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Found 44 results

  1. https://www.medhajournal.com/non-dual-awareness-is-without-attributes-but-what-about-love/
  2. In Vedantic study, there is a concept called "jahad ajaha lakshana", which means the proposition of abandoning the literal and grasping that which is the essence behind the literal. The following example is given --
  3. https://www.medhajournal.com/close-encounters-of-the-fourth-kind/
  4. The never ending story

    No matter how auspicious an idea may appear as it is known by a knower from within the mind, identification with being anything in particular is essentially self-imposed limitation. The guru admonishes to leave concepts behind, to relinquish the identity of doership and acting, to be free of burdens not needful which may become to us as obstacles. Being is without doing. One can not help but simply Be oneself. All that must be done is then done rightly and naturally. Simply be as one has been, as one already is and as one will forever be. Be as you are, for the naturalness of this being that we are is that which makes the supposed becoming of anything in particular possible. Being this being, is to naturally abandon this or that identity. In this being, it's revealed that one is the knowing-ness of knowledge, the doing-ness of that which is done; the essence, the very being-ness of being itself. The Power of power. There's no being of this or that, there is only this-ness or that-ness, through and through. The heart of being, which is being, and beyond it. The Paramakash, so far removed from what the mind can imagine, that even the pure consciousness "I AM" seems to be an almost alien thing. From Paramakash, to Mahadakash: The gods and devas may possess names and forms, but the "light" of consciousness is completely attributeless. Without a body, it embodies all. That "light" which illuminates the mind as a reflection, is no more the mind or its contents than the Sun is equal to the daylight it provides. Lord Krishna: "By Me, in My unmanifested form, this entire universe is pervaded. All beings are in Me, but I am not in them. And yet everything that is created does not rest in Me. Behold My mystic opulence! Although I am the maintainer of all living entities and although I am everywhere, I am not a part of this cosmic manifestation, for My Self is the very source of creation." Innumerable states seem to appear upon or within this "light", along with the appearance of one(s) who appear(s) to traverse them. Eternally back and forth, seesawing up and down, the actions and inaction of the apparent many is reflected in the waking dream and deep sleep states. One can get comfortable in a dream of one's own making, lucid even, yet become mesmerized by the powers of awareness in the dream. One can become engrossed in the indulgences of physicality, unsatiated by desires of experiencing waking life to its presumed fullest potential. These states come and these states go. Yet there exists a "state" which never comes and never goes, beyond even the self-love that is undifferentiated bliss experienced in deep sleep. It is all there is. Conscious, unconscious, both conscious and unconscious, and Neither. The original being, experienceless, stateless in its state, in which all states and all experiences appear as if they were themselves dreams of a dreamer unknown.
  5. In the text Tripura Rahasya, King Janaka expounds to sage Ashtavakra about the nature of samadhi. He says that nirvikalpa samadhi is a continuous experience of every being. It is only interrupted by thoughts and objects. When the mind is extroverted one doesn’t realize the nirvalkpa samadhi that is constantly there, as the attention is busy grasping this and that. The purification of the mind is with the introverting of the mind, from outside to within. As the mind purifies the samadhi becomes apparent and eventually one can effortlessly stay like that (effortless samadhi).
  6. Before one criticizes another tradition or tries to posit comparative analyses, the following questions should be taken into consideration. Why are you interested in the differences? You will know, deep in your heart why. Is it to prove X is better than Y? Do you think having a transactional (mercantile) attitude towards spirituality is going to serve you well in the long run? Have you actually learnt in their entirety, the systems that you are comparing? I'll take Advaita Vedanta for instance. Many a sharpshooter has tried to do these type of comparative studies of AV (AV vs This or That). Hold on a second...are you actually qualified to do so? If you want to do justice to your intellect and your spiritual path, you need to first qualify as a student. In Ancient India, there was a healthy tradition of debates between different schools of thought/sprituality. But that required a deep understanding of both positions (that which you are speaking for, and that which you are critiquing). If AV vs "X, Y or Z" is your topic of choice, you need to qualify as a serious student first, before you get the right to criticize it. In order to be considered a serious Advaita Vedantin, the following conditions need apply -- Sādhanā chatustāya - The Four Means What are they? The four means are -- Viveka - The ability to discriminate real from unreal (Real here means that which has independent Self-nature - aka the Self). This at least needs to manifest in the ability to discern what doesn't have independent self-nature (aka phenomena). vairagya - Non-attachment Shadsampat - The six virtues -- Shama - Tranquility of the mind (reducing the modifications of the mind) Dama - Control of the senses uparati - cessation of the need for sensory activities (not craving experiences), implying a sense of contentment titikshā - Fortitude - The ability to persevere with the inquiry/practice. Come what may, I WILL NOT give up until I have full understanding shraddhā - Respect for the tradition, the teachings and it's preceptors. samādhāna - Focus that will allow one to pursue the inquiry Mumukshutva - Burning Thirst for Liberation If you don't have these, then you are not a serious student of Advaita Vedanta. These are the qualities that qualify one to be an Advaita Vedantin (adhikāri). If you haven't done your homework, your comparisons are going to be in vain. Some of the shoddy comparisons I find pertaining to Advaita Vedanta prompted me to write this post. Somethings we should avoid doing is setting up straw man arguments. This is 101 in debates. Otherwise the comparisons/debates become farcical. What constitute straw man arguments? Attributing cherry-picked/out of context, or incomplete facts towards one party of the comparison/debate, or, worse still, half-truths (or half-lies). For instance - "Advaita Vedanta says World is False/illusory". Yes, but when taken in context of the second part of the statement - The World is none other than Brahman who is Absolute Reality, it doesn't seem as shocking or dramatic anymore. Or take for instance the statement - "Advaita Vedanta says that the limited being cannot experience the Universal Being". No where in any upanishads or commentaries of the various Advaita Vedanta masters is that said. Instead, when we study deeper, we find that Advaita Vedanta says the Universal Being (Brahman) appears to the individual being in different forms depending on the state he/she is in (waking, dreaming, deep-sleep). The list can go on and on...but I'll stop here. Hari Om Tat Sat
  7. That which Awakens is always awake, always there. I attended a 3 day retreat on The Mandukya Upanishad, which shows us the nonduality inherent in our everyday experience, right here and right now, by pointing to something that underlies our everyday experiences of waking, dreaming and deep sleep. To try an exercise as an experiment (I've seen Papaji do this and it worked for me), for anyone who wants to try ie. -- Try and see who you are, in a fraction of a second, without thinking. Don't try to guess what the answer will be, but in YOUR EXPERIENCE, see who you are, without thinking. What do you get? More to follow afterwards.
  8. Hi, I am wondering if Advaita vedanta (or Kashmir shavism), the most prominent types of jnana yoga can lead students to the opening of chakras. Some say that just reading, listening or self-enquiry makes it possible to open chakras. Is it really possible? Thanks
  9. The Art of Listening

    https://www.medhajournal.com/the-art-of-listening/
  10. A talk about spiritual enlightenment: https://youtu.be/ghsFEVeLbCk This talk discusses the following:1)Why seek Spiritual Enlightenment?2) Hedonic treadmill - A psychological theory which is related to the motivations behind seeking spiritual enlightenment.3) Some misconceptions about spiritual enlightenment.4) How duality or sense of separation is created.and more...
  11. Sadhana Chatushtaya - Fourfold qualifications for a spiritual seekerhttps://youtu.be/rq8B2_ugwTk
  12. People are mystified with or annoyed at people who have woken up making statements like “all you need is to be silent/still” or “nothing needs to be done”. For those who have spent years trying to “get something” - energy, grace, etc, is an assumption that they are somehow incomplete and will be fulfilled when they “get some thing”. Years of toiling, practice, austerities, thinking pile on. But mostly there are moments of experiences of “bliss”, a glimpse here, a taste there, and the elusive “awakeness” keeps playing hide and seek! But there really is nothing to “get”. There is a lot to give up though. The reason is simply because there is nothing one gets from the “outside” that wakes you up. In a sense no one really was asleep, so no one wakes up. What goes away is the mistaken identification and sense of bondage. All that is needed is simply that — give up the mistaken notions of bondage and simply trace the culprit back to its source. The culprit is the mind, and the 10,000 things it creates. It seems so hard because it calls for a type of undoing that is counterintuitive. The mind likes to do this and that. It’s job is to solve problems and subdivide one into many. So simply letting it be seems like the hardest thing to do. But all is needed is, to not get swayed by its fluctuations. Just keep watching it and trace it back to its root. Feel free to discuss the points raised here. Happy awakening
  13. A Shamatha Meditation Based on Symbolism, Visualization, Mnemonics and Classical Conditioning. This 3-level meditation method is based on pure psychology and a completely rational method to develop focus, objectivity, discipline, inner purification, a desire for liberation, inner stillness, understanding ‘destructive normality’, and a preparedness to walk on the path of spirituality. You can read the disclaimers given at the top to understand the objective of the meditation: https://nellaishanmugam.wordpress.com/a-shamatha-meditation-based-on-symbolism-visualization-mnemonics-and-classical-conditioning/
  14. https://www.arshabodha.org/adiShankara/DrigDrishya-9.pdf
  15. http://www.swamij.com/pdf/Panchadashi9580164.pdf
  16. What is Non-duality?

    I thought I'd write a bit about Non-duality, based on statements like -- Non-duality claims there is only One and not two, and that it is possible to know there is underlying non-separateness without being a single "thing". That there are still individuals but they are not separate. Somehow the notion that Non-duality implies "a One Thing", has taken hold. What does Non-duality really mean? Some statements towards that end -- The Non-dual cannot be described in words The mind cannot reach Non-duality Non-dual means no duality - in other words, no subject-object distinction Subject-object duality is our primary day to day experience. Everything we experience is predicated on the subject-object duality. I, the subject, experience objects that are separate from me. In experiencing these objects, I come to know them. Our reality is what we know, and we know objects. Even my body is an object to me, the "I". My mind, is an object to me, the "I". Mind I define as a stream of objects rising and falling in consciousness. That begs the question -- who is this "I"? An exercise that I found very useful, (I borrowed from Papaji, the Advaita master from India (Ramana Maharshi's student)) is to have someone inquire thus -- "In a fraction of a second, tell me who you are". The usual response is "I am XYZ". Then response becomes "that took more than a fraction of a second..it took maybe 1 or 2 seconds even to respond to". In a fraction of a second, tell me who you are. Depending on the individual, the eventually are stumped as they don't get an answer. They cannot articulate anything about their identity. So, then the follow-on question is - "What do you know about who you are in a fraction of a second?" After some more attempts, it becomes clear "I know I am". In essence, this is who "I" is. Existence and awareness. We can't even say whether "I am aware because I exist...or I exist because I'm aware". They are one and the same. So then, this begs the question - what about all these objects that we know? Do they exist separately from "I" (or the I AM)? Isn't our experience predicated on our being and being aware? So how can the objects exist independent of the "I"? Counter-arguments ensue..."but they existed before...your parents saw you...your children will see after you". But what are your parents and your children? Are they too not objects to your "I"? We make assumptions about our model of reality on the basis of the experiences we have. Most are oblivious to the "being and being aware" or the "I AM". The reality is a construct of objects. We identify with these objects. We might go from the "I am XYZ...of ABC nationality, Male or Female, etc etc" model to "I am not separate from others but there is no inherent "oneness"" model. Still, these are models based on subject-object duality. "I" the subject am still experiencing "objects". These objects are "things". Non-duality, says there is no subject-object separation at all. There is no One, there is No Two. There are No "Things". "One" and "Two" are in the domain of things. When we operate from the perspective of "I" and "things", it is duality. Whether we see separateness or non-separateness. Whether we see unity or diversity. If there is an "I" and an "Other", it is duality. Things appear and disappear. What is the only constant in this dualistic model? The "I". What are the characteristics of "I"? Presence, now! There is no past, there is no future. Only naked awareness, right here, right now. How can one then say, that the "I" in me, is separate and distinct from the "I" in you? Where is the possibility of "me and you" in "right here, right now"? All there is, is presence. What happens when we stay abiding with "I"? Even the "I" disappears. When "I" and "things" both are gone, then there is non-duality.
  17. Now you might accuse me of flogging an already dead horse, but I'd like to suggest that "this" is not the same as the "horse" that is considered already dead. The Vedantic Atman is not the same as that which is considered "self" in the general sense of the word. Atman and Nairatman (Anatta) is a massive "bone of contention" between Advaita Vedanta and Bauddha dharma, but it is rooted in half-understood concepts of what specifically Atman means from the point of view of Advaita Vedanta. In Vedanta there is the concept of Jiva (a generic concept found in other systems of Hindu Dharma as well). Jiva literally means "living being". The key features of Jiva are as follows -- Jiva is born and therefore must die (has a beginning and an end) Jiva the personality that transmigrates from one lifetime to another (or in other words, re-incarnates) Jiva comprises of the five sheaths or panchakoshas -- the annamaya kosha or the sheath of food (anna means rice, literally), or the physical body The pranamaya kosha or the sheath of prana (life force), or the energy body the manomaya kosha or the sheath of the mind, or the mental body the vijnanamaya kosha or the sheath of the intellect the anandamaya kosha or the sheath of bliss As one goes from outward focus (of the mind) to inward focus (towards finding the source of the mind), one encounters each of these sheaths or layers in meditation. Just as one clearly experiences and operates with their physical body and the thinking mind, one also experiences their energy body, their intellect (which is different from the mind in the indic tradition) or even the blissful nature at a higher level of experience. The jiva predicates Ishwara, or God as the source of creation. With the help of the mind, body and intellect, jiva lives it's limited life, with one of several (or combinations thereof) of positions - There is no ishwara and all of this (material world) is a result of happen-chance interaction of matter. There is an Ishwara who is the creator, maintainer and destroyer and one's actions in their lifetime predicates whether they go to heaven (eternal joy and pleasure) or hell (eternal suffering and pain). This type follow specific doctrinal guidelines which are purported to be resultant in their being able to go to heaven or hell, depending on how faithfully they have followed said doctrines. There is an Ishwara who does create, maintain and destroy the universe, but the Jiva has the ability to unite with this Ishwara through devotion, right action, yoga, etc etc. They still hold a separation between themselves and Ishwara, and their union with Ishwara is that of a benevolent Lord and devotee (or a parent and child). Atman points to something else completely. Unlike the limited nature of the jiva who lives in a body, and depending on one's belief -- transmigrates across lifetimes or goes to heaven or hell for eternity or starts as matter and ends as matter, the Atman -- is pure subject predicate, without which no manifestion can happen. At least that much is verifiable intellectually, from an "individual" perspective. It is neither a soul nor a personality. It is pure consciousness. It is empty as it is not a thing which takes up space or exists in time. However, both space and time appear in it. It is not something that can be experienced using the normal faculties and apparatuses (like the mind and the inner and outer senses). It can be directly known - Aparoksha Anubhuti. What Emptiness means in this case, is that it is empty of "thing"ness. It cannot be captured with any of the sensory apparatuses. It cannot be described by the mind. If the mind tries to find it, it fails and finds only stillness and silence instead. The question that many people ask is "if that is the case, why call it Atman or Self?". The answer is because there is nothing more intimate than this. It is the root and the basis of everything we know. Knowing (with the mind and intellect) cannot be without it. What else can something so intimate be called? That which is called "nairatman or Anatta" is the jiva itself. It is the non-self. Atman is the selfless Self. It is the lightless light. However, it must be pointed out that ultimately, the Jiva is not different or separate from the Atman, because then, that would clearly be dualistic in nature. Jiva is a phenomenon that occurs as a result of mistaken identification with one of the five koshas, and primarily the lower 3 koshas. More questions follow after this -- Why does that happens? It doesn't really happen. It only appears to happen... How can you explain the fact that you (and others) wrote so many pages and commentaries on this topic. If it doesn't really happen, who and what is writing, and who and what is reading this? The appearance of separate beingness (jiva) is reading this. The jiva who appears to have been awakened, is writing this. So the Self is reading what the Self has written. Or no one is reading nothing, ultimately. It doesn't really matter In my humble opinion and experience, irrespective of what one sees or experiences, the root of one's consciousness in the manifest state, is the "I-ness" (aka I AM or I-I). This exists as witness to all things rising and falling, and staying with it, all things appear as part of it itself. The road, the landscapes, sky, people, animals, trees etc all are it's very own Self. This I have experienced before starting with the mind expansions and also after the mind expanded. This root does not change -- it remains empty and ever-present.
  18. Blissful Books

    I am really interested in knowing which books have you read, preferably short books that have put you into a state of bliss? Like for example, for me it was Ribhu Gita, chapter 26 as suggested by Ramana Maharshi. Thanks
  19. Upanishads are the basis for Indian schools of thought. Of this Brihadaranyaka Upanishad and Chandogya upanishad are the oldest. These are the earliest available literature in India which teach non-duality. I have been reading these texts for the past few days and I came across this wonderful section, which is the 6th part of Chandogya Upanishad. I found it very impressive and it brought tears in my eyes as I read it. So, I am sure you will enjoy this as well. I am posting the entire 6th part here... Chapter I − The Non−Duality of the Self 1 Om. There once lived Svetaketu the grandson of Aruna. To him his father said: "Svetaketu, lead the life of a brahmacharin; for there is none belonging to our family, my dear, who, not having studied the Vedas, is a brahmin only by birth." 2−3 Svetaketu went to his teacher’s house when he was twelve years old and studied the Vedas till he was twenty−four. Then he returned to his father, serious, considering himself well read and arrogant. His father said to him: "Svetaketu, since you are now so serious, think yourself well read and are so arrogant, have you, my dear, ever asked for that instruction by which one hears what cannot be heard, by which one perceives what cannot be perceived, by which one knows what cannot be known?" Svetaketu asked: "What is that instruction, venerable Sir?" 4−6 "Just as, my dear, by one clod of clay all that is made of clay is known, the modification being only a name, arising from speech, while the truth is that all is clay; "Just as, my dear, by one nugget of gold all that is made of gold is known, the modification being only a name, arising from speech, while the truth is that all is gold; "And just as, my dear, by one pair of nail−scissors all that is made of iron is known, the modification being only a name, arising from speech, while the truth is that all is iron−even so, my dear, is that instruction." 7 "Surely those venerable men did not know that. For if they had known it, why should they not have told it to me? Therefore do you, venerable Sir, tell me about it." "So be it, my dear," said the father. Chapter II − Brahman: the Cause of the Universe 1 "In the beginning, my dear, this universe was Being (Sat) alone, one only without a second. Some say that in the beginning this was non−being (asat) alone, one only without a second; and from that non−being, being was born." 2 Aruni said: "But how, indeed, could it be thus, my dear? How could Being be born from non−being? No, my dear, it was Being alone that existed in the beginning, one only without a second. 3 "It (Being, or Brahman) thought: ‘May I be many; may I grow forth.’ It created fire. That fire thought: ‘May I be many; may I grow forth.’ It created water. That is why, whenever a person is hot and perspires, water is produced from fire (heat) alone. 4 "That water thought: ‘May I be many; may I grow forth.’ It created food (i.e. earth). That is why, whenever it rains anywhere, abundant food is produced. From water alone is edible food produced. Chapter III − The Threefold Development 1 "Of all these living beings, there are only three origins: those born from an egg, those born from a living being and those born from a sprout. 2 "That Deity thought: ‘Let Me now enter into those three deities by means of this living self and let Me then develop names and forms.’ 3 "That Deity, having thought: ‘Let Me make each of these three tripartite,’ entered into these three deities by means of the living self and developed names and forms. 4 "It made each of these tripartite; and how these three deities became, each of them, tripartite, that learn from me now, my dear. Chapter IV − The Threefold Development further explained 1 "The red colour of gross fire is the colour of the original fire; the white colour of gross fire is the colour of the original water; the black colour of gross fire is the colour of the original earth. Thus vanishes from fire what is commonly called fire, the modification being only a name, arising from speech, while the three colours (forms) alone are true. 2 "The red colour of the sun is the colour of fire, the white the colour of water, the black the colour of earth. Thus vanishes from the sun what is commonly called the sun, the modification being only a name, arising from speech, while the three colours alone are true. 3 "The red colour of the moon is the colour of fire, the white the colour of water, the black the colour of earth. Thus vanishes from the moon what is commonly called the moon, the modification being only a name, arising from speech, while the three colours alone are true. 4 "The red colour of lightning is the colour of fire, the white the colour of water, the black the colour of earth. Thus vanishes from lightning what is commonly called lighting, the modification being only a name, arising from speech, while the three colours alone are true. 5 "It was just through this knowledge that the great householders and great Vedic scholars of olden times declared: ‘No one can now mention to us anything which we have not heard, thought of, or known.’ They knew all from these three forms. 6−7 "Whatever, appeared red they knew to be the colour of fire; whatever appeared white they knew to be the colour of water; whatever appeared black they knew to be the colour of earth. "Whatever appeared to be unknown they knew to be the combination of these three deities (i.e. colours). Now learn from me, my dear, how these three deities, when they reach man, become each of them tripartite. Chapter V − The Threefold Nature of Food 1 "Food when eaten becomes threefold. What is coarsest in it becomes faeces, what is medium becomes flesh and what is subtlest becomes mind. 2 "Water when drunk becomes threefold. What is coarsest in it becomes urine, what is medium becomes blood and what is subtlest becomes prana. 3 "Fire when eaten becomes threefold. What is coarsest in it becomes bone, what is medium becomes marrow and what is subtlest becomes speech. 4 "The mind, my dear, consists of food, the prana of water and speech of heat." "Please, venerable Sir, instruct me further." "So be it, my dear" Chapter VI − The Physical Nature of the Mind, the Prana and Speech 1 "That, my dear, which is the subtlest part of curds rises, when they are churned and becomes butter. 2 "In the same manner, my dear, that which is the subtlest part of the food that is eaten rises and becomes mind. 3 "The subtlest part of the water that is drunk rises and becomes prana. 4 "The subtlest part of the fire that is eaten rises and becomes speech. "Thus, my dear, the mind consists of food, the prana consists of water and speech consists of fire." "Please, venerable Sir, instruct me further." "So be it, my dear" Chapter VII − How the Mind consists of Food 1 "A person, my dear, consists of sixteen parts. Do not eat any food for fifteen days, but drink as much water as you like. Since the prana consists of water, it will not be cut off if you drink water." 2 Svetaketu did not eat any food for fifteen days. Then he came to his father and said: "What, Sir, shall I recite?" His father said: "The Rik, Yagus and Saman verses." He replied: "They do not occur to me, Sir." 3 His father said to him: "Just as, my dear, of a great blazing fire a single coal, the size of a firefly, may be left, which would not burn much more than that, even so, my dear, of your sixteen parts only one part is left; and therefore with that one part you do not remember the Vedas. Now go and eat and you will understand me." 4 Svetaketu ate and approached his father. Then whatever his father asked him, he showed that he knew it. 5−6 Then his father said to him: "Just as, my dear, of a great lighted fire a single coal the size of a firefly, if left, may be made to blaze up again by adding grass to it and will thus burn much more, "Even so, my dear; of your sixteen parts only one part was left and that, when strengthened by food, blazed up. With it you now remember the Vedas. Therefore, my dear, the mind consists of food, the prana consists of water and speech consists of fire." After that he understood what his father said, yea, he understood it. Chapter VIII − Concerning Sleep, Hunger, Thirst, and Death 1 Uddalaka the son of Aruna said to his son Svetaketu: "Learn from me, my dear, the true nature of sleep. When a person has entered into deep sleep, as it is called, then, my dear, he becomes united with Pure Being (Sat), he has gone to his own Self. That is why they say he is in deep sleep (svapiti); it is because he has gone (apita) to his own (svam). 2 "Just as a bird tied by a string to the hand of the bird−catcher first flies in every direction and then finding no rest anywhere, settles down at the place where it is bound, so also the mind (i.e. the individual soul reflected in the mind), my dear, after flying in every direction and finding no rest anywhere, settles down in the Prana (i.e. Pure Being); for the mind (the individual soul) is fastened to the Prana (Pure Being). 3 "Learn from me, my dear, what hunger and thirst are. When a man is hungry, as they say, it is water that has led (i.e. carried away) what was eaten. Therefore, just as they speak of a leader of cows, a leader of horses, a leader of men, so do they speak of water as the leader of food. So, my dear, know this offshoot (i.e. the body) to have sprung forth from a cause, for it cannot be without a root. 4 "And where could its root be except in food (earth) ? And in the same way, my dear, as food too is an offshoot, seek for water as its root. And as water too, my dear, is an offshoot, seek for fire as its root. And as fire too, my dear, is an offshoot, seek for Being (Sat) as its root. Yes, all these creatures, my dear, have their root in Being, they dwell in Being, they finally rest in Being. 5 "When a man is said to be thirsty, it is fire that has led (i.e. carried away) what was drunk by him. Therefore as they speak of a leader of cows, a leader of horses, a leader of men, so do they speak of fire as the leader of water. So, my dear, know this offshoot (the body) to have sprung forth from a cause, for it cannot be without a root. 6 "And where could its root be except in water? And in the same way, my dear, as water is an offshoot, seek for fire as its root. And as fire too, my dear, is an offshoot, seek for Being as its root. Yes, my dear, all these creatures have their root in Being, they dwell in Being, they finally rest in Being. "And how these three deities (fire, water and earth), on reaching a human being, become each of them tripartite has already been said. When a person departs hence, his speech merges in his mind, his mind in his prana, his prana in heat (fire) and the heat in the Highest Being. 7 "Now, that which is the subtle essence−in it all that exists has its self. That is the True. That is the Self. That thou art, Svetaketu." "Please, venerable Sir, give me further instruction," said the son. "So be it, my dear," the father replied. Chapter IX − The Absence of Individuality in Deep Sleep 1−2 "As bees, my dear, make honey by collecting the juices of trees located at different places and reduce them to one form, "And as these juices have no discrimination so as to be able to say: ‘I am the juice of this tree,’ or ‘I am the juice of that tree’−even so, indeed, my dear, all these creatures, though they reach Pure Being, do not know that they have reached Pure Being. 3 "Whatever these creatures are, here in this world−a tiger, a lion, a wolf, a boar, a worm, a fly, a gnat, or a mosquito−that they become again. 4 "Now, that which is the subtle essence−in it all that exists has its self. That is the True. That is the Self. That thou art, Svetaketu." "Please, venerable Sir, give me further instruction," said the son. "So be it, my dear," the father replied. Chapter X − The Absence of Particularized Consciousness in Deep Sleep 1−2 "These rivers, my dear, flow−the eastern toward the east and the western toward the west. They arise from the sea and flow into the sea. Just as these rivers, while they are in the sea, do not know: ‘I am this river’ or ‘I am that river,’ "Even so, my dear, all these creatures, even though they have come from Pure Being, do not know that they have come from Pure Being. Whatever these creatures are, here in this world−a tiger, a lion, a wolf a boar, a worm, a fly, a gnat, or a mosquito, that they become again. 3 "Now, that which is the subtle essence−in it all that exists has its self. That is the True. That is the Self. That thou art, Svetaketu." "Please, venerable Sir, give me further instruction," said the son. "So be it, my dear," the father replied. Chapter XI − The Indestructibility of the Jiva 1 "If, my dear, someone were to strike at the root of this large tree here, it would bleed but live. If he were to strike at the middle, it would bleed but live. If he were to strike at the top, it would bleed but live. Pervaded by the living self, that tree stands firm, drinking in again and again its nourishment and rejoicing. 2 "But if the life (i.e. living self) leaves one of its branches, that branch withers; if it leaves a second, that branch withers; if it leaves a third, that branch withers. If it leaves the whole tree, the whole three withers. 3 "In exactly the same manner, my dear," said he, "know this: This body dies, bereft of the living self; but the living self dies not. "Now, that which is the subtle essence−in it all that exists has its self. That is the True. That is the Self. That thou art, Svetaketu." "Please, venerable Sir, give me further instruction," said the son. "So be it, my dear," the father replied. Chapter XII − The Birth of the Gross from the Subtle 1 "Bring me a fruit of that nyagrodha (banyan) tree." "Here it is’ venerable Sir." "Break it." "It is broken, venerable Sir." "What do you see there?" "These seeds, exceedingly small, "Break one of these, my son." "It is broken, venerable Sir." "What do you see there?" "Nothing at all, venerable Sir." 2 The father said: "That subtle essence, my dear, which you do not perceive there−from that very essence this great nyagrodha arises. Believe me, my dear. 3 "Now, that which is the subtle essence−in it all that exists has its self. That is the True. That is the Self. That thou art, Svetaketu." "Please, venerable Sir, give me further instruction," said the son. "So be it, my dear," the father replied. Chapter XIII − The Invisibility of an Existent Object 1 "Place this salt in water and then come to me in the morning." The son did as he was told. The father said to him: "My son, bring me the salt which you placed in the water last night." Looking for it, the son did not find it, for it was completely dissolved. 2 The father said: "My son, take a sip of water from the surface. How is it?" "It is salt." "Take a sip from the middle. How is it?" "It is salt." "Take a sip from the bottom. How is it?" "It is salt." "Throw it away and come to me." The son did as he was told, saying: "The salt was there all the time." Then the father said: "Here also, my dear, in this body you do not perceive Sat (Being); but It is indeed there." 3 "Now, that which is the subtle essence−in it all that exists has its self. That is the True. That is the Self That thou art, Svetaketu." "Please, venerable Sir, give me further instruction," said the son. "So be it, my dear," the father replied. Chapter XIV − The Means of Self−Knowledge 1 "Just as someone, my dear, might lead a person, with his eyes covered, away from the country of the Gandharas and leave him in a place where there were no human beings; and just as that person would turn toward the east, or the north, or the south, or the west, shouting: ‘I have been brought here with my eyes covered, I have been left here with my eyes covered!’ 2 "And as thereupon someone might loosen the covering and say to him: ‘Gandhara is in that direction; go that way’; and as thereupon, having been informed and being capable of judgement, he would, by asking his way from one village to another, arrive at last at Gandhara−in exactly the same manner does a man who has found a teacher to instruct him obtain the true knowledge. For him there is delay only so long as he is not liberated from the body; then he reaches perfection. 3 "Now, that which is the subtle essence−in it all that exists has its self. That is the True. That is the Self That thou art, Svetaketu." "Please, venerable Sir, give me further instruction," said the son. "So be it, my dear," the father replied. Chapter XV − Ultimate Liberation 1 "Around a dying person afflicted with illness, my dear, his relatives gather and ask: ‘Do you know me? Do you know me?’ He knows them as long as his speech is not merged in his mind, his mind in his prana (breath), his prana in heat (fire) and the heat in the Highest Deity. 2 "But when his speech is merged in his mind, his mind in his prana, his prana in heat and the heat in the Highest Deity, then he does not know them. 3 "Now, that which is the subtle essence−in it all that exists has its self. That is the True. That is the Self. That thou art, Svetaketu." "Please, venerable Sir, give me further instruction," said the son "So be it, my dear;" the father replied. Chapter XVI − Liberation for the Knower of Brahman 1 "My dear, they (i.e. the police) bring a man whom they have seized by the hand and say: ‘He has taken something, he has committed a theft.’ When he denies it, they say: ‘Heat the axe for him.’ If he has committed the theft but denies it, then he makes himself a liar. Being false−minded, he covers himself with falsehood, grasps the heated axe and is burnt. Then he is killed. 2 "But if he did not commit the theft, then he makes himself what he really is. Being true−minded, he covers himself with truth, grasps the heated axe and is not burnt. He is released. 3 "As that truthful man is not burnt so also one who has known Sat is not born again. Thus in That (Sat) all that exists has its self. That is the True. That is the Self. That thou art, Svetaketu." − Source: http://www.consciouslivingfoundation.org/ebooks/13/CLF-chhandogya_upanishad.pdf
  20. In context of self-inquiry and self-realization, when one starts down this path, one is ignorant of their self-nature (this ignorance is called avidya). The ignorance is because one identifies as their "Self", the body and mind, and the various things that the body-mind allegedly possesses and does (profession, possessions, passions, talents, skills, so on and so forth). So one might say, they are blissfully unaware of the "reality" and live mired in drama of samsara. As one starts the journey of self-inquiry, eventually they will encounter the fact that all that they had previously thought of as being their "self" is not actually that at all. Not everyone gets there quickly. Some suffer and struggle as a result of the inherent lack of knowledge of the fact that, IT, that which observes the body, mind and the countless objects of the universe ebb and flow, is the Self. But this Self has no properties that can be really observed, as it is the very subject that is the source of all experience, and all objects. In the period between embarking on this path and realizing what one truly is, is a painful period (at least was for me). It is rife with suffering of a special kind (some call it the "dark night of the soul"). It really is a "trial by fire", a "rite of passage" and paying debts with "blood"...but I wouldn't have it any other way, in retrospect. However, what drives me to write about this, is the news of that poor kid who committed suicide after going to a vipasana retreat for a week. That was really tragic. But we know that karma has a role to play here. As I reflect upon my "suffering" during the period when I was clearly in witness state and yet did not know my real identity (or a lack thereof, in the common sense), it was a struggle. I was unable to stand crowded places, unable to look people in the eye as the contents of my mind would rise forth as I was having a conversation with them and "negative" thoughts involving them would fleet through my brain. I truly thought I was a bad person, as a result of the contents of my mind (and habits that were driven by the stuff I was living on - social, nutritional, etc). As a result of this (for almost 6 years), I struggled every day. I would still stubbornly do my taiji forms, my standing meditations, my yoga asanas, pranayama, etc. As much as I knew that if I stopped these things, I would probably over time go back to being blissfully more ignorant, or oblivious; still, I could not stop. Eventually, I entered a phase, where I grew numb and oblivious to the world around me. It didn't matter whether I had a job or not. Whether I was with my family or not. Even whether I did my practice or not. During this period, I would intermittently stop practice and then start again, when I felt like it. Maybe, I was comfortably numb. In retrospect, becoming numb actually helped me handle the energies and process the goings on. But then my first teacher moved (it was his guidance and twice a week of contact (for several years) that kept me sane during this period and kept me going), and introduced me to Master Jose. Even before meeting Master, I had met him in dreams and he worked on me (for stuff I had asked him to help me with). When I finally met him in person, and he transferred his consciousness to me with a touch of his index finger to my 3rd eye, he literally kicked my butt across the line and I spent about 15 days subsequent to that in a state of ecstasy/bliss. After that, for almost another year and a half, I stayed in a split state of being completely Self-aware and in the local-mind/ego state (Master calls it the Spiritual Mind and the local mind). During this period, for the most part, the Ego was unable to flex its muscles - it stayed a humble servant to the spiritual mind. And around 6 months after meeting master, my friend who had seemed like a died-in-wool materialist started practicing self-inquiry too, in the classical advaita vedanta mode. As he and I started discussing this, I started to try and articulate what was happening to me, to explain in words my "experiences". This started a process of categorization and rationalization, which resulted in my "dropping out of the split-state" eventually. There was a decay going on, as the old habits and grooves started to re-appear. I was rather depressed as I realized that, thinking "huh! I knew that it was too good to be true...". So I asked Master, to which he said "two things are happening. Your body is getting used to the energy and emptiness and old habits are re-appearing. But this is the opportunity for you to work through them and get back to the blissful state". And true to his word, the return to bliss is working, steadily and surely. The old "cold and indifferent" state (Stone Buddha?) has been replaced by awareness of the awareness of being, which is so completely ordinary, that I would have never even imagined that it is that way. We read so many glorified and idealized descriptions of this becoming "Self-aware" that it is almost anti-climactic when the realization occurs. And along with that realization the other thing that happens is the realization that there is no moment that one is not that (Self). Old habits and samskaras that used to bother me quite intensely, have become amusing. The "blissful" state is really a non-state. It is always there. It is just that before the mind-body identification had so total a hold on me, that it was constantly masked (except for those fleeting moments when the mind would stop). I won't even say that the mind stops completely. Just that, by being aware of the etherealness of the mind and not identifying with the body, the background looms large and it's ever-present nature is apparent. This too is a stage, I know now. The dive is going to keep getting deeper...
  21. There have been conversations about "enlightenment" and how and whether a truly liberated jivanamukta (freed from cycle of reincarnation while in living body) can function in the world. http://www.advaitin.net/Subrahmanian/Avidya_lesha.pdf Quoting a part of the larger pdf linked to in this post...