to fruitive work, philosophical speculation, and mystic meditation."

I wish to share this wonderful story-Thanks to indianspirituality-I found this article in this friend's site:
(This article was originally published in the January, 2008 issue of Prabuddha Bharata.)

This is the story of another son of Holy Mother(Sri Sarada Devi,consort of Sri Ramakrishna). His name was Shantiram Das. He belonged to Haldi, a village near Jayrambati. His birth itself was a blessing of the Mother. Shanti's father, Yogesh Das, was an ardent devotee of Holy Mother and regularly served Mother as a palanquin bearer. Occasionally, he would sweep and clean the compound of Mother's new house. He had five daughters and greatly yearned for a son. So one day he came to Mother and expressed his sorrow, saying, "Mother, I have five daughters who work with their mother. If I had a son, I could have brought him here along with me and engaged him in your service. It is my humble prayer to you, Mother, that if another child is to be born to me, it should be a son. Without that I shall have no peace."

Mother thought for a while and said, "All right, I shall pray to Thakur." As it happened, a male child was born to him the next year. Yogesh's joy knew no bounds; he came running to the Mother and exclaimed, "Mother, by your grace I have got a son." Mother smilingly asked, "So now are you at peace?" He replied, "Yes Mother, my heart is full of peace." Then Mother said, "Then let the boy be named Shanti (peace)." During the boy's annaprashan ceremony, when the child is fed with cooked cereals for the first time, Mother gave him a pair of gold-plated bangles, which he preserved throughout his life.

His family believed that after Shanti received these bangles from Mother, whom they looked upon as Goddess Lakshmi herself, their financial condition improved greatly. As the boy Shanti grew older, he started coming to Mother's house along with his father. Yogesh had his son on one shoulder and his youngest daughter on the other, the latter being only one and a half years older than Shanti. So whatever fruit Mother had she would divide exactly into two for the children, lest they should fight.

When Shanti saw his father cleaning the compound with a broom, he too started doing the same—with difficulty, as the broom was very big for him. Seeing him struggle with the big broom, Mother procured a smaller one and gave it to him, saying, "This is the broom for you; you can serve with this one." Thereafter, he unfailingly continued his devotional service to Mother with great zeal and enthusiasm.

A few years passed in this way, during which Shanti enjoyed Mother's unbounded love and affection. Eventually, Holy Mother became seriously ill, and it was decided that she would move to her Calcutta residence. As Mother was about to leave, Shanti asked her with tearful eyes, "Now for whom shall I work, Mother, whom shall I serve?" Mother replied with affection, "My child, you shall continue your service to me, thinking that I am always present here and am always watching you. Where shall I go?" Shanti's simple heart couldn't doubt Mother's words; he continued his service to Mother daily with the same enthusiasm as before, feeling her eternal presence even after she left the mortal world.

In 1923, the Matri Mandir was established on the birthplace of Holy Mother, and the things in Jayrambati changed, but there was no change in Shanti's attitude and sincerity. In fact, his faith and devotion increased with time, and whether it was winter, summer, or the rainy season, Shanti was seen every morning with a broom in hand, serving with a blissful heart. He never accepted any money for his service, as it was all for his own Mother. On festival days he accepted a dhoti and chadar—gifts that were distributed to all. He had a job as the chowkidar (watchman) of the Haldi village and thus earned his living, but he spent most of his spare time at the ashrama.

When he became old and weak, the ashrama authorities asked him not to exert himself in hard work, but nobody could persuade him to stop his service to Mother. If somebody asked him to stop his work he would answer promptly, "Who are you to ask me to stop? It is Mother who appointed me to this service. I am her servant. She didn't teach me any shastra or sadhan-bhajan; she only gave me a broom. Hence this is my sadhana, my worship to her." His service continued until he became bedridden.

On his last day, lying in bed, suddenly his face became bright and blissful. And he breathed his last with a smile on his face and Mother's name on his lips. Shanti's last rites were performed with due respect at the ghat on the bank of the Amodar river at Jayrambati. He was honoured as a great devotee of Mother. The bangles which Mother had given to him are preserved by his family"

Best Regards.

Clemens Vargas Ramos said...

.

Who knows an "authentic", "true" or "good" translation of Bhakti Sutras of Narada into English? I find much differences in available englisch and german translations and like to translate the text into German on my own.

Thanking you.

.

Clemens Vargas Ramos said...

.

"Maturity" and "striving": Not to forget an older discussion here:

Power to Enlighten

.

S. said...

salutations to all:
wish to narrate an interesting episode that occurred recently... also seemed to be relevant to the discussion that has been happening on the topic of 'maturity' of aspiration etc...bhagavan's analogy of wet wood, charcoal, and gunpowder spoke about the levels of maturity of aspirants...in this connection, a question was raised on the readiness or eagerness to accept the words of bhagavan without any reservation...

the incident: by bhagavan's grace, ram (ramprax) and i recently visited 'mastan swamigal's samadhi' at matam village...it was a beautiful experience that filled us with sweet calm and bathed us in cheerful peace...as words can't do any justice, (even if words can, i can't!), let me leave it here...request all of you to visit the place...the journey could be tiring if you are relying on public transportation but all that weariness will disappear as soon as you reach 'there'...

it took us a long time to reach there and by the time we were to leave matam village, it was 6 pm...the sun was setting fast and being a new moon night, darkness was just around the corner...being completely new to the place, we asked the kind gentleman, who comes and lights up the lamp at the samadhi everyday, to guide us to the nearest bus stop...he replied that as it is past 6 pm, no buses are available from matam village then, and the only other alternative was to walk 4 to 5 miles to the nearest highway...

by then, it was dark and soon we found ourselves walking on the winding road with nothing but the croaking of frogs, howling of foxes, barking of dogs, the buzz of the fireflies for company...we reached the highway after an hour of walk, changed a couple of buses and reached tiruvannamalai around 10 pm.

now coming to the point of the story, as we were walking, ram made a very insightful observation, and it struck me as i was reading the post about the 'readiness to accept with faith'...to paraphrase, he said, "the village is new, the road is not even fully visible (no street lights), and yet we didn't doubt even once the guidance of the kind gentleman, obviously a complete stranger, who gave us the directions to reach home...we implicitly believed the details he gave on the distance and time it would take us to reach the highway (in near total darkness)...on the other hand, isn't it funny that we keep doubting and don't repose even half of the same unreserved trust in the words of bhagavan!!!"

we wondered that if only, we had the readiness to accept the instructions of bhagavan with complete faith, the same faith that we had had on the words of the kind stranger, how wonderful would it be?

dear friends, i leave it you to interpret the incident in the way you find it most natural, but for me it reinforced just this:
to try doing vichara to the best of my abilities, and to either abide in the self or die in the attempt :-)

Anonymous said...

Scott Fraundorf:

It does occur to me though, that probably only a person who is Realized could actually speak truthfully on these matters, because whatever we say, no matter how profound it sounds, it is filtered through our own understandings, our own egos, our own dualistic notions, both the deeply religious understanding of Clemens Vargos, and Ravi, and the other approach mentioned by nondual.

When I read them, I can only say, "right", because they both seem to highlight some aspect of it, but are also filtered through our own ignorance including what I said.

It's coming out of what we are projecting out of our egos, to the degree that I am invested in who I think I am, and the what I think of the world, are only my opinions.

For instance, the deeply religious Christian teachings in this country, people get on their high horse so to speak, and think they are speaking the "truth", and there is some Truth there, but it's also clouded.

The neo-advaitins mentioned by DG, think that because they've read dialogues with Maharshi that knowing it intellectually has anything to do with Knowing it, and that if they just tell people to ask "who am I? whose depressed?", that shows a deep understanding of the teachings, which is really just spouting words, Maharshi was Truth because his ego had completely subsided and he realized the truth. Same with other Realized, as far as I know he didn't need to plan out what he said, or parrot his own writings, the correct responses met the people who came to him,because there was no ego clouding what was said.

Anonymous said...

Scott Fraundorf:

It would be nice to be without ego.I think the surrendering part mentioned by Clemens Vargos is the hard part, because we want things to be one way rather then another way, surrender is allowing it to be whatever it wants.

I should mention that in my dialogues with Nome, he had an interesting slant in response to me that I found temporarily helpful. When my mind wanders toward things, what is the motivation?

For instance happiness, finding out what is true, security. And then where is that found? remembering that those are in the Self, and not where the mind is running to.

Anonymous said...

"This question of being "ready", mature enough is a dichotomy for me. A play of the mind! Self is deluded through the I Am the body idea. As time and space are also plays of the mind.

Since I Am That I AM, how can there be the question of being mature, ready to "attain" Realization, Liberation. This is wanting, trying to become what One IS. In other words, Self-realization is obscured only by the mind.

Isn't considering concepts like being ready, mature enough, adding and strenghtening the mind? In the sense that accepting these ideas in the mind can only re-inforce the I Am the body, of being limited, not worthy enough, having do something(s) etc."

Now reading, david godman's original comment that sparked the seeming debate, it makes alot of sense to me. We are all at our own maturity levels, in my own case it seems from the activity of my mind, and it's resistance to actually subsiding. Evidently Muruganar, Mastan, and Lakshmana swami were extremely mature, had alot of their egoic assumptions out of the way when they came into the presence of Bhagavan. It still seems to think in terms of maturity in my own practice, I can't imagine it to be helpful, other then to not get deluded into thinking I'm more mature then I am, or less then. Keeping the mind on the practice, and not thinking about others, judging others, etc.
Nome's recent advise to me of asking hte motivation for the mind wandering and remembering that what it's seeking is within, I found extremely helpful, at getting deeper into being at peace. It seems dutifully practicing hte instructions of Maharshi's writings at all times, when remembered, or not forgotten can do alot in a single lifetime to get to more and more mature levels, even if one starts at a very low maturity, very tamasic, the spark, the humility to practice, and realize it is necessary is good.

Some of those lazy neo-advaitins (who are just my own concept), the problem is realizing they don't have to still practice, and then perhaps they start giving Satsang, when they still take themselves to be an individual.

I just assume, if there is still someone to get agitated, if there is still someone who can consider whether practice is necessary or could think it isn't necessary, then I haven't reached the goal, and practice is most necessary. I can't imagine with that in mind, I'm going to stop prematurely, but I still get distracted from time to time.

Having a living teacher, for course correction, such as the previously mentioned advise, helps me to not get into a rote habit and call that "practice", but to actually really go deeper, when it's not at all obvious how.

Ravi said...

S,Ramprax,
Good to see your post after quite a while.Thanks very much for sharing your experience at Sri Mastan Swami's samadhi.Reminds me of Sadasiva Brahmam's samadhi at Nerur(Arvind had also written about it).

What Ramprax observed is quite appropriate and insightful-"the village is new, the road is not even fully visible (no street lights), and yet we didn't doubt even once the guidance of the kind gentleman, obviously a complete stranger, who gave us the directions to reach home...we implicitly believed the details he gave on the distance and time it would take us to reach the highway (in near total darkness)...".

What if one had had 'some previous idea'about 'how to get back'!

True friend,this is the sort of Trust that we need to put in the Guru's words.

coming to your " but for me it reinforced just this:
to try doing vichara to the best of my abilities, and to either abide in the self or die in the attempt :-)",I playfully suggest a small amendment..."to either abide in the self or live in the attempt!"

Namaskar and best wishes.

Clemens Vargas Ramos said...

.

... God is almighty, and if He wishes a person to get liberated, He liberates this person - even if this person don't wants to get liberated...

=

5. The Knowledge of one's identity with the pure Self that negated the wrong notion of the identity of the body and the Self sets a man free even against his will when it becomes as firm as the belief of the man that he is a human being.

Shankaracharya, Updesha Sahasri, II, 4-5

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nonduel said...

Quote:

""The Knowledge of one's identity with the pure Self that negated the wrong notion of the identity of the body and the Self sets a man free even against his will when it becomes as firm as the belief of the man that he is a human being.

Shankaracharya, Updesha Sahasri, II, 4-5""

Yes!

If you accept and consider that you are not mature, that can only be from the ego's point.

Only the ego, the mind can entertain, accept that it is immature. Vichara is maintaining the attention on the self, not on the thoughts, beliefs of being mature or not. It is in fact the sadhana of not paying attention to thoughts. Neti-neti!

If you believe that you are not mature you are putting yourself in bondage, because you are then accepting the limits of the deluded I-Am-the-body idea.

The paradox remains though! Not the neo-advaitist's view. Eagerness, determination, uncessingly Vicchara... the effortless-effort sadhana.

I like the sparrow...

Anonymous said...

Scott Fraundorf:

It almost has to be against our will, doesn't it? I mean the mind doesn't want to die, even if it pretends it does. Although I don't really know at this point the relation of practice and Realization. Obviously the practice is necessary too, but we don't even choose to practice, do we? According to A.S. we don't, right? Surrender, devotion, Inquiry into the source of happiness, different means for being detached of what I think of the world seems the way to go.

Ravi said...

Ramos,
Here is the verse from Katha upanishad over which we had a discussion:(Chapter 2,Verse 23)
"This Atman cannot be attained by the study of the Vedas, or by intelligence, or by much hearing of sacred books. It is attained by him alone whom It chooses. To such a one Atman reveals Its own form."

This means that however one may 'Qualify' himself,all such Qualifications do not measure up.All EXTERNAL CRITERIA are worthless and only the INNER WORTH counts.
This does not mean that Atman goes about CHOOSING and Granting Liberation irrespective of this inner worth(maturity).This is amply made clear in the very next verse No.24:
"He who has not turned away from wickedness, who is not
tranquil and subdued and whose mind is not at peace, cannot
attain Atman. It is realised only through the Knowledge of
Reality."

I will recommend Swami Nikhilananda's Translation of the Katha Upanishad.
You may visit this site:
"www.bharatadesam.com/spiritual/upanishads/katha_upanishad.php - 65k "

Best Regards.

Anonymous said...

Scott Fraundorf:

I think surrender is the hard part. Because it's saying as Maharshi said, "thy will be done". Do with me what you like, feed me to a lion, or make me live a prosperous life as "householder". There has to be a total surrender, and I find that is the hardest part. If I had that total surrender, the SElf would be realized. So I practice surrender. I also Inquire, as mentioned by Shankara and Maharshi, and Song of Ribhu. Is this entity, that I take to be me, "I", "I", "I"...."I am thinking", "I am doing" real. "I want" "I am depressed" "I am afraid", is it real. which goes hand in hand with surrender. If I surrender the one who is depressed or afraid, if I realize they are non-existence, it means that everything that occurs in the 5 elements, is fine by me, either the body being eaten by a lion, or having romantic relations, are equal to me. In catholicism the lord's prayer serves the same purpose. "thy kingdom come, thy will be done, on earth as it is in heaven", catholics are practicing surrender. My biggest problem with the neo-advaitins, and the new age in this country, is that they make light of how difficult this is. That somehow the selfish ego can survive, along with wisdom being gained. And it just can't happen.

Anonymous said...

Scott Fraundorf:

I think surrender is the hard part. Because it's saying as Maharshi said, "thy will be done". Do with me what you like, feed me to a lion, or make me live a prosperous life as "householder". There has to be a total surrender, and I find that is the hardest part. If I had that total surrender, the SElf would be realized. So I practice surrender. I also Inquire, as mentioned by Shankara and Maharshi, and Song of Ribhu. Is this entity, that I take to be me, "I", "I", "I"...."I am thinking", "I am doing" real. "I want" "I am depressed" "I am afraid", is it real. which goes hand in hand with surrender. If I surrender the one who is depressed or afraid, if I realize they are non-existence, it means that everything that occurs in the 5 elements, is fine by me, either the body being eaten by a lion, or having romantic relations, are equal to me. In catholicism the lord's prayer serves the same purpose. "thy kingdom come, thy will be done, on earth as it is in heaven", catholics are practicing surrender. My biggest problem with the neo-advaitins, and the new age in this country, is that they make light of how difficult this is. That somehow the selfish ego can survive, along with wisdom being gained. And it just can't happen.

Ravi said...

Ramos,
Swami Krishnananda's(Divine Life Society)brilliant commentary on the Katha Upanishad is downloadable from scribd.
Here is an excerpt on the ...Brahman chooses...
"The Moral Preparation for Brahma Knowledge:
nᾱyam ᾱtmᾱ pravacanena labhyo na medhayᾱ, na bahunᾱ śrutena:
yamevaiṣa vṛṇute tena labhyas tasyaiṣa ᾱtmᾱ vivṛṇute tanῡṁ svᾱm. (23)
This is a very famous, often quoted verse: “Not by speech can He be known; not by
the intellect, not even by hearing.” Speech returns baffled. Who expresses speech? The
Atman! Who can express the Atman? Even rationality, His partial expression through
the buddhi which is a modification of prakriti, cannot express Him. Frail is the intellect
when it tries to stretch itself beyond its limits. As a person who cuts the branch on which
he sits will fall down, he who tries to know the Atman through the intellect will break.
All the faculties of the human mind break down when they try to turn towards the
Atman. “He is known only by him whom He chooses.” If God chooses, you may know;
otherwise not. This is the interpretation of the Bhakti School. It is God’s grace that He
gives you darshan. By a miracle taking place, you can see God; not by ordinary effort.
But Sankara’s interpretation is unique: It is not that someone chooses, because, for
Sankara, that someone does not exist to choose. His understanding of this part of the
mantra is: “He is beheld only by That which is the seeker himself.” That which you
behold is within yourself, is the meaning. Who is the seeker? Is he outside the Atman?
God is the prompter even behind the seeker. Sadhana is not possible without Him.
Rather than from without, the choice has to come from within. The seeker and the
sought are one.
The sought or God is not outside the seeker, choosing him arbitrarily; if it were so, we would have to attribute partiality to Him. Reality is one, and on the basis of this doctrine, Sankara opines that Self-knowledge is an inexplicable wonder: it arises—that
is all. It is not caused by the jiva, because he has no freedom. But, if God is the cause,
what conditions does He impose? If you say it is the jiva’s karmas, you limit His power;
so even that is not a satisfactory explanation. Hence, either you accept that God’s ways
are mysterious, ununderstandable, or knowledge is a miracle, and when you say miracle,
you cannot say anything. By the passage of time, by the fructification of good deeds, by
the process of the universe, by the grace of God—by a mysterious combination of all
these factors which the jiva cannot understand, God is revealed. When He reveals
Himself, the person (jiva) is no more. God reveals Himself to Himself. It is not an end
reached by the effort of human personality.
The whole difficulty is expressed in a single statement: the Atman is the subject, not the object. Thus, He cannot be manipulated by an instrument. Speech, mind and
intellect are signified by the terms pravacanena medhaya. Speech is indicative of all Commentary on the Katha Upanishad by Swami Krishnananda 28/108
senses. So, not through them, not through the mind, not through the intellect can the
Atman be realised, because these faculties have a tendency to move outward. They catch
the object, not the subject. The mind never catches the mind. Both the mind and
intellect work on the dictate of the senses which are untrustworthy, concluding that all
reality is confined to phenomena. Any description of the Atman is given by them, and
they cannot conceive of anything other than objects.
This mystery of atmasakshatkara is given in the second half of the verse. The Atman
chooses the Atman. God chooses God. It is Self-efflorescence. To such a fortunate being
who has so withdrawn himself into himself that he is indistinguishable from the Supreme Subject, to such a one is the Atman revealed—not by process, but
instantaneously. It is a timeless flash of a sudden consciousness which is called
atmasakshatkara. It comes by the maturity of one’s sadhana. The links of this process
are indescribable. The last occurrence is such that it cannot be regarded as an effect of
all the preceding ones, though it comes as a result of these. It is beyond the causational process."

Eventually ,we find that the Bhakti and the Gnana interpretations converge!Yet,we can be Right for the 'wrong' reason ,and wrong for the 'Right' reason!It is important to be right for the right reason,as only then our approach becomes valid.

Best Regards.

David Godman said...

Murthy, a devotee who ordered several copies of the Annamalai Swami interview from me a few months ago, has emailed me to say that the interview is now available online. The links are:

http://www.veoh.com/videos/v16981852SMAnrPMY - part 1
http://www.veoh.com/videos/v169827643MczRHS8 - part
http://www.veoh.com/videos/v16982765mJwJAc69 - part 3

Ravi said...

nonduel,
"If you believe that you are not mature you are putting yourself in bondage"
Your approach is certainly valid.
'Maturity' has nothing to do with 'ideas' or 'beliefs' about oneself.It is 'Maturity' when one does not carry ideas or beliefs about oneself.
coming to the cessation of 'Striving'-all masters have been unanimous-one does not take leave of 'Efforts',the 'Efforts'take leave of oneself when one is ripe.

From a Practical sadhana point of view,when the 'mental Quiet' descends on oneself,this should not be disturbed through restless 'striving'.Yet there is what JK used to call active passivity,that stays on guard.

Sri Ramakrishna in his inimitable way,recommends that when the milk has to turn into curd,it needs to be left undisturbed!Any shaking or stirring will spoil the formation of curd.

Best Regards.

Ravi said...

scott,
"I think surrender is the hard part. "
I feel that the difficulty perhaps is that we live more in our 'thoughts'-sentiments than in our 'feelings';more in our head than in our heart.This has been the bane of 'growing up'.
This is the reason that Jesus,The Christ said-That unless you become like little children,you cannot enter the kingdom of God.
For people who are more of the 'cerebral' type,it is indeed more natural that they deploy the power of thought by Self Enquiry.

"So I practice surrender. I also Inquire, as mentioned by Shankara and Maharshi,"
This is a Good approach,keeping it flexible to accommodate the inner prompting.

Wishing you the very Best.

Clemens Vargas Ramos said...

.

... Here is the verse from Katha upanishad over which we had a discussion:(Chapter 2,Verse 23) ...

Thank you, Ravi. I downloaded this from scribd. I already knew some texts by Swami Krishnanda.

This discussion is really important. Now I've heard of another translation of this verse by a sanskrit scholar:

23. (...)
Choose only the Self and it will reveal itself to you.

This is a complete different sense of this verse and differs from all other known english translations.

Therefore I felt an urgent need to request the correct translation of this verse from a matha in india.

... This does not mean that Atman goes about CHOOSING and Granting Liberation irrespective of this inner worth (maturity) ...

Yes, Ravi, but who decides about worthiness? The Self, not the seeker. The Self is able to make things happen we not dreamt of in our wildest dreams. Doing sadhana and believing to become "worthy enough" to be choosen by the Self is in my eyes a way into an illusion. Sadhana in my eyes means: Striving without hope to expect something. For the mind this is unacceptable.

... for Sankara, that someone does not exist to choose.
Sankara opines that Self-knowledge is an inexplicable wonder: it arises — that
is all. It is not caused by the jiva, because he has no freedom. ...


Exactly. That is exactly what I tried to express. Who or what "chooses"? Inexpressible, mysterious divine reality. Supreme reality apparently moves and grants liberation.

To say about this reality like Poonjaji did:

"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."

is pure nonsense.

This statement of him is NOT the same as verse 2-24 in Katha Upanishad. Because the Self is able to make even a mass murderer pure - in a second.

What "unreceptive", "not fertile", "barren", "passage of time", "by the fructification of good deeds" is that is up to the Self - not to the human mind!

.

Clemens Vargas Ramos said...

.

The Self explaining that all individual efforts to gain something from the Self are vain. Understanding and surrendering is needed:


Shankaracharya, Upadesha Sahasri

CHAPTER VIII - MERGING OF THE MIND

1. The connection of enjoyment etc. with me, oh My mind who am by nature Consciousness Itself is due to the delusion created by you. As I am free from all attributes there is no utility according to me from your efforts.

2. Give up the false attempts and come to rest in Me from constant vain-efforts as I am always the supreme Brahman as if free from bondage, Unborn and devoid of duality.

3. The supreme Brahman, the same in all beings and free from all attributes, I am all-pervading like the ether, imperishable, auspicious, homogeneous, partless and actionless. I, therefore, have no benefit to be derived from your efforts.

4. No one different from Me can belong to me who am one only. Nor can I who am unattached belong to anybody. I have, therefore, no benefit to be derived from anything done by you. As you are not other than Myself you can have no effort nor its results.

5. Considering that people are attached to the ideas of cause and effect, I have composed this dialogue (between the mind and the Self) leading to the understanding of the real nature of the Self in order that they might get freed from this (bondage).

6. A man gets liberated from Ignorance, the cause of great fear, and roams (over the world) free from desires, free from grief, a Knower of the Self, the same in all beings and happy, if he ponders over this dialogue.

.

Ravi said...

Ramos,
"Yes, Ravi, but who decides about worthiness? The Self, not the seeker."
Ramos,the onus is on the seeker.The 'uncertainty principle' is the seeker and in that sense,he decides the outcome.
'worthiness' is for the seeker,by the seeker and of the seeker.SELF only says 'Thathastu'(So Be it!).

papji's saying needs to be understood in this sense.If the unreceptive mind decides to shut out Light,Self or God cannot alter that.Perhaps it is more acceptable to one's sensibility if the word 'cannot' is replaced by 'does not'.This ofcourse does not alter the outcome.

Another way of looking at it is-What is 'almightiness'?Another concept of the mind only.Mind is 'enamored' of the 'power of god'.As Love grows,one sees less and less of this 'power'.More of it later-you may dip into 'The Gospel of Sri Ramakrishna' regarding this.

It is indeed true that even a 'wicked' person may turn a 'new leaf'-why?Because ,in the ultimate view of things ,both good and bad are only masks and SELF IS THE ONLY REALITY.

Best Regards.

Anonymous said...

"Yes, Ravi, but who decides about worthiness? The Self, not the seeker. The Self is able to make things happen we not dreamt of in our wildest dreams. Doing sadhana and believing to become "worthy enough" to be choosen by the Self is in my eyes a way into an illusion. Sadhana in my eyes means: Striving without hope to expect something. For the mind this is unacceptable."

I feel like Self-Inquiry's purpose is for the immediate peace it can give, the immediate surrender. When I'm still caught up in the drama, pain, and worry, it just shows that I need to go deeper in my Inquiry. I don't know whether the Self chooses, or I choose, it just happens. I have an intuition that I want to be happier, and that this state of unhappiness is caused by my thought.

It's kind of like in Calvinism, Calvin believed (I think) that who is saved, and who is damned is predestined. So we don't really have any choice in whether we are saved or damned, but at the same time, it's a sign that I'm saved that I have some faith, and try to be good. So it's best that I have faith and try to be good, and not resign myself. I think the same applies here.

Yeah, I have kind of given up on expecting Self-Realization imminently. But it does seem like one of those paradoxical things, where if I just happened to strike on doing Inquiry correctly in my attempts, and adjust my attempts to make them more effective. That part of it is necessary too, I can't just resign myself to that it will happen or not, the effort is clearly necessary as part of having maturity.

For instance, what is the motivation for my mind wandering, as U.G. Krishnamurti said, thinking and wanting are the same. So when I think, it's because I want something. But what I want, whether it's happiness, to know what is going on, the truth, safety, and security and peace are all in the Self, and not in the world I'm expecting to find these things or keep these things. And reminding myself of that, slowly and slowly maturity is gained.

So I think effort is extremely powerful, faith, and surrender and genuine devotion (not Phraisee devotion) are also extremely helpful. When I gain Self-Realization may be out of my control, but it's also the nature of the Self, and the only thing separating myself from the Self is my own thinking, my own mental wandering in search of what is innate but pretending I can find it out in the world, that there is any peace, or happiness in teh world. If I don't take the initiative to free myself of that, then there really is no hope. I think you agree with me, I'm saying this for myself.

Anonymous said...

"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."

is pure nonsense.

"This statement of him is NOT the same as verse 2-24 in Katha Upanishad. Because the Self is able to make even a mass murderer pure - in a second.

What "unreceptive", "not fertile", "barren", "passage of time", "by the fructification of good deeds" is that is up to the Self - not to the human mind!"

I think Papaji's quote, which I agree with is, that self-effort is absolutely necessary, and certainly most people who realized the Self were extremely intense in their meditation.

From what my own experience, and what I've read, it's a good sign, when I (the mind), am focused on freeing myself from my attachments, when more and more that gets to be the primary goal, instead of getting something out of the world, like pursuing happiness, sensory pleasures, peace and security, when those are innate.

If I, the mind is not attempting to free myself of the attachments, but instead is pursuing the attachments and not trying to break those habits, it's a pretty good bet, I'm not going to be the most fertile ground.

Anonymous said...

""I think surrender is the hard part. "
I feel that the difficulty perhaps is that we live more in our 'thoughts'-sentiments than in our 'feelings';more in our head than in our heart.This has been the bane of 'growing up'.
This is the reason that Jesus,The Christ said-That unless you become like little children,you cannot enter the kingdom of God.
For people who are more of the 'cerebral' type,it is indeed more natural that they deploy the power of thought by Self Enquiry."

That is probably why Inquiry draws me, but surrender seems to be necessary too, and they seem synonymous. Yeah, becoming innocent again, uncorrupted seems important.

Anonymous said...

Scott Fraundorf

".. for Sankara, that someone does not exist to choose.
Sankara opines that Self-knowledge is an inexplicable wonder: it arises — that
is all. It is not caused by the jiva, because he has no freedom. ..

I didn't really see Shankara's position, and Papaji's statement as contradictory. Just looking at it from different angles. Papaji I thought was just clarifying that the guru can't necessarily liberate someone who comes into their presence, their effort is necessary also.

Anonymous said...

clemens said: "The ego can't comprehend this, this should be clear. Because it is trying to gain something for itself. It don't wants to surrender."

I've been taking a different approach lately, instead of trying to force surrender, the mind, and it's desires will not submit to outright supression, it seems, but remembering that the things it's seeking are inward not outward, the thing that causes thoughts to rise. That way the mind subsides voluntarily.

Anonymous said...

Thanks to Murthy for posting the video online..appreciate it! Thanks to David for passing on the video links. It was good, finally, to see Annamalai Swami answering our questions. Thanks to Jim Lemkin/Dev Gogoi for recording the interview and allowing the video to be distributed for free.

Ravi said...

Ramos,
The Following excerpt from the Gospel of Sri Ramakrishna -The Master with the Brahmo devotees-II,date:april 22,1883 ,is a commentary on those verses 23 and 24 of Katha Upanishad!
" Spiritual inspiration comes from God:
MASTER (to the devotees): "Both worldliness and liberation depend on God's will. It is
God alone who has kept man in the world in a state of ignorance; and man will be free
when God, of His own sweet will, calls him to Himself. It is like the mother calling the
child at meal-time, when he is out playing. When the time comes for setting a man free,
God makes him seek the company of holy men. Further, it is God who makes him restless
for spiritual life."
A NEIGIHBOUR: "What kind of restlessness, sir?"
MASTER: "Like the restlessness of a clerk who has lost his job. He makes the round of the
offices daily and asks whether there is any vacancy. When that restlessness comes, man
longs for God. A fop, seated comfortably with one leg over the other, chewing betel-leaf
and twirling his moustaches-a carefree dandy-, cannot attain God."
NEIGHBOUR: "Can one get this longing for God through frequenting the company of holy
men?"
MASTER: "Yes, it is possible. But not for a confirmed scoundrel. A sannyasi's kamandalu,
made of bitter gourd, travels with him to the four great places of pilgrimage but still does
not lose its bitterness."

Best Regards.

Ravi said...

Ramos,
Just to mention that that excerpt from the Gospel is dated June 2,1883.

Salutations.

Ravi said...

Ramos/Friends,
This excert from the Gospel of Sri Ramakrishna,june 25,1883:
"Monday, June 25, 1883
Sri Ramakrishna was at Balaram Bose's house in Calcutta. Rakhal and M. were seated near
him. The Master was in ecstasy. He conversed with the devotees in an abstracted mood.
MASTER: "Let me assure you that a man can realize his Inner Self through sincere prayer.
But to the extent that he has the desire to enjoy worldly objects, his vision of the Self
becomes obstructed."
M: "Yes, sir. You always ask us to plunge into God."
MASTER (joyously): "Yes! That's it. Let me tell you that the realization of Self is possible
for all, without any exception."
M: "That is true, sir. But God is the Doer. He works through different beings in different
ways, according to their capacity to manifest the Divine. God gives to some full spiritual
consciousness, and others He keeps in ignorance."
MASTER: "No, that is not so. One should pray to God with a longing heart. God certainly
listens to prayer if it is sincere. There is no doubt about it."
A DEVOTEE: "Yes, sir. There is this 'I-consciousness' in us; therefore we must pray."

Here the master clearly ASSURES that Self Realisation is possible for all,WITHOUT EXCEPTION;at the same time he emphasises EFFORT to realise this POSSIBILITY.

These 2 excerpts cover just about everything that we have discussed-puts everything in the proper perspective.

Best Regards.

Anonymous said...

Scott Fraundorf:

"Here the master clearly ASSURES that Self Realisation is possible for all,WITHOUT EXCEPTION;at the same time he emphasises EFFORT to realise this POSSIBILITY.

These 2 excerpts cover just about everything that we have discussed-puts everything in the proper perspective.

Best Regards."

I agree with Ravi, since faith and convictions in the teachings of Maharshi are imperative for realizing it, a belief that it is unrealizable are only for the few would seem to be not having that faith. While, it may be true in the realm of the world, with most individuals not realizing it.

But in my own experiences, it seems that the decreasing of desire, the increasing of humility, are on the right path. So, a feeling of being special as an individual, would probably not be so helpful. For instance a few of the derided neo-advaitins have been prone to speaking about their "personal mission", or they were "given their entitlement to now teach".

But then you look at Papaji, Maharshi, Nisargadatta, etc., and tyhere was nothing left to care about that kind of stuff, to be looking for some kind of personal glory, or to feel like they were on a mission.

Anonymous said...

Scott Fraundorf:

When I first started to attempt Inquiry, I felt like Realization was eminent, with such a direct method. Now, after a year and a half, I imagine that there has definitely been a marked recession in ego, but I also realize how difficult it is. I imagine the deeper you go with Inquiry in some ways the easier it becomes past a certain point, but I think dropping a level so to speak, a level of egotisticalness, or attachment, is not trivial, and that aspect of it, Clemens Vargos statements strike me as true, that it is the grace of the Self that is required for those changes. At the same time that constant effort to not be attached, or to see that what is beign looked for is inward, not outward, probably gives the Self something to work with. Although in my experience, anything that involves dropping a level of attachment, or egotisticalness is always extremely frightening, and can feel life threatening.

Maneesha said...

In reply to inital posts about omnipresence of The Guru, I rmember Maharshi saying somehwere "In presence of Sun, only few buds bloom; not all of them. But the sun cannot be blamed for the buds that do not bloom."

Taking the quote forward, even if the buds do not bloom, they still are benefitted.. they will probably bloom in a day or two or so on. And, that is still because of the potency of the Sun!

RJAY said...

David, Thanks to you and Mr.Murthy, I watched all three parts of Jim's interview of Sri Annamalai Swami.

Those who have not watched the video, please read this after you watch, since there are spoilers :)

Interestingly, I started with part 2, and it happened to start which the very topic I was struggling with in the last two days - how can I become aware of the I-of-deep-sleep while awake.

I got the answer right from Sri.Swami's mouth. "Thookkathila irukkara aaluthan ippavum irukkiraar. adha vittuttu body-mind than naan-nu ninaikirathu sattai-than naanu nenaikkira madhiri."

"The same person who is in deep sleep is the one that is right here now too, but we grab on to the body-mind that comes up during wake as the I. This is like wearing a shirt that hides your body and thinking that the shirt is the body.

And in the following parts Sri.Swami enquires, questions, sharpens, states and assures that firm grasp of 'I am the Self. Self is all' and losing the idea 'I am the body-mind' is all one needs to do.

Another moment was seeing Swami using Ramana-astram of 'Who is saying that it is not clear?'.
In a split second, it becomes clear that one has to learn to totally disregard the body and totally disregard the mind and thoughts as a dream, and hold on to pure awareness as the Self that is me and that is all and the world.


What a great video! Thanks a lot to Ramana, Swami, Jim, Sundaram and you for this learning experience.


At the end Swami says humbly, "All this is what Bhagavan said. Nothing from me." which seems like he has collected a handful of assertions of truth and example from Ramana and has lived those (nididyasanam).

The proof of that comes in the last moment. When Jim says 'This meeting is very useful to me and hope for others too.'

Swami, even though, has stood up after finishing the interview casually remarks, "Who are those others? Those are all the Self Those are all myself."

This realization (which means living it every moment) is gnanam.

Ramanaradi,
Ravi

srkudai said...

Dear David Godman,
:) Annamalai Swami's interviews, Final Talks and living by the words of Ramana are perhaps the most useful resources for understanding Ramana.

From what i read of Annamalai Swami i am convinced that he understood Ramana and his Teachings so completely and Realized it!

several times, while studying annamalai swami's works ... i thought that you deserve a very big thank you! :)

Thank you very much for making them all available!

Love!
Silence

srkudai said...

Dear David Godman,
:) Annamalai Swami's interviews, Final Talks and living by the words of Ramana are perhaps the most useful resources for understanding Ramana.

From what i read of Annamalai Swami i am convinced that he understood Ramana and his Teachings so completely and Realized it!

several times, while studying annamalai swami's works ... i thought that you deserve a very big thank you! :)

Thank you very much for making them all available!

Love!
Silence

RJAY said...

David, Thanks to you and Mr.Murthy, I watched all three parts of Jim's interview of Sri Annamalai Swami.

Those who have not watched the video, please read this after you watch, since there are spoilers :)

Interestingly, I started with part 2, and it happened to start which the very topic I was struggling with in the last two days - how can I become aware of the I-of-deep-sleep while awake.

I got the answer right from Sri.Swami's mouth. "Thookkathila irukkara aaluthan ippavum irukkiraar. adha vittuttu body-mind than naan-nu ninaikirathu sattai-than naanu nenaikkira madhiri."

"The same person who is in deep sleep is the one that is right here now too, but we grab on to the body-mind that comes up during wake as the I. This is like wearing a shirt that hides your body and thinking that the shirt is the body.

And in the following parts Sri.Swami enquires, questions, sharpens, states and assures that firm grasp of 'I am the Self. Self is all' and losing the idea 'I am the body-mind' is all one needs to do.

Another moment was seeing Swami using Ramana-astram of 'Who is saying that it is not clear?'.
In a split second, it becomes clear that one has to learn to totally disregard the body and totally disregard the mind and thoughts as a dream, and hold on to pure awareness as the Self that is me and that is all and the world.


What a great video! Thanks a lot to Ramana, Swami, Jim, Sundaram and you for this learning experience.


At the end Swami says humbly, "All this is what Bhagavan said. Nothing from me." which seems like he has collected a handful of assertions of truth and example from Ramana and has lived those (nididyasanam).

The proof of that comes in the last moment. When Jim says 'This meeting is very useful to me and hope for others too.'

Swami, even though, has stood up after finishing the interview casually remarks, "Who are those others? Those are all the Self Those are all myself."

This realization (which means living it every moment) is gnanam.

Ramanaradi,
Ravi

Clemens Vargas Ramos said...

.

... Here is the verse from Katha upanishad over which we had a discussion:(Chapter 2,Verse 23) ...

Thank you, Ravi. I downloaded this from scribd. I already knew some texts by Swami Krishnanda.

This discussion is really important. Now I've heard of another translation of this verse by a sanskrit scholar:

23. (...)
Choose only the Self and it will reveal itself to you.

This is a complete different sense of this verse and differs from all other known english translations.

Therefore I felt an urgent need to request the correct translation of this verse from a matha in india.

... This does not mean that Atman goes about CHOOSING and Granting Liberation irrespective of this inner worth (maturity) ...

Yes, Ravi, but who decides about worthiness? The Self, not the seeker. The Self is able to make things happen we not dreamt of in our wildest dreams. Doing sadhana and believing to become "worthy enough" to be choosen by the Self is in my eyes a way into an illusion. Sadhana in my eyes means: Striving without hope to expect something. For the mind this is unacceptable.

... for Sankara, that someone does not exist to choose.
Sankara opines that Self-knowledge is an inexplicable wonder: it arises — that
is all. It is not caused by the jiva, because he has no freedom. ...


Exactly. That is exactly what I tried to express. Who or what "chooses"? Inexpressible, mysterious divine reality. Supreme reality apparently moves and grants liberation.

To say about this reality like Poonjaji did:

"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."

is pure nonsense.

This statement of him is NOT the same as verse 2-24 in Katha Upanishad. Because the Self is able to make even a mass murderer pure - in a second.

What "unreceptive", "not fertile", "barren", "passage of time", "by the fructification of good deeds" is that is up to the Self - not to the human mind!

.

Ravi said...

nonduel,
"If you believe that you are not mature you are putting yourself in bondage"
Your approach is certainly valid.
'Maturity' has nothing to do with 'ideas' or 'beliefs' about oneself.It is 'Maturity' when one does not carry ideas or beliefs about oneself.
coming to the cessation of 'Striving'-all masters have been unanimous-one does not take leave of 'Efforts',the 'Efforts'take leave of oneself when one is ripe.

From a Practical sadhana point of view,when the 'mental Quiet' descends on oneself,this should not be disturbed through restless 'striving'.Yet there is what JK used to call active passivity,that stays on guard.

Sri Ramakrishna in his inimitable way,recommends that when the milk has to turn into curd,it needs to be left undisturbed!Any shaking or stirring will spoil the formation of curd.

Best Regards.

Anonymous said...

Scott Fraundorf:

I think surrender is the hard part. Because it's saying as Maharshi said, "thy will be done". Do with me what you like, feed me to a lion, or make me live a prosperous life as "householder". There has to be a total surrender, and I find that is the hardest part. If I had that total surrender, the SElf would be realized. So I practice surrender. I also Inquire, as mentioned by Shankara and Maharshi, and Song of Ribhu. Is this entity, that I take to be me, "I", "I", "I"...."I am thinking", "I am doing" real. "I want" "I am depressed" "I am afraid", is it real. which goes hand in hand with surrender. If I surrender the one who is depressed or afraid, if I realize they are non-existence, it means that everything that occurs in the 5 elements, is fine by me, either the body being eaten by a lion, or having romantic relations, are equal to me. In catholicism the lord's prayer serves the same purpose. "thy kingdom come, thy will be done, on earth as it is in heaven", catholics are practicing surrender. My biggest problem with the neo-advaitins, and the new age in this country, is that they make light of how difficult this is. That somehow the selfish ego can survive, along with wisdom being gained. And it just can't happen.

Anonymous said...

Scott Fraundorf:

I think surrender is the hard part. Because it's saying as Maharshi said, "thy will be done". Do with me what you like, feed me to a lion, or make me live a prosperous life as "householder". There has to be a total surrender, and I find that is the hardest part. If I had that total surrender, the SElf would be realized. So I practice surrender. I also Inquire, as mentioned by Shankara and Maharshi, and Song of Ribhu. Is this entity, that I take to be me, "I", "I", "I"...."I am thinking", "I am doing" real. "I want" "I am depressed" "I am afraid", is it real. which goes hand in hand with surrender. If I surrender the one who is depressed or afraid, if I realize they are non-existence, it means that everything that occurs in the 5 elements, is fine by me, either the body being eaten by a lion, or having romantic relations, are equal to me. In catholicism the lord's prayer serves the same purpose. "thy kingdom come, thy will be done, on earth as it is in heaven", catholics are practicing surrender. My biggest problem with the neo-advaitins, and the new age in this country, is that they make light of how difficult this is. That somehow the selfish ego can survive, along with wisdom being gained. And it just can't happen.

Anonymous said...

"This question of being "ready", mature enough is a dichotomy for me. A play of the mind! Self is deluded through the I Am the body idea. As time and space are also plays of the mind.

Since I Am That I AM, how can there be the question of being mature, ready to "attain" Realization, Liberation. This is wanting, trying to become what One IS. In other words, Self-realization is obscured only by the mind.

Isn't considering concepts like being ready, mature enough, adding and strenghtening the mind? In the sense that accepting these ideas in the mind can only re-inforce the I Am the body, of being limited, not worthy enough, having do something(s) etc."

Now reading, david godman's original comment that sparked the seeming debate, it makes alot of sense to me. We are all at our own maturity levels, in my own case it seems from the activity of my mind, and it's resistance to actually subsiding. Evidently Muruganar, Mastan, and Lakshmana swami were extremely mature, had alot of their egoic assumptions out of the way when they came into the presence of Bhagavan. It still seems to think in terms of maturity in my own practice, I can't imagine it to be helpful, other then to not get deluded into thinking I'm more mature then I am, or less then. Keeping the mind on the practice, and not thinking about others, judging others, etc.
Nome's recent advise to me of asking hte motivation for the mind wandering and remembering that what it's seeking is within, I found extremely helpful, at getting deeper into being at peace. It seems dutifully practicing hte instructions of Maharshi's writings at all times, when remembered, or not forgotten can do alot in a single lifetime to get to more and more mature levels, even if one starts at a very low maturity, very tamasic, the spark, the humility to practice, and realize it is necessary is good.

Some of those lazy neo-advaitins (who are just my own concept), the problem is realizing they don't have to still practice, and then perhaps they start giving Satsang, when they still take themselves to be an individual.

I just assume, if there is still someone to get agitated, if there is still someone who can consider whether practice is necessary or could think it isn't necessary, then I haven't reached the goal, and practice is most necessary. I can't imagine with that in mind, I'm going to stop prematurely, but I still get distracted from time to time.

Having a living teacher, for course correction, such as the previously mentioned advise, helps me to not get into a rote habit and call that "practice", but to actually really go deeper, when it's not at all obvious how.

Clemens Vargas Ramos said...

.

"Maturity" and "striving": Not to forget an older discussion here:

Power to Enlighten

.

Ravi said...

David,
"This story appears in the Telugu version of 'Letters from Sri Ramanasramam', at the end of the letter that is dated 27th July, 1948, but it was omitted from the English edition."
Thanks very much for this wonderful and moving story.Truly our puny efforts are to invoke the Grace which alone can liberate.
I fondly recall how I told Sri Annamalai Swami-"All efforts are in vain.Nothing can be achieved through our puny efforts".Swami just did not agree and countered-"VIDAAdHU PIDINGA" in Tamil ,meaning 'Hold on without letting go'.Sri Sundaram who was also present tried to take sides with me and explained to Swami-"He(ravi)means surrendering to God by giving up all efforts".Swami just did not budge!Although Sundaram supported my point of view,I felt less sure about it the moment Swami said what he said.I instinctively felt that Swami was right and my 'conviction' was nebulous!
Salutations.

Ravi said...

David/Friends,
"The idea that maturity and practice are unnecessary for most people is a lazy delusion perpetrated by neo-advaitins who teach that the goal can be reached, without effort and without practice, simply by an attitude change. Believing 'I am free right now' somehow gets them out of the obligation of having to do anything to turn that concept into an experienced reality."

David has hit the nail on the head here.I agree with him one hundred percent.We may note that there is no contradiction here in saying Effort is required to get rid of wrong identification with the Non self;it is certainly not required to BE ONESELF.
There is a funny incident in the Life of Sri Ramakrishna regarding a devotee,Krishna Kishore who practised this type of approach.Krishna Kishore used to call himself as KHA(meaning sky or Self).One day Sri Ramakrishna found Krishna Kishore sitting morose.On enquiry ,Krishna Kishore told Sri Ramakrishna that there was some litigation threatening confiscation of his belongings and eviction from his house.Sri Ramakrishna laughed and told him-"Anyway ,what does it matter?How does that affect you?You are KHA!"
Sri Ramakrishna also used to say that a parrot will repeat 'Rama,Rama' but will start squacking when chased by a cat!
This is the danger in restricting oneself to just Bhavana only.

coming to 'maturity',certainly this is quite important as only a MIND cleaned of Dross is fit to merge in the Self.pure mind is the Self.Sadhana is required to cleanse the dross .

Good to see Arvind,Nonduel back after a while!Salutations to you friends.
Best Regards.

David Godman said...

Anonymous said...

"The Guru is not omnipotent." My understanding was that the Guru is not different from God and isn't God omnipotent?
"I should also like to add that even the external Guru cannot deliver a direct experience of the Self if the inner readiness is not there." Ok. So, how does a sadhaka make himself mature or ready? I guess Papaji would say 'Don't give rise to any thought'. If I could do that, wouldn't I be enlightened already? I wish there was an easy way to make oneself mature or ready and an easy way to realize how immature one is right now and how far one needs to go. The factors of maturity and readiness makes the whole process mysterious and sometimes I feel lost not knowing what to do to make progress. If I keep begging/praying for God's grace(that's what I do when I feel my feeble attempts at self-enquiry are an utter failure), wouldn't God relent at some point?

* * *

Papaji has also said, 'No amount of rain can makes crops grow in sterile soil,' meaning, the power and grace of the Guru is not going to produce results in people who are not equipped to benefit from it.

The 'What do I do to attain maturity?' question is, I hope, answered in the previous post I made. You have to train the mind to look at and be aware of the Self within, instead of allowing it to roam unrestrained in the world of external objects.

Don't worry about whether God or the Self is going to react favourably to your feeble efforts, just make them. And be encouraged by this story which Bhagavan once narrated:

When a sparrow was flying, holding its egg in its beak, the egg slipped and fell into the ocean. The sparrow, anxious to retrieve it, repeatedly dipped itself in the ocean, sucked some water through its beak, came to the shore, released the water and fanned its wings. The sage Narada who was passing that way saw this action of the sparrow, enquired, and came to know the reason.

‘You stupid sparrow! Is this something you can accomplish?’ said Narada.

The sparrow replied, ‘I don’t care whether it is possible or not. If I persevere tenaciously, beyond that it is in God’s hands.’

Narada, delighted with its faith, went to Garuda and told him everything.

Then he said, ‘A creature belonging to your bird tribe is exerting itself with so much faith. Is it proper for you to keep quiet? Can you not help?’
After hearing this story Garuda flew quickly to the sparrow. As soon as he flapped his wings there, all the waters of the ocean separated into two, leaving the egg of the sparrow visible. The sparrow immediately picked it up in its beak and flew away.

Similarly, those who meditate on the Self and do good deeds, if they labour hard without feeling ‘This is a mammoth task! There is no one to help! Is this possible for me?’ then the help of God will come automatically. Will the waters of the ocean get diminished by the sparrow sucking water through its beak and by its releasing it on the shore? The sparrow performed its task with faith [sraddha] and perseverance. Similarly, if anyone makes an effort, it will not fail to bear fruit at some time or other. For all things faith alone is important. For those who engage in good deeds, if they work with faith, the help of God will come, just as it did through Garuda.

Until it comes one should work on the job without any faltering of faith, and with utmost exertion.

* * *

This story appears in the Telugu version of 'Letters from Sri Ramanasramam', at the end of the letter that is dated 27th July, 1948, but it was omitted from the English edition.

David Godman said...

nonduel

Annamalai Swami has said many times in his teaching dialogues that a conviction that one is the Self is essential. However, as he rightly points out, such a conviction is the basis of good sadhana, not its culmination. Conviction has to mature into experience through constant effort.

Levels of maturity are recognised by Bhagavan, most notably in his analogy of the three grades of aspirant: wet wood, charcoal and gunpowder. (The 'wet wood' is actually green banana-tree stems in the original Tamil, which makes the analogy even more apt.) Those who can realise the truth by hearing a statement such as 'You are Brahman' directly from the Guru are the gunpowder sadhakas who ignite with a single spark; those who need to contemplate on the words for some time until the conviction becomes direct experience are the charcoal aspirants. Nisargadatta Maharaj would be a good example of this category. Everyone else is immature since they need a long period of drying out before combustion can take place.

The idea that maturity and practice are unnecessary for most people is a lazy delusion perpetrated by neo-advaitins who teach that the goal can be reached, without effort and without practice, simply by an attitude change. Believing 'I am free right now' somehow gets them out of the obligation of having to do anything to turn that concept into an experienced reality.

It is true that Bhagavan has written: 'Self-realisation is an easy thing, the easiest thing there is.' There is a paradox in this, though. Recognising the inherent truth of one's own true nature ought to be very simple, insofar as it is what one is, rather than something one strives to become. However, the mind is not capable of effecting that recognition since it is geared to deal with and process phenomena in a dualistic way. Eradicating the mental habits that direct attention away from the Self, rather than towards it, is the sadhana that needs to be done. When the mind ceases (as a result of long, hard practice) to dwell on objects and instead begins to focus effortlessly on its source, then maturity is attained.

Self-recognition is not going to happen through the mind, through substituting one idea for another. It will happen when the 'I' has been trained to abide at its source. For the vast majority of people, that mature state only arises through effort and practice.

Anonymous said...

Scott Fraundorf:

Self-Inquiry is kind of like a decoy deer, or the thief/policeman analogy. I went into it with a positive goal, to become better, but then I find that I'm giving up even the desire to become better.

David Godman said...

Some devotees went into samadhi or had a direct experience of the Self at the beginning of their physical association with Bhagavan: Masthan, Muruganar and Lakshmana Swamy are names that spring to mind. Others, such as Annamalai Swami, toiled away at their service and practices for years before having such experiences. Most devotees never had these experiences at all.

Those who were mature enough were drawn to Bhagavan and experienced the fruits of their maturity in his presence. I don't think there was any choosing on the part of Bhagavan; when mature and immature minds came into contact with his power and presence, they each got what they deserved and needed.

When a jiva is ready to subside and experience the Self directly, it will be propelled to a place or circumstances where this can be facilitated. This may be the presence of a living Guru; or it may be a temple dedicated to an ishta deva; or, more rarely, it may happen spontaneously. Ramakrishna had a direct experience while he was watching birds because the inner maturity was there.

The Guru is not omnipotent. He cannot facilitate an experience of the Self in those who are not ready for it. Maturity is a prerequisite just as much as the facilitating presence of the Guru.

So, while I would agree that an external Guru is necessary for all but the most mature, I should also like to add that even the external Guru cannot deliver a direct experience of the Self if the inner readiness is not there.

vishy said...

Pranam to all Devotees.

Really Annamalai Swamy lived up to expectations of Bhagwan and we are fortunate enough to hear and have to follow their path with dedication and sincerity .

This being wrote an article regarding the Inward journey one has to start in their small life.

Wish to publish this in the blog if permitted .

An inward journey to true happiness

January 09, 2009


D Viswesvaran , explains his tenets for leading a healthy and happy life

Every person in this world came into existence for a purpose — to strive to enhance his life and that of the rest of humanity to its highest and noblest level. To be able to do that, it is important to be the healthiest and happiest that you can — both mentally and physically.

The simplest way of leading a healthy life is to have been introduced to a strict disciplined code of life from childhood. Following a good diet and regular exercise for both physical and mental well-being is important. Some of us have been lucky to have been guided by our parents or teachers. For the rest, the way to good health is fraught with difficulties — they have to be forced into leading a life that is good for them, on the advice of their doctors.

If you keep physically and mentally fit, then the daily routine of living becomes more than just a boring chore. It becomes easier to fulfill your duties and your obligations when you are not lethargic.

The question is whether physical and mental fitness equip a person to be happy and enjoy every moment of his life. Stress is an undeniable part of modern life. So how do you deal with it?

Apart from physical and mental fitness, it is also important that a person stops and looks inward, to be able to recognize, appreciate and adapt himself / herself.

Let us start the journey inwards without disturbing external social commitments. I am sure that irrespective of external shortfalls, looking inwards is the best way to achieve true happiness.

The following steps will help in the realization of self:

Take a break every hour, and be silent for a minute.
Try to understand your inner feelings.
Do not interfere in others’ problems unless required.
Accept that your views are important.
Focus only on important things. Let entertainment remain part of television and cinema. Life is more important than an entertainment channel.
Feel happy to be part of society. Be proud of all the contributions made so far.
Take joy in the fact that you impact not just your life but also the lives of those around you.
Learn to use all your five senses. Take time off to appreciate nature.
If it takes you 30 seconds to 2 minutes to ruminate over the above eight actions, you have succeeded in taking the first steps to being alone with, and realizing your inner self.

If this action becomes a conscious and consistent part of your daily routine, your inward journey will have truly begun. Soon, it will become an unconscious part of your life, and you will have attained true happiness — an inner happiness that is not dependent on time, money or material things.

who.am.i said...

Dear Sir, I am grateful that you are getting this interview out this far.I am wondering if you have any idea on when this might reach California/USA.

Ramprax said...

Hi David,

This is exciting news. As I plan to visit Ramanasramam around October 2nd, would it be possible for me to pay and obtain a copy of the DVD from the Asramam?

Thanks & Regards,
Ram

Anand said...

Dear David,
Can I send money direct to your account via NEFT? Thanks aton for your help.
Anand

David Godman said...

anand

Why do you want to send money? Email me at david_godman@yahoo.co.uk and we can sort it out.