‘sAdhana in Advaita’ – 2/6:

[Part – 1/6]

In order to experience the Self, AtmAnubhava, we should first know where the “I” is. If the ‘I’ is not already with us, we have to make an effort to obtain it.

In general, there are three ways by which we can obtain a thing. Say, we have to obtain a pot. If no pot is available, we have to newly produce (make) one. Or suppose it is available with someone or somewhere. We have to procure it from that place. Or, a pot is available but it is dusty or dirty. We have to wash off the dirt and make it neat and clean. These three ways are known as utpatti (production), Apti or prApti (procurement) and samskriti (refinement) respectively. Now let us apply it to the problem we have.

Do we have to newly produce the Self, or get It from some other place, or cleanse and refine the Self that already exists?

One may produce an idol or a symbol of a deity but none can manufacture the formless Self. Moreover, the knowledge that “I am” is already with us and that knowing itself is the Self. Therefore, we need not newly produce the Self.

Do we have to go to a holy place and get the Self from there? The doctrine tells us that Self exists everywhere. Self is available right with us where we are. There is no place where the Self does not exist. So, there is no need to get the Self from somewhere else.

Do we have to dust off the Self that is with us? It is absolutely meaningless to think that we have to cleanse the Self. The Self is “nitya, suddha, buddha mukta svabhAvah” (of the nature of ever pure, conscious and free). No dirt, no blemish, nothing clings to the Self. Self does not require any refinement or purification.

Hence there is no need to make any effort whatsoever to obtain the Self. It is already with us shining as the spark “I AM.” No “sAdhana” is, therefore, required to obtain the Self! In fact, sAdhana is valid only in duality where the sAdhana is different from what is to be finally attained.

Though we know that we have the ‘feel’ that “I am,” we do not seem to have that ‘experience’ in Fullness, in Perfection. There is a sense of a lack in our experience. We feel, “I know I am, but I do not experience my presence everywhere, as the doctrine says.”

Suppose we are really very hungry. Someone gives us, say, a toffee or a little bit of ‘prasadam’ (sacred food after prayer to the Deity) in a temple. We gulp it immediately. But it does not appease our hunger fully. We do not feel satiated, in spite of the fact that the food is quite edible and tasty. Likewise, though we have the understanding that “I am,” it is incomplete. It does not fully satisfy us. We struggle to fill the gap in our ‘experience.’

Let us take a closer look at the Advaita doctrine again.

The doctrine says that the nature of the Self/AtmA is Beingness (sat) and Knowledge (cit). The Beingness we know we have (felt by us as the ‘am-ness’) is actually omnipresent. It is not only in us but also outside us. It is spread out like space. Space, we know, “IS” everywhere. We normally see the ‘objects’ existing in space, but do not notice that the ‘space’ itself ever exists at a given place whether an object is present there or not. Space is present not only where the objects are present, but also in- between two objects as the distance separating them. Thus, space is nothing but the very “Beingness” or ‘sat.’ No space can be present where ‘is-ness’ does not exist. Hence, Beingness is not something confined to a little spot. Beingness is present everywhere.

Knowing that Beingness is called ‘cit.’ ‘cit’ is the Consciousness.

The ‘feel’ “I am” that each one of us have stands for ‘sat’ and ‘cit.’

sat’ is Beingness.

cit’ is the Knowingness of the Beingness.

Do we have to make an effort (sAdhana) in order to “grasp” the AtmA which is none other than the ‘sat-cit’? Does it not, on the very face of it, sound absurd to do so? Once again it shows that no effort or sAdhana is needed to capture the “I am” which is already with us.

The language we use from here on is a shade different, as we move from explaining the doctrine to explaining the practice of it. So please note the subtle difference in the way we use the words in pointing out the AtmA that is present everywhere.

We know that Beingness is everywhere like space. Space, Beingness (Existence), ‘sat’ are all the same. They are not three different things.

Notice the space around.

We see space to be present here, there, everywhere. We don’t accept if anyone says that space is present only within the four walls of the room. We say it is also present beyond the walls of the room. We can easily agree that space exists outside the room, because space is omnipresent. It is formless and is not a particular object. A ‘particular’ thing is always exclusive. If it exists at a specific locale, it is absent at a different place. Space in contrast is Universal. Space is present equally everywhere in the sense that space is not more at one place and less at another. Unless a thing is formless, it cannot be all-pervasive like space.

Each of us knows that “I am.”  We also see that every object is – the wall is, the table is, the mike is, the speaker is, the chair is and so on. The spark giving rise to the feeling of “is-ness” exists everywhere because we see each object is. Look anywhere and each place ignites that spark, the awareness that space is. Hold on to that spark that says that a thing “Is.”

Recall that our aim is to obtain AtmAnubhava (im-mediated experiencing of AtmA). (“Im-mediated” means direct and not mediated through an instrument or some other means (pramANa)).

The question is: What is the sAdhana to be done to achieve AtmAnubhava?

The theory itself informs us that the Self is formless and there is no place where the Self is not. The intrinsic nature of the Self is nothing but Beingness (Existence) and Knowingness (Consciousness). Whenever and wherever we perceive a thing, there is a “spark” that arises telling us that the thing “is” and that we “know” of that is-ness. Our mind should be attentive to notice and be able to capture that “spark.” That spark is the Self.

For the mind to be able to notice anything, it is necessary that there has to be a modification of the mind (vRitti) in the form of what it has to pay attention to. An image, an idea of the object, forms in the mind. We see an object outside corresponding to that idea. The thought inside is called the nAma and the form outside is called the rUpa.  We can say that the internal thought is the mind and the external object is the matter. Thus, nAma and rUpa are the idea and the object or the mind and matter. The world is no more than nAma and rUpa. Shankara refers to the two as pratyaya (idea) and vishaya (object) respectively.

In order to grasp the AtmA, a thought that corresponds to AtmA has to arise. The thought should be of the nature of AtmA. For example, if I have to see the rope, the modification of the mind (vRitti) has to be of the nature of the rope and not of the nature of a serpent. If the modification is of the nature of a serpent, a serpent will be seen and not the rope. The thought in the form of rope is the prama (true knowledge) whereas it is a bhrama (imagination) if it is in the form of a serpent. In other words, the ‘thought’ about Reality should be of the nature of Reality.

The doctrine tells us that the Self is formless (nirAkAra), featureless (nirguNa), all-pervading (sarva vyApaka). Hence, the self is space-like spread out not only inside but also outside. That is Its intrinsic nature (say, state or stithi). A corresponding spark (Knowingness or citi) has to arise in ‘me.’ Arising of any other type of thought will not help us in obtaining AtmAnubhava.

(To Continue ….  Part – 3/6)

43 thoughts on “‘sAdhana in Advaita’ – 2/6:

  1. Dear Ramesam

    “Recall that our aim is to obtain AtmAnubhava (im-mediated experiencing of AtmA). (“Im-mediated” means direct and not mediated through an instrument or some other means (pramANa)).
    The question is: What is the sAdhana to be done to achieve AtmAnubhava?”

    Please may I ask your thoughts on the question I asked Arun. Why should our aim be to obtain atmanubhava? If we understand the message of the Upanishads, isn’t that it. Any aim to achieve then implies an ego, which we are trying to eliminate.

    Isn’t the point just to live this understanding, as best as we can (which in itself will be a reflection of the depth / integrity of our understanding, and the courage to see it through)?

    With warm regards
    venkat

  2. Thanks Venkat for the question.

    I will not pretend that I understood your question clearly.
    The Question you posed to Arun at the other thread was slightly different.
    You asked there : “you seem to be very keen to help people quickly remove their avidya. Why? Who is there to have avidya? And (paraphrasing Ramana) who is the entity that wishes to remove others’ avidya?”

    The question seems to point out the absence of a duality where one assumes himself to be a knower and also presumes there is another ‘guy who does not know.’

    The question you ask here is about oneself.
    You ask: “Why should our aim be to obtain atmanubhava?”

    Here you seem to be pointing out the absence of the dichotomy between a ‘me’ who did not have “AtmAnubhava” (let us, for the moment, not question what it is and whether such a thing exists) and the one who eventually would have it.

    The answer is simple here. It is like “satiation” after eating food. Each individual would know by himself/herself whether s/he feels “fulfilled or not.”
    One who feels “fulfilled” (kRitakrityaH – BG 4.18; BG 15.20; muNDka 3.1.2; kaTha 1.3.14; mANDUkya 3.38) will NOT seek.

    If and when there is a “lack” of that fulfillment, that “lack” itself is the driver to “seek.” There is no other “entity” there than that “lack.” IOW, the sense of lack is the “person” who is seeking!

    The totally ignorant man unexposed to Advaita tries to “fill” that sense of lack with some relationship or activity – drinking, entertainment, sex, etc. An Advaita seeker goes towards brahman which is another name for fulfillment.
    One keeps “efforting” until one gets “fulfilled.”

    There is a moot question that arises from the way you framed your question. For example, you ask: Isn’t the point just to live this understanding, as best as we can (which in itself will be a reflection of the depth / integrity of our understanding, and the courage to see it through)?”

    If you imply that there is “none” to have AtmAnubhava, who do you think is the one who understands the Upanishads and wants to live a life in conformity to that understanding? Are you supposing that a “you” (Mr. So-and-so) will continue to be present and there will be a world in which s/he lives and it is s/he who is living?

    Can that be the true understanding of the Upanishads at all? Upanishads say that there is only One – not multiplicity. So on the dawn of understanding it is Oneness. A “you,” a world and a living do not and cannot exist. There will be complete eradication of the sense of a ‘me’ living. It’s all just Life what would remain.

    *****

    There is another angle that your question presents, something Arun tried to touch upon. Shankara and much before him, Sage Vasishta said that “satsAngatya” is the best way for the seekers in their effort to understand and be as brahman.

    Perhaps you are familiar with the shloka. It comes in several scriptures like:
    verse 24, sarga 22, Ch 3, Yogavasishta;
    verse 17, Laghu vAkya vRiiti;
    verse 105, Ch 7, tRipti deepa etc.

    It says:

    तच्चिन्तनं तत्कथनमन्योन्यं तत्प्रबोधनम् ।
    एतदेकपरत्वं च ब्रह्माभ्यासं विदुर्बुधाः ॥

    We are all fortunate to be able to do satsAngatya from the comfort of our homes, thanks to the cyber connectivity and social network platforms. Exchanging thoughts and being constantly indulgent with thoughts on brahman is a great opportunity for us. Let us not ask about advantage and gains like in a business model. Just being with those thoughts itself is enough.

    *****

    Before closing, let me also recall a short story which you may not be unaware of.

    “The man who was wearing necklace went to visit his friend who was fascinated by the necklace and wanted to see. The man gave it to him to examine. When he returned home, he could not find his necklace on his neck and thinking that he forgot in his friend’s house, he ran back. When his friend pointed out that the necklace that he was searching for was on his neck only, all the time, while he came running all the way in search of it. He had to run all the way back to discover that he never lost the necklace. Was that running necessary?

    The running was necessary to find out that the running was not necessary. If he did not run back to his friend or teacher he would not have discovered that what he was searching for is with himself.

    Likewise, sAdhana is necessary to discover that sAdhana was not necessary since the truth is a self-evident fact. But that self-evident fact becomes self-evident only after sAdhana or after mind is prepared to re-examine the issue correctly.”

    *****
    Am I shooting too wildly missing the real question of yours?

  3. Ramesam says:
    “Can that be the true understanding of the Upanishads at all? Upanishads say that there is only One – not multiplicity. So on the dawn of understanding it is Oneness. A “you,” a world and a living do not and cannot exist. There will be complete eradication of the sense of a ‘me’ living. It’s all just Life what would remain.”

    Below I append a passage that comes close to this.
    —————
    Down the path we all went. The small country town was several miles away, and there they would sell their burden for a pittance, only to begin again tomorrow. They were chatting, with long intervals of silence. Suddenly the younger one told her mother she was hungry, and the mother replied that they were born with hunger, lived with hunger, and died with hunger; that was their lot. It was the statement of a fact; in her voice there was no reproach, no anger, no hope. We continued down that stony path. There was no observer listening, pitying, and walking behind them. He was not part of them out of love and pity; he was them; he had ceased and they were. They were not the strangers he had met up the hill, they were of him; his were the hands that held the bundles; and the sweat, the exhaustion the smell, the hunger, were not theirs, to be shared and sorrowed over. Time and space had ceased. There were no thoughts in our heads, too tired to think; and if we did think, it was to sell the wood, eat, rest, and begin again. The feet on the stony path never hurt, nor the sun overhead. There were only two of us going down that accustomed hill, past that well where we drank as usual, and on across the dry bed of a remembered stream.
    ==========
    http://jiddu-krishnamurti.net/en/commentaries-on-living-series-2/1957-00-00-jiddu-krishnamurti-commentaries-on-living-series-2-44-positive-and-negative-teaching

  4. Thanks Shishya for the quote. My question was also JK-esque. I recall a dialogue between JK and Sw Venkatesananda (who translated Yoga Vasistha):

    Is there the need for experience at all? Can the mind experience the highest? Being in a state where there is no peace, we want to experience a state where there is absolute, permanent, eternal peace. I am unhappy, miserable, laden with sorrow. And I want to experience something where there is no sorrow; and to hold onto that experience. That is my craving; that is what human beings want. If I, if the mind, can free itself from this agony, then what is the need of asking for an experience of the Supreme? It is no longer caught in its own conditioning; it is living in a different dimension. Therefore the desire to experience the highest is essentially wrong. How do I know the highest? Because the sages have talked of it? I don’t accept the sages. They might be caught in illusion. I don’t know, I am not interested. Would it not be better to say, Look here my friends, get rid of your fear, get rid of your beastly antagonism, get rid of your childishness, and when you have done that . . . nothing more remains. Then you’ll find out the beauty of it, you don’t have to ask.

  5. Dear Ramesam

    I think talk of sadhana to achieve atmanubhava is misleading, even as JK would say, essentially wrong. It is our egos that imagine achieving some experience, some level of bliss, beatitude, peace, call it what you like. And so we think we need to sit for hours, still the mind, and some experience of sat chit ananda will descend on us. And as you and I know, any experience is not it.

    I am with Dennis on this – what we really need is to fully understand and assimilate the import of scriptures, of:
    “There is no dissolution, no birth, none in bondage, none aspiring for wisdom, no seeker of liberation and none liberated. This is the absolute truth”

    You mentioned the need for fulfilment, but as soon as one has a level of understanding, then it is no longer logically viable for such a need to exist. This I think is the nididhyasana that needs to be pursued – whenever an egoic need arises to analyse its reality (Maharishi’s who am I that has this need). As an aside I looked at your references, and they are all eulogistic in talking of fulfilment (and actually meant the falling away of desire) eg.:

    BG14.14 – is discriminating between ego’s action and the inaction of ego-less being. Sankara’s bhasya reads “he who knows thus the distinction between action and inaction is wise, is learned among men . . . And he FREED FROM EVIL, attains fulfilment”. The emphasis it seems to me is the freed from evil [of egoic actions].

    Sankara wrote that sravana could be enough for a mature aspirant. This makes complete sense if you consider that the sadhanas he prescribed are all logical preparatory steps – naiskama karma, viveka, vairagya, sannyasa – that ameliorate the ego, and focus the mind from being distracted.

    When I wrote: “isn’t the point just to live this understanding, as best as we can (which in itself will be a reflection of the depth / integrity of our understanding, and the courage to see it through)” . . . I meant isn’t this the “practice” (wrong word) post-understanding the message of the upanishads? Isn’t this the nididhyasana? Isn’t this what Krishna meant in BG2.36:
    “That monk is called a man of steady wisdom when his mind is unperturbed in sorrow, he is free from longing for delights, and has gone beyond attachment, fear and anger”
    And every time a sorrow or attachment arises, to see that it is the ego for which it arises.

    As I think JK was pointing out, the concept of ‘sadhana to achieve atmanubhava’ is problematic because it provides an opportunity for the ego to postpone taking to heart the simplicity of the Upanishadic message (which is negation, neti neti), and to hide in concepts of practising meditation that will enable it to achieve some state of future bliss / fulfilment.

  6. Ramesam,

    As a postscript you mentioned the seven stages of knowledge with stages 4-7 being self-realisation, non-attachment, non-perception of objects and transcendence.

    Ramanamaharishi, in commenting on these had this to say:

    “The marks of the stages four to seven are based upon the experiences of the realised person. They are not states of knowledge or release. So far as knowledge and release are concerned no distinction whatever is made in these four stages . . . Varistha is not to be attained by mere desire or effort. As the ego dies along with its cause even in the fourth stage, what agent is there beyond that stage to desire anything or to make efforts? So long as they make efforts they will not be Jnanis.

  7. A) Venkat: If the mind, can free itself from this agony, then what is the need of asking for an experience of the Supreme?

    B) Shruti: ‘If you are thus awakened, then there is no ignorance pertaining to anybody whatsoever’ [To whom does this ignorance pertain?]

    C) Ramesam: If and when there is a “lack” of that fulfillment, that “lack” itself is the driver to “seek.” The answer is simple here. It is like “satiation” after eating food. Each individual would know by himself/herself whether s/he feels “fulfilled or not.”

    D) Martin: The question is how to get from A to B and C? – By the unaided mind? How: Scriptures or no Scriptures? SCSampati as a requirement (sine qua non), or no need of that?

    ‘… get rid of your childishness, and when you have done that . . . nothing more remains. Then you’ll find out the beauty of it, you don’t have to ask.’– Is this Venkat, or JK (a sage) speaking?

  8. Dear Venkat,

    You say: “I think talk of sadhana to achieve atmanubhava is misleading.”
    In the next one or two lines you explain what **you think** AtmAnubhava is, when you say, it is an imagination of the ego: “It is our egos that imagine achieving some experience.”

    We should be clear about the word “AtmAnubhava” as is being used by the Speaker in the Audio. Let’s see what that word conveys.

    “AtmAnubhava” is an authentic Advaita term with a very specific meaning as used by Shankara. Shankara defines it at 4.1.2 BSB as:

    सर्वदुःखविनिर्मुक्तैकचैतन्यात्मकोऽहमित्येष आत्मानुभवः ।

    [Meaning: AtmAnubhava is the realization of the Self. It means the “realization that I am the Self which is One and is characterized by Consciousness and freedom from all sorrow.” (Trans: Swami Gambhirananda).]

    Shankara offers a more descriptive feel of it at 18.55, BG:

    ज्ञानस्य स्वात्मोत्पत्तिपरिपाकहेतुयुक्तस्य प्रतिपक्षविहीनस्य यत् आत्मानुभवनिश्चयावसानत्वं तस्य निष्ठाशब्दाभिलापात् ।

    [Meaning: The knowledge aided by all the favourable conditions of its rise and development and freed from obstacles culminates in a firm conviction by *one’s own experience*.”

    Further, he adds:

    शास्त्राचार्योपदेशेन ज्ञानोत्पत्तिहेतुं सहकारिकारणं बुद्धिविशुद्धत्वादि अमानित्वादिगुणं च अपेक्ष्य जनितस्य क्षेत्रज्ञपरमात्मैकत्वज्ञानस्य कर्तृत्वादिकारकभेदबुद्धिनिबन्धनसर्वकर्मसंन्याससहितस्य स्वात्मानुभवनिश्चयरूपेण यत् अवस्थानम् , सा परा ज्ञाननिष्ठा इति उच्यते ।

    [Meaning: When the knowledge of the unity of the individual Self (Kshetrajna) and the supreme Self (Paramatman), generated by the teachings of the Scriptures and the Master under conditions favourable to the rise and ripening of that knowledge, viz., purity of mind, humility and other
    attributes and accompanied with the renunciation of all works which are associated with the idea of distinctions such as the agent and other factors of action, culminates in a firm conviction by one’s own experience, then
    the knowledge is said to have attained supreme consummation.]

    Clearly, AtmAnubhava is neither an ego-driven imagination nor an objective experience. It’s an intuitive “realization.”

    IOW, “AtmAnubhava” in one word means the same thing for which you used many words like: *to fully understand and assimilate the import of scriptures, of: “There is no dissolution, no birth, none in bondage, none aspiring for wisdom, no seeker of liberation and none liberated. This is the absolute truth.”*

    Same meaning is conveyed by other equivalent words such as: Fulfillment; Perfection; pUrNAnubhava etc.

    It is also the same thing as what JK used to say: “Understanding not as a ‘thought’ but understanding as a fact.”

    There will not be sense of a separate ‘me’ operational in that individual. All things just happen.

    Shishya lucidly expressed the position of such a “Realization” in the most apt citation from JK’s “Commentaries of Living” describing beautifully a real-life example.

    Quoting 4.14 BG, (not 14.14), you said: “The emphasis it seems to me is the freed from evil [of egoic actions.]” I would put it as “egoic sense” of doership and ownership.

  9. Continuing my comment, Venkat, let me also say the following.

    We are now clear about AtmAnubhava.
    Perhaps, except for the rarest of the rare few, none attains the AtmAnubhava just like that as s/he gets up from bed or whatever. One should have heard of the Advaita teaching and contemplated on it and also should have had an intense yearning for it. All these fall under sAdhana. As Shankara explains at several places, when once that is obtained firmly, there is nothing more to be done as sAdhana.

  10. Next, you referred to Ramana’s comment on the Seven-step Knowledge Path. Ramana’s knowledge of it comes from his reading of the “laghu Yogavasishta.”

    Instead, we can know what Sage Vasishta spoke of them from the original Yogavasishta text. Sage Vasishta talks about them in the Ch 3 and again with slight modifications in the final chapter 6.

    First and foremost, we have to bear in mind, as the Sage says, these stages are not any gradational progressive steps like in a school curriculum. Several stages may go on simultaneously. There is no exclusivity of each of these stages nor rigid walls between different stages. Some stages may be missing too. The broad characteristics generally help a seeker to assess himself and take necessary correctives to remove any impediments found by him in his understanding.

  11. Finally, one more point, Venkat.

    You observed: “And so we think we need to sit for hours, still the mind, and some experience of sat chit ananda will descend on us. And as you and I know, any experience is not it.”

    You have already got the full Article (all the six parts) of “sAdhana in Advaita.” Did the speaker give such an idea as you said above? Did he not actually deny the value of such methods?

  12. Hi Martin, if you go back to read what I wrote, I was not disputing the need for scriptures or sadhana. (Though I agree, this is what JK would say).

    What I was questioning is that trying to achieve ‘atmanubhava’ sets up an idea that there is an experience to achieve, through some form of meditation or stilling the mind (Ramesam – that was not a specific critique of the article, I was using the extract, out of context, to play devil’s advocate). Of course I understand what is meant by atmanubhava, which in itself I don’t dispute; it is what is left when all else is discarded. But it can be interpreted as an experience of oneness / bliss to achieve, rather than simply a letting go of what is not.

    We focus on the process steps to achieve something, rather than understanding why the process steps were suggested in the first place. Hence, I suggest, why Sankara emphasised knowledge / understanding rather than any action / meditation for the final step.

  13. One more attempt to express what I have clearly failed to articulate.

    Sankara, Brhad Up Bhasya, 4.5.15:

    Since in spite of the truth being presented in a hundred ways, the Self is the last word of it all, arrived at by the process of ‘Neti, Neti’, and nothing else is perceived either through reasoning or through scriptural statement; therefore the knowledge of this Self by the process of ‘Neti, Neti’ and the renunciation of everything are the only means of attaining immortality.
    Saying this, Yajnavalkya left to become a monk. The discussion of the knowledge of Brahman, culminating in renunciation is finished. This much is the instruction, this is the teaching of the vedas, this is the ultimate goal, this is the end of what a man should do to achieve his highest good.

  14. Ram,
    “Each of us knows that “I am.” We also see that every object is – the wall is, the table is, the mike is, the speaker is, the chair is and so on. The spark giving rise to the feeling of “is-ness” exists everywhere because we see each object is. Look anywhere and each place ignites that spark, the awareness that space is. Hold on to that spark that says that a thing “Is.””

    Do we really “see each object is”? Other than the seeing, what is there? We may conclude, we may think that ‘every object’ is, but all we really know is that existence is, that knowing is, that (in this case) seeing is.

    You say “Look anywhere and each place ignites that spark, the awareness that space is. ” What is “each place”? Surely “the awareness that space is” does not mean space is made of separate places.

    I recognise that this is concessionary language for the dualistic mind, but if taken out of context can be used to discredit your ‘Advaita’ goal.

  15. Hi Venkat,

    Was eagerly awaiting your response for my previous comments 🙁 But that’s ok. Let us continue here.

    Normally we identify ourselves with our ego or personality. What is this personality? It is completely a mind thing containing a pile of information. For example if somebody asks me Who am I? Then the pile of information given below occurs in my mind. Please note that the pile is incomplete, it goes on an on and it never ends.

    I am a male.
    My name is Arun.
    I am 53 years old.
    I completed my Engineering.
    I currently work as a Software Engineer.
    My list of likes are so and so and so … These are cause for my happiness if I have them.
    My list of dislikes are so and so and so …. These are cause of my sorrow if I have them.
    I currently live in Bangalore.
    My wife’s name is …..
    My children’s names are ….

    You see the list can go on on. But I hope you agree that when somebody asks me Who am I? then several things from this pile of garbage comes to the forefront and we try to utter them.

    Now for just one minute I sit in silence and I observe my own silence. This is not that difficult thing to do. We are talking about just one minute and in complete 100% observation of my own silence.

    At that state the mind is the “observer”, “observation” is going on and the “observed” is the silence.

    Hey in that state what happened to the huge pile of garbage that was just mentioned above. It is absent during this one minute of silence. It has just vanished. The ego or the personality or the individuality which is the pile of garbage has just vanished. This is what Ramana refers to as ego taking flight.

    In this one minute of observation of silence our worldly happiness or worldly sorrows (loss of something or the pain of not posessing something, etc.) are not there. This is what is called Moksha or Liberation and vanishing of Bhandhana or Bondage.

    Since the mind is always used to the triad I deliberately mentioned it as the mind “observing”, “observation” happened and the “observed” is the silence. But now if you analyse little further the silence is nothingness and hence nothing is being observed. So when nothing is being observed there is no observation also. Then it leaves us with only the observing mind, the observer alone. This is the state of the mind without any thoughts. It is highly Aware and is in Silent Awareness. It is highly conscious but not conscious of anything in particular and it is said to be reflecting the Pure Consciousness without any blemish and without disturbing it with any thoughts.

    This Pure Consciousness is what we really are and what we have always been and what we always will be. This is the Atman and can be experienced by the pure mind when it is not disturbed by any thoughts and this is what is Atmanubhava and Aparoksha Anubhuti, the Direct Experience.

    Only rarest of the rare realise this as Ramesam has been mentioning. But my eagerness has always been to express this in as simple manner as possible and make more and more people experience the delight of being with the Self and existing as pure Self and bask in the great delightful experience of Atmanubhava and can be had here and now and at this instant.

    Regards
    Arun

  16. Arun

    There are a number of misconceptions here, which I was trying to anticipate in my posts above.

    1) Firstly, sitting in silence for a minute, in the absence of a ‘huge pile of garbage’, is definitively NOT what is referred to by Ramana Maharishi as the ego taking flight or by Advaita as moksha. Moksha is permanent; there is no return to bondage.

    It may be a step on the way but it is not it. In Advaita it is one of the sadhanas to ameliorate the mind, to prepare it to receive the non dual teaching; and post-understanding the mind becomes no-mind, naturally, not as a function of trying to sit still. I will post an explanatory story by Ramana separately.

    2) Secondly the Atman cannot be experienced by the pure mind. This is why Atman / Brahman is defined negatively as neti, neti: not this, not that. Anything that you experience is not it. When Sankara talks about ignorance being the superimposition of the anatman on the atman and confusion between the two, he is pointing out that the jiva / mind itself IS ignorance. Liberation is when this ignorance is negated by knowledge. Atmanubhava is therefore what is left when everything else is discarded.

    Ramana said the same in his Ulladu Narpadu:
    v24: The insentient body does not say or feel ‘I’. Existence-consciousness does not rise or subside. But in between these two, a limited ‘I’-consciousness arises in the form ‘I am this body’. Know that this is what is called the knot between consciousness and the insentient, bondage, jiva, ego, samsara and mind.
    v27: Unless one scrutinises the source from which the ‘I’ arises, how to attain the destruction of the individual self (the state of agelessness), in which ‘I’ does not arise? And unless one attains that , say how to abide in one’s one real state in which one is That?
    [Note the sequence here: intense introspect to discriminate between what is I and what is not I, BEFORE being able to abide in / as That].

    3) Thirdly, go back to read my post above on Sankara’s conclusion on the Yajnavalkya episode, referring to neti, neti and renunciation. I think I’ve read most, if not all, of Sankara’s bhasya. I have never seen a more cogent or definitive conclusion expressed by him. It is the epitome of his teaching: the means, the goal and the fruits in one succinct paragraph . . . saying what? Utter detachment, with no self-identification with a body mind.

    The point of Advaita is the radical stripping away of every concept that you have about yourself, from the gross to the subtle.

    4) Which brings me onto the fourth point – that this radical detachment necessarily implies at its culmination, a turning away from the world and all of its pre-occupations (Yajnavalka, a sage-King, still decides to renounce all to be a monk). It is akin to Chuang-tzu, from a different tradition, eulogizing the useless.

    Only one in a million, as the Bhagavad Gita says, are prepared to do this – to utterly disindentify with the body-mind – to essentially die before the body-mind naturally dies.

    Perhaps this is why the upanishad was held as a ‘secret’ doctrine; only to be taught to those really earnest and prepared folk, who make the effort to grok (as Ramesam would say), to hunt down a true jnani / jivanmukta who it is that is qualified to teach. Otherwise it becomes another mass religion, a distraction – sitting silently, equivalent to going to a church.

    5) Finally on evangelising Advaita, I note from your book website

    https://sentientlifeenergy.com/vedic-wisdom/

    “Shows the way to gain Individual Peace and instils confidence to make the World Peace a distinct reality. This book attempts to ignite mass awareness of the knowledge of the ultimate Truth and attempts at mass enlightenment to bring out the purest form of human nature and pristine way of human existence.”

    In MandukyaKarika 2.36, Gaudapada writes:
    “Having realised non-duality behave in the world like an insensible object”

    Sankara comments:
    “having known this non-dual Brahman . . . behave with others as one not knowing the Truth; that is to say, let not others know what you are and what you have become”

    Ramanamaharishi did not make any claims nor did he go out to proselytize; when people approached him and asked him a question, he responded.

  17. The Ramanamaharishi story I alluded to above:

    A yogi was doing penance (tapas) for a number of years on the banks of the Ganges. When he had attained a high degree of concentration, he believed that continuance in that stage for prolonged periods constituted salvation and practised it. One day, before going into deep concentration, he felt thirsty and called to his disciple to bring a little drinking water from the Ganges; but before the disciple arrived with the water, he had gone into samadhi and remained in that state for countless years, during which time much water flowed under the bridge. When he woke up from this experience the first thing he asked for was ‘water! water!’; but there was neither his disciple nor the Ganges in sight.

    The first thing which he asked for was water because, before going into deep concentration, the topmost layer of thought in his mind was water and by concentration, however deep and prolonged it might have been, he had only been able to temporarily lull his thoughts and when, therefore, he revoked consciousness this topmost thought flew up with all the speed and force of a flood breaking through the dykes.

  18. Hi Venkat,

    I wanted to keep my last post deliberately simple because that’s all there is to it which is losing our individuality, not continuously affected by self-centered, selfish thoughts and always being in the knowledge that “I am Pure Consciousness” and I am not related to this body. I am a formless Conscious Entity dwelling in this body. If I am engaged in action or thoughts then at the back of my mind I am always aware that I am a formless Conscious Entity and if I am not doing any thinking then I exist as the Conscious Entity without any thoughts.

    Neti-Neti is the method of negation prescribed in the scriptures. Ramana does not advocate neti-neti and in fact questions saying how can mind negate itself. He says the mind can negate Annamaya Kosha and Pranamaya Kosha. But how can it negate itself which is Manomaya Kosha. The two other Koshas which Vignanamaya and Anandamaya are more sutler and hence are beyond the reach of the mind. Hence how can the mind negate them? This is exactly what Ramana had said.

    Ramana said even contemplating on a Mahavakya such as “Aham Brahmasmi” which is “I am Brahman” is also a round about method. He said “I am” is the first person and “Brahman” which means something else for the mind which is a third person. So a person continuously oscillating between first person and third person feeling how can he obtain the single pointed concentration and abide by the feeling “I am”.

    As you mentioned, the insentient body does not say “I”. The sentient Self does not say “I”. In between something else rises, binds both the body and the Self and claims as “I”. This he calls it as Chit-Jada Granthi, Sentient-Insentient Knot which has to be cut using the sword of discrimination. This in-between thing is the ego, the individuality which is the pile of garbage that has been acting as a veil.

    Always the Lakshyartha of the word or sentence should be taken and not the Vachyartha. You are technically right in saying that “Atman cannot be experienced by Pure Mind”.

    Here are some verses from Amrita Bindu Upanishad.

    Verse 1 – Mind is indeed said to be of two types. One impure with thoughts of desires and another is pure devoid of thoughts.

    Verse 2 – Mind alone is the cause of bondage.

    Verse 3 – Mind free from desires becomes free. Therefore a seeker of liberation should constantly practise to make the mind free of desires (and thoughts).

    Verse 4 – Having renounced attachments, a well controlled mind obtains the nature of the Self – supreme abode.

    Please pay attention to the Verse 4. So if I had said “Pure mind is required to experience Atman” basically I was meaning the samething which is “The pure mind obtains the nature of the Atman”.

    Who experiences Self?

    Ramana says the ego is incapable of experiencing or knowing Self.
    The Self does not require Self-Realization or needs to do anything.

    Then he himself provides the answer that it is actually “Self” experiencing the “Self”. Atman delighting in itself.

    Keeping quiet is being interpreted as “sitting still”, “lulling the mind”, “empty mind”. It is not like going to the church and sitting still or “having faith”. Somehow I am unable to convey or bring your attention and focus to that quiescence means “Mind without thoughts” but a highly alert and conscious mind. It is “being” in “Pure Consciousness”. That’s the advice of Ramana which is “Be”, “Just Be”.

    We see several objects around us using our eyes and notice their shapes and colors. But if I were to realize that I have eyes what do I need to do? I need to just “see” and do not have to see anything in particular.

    In the same way when we bring something to our Consciousness then we become conscious of that thing. For example, when I bring a TV to my Consciousness then I become conscious of what brand it is, whether it is switched on or not, what channel is currently being displayed, etc. When I bring a cup of water into my Consciousness then I become Conscious of how much it is filled, what container it is, etc. Now to realize that I have Consciousness what do I need to do? I need to just be in “Consciousness” without being conscious of anything in particular.

    The above two paragraphs were told by Vidyaranya in Pachadashi. This is exactly what was conveyed by JK in the link provided by Shishya which is to “exist” without thoughts.

    The goal is that near just like the story told by Ramesam where the necklace is all along worn in the neck, yet the person searched for it everywhere.

    My suggestion to remain in Quiescence for one minute was taken literally. That’s why I presume you mentioned “Moksha is permanent. There is no return to bondage”. In the last post I was trying to draw one’s attention to the fact that one can exist as a Silent Observer without observing anything in particular. To make it easy I called it as Observing our own Silence for one minute. You also agreed that when one with 100% concentration observes one’s own silence, the ego which is the “pile of garbage” is not there. Now ask the question “Who is observing the silence?”. This practice should lead to “Existing as Conscious Entity in Silence without any thoughts”. “Observing the Silence” should lead to “Existing in Consciousness”. Be a Conscious Entity. Just exist as a Conscious Entity. That is the nature of Self.

    This effort is required until the “observer” observing the silence is grasped. The practice of being in quiescence should continue until the Silent Consciousness is grasped. By Whom? As Ramana says by Self itself. After that just like one knows that I am a male and I do not have to assert myself or make any effort. In the same way the seeker would have the realisation that “I am a Conscious Entity” (and not Arun or Venkat and other adjuncts). After that effort of being in quiescence or any other effort is not needed. Moksha becomes permanent and Bondage vanishes.

    Regards
    Arun

  19. Hi Sanatan,

    You write: “We may conclude, we may think that ‘every object’ is, but all we really know is that existence is, that knowing is, that (in this case) seeing is.”

    Wow, you got the point I was struggling to make so easily!
    Precisely that is what I wanted to say — (borrowing your words) “all we really know is that existence is.”

    As you are already well-acquainted with the Advaita teaching, you reached that understanding in a jiffy. But someone new to Advaita sees only the ‘object’ but not the “existence.” So the sentence in the text is addressing the novice.

    Next you write: “You say “Look anywhere and each place ignites that spark, the awareness that space is. ” What is “each place”? Surely “the awareness that space is” does not mean space is made of separate places.”

    Once again, you are right on spot.

    You close by oserving that, “I recognise that this is concessionary language for the dualistic mind, but if taken out of context can be used to discredit your ‘Advaita’ goal.”

    Thanks. But I think, the dualistic language could just do what it is meant to do in this particular instance. But I am open to emend the sentences if you please suggest the way to recast them.

  20. Hi Venkat and Arun,

    You must have already seen my comment where I quoted Ashtavakra samhita verse 1.15 with regards to the aspect of ‘mind control.’

    We have Gaudapada talking about the difficulty of mind control at the verse 3.40 in his kArikA. (There is a post on this subject at this site : https://www.advaita-vision.org/gk-iii-40-and-some-misconceptions/).

    We have from BG, Lord Krishna himself admitting the impossibility of mind control (6.35).

    However, in fairness to Arun, let me say that many preliminary texts on Advaita do talk of the importance of disciplining the wavering mind. For example, we have Shankara saying at laghuvAkya vRitti verse 12:

    एकद्वित्रिक्षणेष्वेवं विकल्पस्य निरोधनम् ।
    क्रमेणाभ्यस्यतां यत्नाद्ब्रह्मानुभवकाङ्क्षिभिः ॥

    He advises that starting with one, two, or three moments, a spiritual seeker should practice control of thoughts. The verse at BG 6.35 too mentions encouragingly that the control of the mind can be developed with practice.

    All that is agreed for a practitioner who is newly entering into spiritual discipline. A disciplined mind will be mature and ripe to receive the Non-dual message. But such a disciplinary practice by itself cannot result in “liberation.” This fact is attested to by many scriptural quotes, a point being impressed by Venkat.

    The fact that only jnAna and no wrestling with the body-mind can reveal the Self is repeatedly emphasized in our scriptures. For example:

    muNDaka, III-ii-3.
    kaTha upa, I-ii-23,
    anuvAka 12, mantra 14, mahAnarAayaNopaniShad,
    mantra 3, kaivalya Upanishad,
    verse 11, vivekacUDAmaNi of Shankara,
    verse 17, bhajagovindaM of Shankara
    verse 65, vivekacUDAmaNi of Shnakara,
    garuDA purANa,
    Shankara bhAShya at mantra 2, Part 1, kena upa etc. etc.

    [Just to save place, I am not quoting all the above mantras/verses here.]

    JK and Rupert Spira too advise to leave alone the mind to do what it is meant to do rather than struggle to control it.

    While I am not sure how Arun presented the “meditation” to be in the book by him and the other two co-authors of his, I will appreciate if he can take a quick look at this Blog post : https://beyond-advaita.blogspot.com/2012/08/stream-of-thoughts-question.html

  21. Arun,

    I note you have not addressed my evangelising point, and Sankara’s comment.

    You wrote:
    “Neti-Neti is the method of negation prescribed in the scriptures. Ramana does not advocate neti-neti and in fact questions saying how can mind negate itself.”

    Absolutely not.

    It would be impossible for anyone to teach Advaita without negation. Ramana read Sankara, and never disagreed with him. He oft repeated Gaudapada’s verse on ajata vada, which is the ultimate in negation. He always emphasised discrimination and detachment – what else is that apart from neti neti?

    In Guru Vachaka Kovai, which Muruganar wrote and Ramana revised, they have written:

    “37 Chapter concerning negation

    671. The fleshly body, the prana, the indriyas [the sense-organs and the organ of action], the mind, the intellect and the ego [ahankara] are not ‘I’. Even the ignorance [of deep sleep], in which only the latent tendencies towards sense-knowledges [vishaya- vasanas] remain and which is devoid of all sense- knowledges and all actions, is not ‘I’.

    672. Since all these [above said alien objects] will lose their existence if not connected with me, the Reality, and since none of them can have either existence or consciousness apart from the Reality, all these, which are to be scorned as non-existent [asat] and insentient [jada], are not ‘I’.

    673 By rejecting the above said alien objects which was wrongly identified as ‘I’ through viveka, and thus making the pseudo-projection of world and body unreal, the One, without any attachment, that shines as ‘I’

    674. Whatever thing [among the above-said alien objects, which are not ‘I’] acts in whatever way, remain aloof from those activities [that is, from the notion that it is ‘I’ who acts] and simply be a witness to them.”

    Lakshmana Karma, a close disciple, who wrote Maha Yoga, based on personal tuition on Ulladu Narpadu by Ramana, writes:
    “In the final teaching, no attempt is made to tell us anything about the positive content of the State. In the ancient lore, we are told that we should understand the Self as Neti, Neti. . . Thus we are not to expect any positive description of the Egoless State. Even the Sage [by this, he is referring to Ramana] cannot tell us anything positive about that State. All that he can do is to remove our misconceptions about it. He tells us what It is not, or rather how it differs from the states known to us in relativity.”

  22. Hi Ramesham,

    I was really wishing and expecting your comments. Even if my post is addressing Venkat or Dennis in particular I really wish it would be nice if all the folks respond and express their opinion such as you, Martin, Shishya, Bhimal, Sanathan, etc.

    I am addressing this post to you and again as expressed in the above paragraph everybody is free to post their response and would want to request them to do it.

    In your latest comment you said “However, in fairness to Arun”. Even if you had not posted still I would have posted this particular comment of mine. That is because I want to say “You have been really fair to me”. Here are the reasons.

    You were right when you mentioned BG 7.3 which says only rare people achieve the goal. You were also right when you mentioned the Ashtavarkra Geetha 1.15 but I said that verse is very assuring and comforting for the person who is still a sekker but has not gotten over Avidya. I said that after reading the verse can my Avidya gets removed? Again it is the same sentiment expressed in the statement you made “only rarest of the rare can have the Self-Realization”.

    I completely agree with all those statements but my position was why we can’t be the one who is the rarest of the rare. Why do we have to assume we are puny little Jiva who is incapable of achieving the Self-Realization in this very Janma, in this very life. You did not take it as my disagreement. Though it seemed like me opposing your statements but I actually was in complete agreement and my position was why we should be so. Why can’t we achieve the goal and give up our zeal thinking that it is fo the rarest of the rare and I am not one among them.

    That’s what the great masters assure us.

    Venkat quoted the following two statements.

    In MandukyaKarika 2.36, Gaudapada writes:
    “Having realised non-duality behave in the world like an insensible object”

    Sankara comments:
    “having known this non-dual Brahman . . . behave with others as one not knowing the Truth; that is to say, let not others know what you are and what you have become”

    Both the statements are right and unfortunately these quotes are used to shoot down the messenger rather than paying attention to the message. I am not complaining. But I want to draw the attention to how our mind functions and want to give up. Oh it is for the rarest of the rare and hence it is impossible to interact with people in the current era who could have understood the message.

    If those quotes were to be absolutely true then why Gaudapada had to write the entire Mandukya Karika. He could have realised non-duality and behaved like an insensible object and gone.

    If Sankara were to live by the quote mentioned by Venkat which is to “having known non-dual brahman … behave with others as one not knowing the truth” then he did not have to do anything.

    Still Sankara has given us so many works which is helping us even after great many centuries and generations. Why our mind refuses to pay attention to this fact and stick to those couple of quotes which say we do not have to do anything and use those quotes to shoot down the messenger. That’s because we inherently feel good if we think we have made a great case in proving other wrong. I was dismissed saying that what you are saying is Vivekananda’s philosophy. I said I have never read Vivekananda and found his “Complete Works” very terse and verbose. Dismissing Varaha Upanishad as Yoga Upanishad is not correct and I quoted in my last post the Amrita Bindu Upanishad which also happens to be categorised as Yoga Upanishad. Dispute the message. The four verses I quoted from Amrita Bindu Upanishad, please dispute that. But we should not take the position that it is Yoga Upanishad and hence I am not even willing to read or pay attention to those verses is wrong in my humble opinion.

    That is because our mind very much likes to shoot down the messenger rather than focussing on the message and debating on the message. This is my answer to my dear friend Venkat why I did not address the evangelising point. I might just be a carpenter. But if I am an expert on carpentry (need not be an absolute authority on that skill) I might want to share the beauties and nuances about how to go about carpentry in the most efficient way. But no matter how much I try I hardly find somebody who could really understand the commitment, dedication and nuances of the skill. When one finds such an interested person then the joy of sharing the knowledge knows no bounds. That’s the only reason why I am participating here. I might be wrong. But in case if I am right and somebody gets the “Aha, Is that what it is? Now I am getting it” feeling then I cannot describe my joy and put it in words.

    I really appreciated when Ramesam expressed that inspite of our distance we are having the satsangha and we are constantly thinking about Brahman. It is 2:40 AM in the night in India as I am composing this reply. I might come across as forceful in expressing my points. I want to humbly admit that I can’t be half-hearted or speculative when I express something. If such is the case I do not want to express it at all. Only if if I am absolutely sure and willing to back and stand by it then I want to express. But as I said earlier one has to use the medium of language while talking or writing to convey the thoughts. But please pay attention to the Lakshyartha rather than Vachyartha. As Ramesam mentioned we need not have to argue as if we are Bar-At-Law. But let us not have the hesitation to oppose the views but with mutual respect and in the process let us enjoy the fact that we have been now extensively indulged with the thought about Brahman.

    Advaita is the antidote to all our world’s problems today. If more and more people get interested in this, then that’s the only way I believe we can live the most exalted life of human beings which animals are not capable of and only because we human beings are blessed with the fully functional mind. But the challenge is can we use the mind we have to just reflect the Pure Consciousness or do we want to make use of it to do observation and thinking. Observation and thinking are the only two things that the mind is capable of doing. But can we exist without doing those two things which are observation and thinking and just exist as a Pure Conscious Entity.

    If Sankara had been selfish he could have realised the Truth which definitely he did and could have remained silent. But whatever work he did is to benefit the future generations to come. It is for people who are very much interested what is the Advaita philosophy he propounded for our benefit. It brought tears in my eyes in reverence when somebody analyzed that at the age of eight he met his Guru Govinda Pada who was a disciple of Gauda Pada and the kind of travelling he did and the amount of works he did it is believed that he could not have slept for not more than four hours every day because he died at the young age of 32 or so.

    Ramesam, Venkat and all others I would love if you respond. The first post I deliberately kept it simple. In that post what I meant is if in a moment of silence if you could lose your individuality then for that one minute you existed as Pure Atman. Now practice it to exist as Atman which is Pure Consciousness for prolonged period time. Then soon one would realise and it becomes the knowledge that I am Atman and I am Pure Consciousness after which no practice or effort or Sadhana is necessary.

    Would really appreciate if all the people could comment on all the points.

    Finally, the goal has to be reached and attained. In other point of view there is nothing to attain. But as Sankara says the moss that has covered the crystal clear water has to be removed so that we get access to the absolutely clear water. That moss is our ego, personality, individuality or “the pile of garbage” I mentioned in my earlier post. If for one minute If I have managed to exist without the garbage then for that one minute I existed as Atman. All that is required is now to continue the practice so that We can exist as Pure Atman without our individuality until it becomes our natural knowledge so that we do not have to put any effort because we are established in the fact that we are Atman and we are “Pure Consiousness”.

    Regards
    Arun

  23. Arun

    I recused myself from being an ‘official’ blogger on this site some time ago, for a number of reasons . . . one of which was and is that I am not a jnani. I have no official capacity on this site, and my opinions carry no weight – that is the prerogative of Dennis, Martin and Ramesam.

    I continue to participate on this blog, as it provides me with an opportunity to clarify my thinking and understanding of Advaita through discussion (that is often sharp and robust) with those who have studied Advaita in more depth than me.

    When I engage with someone who has written a book called “Pearls of Vedic Wisdom” with a marketing message stating that it “shows the way to gain inner peace” and “attempts to ignite mass awareness of the knowledge of the ultimate Truth”, I assume that person is a jnani. And as such, that he can directly and rationally respond, point by point, to challenge, citing evidence from scripture (or Ramana’s writings).

    I apologise for my assumptions. I think it would be best if I excuse myself from further discussion, to enable a more productive conversation to be pursued.

  24. Dennis, I found this VERY interesting but if off-topic, please delete. Thanks.

    https://www.theguardian.com/science/2012/apr/29/neuroscience-david-eagleman-raymond-tallis
    Quote from above article:
    “By analogy, an individual brain reflects its culture. Our opinions on normality, custom, dress codes and local superstitions are absorbed into our neural circuitry from the social forest around us. To a surprising extent, one can glimpse a culture by studying a brain. Moral attitudes toward cows, pigs, crosses and burkas can be read from the physiological responses of brains in different cultures.”

  25. Hi,

    Fo the benefit of the readers, fellow seekers, I am posting this.

    I wrote
    “Neti-Neti is the method of negation prescribed in the scriptures. Ramana does not advocate neti-neti and in fact questions saying how can mind negate itself.”

    But the answer given was “Absolutely not” meaning Ramana actually supported Neti-Neti method.

    Here are the three paragraphs extracted verbatim without any alteration from the book “The Path of Sri Ramana – Part One” by Sadhu Om who was a direct disciple of Ramana.

    There is a difference between the technique of the Self-enquiry revealed by Sri Bhagavan and that of the Self-enquiry which we have learnt from the sastras all this time. For ages past the sastras have been declaring, ‘’Who are you” You are not the body, prana, mind, intellect, ego or the like; you are Self (atman); you are consciousness, which is Self”. However, they do not go beyond telling us, “Eliminate the five sheaths, which are non-Self, as ‘not I“ not I’ (neti, neti)”. They do not explain who is to eliminate or the practical method how to eliminate, nor do they give in a precise and direct manner the proper clues to eliminate the non-Self.

    There is a difference between the sense in which the term ‘enquiry’ is used by Sri Bhagavan and the way in which the sastras use it. The sastras advocate negating the five sheaths, namely the body, prana, mind, intellect and the darkness of ignorance, as ‘not I, not I’ (neti, neti). But who is to negate them, and how? If the mind (or the intellect) is to negate them, it can at best negate only the insentient physical body and the prana, which are objects seen by it. Beyond this, how can the mind negate itself, its own form? And when it cannot even negate itself, how can it negate the other two sheaths, the intellect (vijnana-maya kosa) and the darkness of ignorance (anandamaya kosa), which are beyond its range of perception?

    Thinking ‘I am not this, not this’ (neti, neti) is a negative method. Knowing that this negative method is just as impractical as saying, ‘Drink the medicine without thinking of a monkey’. Sri Bhagavan has now shown us the practical way of drinking the medicine without thinking of a monkey, by giving us the clue, ‘Drink the medicine while thinking of an elephant’, that is, He has reformed the ancient negative method by giving us the positive method ‘Who am I?’,
    “ … Verily, the ego is all! Hence the enquiry ‘What is it?” (in other words, ‘Who am I, this ego?’)” is the true giving up (renunciation) of all. Thus should you know!” – ‘Ulladhu Narpadhu’, verse 28
    Verily, all (that is, the five sheaths and their projections -all these worlds) is the ego. So, attending to the feeling ‘I’, ‘What is it ?’ or ‘Who is this I ?’, alone is renouncing the five sheaths, discarding them, eliminating them, or negating them. Thus Bhagavan Ramana has declared categorically that Self-attention alone is the correct technique of eliminating the five sheaths !

    Above three paragraphs support what I said which is Bhagvan Ramana was not supportive of Neti-Neti, the negation method and instead he gave us the positive method.

    I want to humbly make the claim that in this post I am citing evidence from Ramana’s writings and to the best of my knowledge so far I have not been misrepresenting Ramana or the Scriptures.

    Regards
    Arun

  26. Apologies for my relative lack of involvement in these discussions. As I keep saying, I am trying to complete my topic on pratibandha-s (now probably 85% complete). And I do have other things to do than continually reading and writing about Advaita! (So not a renunciant, then!)

    Having quickly read through the above few posts, a couple of points jumped out:

    I agree entirely with Arun when he asks why we should assume that ‘little i’ cannot possibly be a j~nAnI. The pratibandha post will talk about j~nAnaphalam and who is liberated.

    Why should we believe anything we read? We can pick up many books on scriptures, Shankara, Ramana et al, that were written by academics who themselves read many more books or by disciples who listened to their guru for many years. But can we trust their translations and their understanding? Maybe, maybe not. When we have advanced understanding ourselves, perhaps we can make a correct, informed decision. Otherwise, we have to try to go back to what was actually stated by scripture or Shankara and try to verify those translations for ourselves – extremely difficult if we have no Sanskrit knowledge! This is why there is really a need for a qualified guru that we can trust.

    And I’m afraid that I still have to maintain my caution about accepting what was said by VIvekananda, Ramakrishna, Ramana, Nisargadatta… and even more by such as Krishnamurti-s. Unless someone is a saMpradAya teacher, we cannot rely upon their transmission of authentically traditional Advaita. If they are merely making observations from ‘their own experience’, this is not enough – enlightenment has nothing to do with experience!

  27. Hi,

    Finally it is good to see you Dennis participating in this thread. In this post I want to share some information that worked for me. After reading Shankara, Upanishads and BG I was convinced that I should pursue the path of Self Realization but did not know exactly how to achieve that. I might have given up my effort for more than a dozen times, sometime even fo six months thinking that probably whatever is said in BG or Upanishads may not be True. But then the worldly engagement intuitively gave the feeling that life can never just be about earning money, eating, making merry and pleasing the sense organs. After a long ordeal it worked. My purpose of sharing that experience here is it need not be such a long and arduous ordeal for you if I can share some simple, yet vital information that can make the interested seeker to reach the goal. What better place to share this information than this website where so many fellow seekers have been sincerely pursuing the path of Advaita. I shall try to keep the information deliberately simple.

    Here we go. It is just a two step process (adopted from all Advaita texts and mainly inspired by Ramana’s teachings).

    Step 1
    Sit in a comfortable position, close your eyes and observe your breath. No need to adjust or alter the breath and let it be your natural way of breathing. But observe the breath intensely so that you should feel the hot or cold air entering and existing your nostrils and also observe how deep the breath is going inside you and returning. If you are observing your breath with 100% concentration for two to three minutes then you should notice that your mind has become calm and silent without any thoughts. Once you firmly believe that you are now silently observing your breath without any thoughts then go to the next step.

    Step 2
    It is just to make the mind calm, the breath observation was necessary. Once you notice that you are able to observe your breath in complete silence then the breath observation is no longer necessary. Let the breath happen on its own and now start observing your own silence. In case the mind wanders and gets disturbed by thoughts no need to be hard or feel bad. Just we need to go back to Step 1, do the breath observation to make the mind calm and come to this second step and start observing the silence. When I am observing my own silence it can be said as I am existing as Awareness being aware of my silence. Basically I am existing as Silent Awareness.

    This Awareness is the real I, the Self, the pure Awareness or the pure Consciousness.

    *******************************

    This is what Ramana told as diving deep within and fetching the pearl of the Self. It is actually not “fetching” but “being” as Self in full Awareness or Consciousness.

    No samadhi state is required but 100% single pointed concentration which is Samadhana is required. The effort is to be in watchful mode that mind is not wandering away and to maintain the internal silence.

    This is what Ramana meant by being in Self-Attention. The above practice is required for days or months until the Pure Awareness or the Pure Consciousness is firmly grasped as I. Grasping happens by being or existing as “Pure Awareness” without any thoughts. After this it becomes effortless to exist in the state of Silent Awareness or exist as Pure Consciousness.

    This Pure Consciousness is the substratum on top of which the thoughts (and speech) occur. Basically we disturb this state of Pure Consciousness by our incessant thoughts during our waking state.

    Once “I am Pure Consciousness” is grasped it remains firmly with us all the time, it becomes the knowledge that we were ignorant of and then the ego which is the pile containing endless list of garbage does not bother the mind with its desires and thoughts. One starts to clearly feel that there is absolutely no kind of lacking within us. Hence the mind will not be “Wanting” anything.

    Just like one clearly knows that it is my home, but I am not the home itself and I am distinct from home, in the same way one now clearly knows that “I – the Pure Consciousness” is the indweller of my body, but I am not the body (or mind) itself and I am distinct from the body (or mind).

    In the entire waking state, the ego though present gets muted and hence the mind now does not get bothered by continuous self-centered thoughts. For a Jnani the mind now is always in Self-Attention and likes to exist as Pure Consciousness all the time whereas a Bhakta considers this formless Consciousness Entity as God residing in his heart and tries to be always in the company of the God, both always existing without their individuality and hence established in Moksha without any Bondage.

    Look forward for your comments.

    Regards
    Arun

  28. Hi Arun and Friends,

    Interesting Conversations.
    Quite a few meanderings and turns, though not any twists. ! 🙂

    In fact the meandering has been so much that we seemed to have moved far away from the topic in consideration at the OP (Original Post).

    Hence, I will like to restrict myself to a few words on each of the points I found important, cutting out detailed explanations, citation of source docs etc.

    Responding to Arun:

    Arun: “Why can’t we achieve the goal and give up our zeal thinking that it is fo the rarest of the rare and I am not one among them.”

    Upanishads and BG (e.g. kaTha 1.2.7, BG 7.3,) talk of the low probability of success in achieving liberation. In the last few millennia nothing seems to have been done to improve the probability of success.
    Can the new modern day avenues of Science, particularly Neuroscience (like what Shishya writes quoting Davd Eagleman) help? It’s a matter to be researched! If brain has a record of the effects of past vAsanA-s, can we erase them?

    Arun: “Advaita is the antidote to all our world’s problems today.”

    Advaita, to the best of my knowledge, never made such claims. Will appreciate citation of any Upanishad mantra in support of such a claim. Advaita speaks about amelioration of at an individual’s level.

    Advaita is not a theory based on which one can develop killer Apps and go to the market. It is not about improving one’s self nor about changing the world. It is out and out an investigation intot the Ultimate Reality.

    Arun: “If more and more people get interested in this, then that’s the only way I believe we can live the most exalted life of human beings ”

    Advaita is not a Group activity. Its tools work only at an individual level and not amenable for mass-application. Dualist gurus like Madhwacharya hold that some people are eternally “doomed.”

    Arun: “Observation and thinking are the only two things that the mind is capable of doing.”

    Very true.

    Arun: “If for one minute If I have managed to exist without the garbage then for that one minute I existed as Atman. ”

    What’s the big deal? Everyone, including worms and insects, are without thoughts in deep sleep. Gaudapada and Shankara do not say that one is as Atman/brahman in deep sleep. They even rule out Nirivikalpa samAdhi to be of any value.

    Arun: “All that is required is now to continue the practice so that We can exist as Pure Atman without our individuality until it becomes our natural knowledge so that we do not have to put any effort because we are established in the fact that we are Atman and we are “Pure Consiousness”.”

    A misconception. To have a resting or peaceful mind by itself is not the same as to be as brahman.

    Sadhu Om Quote: “Thinking ‘I am not this, not this’ (neti, neti) is a negative method. Knowing that this negative method is just as impractical as saying, ‘Drink the medicine without thinking of a monkey’. Sri Bhagavan has now shown us the practical way of drinking the medicine without thinking of a monkey, by giving us the clue, ‘Drink the medicine while thinking of an elephant’, that is, He has reformed the ancient negative method by giving us the positive method ‘Who am I?’,”

    If that is what Sadhu Om writes, clearly it shows that he needs to study the Upanishads better.
    “Who am I?” inquiry is NOT Ramana’s invention. We find it in much older texts (e.g. aparokShAnubhUti verse 12, Yogavasishta etc.).
    Secondly, that “inquiry” does not take place in and stop with the ‘mind.’

    If Ramana did really say that a monkey should be replaced with Elephant, how can that be called a positive way?
    As Venkat has been repeatedly stressing, what really involves is “dropping” everything that is not-Self (anAtmA). One has to get detached with the body too (the most difficult of pratibandha-s!
    It is not replacement!

    Giving the false impression that “I can still keep my job, my spouse, my property, my house, my sex etc, etc.,” I find that there has been a mushrooming of Western Advaita teachers (I can count in hundreds) who seem to “trivialize” Jivanmukti in their teaching! Perhaps the “Mangement” gurus too are onto the same game!

    Responding to Shishya:

    David Eagleman’s Quote: “To a surprising extent, one can glimpse a culture by studying a brain. ”

    If one is talking of memes, yes, the neuronal connectome can be representing the cultural etc. memes. The genes are the replicators of the accumulated effects of past actions. Together, they may constitute the vAsanA load. Can we eradicate the vAsanA load? Swami Vidyaranya does speak about vAsanAkshaya as the means to mokSha.

    [Also see my response on this issue to Arun.]

    Dennis: ” I agree entirely with Arun when he asks why we should assume that ‘little i’ cannot possibly be a j~nAnI. ”

    Are you sure you are saying that, Dennis?
    Do you mean to say that it is the “little i” (i.e. the ego) is the one that would be a jnAni and that is the teaching of the Upanishads and Shankara?
    Or is it not that the Upanishads tell us that the “little i” covers up the “True I” like ashes surrounding the ember?

    [Incidentally, I prefer the term ‘autobiographic memory’ rather than ‘a pile of garbage’ as used by Arun for the personal info stored in the brain.]

    As all the above points are highly controversial and debatable, perhaps, we should take them up for further discussion through e-mails.

  29. Hi Ramesam,

    Would request to have your comments on my latest post where two step process is given to “exist” as Pure Consciousness.

    I said “If for one minute If I have managed to exist without the garbage then for that one minute I existed as Atman”

    I meant existing like that in our waking state as “Silent Awareness” or “Pure Consciousness” with a completely alert mind and it should not be compared with deep sleep where there is no Awareness and mind is at rest.

    I do not remember saying the small “i” could be Jnani. May be there is some misunderstanding because I always maintained that only after Aparoksha Anubhuti, the Direct Experience of establishing with bigger real “I” one can be a called a Jnani.

    Honouring your request I am not debating about any other things here.

    Regards
    Arun

  30. Thank you, Ramesam. I agree with most of what you say here and do not intend to respond personally to all of Arun’s points. My statement about ‘little i’ being a j~nAnI was intended to be slightly provocative – I was responding to Arun’s comment that “my position was why we can’t be the one who is the rarest of the rare. Why do we have to assume we are puny little Jiva who is incapable of achieving the Self-Realization in this very Janma, in this very life.” Apologies if I have misrepresented what you said, Arun, but that was my intepretation. You will have to await the pratibandha post for a more complete justification of the statement! Perhaps you could explain your quoted statement, Arun?

  31. Hi Arun,

    About your 2-step process to know Awareness.

    At the outset, let me admit that I do not have any competency to say much. Bengaluru where you fortunately happen to live is a great center of Advaitic Wisdom. Many Vedic scholars and Adepts in Advaita also live there. We hear of some or other Vedanta Ghostis being held there almost everyday. Maybe you should get in touch with some of them. Dennis knows many of them as they are all Members of an online discussion group.

    About my own observations:

    I have no objection with your approach in formulating the 2-steps. However, I have afew questions.

    Several posts back, either here or at the previous thread, you did mention about knowing “I am brahman” through your method. Is it not the same thing you are speaking here?

    Secondly, you advise that after Step 2, when we observe our own silence, “it can be said as I am existing as Awareness being aware of my silence.”
    Who is it then who is observing the breath in Step 1?
    How are the two observers of Step 1 and Step 2 different from one another?

    Thirdly, I also remember to have pointed out that it is not enough to know “I am brahman,” but one should also “be” knowingly or “realize” that all that “is” (appears) is brahman, my Self. Is that also a part of your 2-step process or not?

    Fourthly, once I know “I am brahman” at the end of Step 2, what exactly is the nature of myself, the brahman? Do “I” tally with what the scripture says – taittirIya 2.1.1, chAndogya 6.14.3, brihat 4.1.15 etc.?

    Finally, may I request you to please bear with me if I appeal for patience and compare notes with what the Speaker talks about in all the 6 parts of this Series I am posting?

  32. Thanks for that Video clip, Shishya.
    There’s really nothing surprising there!
    As JK always said, the thinker is the thought.
    So also the experiencer is the experience.

    When the Self Itself experiencing Itself is the AtmAnubhava or brahmAnubhava. [ Self = AtmA/brahman; anubhava = experience.]
    That is what is also called as Enlightenment.
    Extending this, jnAni is one who is ever experiencing himself – whatever he does, in all he does without any sense of a doership or a sense of separation (or feel of difference) from the experienced.

  33. Hi Ramesam,

    I am glad that you heeded to my request and provided your comments.

    As you mentioned I shall wait for you to post the remaining articles before I answer the questions you posed.

    All your questions are appropriate and I shall provide my answers in detail as it is important for the understanding to be clear before embarking on the two-step Sadhana.

    Yes. After practicing the Sadhana, if you are successful, you will be able to realize that “I am Brahman” and as clearly as you currently “realize” that you are a man. Not only the upanishadic verses you quote but the entire things written in all the Upanishads, BG and other scriptures, you will be able to clearly “realize” them as True .

    (BG 4.1.15 you mentioned I could not see in the books I am having).

    Regards
    Arun

  34. Dear Venkat and Shishya,

    It does not appear to me that the word “experiencer” as used by JK carries the same meaning in the Video clip and the write up of COL-1, ch 12.

    JK was talking of a-dvaita, not-twoness, towards the end of the video clip.
    He said “The experiencer and the experienced are one.”
    Therefore, “experiencer” here refers to that entity (vastu) that is the Sentience / Consciousness which “Knows” (has the capacity to know).
    It is the attributeless, unlimited (or undimensional) That (tat) or the true “I.”
    In effect, JK was pointing to the subject-object non-difference in the Video convo.

    In contrast, in the COL-1, ch 12, as suggested by Venkat, I feel the word “experiencer” refers to the finite (limited) ‘ego,’ the memory generated ‘me-ness’ or the small “i.”

    I remember I had seen long back the full Video from which the clip is taken; though I forget now the detail. Maybe if we hear the discussion in the entire Video once again, things will be clearer.

  35. I don’t think so Ramesam – he is using it in the same context. When he says the experiencer and the experienced are one, he means both that experiencer is made up of all the past experiences and that the current experience is fundamentally affected by the make-up of the experiencer. If that past is dropped, then there is no experiencer, and there is just attention, or Brahman, or whatever you want to call it.

    Here is the dialogue, and the relevant extract:

    https://www.jkrishnamurti.org/content/need-security/sheldrake%20experiencer

    RS: It is not possible to be free from the contents of consciousness, different experiences, as long as my eyes are open, I’m looking, I see all sorts of different things. Now what you were saying about the attention when one’s looking at a mountain, for example, are you suggesting that if I have that same kind of attention to everything I experience, that then this is the…

    K: You see, again you experience. (Laughs)

    RS: Yes, well, all right, but…

    K: But you are the experience.

    RS: Yes.

    K: Right? That means, there is no experience.

    RS: (Laughs) There’s just attention, you mean.

    K: EXPERIENCE INVOLVES REMEMBRANCE, TIME, WHICH IS THE PAST. THEREFORE THE EXPERIENCER IS THE EXPERIENCED. IF I seek illumination, enlightenment, or whatever you might like to call it, I am then trying to do all kinds of things to achieve that. But I don’t know what illumination is. I don’t know. Not because you said it or Buddha said it or somebody else said it: I don’t know. But I am going to find out. Which means the mind must be totally free: from prejudice, from fear, all the rest of that messy business. So my concern is not illumination, but whether the content of my consciousness can be cleansed – whatever word you use. That’s my concern – not concern, that’s my enquiry.

  36. Hi Ramesam,

    An Experiencer is experiencing something. There is a triad or Triputi which is Experiencer, Experiencing and the Experienced.

    Similarly an Observer is observing something. The Triputi is Observer, Observation and the Observed.

    Can the Experiencer exist without experiencing anything?
    Can the Observer exist without observing anything?

    The answer to both the questions above is Most Certainly, Yes.

    Then what one has to do to exist as an Experiencer without experiencing anything or to exist as an Observer without observing anything.

    The answer is

    Remain Silent. Summa Iru as told by Ramana.

    Alright. Let me attempt to remain silent, say for 10 minutes. During that time let us say you ask me what are you doing? I reply saying that I am remaining Silent. If I reply or even become aware of your question then that implies that I am not silent. That is the catch.

    To make it clear let us say I am in deep sleep. You ask me now the same question what are you doing? If I am really in deep sleep then I can never become AWARE of your question. But if I reply that “I am in deep sleep”, that is ridiculous and it means that I am NOT in deep sleep.

    So when I remain in Silence, I am very close but still not existing as Pure Consciousness or still not existing as Pure Silent Awareness. If one manages to exist as Pure Consciousness let us say for 10 minutes, then only after that 10 minutes when one attaches oneself back to ego self then one would be able to say that for the last 10 minutes I was without my ego self and individuality and existed as Pure Consciousness or existed as Atman.

    It is just like a person in deep sleep let us say for 10 minutes. It is only after that 10 minutes the person would be able to say that I was in deep sleep for the last 10 minutes completely losing my ego self and individuality.

    It is exactly the same way when a person is in Silence and is existing as Pure Consciousness let us say for 10 minutes. It is only after that 10 minutes, that person would be able to say that for the last 10 minutes I existed as Pure Consciousness completely losing my ego self and individuality.

    When a person is in deep sleep, the triad is not there. There is only experience. Experience of what? Experience of Nothing. As Sarvapriyananda puts it nicely, in deep sleep there is Experience of Absence. There is no absence of experience.

    When a person is existing as Pure Consciousness, the triad is not there. There is only experience. Experience of what? Experience of Completeness. Experience of Pure Consciousness. Experience of Silent Awareness. Who is the experiencer? The experiencer is also the same Silent Awareness. We can use any language. There is only Experience or there is only Experiencer or the Experience and the Experiencer are the same. But the concept to grasp is out of the triad, Triputi only one element is present. It is your choice to call is it as just Experience or the Experiencer.

    When I am in Silence I am pretty close. But the ego self is still there. But if manage to lose my ego self and individuality then that’s it. Then I would exist as Pure Consciousness for as much time util I descend back or I get attached to the ego self.

    In other words when I exist as Pure Consciousness I am in Paramarthika Plane existing as Atman / Brahman. During that time I can never become aware if you ask me a question “What are you doing?” After whatever time I would automatically descend back to Vyavaharika plane where the ego self gets attached and I now start existing as Jiva. After that only I can tell that for the previous few minutes or hours I did not exist as Jiva and I existed as Atman or I existed as Pure Consciousness.

    Hope this helps. Requires some serious contemplation. Please do.

    Cheers
    Arun

  37. Hi Arun,

    Thanks for your explanation / observation.
    You appear to be talking about what in Vedanta is called the “dRik” or a “samvit jnAni.” The usual meaning given to it is that dRik is the Seer where there is nothing to see. ‘Nothing’ means no other, no second.

    As a method you seem to talk about “Yoga nidra” technique.

    I am hesitant to get into any prolonged discussion on these issues, because they are very much in the grey area, and one can go on and on without being able to reach any conclusion.

    However, our scriptures are very helpful at this juncture. They do offer some means to test oneself, if s/he has attained samvit jnAna or not. I wrote a few articles on “Litmus Tests for Self-realization” at this very site, if anyone would like to take a look.

  38. Hi Ramesam,

    After posting the comment I felt that I might be wrong or inadvertently I might have suggested the Yoga samadhi or Yoga Nidra as you pointed out. Actually it is never a samadhi state and thanks for pointing out.

    Thanks for suggesting your posts on “Litmus Tests for Self-realization” which is a two part series.

    They were really good. In the first part you outline the characteristics of a Jnani.

    1) One clearly understands that the Self Knowledge is the most worthiest possession and in this world there is nothing greater than that.

    2) Being established in Self Knowledge one is not perturbed by worldly pains and equally not elated by worldly gains or pleasures.

    3) A person acts without the sense of ownership and is not concerned about the fruits of the action.

    I completely agree and without these one cannot become a Jnani.

    I would like to add just one more important thing.

    4) Just like a person playing a role in a drama, though playing the given role, at the back of the mind the person is always aware what his real name is and what he is actually in the real world. In the same way a Jnani sees the current life as a role and constantly at the back of the mind there is a thought that “I am That”. In the waking state most of the time the Jnani constantly lives with the “I” or “I am” thought which is Atma Smarane or Self Attention as Ramana calls it. In BG there are several verses which say “Those who constantly think of Me …”.

    For an ordinary person though one might pray to God or do the Dhyana daily for some time, living with the “I thought” or “God thought” all the time seems like a tough task. For the Jnani it actually becomes so natural that “I am THAT” thought never leaves just like the artist in a drama is always effortlessly aware what his real name, profession and what he actually is in this world.

    In the second part you talk about two types of fears.

    First one is about ego where one is not affected by praise or criticisms. I completely agree. Actually when one is not affected then only one feels the real freeness from Bondage. Getting affected by praise and criticisms of others is one of the biggest bondages.

    Second one is about losing the life situation. A Jnani is never stupid or acts absurd in the sense one would not voluntarily go and try to touch a poisonous snake or enter the cage of a lion. When faced with a situation still the instinct functions. As Nisargadutta says “do not expect me to sit still if there is a fire, I shall also run to safety along with you”. But if death is inevitable then Jnani faces it just like any other event in the life. Basically the fear of death is not there and when death appears nearby the Jnani does not hesitate to kiss the death and embrace it wholeheartedly. That’s why they say a Jnani is already dead in the sense the ego, the little “i” is dead and hence there is nothing else that remains which can die.

    Regarding the sage which you mention where a serpent coiled around his neck, I feel they are Maha Purushas, great souls and not everyone could become that. Constant sadhana would help the Jnani to keep progressing without any expectation of becoming this or that.

    By involving in these discussions one thing became very clear to me.

    We are a Baddha Jiva (Jiva in bondage). When one is successfully able to concentrate on the breath without being affected or diverted by any other thoughts then that person becomes a Shuddha Jiva (Pure Jiva). By the way it is a newly coined word “Shuddha Jiva” (jiva without any impurities). That person at that stage is existing with just one Triputi which is “Awareness”, “Being Aware of”, “the breath”. Nothing else. Borrowing some terminology from this website, I guess from one of the articles of Dennis, the entire Mithya world which includes the body, mind and ego is missing when a person is involved in great concentration in observing the breath. Mithya world is definitely missing though temporarily because of the effort. But this seemingly simple effort is not easy for everybody if one has cravings, desires and restless mind. Only when one has Chitta Shuddhi, pure mind, one can establish an unwavering concentration. I think this is the best possible effort that can be put by a person voluntarily. If one practices this constantly then definitely Grace will arrive so that one can finally become a Muktha Jiva (Jiva without bondage). That’s what the Gurus say and assure also.

    Finally, thanks for these discussions. Because of you guys, for the last one week I have been reading all the books again and constantly thinking and discussing about Brahman with family and friends.

    Thanks
    Arun

  39. Hi Ramesam,

    This is it !!!

    Let us say with full concentration I am observing my breath leaving behind all the impurities (the pile of garbage) which is the entire Mitya Jagat including body, mind and the ego. Because of the concentration I have lost my body conscience and I am existing as “Pure Awareness”, “Being Aware” of “the breath” without any other thought.

    When one concentrates hard and enjoys it the ego-self goes missing.

    At some point into the effort I manage to exist as “Awareness”, “Being Aware” of “the breath”.

    Now I ask myself the question “Who is watching / observing / being aware of the breath?

    The answer is “I”.

    Who is this “I”?

    “I am the Awareness”.

    Once I clearly learn to identify myself, the “I’ with the “Awareness”, “Pure Consciousness” and without any doubt if I can say “I am Consciousness” the goal is attained.

    After that for the question “Who am I?” I never will say I am Arun, somebody’s son, somebody’s father, etc. which is the Moksha.

    This is the Realization or Realization of the Self or Realization that “I am Pure Consciousness”, “I am a formless, nameless, Conscious Entity” without body and mind.

    Now it is really simplified. But still reading this post is not sufficient. One should do the exercise and have the Direct Experience that “I am Awareness” or “I am Pure Consciousness”.

    Regards
    Arun

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