Tuesday, July 3, 2018

Ramana Maharshi speaking of the simplicity of self-realization in all.

Talks with Sri Ramana Maharshi

Talk 469.

Yogi Ramiah asked: A master is approached by an aspirant for
enlightenment. The master says that Brahman has no qualities, nor
stain, nor movement, etc. Does he not then speak as an individual?
How can the aspirant’s ignorance be wiped off unless the master speaks
thus? Do the words of the master as an individual amount to Truth?

M.: To whom should the master speak? Whom does he instruct? Does
he see anyone different from the Self?

D.: But the disciple is asking the master for elucidation.

M.: True, but does the master see him as different? The ignorance of the
disciple lies in not knowing that all are Self-realised. Can anyone exist
apart from the Self? The master simply points out that the ignorance
lies there and therefore does not stand apart as an individual.
What is Realisation? Is it to see God with four hands, bearing
conch, wheel, club, etc.? Even if God should appear in that form,
how is the disciple’s ignorance wiped out? The truth must be eternal
realisation. The direct perception is ever-present Experience. God
Himself is known as directly perceived. It does not mean that He
appears before the devotee as said above. Unless the Realisation
be eternal it cannot serve any useful purpose. Can the appearance
with four hands be eternal realisation? It is phenomenal and illusory.
There must be a seer. The seer alone is real and eternal.
Let God appear as the light of a million suns: Is it pratyaksha?
To see it, the eyes, the mind, etc. are necessary. It is indirect knowledge,
whereas the seer is direct experience. The seer alone is pratyaksha.
All other perceptions are only secondary knowledge. The present
super-imposition of the body as ‘I’ is so deep-rooted, that the vision
before the eyes is considered pratyaksha but not the seer himself.
No one wants realisation because there is no one who is not realised.
Can anyone say that he is not already realised or that he is apart from
the Self? No. Evidently all are realised. What makes him unhappy is
the desire to exercise extraordinary powers. He knows that he cannot
do so. Therefore he wants God to appear before him, confer all His
powers on the devotee, and keep Himself in the background. In short,
God should abdicate His powers in favour of the man.

D.: It is all right for mahatmas like Sri Bhagavan to speak out so plainly.
Because the Truth does not swerve from you, you consider it easy for
all others. Nevertheless, the common folk have a real difficulty.

M.: Then does anyone say that he is not the Self?

D.: I meant to say that no one else has the courage to put things
straight like Maharshi.

M.: Where is the courage in saying things as they are?

Tuesday, May 1, 2018

Does a 'perennial philosophy' actually exist?

Some comments by Michael James on the existence of a 'perennial philosophy':


2. The view that all views are one is due to lack of vivēka

F: I think my outlook is fundamentally Zen, but I still worship Bhagavan. I’m more open to a perennial philosophy, so I see it basically everywhere, despite the (apparently) diverse iterations. I think it’s everywhere.

M: Perennial philosophy of the type that Aldous Huxley wrote about is a huge generalisation, in which most non-materialist metaphysics can find a place, particularly (but not only) the more monistic or non-dualistic ones. Viewed superficially, there are many similarities [between the religious, spiritual and philosophical traditions of various cultures], as found by Huxley, but if one goes deeper there are also many significant differences.

Take vēdānta, for example, which Huxley considered to be the archetype of perennial philosophy. It is considered to be one view (darśana), but there are so many interpretations of it, dvaita, viśiṣṭādvaita and advaita, among which there are so many fundamental points of disagreement.

Even advaita is not a single view, because there are so many interpretations of it. Many professed advaitins, for example, do not accept dṛṣṭi-sṛṣṭi vāda [the contention that perception is causally antecedent to creation (in other words, that creation is a consequence of perception), though they actually occur simultaneously, as in a dream], which according to what Bhagavan taught us is the cornerstone of advaita philosophy.

[My friend later suggested I was mistaken in writing this, because ‘Bhagavan’s teaching is ajata’, to which I replied: Though Bhagavan said that the ultimate truth is ajāta, he clarified that his actual teaching is only dṛṣṭi-sṛṣṭi vāda (also known as vivarta vāda, the contention that everything [both the perceiver and the perceived] is just a false appearance), as you can see from verses 83 and 100 of Guru Vācaka Kōvai. Ajāta is not suitable for teaching, because in the state of ajāta there is no one in need of any teaching or to put any teaching into practice. Teaching is necessary only because we have risen as this ego (the perceiver) and consequently perceive the world (the phenomena perceived), so the most beneficial teaching is to say that all this is just a false appearance, which appears only in the view of the ego, so we should investigate the ego in order to see that it does not actually exist. Only by applying dṛṣṭi-sṛṣṭi vāda in practice can we arrive at ajāta.]

Even among Bhagavan’s followers there are so many interpretations of his teachings.

If we want to see uniformity we cannot go deep into anything. If we want to go deep, we have to give up the idea that all views are one. In order to go deep in any spiritual path, particularly the path of jñāna [knowledge or awareness], vivēka (distinguishing differences and judging what is true or real) is absolutely essential.

When you say your outlook is fundamentally Zen, what do you mean by ‘Zen’? I do not know much about Zen, but I expect there are many different interpretations or understandings of it, as there are of advaita.

Therefore rather than just giving our view a label, we need to consider each point of difference and judge for ourself what is correct in each case. And we each have to consider whether our views on various points are consistent and coherent, which is something that is lacking in most people’s views, because they haven’t considered their views deeply or critically enough.

Monday, February 5, 2018

Body sensations and the sensation of the body as a gateway.

I bring up the idea of using the body's sensations and the overall sensation of the body (minus thought) as a gateway into beingness.

There are many teachings that reference body sensations. They are helpful in order to start from somewhere.

I also find that it's not so much about focusing or concentrating on the body sensation(s), but rather releasing tension through body sensations, and relaxing via body sensation.. then it becomes effortless, otherwise it builds up tension instead.

This is the path of letting go, surrender, or bhakti yoga. It's also the path of the Tao and going with nature.

Wednesday, December 13, 2017

Loving oneself first.

I feel the need to do a post about 'self-love' after reading a post by EM on the topic.

I also feel the need to call out EM on the sheer amount of BS he is posting of late, and done in the usual "I know everything.. I have 40 years experience blah blah" fashion.

In his latest post he writes that the idea that one has to learn to love oneself first before loving others is wrong, not correct.

He writes:
"There is an old saying that has gained a lot of believers in the West that you cannot love anyone until you first love yourself.

Not only is this overly simplistic, but from my experience, it is just wrong.

How does a toddler learn how to love him or her self?  Easy, by being loved by the mother or father.  At about age three, the toddler has reached the developmental stage where it can .."

It is very tempting to assign an external cause to our lack of self love, be that external cuase parents, teachers, living environment etc.
But as Gotama Buddha pointed out about 2500 years ago, training seems to be required in aquainting ourselves with the real cause of our suffering, lack of love, etc.--> craving, clinging and seeking externally. It is no coincidence that most schools in Buddhism, Vedanta and Eastern mind-related schools train in metta, loving-kindness and compassion for a decent amount of time while also training in attention and inquiry.

The reason for this is because love, self-love, starts at home. We can blame all sorts of events that happened at age three.. but really, loving oneself has to start here and now, in this minute with me first. If I've never encountered the feeling of love, compassion and goodwill, least of all for myself, how could I possibly offer that non-existent feeling or goodwill to an external object or person?
Even the argument that a toddler learns love from his/her parents, may seem true, but in actual fact, if one observes toddlers in horrific home environments, they are fully capable of love, wonder and gentleness despite never having learned from any external source. Self-love, love is actually our true nature, as has been pointed out countless times by sages in all schools.

Training in self-love MUST begin with oneself first. There are many practices that work on training a practitioner in first evoking and coming to know the already existent (but hidden) feeling of loving-kindness, and then once this is mastered, offering it to others and external objects. (External objects and others, which also happen to be internal representations in actual fact-- there are no 'others' or 'things' outside of our own consciousness).

One does not need a lover, mutual love, peer, or even a living teacher to learn how to evoke, come to know, and eventually be a conscious source of love, self-love. "Your earnestness will take you there".

Thursday, November 16, 2017

Vijnana Nauka (The Boat of Spiritual Science) - by Adi Shankaracharya

Vijñāna Naukā

(The boat of spiritual science)
By Adi Shankara


tapo yajñadānādibhiḥ śuddhabuddhir-

virakto nṛpādau pade tuccabuddhyā

parityajya sarvaṃ yadāpnoti tatvaṃ

paraṃ brahmā nityaṃ tadevāham asmi ||1||


By cleaning of our mind with meditation, sacrifice and charity,

By becoming disenchanted with even king like positions,

And by sacrificing everything, we attain that principle

Of the divine and perennial concept that we ourselves are Brahman.



dayāluṃ guruṃ brahmāniṣṭhaṃ praśāntaṃ

samārādhya bhaktyā vicārya svarūpaṃ

yadāpnoti tatvaṃ nididhāsya vidvān

paraṃ brahmā nityaṃ tadevāham asmi ||2||


By worshipping with devotion, the merciful and peaceful teacher,

Who is searching for Brahman and by researching on the form,

The scholar after repeated and profound meditation makes his own,

The divine and perennial concept that we ourselves are Brahman.



yad ānanda rūpaṃ prakāśa svarūpaṃ

nirasta prapañcaṃ pariccheda śūnyaṃ

ahaṃ brahmāvidyaikagamyaṃ turīyaṃ

paraṃ brahmā nityaṃ tadevāham asmi ||3||


Forever having the form of joy which is full of splendor,

Forsaking the world that we see which does not have definition,

And Which can be attained only by constant search and a state full of bliss,

Is the divine and perennial concept that we ourselves are Brahman.



yad ājñanato bhati viśvaṃ samaṣṭaṃ

vinaṣṭaṃ ca sadyo yadātma prabodha

manovāgathīthaṃ visudhaṃ vimuktaṃ

paraṃ brahmā nityaṃ tadevāham asmi ||4||


By that ignorance of this entire concept of the physical world,

By that realization of Atma (soul) , which leads to the loss of this concept,

Which is beyond mind and word ,and also pure and fully free,

Is the divine and perennial concept that we ourselves are Brahman.



niṣedhe kṛte neti netīti vakyaiḥ

samadhiṣṭitānām yadābhāthi pūrṇaṃ

avasthāthrayāthītham advaitaṃ ekam

paraṃ brahmā nityaṃ tadevāham asmi ||5||


By the negative action of the words “Not This, Not This”,

That which shines entirely in those, who enter the state of Samadhi,

That which is beyond the three states (sleep, dream and wakefulness), and which does not have any second,

Is the divine and perennial concept that we ourselves are Brahman.



yad ānandalesaih samanandi viśvaṃ

yadābhāti satve sada bhāti sarvaṃ

yadālocite heyaṃ anyat samaṣṭaṃ

paraṃ brahmā nityaṃ tadevāham asmi ||6||


That due to its bits of bliss makes this world pleasant,

That due to its splendour makes this world full of light,

And that by whose thought this physical world becomes nothing,

Is the divine and perennial concept that we ourselves are Brahman.



anandaṃ vibhuṃ sarvayoniṃ nirīhaṃ

śivaṃ  saṅgahīnaṃ yad omkāragamyaṃ

nirākāramathyujvalaṃ mṛtyuhīnaṃ

paraṃ brahmā nityaṃ tadevāham asmi ||7||


That which is endless, divine and controls everything,

That which is peaceful, alone and attainable through “Om”,

And that which is formless, has great luster and no death,

Is the divine and perennial concept that we ourselves are Brahman.



yad ānanda sindhau nimagnaḥ puman sya-

dvidyavilasaḥ samaṣṭa prapañcaḥ

tadā na sphuratyatbhutaṃ yannimittam

paraṃ brahmā nityaṃ tadevāham asmi ||8||


That sea of bliss in which the seeker drowns himself,

And that wonderful cause which forever makes it disappear,

The ignorance which makes the physical world appear,

Is the divine and perennial concept that we ourselves are Brahman.



svarūpānusandhānarūpāṃ stutiṃ yaḥ

paṭhed ādarāl bhaktibhāvānmanuṣyaḥ

śṛṇotīha vā nityam udyukta citto

paraṃ brahmā nityaṃ tadevāham asmi ||9||


This prayer written in the style of the search of the form of the self,

If read by men with respect and devotional thought,

Or if heard would lead them forever to blissful freedom,

And Is the divine and perennial concept that we ourselves are Brahman.


Translated By P.R. Ramachander

Thursday, November 2, 2017

A meeting with Mark West.

Wed 1-11-17.

I had a wonderful one-to-one meeting today with Mark West. Mark is an unassuming jnani (sage), well versed in aspects of the Advaita nondual teachings, and who quietly lives in the chaotic inner city area of Sydney.

Mark spent a good number of years in India, first as a sanyasi with Muktananda at Ganeshpuri, and later with Sri Nisargadatta in Bombay. Mark left India to return to Australia in the late 70s, and the final flowering and realization of that time spent with sages in India, then happened over the course of a decade. Mark is the author of the book "Gleanings From Nisargadatta", which details his notes and transcripts from his meetings with Nisargadatta in the late 70s.

Mark has a unique, fresh and spontaneous style of pointing (and satsang). Topics ranged from the approach that Nisargadatta took with his different disciples, to approaches from other nondual teachers such as Douglas Harding (Headless Way). There was some exploration and inquiry done, in the moment, with this direct, immediate presence.

It's a great blessing to have someone like Mark available to earnest seekers, considering Mark is one of the few living disciples of Nisargadatta (and others) still currently around. Mark's style of teaching/satsang is unique, and he has certainly gained his own understanding and way of presenting the message. One also gains a sense of the deep conviction that he has in terms of Who and What we really are.


Tuesday, October 31, 2017

Love and Self-love.

I recently read a post by a spiritual teacher of nonduality, related to the topic of love, especially that of romantic love and yearning of the heart. This teacher maintains that the search for love happens regardless of tradition, and there is value in exploring feelings, emotions, and psychologies behind this search for love. This teacher also prides themselves on having around 40 years’ experience in the field of Zen, Advaita, and other teachings.


While I find the above approach reasonable, I also find that it is so easy to get carried away with the topic of "love". It lends itself into over-analysis into the emotions, psychology, and reasons for why we act as we do. It is like taking the simple message of nonduality and then building a massive super-structure on top that somehow explains the spontaneity of things.


Nisargadatta completely deals with the topic of love, by taking it to be Self-love. Love of the "I am"-ness, which starts from the moment we awake in the morning, and goes on until we get to deep sleep at night. In fact, this self-love begins as a child, and comes upon us spontaneously itself. It grows with concepts and ideas, added by those around us. It seeks to experience, know, expand and "be". It is behind all movement towards supposed external objects and "love interests", despite externalities being merely projections of our internal world and beliefs.


Rather than attempting to explain how all this works, and how we should be dealing with emotions and feelings due to this love-yearning, why not get to the root of the matter? The "Moola-maya" or root-illusion, being that we are, in fact, this "I am", that needs to seek and perpetuate itself. If I take up a plant by the roots, is there any more need to keep pruning the branches?