Friday, February 29, 2008

70. Ignorance and indifference in regard to the enquiry
of the truth about one-self is the store house of nescience and
trouble, blocking the view of the Self, and creating in a split
second all sorts of illusions and harassment of mental worry.
Non-enquiry renders bhavana impossible. (Ch.32, v.19)

71. In short, non-enquiry will steep one for ever in the
ocean of samsara (earthly suffering). There is no greater enemy
for one than non-enquiry. Therefore, this habit must be
overcome in order to fix the mind in the bhavana which leads
to abidance in the Self. (Ch.32, v.20)

72. Enquiry should be made this wise: With the kind help
of the Sat Guru one should enquire ‘Who am I? what is this
world? what is the reality behind all these?’ (Ch.32, v.21)

~ The Essence of Ribhu Gita, English Translation By Prof. N. R. Krishnamoorthi Aiyer

Thursday, February 28, 2008

You know that 'you are'. Be that.

~ Sri Nisargadatta Maharaj

Wednesday, February 27, 2008

Give up the notion that ‘I am so and so’. All that is required to realise the Self is to be still.

~ Sri Ramana Maharshi, Be As You Are

Tuesday, February 26, 2008

The world is perceived as an apparent objective reality when the mind is externalized, thereby forsaking its identity with the Self. When the world is thus perceived, the true nature of the Self is not revealed: conversely, when the Self is realized the world ceases to appear as an objective reality.

~ Sri Ramana Maharshi, Who Am I?

Monday, February 25, 2008

Other things attract us because we wrongly believe we can obtain happiness from them, and we believe this due to our lack of viveka or true discrimination. However, by being constantly self-attentive, we will be feeding our mind with the natural clarity of viveka that exists within us as the clear light of our ever self-luminous consciousness of our own being, and thereby we will steadily gain an increasingly strong conviction that happiness lies only within ourself and not in any other thing. The stronger this conviction becomes, the more our bhakti or love for our own being and our vairagya or freedom from desire for anything other than our being will grow, and the easier it will therefore become for us to resist the false and destructive attraction of knowing anything other than being.

~ Michael James, Happiness and the Art of Being

Sunday, February 24, 2008

"I am not the body,
Nor is the body mine.
I am awareness itself"

When you know this,
You have no thought
For what you have done
Or left undone.

You become one,
Perfect and indivisible.

~ Ashtavakra Gita (translation by Thomas Byrom)

Saturday, February 23, 2008

by enquiry or melting

Thinking in the proper manner of the Guru's Grace, which is beyond expression, and being Still, remaining unattached to the false [world] appearance in front of us, is alone Blissful. (verse 288)

Sadhu Om commentary: Sri Bhagavan often used to say "Grace is Self, which shines in everyone as 'I-I'" Therefore, "thinking in the proper manner of the Guru's Grace" is nothing but attending uninterruptedly to Self. In order to show that this Self-attention is nothing but avoiding second and third person attention, it is described here as "remaining unattached to the false world-appearance in front of us". Remaining in Self-attention by "Being Still" is neither a state of laziness, nor is it remaining like a stone in kashta-samadhi or laya; it is the state of making an uninterrupted effort towards Self-attention. When this state is understood and experienced as our own Natural State, then Self-attention becomes effortless, and that is Sahaja Samadhi.

Destroy the stealthy ego, which is the thought "I am the body", either by enquiring "Who am I?", or by melting into nothing by always thinking with love of God's feet. That which will then remain is the Light of Jnana. (verse 289)

~ Sri Muruganar, Guru Vachaka Kovai, translated by Sadhu Om and Michael James

Friday, February 22, 2008

Knowing well that there is no permanent foothold anywhere for the soul except in remaining merely as the one reality, destroy desires towards everything, but without aversion [towards anything], and abide in the Heart as one with the supreme existence-consciousness [Sat-Chit].

~ Sri Muruganar, Guru Vachaka Kovai, translated by Sadhu Om and Michael James

Thursday, February 21, 2008

Why years?

Sri Ramana Maharshi: Just as the dream-world, being only a part of yourself and not different from you, ceases to interest you, so also the present world would cease to interest you if you awake from this waking dream (samsara) and realise that it is a part of your Self, and not an objective reality. Because you think that you are apart from the objects around you, you desire a thing. But if you understand that the thing was only a thought-form you would no longer desire it. All things are like bubbles on water. You are the water and the objects are the bubbles. They cannot exist apart from the water, but they are not quite the same as the water.

D.: I feel I am like froth.

M.: Cease that identification with the unreal and know your real identity. Then you will be firm and no doubts can arise.

D.: But I am the froth.

M.: Because you think that way there is worry. It is a wrong imagination. Accept your true identity with the Real. Be the water and not the froth. That is done by diving in.

D.: If I dive in, I shall find……..

M.: But even without diving in, you are That. The ideas of exterior and interior exist only so long as you do not accept your real identity.

D.: But I took the idea from you that you want me to dive in.

M.: Yes, quite right. It was said because you are identifying yourself with the froth and not the water. Because of this confusion the answer was meant to draw your attention to this confusion and bring it home to you. All that is meant is that the Self is infinite inclusive of all that you see. There is nothing beyond It nor apart from It. Knowing this, you will not desire anything; not desiring, you will be content. The Self is always realised. There is no seeking to realise what is already - always - realised. For you cannot deny your own existence. That existence is consciousness - the Self. Unless you exist you cannot ask questions. So you must admit your own existence. That existence is the Self. It is already realised.

Therefore the effort to realise results only in your realising your present mistake - that you have not realised your Self. There is no fresh realisation. The Self becomes revealed.

D.: That will take some years.

M.: Why years? The idea of time is only in your mind. It is not in the Self. There is no time for the Self. Time arises as an idea after the ego arises. But you are the Self beyond time and space; you exist even in the absence of time and space.

~ from Talk 625, Talks with Sri Ramana Maharshi

Wednesday, February 20, 2008

Bhagavan Ramana: The Self is ever-present. Each one wants to know the Self. What kind of help does one require to know oneself? People want to see the Self as something new. But it is eternal and remains the same all along. They desire to see it as a blazing light etc. How can it be so? It is not light, not darkness. It is only as it is. It cannot be defined.

The best definition is `I am that I am'. The srutis [scriptures] speak of the Self as being the size of one's thumb, the tip of the hair, an electric spark, vast, subtler than the subtlest, etc. They have no foundation in fact. It is only being, but different from the real and the unreal; it is knowledge, but different from knowledge and ignorance. How can it be defined at all? It is simply being.

Q: When a man realizes the Self, what will he see?

Bhagavan Ramana: There is no seeing. Seeing is only being. The state of Self-realization, as we call it, is not attaining something new or reaching some goal which is far away, but simply being that which you always are and which you always have been. All that is needed is that you give up your realization of the not-true as true. All of us are regarding as real that which is not real. We have only to give up
this practice on our part. Then we shall realize the Self as the Self; in other words, `Be the Self'. At one stage you will laugh at yourself for trying to discover the Self which is so self-evident. So, what can we say to this question? That stage transcends the seer and the seen. There is no seer there to see anything. The seer who is seeing all this now ceases to exist and the Self alone remains.

~ Sri Ramana Maharshi, The Nature of the Self chapter from Be As You Are, edited by David Godman

Tuesday, February 19, 2008

why witnessing falls short

questioner: I do self-inquiry just as you are describing it, and I guess you are using different words for it such as "tasting yourself," "seeing yourself directly." I set aside time to do it, and I guess it is different from meditation practices, where one would follow the breath or do different concentrative practices. I want to get a little clarification.

John Sherman: That's good. I did it as a practice, when I finally abandoned my allegiance to these neo-advaita ideas about effortlessness, and not doing a practice, and so forth.

questioner: It's just a little confusing. I guess it's mainly because of the challenges inherent in talking about it. You say things such as "a practice can't help and it can't hurt."

John Sherman: When I talk about the practices that can't help and can't hurt, I mean the practices that try to change your mind; practices that seek to change the way in which this life unfolds.

questioner: But you also included the practice of witnessing, which to me seems very close to this that you describe.

John Sherman: It seems close, but it really isn't. From what I understand about witnessing, it is the practice of taking on the point of view of the witness, of sinking into the point of view of the non-involved, detached witness. But the enactment of that practice is witnessed by you. The only way it is possible to report on that is because you see it. So, the trying to adopt this viewpoint of the witness is still turning around this central idea that I am this life and this mind, and what is required here is for me to become detached, dispassionate, and witness only. It is okay. However, in no way does this practice bring you to a direct meeting with yourself. You are the one who is seeing all of this witnessing that is going on. You are the awareness of the witnessing. You are the source of that. You are the source of the impulse to do this practice. You are not a witness that is here today and gone tomorrow. You are here always. So, the practice of self-inquiry is, in all cases and all states whatsoever, to look for the subject: Okay, here I am, in the state of witnessing. Who sees that?

~ for the rest of this talk, see this.

And for Sadhu Om's view of the practice of witnessing, please see this post.

Monday, February 18, 2008

The ultimate Truth is so simple. It is nothing more than being in the pristine state.

~ Bhagavan Ramana, Talk 96, Talks with Sri Ramana Maharshi

Sunday, February 17, 2008

Once a devotee asked Kunju Swami, jokingly, "What would you do if Lord Siva appeared before you right now as a column of light and offered you heaven?" Kunju Swami replied without hesitation, "I would refuse it. The happiness of heaven could in no way equal the happiness of being in Bhagavan's proximity here on earth!"

~ Evelyn Kaselow Saphier

Saturday, February 16, 2008

I repeatedly tell you that there is nothing save this consciousness, the knowledge "I Am" -- if you feel like worshiping something, worship that.

~ Sri Nisargadatta Maharaj, Prior to Consciousness

Friday, February 15, 2008

Seeing oneself free of all attributes
Is to see the Lord,
For He shines ever as the pure Self.

Sri Ramana Maharshi, verse 25, Upadesa Saram

Thursday, February 14, 2008

self-enquiry: eradicating the false belief

We are not seeking after some new thing to come to us. It is not about seeking after the realization and enlightenment to come to us. It is a practice, the purpose of which is to rid us of a disease, of a false belief.

Nothing can give you what you are, nothing.

There is no experience that will be authentic and then, "Oh, now I get it! Now I see what I am."

You are always the same; you never move, you never change. The purpose of the practice therefore is not to bring you realization, or to bring you enlightenment, or to bring you peace, or love, or anything at all, but to get rid of this false belief. Not to get rid of the thing that I falsely believe myself to be, even. Just to get rid of the belief, just to do away with that. In our spiritual adventure, we have heard that, and we have turned it into an idea that what we have to do is get rid of ego, because it is ego that I am falsely identified with. But nobody has had any luck at that, so that can't be it.

This false belief is the lens through which you see everything. It is not something that you can trade off and say, "Okay, I am going to believe something different." This belief is the lens through which you see everything, and the eradication of that belief is to just get rid of that lens.

That is what inquiry is intended to do. And it is intended to do that by the repeated meeting with the reality of what you are, because the lie can't stand up over repeated contact with reality, over time. No lie can. But it takes time. It takes time for that falseness to depart, to be eaten up, to be eroded away. For me, it took a long time, lot of work.

When you say long time, how long? (Laughter)

Hundred years? That's too long?

No. I think I have been doing that too, you know, hundred years.

In this lifetime, there was a time when there was the appearance of a real desperate need to be finished with this nonsense. Whatever the nonsense was, there was a real desperate need in me; I could not live unless I could be finished with this. You see, that’s the other thing about looking for love, or looking for peace, or looking for emptiness, or looking for awareness, or looking for Brahman, or looking for True Self. The desperate need brought me to the realization that what I needed absolutely to see was the reality of what I am, and not to see myself as love, and not to see myself as Brahman, and not to see myself as anything except the reality of what I am. Once that desperate need got a hold of me, it took a couple of years, before the false belief, the lie went away (I wouldn't know how else to speak of it).

You have to see that what you are looking for is the reality of what you are, and not something that will confirm some idea you have about what you should be — like love, or peace, or emptiness, or awareness. To see what you are, really. And how hard can that be? You are here! You know you are here. And it is hard to hold your attention on this reality, but it isn't hard at all to catch a flash of it. You are here. "What am I? What am I?"

And the reality of what you are never moves. Your attention will skitter away into movies and spiritual discourse, politics and other things, all of which are fine, no problem with them. But it is those moments of the direct, conscious seeing of that which nothing can be said about, of seeing it and knowing it to be you, it is the accumulation of those moments that destroys this false belief.

~ John Sherman (full talk)

Wednesday, February 13, 2008

You may read or discuss scripture
As much as you like.

But until you forget everything,
You will never live in your heart.

You are wise.
You play and work and meditate.

But still your mind desires
That which is beyond everything,
Where all desires vanish.

Striving is the root of sorrow.
But who understands this?

Only when you are blessed
With the understanding of this teaching
Will you find freedom.

~ Ashtavakra Gita (translation by Thomas Byrom)

Tuesday, February 12, 2008

Seek the nectar of truth,
Of love and forgiveness,
Simplicity and happiness.

Earth, fire and water,
The wind and the sky -
You are none of these.

If you wish to be free,
Know you are the Self,
The witness of all these,
The heart of awareness.

Set your body aside.
Sit in your own awareness.

You will at once be happy,
Forever still,
Forever free.

~ Ashtavakra Gita (translation by Thomas Byrom)

Monday, February 11, 2008

the one infallible means

D: But is it not funny that the `I' should be searching for the `I'? Does not the enquiry, `Who am I?' turn out in the end an empty formula? Or, am I to put the question to myself endlessly, repeating it like some mantra?

Sri Ramana Maharshi: Self-enquiry is certainly not an empty formula; it is more than the repetition of any mantra. If the enquiry, `Who am I?' were a mere mental questioning, it would not be of much value. The very purpose of Self-enquiry is to focus the entire mind at its source. It is not, therefore, a case of one `I' searching for another `I'.

Much less is Self-enquiry an empty formula, for it involves an intense activity of the entire mind to keep it steadily poised in pure Self-awareness.

Self-enquiry is the one infallible means, the only direct one, to realise the unconditioned, Absolute Being that you really are.

~ Maharshi's Gospel

Sunday, February 10, 2008

hold Him as the 'I' within

Better than viewing Him as Other,
Indeed the noblest attitude of all,
Is to hold Him as the `I' within,
The very `I'.

~ Sri Ramana Maharshi, verse 8, The Essence of Instruction (Upadesa Saram)

Saturday, February 9, 2008

Even when extraneous thoughts sprout up during such enquiry, do not seek to complete the rising thought, but instead, deeply enquire within, 'To who has this thought occurred?' No matter how many thoughts thus occur to you, if you would with acute vigilance enquire immediately as and when each individual thought arises to whom it has occurred, you would find it is to 'me'. If then you enquire 'Who am I?' the mind gets introverted and the rising thought also subsides. In this manner as you persevere more and more in the practice of self-enquiry, the mind acquires increasing strength and power to abide in its Source.

~ Sri Ramana Maharshi, Who Am I? - Nan Yar?

Friday, February 8, 2008

fed with the joy of silence

What is being attempted is 'looking at the mind by the mind". Attention of the mind which has so far not been on the individual, the thinker, the doer, but on his thoughts, is shifted back to the person. The individual is taken for granted and has not been given any attention. As a result, the mind's power has not been utilised for self-knowledge, knowledge about oneself. At this point, it is worth remembering that the mind is a dynamic force because of its essential content, namely consciousness, intelligence. The mind identifies itself with whatever object its attention is fixed on. The purpose of the effort and practice now suggested is to transfer the focus of the mind's attention to itself, to its centre. Consequently, the entire energy of the mind becomes available for revealing the nature of the mind - "by gathering itself from variety to thought-free unity of itself, it enjoys freedom from distraction ... the gaze turned on itself leads to the discovery of its nature".

Since the individual's "I"-thought rises simultaneously with the countless other thoughts and also because of the habitual attention of the mind being on the other thoughts, no care has been bestowed on the "I"-thought. In the Ramana way, the whole situation is met by replacing "thought attention by self-attention". If attention is fixed on the subject even as conceptualisation takes place, as the movement of thoughts gathers momentum or soon thereafter, one would be tackling the problem at its very inception.

Vigilance is needed not to be carried away by the swift thought current. Repeatedly attention is brought back to the individual. How? For self-attention Ramana gives two invincible tools, the first of which is in the form of the question "Who am I?

One begins by questioning for whom these thoughts occur. Since the thoughts are for the person, attention reverts to him. Thought formation is muzzled, nipped in the bud by this device for self-attention in the garb of a question. This switching back of attention to the "I" serves the important purpose of cutting it off from the company of other thoughts. In other words, the identification of the mind with the rest of the thoughts is scissored. The "I"-thought is isolated, actively observed and attacked by the intense enquiry "Who am I?"

The isolation of the central thought thus achieved is, however, not an end in itself. It is a step, no doubt an important one, in the intelligent journey back to the source. Here we have to press into service the complementary weapon, provided by Ramana, again in the form of a question, "Whence am I?", "Wherefrom does this "I"-thought arise?" The whole idea being one of merging the mind in its source. The disease is the identification of the pure mind with the impurities of the past as a result of the idea of separate existence. For eradicating this false notion the potent medicine is awakening of source consciousness through this method. The mind is constantly reminded of its true strength, its home and unity with the totality of life. "This practice of self-attention is a gentle technique which merely invokes awareness of the source from which the mind springs". Success depends on the extent to which one is saturated with the keen edge of enquiry. For there is no fixed time for its practice. Even while engaged in work, there can be, without any prejudice to the work itself, the under-current of attention on the "I" and its real nature as a powerful and silent vehicle of consciousness.

Recapitulating, the practice of self-enquiry separates the "I" from its association with other thoughts and the mind turns within. This happens more readily with growing awareness of its inner strength. Fed simultaneously with the invigorating tonic of source-awareness, the mind itself becomes the bridge back to its abode. When the mind is fed with the joy of silence the old habit of seeking links with the other thoughts gradually wanes till at last the mind stays submerged in the vast all-pervading silence of its source.

~ A.R. Natarajan, The Silent Mind

Thursday, February 7, 2008

When, forgetting the Self, one thinks
That the body is oneself and goes
Through innumerable births
And in the end remembers and becomes
The Self, know this is only like
Awaking from a dream wherein
One has wandered over all the world.

~ Sri Ramana Maharshi, verse 1, Ekatma Panchakam (Five Verses on the Self)

Wednesday, February 6, 2008

The Magician Ramana

Awareness wherein brightly shine
These many forms of persons, places, time,
All separate-seeming though in substance One:
Into that same Awareness he transmuted
This `I' of mine. Now, nothing to be known,
My past undone, my being his,
I stand, unruffled Bliss,
Untouched by any shock.
Lord Siva-Venkatesa he who,
King of kings, came conquering
And made me his alone.

What is this `I' that rises from within?
Only a thought that, like a bubble, floats
Up to the troubled surface of Awareness.
In sleep the sea is still, no bubble rises:
Then too you are.
You're not the `I' that rises and then sets,
You are the sole Awareness in the All,
The eternal, uncreated Light of Being.

No form or feature has he of his own,
Yet form and feature to all beings gives;
Knowledge and ignorance, both to him unknown,
Each human mind from him alone derives.
He brought me into being but to think
Of him as `you', of me and mine as `yours';
And he has left me wordless, deedless, prone,
Helpless on death's brink.
Only the vast beatitude endures.

~ from Muruganar's `Suttaruttal', translated by Prof K. Swaminathan

Tuesday, February 5, 2008

Avoid thoughts that limit you, thoughts that make you believe that you are not the Self.

~ Annamalai Swami, Final Talks, edited by David Godman

Monday, February 4, 2008

remembrance of one's own real nature

As long as there are tendencies towards sense-objects in the mind, the enquiry ‘Who am I?’ is necessary. As and when thoughts rise, one should annihilate all of them through enquiry then and there in their very place of origin. Not attending to what-is-other (anya) is non-attachment (vairagya) or desirelessness (nirasa). Not leaving Self is knowledge (Jnana). In truth, these two (desirelessness and knowledge) are one and the same.

Just as a pearl-diver, tying a stone to his waist, dives into the sea and takes the pearl lying at the bottom, so everyone, diving deep within himself with non-attachment, can attain the pearl of Self. If one resorts uninterruptedly to remembrance of one’s real nature (Swarupa- Smarana) until one attains Self, that alone will be sufficient.

~ Sri Ramana Maharshi, Self-enquiry -- Practice chapter from Be As You Are, edited by David Godman

Sunday, February 3, 2008

The real meaning of touching the Guru's feet

A certain lady, who had a lot of devotion, performed a traditional ritual for worshiping sages whenever she came into Bhagavan's presence to have darshan. She would prostrate to Bhagavan, touch his feet and then put the hands that had touched Bhagavan's feet on her eyes.

After noticing that she did this daily, Bhagavan made the following remarks:

Only the Supreme Self, which is ever shining in your Heart as the reality, is the Sadguru. The pure awareness, which is shining as the inward illumination 'I', is his gracious feet. The contact with these [inner holy feet] alone can give you true redemption. Joining the eye of reflected consciousness [chidabhasa], which is your sense of individuality [jiva bodha], to those holy feet, which are the real consciousness, is the union of the feet and the head that is the real significance of the word 'asi'.(1) As these inner holy feet can be held naturally and unceasingly, hereafter, with an inward-turned mind, cling to that inner awareness that is your own real nature. This alone is the proper way for the removal of bondage and the attainment of the supreme truth.

(1) This refers to the mahavakya 'tat tvam asi' (you are that). Asi means 'are'. Bhagavan's metaphor indicates that the inner state of being is revealed when individuality is merged in the 'holy feet' of pure consciousness.

~ Sadhu Natanananda, Sri Ramana Darsanam

Saturday, February 2, 2008

You only have to see from where the 'I' springs.

Question: What is the Heart referred to in the verse of Upadesa Saram where it is said, ‘Abiding in the Heart is the best Karma, Yoga, Bhakti (devotion) and Jnana (knowledge)?

Sri Ramana Maharshi: That which is the source of all, that in which all live, and that into which all finally merge, is the Heart referred to.

Question: How can we conceive of such a Heart?

Sri Ramana Maharshi: Why should you conceive of anything? You have only to see from where the ‘I’ springs. That from which all thoughts of embodied beings issue forth is called the Heart. All descriptions of it are only mental concepts.

~ Be As You Are: The Teachings of Sri Ramana Maharshi, edited by David Godman

Friday, February 1, 2008

Let whatever strange things happen, happen; let us see!

Whatever thoughts arise as obstacles to one's sadhana - the mind should not be allowed to go in their direction, but should be made to rest in one's self which is the Atman; one should remain as witness to whatever happens, adopting the attitude 'Let whatever strange things happen, happen; let us see!' This should be one's practice. In other words, one should not identify oneself with appearances; one should never relinquish one's self.

~ Self-Enquiry - (Vicharasangraham) of Bhagavan Sri Ramana Maharshi