Wednesday, May 28, 2008

the Self that I AM

One has to be extremely careful in advaita as to
what one means by I the Self.

We are so well-entrenched in the false i - even though
it is labeled a i-notion - it is more than a mere
notion or concept that we need to let go of - it is
verily who we are - the i who thinks, talks, eats,
sleeps, dreams, desires, is sad, is happy, plans,
breathes, etc. - this i is our very sense of
individuality, nourished as it has been through
millions of births from beginningless time!

Letting go of one's individuality means dying to one's
self as we now know it, see it, feel it. While our
Masters like Bhagwan Ramana, and many other Seers may
make it look simple, direct, even effortless, I think
there is a grave danger into a seeker falling into a
complacent trap of delving into a comfort zone. There
is nothing more difficult in the world than letting go
of our cherished notional individuality.

Even the Gods fail in this, what to speak of mortals.
Indra, the ruler of the Heavens, how much prowess he
must have had to acquire that status - and yet he
spends hundreds of years after approaching a Guru for
self-knowledge and still finds himself incomplete,
unable to pierce the barriers of his own notionality.

Sage Narada, who has the darshan of Lord Narayana at a
moments wish, and is the Rishi for the devas, who has
completely mastered all the scriptures all the
sciences in the world, has learnt all that is to know,
still approaches Sage Vamana saying I am in a sea of
sorrow for i lack knowledge of the Self. The
Upanishads talk about these instances to point out
just how hard it is to attain Self-realization.

Our teachers out of sheer benevolence so as not to
discourage us from coming to this field, from
rejecting it or shunning it outright do tell us it is
the gain of something already existent, it is a direct
approach, etc - these are in the way of getting the
child to the mountain he needs to climb - you are
almost there - just a little longer, just a little
more...etc...until the seeker has made sufficient
progress to gain a sense of commitment to the journey,
having been fully convinced of the ephemerality of the
world. If after gaining such a commitment, the sheer
magnitude of the task at hand is not appreciated,
there is a real danger of self-effort becoming lax.
Gaining knowledge of the Self is harder than emptying
the entire Ocean drop by drop with a leaf of grass! No

See how the Gita talks and Shankara talks about such a
A Seer views his own body like a corpse - if it were
to shrivel and die it would make not one iota of a
difference to him - what then to speak of any near and
dear ones, if he had any. He views the world as
nothing but a play. He is unconcerned, unattached to
anything, dwelling in his own nature - the entire
riches of the Universe to him are worthless. He is
indifferent to the status of his body and its needs.
IN the words of the GitA - he is totally free from
harsha---from elation; amarsha---intolerance;
bhaya---fear; ca udvegaih---and anxiety of any sort.

It is the rarest treasure - to be found only at the
pinnacle of spiritual perfection, and available only
to that rare person who succeeds in the steepest path
to climb.

Even spiritual giants like MadhavAcharya and
RamanujAcharya could not get themselves to accept
Advaita - why?? - because advaita demands nothing
short of a complete surrender of one"self" - total
death, annihilation in toto. I give myself up, and I
gain God. They stopped short, preferring the easier
path of proximity - be near Him, enjoy Him, admire
Him, but "i" want to be there too - "i" cannot die -
not so fast, not so soon, not even for the Lord, my
true Self.

As if this were not enough there is one more paradox
to contend with. Effort is not going to get you this
knowledge either!! It is not a matter of
purusha-tantra but vastu-tantra.

Effort pertains to the self that is notional
Effortlessness pertains to the being, the awareness,
that is Real.

Effort betrays the very veiling of what is effortless
- and yet not "efforting" is in itself a effort that
only veils more.

The reason is the very Ego that makes all these
Efforts is also the Ego that needs to be dissolved so
a vision of the Self, of the Lord be gained. So if i
set out to dissolve this concept of the Ego or my
concepts of the world, God, etc the very i that is
setting to dissolve all this is verily the only i that
needs to be dissolved, it is also the only i that can
get dissolved - everything else - all the neti neti in
the world being part of Ishwara srshti.

So something besides my intellect needs to be involved
in this process. And that something else is Grace -
the Grace of the very Self to which have i the seeker
have a severe longing for, and an undying devotion to.

Self-knowledge is not a matter of repetition - it is
not even a matter of memory. It is not that i have to
keep remembering this fact that "i am brahman" every
single moment of the day. Nor is it a matter of
brainwashed dissociation - "i am not angry - i am
awareness that is illumining the angry mind" - this
kind of conscious thinking or dwelling upon is not
Self-realization. Self-knowledge is also not a matter
of denial, even if be of the non-self. neti neti does
not mean i simply persist in my efforts to deny the
world, or deny my feelings, emotions, - if i go on
denying everything all through my life i will only end
up wasting it away in an ashen sea of nothingness. It
is not about repeatedly proclaiming i am awareness,
nor even is it to arrive at a rationally thought-out
conclusion that i am awareness.

Dissolution of the ego - needs a purified mind and a
focussed intellect - the Ego can only be dissolved in
the fire of knowledge the ocean of devotion - Its
dissolution has to be both total, and irreversible.
in that dissolution alone the Real Self shines forth
on its own accord.

Because my intellect by itself is not adequate in this
task - this is where Shruti comes in, as the only
valid pramAna - it is verily a mirror to mySelf -
since scriptures come in, naturally grammar, logic,
concepts, language, etc all come in to play - So the
various arguments the mind puts forth to reject
self-knowledge are put to rest. At the same time any
comfort zones the mind may slip into in complacency at
a task pre-accomplished are also shaken off.
Constantly is this knowledge stirred into the mind,
every concept churned over and over.

Simply resorting to "who am i?" even in the silent
recesses of your mind, will never be enough. the "i"
asking the question "who am i?" will ever be veiling
the reality of the Self that never has a question to
begin with.

In the Bhagwan's (Ramana) own words -

Ahami naasha bhaajyaham aham tayaa
Sphurathi Hrut Svayam parama poorna sat

When I-thought or Ego is destroyed,
the pure I shines forth on its own
as the Supreme and perfect (full) Existence.

then what??..listen..

Bandha Muktyatheetham param sukham
Vindhathi iha jeevah thu daivikah

The Individual Jeeva (who has acquired the knowledge
of the Self) realizes the Divine Lord who is Supreme,
Blissful and beyond both bondage and liberation here
in this world itself.


Anonymous said...

Wow! Shyam-ji!

This is mindblowing!

Both the image and the text are Super-duper!

Viveka chudamani says

" The ego is the enemy of the Self, and is like a thorn in the throat; take it out with the instrument of discrimination, and enjoy the blissfulness of your own self. " verse 307

Mirror , Mirror on the wall ! Who is the Most egotistical of all ! "

Anonymous said...

Quotrs on the go from the upanishads

In the secret cave of the heart, two are seated by life's fountain.
The separate ego drinks of the sweet and bitter stuff,
Liking the sweet, disliking the bitter,
While the supreme Self drinks sweet and bitter
Neither liking this nor disliking that.
The ego gropes in darkness, while the Self lives in light.

(Katha Up. Part 1, 3:1, p. 88 in The Upanishads. Trans. Eknath Easwaran. Tomales, CA.: Nilgiri Press, 1987)

Like two golden birds perched on the selfsame tree, intimate friends, the ego and the Self dwell in the same body. The former eats the sweet and sour fruits of the tree of life while the latter looks on in detachment. As long as we think we are the ego, we feel attached and fall into sorrow. But realize that you are the Self, the Lord of life, and you will be freed from sorrow. When you realize that you are the Self, supreme source of light, supreme source of love, you transcend the duality of life and enter into the unitive state.

Mundada Up. 3:1-3, p. 115; also compare Shvetashvatara Up. 4:6, p. 225 in The Upanishads. Trans. Eknath Easwaran. Tomales, CA.: Nilgiri Press, 1987


Anonymous said...

Happy Hanuman Jayanthi to all members of this Divine Blog!

Just imagine Hanuman's state of mind. He didn't care for money, honor, creature comforts, or anything else. He longed only for God. When he was running away
with the heavenly weapon that had been secreted in the crystal pillar, Mandodari began to tempt him with various fruits so that he might come down and drop the weapon.
But he could not be tricked so easily. In reply to her persuasions he sang this song:

Am I in need of fruit? I have the Fruit that makes this life Fruitful ineed. Within my heart The Tree of Rama grows, Bearing salvation for its fruit.
Under the Wish-fulfilling Tree Of Rama do I sit at ease, Plucking whatever fruit I will. But if
you speak of fruit -- No beggar, I, for common fruit. Behold, I go, Leaving a bitter fruit for

The story referred to here is told in the Ramayana. Ravana had received a boon as a result of which he could be killed only by a particular celestial weapon. This weapon was concealed in a crystal pillar in his palace. One day Hanuman, in the guise of an
ordinary monkey, came to the palace and broke the pillar.
As he was running away with the weapon, he was tempted with fruit by Mandodari, Ravana's wife, so that he might give back the weapon. He soon assumed his
own form and sang the song.
sri Ramakrishna, the gospel.


yuxing said...