How Am I the Witness? – Atmananda

atmananda-krishna-menon24th December 1950

Every perception, thought or feeling is known by you. You are the knower of the world through the sense organs; of the sense organs through the generic mind; and of the mind – with its activity or passivity – by your self alone.

In all these different activities, you stand out as the one knower. Actions, perceptions, thoughts and feelings all come and go. But knowingness does not part with you, even for a moment. You are therefore always the knower. How then can you ever be the doer or the enjoyer?

After understanding the ‘I’-principle as pure Consciousness and happiness, always use the word ‘I’ or ‘knower’ to denote the goal of your retreat. The ‘I’ always brings subjectivity with it. It is this ultimate, subjective principle ‘I’ – divested of even that subjectivity – that is the goal.

Consciousness and happiness may possibly have a taint of objectivity in their conception, since they always express themselves in the realm of the mind. When one is deeply convinced that one’s self is consciousness and happiness, one finds it as the nameless. Whereupon, even this namelessness seems a limitation. Giving up that as well, one remains as the ‘I’-principle, the ‘Absolute’.

When you try to visualize the Absolute in you, nothing can possibly disturb you, because every thought or perception points to yourself and only helps you to stand established as the Absolute.

To become a Jynyanin [Sage] means to become aware of what you are already. In this connection, it has to be proved that ‘knowing’ is not a function. In all your life, you feel you have not changed; and of all your manifold activities, from your birth onwards, the only activity that has never changed is ‘knowing’. So both these must necessarily be one and the same; and therefore knowingness is your real nature.

Thus, knowing is never an activity in the worldly sense, since this knowing has neither a beginning nor an end. And because it is never separated from you, it is your svarupa (real nature) – just as ‘shining’ is the svarupa of the sun and not its function. Understanding it in this way, and realizing it as one’s svarupa, brings about liberation from all bondage.

When you reach consciousness or happiness, you lose all sense of objectivity or duality and stand identified with the ultimate, subjective ‘I’-principle, or the Absolute. Then the subjectivity also vanishes. When the word ‘pure’ is added on to consciousness, happiness or ‘I’, even the least taint of relativity is removed. There, all opposites are reconciled, all paradoxes stand self-explained; and everything, or nothing, can be said about it.

-Shri Atmananda (Krishna Menon)

From Notes on Spiritual Discourses of Shri Atmananda, taken by Nitya Tripta

This book can be  purchased from Stillness Speaks.

For more posts on Atmananda see the Atmananda Category.

To read more from Atmananda see downloadable books.

Stilling the Mind vs. No-Mind – Osho

There has been a long misunderstanding about these two things: Keeping the mind still and mindlessness. There have been many people who have thought that they are synonymous. They appear to be synonymous, but in reality they are as far apart as two things can be, and there is no way to bridge them.

So first let us try to find the exact meanings of these two words, because the whole of Ta Hui’s sutra this evening is concerned with the understanding of the difference.

The difference is very delicate. A man who is keeping his mind still and a man who has no mind will look exactly alike from the outside, because the man who is keeping his mind still is also silent. Underneath his silence there is great turmoil, but he is not allowing it to surface. He is in great control.

The man with no mind, or mindlessness, has nothing to control. He is just pure silence with nothing repressed, with nothing disciplined — just a pure empty sky.

Surfaces can be very deceptive. One has to be very alert about appearances, because they both look the same from the outside — both are silent. The problem would not have arisen if the still mind was not easy to achieve. It is easy to achieve. Mindlessness is not so easy to achieve; it is not cheap, it is the greatest treasure in the world. Mind can play the game of being silent; it can play the game of being without any thoughts, any emotions, but they are just repressed, fully alive, ready to jump out any moment. The so-called religions and their saints have fallen into the fallacy of stilling the mind. If you go on sitting silently, trying to control your thoughts, not allowing your emotions, not allowing any movement within you, slowly slowly it will become your habit. This is the greatest deception in the world you can give to yourself, because everything is exactly the same, nothing has changed, but it appears as if you have gone through a transformation. The state of no-mind or mindlessness is just the opposite of stilling the mind — it is getting beyond the mind. It is creating such a distance between yourself and the mind that the mind becomes the farthest star, millions of light years away, and you are just a watcher. When the mind is stilled you are the controller. When the mind is not you are the watcher. These are the distinguishing marks.

When you are controlling something you are in tension; you cannot be without tension, because that which is controlled is continuously trying to revolt against you, that which is enslaved wants freedom. Your mind sooner or later will explode with vengeance.

A story I have loved … In a village there was a man of a very angry and aggressive type, so violent that he had killed his wife, for something trivial. The whole village was afraid of the man because he knew no argument except violence.

The day he killed his wife by throwing her into a well, a Jaina monk was passing by. A crowd had gathered, and the Jaina monk said, “This mind full of anger and violence will lead you to hell.”

The situation was such that the man said, “I also want to be as silent as you are, but what can I do? I don’t know anything. When anger grips me I’m almost unconscious, and now I have killed my own beloved wife.”

The Jaina monk said, “The only way to still this mind, which is full of anger and violence and rage, is to renounce the world.” Jainism is a religion of renunciation, and the ultimate renunciation is even of clothes. The Jaina monk lives naked, because he is not allowed to possess even clothes. The man was of a very arrogant type, and this became a challenge to him. Before the crowd he threw his clothes also into the well with the wife. The whole village could not believe it; even the Jaina monk became a little afraid, “Is he mad or something?” The man fell down at his feet and said, “You may have taken many decades to reach the stage of renunciation … I renounce the world, I renounce everything. I am your disciple — initiate me.” His name was Shantinath, and shanti means ‘peace’. It often happens … if you see an ugly woman, most probably her name will be Sunderbhai, which means ‘beautiful woman’. In India people have a strange way … to the blind man they give the name Nayan Sukh. Nayan Sukh means ‘one whose eyes give him great pleasure’. The Jaina monk said, “You have a beautiful name. I will not change it; I will keep it, but from this moment you have to remember that peace has to become your very vibration.” The man disciplined himself, stilled his mind, fasted long, tortured himself, and soon became more famous than his master. Angry people, arrogant people, egoistic people can do things which peaceful people will take a little time to do. He became very famous, and thousands of people used to come just to touch his feet.

After twenty years he was in the capital. A man from his village had come for some purpose, and he thought, “It will be good to go and see what transformation has happened to Shantinath. So many stories are heard — that he has become a totally new man, that his old self is gone and a new, fresh being has arisen in him, that he really has become peace, silence, tranquility.”

So the man went with great respect. But when he saw Muni Shantinath, seeing his face, his eyes, he could not think that there had been any change. There was none of the grace which necessarily radiates from a mind which has become silent. Those eyes were still as egoistic — in fact they had become more pointedly egoistic. The man’s presence was even more ugly than it used to be.

Still, the man went close. Shantinath recognized the man, who had been his neighbor — but now it was beneath his dignity to recognize him. The man also saw that Shantinath had recognized him, but he was pretending that he did not. He thought, “That shows much.” He went close by Shantinath and asked, “Can I ask you a question? What is your name?”

Naturally, great anger arose in Shantinath because he knew that this man knew perfectly well what his name was. But still he kept himself in control, and he said, “My name is Muni Shantinath.”

The man said, “It is a beautiful name — but my memory is very short, can you repeat it again? I have forgotten … what name did you say?” …

This was too much. Muni Shantinath used to carry a staff. He took the staff in his hand he forgot everything — twenty years of controlling the mind — and he said, “Ask again and I will show you who I am. Have you forgotten? — I killed my wife, I am the same man.”

Only then did he recognize what had happened … in a single moment of unconsciousness he realized that twenty years have gone down the drain; he has not changed at all. But millions of people feel great silence in him … Yes, he has become very controlled, he keeps himself repressed, and it has paid off. So much respect and he has no qualification for that respect — so much honor, even kings come to touch his feet.

Your so-called saints are nothing but controlled animals. The mind is nothing but a long heritage of all your animal past. You can control it, but the controlled mind is not the awakened mind.

The process of controlling and repressing and disciplining is taught by all the religions, and because of their fallacious teaching humanity has not moved a single inch — it remains barbarous. Any moment people start killing each other. It does not take a single moment to lose themselves; they forget completely that they are human beings, and something much more, something better is expected of them. There have been very few people who have been able to avoid this deception of controlling mind and believing that they have attained mindlessness.

To attain mindlessness a totally different process in involved: I call it the ultimate alchemy. It consists only of a single element — that of watchfulness.

Gautam Buddha is passing through a town when a fly comes and sits on his forehead. He is talking to his companion, Ananda, and he just goes on talking and moves his hand to throw off the fly. Then suddenly he recognizes that his movement of the hand has been unconscious, mechanical. Because he was talking consciously to Ananda, the hand moved the fly mechanically. He stops and although now there is no fly, he moves his hand again consciously.

Ananda says, “What are you doing? The fly has gone away …”

Gautam Buddha says, “The fly has gone away … but I have committed a sin, because I did it in unconsciousness.”

The English word ‘sin’ is used only by Gautam Buddha in its right meaning. The word ‘sin’ originates in the roots which mean forgetfulness, unawareness, unwatchfulness, doing things mechanically — and our whole life is almost mechanical. We go on doing things from morning to evening, from evening to morning, like robots.

A man who wants to enter into the world of mindlessness has to learn only one thing — a single step and the journey is over. That single step is to do everything watchfully. You move your hand watchfully; you open your eyes watchfully; you walk, you take your steps alert, aware; you eat, you drink, but never allow mechanicalness to take possession over you. This is the only alchemical secret of transformation.

A man who can do everything fully consciously becomes a luminous phenomenon. He is all light, and his whole life is full of fragrance and flowers. The mechanical man lives in dark holes, dirty holes. He does not know the world of light; he is like a blind man. The man of watchfulness is really the man who has eyes.

– Osho

From The Great Zen Master Ta Hui, Chapter 28

An MP3 audio file of this discourse can be downloaded from Osho.com  or you can read the entire book online at the Osho Library.

Many of Osho’s books are available in the U.S. online from Amazon.com and Viha Osho Book Distributors. In India they are available from Amazon.in and Oshoworld.com.

Ramana Maharshi’s Self-Enquiry

This was originally published as The Path of Sri Raman, Chapter 7 by Sri Sadhu Om.

Self-enquiry

On hearing the expression ‘Self-enquiry’ (atma-vichara), people generally take it to mean either enquiring into Self or enquiring about Self. But how to do so? Who is to enquire into Self, or who is to enquire about Self? What does enquiry actually mean? Such questions naturally arise, do they not?

As soon as we hear the terms ‘Atma-Vichara’ or ‘Brahma–vichara’, many of us naturally consider that there is some sort of effulgence or a formless power within our body and that we are going to find out what it is, where it is, and how it is. This idea is not correct. Because, Self (atman) does not exist as an object to be known by us who seek to know it! Since Self shines as the very nature of him who tries to know it! Self-enquiry does not mean enquiring into a second or third person object. It is in order to make us understand this from the very beginning that Bhagavan Ramana named Self-enquiry as ‘Who am I ?’, thus drawing our attention directly to the first person. In this question, ‘Who am I?’, ‘I am’ denotes Self and ‘who’ stands for the enquiry.

Who is it that is to enquire into Self? For whom is this enquiry necessary? Is it for Self? No, Since Self is the ever-attained, ever-pure, ever-free and ever-blissful Whole, It will not do any enquiry, nor does it need to! All right, then it is only the ego that needs to do the enquiry. Can this ego know Self? As said in the previous chapters, this ego is a false appearance, having no existence of its own. It is a petty infinitesimal feeling of ‘I’ which subsides and loses its form in sleep. So, can Self become an object that could be known by the ego? No, the ego cannot know Self! Thus, when it turns out that Self-enquiry is unnecessary for Self and Self-knowledge is impossible for the ego, the questions arise: “What then is the practical method of doing Self-enquiry? Why is this term ‘Self-enquiry’ found in the sastras?” Are we not to scrutinize thus and find out? Let us do so.

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? During the time of enquiry, therefore, what more can the mind do to remain as Self except to repeat mentally, “I am not this body, I am not this prana”? From this, it is clear that ‘enquiry’ is not a process of one thing enquiring about another thing. That is why the enquiry ‘Who am I?’ taught by Sri Bhagavan should be taken to mean Self-attention (that is, attention merely to the first person, the feeling ‘I’).

The nature of the mind is to attend always to things other than itself, that is, to know only second and third persons. If the mind in this way attends to a thing, it means that it is clinging (attaching itself) to that thing. Attention itself is attachment! Since the mind is to think about the body and prana – though with the intention of deciding ‘this is not!, this is not!’ Such attention is only a means of becoming attached to them and it cannot be a means of negating them! This is what is experienced by any true aspirant in his practice. Then what is the secret hidden in this?

Since, whether we know it or not, Self, which is now wrongly considered by us to be unknown, is verily our reality, the very nature of our (the Supreme Self’s) attention itself is Grace (anugraha). This means that whatever thing we attend to, witness*, observe or look at, that thing is nourished and will flourish, being blessed by Grace.

* The practice of witnessing thoughts and events, which is much recommended nowadays by lecturers and writers, was never even in the least recommended by Sri Bhagavan, Indeed, whenever He was asked what should be done when thoughts rise (that is, when attention is diverted towards second or third persons) during sadhana, He always replied in the same manner as He had done to Sri Sivaprakasam Pillai in ‘Who am I?’, where He says, “If other thoughts rise, one should, without attempting to complete them, enquire ‘To whom did they rise?’. What does it matter however many thoughts rise? At the very moment that each thought rises, if one vigilantly enquires ‘To whom did this rise ?’, it will be known ‘To me’. If one then enquires ‘Who am I?’, the mind (our power of attention) will turn back (from the thought) to its source (Self)”. Moreover, when He says later in the same work, “Not attending to what-is-other (that is, to any second or third person) is non-attachment (vairagya) or desirelessness (nirasa)”, we should clearly understand that attending to (witnessing, watching, observing or seeing) anything other than Self is itself attachment, and when we understand thus we will realize how meaningless and impractical are such instructions as ‘Watch all thoughts and events with detachment’ or ‘Witness your thoughts, but be not attached to them’, which are taught by the so-called gurus of the present day.

Though one now thinks that one is an individual soul, since one’s power of attention is in fact nothing but a reflection of the ‘knowing-power’ (chit-sakti) of Self, that on which it falls or is fixed is nourished by Grace and flourishes more and more! Hence, when the power of attention of the mind is directed more and more towards second and third person objects, both the strength (kriya-bala) to attend to those objects and the ignorance – the five sense-knowledges in the form of thoughts about them – will grow more and more, and will never subside! Have we not already said that all our thoughts are nothing but attention paid to second and third person objects? Accordingly, the more we attend to the mind, the thoughts which are the forms (the second and third person objects) of the world, the more they will multiply and be nourished. This is indeed an obstacle. The more our attention – the glance of Grace (anugraha-drishti) – falls on it, the more the mind’s wavering nature and its ascendancy will increase. That is why it is impossible for the mind to negate anything by thinking* ‘I am not this, I am not this’ (neti, neti) – On the other hand, if our (Self’s) attention is directed only towards ourself, our knowledge of our existence alone is nourished, and since the mind is not attended to, it is deprived of its strength, the support of our Grace. “Without use when left to stay, iron and mischief rust away” – in accordance with this Tamil proverb, since they are not attended to, all the vasana-seeds, whose nature is to rise stealthily and mischievously, have to stay quiet, and thus they dry up like seeds deprived of water and become too

*This is why aspirants who, in order to destroy evil thoughts like lust, anger and so on, fight against them and thereby think about them fail in their attempts, while aspirants practising Self-enquiry, who pay their full attention to Self with an indifference towards their thoughts, bypass them easily.

weak to sprout out into thought-plants. Then, when the fire of Self-knowledge (jnana) blazes forth, these tendencies (vasanas), like well-dried firewood, become a prey to it.

This alone is how the total destruction of all tendencies (vasanakshaya) is affected.

If we are told, ‘Abandon the east’, the practical way of doing so would be to do as if told, ‘Go to the west’! In the same manner, when we are told, ‘Discard the five sheaths, which are not Self’, the practical way of discarding the non-Self is to focus our attention on ourself. ‘What is this I?’ or ‘Who am I?’ 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’,

*There is a traditional story of a doctor prescribing a medicine to a patient with the condition that It should be taken only while not thinking of a monkey; but the patient could not take the medicine under this condition, for every time he tried to drink it, the thought of a monkey would surely jump up.

‘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 !

Since this is so, with what purpose did the sastras use the term ‘enquiry’ to denote the method ‘neti, neti’? By means of ‘neti, neti’, can we not formulate intellectually (that is, through paroksha) the test which we have given in paragraph 4 of chapter four of this book, “A thing is surely not ‘I’ if it is possible for one to experience ‘I am’ even in the absence of that thing”? So long as there exists the wrong knowledge ‘I am the body’ pertaining to the aforesaid five sheaths or three bodies, will not one’s paying attention towards the first person automatically be only an attention towards a sheath or a body – a second person ! But if we use this test, can we not find out that all such attentions are not the proper first person attention? Therefore, it is necessary first of all to have an intellectual conviction that these are not ‘I’ in order to practise Self-attention without losing our bearings. It is only the discrimination* by which we acquire this conviction that has been termed ‘enquiry’ by the sastras. What then is an aspirant to do after discriminating thus? How can the attention to these five sheaths, even though with an intention to eliminate them, be an attention to Self”? Therefore, while practising Self-enquiry, instead of taking anyone of the five sheaths as the object of our attention, we should fix our attention only on the ‘I’ -consciousness, which exists and shines as oneself, as the singular, and as a witness to and aloof from these sheaths.

*The discrimination dealt with in chapter four of this book is also with the same aim in view, yet it is not the actual process of enquiry. What is given in the last chapter of this book alone is the actual method of Self-enquiry.

Instead of being directed towards any second or third person, is not our power of attention, which was hitherto called mind or intellect, thus now directed only towards the first person? Although we formally refer to it as ‘directed’, in truth it is not of the nature of a ‘doing’ (kriya-rupam) in the form of directing or being directed; it is of the nature of ‘being’ or ‘existing’ (sat-rupam). Because the second and third persons (including thoughts) are alien or external to us, our attention paid to them was of the nature of a ‘doing’ (kriya). But this very attention, when fixed on the non-alien first person feeling, ‘I’, loses the nature of ‘paying’ and remains in the form of ‘being’, and therefore it is of the nature of non-doing (akriya) or inaction (nishkriya). So long as our power of attention was dwelling upon second and third persons, it was called ‘the mind’ or ‘the intellect’, and its attending was called a doing (kriya) or an action (karma). Only that which is done by the mind is an action. But on the other hand, as soon as the attention is fixed on the first person (or Self), it loses its mean names such as mind, intellect or ego sense. Moreover, that attention is no longer even an action, but inaction (akarma) or the state of ‘being still’ (summa iruttal). Therefore, the mind which attends to Self is no more the mind; it is the consciousness aspect of Self (atma-chit-rupam)! Likewise, so long as it attends to the second and third persons (the world), it is not the consciousness aspect of Self; It is the mind, the reflected form of consciousness (chit-abhasa-rupam)! Hence, since Self-attention is not a doing (kriya), it is not an action (karma). That is, Self alone realizes Self; the ego does not!

The mind which has obtained a burning desire for Self-attention, which is Self-enquiry, is said to be the fully mature one (pakva manas). Since it is not at all now inclined to attend to any second or third parson, it can be said that it has reached the pinnacle of desirelessness (vairagya). For, do not all sorts of desires and attachments pertain only to second and third persons? Since this mind, which has very well understood that (as already seen in earlier chapters) the consciousness which shines as ‘I’ alone is the source of full and real happiness, now seeks Self because of its natural craving for happiness, this intense desire to attend to Self is indeed the highest form of devotion (bhakti). It is exactly this Self-attention of the mind which is thus fully mature through such devotion and desirelessness (bhakti-vairagya) that is to be called the enquiry ‘Who am I ?’ taught by Bhagavan Sri Ramana! Well, will not at least such a mature mind which has come to the path of Sri Ramana, willingly agreeing to engage in Self-attention, realize Self ? No, no, it has started for its doom ! Agreeing to commit suicide, it places its neck (through Self-attention) on the scaffold where it is to be sacrificed !!

How? Only so long as it was attending to second and third persons did it have the name ‘mind’, but as soon as Self-attention is begun, its name and form (its name as mind and its form as thoughts) are lost. So we can no longer say that Self-attention or Self-enquiry is performed by the mind, Neither is it the mind that attends to Self, nor is the natural spontaneous Self-attention of the consciousness aspect of Self (atma-chit-rupam), which is not the mind, an activity !

“A naked lie then it would be

If any man were to say that he

Realized the Self, diving within

Through proper enquiry set in,

Not for knowing but for death

The good-for-nothing ego’s worth!

This Arunachala alone,

The Self, by which the Self is known !”

‘Sri Arunachala Venba’ verse 39

The feeling ‘I am’ is the experience common to one and all. In this, ‘am’ is consciousness or knowledge. This knowledge is not of anything external; it is the knowledge of oneself, This is chit. This consciousness is ‘we’, “We are verily consciousness”, says Sri Bhagavan in ‘Upadesa Undhiyar’ verse 23. This is our ‘being’ (that is, our true existence) or sat. This is called ‘that which is’ (ulladhu). Thus in ‘I am’, ‘I’ is existence (sat) and ‘am’ is consciousness (chit). When Self, our nature of existence-consciousness (satchit swarupam), instead of shining only as the pure consciousness ‘I am’, shines mixed with an adjunct (upadhi) as ‘I am a man, I am Rama, I am so-and-so, I am this or that’, then this mixed consciousness is the ego. This mixed consciousness can rise only by catching hold of a name and form. When we feel ‘I am a man, I am Rama, I am sitting, I am lying’, is it not clear that we have mistaken the body for ‘I’, and that we have assumed its name and postures as ‘I am this and I am thus’? – The feeling ‘this and thus’ which has now risen mixed with the pure consciousness ‘I am’ (satchit) is what is called ‘thought’, this is the first thought.

The feeling ‘I am a man, I am so-and-so’ is only a thought. But the consciousness ‘I am’ is not a thought; it is the very nature of our ‘being’. The mixed consciousness ‘I am this or that’ is a thought that rises from our ‘being’. It is only after the rising of this thought, the mixed consciousness (the first person), that all other thoughts, which are the knowledge of second and third persons, rise into existence.

“Only if the first person exists, will the second and third persons exist..”

‘Ulladhu Narpadhu’ verse 14

This mixed consciousness, the first person, is called our ‘rising’ or the rising of the ego. This is the primal mentation (adi-vritti) ! Hence:

“ Thinking is a mentation (vritti) ; being is not a mentation ! …”

‘Atma Vichara Patikam’, verse 1

The pure existence-consciousness, ‘I am’, is not a thought; this consciousness is our nature (swarupam). ‘I am a man’ is not our pure consciousness; it is only our thought! To understand thus the difference between our ‘being’ and our ‘rising’ (that is, between existence and thought) first of all is essential for aspirants who take to the enquiry ‘Who am I?’

Bhagavan Sri Ramana has advised that Self-enquiry can be done either in the form ‘Who am I?’ or in the form ‘Whence am I?’ Hearing these two interrogative sentences, many aspirants have held various opinions about them up till now and have become confused as to which of them is to be practised and how! Even among those who consider that both are one and the same, many have only a superficial understanding and have not scrutinized deeply how they are the same. Some who try to follow the former one, ‘Who am I?, simply begin either vocally or mentally the parrot-like repetition ‘Who am I ? Who am I?’ as if it were a mantra-japa. This is utterly wrong! Doing japa of ‘Who am I?’ in this manner is just as bad as meditating upon or doing japa of the mahavakyas such as ‘I am Brahman’ and so on, thereby spoiling the very objective for which they were revealed! Sri Bhagavan Himself has repeatedly said, “‘Who am I?’ is not meant for repetition (japa)”! Some others, thinking that they are following the second interrogative form, ‘Whence am I?’ try to concentrate on the right side of the chest (where they imagine something as a spiritual heart), expecting a reply such as ‘I am from here’! This is in no way better than the ancient method of meditating upon anyone of the six yogic centres (shad-chakras) in the body!! For, is not thinking of any place in the body only a second person attention (an objective attention)? Before we start to explain the technique of Self-enquiry, is it not of the utmost importance that all such misconceptions be removed? Let us see, therefore, how they may be removed.

In Sanskrit, the terms ‘atman’ and ‘aham’ both mean ‘I’. Hence, ‘atma-vichara’ means an attention seeking ‘Who is this I?’ It may rather be called ‘I-attention’, ‘Self-attention’ or ‘Self-abidance’. The consciousness ‘I’ thus pointed out here is the first person feeling. But as we have already said, it is to be understood that the consciousness mixed with adjuncts as ‘I am this’ or ‘I am that’ is the ego (ahankara) or the individual soul (jiva), whereas the unalloyed  consciousness devoid of adjuncts and shining alone as ‘I-I’ (or ‘I am that I am’) is Self (atman), the Absolute (brahman) or God (iswara). Does it not amount to saying then that the first person consciousness, ‘I’, can be either the ego or Self? Since all people generally take the ego-feeling (‘I am the body’) to be ‘I’, the ego is also given the name ‘self’ (atman) and is called’ individual self’ (jivatma) by some sastras even now. It is only for this reason that even the attention to the ego, ‘What is it?’ or ‘Who is it?’, is also named by the sastras as ‘Self-enquiry’ (atma-vichara). Is it not clear, however, that Self, the existence-consciousness, neither needs to do any enquiry nor can be subjected to any enquiry? It is just in order to rectify this defect that Bhagavan Ramana named it ‘Who am I?’ rather than using the ancient term ‘Self-enquiry’ (atma-vichara)! The ego, the feeling of ‘I’, generally taken by people to be the first person consciousness, is not the real first person consciousness; Self alone is the real first person consciousness. The egofeeling, which is merely a shadow of it, is a false first person consciousness. When one enquires into this ego, what it is or who it is, it disappears because it is really nonexistent, and the enquirer, having nothing more to do, is established in Self as Self.

Because it rises, springing up from Self, the false first person consciousness mentioned above has to have a place and a time of rising. Therefore, the question ‘Whence am I?’ means only ‘Whence (from where) does the ego rise ?’. A place of rising can only be for the ego. But for Self, since it has no rising or setting, there can be no particular place or time.

“When scrutinized, we – the ever-known existing Thing – alone are; then where is time and where is space? If we are (mistaken to be) the body, we shall be involved in time and space; but, are we the body? Since we are the One, now, then and ever, that One in space, here there and everywhere *, we – the timeless and spaceless Self – alone are !”

‘Ulladhu Narpadhu’, verse 15

*Time and space apparently exist in us (Self), but we are neither in them nor bound by them, The experience of the Jnani is only ‘I am’ and not ‘I am everywhere and in all times’.

– thus says Sri Bhagavan. Therefore, enquiring ‘Whence am I?’ is enquiring ‘Whence is the ego?’. Only to the rising of the ego, which is conditioned by time and space, will the question ‘Whence am I?’ be applicable. The meaning which Sri Bhagavan expects us to understand from the term ‘Whence?’ or ‘From where?’ is ‘From what?’. When taken in this sense, instead of a place or time coming forth as a reply, Self-existence, ‘we’, the Thing (vastu), alone is experienced as the reply. If, on the other hand, we anticipate a place as an answer to the question ‘Whence?’, a place, conditioned by time and space, will be experienced within the body ‘two digits to the right from the centre of the chest’ (as said in ‘Ulladhu Narpadhu Anubandham’ verse 18). Yet this experience is not the ultimate or absolute one (paramarthikam). For, Sri Bhagavan has positively asserted that Heart (hridayam) is verily Self-consciousness, which is timeless, spaceless, formless and nameless.

“He who thinks that Self (or Heart) is within the insentient body, while in fact the body is within Self, is like one who thinks that the screen, which supports the cinema picture, is contained within the picture ‘“

‘Ekatma Panchakam’, verse 3

Finding a place in the body as the rising-point of the ego in reply to the question ‘Whence?’ is not the objective of Sri Bhagavan’s teachings; nor is it the fruit to be gained by Self-enquiry. Sri Bhagavan has declared clearly the objective of His teachings and the fruit to be gained by seeking the rising–place of the ego as follows:

“When sought within ‘What is the place from which it rises as I?’, ‘I’ (the ego) will die ! This is Self-enquiry (jnana-vichara) .”

‘Upadesa Undhiyar’, verse 19

Therefore, the result which is aimed at when seeking the rising-place of the ego is the annihilation of that ego and not an experience of a place in the body. It is only in reply to the immature people who – not able to have even an intellectual understanding (paroksha jnana) about the nature of Self, which shines alone as the one, non-dual thing, unlimited by (indeed, absolutely unconnected with) time and space, unlimited even in the form ‘Brahman is everywhere, Brahman is at all times, Brahman is everything’ (sarvatra brahma, sarvada brahma, sarvam brahma) – always raise the question, “Where is the seat for Self in the body?”,that the sastras and sometimes even Sri Bhagavan had to say: “… two digits to the right (from the centre of the chest) is the heart.”* Hence, this heart–place (hridaya-stanam) Is not the ultimate or absolute Reality, The reader may here refer to ‘Maharshi’s, Gospel’, Book II, chapter IV, ‘The Heart is the Self’ (8th edition, 1969, pages 68 to 72; 9th edition, 1979, pages 72 to 76).

*It is worth noting that the mention of the location of the heart ‘two digits to the right from the centre of the chest’ is not included in ‘Ulladhu Narpadhu’ (the main forty verses), where the original and direct teachings of Sri Bhagavan are given, but only in ‘Ulladhu Narpadhu Anubandham’ (the supplementary forty verses), since this is merely and of the diluted truths which the sastras condescendingly reply in concession to the weakness of immature aspirants. Moreover, these two verses, 18 and 19, are not original compositions of Sri Bhagavan, but only translations from a Malayalam work named ‘Ashtanga Hridayam’, which is not even a spiritual text, but only a medical one. It should also be noted here that these two verses do not at all recommend, nor even mention, the practice of concentrating the attention on this point in the body, two digits to the right from the centre of the chest. Indeed, in no place – neither in His original works, nor in His translations of others’ works, nor even in any of the conversations with Him recorded by devotees – has Sri Bhagavan ever recommended this practice (for meditation upon the right side of the chest or upon any other part of the transient, insentient and alien body is nothing but an attention to a second person, an object other than ‘I’), and when asked about it, He in fact used to condemn it (see ‘Talks with Sri Ramana Maharshi’, number 273).

Thus, attending to oneself in the form ‘Whence am I?’ is enquiring into the ego, the ‘rising I’, But, while enquiring ‘Who am I?’, there are some aspirants who take the feeling ‘I’ to be their ‘being’ (existence) and not their ‘rising’ ! If it is taken thus, that is attention to Self. It is just to understand clearly the difference between these two forms of enquiry that the difference between our ‘rising’ and our ‘being’ has been explained earlier in this chapter, Just as the correct meaning of the term ‘meditation upon Brahman’ (brahmadhyanam) used by the sastras up till now is explained by Sri Bhagavan in the last two lines of the first benedictory verse of ‘Ulladhu Narpadhu’ to be ‘abiding in the Heart as it is’ (that is to say, abiding as Self is the correct way of meditating upon it), so also, the correct meaning of the term ‘Self-enquiry’ (atma-vichara) is here rightly explained to be ‘turning Selfwards’ (or attending to Self).

In either of these two kinds of enquiry (‘Who am I’?’ or ‘Whence am I ?’), since the attention of the aspirant is focused only on himself, nothing other than Self (atman), which is the true import of the word ‘I’, will be finally experienced. Therefore, the ultimate result of both the enquiries, ‘Whence am I ?’ and ‘Who am I ?’, is the same! How? He who seeks ‘Whence am I?’ is following the ego, the form of which is ‘I am so-and-so’, and while doing so, the adjunct ‘so-and-so, having no real existence, dies on the way, and thus he remains established in Self, the surviving ‘I am’. On the other hand, he who seeks ‘Who am I ? drowns effortlessly in his real natural ‘being’ (Self), which ever shines as ‘I am that I am’, Therefore, whether done in the form ‘Whence am I?’ or ‘Who am I ?’, what is absolutely essential is that Self-attention should be pursued till the very end. Moreover, it is not necessary for sincere aspirants even to name before-hand the feeling ‘I’ either as ego or as Self, For, are there two persons in the aspirant, the ego and Self? This is said because, since everyone of us has the experience ‘I am one only and not two’. we should not give room to an imaginary dual feeling – one ‘I’ seeking for another ‘I’ – by differentiating ego and Self as ‘lower self’ and higher-self’

“ … Are there two selves, one to be an object known by the other? For, the true experience of all is ‘I am one’ !”

‘Ulladhu Narpadhu’, verse 33

– asks Sri Bhagavan.

Thus it is sufficient if we cling to the feeling ‘I’ uninterruptedly till the very end. Such attention to the feeling ‘I’, the common daily experience of everyone, is what is meant by Self-attention. For those who accept as their basic knowledge the ‘I am the body’ – consciousness (jiva Bhava), being unable to doubt its (the ego’s) existence, it is suitable to take to Self-attention (that is, to do Self-enquiry) in the form ‘Whence am I?’, On the other hand, for those who instead of assuming that they have an individuality (jiva bhava) such as ‘I am so-and-so’ or ‘I am this’, attend thus, ‘What is this feeling which shines as I am?’, it is suitable to be fixed in Self-attention in the form ‘Who am I ?’ What is important to be sure of during practice (sadhana) is that our attention is turned only towards ‘I’, the first person singular feeling.

– Sri Sadhu Om

The Path of Sri Raman, Chapter 7

For more posts on Ramana Maharshi see:   https://o-meditation.com/category/ramana-maharshi/

To read more from Ramana Maharshi see:   https://o-meditation.com/jai-guru-deva/some-good-books/downloadable-books/ramana-maharshi/

O-theism

O-theism is Religion-less Religious-ness.

It is the No Religion of Whole religion.

O-theism is the understanding that there is no God separate from existence. It is the understanding that God is the Beingness which is experienced when one is at-one knowingly with the whole of existence.

It is the understanding that this Beingness is the potential of all human beings and that it is the identification with a fictitious entity (ego) which prevents the realization of this potential.

O-theism is the understanding that there have been many masters who have attained that Beingness and have expressed that experience in the language and culture in which they lived. Their experience is One but their expressions are many.

It is the perennial philosophy. It is the Heart of the teachings of all the Awakened Masters including Krishna, Lao Tzu, Mahavir, Mohammed, Zarathustra, Guru Nanak, Buddha and Christ.

O-theism is the religion-less of the Sufis, Tao, Advaita, Tantra, Yoga and Zen.

It is the religious-ness of Ramakrishna, Ramana Maharshi, Meher Baba, Krishnamurti and Osho.

O-theism is the religion of Enlightenment.

It is the ground in which Theism, Atheism and Deism dissolve.

O-theism is the end of theism. It is All-theism and No-theism, hence O-theism.

Prayer by Shankarcharya – Vimala Thakar

Translation & Commentary by Vimala Thakar

Pratah smarami hridi samsphura ta twam
Satchitsukham paramahansa gatim turiyam
Yat swapna jagara sushupta mavaiti nityam
Tad brahma nishkalamaham na cha bhuta sanghaha.

In the morning as I meet the dawn, I remember that my heart contains the God, the Beloved, who has not yet been defined and described. I remember that it is He who vibrates within my heart, enables me to breathe, to talk, to listen, to move. When I am thus aware, that it is He who lives and moves within me, then the three phases of consciousness, jagrat, swapna, sushupti : wakefulness, dreaming, and profound sleep, they are transcended into turiya, the fourth dimension, which is behind the wakefulness, the dream-consciousness, and the sleep-consciousness.

When I thus remember, that the underlying current behind the wakefulness, the dream, and the sleep-consciousness is He, who lives and moves within me, then that awareness gives me sat chit sukham, the flavor of the truth, the reality, and the bliss that is the nature, the basic primary nature of life.

Sat chit sukham. When I am always thus aware of the real nature of life, then I arrive at paramahansagatim turiyam. I arrive at a state of being that has been called by the ancient wise Indians “Paramahansa”, a swan that swims through the waters of duality. That is how a sanyasi is called a paramahansa, one who lives in the renunciation of that austere awareness that it is not he who lives, as separate from the universe, but that he is only an expression of the universal.

The state of paramahansa is the state where a person is aware that he is not a conglomeration of sense organs and only the five elements, but he is the nishkala Brahman, the supreme Brahman, the divinity, who has taken the dense form of a mind and a physical body.

Pratara bhajami manaso vachasam agamyam
Vacho vibhanti nikhila yadanugrahena
Ya neti neti vachanaih nirgama avochu
Tamdeva devam ajam achyutam ahuragryam

But my mind, when I am awake, needs some work to do. It cannot remain without movement. So I give it a job. “Pratara bhajami manaso” – by the mind – “vachasam agamyam” – by the mind I move. On the frontiers of the mind I give the mind a job to explore that which lies beyond its own frontiers, that which is not accessible to the word, to the speech, as well as to the mind.

My mind asks me, “How shall I do it?” And I ask the mind to travel back, through the word, to the source of the word, the sound, and find out how the sound is born. I ask my mind to travel with the breath, to go inside: with the breath to travel. That is the only way you can find out how the sound is born, because breath and sound are woven together.

All speech and all sound is a blessing of that unspoken, unstruck sound. And unless one discovers the source from which all sound is born, one shall never set oneself free from the power of the word, that intoxicates and distorts the mind; that intoxicates the mind and sweeps it off its balance.

All the Upanishads and the Vedas have been searching for that source of sound. That source of breath. They arrived only at two words: na iti, na iti: it is “not this”, it is “not this.” So even the Vedas arrive at the point where nothing can describe and define. The source can only be experienced, the source can only be perceived and understood, but never defined and described. That is how the mind becomes silent. Not because I ask it, but while it is searching for the source of its own activity it takes a dive deep into silence, where the mind becomes the no-mind, where the knowing becomes the not-knowing.

Then I understand that silence is the only speech through which life speaks, and I feel blessed when I am in that silence.

Pratarnamami tamasah param arkavarnam
Purnam sanatana padam purushottamakhyam
Yasminnidam jagadashesham ashesamurtau
Rajjuam bhujangama iva pratibhatitam vai.

But then comes the body. It wants to do something. To worship, to admire, to adore. So I give it a job. I ask my body to bow down before the light of the earth, the sun, who dispels darkness from all the corners of the earth. And I ask my body to expose itself to that darkness dispelling sun – ask it to find out how that sun enters into the body through the doors of the eyes, and through the pores of all the veins and nerves, every pore of my being. I want my body to find out which are the avenues through which the light is received.

And when the body says, “It is the eyes through which the light enters,” I say, “Find out how the eyes can see the light. Is the light outside the eyes, or is it inside?” With the help of the mind, the body travels inward, to find out the source of the light.

And it discovers that it is not a blind person who can receive the light from outside. He who has an eye can receive the light. So that which receives the light is greater than the light seen from outside.

So I arrive at the source of light within me. And the awareness of that light dispels the illusion – the illusion and the fear that a man experiences when he sees “rajo bhujangama” : when he sees a rope in the darkness and he mistakes that for a snake, a cobra. I had mistaken the rope of duality for the snake and cobra of misery and sorrow. But the light dispels the darkness and I see that the duality is only a rope that cannot bind me in any way unless I bind myself with it.

That light is the purushottam, that is sanatana – eternal. Purnam – that is perfect. The perfect eternity. The God divine. That is really my nature. I had mistaken the tensions of duality to be me, but then the light dispels all the darkness, and I get rooted back into the ajam, the aychutam – that which can never be swept off its feet. Ajam – that which was never born, and can never die. I am that.

This is the prayer composed by Shankaracharya, the majestic exponent of the philosophy of non-dualism, vedanta or advait. This was sung by Vivekananda very often, and it is really on this prayer that Vivekananda’s “Song of Sanyasin” is based, where he sings, in great ecstasy:

They know not truth who dream such vacant dreams
As father, mother, children wife and friend –
The sexless Self, whose father, whose mother is he?
The self is All in All,
None else exists, and thou art that,
Sanyasin bold, say ‘Om Tat Sat Om’.

Where seekest thou that freedom?
This world nor that can give you.
Thine only is the hand,
That holds the rope that drags thee on.
Then cease lament, let go thy hold!
Sanyasin bold! Say ‘Om Tat Sat Om!’

-Vimala Thakar
Hunger Mountain, MA, October, 1972

Here is a link to an audio recording of Vimalaji chanting part of the above prayer.   Prayer by Shankarcharya – Vimala Thakar

For more posts on Vimala Thakar look here.

To read more of Vimala Thakar see:  https://o-meditation.com/jai-guru-deva/some-good-books/downloadable-books/vimala-thakar/

Jesus and the Way – Franklin Merrell-Wolff

No man cometh unto the Father but by Me”. Thus spake Jesus. But many heard, though few understood, and so they sought the Father through belief in a man who dwelt for a short time upon this earth. But no man is “I” since man is an object while I AM always the subject. Hence to translate the above quotation as meaning, “no man cometh unto the Father but by Jesus,” is completely to change the meaning. The Father is Divinity, God, Brahman, the ultimate Transcendent Reality. Now this Reality is Consciousness wherein subject and object are no longer divided but together form a united Sea of Consciousness. The general tendency of mankind is to seek God as an object, that is, God is worshiped as an object which stands as other than the worshiper. What Jesus meant is that success cannot be attained by this road. It is only through the “I” that the Father can be reached.

While both the subjective and objective factors are blended in Absolute Consciousness, yet the quality is carried in the subjective moment. There is but one “I” or subject. Again, this is the most immediate and intimate of all facts. Hence, only through the “I” is identity realized. Approached in any other way, God is ever something other than the seeker and, therefore, is at a distance. To come to the Father is to be one with the Father, and this can be achieved only through the pure Subject or the SELF.

With the more current interpretation of the above quotation there is a distinct clash between the teaching of Jesus and that of the other leading spiritual Lights of the world. But with the interpretation here offered nearly, if not quite, complete reconciliation is afforded, not alone with the teachings of the other great Founders of religion, but also with the spontaneous sayings of nearly all spiritually illumined souls. It fits perfectly with the “I AM that I AM” of the Old Testament. It is identical in meaning with the central doctrine of Buddhism and Brahmanism, where we find the clearest and most complete formulation of all. The “Christ” of St. Paul is a mystic Christ and not a distinct person. It is a level of Consciousness of which Jesus Christ was the symbol for him. This level of Consciousness is identical with that from which Jesus spoke. This agreement can further be noted by reading the works of a number of God-Realized Men, such as Jacob Boehme, Spinoza, Whitman, Hegel, Rama Tirtha, and Inayat Khan. It is unnecessary to elaborate further here.

-Franklin Merrell-Wolff

from Philosophy of Consciousness Without an Object, Chapter 7. – State University of New York Press

Seeing It Simply – Wei Wu Wei

It is surely axiomatic that a phenomenon (an appearance, an object) cannot perform any action whatever on its own initiative, as an independent entity. In China this was illustrated by Chuang Tzu in his story of the sow who died while suckling her piglets: the little pigs just left her because their mother was no longer there. In Europe, even at that early date, the same understanding is expressed by the word animus which ‘animates’ the phenomenal aspect of sentient beings, and this forms the basis of most religious beliefs. But whereas in the West the ‘animus’ was regarded as personal to each phenomenal object, being the sentience of it, in the East the ‘animus’ was called ‘heart’ or ‘mind’ or ‘consciousness’, and in Buddhism and Vedanta was regarded as impersonal and universal, ‘Buddha-mind’, ‘Prajna’, ‘Atman’, etc.

When this impersonal ‘mind’ comes into manifestation by objectifying itself as subject and object, it becomes identified with each sentient object, and the concept of ‘I’ thereby arises in human beings, whereby the phenomenal world as we know it and live it, appears to be what we call ‘real’. That, incidentally, is the only ‘reality’ (thing-ness) we can ever know, and to use the term ‘real’ (a thing) for what is not such, for the purely subjective, is an abuse of language.

In this process of personalising ‘mind’ and thinking of it as ‘I’, we thereby make it, which is subject, into an object, whereas ‘I’ in fact can never be such, for there is nothing objective in ‘I’, which is essentially a direct expression of subjectivity. This objectivising of pure subjectivity, calling it ‘me’ or calling it ‘mind’, is precisely what constitutes ‘bondage’. It is this concept, called the I-concept or ego or self, which is the supposed bondage from which we all suffer and from which we seek ‘liberation’.

It should be evident, as the Buddha and a hundred other Awakened sages have sought to enable us to understand, that what we are is this ‘animating’ mind as such, which is noumenon, and not the phenomenal object to which it gives sentience. This does not mean, however, that the phenomenal object has no kind of existence whatever, but that its existence is merely apparent, which is the meaning of the term ‘phenomenon’; that is to say, that it is only an appearance in consciousness, an objectivisation, without any nature of its own, being entirely dependent on the mind that objectivises it, which mind is only nature, very much as is the case of any dreamed creature, as the Buddha in the Diamond Sutra, and many others after him have so patiently explained to us.

This impersonal, universal mind or consciousness, is our true nature, our only nature, all, absolutely all, that we are, and is completely devoid of I-ness.

This is easy enough to understand, and it would be simple indeed if it were the ultimate truth, but it is not, for the obvious reason that no such thing as an objective ‘mind’ could exist, any more than an ‘I’ or any other object, as a thing-in-itself. What it is, however, is totally devoid of any objective quality, and so cannot be visualised, conceptualised, or in any way referred to, for any such process would automatically render it an object of subject – which by definition it can never be. This is because the mind in question is the unmanifested source of manifestation, the process of which is its division into subject and object; and antecedent to such division there can be no subject to perceive an object, and no object to be perceived by a subject. Indeed, and as revealed by such sages as Padma Sambhava, that which is seeking to conceive and to name this unmanifested source of manifestation is precisely this ‘whole mind’ which is the ‘animating’ or ‘prajnaic’ functioning which itself is the seeking, so that the sought is the seeker thereof. Profoundly to understand this is Awakening to what is called ‘enlightenment’.

This reasoned visualisation, therefore, like all doctrine, is merely conceptual, devoid of factuality, a structure of theoretical imagination, a symbolic diagram devised in order to enable us to understand something immediate that can never become knowledge. Yet that ultimate ‘something’, which is no ‘thing’, is nevertheless what the universe is, and is all that we are.

The psychological ‘I-concept’ has no nature of its own, is no ‘thing’, and could not possibly create genuine ‘bondage’. There cannot be any such thing as bondage at all, but only the idea of such. There is no liberation, for there is no thing from which to be freed. If the whole conceptual structure is seen as what it is, it must necessarily collapse, and the bondage-enlightenment nonsense with it. That is called Awakening, awakening to the natural state which is that of every sentient being. Sri Ramana Maharshi taught just that when he said that ‘enlightenment’ is only being rid of the notion that one is not ‘enlightened’, and Maharshi might have been quoting the T’ang dynasty Chinese sage Hui Hai, known as the Great Pearl, when he stated that Liberation is liberation from the notion of ‘liberation’. He might also have been quoting Huang Po (d.850), of whom he is unlikely ever to have heard, when they both used the same words, full of humour, to someone asking about ‘his’ mind: each sage asked in reply,’How many minds have you?’

How many minds had they, those two young men? Why, none at all. Not only not two, but not one. Nor were they themselves a ‘mind’, for there could not be such a thing as a ‘mind’ for them to be. Neither ‘they’ nor ‘mind’ ever had, or ever could have, any objective being whatever, for never has any kind of objective being been, nor will such ever be. All that, and every ‘that’ which ever was thought up – and ‘that’ is the most purely objective of pronouns – is the essence of the gigantic phantasmagoria of objectivity, which we spend our lives building up, and in which we search desperately for some ‘truth’ which could not possibly be there. The whole vast construction is a phantasy, a dream, as the Buddha (or whoever wrote it in his name) told us in the Diamond Sutra, and the truth which a dream represents, or misrepresents, of which it is a reflection or a deflection, is the dreaming source of it which is all that it is. That source can never have a name, because a name denotes a phenomenon – and there is no phenomenal dreamer, but a functioning that is called dreaming. Sri Bhagavan called it ‘I-I’: if it must be called anything, no nominal form could ever come nearer, or be less misleading as an indication, than his term.

All objectivisation is conceptual, all conceptuality is inference, and all inference is as empty of truth as a vacuum is empty of air. Moreover there is no truth, never has been and never could be; there is no thusness, suchness, is-ness, nor anything positive or negative whatever. There is just absolute absence of the cognisable, which is absolute presence of the unthinkable and the unknowable – which neither is nor is not. Inferentially this is said to be an immense and radiant splendour untrammelled by notions of time and space, and utterly beyond the dim, reflected sentience of temporal and finite imagination.

– Wei Wu Wei

Originally published in The Mountain Path, July 1964.

This article was first seen on:   http://www.weiwuwei.8k.com/osliii.html