Just Remain Like the Sky – Annamalai Swami

Question: What is the easiest way to be free of the ‘little self’?

Annamalai Swami: Stop identifying with it. If you can convince yourself “This ‘little self’ is not me”, it will just disappear.

Question: But how to do this?

Annamalai Swami: The ‘little self’ is something which only appears to be real. If you understand that it has no real existence it will disappear, leaving behind it the experience of the real and only Self. Understand that it has no real existence and it will stop troubling you.

Consciousness is universal. There is no limitation or ‘little self’ in it. It is only when we identify with and limit ourselves to the body and the mind that this false self is born. If, through enquiry, you go to the source of this ‘little self’, you find that it dissolves into nothingness.

Question: But I am very accustomed to feel “I am this ‘little self’”. I cannot break this habit merely by thinking “I am not this ‘little self’”.

Annamalai Swami: This ‘little self’ will only give way to the real Self if you meditate constantly. You cannot wish it away with a few stray thoughts. Try to remember the analogy of the rope which looks like a snake in the twilight. If you see the rope as a snake, the real nature of the rope is hidden from you. If you only see the rope, the snake is not there. When you have that clear and correct perception that the snake never at any time existed, the question of how to kill the snake disappears. Apply this analogy to the ‘little self’ that you are worrying about. If you can understand that this ‘little self’ never at any time had any existence outside your imagination, you will not be concerned about ways and means of getting rid of it.

Question: It all is very well but I feel that I need some help. I am not sure that I can generate this understanding by myself.

Annamalai Swami: The desire for assistance is part of your problem. Don’t make the mistake of imagining that there is some goal to be reached or attained. If you think like this you will start looking for methods to practise and people to help you. This just perpetuates the problem you are trying to end. Instead, cultivate the strong awareness, “I am the Self. I am That. I am Brahman [impersonal absolute reality]. I am everything”. You don’t need any methods to get rid of the wrong ideas you have about yourself. All you have to do is stop believing them. The best way to do this is to replace them with ideas which more accurately reflect the real state of affairs. If you think and meditate “I am the Self”, it will do you a lot of more good than thinking, “I am the ‘little self’. How can I get rid of this ‘little self’”?

The Self is always attained, it is always realised; it is not something that you have to seek, reach or discover. Your vasanas [mental habits and tendencies] and all the wrong ideas you have about yourself are blocking and hiding the experience of the real Self. If you don’t identify with the wrong ideas, your Self-nature will not be hidden from you.

You said that you needed help. If you desire to gain a proper understanding of your real nature is intense enough, help will automatically come. If you want to generate an awareness of your real nature you will be immeasurably helped by having contact with a jnani [realised being]. The power and grace which a jnani radiates quiet the mind and automatically eliminate the wrong ideas you have about yourself. You can make progress by having satsang [association] of a realised Guru and by constant spiritual practice. The Guru cannot do everything for you. If you want to give up the limiting habits of many lifetimes, you must practise constantly.

Most people take the appearance of the snake in the rope to be reality. Acting on their misperceptions they think up many different ways of killing the snake. They can never succeed in getting rid of the snake until they give up the idea that there is a snake there at all. People who want to kill or control the mind have the same problem: they imagine that there is a mind which needs to be controlled and take drastic steps to beat it into submission. If, instead, they generated the understanding that there is no such thing as the mind, all their problems would come to an end. You must generate the conviction, “I am the all-pervasive consciousness in which all bodies and minds in the world are appearing and disappearing. I am that consciousness which remains unchanged and unaffected by these appearances and disappearances”. Stabilise yourself in that conviction. That is all you need to do.

Bhagavan [Ramana Maharshi] once told a story about a man who wanted to bury his own shadow in a deep pit. He dug the pit and stood in such a position that his shadow was on the bottom of it. The man then tried to bury it by covering it with earth. Each time he threw some soil in the hole the shadow appeared on top of it. Of course, he never succeeded in burying the shadow. Many people behave like this when they meditate. They take the mind to be real, try to fight it and kill it, and always fail. These fights against the mind are all mental activities which strengthen the mind instead of weakening it. If you want to get rid of the mind, all you have to do is understand that it is ‘not me’. Cultivate the awareness “I am the immanent consciousness”. When that understanding becomes firm, the non-existent mind will not trouble you.

Question: I don’t think that repeating “I am not the mind, I am consciousness” will ever convince me that I am not the mind. It will just be another thought going on within the mind. If I could experience, even for a moment, what it is like to be without the mind, the conviction would automatically come. I think that one second of experiencing consciousness as it really is would be more convincing that several years of mental repetitions.

Annamalai Swami: Every time you go to sleep you have the experience of being without a mind. You cannot deny that you exist while you are asleep and you cannot deny that your mind is not functioning while you are in dreamless sleep. This daily experience should convince you that it is possible to continue your existence without a mind. Of course, you do not have the full experience of consciousness while you are asleep, but if you think about what happens during this state you should come to understand that your existence, the continuity of your being, is in no way dependent on your mind or your identification with it. When the mind reappears every morning you instantly jump to the conclusion “This is the real me”. If you reflect on this proposition for some time you will see how absurd it is. If what you really are only exists when the mind is present, you have to accept that you didn’t exist while you were asleep. No one will accept such an absurd conclusion. If you analyse your alternating states you will discover that it is your direct experience that you exist whether you are awake or asleep. You will also discover that the mind only becomes active while you are waking or dreaming. From these simple daily experiences it should be easy to understand that the mind is something that comes and goes. Your existence is not wiped out each time the mind ceases to function. I am not telling you some philosophical theory; I am telling you something that you can validate by direct experience in any twenty-four hour period of your life.

Take these facts, which you can discover by directly experiencing them, and investigate them a little more. When the mind appears every morning don’t jump to the usual conclusion, “This is me; these thoughts are mine.” Instead, watch these thoughts come and go without identifying with them in any way. If you can resist the impulse to claim each and every thought as your own, you will come to a startling conclusion: you will discover that you are the consciousness in which the thoughts appear and disappear. You are allowed to run free. Like the snake which appears in the rope, you will discover that the mind is only an illusion which appears through ignorance or misperception.

You want some experience which will convince you that what I am saying is true. You can have that experience if you give up your life-long habit of inventing an ‘I’ which claims all thoughts as ‘mine’. Be conscious of yourself as consciousness alone, watch all the thoughts come and go. Come to the conclusion, by direct experience, that you are really consciousness itself, not its ephemeral contents.

Clouds come and go in the sky but the appearance and disappearance of the clouds doesn’t affect the sky. Your real nature is like the sky, like space. Just remain like the sky and let thought-clouds come and go. If you cultivate this attitude of indifference towards the mind, gradually you will cease to identify yourself with it.

Question: When I began to do sadhana [spiritual practice] everything went smoothly at first. There was a lot of peace and happiness and jnana [true knowledge] seemed very near. But nowadays there is hardly any peace, just mental obstacles and hindrances.

Annamalai Swami: Whenever obstacles come on the path, think of them as not me’. Cultivate the attitude that the real you is beyond the reach of all troubles and obstacles. There are no obstacles for the Self. If you can remember that you always are the Self, obstacles will be of no importance.

One of the alvars [a group of Vaishnavite saints] once remarked that if one is not doing any spiritual practice one is not aware of any mind problems. He said that it is only when one starts to do meditation that one becomes aware of the different ways that the mind causes us trouble. This is very true. But one should not worry about any of the obstacles or fear them. One should merely regard them as being not me. They can only cause you trouble while you think that they are your problems.

The obstructing vasanas may look like a large mountain which obstructs your progress. Don’t be intimidated by the size. It is not a mountain of rock, it is a mountain of camphor. If you light one corner of it with the flame of discriminative attention, it will all burn to nothing.

Stand back from the mountain of problems, refuse to acknowledge that they are yours, and they will dissolve and disappear before your eyes.

Don’t be deluded by your thoughts and vasanas. They are always trying to trick you into believing that you are a real person, that the world is real, and that all your problems are real. Don’t fight them; just ignore them. Don’t accept delivery of all the wrong ideas that keep coming to you. Establish yourself in the conviction that you are the Self and that nothing can stick to you or affect you. Once you have that conviction you will find that you automatically ignore the habits of the mind. When the rejection of mental activities becomes continuous and automatic, you will begin to have the experience of the Self.

If you see two strangers quarrelling in the distance you do not give much attention to them because you know that the dispute is none of your business. Treat the contents of your mind in the same way. Instead of filling your mind with thoughts and then organising fights between them, pay no attention to the mind at all. Rest quietly in the feeling of “I am”, which is consciousness, and cultivate the attitude that all thoughts, all perceptions are ‘not me’. When you have learned to regard your mind as a distant stranger, you will not pay any attention to all the obstacles it keeps inventing for you.

Mental problems feed on the attention that you give them. The more you worry about them, the stronger they become. If you ignore them, they lose their power and finally vanish.

Question: I am always thinking and believing that there is only the Self but somehow there is still a feeling that I want or need something more.

Annamalai Swami: Who is it that wants? If you can find the answer to that question there will be no one to want anything.

Question: Children are born without egos. As they begin to grow up, how do their egos arise and cover the Self?

Annamalai Swami: As young children may appear to have no egos but its ego and all the latent vasanas that go with it are there in seed form. As the child’s body grows bigger , the ego also grows bigger. The ego is produced by the power of maya [illusion], which is one of the shaktis [powers] of the Self.

Question: How does maya operate? How does it originate? Since nothing exists except the Self, how does the Self manage to conceal its own nature from itself?

Annamalai Swami: The Self, which is infinite power and the source of all power, is indivisible. Yet within this indivisible Self there are five shaktis or powers, with varying functions, which operate simultaneously. The five shaktis are creation, preservation, destruction, veiling [maya shakti] and grace. The fifth shakti, grace, counteracts and removes the fourth shakti, which is maya.

When maya is totally inactive, that is, when the identity with the body and the mind has been dropped, there is an awareness of consciousness, of being. When one is established in that state there is no body, no mind and no world. These three things are just ideas which are brought into an apparent existence when maya is present and active.

When maya is active, the sole effective way to dissolve it is the path shown by Bhagavan: one must do self-enquiry and discriminate between what is real and what is unreal. It is the power of maya which makes us believe in the reality of things which have no reality outside our imagination. If you ask, “What are these imaginary things?” the answer is, “Everything that is not the formless Self”. The Self alone is real; everything else is a figment of our imagination.

It is not helpful to enquire why there is maya and how it operates. If you are in a boat which is leaking, you don’t waste time asking whether the hole was made by an Italian, a Frenchman or an Indian. You just plug the leak. Don’t worry about where maya comes from. Put all your energy into escaping from its effect. If you try to investigate the origin of maya with your mind you are doomed to fail because any answer you come up with will be a maya answer. If you want to understand how maya operates and originates you should establish yourself in the Self, the one place where you can be free of it, and then watch how it takes you over each time you fail to keep your attention there.

Question: You say that maya is one of the shaktis. What exactly do you mean by shakti?

Annamalai Swami: Shakti is energy or power. It is a name for the dynamic aspect of the Self. Shakti and shanti [peace] are two aspects of the same consciousness. If you want to separate them at all, you can say that shanti is the unmanifest aspect of the Self while shakti is the manifest. But really they are not separate. A flame has two properties: light and heat. The two cannot be separate.

Shanti and shakti are like the sea and its waves. Shanti, the unmanifest aspect, is the vast unmoving body of water. The waves that appear and move on the surface are shakti. Shanti is motionless, vast and all-encompassing, whereas waves are active.

Bhagavan used to say that after realisation the jivanmukta [liberated one] experiences shanti within and is established permanently in that shanti. In that state of realisation he sees that all activities are caused by shakti. After realisation one is aware that there is no individual people doing anything. Instead there is an awareness that all activities are the shakti of the one Self. The jnani, who is fully established in the shanti, is always aware that shakti is not separate from him. In that awareness everything is his Self and all actions are his. Alternatively, it is equally correct to say that he never does anything. This is one of the paradoxes of the Self.

The universe is controlled by the one shakti, sometimes called Parameswara shakti [the power of the Supreme Lord]. This moves and orders all things. Natural laws, such as the laws that keep the planets in their orbits, are all manifestations of this shakti.

Question: You say that everything is the Self, even maya. If this is so, why can’t I see the Self clearly? Why is it hidden from me?

Annamalai Swami: Because you are looking in the wrong direction. You have the idea that the Self is something that you see or experience. This is not so. The Self is the awareness or the consciousness in which the seeing and the experiencing take place.

Even if you don’t see the Self, the Self is still there. Bhagavan sometimes remarked humorously: “People just open a newspaper and glance through it. Then they say, “I have seen the paper”. But really they haven’t seen the paper, they have only seen the letters and pictures that are on it. There can be no words or pictures without the paper, but people always forget the paper while they are reading the words.”

Bhagavan would then use this analogy to show that while people see the names and forms that appear on the screen of consciousness, they ignore the screen itself. With this kind of partial vision it is easy to come to the conclusion that all forms are unconnected with each other and separate from the person who sees them. If people were to be aware of the consciousness instead of the forms that appear in it, they would realise that all forms are just appearances which manifest within the one indivisible consciousness.

That consciousness is the Self that you are looking for. You can be that consciousness but you can never see it because it is not something that is separate from you.

Question: You talk a lot about vasanas. Could you please tell me exactly what they are and how they function?

Annamalai Swami: Vasanas are habits of the mind. They are the mistaken identifications and the repeated thought patterns that occur again and again. It is the vasanas which cover up the experience of the Self. Vasanas arise, catch your attention, and pull you outwards towards the world rather than inwards towards the Self. This happens so often and so continuously that the mind never gets a chance to rest or to understand its real nature.

Cocks like to claw the ground. It is a perpetual habit with them. Even if they are standing on bare rock they still try to scratch the ground.

Vasanas function in much the same the way. They are habits and patterns of thought that appear again and again even if they are not wanted. Most of our ideas and thoughts are incorrect. When they rise habitually as vasanas they brainwash us into thinking that they are true. The fundamental vasanas such as “I am the body” or “I am the mind” have appeared in us so many times that we automatically accept that they are true. Even our desire to transcend our vasanas is a vasana. When we think “I must meditate” or “I must make an effort” we are just organising a fight between two different vasanas. You can only escape the habits of the mind by abiding in consciousness as consciousness. Be who you are. Just be still. Ignore all the vasanas that rise in the mind and instead fix your attention in the Self.

Question: Bhagavan often told devotees to “Be still”. Did he mean “Be mentally still”?

Annamalai Swami: Bhagavan’s famous instruction “summu iru” [be still] is often misunderstood. It does not mean that you should be physically still; it means that you should always abide in the Self. If there is too much physical stillness, tamoguna [a state of mental torpor] arises and predominates. In that state you will feel very sleepy and mentally dull. Rajoguna [a state of excessive mental activity], on the other hand, produces emotions and a mind which is restless. In sattva guna [a state of mental quietness and clarity] there is stillness and harmony. If mental activity is necessary while one is in sattva guna it takes place. But for the rest of the time there is stillness. When tamoguna and rajoguna predominate, the Self cannot be felt. If sattva guna predominates one experiences peace, bliss, clarity and an absence of wandering thoughts. That is the stillness that Bhagavan was prescribing.

Question: Bhagavan, in Talks with Ramana Maharshi, speaks of bhoga vasanas [vasanas which are for enjoyment] and bandha vasanas [vasanas which produce bondage]. He says that for the jnani there are bhoga vasanas but no bandha vasanas. Would Swamiji please clarify the difference.

Annamalai Swami: Nothing can cause bondage for the jnani because his mind is dead. In the absence of a mind he knows himself only as consciousness. Because the mind is dead, he is no longer able to identify himself with the body. But even though he knows that he is not the body, it is a fact that the body is still alive. That body will continue to live, and the jnani will continue to be aware of it, until its own karma [destined action] is exhausted. Because the jnani is still aware of the body, he will also be aware of the thoughts and vasanas that arise in that body. None of these vasanas has the power to cause bondage for him because he never identifies with them, but they do have the power to make the body behave in certain ways. The body of the jnani enjoys and experiences these vasanas although the jnani himself is not affected by them. That is why it is sometimes said that for the jnani there are bhoga vasanas but no bandha vasanas.

The bhoga vasanas differ from jnani to jnani. Some jnanis may accumulate wealth, some may sit in silence; some may study the shastra [Scriptures] while others may remain illiterate; some may get married and raise families, but others may become celibate monks. It is the bhoga vasanas which determine the kind of lifestyle a jnani will lead. The jnani is aware of the consequences of all these vasanas without ever identifying with them. Because of this he never falls back into samsara [worldly illusion] again.

The vasanas arise because of the habits and practices of previous lifetimes. That is why they differ from jnani to jnani. When vasanas rise in ordinary people who still identify with the body and the mind, they cause likes and dislikes. Some vasanas are embraced wholeheartedly while others are rejected as being undesirable. These likes and dislikes generate desires and fears which in turn produce more karma. While you are still making judgments about what is good and what is bad, you are identifying with the mind and making new karma for yourself. When new karma has been created like this, it means you have to take another birth to enjoy it.

The jnani’s body carries out all the acts which are destined for it. But because the jnani makes no judgment about what is good or bad, and because he has no likes or dislikes, he is not creating any new karma for himself. Because he knows that he is not the body, he can witness all its activities without getting involved in them in any way.

There will be no rebirth for the jnani because once the mind has been destroyed there is no possibility of any new karma being created.

Question: So whatever happens to us in life only happens because of our past likes and dislikes?

Annamalai Swami: Yes.

Question: How can one learn not to react when vasanas arise in the mind? Is there anything special that we should be looking out for?

Annamalai Swami: You must learn to recognise them when they arise. That is the only way. If you can catch them early enough and frequently enough they will not cause you trouble. If you want to pay attention to a special area of danger, watch how the five senses operate. It is the nature of the mind to seek stimulation through the five senses. The mind catches hold of sense impressions and processes them in such a way that they produce long chains of uncontrolled thoughts. Learn to watch how your senses behave. Learn to watch how the mind reacts to sense impressions. If you can stop the mind from reacting to sense impressions you can eliminate a large number of your vasanas.

Bhagavan never like or disliked anything. If we have likes or dislikes, if we hate or love someone or something, some bondage will arise in the mind. Jnanis never like or dislike anything. That is why they are free of all bondage.

-Annamalai Swami

This posting was seen at:   http://www.inner-quest.org/Annamalai_Self.htm

No-body IS One with Existence

How can one say, “I am one with the whole existence” on the one hand, and on the other hand state, “I am not the body”?

These are not philosophical statements. They are based on one’s own experiencing. We can see for ourselves if we look at the situation without bringing in that which has been heard from others. If we can put aside memory and just look at the situation without prejudice, we can see the fact of the statements.

When we say, “I am not the body,” what is it that we are actually saying? Are we not saying that I am not the body separate from the rest of existence? To say that I am the body implies that I am separate, that there is the body which I am and everything else that I am not.

When I close my eyes and examine the situation after first putting aside memory, mind, and preconceived ideas, I find a different world than the one I had believed to be true. I experience sensing, and if I do not make use of memory, I do not find anything other than sensing. I do not find any distinctions within the sensing. Of course, if I make use of memory, then I can draw borders in my imagination that correspond to what I have been taught and to that which is held in memory as body parts. But in my own experiencing, I do not find those borders. I can perceive sensing which has varying degrees of intensity, and again with memory, I can zero in on a portion of sensing and in my mind draw a border around that portion to the exclusion of all other sensing – but this is not my own immediate experience. I am relying on memory and the knowledge of anatomy and hearsay, all of which are held in the mind.

In my own experience, I discover a single field of sensing without borders, without a center, and without divisions. If I look with my sensing, there is not that which is not sensing. How could there be? How would I know it if it was not sensed? In this experiencing there is only oneness. This experience is one. There is nothing that is not sensed in that moment of experience. In this sense it is my experience that I am one with the whole existence in my sensing. It is also true that there is no body separate from existence. I have already discovered that the defined border of body is held in memory but not in my own firsthand experience.

And so, it is clear in this moment with the mind put aside that “I am not the body but am, in fact, one with existence.”


This is from the collection of stories, essays, poems and insights that is compiled to form the book From Lemurs to Lamas: Confessions of a Bodhisattva. Order the book Here.

This understanding is expressed even more simply and clearly by Annamalai Swami:

When I say give up your identification with the ‘I am the body’ idea, I don’t mean that you are not the body. I mean that you should give up the idea that you are only the body. You are all bodies, all things, all creation, but paradoxically, this knowledge will not come to you unless you give up identifying with particular objects, such as ‘I am the body’, and limiting thoughts such as ‘I am so-and-so’. When you have given up all thoughts, all identifications, the true knowledge suddenly dawns on you: ‘I am the unmanifest Self and I am also the whole of creation.’

So I tell people: ‘This physical body is not you; the mind is not you. Go beyond them to see what is really behind them.’ This is done to make people give up their incorrect, limiting ideas, so they can have a direct experience of what is truly real.

-Annamalai Swami

From Final Talks, pages 36 & 37

Osho on “Who am I?”

Would you please talk about the sadhana based on holding as much as possible to the “I” thought or the sense “I AM” and on asking oneself the questions, “Who am I?” or “From where does the ‘I’ arise?” In what way does this approach to meditation differ from that of watching the gaps between one’s in-breath and out-breath? Does it make any difference whether one witnesses the breath focusing on the heart center or on the lower belly center?

It is an ancient method of meditation, but full of dangers. Unless you are alert, the greater possibility is that you will be led astray by the method rather than to the right goal. The method is simple—concentrating yourself on the concept of I, closing your eyes and inquiring, “Who am I?”

The greatest problem is that when you ask “Who am I”… who is going to answer you? Most probably the answer will come from your tradition, from your scriptures, from your conditioning. You have heard that “I am not the body, I am not the mind. I am the soul, I am the ultimate, Brahma, I am God” — all these kinds of thoughts you have heard before.

You will ask a few times, “Who am I? Who am I?”—And then you will say, “I am ultimate, brahma.” And this is not a discovery, this is simply stupid. If you want to go rightly into the method, then the question has not to be verbally asked. “Who am I?” has not to be repeated verbally. Because as long as it remains a verbal question, you will supply a verbal answer from the head. You have to drop the verbal question. It has to remain just a vague idea, just like a thirst. Not that “I am thirsty,”—can you see the difference? When you are thirsty, you feel the thirst. And if you are in a desert, you feel the thirst in every fiber of your body. You don’t say, “I am thirsty, I am thirsty.” It is no longer a linguistic question, it is existential.

If “Who am I?” is an existential question, if you are not asking it in language but instead the feeling of the question is settling inside your center, then there is no need for any answer. Then it is none of the mind’s business. The mind will not hear that which is non-verbal, and the mind will not answer that which is non-verbal.

All your scriptures are in the mind, all your knowledge is gathered there.

Now you are entering an innocent space. You will not get the answer. You will get the feel, you will get the taste, you will get the smell. As you go deeper, you will be filled more with the feeling of being, of immortality, blissfulness, silence… a tremendous benediction.

But there is no answer like, “I am this, I am that.” All that is from the scriptures. This feeling is from you, and this feeling has a truth about it. It is a perfectly valid method.

One of the great masters of this century, Raman Maharshi, used only this method for his disciples: “Who am I?” But I have come across hundreds of his disciples—they are nowhere near the ultimate experience. And the reason is because they know the answer already.

I have asked them, “Do you know the answer?”

They said, “We know the answer.”

I said, “If you know the answer, then why are you asking? And your asking cannot go on very long—do it two or three times and the answer comes. The answer was already there, before the question.” So it is just a mind game. If you want to play it, you can play it. But if you really want to go into it as it was meant by Raman Maharshi, and by all the ancient seers, it is a nonverbal thirst.

Not knowing oneself hurts, it is a wound. Not knowing oneself makes the whole of life meaningless. You may know everything, only you do not know yourself—and that would be the first thing to know. So if you can avoid the danger of falling into a verbal question, it is perfectly good, you can go ahead.

You have also asked about witnessing, watching the breath and where one should watch. Anywhere—because the question is not where you are watching, the question is that you are watching. The emphasis is on watching, watchfulness. All those points are just excuses. You can watch the breath at the tip of the nose where the breath goes in, you can watch it while it is going in, you can watch it when it returns—you can watch it anywhere. You can watch thoughts moving inside. The whole point is not to get lost in what you are watching, as if that is important. That is not important. The important thing is that you are watchful, that you have not forgotten to watch, that you are watching… watching… watching.

And slowly, slowly, as the watcher becomes more and more solid, stable, unwavering, a transformation happens. The things that you were watching disappear. For the first time, the watcher itself becomes the watched; the observer itself becomes the observed. You have come home.


From Beyond Enlightenment, Discourse #9   

Copyright© OSHO International Foundation

An 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 online from Amazon.com and in the U.S. from OshoStore-Sedona and Osho Here and Now.

Robert Adams on Enlightenment and Gurus – Ed Muzika

Robert Adams never named a successor. He told me once that there was a book he had just read by Lakshman, who claimed that Ramana Maharshi had named Lakshman as his successor. Robert said that Ramana never named a successor and he should know since he was there. A few years later, I met Ganeshan, the editor of the Mountain Path, the publication of Ramana Ashrama, as well as Ramana’s nephew, who said he too never heard of a successor.

Perhaps Ramana gave a secret transmission, as did the Fifth Buddhist Patriarch to the Sixth Patriarch, so that the latter would survive. As it was, the latter was pursued for 12 years, sought by both jealous wannabes, who wanted his succession bowl and robes and those who wanted enlightenment at the point of a sword. But, what would be the point of a secret transmission?

There is and was no need for a line of succession from Robert’s point of view. Robert laughed at that idea and said, “What’s the point?” He hadn’t needed to be named a successor. He saw the whole concept of imaginary succession of imaginary students within an unreal mental space as the ultimate joke.

Robert’s only wish was to have his students find their true selves and be liberated from imagined suffering and death. He left it to his students to find and teach their own way, without the public relations boost to build their “practice.” If anything, he went out of his way to tear down anyone with an ego declaring that he/she was his successor or being enlightened, and there were so many around Robert. He never even claimed that for himself; however, he never denied it either. We just knew it by his bearing and his teachings themselves.

Robert almost always refused to comment on whether he thought one or another teacher was enlightened. I remember asking him once about Rajneesh, because he had the bearing, far off look and soft voice of Robert. Robert nodded and said yes, that he was. All of the other times I asked any such nonsense questions about anybody, he would say no. For Robert, enlightenment was a rare, rare thing.

My friend Swami Shankarananda calls the endless list of those claiming successorship of one Advaitin guru or another, “California Advaitins.” This is very apt.

The point of this is, is that no one knows who has it or not. Just try the only practice Robert Adams ever taught, namely self-inquiry, Atman Vichara, and watch the impact on your imaginary self. Of course, to do that, you need to have faith, and that is an entirely different story.

More of Robert’s last days:

Robert’s health had been seriously deteriorating beginning sometime during 1993 or 94. The L Dopa medication he had been taking to control his Parkinson’s symptoms was becoming ineffective. He was finding it increasingly difficult to move or talk. His voice had grown very weak and sometimes, if his medication was not working, he was almost impossible to understand.

Before going to lunch with a student (this was his way of giving private teachings, which was to go the a vegetarian restaurant near his home called Follow Your Heart), he’d take his L Dopa an hour ahead of time so that he could move and be understood. The same with Satsang. On rare occasions, but increasingly so, he would sit before the audience in his chair and just stare out into the audience. He would do this for a long time, then suddenly get up and briskly walk out. He could not talk, and his walk seemed off balance.

His close students knew something was wrong.

By 1994, he had grown very weak. His wife, Nicole Adams, later told me that Robert knew that there was something wrong with his body and that is one of the reasons he wanted to move to Sedona, thinking he might have better health there.

As related elsewhere on this site, by 1994 the number of people coming to Satsang had increased dramatically. During the last six months before he moved to Sedona in 1995, it was obvious he was very ill. People were coming to Satsang from all over the world.

One day at Satsang, we had an exceptionally large audience. Just before Satsang began and people were milling about and talking, Robert leaned over and whispered in my ear, “They are all coming to see the dying guru. The day I die, the place will be packed.”

Before Robert moved to Sedona, I believe in September of 1995 (I am chronologically challeneged.), his wife, Nichole would spend much of the day taking care of his daily needs. Robert was barely functional before he took his L-dopa and another medication the name of which I forgot.

After he moved to Sedona, Mary Skene, one of the last of the old-timers, began to assume the task of taking care of him.

Robert had liver cancer. After a while the pain gave way, as he described it, to a “tingling.” He gradually ate less and less as the disease progressed and became quite thin. Other students would come over and do the shopping and sometimes prepare meals.

Robert became evermore silent. He wanted quiet throughout the house. When I came to visit the last time, he would pace back and forth between the bedroom and the living room where I was sitting. He wanted to be with me, as he knew this was our last meeting, but he had a hard time socializing and being up out of bed.

Robert died in 1997. The picture above was taken about six months before he died. It seems that all Advaitin teachers and most Zen masters die of cancer. Anyway, after he died, wannabe gurus from all over the world began to descend on Los Angles and Sedona giving talks and workshops. It was apparent they were trying to glean Robert’s students. I felt them to be spiritual vultures.

The point of all this, is beware of teachers who proclaim some special talent, enlightenment or successorship. Beware of those who do a lot of advertising or give expensive workshops. Robert never charged a dime for someone to come to Satsang and never gave any workshop. As Robert said many times, the best teachers are unknown. They avoid having  large following and are looking for quality not quantity.

However, as he thought very highly of Rajneesh, one of the highest profile teachers of our time, it appears there may be exceptions to this rule.

-Ed Muzika

As seen at:  http://www.wearesentience.com/robert-on-enlightenment–gurus.html

See Where the Mind Rises – Ramana Maharshi

The Self is Pure Consciousness. Yet a man identifies himself with the body which is insentient and does not itself say: ‘I am the body’. Someone else says so. The unlimited Self does not. Who does? A spurious ‘I’ arises between Pure Consciousness and the insentient body and imagines itself to be limited to the body. Seek this and it will vanish like a phantom. The phantom is the ego or mind or individuality. All the scriptures are based on the rise of this phantom, whose elimination is their purpose. The present state is mere illusion. Its dissolution is the goal and nothing else.

To ask the mind to kill the mind is like making the thief the policeman. He will go with you and pretend to catch the thief, but nothing will be gained. So, you must turn inward and see where the mind rises from and then it will cease to exist.

Of course, we are employing the mind. It is well known and admitted that only with the help of the mind, can the mind be killed. But instead of setting about saying there is a mind and I want to kill it, you begin to seek its source, and then you find it does not exist at all. The mind turned outwards results in thoughts and objects. Turned inwards it becomes itself the Self.

By steady and continuous investigation into the nature of the mind, the mind is transformed into That to which ‘I’ refers; and that is in fact the Self. The mind has necessarily to depend for its existence on something gross; it never subsists by itself. It is the mind that is otherwise called the subtle body, ego, jiva or soul.

That which arises in the physical body as ‘I’ is the mind. If one enquires whence the ‘I’-thought arises in the body in the first instance, it will be found that it is from the hrdayam or the Heart. That is the source and stay of the mind. Or again, even if one merely continuously repeats to oneself inwardly ‘I-I’ with the entire mind fixed thereon, that also leads to the same source.

The first and foremost of all thoughts that arise in the mind is the primal ‘I’-thought. It is only after the rise or origin of the ‘I’-thought that innumerable other thoughts arise. In other words, only after the first personal pronoun, ‘I’, has arisen, do the second and third personal pronouns occur to the mind; and they cannot subsist without it. Since every other thought can occur only after the rise of the ‘I’-thought, and since the mind is nothing but a bundle of thoughts, it is only through the enquiry, ‘Who am I?’ that the mind subsides. Moreover, the integral ‘I’-thought implicit in such enquiry, having destroyed all other thoughts, it itself finally gets destroyed or consumed, just as a stick used for stirring the burning funeral pyre gets consumed.

-Ramana Maharshi

From The Teachings of Ramana Maharshi in His own Words, Arthur Osborne

You can find more posts on Ramana Maharshi here.

Here you can find downloadable books from Ramana Maharshi.

On Cutting the Knot – Ramana Maharshi

Questions asked by Ganapati Muni, Translation by A.R. Natarajan

Verse 1:

On 14th August, at night, I questioned the Maharshi ‘on the cutting of the knot’, regarding which even the learned have doubts.

Verse 2:

The effulgent Bhagavan, Ramana Maharshi, listened to the question, meditated for a while, and spoke in his divine way.

Verse 3:

The ‘knot’ is the link between the Self and the body, Awareness of the body arises because of this link.

Verse 4:

The body is matter, the Self is consciousness. The link between the two is inferred through the intellect.

Verse 5:

It is by the diffused light of consciousness that the body functions. Since there is no awareness of the world in sleep, swoon, and so on, the location of the Self is to be inferred.

Verse 6:

Just as the unseen current passes through the visible wires, the flame of consciousness flows through the various channels of the body.

Verse 7:

The flame of consciousness, taking hold of a centre, lights up the entire body just as the sun illuminates the whole world.

Verse 8:

It is because of the spreading of consciousness that one becomes aware of the body. The sages say that the centre of radiation is the Heart.

Verse 9:

The flow of consciousness is inferred from play of forces in the channels. The forces course through the body, each hugging a particular channel.

Verse 10:

The channel through which consciousness flows is termed ‘susumma’. It is also called ‘atma nadi’, ‘para nadi’ and ‘amrita nadi’.

Verse 11:

Because consciousness pervades the entire body, one gets attached to the body, regards the body as the Self, and views the world as apart from oneself.

Verse 12:

When the discriminating one becomes detached and, giving up the idea that one is the body, single-mindedly enquires, the churning of the channels takes place.

Verse 13:

On such churning of the channels, the self gets separated from them and shines forth by clinging to the supreme channel.

Verse 14:

When consciousness stays in the supreme channel only, then ‘Self alone shines’.

Verse 15:

Even though the objects are near they are not seen as separate. He is aware of the Self as clearly as the ignorant one of his body.

Verse 16:

The one to whom the Self alone shines, within, without and everywhere, as name and form would for the ignorant, has cut the knot.

Verse 17:

The knot is two-fold, one of the channels, and other of mental attachment. The perceiver, though subtle, sees the entire gross world through the channels.

Verse 18:

When the mind is withdrawn from other channels and is in the supreme channel alone, then the link with the body is cut and one abides as the Self.

Verse 19:

The body of one who abides in the Self through self-enquiry is resplendent just as a heated iron-ball appears as a ball of fire.

Verse 20:

The latent tendencies of the past pertaining to the body-mind complex are destroyed. There is no sense of doership because there is no body consciousness.

Verse 21:

It is said that the karma of such a one is destroyed due to the absence of the sense of doership. No doubts arise since the Self only exists for him.

Verse 22:

The one whose knot is cut can never again become bound. This state is one of supreme power and peace.

-Ramana Maharshi

From Sri Ramana Gita, Chapter Nine

Here you can find more posts on Ramana Maharshi.

Here you can find downloadable books from Ramana Maharshi. 

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.

Ramana Maharshi’s 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 Ramana, Part 1, Chapter 7

Here you can find more posts on Ramana Maharshi.

Here you can find downloadable books from Ramana Maharshi. 


Aurobindo, Krishnamurti and Ramana Maharshi – Osho

This talk was from a series that was originally given in Hindi and subsequently translated into English.

Questioner: Shree Arvind (Aurobindo) has written a commentary on the Geeta in which he talks about the relationship between the creation and its perception. From one point of view it is reality that is important, and from another its perception is important. In his concept of the supramental he believes that divine consciousness is going to descend on this earth, but this concept of his seems to be dualistic. What do you say? And do you think that Raman Maharshi’s concept of ajatvad, of unborn reality, is closer to you and to Chaitanya’s concept of achintya bhedabhedvad, or unthinkable dualistic non-dualism?….

All Arvind’s (Aurobindo) talk of supraconsciousness and the supramental is within the confines of the rational mind. He never goes beyond reason. Even when he speaks about the transcendence of reason, he uses rationalistic concepts. Arvind is a rationalist. Everything he says and the words and concepts he uses to say it belong to the grammar of rationalism. There is a great consistency in the statements of Arvind which is not there in statements from supra-rationalism. You cannot find the same logical consistency in the statements of mystics. A mystic speaks in terms of contradictions and paradoxes. He says one word and soon contradicts it by another word that follows it. A mystic is self-contradictory. Arvind never contradicts himself.

Arvind is a great system-maker, and a system maker can never be a supra-rational. A system is made with the help of reason. Supra-rational people are always unsystematic; they don’t have a system. System is integral to logic; that which is illogical cannot follow a methodology or order.

The unthinkable cannot be systematized. All the thinkers of this century who have crossed the threshold of reason are fragmentary in their statements; none of them followed a logical order. Wittgenstein, Husserl, Heidegger, Marlo Ponti and the rest of them, have made fragmentary statements. Krishnamurti belongs to the same category which denies system, order. Their statements are atomic, and they contradict themselves.

Arvind’s case is very different. The truth is, after Shankara there has been no greater system-builder in India than Arvind. But this is what makes for the weakness and poverty of his philosophy. He is very skilled in playing with words, concepts and theories. But the irony is that the reality of life is far beyond words, concepts and doctrines. His trouble is that he was wholly educated in the West where he learned Aristotelian logic, Darwinian Theory of Evolution and the scientific way of thinking.

His mind is wholly western; no one in India today is more western in his way of thinking than Arvind.

And ironically he chose to interpret the eastern philosophy, with the result that he reduced the whole thing into a system. The East has no logical system. All its profound insights transcend logic and thought; they cannot be achieved through thinking. Eastern experiences go beyond the known. The knower and knowledge itself; they all belong to the unknown and the unknowable – what we call mystery. And Arvind applies his western mind to interpret the transmental experiences and insights of the East. He divides them into categories and makes a system out of them, which no other eastern person could have done.

So while Arvind always talks of the unthinkable he uses the instrument of thought and the thinkable throughout. Consequently his unthinkable is nothing but a bundle of words. If Arvind had the experience of the unthinkable he could not have categorized it, because it defies all categories. One who really knows the unthinkable cannot live with categories and concepts.

Curiously enough, Arvind creates concepts out of things that have never been conceptualized. His concept of the supramental is a case in point. But he goes on fabricating categories and concepts and fitting them into logic and reason. And he does it without any inhibitions.

The other part of your question is relevant in this context. In a sense, no religious thinking subscribes to the concept of evolution.

In this respect, we can divide the religions of the world into two groups. One group believes in the theory of creation with a beginning and an end, and the other believes in an existence that has no beginning and no end. Hinduism, Christianity, and Mohammedanism believe in creation; they believe that God created the universe. The other group of religions like Jainism and Buddhism, deny the theory of creation; according to them, that which is, is beginningless. It was never created.

All those who believe in creation cannot accept the theory of evolution. If they accept it, it would mean God created an incomplete world which developed gradually to its present state. But how can a perfect God create an imperfect world? Evolution means that the world grows gradually, and creation means that the whole world comes into being altogether.

It is significant that originally the word shristhi, meaning creation, belonged to the Hindus, and prakriti, meaning pre-creation, belonged to the Jainas and Buddhists and Sankhyaites. In the course of time, however, they got mixed up. But the Hindus cannot accept the word prakriti, which means that which is is there from the time before creation, that which is uncreated, which is eternal.

Creation means something which was not always there and which was created and which can be terminated.

The concept of the pre-created, the uncreated, of prakriti, belongs to an altogether different school which does not believe in creation. Sankhyaites, Jainas, and Buddhists don’t have the concept of a creator because when nothing is created, the question of a creator does not arise. So God disappeared, he has no place in their philosophies. God is needed only in the form of a creator, and so those who rejected creation also rejected God. God as creator belongs only to those who accept the idea of creation.

Arvind brought with him the idea of evolution from the West. When Arvind was a student in England, Darwin’s ideas were sweeping across Europe. Evidently he was very much influenced by them.

After his return to India he studied eastern philosophy, and studied it deeply. I deliberately use the word ”studied” to say that he did not know the truth on his own, his knowledge was merely intellectual. Although he possessed a sharp intellect, his direct experience of truth was very dim.

Consequently he produced a crossbreed of eastern mysticism and western rationalism, which is an anomaly. India’s psyche is not much concerned with the study of nature, matter and their evolution, it is basically concerned with the understanding of mind and spirit. The meeting of the western thought of evolution with the eastern understanding of the psyche gave rise to a strange idea of psychic evolution, which became Arvind’s lifework. Like nature, he thought consciousness evolves too.

Arvind added something new to the idea of evolution which is his own, and for this very reason it is utterly wrong. Very often original ideas are wrong, because they happen to be the finding of a single person. It is true that traditional beliefs, in the course of time, degenerate into fossils, but they have a validity of their own because millions of people go out to find them. This new idea which built Arvind’s reputation concerns the descent of divine consciousness.

Down the centuries we have believed that man has to rise and ascend to God; it is always an upward journey, an ascent. Arvind thinks otherwise: he thinks that God will descend and meet man. In a way this is also like the two sides of a coin. The truth happens to be exactly in the middle. That truth is that both man and God move towards each other and meet somewhere midway. This meeting always happens somewhere midway, but the old idea emphasized man’s efforts – and not without reason. As far as God is concerned, he is always available to man providing man wants to meet him. That much is certain, and therefore God can be left out of this consideration. But it is not certain that man will make a move to meet God. So it mostly depends on man and his journey towards God, his efforts. God’s journey towards man can be taken for granted. Too much emphasis on God moving toward man is likely to weaken man’s efforts.

Arvind starts from the wrong end when he says that God is going to descend on us. But he has great appeal to people who are not interested in doing anything on their own. They took enthusiastically to Arvind’s idea of the descent of the supramental energy and they rushed to Pondicherry. In recent years more Indians have gone to Pondicherry than anywhere else. There, God could be had for a song. They need not move a finger, because God on his own was on his way to them. There could not be a cheaper bargain than this. And when God descends he will descend on one and all; he will not make any distinctions. Many people believe that Arvind alone, sitting in seclusion at Pondicherry, will work for it and divine energy will be available to all, like the river Ganges was available when it was brought to earth by Bhagirath. Arvind is to be another Bhagirath, and at a much higher level. It has put a premium on man’s greed and led to a lot of illusions.

I think that is a very wrong idea. It is true God descends, but he descends only on those who ascend to him. A great deal depends on the individual and his efforts. Divine energy descends on those who prepare themselves for it, who deserve it. And there is no reason for God to be collectively available to one and all. In fact, God is always available, but only to those who aspire and strive for him. And it is always the individual, not a collective or a society, who walks the path to God. And he has to go all alone. And if God is going to descend on all, why do you think he will exclude animals, trees and rocks?

The experiment that is in process at Pondicherry is utterly meaningless; there has not been a more meaningless experiment in man’s history. It is a waste of effort, but it goes on because it is very comforting to our greed.

In this context, the questioner has remembered Raman who is just the opposite of Arvind. While Arvind is a great scholar, Raman has nothing to do with scholarship. Arvind is very knowledgeable, he is well informed; Raman is utterly unscholarly, you cannot come across a more unscholarly man than him. While Arvind seems to be all-knowing, Raman is preparing for the non-knowing state; he does not seem to know a thing. That is why man’s highest potentiality is actualized in Raman, and Arvind has missed it. Arvind remains just knowledgeable; Raman really knows the truth. Raman attained to self-knowledge, not knowledge. So his statements are straight and simple, free from the jargon of scriptures and scholarship. Raman is poor in language and logic, but his richness of experience, of being, is immense; as such he is incomparable.

Raman is not a system-maker like Arvind. His statements are atomic; they are just like sutras, aphorisms. He does not have much to say, and he says only that which he knows. Even his words are not enough to say what he really knows. Raman’s whole teaching can be collected on a postcard, not even a full page will be needed. And if you want to make a collection of Arvind’s writings, they will fill a whole library. And it is not that Arvind has said all that he wanted to say. He will have to be born again and again to say it all; he had too much to say. This does not mean that he did not bother to attain real knowing because he had already so much to say. No, this was not the difficulty.

Buddha had much to say and he said it. Buddha was like Raman so far as his experience of truth was concerned, and he was like Arvind in general knowledge. Mahavira has said little, he spent most of his time in silence. His statements are few and far between; they are telegraphic. In his statements Mahavira resembles Raman. Digambaras, one of the two Jaina sects, don’t have any collection of his teachings, while the Shwetambaras have a few scriptures which were compiled five hundred years after Mahavira’s death.

Questioner: You compare Raman with Buddha who happened in distant past. Why not compare him with Krishnamurti, who is so close by?

The question of being close or distant does not arise. Krishnamurti is exactly like Raman. I compare Arvind with Raman and Buddha for a special reason. In the experience of truth, Krishnamurti is very much like Raman, but he lags behind Arvind in knowledge. Of course, he is more articulate and logical than Raman. And there is a great difference between Krishnamurti and Arvind in so far as the use of logic and reason is concerned.

Arvind uses logic to reinforce his arguments; Krishnamurti uses logic to destroy logic; he makes full use of reason in order to lead you beyond reason. But he is not much knowledgeable. That is why I chose Buddha as an example; he compares well with Arvind in knowledge and with Raman in self-knowledge.

As far as Krishnamurti is concerned, he is like Raman in transcendental experience, but he is not scholarly like Arvind.

There is yet another difference between Raman and Krishnamurti. While Raman’s statements are very brief, Krishnamurti’s statements are voluminous. But in spite of their large volume, Krishnamurti’s teachings can be condensed in a brief statement. For forty years Krishnamurti has been repeating the same thing over and over again. His statements can be condensed to a postcard.

But because he uses reason in his statements, they grow in volume. Raman is precise and brief; he avoids volume. You can say that the statements of both Krishnamurti and Raman are atomic, but while Krishnamurti embellishes them with arguments, Raman does not. Raman speaks, like the seers of the Upanishads, in aphorisms. The Upanishads just proclaim: the Brahman, the supreme is; they don’t bother to advance any argument in their support. They make bare statements that, “It is so” and “It is not so.” Raman can be compared with the Upanishadic rishis.

Questioner: Please tell us something about Raman’s ajatvad or the principle of no-birth.

According to Raman and people like him, that which is has no beginning, it was never born, it is unborn. The same thing has always been said in another way: that which is will never die, it is deathless, it is immortal. There are hundreds of statements which proclaim the immortality of Brahman, the ultimate, who is without beginning and without end. Only that which is never born can be immortal, that which is beginningless. This is Raman’s way of describing the eternal.

Do you know when you were born? You don’t. Yes, there are records of your birth which others have kept, and through them that you came to know that you were born on a certain date, month and year. This is just information received from others. Apart from this information you have no way to know that you were born. There is no intrinsic, inbuilt source of information within you which can tell you about it; you have no evidence whatsoever to support the fact of your birth. The truth of your innermost being is eternal, so the question of its birth does not arise. In fact, you were never born; you are as eternal as eternity.

You say you will die someday, but how do you know it? Do you know what death is? Do you have any experience of death? No, you will say you have seen others die, and so you infer that you too will die someday. But suppose we arrange things and it is quite possible, that a certain person is not allowed to see any other person die. Can he know on his own that he is ever going to die? He cannot. So it is just your conjecture, based on external evidence that you will die in some future.

There is no internal evidence, no intrinsic source of knowledge within you which can sustain your conjecture that you will die. That is why a strange thing happens, that in spite of so many deaths taking place all around, no one really believes that he is going to die; he believes while others will die he is going to live. Your innermost being knows no birth and no death; it is eternal. You only know that you are.

Raman asks you not to guess, but find out for yourself if there is really birth and death. You have no inner evidence in support of birth and death; the only dependable evidence available within you says, “I am.”

I too, say to you there is every evidence that makes you know, “I am.” And if you go still deeper you will know, “I am not.” Then you will know only a state of “am ness” within you.

– Osho

Excerpted from: Krishna: The Man and His Philosophy, Chapter 14.

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.

Who Am I? – Ramana Maharshi

The following is excerpted from the small book by Ramana Maharshi entitled Who Am I?

What is the nature of the mind?

What is called mind is a wondrous power residing in the Self. It causes all thoughts to arise. Apart from thoughts, there is no such thing as mind. Therefore, thought is the nature of mind. Apart from thoughts, there is no independent entity called the world. In deep sleep there are no thoughts, and there is no world. In the states of waking and dream, there are thoughts, and there is a world also. Just as the spider emits the thread (of the web) out of itself and again withdraws it into itself, likewise the mind projects the world out of itself and again resolves it into itself. When the mind comes out of the Self, the world appears. Therefore, when the world appears (to be real), the Self does not appear; and when the Self appears (shines), the world does not appear. When one persistently inquires into the nature of the mind, the mind will end leaving the Self (as the residue). What is referred to as the Self is the Atman. The mind always exists only in dependence on something gross; it cannot stay alone. It is the mind that is called the subtle body or the soul (jiva).

What is the path of inquiry for understanding the nature of the mind?

That which rises as “I” in this body is the mind. If one inquires as to where in the body the thought “I” rises first, one would discover that it rises in the heart. That is the place of the mind’s origin. Even if one thinks constantly “I,” “I,” one will be led to that place. Of all the thoughts that arise in the mind, the “I” thought is the first. It is only after the rise of this that the other thoughts arise. It is after the appearance of the first personal pronoun that the second and third personal pronouns appear; without the first personal pronoun there will not be the second and third.

How will the mind become quiescent?

By the inquiry “Who am I?” The thought “Who am I?” will destroy all other thoughts, and, like the stick used for stirring the burning pyre, it will itself in the end get destroyed. Then there will arise Self-realization.

What is the means for constantly holding on to the thought “Who am I?”?

When other thoughts arise, one should not pursue them, but should inquire: “To who did they arise?” It does not matter how many thoughts arise. As each thought arises, one should inquire with diligence, “To whom has this thought arisen?” The answer that would emerge would be “To me.” Thereupon, if one inquires “Who am I?,” the mind will go back to its source, and the thought that arose will become quiescent. With repeated practiced in this manner,, the mind will develop the skill to stay in its source. When the mind that is subtle goes out through the brain and the sense organs, the gross names and forms appear; when it stays in the heart, the names and forms disappear. Not letting the mind go out but retaining it in the Heart is what is called “inwardness” (antar-mukha). Letting the mind go out of the Heart is known as “externalization” (bahir-mukha). Thus, when the mind stays in the Heart, the “I” which is the source of all thoughts will go and the Self which ever exists will shine. Whatever one does, one should do without the egoity “I.” If one acts in that way, all will appear as of the nature of Shiva (God).

– Ramana Maharshi

from Who Am I?

Here is some rare video footage of Ramana Maharshi.

You can read more posts on Ramana Maharshi here.

Here you will find some of the books by Ramana Maharshi.

%d bloggers like this: