Thursday, 13 July 2017

Pure self-awareness is not nothingness but the only thing that actually exists

A friend recently wrote to me asking, ‘What is the difference between nothingness and complete self-awareness? I understand the destruction of the mind is the ultimate goal of the practice, but does that mean we aim to just be nothing at all?’, but then added, ‘Obviously this question arises from an ego that is afraid to not be, but I am curious’. The following is adapted from my reply to him:

Pure self-awareness is what we actually are, so unless you can deny your own existence it is not nothing, and hence not nothingness either (as I explained in much greater detail in one of my earlier articles: Self-knowledge is not a void (śūnya)).

Pure self-awareness is ‘nothingness’ only in the sense that it is devoid of phenomena, but phenomena are actually nothingness , because they are illusory appearances that seem to exist only in the view of the ego, which is itself not real, so they do not actually exist.

Therefore pure self-awareness is actually devoid of nothingness. It alone exists, so it is the only thing, and hence it is everything, because there is nothing other than it. It is absolute fullness — the fullness of infinite, indivisible, immutable and eternal sat-cit-ānanda: being (sat), awareness (cit) and happiness (ānanda), which are one and the same thing.

This is why Bhagavan concluded verse 12 of Uḷḷadu Nāṟpadu (the meaning of which I discussed in detail in Uḷḷadu Nāṟpadu verse 12: other than the real awareness that we actually are, there is nothing to know or make known) by saying that since it shines without any other to know or to cause to be known, what we actually are is real awareness, and it is not nothingness or a void:
அறிவறி யாமையு மற்றதறி வாமே
யறியும துண்மையறி வாகா — தறிதற்
கறிவித்தற் கன்னியமின் றாயவிர்வ தாற்றா
னறிவாகும் பாழன் றறி.

aṟivaṟi yāmaiyu maṯṟadaṟi vāmē
yaṟiyuma duṇmaiyaṟi vāhā — daṟitaṟ
kaṟivittaṟ kaṉṉiyamiṉ ḏṟāyavirva dāṯṟā
ṉaṟivāhum pāṙaṉ ṟaṟi
.

பதச்சேதம்: அறிவு அறியாமையும் அற்றது அறிவு ஆமே. அறியும் அது உண்மை அறிவு ஆகாது. அறிதற்கு அறிவித்தற்கு அன்னியம் இன்றாய் அவிர்வதால், தான் அறிவு ஆகும். பாழ் அன்று. அறி.

Padacchēdam (word-separation): aṟivu aṟiyāmaiyum aṯṟadu aṟivu āmē. aṟiyum adu uṇmai aṟivu āhādu. aṟidaṟku aṟivittaṟku aṉṉiyam iṉḏṟāy avirvadāl, tāṉ aṟivu āhum. pāṙ aṉḏṟu. aṟi.

English translation: What is devoid of knowledge and ignorance [about anything other than itself] is actually aṟivu [knowledge or awareness]. That which knows [or is aware of anything other than itself] is not real aṟivu [knowledge or awareness]. Since it shines without another for knowing or for causing to know [or causing to be known], oneself is [real] aṟivu [knowledge or awareness]. It is not a void [or nothingness]. Know [or be aware].
The absence of any phenomena seems to be nothingness only in the view of the ego (which is the false awareness that he refers to here as ‘அறியும் அது’ (aṟiyum adu), ‘that which knows’, meaning that which knows or is aware of things other than itself), because we seem to be this ego only when we are aware of phenomena, so awareness of phenomena is the very nature of the ego. It appears and co-exists with the ego in waking and dream, and disappears with it in sleep.

Since the ego does not exist in sleep, in its view sleep seems to be a state of nothingness. However, though the ego does not exist then, in sleep we exist and are aware of our existence, and hence after waking we know ‘I slept’.

The ‘I’ that existed and was aware that it existed in sleep is not the ego but what we actually are. However, since we now experience ourself as this phenomena-knowing ego, we seem to be not aware of ourself as we actually are, and hence we do not have a clear impression of what we were actually aware of in sleep, which is nothing other than the pure self-awareness that we actually are.

All this will become clear to us to the extent that we practise being keenly and persistently self-attentive, because the more keenly and persistently self-attentive we are, the more familiar we will become with self-awareness in isolation (or at least relative isolation) from all phenomena.

105 comments:

real aṟivu said...

"What is devoid of knowledge and ignorance [about anything other than itself] is actually aṟivu [knowledge or awareness]. That which knows [or is aware of anything other than itself] is not real aṟivu [knowledge or awareness]. Since it shines without another for knowing or for causing to know [or causing to be known], oneself is [real] aṟivu [knowledge or awareness]. It is not a void [or nothingness]. Know [or be aware]."
It is not a little strange that the term "knowledge " has here clearly recognizable negative overtones ?
"...only in the view of the ego (which is the false awareness that he refers to here as ‘அறியும் அது’ (aṟiyum adu),‘that which knows’, meaning that which knows or is aware of things other than itself), because we seem to be this ego only when we are aware of phenomena, so awareness of phenomena is the very nature of the ego. It appears and co-exists with the ego in waking and dream, and disappears with it in sleep."
So 'awareness of phenomena' is just/rather an other word/term for "mind" - if I have not got this point wrong.

Noob said...

In my opinion:
Knowledge pertains to a dream while 100% self awareness does not as at 100% self awareness dreaming must stop as there is nothing to be known.

real aṟivu said...

Are we not instructed by Bhagavan to 'know the knower' or
to 'be aware of who is aware' ?

pūrṇatva said...

Obviously 'Knowing' in the above sense is used for having something only in the mind.
Therefore it means only wrong knowledge.

Noob said...

to know the knower is the instructions for us, the ego

Noob said...

frankly : to know something is a feature of a mind... hence no knowledge once the mind is dead, however to be aware is also a synonym, the subtle difference is in our hearts

Noob said...

also, when ppl say that we know that we were born from a mother and father, the question still pends what was first - the dream that evolved into the waking state or was the waking state that influenced the dream?

nanavu-tuyil said...

Noob,
"...the question still pends what was first - the dream that evolved into the waking state or was the waking state that influenced the dream?"
What use/gain would we have to know the answer to that question ?

Sanjay Lohia said...

The following transcript in taken from the video: 2017-07-08 Ramana Maharshi Foundation UK discussion with Michael James on the power of silence (56 minutes onwards). I have tried to paraphrase Michael's ideas:

We fall asleep every night because of tiredness, because our constant mental and physical actions make us too exhausted, and therefore we are not in a position to continue thinking and acting. However, Bhagavan was never tired or exhausted, because he (the real he) never acted in any way whatsoever. Yes, we saw his body and mind acting, but according to him he was not that body and mind, and therefore he never acted, and as a result was ever fresh, ever energetic.

We may consider our body to be like a machine, say like a car, and we may consider our mind to be like a computer (since it processes information). A car may run out of petrol, and a computer may run out of battery. In order to re-energize these we have to put some energy from outside – that is, we have to put some petrol from outside in case of a car, or have to plug in our computer in the volts. Only such measures can give them power to run again. We can’t keep them idle for, say, eight hours and expect them to regain power again, can we? But how do we regain energy and power simply by sleeping? This renewed energy after we get up from sleep indicates that we (our source) are the place of all power and energy.

The source of all energy is ourself- our pure self-consciousness. Because the jnani is always established in his true state, he is ever full of energy, and therefore he does not need any sleep to re-charge his batteries, as it were. Yes, at times Bhagavan seemed to be sleeping, but in fact he was ever alert. People used to sleep in Bhagavan’s hall, and if someone woke up and looked at Bhagavan he may be seen to be asleep (that is, he may be seen with his eyes closed), but if any one even stirred a little he would at once open his eyes.



real aṟivu said...

Sanjay Lohia,
actually it is a great miracle that even the spurious ego and mind live on the power and energy of their/our source - our pure self-awareness.

phenomena-knowing ego said...

"However, though the ego does not exist then, in sleep we exist and are aware of our existence, and hence after waking we know ‘I slept’."
The fact that we after waking know that we slept is indeed significant, important and considerable.
Wow, do we live really for ever and ever ?

"The 'I' that existed and was aware that it existed in sleep is not the ego but what we actually are. However, since we now experience ourself as this phenomena-knowing ego, we seem to be not aware of ourself as we actually are, and hence we do not have a clear impression of what we were actually aware of in sleep, which is nothing other than the pure self-awareness that we actually are."
In all probability this above statement seems to tell the truth.
Presumably the ascertainment of the truth has to be pursued (only) by making own inquiries into that subject. May I put the question whether there is any proof of truth for it ?
Or is there already produced evidence to back up the correctness of this statement ?

prajnana said...

Michael,
"All this will become clear to us to the extent that we practise being keenly and persistently self-attentive, because the more keenly and persistently self-attentive we are, the more familiar we will become with self-awareness in isolation (or at least relative isolation) from all phenomena."
What would you do in my case ?
From somewhere or somehow I do not have not much inclination to be keenly and persistent self-attentive, although I am engaged in a study of the writings/teachings of Sri Bhagavan Ramana Maharshi of Tiruvannamalai/Arunachala for some time/years.
The reason for that behaviour is apparently that my practice is nearly always interwoven with the inability to be fully and meticulously or thoroughly self-attentive because I am lacking in the required vigilance.

nanavu-tuyil said...

Michael,
"Pure self-awareness is what we actually are, so unless you can deny your own existence it is not nothing, and hence not nothingness either ...".
Can we trust our own maya-deceived ego-awareness which - as has been proved - makes a fool of us and (possibly) leads us to believe in a perfect undeniable or unquestionable "own existence" ?
Can we trust our ego which is not even aware of what it actually is, namely pure self-awareness ?

Sanjay Lohia said...

The following extract is taken from the video: 2017-04-23 (afternoon) Ramana Maharshi Foundation UK: discussion with Michael James (1:04 onward). I have paraphrased Michael’s words, and have also mixed my own manana with his ideas:

Whatever value we give to anything is entirely subjective: that is, we give value to things depending upon our likes and dislikes. Gold has a lot of value for most of us, but it is no better than mud for a sage. So there is no objective value in this world. Therefore, we have to decide what we should value the most, or consider to be our paramount duty. As Bhagavan once said:

Only by knowing Self can we attain real and enduring happiness; so long as we do not know Self we will be endlessly courting and experiencing misery; therefore our first and foremost duty is to know Self. All other efforts will only end in vain.

Bhagavan says ‘All other efforts will only end in vain’, but don’t we give great value to ‘all other efforts’? Don't we foolishly ignore that which Bhagavan wants to give us? Yes, we do foolishly give value to everything else, but fail to value our practice of atma-vichara.

We have to ask ourself, do we want what is real or not? If we want what is real, we should question the reality of everything. Bhagavan has pointed out to us, why we cannot be what we take ourself to be. We consider ourself to be this body, but where was this body in our sleep? If we can exist without this body (as in sleep), we have to seriously doubt whether or not we are this body. And if we are not even sure about our true identity, how can we be sure about our knowledge about anything else?

Thus we have to doubt everything, in fact, according to Bhagavan, we should doubt even the doubter: ‘may be this doubter itself is false’… Therefore, we should investigate and find out who we really are.

What is the benefit of such self-investigation? Since we were perfectly happy in sleep, but now have all these troubles, problems, dissatisfaction and so on, we have to infer from this that taking ourself to be this body could be the main cause of all our dissatisfaction. So how can we give up this ‘I am this body idea’? According to Bhagavan, we can give it up only by self-investigation.

Thus sooner or later we will be drawn to Bhagavan’s teachings, because without attending to ourself we will not experience what we actually are, and without experiencing ourself as we actually are we will be ‘endlessly courting and experiencing misery’, to use Bhagavan’s words.



prajnana said...

Sanjay Lohia,
1. "Only by knowing Self can we attain real and enduring happiness; so long as we do not know Self we will be endlessly courting and experiencing misery; therefore our first and foremost duty is to know Self. All other efforts will only end in vain."
We all would like to know or be what we actually are.
But can we by free will change leading our shadowy existence ? If it is not destined for someone by prarabda karma to give up immediately or at least soon the 'I am this body-idea' he or she will not be able to practice persistent self-investigation.
2. Your question "We consider ourself to be this body, but where was this body in our sleep?" is easily to answer. Your wife would certainly confirm that during your sleep-state your body was lying in bed.

Salazar said...

prajnana, it is true, prarabhda karma determined even your last comment, it was determined that you would be writing this exact comment.

But at any time you have the freedom to not identify with the body and its action. You said FIRST we have to give up the "I am the body idea" and then we'll be able to practice persistent self-investigation.

You have it backwards. if you could give up the "I am the body idea" before doing vichara, vichara would not be necessary anymore. The "I am body idea" is so strong it is mostly not on a conscious level, without vichara that idea will persist. Because vichara will clear vasanas and unconscious vasanas will come up to the "surface" to get rid once and for all.

Re. the wife seeing the husband's body - I have heard that argument before many times... Let me just say that there are no "others", so there is only "you", everything else is a projection, incl. Salazar, Sanjai Lohia, Michael James, and your wife ;-)

Now let your mind digest that! LOL

prajnana said...

Salazar,
yes, you are right, after annihilation of the "I am the body idea" atma-vichara is not necessary anymore.
The freedom to not identify with the body and its action may be theoretically "in any time" but that freedom is in our experience certainly restricted and steered by one's prarabdha.
Re. the wife's attestation to the presence of the husband's body is of course applicable only in the relative sense/reality of the seeming world-appearance.
As you imply: In absolute pure self-awareness nothing else can neither actually exist not even seem to exist.
But what is after mental digestion of your statement and LOL ?

Salazar said...

prajnana, it is not only "theoretically" so but in all reality. Prarabhda karma determines one's interest and desire to look for freedom but the actual decision if we attend to the mind or body or Self is ours only. We cannot use prarabhda karma as an excuse for that.

I said let your mind digest that because a mind cannot really grasp that, maybe somewhat conceptually but not really. Alas only a direct experience of Self will do.

I find it always funny when I read elaborate stated "philosophies" like the "there are no others" when it can only be a mental image until it is finally directly experienced. To play around with these concepts is a dead end.

However, that does not pertain to what Michael does or Sanjay Lohia's nice excerpts of Michael's videos. I feel inspired and encouraged reading that even after so many years on a spiritual path. There is a fine balance with everything, walking on the razor's edge. :-)

Sanjay Lohia said...

prajnana, only our free-will can enable us to give up our ‘shadowy existence’. Our ego is nothing but a shadow or a formless phantom, and therefore we can ‘destroy’ it only by looking at it closely and keenly. Destiny plays no part in our practice of self-investigation, because destiny controls only our outward life. Therefore, destiny can never stop us from turning within.

Yes, if I get up from sleep my wife will confirm that I was asleep sometime back, but should I believe her? No, if I consider Bhagavan’s teachings, I should not believe her. Why? It is because Bhagavan says everything comes into existence only when our ego comes into existence, and therefore it is only when my ego comes into existence that I project a person called ‘Sanjay’ and also project a wife. If I have to believe my wife, I should ask her to come to me while I am asleep and confirm that I (Sanjay) exist then and only then I should believe her. But can she ever come to me while I am asleep?

All this may sound quite fantastic and unbelievable, but Bhagavan has clearly thought us that this is true. How to find out whether or not this is true? The only way is to investigate ourself and look at this ego hard enough. This will make it vanish. Only then we can know with certainty about these matters.

According to Bhagavan, our final state will be that of ajata (non-born, non-created). Once we experience ajata we will experience that anything called 'world' never existed in the first place, and therefore we will clearly understand that whatever we experienced earlier (wife, world or whatever) was just our ego’s imagination. Hence these were just our dream creations, and therefore existed only in our mind.

When we are operating in this world, we should act in it as if it is real? But we should step back and totally ignore this world-appearance when we are trying to practise self-investigation.

prajnana said...

Salazar,
"Alas only a direct experience of Self will do."
For that we have to pay any price. Even our most "precious" ego must urgently retreat from our really virtuous target.

prajnana said...

Sanjay Lohia,
"Destiny plays no part in our practice of self-investigation, because destiny controls only our outward life. Therefore, destiny can never stop us from turning within."

But...In a certain degree the quality/intensity/depth/strenghth and particularly the steadfastness of our practice of self-investigation depend quite well on our prarabdha.
Yes, yes...once we experience ajata we will experience...
We speak here about a future occurence though highly desired already now.
As you say "Only then we can know with certainty about these matters."
Kind regards.

prajnana said...

Sanjay Lohia,
when you say "I should ask her to come to me while I am asleep and confirm that I (Sanjay) exist then and only then I should believe her. But can she ever come to me while I am asleep? " that is too much to expect. You are asking the impossible.
Not only that she cannot come to you while you are asleep how would you ever be able to perceive her fictitious confirmation of the existence of your resting body when your mind is then absent ?

kalpita said...

Sanjay Lohia,
"Our ego is nothing but a shadow or a formless phantom, and therefore we can ‘destroy’ it only by looking at it closely and keenly."
That project of destruction of the ego will possibly prove to be difficult if not impossible because how to look at a formless phantom ?

Salazar said...

prajnana, you said: "But...In a certain degree the quality/intensity/depth/strenghth and particularly the steadfastness of our practice of self-investigation depend quite well on our prarabdha."

I don't believe so, "quality", "intensity", "steadfastness", etc. are judgments of the mind. Something we cannot rely on, in fact the mind tries to undermine vichara with arguments like that.

To wallow in notions of intensity, progress, difficulty is the very reason why we are bound. These thoughts have to be abandoned. It is highly recommended to acquire the attitude that realization is happening THIS very moment. And not listening to the whining of the ego about insurmountable obstacles.

It is always good to remember that we ARE already Self and only the thought(s) that we are not is the obstacle. Bhagavan was very clear about that!

prajnana said...

Salazar,
what you say is surely not wrong. However, I depicted my own impression and view about the fact that my practice of self-investigation falls almost constantly into difficulties. Thinking that we are already self is unfortunately not of the same value as direct self-rememberance. The wallow in the mud of unfavourable notions is only the consequence of my unsatisfied yearning for being aware of my real nature.

Salazar said...

prajnana, of course the thought "I am Self" is not making one self. Why? Because it is not believed, "deep down". But if we can believe Annamalai Swami, affirming with deep intent and love "I am Self" can weaken the wrong belief to be a body and mind. Of course that cannot be done mechanically.

I also struggle from time to time and I have observed that I go through guna cycles. When sattva is predominant vichara seems easy and less obstacles are perceived. When it switches to a more rajasic mode I have problems to stay focused and my mind wanders a lot. Finally if tamas raises its ugly head I am not interested at all in vichara, I whine and struggle with everything and only prayer to the guru can help me then. In that phase I do not even attempt vichara what is perfectly fine.

Good luck my friend!

prajnana said...

Salazar,
so sometimes we sit in the similar shit and the tamasic terror let us whine for mercy.
Take care and good luck too my friend and fellow sufferer !
Now the mind desires to vanish soon behind the wall of sleep.

Sanjay Lohia said...

kalpita, I agree, if something is totally formless, how can we look at it? Let me try to put this more clearly and accurately:

Michael often gives us the following example. Let us suppose we are waking through a forest in dark, and there is hick foliage all around us. We may experience some phantom-like creatures following us. This could be a result of moonlight filtering through the foliage and thereby giving us a wrong impression that there are some frightening creatures near us. However, when we turn towards these creatures, we will find that there are no such creatures, and therefore our fright will disappear.

These phantoms are like our ego. It does not actually exist, but seems to exist as long as we do not at it keenly. Once we look at our ego hard enough or long enough it will take flight, and thereafter all our problems will be over, never to return again.

kalpita said...

Sanjay Lohia,
yes that given example illustrates what you/is meant.
By the way, you suppose walking through...thick foliage (not waking...hick...).
As well...as long as we do not (....)look at it keenly...

Roger Isaacs said...

Salazar says:
"quality", "intensity", "steadfastness", etc. are judgments of the mind. Something we cannot rely on, in fact the mind tries to undermine vichara with arguments like that.


Yes, it might be the case that obsession with "quality" and so forth is a distraction.

But Bhagavan also says:
The degree of freedom from unwanted thoughts and the degree of concentration on a single thought are the measures to gauge spiritual progress.

kalpita said...

Roger,
any obsession is seldom or never auspicious.

Salazar said...

Roger, it is easy to misunderstand Bhagavan. Especially if one tries to understand with the mind.

"Who" measures? Only the mind/ego. And therefore you've entered already delusion. I am pretty sure Bhagavan didn't make that comment to people so they would measure their "progress" to what he's said. It is a pointer to take to the heart and then forget about it!

Your mind clings at concepts and specific meanings, the truth is beyond that. How often do I have to repeat that the mind has to shut up? Hellooooooooooo ;-)

Salazar said...

But, but, but, but .............

That's the mind resisting the truth which appears when it shuts up!

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

Friends,
Have deleted the comment above meant for another thread here...after posting it in the other thread.

Sanjay Lohia said...

kalpita, I thank you for pointing out the typos in my last comment. Our ego is the first error, and as long as this error seems to exist we are prone to make errors in whatever we do.

kalpita said...

Sanjay Lohia,
no matter.
Nevertheless it is said that (even) the ego is supported by brahman for the purpose of its seeming rising and setting. So we seem to have to win over brahman in order to avoid the fundamental error of the ego's arising. But anyhow that sounds a little absurdly.

Sanjay Lohia said...

I would like to take some of Bhagavan quotes and share my manana (reflections) on these quotes. I welcome discussion on these comments so that it helps all of us deepen our understanding of Bhagavan’s teachings.

Bhagavan: The prime duty of a Guru is to establish the certainty of His existence in his disciples and having done that he is free to leave.

My note: Bhagavan is ourself as we really are, and therefore he can never leave us, nor can we ever leave him. He is the infinite, unchanging reality, other than which nothing exists. So he is ever available to us. His presence and power is as potent now, as it was when he was in his body.

When Bhagavan was about to drop his mortal coil, the devotees around him were very sad thinking that Bhagavan was about to leave them. In order to lift their morale he repeatedly told them: where can I go, I am here. ‘Here’ means ‘everywhere’, because ‘here’ is ‘everywhere’, thereby indicating that he was not the body that they took him to be. He is the eternal presence, and therefore his grace or love is always flowing towards us.

We just have to turn within, where he is ever available, keenly and steadily, and he will take over our entire life. Gradually but surely we will be pushed out of the picture. We should have no doubts about this.

kalpita said...

Sanjay Lohia,
when Bhagavan is "ourself as we really are" or "the eternal presence" you seem to start from the assumption that "we" are at present somebody other. But can we be at all anything other than what we actually are ?

Salazar said...

From reading previous comments I know that the pre-dominant stance on this blog is that a Jnani in a body is not necessary and I can see the reasoning why. Bhagavan is Self and Self is the inner most “core” of our being. Therefore one can tune into that without the need for a guru in flesh and blood.

Strangely though, gurus like Papaji were quite adamant that a living guru is necessary for most, that sat-sang in the presence of a realized guru is priceless. However it requires extremely good karma to come into that situation.

So what are those supposed to do who never were in the presence of a Jnani? I’d say to go on with vichara and not to worry about that, Bhagavan will send a guru when the time is ripe and if it is necessary. That might be in a next life.

However one should not minimize the importance of a living guru just because one does not have had the opportunity to be in the presence of one. One does not have to call the grapes sour just because they hang far up there.

I am wondering, how many on this blog have the desire to be in the presence of a Jnani in flesh and blood? I personally cannot imagine that anybody would scoff at an opportunity like that. I certainly would travel around the world to meet an enlightened master.

However, I don’t believe that there is currently a public known Jnani anywhere.

Sanjay Srivastava said...

"However, I don’t believe that there is currently a public known Jnani anywhere."

We may like to think that had we been in Bhagavan's times, we would have surely recognised him and rejoiced in his satsanga. However, let us not forget that even in Bhagavan's times many who came for his darshan went away un impressed. For most part of Bhagavan's life, very few people recognised him. His fame spread only at the fag end of his physical life. So even if a true jnani is living somewhere, unless our prarabdha is such, we will not be able to meet him. Or even if we meet him, we may not be able to recognise him.

Sanjay Lohia said...

Sanjay Srivastava, I totally agree with you. We can never know a jnani. He could be a rikshaw puller. How can we say with certainty he is not.

Salazar said...

Sanjay Srivastava, yes I agree with you, unless the Jnani is publicly recognized as such it is impossible to know for sure. Papaji too became only well known in the last years of his life, before that it was impossible to even find him unless it was supposed to be that way.

bhāvaṉātīta said...

Salazar,
are we not permanent in the presence of a Jnani or of jnana ? That we are aware of it only in dreamless sleep is quite another matter.
Is not Arunachala Hill called the very embodiment of Siva-jnana ?
That we are not aware of and attracted to it is quite a different matter.
For my part I consider Arunachala Hill in its full subtle significance as my satguru.
Even I am not yet worthy of it I try to prove myself worthy of it at least finally. So a "public known Jnani" is here quite well though it consists not of flesh and blood but of rock, boulder and above all of the bright light of jnana.
As Sanjay Srivastava generally remarks meeting and recognizing a true jnani is a case of prarabdha and discovery/cognition.

Ramesh said...

Only Jnanam (Arivu) Exists (unconditionally, without any time / space / vyakti restrictions too).

Jnani, Prarbdha etc do not exist at all.

sat - bhava said...

Ramesh,
your first statement "Only Jnanam (Arivu) Exists (unconditionally, without any time / space / vyakti restrictions too)." is inprinciple certainly correct.
Your second claim in its strict sense seems to be at least debatable.
But then you would possibly explain that discussion does not exist at all.

Sanjay Lohia said...

kalpita, our true nature is anadi, ananta, akhanda sat-chit-ananda. However we feel that we are limited in time and space, as this body, don’t we? Therefore, we do feel that we are separate from our timeless and spaceless existence, and it is only because of this limitation that we require a guru and his teachings. Only a real sadguru can guide us to come out of this limitation.

When we experience a world, we first limit ourself to a body, and it is only through the senses of this body that we project and experience this world. We are the infinite whole, but we seem to be confined within this body. This confinement stifles and suffocates us, as it were, and we want to break free.

This urge to break free from our self-imposed (or ego-imposed) confinement is what make us do all sorts of sadhanas. However, we have to finally practise self-investigation, because only this practice can free us of all our limitations. The root of our bondage in our ego, and this ego can be annihilated only by looking at it keenly and vigilantly. Sooner or later we will come to know that this ego never existed in the first place. Therefore there was never any bondage.

Sanjay Lohia said...

Salazar, you say, ‘I am wondering, how many on this blog have the desire to be in the presence of a Jnani in flesh and blood? I personally cannot imagine that anybody would scoff at an opportunity like that. I certainly would travel around the world to meet an enlightened master’.

We all have felt the desire to meet a jnani in flesh and blood. However, having come to Bhagavan’s teachings we soon realise that the jnani is not flesh and blood. He is what we really are. As Bhagavan used to say ‘jnana alone is the jnani’. Since jnana (pure self-awareness) is what we are actually are, we can find the real jnani only in the core of our heart.

Isn’t it much simpler to turn within and be in communion with the inner ‘jnani’? Why should we go around the world searching for 'an enlightened master', which we or may not find. Even if we find one can he give us any teaching which is more clear, simple and direct than the teachings of Bhagavan? Having come to Bhagavan we need no other guru.

Ravi said...

Friends,
The need for a Self Realized Guru to guide the earnest aspirant is a very pertinent and interesting topic and it is well worth our attention.We may consider two excerpts from 'Talks with Sri Ramana Maharshi'.

1.Talk 198,Sri Bhagavan says:"A person begins with dissatisfaction. Not content with the world he seeks satisfaction of desires by prayers to God; his mind is purified; he longs to know God more than to satisfy his carnal desires. Then God’s Grace begins to manifest. God takes the form of a Guru and appears to the devotee; teaches him the Truth; purifies the mind by his teachings and contact; the mind gains strength, is able to turn inward; with meditation it is purified yet further, and eventually remains still without the least ripple. That stillness is the Self. The Guru is both exterior and interior. From the exterior he gives a push to the mind to turn inward; from the interior he pulls the mind towards the Self and helps the mind to achieve quietness. That is Grace. Hence there is no difference between God, Guru and Self".

2.Talk 282:D.: It is said that the Guru can make his disciple realise the Self by transmitting some of his own power to him? Is it true? M.: Yes. The Guru does not bring about Self-Realisation. He simply removes the obstacles to it. The Self is always realised. D.: Is there absolute necessity of a Guru for Self-Realisation? M.: So long as you seek Self-Realisation the Guru is necessary. Guru is the Self. Take Guru to be the Real Self and your self as the individual self. The disappearance of this sense of duality is removal of ignorance. So long as duality persists in you the Guru is necessary. Because you identify yourself with the body you think the Guru, too, to be some body. You are not the body, nor is the Guru. You are the Self and so is the Guru. This knowledge is gained by what you call Self-Realisation. D.: How can one know whether a particular individual is competent to be a Guru? M.: By the peace of mind found in his presence and by the sense of respect you feel for him. D.: If the Guru happens to turn out incompetent, what will be the fate of the disciple who has implicit faith in him? M.: Each one according to his merits.

If we have followed the lives of great devotees like Muruganar,Annamalai Swami,Kavyakanta Ganapathy muni,etc...they were drawn to Bhagavan and some of them after having been acquainted with his teachings...so they did seek his physical proximity and got caught up in the teaching in an inescapable manner.

continued....

Salazar said...

Sanjay Lohia, of course and I am not proposing to go out there and start looking unless there is the real deal and the location is already known.

Thank you for all of the responses.

Salazar said...

And....I'd not go to a sat-guru for his teachings but to just be in his presence.

Ravi said...

Necessity For a Self Realized Guru continued...

We will next consider Sri Annamalai swami's diary (This is published in Tamizh and not yet translated into English) entry no 33:

33. On the night of 18.2.38, a devotee asked Sri Bhagavan: “How long should one stay with the guru? I read in The Sunday Times-Kanjangad Swami Ramdas had written that it is good for one to stay away after having satsanga(with the guru) for a few days and knowing the means of Sadhana. Contrarily if one stays put, it will be akin to the stunted growth of a small tree growing in the shade of a big tree. I do not know whether this is right or wrong. Sri Bhagavan should clarify this.”

Sri Bhagavan pointed out the following verse from Kaivalya Navaneetham, (chapter2, verse 2):

"The pure minded and earnest seeker of knowledge
Adheres to the guru like a young monkey clings to its mother,
Right from the moment of wrong identification with the body constituted of five elements
Till the moment of attainment of Nirguna videha mukti."

He further said: For one who does gurukulavasam (staying with the Guru) always and forever inseparably, like a person and his shadow, where is the question of his leaving it and going out? What does it mean to stay in it? For such a one it is gurukula vasam only at all places.

It appears as if Bhagavan and Papa Ramdas are not saying the same thing ...but this is only seemingly so...for Bhagavan did ask Annamalai Swami to stop visiting him...we know that story too well ...and this is exactly what Papa Ramdas had said!

continued...

Sanjay Lohia said...

Ravi, what Bhagavan says in Talk 198, as quoted by you, is quite pertinent to our discussion. Our spiritual journey begins with dissatisfaction and ends only with complete satisfaction. The journey between these points is called sadhana.

Bhagavan says, ‘The Guru is both exterior and interior. From the exterior he gives a push to the mind to turn inward; from the interior he pulls the mind towards the Self and helps the mind to achieve quietness’. Though guru is both exterior and interior, the job is the exterior guru is point us to the interior guru, and having done so, his job is over.

Thus we should eventually give up even our attachment to the name and form of Bhagavan, because he resides only in our heart. His outward form was a temporary and perishable manifestation, whereas he is eternally residing in us as ourself.

Ravi said...

Necessity for a Self Realized guru continued...

It is clear that there is a role for an 'outer' guru in flesh and blood and there is the inner guru ever present to draw us inwards...and although we make this sort of a distinction,the guru is one only.

If we consider that the teachings(words of the Guru)are available in printed format and one can read them and dwell on them ....Is this the same as contacting the 'outer guru' ? For what is he going to tell us in addition to what is already said in the printed matter...and which in turn is elaborately 'explained' in forums like this?...and further more as devotees of 'Bhagavan' we already have 'Bhagavan' as our guru?...it is just that we have to earnestly pursue the teaching.

The above line of thought looks very valid but its strength has to be assessed and this deserves a critical examination...Just what is the teaching?...it is that the 'ego' that we identify as the self is to be seen as an impostor and shown the door...there is nothing else to be done.

What is the 'ego'?...It is that which isolates us and shrinks us...and does it get eliminated by our being devotees of 'bhagavan'?...Just who is 'our Bhagavan'?...Is he 'Bhagavan' if we differentiate him from 'other' gurus and cling to him?...and does it serve any purpose if we limit 'his teachings' to the 'words' he spoke or to the works he 'wrote'...and that too only the 'authentic' of his disciples...and insulate ourselves from all other teachings that also serve precisely the same purpose...ending the reign of the ego and its isolation.

We may say that we do not want to be 'confused' by looking at 'other' teachings by 'other' gurus!...If we are clear regarding the 'teachings' of Bhagavan where is the question of getting confused in whichever way they are stated by 'other' gurus.

Friends,please do not take me amiss...I am saying this in right earnest ...many of us do have this difficulty although we may not be aware of this or we do not wish to confront this...and this is precisely where the 'outer' guru will be of tremendous help and aid...he can deliver the needed 'Hammer blows' to make us come to our senses and provide true clarity...Most of us definitely need this 'outer push' of an external guru so that we grow sensitive to the pull of the 'inner' guru who is our very Self...and hence fundamental and universal, the jagadguru.

continued...

Salazar said...

From what I have read about the lives of Jnanis, they all (with the exception of Bhagavan) were in contact with a living sat-guru (during their last life) and these encounters have been significant. Now we are talking about highly advanced devotees who were in their last lives. Now why would these encounters happen if there would not be a need for it?

And they were all “attached” to the guru until they let it go. When you are in the presence of a sat-guru your heart can open and a very powerful love for the guru can come up which sweeps away everything else. To let go of that seems almost impossible.

Ravi said...

Friends,
we shall continue this topic in a leisurely manner...one thing is that it will help us in our sadhana.

For the moment,let me state one simple thing that all devotees of Bhagavan learnt in his presence...Bhagavan called everyone as 'swami'...Annamalai Swami,Kunju Swami,etc...all are only swami(Self) and not Asamis(persons) ...this is the spirit with which I shall address one and all here...and all that I am sharing is for my manana only.

Namaskar

Roger Isaacs said...

Of course there are Jnanis living today.

The problem is that this is a theoretical discussion and not a practical one. If this were a practical search for a jnani... we would be earnestly searching in the world to find a jnani matching our temperament. We would be intently examining all available spiritual teachers, visiting those that appear promising, and keeping our attention open all the time in case you might meet an unassuming jnani on the street, or meet someone who might point to someone else who might know the jnani. The only requirement is openness, and openness is probably not present.

This discussion is just entertainment and speculation.

A big blockage to discovering a jnani is the very strong and narrow opinions here about Bhagavan's work. Opinions are so narrow here that even a large segment of Bhagavan's work (such as Talks and many other works) are denied. Since even Bhagavan's work is not accepted entirely.. how could a living jnani who would undoubtedly be somewhat different be accepted?

You can not find... because you hold so many mental preconceptions that prevent seeing. Quite frankly, Salazar already knows everything so how could he find?

If you are of a devotional nature... on this site you are taught to examine words compare them to a narrow portion of Bhagavan's writings. To apply the advaita language filter. But this prevents you from seeking and recognizing a true jnani with the heart.

This blog is more like a philosophy club. How many people actually meditate (call it Atma Vichara if you like) 1-2 hours per day every day as Bhagavan recommends below? I'll bet there is not one person here who does. The priority here is internet discussion, and not looking inward.

From "A Search in Secret India" by PB:
"The life of action need not be renounced. If you will meditate for an hour or two every day, you can then carry on with your duties. If you meditate in the right manner, then the current of mind induced will continue to flow even in the midst of your work".


There is a blog, I can find it if anyone wants, where Michael says something like 'put the attention inward, when the attention is profoundly focused... the world and body are lost from attention even if the eyes are open'.

It seems people here are willing to defend Michael's teaching endlessly... but who actually attempts to reproduce Michael's teaching above 1-2 hours a day every day ?!? Nobody!

I'll bet Michael does not even practice this. I read here where Michael asks for the donation of funds so he can do his work and teaching full time. I would be really impressed if he asked for funds to allow him to mediate atma vichara style many hours a day.


Ravi said...

The Necessity of a Self Realized guru(Sadguru) continued...

Here is an excerpt from 'Letters from Sri Ramanasramam' where Yogi Ramiah is discussing this with Bhagavan:
8th August, 1946 (55) GURI (CONCENTRATION) ALONE IS THE GURU (THE PRECEPTOR)
Yesterday morning Yogi Ramiah questioned Bhagavan thus: “Swami, some disciples of Sai Baba worship a picture of him and say that it is their Guru: How could that be? They can worship it as God, but what benefit could they get by worshipping it as their Guru?” Bhagavan replied, “They secure concentration by that.” The Yogi said, “That is all very well, I agree. It may be to some extent a sadhana in concentration. But isn’t a Guru required for that concentration?” “Certainly, but after all, Guru only means guri, concentration” said Bhagavan. The Yogi said, “How can a lifeless picture help in developing deep concentration? It requires a living Guru who could show it in practice. It is possible perhaps for Bhagavan to attain perfection without a living Guru but is it possible for people like myself?” “That is true. Even so, by worshipping a lifeless portrait the mind gets concentrated to a certain extent. That concentration will not remain constant unless one knows one’s own Self by enquiring. For that enquiry, a Guru’s help is necessary. That is why the ancients say that the enquiry should not stop with mere initiation. However, even if it does, the initiation will not be without benefit. It will bear fruit some time or other. But there should be no ostentation in this initiation. If the mind is pure, all this will bear fruit; otherwise, it goes to waste like a seed sown in barren soil,” said Bhagavan. “I don’t know, Swami. You may say that a hundred times or a thousand times. To be sure of one’s own progress, a living Guru like you is required. How can we give the status of a Guru to a lifeless portrait?” he said. With a smile on his face, Bhagavan said, “Yes, yes,” nodding his head and then kept silent. Brother, all I can say is that that smile and that silence were radiant with knowledge and wisdom. How can I describe it?

We may recall that Paramahansa Yogananda said that had he stayed a few more days with Yogi Ramiah(also called rama Yogi),he may have stayed there and not returned to America!

continued...

Ravi said...

The Necessity of a sadguru continued...

26th February, 1947
(99) GURU SWARUPAM (THE GURU’S FORM)
This afternoon a Tamil youth approached Bhagavan, and asked, “Swamiji! Yesterday morning you told the Gujarati lady that renunciation means internal renunciation. How are we to attain it? What is internal renunciation?”

Bhagavan: Internal renunciation means that all vasanas should be subdued. If you ask me, ‘How to attain that?’ my reply is, ‘it is attainable by sadhana.’

Question: Sadhana requires a Guru, doesn’t it?

Bhagavan: Yes! A Guru is required.

Question: How is one to decide upon a proper Guru? What is the swarupa of a Guru?

Bhagavan: He is the proper Guru to whom your mind is attuned. If you ask, how to decide who is the Guru and what is his swarupa, he should be endowed with tranquillity, patience, forgiveness and other virtues capable of attracting others, even by a mere look, like the magnetic stone, and with a feeling of equality towards all — he that has these virtues is the true Guru. If one wants to know the true Guru swarupa, one must know his own swarupa first. How can one know the true Guru swarupa, if one does not know one’s own swarupa first? If you want to perceive the true Guru swarupa, you must first learn to look upon the whole universe as Guru rupam. One must have the Gurubhavam towards all living beings. It is the same with God. You must look upon all objects as God’s rupa. How can he who does not know his own Self perceive Ishwara rupa or Guru rupa? How can he determine them? Therefore, first of all know your own real swarupam.

Question: Isn’t a Guru necessary to know even that?

continued...

Ravi said...

The Necessity for a Sadguru (Letters from Sri Ramanasramam) continued...

Bhagavan: That is true. The world contains many great men. Look upon him as your Guru with whom your mind gets attuned. The one in whom you have faith is your Guru.

The youth was not satisfied. He started with a list of great men now living, and said, “He has that defect; he has this defect. How can they be looked upon as Gurus?”

Bhagavan tolerates any amount of decrying of himself, but cannot tolerate even a little fault-finding of others. He said with some impatience, “Oho! you have been asked to know your own self, but instead you have started finding fault with others. It is enough if you correct your own faults. Those people can take care of their faults. It looks as if they cannot attain salvation unless they obtain your certificate first. That is a great pity! They are all waiting for your certificate. You are a great man. Have they any salvation unless you approve of them? Here you blame them, elsewhere you will blame us. You know everything, whereas we know nothing, and we have to be submissive towards you. Yes! we shall do so. You go and please proclaim, ‘I went to Ramanasramam; I asked the Maharshi some questions; he was unable to reply properly, so he does not know anything’.”

continued....

Ravi said...

The Necessity for a Sadguru (Letters from Sri Ramanasramam) continued...

The youth was about to speak again in the same strain, but another devotee prevented him from doing so. Bhagavan observed it, and said, “Why do you stop him? Let all keep silent, and let him go on speaking as long as he pleases. He is a wise man. We must therefore lie low. I have been observing him ever since his arrival. He was originally sitting in a corner with all his questions carefully assorted and kept ready bundled up, as it were. He has since been moving and coming nearer day by day till at last he has come close enough and has started asking questions. After hearing the lady questioning me yesterday, he decided to show off his knowledge and so has opened his bundle. All that is in it must come out, mustn’t it? He is going to search the whole world and decide the Guru swarupa for himself. It seems he has not so far found anybody with the requisite qualifications for being his Guru. Dattatreya is the universal Guru, isn’t he? And he has said that the whole world was his Guru. If you look at evil you feel you should not do it. So he said evil also was his Guru. If you see good, you would wish to do it; so he said that good also was his Guru; both good and evil, he said, were his Gurus. It seems that he asked a hunter which way he should go, but the latter ignored his question, as he was intent upon his aim to shoot a bird above. Dattatreya saluted him, saying, ‘You are my Guru! Though killing the bird is bad, keeping your aim so steadfast in shooting the arrow as to ignore my query is good, thereby teaching me that I should keep my mind steadfast and fixed on Ishwara. You are therefore my Guru.’ In the same way he looked upon everything as his Guru, till in the end he said that his physical body itself was a Guru, as its consciousness does not exist during sleep and the body that does not exist should therefore not be confused with the soul — dehatmabhavana (the feeling that the body is the soul). Therefore that too was a Guru for him. While he looked upon the whole world as his Guru, the whole world worshipped him as its Guru. It is the same with Ishwara. He who looks upon the whole universe as Ishwara, is himself worshipped by the universe as Ishwara — yadbhavam tadbhavathi (‘as you conceive you become’) What we are, so is the world.

continued...

Ravi said...

The Necessity for a Sadguru (Letters from Sri Ramanasramam) continued...

There is a big garden. When a cuckoo comes to the garden it will search the mango tree for fruit while the crow will only search the neem tree. The bee searches for flowers to gather honey, while the flies search for the faeces. He who searches for the salagrama (small holy stone) will pick it up, pushing aside all the other stones. That salagrama is in the midst of a heap of ordinary stones. The good is recognised because evil also coexists. Light shines because darkness exists. Ishwara is there, only if illusion exists. He who seeks the essence, is satisfied if he finds one good thing among a hundred. He rejects the ninety-nine and accepts the one that is good, feeling satisfied that with that one thing he could conquer the world. His eye will always be on that single good thing.” Bhagavan said all this in a resounding voice and then remained silent. The whole hall was steeped in a dignified silence. The clock struck four. As though it were the original peacock that had come to salute the lotus feet of the Arunachala Ramana that destroyed the demon Surapadma, and to offer praises to him, the Ashram peacock entered the hall from the northern side and announced its arrival by giving out a resounding cry. Bhagavan responded to the cry by saying, “Aav, Aav” (come, come) and turned his look that side.

continued...

Ravi said...

The Necessity for a Sadguru continued...

Friends,so how do we go 'hunting' for a sadguru?...Even if we meet one,can we recognize him?...Is this the way of going about it?

Do we make a list of all publicly known Gurus and start evaluating them as was done by the boy in 'Letters from Sri Ramanasramam'?

Roger Isaacs said...

thanks Ravi, that was a great post.

Ravi said...

Friends,
We will continue this topic leisurely...by seeing examples in real life ...from the lives of other great devotees as well...Actually it is the Guru who has to find us...although we may think that we found him...I am not sure how many here have read the autobiography of Sri Dilip Kumar Roy,Disciple of Sri aurobindo...it is called 'Sri Aurobindo came to me'...Dilip Kumar Roy is quite fond of Bhagavan and used to seek Bhagavan's sannidhi...He has composed poems on Bhagavan.

Namaskar

Ravi said...

The Necessity for a sadguru :
Example 1-Sri Annamalai Swami pulled up by Sri Bhagavan.

In the mid 1940s,when Bhagavan began to find it difficult to walk,Arumugam and I levelled and cleared the path on which Bhagavan usually took his daily walk.The path ran through the ashram to palakottu and then back to the ashram via the lower slopes of the hill.To make a smooth surface we put mud on the path and covered it with soft sand.We also installed a tall stone at a place where there was a break in the slope so that bhagavan could hold on to it while he was climbing.The path needed occasional maintenance because the herds of goats which roamed around the lower slopes of the hill frequently kicked thorny twigs onto it.One day,as I was walking along this path,I noticed several new thorns.I took a branch from a nearby tree and swept the path clean.
That night,when I went to the ashram for darshan,Bhagavan asked me,'who cleared that path?'
I told him that I had decided to clean it because I had noticed some thorns while I was out for a walk.
Bhagavan then asked me rather sharply,'Why are you reflecting on this act which you have done?'(I recall swami telling me this story-it seems Sri Bhagavan said-Oh!nee pannayO! meaning -Oh!you did it!-Ravi)
I immediately understood that Bhagavan was trying to tell me that I should not have the idea,'I have done this service for Bhagavan'.I was not aware that I was dwelling on this thought but Bhagavan must have seen it in my mind.
'You can see my mind.I was not aware that I was thinking,"I have done this".I just cleared the path because I didn't want Bhagavan to tread on any thorns.'
Bhagavan responded by saying,"If you do not look back at the acts that you have done,a lot of benefits will accrue to you.'
Bhaavan still seemed to be suggesting that I was consciously dwelling on the act so I told him again,'Bhagavan knows that I was not consciously thinking,"I did this job"'.
Then I quoted a verse by Thayumanavar:O God,you know my mind,you know my actions.If,inspite of this,you chase me away from you,I shall have many troubles.'

Bhagavan smiled at my quote and didn't pursue the matter any further.

Excerpted from 'Living by the words of Bhagavan'-David Godman

The Verse of Thayumanavar is verse No.33 (Wreath Pervasive supreme):

உள்ளம் அறிவாய் உழப்பறிவாய் நான்ஏழை
தள்ளிவிடின் மெத்தத் தவிப்பேன் பராபரமே. Verse 33 of parApara kaNNi

Thou knoweth my heart,Thou knoweth my distress Helpless am I.If Thou reject me,
In anguish extreme will I be, Oh Para Param!

Sri Annamalai Swami truly did not know that there is a subtle play of ego lurking behind his selfless and loving service to the Guru ...and Bhagavan pulled him up for that.

continued...

Sanjay Lohia said...

On the topic of guru

Bhagavan: The Guru will go with the disciple in his own path and then gradually turn him into the supreme path at the ripe moment. Suppose a car is going at top speed, to stop it at once or to turn it at once would be attended by disastrous consequences.

My note: Bhagavan clearly taught us that the only practice that can annihilate our ego is atma-vichara, and that most other methods can be a roundabout and extremely lengthy ways to finally come to atma-vichara. However, sometimes when devotees asked him whether they can follow methods other than self-investigation, Bhagavan seemed to approve other methods like japa, murti-dhyana, pranayama and so on. It was because Bhagavan responded to individual needs, beliefs and aspirations.

Bhagavan seemed to go along the devotees’ path, but subsequently gradually tried to turn them to his direct path of self-investigation. As Bhagavan says in the above quote of his, ‘Suppose a car is going at top speed, to stop it at once or to turn it at once would be attended by disastrous consequences’. Therefore, he seemed to approve many other paths in spite of knowing fully well that those paths cannot take the devotee far. He felt that some practice is better than no practice.

However, the devotees that came to him with an open mind and wanted to receive what Bhagavan wanted to give them, he recommended only the practice of self-investigation. He knew its its unique efficacy by his direct experience.

Ravi said...

Sanjay,

"However, the devotees that came to him with an open mind and wanted to receive what Bhagavan wanted to give them, he recommended only the practice of self-investigation"

A Jnani has no sankalpa...so there is nothing that he 'wants to give' or 'recommends'...What is appropriate for the earnest seeker is given or communicated.
Here is an incident as narrated by Professor Swaminathan:
"Once in the 1940s, I was sitting outside the hall with many devotees. Bhagavan was reclining on a couch. A group of learned pandits was discussing passages from the Upanishads with great enthusiasm and profundity. All, including Bhagavan, appeared to be attentively listening to the interesting discussion when, all of a sudden, Bhagavan rose from the couch, walked some distance and stood before a villager who was standing looking lowly with palms joined. All eyes turned to Bhagavan and the villager who was standing at a distance. They appeared to be conversing. Soon Bhagavan returned to his couch and the discussion was resumed.
Being curious to know why Bhagavan had to go to meet a villager, I slipped away from the discussion and caught up with the villager before he left the Ashramam. He told me that Bhagavan was asking why I was standing so far and also asked my name, about my village, what I did, and about my family etc. I enquired, "Did you ask him anything?" The villager replied, "When I asked him how I could earn his blessings, he asked whether there was a temple in my village and the name of the village, the name of the deity. When I told him the deity's name, he said, go on repeating the name of the deity and you would receive all the blessings needed"
I came back to Bhagavan's presence, but lost all interest in the discussions. I felt that the simple humility and devotion of a peasant had evoked a far greater response from our master than any amount of learning. I then decided that though a scholar by profession, I should always remain a humble, ignorant peasant at heart and pray for Bhagavan's grace and blessings."

The villager was certainly open minded and he received the upadesa from bhagavan...Now we also know that when another group of villagers visited Bhagavan and in the presence of Kavyakanta Ganapathy Muni,Bhagavan (seemingly) advised self enquiry...and when the muni accosted bhagavan and said that it would have been more appropriate had bhagavan advised them to do japa...Bhagavan said 'I only told them what I know'!...This advice may well be for KavyaKanta Muni than for the villagers en masse!...The Ways of the Lord are quite subtle and cannot be taken at its face value.

I am aware that Sri Sadhu Om used to maintain what you have said in your post.

Namaskar

Ravi said...

The Necessity for a sadguru:

Example 2: Muruganar is warned by Bhagavan
The Incident that I am narrating here is from a Talk by Sri V Ganesan at the Narada Gana Sabha ,Chennai,India a couple of years ago.( Year 2013 or so)...It is available as a recording along with Nochur Sri Venkatraman's exposition on 'nAn yAr' that took place for 7 days at the Narada Gana sabha.

Bhagavan was almost confined to a small room (Mahanirvana room) where he was lying on the cot,terminally ill and and looked after by the attendants...The pain was excruciating and the devotees were helpless...Muruganar approached Bhagavan and overcome by emotion rolled on the floor in front of Bhagavan entreating that Bhagavan should not leave them...Bhagavan called Muruganar and warned him with the words 'Yemaandhu pOgaathe... Dehatma Buddhi...Jagrathe'(Don't get deceived...this is dehatma buddhi...Be aware!)

Recounting this incident To Ganesan,Muruganar said "I did not suspect that the Dehatma Buddhi was not yet vanquished...and yet Bhagavan was pointing out what I was not aware of it"!

Ganesan while narrating this incident said:"Muruganar had all along lived closely with Bhagavan and had composed over 40000 verses and yet Bhagavan is warning him of the trace of dehatma Buddhi still lurking somewhere!"

This goes to show how an 'outer' guru is quite invaluable to show our blind spots which we may not be aware of.

continued....

Ravi said...

The Necessity of a Sadguru:

We shall see more examples of disciples being corrected by the sadguru. What is the role and function of the Sadguru?
Here is an excerpt from Sri Aurobindo:
The Teacher of the integral Yoga will follow as far as he may the method of the Teacher within us. He will lead the disciple through the nature of the disciple. Teaching, example, influence, -- these are the three instruments of the Guru. But the wise Teacher will not seek to impose himself or his opinions on the passive acceptance of the receptive mind; he will throw in only what is productive and sure as a seed which will grow under the divine fostering within. He will seek to awaken much more than to instruct; he will aim at the growth of the faculties and the experiences by a natural process and free expansion. He will give a method as an aid, as a utilisable device, not as an imperative formula or a fixed routine. And he will be on his guard against any turning of the means into a limitation, against the mechanising of process. His whole business is to awaken the divine light and set working the divine force of which he himself is only a means and an aid, a body or a channel.

The example is more powerful than the instruction; but it is not the example of the outward acts nor that of the personal character, which is of most importance. These have their place and their utility; but what will most stimulate aspiration in others is the central fact of the divine realisation within him governing his whole life and inner state and all his activities. This is the universal and essential element; the rest belongs to individual person and circumstance. It is this dynamic realisation that the Sadhaka must feel and reproduce in himself according to his own nature; he need not strive after an imitation from outside which may well be sterilising rather than productive of right and natural fruits.

Influence is more important than example. Influence is not the outward authority of the Teacher over his disciple, but the power of his contact, of his presence, of the nearness of his soul to the soul of another, infusing into it, even though in silence, that which he himself is and possesses. This is the supreme sign of the Master. For the greatest Master is much less a Teacher than a Presence pouring the divine consciousness and its constituting light and power and purity and bliss into all who are receptive around him;And it shall also be a sign of the teacher of the integral Yoga that he does not arrogate to himself Guruhood in a humanly vain and self-exalting spirit. His work, if he has one, is a trust from above, he himself a channel, a vessel or a representative. He is a man helping his brothers, a child leading children, a Light kindling other lights, an awakened Soul awakening souls, at highest a Power or Presence of the Divine calling to him other powers of the Divine.

nivrtti said...

Ravi,
"His whole business is to awaken the divine light and set working the divine force of which he himself is only a means and an aid, a body or a channel."
Is not the divine light already and always wide awake ?
How could there be any need to awaken it ?

Ravi said...

nivrtti

"only that day dawns to which we are awake"-David Thoreau

There is a verbal meaning and an implied meaning in the language of the scriptures and sages...we need to take the implied meaning...it just means that we have to awaken to that Divine Light which is ever present and shining of its own accord...and the guru removes our ignorance and awakens us to this light within.

This is how Sri Aurobindo expresses this:
"We know the Divine and become the Divine, because we are That already in our secret nature. All teaching is a revealing, all becoming is an unfolding. Self-attainment is the secret; self-knowledge and an increasing consciousness are the means and the process"

It is enough if we take what is clear to us...the rest we may leave.

Sri Ramakrishna says: Too much reasoning throws the mind into confusion. You get clear water if you drink from the surface of a pool. Put your hand deeper and stir the water, and it becomes muddy .

Namaskar.

Roger Isaacs said...

Hi Sanjay,
you say 'atma vichara is the ONLY way'.

Please examine your practice and tell us in your own experience if atma vichara is working for you. That is the thing which really matters. Whether or not Atma Vichara is theoretically more advanced does not matter at all!! If Atma Vichara is only a belief system for you... then it's not working. Can you sit for 1-2 hours productively in atma vichara meditation? What is it like? How would you know if it's working?

The teaching here is that one must go with Atma Vichara because it is the highest and only way. This is like saying at age 6 years old one should enroll in an advanced PhD degree program (before learning to read!) because the PhD program is the highest & the ONLY way to get an aerospace rocket scientist job.

Obviously, the 6 year old will never succeed in a PhD program without doing all the prerequisites, in fact, since reading is not taught at the PhD level, the 6 year old will NEVER even get even the basics. Teaching must be matched to the individuals level AND their temperament.

You are told that other teachings like "Talks" are less useful or not useful because Bhagavan would change the teaching for people on different levels, and he would teach different things to different people.

DUH!!!
But people ARE at different levels and people have different temperaments (ie some resonate with Jnana yoga, others with Bhakti yoga etc)!!!
If this is not considered... then there is NO ENTRY to atma vichara because the prerequisites and individual temperament have been ignored.

I am appalled at Michael's teaching (and it comes from Sadhu Om) for example in the last paragraph of the prior blog: he says that all spiritual practices except for Atma Vichara are just activities of the ego.

This discourages people from doing the necessary prerequisites. And it encourages competition and comparison with other teachings. Competition and comparison and the defense of Michael's teaching we see on this blog are an outward competitive movement of the ego, not an inward practice.

The Michael James / Sahdu Om teaching has departed from Bhagavan's teaching:

1) Bhagavan may have occasionally taught "belief" to people if it was appropriate for their developmental stage. Michael James emphasizes belief as a basic tenant. I wonder if this comes from Christianity. Michael James teaches: "What you should believe.... You must believe..."
Did Bhagavan teach this to everyone?
Belief becomes predominant when teachers are no longer able to lead students to the direct experience. And subtly, when we are told to "believe Bhagavan", as Bhagavan did not emphasize belief, what is really being taught is to believe Michael James.

2) Bhagavan did write and teach at an advanced theoretical level (advaita and the works Michael translates). BUT when Bhagavan taught an individual he ALWAYS met that person at their level AND gave them teachings for their temperament.
Michael James emphasizes ONLY the theoretical level and thus people here are blocked off from the necessary prerequisites. And Michael James discourages people from studying the practical works of Bhagavan. As a consequence, this blog is ABOUT Atma Vichara, but the actual practice remains elusive.

Therefore, as the teaching here differs from Bhagavan's, This is Michael Jame's teaching. We could call it: James-ism or James-ianity?

Salazar said...

Roger, your comments become more and more hostile. You are yelling into a corner and only the echo of your own voice is coming back.

Kafarnaum said...

Roger Isaacs,
I am never tired of listening to your "clever and entertaining" sermon and your "brilliant considerations". Carry on with your fantastic Isaacsism.

Salazar said...

It is a salient point that all other activities than atma-vichara are an activity of the ego. If that is not understood or being questioned then Bhagavan's atma-vichara has not been grasped. And therefore whatever that person is doing is rather "cargo-cult" inquiry as David Godman used to call it and that will never lead to Self-realization.

Ravi said...

Annamalai Swami Diary Entry No.20:

‘So and so is great….’, ‘nay, the other one is great…’-Such a debate raged for days together among the devotees of Bhagavan. At last the matter was referred to Bhagavan for adjudication. They asked Bhagavan “what is right”? Bhagavan did not respond and remained silent. As there was no consensus as to what was right and who was great, the debate continued vigorously,now in Bhagavan’s very presence. ‘What is this?looks like they are not going to spare me!’- Realizing thus, Bhagavan the beguiler('maayaavi' is the word Annamalai swami uses) began to speak. Like a deceitful person, he spoke endearing words first to one group and then to the other. He ended up by imparting words of wisdom:
“Irrespective of whatever one may attempt to project, That which is alone endures. People cannot decide to confer bondage or moksha on anyone. It is usual for each one to think that the whole world should recognize and praise him; yet by such thinking one cannot attain happiness or greatness. He who does not satisfy god (seeks fulfillment in god) is lowly only. Iswara exalts the devotee who surrenders his body and mind to him in whichever way, to be acknowledged and admired by the world."

Sri Bhagavan then quoted the following three songs from vairagya satakam, sivabodha saram and Sivananda lahari respectively:
1. You desire that the world should proclaim you as a Great one
The iswara who resides in you alone confers Bondage or freedom
What avails it if others know it or not
Be devoted to the Lotus feet of God, Oh mind
Then iswara would raise you to be acknowledged and admired by the world. -vairagya satakam

2. The Scriptures extol the greatness of those
who do not seek their own greatness
Pray tell me, who else shall bear the load of worldly pain
Other than those who trumpet that they are great? -sivabodha saram

3. O Consort of Bhavani! Is there anything that cannot be attained by one who worships your lotus feet? From him Yama(the Lord of Death) keeps away fearing a kick on the chest, the celestials do him nirajana (offering of the camphor light) by the light of diamonds set in their crowns and the peerless bride Mukti(liberation) shall lock him in embrace . What is impossible for him to attain? -sivananda lahari (Verse 65)

Sanjay Lohia said...

Yes, Roger, in my own experience atma-vichara is working for me, and it is my conviction that it will work for anyone who gives it a sincere try. Are you willing to give it a try? It does not appear that you are.

Sanjay Lohia said...

Ravi, as you write: ‘The Ways of the Lord are quite subtle and cannot be taken at its face value’. I agree. You also say, ‘A Jnani has no sankalpa...so there is nothing that he 'wants to give' or 'recommends'...What is appropriate for the earnest seeker is given or communicated’.

Yes, a jnani has no sankalpa; if he has sankalpa he is not a jnani. From his non-dual perspective he may have nothing to give us, but from our perspective we have a lot to take from him. In Bhagavan’s view he had no disciples, because he experienced nothing other than himself, but isn’t he our sadguru? Are we not seeking his guidance?

The jnani is pure selflove, and he loves us as himself. Therefore from our perspective his love is automatically doing whatever needs to done for our spiritual upliftment. However, he does everything without doing. It is his very presence which makes things done. It is like the power and presence of the sun that makes the worldly activities possible.

Any jnani’s or master’s response is according to the state of our mind, and our same questions may get different responses from him. The villager in your example needed or aspired for that response, and Bhagavan was just responding to his state of receptivity. His response was absolutely appropriate in every situation.

Once someone asked Bhagavan, ‘If I attain atma-jnana will my actions be always correct’, or something to that effect. Bhagavan replied: ‘It has to be, because in such a state you [your ego] will not act, but only God will act through you, and his actions are always perfect and appropriate’, or something to that effect.

Hector said...

Hi Roger.

Hope all is going well.

Nāṉ Yār? - Paragraph One

[Since all living beings desire to be always happy without what is called misery, since for everyone the greatest love is only for oneself, and since happiness alone is the cause of love, [in order] to attain that happiness, which is one’s own [true] nature that is experienced daily in [dreamless] sleep, which is devoid of the mind, oneself knowing oneself is necessary. For that, jñāna-vicāra [knowledge-investigation] ‘who am I’ alone is the principal means.]

I must admit to me it does seem Bhagavan is saying first hand that his teaching is "Who am I" /jñāna-vicāra and according to him it is the principal means. According to my dictionary "Principal" can mean most important or main so according to Bhagavan it is the most important or main way to know what we are? It is therefore the main or most important practise he recommends to everyone.

What are your thoughts on this paragraph written by Bhagavan?


Nāṉ Yār? - Paragraph Twelve

[God and guru are in truth not different. Just as what has been caught in the jaws of a tiger will not return, so those who have been caught in the glance of guru’s grace will surely be saved by him and will never instead be forsaken; nevertheless, it is necessary to walk unfailingly along the path that guru has shown.]

So if Bhagavan says his main or most important teaching is jñāna-vicāra this paragraph seems to suggest Bhagavan is saying we must follow his path of jñāna-vicāra? It is his personal recommendation to everyone.

Please would you share our thoughts on this.

Continued below.

Hector said...


Continued from above.

Nāṉ Yār? - Paragraph Sixteen

[Since in every [spiritual] text it is said that for attaining mukti [liberation] it is necessary to make the mind subside, after knowing that manō-nigraha [restraint, subjugation or destruction of the mind] is the ultimate intention [or purpose] of [such] texts, there is no benefit [to be gained] by studying texts without limit. For making the mind subside it is necessary to investigate oneself [in order to experience] who [one really is], [but] instead [of doing so] how [can one experience oneself by] investigating in texts? It is necessary to know oneself only by one’s own eye of jñāna [true knowledge, that is, by one’s own selfward-turned awareness]. Does [a person called] Raman need a mirror to know himself as Raman? ‘Self’ is within the pañca-kōśas [the ‘five sheaths’ that seem to cover and obscure what we really are, namely our physical body, our prāṇa or life-processes, our mind, our intellect and the seeming darkness or ignorance of sleep]; conversely, texts are outside them. Therefore investigating in texts [hoping to be able thereby to experience] oneself, whom it is necessary to investigate [with an inward-turned attention] having removed [set aside, abandoned or detached] all the pañca-kōśas, is useless [or unprofitable]. [By] investigating who is oneself who is in bondage, knowing one’s yathārtha svarūpa [own actual self] alone is mukti [emancipation]. The name ‘ātma-vicāra’ [refers] only to [the practice of] always keeping the mind in [or on] ātmā [oneself]; conversely, dhyāna [meditation] is imagining oneself to be sat-cit-ānanda brahman [the absolute reality, which is being-consciousness-bliss]. At one time it will become necessary to forget all that has been learnt.]

Bhagavan says here that ātma-vicāra is the only practise to keep mind on itself, we know from paragraph 1 that ātma-vicāra is Bhagavan's main or most important teaching for everyone and from paragraph 12 that we should follow his advice / teaching unfailingly.

Also here in paragraph 16 he is reinforcing his advice again and also saying

[At one time it will become necessary to forget all that has been learnt.]

This to me seems to suggests that he is recommending ātma-vicāra and saying that is all we need to understand and most importantly we must put it into practise. He also seems to suggest that anything else we focus our attention on (like me writing this to you lol!!) is a distraction from this simple practise which he recommends to all as the principal means to discover what we are.

Roger please note I am not out to try and prove you wrong far from it, I enjoy reading your posts very much.

It is just from what I have read in Nāṉ Yār? it does seem pretty logical and straight forward in terms what Bhagavan recommends we do and not do. His teaching seems pretty clear. Plus he wrote all this first hand in a very short, clear and simple way.

However this all depends if what he wrote has been translated properly? I think this highly likely but nothing is a 100% certain of course.

Cheers Roger.

Hector

Ucayali said...

Sanjay Lohia,
"The Ways of the Lord are quite subtle and cannot be taken at its face value".
"...only God will act through you, and his actions are always perfect and appropriate".
Can we therefore generally summarize that even the World Wars together with Hitler's Holocaust and Nazi-terror as well as natural desasters, famines, earthquakes, tsunamis, volcanic eruptions, forest fires, environmental polution and disasters, climate change, crime and mental deficiency and all other evils are not only egotistical abortive developments but quite perfect and appropriate divine actions or at least happened according our prarabdha ?

Ucayali said...

How can we ourself/ourselves exist ?
How can anything exist at all ?

Ravi said...

Sanjay,
What you have expressed is Quite true.

"Any jnani’s or master’s response is according to the state of our mind, and our same questions may get different responses from him. The villager in your example needed or aspired for that response, and Bhagavan was just responding to his state of receptivity."

The 'Outer' Guru gave that message to that villager and through him, Professor Swaminathan received the same(inner Guru)...The message received by Professor Swaminathan precious...Yes,Guru is one.

Namaskar

Sanjay Lohia said...

Ucayali, there is only one power which has projected this world. Most believe that this one power is God, but according to Bhagavan this one power is the ego.

Let’s first take the more traditional view that says that God has created this world. Your question is, how God can create a Mahatma Gandhi and a Hilter at the same, because one represents pure non-violence and other is nothing but violence. How can so many crimes, disasters etc. take place, if this world is created by God?

To understand this point let us take the example of the epic, Ramayana. It was written by the sage Valmiki. Valmiki in his epic drama had to create both Rama and Ravana (assuming that what he wrote was a mythological fiction).Thus he had to create the good and the bad together. We can question, how can a sage like Valmiki create Ravana, the symbol of evil? But it was all fiction. Likewise God has supposedly created this world, but he knows that everything in it (whether good of bad) is just fiction.

Now let us reflect on Bhagavan’s teachings. Bhagavan says in v. 26 of Ulladu Narpadu that when this ego comes into existence everything comes into existence. That is, whatever we see outside in this world is merely our ego’s creation, and therefore whether it is a Gandhi or a Hitler, whether it is a Rama or a Ravana, whether it is a natural disaster or a great scientific discovery, all these our creations of our ego. Not only this, these happenings take place only in view of the ego which has created these.

Let us carefully read what Bhagavan says in paragraph 4 of Nan Yar:

Excluding thoughts [or ideas], there is not separately any such thing as ‘world’. In sleep there are no thoughts, and [consequently] there is also no world; in waking and dream there are thoughts, and [consequently] there is also a world. Just as a spider spins out thread from within itself and again draws it back into itself, so the mind projects the world from within itself and again dissolves it back into itself. When the mind comes out from ātma-svarūpa, the world appears.





Ucayali said...

How can even sleep, God, Valmiki and atma-svarupa exist ?

Guhai Namashivaya said...

Ucayali,
"How can we ourself/ourselves exist ?"
Just trying an answer : Because we could not prevent us from existing.

Guhai Namashivaya said...

Ucayali,
"How can anything exist at all ? "
All what exists is contained in ourself. So your second question is led back to your first question.
Kind regards

Salazar said...

Yes even torture, rape, etc. is "God's will". We often use the term grace and usually believe that means something "good", a boon or a favorite outcome or just simply a blessing. Grace is also a divorce, the loss of one's fortune, the death of one's child, etc.

We can help it but judge and relate to everything from the viewpoint of our mind/ego and therefore distinguish between good and bad. There is neither.

That's why atma-vichara is extremely important in order to transcend duality.

Can we measure spiritual advancement? Not really, but I'd say it is a good sign if one has equanimity if the wife cheats or one loses a child (something terrible for all) or something earth chattering like that. Because the equanimity shows that one is centered more in Self than to be attached to this dream world.

Salazar said...

And with "equanimity" I mean inner calmness, outwards the body can look agitated and stressed depending on one's prarabhda katma.

Ravi said...


Salazar/Friends,

"Yes even torture, rape, etc. is "God's will".

" I'd say it is a good sign if one has equanimity if the wife cheats or one loses a child (something terrible for all) or something earth chattering like that"

Does it mean that if I am a docile 'wife' and am raped, I have to accept it as my Prarabda or God's will or both?...Or is it the Prarabda of the assaulter/God's Will...and I only need to maintain my equanimity through the practice of Atma Vichara at that time as ever...or is it the prarabda of my husband that his wife should suffer such a treatment?

Looks like an uphill and impossible task ...Kindly clarify.

I find that Michael has discussed a case where a 'Guru' was charged with Rape...and this is here: http://happinessofbeing.blogspot.com/2014/04/ahimsa-and-sexual-morality-interview-on.html

I just searched here for any article on the topic and found the above.

Namaskar

Ravi said...


It is the nature of water to flow downwards, but the sun’s rays lift it up towards the sky; likewise it is the very nature of mind to go to lower things, to objects of enjoyment, but the grace of God can make the mind go towards higher objects.

Holy Mother Sri Sarada Devi

Salazar said...

It is the parabhda karma of the victim and the perpetrator. The victim will react according to her karma and either report the crime, or defend herself and possibly kill the perpetrator or just let it happen and doesn't say anything.

The victim has NOT the freedom to decide to be docile or to vigorously defend herself, it will happen as it was pre-determined.

The point is that the victim (and perpetrator) ought to not identify to what happens to the body and mind.

I.e. a woman could end up as a prostitute according to her prarabhda karma, it is certainly never the choice of any prostitute that she has become one. Even when the prostitute believes she did.

A prostitute can be a saint in not identifying with the actions of her body and simply attend to Self.

Ravi said...

Friends,
A few video talks of J Krishnamurti:

1. https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=C7oyEh-Vzho (Is there another instrument of inquiry than thought? | J. Krishnamurti)

2.https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=Az9aM4J22yA (Show me how to dissolve the ‘I’ | J. Krishnamurti)

3.https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=LZlkYPlS5s0 (How does one go to the very source of thought? | J. Krishnamurti)

nivrtti said...

Salazar,
obviously you mean "earth-shattering" not "earth chattering".

Tulasi said...

Sanjay Lohia,
" all these (are) creations of our ego. Not only this, these happenings take place only in view of the ego which has created these."

Therefore we would be well advised to not rely on our ego.

Tulasi said...

Unless I am very much mistaken J Krishnamurti was (only) a philosopher not a jnani of Sri Ramana's calibre.

Ucayali said...

May I repeat my questions:

How can we ourself/ourselves exist ?

How can anything exist at all ?

Additional question: Do we really exist ?

Ucayali said...

Does anybody (of us) possess the 'philosopher's stone'?

Salazar said...

nivrtti, you are correct of course ;-)


Ucayali, there is nothing that exists but Self. "We" don't exist, but "I" exists and that is undeniable.
Now that is way too abstract, why not directly experiencing it through keenly attending to "I"? The only way to know. Otherwise it is only an imagination.

Salazar said...

Tulasi, I believe that Bhagavan stated (as did Papaji) that J. Krishnamurti is a Jnani.

However I don't feel attracted by his philosophy and why go to another fountain when one already drinks from the splendid fountain of Bhagavan's wisdom? I am sure that I won't miss anything in refraining from his books.

Less is more. ;-)

Roger Isaacs said...

Hi Hector,
Regarding Nan Yar paragraph 1:
‘who am I’ alone is the principal means.

MJ (Michael James) says "Atma Vichara (who am I?)" can also be called "Self Attention".

"Self Attention" is a common theme with all Masters... but Masters differ in temperament and so it is expressed somewhat differently. No Master or School can claim exclusive rights to "Self Attention" because it is an innate human potential and virtually all Masters point to it in some way or another.

"Self Attention" is the actual inward practice.

When any school claims that their teachings are superior to all others, this is not Atma Vichara rather it is the outward egoic practice of religious superiority and intolerance. There is great evil in this. Look at all the wars over religion.

Broadly, "Self Attention" IS the "ONLY" way but in this case the description of "Self Attention" must be broad enough to include all Self Realized Masters of different temperaments. Can we say that Buddha, Krishna, Mahavira, Jesus (include all the Masters that you're aware of) did not practice or teach Atma Vichara specifically and therefore could not possibly be enlightened? Ridiculous. Can we say that true spiritual practice did not exist before Bhagavan's Atma Vichara and so nobody could have been enlightened before Bhagavan? Of course not.

All spiritual teachings are in the form of words and concepts which are limited. All spiritual teachings are in the relative world, all Masters can only speak through their limited mind/body mechanisms which have certain preferences and so all teachings are in the relative world and none are absolute.

It is fine and good to say that Atma Vichara is the ONLY way for ME and Bhagavan is all that I need.
But when we say Atma Vichara is the only way for everybody else then this is not an inward practice, we have crossed the line into religious superiority. When imply that other teachers are lesser in value simply because they are not Bhagavan then this is religious superiority.

Salazar says and MJ confirms the following often:
It is a salient point that all other activities than atma-vichara are an activity of the ego. If that is not understood or being questioned then Bhagavan's atma-vichara has not been grasped.

Salazar goes on to say that other activities "will never lead to Self-Realization.

This is not much different than what Christian's are taught "Jesus is the ONLY son of God..."
It is egoic religious superiority. You can see immediately that it's false because it is an outward movement of ego making claims in the world about all other spiritual practices, it has NOTHING to do with actual inner practice or guidance about inner practice.

One reason Masters say their way is the ONLY way is to try and give confidence to weak followers. This worked fantastically well for Maharishi Mahesh Yogi, all sorts of pseudo science was done which proclaimed T.M. as the best for everyone, it was the ONLY scientifically verified technique, therefore the ONLY useful technique. MMY's organization made $1-2 billion dollars by harnessing the egos of followers to support the organization and buy expensive techniques. But... eventually any outward egoic programming has to be unlearned. Competition with other teachings MAY help the Master to spread his teachings... but competition is not actually a spiritual teaching, competition is an outward activity, not inward and can lead to violence.

Religious superiority & intolerance is really not appropriate in the modern world.

At least, that's how it appears to me, perhaps you see it differently. A genuine respect and curiosity about other teachings will actually help us to learn about our own Master.

Ravi said...

Friends,
Request you to give the JK talks a try...see if there is anything we find helpful in it...It all put together may not take about an hour or less...There is no Philosophy or anything like that...he just points a few things that may perhaps help in vichara...Assuredly we may stick to whatever we are doing anyway.
Namaskar

Salazar said...

I said that "cargo-cult" inquiry will never lead to Self-realization.

Other practices will lead to Self-realization in the context as a preparation for atma-vichara/surrender. Every practice MUST finish with the mind moving back to the heart, there is not other way in the end. And that is not some religious dogma but the statement of sat-gurus like Bhagavan and Papaji.

Therefore Jesus Christ, the Buddha, Kabir, Sai Baba of Shirdi, Huang-Po, etc. all became enlightened in moving the mind back to its source. They may not have called it Self-Inquiry but it was the same "process".

Of course that is my gullible mind believing Bhagavan in the hope he is not deceiving me ;-)

Ucayali said...

Salazar,
of course I would like to directly experience the "truth". But - unfortunately I did not succeed in trying to be keenly attentive to 'I'.
That is the reason why I put these "abstract" questions.
Therefore I must start again and try to improve the intensity of my practice.
As you say there is no other way to know. Mere imagination is rather worthless.