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

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Buddham Sharanam Gachchhami – Osho

Beloved Osho,

Is this a question, a realization, or a declaration?

Something beyond forces me to put this on paper; though I am writing this, the words are not mine.

It is past midnight, about five o’clock on the full moonlight night of the Indian month known as “Bhadra the Thursday,” The Guruvar Master’s Day in Indian language.

I am in vipassana meditation, as my eyes open, a dazzling light brightens the room. I cannot keep my eyes open, as the light is too dazzling. After a few minutes, I can open my eyes and I become quite aware.

Two figures are standing before me: one is beloved Bhagwan with folded hands and that gentle, beautiful smile; and the other is Gautam Buddha in Gyan Mudra. It is Buddha’s third body.

He looks at beloved Bhagwan, and after a few moments he touches the feet of Bhagwan and merges with his body, smilingly.

I hear him saying:

“I have fulfilled my promise. I was to come as Maitreya after two thousand five hundred years, and I have come. If you have eyes, you will see me; if you have ears you will hear me; if you have a heart you will feel and recognize me. My third body I had kept in existence to rebirth, to help whoever wanted my help.

“With due respect and adoration, I have to state that I could have merged with Krishnamurtiji, but due to his insistence on being original I could not merge and help individuals through him. I was hopeful, as he was especially prepared for my appearance – but he was adamant. His body suffered a lot due to his resistance to accepting me. He preferred and chose ceaseless pain and suffering for this.

“My third body now cannot remain in existence if it is not accepted for rebirth or merging. The time I had decided for it is coming close to an end so I cannot wait any longer, and hence I am merging my third body with Bhagwan’s energy without disturbing his individuality.

“He is like an ocean; many small and big rivers merge with it, but still the ocean remains, unperturbed. Its identity remains as an ocean without any change.

“In him, all enlightenments – past, present and future – have become alive and active; a unique event that has not happened before, nor will it happen again. Bhagwan is total acceptance, total emptiness, total nothingness, and unbounded compassion. He is both Purna and Shunya incarnated.

“From my third body, I address him as ‘Bhagwan,’ but from now onwards he will not be only ‘Bhagwan Rajneesh,’ he will be ‘Bhagwan Rajneesh, the Buddha Lord Maitreya’ – A Buddha, A True Friend to All.”

Thus saying, Buddha’s third body merged with our beloved, beautiful Bhagwan.

Bhagwan’s radiance was increasing and filled the whole universe. I remember the prophecy of Lama Karmapa, who had predicted this event, but had asked me not to talk about the event till it happened. Now it has happened and flowers have showered.

So let it be known to all, let it be shouted from the rooftops that Bhagwan Rajneesh, the Buddha Lord Maitreya, is here; Buddha has fulfilled his promise.

The light was fading, the full moon was setting slowly in the West with its cool, silent fading light; and in the East the new sun was rising with a light orange glow, silently bringing a new day, and with it a new journey.

Beloved, beautiful Bhagwan slowly, slowly disappeared with a gentle smile and folded hands, leaving me in that gentle morning light with a heart full of gratitude and eyes full of tears.

Beloved Osho, I bow down to you, announcing to the world that Bhagwan Rajneesh, the Buddha Lord Maitreya, is here and the flowers have showered. To date, Masters have declared themselves, but today a disciple declares with gratitude that the Master, the Buddha, a Real Friend, has come with a new radiance to help all.

Beloved Osho, I have nothing to offer – not even a flower – and yet I offer everything. Thus, something is given and something is taken.

Oh beloved sannyasins, devotees and friends who are present here are the blessed ones to hear this declaration and witness this unique event.

Oh sannyasins, rejoice, celebrate and sing, “BUDDHAM SHARANAM GACHCHHAMI;

SANGHAM SHARANAM GACHCHHAMI; DHAMMAM SHARANAM GACHCHHAMI.”

Beloved Osho, I was reluctant to write this to you, but something unknown forces me to write to you. I do not know whether this is right to do or not. Will you please comment on the event?

Govind Siddharth, it is not a question.

It is a realization, and it is a declaration.

Whatever you have experienced was not a dream. Your whole life may have been a dream, but this experience is absolute reality. That’s why you felt an unknown force compelling you to declare it. You had to declare it – it is impossible to hide the truth.

It has not only happened to you alone; there are two more persons present here to whom the same experience at the same time has happened. They are also hesitating whether to declare it or not. The hesitation is natural, because the declaration is so big and you feel so small, but you cannot keep it within you. It is just like a pregnant woman – how long can she hide that she is pregnant? One day she is going to give birth to a child.

Every truth is a living experience.

And the very nature of life is expression, expansion, declaration. Each flower declares it, each morning the sun declares it, each night millions of stars declare it. Of course their language of declaration is different – a flower declares it by its fragrance, the star declares it by its light, the moon declares it by its beauty.

But truth, beauty, good… these three – satyam, shivam, sundaram – are the basic, the fundamental trinity of existence. You cannot hide them.

One feels embarrassed – how to say it? And to say it in a world which is skeptical, in a world where people are deaf as far as truth is concerned, where people are blind as far as beauty is concerned, where people don’t have hearts as far as feeling, sensitivity is concerned… one feels alone to declare such a thing.

But it is not out of egoism – you cannot declare such a thing out of egoism because the ego will feel very embarrassed, and ego does not like to feel embarrassed. It is out of humbleness that one declares such experiences.

I was waiting… out of those three persons, who is going to declare it first? Govind Siddharth has proved really humble, courageous. Whatever he is saying, he has seen – not in sleep, not in dream.

It is true that J. Krishnamurti was prepared for exactly this phenomenon.

Gautam Buddha had promised that after twenty-five centuries he will be coming as Lord Maitreya. Maitreya means ‘the friend’.

Of course, his own body was burned and could not be kept for twenty-five centuries; the technology was not yet developed. Now it is possible. There are ten bodies in the world which are being kept. They are dead, it is very expensive to keep them, but those people were very rich people and they have willed that their bodies should be kept – because science is saying that within ten or twelve years, at the most twelve, we will be able to revive dead bodies. These rich people have allowed their bodies to be kept, so that when the technology is ready to revive them, they can be revived back to life again.

Gautam Buddha had to use a totally different kind of technology – not scientific but occult. The physical body died. But there are other bodies within this body which don’t die, and he has lived with his third body. He cannot be born through a womb; that is impossible, that is against the nature of things. Once you are enlightened, you cannot be born through the natural process, through a womb.

It is his compassion. No one before him has ever tried. Perhaps no one before him had such compassion.

The story is that Gautam Buddha reaches the door of nirvana – and once you enter the door you disappear into the universe. The doors are opened, the doorkeeper welcomes him. But Buddha refuses to enter the door and he says, “I will stay here outside the door, because millions of my fellow travelers are groping in the dark. I will try in every possible way to help them. Unless every living being has passed through the door, I will wait. I am going to be the last.”

This is not just a parable, not just a fictitious story, but something absolutely factual in the world of mysticism. It is not factual in the world of matter, it is factual in the world of the spirit.

J. Krishnamurti was prepared by very learned scholars who had found in all the scriptures – Tibetan, Chinese, Japanese, Indian – the promise of Buddha that after twenty-five centuries he would be coming back: “I will find a way. I cannot come through a womb but I can enter into a living being, can merge my soul with his soul.” When the theosophists found this, they started searching for somebody who could be prepared – in purity, in discipline, in meditation, consciously – so that he can become a vehicle of Lord Maitreya.

They worked really hard on J. Krishnamurti.

He was not the only one they worked on. They had chosen at least five children of immense intelligence, and they worked on all five. One of the five was Nityananda, Krishnamurti’s elder brother. He died; he died because of too much arduous discipline. He was immensely intelligent. He would have become a great scientist, a great philosopher, but he was not meant to become a great mystic – and perhaps not a vehicle of Gautam Buddha.

Training those five – and when Nityananda died, the four – slowly it became clear that Krishnamurti was the best out of the four. One was Raj Gopal, who was made personal secretary to J. Krishnamurti. And he betrayed J. Krishnamurti because he carried that resentment for his whole life. He was chosen for the same purpose, and finally he was just made a personal private-secretary. He was angry, resentful, but he didn’t show it.

He was the managing trustee of all the properties that belonged to the organization which was created for Krishnamurti – its name was “The Star of the East.” The royalties for all of Krishnamurti’s books were going to Raj Gopal. And just five years ago, he simply betrayed J. Krishnamurti. He simply said, “You have nothing to do with the organization, the money, the books, the royalties.” At the age of eighty-five, Krishnamurti had to begin again from ABC.

This man, Raj Gopal, must have had a tremendous patience, because for sixty years he kept the resentment repressed in himself, waiting for the right moment when Krishnamurti was so old that he could not do anything. At that moment he would desert him. He took away all the assets of Krishnamurti Foundation – he was the head of the foundation – and Krishnamurti was left, at the age of eighty-five, just a beggar.

Another boy who was trained was a German. Seeing that he was not going to be chosen, he behaved just like a German: he created a new organization and revolted against the theosophical movement, created a split in the movement. And the German section of the theosophical society became a separate party. He became the leader of it, hoping that he would compete with J. Krishnamurti not understanding at all that these matters are not of competition.

Krishnamurti himself, after years of training and discipline… rather than becoming pure, rather than becoming a right-vehicle, he became so hateful towards all the ringleaders who were torturing him – telling him to fast, telling him to wake up early in the morning at three o’clock, have a cold bath at three o’clock – with all good intentions, but they never realized the fact that you cannot make anybody a Gautam Buddha. It is not a question of training. However good the intentions are, the result is going to be a disaster.

When Krishnamurti reached the age of twenty-five, they gathered the chief leaders of the theosophical movement in Holland, where Krishnamurti was going to declare that Gautam Buddha had entered into him and he has become the world teacher.

But he was a sincere man. Gautam Buddha did not enter. If he had been a man like the pope or

Ayatollah Khomeini he could have said, “Yes, Gautam Buddha has entered in me and I am the world teacher.” But he refused. He said, “No Gautam Buddha has not entered in me, and I am not the world teacher. Not only that, I am not going to be a teacher at all.”

It was such a shock to the six thousand leaders of the movement who had come from all over the world. They could not believe it – they had prepared this man, they had fought for this man in the courts, they had done everything that was possible to give him the best education. He never gave an indication that he was unwilling. And at the last moment, when he stood up, he declared, “I dissolve the organization, ‘The Star of the East’. I am not the world teacher.” It was a reaction. You cannot force anybody into paradise. A forced paradise will become hell, because the basic element of freedom is missing.

Gautam Buddha’s third body has been hovering around the world to find someone to become a vehicle, so that whatever he said twenty-five centuries ago can be updated, resurrected, made fit for the modern man – for the new man who is going to be born.

In twenty-five centuries so much dust has gathered that unless something absolutely fresh begins…

There are millions of Buddhists, there are thousands of great Buddhist monks; it looks simply absurd that he should not choose a vehicle from these people. It will be just natural and logical to choose a Dalai Lama or a great Buddhist monk, learned.

But you have to remember – that is one of my basic emphases – that these people cannot be chosen, because they are still hanging on to the Buddha that was twenty-five centuries ago. To choose them as vehicles is just meaningless; they will be repeating the same.

I love Gautam Buddha as I have not loved any other master, but my love is not blind. I have criticized him as severely as possible. I have praised him when I have found him right – right for today, right for tomorrow, right for the new humanity to come. And I have criticized him severely whenever I have found that he is twenty-five centuries old, still carrying conditionings, rotten ideas which are of no use for the new man, but will be a great hindrance.

Govind Siddharth must have been puzzled seeing what he has seen, because I would appear to be the last man that Gautam Buddha would choose to be a vehicle.

But this is the beauty of Gautam Buddha: he understands that the message has to be for the present and for the future, that he needs an absolutely fresh being – unattached to any old tradition, his tradition included – a man absolutely untraditional, unorthodox. A man of today, as fresh as today’s rose – even if the man goes many times against the teachings of the old Buddha.

I was not going to declare it for the simple reason that then it would become difficult for me to criticize the old man. So I was keeping completely aloof, so that my freedom and my independence are not in any way curtailed.

I have my own message.

If Gautam Buddha finds that my message has the essentials of his message too, then it is his choice.  It is not a burden on me. I will go on criticizing him whenever I find anything that is not right for human growth in the future.

But Govind Siddharth’s difficulty was that he could not keep it a secret. One of the most difficult things in the world is to keep a secret – and such a secret!

But I will remain exactly the same as I am, no compromise. Gautam Buddha and all the masters of the past can choose me as their vehicles, but I will not allow any pollution. My message will remain my message.

Yes, they can… and Govind Siddharth says it rightly: The river can fall into the ocean; thousands of rivers can fall into the ocean – they don’t make the ocean sweet. They themselves become salty.

Gautam Buddha has chosen me as his vehicle because it was difficult now to keep hanging around in his third body anymore. Twenty-five centuries have passed; in fact a few more years have passed. He had to choose, but he has chosen a person who has his own message. It will surely be beautiful if it coincides with his essentials, but if it does not coincide, then I am going to be as hard on him as I have been before. It will not make any difference.

I am not going to be his voice; I am going to remain my voice.

But what Govind Siddharth has seen is a tremendous experience, a great realization.

There are two more persons present here – if they gather courage, then their questions will be coming. If they cannot gather courage, then they will always remain burdened with a secret. It is better to bring it in the open and be free of it – and anyway it is in the open, Govind Siddharth has done almost 99.9 percent of the work. Nothing is left for you.

Anybody who has been close to me has felt it many times, that I bring Gautam Buddha, his life, his stories, more than those of anybody else to illustrate some of my ideas. Gautam Buddha comes very close to me. The difference is not of twenty-five centuries – maybe only twenty-five centimeters – but the difference is there.

I am not a person who compromises.

I will not be compromising with Gautam Buddha either, but whatever is ultimate truth is nobody’s possession, neither Gautam Buddha’s nor mine. Only the non-essentials are different; the essential is always the same. And my effort is to cut all non-essentials and give you only the pure, essential message, because only the essential religion is going to survive in the future. The non-essential rituals are all going to be dead.

With this century ending, there will be a religiousness in the world but no religions.

Perhaps he has chosen a right man.

And he has also chosen a right man in Govind Siddharth to declare the fact. I was not going to declare it, because declaration from my side brings a certain compromise, as if I have become a vehicle of somebody else’s message.

I am nobody’s vehicle. In fact, my message and Gautam Buddha’s message are almost parallel – so parallel, so similar that it can be said that he was my vehicle or it can be said that I am his vehicle. But it is not going to change my approach in any way. Now I will be even harder on Gautam Buddha, so that only the most essential and the purest part of him reaches to humanity in the future.

-Osho

From The Osho Upanishad, chapter 35.

There is a related post concerning Govind Siddharth’s meeting with the 16th Karmapa at Osho and the 16th Karmapa.

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Five Categories of Teachers – Osho

14 October, 1982 in INS Portland Oregon

Osho’s visit to the U.S Immigration and Naturalization Service was in connection with an application for permanent residence in the USA, filed on his behalf a year earlier. These extracts are from highlights of what Osho said about his work and vision.

Q: Okay, do you consider yourself a teacher of religion?

I will have to explain it.

Q: You may feel free to explain that to me.

In India we have five categories of teachers. The first category is called the Arihanta; he’s a teacher and also a master. Being a master means that he has realized what he says. For example, Jesus will be called an Arihanta because whatsoever he says is his own realization. He says, “It is on my own authority.”

The second category is called the Siddha. The Siddha is only a master. He has realized but he’s incapable of communicating it. He cannot say what he has realized; in a way he is dumb. And there have been many saints in the world who have not spoken because they cannot manage to bring the beyond within the words. That too is called a Buddha, a teacher.

The third category is called an Acharya – who is only a teacher but not a master. He knows exactly what he’s teaching, but not on his own authority. The Pope is an Acharya. If Jesus is an Arihanta, then the Pope is an Acharya. He is speaking on the authority of the Bible, not on his own authority.

The fourth category is called Ubadhyay – one who is not even certain of what he says. Perhaps fragments are true. P.D. Ouspensky has written a book on Gurdjieff: In Search of the Miraculous. Its subtitle is “Fragments of an Unknown Teaching”, and he’s very true in writing the subtitle – only fragments, because he could understand only parts of it; parts were beyond him. He’s also called a teacher.

And the fifth is called a Sadhu. A Sadhu is one who has not achieved but is trying sincerely to achieve. He may be just one foot ahead of you, but he can teach that much. He cannot claim the achievement; he cannot say with certainty that this is so.

English is poor in that way, it has only two words. English is poor in many ways, particularly as far as religion is concerned, but is bound to be so. Eastern languages are poor in scientific terms. So you have only one word, teacher, for everything. You can call me a teacher but to us it means a very lower category.

Q: Where would you put yourself on this list of five categories?

I am an Arihanta. You can call me a super teacher, because I speak on my own authority. I don’t have to rely on Jesus, or Buddha, or Krishna. What I say, I know. If I don’t know, I don’t say it.

Q: Do you consider Sheela enlightened?

No, not yet.

Q: Does she not have the power to conduct sannyas?

She has the power to conduct Sannyas, as one of the Acharya category – those five categories all can conduct Sannyas – but she has to conduct Sannyas only with my consent, she cannot conduct Sannyas on her own.

Q: Sheela has not reached?

She may reach any moment, but she has not reached yet.

There is some discussion of the running of the ashram in Poona. Osho explains the difference between the day-to-day running of the ashram and the spiritual work.

About these small things I give them absolute freedom. As far as initiation is concerned and the inner transformation is concerned, sannyas is total surrender. Either you are a Sannyasin or you are not. You cannot be in a doubtful situation.

And it is not democratic; remember… no transformation process can be democratic because it is like asking the sleeping people, “Would you like to be awake?” So what?… A sleeping person has to be awakened. He cannot be asked. He may even resist, he may even fight you, that you are disturbing his beautiful dream.

I’m not talking about the society. For the society and the political world, democracy is perfectly okay, but for any inner transformation process democracy does not work, it has never worked.

[NOTE: This was published in The Rajneesh Times, 26th August 1983 while Osho was in silence.]

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Stilling the Mind vs. No-Mind – Osho

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

– Osho

From The Great Zen Master Ta Hui, Chapter 28

An 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.

Ramana Maharshi’s Self-Enquiry

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

Self-enquiry

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

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

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

There is a difference between the sense in which the term ‘enquiry’ is used by Sri Bhagavan and the way in which the sastras use it. The sastras advocate negating the five sheaths, namely the body, prana, mind, intellect and the darkness of ignorance, as ‘not I, not I’ (neti, neti). But who is to negate them, and how? If the mind (or the intellect) is to negate them, it can at best negate only the insentient physical body and the prana, which are objects seen by it. Beyond this, how can the mind negate itself, its own form? And when it cannot even negate itself, how can it negate the other two sheaths, the intellect (vijnana-maya kosa) and the darkness of ignorance (anandamaya kosa), which are beyond its range of perception? During the time of enquiry, therefore, what more can the mind do to remain as Self except to repeat mentally, “I am not this body, I am not this prana”? From this, it is clear that ‘enquiry’ is not a process of one thing enquiring about another thing. That is why the enquiry ‘Who am I?’ taught by Sri Bhagavan should be taken to mean Self-attention (that is, attention merely to the first person, the feeling ‘I’).

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

If we are told, ‘Abandon the east’, the practical way of doing so would be to do as if told, ‘Go to the west’! In the same manner, when we are told, ‘Discard the five sheaths, which are not Self’, the practical way of discarding the non-Self is to focus our attention on ourself. ‘What is this I?’ or ‘Who am I?’ Thinking ‘I am not this, not this’ (neti, neti) is a negative method. Knowing that this negative method is just as impractical as saying, ‘Drink the medicine without thinking of a monkey’* Sri Bhagavan has now shown us the practical way of drinking the medicine without thinking of a monkey, by giving us the clue, ‘Drink the medicine while thinking of an elephant’, that is, He has reformed the ancient negative method by giving us the positive method ‘Who am I?’,

“ … Verily, the ego is all! Hence the enquiry ‘What is it?” (in other words, ‘Who am I, this ego?’)” is the true giving up (renunciation) of all. Thus should you know!”

‘Ulladhu Narpadhu’, verse 28

Verily, all (that is, the five sheaths and their projections – -all these worlds) is the ego. So, attending to the feeling ‘I’,

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

‘What is it?’ or ‘Who is this I ?’, alone is renouncing the five sheaths, discarding them, eliminating them, or negating them. Thus Bhagavan Ramana has declared categorically that Self-attention alone is the correct technique of eliminating the five sheaths !

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

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

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

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

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

“A naked lie then it would be

If any man were to say that he

Realized the Self, diving within

Through proper enquiry set in,

Not for knowing but for death

The good-for-nothing ego’s worth!

This Arunachala alone,

The Self, by which the Self is known !”

‘Sri Arunachala Venba’ verse 39

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

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

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

‘Ulladhu Narpadhu’ verse 14

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

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

‘Atma Vichara Patikam’, verse 1

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

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

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

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

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

‘Ulladhu Narpadhu’, verse 15

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

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

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

‘Ekatma Panchakam’, verse 3

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

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

‘Upadesa Undhiyar’, verse 19

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

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

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

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

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

‘Ulladhu Narpadhu’, verse 33

– asks Sri Bhagavan.

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

– Sri Sadhu Om

The Path of Sri Raman, Chapter 7

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Here to Now and Behind

We begin from Here, where we are. We are in the particular. We are completely identified with all that we perceive. We see thoughts and consider them our own; we sense and believe the body to be our self. We sense emotions and think they are us. We say I am happy or I am sad.

So from here we bring attention to sensing and become aware that sensing appears in our consciousness. Everything that we notice appears in our consciousness and yet we are aware of all things. By being aware of all that is in consciousness we are out of the particular. Only that which is on a higher plane can perceive. We are in a way, above and beyond all that we sense and yet it is in us. We have been identified with the sensing – we move now to the identification with the Awareness of sensing.

In this awareness of sensing we notice sensation around the heart space. We pay attention to our breathing. We see that we can only perceive one object at a time. If we are paying attention to our breathing we are not able to give attention to the thoughts that are dancing just on the periphery. It is almost as if our attention is retreating from dispersion out into the particular and coming back home to our heart. It seems that all experiencing is a projection from this heart. Staying here with the heart we notice that the energy that was occupied in the head is drawing down into the heart. We can almost feel it slide down into the heart. Perhaps down through the back of the head, down the spine and into the heart cavity. This beingness we sense in our heart is nourishing, it is mothering, it is loving, it is welcoming. It is Now and we rejoice.

We realize that this being is indivisible. It is undifferentiated. It is Individual and we are aware of it in us, in our consciousness. All of this experiencing is still happening within the space of non-experiencing, otherwise how could we possibly have perception? There must be a background on which the perceiving can manifest. This background, this unmanifest, this not-knowing, this unborn mind is our home in the absolute. We can never know it directly but can only infer it. It can never be an object of our awareness because it Is awareness. It is the ultimate subject. It is not divided although all multiplicity springs forth from this Oneness. This Awareness is never for a single moment not here. We cannot – not be in it.

This Awareness is our own true nature. If we remember the One to which all appears, if we understand that this is our one true abode and refer back to this unknowingness, this unborn mind, this original face; then it pulls us, it calls us back home. The pulling out into experience falls away and we  rejoice, first in our beingness of the heart, and then even that experience leaves as we are rejoined from whence we came – back to Behind.

-purushottama

This post is from a collection of essays, stories, insights and poems that have occurred to me along the Way titled Here to Now and Behind.

O-theism

O-theism is Religion-less Religious-ness.

It is the No Religion of Whole religion.

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

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

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

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

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

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

O-theism is the religion of Enlightenment.

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

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