Friday, October 10, 2008

Responses to comments on 'The Desire for the Self'

Many people have contributed to an interesting discussion on the last topic: ‘The Desire for the Self’. I have been in bed with the flu for most of the last week, which is why I didn’t feel up to responding to any of the points raised in response. Since my head and lungs feel reasonably clear this morning, I will add my own replies here, as a new post. I will begin with the person who started off the whole debate since he informed me that I did not fully respond to his questions last time. The other responses are in the order in which they appear in the comments section of the last post.

Anonymous: Dear David, I was the ‘anonymous’ who asked for the clarification on desire. Thank you for the post but my confusion still remains. The discussion was much more subtle than what you have explained. I have reread all the arguments again in the other ‘Relations with the Guru’ thread.

If I understood the ‘logicians’ correctly, Arvind did not say that desire for liberation is wrong. He said it should be an intense ‘unconscious’ desire for the Self, that is like breathing or eating food and one that does not cause ‘vrittis’ to rise up in the mind. He said that the intense ‘conscious’ desire for the Self should be at the preliminary stages, and then become an intense ‘unconscious’ desire. He gave the example of desire for sleep.

Broken Yogi said that there should be intense ‘conscious’ desire for the Self, because desire for the Self rises from the Self and is a pure sacred current that exists because it is a desire of the Self for itself. If you remove the mind, which blocks this desire, then the desire is revealed in all glory and the Self is realized. He said that as the seeker advances on his quest, this desire has to be made more and more intense. As an example is his recent post saying how when doing Self-enquiry, the intense ‘conscious’ desire for the Self comes up and takes over and then he concentrates on this desire instead of enquiry.

Both Arvind and Broken Yogi please correct me if I have got it wrong.

I find both arguments appeal to me and sound right. Request you to clarify further in light of Sri Ramana’s teaching. You also have still to explain whether we should actively seek temporary experiences of the type Broken Yogi and others have experienced. Only Westerner devotees seem to have such experiences. Is that so? Thank you. UV.

David: Apologies for not covering all these topics in my previous post. I was not aware that these were the specific points that you were asking me to address. I understood that you merely wanted me to give Bhagavan’s own views on the usefulness or desirability of desiring the Self.

Before addressing your questions I want first to consider the implications of Ulladu Narpadu, verse eight. This is Sadhu Om’s translation:
If one worships the supreme in whatever form, giving him whatever name, it is the way to see the supreme in that name and form; yet realising one’s own truth in the truth of that true thing [the supreme] and being one with it, having been resolved into it, is the true seeing. Thus you should know!

I am aware that there are other ways of translating this verse which give the impression that focusing on name and form is a valid route to a direct experience of the formless. However, for the moment, I want to look at the idea inherent in this particular translation and apply it to our discussion on the desire for the Self. The verse is saying that if you have an idea of the Supreme – what it is, what it is like, and so on – you can, by the power of your worship (concentrated reverential attention) have an experience of the Supreme in the form that you have imagined. The verse, though, goes on to say that the true seeing of the Self comes from merging and becoming one with it, not by seeing or experiencing it in a particular way.

How is this relevant to our discussion on desire? If you have a desire for the Self or a desire to experience it, you can only have an idea of what the Self is since the Self itself cannot be grasped or experienced by the mind. Your idea can cause a particular kind of experience to manifest. It is easy to see how concentrating on a form of Ram can produce a vision of Ram, but what if one’s idea of the Supreme contains elements of bliss, peace, or mental silence? When one plunges into a state of peace or bliss, after imagining that this is what the Supreme is, do not the same rules apply? Is this not just a mental state induced by a strong conviction of what the Self is, accompanied by a desire to experience it in this form?

This topic came up in a very interesting discussion I had with Papaji in Lucknow. The conversation took place after he had asked me to include an interview he had given to two Buddhists in Papaji Interviews:
David: You are telling people to ‘Be still’ and to ‘Be quiet’. This is the classic instruction of Ramana Maharshi. Many people from the Vipassana tradition came to see you in the late 80s and early 90s, and most of them had done years of meditation practice which resulted in a deep quietening of their minds. You generally say that formal meditation is not useful, but are not these Buddhist meditators better equipped to follow your ‘Be quiet’ advice than those who have done no meditation at all?

Papaji: No, and I will tell you why not. When you meditate, you set up a goal or a target that you want to reach or attain. You have an idea of what the Self or God might be; you have another idea that you are separate from that God or Self; so you then plan a journey from where you imagine yourself to be to the state that you imagine to be the Supreme. It’s all imagination, including the experiences you have as a result of your practices.

The ego is very clever and very tricky. If it sees that you are striving towards a state you call ‘silence’ or ‘inner quietness’, it will create a mental realm inside you where you can go and experience, dualistically, a place where peace and silence seem to prevail. While you are in that realm, stray thoughts may be absent and you may be experiencing some peace and happiness, since these are the properties that you imagine the Self to have. But this realm of quiet is a mental state created by your idea of the Self and sustained by your intense concentration on it. That is why everyone says that the peace of meditation goes away when this kind of meditation stops. It may last for half an hour or so as a kind of after-effect, but sooner or later it vanishes. When the effort to sustain it ceases, the state itself vanishes.

The peace of the Self is something completely different. It doesn’t come and go according to how hard you focus on it. It’s there all the time. It reveals itself when the effort to focus on objects – physical or spiritual – ceases.

These Buddhist meditators have learned, through hard work, how to dwell in pleasant inner mental states. If I tell them to ‘Be quiet’, they go off into this mental realm and think that they are following my instructions. What I am actually saying is, ‘Give up the thinker, the one who wants to meditate on an object’. When that thinker goes, the peace of the Self remains. People who, through effort and desire, enjoy mentally induced experiences rarely want to give them up because they think they are signs of great progress.

In ancient times the rishis could create whole, apparently-real, worlds through the power of their imagination. In meditation you create inner spiritual worlds that you take to be real because they conform to your idea of what the Self might be.

Physical efforts produce physical results and mental efforts produce mental results. Since the Self is neither mental nor physical, it cannot be attained by mental or physical activity.

I did not make my introductory remarks and then back them up with this report of my conversation with Papaji in order to disparage desire for the Self; I made them to make the point that a desire for the Self can be unknowingly misdirected. I also wrote this as an answer to the question: ‘Should one [as Broken Yogi suggests] actively seek experiences of the Self?’ My answer to this question would be ‘No’, and my reasons would be those given above: if you start pursuing experiences of the Self, you can end up in pleasant but illusory mental states.

What, then, should one do with this desire, if it manifests? While one may not agree with Papaji’s analysis of misdirected desire, both he and Bhagavan suggested desires of all kinds, including a desire for the Supreme, could be channelled into self-enquiry. The same point was made by Meestergus in the first response to the post:
First, I should admit that I have not read the exchange between Broken Yogi and Arvind. It could be that I will just repeat what one or the other said. Don’t know. I think though that it boils down to this. What happens to desire when it is scrutinized? Who’s desire is it? In my estimation desire of any kind becomes fodder for Self Enquiry, a kind of excellent starting point: Find out who has desire.

The benefit of this approach is that it does not presume any idea of what the Self might be. Instead of pursuing a goal that is unconsciously defined by one’s mental baggage, it says: ‘Hold on to the subjective awareness of “I” to the exclusion of all else. If you succeed, the Self will reveal itself.’ It will not reveal itself in a form imagined by the one doing the enquiry; it will, taking a phrase from the benedictory verse of Ulladu Narpadu, reveal itself ‘as it is’. This is the point being made in the second half of the verse from the Ulladu Narpadu with which I began this discussion.

Though both Bhagavan and Papaji both gave primacy to self-enquiry as the most effective and most direct way of discovering swarupa, one’s own true nature as the Self, they both are on record as saying that it is good to cultivate a desire for the Self. Several of Bhagavan’s statements on this topic are given in my original ‘Desire for the Self’ post. Papaji’s views on this were expressed even more forcibly. He occasionally said that a strong hunger or a strong desire for the Self was the key to discovering the Self. Elaborating on this point, he would say that just as a man whose clothes are on fire will not be distracted as he races to the river to quench the flames, likewise a person who wants or needs the Self more urgently and more desperately than anything else will discover it. Ramakrishna made the same point when he said that when one’s desire for God is equal to the desire for air of a drowning man whose head is being held underwater, then one will see Him. Papaji also sometimes said that a strong and all-consuming desire for liberation or God was a fire that would eventually consume all other desires. In characteristically flamboyant vocabulary he said that once that flame had been kindled, one should fan the flames and even ‘pour benzene on them’ – that is to say, make the flames burn as brightly and hotly as possible. However, when he was asked the inevitable question, ‘How can I increase my desire for the Self?’, his answer would usually be far more orthodox and conventional.

'By renouncing desires for and interest in everything that is not the Self. All these desires are keeping you busy, keeping your attention away from who you are. If you want to fan the flames, don’t pay attention to anything that is not the Self, not God.’

In my original post I referred to the lines in Who am I? where Bhagavan says that the phrase ‘Who am I? is like the stick that is used to stir the funeral pyre. The stirring stick ensures that all the other combustible material is burned, and then is itself consumed by the flames. That description refers to self-enquiry, but something similar happens to those who are consumed by a desire for God or the Self. First, the desire for God or the Self burns up all other desires; then that desire itself is consumed. The sadhanas of Papaji and Saradamma are good examples of how this process works. Both spent years being passionately devoted to a form of the divine: in Papaji’s case it was Krishna, and in Saradamma’s case it was Lakshmana Swamy, her Guru. Both reached a point at which they could no longer repeat the name of their ishta devata because the fire had consumed their ability to externalise the mind onto anything, including images and names that had been dear to them for years. Both then sat in the presence of their Gurus and realised the Self. In both cases the passionate desire for a form of the Self culminated in a desire-free ‘I’, but that desire was not the ultimate cause of their liberation. The final cause was an utterly desire-free ‘I’ meeting the power and grace of the Guru.

I will now go back to the questions that were posed in the initial ‘anonymous’ query and give brief answers that, I hope, are supported by the various points I have just made.
Arvind did not say that desire for liberation is wrong. He said it should be an intense ‘unconscious’ desire for the Self, that is like breathing or eating food and one that does not cause ‘vrittis’ to rise up in the mind. He said that the intense ‘conscious’ desire for the Self should be at the preliminary stages, and then become an intense ‘unconscious’ desire. He gave the example of desire for sleep.

I don’t recognise a distinction between ‘conscious’ and ‘unconscious’. It is the strength or weakness of the desires that determines the results. If the desire is all-consuming, it will work; if it is dissipated by other desires, it will not. Desire can be extinguished through enquiry, but it can also be extinguished by a passionate focus on the divine.
Broken Yogi said that there should be intense ‘conscious’ desire for the Self, because desire for the Self rises from the Self and is a pure sacred current that exists because it is a desire of the Self for itself. If you remove the mind, which blocks this desire, then the desire is revealed in all glory and the Self is realised.

There is something to be said for this. Whatever rises in the body or the mind is claimed as ‘mine’. Angry thoughts arise, so ‘I’ am angry; I trip over, so ‘I’ am hurt; a feeling of being of being dimly aware of the Self, or of being pulled towards it may be there, but the ‘I’ claims it and says ‘I desire the Self’. The claiming of the awareness or the feeling of desiring the Self establishes separation and the consequent desire for union. When the mind gets out of the way, the Self will reveal itself. However, this is not going to happen in a mind that is stuffed with desires for the non-Self. It is only going to happen to an ‘I’ that has been sufficiently attenuated by enquiry or burnt up in the fire of devotion to the divine.
He said that as the seeker advances on his quest, this desire has to be made more and more intense. As an example is his recent post saying how when doing Self-enquiry, the intense ‘conscious’ desire for the Self comes up and takes over and then he concentrates on this desire instead of enquiry.

As I mentioned earlier, desire for the Self increases in proportion to one’s lack of interest in the non-Self. The longing is not going to increase while the non-Self still holds the power to distract.
I find both arguments appeal to me and sound right. Request you to clarify further in light of Sri Ramana’s teaching. You also have still to explain whether we should actively seek temporary experiences of the type Broken Yogi and others have experienced. Only Westerner devotees seem to have such experiences. Is that so? Thank you. UV.

I know you specified last time that I should stick to Bhagavan’s words in my replies. I have broadened my sources today because I felt that the input from the lives and experiences of these other teachers would make valuable additions to an understanding of the topic being discussed.

I already answered your question about seeking temporary experiences of the Self. Personally, for the reasons I outlined above, I don’t think it is a good idea. If they come, they come, but don’t go looking for them. And I don’t think that western devotees have a monopoly on these experiences. Perhaps they are just more inclined to talk about them.

* * *

Umesh: Isn’t desiring the Self exactly the same as not desiring the Self? Both are mental activities/efforts which need a mind that is turned outward. For a mind that is turned inward there is only the bliss of being.

David: There are two ends to the spectrum of practice, and only those who get to the extreme ends of it and stay there succeed. If you are completely desireless, you succeed; and if you have an unquenchable and continuous desire for God or the Self, you succeed. Those who are stuck in the middle through lack of passion or dispassion don’t make it.

I agree that ‘For a mind that is turned inward there is only the bliss of being’. Desire and effort, though, are still needed to make this choice and execute it.

* * *

V. S. Badrinath: David, I AM CONFUSED. Is there a God different from the Self? The frequent interchange of Self and god in the verses cited confuses me is God a different entity. I always thought one merges in the Self and the Self is ...., nothing but the self exists. How can one be desire free without becoming thought free. --Badri—

David: Bhagavan often used the terms ‘God’ and ‘Self’ interchangeably, although he did sometimes make a distinction between Iswara, the personal God, and Brahman, the unmanifest reality. He said to Paul Brunton that ‘Iswara is the last of the unreal forms to go’.

The mind brings into existence a world that is run by Iswara; when the mind vanishes, Iswara and the world vanish along with it, leaving Brahman alone.

As for your question, ‘How can one be desire-free without becoming thought-free?’ the answer is ‘You can’t’. If there are no thoughts, there are no desires; and if there are no desires, there are no thoughts.

* * *

Anonymous: David, The passage and the verses from Day by Day quoted by you, “Effortless and choiceless awareness etc”, are applicable to EFFORT and not desire. The Maharshi is saying that effort is required. He has not mentioned desire anywhere. Even the context of the talk in Day by Day is whether effort is required or not. Effort in sadhana is a function of faith in the Guru.

David: It is true that this dialogue is primarily about the necessity of effort for those who do not have the good fortune of abiding effortlessly in choice-free awareness. I included these words in the first post because I thought they could be extended to cover the necessity of a desire for the Self for those who were not abiding in the Self. Those who are established in the Self have no desires, and no inclination to accomplish anything. Those who feel that they are not in that state need an initial strong desire to change their circumstances. That desire, if it is strong enough, will manifest as continuous effort.

* * *

Clemens Vargas Ramos: ....The mind creates space and time, ….The mind deals in “or”. The heart knows “and”.

David: It’s a minor pedantic point, but ‘and’ to me denotes more than one. There is no multiplicity on the Heart. If you merely meant to say that the Heart includes everything, then that’s fine with me.

* * *

Anonymous: Dear David, When Ramana says that no motive, no desire, no end to achieve can be attributed to God, does the word “God” refer to nirguna brahman or to Ishvara ? The Self, or nirguna brahman, certainly is without any desire, but can we say the same thing about Ishvara ? Thanks.

David: In the two citations I gave on God being desireless (The Collected Works of Sri Ramana Maharshi, pp. 42-3, and Talks with Sri Ramana Maharshi, talk no. 28) Bhagavan is describing the activities of Iswara, not nirguna Brahman, unmanifest Brahman. The quotations speak of the relationship between God, the world and the jivas who inhabit it. This trinity does not exist in nirguna Brahman.

* * *

R Subramanian: Dear David, Once, Visvanatha Swami’s brother, who was a Gandhian and freedom fighter came to the ashram. He, inspite of being a Brahmin, deliberately sat in non-brahmin’s row, to prove his point. Bhagavan said, “Even not to desire to sit in Brahmin’s row is a desire. I think this makes it clear that both desiring and non desiring are desires. Self is beyond the two.

David: I have not seen a report in which Bhagavan responded to the incident with these words: ‘even not to desire to sit in brahmin’s row is a desire.’ This is how the incident was reported by Krishna Bhikshu in The Mountain Path:
During the lifetime of Sri Bhagavan there was a screen across the dining hall separating the brahmins from the others. Bhagavan himself sat against the wall at right angles to both and in view of both. This is important to remember for the incident that follows. This screen implied an interdict on inter-dining between brahmins and non-brahmins. One day a relative of Bhagavan [and therefore a brahmin] demanded to eat among the non-brahmins but the Sarvadhikari [the ashram manager] would not allow it. They were disputing about it when Bhagavan came on the scene and asked what was the matter.

‘He says that he has no caste,’ the Sarvadhikari told him. ‘That all are equal in the presence of Bhagavan and that he is simply a human being and not bound by the shackles of caste, creed, clime or colour.’ ‘Oh, is that so?’ Bhagavan said, looking surprised. ‘Then in that case you are wrong to insist that he should eat with the brahmins.’

But then, turning to his cousin, Bhagavan remarked, ‘But you too are wrong. These people here feel that they are non-brahmins. You have no caste feeling. So how can you sit among them? There is only one person here who has the feeling of being neither brahmin nor non-brahmin, and that is myself. So,’ calling the attendant, ‘place a leaf plate for him by my side; let him sit with me.’
The young man was shocked by the implication of this proposal and immediately took his place at the brahmin side. (The Mountain Path, 1965, p. 217)

I made my own comments on this incident in ‘Bhagavan the Atiasrami’ (, an article that appears on my site:
In the dining room Bhagavan did not object if brahmins decided to eat with the non-brahmins … so long as it was their custom to do so in other places as well. But if they observed caste eating rules at home, Bhagavan would often insist that they continue to observe such rules in the ashram. Bhagavan did not want the ashram to be used as a platform for visitors who wanted to make political or sociological gestures. His often-repeated phrase, ‘Attend to what you came here for,’ was frequently directed at visitors who forgot to leave their politics and their opinions at home.

Bhagavan’s seat in the dining room, neither in the brahmin nor the non-brahmin sections, was an outer symbolic indication that his realisation had placed him beyond the restrictions of caste and asrama rules.

I don’t think this is a story about desire or non-desire; I see it as an illustration of how Bhagavan made it clear that he didn’t want visitors to use the ashram to make political or social statements.

* * *

Broken Yogi: Ramana seems to be saying that the desire for the Self fuels the practice of self-enquiry, but in some sense it feels like it’s the same as self-enquiry. Though I guess it could take the form of devotion as well, but as you pointed out in “Be As You Are” Sri Ramana feels that genuine devotion is really the same as self-enquiry in essential practice, if not stylistically. I can’t help but wonder if this heart-concentration in the desire for the Self is perhaps more of a form of devotional surrender than self-enquiry, then. I even wonder at times if I am actually more suited to the path of devotional surrender than self-enquiry, and this is an indication of it. When I practice self-enquiry, for example, the major effect is a feeling of devotional love and this desire for the Self, such that I often let go of self-enquiry and concentrate in this love and desire for the Self. Is this advisable, or should I remain active in self-enquiry even then?

David: You are probably aware of Bhagavan’s statement ‘Surrender is to give oneself up to the source of one’s being,’ an upadesa that indicates that surrender and enquiry, done properly, are essentially the same practice. Here are three verses from Guru Vachaka Kovai that espouse similar ideas. The verse by Bhagavan appears between the other two in the original text:

They say that contemplating one’s real nature [swarupa] is supreme devotion to Mahesa [Iswara], who is beyond the reach of the mind, [the intellect,] and so on. This is because the two aforementioned persons [jiva and Iswara] are identical in their real nature.

Bhagavan 13

As Iswara exists as the Self, meditating on the Self is devotion to the Supreme God.


Be aware that the two paths of jnana and bhakti are inseparably related. Therefore, without separating one from the other through the delusion that they are different, practise both simultaneously and harmoniously in your heart.

Muruganar gave the title ‘The inseparable nature of bhakti and jnana’ to verse 731.

* * *

Anonymous: A good quote that I think sums up the debate is “There will be no end to disputations”, that is one of the Maharshi quotes I put on my shelf in marker. That aside, I actually enjoy these debates (so don’t stop, if you feel the urge to argue), and I was glad to see that a whole thread was created to deal with the issue of desire, full of pristine quotes. Both sides made nice points, although I felt more pulled to agreement with Broken Yogi. But that Maharshi quote is nice, in that it says, in my own words, no intellectual argument is going to result in some deeper understanding of the truth, but just go on ad infinitum.

David: There is a difference between ‘disputations’ and discussing the words of one’s teachers with the aim of gaining clarity and understanding. While the former is pointless and ego-driven, the latter is often prescribed as a sadhana. The traditional vedantic route to knowledge is through hearing the words of the Guru, thinking about them in order to convince oneself that they are true, and then putting the words into practice in order to gain a direct experience of what they are pointing at. Such a process may involve, at the second stage, clarifying one’s understanding by having discussions and debates.

Here is Bhagavan warning devotees about the futility of ‘vain disputations’ and recommending instead absorption in mauna:


The doctrines of all religions contradict each other. They wage war, collide with each other, and finally die.


On this battlefield all the religions retreat defeated when they stand before mauna, which abides beneficently, sustaining them all.


The rare and wonderful power of mauna is that it remains without enmity towards any of the religions.


The many different religions are appropriate to the maturity of each individual, and all of them are acceptable to reality.


Abandoning vain disputation, which only deludes and torments the mind, accept the doctrine of the mauna religion, which always remains undisturbed. (Padamalai, pp. 97-8)

Bhagavan: The conflict of teachings is only apparent, and can be resolved if one practises self-surrender to God; this will lead to the Self, to which everyone must come back in the end, because that is the truth. The discord among the creeds can never be got rid of by discussing their merits; for discussion is a mental process. The creeds are mental – they exist in the mind alone, while the truth is beyond the mind; therefore the truth is not in the creeds. (Maha Yoga, p. 220)
* * *

R. Subramanian: Dear David, I agree with what anonymous told in his comment. Bhagavan is Truth, but He prescribed contextual truths to different devotees. He told one to do Rama japa. He told Annamalai Swami to chant Siva, Siva. Perhaps, the seeker should read all the contextual truths of Bhagavan and take one that is most suited to him. As an Advaitic Brahmin, Siva, Siva would suit me best. A Vaishnavite may prefer Rama, Rama. Let each one pursue the one that is the best for him and find the Absolute Truth in the end.

David: While it is true that Bhagavan sometimes gave out different advice to different people, depending on their aptitude and inclinations, on the few occasions he was persuaded to give out a mantra, he always asked the particular devotee to repeat ‘Siva, Siva’. He gave this particular mantra to Annamalai Swami, Muruganar, Rangan’s brother, and an unknown harijan who came to the ashram. Devotees who were already doing japa of the names of other deities would not be asked to change.

* * *

Haramurthy: Basically, however, advising “desire for the Self” is the prescription of a sugar-coated bitter pill. Essentially the phrase simply refers to the act of renunciation… The age-old implication is: if you cannot renunciate all your psychological and social embeddedness, in the first place, it is just ridiculous to entertain the notion of Atmabodha.

David: I agree that a desire for the Self is not something that can be consummated unless one is able to disentangle oneself from all one’s desires for the non-Self. Self-enquiry can accomplish this, as can a fanatic obsession with an image of the divine. Both prevent the ‘I’ from attaching itself to and indulging in distracting phenomena.

* * *

Broken Yogi: In relation to your question as to whether we should seek experiences of the Self, I think you have to realize what such seeking involves. The basic idea is that the Self is a living Being, who responds to our real gestures and needs. If you want an experience of the Self, you have to make a real gesture of some kind to the Self, to demonstrate your seriousness and commitment. What that would be in your case depends on what your ego is most attached to, and you would probably know that better than anyone. If you want the experience of the Self more than that, you will somehow know what to do, and the Self will respond.

David: While I would not go so far as to say that the Self is a ‘living being’, Bhagavan did, though, endorse a commonly held idea that God responds massively, and disproportionately, to devotees who turn to him. Guru Vachaka Kovai, verse 965, says:
If you, thinking of God, take one step towards Him, in response, He, who is more kind than a mother, thinking of you, takes nine steps – such a long distance – and accepts you. So great is his grace!

The same point was made in the following two verses from Padamalai (p. 47, vv. 81, 82):
Padam [God] comes swiftly bounding to see those devotees who are genuinely struggling to see it.

Padam, the extremely intense, true and supreme grace, takes ten steps [towards the devotee] when the devotee takes one step [towards Padam].

The traditional number of steps is ten. I am guessing that Muruganar settled for nine in the Guru Vachaka Kovai verse because ten would not have fitted the prosody.

The next question and answer are from The Power of the Presence, part one, p. 261:
Question: Does God bestow grace on jivas or not?

Bhagavan: However much you remember God, God remembers you much more.
* * *

Haramurthy: True, there cannot be doubt about the fact that Ramana Maharshi had no tendencies of manifesting as some sort of missionary trying to impose changes of life-style or anything else upon others. Anyway, 99,999…. percent of the kind and pious people (not to speak of others) visiting him were quite unable to sustain requirements conducible to Atmabodha – thus advising total renunciation, in the proper sense, would have been utterly futile.

David: There is something rather elitist about this assertion that does not sit well with my understanding of Bhagavan’s personality, his attitude to devotees, and his approach to handing out teachings. Here is a verse from Padamalai (p. 4, v. 17) that is followed by my commentary on it from the same book. The citation ends with an additional story that illustrates that Bhagavan did not withhold his highest teachings from those who desired to practice them:
'The extremely wonderful Padam made public the supreme truth of the Vedas, which is normally declared only to trustworthy persons.'
In ancient time disciples would sometimes undergo a long probationary period during which their teacher would assess their spiritual maturity and capabilities. If, after this period, the disciples were deemed to be worthy enough, the teacher would impart one of the key vedic statements of identity, such as ‘Tat tvam asi’ (You are That). Bhagavan never held back any of his teachings while he assessed the worthiness of those who approached him. If visitors asked for the highest knowledge or the most direct practice, he would tell them immediately. In a more general sense, ‘the supreme truth of the Vedas’ denotes the experience of the Self, rather than a revelation of scriptural knowledge. In some verses of Padamalai Muruganar writes about ‘the experience of Vedanta’. This too indicates an experience of the Self, rather than a knowledge or an understanding of particular texts. Bhagavan’s attitude to preliminary teachings is exemplified by the following story:

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)

Bhagavan did not impose his teachings on anyone; if you were doing japa and wanted to continue, he would say ‘Fine, carry on’. If, however, you asked for the highest and most direct teachings, Bhagavan would never tell you that you were unworthy or unqualified to practise them. Devotees could get the highest practical teachings from Bhagavan simply by asking for them and by being willing to practise them. These were the only qualifications Bhagavan required.

You say that, from Bhagavan’s point of view, ‘advising total renunciation, in the proper sense, would have been utterly futile’. Bhagavan didn’t advocate physical renunciation to anyone; he instead taught that we should renounce the renouncer through self-enquiry or surrender. The following dialogue that was posted in the response column to ‘Desire for the Self’ makes this very clear:
Question: In the early stages, would it not be a help to a man to seek solitude and give up his outer duties in life?

Maharshi: Renunciation is always in the mind, not in going to forests or solitary places or giving up one’s duties. The main thing is to see that the mind does not turn outward but inward. It does not really rest with a man whether he goes to this place or that or whether he gives up his duties or not. All these events happen according to destiny. All the activities that the body is to go through are determined when it first comes into existence. It does not rest with you to accept or reject them. The only freedom you have is to turn your mind inward and renounce activities there.

Question: But is it not possible for something to be a help, especially to a beginner, like a fence around a young tree? For instance, don’t our books say that it is helpful to go on pilgrimages to sacred shrines or to get sat sanga?

Maharshi: Who said they are not helpful? Only such things do not rest with you, whereas turning your mind inward does. Many people desire the pilgrimage or sat sanga that you mention, but do they get it?

Question: Why is it that turning inward alone is left to us and not any outer things?

Maharshi: If you want to go to fundamentals, you must enquire who you are and find out who it is who has freedom or destiny. Who are you and why did you get this body that has these limitations?

Question: Is solitude necessary for vichara?

Maharshi: There is solitude everywhere. The individual is solitary always. His business is to find it out within, not to seek it outside himself. Solitude is in the mind of man. One might be in the thick of that world and maintain serenity of mind. Such a one is in solitude. Another may stay in a forest, but still be unable to control his mind. Such a man cannot be said to be in solitude. Solitude is a function of the mind. A man attached to desires cannot get solitude wherever he may be, whereas a detached man is always in solitude.

Question: So then, one might be engaged in work and be free from desire and keep up solitude. Is it so?

Maharshi: Yes. Work performed with attachment is a shackle, whereas work performed with detachment does not affect the doer. One who works like this is, even while working, in solitude.

Questioner: How can cessation of activity (nivritti) and peace of mind be attained in the midst of household duties which are of the nature of constant activity?

Maharshi: As the activities of the wise man exist only in the eyes of others and not in his own, although he may be accomplishing immense tasks, he really does nothing. Therefore his activities do not stand in the way of inaction and peace of mind. For he knows the truth that all activities take place in his mere presence, and that he does nothing. Hence, he will remain as the silent witness of all activities taking place. (Be as you Are, pp. 130-1, Indian edition)

Bhagavan did expect those who lived with him at Ramanasramam to live simple, fairly ascetic lives, but he never said that such an existence was a sine qua non for realisation. The following dialogue is between Rangan and Bhagavan. It is recorded in The Power of the Presence, part one, page 7:
When I started to visit Bhagavan regularly at Skandashram, it occurred to me that it would be good if I became a sannyasin. I knew that this was a foolish and irresponsible dream because it would leave my family, already in a precarious financial position, with no one to support them. However, the thought would not leave me. One night, while I was lying in my bed at Skandashram, I was unable to sleep because this thought kept recurring so strongly.

As I was turning uneasily in my bed, Bhagavan came to my side and asked me, ‘What is the matter? Are you in pain?’

'Venkataraman,’ I replied, ‘I want to adopt sannyasa.’

Bhagavan went away and came back with a copy of Bhakta Vijayam. It was an anthology of the lives of some famous saints who lived in western India many centuries ago. He opened the book and read out the story in which Saint Vithoba decided to take sannyasa. In the story, his son, Jnanadeva, who is an incarnation of Lord Vishnu, gave him the following advice.

‘Wherever you are, whether in worldly society or the forest, the same mind is always with you. It is the same old mind, wherever you reside.’

After reading this out Bhagavan added, ‘You can attain jnana even while you are living in samsara’.

‘Then why did you become a sannyasin?’ I countered.

‘That was my prarabdha, [destiny]’ replied Bhagavan. ‘Life in the family is difficult and painful, no doubt, but it is easier to become a jnani while living as a householder.’
* * *

Clemens Vargas Ramos: [quoting Swaminathan] ‘I should always remain a humble, ignorant peasant at heart’.

Great! I love these stories more than a thousand words.

David: I love them as well. Humility is one of the virtues that Bhagavan stressed, but which few people associate with his teachings. In the final paragraph of Who am I? Bhagavan wrote:
If one rises [as the ego], all will rise; if one subsides, all will subside. To the extent to which we behave humbly, to that extent will good result. If one can remain controlling the mind, one can live anywhere.

In the following three verses from Guru Vachaka Kovai Bhagavan again stresses the importance of humility before going on to make the surprising assertion that God’s greatness is a function of His humility:

The position of human beings will improve to the extent that they behave with humility towards others. The reason for God’s supremacy, the reason why the whole world bows low before him, is surely, is it not, his exalted nature of not possessing a deluded ego that rises, even inadvertently?


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


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

The next passage comes from Living by the Words of Bhagavan. There had been a somewhat bizarre discussion in the hall between Chinnaswami and Ganapati Muni about who was the greater devotee. Later that day, as Bhagavan and Annamalai Swami were walking on the hill (Annamalai Swami was Bhagavan’s attendant at the time) Bhagavan made the following remarks:
‘Whatever effort is made by whichever person, that which is the reality will always remain. No one, however great, can give another person either moksha or bandha [liberation or bondage].

‘It is natural for a person to think that he should be well-known to the people of the world and be praised by them. But if this thought is present one cannot attain true greatness or happiness. God is not interested in those who promote their own claims to greatness. One who is not satisfactory to God is an inferior person, not a great one. If anyone dedicates both his mind and his body to God in every possible way, God will make him be famous and praised by people all over the world.’

Bhagavan then supported his remarks by quoting a verse from Vairagya Satakam: ‘O mind, you are thinking how to make the people of the world regard you as great. The ever-existing God alone is the one who bestows bondage and liberation. What is the use of others knowing your greatness? O mind, perform the rare tapas of surrendering to the holy golden feet of God. Then God will make you so great that the world will know your greatness and praise you. Know thus.’

On returning to the hall Bhagavan gave me a Tamil work called Sivabhoga Saram and showed verse ninety-six to me: "Those who suppress the thought ‘I am great’ by not paying any attention to it, the Vedas will say that they are great. Those who say ‘I am great’ are small people. Say, other than them, who will undergo misery in this world?" …

There was one devotee in the ashram at that time who, for me at least, exemplified Bhagavan’s teachings on humility and selfless devotion. His name was Viran and he was employed by the ashram to carry water. In the early days of the ashram there was always a water shortage. As the ashram well did not produce enough water to meet all our needs, we had to bring in supplies from outside. At about 4 p.m. every day everyone in the ashram, except for Bhagavan, had to go to the Palakottu tank with a bucket to collect water. We each had to bring about ten buckets of water a day to the ashram. This was quite a strenuous activity because the main ashram buildings were about 150 yards from the tank. In summer, when the water level in the Palakottu tank was very low, our drinking water was brought in a cart from the Boomanda tank, which is located near the mosque in town. All this water had to be stored in big vessels in the ashram.

Since all these activities still failed to produce enough water to meet all our needs, we engaged a man called Viran to carry water full-time from the Palakottu tank to the ashram. In addition to carrying water, he also used to work on various other little jobs that needed to be done in and around the ashram. Although he had been engaged primarily to do ashram work, he was also willing to help any of the resident devotees with their daily chores. If anyone called him to do some work, he would immediately come. No work was too menial for him. He was even willing to work in the middle of the night if anyone asked him to. He was a very humble man whose main aim in life seemed to be to please other people.

If anyone addressed him disrespectfully, because he came from a low caste, Bhagavan would immediately show his disapproval. ‘Why do you call him like this?’ he would ask. ‘If you want him to do any work you should call him with love and affection.’

Bhagavan often showed a lot of love towards this man because he knew he was very humble and because he knew he performed all his chores with love and devotion.

Bhagavan was not the only one who was impressed with his work. A rich devotee, after watching Viran work, decided to help him by paying for his son’s education. The devotee put the boy in a good school in Madras and paid for all his expenses. The ashramites also used to help him by giving him left-over food from the kitchen to take home to his family. Viran’s humility was a shining example of Bhagavan’s teach­ings in action.

On many occasions Bhagavan told me, ‘Become envious of anyone lower than you. You must become very small. In fact you must become nothing. Only a person who is nobody can abide in the Self.’

Bhagavan often spoke to us about the necessity of humility. On another occasion he told me, ‘No one should be our inferior. One who has learned to be the inferior will become superior to all.’ (Living by the Words of Bhagavan, 2nd ed., pp.124-6)

The next series of quotes are from Padamalai, pp. 332-3:

A humble attitude of mind will give you redemption, transporting you to the world of the immortals. Without humility, you will drown in the pitch blackness of Hell.

[This Padamalai verse is a rendering of Tirukkural, verse 121.]


Humility will destroy the powerful and difficult-to-vanquish enemy [the ego] and will bestow on the jiva the great fortune [of liberation].

Bhagavan: The power of humility, which bestows immortality, is the foremost among powers that are hard to attain. Since the only benefit of learning and other similar virtues is the attainment of humility, humility alone is the real ornament of the sages. It is the storehouse of all other virtues and is therefore extolled as the wealth of divine grace. Although it is a characteristic befitting wise people in general, it is especially indispensable for sadhus.

Since attaining greatness is impossible for anyone except by humility, all the disciplines of conduct such as yama and niyama, which are prescribed specifically for aspirants on the spiritual path, have as their aim only the attainment of humility. Humility is indeed the hallmark of the destruction of the ego. Because of this, humility is especially extolled by sadhus themselves as the code of conduct befitting them.

Moreover, for those who are residing at Arunachala, it is indispensable in every way. Arunachala is the sacred place where even the embodiments of God, Brahma, Vishnu and Sakti, humbly subsided. Since it has the power to humble even those who would not be humbled, those who do not humbly subside at Arunachala will surely not attain that redeeming virtue anywhere else. The Supreme Lord, who is the highest of the high, shines unrivalled and unsurpassed only because he remains the humblest of the humble. When the divine virtue of humility is necessary even for the Supreme Lord, who is totally independent, is it necessary to emphasise that it is absolutely indispensable for sadhus who do not have such independence? Therefore, just as in their inner life, in their outer life also sadhus should possess complete and perfect humility. It is not that humility is necessary only for devotees of the Lord; even for the Lord it is the characteristic virtue. (Sri Ramana Darsanam, pp. 77-8)

Finally, two stray quotes from Padamalai: p. 130, v. 26 and p. 332, v. 95:
Humility and self-restraint are the marks of those transformed and radiant beings who embody the quality of virtue.

A humble attitude of mind will give you redemption, transporting you to the world of the immortals. Without humility, you will drown in the pitch blackness of hell.

* * *

Mike: This isn’t strictly on topic but this question has been bothering me for a while. Does realizing the self automatically lead to perfect moral decision making? I ask this because Osho was clearly no saint and yet it is reported by many he had the presence of the self (how else did he work up such a following?)? The same is said about UG Krishnamurti and his attitude was entirely the opposite of Bhagavan. It is possible to for a person to realize the self but the provisional ego remain conceited? Perhaps it was the humbleness of Ramana’s personality coupled with the presence of the self that made him so great? The answer to this question determines the desirability of the Self in my opinion. Maybe the focus should on morality first before desiring the self. –Mike

David: Very much off-topic, but still a very interesting question. In Guru Vachaka Kovai, verse 332, Bhagavan said:
Those who have realised the truth are alone the possessors of faultless virtues. Apart from these, everyone else is only base of nature. Hence, he who longs for the fortune of liberation must redeem himself only by resorting to those aforementioned meritorious ones who shine as reality through the knowledge of reality that is devoid of the world-delusion.

I have already given the next verse in an earlier reply, but here it is again in a slightly different context, along with a quote from Day by Day with Bhagavan:
Humility and self-restraint are the marks of those transformed and radiant beings who embody the quality of virtue. (Padamalai, p. 130, v. 26)

Bhagavan: All good or daivic [divine] qualities are included in jnana and all bad asuric [demonic] qualities are included in ajnana. When jnana comes all ajnana goes and all daivic qualities come automatically. If a man is a jnani he cannot utter a lie or do anything wrong. 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 qualities; they need not do anything else. (Day by Day with Bhagavan, 18th July, 1946)

The final quote addresses your query about the necessity of living a moral life before considering Self-realisation. Bhagavan is saying here that preliminary moral training is not necessary, and that the practice of enquiry will by itself instill divine qualities in those who perform it.

You asked the question: ‘It is possible to for a person to realize the self but the provisional ego remain conceited? To which I would say, ‘Absolutely not’. At the moment of realisation the ego is definitively extinguished. Once jnana has been attained, all words and actions are those of the Self and not the ego.

I wrote the following words in an article entitled ‘Bhagavan the Atiasrami’ ( An atiasrami is one who has transcended all asramas or stages of life. Bhagavan once put himself in this transcendent category when he was asked which of the traditional four asramas he belonged to. In the discussion that follows, atiasrami can be taken to be the equivalent of jnani:
It has become somewhat fashionable among certain modern gurus to say, in effect, ‘I have realised the Self; therefore I can do what I like because society’s rules no longer apply to me’. The true atiasrami would never make a statement like this because he or she would know that there is no ‘I’ left that can select particular desires and then indulge them. The true jnani or atiasrami according to Bhagavan, has no sankalpa, that is to say he has no will or desire of his own. His actions are spontaneous manifestations of the Self….

The atiasrami’s inability to execute or even have personal desires was brought home to me some years ago in a conversation I had with U. G. Krishnamurti, an iconoclastic spiritual teacher who likes to poke fun at traditional ideas on spirituality.

While talking about the state of realisation he remarked, ‘All religious teachers say that the seeker is in bondage whereas the so-called enlightened one is free. Actually, the opposite is equally true. One who imagines himself to be a person also imagines that he has free-will. That person makes choices, and if he chooses not to be put off by legal or social restrictions, he can do whatever he likes. But when the idea of the person disappears, free-will, which is just another idea, goes along with it. One is then utterly bound by circumstances because there is no one left to make choices or act on desires. In that state the actions of the body and the brain are just automatic responses to external stimuli. Since no inherent faculty remains to modify these responses, the bondage is complete and irreversible.’

These remarks were made partly in jest, but there is also a certain element of truth in them. To solve the apparent contradiction – that the jnani or the atiasrami is simultaneously liberated and bound – one must define more accurately what ‘freedom’ or ‘liberation’ is.

There are two kinds of freedom: ‘freedom to’ and ‘freedom from’. ‘Freedom to’ implies the existence of choice and of one who chooses. It is basically self-indulgence, for the individual self selects certain desires and then attempts to fulfil them. This ‘freedom to’ is finite since there is a limit to how much the body may indulge: one cannot, for example, eat a million meals a day. ‘Freedom from’ may also be finite – one may be free from attachment to money, for example, but not free from the desire for fame. But for the jnani ‘freedom from’ is absolute because he has permanently given up the idea that he is an individual person. Though he has no ‘freedom to’, since that would imply the existence of an individual self, he is free from all desires, fears, etc., and is content to let his body experience whatever destiny has in store for it. Not having an ability to choose and judge may seem like bondage to an ajnani, but for the jnani it is a consequence of the ultimate freedom.

I doubt that Bhagavan would agree with U.G. Krishnamurti’s assertion that ‘In that state the actions of the body and the brain are just automatic responses to external stimuli’. I think that Bhagavan would say that although this sometimes happens, many of the jnani’s actions are spontaneous, being a result of promptings from the Self, rather than external stimuli. Since the jnani’s words and behaviour are a manifestation of the Self, unmediated by any kind of ego, they are always right, even if they may not necessarily conform to the ajnani’s ideas of what is conventionally right or wrong. As Bhagavan once said: ‘…a man [who holds the Self in remembrance] is not concerned with the right or wrong of actions. His actions are God’s and therefore right.’ (Consciousness Immortality, 1984 ed., p. 130)

The same idea is expressed in verse 96 of a Tamil text entitled Swarupa Saram, a work that Bhagavan put on a reading list for Annamalai Swami, saying that it was one of six essential books that he should study:
The jnani has become one, tranquil and pure. To him ether and the rest [of the five elements] are the form of the Self. Whatever actions such a one has given up become prohibited actions. Whatever he undertakes becomes proper action.
* * *

That’s it for today. Apologies if I missed anyone’s queries. I hope some of the extensive answers I have given here make it clear where I (and Bhagavan) stand on the various issues that have been discussed.


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Murali said...

Dear David,

"..desire for the Self increases in proportion to one’s lack of interest in the non-Self."

I am assuming here that non-Self here refers to the normal mundane desires/ambitions/aspirations.

My doubt is, we find people around the world who do not have any particular desire for anything and are simply lazy. May be this is called "Tamas". How does this correspond to the statement that lack of desire will lead to intensity of desire for the Self? Is it assumed that there is a basic virility in the personality assumed to be there and this lack of desire in mundane things is simply redirecting the energy towards desire of the Self. Ramakrishna Paramahansa gave an analogy that a farmer always buys an ox which aggressively fumes when pinched on the tail and not the one which listlessly, desirelessly sits unconcerned even when provoked.

How does these co-relate?

Also, I gather that desire for something increases if something is done "for" that something. For example, the more you do things "for" somebody, your desire for that somebody increases. Does it not imply that if we start doing everything in the world "for" the Self/God, the desire for the Self/God increases?

Regards Murali

Ravi said...

you have asked something very Fundamental and VITAL -wonderful set of questions.This is of great significance in understanding WORLD,SELF,INDIVIDUAL,SADHANA,KARMA YOGA!useful to all aspirants.
Thanks very much.
Best Regards.

Subramanian. R said...

Dear David, I was reading 'Final
Talks, for the second time last
evening. Here to a questioner,
who asked whether desire to become absorbed in the Self, was
it not a kind of vasana. "If is still
a desire and to indulge in it
implies that I must look for something, that I don't already have..."

Annamalai Swami replied: This
desire is not counter productive.
The desire for enlightenment is necessary because without it you will never take the necessary steps to realize the Self. A desire to walk.....

This again brings forth a supplementary question. Whether the desire for enlightenment alone, not Self 'per se', should be held on to.

Murali said...


There is a Telugu saying attributed to Sage Vemana which says that one who has ability to lust intensely (for wealth, women etc.,) alone has the ability to achieve liberation ultimately. Its more the ability to lust and desire than actually lusting and desiring, which is praised here.

After having some good mail exchanges with David 9 months ago, I started practicing Enquiry. I found that it needed a massive, determined and leonine effort to "hunt the I" or "to surrender". This implies such a strong desire to hunt that it appears almost like a hunter in the forest who is after his prey. Otherwise, I found that the ego will make similar efforts to stop everything.

I found that all this needs such a strong fire in the belly. And papaji confirms this in his "man whose clothes are on fire" example and Ramakrishna Paramahamsa's "drowning person" example.

That is why, at this stage of my evolution, I find that "not desiring the Self" to be little bit funny. Infact, I am ending up cultivating this desire by constantly telling myself with a feeling that I should achieve the Self and should surrender.

Perhaps this is all the endless game of the ego and is against the spirit of "Summa Iru". However, I find that as long as I have the idea "I am the body", I have to have a desire to achieve the Self.

I would define that I have the "I am the body" idea, if I have the following urges
1. I feel like eating food when I am hungry
2. I feel like taking medicine if I am ill
3. I feel like doing something if things go wrong.
4. etc., etc.,
As long as the above happens, I cannot achieve "Summa Iru" stage unless I thirst, lust and desire for that state.

Even if I fail because I chose to strengthen the ego by "desiring" the Self intensely, still the failure itself will break the ego.

Do you all feel that I am making sense? Perhaps, I am at a very starting point in the path.

Regards Murali

Broken Yogi said...


I like this idea that the more we do for someone, the more our desire for them increases. I recall a story about a man writing about fatherhood. He said that when his daughter was first born, he didn't really feel any kind of love or affection for her, just a certain kind of curiosity and amazement, and he wondered if there was something wrong with him. Six months later, after caring for her, feeding her, bathing her, changing diapers and the whole lot, he found himself madly in love with her. He realized that when you actively take care of someone, you can't help loving them. And I think that's the principle behind service as well. The more you serve someone, the more you love them. I think it's why the tradition of Guru-seva exists. One serves the Guru in order to learn to love the Guru.

This is also one of the reasons I recommended that the person who wanted to experience the Self make some kind of concrete gestures towards the Self, or God, or Guru. This helps us connect, and bring to life these matters, which can otherwise be abstract and disconnected from our lives.

As for your "listless ox", Saradamma says that there is very little one can do with a tamasic devotee. She liked to encourage rajas in her devotees, because at least then there was enough energy moving around that she could work with them, and gradually convert that to sattvas, but tamasic devotees were basically hopeless. In her own case, she admits to having been very rajasic in the beginning, even very angry, and only gradually being converted to a sattvic disposition.

I don't know that tamas really means one is uninterested in the non-Self. It probably just mean one is very complacent about the non-Self, and in fact very attached to things as they seem to be.

Ravi said...

Friend,You have correctly touched upon the core issues-The Need for graduating from Tamas to Rajas.
That Vemana's saying has a good deal of Truth in it.
" Does it not imply that if we start doing everything in the world "for" the Self/God, the desire for the Self/God increases?"
Like Broken Yogi had rightly mentioned,this is how Attachment develops;Yes,there is a positive edge to this sort of attachment.

Tamas indeed needs to be converted to Rajas-This is what Human Excellence is all about.This is the Reason that the Classical Fourfold Fruits of Sanatana Dharma is consituted in this order-DHARMA,ARTHA,KAMA and then MOKSHA.(Dharma includes one's Natural disposition and predilection,as well as the Truth principles governing Life-Artha includes all forms of Wealth like Learning,material,aesthetic,all spheres of Human Excellence-Kama includes all aspirations,Ambitions to Excel -and Moksha is the Ultimate Freedom .It can thus be seen that ALL LIFE IS YOGA-as Sri Aurobindo puts it.This is The Lofty Vedic way of Living and is all inclusive.

As Sri Bhagavan mentioned in that Talk how Renunciation should 'Embrace the world' and is not a withdrawal from Life-There may be a temporary sort of 'withdrawal' as an imperative for some but eventually it has to be all encompassing.
This is a vast subject and I am not at all competent to handle this!
Howevever I will just add this much-One cannot ESCAPE prematurely from the problems of living into a 'spiritual' Dimension.Nature will drag one back,make one learn the lessons that one has been trying to escape from.This is where the Lofty teachings of the Bhagavad Gita come in-Such is the diversity and sweep of thought that lies here-that it is not easy to have a comprehensive and INTEGRAL understanding of this Great work.There have been many who have been dishing out lectures on the Gita-year after year,but the VISION is missing.One of the most original and inspiring commentary is by Sri Aurobindo;His Essays on the Gita is masterly.

Friend,coming to your final question-The 'Body' consciousness and your views on it is exactly what Sri Ramakrishna has said!

Please go along,and if one finds that one has to learn what looks like 'Nursery Lessons',better to learn them.Nature will dish out the question paper and make one evaluate oneself and evolve in the best possible manner provided one cooperates.
Best Regards.

knowone said...

thank you thank you thank you for the Mauna in all these words.

Bhagavans's gift


Anonymous said...

Scott Fraundorf:

Because this post of David Godman's was a response to all the different comments on the last post, it really dives into alot of things that are extremely helpful.

Papaji's comment on blissful, seemingly nonduel states was really cool, in that I have that. And mistake them for progress even though they are creations of my own imagination. But they are if nothing else distractions from my usual outward projecting desires, imagination, so maybe in that good? At the same time, seeing the need to turn away from the non-Self, and desire for non-Self distractions cultivating a burning desire for the Self (in my case not on purpose, but as Broken Yogi commented I am somehow overflowing with some kind of intense desire to be free). I guess Broken Yogi wins now (kidding) But obviously I suppose, obviously after reading the illuminating clarifications, that desire for the Self is imaginary and dualistic. Nonetheless it keeps me away from my usual tendency of outward desires. Turning back from desires, and/or fears seems to be what it all comes down to, because that is a clear sign that I'm going outward. Being as humble as possible, since i don't long for the pitchblackness of Hell. i'll try to refrain from egotistical comments in the future, or even imagined longings for a Glorious Enlightenment which is also in my imagination. These clarifications are necessary and helpful, so I'm very glad for these discussions/clarifications and all of the people who contributed to them. And if any of them are as ignorant as I am, all the more, because it gets even better answers to good, ignorant, forthright questions.

It seems like this turning back from desires/ fears is something everybody could do, and would be helpful for everybody. Don't need to renounce anything, but renounce the renouncer. At the same time, the little delusions, and minumum honestys with myself that keep me in bondage, from my real nature, will be in good time naturally faced as long as I'm keeping humble, quiet, and still to the best of my ability, from my own level of maturity, which there is no reason to reduce to concepts that couldn't possibly help me understand anything. However I will no longer call myself an ajnani, jiva, because those concepts can only help keep me in ignorance, by defining myself as ignorant, when the goal is to not be ignorant. It would be like keep saying I'm racist, to sound humble. When it would be better to put effort into transcending my delusions and not put myself in a box it is hard to escape from. ---Sane Now! (kidding)

Anonymous said...


as to your comment:

"Haramurthy: True, there cannot be doubt about the fact that Ramana Maharshi had no tendencies of manifesting as some sort of missionary trying to impose changes of life-style or anything else upon others. Anyway, 99,999…. percent of the kind and pious people (not to speak of others) visiting him were quite unable to sustain requirements conducible to Atmabodha – thus advising total renunciation, in the proper sense, would have been utterly futile.
David: There is something rather elitist about this assertion that does not sit well with my understanding of Bhagavan’s personality, his attitude to devotees, and his approach to handing out teachings. .... "

You are right that the latter part of my remark may sound a bit "elitist" in view of "Bhagavan's personality" and you provide evidence for his having taught self-enquiry even to humble villagers, letting the intellectual Ganapati Muni openly wonder about the usefulfess. On another occasion (read it probably in "Talks") he taught self-enquiry to a small child and on being questioned why he did so, he responded the child may not be able to use the method immediately, but some seeds being planted these may mature in the course of time. Am thus quite aware that Bhagavan was not "elitist", or "close-fisted", regarding those to whom he taught self-enquiry. And it is likewise clear, as you say, "that we should renounce the renouncer through self-enquiry or surrender".

David addressing Haramurthy:
"you say that, from Bhagavans point of view, advising total renunciation, in the proper sense, would have been utterly futile" and respond:
"Bhagavan didn't advocate physical renunciation to anyone."

Although having been careful not to ascribe my reflection ("Anyway, 99.999... percent ...") directly to Bhagavan, it could be understood in the way you did. The assertion was rather meant from the point of view of Atmabodha -- that is, in view of the fact how incredibly few from among the many thousands of people visiting Ramana Maharshi (not counting those tens of thousands of people having subsequently heard of his teachings) were successfully realising Atmabodha.
Independently of the generous personality of Bhagavan, and of yours of mine, Atman, jestingly personified, behaves as if being enormously elitist when it comes to the de facto bestowal of Atmabodha.
Poonjaji's evaluations of the rarity of Atmabodha are legendary, and your intensive research in the broader context of Ramana Maharshi merely seem to confirm that statistical infrequency. And probably you wouldn't spend so many hours at home, in front of your computer, and in the archives among dusty documents, were you aware of any new authentic cases of Jivanmukti.

Now, when you write:
"Bhagavan didn't advocate physical renunciation to anyone"
you did so perhaps only with the purpose of testing the diligence and qualifications of your readers (none of whom could have well-done unless having digested your two books on Annamalai Swami): without having reason to be particularly proud of mine, luck intervened -- and you do already anticipate the passage now going to be quoted.
In "Final Talks", Introduction (p. 3), David informs us how Ramana Maharshi showered his love on, and his heightened sense of responsibility for, a truly no-nonsense disciple; David tells us what happened after Annamalai Swami had served Bhagavan for ten years:

"In 1938 Bhagavan instructed Annamalai Swami to stop working in Sri Ramanasramam, saying that in future he should devote himself to solitary meditation in Palakottu, the community of sadhus that grew up on the western border of Sri Ramanasramam. Bhagavan even went so far as to say that Annamalai Swami should not visit him in the ashram any more. However, the harshness of this edict was considerably softened by the fact that Bhagavan came to Polakottu every day and often visited Annamalai Swami in his home, a small house that Bhagavan himself had helped to design. After Bhagavan passed away in 1950, Annamalai Swami lived and did sadhana in this house for many years, devoting all his energies to carrying out the spiritual teachings that Bhagavan had imparted to him. Annamalai has said that his years of constant meditation in the 1950s and 1960s finally brought him to a continuous awareness of the Self."

While Annamalai Swami, as documented by David, rather causally relates his Atmabodha to his total renunciation (as strictly ordered by Bhagavan), it is evident that what is individually required as the final drop for overflowing, perhaps after heavy sadhanas in previous lives (see, e.g., David's account of Papaji), differs greatly.
Yet, although total renunciation did not characterise the outer lives of Muruganar, Mastan and Lakshmana Swamy (the other best cases as documented by David) preceding the fateful meetings of these mature souls with Ramana, why then did all three of them take recourse also to outer renunciation, if it didn't matter at all?
And were other awakened masters, such as Nityananda, Swami Samarth (Akkalkot), Shirdi Sai Baba, Poondi Swamiyar, and so many others, just idiots, were they just too stupid to realise that they could just as well have renunciated their renunciation (along with the renunciator)?
And once one takes a closer look at Poonjaji's householdership, it becomes somewhat mischievious trying to enlist him as an example of an awakened master leading a happy&ordinary family life -- in a sense he had relinquished both categories, the householder and the renunciate, while actualising (being also a master of performance) his own homeless style of roaming about until his legs forced him more permanently to stay at one location.

Consider also: unless a family had to an extraordinary degree culturally and psychologically integrated the paradigm of conduct of sainthood, having someone in their midst, who ("having gone nuts") would hardly conform to their norms of interaction, would cause considerable distress to them.

Without in fact considering social (= outer) renunciation as a sine qua non for Atmabodha (given many examples from literature contradicting such an assumption), it seems nevertheless preferable not to delude oneself about one's vasanas getting automatically eradicated while naively continuing with one's social habits.

And, David, you might know this good man who, once having to choose between (a) a woman and a lot of money and (b) a life in poverty at the foot of Arunachala, chose the latter, literally living by the words of Bhagavan resonating in his brain cells. Social renunciation being not restricted to a stereotype and formalised manner of acting, but rather the natural reflection and consequence of psychological forms of renunciation, shouldn't we consider that guy a renunciate?

Broken Yogi said...


Putting aside past issues, I wish to say that you have a point, but I'm not sure where it really goes.

It's certainly true that many of the people we think of as "serious" devotees of Ramana were definitely of the more "renunciate" lifestyle. Of course, that's a self-selecting criteria, in that people tend to see renunciates as more serious than householders, so we have a prejudice in favor of ashram-dwellers over householders to begin with. In addition, the actual lives of many of these people are not so renunciate as all that, until they actually became realizers themselves, at which point what does it really matter anyway?

There's certainly something to be said for living a simpler life if one is serious about Atmabodha. It certainly appears that the few who do end up achieving moksha live greatly simplified lives, regardless of whether they are householders or renunciates. I recall Nisargadatta's recommendation: to fulfill the bare minimum of one's obligations, and to spend all the rest of one's time in self-enquiry/contemplation. Those who achieve moksha in a few short years, like Nisargadatta, certainly do seem to live such a life, rather than a comfortable life of pleasures and ease.

Looking at the few modern examples we know of, we certainly tend to see a similar pattern of stripped down lifestyle. Even Papaji, who lived an active life of revolution, politics, work, raising a family, then supporting a family from a distance, joining the army etc, even he spent all his spare time in meditation and worship of Krishna and other deities appearing before him. Even Lakshmana, who took no formal vows, seemed to spend his time meditating and contemplating before he came to Sri Ramama. Annamalai was something of a village holy man even before he went to Tiruvanamalai. As you state, if we go down the list of the most visibly serious people, we find a fairly similar pattern of, if not formal renunciation, at least a single-minded devotion to spiritual practice, and a near absence of other interests.

But this doesn't really resolve the matter. In the first place, it's not at all clear that renunciation in itself does any good. I think we are all aware that the world is full of many very earnest renunciates in all religions. Hinduism is rife with literally millions upon millions of very serious renunciates, people who display far more renunciate and ascetical dedication that anyone associated with Ramana ever exhibited. And yet, as you note, the number of liberated souls remains incredibly small among their number. This seems to indicate that renunciation is a remarkably poor method of achieving realization. Given the odds, one has to wonder why anyone would honestly think that becoming a renunciate would be of any help at all. Other than confering spiritual bragging rights, what exactly does renunciation, in itself, actually seem to do? There's a good argument, one made by both Ramana and Papaji, that merely becoming a renunciate is, in itself, actually counterproductive, and the numbers seem to justify this. There are many, many sadhus out there living the ascetical renunciate life, and none of them ever appear to become realized. Likewise, there are many more people living a very simplified life, and they too don't appear to become realized. Only a tiny number ever become realized, regardless of their quality of renunciation.

So what do we end up with, when it comes down to individual choices? Can we really say that someone is more serious than another person because they have moved to India, given up on romance and money, and live like a renunciate? You give the example of David, whom I have a great deal of respect for, but honestly, no offense to him at all, is he realized? He certainly makes no claims of that, and no one else does either. So if you ask whether his choices have led to realization, the answer has to be, no. Likewise with the vast, vast number of people who have adopted simple lifestyles to live around Ramanashram, or elsewhere in the world, trying to get it on with Advaita. I'm not at all suggesting that such people are wasting their time and that they should instead live as householders in Marin County. But they are no more realizing the Self than anyone else is. I'm not aware of anyone in the entire world of Ramana devotees who has become realized since Saradamma in what, 1979? So is everyone just wasting their time?

Well, I hardly think so. The obvious fact that realization is very rare means that almost none of the usual parameters can be used to decide what led to it. Nor can we imitate the outer qualities of those who became realizers, and hope that this will result in realization for us. Nor can we "reverse engineer" the process, and then duplicate it. No one can pretend to be deeply serious about realization who is not actually deeply serious about it, but who can really judge another person's seriousness unless they have actually realized themselves? Even more pertinent is the question: who would want to?

The world is full of people who like to point fingers at other people's lack of seriousness. But really, is such an occupation that sign of someone who is serious themselves? The only valid reason to do so would be to evalutate their own seriousness, their own choices, and to choose a more serious approach. But it's certainly possible, even likely, that by focusing on other people's lack of seriousness, we will end up making choices of our own that lack real seriousness.

Are all the people out there making renunciate choices really serious about atmabodha? Not if one judges seriousness by that actual attainment of atmabodha. Which suggests perhaps that there are forms of seriousness about atmabodha which do not actually achieve atmabodha in this lifetime at least. And if that is the case, one cannot I think presume that the only form of seriousness possible is that of outer renunciation.

Certainly Ramana felt that serious devotees should much more often than not be householders rather than renunciates. Obviously in Annamalai' case he felt differently, but I think that his was one of the .001% of people who Ramana felt would benefit from a renunciate life. THe fact that Annamalai was obviously very close to realization does suggest that renunciation might be a good choice for people of similar advancement. But that also carries the opposite implication, that for anyone who isn't so advanced, renunciation is not recommended at all, and that a serious person not so advanced would no become a renunciate at all, but live quite differently.

What does seem clear to me about the most advanced and "ripe" devotees is that they have a profoundly serious desire for realization. It seems to me that this is the one consistent quality all of them possess. In quite a few cases, this profound desire leads them to anoutwardly renunciate life. I'm not so sure that it works the other way around, however. Those who do not possess such serious do not necessarily seem to become more serious because they have chosen a renunciate life. Often it's quite the opposite. Monasteries and ashrams are full of bored and useless people with virtually no serous interest in realization. In fact, my limited knowledge of such people is that nothing kills the desire for realization more than living among other renunciates. It's perhaps only in the company of a genuine jnani like Ramana that the opposite is the case. But then again, the same is probably true of the householder devotees of Ramana. It may simply be that what makes people become truly seriousness is not the lifestyle they lead, but the "company" they keep. If one keeps the company of a truly serious person, it tends to rub off on you. Of course, even that isn't always the case, as there are tons of examples of devoted followers of jnanis who do not themselves become realizers, or ever terribly serious.

It's also true that spiritual life simply isn't fair. There are many people who are genuinely serious, who do much selfess sadhana and service, and who never realize, and there are others for whom it seems to come with ease and little effort, even after a life of self-indulgent obsessions. There's Milarepa, for example, and even Marpa himself. David once told me about a famous saint of Arunachula who had lived a debauched, even criminal life, who became one of the greatest realizers in the south Indian tradition. One cannot discount the parable of the prodigal son. There's really no telling who is ripe and who is not, and perhaps only the jnani knows. We probably don't even know ourselves, about ourselves.

In essense, this whole approach really tells us nothing about what we should do. Ramana's recommendation to cultivate the desire for enlightenment without worrying about the outer forms of renunciation seems the most intelligent guide. If we want to become more serious, we need to cultivate seriousness itself, rather than worry about the outer forms of seriousness that might impress other people. Seriousness also means assessing ourselves properly, and not jumping the gun in our enthusiasm to become realized. Real desire for enlightenment does not try to take heaven by storm, but sits quietly in the midst of the life we are already living, listening to the silent presence that guides us far better than our speculations of mind.

Anonymous said...

Scott Fraundorf:

This last here debate between Broken Yogi, and Haramurthy has taken on epic proportions, so epic I would not be surprised if David Godman would create a renunciation, physical, psychological thread? Doubtful. But the arguments here transcended the previous, and more petty unnecessary personal attacks from both sides. Here, was an exquisite debate full of wonderful anecdotes.

Both Haramurthy and Broken Yogi here touch all the bases. Haramurthy seems to have, I'm sure he'd deny it, pulled back from his previous dogmatic tone about renunciation (maybe this Devil's advocate), indicating that neither Mastan, Murugunar, Lakshmana Swami, nor Papaji were social renunciates. You know, I don't know enough to even make that claim, because I think renunciation as a social act has to be more precisely defined.

But he makes the point, a conclusion I came to independently, that Inquiry transforms my habits, but can that be something anticipated with my own mind, I don't think so. So it's not an intentional social renunciation. Was it Haramurthy who also said that Papaji, lived like a traveling homeless person? Again, good point. It was by train, but I know many train hopping homeless people. He lived a seemingly somewhat transient lifestyle, makes sense.

Broken Yogi makes the wise point that of all the reunciated sadhus how many of them are Self-Realized, and both Broken Yogi, and Haramurthy take the position that Self-Realization is incredibly rare statistically, something that agrees with David Godman's statements on the matter.

But it seems taht as well as the vast majority of renunciates not being Enlightened. The vast majority of Self-REalized have some degree of being social renunciates, I'm not going to back that up, and I'm not sure about it. And it doesn't matter for where I'm going. It's too speculative. Nonetheless, the Muslim Pir comes to mind, as well as Maharshi, and Lakshmana Swami seemed to my 'mind' to live a rather austere life. And Lakshmana Swami, Annamalai Swami, Saradamma, Maharshi were/are celibate.???

I don't think there is any conclusion to be drawn from either's arguments. Clearly Realizing the Self is the deciding factor, how will my body act going on after REalization? I'm going to become realized first. And for the Realized do such questions even arise? Based on Maharshi's answers, I would guess not.

Something has always bothered me about the "statistical infrequency" of enlightenment because it's so clearly regimenting myself into a non-enlightened worldivew, taht is for sure going to keep me unenlightened, because I'm defining myself that way. Maybe it's because I think Enlightenment is hard, taht I see a World, where it's hard. Whether that is true or not, Maharshi never advised people to get caught up in that as far as I can gather. He advised people to find the one who thinks, sees, perhaps imagines the world with the statistically infrequent jnanis. In some ways I've never bought the Enlightenment is hard, even though even Maharshi says that it is. I've never cared about the statistical infrequency because if the World ultimately is an illusion, to be distinguished from being unreal, then this matter transcends rational, logical matters of thought. And rational, logical matters of thought seem to be part of bondage, part of Maya. So to win an argument by statistics on this amtter, as much as I thoroughly enjoyed it and hopes it continues, I don't think any conclusion can come from this. Because REalization transcends all our notions of a world, and millions of individuals, and everything we see and here is a part of our Ego, so even facts like "statistical infrequency" are part of the tactic our mind uses to create a world where it's impossible to get Enlightened, or it is a far off goal. REalizing the Self, Unrealizing my Ignorance, and seeing things from the point of view of nondual bliss which will even transcend the present language/notions I'm usuing, seems far too important for myself to buy into the "statistical infrequency", or talk about how sadhus lived, or Self-realized lived as anecdotes to prove a point one way or the other, because who is the one seeing this world with non-realized sadhus, and Self-Realize but worldly folks. Because when I am Realized, when I've realized the non-existence of my own self-conjured ignorance all I will see is Jnana, all I see will be truth, everyone will be a jnani, without the distinctions of him/her/they. That place of truth, reality, non-delusion, sanity, is where I want to exist at all the time.

To some degree, this is another hero narrative. Republicans, feminists, anarchists, fascists, Christians, Muslims, Hindus are all infected with their own hero narratives. And sometimes the Jnani becomes another one of those. And I'm fine with that to the degree it inspires me to realize the truth, but to the degree it becomes a whole not can of worms in this already concept stuffed head of mine, I'm inclined to toss it out, and look a little deeper. I am terribly delusional, everything I think is wrong, so for me, it's kind of more like a person has a gun to my head telling me to look within, or else he'll shoot. Inquiry or Die, that everything holy, good, spiritual, secular, all roads lead to Realizing the Self, and of course it isn't a road, but that is where I want to abide. SO I'm less interested in the Heroic Jnani Myth, and like in power of presence humanizing stories like Maharshi urinating on an idol, and chasing his mom around with an onion, or not talking so he doesn't get caught by his family for not embodying their stereotypes of a high state. To me that is much more real, then a Knight in Shining Armor Jnani who triumphed heroically with his sword of truth over the state of Ignorance. Secretly, though I do want to be Jnani because I have my own myths, that I've brought to the table, of wanting to somehow be respected as wise, benevolent, prescient, loveable, kind. Now, when I realize, that may be the case, but I still have a mythological image to be Inquired into, another projection on the Cinema Screen.

Anonymous said...

Scott Fraundorf:

On this subject I wrote to Nome:
I feel such immense grace right now, so overpowering, my ego can really do nothing but relent. As you said grace transcends ideas of inner and outer,oneself and another. This is such a beautiful feeling and I see no reason to
leave it, and am surrendering as best I can. So in this, I feel no urge, no pull to do my school work, however if I don't do my school work, I could fail out of it, yes, lose my social imbededness. Any thoughts? I guess I'll just surrender, and if I feel the pull to do school work I'll do school work, but surrender first. I'm safer with grace, with bliss, with desirelessness, then I am with the opposite, right? This is where salvation lie. O.K. Cool. Thank you for the illumination.

Nome responded:
Dear Scott,
Om Namo Bhagavate Sri Ramanaya
Namaste. Thank you for your message.Grace is boundless. If either surrender or inquiry is deep, the concept of being the performer of action is relinquished. Sri Ramana says that to carry the false notion of being the actor is like a passenger on a train carrying his luggage on his head, while the train actually carries the passenger, the luggage and all else. Placing it on the head is only needless toil and suffering. Similarly, it is needless suffering to misidentify with you body and to think that you are the performer of action. If you inquire or surrender, academic work or work in regular employment or any other kind of work will not impinge on your inner peace and spiritual freedom. Bliss remains unbroken. Either know the Self, which never does anything no matterwhat the activities of the body, sense, etc. are or surrender and find that the Supreme does all, carries all, etc. The work will feel light as a feather, while, detached from the things of the world, you enjoy inner happiness.
Ever yours in Truth,

I was going to say something else, but I was overtaken by such peace, that I can no longer find the words, I'm going to stay there.

Ravi said...

"This last here debate between Broken Yogi, and Haramurthy has taken on epic proportions, so epic I would not be surprised if David Godman would create a renunciation, physical, psychological thread? "
Friend,your very pertinent observation also has a humorous edge to it-I am reminded of the Story of the Hermit with a spare piece of Loin Cloth!...Imagining a thread on 'Matrimonial Service'!!!

coming back to the present,your writing here is beautifully focussed,especially on the concept of 'Gnani' ,how the thought that one is an 'AGnani' is one of the main obstacles towards opening upto Grace as Sri Bhagavan said.
Very Very True and a Practical,useful tip.
Best Regards.

Anonymous said...

Scott Fraundorf:

Ravi, friend, very, very good point. You are very wise. Actually I'm having this whole line of thoughts on this very topic.

Yesterday in Physics class, I struggled very hard with my meditation, attempts at Inquiry, my face got very relaxed, the muscles kind of all tense up. But I kept trying to stay thoughtless, present.

When I got home, I read to a friend the Bhagavan quotes on teh Desire For the Self thread, and Muruganar's writing on one of the first April threads. When I read it, I read it in a focused, way, that I was communing with those beautiful texts.

Then I got hungry, and my arms and legs started to get pins and needles, and I have always worried that I'm going to die of low blood sugar, so I hastily got off the phone, but brought that Vasana back in, and abided in the Heart, to the best of my ability. I didn't die, and something cleared.

As I was walking, I had a moment where I 'decided' to stay thoughtless, and for about 10-15 seconds I was without a single thought at any level, when I came out of it, there wasn't the sense of personhood, but now that i was noticing it, distances, and my own height were mixed up, and the ground didn't feel solid. (autism related) Nonetheless on this short walk, and even at teh food establishment I went to, I would sink into this nonduel state. My body became uncoordinated, and since these were short egoless durations, I was still able to order food without a hitch. (not that I wouldn't have otherwise), but awareness of a World temporarily dissapated, as well as awareness of a me.

The Vasana that arose forcibly but still controllably was a desire to brag about my Near Realization, or Glimpses of the Self (glimpse of what, from whom?), that very much fit with Maharshi's descriptions of the jnani's point of view. even though my ego was still present though very subdued, and still required reeling back in, the connection I felt to others, was beautiful, and these experiences were very peaceful, whole insoluble problems got solved in an instant. The falling into a nonduel awareness without thought, had no clear divisions, it was just a merging. I have a feeling David Godman's like "What? Happens to me all the time. Big Deal, you little white belt you!" No, he's nicer then that. Just for some reason not there permanently, so he claims, suspiciously (hmm! his Blog has a beautiful aesthetic). For me, it was a big deal because it was a first time, that I clearly was that, and truly gave it all up, and my mind completely subsided into apparent non-existence! The Vasanas weren't even visible until they appeared out of nowhere. And any attempt to Abide as the I brought me back to Perfect Nonduel Awareness. (anyone's free to criticize, bring me down to size, but that is my interpretation)

On Ravi's note, the concept of the Jnani has been something I'm wanting to abandon. The idea of "statistical infrequency" does not seem helpful. The notion of the Saint, is an obstacle. Any heroic notion such as that, because The Self, is our birthright. "The Consideration of whether or not Nome is a jnani, is irrelevent to your Inquiry" was a very true statement!!!!

I'm confident about my chances of clearing away my ignorance for good, I'm optimistic, because this is helpful, to have that level of faith. And as Ravi said, it is an obstacle. The concept of the Gnani is problematic, because it implies being something, and not just Being. So how can anyone even Maharshi be "a Gnani", because then he'd have some label attached again, and be in bondage. There was no bondage there. There was no Gnani. Gnani is just our habit of looking up to leaders and authoritarian figures. But even the Guru in it's ideal form is an Association with the Wise, like associating with wise friends (muruganar and Maharshi for instance, remind me of childhood best friends), who make us feel good, not a Seargent who makes us dig trenches, unless like Annamalai Swami that is our passion.

I'm kind of bubbling on this topic, because I'm giving up a set of concepts, I don't know why I latched onto, this statistical infrequency, this concept of "he or she is jnani" Oh my Gosh!

I sunk into a nonduel awareness, Jnana yesterday, and it was extremely peaceful, but it was mundane, not imbued with my Exciting concepts and narratives, it was without all concepts and there were no Gnanis. There was not some Great Accomplishment to Brag about. And I didn't do anything, and especially something anyone else isn't capable of. If Self-Awareness, Realization, egolessness is rare. It is only because very few want it. Anyone is capable of it. Apparently all it takes is turning away from the objects that cause huge Vasana-laden reactions either fear of death, loss, anger at others, desire for love, pleasures. Turn away from the objects the mind latches onto, and that is all that is keeping us in Illusion, not much, and easily abandoned, a Glass House. Maya is those attachments and that's it, that simple. Nothing great, no great accomplishment, but then there is Freedom From, as opposed to Freedom to. No manic ecstacy, just peace, and freedom from all the mental miseries, illusions of personhood, confusion over "What should IIII do????". So I'm wont to look at Self-Realization as something Mundane, simple now. Something easily accomplished, because that seems to be the prerequisite to actually giving up the meagre, unfulfilling attachments that sustain a bondage that never was. Also everything bad and petty people do to eachother, is because of their attachments and their Self-Image. And it radiates out, not because it's being transmitted from one person to another, from Maharshi to me, but because being in the presence of someone who is not deluding themselves into suffering over machado, calls attention to "Why? Am I suffering?" I'm not ripe, never was, no previous life of Great Tapas. I don't buy any of that. But I'm giving myself good chances because why give myself bad chances to become "unracist" or "unmysogenist" Maya is the source and cause of racism and mysogeny, it is Ignorance. No Gold Star stickers on the fridge for giving it up. But I'm giving it up. And I may have a few more lousy Vasanas that rise to the surface, but I turn away from the objects bring things within, to peacefulness without hte label of "peace", and fall into the Self, and at some point permanently

Anonymous said...


Thomas a Kempis, The Imitation of Christ


Ravi said...

Thanks very much.Just chanced on this opening lines in the third chapter.
"HAPPY is he to whom truth manifests itself, not in signs and words that fade, but as it actually is. Our opinions, our senses often deceive us and we discern very little."
Best Regards.

Anonymous said...

Scott Fraundorf:

Clemens vargas Ramos, very, very interesting, a brilliant point, i will read it, since it seems so much in line with my current learning.

Anonymous said...


...Thanks very much.Just chanced on this opening lines in the third chapter....

very, very interesting, a brilliant point, i will read it, since it seems so much in line with my current learning....

You are welcome, friends.

This in "Imitation of Christ" I like a lot. I call this "living in the shadow of life":

If you wish to learn and appreciate something worth while, then love to be unknown and considered as nothing. Truly to know and despise self is the best and most perfect counsel.
(I, 2)

In the german edition of Imitation it reads: "If you wish to learn and appreciate something worth while, then learn and appreciate *the art* to be unknown and considered as nothing."

Anonymous said...

Scott Fraundorf:

Broken Yogi, I saw what I believe may be a glaring error in what you've stated. I'm excited to correct you, not to put you down, but because I was excited in the revelation it stirred in me, another vasana to be sure (kidding), so I'm going to stay quiet as best I can and write also.

I believe you said, that spirituality isn't fair, the most sincere serious efforts may not result in realization, while a certain criminal debauchee realized the Self effortlessly. Here I think you are wrong. From my own efforts in this clearly unfair world, I can say that Realization, spirituality is 100% fair.

Only the deserving realize, and the non-deserving don't. The key here is earnestness, and sincerity. There is no other virtue that will succeed in this enterprise, and it is completely fair. Maharshi, Lakshmana Swami, Saradamma, Papaji and countless others realized because they were completely without a taint sincere. Yeah, there are millions of criminal debauchees that are deeply spiritual, and earnest inside. There are many pious people that are completely corrupt inside. Outside doesn't matter, just as like you wisely pointed out with renunciation. Renunciation has to be total, even more total then social renunciation, because even the person who has a life, possessions relationships has to be given up. (Haramurthy, how could that be new age advaita fusion? Kidding) You can't give up more then that. You have to give up your life. From my own life, I can say that life in the world is completely unfair, arbitrary.

Good women + men get raped and abused killed, horrible people are rewarded, elected given empires. Even in an activist subculture, you'd think being nice and earnest might get someone popular? Not so! So the world is unfair. But how can Realization be unfair since any corruption, any taint, any desire, fear, holding on is the very obstacle that prevents realization.

And as Maharshi said, "Earnest efforts never fail!" I take that to be absolute truth, Maharshi from his version of the Chair of St. Peter, an edict, Nisargadatta agreed, I think all of the Gnani people did! So since my efforts are earnest I know I cannot fail.(and even if in some way I'm lacking in earnestness, or deluded into thinking I am more earnest then I actually am, definitely could be. No problem, I do what Maharshi advised, I investigate into the one with the lack of earnestness problem and then it's solved), I have known many sincere criminal debauchees, and many corrupt "holy" pious people with dogmatic edicts. Who'd Christ hang out with? Maharshi? So my point is, while on the outside it may appear that way, spirituality is totally fair. If someone is not clearing their Vasanas through Earnest attempts at Investigation into the one who has them, then they are not willing to give them up. They have to be willing to give them up, and even they can investigate who is not willing and so on? The only way someone will not succeed is if they don't try, and try again, until they do succeed.

The people you brought up in all the ashrams are a good example. They aren't trying, they have another agenda, not Realization, which is easy to accomplish provided one tries (I'm not realized but I believe this to be true), but maybe putting on a "spiritual" self-image, pretending to be "advanced".

Since they aren't trying to be realized, they aren't earnest, and sincere in their efforts, they don't get realized, even though they wear robes, Nisargadatta had a thing about that didn't he. (kidding) There are aspects of pulling back from vasanas and abiding in the heart that takes discipline and willingness. It simply requires the carrying through, which I'm doing. Any horrible or good thing can be seen to be happening, and maybe I get side tracked by being triggered by an intense desire or fear brought about by circumstance. Then I bring that back. how could I fail, with that intention? I'm not worried one bit.

I'll realize because I'm investigating what is true, I'm seeing for myself whether what Maharshi said was true, not just accepting his words, not pretending that being good with language and saying what he said means anything, I'm looking for myself to see if the cat is in the box. (Shrodinger's) I'm seeing if there is a me. So those serious sincere people weren't serious or sincere. and that criminal debauchee was evidently.

Anonymous said...

Scott Fraundorf:

And another thing, I don't believe the Self has a religion, has a nationality, a spiritual practice. Maharshi didn't even know much about Hinduism when he realized.

So where you are, and who you are, and any of that also have nothing to do with realization since they are also ego, illusions. Whether one is atheist or religious, or has political views, to my mind the Self transcends all of these.

So for instance I'm not from India, I'm not Hindu, Christian, religious, atheist, I'm not truly male or female, gay, straight, bisexual. None of these.

For realization, none of this matters. When I had that experience when I was 22, I had only a little interest in Eastern Spirituality, yet I fell into a full nondual awareness. My interest in Maharshi was practical, although I am now greatly reverent for his Enlightenment and his genius, and even feel a strong religious reverence for such a great Saint who is perhaps saving my life.

But I've never seen anything special about Eastern Religion, because monks in Eastern Ashrams wear fake smiles, and Catholic monks frown, clothing differs in color, big deal. If you enjoy the rituals get something out ofit that is all that matters.

The East is just as violent and oppressive as the West and has been for atleast since agriculture started in all of those places.

Shang Dynasty kings were burying people alive. The Mughals weren't perfect. Taoist Emperors cut off heads. So the East being especially "spiritual" i just don't buy it. Sainthood, Realization Western and Eastern transcend those boundaries. And then the New Age, well, that's just a frail attempt to commodify a very superficial unearnest spirituality, and even here you find some gems.

Don Miguel Ruiz I strongly suspect is a Gnani, and yet has appeared on Oprah. Look at Don Miguel Ruiz, I bet even David Godman would suspect the same also. But I could be wrong. It is irrelevent to my Inquiry, and how does it help me to see other individuals? Not one bit.

Broken Yogi said...


I agree with a "fair" amount of what you say. Take into account that I was referring to the colloquialism about things being "fair" in spiritual life. In other words, the ego likes to think that it will be rewarded for doing good, and punished for doing bad, even in spiritual matters. So good people go to heaven, or get realized, and bad people don't. Even your formulation, of the most sincere or earnest efforts being rewarded with realization, is still a reworking of these notions. The point is, don't expect anything from your efforts, because realization doesn't occur as a result of our efforts.

This is part of the paradox of spiritual practice. Sure, effort is required, but on the other hand, realization is not the result of our efforts. In other words, not fair. I know you are very earnest in your efforts to realize, but don't be surprised if it never happens. I know tons of people who have put in tremendous efforts towards realization, and it hasn't happened for them. I have an old friend who has been living in almost total isolation for the last ten years, spending almost the whole of the day and night in spiritual practices of one kind or another, chanting meditating, singing, etc. He's an old hand at this stuff. He was the first westerner given formal diksha (initiation) by Anandamayi Ma back in the 60's, and is very devoted to her. She told him that one day he should live in isolation and devote himself to practice, and he has been doing that. We talk on the phone every now and then just to keep up and talk about these things, and the last time I talked with him a few months ago, he confessed to his exasperation that realization had eluded him. He didn't understand why, since he had been doing everything possible, and yet it wasn't there. There was a hint of anger and disappointment in his voice, as if he had expected realization to come about as a result of his efforts, and it not coming about left him rather pissed.

What is there to say about someone like this? His efforts were certainly sincere, and single-minded, and willing to give up everything else, and yet realization didn't seem to come about as a result. I would say that this fellow certainly felt that it wasn't fair. And you too may find out that despite all your sincere efforts and sacrifices, that realization doesn't come to you as a result. As mentioned before, look at all the sincere people out there who don't get realized. I know I pointed out that there's a lot of insincere people in ashrams and monasteries, etc. But there are also plenty of very sincere people. You could say that because they didn't get realized, they weren't truly sincere, but how do you really know? They could have been just as sincere as you or I are now, and still not become realized as a result. Maybe you will need to wait a few decades to see what I mean, but let's not pretend that we are the only sincere people out there, or that only those who became realized were sincere and earnest. I'm just saying, be prepared for the basic unfairness of spiritual life, because the record isn't good.

Now, on the deepest level I'd agree that spiritual life is fair, and that everyone "gets what they deserve". It's just that this level goes way below all the surface efforts and intentions we have. This is perhaps why humility is perhaps the most powerful of spiritual dispositions, even more important than earnest effort. My friend, if I am to be honest, wasn't very humble about all his efforts. He was quite proud and rather full of himself. And this perhaps is one of the reasons why his efforts never truly touched realization.

Humility doesn't come easy to us. In some sense, only our failures makes us humble, even our spiritual failures. Look at Papaji, for example. Even when he met Ramana for the couple of times, he was full of pride at his own spiritual accomplishments, and even bragged of them to Ramana. As a result, he understood nothing of what Ramana was trying to teach him. It wasn't until he had failed in his practice, when it came apart and unravelled, that he finally had the openness to listen clearly and understand what Ramana was telling him. So grasping the unfairness of spiritual life is something that is necessary, I think, for all of us. We have to understand that our efforts are not rewarded by the Self, that there is no "heaven" for sincere and earnest people, and that forming a self-image of ourselves as sincere and earnest people simply doesn't amount to a hill of beans. The collapse of the ego is what needs to occur, not its divination through self-effort.

There is nothing fair about the Self. It is already the case, and it pays no attention to what we think ought to be true. Any sense of fairness we develop is, in the end, just an egoic concept that will be shattered sooner or later. Whatever fairness there is in the Self, it isn't something we can define or perceive from the perspective of the egoic self.

Anonymous said...

Scott Fraundorf:

I thought of a good analogy, that I think might fit. Ever seen the Godfather? Probably someone has, atleast Broken Yogi. David Godman has to have?

Don Corleone says to Bonasere at the beginning, "You didn't need me you had police, you had courts of law, you didn't need a friend like me?" The Self is Don Corleone. The Police the Courts of Law are the ego. (sorry to anyone in that profession, nothing personal,just a good analogy)

For many people the ego works, as a system that seems to take care of them or give them the illusion of taking care of them. Maybe it's like all their habits, and tendencies that seem to be keeping them alive, in the big bad world. So they rely on it, instead of surrendering to Don Corleone, the Self.

For me the ego didn't work, so I'm relying on the Self, giving up all of my burdens to the Self, the very definition of Self-Realization is abiding there and never leaving. Whenever I leave, I suffer, because the ego system that works for most people and seems to fulfill their needs and desires doesn't work for that purpose.

So when I start to worry, or want, I start to suffer,no egoic solution will work, so I just give in, and sink into perpetual peace and fulfillment. The intangible bliss, intoxicating.

I trust, that the SElf, will master all those situations for me, take carry of all my worries. And maybe I'll be so cut off my senses and not really notice an external world. As of now, the blissful state, still admits of deep spiritual beauty

Let's take a specific example I'm leaving up to Don Corleone, the Self, God, Bhagavan. For me, the ego, the system has totally failed for allowing me to cultivate amorous relationships with women I am crushed out on, even if there may be mutual interest. The ego failed in this regard, It let me down in one of it's most central obligations. So instead of relying on the system, I go to hte Mafia, the Self.

The Self will respond brilliantly, correctly to any situation, because it is every situation and all the particulars in that situation. So if you want the most elegant solution to any problem, the Self is for sure the answer, even if it requires walking on water, the Self will rearrange events in the most perfect arrangement, provided I give in so there is not a trace of I am this, I am that. I want this, I loathe that.

(sorry that was my imitation of talking like a Gnani, better stop before I receive kicks)

Oh no, I just realized I'm starting to use the Self as living being hypothesis. I guess it comes down to since the Self is the situations, and their outcomes, and the best solutions, it's even the ego. The Self is all, trusting the Self, instead of relying on the illusory, imagined ego, the events formerly considered seperate, will go very, very auspiciously, even if it seems that not thinking about those situations, being unvigilant, not trying to figure anything out, will let everything go awry. Magically, this is not true.

Predators will be driven away by your love and will not harm you, the good will be drawn in to like company, Sages will sit at your doorstep, and take you the rest of the way there. God's will perform for you at your house (i.e. Papaji) Every situation will be mastered, no matter how severe the odds by the simple act of Complete and utter surrender to fate, to God, to the Self. Your karmas will be burned, and all errors as well, by this total giving in.

The ego will no longer interfere with the Self loving the Self if like me that is your worry. Worrying about cultivating relationships is the sure way to fail. And if what I'm saying is too dualistic for realization, I don't really care. I'm in it for happiness, fulfillment, just it seems that complete surrender, ironically is the way to attain complete happiness, fulfillment.

All us individual humans just want to sleep, we live our stressful lives, go home and want to sleep, because there is deep fulfillment, the kind that doesn't last very long even if we get any out in the big bad, chaotic, violent world. Surrendering there is a fulfillment that way surpasses any that can be gotten from external goods, the deepest, most profound love, thoughtless.

Another thought, doesn't it seem like some of the more New Agey Advaita fusion mistakes Inquiry for an intellectual process. Like kind of out-thinking the ego, but not actually surrendering every aspect of it. And then they talk, argue, from an intellectual standpoint, which is definitely not Realization, complete Abidance in the Self, without any trace of ego.

Anonymous said...

Scott Fraundorf:

Broken Yogi, I've read some of yours, I'm going to finish it, and respond to that also if there is anything different that needs it.. But what I read, I still am pretty much in non-hostile disagreement with, although it was well-written and every point you made was good.

You are right, as far as I can tell my efforts are earnest, sincere and intense. And fair enough, I may not Realize the Self. (although I believe I will, not that beliefs matter)

And regardless, whether I realize the Self, I seem to realize a relatively non-dual, happy state, at ease with what is happening with little effort sometimes, or with great effort to bring things back.

So it doesn't really matter to me whether I realize, although realization is just extending a nondual sense of peace and equanimity on and on until the possibilty of disturbance dies, correct? And even if I don't realize, the sense of bliss, and joy at just Being without anything attached, without needing anything, and watching how my body then connects, and loves, and gives so easily is more then enough, is greater then the greatest of the world's pleasures, and includes them as well.

It's not controversial I reckon that anyone could do that if they wanted. And that is all I want. That I've already "accomplished", what I set out for, so I'm satisfied. But when I leave that space of what for me is perfect peace and joy, I bring it back, which I don't find terribly difficult (technically, but it's like quitting an addiction which is hard in the sense of making up one's mind to do it), and I dive deeper to ensure I don't lose it, or am less likely because I get burned bad enough by my illusions, my suffering, that I want to be done with it for good. (My reasons for secretly knowing I will Realize the SElf, because I will do what it takes to avoid suffering, and that is what that entails)

The Giant Vasanas, which who knows there might be some left (some huge ones have arisen and dissipated for good in the last 4/5 months), come up aggressively, and cause intense suffering for a bit, when the more surface vasanas are clear. Then I inquire into them, and am much more peaceful, much more deep, then I have ever known before, I sink deeply intot he Heart, into peace.

That doesn't seem like a far fetched possibility, total realization or out of anyones grasp. (provided your not looking at a sheet of data, or statistics, yes that will discourage you, especially since the Realized tend to avoid the Census) I will add, that my meditation, my Inquiry attempts, I'm seeking the dissolution of the sense of their being an individual meditating. I'm not meditating for progress, or for a goal, and when there is progress or a goal going on, that deserves Investigation, so that the one progressing or having a goal dissolutes as well, it's not hard, just requires persistance.

And I should add, my Vasanas come up and are obvious. I'm depressed because I'll never have a girlfriend, or I'm afraid because I could get killed, or imagine I could, or I get egotistical, that I'm about to become a jnani. They are obvious, easily investigated into, the subject is easily dissoluted and brought back, provided I'm willing to give them up. So I don't truly see what is difficult about Inquiry, or advancing toward Realization.

I don't understand how only one in a billion could Realize, I don't believe that number. Although it is sobering with all the "false coins" out there claiming Realization, when they are abiding in a Giant Spiritual Ego, basically the wrong direction, beause they've created an outer facade of words, dress, buildings as opposed to simply and easily dissoluting the subject. I would guess that many spiritual meditators are actually out for worldy success, not real enlightenment, peace, love. In the Pacific Northwest, there are alot of sexually predatory creep spiritual teachers. Oh they are so great, and they meditate all day, they are so dedicated, and yet somehow didn't become enlightened, they didn't dissolute the person.

Big deal, I imagined them as well. I just want to abide in love and happiness, and never leave. That's what Realization entails, so I'm going there. The deeper I get, teh easier I realize it is, and the more in disagreement I become with those who say it's hard. It's not hard, it just requires persistance.

The only glory in realization is from the point of view of other people's egos, the ones that build an ashram around a person for just being simply sane. Maharshi was sane. Those who don't realize are caught up in their B.S., that's all. The real glory in realization is freedom from burden, I'm tired of burdens.

Why isn't everybody sprinting for it? Yes, just like Maharshi said, at some point realization will be total. And I do not necessarily believe sitting there meditating all day indicates earnestness."He meditates, he eats, he sleeps. What good is that?" Bhagavan

I've known alot of Big Egotistical people meditating all day, full of social renunciation, I think on this we agree. The Meditator just gets more and more powerful. Because they are looking for another form of success, and maybe they get it, but it could be the wrong direction.

If the mind is believing that those who earnestly pursue realization never become realized, then for myself, I would seek the dissolution of that defeatist ego as well.

Because that meme floating out there, is probably responsible for alot of people not realizing perfect nonduality. (so I believe) Alot of people probably do not realize because they secretly hold the deep-rooted belief that duality is real (i hold it sometimes), and don't realize that they hold that belief but with the other hand hold a conscious strictly intellectual belief, a set of words, that the world is an illusion. But it's just a set of words.

There is something fundamental, I think I disagree with on your perspective on this, it is not just semantics, Of course I need to finish what you wrote. I just got excited.

The fact that I believe I will Realize the Self in this lifetime, but do not care one way or another, it's just an observation. My goal is not Realization of the Self, I'd rather get laid. But more then getting laid, I want to be at total peace, and have all the actions of the body be the perfectly appropriate ones, thats all.

Anonymous said...

"He didn't understand why, since he had been doing everything possible, and yet it wasn't there. There was a hint of anger and disappointment in his voice, as if he had expected realization to come about as a result of his efforts, and it not coming about left him rather pissed." B.Y.

Psha!, and I mean this nicely, this is exactly the obstacle (if you don't mind an ajnani like me saying) that he hasn't realized. I joke arrogantly that I'm going to realize, but I just want to be at peace. This person, or your interpretation of him, and my filtering him through my own imagination, is aiming for some glory, where he get's to be enlightened, hardly earnest in my humble opinion. (not that that makes him bad) What's to be pissed about? I'm not pissed because I'm not enlightened, or will I be if I'm 80 and not enlightened? No, I don't care. Maybe I expressed myself badly when I said I believe I'm going to realize? Because I really could careless, it just seems like I will.

What he is expressing, your friend, seems very much like a vasana to be Inquired into, who is the subject who is pissed, who imagines enlightenment as some goal to be aquired? Why is he aiming for realization, what does realization mean for him?

Is it so he gets to run his own school? Or is it that he simply wants rest from his burdens, or is this just another country to conquer, to stick his flag on a mountain he's climbed. I'm asking these questions sincerely.

Because obviously, and I think you'd agree Enlightenment is not a goal. Freedom from bondage, from suffering is though, and can easily be dispelled by effort. If the goal is to attain something, anyone will absolutely fail. If the goal is to be free from suffering, that is an earnest reason to be meditating (buddhist, or Inquiry), and anyone doing it for that reason will absolutely succeed, without a doubt.

I've done it, oh sometimes it comes back, but then I dispell it again and am so unbelievably happy to be free, what is hard, the world is, and it's completely unfair, those with unearnest intentions are office holders, spiritual teachers.

Spirituality (the earnest kind), Inquiry, Maharshi, these are the only places my Earnestness has ever been rewarded.

I'm not pissed, I'm grateful that I've found a method that works. That is why, I believe realization will happen, that is why I believe such an effort is earnest? It's because I'm tired of worldy goals, including ones that disguise themselves as spirituality.

Oh I've known so many people who talk about how they've been taught by so and so in such and such lineage. I've known many activists who name drop all the groups they are apart of, and music scenesters who talk about teh rocksars they know. I knwo a guy who has some certificate of Zen Mastery and has studied with all these great and famous Zen Masters, even the one yoda in star wars is based on.

He is the most cocky, egotistical SOB I have ever met, not without his own virtues, but his certificate, his studying, absolutely meaningless, and made me really question the merits of Eastern Religion in and of itself. This guy may have meditated til he was blue in the face, but was absolutely without earnestness and without any deserving qualities for Realizing the Self. This is just my concept of him, but I'm using this concept of an illusory person to illustrate a point.

Before you get angry, at me insulting your friend, I don't mean it meanly, or to get in another round of personal attacks between people. But that is really how I see it. The reason he didn't progress, the reason he failed, is contained in his reaction, it is so obvious.

Like a negative of this person you are describing, I have exactly those feelings about the world, my failure in it. I feel disappointed because I won't get romantic love, am socially awkward, confused, and lonely. My reaction exactly mirrors his. We're exact opposites in being the same. The world is unfair to me, but spirituality is absolutely fair. I effortless, progress through all the hoops of Inquiry, as if a red carpet were laid out before me. And the reason is, because my goal is what Inquiry was designed for, freedom from bondage, from misery, from the illusory person. Not gaining, prestige, recognition, fame. I have no doubts I'll succeed.

Anonymous said...

Scott Fraundorf:

"We have to understand that our efforts are not rewarded by the Self, that there is no "heaven" for sincere and earnest people, and that forming a self-image of ourselves as sincere and earnest people simply doesn't amount to a hill of beans. The collapse of the ego is what needs to occur, not its divination through self-effort." B.Y.

Yes there is, I'm living in it. The heaven for sincere and earnest people that is! Sincere and earnest efforts are absolutely rewarded. This is your obstacle to realizing the Self (if you don't mind an ajnani like me saying so).

In the world that is true, everything about spirituality would suggest the opposite. I don't see any unsincere Jnanis, because there aren't any. The only jnanis were earnest and sincere, precisely because "Earnest efforts never fail!" Bhagavan.

As far as forming an image of myself as sincere and earnest, I try not to form any images of myself, get out of that habit. But undoubtedly, trying to be free of suffering, loneliness, self-persecution, insecurity, despair by looking for the one who is having those emotions never fails, and has never failed me. I've never stayed in an emotional-reacting Vasana-laden space after looking for the one experiencing it, it is always cleared, same with an egotistical space.

Or it prompts some deeper investigation, which is then commensed. Not sure what's difficult in this. And why is it so easy? let me take a guess.

Perhaps because that is an earnest, humble if you please, honest reason for doing it. Doing it because I haven't yet climbed mount everest, sky dived, or gotten enlightened. Well, Enlightenment doesn't fit into such detached, and cruel intellectual goals, of world conquest. Lakshmana Swami joked ironically about the "3 year B.A. in enlightenment" Ironic, and maybe intentionally because Lakshmana Swami and several others realized the Self after 3 years, which I found almost like another level of humor, not sure if it was intentional.

So I'm not sure what spiritual world you are living in, because in mine it seems to be exactly the opposite. It is the fairest place possible. Because the Self is the realm below our egos. If our egos, aren't dissoluting, it's because of our egos, our unearnestness, our cruelty, our insincerity. Until out unearnest goals are gone, how could we possibly realize. But the good news is, like in my case, the unearnest goals, the insincere ones, are extremely obvious.

They entail looking to the world for fulfillment. It's obvious, it's easy, it's not rocket science, although even rocket science is easy, just takes alot of effort to learn.

Broken Yogi said...


I don't have a problem with half of what you say. Certainly it's true that we must have total faith and surrender in the Self. But faith is quite a different thing from an expectation of getting something in return for that surrender. Because the truth is, the Self doesn't necessarily deliver what we want when we surrender. The Self doesn't "take care of us", certainly not in the way that we, as egos, would usually like.

This is the problem with seeing the Self as a living Being. I know I brought up this whole idea, and of course it's how most people actually do relate to God/Self, and it certainly has some benefits to it, but I must admit there's also a deluding side. Even though the Self is certainly as alive as any being in the world, in that it is the very Being of all beings, it's all too common for us to project our egos onto the Self/God, and presume that it acts in some kind of lawful, reciprocal fashion, such that if we do X, then Y will result. Assuming, of course, that if X is good, then so will Y be good. But the Self doesn't see good or bad, and so there's no guarantee that Y will be "good". Appropriate, perhaps, but that could mean anything.

As for realization following from doing all the right things, well, let's not hold our breaths, okay? We have no idea what "produces" realization, in that it can't be the result of our actions, even the action of self-enquiry. To engage in these practices because we think they will produce realization is a false motive, and it also doesn't work that way. We surrender not because it will produce realization, but because we love to surrender. We practice self-enquiry not because it will make us realized, but because we find ourselves drawn to it, drawn to Self, and simply can't resist.

The desire for realization is not like other desires, in that it doesn't actually desire a "result", it desires a present reality. It puts attention not on some goal, but on our very consciousness as it already exists. Ramana's admonition to "Be as you are", posits no goal at all. So realization is not a goal at the end of the line, achieved as a result of our actions, it's simply giving more and more of one's attention to whatever is already the case, not trying to change it, not trying to make something happen, but being at ease with whatever happens, and even nothing happening. As the ajata thread made clear, realization is not about something happening, but the opposite, of "nothing happening". Likewise, the desire for the Self isn't a desire that has a goal in the future. It's a desire that has no goal, that doesn't even move, that brings all one's movements to a halt, because it desires the present, not some result in the future.

Imagining the Self to be a living Being isn't altogether false, but to imagine that living Being to be doling out realization to those who "do the right things" is a superimposition of the ego's wishes upon this Being. The ego has a million ways of perverting the Self into an image of itself, but the primary symptom is to put one's attention on some future event like "realization", or "heaven", rather than on the present reality of our own Being. The only way to subvert the ego, therefore, is to sacrifice our future desires and their goals, and become concentrated in the pure, present desire for Self as it already is. Nothing actually needs to happen, and that is how this desire is fulfilled.

Broken Yogi said...


Note that because of the delay in posts being approved, most of my comments refer to things you said 3-4 posts into the past.

Let me also mention that my comments about my old friend only reflect my own interpretation of his state, and wouldn't likely be completely agreed to by him. I don't want to speak for him, I just want to use him as an example of a very good and sincere person who has devoted themselves to spiritual practice all their life, and with especial dedication over the last decade, without the kind of result he anticipated. Now, it is easy for you and I to point quickly to his faults, it's another thing entirely for us to point to our own. I use him as an example not of someone with faults you or I lack, but of someone who is highly dedicated to spiritual practice, but is unable to see his own faults very well. In that, I ask, how are we any different?

I don't want to be righteous about this fellow because, aside from his being an old friend whom I respect a great deal, I am sure I share the same basic fault of not seeing myself as clearly as others see me. By that I mean, it is very easy to see the faults in others, precisely because we are not identified with them, whereas it is almost impossible to see our own faults precisely because we are so identifed with them.

Your lengthy monogues, and your assertions of devotion to realization, and attainment of all kinds of blisses and happiness, reminds me so much of my friend that I couldn't help citing him. He, too, describes himself as incredibly earnest and sincere, and he, too, has achieved a great deal of happiness and bliss. And yet, he has not achieved realization, and he could not tell you why that is. He would not agree that he suffers from pride and egoic self-imagery, and that this is why he had failed to realize. If you say that his failure to achieve realization is irrefutable evidence, in and of itself, that he lacks true seriousness, isn't the same true of all of us, yourself included?

In other words, is not your own lack of present realization a sign of a lack of present seriousness and earnestness? You can say you don't believe in the rareness of realization, this one-in-a-billion kind of thing, that anyone who is sincere will realize, but then again, you haven't realized, so doesn't that make you presently insincere, and yet unable to see your own insincerity for what it is? You say you will be realized someday, even soon, but how many times have we all heard that?

Put another way, just as my friend's faults and egoic pride are really totally evident to everyone other than himself, aren't yours and mine just as evident to everyone else also? I know you have the impression that people are deeply impressed with your saintliness, but are you aware that quite the opposite is also the case, that we are all deeply aware of everything about you that screams "ego", and that we all can see it clear as day while you somehow cannot? I'm not picking on you, in that I'm sure the same is true of me, and I don't want to hurt your feelings or be mean, so please don't take it that way. Certainly many other posters, such as Haramurthy, have pointed out my own faults with much accuracy, so you are far from alone. The same is true of everyone here. And of course the same is true of you. This is just a general rule of human nature, that we simply don't have much distance from ourselves, because we are identified with this persona and all its qualities, whereas other people are not, so they see our egoity pretty much for what it is.

So what is the real sign of seriousness? Well, I would say that it is the ability to see ourselves just as clearly as others see us, meaning without any identification or defensiveness, but to see all our pride and selfishness and boorishness for what it is, without making excuses or developing delusions about ourselves. If we could do that, we could surrender all our egoic nonsense in a flash. So in that sense, you could say that none of us are very sincere, since we are quite devoted to hiding our own faults and pride and ego from ourselves, coming up with all kinds of excuses and self-images that relieve us of the need to take responsibility for any of it. My friend suffers from that problem, and so do I, and so do you. I mean, isn't it obvious? I don't mean that as an insult or a put-down, just an acknowledgement of the fundamentally self-deluding nature of all our vasanas.

I certainly believe that anyone can become realized, but it takes a ruthless lack of compassion for ourselves and our delusions, and an overwhelming compassion for others. Meaning, a lack of identification with out own bullshit. Because we all are really full of it in fundamental ways we'd rather not look at. I don't mean that as a depressing statement, just a statement of fact. If we took it seriously, it would be quite liberating, if also very humbling, but that's precisely why we don't really take it all that seriously. It would mean becoming deeply sincere and earnest, and not putting up with our own bullshit.

Do you understand what I mean? That if you were really as sincere and earnest as you proclaim, you'd see yourself quite differently than you do. As would we all, myself included. That is not a "blissful" experience, however, so we tend to shuffle it to the side, and concentrate instead on those experiences which flatter us. But in so doing, aren't we tacitly admitting that we aren't really serious or earnest at all?

Anonymous said...

Scott Fraundorf:

Broken Yogi,
Here, I agree with you completely, or what I've read so far. Yeah, if I'm going in with an expectation of getting something, even realization, then yeah, I wouldn't hold my breath. I'm not holding my breath.

But I'm seeing that love, and happiness are in surrender, and not in the things of this world. Although the things of this world seem to come along with surrender someimtes. For instance great love with other people, seems to be a part of seeing the Whole World as the Self.

You did say that doing the right things, won't result in realization. Here I agree with you, partly. In my own experience

I get deeper into total peace, but only because or if my reasons for doing so are earnest and sincere. Unlike in the world, where if I say the right things, I can go far, and get elected, if I do the right things I succeed, I win the lawsuit. (Unfortunately with Asperger's this isn't the case) Here, in Inquiry-land, Maharshi-land. That is definitely, categorically UNTRUE, and I'm glad that it is.

The motivation has to be pure as well. As I was saying, apparently Inquiry is working out for me, and why? Simply because I'm using it to find out the truth, that love and happiness are already the necklace around the neck, I've been "trudging, trudging toward diverse goals" (Muraganar), and now I'm exhausted from the futility. Realization is not another diverse goal for me. It's a letting up of futile and Herculean exausting efforts that didn't succeed.

I think pertinent to this discussion is "It is as easy for a rich man to enter the Kingdom of Heaven as it is for a camel to fit through the eye of the needle."

Now I'm not sure rich is what I'd put there (although many rich people are attached to their self-concepts their success I'm sure), but those who have alot of attachment and are invested in their lives, and unwilling to relent those mental attachments those positive self-definitions that have been so successful.

If spirituality is another accessory to an individual defined by wordly success. Well, all the self-definitions have to be given up, as I'm sure you know, every one of them... It's easy technically to relinquish self-definitions, but the willingness has to be there, and that's a choice.

For instance, my mythology of George Lucas. I watch him on TV, and he's let his success go to his head. The first Star wars films were inspired. But the second trilogy was lousy, and flat.

Well, when I look at him, he is so pumped up with self-importance. And i'm like, "that would suck!" I'm glad I'm not George Lucas. He's become a camel, and now it's hard to fit through the eye of the needle. It's easy to go from being a camel to a gnat, but it requires willingness to relinquish.

I don't absolutely know I will Realize the Self. But there isn't a lot I'm holding onto, because I've failed time and time again going out into the world. I did the right thing, I held my breath, and failed hands down. i was earnest, and the world does not reward earnestness with anything necessarily. It can, but arbitrarily.

Now with Inquiry, with spirituality, it's different, because spirituality, it absolutely will only reward unwavering earnestness, not effort without earnestness, but sincere motivation to be free. I never went into it with any expectation, but just wanting to be free of all these burdens, and what do you know, they are clearing up like rain clouds. And I guess that they will clear up totally, what some call Realization of the Self, and will label me as Gnani. That's there problem, and a problem it probably is.

I'm not even that attached to a solid universe, a little but I enjoy the sense of formless, nondual bliss, with nothing attached, no person, no relationships. And ironically, people are so drawn in by that, it's sexy, it's cool, which I'm fine with. And I actually am able to love others, and myself, and the whole world, the less i see difference. Everything I could ever want is mine, because all I wanted was sincere, honest love, so then Inquiry is easy. If I had corrupt motivations, well then I'm going to have difficulty surrendering.

Back to the criminal debauchee, being a criminal debauchee is so not a sympton of lacking sincerity and earnestness. It's just an external role, like in a play. Some of the greatest, nicest, most genuine people I have known have been criminals, debauchees,alcoholics, heroin addicts.

Now obviously there are many non-earnest people that fit that description as well. But the sincere criminal debauchee would so realize the Self over a ritual obsessed, pious person who acts like a Pharisee, or doesn't let people into their church because of their dress anyday. God, Bhagavan the Self is not going to be fooled by external apperances but see exactly what kind of ego we are abiding in, and how willing we are to relinquish what we are and have.

The only reason I can't put a date for certain on when I will "become" (joking) Enlightened, is because I'm not Enlightened, and I haven't cleared myself of all the vasanas, so I don't know exactly what they are. But I can't imagine at some point I'm going to turn back, since I don't really have any pressing enagements other then the Self. But I do witness that the kind of motivations I'm bringing to the table work, and that everything Maharshi said is happening. I haven't hit some major stumbling block that isn't quickly passed, because I'm doing it for the right reasons, and evidently, it appears the Self is rewarding that with even greater and greater willingness to Surrender completely

Anonymous said...

Scott Fraundorf:

The only thing that i see that strikes me as maybe partly wrong is your commenting on the self not being a living being rewarding the "right thing".

In my experience that is true, If you go into it with an intellectual motivation of trying to figure out how to get enlightened, well it won't work, you'll just become more intellectual, maybe even arrogant. Because your trying to grow as an ego, like that German guy at Arunachala maybe is an example. Oh he is such a jnani (sarcasm)

But if you go into it with goodness, and love and wanting to be free of Vasanas, well that's it's purpose, and I have been rewarded endlessly for this motivation. My obstacles, are the desires I still hold for some kind of external "experience". Realization, I've never desired realization, but I've desired to completely surrender, and to give up responsibility for the body and it's actions. I should go though I have an exam in an hour. I'm trying to survive in the world as well as abiding in nondual bliss.

But yeah, I agree, the diong the right thing won't be rewarded. But the right motivation, sincerity and earnestness, well why has every saint, sage, jnani extolled that earnestness and humility are what is required, if they weren't. They are what's required. when it's perfect that is realization.

Anonymous said...

Scott Fraundorf:

The only thing that i see that strikes me as maybe partly wrong is your commenting on the self not being a living being rewarding the "right thing".

In my experience that is true, If you go into it with an intellectual motivation of trying to figure out how to get enlightened, well it won't work, you'll just become more intellectual, maybe even arrogant. Because your trying to grow as an ego, like that German guy at Arunachala maybe is an example. Oh he is such a jnani (sarcasm)

But if you go into it with goodness, and love and wanting to be free of Vasanas, well that's it's purpose, and I have been rewarded endlessly for this motivation. My obstacles, are the desires I still hold for some kind of external "experience". Realization, I've never desired realization, but I've desired to completely surrender, and to give up responsibility for the body and it's actions. I should go though I have an exam in an hour. I'm trying to survive in the world as well as abiding in nondual bliss.

But yeah, I agree, the diong the right thing won't be rewarded. But the right motivation, sincerity and earnestness, well why has every saint, sage, jnani extolled that earnestness and humility are what is required, if they weren't. They are what's required. when it's perfect that is realization. Nonetheless your original proposition that Earnest and Sincere efforts don't result in Realization and that spirituality isn't fair, I think is about as wrong as can be, but maybe you've relented to my devestating arguments (just kidding).

Anonymous said...

Scott Fraundorf:

Now that i'm out of that exam. I just wanted to reiterate, my whole point in creating far too much verbiage for my own good, when I could be doing something else, was that, it strikes me as axiomatic that Spirituality is completely fair, but the world is not fair. And I'm completley sure about it. My progress is for my genuine qualities, not for my efforts, not for going through the right motion, but for my sincerity. It isn't like the world where innocent people are thrown into concentration camps and murdered. College girls are date raped. If I'm filled with arrogance, I am much further from Realization of bliss and peace and death of the ego. The less arrogant I am, the closer I am. The fact that i feel bliss and peace, right now for instance, and not an agenda, not needing to go out and "get" something, are proof to me, I'm atleast sincere enough to get this delicious reward, of realizing the happiness that is always present. And if you aren't that sincere (I have no idea) You easily could become that by Surrendering. I'm so excited about this topic, because in some ways, that line of Broken Yogi's were heartening to me, in that it made me realize that I'm genuine and I am being rewarded for it. And if there are any impure qualities, I can be cleansed of those as well, to use Papaji's analogy, bathing in the Ganges of the Self. Any concept of Realization is not desirable. But I at the same time take issue with looking at REalization of the Self, as something like winning the lottery or getting promoted to CEO, or getting drafted into the Major LEagues, rare and hard to attain, that is such a dead intellectual interpretation, that perfect bliss and contentment immediately destroys.. To say that, you'd have to be still enmired in concepts of worldly success and attributing them to the attributeless realization, easily attained. Those undoubtedly are unfair (the Major Leagues, Corporations), and luck based, to a large extent, based on birth and station. Realization in stark contrast although it admits of no contrasts is just based on Surrendering to Grace, something anyone, anyone can do, in any circumstance at any level of maturity, wherever they are, whomever they are, but few choose to. I will realize the Self, because I choose to, because it is fair. Because it is easy. I'm not setting a date and time and am not concerned with that. But I'm going to get more and more comfortable, relinquishing, surrendering until there is nothing left of me, and all is joy and love and Self. And not only that if I was worried about Salvation in any of the Organized Religions, perfect Surrender of the Ego is the most perfect gesture I could make to Providence. And if you are Secular, it is the most perfect gesture of love to every person you have ever known, whether present or thousands of miles away. It is the most romantic, heroic gesture I could make, and that is why I'm making it. Running a soup kitchen, being a philanthropist, fighting in a war, while they can involve that kind of heroism, they pale compared to giving up the selfish personality, with it's names carved in buildings, foundations.

Everything gives me evidence that this doesn't have to be a long drawn out process, and certainly one for an elite minority. Everyone could become Jnanis. Although it doesn't matter if it takes years, lifetimes, thousands of lifetimes, because time is an invention of the ego, so in truth it takes no time at all. I'm making the choice to completely surrender, to give up the ego, to give up all my attachments, I'm not concerned with goal, or product gained, and I have no doubt I will succeed. This isn't naive optimism. Optimism is required to keep one pursuing it. Pessimism, feeling like a failure at spirituality, I'm not sure that could help. Pessimism, and feeling like a failure at being an individual in the world, that could definitely create a necessary humility. But feeling like Realization is unattainable, that kind of humility is not humility at all. Because basically is saying you are stuck in your selfish self-definitions and cannot escape them, it is an excuse. It would be for me, I'm not really admonishing you.

Anonymous said...


"Meditating" versus "simply abiding in the self":

Do you know this interesting article from Alan Jacobs about "western pseudo advaita"?

Advaita and Western Neo-Advaita-A Study: By Alan Adam Jacobs


Bookworm said...


Interesting aricle Clemens.


I think we should call this comments section 'The Anonymous and Broken Yogi Show'

No malice meant.
Carry on boys.

Anonymous said...

Scott Fraundorf

I think the neo-advaita phenomena, as I briefly saw described, I found it really irksome, and irritating. Because I could just feel the energy of these people wanting the fame, and recognition, as opposed to being enlightened, free of desires, fears, genuine. Many of my friends, awesome people are way more enlightened then those people who've chosen to sit on a pedestal. It's so digusting.

Although I really enjoy watching Papaji Satsangs on youtube and realize that it was part of the culture, and that papaji was fully realized and qualified, the idea of authority figures, I have to side with the anarchists on this one.(i.e. 1936 Spain, just kidding)

But with neo-advaita it's worse, because it's a bunch of white guys who are used to telling people what to do, and being on a pedestal with their privilege, probably run businesses, and do boss people around, mistaking their ego's success for enlightenment. Mistaking their intellectual understanding, logic for enlightenment.

I don't really think Satsang in that form really belongs in the West, because it cateurs to such an abuse of power, and theres already enough of it from white men. I look up Ramana Maharshi, Nisargadatta Maharaj on Youtube, and Nirmala, and some other guy with glasses on his webcam appear trying to explain these philosophies to me. Three white guys in colored robes sitting in lotus positions And I'm just like "you gotta be kidding me"

That aside, and hopefully I myself am not straying into that kind of neo-advaita, do not buy that any culture, and especially traditional philosophies have a monopoly on Realization of the Self. So Realization, as in nondual consciousness is everybody's and anybody can go there, including me, anybody. And I also don't want to get too caught up in acknowledging this phenomena one way or another, because not only is it irrelevent to my Inquiry, it's getting caught up in the politics of the world, the best way to remedy is by realizing the SElf. (see Bhagavan and the politics of his day) Neo-advaita becomes just another political ill, best dealt with by seeing it as part of the script, correct?

The more I get into a nondual sense of peace, and no even if I ever did fully realize, and knew that I had, I have no interest in that kind of power arrangement, because I find it disgusting, what is known as neo-advaita in that article, is a disgusting phenomena, it can't really be looked at in any nicer way. Not only is it a false coin, I think the people involved more or less are evil doers, using it for manipulation and power, of course in a state of ignorance so they don't realize they are. They actually believe they are somehow qualified.

But I was having this thought trip on the way here, and no, I don't believe this kind of thinking fits into that phenomena. I get more and more peaceful, thoughtless, effortless states become more and more common easily attained. And then my ego jumps out and gets really excited, even though I'm not Enlightened yet, "Hey, I'm one of the 1 in a billion, I'm in the club!" (I'm exaggerating, I'm not that bad)

And then I think wait a second, if it really is this easy and just requires sincerity and earnest effort (which it does, and that is ALL it requires), I do question that 1 in a billion number. There are probably vastly more Self-Realized then those famous for it, and probably some or many that it has never occured, just nothing bothers them and they are at complete peace through all there actions. And of course there are the fakers. (nirmala, that fat white old guy with glasses staring frightfully into his webcam, the 3 guys in colored robes)

People who really realize the SElf don't need to put on a show, or webcam, or pretend anything, because they no longer have any desires, and certainly don't think an intellectual explanation, ha! of Nisargadatta Maharsaj's philosophy is worth a hill of beans (thanx B.Y.).

And like Papaji, people just put him on a pedestal, and he let them because it didn't really make much of a difference either way to him, same with Maharshi. I think any white person especially male, i would think even if they did REalize teh SElf woudl question whether that arrangement is appropriate in the West, when it clearly is not, not in our decadent, exploitive, sexually abusive culture. But realization itself, stopping the thinking process and seeing ultimately what's true, eliminating the mind, that's not only appropriate but anybody's duty, anywhere, I guess their only duty, so says Maharshi.

I do think getting into any kind of politics, even the politics of worrying about neo-advaita, it can just be another abusive way to denigrate people's real experiences, and attempts. So that is another downside. And of course downplay that Westerners do REalize the Self, because it's not based in any culture, and are there any individuals? Hmm!

Both neo-advaita, and anti-neo-advaita I think have there draw backs. It's kind of like I was in the punk subculture (are you familiar?) in the West. And there were alot of people obsessed with status and fashion, so then everybody else started calling them "posers" because they were faking it, they weren't the real thing. But then that just became another way to oppress people, evne though it was reacting to people oppressing people, same with neo-advaita, it can also become an epithet to discount people's genuine experiences. And even though advaita (the philosophy), originates in hinduism, nondual consciousness (Being/Consciousness/Bliss) doesn't ahve a place.

Maharshi said something like "Was there India, and Europe in your sleep?"
I have had friends, that I've wondered about, no they weren't realized, but the effect they had on people, their satisfaction in any circumstance had an air of that. And maybe they were/are ripe.

To some degree, I'm doing this, because I feel reverent to these friends of mine, and want to be like them, care free, free spirited. But as I said, I'm not buying into the Enlightenment is hard to attain, because I don't see that's helpful, and ultimately I truly believe it's easy. Everything in my own experiences, suggest it is easy. and believing it is hard, is a sure way to never surrender.

And "enlightenment" per se, or the Sahaja state, can be called anything, it's where insanity, and delusion is no more. And it truly is delusion. We can say maharshi is great, the buddha was great.

But when we look at the horrible things people do to eachother because of their egos. It seems more apt to say that Maharshi and the Buddha were sane, and not great. That we are horrible, for not realizing the non-existence of our petty delusions including the one's that make us want to get on a pedestal and be "better then others", and we best get on it.

Anonymous said...

"There can be no accurate measurement of distance between oneself and Realization, for the very nature of the Self is Realization. There is no chasm between the Self and yourself. Inquiry dissolves the illusory "I" notion, and the sole-existent Self remains".

Nome sent me this, so I thought I'd post it, because it helped illuminate for me, the discussion on the possibility of Realization, and sincerity and earnestness, which me and Broken Yogi were talking about.

I don't think there was a correct answer to this debate, and even though the quote agrees with me intellectually, on a deeper level, it showed me that I do indeed create a giant chasm between myself and the SElf when I think about it as a goal to be attained, much less a distant one, or even a close one "I'm almost realized, I'll be realized within the year/lifetime. I can attain realization". And even my ideas of Surrender or Inquiry aer still egoic ideas, and not coming from peace. Many things I've written, while I look back on them as intellectually sound, i realize how much they were the voice of hte illusory ego.

At the same time, I do see that Broken Yogi's proposition also creates a huge chasm between himself and the Self, which is instructive to me, to give up this notion of a chasm, and instead I am, without having to think it.

And all the progress, and connection, who is noticing them? Because they are also just egoic attachments. However I will give myself this. It is very good to have the determination I do, to investigate and as best I can clear my vasanas. I fortunately see the wisdom in it, and will continue.

Nonetheless it still seems to me that ideas such as the aforementioned statistical infrequency are also not helpful for me in my Inquiry, because they too create a chasm between me and the Self, why do that? If I was falling for manipulative neo-advaita cult-leaders, or getting ready to become a "guru" maybe I'd need to be reminded of the rareness of this "state". But even then, why? It just goes to show, that no idea, no set of concepts is my friend.

No ideas, sets of concepts, concepts of world, and other people, are my friend, will help me rest and Know that I am bliss itself.

I should add, if anything I said sounded arrogant, I don't regret it. I'm going to grow alot faster by being forthright with my weaknesses, my arrogance, I think. And I am to some degree a pot bubbling over, and deeper vasanas are becoming "blatantly clear".

The school ? still troubles me as I may have failed an exam today. But I'll do my best to get through this term. I was having a few other troubling vasanas arise, reminding me to not go with them, even though it is the habit, and i feel safer going with them.

I also even when I write something, and I think "those words were hot!! I made some thoughtful points" that isn't the point, and I hope someone deconstructs them in a way that illuminates for me something I wasn't aware of before. Sometimes criticisms while wholeheartedly welcomed provided they are nice, aren't always the thing that illuminates something new for me.

Broken Yogi brings up excellent points, and starts wonderful debates with a bunch of people, and I'm glad he does. But for instance on this discussion, I didn't learn anything from him, though he was well-spoken, he said things that didn't strike a new chord. I want what I say to be annihilated, I want to be annihilated so that I can never arise again. Broken Yogi, if you know something I don't know, please, please devestate my arguments.

Anonymous said...

Scott Fraundorf:

Broken Yogi
Your last post now that I've read it, I hadn't read it earlier, is very well thought out. I agree with you wholeheartedly in everything u said. I do believe that to the degree I haven't realized there is still some insincerity some impurity left. Obviously judging your interpretation of your friend falls into that category.

Nome told me to read the Song of Ribhu and I was reading it, "ever abiding in bliss, without a trace of concept. In that itself, as that itself"

As to Realization, the fact that I haven't realized, or may never realized, doesn't bother me one bit. I'm scared of the things of this world, and myself as an individual, and that is why I so perhaps earnestly try to practice Inquiry sincerely, and surrender. So I truly am not beating myself up about not having realized, because the concept "realization" is non-self. Oh yeah, theres that part of myself that I see through, that wants to be a Gnani because everyone will think I'm really nice and healing to be around, and finally I'l be appreciated. But I see the joke in that. It's present, but recognized as a desire.

I still don't really buy the realization is hard, unattainable, especially since the SElf is the substratrum and I'm not seperate from it, but that it is hard to make the choices involved to give up thinking and concepts entirely, that is difficult, and there are temptations all along the way. The thing that prompts me on, still, is that even if I start conceptualizing, for instance that conceptualizing comes through in my posts, even if the words are good (or terrible for that matter). When I start though, I start to get afraid, about bad things that could happen, I start imagining threats, usually not real, I start wanting, seeing that I might get recognition, or someone might be giving me potentially romantic attention. The desires and threats to my desires are too much to handle, I realize Surrendering and abiding in the Blissful thoughtless realm is myonly refuge, I attempt to go there. If I am earnest and sincere beyond concept (joke) therein lies the reason.

Also as to progress, there is clearly a kind of progress. I get more and more skilled at abiding at subtler, and subtler levels, more and more blissful states. If I'm blissful, Broken Yogi, then what's the problem? Does it matter if I've attained a state that could be labeled "Enlightement"? And the skillfulness increases because of learning from attempts, at what works, it is a learning curve, and I get more willing to relinquish all the concepts. The vasanas really do clear. I am confident that this is what I should be doing, and so I keep doing it. The reward are coming in, if there is a Final Grand Reward, where Lakshman and Haunaman and Ram come to my door and say "Ta Da! You're Enlightened. I'm less concerned with that right now. But I clearly see that Inquiry and Surrender work and they do get rid of all problems.

The # of Vasanas are finite. It's not going to take forever. And it doesn't really mater, because I already know how to be happy about whatever is happening, I know I just have to surrender the individual thinking. I know the course of action if it could be called that, it is an action to cease actions.

I shouldn't have judged so hastily your friend, recognizing that I have the same problems. But it does seem, correct me if I'm wrong, that I differ from your friends in that, I'm not trying and really truly never have been caring about attaining realization as some goal, for the most part, but that I want to be free of current situations, and go into a thoughtless blisssful state. (which is possible, I do it by the mere act of surrendering)

For the first time in my life, in the last several months, I am not caring about a goal. My goals by the way were always worldly, and never spiritual. The spiritual was to free myself from the worldly which has been hard. Now maybe these words, sound like your friend, but in that case, your friend is like me, and afraid of the world, not of failing to attain a "state" Although it is silly for me to speculate on becoming fully realized (which I did), because now I realize the concept of Enlightenment and Jnanis is somewhat not helpful.

"In which there is neither sadguru nor diligent disciple, in which there is no immutable knowledge, in which there is no illustrious jnani
in which there is neither of the two kinds of liberation
And in which there nothing at any time.
Ever abide in bliss, without a trace of concept,
in that itself, as that itself" Song of Ribhu

Broken Yogi said...

"Broken Yogi, if you know something I don't know, please, please devestate my arguments."

Scott, if I did, I would, but I don't think I know anything that would have that effect. You are chasing your own tail, it seems to me, and pointing that out doesn't have the same effect as your looking down and seeing that it's your own tail. All this endless talking about yourself really doesn't do any good, does it? It's not as if there's any point to it, is there? Looking for someone else, me, Nome, David, Ramana, whoever, to say the magic words that "do" it for you, isn't this just the same silliness that gets played out in the pseudo-advaita world? I enjoy a good conversation, but I don't expect anything much out of it, because there isn't much to get out of it. I don't think this is the place to play out our cathartic self-help dramas. You're becoming a bit of a tar-baby, you know? Can't you at least talk about something other than yourself? Not meaning to be rude, but if you want me to be direct, even arrogant, there it is.

Broken Yogi said...

I wrote a post on neo-advaita earlier today, but apparently it didn't post and got lost.

The point I tried to make is that the term "neo-advaita" is usally used in India to refer to the reform movement in modern India that began back in Vivekananda's day. You could trace it to Rao, on through Ramakrishna, Vivekananda, Ramana himself, all his devotees and their followers, Nisargadatta, etc. All of these people make a serious departure from the traditional advaita views and practices, which all emphasize adherence to the word and form of scriptural teachings and concepts, a full study and practice of the entire range of vedic tradition, and devotion and obediance to the full practice of advaitic dharma. Neo-advaita de-emphasizes all of these, and instead almost completely emphasizes personal experience of the Self. This is a serious departure from the tenets of traditional advaita, which does not pay much attention to personal experience, which it finds too subjective, and instead emphasizes adherence to the scriptures. So in traditional advaita realization is not made into an issue of personal experience, it is confirmed only if it corresponds to all the scriptural requirements.

The problem with the traditional method, of course, is that it can be faked by becoming thoroughly invested in the tradition. Swami Chinmayananda, one of the leading advocates of traditional Advaita, churns out "enlightened" devotees by the hundreds, dwarfing any of the claims of even the most deluded western neo-advaitic teachers. I think that's one of the reasons neo-advaita sprang up in the first place, and why realizers like Ramana stressed the necessity of personal experience of the Self, the direct path to that being self-enquiry, rather than the traditional methods. Ramana did not expect or even approve of his devotees to study the full tradition of advaita or to practice it in the traditional manner. Instead, he wanted to keep things direct, personal and experientially based.

It's not as if there's a big gulf between the two. The traditional schools certainly recognize Ramana and most of the great neo-advaitins. They just think that Ramana and others like him lack the traditional background and training, and thus the ability to properly train devotees in turn, and thus they enlighten very few people. Likewise, they consider the superficiality of the kinds of westerners being referred to here as a natural outgrowth of the neo-advaitic teachigns of even Ramana, in that by de-emphasizing the traditional approach they open the door to all kinds of debasements and diletantes.

Which is actually a fairly valid criticism, even of Ramana. I don't think he really had a choice, historically speaking, in that the world of advaita needed serious reform, and people needed the unadulterated pure teachings shorn of the dead-weight and delusions of the traditional Hindu mind. But it must be acknowledged that there are real risks in doing it this way, and we can all see how those risks have sometimes realized their worst possibilities.

So I think it's a bit hypocritical when followers of Ramana, like Jacobs here, get all righteous about the superficial western neo-advaitins without taking some responsibility for it themselves. These people aren't traditional advaitins themselves. I particularly found it funny that Jacob describes his profession as "Life Coach", which is about as new-agey a way of making a living as there is, and seems no different than being a self-styled neo-advaitin personalized Guru for hire. What are these people thinking?

My own take on the western neo-advaitins is pretty simple. I've never actually met any of them, so my experience is just of their writings and the stories I hear about from others. But I would put the entire problem down to simple lack of seriousness, on the part of both Gurus and their devotees. Serious people don't take their tiny range of spiritual experiences and make themselves into Gurus on that basis. And serious people don't follow such Gurus. But the world has very few serious people in it. So it's no surprise that most of religion, of every variety, is filled with mostly unserious people. That's the problem with traditional advaita, and it's the problem with neo-advaita. Unserious people exploit whatever excuses and cop-outs they can. It can't be stopped, it can just be observed with some sense of humor. And with the knowledge, of course, that we ourselves live in glass houses, so we shouldn't throw the stones all that hard.

Ravi said...

Broken Yogi,
Your take on Neo Advaita vs Traditional Advaita is well considered.Just a small correction that Vivekananda is considered to be a 'Neo-Vedantin' and not 'Neo Advaitin'.These are tags invented by the less serious minded as you have rightly put.
You have also touched upon the dangers of an oversimplified 'Know Thyself' type of an approach,in that the Foundations of Living are not at all emphasised,as necessary for a spiritual pursuit!Sathya and Ahimsa are the Essential Principles and unless these are consciously practised and forms an integral part of any spiritual pursuit,all practices yielding Peace and Bliss are just another form of Self Indulgence only.
As Vivekananda said-'Those only live who live for others;the Rest are more Dead than alive'.This is only a restatement of the Vedic Prayer-Sarve Janaaha Sukhino Bhavantu-May all be Happy.

I do not think that the western devotees of Sri Bhagavan have an inkling of the All inclusive Nature of Sanathana Dharma,how it weaves its Spirit into the Web of Life.They tend to think that "advaita" is the 'Essence' and the rest are just 'Non Essence'!Nothing can be farther than Truth than this.This is like saying that the essence of 'Marriage' is 'sex' only and nothing else!

Thanks very much BY.

Broken Yogi said...

Here's an interesting guy, James Shwarzt, who lives near Arunachula, studied with Chinmayananda, and has a take on neo-advaita from that angle:

He also has a critical take on Ramana's teachings here:'s%20Teachings.htm

David might know this guy, since I gather that he makes a living doing tours of the various temples in the area. If so, what do you think of this guy's point of view?

Bookworm said...

Broken yogi

Good comments to anonymous and on neo advaita etc Broken yogi...
although I don't see the truth or value of putting a tag on Ramana.

'outgrowth of the neo-advaitic teachigns of even Ramana'

I think he just 'taught' as it is.

Ravi said...

Broken Yogi,
Thanks for providing the link to James Schwartz.All I can say is that this person has been thoroughly,irrepairably brain washed by Chinmayananda/Dayananda school of thought.
Both these swamis are fond of Bhagavad Gita Classes-and kept conducting Gita Yagnas year after year.Chinmayanda was greatly attached to his pinch of snuff powder and Dayananda simply thinks that he is the only 'intelligent' person right now-He gave a Lecture on 'Whether there are many paths to the Goal"?-wherein he supposedly debunks this idea!He thinks he knows more than Sri Ramakrishna or Sri Bhagavan who are supposedly illiterate Mystics and cannot teach Vedanta which only the Likes of Dayananda(Who does not mind looking for sponsorship for his lectures )can do.
Chinmayananda used to lose his temper over trifles and Dayananda is fond of mocking at other lesser mortals!(I attended one of his talks ,but was put off by this utterly immature behaviour-I thought that he should go back to elementary school,learn a little bit of Thirukkural!).
Dayananda claims that he has seen hundreds of people with the same experience like that of Sri Bhagavan and who are not Known to the outside world.(They are ofcourse known only to Dayananda,and now Schwartz!)
These learned Ignorant swamijis consider themselves as custodians of 'Traditional Vedanta'!
They forget that one of the Greatest Traditional Vedantist of our times-The Sage of Kanchi acknowledged not only the Unique stature of Sri Bhagavan but also directed Paul Brunton to him!He considered only Two persons-One was Sri Bhagavan ,the other was Swami Ramananda.
Notwithstanding the above,there is something in the article for westerners to take note of-especially regarding the craving for 'Nondual Experience' as if it is what spirituality(now called Advaita!) is all about.The Nature of the VEDIC PRAMANA-is also interesting and very valid.

Best Regards.

Bookworm said...

Broken Yogi


My humble opinion.
What a load of verbiage.
Why bother with it. Do you need it?
Don't you trust Ramanas influence and words?
Yoga, vedanta...who cares?

The mind is just a tool. When Ramana said kill the mind He meant that ones entanglement, fascination, feeling and belief that the mind is who you are
should die.

Anonymous said...

Scott Fraundorf:

B.Y. if I talk about only myself, its because there is only myself, I can only know from my own perspective, and as far as I can tell I'm pretty straight forward about my own subjectivity, and not claiming some divine truth to anything I say, in being straight forward about that, I shouldn't have to worry about what I put forward, should I? Since I'm admitting it's from my own perspective. I can't talk about others, because I don't know others. Is that what you meant? I like to stick strictly to my own experiences. Because the world, as I would see it, for instance neo-advaita is through my own flawed lense.

What I said, also wasn't looking for abusive comments, thank you. I don't believe, correct me if I'm wrong, I was resorting to abusiveness with you. I also might partly talk about myself, because I'm autistic so I'm cut off from the world of other people (a possible explanation), tar baby I don't know what that is. But I very much did not appreciate your comments, and I would Inquire into where that animosity is coming from, because it's not mutual. You seemed, correct me if I'm wrong, to be really offended by me saying spirituality is fair, whereas the world isn't fair. If that is the case, I'll refrain from directing such mean-spirited comments at you.

As far as Nome, Ramana, David Godman, or anybody else, I do think you've got it wrong, I rely on myself, because that's all I can use. If there are inspiring concepts that help me clear concepts I use them. Nome's responses have been good for course correcting, so I use them. David Godman's books, writings have been Great!!! for inspiring interest with his wonderful tales, edited books. Although I'm starting to question some of the mythology (i.e. illustrious jnanis) I think David Godman's mythologies are meant to suck people in further. I'm not relying on Nome, David Godman, Ramana or anybody as in codependency. Been there done that.

The mistakes I've made: I don't regret talking about my experiences, or interpretations, wrongly or rightly because that is honest, no apologies. But where I've strayed into generalizing about others, such as neo-advaita, Broken Yogi's friend, shouldn't have gone there, or been more careful to make clear my own assumptions, and what I don't know. Broken Yogi, and alot of people here, I think could maybe benefit by doing the same. WE all need to pull back from stating opinion as fact.

Although with both, I'm using them both as starting angles to talk about my own experiences, neo-advaita, and broken yogi's friend are just concepts. I realize I was too critical, at the same time, I don't think I resorted to abusiveness (could be wrong), and I think I stuck to my points, my guns to articulate what I see as true, from my own limited perspective. Broken Yogi, I would appreciate if you'd stick to just devestating my arguments, correcting my logic from your own limited point of vivew, and not resort to name calling, put downs. I'm not hurt because I don't recognize them as true, infact they didn't resonate, I'm not being sarcastic, I don't think there is a grain of truth to your "direct comments". It seemed your dialogue with Haramurthy was a bit of a cat fight also, I'm not interested in that. Mainly because it's just politics. If we see the whole world as the self, there is no reason to unnecessarily stray into disputation, as opposed to discussion/argument/clarification.

REasons I post so many comments on this blog, it is nice to have some place to post the intellectual side of my attempt at Inquiry as long as it lasts. So this, I make use of too, I find it helpful.

Broken Yogi said...


"I think he just 'taught' as it is."

Yes, I agree, but that's the whole point. Traditional advaita is about teaching through the tradition, the scriptures, the srutti, etc. Ramana didn't really do that, even though he referred to these and acknowledged them. He taught on the basis of his own realization, and made that point over and over again. And that, in essence, is the difference between traditional advaita and neo-advaita. I agree that one shouldn't try to pigeonhole someone like Ramana, but these labels do represent real divergences from tradition, and thus have practical meaning.

The whole idea of "teaching as it is" rather than teaching on the basis of scriptural tradition is a huge departure from that tradition. I think it's a healthy one in many respects, but let's not pretend it has no implications and even some "dangers". It certainly explains why neo-advaita is so popular among westerners, particularly those of the "do your own thing" hippie set, which in the broader sense is what I myself belong to. Almost by definition, any westerner following an eastern-based teaching such as advaita is "doing his own thing". So it's quite natural that such people would be more attracted to the neo-advaita tradition of Ramana than the traditional advaitic path of the sankaracharya maths. With such followers of Ramana, this "teach it as it is" and "be as you are" dharma often does become a very loose and undisciplined path without much practical guidance or even responsibility, as we see. It takes an especial seriousness to avoid becoming a diletante when the opportunities abound. I'm sure it's quite a bit different at Tiruvannamalai and India itself, in that there's a general cultural expectation around these things that just gets ingrained in one's body and mind, whereas that doesn't exist in the west. So Ramana teaching within the context of Indian culture, even to westerners visiting there, has a different meaning than merely reading his books here in the west. Which is one of the reasons why it's so important to study Ramana's teachings more closely, to see how serious he really expected people to be, and not confuse his exhortations with some kind of hippie message. Not that I have anything against hippies, to be sure, but it's not at all the same approach.

Anonymous said...

Scott Fraundorf:

On Broken Yogi's take, and my take on neo-advaita, I didn't see any real difference between the two, only that I relied on my own subjective experiences and reactions, he brought up a bunch of anecdotes and made a nice argument with those anecdotes.

But on that the problem with the neo-advaita movement is the lack of seriousness, does strike me as true (I'm sorry I'm being a tar baby, or relying only on my own perspective, and my arguments are not as well put together or full of anecdotes), and that in both cases it's a commodification of religion, that doesn't confront the bigger obstacles. For instance neo-advaita, or new age to my mind would never touch on accountability, or penance, or abuse, anything deep and hard to deal with because it provides easy answers that sell, and as Broken Yogi said, most people are not serious, so they don't want to be confronted by anything deep, but Depak Chopra reaches a happy medium with the Consumer West. In my own experience, the only experience I have, attempts at Inquiry confront myself with the deepest aspects of who I am, and what I've done, even though I don't rest with that. In neo-advaita this idea that you can go deeper without practice, without intense effort, seems to be prominent also. So all those could be summed up under lack of seriousness. As I was saying earlier in stark contrast, earnest efforts do pay off, and there is progress. Now I'm going to do my best to Ever Abide in Bliss, without a Trace of Concept, Broken Yogi, or anybody else can call me neo-advaita, a tar baby, insincere whatever. That doesn't so much matter for my own practice, the only reason I would comment on this blog, not to win intellectual points.

Broken Yogi said...


Yes, you are right that Vivekananda is usually considerd neo-vedantin rather than neo-advaitin. But part of his whole reformulation of vedanta was his placing advaita at the head of it all, as the all-embracing basis for the vedanta. This had not previously been accepted as being the case by all other branches of vedanta. In doing so, Vivekananda made some adaptations to advaita of his own, so that it would fit that role. And it was of course hugely succesful, in that now it's just generally accepted that advaita is the basis for the vedanta in all its branches, able to embrace every leaf and twig of the tree.

But this adapatation by Vivekananda had implications for the traditional path of advaita, which weakened its internal hold. With everyone beginning to embrace advaita as the "umbrella" of the vedanta, it opened advaita to reforms of its own, and we see that in Ramana most directly, but also in many others, such as Atmananda, Gnanananda, Sivandanda, and Nisargadattta. The traditional advaitic teachings are of course still honored, but my impression is that in present day India the neo-Advaitins are pretty much carrying the day.

As for western followers of Ramana not being versed in sanatana dharma, this I wouldn't really know, in that I hardly know any western followers of Ramana. In fact, the main reason I post on internet forums like this is to get to know such people. My impression is that there's a wide range of people, some with only a little knowledge, and some with a great deal. I'm only in the middle of that range. I know a number of people who are quite a lot better versed in Vedantic culture and teachings than I am, and quite a few less so. I've never even been to India. Hope to go someday, when my business obligations are all handled. Maybe in a few years. Until then, I'm just a book-learner.

Anonymous said...


I thought Broken Yogi, could use this, from the move over and let the boys play rough tone in his comments to me, and his need to prove his intellectual superiority. And many other people have that tone as well, which could be part of the reason this is as far as I can tell an all male forum. Sorry, for the femininity, vulnerability in my writing. But I have no interest in giving it up. --a tar baby

“For every girl who is tired of acting weak when she is strong, there is a boy tired of appearing strong when he feels vulnerable.

For every boy who is burdened with the constant expectation of knowing everything, there is a girl tired of people not trusting her intelligence.

For every girl who is tired of being called over-sensitive, there is a boy who fears to be gentle, to weep.

For every boy for whom competition is the only way to prove his masculinity, there is a girl who is called unfeminine when she competes.

For every girl who throws out her E-Z bake oven, there is a boy struggling to find one.

For every boy struggling not to let advertising dictate his desires, there is a girl facing the ad industry’s attacks on her self-esteem.

For every girl, who takes a step toward her liberation, there is a boy who finds the way to freedom a little easier." An anarchist poster.

Now, I'm not a girl, but I am willing to take a step toward being vulnerable, and realize that intellectual superiority is worthless in this endeavor.

Anonymous said...

Scott Fraundorf:

B.Y. If I'm a sticky situation, a tar baby to use your racist epithet, it is only because you were already stuck.

Anonymous said...

Scott Fraundorf:

Ravi, correct me if I'm wrong, but I don't think you can live for others if you are not coming from peace and bliss. Because peace and bliss are what is left when there is no ego. Certainly there are people who make great sacrifices for others, granted this is only my opinion, but when they have self-definitions, and there "good deeds" are a part of those self-definitions, they also have concepts of others, for instance the helplessness of whom they are helping. And to add to that, from the position of the "stressed out" ego, their intuitions about other people and what they actually do need are skewed. So there help can actually not be help at all. And from having been around people in "need", it seems the greatest need they have is to feel self-sufficient, and like they can take care of themselves, which granted not everybody can in an "unfair" system. Who wants charity? Charity can be condescending, and the people doing charity can be convinced of their own piousness, which is actually superiority disguised. Superiority to the addicts, to the prostitutes, to the homeless, the destitute. Then how are they helping? That superiority I would argue comes from not being blissful, needing to be better then.

Let me give an anecdote when I lived in Olympia, Washington, U.S.A, the homeless shelters were not adequate to give every person a place to stay, and people were actually dying. While the people who ran the shelters had very high definitions of their own "selflessness", and the good they were donig for the world, they felt like it was just an unfortunate fact that not everybody could be housed. This is not even dealing with conditions, or that rape was prevelent. When some people set about housing the remaining people in their garages, homes, to help them. They had to face the illegality of these necessary actions, there houses weren't legal homeless shelters. I would argue, that the more a person comes from bliss and peace, and doesn't see anything but bliss and peace, and abides in absolute concept-lessness, they are able to respond intuitively, correctly to situations around them, furthermore, they can actually like Ramana see into the state of those people and respond correctly to their needs. As I become more blissful and peaceful, far from becoming more selfish, I become less. When I'm afraid, stressed out, struggling to do all my duties in life, I'm serving only this self-concept of "me", and no one else. Not only that I'm in an interminable struggle with my desires, and fears which really do not serve anyone else. As I get more and more free of these self-definitions, desires and fears I give more, without the concept of giving, and I also feel more blissful. So I respectfully disagree.

Anonymous said...

Scott Fraundorf:

Ravi, friend, another point you make that I respecfully disagree with is your comment about western devotees of sri bhagavan.

I would think in your Inquiry concepts such as western, and eastern would be dissolving. That is far too much of a generalization you make. Some devotees of sri bhagavan, everywhere are probably not really devotees of sri bhagavan beyond in name.

But the point of Inquiry, unless I am in grave error, feel free to correct me is to not live in concept of self, and concept of other (especially countries), whether tar baby (a racist comment) or western devotees who don't understand.

Who are these western others, you speak of? Any kind of generalization can be straying too far into bigotry, and irritation with people you don't understand. Feel free to make such a statement, but please back it up, what westerners are you speaking of and why?

Don't just make a blanket generalization like that, it's far too easy, and isn't it only a concept of other people that you are imagining, that makes you feel safe to believe what you believe about them, to reduce their complexity to ideas. Granted, I could be a western devotee, that fits exactly that description.

I try to be sincere, but who knows how much I am? And what point does that serve? I should ask, were you making a dig at me, for takling about my blissful experiences lately, does that annoy you? Do you see it as western secular irreligiosity? It's O.K, if you do, but I'm really interested in Bhagavan's comments on religion, and taht the point of religion is to surrender the mind, once that is done it's purpose is fulfilled. For myself, my irritated concepts of Neo-Advaita, superficiality, are just the mind, they aren't truth. I shouldn't care about what

I think of others one way or another, if I'm truly sincere. Or have opinions about others, did Bhagavan? Christianity is often a strict, dogmatic religion, but one of it's precepts is "Judge and ye shall be judged". I have judged plenty, I judged neo-advaita, western supericiality I have judged commenters on this blog, I've observed them name calling and making passive aggressive digs at eachother.. I was wrong to judge, and Nome's responses (a Western teacher of Advaita) have been extremely helpful, and apparently so far not one bit on a surface level lacking in seriousness. It doesn't appear that he is a neo-advaita teacher. I'm interested in classical advaita or any religion only insofar as it helps me to be free. Free from, desire, fear, self-definitions. Those aren't new agey, seperficial goals. The problem with New Agey stuff is it's inclusion of fulfilling desires, because that is safe in consumer culture which is based on buying a sensory experience. Even if you go back a couple hundred years, the west was just as traditional, stoic, austere as the east in it's traditions. Consumerism is what we're truly referring to, not Western culture, but this commodification of what sells, no matter what the spiritual cost, mining the East, or anywhere for that matter of their traditions and packaging an easy to swallow version. Food too, like falaffel. While this commodification is going on, and it might be embarressing to be associated with it, being western, being interested in an Eastern Saint. I also have struggled with autism, severe anxiety and depression issues, which could have been why Broken Yogi used such a horrible derogatory term, thinking it would serve the purpose of invalidation, so he wouldn't have to deal with such difficult subjects as Sincerity and Earnestness.

Because I suffered from anxiety autism, depression, I was desperate, I relied on eastern techniques, even a commodified version of yoga, tai chi, buddhist meditation. I then was exposed to Inquiry and commensed investigation into the source of all the problems, because ultimately that was the way to get rid of htem, and so far it seems successful. I experience blissful states, even states where the notion of being an individual with name and form subsided and since I'm less concerned with getting something, or becoming something, I'm nicer, I'm more sincere, I give easier. I'm being moulded into a better person all around. I also feel happy and blissful. So I know that even if I'm mining an eastern culture for techniques that work, I'm doing the right thing that I should be doing. Sorry, Broken Yogi, for sticking only to my own experiences and not getting into name calling. Truly, apologies. --a tar baby

Anonymous said...

Cassie H.

Scott, I don't think you read deeply enough of what others are saying.

Broken Yogi's point was that just because you struggle really hard with your Inquiry you may not gain Realization, because it isn't a state to be achieved. (Infact with your excitement about states, and bliss and peace achieved, I very much doubt you could realize in a million, or even a billion lifetimes, sorry for the directness, but maybe you'll find it helpful) Broken Yogi, whose points you seem to have trouble following was advising you quite correctly, not to hold your breath, expecting some grand state.

You don't do a good job disguising your motives, which is a search for more and more blissful states, and pleasures. And your approach to these things is basically superficial, much like your western compatriots (i.e. Andrew Cohen). All you can talk about is your lack of physical romantic connection, lust fulfilled, blaming it on an Autism, you claim you have.

When broken yogi called you a tar baby what he meant was that you are just too intense, your posts are long, and unstable, and sometimes incredibly delusional. You mistake blissful states for progress toward realization. This isn't only arrogant, it's dumb. You are the one saying you are sincere and earnest, from your take on the homeless problem, in response to Ravi I very much doubt that.

Ravi quite correctly pointed out, that western devotees are too obsessed with advaita, without the other more traditional forms of religion, that it is so easy for you secular westerners to cast aside, because of your lack of seriousness. good point Ravi. And when Ravi quoted Vivkenanda, you seem to have skipped over the meaning of it. "Those who serve others..." You, Scott, seem much more intent on serving yourself, worrying about your own states, and trying to acquire bliss. If you'd listen to some of these people, clearly more advanced, maybe you'd have more successes, real successes, not the ones you claim, but ACTUAL service done for others, not just words like "selflessness"

I thought pretty much, everybody made a good case, but you. You can't hide that your wanting to brag about your "progress" so you can attain some state others only can hope to attain, basically this is your ego, latching onto something, maybe if you don't mind me speculating, because of your hard child, and inability to get approval from your peers. Hope this was helpful, I did my best to offer a little assistance, since you seem to be kind of going over the same ground again and again, as Broken Yogi put it chasing your own tail. Good luck. Best of wishes

Ravi said...

Broken Yogi,
Here is an excerpt from the critical take on Sri Ramana:
"Ram: Silence is not opposed to Self ignorance or any kind of ignorance. They can coexist very nicely. But knowledge is opposed to ignorance and it will destroy it. You start out thinking you’re limited but the fact is that you are not limited. It may be that in silence you will realize it but it wasn’t the silence that made you realize it, it was the fact that you were doing some kind of enquiry…looking into the nature of the silence and it lead you to the Self which you understood to be you. This seeing is called jnanam, knowledge. As I just said, you find people who spend years sitting in silence alone and/or in the presence of a mahatma and nothing happens. Sure, you can argue that they are not ready to get it but if they were able to formulate their doubt and express it to a jnani they might have it removed in a second."

The Fallacy in this type of what I call 'The Learned Ignorance' is in the statement that 'Knowledge is opposed to Ignorance'.What is 'ignorance'? It simply means that REALITY OR BRAHMAN is being IGNORED.This cannot be corrected by Knowledge but only by Ceasing to Ignore.Why does one Ignore REALITY?Because one is ATTACHED to the Objects that is perceived through the Sense-Mind Combination.(Be Prepared for a parry from these Learned Ignoramuses that this attachment is on account of Lack of SELF KNOWLEDGE!The Chicken and Egg story!)The only logical way is to Drop this attachment through whatever means.The Method suggested by Chinmayananda/Dayananda will work if this sort of NONATTACHMENT is Practiced by the Earnest Aspirant_It will equally work without such LEARNING if there is NONATTACHMENT and this is More TRADITIONAL than this ELITIST TRADITIONALITY.
I also suspect that these LEARNED swamijis do not know what SILENCE is-They think that it is some absence of Speech and not the FULLNESS OF SPEECH as taught/LIVED by Sri Bhagavan-A Silence that is not interrupted by words used by a Sage.Tradition has it that the Adi Guru Dakshinamoorthy taught only in Supreme Silence-Adi Sankara's Excellent Hymn on Dakshinamoorthy brings this out beautifully.

Anyway,in these days of Stiff competition among the Various Gurus -These Swamijis have hit upon an old Formula as a USP and seem to be doing well in this vast Super Market of Spiritual Traders.

Thanks for bringing in this Topic-It will serve to better understand the Teachings of Sri Bhagavan,who I consider as A Great Seer in the True Vedic Tradition.
The Idea of Explaining in Great Detail about the Texts in Classrooms is not at all TRADITIONAL.Springing Ashrams abroad and Globe trotting to Deliver Lectures in Not at all Traditional.A Teacher Seeking a Disciple is not all Traditional.So what is the TRADITION that these Ignoramuses are Speaking of?

Best Regards.

Ravi said...

I truly think that you have understood the intinsic worth of Self Enquiry-There is always the 'mixture' and all of us have it.As long as we are aware and are addressing this,it is quite okay.
Yes,it is very necessary to believe in oneself and stand one's Ground.
coming to 'Western Devotees' ,please do not mistake this as a partisan view-All I have meant is a Lack of Exposure to these things.I will recommend your reading Arthur Osbourne's wonderful Article -Maharshi's Place in History from his Book-Be Still and it is the wind that Sings:
Here is an Excerpt-a long one!
A NEW DEVELOPMENT has come about in Hinduism since
the time of Ramakrishna. Because, ancient as it is, Hinduism is still
capable of development. That means that it is still living, for
development is the quality of life, rigidity of death. It is surprising
how little this development has been noticed; it just seems to be
taken for granted. It is of fundamental importance.
In order to appreciate it one must see clearly what Hinduism is.
It is a fusion between an organization of life and worship on what
might be called the horizontal plane and paths to beatitude on the
vertical. Of course, not every Hindu takes a path to beatitude—he
can still be a Hindu without that. But he cannot be without the
horizontal affiliation, that is to say without either being integrated
into the Hindu social system or having renounced it, like a
sannyasin. And this horizontal modality of Hinduism is so complex
that it would be hard for an outsider to fit into it even if he tried. As
for his becoming a sannyasin, that would mean adopting the Hindu
pattern of life in order to renounce it, which seems rather absurd.
For this reason, Hinduism is not and cannot be a proselytising
religion. It is also not an intolerant religion. For those who do
follow a path to Beatitude there are a number to choose from,
and, for instance, one whose path is through the worship of
Rama will not condemn or try to convert another whose path
is through the worship of Krishna. Why should not this apply
also to one whose path is through the worship of Christ?
What has been happening since the time of Ramakrishna is
that the path of Beatitude is being detached from the social
organization of life, so that people from outside the Hindu
community can receive spiritual guidance from its gurus without
needing to integrate themselves into that community. This is a
change of tremendous importance, since it enables the spiritual
influence to radiate out beyond the limits of the organization.
For anyone who is interested in drawing historical parallels, it is
not unlike the change which St. Paul brought about when,
revolting against the orthodoxy of St. Peter and St. James, he
decided that those who came to Christ from outside Judaeism
need not accept the Jewish law and ritual. However, the parallel
cannot be pushed too far. The circumstances were different, since
what then began as a new path to Beatitude for those who were
seeking soon developed into a religion for a whole community
with its own law and ritual and its own social organization.
What is similar is that, now as then, a materialistic world has
broken away from religion and many are looking around
desperately for guidance. People are giving up religion and,
even for those who seek, the paths to Beatitude are becoming
lost or inaccessible for the guidance is no longer reliable. Divine
Providence always meets the needs of its children, but not always
in the same way. In the time of St. Paul it did so through the
establishment of a new religion; today it does so by making
spiritual guidance available outside the formal structure of the
religions. This is happening in various ways; in the resurgence
of non-denominational Christian mysticism through inspired
teachers such as Joel Goldsmith, in the spread of Buddhism in
the West, not as a creed for the many but as a path for the few,
and in this new development in Hinduism, making the path to
Beatitude available outside the structure of Hindu orthodoxy.
The proof that this new development in Hinduism is a valid
and not a heretical one is that it has been brought about from
above, by the masters themselves, beginning with Ramakrishna
and culminating in Ramana Maharshi.

Wishing You The Very Best .
May Sri Bhagavan's Blessings be with us.

Best Regards.

Ravi said...

"Ravi, correct me if I'm wrong, but I don't think you can live for others if you are not coming from peace and bliss. Because peace and bliss are what is left when there is no ego. "
Scott,just remember that every THESIS has an ANTITHESIS that is equally valid.
Serving others is a matter of 'Heart culture'.When the mind substitutes for the 'Heart' it does the mischief that you very well know and have talked about.Does that mean that there is nothing like 'Service'.What about the 'Veeran' simpleton that David has mentioned.Did it ever occur to us that he is a Great Example!
Likewise there is a Great possibility to expand ourselves in serving 'others'.This is something that every religion and Tradition has emphasised.
The very 'Love' that we wax about has little meaning without some form of this SERVICE.This is the Testing ground to verify our claims.
Now this does not mean that we should 'start a dispensary' or 'open a school' or 'Raise some Funds'-These may be MENTAL SUBSTITUTES if the Heart is not in it.(It can be a HEART thing as well-No formula here!)
On the other hand ,even a WISHING OTHERS WELL,offering a Good Advice,a small gesture of Friendship and solidarity,in whatever form the prompting of the Heart takes-All these help to expand ourselves.This is certainly not done with any sense of condescension,but as a worship to the DIVINE in all.
Please read your lines above-In what way this is different than someone not doing any Sadhana?The Non aspirant will also insist that his Needs should be met first before he can take care of Others.

When LOVE is there ,pain is also as acceptable as Pleasure.

Best Regards.

Broken Yogi said...

Ravi and bookworm,

Regarding Swartz, I have a similar impression of him and his mentors, though it's very good to hear from a genuine Indian (Ravi) where these guys stand in the scheme of modern Indian culture. I bothered with it because I had never seen any critical views towards Ramana before, so it was interesting to me to encounter such a perspective, and see what validity it has. My general impression is that there's some validity to his criticism of western neo-advaita, but not much in his criticism of Ramana, though it does clarify some of the lines that get drawn in the dharma wars of Hinduism, which are of course much more benign than what we see in the west, but they exist nevertheless.

What interests me about this Chinmayananda approach is that it seems to represent some of the basic errors in traditional advaita (and maybe that's being too generous towards him to call it that) that Ramana himself was critical of. By that I mean an approach that is essentially mind based. I haven't had too many encounters with Indians, but I do recall one fellow who was simply obsessed with the mental dharma of advaita, and who would argue with incredible passion and sincerity that we must simply mentally accept that all is Brahman, and run down the list of basic precepts, and mentally "brainwash" ourselves in this manner until it becomes completely second-nature to us. This seems to run right into Papaji's criticism of people who develop strong conceptual notions about enlightenment, the danger being that their minds will create the experience that corresponds to their concepts, and they will actually think they are experiencing genuine enlightenment, and then they will go out and declare themselves ready to teach others in this same fashion. I guess this is what happens with Chinmayananda's devotees, including Swartz. In a basic sense, this seems no different than the worst of western neo-advaitins, who also brainwash themselves into thinking they are enlightened, and producing the corresponding experience in their minds. So it's a bit like the pot calling the kettle black. On the other hand, I do appreciate the notion he puts forward that it's very important to have a broad understanding of the whole of Vedanta, and not just concentrate on advaita, and that it's necessary to mature and develop as a human being, otherwise one simply isn't well prepared to make use of advaita. But then again, he tends to develop some very elitist notions along with this, rather than show signs of the kind of humility that demonstrates real maturity.

I'm curious how much of this kind of thinking displayed by Swartz is common among the traditionalists in Indian advaita in this day and age. In the west we hear very little about this kind of point of view - perhaps because it's not very common, or perhaps because westerners just don't pay much attention to the Hindu traditionalists, prefering the more eclectic types. Or has Hinduism simply been taken over for the most part by the neo-Vedantin eclectics?

Also, I'm curious what your take is on the pre-Ramakrishna traditions. My own view of Hinduism is so much influenced by the Ramankrishna-Vivekananda-Ramana Maharshi neo-Vedantin approach that I'm not sure I really understand exactly what the previous tradition actually looked like and how it functioned.

Broken Yogi said...


It's not my intention to hurt your feelings, but I knew being honest with you would probably require that, so I went ahead anyway. I hope you can get enough distance from yourself to simply examine what you've been doing here with some basic human maturity and not lash out at everyone.

I understand that you have aspberger's syndrome, and I know it is difficult for you to relate to others and grasp how they see you, but that isn't really an excuse, it's just a limitation you have to deal with like anything else in this imperfect world. So let me give it to you straight: I don't think you realize just how out-of-touch you are with others here. I guess the experience of autism is very much that of "living in a world of your own", and so it's perhaps all too natural to think that this is normal, but it's important to remind you that it isn't. Most of us live in a world with others, and if everyone simply acted as if they are the only person in the world, it would be a very hellish place. Most people learn that endlessly talking about oneself is not only rude, it's incredibly boring. I know your own problems are very important to you, but you have to learn, as most other people learn at a much younger age, that very few people are really interested in your personal problems, and even those who do have their limits. Likewise, real spiritual maturity, at least in my view, isn't really a matter of experiencing blisses and non-dual states of mind and so forth, it's a lack of interest in one's own mind and personal experiences.

The people I know who I consider spiritually mature not only don't talk much about themselves, they don't think much about themselves either. They are relatively free of self-obsession, self-problems, and the whole self-engrossing search to figure themselves out. It's become boring to them, not worth their time anymore, and they understand that it's essentially insoluable anyway.

This is why I called you a "tar baby". I'm not sure why you think it's a racist comment, since you aren't even black, but it comes from the famous children's story about brer rabbit, who makes a baby out of tar, dresses it up, and leaves it on a bench for one of his enemies to stumble upon. The fellow tries to help this little baby left alone, but the more he does, the more he gets stuck to the baby, until he ends up covered in tar himself, and completely unable to get free. People who act as "tar babies" do the same thing. They act as if they are innocent and pure, and simply want to be helped, but the more you try to help them, the more they demand, and you end up getting stuck in their problem and their world-view, which is all about themselves, and trying to solve an insoluable problem.

Talking with you is like that, and I thought you should know that. Now you are getting all angry and upset that I've mentioned this, but that is exactly how tar babies react when their game is pointed out to them. The question you should be asking yourself is not how did Broken Yogi get to be such an asshole, but how can you learn how to stop being such a tar baby? Honestly, I bet your life would be a whole lot better, and you might even have better luck with the ladies, if you could stop repeating this pattern. I'm guessing that even when you don't talk about advaita, you still talk in the same pattern with others, and this might be why you are not very happy on a human and social level, and thus seek some kind of special non-dual bliss as a consolation.

Advaita is not a substitute for failed relationships, I hope you know. It completely distorts the meaning and purpose of it to use it in that manner. If anything, it should make you less concerned about yourself, not more so. Self-enquiry should be freeing you of the need to think about yourself, rather than encouraging you to think only about yourself. It should make you more enjoyable to be with, not less so, because you are no longer thinking about yourself so much, as people are often inclined to do.

Further, you need to realize that the experience of autism, of knowing only oneself and thus feeling cut off from the experience of others, has nothing to do with advaita or non-dualism or spirituality, anymore than being blind or deaf does. One can make false equivalencies between such experiences and advaita, but that's all it is - a false equivalency. Assuming that you have some kind of special leg up on others because you feel so cut of from the world around you is not an advantage in gaining realization, it's no different than suffering from any other physical limitation. Certainly anyone can realize, regardless of their liabilities and limitations, but only if they no longer identify with them, or allow them to define their experience. I get the impression that you are not only deeply identified with your experience, you are under the illusion that this is actually a good thing, and is the royal road to realization, when in reality it's just another trap that the ego has made for you - and the ego is the real "tar baby" that lies in wait for us all.

David Godman said...

Broken Yogi, Ravi, and others

Apropos James Schwartz's interview on Bhagavan's teachings:'s%20Teachings.htm

Yes, I know James Schwartz (also known as Ram), although I have never had a conversation with him. I read his critique of Bhagavan in 2003, soon after this interview took place, and I have to say that I was truly appalled by it. I read it again last night, and I found it just as offensive five years on.

James studied with Swami Chinmayananda and feels that the knowledge he acquired there qualifies him to comment critically on the writings of Ramana Maharshi. He himself is happy to admit that he has no knowledge of the background of Bhagavan’s writings, but this has not prevented him from pointing out the ‘errors’ he feels they contain.

Most of the interview is a discussion of various statements presented in ‘Who am I?’. The background to the writing of ‘Who am I? is well known. Sivaprakasam Pillai approached Bhagavan and asked several questions on the nature of reality and the means by which it could be discovered. Since Bhagavan was not speaking at the time, he wrote down his answers. Sivaprakasam Pillai kept a record of these replies and published them in 1923. Later on, Bhagavan took these replies and rewrote them in the form of an essay. Bhagavan personally checked the published editions of this work and recommended it to many people as a good synopsis of his teachings. The philosophical statements it contains are an accurate and reliable presentation of Bhagavan’s key teachings.

James Schwartz takes the position that ‘we have no way of knowing’ how this text came into being, or what kind of person Bhagavan was dealing with. This is clearly untrue. Whenever he comes to a statement in the work that seems to contradict his Chinmayananda book learning, he claims that Bhagavan is being misrepresented, mistranscribed, mistranslated, and so on. He never seems to consider the possibility that the text of ‘Who am I?’ might be an accurate representation of what Bhagavan said and wrote. James accepts that Bhagavan is enlightened, but since Bhagavan says things that he disagrees with, he has to come to the conclusion that Bhagavan is being misrepresented.

Sometimes James abandons his ‘Bhagavan was misquoted’ position and flatly contradicts Bhagavan’s teachings:

John (the interviewer, reading a Bhagavan quote): ‘It is the state of jivanmukta that is referred to as the attributeless Brahman and as Turiya, when even the subtle mind gets resolved.'

Ram: Well, this is not a correct understanding of jivanmukta.

* * *

James obviously feels that he is qualified to refute Bhagavan on philosophical matters.

James’ view of how Bhagavan got enlightened also displays a woeful ignorance of Bhagavan’s own life story. Bhagavan himself has said that the death experience in Madurai was a definitive experience, and that there was no further development of his state or his experience in subsequent years. James, however, clearly thinks that this is not true:

John: But Ramana didn’t do sadhana to get enlightenment.

Ram: That’s true… but he certainly did sadhana after it. Knowing who he was, he need not have sat in meditation in caves for many years, he could have gone home and eaten his mom’s iddlys and played cricket. It was all the same to him. But he didn’t. He decided to purify his mind….

I don’t think he sat there all day, trying to break his attachments, although he may have done some of that in the years immediately following his enlightenment…when he was a cave dweller…

Perhaps the reason he sat in the caves alone was to erase whatever sense of duality there was left in his understanding…

This [death] experience was not the end. In fact it was just the beginning of Ramana’s spiritual journey. He has just become Self realized but he has not become enlightened…

but he has yet to see himself solely as the non-dual self. He does. He gets there. We don’t know when… probably sometime during his meditation phase when he was living in the caves…but he gains the last little bit of knowledge.

* * *

And where, according to James, did Bhagavan get his teachings from? From the enlightened mahatmas who just happened to be living in Tiruvannamalai at the same time he was:

James: … there were all these mahatmas running about, role models if you will. So, he knew how they lived and he probably got lots of teaching from the sadhus who he came in contact with. You need to know that the Indian spiritual scene is a vast network and word of someone’s enlightenment gets around very fast. Many great men must have come to see him and speak with him, share with him certain things that would be helpful to him. After all, he was sitting at the hub of one of India’s most holy sites, Arunachala, which has been attracting mahatmas for thousands of years.

* * *

Which segues neatly into another of James’ ideas: that Bhagavan is not special because there are thousands of other people, just as enlightened:

Ram: First, this [death experience of Bhagavan’s] is a typical Self experience. Let’s not pretend that it is very rare. It happens somewhere to someone every day.

* * *

James contends that thousands of people became enlightened through the teachings of his Guru, Swami Chinmayananda, and he seems to feel that Self-realisation is not a particularly rare phenomenon at all. He seems to put all these enlightened people on a equal footing with Bhagavan, but he doesn’t necessarily accept their words as being true unless they agree with the great canonical texts of Hinduism. It is this strange premise – that the scriptures trump direct experience – that gives him his own apparent authority. If someone has studied the scriptures, as James claims to have done, then that person is permitted to point out the ‘errors’ in jnanis’ descriptions of their own direct experience of the Self. Personally, I find this attitude arrogant and absurd, but I know of several people in the Chinmayananda and Dayananda tradition who accept that it is a valid position to take.

James also extends his critical appraisal to the teaching statements of Lakshmana Swamy. Take, for example, the rather uncontentious statement in ‘No Mind – I am the Self’: ‘The power of the Self will make the residual ‘I’ go back to its source from where it will die, never to rise again. This is the complete and full realisation.’

His comment on this was, ‘Let’s give Lakshmana [Swamy] the benefit of the doubt and assume that he was misquoted or mistranslated.’

Lakshmana Swamy spoke these words in English and checked the manuscript of ‘No Mind – I am the Self’ three of four times before it was sent to the press.

James’ problem a lot of the time is that he cannot accept Bhagavan’s (and Lakshmana Swamy’s) statements, repeated on many occasions, that the mind must die for realisation to occur. He claims in one reply that even though Bhagavan was enlightened, he still ‘had an ego, a body, a mind’. He seems to take the position that if you are awake and functioning normally, you are using your mind to deal with the world, even if you are enlightened. James says in one place: ‘The fact is, if you have a dead mind, you are either in nirvikalpa samadhi, asleep, in a coma, or actually dead’. He clearly does not accept Bhagavan’s (and Lakshmana Swamy’s) position that after realisation it is the Self, and not the mind, which makes the body perform actions and speak. When statements to the contrary crop up, he reverts to his default position of ‘You don’t know what the translator or the typist or printer did with the manuscript’.

James considers himself to be an expert on Vedanta and he feels that most of the other foreigners who come to Tiruvannamalai are ignorant not just of Vedanta, but also about Bhagavan and his teachings. At one point he says:

‘Now that Ramana is getting fame it is rather sad to see all these Western people coming to Tiruvannamalai with absolutely no notion of the context of his enlightenment and his life.’

On the basis of what James has said in this interview, I would have to say that this comment applies especially to him.

John, the man asking the questions in this interview is the same John who asked the questions in the ‘John David’ interview that appears on my site. If you go through the questions he asked me there, it becomes clear that his knowledge of Bhagavan’s life and teachings is as deficient as James’. He was therefore unable to challenge any of James’ untrue assertions during the interview. This ignorance of Bhagavan’s life and teachings would not matter if he were merely a journalist, trying to get interviews for publication. However, John David, after renaming himself ‘Premananda’, has now set himself up as one of the many western teachers who visit Tiruvannamalai every winter in order to instruct people here how to get enlightened. He charges a lot of money, and amazingly, people are willing to pay it. His followers have bought him a house in Europe and they pay him to fly around to dispense his pearls of wisdom. For several years he tried to persuade me to have my interview with him included in a book that would also include this interview with James. I have persistently refused on the grounds that I don’t want to contribute to a book that contains ignorant and insulting comments about Bhagavan and his disciples.

The situation of unqualified teachers coming to Tiruvannamalai each winter is a depressing one. Unfortunately, they exist and thrive through the lack of discrimination of those who choose to visit them regularly.

I apologise for not putting up a new post in the last ten days or so. I had a house guest and lots of other distractions. I will try to put something up in the next day or so.

Ravi said...

Ever wondered how a Truly Great Master(Traditional or otherwise)can explain things in a simple fashion!Here is a wonderful Example from the Life of The Sage Of Kanchi,one of The Great Traditional Acharyas of our times:
"A learned Pundit engaged a gathered audience on the significance of CHINMUDRA in Dakshinamurthy stotra(Hymn) for over 3 hours. After the Discourse (ordeal!)he went and met the Sage Of Kanchi,Sri Chandrasekharendra Saraswati Swamiji.The Sage set the ball rolling-‘Looks like you spoke for over 3 hours on the Chinmudra of Dakshinamurthy’.The scholar warmed up on hearing this and replied ‘Yes,Periyava(Great one).It was truly so. I did not notice the passing of time’.Sri Periyava egged him further-‘AVVALAVU VISHAYAM IRRUKKUM POLA IRRUKKU!’(Looks Like there is so much subject matter therein!).Now the scholar waxed eloquent giving a mini repeat of all that he had brought forth in his talk, the main theme, the subthemes,the references to these themes in the Vedas,etc.After listening to him patiently Sri Periyava asked him –‘Was the audience with you?’. The scholar sensed ‘DANGER’, yet tried to maintain his composure-‘I hope so. I was totally absorbed in the Subject, I did not notice it’. “Shall I tell you what I know about it?”-Sri Periyava!
“Yes, sir.I am eager to listen to Sri Periyava”-The scholar did an emergency landing after Takeoff! Sri Periyava showed the THUMBS UP signal and asked ‘What is this signal?’
“Thumbs Up” said the scholar. “This is shown to say I WON”.Sri Periyava then showed his pointing finger and asked ‘What is this’. “Pointing finger”-replied the pundit.Sri Periyava continued “Yes. It is used to say YOU ARE WRONG.” Assuming the Chinmudra by bringing the fingers together, Sri Periyava explained –“YOU AND I ARE ONE”.(That is to Say that the Jiva is one with Brahmam) The pundit wondered what he was doing for those 3 Hours!

Broken Yogi said...


Thanks for the background on Swartz. I had read his website a couple of years ago, didn't have a very favorable impression, then forgot about him until yesterday. I don't find his criticisms of Ramana very convincing, but I do wonder whether they represent a valid example of how some traditional advaitics see Ramana and the whole Hindu neo-advaitic movement. It does seem to me that Ramana differs from the traditional advaitic teachings and practices and general tradition in many ways. My impression is that his observation that Ramana's emphasis on personal experience of the Self is indeed somewhat of a departure from the traditional teachings of the Sankaracharya maths has some validity. But I don't know if he and Chinmayananda actually do represent that traditional viewpoint, or if they are just off in their own little world. Any comments?

Ravi said...

Here we will find how Schwartz,Dayananda,etc have all borrowed from the same shallow pool of Ignorance!
Please visit this site:

Ravi said...

Broken Yogi/Friends,
I do not think that we have to take this 'Neo' Tag seriously.This is what the Sage of Kanchi told Sri Ganapathy(A very fine devotee-a Perfect Blend of Orthodoxy and Eclecticism):
He went on, brimming with his admiration for the Maharishi. "We have read in the books about the Atma Nishthas (those absorbed in the Self), Braha-Jnanis (knowers of Brahman) and Jivan-Muktas (those liberated even while living in the body), to whom the existence and extinction of the body made no difference and who, fully one (with the Self) did not have an inkling of desire to see or hear anything. Ramana Rishi was among the few extra-ordinary (apurva) persons of the recent times who have demonstrated all that as true. He is the one who has brought, for the world to see, the hoary Jnani-tradition down to the present day."

"Authentic saint?" I said, partly in the affirmative, partly as a question.

"And a jnani at that. Authentic jnani" he amended."

That settles it!(If at all any such thing is required for someone like Sri Bhagavan!).

Please read the cmplete article from this link:

The article was originally in Tamil and the Translation is just Ok!
Remember what Sri Bhagavan himself told the Court regarding his Athivarnashrama Status-That there were the Likes of Suka,Vamadeva and Jadabharata-These are among the Best in the Advaitic Tradition!

Bookworm said...

Broken yogi

To a serious and true devotee or disciple of Ramana your comment below is...and I say this kindly ...a sign of your ignorance concerning Ramana

'Almost by definition, any westerner following an eastern-based teaching such as advaita is "doing his own thing". So it's quite natural that such people would be more attracted to the neo-advaita tradition of Ramana than the traditional advaitic path of the sankaracharya maths. With such followers of Ramana, this "teach it as it is" and "be as you are" dharma often does become a very loose and undisciplined path without much practical guidance or even responsibility, as we see.

Such people, as best they can, lead very disciplined and honest lives.
Such people do not really need or care much for the traditional advaitic path...or for the tradition of neo-advaita that you label Ramana under.
Such a person is ONLY attracted to Ramana because they sense or intuitively Know and Trust that Ramana is pure Truth.

I take it that you are not such a person.

Anonymous said...

Scott Fraundorf:

Broken Yogi, this is my last writing to you because you do have abusive issues, and I truly wouldn't be surprised if you beat your wife, you had joked about that in your Haramurthy arguments. I'm not saying that to score points, or win an argument. I really wouldn't be surprised, because you use every tool in your toolbox to invalidate, something I have noticed with all abusers i have met. Because of this, I'm going to steer clear. I was wrong to initiate any kind of conversation with you, or criticism of you.

I didn't write anything deserving of a put down. Even the thing I said about please devestate my arguments was a joke, but obviously missed. The only criticism that could I think be made was that my writing was too long, I was taking up too much of the thread.

In certain ways I'm out of touch with what is going on around me, but not like people I've noticed with abusive tendencies where they purposely try to be hurtful, and violating. And are often infact couching it in condescending rhetoric. I read back all my previous posts, and although I did talk alot about my experiences efforts, I was unable to, not because of autism, comprehend the reason for your hostility, venom. REason: because there was no good reason for it. It was a mistake to criticize you. As to tar baby (which I keep repeatedly noting is a racist comment, mainly because it is a comment that even in it's non-racist connotations is so mean-spirited, I think it gets into using abusive language, which I imagine you do with many of your associates, friends and family and has no place in this forum)

Which brings me to how can being honest about my experiences be a sticky situation unless you are someone with severe, severe problems. (which you evidently are) I made a mistake to invite any kind of conversation with you, because as I said WHO YOU THINK YOU ARE is extremely abusive, and invalidating. The reason you DIDN'T hurt my feelings and I'm not just saying that, is beacuse I could see, "O.K, this person is just trying to take the wind out of my sails, bring me down a notch" (maybe is even jealous)

It stunned me for a sec. but I quickly recovered, because your intuition about others, based on your limited, not only arrogant, but violent ego, is flat. In all your posts where you've tried to sum me up with your own ideas (something everyone should be careful about doing to another), you've been so dead wrong. Truly, dead wrong. And to even get into my social problems, which I see now it is always a mistake to talk in the presence of abusers and invalidators (oops) who will use it against you.

Cathartic, Self-help drama. Please!

This is not a forum for that kind of groin kicking, and eye scratching. And so because of that, and because I do have somewhat of a self-esteem, and see through you, we're done. So don't write anything addressed to me. These are just points to mull over in your Inquiry. I should note that "anger(kroda) is rooted in Desire(kama) is rooted in Ignorance(avidya)" Meditate on that.

Oh I should add, perhaps I shouldn't have, but Cassie H. was me, it was a silly way to satirize the situation. I kind of wonder if it was responsible for Broken Yogi feeling so free to lay it in, with comments that really do not belong on an Arunachala blog.

Anonymous said...

Scott Fraundorf:

Ravi, I am always impressed with your equanimity, and kindness. I will soon, read that Arthur Osborne excerpt. What you said about Western devotees in light of your recent post makes sense? I think it is easy for us, not having exposure, to see only what is useful, and not get the whole picture. Thank you for that insight.

On the Service issue, what you said makes sense in light of your talking about service being from the heart, as opposed to mental efforts. In the first post, the one thing I took issue with, was saying service consciously performed, and while there may very well be a place for that in seeing past the ego, for me it hasn't worked, not that I shouldn't take a deeper consideration of what you are saying.

This is also has to do with Broken Yogi's comment on my Asperger's Syndrome, I did for a time get into serious activism, and doing certain kinds of service associated with it. And I got exhausted, because atleast the kinds of service in that crowd had a kind of futility about them, partly because it felt like it was just to do something to pat ourselves on the back about, that we were doing something for the community. There were alot of efforts in the activist community that felt wasted, because of the heart not being in it, and so careful consideration into what would actually help wasn't being made or from the standpoint of extreme ego, and really out of touch ideas about the city and the people they were helping, and what actually would help. So after a while I just got tired of that. When homeless people ask me for change, I try to rely on my intuition, and if someone sincerely approaches me, I don't mind giving a dollar. But if they approach in an opportunistic way, it's hard for me to feel that they really need it. So I rely on my intuition.

I've noticed that it seems, I could be wrong, that at Hari Krishna temples there is a superiority in their feedings of the poor, and in some ways the Hindu notion of service, reminds me, but it could be something very different, of that. There were rumors that salt peter was put in the food, to suppress people's sexuality. While we may have all sorts of opinions we bring to the table about sexuality? The idea of that if it was true, I found appalling. Even if it wasnt' true, I was also told, but could be wrong, that they believed that in serving people, the people would come back in their next life as Hari Krishna devotees.

That belief system also felt superioristic, because it wasn't actually to help people, but so that people would come back with their set of ideas.

But not only that, at this point,I really like Maharshi's notion of not being the doer, and also not seeing subject and object, so everyone is the Self. Wrongly, or rightly, I've kind of taken that as the starting ground, for what kind of actions shoule happen. Rather then mentally doing anything, for myself, for others, I've been consciously diving into myself to the deepest cores, and trying to see past the notion of being an individual, and let the actions come from that.

Also another reason, atleast at this point I haven't taken to service, although I see the value in that, is that with some of the issues I do infact suffer, I'm trying to get on my own two feet, before even thinking of helping others. In some ways I'm not yet in a place to be giving help, because I do infact need to be in a strong enough place to.

Anonymous said...

Scott Fraundorf:

I also want to add, I'm not sure where I've asked for help on any of these threads, or was looking for someone to bring me back up. I'm just honest about what I'm going through, and the challenges athat are involved.

It is nice to have a forum to talk about that kind of stuff. I want to clarify the difference between putting vulnerabilities out there, and entangling people in their drama, or wanting someone to step in and help, which I don't believe
I have done, because many, many years prior to exposure to Ramana Mahrshi, I learned that no one could infact help me, counselors friends, and that any kind of help often comes with a price, someone controlling me (or you).

B.Y. especially but others have had this tendency to want to come from a position of all knowing on the subjects they talk about, and so someone presents a question, tehy immediately step in with an answer as if they are being chivalrous. For instance to Anon, it's fine to talk about our opinions on the philosophies at hand, but presented as opinions. Only someone who has no ego, would be able to offer advise, or help, or present Knowledge on these subjects.

We can just discuss, and clarify. That's why I try not to talk from a position of all Knowing. And advice, from one individual to another, is always as far as I can gather a foolish act, because it's one person giving their set of ideas on the other person's problem to them. (B.Y because he sees through his own lense, can't see into the kinds of problems I really do suffer from, or anybody else for that matter, "Go back to your own Stall B.Y")

It's just a set of ideas, it's just ego, it's not aware of the problem or it's solution. The person giving the advice is as deluded and misled as the advicee. Since I already saw this, I try to avoid asking for advice. Granted my problems as an individual are in some ways severe, and yes, in some ways I do think that gives me a leg up, on people who function in the world better. Granted it isn't spritual enlightenment in any kind of way. But when your ego doesn't serve you in the world, and you can see clearly that it doesn't, you are alot less, alot less invested in your attachments, is there anything controversial about this?

This is true for any person I've met whose suffered severe problems in any form, disabilities, abuse. The person can't avoid but having a certain humility in being humbled by their experiences in the world. broken Yogi is a good example of this. Rather then listening in a sensitive a way to others. the moment his ego feels threatened, he tries to completely invalidate that person, and discredit them, because of being invested in it.

As far as I can gather the Illustrious Jnanis did not do that, but used words and ideas to hook the mind of the person in their presence so that they would become aware of the Grace that was ever present that would cleanse them of all ideas. That's my take on it. So what Ramana said wasn't advice in the sense of giving someone instructions for what they should do, or a set of ideas they should take home, but he he was giving the mind a doggy treat, so that grace could act without their mind's being aware of it, and cleansing them of mind. That is what I understand so far.

I have had moments lately where through earnest Inquiry, I had fallen into an awareness where the sense of being an individual was hardly present, which was cool, so far it hasn't lasted, but it lasted a while a couple nights ago on the phone with my dad. By the time, I post comments here, becasue I'm excited about this material, and have things to say, often my ego is up and running to some degree again, especially early in the day my vasanas are more blatantly obvious.

But I will admit that, if I stayed in a nondual state, without a trace of I or concept, I probably would comment here very infrequently, and would not talk about my experiences, would not be self-obsessed with my struggles. Again, that was why I was being forthright and honest about the fact that in my own case, which does seem odd, and not quite fitting entirely in the Asperger's Spectrum in this, and definitely not within the normal world, it seems to me, wrongly or rightly, that I have no choice but to completely ditch the ego. It doesn't seem like everyone, even people who attempt Inquiry feel such an Ultimatum.

Because of that I do my very best, alot of the day to stay completely quiet, and sometimes I succeed, and when I succeed I feel blissful, and tehre isn't much in the way of thought. If those experiences are rare for most people (which I'm NOT making the case that they are), then it was because I wasn't given any choice, which as i said is odd. Some of the things Broken Yogi said have a ring of truth, but they aren't things that I'm not aware of, or trying to see past.

And I didn't sense that Broken Yogi, was trying to help me out. Experienced am I in the ways of those who try to invalidate. Anybody who doesn't quite fit in, has had these experiences. It's just a form of intra-cultural xenophobia. (i.e. tar baby) Despising the not normal.

People who are irritated by someone else not playing the social game that their ego is invested in quite right. When Broken Yogi gets past his ego, then he won't be caring if people play by the social rules. Because the social game is just one giant Collective Ego Game.

And it's pretty diseased, violent, and oppressive, if not downright genocidal. While I may not play by the social rules, I don't think I strayed into being 1)hurtful 2)invalidating. I just stuck to being honest (the best policy), so it shouldn't so much matter what I post, should it?

Anonymous said...

Scott Fraundorf:

I take it back, it's good for the dissolution of my ego to be attacked. Broken Yogi is free if he wants to do just such a thing, because it's good for me. I'm not however recognizing the truth in his comments. I'll stop, I know I have a tendency to write too long and go over board. Sorry about that.

Anonymous said...

Scott Fraundorf:

Sorry I'm posting so much. David Godman is free to do whatever he wants with them, so I'm going to write when and if I feel inspired to. If I'm writing too much, maybe it'd be better if they got staggered, because I'm not writing so much to cut off other people's voices, or drown out their valid words. I'm glad others are saying alot again.

Boowkworm, I agree I think the Truth in Ramana increases my sense of wanting to be moral in the world, not lead an undisciplined, chaotic life. (As I mentioned it makes me desire to Confess my Sins, not revel in them) At the same time, my actions in the world are not perfect, but that in itself is a huge motivation to continue. The more and more I get cleansed of seeing the world through my own ego, the more I desire to continue.

The more I get evidence that my ego is an unmoral hurtful force in the universe, increases the desire to be rid of it, and abide in a place where it cannot arise. But there is a benefit also, the ego is also an obstacle to connection with others, or in some people's cases they fall into abuser and victim roles, which do limit genuine connection. I realize that from what I've heard, the Gnani, someone who has realized not only is not aware of subject/object but doesn't see a world or an individual at all. No perception. But still I think that name and form are obstacles to connection with other individuals. (That's again partly in response to Broken Yogi's I believe incorrect claim that nondual consciousness does not help with relationships to others or overcoming the deficits with autism. Of course it does, because without the label of love, the space without concepts, and words, silent speech is only love, isn't it? The ego, the sense of being an individual can never love)

Along with that, my notions of the illustrious Gnani which for me was an egotistical notion get dissipated because I see that abiding as much as possible without ego is the sane and moral choice I can make. It's great, but only from the standpoint of the amoral, insane ego.

I also want to respectfully disagree with Bookworm, I believe that although Broken Yogi like all of us has a huge Oppressive Ego, creating a stifling atmosphere, like all of us he probably perceives Truth in Ramana's words, presence, that isn't just an amoral truth, while his ego may over-intellectualize and believe that those concepts have anything to do with Ramana, he is more then capable like all of us of seeing past this)

Anonymous said...

Scott Fraundorf:

Ravi, friend, I'm thinking less, rightly or wrongly, that needs should be met first before taking care of others. But that it is impossible to take care of others, and possibly ill advised without someone being whole themselves. Sometimes, I'm not sure whether you confuse needs for pleasures, with the bliss of "being whole". I do like the notion that pains and pleasures are accepted equally. That is something I notice the less i'm coming from the mind. There aren't even pains and pleasures, because it takes the mind noticing them for them to exist, or for pains emotional and physical to be something avoided, and pleasures to be sought after. I did notice in your first post it seemed you referred to bliss and peace, as if it was the same as a search for selfish pleasures. The reason I disagree, is that the more and more I find the bliss and peace which does appear from experience to be inexhaustible, the less it seems I fool myself into believing I need pleasures. And again, I want to stress, I become less selfish because of this, since all my selfishness, comes from avoiding pain, and searching for pleasures, both of those urges are apparently absent in a state of bliss and peace.

Broken Yogi said...


Draw whatever conclusions you like about me, but the "loose and undisciplined life" I referred to is not a fantasy about westerners in the neo-advaitic world. I am not trying to slander the many followers of Ramana and advaita trying to incorporate his teachings into their lives, but the facts of the "scene" here have been incontrovertable, if you pay attention to the many reports about such matters.

I am sure that everyone who is drawn to Ramana and advaita is attracted to the truth therein, but how seriously they actually approach and live it is subject to a rather wide range of vasanas. To suggest that people are ONLY attracted to Ramana and advaita for the purest of reasons is contradicted by the egoic nature of even the best intentioned of us, not to mention the worst. To be blind to these egoic faults is to be destined to fall prey to them ourselves, and "prey" is definitely the right word.

I think it's obvious that the westerner's approach is very different in life discipline from not only the traditional advaitin, but the direct disciples of Ramana, even his householder disciples. The kind of traditional life these people lived is hardly comparable to the life of a westerner making a living as a "life coach". Part of that is simply the traditional devotional world of India, and part is simply the general poverty of these people, and the lack of entertaining distractions that the modern west is inundated with.

There's a reason Papaji used to comment that you pretty much had to be born in India to become enlightened, that those who were born in the west did so in the pursuit of bhoga. I don't think he was making a hard and fast rule, but the generalization applies. Most people in the west who get involved in advaita are still basically interested in bhoga, in bliss and pleasure, and making a good life for themselves. I think we can afford to be that honest with ourselves. The pure motive of Self-Realization remains quite rare. Of course it was also rare in India, but at least there fewer distractions were culturally available and encouraged, other than the simple householder life of struggle and difficulty.

My point is that when Ramana taught a simpler path than the traditional advaitic one of rigorous, systematic discipline and study, and advocating instead a much simpler approach of "be as you are", he was not giving license to people to simply be the ego and have a good time with it in the modern western sense of things, which unfortunately is often how it gets played out by us all. I know westerners can be serious, honest, and disciplined, but all too often even that is just an egoic self-image, as we see even on this forum.

Now, as for the label "neo-advaitin" for Ramana, sure, he is beyond labels, but calling Ramana an advaitin is also a label, and I'm sure you wouldn't object to me characterizing him as such. It's just a basic fact of his life. It's also the basic fact of his life that he didn't teach traditional advaita. He taught a rather new and different form of advaita. In fact, if you really want to be rigorous about it, you could even say he didn't teach advaita at all, he just taught what he had realized to be true, and if it coincided with advaita to some serious degree, fine. But if you are going to give him the advaita label, you have to distinguish between his kind of advaita and the traditional forms of advaita, because they simply aren't the same.

And rather than get personally offended by these distinctions I'm making, you could just refute them on the facts, if that's possible. That would make for a more interesting exchange.

Broken Yogi said...


Thanks for that story and link. I'm aware that Ramana is acknowledged by virtually all advaitins as a genuine jnani-realizer, but I'm still not clear on how they view his general teachings and approach, which clearly differ from the traditional advaitic approach. Unless they just gloss over those differences, it would seem to me that there must be at least some tension between Ramana and traditional advaita.

Anonymous said...

Scott fraundorf:

this can be posted or not, but I was thinking deeply about Broken Yogis comments. and I wanted if nothing else for myself to explain where I think he is wrong.

He was correct that, part of my problem is that i identify with my problems. at the same time asperger's the concept has been useful in that it helps me to explain why it has taken me so long to get past some of these social difficulties.

My interest in Ramana Maharshi, and Inquiry though is not a substitute for failed relationships. but yes, he is right, that my failed relationships have partly to do wtih identification with my problem.

I should add it's always problematic for people who haven't had a difficulty (i.e. Broken yogi) to be giving advise to people who have struggled with it for a long time. It's like telling someone who has suffered some travesty like rape, that they should just get over it. why? Because they don't know the ins and outs, nor the humility it engenders, the depth of experience it forces someone to have. Inquiry for me is necessary, and seeing things mroe from the nondual perspective is necessary. I know, from experience that wiht my issues, the normal egoic communication people are involved with, I will never get the hang of, or be able to use, I know this. So, my communication with others has to be from the Self, being the Self, seeing only the Self, i.e. as Broken yogi, said not identifying with my problem, any problem, or my self-definitions. Agreed. The Tar Baby thing was wholly incorrect. Why? Because i never felt a need for help, or that i was truly asking for help, this isn't just a defensive reaction, I was just being honest about where I'm coming from and what Ramana Maharshi means to me, I'm not hung up with the same embarressment of being forthright about the deepest aspects of my issues. Yes, some people are in the habit of making the incorrect leap that this equates to a need, or a request for help, but maybe they should be a little more thankful for anything they learn from the depth of someone else's experience which should be illuminating. Me, I'd love it if someone with an interesting, and maybe hard lifestory told their reasons for being drawn to Ramana.

On help, I see the futility in that. even a gnani doesn't give help from one person to another, but frees a person from their notions of the person they think they are. The reason, why I found Broken yogi's responses to be abusive and invalidating. Is because he was instead of debating me as an equal on the merits of my assertions which were largely intellectual, he went for instead an uninvited condescension, and bringing up my personal flaws, and creating this illusory notion of Scott, the one who needs help and is a sticky situation, interestingly a self-definition I don't share, where'd he get that?

One more thing that I think is a fascinating issue regarding Asperger's and Desire. the reasons I have been unable so far to have romantic relationships is a multifacted, complex problem, and some of it is because of neurological inabilities to function insofar as non-verbal communication (i.e. eye contact, flirting). Because my desires for intimacy romance, sex, making out, that stuff, were not met, I of course was interested in a space where desires being fulfilled or not, does not matter, i.e. the Self, nondual consciousness.

So it wasn't avoidance, but more realization that happiness does not lie in desires being fulfilled. An important realization. Also some of the insecurities that come from especially in middle school on into high school being mercilessly ridiculed and rejected for being different, functioning different, being misunderstood, are also part of the problem of developing relationships. it's hard to know where the line is. But it certainly has made it crystal clear, the importance of not abiding in the notions of who I am, who others are, even Broken Yogi, or what the world is.

Theres more to it then that. There you go! But from my own standpoint, I think I'm doing my best, I'm doing all the right things. perhaps Broken Yogi's attacks, condescension, were just because he's in a defensive space right now, understood, but beyond that, his view of me as helpless, emotionally manipulative, is not something I accept or see.

Ravi said...

Broken Yogi,
"What interests me about this Chinmayananda approach is that it seems to represent some of the basic errors in traditional advaita "
Chinmayananda is by not at all a true Representative of TRADITION.There are no ERRORS in Traditional Advaita.The Process is valid,only the problem is on account of an unprepared Mind grappling with it!

Just what is this Tradition?It is what Arthur Osbourne Talked about as the Horizontal characteristic in Hinduism-He is not accurate in saying this,in as much as its contribution to the Vertical is Phenomenal.It is in this Horizontal (Tradition)that the Basic ATTITUDES/PREREQUISITES are developed and which enables a sincere aspirant to Pursue the VERTICAL(Serious Sadhana) in an effective Manner.
You may already be aware that as far as the Horizontal is concerned,there is truly not much of a Difference whether one is a Dvaitist,Vishishtadvaitist or an Advaitist.The Basic Attitudes to be imbibed are a Respectful attitude towards Parents,Towards the Guru,The Reverence to Vedas as the Supreme Body Of Knowledge,Learning to Chant The Vedas(Here again is the Important concept of The MANTRA-The Vedas are not to be Translated and Grasped by the Intellect;They are supposed to be DIVINE SOUNDS and need to be chanted in a Particular way,and this helps to purify the Mind at a Global Level-Herein comes the Varnashrama Dharma,with The Brahmins as the Specialists appointed to do this!),The DEVOTION to Temples and Places of Pilgrimage,The Adherence to the Basic Principles(Dharma)Like Truthfulness,Ahimsa,Forbearance,Purity(That governs one's Food Habits and Personal Hygiene;If one Eats the Food prepared by a Scoundrel,one is unconsciously affected!)!Thus the Entire Life is Disciplined and is prepared for SELF KNOWLEDGE(Atma Vidya).Please note that the Dvaitist also aspires for ATMA VIDYA!My Personal Feeling in this matter is that the DVAITIST,VISHISTADVAITIST,and the ADVAITIST all have experienced the SAME TRUTH-The Difference is only in the INTERPRETATION of this Experience.All these INTERPRETATIONS have their validity.
Also,I would like to point out the unique case of Bhagavan Nama (Bhagavan nama-Divine Name)Bodhendra Saraswati,one of the Sankaracharyas of The Kanchi Mutt-who Relinquished advocating the Pursuit of Sastraic Learning in Favour of CHANTING THE DIVINE NAME!
Sanathana Dharma includes all these flavours -It allows for the 'Particular' and the 'General' and although there is the 'Discipline' ,there is genuine Freedom -without abnegating Responsibility.
If we take Sri Ramanashram today,We have The Goshala,The Temple,The Community Kitchen,The Feeding of The Poor,The Vedic Chanting and Other Parayana,The Sadhakas Living Lives of Purity(Eating only VEGETARIAN FOOD,Wearing only simple Dress)-These are part and Parcel of the Tradition of Sanathana Dharma only.If you Talk about FREEDOM TO EXPLORE,FREEDOM OF DISSENT,that was always part and parcel of Sanathana Dharma.

Sri Bhagavan never IMPOSED anything;this does not mean that he did not see value in the Traditional Practices.

I realise that this is a scrappy picture,I hope it does give some idea.
Now coming to 'Western Devotees',There have been very Genuine ones-The Likes of Paul Brunton,Grant Duff,Frydman,Eleanour Pauline Noye,Sadhu Arunachala,Cohen and ( Now David Godman !)possibly many more.
I will just point out a bit of Advice- that the Sage Of Kanchi always Redirected them to understand the BEST In their Tradition while pursuing the PHILOSOPHICAL VEDANTIC Path.This helps to prepare them and put them on a Sound Grounding in The Fundamentals-thus serving as a safeguard against getting sidetracked into 'Ego Excursions'.
Devotion to Jesus or Allah,Study of the Bible and Koran and Truly living by it-These serve to better prepare oneself for SELF ENQUIRY.It will not do to say-'Christianity is Bigoted';What matters is whether 'Am I a True Christian or Am I a True Muslim?'.

Please note that it is not as if Everone in the Hindu Fold is Serious;far from it.The Majority will always follow the Pursuit of Pleasure,Money,Name and Fame,Power and Authority.People are the Same!They want the Easy way out to follow the natural insticts!
As far as the sadhakas are concerned,we do not have to concern ourselves about what others do or not do.
"Attend to what you have come for"!

Anonymous said...

scott fraundorf:

i find some of the back and forth between broken yogi and ravi interesting.... that broken yogi is a cantankerous one, starting the arguments. i take it back, there all good, it's good to go through the gauntlet, and be challenged, to be verbally attacked, and have to find resources you possess, what in you reacts to it. It's good, as in the case of ravi, i think to have traditional values get challenged, just so he can reaffirm to himself their validity in the face of adversity, why he thinks what he does. just like i was able to reaffirm my own experience in the face of the same.

"My point is that when Ramana taught a simpler path than the traditional advaitic one of rigorous, systematic discipline and study, and advocating instead a much simpler approach of "be as you are", he was not giving license to people to simply be the ego and have a good time with it in the modern western sense of things, which unfortunately is often how it gets played out by us all. I know westerners can be serious, honest, and disciplined, but all too often even that is just an egoic self-image, as we see even on this forum."

this is a true statement (to me), doesn't it, might i speculate apply to all who have defined themselves as serious, honest, and disciplined? These notions even seem like they could be left behind. For one, it is impossible for even someone to know how serious, honest and disciplined they are to themsevles. One problem I have with B.Y.'s analysis here is any generalization about a huge place with lots of people. Yes, it does resonate with me this generalization abotu Westerners, even myself, and it does strike me that this has more to do with consumerism, and the wealth in the west.

People who are living the good life, and addicted to their pleasures are perhaps alot less likely to dis-attach, maybe. however even in the west there is immense poverty, violence, oppression. And in the circumstances of people in those situations I would assume that that here distinction B.Y. draws between West and East does not apply. Not to mention indigenous people in all the Western countries, their marginilization and spirtuality. That is why any of these Manichean distinctions seem problematic. Same with the India is more "spiritual" notion. Doesn't India have a huge child slavery industry? Granted the U.S. has ammassed a huge supply of nuclear weapons. My conclusion: India is a place, the U.S. is a place. That's about all you can say about them. For myself as a westerner, defining myself as serious, and honest. It's not so important to have a self-definition. In some ways though as of late, i don't really have the distractions of spirituality being part of a pleasure-seeking enterprise, and my experiences have cleansed me of some of those motivations. definitely not all. it has seemed to me, that sometimes the new agey stuff is maybe based on that, but even that I'm not really sure about.

For sure Christianity in the West, is maybe even more prohibitory about desires then eastern religion. any serious christian views desire and it's pursuit as sinful, is maybe in agreement with themore traditional aspects of Hinduism.

I personally agree with some aspects of this, but want to be able to think critically. I have never really accepted the notion that romantic love is somehow inferior to celibacy. or that romantic Passion between individuals is devoid of genuine love. It doesn't fit with my observations.

Ramana Maharshi I was reading in Power of Presence, while he did not it seems equate celibacy with bramacharya, he said something to that effect, nonetheless, discouraged devotees from the pursuing of worldy pleasures, even if they did become householders. Personally, at this point i find taht notion liberating, because the pursuing of pleasure, is selfishness, it's not compatable with love which is selfless, whether that love is in relationship or not. mainly, i guess see the value in not desiring, as in wishing for things to be different then they are. Some of the other morality, can seem a little superfluous. There are positive aspects in the west, and the mroe traditional minded people may disagree with me. i think equality between women and men is positive, the realative acceptance of homosexuality is positive. I guess anytime we try to define strict rules for morality that are not flexible, that doesn't in a lot of ways seem in keeping with ramana's teachings as far as I can tell. the point is to Be Still, and maybe not do evil, to include annamalai Swami's comment. All these rules about how specifically people should live, beyond not doing eachother harm, I'm not sure I can really go there.

On the western/eastern division I cringed a little when Papaji made that comment, just because I think it's impossible to make such generalizations. I'm not critizing this notion personally. In my own case, all those things apply. I was striving after pleasures, bliss (although i have to add the bliss I was experiencing seemed to be more a side effect of not being attached to external needs, then something I consciously strove after) But pleasures for sure.

On ramana, I'd be interested to know how much ramana fits within the umbrella of tradional advaita.

As far as I could tell, he didn't even like the notion of advaita being applied to him, was ridiculing of his mother's Brahman customs.

For myself, i was just interested in practices that helped, thats all. I'm skeptical sometimes of ornate ritual, but that may partly from a secular western upbringing. Wait, a second I grew up Catholic. And the notion of the secular west isn't really true, the west is not secular. every street corner has a church of some Christian denomination in the U.S.. We can pretend that isn't spirituality, but it is a certain kind of spirituality.

Anonymous said...

Scott fraundorf:

Although I think I'm going to mind what I've come for. all this intellectual debates, talking about a world, with individuals. ramana as far as I can tell, did not really validate very much duality. And when I respond especially to Broken Yogi, I have to access the intellect far too much, and pointlessly. the point of all of Ramana's teachings was Be Still, taht was it. if I'm completely still without a trace of thought, a trace of I, then afterwards I can see if there is anything left to debate these issues. i reckon not. So for me anyway, this is getting out of the realm of discussion/clarification, and into intellectual mastery, superiority, and winning contests with eachother. i can only know myself, the Self, and get rid of the ego. Even these conversations, the having to defend myself from some attack. And in my last comment, why try to figure out complex issues with morality when Silence answers all questions. the I arises, then the world arises, then all these people, and mountains, and birds arise, and then complex political systems, and arguments and debates about different religious factions advaita, dvaita, Bhagavad gita, western, eastern. Maharshi seemed to be of the opinion all of this, any of these scriptures was of any use to the degree it advocated surrendering to Silence, which was as he put it eloquence eternal. I'm being drawn into debates that have nothing to do with that, because i was attacked and my ego reacted. So I'm going to pull away from this. If I surrender I may even pull away from talking about my experiences period. i want to be in the place where there is no words. especially B.Y. it seems to think sometimes that the concepts he wields, he believes so masterfully are really real, reflect reality. but they are just carefully crafted strings of logic. I used to do that alot more, and it didn't help me. so I think I'm going to atleast try, and try again, to go where there are no words, where bhagavan is, was, is....And Stay there! all these words, definitions, saying I'm this or that... there is no end to it. defending, I'm earnest, sincere, there is no point....Political discussions, even less so.... Shankacharya maths, versus Andrew cohen the "Life coach", none of my business. so I'm going to just be still, I'm not going to define that stillness, I'm not going to use words...and I'll see what debates there are left to take part in, that I'd care to take part in when there is no trace of I. that seems to be truly the only thing that matters. since I think we all agree on this, lets just see if any of these discussions can survive complete surrender, because I think they may be alot more economic.

Anonymous said...

Scott Fraundorf;

One last thing about Broken yogi, sorry to lay in another criticism, and yes, he might get defensive and angry with me. But he has all these concepts of the world, he had concepts of me. He thinks these concepts are true, and doesn't even accept evidence that they are not true. I'm not saying this angrily. And I could very well be wrong. But if I'm right, perhaps it would be helpful. There is no West, and East, there is not Tradional, and non-tradional, there is no Neo and non. Even these names of sages, are pure imagination, pointless little dreams we dream up, to keep our fancy. We might as well masturbate (nothing wrong with that) and atleast derive some pleasure and atleast then we're imagining something that is potentially affectionate and not brutal, then stimulate our word addicted minds, our minds that like to pretend they actually know something when tehy know only words. There are no tar babies, or any of this. We can't claim to know anything that is in the realm of concepts and ideas. There is only the Self, the only use of any discussion is to clarify our approach to realizing the Self is all there is. If it's to further our intellectual knowledge, well that's pointless. So I'm going to follow my own advise, good advise for me to heed, and stay quiet. the only point to criticize someone else is not to imagine that anything i could think about them is true. I don't know Broken yogi, because broken Yogi is a concept, a figment of my imagination. Something I've invented. But that figment I've invented, is telling me that all these concepts of world, society, people, factions, are not helpful in the least for staying quiet and conceptless, which is the only thing I see as valuable now. i must break this habit to reducing things to word, to exiting the wordless state, the only truth, is that Silent Eloquence that is eternal. that is all there is, the Self. No booklearning, the Self, no concepts, teh Self, no others, the SElf.

Broken Yogi said...


Thanks for your explanation, it's very valuable. I'm still not sure why it is that Chinmayananda does not represent the advaitic tradition, or at least represent an example of it. I'm also not clear as to why there are significant differences between Ramana's path and the traditional path, if there are no errors in the traditional path that Ramana wished his devotees to avoid. I'm just not sure how that adds up. I'm not wishing to cast aspersions, I just want to understand what's going on. I can grasp that there's a basic respect on all sides, but that doesn't mean there can't be errors or misunderstandings in the traditional path that need the corrective influence of great realizers like Ramana.

Broken Yogi said...


I've said my piece. If you can't make use of anything I've said, I won't bother again. Please accept that I hold no hard feelings in relation to anything you've said. I wish you well.

Ravi said...

Friend,I do understand what you are trying to Say.Yes,Please go on with your Sadhana as you find beneficial.I appreciate your sticking to your convictions and am totally happy with that.

Wishing you the very Best!

Ravi said...

Broken Yogi,
Why Chinmayananda is not a Traditional Teacher of Vedanta?
1.It is not at all in the Tradition of Vedanta to 'Organise' or support 'Organisation'-No Establishment of 'Centres'.Chinmaya's Guru was the Great Swami Tapovanam Maharaj-A True Advaitin.He never believed in these 'Mutts' or 'Ashrams'.I believe once Swami Sivananda asked him-Where is your Asramam?The Sage Replied-"AA Sramam namakku Illa"(Malayalam ,To say -That 'Trouble'(SRAMAM)I Do Not Have!).
2.It is not Traditional to Globetrot and GIVE DISCOURSES.
3.It is Not Traditional to run Vedanta Courses and Charge for it.
4.A Traditional Vedantin is supposed to Observe 'Chaturmasya'-The period when they do not travel by foot during the Rainy Season-in order to avoid stepping on Insects!I am not sure whether Chinmayananda ever met this criteria,as Air Travel will bypass this.
5.A Traditional Vedantin will not be living 'comfortably'(No cars,Planes,).You may wonder whether this is possible in the current century.Yes,very much so-Sri Bhagavan and the Sage of Kanchi are such Shining Examples.
6.A Traditional Vedantin will not go anywhere near a 'Snuff Box'.
7.A Traditional Vedantin will ascertain the Qualifications of the Disciple and not accept all and Sundry.The Students have to go in Search for him and not the other way around.
'Simple' and 'Austere' are the Key words here.
The only thing that he may have in his favour is his Studying of the Upanishads,The Gita and Adi Sankara's works in Sanskrit;and doing some Sadhana,the Results of which are known to him.I only know that it did not cure his short temper!

If You apply these Yardsticks,Sri Bhagavan will fit into this 'criteria' more than Chinmaya!
I think you are Equating 'Book Knowledge' with 'Tradition'.Please note that Traditional Vedantins very well Recognise the Flip side and discourage it as much as Sri Bhagavan.
Sri Adi Sankara in his Opening verse in Bhaja Govindam says the same thing-"Nahi Nahi Rakshati DUKRING Karane-Dukring means 'Grammar',Sanskrit Grammar.He warns in this opening verse-"Learning will not Help you ,when Death is knocking at your doors;So learn to worship 'Govindam'-'GOVINDAM' is like 'SIVAM' or 'BRAHMAM'-Supreme Reality or Truth."

Please note that I am not commenting on the merits/demerits of the above.

It may help to Examine what it is that Sri Bhagavan Taught which is at variance with Tradition.I think you referred to his emphasis on 'Personal Experience' above any other Authority.So does the Veda which Says that for the 'Realised' Mata is Ammata,Pitha is Apitha and Veda is aVEDA'-All are Negated.

Yes,Sri Bhagavan truly laid bare the 'Self Enquiry' as no one else before,in a down to Earth 'common sense' way,stripping it of all 'verbiage' and Elitist Definitions.Truly ,Sri Bhagavan is Unique.What about his wonderful Life of Equality -Humans,animals,Birds,insentient things were treated as Equals.This is the True Vedic Tradition and no one better exemplified this than him.

We have not heard from our Friend Arvind for a long time.I am sure he will be able to give a much clearer picture Regarding this.

Best Regards.

Ravi said...

Broken Yogi,
"I'm also not clear as to why there are significant differences between Ramana's path and the traditional path, if there are no errors in the traditional path that Ramana wished his devotees to avoid. I'm just not sure how that adds up. I'm not wishing to cast aspersions, I just want to understand what's going on."

I truly appreciate your keenness to go into this subject.At the outset I have to admit my incompetency and Limitations in addressing your Queries adequately.However,I will put across what I have understood.

1.Firstly,I will say that we have to be clear that the Traditional Approach keeps the 'Collective' Perspective.It does not seek to address the needs of an 'individual' alone.As part of this 'Collective'perspective,it seeks to provide the Guidelines that Govern the 'Whole of Life' in all spheres-personal,social,political,commerce,spiritual.
2.In its attempt to meet the above criteria,it also needs to ensure that the 'Individuality' is not trampled upon.
3.It recognises that every individual have not only their Rights but also Obligations and Duties-to the parents,to the Children,to the Neighbours,to the Environment,to the Deceased.

Sri Bhagavan's Teaching mostly addresses ITEM No.2-It is Meant for the Individual.

To properly understand this,let me take a simple Example-Let us say,we know Driving and can handle our car well.Sure,it is certainly possible to drive on the Lefthand side or the Righthand Side of a Road.Now Assume that Everyone gets it into his Head that one may drive the way one feels;only that he takes care not to bump into others!Yes,one will still reach the Destination,if not the immediate one,the eventual one!

This is the Principle behind 'Conventions' and these were refined over a vast period and are embodied in the Sastras.This is also the Reason behind the Statement "Do not Bring the Nondual approach" into everyday Living.The 'Total Freedom' That a Realised Soul enjoys is truly not affected in Falling in line with the 'Convention'.This also sets a Blueprint for the 'Others'.

This is the Rationale behind the 'Traditional Approach'.Now as far as Self Enquiy is concerned,the Traditionalist has Full access to almost Everything,including the Eclectic.

This also Explains why Sri Bhagavan never permitted people to change their mode or Style of Living when they visited the Ashram.He never Peritted a Brahmin to sit along a NonBrahmin,unless they used to follow such a Thing elsewhere as well.

So Essentially There are Two aspects that are Important-Preservation and Vitality.The Traditional approach is not only concerned about VITALITY but also equally concerned that this VITALITY is preserved for Posterity.

From Time To Time,The Great Ones have appeared in this perenial Stream and contributed to Both these Aspects.

I am sure that others Like Arvind can bring more Light to this Topic.

One thing ,I do Know is that the Genuine Traditionalist is not at all Bigoted or Dogmatic.I have Held that view before but as I listened to some of the Talks of The
Sage Of Kanchi,I revised my understanding.
Personally,I am not at all Orthodox but I am No at all sure that I am Totally Free from the Beneficial Influence of Tradition.

Best Regards.

Anonymous said...

Scott Fraundorf:

Cool. B.Y. No hard feelings. Just moments of egos arising in conflict with eachother, and now we're over it. There is only one Self. And Ravi, thanx. I definitely see the value in your point of view, it makes alot of sense. Since trying to make sense of the confusion, of "what should I do?" by thinking about it has been largely futile for me, I'm as best I can trying to follow Maharshi's advise, to completely surrender, and be still and let that decide actions.

Anonymous said...

Scott Fraundorf:

This may sound silly, but all my egotistical tendencies to debate and argue, and put forward my own aggrandizement I feel get drawn out here, like in those old westerns sucking rattlesnake poison out of a wound. there was a sense of being compelled to write, and put forward the most insane aspects of myself, and then to see them for what they are. Does anybody else have that feeling? But for most of the day, it's best to just keep quiet. I also wanted to add, that it is interesting that I have at times had more success with being completely silent without a thought, and so it's cool in the sense that it is possible. Because the goal of setting out to attempt this investigation is to reach a place of mental stillness, and sometimes that is starting to happen. I have NOT had too much of an experience of falling into something where for an hour or a half hour I'm not cognizant of my surroundings or body as some of the people in Power of Presence, but for isntance, walking here to the computer center, procrastinating before an assignment, I was able to keep relatively silent, seemingly without a thought for minutes. Also I recommend the Song of Ribhu excerpt on the Society For Abidance in Truth website. Nome recommended I read that, Who am I? and 40 verses slowly and meditatively. I did feel that a few nights ago when I read Song of Ribhu over the mom to my phone, maybe I'm deluding myself, but it seemed I fell completely into a nondual, timeless awareness, and for about 20 minutes on the phone with my dad remained there, yet was still able to respond to him, but there was still some effort that periodically I had to exert to pull back the mind's tendency to go out. My mind, my ego is going to arise from time to time, until it's completely vanquished, and really our dualistic concepts of being unrealized and realized prevent realization, are obstacles. I've noticed that Inquiry works, and progress happens, because if there are deeper levels of the ego that are at work, but not noticeable because they are subconscious, tehy arise to the surface in crisis, and in those moments rather then repressing the feeling,let the feeling sink in deeply into the stomach (in my case), and turn the mind away from the object of distress, no matter what it is, no matter how I may blame myself for a unique situation I imagine or got myself into (i.e. accidentally ingesting lye) Those crisises are deeper aspects of the mind arising forcefully, once they've arisen and been turned away from, it is easier to stay quiet, because those huge attachments have been vanquished, and so it goes on slaying all the enemies as they sally forth. There really are only a finite number of enemies. But the important thing is sticking with it, and never relenting until the process is finished, and there is no individual, world, or time perceived anymore (ha, anymore) Even if Realization were near impossible, I'm treating it as if it is easy, and achievable, a simple matter of Investigation, change of point of view, because that is the only way I will succeed.

Maneesha said...

Dear David,

I am not sure how to react to your post. Of course, I am not talking about Ramana Maharshi’s enlightenment part, but about various Swamijis from Chinmaya Mission. Interestingly, on contrary to the Swamijis you have met, all the Swamijis that I have met from the institution believe that Maharshi was enlightened and have great respect for Him. I am not sure if there has been any quote from Swamy Chinmayanada himself questioning Maharshi’s attainment. But, I have a book in kannada, named “kaTAksha kiraNa” (Ray of Grace), where 7 people have given their first time meeting with Maharshi, incliding that of Swamy Chinmayananda, Swamy Tapovana(current head Swamy of the Mission) and Papaji too. Below I summarize the Swamy’s account in the book:

The Swamiji was a school going boy then and was an atheist. He reaches Tiruvannamalai by train and reaches the ashram. After sitting for sometime, Maharshi’s eyes meet the schoolboy’s. He feels that Maharshi is getting to know every bit of him and feels sort of shy. One part felt like taking away his eyes from Him while the other wanted to look on. He finally forcefully sees elsewhere. He looks back at Maharshi, but by now, His eyes are closed. He says, in that sight, he felt as if he was healed, emptied (and similar such things). He will no longer be an atheist. He tries dismiss all of this as his foolishness, but he knows deep down that its not. He concludes by saying “What I obtained from my Guru Swamy Tapovan after staying with for years and what I obtained from the sage of Tiruvannamalai, from His one ‘mere look’ are same”

During his another visit to the Ashram, when sitting in front of Maharshi in a hall, there were lot of devotees sitting around Him, meditating. One by they move out and the Swamiji is alone with the Maharshi. In order to draw His attention, the Swamiji clears his throat, at which Maharshi looks at him. The Swamiji says, “Swamy, all have gone, now only I am left. Tell me something”, for which Maharshi replies, “Let that also go”.

These are the only two references have read connecting the Swamy and The Maharshi, and I feel that Swamy Chinamayananda himself did acknowledge greatness of Maharshi. It was perhaps his disciples that could/can not grasp His greatness.

But I agree with you when it comes to the interpretation of “death of mind”. Somehow, every single person who is associated with the Mission seems to think that the body cannot function without the mind. They have their own way of “interpreting” Bhagavan’s sayings about “dead mind”. In fact, its not just the people from the Mission. I ahve come across many of maharshi's disciples, who themselves say that we should not it literally when Maharshi says “mruta manas” or “dead mind”. I don’t know how to counter argue but I dismiss them saying in my mind, anything said by anyone other than Maharshi Himself is not acceptable. If Maharshi were to mean something else by this, I am sure, he would have said it. How else, can even the scriptures saying that the Self is beyond mind be accepted? I don’t understand why they corner this saying alone of Maharshi and say that it should not be taken literally. When everything else of His teachings are accepted literally, why not this?

Bookworm said...


I have already posted a reply to your coment to me Broken yogi but I think David might have bottled out of printing it.
I laid into you quite a bit so you are a lucky you mind if I just call you Broken..are you a real yogi anyway? know..the full rising of kundalini to the crown of your head and the bliss ths causes.. the opening of the chakra seeds and the atomic seed of the heart chackra...the seeing of what Muktananda called the Blue Pearl and the black dot and all that other yogi stuff.

You are not like one of those people who lives in a concil house but tells gullible people that he is a Lord and cons them are you?

To be a proper yogi I think you must understand and have experenced all of the above.

You don't have to experience the descent of kundalni to the heart chackra or to be aware of and Know the Spiritual Heart on the right as these are the realm of jana yoga

But I digress, I am still perplexd about your coment and as it seems you are to be denied my reply here is a watered down version.

Why do you even think about what others do with regard to Ramana and his Teaching...what business is it of yours?
You should be more concerned about your response to Ramana.
Ramana never taught advaita, yoga,
vedanta or any other form of teaching people like you want to label and tag Ramana with.

Ramana was anincarnation of Truth.
Truth is what He lived, what He spoke and Truth is what He taught.

Papaji may well have been a very nice person but he did talk and say some very stupid things in his life.
Maybe David is offended by this comment about Papaji and that is why he hasn't posted my reply to you.
Broken yogi it seems to me that you have much negativty and doubt about Ramana. Everyone who posts here apart from me seems to have the same negativity to Ramana and his teaching.
I think I am going to stop coming here...maybe you should do the same...try a different angle or path...become a catholic or something.

Anonymous said...

scott Fraundorf:

Ravi, I really like your explanation of dealing with the collective as well as the individual level, and how Bhagavan dealt mostly with the individual level. I found that really interesting. As an individual, Self-Inquiry has made the most sound, sense. But there is a feeling of need for guidance, at the higher levels of functioning as a collective. It makes sense that people who came to Maharshi had that tradional background. And that it was helpful to get the full picture, the collective viewpoint and the individual viewpoint.

I can see that westerners who are used to thinking of themselves as individuals, who are intrested in Maharshi may be lacking in a broader picture. One thing that helps me, but may not completely fulfill this larger role, is letting the Inquiry, the Self-consciousness insofar as it is awakened determine the actions, and try to do good by others, the problem is, how realized am I? This is all well and good when I'm completely free of a trace of I. So it seems like a partial approach to that. But I'm always thinking of ways to function in the broader picture, the society picture better. While Realization of the Self may entail not perceiving others, most of the Gnanis fulfilled higher duties, even if to them the world was an insignificant dream.

Maharshi was extremely responsive to those who came for help, did chores around the Ashram, etc., played alot of different roles, was an extremely functional individual. Papaji also lived the life of a Citizen, taking care of a family. I liked that while you see the value in the traditional values, something westerners, including me, may be deficient in, you are not orthodox to the point of bigotry, because atleast in western christian orthodoxies, they can be extremely bigoted.

As I said equality between women and men, acceptance of homosexuality in the west I see as positive. But I recognize the need for tradition, and how it can help in terms of guidance in all the different aspects of collective functioning. That is a problem in the West is this belief in the Individual, which is probably only a few hundred years old. It lacks any notion of collective responsibility. And some of the stuff labeled neo-advaita in the west, may also kind of ditch important valuable traditional aspects. I was thinking about Andrew Cohen,

I had seen a few Youtube videos of him. When he talked about Enlightenment, it was noticeable to me that I don't believe he was referring to someone without a mind, an ego. But someone who was enlightened with good ideas. maybe that is relevent to the discussion about that person, which the next thread is in response to. Gangaji I thought had a perhaps in contrast a good sound understanding of what Maharshi was talking abut. She seemed to realize that you either have an ego, or you don't have an ego. I've never seen any reason from any exposure to be unimpressed with her. (not that I'm rejecting Andrew Cohen, I don't know enough to, and why should i?) Broken Yogi is probably right, Westerners are not necessarily going to full on convert to Hinduism, and same with ones interested in Self-Inquiry. At the same time I think a good healthy respect for the traditional aspects outside of Maharshi's teaching is important, because it informed the worldview, understanding of Maharshi and most of his devotees. Probably becasue he was coming from the standpoint of no mind egolessness, Maharshi's teachings do strike me as having an unconventional streak (chasing his mother around with an onion, making fun of her Brahmin customs), but as you point out they weren't a rejection of what works collectively. The West is ahead of the bell curve in some of the equality between men and women issues, which is good, but there is a lacking of collective responsibility, sorry for my verbose response.

Ravi said...

"While Realization of the Self may entail not perceiving others, most of the Gnanis fulfilled higher duties, even if to them the world was an insignificant dream. "
You have truly grasped the Essence!
Best Regards.

Ravi said...

Your response to Broken Yogi is completely misplaced.Your devotion to Ramana needs to be examined.Do you think Ramana will approve your views that you have expressed here as well as the Judgements that you have been tossing from your Ivory Tower?

I have to point this out to you that you have to examine your MASSIVE EGO and get back to BASICS.

I know that you will ask me to mind my business and this is part of it-A man is accountable not only for what he does but also of What He does not do.
I Clearly see that you need this 'Beating' and this is offered in this spirit.You may accept or Reject this.

I wish you the Very Best.

May Sri Bhagavan's Blessings be with you.

Broken Yogi said...


I simply don't understand where you are coming from, so it's hard to reply. My moniker is just an internet handle I picked up a few years ago. Like most handles, it's part joke, part self-mokery. I wouldn't take it too seriously. As for my personal spiritual experience, who really cares? Even I don't much care about my experiences, whatever value they have or don't have. I'm not sure why you do.

The main problem I have with your approach isn't the personal criticism, it's the ad hominem method of arguing. You seem to be attacking the debator, rather than actually making any real debate points. This simply doesn't make any sense, or advance the discussion. If David is filering out some of your comments, that's probably why.

As for my attitude towards Ramana, I don't see how on earth you come to the conclusion that I have negative views towards Ramana. I can't actually think of another human being I have a higher opinion of. That doesn't mean that he's perfect, or that we can't talk about the general cultural effects of his teaching and admit that not everything has been positive. I think it's unrealistic to expect everything about a realizer to be perfect, or that the cultural effects of their teaching be only positive. In other words, I'm not a Ramana fundamentalist. I am generally opposed to fundamentalism of every stripe, even when it is well-intentioned and in favor of some spiritual figure or teaching I myself am strongly attracted to. I don't think it serves Ramana at all to make his life and teachings into fundamentalist fodder.

Now, if you actually disagree with the point I was trying to make, that the emphasis on personal experience vs. scriptural fidelity unleashes the possibility for a different kind of error, as we see in the western neo-advaitists who claim the authority to act as Gurus based on their own spiritual experience, regardless of whether it corresponds to the scriptural authorities, even that of Ramana himself - then please let me know how and why. It's not that I think Ramana should have taught otherwise, but we can't close our eyes to the way in which this basic tenet of his teachings can be abused - and is abused. To hide and say "Ramana is an Incarnation" in the face of such practical matters is not at all in the spirit of Ramana's own teaching, especially in that he never proclaimed himself an incarnation, and jokingly criticized those who did.

So, if you have anything meaningful to say about these subject, I welcome your input, but if all you have are ad hominem attacks, maybe you should edit yourself rather than require David to do so for you.

Anonymous said...

Scott Fraundorf:

I learned from the last few debates that I was a part of that being attacked can be good. It can illuminate. That is not true of course with people in the broader world involved in abusive relationships where they buy in entirely to their notion of being either abuser or victim. Then it just reinforces those notions for the people. But being attacked when you're notions of who you are are wavering, can be liberating from such notions of whether for instance I am an earnest, sincere individual. Because that's just more concept baggage that I don't need.

I'm deeply inspired, sorry this may get into Cathartic Self-Help (just kidding), because I was reading Power of Presence, and one of the chapters someone talked about how Bhagavan's behavior was inexplicable to the people in the Ashram. The person or people who wrote the chapter's analysis was brilliant about how the ordinary people in the Ashram could not comprehend the behavior of someone without a trace of I, a sense of doership, an ego. (I think we all get the gist of this atleast intellectually)

I was just thinking about in my own words, and it again relates to me and Broken Yogi's seemingly hostile conversation which no longer exists, but it is just a concept to dust off and use, that we, us people who abide in our egos atleast part of the time are very invested in our concept of "me" and our concept of "you". We have all those ideas both about the inert idol, the body which we take to be ourselves, and the dreamlike world we imbue with unecessary significance, or imaginary significance. Maharshi, or any non-person who has no concept attached to "me", "you", or "world", ane in whom the noticing organism of any of the above has been dispatched, was even from the standpoint of a Real World utterly 100% in tune because unlike the illusory mind, ego we take ourselves to be falsely, and wrongly, he was everything, the world, everybody in the ashram, and the body, although without distinctions, because he no longer attached any ridiculous, imaginary concept to I.

He just was I, I. Since everybody else, me, you, the people in that Ashram, or Broken Yogi, and Scott Fraundorf, Bookworm and others are wasting our times, widdling them away developing, and playing with, and abiding in our imaginations, both of ourselves and who we are, and who everybody else. i.e. "I know my mother, Broken Yogi's abusive, Scott Fraundorf is feighning helplessness", we are very far from in tune even in the Real World because we take our notions as tangible. So using these ridiculous notions and trying to apply, or understand situations with an entity (our thinking apparatus) that is always wrong, and deluded, is delusion, isn't even existant, we try to wonder at why Maharshi behaved a certain way, and within that framework, nothing he did could possibly make any sense.

Within the framework of a bunch of ridiculous insane nonsense that we invent, and have taken to be true for quite some time, Maharshi's behavior would be so far outside such constraints as to be bewildering and nonsensical. Maharshi was Truth, pure Truth, interacting with Truth, perfect abidance in Truth, everything he did was perfection, because there was no stupid concepts interfering with this.

But when people tried to logically figure out, make stories about why he did this, or reacted that way, why he ignored one person, why he gave another attention, how to get his attention? tried to size up with our thoughts, people who came to him, we're using non-truth, delusion to understand what is entirely in our imaginations. Our thinking apparatus is incapable of knowing anything, or responding in any kind of sane way to any situation.

Maharshi's actions though in contrast were lessons for every single person present, and often only they recognized the significance.

The flaw in my speculating about when I will become Enlightened, wasn't because of the apparent egotism, or because I can't possibly know how ripe I am. All those concepts are just ridiculous baggage, but precisely because there is no seperation from the SElf, and any kind of conceptualization that creates that chasm is the obstacle.

Even the notion of time, or future, have to be abandoned, or the attempt has to be made to abandon them, the idea that I'm am an individual in a situation, that there is Enlightenment to be attained, those are all non-Self. If we are serious about not being ego, pretending we are ego, an individual. The bad concepts that interfere with awareness of the SElf that is everything and everywhere and everyone have to be given up, sooner or later. Or even the idea that in giving them up I would become something, a Gnani, they also have to be given up. Nothing left of that.

A little thing happened yesterday that was kind of cool. I was talking to my dad, off the subject about how my Grandfather, an honest police sherrif of the East St. Louis, Illinois, U.S.A was threatened by a mafia chieftan, and responded that he would kill the mafia chieftan first if he messed with him. Interesting tangent. But when I got off the phone I was so compelled to look at the picture of Maharshi, and drawn in, and just sat staring at his benevolent smile for some time, and my mind did completely quiet, and suddenly he felt very much alive (3-D even), looking at me, and anytime my mind went out to the world, or ridiculous egotistical notions of how Maharshi was enlightening me, I was drawn back to his gaze, silencing my mind. I today, still feel this bliss, and ease at staying for the most part quiet. Not entirely ego-less, but moments of ego-lessness for sure, and even when my ego is arising, it's not frantic and commenting in a negative way on anything....

Anonymous said...

Scott Fraundorf:

"Everyone who posts here apart from me seems to have the same negativity to Ramana and his teaching.
I think I am going to stop coming here...maybe you should do the same...try a different angle or path...become a catholic or something." directed to B.Y. from Bookworm

I have no idea where bookworm has gotten this ridiculous idea about this site. What negativity toward Ramana? That's very interesting to me, where do you perceive this, from whom? All I hear is Ramana's praise. All of David Godman's posts have extensive quotations in highlighted writing by Maharshi and Muruganar. I'm going to mind what I came for which is not engaging in disputations. But this does strike me as quite out of touch, interestingly out of touch, completely invented. I haven't seen even a grain of evidence to support that claim. It's fascinating to me.

Anonymous said...

Scott Fraundorf:

I think it's fine for us to get into fights, attacks and retaliations, as long as, and I can only speak for myself, I know that there is no one actually fighting, and no one I am fighting with. So in calling names, or winning debates, I'm only calling myself names and winning debates with myself. Like waking up froma nightmare struggling with my drool covered pillow. If it's entertaining then I guess it's worth it, I still like good meals, water, and being out on a sunny day, sometimes arguments, sarcasm can be like that, but significant, truth-filled, ha! But if it makes it apparent that everything I think and am arguing about is ultimately unreal, that the one who is arguing, that could win, lose, devestate, be devestated, leave exasperated, or stay because they like it, is brilliantly invented, conconcted, that the person, the me, doesn't even exist, and is masking bliss, then it has a much deeper significance. And because ot that, I disagree wtih B.Y. that my comments, arguments, discussions, fights on this website have been just widdling my time away because I have nothing better to do, no girlfriend to kiss.

Bookworm said...

Broken Yogi.
I stand by everything I said.

I was attacking the debator.
Whatever the Heart does is done out of an impulse which is only Good and which aims to remove ignorance.

The Heart has it's reason for what it does, the way it does it and the language it uses.
The trouble is there is no Heart in this place.

I canniot remember what crudity or insult to you was in that first comment but it was from the Heart.

I don't think nanny David has done yoy any great favour by protecting your dreary mind with his dreary mind

Ravi said...

Please examine the statements from your last two posts.You need to check whether you need to rely on 'Heart' as you put it.

"I have already posted a reply to your coment to me Broken yogi but I think David might have bottled out of printing it.
I laid into you quite a bit so you are a lucky man..."

"I canniot remember what crudity or insult to you was in that first comment but it was from the Heart."

Speaking one's mind on an impulse is not speaking from the 'Heart'.

The 'Heart' has to be purified and purged of all Dross and vanity.Abusive Language is a clear Sign that there is a long way to Go towards becoming a sane Human being.

I find that you are in total delusion and completely blind to your shortcomings.

Your Lamenting that there is no'Heart' in this Blog simply means that you are cocooned in your world.This is a sign of Frustration and you are pouring it on others and giving it the Garb of 'Wisdom'.
What Do you think about your hiding behind pseudo names Like 'Anonymous' and then 'Bookworm' while expecting other Anonymouses to declare their names?

It is important to be a loving Human Being and a responsible citizen.Spiritual pursuit is meaningless without these basics.

May Sri Bhagavan's Blessings be with us and Guide us.

Broken Yogi said...


I've never known the Heart to attack anyone. Egos both attack and imagine themselves attacked. The Heart is indifferent to such things. By taking what you've said to Heart, I don't feel attacked, or the need to attack in return. I would recommend the same to you.

Broken Yogi said...


Thanks for your wonderful description of the Hindu cultural system. It's very illuminating to hear about this from someone who has grown up within it. You are right that Ramana gears his teachings towards the individual, but I think it is important to remember that he could only do this because he lived within a complete culture that already understand these matters through the force of tradition. Ramana was not hostile to tradition, in fact he was very friendly towards it. And yet he definitely tried to disengage from some aspects of the traditional approach, such as putting scriptural fidelity above direct experience.

The problems occur when Ramana's teachings are removed from their cultural context, and taken as something existing in its own universe stripped of cultural wisdom, as if they don't need any cultural wisdom at all, but can be approached as a set of abstract philosophical statements and purely personal methods. The general culture of the west lacks the kind of understanding you speak of, and simply doesn't much respect or even comprehend the tradition Ramana was a part of. So when people in the west take an interest in his teachings, they tend not to include all that they are actually a part of, and instead think it is really just purely a question of one's own spiritual experiences, and that this is all that matters. Or, they simply have a relatively superficial understanding of it, and interpret their own experiences to be more meaninful than they actually are. In many respects this is unavoidable, in that westerner's can't possibly become Hindus, much less orthodox Hindus, and they have to find a way to live Ramana's teachings within their own created cultureal adapations, which in most cases means a purely individualized lifestyle that tries to be spiritual without necessarily having any real traditional culture to rely upon. This makes for the kind of anxiety and uncertainty among many westerners that we see so often, even here. Whereas I notice the Indians such as yourself seem a lot more stable and secure in their devotional relationship to not just Ramana, but the whole of the sanatana dharma and culture. I really appreciate that influence, so thanks again for your contributions here.

Ravi said...

Broken Yogi,
You have said it all.I completely concur with you.Sri Bhagavan rejecting exagerations and excesses is perfectly in line with Tradition.Unlike in other Religions,Sanathana Dharma has always included such Balances-for Instance Sri Ramanuja(Who I regard as one of the Greatest masters of all times)also brought in several corrections especially related to the Caste System-How he shouted from the Roof tops to give the Gift of the Holy Mantra that he had received from his guru to all and Sundry,and was fully prepared to face eternal Damnation;
Unity in Diversity is the Key Feature in Sanathana Dharma.

Coming to Western Devotees,there is the wonderful Example of Abhisikshananda who had integrated the Christian Tradition with the Advaitic one.Jesus the Christ was a True Master(I Regard Him as an Avatara Purusha),and I always feel electrified whenever I read his words of Power.
1.What Profiteth a Man if he gains the World but were to lose his soul!
2.Blessed are the pure in Heart for they shall see God.
The Sage of Kanchi always used to advise Christians to understand their Tradition while trying to explore the Realms of Self Enquiry.If a person can be devoted to Krishna or Rama or Devi,and pursue Self Enquiry,The same thing can be done by a Christian and a Muslim.This is what Arthur Osbourne also seems to say in that article that I have Posted .
I will wind up with one of my favourite sayings of one of The Greatest of Masters to have walked this Terra Firma:
Knock and it Shall open;Seek and Ye Shall Find.

Best Regards.

Anonymous said...

"In Ramana’s teachings you will find both ideas. The first is called the vasana kshaya theory of enlightenment by the Vedantis and manonasa by the Yogis. Most Buddhist traditions espouse this view. The word ‘world’ is actually a psychological term in Yoga. It does not mean the physical world. The physical world is the Self. It has no personal meaning. But the ‘world’ that Ramana says has to be removed is the psychological projections that make up one’s own ‘world,’ i.e. ignorance. These projections are based on an incorrect understanding of the Self, on a belief that the Self is separate, inadequate, or incomplete. Ramana’s teaching, which is Upanishadic teaching, is called vichara, enquiry. The purpose of enquiry is knowledge, not the ‘physical’ removal of the mind. If he had been teaching Yoga as a means of liberation he would not have encouraged enquiry because Yoga is committed to experience of samadhi, not understanding that one is the Self." The above quote of John does justice to the teachings of Bhghavan Ramana, even though he (John ) is averse to Ramana's not having been schooled in traditional vedanta. That is his predilection as in the same vein many Ramana's followers might find it very ardous and boring to go through the intellectual texts like Brahma sutra and the archaic meditation, known as Upasana, which are very unintelligible to the modern mind, and is also not relevant. It is true that all that Ramana wants is to remove only the psychological projections of the ego, and not the yogic removal of the external world. Ramana himself says in a place in the book " Talks," that one achieves nothing by the disappearance of the world, as it happens everyday daily in deep sleep. I think Ramana has been misunderstood, his teachings mischaracterized, when he says that only on the disappearance of the, " Drisyam," the," Drik," will be manifest. All that he says is that the seeing of phenomena as being outside the self as independent autonomous entities, is wrong knowledge. But Ramana emphasizes the need for the yogic samadhi- which our common sense also can accept, as any amount of intellectual cogitation doesn't help us- as the sine qua non to understand the self, this being termed as, " Sphurana," which is different from ordinary discursive knowledge; otherwise all the adepts in the traditional vedanta, indulging in globe-trotting to spread their teachings, will have realized the truth of Vedanta. Ramana speaks from several levels, the transcendental level being only paying attention to the subject, the pure I am, not paying attention to any thoughts. But I believe that this is possible only when one has reached an advanced stage of yogic perfection, having gone through all the stages of meditation, talked about by Patanjali Maharishi, lest it should be only a mechanical repetition of some phrases, the element of feeling, the vibration of the self being absent. Ramana is not interested in being identified with any belief system, vedanta included. When some one referred to the import of saint Manickkavachakar's Tiruvachakam as being one of Siddhanta, Ramna was stung to the quick, retorting, " Neither Vedanta nor Siddhanta, but real inner experience." Even the traditional teacher Vidyaranya has quoted various verses from the yoga sutras and the yoga vasishta to explain advaita vedanta, which doesn't detract from the position of his being an unmitigated advaitin. Advaita is the final consummation, all that is contained in the traditional texts being only an attempt to vindicate the advaita philosophy as the last word in spirituality. But the texts don't have any practical value, except to create some spiritual vasana in the mind. Ramana is the common groung reconciling and reducing all diverse dogmas, doctrines and sects to one pure awareness. So it is illegitimate to brand him as a mere yogy. No doubt, he is yogi, but is something more. There is a verse in yoga vasishta describing the enlightened man as, " Maha Karta, Maha Bogtha and Maha Thyagi," which definition correctly suits Bhghavan. In fact, Guru Vachaka Kovai contains the entire gist of vedanta as well as the practical sadhana needed, the ontological position of advaita. There is nothing to excel this work. We must thank David Godman, Venkata Subramanium and Robert Butler, for having brought out in a very lucid, simple and profound English language, the great teaching of the Great Master as reported by his disciple and devotee Muruganar, who received the Grace of the Master abundantly.

Anonymous said...

Scott Fraundorf:

Sorry to digress, It seems a big part of success at Inquiry is not only intensity of meditation, willingness to stay thoughtless as much as possible. That can still fit into the linear timeline of past to future progression to a future state, and be within the ego.

But also a willingness to relinquish the notion of being an individual in a world of other individuals. For instance if I ended up in a heated textual argument with someone here, that person, and the argument is just thought. If i pass someone on the street, they are just thought, they are in me. all of my friends too, strangers that I fancy, experiences that I'm having, people that grate on me, Saints that I have read. All thought, all a projection from me. Since they are just something I'm emitting, if I care one way or the other, or let them disturb me, in light of that, it's kind of insane.

A willingness to accept that the "world" is a projection from me, as opposed to a giant universe, I, the individual am living in. So there has to be a willingness to give up the idea that I'm the meditator, an individual, working toward a goal, and if I succeed like any goal I will be recognized by other individuals. As well as continuity of meditation attempts, allowing the change of point of view to occur is also a part of success. It occurs to me, not that I'm doing better, that people who meditate for decades and don't see progress, perhaps there is an unwillingness to allow the change of point of view to occur, to admit that they are infact doing nothing, becoming nothing, that there is no accomplishment, no person, no world. I have this obtacle as much as anyone else.

More and more I realize the importance of the strong conviction that there is only me, there is nothing but me, my self, the Self. That every notion of a world, of other individuals, different things other then me, are figments of my imagination.

The ridiculousness in Bookworm's assertion that he is attacking Broken Yogi's ego, is that there is no one else to attack, and even me saying this, I'm not talking to someone else, so if I'm trying to rebuke, or win, also kind of pointless, since it is only for my own entertainment, I'm not helping or enlightening anybody. Part of Inquiry for me is realizing that the external experiences are not really external. So there is no one else to talk to. I can only talk to myself.

Part of the reason that maybe it's often better to stay silent. Because the words admit of difference and distinction, something that is unreal. In my own words, Inquiry is called Inquiry because it is an investigation to see for ourselves that the notion of multiplicity, that there are many others then ourselves, that there is a world that I'm living in, and interacting with, and I have a life that goes from past to future is a myth, something imagined.

The good side to all of this, not readily apparent, this giving up of everything, and considering what was once real, just a projection. The good side, is that what is left over is bliss, and ONLY connection. Even the mythical others we're relating with, our egos, our notions are getting in the way of LOVING this blob of paint that is gracing my projection.
Even on the staying silent, sometimes there has been an effortful repressive version, that is not silence, that stupor, because there is still one doing, one that has the feeling that they should be doing something for some goal, even Realization. But I shift up the point of view so that I'm not doing anything, I'm not thinking anything, and I'm not even stopping doing, stopping thinking. I don't see a world, but I don't see a world. I simply cease and let.

Anonymous said...

Scott Fraundorf:

Ravi + Broken Yogi,
I agree with you both on this. About Ramana being removed from his cultural context and so it can be taken as just a personal method.

although it does seem that the methods in itself of turning away from desires and not thinking does do a large part to awaken a sense of personal responsibility. Even Inquiry in itself automatically seems to cateur itself to the necessary wisdom. I immediately saw the need for the broader context of cultural wisdom. But I also never became all that interested in text in itself, scriptures or stories, and felt that role was largely fulfilled (for me) with the words of Maharshi himself.

Part of it, from being in a counter-cultural activist crowd that prized text, writings and readings. I never felt that they were all that liberating. Same with Old Testement Stories. I liked Maharshi's summing it up as "I am that I am". The new testement "Kingdom of heaven is within you"
Bhagavad Gita, there were never any births or deaths.

The main problem, and I don't know if anyone exemplifies this, is if it's taken as a personal method for as David Godman put it "freedom to" instead of "freedom from". So far from my own inner explorations. That has never come up. Turning away from desires, and fears does not make me want Want more, become less ethical.

I think people on the Autism Spectrum have a tendency to want a set of rules that can govern all of our conduct. So the idea of having it all laid out is very tempting. However, I have found that there is no set of rules that works for all the complex, multifaceted dilemnas one may encounter.

Because of this, seeing what is real, abiding in what is real, giving up ignorance, and Being Consciousness Bliss does seem to be the highest ethic to strive for...

Ravi said...

" I have found that there is no set of rules that works for all the complex, multifaceted dilemnas one may encounter. "
True Friend, but there are guidelines available and it is helpful not to view them as Rules.
You will find pure wisdom and wonderful Guidelines in The Imitation of Christ(Ramos has suggested this wonderful book ) and also in The Practice of the Presence of God by Brother Lawrence.
As Jesus The Christ said,where two or three are gathered in my Name,there I am in their midst.If it is possible,it is beneficial to get together with one's mom and dad,as well as any likeminded earnest souls to read aloud from these Books.This is what we call Satsangha and is very helpful not only for oneself but also for others.Even a weekly meeting for an hour is good enough.In India,we have some singing of Hymns called Bhajans.This has a very uplifting influence.I believe you have the Psalms that serve this purpose.
If you have read the reminiscence of Ms Eleanour Pauline Noye on Sri Bhagavan,on the last day of her stay at Sri Ramanashram,there is a reading of the Psalms in Sri Bhagavan's Presence.
It will be useful to make note of a few advices from these Books and try to assimilate them and to make them a part of our Living.
Self Enquiry will complement this perfectly.It will be helpful and interesting to explore the Teachings of Christ in the Bible with fresh insight;For Example Jesus says,"If thine EYE be single then thy body will be full of Light".
Wish you the very Best.
Best Regards.

Anonymous said...

Scott Fraundorf:

I'd have to do more of a thorough reading of the Imitation of Christ to comment on it. One thing that bothered me, is the notion of a punishing god. that is not something I have ever been able to accept. Of course, I know not what is true. And I do my best to do right by other people. But the notions of punishments and judgements and hell, have been something that has always struck me as being somewhat hateful and bigoted at root. I know that is not where you were going with that, Ravi. And besides that, it's main message which I agreed with about sincerity, and living in non-desire, and absolute humility, those made sense to me. Some of the other stuff was perhaps language of the time, and the religion he was a part of. The sincerity, and non-desire, and humility though is eloquently described by Maharshi without some of the unnecessary baggage I did find in Imitation.

Anonymous said...

Your renunciation will be near
completion when this blog ceases
to fascinate.

Anonymous said...

Scott Fraundorf:

I always have the bad habit to skim before responding, and then reading deeper. apologies, but because it happens it happens, and I'll probably do it again, I hope what I said previously was not taken as criticism because it wasn't intende d that way, What you say of Satsang makes sense, I think for me that Satsang in the sense you describe is just reading to my mom, or friends trying to convey that enthusiasm for Maharshi to others. Not in the sense of conversion, like "Have you accepted Christ into your heart?" I'm not a big fan of foisting one set of ideas onto another. But just conveying my excitement and the usefulness of what I'm learning from Maharshi, or others, Papaji, Annamalai Swami, Muruganar. And that they are a very interesting can of worms, that many,many people have not been exposed to, atleast here. Unfortunately, I believe besides one person I don't see very often, I'm the only Ramana Maharshi enthusiast I know in person. On psalms. I'm someone who is kind of a wavering Catholic. There are alot of things abotu Church heirarchy that I'm not a big fan of, or do not find helpful. There are alot of ordinances in the Catholic Church that I find unnecessarily strict. I think I appreciate what is at the heart of Catholicism that is at the heart of all religions. Augustine's confessions, Joan of Arc. Many of the Catholic Saints, and I'm not sure people are aware of this really do tend toward a very non-dual awareness, were probably jnanis in some cases. While the Catholic Heirarchy can be obsessed with a much more dualistic approach involving good versus evil which has obvious downsides for instance religious wars, persecution of women during the renaissance (witch burnings, heretic burnings, crusades). So I think what I appreciate in the Catholic church is it's roots, which are at heart nondual. I started to dive into the Catholic Church wanting to see with that approach. But at the lay person level, it's not necessarily that tolerant of that approach.I also really like Tolstoy's Confessions and he pretty much rejected the organized aspects of Christianity, and I like his straight forwardness about having sinned in every possible way. Then there are my secular atheist friends, and so with them I like being a secular atheist. Because I don't necessarily see the distinction. What Catholics, Protestant Christians refer to as God, Atheists refer to as the beautiful universe, elegant universe, the goddess. even atheists find ways to worship. The secular subcultures I'm a part of are turned off by the Conservative Values of Traditional Organized Religion (rightfully so), and that makes sense to me also. There seems to be many ways to appreciate, I'm more interested in doing that, then drawing clear distinctions in the sand, that alienate me from any group of people. But, Ravi, as to what you said, that makes sense. Group communing over spiritual enthusiasm makes alot of sense. It seems the Satsang you mention, correct me if I'm wrong, is different then Satsang in the sense of association with a Sage. Am i correct? Hopefully I conveyed some of my excitement of transcending a set of ideas a set of notions. Right now I'm in this cafe which is a very secular, atheist subculture of the United States of A. Some of the people I've talked to here, really have as much trouble with my approach which is inclusive of organized religion, and seeing the positive roots of Christianity, as people at a Catholic Church may be just as dissaproving of me sitting at this cafe with these hedonistic, athistic people. I like to be insofar as possible outside, above, below, not anywhere, in relation to these Nation/State boundaries that people put between themselves. My sister married someone from Andhra Pradesh, and I was really excited that there was a Hindu Wedding, and a Catholic Wedding. My sister had an obsession with Bollywood, and Tamil films. I was exposed to some of the ins and outs of Tamil culture through her. Oddly, shortly thereafter I was exposed seperately, convergently to Ramana Maharshi who resided at Arunachala in Tamil nadu.

Ravi said...

" Not in the sense of conversion, like "Have you accepted Christ into your heart?"

Friend,I had a hearty laugh reading these lines.I have been at the receiving end myself with some enthusisatic christians who thought they should introduce Jesus to me!Proselytisation has killed whatever Vitality there was!I believe that Bernard Shaw said-"No man ever believes that the Bible means what it says: He is always convinced that it says what he means."
Scriptures are always a mixture of Sugar and sand.
I truly appreciate the problem with 'Organised and Hierarchical' Religious approaches.The 'man made' nature of it is truly claustrophobic.
I also read with interest and appreciation the following-"I like to be insofar as possible outside, above, below, not anywhere, in relation to these Nation/State boundaries that people put between themselves. My sister married someone from Andhra Pradesh, and I was really excited that there was a Hindu Wedding, and a Catholic Wedding. My sister had an obsession with Bollywood, and Tamil films. I was exposed to some of the ins and outs of Tamil culture through her. Oddly, shortly thereafter I was exposed seperately, convergently to Ramana Maharshi who resided at Arunachala in Tamil nadu."
I see some Karmic connection here!

Yes,you are right when you said-" It seems the Satsang you mention, correct me if I'm wrong, is different then Satsang in the sense of association with a Sage. Am i correct? "
Truly so Friend, it is not always possible to have that sort of a Satsangh,even here in india.The next best is what I have mentioned.As I see that for you ,you are devoted to Sri Bhagavan and his devotees,and this by itself is a Great boon.Yet,in sharing it with others,one should be prepared for a cold or lukewarm response-This is the reason to look for likeminded persons for Satsangh.Then the sharing becomes meaninful and mutually beneficial.

What you have mentioned about a God sitting on the throne of Judgement,handing over punishment,etc is indeed a putoff.This is just 'The Karmic Law'put across in this Fashion.If you read Brother Lawrence,you will find how he sets aside these 'mixtures'.

Please do not worry that I will ever take any of your views amiss.I am totally happy with whatever you find that interests you and convincing for you,and works for you-that may even be diametrically opposite to what I may have said.

May Sri Bhagavan's Blessings be with us.
Best Regards.

Anonymous said...

Scott Fraundorf:

This is another anonymous who maybe should let us know who he is speaking to, and elaborate on what he is saying....It's hard to take it seriously otherwise.

Anonymous said...

Scott Fraundorf:

What is that supposed to mean, you're renunciation will be complete. That sounds like some kind of pretend Guru nonsense. I can't take it seriously, if it were (which I'm not saying it is) aimed at me. I think we already went over discussing Renunciation, it's 2 Posts over, if you want to check it out. I'm insofar as possible renouncing the individual who is doing having experiences, not the actual activities. If you want to specify who you are, who you are aiming that at, and what you mean by it in greater detail feel free. I could very easily see that as sarcasm directed at my Imagination, in that case it's not at all in good spirits. "those who pretend siddhas will only receive kicks" No person who was in a position to know that about another person, what there development is, and what would help them, would make that kind of anonymous dig. It's either sarcasm or megalomania. Either way, it has an icky vibe.

Anonymous said...

Scott Fraundorf:

I'll ignore anons comment, not knowing who it was directed at, and even if I did, who but someone who was incorrugibly infected with a huge burgeoning ego would write something like that. I write comments on this blog, because I was drawn into this magic surrounding Maharshi, and Arunachala, and it seems well represented here.

Yes, as I said it draws out our egos, and ignorance, everyone is doing a great job, me included in putting it out there, to see it for what it is.

But I have not found commenting here pointless. Yes, the less I'm invested in an ego, a personal identity, a self-concept both visual imagination, and set of sentences, the egotistical nature of comments anywhere will probably drop by the wayside, and I'll be less besmirched by the kind of words I put forward in any kind of forum.

But so far I've found it helpful. So I'm going to continue. Ravi's last sentence was interesting about the law of kharma.

Because of the Law of Kharma I take care that my actions are well considered as much as possible, as much as i am from the level of ignorance I still hold, and that is the best I can do in the eyes of the Law of Kharma.

Some of my actions are in error, I have probably sinned as in made mistakes no matter what cosmology you draw an account of my actions from, so I strive to do right by people.

Do unto others as I would have them do unto me. It becomes easier the less i see others, and "see the whole world as The SElf" So I try to abandon the ego-notion as well.

I figure even if there were any vengeful entity, deity, like some of the Old Testement stories perhaps depict, that smites people. I'm safe in practicing Surrender, I'm safe in pleading ignorance in anything I can know with thought or put forward in words.

The more I am uninfected by thinking, the more my actions are in tune, as in loving toward those around me, encouraging, and everything is a communion. This spurns me on to continue with Inquiry, and try to take it deeper, try to keep silent longer, more.

I notice that I, autistic me, respond correctly to situations around me, not in a mundane, ordinary way, but letting the puppet master direct my actions, and they take me to where I should be when I should be, even whom I make eye contact with. My eyes star meeting people who I didn't see, because that puppet master is moving things to perfection, and when the mediary the thinker is absent more and more, the actions are to perfection. Apologies for the Cathartic Self-Help Drama Nature of this writing (kidding)

One more thing, I've for a long time wanted, especially specific kinds of relationships with people. The glory of not wanting, and the kind of automoatic connection that responds to people, is so well worth giving up desires. And in this I'd rather speak from the point of inspiration, then intellectual accumulation.

Anonymous said...

Great Post!!!

Anonymous said...

Bhagavan Sri Ramana is Father of the Universe
- literally (not metaphorically as 99.9999999999%
of all teachers/gurus/disciples). This can
not be emphasized enough - this should be kept
in mind so as to reduce the ignorance on this
board - I recommend not referring to other teachers.

Anonymous said...

I apologize if I offended anybody by my comment
including David
October 28, 2008 12:44 AM about renunciation
- it was not meant to be mean spirited.

Bookworm said...


You say:
'should be kept
in mind so as to reduce the ignorance on this
board - I recommend not referring to other teachers'

Not referring to other 'teachers'
cannot be a rule or a recommendation.
Some people will just Know that Ramana is Truth and realise and accept that that there is no need or any desire for the 'teachings' of others.

As for 'ignorance'
It is 'in'..and most people 'are'... to some extent.
How about you?

Sankarraman said...

The more I see terms like, " Suttarivu," ( objective knowledge ) being used by Muruganar, the more I feel convinced that he has been very greatly influenced by saiva siddhantha worldview. There is a technical term by name, " Pasa Jnana," to refer to this objective knowledge. Prior to this pasa jnana there is this, " Pasu Jnana," to refer to the metaphysical state of sleep engulfing the ordinary souls. Only Pati Jnana, the Awareness of the true Being is true Knowledge according to saiva siddhanta. There is a beautiful commentary on, " Sivajnana Bodham," the basic saiva canon, which describes all these things. All the terminologies used by Muruganar find a place in saivite philosophy, a few of which verses I shall attempt to quote in the subsequent message.

Sankarraman said...

The benedictory verse of, " Tiruvilayadal Puranam," ( Divine play of the Lord) is almost synonymous with the benedictory verse of ULLADU NARPADU. " Let us cross this ocean of this dreadful samsara by contemplating the Being of the Lord Dakshinamurthi, seated under the Banyan tree, through such a contemplation which is free from all mental modes , Who in times of yore imparted-which communication is free from verbal utterances- to the four ripe sages the ultimate truth of one's true Being knowing no other, that which is at once everything and nothing, transcending speech and mind."

David Godman said...


It's true that Muruganar had a strong grounding in Saiva vocabulary and philosophy before he came to Bhagavan. 'Suttarivu' is a Saiva philosophical term that is not used in Vedanta, although there are terms in that system that do denote the same idea.

Though Muruganar uses the word suttarivu frequently in his poetry, it is not to be found in Bhagavan's own writings. However, when Bhagavan corrected Guru Vachaka Kovai, he did, on one occasion, cross out what Muruganar had written and substituted a line that contained the word 'suttarivu'.

For those who are not familiar with this term, I should point out that it is made up of 'arivu' which is often translated as 'consciousness' or sometimes 'knowledge' and suttu, which means 'indicated' or 'pointed at'. Knowledge which is seen or perceived as an object is 'suttarivu'. Objectless knowledge is 'arivu', which is why the word is sometimes used to translate the Sanskrit term 'jnana'. When Bhagavan, at the beginning of Who am I?, says the 'knowledge which remains alone is itself 'I', he uses the word arivu. Then he goes on to say 'the nature of this knowledge is existence-consciousness-bliss'.

Anonymous said...

Scott Fraundorf:

All of this talk makes me want to learn Tamil. I believe my sister was before I was exposed to Maharshi. Looking at Maharshi's hand writing it is beautiful....It would be cool to understand the Tamil, and I bet although both David Godman and Nome do excellent to be admired translations, I bet there is an understanding in the Tamil that maybe isn't necessarily transmitted into English.

Anonymous said...

the three laws as different points of view

another way to look at the three laws is as descriptions of different points of view. the first law (self is) has only one point of view. the second law (world isn’t) has two, depending from which direction it is approached, and the third law (self is world) has many wonderful equivilent forms.

the third law describes that point of view in which it seems obvious that the world, as well as than having many parts, also contains many levels. from this perspective, some aspects of the relative are closer to the self than are others. this is similar to regular “stage one dreaming”, in which we move through various depths and distances from either deep sleep or the waking state.

in contrast, the second law describes that point of view in which we describe the world as having only one layer or level. whatever the drawing on the page may be, every part of it is equally close to the paper. this is similar to the early morning experience of “stage two dreaming”, in which we put the entire dream behind us wholesale (as a unit) as we wake up.

an interesting application of the difference between these two approaches may be seen in the attempt to define “life”. from the everyday perspective of the third law, some parts of the world possess life and some do not, but from the perspective of the second law, every point in the world is equally alive or not alive.

coming from the “top down”, that is from the third law moving toward the second (as i transcend), i describe the experience as being one with the world (which some have called unity consciousness). but coming from the bottom up, ie from the first law moving toward the second (right after glimpsing the self), i describe the experience as lacking in life or consciousness entirely.

again, all of these points of view are honest descriptions of the prevailing conditions ,and are visited by each person during each pass though the cycle of self-knowledge at every scale (lifetimes, the daily rotation of the states of consciousness, the scale of a single thought, etc). we don’t normally notice these mechanics but, after millions of repetitions through the same generic cycle, we begin to notice familiar milestones. these very small daily insights slowly accumulate, and the map of mySelf gradually comes into focus.

in the end, the cycle of experience is not seen so much in terms of a movement through a pattern, as a still pattern which has the potential to describe itself at any point.


Sankarraman said...

There is solitude everywhere. The individual is solitary always. His business is to find it out within, not to seek it outside himself. Solitude is in the mind of man. "One might be in the thick of that world and maintain serenity of mind. Such a one is in solitude. Another may stay in a forest, but still be unable to control his mind. Such a man cannot be said to be in solitude. Solitude is a function of the mind. A man attached to desires cannot get solitude wherever he may be, whereas a detached man is always in solitude." The above illuminating reply of Bhaghavan should put a full stop to all discussions centered around the need for renunciation or otherwise.

Sankarraman said...

"There is a Telugu saying attributed to Sage Vemana which says that one who has ability to lust intensely (for wealth, women etc.,) alone has the ability to achieve liberation ultimately. Its more the ability to lust and desire than actually lusting and desiring, which is praised here." Apropos of the above statement of Ravi, I feel what Vemana has said should not be taken literally; but it should mean real passion for the essence, which is not lust, which passion is compassion born of experiencing sorrow completely, looking at it not from the view point of the individual, but as one of cosmic sorrow from which the individual cannot escape as an observer apart from the observed, to quote the words of J.K

Anonymous said...

Scott Fraundorf:

My interepretation of the 3 laws has been that underlying the ego, the tru me is only one, and includes everything, and there is no differences at all. No definable forms....

The passion is the understanding that the Bliss (ananda) of pure Self awareness is far greater then anything that could be gotten externally, and since Brahman and the Self are the same, the environments which are in a sense my non-verbal imagination, will be only filled with auspicious events (i.e. becoming President of the United States)....The passion, far greater then the feelings of being mutually in love...But inexhaustible... And with no identification, nor selfish concern for pleasures and pains...Because pleasures and pains cannot touch nor effect that untouchable happiness.

The solitude of Self-Awareness, I also take it is a very full solitude, not a lonely solitude, because then everyone and everything is only me...i.e. the third law...So I'm everybody and everything, and pure blissful effulgent awareness...The perfect state, the most desireable, the most functional....The only goal...

Tom Boyce said...

Hello David,

I wanted to comment on Papaji's erroneous views regarding the nature of vipassana practice. The sole purpose of vipassana meditation is to develop mindfulness. And what is mindfulness, you may ask? Here is an extended quote on the nature of mindfulness and its relationship to vipassana:

"When you first become aware of something, there is a fleeting instant of pure awareness just before you conceptualize the thing, before you identify it. That is a stage of Mindfulness. Ordinarily, this stage is very short. It is that flashing split second just as you focus your eyes on the thing, just as you focus your mind on the thing, just before you objectify it, clamp down on it mentally and segregate it from the rest of existence. It takes place just before you start thinking about it - before your mind says, "Oh, it's a dog." That flowing, soft-focused moment of pure awareness is Mindfulness. In that brief flashing mind-moment you experience a thing as an un-thing. You experience a softly flowing moment of pure experience that is interlocked with the rest of reality, not separate from it. Mindfulness is very much like what you see with your peripheral vision as opposed to the hard focus of normal or central vision. yet this moment of soft, unfocused, awareness contains a very deep sort of knowing that is lost as soon as you focus your mind and objectify the object into a thing. In the process of ordinary perception, the Mindfulness step is so fleeting as to be unobservable. We have developed the habit of squandering our attention on all the remaining steps, focusing on the perception, recognizing the perception, labeling it, and most of all, getting involved in a long string of symbolic thought about it. That original moment of Mindfulness is rapidly passed over. It is the purpose of ...Vipassana (or insight) meditation to train us to prolong that moment of awareness."

This comes from an online text called "Mindfullness in Plain English."

The quote reminds me very much of Bhagavan's comment that the Self can be discovered in the fleeting moment between two successive thoughts.

Ravi said...

I agree with Tom on Vipassana and the 'mindfulness' that he talks of.
This is what JK calls as choiceless awareness;when the mind ceases to compare or interpret what it sees or listens.
No approach can be dismissed as invalid;this is the most vital message of the Masters.
Best Regards.

Anonymous said...


Real versus unreal

Question. — What are spirits and souls?

Answer. — To human belief, they are personalities constituted of mind and matter, life and death, truth and error, good and evil; but these contrasting pairs of terms represent contraries, as Christian Science reveals, which neither dwell together nor assimilate. Truth is immortal; error is mortal. Truth is limitless; error is limited. Truth is intelligent; error is non-intelligent. Moreover, Truth is real, and error is unreal. This last statement contains the point you will most reluctantly admit, although first and last it is the most important to understand.

Mary Baker Eddy, founder of "Christian Science"


Sankarraman said...

"When you first become aware of something, there is a fleeting instant of pure awareness just before you conceptualize the thing, before you identify it. That is a stage of Mindfulness." That is what is exactly contained in the utterances of great spiritual masters like JK and Ramana, what has been said in the great scriptures like SIVA SUTRAS, the TIRUPURA RAHASYA and PANCADASI. The following same expressions have been recorded in the talks of Bhghavan and the book, " Only Revolution," by JK. "At the moment of perception there is only light." Siva Sutras describe this as a great flash of insight. The YOga Vasishta abounds in such ideas. Even the yoga sutras of Patanjali talk about this, this being termed as, " VIVEKA JNANAM," wherein the yogi abides in the present only before the arising of any thought. I think that all of us should have reached this crucial point to understand and practice ( practice is a rather misleading word ) the, " Who am I enquiry," or to be in the state of attention and choiceless awareness spoken by JK.

Sankarraman said...

"Annamalai Swami replied: This
desire is not counter productive.
The desire for enlightenment is necessary because without it you will never take the necessary steps to realize the Self." Mr Subramanian, it is not as if the search for the self were another thought. It is a heightened state of feeling as it were, being almost synonymous with what sage Patanjali calls, "Asamprajna Samahi," wherein there is no objective prop, there being only observation without any search for anything. Saint Thayumanvar calls this, " THANANA THANMAYAM." That is, " Perception which is only filled of I Amness," which are not separate. It is like the word, " Nan in Tamil," free from any predication.

Bookworm said...

Sankarraman, ASnonymous

Why propound JK, Papaji and others words and 'teachings'

There is no need. Ramanas words and Teaching contains all and is Truth.

Read them for your own entertainment by all means by why propound them here?... when all that is needed has already been taught by Ramana.

Anonymous said...

Scott Fraundorf:

Why not? They were as much Jnanis as Ramana. Quote away, anyone you want, everybody...There is as much truth in any of them, and yes, they do highlight different angles of approach, when the conceptual is not the Self, multiple sages words are helpful. Ramana was special, but not more special then Papaji. Ramana said there is only one Self. People are either seeing only from that point of view, or not at all. If they are seeing from that point of view, does it so much matter, what their body looks like? Slight differences in doctrine.

Anonymous said...

Scott Fraundorf:

Anybody whose awareness is Self-ward it is the same awareness since it is outside of time, and multiple individuals (i.e. for anybody is the quality of deep sleep individualistic?). I was talking to someone about this, and they said it was sad, the idea of dropping everything and abiding as the Self. I had to admit, that I had the same kind of feeling at times, mainly because I have built up attachments that I've convinced myself are real. One thing that has shown me that they aren't is getting what I want, and still being completely unsatisfied. That the unsatisfaction was something I was creating in any case. As those obstacles that would make me sad in giving them up are giving way, there is alot less resistance, and I see that happiness and fulfillment are without those attachments. So again, no, I think even Jiddu Krishnamurti whose ideological, word perspective is a little bit different, and in some ways I would say less helpful (wasn't as successful at teaching), he still flows well with Adagio in G Minor, so he's passed my test (kidding). And I'm guessing that Krishnamurti still passed on grace as much as any other Self-Realized person (simply because being around a Jnani is being around one's own true Self, I've noticed the grace really comes from within not without) and he has his own things he highlights, and sometimes whether it is him or Don Miguel Ruiz, I think they are good for deconstructing the gross elements of attachment. But Papaji, his point of view is essentially as far as I can gather, indistinguishable from Maharshi's. Although for me, he highlights sometimes the in the moment ins and outs of turning away from attachments and abiding as the Self. And Nisargadatta is priceless, he expresses things slightly differently, but is extremely helpful in clarifying for me, similarly what abidance in the Self means. In all cases, there words do have this Power to grab the mind and dispell the illusion of it's own existance. Wasn't advaita vedanta influenced by Buddhism? it said so on Wikipedia. And their probably have been quite a few buddhist jnanis over the ages, as well as Catholic, Christian, Muslim, atheist. If that's the case then really what I'm getting is Shankara, and Maharshi's brilliant, genius verbal clarification of what it means, and how to become Self-Realized, that has no precedence, but just their verbal skills at conveying their realization. The realization of Maharshi is no more special then any other Self-Realized, but he certainly was brilliant in conveying it verbally in a way that was understood. But some of his self-realized devotees Muruganar, Papaji, Lakshmana Swami, Saradamma, Sadhu Om, Annamalai Swami were also really good at further clarifying within the intellectual umbrella started with Maharshi, that clearly has it's influences in the Ribhu Gita, and Shankara (maybe other things, I'm a novice at this history). But Maharshi's realization itself happened of it's own accord, without any prior intellectual background, cultural background. So it appears. And I'm skeptical taht he's the only middle schooler that's ever happened to. What with how mean middle schoolers atleast in the United States can be to each other. Didn't kids at Scott's MS throw rocks at Venketaraman?

Anonymous said...

Scott Fraundorf:

Jiddu Krishnamurti seems to be in such intense Ananda Bliss at all times, that it's a wonder that he talks so much, and it looks like, with his eyes rolls back into his head, it takes this effort to get the words out, and everything he says, is complaining about why we conceptualize so much instead of just being in Ananda which he so clearly is in. He is extraordinarily beautiful, as are his words.

Anonymous said...

Scott Fraundorf;

I bet he too realized the Self when he was young.

Anonymous said...

Scott Fraundorf:

He also seemed to understand taht the ego is the subject/object in exactly the same way as Maharshi. If he never met Maharshi, it's only because he never had to.

Anonymous said...

Scott Fraundorf:

Honestly, the beauty though of watching Gnanis on Youtube, is because they are so immensely beautiful, not because of the words they say....I tend to ignore the words, although I agree with them, and let their presence work on me, deceased or alive.

Anonymous said...

Scott Fraundorf:

One of the most beautiful clips of Papaji is the one called Keep Quiet on Youtube. Because he says, "just keep quiet". The person looking at all the letters to Papaji says, "these all seem a little absurd now". probably feeling the grace of being around Papaji. Papaji busts up into the most hysterical uncontrollable laughter, tearful laughter.

Broken Yogi said...


Don't you think it's time to start your own blog? It's very easy to do, just go here:

It's a little hard following any debate here when you post what mostly seem like personal diary entries many times a day. Not wishing to offend, but this just isn't the best use for David's website. It's not that what you say isn't interesting. It just seems to belong on a personal blog rather than here.

Bookworm said...


You say:
'One of the most beautiful clips of Papaji is the one called Keep Quiet on Youtube. Because he says, "just keep quiet".'

Are you not tempted...even if you can only manage for a short follow His advice?

Anonymous said...

Scott Fraundorf:

Although it may not be a bad idea to start my own blog, those things I posted were in direct response to Bookworm's comment that nobody should quote anybody else but Ramana.(which I strongly, adamantly, disagreed with) And I was calling attention that J.K, and Papaji were invaluable, as well as others Also

I have very little interest in debating, disputation, but sharing, and clarifying I very much am interested in. Besides, what debate was going on? I didn't see any debate taking place on any of these threads. B.Y. stormed off (metaphorically speaking) because I stated the Self is not object. So he didn't seem very interested in debating, honestly. Or chickened out. (something like that)

And what debates that have taken place have degenerated more into personal attacks (i.e. Broken Yogi versus Haramurthy and Bookworm) and that's fine too. But don't make it out that witty banter with the goal of deflating your opponent is superior to sharing personal experiences on the topic, although I'll admit name calling is quite virtuous, and evidence of increasing Self-Knowledge. i.e. Bookworms assertion that Broken Yogi does not see the innate truth in Ramana's teachings. That was such a helpful statement. Clearly, the Great Bookworm sees only the Self, and so was giving himself helpful advise, and was using this blog commenting section in a way far superior to me, who just diatribes (whines) rather about my personal experiences.

I personally do think that intellectualization is only going to go so far, and that is why I stick to the personal, because it is atleast closer to the truth. There are several other people besides me, who seem to recognize that Ramana's truth was not intellectual knowledge.

As to keeping quiet, Maharshi had repeatedly stated that he meant mentally quiet, not verbally quiet. On that I do my best.

Anonymous said...

Scott Fraundorf:

Bookworm, tell me how I could ever become endowed with such a brilliant wit as yours. (kidding) Never saw that one coming.

Anonymous said...

Scott Fraundorf:

Broken Yogi, Bookworm, your reasons for being here are very different then mine. And because of that talking of you, seems most inauspicious. I'm not looking for your approval. And I find your statements both pretty uninteresting.

Anonymous said...

Scott Fraundorf;

I should alos add, that equanimity, kindness, compassion are signs of progress toward Realization according to Maharshi.

Anonymous said...

Scott Fraundorf:

I shouldn't ahve said that sarcastic comment about Self-Knowledge even in jest, and I found Bookworm's comment to Broken Yogi earlier as well as a host of others appalling and mean-spirited.. Inquiry has not caused me to want to win, deflate, and hurt others more then I did previously. Those traits have been being widdled away. I don't raelly understand how those traits could be staying the same, or increasing if someone is ACTUALLY practicing Inquiry, and being the Self more and more, because then you have nothing to prove, nothing you are afraid of. No longer have to compare dick size. But actually feel more comfortable with things as they are.

Broken Yogi said...


Maybe making any kind of personal comment here is a mistake, but I think you really ought to listen to others better, since you seem committed to talking about your personal life and feelings so much. If you make your personal life so much the topic of your postings here, I don't see how you can consider that off-limits to others.

I will again say that I think this is a misuse of this forum. Yes, you do initially respond to something posted here, but then go off on a tangent into your various personal feelings about things. I don't know how to say this nicely, since it is obviously a very personal issue, but personally I find your long meandering diary entries very off-putting, and it makes me want to contribute to this forum much less. I also find myself avoiding addressing you, because everything immediately becomes personal, and if you feel personally criticized, you tend to get very touchy and offended and then a stream of insults begins to appear. But what do you expect when you personalize everything?

This is why I think all of us would be better off if you wrote on a blog, and those of us who want to follow your personal writings could read them there, rather than have this forum ceaselessly dominated by your almost stream-of-consciousness posting here. To be perfectly honest, your personal feelings about most things usually just aren't that interesting to me, and I don't see how they really fit in with the dharma considerations of Ramana's teachings. It's not that I dislike people speaking from their deeper feelings, but as I've said before, there's a self-indulgent quality to most of your postings that simply doesn't seem to work for other people.

I understand that for you it may be very useful to write your feelings down, and I don't want to suppress you or inhibit you from making use of a medium that perhaps does you a lot of good. But I don't think it is really doing this forum for discussion much good. Honestly, I think you're dragging the discussion down, in a way that even bookworm's sometimes snide comments don't do. You shouldn't get hostile about this, but really show some concern for others here. Like I say, write in a blog, put all these feelings of yours out there if that's what helps you, but don't keep clogging up this site with all these internal, diary-like ruminations. It's almost as if you are craving attention. Perhaps it's the aspbergers in you, not being terribly sensitive to other people. I couldn't really say. But I do think it gets in the way here. Please don't explode again, but just listen for a while and consider the feelings of other people.

Bookworm said...


You say:
'Knowledge even in jest, and I found Bookworm's comment to Broken Yogi earlier as well as a host of others appalling and mean-spirited.. Inquiry has not caused me to want to win, deflate, and hurt others'

There is no aim to win or hurt you or any other.
Look at the 4th word in your comment above. I am only interested in Truth.
Quote who you like. Quote your auntie or your grandma for all I care. All I was saying is there is no real need to.
Somewhere, I think, in your ramblings you mention it my fault if prehaps you are maybe a little deficient in this area so that you do not see or fully uderstand my comments in the Spirit they are sent?

Anonymous said...

Scott Fraundorf:

In general I believe I have mainly talked about my personal experiences with Self-Inquiry, which is what this forum is about as far as I can tell. There were a few times in the past, where I went a little further into that. But not for a while, I've been sticking to the subjects at hand. Yes, I strongly disagree that talking about personal experiences with Self-Inquiry, Spiritual Experiences are a misuse of this forum, and therein lies our difficulty, We strongly disagree on this. I personally think Spirituality is strictly personal. I'm as offput by your straight intellectual approach, as you are by my personal approach. But neither approach do I think is disallowed here, both are fine, neither require that we go off and start our own blogs (although both of us have done that). And that it is a misuse of this forum is a melodramatic statement. If you cease wanting to comment on this forum, that has nothing to do with me, that is your own choice. Don't make others responsible for your feelings, choices. I do not accept it. And personally, I don't really care whether you comment or not, or value your feelings, or am cateuring my comments to you as an audience.

To Bookworm, fair enough. I think I actually do appreciate your sarcastic style more, I don't know what I was thinking when I said that. And some of your humor is actually funny. On most of these subjects though, they are almost too subjective. Lets say I try to verify Maharshi's claim that Mahatmas do more then others by being silent. How am i to empirically prove that silent, magical forces helped the world from Krishnamurti. Again, we just disagree, where is there to go with that, besides circular arguments, which with finesse you are good at avoiding. And again, theres not much to go with my belief that there is value in other sages besides Maharshi, it's just a belief that we disagree on. So far, this seems like a forum with no clear established rules, and as far as I can gather, David Godman is following Maharshi's advise and viewing all events in the Universe as according to a divine script. He has hardly, or maybe at all, interfered with the goings on. There has been cussing, insults, Personal sharings. All of our comments have strayed from what would probably be tolerated in a professional environment. I do get off topic, I have strayed too far even by my own standards into personal anecdotes. But my last 100+ comments I'm not remotely regretful of. They have been if nothing else related to Maharshi and company, Inquiry or spiritual experiences, all of which I think are fine to expound on. If you disagree, go climb a tree, maybe it's nice outside in California.

Anonymous said...

Scott Fraundorf:

Also Broken Yogi, I think you have a tendency to speak for others, David Godman, the whole forum that you can stand to curb, because you can only know yourself, just as I can only know myself. That is why I said a few posts back, to go back to your own stall, i.e. mind your own business. In no way am I asking your opinion, you are free to give it. But i just don't care what you think. You are wasting your breath. My comments are as valuable to yours, but the only flaw I agree with in my comments is a tendency to stray from topic. Again, mind your own business. Go back to your own stall. If this, clear, calm statement is taken as exploding, good. It's not.

Anonymous said...

Scott Fraundorf:

Besides, I think everybody's different styles are important. And to not appreciate that everyone has different ways of processing the world and they are valuable is a huge mistake. I also think, Broken Yogi, that it will be a sign of your progress in Inquiry when you start actually showing some equanimity and appreciation of different styles, and not just get irritated based on your ideas of how people should behave and fit in. Although I know this discussion could be endless and pointless, so it probably shouldn't go on. You also extrapolate that your ideas are everybody's ideas, that your reality is everybody's reality, which just isn't true. Your concepts (sankalpas) are not Reality, your views of others are not reality (including me), are not the Self, are not Truth, what you are saying are words, are not imbued with truth. Your concepts of how people function socially, are not truth. Your ideas of what would be good for this forum, any forum, are just that your ideas, something we should all be weaning ourselves from? Just like I was wrong to say that about the argumentative clashing style. It is valuable as well. And humor is valuable as well. Sorry for this Self-Indulgent rant, but that is pretty what people have been contributing anyway, don't make your version, your style, special.

Bookworm said...


Forget your own blog.

Post here as you wish and as David allows you.
Try to remember there is no malice towards you and that some comments can often have an 'other' or deeper meaning than the literal one they seem to suggest.

Bookworm said...

David do me a favour please..if able to.. and change malace to malice.

Bookworm said...

Sorry David...I forgot to include these two words in my request to you 'Would you'

Bookworm said...


You say:
'How am i to empirically prove that silent, magical forces helped the world from Krishnamurti.'

Why bother?

A bit later you say:
'If you disagree, go climb a tree, maybe it's nice outside in California'

I don't live in California Scott so am not sure if that comment is directed towards me or if it is just your sloppy writing.
Even should think more carefully before you write...that's fighting talk and it will be your own fault someone gives you a bloody nose.

Broken Yogi said...


I'm aware that you don't care how other people feel, and that's part of the problem. A guy standing on a streetcorner ranting about whatever crosses his mind doesn't care how other people feel either. But I would imagine that anyone who actually practices self-enquiry would, indeed, care about how other people feel, and what kind of effect they are having on others.

I don't mind that you post frequently. If you were really having a meaningful exchange with others here, it would be great. But as I've said, it seems to be mostly a monologue you are having with yourself, and mostly out of any context to the subject at hand.

If you look at David's own writings here, none of them are personal in nature. He writes about Ramana and his devotees, and his teachings and philosophy. He doesn't present his own personal experience, and for the most part only talks about his own views about dharmic matters.

There was an excellent thread a while ago about self-enquiry, in which David encouraged people to talk about their own personal experience of self-enquiry. But I don't think that was meant to be the tenor of every single thread since. If you wish to talk about your personal experience again and again, why not do so on that thread? If people feel moved to engage you there, they will. If not, maybe you will get the idea that it's not very interesting to most of us. I can't of course speak for others, but I have indeed noticed other people making comments about your inability to discipline your speech here. I think you should be aware that this kind of ongoing domination of every single thread on David's blog with your own personal thoughts, feelings, and experiences, often only tangentally related to the subject at hand, just seems inappropriate. I basically think you are taking advantage of the situation here because you have some personal need to dominate, and people are rather reluctant to stick their necks out and call you on it. It's too bad, because I think David has tried to create a valuable place for online discussion of Ramana's teachings, and I've valued most people's contributions here, even those I've gotten on the wrong side of, such as Haramurthy and Bookworm. I don't want to impose my own sense of social order on this place, since it isn't mine, but I would be remiss if I didn't speak out about what I see going on.

So yes, you can continue as you have been, and I will likely not post here very much in the future, and that's no great loss to anyone I'm sure. I just think you aren't showing proper respect to our host, even if he has never said anything about it. I have never seen David suggest that this is the right use of this forum, except in that one thread on self-enquiry some time ago. I imagine that at Ramanashram they don't much tolerate people like you who might want to dominate the scene there either. I don't want to dominate this scene either, and I don't want to get in the habt of trying to get people to talk as I might wish. I don't mind people who disagree with me or criticize me. But this is different, I think. It's someone who has very little human maturity trying to use what is almost a sacred space for their own personal rantings. It wouldn't be so bad if it were a noisy streetcorner, but this space feels to me more like part of an ashram, and I just don't think you are respecting it in that fashion. I suppose it is up to David to comment on it, but I certainly do think you need to pay greater attention to the feelings of others, if you want to actually go beyond the karmas of your bondage for real, rather than merely in the abstract.

That's about it. I won't drag this out any longer, and I'll leave it to David and others to decide for themselves if I'm out of line.

Anonymous said...

Scott Fraundorf:

Thank u, bookworm, and I do actually enjoy your sarcasm even when it's directed at me. Keep it witty.

Bookworm said...


You say:
'But I speculate with futility that Krishnamurti was a Jnani because Nisargadatta Maharaj said he was, and David Godman said Nisargadatta was a Jnani'

Thank God I couldn't care less...but does David know about Nisetc. being a jnani? ...I thought you had to be one to know one.

I suppose another jnani could have told him about N.
But on the other hand he is very quite and he does seem to have met a few of these j's.
Maybe you should ask David whether the Krishnamurti geezer was a jnani. He might know.

Anonymous said...

Scott Fraundorf:

No, actually Broken Yogi, I agree with you, atleast as far as I read about the writing personal stuff in one of the personal threads. But I also think you are a little extreme on comparing my comments to the mad guy ranting on the street corner. But even if I was, that shouldn't effect you, and if it is an inconvenience, say you have to scroll down a little further to avoid my annoying personal anecdotes, then it's like the fountain pen that doesn't work quite right. (Power of Presence) And I should add, you are perfectly capable of carrying on your debates with whomever you choose. On Inquiry, I do put constant attention into keeping a quiet mind, of course sometimes my mind arises, but most of the time, I've been pretty good at reeling it back in. (When what I'm writing stems form blissful peace, whatever it is, I trust that. And most of my posts for a while have) It's hard to say what kind of behaviors are going to be happening at any level of maturity. For me, if left to my own devices I find myself drifting off topic, but once someone puts something concrete out there that I can respond to, I zero in on it.

I could care less what you think of me, or think of any of my behaviors, for the sole reason that most people's opinions stem from intense, intense ignorance, and ego. And just the fact that you appeal that your opinions are reality, or that your opinions are everybody's opinions, confirms that suspicion.

Because of that most people's opinions are not necessarily helpful, they are worthless. People have all sorts of opinions about each other, how people should behave, and not behave, and very few of them have much meaning, besides that we shouldn't physically harm or rob each other.

I also think this forum, and any forum will benefit from the full spectrum of diversity of styles, as long as people are interested in Maharshi, Inquiry, or at the very least spirituality, or at the very least, not just posting spam. I think that is why David Godman so far at least does not interfere, but lets it play out. More and more, for me anyway, all of the drama around me takes on a playful character, and everything seems as enlivening. Even Broken Yogi's criticisms, after the stun has worn off, I'm for the most part blissful again, and see it as just more color.

I don't quite agree with you, that this is a professional environment that should be devoid of personal anecdotes, even if David Godman acts in that way. If David Godman wanted to talk about personal stuff, he would talk about personal stuff, after all it's his blog. If David Godman didn't want personal comments, David Godman would censor personal comments, after all it's his blog.

Yeah, Bookworm, I have no idea who is a Jnani, and an Ajnani. But in my worthless opinion Nisargadatta, and Krishnamurti were as Realized as Maharshi.

Anonymous said...

Scott Fraundorf:

Oh Bookworm, it was my sloppy writing, I forgot to say Broken Yogi. I actaully have noticed that in my Inquiry, I do have a tendency to forget the previous train of thought, and think I'm on a different train of thought, which is kind of refreshing, because before I was almost pathologically careful. Although if you want to go to the bikeshed. Be warned, I trained in filipino martial arts. I also think it could be fun, I'm not a pascifist, and Fight Club was a good movie.

Anonymous said...

Scott Fraundorf:

Also to everyone, don't think we are getting side tracked from the real discussion. Since evidently all of us are making real sincere attempts at Inquiry, any discussion we are having pertains to it.

Anonymous said...

Scott Fraundorf:

Broken Yogi, I read further down. You know, while admittedly I could stand to be a little more organized, and on topic, you really have a mean, condescending manner of addressing me (and others), that doesn't really seem called for either.(I know you won't agree with me on that) For one, it would be one thing if I was talking about something not related to Maharshi + co. Inquiry, or dominating as in strangling out other people's voices, or mean or abusive commetns toward other people's points of view, but my comments have evinced no such things, just when my mind gets active, I get disorganized. my comments have been nice, thoughtful, and on spiritual experiences. They are what I value in other people's comments. I'm doing onto others as I'd have them do onto me. Unlike you, I wouldn't have a problem with someone rambling, or bringing up personal anecdotes. I personally do not have a problem with your comments, I don't feel that they are out of place here. But just like with me, you have been combative, defensive, attacking, and picking fights with alot of people here. I don't really value your mean, arrogant style. (but it's allowed) Because like me, people should be able to handle it, and they can. Yes, I get it, i was being too unfocused, I'll be more focused from now on, as much as possible, unless I forget. As I said, my comments are in no way impinging on anyone else commenting, so there should be no problem. Because I have Asperger's, and like any disability I have at times, less so now been more vulnerable, I have encountered many people who I would use the term abusive to describe them, who see me as an easy target. (I would include you in that category) Abusive because they try to use their power and position to pick on those, who they think cannot fight back, who they can corner, or who they can coalition build against. (which you are clearly trying to do) While I do think I have meandered too much in my comments, I'm not going to totally give in to this, or pack up and leave because you want me to, or you feel you can coalition build. The problem, is our attitudes at core on things are very different. I care about other people, as in not harming them, but not in not ruffling their egos. Not as in cateuring to their bigotry (such as yours)

David Godman can handle himself, he can run his blog fine. I trust David Godman, who is probably far more enlightened at this point then either of us, to know how to deal with things. If he felt either of our comments were problematic enough, he wouldn't put them up. The more Enlightened someone is, the more able, not less able they are to handle things, the less of a victim they are. I'm confident that differently then you are right now, David Godman does not conduct himself in the manner of a victim. I'm confident about that. if anything I imagine dispassionately, he is interested in all manner of interesting events that occur on his blog. And probably none of us, is Isvara and can see the deeper purpose in all these events. maharshi has roped in a cast of characters that are all very different for why they are interested in seeing from the Self-ward point of view. All manner of egos. Me and Broken Yogi, Ravi, Bookworm, David Godman and others have different sorts of egos, bringing with them many different personal histories, creativity. I view them all as valuable. Broken Yogi, you would do well to see things likewise.

Anonymous said...

Scott Fraundorf:

I don't know I thought the people who were disrespectful at Ramana Ashram, were not the ones who talked about their spiritual experiences too much, but those who thought they were in charge of the Ashram, and were dictating diet to Maharshi. But if I was there then, I'd leave it to Maharshi. I have a feeling that while just like you I'd need guidance, I wouldn't be thrown out of the Ashram by Maharshi "Gosh, me thinks the lady doth protest too much" Really what got you so riled at 'lil ole me.

Anonymous said...

Scott Fraundorf:

"""So yes, you can continue as you have been, and I will likely not post here very much in the future, and that's no great loss to anyone I'm sure."""

You are not so important that your leaving is going to manipulate anybody. This is what they call breaking your nose to spite your face. Why do that? Why not just surrender? Have fun, this forum is as good for you as anyone else. There are no hard feelings from my end. Your anger is all in your head. I'm just doing my best to not react to it, then you get more angry. Just chill.

Bookworm said...


If uou say 'advise' instead of 'advice' one more time it will have to be the bikeshed.
Your training and magical sricks might buy you a little time.

You say:
Yeah, Bookworm, I have no idea who is a Jnani, and an Ajnani. But in my worthless opinion Nisargadatta, and Krishnamurti were as Realized as Maharshi.

Why bother to have worthless opinions.
What is certain .. is:
Jnana is Ramana, Supreme Truth, 'That'

Ravi said...

The Holy month of Karthigai was ushered in on 16th November.December 11th,2008 is when there will be Karthigai Deepam when The Holy Fire will be lit atop Arunachala.
I wish to share this wonderful story :
Matri Devo Bhava
'Treat your mother as god' (matri devo bhava), says the Taittriyopanishad. Mother worship is quite old, as old as the Upanishads. Both father and mother are held in great respect in sanatana dharma, for it is from them that one learns life's first lessons, including one's mother-tongue. This is indeed the glory of sanatana dharma, the Eternal Religion, that Upanishadic dicta are not confined to recitation and reading only. There are people, even today, who practise them. They dare. And that is what gives strength to the Eternal Religion. One such recent instance is worth all our consideration in this context.
Kailashgiri, then a small boy in Jabalpur in Madhya Pradesh, once fell from a tree and seriously injured himself. He was rushed to a doctor but there was little chance that the young lad would survive his injuries. His mother did what countless mothers across the world do: she prayed to God. She prayed to Shiva, her chosen deity, to save her son and promised to undertake a journey on foot to Rameshwaram, a place some 2000 kms away. To her surprise as also the doctors', the boy recovered soon after.
But the young mother, like most people, could not fulfil her vow. Worldly duties kept her busy. She grew old. Added to it, she developed vision-problem and slowly became blind. She was repentant for not keeping her words.
Once she shared her grief with her son. He heard her patiently, and assured he would help her fulfil her vow. But how could the old lady, now blind, walk such a distance?
Of course, he was too poor to organize a vehicle, but he was rich in truthfulness and grit. He remembered Shravana Kumara of Ramayana fame who carried both his parents on a large bamboo balance on his shoulders. Kailashgiri too decided to walk on the footsteps of Shravana Kumara. He put together necessary bamboo and rope and made a similar carrier. On one side of the balance, he placed a cushion for his mother and on the other, he kept water container, cooking stove, Kerosene, a few provisions, vessels, etc. The whole thing, including his mother, weighed appox.135 kgs.
Thus started a journey of nine years. They first completed Narmada parikrama, a treacherous stretch in central India, around the river Narmada--an act considered to bestow great religious merit. It took them three years to complete these 3000 kms. Then they went to Chitrakoot, Prayag, Ayodhya and Varanasi--all places deeply venerated by Hindus.
On their way, they visited an unbelievable 9000 temples, small and big.
They reached Rameshwaram, their destination, in May 2005. The temple authorities along with hundreds of devotees gave them a befitting reception. Everyone was touched by the mother-son-ordeal, their single minded devotion to God, and the son's earnestness to fulfil his mother's wish. Moved by this exceptional event, many devotees offered air/train passage and even an air-conditioned car for them to return to their house, but it was politely declined, for, according to mother, the vow was taken to walk both ways.The newspapers in Madurai widely covered this event, but the two remained their modest selves, untouched by the publicity. Kailashgiri visited the Ramakrishna Math at Madurai when they visited the city after visiting Rameshwaram and met the monks there. Later, the mother-son duo went their self-designated way.
Kailashgiri, now in his early forties, and a bachelor, was asked how he spent these nine years. He recalled that his mother and he would generally get up at 3 am. The son would help his mother to complete her morning ablutions. Then she would do her daily puja before they left on their walking schedule by 6 a.m. Kailashgiri would walk five or six kms and would stop at a convenient place for rest--a roadside temple or a mantapam. Then he would cook and they would have their food. They would rest till sunset and he would walk another two or three kms before it became dark. Hence, on an average, he walked 8 kms daily. A weight of 135 kgs is not easy to carry. Kailashgiri would keep down his load every 100 meters, do a parikrama around his mother, bow down to her, and move on. Their basic needs were met by whatever generous people offered them.
The likes of Kailashgiri are rare indeed. In this age where money and material comforts receive priority over everything, such examples are hard to come by. How often sons, though young and rich, turn their parents to old age homes and here is a case of singular devotion to mother. One recalls how Swami Vivekananda too confirmed this hoary tradition of respect for mother by fulfilling his mother's vow of rolling on the ground of Kali temple in Kolkata. This was much after he had become well-known as a spiritual luminary and an international figure. May the tribe of the likes of Kailashgiri ever multiply and spread! "
We know too well how all the Great Masters showed the utmost respect and love towards their mothers-Sri Sankara,Sri Ramakrishna,Sri Bhagavan.
Best Regards.

Broken Yogi said...


Okay, I guess I can officially confirm my suspicion that saying anything at all would be a mistake, because the result - not too hard to predict - is more talking not just by you about yourself, but more talking by me about you, all of which is really the same problem.

If there's a reason David seems more "enlightened" than the rest of us, it's because he doesn't seem very interested in his egoic self, thoughts, problems, etc. What I notice about spiritually mature people, is the lack of interest in their own personal story, problems, thoughts, feelings, etc. It kind of just passes them by, whereas egoic people are just obsessed with themselves, can't stop talking or thinking about themselves, their spiritual journey, their understanding, etc. It's almost painful to watch someone acting out that inner struggle with themselves, but it's hardly unique to you. We each tend to be fascinated with the stream of our own thinking and feeling and spiritual trajectory. It takes a while to lose interest in that.

Now, when I compared you to a guy raving on a street corner I was making a rhetorical point, not a literal one. But that guy on the streetcorner does represent an archetype of our egos - never at rest, always thinking, always trying to get everyone else interested in our inner personal rant. After a while we have to recognize ourselves as that guy. My pointing it out to you shouldn't be viewed as an attack or mean or whatever, it's just how we are.

As for Ramana's ashram, what I get from my readings about the goings on there is that what people generally valued most was silence. People who talked too much disturb the silence. People who talk about themselves all the time are generally boring even in ordinary society, but in a spiritual setting they are almost intolerable. Maybe I have a lot more experience living in spiritual communities with a wide variety of personality types than you do. Dealing with people who obsessively talk about themselves is hard, because they actually enjoy being criticized, even when it offends them, in the sense that they've succeeded in having the conversation revolve around them, which is what they've always wanted anyway, and even done, in the sense that their inner dialog is already doing that. I may just be a little to used to being around people who will quickly point this out when we get into that mood of self-obsession, so that we can just drop it and return to a state of contemplation and quiet conversation that isn't so self-centered.

Anyway, as I mentioned before, I don't mean any personal harm to you, but I thought I should just mention how I felt seeing you repeating this endless self-confession every day here. I don't see anyone else using the forum in that manner, so it doesn't seem to be the general manner here, and I thought you could use some feedback to interrupt that flow of self-thinking.

If you value the different personality types in this world, maybe you should value mine, because one of my characteristics is that I tend to be blunt and tell people exactly what I think without much sugar-coating. I'm not the sarvadhikari here, and I'm not trying to play some power game, or get people to gang up on you, but I also can't just stand by and not speak out either. That's clearly a fault of mine, because speaking out doesn't seem to be doing either of us much good, but there it is. The value of being around other people is that you get feedback, and have to check your self-image at the door. Self-enquiry isn't about our self-image at all, it's about letting go of our self-image. So what you think about yourself isn't very important in the process. In the world of human relations, it's important to listen to other people, for real, and not constantly revert to one's self-image as a point of clinging, like a security blanket. You're right though, I can be a bit of an asshole, especially when I see people abusing a spiritual scene to act out their self-dramas. But clearly you're never going to see yourself that way, so I might as well just give it up.

I need to learn to let that impulse of mine go sometimes. I shouldn't be so attached to this site, but my personal circumstance is quite different than it was a few years ago. I live in virtual seclusion these days, working in private, and I perhaps depend too much on this blog of David's. All the more reason to spend less time here. So thanks for helping wean me of this place, and my tendency to indulge my own thinking too much, even in the cause of conversing about Ramana. You've been like a warning flare to me of what I don't want to become. You can of course do as you like, you don't need me to tell you that, and I don't need you to tell me that I won't be missed here. It was kind of obvious already.

So really, have at it. I'll look for something else to fit into. I'll still check in from time to time to see if David's written anything new, and maybe ask him a few questions, but I think I'll leave the exchange here alone. It's better for me to follow my own advice and cultivate more silence in my life.

Bookworm said...

Broken yogi you know...there are many websites and blogs about Ramana. Some are very good and I think probably most are sincere.

Again as you know...the number of
websites and blogs belonging to or dealing with, sincerely or not, teachers, teachings, Truth and religions etc. is almost uncountable.

You must be getting on a bit. Why waste what time you have left 'searching' through that lot?

Besides, you will never find a website or blog where the Guru Ramana, Self, Heart or Truth is more deeply expressed.

Anonymous said...

Scott Fraundorf:

I largely agree with you, and I should say that I don't not value your personality type. When I said that you were included. I was trying to end the sense of enemy-ship that I was sensing. Although I regretted the thing about abusiveness because I didn't want to fan the flames.

I still have an ego, and as all egos are it is self-obsessed. To be quite honest, I would talk abotu more global phenomenon, spiritual teachers, histories (I'm well read), but I'm fed up for myself with intellectualization, it feels too brainy, too in the head, too thought obsessed. Maharshi said that the you and the they stemmed from the I, so isn't whether you are talking about others, or talking about yourself the same thing since they both arise from the primal I-thought. So any talking about, is self-obsession, isn't it?

While I don't deny self-obsession, or that my comments have been at times annoying, although I feel I like others have uttered a few gems, am truly not looking for validation, or attention. Whether it is annoying to others, I'm writing for the passion of writing in itself, and that I'm deeply inspired by Maharshi, and company, and this particular philosophy, and that it was like a puzzle piece fitting perfectly into the puzzle, solving many of my dilemmas.

I'm not bringing this up as a crutch, but because I think it explains things. Asperger's, as I experience it, has to do with being out of the loop on imitative behavior, i.e. primate politics as it evidences itself in human communities. So yeah, there are unwritten social codes going on in all sorts of situations, that I just don't pick up on, or if I pick on them, I'm not certain about them. It is a disability as far as functioning in human "society". You, Broken Yogi, seem to me to be very good at this, from the little I have gathered, and I don't have much data, my guess is you are quite successful at "playing by the unwritten social codes", and you see me (the individual) not playing by them, and so it irritates you, or you want to help me out. You are not the first. The fact that you are successful, run a business, have been around probably more then one spiritual guru, know how to function in spiritual communities (which I would not equate necessarily with spirituality although they sometmies overlap), also fits this pattern.

But, and here's the catch, I think there is a strong disadvantage to that in some ways also, that I'm not sure you recognize. For instance, that's the source of conformity also. And I theorize that it seems that people's ability to play by the unwritten social codes of imitative behavior, also tend to share the "reality" of those others they have been hanging around with. I.e. your assumptions that your take on things applied generally, which I don't doubt that it does for some people. The ego is not only the self-concept, it also the world that is projected from the Self, correct? And if you accept that certain things are true, then you believe the world is real.

In some ways being out of the loop on imitative social behavior, on understanding the unwritten social codes going on around me, has been a boon, seriously for having a visceral understanding that the world is in me, and not the other way around.

Anonymous said...

Scott Fraundorf:

And another thing, supposedly Shankara liked to talk, liked to argue, yet he was as still as the ocean in a windless place. I've taken that as, my focus should be on being mentally silent, not necessarily verbally silent. Just like with renunciation, renouncing externally doesn't matter, but renouncing the person is what it is all about. In some ways, the more silent mind I've had, the more verbally proficient I've become. Hey, and look at Nisargadata Maharaj, see the clip on Youtube, he's basically screaming. He is the mad guy on teh corner. How do you like them apples?

Anonymous said...

Scott Fraundorf:

My point, Broken Yogi, is you don't have to leave, unless that truly is what is good for you.

Anonymous said...

Scott Fraundorf:

""""If there's a reason David seems more "enlightened" than the rest of us, it's because he doesn't seem very interested in his egoic self, thoughts, problems, etc. What I notice about spiritually mature people, is the lack of interest in their own personal story, problems, thoughts, feelings, etc.""""

While I agree with this, B.Y., I also think it's a sign of immaturity to not even admit that you have those problems, or that you are telling a story, or that you are interested in your problems, thoughts, feelings, but keeping it under a facade of stoic self-control. As long as those exist, I think it is mature to admit them, not to pretend you are above them.

Anonymous said...

scott fraundorf:

to bookworm, good point, there really is no point to talking, writing, expounding, thinking, only to deconstruct other people's talking, writing, expounding, thinking. That would be the only reason someone fully realized would utter words at all, isn't it?
Not a word is true.

Anonymous said...

""""I don't see anyone else using the forum in that manner, so it doesn't seem to be the general manner here, and I thought you could use some feedback to interrupt that flow of self-thinking.""""

Only a jnani can stop that flow of self-thinking, because then it's just one person's thoughts telling another person's thoughts to shut up. If you want to help my trouble with self-obsession, quit your own self-obsession cleverly disgusied to be about other people, and let that grace liberate me and others. I did think you made thoughtful points though.

Anonymous said...

""""I need to learn to let that impulse of mine go sometimes. I shouldn't be so attached to this site, but my personal circumstance is quite different than it was a few years ago. I live in virtual seclusion these days, working in private, and I perhaps depend too much on this blog of David's. All the more reason to spend less time here.""""

Sorry, I know I'm ridiculous, but I just wanted to add, what is wrong with you being a little more Self-Indulgent. It is the mind, in my experience that makes these truncating, dramatic actions to solve problems that are made up. I too, am without much of a life, and procrastinating for school, so I post comments too much. Objectively, you have a times posted too much too. So Indulge, Indulge Away!!! At least then you are living an inspired life, not a life disciplined to fascist micromanagement. Oh but now you have to save face, which means you can never come back or suffer embarressment. Who cares? I'm not judging, or trying not to.

Anonymous said...

Scott Fraundorf:

Sorry one last thing, I just think that while I don't want to be caught up in self-definitions. I think anyone else who had some of the social difficulties I've had would really, really understand a much deeper suffering. And like Broken Yogi, I don't think has really faced the kinds of adversities I have, now that isn't an excuse to be disrespectful, and I do my best not to be direspectful. If nothing else by always being nice, and encouraging to others, I feel like some of my inabilities can be overlooked. Most of you don't realize how much you rely on your ability to read each other's intentions, which helps you get by, and can also help you manipulate others. (both of which are necessary for survival) I can't do either. I never manipulate, almost have never told a lie, because I can't. I also have had tremendous difficulty fending for myself because just doing the job correctly isn't everything, understanding and playing the political games is important too. Broken Yogi as far as I can tell is great at that. (not a slight) Dating and relationships which lead to having families with mutual caring, rely on subtle interactions, eye contact, when to be affectionate. I have no clue. Now if people did want to kick me out of here because I'm being obnoxious, I'd leave no problem, because really writing about this stuff isn't the sadhana, and I can live without it. But I just wanted to leave you with something of awe inspiring suffering, and difficulty. Not for people to feel sorry for, but to understand that when you really suffer, when you really can't, the superficiality gets stripped away.

Ravi said...

I wish to share the following excerpt from the reminiscences of Sri K K Nambiar:
" 'Mrs. Victoria Doe'
After reaching London, I took an early opportunity to go to Epsom, which was about three quarters of an hour journey by train to meet Mrs. Victoria Doe at her quiet residence, at 17, St. Martins Avenue. It was
on 19.5.46, Mrs. Doe, who was nearing 80, lived with her only daughter, Miss Leena Doe. She had
never come to India, never seen Bhagavan Sri Ramana in flesh and blood. Yet I was deeply moved by
her devotion to Him. She had read about Him, prayed to Him, meditated on Him and lived in Him day in and day out. There was something trans-mundane, something related to a sphere other than the physical world that occasioned my visit to this elderly lady, who was a recluse to the social life in England. It seems she had written to the Ashram that much as she would have liked to go over to India to have a darshan of Sri Bhagavan, her circumstances did not permit it, and that she was very desirous if at least
meeting some one who had seen him and had the good fortune to sit at his feet. Hence, the visit I paid her on the suggestion from the Ashram, was, in fact, the fulfilment of her long cherished desire.
Mrs. Doe with shaking hands took from her shelves sheaves of letters received from the Ashram and after kissing them with great reverence handed them over to me for perusal. All those were letters
from the Ashram and had been meticulously preserved by her for many years. She had also with her
all the English Publications of Sri Ramanasramam. She opened one of the books and running her
shaky finger along the inscription on the first page “with Gracious Blessings from Sri Bhagavan”,
burst into tears of joy and devotion. When she composed herself, she said “Mr. Nambiar, how lucky you are to have been able to be with Him, to see Him and hear Him speak. Here we treasure these books and letters as representing Him. Now he has sent you here. I feel that He is with us now”. Such
love, such devotion to the Sage, so tenderly expressed, moved me to the depths of my being. Verily
His Kingdom is the Heart of the devotee, and I have always found Him there enthroned."
This sort of Devotion easily leads one to plumb the depths of one's Being which is what 'Self Enquiry' is all about.
Best Regards...Ravi

Ravi said...

Broken Yogi/Scott,
Friends,the source of disturbance is within us-it is not in the 'other person'.The following excerpt from the Gospel of Sri Ramakrishna is very typical-simple and clear(page 639):
"BHAVANATH (humbly): "I feel disturbed if I have a misunderstanding with someone. I
feel that in that case I am not able to love all"
MASTER: "Try at the outset to talk to him and establish a friendly relationship with him. If
you fail in spite of your efforts, then don't give it another thought. Take refuge in God.
Meditate on Him. There is no use in giving up God and feeling depressed from thinking
about others."

Scott,you wondered What Sri Bhagavan would have said!You know it too well.Do continue to share whatever you feel interests you.

Broken(Integrated)Yogi-I look forward to your continued participation and valuable contribution as before.

Each one of us have to learn the lessons in our own way,at our own pace.Satsangha is a valuable help in sustaining the enthusiasm along the way.

Wishing you all the Very Best wherever you are,whatever you are engaged in.Godspeed to you.

Best Regards.

Anonymous said...

Scott Fraundorf:

Ravi, Yeah, Maharshi may have said that (as far as I can tell he rarely admonished anyone), but I think Chinnaswami would have grabbed me by the scruff of my neck and kicked me all the way to out of Tamil Nadu. I'd probably get along with Chinnaswami (maharshi's sakti according to Annamalai Swami) like I've gotten on with Broken Yogi, smooooth! Although I think I'm such an obnoxious brat through writing, precisely because I'm so shy, and pathologically accomodating in person. It's safer when there's not another confusing person in front of me.

Anonymous said...

Scott Fraundorf:

Thats a good point Ravi, and I'm going to get alot more out of Satsanga by putting my Ignorance out there to be dispelled in the safe atmosphere of Satsanga as opposed to out in the world, where it is not safe.

Ravi said...

"but I think Chinnaswami would have grabbed me by the scruff of my neck and kicked me all the way to out of Tamil Nadu. "
Friend,I Had a hearty laugh!Do remember to include him in your forthcoming Arunachala Ramana comedy show!Sri Bhagavan is once again portrayed as a PANILENI VADU(person without work!)with only a few head movements and mostly staring into vacant space.

Good Luck and Best wishes!

Anonymous said...


...reminiscences of Sri K K Nambiar...

MOVING. A great soul meets a great soul. It is this light shining everywhere - we only need to be aware of it.

Momentarily I read Neale Donald Walsh, Conversations with God. It is astonishing to see that western spirituality today meets easily the same points the vedanta points to!

Unfortunately I can't translate important passages of this text into English to start a discussion, but I recommend this three volumes strongly.


Anonymous said...

Scott Fraundorf;

It's so surprising that you mention that about Neal Donald Walsch. Because I was going to refrence Conversations with God in the fact that the God he is referring to seems to be the a manifestation of the Self for himself. But I was also going to make a sarcastic comment that mentioning Walsch would be annoying to most. It was my thoughts that the Guru is really my own Self, the Self, as an archetype in my waking dream. And that when I feel the grace of the Guru, it helps to realize that it is internal, and not just being transmitted externally.

Anonymous said...

scott fraundorf:

Yeah, I was kidding, I get that Maharshi was actually very active with the chores around Ramana Ashram

Anonymous said...

Scott fraundorf:

Maybe it should be a Maharshi action figure blissfully sweeping who when you tug on his arm, says, "What so you are saying that isn't true, but everything else is?"

Ravi said...

"Momentarily I read Neale Donald Walsh, Conversations with God. It is astonishing to see that western spirituality today meets easily the same points the vedanta points to!"
I remember seeing a Book with this Title.Just that I have lost the habit of reading books.

"MOVING. A great soul meets a great soul. It is this light shining everywhere - we only need to be aware of it."
Quite so.Everytime I read this (I think that the complete article is in the Golden Jubilee Souveneir )I relish it all the more.
Best Regards.

Anonymous said...


...Just that I have lost the habit of reading books...

I know this, Ravi. It will come back, I'm almost sure.

How could you abandon divine thoughts, and certain books are no other then that?

Even when the mind knows: Now I'm myself the source of all this - it will come back. Bhagavan never lost his interest in studying books. And I neither.

The realization of That is a never ending journey. It is Gods own joy to explore Himself.


Ravi said...

Thanks for your good wishes.The only "Book"(?)that i lookup is the Gospel of Sri Ramakrishna-This is more to enjoy the presence of the Master and enjoy his divine GOSSIP!Also enjoy reading the other Book-Letters from Sri Ramanashramam,for the same reason,to enjoy the sannidhi-ofcourse Sri Bhagavan does not indulge in similiar GOSSIP!
Here is an Excerpt from Chapter 33 in the Gospel:
"Futility of mere study:

MAHIMACHARAN: "That is true, sir. Work is certainly necessary. One must labour hard. Only then does one succeed. There is so much to read! The scriptures are endless."

MASTER (to Mahimacharan): "How much of the scriptures can you read? What will you gain by mere reasoning? Try to realize God before anything else. Have faith in the guru's words, and work. If you have no guru, then pray to God with a longing heart. He will let you know what He is like.

"What will you learn of God from books? As long as you are at a distance from the market-place you hear only an indistinct roar. But it is quite different when you are actually there. Then you hear and see everything distinctly. You hear people saying: 'Here are your potatoes. Take them and give me the money.' "From a distance you hear only the rumbling noise of the ocean. Go near it and you will see many boats sailing about, birds flying, and waves rolling.

"One cannot get true feeling about God from the study of books. This feeling is something very different from book-learning. Books, scriptures, and science appear as mere dirt and straw after the realization of God.

"The one thing needful is to be introduced to the master of the house. Why are you so anxious to know beforehand how many houses and gardens, and how many government securities, the master possesses? The servants of the house would not allow you even to approach these, and they would certainly not tell you about their master's investments. Therefore, somehow or other become acquainted with the master, even if you have to jump over the fence or take a few pushes from the servants. Then the master himself will tell you all about his houses and gardens and his government securities. And what is more, the servants and the door-keeper will salute you when you are known to the master.' (All laugh.)"
Read a snippet and that is enough for a week or more.
I do understand that serious and sincere study is a Great help for people who are more of the 'Thinking'type.
Best Regards.

Bookworm said...


You say:
It is Gods own joy to explore Himself.

So..does God wear trousers then?

Anonymous said...

Scott Fraundorf:

No, Khakis

Ravi said...

"Unfortunately I can't translate important passages of this text into English to start a discussion, but I recommend this three volumes strongly."
Please share some excerpts that you find absorbing in this book.I am sure they will be valuable since you recommend them highly.
Best Regards.

Bookworm said...


You say:
'No, Khakis'

God could wear a skirt.
She, He, or It. Shit for short,
might even Be a naturist/nudist.
Who knows?

Bookworm said...

You say:
No, Khakis.

Could wear a skirt or even Be
a naturist/nudist.
Who knows?

Anonymous said...

Scott Fraundorf:

Or Bell Bottoms, and high heels. Hard to know. What was Maharshi's opinion on this?

Anonymous said...

Scott Fraundorf:

Broken Yogi (don't worry I'm not rekindling this debate) said I talk too much about myself, I'm aware that I do that, but it's mainly caution of saying anything as absolute truth, or talking about others, whom my ego cannot truly know but only gossip about, or bringing in historical facts when I know those abstractions even less, and the fact that the I is not dead (so I still mistake myself for an individual), but insofar as possible my attention is on being the Pure I, and eliminating duality. In my case, as David Godman had mentioned, the necessity of contact with a realized sage seems apropo., I believe though I did find a fully Realized sadguru quicker then I assumed that would happen, and it's been extremely helpful of me seeing outside the treadmill of my own ego in these last several months. But I'm going to in the future be more careful about being too dominant presence on recent posts.

Anonymous said...

On Sincerity and Earnestness:
"Sincerity and earnestness are necessities in the pursuit of Supreme Truth. With insincerity, who fools whom? If one is earnest to find the truth, he will be always undaunted, and will destroy the illusory fetters taht appear to keep him bound, so that his deepest yearnings are fulfilled. Being single minded in the pursuit of Self-Knowledge comes to those aspirants who recognize the utmost importance of realizing the Self, understanding that in no other way will one abide in enduring peace, genuine freedom, and unending joy. The conviction in the Truth drives one to realize it. If one's mind is undivided concerning this, that is, if faith is beyond doubt regarding the fact that the Absolute Self, indeed, exists and is realizable, the inquiry into the SElf rests on solid ground. Faith can be in the existence of the Absolute. Faith can be in the Knowledge of Truth that reveals that the Absolute and one's own SElf are identical. Faith in the nondual teachings that reveal this identity is of immense help. Once one has conviction in them, one can directly experinece that Truth for oneself by inquiry into the nature of the Self, and this inwardly verifies the Truth in which one originally had faith. Faith can be in those wise ones who have gone before and realized this Knowledge and in those sages who, having realized, proclaim the Truth and the way to realize it within oneself. Faith in one's own ability to realize, when fused with the humility mentioned earlier, is in keeping with the Truth that all are only teh Self and there is non one who cannot realize it." Nome, Four Requisites of Realization and Inquiry

Anonymous said...

"Hold on to the subjective awareness of “I” to the exclusion of all else."
Doesn't this also come under the category of "pursuing a goal that is unconsciously defined by one’s mental baggage"? If I'm pursuing self-enquiry as defined above, my mind is constantly telling me that that there are other objects in my awareness apart from 'I'. It (mind) also tells me that I will never get to the point when 'I' alone is present. Hence, isn't self-enquiry like any other sadhana because the performer of sadhana is constantly present anyway?

Clemens Vargas Ramos said...


... my mind is constantly telling me... (mind) also tells me that I will never get to the point ... Hence, isn't self-enquiry like any other sadhana because the performer of sadhana is constantly present anyway?...

The way is to get beyond the performer by dismissing all mind generated ideas and abiding in the source of the "i" and its thoughts (as Ramana taught).

Your mind is looking for results and therefore tells you all this things. These are the vasanas we need to overcome.

Simply try to be one or more steps ahead of your vasanas - but in the opposite direction. The way is backward - not forward.

Beyond the "i" there is no longer any performer. This is no philosophy but direct experience. Therefore a master once said: "Reality is not difficult to realize - it is difficult to believe in it (i.e., the result of the enquiry)."


Losing M. Mind said...

The conclusion I'm coming to, is that inquiry, yeah, if it's a practice that takes for granted the individual doing it, but inquiry, is not taking that for granted, that is what I think it's focusing on. The sense that I am an individual. I'm finding that perhaps it isn't a question or set of questions, it's focusing on the notion of myself as an individual as it arises. I think that is what is meant by the I or the I-thought. The idea being that the individual-sense, notion is not real. So by focusing on it, or locating it, there is nothing there, neither that individual nor it's world experience. That's my gist of it.

Anonymous said...

A few comments on Arunachela Grace:
A few elitists want a gated community near the Ashram!
Perhaps they can have a bold sign at the entrance to the gated community declaring: Poor people not welcome, sadhus not welcome, villagers not welcome. Back packers not welcome.
Screen out undesirables.
These people must be dim, as they obviously cannot understand the goodwill and beauty that streams out of the day to day life of Ramana, which is the teaching.

Anonymous said...

Remember the old story about God and the Devil walking along
and God sees Truth in front of them? God says, "Oh, look
there's Truth!" The Devil says, "Quick, give it to me! I'll
organize it."

Anonymous said...

Thanks for your replies.
'abiding in the source of the "i" and its thoughts'. The individual, I suppose, temporarily ceases to exist as long as he or she is abiding at the source. Somehow, I've never experienced it. There is always the feeling that 'I' am engaged in sadhana. I think the Self's grace is paramount when it comes to abiding at the source. It may not be something the individual can 'achieve'.
'it's focusing on the notion of myself as an individual as it arises.' But LMM, think about what your experience is. The individual never rises or sets in the waking state.
'So by focusing on it, or locating it, there is nothing there'. When I try to focus on the feeling of 'I', it is clearly discernible. So is my body, and its perceptions. The only time when nothing is there is at the source of 'I' - in deep sleep.

Losing M. Mind said...

"But LMM, think about what your experience is. The individual never rises or sets in the waking state.
'So by focusing on it, or locating it, there is nothing there'. When I try to focus on the feeling of 'I', it is clearly discernible. So is my body, and its perceptions. The only time when nothing is there is at the source of 'I' - in deep sleep."

I don't really understand that, because the sense of I, the sense of me, is imaginary. I guess in my experience, like right now, I'm trying to focus on this sense of individuality. Everything is still there in a sense, but the mind subsides, because the mind is the sense of me. It's individual-ness subsides when it is focused on. I don't find it to be easily discernible in a sense, because the sense of me is more phantom-like than solid. I would think if it is easily discernible as in an object, it isn't you, that isn't I, but a mental object. So, my understanding of inquiry, is to not take the existence of the inquirer for granted, but focus on them to see that they are not an individual entity.

Losing M. Mind said...

M.: In order that you might seek it. Your eyes cannot see themselves. Place a mirror before them and they see themselves. Similarly with the creation.“See yourself first and then see the whole world as the Self.”

See, I think that is maybe the conclusion I'm coming to, the placing a mirror is that when the self seeks the self, there is only the Self.

Losing M. Mind said...

" The individual never rises or sets in the waking state."

That is not my experience. The individual arises with each thought again. It seems like inquiry is really turning myself on myself. Not the body, but the sense of me. I don't really know what happens, or if it's expressable, though sometimes there is some profound bliss and less of an I and this feeilng. I don''t know what the end of sadhana looks like, but I suspect this is what inquiry is, and how to make the suffering mind subside. Most often my mind was suffering because it couldn't get what it wanted. I inquire ironically, because the happiness within has been the only happiness I've been able to get. But maybe that's everybody's experience.

Anonymous said...

In the embrace of Arunachela web site posted by Richard Clarke. Another Nome follower; has been racing around the Girivalam road by rickshaw, distributing idlies to the sadhus.
I wonder if Richard is aware that all the ashrams, Mutts and even some of the local restaurants feed sadhus and the poor. Is Richard trying to big note himself or is this another photo opportunity.

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