Friday, 17 April 2009

Why to write about self?

A question that I am asked quite frequently is why I take so much trouble to write about the nature of self and the means by which we can know ourself as we really are, when all that we really need to do is just to be vigilantly self-attentive. For example, a friend wrote to me recently asking:

If we are Infinite Self (Being), without qualities and interests, wherefrom comes the urge or interest to engage in so much writing on the subject of the Self.

If the mind is a myth, is then also all your writing a myth? We can say yes, but this ultimate myth (concept) of Self will destroy all other myths and concepts.

Is then your desire to write so much on the subject of the Self, satisfying your spiritual need, or is a consequence of your compassion for deceived suffering souls?
The following is the reply that I wrote:

Yes, the mind is certainly a myth, māyā, a figment of our self-deceiving power of imagination. Therefore our whole mind-centred life is also just a myth, as is our writing or any other activity that we may do. In fact everything that this unreal mind experiences is a myth, except for its fundamental knowledge ‘I am’, which alone is real.

Why then should there be any urge to write about self and the means to know it as it really is?

Thursday, 16 April 2009

How to start practising atma-vichara?

A friend wrote to me recently asking:

How to start with atma vichara?? Some says, “look at your thoughts”, some says, “see from where it occurs”, some says “see who does all this” — what in this is to be followed??? doesnt the one sees is also mind???

Even though always the grace of guru is showered, why is that we cannot have atma vichara always???

Please kindly clarify me in the approach of atma vichara because I many times doubt whether the way of vichara that I do is right.
The following is the reply that I wrote:

Ātma-vichāra is not looking at any thought other than our primal thought ‘I’, which thinks all other thoughts.

All other thoughts are anātma (non-self), anya (other than ourself) and jaḍa (non-conscious), and hence we cannot know our real self by looking at them. We are constantly looking at our thoughts throughout our waking and dream states, but we do not thereby know our real self. In fact, our attention to thoughts is the obstacle that obscures our knowledge of ourself, because we can attend to thoughts only when we experience ourself as this thinking mind.

Tuesday, 14 April 2009

Atma-vichara – the practice of 'looking at' or 'seeking' ourself

A friend wrote to me recently asking:

I was wondering if you are familiar with John Sherman (http://www.riverganga.org/) and his teaching and if you think what he says is the same as what you are saying self-inquiry is? John constantly says what he is teaching is to simply look at yourself. I asked you once before about “The Most Rapid and Direct Means to Eternal Bliss,” at that time you had indicated that the approach was the same as what you were saying on your blog and in your book.
The following is adapted from the reply that I wrote:

I had not heard of John Sherman until I read your mail, but I just now looked at his website and read part of one transcript, A Worldwide Meeting with John Sherman - November 1, 2008. To be honest I was not very impressed by what I read, because it appears to me that he does not have a truly deep or subtle understanding of Sri Ramana’s teachings.

For example, in one passage in this transcript he says: