Sunday, July 11, 2010

The qualifications needed to do self-enquiry

A few days ago I was asked to comment on a dialogue between Bhagavan and a devotee in which he appeared to insist that certain moral qualifications were necessary before one could attempt self-enquiry, or follow it successfully. The conversation originally appeared in The Maharshi, the journal of the Arunachala Ashram, Nova Scotia. (http://www.arunachala.org/newsletters/2010/?pg=jul-aug#article.1) I will give the questions and answers first and comment on their origin afterwards:

K.V. next questioned Maharshi:

Who is the Adhikari, i.e., the person competent to launch on this Atma Vichara, the Self-quest? Can anyone judge for himself if he has the necessary competency?

Maharshi: This is an important preliminary question. Before Atma Vichara is started some antecedent experience, some achievement in the moral field is essential.

People having varied experiences in the world, at one stage develop a disgust or repulsion (vairagya) towards sense attractions or, at any rate, an indifference to such attractions, and feel forcibly the miserable transient nature of this body through which these attractions and enjoyments are had. This may be the result of the practice of devotion or some other upasana in this life, or of such devotion or other good works performed in previous lives. People with minds thus purified and strengthened are the adhikaris, the ones competent to launch on Atma Vichara or enquiry into the Self; and these are the qualifications or signs by which one can determine such competency.

Where does this dialogue come from? In an earlier issue of The Maharshi (http://www.arunachala.org/newsletters/2009/?pg=jul-aug) the following introductory remarks are made:

The following text is from an unpublished manuscript on Sri Ramana Gita that has recently surfaced in Sri Ramanasramam. The manuscript contains typed and handwritten pages by B. V. Narasimha Swami, the author of Self Realization.

While BVN was residing at the Ashram, around the year 1930, he appears to have taken up the project of recasting Sri Ramana Gita in its original conversational form. Some of the answers in this new manuscript appear to be quite lengthy compared to the versified text composed by Ganapati Muni. It is unlikely that BVN had access to any notes taken on the occasion of the questions put to the Maharshi between the years 1913 and 1917, so we can only assume, as he explains in his introduction, that the elucidations further developed by the Maharshi in this new version must have come from subsequent questions for clarification put by BVN himself.

Many years after BVN’s preparation of this manuscript (which includes 36 typed legal-size sheets, reproduced from 25 handwritten pages, and 18 handwritten pages never put into typed format), someone began typing up an edited version of the first and second chapters, five pages in all. For whatever reason, this short-lived project also ceased and the manuscript was stored away. After BVN had typed some of his handwritten chapters, he gave a number of these pages over to Bhagavan to read, correct and fill in the required Sanksrit text, for which he left adequate space.

One such Sanskrit text beautifully written by Bhagavan on these pages is his famous verse describing the means to enter the Heart (reproduced on page 2), which is verse two of Chapter II in Sri Ramana Gita. This verse constitutes the basis for that chapter, titled “The Three Paths”.

We do not know why BVN never completed this project, or how these manuscripts came to be filed away and forgotten, buried in an uncatalogued library cabinet of the Ashram. Perhaps someone knows and will come forward with the information.
A historical digression

I can shed a little light on the questions raised in the final paragraph of this introduction. The story is not merely interesting in itself, it also gives some relevant background information to the topic I will discuss later: Bhagavan’s views on who is qualified to undertake self-enquiry.

I first came across Narasimha Swami’s manuscripts when I began to catalogue the ashram’s archives in the late 1970s.

V. Ganesan gave me the key to a couple of cupboards in the ashram office, saying, ‘We are like the “dog in the manger” with these cupboards. We guard them, we bark protectively if anyone goes anywhere near them, but we never do anything with the material inside. We don’t even know what is in there. It’s just a repository for all the old manuscripts that we have collected over the years.’

I went through the contents and found them to be a veritable Aladdin’s cave of archival treasures. There were little notebooks in Bhagavan’s handwriting, proof copies of ashram books personally corrected by Bhagavan, and much, much more besides. One of the items I discovered was a huge folder full of material accumulated by B. V. Narasimha Swami. He had left it all in the ashram when he departed, around 1930, to pursue his spiritual career with Shirdi Sai Baba. The most valuable part of the collection, in my opinion, was the notes he took when he was interviewing Bhagavan for his biography, Self-Realization. Two of these accounts, which related to Bhagavan’s first and second death experiences, were reproduced in The Mountain Path soon after I discovered them. Next in importance were the stories of devotees. Narasimha Swami had written to all the devotees of Bhagavan he knew about, asking them to write accounts of their experiences with Bhagavan. Many of these stories were published in The Mountain Path and in various ashram books. I am personally indebted to Narasimha Swami for persuading Masthan Swami to give a brief account of his association with Bhagavan. This one-and-a-half-page account, in Tamil, is the only first-hand record we have of Masthan’s life with Bhagavan.

Along with his notes and the personal reminiscences of devotees there were a number of pages that belonged to unfinished book projects. From the introductory comments he made it would seem that his intention was to bring out a book of dialogues between Bhagavan and devotees that would communicate the essence of his teachings. The papers that recently appeared in The Maharshi were part of this collection. In addition to the Sri Ramana Gita reconstruction, there were many pages of dialogues that purported to be between Bhagavan and visitors. I found the style and the presentation of these conversations to be highly untypical. I showed them to Viswanatha Swami, who was then the editor of The Mountain Path, and he agreed.

After going through the talks he told me, ‘Bhagavan didn’t deal with devotees in this way. These dialogues creep forward, establishing points one by one, with each new point depending on the arguments that have been presented and concluded in the previous answer. Bhagavan didn’t beat around the bush like this. He always went to the heart of the question with his first reply.’

He was right. The dialogues were incrementally Socratic in style, and quite alien to the way that Bhagavan taught. We both concluded that Narasimha Swami had used his legal skills (he was a lawyer) to assemble the salient points of Bhagavan’s teachings in the form of highly structured but artificially contrived dialogues. The teachings themselves were fairly accurate, but the form they were presented in (a dialogue between Bhagavan and a questioner) was entirely fictitious.

I then showed him the Sri Ramana Gita reconstruction. He went through it with a frown on his face before making the following comments:

‘There is a lot of extraneous material here, comments and extrapolations that are not in the original text. Bhagavan himself went through the original text many times, both in Sanskrit and in some of its translations. We can trust the original version because we know that Bhagavan has gone through it word by word. We have no idea where this extra material came from, and we can have no reason to believe that this is what happened in the original conversations. I don’t think Narasimha Swami ever had any contact with the people who asked these questions, and some of the things that Bhagavan is saying here don’t sound authentic to me.’

As a result of this conversation, the manuscripts containing the dialogues went back into the archives and remained there for decades, whereas the ones containing reminiscences were published in dribs and drabs over the succeeding years.

This explains why, since 1980, ‘these manuscripts came to be filed away and forgotten, buried in an uncatalogued library cabinet of the Ashram’. What about the years before that? Why did no one think about printing any of them prior to 1980? From 1950 onwards I think the main answer would have been financial. In the twenty years that followed Bhagavan’s passing away the ashram was chronically short of funds. I very much doubt that Narasimha Swami’s papers would have been considered for publication in this era, even if they hadn’t been forgotten and buried in a thoroughly neglected archive. One of the items I found in the cupboard was the typed manuscript of At the Feet of Bhagavan. It had sat there, gathering dust, for more than fifteen years. It had been properly edited and it seemed to me to be ready to be sent to the press. There were even instructions for the printer in the margins. It seemed odd to me that, after so much work had been put into it, it had simply been filed away and forgotten about.

I asked Ganesan, who looked after all ashram publications for decades, why it had never been printed.

He laughed and said, ‘The ashram decided to print it in the 1960s. It was made ready for the press, but Koppikar, who looked after the ashram accounts, told us we didn’t have enough money to print it. He lost the argument but won the battle by hiding the only copy of the manuscript so we couldn’t waste money on it by printing it. We had no idea what he had done with it until you rediscovered it.’

Around the same time I had a conversation with Suri Nagamma about her writings on Bhagavan. She told me that in the 1950s D. S. Sastri had offered on many occasions to translate Letters from Sri Ramanasramam into English if the ashram would agree to print it. His offer was persistently rejected on the grounds that Ramanasramam didn’t have the funds for it. When the then president finally relented and agreed to the publication, she said that D. S. Sastri raced through the job as fast as he could because he felt that the offer might be withdrawn at any moment if the president felt that his limited funds were needed elsewhere.

Here again is the question that was posed at the end of the introduction to the Sri Ramana Gita reconstruction:

We do not know why BVN never completed this project, or how these manuscripts came to be filed away and forgotten, buried in an uncatalogued library cabinet of the Ashram.

And here are my answers, which are partially just my own personal opinions:

Narasimha Swami never completed the project because he seemed to lose interest in writing about Bhagavan. When he went to Shirdi, he left behind all his papers, including his unfinished book of dialogues with Bhagavan. He also left behind a huge collection of notes on Seshadri Swami since he also had a plan to bring out a separate book on him. Since the book of conversations with Bhagavan was far from complete, there would have been no reason, during Bhagavan’s lifetime, for anyone to contemplate publishing it. After Bhagavan’s death, for a period of about twenty-five years, the manuscript was lost, and even if it hadn’t been, a lack of funds would have prevented its publication. In the late 1970s, when the manuscript was rediscovered, the ashram decided not to publish it because Viswanatha Swami (and a few others I showed it to) felt that the conversations recorded in it were not authentic.

Back to the topic of who is qualified to practise enquiry

I hope that the previous meandering section was not too off-putting for those who are waiting for some useful material on self-enquiry. I included it primarily to provide evidence for my belief that (a) the original Sanskrit text of Sri Ramana Gita is the authentic one and (b) Narasimha Swami’s version is not. Therefore, if there is new or contentious material that only appears in Narasimha Swami’s version, in my opinion it can be discarded as unreliable. Bearing this in mind, look at the initial words that are attributed to Bhagavan in Narasimha Swami’s version:

Question: Who is the Adhikari, i.e., the person competent to launch on this Atma Vichara, the Self-quest? Can anyone judge for himself if he has the necessary competency?

Maharshi: This is an important preliminary question. Before Atma Vichara is started some antecedent experience, some achievement in the moral field is essential.

If you compare this with the original text, you can see that the two sentences that Bhagavan begins with are not present. This is how the 1998 Ramanasramam edition of Sri Ramana Gita presents the question and the answer:

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

Bhagavan: He whose mind has been purified through upasana [worship] and other means or by merit acquired in past lives, who perceives the imperfections of the body and sense-objects, and feels utter distaste whenever his mind has to function among sense-objects and who realises that the body is impermanent, he is said to be a fit person for self-enquiry.

By these two signs, that is by a sense of the transitoriness of the body and by non-attachment to sense-objects, one’s own fitness for self-enquiry can be known. (Sri Ramana Gita, chapter 7, verses 8, 9, 10, 11)

The notion that ‘some achievement in the moral field is essential’ for those seeking to practise self-enquiry is an interpolation by Narasimha Swami. Some conditions are laid out in Bhagavan’s original reply, but having a strong moral base is not one of them.


I showed the Narasimha Swami version to Venkatasubramanian yesterday, without telling him any of the background information that I laid out in the previous section. Venkatasubramanian and I have been working on translations of Bhagavan’s teachings for about ten years.

He looked at it and said, ‘I can’t believe that Bhagavan ever said anything like this. It is so completely alien to all his other statements on enquiry.’

My sentiments exactly. I told him about the origins of the manuscript, and he agreed with me that the sentence about morality was most likely a spurious interpolation.

Karshni, the devotee who asked the question, subsequently asked whether various religious rituals should be followed by those who were qualified for enquiry (verses twelve and thirteen). Bhagavan said they were aids to make the mind pure, but he didn’t accept that they were necessary for those who were qualified for enquiry. He concluded by saying (verse 19):

The non-performance of prescribed actions by a mature person pursuing self-enquiry is no sin. For self-enquiry is itself the most meritorious and most purifying [of actions].

Bhagavan did not teach that one should, through one’s deeds, bring about a level of good character and dharma that would then equip one to practise enquiry. In fact, he said the opposite was true: that the practice of self-enquiry was the best way to establish good qualities in oneself:

It is, no doubt, said in some books that one should cultivate one quality after another and thus prepare for ultimate moksha, but for those who follow the jnana or vichara marga [the path of self-enquiry], their sadhana is itself quite enough for acquiring all daivic [divine] qualities; they need not do anything else. (Day by Day with Bhagavan, 18th July, 1946)

A similar reply can be found in the dialogues that precede Sat Darshana Bhashya:

Bhagavan: When one is a sufficiently developed soul (pakvi) he becomes naturally convinced [that the real Self awaits inside].

Question: How is this development possible?

Bhagavan: Various answers are given. But whatever the previous development, vichara (earnest quest) quickens the development. (Sat Darshana Bhashya p. viii)

For me, the essential point in both of these dialogues is that one need not waste time and energy attempting to gain a mature state in which one will be better equipped to do self-enquiry since enquiry itself is the most efficient way to attain spiritual maturity.

In Upadesa Manjari, chapter two, question two, the following question and answer can be found:

Question: Can this path of enquiry be followed by all aspirants?

Bhagavan: This is suitable only for ripe souls. The rest should follow different methods according to the state of their minds.

The ‘different methods’ are listed in the subsequent reply. They include singing the praises of the Lord, japa, meditation and yoga.

Since it is clear that Bhagavan does, on this and a few other occasions, indicate that there are some people who are ready to do enquiry and some who are not, it is worth examining some of his other statements on this topic to get a clearer idea of who he thought could benefit from enquiry, and who should take to other practices.

The following dialogue from Day by Day with Bhagavan gives a few hints about this:

This afternoon, a visitor asked Bhagavan, “No doubt the method taught by Bhagavan is direct. But it is so difficult. We do not know how to begin it. If we go on asking, ‘Who am I?’ ‘Who am I?’ like a japa, with ‘Who am I?’ for [a] mantra, it becomes dull. In other methods, there is something preliminary and positive with which one can begin and then go step by step. But in Bhagavan’s method, there is no such thing, and to seek the Self at once, though direct, is difficult.”

[Bhagavan:] “You yourself concede it is the direct method. It is the direct and easy method. When going after other things, alien to us, is so easy, how can it be difficult for one to go to one’s own Self? You talk of ‘Where to begin’. There is no beginning and no end. You are yourself the beginning and the end. If you are here and the Self somewhere else, and you have to reach that Self, you may be told how to start, how to travel and then how to reach. Suppose you who are now in Ramana Asramam ask, ‘I want to go to Ramana Asramam. How shall I start and how to reach it?’, what is one to say? A man’s search for the Self is like that. He is always the Self and nothing else. You say ‘Who am I?’ becomes a japa. It is not meant that you should go on asking ‘Who am I?’ In that case, thought will not so easily die. All japas are intended, by the use of one thought, the mantra, to exclude all other thoughts. This, japa eventually does for a man. All other thoughts, except the thought of the mantra, gradually die and then even that one thought dies. Our Self is of the nature of japa. Japa is always going on there. If we give up all thoughts, we shall find japa is always there without any effort on our part. In the direct method, as you call it, by saying ask yourself ‘Who am I?’ you are told to concentrate within yourself where the I-thought (the root of all other thoughts) arises. As the Self is not outside but inside you, you are asked to dive within, instead of going without, and what can be more easy than going to yourself? But the fact remains that to some this method will seem difficult and will not appeal. That is why so many different methods have been taught. Each of them will appeal to some as the best and easiest. That is according to their pakva or fitness. But to some, nothing except the vichara marga will appeal. They will ask, ‘You want me to know or to see this or that. But who is the knower, the seer?’ Whatever other method may be chosen, there will be always a doer. That cannot be escaped. Who is that doer must be found out. Till that, the sadhana cannot be ended. So eventually, all must come to find out ‘Who am I?’ You complain that there is nothing preliminary or positive to start with. You have the ‘I’ to start with. You know you exist always, whereas the body does not exist always, e.g., in sleep. Sleep reveals that you exist even without a body. We identify the ‘I’ with a body, we regard the Self as having a body, and as having limits, and hence all our trouble. All that we have to do is to give up identifying our Self with the body, with forms and limits, and then we shall know ourselves as the Self that we always are.” (Day by Day with Bhagavan, 8th October, 1946)

In this dialogue Bhagavan was invited to suggest preliminary exercises or practices that would lead up to self-enquiry. He rejected the suggestion, pointing out that the true starting place should be the ‘I’ or the ‘I’-thought. However, though he recommended this method with enthusiasm to a devotee who didn’t seem very keen on it, he also admitted that not everyone has a natural affinity with the technique:

But the fact remains that to some this method will seem difficult and will not appeal. That is why so many different methods have been taught. Each of them will appeal to some as the best and easiest. That is according to their pakva or fitness. But to some, nothing except the vichara marga will appeal. They will ask, ‘You want me to know or to see this or that. But who is the knower, the seer?’

In Sri Ramana Gita verses I have already given, Bhagavan sets the qualification bar for self-enquiry quite high by saying:

He whose mind has been purified through upasana [worship] and other means or by merit acquired in past lives, who perceives the imperfections of the body and sense-objects, and feels utter distaste whenever his mind has to function among sense-objects and who realises that the body is impermanent, he is said to be a fit person for self-enquiry.

In this Day by Day with Bhagavan exposition, though, he doesn’t mention the Sri Ramana Gita qualifications at all. He says that those who are temperamentally inclined towards vichara can and should practise it, whereas those who are not should take to other methods. The bottom line here is: if you want to do enquiry, and feel good about it as a method, then you are qualified to follow this practice.

My own feeling is that this particular response is more typical of Bhagavan than the reply given in Sri Ramana Gita. Here is a similar answer in which Bhagavan also declares that temperament and personal predilection determine who takes to self-enquiry and who does not:


Bhagavan: An examination of the ephemeral nature of external phenomena leads to vairagya. Hence enquiry (vichara) is the first and foremost step to be taken. When vichara continues automatically, it results in a contempt for wealth, fame, ease, pleasure, etc. The ‘I’ thought becomes clearer for inspection. The source of ‘I’ is the Heart – the final goal. If, however, the aspirant is not temperamentally suited to vichara marga (to the introspective analytical method), he must develop bhakti (devotion) to an ideal - may be God, Guru, humanity in general, ethical laws, or even the idea of beauty. When one of these takes possession of the individual, other attachments grow weaker, i.e., dispassion (vairagya) develops. Attachment for the ideal simultaneously grows and finally holds the field. Thus ekagrata (concentration) grows simultaneously and imperceptibly - with or without visions and direct aids.

In the absence of enquiry and devotion, the natural sedative pranayama (breath regulation) may be tried. This is known as yoga marga. If life is imperilled the whole interest centres round the one point, the saving of life. If the breath is held the mind cannot afford to (and does not) jump at its pets - external objects. Thus there is rest for the mind so long as the breath is held. All attention being turned on breath or its regulation, other interests are lost. Again, passions are attended with irregular breathing, whereas calm and happiness are attended with slow and regular breathing. [A] paroxysm of joy is in fact as painful as one of pain, and both are accompanied by ruffled breaths. Real peace is happiness. Pleasures do not form happiness. The mind improves by practice and becomes finer just as the razor’s edge is sharpened by stropping. The mind is then better able to tackle internal or external problems. If an aspirant be unsuited temperamentally for the first two methods and circumstantially (on account of age) for the third method, he must try the karma marga (doing good deeds, for example, social service). His nobler instincts become more evident and he derives impersonal pleasure. His smaller self is less assertive and has a chance of expanding its good side. The man becomes duly equipped for one of the three aforesaid paths. His intuition may also develop directly by this single method. (Talks with Sri Ramana Maharshi, talk no 27)

In many spiritual traditions beginners are given preliminary exercises and do not move on to the supposedly more advanced ones until they have demonstrated that they are doing the first ones successfully. As the preceding quotation indicates, Bhagavan did not follow this approach. He asked almost everyone to start with self-enquiry, and only recommended other methods if devotees complained they didn’t get the hang of it. It was left to the devotees themselves to decide whether they wanted to start or continue with enquiry. Bhagavan himself never told a single devotee that he or she was unfit to practise this method.

This is best illustrated by a wonderful story that was narrated by Kunju Swami:

Once, when Ganapati Muni was present in the hall, a group of villagers asked, ‘How are we to control the mind?’

In reply Bhagavan asked them to look into the origin of the mind and explained the path of self-enquiry. Soon they left and Bhagavan as usual went out for a walk.

Remarking to the others [Ganapati] Muni said, ‘The path of Self-knowledge which Bhagavan teaches is so difficult even for the learned, and Bhagavan advocated it to the poor villagers. I doubt whether they understood it and still less whether they can practise it. If Bhagavan had advised them to practise some puja or japa, that would have been more practical.’

When this was conveyed to Bhagavan, he commented, ‘What to do? This is what I know. If a teaching is to be imparted according to the traditional way, one must first see whether the recipient is qualified or not. Then puja, japa or dhyana are prescribed step by step. Later the Guru says that this is all only preliminary and one has to transcend all this. Finally, the ultimate truth that “Brahman alone is real” is revealed and to realise this, the direct path of self-enquiry is to be taught. Why this roundabout process? Should we not state the ultimate truth and direct path at the beginning itself rather than advocating many methods and rejecting them at the end?’ (Bhagavan Sri Ramana, a Pictorial Biography, p. 74)

If I may sum up: I accept that the comments on the qualifications needed to undertake self-enquiry that were made by Bhagavan in the original Sanskrit text of Sri Ramana Gita (7:8-11) are undoubtedly authentic, but I also am inclined to believe they are not typical of what he had to say on this topic. It was more usual for him to say that anyone who felt an inclination towards enquiry was qualified to pursue it.

Bhagavan’s conviction that the path of self-enquiry is suitable for everyone finds confirmation in Upadesa Undiyar. In two succinct verses he describes the method:

18 The mind is only thought. Of all [these thoughts] the thought ‘I’ alone is the root. What is called ‘mind’ is ‘I’.

19 When one scrutinises internally in the following way ‘What is the rising place of “I”?, the ‘I’ will die. This is jnana vichara.

And who is qualified to undertake this? The answer is clearly given in the preceding verse:

17 When one scrutinises the form of the mind without forgetfulness [it will be found that] there is no such thing as mind. This is the direct path for all.


195 comments:

Subramanian. R said...

Dear David,

Your post about Ramana Gita and
BVN attempts to elaborate. Bhagavan
Ramana did not need any pre-qualification from the devotee,
but only faith in Him and His method
of self enquiry. Once in Pachaiamman
Kovil, He was found talking about Atma
Vichara to a couple of monkeys. Viswanatha Swami smiled and asked
Bhagavan: What can these monkeys
understand, Bhagavan? You are telling these monkeys! Bhagavan
replied: "Why do you talk about
monkeys, as if you have all understood it!"

Subramanian.R

Ravi said...

David,
Thanks very much for your cogent and wonderful post.
Namaskar.

Murali said...

Dear David,

Any idea why BVN left Bhagavan and took to Shirdi Saibaba? This was always a mystery to me, especially, considering that Bhagavan, at the time, was living where as Saibaba left his body.

It is a well known fact that after BVN entered the scene, the Shirdi Saibaba movement became all pervasive and lively.

I also heard that it is Bhagavan himself who instructed BVN to move towards Saibaba. This appears to be inaccurate if we see that there is no other instance on record of Bhagavan asking someone to move to somewhere else.

Regards Murali

Anonymous said...

Thanks David. It's amazing how (and why?) devotees like BVN (who should have realized the Maharishi's greatness) left him to go elsewhere. It is also interesting how in verses 17 and 19, Maharishi doesn't talk about Self-enquiry as a long practice but as an instantaneous realization.

David Godman said...

In 'Enadu Ninaivugal', Kunju's remniniscences of his life with Bhagavan, it is said that Narasimha Swami left Tiruvannamalai because he was being disturbed too much by visitors. I don't find this to be a very satisfactory reason, and it's certainly not a reason to change one's Guru. It would not have been too hard for him to have found a quieter place where he could have continued with his sadhana and his literary work on Bhagavan. The fact that he left all his papers behind indicates a high level of disenchantment with what he had been doing in Tiruvannamalai.

Having said that I think we all owe him a debt of gratitude for the energetic and industrious way he went around finding out all the relevant facts about Bhagavan's life by diligent research that included interviewing many devotees. All the subsequent biographies were based on his, and much of what we know about Bhagavan's early life comes from Narasimha Swami's attempts to piece together the details.

Anonymous said...

I have no doubt that Narasimha Swami understood the greatness of Ramana.
Narasimha was consumed by grief, after a family tragedy.
I think he strongly yearned for a devotional path and Shirdi Baba fulfilled that need.
If I remember correctly, when he arrived he asked Shirdi or the lord for a sign. A pointer that this was the right direction he had chosen. He asked for a pidgeon to sit directly on his head. The bird as if on request did just that. That was just the strong sign Narasimha Swami was waiting for. The rest of the story is full of 'bava' and total devotion.
hj

Srikantha said...

Thanks much David! Your post brings an end to my doubt. I thought if the qualification was such an 'important preliminary question', it ought to be present as a introductory line in major teaching books of Maharshi, which wasn't the case. This post explains why, wonderfully, as usual.

Thanks, once again.

Anonymous said...

Dear Davidji,

Thanks for this conclusive post on the qualifactions necessary to do self-enquiry. It has erased my doubts on this subject.

best,
m

Hridaya said...

Thank you David, for your outstanding and longstanding help for all devotees of Bhagavan. I wonder if enough people realise and appreciate this. The directness of atma-vichara was always emphasized by Bhagavan; there can be no doubt about it. On the other hand is the uninterrupted practice of it a high-level maturity. To hear from the guru about the availabilty is very beautiful. But we as seekers- are we practising it as if we are struggeling for air when our head is pressed under water? Only this could be real directness, isn't it so?

Murali said...

"That was just the strong sign Narasimha Swami was waiting for."

It is simply amazing to see whose destiny lies where. In the grand scheme of things, BVN had the destiny of giving the first authoritative biography of Bhagavan and also electrify the Shirdi Saibaba movement.

As Bhagavan always says, our job is to accept the hand of Self in these happenings and keep quiet wihtout judging. Afterall, nothing happens without being ordained by the Higher Power

Regards Murali

Maneesha said...

"For me, the essential point in both of these dialogues is that one need not waste time and energy attempting to gain a mature state in which one will be better equipped to do self-enquiry since enquiry itself is the most efficient way to attain spiritual maturity."

Wonderful!

This reminds me of one of letters of Suri Nagamma where someone asks Bhagavan what he shud do when while doing japa he forgets and mind starts to wander. Bhagavan smiling says, "What shud be done? Take up the repetion again!".

I personally beleive one shud not worry whether one is eligible for any method, for that matter, or not. Whatever one feels like taking up, one shud, whithout making fuss over it or wasting time on discussing the merit of the method. It reminds me of this talk:

Talk 55.
D.: Can advaita be realised by japa of holy names; say Rama, Krishna, etc.?
M.: Yes.
D.: Is it not a means of an inferior order?
M.: Have you been told to make japa or to discuss its order in the
scheme of things?
Silence.

Maneesha said...

David, you have mentioned that you have met Suri Nagamma. Can you post something about her from your interactions with her? Or anything that has probably not been published? Fromt he letters I felt she was probably one of the most humble devotees amongst those who stayed near Him. Have you had any interesting encounters with her?

Ramesh Nagarajan said...

David,

Thank you for the detailed post on Bhagavan's teachings on Self-Enquiry. I just want to share my personal and some others experience to illustrate neither moral nor spiritual practices are required for Self-Enquiry. I have started my quest with Bhavan's teachings (Self-Enquiry) but didn't appeal at that time. I found it tough to practice, finding it nowhere to go. Then I started practicing yoga (Yama, Niyama and awareness). This practice has developed dispassion. However, there was one big weakness (considered to be immoral) which I couldn't overcome.

I was strongly convinced that I can gain the experience only after surpassing that desire. I was working towards it by sublimation, where I made some progress, but was unable to overcome. But one day I questioned the form of mind, after reading the book review of "Power of Now" by Eckhart Tolle in Google. Eckhart Tolle has written many books and I highly recommend his books. http://books.google.com/books?id=sQYqRCIhFAMC&dq=power+of+now+eckhart+tolle+google+books&printsec=frontcover&source=bn&hl=en&ei=6Us7TP79L4L_8AaNrqSmBg&sa=X&oi=book_result&ct=result&resnum=4&ved=0CB8Q6AEwAw#v=onepage&q&f=false. I started contemplating on the reading and questioned the mind, which resulted in the experience. Quoting from Bhagavan's Upadesa Undiyar verse 17 from your post, "When one scrutinizes the form of the mind without forgetfulness [it will be found that] there is no such thing as mind. This is the direct path for all." The important point is I didn't overcome that weakness at that time of experience. After the experience, that behavior is no longer present. The bad qualities automatically dropped. Thus I see that the seeker shouldn't be perfect in all aspects to realize the truth using Self-Enquiry.

Bhagavan has insisted that Self-Enquiry is suitable for any one including that of who have committed crimes. In the case of other margas more satvic activities would lead towards the goal.

Now, I could appreciate how Self-Enquiry is the simple and direct method instead of other methods. If something bothers me due to lack of awareness, I could immediately apply the questions "Who is that affected?, who am I? etc.,” which puts me into the natural state. I have a long way to go to make it as the permanent experience for liberation.

There are examples where the awakening happens without any spiritual practice. There were instances where people who were extremely suffering had indirectly questioned themselves (false "I") that resulted in the experience.
In the case of Eckhart Tolle, it was said that in his late twenties, he had depression, acute anxiety, and thoughts of suicide. Then one night he said, "I can't live with MYSELF any longer." Uttering this sentence a few times gave him pause. Then suddenly he realized, “Am I ONE or TWO?” He thought: "Who is the SELF that I cannot live with, and who am I?" I guess, in the case of Eckhart Tolle, the extreme situation has triggered strong intensity to know who is suffering, which ultimately took him to experience the truth. I have also heard, some of the Jews who have gone through extreme suffering during holocaust have got to know the truth.

Obviously, the above example is not given to conclude that extreme suffering or planning for suicide leads to Self-Enquiry. All the ones who are experiencing or trying to experience extreme suffering or suicidal thoughts wouldn’t realize the true "I". The example just proves Bhagavan's statement, if it is correctly practiced, "Self-Enquiry" doesn't require any preliminary spiritual practice or some achievement in the moral field is essential.

I believe that Self-Enquiry becomes successful, when there is a real understanding of its principles, combined with intensity and proper way of questioning.

Losing M. Mind said...

Before I read this fully, what I've read so far triggered some thoughts. My interest in spiritual practice, atleast as an adult, was not so much because I had a distaste of sense-objects, but an inability to fulfill my desires (I've mentioned this before). So, it was mainly to gain the mental stability to be able to navigate the world, and I think to a large extent that is still the motivation. It strikes me strange and unusual, but it almost seems I have to go the full way, or atleast get very far down the spiritual path to even function externally. This seems like a far different motivation, but similar in some ways. I wasn't disgusted by sense objects, I don't understand that motivation, but it was more the utter inability to function externally, ruined mental health, that caused me to start getting acupuncture, doing yoga, tai chi, chi gong, anything. And doing it religiously. There is a similarity to those motivations, in that to some degree I perceive suffering in any desire. Suffering because of the lack of ability to fulfill it (and it's transience which equals sorrow), and that the desire even hampers the ability to fulfill it, making me too nervous socially. That is with either romantic desires, or even job-functioning desires. I function best when I am transcendent of thought. Why do people go in a spiritual direction? There are egos and minds that are geared toward desire fulfillment are immature, and would do anything for fulfillment without much spiritual consideration, I'm assuming. Maybe even less ethical consideration, it makes me think of angry honking cars. They just want to get to work, get promotions, they don't care whose days they ruin. What turns such an ego in a spiritual direction? Something has to go wrong, I would think. Either they suddenly hit upon the other side of the coin, problems that inhibit their desire-fulfilling ability, harrowing experiences, etc., where they can't rely on their egos, and so then religion, spirituality, practice start to be the only way out so to speak. I also would think karmic-error, and wanting their minds to be in control so they don't make mistakes. That starts a mind relying on something higher then itself. In my own case, I've felt like it's a little bit of a puzzle. I'm not mature like these people, near Realization people, in that I really want some worldly success, especially socially, good relationships, not just being alone. It could be that in previous lives I was successful but commited karmic errors, but that doesn't quite make sense, because on the other hand, I remember being really reverent, spiritual, kind as a child. Which makes me suspect my practice didn't start in this life. I don't know. I guess I'll read this article. Sometimes there is a frustration, in that what I'm going through, isn't what the 'average' person is going through, but also isn't what these near jnanis are going through either. It's kind of a netherworld in between.

Losing M. Mind said...

It seems to me, in my own experience, I can ask Who am I? without getting at the I. Lately, I've started chanting om namo bhagavate Sri Ramanaya. It's funny, my last comment, I was not aware that this article had been posted. But it seems fitting. Nome had started all his e-mails to me with this. My purpose in inquiry (spiritual practice in general) is to start feeling good, when I feel bad. Start feeling connected, or one-ness and peace, when I feel disconnected, alienated, depressed, fearful. I usually take the latter to be the signature experience of the ego, or mind, or I-thought, having arisen and taken over my experience. I was saying in a previous e-mail that didn't post that the Ramana Gita thing is intimidating because I don't feel that ripe. i.e. I am not desire free, I am not disgusted by sense-objects, and only interested in spirituality, but because of difficulties, I've found spirituality been my only hope and gaining any kind of mental stability and equalibrium, even to function, or connect with others, or even to fulfill desires. Also, I have to say, there doesn't seem to be such a dividing line between things like japa, which I've started kind of naturally and inquiry, when I was doing japa yesterday, the japa took me over my mind totally focused on the words, and nothing else, and everything became totally expansive, and one, my mind was not wondering to other things, and it was effortless. The I-thought, or ego was not very noticeable. I guess at that point, when the mind is of the distractions from name japa of Sri Ramanaya, I could then inquire, ask Who am I? to cause the now object-less ego to vanish in pure Being. But yeah, my motivation is not some mature disgust with desires, although there is a recognition that futile desire for things that are not fulfillable by using the ego, maybe because of difficulties, doesn't help navigate the world.

Losing M. Mind said...

I could almost maybe sum up for myself, Ramana's position, as whatever works, whatever causes the problems to vanish. Because that's the thing, with sincere spirituality. Is the ego ever happy? Is it ever free of problems? I want to be free of ego, because I want to be happy, and I want to be free of problems. And from everything I've read, that is the purpose of spirituality, that is the purpose of inquiry, that maybe even is the purpose of life, they are all the same. Om Namo Bhagavate Sri Ramanaya, seems so effective at being the chain that the elephant trunk is holding. I didn't realize how effective japa is. I guess inquiry is then to inquire, because as far as I can tell the point is that mind is only a bundle of thoughts, and I am not that mind. Who am I? For me, it seems the effectiveness of inquiry is aided by knowing it's purpose, which is to be free of the ego, mind, individual-notion. And the point of inquiry is to see, to experience, that there is no ego, no mind, no individual-notion to be. Things like mantra japa seem to have the power to still the mind from it's distractions, and then to see that that mind is not real, not who I am, and then maybe, the real I flashes forth, the real Self, is revealed. But regardless, the purpose of using other practices is, when my mind is wondering to a million anxieties, how do I use inquiry? Sometimes I don't know. And I don't want to waste my time doing something that is not efficacious. But for me, inquiry is maybe keeping the main goal in mind, that the sufferer himself, the distractee himself isn't real, or is the only Existence there is.

David Godman said...

There is a brief biographical summary of B. V. Narasimha Swami at the beginning of his Life of Shirdi Sai Baba:


'HH Pujyasri B. V. Narasimha Swami Maharaj came from an orthodox Brahmin family. He did his Law from Madras Law College and set up his legal practice at Salem, Tamilnadu. He soon rose to great heights in his profession and was in the forefront in the freedom struggle. While attending a Pithru Shraadh ceremony in his home, Swamiji suffered a rude shock when his two children drowned in the well outside. The terrible tragedy made Swamiji give up all family and worldly connections and he became a wandering traveller, bent on knowing the ultimate Truth in Life. His quest took him to the ashrams of various saints and sages, spending a few years with Sri Ramana Maharishi, Sri Meher Baba and finally to Sri Upasani Baba of Sakori in search of, as he termed it a precious ‘Kohinoor’ – the Supreme manifested in a saint who could satisfy his spiritual quest! Sri Narayana Maharaj whom Swamiji met in his travels near Poona, had assured him that he would get the ‘grand jewel’ that he was after. Prompted by Sri Upasani Baba one of the foremost disciples of Shri Sai Baba, Swamiji visited Shirdi and it was from the tomb that Supreme, in the form of Shri Sai Baba bestowed on him Grace and gave his Sakshatkar, Swamiji had found his grand jewel ‘the Kohinoor’!

'Thereafter Swamiji spent his life in writing, building temples and meeting people in the service of Sri Sai Baba. in 1953 he started writing the “Life of Sai Baba”, the crest jewel of all his publications. “The Life of Sai Baba” is an immortal classic, an immense work of 1,000 pages in four volumes weaving a vast tapestry of detailed analytical and authentic Life of Sri Sai Baba.'

I think it is very unlikely that Bhagavan ever told him that he was not his Guru, and that his true Guru was someone else. Nor do I think that he would have sent Yogi Ramsuratkumar off to Swami Ramdas with a similar message. I think it is more likely that these people told him of their intention to go to see another Guru or ashram, and that Bhagavan in some way gave his approval or permission. That's not the same as sending them, unasked.

s. said...

salutations to all:
i believe the only obstacle for self-enquiry is the 'doubt' - can i do self-enquiry? am i qualified for it? :-))) while i may know nothing about the 'self', this much is more than clear that vichara is definitely the easiest of methods. after all, which 'sAdhanA' can one do wherever one is, however one may be, whatever one is doing! be it in a crowded bus or in the 'old hall', during recess in a class or while walking to pick a coffee, eating food or drinking water, in the freshness of early morning or the weariness of late evening, anytime of the day or anytime of the night, waiting for the computer to be 'on' or 'shut down' etc etc. in fact, vichara is the only method i can think of even in a toilet :-))) may be only for a few minutes or even less than a minute before one gets called for a task (am not talking about 'continuous vichara which goes no matter what' because i know nothing about such a state). attention was brought into focus on 'who am i' or 'whence am i', and thats all that matters, isn't it? no restrictions, no preparations, no this or that 'good' time, no nothing. can anything be easier than this? :-)))

Nandu Narasimhan said...

I want to say so many things about the feelings this post has evoked, but it will be better to 'summa iru'.

Parts of the post are intensely moving.

Thank you David.

Anonymous said...

Dear David,

You mentioned in your post :

Quote "He also left behind a huge collection of notes on Seshadri Swami since he also had a plan to bring out a separate book on him" Unquote

Is there any new material on the notes about Seshadri Swami ?

If so, may we request you to post these also ?

Thank you,
shiv

Anonymous said...

Dear David,

Your post about the qualifications needed for self-enquiry was very nice.

I would like to look at it from the reverse angle. i.e are we attracted to a Guru who is quiet, does not go in for too much external activity, goes straight to the point, is not verbose, frowns on miracles, supernatural powers and so on and so forth because we also have the same basic temperament as the Guru ?

Speaking for myself, the first time I read "Who am I", I instinctively found myself agreeing with it. There was no need to for me to argue with myself and convince myself. It seemed to be as self-evident as 1+1=2.

I must also confess that though I have "The Talks" and your own book "Be as you are" with me, I have never gone past the first five pages of either book.

Instead, I must have read all three volumes of "Power of Presence" more than 15-20 times already. Like-wise whenever I read Suri Nagamma's letters or Day by Day, I skip over the philosophical questions.

Apropos, of Sri BVN becoming a devotee/disciple of Sai Baba, there is also the instance of Sri Kapali Sastri who became a disciple of Sri Aurobindo and on being asked about this, said "Sri Ramana's path is too simple, too direct; seemingly without any difference between the first step and the last. At any rate, it did not seem to be suitable for persons like me. Hence, I moved to Pondicherry".(This is not a verbatim quote but if I recollect correctly, more or less what Sri Kapali Sastri said).

Thank you,
shiv

David Godman said...

B. V. Narasimha Swami tried to collect material on Seshadri Swami in the six months that preceded Seshadri Swami's passing away in January 1929. Seshadri was not interested in meeting BVN and kept running away on almost every occasion when BVN tried to approach him.

After Seshadri Swami's mahasamadhi BVN collected information on the swami's life from more than 150 people, but he found the material to be unreliable and not useful for a biography. He eventually handed over all his notes and papers to Brahmasri Kuzhumani Narayana Sastriar, who turned them into a Tamil biography of Seshadri Swami that was published in 1939. This book was published in English in 1998 by Bharatiya Vidya Bhavan. Its title is 'Seshadri Swamigal of Tiruvannamalai'.

There is a page of what appears to be comments by Bhagavan on the book (page xxxix of the English edition) Two of his interesting comments are:

1. 'this book was so enthralling that I completed seeing it in two days'.

2. At first B. V. Narasimha Swami gathered facts to write this book. Suddenly he stopped it and completed writing my biography. The writer [Brahmasri Kuzhumani Narayana Sastriar] has also been attempting this task. It was ordained that finally he should complete the biography of Sri Seshadri Swamigal and he should be proud of it.

Ramesh Nagarajan said...

Comment by "S' is very meaningful. Some of you might know about "Nochur Venkataraman" an ardent devotee of Ramana Maharishi who gives lectures on Vedanta topics in Ramanashramam, Iyyappa Seva Sangam in Chennai, Kovai, Mumbai among other places. Usually, he doesn’t talk about his experience, which rarely came out while delivering in one of his lectures on Bhagavan’s “Ullathu Narpadhu”. He had mentioned that he got his first experience while he was delivering the lecture. Few hours before the experience, he was doing meditation and vichara, but got frustrated with himself that he wasn't successful in his effort.

He had also mentioned about an incident with Bhagavan’s devotee – (not sure if Nochur had mentioned the name Chadwick.) The devotee was doing vichara for very long time and came to Bhagavan and expressed his frustrations. Bhagavan had provided some response and the devotee left and locked himself (avoided interactions with others) for 3 days or so. While taking bath, the devotee come to know the true “I” and he rushed to Bhagavan with the towel in his body, to enquire is that IT?

We could be pleasantly surprised if we had wondered all this time this could happen only in a formal setting.

Anonymous said...

Now the story in T.K.S.'s own words.

"I too climbed the Hill and found Bhagwan sitting on a stone slab, with
about 10 devotees around him. Each would sing a song. Bhagwan turned to me
and asked, "Well, won't you sing a song also." One of Sundramurthy's songs
came to my mind and I sang it. It's meaning was, "No other support have I,
except thy holy feet. By holding on to them, I shall win your grace. Great
men sing your praise Oh, Lord. Grant that my tongue may repeat Thy name even
when my mind strays."
hj

Ravi said...

Ramesh,
Nochur is presently in chennai giving talks on Ulladu NaRpadhu and Srimad Bhagavatham.His talks have the rare quality of mature wisdom and devotion.I attended the talks on saturday evening and sunday morning.
Namaskar.

Subramanian. R said...

Dear David,

I found that Who am I? enquiry
did not make any improvement in me.
I started chanting Arunachala Siva,
Arunachala Siva... and this has worked wonders in me. I am able to feel my progress. Believe it or not, this mantra was given to me
by Bhagavan Ramana in my dream about 3 years back.

Subramanian.R

Akira said...

How did the unpublished manuscript of BVN come in the hand of Nova Scotia Ashram?

David Godman said...

Dennis Hartel from the Nova Scotia ashram worked on the manuscript when he was at Ramanasramam and published the results in the magazine he edits. I met him in the ashram archives a few months ago while he was working on the project.

Akira said...

Thank you,David.

Akira said...

Annamalai Swami was not allowed to sit and meditate in his early days in the Ashram.
When talking about the qualification for Vichara, it should not be forgotten that Vichara is not limited to the practice in sitting posture.

Losing M. Mind said...

That's something I really struggle with, actions externally. It's said that we're not the doer of actions. But what if there are ways, in which I would be doing more, but for ego. And how to tell? What should I do externally? I want a Realized guru to boss me around constantly, I don't want this responsibility anymore. One of my problems with inquiry, is in terms of practice, it's really vague. There's no ego anywhere to be seen, or I-thought, just a general sense of person-hood me. How do I question it, in a lasting manner? If I just temporarily dissolve it, it comes back, and I have all the same issues. How to banish the ego for good? It's so necessary.

Anonymous said...

Just opened the latest copy of The Mountain Path. As we were just discussing Narasimha Swami, there is a review of the book by John Maynard. The book 'Apostle of Sri Sai Baba.' A garland of tributes and homage.
It's a collection of short essays with several photo prints.
Anyone interested may get further information in the book review section of The Mountain Path.
hj

Anonymous said...

Anyway, I don't think people make rapid progress towards higher states
of consciousness without dismantling the investment in the personal story line

Anonymous said...

LMM, I'm rereading The Power of the Presence. Chalam and Souris sat at Ramana's feet and yet the story that unfolds is both real and poignant.
"Meditation often came to me effortlessly but I never felt that I was making much progress. Meditation never took away my sufferings, and I found that I had little interest in the various things that had previously given me joy. I reached a point where I became tired of everything. I felt disallusioned with my spiritual life because it had taken away all my pleasures but left my sufferings untouched."
hj

Losing M. Mind said...

I wouldn't say that spirituality leaves my sorrows untouched. But that my sorrows return because I'm addicted to the desire and the possibility of fulfillment, and so re-experience the sorrow. When I actually am earnest in a spiritual direction, my sorrows, being mental and imaginary do indeed disappear.

That quote in Chalam and Souris's section of the Power of the Presence shows, I think the necessity of relying on what enlightened people say, not unenlightened people. I'm pretty sure true meditation, i.e. inward turned, awareness of the Self, necessarily implies an absence of sorrow. Maharshi repeatedly said the Self and happiness are identical, they are not two different things. That even the happiness on getting what you want, is the Bliss of the Self.

His point was why experience sorrows? When our Self is happiness. I think. But that doesn't mean, that I don't identify my happiness with a worldly object, person, experience, situation. That's why I experience sorrow. That is what is supposed to I think be questioned in spiritual practice, that the 'object' provides happiness, forgetting that my true Self is the happiness I seek.

But the reason this is intellectual for me, is because I obviously don't know this experientially to the degree that I don't consider the object the source of fulfillment, and suffer because of that Maharshi, and Nome (my teacher) would say wrong identification. Now, from what I've read, and Maharshi told stories about this, a jnani might be seen to be crying or sorrowful, but that's just the 'outward' appearance. As far as pleasure.

I don't see how spiritual practice would necessarily make it go away. David Godman already specified about how sexuality and spirituality were not at odds. Anyway, isn't the pleasure just prarabdha karma? So why would spirituality chase the pleasures away? I would just think, abiding in the happiness of one's own Self, you wouldn't crave pleasure.

Anonymous said...

Dear LMM & Ravi,
The path is challenging. You have to put in the hard yards.
We all have lofty aspirations but because of laziness and inconsistancy it can be a long and difficult path for a devotee.
Of course for the ripe and ready the understanding and breakthrough, starry, immediate!
The spiritual path is not a 'doing'
but there may appear to be a process as we struggle on.
Here is the opportunity, depending on our ripeness and inner strength; we deal with it as best we can.
hj

Ramesh Nagarajan said...

Dear LMM,

It was told that even supposedly called Jnaanis slip out from abiding in the self, however, they are able to regain natural state by repeated experience which hasn’t become permanent. One of the known exceptions is Bhagavan - The mighty impersonality. Many Jnaanis have praised Bhagavan including “Narayana Guru” who wrote “Municharya Panchagam” on Bhagavan. I also found in this blog David Godman quoting Papaji that he has never seen a Jnaani comparable to Ramanar, if he sees one then he would prostrate before him.

If Jnaanis can slip out of abiding in the self, we can think of our situations. So, we don’t need to get frustrated, as it indicates the level of spiritual maturity as not strengthened yet. We don’t need to be saddened as well, as it takes time to completely lose our identity and associations with false “I”. I find these forums and posts as an opportunity for satsang, so that my mind focuses on "SAT". Given that background, as a fellow seeker, I would like to share few thoughts.

We all might know that the benefit of Self Realization is to remain in the natural state i.e, to experience eternal peace. If a person can sit unaffected (remaining in the eternal peace) at all times, irrespective of the situation he is in, we can say that person has reached the natural state forever. We could see this in the life of Bhagavan, after his experience.
We know that “The story of I” as an individual affects us to be in the natural state. There is a constant chattering going on within us in the form of thoughts, which robs away our peace. As we make progress in the spiritual path, we would find the presence of this peace. We may find this peace when we attend satsang; participate in bhajans, during meditation or any Satvic related activities. During those instances, the story of I is lost to some extent (resulting in the experience of peace) only to regain at later point of time. Before the experience of the TRUTH (Who am I?), the conditions for pleasure and peace are attributed to the external activities including Satvic activities. Even though happiness can arise only from the source, it is said because of such and such events the happiness is derived.

It is salient to state, no matter what, events continue to happen based on Prarbdha. So, it is not wise to disregard pleasant situations and force oneself to exile. Now let us imagine for a moment that we try to suppress those situations. Then the suppression itself is a vehement force that will surely eat away the peace, which is contrary to what our goal is. We could also see from the life of Jnaani, that he doesn’t avoid or force things that come under his way, but allow things to happen without losing his peace. The key here is we don’t look for pleasure, but accept it, as it comes our way. In Upadesa Undiyar verse 3 Bhagan says “Desireless action [nishkamya karma] dedicated to God will purify the mind and it will show the path to liberation.” Slowly we get indifferent to those pleasures supposedly derived from external objects by the process of sublimation.

It is significant to note that, the seeker’s Sadhana Graph at any stage is not always exponential, sometimes the Graph dips down or stagnant for a while before picking up the pace. This is quite natural, and we get frustrated within ourselves as we feel get struck in between: neither giving importance to our “I story” or unable to achieve the experience. Several storms could occur putting on the brakes to the practice.

CONTINUED IN THE NEXT POST…..

Ramesh Nagarajan said...

CONTINUED FROM PREVIOUS POST

That is where the importance of sublimation comes as the key to the solution. Even Buddha, forced himself to attain Self-Realization by denying food and other essential things to sustain life. Later he himself followed a path which he had declared the Middle Path. More importantly, he had struggled for 18 years to get liberated. So, it has to be understood, that it is going to take several decades, possibly several births to attain the perfect state.

As the seeker experiences the TRUTH, he clearly sees that Happiness and Peace is within himself and doesn’t depend on any external events, and the aspect that robs the peace is his thoughts themselves. That is when the seeker comes to know “I am not the doer”. The seeker will come to know that he is an instrument where the higher intelligence flows through him to exhaust his vasanas in the present life. Before the experience it is all intellectual understanding. The seeker will also experience the loss of peace when he holds on to the false “I”. Nevertheless, even before the experience, duration of the peace indicates the improvement in the Sadhana.

Secondly, it is imperative to note that the paths travelled by a seeker would vary. Finding the right marga would greatly help in sublimation. Some may find that Raja Yoga (Patanjali) is suitable for them, while others find Jnaana or Karma Yoga is the right path to follow.

Generally speaking, the seekers follow all the margas at the same time but in different ratios. There are few exceptions. A live Satguru such as Bhagavan could advice certain methods based on predominant Gunas (indicated in Gita) of the seeker.
For example, Bhagavan has advocated Jnaana Marga for all those who have asked the ways to reach the goal. However, it was said, Bhagavan had kept one of his devotees for a long period of time to build a site (karma yoga), even though the devotee was interested to be with him in the ashram. As he got matured in spirituality, Bhagavan brought him to ashram. Even if we look at the life of Bhagavan’s mother after she came to ashram, Bhagavan didn’t force things into her. Bhagavan initially didn’t try to change his mother’s “Madi – Acharam” practice. Basically, Bhagavan’s mother would cook food with “Madi” and the food will be distributed to others after she eats it. It was told that Bhagavan, used to allow this until one day, a group of people (who live in the streets) begged for food.
Bhagavan had asked one of the devotees to bring food for them, knowing well that her mother hasn’t eaten yet. Bhagavan’s mother told Bhagavan hesitantly, that “I haven’t eaten food”. Bhagavan replied to her along these words, “Do you know who they are, they are actually that Arunachala Himself”. From that point, it was told that Bhagavan’s mother, left that “Madi –Acharam” related to cooking food. In another instance, Bhagavan has sung a song “Appalamittu Par” to her mother to teach about the importance of dispassion towards making Appalam and turn towards inward.

It is tough to find these types of Gurus in the present time such as Bhagavan. Since Bhagavan is ever present, by sincere prayer, he will show up the right path. It was said that, sincere practice towards the Goal, will appeal the higher intelligence (Atman, Self, etc.,) and identify us the right Guru and the Guru will appear in many ways (may be in unexpected human form during casual conversation, events, things in nature, etc) to advise us.

CONTINUED IN THE NEXT POST…..

Ramesh Nagarajan said...

CONTINUED FROM PREVIOUS POST

So, it is vital to find what works for us. This would also come by awareness. As we start reading several scriptures, some advices appeal more to us than others, pertaining to predominant vasanas within us. For example, the seeker may find that Bhathi Yoga might be more suitable, as his mind gets subdued by listening to Purnas, hymns, life stories of devotees of Lord, etc., It is also important to note that other margas are subtly present in various proportions while practicing a specific marga. Even if we take Patanjali’s Yoga Sutra (Raja Yoga) – we could find “Surrender to God” (Bhakthi Yoga), “Tapas” (Perform all actions as a sacrifice – Karma Yoga), “Study Sacred Scriptures” (To intellectually understand “who am I”) are present in Niyama. Thus the seeker would follow a prominent marga and use the other ones in right proportion. If the seeker gets struck or frustrated then supplement other margas as well during the practice. For example, If the seeker find that his mind is distracted, couldn’t concentrate on awareness, then he could possibly listen to devotional songs are study scriptures. This way, he doesn’t feel frustrated; secondly, he is not deviating from his goal, (losing his mind in other materialistic activities). This will find ways back to the main marga. Yes, sometimes, mind cannot be subdued, at those times; he could take it easy and allow the mind to wander, while keeping the spiritual practice at the back of his mind. For example, even while watching a movie, we could see how attachment and aversion affects the characters (suffering) in the movie and use it towards our spiritual practice. The goal is to bring awareness or participate in the activities or read or think related to spiritual goal throughout the waking period as much as possible and not only for couple of hours or only during meditation.

Finally, the seeker loses oneself in the process. Sometimes, the seeker might get struck where “Sadhakha” remains after so much “Sadhana”. If we take Bhakthi Marga, the devotee should lose himself with unconditional love. In Upadesa Undiyar verse 8 and 9 Bhagavan says “Rather than anya-bhava, ananya-bhava [done with the conviction] ‘He is I’ is indeed the best among all [the various kinds of meditation]. “ “By the strength of meditation [that is, by the strength of such ananya-bhava or Self-attention], abiding in the state of being, which transcends meditation, alone is the truth of supreme devotion [para-bhakti-tattva].”

Whatever marga the seeker chooses, finally finds all are one and the same. Again Upadesa Undiyar verse 10 “Abiding, having subsided in the place of rising [in one’s source, the real Self] – that is karma [desireless action] and bhakti [devotion], that is yoga [union with God] and jnana [true knowledge].”

To summarize, the seeker who is determined on the goal, should avoid practice by suppression as it produces the opposite effect of the goal, which is experiencing peace within himself. Progress in Sadhana becomes stagnated or slightly dips down, which results in frustration. The seeker should be aware of what works for him (identifying margas in right proportion.) If frustration persists, the seeker can use other margas to supplement the practice. The seeker continues the practice through sublimation throughout the most of the waking period. Irrespective of the margas, the seeker must lose himself to realize the experience. Then seeker strives to abide in the truth at all times, until it becomes permanent to attain eternal peace. Until then even Jnaanis can slip out from abiding in the self. A seeker goes through a laborious journey to reach that perfect state, which may take several decades and life births.

Losing M. Mind said...

Any kind of constant absorption in the message. Letting it act on me, and become absorbed in it, rather then 'doing' something. And 'doing' it this way, I think I have a lot of good results. Alot of blissful, egoless-ish, samadhi-ish, profoundly enjoyable 'states'. And the goal, I think, of spiritual practices is to dissolve the unreal bondage that causes suffering. So being happy, is very much the goal. But I can't be happy by my own efforts in a sense.

And inquiry, and spiritual practice, and meditation, I don't think are a mental 'doing'. Papaji said that was concentration, not meditation. When the guy asked about effortlessly being without thought, Papaji exclaimed, "ah, that is meditation!" Being in the presence of the enlightened as much as possible has become the practice, and without that, then associating with the message externally as much as possible.

I would say reading Maharshi's words, is almost more profound then any of my own efforts. The way a sentence of his, can free one, and you feel that expansive, joyful freedom. If you can stay there, eventually I think you or me will realize that is Reality itself.

Losing M. Mind said...

I was reading an essay by Gangaji the other day, and it was actually quite good. So good, I wouldn't be surprised if she has the true Realization. But she was talking about her meeting with Papaji, and I think she said it was like he contained the whole cosmos in his eyes.

Oh yeah, and she was saying that initially she had thought she could do it on her own, horrified by the abuses of the guru-scene. But then realized she needed a Master, prayed for one, and met Papaji, and I think even detailed that she indeed did realize the Self in his presence. But the part that I think I relate to, is that initially I viewed it as a practice I could do on my own and attain enlightenment. So my practices amounted to variations on what I thought Self-inquiry was perhaps as a method. Initially it was even violently repeating with any thought, "to whom did this arise".

So violently that I felt like I was hurting my brain. I don't think that was it. I don't think what I was doing was Self-inquiry, but there was some earnestness in my attempt to understand. I think more recently, what I've come to, and what my practice has become, is less my own effort, and more absorption, or association with things that express the Self, so to speak, the words of sages, audio CD's of sages.

Ramesh Nagarajan said...

Dear LMM,

Very nicely expressed on the constant absorption in the message. As we start listening or reading to spiritual masters, some messages might be clearly understood, while others might not get inside that easily. However, having heard that, the contents of the message gets used down the line. Later on, we would wonder ourselves while applying that principle or discover ourselves that we did practice it. As the messages get absorbed, at one point of time, the self-enquiry automatically happens, resulting in experience.

And after the experience, we will find effortlessly being without thought. The presence of inner stillness in which, we will perform the actions automatically. In a sense, it would be similar to pumping of blood, constant breathing that takes even during deep sleep, heart beat, etc., which happen without any thought process. In other words, the awareness is purely related to the action that we perform at this moment. As the thoughts are related to past or future, the action gets performed effortlessly. Of course, abiding in that state is another set of challenge in itself.

s. said...

salutations to all:
ramesh: you wrote "As the messages get absorbed, at one point of time, the self-enquiry automatically happens, resulting in experience.
And after the experience, we will find effortlessly being without thought.
"

my apologies in advance. many of the things which you have written here, such as the above, though at times a bit unnecessarily long, seem to suggest you are talking from the fact of actual self-abidance. would you say, you have realised the self? if yes, we all should be blessed to have a master in our amidst, and if not, pardon me for saying, it is a little misleading! if it's the former, nothing like it; if it be the latter, please distinguish between one's intellectual opinions from those that are part & parcel of standard advaita/expressions of a jnAnI such as bhagavAn etc.

Sridhar said...

Namaste all

That pre-qualifications may really not have been laid down by Bhagwan is also suggested by something thatSri. Krishna Bhikshu has said:

"Wherever I would go people would find some fault or other with me: "You are too weak, not fit for yoga, you do not know how to concentrate, you cannot hold your breath, you are unable to fast, you need too much sleep, you cannot keep vigils, you must surrender all your property..." Only Bhagavan asked for nothing, found fault with nothing. As a matter of truth, there was nothing in me that entitled me to his grace. But it did not matter with Bhagavan. He wanted me, not my goodness. It was enough to tell him "I am yours," and for him to do the rest. In that way he was unsurpassed."

Many pranams
Sridhar

Ramesh Nagarajan said...

Dear S,

No worries. These are valid questions. First of all, I consider myself as a seeker. I haven't reached the stage of permanent experience or liberation. In other words, abide in the self at all times. At times I slip away, which becomes clear by the disturbance of that supreme peace. Even some Jnaanis sometimes sense the subtle presence of false I. I am not even close to it, so I consider myself as a seeker. Whatever I had shared is based on the experience.

I would like to provide a background about the spiritual practice which had led to Self-Enquiry automatically. Several years after I had started the spiritual quest, I practiced "Self-Enquiry" to the great extent, without going nowhere by simply asking the question "who am I" umpteen number of times, which only resulted in frustration. So, I had started reading other texts, such as Gita, various Upanishads, discourses by spiritual masters, always in constant touch with subjects related to Spiritual matters. Then, I had started practicing Yamas and Niyamas (created a PowerPoint presentation, with pictures each representing one of the Yamas and Niyama, looked at the pictures every day.) This had helped me to develop Vairagya. Down the line, I started sitting for meditation, tried several techniques, with frustration and gave up. Then, I had started watching myself as a witness without judgment (awareness). This helped me in two ways: to understand my compulsive actions, most importantly, I came to know how these actions of mine affected me and others. In between, I had a spiritual experience (not who am I), by Bhagavan’s grace, which was a pleasant surprise, where I couldn’t control my tears when I stepped into Samadhi hall at Ramanashramam. I continued to read scriptures, some of the messages I understood and others with no clue. But the messages get retained. As I had mentioned, later on, I was in wonder with myself, when I applied the principle of these messages automatically and sometimes I had discovered later that I had practiced those values with ease.

Many times I get myself caught in the event of doing the compulsive actions with complete awareness. Some of the loose or weak false associations and identifications dropped away. In my humble opinion, in a way, the awareness itself is an indirect way of Self-Enquiry, as we lose some false “I” identifications and associations. In that sense, I think “Self-Enquiry” is a long process, rather than just one-off questions. There may be exceptions. Coming back to the point, I couldn’t get full control of the predominant compulsive actions. I had continued to do those forced actions, but with awareness. I had decided not to force things by suppression. The combination of contemplation of messages, vairagya and awareness throughout the waking period as much as possible, took me to state of Self-Enquiry without me practicing that method directly.

One of my friends had recommended the book "The Power of Now". The next day, during my lunch break at work, I just read the book review in Google and started contemplating on Eckhart Tolle's teachings about mind. I was casually sitting (no meditation posture) in my chair with my eyes open. That is when the Bhagavan had bestowed his grace upon me. Everything disappeared before me and came to know the real "I" - the inner stillness, inner being, Self,etc., And after that, I saw my own thoughts as a mirage before me. Then I saw the same consciousness (formless being) present in my body is being present in all the forms that I see. It was mystical and a pleasant surprise. The above words didn’t do much justification on explaining the experience, as it cannot be explained.

CONTINUED IN THE NEXT POST…

Ramesh Nagarajan said...

CONTINUED FROM PREVIOUS COMMENT….

The important point is, on that day, I didn't sit down to do "Self-Enquiry", that I will find out the real "I" today. That is why I had mentioned "Self-Enquiry happens automatically". Later on I found out that I was indeed questioning the false "I" by scrutinizing the form of mind. Bhagavan says in Upadesa Undiyar - "When one scrutinises the form of the mind without forgetfulness [it will be found that] there is no such thing as mind. This is the direct path for all." I guess, I didn’t perform the enquiry forcing myself to find the answer to the question, rather trying to analyze the false “I”, which disappeared automatically. Immediately after the experience, I felt, so much joy which cannot be expressed in words and recognized an important and complex puzzle piece was solved.

As you had mentioned it is hard to believe that “Self-Enquiry happens automatically”, but it is true. Similarly, I assumed all along this could happen only when we are in a meditative and not in casual posture. I also questioned myself, how could this happen if I didn’t practice sitting in a place for meditation on a daily basis. So many other questions followed after. Again Bhagavan’s grace helped me to find those answers.
Later on I found several seekers had the experience in casual settings. In one of previous comments, I had mentioned that Nochur Venkataraman's had the first experience while he was doing talks on spirituality. Nochur had also mentioned about one of the Bhagavan's devotees (I believe Chadwick,) had the experience while taking bath among other examples. The experience can happen anywhere and anytime (of course only during conscious waking period) as long as we know the right way to question the false "I". It is tough to explain how to do "Self-Enquiry" as the process itself is so subtle.

The experience brought several transformations within me. I don’t want to go in detail about these transformations. If the seeker does not see any transformation after the experience, then we can conclude that the experience is a hallucination or an intellectual understanding.

At this time, I want to quickly point out, until the experience becomes permanent (mind completely destroyed), the seeker is not said to be liberated. Even there are some exceptions in Jnaanis. I am not closer to those levels, so I am a seeker. However, the experience is the same, for the person who has experienced once or for a Jnaani or a perfect Yogi as the Truth cannot be different. The difference in Jnaanis lies in how far the experienced person can abide in that natural state.

There are several examples, where the seekers who gained the experience have continued the practice to gain the permanent experience which can happen after several years or possibly multiple births. In Bhagavatham, it was said, Naradha had experience only once during that life time and he had to take another birth to get liberated. Nevertheless, the experience had identified the true enemy - which is the association and identification with my own thoughts. This helps me to question myself "who am I?, or who is affected?", by recollecting the experience I had, which puts me to hold on to the self and perform my activities in the world. In Bhagavan's words: "Irundha padikay iru, Iraivan Arul Selluthukkum Vazhikay Sel" - "Abide in the truth and perform actions under the guidance of higher intelligence".

Once again, you have asked the valid question, no need to feel sorry about it. Please let me know if there are other comments that I had posted require additional details.

kandhan said...

Dear Mr. Ramesh
What you have stated is so true. When we read Bhagawan's words it just sinks below. And suddenly in some situations it just pops above.
Osho( or Papaji, dont know who) says that realisation happens when the truth is heard the very first time itself. The efforts which follow are only to remove the intrusions or stabilise the state.

Arunachala Rama said...

Dear David,

Thanks a lot for posting. Very refreshing after a long gap.

my reflection is question of qualification doesn't come as it is Guru's grace that made us aware of Self-Enquiry. Isn't question of qualification a case of self-doubt?

Isn't Grace and Karma responsible for bringing us to becomes aware of Self-Enquiry? In Day to Day with Bhagavan by Shri Devaraja Mudaliar, Bhagavan categorically says everything is determined.

my second query David, Bhagavan tells Shri Devaraja Mudaliar that we can only enquire into the form and origin of the ego ( I- reflected consciousness), which is the lower self ( in smaller case). Then why we state Self ( in caps) - Enquiry. Investigation is in the form and origin of this reflected consciousness just like we search for the snake without getting distracted and find the rope. So enquiry proper is on the perception of the presence. Your views David.

Once again thanks David for posting.

Regards
Rama
Bangalore

David Godman said...

Arunachala Ramana

When I write 'self-enquiry' in my books or articles, I always use the lower case 's' since Bhagavan makes it clear that the enquiry is into the individual self, not the transcendent one. Most Ramanasramam books use an upper case 'S', which, in my opinion, is misleading.

Losing M. Mind said...

In Nome's first response to me, he capitalized Self-inquiry. I'm guessing the reason for that is that Self-inquiry is to reveal the real Self, and the little self, doesn't exist, which is what is revealed. So it is inquiry to reveal the Self, Self-inquiry.

Dear Kassy Hiroshima,

Om Namo Bhagavate Sri Ramanaya

Namaste. Thank you for your message. It is good that you are attempting to practice Self-inquiry.

As is explained in Bhagavad Gita and elsewhere, krodha (anger) is rooted in kama (desire), which is rooted in avidya (ignorance). One who knows this destroys the tendencies constituting the personality and its repetitive suffering.

If the source of happiness in ascertained to be within you, dissolution of desire and fear is natural. The root of duality is the ego-notion. None of this is truly you.

Grace transcends the ideas of inner and outer, of oneself and another, and its infinity is endlessly experienced by those who remain free of the ego.

In the inquiry “For whom is thought?” the objectifying outlook is abandoned, and the thought subsides, and, as one inquires “Who am I?” clear Knowledge of one’s true identity shines and the very sense of existence previously falsely associated with the thought returns to it origin, the Self. Therefore, question the definitions you imagine for yourself.

The ego, being an illusion, is powerless. It cannot know anything. The potency of spiritual practice derives from the Self, which is of the nature of Consciousness.

The consideration of whether or not Nome is a jnani is irrelevant to your inquiry. Sri Bhagavan has said that the realized can take care of themselves, and you should take care of yourself.

If you find what is said here helpful, make good use of it. If it is not understandable by you, you may discard it as so much prattle or set it aside to be picked up at a later time by you.

May the tendency to consider the illusory person as if real be relinquished by you, and, diving within, may you deeply inquire to know the true Self, of the nature of nondual Being-Consciousness-Bliss, and thereby abide in lasting peace and imperishable happiness.

Ever yours in Truth,

Nome

Anonymous said...

"since Bhagavan makes it clear that the enquiry is into the individual self, not the transcendent one."

yes, how could we possibly investigate that that is "without"

we can only investigate the ego, the 'I', that that "has"

Ravi said...

David/Friends,
I do not practice self enquiry-from what I have read,I understand that Sri Bhagavan meant this to be done in an intuitive and simplest possible,familiar way-that it is not possible that one does not know self-that there is only one self and it need not be known by the mind as this or that.The 'who'part is only momentary turning of attention,the 'am' is the continuous,ever present awareness.

Instead of dismissing this 'presence' as something insignificant(as the Ego,etc),just stay with this simple beginning and let it unravel and unfold.

Here is an Excerpt from Sri Sadhu Om's Path of Sri Ramana ,Chapter 7:
“On hearing the expression ‘Self-enquiry’ [atma-vichara], people generally take it to mean either enquiring into the Self or inquiring about the Self. How to do so? Who is to inquire into the Self, or who is to inquire about Self? What does enquiry actually mean? Such questions naturally arise, do they not?

As soon as we hear the terms ‘Atma-vlchara’ or 'Brahma-vichara', many of us naturally consider that there is some sort of effulgence or a formless power within our body and that we are going to find out what it is, where it is, and how it is. This idea is not correct, because, Self [atman] does not exist as an object to be known by us who seek to know it! Since Self shines as the very nature of him who tries to know It, Self-enquiry does not mean enquiring into a second or third person object. It is in order to make us understand this from the very beginning that Bhagavan Ramana called Self-enquiry ‘Who am I?’, thus drawing our attention directly to the first person. In this question, ‘Who am I?’, ‘I am’ denotes Self and ‘who’ stands for the enquiry.

Who is it that is to inquire into Self? For whom is this enquiry necessary? Is it for Self? No. Since the Self is the ever-attained, ever-pure, ever-free and ever-blissful Whole, it will not do any enquiry, nor does it need to! All right, then it is only the ego that needs to do the enquiry. Can this ego know Self? As said in the previous chapters, this ego is a false appearance, having no existence of its own. It is a petty infinitesimal feeling of ‘I’, which subsides and loses its form in sleep. So, can Self become an object that could be known by the ego? No, the ego cannot know Self! Thus, when it turns out that Self-enquiry is unnecessary for Self and Self-knowledge is impossible for the ego, the questions arise: ‘What then is the practical method of doing Self-enquiry? Why is this term ‘Self-enquiry’ found in the sastras? Are we not to scrutinize thus and find out? Let us do so. "
.......Continued...........

Ravi said...

Friends,
...The Path of Ramana continued...
"There is a difference between the way in which the term ‘enquiry’ is used by Sri Bhagavan and the way in which the sastras use it. The sastras advocate negating the five sheaths, namely the body, prana (breath), mind, intellect and the darkness of ignorance, as ‘not I, not I’ [neti, neti]. But who is to negate them, and how? If the mind (or the intellect) is to negate them, it can at best negate only the insentient physical body and the prana, which are objects seen by it. Beyond this, how can the mind negate itself, its own form? And when it cannot even negate itself, how can it negate the other two sheaths, the intellect and the darkness of ignorance, which are beyond its range of perception?

During the time of enquiry, therefore, what more can the mind do to remain as the Self except to repeat mentally, ‘I am not this body, I am not this prana’? From this, it is clear that ‘enquiry’ is not a process of one thing enquiring about another thing. That is why the enquiry ‘Who am I?’ taught by Sri Bhagavan should be taken to mean Self-attention! (that is, attention merely to the first person, the feeling ‘I’).
-----------------------------------
Sri Sadhu Om's elaboration certainly seems too elaborate and complex-sri Bhagavan intends this to be the simplest approach possible!This certainly requires emtying of all preoccupations of the mind and a sense of settled Resting in self.If the mind is active,better do some parayana,associate with the Great ones in whatever manner one can,or simply Pray-'Mother','Mother','Mother'.

Namaskar.

David Godman said...

Ravi

In your extract from Sadhu Om's writings he says:

In this question, ‘Who am I?’, ‘I am’ denotes Self and ‘who’ stands for the enquiry.

This is not, in my opinion, what Bhagavan said and taught. Bhagavan taught that the 'I' we are enquiring into is the individual 'I', not the Self. When you do the enquiry, you hold onto the feeling of 'I', which is the subjective awareness of individual identity. If the practice is done well, the individual 'I' subsides and disappears, leaving Self alone.

I spoke to Sadhu Om about this in the early 1980s and he defended his views by saying, 'There is only one "I", and that is the Self'. The implication seemed to be that holding on to the Self constituted self-enquiry or self-attention.

I didn't agree then and I don't agree now. One cannot hold onto the Self without first removing the obstacle to a direct awareness of it - that is the 'I'-thought. By questioning its nature, by looking for its origin, or simply by being aware of it continuously, one causes it to subside and vanish.

Bhagavan said that the Self does not need to be enquired into. All that is required is to remove its coverings through an enquiry into the nature and origin of the false entity that is covering it up.

Ravi said...

David,
I do not see any contradiction here.Down the line in that same chapter,Sri Sadhu Om writes:
"In either of these two kinds of enquiry (‘Who am I? or ‘Whence am I?’), since the attention of the aspirant is focused only on himself, nothing other than Self, which is the true import of the word ‘I’, will be finally experienced. Therefore, the ultimate result of both the enquiries, ‘Whence am I?’ and ‘Who am I?’, is the same!

How? He who seeks ‘Whence am I?’ is following the ego, the form of which is ‘I am so-and-so’, and while doing so, the adjunct ‘so-and-so’, having no real existence, dies on the way, and thus he remains established in Self, the surviving ‘I am’.

On the other hand, he who seeks ‘Who am I?’ drowns effortlessly in his real natural ‘being’ (Self), which ever shines as ‘I am that I am.’

Therefore, whether done in the form ‘Whence am I?’, or ‘Who am I?’, what is absolutely essential is that Self-attention should be pursued to the very end.

Moreover, it is not necessary for sincere aspirants even to name beforehand the feeling ‘I’ either as ego or as Self. For, are there two persons in the aspirant, the ego and Self? This is said because, since every one of us has the experience ‘I am one only and not two’, we should not give room to an imaginary dual feeling – one ‘I’ seeking for another ‘I’ – by differentiating ego and Self as ‘lower self’ and ‘higher self’.

“...Are there two selves, one to be an object known by the other? For, the true experience of all is ‘I am one’”

-- ‘Ulladhu Narpadhu,’ verse 33 - asks Sri Ramana.

Thus it is sufficient if we cling to the feeling ‘I’ uninterruptedly till the very end. Such attention to the feeling ‘I’, the common daily experience of everyone, is what is meant by Self-attention. For those who accept as their basic knowledge the ‘I am the body’ – consciousness [jiva bhava], being unable to doubt its (the ego’s) existence, it is suitable to take to Self-attention (that is, to do Self-enquiry) in the form ‘Whence am I?’.

On the other hand, for those who, instead of assuming that they have an individuality [jiva bhava] such as ‘I am so-and-so’ or ‘I am this’, attend thus,
‘What is this feeling which shines as I am?’ it is suitable to be fixed in Self-attention in the form ‘Who am I?’.

What is important to be sure of during practice [sadhana] is that our attention is turned only towards ‘I’, the first person singular feeling.”
-----------------------------------
Namaskar.

Losing M. Mind said...

Yeah, but David Godman, since there is only one Self, and not two, as Bhagavan said many times, isn't inquiry into the individual self, revealing the real Self, and aren't they both in the same place? Because they both are 'I'. Just one is the real 'I' and one is the false 'I'? Because in my more recent and more successful attempts, I attend, or look at the individual I feeling, and that individual I feeling becomes the only thing there is. (but also is no longer an individual I) So in a sense I would think both you and Sadhu Om are right. It's kind of like 'not this', 'not this'. As I try to inquire into the I, there is also a giving up all the things that are not I. So it seems 'not this' and 'Who am I?' are one motion as well. For instance in my own case, I might be concentrating. But the concentration is not I, so I can give it up, let mental attention do what it wants, and go back to looking at I. And when I say I, I mean the individual ghost at that particular moment, or thought I'm taking myself to be. Earlier on, that was another error, I would look at an imagined I, or look for a place of I. But I, is the one who is looking. And actually if I do that, it removes I, and it can be quite effortless and natural, and of course there is a substratum, that is always there, so it works. I just have to do it.

Losing M. Mind said...

I should add, Michael James was/is pretty certain that Sadhu Om had realized the Self. If he had, wouldn't his instruction coming from real experience, necessarily be correct?

Ramesh Nagarajan said...

I totally agree with David Godman. We cannot enquire the formless being - Self. When we start enquiring the false "I" - self, we will find that only Self exists. This example of Bhagavan was in a different context but I think it is appropriate here. When we listen to Radio, it seems that there is a person residing and speaking from that box. Upon enquiry, we find that the person is not there, it has several layers. The radio has electronics parts which is capable of receiving radio waves through its antenna. The radio waves are transmitted from the radio transmission tower of the radio station. Then, we have a real person speaking in the radio station. So there are several layers. Suppose, if I haven't seen the concept live or no knowledge of this, how could I enquire that real person, the radio station, transmission tower, radio waves and the radio itself. I have to start enquiring from that which "I" know. In the case of Radio it is intellectual, which has some physical entities. Now, as for as the Self is concerned, it is intangible and a formless being. How one can enquire about it? Whatever we can enquire about this Self, can only be a imagination based on our mental accumulation. And the Self cannot be enquired, IT can only be experienced. When we start enquiring the false "I"s in the Right way, the false layers drop off and the real "I" shines forth. How do we know, if we have reached that real "I"? As Shashtras declare, we don't need another lamp to explain the concept of a lamp. When we reach there we will find that Self is a formless and boundless. We will find that it is the source of peace and bliss. The enquiry stops right there, as the person who is enquiring doesn't exist to perform enquiry. I am THAT. So it should be self-enquiry and not Self-enquiry.

s. said...

salutations to all:
ravi & others: many a time indeed, i feel like telling aruNAchalA: 'you rascal, won't you give it to me?' hahahahaha

coming to self-enquiry, it's my humble yet firm opinion that 'the' best resources for one to get a hold of 'vichAra' are bhagavAn's writings themselves - no talks, no sadhu om, no this or that - bhagavAn's 'nAn yAr', 'upadEsa undiyAr', uLLadu nArpadu' (with or without lakshmaNa sarmA's commentary'), and perhaps the prose which bhagavAn wrote on the vivEkachUdAmaNi are from where one must learn vichAra. 'realised' souls have their own confusing ways of saying whatever they have to say, and the 'unrealised' hapless souls get even more thoroughly confused on reading those confused works!! in this blog as well as elsewhere, people keep talking again & again about all realised beings (a misnomer in itself) say the 'same' thing. i have no clue whether all of them say the same thing, nor do i bother whether they all say the same thing (we keep saying all say the 'same' thing because thats what we wish to believe & thats what retains us in a comfort zone). the one thing the matters is what bhagavAn says; period. :-)))

stripping aside all useless neo-advaitic nonsense, self-enquiry for an aspirant has to be seen as a sAdhanA, which has to be accompanied by effort & more effort & even more effort as long one hasn't firmly established oneself in bhagavAn's state (am not saying 'self-abidance' because i don't know what it is; what i know is bhagavAn). it's by sAdhanA that one ought to realise the futility of all sAdhanA; it's by walking the path one must understand experientially that there never was a goal, or a path to such a goal! all thinking is useless for sAdhanA.

if any among is struggling with 'vichAra', and is not satisfied with the available translations, then the only way is to learn tamil and read bhagavAn's works in their original. all the other works on bhagavAn are merely to supplement bhagavAn's works, and if one isn't interested, one can happily ignore them, and do something else, like listening to schubert, or doing some pure mathematics etc. :-)))

David Godman said...

Losing M Mind

The question of what one is enquiring into when one does self-enquiry has been answered more than adequately by Bhagavan himself. Here is a good example:

Dr. Srinivasa Rao asked Bhagavan, “When we enquire within ‘Who am I?’ what is that?”

Bhagavan: It. is the ego. It is only that which makes the vichara also. The Self has no vichara. That which makes the enquiry is the ego. The ‘I’ about which the enquiry is made is also the ego. As the result of the enquiry the ego ceases to exist and only the Self is found to exist. (Day by Day with Bhagavan, 21.1.45, night)

Since Bhagavan has answered this question very clearly himself, and on more than one occasion, there is no need to consult commentators on his work to ascertain whether self-enquiry is an enquiry into the individual self or the transcendent Self.

Ravi

Sadhu Om’s explanations of self-enquiry seem to be underpinned by the notion that the individual ‘I’ and the Self are one and the same entity. This leads to the conclusion that when one attends to the individual ‘I’, one is also attending to the Self. I don’t think this is so. As Bhagavan points out in the quotation I gave to Losing M Mind, self-enquiry is the ego attending to itself, not ego holding on to the Self.

The procedure is quite clear: enquiry is holding onto the ‘I’-thought. When, through intense concentration, the ‘I’-thought subsides and disappears, Self alone remains. Here is Bhagavan explaining it to Kapali Sastry in the talks that precede Sat Darshana Bhashya:

Devotee. - You say one can realise the self by a search for it. What is the character of this search?

Maharshi. - You are the mind or think that you are the mind. The mind is nothing but thoughts. Now behind every particular thought there is a general thought which is the “I”, that is yourself. Let us call this “I” the first thought. Stick to this I-thought and question it to find out what it is. When this question takes strong hold on you, you cannot think of other thoughts.

D. - When I do like this and cling to my self, i.e., the I-thought, other thoughts do come and go, but I say to myself ‘Who am I?’ and there is no answer forthcoming. To be in this condition is the Sadhana. Is it so?

M. - This is a mistake that people often make. What happens when you make a serious quest for the Self is that the I-thought as a thought disappears, something else from the depths takes hold of you and that is not the ‘I’ which commenced the quest.

D. - What is this something else?

M. - That is the real Self, the import of I. It is not the ego. It is the Supreme Being itself.

David Godman said...

Losing M Mind

The question of what one is enquiring into when one does self-enquiry has been answered more than adequately by Bhagavan himself. Here is a good example:

Dr. Srinivasa Rao asked Bhagavan, “When we enquire within ‘Who am I?’ what is that?”

Bhagavan: It. is the ego. It is only that which makes the vichara also. The Self has no vichara. That which makes the enquiry is the ego. The ‘I’ about which the enquiry is made is also the ego. As the result of the enquiry the ego ceases to exist and only the Self is found to exist. (Day by Day with Bhagavan, 21.1.45, night)

Since Bhagavan has answered this question very clearly himself, and on more than one occasion, there is no need to consult commentators on his work to ascertain whether self-enquiry is an enquiry into the individual self or the transcendent Self.

David Godman said...

Ravi

Sadhu Om’s explanations of self-enquiry seem to be underpinned by the notion that the individual ‘I’ and the Self are one and the same entity. This leads to the conclusion that when one attends to the individual ‘I’, one is also attending to the Self. I don’t think this is so. As Bhagavan points out in the quotation I gave to Losing M Mind, self-enquiry is the ego attending to itself, not ego holding on to the Self.

The procedure is quite clear: enquiry is holding onto the ‘I’-thought. When, through intense concentration, the ‘I’-thought subsides and disappears, Self alone remains. Here is Bhagavan explaining it to Kapali Sastry in the talks that precede Sat Darshana Bhashya:

Devotee. - You say one can realise the self by a search for it. What is the character of this search?

Maharshi. - You are the mind or think that you are the mind. The mind is nothing but thoughts. Now behind every particular thought there is a general thought which is the “I”, that is yourself. Let us call this “I” the first thought. Stick to this I-thought and question it to find out what it is. When this question takes strong hold on you, you cannot think of other thoughts.

D. - When I do like this and cling to my self, i.e., the I-thought, other thoughts do come and go, but I say to myself ‘Who am I?’ and there is no answer forthcoming. To be in this condition is the Sadhana. Is it so?

M. - This is a mistake that people often make. What happens when you make a serious quest for the Self is that the I-thought as a thought disappears, something else from the depths takes hold of you and that is not the ‘I’ which commenced the quest.

D. - What is this something else?

M. - That is the real Self, the import of I. It is not the ego. It is the Supreme Being itself.

Losing M. Mind said...

This is what I was thinking. I mean, I get that what Bhagavan says is true. However, I was thinking, more along the lines of what Sadhu Om was saying was that the Self is called Being-Consciousness-Bliss, it is Being, it literally is our Self, it is the sense I am, as has been said. But the ego, or individual-sense feels like it's me. Are they in different places? Are we just eliminated the ego, which is not us, because it appears to us? Or are we, also going straight to who we are. I guess experientially the former, as Bhagavan said. (Because the Self reveals itself, or shines forth, we don't do anything related to the Self, we eliminate ourselves, because the real Self which is our real Self, cannot be eliminated) The ego is very much not us, and not real. For one, I'm really surprised how simple inquiry is. It actually is not hard, it's just a matter of resolutely doing it, until the false I, is eliminated. I got confused initially, when i was doing it. I thought that it had to do with the thoughts, and was battling the thoughts, trying to be thoughtless. Whereas, I think the state of jnana, I guess is effortlessly thoughtless, because the ego has been eliminated. And so, i still consider it a revelation that what it is pointing to, is the individual-sense. And all that I have to do it seems, is look at it, to eliminate it. It's not that hard to find. Sometimes I become unconscious in my attempt at inquiry, so that I'm doing something, as opposed to looking at the one doing. But since the substratum or real Self is real, it actually ultimately would not take any effort to maintain that 'state', because it's the real me, and all that really exists. And I guess in the inquiry, the reason non-doership is taught, is in the inquiry to give up responsibility or burden for the body's life or what it does and focus on the I. In earlier posts, I was confused about what the I is, now I realize the I,is that individual me, that even arises as I'm typing this. Look at it, it dissapears, this immense happiness takes over. The word verification is "arize"

Anonymous said...

'This leads to the conclusion that when one attends to the individual ‘I’, one is also attending to the Self.'
Sadhu Om may be wrong on the individual ‘I’ and the Self being the one and the same entity, but isn't his method still right? You say:
'self-enquiry is the ego attending to itself, not ego holding on to the Self.'
Isn't "one attends to the individual ‘I’" and "ego attending to itself" the same procedure? I'm confused.

Losing M. Mind said...

Speaking from my own experience, and not enlightenment (yet!), it seems self-inquiry has two aspects. One is looking at the individual self I take myself to be, and it dissolves into the real Self, which is what David Godman is talking about. But on the other hand, it seems another aspect, is the One without a second aspect. That there is only one Self, and it shines as "I". That was something that confused me originally. Is I thought the Self was somewhere else, something else, that I would find, or Realize. But overtime I've realized that I think it shines as my own existence, even with ego, the real Self is there. When I say I exist, or I am, I'm referring to the real Self. So it seems like another aspect of self-inquiry, is what is the self? And normally I take it to be this seperate entity, me. When I look into the self, it's realized that it there isn't me and the world, it all kind of becomes one Self, which still shines as "I", though not localized to the body. But why is the Self also referred to as "That"? So I don't know. It just seems like it isn't so simple to understand intellectually. But it seems the ego-I, is very linked up with the feeling of I, which is where the real Self is, because it shines as "I". Quoting Nome, I remember him using the question, "What is it's nature?" or "what is your nature?" That my nature is not this ego-I, me, individual. But "I", shining forth as the sense I exist, is real. And can't be gotten rid of. Because the question Who am I? is not speaking of getting rid of something, but finding out who I am, or even what I am. And the false ego-I, is the thing that has to be looked at, to reveal it.

kandhan said...

Dear Mr Ravi,your first post on the current discussion made me think on the following lines: "Who am I?" is probably not the correct translation Bhagawan's method. The correct translation should be "i-who?" which exactly reflects "naan yaar?". The moment attention is transferred to "I" the circuit is complete. Continued attention to "I" removes the resistance in the circuit. I was wondering if anyone has any knowledge of Bhagwan's exact tamild words on the method:was it "naan yaar?" or "yaar naan?"

Anonymous said...

Hi Ravi,
Thanks for the advice of tuning into Beethoven's Pastoral Sonata and Shuberts Impromptu. It is beautiful, classical, well crafted music.
Sometimes though I prefer to just listen to the bhajans of Kabir.
Ravi you said that you "stay with this simple beginning and let it unravel and unfold" This sounds very much like Nisargadatta. I'm sure you're familiar with his book "I am that"
hj

Ravi said...

David/Friends,
My post in response to David seems to have not reached(I did not get the usual response on my screen).

I do not think that Sadhu Om is treating the individual ‘I’ and the Self as one and the same entity.

in nAn yAr(Prose version),Sri Bhagavan says:
"To keep the mind constantly turned within, and to abide thus in the Self is alone Atma-vichara (Self enquiry)".
This is exactly what Sri Sadhu Om says as Self Attention.

For those not able to do this,he seems to suggest 'Whence Am I?'.

In any case it seems to me that ego attending to ego sense,seems to be a futile exercise.

Elsewhere Sri Bhagavan also suggests that to find the source,one should dive like a person dives into the ocean bed in search of pearls-This seems to me as having a strong Bhakti element.It seems to me that one is seeking the Self or God and not the self.

In either case it seems to me that enquiry or search is for the Self and this way as well Self enquiry with a capital 'S' seems to be a correct expression in tune with the standard usage 'Atma Vichara'.

My posts were trigered by your post on self enquiry vs Self enquiry.
-----------------------------------
In a lighter vein as 's' suggests,I will get back to listening schubert!

Namaskar.

silence_speaks said...

Self Inquiry is to just resolve the "I" into consciousness.
its like a chameleon sitting and waiting ... it does not allow any thoughts to continue ... the moment a thought train starts, it simply resolves that into itself --- even as a chameleon catches flies!

When we sit down , we see that the body is totally silent and still -- deho na janathi. body does not know. its like a log of wood. corpse, kunapam.

Inside, consciousness is equally still. it does not have any activity. So consciousness is totally silent.

Then who is talking this language of worry, sorrow, sadness, anxiety, fun, indulgence etc ? when we look within there is really none! no "I". That "I" who is going through all these is merely an illusion created by mind! This is mithya! Since there is no "I" , who is there to suffer or worry ? who is there who can be troubled! there being only consciousness ... what is really there to be done ? Just Be!

What a sweet way to remain established as Self that we ever are!

Love!
Silence

Murali said...

Ravi and others,

"In any case it seems to me that ego attending to ego sense,seems to be a futile exercise."

This is a classical confusion. Practically, I have only two options available for me

1. The thought/concept of God/Self: I have the option of thinking constantly of God in the form I like and develop devotion towards Him. The underlying feature of this God is that He is all pervading Reality and essentially my essence.

2. The feeling of myself: If I close myself and look inside, I have nothing but the feeling of I available. Beyond this, I dont perceive anything. So, the option available for me is to question it with an attitude of doubt.

What else is available? Somehow, I could never understand what is meant by "abide in the Self" apart from the two options above.

REgards Murali

silence_speaks said...

Dear Murali,
in option (2) , when you said "I do not perceive anything", there, the "I" refers to what?

You are That!
Changeless , Pure Consciousness.
Remain as SUCH!

Abide in the Self just means to remain as you are! Without ever thinking i am the thoughts or mind!

This is the simplest thing you can check within:
in "I am worried" or "i am happy", any such "Notions" , "ideations" [in sanskrit sankalpas],who is the "I". Do not question, but see who is saying this!
the body is mute, its a corpse! it cannot speak.
The consciousness is changeless, ever still, non-speaking!
what is left is a thought!
one thought said it!
and then that died, another came... the quick succession of thoughts is creating an illusion of "I", while there is none!

Ramana Maharshi's inquiry is to stop the ideation, "I" notion ... to resolve the train of thoughts into consciousness and just remain as consciousness!
its the simplest and most straight way!

Love!
Silence

Ravi said...

hj/murali/Friends,
hj,yes,i have read snippets of 'I am That'.I have enjoyed reading it,but I do not follow the path of awareness.
The path of devotion naturally and spontaneously melts the recalcitrant mind(nenjak gana kal as it is called in Tamil).This melting leads to Love and peace.No need to 'hold' onto anything.No need to struggle with thoughts.

Here is an excerpt from Sri Aurobindo on Quietude,peace,Silence:
The words “peace, calm, quiet, silence” have each their own shade of meaning, but it is not easy to define them.

Peace—santi.

Calm—sthirata.

Quiet—acanсcalata.

Silence—niscala-niravata.

Quiet is a condition in which there is no restlessness or disturbance.

Calm is a still unmoved condition which no disturbance can affect—it is a less negative condition than quiet.

Peace is a still more positive condition; it carries with it a sense of settled and harmonious rest and deliverance.

Silence is a state in which either there is no movement of the mind or vital or else a great stillness which no surface movement can pierce or alter.

Namaskar.

s. said...

salutations to all:
murali: the simple way you said it was absolutely beautiful :-)
If I close myself and look inside, I have nothing but the feeling of I available. Beyond this, I dont perceive anything. So, the option available for me is to question it with an attitude of doubt.

silence_speaks: my apologies in advance. i mean no offence - [what is really there to be done ? Just Be!] is exactly what falls in the category of neo-advaitic nonsense! you mentioned about the 'I' resolving into consciousness, the 'I' to be just an illusion, the body being a log of wood/corpse & consciousness being totally silent etc.

have you experienced the 'I' resolving into consciousness? what if this 'I' what you refer as 'mithyA' be the only reality and the so-called self/ consciousness being a glorified imagination of that very 'I' that you declare to be an illusion? sorry to ask again - have you really experienced the 'body' to be nothing more than a corpse? even to the most honest man, it's only the 'I', which all of us foolishly bash (with that 'I' having the last laugh!), which seems 'real' and 'consciousness' being nothing more than a much fancied invention :-))

bhagavAn can talk all this because he was supremely consistent, as per the available literature, and lived that way for 54 long years, never ever deviating or faltering a single step. as long as one isn't in bhagavAn's state, "To Just Be" is crowning gibberish; to imagine already being 'there' is even worse.

once again, no offence meant. my sincere apologies if it caused any.

Ramesh Nagarajan said...

Murali,

Very well put, you really simplified the concept in meaningful words. The first method talks about Surrender and the second one is self-enquiry. These are the two paths that Bhagavan has suggested. In the case of Surrender, unconditional love towards God has to happen. When we say unconditional love and accept that HE is all pervading, then there is no single object that can be hated. The devotee holds on to God both in pleasant and unpleasant situation. But he continues to do his actions without attachments or aversions.

This is a famous story: Naradha once asked Lord Narayana who is your best devotee? Naradha was expecting HIM to say that he is the best devotee of all as he does the Bhajans and Nama Sangeerthanams all the time. Narayana had said a farmer is my best devotee, let us disguise ourselves and see what he does. They found out the farmer wakes up in the morning and says "Narayana" and ploughs the field, comes back home in the evening and says "Narayana" eats food and goes to sleep. Naradha asked the farmer, why you are not doing Bhajans and Nama Sangeerthanams? The farmer replied, I don't have time for that, however, I don't find it is necessary, because I know very well that HE is everywhere, HE has given me the field to grow grains, HE has given me food and all the necessary things. I do all my activities in the name of Lord, and there is no need for allocating time for separate Bhajans.

Both Lord and Naradha went back to Vaikunta, Naradha asked Narayana with amusement, this farmer says he doesn't do Bhajans but why you are considering him as a great devotee. Then Narayana responded, if you pass my test I will consider that you are a great devotee. Narayana had asked Naradha to carry oil in a spoon and go around all the lokhas, and make sure that not even a single drop of oil is spilled. Naradha completed his journey and came back to Vaikunta with all joy and Narayana said well done. Now, Naradha, repeat the test again, but this time do Bhajans and Nama Sangeerthanas as well. Naradha came back but this time not even a single drop of oil is present in the spoon. Then Narayana said, now you understand how difficult it is to perform all the activities while keeping the concept of all is Bhagavan's Swarupam. That is why the farmer is my best devotee.

There is an example related to Bhagavan's devotee. There was a lady who got married to a doctor. Earlier that lady's elder sister was married to the doctor. Her sister died, and the lady got married to the doctor without her consent. The lady was interested in spiritual path, but couldn't leave her dharma (action). The doctor got transferred to Tiruvannamalai and happened to meet Bhagavan. The lady devotee was hesitant to discuss about her situation in public, but eventually found an opportunity to meet Bhagavan privately. She cried to Bhagavan, Bhagavan I want to pursue the spiritual path, but my husband has no interests in it. At the same time, I would like to do whatever I need to do for my husband. I am not sure what to do, please guide me. Bhagavan responded, "Give yourself to me (give your mind to me), give the body to perform dharma, Karma belongs to the body, do not worry". The lady devotee later said, the moment Bhagavan said those words, all my conflicts had disappeared. I surrendered to HIM and continued to perform my duties. After some time, she experienced the truth and she had shared Bhagavan's teachings to many others.

Thus in the surrender, we give our mind to Bhagavan and perform our duties with the body. We have to appreciate and affiliate that God is all pervading throughout our waking period. If it is a complete surrender, then questions such as I suffer, I have anxiety, I have attachment or aversions should be absent.

As for as "Abide in the Self", this can truly happen only after the experience. The experience opens up the gate to the inner stillness (Self).

Ravi said...

Friends,
"the body is mute, its a corpse! it cannot speak.
The consciousness is changeless, ever still, non-speaking!"

Perhaps if the body is carried to the burning ghats it may spring to life in protest and the 'consciousness' may start speaking!or is it vice versa!

Just said in jest!May all auspicious blessings be upon you,silence _ speaks.

Reminds me of Krishnakishore in the Gospel of Sri Ramakrishna:
"One day I went to see him(krishnakishore-ravi) and found him in a pensive mood. When I asked him
about it, he said: 'The tax-collector was here. He threatened to dispose of my
brass pots, my cups, and my few utensils, if I didn't pay the tax; so I am worried.' I
said: 'But why should you worry about it? Let him take away your pots and pans. Let
him arrest your body even. How will that affect you? For your nature is that of
Kha!' (Narendra and the others laugh.) He used to say to me that he was the Spirit,
all-pervading as the sky. He had got that idea from the Adhyatma Ramayana. I used
to tease him now and then, addressing him as 'Kha'. Therefore I said to him that
day, with a smile: 'You are Kha. Taxes cannot move you!'

Sri Ramakrishna's humour is infectious.

Murali said...

Dear Ramesh Nagarajan and others,

"In the case of Surrender, unconditional love towards God has to happen."

I found that ...

1. If you want to pursue the path of surrender, there should be an urge to Love the Higher Power. If it is not there, we should perhaps simulate it by trying to Feel the Love and one day, perhaps, the Love does manifest.

2. If you want to pursue the path of vichara, a strong doubt about what this "feeling of I" has to come.

If either "urge to love God" or "doubt about what is I" are not there, my opinion is that we will always be discussing/debating/intellectualising but never going ahead.

I am a novice on the path of enquiry. I found that I am not able to proceed in the path to depth because I lacked this sincere doubt about what this 'I' is. So, now, I try to close my eyes and try to simulate this feeling of inquisitiveness of what this 'I' is.

I hope that one day, this "simulated" doubt will gather momentum and automatically rivet my attention on the "feeling of I" just as a scientist hangs on to his problem by the sheer curiosity of knowing what it is.

I simply dont know how else to go into depth.

Regards Murali

Ravi said...

s/friends,
The neo advaitic nonsense as s calls it was present in Sri Ramakrishna's time as well!
Here is an excerpt from the Gospel,with a typical Thakur's humour:
"But it is extremely difficult to attain the Knowledge of Brahman. One doesn't
get it by merely talking about it. Some people feign it. (Smiling) There was a man
who was a great liar; but, on the other hand, he used to say he had the Knowledge
of Brahman. When someone took him to task for telling lies, he said: 'Why, this
world is truly like a dream. If everything is unreal, then can truth itself be real?
Truth is as unreal as falsehood.'
(All laugh.)

Murali said...

Ramesh Nagarajan,

"As for as "Abide in the Self", this can truly happen only after the experience."

Bhagavan always told to "abide in the Self" as if it is a sadhana - not as the final achievement. Why is this? Is there something missing?

Regards Murali

Losing M. Mind said...

"my apologies in advance. i mean no offence - [what is really there to be done ? Just Be!] is exactly what falls in the category of neo-advaitic nonsense! you mentioned about the 'I' resolving into consciousness, the 'I' to be just an illusion, the body being a log of wood/corpse & consciousness being totally silent etc."

I'm realizing more and more, that I have more control over how deep I take self-inquiry. I don't need my Realized ID, to talk about my experiences, or share my understanding. While, I may not have conclusively realized the Self, nor am I making any claims to ripeness. (but these are self-objectifications which is precisely what I want to give up) I don't think it's that tricky anymore. It's simply a matter, of looking at the self, I'm taking to be me, and it does vanish, because it's substance was it's being taken for granted. Why is my realization not conclusive? Why does the ego keep arising? I think because it still is not sufficiently deep. But the self I take myself to be, the practicer, the person I am, is taken for granted, but it is also fairly obvious. And if I look at it, this great happiness starts taking over, and I start experience a very still reality, that is almost like a screen. It is a substratum, because it is what is 'behind' the ego. And the ego is the person I take for granted as me. Granted with each thought it is not the same person. But it is there. I can leave off other kinds of effort, either for or against, and look at directly what I'm taking to be myself. It automatically vanishes, and this effulgent reality is taking over. This is not just imagination. Call it a glimpse of the person-less Self. Even as I write this, I try to keep my attention on the ego self, which I've figured out is what is meant by 'I'. It works, it's simple! I wouldn't want to make it complicated. Ramana isn't making it complicated. Papaji called it "cutting off the head". It's pretty clear, the person-I has to be gotten rid of, by any means necessary, that is the practice. The Self will reveal itself is always existing. Do you take yourself to be a person, with a life story, that is the ego, I look at it, it vanishes, if I look for subtler and subtler false people, the effulgence shines brighter and brighter, and I realize nothing is moving.

Ravi said...

murali/Friends,
" The feeling of myself: If I close myself and look inside, I have nothing but the feeling of I available. Beyond this, I dont perceive anything. So, the option available for me is to question it with an attitude of doubt."

I have nothing but the feeling of I.
If we have nothing but this Feeling,why think beyond this?Just to stay(not hold onto!No need to hold on!) with this feeling is what is called 'just be' or to be 'alone'.To reach here ,one must be free from desires.
This does not mean that objects are not seen or sounds are not heard,etc.
One may be alone amidst a crowd.
This is something that everyone must have experienced sometime or other.
It is only from this 'aloneness' one may effectively reject thought as and when they sprout.It will be more accurate to say that 'thought' is rejected.

As I said,I do not Practice Self Enquiry,but it seems to me that it is more of this rejection that Sri Bhagavan refers to;not to examine the 'ego' in order to doubt its existence(Doubt is another thought),not to enquire into the 'individual I'.Any sort of 'seeing' or 'Examining' or 'doubting' or 'rejecting' is a play of the mind that results in variation of the same theme-observer and the observed.

Please ignore if I have confused you and go along with what you have already found helpful.

Namaskar.

Losing M. Mind said...

Honestly, I don't know what Self-inquiry is, but I think in the last few, I've been hitting on something that does feel more like what Bhagavan describes. And it is that 'looking' (for lack of a better world) at the self. I don't know if it's to see that it doesn't exist. It actually seems like it is more to actively eliminate it. Kind of like the killing off enemy soldiers as they exit the fortress (from Who am I?). It is very much an active process. The reason I say that i think this is correct, and it's working. Is that if I do this, this profound stillness remains, that does feel eternal. It is extremely peaceful, can't be described. I just have to keep, "cutting off the head'. But maybe I only have to do this once. I don't know, if it's seeing that is unreal. It's more like, it feels like shooting enemy soldiers until they are all dead. Or stirring the burning funeral pyre. Because I can always shoot at, mangle, kill, forms of the individual. Since the real eternal substratum cannot be eliminated. And maybe that is why 'not this' not this' is not recommended. Inquiry does imply a neti, neti. Because while going for 'I', I leave off all other objects. But I don't just leave off other objects, try to give up thought, or try to let go. It's the diving into 'I', that replaces all other 'objective' aims. The self is implied, the self is addictive. Usually it has problems and desires. But it is also apparent. I mean, I know who I think I am. I have that feeling of myself, usually arising with thought, in thought. It can be easily eliminated. Anything objective, from bodily sensations, to worldly thoughts, or objects, I can leave off, and kind of eliminate the false I, eliminate the false I, eliminate until there is no individual self left. it really seems to work!

Ravi said...

Murali,
"If you want to pursue the path of surrender, there should be an urge to Love"
Yes.Otherwise it will be a 'surrender of convenience'-a mere mental thing which is not worth it.In Love there is a simple trust that all is well.
Love cannot be 'practised',cannot be feigned.It can be discovered.The best way is to associate with the Great ones-in reading their lives,one may be moved and discover the fount of Love within us;something within us that resonates in unison.

As Sri Bhagavan says in Arunachala pancharatnam-"unnidhathil oppuviththa ullathaal"(verse 5).The sheer beauty and love that drips in this single ratna of a verse is breathtaking(no need to do pranayama!-)
"O Arunachala! Having seen you always by mind which has been surrendered in you,
he who without otherness loves everything as your form, triumphs having drowned in
you, who are the form of bliss."

The above translation is by Sri Sadhu Om and James and I feel misses the beauty and true import.

"Oh Arunachala!Having entrusted the heart unto you,forever to behold you in all,he who loses himself in Love,such a one triumphs in Bliss drowned in Thee"

To give a learned dissertation on this is the surest way to desecrate it.
One other beauty is verse no 7 in Arunachala navamani maalai.Here Sri Bhagavan talks about 'kAdal Perukku'-The inundation of Love.
Just read this-As s suggested that the beauty of these compositions is lost in the translations.
Wish you the very Best.
Namaskar.

Losing M. Mind said...

One obstacle I experience, is the wanting to be distracted by every little thing. But by focusing on, 'I', those distractions fall away. And I find myself reacting, and 'doing' so little compared to what I was doing. What I think might happen, is not that I actually become inactive, but I start becoming actually productively active, where instead it is grace, that causes things to happen. Where before the ego was reacting to every little distraction, and having all sorts of emotional reacitons. If I focus then on I, or eliminate I, I may find myself reacting to alot less. The word verification is 'projoy'

silence_speaks said...

Dear "s.",
:) No! you do not need to appologize.
I understand why you are asking this question. Its born out of disgust at people who are "only good speakers"--- they speak and cheat people. nowadays this has become a business!
:) To see that the body is a corpse, what kind of experience would you need? Do you say "The fan is alive, coz its revolving" ? Do you need to see the fan in stationary state to convince yourself that its not alive?

Body is a corpse ... this is your experience already ... but the problem is you do not see it! you are expecting some exotic experience around this! But suppose such an exotic experience is presented ... who will be convinced then ?

What do you mean when you say you have not realized "Body is a Corpse" , is it the body that is saying that it is not a corpse?

I really do not understand what is meant by saying that this is not realized!

Love!
Silence

silence_speaks said...

Dear Losing M. Mind,
:)
" It actually seems like it is more to actively eliminate it. Kind of like the killing off enemy soldiers as they exit the fortress (from Who am I?). It is very much an active process"

Very nicely put!
I was using a slightly different example ... its like a Chameleon sitting with consciousness as source ... each thought is like a fly , the chameleon stretches its tongue and absorbs it into itself! Thought resolves into Consciousness! Very active, and very beautiful!

silence_speaks said...

Dear Ravi,
:) You have mentioned some very nice points on Self Surrender. Its very important to study the lives of great saints --- i just cannot forget the effect of studying Ramakrishna's Gospel! It has transformed me into a totally different person!

Regarding Self Surrender: To surrender something to God, it should, first of all, be mine --- at least be with me! I can offer something that is mine or is with me; in my hands atleast... when a devotee recognizes that, long before he even requested for it... the body is already gobbled up by God! The mind is already dissolved in God! That leaves no place for me to be! God alone remains, i am already dissolved! this is surrender.

s. said...

salutations to all:
silence_speaks:

if you have realised the body to be nothing but "a corpse", then not by implication, but by definition you are free from lust, anger, greed, isn't it? so, let's say, someone comes and provokes you or threatens you, or even beats you up physically, if what you say is true, let alone displaying the anger, even the very thought of anger shouldn't crystallise in you (think of bhagavAn's example when he got a sound beating by the thieves who came to rob the Asram). most of us can at best only prevent the expression of anger, owing to a civic sense, and have no control over the rise of the 'anger-thought'. the mind is coexistent or coterminous to the body. that mind which is independent of the body is brahman itself per advaita.

would you do the same? if yes, then you are clearly abiding in the self that, as per bhagavAn, is free of the mind/body bondage. if not, you are perhaps merely echoing an intellectual understanding, which is something everyone here in the blog has in some measure or the other. as regards the example of a fan, all i can say is - all the analogies given in advaita (rope-snake, nacre-silver etc.) are vague pointers, which in spirit have little to do with the inexplicable 'granthI', and are given to the beginner who more often than not approaches the problem through a rather ill-equipped faculty, the intellect that thrives on logic :-)) most importantly, for one who 'sees' the body as a 'corpse, such a one has transcended "fear" in all its forms and shapes.
are you there?

s. said...

salutations to all:
ramesh/murali:
ramesh said "Give yourself to me (give your mind to me), give the body to perform dharma, Karma belongs to the body, do not worry". Thus in the surrender, we give our mind to Bhagavan and perform our duties with the body.

this makes sense if & only if one is told directly by a master such as bhagavAn or thAkur. when they come from one as bhagavAn, those words to the one who was addressed were suffused with 'something' indescribable. to merely read & try imbibing 'giving the mind to bhagavAn & perform duties with the body' can easily descend to hypocrisy! in bhagavAn's scheme of things, as far as i know, the difference between 'self-surrender' & 'self-enquiry' is only apparent and do not as such represent two distinct paths. the only thing bhagavAn prescribed unilaterally & universally as 'the direct path for all' is 'self-enquiry', and the best way to 'self-surrender' is through 'self-enquiry'
[udhittha idatthil odungi irutthal, adhu kanmam batthiyum undIpara, adhu yoga jnAnamum undIpara - verse 10 upadEsa undiyAr]. (the available english tranlastion is no match for the original tamizh verse, both in content as well as style).

the purpose & process of vichAra is precisely "udhittha idatthil odungi irutthal". and as bhagavAn makes it unambiguously clear, this is bhaktI. to presume surrender amidst doing everything according to one's own will is foolish at best, deception at worst. on the other hand, 'vichAra' has no danger whatsoever because the 'one' who is the mischief-maker is the very thing that is relentlessly enquired into. it's possible to beget vanity over surrender but it's absolutely impossible to fall into pride in self-enquiry.

to say 'all is your will' (to a god whose very existence is doubtful & dependent on the proclaimer!!) is, in my opinion, far inferior to the 'enquirer' who keeps quiet over whatever happens or does not happen to him/her and does not even make the least effort to analyse what has happened or what will happen. personally, i love bhagavAn over all else simply because bhagavAn's prescription of 'vichAra' is so beautiful that a so-called non-existent god becomes utterly redundant to one's freedom & bliss. for someone as me, if i had instead been told that freedom is possible only if god wishes to, i would have said - to heck with such a god and heck with such a freedom! hahahahaha
(to those among us who aren't ok with my opinion of god, please note that in the unorthodox advaitic mArga of 'drsTi-srshTi vAdha', god is a creation of the jIva) :-)))

s. said...

salutations to all:
ramesh/murali:
ramesh said "Give yourself to me (give your mind to me), give the body to perform dharma, Karma belongs to the body, do not worry". Thus in the surrender, we give our mind to Bhagavan and perform our duties with the body.

this makes sense if & only if one is told directly by a master such as bhagavAn or thAkur. when they come from one as bhagavAn, those words to the one who was addressed were suffused with 'something' indescribable. to merely read & try imbibing 'giving the mind to bhagavAn & perform duties with the body' can easily descend to hypocrisy! in bhagavAn's scheme of things, as far as i know, the difference between 'self-surrender' & 'self-enquiry' is only apparent and do not as such represent two distinct paths. the only thing bhagavAn prescribed unilaterally & universally as 'the direct path for all' is 'self-enquiry', and the best way to 'self-surrender' is through 'self-enquiry'
[udhittha idatthil odungi irutthal, adhu kanmam batthiyum undIpara, adhu yoga jnAnamum undIpara - verse 10 upadEsa undiyAr]. (the available english tranlastion is no match for the original tamizh verse, both in content as well as style).

--continued--

s. said...

--continued--

salutations to all:
ramesh/murali:

the purpose & process of vichAra is precisely "udhittha idatthil odungi irutthal". and as bhagavAn makes it unambiguously clear, this is bhaktI. to presume surrender amidst doing everything according to one's own will is foolish at best, deception at worst. on the other hand, 'vichAra' has no danger whatsoever because the 'one' who is the mischief-maker is the very thing that is relentlessly enquired into. it's possible to beget vanity over surrender but it's absolutely impossible to fall into pride in self-enquiry.

to say 'all is your will' (to a god whose very existence is doubtful & dependent on the proclaimer!!) is, in my opinion, far inferior to the 'enquirer' who keeps quiet over whatever happens or does not happen to him/her and does not even make the least effort to analyse what has happened or what will happen. personally, i love bhagavAn over all else simply because bhagavAn's prescription of 'vichAra' is so beautiful that a so-called non-existent god becomes utterly redundant to one's freedom & bliss. for someone as me, if i had instead been told that freedom is possible only if god wishes to, i would have said - to heck with such a god and heck with such a freedom! hahahahaha
(to those among us who aren't ok with my opinion of god, please note that in the unorthodox advaitic mArga of 'drsTi-srshTi vAdha', god is a creation of the jIva) :-)))

Ramesh Nagarajan said...

Murali says,

Bhagavan always told to "abide in the Self" as if it is a sadhana - not as the final achievement. Why is this? Is there something missing?

*********

Yes, still it is a sadhana. The experience of the Truth (who am I) reveals the one's own true state. But it is not complete yet. Even after the experience the ego shows up or the seeker slips away from that state due to vasanas / body consciousness, etc., When this is completely rooted out then the mind gets destroyed and the seeker is set to be liberated. No effort is required from this point. The person is liberated while alive or Sahaja Samadhi as bhagavan had mentioned.

This was clearly mentioned by Bhagavan in "Spiritual stories As Told by Ramana

Maharishi" -"The Master's Payment".

A DISCIPLE SERVED his master for a long time and realised the Self. He was in

Bliss and wanted to express his gratitude to the Master. He was in tears of joy and his voice choked when he spoke. He said, “What a wonder that I did not know my very Self all these years! I suffered long and you so graciously helped me to realise the Self. How shall I repay your grace? It is not in my power to do it.”

The Master replied, “Well, well. Your repayment consists in not lapsing into ignorance again but in continuing in the state of your real Self.”

The effort has to continue to abide in that state until the seeker is liberated.

Ravi said...

s/friends,
Papa Ramdas once told a man who tried to make him angry(and lost the wager) -It is not as if Ramdas does not get angry but you cannot make him angry!
Here is an excerpt from The Letters from Sri Ramanasramam where Sri Bhagavan expresses anger:
20th April, 1946
(42) ABHAYAM SARVA BHUTHEBHYAHA
(COMPASSION TOWARDS ALL)
At the time that Bhagavan was to go out in the morning
today, the labourers who had been deputed to gather
mangoes from the tree near the steps towards the mountain
began beating the tree with sticks to knock down the mangoes
instead of climbing the tree and plucking them one by one.
In the course of the beating, the mango leaves also were
falling down in heaps. Hearing the sound of the beating
even while seated on the sofa, Bhagavan sent word through
his attendants not to do so and when he went out as usual,
saw mango leaves lying in heaps. Unable to bear the cruel
sight, he began saying in a harsh tone to the labourers,
“Enough of this! Now go! When you are to gather the fruit,
do you have to beat the tree so that the leaves fall off? In
return for giving us fruit, is the tree to be beaten with sticks?
Who gave you this work? Instead of beating the tree, you
might as well cut it to the roots. You need not gather the
fruit. Go away!”
Bhagavan’s voice, which was like thunder, reverberated
in the ears of all who were there and made them tremble
with fear. The bamboos that were held aloft were brought
down and placed on the ground. The labourers stood with
folded hands like statues. They had no words to speak. When
I saw the personification of kindness towards nature in an
angry mood, my heart beat violently and my eyes were full
of tears. Can one who is so much moved by the falling of the
leaves of a tree, bear pain in the minds of human beings?
Bhagavan Ramana is indeed karunapoorna sudhabdhi, the
ocean filled with the nectar of compassion.
By the time he returned from the Gosala side, the
devotees had gathered the leaves into a heap and begged
him to forgive the fault. Bhagavan went into the hall, saying,
“How cruel! See how many beatings were showered on the
tree! How big is the heap of leaves! Oh!”
-----------------------------------
Anger,grief,etc may be expressed,yet the core remains untouched.They operate on the periphery.
Mastery over Anger,Lust,etc are easier to attain;the egoistic pride(the desire to exhibit)is the last bastion to overcome.
I will share the story of sri Ramakrishna meeting the vaishnava saint Bhagavandas a little later.

Namaskar.

Ravi said...

silence_speaks,
The body 'corpse' theory is unsustainable.If the body is a corpse,it should rot and should have disappeared a long while ago.
The body is very much alive as long as the Prana shakti animates it.
Strictly speaking there is nothing that is inert;matter is energy and energy is consciousness.Where is the boundary line between body and consciousness?
You need to examine your premise and not read too much into your experience.
Wish you the very Best.
Namaskar

Anonymous said...

Honesty says, 'if I do not know, then I do not know'. This is
honesty. Try it!
hj

Anonymous said...

On the non-duality circuit it has been heard that dzogchen is
the equivalent of advaita. Yet, dzogchen seems to have far too
many concepts, rituals and practices associated with it, so can
it be compared to advaita which currently eschews such things?
Or is it the shape of advaita to come (lord help us - I hear
many a post-Lucknow teacher is offering all kinds of
psychotherapy on the side - hope I haven't offended anyone only
provoked reasoned discourse).
Jabba

Ravi said...

Friends,
This is what The Great Yogi tirumoolar has to say regarding the Body:
uDambinai munnam izukku enRirunthEn
uDambinukku uLLE uRu poruL kaNDEn
uDambuLE uththaman kOyilkoNDAn enRu
uDambinai yAn irunthu OmbukinREnE.

meaning:
Formerly I considered the Body as Stigma
I beheld the Truth substance within the Body
Realizing that the Supreme has taken abode in the body,
I am cherishing the body.

For the true Yogi,everything is consciouness only.
----------------------------------
To treat the body as 'corpse' etc is a dim beginning-a passing bhava,that gets jettisoned later.It may be noted that Sri Bhagavan valued Tirumoolar's Tirumanthiram very highly and advised chanting the same at the time of consecrating the samadhis(tombs) of Great ones like Mastan swami.

Namaskar.

silence_speaks said...

Dear Ravi,
:) Before we talk abt body being corpse, let me be clear that its not my invention. it was said by Ramana [who am i] and even in Ribhu gita. So i am not the first one to say it!

ok, let us come to your disagreements:
1. "If the body is a corpse,it should rot and should have disappeared a long while ago."
rot means eaten by worms. That has nothing to do with the body's live status. A fan does not rot ... that does not mean its alive. Neither is a body kept on chemicals alive! Mother teressa found sick people on road whose body was half rotten!

2. The Everything is Self point. Self is changeless. If Body is Self, body should be changeless :).
if Body is changing but Self !! thats self contradictory.

See:
a. The ghost is not there
b. The ghost is just the post
c. The post alone is.
d. The ghost is born from the post.

all mean the same: the Ghost is an illusion created on the Post. Only Post IS.

So how does one show that the ghost is not there? By showing that the motion which is "Attributed" to post is an illusion!

so if you already see the body as an illusion, then there is nothing much to say. But the body is seen, if you say, then it needs to be first seen as inert --- jada padartha!

Deho na janati. you speak through a microphone... do you call the microphone as alive therefore? the microphone is an instrument which can express your voice.
The throat too is just such an instrument.
Deho na janati , the body does not know.

like a fan revolving in the presence of electricity, it is moving, eating, acting!
by nature a fan rotates, tube light glows in the presence of electricity.
so too, various bodies function various ways!

and these are not my inventions... they are all there in the Scriptures and even Ramana used the same examples somewhere or the else!

silence_speaks said...

Dear "s."
:)
"if you have realised the body to be nothing but "a corpse", then not by implication, but by definition you are free from lust, anger, greed, isn't it?"

:) The body is. The body has no lust, anger, greed. Did the body ever say "i want this?"
you are saying from within!

Did the body say "i want this touch" or you?

Suppose i am in deep sleep ... and my head is placed on the lap of the most beautiful woman. Does the body even know? only when i wake up and "I" starts off will i be able to feel lust.

does the body say "i want it" or "U" ?

so in saying "the body is corpse, or deho na janati , the body does not know", i am just saying your and my experience ... not some exotic state of the Saintly lot!

s. said...

salutations to all:
ravi: Anger,grief,etc may be expressed,yet the core remains untouched.They operate on the periphery. Mastery over Anger,Lust,etc are easier to attain;the egoistic pride(the desire to exhibit)is the last bastion to overcome.

as much as fire is accompanied by the heat attribute and ice is accompanied by the cold attribute, the 'i' is accompanied by its attributes of lust & anger. to talk of an 'i' completely bereft of lust & anger is a contradiction, which is absolutely untenable. the 'mastery' you speak of is possible but whose domain is restricted to the outward level of civic decency. in one who is totally free of kAma and krOdha, it also implies that such a one is free and abides in the self. even thAkur makes it very clear that one can control the last bastion of lust only by mother's grace. :-)

btw, thAkur (sri rAmakrishNa)is the only one before whom i am totally tongue-tied & mind-tied on hearing about this thing called "god"! somehow i can't say anything when it comes from thAkur!! (no need to talk of bhagavAn here because bhagavAn, in any case, doesn't talk much of this "god" stuff). before everybody else, it's relatively easy to demonstrate, with logical arguments, the non-existence of such a thing as "god". those who would respond to this by saying the good-for-nothing cliche (god is beyond logic), i would say - if you haven't 'seen' god, you have no right to talk about such a thing based on borrowed content. :-)))

s. said...

salutations to all:
silence_speaks: all of us here have seen these 'bhagavAn arguments' :-). forget the sleep & dream state, do you realise in your waking state that the 'beautiful woman beside you' is nothing more than inert matter? i understand the body doesn't say anything, it's the identification with the 'body idea' thats the issue. all this, i know, everybody in this blog also knows. the point is, let alone bhagavAn, are you perfectly aware of the body being a corpse in your waking state? and if you do, is such an awareness there at all times during all hours? please remember - if your answer is 'yes' to the above, you aren't any different from bhagavAn!
:-)))

Ravi said...

s,
I have to disagree.In Bhaja govindam,Sri Adi Sankara states clearly:
baalastaavatkriiDaasaktaH
taruNastaavattaruNiisaktaH .
vR^iddhastaavachchintaasaktaH
pare brahmaNi ko.api na saktaH

The childhood is spent in play. Youth is spent in attachment to woman. Old age is spnt in cares and worry. There is hardly anyone who wants to be lost in parabrahman.

It is just that there is nothing absolute about Lust and Anger as invariable manifestations of the 'Ego' sense.Now certainly we do not need to get'old' to dispense with Lust.

It is certainly not the sense of 'civility' that I am alluding to.

Sri Ramakrishna gives the example of the stone Grinder;the closer one is to the center(axis),the less one gets ground.

This is immensely Practical.

"It is only when the soul does not get its nourishment that it operates through the senses and is satisfied with the base pleasures of the world"-Master TGN.

Love and compassion are food for the soul.
(EEdal,isai pada Vaazhdal,ivayallal oodium illai uyirkku-Tirukkural)

God is not a concept but a presence that can be experienced.

Namaskar.

silence_speaks said...

Dear "s.",
:) can you prove existence or non-existence of God to me?

Love!
Silence

s. said...

salutations to all:
ravi: let's agree to disagree :-)) either way, i don't give much to sankarA and the rest. tell me from thAkur's words or bhagavAn's words in support of what you say (straight and not indirect inferences), and i will agree.

silence_speaks: i asked first :-)
either way, that god doesn't exist requires no proof; it's obvious and evident :-))) if you believe god is there, without any neo-advaitic nonsense, the onus is on those who believe god exists to prove that the one whom they believe in indeed is something not their imagination. if you can't prove god's existence, as per the law of the excluded middle, it has to be conceded that there is nothing such as god.

let me borrow the famous words from the 'quran' and twist it according to my taste:
"there is no god but bhagavAn, and 'vichAra' is his (the) method"
hahahahahaha

silence_speaks said...

Dear "s.",
:)
In the waking state ... if beautiful woman sits by my side ...
does my body say "wow" or the mind ?

if it is not the body, thats all i am saying. it is mine and your experience that the body does not say anything ... it just passes sensations and reacts to mind.

This is ur experience as much as mine or anyone's ! isnt it? The body does not know ... thats all i am saying. The body does not either love its aging nor hate it!
it has nothing to do with the "Realization" you are talking about. To see that its not the body saying this , why do you need a Realization ? just observe... is it the body saying or the mind?


We will come to the other points once this much is agreed.

Love!
Silence

Ravi said...

s,
You made my job easy!here is what Thakur says:
Sunday, April 8, 1883
It was Sunday morning. The Master, looking like a boy, was seated in his room,
and near him was another boy, his beloved disciple Rakhal. M.
entered and saluted the Master. Ramlal also was in the room, and Kishori, Manilal
Mallick, and several other devotees gathered by and by.

"A DEVOTEE: "Sir, should one first practise discrimination to attain self-control?"
MASTER: "That is also a path. It is called the path of vichara, reasoning. But the
inner organs are brought under control naturally through the path of devotion as
well. It is rather easily accomplished that way. Sense pleasures appear more and
more tasteless as love for God grows.
Can carnal pleasure attract a grief-stricken
man and woman the day their child has died?"

Thakur is giving an example that is within the experience of a beginner!If grief can push out carnal desire ,how much more can love of god can do!

Again Thakur says:
"Through the discipline of constant practice one is able to give up attachment to
'woman and gold'. That is what the Gita says. By practice one acquires uncommon
power of mind. Then one doesn't find it difficult to subdue the sense-organs and to
bring anger, lust, and the like under control. Such a man behaves like a tortoise,
which, once it has tucked in its limbs, never puts them out. You cannot make the
tortoise put its limbs out again, though you chop it to pieces with an axe."

The above does not mean suppression.Thakur would never recommend such a thing.He is just emphasising the power of Sankalpa-unified will.

There are many more examples.The simplest he says is:
"All the sins of the body flyaway if one chants the name of God and sings
His glories. The birds of sin dwell in the tree of the body. Singing the name of God
is like clapping your hands. As, at a clap of the
hands, the birds in the tree flyaway, so do our sins disappear at the chanting of
God's name and glories."

Thakur used to say:It is not enough to hear all this.One should assimilate.
He used to say:It is not enough to know the bols(beat sounds) and but one needs to practice the same on the tabla.

Namaskar.

Ravi said...

s,
This Thakur's gem got missed:
"Zeal for the Lord destroys sin
MASTER (to the devotees): "As the tiger devours other animals, so does the 'tiger
of zeal for the Lord' eat up lust, anger, and the other passions. Once this zeal
grows in the heart, lust and the other passions disappear. The gopis of Vrindavan
had that state of mind because of their zeal for Krishna."
Namaskar.

s. said...

salutations to all:
all the below statements are by thAkur (sri rAmakrshNa) from the kaThAmrta - to do sAdhana in order to "control" kAma & krOdha is the duty of an aspirant, but that doesn't imply conquest. it is easy to see below that complete conquest of lust is possible only for one who is self-realised, or the extinction of the 'i-thought'. further, nowhere does he say that the 'desire to exhibit' is more difficult than lust & anger.

December 1882
"Anger and lust cannot be destroyed. Turn them toward God."

December 14, 1882
"He who has realized God does not look upon a woman with the eye of lust...In like manner, he who has attained God keeps only an appearance of ego; there remains in him only a semblance of anger and lust.

January 4, 1884
"When one attains perfection one takes delight in all these relationships. In that state a devotee has not the slightest trace of lust.

March 9, 1884
"One reaches this state of mind after having the vision of God. When a boat passes by a magnetic hill, its screws and nails become loose and drop out. Lust, anger, and the other passions cannot exist after the vision of God.

June 30, 1884
MASTER: "The body survives with some so that they may work out their prarabdha karma or work for the welfare of others. The wheel moves as long as the impulse that has set it in motion lasts. Then it comes to a stop. In the case of such a person, passions like lust and anger are burnt up. "In this state, passions like lust and anger are burnt up, though nothing happens to the physical body. It looks just like any other body; but the inside is all hollow and pure."

October 26, 1884
"Even after attaining Knowledge, the Jnāni keeps his body as before. But the fire of Knowledge burns away his lust and other passions.

"The fire of Chaitanya's renunciation was so great that when Sarvabhauma poured sugar on his tongue, instead of melting, it evaporated into air. He was always absorbed in samādhi. How great was his conquest of lust! To compare him with a man!". "Such is the difference between a Divine Incarnation and an ordinary human being. An ordinary man renounces lust; but once in a while he forgets his vow. He cannot control himself."

March 11, 1885
MASTER: "Is it an easy matter to get rid of lust? I myself felt a queer sensation in my heart six months after I had begun my spiritual practice. Then I threw myself on the ground under a tree and wept bitterly. I said to the Divine Mother, 'Mother, if it comes to that, I shall certainly cut my throat with a knife!'

April 9, 1886
The Master's hair actually stood on end at the thought of a pure mind totally devoid of lust. He always said that God manifests Himself where there is no lust.

Ravi said...

s,
Thanks for these wonderful sayings of the Master.
we need to understand them by practising .Then we will know whether things like lust can be conquered or not; we will also know why he is 'playing both the sides of the drum'!
the beauty of Devotion is that it is a great leveller-no such distinction like 'jnani,jignyasu,etc'.No such a sharp contrast like Jnani and ajnani.
If one tastes a 'particle' of 'Love' one has tasted Love!If one has tasted this 'particle',like the chakora bird he can drink only the rain from the sky.
Namaskar.

Ravi said...

s/Friends,
Master TGN used to summarise(for easy understanding and assimilation;not from a metaphysical perspective):
"Heat and Cold affect the Body;pleasure and pain affect the mind;Honour and dishonour affect the ego"
The core of the Ego sense is 'I' and 'Mine'.
The 'I' represents the sense of identity-"I am so and so;I have to be recognised;I have to be respected"
the 'mine' is the sense of "posession".
All other things hang on to the perpetuation of this central theme.
Hence this is the theme that is designed to be broken by 'Sannyasis' by tradition.

At the 'vanaprastha' stage the things like lust etc are broken ,and man and wife are required to live like a brother and sister.

Now we do not need to take these psychological facts outwardly;we may recognize these stages as and when they manifest in our lives,although outwardly we may continue to live as before.
Namaskar.

s. said...

salutations to all:
silence_speaks: beyond a stage, arguments tend to get sterile, so will say this once more and leave it there - all that you say, i repeat, people acquainted with the writings of bhagavAn, such as those here in the blog, are well-aware of. the 'experience' you speak about is only a logical understanding, much in the same way as an advaitin may employ logical contraptions to 'convince' or refute an opponent's pUrvapaksha. despite my love for abstract mathematics, genuine experience (my benchmark is bhagavAn) is far removed from the intellectual understanding you talk of. such an understanding is already present in all who write in this blog; what we lack is we aren't in the 'state' of bhagavAn. if such an 'understanding' alone can be conclusive, then everybody who has such an understanding is also self-realised, which is clearly not the case. that's why, i have asked many a time, which you have never answered - 'are you self-realised'?

this is my humble opinion:
when it comes to talking 'wise' words, there are only 2 options - either talk from the depth of one's own irrefutable experience (as bhagavAn or thAkur did), or quote bhagavAn or sankarA or madhvA, or kant or russell or nietzsche etc., and say it in so many words, without making them appear as if they were one's own. to say with authority that the self alone is real and the world (mind/body included) is all unreal, without abiding in the self, is hypocrisy.

(i don't know what's abiding in the self means - for me, it is to be bhagavAn)

Sankar Ganesh said...

Mr. Sridhar, a Hindu from Goa, asked: What is Kousalam (skill) in Yogah karmasu kousalam (Yoga is skill in action)? How is that gained?

Maharshi: do actions without caring for the result. Do not think that you are the doer. Dedicate the work to God. That is the skill and also the way to gain it.

Abhyasa (Practice)

Devotee: Can this path of enquiry be followed by all aspirants?

Maharshi: This is suitable only for ripe souls. The rest should follow different methods according to the state of their minds.

Devotee: What are the other methods?

Maharshi: They are stuti, japa, dhyana, yoga, jnana, etc.

Stuti is singing the praises of the Lord with a feeling of great devotion.

Japa is uttering the names of the gods or sacred mantras like 'Om' either mentally or verbally.

Dhyana. When one is in dhyana the mind does not contact the objects of the senses, and when it is in contact with the objects it is not in dhyana. Therefore those who are in this state can observe the vagaries of the mind then and there and, by stopping the mind from thinking other thoughts, fix it in dhyana. Perfection in dhyana is the state of abiding in the Self.

Yoga. The source of breath is the same as that of the mind, therefore the subsidence of either leads to that of the other. The practice of stilling the mind through breath control is called yoga.

Fixing the mind on psychic centers such as the sahasrara (lit. the thousand petalled lotus) yogis can remain any length of time without awareness of their bodies. As long as this state continues they appear to be immersed in some kind of joy. But when the mind emerges (becomes active again) it resumes its worldly thoughts. It is therefore necessary to train it with the help of practice like dhyana whenever it becomes externalized. It will then attain a state in which there is neither subsidence nor emergence.

Jnana is stilling the mind and realizing the Self through the constant practice of dhyana or enquiry (vichara). The extinction of the mind is the state in which there is cessation of all efforts. Those who are established in the spontaneous effortless state have realized their true nature, the Self. The term 'silence' (mouna) and inaction refer to this state alone.

All practices are followed only with the object of concentrating the mind. As all these mental activities like remembering, forgetting, desiring, hating, attraction, discarding, etc., are modifications of the mind, they cannot be one's true nature. Therefore to know the truth of one's being and to be it, is known as release from bondage and the destruction of the knot (granthi nasam). Until this state of tranquility of mind is firmly attained the practice of unswerving abidance in the Self and keeping the mind unsoiled by various thoughts is essential for an aspirant.

Those who follow the path of enquiry realize that the mind which remains at the end of the enquiry is Brahman. Those who practise meditation realize that the mind which remains at the end of the meditation is the object of their meditation. As the result is the same in either case it is the duty of aspirants to practise continuously either of the these methods till the goal is reached.

- From Self-Enquiry

Source: http://www.arunachala.org/newsletters/1996/?pg=nov-dec

Thanks. Sankar Ganesh.

silence_speaks said...

Dear "s.",
:)

In Hinduism there is what is called "Shaka-Chandra Nyaya", the moon is shown as that which is between two branches of a tree.

A student wanting to know what moon is, was shown the moon as that which is between two branches of a tree.

But if a student has not seen, but mugged up this statement ... he keeps telling everyone "The moon is between brances of a tree" and no one sees!

Someone who has not seen cannot distinguish between true words of wisdom and the words of a person who is repeating "Moon is between the branches of a tree"!

But the one who has seen can recognize if the other person is just repeating or has understood...

:) I will not answer your question "Are you Realized"
Coz what is the use in it? Suppose I say "Yes, I am" ! You will take me to be telling a lie or think of me as some supernatural being!

The only proof of my Realization, is in being able to "Show You the Moon". If i have seen it, the only proof that i have seen it is "I can show you".

Do you get this ?

And If I have seen Moon, you have to follow very very diligently what I am saying! Even if i have seen, its not possible to show until and unless the other person is open and doing exactly what is said!

Love!
Silence

Losing M. Mind said...

I've started having some clear, success at inquiry. Only recently. And I would sum up my attempt at inquiry as, leave off everything else, the body, it's activities, bodily sensations, the world, all of it, and focus on the sense of I. when I say leave off, I just mean let go of it, to focus on I. And when I say I, I mean the imagination of the person I am, as it arises. There is continually this person that feels like me, the thinker. And if I leave off everything else, and elminate, by focusing on these, person-notions, some really high experience takes over, for lack of a better word. So I think to a large extent, I'm starting to do self-inquiry correctly. Now, still different things arise, and sometimes they are momentarily distressing and distracting. And who knows, even doing this, it might take lifetimes. But I definitely feel like, for the first time, I'm repeatedly successfully entering a higher samadhi-like experience, by doing what I just said. If I eliminate even that I, that is aware of it, I start kind of floating in that experience. I just keep at it. But there is some clearer experience of non-doership as well. While, when something happens, there might be still the sense of me doing it to some degree. The non-doership aspect I notice, is that I can focus intensely on this inquiry into self, and still things happen, infact I'm noticing that I'm becoming more, not less productive. Because I'm constantly in the 'zone'. When I said leave off, I mean that, this is the first time, where the practice has felt, uniquivocally sattvic. Where before sometimes there was a dull, tamasic feeling. And I think the key is, leaving off things like concentration. That doesn't mean, not concentrating, or not doing. But that all of these things, are not I. And the import of the question Who am I? right now for me, is a focusing on and eliminating I-notions, person-notions, as they appear. I would definitely say, the greater formlessness, which is a indescribable bliss and peace, perfect contentment, is sometimes incredibly strong, as if I'm immersed in a thoughtless billow of great contentment, as if nothing was ever wrong, ever! But it requires ever vigilant persistence. If I left off of it, i'd probably end up back in gross suffering, which is in these teachings based on a false person-notion, a false I, which is not me, so I eliminate it! Another thing is, in this inquiry it feels like the final realization is close, because there isn't much in the way of it, only an illusory individual-sense. And there really aren't that many manifestations of it, before I come down to a clear, blissful, thoughtless substratum.

Losing M. Mind said...

"At the 'vanaprastha' stage the things like lust etc are broken ,and man and wife are required to live like a brother and sister."

Robert Adams, and Nisargadatta both said Osho was enlightened. And while that might not be important ultimately, it was enough that I sat down and read one of his books yesterday. I was surprised contrary to this sense I get from the gossip about him, where he is made out to be unseemly. His thoughts on love, and romance were interesting. Because like what Ravi is saying, Osho was very critical of lust. Anyway, the gist I get in response to Ravi is that lust can (perhaps should) be broken, but that doesn't mean that one necessarily has to live externally in only a platonic way. That really comes down to something Shankara said, "Action cannot lead to liberation, only Knowledge leads to liberation". Lust, being another form of desire, objectification, and attachment, maybe does have to be 'broken'. But external actions, being of the body, in the world, have nothing to do with Knowledge, as the realization is that we are not the doer of actions. And I'm learning, that that is realized by eliminating the notion that I'm an individual being, instead of eternal Being!

Ravi said...

silence_speaks,
The only proof of my Realization, is in being able to "Show You the Moon". If i have seen it, the only proof that i have seen it is "I can show you".

What if the other person does not see what you are showing?May be the moon is not there!May be that the person is shown the wrong thing.

A Great master is one who can show what he points as well as ensure that the other person sees;he will also see whether the other person has eyes to see.If the other person is blind,he will perhaps give him a stick so that it helps him to feel his way.
He will at no point show without being asked or raise his hands saying-'I can only point out,I cannot help it if you cannot see'.

Not all are Masters although many are called so.
-----------------------------------
what Sri Ramakrishna told Naren-when the lad asked him,"Sir,Have you seen God?'

Namaskar.

Anonymous said...

LMM and friends, Actually Nisargadatta had no time for Osho (Rajneesh)or his disciples. He would throw them out and not allow them to attend his satsangs.
Personally I find Osho to be brilliant but ultimately a flawed character.
hj

Losing M. Mind said...

"Personally I find Osho to be brilliant but ultimately a flawed character."

I have to ask, what makes you qualified to evaluate someone's character? The older I get, the less qualified I feel, and the more proven wrong. And on top of that, how clogged the gossip channels are with lies. Again not to judge the gossipers, but they are ensared within their own misperceptions (or it's malicious), which they then share with others, and other gossip-guillable minds, share it. and then we judge a bunch of people we don't knows character. And even if I do know someone, the only judgement of character that seems useful, is picking up if they are the type who is hurtful to others, and then protecting myself from being hurt. But having a negative opinion of others, I'm the only one hurt by that, and my opinions are so far off, always.

"Don't point the finger until you've shaken the hand, get to know the way these people understand. From strangers at a party, to who is that over there. To those in a different country where the language makes you scared"

Ravi said...

Friends,
"A man is known by the company he keeps"
"A Tree is known by the fruit it bears"
"Birds of a feather flock together"

These are are wise sayings-tried and tested.

Namaskar.

silence_speaks said...

Dear Ravi,
:)
"What if the moon is not there?"
>>> Well, The person who is showing has no doubts on this. You can have it since you have not seen it.

Now, even Ramakrishna showed the Truth to Vivekananda, he did not show it to everyone. Its not possible, coz people are not ready. They are not equally interested either. Its first of all, an openness to verify the fact. without openness and interest to find out, no one can show the Truth!

Your other question:
"what if the person is blind"
:) The teacher [by a teacher, i just mean a person who conveys this. Thereafter there is no such idea as i am the teacher and u are the sishya. Once the teaching is conveyed, the teacher role drops off and they are just friends] can see if the non-perception of Truth is due to blindness. The student need not bother himself about it!

and the third point:
3. "He will at no point show without being asked "
:) Why ? What stops a realized person from doing this? Buddha was going on the road ... he taught so many people ...infact, almost everyone along the way was taught the path! No one could ask him... coz in reality no one knew what he had to offer.


Ramakrishna used to give the example of a theif who knows that there is a hidden treasure in the next room ... how would he feel ? The same eagerness to know the Truth is required.
When someone goes to such a person and says "ill show you way to get into the other room", he will definitely agree to try. Coz he is eager to learn. But a person who is not eager to learn will say "ok, so what?" or "i already know". if he already knows ... why did he not go ? The very fact that he did not go means he does not know. But they dont accept. Coz their interest in knowing the Truth is not all that strong.

Do you know even from the speach we can tell if the person is realised or not!
Really. Most people quote others ... but if they are asked to "convey the essence in their own language"... make sufficient mistakes to make it more than clear that they have not seen the Truth!

Osho has not seen it ... as even many other modern saints [ i do not want to name them , coz it will create ego clashes here]... we can tell from their speach. you do not need to go to them also.

Love!
Silence

Ravi said...

silence_speaks,
"Well, The person who is showing has no doubts on this. You can have it since you have not seen it."
Friend,you seem to have something to share.Please go ahead.
-----------------------------------

"Do you know even from the speach we can tell if the person is realised or not! "
I enjoy reading the Gospel of Sri Ramakrishna.
Here is an excerpt,from the Chapter where the Master visits Vidyasagar:
Brahman cannot be expressed in words:
"What Brahman is cannot he described. All things in the world – the Vedas, the
Puranas, the Tantras, the six systems of philosophy – have been defiled, like food
that has been touched by the tongue, for they have been read or uttered by the
tongue. Only one thing has not been defiled in this way, and that is Brahman. No one
has ever been able to say what Brahman is."

VIDYASAGAR (to his friends): "Oh! That is a remarkable statement. I have learnt
something new today."
MASTER: "A man had two sons. The father sent them to a preceptor to learn the
Knowledge of Brahman. After a few years they returned from their preceptor's
house and bowed low before their father. Wanting to measure the depth of their
knowledge of Brahman, he first questioned the older of the two boys. 'My child,' he
said, 'You have studied all the scriptures. Now tell me, what is the nature of
Brahman?' The boy began to explain Brahman by reciting various texts from the
Vedas. The father did not say anything. Then he asked the younger son the same
question. But the boy remained silent and stood with eyes cast down. No word
escaped his lips. The father was pleased and said to him: 'My child, you have
understood a little of Brahman. What It is cannot be expressed in words.'
Parable of ant and sugar hill:
"Men often think they have understood Brahman fully. Once an ant went to a hill
of sugar. One grain filled its stomach. Taking another grain in its mouth it started
homeward. On its way it thought, 'Next time I shall carry home the whole hill.'
That is the way shallow minds think. They don't know that Brahman is beyond one's
words and thought. However great a man may be, how much can he know of
Brahman? Sukadeva and sages like him may have been big ants; but even they could
carry at the utmost eight or ten grains of sugar!
"As for what has been said in the Vedas and the Puranas, do you know what it is
like? Suppose a man has seen the ocean, and somebody asks him, 'Well, what is the
ocean like?' The first man opens his mouth as wide as he can and says: 'What a
sight! What tremendous waves and sounds!' The description of Brahman in the
sacred books is like that. It is said in the Vedas that Brahman is of the nature of
Bliss – It is Satchidananda."
.....to be continued....

Ravi said...

Shiv,
Thanks very much for that excellent post on Swami Ramakrishnanandaji-what a great soul!Just to think of these great ones is a blessing.
"Wonder what God was doing before you were born"-is absolutely hilarious and is like Sri Bhagavan's 'Brahmastram'.
I had been to RK mutt today and had a wonderful time listening to the Bhajans.There was an announcement towards the end-that the 8th(next sunday)they are observing Swami Ramakrishnananda's birth anniversary,with pooja and other programmes starting from 05:00 Hrs.
I agree with you that Sri Sankara,Sri Ramanuja,Sri Madhwacharya are Great ones ,and it will be to our advantage to respect them and be devoted to them.We are only toddlers and can only grow by learning from these great ones.
Thanks very much.
Namaskar.

Nandu Narasimhan said...

I haven't posted anything for a long time, but have been reading each and every post in this thread.

I am not an advanced seeker, and rely heavily on devotion to get me back on the path. My own experience is that devotion at one point turns me to SE. May not be true for others.

'Faith in Bhagavan. Faith in each one of Bhagavan's words. And faith in the fact that Self-Enquiry as taught by Bhagavan is the only direct way to That Which Is.'

To me at least, the above three are absolutely essential for Self Enquiry.

Nandu Narasimhan

Ravi said...

Nandu,
Wonderful post!
Namaskar.

Murali said...

Nandu,

'Faith in Bhagavan. Faith in each one of Bhagavan's words. And faith in the fact that Self-Enquiry as taught by Bhagavan is the only direct way to That Which Is.'

I have found out of lot of struggle, doubts, debates etc., that what really matters finally is trusting the Guru and do what He tells. It does not matter what He tells as long as we simply follow it to the letter.

We are puny mortals who cannot see beyond a small distance and therefore, are not in a position to find the correct way ourself.

The following is an extract which David wrote somewhere on this blog which I treasure it to my heart.

---------------------------------
Egg plants had been cut and the spiky ends were about to be thrown away. Not even the cows would eat them. Bhagavan, though, insisted that they be turned into a vegetable dish. A devotee was deputed by Bhagavan to stir a pot of these inedible and probably indigestible leftovers. He faithfully stayed at his post stirring away, even when the 'vegetable' was reduced to a charred and sticky mess at the bottom of the pot. Just before the meal was to be served, Bhagavan reappeared. He seemed delighted that the devotee had stuck to his task, even though it seemed that the food had been ruined. Bhagavan added a few condiments and the contents of the pot miraculously transformed themselves into a tasty vegetable dish.

On another occasion, when Bhagavan was cooking, something was about to be burned unless immediate action was taken.

He called out, 'Take the plate from the stove!' and the devotee immediately obeyed and removed it with his bare hands, even though it was a heavy iron plate that had been sitting on a blazing fire. When he looked at his hands afterwards, the devotee was amazed to discover that his hands had not been burnt.

What is the relevance of these stories to the practice of self-enquiry? Bhagavan has given us very specific instructions on how to practise self-enquiry. If we follow them to the letter, without attempting to analyse, query or vary them, we naturally invoke his grace in our attempts to succeed. If we take matters into our own hands, thinking that we have found a better way, I suspect that the grace is somehow withdrawn because we have shown a lack of faith in Bhagavan's instructions.
---------------------

Regards Murali

silence_speaks said...

Dear Ravi,
:)
The scriptures, saints, avtars, everyone claimed that God is here, now. All around you, in and outside you.

Let us focus on the "basic" problem...
When God is present everywhere, why is it that we do not "see" him?

I want your views on this. We shall proceed to see this very very objectively.

Love!
Silence

Nandu Narasimhan said...

Just adding to Murali's comment -

On the question of 'absolute faith' there is a beautiful episode in 'Nothing Ever Happened' about Papaji's friend's daughter who wanted to see Krishna.

Papa kept postponing the event, until one day, the girl literally held him to ransom.

Papaji asked her to offer Krishna the toffee she had in her hand. Which she did. And Krisha appeared to the girl. It was so real to her that she started beating him, as he was trying to eat the whole toffee!

I don' t remember, but papaji says somewhere in the episode that there was no doubt in the girl's mind and that's why she saw Krishna.

s. said...

salutations to all:
nandu/murali:
murali said - have found out of lot of struggle, doubts, debates etc., that what really matters finally is trusting the Guru and do what He tells. It does not matter what He tells as long as we simply follow it to the letter. We are puny mortals who cannot see beyond a small distance and therefore, are not in a position to find the correct way ourself.

this (& the story you inserted) talk about total trust in the words & instructions of a gurU. a naive question - leaving the advaitic sense of a gurU, this obviously can be done only if there is a so-called 'living' guru who can be asked by us & who can instruct us. it's true, for all of us here, bhagavAn is very much 'alive' but that is always understood in a slightly different sense from those narrated in the stories you appended, isn't it? in the incidents you described, bhagavAn told whatever he said to a specific person, and the same may not be applicable to the rest in other circumstances. what do you do then???

yes, there are many a time when i terribly miss bhagavAn; i wish i could see him (i, for sure, will have nothing to talk before a 'one' as bhagavAn or thAkur (and the master also may have nothing to talk to me!!)). it's also true, that am fine with not having the comfort of bhagavAn being 'alive', 'alive' in the sense we all would like to 'believe'. in other times, i also remember bhagavAn driving home the point several times that we shouldn't be attached to his physical frame & there is no question of anyone 'missing' the self. for me, given the non-believer i think i am, to have faith in bhagavAn, especially since he isn't 'in a way' there to tell what to do or not do, is synonymous with trying to do 'vichAra'. :-))

Ravi said...

silence_speaks,
"The scriptures, saints, avtars, everyone claimed that God is here, now. All around you, in and outside you."
Friend,I understand that you are offering to take me step by step.
So,please start from
1.what/who is called 'God'?
2.What you mean by 'now'?
3.What you mean by 'here' ?

I am not looking for definition or ideas.Please let me know like the way I taste sugar and know what it is-I may not know to even call it sugar.

Namaskar.

s. said...

salutations to all:
am sure most of you would have heard, if not read, the ramaNa stuti panchakam. it's so very sweet that am now & then stuck by its sheer beauty & simplicity.
for those of you who know to read tamizh, a verse from the 'kummI pAttu' (describing bhagavAn):

மூன்று சரீரமுந் தான்மறந் தானவன்
மூன்றவஸ் தைகளுந் தானொழித்தான்
மூன்று குணங்களுந் தாண்டிவிட் டானவன்
மூன்று பதங்கடந் தேறிவிட்டான்.

indeed:
வாழி வாழி ரமண மகாகுரு
வாழி வாழி யருண மகாகிரி

Murali said...

s said:

"... in the incidents you described, bhagavAn told whatever he said to a specific person, and the same may not be applicable to the rest in other circumstances. what do you do then???"

Consider the following steps (taken from "Who am I?")
A. If thoughts arise, one should, without attempting to complete them, enquire, 'To whom did they occur?'
B. At the very moment that each thought rises, if one vigilantly enquires 'To whom did this appear?' it will be known 'To me'.
C. If one then enquires 'Who am I?' the mind will turn back to its source and the thought that had arisen will also subside.
D. By repeatedly practising in this way, the mind will increasingly acquire the power to abide at its source.

Now, what stops us from doing the following
1. I decide that come-what-may, I will sit for 1 hour in the morning and 1 hour in the evening
2. Every Morning, I repeat the 4 steps above some 10000 times
3. Every Evening, I repeat the 4 steps above some 10000 times
4. Whenever I feel whether it works or not, I counter this thought saying that "Bhagavan taught it and hence it is true"

Are there not instructions for me from the above from Bhagavan? Bhagavan openly gave steps A to D above to everyone so why to worry what is specifically applicable for me?

Regards Murali

Anonymous said...

Dear Ravi and friends, I love your step by step approach and your lucid, logical mind. What is missing here is the urgency!
hj

Ravi said...

s/Friends,
The Ramana stuti panchakam are sung as saturday parayana-the songs are easily accessible,sweet and simple.No other devotee has captured the beauty and glory of Sri Bhagavan as Satyamangalam venkatarama iyer.Here are some excerpts from 'Kummi PAttu(Roundelay):
8. Holding the individual and the Supreme selves together
And uniting them, he lost his individuality
And like ripe fruit,
Remains ever the Supreme Being.
(Ramana Guru)
9. With his gracious look he gave me a slap on the cheek
That seemed to say, ‘O pious Venkataramana,
Why do you waste your time with words?
See for yourself!’
(Ramana Guru)
10. Without doubt Ramana is my kind master, guide and Lord.
Wise girls, let us surrender to him,
Fall at his feet
And dance in rapture!
(Ramana Guru)
-----------------------------------
All the five compositions are five gems and are on par with Sri Bhagavan's compositions,having been composed by a great devotee bearing Sri Bhagavan's name!
You may listen to these here:
http://www.sriramanamaharshi.org/Tamil_Parayana.html
Please click on Kummi pattu (saturday parayana)
One song like this can immediately ignite the living presence of Sri Bhagavan than tons of philosophical jargon.
Namaskar.

Anonymous said...

"One of the earliest people to recognise Sri Bhagavan's greatness was, and to inform others of it, was Achyutadasa, a famous poet and scholar. When Sri Bhagavan was staying in Gurumurtam in the 1890s a holy man with a bright face came with his disciples for Sri Bhagavans darshan. Afer performing bhajans for some time, he sat near Bhagavan, caught hold of his feet and hands and immediately went into ecstasy. When his disciples also approached Bhagavan to catch hold of his feet, Achyutadasa stopped them saying, 'This is a huge fire. None of you can get close to it"
This reminds me of Balarama Reddy who also felt that when Ramana Maharshi sat close to him, there was a feeling of a furnace.
'an electric dynamo. I was thrilled to the core of my being."
Ramana also worked in the kitchen
for years and there he was a cool and efficient guide to the women that had gathered around him.
Ultimately Ramana Maharshi is a mystery.
hj

Ravi said...

hj/Friends,
urgency for what!Here is an excerpt from The Gospel of Sri Ramakrishna:
Futility of mere lecturing:
"What can you achieve by mere lecturing and scholarship without discrimination and
dispassion? God alone is real, and all else is unreal. God alone is substance, and all else is
nonentity. That is discrimination.
"First of all set up God in the shrine of your heart, and then deliver lectures as much as you
like. How will the mere repetition of 'Brahma' profit you if you are not imbued with
discrimination and dispassion? It is the empty sound of a conch-shell.
"There lived in a village a young man named Padmalochan. People used to call him 'Podo',
for short. In this village there was a temple in a very dilapidated condition. It contained no
image of God. Aswattha and other plants sprang up on the ruins of its walls. Bats lived
inside, and the floor was covered with dust and the droppings of the bats. The people of the
village had stopped visiting the temple. One day after dusk the villagers heard the sound of
a conch-shell from the direction of the temple. They thought perhaps someone had installed
an image in the shrine and was performing the evening worship. One of them softly opened
the door and saw Padmalochan standing in a corner, blowing the conch. No image had been
set up. The temple hadn't been swept or washed. And filth and dirt lay everywhere. Then he
shouted to Podo:
You have set up no image here,
Within the shrine, O fool!
Blowing the conch, you simply make
Confusion worse confounded.
Day and night eleven bats
Scream there incessantly. …
Purification of mind
"There is no use in merely making a noise if you want to establish the Deity in the shrine of
your heart, if you want to realize God. First of all purify the mind. In the pure heart God
takes His seat. One cannot bring the holy image into the temple if the droppings of bats are
all around. The eleven bats are our eleven organs: five of action, five of perception, and the
mind.
"First of all invoke the Deity, and then give lectures to your heart's content. First of all dive
deep. Plunge to the bottom and gather up the gems. Then you may do other things. But
nobody wants to plunge. People are without spiritual discipline and prayer, without
renunciation and dispassion. They learn a few words and immediately start to deliver
lectures. It is difficult to teach others. Only if a man gets a command from God, after
realizing Him, is he entitled to teach."
-----------------------------------
hj,I am with you!
Namaskar.

Losing M. Mind said...

That description around Sri Bhagavan. I have really felt in my association with Nome, and it continues to be that way. Earlier today, I had just written Nome, and I felt the onrushing power of the Self, so intense, that I felt like it could kill me. But I tried to inquire, and when I looked up, I was at this fountain waterfall, the world shimmered like a pool with ripples in it, quite literally. I felt like the whole world and sky was trying to fit into my body. And the 'electric dynamo' description, really fits for when I was in his presence. Such is the Presence of a jnani! Realizing it, I must say, seems daunting. I can only associate with it, and do my best.

silence_speaks said...

Dear Ravi,
:) Thats very nice.
But I am not trying to "take" you anywhere. We are just going to "Share" something.

We are not going to become philosophers here. I am just sharing, and for sharing we need not define "here", "now" :) ! You understand what it means when we say "God is here now" ! Words are limited and as much as the words can convey is more than sufficient for us. as we will see!

I do not want you to be mathematically precise here. We can be, but its a waste of time. Just the intutive idea you have about God, here and now is self sufficient.

So please be free to answer the question as a child would do. what you think. there is no need to quote anyone, no need to become philosophically correct. just what you think.

Love!
Silence

Losing M. Mind said...

And I should add, I don't really have a choice, which may be for the best. But I've really felt, that the only way for me to function externally, really is to realize the Self. My ego is a very, very flawed one. I have a feeling that the functioning of this body, would be superb, if it was only the Self acting through it. Unfortunately, I don't want to vacate the premises.I mean, I pretend to. But even today's intense deeper experience. Yes, it didn't kill me. Sages are nicer than that. But it's clear, that although it's a deep experience, It's still hard for me to totally surrender. Though I attempted to, and when I say surrender, I mean inquiry. There both kind of synonomous to me. As Papaji said that true surrender is surrender of "I".

s. said...

salutations to all:
murali: am afraid, you didn't get my question. infact, the only thing what bhagavAn said that can generalised is 'self-enquiry'; that i think i reasonably understand without any ambiguity. :-)))

the stories you spoke about, "eggplants" and "take the plate from the stove" are NOT as such about instructions on self-enquiry, isn't it?
i asked - in those & several such circumstances, when there is no one to tell you to 'take the plate from the stove', let me reiterate (NOT VICHARA), what do you do??? for example: bhagavAn may have asked a devotee to not board a train on some day; now, that can't be applied to oneself, isn't it??? in what sense are you talking about "do what He tells", when there is no one as such to tell?

krishna said...

Arunachalam ena aghamey ninaipavar aghathey vaeru aruppai en arunachala

Murali said...

"in what sense are you talking about "do what He tells", when there is no one as such to tell?"

My humble opinion is that if we dedicate ourselves to following Bhagavan's instructions as given in His books, then the details of life as it unfolds everyday itself is directly from Bhagavan. Can anaything happen without the presence and intelligence of the Self? What if we face everything in life with this attitude? Is this not ultimately true that everything is ordained and arranged by the Almighty? At the end, do we have any other choice?

One more thing, if we are facing any situation, the particular thoughts which come to us to handle that situation come from "somewhere". None of us know from where. Why not assume that they are coming from Bhagavan? If we think this way, then, is it not equivalent to obeying Bhagavan?

Regards Murali

s. said...

salutations to all:
david: apologies for posting these chain of comments in this thread. after this reply to murali, will post such comments in the 'Open Thread'.

murali: admire your view. not asking the following with any intention to 'argue'. ["One more thing, if we are facing any situation, the particular thoughts which come to us to handle that situation come from "somewhere". None of us know from where. Why not assume that they are coming from Bhagavan?"]

since we try 'vichAra', we are also aware of the mind's inability to retain attention, obviously owing to (for the lack of an appropriate word) 'impurities' (vAsanAs etc.). not to talk of when not engaged in 'vichAra' :-) whatever the 'truth' may be, am surely not capable of attributing such thoughts to bhagavAn. my thoughts are my 'mess' and i can't say that 'the mess' is due to bhagavAn. i agree there might be a state where one naturally may 'experience' bhagavAn to be all, but for now, i simply lack the courage to say 'all my thoughts are because of bhagavAn' - they are just words that may simply be an abdication of our primary responsibility (to know the truth of bhagavAn) in the disguise of a feeling of 'surrender'! (the thing ravi warned us earlier - the 'holier-than-thou' attitude?).

[Is this not ultimately true that everything is ordained and arranged by the Almighty? ]
what is "ultimately true"? - we don't know; whether there is a so-called "Almighty" - we don't know. these may be nothing more than words to bring some 'solace' to ourselves; and for one who does 'vichAra', any such need for such artificial crutches are clearly obviated, isn't it? we start & (hopefully) finish with the one thing that's our indubitable belief, the belief that 'i exist'.

Ravi said...

Silence_speaks,
"When God is present everywhere, why is it that we do not "see" him?

I want your views on this. We shall proceed to see this very very objectively."

I want you to validate your question.
1.What do you mean by 'seeing' God?Are you expecting to 'see' God?
If you mean feeling the presence everywhere,what is your doubt?

2.What do you mean by 'views'?If you mean 'thoughts'-drop the thoughts and feel the presence.

3.Do you consider that God 'here and now' is different than God everywhere?

Intuit the answers to these questions and that is 'my' answer.

You ask me to answer as a child-Okay.Let me figure out how to put it.Let us say that the child and the mother are in the same room.Does it matter to the child whether the Mother is to the left or Right,in front or at the back.The child feels the protection all around-Mother everywhere.
Now let us say the mother is in the next room,does the child feels less protected?No.It knows mother is still around-Mother everywhere.
-----------------------------------
Hope this could give you some 'idea'.
Namaskar.

Losing M. Mind said...

Sometimes, I'm finding, and I'm not saying this is ultimate truth. I'm still inquiring. But on desire. Sometimes a desire cant it seems be gotten rid of just by repressing it, or focusing in a different direction. Sometimes, it seems, maybe, that prayer, perhaps to Sri Bhagavan about that desire. So that I leave it in his hands, to fulfill it or not. Because desires often feel more like needs. I'm not saying in the highest sense that they are. Also, there is desire on one level, like infatuation. But lets say, there is some positive, or pleasurable experience to be brought into one's life by prarabdha. The ego, it seems, can mess that up. Or can it? I don't know. But since all the mental things, like thoughts arise to carry out that prarabdha. Isn't there some desire, taht can't be eliminated? That is related to prarabdha. I guess, thoughts don't look like thoughts in the Self, because there is the one Consciousness. But maybe it's similar, some desire is part of the functioning of prarabdha, and can't be eliminated, just like some thoughts can't. But I guess, one thing that can most definitely be eliminated because it is unreal, is the individual I. And then all the other doubts will be solved. But I was wondering, could prayer for a desire, ever be in the right direction? I think it could. Because then instead of relying on one's own powerless ego, one is relying on the higher power, to fulfill or deny. Which ultimately leads to a recognition that the only thing that exists is the Supreme!

Ramesh Nagarajan said...

The self-enquiry practice should extend beyond the dedicated meditation period. The awareness have to be there throughout the waking period. Quoting one of the incidents of Sri Natesa who was a cook at Ramanashramam. It was said that the cook had worked tirelessly and sometimes got angry at work, while interacting with others at Kitchen. Natesa was seeking advice from Bhagavan. Bhagavan waited for the right moment, once HE happened to visit kitchen while Natesa was having an arguement with some at ashram. Bhagavan interrupted and said, "Now it is the right time to do vichara. When you express anger the ego is showing its complete face, now it is time to ask Who is at anger"? Obviously, we might not get the answer immediately. But slowly and steadily the various false identifications and accumulations (false I) drop. Our behavior during the waking period pretty much determines our success during the dedicated meditation period.

Anonymous said...

Dear Ravi and friends, Your reasoning process is clear and persuasive.
When I mentioned urgency, it was in relation to Ramana and the fear that triggered his divine breakthrough and ultimate enlightenment.
hj

silence_speaks said...

Dear Ravi,
:)
Now that you have put it so well,
please tell me "why do you consider yourself unrealized still" ?

You say you are surrounded by God and God is everywhere, then where is the question of being unrealized ?

If you consider yourself as realized, then this question is not valid :). We would all be glad.

Ramesh Nagarajan said...

To some extent the prominent desires are related to compulsive actions. Through awareness we can come to know more about our compulsive actions. These actions are hidden clues and if we go to the root of it, we could see the driving force is the desire. Otherwise, in my humble opinion, to a large extent we are clueless to say if the actions arise out of desire or prarabhdha. The thoughts and analysis on whether an action is born out of desire or based on the prarbdha is a hindrance towards spiritual goal. The analysis pertains to the mind. The mind can play double game, arriving at a strong conviction that the action is based on desire and can refute this statement next moment. The fact is the mind doesn’t know the answer. The purpose of spiritual sadhana is to come to a state where we can simply be here (Summa Iru, Be as you are.) Ultimately, the purpose of life is to focus and perform each and every step as the primary purpose as the life presents itself at the present moment. Of course, the effort is required to reach that state. The effort is to turn inward.

Please refer to the following passage – page 14 of his article in David Godman’s website. It is a wonderful article. Thank you David. http://www.davidgodman.org/rteach/Thayumanavar.pdf

The mocking comments of the mind
... [Khanna] handed Bhagavan a piece of paper on which he had written something.

After reading it Bhagavan said, ‘It is a complaint. He says, “I have been coming to you and this time I have remained nearly a month at your feet and I find no improvement at all in my condition. My vasanas are as strong as ever. When I go back, my friends will laugh at me and ask what good my stay here has done.”’
Then, turning to Khanna, Bhagavan said, ‘Why distress your mind by thinking that jnana has not come or that the vasanas have not disappeared? Don’t give room for thoughts. In the last stanza of ‘Sukavari’ in Thayumanavar the saint says much the same as is written on this paper.’
And Bhagavan made me read the stanza and translate it into English for the benefit of those who did not know Tamil. It goes: ‘The mind mocks me, and though I tell you ten thousand times, you are indifferent, so how am I to attain peace and bliss?’

Bhagavan then quoted Thayamanavar verse related to the mind.

There is also another section which talks about Gandhiji’s experience –page 24 & 25 along with Bhagavan’s explanation.
Sri Bhagavan referred to the following passage of Gandhiji in the Harijan of the 11th instant:
‘How mysterious are the ways of God! This journey to Rajkot is a wonder even to me. Why am I going, whither am I going? What for? I have thought nothing about these things. And if God guides me, what should I think, why should I think? Even thought may be an obstacle in the way of His guidance.
‘The fact is, it takes no effort to stop thinking. The thoughts do not come. Indeed, there is no vacuum – but I mean to say that there is no thought about the mission.’

In this article, one may also find a beautiful explanation on the experience of a person who abides in the Self – page 11 through 13.

Nandu Narasimhan said...

I think Bhagavan's explanation in 'Talks' that one's own temperament will decide whether one takes up SE as the main method is the crux.

As far as I am concerned, my mind, regrettably, is of an analytical nature, and attempts at SE (if not preceded by either a good session of reading accounts of life at the ashram in Bhagavan's days /an account of Arunachala / a youtube viewing of Papaji or Nisargadatta Maharaj) invariably turn out to be mechanical attempts.

It just takes me in circles.

On the other hand, if SE begins on its own (as it usually does)after the mind has been quietened by either reading, viewing or thinking about Bhagavan, Arunachala or Papaji, it seems to work far better.

A few verses of Upadesa Saram come to mind here , where Bhagavan clearly says that the quietening of the mind is a necessary prelude to SE.

A confession here: I enjoy reading about Bhagavan a lot more than SE. Reading somehow gives me the feeling that I am there with Him.

Nandu Narasimhan

Anonymous said...

Dear Nandu,

A confession here: I enjoy reading about Bhagavan a lot more than SE. Reading somehow gives me the feeling that I am there with Him.

very true......Bhagavan's all embracing love and all encompassing grace makes one feel being with Him.

R p

Anonymous said...

Dear David

Any discussion or talk of Bhagavan or his teachings are itself elevating

Ramesh Nagarajan said...

Nandu has quoted a very important point from Bhagavan's Upadesa Saram. I believe it answers the question of this post - "The qualifications needed to self enquiry". Quietening the mind is prerequisite for self-enquiry.

Personally speaking, the combination of contemplation of spiritual messages, vairagya and awareness took me to state of self-enquiry automatically without me practicing that method directly, culminating in the experience of the Truth.

These are the three steps at a high level:

The contemplation of spiritual messages include reading Bhagavan's teachings, other scriptures including Gita and upanishads and attending satsang.

Developed vairagya by practicing Yama and Niyama as much as possible, while acknowledging and accepting the follies.

Both contemplation and vairgya are strengthened by the awareness throughout the waking period as much as possible. The awareness is to observe how these foolish actions (influenced by the thoughts) affect me and others as indicated by Bhagavan's teachings and other scriptures. This awareness has solidified the faith on spiritual teachings by observing the practical implications of the teachings.

At one point of time, this awareness brings up questions on self-enquiry such as: if these foolish actions aren't any good, who is doing these actions and why so? This results in scrutinizing the form of mind (self-enquiry) as indicated in Upadesa Undiyar (Saram) "When one scrutinizes the form of the mind without forgetfulness [it will be found that] there is no such thing as mind. This is the direct path for all."

The above steps and process may be different for others, such as one practicing surrender path. But eventually, I believe it all leads to quietening the mind (chidha sudhi) thus paving the way of automatic self-enquiry.

David Godman said...

Nandu and Ramesh Nagarajan

'A few verses of Upadesa Saram come to mind here, where Bhagavan clearly says that the quietening of the mind is a necessary prelude to SE.'

The other practices are listed and ranked in Upadesa Undiyar, and some of them are said to be good for purifying or quietening the mind, but at no point does Bhagavan say in that work that these quietening practices have to be done as a precursor to self-enquiry.

s. said...

salutations to all:
ramesh: i would say the exact opposite :-) 'vichAra' is 'the' thing to do precisely when the mind is NOT quiet! a scattered mind, and its awareness as such, is the right pre-requisite for self-enquiry.:-))) perhaps, the only 'disqualifications', if any, are to be too concerned about one's readiness or to engage in discussions on one's readiness!!!

ramesh said:[...practicing that method directly, culminating in the experience of the Truth]
are you self-realised? am not referring to any "glimpses" here; nor am i looking for a long answer!
self-realisation means only one thing - to be in bhagavAn's state.

Ramesh Nagarajan said...

Dear David,

I agree with you. In verse 3 through 7 of Upadesa Undiyar, Bhagavan has given indirect methods to quietening the mind which shows the path (verse 3), but Bhagavan hasn't mentioned, these methods are the prerequisite for self-enquiry.

I stand correct myself, that my previous post is the reflection of what has worked for me.

Ramesh Nagarajan said...

Dear S,

Regarding self-enquiry, I have shared what has worked for me.

Experience is different from liberation. So if you are talking about liberation, then I am not there yet, which I have indicated in my previous posts.

Anonymous said...

A wonderful story: In 1940, Yogaswami went to India on pilgrimage to Banaras and Chidambaram. His famous letter from Banaras states, "After wanderings far in an earnest quest, I came to Kasi and saw the Lord of the Universe--within myself. The herb that you seek is under your feet. One day he visited Sri Ramana Maharshi at his Arunachalam Ashram. The two simply sat all afternoon facing each other in elequent silence. Not a word was spoken. Back in Jaffna he explained, "We said all that had to be said."
hj

Ravi said...

David/s/Ramesh/friends,
Sri Bhagavan has clearly said (posted by david):
Question: Who is considered fit for this enquiry? Can one by oneself know one’s own fitness?

Bhagavan: He whose mind has been purified through upasana [worship] and other means or by merit acquired in past lives, who perceives the imperfections of the body and sense-objects, and feels utter distaste whenever his mind has to function among sense-objects and who realises that the body is impermanent, he is said to be a fit person for self-enquiry."

This is not unlike what Ramesh has posted.
I tend to believe that in as much as God is 'indispensable' to one and all in as much as Happiness and Love are what everyone is seeking ,Sri Bhagavan has not made fine distinctions as to who can practise Self Enquiry.
s has stated about scattered mind and the awarenessof it as a prerequisite.To arrive at this awareness it does require a 'momentary' quiet mind or atleast a mind that knows what quietude is.
A Quiet mind is a basic prerequisite for any Sadhana(Be it Bhakti,Yoga or Jnana).
Namaskar.

Nandu Narasimhan said...

Dear David,

You wrote -The other practices are listed and ranked in Upadesa Undiyar, and some of them are said to be good for purifying or quietening the mind, but at no point does Bhagavan say in that work that these quietening practices have to be done as a precursor to self-enquiry.

What I was referring to when I wrote my post was verse 15 -

'When the mind has been suspended by breath restraint, it may then be annihilated by single-minded
attention to the Self.'

To me, in this verse, Bhagavan seems to be hinting at quietening the mind before SE.

Please correct me if I am wrong, for my purpose is not to argue, but to pick up every valuable point I can, here. That is the single reason I am here every day.

Nandu Narasimhan

Clemens Vargas Ramos said...

...to pick up every valuable point...

Dear Nandu, self enquiry and "just being" or "be what you are" is (besides of Ramana) beautifully explained in "The Book of Privy Counseling".

But do we really need more books or explanations? Hasn't Ramana already elaborated on all this?

The mind is tricky and pretends to look for spiritual advance. But a ripe seeker has no more questions - he knows all answers. You know them too.

Simply go home and work for yourself on what Ramana taught. Be aware of the mind feeling lonely and lost. The enduring of this up to the point where this emotions and thoughts vanish means self enquiry.

Nandu Narasimhan said...

Dear Clemens,

Thank you so much for the kind words.

I do reflect almost all the time on Bhagavan's teachings. But sometimes, my mind interprets them wrong.

To me, it is important to understand exactly what Bhagavan said. He was the master of the terse reply.

That is why I come here and 'listen' to the discussions. Almost every day, there is some nugget or the other that one picks up from this blog.

And I am grateful for that. For one can stray from the path without one realising it.

Nandu Narasimhan

David Godman said...

Nandhan

You wrote:

'What I was referring to when I wrote my post was verse 15 -

'"When the mind has been suspended by breath restraint, it may then be annihilated by single-minded attention to the Self."

'To me, in this verse, Bhagavan seems to be hinting at quietening the mind before SE.'

I think you are referring to verse fourteen, not fifteen, where Bhagavan wrote:

'When one makes the mind, which has subsided by restraining the breath, go along the one path, its form will die.'

I think your version contains a few extrapolations. The Tamil just says ‘or vazhi’ ‘the one path’ rather than single-minded attention to the Self’. However, I accept your point that Bhagavan teaches here that pranayama makes the mind quieter, enabling it to focus more readily on enquiry. This is what Bhagavan says about pranayama and enquiry in the eighth paragraph of ‘Who am I?’:

‘For making the mind subside there is no adequate means other than enquiry [vichara]. If made to subside by other means, the mind will remain as if subsided, but will rise again. Even by breath restraint [pranayama] the mind will subside; however, so long as the breath remains subsided, the mind will also remain subsided, and when the prana comes out, it [the mind] will also come out and wander under the sway of vasanas … Therefore, pranayama is a mere aid for restraining the mind. It will not bring about the destruction of the mind.’

Bhagavan taught that pranayama was a useful preliminary aid for those were accustomed to it or found it a good way to quieten the mind at the beginning of meditation, but he didn’t recommend it as a regular or long-term practice, and he certainly didn’t accept that it was a necessary precursor to effective enquiry.

On 25th January 1938 Bhagavan answered a question about this in ‘Talks with Sri Ramana Maharshi’:

Mr. G. D. asked: Is it necessary to control one’s breath? What becomes of the man who has not practised breath-control?

M.: Breath-control is only an aid for diving deep. One may as well dive down by control of mind. On the mind being controlled, the breath becomes controlled automatically. One need not attempt breath-control; mind-control is enough. Breath-control is recommended for the man who cannot control his mind straightaway.

David Godman said...

Nandhan

You wrote:

'What I was referring to when I wrote my post was verse 15 -

'"When the mind has been suspended by breath restraint, it may then be annihilated by single-minded attention to the Self."

'To me, in this verse, Bhagavan seems to be hinting at quietening the mind before SE.'

I think you are referring to verse fourteen, not fifteen, where Bhagavan wrote:

'When one makes the mind, which has subsided by restraining the breath, go along the one path, its form will die.'

I think your version contains a few extrapolations. The Tamil just says ‘or vazhi’ ‘the one path’ rather than single-minded attention to the Self’. However, I accept your point that Bhagavan teaches here that pranayama makes the mind quieter, enabling it to focus more readily on enquiry. This is what Bhagavan says about pranayama and enquiry in the eighth paragraph of ‘Who am I?’:

‘For making the mind subside there is no adequate means other than enquiry [vichara]. If made to subside by other means, the mind will remain as if subsided, but will rise again. Even by breath restraint [pranayama] the mind will subside; however, so long as the breath remains subsided, the mind will also remain subsided, and when the prana comes out, it [the mind] will also come out and wander under the sway of vasanas … Therefore, pranayama is a mere aid for restraining the mind. It will not bring about the destruction of the mind.’

Bhagavan taught that pranayama was a useful preliminary aid for those were accustomed to it or found it a good way to quieten the mind at the beginning of meditation, but he didn’t recommend it as a regular or long-term practice, and he certainly didn’t accept that it was a necessary precursor to effective enquiry.

On 25th January 1938 Bhagavan answered a question about this in ‘Talks with Sri Ramana Maharshi’:

Mr. G. D. asked: Is it necessary to control one’s breath? What becomes of the man who has not practised breath-control?

M.: Breath-control is only an aid for diving deep. One may as well dive down by control of mind. On the mind being controlled, the breath becomes controlled automatically. One need not attempt breath-control; mind-control is enough. Breath-control is recommended for the man who cannot control his mind straightaway.

Nandu Narasimhan said...

Dear David,

It is Verse 14 - 'Prana bandhanal...'. Sorry about the mistake.

I think it is a lot clearer now.

The 'Question and Answer' from 'Talks' explains everything perfectly.

My mistake was that I was looking at it in a linear fashion.

The translation that I posted from is the B.V. Narasimha Swami one.

Nandu Narasimhan

kandhan said...

David, there is a reference in 'Final Talks' to watching the breath, self enquiry and diving into the heart in Ulladu Narpadu Anubandham. Could you provide the translation of the verse please. I was also wondering if there are any other reference to watching the breath by Bhagwan.

On an off topic, I saw a lot of encroachment in Tiruvannamali during my recent visit compared to my visit last year. I saw encrochment reaching the backgate(leading to Skandashramam) of the ashram. I also saw some huts with flags on the hill on the north eastern face. I hope the someone takes this up with the authorities before the situation gets out of control.

Nandu Narasimhan said...

David,

This one isn't related to SE.

In the extract you quoted from 'Talks', is the 'G.D.' Douglas Ainslie?

The date seems to be the time he visited Bhagavan.

Nandu Narasimhan

Anonymous said...

Dear Bandhus
There is a nice piece of guidance on self enquiry which is helping me a lot in the spiritual journey.

http://itisnotreal.com/Steps%20in%20hunting%20the%20I.pdf

Let me know your views if any.

Namaskaras.

s. said...

salutations to all:
kandhan: it does make all of us rather 'sad' at all those 'encroachments' and hutments here & there on the hill. and it's also true we all think & feel that somehow all these things will go away. this also happens when in the name of 'renovation', now & then good old beautiful temples' interiors are quite often ruined! the 'good old feel' is all gone!!

am telling out of my simple experience that it's precisely when these things bother us that we must remember bhagavAn's admonition 'vandha vElayai pAr' (attend to the work you have come here for). moreover, our love for the hill is not really affected by all those encroachments, isn't it? i also imagine in such situations what might have bhagavAn answered on telling him the same thing that you referred to. not too difficult to guess what he would have, isn't it? :-) i too feel sad and in the next instant i see bhagavAn re-directing me to the 'encroachments within' that ought to be our only concern lest in getting out of one trap, we promptly land in another!

Anonymous said...

Well, it's the one-month anniversary for this post and I was hoping for...a new post!

Ravi said...

Anonymous,
The article that you refer to seems to be written by someone with mystic experience.
The layers of 'beingness' that he refers to is not unlike what Sri Ramakrishna says:
Illusoriness of "I"
"If one analyses oneself, one doesn't find any such thing as 'I'. Take an onion,
for instance. First of all you peel off the red outer skin; then you find thick white
skins. Peel these off one after the other, and you won't find anything inside.
"In that state a man no longer finds the existence of his ego. And who is there
left to seek it? Who can describe how he feels in that state—in his own Pure
Consciousness—about the real nature of Brahman? Once a salt doll went to measure
the depth of the ocean. No sooner was it in the water than it melted. Now who was
to tell the depth?"
-----------------------------------
All the same it does seem to give an impression of a well rehearsed ,lubricated performance.

All life is yoga-Any mystic experience that does not embrace life and living is still 'subjective' and falls so much short of the mark.

My question to the mystic will be-How do you relate to your neighbour?to your colleague,to your spouse,to your child,to your friend?to your job?to the environment?

Namaskar.

Ramesh Nagarajan said...

Dear Anonymous,

Thank you for forwarding the link to “Steps in hunting the I” pdf. The document has practical ideas on the Sadhana and along with some reference to author’s own experience.

I find the following details in this document matches with my own experience.

1. Calming the mind, enough so that the Sadhaka can penetrate deeper into the layers of consciousness, beyond thought/mind and Consciousness and reach the I.

2. One must go slow and in a step-by-step manner and experience clearly and deeply every aspect of you, the subject, from the mind, down though levels of consciousness, dream and deep sleep and beyond.

3. The most important thing in meditation is to fall in love with your beingness and not be in a hurry. Let the beingness flower on its own.

4. I referred to awareness (watching oneself) in my previous posts - Rajiv talks about the same looker / the witnesser.

5. … and finally the seeker will one day find that there is no I, no him, no anything. Absolutely nothing. With the disappearance of the I, all other things, concepts, understandings will all disappear too. He will be free. Awakening has finally happened.

6. As indicated by Rajiv, I got struck in the causal body (third state) and was very fearful. This is the state of nothingness, darkness or void. As mentioned in one of my previous posts in this blogspot, I totally surrendered to Bhagavan and Bhagavan has bestowed upon his grace to find the answers to stabilize this state.

7. I have experienced Turya state for a while. The body swims in an ocean of bliss with every body cell making a celebration and no matter how the situation seems at the outside. It is also the highest state of Devotion. This is where the IAMness is continuously aware of itself. There are no distractions, no visions and no form. This is formless devotion (Supreme Love)- the highest kind. Hence Turiya is both Jnana and Bhakti.

Unlike Rajiv, I am unable to maintain that state. I find that in the same website http://itisnotreal.com/ that " ‘Effort’ is needed by most to stabilize in the fourth state, even though there is no effort in the fourth state itself." I am one of them. I have to continue the practice to stay in that state effortlessly to get liberated.

I also find the following is a very valuable statement. "After reading a lot of such books all a seeker gains is a mental satisfaction of accumulating vast knowledge of various concepts in form of techniques, affirmations, ideologies, scaffoldings, conditionings, terms etc etc. These concepts become the biggest hindrances towards awakening. That is why too much reading is not recommended. I feel one can do all the reading after he has awakened. He will never be puzzled then."

More emphasis should be given on the practice.

Broken Yogi said...

David,

Thank you for this helpful thread. I have a simple question about how Self-enquiry is itself the best preparation for the fulfillment of self-enquiry.

My understanding of the issue of "preparation" is that it basically means "releasing vasanas, samskaras, desires, clinging, and attachments", without which there can be no realization of the Self. It would be helpful if you could explain or refer to Bhagavan's teaching on how the practice of self-enquiry helps us release these vasanas, samskaras, desires, clinging, and attachments. This would be very helpful to me. Thank you.

Nandu Narasimhan said...

Dear Ramesh Nagarajan,

This is from your post - I also find the following is a very valuable statement. "After reading a lot of such books all a seeker gains is a mental satisfaction of accumulating vast knowledge of various concepts in form of techniques, affirmations, ideologies, scaffoldings, conditionings, terms etc etc. These concepts become the biggest hindrances towards awakening. That is why too much reading is not recommended. I feel one can do all the reading after he has awakened. He will never be puzzled then."

This to me is one of the best 'warnings' that can be given to a seeker.

For some people, a lot of reading helps.

For others like me, it does exactly what is mentioned in your post. Too many concepts, too much 'knowledge', all ultimatley leading to a subtle but pretty strong sense of arrogance.

Nandu Narasimhan

s. said...

salutations to all:
broken yogi & others: my friend sent this extract from the 'Talks' today.

Talk 394.
D.: How is the mind to be stilled?
M.: Looking at the mind with the mind, or fixing the mind in the Self, brings the mind under control of the Self.
D.: Is there any yoga, i.e., a process for it?
M.: Vichara (investigation) alone will do.

silence_speaks said...

When the mind is agitated, when the mind is full of thoughts... if we sit down for Self Inquiry... that is an excellent chance to see how effective it is.

Just sit down... the mind says "Its difficult in this state", ask "for whom", the mind says "i do not like this stuff now".... "for whom?" ask ... seek the source. And see how the mind is stilled.


Why do pranayama at that moment! Do Self inquiry there and then! thats the best time. Coz so much of noise inside ... thats the moment to validate how wonderful Bhagavan Ramana's method is!

The attempt to do pranayama or chant something to calm the mind is actually an attempt to avoid that situtation. Its just lulling the mind. Instead ... face the situtation.

Anonymous said...

nandu,

"For others like me, it does exactly what is mentioned in your post. Too many concepts, too much 'knowledge', all ultimatley leading to a subtle but pretty strong sense of arrogance"

very true :-(

R p

Anonymous said...

s............lovely

R p

Anonymous said...

silence_speaks

"The attempt to do pranayama or chant something to calm the mind is actually an attempt to avoid that situtation. Its just lulling the mind. Instead ... face the situtation"

well said, makes sense :-)

R p

Anonymous said...

Thank you Ramesh. The way you have highlighted the main points of the documents was wonderful. I did go to the link and found it very helpful. Rajiv kapur who is the author of the article "steps in hunting the I" has given few very practical and important suggestions like enjoy your meditations, dont be in a hurry, Love is beingness,the four bodies etc etc. They are very valuable tips for me.
Yes Ramesh it seems he is claiming that he can carry Turya as his permanent experience. The bliss is never gone but then he mentions something about he experiencing the background too.

Very valuable text.

Regards,
Venkat Ram

Murali said...

silence_speaks wrote:

"When the mind is agitated, when the mind is full of thoughts... if we sit down for Self Inquiry... that is an excellent chance to see how effective it is."

What works for me is, when the mind is in the thick of its affairs with thoughts, when I am lost completely in the heat of the day to day issues, if I just mentally order "halt" and start watching the drama going on inside from the vintage point of the observer, the thoughts start to drop. Then, I start applying the sequence - "Whom do these thoughts come" - "to me" - "Who am I?" and focus on the Feeling of myself with an attitude of doubt.

I too found that it is true that ability to focus on I is very high when the thoughts are thickest. The trick is not to get into the worry that the thoughts have to controlled.


Regards Murali

Anonymous said...

I agree that the enchroachment in Tiru is basically caused by huge increase in population and very little investment in infrastructure.
The indiscriminate and tastless refurbishment of ancient structures and places of worship.
The huge Arunachalaswar temple where endless barricades shoot up everywhere and upfront payment is demanded to worship the deity.
A street within the temple walls (clean and hushed)where now newly built villas and expensive cars parked outside the houses; I presume that's where the temple officials reside. Where are all the Sadhus that were living and meditating there years ago? Very few to be seen!
Arunachala stands overlooking the chaos. Green, serene and majestic!
hj

silence_speaks said...

Dear Murali,
:)
yes, thats right.
as you mentioned:
"The trick is not to get into the worry that the thoughts have to controlled. "

This is very true. I would like to add:
The mind suggests "Worry" and we unconsciously accept it. But Self inquiry is not to accept or reject, but to question "who is worried"

Similarly the mind suggests "this is difficult" and we unconsciously accept it. If instead of agreeing with mind, we ask "who feels it is difficult"... it works.

As a golden rule, do not agree with mind ... ;) that way, it is easier. coz unconsciously we often tend to agree with it always.

We should stop pacifying the mind. For example, suppose its dark and I am afraid of darkness. That just means there are some thoughts driving me crazy. one way is to divert the mind from these thoughts - i can talk to someone on phone or watch a movie or chant hanuman chalisa.
But all these ways, i am avoiding the situtation. diverting the mind to something else. That means i have unconsciously accepted that the mind is affecting me.
instead, suppose i question "who has fear" , its directly encountering the thoughts. The thoughts have no power. i am just dissolving them into the source. i am not replacing them with other thoughts. just vanquishing them there and then! this leads to fearlessness. chanting hanuman chalisa does not make me fearless. it just gives me a support. but when i inquire who has fear and dissolve those thoughts at the base, its fearless.

I am not saying hanuman chalisa is not useful. Hanuman chalisa is a wonderful prayer ... I appreciate all prayers. But that is not for diverting mind. it should be for dissolving the mind.

Sridhar said...

Namaste All

In certain satsanghs, I have picked up the idea that the traditional sadhanas (Cleansing inner equipment- Antha karana Shuddhis, exercise of discrimintion and dispassion etc. act as somekind of a gateway to self-enquiry. However, this would mean some pre-qualifications defined on the basis of level of success or maturity attainedin these saddhanas.
To quote from an earlier blog on Sri. Swaminathan:
" By becoming the source of all desires, the ego is the doorway to the sorrow of samsara. The extremely heroic and discriminating person first attains through dispassion the total renunciation of desires that arise in the form of ‘I want’. Subsequently, through the Selfward enquiry ‘Who am I?’, he renounces that ego, leaving no trace of it, and attains the bliss of peace, free from anxieties. This is the supreme benefit of dharma. (Guru Vachaka Kovai, verse, 850)]
"
Is this a correct outlook or is this only meant for those who are not able to get to self-enquiry directly. My apologies if this ground has already been covered in the discussions so far.
Many Pranams,
Sridhar

silence_speaks said...

Dear Sridhar,
:)
Many religious systems perpetuate the "I". Secretly. Please see, All along out childhood, we have been taught to avoid situations in life. For example if I have stage fear, i am told to repeat some mantra to myself. If i am afraid of darkness, i am asked to chant something or divert the mind. If i am attracted to Girls, chant something when they are near. Do pranayam etc. Do you see ?

While this is what some religions are teaching, some others are teaching : "Observe Thoughts". Now, that becomes a new activity and perpetuates the ego.

Bhagavan says find out "Who is troubled by all this". Instead of avoiding the situtation, remain in it and see who is really getting affected. That is, i need to not run away from any situation. No situtation scares me! The Truth that I cannot be affected by any situation can only be seen if i remain in the situtation and really see who is getting affected by the situation.

So, that means, if i am afraid of darkness, i do not switch on the light, nor chant any mantra. so now, i am left alone with fear. The one who is trying to escape this fear. Who is it?

Do you see that clearly? The space , the walls of your room, the trees outside ... they are all in complete darkness but none of them are afraid. so who is afraid ?

This body is not afraid either. that is why when mind sleeps, the body is totally ignorant. it has no fear. The Consciousness within which just recognizes the presence of fear and all these things --- that too is not afraid.

who is afraid!!
look within for the source from where this voice of fear is arising.
where has it started?
do you find this?
just see from whence this voice of fear is arising.

observe carefully that there is really none who is saying this! There was some thought. "I am afraid", then another thought "I dont like darkness" etc ... a stream of such thoughts arising at fast pace are just creating a sense of "I" where there is none.

In reality, there is no such entity called "I" within. And One has to see this. The moments of fear, worry etc are the right times to see these things clearly within. Validate within. Verify. There is no "I".

so nothing remains a problem coz, there is no one for whom things could be a problem!! This is fantastic! It liberates. One can just sit down and revel in the inner joy. Just Be.

Love!
Silence

Anonymous said...

***********************************
An extract about Self Enquiry, Advaita and 'I am meditation' which has also been prescribed by Bhagawan, from the book:Silence of the Heart by Robert Adams which is a compilation of his spoken satsangs when he was alive.
Download it free from www.scribd.com
***********************************
Page101
I Am is the first name of God. When you want to think of God, you think of I Am with your respiration. I Am is the irst name of God. Close your eyes and try. Inhale and say, “I.” Exhale and say, “am.” Inhale say, “I,” exhale say, “am.” Doesn’t that make you feel good? Just by saying I Am to yourself, it lifts you up. So the thing to do is this: Whenever you have a problem, I don’t care what it is, I don’t care how serious you think it is, whether it’s personal or worldly, wherever it came from, the secret is to forget yourself. For the moment, forget about the problem for as long as you can, and do the I Am meditation. Every time the problem comes back to you, do the I Am meditation. If your mind wanders, bring it back again and do the I Am meditation. When I explain this to some people they say, “Robert, but you tell us we have to get rid of our minds. We have to annihilate the mind, not think with it.” This is true. This is the highest truth. But yet most people cannot do this.
*********************************
Remember Advaita Vedanta is really for mature souls. People who have practiced sadhana in previous lives. It’s like going to school. Self-inquiry, Advaita Vedanta, is like the university of spiritual life. You cannot fool yourself.
**********************************
There are so many people who try to practice Self-inquiry and they give it up. Then I tell them to surrender, surrender completely. That’s the other way. Again this becomes dificult. They try it for awhile and they always revert back to them selves, your personal self. So I give them the I Am meditation. Everybody can do that. When nothing seems to work, go back to the I Am. It’s really very powerful. Do not take it simple. I can guarantee you this. If you can practice I Am for one day, just one day, all of your troubles will be transcended. You will feel happiness you’ve never felt before. You will feel a peace that you never even knew existed. As you keep practicing I Am, your thoughts will become less and less. Your personal self will go into the background and you will begin to feel an inner Bliss. You will begin to feel that it no longer matters what I’m going through. It makes no difference, because it is God who is going through this, not me. And God has no problems. You automatically become happy, just by using the I Am meditation.
[contd]

Anonymous said...

[Robert Adams extract contd]
In the Bhagavad Gita it says, “Out of a million people, one searches for God. And out of a million people who search, one finds Him.” It’s sort of difficult. That’s how it appears. But if you begin to use I Am as a meditation and you allow the I Am to go deeper and deeper, your bodily consciousness will disappear, and I Am will take over.
If you want to mix Self-inquiry, Atma Vichara, with I Am, that’s permissible. You can use them both together. I’ll explain how. Say you’re using the I Am meditation. In between, thoughts keep popping up. Whether they’re good thoughts or bad thoughts makes no difference, but thoughts keep interfering. You can now inquire, “To whom come these thoughts?” and you don’t have to go any further. Just observe and watch.

When your mind becomes silent again, you go back to the I Am meditation with your respiration. When thoughts come again you inquire, “To whom do they come?” As you progress in this method, you complete the question. “The thoughts come to me. What is the Source of me? Who am I? What is the Source of I?” You begin to feel and see that the I that seems to have the problem is not you. You begin to feel, “I” have a problem. “I” am sick. “I” am angry. “I” have no peace of mind. And you begin to laugh. For the realization tells you, “I” has all these things, I don’t. “I” is the culprit. “I” appears to want this and need that. So it is with desires, wants, self-aggrandizement. All of this belongs to the “I.” Who is this I? Where does it come rom? If the “I” isn’t really me, then who am I? And you keep still. Now you may go back to I Am with the respiration. You inhale and you say I. You exhale and you say Am. As you progress this way, you’re going to ind something interesting happening to your life. You’re going to find there’s more and more space between I Am. It will happen by itself. You will inhale and you will say I, and all of a sudden nothing will come out of that. Then you will exhale with Am. You will inhale again and say I. Remember you’re not putting this on, you’re not making it happen. It’s happening all by itself. And the space between I Am is the fourth dimension of Consciousness.
After waking, sleeping, dreaming. It is the state of the Jnani. It is your freedom. It is Pure Awareness. Pure Awareness is not the I Am. The I Am leads to Pure Awareness. And when you keep practicing, “Who am I?” alternating with both of them, there will be a greater space before you say, “Who am I?” again. That space is Bliss. You’ll feel something you’ve never felt before. An inner joy, an inner delight. You will just know
that the whole universe is the Self, and I Am That.
Page 103

David Godman said...

Anonymous

Blogger has a new moderating system that decides if incoming messages are spam or not. I found your two messages (the last two published) in the spam folder. I don't know why. No one else's messages have so far ended up there. Perhaps your email address has been tagged as a potential source of spam. You should look into this and see why you are being singled out in this way.

silence_speaks said...

Dear Friends,
:) I was going through "Living By the Words of Bhagavan", where Annamalai Swami makes a very interesting comment:


pg 273, Living by the words of Bhagavan



Q: Many people find Self inquiry very difficult. Even most of bhagavan's devotees seem to follow a bhakti path. If one cannot do enquiry successfully, should one first purify the mind with japa ?


AS: No. If you have some interest in the path of self-enquiry you should follow it even if you feel that you are not very good at it. if you want to do self inquiry effectively and properly you should stick to that method alone. other methods may be good in their own right, but they are not good as preparations for self inquiry. if you are serious about becoming a good vilon player, you take lessons from a good teacher and practise as much as you can. If you encounter some difficulties you dont switch to the clarinet for a few months, you stay with your chosen instrument and keep practising till you get it right. the best preparation for self inquiry is self inquiry


:)

Anonymous said...

Especially when Self-enquiry is so easy to learn it is best to come to one's own judgement.Try it for a couple of months and see it for yourself.The proof of the pudding is in the eating.I tried it for short periods and it works very quickly but it brings great fear of losing myself and so for me the slow kill is practical.Why so much talk about it.It is always about it but not it; is it not??

If 'Self-enquiry' can be retailed I dont think there would have been a temple in Ramanasramam.

Dont bother about what the Saints say.Sometimes they say something in public and believe else in private.This is because there is no one pill to all.To everything they say there is a context and that context is the questioner ofcourse except on Ultimate Reality which is beyond expression anyway.You have to make out what sadhana suits you.Remeber that the Kitchen workers in Ramanasramam sadhana was non-stop concentration on work(sraddha) and endurance(Saburi).Ramana taught Bhakti,Guru-bhakti, Jnana,Karma,Self-enquiry, Service to the devotees,Service to the Holymen,charity to the poor and hungry,Rishi Dharma, Silence, Abstinence,Living by deed and word, Forgiveness,winning with Love and Compassion to all including animals and trees,Guru Dharma,Sanatana Dharma, Vedas, Chores Yoga:excelling in daily practical skills like cooking,binding,stitching etc,Ayurveda and Culinary and what not; all to the highest standard ever known in history.

Infact the standard and impeccability is so high that he cannot be used a role model by a lot of ordinary mortals.

Regular awareness(parayana/manana) of our strengths and weaknesse vis a vis the many things that Ramana lived(as listed above) is all I can do.

Anonymous said...

There has been several discussions here and elsewhere about why BV Narasimha Swami moved away from Ramana Maharshi to Shirdi Sai Baba.

However we fail to understand the essential teaching of Ramana Maharshi Himself. When we say, BVN moved from Ramana to Shirdi sai, we are giving importance to the 'bodies' of Bhagavan and Shirdi sai. In that ignorance, we say he moved from Ramana to Shirdi Sai.

It is interesting to learn for ourselves how subtly our ego makes way for itself. It forgets the essential teaching and stays stuck in the matters of 'jada' or inert objects.

Is there any difference between Ramana and Shirdi sai? physically they look different. But the inherent being is one and the same. Therefore BVN has not moved anywhere or changed his guru or He felt Self enquiry difficult or did he feel that his Guru was Shirdi Sai.

It is Us (ego) that is stuck with strong impressions of Body and Form. We must strive to go above the form of Ramana Maharshi.

Regards

Ravi said...

Friends,
The Shirdi sai temple in Mylapore has been renovated through a Kumbabhishekam performed some months back.I am delighted to find that the samadhi hall of Sri B V Narasimhaswamy is completely renovated-with a statue of Sri Saibaba installed over it and with another statue of Sri BVN standing beside him.The artefacts used by Sri BVN are also on display in one of the rooms on the left of the main sanctum sanctorum- the padukas(Footwear),Easy Chair and Bed.
Namaskar.

Tarun Gidwani said...

Dear David

I know this is an inappropriate question here

But i cannot resist. Has Papaji ever spoken of Sathya Sai Baba?

Ravi said...

Tarun,
Papaji on Sri Sathya sai Baba-You will find David questionning Papaji on this subject.
Please visit:
http://sri-ramana-maharshi.blogspot.com/2010/01/reincarnating-jnanis.html

Namaskar.

IamNaN said...

http://www.kevinrdshepherd.info/shirdi_sai_baba_and_sai_baba_movement.html contains some info on BVN including suggestions on why he left Tiru

hey jude said...

I read some of Kevin Shepherds comments and criticisms of Narasimhaswami being an 'opportunist' is laughable.
Narasimha was a sincere devotee of both Ramana Maharshi and Shirdi Baba.
Shepherd claims Shirdi Sai Baba has been swept into the Hindu fold thereby alienating many Muslims.
The incredible Sai Baba written by Arthur Osborne "Shirdi did not, however, encourage a merging of the two paths among his followers. He expected goodwill and tolerance between them; that was all"
Also both religions being valid, he did not approve of conversions.
Osborne goes on to say "Sufis teach in secret what Hindus teach openly'

It was the Hindus worship of Sai Baba that was the stumbling block for Muslims, and the performance of this worship in a mosque seemed to be adding insult to injury.

hey jude said...

Wonderful stories of Shirdi Baba and Upasani Maharaj."At first Upasani the disciple, found the changes difficult to accept. He developed a habit at Shirdi of cooking his food and offering it to Sai Baba before eating it himself. One day he found that a beggar, a shudra by birth, was hovering nearby while the food was being cooked. Upasani drove the beggar away with some stern words, a gesture reflecting his brahmanical fear of pollution from lower castes.

When he subsequently took the prepared food to Sai Baba as usual, the old faqir refused to accept the food and instead drove him away. The disciple believed that Sai Baba was deliberately reflecting his own harsh treatment of the beggar. This event appears to have been the origin of Upasani's subsequent sense of identity with shudras and untouchables, an affinity that moved at an acute tangent to caste prejudices. "Wherever you may look, I am there," is one of the allusive statements made to him by the faqir"