Sunday, October 1, 2017

Calling the Ego’s Bluff - 2

Vedanta points out that there has been a major error in the understanding of ‘I”. Let us understand the error.
We find that our understanding of ‘I’ is dependent on a number of conclusions, which are based on observed experiences.
This is beginning of the cascading errors which constitute our understanding of ‘I’.
Vedanta points out that I is  the changeless sakshi,  of the nature of self-evident consciousness  in whose ever-presence all experiences are illumined, observed to  take place. The changing world is an observed experience, the changing body is an observed experience and the changing mind is an observed experience.
Vedanta points out that it is our common conclusion that being the subject, I am not the observed experienced world. How then can I conclude that I am the observed, experienced body or mind?  
This opens up the enquiry.
Let us look at facts which are pointed out by Vedanta.
1.      There must be a changeless observer otherwise called the sakshi or the true ‘I’ in whose presence change is observed – otherwise it is not possible know that there has been change.
2.      So everything observed/experienced becomes an object of knowledge for the sakshi. Indeed all conclusions regarding the self are all objects only for the sakshi.
3.      Whatever is observed/experienced is in state of flux always – so its presence as a constant entity cannot be established. The body is in a state of flux, so is the mind, and of course so is the world.
4.      Again the object experienced/observed be it thought or any physical object can never be independent of the observer – nor is it independent of n numbers of local factors.
Vedanta asks this question, how can any conclusion which is based on the changing, dependent, observed objects, regarding the self-evident conscious being, the ‘I’, the changeless sakshi,  be true?  Any conclusion regarding the sakshi,  the true ‘I’ based on anything observed can only be FALSE.
The self is not a conclusion based on any experience, or series of experiences, or memory of experiences. The self is self-evident consciousness, who is independent of every experience and yet the essence or content of every experience.
What is the sense of ‘I’? Really if we analyse it, it is a set of conclusions which poses as an independent entity – and all actions are rooted in this entity interacting with the environment.
We already saw that all conclusions based on the body-mind and attributed to  ‘I’, the self-evident basic conscious being, are false.
When we examine the conclusion ‘I am a doer’, we find that the ‘doer’ conclusion is based on observed fleeting experiences of actions – for example folding clothes, cooking food, eating the food, walking, talking etc. All these actions were observed in the presence of the changeless conscious being – the sakshi.
The changeless sakshi does no action – in its presence, the action is revealed to be taking place at the level of body-mind. We cannot call the changeless sakshi as doer.
Then who is the ‘doer’. This ‘doer’ is not a permanent entity. The action takes place thru the agency of the mind-body and the action is over even as it takes place.  Is there a real entity here, an independent entity here to own up the action?
If the doer-entity is real, it must always be present. But it is not always there – in waking itself sometimes a doer, sometimes an experience ... again absent in deep-sleep. Is there any permanent entity here to whom we call the ‘doer’?
There is only a sort of constructed pseudo-entity, who is the result of endless conclusions based on observed experiences superimposed on the changeless, ever-present conscious being. This constructed pseudo-entity poses as an independent, permanent entity and concludes it is a doer and experience as well.
For the one who has recognized the truth of the changeless self, there is no more concluding anything based on any observed experience – and the person is free of the conclusion that ‘I am a doer/experiencer’. The sort of constructed pseudo-entity dissolves in the wake of recognition of truth. So the empirical doer is not taken to be real anymore.

Om Tat Sat

Tuesday, September 26, 2017

Japa A Support for Concentration - Sri Chandra Swami Udasin

A type of support that can be given to the mind for concentration is that of a name or word. Let us consider this now. The support maybe in the form of one name, or in the form of any mantra. The mantra is a phrase or formula bearing a certain meaning that affirms the existence of God and embodies a certain idea of feeling in relation to God, such as surrender unto the Lord or the feeling of the divine presence,  or it may inspire devotion with a certain prayer raised unto the Lord. Any one name of God or Mmantra or phrase is selected according to one's faith and conviction. It is to be mentally or vocally chanted. It is to be repeated gently and calmly. Gradually consciousness is centred on hearing of this name or mantra. This practice is called Japa. Science may not prove it today, logic may also fail to do so,  but experience has proved that such intonation and repetition of God's name has a marvelous effect in tuning The mind with God - the spirit that is all and beyond all. There is tremendous power in the name of the Lord. The Lord's Grace does descend  through His name on one who has faithfully and wholeheartedly repeats it.  This is a fact confirmed and  reconfirmed by the saints of all religions. The proper place for concentration on the Lord's name or on Mmantra is in the Heart Centre, which corresponds to the anahata chakra in yogic parlance.

Let it be pointed out here at the shorter the mantra or word the better it is,  because it becomes easier to concentrate on.

The japa of any name of God or mantra can also be practiced by connecting that name or Mantra with the rhythmic incoming and out coming of breath and by chanting it mentally. And in this practice the attention of the mind should not be focused on the navel centre because through this practice the vital being becomes active which might cause a severe agitation or sudden explosion of the pranic force. If the discriminating power in the sadhaka is not sufficiently developed, if he does not possess complete mastery over his senses and mind and if above all he is not single- mindedly devoted to the ideal of God- realisation, the violent awakening of the proanic force may lead him astray in his  Sadhana and consequently, throw him into the absyss of sin and sorrow.  Unless the centre of command what is the aajnaChakra and the heart centre of the aspirant have been adequately purified and unless they have resumed full control over the navel Centre, it is not proper for a man to practice Japa with the incoming and outgoing of breath by fixing the mind on the navel Centre. This practice should not be performed by anyone. If a practitioner wants to do Japa by associating with incoming and outgoing of breath then he or she should keep the attention at the heart Centre. There is no danger in doing this. The practice of Japa can lead even if performed to the exclusion of all other methods of concentration to the highest spiritual recognition. In fact in its advanced stage the Japa itself turns into deep and dynamic spiritual concentration. As such by becoming a dynamic concentration, it brings about an extraordinary transformation in the external life of that  sadhaka, who practices it regularly and sincerely.

 Chanting of the Lord's name is an exercise divine and spiritually rewarding indeed. There have been many Saints who devoted themselves to this method of spiritual concentration alone and to none other and realised the Lord.

Sri Chandra Swami Udasin

Satsangs Schedule at Dehradun

Monday        11.30 - 12.30 am  Tattvabodha
Sewla Kalan

Tuesday         11   - 11.30 am Chanting
Sewla Kalan  11.30 -1 pm Bhagavad Gita

Thursday       5  - 6 pm     Drg-Drshya Vivek
Indira Nagar

Ram Vihar     11.30 -12.30pm Tattvabodha
Vasant Vihar   2 -2.30 pm  Chanting BG
                           3.30-4.30 om Bhagavad Gita        

Friday, September 15, 2017

Sep 2017 Revision of 'Pujya Swamiji The Mahatma I Know'

Press the link below to go the page on 'Pujya Swamiji The Mahatma I Know' - I have revised it slightly to include some mention of Pujya Swamiji's writings.

Wednesday, September 13, 2017

Calling The Ego’s Bluff

The ego which believes itself to the body-mind complex, separate from everything else, poses as a real entity.
What is the meaning of being a real entity? A real entity is that which is always there. If you can prove its absence even in one instance, then you cannot call that thing as real.
First let’s understand what are the constituents of the ego?
That I am a conscious being I cannot dispute. I am a conscious being, conscious of myself as a historical being. This historical being is just the roles assumed by the conscious being during the process of living life, as well as an intricate network of association of ideas, memories constituting the sub-conscious, the unconscious, and conscious memory etc.
If you really analyse it the historical person has no autonomous existence of its own, moreover  it is always in a state of flux changing from one personality to another, as conditions changes and the situation demands, or as some event triggers some memories.
Is the historical being intrinsic to the consciousness that I basically am?
To be intrinsic to consciousness that I am, it must always be there, exactly in the same form.
However what I find is that it not always there. Consciousness is always there, illumining not only the changing flux that is the historical being, but also the absence of the historical being, as in sleep, or a moment of joy, or a quiet moment in meditation.
Historical being is there -------- > Consciousness is there
Historical being is absent --------- > Consciousness is there.
I am the consciousness in whose ever unchanging presence, the absence as well as the presence of the historical being is illumined, is revealed.
So in the consciousness that I am, the historical being is an appearance only – the personality is not intrinsic to consciousness.
Consciousness is in reality totally free of the historical person, whereas the historical person is totally dependent on consciousness to enliven and reveal its presence.
This knowledge is very freeing, very stabilizing.
To recognize that one is indeed independent of the historical personality at all times, is truly stabilizing and liberating.
I have a friend, a Vedanta student, who in the core of her psyche, suffered from the extreme sense of helplessness and powerlessness. It controlled her whole life, in an unconscious manner. She was a dependent personality, always unconsciously looking out for support from stronger personality figures. 
As she began understanding Vedanta, she began sitting for longer hours of meditation. In one of her meditation sessions, she experienced an incredible sense of helplessness, powerlessness – a black black feeling. She was completely identified with it and sank along with it.
For a day or two she suffered with this nameless sense of helplessness. Finally she called me. I had to work with her at several levels. First I explained to her it was old feelings from her troubled childhood coming up. Instead of rejecting the feelings, could she just stay with the feelings in loving awareness of it – holding them as it were, even as she would a helpless child. Just compassionately stay with the feelings and it would dissipate. She did that and reported that though they did dissipate, she had a very uncomfortable feeling inside.
I then asked her, “Are you helpless in your life right now?”. She had to admit that she was not.  In fact her life was going well – she had adequate support from the people in her life on all counts. Now she was able to see, that these helpless feelings were from the unconscious from the past – stored there and being triggered now. Understanding this was a big relief. I pointed out to her that these experiences of helplessness had left her with a strong conclusion centered on ‘I’ – namely ‘I am helpless, I am powerless’.
Now I asked to examine if this conclusion was true in the present time. She had to admit it was not true. Then I gently pointed out that in fact she did not need to hold on to this conclusion in her life anymore. She could let it go. If again she faced difficult situations, she could always ask for help either from Lord or people or both. She agreed.
Now since she was an advanced Vedanta student, I took it further. I reminded her that essentially she is consciousness, the witness,  in whose presence this feeling of helplessness is being  illumined. She must ascertain for herself, if the feeling of helplessness belonged to the consciousness being that she is.
Her years of Vedanta study helped her. She told me the helplessness feeling is drshya ( seen) and I am the drk  (the seer, the subject). The subject being always different from the object, the feeling of helplessness  cannot belong to the consciousness that she is.  Again she herself pointed out that this feeling of helplessness, was not always there – it came up very occasionally. Again in deep-sleep it was totally absent – whereas the consciousness is there.
So she ascertained for herself very conclusively that the conclusion ‘I am helpless, I am powerless’ was false – totally false. This was very liberating for her. She understood the importance of immediate recognition of consciousness being changelessly ever-present and independent of the body-mind complex.
So in Vedanta, it is important to negate obtaining erroneous conclusions about the self, and recognize the nature consciousness that one is essentially, being totally independent of the body-mind complex. Logic in keeping with what one has studied from the scriptures is very helpful for this.
Firstly intimately understand the nature of the body and mind being mithya. Mithya means it has no autonomous existence – this is easy to understand – you can see that the body-mind complex is only a coming together of various interdependent constituents, which are ever in state of flux. And eventually the entire body-mind complex is dependent on consciousness to enliven it and reveal it. So dependence, change, and being objects of consciousness characterize both body and mind.... so it is mithya not real. Again the presence of body-mind is not always there – the three states of experience show us that. The consciousness of absence of body-mind, in deep-sleep, again helps us to see that any conclusion about oneself which has reference to the body-mind is false.
Thus any conclusions, centered on Consciousness-I, who is the drk,  which have the body-mind as a reference point can only be false and they must be negated as false, at an empirical psychological level, as well as at the level of ascertaining the true I.  In the process of negation the emotional holding onto those conclusions loosens and wears off eventually.
Om Tat Sat

Friday, August 25, 2017

Surrender - Om Harih Sharanam

Dedicated to all the SadGurus

All that is here is Ishvara.

This body which I thought is mine, I  recognize now, that I did not create this. I simply hold it in trust. For whom? For its owner – Ishvara. I did not create this body nor the mind-stuff. Nor did my parents ....  they knew nothing of how all the systems here work – the skeletal, muscular, endrocine, nervous, circulatory, respiratory, digestive, excretory, reproductive systems – what a wonderfully intelligent community of cells living in harmony to provide a grand instrument for me, to use and experience this amazing world in which I find myself placed.

Like the body-mind-sense complex was given to me, so too is this universe. I, a simple conscious being, endowed with this body-mind-sense complex, did not create this universe. It is given. The intelligence that pervades this universe through a complex network of laws of cause and effect, is the same intelligence that pervades this body-mind-sense complex, making all of it what it is.
This super intelligence has to rest in a conscious being – and that conscious being who is endowed with this super intelligence is who I call Ishvara. Ishvara is the cause of this universe which includes the body-mind-sense complex I am endowed with. Usually we in the universe we find  there are two types of causes. For example, a watch has a watch-maker, the intelligent cause as well as the material it is made of . So in the case of the universe the intelligent cause is Ishvara. And where did Ishvara get the material that this universe is made of?

After all before the universe came into being, there was no time, no space, no material . There was only Ishvara. So the material for this universe could have come from only place – that is Ishvara. Meaning Ishvara is both the intelligent cause as well as the material for this universe.
This truth has huge implications. It means the body-mind-sense complex that I think of as ‘mine’ – is really not mine. It belongs to Ishvara all the way. I am just the simple conscious being, who is aware of this body-mind complex, who has been entrusted with it, to use as an INSTRUMENT for participating enthusiastically, alertly and cheerfully in Ishvara’s universe.

The scriptures point out that Ishvara in reality is One, Without A Second, ekam eva advitiyam,  partless whole.  Ishvara in reality has never changed to become many, Ishvara only appears as this manifold universe through his inscrutable and undefinable power to do so – that power has been given a name Maya.  Maya is not independent of Ishvara.  Maya  is not a parallel  reality to Ishvara.  Maya  is Ishvara’s shakti and so fully dependent on Ishvara. Ishvara can withdraw his shakti at any time – Ishvara is independent of Maya.

Based on this understanding, I take refuge in Ishvara. Ishvara is my strength, my Guru, my friend, my well-wisher, my father, my mother, my all. I look upon this universe of which this body-mind-sense complex is a part (I say this, because it is Ishvara’s, not mine) as a grand stage in which the drama of life is going on. Endowed with this body-mind-sense complex, I am an ACTOR in this drama, playing various roles, whose scripts are written by Ishvara. As far as living this life is concerned, all I have to do is follow the scripts and play my part, even as an actor does, with enthusiasm, alertness and cheerfulness. I do not invest a sense of reality in roles I am playing, nor in the situations that I play them in – because I know it is a drama. I am centered in Ishvara, not on this body-mind-sense complex. Ishvara has the script for this body-mind-sense complex all ready – I don’t resist His script. Sometimes it is not easy, especially when the script is unfavourable to this body-mind complex – then I simply affirm Ishvara is my strength, my well-wisher and allow myself to accept His script cheerfully. Om Harih Sharanam

Ishvara is my well-wisher. I accept that. Ishvara is also the karma-phalla-daata. I used to find this very difficult to reconcile these two aspects of Ishvara.  The law of karma by itself is inert. It is Ishvara who gives the karma-phalla.  How can my well-wisher dole out so much pain? I realize now that pain, physical or emotional has a purpose.

The cause of pain, in the karma model, is a prior unworthy action, an action not in keeping with the harmony of Ishvara’s universe. What caused that unworthy action? The sense of apurnata (incompletness).  Where did the apurnata comes from? Because I took the body-mind-complex to be both ‘I’ and ‘mine’. Why did I do that when it is not true? Because of ignorance.

So the presence of pain, points out that there was ignorance behind the pain. That ignorance must go. For that ignorance to go, one must pursue knowledge and discover that one is free of this body-mind-sense complex.

My taking refuge in Ishvara, my surrender to Ishvara is the natural outcome of this knowledge of my truth. This surrender means that I accept fully that all that is here is Ishvara, and all that is here is ok, it is all meant to be exactly how it is meant to be. I don’t have to run after anything here in this universe, because nothing here has the capacity to give me what I wanted all the time (before the surrender) namely security and happiness 24x7 without a trace of sorrow. So now I can allow myself to fold up my mind and simply rest in Ishvara, my home, my refuge, my Self.

Om Tat Sat