pratibandha-s – part 9 of 10

Read Part 8

Ramana Maharshi

As I have pointed out earlier, most of what is referred to as Ramana’s teaching comes from recorded talks or answers that he gave to visiting seekers. Not only were those answers aimed at the level of understanding of the questioner but the transcriptions were made by others, who may not entirely have understood the answers, and they have been translated from those transcriptions by others who may also not have been especially knowledgeable. The text known as ‘Guru Vachaka Kovai (The Garland of Guru’s Sayings)’ is a collection of his teachings recorded by Muruganar, who lived with Ramana for several years. Ramana is stated to have edited and added to the work so that we can assume it does not suffer to the same degree from those shortcomings (although it has been translated from Tamil).

In this work, Ramana specifically addressed the concept of ‘obstacles’ (pratibandha-s) in Chapter 22. It does read as though it applies mainly to the seeker rather than the j~nAnI but verse 620 refers to ‘reaching the destination’, which may then be construed as the entire ‘path’ through to final liberation (videha mukti):

“619. Just as a gem taken from a mine will not have full luster if it is not polished on the grindstone, so the real tapas, the sadhana which one is doing, will not shine well if it is not provided with trials and tribulations on its way.

 620. For a big temple-chariot to go along the streets and safely reach its destination, not only the strong linchpins but also the obstructing blocks, which prevent it from dashing into anything by running to the sides of the streets, are indispensable.” (Ref. 204)

A later verse supports the notion that even a j~nAnI may have obstacles remaining after gaining Self-knowledge, assuming that ‘unless’ is the correct translation:

“830. Just as a fruit falls from the tree when ripe, so an aspirant will certainly renounce his family life like saltless gruel as soon as he becomes fully mature, unless his prArabdha interferes as an obstacle.”

 One is bound to observe that some of what is said does not bear logical scrutiny. For example, regarding the continuing influence of prArabdha karma for the j~nAnI, there is the following verse, together with a comment by Ramana’s disciple Sadhu Om:

“554. All the karmas that one has seen that one has done in dream, will not give fruit in the waking state. Likewise, all the karmas done in this waking state by the deluded ego-sense will not give fruit in the state of Self-awakening.

Sadhu Om: This verse emphasizes that for a j~nAnI, none of the three karmas [agamya, sanchita or prArabdha] remain to be experienced.” (Ref. 204)

 But these statements are demonstrably untrue. If one has a nightmare, one may easily wake up shaking and anxious, afraid to go out of the room. And the very fact that a j~nAnI does not drop dead on gaining Self-knowledge, shows that prArabdha must continue (as defined and understood by the teaching of Advaita).

The later verse: “698. Know that prArabdha which, like a whirlwind, unfailingly whirls round and round the mind which takes the body as ‘I’, cannot even in the least stir the mind which knows itself and which shines as the pure space of consciousness” does not show that prArabdha does not exist (as stated by Sadhu Om: “The import of this verse is that there is no prArabdha for the j~nAnI”) but rather that the j~nAnI’s mind is not perturbed by the situations that manifest as a result of prArabdha.

In verse 830, Ramana explicitly indicates the possibility of obstacles:

“830. Just as a fruit falls from the tree when ripe, so an aspirant will certainly renounce his family life like saltless gruel as soon as he becomes fully mature, unless his prArabdha interferes as an obstacle.” (Ref. 204)

And later, when talking about the behavior of the ‘liberated one’, Ramana acknowledges the possibility of ‘pleasure and pain’ but states that they are not ‘suffering’ – i.e. in accordance with the suggested ‘definition’ of pratibandha earlier:

“1135-1136. Though their doership has been destroyed, is it proper to call those who are wearing a body, who are eating [making a living] by other activities and who are doing actions [karma-bandha] ‘a liberated one’? We also see that, being victims to the allotted karma [i.e. to their prArabdha karma], even those Great Ones suffer, [so how can it be said that they are free from the experience of pleasure and pain, which are the results of action?]” If it be asked thus, [the reply is that] their sufferings are merely according to the outlook [dRRiShTi] of the onlookers [the aj~nAnI-s]; tell me, do they [the jIvanmukta-s] say that they are suffering?” (Ref. 204)

Sadhu Om continues to insist: “Having transcended the dyad of pleasure and pain, He is both a non-doer [akartA] and a non-experiencer [abhoktA]. Thus, for the j~nAnI none of the three karmas [AgAmi, saMchita and prArabdha] exist even in the least.” In an attempt to explain why the scriptures state otherwise, he says: “Thus, when some scriptures say that AgAmi and saMchita are destroyed and that prArabdha alone will remain for the j~nAnI, their saying so is to be understood as a mere formality [upachAra] and should not be taken to be the actual truth.” (Ref. 204)

This is not acceptable. Nothing of what the scriptures say is the ‘actual truth’; Advaita uses adhyAropa-apavAda as explained elsewhere. That prArabdha remains for the j~nAnI is an aspect of that teaching. It is not at all obvious what ‘a mere formality’ might mean. (In fact, upachAra means ‘figurative’ or ‘metaphorical expression’ according to Monier-Williams, but this does not make sense either.)

Ramana goes on to state that the jIvanmukta has transcended prArabdha by virtue of his effective dissociation from the body: “1146. To the body, which was born because of prArabdha, that prArabdha will never fail [to give fruit]. [But] the JIvanmukta, who has separated Himself [from the body] by severing the chit-jaDa-granthi, has transcended prArabdha itself.” By ‘severing’ the knot between Consciousness and (inert) matter, one assumes that he meant the final ‘destruction’ of pratibandha-s.

Finally, in verse 1147, regarding the apparently continuing physical body after gaining Self-knowledge, Ramana asks who it is who sees this body. And Sadhu Om says that the physical body of the j~nAnI ceases to exist in the same way that the dream body ceases when we wake up! He concludes: “Thus the body of the j~nAnI seems to exist only in the outlook of aj~nAnI-s, who are themselves completely non-existent in His outlook. Therefore, it is meaningless to say that the body of a j~nAnI is still living.” (Ref. 104) How one can take the continuation of prArabdha as figurative and yet believe that the body literally ceases to exist is beyond me!

None of this correlates with recorded statements elsewhere. In the ‘Talks’, for example (talk 30) discussing siddhi-s, Ramana is pointing out that thinking is inconsistent with realization. The questioner suggests that those with ‘advanced wisdom’ might be invisible. Ramana says that, if this were true, all those who continue to be seen by others must be ignorant. The exchange continues:

“D.: But the sages Vasishta and Valmiki possessed such powers?

M.: It might have been their fate (prArabdha) to develop such powers (siddhi-s) side by side with their wisdom (j~nAna).” and he asks: “Does the sage (j~nAnI) feel oppressed by his body being visible?” (Ref. 115)

It seems clear to me that, as I have suggested earlier, anything that Ramana says has to be assumed to be appropriate to the questioner’s level of understanding; it is not to be taken as an absolute indication of his fundamental belief. And this is why a seeker should be basing his or her understanding on a systematic progression by a qualified teacher and not on statements from independent teachers taken out of context, no matter how good that teacher might be or have been.

Elsewhere, Ramana equates prArabdha with predestination. In answer to a question relating to this, he acknowledges that even trivial events are destined to happen to a person even before that person is born. This would apply even to the j~nAnI, the difference being that the j~nAnI no longer identifies with the body, knowing that who-he-really-is does not act or enjoy. (Free will be discussed in Vol. 2.) But he clearly states in Ref. 205 that “the truth is the jnani has transcended all karmas, including the prArabdha karma, and he is not bound by the body or its karmas.

Finally, Ramana explicitly does not recognize any ‘different categories’ of liberation. He says: “There are no different types or kinds of Mukti and no degrees of it. Either there is Mukti or there is not. Differences observed by others refer only to the mode of action or manifestation of a jIvanmukta dictated by his prArabdha. Therefore Mukti cannot be gradually built up. It dawns as a sudden illumination.” (Ref. 209)

Nisargadatta

I have included a heading here but no relevant text. I was unable to locate anything that he said on this topic. Indeed, he did not appear to use any of the specialized Advaita terms at all, although this may be the result of omission on the part of translators.

Read Part 10

96 thoughts on “pratibandha-s – part 9 of 10

  1. Dear Dennis,

    Nice article!

    Confusion arises when we are not specific about who we are referring to as Jnani.

    1.) When we are referring to Jnani as the body/mind/intellect (name and form), then this assemblage is very much under the sway of Prarabdha Karma. The difference with other assemblages of body/mind/intellect is that the Jnani’s assemblage shall not re-enter the cycle of transmigration after death.

    2.) When we are referring to Jnani as Self, then the Jnani is beyond prarabdha as the Self is the substrate of the Causal Body. Thus as Self, the Jnani is not embodied even when his assemblage of body/mind/intellect is being perceived by others. From this absolute standpoint, there is only one Jnani – Self

    Some quotes by Shankara (Translation by SSS) :-

    “Therefore, since being embodied is the result of false notions, it is proved that the enlightened person is not embodied even when still alive”
    – B.S.Bh.1.i.4

    “The question of whether the soul ‘has’ or ‘has not’ a body depends simply on whether metaphysical discrimination has or has not arisen. For the Vedic text says, “Dwelling in all bodies, not himself embodied’.
    – Katha (i.ii.22) and (B.S. Bh. 1.111.19)

    Warm wishes,
    Anurag

      • Dennis,

        Again, the terms Jnani and Ajnani as a pair, belong to the body-mind-intellect.

        Jnani as Self is the same as Chit of Sat-Chit-Ananda. It is always Jnani.

        Please refer also to my last article where I quote Shankara

        “The knower of Brahman has this realization: “As opposed to the entity known before to possessed of agentship and experience by its very nature, I am Brahman which is by nature devoid of agentship and experienceship in all three periods of time. Even earlier I was never an agent and experiencer, nor am I at present, nor shall I be so in future”. From such a point of view alone can liberation be justified.”

        – Bs.Bh – IV.i.13

  2. Hi Dennis

    Ramanamaharishi uses jnani and jivanmukta interchangeably, and there is nothing in GVK about progressing from jnani to jivanmukta. I don’t recollect reading anything in Talks or other books either (with exception of my closing comment below).

    620 is in the middle of the second section of GVK that talks about a sadhaka meditating on truth. It is the third section that talks about the ‘experience of truth’.

    830 is basically saying what Sankara says about the natural renunciation of an advanced seeker.

    The David Godman version of 554 makes more sense:

    “All the actions a person perceives himself as performing in a dream will slip away, without clinging to him, when he wakes up. Similarly the actions that a person appears to have performed within the delusion that is the debased individualised existence known as the ‘waking state’ will also cease and perish when he wakes up into the divine swarupa consciousness.”

    On 1135-6, I suggest the emphasis on Sadhu Om’s explanation needs to be on:
    “Having transcended the dyad of pleasure and pain, He is both a non-doer [akartA] and a non-experiencer [abhoktA]”
    and on the previous sentence which you didn’t quote:
    “He does not feel he is doing any actions, or that He is either enjoying or suffering their fruits”.
    In that context any of the 3 karmas are of no consequence to him. Sadhu Om is stating the jnani’s outlook is ajata vada.

    On 1147, I think you have the wrong end of the stick. The David Godman translation is clearer than Michael James, though Michael’s if you re-read it says effectively the same:
    “If you ask ‘since for everyone the body exists solely for consuming prarabdha, will not the body die in the absence of the experience of that prarabdha?’; then answer me honestly, ‘To whom does this gross body appear?'”

    So Ramana is actually answering a question, by confirming the gross body still appears on realisation. If you read on in Michael James’ translation of Sadhu Om’s comment he gives the story of a dove in a forest, at the end of which he (SO) writes:

    ‘Thus the meaning of Sri Bhagavan’s reply is that there is no rule that the body must die when jivanmukta is attained. Moreover, since after Self-realisation nothing (neither body or world) can exist as other than the single, unbroken Self-consciousness, even the limited knowledge ‘the body is not I’, which existed during the period of sadhana will be removed, and the unlimited knowledge, ‘the body is also I’ will be attained”

    Finally, on obstructions, David Godman reports the following from “Talks”
    Q: There are said to be sadeha must (liberated while in body) and videha mukta (liberated at death)
    A: There is no liberation, and where are muktas?
    Q: Do not Hindu shastras speak of mukti?
    A: Mukti is synonymous with the Self. Jivan mukti and videha mukti are all for the ignorant. The jnani is not conscious of mukti or bandha. Bondage, liberation and orders of mukti are all said for an ajani in order that ignorance might be shaken off. There is only mukti and nothing else.

    Ramanamaharishi did talk of seven stages of knowledge, the last four being Brahmavit, Brahmavidvara, Brahmavidvarya and Bramavidvarishtha, defined by the period of kevala nirvikalpa samadhi. Samadhi was not necessarily experienced, and the jnana was the same in all.

    best wishes
    venkat

    • Hi Venkat,

      I don’t want to dispute any of your comments. I don’t actually have David Godman’s version; otherwise I would have used that one.

      I suppose that what I am doing is reproducing the way a ‘confused seeker’ operates – namely dipping into a text and coming up with passages that do not altogether make sense. And then pointing out what is wrong with those interpretation.

      It is possible that I am being unjust to Ramana but it does not really matter in this instance. It may be the translation that is at fault or the fact that it is taken out of context. But those are precisely the sort of problems that I am addressing. You need a systematic teaching methodology by qualified teacher in order to avoid this and reading odd books by teachers such as Ramana is not going to provide that.

      Best wishes,
      Dennis

  3. Dear Venkat,

    I agree to all the quotes you mention.

    Just a few added comments on them :-

    “Self-consciousness, even the limited knowledge ‘the body is not I’, which existed during the period of sadhana will be removed, and the unlimited knowledge, ‘the body is also I’ will be attained”

    This is because during Sadhana, one is following the method of neti-neti to discriminate between Self and not-Self.
    After knolwedge dawns, the body is also known as Self because Maya is also Self. The snake on the rope is also the rope and the snake could never appear without the rope.

    “Ramanamaharishi did talk of seven stages of knowledge, the last four being Brahmavit, Brahmavidvara, Brahmavidvarya and Bramavidvarishtha, defined by the period of kevala nirvikalpa samadhi. Samadhi was not necessarily experienced, and the jnana was the same in all.”

    All stages which are talked post Self Knolwedge refer to the states of body-mind-intellect getting more and more sattvic as the vasanas of the Causal Body keep getting exhausted. (As you rightly remark, Jnana was the same in all)

    Warm wishes,
    Anurag

  4. “It seems clear to me that, as I have suggested earlier, anything that Ramana says has to be assumed to be appropriate to the questioner’s level of understanding; it is not to be taken as an absolute indication of his fundamental belief.”

    In the end, all beliefs are wrong. That said, there are closer and there are farther positions from absolute truth. That Brahman is neti, neti is closer to absolute truth than that it is satchitananda, which in turn is a closer definition than some of those in the Upanishads which give it various forms.

    In speaking about the total destruction of prarabhdha karma, Maharshi is not in any way inconsistent… he is simply pointing as close as he can to the absolute fact of the matter, which is that only the non-jnani believes that a jnani still has a body. This is because the very acts of noticing, saying, thinking, believing, pointing out, etc… are all egoic acts. Subtract that and who is there to say that there is any karma or any body? This is as close as words get to the supreme truth.

  5. You can never say anything about the ‘supreme truth’. Hence the idea that you have to ‘remain silent’. But that would not get you very far as a teacher! You have to lead the seeker towards that truth but they must make the final step on their own. And the interim things that are taught are just that – interim. They are gauged to eliminate another bit of ignorance so that what remains is a little closer to the final realization. This is the whole point about ‘neti, neti’ – when everything has been negated, what you are left with is the negator – the non-dual Self – and that is the final truth.

    All of this is an intellectual exercise. It is the intellect of the seeker that weighs the words and makes the final leap. Thereafter, she knows that she is not the body, not the mind; that there is no person, no world; that there is only Brahman. But, throughout all this, it is still the intellect that knows this – the intellect of the non-existent person. Brahman is not a knower.

    In ‘speaking about’ anything to the seeker, Ramana was using the voice of a body. He was seeing the seeker in front of him with the eyes of a body. He clearly knew that he was not the body but, equally clearly, it is not possible to say that he did not still HAVE a body!

    Because the teaching of Advaita speaks about absolute reality, it is all too easy to be deluded into thinking that there is no empirical reality. This leads to outright denial of what is patently obvious and causes seekers no end of confusion. There is how things appear and there is how things really are. Teachers and seekers operate at the level of the former and we should always remember that!

    • Dear Dennis,

      I agree with this. Actually, it is not that the Self is not known. The right way to put it is that the Self is not known as an object.

      The Self is known because YOU ARE THAT and you know that you exist. You can never know your non-existence! This knowingness of Self continues unbroken in all three states. We feel ourselves to be the same Self even after we wake up from the dream or deep sleep state where the thinker-doer-experiencer had transformed and even dissolved completely. So the thinker-doer-experiencer is not responsible for our unbroken sense of Self.

      Also, knowledge of our existence is direct and ‘immediate’ (without a subject-object duality) not indirect and ‘mediate’, like in the case of the thinker-doer-experiencer which are known only in relation to their objects.

      Just one point, where I wish to draw your attention, is in these words,

      “This is the whole point about ‘neti, neti’ – when everything has been negated, what you are left with is the negator – the non-dual Self – and that is the final truth”

      The negator is not-Self. The Self is actionless Witness so it does not act as a negator. Self is that which is aware of the negator. The negator is the thinker/doer. Where is the negator in deep sleep?

      In Moksha, the negator (which is the mind) negates ignorance (of Self) in itself through knowledge. Ignorance and Knowledge, both are states of mind. In ignorance, the mind knows itself to be the ultimate Subject (false knowledge) and has got no clue of Awareness. In knowledge, the mind knows itself to be an object to Awareness and knows itself also as Awareness -not separate from it (Right Knowledge). What’s more, it knows that this was always the case.

      I am quoting Anandagiri Tika for Mandukya verse 3.40 for reference. Shankara says the same but Anandagiri is saying it clearer.

      “1 Those, etc.—The Jñāni knows the mind and sense-organs to be identical with the non-dual Brahman. It is like the identity of the snake with the rope. As the snake in the illusion of the snake in the rope has no existence apart from the rope, similarly, the mind has no existence separate from Brahman. To see the mind as separate from Brahman is a freak of imagination. They, the Jñānis knowing this truth, do not care for the control of the mind. For, the mind, as such, does not exist for them. One who realises mind as Brahman, finds spontaneously, peace, fearlessness, etc. Fear, misery, etc., are the outcome of duality. Duality is seen on account of the activity of the mind. But the Jñāni sees the identity of the mind and Brahman. Therefore duality does not exist for him. Hence he does not experience any fear, misery, etc. Therefore, peace, fearlessness, etc., in his case are natural.”

      Warm wishes,
      Anurag

  6. Dear Dennis,

    Sorry, the above para which I quoted was not Anandagiri’s Tika, but Swami Nikhilananda’s note on Shankara’s Bhashya. Thus I am quoting Shankara directly here

    Mandukya Bhashya – Verse 3.40

    Shankara Bhashya (commentary)

    Those who regard mind and the sense-organs, when seen apart from their identity with the very nature of Brahman, as mere imagination,—like that of the snake when seen apart from its identity with the rope—and who thus deny the sole reality of the mind and the sense-organs (independent of Brahman), i.e., those who look upon themselves as of the very nature of Brahman, spontaneously enjoy, as quite natural to them, fearlessness and eternal peace known as Freedom, (perfect knowledge) for which they (the Jñānis) do not depend upon any mechanical effort (such as the control of the mind, etc.). We have already stated that no duty (effort), whatsoever, exist for the Jñāni. But those other Yogis who are also traversing the path (leading to Truth), but who possess inferior or middling understanding and who look upon the mind as separate from but related to Ātman, and who are ignorant of the knowledge regarding the reality of Ātman—the Yogis belonging to this class can experience fearlessness as a result of the discipline of the mind. To them, the destruction of misery is also dependent upon mental control. The ignorant can never experience the cessation of misery, if the mind, (considered) related to Ātman, becomes active. Besides, their knowledge of self is dependent on their control of the mind. And similarly, eternal peace, known as Mokṣa (or liberation), in their case, depends upon the mental discipline.

    Warm wishes,
    Anurag

  7. As I said, Anurag, it is an intellectual exercise. Your ‘negator’ that is still the ‘not Self’, has to be itself negated intellectually before you can arrive at the non-dual Self (which is not a ‘witness’ either, because witnessing has to have a ‘witnessed’). I said “when EVERYTHING has been negated, what you are left with is the negator – the non-dual Self – and that is the final truth” My ‘negator’ is at the other side of the intellectual leap across the duality – non-duality divide!

    Best wishes,
    Dennis

    • Thanks, Dennis for the clarification. I understand you. But the word Witness for Self cannot be negated (according to Shankara and the Upanishads)

      Witness is the word most used by Shankara.

      While we can negate all other words even “experientially” using Avasthatraya, Witness is something that cannot be negated experientially at all because across all the three states, the Witnessing never ceases. Even in deep sleep, the Witness is present as one who is witnessing the “absence of objects”.

      These are the quotes from Shankara Bhashya, on Brhadaranyka Upanishad

      Verse IV.iii.23

      23. That it does not see in that state is because, although seeing then, it does not see; for the vision of the witness can never be lost, because it is immortal. But there is not that second thing separate from it which it can see.

      That it does not see in that state of profound sleep is because, although seeing then, it does not see. You think that it does not see in the state of profound sleep; but do not think so. Why? Because it is seeing then.

      Objection: But we know that in the state of profound sleep it does not see, because then neither the eye nor the mind, which are the instruments of vision, is working. It is only when the eye, ear, etc; are at work that we say one is seeing or hearing. But we do not find the organs working. Therefore we conclude that it must surely not be seeing.

      Reply: Certainly not; it is seeing; for the vision of the witness can never be lost. As the heat of fire lasts as long as the fire, so is the witness, the self, immortal, and because of this its vision too is immortal; it lasts as long as the witness does.

      Objection: Do you not contradict yourself by saying in the same breath that it is a vision of the witness, and that it is never lost? Vision is an act of the witness; one is called a witness just because one sees. Hence it is impossible to say that vision, which depends on an act of the witness, is never lost.

      Reply: It must be immortal, because the Śruti says it is never lost.

      Objection: No, a Śruti text merely informs (it cannot alter a fact). The destruction of something that is artificially made is a logical necessity, and cannot be prevented even by a hundred texts, because a text only informs about a thing just as it is.

      Reply: The objection does not hold. The vision of the witness is possible, like the sun etc. revealing things. Just as the sun and the like are naturally always luminous and reveal things through their natural, constant light, and when we speak of them as revealing things, we do not mean that they are naturally non-luminous and only reveal things by a fresh act each time, but that they do so through their natural, constant light, so is the self called a witness on account of its imperishable, eternal vision.

      Objection: Then its function as a witness is secondary.

      Reply: No. Thus only can it be shown to be a witness in the primary sense of the word, because if the self were observed to exercise the function of seeing in any other way, then the former way might be secondary. But the self has no other method of seeing. Therefore thus only can we understand its being a witness in the primary sense, not otherwise. Just as the sun and the like reveal things through their constant, natural light, and not through one produced for the time being, (so is the self a witness through its eternal, natural intelligence), and that is its function as a witness in the primary sense, for there cannot be any other witness besides it. Therefore there is not the least trace of self-contradiction in the statement that the vision of the witness is never lost.

      • Also Dennis, the Witness/Self/ Awareness is not something which can be arrived through intellectual negation. This is as far as Viveka goes. The final leap across the divide of duality, however, leaves the intellect behind 🙂

        The final act is a direct “intuitive experience”, aparoksha anubhuti. The “I” is known as Self/Awareness/Witness.

      • Hi Anurag,

        SInce you seemed to be agreeing with Ramana earlier, here is what he said about the Self being the witness: “The idea of the Self being the witness is in the mind. It may be useful for helping to still the mind’s restlessness. But it is not the absolute Truth of the Self. Witnessing is relative to object witnessed. Both the witness and his object are mental creations.” (recorded in Maha Yoga by ‘Who’)

        And of course he has to be right – everything that we say (in Advaita) has to consist of intellectual concepts. Nothing ‘true’ can be said about the non-dual reality.

        But thank you for that reference – most useful. I do accept that ‘witness’ is one of the terms that has caused me confusion in the past and I will study this section so that I can aim for maximum clarity in the ‘Confusions’ book!

        Best wishes,
        Dennis

        • Dear Dennis,

          This word Witness has been a very big culprit for me too. Different people have used it very differently. So let’s just stick to Shankara, as Witness is the word most consistently used by him. It is also found in the Upansihads and Mandukya Karika.

          Clearly Ramana is not talking about the Witness as Self. He is talking of witness as the observer. Please see this,

          “Witnessing is relative to object witnessed. Both the witness and his object are mental creations.”

          He is talking about the observer and the observed entities of mind.

          But the Witness Shankara and I are talking about is that which exists in all three states, including deep sleep. In deep sleep, there is no mind, so there is no chance of Witness being a mental creation there.

          The Self is Witness. This is not a concept. This is direct Knowledge. Shankara agrees, and quite forcefully points it out in his conclusion,

          “(so is the self a witness through its eternal, natural intelligence), and that is its function as a witness in the primary sense, for there cannot be any other witness besides it. Therefore there is not the least trace of self-contradiction in the statement that the vision of the witness is never lost.”

          Also if Self/Witness were not direct knowledge, why would Advaita have two words – direct knowledge and indirect knowledge?

          I shall be posting more quotes on Shankara undeniably referring to Witness as Self, beyond all three states.

          Warm wishes,
          Anurag

  8. “In ‘speaking about’ anything to the seeker, Ramana was using the voice of a body. He was seeing the seeker in front of him with the eyes of a body. He clearly knew that he was not the body but, equally clearly, it is not possible to say that he did not still HAVE a body!””

    It is possible, if you understand correctly. It’s simply not something that can be understood with the pure logical intellect.

    “I have a body” is a statement that is actuated by the ego. Yet that even the ego exists is ALSO said by the ego. And on and on it goes… the ego being a set of thoughts that mutually support each other but that do not refer to anything. The very existence of these thoughts is also said by the ego. Not validating any of these thoughts means that the whole structure falls — or rather, never arose to begin with.

    • Hi Akhilesh, just trying to understand what you are saying. You say,

      “I have a body” is a statement that is actuated by the ego.”

      Basically, the ego or the mind never ‘says’ this. This is its primary ignorance. It simply is assuming itself to be body/mind.

      So maybe you have to elaborate more………

      • What you’re calling an assumption I’m calling a statement. It makes little difference what word is used. Either way, that assumption is not only incorrect, but it turns out that the fact that it was *ever* assumed is also incorrect.

        Which means ignorance is totally non-existent.

        And that means that the world of appearances cannot be said even to appear, since even the appearance of appearance is ignorance.

        The body is an appearance. Which goes back to what I quoted Dennis as saying, and what I was responding to.

        • Thanks, Akhilesh. Also, I agree with this, which you say,

          “It’s simply not something that can be understood with the pure logical intellect.”

          I am just curious to know what is the ‘final understanding’ and how does it come about, according to you?

          • The real truth is that it can’t exactly be said how the ‘final understanding’ comes about, because, of course, it is not really an understanding at all.

            It is only a way of talking to say ‘final understandings’ and such… that said, if we want to talk in that kind of language, then that final understanding is destruction of the false identification with the mind-body, the doer/experiencer.

            Basically I would say what happens is that by the fire of self-inquiry, the mind becomes more and concentrated, and the structure of vasanas that support the structure of ignorance are progressively burned. When the structure is sufficiently weakened, it collapses, and the tamasic veil of ignorance is permanently ripped open.

            But this is all just a way of talking… it is not strictly speaking true.

  9. Dear Dennis,

    Please see this verse. “Not only is the Brahman known but known well when it is known as the witness of every state of consciousness…………….. There is no other way by which the inner Atman could be known.”

    This is Shankara Bhashya on Kena Upanishad, Verse 2.12

    “The Brahman is known well, when it is known as the witness of every state of consciousness; for (by such knowledge) one attains immortality. By his Self he attains strength and by knowledge, immortality.”

    Shankara’s Commentary:

    It has been settled that it is unknown to those who know. If Brahman be not known at all, it will then come to this, that there is no difference between the worldly-minded and those who know the Brahman. To say that It is unknown to those who know is also a contradiction, how then could that Brahman he well-known? This is explained in this text, ‘Pratibôdhaviditam’ means ‘known in respect of every state of consciousness.’ By the word ‘bôdha’ is meant ‘mental perception.’ That by which all states of consciousness are perceived like objects is the Atman. He knows and sees all states of consciousness, being by nature nothing but intelligence and is indicated by these states of consciousness, as blended with every one of them. There is no other way by which the inner Atman could be known. Therefore when the Brahman is known as the witness of all states of consciousness, then it is known well. Being the witness of all states of consciousness, it will he clear that it is intelligence in its essence, subject to neither birth nor death, eternal, pure, unconditioned, and one in all things, because there is no difference in its essence, just as in the essence of the Akas, in a vessel or mountain cave, etc.”

    Warm wishes,
    Anurag

  10. I submit that the term ‘witness’ is similar to ‘knower’ and that both are used figuratively by Shankara rather than being arrived at by a direct vision or experience. They are both significant from the empirical standpoint of differences. In itself the Self is pure knowledge, and there is nothing different from itself which it can witness. This view concurs with that of Ramana and Dennis, and also with ‘Notes…’ (# 985) by Sri Atmananda Krishna Menon (with a caveat).

  11. Dear Martin,

    I don’t think you have gone through the entire thread of comments. Ramana is using the word very differently from how Shankara and I are using it. Ramana is taking the witness to be the observer in the mind. Please scroll up and see the comments.

    The problem with Ramana, Atmananda, and Nisargadatta is that they do not follow the traditional path, where words are used in a very definite way. With their very personal vocabularies, they cause great problems for seekers.

    Also, Atmananda, Ramana and Nisargadatta were not following the path of knowledge but that of experience/Yoga

    In traditional Advaita, the Witness is beyond the mind. It is the Witness of all three states. The knower/mind does not exist in deep sleep state, but the Witness does.

    Did you read the quotes by Shankara, they leave no scope for any argument that he has used the word figuratively.

    “That by which all states of consciousness are perceived like objects is the Atman. He knows and sees all states of consciousness, being by nature nothing but intelligence and is indicated by these states of consciousness, as blended with every one of them. There is no other way by which the inner Atman could be known. Therefore when the Brahman is known as the witness of all states of consciousness, then it is known well. Being the witness of all states of consciousness, it will he clear that it is intelligence in its essence, subject to neither birth nor death, eternal, pure, unconditioned”

    In the way Ramana has used the word Witness, which is a mental observer, he is not calling it immortal. And I don’t think Shankara is mincing any words here by terming Witness as Immortal Self.

    You write, “In itself the Self is pure knowledge, and there is nothing different from itself which it can witness.”

    I am sure, you are not meaning these words literally 🙂

    For the saying is “Tat Tvam Asi”. YOU ARE SELF. So if you are Self, and you cannot see anything then every one of us will be blind 🙂

    In case you mean to say that in a certain state Self loses it’s vision like in deep sleep, This doubt has been cleared by Shankara in The Bṛhadāraṇyaka Upaniṣad Bhashya Verse 4.3.23. The Objector is saying that Self cannot be the Witness because it loses its vision in the Deep Sleep.

    “Objection: This is contradicted by our experience that we sometimes see and sometimes do not see.

    Reply: No, for this is simply due to particular activities of our organs. We observe also that those who have had their eyes removed keep the vision that belongs to the self intact in dreams. Therefore the vision • of the self is imperishable, and through that imperishable, self-luminous vision the Ātman continues to see in the state of profound sleep.

    How is it, then, that it does not see? This is being answered: But there is not that second thing, the object, separate from it which it can see, or perceive, Those things that caused the particular visions (of the waking and dream states), viz. the mind- (with the self behind it), the eyes, and forms, were all presented by ignorance as something different from the self. They are now unified in the state of profound sleep, as the individual self has been embraced by the Supreme Self. Only when the self is under limitations, do the organs stand as something different to help it to particular experiences. But it is now embraced by its own Supreme Self, which is Pure Intelligence and the Self of all, as a man is by his beloved wife. Hence the organs and objects do not stand as different entities; and since they are absent, there is no particular experience, for it is the product of the organs etc., not of the self, and only appears as the product of the self. Therefore it is a mistake due to this (absence of particular experience) that the vision of the self is lost.”

    So, what Shankara is effectively saying, is that The Self/Witness is Light. It never loses this property of witnessing, even when objects are not visible. In sleep state, when there are no modifications of Self like mind and intellect operating, the Self as Light does not light up any objects.

    We can take the analogy of space and light. As you know, outer space between Sun and Earth, where there is no atmosphere, there is total darkness. That does not mean that the Sun’s rays are not present. It is just that the rays are not encountering any object. But if there are any objects, they shall shine in the light of the Sun (just like the moon shines)

    Finally you say,” Witness is being used…….. figuratively by Shankara rather than being arrived at by a direct vision or experience”

    Shankara does not at all agree with what you say about him 🙂

    here is what Shankara says about the final understanding of Self as Eternal Witness as an act of direct intuition.

    Verse (B.S.Bh 1.iii.19)

    2.) Swami Satchidanandendra Saraswathi Translation

    When the true nature of the soul is not yet discriminated from the body and other apparent conditioning adjuncts, the cognition arising from the Veda that effects this discrimination constitutes ‘transcending the body’. And the ‘attainment of the soul’s true nature’ is nothing other than the direct intuition of the true nature of the Self resulting from the discriminating cognition’.

    3.) Swami Gambhirananda Translation

    2. ) Swami Gambhirananda

    The individuality of the individual persists as long as, like the elimination of the false idea of a man superimposed on a stump of a tree, he does not eradicate ignorance expressing itself as the world of duality and does not know that Self as “I am Brahman” – the Self that has no change and is eternal and a witness by nature. But when the individual is roused from the assemblage of body, senses, mind, and intellect by the Upanishad which makes him understand, “You are not the assemblage of body, senses, and intellect, nor are you a transmigratory being. What are you then? That which is truth – the Self of the nature of our Consciousness – that thou art”, then he realizes the Self that has no change and is eternal and a witness by nature, and then that very individual rises above it’s identity with the body and the rest to become the Self Itself- unchanging, eternal, and a Witness by nature. This is declared in such Upanishadic texts as, “Anyone who knows that supreme Brahman becomes Brahman indeed” (Mu. III.ii.9). And that is the soul’s supremely real nature by virtue of which it attains it’s essential nature after rising above the body.

    Knowing Self is not an act of mind/intellect, where the identity does not shift. It is an act of “direct intuition” by which “he realizes the Self that has no change and is eternal and a witness by nature, and then that very individual rises above it’s identity with the body and the rest to become the Self Itself- unchanging, eternal, and a Witness by nature.” These are Shankara’s words.

    Warm wishes,
    Anurag

    • “Also, Atmananda, Ramana and Nisargadatta were not following the path of knowledge but that of experience/Yoga”

      I don’t know about Atmananda… but Ramana and Nisargadatta were most certainly following the path of jnana… or rather, it is the path of jnana *properly understood*.

      Many people think the jnana path is simply memorizing the words of the Upanishads and hypnotizing themselves into believing them, over and over. Actually, this is not the case. As you point out, the apprehension of Self is not by mind/intellect.

      Therefore, to understand the words of the scripture, one must look inward. That is the path of knowledge. The path of knowledge requires and is the same as the path of meditation/self-inquiry, and it is this path that Ramana and Nisargadatta recommend.

    • (Anurag: ‘In traditional Advaita, the Witness is beyond the mind.’ (?))

      Yes, one cannot but assent to those postulates you have enumerated which constitute an intermediate, though advanced, teaching in the way to full understanding, brahmanubhava. This last is not the final step to truth, but truth itself. It confirms – and entails – the ontologically prior postulates that pure consciousness is attributeless and objectless. Mind, and it attendant epithets, ‘knower’, ‘witness’, ‘enjoyer’, ‘sufferer’ are superimpositions which ultimately are to be rescinded (apavada).

      ‘… it appears as mere witness and witnesses the activities of the individual self when the mind or the internal organ alone is superimposed on it … when the self abides in its own nature of pure consciousness, there will be no duality, and in the absence of duality, the Self cannot be known either as the individual self or as mere witness.’- ‘Advaitic Mysticism of Shankara’, 2nd ed. 2013 – A. Ramamurty (p. 64).

      • Dear Martin,

        The Self is always abiding by itself. And “You are That” You know your Self all the time. But you are mistakenly calling it as your body/mind/intellect due to lack of discrimination.

        That Self exists, is indirect knowledge; but to know that I am Self, I am the Witness to mind/body/intellect. I am the Witness to the three worlds of waking, dream and sleep; this is direct knowledge. The Witness as Self is unceasing vision. You have already heard this from the master Shankara itself 🙂

        The Witness is not referring to an individual. The Witness is beyond Causal Body, which means beyond space and time. The Witness is Self, which Shankara has said clearly. Now it’s up to you if you wish to listen to Shankara or someone’s interpretation of Shankara. The quotes I have provided leave no doubt about Shankara considering it the highest teaching.

        The quote you have given is the Yoga view and is again using the word Witness in that sense. Why? Please read your quote again,

        “when the self abides in its own nature of pure consciousness, there will be no duality, ”

        What does this quote mean by “when the Self abides in its own nature”?

        In Advaita, Self is always Self. It is always existent in it’s true nature. Because in Advaita, Maya is not an independent real entity. It is a mere superimposition on Self, produced due to error. Taking the rope and the snake example – the rope has always been the rope, even when the snake was seen on it. So the Self is never bound and always abiding in it’s true nature. Which means you are always Self and nothing else.

        In Yoga, things are different. The Purusha (which is non -dual but an individual because Yoga believes in plural Purushas who are non dual) and Prakriti( which is dual) are two real entities. So the Purusha has to ‘literally’ get freed from Prakriti. The only way, Purusha gets freed in Yoga is by putting an end to the movements of Prakriti. (manonasha)

        Thus you hear something like, “when the self abides in its own nature of pure consciousness, there will be no duality”

        By the way, sleep is a Non-dual state of consciousness, but it does not result in liberation. And please note, that Self/Witness exist even in sleep state with it’s vision.

        In Advaita, Self is never in contact with Maya. That is why it is called Asparsha Yoga or Contactless Yoga. The Self does not need to be free from any bonding literally. Thus the Self does not need to be attained but only the ignorance of superimposing the characteristics of mind/body/intellect have to be negated by ‘direct knolwedge’, not by an experience where mind ceases and non-dual experience occurs as in Samadhi. By the way, even Nirvikalpa Samdhi, like sleep also has a Witness. After coming out of Samadhi, who knew that one had a Samadhi ? 🙂

        Warm wishes,
        Anurag

  12. Dear Akhilesh,

    “The path of knowledge requires and is the same as the path of meditation/self-inquiry, and it is this path that Ramana and Nisargadatta recommend”

    Meditation is only an aid, an indirect means. The most direct means is actually listening to the teachings as unfolded by a qualified teacher. If one’s mind is sufficiently ready, the mere listening or shravana gives direct self knowledge.

    Meditation is an action. All action is duality and therefore not opposed to ignorance. Only knowledge is opposed to ignorance because Brahman is already attained. One does not need to do anything to attain it.

    Shankara says in B.S.Bh. (I.i.4)

    “Had liberation been spoken of (in the scriptures) as something supplementary to action and had it been asserted as a thing to be achieved, it would become impermananent……….Thus it is not proper to to talk of Brahman as though it formed a factor in some action. ”

    And further,

    ” Meditation is dwelling on something mentally. Though mental, it depends on human will, and can be either be done or not done or done in a different way. Knowledge, on the other hand, is the result of the application of a means of valid cognition, and bears on the true nature of an already-existent object. Knowledge, therefore, does not fall within the province of what can be done, not done, or done differently. It is conditioned neither by a command nor by the human will, but by the nature of an already existing reality. Thus, even when knowledge is mental, there is a very great difference between knowledge and deliberate mental act like meditation.”

    Nidhidhyasana, or sustained meditation on the true nature of Self, comes last in the series of Shravana, Manana and Nidhidhyasana. It comes only when Shravana and Manana have failed to bring about direct knolwedge in a seeker.

    Shankara says about it in B.S.Bh (IV.i.12)

    “Amongst meditations in general, those which aim at leading to right intuitive knowledge have to be performed until the end is achieved, like pounding the paddy to extract the rice. In their case, the extent of the repetition is required is clear. For after their final goal of right intuitive knolwedge has been achieved, no further action could be prescribed. Intuitive knowledge of the identity of one’s true Self with the Absolute cannot be prescribed. It takes one beyond the realm of the Veda.”

    Warm wishes,
    Anurag

    • Meditation and self-inquiry doesn’t require long periods of time. It may take only an instant. It is no different than sravana, properly understood.

      “The most direct means is actually listening to the teachings as unfolded by a qualified teacher. If one’s mind is sufficiently ready, the mere listening or shravana gives direct self knowledge.”

      Actually, the most direct means is simply when the mind unfolds into the Self by an act of Grace, as it did for Maharshi himself. Words are not actually required for the purest minds — Dakshinamurti taught by silence.

      And listening to words, anyhow, is not merely the physical act of listening. When the words are processed by the mind, they trigger a process of meditation/self-inquiry… it may take only a moment, but that is the only way to actually grasp the words. It is this in fact that produces the destruction of ignorance.

      • Dear Akhilesh,

        Direct Self Knowledge can arise through Prarabdha Karma. But in that case, it is the end of the actor/doer and end of all meditation, as Shankara has noted.

        However, Ramana started his journey after his death experience. For 17 years he was meditating in the caves. I have discussed all this in my earlier comments with Venkat. You may wish to go through them.

        Words leading to direct self knolwedge do not trigger a meditation or self inquiry, which are actions. They lead to Knolwedge. Please refer to story of the Tenth Man.

        Warm wishes,
        Anurag

        • Prarabhda karma cannot cause Self-knowledge; that would be a case of action causing knowledge.

          Ramana did not start his journey after his death experience. His journey was completed at his death experience. By his own words, his Self-establishment never changed after that.

          Words properly understood do lead to self-inquiry… because the words can be understood in no other way. The story of the Tenth Man requires a kind of self-inquiry to comprehend.

          Otherwise you would have the absurdity of mere sounds causing Knowledge. That’s not what happens.

          • Dear Akhilesh,

            Prarabdha Karma is not action. It is what you are referring to as grace of God. Except that there is no God but the Causal Body with the Prarabdha Karma’s. Do you want me to quote Shankara on this or you would spare me this trouble.

            The tenth man did not do any meditation to know himself. The action was direct. You are talking about knowing the meaning of the words. If we put aside the matter of knowing the language, knowing the meaning of the words is exactly what the scriptures are helping one out with.

            What was Ramana doing meditating for seventeen years after his Self establishment. Why didn’t he start his ashram soon after that?

            Warm wishes,
            Anurag

            • Prarabhda karma IS action… it is literally the fruits of past action. No amount of it can generate atma jnana. It can at most assure mental purity, and prepare it for something more to descend. If there is no God, there is certainly no prarabhda karma or Causal Body either.

              “The tenth man did not do any meditation to know himself. The action was direct. You are talking about knowing the meaning of the words. If we put aside the matter of knowing the language, knowing the meaning of the words is exactly what the scriptures are helping one out with.”

              Knowing the meaning of the words of the scripture is not a matter of dictionary definition and logic. To understand the meaning of “tat tvam asi,” you are forced to look inward in an act of meditative self-inquiry… if you do not, you will never understand the meaning. You will merely have a mere shadow of Knowledge.

              “What was Ramana doing meditating for seventeen years after his Self establishment. Why didn’t he start his ashram soon after that?”

              THAT was his prarabhda karma… it has absolutely nothing to do with jnana.

  13. Dear Akhilesh,

    I forgot to address this part of your comment, “the apprehension of Self is not by mind/intellect.”

    In Jnana Yoga, also called Buddhi Yoga in Gita, the apprehension of Self, more appropriately, intuitive knowledge of Self happens only by the intellect.

    What I meant was that the result of direct self knowledge is to take one beyond body/mind/intellect, to shift one’s identity from being the mortal mind/body/intellect to becoming eternal Self/Witness. Thereafter, one knows oneself to be Self and knows the mind also to be Self as Maya/ Self with conditioning adjunct. Mind is seen as an object to unconditioned Self. This is the result of direct knolwedge.

    I have quoted Shankara on this in my earlier comments.

    Indirect knowledge will just stay as an inference in one’s mind and will not shift one’s identity to Self.

    Warm wishes,
    Anurag

    • “In Jnana Yoga, also called Buddhi Yoga in Gita, the apprehension of Self, more appropriately, intuitive knowledge of Self happens only by the intellect.”

      That intellect is not the normal intellect. It is the ‘pure’ intellect, which is to say not the intellect at all. Self-understanding is not a process of just digesting a series of logical statements.

      • Dear Akhilesh,

        Well, pure intellect is still the intellect 🙂

        You have to write your own Advaita Vedanta scriptures and introduce another sheath after the Vigyanmaya Kosha and have a six sheath model 🙂

        Warm wishes,
        Anurag

        • Nah, I don’t have a six-sheath model. I’m merely pointing out the proper understanding of the scriptures :). They can be counterintuitive, and can be misread if taken at face value.

  14. Dear Akhilesh,

    1.) God is Causal body in Advaita. Please read Mandukya Upanishad; unless you would want to make your own scriptures 🙂

    2.) Without Causal Body your body/mind/intellect does not even come, this world of jiva-jagat does not arise. So without it, there can be no talk of knolwedge or enlightenment or inquiry.

    3.) Here is Shankara and Bhagavad Gita on Prarabdha Karma giving rise to Knowledge

    B.S.Bh. III.iv.38

    “Moreover it is possible for knowledge to be helped by the virtuous deeds performed in the different stages of life in earlier lives, as is evident from the Smriti : ” The Yogin, gaining perfection through many births, reaches the highest goal” Gita VI. 45

    4.) Does Ramana mention anywhere that he was living out his prarabdha Karma after his death experience? If so, can you please send me the relevant quote.

    5.) We agree that the worda of scriptures cannot be understood by just reading them. It would do so for a qualified mind though. For those who are not so qualified, the teacher is required who shall unfold the teachings – Shravana and clear all the doubts of students – Manana

    Warm wishes,
    Anurag

    • And here is a more graphic quote of Prarabdha playing “the only” role in the attainment of Self Knowledge from the Upanishads.

      B.S.Bh. ( III.iv.52)

      “And when the Upanishad says that Vamadeva realized the state of Brahman even when in his mother’s womb (Ai.II.i.5), it only shows that knowledge may emerge in a succeeding birth as a result of practices gone through in an earlier life; for a child, in the womb itself, cannot possibly undertake any practice that is usually gone through in this world. “

      • Your quote only shows that practices may purify the mind, as a result of which it may be pure enough that knowledge may emerge. It doesn’t show that practices produce knowledge, or that they are sufficient. Karma itself is a mithya entity… it cannot possibly produce the real entity of Knowledge.

    • 1 – It’s silly to say that “God is the causal body” in advaita… God is not one particular thing. God is saguna brahman, which is nothing other than nirguna brahman.

      2 – yes, without causal body there is no mind/body.. or without God…

      3 – yes, HELPED… yes… karma helps purify the mind. it does not cause Knowledge

      4 – Ramana says he was established in Self after his death experience and it never altered… he would no doubt say that he doesn’t identify with his body living in a cave; it is only ajnanis who identify him with that

      • “Ramana says he was established in Self after his death experience and it never altered…”

        Regarding Ramana’s death experience and enlightenment, Narasimha mentions that at the time of his enlightenment at the age of 16 Ramana had read the Periapuranam (stories of 63 Tamil saints) and was inspired to emulate the experience of these saints. Subsequently Ramana went to the temple in Madurai and prayed that he might become like one of these enlightened saints. Narasimha says that Ramana made frequent visits to the Meenakshi temple in Madurai, “where he would weep, and pray that his experience might become perpetual.” If Ramana’s enactment of death resulted in immediate enlightenment or “was the point after which he was ‘established'”, it seems strange that he prayed to become like one of the saints. In fact, it appears that Ramana himself was uncertain that he had achieved that state.

        We should remember that Narasimha’s and all future biographies about Ramana were based on reports given by Frank Humphreys, a policeman interested in theosophy and occult powers who visited Ramana in November 1911. Humphreys is the first to report Ramana’s enlightenment experience of the self at age 16. Humphreys says that the story of Ramana’s awakening was not told to him by Ramana himself, but by an unnamed chela or disciple.

        Narasimha acknowledges that Ramana’s words regarding his enlightenment have not been recorded and states they were perhaps “too colourless and hazy to suit or appeal to many readers, especially of the Western type.” This raises the important issue of to what extent Narasimha put a western slant on Ramana’s story, especially when one considers how many explicit comparisons Narasimha makes between Ramana and Jesus Christ. Narasimha also used western philosophy, e.g. the ideas of William James, to try to interpret Ramana’s experience.

        Interestingly, Paul Brunton, a journalist who visited Ramana in 1931 and who seems to have had an influence on the way Ramana came to express his own teachings, traces Ramana’s enlightenment to his father’s death when Ramana was 12 years of age. In his popular book ‘Conscious Immortality’ Brunton writes that “Maharshi told once how he got realization…by analysis”. Ramana realized that his father’s ‘I’ had left his body, and that he obtained jnana or became enlightened thereby. Narasimha emphasizes that Ramana’s enlightenment was “not a mere intellectual process” but rather a “living truth” that Ramana perceived immediately. He says that the experience was “almost” without any argument. Brunton’s version appears to give greater weight to a rational analysis of events. In any event, it’s all food for thought.

        • Dear Rick,

          The last words of Ramana’s death experience are,

          “Whether the body was engaged in talking, reading, or anything else, I was still centred on ‘I’. Previous to that crisis I had no clear perception of my Self and was not consciously attracted to it. I felt no perceptible or direct interest in it, much less any inclination to dwell permanently in it.”

          There are two I’s here. See how Self is objectified. This is an indirect knowledge of Self. He is not yet saying I am Self.

          Further, read this from his instructions

          “Just as the spider emits the thread (of the web) out of itself and again withdraws it into itself, likewise the mind projects the world out of itself and again resolves it into itself. When the mind leaves the Self, the world appears. Therefore, when the world appears, the Self does not appear; and when the Self appears (shines) the world does not appear.”

          In Advaita, one never says, Self does not appear…..or when Self appears…… In Advaita, Self is always existent in all three states of consciousness. The existence of Self is not dependent on the arising or dissolving of mind.

          What Ramana is using here is distinctly the language of Sankhya/Yoga.

          Warm wishes,
          Anurag

        • “In any event, it’s all food for thought.”

          Like all richly-spiced food, best avoided! Apocryphal stories are almost invariably either untrue or embellished beyond reason.

  15. Dear Akhilesh,

    1.) Mandukya Karika – Verse 5 & 6

    5.)That is the state of deep sleep, wherein the sleeper does not desire any objects, nor does he see any dream. This third quarter called Prajna (Causal Body), whose sphere is deep sleep, in whom all (experiences) become unified or undifferentiated, who is verily a homogeneous mass of Consciousness entire, who is full of bliss, who is indeed the enjoyed of bliss and who is the very gateway for the projection of consciousness into the other two planes of consciousness.- the dream and the waking

    6.) This is the Lord of all, this is the Knower of all, this is the inner Controller, this is the Source of all. And this is that from which all things originate and in which they finally dissolve themselves.

    So at you calling Gaudapada silly ? 🙂

    Point no. 3 – Please read the quote of Vamadeva. He was not helped, but realized the knowledge of Brahman in his mother’s womb, without any practice or even shravana.

    Point no. 4 – Please give me a quote where Ramana says that he was living out his prarabdha. One can, in Nirvikalpa Samadhi be disidentified with the body, but that is not attainment of Self Knowledge.

    Point no. 5 – Ignorance and Knowledge are both occuring in Maya.

    Warm wishes,
    Anurag

    • And as for your assertion of Saguna Brahman being Nirguna Brahman, this is what Shankara has to say.

      B.S.Bh – (I.ii.14)

      Though Brahman is without name and form (Nirguna) such things are ascribed to It in, “His name is Ut” (Ch.I.vi.7), “His beard is golden” (Ch. I.vi.6), and so on. And it has already been said that Brahman is without qualities (Nirguna), still for the sake of meditation, It is presented in those respective places as a qualified entity, possessed of the characteristics of names and forms (Saguna Brahman).”

      • When saguna brahman is thought of as something separate, it is false; when it is realized to be nothing other than brahman, it is true.

  16. Anurag,

    Those verses are not from the Karika, they’re from the Upanishad. So you might want to be careful what you’re ascribing to Gaudapada. If you actually read what Gaudapada says in the first verse of his karika, he says: “Visva experiences the external things and is all-pervading; but Taijasa experiences the internal things; similarly, Prajna is a massof consciousness. It is but the same entity that is thought of in three ways.”

    That’s why I say it is silly to think God is one thing but not another.

    As far as Vamadeva, it doesn’t matter if he was realized in the womb or not; in fact that simply supports my point. It’s not karma that does it. Karma cannot produce knowledge.

    Ramana wouldn’t say he was living out his prarabhda because he didn’t believe in karma to begin with… Why would I supply a quote like that? It’s irrelevant to the point. The point in discussion is this: was he Self-realized or not after the death experience? He was.

    Knowledge does not occur in maya. Only the false concept of realization occurs in maya. True Knowledge = brahman.

  17. Dear Akhilesh,

    1.) Sorry I wrote Mandukya Karika instead of Mandukya Upanishad but that makes it even stronger because Gaudapada was merely commenting on the Sruti. So these arr words from the Sruti itself. You want to deny them. Go ahead !

    2.) Yes, prajna is the Causal Body, which is a mass of consciousness, which is the source for manifest world or Saguna Brahman. Without Causal Body there is no manifestation possible.

    3.) The point of Vamadeva was that he got knowledge, without any meditation or self inquiry just because of Prarabdha Karma. Please scroll up and the see the discussion thread.

    4.) Now you say that Ramana does not believe in Karma and previously you were saying that Ramana was doing meditation for 17 years out of Prarabdha Karma 🙂

    Warm wishes,
    Anurag

  18. 1 – I didn’t deny them, I just showed you how Gaudapada explained them in the first verse of his karika. God is no more prajna than taijasa, since these are three views of the same entity.

    3 – Right, that’s not the correct interpretation. In your translation it says helped. Helped. That doesn’t mean fully caused.

    4 – In the ultimate analysis, Ramana would deny he was in fact meditating for 17 years. That’s just mithya.

    The point is this — You said that proved he hadn’t been self-realized and that his journey only began at the death experience. If he was meditating, it was because of karma, not because he wasn’t realized. That’s the point.

  19. Talking about Gaudapada,

    Verse 1-K-10

    In that which is indicated as the changeless and the Supreme Lord (Nirguna Brahman), there is a total cessation of all miseries. It is the One without a second among the plurality; it is known as Turiya (Nirguna Brahman), the ever effulgent and All Pervading.

    So Gaudapada is talking of Nirguna Brahman being the only one. Now,

    Verse 1-K-11

    Visva and Taijasa ( Saguna Brahman) are both conditioned by cause and effect. But Prajna (Karana Brahman) is conditioned by cause alone. Both cause and effect exist not in Turiya ( Nirguna Brahman)

    So Gaudapada too does not consider Nirguna Brahman and Saguna Brahman to be the same ( same as Shankara, whom I quoted earlier)

  20. Yeah, obviously saguna and nirguna brahman are not the same concept. That’s elementary.

    Saguna brahman is nothing but nirguna brahman in the same sense that maya is nothing but brahman.

    You can quote scripture all you want, but it doesn’t help unless you understand what it is pointing to. It’s like quoting so many encyclopedias about the ocean without ever having visited.

    Anyhow, I don’t think this discussion is very fruitful. I think I’m done. Thanks for the conversation.

    • Dear Akhilesh,

      “You can quote scripture all you want, but it doesn’t help unless you understand what it is pointing to. It’s like quoting so many encyclopedias about the ocean without ever having visited”

      The scriptures point out “You Are That”. So you do not have to visit any ocean 🙂 That is the duality all experience oriented people are lost in. YOU ARE THE OCEAN. You have to know this, not experience it.

      Warm Wishes,
      Anurag

  21. Akhilesh,

    Can you please point out where is the word “helped” in this quote,

    ““And when the Upanishad says that Vamadeva realized the state of Brahman even when in his mother’s womb (Ai.II.i.5), it only shows that knowledge may emerge in a succeeding birth as a result of practices gone through in an earlier life; for a child, in the womb itself, cannot possibly undertake any practice that is usually gone through in this world. ”

    2. You get the word Prarabdha and then you retract it 🙂

    At any rate, I already know what you are going to say – The Ultimate :-

    Nothing is happening. All is Mithya. Even our dialogue isn’t happening. 🙂

  22. Akhilesh said: “Dakshinamurti taught by silence.”

    This is one of those silly, apocryphal stories that causes problems for seekers as they try to rationalize it!

    You have probably heard of the cliche that a picture is worth a thousand words. This story presumably refers to the chin mudra sign supposedly used by Dakshinamurti to symbolize the unity of jIvAtman and pAramAtman. Once the symbolism is understood, this gesture conveys vast amounts without a single word being said. (You can see the symbol on the cover of my book ‘A-U-M’ – http://www.advaita.org.uk/extracts/a_u_m_unreal.html.)

    • It wasn’t apocryphal to Ramana: “It does not matter. By silence, eloquence is meant. Oral lectures are not so eloquent as silence. Silence is unceasing eloquence. The Primal Master, Dakshinamurti, is the ideal. He taught his rishi disciples by silence.”

  23. Anurag said:
    “1.) God is Causal body in Advaita. Please read Mandukya Upanishad

    2.) Without Causal Body your body/mind/intellect does not even come, this world of jiva-jagat does not arise.”

    Just so as there is not more confusion, the Mandukya differentiates the vyaShTi causal body – prAj~na (5th mantra) from the samaShTi causal body – antaryAmin (6th mantra). It is the former that we normally talk about in the context of gross-subtle-causal bodies. It is the latter that you can talk about wrt God and the world.

    Again, all this is explained in ‘A-U-M: Awakening to Reality’

    • Dear Dennis,

      I am aware of the Vyasti, Samasti upadhis. But SSS has shown that this division is a false division created by the author of Panchadasi. He has shown that if you read Mandukya Upanishad and the Karika carefully, neither of them differentiates between Prajna, Taijasa and Vishwa and Isvara, Hiranyagarbha, Vaiswanara pairs. According to him both these pairs are synoyms, used interchangeably for Atma/Brahman as conditioned by waking state, dream state and sleep state.

      I have not searched Shankara for this but SSS had done immense research……so I guess you may not find any mention of Vyasti, Samasti as two different upadhis in Shankara’s writing. Please let me know if you have any direct quote from Shankara on this.

      Warm wishes,
      Anurag

      • Mandukya is very condensed – one of the reasons no doubt why Gaudapada wanted to write his kArikA!

        There has to be a distinction – how can mantra 6 be talking about the jIva?!

        Not aware of Shankara addressing the distinction between samaShTi and vyaShTi but Sureshvara talks about in his Taittiriya vArttika 234 –

        Best wishes,
        Dennis

        • Dear Dennis,

          There is no distinction between Jiva and Isvara. As the Self/ Witness you witness the waker and the waking world, the dreamer and the dreaming world and the sleep world. Mandukya is saying a profound thing. One has to let go of the vertical model and see horizontally. You are right. There is no mention of jiva anywhere in Mandukya. Just the Atma/Self appearing as Waker, Dreamer and Sleeper under conditioning adjuncts. I’ll send the relevant SSS notes along with Shankara’s comments.

          Warm wishes,
          Anurag

          • “There is no distinction between Jiva and Ishvara.”??

            Only at the pAramArthika level, where these do not exist anyway! The jIva is not all-knowing, all-powerful etc.

            It is statements such as that which REALLY confuse seekers, especially when they come from someone so apparently knowledgeable.

            • Dear Dennis,

              I request your patience 🙂 You have already agreed that Shankara has not talke do samasti and vyasti adjuncts. I Also, please note that my statements do not contradict Mandukya Upanishad at all.

              I am saying that there is no Jiva and no Isvara, except as the Causal Mind’s creations. Have you seen an all knowledgeable Isvara? 🙂 It’s only an imagination of the mind.

              What you see is the waker and the waking world. The dreamer and the dreaming world and the sleep world where there is complete dissolution. Where is the creator here?

              The creator, if you read the Mandukya is the Causal Body, which is nothing but having latent impressions of jiva and jagat. The Causal Body is like a negative fim on which the light of Self shines and the movie of Jiva and Jagat is projected. You are the light.

              As for all knowlingness, Self as Witness is not all knowing, because it is partless, whole, with no division of kower and known. It is nothing but knowledge itself.

              I shall explain all this in an article, quoting Shankara too. In case you still doubt the logic, please let me know.

              Warm wishes,
              Anurag

              • Dear Dennis,

                My apologies for all the typo errors. I typed all that in the midst of my studies.

                I forgot to address this point of yours,

                “Only at the pAramArthika level, where these do not exist anyway! ”

                Do you consider sleep as the paramarthika level?

                Evn if you say that Jiva, Jagat and Isvara are separate entities, where is the distinction between Jiva, Jagat and Isvara existing in the deep sleep?

                The whole purpose of Mandukya is to cancel the distinction between Jiva, Jagat, Isvara and to show that You are the Self/Witness of all three.

                This is the last cancellation one has to do inferentially, before the existence of the Witness is revealed in the waking state through direct intuition (whenever it does). Prior to knowing oneself as Self/Witness of all three states, one is the Jiva.

                Warm wishes,
                Anurag

                • With all due respect, Anurag, I own, and have in many cases read, virtually everything that has been written on Mandukya and Gaudapada in order to write my own book on the subject (‘A-U-M – Awakening to Reality’). So you will perhaps pardon me if I am not prepared to accept your interpretation. 😉

                  I also think these post-boxes have become too small for any more comments in this thread!

  24. Akhilesh said (on several occasions) that action cannot produce knowledge.
    But also said (on several occasions) that Ramana’s death experience resulted in enlightenment.

    Are these two statements not contradictory?

    • Dear Dennis,

      Thanks for pointing this. Almost everything he says at the beginning, he contradicts it at the end.

      Perhaps he is following the true tradition of superimposition and rescission 🙂

      Technically Prarabdha Karma is not action which occurs in the field of duality – in space-time. Prarabdha is action in seed state, in an unmanifest non-dual state. It is there even before the thinker/doer/experiencer arrives on the scene.

      Warm wishes,
      Anurag

    • Dennis

      You know as well as I do that Ramana’s description of his death experience represented a high degree of introspection and neti neti, as described by “balya” in Brhad Up 3.5.1.

      His subsequent renunciation was exactly as Sankara talks about, when he says neti, neti and renunciation are the only means of achieving immortality in Brhad Up bhasya 4.1.15

      Best,
      venkat

        • Dear Venkat,

          Brhad Up Bhashya 4.5.15 reads,

          “The Advaitins reply: Your view is wrong, for you have admitted Self-knowledge to be the means of immortality. To be explicit: You have admitted the Self-knowledge that has been introduced with the words, ‘The Self alone is to be meditated upon’ (I iv. 7), and concluded with, ‘This self is That which has been described as “Not this, not this,”’ (III. ix. 26). So you are only reluctant to admit that this much alone is the means of immortality, independently of anything else. Now I ask you why you are intolerant of Self-knowledge.”

          So I do not see how you have conjoined renunciation to Self Knowledge for attaining mortality.

          Also later on, in the same verse, Shankara says this,

          “Under the circumstances, if we examine the comparative efficacy, for bringing forth Self-knowledge, of the duties pertaining to the different orders of life, which concern only the unenlightened, we find that virtues such as the absence of pride which are mainly intended for the control of the senses, and meditation, discrimination, non-attachment, etc., which deal with the mind, are the direct aids. The others, owing to the predominance of injury, attachment, aversion, etc. in them, are mixed up with a good deal of evil work.

          So, this para is talking about, “Under the circumstances, if we examine the comparative efficacy, for bringing forth Self-knowledge,…………….
          ………………Hence the monastic life is recommended for seekers after liberation,”

          So he clearly is saying that monastic life is a recommendation for seekers given it’s comparative efficiency. Nowhere has he said that it is a necessary and inviolate condition. He cannot, because if he did, he would fall into Yoga. See what he says later in the same passage,

          “In the Sāṃkhya and Yoga systems also renunciation is spoken of as a direct means of knowledge.”

          He is very specific about renunciation being a direct means of knowledge in the Samkhya and Yoga systems (not in Advaita).

          Warm wishes,
          Anurag

          • Sorry, the second quote got clipped. Here is the complete quote,

            “Under the circumstances, if we examine the comparative efficacy, for bringing forth Self-knowledge, of the duties pertaining to the different orders of life, which concern only the unenlightened, we find that virtues such as the absence of pride which are mainly intended for the control of the senses, and meditation, discrimination, non-attachment, etc., which deal with the mind, are the direct aids. The others, owing to the predominance of injury, attachment, aversion, etc. in them, are mixed up with a good deal of evil work. Hence the monastic life is recommended for seekers after liberation,”

    • Actually, if you read carefully, I never said at any point that his death experience ’caused’ his enlightenment; it merely was the point after which he was ‘established’.

  25. Dear Venkat,

    You say, “His subsequent renunciation was exactly as Sankara talks about, when he says neti, neti and renunciation are the only means of achieving immortality in Brhad Up bhasya 4.1.15”

    Sorry, but I can’t locate this verse. Can you please re-check?

    Also, we have already discussed that renunciation does not mean physical renunciation, through many quotes of Shankara. Physical renunciation is an auxiliary means, not a necessity for Self Knowledge. Could you please explain why you bring this topic up despite having seen that Shankara accepts liberation for people like Janaka?

    Warm wishes,
    Anurag

    • Dear Venkat,

      So I got the verse, it was Brhad. (III.v.i)

      Here is what SSS translates of (B.S. Bh III.iv.47) as a corollary to the (Brhad III.v.i)

      “Sagehood is the third stage, laid down after those of ‘the state of a child” (balya) and ‘learning’ implying knowledge of a deeper form….But if it be assumed that knowledge has already been achieved, how can it be affirmed that there is an injunction to resort to the life of a sage, an affirmation made on the ground that sagehood represents a special degree of knowledge that has not yet been mentioned? This is explained by the words, ‘where there is a special case’ occurring in the Sutra. It means that in the special case where knowledge of the high degree implied by contemplative sagehood has not been attained, on account of the continued overpowering force of the vision of difference, there we have an injunction to resort to sagehood.”

      Best Wishes,
      Anurag

  26. David Godman has put together in this article, all the various accounts of Ramana’s self-realisation.

    https://www.davidgodman.org/bhagavans-self-realisation/

    In all these accounts, the consistent theme is that he stated to many that his realisation occurred on that day in Madurai, and not subsequently. Three examples of the many provided in the article:

    “In answer to a question once put by D. S. Sarma, Bhagavan definitely said that in his case, there was no special sadhana, at any rate in this life, leading to Self-realisation, but that in his 17th year, while he was still a student at Madurai, enlightenment, jnana, came to him, suddenly, in the course of a few minutes, not as a result of laboured ratiocination but as a sudden flash of intuition, and that that jnana has remained with him ever since. (My Recollections, p. 135, by Devaraja Mudaliar)”

    “I then asked Bhagavan if there was ever any change in his realisation after his experience in Madurai. He said ‘No. If there is a change, it is not realisation.’” (My Reminiscences, Balaram Reddy)

    And he gives no importance to his years of remaining in silence and meditation:
    One day during this visit Sri Bhagavan was questioned as to what changes he underwent after coming to Arunachala:

    QUOTE
    Sri Bhagavan replied, ‘I am ever the same. There [was] neither sankalpa [intention to accomplish something] nor change in me. Till I reached the Mango Grove I remained indifferent, with my eyes shut. Afterwards I opened my eyes and I am now functioning in an active way. Otherwise there is no change whatsoever in me.’

    ‘But Bhagavan,’ someone said, ‘we do note so many outward changes in you.’

    ‘Yes,’ replied Bhagavan, ‘that is because you see me as this body. So long as you identify yourself with your body, you cannot but see me as an embodied being. So long as the doubter is there, the doubt persists.’

    This declaration that nothing had changed in him since his arrival at Arunachala was not a new one for Sri Bhagavan. This is what I had heard him say on one of my earlier visits:

    ‘Even in the beginning I realised that I am not the body. After I came to Arunachala all sorts of questions were raised by visitors: whether I am one with the all-pervading reality or different, whether that reality is non-dualism, dualism or qualified non-dualism, etc. Even the idea “I am Brahman” is only a thought and is not atmanishta [Self-abidance].

    END QUOTE – G. V. Subbaramayya.

  27. Dear Dennis,

    No worries. We shall work on it. I’ll write an article 🙂

    Meanwhile, what do you say to this?

    “Only at the pAramArthika level, where these do not exist anyway! ”

    Do you consider sleep as the paramarthika level?

    Even if you say that Jiva, Jagat and Isvara are separate entities, where is the distinction between Jiva, Jagat and Isvara existing in the deep sleep?

    Warm wishes,
    Anurag

    • Dennis, it would be also helpful if you could point out where I have interpreted anything different from the Sruti. According to me, I have not deviated a bit from the verses of Mandukya Upanishad Sruti in any of my explanations.

    • “Do you consider sleep as the paramarthika level?”
      No, of course not. The three avasthA-s are mithyA; only turIya is satyam.

      “where is the distinction between Jiva, Jagat and Isvara existing in the deep sleep?”
      There is none because the deep-sleep state is characterized by ignorance. What is your point in asking this? There is scarcely Self-knowledge in this state is there? Even less that in samAdhi!

      • Dennis, I have answered why I asked you these questions in my comment below. What triggered that question was this statement of yours,

        “Only at the pAramArthika level, where these do not exist anyway!”

        I wanted to show that these distinctions vanish at deep sleep state itself and not at the Paramarthika level, which you have also agreed to now.

  28. Dear Dennis,

    I managed to track down your reference to Suresvara – Tait. Up. Bh. Vartika. You quoted only verse 235. But the matter comes to light after we see verses 234-237 together. For the sake of brevity, I am trying to quote only bare essential parts of all these. You shall see, he tells exactly the same thing as I do or Mandukya does. Just that he adds one step in between.

    Verse no. 234

    His last lines of the verse are,

    “When the Self is not realized in its true nature as one and non-dual, it appears differentiated as the subject and the object, the ego and the non-ego. Since the five sheaths, both at the individual and cosmic levels, are not real, there is no room for duality.”

    So, Suresvara clearly establishes at the beginning of his discussion that the five sheaths at individual and cosmic levels are not real. Now, please see how our discussion started. I am quoting you. The first line was mine with which you were puzzled.

    “There is no distinction between Jiva and Ishvara.”??

    Only at the pAramArthika level, where these do not exist anyway! The jIva is not all-knowing, all-powerful etc.

    Now, you talk about an all-knowing, all-powerful Isvara which neither Survesvara talks about, nor Mandukya talks about. Of course, I too didn’t. What we talk about is that the Causal Body Sheath gives rise to the world of Jiva and Jagat.

    Verse no 235 (part quote)

    The non-dual Self is divided as it were into two divisions — the subject or the “I” division (asmadvibhdga) and the object or the “Thou” division ( yusmadvibhaga). The former which has for its content the notion of “I” (aham-buddhi-grUkya) consists of five sheaths — the sheath of food (annamaya), the sheath of vitality (preinamaya), the sheath of consciousness (manomaya), the sheath of self-consciousness (vijnanamaya) and the sheath of bliss (anandamaya). The other division which has for its content the notion of “Thou”, that is, any object which is referred to as “this” as distinguished from “I” (yusmadidam-buddhi-grahya) also consists of five sheaths of food, vitality, consciousness, self-consciousness, and bliss. The first list offive sheaths mentioned above is from the individual standpoint (vyasti), while the second list of five sheaths is from the cosmic stand¬point (samasti). Each sheath in the first list is a modification (mayat) of its counterpart in the second list.

    Please read the first line, “The non-dual Self is divided – as it were – into two divisions “. So this division is just a prakriya. A superimposition being done for an individual who cannot get rid of his notion of jivahood. This notion is got rid off first, by the superimposition of samasti-vyasti sheaths, and then rescinding them in two steps, to reveal that the jiva is the Atman.

    Please observe how Suresvara in the first steps rescinds these two sheaths “divided as it were” and makes them into just a group of one set of sheaths. This prakriya is called resolving the effect into the cause.

    Verse no 236 (part quote)

    The classification of the sheaths into two groups —one group consisting of causes and the other group consisting of their effects or modifications — is intended to show that all these sheaths could be merged in one another in such a way that ultimately the non-dual Self alone will remain. The guiding principle in this process of merging one sheath in another is provided by the discrimination that the effect does not exist as something different from its cause (kriranatirekena karyam nasti), that the effect is non-different from its cause. The process of merging is done at two stages.”

    So now let’s see the two stages of rescinding the two sheaths of vyasthi and samasthi. These are all part quotes from Suresvara

    Stage 1: Combining Samasthi and Vyasthi into only Samasthi sheaths

    “The five sheaths of the individual, i. e., the sheaths of the subject or the “I” division, must first be resolved in thought into the five sheaths of the cosmic level,i. e., the sheaths of the object or the “Thou” division.” ……………..”The five sheaths of the object at the cosmic level constitute respectively the material essence (svarupa) from which the five sheaths of the subject group at the individual level have evolved.” (Verse 236)

    So this Stage 1 is missed out in Mandukya. It directly starts out with the vyasthi and samasthi sheaths merged into each other. Mandukya therefore directly starts with Samasthi sheaths. You do not find any verse in Mandukya referring to stage 1 as Surevsvara has mentioned here. Also Survesvara, as I have shown, has clearly mentioned this division is artificial. The second and third (ultimate stage) are the same in Mandukya, as Survesvara has said.

    Stage 2 : Resolving all Samasthi sheaths to their first caue – Causal Body.

    “The second stage consists in resolving each of the five sheaths of the cosmic level into its respective cause……. (Verse no 236)

    “When a person resorts to the process of resolving every effect in its cause, he will eventually come to ananda, the first cause, otherwise called ajnana-brahma. It means that at this stage he identifies himself with the first cause which constitutes the essence of everything in the world. But this is only the penultimate stage.” (Verse no 237)

    Please note there has been absolutely no mention of an all knowing, all powerful Isvara anywhere, except the language of cause and effect and resolving all sheaths to the first cause as the Causal Body.

    Now you may see, what I had written in this regard,

    “I am saying that there is no Jiva and no Isvara, except as the Causal Mind’s creations” and further, “The creator, if you read the Mandukya is the Causal Body, which is nothing but having latent impressions of jiva and jagat. The Causal Body is like a negative film on which the light of Self shines and the movie of Jiva and Jagat is projected. You are the light.”

    Please compare this with Survesvara’s words, ”

    “It means that at this stage he identifies himself with the first cause which constitutes the essence of everything in the world. But this is only the penultimate stage.” (Verse 237)

    The first cause as Survesvara mentions is the Causal Body, which constitutes the essence of everything – “the negative film of the world”.

    And then I asked you this, “Do you consider sleep as the paramarthika level?
    Even if you say that Jiva, Jagat and Isvara are separate entities, where is the distinction between Jiva, Jagat and Isvara existing in the deep sleep?”

    I asked this to show you that this is not the Paramartika level where Jiva and Jagat and Isvara become one. This is what Survesvara too says, as in, “But this is only the penultimate stage.”

    So what is the ultimate stage according to Survesvara?

    Stage 3 – Realizing that I am Brahman/Self/Witness of three sheaths

    Verse 237

    “The knowledge of nondifference between Brahman and Atman conveyed by the principal text tat tvam asi helps him to transcend even this stage by resolving the first cause in Brahman from which it is non-different, and realize the nondual Brahman which is identical with the Seif and which is free from cause-effect relation.”

    And these were my words, ” This is the last cancellation one has to do inferentially before the existence of the Witness is revealed in the waking state through direct intuition (whenever it does). Prior to knowing oneself as Self/Witness of all three states, one is the Jiva.”

    Warm wishes,
    Anurag

    • All of the quotes above that have been attributed to Suresvara, are not by him, but are actually an explanation of the relevant verse by the translator.

      Some later verses by Suresvara:

      533: The inferiority of the jiva in relation to which Isvara becomes superior is then negated by virtue of the strength (of the identity of Isvara with the jiva). Consequently Isvara gives up His superiority for it is dependent on the inferiority of the jiva.

      534: In that case, there is no superiority in the sun. In the same way, there is no inferiority in the jiva. By abandoning both as ‘not this, not this’, one attains the pure consciousness. which is the non-verbal sense of the sentence

      • Dear Venkat,

        Please find the quotes from Survesavara, even if you feel, they were notes from translator.

        234
        The inward Self which is not touched by duality, even objectively, in the same way as it is not touched by duality subjectively, is one. Owing to avidya, the Self is illusorily divided into two categories, “Thou” and “I”

        (Please note the words “illusorily divided” into vyasthi-samasthi for the sake of teaching only)

        Verse 235
        Just as the five sheaths such as the annamaya in the “I” or the subject division of the inward Self, so also there are five sheaths in the “Thou” or the object division.

        (Here he talks about samasthi-vyasthi) division.which are “illusorily divided” for the sake of Jivas who take themselves to be body-mind)

        Verse no 236
        Then, after resolving the five sheaths of the individual in their respective causes which constitute their selves (I.e, their essence), one must, indeed, think of the sheaths of Anna, etc., as of nature of subsequent sheaths.

        (Here he talks about re-combining the “illusorily divided samasthi-vyathi sheaths” through cause-effect prakriyas into samsathi sheaths. Finally resolving all samasthi sheaths into their first cause – Universal Causal Body

        Verse 237
        Thus after resolving what is of the nature of the cause (causal body/ajnana Brahman), and finally resolving even that by the knowledge conveyed by the Sruti text, the wise man attains Brahman which I of the nature of Self

        Final step, where one, by listening to the Sruti ‘ I am Self’ and not the Causal Body too, which is beyond all cause-effect, one comes to know oneself as Self.

        Warm wishes,
        Anurag

  29. Anurag,

    I really don’t have time for all of this, I’m afraid. Not even to read all of your comments, let alone provide answers to all of your queries. Sorry! 🙁

    One point I did notice. You say; “Now, you talk about an all-knowing, all-powerful Isvara which neither Survesvara talks about, nor Mandukya talks about.”

    Have you actually read Mandukya? Mantra 6 states:

    eSha sarveshvaraH eSha sarvaj~na eSho.antaryAmyeSha yoniH sarvasya
    prabhavApyayau hi bhUtAnAm || 6 ||

    eSha – This (i.e. the universal deep-sleep state)
    sarva Ishvara – (is) the Lord of everything;
    eSha – this
    sarvaj~na – (is) omniscient,
    antaryAmin – the ‘inner controller’.
    eSha – This
    yoniH sarvasya – (is) the source of everything;
    hi – (is) assuredly
    prabhava apayayau – the place of the arising and dissolution
    bhUtAnAm – of all beings.

    Note in particular: Ishvara, sarvaj~na, yoniH sarvasya. And now tell me that the jIva is capable of these.

    Best wishes,
    Dennis

    • Dear Dennis,

      You shall get your answer when you read my comment. They are all nothing but quotes from Survesavara whom you referred to.

      If you want my direct answer to your question. The answer is, yes it is Jiva who is Isvara. Survesavara says the same. There are advanced prakriyas which show this. This is what I have shown through Surveshvara’s comments.

      Without reading that comment, it would be incorrect do you to say that I am misleading seekers. It may just be the other way around 🙂

      Warm wishes,
      Anurag

  30. Anurag,

    I only mentioned Sureshvara because you were asking for some legitimate source wherein the terms samaShTi and vyaShTi were referenced. I have not read this vArtika and do not intend to do. Consequently, I am unable to discuss his arguments.

    The point I was querying was your insistence that Mandukya does not differentiate the two. I have quoted Mandukya 6 which shows that it clearly does, in that the jIva is neither all-knowing nor all-powerful (whereas Ishvara neither dreams nor sleeps). The fact that both resolve into Brahman in the final analysis is irrelevant to this point.

    Best wishes,
    Dennis

    • Dear Dennis,

      “The point I was querying was your insistence that Mandukya does not differentiate the two. I have quoted Mandukya 6 which shows that it clearly does, in that the jIva is neither all-knowing nor all-powerful (whereas Ishvara neither dreams nor sleeps). The fact that both resolve into Brahman in the final analysis is irrelevant to this point.”

      Ishvara is the Causal Body. This is what the quote in Mandukya mentions. This is what I said and Suresvara says.

      Turiya is the one that neither dreams nor sleeps. You may want to read your own quote again 🙂
      Here it is.

      eSha sarveshvaraH eSha sarvaj~na eSho.antaryAmyeSha yoniH sarvasya
      prabhavApyayau hi bhUtAnAm || 6 ||

      eSha – This (i.e. the universal deep-sleep state)
      sarva Ishvara – (is) the Lord of everything;
      eSha – this
      sarvaj~na – (is) omniscient,
      antaryAmin – the ‘inner controller’.
      eSha – This
      yoniH sarvasya – (is) the source of everything;
      hi – (is) assuredly
      prabhava apayayau – the place of the arising and dissolution
      bhUtAnAm – of all beings.

      Warm wishes,
      Anirag

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