30 August 2013

Problems That Arise With Self-Inquiry

I have a real problem with the method of self-inquiry as promulgated by Robert Adams, and often by Ramana, and that is you can get lost; lost in the perceived emptiness of the Subtle Body, or in the comfort of knowing nothing in the Causal Body where there is no self-awareness, only awareness.

Practicing This way, asking "Who and I?" and waiting for an answer, or following the I-thought to where it appears or disappears is much like practicing a Mantra. It is only to empty the mind, and Self-Realization of the Jnana sort can arise from an empty mind alone, it can also arise in other ways.

The problem with following the I-thought is that it arises from one's perceived emptiness and disappears into emptiness.  A few years of doing this and you will identify with emptiness and become a shell with no emotions and no motivation for life.  This can gradually give way to identification with the witness of emptiness, or the Absolute.  You become a pure passenger watching the phenomena of your life pass by.  Such is how Nisargadatta described his current state in his last book, "Consciousness and the Absolute."

But I ask, is this what you want?  Peace, rest? Or would you rather know yourself as Consciousness and the energy, drive and force of Consciousness, the Shakti?

Would you rather know yourself as love, bliss, and embodied energy acting out thee will of God, or as Nothingness?

Would you rather be an observer or a 100% participant in life?

This is the difference between the Bhakta and the Jnani or Sage.

The way of the Bhakta is filled with sound and fury, divine love followed by deep despair, followed by being wracked first by deep bliss often felt as orgasmic, with a high sexual tension, and then followed by physical pain of a tensed body, unfulfilled desires, and a deep longing for both fulfillment and rest at the same time?

The way of unity with Consciousness is obtained through love and surrender to another, whether God, Guru, Lover or other, whether their path is pure Bhakti, or awakening the Kundalini or Shakti.  It is dualistic.

29 August 2013


This link is circulating from Arunachala Goldsmith, who, like I got it from sources in India. I hope this video was edited as wished by the videographer to hide identities, because he has already been threatened by Infinity lawyers, just as I will be for posting this link.



28 August 2013

Nisargadatta is Subtle; the key to understanding him

Nisargadatta is difficult to understand because he steps entirely outside the box of objects and phenomenal entities, and instead talks about us as being a functioning arising out of the body/mind complex and the chemicals of life.  You can appreciate this if you carefully read the three books of Jean Dunn, Maharaj’s final talks.

He asks you “Who were you before you were born?”

You respond, “I don’t know.”

He replies, “You must have been there to know you don’t know.”

This sounds ridiculous.  It sounds like he is saying you must have been there in time, a hundred years ago.

Is he saying this? Yes and no.

He asks, “Who were you after you awoke but before you were self-conscious.”  He then says, “Right now trace yourself back to that No-I state, before knowing you exist.” What were you then?

You find a thoughtless mind that is not self aware.  It is not aware of objects or anything else. It is not aware of birds singing even while birds are singing. It is not yet aware of the pain in your shoulder from yesterday’s tennis game.  You are not yet aware even of your full bladder.  Everything is perceived, but nothing is know or understood.  This is true no-mind, no-knowing.

Nisargdatta refers to this as the causal body, implanted into flesh and when born becomes your body/mind.  This is a state you need to know before you can become self-realized.

Then what happens?

Self-Consciousness arises along with the feeling of ‘me’ and the I-thought. Then you think, I need to pee and you go pee.

It is the arising of this self-consciousness, I, to which Maharaj refers to as Maya, illusion. And in what way?  In that it touches everything that was impersonal in consciousness with the I-feeling. Consciousness becomes everything that is manifested. Nothing exists outside of Consciousness.  Only consciousness is.

But, at one moment there was nothing.  The next moment awareness arose without self awareness. Then self-awareness arose. He calls this knowledge or knowingness.

Now Nisargadatta makes a giant leap. He said while tracing his awareness back to the pre-I-Am state, there was just awareness.  What is it that became self-aware?  This is the fundamental question.

His conclusion was that the ultimate “entity” (which is not an entity, but a functioning) is that which knew Consciousness but itself was not consciousness.

He says the fundamental quality of the I-Am is knowledge and on the flip side, ignorance or no-knowledge, such as your true self 100 years before you were born or that which you were in before awakening.  Deep sleep gives way for a moment to living totally in the Causal Body, but just for a moment before self-awareness arises as I-Am.

You ask many questions about Consciousness and spirituality he says, but the asker, knowledge, is also knowledge itself.

You, as the manifest, are knowledge. Later on knowledge of specifics is added on.  In other places he says you are the principle by which things are known.

Thus, you are not the body or the mind.  You are not all the objects in the world, all its people, animals and events.  You are the knowledge that things are happening, and knowledge cannot be perceived, it is the perceiver of knowledge.

Then he takes one step further and says you are the knower of the knowledge, but as the principle of knowing itself not as an entity.  As the manifest, in the world, you are knowledge; as the Unmanifest, you are that which knows knowledge and that there can be an absence of knowledge, which is true nothingness.

As the principle that is aware of Consciousness as well as its absence, you are beyond mind and any perceptions. You cannot know yourself as an entity.

What you do know, he says, with the full force of your awareness is the I Am.  Find the I Am, stay there. Love the I Am, for everything in the universe flows from that I-Am’s arising after awakening.

So he describes in many ways the I Am and Consciousness, its energy and attributes. It is the totality of the dynamic of Consciousness manifest in a million ways, and to the devotee of the I Am, as bliss, ecstasy, love, and the sure knowledge that you exist.  You are the manifest universe, including God or Krishna or Christ Consciousness.  To know this the knower must rest in the I-Am and totally know all aspects of Consciousness.

Then, he said, for him the personal, the sense of I gradually got weaker and weaker until the last year of his life it disappeared altogether.

But he says, do not be in a hurry to destroy the I, because Consciousness and its awareness is all the “capital you have.” When it is gone, everything is gone.  Puff!!! And then you as the principle of knowing must wait for another body to be born into before once again you have self-knowledge, the I-Am.

This does not mean that you, as Tom, Dick, or Sarah is reborn, for that particular I-Am died with the body/mind.  But the principle of knowing, a ghost, a chemical, impersonal, awaits for its birth in a new body, whether worm, elephant, or human.  That universal ability to know, that principle is the “eternal you,” but it has nothing personal in it.

I want you to understand is that I use different terms for the same meaning.  Instead of saying you are that which knows, the function of knowing, I say you are the subject, the knower, but not of this world.  You are like an entity from a different dimension staring through a membrane into our universe, experiencing it, but not of it, not touched by it.

And instead of saying, “Trace yourself backwards to that which you were before the I Am arose,” I say, which Maharaj says at other times, “Find your sense of I-Am, your sense of me.  Stay there.  Reside in that sense.  Be open to it in wonder, with love and appreciation.”

          You will find the I-sense flowers, grows into a solid sense of presence, bliss, and constantly moving energy along with the concrete conviction of who you are.  Without a doubt you will know who you are.  You will become solid and immovable, but at the same time, the energetic source of the universe. You will become Consciousness—all of it.

27 August 2013

How to Avoid Potentially Poor Teachers

You would not follow many gurus if you saw how they truly lived or were in person.

Most of you have ideas of how “advanced” or not so advanced spiritual people should live, and if they don’t, you shun them, and perhaps rightly so in many cases.  In other cases, you shun them to your detriment.

If you knew how thy lived, how they interacted with students and family REALLY, as opposed to their writings or Facebook posts, you would be confused or dismayed, because almost none comport themselves as you think they should.

You must remember they are not much different from you.  There are some differences, some major and some minor.  For one thing, they do not take the mind seriously. Thoughts are a very minor distraction and they do not take their own, or other people’s stories as real.

      Therefore, they tend to be less agitated than the beginning seeker who is driven by all kinds of emotions and ideas about what he or she should be doing.  They tend to spend more time alone, immersed in the fullness of their own emptiness, which can take the form of bliss, ecstatic energies, or sheer peacefulness.  That is, they can be quite boring unless you can feel their beingness.

But most of them, if they did not have robes or habitually wear white clothing or dohtis, would pass as very ordinary people, but sometimes with bizarre behaviors and mental qualities.

Some eat meat, like Nisargadatta and many Tibetan Lamas, some smoke, again like Nisargadatta and others, a great many indulge in sex with their students, many are sharp businessmen who milk their teacher status for recognition and money, some are frankly psychotic or manic depressive, some are alcoholics, some are frank liars who tell lies as easily  as maple leaves fall from trees in the fall.

     Some cheat on their wives and are never caught because they keep everything hidden and silent. Others cheat on their spouses and admit it. Some forceably abuse their students financially or sexually, and the list is long here. Many are “schizoid” meaning they avoid deep relationships out of fear of being destroyed by their intensity or the neediness generated.

Some get intensely angry and argumentative.  Some are mild mannered but withdrawn.  Some watch television too much in some people’s POV.  Some do almost nothing because they are lost in their own peacefulness or bliss.

     Some talk a lot and are very vulnerable about how they feel.  Others are very silent and secretive, and hide all sorts of things behind their silence, so much so it would curdle your toes to learn of what they do.


The only difference between a fake teacher and a real one is that they know who they are, both as a human being, but also as an incarnation of the divine in human form.  Many fake teachers have powers, siddhis, and can convey bliss to others, but still are not realized.

I will give you a few hints as to whom to avoid, or approach with extreme caution, and those who you can better trust.

1.  Avoid those who emphasize silence and are very secretive. They are probably hiding something. If they cannot share their hearts personally in private and in public, avoid them.  They do not allow themselves to appear vulnerable or open.  They do not want you to see who they really are as humans and instead erect a shield of guru specialness and “papal” invulnerability. And what they hide, if you found out, could curdle your toes.

2. Avoid those who speak often of love, but you do not feel it in their presence.

3. Avoid those who are too withdrawn or intellectual, and who talk of being above others and have special powers or status.  Some, like Da Free John and others talk about being an avatar, a divine incarnation, and hold themselves apart and above other teachers.  These teachers may have Shakti, but they are deluded.  In fact, every one of you reading this has the aspect in you of being a divine incarnation—everyone. A true teacher tries to show that to you in you.

4. Avoid very formal teachers who stand behind rituals, rankings, formality because that is likely all that they have.  A true teacher is very open to informality and engaging you at your level, unless of course, he or she feels you would be a poor fit for their style.

5. Avoid teachers that have complicated methods leading to progressive realizations, because they do not get to the heart of self-realization soon enough.  You could take forever to get anywhere, so methods should be aimed not at control, or focusing, but at self-realization in the moment, but not in the simplistic sense of just recognizing your beingness in the here-and-now as do the neo-Advaitins, for you will NEVER reach self-realization that way.

6. Avoid those who talk too much. They just gab and gab about useless things.  They do not have a clue.

Remember, there is absolutely no difference between you and any teacher except he or she knows who they are and are only interested in showing you that—or I should say that is their primary interest.  Gurus are human, but hopefully use their humanity in relationship to teach others to discover who they are.

24 August 2013

Email to me:

I am grateful to our lineage, You as my teacher, still, and the profound depth of our Elders in the Sangha, like Deeya.

I retreated all these years to writing about spiritual analysis and seeking Arhat style understanding, leaving this pain behind, and embracing the knowledge I rightly saw at a young age.  But, I was always an enthusiastic helper, serving others, full heart, big heart. I just could not figure out how to not get beaten down.
I love your post.  Good Lord, it is amazing!  I absolutely agree with everything you stated, that I could understand. I really, really appreciate you humbly, clearly revealing the betrayal from the folklore around liberation--the problems etc.
I love this is the direction we are going.  Truly it fits my earlier experiences and prayers. I just couldn't make it work as Jnana started coming so naturally for me.  I often think how we talk of what to do and paths, but If most folks are like me, I am not sure the actions had a whole lot to do with it; sure do your part but Grace happens, No?  

I started going into samadhi in elementary school.  I had my first profound Satori when I was about 14 or 15.  What I didn't share is what occurred, in part--it was not just the cosmic still oneness. I was not removed and watching, I was bigger than the cosmos, I could feel it, and I could see, feel my presence looking down on my town.... All this while sitting on my bed. 

But this is not why I share--It was the unmistakable Grace and Presence of Christ, as I knew it later to be.  
That became my hearts yearning desire for decades.  Sometimes this presence visited me....Unfortunately I largely treated it as a distraction, more energy, more presences--there were lots of them--mind games to keep me from Liberation--I "persevered" though often yearned for this "feeling" this presence-nothing like it.

To this day I would trade if for every clever thought or samadhi or even awakening I have ever had, well maybe not liberated devotion cause that is Life's breath...   For years after this experience I became deeply depressed and numb. I had no way to understand or relate to it or with it.  Life was  too painful too pointless, too sick.
I claimed one goal, to be vulnerable enough to be loving and loved! I did my best. Many more states, and brutal experiences of service, surrender, and deep suffering. I find then I focused on this love, this service. Without teacher, I got wrecked upon the shores of consciousness.
Yet, maybe finally the tremendous all encompassing gentle Grace may be with me again. Funny how it washes away all old trauma and exhaustion.
Finally, finally, finally I feel this is a path, a place I want to be!

How refreshing to once again choose permission to embrace light, love, and open heart! I can feel it more so again as a daily occurence!  It is what I helped clients do, though it seemed stifled for myself, but that might be changing!


Ed: Read Nisargadatta's Self-Knowledge and Self-Realization where he talks about hunting for the Baby Krishna, which he also calls Krishna Consciousness, and which I talked about this in an earlier post how the infant projects aspects of Turiya, Satchitananda into the primary caretaker, and we all tend to do the same in intense love.


GO TO: satsangwithedji.weebly.com AT 5:55 PM.



22 August 2013


For almost three years I have modified my teachings to direct seekers away from a “self-realization” that lacks a sense of self, or self-identity, and directs the seeker to merge into the Absolute, the Witness, with the consequent recognition that the world, and anything objective, or phenomenal, is illusory and is to be ignored, and the “true Self,” the Witness in an unknowable mystery.

I have directed seekers to use love in the sense of loving the I-sense when practicing self-inquiry or self-abiding, as opposed to merely watching.  I have also urged seekers not only to love that self-sense within, but to love others as intensely and creatively as they can as an aid to self-realization by discovering the Self-of-All within others, which leads to uncovering of the Self within ourselves.

I do not wish to engage in ontological discourses or theories, only to expand a range of practices to attain self-realization.

Infants, when they first love, is to first intensely love their primary caregiver, usually the mother.  This is how we are programmed as physical beings. They do this through projection of their innate self-love into their first (Internal) mental object: the primary care giver. All the love in the infant’s universe is projected onto the mother.

At this point the infant has only one object in their world, the mother.  Later, over a period of time other objects are created, including the sense of self and the idea of I as an objective inner object, sometime before the age of 3.

One should note it is these two objects, the I-thought and the sense of self, or I-sense that gurus immemorial, have told seekers are not the real you.  Even overcoming belief in these two obstacles to true self-realization is an extraordinary accomplishment, and flies in the face of a world culture that accepts these two entities as “real.”

But through love of another, through the most intense, insane, wonderous, love, and false-self-submerging in the other, we are exposed to our original state of love, that which we routinely project out of what we think to be me into that inner idealized external object that is associated with whomever we physically love deeply,  and which then can be perceived to be the real “me” in the intense love situation. That is, raising intense love for another in the real world allows us at some point to see that that love is in me, created by me for an external object.

This original state of love is part of the “deepest” state that can be experienced by a human, that of Satchitananda, or the existence-knowledge-bliss of Turiya, the 4th state.  And, this level of Consciousness IS accessed during the deepest, most complete and “insane” love for another.

       I know some critics will comment that Turiya is not a state, but the basic principle of awareness that underlies the states of waking, dream, and sleep.  That is true.  But it is a subtle distinction, for when resting totally in Satchitananda, none of the other states are existent, except as potential.

Now, Nisargadatta, Sidharameshwar and others want you to transcend this Turiya state, to have it submerge into the Absolute, the Witness, the Noumenal of Kant, or the ultimate subject that cannot be seen. This place of bliss, love, and knowing is the last experience before merger into the non-existence Absolute Witness.  That is, the Absolute is noumena, totally beyond the experience, even the highest experience of Satchitananda.

This “place” of the Absolute cannot be experienced as an object. It is beyond space, time and experience. It is the ultimate subject. One can only be it. We will talk about this “being it” later.

This is what many teachers call Self-Realization, where there is no identification with anything phenomenal.  There is no identification with the body/mind, bliss or energies, or with Shakti.  These are just part of the play of Consciousness which I experience, but are not I.

However, I have witnessed myself how disabling such states can be. I have witnessed how this “final” state leaves one detached from the world, unwilling and unable to participate in it, unable to love another, to work for the betterment of others, to not care about the cruelty humanity shows animals and each other due to their primary identifications with body and mind embedded in cruel and chaotic cultures and social structures.

Here we have to make the distinction between the Arhat, or enlightened being that has gone beyond the world into Nirvana, where the self has been snuffed out, where there are no more desires, no longing, no attachment, and the concept of the Bodhisatva, or enlightened being that so cares for the world he or she continues in it, endeavoring daily to help all others, and not to stay in the non-acting peace of Nirvana. 

For the Arhat, the primary message and experience is of nothingness, either the Void, which is lifeless, or the remembrance of No-Experience, a different kind of nothingness.  For the Bodhisatva, the primary experience is of life, existence, bliss, intense emotions, intense energies in the body, and an intense involvement in the world.

Another way Robert Adams used to denote this distinction, was that of comparing the Jnani (or Arhat or Sage), who had gone beyond the world (as had he),  and the Saint, who lived in God’s bliss, in the light and power of the Divine aspect of Self, actively striving in the world to bring Love and Light.

Even though Robert truly was a Jnani, a World-Transcender, an Arhat, often he would show his other side: a desire to help the world.  He often said he would prefer to know one Saint versus knowing six Jnanis.  These bringers of light were precious to him.

It is for this same reason that I embrace one aspect of Satchitananda, or Turiya, or Self, that to me is my guiding first principle: Consciousness Loves Consciousness and Sentience Loves Sentience.

I think we all cry out at some point in our life for the love of God to permeate us, which we never know unless we can become as an infant, and submerge in that infant’s pure, total love of the other as primary caregiver, which becomes love of God, Jesus, Guru, or human Lover in the adult seeker.

This experience cannot be had in the Witness state, in going beyond the world, going beyond Satchitananda to the Absolute Witness.  It happens to a human in a stage before becoming the Witness as happened to Nisargadatta, and is required in the taxonomy of Siddharameshwar’s progressive awakening. 

For those who do not experience this state before becoming the Absolute, as was my experience, there must be a return to the place of the Saint, as love/bliss in Satchitananda, in Turiya for completion.

Siddharameshwar is explicit in this requirement, that the Jnani, the Sage, must continue to love and worship the Self-Of-All, love/bliss in all of us, Turiya, which is also love for the entire world, the entire manifestation of Consciousness.

In fact, my teachings now explicitly avoid FIRST attaining the Absolute and emphasize finding the divine within oneself, that divine being our Self-Nature of existence-knowledge-bliss, or lovebliss to borrow a term, where there still is a sense of ownership, of love for the other as a separate example of the Self-of-All in an apparent other human, as guru, spouse, lover, child or parent.  We become one family, still compassionately caring for and loving each other, hopefully bringing the light of Turiya, or God and Godess to us all, first as pure Love and acceptance, and then through acts of Surrender and Service.

I feel it is our duty, each of us as humans on the way to the snuffing out of Nirvana, to fully involve ourselves in being each other’s keeper, to be a Bringer of Light and love to all sentient beings before moving on to the snuffing out of Nirvana.

The state of being a saint has qualities lacking in Nirvana.

It is a place of bliss and ecstasies, filled with flowing energies, flowing light within and without, experienced as inner and external auras. It is a state wherein one feels a constant sense of Grace and Gratitude towards Consciousness in all its individual colors and aspects.  It brings an intense sense of humility and great love and compassion for the Infinite within us, and for all life forms around us.

And, we feel intensely alive, more alive and more filled with energy than we can ever remember, and our inner space is totally lighted by multicolored emotions, energies and totally unknown processes. The light of Consciousness burns brightly.

In addition, there is a direct recognition of ourselves as Self, both as a human being in a body, with a mind, but also as an energetic Sense of Presence, which is like an energy glove around and within the body, and with which we primarily identify, instead of the body. This is called the Subtle Body, our inner awareness, which is ultimately connected to Turiya, a “deeper” level of Consciousness which is shared by everyone, is universal, and in a sense, is divine.

In this place, even the experience of intense sadness, depression, anger, loneliness is mitigated by feeling intense joy throughout your body and sense of presence.  Joy, light, love and bliss are never more than moments away.  All that one has to do is observe whatever emotions or physical problems present, allow oneself to feel them deeply, and then they dissolve in the inner bliss state of Self that is always present.

I cannot tell you enough about how extraordinary this state is, of knowing who you are as an earth-embodied sentient being, but also an extraordinary Presence of the Divine within, which manifest as light, energy, power, attending a sense of total surrender and grace.


I have since discovered there are two aspects of this Self-Realization that I talk about: Realization of the manifest self within our embodied consciousness of body/mind and presence.  But also the Self as an apparent other, as God, savior, Light of the World, the Self-of-All, (Turiya) which is the most extraordinary experience possible for a mortal.

I have learned one can realize that self of the individual, as sentience embodied, as it truly is as opposed to who we think we are, using very different means than the loving self-inquiry that I recommend as my primary offered method. 

This other way, in fact is the way of Zen, which is living in no-mind.  This is what Seung Sahn means by becoming “dumb as a rock,”

One acquires through meditation a state of pure, empty thoughtlessness, No-Mind, and in that state, you become the “Self-of-All,” or Turiya, as embodied in your own mind/body/presence, you might call the small self, or embodied self-nature. 

(Be aware I am not using these terms in the way any other teacher uses them.  You have to apprehend the meaning by the context of this text.  Given a year or so, I will be able to explain everything in a clearer way than I can offer now.  But those who “resonate” will understand now.)

To attain this state, one needs to find the root of your own embodied beingness, and there are a thousand ways to reach this besides self-inquiry, including use of koans, the just sitting meditation of Shikantanza, intense meditation retreats or Sesshin where you are confronted by harsh demands on your body, as well as confrontations with the Zen master.

There just are too many methods to be articulated in this short essay.

Then there is the second aspect of the type of Self-Realization that I speak of, which is an experience of the Divine Self arising within you, or descending from above.  These experiences of surrender, grace, light, infinite power are indescribable, and can be obtained the most easiest way through Love, Devotion, Surrender and acts of Loving Servitude.

Some people have an extraordinary fear of the intense and total surrender required for Divine Self-Realization, such that they just cannot surrender to love totally as required.  For these people I will teach how to awaken to the self of our manifestation, of our sentience embodied in flesh of our unique humanity. 

This awakening is so much easier than the second awakening to the Divine Self, because the latter requires all sorts of emotional healings and is a dramatically demanding path filled with the comings and goings of extraordinary states of descending into netherworlds of negativity, followed by ascending into worlds of ecstatic oneness, incredible exploding energies, burning and vibrating energies that feel both incredibly blissful, but can become so powerful that you feel they will destroy you.

This path require far more strength of body and mind than required for realizing the individual sense of self, and the training for the latter ultimately prepares one for the former.

Ultimately, the devotee to complete this path must experience a Love beyond anything they had thought possible: A love of total surrender, total loss of independence, total loss of control, of complete submission and subservience of the small self.

The fear that prevents such love is that of complete self-destruction, of collapsing into utter neediness and helplessness.  Yet what actually happens is that you get to know God as Self.  You are transformed and nothing is destroyed except the illusion that you are separate and alone.  You always feel the divine Self with, guiding, energizing, loving and accepting.

Be aware, from now on I will offer more methods than just loving self-inquiry, and loving another, with the intent of having people recognize themselves as other than body/mind, as an energetic presence of energy, light, and bliss embodied in insentient meat.

For some, this will offer a step-wise approach to the an eventual Self-Realization of oneself as Divine.

20 August 2013

TO ME, from an advanced meditator, much like Rajiv was 4 years ago.


I thought I was using "the subject" in the same sense as you used it when I was last at your house. There's no sense of agency with the subject, so it's not a sense of self as doer. I'm not sure that it's different from the "watcher." But I didn't think we were talking about the "watcher" when we sat in your house.

Can you have a subjective sense of the "watcher"? Can you apperceive it ?



Yes you can. But it is kind of mysterious, much like getting a meeting with the prince in Kafka's Castle.

You see the footprints of it everywhere. You feel its presence on the other side of phenomenality.

Then one day something happens and "fall back" into the mystery, and suddenly the world reappears in a new light as you realize you have become the Self--at least as an instantiation of sentience within the limitations of flesh, and you always were the self, but did not know it because you expected something different and perhaps more transcendental.

Then one day too, you see the Self of All in its infinite glory, and see the oneness of both.

The area you are in is very subtle and can be infinitely confusing trying to separate the concepts about what you perceive and the perceptions themselves. They color each other in complex ways that you have to tease out your own self. Later, you will discover that both the direct perception of Self, and your description and concepts about it will change as you grow until you stop talking about it and just rest there as the mystery of you unfolds.

18 August 2013

Just Be Yourself!

It is so hard to teach others how to become self-realized for three reasons: a primary identification with the body/mind, which becomes habit and ingrained (Vasanas), and finally mental concepts, or better, misconceptions of who and what you are.

In the end, to realize who you are as a body/mind centered entity, you have to stop looking outwards and look inwards. Then, when at a very deep point, you need to turn around from that inner place, and once again look outwards.

There will come a time that when you do this, you will realize you have always been the Self looking outwards from the noumenal into the phenomenal, from nothingness into somethingness even though you will also see that nothingness too is also phenomena.  At first you'll feel as if you are nothingness, then later, also the somethingness.  But in no event are the body/mind, at leasts at first.

Once you know this, you will always be aware of your Self as a fascinating mystery and vast energy, and your attention will fix on that inner self, which one day will result in the visitation of the divine aspect of Self. You as you are also God.

This is what the various types of self-inquiry methods direct you too: going within, resting in the sense of self that fills emptiness.

The below is from "Living by the Words of Bhagavan" page 293.

Bhagavan once said to me :’The one who limits the Self by believing himself to be the body and the mind has ‘killed’ his own Self. For killing the Self he has to be punished. The punishment is birth and death and continuous misery.

Q.: Is the ending of misery determined by prarabdha karma, or can we bring it nearer by personal effort?

Annamalai Swami: The misery comes to an end only by realizing the Self, not by any other means.

Q: Can this happen at any time?

AS: Here and now you are already the Self. You don’t need time to realize it, all you need is correct understanding. Each moment you identify yourself with the body and the mind, you are going in the direction of ego and misery. The moment you give up that identification, you are moving towards your real Self, towards happiness.

Q: … If I try to generate this feeling ‘I am the Self’’ it will not be the real thing. It will be just another idea in the mind. Can thinking about this idea really help me?

AS: When I say, ‘Meditate on the Self’ I am asking you to be the Self, not think about it. Be aware of what remains when thoughts stop. Be aware of the consciousness that is the origin of all your thoughts. Be that consciousness. Feel that this is what you really are. If you do this you are meditating on the Self. But if you cannot stabilize in that consciousness because your vasanas are too strong and too active, it is beneficial to hold onto the thought, ‘I am the Self; I am everything.’ If you meditate in this way you will not be cooperating with the vasanas that are blocking your Self-awareness. If you don’t cooperate with them, sooner or later they are bound to leave you.

17 August 2013

Four Teachers Sharing Human Problems of Being a Spiritual Teacher

I first saw this video 2 to 3 years ago while our own Sangha was first building.

Shankaranada has been a friend since 1979 when I went to his ashram in Los Angeles.  Over the years I got to know several other swamis including Master Charles, Sw. Brahmananda, and Girijinanda, as well as Chidvilasananda and Nityananda, Muktananda's successors.  Two or three years ago I met Sw. Chetananda when he came to LA and was much impressed with his devotion to his own guru still.

At the time I saw this video, I thought these three were a bit overly sensitive and crybabyish. Since then, I have discovered they were really being completely vulnerable and honest.  Of all they speak here, I have found to be truth.

I especially like what Sw. Chetananda says here.

15 August 2013

Love, Surrender, and Devotion as a Path to Self-Realization

There are many different kinds of spiritual “awakenings,” and even more different methods to obtain any of that variety of awakenings, from doing nothing and having the teacher give you Shaktipat, or grace, to various kinds of self-inquiry or self-abiding, to methods to awaken kundalini, to love and surrender to the guru, etc. 

Sometimes people will have some sort of opening, awakening, or transcendental experience, and they think that that is all there is, and become teachers. A few years later they have another awakening and their teachings change.  Sometimes the new teachings completely contradict their old. There are so many teachers who have only a finger-tip awakening, but their false and inflated sense of self forces them to become a teacher of others. 

I teach Self-Realization, knowing what and who the Self is by means of self-inquiry and love.

Self-inquiry is difficult because it is subtle.  How to do penetrating self-inquiry is difficult without a guide because the Self, as both noumena (subject) and phenomena (everything else) is so complex and subtle.

[There are many models of this Consciousness but the best in my opinion, are those of Siddharameshwar (Nisargadatta’s teacher), and Ramana Maharshi. A thorough understanding of these models can bring a profound rest to the seeker who now has guideposts for practice and food for the hungry mind. Most other Indian models are too steeped in Hindu philosophy or mythology to be of much help to Westerners.]

Love is just as direct as self-inquiry, and just as effective in attaining Self-Realization, but it is far more difficult and dangerous to practice because of all the feelings that are aroused.  Emotions can become so intense that one feels on the verge of a breakdown or insanity, but this is only the fear of the “ego” that (the me) will be destroyed through the intense love and surrender to another.

One finds in following this path, whether of guru love, love of God, love of another, if practiced as a path of self-realization, that the depth of love and devotion will grow far beyond anything you had imagined as your greatest love and devotion in the past.  Each new depth brings a fear of total annihilation.

But each new depth of surrender achieved begets a larger and larger sense of Self, of aliveness, self-love along with other-love, bliss, ecstasy and completeness.

Magic happens the more you love.  States os constant bliss and visions of the divine descending and purifying you occur all the time.  One becomes one-pointed, fixated on your Beloved, both without, and also your own Beloved within, the immortal Self and Shakti, the movements of energy and light of Consciousness within you.

You begin to realize you are not your body, but you become the love you have for your guru or lover.  You are like a divine wind of God.  Feelings this bliss and seeing these internal flows of energy and light, your identity shifts from the body to your own sense of presence, which is the sentience or awareness of both your own self as a body/mind, but also the Self within which Consciousness plays its various stories of gods and peoples.

This sense of presence, of sentience, life and personal consciousness is recognized as more you than your body, and thus begins your break with the world, and a headlong flight towards the divine.

But the path of love is steep and can be filled with fear, because each new depth of surrender and commitment reveals and ever deeper abyss of emptiness, total potential annihilation of the small self, your current identity.  The ego fights to maintain its separation and independence, because one has not yet learned to trust God, the divine within.

As a pointer, imagine your greatest love of your past, whether for a parent, a guru, or lover, and make it ten times larger. Even this does not approach the love and devotion you need for that total inner transformation of becoming your divine Self.

Each level of love grows larger and more fearful in the imagined devastation of the Beloved is lost.

Then one day, suddenly, out of nowhere, one’s true Self, the divine within, God, manifests in full form to you as an individual, and you are joined forever in ecstatic union.  The terrible fear of destruction becomes a happiness of completion, for you know who you are in total rest and love. 

You are your body mind in a small way, as part of the manifest world.  You also are your now very powerful and grounded sense of presence, centered in your heart, perceiving and loving the world and your own self and Self in complete, ecstatic silence.  All fear gone there are no more descents into the abyss of insanity as before because you recognize both the known and the unknown, that before was so fearful, as You. Then, no more fear, only peace and rest.

10 August 2013

Ramana’s and Nisargadatta’s Differing Concepts of Self-Realization--AMENDED Aug. 14

Ramana Maharshi and Nisargadatta Maharaj were contemporaries in the wisdom tradition known as Advaita Vedanta. However, both entertained profoundly different philosophy of Self, and of what exists, otherwise known as ontology.

Many people believe that all enlightened people have exactly the same experience and merely express it differently depending on their background, education, and the people around them. However, this is just an assumption. No one can really know the mind of another or the experience of another except by speculation, or in the cases of some very empathic individuals, by direct experience. However, even if I were to have a direct experience of Ramana Maharshi’s experience, it would still be filtered through my body-mind apparatus, and therefore would never be pure Ramana.

Instead of assuming that both of these two great gurus spoke identically in terms of ontology, or more importantly, about the Self, or “Truth,” let us look at what they actually said.

The keywords in exploring the ontology of both of these teachers are as follows: ‘I’, ‘self’, ‘Self’, ‘Consciousness’, ‘Turiya’, and ‘Turiyatata’.

One of the key differences between Nisargadatta and Ramana, was that for Ramana there was only Consciousness. For Nisargadatta, there was Consciousness and the witness behind Consciousness, the absolute, the noumenal, which was entirely separate from Consciousness. Sometimes it appears he uses "witness" almost like  pointer towards an entity. However, and entity would have to be in existence or Consciousness.  At other times, he refers to it as the "principle" that knows both knowingness and non-knowing, or nothingness.

For Ramana there were two I’s, the I of the mind that is destroyed by self inquiry, and the “true” I of the heart, which is experienced when the mind is silent and one rests in one sense of presence in the area of the heart in the body. The locus of concentration/energy, drops from the brain, face, and mouth into the thorax and heart area, entirely quieting the mind. This is called abiding in the Self.

For Nisargadatta, in essence, there were three I’s: the I thought; the I of Atman or the witness of the three states of Consciousness found in Turiya; the absolute witness, the noumenal Self, the Self that does not exist in Consciousness, and therefore “exists” prior to Consciousness.

For Nisargadatta, following the lead of his teacher Siddharameshwar, enjoined the student practitioner to focus on the inner sense of I am, which usually is first experienced as energy in the area of the heart, and with concentration thereon, grows into a sense of presence.

Nisargadatta has the student focus on the sense of I am, then turn around and rests in the sense of I am or abides there in the sense of I am, with a sense of love and acceptance of that I am sense.

Eventually, Nisargadatta states that that sense of I am, almost as a physical presence, disappears, leaving one in the absolute, which is beyond Consciousness, and is the ultimate witness of Consciousness.

Ramana somewhat differently has the student concentrate on the I-thought, watching where it arises and where it passes away.

If one actually practices this way for a long time, one will actually see the thought as an entity arising out of emptiness and disappearing into emptiness, which he calls Self, Turiya, or the real I as opposed to the false I of the I-thought.

That is, for Ramana, the real I is the ground state, feeling of Turiya, which is the basic essence of sentience, or the conscious life force. I believe this is what Nisargadatta calls “beingness.”

If we meditate deeper, and watch that I thought disappear into the emptiness, one will find that emptiness is really filled with knowingness, sentience, or a sense of presence. It appears as a lighted presence within oneself, within the empty space that is our inner void, and which, after a time, one takes to be oneself. Ramana calls this the true I.

For Nisargadatta, at least in his experience, even Ramana’s true I of Consciousness is illusory, and his true I is the witness which is entirely beyond Consciousness, and which is the noumenal, the absolute, and which can never know itself as object. In other words, the true I is entirely a mystery, and the source from which all of Consciousness arises and passes away.

For Ramana, it is different. For him there is only Consciousness.

Ramana stated after he had an experience of death and realized that the body dies but Consciousness is not touched by death:

“I” am immortal Consciousness. “I” [that is the true I or Self] was reality, the only reality in this momentary state. All conscious activity that was related to my body flowed into this “I.” From that moment all attention was drawn as if by powerful magic to the I or “Self.” The fear of death was permanently extinguished. From this time I remain fully absorbed in the “Self.”

You have to realize that Ramana did not actually die. He pretended to die. A fear of death came to him and instead of running from the fear, decided to introspect into it, and pretended to die. He held his breath. He clenched his eyes. I he laid down as a corpse and imagined it was ready to be burned in the fire of cremation.

Then it dawned on him that the full power of his own beingness continued to exist unabated. He realized in this moment the separation of Consciousness from the body, and that Consciousness had its own separate life force from the body. It is because of his terrible fear that this experience that “ordinary Consciousness” was so meaningful. Other people find out that they are not their bodies in other ways, and with somewhat different experiences.

For Ramana there was only Consciousness. It was not conceivable to him that there was a noumenal unknowable witness that existed prior to Consciousness. For Ramana there was only Satchitananda, existence-knowledge-bliss. There was nothing outside of existence-knowledge-bliss. That is there was no prior to Consciousness; all that there was, was Consciousness.

Nisargadatta would agree that all that there is, is Consciousness. But he would posit the existence of a principal beyond Consciousness that was aware of the coming and going of Consciousness, which he called the Absolute, or the Witness, equivalent to the Western concept of noumena, the unknowable subject of existence, which was not in existence, but beyond it, or prior to it.

One might use an analogy of en entity from another dimension who stuck his head into our 4-dimensioanl universe, witnessed it, but was not of it.

In his life as a matter of fact, Nisargadatta retreated more and more into this witness state the older and sicker he got, but he stated that for the aspirant who wants to attain Jnana, one cannot ignore Consciousness, which he called “knowingness.”

On page 53 of Consciousness and the Absolute he states:

     “the absolute state cannot be explained by words. You are that absolute, the unchanging.

     “Consciousness, or the knowingness, is homogeneous and one only. When you were in that state of Consciousness, it is all one, all the same, only the expressions are different.

     “Everything which gets consumed, exhausted, is unreal. Your knowingness will, in due course, be consumed, will disappear, so it can’t be real; but you can’t just dismiss it, you must understand it fully.”

In other words, Nisargadatta is saying that Consciousness is unreal in the sense of being temporary, and also dependent on the existence of the body, and becomes burnt up by life after period of time, but for the purposes of Jnana, self-realization, it cannot be ignored, for it is the gate to awakening.

Self-realization for Nisargadatta meant something entirely different from self-realization for Ramana. For Ramana self-realization is the recognition that you are the entirety of Consciousness arising from your recognition that your essence is the Satchitananda of the Turiya “state,” and also all experiences that arise from and disappear into Turiya. In other words, you are that expanded sense of presence that comes from dwelling in the silence of the heart with the mind held silent, the beingness or presence that experiences everything, and which remains during sleep, waking and dream states. For Ramana everything in the world, everything in your body and mind, reside in that sense of presence, Satchitananda or the real I, or Turiya.

But not for Nisargadatta. He identifies himself with the witness of Consciousness, the witness of I am. In a sense he appears to be identifying with the witness or the real I that Ramana calls Turiya, but Nisargadatta objectifies Consciousness, the object, while the absolute is the noumenal subject.

Concerning this, Robert Adams rejected Nisargadatta’s assumption of the split between the absolute and Ramana’s real I of Turiya, saying that Nisargadatta added unnecessary complications to Ramana’s pure theory.

Nisargadatta’s absolute in a sense is initially a speculation based on the assumption that there must exist a principal which recognizes Consciousness and also the absence of Consciousness which is beyond Consciousness. One can never experience this prior to Consciousness “existence” because it is entirely outside of Consciousness. As Nisargadatta states, one can never witness the witness, one can never witness the absolute, one can only be the absolute. Therefore there can never be any experiential proof of the Absolute, but only a conviction.

When one becomes that witness for Nisargadatta, one has attained a level beyond existence and nonexistence, which he states as is one’s true nature, and it is this which he called self-realization.

(In fact, as I explain elsewhere, it is more than         conviction. One develops a faith that is beyond the intellect, beyond conviction because of the continuity of Se;f even through unconsciousness states.  Ramesh Balsekar called with "apprehension.")

For Ramana on the other hand, self-realization is the experience of Satchitananda, or identification or immersion in Turiya, the real Self, “the only reality.” He stated that “all conscious activity that was related to my body flowed into this I (Turiya). From that moment, all attention was drawn as if by powerful magic to the “I” or the “Self.”

For Ramana, self-realization was entirely experiential. He felt the power of the self within, of Turiya, of Satchitananda, and from that moment on was always aware that he was the self. This was the true I. The I did not dissolve as for Nisargadatta, although the false I of the mind did. All things in the world arose from and  subsided into the Self. For Nisargadatta, all things arose from and disappeared into the absolute, the noumena.

One reconciliation is possible between these two concepts of self-realization is to join them both together, and make Turiya the flip side of the absolute witness, and the absolute witness the flip side of Turiya or essence of Consciousness.

Nisargadatta appears to be suggesting the same in Consciousness and the Absolute.  In one paragraph he calls the ‘Self’ the “feeling ‘I-Am’,” which is love to be, while in another paragraph he says the ‘I’ is the Absolute unmanifested, while Consciousness is the manifested world, Consciousness, which is experienced the same by all.

      Nisargadatta: Now, understand the subtle difference, what are you and what do you understand to be you? The body is not you. The body is the food you have consumed, the taste of the body is the knowledge "I Am". That is Self, the feeling "I Am", that is the love to be. That love to be is all-pervading.

     Everything happens out of our own Self. Thi consciousness is spontaneously felt in the Self only. This "I" is not an individual. What is, is the Absolute unmanifested. What appears, as if in a dream, is the manifested, relative world, and this experience of the dreamlike state is the same, an identical state, for everyone.

In fact, for me this is an essential assumption to explain my own experiences, the first of which was to experience myself as totally separate from the states of Consciousness which came to me, and enveloped me, but did not touch me. This is what Robert Adams acknowledged as self-realization in me.

In this experience I myself was unknowable; all that “I” knew was the coming and going of states of Consciousness. Without the coming and going of states of Consciousness there would be no awareness of myself as the absolute, apart from Consciousness. It was only through witnessing Consciousness that I had an existence as a total mystery, as some principle or thing beyond Turiya.

In my third awakening experience, I felt an explosion of life force, energy, and bliss arising from within my presence in a constant eruption, with a deep, deep knowing that this was my Self. There was utter and total certainty that this energy, light, bliss and self-recognition was myself. The knowledge was unshakable. Because of the simultaneous presence of visual light, bliss, a sense of profound grace, self-acceptance, surrender, and love, I call this Christ or Krishna Consciousness. This is the complete opposite of my second awakening stated in the previous paragraph.

In the second awakening I identified with the untouchable absolute witness just observing Consciousness. In the third awakening, I became the explosion of the light force, of Turiya, Satchitananda, Consciousness on steroids. And I found this awakening far more powerful, riveting, and “enlightening” than either my first or second awakening recognized by Robert Adams.

However, exploring Nisargadatta’s works, one reads his first book, Self-Knowledge and Self-Realization, and finds that he is a true Bhakta, filled with love, devotion, and divine energies, and experiences Krishna Consciousness. In fact he talks about Satchitananda and the constant feeling of bliss, surrender to his group, love of his guru, and love of that basic life in a state which he calls the child Consciousness.

Thus it may well be that Nisargadatta originally experienced the same awakening as Ramana to the life force, to Turiya with all of his attention fixated on it, and eventually it disappeared, and his identification was no longer with Consciousness, but more and more with the absolute experienced as a profound conviction (apprehension).  He did strongly feel the lessening of his own life force along with the severe pain of his cancer, and practically begged Consciousness to leave him.  Not so Ramana.

This may be the case, or it may be the case that Nisargadatta was just tired of life in the world and chose to begin to ignore Consciousness and the happenings in Consciousness, and cleaved to the conviction/apprehension of That which knew the coming and going of Consciousness which was prior to Consciousness, and which was immortal.

     Nisargadatta: My present state is such that this consciousness and all this physical suffering are unbearable. I am prepared to dispose of it right now. Nevertheless, people come here and these talks emanate out of the consciousness. I am addressing you as consciousness; you are the Godly consciousness. 

     I am telling you about the consciousness. In my true state, if I had been aware of consciousness at the moment the body formation was taking place, I would have rejected it. But at that highest state such knowledge is not there and this body formation and consciousness are both spontaneous.

For me, I think I have come to express in my own teachings the primacy of Ramana’s saying YES to Consciousness and the life force, as opposed to Nisargadatta more or less dismissing Consciousness and fading away into the noumena, into the hypothetical subject beyond Consciousness.

For me, the constant burning explosive awareness that runs through my sense of presence and my body is so powerful, so commanding and inviting at the same time, that my previous existence up until two years ago, and which included 15 years of awakening in a Nisargadatta style, was all just a dream.

Only now when I burn and explode with life energies, my body is acutely attentive to everything, my sense of presence fills my body and the space around me with a different kind of knowing, a knowing through the heart directly rather than through the mind and the brain. To me this is true awakening.