Wednesday, September 10, 2008

Relations with the Guru

In the previous post I laid out my views, and the views of various teachers I have been with, on the phenomenon of temporary glimpses of the Self. The posting arose in response to an account by Broken Yogi on an experience he had had in the presence of one of his former teachers. Here is an extract from the experience he narrated, followed by a query abut the nature of the Guru-disciple relationship when such experiences take place.

I have had exactly one such experience in my life, back when I was a teenager. It occurred during my first meeting with the teacher who was to be my Guru for many years thereafter. I came into a small room with him, very nervous, waiting I thought for the “big moment”. I kept chastising myself for being so crassly craving of having “something happen”, but before I could control myself he was looking me right in the eye, and it was as if he could see everything I was doing. I felt caught red-handed, and I could hear his inner voice speaking to me, saying, “Well, here we are. I’m looking at you, and you’re looking at me, and nothing is happening.” I felt crushed, but then all of a sudden he repeated the words “Nothing is happening!” and it was as if I was suddenly slapped in the face. I saw instantly that nothing was happening, that the universe wasn’t happening, that there was nothing happening anywhere, at any time, in any place. The only thing that was real was the Guru, and I was in eternal relationship with the Guru….

Which is my other question. In my experience, the Guru was the only thing “present”. Is that only because I was not truly realised, or is there something in the experience of ajata that leaves the Guru untouched as eternal Presence?

I would say that the goal is to arrive at the state wherein there is no difference whatsoever between the Guru and the disciple. If any sense of distinction or separateness remains, then one’s sadhana is not complete. After realisation, one may maintain outer respect and reverence for the form of the Guru, but internally there will be no awareness that the abiding true nature of the Guru is different from one’s own. The following three verses from Guru Vachaka Kovai emphasise this same point:

997


Guru and disciple are only described as different through the imaginary feeling of upadhi
[limitation]. In the mauna union, the summit of jnana in which these two ideas [Guru and disciple] merge through the true experience of the Self, is there even a trace of speech and breath? As the ego, the cause that creates the sense of difference, is destroyed, the minds of the two become one through their real nature, pure being, and cease. In such a situation the talking and listening that consist of spoken words, which take place between the two, are of no use.

1182


What is the place where the minds of the two [Guru and disciple] merge once they have reached and dwelt there? When one investigates this, the arrival and the abidance in that place [the Heart] is the true conversation that goes on, without a break, between the two who converse through auspicious and extremely sharp consciousness.


269


The state of being the best among the noble disciples is this: a constancy of mind whence springs forth the feeling of supreme devotion [parabhakti] that manifests when the ‘I’ is lost in the radiance of the state of silence, the Supreme. Know and keep in your mind that this is itself the state of being the Guru.



* * *

The following sequence of verses from Guru Vachaka Kovai comes from a section entitled ‘Worshipping the Guru’. The theme of the verses is that true worship of the Guru necessitates becoming indistinguishably one with him:



309


You may, through body, speech and mind, perform, without leaving any out, all the possible varieties of worship to the jnana Guru, he who is the walking Supreme Siva who has accepted with delight the disciple. However, [for the disciple,] losing the idea that he exists as a distinct entity, separate from that Guru who shines as the soul of his soul, completely dissolving, like ice in water, his individuality in his [the Guru’s] supreme swarupa, and becoming one with him as love alone – this is the perfect and complete worship that he should perform.


311


Bear in mind that the true puja to the jnana Guru is only the Self-abidance in which the vasana-free mauna surges once the disciple-consciousness that proclaimed itself as ‘I’ is destroyed by the raging fire of the consciousness of the jnana Guru, he who is God Himself.


312


The true puja performed to the Guru by worthy disciples is the complete destruction of the false ‘disciple-consciousness’. This is brought about by firm abidance in the state of ‘Guru-consciousness’, the experience of fullness that arises through the Heartward enquiry, ‘Who is the “I” who has been accepted as a disciple?’


314


The limitless perspective, Guru-consciousness, sees everything that appears as ‘I’ and ‘this’, which are dependently interlinked, as the swarupa of one’s own jnana-Guru. Gaining this perspective through the way of virtuous conduct is indeed the puja that is worthy of being performed by the true disciple.


315


When the ice of the ego-consciousness that is limited to the form of the body dissolves in the ocean of Guru-consciousness that is the experience of the Self which exists and shines as the one savour of love, know that this is Guru-puja.


316


The polluting ego-view causes the fullness of the Guru, which is present everywhere, without any absence, to be limited. Only the behaviour in which this does not appear is the shining puja to the Guru who stands out like a mountain in a plain.

* * *

A few years ago I wrote a commentary on Ulladu Narpadu Anubandham verse 39 in which I pointed out that while Bhagavan taught that oneness with the Guru was the experiential goal, in one’s outer behaviour one should always treat him with respect and reverence. This article has been on my site for several years but I am reproducing it here, with a few minor modifications and additions, because it discusses in some detail the distinction between the experience of the Guru’s true nature and the attitude one should have towards his physical form. This is the verse as it appears in the current edition of Collected Works. The translation is by Prof. K. Swaminathan:


Keep advaita within the Heart. Do not ever carry it into action. Even if you apply it to all the three worlds, O son, it is not to be applied to the Guru.

Annamalai Swami has given an account of how this particular verse came to be written. It began with the following remarks by Bhagavan:

Advaita should not be practised in ordinary activities. It is sufficient if there is no differentiation in the mind. If one keeps cartloads of discriminating thoughts within, one should not pretend that all is one on the outside.

‘Westerners practise mixed marriages and eat equally with everyone. What is the use of doing only this? Only wars and battlefields have resulted. Out of all these activities, who has obtained any happiness?

‘This world is a huge theatre. Each person has to act whatever role is assigned to him. It is the nature of the universe to be differentiated but within each person there should be no differentiation.’

I [Annamalai Swami] was so moved by this speech that I asked Bhagavan to summarise these ideas in a written Tamil verse. Bhagavan agreed, took a Sanskrit verse from Tattvopadesa [by Adi-Sankaracharya, verse 87] which expresses a similar idea, and translated it into a Tamil venba. When he was satisfied with his translation, I also managed to persuade him to write the first fair copy in my diary. This verse was eventually published as verse thirty-nine of Ulladu Narpadu Anubandham. (Living by the Words of Bhagavan, 2nd ed. p. 99)

Maurice Frydman, the compiler of I am That and Maharshi’s Gospel, questioned Bhagavan about the first half of this verse and received the following explanation:


Question: Sri Bhagavan has written [Ulladu Narpadu Anubandham, verse 39] that one should not show advaita in one’s activities. Why so? All are one. Why differentiate?

Bhagavan: Would you like to sit on the seat that I am sitting on?

Question: I don’t mind sitting there. But if I came and sat there the sarvadhikari [the ashram manager] and the other people here would hit me and chase me away.

Bhagavan: Yes, nobody would allow you to sit here. If you saw someone molesting a woman, would you let him go, thinking, ‘All is one’? There is a scriptural story about this. Some people once gathered together to test whether it is true, as said in the Bhagavad Gita, that a jnani sees everything as one. They took a brahmin, an untouchable, a cow, an elephant, and a dog to the court of King Janaka, who was a jnani. When all had arrived King Janaka sent the brahmin to the place of brahmins, the cow to its shed, the elephant to the place allotted to elephants, the dog to its kennel and the untouchable person to the place where the other un­touchables lived. He then ordered his servants to take care of his guests and feed them all appropriate food.

The people asked, ‘Why did you separate them individually? Is not everything one and the same for you?’

‘Yes, all are one,’ replied Janaka, ‘but self-satisfaction varies according to the nature of the individual. Will a man eat the straw eaten by the cow? Will the cow enjoy the food that a man eats? One should only give what satisfies each individual person or animal.’

Although the same man may play the role of all the characters in a play, his acts will be determined by the role that he is playing at each moment. In the role of a king he will sit on the throne and rule. If the same person takes on the role of a servant, he will carry the sandals of his master and follow him. His real Self is neither increased nor decreased while he plays these roles. The jnani never forgets that he himself has played all these roles in the past. (Living by the Words of Bhagavan, pp. 216-7, 2nd ed.)

One can have the idea that everything is a manifestation of the Self, and one can attempt to incorporate this idea into one’s daily life by treating other people in an egalitarian way. However, all this would all be theoretical since it would be based on an idea of reality instead of stemming from a direct experience of the Self. From the standpoint of the Self ‘practising advaita’ is an oxymoron since in that state there is no longer an entity who can make choices about what should or should not be done. In that state action arises spontaneously from the Self, unmediated by the I-am-the-doer idea. Sadhu Om has elaborated on this important point in his commentary on this verse:

Advaita is the experience of clearly apprehending that, in reality, the Self, being-consciousness, shining continuously as ‘I am’, alone exists, and that all that appears in duality, consisting of the body, mind and world, is entirely unreal. Therefore, since doing belongs to the dualistic state, where the mind and body appear to be real, non-duality cannot be expressed through doing. On the contrary, should anyone think that non-duality might be expressed through doing, they would [be showing themselves to] be bereft of the experience of the truth of non-duality. (Sri Ramanopadesa Nul Malai – Vilakkavurai, pp. 314-15, 1987 ed.)

If, as Bhagavan instructed in the first quotation I gave from Living by the Words of Bhagavan, ‘Advaita should not be practised in ordinary activities,’ how is the sadhaka to relate to the world, which he still sees as separate from himself? Lakshmana Sarma, who received personal lessons from Bhagavan on the meaning of the Ulladu Narpadu verses, answers this question in his own comments on this verse:

... it is established that, until the I-am-the-body sense is removed, advaita cannot exist. It is fitting then that all the behaviours that occur in this state should respect the rules of duality, and one should act accordingly. It is not possible to implicate advaita in these behaviours. If any such attempt is made, impurities will arise through the power of the ego, and man’s dvaitic vasanas will wax greater. We observe that even a jnani who is established in the advaitic state will not, in his conduct, infringe the rules of dvaitic respect. Bhagavan’s view is that advaita is the direct experience of the jnani, whilst for the ajnani, it is useful for meditation and so on. (Ulladu Narpadu, p. 162, 1979 ed.)
It may be difficult to make out the reason for these injunctions [not to attempt to put advaita into practice]. But if we remember the power of the ego to pervert and frustrate even honest efforts to realise the truth – which would mean its own death – we need not be puzzled. Reflection on the truth of advaita tends to dissolve the ego and develop devotion to the truth. But action from the advaitic standpoint is suicidal because the enemy [the ego] would be in charge of such action. While ignorance is alive, duality persists in appearing as real, because of the ego sense, and truly advaitic action is impossible. The sage alone can put advaita into action, because he is egoless. Hence the sacred lore and also the sage advise us to restrict our activities and not to extend them, so as to give as little scope as possible for the ego to frustrate our efforts. (Maha Yoga, pp. 175-6, 2002 ed.)

... theoretical knowledge of the truth of non-duality does not avail to destroy the primary ignorance, so as to raise one to the egoless state in which wrong action would be impossible. So, until that state is won, the ego would be in command of actions, and this warning is therefore necessary. (This is a comment by Lakshmana Sarma that he appended to verse 416 of Sri Ramana Paravidyopanishad. This particular verse was a translation of Ulladu Narpadu Anubandham, verse 39. )

That is to say, one should strive for advaita in the Heart, but in outer activities one should adhere to the dualistic rules of dharma. There are two ideas present in this Anubandham verse: the first, which has just been dealt with, is that one should not attempt to practise advaita in the day-to-day activities of one’s worldly life; the second is a much more specific injunction that one should never practise advaita towards one’s Guru. That is to say, one should never think, ‘All is one. My Guru is the same as I am. Therefore, I don’t have to treat him as someone special since in essence he is just the same as everything and everyone else.’

Before I begin to deal with this topic I should like to discuss what the phrase ‘three worlds’ might mean in ‘Even if you apply it [advaita] to all the three worlds...’.

Sadhu Om, in his Tamil commentary, has equated the ‘three worlds’ with the heavenly realms of Brahma, Vishnu and Siva. Having raised this possibility, he then elaborates on its implications:

Though we might speak of a man going to Brahma Loka and addressing Brahma with the words, ‘You and I are one,’ or going to Vishnu Loka and addressing Vishnu saying, ‘You and I are one,’ or going to Siva Loka and addressing Siva saying, ‘You and I are one,’ yet it would never be permissible to address one’s Sadguru, saying, ‘You and I are one’. Why? Because someone in the individualised state, though he might, through the power of his austerities, acquire even the powers of creation, preservation and destruction exercised by the Trimurtis, Brahma, Vishnu and Siva, it would be an entirely impossible task for him to obtain the power that belongs [only] to the Sadguru, that of destroying the ignorance of others. Thus, the action of destroying ajnana ... is vastly more powerful than those three operations that are present in [the state of] ajnana. Thus, the power of the Sadguru’s grace is vastly superior to the powers of the Trimurtis. (Sri Ramanopadesa Nul Malai – Vilakkavurai, p. 315, 1987 ed.)

While I agree with the sentiments expressed in this commentary by Sadhu Om, I am not convinced that the term ‘three worlds’ used in this verse really does denote the realms of Brahma, Vishnu and Siva. The three worlds are generally taken to be the physical one that we live in and the two spirit worlds that are held to exist above it and below it. In a more general sense the phrase ‘three worlds’ is just an emphatic way of saying ‘everywhere’, or ‘in all possible places that exist’. Consider, for example, verse 167 of Guru Vachaka Kovai:
The jivas, who are all bound to total ignorance, experience the ego life in the three worlds. This is nothing but the dance of a zombie who has possessed a corpse on a funeral pyre in the cremation ground.
Here ‘the three worlds’ clearly means all the places that the ignorant jiva can manifest in and suffer. Saying that these three worlds, these three places of suffering, can be equated with the realms of the gods seems highly inappropriate.

However, while I feel that Sadhu Om may not be justified in saying that the three worlds are the realms of Brahma, Vishnu and Siva, I do accept his central premise that the Guru is more powerful than the gods on account of his having the power to destroy the ignorance of devotees. The greater power and authority of the Guru was alluded to by Bhagavan in verse 800 of Guru Vachaka Kovai:

If a person offends against God, it is possible to rectify the matter through the grace of the Guru, but it is impossible even for God to nullify an offence committed against the Guru. This is what the declarations of the great ones assert.
Muruganar’s comment on this verse states, ‘Devotion to the Guru is therefore more powerful than devotion to God’. The ‘declarations of the great ones’ in the final sentence of the Guru Vachaka Kovai verse may be a reference to famous verses from the Guru Gita that express the same sentiments. The Guru Gita is a portion of the Skanda Purana. Here are two of its verses on this theme:

79 If Siva is angry, the Guru will protect you, but if the Guru is angry, no one can save you. Therefore, with all your efforts, take refuge in him.

106 Even gods and sages cannot save one who has been cursed by the Guru. Such a wretch soon perishes, without the least shadow of doubt.
The preceding verse of Guru Vachaka Kovai, verse 799, has a similar theme:

Even if those great ones who have firmly embraced the means to redeem themselves from the miseries of samsara happen to deviate from conduct enjoined by the Vedas, either due to forgetfulness or any other reason, they should on no account transgress the command of the Guru who has told them about the ultimate truth.

Muruganar’s comment on this is: ‘To those who deviate from vedic conduct, there is [a possibility] of atonement, but for those who transgress the command of the Guru, there can be no atonement. It has therefore been said, “Though one may transgress the Vedas’ commands, one should never transgress the Guru’s command”.’

Lakshmana Sarma has noted that there is another important reason why one should revere the Guru as a living manifestation of the Self, and as an embodiment of the divine power that can bestow liberation.

Only that devotion to the Guru is good which is rendered to a sage-Guru, and which regards him as identical with God. Only by such devotion does one attain freedom from delusion. Truly the sage is not other than God.

[Also] there is the text of the Upanishads, that one who wants deliverance must worship the knower of the Self. If he thinks of him [the sage, who is the Guru] as other than God, that thought will obstruct his path. (Sri Ramana Paravidyopanishad, verses 25 and 237)

In a comment on one of these two verses Lakshmana Sarma wrote: ‘The sage who is accepted as one’s Guru must not be regarded as just a human being, a person, but as an incarnation of God Himself, because that is the truth of the sage, and because, if the Guru be so regarded, the goal will be reached soon.’

The point of the second half of the Anubandham verse thus becomes more clear. One goes to a Guru for liberation, but if one has the belief or attitude that he is one’s equal, or just an ordinary person, one is unlikely to receive it.

Having a strong conviction that one’s Guru is God Himself can help one to retain, as well as gain, an experience of the Self. This was brought home to me a few years ago when I interviewed Sharad Tiwari, a devotee of Papaji who had had an experience of the Self within a few days of meeting him in the 1970s. When I spoke to him in the mid-90s, about twenty years after the experience had happened, he told me that the experience had never left him. I have met many people who claim to have had a direct experience of the Self in Papaji’s presence, but the vast majority of them seem to lose the experience later. When I interviewed him in 1996, I asked Sharad why other people were losing the experience whereas he had managed to keep it.

David: Papaji shows people who they are. Sometimes, though, he says that it is up to the person concerned to recognise it and not throw it away. From what you have told me, in your case the experience never went away. Why do some people like you stay in that state while others appear to go back to their limited viewpoint again?

Sharad: Anyone who recognises Papaji as God and who never wavers in his conviction that Papaji is God will keep the experience naturally and effortlessly. That is my firm conviction. When the glimpse comes, it is God revealing Himself as God within you. If you treat Papaji as God, and if you treat the experience he has given you as an experience of His divine nature, it will never go away. If you allow the ego to arise again and cover up the experience, it means that you have thrown away your previous knowledge that Papaji is God, along with your belief that the experience he gave you is God Himself shining within you. It all comes down to having the right attitude.

David: How do you yourself hold onto the absolute conviction that Papaji is God? Is it through awareness of his form, his formlessness, or a combination of both?

Sharad: There is no difference between form and the formless. Form itself is formless and the formless is the form. To know Papaji as God is to know that there is no difference between the two. (Nothing Ever Happened, volume three, pp. 127-8)

Later in the interview Sharad, who is something of a mystic visionary, told me, ‘Quite often I see the gods dancing around him in mid-air, paying obeisance to him. When I see the gods themselves bowing before him with my own eyes, how can I doubt that I am in the presence of the Supreme Lord?’

This injunction in the Anubandham verse – that of not displaying advaita towards the Guru – seems to apply even after full liberation, when both Guru and disciple, abiding in the natural state, effortlessly know and experience the truth of the non-dual Self. Bhagavan used a colourful but apt image to convey this. He said that even though a Hindu wife may have enjoyed sexual union with her husband, in public she will still show him deference and respect.

Formal respect is only for external show. When the husband and the wife are in bed, where is all this [formal respect]? (Sri Ramana Pada Malai, by Sivaprakasam Pillai, cited in The Power of the Presence, part one, p. 63)
If it is properly understood, the tradition of intimate and true disciples showing external deference to the Guru, who has accepted them as rightfully his, is similar to the respect shown by a wife to her husband, which is limited to outward behaviour only. (Guru Vachaka Kovai, verse 304)
Extending this analogy into the spiritual realm, the disciple may have attained oneness with his or her Guru, but the behaviour he or she exhibits is always reverent and deferential. This is what Sadhu Om has to say on this point in his commentary on this verse:

When the Sadguru has destroyed the ajnana that is his disciple’s individual consciousness; when he has graciously bestowed upon him the experience of non-duality; and when he has made him one with himself in the state where duality is no more; even then, such a disciple will always serve his Sadguru and show for him a fitting respect, and will continue to venerate his name and form. Although, in an inner sense, it is not possible to show a reverence that is dualistic in the state of oneness where duality is not present, still, that disciple will show respect outwardly, just as a wife acts respectfully toward her husband.

... as long as the Guru and disciple appear in the perceptions of others as separate individuals, possessing individual minds and bodies, it will always appear to others that they are, in reality, separate from each other. Therefore, even when this perfected disciple who knows reality attains the non-dual state in which, in his Heart, he and his Guru are one, he will always conduct himself in a subservient and deferential manner toward his Sadguru, such that other disciples, taking him as an example, will follow him and behave in a fitting manner. (Sri Ramanopadesa Nul Malai – Vilakkavurai, pp. 315, 1987 ed.)

I have found this to be true with all the great teachers and enlightened beings I have been associated with. Nisargadatta Maharaj, for example, did an elaborate Guru puja every day of his life, long after he had realised the Self. One morning, just before he started, he paused to give an explanation of this daily ritual. ‘I don’t need to do this at all. There is nothing that I can gain from it because I know who and what I am, and what I am cannot be added to in any way. My Guru asked me to do bhajans and puja every day, and even though I no longer use them to attain a spiritual goal, I will continue to do them until the day I die because my Guru asked me to do them. In carrying out these orders I can show not only my respect for his words but also my continuous, undiminishing gratitude to the one who gave me the knowledge of who I really am.’

Muruganar wrote thousands of verses in which he thanked Bhagavan for bestowing the state of liberation on him, but he still did elaborate full-length prostrations whenever he came into Bhagavan’s presence. Sometimes he would remain lying on the floor after his namaskaram was completed and talk to Bhagavan while he was still prostrate at his feet. Viswanatha Swami used to make fun of Muruganar for this, calling the resulting conversations ‘lizard talk’. (Moments Remembered, pp. 56-7)

Once, while I was sitting with Papaji, someone asked him if he had any regrets about his life. At first he answered ‘no,’ but after a few seconds’ reflection he added, ‘Actually, I do have one regret. Because my legs are now almost paralysed, I can no longer throw myself full length on the floor at the feet of my Master.’ In his later years he had to be content with a standing ‘namaste’ whenever he wanted to pay his respects to Bhagavan’s image.

And what about Bhagavan himself? His respect and veneration towards Arunachala, his Guru, were legendary. However, I will just mention one interesting point. When he composed his philosophical works such as Upadesa Undiyar and Ulladu Narpadu, his tone was non-dualistic. The verses were an uncompromising expression of what the Anubandham verse calls ‘advaita within the Heart’. However, when Bhagavan wrote about his Guru, Arunachala, in his devotional poems, he often adopted the pose of the loving, grateful devotee, a standpoint that enabled him to show proper respect and veneration to the form and power of the mountain.

One final story about Bhagavan: when Arunachaleswara (the God Arunachala who is the principal deity in the Tiruvannamalai temple) was being taken in procession around the hill in the 1940s, the procession stopped outside the gate of Sri Ramanasramam. Bhagavan noticed it as he was taking a walk to the cowshed. He sat on a bench to watch, and when devotees brought him vibhuti as prasad, he applied it reverently to his forehead and remarked, ‘The son is beholden to the father’. (Letters from Sri Ramanasramam, 21st November, 1945)


Postscript, 30th September 2008

I was going through my Word files on Living by the Words of Bhagavan yesterday, making sure they were in order, because a publisher has agreed to bring out a Russian edition. I noticed that the final conversation in the book (pp. 353-6) was a highly relevant discussion of the relationship between the Guru and the disciple, which is the main theme of this post. I am adding it here:

Question:
Is the relationship between the Guru and the disciple a real relationship or a maya relationship? If it is a maya relationship, how can it help us to transcend maya?

Annamalai Swami: Bhagavan used to give, as an example, the story of an elephant that dreamed it was being attacked by a lion. The shock of seeing the lion in the dream was sufficient to wake the elephant up. The Guru, according to Bhagavan, is the roaring lion who appears in our maya dream and shocks us so much that we wake up into jnana. While the dream is in progress the lion is very real for us, but when we wake up there is no lion and no dream. In the state of jnana we become aware that there was no Guru and no disciple; there is only the Self.

But we should not have that attitude prior to realisation. While we are still trapped by maya we must accept the Guru-disciple relationship as being real because this relationship provides the only way of transcending all the wrong ideas we have about ourselves. Even though we may know intellectually that all is one, we should revere the form of the Guru because it is only through his grace that our ignorance can be dissolved. We should respect the Guru and his teachings at all times. We cannot do this if we start treating him as an ordinary person who is no different from any other manifestation of the Self. Respect for the Guru and faith in his teachings are essential for all those who want to make progress.

The outer Guru appears to tell us about the reality of the Self, who is the inner Guru. With our defective vision we cannot see or experience for ourselves that this is true. The inner Guru pulls us towards the Self and establishes us there. The inner Guru is waiting at all times to perform this function but he cannot begin until we turn our attention towards him.

It is the outer Guru who tells us, ‘Turn within. Put your attention on the inner Guru and let him pull you back into your source.’

In addition to giving these instructions, the outer Guru trans­mits his grace to us, cleans our minds, and pushes them towards the inner Guru, the Self. All Gurus are the Self.

All Gurus are formless. And all Gurus are ultimately one and the same. The outer forms of the Guru may appear differently to different people but there is really only one Guru, and that Guru is the Self. When we reach spiritual maturity, the Self manifests to us in the form of a Guru in order to help us to make further progress with our sadhana.

The relationship with the outer Guru lasts as long as it is necessary. It lasts until the sishya [disciple] knows from direct experience that the Self alone exists. In my case a time came when it was no longer physically possible for me to be with the form of the Guru. Bhagavan severed the physical relationship because he wanted me to be aware of him as he really is. When you pass your exams at school, you graduate to the next class. We cannot enter the same class again. I graduated from regarding Bhagavan as a form and came to regard him as the formless Self. After that I was never given the chance to have a relationship with Bhagavan’s physical form again.

Other disciples were treated differently. The Guru does not give the same treatment to all. He looks at the maturity and the predilections of each disciple and gives an appropriate sadhana to each one. For example, Bhagavan encouraged some of his devotees to sing devotional songs because that was an appropriate path for them. In my case he encouraged me to be aware of the formless Self.

When a calf is very young its mother gives it milk whenever it is hungry. But after it has learned to eat grass the mother gives it a kick whenever it tries to drink milk again. After I had learned to make contact with the formless Self, Bhagavan gave me a kick when I still tried to carry on drinking the grace from his physical form. He wanted to wean me from his form. He wanted me to get all my spiritual nourishment from the formless Self.

One should not leave the Guru thinking that one has learned everything from him. That is a very arrogant attitude. One should only leave the Guru if he tells us to go. Until then we have to stay and learn our lessons from him.

Each of us will meet a different form of the Guru. The form we meet depends on our maturity and our spiritual ripeness. Each Guru gives out different teachings, and often one Guru will give different teachings to different disciples. It is a question of maturity and temperament. The disciples in the kindergarten class will get kindergarten lessons while the disciples in the college class will get college-level teachings. And within each class there will be different lessons for each disciple. Some may be told to follow a bhakti path while others may be told to do meditation on the Self.

The many different paths that are taught are really only preparations for Bhagavan’s path. Ultimately, one must learn to abide in the Self by meditation on the Self or by self-enquiry or by complete surrender. Unfortunately, there are very few people who are spiritually mature enough to follow Bhagavan’s highest teachings. Most people have to follow other paths until they are ready for the final path.

Your original question was, ‘Is the Guru-disciple relationship real?’ From the standpoint of the Self one would have to say that it is all maya, but one could add that it is the best kind of maya. One can use a thorn to remove another thorn. Similarly, one can use the maya-like Guru-disciple relationship to root out maya in all its manifestations. Maya is so firmly established in us that only the illusory Guru-lion in our dream can give us a big enough shock to wake us.

156 comments:

Anonymous said...

Scott Fraundorf: I just have to say, the words of Maharshi, or even Papaji, I have always found them to be on the ambiguous side as far as the need of a humyn guru. Lakshmana Swami, and Saradamma less so since they seem to fall firmly on the side of it being necessary.

Obviously (speaking from my state of maturity or immaturity, not sure which), the ego, the intellect, the thing I most have often have identified as I, wants to perpetuate itself. The process of Enquiry has seemed to me, especially the longer I do it, to be a process of not fighting that tendency, but to use the intellect (what I consider to be me) by turning it back on itself, to look for itself and prove it's own non-existance. Another way to put it is that I'm looking for myself, to find out that the individual entity I consider to be "me", is not an "object" that actually exists or can be found. Kind of like putting a mirror in front of a villain in a Disney movie so that they realize their own fictitiousness.

It's hard for me to understand how that process is not in itself sufficient, how a person cannot realize the Self by their own efforts. How as desires, and worries, and the outgoing tendency is vanquished, the Self won't be revealed. For me, Enquiry has turned from being a forceful, wrenching process, to overtime becoming more and more a process of trial and error, kind of like adjusting the angle I'm looking at to see where the finger is pointing (or Maharshi's words) isntead of the finger, which I originally was trying to look at. And it has required creativity, and a willingness to be flexible, and a beginner, but persistant.

I always found Maharshi's words especially ambiguous on the subject because he would always follow it up with "God, Guru, and Self are the same", after saying that a guru was necessary. It struck me that the human guru comes in as my own external creation to finish the task from the outside which is soon to merge with the inside so that there no longer is an inside and an outside. That is my understanding so far.

Maybe the reason the humyn guru (although I suppose he/she would also be a hallucenation) is necessary is because grace has to come from both internally and externally, and I know from experience how terrified my own mind is, or "I" am of my own demise, whether that is of the physical body, or those many times when I've felt like my mind was going to disappear. And I also know that my mind's reasons for practicing Enquiry have atleast initially been "self-interest" (Maharshi would say Ego-interest), whether success, better relationships on Earth, or Salvation after. I want something, and I'm practicing Enquiry to get it, no matter what other pretenses I make. And for it to be really successful those motivations have to also disappear.

Broken Yogi said...

David,

Thanks again for the full-length reply. Looking back at my original question, I'm not even sure it makes sense. It really begs the question, “What is the Guru?” I'm not sure, from the perspective of someone who thinks of himself as a disciple, that this question is answerable. Unless one takes the non-dual approach to the Guru as one's very Self.

You address that issue quite a lot in your response, with many interesting issues raised. I agree with the general admonition not to mix non-dualism with “daily life”, with the added cavaet that we have to examine “daily life” to see if there really is any such thing. If we do, the ordinary structure of “life” begins to fall apart, and it becomes apparent that it is of the nature of mind, and not an objectively dualistic reality. It doesn't mean that we should start acting with a kind of literalistic, pseudo-non-dualism, treating everything as literally equal. But I think it does lead to an approach to action which is certainly not intrinsically dualistic, and does indeed treat all things in an “equal” fashion on a spiritual level. Ramana was one of the most obvious demonstrations of this approach. He really did seem to treat everyone and everything “equally”, in spirit if not in literal terms. In other words, sure, he treated squirrels as squirrels, dogs as dogs, women as women, and men as men, but he treated all “equally” as well, seeing all of them as equally the Self, and thus giving them all equal love and blessing.

Perhaps that is where dualism breaks down even in the realm of action, in relation to the very Self of every being, including the Self of the Guru. The Guru may treat each dualistic appearance in its appropriate dualistic fashion, but he seems to treat all things as if they were equal parts of the same Divine Self. I'm reminded of Ramanuja's saying (or was it Shankara?), that “from the point of view of the body, I am the servant of God; from the point of view of the mind, I am a part of God; and from the point of view of the self, I am God.” If we look at the Guru from the point of view of bodies in the world, we see the Guru acting as the servant of every being, always loving and giving himself to them in the manner they require. If we look at the Guru from the point of view of the mind that creates the world, everything in it is a part of God. But if we look at the Guru from the point of view of the self, we see that we are the Guru, the Guru is us, that there is only one Self, and not two.

What I'm curious about in relation to this relationship to the Guru is where it is appropriate to be dualistic, and where it is appropriate to be non-dualistic in one's approach. You cite the examples of not sitting in the Guru's chair, or bowing to the Guru, and I can understand this as both normal and appropriate. So the question is, where is it appropriate to let go of the dualistic approach, and see the Guru as one's very Self?

I recall that in the “No Mind” book, Saradamma said that it was appropriate for devotees to imagine her in their minds, to visualize her form, even to make up lengthy fantasies about her, just as she did in relation to Lakshmana during her sadhana, that this was a good practice for keeping one's attention on the Guru. But she added that the best way to meditate on the Guru was to do so in the heart. She didn't elaborate much on what she meant by that, but the sense I was left with was that she was suggesting a form of non-dual meditation on the Guru, not a dualistic subject-object meditation, but a meditation on the Guru in the very core of one's own self-position. I wonder if you could describe this more thoroughly, and fill in any gaps in Saradamma's or Lakshmana's or Ramana's teaching in regards to this.

This ties in to the other question I had about how Lakshmana and Papaji related to the Guru before they came to Ramana, both obviously being highly advanced practitioners at that point. Likewise, there's the issue of how self-enquiry is practiced side-by-side with Guru-Worship, in that self-enquiry directs attention towards the self-position, and not outwardly towards the human Guru. Is it true that at a certain point one finds the Guru dwelling in the heart, pulling one into the greater depths of self-enquiry, rather than as a predominantly external human form who aids through teachings and instruction?

I hope you don't mind my asking so many questions. I don't mean to take up all your time here.

David Godman said...

Broken Yogi

What I'm curious about in relation to this relationship to the Guru is where it is appropriate to be dualistic, and where it is appropriate to be non-dualistic in one's approach. You cite the examples of not sitting in the Guru's chair, or bowing to the Guru, and I can understand this as both normal and appropriate. So the question is, where is it appropriate to let go of the dualistic approach, and see the Guru as one's very Self?

* * *

Striving to see the Guru as one's own Self is not incompatible with showing respect to his form and position. Indeed, reverence for the form is a well-established way of reaching and experiencing the formless Self.

I remember Lakshmana Swamy saying that he had told Saradamma many times during her sadhana that self-enquiry alone would lead to realisation.

He said, 'She proved me wrong. She always refused to do enquiry, even though I repeatedly asked here to, and in the end it was her devotion to my name and form that produced the right result.'

Striving for advaita in the Heart while externally showing respect and reverence for the Guru's form advances one's sadhana on two fronts simultaneously. One need not abandon one in favour of the other.

David Godman said...

anonymous

When people asked Bhagavan for his grace, he would sometimes say that the asking itself proved that the Guru's grace was already been transmitted.

He is also on record as saying that if you have a desire to do self-enquiry and a willingness to try it, then the grace of the Guru is already working within you.

You may feel that you are striving for the Self through your own efforts, but the fact that you are so enthusiastic about this path indicates that your sadhana has been facilitated by the Guru.

Broken Yogi said...

David,

I don't think I made myself clear. I'm not suggesting that it's an either/or situation, that one can't show proper respect to the outer Guru while also meditating on advaita in the heart. I assume that both are both true and necessary and fully compatible with one another. I'm just wondering how non-dual meditation on the Guru occurs. Or any other form of genuinely non-dual relationship to the Guru.

So yes, Saradamma didn't practice self-enquiry, she practiced rememberance of Lakshmana's name and form. And yet, it appears based on her instruction about this that it isn't the ordinary, dualistic kind of remembrance that she practiced or recommends. I'm thinking of this passage in particular form p. 220 of "No Mind":

"I realized the Self by meditating on Swamy's form. In the beginning I used to do japa of 'Hare Lakshmana' but later I stopped and concentrated on his form alone. After some time I was able to sustain Swamy's image in my mind continuously with no other thoughts intruding. As my practice progressed I was even able to visualize him outside the body. Eventually a point was reached when no matter where I looked I saw only Swamy. This practice was good, but the best results came from meditating on him in the Heart.

If you want to meditate on me or Swami it is not good to think of us as objects separate from you. Meditate on us in the Heart for we are really inside you, not outside you. In the later stages of my sadhana I always used to meditate on Swamy in the Heart. Sometimes he would fill my being so completely that I could actually feel that I was Swamy. My face would feel as if it had taken on the shape of Swamy's face and there was a feeling that Swamy had entered or taken over my whole body. By meditating on Swamy in this way I could feel that Swamy and I were one and not separate.

Swamy and I are in your Heart: meditate on us in the Heart and you will discover that we are not apart from you. When you look at our bodies you are only looking at an image created by your mind. Meditate on us in the Heart and you will discover that we are your own Self.

Question: When you say 'meditate on us in the Heart', do you mean that I should visualize an image in the Heart-centre in the same way that you used to do before you realized the Self?

Saradamma: No, that is not real Heart meditation; it is just an exercise in concentration. Meditating in the Heart really means that you should make the mind go back into the Heart so that you can experience the bliss of the Self there. If you are thinking about anything, even mine or Swamy's form, then the mind is still active. If you can give up all thoughts and make the mind completely silent and still, then it will automatically sink into the Heart. Meditation in the Heart really begins when the mind rests quietly in the Heart, absorbed in the bliss of the Self."


I hope you can better understand what I am asking about. This meditation on the Guru in the Heart is certainly rather mysterious, and Saradamma's answer to the questioner seem to contradict to some degree her own previous statement. Perhaps contradictions like this are impossible to avoid. Still, I wonder if you have any understanding of what she means by this "meditation on us in the Heart" that could clarify this matter of non-dual meditation on the Guru. What, in practice, is she trying to describe?

Anonymous said...

"Advaita is the experience of clearly apprehending that, in reality, the Self, being-consciousness, shining continuously as ‘I am’, alone exists, and that all that appears in duality, consisting of the body, mind and world, is entirely unreal. Therefore, since doing belongs to the dualistic state, where the mind and body appear to be real, non-duality cannot be expressed through doing." I am kinda getting the sinking feeling here because clearly apprehending that being consciousness alone exists happens to about 1%(too optimistic?) of all aspiring devotees and that too if they're lucky to be in the presence of a master. So, of what use is advaita at all? Is it to give us hope that if we keep attempting self-enquiry, one day we might actually succeed in self-enquiry!? To be honest, I haven't really had even one moment of "clear apprehension that being consciousness alone exists " and am running low on hope that it'll ever happen.

nandakumar said...

It is only practice that melts the differences within a sadaka. The practice can be of Atma Vichara, Japa, Parayana of Bhagavan's works like Ulladu Narpadu, Listening to Bhagavan's Life, or singing His praise. When asked who was Arunachala Ramana, Bhagavan not only answered that he resided as the Self within all jivas from Hari onwards but also rendered that He can be seen only when our heart melts by practice that the eye of wisdom opens and the Oneness of Space erases all differences. The emphasis is on practice....

Anonymous said...

I feel that the best time to catch a glimpse of the Self is in the two (or so) hours before dawn, before the world wakes up.

If one attempts to feel, to track, to know directly, the answers for oneself:

Exactly how, experiencially, does the mind create a "me" over here and "everything else" over there?

How does the mind create space and time needed for something to happen, for creation?

How does the "I" arise from deep, dreamless sleep?

What happens before the body sense arises?

Where does the world come from?

One must know directly, for oneself, not through ideas, books, or others.

Anonymous said...

Anonymous
The below is just my opinion.
Who knows how much truth there is in it...if any.

Being does not happen.
I feel you haven't fully accepted Ramana and the teaching as your Guru?
If you are ever able to do so... you whould relax a bit...and...Trust the Guru... who has only the deepest Love for you and whose 'actions' are only for your greatest good and happiness...

Allow yourself to Trust completly and dissolve or surrender into the One who you truly are...have always been.
The Being you are now. The Heart of You.

Self enqirey is just a tool to show the false in/of you and to aid
the awakening or the rememberance...
of the Awareness and/of/or Being who You in truth are.
If you at times feel the need of a tool and self enquirey does not seem to be working for you..another tool is to stop yourself from thinking or rather stop yourself from Being any thought.
As,I believe, Ramana said more than once...it is enough if one surrenders.
If you at present are unable to completely do so then I suppose the
tools are the next best thing but somewhere along the line one must come to trust Ramana completely

David Godman said...

Broken Yogi


He [Bhagavan] really did seem to treat everyone and everything “equally”, in spirit if not in literal terms. In other words, sure, he treated squirrels as squirrels, dogs as dogs, women as women, and men as men, but he treated all “equally” as well, seeing all of them as equally the Self, and thus giving them all equal love and blessing.

***

Yes, Bhagavan did regard seeing everyone and everything with an equal eye as one of the hallmarks of jnana. He said on more than one occasion that there are two visible or tangible indications that someone might be a jnani: the peace one feels in their presence and the equality with which they treat all beings. These are not, he said, guarantees of jnana; just good signs that it might be present.

***

If we look at the Guru from the point of view of bodies in the world, we see the Guru acting as the servant of every being, always loving and giving himself to them in the manner they require.

***

Here are two more verses by Bhagavan from Guru Vachaka Kovai:

496

God humbly and enthusiastically worships all beings at all times as though taking upon himself for all time menial service to them. Is it not because of this that he has become privileged to receive the great and pre-eminent forms of worship performed each day by all the beings of all the worlds?

497

As devotees of God see only their own Self in everything, they behave with humility towards all of them. But since God humbles himself even before his devotees, he has attained, as his nature, that state in which there is nothing inferior to him. Is it not because of the supremacy of this extreme humility that he has attained the state of God?

In the same spirit Thayumanavar has written: ‘All that I perceive I regard also as the expanse that is the form of mauna, and worship it with joined palms.’

***

I started to reply to your other queries on name-and-form meditation, but I soon found myself in the middle of another huge essay. I am still assembling my thoughts (and my supporting quotations) on this one. When I have finished, it will be my next post.

David Godman said...

Anonymous

"Advaita is the experience of clearly apprehending that, in reality, the Self, being-consciousness, shining continuously as ‘I am’, alone exists, and that all that appears in duality, consisting of the body, mind and world, is entirely unreal. Therefore, since doing belongs to the dualistic state, where the mind and body appear to be real, non-duality cannot be expressed through doing." I am kinda getting the sinking feeling here because clearly apprehending that being consciousness alone exists happens to about 1%(too optimistic?) of all aspiring devotees and that too if they're lucky to be in the presence of a master. So, of what use is advaita at all? Is it to give us hope that if we keep attempting self-enquiry, one day we might actually succeed in self-enquiry!? To be honest, I haven't really had even one moment of "clear apprehension that being consciousness alone exists " and am running low on hope that it'll ever happen.

***

I mentioned in the main article that Bhagavan endorsed the traditional vedantic route of hearing the truth from the Guru, convincing oneself that it was true, and then trying to obtain that experience through meditation.

You ask, 'Of what use is advaita for those who have not actually experienced it directly?'

Hearing the truth from the Guru is the first step on the road to believing it and then experiencing it.

Bhagavan, for example, has said that you have to convince devotees that the world is unreal, because if they don't have that fact established in their minds, those same minds will always be drawn to the world and its affairs.

For most people, the truths of advaita have to be first absorbed from a competent Guru. The experience comes later.

Anonymous said...

David,

This is an interesting post. I remember reading a book by Rajneesh which illustrates the point that you are trying to make.

The story as related by Rajneesh goes like this :

Sariputra, a great disciple of Buddha achieved enlightenment. The Buddha then asked him to leave his presence and go to some other place and show the light to other people. Sariputra was extremely reluctant to leave his master's presence but in deference to his wishes went away and started his ministry.

It seems that every day morning when he got up, he would bow in a certain direction. People noticed this and someone once asked him what he was doing. Sariputra replied " My Master lives in that direction and so everyday morning, I bow down to him". To this, the questioner said "Sariputra, you are Buddha in your own right. Why do you then need to bow to the Buddha ?" Sariputra replied "It doesn't matter whether I am a Buddha or not. What matters is that I can drop everything; but I cannot drop the Master."

Thank you
shiv

Ravi said...

Shiv/Friends,
Thanks very much for the moving story of Sariputra and his devotion to The Buddha-I am reminded of the story of Urangavalli,a disciple of Sri Ramanuja.When Sri Ramanuja saw him for the first time, Pillai Urangavalli Dasa was very much fond of his wife. He would spread a mat for her to walk and also hold an umbrella to protect her from sun. Sri Ramanuja was baffled by this and enquired him about doing so. Urangavalli Dasar replied that he very much loved his wife’s beauty and her eyes especially. Ramanuja asked what would he do if he showed someone even more beautiful, to which Urangavalli Dasa replied that he would serve such a person throughout his life. Sri Ramanuja showed him Sri Ranganatha, the deity of Sri Rangam. Pillai Urangavalli Dasa was immediately moved by the Lord’s beauty and became his servant and also became a disciple of Sri Ramanuja.
Now Urangavalli was busy in the kitchen, boiling milk for Sri Ramanuja when Sri Ramanuja called out to him to come out and have Darshan of The Deity Ranganatha who was taken out in a Procession in the Streets of Sri Rangam.Urangavalli simply replied-"Master,you may have Darshan of Lord Ranganatha who is your Master.Allow me to serve you who is my Master;I am boiling milk for you at the moment.I am not interested in having Darshan of the Deity.Please excuse me".
I remember how Sri Annamalai Swami gave a big smile when David mentioned about his choice of name for his biography-'Living by the words of Bhagavan'.This is Guru Bhakti.

Coming to Broken yogi's quotation -from the point of view of the body, I am the servant of YOU(God); from the point of view of the mind, I am a part of YOU(God); and from the point of view of the self, I am YOU(God).” This is how the Great devotee Anjaneya of Ramayana replied when asked by Sri Rama as to how he regarded him-In the Kathamrita ,sri Ramakrishna narrates this to emphasise the coexistence of these attitudes in a realised soul-Dvaita ,Vishshtadvaita and Advaita.
Thanks very much Broken(integrated) Yogi in raising these beautiful dimensions in a intensely human manner.

Salutations!

Sankar Ganesh said...

Regarding the question "what use is advaita?" -- Whether one achieves Self-Realization in this birth or not is a different thing. But for people who are going through tremendous suffering, the words of a Realized Master is like a tonic for mental peace and alleviates depression. The Advaitic teachings of the Master (so also his/her physical presence) gives strength to face the difficulties of life with ease and peace. The Life of devotees such as Echammal, Mudaliar Patti and many others bear testimonies to this fact. I can also say this with reference to my own life as well. Thanks. Sankar Ganesh.

arvind said...

Shankar Ganesh, Anonymous (12th Sep),

Very well said indeed, Shankar Ganesh. Thought to just add to your comment:

Your answer would apply very nicely to Bhakti as well. If someone asks skeptically, “What use is Bhakti ? What use is worshipping Sri Rama or Sri Ganesa ?”. Whether one achieves God-realisation in this birth or not is a different thing. But for people who are going through tremendous suffering, the worship of God is like a tonic for mental peace and alleviates depression ….

Anonymous (12th Sep), you have also written: ‘To be honest, I haven't really had even one moment of "clear apprehension that being consciousness alone exists " and am running low on hope that it'll ever happen.’

Not to lose heart at not having any “experiences”. Actually this may be a VERY good thing. Because, Sri Bhagavan said words to the effect that intermediate “experiences” of any sort are only distractions and, if one is not careful, can spin one off into tangential loops that may be quite diversionary. He said that the only “experience” of any import is the final one; everything else is just froth and fizzle on the way, best discarded quickly. In fact, he suggested that “experiences” happen only at the preliminary stages and they have to disappear for the real sadhana to go on.

And so, my own view is that no doubt a “vision” or an “experience” can have an extraordinary impact in terms of encouragement and of reinforcement of one’s efforts in sadhana. And the idea then would be, to gratefully and humbly accept such encouragement as the Grace of God or the Self, and continue diligently on one’s sadhana. And if one does not have any “experiences”, then one again gratefully and humbly accepts this as the Grace of God or the Self; that one’s sadhana is well and truly on the straight and narrow path, and that one is considered as a mature enough sadhaka so as to not need “experiences”. And thus go on with one’s sadhana.

Best wishes

Murali said...

Dear Brothers and Sisters (children of Bhagavan),

I came across the following in a context where Bhagavan tackles the ever planning and scheming tendency of a devotee

-------------------
"How is it that you people have no faith?" and pointing to the Hill, he added, "This Arunachala gives us whatever we want"
-------------------

Sometimes I wonder why I cant simply rest in the sweet faith and simply not bother about anything including the necessity for Self Realization.

Kind Regards
Murali

Sankar Ganesh said...

Thanks Arvind for extrapolating my earlier Comment.

If I remember correctly, Bhagavan comforted one of his devotees, who got depressed for not getting any experiences by saying that -- there are no milestones in this quest, the effort has to be continued till the Self is Realized. The fact that one is pursuing this quest is itself due to the grace of the Self.

On some other occasions Bhagavan had also said -- the thought "I am not Realized" is also an obstacle to the Inherent peace.

According to Bhagavan, all activities including Sadhana has to be performed with detachment (i.e. without "I am the doer" idea (or) doing the duty for duty's sake alone with devotion & perfection and not worrying about the result).

If there is attachment to the fruits of an activity, and if the result does not happen as per the expectation it will lead to pain. Same way, if the result does happen as per the expectation it will strengthen the ego/pride. Both scenarios are detrimental to the inner peace.

For jnani's like Bhagavan, detachment is natural. For others, it has to be cultivated through discrimination between the Real (Self, which is permanent) and the UnReal (i.e. non-Self which are transient and not worth to get attached to them). From the point of a Jnani, even the Sadhana activity is unreal. For a Jnani, there is nothing in the Universe that is worth worrying.

Source for the above points: Books on Bhagavan including David Godman's.

Thanks, Sankar Ganesh.

Broken Yogi said...

Arvind,

While I agree with your general approach of accepting gracefully whatever happens or does not happen, I don't really agree that experiences are unimportant. I think the writer who expressed a feeling that they need some kind of experiential confirmation of the radical nature of consciousness was expressing a real need, and not something to just slough over by talking about grace. I agree that such experiences tend to come at the beginning, but they also come because the beginner needs such experiences. Those who lack such experiences frequently don't pursue their sadhana seriously because they have prominent doubts that there's any validity to these matters. Why persist in practiciing self-enquiry if there isn't some real experience in us that the Self is radically alive and real? I would think it would make it very hard to keep up one's practice purely on faith. Some might be able to do so, but most would not.

The other way of approaching this is to encourage people to seek such experiences. This may sound crude and even egotistical, but it's the simple truth that if you want these experiences badly enough, they will happen. I don't think there's a specific technique that can bring them about, but grace responds to our conscious needs and desires, and if we desire to know the reality of consciousenss, consciousness will respond. This is true in my experience, and in that of many people I have known personally. Such experiences are not the point, but they point to the point, and they are genuinely valuable in that sense. I would say that in my own case the only thing that kept me practicing sadhana was a number of experiences I had, at the beginning and along the way, which were simply irrefutable to me, regardless of what doubts I might have had about so many things along the way. And I had those expereinces not because of mere "grace" or because there was anything special about me, but simply because I wanted them badly enough. So I would encourage people who want those experiences to concentrate themselves in that desire, rather than to try to disassociate from it because it's, well, a desire, and we all know that desires are bad. I don't think desires are all bad, especially desires like these. As Papaji said, if we can't be free of a desire, we should fulfill it, and if we can't genuinely be free of the desire for spiritual experiences, we should fulfull those desires, and then move on from there.

Just my opinion, of course.

arvind said...

Broken Yogi, thank you for your comment, which one really enjoyed going through. Please forgive me for having a contrarian view on some points.

Well, one had already mentioned that - no doubt a “vision” or an “experience” can have an extraordinary impact in terms of encouragement and of reinforcement of one’s efforts in sadhana. But the point is - to give it minimal importance; and not to “need” it.

You have said: “I think the writer who expressed a feeling that they need some kind of experiential confirmation of the radical nature of consciousness was expressing a real need, and not something to just slough over by talking about grace ........ I would think it would make it very hard to keep up one's practice purely on faith. Some might be able to do so, but most would not.”

The real need of a person is Self-realization. I believe that if a person thinks that he has a need for intermediate experiences then that need is required to be squashed out as quickly and completely just as any other desire. This is because the need is just the need of the mischievous mind or ego and nothing more than that. The mind / ego enjoys the thrill of the “experience” like it enjoys any other thrill available from the world; and all the time deceiving itself that it has achieved some milestone on the path. So the idea would be not to have any “need” on one’s part; if the experience comes on its own, so be it. One then welcomes it gratefully as the Lord’s Grace and moves on with one’s sadhana.

I believe that Grace responds both to our conscious, as well as our unconscious needs and desires. If it is really required for our progress to have an experience, Grace will provide it anyway. But if we have a conscious desire to have that experience, Grace will still provide it, but the fact of having that conscious desire would disqualify one from any significant spiritual progress. Grace will keep on giving one what one wants, many such “experiences”, and nothing more. And so the Sages say, want or need or desire nothing at all, then the Grace will give you what It really wants to give you, Self-realization.

And I really do believe that it is most important to have full, unshakeable faith in the Guru’s words. Faith and lack of doubts are the basic foundation stones of any sadhana. Everything comes later. So one’s sadhana has to, for a start, ensure that full faith in the Guru is achieved. If that is not firm then the goal itself, as described by the Guru, is ab initio out of reach, do what one may.

“ ... would say that in my own case the only thing that kept me practicing sadhana was a number of experiences I had, at the beginning and along the way, which were simply irrefutable to me, regardless of what doubts I might have had about so many things along the way.” That is good, Grace gave you what was your unconscious need.

“ ... And I had those experiences not because of mere "grace" or because there was anything special about me, but simply because I wanted them badly enough.” That is bad, because this is the ego speaking. You are saying that you wrested the experiences yourself, from Grace, by dint of your fierce, conscious need.

“ ... So I would encourage people who want those experiences to concentrate themselves in that desire, rather than to try to disassociate from it.” That is VERY bad !

[I really don’t know in what context Papaji said that fulfilling a desire is good. Perhaps he meant it as a one-off fulfilling of a one specific desire and then moving on, quitting the desire once and for all. But one can mention what Sri Bhagavan said on this. He said that trying to get rid of desires by fulfilling them is the equivalent of throwing kerosene into the fire].

Broken Yogi, please forgive me once again for speaking freely. I know you would understand that the foregoing is not to reduce the value of your, or anyone else’s, experiences in any manner; but just to convince those who do not get any experiences, that they should not desire any, nor be bothered by the fact of not having any experiences; they too are progressing just as much or even more perhaps.

Best wishes

Anonymous said...

Broken Yogi
Just my opinion of course:

I think if you hasve a real thirst for Truth, Knowledge, Self or Being you come to the position where you do not want experiences.
They are just unwanted distractions which do little to relieve ones thirst.

Ravi said...

Arvind/Anonymous/Broken Yogi/Friends,

"“ ... And I had those experiences not because of mere "grace" or because there was anything special about me, but simply because I wanted them badly enough.” That is bad, because this is the ego speaking. You are saying that you wrested the experiences yourself, from Grace, by dint of your fierce, conscious need."

This is how Sri Ramakrishna had his vision of Kali-When he seized the sword and decided to put an end to his Life-Sri Ramakrishna called this 'Tamasic Approach'.
He used to say-"You as a Child of the Divine Mother has every right to be importunate,to DEMAND for the Mother's Vision".This is as valid as to be totally free from Desire.Most important is to be true to one's nature-to be oneself whatever that be and proceed from here.
To Desire for something is perfectly natural and perhaps desirable,not for sensational reasons but for progressing from lesser light to more light.Desire should not be mistaken for Craving-Like Hunger should not be mistaken for gluttony.

Also,The Ego is not necessarly to be condemned,but as all the Great Saints have done ,can be turned into an instrument for relationship with the Divine-as the servant,as a child ,as a Friend,as a BELOVED-This has its great charm and there are many saints who valued this more than the Nondual experience-Sri Ramakrishna was not the only one,Andaal or Kothai says in her Incomparable Tiruppavai-Give me seven times seven Births,only let me ever be yours,let me serve you alone,may you change all other desires (that we may ever have).

I feel that all of these approaches are valid.None more than the other-all have their place.

Wish you all the very Best.

Ravi said...

Friends,
I want to share this intensely human expression of Guru Bhakti -From the Life of one of my hot favourites-Master Mahasaya:
"(M. reminisces) Thakur(Sri Ramakrishna) had just given up his body. I was then a teacher in the Oriental Seminary. I was the headmaster of three schools at a time. I had to teach for an hour in each school. I used to go there by palanquin, at times also by tram. Once I was changing tram at the Burra Bazar when I saw a sadhu there. His face was similar to Thakur's. He had his seat there. He was like a child. I would go and stand besides him daily. When the sun was bright I used to hold an umbrella above him. Seeing him Thakur would fill my mind. Once he favoured me by asking if I could help him take a train at Howrah. I said, yes. Thereafter I bought his ticket and made him entrain at Howrah. He kindly gave me a small piece of paper saying,Put it in a case and keep it with you as an amulet. You will never be in want then; all your travails will end. After the train left I walked on happily carrying it with me and reached the Pontoon Bridge of Howrah. As soon as I cast a glance towards Dakshineswar I was reminded of Thakur's words, and felt downcast with shame. I touched the paper with my forehead and threw it into the Ganga. I felt ashamed of myself. I realized that Thakur was always looking after me. For he had said, ˜What is there for you to worry about? You already have the privilege of having a guru. The moment I remembered these great words of his, I was overwhelmed with shame. Then I returned home reassured, full of bliss."
Just visualise the Bhakti of this childlike soul-that he should hold an umbrella over someone resembling Thakur!-How he threw that paper (after touching it reverently with his head)when he just remembered the IMMORTAL words of assurance of his Guru.
Guru Bhakti is the Greatest Sadhana there ever is!

Salutations!

Broken Yogi said...

Arvind and anon,

I welcome disagreement with my views. If everyone agreed, how boring that would be!

Regarding experiences of the Self, I do disagree that these are trivial, unimportant, or even a distraction from sadhana. I think they are a gift of grace that helps us in our sadhana. Desire for the Self is what sadhana is all about in the first place. When anon says they do not relieve us of our thirst, that is of course right, but that is the whole point. Experiences are there to increase our thrist for realization, not to decrease that thrist! Realization does not come by being relieved of the thrist for realization. Quite the opposite. Realization comes from increasing the thrist for realization to the point that it is the only thing we want. So experiences which increase our desire for realization are wholy good for our sadhana, which in essense is nothing more than becoming concentrated in the desire for realization. As the commonly repeated aphorism says, we must come to the point where our desire for realization is greater than our desire our next breath. If experiences help increase our desire, then that is all to the good.

As Arvind quotes Ramana saying it is like throwing kerosene on a fire, isn't that exactly what is needed? Ramana also compares self-enquiry to using a stick to stir up a fire, such that it burns up everything, even the stick itself. So isn't the whole point to make a great fire, a tapas, of the desire for realization, to the point where it simply burns us up. If experiences of the Self increase that fire, this is good. Things which put out the fire are what kill sadhana. The point of sadhana is not to become free of desire, but to make desire for realization so overwhelming that it burns up all other desires.

Another way of saying this, in the language of self-enquiry, is that self-enquiry is not directed at getting rid of the ego. To the contrary, self-enquiry is directed towards concentrating us in the ego, in the "I"-thought, so entirely that all other thoughts are consumed. Desire and thought are virtually the same. So the purpose of the sadhana of self-enquiry is not to destroy the ego, but to become utterly concentrated in the ego, to the point that no other thoughts or desires remain. It is then up to Grace to destroy the ego in those who have become concentrated in the ego, in the "I"-thought. But Grace cannot destroy the ego until we become concentrated in it. So "getting rid of ego" is not at all the point of sadhana or self-enquiry, and getting rid of desire is not the point either. It is merely that ego and desire must become concentrated, such that the source of ego and desire is seen, which is the Self. Experiences of the Self therefore become a goad to increase our concentration in the ego because that is the only road beyond the ego.

It's of course beyond our control to create these experiences. But then, everything is beyond our control in any case, including our own sadhana. The whole point of sadhana is to lose control, to become a fire, to become wholy consumed by the desire for realization, to be burned up in the Self. So it's certainly true that we have to be careful about the mind creating experiences which become objects of the mind and just feed the mind with more thinking and delusions. But as we lose control of ourselves, experiences do arise naturally, and these feed the fire, and make us want more, which is good, because what we really want is infinite desire, not the absence of desire. The Self is the infinite fulfillment of all desire, which sometimes can be described as the abscence of desire, but only in the sense that desire has become infinite, rather than limited and frustratingly attached to objects. At the root of all desire is the desire for realization, for the Self, and it cannot be relieved without realization, which is why all other desires are frustrating and leave us unsatisfied. The solution is not to try to eliminate desire, but to fulfill desire absolutely by realizing what desire truly desires, which is the Self. That is the only way to be free of object-seeking desires. Those who begin to understand this no longer view desire as their enemy, but as their friend. When desire arises, instead of trying to eliminate it, just look at its source, at what it truly comes from, which is the desire for the Self. This is really the same as examining all thoughts and seeing that they come from the "I"-thought, whose source is the Self.

Here's some quotes from Papaji's "The Truth Is":

The raft across the ocean of samsara
is the strong decision to be Free.
This intense desire is absolutely necessary.
The intensity of this desire is itself the Satguru,
the pain in the heart is the Self calling.

Alwasy desire Self because
you will always get what you desire most.
The burning desire for freedom is enough,
and is the result of blessings.

The desire for Moksha is Moksha
because now your relationship is with Freedom.
Now discriminate between "I" and Freedom,
and find out how far "I" is from Freedom.
When there are no more places to go
there is no more "I" to go there, no more tourist left.
Then have faith like a rock in this Freedom
so that the water and winds of thought and doubt
will not move it.

If the desire for Freedom is continuous, then all the habits and distractions of mind will drop.
Think only of Freedom and you become Freedom
because you are what you think.
As persistent as the pain of a toothache
always think of the Self.

The desire for Freedom is the high tide
which wipes out the sand castles of doubt
Without this desire man is a tailless animal.



And:

It is enough if you have a burning desire for Freedom.
It will burn the whole universe
including you, your mind, your ego, and your body.
Let it burn and whatever is left
throw back to the fire...

Let your will burn in this fire
so that it takes you nowhere else.
Let your self be burned in this fire
of Eternity, Love, and Peace.
Don't be afraid of this fire, it is Love itself.
This desire for Freedom is the fire of Love!


And:

When you want something that you do not get the ego will trouble you. You must have the ego to that extent as, "I want to be Free." Let this ego continue. It is also ego to want this. Desire Freedom not tomorrow, but today, not today, but Now itself. Then you will show me the ego. If she is strong this is a strong desire for her to have: "I want to be Free". Then this strength will help you. This is also ego. Wanting something is ego so utilize the strength of your ego by desiring Freedom, no other desire should touch you at the same time. Make use of the strength of ego by desiring Freedom. Say it now: "I want to be Free".

Bookworm said...

Ravi
If your desire for visions, experiences etc is greater than your desire for what is True...so be it.
Visions and various experiences may or may not happen but to have them is not the reason a sincere person follows Ramanas Teaching.

One doesn't want things that come and go and as Ramana taught... the Self..the Heart of you..the Divine core of your Being is ever unchanging.

Clemens Vargas Ramos said...

... Ravi, If your desire for visions, experiences etc is greater than your desire for what is True...so be it. ...

"I looked at all friends, and did not find a better friend than safeguarding the tongue. I thought about all dresses, but did not find a better dress than piety. I thought of all types of good deeds, but did not find a better deed than offering good advice. I looked at all types of sustenance, but did not find a better sustenance than patience."

Umar, companion of Muhammad

Ravi said...

Bookworm,
Friend,please go through what I have wanted to convey-Broken Yogi has clarified beautifully.
Does our search for Truth prevent us from enjoying the simple joys of Existence-A Beautiful Rose,A vast Ocean,Star spangled Sky,an infant smile-all these serve to stir the deepest chord in oneself.How much more the experience of the Divine Mother(what is called impersonally as the Self)should be!Is it a trifle that comes and goes!
What we think as 'TRUE' is perhaps only an 'idea' and the ACTUAL is infinitely more Potent and enchanting than the ideal.

We need not have to abandon our Humanity to realise our inherent Divinity-This is the most wonderful lesson that I have learnt from MY MASTER for which I am ever indebted to him.

Wish you the very Best!

Broken Yogi said...

Bookworm wrote:

"One doesn't want things that come and go and as Ramana taught... the Self..the Heart of you..the Divine core of your Being is ever unchanging."

The Self does not come and go. Experiences of the Self only seem to come and go because the mind temporarily fails to prevent them, when it collapses or lapses now and then. The reason experiences of the Self are important is that they give us a glimpse of what is actually permanent, what doesn't come and go, what is readily grasped and understood when the mind falls away. Such experiences motivate us to seek the dissolution of the mind and the realization of the Self, so that we can know Who we really are at all times, without the mind's tricks. To reject such experiences is to accept the mind's interpretation of reality, which is a rejection of the Self. These experiences only seem to come and go because the mind tries to convince us that they are unimportant and fleeting, when in reality it is the mind which is unimportant and fleeting.

Bookworm said...

Brokenyogi.
You quote Papaji

'Think only of Freedom and you become Freedom
because you are what you think.
As persistent as the pain of a toothache
always think of the Self.'

As this is a site about Ramana why do you not quote Ramanas Teaching?.

You are not what you think.
Thinking is of the mind, a head thing.
You cannot think of the Self.
You can only Be the Self, it is a Heart thing.

Ravi
I could be wrong but I don`t think that Ramanas core teaching included much if anything about the 'Divine Mother'.

I am sorry Ravi but I find all this 'MY MASTER' business
a bit childish

Yogi Bear said...

That's the trouble with bookworms; they bore through books without understanding what the words mean.

Ravi said...

Ramos,
""I looked at all friends, and did not find a better friend than safeguarding the tongue. I thought about all dresses, but did not find a better dress than piety. I thought of all types of good deeds, but did not find a better deed than offering good advice. I looked at all types of sustenance, but did not find a better sustenance than patience."

Umar, companion of Muhammad"

Friend,Thanks very much for these wonderful words of Umar-They seem to Echo the Great couplets of the Tamil Sage-Tiruvalluvar-The ThiruKKuraL.

Namaskar!

Ravi said...

Bookworm,
"I am sorry Ravi but I find all this 'MY MASTER' business
a bit childish"
Hello Friend!Please excuse;This is meant for one very fine Devotee who rarely makes his presence Felt in this Blog.
Thanks very much.

arvind said...

Broken Yogi and everyone, thank you for your comments and an interesting discussion.

I just thought to add a bit more about “desire” and your remark, “Desire for the Self is what sadhana is all about in the first place.” And you clearly mean a fierce “conscious” desire for It.

That is an interesting statement which one is not sure one can accept. No doubt the fierce thirst or need for the Final Goal, the Self, is legitimate and a pre-requisite of sadhana. But the problem comes with having a “conscious” desire for It.

To keep things simple and not go into your roundabout loop of ‘intense desire = no desire’ etc, desire arises when the mind arises; and desire arises for an object only. So then, in effect, when we have a “conscious” desire for the Self, we end up treating the Self as an object, and also continue to have thoughts. Both of which have to be given up for the Final Goal.

So one believes that this fierce thirst or need for Self-realisation has to remain an all consuming, “unconscious” one; in the sense that – that is all and all for that person and he will not even be “conscious” of it, so to speak. It will reflect indirectly on its own in that person, in the fierce vairagya [dispassion] he/she develops naturally towards objects and affairs of the world, without conscious attempts in that direction. In fact, a simple test of the strength of one’s thirst for Self-realisation is – to what extent are we, naturally, still engaged with [in the sense of a “doer”] and have attachments in the world ?

On the other hand, a fierce conscious desire for the Goal will perhaps carry one along the path for a while, but then itself be a huge impediment to achieving the Goal.

I believe that Sri Bhagavan’s analogy of Self-enquiry being a stick used to stir the funeral pyre and then itself be consumed by it, strictly applies to Self-enquiry only; it cannot be extended to “desire”. The conscious desire for the Self is not a tool which can be used to seek the Self, like Self-enquiry. To have a desire in the mind is just a state of the mind itself, nothing more.

Further, I believe that, Sri Bhagavan did not use the ‘kerosene into the fire’ analogy to even remotely suggest that desires [even those for the Self] should be inflamed first and then quenched. I believe what He meant was to simply squash out the desire as quickly as possible else they will multiply and go out of control; and indeed the way suggested was to ask ‘who has the desire ?’ Even if one has a conscious desire for the Self, that has to be immediately quenched by asking, ‘who has this desire for the Self ?’ This is because, as mentioned earlier, every desire, even the desire for Self-realisation is a thought. And until thoughts are given up, there is no Self-realisation.

[I really do not know why Papaji wrote what you have quoted on desiring the Self. Perhaps he did that for people who had uncontrollable worldly desires; if one has to have desires then it is certainly far better to have a desire for the Self.]

Broken Yogi, do answer the question clearly – do you believe that the experience you had was an experience of the Self ?

Best wishes

Bookworm said...

Bare Yogi

Funny...

Broken Yogi said...

Bookworm,

"As this is a site about Ramana why do you not quote Ramanas Teaching?."

I quoted Papaji because someone asked me to elaborate on something I referred to earlier from Papaji.

I wasn't aware this site was strictly limited to Ramana. David has been a devotee of Ramana, Papaji, Anamalai, Nisargadatta, and Lakshmana and Saradamma, to my knowledge. The posts here often quote Papaji extensively. I consider him to be an excellent source of jnana wisdom, and I don't consider Ramana to be the only jnani whose teachings are worth considering.

But if you prefer a Ramana quote, there's this exchange to consider:

A man asked about the nature of Samadhi:

M. When the one who asks the nature of samdhi and the method of getting into it vanishes, samadhi will result.

Major Chadwick: It is said that one look of a Mahatma is enough; that idols, pilgrimages, etc., are not so effective. I have been here for three months, but I do not know how I have been benefited by the look of Maharshi.

M. The look has a purifying effect. Purification canot be visualized. Just as a piece of coal takes long to be ignited, a peice of charcoal takes a short time, and a mass of gunpowder is instantaneously ignited, so it is with the grades of men coming in contact with Mahatmas.

Mr. Cohen: I get into meditation and reach a point which may be called peace and a contemplative mood. What should be my next step?

M. Peace is Self-Realization. Peace need not be disturbed. One should aim at Peace only.

D. But I do not get any satisfaction.

M. Because your peace is temporary. If made permanent it is called Realization.


Also:

Q. Can Samadhi come and go?

M. What is samadhi? Samadhi is one's essential nature. How then can it come or go?

If you do not realize your essential nature, your sight remains obstructed. What is the obstruction? Find it and remove it. So one's efforts are meant only for the removal of obstructions which hide the true vision. The real nature remains the same. When once it is realized it is permanent.


In my understanding, this indicates that experiences of the Self point to what is permanent. They may seem to come and go, but they lead to the investigation and removal of the mind, which leaves only the Self as a permanent realization. So it is not the experiences of the Self which come and go, it is the mind which comes and goes, and seems to obscure the Self. By penetrating the illusions of mind, we see that the experience of the Self has never come and gone, it has always been there, only overshadowed by the mind.

Broken Yogi said...

Arvind,

I think you raise some interesting points, but I continue to disagree with many of them.

“To keep things simple and not go into your roundabout loop of ‘intense desire = no desire’ etc, desire arises when the mind arises; and desire arises for an object only. So then, in effect, when we have a “conscious” desire for the Self, we end up treating the Self as an object, and also continue to have thoughts. Both of which have to be given up for the Final Goal.”

That is why Papaji said that it is a bad idea to have a strong conceptual idea of what the Self is, or what Realization is. We must learn to accept the fact that we don't know what the Self is, or what Realization is, beyond our own intense desire to be free, to be happy, etc. I think it's best to keep it in these simple terms that anyone can relate to, rather than immense abstract goals based on lengthy erudition and scholarship. If we examine our desire for the Self, it has no actual conceptual content. It is not unconscious, but it has no particular conscious content to it either. It is an impulse that well up in us from the heart. It is an impulse to love, to be in love, to be happy, to be happiness, to be our true being. The words and concepts can get in the way, and when we overconceptualize the goal, it does become an obstruction. Why? Because that is only more mind, more concepts in the mind. In other words, more unconsciousness.

I disagree with your understanding of the distinction between conscious and unconscious. The mind is unconscious, whereas this desire for the Self comes from our deepest conscious being. When the mind says “I want the Self”, it has a concept in mind, not the actual Self. In other words, it is actually unconscious of the Self, and has substituted a concept in the mind for the actual Self. Whereas the desire for the Self does not come from the mind, it comes from the heart, from our deepest need for real love, real happiness, real understanding, real peace, real realization, reality itself. It comes from being sick and tired of the mind and its crazy substitutions for reality. However, the mind considers itself to be “consious”, and it considers the heart to be “unconscious”, and thus it gets everything backwards. It considers itself conscious when it has a concept and a perception to refer to. The desire for the Self, however, has no concepts or perceptions to refer to, so the mind considers it unconscious, which is exactly the opposite of the real situation. But the mind is a tyrant and won't acknowledge this, it wants to be in charge, so it devalues the desire for the Self, and substitutes a conceptual approach to the Self which never lets real desire have any sway. Which is why when we operate from such a mode we have no real experiences of the Self, and like to pretend such experiences aren't important. The mind wants to stay in charge, and it will devalue any experience of the Self in order to do so.

So when you say things like...

“So one believes that this fierce thirst or need for Self-realisation has to remain an all consuming, “unconscious” one; in the sense that – that is all and all for that person and he will not even be “conscious” of it, so to speak.”

...Ithink you have it upside down and backwards. The desire for Self-realization is a gift of Grace, it si the manifestation of grace in our consciousness, it is the emergence of the truly “conscious” force of our existence, penetrating even into our mind, which may rebel and say that this desire is “bad”, or “unconscious”, because it doesn't play by the rules of the mind. Or the mind tries to co-opt this desire, and turn it into something it can manage and control. It attaches concepts to this desire, such that the desire becomes directed towards the mind itself, and is thus controllable by the mind. So this desire can indeed be corrupted, and often is. But it also has the advantage of being able to shake off all corruptions as well, if we persist in it.


“It will reflect indirectly on its own in that person, in the fierce vairagya [dispassion] he/she develops naturally towards objects and affairs of the world, without conscious attempts in that direction. In fact, a simple test of the strength of one’s thirst for Self-realisation is – to what extent are we, naturally, still engaged with [in the sense of a “doer”] and have attachments in the world ?”

Yes, it will indeed result in a natural disposition of dispassion, but this is not “unconscious”, it is fully conscious. It is just not the result of mental conceptual planning, it is the result of consciousness coming alive in our hearts and overriding the conceptual mind, and acting directly and consciously, not indirectly and unconsciously as the conceptual mind does.

“On the other hand, a fierce conscious desire for the Goal will perhaps carry one along the path for a while, but then itself be a huge impediment to achieving the Goal. “

I don't see how it becomes an impediment, unless the mind co-opts it, and then it becomes the very means by which the mind is transcended in any case, if we persist in the naked desire. Don't confuse “naked” with “unconscious”. Quite the opposite. “Naked” means without pretense or obstructions, but purely conscious. Naked means without mind, which is the vehicle of unconsciousness, not consciousness.

“I believe that Sri Bhagavan’s analogy of Self-enquiry being a stick used to stir the funeral pyre and then itself be consumed by it, strictly applies to Self-enquiry only; it cannot be extended to “desire”. The conscious desire for the Self is not a tool which can be used to seek the Self, like Self-enquiry. To have a desire in the mind is just a state of the mind itself, nothing more.”

I disagree in several ways. First, self-enquiry is only engaged if we have the desire to know the Self, and to transcend the mind. No one would ever take up self-enquiry without that desire. Self-enquiry also takes tremendous persistence, effort, and will, as Ramana has said. That requires a tremendous desire to see it through to the end and to know the Self. Without that desire self-enquiry will never amount to anything, it will just be a dead exercise of the mind playing with itself. Second, as I stated before, the point of self-enquiry is to become concentrated in the “I”-thought, the ego itself. It cannot go past that. Only the desire for Self-Realization is able to do that, because that desire is the Self active in us. When the mind is stopped through self-enquiry, the desire for the Self persists, because it does not come from the mind. It remains not only active, but it overwhelms the being now that the mind has been brought to a standstill. This is how realization actually awakens, through the Grace of this overwhelming desire for the Self. And that is how the whole proces began as well. Self-enquiry was just a method used along the way to focus this desire for the Self and concentrate the mind into a single “I”-thought that could be burned up. Self-enquiry is the stick that is burned up in the process, but the desire for the Self is the fire that it burns up in.

“Further, I believe that, Sri Bhagavan did not use the ‘kerosene into the fire’ analogy to even remotely suggest that desires [even those for the Self] should be inflamed first and then quenched. I believe what He meant was to simply squash out the desire as quickly as possible else they will multiply and go out of control; and indeed the way suggested was to ask ‘who has the desire ?’”

I agree, but you have to understand that he was talking about ordinary desires, not the desire for the Self. Conflating the two is the mind's trick that tries to keep this desire for the Self at bay. Ramana is criticizing the notion that the way to get rid of the desire for sex, say, is to have lots of sex. He's saying it just makes us want even more sex. But he never criticized the desire for the Self in this manner, since desiring the Self only makes us desire the Self more, which is all to the good. And yes, one should indeed ask who it is who desires the Self? That enquiry will only stimulate greater desire for the Self, however. It does not suppress it, because the desire for the Self does not come from the ego or the mind. It comes from the heart, from the Self.

“Even if one has a conscious desire for the Self, that has to be immediately quenched by asking, ‘who has this desire for the Self ?’ This is because, as mentioned earlier, every desire, even the desire for Self-realisation is a thought. And until thoughts are given up, there is no Self-realisation. “

This is where you go wrong, I think. We can certainly translate the desire for the Self into a thought, but it does not come from the mind, and it does not originate as a thought. It is an impulse, a desire, that comes from the heart, from the Self. Treating it as a thought misses the point entirely. Why would we even enquire of ourselves if we did not have this desire? If we quench this desire, what would compel us to continue the self-enquiry? So self-enquiry cannot bring this desire to an end, or it would also bring self-enquiry to an end. Instead, self-enquriy will only strengthen this desire, which in turn will intensify our practice to self-enquiry. This is what stirring the fire does – it increases the heat and intensity of the fire. It does not quench the fire.

“Broken Yogi, do answer the question clearly – do you believe that the experience you had was an experience of the Self ?”

If I have to answer, I would say yes. I just don't like turning such things into a conceptual prize package with labels and names attached, since they had none in the actual experience.

Ravi said...

Friends,
I want to share these wonderful quotes of Vivekananda;Each one is a Gem,especially in the context of the wonderful discussion on the Nature of the EGO,THOUGHT,DESIRE,etc that is on-Truly it helps to relook at our understanding of these words and their value.

Self Enquiry should not be equated to preoccupation in isolation ,like practising Yoga being wrongly equated to attending to the tip of the nose!

""Take up one idea. Make that one idea your life - think of it, dream of it, live on that idea. Let the brain, muscles, nerves, every part of your body, be full of that idea, and just leave every other idea alone. This is the way to success that is way great spiritual giants are produced."

"Never think there is anything impossible for the soul. It is the greatest heresy to think so. If there is sin, this is the only sin? To say that you are weak, or others are weak."

"You have to grow from the inside out. None can teach you, none can make you spiritual. There is no other teacher but your own soul."

"We are what our thoughts have made us; so take care about what you think. Words are secondary. Thoughts live; they travel far."

"Where can we go to find God if we cannot see Him in our own hearts and in every living being."

"You cannot believe in God until you believe in yourself."

"The first sign of your becoming religious is that you are becoming cheerful"

"GOD of truth, be Thou alone my guide…"

"BY the study of different RELIGIONS we find that in essence they are one."

"That man has reached immortality who is disturbed by nothing material."

"External nature is only internal nature writ large."

"GOD is to be worshipped as the one beloved, dearer than everything in this and next life."

"The more we come out and do good to others, the more our hearts will be purified, and God will be in them."

Best Wishes and Salutations!

Bookworm said...

Broken Yogi
Quote who you like. I just wondered.

'and I don't consider Ramana to be the only jnani whose teachings are worth considering'

This is where we differ...not so much 'worth considering' ..but more of..what need is there?. Been there, done that.

Maybe it is just me but it seems on the one hand you show your intellectual understanding of Self and on the other hand you defend the mind and its experiences.
Strange.

arvind said...

Broken Yogi, thank you for the detailed comment. On appreciates the time / effort you would have put into it. Is one getting the impression that you have to be arguing a point to win it come what may, even if it means stretching the simple and apparent meanings of words and phrases ? Well, one hopes one is wrong, because generally all followers of Sri Bhagavan or His disciples, have one quality in abundance. They are open-minded and amenable to fresh ideas.

If the “desire” for the Self comes, somehow, directly from the Heart like you say, and is not a vritti [movement] of the mind, then it should exist even when the mind is not there, should it not ? Does it exist when the mind is absent ? When you are in deep sleep can you still find, somewhere, a “desire” for the Self ? But leave all that aside.

The points one was trying to make in earlier posts are, of course, not one’s own but taken from the teachings of Sri Bhagavan. Rather than trying to discuss the issue further let me simply quote Him. Though one could dig up many more quotes, I believe this lot would suffice, or else nothing will, in any case.

[from GuruVachaka Kovai; translation of Sadhu Om; Chapter 67, Pg 105, entitled “Desirelessness”]

[starts]
374. Sages, the Knowers of the Truth, declare that the destruction of all mental activities [chittavrittis] is alone the greatest happiness. Therefore desirelessness [i.e. the attitude of indifference], which is devoid of both likes and dislikes, is the best means.

376. When it is said that having a desire even for the Supreme State of Silence is failing to observe the great Sat-Achara, is it Achara to have desires for the worthless body and other worldly things ?

[Commentary of Sadhu Om]: Achara means observing high principles in life, and having any kind of desire is anachara. The greatest of all principles is Sat-Achara [or Brahmachara], which is nothing other than abiding as Sat [i.e. Self]. For one who is observing Sat-Achara, which is the perfect state of Love, even the desire for Liberation should be considered to be wrong, because desire implies a movement of the mind towards a second or third person, whereas Love has the form of unbroken and unmoving Existence. This is the significance of the ancient saying, “Cut the desire even for God”.

378. Except for the one who has completely cut the tie of desires, the false appearance [that he is a suffering Jiva] will not cease. Therefore, even without hesitation, one should cut even the desire for the Great Divine Happiness. [ends]

--------

Broken Yogi, thanks a ton for clarifying that your experience was actually the experience of the Self. Honestly, if one had known your answer earlier, one would not have had the temerity to pick up this discussion with you !

best wishes

Ravi said...

Bookworm,
Broken(Integrated)Yogi is saying something that has FUNDAMENTAL clarity.DESIRE is the driving force behind anything.DESIRE FOR THE SELF=DEVOTION.Without this all else is mental Gymnastics only.

All Great Sages have said this,including Sri Ramana-He says in his Akshara Mana Maalai-"If one remains silent like a stone without FLOWERING,is that SILENCE"!
This Flowering is DEVOTION and without this all else is futile.

Bookworm said...

Ravi of course one must be devoted to the Guru.
Are you devoted to Ramana?... who is your own Self or Being.
Are yourself and Broken (disintegrated)Yogi devoted to your minds.
Can stones flower?
So many quesions.

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

Arvind,

Forgive me for my passionate convictions and speech. I try to remain open to opposing viewpoints, but I think that for me the best way to do that is often to argue against them all the more vehemently, so as to put my own convinctions out there to be examined and found either lacking or not. The mind is duality, and all discussion is duality, in other words, opposites, and we should not try to achieve some kind of unity of mind that is not possible, but rather to inspect our dualisms. Arguments like this can go on forever, because they are constructed as yes/no dualisms, such that both “desire is bad”, “desirelessness is good” can be argued, but so can the opposite, with equal force and validity. If I argue one side or the other with the intention of “winning”, well, then this is a fault of mine, a vasana I am not proud of, but one not surrendered merely by suppression, but by looking at the source of this desire while it is fully expressed.

“If the “desire” for the Self comes, somehow, directly from the Heart like you say, and is not a vritti [movement] of the mind, then it should exist even when the mind is not there, should it not ? Does it exist when the mind is absent ? When you are in deep sleep can you still find, somewhere, a “desire” for the Self ? But leave all that aside.”

This is a good question, but one must take into account that the state of deep sleep is not a state of realization, but a state of unconsciousness. The mind is subsumed in the Self during deep sleep, but unconsciously rather than consciously. In that sense, the state of deep sleep is itself a form of desire, not desirelessness. We desire the state of deep sleep, in other words, and seek it. We desire the bliss of deep sleep, and when we attain it, our desire is temporarily satisfied, but not fully or permanently. This is no different than seeing the desire for sex temporarily satisfied by achieving orgasm, or the desire for food temporarily satisfied by a large, pleasurable meal. Desires remain latent even in deep sleep, which is why we do not stay asleep forever. We dream and then wake up. So deep sleep is not truly a desireless state. It is a state that is itself the result of desire, thus it is shaped by desire, like every other state of mind. We enjoy a bliss of satsifaction in deep sleep precisely because it is a state of desire. That is why the impulse to realization must carry us beyond even the state of deep sleep, into the “fourth state” of Turiya, which witnesses even the state of deep sleep. So yes, the desire for realization does indeed persist in deep sleep, compelling us to go beyond even this sleepy bliss and awaken to the transcendental and fully conscious Self that witnesses deep sleep. The witness is there during deep sleep, and it is the witness who desires to know who even the witness is. In the state of deep sleep we rest in the anandamaya kosha, the subtlest of the bodies, but it is still a state of identification with the body, not full and complete freedom, and hence desire remains active, which is why we do not pass beyond deep sleep into realization of the Self, but return instead to dreams and waking.

As regards your quotes from GuruVachaka Kovai, there is of course a great truth in going beyond even the desire for liberation. However, I think for anyone who has not achieved profound abidance in the Self, this is a very misleading application of non-dual notions to the dualistic mind. The dualistic mind is not transcended by pursuing “desirelessness”, because the dualistic mind is desire, pure and simple. Self-enquiry, for example, does not aim to achieve a state of desirelessness. It merely observes desire and traces all desires to their source, which is the “I”-thought. Even thoughts of liberation are only thoughts as well, so they too must be traced to their source. But self-enquiry is more than this, it is about recognizing the Source of the “I”-thought, which is the Self. The Self is not a static thing, however, some dead substrate beyond the mind, it is the living force that gives the mind all its energy and consciousness, it is the very living being that makes the mind and the life sensate and active. It is not “desireless” in itself, it is the very meaning and power that makes desire come alive in us. What do we desire? The Self. Where does desire come from? The Self. Desire is therefore not the enemy, desire is the movement of the Self. The problem with desire is that we do not recognize that the true force and reality of desire is the Self, we see desire within a world of objects, and pursue these objects as if they could ever satisfy our desires, which they cannot. The desire for liberation is simply this impulse of desire to be freed from objects, which do not satisfy us, and allowed to rest in its Source, alive and free, rather than bound and directed towards some end. Desire becomes directed towards its own Source, and that is how self-enquiry awakens. Self-enquiry is the impulse of the Self directed towards itself, desiring to know itself, rather than towards objects with the intent of knowing them. It is the energy and consciousnesss of desire becoming freed from bondage to objects and becoming liberated in its own Source. Now, you can say that this means that desire comes to an end, in that the movement of desire towards objects comes to an end, but that does not mean desire itself comes to an end. Desire merely becomes direted towards the Self, not as a “great object”, but as the very Source of desire itself. In knowing the Self one is freed from attention bound to objects, but the energy and awareness of desire does not actually end at all, it is recognized as energy and Power of the Self, and it comes alive as endless love and boundless freedom. We recognize then that this desire for freedom was the very sign of the Self coming alive in us, pushing itself to the fore in our dualistic lives, pushing us past our dualistic desire to remain in a state of unconsciousness in the three states of ordinary waking, dreaming, and deep sleep. So the desire for the Self is merely the deep energy and power behind and at the source of all desires, but made conscious rather than unconscious. It is the epitome of desire in some sense, but that is not a “bad” sense which we should ignore, but which we should trace to its source and know ourselves to be non-separate from.

In short, although some scriptures talk at times about going beyond even the desire for liberation, this is really the last thing one does, not the first. The first thing one does is become more and more concentrated in the desire for liberation. This is spoken of throughout all the scriptures, and by every saint and jnani. I recall someone asking Shirdi Sai Baba how he achieved liberation, and he said, “By pure desire”. The same is true of all realizers, even Ramana. We have to recall that in Ramana's own enlightenment experience he became possessed of an overwhelming desire to know who he was. He did not try to get rid of this desire, or treat it as something to be free of. He followed this desire to its end by tracing the “I”-thought to its source. If he had not been possessed of this desire to know himself truly, he never would have realized the Self. In reality, becoming possessed by this desire to know oneself is to become “possessed” by the Self. Thus, it is not something to treat as a false imposition of the mind, it is an impulse that comes from our very Self, beyond the mind. It uses the mind to trace the mind to its source, and thus to become free of the mind, and in that sense it purifies itself of the desire for objects, but in the process it becomes even more powerful and overwhelming, not less so. It becomes a fire that burns up everything in its path, until the ego itself is burned up. This is the meaning of tapas – to persist nakedly in this desire for freedom, until all impurities, meaning the bondage to objects, is burned away. But the fire does not go out in the process, it become infinite. Self-enquiry is not aimed at ending this fire, but at being burned up as well in the fire of the Self. Desire burns itself up as well, such that desire becomes infinite, and that is how it achieves its satisfaction. The Self is not dead and empty, it is infinite love without the slightest trace of limitation. It is the perfect satisfaction of the principle behind desire finally realized. The mind dies, but the Self lives on in endless love and creativity.

Now, I'm sorry if I come on too strong. I'm not really arguing with you, but with various ideas that we all have, myself included. I think you understand as well as I do that there are deeper sides to the matter of desire which can be examined from many sides, I'm just presenting one of those sides. All discussion is dualism, and we should rejoice in that rather than expect it to be something other. Our desire to understand, regardless of how we express ourselves, is a sign of the Self emerging in us.

Ravi said...

Bookworm,
"Are you devoted to Ramana?... who is your own Self or Being."

Yes,I love Bhagavan.If You ask me further-Then are you devoted to 'Self Enquiry',My answer is 'NO'.Now how is this to be reconciled(This is not a problem for me)the answer may be something like this-You ask a Child that is studying in a school where its Mother is also the 'Teacher'-"Do you love your Mother?"-The Child will readily say 'Yes'.Do you love the 'Teacher'?The Child will hesitate to say 'Yes'.

coming to your query-'Do stones Flower'-My answer is an EMPHATIC yes!Why do you think ,I am so passionate about Sri Ramakrishna-He MELTED the STONE -the 'I' and 'Me'-This is like the child loving its 'Mother' and 'Teacher'.Infact the role of the Guru is only to melt 'STONES'.The rest is 'our job'!To take care that we do not revert back to 'stone'.

Friend-If you have studied Ramayana,there is a beautiful story of AHALYA.Ahalya was a devout wife of Rishi Gouthama-The Story goes that she gets mislead by Indra(King of the Devas)who assumes the form of Rishi Gouthama ,and seduces her.Rishi Gouthama comes to discover this and he curses that 'Ahalya' would turn a 'stone'.Ahalya beseeches her husband ,pleading 'not guilty',and the rishi relents saying that Lord Sri Rama would come to her rescue-The moment the Lord's Feet touch the 'stone' Ahalya,she would revert to her Pristine Status.This is what happens further on in that wonderful story.THIS IS TRUE FOR ALL.We have also been seduced by the OUTER GLITTER and have become Stones-Grace descends in the form of Great Ones and redeems us.
Yes,please take it from me-Stones can Flower.Truly so.

Wish you the Very Best.

Yogi Bear said...

Ravi,

Desire should not be confused with passion. They are very different things. Desire is wanting something (internal). Passion is feeling something (external).

As to self enquiry, I respectfully refer you to Socrates.

Ravi said...

Bear Yogi,
"Desire should not be confused with passion. They are very different things. Desire is wanting something (internal). Passion is feeling something (external).

As to self enquiry, I respectfully refer you to Socrates."

Friend,Please go behind the 'words'-I have used the word in the way the Christian Mystics have used-The PASSION of Christ or Like Bach's composition-Saint Matthew's Passion.

coming to Self Enquiry,I understand what it is-Only do not feel attracted -too 'clinical',a touch 'contrived'.Please understand that this is Valid only for me,that too presently ;may be that as i grow from my state of 'infancy' ,this feeling may change .I can only speak for myself-I fully respect if others find this profoundly 'compelling'.

Thanks very much for referring to 'Socrates'-Truly one of the wisest of men.I enjoyed this story of his-Socrates used to visit the Shandy,on the outskirts of the town where he lived,week after week,walking all the way and back-spending a Great Deal of time ,going around,observing everything-Only to return Empty handed without buying anything!One of his disciples got curious and asked Socrates whether he needed something that he could not afford to buy.Socrates simply replied-I go there and find that people are in need of many things-I find that do not need a single thing-makes me feel so rich!

Wishing you all the very Best.Namaskar!

Ravi said...

Broken Yogi,Arvind,Friends,

Thanks very much for exploring with no holds barred-so to say.This is called 'VALOUR' or Dheeratha-to throw overboard whatever one was holding onto,however long that be,and examining it fresh.

What Broken Yogi is treading on is the way of Tantra-That every instinct and urge has behind it only the Divine impulse.Instead of shying away from the so called 'Negatives'-Like Fear,Sex,etc-it seeks to take it in a headlong collision-to unmask and find the reality behind it.One of the Great Masters of the Tantra is-guess who-Sri Ramakrishna!(Not Acharya rajneesh or Osho-Like Abhimanyu,he got caught in that chakra Vyuha and met with a Tragic end).
Just why is 'sex' so compellingly attractive to a vast majority(whether acknowledged or not!).There must be something behind this-is it a concotion of the mind(Devil!)?can this be examined in the same manner as 'Self Enquiry'-How the 'craving' develops and why the need for repetition of this 'experience'.The Great ones have studied this and discovered that this Great Force is nothing but the same Creative power behind all existence-The Divine Mother-the Self.Only that it is operating at an 'instinctive' level -If only this is approached with awareness-it has a totally different dimension to it.Instead of the 'seed' flowing downwards and outwards,it can totally turn inwards and upwards,resulting in Supreme Bliss.
Sri Ramakrishna while dissuading his Ascetic Disciples from Practising this-clearly gave the Go ahead for the Householder disciples,those who were so inclined.

This is the mark of a Great Master-He knows what will suit whom,when,in what proportion,etc.Not just indiscriminately throw the door open for all and sundry,resulting in total confusion-as happened in the case of Osho.
Osho fans,please Excuse-I do respect Rajneesh and appreciate much of what he said.Perhaps,this opening up was also Necessary-I really do not know!
I fully agree with Broken Yogi -Desirelessness is not a virtue or State to be Pursued as something ultimate.Better to get hold of the IMMEDIATE, ACTUAL and proceed from there-and not be bottled up in mental notions.

Namaskars!

Thanks very much.

Ravi said...

Bear Yogi,
"Desire should not be confused with passion. They are very different things. Desire is wanting something (internal). Passion is feeling something (external)."

Friend,Just applied my MIND to what you have pointed out-I can see what you point out.In this case,the Desire is a product of 'memory'-what I have referred to as 'craving'-Wanting something!

The Intense Desire that I have Referred to is something deeper than this and is not a product of memory,not a COMPULSIVE habit-Sorry,I am not very articulate about these things-Let me borrow from Broken(Integrated) Yogi's wonderful posting-the need for Love and being loved(Here again words can mislead!).
sorry Friend,If I have created any unintended confusion in my earlier post-just to correct,you may take it as this 'Deep Seated' something(Desire or Love-do not Know what word!)manifesting as a Passion and culminating in Compassion-This is a continuum-do not know where what begins and where the boundaries are-When this is present,the cravings of the mind are automatically eliminated.

Thanks very much.

arvind said...

Broken Yogi, thanks again for the detailed comment. Though one was disinclined to continue the discussion further, already much extended, one got pulled into it again by your reference to scripture and Sri Sai Baba.

Sure, the starting point is the desire for Liberation, conscious or unconscious; “Mumukshutva” is what Sri Sankara called it in his technical classification - the very basic, ‘infant in the arms’ stage. Broken Yogi, am pretty sure neither you, nor any of the other readers on this blog fall into that category; we should all be way beyond that stage, else serious and useful discussion itself would be pretty much meaningless. [If anyone here wants, one could write a lot more on Mumukshutva and how it is a part of the classical Chatushtyaya, “the four aids”; the discussion is given in Sri Sankara’s commentary to the “Brahma Sutras”, the first Sutra itself].

Folks would be aware that little is really known about Sai Baba’s life prior to his arrival in Shirdi, his Guru, his sadhana, and even actual teachings. A lot that has been published is much too hagiographic in nature. Coincidently, probably the most authoritative work is by our own Sri B. V. Narsimhaswami – “Sri Sai Baba’s Charters and Sayings”.

My own belief is what Sai Baba essentially taught was - faith in the Guru comes first and last. The strength of conviction and belief in him is the primary, and final, requirement of sadhana. Even “Mumukshutva” comes after that, as does any devotional or jnana practice. Here are his actual words on his own Liberation:

[starts] Finally, here are Sai’s own words on how, by virtue of his Prapatti, he was able to attain Moksha:

Realisation flashed upon me of itself, without effort or study, purely by Guru’s Grace. The Guru’s Grace is our only sadhana. Jnana comes as experience (that is, follows in its wake).” [ends]

[taken from “The Life and Teachings of Sai Baba of Shirdi”, by Antonio Rigopoulos, SUNY, 1993, Pg. 284, quoting the above book]; [“Prapatti” meaning “full surrender”; Sri Bhagavan too explained His bhakti teachings as “Prapatti”].

best wishes

Yogi Bear said...

Ravi,

Please have the courtesy to quote my name correctly. It is Yogi Bear. I have treated your name with respect. What failing in you leads you to abuse mine?

You say you have used the word 'passion' in the sense of the Passion of Christ, which is to say enduring suffering. In what sense can suffering be said to equate with desire?

Matthäuspassion is of course the same story in choral form and also nothing to do with desire.

Except for sado-masochists, desire or love do not manifest themselves in suffering and there is no causal link between passion and compassion (although the words share a common root).

There is no continuum involved here, just a vast expanse of confused thinking. Look to the Heart instead.

Broken Yogi said...

Arvind,

Thanks for the quote from Sai Baba. I agree that Guru's Grace is the key, but do not think that this is in opposition to the desire for realization. Quite the opposite, Guru's Grace appears in the devotee as the desire for liberation. It is only that the desire for liberation is not, itself, an action or an effort, it is merely a naked desire, It is often expressed as naked love for the Guru, which is exactly how Sai Baba expressed it.

When Sai Baba says he realized through pure desire, this is not a contradiction from saying he realized purely through the Grace of his Guru. It is in fact the same thing. The pure desire for realization is the same as the pure love of the Guru. Both are the Grace of the Guru manifesting themselves in heart of the devotee. The desire for liberation has no object, and even the Guru is not the object of one's love, because the Guru reveals himself in the heart. It is only in the beginning that the Guru seems to be outside one's own heart. Likewise, it is only in the beginning that liberation and realization seem to be elsewhere, an object of one's desire. When you say that the desire for liberation is only for beginners, it is true that there is a beginner phase of the desire for liberation that passes, but it passes into a more mature phase, it doesn't go away. In the end, it utterly dominates the heart, and everything else goes away. Then one is prepared to fully receive the Guru's Grace, because this Grace has already consumed the heart.

Thanks for the dialog.

Broken Yogi said...

I missed this comment from Anon much earlier in the thread:

"I think if you hasve a real thirst for Truth, Knowledge, Self or Being you come to the position where you do not want experiences.
They are just unwanted distractions which do little to relieve ones thirst."

This is certainly true in the sense that once one has already had such experiences, one is not satisfied by merely momentary experiences of the Self, but one wants the permanent experience. But it is still really the same desire for the Self. In the beginning, one desires at least some affirmative experience of the Self, just to feel some certainty in the reality of the Self. Then, one desires to fully realize the Self. This is just the maturation of this desire, not the ending of it.

It's also important to differentiate between the desire for visions and so forth, from the desire for experience of the Self. They are not the same thing. One is directed towards subtle objects, energies, and mind-forms, the other is directed towards the very Self. One can certainly have endless visions and kundalini experiences, for example, and this will not necessarily help one at all, but are mere distractions. But experiences of the Self are not a distraction, they are the very thing itself, although only experienced temporarily and incompletely.

Anonymous said...

Scott Fraundorf:
I may have an anecdote that fits in this topic. I haven't known about finding gurus, where the yellow pages? Jnanis R' Us. Just don't know.

But after my experience at Society For Abidance in Truth over a year ago, I suspected that Nome fit the bill of being Self-realized, and not just a glimpse. But I cannot know these things, and really they are irrelevant to my own practice to try to figure out things that are beyond my power to know.

So the other day, I e-mailed him, and just gave as earnest as possible description of my own understanding of Enquiry. He wrote back a brilliant response, every line being like scripture. And the thing that hit so hard, was that I felt like all my inner motivations for writing him were unveiled. I was approval seeking. I also was in love with the idea of magical jnanis. Something in his response told me that my motivations were seen through in a way that most people can't, I wasn't even aware of my shallow motivations.

I also felt like it revealed to me some of the false notions I held that were not helpful in my approach to this subject. I saw Self-Realization in a whole new light. I saw that my own struggles, and practice were in alot of ways pointless. I even theorized all these things about a new awareness about what the ego actually is. I didn't realize the Self, infact I saw before myself just how immature, and shallow were my motivations. But in that I also felt a new level of Liberation.

I saw that most of my actions throughout life are like concentration inmates hauling rocks back and forth including sadhana. There is no point. And the same goes for my approach to Enquiry. I also did feel like on the "grace of the guru" subject, that while his response was sober, and quite beautiful, the intense reaction it illicited in me went far beyond the words. there was some magic there. My mom choked up, and the next day found it inexplicable. I also during the night, and this could all be in my imagination, or not, I have no idea. But I felt this warm presence that felt alien and coming from outside descending and trying to iradicate the ego-delusion from me, but at a certain point, even though it felt very pleasurable, blissful, my mind rebelled against it, it was too invasive, and obliterating of my notions of who I am, and I was too attached. Today I had that feeling earlier today also, and I attempted to surrender. My mind, my ego survived, the little raskal. I did say "hare nome" a few times, just because I thought if there was a flow of grace, might as well keep it coming.

One thing intellectually that occured to me was that the ego is not just the thoughts, the efforts all that is definitely included also, but the whole 3-D panorama, what I take to be real, what I see and hear, that is also the ego. And taht is what makes it difficult, is taht if I try to use what I see to figure out what is real, I'm creating the problems externally, and then seeing them, then my mental effort comes in and tries to solve them through action, even meditation. i.e. I want a girlfriend. I'm not Self Realized, but I want to be Self Realized. I create teh delusion that I'm not self-realized at a very subconscious level, and then work really hard to overcome this obstacle I created, even invented visually. So the whole game is rigged, and I'm responsible for it, because there is only me and I'm doing it, but I don't realize I'm doing it, because I can see it before my eyes, and what I see must be real. At the same time, by ceasing efforts, and turning away from desires and fears, to realize that happiness lies within, I'm ceasing to create the reality that had the problems, like chewing gum instead of smoking, I'm doing this instead of creating my flawed reality, and then living in it, which is also an addiction, a habit. My whole panorama, where I am in space, is just a very, bad habit like smoking or heroin. And more difficult to quit.

For these jnanis, it's so simple and we're just making so much trouble for ourselves living in our self-created delusion bubbles. We're like the Flatlanders, and jnanis have seen the 3rd dimension and now see our floundering about in 2 dimensions as ridiculous. That is what Nome's response struck me as. "If the source of happiness is ascertained to be within you, dissolution of desire and fear is natural" "The ego, being an illusion, is powerless, it can't know anything", "The consideration of whether Nome is a jnani or not is irrelevant to your inquiry. Sri Baghavan said the realized can take care of themselves, and so you should take care of yourself." Another analogy: Jnanis are kind of like those people that pester smokers that they should just stop, but don't realize how difficult it is to quit. I never smoked by the way.

It also occured to me that there may not, I could be wrong, be a such thing as a glimpse of the Self, because if teh Ego still exists that means I haven't seen beyond it's confines. Because if I realized that the ego was self-created version of those wheels gerbils run on, I'd never get back on it. I don't think you could forget once you got it. So the reason my experience when I was 22, ultimately didn't last, was because even though my ego almost was in a sense 'annihilated', I was still in effect delusional and that is why I started tricking and confusing myself again. If I had truley seen that my delusions were unreal, they would never have gotten the upper hand again.

Ravi said...

Arvind/Friends,
Shirdi Sai Baba,is indeed one of a kind among the Great Masters.I always am fascinated to go through the Picture stories that are painted on the walls of Sai Mandir-In chennai ,we have quite a few.The One on the East Coast Road leading to Pondicherry is one of the most beautiful and serene,placed as it is in a secluded area on the seacoast.Just looking at these pictures would transport me into the presence of this unique of Saints-so utterly simple,yet kingly.One of my favourite pictures of Sai,which we have at Home is a group photograph of an aging Sai,leaning on and held by his devotees-with someone holding an umbrella.This recalls to my mind that God is as much dependent on the devotees as the devotees are on God!
It is an energising experience to read the assuring utterances that are inscribed on the tomb of this Great Saint.
Looks like Sai wanted to grace this Blog-I find that David's writeup on Mastan Swami has a reference to the Typical manner in which this Great Master always responds.

Just wanted to add this-I feel that there is no 'how they attained enlightenment' as far as these Masters are concerned-All explanations are simply to pacify our perplexity.These Masters come down simply to guide other souls-Sai Baba is widely believed to be the Avatar of Adi Guru Dattatreya.

Namaskars!

Ravi said...

Yogi Bear,
Please Excuse me-I realised after posting that I have got your name amiss!No disrespect was intended.Most people use assumed Names,not their Real ones.It will be easy if the Real name is used to avoid such inadvertant error.This,ofcourse is no Excuse for my inadvertance-Friend,please take it that I have the utmost respect for all devotees.

coming to 'the passion' of Christ-unfortunately 'pain' and 'sorrow' is glorified by the christians-My Master(through whom I got introduced to some of Christ's Lives and Teachings)views this as a supreme act of Love-Taking on the sufferings of the masses.This quite tallies with the Hindu Tradition where the Guru Takes upon himself the 'Karma' of the Disciples-Like Sri Ramakrishna suffered from Cancer towards the End,after the Disciples came to Him-or Like Sri Bhagavan suffered from cancer towards the end of his Life.(Yes, I understand that cancer will end Life!I mean that after the disciples come to him)

Friend,Just a small word of advice-may be unsolicited-this is offered with the Best of Intentions-no need to get upset by small omissions on the part of others-Treat these as a learning experience-to see how the 'I' and 'Mine' is affected in the course of our interactions here.Not to get upset when others call 'names' is very vital to Sadhana.May be the 'GURU' has played this trick!Unknown to you and me!

Yes,You are right-'It is muddled thinking' on my part.I am not at all a 'Thinker' and I try my best to lend words to what 'I feel'.Please ignore anything that does not make sense.

Best Regards.

Ravi said...

Scott,
It is interesting to read what you have posted-Yes,like you have mentioned,it is
pointless to judge others;more so the Gnanis.
"For these jnanis, it's so simple and we're just making so much trouble for ourselves living in our self-created delusion bubbles."-Very True.

coming to your -"It also occured to me that there may not, I could be wrong, be a such thing as a glimpse of the Self"-Going by what the Masters have said,it seems that this is possible-Sri Ramakrishna used to mention about a Paramahansa who used to gaze at the Sky and dance-When asked about his celebration,he said-There was clear sky;from somewhere the clouds came and covered the sky;then the wind came and blew the clouds;now there is the Clear Sky-He further added,so is Brahman(Self) hidden by the cloud of Maya and the Breeze of Divine Grace blows away the Delusion and there is the 'Clear Sky' again.

Truly,no need to speculate on these matters;except as a matter of 'general interest' to satisfy our curiosity for most of us,except for the rare few like our friend,Broken(Integrated)Yogi.

Best Regards.

Ravi said...

Broken Yogi,
"It's also important to differentiate between the desire for visions and so forth, from the desire for experience of the Self. They are not the same thing. One is directed towards subtle objects, energies, and mind-forms, the other is directed towards the very Self. One can certainly have endless visions and kundalini experiences, for example, and this will not necessarily help one at all, but are mere distractions. But experiences of the Self are not a distraction, they are the very thing itself, although only experienced temporarily and incompletely."

Just want to share my feeling on this-I hope you will get behind my expressed words(Not at all good in this area!)-I have never Felt that there is this clear distinction between OBJECT-INSTRUMENT OF SEEING -SUBJECT;This is the case when one views the 'object' of one's 'Love' or 'Devotion'.There is only LOVE-DEVOTION and this feeling is triggered by a Name or object,but the experience is of oneness only.It is only when the mind tries to evaluate,that all these distinctions come in.
It is only when the MIND sensationalises the EXPERIENCE and wants a HIGH,when it tries to RELIVE this experience or tries to evoke this from MEMORY-This is just INDULGENCE which only strengthens the Ego,instead of Dissolving it.
For The Bhakta,looking at his object of Devotion-the 'Thou' alone is vital;he does not attach much importance to his 'I' and 'mine'.The OBJECT is all consuming,the Name and Form do not distract but blend into this feeling of Love-so to say.Truly the puny 'I' which is the subject is happy to let go and melt in the Object of One's devotion-this has not obliterated the distinction of 'I' and 'Thou' for me,but there is this feeling of oneness.
I just want to know what is the DESIRE FOR THE SELF that you refer to.
Namaskars!

Anonymous said...

Scott Fraundorf: Just read the thing on the christian view of taking on the sufferings of the masses. Yeah, it seems very noble, and i do respect it. my ego though is a very selfish, fearful one.

some of the times lately where i've felt clearer, maybe mildly overcast instead of cumulonimbus using the sky analogy, I found myself doing some generous acts without thinking about it, "hmm maybe i should give that guy a dollar or two" and it came more naturally.

I can see how doing service, or taking on others suffering could be one approach to reaching egolessness. i.e. mother theresa. (was she a jnani, probably such speculation is irrelevant to my inquiry), it's not the tact that seems to come most natural to me.

Anonymous said...

Scott fraundorf: One more thing. the reason that I was speculating that glimpses of the self are not real, including my own one. Was that for instance in my own case. for a week and a half, after that experience my ego was so subdued, and i could hardly pay attention to what others were saying. the reason I freaked out was because I still had desires, and i still believed I needed them. Even though during the experience, I could only completely surrender my entire existance, in essence die, and it felt like I went through the eye of the needle, and came out on the other side. if I had of trusted the experience, been utterly faithful to it, as maharshi was with his own, I probably would have stayed there. Why didn't I trust it? Because i was still in effect delusional and saw happiness as something to be aquired. So had the clouds really cleared? In a sense no. because if they had my whole gestalt would have changed, and i wouldn't have had the same desirse I had before, any desires. The experience didn't convince me, and that is why I was able to worry about it being brain damage, or being some how permanently tripping. probably with Maharshi, though his experience sounds very similar, he was much more ripe to begin with, and never once remotely questioned it once it had occured, or if he had any doubt it was small enough to be cleared. I still saw happiness as tied up in relationships with others, and i didn't truley realize that happiness was within. Also in the last week, I did have a glimpse, and only a glimpse that Self-Realization is not an achievement, and infact the struggle for Self-Realization (in my case) is the same as struggling to get laid, or eat potato chips. It's part of the ego-delusion. I'm imagining a world, other people, a character called me. The world I imagine is flawed, and beset with problems and crisises, and is inadequate to be fulfilling. Kind of like a Holodeck tredmill, or carot on teh stick, I work really hard for imagined delights that exist outside of my 3-D world, Self-Realization and all it's glories included. I never reach them. So my own illusions keep me working endlessly for unattainable goals. In my potentially Self-glimpse, I still believed that there was an objective world, even though i felt much free-er. and that is what kept me enslaved. Now that I even have this tentative understanding, I think it'll help. sorry for my long, obnoxious posts. Papaji used the analogy of pointing to a crow's nest. His words are like the finger, but he's pointing at the nest. Once I see the nest, once I get it, it's not something ever lost. Same with Maharshi's snake/rope analogy, or even the necklace around my neck. If I even had the smallest glimpse of the neckless being around my own neck, could I ever forget, could I ever be convinced otherwise, would I ever see it as brain damage being the cause, would i frantically seek for the neckless still, as i did. I do see that being around someone who sees that the snake is infact a rope is immensely helpful. Is that the purpose of a humyn guru? even Nome's response had that effect on levels I can't describe, not even included in his words. But I felt like i could see so much clearer that some of my own efforts were misguided.

Anonymous said...

scott fraundorf: One more short thought. It occured to me yesterday that the The Greatness of The Jnani, for instance my experience with nome, or Power of Presence Stories, humbling and awe inspiring as they are is through the lense of ego-delusion. In the mirage of my 3D world, their unlimitedness is perceived as tremendous, potent, spiritual power. But it's my ego that invents the blur I saw around nome for instance. Maybe thats why Maharshi was so seemingly uninterested in miracles being attributed to him. he's not living in our Flatland where "corpses being made to speak" is considered a sign of greatness. As an aside, I find Broken Yogi's thoughts extremely helpful, not that others posts aren't.

Ravi said...

Scott,
" I do see that being around someone who sees that the snake is infact a rope is immensely helpful. Is that the purpose of a humyn guru? even Nome's response had that effect on levels I can't describe, not even included in his words. But I felt like i could see so much clearer that some of my own efforts were misguided."

Friend,you got the essence here.you are earnest.I also recall what you felt as 'warm' presence that seeped in from 'outside'.Do not ignore these just because it is said that Everything is 'within';Yes,everything is within,including what we think is 'outside'.
i also noted what you said-When there is clarity,you become generous-Knowledge=compassion.

If A=B,the B=A,so if there is compassion,there is Knowledge,not what is 'taught' but what is 'learned'.
It is a joy to read your posts.
Friend,Wishing you all the very Best.

Ravi said...

Scott,
Just realised this Bloomer!Pl read the 'Learned' as 'Learnt'!To be 'Learned' is to be full of Bookish ideas!Exactly the opposite is meant here.
Best Regards...Ravi

arvind said...

Folks,
Last night, even though one was very tired, one just could not go to sleep. I suppose it is one of those things which happen once in a while to most people. One hit the sack by 10 pm but despite my best efforts to sleep, was just not able to do so. Initially my mind was occupied by a problem, but then, when one tried to sleep one found oneself struggling. As time chugged along, 11 pm, 12 pm, 1 am, 2 am, the more one tossed and turned and the more frantic one became. The problem had been forgotten hours ago, all one wanted was sleep. The mind kept thinking, ‘Gosh, its 2 am, I must fall asleep quickly’. The more one wanted it, the more desperate one became in desiring the sleep, the more distant it became.

[Sleep inducing or relaxant drugs of any sort, intoxicants, tobacco etc are a strict NO NO. Sri Bhagavan’s injunctions in this regard for a sadhaka, though mildly and indirectly worded, are categorical].

Finally, one just sat up and just tried to clean the mind of every thought. No thoughts of trying to sleep, no thoughts of desiring the sleep desperately, no thoughts that time has rushed by and that it is nearly morning and still one hasn’t slept, just no thoughts at all. One must have fallen asleep within 5 minutes after that, no more. The moment the mind was fully cleansed of any thoughts desiring the sleep, sleep came on its own.

I believe that is how it is with Liberation, and the desire for Liberation or for God. As long as my mind had vrittis of desiring sleep, sleep never came. The more desperately one sought sleep, the more powerful the mental vrittis became, and more distant the sleep. It is only when the vrittis of the mind subsided, that sleep came to me. It was not that the desire for sleep had diminished as such; obviously, from the whole wide world, sleep was the only thing one desperately desired, wanted, needed, at that point in time. But that need had to be sublimated within, in a manner of speaking; it had to become an “unconscious” need; much like our need for breathing, or for food and water in ordinary, quotidian circumstances. The desire or need remained but it no longer created any vrittis in the mind. Then sleep came.

And so it is with the need or desire for Liberation or for God; whether one is following the path of bhakti or of jnana. [For those on the bhakti path, “Prapatti” or “full surrender” implies much the same, i.e. clearing the mind of all vrittis; the “full surrender” leads to total loss of individuality, the destruction of ego; then who or what is left to have the vritti – ‘I desire or love God ?’]

One just thought that this common experience might be useful in illustrating what one was trying to explain earlier with respect to having only an “unconscious” thirst or need for Liberation or for God, and not a “conscious” desire. Am not for a moment suggesting that “sleep” is the same as “Liberation”, but it makes for a useful metaphor, that’s all.

Broken Yogi and everyone, thank you for the discussion on this topic.

Broken Yogi said...

Ravi,

I appreciate all your devotion and love, and the attempts to put that in words, which are always inadequate. I will try to answer this question anway:

“I just want to know what is the DESIRE FOR THE SELF that you refer to.”

I should refer back to Nisargadatta's comment that the only real thing in this world is the love we have for one another – that none of the people and things we love are real, but the love itself is real. This truly is a very profound truth. We become confused by focusing on the objects of our love, rather than on the love itself. Our mind is full of these unreal objects, which it associates with love, and it seeks those objects because it thinks the love we experience is in them, rather than in ourselves. But over time we become disillusioned with these objects, all of which pass, and are left with the naked desire for love and peace, without any object to seek them through. We can't stop wanting love and peace, we just don't know where they come from until we look to our own consciousness. So this desire becomes directed towards the Self, towards its own source, rather than towards objects. It is not really a different desire, it is merely that it lacks an object, and falls into the Self from which it came.

It is not that desire is wrong, therefore, it is merely that desire doesn't understand itself. It doesn't understand its own nature and how it functions. It doesn't understand that we take on the qualities of what we desire. If we desire sex, we become sexy. If we desire money, we become greedy. If we desire love, we become loving. So the best kind of desire is the desire for love, for loving beings. This is why it is good and even proper to desire saints and holy men and women. The more we desire them, the more loving and wise we become, because we have put our attention on loving and wise people. So the practice of devotion to an enlightened Guru is a great and wonderful thing that purifies us and makes us loving and wise ourselves. But even there, one has to go beyond loving the Guru as an object, one has to love the Self, and seek the Self itself.

There comes a point where we begin to understand that our desire for love and peace is infinite, that it will not be satsified with anything finite, and we begin to accept the reality that all objects are finite. So we begin to desire the infinite, and we begin to understand that the infinite is not found in objects, but is only found in the Self, in the very nature of consciousness, not in the contents of consciousness. So we begin to desire experience of the Self, experience of love without an object, peace without conditions placed on it, love and peace that is free of objects, not dependent on conditions, and gradually become purified of our attachment to objects.

This doesn't mean that it's wrong to be devoted to a Guru. Just the opposite. It's only that in our devotion, we have to understand that the outer Guru isn't himself the point, he's just someone who has already been liberated from object-mind and object-love, and he points us to the same path. Contemplating and serving such a Guru increases our desire for the Self, rather than locking us into another object, because we become like the Guru as we contemplate him, and in becoming like him, we are turned to the Self, just as he is turned to the Self.

The desire for the Self is simply the desire to know and realize love and peace directly, without any intermediary, without any separation, without any objects, without any mind, without any concepts. The Self is That.

Broken Yogi said...

Arvind,

I'm not sure your interpretation of your sleep problem is correct as regards liberation. The problem, it seems to me, is that you confused the desire for sleep with the mind's thoughts about sleep. The thoughts you had about sleep were not the same as the desire for sleep, they were in fact the very thing that was obstructing your desire from fulfilling itself. So it was not the desire for sleep that had to go, it was the mind that kept thinking about sleep.

If you apply this analogy to liberation, it is not the desire for liberation that is the obstruction, but it is the mind which keeps thinking about how to fulfill this desire. So the mind has to go, while the desire for liberation must remain pure and direct. The desire for sleep is what finally brought about sleep. It was not the absence of thoughts that brought about sleep, it was only that they no longer obstructed your desire for sleep, and once they were out of the way, your desire for sleep was able to fulfill itself. Similarly, when the mind no longer obstructs the desire for liberation, confusing us with objects and thoughts of all kinds, this desire is finally able to fulfill itself.

So the lesson here is not to get rid of the desire for liberation, but to get rid of the mind and all its concepts about liberation, and let our desire fulfill itself without the mind getting in the way.

Ravi said...

Arvind,
Interesting to read what you have posted regarding what you mean by 'Conscious' and 'Unconscious' Desire-As I understand,the Need for Sleep is 'simply' felt,only that the mind is eager for a Quick 'Result'-It is this 'Insistence'(a form of impatience-Is this a desire ?Do not know.May be yes,may be no)that is getting in the way of one's Falling asleep.

The Aspiration for God is quite a conscious movement,but there is no such impatience,only a mounting movement,straight up and lifts one's spirit.
Surrender is also quite a conscious Movement -a sort of letting go -Leading to simple awareness.
Yes,The Disappearance of the 'I' is not in one's realm of Effort.That cannot be willed .There is simply no 'How' and 'Why' about it.This makes matters easier for the devotee!He need not aim for it at all!This is not his problem.

Namaskars!

Ravi said...

Broken(Integrated)Yogi,
"It's only that in our devotion, we have to understand that the outer Guru isn't himself the point, he's just someone who has already been liberated from object-mind and object-love, and he points us to the same path. Contemplating and serving such a Guru increases our desire for the Self, rather than locking us into another object, because we become like the Guru as we contemplate him, and in becoming like him, we are turned to the Self, just as he is turned to the Self."

Thanks for your wonderful reply.True love dissolves the subject-object relationship;This is exactly the point that I was trying to bring out-Some may have Guru as this 'Object',some others have some 'Name' or 'Form' of Ishta or The Chosen Deity-Despite Humble beginnings,it can snowball into this.
This is the tried and tested teaching of all the Great Saints-That through Loving devotion to Names and Forms of God ,you can easily Reach God.

Namaskars!

arvind said...

Ravi & Broken Yogi,

Thank you guys for your comments once again. It is illuminating to hear different viewpoints and approaches, even if one does not agree with them. And it is really good for one’s ego to be criticized and told that one is confused fellow, a silly goose in effect. After all Sri Bhagavan said, welcome the one who criticizes you and curses you, for he is your friend, and beware of the one who praises you, for he is actually your enemy !

Also, everyone, my apologies for inflicting the sleep analogy on you.

Best wishes

Anonymous said...

Scott Fraundorf:
Broken Yogi's description of Desire for Self really fits with my own. In the sense that, I started doing things to relax myself, because I wanted to fulfill my love for other people. I wanted romantic relationships where I fell madly in love, happily ever after.

I did tai chi, yoga, and other things, to help me relax and be present for an eternal goal. I felt there was something magical and beautiful about this desire, and any spiritual person who talked of ascetism, and renunciation of these desires, I was skeptical.

With my visions of these beautiful romances. The problem is that I didn't feel, see happiness was inside.


The word jnana I realized suddenly means knowledge. That always bothered me, because even though I've always considered myself smart, intellectual, a good scientist, thinker, philosopher, full of bright ideas.

I knew that happiness was not in dead concepts, and ideas that felt lifeless to me. although protein molecules, big Bang's and Roman Empires still appealed, people still had a far greater pull. Especially those brilliant people I had crushes on.

Now I figured out, that jnana does not mean knowledge like that at all. That is thought not knowledge. I think about Roman Empires, I don't know about Roman Empires. When "One who knows" (jnani) tells me that the Kingdom of Heaven is within me, or that

"As love is far more fulfilling than any amount of approval, and as true Knowledge is infinitely deeper than any kind of thinking, your true Self is far more expansive and substantial than the ego notion and it attendant tendencies that form the illusory personality"

Even though those are good words, the best words that my eyes have ever run accross if I read them on a Hallmark card, they'd be nothing but a sentiment. When one who knows a jnani tells me that the source of happiness is within, to not be enslaved by the illusory person I define and imagine. I immediately feel bliss welling up like a well spring out my arms and legs, and I'm immersed in happiness coming from within. I now know, I am now one who knows, because the person who told me knows. It wasn't a sentiment. Normally when people speak of knowledge they mean thought. Normally when people speak of love, they mean approval. While my idea of romance was infact a desire for approval, it was rooted in the wellspring of love within.

Anonymous said...

Scott Fraundorf: I initially approached Enquiry from the position of an Atheist. While I had some newly burgeoning relgious leanings from reading C.S. Lewis, I was in a progressive, secular environment.

Practicing Enquiry, I was suddenly overwhelmed with guilt for past wrongs, and felt the desire to Confess my Sins. I went and did it more recently, and then again. But still, a God with Form, I haven't seen one.

Enquiry was the path, but as you can see like Maharshi said it led to devotion, and intermingled with Surrender. Now starting to see, real happiness within. Everything makes sense, Muruganar's beautiful verses, merging with this I, and sinking into the Heart, Surrendering, Giving up all Cares, all Efforts, And Finding my Real Nature, I shall be Saved.

Ravi said...

Arvind,
Friend,your 'self criticism'is a little harsh on yourself-Every view point is valid -Each one has to approach in his own way-Each one should stand his ground in his faith and not be deflected from his Swadharma(natural disposition).

You have Great devotion to Sri Bhagavan and also to all the Great Souls-Sri Ramakrishna,Sadasiva Brahmendra,Saibaba,etc-I do understand that you would have seen through whatever I have mentioned.
You also have a sharp Intellect and there is no reason that this should not be put to good use-The 'Gnana' path is certainly meant for people with such a disposition.All I have said is that I am not attracted to this-Only a matter of temperament.I do understand and respect all these approaches.
However,both the Devotee and the Gnani has to have Discrimination and Dispassion.I think DISCRIMINATION is the intellect coming into play and DISPASSION is the Heart coming into Play.Each one can reinforce the other.

Wishing you all the Very Best.

Best Regards.

Anonymous said...

Yogi Broken, obviously all desires are in the mind only. It was silly enough for you to say that the desire for the Self is not in the mind but in the Self. Cant imagine how you could make it sillier by saying that the desire for sleep is also not in the mind. Where is it then ? Is it also situted in the poor Self ? Your Self has more desires than the mind ! And what about yor fancy ajata talk ? If the Self has desires the ajata doctrine is false and so is your ajata experience.

Broken Yogi said...

Anon,

I'm not sure you got my point, which is that the Self is desire without an object. The Self desires only Itself. The mind is desire wedded to objects. So the Self only has desire itself, but no specific desires for objects, because to the Self there are no objects. The desire for the Self exists because the Self can only desire itself, since there is no "other" in the Self. So even those under the delusion of mind and objects experience the desire for the Self. It is the primal basis for desire, which we understand when we allow desire to detach from objects.

To define desire as "an attachment to objects which resides in the mind", is a circular definition based on a misunderstanding of the deeper nature of desire, and its origins in the Self.

arvind said...

Broken Yogi,

One understands where you are coming from. And one apprehends the poignancy behind your chosen pseudonym.

“In any case, the Guru I mention is not someone held in very high esteem in most circles, but is generally considered a tragic case of spiritual narcissism, and I don't know that I'd disagree with that assessment. Still, there is something genuine at the heart of us all, and it comes through even in the case of many incomplete Gurus and their devotees.”

I think I know which Guru you were referring to, though one did not mention it earlier. More importantly, one understands the nature of such a Guru, their powers or “siddhis” as we call them, and the magic hold they have over their disciples. They are not so uncommon around here too. [ In fact, we invented them and hold the patent too ! ] You mention that this Guru is considered a tragic case, but actually the real tragedy is in what havoc such a Guru does to an earnest and sincere disciple, whose prarabdha it may be to come into his clutches. And one understands how lost and adrift, and betrayed a sincere disciple would feel after the long and close, one-on-one contact; and once he has been forced to cut himself loose and start afresh. How long were you with him ? 20 years, 30 years, more ?

One can imagine how difficult it would be to wipe the slate clean of such a long association and one believes that the legacy of this Guru’s teachings still sits heavy upon you. Whilst you say you have “drifted back into Ramana’s fold”, your ideas are still “in-between” so to speak. You are speaking half of Advaita/Sri Bhagavan’s teachings and half of some other credo, presumably that of this previous Guru. And so you are interpreting Sri Bhagavan’s words inaccurately, through the prism of this Guru’s doctrines, probably still entrenched within you subtly and unknowingly.

Just a sincere, objective observation, from one looking in from the outside so to speak, given in a constructive spirit. And since one does not believe in giving unsolicited advice on what you or anyone else should be doing, one will leave it at that.

best wishes

Anonymous said...

Scott Fraundorf: Just in clarification, not that anyone was looking at it with a critical eye. When I said, "I am now one who knows". I couldn't possibly in any way say I am now a jnani. Infact it's been clear to me how pristine of state that is, not that I didn't already have a sense of that.

But it was an interesting revelation to me what knowledge means in this context. Lot's of people have told me "happiness is within", but they didn't know it, it was a thought. Because it was a thought, I didn't have any realization of happniess being within. Advise of the non-realized has not helped at all. Because people are talking from the standpoint of their thinking, not their knowledge, but their opinions. There are some that have mistaken taking on Maharshi's thinking for Enlightenment. But they didn't take on Knowledge, because to know is Absolute Faith the ego is illusory, that happiness is not in objects the senses perceive.

When a jnani (one who knows) tells me it, I immediately feel it. There was more power then the words. It really makes me understand now alot of the questions thrown at Ramana Maharshi. Some of them seemed, stupid, overly egotistical, and undoubtedly some of them were a little too intellectual, when that's maybe not the point Maharshi was driving at, people sometimes seemed in love with sanskrit or the only five words you really need to know (jnana, jnani, sat-chit-ananda, atma vichara, atman, dhyana, avidya), when Maharshi was using that to describe his Awareness, as opposed to the other way around.

But I now see that in the presence of someone who knows, a jnani who because they don't have the notion of the illusory personality, when both astronomy and anatomy describe them, because the sense of me, not limited by I-sentences has become all embracing, a questioner, a devotee is laid bare in their presence. In the world of individuals there is a palpable sense of tidal waves of bliss imminating from them, that can make a nondual awareness not only clear, but seen as good. People don't ask their 'normal questions' with hidden alterior motives but openly speak from the point of view of their ignorance.

It occurs to me that Enquiry in the light of Knowledge, is to Stop Thinking, to Know. Stopping thinking or turning back from the objects of thought, in my control. Awakening Knowledge, not. But it will come at some point.

Broken Yogi's perspective that 'experiences' are helpful, I am in absolute agreement. When jnanis speak as if experiences aren't the real thing, it's because ultimately we're breaking our identification with experiences. The key is that I don't stop there, when I have feelings of happiness with inside, I still try to stay merged with the I instead of conceptualizing it, and going "Now, I am Enlightened. Time to build myself an Ashram and go on Oprah."

Because in the final state, 'experienecs' come and go, but there is no sense that they are mine. So even these 'good', 'enlightening experiences' I do ultimately turn away from to disidentify. But they can be good sign markers that I'm getting Hotter. When an unfamiliar teenager on the street tells me "keep doing what you are doing, so smart, so smart" waving his fists at a moment I was briefly losing touch with my senses. I in a way feel Maharshi is telling me "keep it up, Don't get discouraged"

Yogi Bear said...

Ravi,

You are labouring under some misconceptions.

Firstly, Yogi Bear is my real name. Strictly speaking, it is Yogi Gregory Bear, the Yogi being an earned honorific.

Perhaps your own name 'Ravi' is an alias, but please do not tar us all with the same brush of deceit.

I am here to discuss openly and honestly issues of knowledge and spiritual practice which concern me and guide my life.

No doubt you have different reasons for being here.

Secondly, I am not upset by anything you say. Like the school teacher to the new student, it is simply my duty to explain the correct form of address, otherwise how will you know?

You previously claimed that desire/love led to passion (suffering in your contention) which led to compassion. I refuted this nonsense.

You now waffle about Christ accepting suffering for the love of humanity, but you equivocate about desire and compassion. The fact (or fiction) is that Christ did not desire to suffer ("Father, if you are willing, take this cup from me") and he had already demonstrated his compassion long before any suffering came to him.

You sought to construct a formula from related words in an unrelated context, presumably for self-aggrandisement. But it falls very flat; I mean, "COM+PASSION=compassion", for Christ's sake, give us a break!

It seems you are spending too much time in your head trying to rationalise things. A small word of advice for you; stop all this thinking, you are not very good at it; stop posting your ramblings (that activity focuses you externally) and concentrate on finding your true self beneath your thoughts. When you have done that, you may have something valuable to contribute to help others along the same path.

In the meantime, I am going to follow your advice to ignore anything you say which does not make sense.

Guess what?

Shalom.

Anonymous said...

Scott Fraundorf:

Speaking of which, I was in my apartment, and after watching a couple episodes of the TV show Lost, I sat in a chair, and really focused on ceasing effort, and there were a few moments where desires and fears arose, attached to 'worldly' objects, those objects often being people, or potentially fearful situations.

Once I got to the ceasing effort period, that turned into the merging with the I phase. This seems to be the process of attempting Enquiry I go through. The ceasing the effort, Step 2, is that in turning away from desires and fears, my mind often becomes a little intense and I can feel as if I'm trying to shut something down, my brow is a little furrowed.

Step 3, ceasing efforts, I stop furrowing my brow, and if there is a sense that physically my mind is trying to shut something down, I cease that. And then I cease that brow furrowing effort as well, and so on, until the mind isn't moving, striving.

Step 4 merging with the I, is when I'm quite peaceful, and the world is not formless, and I still feel like a person, but it is relatively formless, and dreamlike. Thoughts, and forms, and pictures are popping up. But the thoughts have a place in the head sometimes even the body, and not necesssarily even in the body. If everything is an illusion created by action potentials and chemicals moving accross synapses, why shouldn't the place of thought be outside the body in that illusion? For the scientists/skeptics among you. So I merge with the place of thought, my understanding of finding the I-thought in the body and merging with the I.

Merging with the I, I became firmly merged with the I, thoughts still arose, but they were peripheral to the sense of I. I became so intensely merged, and unwilling to part. There were temptations, things that seemed somehow funner, but I thought, if I could be Self-Realized now because I didn't relent, why do something else thats tempting me away from this merciless ego-killing. Humor intended. I of course had to merge with that thought as well. The merging is simple because there is the thought but it has a place, and I'm observing it. Since I'm the observer I just merge in Being with the place of thought, the I.

For some reason, I did stop, maybe because naturally this effort to stay merged ceased. No that wasn't what it was. All the muscles in my upper back started tingling down my arms, and I got momentarily frightened, and decided I should get food. Walking to get food, I attempted to stay merged with the I. My effort at this was so intense, but it wasn't painful effort, it was still peaceful.

I didn't realize the Self, but there was a moment where in I-merging, my perceptions opened up and the world opened up magnificently around me. And while I was walking to the nearby Pizza Place, everything was kind of a distant dream, including my walking. I felt like I was kind of mildly effortlessly dead.

My revelation, that in the Arthur Osborne quote practicing Enquiry you either get peaceful, or enlightened. I believe at the moment, that it is within the power of any individual to eliminate their sense of being an individual, become enlightened, realize the self whatever you want to call it. The reason it's rare, is because it takes the conviction that I'm willing to die to myself, because that is exactly what will happen. I'm almost willing, because I know the body is going to die anyway, might as well predecease it. And besides it is a perpetually alienated ego, the Self can't be alienated, Alienation becomes Abolished the dream of the French Situationist Anarchists, so all political goals are contained in this as well.

For those amongst us, who haven't built up the courage to kill our false selves, we just become peaceful and quiet, which is a much easier but still longterm goal from the beginning of attempting Enquiry, and that peaceful and quiet needs maintenance, the I thought will continue to emerge and become agitated because it's not dead.

If I do kill my false Self, while everyone I encounter might metaphorically prostrate themselves, or have grand experiences in my presence, there will absolutely be no one whose basking in glory. So forget that motivation. To bring it to topic, did my Enquire deepen by my own efforts or paradoxically was it because I got to e-mail replies from Nome, you tell me.

Ravi said...

Scott,
"It occurs to me that Enquiry in the light of Knowledge, is to Stop Thinking, to Know. Stopping thinking or turning back from the objects of thought, in my control. Awakening Knowledge, not. But it will come at some point."
Friend,you are bang on target here!Just a small qualification-that thinking is to be stopped not forcibly,but Naturally-When our Hearts are Full of Love and Compassion,this happens.Also the Self Enquiry way of staying with the 'I' thought or Feeling,as Bhagavan taught also leads to this -In both the cases,there is no coercing involved.
Wishing you all the Very Best.
Namaskar!

Ravi said...

Yogi Bear,
Good to know your Full Name with the Title-Yogi Gregory Bear.
My Name is Ravi,as given by my parents.My Elder sister chose this and this stayed.

"I am here to discuss openly and honestly issues of knowledge and spiritual practice which concern me and guide my life."

Wishing you all the very Best and looking forward to anything that you would like to share.

Salaam.

Broken Yogi said...

Arvind,

I appreciate your compassion, but you needn't worry about my “broken” status. There are many positive things about being left in such a condition by life's vicissitudes and the ego's delusions, and I have no complaints, and no heaviness about it at all. I'm not sure if you've guessed my former Guru correctly, but it hardly matters, in that the views I've put forward here are not taken from his teachings, they are my own flawed but honestly expressed views and no one else's. So I take full responsibility for them, and hide behind no authority.

You should know that I am not trying to construct scholarly arguments based on the authoritative teachings of Ramana or others. I am just speaking from my own limited and changing perspective, as I see things in the moment. So if you say that my words only represent a partial mixture of Ramana and other notions, you are quite right, even if you may be incorrect about the other influences, in that I'm really just talking about my own current perspective, and no one else is responsible for that but myself. I have great love and respect for Ramana, and for scholarly presentations of Ramana's teachings and those of other jnanis, but when it comes down to personal discussion I feel that we have to throw all that aside and speak from our own hearts, and let it come out as it will. One could certainly point to Ramana's teaching for comparison and reflection, but this applies to all of our views, not merely mine. Are you sure your own views here are as well supported by Ramana as you seem to imagine? I'm no expert, but I know enough to see otherwise.

As for my views being “in-between”, that is true, but there are in-between the truth and the ego, not in between Ramana and some other teacher. Truth is what I am concerned about, not adherence to some dogma of any particular teacher. Ramana is not the ultimate authority, he is one great jnani among many, and every jnani speaks differently about these things, because speech is dualistic, and there is no possible unanimity in the teachings of jnanis. There are always aspects of the teachings of jnanis which contradict one another, because of the limitations of words. This matter of desire for the Self is one such matter you will find many jnanis speak of in contradictory ways, and quoting one aspect of their discussion as final and absolute is just another way of entrenching the mind, rather than transcending it. As one final reference, however, you should realize that even Ramana acknowledged that all things, even desire, even the mind, arise within the Self. Thus, there is no “objective” perspective on anything.

arvind said...

Broken Yogi, thank you for your comments. One appreciates the fierce sense of independence running thro’ your remarks; that the views you have are fully your own and you own full responsibility for them, and hide behind no authority.

Since you have mentioned, "I'm not sure if you've guessed my former Guru correctly ...", please allow me to have a shot. Your Guru, of course, was Bubba Free John, also called "Adi Da" by his brood; one of Muktananda’s creations.

You have also mentioned, “Are you sure your own views here are as well supported by Ramana as you seem to imagine? I'm no expert, but I know enough to see otherwise.”

Of course, one does not claim to know Sri Bhagavan’s teachings “completely”. In fact, each day one learns something afresh, when one re-reads an old article in the Mountain Path for eg, or re-reads Sri Bhagavan’s books. The very fact that one is learning still, means that there massive gaps in one’s knowledge and understanding to be filled, is it not ?

And so one would be really grateful if you, and everyone else on the blog, would without hesitation, point out if there is anything in one’s posts contrary to Sri Bhagavan’s teachings. One may not jump into a discussion each time, or even agree with the objection perhaps, but one will seriously reassess whether one had really understood His teaching on that particular point. Folks, by pointing out such flaws, you would actually do me a very great service indeed.

best wishes

Anonymous said...

Scott Fraundorf:

Again, agreement with Broken Yogi. I think approaching it as fluidly as possible, I am more successful. I have noticed a tendency of people in their posts to have kind of absolutist, dogmatic, intellectual thoughts on stuff. For me thats never worked.

I'm approaching this in a makeshift, spur of the moment kind of way, as opposed to, I have a fixed idea what I'm doing here. I can't, because most of what I think I know, is just thought, imagination, and because of that delusional. I'm less and less in love with the truth of words, each day that passes.

If I quote people, it's not because I take it as absolute truth, after all it's only words, but because I've found particular words inspiring in my quest to be happy, to not suffer.

It's funny, most of my friends are atheists, it's a queer friendly subculture. But because I found Christianity helpful to deal with guilt, and remorse, I've utilized what works, and listened for truth in it's teachings. Do I now disrespect others beliefs, try to convert them to what works for me?

If as Ramana said "See only your Self first, and then see the whole world as the Self". Then as I progress I'm going to start noticing only the Self in others, including other philosophies. I'll realize that if Islam means "surrender". It is essentially Enquiry at heart. If Gnostic means "know". Then gnostic Cchristians were looking to "know", jnana. Many Catholic Saints, jnanis.

Anarchists turn away from centralized authority, to create the world politically, socially they want to live in, from right here, now. They are well on there way to looking within. Atheists are merely rejecting the belief in words, many atheists are not atheists, just using different words for god. i.e. Richard Dawkins, the renowned atheist, is an atheist for Jesus. Is he really an atheist?

So I really empathize, relate with Broken Yogi's approach.
But I also in a sense don't want others to change if they have a more fixed, dogmatic approach, because the interaction, and dialogue, I find fun. So please, by all means.

Nisargadatta says there is no reincarnation. Other "jnanis" say they have achieved this state after arduous practice over many lifetimes. So I do notice, that in the play of words, they contradict eachother. But was there purpose to silence our minds, or to give us a new belief system?

Again, for me it comes down to the difference between thinking and knowing. Alot of people, including me have made that mistake of confusing the two.

If I haven't realized the Self, within my own 'experience', can I teach others, correct them? I don't think so. Because everything I say, isn't knowledge, it's a bunch of thoughts, no matter how good they sound, how spiritual?
Knowing is knowing, because I see that it is real. Not speculation, not even evidence. If at the very root, I just think what I see is real, that it isn't just a mirage. It's just thought. But I know, "I am". So i can start with that.

Ravi said, not to coercively stop thinking. I agree that a more natural approach has usually worked, but should I make that a dogma? Sometimes railroading, in David Godman's words wrenching thought has gotten me peaceful, and silent. Sometimes, the words of someone more advanced have silenced the train of thought. So whatever gets me closer to realizing what is real, and not suffering transient phenomena.

Ravi said...

Friends,
The Nature of the 'I'and ways of dealing with it is brought out in a simple manner in this excerpt from The Gospel of Sri Ramakrishna-

"Ego alone the cause of bondage-
VIJAY: "Sir, why are we bound like this? Why don't we see God?"

MASTER : "Maya is nothing but the egotism of the embodied soul. This egotism has covered everything like a veil. 'All troubles come to an end when the ego dies.' If by the grace of God a man but once realizes that he is not the doer, then he at once becomes a Jivanmukta. Though living in the body, he is liberated. He has nothing else to fear.

"This maya, that is to say, the ego, is like a cloud. The sun cannot be seen on account of a thin patch of cloud; when that disappears one sees the sun. If by the grace of the guru one's ego vanishes, then one sees God.

"Rama, who is God Himself, was only two and a half cubits ahead of Lakshmana. But Lakshmana couldn't see Him because Sita stood between them. Lakshmana may be compared to the jiva, and Sita to maya. Man cannot see God on account of the barrier of maya. Just look: I am creating a barrier in front of my face with this towel. Now you can't see me, even though I am so near. Likewise, God is the nearest of all, but we cannot see Him on account of this covering of maya.

Maya creates upadhis
"The jiva is nothing but the embodiment of Satchidananda. But since maya, or ego, has created various upadhis, he has forgotten his real Self.

"Each upadhi changes man's nature. If he wears a fine black-bordered cloth, you will at once find him humming Nidhu Babu's love-songs. Then playing-cards and a walking-stick follow. If even a sickly man puts on high boots, he begins to whistle and climbs the stairs like an Englishman, jumping from one step to another. If a man but holds a pen in his hand, he scribbles on any paper he can get hold of-such is the power of the pen!

"Money is also a great upadhi. The possession of money makes such a difference in a man! He is no longer the same person. A brahmin used to frequent the temple garden. Outwardly he was very modest. One day I went to Konnagar with Hriday. No sooner did we get off the boat than we noticed the brahmin seated on the bank of the Ganges. We thought he had been enjoying the fresh air. Looking at us, he said: 'Hello there, priest! How do you do?' I marked his tone and said to Hriday: 'The man must have got some money. That's why he talks that way.' Hriday laughed.

"A frog had a rupee, which he kept in his hole. One day an elephant was going over the hole, and the frog, coming out in a fit of anger, raised his foot, as if to kick the elephant, and said, 'How dare you walk over my head?' Such is the pride that money begets!

"One can get rid of the ego after the attainment of Knowledge. On attaining Knowledge one goes into samadhi, and the ego disappears. But it is very difficult to obtain such Knowledge.

Seven planes of the mind
"It is said in the Vedas that a man experiences samadhi when his mind ascends to the seventh plane. The ego can disappear only when one goes into samadhi. Where does the mind of a man ordinarily dwell? In the first three planes. These are at the organs of evacuation and generation, and at the navel. Then the mind is immersed only in worldliness, attached to 'woman and gold'. A man sees the light of God when his mind dwells in the plane of the heart. He sees the light and exclaims: 'Ah! What is this? What is this?' The next plane is at the throat. When the mind dwells there he likes to hear and talk only of God. When the mind ascends to the next plane, in the forehead, between the eyebrows, he sees the form of Satchidānanda and desires to touch and embrace It. But he is unable to do so. It is like the light in a lantern, which you can see but cannot touch. You feel as if you were touching the light, but in reality you are not. When the mind reaches the seventh plane, then the ego vanishes completely and the man goes into samadhi."

Indescribability of highest plane
VIJAY: "What does a man see when he attains the Knowledge of Brahman after reaching the seventh plane?"

MASTER: "What happens when the mind reaches the seventh plane cannot be described.

"Once a boat enters the 'black waters' of the ocean, it does not return. Nobody knows what happens to the boat after that. Therefore the boat cannot give us any information about the ocean.

"Once a salt doll went to measure the depth of the ocean. No sooner did it enter the water than it melted. Now who could tell how deep the ocean was? That which could have told about its depth had melted. Reaching the seventh plane, the mind is annihilated; man goes into samadhi. What he feels then cannot be described in words.

The "wicked I"
"The 'I' that makes one a worldly person and attaches one to 'woman and gold' is the 'wicked I'. The intervention of this ego creates the difference between jiva and Atman. Water appears to be divided into two parts if one puts a stick across it. But in reality there is only one water. It appears as two on account of the stick. This 'I' is the stick. Remove the stick and there remains only one water as before.

"Now, what is this 'wicked I'? It is the ego that says: 'What? Don't they know me? I have so much money! Who is wealthier than I?' If a thief robs such a man of only ten rupees, first of all he wrings the money out of the thief, then he gives him a good beating. But the matter doesn't end there: the thief is handed over to the police and is eventually sent to jail. The 'wicked I' says: 'What? Doesn't the rogue know whom he has robbed? To steal my ten rupees! How dare he?' "

VIJAY: "If without destroying the 'I' a man cannot get rid of attachment to the world and consequently cannot experience samadhi, then it would be wise for him to follow the path of Brahmajnana to attain samadhi. If the 'I' persists in the path of devotion, then one should rather choose the path of knowledge."

The "servant I"
MASTER: "It is true that one or two can get rid of the 'I' through samadhi; but these cases are very rare. You may indulge in thousands of reasonings, but still the 'I' comes back. You may cut the peepal-tree to the very root today, but you will notice a sprout springing up tomorrow. Therefore if the 'I' must remain, let the rascal remain as the 'servant I'. As long as you live, you should say, 'O God, Thou art the Master and I am Thy servant.' The 'I' that feels, 'I am the servant of God, I am His devotee' does not injure one. Sweet things cause acidity of the stomach, no doubt, but sugar candy is an exception.

"The path of knowledge is very difficult. One cannot obtain Knowledge unless one gets rid of the feeling that one is the body. In the Kaliyuga the life of man is centred on food. He cannot get rid of the feeling that he is the body and the ego. Therefore the path of devotion is prescribed for this cycle.
This is an easy path. You will attain God if you sing His name and glories and pray to Him with a longing heart. There is not the least doubt about it.

"Suppose you draw a line on the surface of water with a bamboo stick. The water appears to be divided into two parts; but the line doesn't remain for any length of time. The 'servant I'or the 'devotee I' or the 'child I' is only a line drawn with the ego and is not real".

It is very clear that quite a degree of Fundamental Preparation (Sadhana)is called for in any of the Paths-The Path of Knowledge or the Path of Devotion.
No point in a person strongly entrenched in 'Body-mind' consciousness attempting to pole vault into the absolute by whatever method!

Salutations!

Broken Yogi said...

Arvind,

Bullseye on my former Guru. But I wouldn't blame Muktananda. Adi Da is his own creation, and Muktananda hardly had anything to do with it, and disavowed him in any case. But my views here do not come from Da. If anything, they come from Ramana and Papaji. For example, there's this from Ramana in Muruganar's Padamalai, which is probably my favorite source on Ramana's teachings:

79.Through longing for the swarupa (natural state) that waxes more and more as abundant bliss, infatuation for the false world will slip away.
80.The glory of Self-Realization is not experienced except in the hearts of those who are very zealous about sinking into the Self.

Bhagavan: Long for it intensely so that the mind melts in devotion. After the camphor burns away no residue is left. The mind is the camphor; whenever it has resolved itself into the Self without leaving even the slightest trace behind, it is realisation of the Self.

81.Those who greatly desire the Self, the state of mere being that transcends all concepts, will not desire anything else.
82.Devotion to the Self, the best of desires, yields the true jnana sight in which all names and forms are names and forms of the Self.
83. If you wholeheartedly desire and realize the truth, that truth itself will liberate you.

I think this rather strongly contradicts your notion that Ramana recommended that we relinquish the desire for the Self. Instead, he recommends total immersion in this devotional desire for the Self to the point where the mind is burned up entirely. Nor does he say that this desire leads to more desires, quite the opposite, that it destroys all other desires. Likewise, your notion that this desire for the Self is only for raw beginners, and relinquished by more mature devotees, does not jive with these statements of Ramana's. He clearly says that such devotion desire for the Self increases the more one matures in practice.

Likewise, Ramana clearly taught that the secret to practice was to turn attention away from objects and towards the Self. This is the essence of “desire for the Self”. That is the functional meaning of “desire”: to turn one's attention towards what one desires. As he says in Padamalai:

94.Only attention directed towards the Self, seeking without seeking, will unite you with that primal entity whose anture never changes.
95.Stop seking the path that leads to the forest, abandoning your home. A better course of action is to reverse [the] direction of [of your search], turning your attention inwards.
96.If anything disturbs your inward focus, whatever it may be, reject it without a second thought.
97.Though one may gain any amount of greatness in worldly life, there is no peace except through turning towards the Self.
98.What is termed “being turned towards the Self” is the state in which the mind, abandoning sense objects, which are alien [to the Self], shines as pure, unalloyed consciousness.

Ramana goes on to describe this as self-enquiry. I think this makes it clear that self-enquiry is in reality simply the desire for the Self most naturally expressing itself as attention to the Self. This desire does not end, it simply blossoms into Self-Abidance and Self-Realization.

I don't know if this helps you. All this is of course open to interpretation, and if David has more on Ramana's view about this subject, I hope he some day finds time to write about it.

arvind said...

Broken Yogi, Thank you for pointing out the Padamalai verses. The views one had mentioned about the desire for Liberation take into account these and other similar sayings of Sri Bhagavan elsewhere. Please allow me to elaborate.

Padamalai contains the whole gamut of Sri Bhagavan’s teaching statements. And one agrees that an isolated reading of the verses you have mentioned may lead one to conclude that it is necessary to have a “desire” for Liberation. But then, how are we to reconcile the verses you have quoted [in the top half of your post] with the verses quoted by me earlier from Guru Vachaka Kovai saying exactly the opposite ? Also, Padamalai itself has other verses saying that all desires must be given up. For instance:

[starts]
15. Possessing a being-consciousness that acts without any desire or opinion of its own is rejoicing in the divine will.

Question: Does not total or complete surrender require that one should not have left in him the desire even for liberation or God ?

Bhagavan: Complete surrender does require that you have no desire of your own, that God’s desire alone is your desire and that you have no desire of your own.
[ends]

[Padamalai Pg 219; taken from “Day by Day with Bhagavan”, 1.3.1946]. [I believe that this anecdote from “Day by Day” is the only recorded instance of a direct question asked of Sri Bhagavan on this topic].

So clearly there could be apparently contradictory statements on the desire for Liberation, just as there are on other aspects of Sri Bhagavan’s teachings. This is nicely explained in the following quote:

“A lot of people are under the impression that Bhagavan talked Advaitic philosophy all the time and prescribed self-enquiry to everyone who asked for His advice. This is simply not so: Bhagavan gave out different advice to different people. He would see their level of development and their temperament and act accordingly. One devotee might ask a question and be given an answer. If another devotee asked the same question a few minutes later, he might be given a different answer, so different in fact that it would contradict the first one.” [Padamalai, Pg 12], [TPR Iyer from “Power of the Presence” Vol II, Pg 159].

So, for a start, one could take a simplistic view and say that the “have a desire for Liberation” statements were given by Sri Bhagavan to the relatively immature devotees. Whereas the more mature ones got “have no desires, not even for Liberation”.

But clearly we need to go deeper than that and to arrive at Sri Bhagavan’s true intent, we perhaps need to: Relate the statements to Sri Bhagavan’s overall teachings and the way He lived His life, His actions and demeanor and so on; then perhaps relate the statements to scripture held in favour by Sri Bhagavan; and finally, relate the statements to one’s own personal experiences on the Path.

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

With the foregoing as preliminary let me continue further.

A crucial aspect of Sri Bhagavan’s teachings is that Sri Bhagavan often used words like “having thoughts of the Self” or having “desires for the Self” as actually meaning “abiding in the Self”. So when He says that one should continually think about the Self, or desire the Self, he is not saying that one should have actual thoughts or mental vrittis all the time about the Self. He is saying that WITHOUT ANY THOUGHTS OR DESIRES we should SIMPLY ABIDE IN THE SELF. In effect, thereby saying that, DO NOT have ANY thoughts or desires, even for the Self. This aspect is briefly but very nicely discussed by David in his commentary in Padamalai itself, Pg. 76.

[starts]
117. Other than the thought of the Self, any other thought you may associate with is a mere mental construct, foreign to that Self.

[David’s commentary] In ‘Who am I ?’ Bhagavan wrote, ‘Remaining firmly established in Self-abidance, without giving the least scope for the rising of any thought other than the thought of the Self [Atma chintanai], is surrendering oneself to God.’ Since Bhagavan seems in ‘Who am I ?’ to be equating self-abidance with ‘thought of the Self’, I think the same interpretation can be applied here.
[ends]

We may perhaps further consider - what about simply the raw desire for the Self considered separately, without Sri Bhagavan’s intent as above ?

Desire for the Self or Liberation, considered by itself, is also a thought like any other thought. It is a mental vritti like any other mental vritti caused by desire. [The logic goes like this: If the desire for Liberation is not in the mind, then where is it ? It has to rest in something. It cannot have a separate existence by itself can it ? There is no other possibility but for it to rest in the mind. If one postulates that desire for Liberation rests in the Self, then the Self Itself is no longer the Self. It, by definition, becomes corrupted and can no longer be the Self. And why should the Self desire Itself ? It already is the Self. Why does It desire Itself again ? Only the Jiva desires the Self; because it is deluded and thinks that it is different from the Self. But the Self Itself is not deluded at all; and so on].

So the desire for Liberation is a mental vritti like any other vritti. All vrittis of the mind, except one, are bad and have to be given up for Liberation. Only the “Aham-vritti” is a different and a special vritti from all other vrittis and has a lot of use. The “Aham-vritti’, or the sense of “I-I” or I-am-ness, is to be used to trace back to the “I” Itself or the Source. And then, even the “Aham-vritti” disappears. In the state of Liberation there are then, no vrittis whatsoever, and the mind / ego stands destroyed forever.

The foregoing is from the teachings of Sri Bhagavan. One could quote extensively from His books to affirm all of the foregoing but this post is too long already, and one does not think that’s really necessary. The point can be accepted on the basis above or not at all. Also, am not quoting from scripture favoured by Sri Bhagavan here for the same reasons.

Will however mention briefly about one’s own experience on the Path, which one very very rarely does actually: Over time the desire for Liberation disappears on its own, however much it may have been stoked in the beginning. As one continues with Sri Bhagavan’s Vichara and Prapatti, one finds that, slowly, on its own, IT DOES NOT MATTER. As nothing else too really matters anyway. There is no desire for Liberation. There is also no non-desire for Liberation. Not easy to explain but that’s how it is. And so the injunction for having no desires is just a theoretical one. One does NOT have to actually strive in a formal way to get rid of them. They just drop away on their own. The only requirement is to stay on the Path, come what may.

Broken Yogi, the previous discussion one had with you was based on my erroneous assumption that the views mentioned by you were your interpretations of Sri Bhagavan’s views. Then one was obliged to discus and offer what one thought was a more accurate picture of them. Now that you have mentioned that they were your OWN independent views, then that is quite alright. You have every right to stick to them and one would respect you for that.

[Almost forgot, the verses quoted at the bottom of your post simply describe practice. There is no specific linkage to “desire” or to any other attribute of the mind for that matter. They could be linked to “hard effort” say, or “knowledge of scripture” say, in the same way as you have linked them to “desire”].

Folks, apologies for the long post

Best wishes

Ravi said...

Arvind,
"So, for a start, one could take a simplistic view and say that the “have a desire for Liberation” statements were given by Sri Bhagavan to the relatively immature devotees. Whereas the more mature ones got “have no desires, not even for Liberation”. "
It looks to me that both the statements are valid:
1.As long as mind-"I" and "mine'- is viewed as Different from the Self,'Desire for Liberation' or more accurately 'Desire for Freedom from Bondage' is valid.This is SPIRITUAL EARNESTNESS.
2."Have no Desires,NOT EVEN for liberation' only seeks to emphasise that one should give up all attachments- even one's PET ATTACHMENT to the 'Idea' of Liberation'.This is DISPASSION.

They are two sides of the same coin.Both go hand in Hand ,and until the abidance in SELF is attained,they come into play.

Best Regards.

Ravi said...

Friends,
Paul Brunton's Book A Search in Secret India is what introduced Bhagavan to the world at large,including many Indians.Here is an interesting episode that reveals the fascinating personality - Paul Brunton,from the reminiscences of paul Cash.

"One bright day in the spring of 1981, P.B. (as Paul Brunton was affectionately known) was walking me toward a vegetarian restaurant in Lausanne. A Lebanese man in his early twenties quickly crossed the street just ahead of us and then cautiously approached from a short distance ahead.

"Hello," he said tentatively, and then paused for an uncomfortably long time before P.B. answered, "Yes?"

"Can I please...just spend a little time with you?"

P.B. looked at him silently for a moment, then asked, "Why should you want to do that?"

"I don't know," the young man answered. "I just have a feeling that if I do, something wonderful might happen."

"If something wonderful happens," P.B. replied, "it will be because of you. I don't do anything."

As it turned out the young man worked in the restaurant we were head to, joined us for lunch, and saw that we got the best food the place had to offer. Until the night before, he had no conscious interest in things spiritual; but that night a friend had given him a copy of Gurdjieff's Meetings with Remarkable Men, and he stayed up all night reading it. "When I saw you across the street," he explained, "I said to myself, 'I don't know how I know but that's one of those guys!"

That was the first of several meetings we had with that young man whose name was Nouki. When he arrived for a third meeting at a tea house in Lausanne, he was so exuberant that his face didn't seem large enough to hold his smile. P.B. asked him what he was so happy about. Nouki replied that being with P.B. filled him up with love.

"Why do you think that is?" asked P.B.

"Maybe because you love everybody?" Nouki answered.

"No," P.B. replied. "I am not that advanced. I don't love everybody." Later in the day when P.B. and I were alone, P.B. said of Nouki: "That young man has already acquired half his wealth in his temperament. Now he only needs the intellectual understanding." At this point Nouki didn't even know P.B.'s name or that he had written books.

One morning as the three of us were walking together, a Swiss German man who wrote on spiritual topics approached us. He knew of P.B.'s literary work and wanted to ask some questions. P.B. seemed somewhat reluctant but finally said, "All right, I will have a cup of tea with you."

That afternoon, the four of us met for tea. P.B. sat at my left; Nouki sat across from me; the Swiss writer sat across from P.B. Nouki, as usual, was enjoying the atmosphere of being together. The writer was eager to pin P.B. down about certain doctrinal issues, particularly about Krishnamurthi's formulation of the teaching. P.B. seemed more interested in hearing how the Swiss man liked his tea, but the only answer he got in that regard was a quick "Oh, it's fine" as the writer persisted in trying to get the answers he wanted.

Nouki began to get annoyed, and started to criticize the Swiss man's demeanor. And then things got particularly interesting.

"Well," P.B. said to Nouki, "how would you answer that question?"

"What question?"

From that point on P.B. began to look physically different to me depending on which of them he was talking to. When he turned to Nouki, it was to make him aware of how important the writers questions were and how Nouki really needed to think about them. With the writer, it was mainly to ask yet again how he liked his tea or if he could understand why Nouki thought the question was irrelevant.

Facing Nouki, he was firm and strong, like a stern Western professor. He seemed inches taller, broader in the shoulders, and at least twenty pounds heavier than when he turned toward the writer and, like an unassuming Oriental tea master, slipped away from the question and expressed concern about the tea getting cold.

When the pot of tea was finished, P.B. said time was up for the meeting. The writer was clearly frustrated and unhappy with the "evasive" answers. As we parted, P.B. told him gently, "I said I would have a cup of tea with you, but it seems you didn't want to have a cup of tea with me."

I couldn't help imagining how differently Nouki and the writer would describe this man to others. Or how long it would take either of them to get his point."-Paul Cash.
For the complete article.Pl visit:
http://www.paulbrunton.org/articles/reflections.php

Broken Yogi said...

Arvind,

Thanks for your lengthy reply. You need not apologize for being thorough.

It's certainly difficult to parse Ramana's teachings, in that he gave differing instructions to different devotees depending on their needs, but deciding which instructions are for the mature, and which for the immature, creates a circular argument removed from its own merits. The seeming contradictions of Ramana's teachings are best resolved, I feel, by trying to obtain a more direct and deeper understanding of the entire matter of Self-realization, rather than by creating definitions and hierarcies which prevent deeper understanding from emerging. To conclude that we should be “beyond” the desire for the Self is very risky, in that it can lead us to presume a maturity in ourselves that we do not possess, and which can actually prevent realization rather than further us towards that end.

What I care most about in this matter is what brings us realization of the Self. If letting go of the desire for the Self actually brought about or allowed the natural state of Self-realization to manifest, I would be all for it. But it does not. Every account I have ever read of a truly mature practitioner of Ramana's teachings (who has not yet become fully realized), is of someone with a profound and concentrated desire for the Self who has devoted themselves wholely and completely to the process of Self-realization with every measure of their mind, body, heart, and all their energies and attention. They focus themselves entirely on the Self and Guru, and desire nothing more. They allow themselves to be guided by Ramana in every detail, and they are consumed by this effort and desire for the Self, either through self-enquiry or through surrender. None of them, that I am aware of, have any other real interests or desires, and none of them take their practice casually or lightly, as if it doesn't matter to them anymore. To the contrary, it is the only thing that matters to them anymore. Now, I wish I could say the same of myself, but it simply wouldn't be true, and this in no way because I have achieved any kind of maturity. You have an advantage over me in that respect, so I can't really say first-hand what it means to be mature, I can only look to the examples of those I respect. Even so, what I aspire towards is this kind of commitment and intensity, not the lack these as if they are a sign of maturity. One does not know who one is by losing the desire to know who one is, but by carrying the enquiry into the Self through to the end.

If as one matures, one loses the desire for liberation, how anyone can actually mature to realization, in that one would then lose any desire to practice self-enquiry, self-surrender, or self-abidance. One would lose any motivation to devote oneself to the Guru, to love the Guru, to be with the Guru, to serve the Guru, to realize the Guru, or to give oneself over to the process that any of the practices that actually bring one fully and completely to Self-realization. One could certainly lose the mental idea of “enlightenment”, or “liberation”, but if one actually loses the desire for the Guru, the love for the Guru, the primal desire for the Self, then how is this ever to come to fruition? The answer is that it doesn't, and unfortunately this describes the state of too many people who value “desirelessness” or “no seeking” above actual love and realization of the Self. And thus I have to conclude that this interpretation of Ramana's teaching is a false one, that it is usually favored not by those who are truly mature in practice, but by those who want to detach from the whole process of realization, and even make premature declarations of “enlightenment”, or express a total lack of concern or interest in such things, as if this is the sign of real maturity, without ever going through the difficult process of burning up in the Self, or knowing the real love and peace that we all desire. The advaitic world is far too full already of these kinds of people, and I see no need to make myself into one.

I can understand telling someone stuck in some conceptual fixation with “enlightenment”, who thinks about it all the time and feeds his mind and desires with notions about this goal, that they should let this desire go, and simply be at ease and more natural in their spiritual life. The purpose of such an instruction, in my view, is simply to allow them to find this true desire for the Self, and not to abstract or obstruct it with conceptual thinking. The true desire for the Self arises by Grace, and yet we have to recognize it in ourselves as such, and not turn our backs on it. We have to recall that Ramana's primary teaching about the desire for the Self is that it comes by Grace, that the motivation to practice enquiry, to associate with Gurus, to read scriptures, to argue about their meanings, is the primary sign that Grace has already touched the devotee. So the fact that we feel this desire for the Self is a good thing, in that it is the sign that we are feeling the Self moving within us, trying to wake us up, motivating us to know who we are. That motivation is not from the ego, even though the ego may always try to co-opt it. We have to be wary of the ego's constant methods of co-option and re-direction of this desire away from the Self and towards the mind's own concepts and objects. But that is quite different from cutting it off altogether.

As for the quotes we are discussing, I think you are being selective not only in emphasizing certain quotes and ignoring others, such as the ones I have given you, but in interpreting the ones you have given without looking closely at the actual text. Just look at the quote from Padamalai you offer:

15. Possessing a being-consciousness that acts without any desire or opinion of its own is rejoicing in the divine will.

Question: Does not total or complete surrender require that one should not have left in him the desire even for liberation or God ?

Bhagavan: Complete surrender does require that you have no desire of your own, that God’s desire alone is your desire and that you have no desire of your own.


Do you not notice that Ramana speaks here of God, the Self, having desires? Does not this contradict your notion that there is no desire remaining in the Self? Here Ramana clearly speaks of God having desires, and that we should surrender our own desires, and submit to God's desire, God's will. Does this not strike you as odd? Clearly Ramana is contrasting egoic desires, which originate in the mind, and Godly desire, which originates with God, and which we must surrender our will to, until God's desires become our desires. This is not at all some kind of state of utter desirelessness as you have been suggesting. It is certainly a state of egoic desirelessness, but that is, in Ramana's view, merely a way of giving oneself over to God's desires until they are our desires. When Ramana says that we must have no desires of our own, I see him saying that we must have no egoic desires, whereas the desire for the Self is one of God's desires.

The question is, what are God's desires? They are not egoic desires, certainly, so they must be forms of love, forms of infinitely Self-referring love. They are, in short, the Self's desire for the Self. You may say that this is impossible, but I would say that is only because you are thinking of the Self dualistically, and presuming that God's desires must be different from his own Self, which is impossible. So what does it mean to submit to God's desires? It means – in my view – to submit to the inner desire for the Self which resides in us all, just as God himself resides in us all as our very Self. That is why I say that desire for the Self does not come from the mind or ego, it comes from the Self. It is the one desire in us that goes beyond the mind.

Now, I agree that Ramana was not suggesting we have lots of thoughts about the Self, he was saying that we should put our attention on the Self, which means to abide in the Self. But this is what desire is, after all – giving our attention to something. It is only that we are accustomed to putting our attention on objects, which is the usual mode of desire, rather than giving our attention to the Self. But the desire for the Self does not follow the subject-object pattern of desiring objects, it inverts the usual motion of desire, just as self-enquiry inverts thought. Instead of outwarding seeking objects through desire, we inwardly desire the Self by seeking the source of our desire, directing it inward rather than outward. This makes the desire for the Self completely different from all other desires, just as self-enquiry, while being a movement of thought, is completely different from all other uses of thought.

“Desire for the Self or Liberation, considered by itself, is also a thought like any other thought. It is a mental vritti like any other mental vritti caused by desire.”

Yes, but if you consider anything “by itself” it appears to be separate from the Self. That is exactly the problem with the ego, it sees everything “by itself” rather than arising within the Self. So desire for the Self, considered by itself, as a mere thought in the mind, must be eventually be eradicated like any other thought. But the desire for the Self is not based in thought or limited to the mind. Rather, it is the mind which limits the desire for the Self, by having thoughts about it. The mind doesn't really exist, it's “contents” are just a reflection of the true Self. It's desires are all merely a reflection of God's desires, but seen “by themselves”, in a world of seeming objects, as if they existed on their own, as “our desires”, rather than God's desires. In reality, there is really only one true desire, the desire for the Self. All other desires are illusory, desiring illusory objects that are merely reflections, not real in themselves. The only reality is the Self, and that is why we desire it.

“[The logic goes like this: If the desire for Liberation is not in the mind, then where is it ? It has to rest in something. It cannot have a separate existence by itself can it ? There is no other possibility but for it to rest in the mind.”

The desire for the Self resides in the Self, as “God's desire”, as Ramana put it, because to the Self there is no contradiction in desiring the Self. The Self does not desire the Self as an object, but because it is the very Nature of the Self to love the Self. That there are no objects to love does not make such love obsolete, it makes it unlimited and unconditional

“If one postulates that desire for Liberation rests in the Self, then the Self Itself is no longer the Self. It, by definition, becomes corrupted and can no longer be the Self. And why should the Self desire Itself ? It already is the Self. Why does It desire Itself again ? Only the Jiva desires the Self; because it is deluded and thinks that it is different from the Self. But the Self Itself is not deluded at all; and so on].”

The Self desires itself because the Self is love. The Self loves Itself. This is only a contradiction to the mind, because everything is a contradiction to the mind, which only knows love of objects. The Self is not what we might think, that is for sure. Our thinking about the Self is not the Self. We think the Self can't contain any objects, and thus we think it can't contain any desires, only because we think there actually are separate objects and desires. In reality, everything is arising in the Self, as the Self. That is what is understood in Self-Realization. In reality all that we think is egoic, in the form of thought and desire, is merely a reflection of the Self. In the Self, there are no reflections, there is only the truth that all thoughts and desires were reflections of. That truth is the selfless desire for the Self.

As for the Aham-vritti, the “I”-thought, this is not merely a thought, it is a desire. It is the root-desire. We tend to think of the “I”-thought as mental abstraction, when it is a very concrete desire that moves into life at every level of our being. Without it, there is no desire. So when Ramana talks about cutting this desire, he is talking about cutting the “I”-thought. This can only happen at the very end of one's maturation, however, when we have concentrated ourselves in the “I”-thought. And that means, in more concrete language, concentrating oneself in the desire for the Self. The two are actually the same thing, simply expressed differently. Just as there is no jnana without bhakta, there is no concentration in the “I”-thought without concentration in the desire for the Self. They reveal themselves to be one and the same. And so yes, even this vritti must be “cut”, which is the death of the ego and desire. But it is not the death of the source of mind and desire, it is not the death of awareness, and it is not the death of true desire. It is the flowering of these. It is only the death of one's own desires, not the death of “God's desire” as Ramana refers to it.

Now, as for my comments about speaking my own thoughts, be aware that I care deeply about Ramana's teachings, as well as those of other jnanis, and I find a lot to learn by reflecting upon them, but all that really matters to me is what I know and understand, not what they know and understand. Their understanding means nothing to me unless it becomes my understanding. I find that arguing with them, which is what all discussion of these teachings really amounts to, is highly fruitful, in that it reflects many things back to me that I wouldn't understand otherwise. But what matters is the degree to which I understand, not the degree to which they are “right”. I could recite their teachings all day, but unless it becomes my actual and real understanding, it simply doesn't matter. What I value about this blog of David's and the discussion we all have is that our mutual understanding of these teachings is put on the line and thus tested and strengthened, which is all that really matters. I hope that you feel the same way, and will forgive me if our views clash at times.

“[Almost forgot, the verses quoted at the bottom of your post simply describe practice. There is no specific linkage to “desire” or to any other attribute of the mind for that matter. They could be linked to “hard effort” say, or “knowledge of scripture” say, in the same way as you have linked them to “desire”]. “

I included that passage because even though it doesn't use the word “desire”, it describes the essence of desire for the Self, which is attention to the Self. Attention is of course the key to the whole process. Attention is desire in a nutshell. Desire is nothing more than putting one's attention on something.

And I apologize for this even longer post. We have widened the topic such that it's hard to limit myself to only a few points. I will try to be more concise in the future.

baxishta said...

Broken Yogi,

you're great. i admire the fact that you don't seem to be over-cautious about speculating and/or analyzing about what may be meant by the Teaches' words. i believe in this myself. i think it's referred to as mananas sometimes.

i would like to offer a small suggestion regarding your use of the term 'desire', which has nothing to do with its content or meaning. rather it's about the 'construction of the construct' itself.

i tend to rank a construct's worthiness in terms of how many sub-parts it has, which i believe is the same as its number of degrees of separation from the self.

in these terms, the constuct 'desire' is at least 2 and maybe 3 steps away from the construct of self or existence. this makes it, in my opinion, a second or third choce variable (term or construct) to work with.

i say this because i admire your style, but i keep waiting for you to further address the first-ranked terms like, self, existence, truth, reality, ajata, direct or non-dual experience, and sahaj (all things that do exist per Shankara's 1st point in his 3-part mahavakya, basically synonyms for the sat aspect of the construct 'self')

or even to further address the second-rank terms, like consciousness, i-ness, ego, life, man, world, meaning, indirect or dual experience, subject and object (all things that don't exist per Sankara's second law of self, knowledge, i.e. synonyms within the construct 'chit').

i'd love to see you apply your creative mind to some of these ideas. for some reason - maybe just personal taste - i've never trusted the construct 'desire' with my limited attention.

baxishta

Anonymous said...

Arvind,
You have said

***Sri Bhagavan often used words like “having thoughts of the Self” or having “desires for the Self” as actually meaning “abiding in the Self”***

How is this possible? It does not make any sense to me. You have also then quoted Dadid’s commentary as saying we should accept it just because it is said so in Who Am I? That does not explain anything. How is having thoughts or desires for the Self actually equal to Self abidance?

David Godman said...

Anonymous

In Who am I? Bhagavan wrote:

'Remaining firmly in Self-abidance [atma-nishta] without giving even the least room to the rising of any other thought other than the thought of the Self [atma-chintanai] is surrendering oneself to God.'

The point that Bhagavan is making here is that true surrender only is accomplished when all thoughts about God cease.

A question about this is raised and answered in Guru Vachaka Kovai in a section entitled 'Supreme Devotion [Parabhakti]':

1207 Only so long as thoughts of the non-Self exist in your mind will the idea of God, which is sustained and nourished by your own thoughts, exist. When, through the total cessation of other thoughts, that thought of God also ceases, this indeed is the unthought thought, the contemplation of reality.

1208 If you ask, ‘If being still is remaining without even a single thought, why is there then the practice of labelling it “a remembrance”? Give me a reply!’ You should know it is because of the firmness of the consciousness that is wholly the reality, which is forever without any forgetfulness.

* * *

I am not quite sure what Bhagavan is trying to say here, but Sadhu Om has given the following commentary on verse 1208:

[Remembering] and forgetting are a dvanda, a pair of opposites. Since the ever-unforgettable consciousness of reality [‘I am’] shines perfectly in the state of ‘being still’ – the state of Self-attention or Self-abidance – that state is sometimes referred to as a ‘state of thought’ or ‘meditation’ [dhyana]. That is, since the reality is not forgotten in that thought-free state, it is loosely described as a state of ‘thinking of’ or ‘meditating upon’ the reality. It is only in this sense that Sri Bhagavan described the state of Self-attention as ‘thought of Self’ [Atma-chintanai] in Who am I? and in verse 482 of this work. (Guru Vachaka Kovai, tr. Sadhu Om, p. 420)

Verse 482 says:

The meaning of offering the soul to God is not giving scope for the rising of other thoughts, which are prompted by previously accumulated vasanas, in a heart that has meditated with love on Atma-swarupa, the real nature of God.

Clemens Vargas Ramos said...

... How is having thoughts or desires for the Self actually equal to Self abidance? ...

Because then your desire or thought takes the form of the Self. The Self is peaceful, desireless, still, pure, without restlessness, without searching and looking for something. To have a desire for the Self means to become peaceful, desireless, still, pure, without restlessness, without searching and looking for something. All other desires and thoughts (related to the Non-Self) have the opposite effect.

Clemens Vargas Ramos said...

... If you ask, ‘If being still is remaining without even a single thought, why is there then the practice of labelling it “a remembrance”? Give me a reply!’ You should know it is because of the firmness of the consciousness that is wholly the reality, which is forever without any forgetfulness.

* * *

I am not quite sure what Bhagavan is trying to say here ...


The key words here appear to be "firmness" and "without any forgetfulness". You can't contemplate something without thinking of it. Otherwise it means deep sleep.

The mind - contemplating the Self - takes the form of the Self (pureness, stillness) but still is aware of the mind, i.e. the restless, impure form of the Self. That is in my eyes the meaning of the statement above.

Another example is the "absence of the world in contemplation of the self": The world is not really absent, because there is still an awareness of something which is "not" the Self = the form aspect of the Self. World and Self are one and the same, as we all know.

In the pure state of the mind you can think of something or being aware of a thought without developing this further, i.e. the mind does not generate the bunch of mental images it normally tries to generate in its impure state.

arvind said...

Anonymous' query:

Happy to see David’s illuminating response and other contributions. It was becoming a bit lonely out here !

Perhaps one can look at this idea as under:

Sri Bhagavan held that the Self is beyond attributes; even beyond the subject-object relationship. Though sometimes, ONLY to clarify difficult points, He used to say that the Self is the Seer, or the Self is the Subject; the ONLY Subject. EVERYTHING ELSE is only an object. So when one wants to “see” the subject itself, what does one do ? One can “see” the subject, only when “becomes” the subject.

This idea is illustrated by the famous anecdote of Papaji asking Sri Bhagavan to “show” him God. Sri Bhagavan then said words to the effect: I cannot show you God or enable you to see God because God is not an object that can be seen. God is the Subject. To see God is to be God.

So it is with all the following statements:

“To think of the Self”: The Self is not an object to be thought of; Self is the Subject; to think of the Self, be the Self [i.e. abide in the Self]

“To desire the Self”: The Self is not an object to be desired; Self is the Subject; to desire the Self, be the Self.

“To love the Self”: The Self is not an object to be loved; Self is the Subject; to love the Self, be the Self.

[We can only have a thought, or a desire, or love, or hatred, or respect (and so on), only for an object. Since the Self or God is NOT an object, the only way to think of the Self is to be the Self, and so on].

That is what one meant when one said in one’s post that: Sri Bhagavan often used words like “having thoughts of the Self” or having “desires for the Self” as actually meaning “abiding in the Self”.

And one believes that it is such a sense that “Atma-chintanai” is equated with Self-abidance in ‘Who am I ?’. Atma-chintanai meaning “contemplation on the Self” is not to be done as the usual contemplation is done on an object, by taking the Self to be an object; but one has to “abide in the Self” to “contemplate” the Self. This can happen only when ALL thoughts cease.

best wishes

arvind said...

Broken Yogi,

Perhaps you are right about all you say about desire and other things. And maybe one is completely wrong. That is certainly not beyond the realms of possibility.

You have written wisely indeed about understanding etc. in your para towards the end, “Now, as for my comments about speaking my own thoughts, be aware …..”.

Many thanks once again for all your comments and the effort and time put into it.

best wishes

Ravi said...

Friends,
It was an interesting discussion on 'Desire' and 'desirelessness'.
Desire is a basically a State of Unfulfillment and which seeks Fulfillment.
If that Fulfillment is temporal,The desire remains to make yet another attempt at Fulfillment.
If that Fulfillment is permanent,there is no possiblity for Desire to exist.This is the state of Sat-Chit-Ananda.
Broken Yogi is right in that behind all desires is only the DESIRE FOR THE SELF,only that in a state of Ignorance Fulfillment is sought through temporal possession of objects;the resulting Temporal satisfaction soon leaves one as unfulfilled as ever-perhaps more so.
Sri Bhagavan gives the example of a dog chewing a piece of Dry Bone;the Bone injures the gums and the Blood flowing from it is perceived by the Dog as coming from the Bone,and enjoyed by the Dog.In the same manner all the Pleasures that one enjoys comes from the SELF only.
Once this is truly identified,THE DESIRE FOR THE SELF is strengthened and the Desire for the Objects is weakened-until fulfillment is reached with abidance in the Self-State of TRUE DESIRELESSNESS.Here I think Arvind is right,in that there cannot be any desire in the Self,in a State of UTTER FULFILLMENT-POORNAM.
As long as one is in the Sadhana phase,both Desire for the Self and desirelessness for the world,has to go hand in hand.

Thanks very much Arvind,Broken Yogi,other Friends.

Haramurthy said...

Ravi,

friend, bear with me, for expressing my doubts about the correctness of your interpretation of the “Old Dog” analogy, or rather of your interpretation of what Bhagavan meant when quoting it.
The easiest way for you to solve my doubts would be to provide the exact location of the passage you had in mind.
There do certainly exist different notions of the “self”, including those referring to one’s narrative self (= one’s psyche, mind), from which experiences of pleasure and pain tend to emerge.
But, in contrast to e.g. the Kashmirian Trika notion of atman (= caitanya) from which worlds of experience can be said to emanate, no emanation, properly speaking, takes place from the Vedanta notion of atman (“self”), the one not too dissimilar to Ramana Maharshi’s notion of “self”. Thus it would be surprising if Bhagavan had employed the “Blood-flowing-from-the-gums” analogy in the sense you have indicated (implying a notion of “experiences-flowing-from-the-self”).
Rather the analogy of the “Old toothless Dog with bleeding gums gnawing on a dry bone mistaking his own blood for the juiciness of the bone” describes the condition of ordinary human ignorance toiling constantly in one way or another to get a little bit of satisfaction, then conceived as the product of their efforts and as intimately connected with the objects they “sacrifice” themselves for (prime examples being: kids, cars and clothes).
Prior to discovering his “Middle Way”, the Buddha’s life – first royal bhoga, then ascetic toil – illuminates the Old Dog quite well.
And we may also understand why Sankaracharya emphasized the exclusion of karman from his jnanamarga (while his disciple Sureshvara even wrote his famous Naishkarmyasiddhi).
Unless you prove the contrary, it seems wise to assume that Bhagavan meant that only abiding in the self – that is, dispensing with all search for experiences (= attempts to achieve satisfaction in whatsoever world) – provides fulfillment.
Only read in this way, the analogy would likewise fit with what you correctly said subsequently.

Broken Yogi said...

Arvind,

Thanks for all your contributions to this thread. I respect your views, especially your admission that you could be wrong. I too have to admit I could be wrong. In fact, we could both be wrong, and that's the most likely situation of all! Even so, it's great to engage someone who has thought long and hard about these matters, and is as gracious and kind-hearted as you are.

I liked your response to Anon about the language of the Self, and how we cannot "think" of the Self, because the self is not an object. However, we have a similar problem with the admonition to "be" the Self, in that we already are the Self, and so we are already "being" the Self. Asking us to be something we already are does not really make much sense. So the admonition to "abide as the Self" doesn't really make much sense, in that all of us are already abiding as the Self.

The meaning of this phrase must therefore be different than we imagine. I think we have to recognize that all verbal teachings are directed at the mind, and the mind cannot "be" the Self, because the mind is the not-Self, or more properly, the illusion of the not-Self. So verbal instructions like these are really just ways of telling the mind to submit itself to the Self. It does this by inverting the direction of attention, and examining its own being, and in so doing realizing there is no mind at all, and no one to make use of these instructions. So all these admonitions self-destruct, like those old mission impossible tapes, and we are left with the Self only. The Self does not "abide" as the Self either. The Self merely is the Self.

In other words, the only way to think of the Self is to see that thought doesn't even exist, that there is only the Self, and we are simply the Self already, and always. The attempt to think of the Self is a way of destroying thought, because it simply cannot be done. But the attempt must be made in any case, which is why self-enquiry must be pursued, even if the mind that pursues it cannot actually think of the answer. Turning the mind back upon itself has the desired effect of helping us to realize we already are the Self. Likewise with turning desire back upon itself.

Broken Yogi said...

baxishta,

You bring up an interesting issue, which is that none of us has an easy time with this whole matter of "desire". Perhaps because desire is something we not only experience all the time, but something we very obviously suffer from all the time. I'm clearly not of the view, however, that desire lies only at some superficial level of life, but that it goes all the way down to what you would call the "first level". This may seem rather revolting, in that we like to think of that first level as being devoid of desire, since that is what we most directly suffer. I would suggest, however, that there is a corresponding profundity at that deepest level to what we suffer from as desire.

In other words, Ravi describes desire as the search for fulfillment, which cannot be obtained through objects. I have noted previously that desire is actually infinite, and that is why finite objects do not fulfill us. But that also points to the transcendental nature of desire. It genuinely is infinite in nature, not limited at all, and thus it actually belongs to your first level category, which is of infinite matters.

Desire has no end, and no beginning, because it desires infinite fulfillment. Thus, even in realization desire still exists, as Ramana said, as "God's desire", which is infinite desire perfectly matched with the Infinite Self that is desired. This means that desire is not absent, only that it is constantly satsified by the infinitude of the Self. However, most jnanis put if differently, and say that desire is absent in realization, because they are referring to the third level desiring that you speak of, and that most of us refer to by the term. But just as love exists at all levels, but is misconstrued by attachment to objects, so is the energy of desire misconstrued as being directed towards objects, when its real nature is infinite love of the Self.

Anonymous said...

Scott Fraundorf: In response to Broken Yogi, Arvind, and anyone in on this debate.

On Desire again. After reading some of the discussion. My understanding is that the Self isn't Desire, but the fulfillment of desire.

So desire for the Self, for me is, because that is where fulfillment lies, not in the outward going tendency of the mind. In Who Am I? where Maharshi says that when desires are fulfilled, the bliss is the bliss of the Self.

That makes sense to me, and that is why I'm not repressing desire, but instead of looking outward, looking inward for fulfillment.

Not only that, with my Asperger's tendencies. My outward going tendency to look for fulfillment of some of my more powerful desires, has never led to any kind of fulfillment. So turning inward is kind of this obvious choice for me. Not only that, connection with others, one of my deepest desires seems to just happen the more or closer I get to abiding in the Self. Of course in the Self, there aren't two, so that other person is just the Self. The real people, of the 'objective' world are just the Self.

So the non-Self is where I define myself as "needing something I don't have", masking the innate bliss, and peace.

Looking inward, awareness of the Self that really isn't inside or outside, but everything, will fulfill all of my desires completely, and I can rest.

The Self as I understand it, is where i've given up all concepts. The self (lower case) is the concept of myself that I have at a very fundamental level. The world (lower case) is the concept of the world, and everybody else that I use to compare myself with and give myself form. That world is defined as being inadequate to permanently fulfill my needs. No happy ever after. Why? Because it is just concepts sand imagination, it can't fulfill anything.

Even if there is an objective world, up for debate, everything I see, hear, touch, imagine, is filtered through what I believe, so I have no access to that objective world, and so everything I see, hear, touch, imagine, is not real, in essence imaginary.

To realize the Self, is to stop imagining these things. Since I imagined unfufillment, and then struggled in the "outward" world I created to attain fulfillment, all i really have to do is stop imagining. Thus Enquiry, and ceasing all Mental Efforts.

So my understanding is that the Self is where desires are fullfilled. It makes sense to redirect desire from the "external" objects it normally pursues to a desire for that awareness, realizing it is where all fulfillment lies. Yes, that desire is also of the mind, since all 'experiences' including desire are of the mind. But this is a way of, in my understanding, transcending the mind. Sometimes for me, it has to be like chewing gum instead of smoking a cigarette. My addiction is to my own imagination.

Ravi said...

Haramurthy,
Friend,Please refer to Sadhu Om's Path Of Sri Ramana-Part 1,pages 48-49.Sri Sadhu Om is commenting on Guru Vachaka Kovai,Verse 585.
Sri Sadhu Om simply says-'When a man enjoys external objects,he only experiences a little of the Happiness that is already within Him".
The point in this story is this-Just like the dog thinks that the Blood is obtained from the Bone,ignorant man thinks that Happiness is obtained from the objects of the world.Just like the Blood which the Dog enjoys is its own,the Happiness that Man enjoys is his own(Within-From the Mind and since MIND is only a Projection of the SELF,this implies all the Happiness that one Experiences is of the SELF only.In other words,peace of Mind is the same as Peace of SELF.)THE FOCUS OF THIS PARABLE IS -MISTAKEN IDENTITY REGARDING THE SOURCE OF HAPPINESS.

Sri Ramakrishna narrates another parable-That of the camel eating thorny bushes despite the thorns pricking the tongue of the camel and causing it to Bleed;The camel suffers pain,yet would not give up eating the Thorny Bush.Likewise humans persist in pursuing worldly pleasures despite this causing them a Great Deal of pain and Suffering!THE FOCUS HERE IS-PERSISTENT ATTACHMENT TO OBJECTS OF PLEASURE,DESPITE EXPERIENCING CONCOMMITANT PAIN.This is what you have written:
"Rather the analogy of the “Old toothless Dog with bleeding gums gnawing on a dry bone mistaking his own blood for the juiciness of the bone” describes the condition of ordinary human ignorance toiling constantly in one way or another to get a little bit of satisfaction, then conceived as the product of their efforts and as intimately connected with the objects they “sacrifice” themselves for (prime examples being: kids, cars and clothes).
Prior to discovering his “Middle Way”, the Buddha’s life – first royal bhoga, then ascetic toil – illuminates the Old Dog quite well."
Yes,you may use the Parable of the Dog chewing the Bone in the Fashion mentioned by you.

Best Regards.

baxishta said...

if i’ve understood the Teachers correctly, our job is to repeatedly reduce our world-experience to a single unit so that it may then be compared to the self in order to see which of them is real. i believe that this 2-part process is what Sri Shankara refers to as the crest jewel of discrimination.

our faculty of discrimination is the only ‘active’ tool which we have (the sense or feeling of i-ness is our ‘passive’ tool). discrimination can only work in a digital sense, by comparing two items against one another. working backwards from our goal of being able to compare our world to self, this means that we must first have reduced the world to a single unit of experience.

this process is exactly like the process of waking from a dream. before we can compare the dream to our intimation (glimpse) of wakefulness, we must first combine all of the dream elements together. we must arrive at the insight, “oh! this is all one thing! i’m not dealing with a man and a car and a cat, but with a single landscape.” only then are we in a position to compare this landscape as-a-whole to our evolving insight about another experience, waking.

so the generic process of waking-up is a 2-step process: first unify, then compare.

this means that, as we arrive at the opportunity to compare life to self, we must first see life as a single unit of experience. the experience that “all is one” or “i am one with the world” is natural and occurs reliably at a certain point in the life-cycle of every single thought. logically, it must occur after (in this order) the end of the previous thought, a micro-glimpse of the self, and the emergence of the world - but before the world has broken into pieces.

i think of this special point on the life-cycle of a thought as the point of free will. Sri Ramana said that man has only one free choice to make: whether to identify with self or non-self. i believe that this special point on the cycle of self-knowledge at the thought-scale is what he was referring to.

with regard to this process, Sri Nisargadatta has said, “See yourself as you are and then you will see the world as it is, a single block of reality, indivisible, indescribable.” clearly, he is describing the world as a single unit, and asserting that it may be seen that way only after seeing the self. he also describes the world as real, but let us now compare it to the self and decide for ourselves.

Nisargadatta describes the self thus, “There is something changeless, motionless, immovable, rock-like and unassailable; a solid mass of pure being, consciousness and bliss.”

he then compares it to the world as-a-unit, “The light of consciousness can only be compared to the dense, rock-like, homogenous and changeless mass of pure awareness” and, “Reality is one. It is deep and dark, mystery beyond mystery. But it is, while all else merely happens.”

and the winner is clear: self exists while world does not. we have done our 2-part job of first reducing the world-experience to a single unit and then comparing it directly to self. we have applied our crest jewel of discrimination to the only comparison worth making.

the opportunity to apply our discrimination thus is available at the key point in the life-cycle of each thought. in fact, this comparison is being made automatically, millions of times each day. our duty is simply to notice it now and then, and to refrain from applying our faculty of discrimination to lesser tasks (the original sin at the level of thought).

with the accumulation of micro-insights comes conviction, and with conviction comes an eventual shift in perception. with increasing frequency, thoughts are challenged as soon as they are born and are forcibly compared to self - a contest which they will always lose. as in Sri Ramana’s analogy about the soldiers emerging from a fortress, they must eventually surrender. this is the moment of self-realization.

so, realization is a sudden process which is preceded by innumerable smaller-but-identical ones. the quality of the smaller process is not different than that of the larger. in the cycle of self-knowledge, scale does not matter at all. only the pattern is significant, and this same pattern applies to every scale of experience. our duty is simply to notice that this is happening automatically.

it’s rather like noticing cherries in a cherry tree. the first one is hard to spot, but after that we see them everywhere until, one day, life is a bowl of cherries.

Anonymous said...

scott fraundorf:

I have a pretty scant, but not non-existent social life, so attempting Enquiry is pretty much my main occuptation, although now I have school. So I enjoy posting comments on this blog since they are the only threads I know of devoted to Self-Inquiry, Maharshi and Company. When I see things only from the perspective of the Self with no distraction, will I still post, hmm, no idea. I'll try to stay with that, no idea.

I was thinking about who my guru is. For a second, maybe Nome, certainly when I was writing him and he was responding, and the awakening to grace that happened, I suppose he was acting as a facillitator of Self-Awareness, from both inside and outside.

But the Guru, from the outside, that has been much more intense has been life itself. denying me any chance of fulfillment of my deepest Outward-projecting desires, forcing me to abandon the ego-notion and look inward. Like the scolding of a humyn guru, it has admonished me for looking for an "outside" happiness I imagine, many, many times.

That the brain I've been given, does not neurologically function for receiving and giving some of the more important non-verbal signals involved in social communication, mainly ego communication, from body to body.
i've always been a little outside of the collective aspects of maya, infact had the chance to have glimpses of the self. Especially after the breakdown when I was 22.

so Life has been an important guru. Anytime I project outward the thread of the World, I immediately suffer, like an abusive scolding. Not only that, the pleasures I imagine I want, are much more forthcoming, when I don't want them. So it's kind of like the carrot is dangling inward in the first place.

As to earnestness, several people have commented that I'm earnest. And I haven't understood, in comparison to them? I was so pleased when every 'jnani' I have read has praised earnestness as the necessary characteristic needed, I knew i had a chance.

(they is a habit, avoiding gender pronouns)
someone I know referring to inquiry joked that they were all "talk" and that they didn't actually practice it. Maybe that would be lacking earnestness, in contrast.

My efforts in this department maybe sincere, but only because I don't really have anything else. I can't function socially unless i'm enlightened, is a powerful motivator to see things from the enlightened, Self-aware point of view. I'm not really satified to say "I can't", or that it is for the one in a hundred million, the Saints, although that may be true from the illusory perspective of individuals.

I feel great reverence for these Jnanis that I've been exposed to, but at the same time, the state of ajnana is just a state of rabid insanity, and delusion to be gotten rid of as quickly as possible. so my reverence is not an excuse. Really truly, I believe to not see things from the point of view of Self-Awareness is a really terrible mental illness, only sustained because of a mass hysteria called 'society'.

To stop the mind's activity, to stop my activity in any direction, the moment I see it arise. That's why when I think "I'm enlightened", I may let it play, but I can't take such an egotistical statement seriously, it's a joke, and i almost laught at it.

On desire, i guess it depends on what kind of desire we are speaking of. The desire, that comes foremost to mind, and for me is tied up with the most vasanas is obviously sexual desire, romantic desire, feelings of being in love.

But I've seen people effortlessly polyamarous, where it makes not any more impression then eating, or drinking. They aren't really agitated, or desiring, but effortlessly blissful, and romance is part of the play, and they certainly aren't stuck in the past or worried about teh future, or making other people goals to be attained, or taken advantage of. It almost seemed their romantic success came from not thinking about it, like saying "Thank you God" about horrible experiences, or in martial arts, effortless fluidity, and relaxed muscles allow much more range of motion.

A central theme I've noticed in Maharshi's teachings is about cartoonification. The ego is one big awkward cartoonifcation. I have this ridiculous idea of who I am, and I have all these ridiculous ideas of other people, whole countries, I can even try to intellectually grasp Maharshi, or spirituality, when it plainly lies beyond the reach of that predator, the intellect. A predator that doesn'te ven really exist, but makes me pretend to feel unhappy, and strive, or worry about bad things that are only my imagination.

David Godman said...

The comments seem to have strayed far away from the original topic, which was the relationship between the Guru and the disciple. I found a dialogue on this subject as I was going through Living by the Words of Bhagavan yesterday and added it to the main post at the end. I remember looking for it as I was compiling the post but I didn't find it because I had the mistaken memory that it was from Final Talks.

Next, an update for those who might have been wondering why I have not posted recently. I started to write a very long post on 'Name and Form meditation in Bhagavan's teachings'. I collected about thirty pages of material and began to write it up, but then got distracted by yet another project: an equally long post on Maurice Frydman. At some point both of these posts will appear, possibly in a serialised form since I expect both of them to be about thirty pages long.

Ravi said...

David,
Thanks for your gentle reminder and also for your additional material in this post.
"Your original question was, ‘Is the Guru-disciple relationship real?’ From the standpoint of the Self one would have to say that it is all maya, but one could add that it is the best kind of maya. One can use a thorn to remove another thorn. Similarly, one can use the maya-like Guru-disciple relationship to root out maya in all its manifestations. Maya is so firmly established in us that only the illusory Guru-lion in our dream can give us a big enough shock to wake us. "

I realise that the above expression is from one of The Greatest exemplars of Guru Bhakti;yet I prefer an expression that does not leave room to perceive the Guru as anyone other than the SELF, and which does not permit any distinction between 'Human Guru' and the 'inner Guru'.
I rather prefer the Parable of The Lion cub that Grows up amongst the Lambs and thinks itself as another Lamb;until a grownup lion chances to find it bleating among the Lambs,drags it to a Waterhole and makes it realise that it is a Lion.
The Guru is this Lion , Fearless and Free.The Disciple who thought he was a Lamb,now realises that he is in fact a Lion and becomes Fearless and Free.

How can one develop true faith and devotion to the Guru ,if he admits even intellectually that this is 'maya',even the Best form of Maya?It will only lead to calling this 'Faith' and 'devotion' as also Maya!This seems to me a Nonstarter.

Namaskar!

Anonymous said...

David,

There was a pretty serious debate on desire between Broken Yogi and Arvind and others. Now I am left unsure as to who was actually describing Sri Ramana’s position correctly. What is the correct teaching? Am I to desire the Self consciously as much as possible till I achieve the Self, or am I to desire it only unconsciously and keep no desire-thoughts in my mind? Does the Self have desires or does God have desires? And should I actively seek experiences of the type Broken Yogi and others have described?

I think in such situations you have to clarify what was the teaching as per Sri Ramana. I don’t want Papajis position or Lakshman Swami’s position nor the position of some of the other Masters - but Sri Ramana’s actual teaching.

I feel many of the simple readers like me may be left with very wrong ideas believeing them to be Sri Ramana’s position. And as the blogmaster of a blog dedicated to Sri Ramana, and as such a senior person on Sri Ramana’s teachings, I think you are the best person to make the official position clear. thank you.

nonduel said...

Sri Ramana's teaching is: Who is asking? Who wants to know?

Desire is from the mind, no matter how much you discuss about it intellectually.

Desire is from the Self, to the Self, in the Self.

Self is All that IS!

arvind said...

David, apologies for contributing to the digression from the main topic.

Anonymous, apologies for contributing to any doubts in your mind as to Sri Bhagavan’s teaching. The intent had been quite the opposite.

best wishes

Anonymous said...

Scott Fraundorf: this time on-topic.

On the guru-disciple subject. Annamalai Swami has really wise words on the subject. Again, there seems to be this necessity of an outer-guru.

So then the question is, should I seek one? But then it occurs to me that if I'm not looking from the position of the Self being all there is, then I cannot see if someone else is a jnani, so I couldn't possibly know who is qualified.

As I mentioned, some of what's been described about this relationship, and the transmittance of grace, I thought maybe I had that with Nome through e-mail. But it would be more like a calling attention to the inner guru, or grace that was within already.

Lakshmana Swami said that he doesn't want to see but the most advanced devotees. And so if I took the look through the yellow pages for a jnani approach, or one that I was even confident was, it may be forced. And it would be my ego searching for what it wants. The only way to truly find the right outer guru, is the one that Self-Inquiry naturally manifests, am I correct?

So it always comes back to the only thing I can do as an individual is cease the mind, cease all efforts, cease going outward, and ascertain that happiness is within, surrender to the inner guru, and not worry about an outer guru. Ask who am I? as deeply as possible. Coming from the standpoint of believing in the illusory personality, this is the only way I can free myself from this idea.

If my surrender is deep enough, sincere enough, then I'm already awakening to grace, and surrendering to the inner guru. Then naturally I will find the necessary outer guru, at the proper time.

Or I could quit school, go to Society for abidance in truth, or go to India, and find people that are renowned. Somehow that doesn't strike me as wise, and it seems forced. Especially if the whole world is an illusion, a veil, then I would just be being a doer, locking myself further into the conviction that is I who am seeking a guru.

The reason the e-mail to Nome may have worked, or even visiting Society For Abidance in Truth was because it was something that happened. I was letting, as far as I could, things happen of their own accord.

It does seem to me by one's own individual efforts, one can surrender, deep and sincerely, and just cease going outward. If I stay immersed in the effortless, thoughtless state, still, events will unfold in such a way so that at the proper time, my mind is completely immersed in the Self, and stops going outward, this is my current understanding.

earlier david godman said that my enthusiasm already indicates guru's grace. But I think he was refering to inner, not necessarily outer, could be wrong. Regardless, through my own efforts, I can get peaceful, and I can stay peaceful, and avoid unhappiness, and most of the pitfalls of life, that really is all that is required. I don't need to obsess about some egotistical notion of the glories of "enlightenment", when people prostrate before me finally.

Broken Yogi said...

David,

I have to agree with anon. I love to speak my mind and shoot from the hip about these matters, but I'm a total amateur as far as my knowledge of Ramana's teachings goes, and you are quite an expert, so it would really help if one day you could help clarify what Ramana's actual teachings are on the subject of desire for the Self. Of course, I know this means sending you off to write another 40 page post, and that's a whole lot of work, but maybe that's like throwing Brer Rabbit into the briar patch. I somehow get the feeling you don't much mind being sentenced to research and write about Sri Ramana's teachings for the rest of your life. In any case, it's all much appreciated by all of us out here who thirst for Sri Ramana's Grace.

Broken Yogi said...

Anon,

It's good for you to have doubts about what Sri Ramana's teachings actually are, in that it will motivate you to find out what they are for sure, and for real, not just by researching and getting clarification, but by practicing them. It's always good to be unsure about these matters, and constantly questioning oneself and others. All of that is what leads to self-enquiry, and could even be considered part of the broader definition of "investigation of the Self".

I think I've already said my peace about these matters, but I will affirm one thing that I said previously, which is that merely showing an interest in these matters and being motivated to ask questions and try to understand them is itself a sign of Sri Ramana's Grace growing and coming to life in you. That is a wonderful thing, and you should pay attention to the process that is coming alive in you. As for whether you should seek special experiences of the Self, I would only say that you should direct yourself, as you already are, towards knowing who you are, and see what happens. If you do this earnestly, the Self will indeed show itself to you, but you have to be open to recognizing this in ways that you may not be thinking of. You cannot dictate to the Self how the Self should reveal himself to you. You just have to listen and be open to the Self as it is already speaking to you.

Ravi said...

Scott,
"If my surrender is deep enough, sincere enough, then I'm already awakening to grace, and surrendering to the inner guru. Then naturally I will find the necessary outer guru, at the proper time."
This is exactly what all the Great Masters have said;only a little differently,in that The Guru will find you.
Yes,you are right that Guru cannot be had from Yellow Pages.I also happen to see a website which gives Ratings to Gurus!This is the state of confusion today where everything is treated as a commodity.
Wishing you The Very Best.

Ravi said...

Friends,
I warmly recommend visiting this site:
http://brokenyogi.blogspot.com/
A lot to learn from our friend's explorative ,sincere and original forays into a variety of topics - science,spirituality,self enquiry.

Anonymous said...

Scott Fraundorf:

I apologize if I'm writing too many long comments. I am overflowing with enthusiasm, and I have yet another long comment. I trust that if it is too much David Godman is perfectly capable of judging if and when to put things up.

Fatefully, Living by the words of Bhagavan came through Interlibrary Loan. Maharshi's antics in some of the stories are so filled with a mischief that makes me laugh, such as having Annamalai Swami build the Big Cowshed instead of a small one which was Chinnaswami's plan but having A.S. claim it was his idea, is almost like a practical joke, but filled with lessons probably for all involved. I deduced that the most obvious was Chinnaswami who was too involved with the notion of his power over the Ashram, it usurped his power in the most brilliant way, that seemed an obvious lesson, but I believe there were subtler ones as well, ones we may never know.

As a side note every anecdote of Maharshi's seems to be brilliantly in tune with the needs of the people involved, but not without a humor that is probably unavoidable when seeing through the motives of everybody and everything.

I read in an interview, David Godman said that U.G. Krishnamurti's stories about meeting jnanis seemed out of character. But I have to say, whether it is true or not, Maharshi's response to U.G. "I can give, but can you take it", after he had asked if he could impart his state, seemed like the perfect response for iconoclastic U.G., and I wondered if that one comment and the hours of sitting took him all the way to Enlightenment decades later, doing it through an iconoclastic atheism, because perhaps that was his prahabdha built on his previous likes and dislikes, and because of that he is the perfect guru for those who would be receptive to that vernacular. On the other hand, maybe he just made it up, because that is his tendency.

Watching U.G., on Youtube, I had the feeling of no intermediary, no I mulling it over, similarly to Papaji. Maharshi's comment triggered a huge, and very angry reaction in U.G.. But I expect that is common for egos to react intensely to the presence of a jnani.

Back to A.S., another anecdote was in the ashram kitchen how Maharshi took a vote on what would be made, but secretly would make something else. Remarking, "How strange? We set out to make one thing, and it turned out completely different" Maharshi is clearly saavy to humor.

Off the guru-disciple subject, but still on this book. Because, and David Godman noted this too, Annamalai Swami had to struggle to become Enlightened through Enquiry, his descriptions of Enquiry are a valuable resource.

My dad is a theoretical physicist, and clearly a genius in that and other spheres, but since it isn't a thinking but intuitive process he explains well and accurately, but not all the details and stumbling blocks.

Maharshi is more like that, he intuitively just got it, and although he does explain it well, and accurately, he doesn't explain from the standpoint of someone who worked to get there, step by step.

Annamalai Swami, by contrast, explains very clearly, and when
I read, that a good tactic is to when waking in the morning instead of the usual tactic that is habitual, identifying the mind that rises on waking saying "That is the real me". Call attention to the fact that it is "not me". That the problems and thoughts are not "mine". I had one of those moments where it immediately and temporarily became clear, I was reading it to my mom on the phone, "the one speaking is not me". I had to finish sentences I immediately lost interest in, realizing the speaker was not me. There were other things, one of which was that a jnani has no likes or dislikes, and that is why a jnani is free of bondage, I felt like that was very helpful.Anyway thats all for now, I might post one on Atma Vichara thread since I'm having successes with that lately, and working through stumbling blocks as well. One of these days....

Ravi said...

Scott/Friends,
"Fatefully, Living by the words of Bhagavan came through Interlibrary Loan. Maharshi's antics in some of the stories are so filled with a mischief that makes me laugh, such as having Annamalai Swami build the Big Cowshed instead of a small one which was Chinnaswami's plan but having A.S. claim it was his idea, is almost like a practical joke, but filled with lessons probably for all involved. I deduced that the most obvious was Chinnaswami who was too involved with the notion of his power over the Ashram, it usurped his power in the most brilliant way, that seemed an obvious lesson, but I believe there were subtler ones as well, ones we may never know."
Even seemingly lighthearted actions of a Great soul like Sri Bhagavan are always full of significance-It seemed to me that this served to prepare Sri Annamalai Swami to stand on his own Feet and for the sort of Life he subsequently Lived outside the precincts of the Ashram-I also recall how Sri Bhagavan stopped Chadwick's contribution of Rs40/- to Swami.The Guru simply pulled all the crutches one by one and Sri Annamalai Swami learnt that he could walk on his own.

Anonymous said...

Scott Fraundorf:

I don't know the workings of Maharshi. But as well as what you said, Ravi, which makes alot of sense. It seemed everyone including the people in on the vote, it had significance for. It seemed like everyone was being taught. But Chinnaswami, seemed to be wielding alot of power over the ashram and caught up in that role, he was powerless to stop a Big Cowshed being built. So I think it was also removing his crutches. From Maharshi's point of view, was there an intention, do jnanis have intentions, I'm not sure, if actions just happen, then was Maharshi aware of the result or how it was effecting the others? It's sticky territory, that I don't feel comfortable diving in from the position of the ego, ajnana. Even Annamalai Swami's exprience when Maharshi put his arm around him, he ceased noticing anything around him. So maybe jnanis don't notice, the body functions, comprehends, reacts, but without that intermediary that notices, or makes it into a string of thoughts. "I'm doing this to better Annamalai Swami". Maybe it just happened, in the same way as a kid on the playground I pretended I was shooting a machine gun, I didn't think about it, or the repercussions, or past, and future, just bliss, and the seed of an ego. All these jnanis I've been exposed do, there behavior does have a mischevious, playful side, esepcially Maharshi. Throughout the book, many of his antics, could in my mind easily be considered pranks.

Anonymous said...

Scott Fraundorf:

I wrote another e-mail to Nome, and got another response. And I felt such overpowering, intoxicating grace. When someones aware of the Self, there words, suddenly make me aware. I did my best to surrender. I again, became aware of aspects of my ego, illusory personality, arrogance, that I was letting slip in my Inquiry. I had a several minute period maybe of awareness or a glimpse of the Self, hard to explain. Glimpse of the Self, sound arrogant. Truthfully, I don't know what it was, and when I say that i'm not bragging. Just trying to be accurage. There wasn't much of a me, as I looked at my hands sitting in chair, they were all I noticed. Also at one point during the night, all I felt was my heartbeat vibrating my whole body, because there were no other thoughts but awareness of hte heartbeat.

There are a few people, on this blog who have given me advise, which I welcome. But the difference between their advise, and why clearly I suspect they are not Realized and not seeing only the Self. Because their words respond to what I believe about myself, and what I project. They buy what I want them to believe, they give obvious advise to what I;m pretending to be, which does not help me see with awareness. Instead it can even trigger defensive reactions from the standpoint of my ego. But my ego easily survives, infact thrives on it. Papaji said something about the foolishness of advise from the non-realized. I can attest.

Nome's words hit some place much deeper then that, and silenced me from the inside out, and all I could do was let it happen. And there was a period last night where I felt euphoria, bliss radiating through me, and my mind was largely silent. Anytime, I became aware of thoughts I called attention to the fact that the thinker is not me. So I did what was David Godman's and Papaji's advise, just surrender while that grace is present and obvious. But Enquiry continued, because that is the way to maintain that state of surrender, and not go off on some egotistical tangent, as would be my tendency.

I don't claim, ajnani me, to know the mechanics of how this grace operates. But part of it, is that the words are perfectly timed, and hit at all my rationalizations and justifications that no non-realized can even see. They believe my false-virtue, and my false-non-virtue as well. How can they help me? But these words, hit in such a way, that I feel it in my gut, and at first it hurts, and shows me that most of everything I'm doing and think I am, is not only illusory but straight up arrogant B.S., while others might believe my false humility, earnestness, and not even see the real humility and real earnestness that truly is there.

So on the subject of relations with the guru. I don't have a formal guru-devotee relationship with Nome, he may not even be aware that I exist. But that doesn't matter. As best I can, seeing the greatness of his words, I try my best to put them into practice, I do my best to surrender to the radiant bliss that is awakened in me.

It has nothing to do with Hinduism, Christianity, or any nation. No, India is where spirituality is, the materialist west. A bunch of to my mind mythologies, since the Self is all there is.

The real guru-devotee relationship as far I can gather, is a natural desire to associate with the wise, not those who claim to be wise, not those with a following, not those on a pedestal, but those who are truly aware and abide in truth, and let them rub off. It does seem to me to be a necessary part of spiritual practice to associate, or in A.S.'s words make contact with a jnani. But with earnest inquiry, the natural associations will spontaneously arise, you will make contact when it's right.

Anonymous said...

Scott Fraundorf:

It occurs to me that part of the grace of the guru is that once someone has completely surrendered their ego, and become the Lord's tool, the body is carried through actions to help others. And so they automatically are carried into the presence of those they could most benefit. And that to a lesser degree this happens before Realization as well as part of Sadhana, the more relinquishing of the individual and doership, the more the body finds itself helping others, which may go along with Ravi's point of view on help. That in surrendering the body will be carried through actions that are intuitive service for those around, without any will or volition.

Anonymous said...

Scott Fraundorf:

The more I'm in that blissful untouchable happy state, everything I say and do becomes only for others, because the desires evaporate. Today, I've still had desires come up, but for far longer then any other day, I've been desireless, blissful, connected, relatively thoughtless....And everything is about inspiring others....Then, that spurns me on to get even more established there, more happy, more connected, more thoughtless, more nondual, more realizing the Self as in that there is no non-Self, and the body then becomes more connected. It's the opposite of a vicious cycle, everything becomes better and better.... But then this is just the mind again, so getting silent, and egoless again, and so on....How did Barak Obama become President because there is not alot of ignorance obscuring Self-knowledge, while a jiva like me, can't say he's a Gnani, and it is irrelevent, it's clear that one individual's Self-knowledge (oxymoron???) can utterly reshape the entire society. (i.e. Maharshi and Ghandi) But it requires the dissolution of society and the individual. But it does say to me that Abidance as the Self is the highest form of political activism...ironically the most selfish and giving at the same time. Selfish because there is only me. Giving because you are me.

Anonymous said...

Scott Fraundorf:

Both Nome and Papaji flow very well with Adagio in G Minor or any music. Try it on Youtube. evidently, Jnanis flow with music perfectly. Everything they do is musical, and more and more, by being exposed to them, by being in contact with them, my very being becomes musical, rythmical with everything and everyone, I play correctly in the orchestra of life, and there becomes nothing wrong with the orchestra, in the egoless state. Beautifuul. Also Lakshmana Swami's statement that living Gnanis can have that power through your mental contact with them, even over the greatest distance. I verified this, Papaji, and Nome are both just as elegant as eachother, but when I watch Nome, my ego completely dissapears, merges, into the orchestra, beuatifully, joyfully, I surrender, in a way that I can't by my own efforts. I get less of that effect from Papaji because he is a deceased MASTER.

Anonymous said...

Scott Fraundorf:

It works with Jiddu Krishnamurti as well. He flows also with Adagio in G Minor...And probably any music. There seems to be something about being egoless, that the body and all it's actions flow perfectly in tune with music.

Anonymous said...

Scott Fraundorf;

I've also noticed the peculiar sensation when watching any of these Self-Realized Jivan Muktas on Youtube, not only do they flow perfectly with music, there is the strong sensation that they are completely empty, an empty vessel without a person there, almost eerie. I get that from Papaji, Nome, Jiddu Krishnamurti, and Barak Obama (now U.S. President oddly enough, I'm going to test him with Adagio in G Minor as well) as well. I suspect they are all Jnanis. Yes, I'm crazy...

Anonymous said...

Scott Fraundorf;

I've also noticed the peculiar sensation when watching any of these Self-Realized Jivan Muktas on Youtube, not only do they flow perfectly with music, there is the strong sensation that they are completely empty, an empty vessel without a person there, almost eerie. I get that from Papaji, Nome, Jiddu Krishnamurti, and Barak Obama (now U.S. President oddly enough, I'm going to test him with Adagio in G Minor as well) as well. I suspect they are all Jnanis. Yes, I'm crazy...It worked with Barak Obama as well.

Anonymous said...

Scott Fraundorf:

I feel as much reverence for Papaji as I do for Maharshi...

Bookworm said...

Jnani Anonymous

You say:
'Why not? They were as much Jnanis as Ramana. Quote away, anyone you want, everybody'

Isn't it said that only a Jnani can recgnise another?
So you are a Jnani now?

Bookworm said...

Broken yogi

You say:
'Honestly, I think you're dragging the discussion down, in a way that even bookworm's sometimes snide comments don't do'


Whoa...fighting talk Yogiman.

If you were brave enough I would see you after school behind the bikesheds and we'd sort this out...but I do have some Heart and I guess you are broken enough already.

Anonymous said...

Scott Fraundorf:

Bookworm, good point. I have no idea who is a Jnani, definitely not Jnani Anonymous, although maybe I get pretentious like that sometimes. I don't remember which thread you said it. But I speculate with futility that Krishnamurti was a Jnani because Nisargadatta Maharaj said he was, and David Godman said Nisargadatta was a Jnani. I guess that is a grandchild of thought if I ever saw one. That's my lousy proof. But on the Hitler, Bin Ladin thing, my unbacked up opinion is that Hitler and Bin Ladin are "normal", normal egos in the world wanting to control others, wanting to clear lands of undesirables sort of like in an Internet Forum. (oooh!) And that the Sages, none of whom I can confidently say is Realized, and evne if I were realized, I'd only see Jnana, wouldn't I?. The Sages are the Exception, and that according to Maharshi, and Ribhu Gita, if I'm pushed to it I'll find quotes, both claimed that Realization of the Self was doing more for the world then any other activity. Thus, all the Sages helped the world a whole lot, even if it's not obvious...I conjecture pretentiousy humbly. Broken Yogi, 3pm behind the Bike Shed.

Anonymous said...

Scott Fraundorf:

It's very interesting I was reading a story of someone's stay with Papaji. And Papaji's responses were almost nonsensical, but they served the purpose of shutting up the mind of this person.

I was having similar experiences with the person I correspond with, as a spiritual teacher, seemingly genuine, that I put my egoic garbage on the table, and although the responses in this case aren't nonsensical, they side step my concerns, verbally my concerns are responded to, but somehow I feel like my question didn't get touched, and my concern didn't get validated one way or the other, and it's that that makes me stop having the concern and seeing beyond it.

I certainly don't get given a solution, which is what my ego wants, but simply what Sri Bhagavan's position is on the matter, which usually doesn't give me an action plan, but maybe a way that I can feel more O.K with things regardless of the problem, and what I do about it. This contact with someone who is not a person, but the Self seems necessary, because that dissonance it creates, that it doesn't let me rest on my usual conceptual certainty, my usual rationalizations of why things are they way they are, and why I'm justified, or sidestep some integral part of Bhagavan's teachings.

Many of the core aspects of Maharshi's teachings which are also eloquently described by Papaji, and this teacher I correspond with, are very difficult to grasp, not intellectually, which is the problem. My mind thinks it understands the logical sense behind Maharshi's statements because they are logical. But that's only one level. For instance happiness being within. That is so incredibly difficult to grasp, I am not the peformer of action, these are so seemingly simple in concept, but so extremely difficult to actually Realize, so difficult infact that a teacher helps in creating dissonance, so I stop thinking I know the answer already.

For instance I try to stop thinking, makes sense be in the flow with things, should help. But the act of stopping thinking, then also interferes with work-a-day function, but if I could remember that I am not the performer of action, it would be no problem to function, and be thoughtless. How to realize I'm not the performer of action.

Happiness is within, but then bad or confusing things happen, or I worry about them, and suddenly I don't feel happy, happiness being within, but in all situations? That also is difficult to realize.

Sankarraman said...

Apropos of the following comment, " Does Prarabdha exhaust itself in dreams also? And if it does then is it a reaction to dream karma or waking state karma?" I wish to state as follows. The distinction of states as waking and dream is being made here and now, that is in the consciousness, "I." In the dream state we didn't feel it to be a dream, but it was one of waking state. Comparison of one state from the viewpoint of another state, the artificial distinction made by the I, is not correct. In fact, there is only one state, the consciousnes, " I am," the others being illusions. There is no point to compare one illusion with another. The burden of Ramana's song is that there is no distinction between waking and dream, and our attributing superior reality to waking state on account of some order superimposed on it by us, is arbitrary. When asked by someone as how to destroy karmas, Ramana replies that karmas destroy themselves of their own accord, and the self has nothing to do with that. We have to make no analysis of thoughts, but should only ask the question, " To whom this arises." Anything other than this is a detour. Even J.Krishnamurthy points out the same truth when he says that there is no observer apart from the flux of the observed, and that no analysis can be complete in view of its essential fragmentation. We should not pay attention to the non-self as it provides only an entertainment for our egos strengthening them.

Anonymous said...

Scott Fraundorf:

I noticed that in Call off the Search which is on Google videos also. There were alot of footage of David Godman's interview with Papaji Summa Iru which is amazing.

That may be one of the most amazing videos of a sage possible. But David Godman asked earnest but almost journalistically intellectual questions. Papaji so gracefully side stepped certain things, that it almost seeme like David Godman wanted the answer to, he answered but not in an egoically gratifying way.

Our egos want intellectual satisfaction. Interaction with a Jnani will not give it. I have the same thing with the person I correspond with, I've dived into questions about his practice about history, about the nature of a Jnani, about whether they are a Jnani, I get answers my mind can't grab onto because there isn't a mind there, beautifully.

The No Mind don't interact with minds, which is precisely what gets my mind to subside more and more in it's blissful, courageous, functional, selfless, peaceful source. Contact with a Jnani Sage, and it's a ball set rolling that won't stop until the body dies or the ego dies first. But happiness is guaranteed.

baskar said...

"" Does Prarabdha exhaust itself in dreams also? And if it does then is it a reaction to dream karma or waking state karma?"

I agree that it is a false division to see dreams and waking state as different. I think even Bhagavan once related a dream experience and someone asked, "is it a dream of vision?", and he replied, "What is waking state, dream or vision?" (the exact words could be different), as if to state there is no real distinction between them.

One of my friends could not get over the idea that dream experiences were more intense than waking state experiences. He used to say that fear is more concentrated during dreams, so is desire.

Sankarraman said...

"He said, 'She proved me wrong. She always refused to do enquiry, even though I repeatedly asked here to, and in the end it was her devotion to my name and form that produced the right result.'"

With reference to the above statement, it is to be mentioned that Bhaghavan very much discouraged external semblances of adoration of the guru. How can one without self-enquiry come to true understanding of the Self. Perhaps the individual's devotion might have helped them in heightening their spiritual samskaras related to self-enquiry. Further, I am not able to understand somebody being certified as enlightened. Ramana has never declared somebody as enlightened or otherwise, but spoke only in terms of the Self being the common ground of everyone. Declaring somebody as enlightened is tantamount to awarding them some certificates in a worldly sense. True jnanis like Ramana, Nisargadatta, J.K and U.G spoke only in impersonal language.

David Godman said...

Sankarraman

I must take issue with several of your statements in your 11th February post:

You said: ‘I am not able to understand somebody being certified as enlightened. Ramana has never declared somebody as enlightened or otherwise, but spoke only in terms of the Self being the common ground of everyone. Declaring somebody as enlightened is tantamount to awarding them some certificates in a worldly sense. True jnanis like Ramana, Nisargadatta, J.K and U.G spoke only in impersonal language.’

Bhagavan declared both his mother and the cow Lakshmi to be enlightened in clear and irrefutable terms. After Lakshmi’s passing away he even composed a poem that publicly declared her liberation:

On Friday, the fifth of Ani in the year Sarvadhari, the twelfth day of the waxing moon under the asterism Visakha, the cow Lakshmi
attained mukti.

When he was asked soon afterwards whether he was speaking literally or euphemistically, he confirmed that the word ‘mukti’ really did mean spiritual liberation.

Earlier in your post you said: ‘Bhagavan very much discouraged external semblances of adoration of the guru’.

While he at times discouraged excessive prostration, he did allow it when he was sitting in the hall. When he was once asked about this, he replied, ‘Before each person prostrates to me, I prostrate internally to them'. There was no discouragement here; Bhagavan accepted that reverence for the form was a valid part of displaying love for the Guru. Consider, for example, verses 305 and 306 of Guru Vachaka Kovai:

‘For those who possess the quality of habitually meditating upon the feet of the Guru, the blazing flame of flawless true jnana, their devotion, dispelling their suffering, will elicit the grace of that Supreme One, and through that grace their minds will become clear and they will attain true jnana.

For those who have the good fortune of living a life in which they take the feet of the Guru, the Supreme, as the sole target of their attention, a longing to merge with Sivam will flourish. That true devotion will itself become the fire of jnana that will completely scorch to destruction the desires for the false, the non-Self.’

While he says in other verses (311-313, for example) that the true worship of the Guru’s feet should be done internally, it is not fair to suggest that he discouraged external veneration as well.

At the beginning of your post you quoted Lakshmana Swamy’s comments on Saradamma’s sadhana:

‘She [Saradamma] proved me wrong. She always refused to do enquiry, even though I repeatedly asked here to, and in the end it was her devotion to my name and form that produced the right result.’

In your comment on this you said, ‘How can one without self-enquiry come to true understanding of the Self. Perhaps the individual’s devotion might have helped them in heightening their spiritual samskaras related to self-enquiry.’

You must be aware that Bhagavan taught that there are two valid ways of realising the Self: enquiry and surrender. Saradamma chose surrender because that was where her natural inclinations lay. Her continuous love for her Guru emptied and purified her mind until a point was reached when it subsided in the Heart and died. Bhagavan taught that the ‘I’ can go back into the Heart and die both through surrender and self-enquiry.

baskar said...

Sir,

I have a doubt regarding this. I accept that Bhagavan declared his mother and cow Lakshmi to be enlightened.

But is it not in the sense that at the time of their death/moksha, the prana had merged into the source/Heart, and there will be no more rebirth for them?

Surely it is different from declaring someone as enlightened in the sense that we can go and listen to their teachings and follow them...

I thought it was for a reason that Bhagavan declared himself to be like ancient seers like Jadabharatha instead of saying he was an adhivarnashrami like Shirdi Sai Baba or Sri Ramakrishna or someone contemporary or at least in living memory...

Regards,

Ravi said...

Baskar,
"But is it not in the sense that at the time of their death/moksha, the prana had merged into the source/Heart, and there will be no more rebirth for them?

Surely it is different from declaring someone as enlightened in the sense that we can go and listen to their teachings and follow them..."

Friend,Please visit the Thread -'Power to enlighten' featured in the month of August 2008 in this Blog.
I have copied Sri Annamalai Swami's comments on this topic for your easy reference.

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

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

These distinctions are made by us.Fundamentally there is no difference in as much the Gnani is only the Self.

Sri Ramakrishna explains this way-Rain water falls from the sky onto the Roof and issues out through differently shaped spouts-One shaped like a lion,another shaped like an Elephant,another shaped like a Horse,etc.some people gather to collect water issuing through the Lion shaped spout.They declare that to be the only Authentic source of water.Still others gather under the Elephant shaped spout and contest that that is the purest source of Water.
Little do they realise that the source of all water is one-The Spouts are just channels for the flow.Likewise,Satchidananda alone is the Guru.

Your other question on Sri Bhagavan responding to a LEGAL enquiry saying that there have been others like Jadabharata in the Past is an interesting one.I would like to see what the views are regarding this.
My view is that this is related to the Manifest Temperament,which is more of the 'Siva' type.
The Other two Great Masters -Shirdi Baba and Sri Ramakrishna had more of the Shakti aspect in their 'manifest' temperament.
How do you categorise Sri Ramakrishna from a Legal perspective-Is he a Householder or a Sanyasi?Interesting to note that Women considered him as one of them,while the Men considered him as one of them!

Best Regards.

baskar said...

Definitely Sri Ramakrishna is adhivarnashrami... Legally that might not be valid, but to call him a householder would not be right I feel

Clemens Vargas Ramos said...

.

...However, I feel in the heart of my hearts that Bhaghavan has always the feeling that anybody who dies is attaining only enlightenment since in his vision there is no state of non-self, no individual. "
Friend,this is not right on clear evidence on several counts. ...


Forgive me, Ravi, but I'm not that sure about this.

Ramana was the modern explainer of advaita vedanta. All true religions and true wisdom contain an exoterian and esoterian part. The esoterian part of Advaita Vedanta is expressed by Gaudapada in his comments on Mandukya Upanishad, and it is very clear:

"32. There is neither dissolution nor creation, none in bondage and none practicing disciplines. There is none seeking Liberation and none liberated. This is the absolute truth."

"92. All jivas are, by their very nature, illumined from the very beginning. There can never be any doubt about their nature. He who, having known this, rests without seeking further knowledge is alone capable of attaining Immortality."

"93. The jivas, from the very beginning and by their very nature, are all peace, unborn and completely free. They are characterized by sameness and non—separateness. The unborn Atman is always established in sameness and purity."

"98. All jivas are ever free from bondage and pure by nature. They are illumined and free from the very beginning. Yet the wise speak of the jivas as capable of knowing Ultimate Reality."

This comments are meant literally - not metaphorical.

Ramana knew this. His instructions to his devotees obviously are related to the exoterian part of Vedanta. We don't must forget that all our thoughts about Ultimate Reality are nothing else then ... thoughts. Reality, what is, what we are, is different from that.
Perhaps this is, what baskar tried to express.

.

Ravi said...

Ramos,
I agree with you!I know this view but THAT IS NOT MY EXPERIENCE.
As long as anything is 'expressed',there is dilution.Experience is one thing and the description of the Experience is another,All statements including Gaudapada's belongs to this category(Descriptions)
For instance:
" All jivas are ever free from bondage and pure by nature."
How many jivas are in the 'All Jivas',when what exists is not even one!Gaudapada's statement is an oxymoron!If we recognize 'jiva' we must recognize 'Differences'.This Difference is what leads to 'Enlightened' or 'Unenlightened' category!

As Sri Ramakrishna repeatedly said and particularly when he told Iswar Chandra Vidyasagar-"Why Did I come to meet you,If you are not someone special!"
So all STATEMENTS are Valid and invalid at the same time,depending on WHO makes that statement and FOR WHOM.
If we can make THIS STATEMENT THAT THERE IS ONLY GNANA and no GNANIS based on our Experience and not on what another AUTHORITY has stated,then that is Valid.
If we are making the statement NOT ON THE BASIS OF OUR EXPERIENCE that all are jivas are enlightened (WHEN THEY DIE-what is the significance of this???why not when they are living?!!!),that is INVALID, only a belief.With this distinction if we view Sri Bhagavan statement,we see that it is MORE VALID to view that cow Lakshmi attained MUKTI than to view it as a Figurative speech.ESPECIALLY WHEN SRI BHAGAVAN HAD FOLLOWED IT UP WITH THIS SPECIFIC CLARIFICATION in response to someone who had expressed THE SAME DOUBT!
Salutations.

Anonymous said...

Scott Fraundorf:

I was reading the account David Godman gave of writing No Mind, I am the Self, and how when Lakshmana Swami complemented him, he didn't hear it but everyone else did. It was mentioned that Lakshmana Swami was sparing of praise. I related with that, becaus the teacher I correspond with, seems to be similar in that. It seems like more a non-recognition of the desire for approval. And there is this sense, that I, as an individual, am out of my league, my own practice cannot even remotely equal the contact with a sage. The comments are subtle, but I immediately feel shame, which I equated with the I bowing it's head in shame, and it seems almost natural in interaction witha Jnani, and then atleast temporarily, I'll experience a brief spell of samadhi, frozen on the spot. I tried to stick with it, and then there is a desire to understand what created that state, so that I can bring about samadhi in practice. I can only figure, desiring only Self-Realization, and giving up other desires, is important, and earnestly practicing Inquiry as in always dissolving the false identity as an individual whenever it arises, while dilligently, not lazily doing what needs to be done (because if I'm lazy, I'll never comprehend that I truly am not the doer of action), forgetting myself in action. (i.e. Bhagavad Gita)
I also related with the happiness on getting to be around them more (mathru sri sarada, and lakshmana swami), there gets to be a craving for these states of grace, which that craving is good, something to be cultivated, it is the desire for liberation, it is what will culminate in Self-Realization. That desire for Self-Realization, for grace, and wanting to be back in grace is a motivator that leads to being in a state of grace, and dissolving the ego more and more. Recognizing infact that it's almost dangerous spiritually as well as worldly to be outside of that state of grace. Seeing that around this apparent person, or people, I'm immediately put in a state of grace, that suggests to me that this is a Jnani that I'm in contact with. For instance with the teacher i correspond with, I judged him on attributes when I first met him, like Krishnamurti Ayer around Maharshi, but then my individuality was drowned out in grace.

Losing M. Mind said...

I was thinking that to me it seems like the key in finding a guru is to let the inquiry determine who is a guru. There may be quite a few people out tehre who think they are enlightened who are not, even a few of those might have some pearls of wisdom that are worth listening to. But obviously those who claim to be, or act like they are, may not be. From David Godman's books, I get the impression that the only so called Realized that come from direct contact with Ramana Maharshi who are still alive and somewhat famous are Lakshmana Swami and Mathru Sri Sarada. If the inquiry is deep, there is more ability to recognize the truth in what someone is saying, more ability for the difference between someone who knows what they are talking about, and someone who doesn't, whose words and actions and being are attuned to teh Bliss of the Self. Who easily carries you to deeper levels of the inquiry. It seems the degree that unselfish Bliss is operating in the heart, and open-ness to the truth expressed by sages such as Maharshi. Someone who is really Realized will operate on that level. In general in my interactions with unrealized (as an unrealized), I do not feel like my experience of a natural, causeless bliss is enhanced. While many people have an intellectual grasp enough to talk advaita-ish, a Realized will reveal the Bliss of the Self through everything they do and say. (which may still be intellectually advaita-ish, or it may not be) Which makes sense why both ramana and Papaji said that it is the peace you feel, and the respect you have. Honestly, if David Godman didn't spell out that he was still a practicer, I definitely feel that there is grace in how he even puts up the comments. something ungraspable by the mind, revealing of Bliss, and great care in what he posts that is laudable, and that my inquiry is enhanced. It seems more and more there becomes a natural draw toward those things taht are spiritually nourishing, and gradually more repulsion toward those things that are not. though I still possess alot of recurring tamasic and rajasic qualities, there is definitely sattva, Bliss that sometimes reveals itself in the earnest attempt to be free of suffering, and in that there is a draw toward what enhances and deepens that awareness.

Losing M. Mind said...

I remember when I read No Mind, I am the Self, and Mathru Sri sarada really made the Bliss the issue, that practicing should be blissful. and that teacher I've corresponded with has really emphasized that as well. Before taht, I must say it was a mental exercise. Not useless, because of the intense desire and motive driving it. But it was an exercise in concentration. Now, while I do suffer alot, there is a discrimination that kicks in more often in the desire to be free of it, and bliss is revealed again. In that Bliss, the notion of who I am, is not really that strong, because it is invested and survives because of it's desire. It has to be after something externally. In the sattvic Bliss, there is not really the feeling of agitated longing, nor the strong investment in the ego, or the notion of who I am that is attached.

Losing M. Mind said...

Ravi, I just wanted to say I really appreciate your comments, taht I do find the devotional approach very drawing. It wasn't initially. But once there is that tase of Bliss, it is also a taste of devotion, and there becomes great respect for people like Ramakrishna. As you've said, the path of jnana, and the path of bhakta are the same. At this point I don't really see any difference. Self-inquiry is devotion and devotion is Self-inquiry. In the experience of selfless Bliss that becomes clear.

Losing M. Mind said...

When I was around my spiritual teacher, I was just thinking about the odd state I was put in. Of course it can't be described. (although perhaps through metaphor) But there were certain things about it that were memorable. And maybe point to certain aspects of what it is like to be Self-Realized. But it is really inexplainable. But there are things that are surprising about it. For one, all action and thought went on as before. It had nothing to do with thought, perception or action, they weren't even slightly effected. Except maybe when i noticed the odd state. That teacher, seemed deceivingly normal. Also the effect may be less noticeable if alot of time is spent around someone Self-Realized. There was i believe a deep contentment, but I remember that in the absence of doership, the whole play went on action, reaction, thought, but there was a feeling a very vivid feeling of being carried through actions, reactions, thinking forgetting to control them. It was very pleasent. Often when I attempt inquiry there is still the doership, and when doership ceases it really is inexplainable. It also felt like some force was moving that teacher, and putting me in the correct physical relationship with him. After the first satsang, I happened to be in his way when he was walking into the temple bookstore. It felt very strongly like I was put there, and he stopped until I moved out of the way. Like that force puts you in relationship to someone Self-Realized. there isn't a seperate individual in the jnani that controls that force. But in even contact like that it really did something, that's all that can be said. There really is no way to describe this that is even coherent. But it's really intense and obvious. Perhaps it is that all contact with a Self-realized is facillitated by egolessness, it can't raelly be said that either the presence of the jnani caused the state of grace, or the state of grace put you in close physical relationship with a jnani. That teacher one qutoe by him I remember in his first response was, "Grace transcends ideas of inner and outer, oneself and another, and it's infinity is endlessly experienced by those who remain free of the ego."

Losing M. Mind said...

I remember when I read No Mind, I am the Self, and Mathru Sri sarada really made the Bliss the issue, that practicing should be blissful. and that teacher I've corresponded with has really emphasized that as well. Before taht, I must say it was a mental exercise. Not useless, because of the intense desire and motive driving it. But it was an exercise in concentration. Now, while I do suffer alot, there is a discrimination that kicks in more often in the desire to be free of it, and bliss is revealed again. In that Bliss, the notion of who I am, is not really that strong, because it is invested and survives because of it's desire. It has to be after something externally. In the sattvic Bliss, there is not really the feeling of agitated longing, nor the strong investment in the ego, or the notion of who I am that is attached.

Ravi said...

Ramos,
I agree with you!I know this view but THAT IS NOT MY EXPERIENCE.
As long as anything is 'expressed',there is dilution.Experience is one thing and the description of the Experience is another,All statements including Gaudapada's belongs to this category(Descriptions)
For instance:
" All jivas are ever free from bondage and pure by nature."
How many jivas are in the 'All Jivas',when what exists is not even one!Gaudapada's statement is an oxymoron!If we recognize 'jiva' we must recognize 'Differences'.This Difference is what leads to 'Enlightened' or 'Unenlightened' category!

As Sri Ramakrishna repeatedly said and particularly when he told Iswar Chandra Vidyasagar-"Why Did I come to meet you,If you are not someone special!"
So all STATEMENTS are Valid and invalid at the same time,depending on WHO makes that statement and FOR WHOM.
If we can make THIS STATEMENT THAT THERE IS ONLY GNANA and no GNANIS based on our Experience and not on what another AUTHORITY has stated,then that is Valid.
If we are making the statement NOT ON THE BASIS OF OUR EXPERIENCE that all are jivas are enlightened (WHEN THEY DIE-what is the significance of this???why not when they are living?!!!),that is INVALID, only a belief.With this distinction if we view Sri Bhagavan statement,we see that it is MORE VALID to view that cow Lakshmi attained MUKTI than to view it as a Figurative speech.ESPECIALLY WHEN SRI BHAGAVAN HAD FOLLOWED IT UP WITH THIS SPECIFIC CLARIFICATION in response to someone who had expressed THE SAME DOUBT!
Salutations.

Anonymous said...

Scott Fraundorf:

I feel as much reverence for Papaji as I do for Maharshi...

Broken Yogi said...

David,

I have to agree with anon. I love to speak my mind and shoot from the hip about these matters, but I'm a total amateur as far as my knowledge of Ramana's teachings goes, and you are quite an expert, so it would really help if one day you could help clarify what Ramana's actual teachings are on the subject of desire for the Self. Of course, I know this means sending you off to write another 40 page post, and that's a whole lot of work, but maybe that's like throwing Brer Rabbit into the briar patch. I somehow get the feeling you don't much mind being sentenced to research and write about Sri Ramana's teachings for the rest of your life. In any case, it's all much appreciated by all of us out here who thirst for Sri Ramana's Grace.

Anonymous said...

Scott Fraundorf:

Again, agreement with Broken Yogi. I think approaching it as fluidly as possible, I am more successful. I have noticed a tendency of people in their posts to have kind of absolutist, dogmatic, intellectual thoughts on stuff. For me thats never worked.

I'm approaching this in a makeshift, spur of the moment kind of way, as opposed to, I have a fixed idea what I'm doing here. I can't, because most of what I think I know, is just thought, imagination, and because of that delusional. I'm less and less in love with the truth of words, each day that passes.

If I quote people, it's not because I take it as absolute truth, after all it's only words, but because I've found particular words inspiring in my quest to be happy, to not suffer.

It's funny, most of my friends are atheists, it's a queer friendly subculture. But because I found Christianity helpful to deal with guilt, and remorse, I've utilized what works, and listened for truth in it's teachings. Do I now disrespect others beliefs, try to convert them to what works for me?

If as Ramana said "See only your Self first, and then see the whole world as the Self". Then as I progress I'm going to start noticing only the Self in others, including other philosophies. I'll realize that if Islam means "surrender". It is essentially Enquiry at heart. If Gnostic means "know". Then gnostic Cchristians were looking to "know", jnana. Many Catholic Saints, jnanis.

Anarchists turn away from centralized authority, to create the world politically, socially they want to live in, from right here, now. They are well on there way to looking within. Atheists are merely rejecting the belief in words, many atheists are not atheists, just using different words for god. i.e. Richard Dawkins, the renowned atheist, is an atheist for Jesus. Is he really an atheist?

So I really empathize, relate with Broken Yogi's approach.
But I also in a sense don't want others to change if they have a more fixed, dogmatic approach, because the interaction, and dialogue, I find fun. So please, by all means.

Nisargadatta says there is no reincarnation. Other "jnanis" say they have achieved this state after arduous practice over many lifetimes. So I do notice, that in the play of words, they contradict eachother. But was there purpose to silence our minds, or to give us a new belief system?

Again, for me it comes down to the difference between thinking and knowing. Alot of people, including me have made that mistake of confusing the two.

If I haven't realized the Self, within my own 'experience', can I teach others, correct them? I don't think so. Because everything I say, isn't knowledge, it's a bunch of thoughts, no matter how good they sound, how spiritual?
Knowing is knowing, because I see that it is real. Not speculation, not even evidence. If at the very root, I just think what I see is real, that it isn't just a mirage. It's just thought. But I know, "I am". So i can start with that.

Ravi said, not to coercively stop thinking. I agree that a more natural approach has usually worked, but should I make that a dogma? Sometimes railroading, in David Godman's words wrenching thought has gotten me peaceful, and silent. Sometimes, the words of someone more advanced have silenced the train of thought. So whatever gets me closer to realizing what is real, and not suffering transient phenomena.

Ravi said...

Broken(Integrated)Yogi,
"It's only that in our devotion, we have to understand that the outer Guru isn't himself the point, he's just someone who has already been liberated from object-mind and object-love, and he points us to the same path. Contemplating and serving such a Guru increases our desire for the Self, rather than locking us into another object, because we become like the Guru as we contemplate him, and in becoming like him, we are turned to the Self, just as he is turned to the Self."

Thanks for your wonderful reply.True love dissolves the subject-object relationship;This is exactly the point that I was trying to bring out-Some may have Guru as this 'Object',some others have some 'Name' or 'Form' of Ishta or The Chosen Deity-Despite Humble beginnings,it can snowball into this.
This is the tried and tested teaching of all the Great Saints-That through Loving devotion to Names and Forms of God ,you can easily Reach God.

Namaskars!

Ravi said...

Bear Yogi,
"Desire should not be confused with passion. They are very different things. Desire is wanting something (internal). Passion is feeling something (external)."

Friend,Just applied my MIND to what you have pointed out-I can see what you point out.In this case,the Desire is a product of 'memory'-what I have referred to as 'craving'-Wanting something!

The Intense Desire that I have Referred to is something deeper than this and is not a product of memory,not a COMPULSIVE habit-Sorry,I am not very articulate about these things-Let me borrow from Broken(Integrated) Yogi's wonderful posting-the need for Love and being loved(Here again words can mislead!).
sorry Friend,If I have created any unintended confusion in my earlier post-just to correct,you may take it as this 'Deep Seated' something(Desire or Love-do not Know what word!)manifesting as a Passion and culminating in Compassion-This is a continuum-do not know where what begins and where the boundaries are-When this is present,the cravings of the mind are automatically eliminated.

Thanks very much.

Yogi Bear said...

Ravi,

Desire should not be confused with passion. They are very different things. Desire is wanting something (internal). Passion is feeling something (external).

As to self enquiry, I respectfully refer you to Socrates.

Ravi said...

Friends,
Intense Desire is a great power;This is what is called Passion-When this passion encompasses the ALL,it becomes COM+PASSION=compassion.
Desirelessness=Compassion.Desirelessness is NOT THE SAME AS 'GIVING UP DESIRE'.If we give up desire (In Sleep DESIRE IS ONLY DORMANT AND NOT ABSENT!),we will only vegetate.This is the state of TAMAS.Better than this is the state of Intense Desire-This is what is called RAJAS-ALL THE GREAT SAGES WOULD HAVE SUCCEEDED IN ANY ACTIVITY OR PROFESSION ,had they chosen so!They had this boundless energy,only they chose to Channelise it Inwards(so to say-truly there is no inward or Outward!).The State of Satva is when THIS ENERGY IS FLOWING WITHOUT INTERRUPTION-This gives the feeling that there is no Flow!

However,the point that Broken(Integrated)Yogi made was that 'Experiences' although temporary does help to strengthen Faith and increases the Sadhak's Enthusiasm.Very,very True.

What is normally discounted is the tendency of the mind to 'CRAVE' for this experience-CRAVING means to dwell in the 'Memory' of the PAST EXPERIENCE as this prevents the inflow of Fresh wine.This leads to stagnation.This 'craving' should not be mistaken for the 'Passion'which is a very NECESSARY quality for Sucess in anything ,whether in academics,Sports,Arts or Science or Spiritual(Spiritual actually encompasses all activity-Does not exclude any activity).
In The Gospel of Sri Ramakrishna,we find the Master Talking(i can visualise some eyebrows raised!DUALITY!etc-Forget Duality,nonduality-All these are truly irrevelant to us,AT THE MOMENT)to the Divine Mother-"Mother!Please Reveal yourself to him(M)now and then-Otherwise How will he Live in the World".
Surely it does not require any persuation or Intelligence to understand that No one can continue INDEFINITELY without any Results!If one does,it may be out of a sense of so called 'Duty' which may not last-I have seen many who do the Daily Ritual of Sandhya Vandana-Nothing comes out of it-simply a Ritual that gives one a Good 'Comfort Feel'.

All the same,As Arvind pointed out,that Results may be there but not in the way that we were expecting.Like SS Cohen,who wanted to have Self Realisation in a 'Week's Time' did not find any apparent progress for 6 months-Later He realised that SOMETHING HAD MADE HIM STAY AT RAMANASHRAMAM!What a Great Boon!Similarly,the very Bhakti that one Feels is satisfying enough-(Desirelessness!)-No need for TRUTH,NONDUAL EXPERIENCE,SELF KNOWLEDGE,etc.
Let us ask ourself-Is SELF ENQUIRY a Spontaneous act?Or Are we doing it because we were PERSUADED in some way by somebody.If this is so,better watch out-this is only Greed.This is just imitation that cannot take one far-This is another reason why Self Enquiry HAPPENED to a few Great ones-No one PURSUED it.
Better to accept that we are a Human Being and proceed in a natural ,spontaneous,passionate manner-To flower into a generous and spontaneous human being-LIKE A CHILD.All doors open when we do this-This is what Lord Jesus The Christ so beautifully said,as also all the Great Masters.

Wishing You The Very Best.

arvind said...

Broken Yogi, thank you for the detailed comment. On appreciates the time / effort you would have put into it. Is one getting the impression that you have to be arguing a point to win it come what may, even if it means stretching the simple and apparent meanings of words and phrases ? Well, one hopes one is wrong, because generally all followers of Sri Bhagavan or His disciples, have one quality in abundance. They are open-minded and amenable to fresh ideas.

If the “desire” for the Self comes, somehow, directly from the Heart like you say, and is not a vritti [movement] of the mind, then it should exist even when the mind is not there, should it not ? Does it exist when the mind is absent ? When you are in deep sleep can you still find, somewhere, a “desire” for the Self ? But leave all that aside.

The points one was trying to make in earlier posts are, of course, not one’s own but taken from the teachings of Sri Bhagavan. Rather than trying to discuss the issue further let me simply quote Him. Though one could dig up many more quotes, I believe this lot would suffice, or else nothing will, in any case.

[from GuruVachaka Kovai; translation of Sadhu Om; Chapter 67, Pg 105, entitled “Desirelessness”]

[starts]
374. Sages, the Knowers of the Truth, declare that the destruction of all mental activities [chittavrittis] is alone the greatest happiness. Therefore desirelessness [i.e. the attitude of indifference], which is devoid of both likes and dislikes, is the best means.

376. When it is said that having a desire even for the Supreme State of Silence is failing to observe the great Sat-Achara, is it Achara to have desires for the worthless body and other worldly things ?

[Commentary of Sadhu Om]: Achara means observing high principles in life, and having any kind of desire is anachara. The greatest of all principles is Sat-Achara [or Brahmachara], which is nothing other than abiding as Sat [i.e. Self]. For one who is observing Sat-Achara, which is the perfect state of Love, even the desire for Liberation should be considered to be wrong, because desire implies a movement of the mind towards a second or third person, whereas Love has the form of unbroken and unmoving Existence. This is the significance of the ancient saying, “Cut the desire even for God”.

378. Except for the one who has completely cut the tie of desires, the false appearance [that he is a suffering Jiva] will not cease. Therefore, even without hesitation, one should cut even the desire for the Great Divine Happiness. [ends]

--------

Broken Yogi, thanks a ton for clarifying that your experience was actually the experience of the Self. Honestly, if one had known your answer earlier, one would not have had the temerity to pick up this discussion with you !

best wishes

arvind said...

Broken Yogi and everyone, thank you for your comments and an interesting discussion.

I just thought to add a bit more about “desire” and your remark, “Desire for the Self is what sadhana is all about in the first place.” And you clearly mean a fierce “conscious” desire for It.

That is an interesting statement which one is not sure one can accept. No doubt the fierce thirst or need for the Final Goal, the Self, is legitimate and a pre-requisite of sadhana. But the problem comes with having a “conscious” desire for It.

To keep things simple and not go into your roundabout loop of ‘intense desire = no desire’ etc, desire arises when the mind arises; and desire arises for an object only. So then, in effect, when we have a “conscious” desire for the Self, we end up treating the Self as an object, and also continue to have thoughts. Both of which have to be given up for the Final Goal.

So one believes that this fierce thirst or need for Self-realisation has to remain an all consuming, “unconscious” one; in the sense that – that is all and all for that person and he will not even be “conscious” of it, so to speak. It will reflect indirectly on its own in that person, in the fierce vairagya [dispassion] he/she develops naturally towards objects and affairs of the world, without conscious attempts in that direction. In fact, a simple test of the strength of one’s thirst for Self-realisation is – to what extent are we, naturally, still engaged with [in the sense of a “doer”] and have attachments in the world ?

On the other hand, a fierce conscious desire for the Goal will perhaps carry one along the path for a while, but then itself be a huge impediment to achieving the Goal.

I believe that Sri Bhagavan’s analogy of Self-enquiry being a stick used to stir the funeral pyre and then itself be consumed by it, strictly applies to Self-enquiry only; it cannot be extended to “desire”. The conscious desire for the Self is not a tool which can be used to seek the Self, like Self-enquiry. To have a desire in the mind is just a state of the mind itself, nothing more.

Further, I believe that, Sri Bhagavan did not use the ‘kerosene into the fire’ analogy to even remotely suggest that desires [even those for the Self] should be inflamed first and then quenched. I believe what He meant was to simply squash out the desire as quickly as possible else they will multiply and go out of control; and indeed the way suggested was to ask ‘who has the desire ?’ Even if one has a conscious desire for the Self, that has to be immediately quenched by asking, ‘who has this desire for the Self ?’ This is because, as mentioned earlier, every desire, even the desire for Self-realisation is a thought. And until thoughts are given up, there is no Self-realisation.

[I really do not know why Papaji wrote what you have quoted on desiring the Self. Perhaps he did that for people who had uncontrollable worldly desires; if one has to have desires then it is certainly far better to have a desire for the Self.]

Broken Yogi, do answer the question clearly – do you believe that the experience you had was an experience of the Self ?

Best wishes

Yogi Bear said...

That's the trouble with bookworms; they bore through books without understanding what the words mean.

Ravi said...

Arvind/Anonymous/Broken Yogi/Friends,

"“ ... And I had those experiences not because of mere "grace" or because there was anything special about me, but simply because I wanted them badly enough.” That is bad, because this is the ego speaking. You are saying that you wrested the experiences yourself, from Grace, by dint of your fierce, conscious need."

This is how Sri Ramakrishna had his vision of Kali-When he seized the sword and decided to put an end to his Life-Sri Ramakrishna called this 'Tamasic Approach'.
He used to say-"You as a Child of the Divine Mother has every right to be importunate,to DEMAND for the Mother's Vision".This is as valid as to be totally free from Desire.Most important is to be true to one's nature-to be oneself whatever that be and proceed from here.
To Desire for something is perfectly natural and perhaps desirable,not for sensational reasons but for progressing from lesser light to more light.Desire should not be mistaken for Craving-Like Hunger should not be mistaken for gluttony.

Also,The Ego is not necessarly to be condemned,but as all the Great Saints have done ,can be turned into an instrument for relationship with the Divine-as the servant,as a child ,as a Friend,as a BELOVED-This has its great charm and there are many saints who valued this more than the Nondual experience-Sri Ramakrishna was not the only one,Andaal or Kothai says in her Incomparable Tiruppavai-Give me seven times seven Births,only let me ever be yours,let me serve you alone,may you change all other desires (that we may ever have).

I feel that all of these approaches are valid.None more than the other-all have their place.

Wish you all the very Best.

ArunachalaHeart said...

I just stumbled across this post and would like to share an experience of mine.

For past 5 months now I have been spiritually blessed with Sri Nannagaru. I attend his satsangs in Hyderabad and one day it so happened that I was watching Rajnikanth's Robot movie.

In it one scene comes when Rajni comes in the form of the Divine Mother.

I was awed to see the scene and the Universal Mother was reminded to me.

Subsequently in a few minutes later I felt a Void in me.

The Void was Calm, Peaceful, Cooling, Inifinite.

There was a point of Infinite Peace in me and I realized two things.

1. Whatever I was experiencing was due to Grace of Guru.

2. I was the Cosmos and the Beyond.

This TAP of peace lasted for a few seconds and then later dissapeared.

A month later I met Sri Nannagaru and he asked me of his own accord "Are you realizing peace?" I remembered this incident and said Yes.

He nodded and said "Did you realize that Peace has nothing to do with body conciousness?"

I again replied Yes.