The Forum dedicated to Arunachala and Bhagavan Sri Ramana Maharshi

Ramana Maharshi => The teachings of Bhagavan Sri Ramana Maharshi => Topic started by: Subramanian.R on December 19, 2012, 01:13:03 PM

Title: Reflections on Talks - S.S. Cohen:
Post by: Subramanian.R on December 19, 2012, 01:13:03 PM
In his book S.S. Cohen (who lived up to the end of his life in Tiruvannamalai and whose tomb is in Korangu Thottam) is a realized
Jnani. He had understood Sri Bhagavan's life and teachings quite thoroughly. In his book - Reflections on Talks, he has given salient
features of Sri Bhagavan's talks and his interpretations and how sometimes, the listener or the questioner interpreted.

Ch. 1. HAPPINESS AND MISERY:

1. 'How to avoid misery?' The Master answers: 'Has misery a shape? Misery is only an unwanted thought. The mind is not strong
enough to resist it. It can be strengthened by worship of God.  (Talks 241).

S.S. Cohen's Note: Bhagavan at the very outset drives to the heart of the human problems, which are the consequences of man's
delinquencies, thoughtlessness, desires, sins etc., namely misery. He tries to open men's eyes by asking, 'Has misery a shape?'
Surely, misery is not a solid, heavy object which can descend on our heads and crush us. It is a purely mental phenomenon, a mere
thought, which can be driven away with a little effort by a strong mind. But unfortunately, the minds of men are generally weakened by
lack of control, strong attachment, selfishness, and ignorance, so that they stand always at the mercy of every calamity, that comes
their way. Sri Bhagavan suggests some methods of strengthening the mind. The worship of God is probably one of the easiest.
The contemplation of the highest, purest and most sublime ideal elevates the mind, and for the time being, shuts out all other
thoughts, including those that cause misery. By degrees, the mind acquires purity and balance, and so, permanent peace, which
no calamity can shake.

*****

Arunachala Siva.   
Title: Re: Reflections on Talks - S.S. Cohen:
Post by: Subramanian.R on December 20, 2012, 08:18:53 AM
Happiness and Misery - continues....

8. The pet squirrel is waiting for an opportunity to run out of its cage. The Master remarks: "All want to rush out. There is no
limit to going out. Happiness lies within and not without." Talks No. 229.

The Master loves to indulge in analogies drawn from everyday life and this one is apt and beautiful. The squirrel is the Jiva, which
escapes from its 'home' - the Self or Heart - to enjoy the pain and pleasure of the world of diversity, although it means homelessness,
of being a stranger abroad.

'All want to rush out' applies to the vast majority of people who prefer to be deluded by the world's shadow show than remain
at 'home' in its peace and stillness.

The pet squirrel is a baby squirrel, which the Asramam has kept in a cage to protect it from the marauding cats. Baby squirrels
who accidentally fall from their own nests on the trees and remain helpless and in the lurch, would be taken up by Sri Bhagavan
who would look after them till they were fully grown up and could look after themselves, when He released them.

Arunachala Siva.           

Title: Re: Reflections on Talks - S.S. Cohen:
Post by: Subramanian.R on December 21, 2012, 09:40:05 AM
S.S. Cohen:

1. Happiness and Misery:

6. "There is a state beyond our efforts and effortlessness. Until it is realized, effort is necessary. (This is the state of samadhi,
which is blissful). After tasting such bliss even once, one will repeatedly try to regain it. Having once experienced the bliss of
peace, no one would like to be out of it, or engage himself otherwise. It is as difficult for the Jnani to engage in thought, as
it is for an ajnani to be free from thought. Any kind of activity does not affect a Jnani. His mind remains ever in eternal peace."

                                                           - Talk No. 141.

Effort and effortlessness - are action and inaction, beyond which stands the state of being, to realize which, efforts of meditation,
that is, sadhana, is necessary. Once the bliss of this state is tasted it can neither be forgotten nor abandoned. In other words,
once we transcend the activities of the mind, -- thinking, feeling, etc., -- we will always thereafter endeavor to transcend them in
order to taste again and again the blissful being, till we attain permanency in the latter. Then thinking will be as difficult to perform
as it is in the beginning difficult to suppress thinking, with the result that we will remain ever in peace, irrespective of what we do and do not do. This is the Sahaja Samadhi state of the Jnani, which is undiluted bliss. Even his action is considered to be inaction because
it is effortless.

******

Arunachala Siva.
Title: Re: Reflections on Talks - S.S. Cohen:
Post by: Subramanian.R on December 22, 2012, 09:12:56 AM
Ch.1  Happiness and Misery:

7. 'The universe exists on account of the 'I-thought'. If that ends there is an end of misery also. The person who is in sleep
is also now awake. There is happiness in sleep but misery in wakefulness. In sleep there was not 'I-thought', but it is now
while awake. The state of happiness in sleep is effortless. We should therefore aim to bring about that state even now.
That requires effort.   

                                                      -Talk No. 222

Sri Bhagavan persists in hammering in us the truth that happiness comes only from the Self. Whenever there is the thought
of oneself -- of 'I' -- there is also a thought-world  - you, they, he, and a million other things, -- and whenever there is a world
there is suffering. This may be taken as an inflexible law. The world is therefore a state of misery. One who is in utter misery
drugs or drinks himself to sleep, so that he may forget himself and his misery for some time in the blessedness of sleep, where
there prevails freedom from thought, and, thus, from misery. After sleeping off his suffering, the drugged person wakes up to
resume it again.

Therefore in order to be perennially free from suffering we have to perpetuate our sleep, even in the waking state, ion the very
world itself. This is the aim of all yogic practice and is called Samadhi, which means sleep in the waking state or sushupti in jagrat,
to which all efforts have to be directed.

*****

Arunachala Siva.         
Title: Re: Reflections on Talks - S.S. Cohen:
Post by: Subramanian.R on December 23, 2012, 12:58:06 PM
Happiness and Misery:

11. Q: May I have Guru's Grace?
      A. Grace is always there.
      Q. But I do not feel it.
      A. Surrender will make one understand Grace.
      Q. I have surrendered my heart and soul I am the best judge of my heart. Still I feel I do not feel the Grace.
      A. If you have surrendered, the question would not have arisen.

The questioner is serious as well as determined, no one can deny. He has also 'surrendered  heart and soul' of which He
is the best judge. Then why is Grace keeping him in the lurch? Is Grace partial, or the Self heartless? We have either to
suspect the wisdom of goodness of the Self or the completeness of the surrender. And as the former is unthinkable, the fault
must lied with the latter.

Sri Bhagavan's  concluding answers that if the surrender has taken place the request for Grace 'would not have arisen',  exposes
the illusion under which most people who lay claim to surrender, labor, notwithstanding the addition of 'heart and soul' into the
bargain.

Self analysis, the most scrupulous and honest examination of one's motives and the secrets of one's heart and mind, is every
essential part of our Sadhana, auxiliary to the Vichara, and dhyana. It eliminates all the delusions of the seekers.

******

Arunachala Siva.           
Title: Re: Reflections on Talks - S.S. Cohen:
Post by: Subramanian.R on December 25, 2012, 09:48:43 AM
2. 'I have no peace of mind. Something prevents it -- probably my destiny.'  Bhagavan answers: 'What is destiny? There is no
destiny. Surrender and all will be well. Throw all the responsibility on God. Do not bear the burden yourself. What can destiny
do to you then?'
                                                        - Talk No. 244.

The questioner is a lady - a Maharani - in great mental distress. Bhagavan is touched. His gives the solace that everything
is borne by god, and on Him all one's burden should be laid through surrender. This appears to play a tune different from the
previous answers, where the worship of God has been recommended. Here the tune is 'surrender', which amounts practically
to the same thing as worship through contemplation. Contemplation or meditation is also surrender. For relinquishing all thoughts
but that of the meditation is relinquishing the whole world. In fact, cessation of thinking is the greatest of all surrender. Although
meditation can be sustained only for a limited time every day, it becomes very powerful if repeated daily for years.

By 'there is no destiny' Bhagavan does not mean that there is no prarabdha. We are all agreed that there is, but His meaning is that
once we surrender genuinely and truly, prarabdha will pass us by unnoticed. It will work itself out while our mind is immersed in its
thought of God. After all, destiny is as insentient as the body and thus has no power over the mind unless the mind has fallen an
abject prey to its own thoughts and emotions, like that of the common man.

******

Arunachala Siva.   
Title: Re: Reflections on Talks - S.S. Cohen:
Post by: Subramanian.R on December 26, 2012, 12:47:23 PM
Happiness and Misery:

3. Siva made over all His possessions to Vishnu and went roaming about in forests, wilderness and graveyards, living on
begged food. He found non possession to be higher in the scale of happiness than possessions. The higher happiness is
freedom and anxiety -- anxiety over how to protect the possessions and how to utilize them etc.,

It is not to be taken as advice to us to imitate Siva, namely, to smear ourselves with ashes, live in cremation grounds and on
on begged food, in order to gain happiness. For then, cemeteries would be more full of the living than the dead, and there
would be more beggars than begged-ofs.  We have to only draw the moral that possessions are not conducive to peace of
mind, as it has been illustrated by in the case of Maharani, who had come in search of peace.

Moreover we must not take the story literally. Lord Siva is Parameswara, the Lord of Kailas, the Supreme Yogi, who Himself
confers Bliss and Jnana on His devotees. Where is the necessity for Him to give up anything to gain Jnana and happiness?
He is the unborn Jnani.

The surrender of His possessions to Vishnu is a play, a piece of acting to teach us the lesson of renunciation, which alone
leads to eternal happiness, just the reverse of accumulated wealth.

******

Arunachala Siva.       
Title: Re: Reflections on Talks - S.S. Cohen:
Post by: Subramanian.R on December 27, 2012, 12:57:33 PM
5. What is happiness? Is it inherent in the Self or in the object or in the contact between the subject and the object?

Bhagavan: When there is contact with a desirable object or memory thereof, and when there is freedom from undesirable
contacts, or memory thereof, we say there is happiness. Such happiness is relative and is better called pleasure. But we
want absolute and permanent happiness. This does not reside in objects but in the Absolute. It is peace free from the
pain and the pelasure. -- It is a neutral state.

                                        - Talk 28.

Peace, which characterizes true happiness, is neither pain or pleasure. For both are active states, resulting from the contact
of the subject and object, as well as from the memory thereof, which requires the going out of the subject from himself in
pursuit of the object. Whereas the peace is inherent in the being of the subject himself, as we have proved in the illustration
of the sleep. This peace has no relation whatever to the object. To BE is Peace, is Bliss. Happiness is thus always present
\as our very Self. We have only to BE -- not to think or do - in order to be in eternal Bliss.

******

Arunachala Siva.       
Title: Re: Reflections on Talks - S.S. Cohen:
Post by: Subramanian.R on December 28, 2012, 12:52:32 PM
4. If happiness is due to one's possessions, then it should increase and decrease proportionately to their increase and decrease,
and becomes nil if one has nothing to possess. But is this true? Does experience bear this out? 'In deep sleep one is devoid of
possessions, including one's body and yet one then is supremely happy. Everyone desires sound sleep. The conclusion is that
happiness is inherent in one's own self and is not due to external causes. One must realize his Self in order to open for oneself
the store of unalloyed happiness.

                                                                                             - Talk No. 3

This is plain common sense. The happiness of sleep is patent to all. We call it rest, which is another word for comfort, for peace,
notwithstanding the fact that we are then completely denuded of all possessions, including our body. This bliss of sleep is the
most precious heritage of life: man, animal, or plant, which have no property or wealth of any kind. It is a bliss which does not
come from any external circumstance or condition, but from within oneself -- one's own Being. This truth is open to every
thoughtful person to verify for himself, and does not require much strain to arrive at.

*****

Arunachala Siva.   
 
Title: Re: Reflections on Talks - S.S. Cohen:
Post by: Subramanian.R on December 29, 2012, 04:54:44 PM
Soul, mind, ego are mere words. These are not real entities. Consciousness is the only truth. Its nature is Bliss. Bliss alone is -
enjoyer and enjoyment both merge in it. Pleasure consists in turning and keeping the mind within. Pain in sending it outward.
There is only pleasure. Absence of pleasure is called pain. One's nature is pleasure-bliss.

                                                                                       - Talk 244.

Consciousness, Self, Being, are one and the same reality. As we have already seen, the Self is blissful. We,  in our nature,
are Bliss. But when we rush out, to use the metaphor, when we extrovert and take the body for ourselves, giving it a special name,
we become other than ourselves -- the body and its name - then we are not the Bliss.

****

Arunachala Siva.       
Title: Re: Reflections on Talks - S.S. Cohen:
Post by: Subramanian.R on December 30, 2012, 02:54:22 PM
Happiness and Misery:

12. Every person seeks happiness but mistakes pain-associated pleasure for happiness. Such happiness is transient. His mistaken
activities give him short lived pleasure. Pain and pleasure alternate in the world. What is it that is not followed by pain?  Man seeks
it and engages in it. To discriminate between pain producing and pleasure producing matters and to confine oneself to the happiness
producing pursuit is only Vairagya, dispassion.

                                                         -  Talk No. 302.

Is the end of this text a good definition of Vairagya?  Not usually in its course. But certainly in its results. Renunciation is happiness.
There exists no such thing as happiness in the world, because the world is not-Self. The Self, we have already proved it, alone being
undiluted happiness. It is a contradiction to seek a virtue or quality in its opposite, say, love in hatred, peace in fear, light in a dingy
darkness etc., To expect happiness in an area which is hostile to happiness, namely the world, is a vain expectation. Although they
imagine themselves in possession of its fulfillment. This auto intoxication is like the intoxication of the opium eater, who drugs himself
to an artificial bliss. Yest the Self incessantly asserts itself, and every now and then, through hard knocks, matures a person to the
realization of his deplorable state. This is the Vairagi, the budding mukta, who aims at curing himself of the habit of opium eating.

*****     
   
Arunachala Siva.
Title: Re: Reflections on Talks - S.S. Cohen:
Post by: Subramanian.R on December 31, 2012, 10:50:52 AM
Happiness and Misery:

13. The desire for happiness is a proof of the ever existent happiness of the Self. Otherwise, how can desired for it arise?
If headache were natural to  human beings, no one would try to get rid of it. One desires only that which is natural to him.
Happiness, being natural, it is not acquired. Primal Bliss is obscured by the not-Self, which is non-bliss, or misery. Loss of
unhappiness amounts to gaining of happiness. When misery is eliminated the bliss which is ever-present is said to be gained.
Happiness mixed with misery is also misery.

                                                                         -Talk No. 619.

Much of this text has already been discussed. The first line is very suggestive. That every living being desires its own
well being is axiomatic; for it is an innate instinct -- inherent in life itself, which ultimately leads to the rediscovery of oneself
as eternally blissful.

If happiness is our very Self,. as the text declares, how, one may ask, do we then happen to be in this world, so devoid of
it, as to need taking so much pains to gain it? The answer is that we are at no time devoid of it; it is now and has always
been present, as our very being. But, Sri Bhagavan avers, this 'primal bliss' has been obscured by the apparently enjoyable world
which the senses have created. The external objects, the not-Self, being very attractive, have monopolized our attention and have
lured us away from the perception of it. Yet enjoyment mixed with misery is nothing but misery. Eliminate the creation of the
senses and the unmixed blessedness will stand revealed. There is no need to strive for happiness as such, but strive to do away
with the artificial delights of the world, which are misery in essence, to be in perpetual bliss. This is the main point of the text. "Loss
of unhappiness amounts to gaining of happiness.'

The statement that 'one desires only that which is natural to him' does not mean that because one desires a thing, that thing
is proved to be one's nature, for that would put a different complexion on the teaching. What it means is that if bliss is not our
very existence, why should we desire it so ardently? It also means that even the common desires we possess aim at happiness
for the Self.

*****

Arunachala Siva.         
         
Title: Re: Reflections on Talks - S.S. Cohen:
Post by: Subramanian.R on January 01, 2013, 02:54:54 PM
Happiness and Misery:

14. Why should there be suffering now?, a devotee asked.

Bhagavan: If there were no suffering, how could the desire to be happy arise? If that desire did not arise, how could the quest
of the Self, be successful? What is happiness? Is it a healthy and handsome body or timely meals and the like? Even an Emperor
has endless troubles,  though he may be healthy. All suffering is due to the false notion 'I am the body'. Getting rid of it is
Jnanam.

                                                           - Talk No. 633.

There you are: pampering the body with all possible amenities - health, the best of food and care, wealthy leisure, good looks,
and physical graces, etc., -- does not confer happiness. If anything it multiplies the difficulties for a number of obvious reasons.
Moral health alone, irrespective of material amenities, leads to tranquility;  for it entails a good deal of dispassion for the body.
Hence the more we reduce our attention to the and clinging love for the body, the nearer we draw to the bliss of the Self. This
is a standing refutation of the belief that the body is our Self and an eye opener to those who on the one hand desire peace of mind
and on the other worship their body more than they do the image of God.

It is suffering an unmitigated evil? Sri Bhagavan answers in the negative. It is on the contrary a blessing. in that it brings
us to our senses and compels us to think profoundly and start a quest for liberation from suffering.

The three points which this text proves beyond doubt therefore are - 1) the body is not the man, 2) man is sorrowless by nature,
and 3) sorrow, being an infliction, can be eradicated only by self knowledge.

The chapter on Happiness and Misery - concluded.

Arunachala Siva.           
Title: Re: Reflections on Talks - S.S. Cohen:
Post by: Subramanian.R on January 02, 2013, 03:50:25 PM
Chapter 2:

Life, Death and Rebirth:

2. If a man dies while yet alive, he need not grieve over another's death. One's existence is evident with or without the body.
Then why should one desire the bodily shackles? One should find out his immortal Self and be happy.

                                                                                     - Talk 64.

In the earlier chapter we have seen who the 'man who dies while yet alive' is. Naturally such a man does not mourn the death
of anybody. For he knows their state and condition as he knows his own, and laughs with joy. Sri Bhagavan speaks from
experience when he says that one remains the same under all circumstances and conditions, 'with or without a body.'

*****

Arunachala Siva.   
 
Title: Re: Reflections on Talks - S.S. Cohen:
Post by: Subramanian.R on January 04, 2013, 01:14:44 PM
CHAPTER TWO:

Life, death and rebirth:

A great devotee of Sri Bhagavan lost his only son -- three years old. The next day, he and his bereaved family came to the
Asramam. The Master seeing them said: 'Training of mind helps one to bear sorrow and bereavement with courage -- the
loss of offspring in particular. Grief exists only so long as one believes oneself to be of a definite form. If the form is transcended
one would realize oneself, to be eternal, having neither birth nor death. That which is born is only the body.

                                                 - Talk No. 80.

"Transcending the form" is a grand idea. What death destroys is only the form, and so long as we attach ourselves to the form,
we continue to feel the sting of death. But if by knowledge we come to realize that the form is not the person we love, we will be
able to transcend the grief and, in fact, death itself.

We are all agreed that the beloved is not a mere shape, a colored picture, an inanimate substance. But a being, an entity
which teems with life and intelligence, which thinks, feels, loves, wills, acts, and with which we establish relationships as
father, son, husband, neighbor, friend, etc., The body being devoid of intelligence, can, by itself, perform none of these functions,
and, when life (i.e. the man) withdraws from it, it remain an effete matter fit for cremation.

The 'mental training' which Sri Bhagavan suggests, will not only kill all sorrow at bereavements, but will also reveal to us the
truth of our immortality, and thus, save us from future birth and death. Hence the Scriptures, lay down the law that any perceivable
and conceivable object is the object of consciousness, and thus insentient, changeable, and destructible. The subject or Consciousnsess alone is sentient, changeless, and indestructible.

****

Arunachala Siva.               
Title: Re: Reflections on Talks - S.S. Cohen:
Post by: Subramanian.R on January 05, 2013, 09:49:46 AM
Life, Death and Rebirth:

4. See how a tree, whose branches are cut grows again. So long as the life source is not affected, it will grow. Similarly, the
samskaras sink into the heart in death; they do not perish. They are reborn. Just as a big banyan tree sprouts from a tiny
seed, so the wide universe with names and forms sprouts forth from the Heart.

                                                                      - Talk No. 108.

This is the rationale of rebirth. The samskaras, or impressions, left over at the close of one life become the seeds for the next.
They are stored up in the Heart, from which a new body with new environment, new circumstances and new tendencies
'sprouts' forth at the right time to form the new life. As the tortoise withdraws its limbs into its shell, so do the lifelong
(psychical) impressions gather together at the last moment and, along with the senses, withdraw into the center of consciousness,
to form the nucleus of the future birth. The Bhagavad Gita put this graphically:

"When the Lord acquires a body and when He abandons it, He seizes the senses and manas and goes with them, as the wind
carries perfume from flowers.

'Enshrined in the ear, eye, touch, taste, smell, and the mind, He enjoys the object of sense.

'The deluded do not perceive Him when He departs or stays or enjoys, swayed by the qualities (gunas); the wisdom-eye
perceive Him."

                                         (XV 8-10)

Thus the Lord equates the jiva with Himself, for it is He, the immortal and changeless, who takes bodies to enjoy the senses
through them, discards them, and takes new ones, etc., This is a scriptural confirmation of our immortality and divinity.

With the rise of the body, the senses and all the psychical faculties also rise and spread a universe in infinite space and
infinite time. Therefore the whole universe has its roots in the small cavity we call Heart.

******

Arunachala Siva.               
Title: Re: Reflections on Talks - S.S. Cohen:
Post by: Subramanian.R on January 06, 2013, 09:47:25 AM
Chapter Two:

Life, Death and Rebirth:

You ask if it is the ego that reincarnates. Yes, but what is reincarnation? The ego is the same but new bodies appear and hold it.
Just observe what happens even now to your body. Suppose you want to go to London. You take a conveyance to the docks,
board a steamer, and reach London in a few days. What has happened? The conveyance traveled from one part of the world to
the other. The movements of the conveyance have been superimposed  on your body. Similarly, the reincarnations are super-
impositions. Do you go to the dream world, or does it come to you? Surely the latter. The same may be said of the reincarnations.
The ego remains changeless all along.

                                          - Talk No. 311.

The main point of this text, is that what happens to the individual rises from inside himself, though it appears to come from
outside. Birth is assuming by the individual -- jive or ego -- of a body woven from inside himself, like the dream body which
rises from the dreamer himself and superimposes itself on his mind, or what is the same, himself. This is the meaning of
'Do you go to the dream, or does it come to you?' Death is the temporary elimination of that superimposition, and birth is
the re-establishing of it in a  new form, and so on and on till Jnana brings the superimposition to a radical  end. This resembles
the infinite number of webs which the spider spins out of himself for his temporary use.

The analogy of traveling demonstrates the fact that the individual himself remains always the same, and that the long journey
(samsara) is not undertaken by him but the number of vehicles he uses for the purpose. The Jiva constructs its own vehicles
(bodies) and rides them for its own pleasure, as it were, according to the demand of prarabdha - the result of its behavior and
its psychical impressions in its use of the previous bodies. It is therefore wrong to say that we die and are reborn, or that it is
we who go round and round on the wheel of evolution. We remain always the same without beginning or end. Let us fix that
firmly in our mind lest we lose ourselves in Darwinism, Occultism, Behaviorism, and the rest of the tribe.

*****

Arunachala Siva.         
Title: Re: Reflections on Talks - S.S. Cohen:
Post by: Subramanian.R on January 10, 2013, 01:31:01 PM
Chapter 2:

Life, Death and Rebirth:

You ask if it is the ego that reincarnates. Yes, but what is reincarnation? The ego is the same but new bodies appear and hold it.
Just observe what happens even now to your body. Suppose you want to go to London, and you take a conveyance to the docks,
board a steamer, and reach London in a few days. What has happened? The conveyance traveled from one part of the world to the
other. The movements of the conveyance have been superimposed on your body. Similarly the reincarnations are superimposition.
Do you go the dream world, or does it come to you? Surely the latter. The same may be said of the reincarnations. The ego remains
changeless all along.

The main point of this text is that what happens to the individual rises from inside himself, thought it appears to come from
outside. Birth is the assuming by the individual -- jiva or the ego -- of a body woven from inside himself and superimposes
itself on his mind, or what is the same, himself. This is he meaning of 'Do you go to the dream, or does it come to you?'

Death is the temporary elimination of that superimposition. And birth is reestablishing of it in a new form, and so on and on
until Jnana brings the superimposition to a radical end. This resembles the infinite number of webs which the spider spins out
of himself for his temporary use.

The analogy of traveling demonstrates the fact that the individual himself remains always the same, and that the long
journey (samsara) is not undertaken by him  but by the number of vehicles he uses for the purpose. The Jiva constructs
his own vehicles (bodies) and rides them for its own pleasure, as it were, according to the demand of prarabdha ---
the result of its behavior and its psychical impressions in its use of the previous bodies. It is therefore wrong to say
that we die and are reborn, or that is we who go round and round on the wheel of evolution. We remain always the
same without beginning or end. Let us fix that firmly in our mind lest we lost ourselves in Darwinism, Occultism, Behaviorism,
and the rest of their tribe.

******

Arunachala Siva.     
         
     
Title: Re: Reflections on Talks - S.S. Cohen:
Post by: Subramanian.R on January 11, 2013, 01:11:14 PM
Chapter Three:

Destiny and Freewill:

So long as there is individuality, one is the enjoyer and doer. But if it is lost, the Divine Will prevails and guides the course of
events.

Free will is  implied in  the scriptural injunctions to be good. It implies overcoming fate through wisdom.  The fire of wisdom
is acquired through satsangh -- the company of sages and its mental atmosphere.

                                                                                   - Talks No. 209.

All the Scriptures recommend good action, admitting by implication the freedom of the will; for if the will is not free, where is
the point of asking us to be good? Man would then be like a machine or an animal which is not responsible for its action and
thus cannot be punished. The fire of wisdom here means the power of discrimination which the company of the wise stimulates.
Discrimination between good and evil, of necessity induces us to choose the good and shun the evil, the ultimate results of which
will be the cessation of doership -- not the action itself, but the sense of our being its doers, which implies the merging of the
individual will in the Divine. Thenceforward, "the Divine Will will guide the course of action."

*****

Arunachala Siva. 
     
Title: Re: Reflections on Talks - S.S. Cohen:
Post by: Subramanian.R on January 12, 2013, 01:17:13 PM
Chapter 3:

Destiny and Freewill:

5. Freewill and Destiny are ever existent. Destiny is the result of past actions. It concerns the body. Let the body act as may
suit it. Why are you concerned with it? Why do you pay attention  to it? Free will and destiny last as long as the body lasts.
But Jnana transcends both.

                                                             - Talk 193.

"Freewill and destiny are ever existent", is a significant statement which belies those who attribute to Bhagavan  Himself
the self contradictory theory that no freewill exists but only karma which predetermines every action and every experience
through which we pass, even the most trifling.   It goes without saying that karma cannot exist without freewill. It is only
free action which attracts rewards or punishments, i.e. karma, so that free will and karma rise and fall together. That karma
concerns the body and that we should therefore let the body act as it chooses, requires some explanation.

Karma and freewill, are like the body, insentient and can affect only the body, and never the intelligent being who operates it
and who transcends both. Therefore, so long as the body-'I' sense prevails, they continue to function and the jiva continues
to take one body after another for working out of karma. But as soon as Jnana dawns, they choose to bear fruit. Karma will end
with the last body of the Jnani and freewill will no longer be the will of the Jiva (which usually decides the body-'I' basis) but that
of Brahman into which the Jiva has now completely merged.

Therefore, Bhagavan advises the seeker to pay no attention to the working of karma on the upadhis, but to dissociate himself
from them, when he will be free from the obligation of taking  new bodies, and consequently from bondage.

***

Arunachala Siva.     
Title: Re: Reflections on Talks - S.S. Cohen:
Post by: sanjaya_ganesh on January 12, 2013, 01:23:37 PM
Since teh topic of Freewill came, let me post a related one from Sri Ramakrishna

Quote
VAIDYANATH: "Sir, I have a doubt. People speak of free will. They say that a man can do either good or evil according to his will. Is it true? Are we really free to do whatever we like?"

MASTER: "Everything depends on the will of God. The world is His play. He has created all these different things—great and small, strong and weak, good and bad, virtuous and vicious. This is all His maya, His sport. You must have observed that all the trees in a garden are not of the same kind. "As long as a man has not realized God, he thinks he is free. It is God Himself who keeps this error in man. Otherwise sin would have multiplied. Man would not have been afraid of sin, and there would have been no punishment for it.
"But do you know the attitude of one who has realized God? He feels: 'I am the machine, and Thou, O Lord, art the Operator. I am the house and Thou art the Indweller. I am the chariot and Thou art the Driver. I move as Thou movest me; I speak as Thou makest me speak.'
Title: Re: Reflections on Talks - S.S. Cohen:
Post by: Subramanian.R on January 13, 2013, 02:08:16 PM
Free Will and Destiny:

9. Your idea of will power is success insured, whereas will power should be understood as the strength of mind which means
success and failure with equanimity. It is not synonymous with certain success. Why should one's attempts be always attended
with success? Success develops arrogance and one's spiritual progress is thereby arrested. Failures on the other hand are
beneficial, in as much as it opens one's eyes to one's limitations and prepare him to surrender himself. Therefore one should try
to gain equipoise of mind under all circumstances. That is will power. Again success and failure are the results of prarabdha and not
of will power.  One man may be doing only good and yet prove a failure. Another may do otherwise and yet be uniformly successful.
This does not mean that the will power is absent in one and present in another.

                                                                       - Talk No. 423.

The context is the case of a man, who, because of repeated reverses in business, has lost confidence in himself and who is now
trying to find a way of recovering it. He is confusing confidence with will power. One may have abundant confidence in oneself, yet
the will to work is lacking. The case of the questioner is the reverse of this, namely, he has the will to work, but is pessimistic about
the results of his labor, on account of persistent failure in the past. Sri Bhagavan advises him to develop an equal attitude to both
success and failure, which after all depend on one's destiny, at the same time, He praises failure as more spiritually fruitful in the
long run than success, in that it kills arrogance, and promotes an attitude of vairagya, which hastens one's approach to the supreme
goal. Most people live in abysmal ignorance of their glorious destiny ; more so of their weak points -- of their tamasic and rajasic
cravings and behavior. The rich in particular take the strongest objection to these being pointed out to them, in a direct manner.
How, then can God open their eyes, and save them from this self intoxication? He gives them disasters and calamities to shake
their airy castles, and crack the thick crusts of their arrogance. Pride of wealth, of position, fame, power, learning and worst of all,
of lineage, eventually destroys itself, crushing down over the head of its owner to his everlasting good.

*****

Arunachala Siva.
                   
 


Title: Re: Reflections on Talks - S.S. Cohen:
Post by: Subramanian.R on January 14, 2013, 01:21:28 PM
Chapter Four:

Siddhis and Visions:

Is not making oneself (like Vasishta and Valmiki) evidence of advanced Wisdom (Jnana)

Bhagavan: No; for in that case all those who have spent their lives in sight of others would be considered ajnanis. It might
have been the prarabdha of these sages to develop these powers (siddhis) side by side with their Jnana. Why should you
aim at that which is not essential, but on the contrary is apt to prove a hindrance to Jnana? Does the Sage feel oppressed
by then visibility of his body? A magician can render himself invisible in a trice. Is he a Jnani for that matter? Visibility and invisibility
imply a seer. Who is that seer? Find him out first. Other matters are unimportant.

What counts most is Jnana -- the knowledge of Truth. This is called Realization of the Absolute or Realization of the Self.
The Siddhis are not the Self itself, but its powers, as are seeing, smelling, thinking, etc., with the sole exception that the latter are
common experiences, whereas Siddhis are not. The powers themselves are unintelligent; the intelligent is the possessor. To fix
attention on the  powers and not on their owner, who is the Reality, is, therefore, like throwing away the pearl and retaining its
shell.

Again, as the common perception is a hindrance to a Jnana, so are the siddhis, only more so, because the latter are apt to slacken
one's efforts towards the Highest, and make him fall prey to the wealth and fame which follow them like their shadow. Therefore
siddhis are far more dangerous in the pursuit of Brahman than the senses. They are condoned only if they are accompanied by Jnana,
as is the case of Valmiki, Vasishta and others. They have no spiritual value whatever in other cases, and their use cannot but be highly
detrimental to him who uses them and him  -- the weak minded -- who is taken in by them.

****

Arunachala Siva.             
Title: Re: Reflections on Talks - S.S. Cohen:
Post by: Subramanian.R on January 15, 2013, 12:30:50 PM
SIDDHIS AND VISIONS:

3. Leave off false notions and perceive intuitively the Real. That alone matters. If you melt a gold ornament what matters is how
it is melted, the whole or in part, or of what shape the ornament had been?  You are only interested in the gold. Realize the Self.

                                                                                       - Talk No. 31.

When we buy gold we do not question what shape it had before it was melted, and how it was melted, etc., Similarly we should
not waste our time on how we are born and how we die, how many spheres and planets we had visited, if we did visit at all, and
who we were in our past lives. All this is dross, superfluous curiosities, 'false notions', which we have to 'leave off'.

What we want is the gold, namely to KNOW and BE ourselves. If this is gained by the riddle of the universe is solved. The universe
of the 'clairvoyant' is romantic even if the clairvoyance is genuine. What it sees is as false as dreams, as false as the waking state,
which we aim at transcending rather than preoccupy ourselves with. The dreamer alone is real -- the dream total hallucination.
The seer is the gold, the seen the dross. The Self of the seeker is the Reality, and to this Self we should direct our whole attention.

****

Arunachala Siva.           
 
 
Title: Re: Reflections on Talks - S.S. Cohen:
Post by: Subramanian.R on January 16, 2013, 12:53:25 PM
SIDDHIS AND VISIONS:

4. With Self Realization real and incessant tapas results. With the maturing of such tapas some Jnanis can make their bodies
intangible  and invisible. These are known as Siddhas.

                                  - Talk No. 57.

This is very important to note. Tapas does not man here the austerities that precede Realization, but the inherence in the Self,
after Realization.

Sri Ramana Gita says in this connection: 'He who is fixed in Sahaja states is in automatic and incessant tapas.' (XI.18).

Again, 'The pristine nature of the Self is effortless, spontaneous tapas. Incessant tapas of this kind leads to the manifestation
of all powers.' (XI.24)

This immediately draws a clear line between a siddha Rishi and a 'claivoyant', a magician or a miracle-worker whom we sometimes
meet in this country and who have no Jnana, as it is shown by the display of their trade far and wide and by the superficial teaching,
if they have, any.

******

Arunachala Siva.       
Title: Re: Reflections on Talks - S.S. Cohen:
Post by: Subramanian.R on January 17, 2013, 10:45:36 AM
4. SIDDHIS AND VISIONS:

Atma alone is to be realized. Its realization holds all else in its compass: shakti, chakras, ganapati; siddhis, etc., These are
included in it. Those who speak of these have not realized the Atman.

                                             - Talks No. 57.

This affirms what is told previously. Bhagavan, being concerned only with the Absolute takes His stand on the following truth:
all things, all powers, all phenomena have a common source which must be changeless and eternal. This Absolute Source, goes in
the scriptures by various names, of  which the best is Atman or the Self, which is easy for everyone to comprehend, being represented
by one's own existence. The Self is the repository of all powers, all shapes, all colors, all thoughts, all sensations, -- the whole universe,
physical, emotional and mental, in brief. The knowledge of the Self is consequently alone true knowledge, true enlightenment, because it is perennial and all inclusive. These its manifestations or emanations, are unstable and thus cravings for them lead to ignorance and misery. Those who deal with siddhis, chakras, shakti, psychic phenomena and the like, Bhagavan says, have proved themselves to have not beheld the light of Truth, and should thus be shunned. Let us note this carefully.

******

Arunachala Siva.                     
 
Title: Re: Reflections on Talks - S.S. Cohen:
Post by: Subramanian.R on January 18, 2013, 09:55:31 AM
SIDDHIS AND VISIONS:

A Swiss lady, while sitting before Sri Bhagavan with her eyes wide open, saw the Master's face becoming cherub-like and draped
in glorious flowers. She was drawn in loved towards that childlike face. She described the vision to Sri Bhagavan. He remarked:
'The vision is in your own mind. Paul Brunton saw me a giant, you saw me as a child. Both are visions. Do not be deceived by them.
Paul Brunton had his eyes closed, whereas you had your eyes open. Probably you have been thinking of a child, and it came in your
vision. The lady confessed that she had, namely the childlike face of Siva.
                                                   
                                                                                - Talk No. 304.

'Do not be  deceived by visions' is a scriptural injunction. The extent of unreliability of visions can be gauged by the discrepancy
between the vision of PB which recorded a giant figure and that of the lady which recorded a mere child for the one and the same
person. All visions are psychosomatic, mostly emanating from the subconscious, as this lady had confessed to a prior thought of the
childlike face of Siva. They need not all be as obviously known to the subject himself or herself as this vision, or its origin, has been known to the lady in question. Some subjects do expect and look forward to visions, and so they have them. They cook up their
visions inside themselves and then see them with closed or open eyes, outside them. God has been the greatest victim of such
hallucinations. He who is changeless, formless, and only one, and the same for all nations, has been made to appear differently to
different people, which has cost many million innocent lives and has brought incalculable suffering to many more living millions. The
Greeks saw Him as Zeus, the thunder wielder, Jesus conceived Him as a Father, and His followers later expanded Him to 'Three persons
in one God'. To Moses, He appeared as 'I am that I am', which Sri Bhagavan often quotes. To the Hindus He is Rama, Krishna, and many
others. Yet He is the One and only Being who resides in all hearts. Ajnana cannot be better demonstrated than in the intolerance and
bigotry, which conventional religions have exhibited in the recorded history of mankind.  This shows the danger of taking visions and symbols for truths and acting on them.

continued...

Arunachala Siva.             
Title: Re: Reflections on Talks - S.S. Cohen:
Post by: Subramanian.R on January 19, 2013, 09:48:11 AM
SIDDHIS AND VISIONS:

It is said of some saints that they revived the dead. Yet even they did not revive all the dead. If that were possible, there would
be no death, no cemeteries, no world at all.

                                          - Talk No. 342.

The context is as follows. A mother had brought the body of her dead child about three hundred miles by train to Tiruvannamalai
on which she had a paid a very high fare, basing herself on a dream in which she had been told that Sri Bhagavan's touch would
revive the child. The corpse was not permitted to be brought inside the Asramam, so that the touch was not granted. But to satisfy
the disconsolate, bereaved mother Sri Bhagavan substituted the touch by an oral statement that, if the dream were true, her son
would revive on the next day.  Thereupon, the body was kept for the night and cremated  the next day.

Now was that not a cruel dream? But this is the fate of those who shape their lives on dreams, visions, prophesies, ethereal sounds
from a wishful thinking of the mother.

Sri Bhagavan rightly remarks that even those who were said to have revived the dead were of limited powers, their action being
against the course of nature. Otherwise humanity would have attained immortality, but would have thereby created such complications,
-- economic, political, domestic, social -- for itself that dead revivers would have been at a discount if not also restrained by the law.

Revivals by the touch of the great saints must be taken to depend on the prarabdha of the revived person, as evidence of Lord Siva given in the story of Halasya Mahima.

******

Arunachala Siva.           
Title: Re: Reflections on Talks - S.S. Cohen:
Post by: Subramanian.R on January 20, 2013, 10:51:52 AM
CHAPTER 5:

Brahmacharya, Solitude and Social Life:

Brahmacharya is 'being in Brahman' (or living in Brahman). It has no connection with celibacy, as it is commonly understood.
A real Brahmachari. that is, one who lives in Brahman, finds bliss in Brahman, which is the Self. why should he then look for
other sources of happiness? In fact, emergence from the Self is the cause of all misery.

                                           - Talk No. 17.

To be oneself  is the most blissful state. That is Brahmacharya, or living in Brahman. How then can he who has been so fortunate
as to enjoy that bliss seek the much lesser pleasures of the world, which, apart from their being doubtful, depend upon others to
confer or withhold? The inference therefore, is that celibacy is granted in a Jnani, who is ever in the brimful bliss of the Self. Yet this
inference will be wrong if it is taken as a general rule that Jnanis are always celibates. For some of the most famous Jnanis are known
to have married one, or more than one wife and have had children, some with possessions and some without. A Jnani is a liberated
person. Liberated from all the rules and regulations, from all codes of ethical, religious and social conduct -- he is a law unto himself,
and there is no knowing what he does and does not do. Yet he is known to lead a sattvic life, having diversted himself of all the rajasic
and tamasic tendencies even before the attainment of Jnana.

Celibacy as a help to sadhana is in this Advaitic line doubtful. A married life is, from this point of view alone, certainly no bar to the highest; it may even be of more help in certain cases, in what the Tantrics call the Vira or 'heroic' sadhaka. In cases, where celibacy
does not create definite mental and emotional disturbances which mar the peaceful sadhana, then certainly it is of great help, in as much as it rids one of the preoccupations, duties, and anxieties which a family life drags in its wake. And to make this point clear,
Sri Bhagavan continues the explanation.

******

Arunachala Siva.   
         
Title: Re: Reflections on Talks - S.S. Cohen:
Post by: Subramanian.R on January 21, 2013, 10:11:00 AM
BRAHMACHARYA, SOLITUDE AND SOCIAL LIFE:

2. Celibacy is certainly an aid to realization among so many other aids.

                        - Talk No. 17.

'Among so many other aids' must not escape us; It is the main path in this text. It gives celibacy negligible value on a par
with so many other helpful factors. This is confirmed by the next answer.

******

Arunachala Siva.
 
Title: Re: Reflections on Talks - S.S. Cohen:
Post by: Subramanian.R on January 22, 2013, 10:11:49 AM
BRAHMACHARYA, SOLITUDE AND SOCIAL LIFE:

3. "Is not then celibacy indispensable? Can a married man realize the Self?"

     Bhagavan: "Certainly, it (Realization) is a matter of fitness of mind. Married or unmarried one can realize the Self,
     because the Self is here and now."

                                                               - Talk No. 17.

The Self is All. The married as well as the unmarried. Being one's own self, who can be debarred from experiencing it 
in its utter purity, if the mind has been prepared for it? If celibacy is the only cause of eligibility, then all celibates should be
muktas and all grihasthas in abysmal bondage, which experience and tradition refute.

****

Arunachala Siva.         
Title: Re: Reflections on Talks - S.S. Cohen:
Post by: Subramanian.R on January 23, 2013, 10:22:40 AM

'How does a grihastha fare in the scheme of Moksha?'

Bhagavan: 'Why do you think of yourself to be a grihastha? If you go out as a sannyasi, the thought that you are a sannyasi
will haunt you. You will only be substituting one thought by another. The mental obstacles are always there. They even
increase in new surroundings, There is no help in the change of environment. The mind is the obstacle. Therefore why change
the environment?'

                                         - Talk No. 54.

The real enemy, therefore, of the sadhana, is not so much a domestic life as the habits, restlessness, the pet notions,
the desires, the stubborneness, the dullness, --- the immaturity, in brief, -- of the mind which keeps us company wherever
we go. Why blame it on the family, or sometimes even on God Himself.         

continued....

Arunachala Siva.
Title: Re: Reflections on Talks - S.S. Cohen:
Post by: Subramanian.R on January 24, 2013, 09:41:55 AM
The environment never abandons you, according to your desire. Look at me. I left home. Look at yourselves. You have come here
leaving the home environment. What do you find here? Is this different from what you left?

                                                                       - Talks No. 54.

"Look at me: I left home", Bhagavan says, forgetting for a moment that what He found in the pitch-like dinginess of Pathala Linga,
in the Big Temple at Tiruvannamalai to which He had escaped from home in 1896, was entirely different from His "home environment"
in Madurai. To strike a personal note of my own, I would add that seeing Bhagavan all day long, and seeing a grasping landlord as an
incubus of a neighbor elsewhere, an incubus which certainly was not "according to my conscious desire", makes a Himalayan  difference.
But we understand what the Master means. One carries one's environment with him, which is not other than one's own mind, as we discussed in the last note. No one can leave his mind behind and go out in search of God. The mind is thus the most troublesome as well
as the most helpful instrument, depending on the use we make of it, an instrument, which keeps us constant company. It makes
the environments.

By "the environments never abandons you, according to your desire", Sri Bhagavan wishes to impress upon us against the
restlessness of the mental sankalpas -- our own whims and fancies, -- which shape our circumstances. We thus prepare our bed
and we sleep on it.

*****

Arunachala Siva.           
Title: Re: Reflections on Talks - S.S. Cohen:
Post by: Subramanian.R on January 25, 2013, 10:26:30 AM

Even if one is immersed in nirvikalpa samadhi for years together, when he emerges from it, he will find himself in the environment
which he is bound to have. That is the reason why Sankaracharya emphasized sahaja samadhi in preference to nirvikalpa samadhi
in his excellent work Vivekachudamani. One should be in spontaneous samadhi, that is, in his pristine state, in any environment.

                                                        - Talk No. 54,

Sri Bhagavan continues the topic, but includes in the mind the physical environment, which for the Jnani affects only the physical
body. Even the Jnani, Sri Bhagavan elsewhere asserts has to be subject to the karma of the body --- his mind being no longer
tarnishable. The Jnani is ever in samadhi. When he switches off the world, he is in nirvikalpa (better call it kevala nirvikalpa, because 
sahaja is also called nirvikalpa, vide chapter on Samadhi). When he switches it on, he is in Sahaja, that is, perceiving the physical world
at the same time as being in the reality. The physical environment of the Jnani is chalked out for his body by prarabdha, and this sticks
to him, as long as he is in the body. But of whatever sort it may be, it cannot affect his mind which is ever centered in the 'pristine
state', irrespective of what the physical environments are.

continued.....

Arunachala Siva.   
Title: Re: Reflections on Talks - S.S. Cohen:
Post by: Subramanian.R on January 26, 2013, 09:44:01 AM


Solitude is in the mind. One may be in the thick of the world and maintain serenity of mind; such a one is in solitude. Another
may be in a forest, but still unable to control his mind. He cannot be said to be in solitude. A man attached to desire cannot
get solitude wherever he may be. A detached man is always in solitude.

                                                - Talk No. 20.

We have already observed that the state of mind is the true environment. But the remark of the Master, about the relation
of desires to solitude can be summed up as:

"Desire is the crowd and desirelessness is solitude." Or, "Desire creates the city, and desirelessness creates the forest."

******

Arunachala Siva.           
Title: Re: Reflections on Talks - S.S. Cohen:
Post by: Subramanian.R on January 27, 2013, 10:33:51 AM

Work performed with attachment is a shackle, whereas performed with detachment does not affect the doer. The latter is in
solitude even while working. As for service, Realization of the Self is the greatest service that can be rendered to humanity.
Therefore, the saints are helpful although they dwell in forests. But it should not be forgotten that solitude is not obtained in
forests only, but even in towns, in the thick of worldly occupations. The help is imperceptible, but it is still there. A saint helps the
whole humanity unknown to it.
               
                                                                            Talks No.  20.

This should be the quietus to the criticism that yogis or seekers of the path of Liberation are selfish.  The critics will now see their
shortsightedness in attaching great important to physical service, which on no account can give permanent and all round satisfaction.
Laws of economics and social reforms may work well on physical plane, may increase the earning capacity of the laborer, give him a better shelter, educate his children, and raise him to a higher social status. But it can never give him happiness. We see it before our eyes that the more you raise your wages, the greater will be the struggle of the laborer to gain more -- he never knows where to stop his demands. But even if you make him a millionaire, his mind will remain indigent proletariat, like the fuzzy and ever agitated minds of all the millionaires under the sun. Therefore, all this talk of working for, and uplifting the poor is intrinsically based on false values. Poor is he who is unhappy, even if his wealth were that of Croesus. The greatest wealth is the peace which flows from true knowledge, which can be imparted only by their 'selfish' yogis and Rishis. This does not mean that philanthropists and social workers should close shop and cease helping. It is their dharma to help, which they cannot shirk, for in the performance of this dharma lies their own salvation. But they must stop sneering at the one who alone can give the most valuable help of all, namely, redemption from ignorance and misery --- and for ever.

The questioner remarked: 'In Europe it is not understood by the people that in solitude one can be helpful, imagining that working in the world alone can be useful.' Sri Bhagavan said: Never mind Europe and America. Where are they but in your mind? Realize yourself and all will be realized. If you dream and wake up and recall the men of your dream, will you try to ascertain if these men are also awake?'

******

Arunachala Siva.             
Title: Re: Reflections on Talks - S.S. Cohen:
Post by: Subramanian.R on January 28, 2013, 10:24:02 AM
THE WORLD:

If you make your outlook that of wisdom, you will find that the world to be God. Without knowing Brahman, how will you find
His all pervasiveness?

                                                                - Talk No. 1.

This 'outlook of wisdom' is that of the Jnani who has realized Brahman which he finds to be the source of all perception, that is,
of the world. Brahman is not only the source of the world, but also its pervader, nay, its very self - its warps and woofs, its very
stuff and texture. But this all pervasiveness of God cannot be perceived till the realization of the Self has been fully achieved in
Sahaja Samadhi. To tell the unrealized person that the world is God is like writing it on water --- meaningless. Ask him first to realize
the God or Brahman, and he will cease to puzzle, but will try to understand.

*****

Arunachala Siva.     
Title: Re: Reflections on Talks - S.S. Cohen:
Post by: Subramanian.R on January 29, 2013, 09:15:15 AM
THE WORLD:

continues.....

The world is not external. The impressions cannot have an outer origin, because the world can be cognized only by consciousness.

                                                                     - Talk No. 53.

What is the world? Sri Bhagavan answers, 'impressions in the mind.' Do impressions have a source? Modern psychology answers,
'Yes, the external stimuli', which Sri Bhagavan repudiates. The psychologists have no proofs at all of a non physical stimulus, located
in outer space. Yogic experience has shown that there exists no such thing as outer object or space, for if it were, it would not be known at all; what is not mental cannot impress the mind. Therefore, impressions rise from the consciousness itself, like the dream
impressions which rise from the dreamer's mind and are perceived by it. The world cannot stand by itself, but has to depend upon
consciousness to be known, or else, how can we be sure that it exists at all?  If for, example, in the midst of a dream we are to be
challenged to prove that the world we perceive and the food we eat were only figments of our imagination, we would be in as much
a dilemma to prove it as we would should such a challenge be thrown to us in the waking state about the jagrat world and jagrat
food; for while in dream we take the dream to be real,  much as we take the waking to be real while in it.

*****

Arunachala Siva.           
Title: Re: Reflections on Talks - S.S. Cohen:
Post by: Subramanian.R on January 30, 2013, 08:47:50 AM

Is the world perceived after Self Realization?

Bhagavan: What does it matter if the world is perceived or not? the ajnani sees the Jnani active and is confounded. The world
is perceived by both. But their outlooks differ, Take the cinema, for instance. Pictures move on the screen. Let the pictures
disappear. What remains? The screen alone. So also here. Even when the world appears find out to whom it appears. Hold the
substratum of the 'I'. When the substratum is held what does it matter if the world appears or disappears?

One sympathizes with the questioner. His curiosity is a common weakness. In the beginning of this answer the Master wishes to
draw attention to the fact that to the Jnani, there is neither gain by seeing the world, nor loss by not seeing it. What matters most
is the Being, which is the man himself --- as he is in himself --- self sufficient and perfect, and in this Being the Jnani is firmly established.
It thus matters very little if he perceived the extraneous world or not.

To speculate about the mental state of the Jnani is an idle labor; for it is anybody's guess, like the state of the Supreme Brahman.
For both are one and the same, notwithstanding the appearance of activity on the part of the Jnani. This activity is, truly speaking,
inactivity, like the movements of the pictures on the screen, which in reality do not exist. There is no activity whatever on the screen,
but only an appearance of it. As the screen is alone real and the pictures unreal, so is the Self alone real, and not the action.

Activity and the world in which it takes place are thus both unreal. The 'I' is the screen, the sentient seer, and all pictures and worlds
are the insentient shows playing in, or upon it.

Sri Bhagavan asserts that when you are confused by the sights, turn your attention upon yourself, their seer. Continue doing
that again and again and you can bet on your assured success.

*****

Arunachala Siva.
           
Title: Re: Reflections on Talks - S.S. Cohen:
Post by: Subramanian.R on January 31, 2013, 10:14:00 AM

How to turn the mind away from the world, you say? Is there a world apart from the Self?  Does the world say that it exists?
It is you who say that there is a world. Find out the Self who says it.

                                                                                                  Talks No. 81

The substance of this answer is the same as that of the preceding ones, but it differs from them in the form. In all fundamental
principles we discover unity in the substance but diversity in the presentation, which is the superficial form. Differences in the
questions impose differences in the answers, and differences in he spiritual quests are responsible for all the scriptures of the
world. Otherwise even the voluminous Vedas could be summed up in one syllable - OM.

Thinking is the world. It creates the world.  We think and our thoughts appear as the external objects. That the world had been
before we were born and continues to be after we are dead, and that science and history bear evidence to this fact, does not alter the
truth that even these scientific and historical facts are our present thoughts or notions --- notions which haunt us as long we are in
jagrat. All the worlds and the billions of ages which they have lased, tumble down like a pack of cards the moment we lay our heads on
the pillow and sail off from jagrat, and with them come down the history of the people who preceded and the world which preceded
the people, etc.,, Yet, notwithstanding the total pralaya of our jagrat thoughts, the complete blotting out of the universe --- in our beds ---- we continue to BE, to travel to new lands and cross new seas, though lands and seas are, like jagrat, our own creation. So the
dreamer of jagrat alone is real --- the jgarat dream is a total false.

******

Arunachala Siva.         
Title: Re: Reflections on Talks - S.S. Cohen:
Post by: Subramanian.R on February 01, 2013, 09:31:46 AM
THE WORLD:

You say that the world is materialistic. Whether it is materialistic or spiritual, it is according to your outlook. Make your outlook
right. The Creator knows how to take care of His creation.

                                                                    - Talk No. 240.

The last sentence makes us think of the politician, social worker, philanthropist, economic philosopher, and even the
clergyman who are ever anxious to help the nation and the world, perpetually thinking of how to save the humanity from
misery and disaster. Sri Bhagavan practically tells them that there is a Power which is making and moving all things. Who
are you to imagine that you can make and unmake to your liking? Such worries denote ignorance of Providence, or the arrogation
to oneself the duties of Providence. These preoccupations should be abandoned by the seekers, who are expected to begin
with a strong faith in omniscience and omnipotence of the Supreme Being Whom they are seeking. Service to others is only permitted
if it is done as a sadhana with jnana as the ultimate aim, as a means to self purification. Find truth and all will be well with the world.
'make your outlook right, for the world is according to your outlook.'

******

Arunachala Siva.   
       
Title: Re: Reflections on Talks - S.S. Cohen:
Post by: Subramanian.R on February 02, 2013, 10:34:11 AM
THE WORLD:


Does Bhagavan believe in evolution?

Bhagavan: Evolution must be from one state to another. When differences are not admitted, how can evolution arise?
You say that when Sri Krishna tells Arjuna that after several births the seeker gains knowledge and thus knows 'Me',
denotes evolution. But you must not forget that Gita begins with 'Neither I was, nor you, nor these chiefs etc.,'; neither it
is born, nor does it die, etc.,' So there is no birth, no death, no present as you look at it. Reality was, is, and will always be.
He is changeless.

The questioner is a Theosophist, and, like Arjuna and Darwin, sees the evolution of of forms and mistakes it for the evolution
of life, which is changeless. When Sri Krishna saw that Arjuna was unable to grasp His meaning about the absoluteness of the
subject, which is neither born nor dies, He turns a leaf and starts speaking a language which Arjuna understands. What moves,
changes and progresses is the form which the life inhabits, or its ideas, concepts, outlooks, which are its functions, and not
itself as the thinker or conceiver. We have all observed ow man daily changes his views about things and the world, from infancy,
to old age, though himself remains the same jiva. Life is changeless and ever perfect, so that it has no need to progress, to 'evolve'.
Life is pure sentience, i.e no external existence, which is bound by no frontiers to need breaking its chains through 'evolution'. It is
the usual human astigmatism, rather failure in precision of language that ascribes progress to life and brings in evolution and reincarnation. The Srutis also speak of rebirths, but they know what they are talking about, as does Sri Krishna in the Gita. They
say this to the millions of Arjunas of all ages, but speak a different language to the dedicated sadhaka who has prepared himself 
to receive the Absolute Truth.

*****

Arunachala Siva.         
Title: Re: Reflections on Talks - S.S. Cohen:
Post by: Subramanian.R on February 03, 2013, 09:30:25 AM
THE WORLD:

continues.....

What should we do to ameliorate the condition of the world?

Bhagavan:  If you are free from pain, there will be no pain anywhere. The trouble is due to your seeing the world externally
and also thinking that it has pain. But both pain and the world are within you.  If you look within there will be no pain.

                                   Talk No. 272.

Here again the world is sitting on our shoulders.  Its misery is weighing heavily on us: "What should we do to ameliorate it?"
Is this true altruism? Is the life of the man who worries free from blemishes of selfishness? If not, we know the exact value
of such altruism. But this is not really the concern of Bhagavan who approaches the question from the absolute level. You look
outside, He tells us, and see a world, and then you start worrying over its suffering. But is the world really there that you should
take its suffering so seriously? The whole drama is enacted by, and inside your mind. You are like the thief dressed as a policeman
going in search of the thief. The whole show of sympathy and concern for the world is a show put  up by the criminal who is responsible'
for the world and its suffering.  The thinking mind creates the world and its suffering and the thinking mind now poses as the savior
of the world.  Bhagavan virtually asks it not to be a hypocrite. Root out your own sins and you will see no sins anywhere.

contd.,

Arunachala Siva.                             
Title: Re: Reflections on Talks - S.S. Cohen:
Post by: Subramanian.R on February 04, 2013, 10:28:13 AM


Is there a spiritual hierarchy of all the original propounders of religions watching the spiritual welfare of humanity?

Bhagavan: There may or may not be. 'It is only a surmise' at best. Atma is pratyaksha (self evident). Know it and be done
with speculation. One may accept such a hierarchy; another may not. But no one can gainsay the Self.

I have placed It is only a surmise - in inverted commas, which should be taken as an authoritative statement from the Master
that no one can have the means of knowing definitely whether such a hierarchy exists or not. This must not be forgotten, so
that all such claims may be taken at their face value.

But even if such a hierarchy exists, can it help us to attain the Reality? Yet "watching the spiritual welfare of humanity" sounds
very attractive. But the question is, suppose this is true, how does somebody's watching from some unknown area in some
distant, unknown world over, say, my spiritual welfare, help me to attain the Reality -- a process which should be undergone by
myself alone, inside my own consciousness, through the immediate guidance and presence of the Master, who has himself attained
it, and be become the Reality personified, and who is far more competent for this job than any invisible, remote 'watcher'?

It all appears mist and fog to the seeker who is too practical and too rational to hug shadows, 'speculative' hypotheses. The path
is too simple to admit dubious complications. The truth is self evident (pratyaksha), says the Master.  It does not consist in discovering
hierarchies, but in discovering the mind, or the being, which discovers hierarchies and everything that is known. And as everybody
is a being, it follows that every man is himself is the truth and the container of all things, a fact, which cannot be 'gainsaid'. Know
Thyself remains the wisest and the most practical counsel.

******


Arunachala Siva.             
Title: Re: Reflections on Talks - S.S. Cohen:
Post by: Subramanian.R on February 05, 2013, 08:19:33 AM
The World:

11. Anyway there is nothing apart from the Self. Even the 'spiritual hierarchy' cannot exist apart from the Self. It is only in
the Self and remains as the Self.  Realization of the Self is the only goal of all.

This clinches the matter. Even this hierarchy is, if it does exist, included in that one Absolute Self. Then why not seek the
Self alone right now? Why waste time on secondary, irrelevant matters, which will lead nowhere?

****

Arunachala Siva.   
Title: Re: Reflections on Talks - S.S. Cohen:
Post by: Subramanian.R on February 06, 2013, 09:24:08 AM

12. A phenomenon cannot be a reality simply because it serves a purpose. Dreams also serve dream purposes.  For example,
the dream water quenches the dream thirst. The dream creation is however contradicted in the waking state. What is not
continuous cannot be real. The real is ever real, and not real once and unreal at other times. The same is with magic, which
appears real yet it is illusory. Similarly the world is not real apart from the reality which underlies it.

                                                     - Talk No. 315.

This is an answer to some Tantrikas who hold the world is not an illusion like mirage, because it serves the purpose which
the mirage does not. Bhagavan refutes the argument of utility as a criterion of reality, on the analogy of dream objects which
have their utility in the dream world, e.g. dream fire cooks dream food, and dream food satisfies dream hunger, and so on, yet
they do not exist. The test of reality is not utility but perennial continuity, which places the phenomena of this world - of jagrat
-- on a par with those of dreams, being ephemeral and, therefore, as illusory as them, whereas Reality is the fixed substratum
on which the phenomena appear. The dream's substratum is the dreamer himself. The jagrat dreamer is the substratum of the
jagrat phenomena. He is real but not the phenomena. And as the dreamer of dreams and of jagrat are the one and the same jiva,
the jive is therefore the Absolute Brahman, which once again validates the identification of the jiva with Brahman by the Srutis:
"jiva Brahmaiva na parah" - there is no difference between the jiva and Brahman.

******

Arunachala Siva.           
Title: Re: Reflections on Talks - S.S. Cohen:
Post by: Subramanian.R on February 07, 2013, 08:15:23 AM


13. There is fire on the screen in a cinema show. Does it burn the screen? There is a cascade of water. Does it wet the screen?
There are tools.  Do they damage the screen?  Fire and water are only phenomena on the screen of Brahman and do not affect it.

                                                                - Talk No. 316.

This is a practical and perfect illustration of Sri Krishna's words in the Bhagavad Gita that the fire does not burn it (the Self),
nor does water wet it, nor can swords cut it, of which no one cal plead ignorance. For there is scarcely an intelligent person
who has not witnessed it in a picture-house, and has not known the piece of cloth --- the screen --- which receives the fury of
fire, water and swords, remains completely unaffected by the celluloid conflagration that appears to rage on it. The screen is
the seeing mind,  the subject spoken of in the last post and the celluloid conflagration is the world.

******

Arunachala Siva.     
Title: Re: Reflections on Talks - S.S. Cohen:
Post by: Subramanian.R on February 08, 2013, 01:42:00 PM
THE WORLD:

14. "Why should individuals remain caught in the affairs of this world and reap trouble in the result? Should they not be free? If they
are in the spiritual world they will have greater freedom."       

The Master answered: The world is only spiritual. Because you identify yourself with the physical body you speak of this world as physical and the other world as spiritual. Whereas that which is, in only spiritual. If you realize yourself as the Spirit, you will see that this world
is only spiritual.

                                   - Talks No.  328.

If pure consciousness alone is, the phenomena that are seen and endured by it are utterly superfluous. But because we take them seriously, we say that the affairs of the world are troublesome. What is more serious is that we take the body to even more real
than the phenomena, because the body adheres to us throughout life as an inseparable companion, from which we have no relief.
We are never given a chance in the waking state, to see ourselves by ourselves without the body, so that we may distinguish between
the real us and the unreal body. This ceaseless companionship through which we perceive, act, obtain and enjoy the objects of our
desires, has created the illusion that the body is our very Self. And in that illusion,  lie all our difficulties. Because the body is physical,
we think that we are diseased, and tired, and so on. But when the Master draws our attention to our error, we take measures to correct it --- from seeing the outer world, including the body, we turn back upon our own selves as the knowers of the world, and the
body. For Knowledge is not physical; it does not have shape, smell or color, as does the body. We will thus realize ourselves to be the
Infinite Consciousness which uses the body, when the suffering of the body will cease to affect us, and we likewise will cease to see the
world and the body as external, but the phenomena inside our own Self. From being physical, the world will turn out to be Consciousness or spiritual in essence. The conscious separation of the body from the pure consciousness, as a first step, will thus resolve all doubts and is the aim and object of this Sadhana.

contd.,

Arunachala Siva.                   
Title: Re: Reflections on Talks - S.S. Cohen:
Post by: Subramanian.R on February 09, 2013, 09:48:49 AM
The World:

15. A Spanish lady writes in a letter: "If the individual self merges in the Universal Self, how can we pray to God for uplift
of the humanity?"

Bhagavan comments: They prey to God  and finish with, 'Thy will be done.' If His will be done why do they prey at all? It is
true that the Divine Will prevails at all times and under all circumstances. The individuals cannot act on their own accord.
Recognize the force of the Divine Will and keep quiet. Each one is looked after by God. He has created all. You are among
2,000 millions. When He looks after so many will He omit you?

Again there is no need to let Him know your needs. He knows them Himself and will look after them.

                                                                                        -  Talk No. 594.

The recorder adds that 'the question seems to be common among the thinkers of the West.' So it is! For the simple reason
that the Westerners are taught from infancy to pray for others, not forgetting, of course, to begin with themselves, their
fathers, and mothers, sisters and brothers.  At the same time, they are taught to have absolute faith in the Lord. They find
no inconsistency in having this absolute faith side by side with ordering Him to execute what they wish Him to, as if He knows
nothing about it. They follow the Sermon on the Mount which enjoins them, like this text, "Be not ye, like unto them, (the heathens
who make long petitional prayers): for you knoweth what things ye have need of, before ye ask him." (Matthew VI. 8).

Sometimes they even involve God in international squabbles and invoke His help on both sides of the fighting line.
They coerce Him through mass religious processions and open air prayers.

Rational faith is a great unifying force in the spiritual world, but blind faith is most disastrous all around, as the lurid history
of the Dark Ages have evidenced. Blind faith is still going strong in this 20th century, but mercifully, with its fangs blunted.

Followers of Sri Ramana remain consistent and hold on to the rational Advaitic path. God is our Self and so long as we do not
realize Him as such, we continue to bear this belief firmly in us, which we reinforce by the conviction that no man is ever neglected.\
God, Who is infinite Wisdom, knows what is best for each and does it without our reminding Him. He does not need our suggestions
or advice.

contd.,

Arunachala Siva. 
       
 
     
Title: Re: Reflections on Talks - S.S. Cohen:
Post by: Subramanian.R on February 10, 2013, 09:32:44 AM
THE WORLD:

continues.....

16. Still more, why do you pray?  Does not your Creator and Protector know that you are weak?  You say God helps those
who help themselves. Certainly, help yourself and that is itself according to God's Will. Every action  is prompted by Him only.
As for prayers for others it looks so unselfish on the surface of it. But analyze the feeling and you will detect selfishness there
also. You desire others' happiness so that you may be happy. Or you want the credit of having interceded on others' behalf.
God does not require intermediaries. Mind your business and all will be well.

                                  --- Talks No. 594.

Bhagavan's accusation of the intercessor of selfishness is fully justified. We have only to read religious history to realize the
havoc this intercession played in the political, social, domestic and spiritual life of the West. Intercessions and certificates of
intercessions under the name of indulgences were brought and sold in the open market for some centuries in Europe, and the
practice, at least the notion of intercession, still, even today, lingers among a vast section of humanity, so that we should not
wonder at people who want to pray for others and for the peace of the world and pose as heroes in the eyes of
God and men. Even in India the imported notion has spread to some spiritual institutions, where intercession is being
practiced on a large scale. Bhagavan reminds us that "God does not require intermediaries."

That "every action is prompted by God" requires some explanation. On the face of it, it looks as if the statement negates
karma and free will. In fact, it does not. What it means is simply this: since the Self or God are pure intelligence, that is,
alone intelligent, and since no action is done without an intelligent actor, it follows that the Self Itself is the doer (or prompter)
of all actions, notwithstanding these being bound by the laws of karma, which are themselves the work of the same Self.
Thus God is the all doer and all knower.

The Self alone is intelligent existence, and because it is not perceived as such, there is all this wrong thinking, this false belief
about the impotence, sinfulness and ignorance of man, which need confessions, intercession by saints, prayers for forgiveness
and for peace, and what not.

Bhagavan shows us the right way and asks us to mind our own business and go on practicing till we realize the truth about
God and above humanity by our own efforts and direct experience.


contd.,

Arunachala Siva.
                 
Title: Re: Reflections on Talks - S.S. Cohen:
Post by: Subramanian.R on February 11, 2013, 08:45:16 AM

17. Does not God work His will through some chosen person?

Bhagavan: God is in all and works through all. But His presence is better recognized in purified minds. The pure one reflects God's
actions more clearly than the impure mind. Therefore people say that they are the chosen ones. But the chosen man does not
himself say so. If he thinks that he is the intermediary, then it is clear that he retains his individuality and that there is no complete
surrender.

                                                                                 - Talks No. 594.

That God alone is the doer, we have already discussed the point. The new point brought here is to the effect that only a pure
mind can understand Him as such, and such a mind does not pose as an intercessor. He who so poses, as certainly many people
do, should be branded as victim to egoistic delusions.

But the questioner seems to mean differently from the implications of deliberate intercession. He seems to refer to an act of Divine
Grace for the benefit of someone or other or of a whole nation, through a human agency. This is quite valid. But Sri Bhagavan's point
is that such an agency is possible in a mind which is fitter than another for this particular work. Yet, this 'chosen' person would not
know, still less say, that he is chosen without contradicting his mission, for the simple reason that the choice is an automatic act,
and appears to the person himself as natural as any other act, though it turns out to be for the benefit of mankind.

If we grant that all actions are God's, then there is nothing to distinguish one act from another, all actions being induced or inspired
by the intelligent actor from inside himself without the reminder that it is God's. The same may be said of the universally or individually
beneficial act. Thus he who poses as an intercessor, a conscious intermediary, must be looked at with suspicion, more so if he lays claims to highest spirituality through the tapas of surrender. This proves that his surrender is very defective and his tapas not worth
the name.

*****

Arunachala Siva.     
 
     
Title: Re: Reflections on Talks - S.S. Cohen:
Post by: Subramanian.R on February 12, 2013, 09:33:04 AM
THE WORLD:

continues....

18. Are not Brahmins considered to be the priests or intermediaries between God and others?

Bhagavan: Yes. But who is a Brahmin? A Brahmin is one who has realized Brahman. Such a one has no sense of individualitiy
in him. He cannot think that he acts as an intermediary.

                                                   - Talks No. 594.

This definition of Brahminism is as ancient as the Hills. When Bhishma was lying on his bed of arrows, some thousands of years
ago and taught the Dharma Sastras to the Pandavas in the presence of Sri Krishna, he also like Bhagavan, gave the true meaning
of Brahminhood, as follows:

"Acts alone determine who is a Brahmana and who is not. Performing all rituals and sacrifices does not make a Brahmana. There
is only one bondage, namely, that caused by desire. He who is free from this bondage is a Brahmana. He who restrains his senses,
who is constantly in yogic samadhi is a Brahmana. He is distinguished above all others, and derives his joys from the Self alone."
(Shanti Parva of the Mahabharata)

Thus a Brahmin is, truly speaking, a dweller in Brahman, a Jnani, or at least a foremost sadhaka, irrespective of his physical descent.
But the questioner is thinking only of the sacred-thread wearers, who claim Brahminism by right of descent, which the Srutis, Smritis, as
in the above quotation, and Sri Bhagavan repudiate. Yet the Brahmins as a caste have done a lot of good to India and to the world
by saving the Sastras from destruction, through staunch adherence to tradition in many vicissitudes through which this sub continent
has passed in its long history. But unfortunately, the wind of change that blew over the world in the last century or two affected this
caste also. The majority of the Brahmins found themselves faced with the need to struggle for their existence, which compelled them to
occupy positions which had been reserved for the Kshatriyas and Vaisyas.  Yet, notwithstanding, these disadvantages, they continue
to stand in the forefront where the study and practice of Yoga and Vedanta and the spreading of Sanskrit knowledge are concerned,
which is a redeeming feature in the materialistic tendencies  of this age.

It is now clear that there exists no human agency of any kind that can intervene between God and man. The Jnani, the God realized
mukta, alone can help --- not as an intermediary, but as a teacher of, and guide to, the absolute state of the Self.

****

Arunachala Siva.
       
               
Title: Re: Reflections on Talks - S.S. Cohen:
Post by: Subramanian.R on February 13, 2013, 09:25:10 AM
THE WORLD:

Dream and sleep do not make any appeal to me. The sleep state is really dull. Whereas the waking state is full of beautiful
and interesting things.

Bhagavan: What you consider to be filled with beautiful and interesting things is indeed the dull and ignorant state of sleep to
the Jnani. A Sanskrit saying goes:  "The wise one is wide awake just where the darkness rules for others."  You must certainly
wake up from the sleep which is holding you at present.

                                                                   - Talk No. 607.

The English lady who has asked this question seems to have unwittingly given us the secret of Creation.  She has most probably
hit on the cause of the disturbance of the gunas in consciousness, which has given rise to the senses, that is the world. The
disturbance is admittedly an inner impulse, an urge to experience the "Beautiful and interesting  things", and lo! the beautiful
and interesting  things are. The formless, colorless, tasteless, smell less, sound less state of the pure being becomes intolerably
'dull' and the stir in the consciousness takes place to spread a dream, to erect a picture house in order to enjoy a kaleidoscopic
show, this world of multiplicity. At all events the desire of this lady for beauty is the cause of this body of hers, which permits her
to enjoy 'beauty'.

Now the question arises, if the questioner is so devoted to the beautiful things of this world, why does she leave them daily
to seek the 'dullness' of sleep? She is hardly consistent in her loyalty to the beauty when she deliberately and even longingly
forsakes it for the uncouth, obscure, sleep ---- not once in a blue moon, but at least three hundred and sixty five times a year.
She ought seriously think that there is something uncanny, something mysterious in her ardently seeking what she ardently dislikes,
namely, dull sleep. Some inquirers do not care so cast a glance --- even when reminded by sages --- at their conditions in the sleep
state, taking it to be irrelevant to their questions. They imagine themselves well established in a solid world of truth, and there can be
no sense in taking them out of it into a world of shadows and mist.

But the fact remains that the comparison and coordination of all the three states are most essential for the full understanding of the
true nature of jagrat. Again the questioner fancies sleep to be useful for the 'relaxation of the body'. Relaxation implies an antecedent
feeling of tension. We have on many occasions proved the body to be insentient. That being the case how can an insentient object
feel tension? Moreover, if relaxation of the body is the objective, where is the earthly reason of dropping the body completely in this world in bed and going to another world for it? Why cannot it be done right here, where so many other machines are given rest?

The fact is, that what impels us to seek sleep is the longing for the rest and delight of the inner 'home', where we gather ourselves,
so to say, from the exhausting dissipation caused by the senses, whose 'interesting' creation is fictitious, and 'beauty' an ephemeral
mirage. What we take to be waking is actually dreaming, and our sleep is actually waking into the sanity of dreamlessness. What is
darkness for the ignorant is light for the wise, Bhagavan's  quotation reads, and its significance we have to study carefully.

******

Arunachala Siva.                   
Title: Re: Reflections on Talks - S.S. Cohen:
Post by: Subramanian.R on February 14, 2013, 09:13:02 AM
THE WORLD:

continues.....

20 The sleep,  dream and waking states are mere phenomena appearing on the Self, which is itself stationary as simple awareness.
The same person sleeps, dreams and wakes up. The waking state is perceived to be full of beautiful and interesting things, the absence
of which makes one think that the sleep is dull.  Because you identify yourself with the body and you see the world around you and say
that the waking state is filled with beautiful things. Sleep appears dull because you are not there as an individual and therefore these
things are not perceived. But what is the fact? There is the continuity of Being in all the three states, but not of the individual and the
objects.

That which is continuous endures. That which is discontinuous is transitory.  Therefore the state of Being is permanent, whereas the
body and the world are not.

                                                - Talk No. 609.

This is extremely lucid. It all amounts to saying that because the body which sees 'the beautiful and interesting things' in the
waking state, is absent in sleep. Therefore, the world and the body rise and sink together without affecting the being who wakes,
dreams, and sleeps.  Thus the body is not the being, but only the instrument it has chosen for itself to enjoy the beautiful and
interesting things, just as one chooses a telescope to see an object ten miles away, which otherwise would remain invisible.
The body is no more oneself than the telescope is.  Further, the body can be discarded, whereas the being is continuous. Thus
the being is the reality, whereas the temporary body is not.

*****

Arunachala Siva.   
       
Title: Re: Reflections on Talks - S.S. Cohen:
Post by: Subramanian.R on February 15, 2013, 08:55:46 AM
THE WORLD:

21. The mind is like akasa (ether of space).  Just as thee are objects in space, so there are thoughts in the mind.... One
cannot hope to measure the universe and study the phenomena. It is impossible. For the objects are mental creation;
it is like to trying to stamp with one's foot on the head of one's shadow. The farther one moves, the farther goes the shadow's
head.

                                         --  Talk No. 485.

We have already seen that space is the mind's extension, containing thoughts which appear to be the external objects.
Since the objects are our own creation, pursuing them in the attempt to reach their end is like trying to place one's foot on
the head of one's own shadow which recedes as the body moves nearer, for the more we think the larger will the universe grow,
however unwieldy and of incomprehensible immensity it already is.

Therefore the study of the phenomena will lead absolutely nowhere but to the never ending phenomena ---- never to the Real
which underlies them. All sciences --- mathematics, physics, medicine --- pertain the phenomena, the world of space, of time,
of experience, of bodies, of action, and perish with them.

*******

Arunachala Siva.                 
Title: Re: Reflections on Talks - S.S. Cohen:
Post by: Subramanian.R on February 16, 2013, 10:35:18 AM
THE WORLD:

22. Are thoughts mere matter?

Bhagavan: Do you mean matter like the things you see around you? But who is the thinker?  You admit that he is Spirit. Do you
mean that Spirit generates matter? Can Consciousness generate non-consciousness? Or the light darkness?

                                                                  - Talk No. 613.

The questioner rightly demands clarification of the oft repeated assertion that the world is merely our thoughts.  Bhagavan's answer
implies that 'by our thoughts' is means a mere appearance, which has nothing real in it, like the appearance of of water in a mirage,
which is no water at all.

Thoughts are after all mere vibrations in consciousness, in themselves they are nothing, but in our minds they assume ideas or notions
of objects --- mountains, lands, seas, forests, and the thousands of the things that surround us, --- or else how can Brahman or God
who is pure Spirit, generate stones, fire, water, however much the religions of the world ma hail Him as their Creator?  Further,
it is utterly non conceivable that He, Who is immaculate radiance as Supreme Bliss-Intelligence, should give rise to the abnormal
darkness of avidya or to fear, hatred, envy, pain, diseases, etc., The inference is neither world nor avidya exists. They are pure
fantasy --- Consciousness alone is.

Vasishta tells Rama: 'The visible world, O Rama, myself, thyself and all things are nothing, they are uncreated, unborn. The Supreme
Spirit alone exists by Itself.

      'As pearls in the sky the world is non existent. It is as unreal as the individual soul in the void of consciousness.'

                                 - Yoga Vasishta, III, xiv-xv.

Yoga Vasishta's quoted verse clinches the content of the chapter, which has again and again proved that the world is nothing
but a state of the mind, that is, a temporary appearance in the mind of its experiencer. By itself it does not exist at all.

It is an oft repeated truth that the Reality --- Self or Brahman -- is changeless and ever present --- not once present and once
absent. The Reality is the experiencer of the states himself. He is present in the waking, dreaming, dreamless sleep and Turiya
(the fourth) or samadhi, whereas the world is present only in the waking (jagrat) and completely absent in others. The world
with all its mountains, oceans, mighty rivers and mightier volcanoes is simply wiped off the slate  of the seer's consciousness the
moment he steps out of the waking into another state. This proves that the senses which are active only in the waking to make
it are the creators of the world.  The physical body through the sensory organs --- eyes, ears, nose, etc., --- which are lodged in it
feeds the senses on the impressions received by them from an apparent outside. In no other body, this machinery of sense and
sense organs  are found, which is why its deluding power --- Maya --- prevails only in the waking state (Jagrat) and why deliverance
from it (Maya) is sought in Jagrat only, through the practice of tapas  --- meditation and study. This is the only Maya known to us
---- Advaitins --- put in the simplest language to unbaffle the baffled seekers and students who love simplicity and direct approach.

*****

Arunachala Siva.     
     
           
         
Title: Re: Reflections on Talks - S.S. Cohen:
Post by: Subramanian.R on February 17, 2013, 09:52:36 AM
GOD:

Is it possible to have a vision of God? 

Bhagavan answers: Yes. Certainly. You see this and that -- why not also God? All are always seeing God, but they do not know
it. Find out what God is. People see, yet see not, because they know not God.

                                                             - Talks No. 31.

That's just is: 'They have eyes but do not see, ears but do not hear, noses but do not smell,' sings the Psalmist in another
context. Because God cannot be seen, tasted, smelt, heard or touched -- the only means by which men cognize an object --
He, though always present, is not cognized. And if we do not know what God is, what shape, color or size is He to assume in
our vision to convince us that He is God? It poses a terrible dilemma to God when a devotee, who does not have an anthropomorphic
pet God of his own, appeals to Him to show His true Self, for whatever shape He would assume the devotee would not be convinced.
Moreover, it would certainly not be that of God, Who is formless.

We have previously seen that the world appears to the Jnani as Divine, and some teachers go so far as to preach it loudly, thinking
hey would thereby please their listeners. But the louder they preach it, the less the thoughtful listener is convinced. The latter
would argue: If the world is God, then why are we so starved after the vision of God, as the present questioner shows himself to be.
If the world is God, there would be complete satisfaction -- Ananda, Elysium, heavenly joy -- everywhere. It is only because the world
is not God that we hanker after God, so that we may have peace from the ungodly world. The scriptures are more rational in that they
equate the world with the not-Self (neti neti), with gunas, with the disturbed equilibrium in our consciousness. It is therefore for the
ajnani (unrealized) the reverse of God, so that to go Godward, we have to turn our backs to the world.

Thus, he who pins his faith to the five senses, can never expect to have the vision of God as God is in Himself, but only as a spurious
entity which plays the role of God. It will be an imitation, a symbolic representation of the God the worshipper has in mind or understands best. A Krishna worshipper sees Him as Baby Krishna, a Rama devotee sees Him as Rama, a Christian sees Him as one
of the Christian Saints, but the true devotee knows that God has no form of any kind. He being the seer of all sights, hearer of all
sounds, smeller of all smells, knower of all knowledge, and thus ever present in a world which consists of nothing but sights, sounds,
smells, etc., Sri Bhagavan asks us to know Him thus, when we can say that we have truly known God.  This is the highest and only
true vision of God.

****

Arunachala Siva.                   
Title: Re: Reflections on Talks - S.S. Cohen:
Post by: Subramanian.R on February 18, 2013, 10:15:30 AM
GOD:

continues.....

Does not Advaita aim at becoming one with God?

Bhagavan:  Where is becoming one with God?  The thinker is himself is ever the Real, a fact which he ultimately realizes.
'
                                                                                                   - Talk No. 31.

Bhagavan  here, as always, definitely eliminates the distinction between the individual and God, supporting the Srutis,
by experience.  Becoming implies the present non Being which is absurd. Being mean eternal existence, which is God or
eternal truth. And as we admit only one existence, namely our own, of which alone we are irrefutably sure, it follows
that we are Being, --- we are now and for ever God Himself or Itself. Advaitins like us are not rattled by dualists who consider
the identification of man with God heretical. These have not the foggiest notion of what God is, but make Him in their own image
and worship Him as a personality, owning, both human weaknesses -- partiality, jealousy, injustice, cruelty, petty mindedness,
callousness, and what not -- as well omnipotence. And because their senses are solid and liquid, of eyes, ears and noses, and of
their peculiar communal beliefs and customs. In the last note we have discussed what in Advaita we mean by God, and if the\
questioner gets used to that view, Bhagavan's answer will be clear to him.

******

Arunachala Siva.             
Title: Re: Reflections on Talks - S.S. Cohen:
Post by: Subramanian.R on February 19, 2013, 09:12:29 AM
GOD:

"Do we not see God in concrete form?"

Maharshi: "Yes, God is seen in the mind. The form and appearance of God-manifestation are determined by the mind of the
devotee. But it is not the finality. There is the sense of duality. It is like a dream-vision. After God is perceived, Vichara commences.
That ends in the Realization of the Self.  Vichara is the ultimate path. Of course, a few find Vichara practicable. Others find bhakti
easier."
                                                                        - Talk No. 251.

This amplifies the first text of this chapter, and bears out the reflections thereon, namely that the sense bound person sees visions
of Gods and saints as forms --- the former in which he expects them to be, or comprehends them best, for God is pure spirit, pure
consciousness, which can be apprehended by the pure light of our personal consciousness which underlies and witnesses all the
appearances. Sri Bhagavan is every explicit on this point, namely, "the form and appearance of God's manifestation are determined
by the mind of the devotee, but it is not the finality,"  because it is the sankalpa of the devotee which manifests the duality of the
worshipper and the worshipped. Therefore this external form has to be transcended through the internal Vichara, which will reveal
the individual consciousness to be identically the same as the Pure Consciousness we call Brahman or Absolute Self. For if they
were not one and the same Consciousness, the attainment of the latter by the former would be impossible, entirely out of the question.

******

Arunachala Siva.           
Title: Re: Reflections on Talks - S.S. Cohen:
Post by: Subramanian.R on February 20, 2013, 09:48:35 AM

'How is all immanent God said to reside in the Ether of the Heart?'

Bhagavan: Do we not reside in one place? do you not say you are in your body? Similarly God is said to reside in the Heart-lotus.
The Heart-lotus is not a place. Some place is mentioned as the place of God, because we think we are in the body. This kind of
teaching is meant for those who can appreciate only the relative knowledge. Being immanent everywhere, there is no particular
place for God. The instruction means "look within"

                                                   - Talk No. 209

That the Almighty God, who is infinite and boundless, can squeeze Himself in such a small and uncomfortable hole as the human
heart, poses a tremendous problem to the sense bound person. Bhagavan explains that the heart-lotus is not a physical place,
but an apt simile made for the sake of those who 'appreciate only relative knowledge', that is, sensuous experience. But the
designation of Heart to God is not without foundation; the experience of Absolute Being is felt in samadhi as Pure Consciousness
in one's inmost being, rather, to be precise, in the heart of one's being, because it is blissful as well as being. We are all agreed
that joy or any emotion is only felt in the heart -- not the muscular heart, but somewhere in our being, which we locate in the chest
though not in the flesh and ribs of the chest.  It is in this heart, this subtle emotional center, that the bliss of the pure consciousness
--- or God is felt in samadhi.  This is the meaning of the saying that God is bliss, and resides in the ether of the heart.  If the whole
universe resides in in this consciousness, it follow that consciousness pervades the universe.   God is thus immanent and resides
in the Heart as well.  And if you wish to verity it, Sri Bhagavan exhorts you "to look within."

******

Arunachala Siva.     
Title: Re: Reflections on Talks - S.S. Cohen:
Post by: Subramanian.R on February 21, 2013, 10:14:54 AM
SCRIPTURES AND SCHOLARSHIPS.

The Vedas give conflicting account of cosmogony. Do these not impair the credibilty of the Vedas?

Bhagavan: The essential aim of Vedas is to teach us he nature of imperishable Atman and show us that we are That. As you
are satisfied with this aim and teaching you should treat the rest as Arthavada, auxiliary expositions, made for the ignorant
who seek to trace the genesis of things.

                                                                    - Talks No. 30

Human society stands at different psychical levels, each of which requires instructions comprehensible to itself. The Vedas give these
instructions, but reserve their best to the seeker of the Highest, to whom they reveal the science of Brahman, the Absolute Self.
This science alone should concern us, because it is the science of our own being, of the eternal Truth.  Bhagavan advises us to desist
from indulging in extraneous matters, such as the stories of creation, dissolution etc., Such stories in he Vedas speak to the fiction
and speculation lovers.

****

Arunachala Siva.           
Title: Re: Reflections on Talks - S.S. Cohen:
Post by: Subramanian.R on February 22, 2013, 10:18:26 AM
SCRIPTURES AND SCHOLARSHIP:

2. "The scriptures are useful to indicate the existence of the Higher Power (the Self), and the way to gain it. Their essence is that
much only. When that is assimilated the rest is useless. We read so much. Do we remember all we read? The essential soaks in
the mind and the rest is forgotten. So it is with the Sastras.

                                                                       - Talk No. 62.

By mentioning memory, Bhagavan draws attention to the behavior of our consciousness in automatic sifting in its highly
organized machinery the grain from the chaff, the essential from the unessential, throwing the latter into the limbo, much as
a  student does when he endeavors to retain the most important parts of his studies, and allows the rest to fall through the sieve
of his memory. We have to do the same thing with regard to what we read in the Scriptures.  We must choose what has a direct
bearing on the eternal Truth and completely wink at the rest. Judicious study of the Srutis bears the greatest fruit, and this is done
only through the guidance of the Master, who is the very embodiment of the Srutis and the soul of the Sastras.

****

Arunachala Siva.
     
Title: Re: Reflections on Talks - S.S. Cohen:
Post by: Subramanian.R on February 23, 2013, 09:21:28 AM
SCRIPTURES AND SCHOLARSHIP:

continues.....

3. "The ultimate Truth is so simple. It is nothing more than being in the pristine state. That is all that need be said.

    "But people will not be content with simplicity;  they want complexity.  Because they want something elaborate, attractive,
and puzzling, so many religions have come into existence. Each of them is so complex and each creed in each religion has its
own adherents and antagonists.

    "For example, an ordinary Christian will not be satisfied unless he is told that God is somewhere in the far off Heavens, not
to be reached by us unaided. Christ alone knew Him and Christ alone can guide us. Worship Christ and be saved. If told the simple
truth --- 'The Kingdom of Heaven is within you' -- he is not satisfied and will read complex and far fetched meanings in such statements.
Mature mind alone can grasp the simple truth in all its nakedness."

                                                                     - Talk No. 96.

Bhagavan is very frank in this text.  Not that He wanted to attack the established religions or single out an one of them as the
most superstitious and irrational; but, as the teacher of the Absolute, He has to be consistent when appeals are made to His
views on the variety of movements that go about in the name of God, the "wisdom" of God, the 'truth' of God and what not,
although He is always guarded in His answers, in order not to give offence to the hypersensitive, who is apt to catch fire at the
least mention of his religion or 'spiritual' institution.

That part that religion should play in the life of an individual, Bhagavan opines, should merely be to show him the truth about
himself;  not to entertain him with glamorous cosmogony and cosmology, or to frighten him with superstitious inventions, which
do more harm than good to his approach to the Reality. Bhagavan does not ignore either the ethical side of religion or the well
known fact that not all men are prepared for the Highest Truth.  But when the questioner is a seeker of the Highest, he has to be
shown nothing less than the Highest, before which an ethical teaching less than the Highest, before which an ethical teachings
appears as pale as moonlight at midday.

contd.,

Arunachala Siva.             
       
Title: Re: Reflections on Talks - S.S. Cohen:
Post by: Subramanian.R on February 24, 2013, 08:51:26 AM
3.

continues.....

The complexity of which Sri Bhagavan speaks, is, no doubt, very strangling, because it obscures the Real;  yet there are millions,
laymen as well as clergymen, who are always ready to shed the last drop of their blood to defend every syllable of it.
Is this the complexity  ---- superstitions, accretions, irrelevancies --- useful to them?  It looks as if it is, at their own level, till
they outgrow it.  The adhikari immediately lays his fingers on it, refutes it outright, and opens himself to the healthy teachings
of the Path of the Supreme.  The lesser adhikaris, although they free themselves from many superstitions, get caught by the
"elaborate, attactive and puzzling" --- probably siddhis, --- because they have not yet completely transcended the lower gunas,
and thus spend a lifetime of wasted efforts. To the Master, Truth is as self evident as the look of a 'gooseberry in the palm of
one's hand", for it is nothing but one's "pristine nature", to which the sadhaka drives direct and which he eventually never fails
to attain.

*****


Arunachala Siva.

             
Title: Re: Reflections on Talks - S.S. Cohen:
Post by: Subramanian.R on February 25, 2013, 08:40:17 AM

4. "The author of Vritti Prabhakara claims to have studied 350,000 books before writing this book. Vichara Sagara is full of logic
and technical terms.  But what is the use?  Can these ponderous volumes serve any real purpose?  Can they give Realization
of the Self?  Yet there are people who read them and then seek sages for the sole purpose of seeing if these can meet their
questions.  To read these volumes, to discover new doubts and to solve them is a source of delight to them.  Knowing this to be
sheer waste of time, the sages do not encourage such people .

"Only the Enquiry into the Self can be of use.

"Those familiar with logic and with large books like Vritti Prabhakara, Vichara Sagara, and Sutra Bhashya cannot relish small works
like Truth Revealed, dealing only with the Self and pointedly too;  because they have accumulated Vasanas.  Only those whose
minds are less muddy, and are pure, can relish small but purposeful works." 

                                                                   - Talk No. 332.

Ponderous are the books, scholars read, and even more ponderous the scholars feel themselves to be.  They accumulate Vasanas,
the peculiar scholastic Vasanas, which inflate as they grow, with which sometimes they pester even sages. "Knowing this to be sheer
waste of time, they sages do not encourage such people" is, no doubt, autobiographical.

continued.... 

Arunachala Siva.     
Title: Re: Reflections on Talks - S.S. Cohen:
Post by: Subramanian.R on February 26, 2013, 08:47:23 AM
SCRIPTURES AND SCHOLARSHIP:

4. continues....

This teaches us the futility of the established logic or of the tiresomely voluminous pseudo spiritual books to guide us on
the practical path to the Absolute. Ponderous tomes leave their marks on the mind, and too many marks are bound to
conflict with and blur the vision of the Real.  What is more, being biased by the massiveness of their 'scientific' approach,
the scholars become incapable of appreciating the modest, though the best and most pointed approach to truth, when
they meet it. They do not even condescend to give it a glance --- it is too simple and couched in too few words, and too
feebly analytical to be worthy of their consideration.  They drop it like a hot cake.

"Truth Revealed" is the translation of a booklet written by Sri Bhagavan Himself, consisting of only forty verses and deal
exclusively with the Truth and the way to It, in the simplest style possible. It contains the whole teaching of Advaita philosophy
in a nutshell.  Some of these scholars sniff at it, because it contains neither critical arguments nor pompous quotations and
phraseology and is certainly very poor in bulk.

Sri Bhagavan warns us against the lures and traps of scholarship.  What is the use, He asks? Does it bring in Self realization?
Certainly it does not and CANNOT.  This warning is especially timely in this age which is so excessively prolific in philosophical
production with its great appeal to the modern mind.

*****

Arunachala Siva.       
Title: Re: Reflections on Talks - S.S. Cohen:
Post by: Subramanian.R on February 27, 2013, 02:20:14 PM
SCRIPTURES AND SCHOLARSHIP:

5. "DIVYA Chakshush" divine eyesight is necessary to see the glory of God. Can we not see the glory as the splendor of a million
suns?"

Bhagavan: Oh, I see, you want to see the splendor of a million suns. Can you see even one Sun?  Divine light means self-
luminosity, self knowledge.  Otherwise, who is to bestow a divine eye, and who is to see?  Again people read in books that
'hearing, reflection, and one pointedness' are necessary.  They think that they must pass through savikalpa and nirvikalpa samadhi
before attaining realization. Hence all the questions. Why should they wander in that maze? What do they gain in the end? Only
cessation of the trouble of seeking.  They will find that the Self is eternal and self evident. Then why not get repose in the Self
even at this moment?

"The simple man is satisfied with japa or with worship, but the trouble is for the bookworms. Well, well, they also will get on."

The first line shatters the description in the books of the Supreme Consciousness as blazing light, or a vision of splendor comparable
to a million suns. This is an utter misleading description. For it is nothing of the kind.  The light of the Self is the pure knowledge with
which we cognize everything including  the Self itself, which in  no way stands comparison with any physical radiance. Speaking of
divine visions does not mean a special physical or spiritual eye, or the eye of the 'clairvoyant', with which someone endows us.

According to Sri Bhagavan, 'Divine Sight' means self luminosity., self knowledge, the eye of wisdom, or Jnana. For the Self alone is
divine and nothing else. It is called radiant because it is vividly experienced in Samadhi, free from the obscuring clouds of thoughts
and emotions. It is self luminous because it is self evident, that is, it knows itself and does not depend on an external knowledge
to be known ---- itself being pure knowledge.

contd.,

Arunachala Siva.                       
Title: Re: Reflections on Talks - S.S. Cohen:
Post by: Subramanian.R on February 28, 2013, 04:58:15 PM


5. continues....

Sri Bhagavan brushes aside book knowledge, as of no use, for Self Realization on special grounds. We learn all the details
about the stages on the path, from books, or even from the Guru Himself, in the hope that by following them we may in the end
rest from the stress and strain of a long quest. Sri Bhagavan says, strictly speaking, all this is unnecessary. Because the rest we
seek is, like the goal itself, even now, available to us.  We have, if we are alert enough, only to open the eye of our intuition, to
perceive it;  for it is our very self, the very seeker himself, from which at no time, he is separated. Books will be useful if the seeker
is unable to perceive himself by himself. Cases are known of very unsophisticated seekers who have scarcely ever read a book in
their life, and who have nevertheless reached the goal quickly by adhering to their peculiar form of sadhana. There are, on the other
hand, thousands who have read books without number and who have not, for that reason, advanced an inch spiritually.

continued......;

Arunachala Siva.     
Title: Re: Reflections on Talks - S.S. Cohen:
Post by: Subramanian.R on March 01, 2013, 09:14:12 AM
SCRIPTURES AND SCHOLARSHIP:

5. continues.....

As for the books themselves, Bhagavan did not criticize them indiscriminately;  for He Himself has written some, and has the
highest respect for some famous works and their great Acharya authors.  Besides, study and reflections sharpen and polish
the intellect and are thus very essential in this marga. What He criticizes are those works, which, while professing to teach
Truth, do not retain its purity throughout, and sometimes mislead by false comparisons, exaggerations and useless arguments
as we have seen Him doing in the previous texts.  The books of the "book worms", namely, of the wrangling and brain racking
argumentative type, are utterly useless for the purpose of the Supreme Quest.   Yet in the end Sri Bhagavan holds a hope even
for the "book worms" --- 'Well, well, they also will get on.'

*****

Arunachala Siva.           
Title: Re: Reflections on Talks - S.S. Cohen:
Post by: Jewell on March 01, 2013, 05:06:40 PM
Dear Sri Subramanian sir,

Nice post. I also think that it is not that reading books is main obstacle,but our habit to get attached to the.,and in the way,to form sort of mental picture how realisation should look like,to form picture about everything,which is main obstacle. Coz mind cannot in any way picture Reality. Also,when we read much,we tend to learn much for all sorts of other reasons,which also is obstacle. Openess to the end is what is needed,i believe. And in this way we tend to get into too many concepts. Well,that also is very individual too.

With love and prayers,
Title: Re: Reflections on Talks - S.S. Cohen:
Post by: Subramanian.R on March 02, 2013, 09:52:30 AM
THE SELF OR REALITY:

1. "The habits of the mind (vasanas) hinder the realization of the Self, and in order to overcome the vasanas, we have to realize
the Self. Is this not a vicious circle?"

The Master: "It is the ego which raises these difficulties and then complains of an apparent paradox. Find out who is making
the inquriess and the Self will be found."

"The Self is ever present. There exists nothing without it. It is the witness of the three states; the sleep, dream and waking,
which belong to the ego,  The Self transcends the ego. Did you not exist even in sleep?  It is only in the waking state, that you
describe the experience of sleep as being unawareness. Therefore, the consciousness when asleep is the same as that when
awake. If you know what this waking  consciousness is, you will know the consciousness which witnesses all the three states.
Such consciousness could be found by seeking the consciousness as it was in sleep."

                                                                     - Talks No. 13.

The questioner sees an undoubted vicious circle in the preceding answers of the Master., which Bhagavan solves by asking him to
inquire into the seer of the vicious circle, namely, himself. Why does he want to realize the Self, that is his own self?  Because he
pleads ignorance of it, yet at the same time, he is fully aware of it as the questioner himself. Is not that a paradox?  The self he
knows, or imagines he knows, is the same self he seeks, or else he would be two instead of only one. How can he get out of
this dilemma?

continued......

Arunachala Siva.         
Title: Re: Reflections on Talks - S.S. Cohen:
Post by: Subramanian.R on March 03, 2013, 08:30:53 AM
THE SELF OR REALITY:

1. continues....

That everyone is sure of his own reality, as intelligence is proved by his statements: 'I know", "I study", "I smell", "I think",
"I decide" etc., but the confusion begins the moment he gives a distinctive name to himself - Peter - as a body, different
from all other bodies.

Therefore the "vicious circle" is due to the wrong mental attitude of the questioner about his own identity, and to dissipate
this,  Bhagavan adds the other explanations, the substance of which is something like this:

The Self is pure awareness or knowledge.  And, because it is pure knowledge, it has to be present in every experience as its
knower, or else how can a thing or state be known?  This knower we call Self.  So the Self is the knower of all things and all
states.  It must be present in the waking, dreaming, and deep sleep states, which " belong to the ego.", that is, which every
individual or ego --- Peter --- experiences.  Therefore the ego is the Self itself. But, because the Self is one and indivisible, being
pure consciousness, and the ego is known by names such Peter or John, and by form --- the form of Peter or of John -- that
we say that the Self transcends the ego, that is, being without names and forms.  Names and forms are thus the cause of the
illusion of a difference between the two, because they make the one consciousness to appear many.

contd.,

Arunachala Siva.     
Title: Re: Reflections on Talks - S.S. Cohen:
Post by: Subramanian.R on March 04, 2013, 10:13:39 AM
THE SELF OR REALITY:

continues.....

1.  Now the sadhaka arrives at the knowledge of his Being nameless and formless, one in all names and forms --- in all beings --
by arguing his positions, as Sri Bhagavan does in this text, in every one of these three states and relates them to each other.
In Jagrat, for example, I am aware of all jagrat things that surround me, including my own self as Peter, and my body or form,
which measures so much by so much.  Then I go to the dream state, where I am neither Peter nor have his form, but somebody
else, say, X, with the form of X. Then I pass on to the dreamless state, where I am aware of nothing, of neither name nor form,
neither Peter nor X.

Reviewing in jagrat the whole of this process, I sum it up thus: I, the conscious knower, assume the name and form of Peter in
jagrat, of X, in swapna, but remain nameless and formless, as my pure self, in sushupti.  Therefore, Peter and X, are not I.
Similarly, the gross body of the former and the subtle body of the latter, are not essential to me, but superimposed on me when
I witness the first two states. With the removal of the restrictions of names and forms from myself, I remain the same being alone,
free from all limitations and qualities.  This aloneness is known as Kaivalaya.  And to experience it in the jagrat we have to take to
sadhana, which removes the obstructions and enables the 'I' to perceive itself as the pure, eternal Self.  This sadhana and this knowledge of the Real are the main purpose of the Vedas. The stat of Kaivalya for the embodied obtains only in sushupti and samadhi,
unconsciously in the former but consciously in the latter.

*****

Arunachala Siva.       
Title: Re: Reflections on Talks - S.S. Cohen:
Post by: Subramanian.R on March 05, 2013, 10:08:35 AM
THE SELF OR REALITY:

2.  "How to know the real 'I' as distinct from the false 'I'?

      The Master answered:  Is there any one who is not aware of himself?  Each one knows yet does know the Self.
       A strange paradox.

In the last note we amply dealt with this 'strange paradox', and showed that there is no such thing as 'false I' but only
false notions about the 'I' which mistakes its upadhis or qualities, its names and forms for itself.  Because of this transposition
of the 'I'' from its being the seer to being the seen, that is, the name and form of Peter --- to continue the idea of the last note --
that the grave error of its being false, vulnerable and mortal is committed. Hence the desire to search for the real and deathless
'I' arises.

****

Arunachala Siva.           
Title: Re: Reflections on Talks - S.S. Cohen:
Post by: Subramanian.R on March 06, 2013, 08:43:07 AM
THE SELF OR REALITY:


3. " Unbroken 'I' 'I' is he boundless Ocean.  The 'I' thought is a bubble on it and is called jiva or individual. The bubble too is water.
When it bursts, it mixes with the ocean.  When it remains a bubble, it is still part of the ocean."   

Sri Bhagavan gives a practical illustration. The 'I' 'I' is the pure, nameless and formless being. It is the ocean of Consciousness.
The bubble (or 'I' - thought_ is naught but water in substance, that is, also Consciousness, but in form, that is, in its understanding
of itself it has a separate individuality  -- ego or jiva, the mortal and ignorant Peter or Ramaswami.  This false view persists so long
as the jiva does not perceive itself nameless and formless in Jagrat, as it stands in sushupti.  But the moment it does the bubble
bursts, the false appearance of separateness immediately dissolves, and the jiva cognizes itself as 'I', the ocean of the 'I'-Consciousness.  All that has happened is not the transformation of the jiva into the Supreme Consciousness, but the correction
of its notion of itself as jiva, as a bubble entirely separate from other bubbles and from the Ocean, whereas in fact it has at no
time been other than the Ocean of Consciousness.

contd.,

Arunachala Siva.   
           
Title: Re: Reflections on Talks - S.S. Cohen:
Post by: Subramanian.R on March 07, 2013, 10:16:23 AM
THE SELF OR REALITY:

CONTINUES.....

4. "The Self is only one. If limited it is the ego. If unlimited it is infinite and is the Reality.  The bubbles are different from one
another and numerous, but the ocean is only one. Similarly the egos are many, whereas the Self is one and only one.
When told that you are not the ego, realize the Reality. Why do you still identify yourself with the ego?"

                                           - Talk No   146.

The beginning of this text is not properly formulated. The "If" is troublesome, as most 'Ifs' are. What it means is this.  The Self
is unlimited, and, because unlimited, it cannot but be an indivisible whole.  Now what happens is, as it has been said above, that
though the individual is the unlimited Self, he feels limited. To this feeling of limitedness he owes his separate individuality. In
other words, ego is the Self who is under the illusion of being limited and disappears when  the feeling of limitedness disappears,
which Sri Bhagavan clarifies in the end when He finds fault with the questioner that despite repeated assurances to the contrary
the latter continues to feel himself the limited ego.

As for the analogy of the bubble and the ocean, it has been amply dealt with in the last note. One thing more need to be said
here, namely like all analogies it suffers from the drawback of inadequacy, in that he bubbles in the ocean are insentient, material
bubbles (see next note), whereas the Jivas are imaginary, mere conceptions of limitedness.  That is why Sri Bhagavan always
reminds us that "if you search for the ego, it will disappear", its being an illusory conception.

*****

Arunachala Siva.
       
Title: Re: Reflections on Talks - S.S. Cohen:
Post by: Subramanian.R on March 08, 2013, 02:20:20 PM
THE SELF OR REALITY:

continues....

5. Destroy the ego by seeking its identity (with the Self).  Because the ego is not an entity, it will automatically vanish and
Reality will shine forth by itself.  This is the direct method.

6. In Yoga Vasishta it is said, 'What is real is hidden from us, but what is false is revealed as true.' We are all along experiencing
the Reality, still we do not know it. Is this not a wonder?

                                                      -  Talk No. 146.

Notes:  This is very interesting in that it definitely declares the world to be false. Whatever is seen, thought or imagined is an
illusion --- a mere appearance; for the reality can never be perceived or conceived.  Even the Jivas, which are said to be real,
are not perceived and do not actually see one another as knowers, as Consciousness. What we see of each other are only
the insentient, objective parts of us, that is, the upadhis: height, breadth,color, smell, sound, mental abilities --- expressed
thoughts and action, etc., but never the mind itself, their container.  In other words, we see the outer coats of one another
and never the Self which they conceal and which is common to all.  This is he meaning of he above quotation from Yoga '
Vasishta. What we perceive does not exist and what exists always we cannot perceive.

To take an example, Mr. Paul is an actor in a play. Once he plays the role of judge, one of a lover, once of a dancer, once of
a dacoit and once he acts as a big bear or chimpanzee. All these entities are unreal, mere impersonations of Mr. Paul. Yet
they alone we perceive on the stage, and not their substratum Mr Paul, notwithstanding his being the only real presence.
Similarly, though the Reality is ever present as the seer and actor of all phenomena, like Mr. Paul on the stage, we perceive
only that which does not exist, namely the phenomena -- the chimpanzee, the bear etc., The world no more exists than the
chimpanzee and the dacoit  exist on the stage. This seeing what does not exist and remaining blind to what really exists in the
case of every person in the world and is the cause of all his misfortunes. Our science calls it Maya, Bhagavan puts it mildly,
when He exclaims,'Isn't that a wonder?' It is an unconscious mass blindness indeed, a mass hypnosis not to see Mr. Paul who
stands all the while before our eyes, but we swear to the reality of the bear and the dacoit who are not there at all.

*****

Arunachala Siva.   
       
   
 
Title: Re: Reflections on Talks - S.S. Cohen:
Post by: Subramanian.R on March 09, 2013, 10:18:42 AM
THE SELF OR REALITY:

"There is only one consciousness, but we speak of several kinds of consciousness ---- body consciousness, self consciousness, etc.,
These are only relative states of the same Absolute Consciousness.  Without consciousness, time and space do not exist.
They appear in consciousness. It is like a screen on which these are cast as pictures, and move as in a cinema show. The Absolute
Consciousness is our real nature. Everyone's experience proves the existence of only one consciousness."

                                          -  Talk 199.

Notes:  Consciousness is 'one only' and changeless.  It cannot be otherwise.  Turn it however we may, the notion of a variety
of consciousnesses we meet with in certain schools of thoughts and in psychology proves untenable and defeats itself, being
based on the ignorance.  Being incognizable except in Yoga, there is all this confused thinking about it. Consciousness  or pure
mind is the formless intelligence through which we perceive all things.  Ideas, notions, sensations, perceptions, are representations
in the consciousness.  BUT NOT THE CONSCIOUSNESS ITSELF.  They are in ceaseless flux, whereas the consciousness that is aware of
them is fixed, or else it would not be aware of their change. It is constant, for it has no qualities whatsoever to divide, multiply, or
change it.  Thus body-consciousness simply means awareness of the body and its behavior, like awareness of any other representation
made to it. Awareness is like the clean mirror which reflects all the objects that are presented before it.  What is known as states of consciousness does not qualify the consciousness, which has no  other state but its own. The states are mere appearances in the
consciousness, that is, in the subject, who witnesses them.

Sri Bhagavan compares consciousness to the screen on which pictures are projected. It is the pictures that change, and not the screen.
It is the acting of the aforesaid Mr. Paul and his impersonations on the stage that change, and not Mr. Paul, who is constant and can
act an infinite number of parts without himself changing. Time and space are, like other ideas and notions, objects of Consciousness outside of which they have no existence.

*****

Arunachala Siva.               

       
Title: Re: Reflections on Talks - S.S. Cohen:
Post by: Subramanian.R on March 10, 2013, 09:57:20 AM
THE SELF OR REALITY:

8. "A madman clings to his samskaras, whereas a Jnani does not. This is the only difference between the two.  A man
running the course of his samskaras, when taught that he is the Self, the teaching affects his mind, and his imagination
runs riot. His experiences are only according to his imagination of the state of the Self.

"When a man is ripe to receive the instructions and his mind is about to sink into the Heart, the instructions work in a flash,
and he realizes the Self all right. In others there is always a struggle."

                                                                     - Talk No. 275.

Notes: The context of this text is the case of a young man, who when once was looking at the picture of Bhagavan in his own
house, saw the picture move, which frightened him considerably.  The fear continued even after he came to Tiruvannamalai and
saw Bhagavan in person.  As long as he was in the presence of the Master, he had no fear, but the moment he remained alone
the fear returned.

This is one of the varieties of experience which some people who came to the Asramam, or worship Bhagavan even from a distance   
without understanding Him, undergo, because they rely more on their imagination of Bhagavan rather than on what He in reality is,
or stands for. Bhagavan's answer is a warning against the tricks of their imagination.  I once witnessed a case which appeared
tragic in the beginning, but ended humorously.  The humour did not become apparent till very recently, after twenty years.  But not
all cases have a humorous denouement. Some are very tragic, indeed in that they affect permanently the mind, as for example, the fatal
case of the young man recorded in Talks.

contd.,

Arunachala Siva.
     
Title: Re: Reflections on Talks - S.S. Cohen:
Post by: Subramanian.R on March 11, 2013, 08:48:02 AM
THE SELF OR REALITY:

8. continues....

Others are tragicomedies, victims of which are both the sexes.  The comedies fall largely to the share of the fair sex, because
the "riot" of their imagination runs gentler than with their masculine counterparts, and move in the familiar grooves of saris,
color of dress, invasion of her heart and mind by the spirit of Bhagavan, or even petty conversations with Isvara - the Creator
-- whom Bhagavan 'sends' her, and so on.

But hallucinations of men are much more serious.  At least in one or two cases they led to the disruption of the family life.
That is why the seer of visions and super sensuous phenomena is constantly reminded to be on bis guard.  To aspire for
the Highest, one has to develop to be on his guard.  "To aspire for the Highest, one has to develop a strong common sense
and a solidly practical mind.

The ripe man, Sri Bhagavan tells us, forms a more or less clear notion of the Self when he hears of it, so that he is steady enough
to know the direction his sadhana should take and applies himself well, not allowing his imagination to have the better of him.
The others have much an uphill work to do before they become ripe. Even to understand the teaching itself, much effort will be
necessary. This is their struggle, the labor pangs of their salvation.

*****

Arunachala Siva.                   
Title: Re: Reflections on Talks - S.S. Cohen:
Post by: Subramanian.R on March 12, 2013, 08:59:54 AM
THE SELF OR REALITY:

9.  It is said that the Guru can make his disciple realize the Self by transferring some of his own power to him. Is it true?

 Bhagavan:  Yes, the Guru does not bring about Self Realization, but removes the obstacles to it. The Self is always realized.
So long as you seek Self Realization, the Guru is necessary. Guru is the Self. Take the Guru to be the real Self and yourself as
the individual. The disappearance of this sense of duality is removal of ignorance. So long as duality persists in you, the Guru
is necessary,  Because you identify yourself with the body, you imagine the Guru to be the body. You are not the body, nor is
the Guru.  You are the Self and so is he. This knowledge is gained by what you call Self Realization.

Notes: It will be noticed that the question has not been given a direct answer.  For Bhagavan is very often reluctant to give
a direct contradiction to the statement, or the alleged statements, of a well known saint, but the contradiction is implied in
the answer. Sri Bhagavan does not recognize the possibility of transmitting a power to a person to make him realize the Self.
In fact, no such power is at all necessary.  What is necessary for the cognition of the Real is not an addition but a subtraction --
the removal of the sense of duality which covers the One consciousness.

contd.,

Arunachala Siva.           
Title: Re: Reflections on Talks - S.S. Cohen:
Post by: Subramanian.R on March 13, 2013, 09:09:44 AM
THE SELF OR REALITY:

9. continues....

This Consciousness is the seeker's own self, which is always present. It does not lie within the power of the personal Guru to
confer or withhold. It is there all the time, and if the disciple does not perceive it, it is because he mistakes his body for it; and,
as he fails to perceive himself as a thinker, he fails also to see the Guru as a thinker but a mere body,  thus establishing a duality;
himself as different from the Guru. All the Guru can do is to help him correct this false identification, so that the disciple may eventually
perceive himself in his true essence, as intelligence rather than as a pile of flesh.

Then the question turns to ask about the necessity or otherwise of the Guru, and the Master confirms the necessity, so long as this
false identification and the view of duality rule the day with the seeker, who is taken to be always in duality till he realizes the non-
duality, which is his Illumination or Jnana.

***

Arunachala Siva.     
Title: Re: Reflections on Talks - S.S. Cohen:
Post by: Subramanian.R on March 14, 2013, 08:50:57 AM
THE SELF OR REALITY:

10.  Look how every person believes in his own existence. Does he look in the mirror to see his being?  His awareness of his
existence gives him the assurance of it.  But he compares it with the body, etc., Why should he do that?  Is he aware of his
body in sleep? He is not, yet he does not cease to exist while in sleep. He has therefore only to be aware of his being and this
will be evident to him.

                                                               -  Talk No. 363.

Notes:  This is extremely lucid. Paraphrasing it, it means this: no one need look in the mirror to know that he exists, for this
knowledge is already available to him. We are aware of our existence with a certainty which is unshakable.  Therefore, the certainty
of our being is the one element in us which can never be lost.  We may doubt all other things, but this one never. Even in deep sleep we exist as we admit it later in jagrat.  This is not an intuited knowledge, nor a reported knowledge, nor an inferred knowledge, but
a direct, immediate knowledge.

contd.,

Arunachala Siva.         
Title: Re: Reflections on Talks - S.S. Cohen:
Post by: Subramanian.R on March 15, 2013, 09:20:52 AM
THE SELF OR REALITY:

Notes for 10 continues.....


So long as we hold on to this pure knowledge of our existence, to this awareness of our being, there can be no difficulty, no
ignorance for us whatever.  BUT THE TROUBLE IS THAT WE DO NOT.  The moment we see the body, we immediately rush at it,
hug it and call it 'I'.  This is our fall. This is the genesis of our disturbed peace. So long as we do not see the body, as in dreamless
sleep or samadhi, we are in supreme peace --- we are in our own state, our own naked being. But as soon as we return to Jagrat
and re-enter the body, the body becomes that being, that 'I'.  We confer the consciousness of the being on the unconscious body,
and then woe betide us!

It can now be seen that when people speak of gaining MUKTI,  Bhagavan corrects them that there is nothing to be gained or added
by the sadhana, meaning that it is not gaining but returning to the status quo ante, to the condition which prevailed before the body
entered our sphere of our perception, to the bodiless being.

*****

Arunachala Siva.
             
Title: Re: Reflections on Talks - S.S. Cohen:
Post by: Subramanian.R on March 16, 2013, 09:01:45 AM
THE SELF OR REALITY:

11.  "How is one to know the Self?"  The Master answers:  "Knowing the Self is being the Self. You are aware of yourself even
though the Self cannot be objectified.  It is because you have got accustomed to relative knowledge that you identify yourself
with it.  Who is to know the Self?  Can  the body know it?"

Notes:  This is a continuation of the previous text.  Supreme Knowledge and Supreme Being are one and the same. Chit is also
Sat.  Awareness of the Being means Knowledge of one's own existence, that is Self Knowledge.  Awareness and Being are
therefore simultaneous and identical.  To say, 'I am not aware of myself' is thus logically wrong  -- a contradiction in terms.
Self awareness is admitted in the confession 'I am'.   By 'you got accustomed to relative knowledge', is meant that in jagrat
we are aware of nothing but objects -- jagrat is the sphere of objects, though in fact, no objects at all exist. Jagrat is a mental
state, wherein the senses have a free hand to manifest their powers to our consciousness in the form of  smells, tastes, sounds,
colors, etc., which we assemble in our minds and interpret as objects. We thus lose the being in perception of imaginary, synthetic
objects. The 'I' though aware of its existence, gets confused by its own objectivity, and erroneously projects this awareness on the
insentient body, turning it into the sentient Self.  This the true Fall of Man.

****

Arunachala Siva.   
   
     
Title: Re: Reflections on Talks - S.S. Cohen:
Post by: Subramanian.R on March 17, 2013, 09:39:22 AM
THE SELF OR REALITY:

continues....

12.  "Is there a sixth sense to feel 'I AM'?

Bhagavan:  'Do you deny your existence?  Do you not remain yourself even in sleep?  As for the senses, they work only periodically.
Their work begin and end; whereas the "I" continues in sleep as well as now. There must be a substratum on which the
activities of the senses depend. Where do they appear and merge?  There must be a single substratum.  That is the Self of which
they are not independent. It is the power which works through them.'

Notes: The questioner, like most beginners, is a bit confused about his I AM. He is perfectly aware of his own existence, but is unable
to place his fingers on the 'I' and say, 'This am I'. So he inquires whether a sixth sense can do it; for neither the five senses nor the
body can cognize the Self.  Bhagavan's counter question, 'Do you deny your existence?' implies that even a tenth sense cannot do it,
for the senses are (insentient) and can cognize nothing. The cognizer is Self alone.  A smell for example, is a smell only to the smeller,
without whom it is just nothing.  Moreover, the senses are functions of the Self only in jagrat.  Postulating a sense to know the Self
therefore, is postulating the contained to contain the container.

The Self, therefore, must attempt the knowledge of itself.  There only duality finds no accommodation.  There only the knower and
the known are identically the same "I AM", the substatum of both.

contd.,

Arunachala Siva.     
     
Title: Re: Reflections on Talks - S.S. Cohen:
Post by: Subramanian.R on March 18, 2013, 08:37:54 AM
THE SELF OR REALITY:

13.  "The individual is sentient and cannot be without consciousness.  The Self is pure consciousness. Yet man identifies
himself with the body which is insentient and does not say, 'I am the body'. Someone else says so.  The unlimited Self
does not say it either.  Who then is saying it ? A spurious 'I' which arises between the pure consciousness and the insentient
body and which imagines itself limited to the body.  Seek this and it will vanish as a phantom.  That phantom is the ego or
individuality.

"All the Sastras are written for the purpose of eliminating this phantom. The present state is mere illusion. Our aim should be
simply to remove this illusion --- to disillusion ourselves."
                                         
                                                                                              - Talk No. 427.

Note: In the  first four notes of this chapter, an extensive study of the relation of the ego to the Self and of the fictitious nature of
the ego has been made. 

Here Sri Bhagavan tackles the subject from a different angle.

The body is not sentient and, therefore, unaware of itself to say 'I am this body'.  The Self, though it is pure sentience, but,
because it is unlimited, it does not limit itself to a body to say 'I am this body' either. If neither pure sentience nor pure insentience
can say, 'I am the body', here must be a third principle which partakes of the nature of both, that can say it.  But a principle which
is sentient as well as insentient does not exist -- it contradicts itself.  Therefore, such a principle can only be imaginary --- 'spurious'.
We call it ego or individuality to mean sentience gone amuck, thoroughly under the influence of delusion, from which to save it
all the Sastras, have been written and all Gurus have taken birth.

To sum up, the ego is the Supreme Self itself imagining itself an insentient body.  An emphasis must be laid on this psychical
error ---- the imagination element, --- which is responsible for the spurious entity, man the ego, that is, man think this is a very
clear picture of the ego, which continues to give trouble till the Self is realized.

*****

Arunachala Siva.         
Title: Re: Reflections on Talks - S.S. Cohen:
Post by: Subramanian.R on March 19, 2013, 08:41:38 AM

THE SELF OR REALITY:

14.  "You speak of the vision of Siva.  Vision is always of an object, which implies the existence of the subject. Whatever appears
must also disappear. A vision can never be eternal.  But Siva is eternal. He is the Consciousness. He is the Self.

"TO BE is to realize --- hence I AM THAT I  AM.  I AM is Siva. Nothing can be without Him. Therefore inquire, 'Who am I?' Sink
deep and abide as the Self.  That is Siva as BE-ing. Do not expect to have visions of Him."

                                                                                           - Talk No. 450.

Notes:  This is an answer to a European lady who had embraced Hinduism in the Saiva cult and had been having  the blissful
vision of Siva off and on  since her initiation.  Now she desires this vision to be 'everlasting'. Bhagavan answers that she is asking
the impossible; visions can never be everlasting, for in their very nature, hey are mere appearances, which have no basis in reality.
Reality alone is everlasting.  Therefore to have the everlasting bliss of Siva is to be Siva Himself.  And Siva, being the Supreme
Consciousness, is the very self of all seers, all hearers, and all knowers, the inquirer herself.  Thus to be Siva merely means to be oneself as that Consciousness, stripped of all sights and all thoughts, that is, simply to BE.

"Nothing can be without Siva." implies that without a seer there can be be no sight and, so, no seen.  All that is seen therefore
must depend upon the percipient consciousness.  Consciousness is thus the substratum of all that exists, i.e. present in all experiences.

If Bhagavan mentions Siva as the BE-ing, it is merely in answer to the question of the inquirer.  Any other deity can be substituted
for Siva without prejudicing the answer, so long as we understand by it the subject, the knower himself. This is confirmed by the
next text.

*******

Arunachala Siva             
Title: Re: Reflections on Talks - S.S. Cohen:
Post by: Subramanian.R on March 20, 2013, 08:42:04 AM

THE SELF OR REALITY:

15.  "There is no being who is not conscious and therefore who is not Siva.  Not only he is Siva but also all else. Yet he
thinks in sheer ignorance that he sees the universe in diverse forms. But if he sees the Self he will not be aware of his
separateness from the universe. Siva is then seen as the universe. But unfortunately, the seer does not see the background.
Think of the man who sees only he cloth and not the cotton on which it is made, or the pictures and not the screen. Or the
letters which he reads and not the paper on which they are written.  Siva is both the Being assuming the forms in the universe
as well as the consciousness that sees them.  That is to say Siva is the background that sees them. That is to say Siva is the
background underlying both the subject and the object --  Siva in repose and Siva in action.  Whatever it is said to be, it is
only Consciousness, whether in repose or in action."



Notes:  It is now evident that Siva is not other than the seer.  The last part of this text which makes the absolute consciousness
to be 'in repose' as well as 'in action' is a good answer to the doctrinaire theory that Chaitanya does not include the active senses.
If it does not include them, that the senses do not exist at all  --- all is Maya, which implies that Maya is the creator of the senses,
which is absurd.

contd.,

Arunachala Siva.
     
   
Title: Re: Reflections on Talks - S.S. Cohen:
Post by: Subramanian.R on March 21, 2013, 10:17:17 AM
THE SELF OR REALITY

15. Notes continue.....

The senses are, like memory, space-sense, time-sense, etc., undeniable, for they are responsible for the appearance of an
external world, whereas Maya is the name given to this appearance, this illusion. Maya is thus not the parent  but the offspring
of the senses. Therefore, the senses are the activity of Chaitanya, the Pure Consciousness, but, to repeat, an APPARENT activity,
which displays a world that does not exist, like a dream.  It is an activity which is within the consciousness, though it appears to be
without it, an activity which does not affect the consciousness itself.  And, being an appearance within the consciousness, it is the
consciousness itself, that is, of the same nature as its substratum;  for it cannot be of an alien nature, since there exist nothing but
pure consciousness. Thus the world is Siva Himself. He is BEING as well as DOING - Repose as well as Action. And this will not be
realized as such until Siva is first realized as BEING, because BEING is His very nature, whereas DOING is only an appearance in Him.

Unless action is understood to be a mere appearance in Being, the true nature of the object will ever remain a puzzle to the student
of metaphysics.  This is of fundamental importance for the proper apprehension of the relation of the perception to their seer, of the
changeless Self to the ever changing phenomena, of the screen, to use Sri Bhagavan's analogy, to the picture which move on it.

****

Arunachala Siva.     
     
Title: Re: Reflections on Talks - S.S. Cohen:
Post by: Subramanian.R on March 22, 2013, 09:19:04 AM
THE SELF OR REALITY:

16. 'There must be stages of progress for gaining the Absolute. Are there grades of Reality?'

Bhagavan: 'There are no grades of Reality.  There are only grades in the experience of the Jiva.'

Notes. 'Grades of Reality?' Reality is perfect because it is partless, integral, and changeless, or else it contradicts itself.
So, Reality is not affected by evolution, nor is it divisible into a number of imperfect beings who need the evolution to
attain perfection.  We have seen elsewhere, that the Jiva is the Self itself, but deluded. The appearance of multiplicity
of Jivas is an illusion due to the unfoldment of the senses which create qualities and hence no differences.  Bhagavan says
that it is not the Self that has grades but the experiences of the jivas. Thus the difference between the savage and the Jnani
is one of experience, that is, of mental outlooks and not a substance --- of being.

****

Arunachala Siva.
   
         
 
Title: Re: Reflections on Talks - S.S. Cohen:
Post by: Subramanian.R on March 23, 2013, 09:25:44 AM
THE SELF OR REALITY:

17. "There is a multiplicity of jivas.  Jivas are certainly many."
 
      Bhagavan: Jiva is called so because he sees the world.  A dreamer sees many jivas in dreams, but all of them are not real.
      The dreamer alone exists and he sees all.  So it is with the individuals and the world.

                                                                        -  Talk No. 571.

Notes: This is lucid enough to need no comment, except applying it also to the common world, where all men perceive the
same objects, same colors, same sounds, same heat or cold etc.,  The critics argue that if the world is the senses, as Vedanta
says, individual senses would show exclusively individual worlds, so that there would be as many worlds as there are human beings
with no connection with one another, which experience disproves.  Sri Bhagavan answers that all the senses, and all the worlds are
the dreams or thoughts of the jiva, which alone exist as the dreamer or thinker.  As the jiva in dream sees other jivas with bodies
and senses, without any of them enjoying real existence, so it does in the waking state, (jagrat).  Jagrat is called waking only in
comparison with the dream state, known to us, because the senses are then all out to intensify the illusion of a real external world,
whereas the dream state feeds on mere impressions carried over from the jagrat, and not on the senses, which are then withdrawn.

*****

Arunachala Siva.           
Title: Re: Reflections on Talks - S.S. Cohen:
Post by: Subramanian.R on March 24, 2013, 08:35:55 AM
THE SELF OR REALITY:

18.  "If the Self is one, when a man is liberated, all men must be also be liberated".

Bhagavan: "Ego, world and individuals all appear due to the personal vasanas.  When these perish, that person's hallucinations
also perish.... The fact is that the Self is never bound and thus there can be no release."

                                                  -  Talk No. 571.

Notes:  In the last text, Bhagavan declares that the multiplicity of Jivas perceived in the waking state do not, like the dream
Jivas, really exist.  Here He adds that they are the Vasanas of the personal Jiva. When the Vasanas perish at Liberation,
the hallucination of other Jivas' existence also perish, so that the question of their Liberation  will evidently not arise.

*****

Arunachala Siva.       
Title: Re: Reflections on Talks - S.S. Cohen:
Post by: Subramanian.R on March 25, 2013, 08:10:57 AM

CHAPTER TEN:

HEART AND MIND:

"That the physical heart is on the left, it cannot be denied.  But the heart of which I speak is not physical and is only
on the right side.  It is my experience, no authority is required by me.  Still you can find confirmation of it in a
Malayalam Ayurvedic book and in Sita Upanishad."

Notes.  This is an authoritative statement on Sri Bhagavan's own experience, which in its practical aspect is of no help to
the meditator.  The locus of the Heart, whether to the right or the left need not worry us (see text 9 below), because when
one is in it, that is, in Samadhi, not only the chest but the body and the whole world disappear.  When dhyana matures,
the Heart automatically reveals itself without any special effort to seek its corresponding place in the physical body.

*****

Arunachala Siva.             
Title: Re: Reflections on Talks - S.S. Cohen:
Post by: Subramanian.R on March 26, 2013, 08:46:07 AM
HEART AND MIND:

2. "The Jiva is said to remain in the Heart in deep sleep and in the brain in the waking state.  Heart is not the muscular cavity
which propels blood.  It denotes in the Vedas, and the scriptures the center whence the notion 'I' springs. Does it spring from
the ball of flesh?  It does not, but somewhere within us, from the center of our Being.  The 'I' has no location. Everything is the
Self. There is nothing but the Self. So the Heart must be said to be the entire body as well as the universe, conceived as 'I'.
But to help the abhyasi we have to indicate a definite place, in the universe, or the body, for it.  So this Heart is pointed out as the
seat of the Self, but in truth, we are everywhere, we are all that is, and there is nothing else."

Notes:  Heart therefore has no locus at all.  Its other names are Self, 'I', Being, Pure Mind, etc., It is called Heart due to its
being the source from which the universe rises. In the last note, we observed that in Samadhi, Heart reveals itself as completely
independent of any place. Then why does Sri Bhagavan locate it in the right side of chest?  He does not locate it in the flesh
and bones of the right chest, but only in consciousness at the level of that region, much as we locate the levels of certain objects
in space as corresponding to those of certain parts of our body.  Nevertheless, because this consciousness has direct relations with
the body, it must have a point of contact with it, a switchboard, so to say, in the subtle counterpart of the body, from which it switches
the body off and on.  This switch board is felt in samadhi in the subtle counterpart of the right chest.

To the highly critical mind, there appears a contradiction in the statement of Sri Bhagavan, who on the one hand, makes Heart to
be everywhere, and nowhere, and  on the other fixes it in the right chest, from which (as in the next text) the sushumna nadi rises,
and where the Jiva retires in sleep, etc.,

The apparent contradiction is due to the perception of the body, which has to be related to the mind, or the intelligent principle
which acts and perceives through it. The mind has thus to be shown in a dual aspect, the one as the pervader of the body, and
thus hypothetically limited to its shape, and the other as limitless and free.  More of this in the next item.

*****

Arunachala Siva.       
               
Title: Re: Reflections on Talks - S.S. Cohen:
Post by: Subramanian.R on March 27, 2013, 08:57:36 AM

HEART AND MIND:

3. "Atma is the Heart itself. Its manifestation is in the brain.  The passage from the Heart to the brain might be considered to
be through the sushumna, or a nerve (nadi) with some other name. The Upanishads speak of pare leena, meaning that the
sushumna or such nadis are all comprised in Para, i.e. the Atma nadi.  The Yogis say that the current rising up to Sahasrara
(brain) ends there.  That experience is not complete.  For Jnana they must come to the Heart.  Hridaya (Heart) is the
alpha and omega."

Notes: From the Heart, the body sprouts. The energy, life and consciousness -- the only prime elements of the body and likewise
of the universe -- stream out of the Heart by the first channel, or nadi, straight to the head, from which they run down to all parts
of he body through the various nadis.  We need not give names to the nadis to avoid  conflicts between the locations and names
given by one authority and those given by another.  Names and forms are the cause of the world illusion, so they are also in meta-
physics.  Sri  Bhagavan simply wishes to indicate these facts about the distribution of life and consciousness to the remotest points
in the body through nadis, beginning with Para nadi, so that the student may know the function of this nadi in the attainment of
jnana.

contd.,

Arunachala Siva.     
Title: Re: Reflections on Talks - S.S. Cohen:
Post by: Subramanian.R on March 28, 2013, 08:35:09 AM

HEART AND MIND:

3. continues....

Because all the nadis from the body end in the Sahasrara, the Kundalini Yogi, the Hatha Yogi , and in fact all yogis, who practice
pranayama take the Sahasrara to be the terminal point of their Sadhana. Whereas the Dhyana Yogi, also called Raja  Yogi,
Vichara Yogi, etc., adds one more stage for the complete and absolute emancipation.  This last stage runs through the Para
Nadi also called Amrita Nadi, because, being of the purest Sattva, it is extremely blissful and leads straight to the Heart.

'Its manifestation in the brain' needs some explanation.  It is common experience that when people speak of the mind, they
always imagine it to be the brain itself, and scientists, who are so sure of themselves, make matters worse when they declare
the brain to be the thinker, which is of course, wrong,  because the brain is as insentient and as incapable of thinking as any other
parts the body.  If the whole is insentient. so are the parts.  This error is due the manifestation of the Jiva's activities through
the cerebral tissue, which is as it were its telegraph office, which transmits to it all the signals, received from the various sense
organs and the nervous system, etc., But the home of the Jiva is the Heart, which is the cosmic storehouse of all the creative
impulses. To this home the Jiva returns with the senses when it retires from the body in sleep, in what is known as "death"
and, finally, for good in Mukti.

*****

Arunachala Siva.         
Title: Re: Reflections on Talks - S.S. Cohen:
Post by: Subramanian.R on March 29, 2013, 09:49:48 AM
HEART AND MIND:

4. The Heart is not physical; it is spiritual Hridaya = hrit+ayam, which means 'that is the Center'.  It is that from which thoujghts
arise, on which they subsist and where they are resolved.  Thoughts are the content of the mind  and they shape the universe.
The Heart is thus center of all. It is said by the Upanishads to be Brahman.  Brahman is the Heart.

This text is the quintessence of the Vedas. "Thoughts rise from, subsist in, and dissolves in the Heart.  They shape the universe.,"   
This is a pregnant statement.  It makes the substance of the universe to be nothing but thoughts, a mere mental vapor.  This
surpasses even the subjective idealism of the Western philosophers. 

"Thoughts are (the products as well as) the contents of the mind" is significant, in as much as, as it makes the mind not simply
manas, as it is usually wrongly translated in Indian metaphysics, but the consciousness which produces, contains, and perceives
the thoughts, synonymous with the Heart or Brahman.  Sri Bhagavan very often equates the 'pure mind' with Brahman, which
is as it should be.  Manas may be rendered as intellect or as a bundle of thoughts and sensations, or perhaps the processes of
thought.  Sometimes mind is also used in the sense of manas.  At all events the student will do well to remember this dual meaning     
of MIND and avoid confusion. 

That 'the Heart' is the center of All' does not mean that it is not also the the circumference.  Sri Bhagavan makes it in this text,
the container of all thoughts, that is, of the universe - center, circumference, as well as all that comes in between them.

"Verily as space is boundless, so is the ether within the Heart. Both heaven and earth, fire and air, the sun and the moon,
also the lightning and the stars and whatever is, as well as whatever is not in the universe -- all are within the vacuity, Heart."

                                 - ( Chandogya Upanishad, IX.i.3.)

*******

Arunachala Siva.       
Title: Re: Reflections on Talks - S.S. Cohen:
Post by: Subramanian.R on March 30, 2013, 09:32:02 AM
HEART AND MIND:

5. How to realize the Heart?  There is no one who even for a trice fails to experience the Self.  He is the Self. The Self is the
Heart, When asked who you are, you place your hand on the right side of the chest and say, I am, thereby you unknowingly
point out the Self. The Self is thus known.

Notes.  Here we have a pointer to the locus of the Heart, in the body rather than in the subtle ambience of the body.
It is instinctive in us to use the right hand rather than the left in pointing to our own person. Why do we not for the purpose
place he hand on the head , cheek, the legs or feet ---- instead of the right chest alone?  Unless there is an immediate relation
between this part of the chest and the 'I', we would not straightaway and as a matter of course, drive direct to it, when we
wish to stress our identity.  When we want to indicate the mind or the thinking agency we point to the head, but for the 'I' we
point to the chest. Isn't that a clear admission of the superiority of the Heart over the brain?  The Heart is the "I", the totality
of Being, whereas the brain is the seat of its thoughts only.

contd.,

Arunachala Siva.               
Title: Re: Reflections on Talks - S.S. Cohen:
Post by: Subramanian.R on March 31, 2013, 11:10:30 AM
HEART AND MIND:

5. continues....

Pointing exclusively to the chest to indicate one's person has yet another weighty significance. It automatically excludes
the other parts of the body from being the 'I', as witness the fact that we resent a reference to the nails, hair, the bodily
secretions, and excretions etc., as being our 'I', in  fact we instinctively know that even the ribs and flesh of the chest
are not the 'I', notwithstanding our demonstrating them as such. We take the body as a whole for 'I' yet in detail we deny it.
This anomalous behavior of our mind in this respect is so glaringly obvious that nothing but wrong habits keep us blind to it.

Anomalies multiply as we probe deeper into the relation of the body to the consciousness. That is why Vichara or inquiry is
insisted on this path to expose the ridiculous inconsistencies of our beliefs and attitudes, so as that by correcting them we
may attain to the truth of ourselves and of the world around us.

contd.,     

Arunachala Siva.
Title: Re: Reflections on Talks - S.S. Cohen:
Post by: Subramanian.R on April 01, 2013, 09:09:54 AM
HEART AND MIND:

6.  "The Cosmic Mind, being  not limited by the ego, has nothing separate from itself, and is therefore only aware.  This is
what the Bible means by "I am that I am"

                               - Talk No. 187.

Notes: The Cosmic Mind is equated in Advaita and by Sri Bhagavan with Brahman, since it 'only aware'. It will be readily observed
that this Mind has nothing to do with the Cosmic Mind of the Western mystics, which has its own significance --- whatever that may
be --- different from that of Advaitic Brahman.  Biblical Jehovah is written in Hebrew YHWH, which is derived from the verb HAYA (to
be) and means EVER IS, 'I AM THAT I AM' or BEING exactly as Advaita means by Brahman or SAT.

*******

Arunachala Siva.     
Title: Re: Reflections on Talks - S.S. Cohen:
Post by: Subramanian.R on April 02, 2013, 10:31:48 AM

HEART AND MIND:

7. "The mind now sees itself diversified as the universe. If the diversity is not manifest, it remains in its own essence, that is,
the Heart.  The Heart is the only reality.  The mind is only a transient phase.  To remain as one's Self is to enter the Heart.
Entering the Heart, means remaining without distractions."

                                                                -  Talk No. 252.

Notes:  The mind turns into the universe. When it perceives the universe, or diversity, the latter impresses itself on its pure
surface, so that its attention is constantly centered on the diversity and not on itself. If the diversity  is eliminated, the mind
will perceive itself in its essence, its own naked purity.  Then it is said to have entered the Heart --- in fact it is itself the Heart.
This is its undisturbed state, the reposeful state of samadhi.

The covering of the mind by thoughts is evidently 'a transient phase, because the thoughts themselves are transient, very
unstable, and can thus be wiped out by practice. The mind itself cannot be wiped out, because the wiper will be the mind itself.
If the mind  wipes out the mind, the residue will still be the mind,  Thus the mind is indestructible.

******

Arunachala Siva.     
Title: Re: Reflections on Talks - S.S. Cohen:
Post by: Subramanian.R on April 03, 2013, 10:27:13 AM
HEART AND MIND:

8.  "There is the peaceful mind which is the supreme.  When the same becomes restless, it  is afflicted by thoughts.
Mind is only the dyanmic power (Sakti) of the Self.  There is no difference between matter and spirit.  Modern science
admits that all matter is energy.  Energy is power or force (Sakti).  Therefore all are resolved in Siva and Sakti i.e
the Self and the Mind."

                                      - Talk No. 268.

Notes; After explaining the identity of Self and Mind, this text ends by making them Siva and Sakti, which may impress
the dualists with the wrong notion of their being separate principles, as Spirit and Matter respectively, which is far from
Sri Bhagavan's intentions.  In the beginning of the text, the 'peaceful mind' has been identified as the Supreme, that is
the Self itself. So Self and peaceful mind are convertible terms. But when, for some reason, the mind becomes 'restless'
or active, it manifests energy.  The energy which is inherent in it turns into perceptions, thoughts, sensations, which are
the phenomena, the universe.

continued....

Arunachala Siva.           
Title: Re: Reflections on Talks - S.S. Cohen:
Post by: Subramanian.R on April 04, 2013, 03:30:03 AM

HEART AND MIND:

8. Notes continue.....

This is interpreted by the Saktas as the creation of the 'dynamic' Sakti, as distinguished from Siva, the 'static' peaceful mind
which experiences Samadhi.  This is the whole truth about Spirit and Matter.  They are one and the same consciousness.
The knower (or mind) develops activity inside himself, the sensations of seeing, smelling, hearing, thinking, etc., and starts
enjoying the show, as if it occurs outside him. Then he is bewildered about a world and its creator -- God and His Sakti,
and so on.

This then is the nature of the energy which science proclaims to be the constituent of the physical universe, the atoms. 

The Self is thus not only a source of all cosmic energy, but the Cosmic Energy ITSELF.  Siva is then Sakti itself.

*****

Arunachala Siva.     
 
     
   
Title: Re: Reflections on Talks - S.S. Cohen:
Post by: Subramanian.R on April 05, 2013, 09:39:43 AM
HEART  AND MIND:

9. 'Should I meditate on the right chest in order to meditate on the Heart?'

Bhagavan:  'The Heart is not physical. Meditation should not be on the right or the left.  It should be on the Self. Everyone
knows 'I am'. It is neither within nor without, neither on the right nor on the left.  'I am' --- that is all.

                                                                                              - Talk No. 273.

Notes. The noteworthy point in this text, apart from what we have already discussed, is that meditation should not be made
on the physical chest, whether right or left, for that is not the Heart at all.  The 'I' is space-less, completely free from the
association of direction or laterality.  It is simply 'my being' or 'I am', and nothing else. This sense of pure being should be
our direction in meditation and if we are unable to catch it in the beginning, we have to try again and again till we succeed.
Being present all the time in us, the intuition for it grows rapidly, like a once-known-but-forgotten language.  We will catch
up with it after some initial hesitation, which is unavoidable. This is one of the best cues the Master has given us on how to
recognize once again our long forgotten essence.

****

Arunachala Siva.               
Title: Re: Reflections on Talks - S.S. Cohen:
Post by: Subramanian.R on April 06, 2013, 10:19:10 AM
HEART AND MIND:

10. "How can the world be an imagination or a thought? Thought is a function of the mind. The mind is located in the brain.
The brain is within the skull of a human being, who is an infinitesimal part of the universe.  How can the universe be contained
in the cells of the brain?"

Bhagavan: 'So long as the mind is considered to be an entity of the kind described, the doubt will persist.  But what is mind?
Let us consider.  What is the world?  It is objects spread out in space (akasa). Who comprehends it?  The mind. Is not the mind
which comprehends space itself (aksasa)?  Considering it to be ether of knowledge (akasa or jnana tattva), there will be no
difficulty in reconciling the apparent contradiction. Rajas and tamas operate as gross objects, etc., Thus the whole universe is only
mental.'

Notes. The question comes from a teacher of philosophy who seems to be at sea -- greatly confused even in the formulation of the
question.  On the one hand he identifies man with his body as 'an infinitesimal part of the universe', that is, the mind with the brain;
and  on the other he 'locates' the mind in the brain, making the one different from the other.   In that case, Bhagavan asserts, 'the
doubts will persist', the problem will remain insoluble.

contd.,

Arunachala Siva.           
Title: Re: Reflections on Talks - S.S. Cohen:
Post by: Subramanian.R on April 07, 2013, 10:57:32 AM
HEART AND MIND:


continues....

10. Notes - continue....

If the brain is the mind then there will be no end to ignorance and no end to arguments.  How, for example, can the insentient
brain think, create, understand, smell and taste etc., How can Shakespeare, Gandhi and Ramana Maharshi be pieces of corruptible
flesh?  How do immaterial thoughts emanate from the material brain cells, and what is the relation between them?  and so on. 
But if the mind is located in the brain, as the questioner puts it, then there is much hope for a solution.  It will then conform to the
yogic experience that the mind or the individual consciousness resides in the brain, as it has already been explained in Note 3 of this
chapter.  The individual is not the cerebral tissue, but the intelligent being, the consciousness which dwells in it and uses it as its
instrument. Consciousness itself is pure Akasa (ether), in which the world spreads as it appears to do in space, which is itself ether.
Thus the world is nothing but consciousness or mind. That the objects appear soft or hard, hot or cold, small or big, yellow or green,
sour or sweet is due to the senses which are functions of the same mind; and the world consists of nothing but what the senses give
out of themselves.  "Thus the whole universe is only mental."  The variety of qualities which senses inflict on our perceptions as objects
or the gunas of which Bhagavan speaks. Thus in the manifested universe, there exists nothing but qualities superimposed on the
Consciousness. 

******

Arunachala Siva.           
   
   
Title: Re: Reflections on Talks - S.S. Cohen:
Post by: Subramanian.R on April 08, 2013, 12:46:59 PM

TRUE AND FALSE MOUNA:

1. 'The silence of solitude is forced.  Restrained speech in society amounts to silence. For the man then controls his speech.
If the speaker is engaged otherwise speech becomes restrained.  Introverted mind is otherwise active and is no anxious to
speak.'

Notes;  The Mouna in the spiritual practice is a virtue sedulously cultivated. Sri Bhagavan says that going to places of solitude
for the purpose of cultivating the habit of silence is not of much value.  For it is forced state for lack of company.  Whereas control
of the tongue in society is true silence, and thus true self control.

The desire to speak arises in the mind, but if he mind is engaged on a subject other than that of the conversation, speech becomes
greatly minimized. And the subject on which the mind of the abhyasi is usually engaged is the nature of mind itself, that is,
meditation, causing him reluctance to be drawn out by conversation.  This is the natural, nor enforced mouna.

contd.,

Arunachala Siva.         
Title: Re: Reflections on Talks - S.S. Cohen:
Post by: Subramanian.R on April 09, 2013, 10:31:27 AM
TRUE AND FALSE MOUNA:


2.  'Mouna as a disciplinary measure is meant for limiting the mental activities due to speech. If the mind is otherwise controlled
disciplinary mouna is unnecessary.  For mouna becomes natural. 

                                                                                                     - Talk No. 60.
Note: Why do sadhakas cultivate silence? In order to silence the mind. But this is holding the stick by wrong end. For it is not
speech that causes thinking, but thinking that causes speaking.  Conversation, no doubt, provokes thinking and therefore talking,
but if the mind has not been brought under control, even if there is no one to talk to, the mind will talk to itself. Memory in particular
will surge up and will fill the mind with thoughts of past. The mind in solitude will then be in a far worse condition than in society.
Memory is a more dangerous companion than  the society of sattvic friends, who may sometimes talk on irrelevant matters, but
this may prove a help to the sadhaka, in that it serves to break his brooding over a chain of unhappy events which are dead and
gone, and whose resuscitation may depress the mind, which he endeavors to keep cheerful for the sake of a successful sadhana.

'If the mind is otherwise controlled' that is by dhyana, vichara and study and by a stubborn resistance to the pressure of memory,
vows of protracted silence become not only superfluous but distinctly harmful.  Mental stillness is reflected in vocal  stillness, which
is a natural mouna.             

Arunachala Siva.
Title: Re: Reflections on Talks - S.S. Cohen:
Post by: Subramanian.R on April 10, 2013, 11:40:20 AM
TRUE AND FALSE MOUNA:

3. Vidyaranya has said that twelve years' forced mouna brings about absolute mouna, that is, it make one unable to speak.
It is more like  mute animal than otherwise.  That is no mouna.

                                                  - Talk No. 60.

Notes: The moral is that vows of silence and forced restraint of speech are valueless, if the mind remains restlessly active.
And if it is not so active, it will have no need of compulsion - mouna becomes habitual. 

The dig at the forced mouni who becomes like a 'mute animal than otherwise' is not without justification.  For cases are known
when forced mouna, instead of making the mouni 'otherwise than a mute animal',  that is, divinely inclined, it embittered rather
than softened him. Years of self violence in the end transformed itself into violence towards others.  From initial humility, the
mind acquired arrogance and self righteousness, alien to the character of a true seeker.   The notion of his being, in his own
estimation, a great tapasvin, through years of mouna contributed much to this self inflation.  It does not occur to him that all
animals are mounis but are still far from having controlled mind, or from being holy tapsvins.

*****

Arunachala Siva.             
Title: Re: Reflections on Talks - S.S. Cohen:
Post by: Subramanian.R on April 11, 2013, 11:31:41 AM


4. "Mouna is constant speech.  Inactivity is constant activity."

                                                         - Talk No. 60.

Notes: Is this a paradox or a conundrum?  It is neither if we examine it carefully.  We have granted above that true silence
is that of the mind, which naturally results in vocal silence. But this mouna has, by negation, a significance and eloquence
all its own, more potent than any speech, as the silence of Sita in the next text will illustrate.

From another truer point of view the mouna of the mind is not an inactivity at all.  The still mind is the all dynamic pure
Being, which is the plenum, the source of all phenomena, as we have studied in the previous chapters, and thus omnipotent
and omniscient.  To come out of this 'inactive' Being to doing, to thinking, to talking is in fact dissipation of energy, a degeneration,
debilitation, the cause of ignorance and misery.  Therefore the 'inactivity'  of the still mind is immeasurably more potent than
the pseudo activity of the world of action and speech.  It is constant activity.

******

Arunachala Siva. 

     
Title: Re: Reflections on Talks - S.S. Cohen:
Post by: Subramanian.R on April 12, 2013, 01:33:32 PM
True and False Mouna:

5.  'When Sita was asked by the wives of the Rishis who was her husband among the then assembled Rishis in the forest,
she denied each one as he by turn was pointed out to her; but simply speechlessly hung down her head  when Rama himself
was pointed out.  Her silence was eloquent   The Vedas are similarly eloquent in Neti Neti and then remain silent.  Their silence
is the Real state. This is the meaning of teaching through silence.  When the source of the 'I-thought' is reached, it vanishes
and what remains over is the Self.'

                                                              - Talk No. 130.

Notes: Isn't pretty of Sita?  This is an extremely apt illustration about the Self and its negation, which deserves a deeper study.
Let us hang on to the Neti Neti part of it.  We say Neti to what?  Certainly to all the things that we perceive and all the things we
conceive --- we repudiate the world altogether as false, as unintelligent.  What remains as residue is the repudiator or perceiver
himself but shorn of all perceptions, and therefore completely inactive -- silent.  This is the Self, the absolute Intelligence which
perceives without being perceived, which thinks without being thought.  Thus the practice of Neti Neti, of rejection, takes back the
sadhaka to himself,. as the seer of all sights, hearer of all sounds, smeller of all smells. He first looks around and begins to discard,
when a sudden flash of intuition, coming from within himself, from the Self itself, turns him back upon himself, and reveals to him
the truth of himself, as the logical residue, the pure knower, who cannot be discarded.  'This is the meaning', Bhagavan avers,
'of teaching through silence.'

******

Arunachala Siva.                 
Title: Re: Reflections on Talks - S.S. Cohen:
Post by: Subramanian.R on April 13, 2013, 11:15:45 AM

True and False Mouna:

6. 'Mouna is not closing the mouth.  It is the state which transcends speech and thought.  Hold some concept firmly and
trace it back.  By such concentration silence results.  When practice becomes natural it will end in silence.  Meditation
without mental activity is silence.'

                                                                 - Talk No. 231.

Notes:  We have therefore to modify our views about vocal mouna and vocal mounis.  To repeat, mental silence is the true
silence - mouna.  It is a state by itself -- the real state.  How to reach that state?  In the last text, the neti method is given.
Here Bhagavan gives another method, namely, holding on to only one thought, a single concept. By sticking to one thought,
we will attain mouna in all other thoughts.  Constantly hopping from one subject to another and not stopping for even a
minute on a single subject, is the routine work of the mind, and if this butterfly habit can be curbed to a degree by chaining
it to one subject -- and one only -- it is in itself a great achievement. It will lead to the eventual dropping of  even the single
concept, when the ultimate state of absolute mouna or samadhi will result.

What does Bhagavan mean by tracing a thought back?  He means that it has to be traced to the mind from which it has arisen,
for thoughts can come from nowhere but from the thinker himself.  A thought of mine, for example, can come only from my own
self. So that by tracing the thoughts to their source, the Self, can be discovered.

******


Arunachala Siva.                 
Title: Re: Reflections on Talks - S.S. Cohen:
Post by: Subramanian.R on April 14, 2013, 10:53:01 AM

True and False Mouna:

7. 'Is not a vow of silence helpful?'

Bhagavan: A vow is only a vow. It may help dhyana to some extent. But what is the good of keeping the mouth closed
and letting the mind run riot?  If the mind is occupied in dhyana, where is the need for speech?  Nothing is as good as
dhyana.  If one takes to action with a vow of silence, what is the good of the vow?

                                                                     - Talk No. 371.

NOTES:  To work, thinking is necessary, otherwise no work can be done at all, let alone successfully.  But silence aims at warding
off all thoughts and keeping the mind free.  Therefore to take a vow of silence and continue to work is worse than contradicting
oneself -- it is self delusion, let alone the ordeal it causes to the people with whom one works.

True mouna from speech comes naturally and spontaneously to the very few who have succeeded in killing their minds through
dhyana.  One such was the famous Mounaswami of Kumbakonam, whose very look, even in the photograph, impresses one with
the  awe due to a great tapsvin who is the personification of Silence.  He passed over to the other side about one hundred years
ago without raising a gasp or a flicker of eyelid.   He had been a Videha Mukta even in life, when he could hardly distinguish between
sleep and samadhi, between hunger and repletion.  The half opened eyes were hardly aware of things outside, and the body was kept
by a filament of breathing for a few years. His is the natural mouna and himself the genuine Mouni. Sri Bhagavan Himself was
almost in that state the first few years of His illumination.  Temporary mouna for a brief spells of occasional retreat is quite understandable.  It helps warding off intruders on one's devotions.   But long drawn out professional mouna must be left strictly
alone, particularly if it is accompanied by work among other people and based on a vow.

Let us always remember the Maharshi's words that 'nothing is as good as dhyana,'  which has to take the first place in the practice
of sadhana. It produces the maximum results in the minimum time.

*****

Arunachala Siva.                   
Title: Re: Reflections on Talks - S.S. Cohen:
Post by: Subramanian.R on April 15, 2013, 11:16:29 AM

CHAPTER 12:

GRACE:

1. ' Is Isvara Prasad, (Divine Grace) or the Jiiva's own efforts necessary to attain That whence there is no return to the
wheel of life and death?'

Bhagavan:  'Divine Grace is essential for Realization.  But this Grace is vouchsafed only to him who is a true devotee or a
yogin, who had striven hard and ceaselessly for freedom.'


Notes: The inference clearly is that efforts are of the utmost importance.  Grace is granted only to him who strives -- 'hard
and ceaselessly.'  Thus Grace looks like a Provident Fund which is added on to the wages of him who works and earns them,
and not granted to one who does not earn.  Earn more and you get a larger provident fund.  Earn less and you get  a smaller
one. Nothing is given for nothing, spiritual gifts least of all.  Therefore Grace cannot be equated with efforts, for it would no
longer be Isvara Prasad, but strictly earned wagers payment of the efforts themselves.  Nor can it be equated with non efforts,
as fortuitous, unmerited gifts, for no such gifts are known to exist.  God, in His infinite mercy, has contrived Grace to be a grant,
a sort of bonus for genuine exertion, and as inducement to a greater exertion.

contd.,

Arunachala Siva.         
   
Title: Re: Reflections on Talks - S.S. Cohen:
Post by: Subramanian.R on April 16, 2013, 11:14:02 AM

GRACE:

1. continues.....

'Grace is vouchsafed only to him who is a true devotee, or a yogin, who has striven hard and ceaselessly for freedom'
Let this gem idea sink in us.  It comes from the highest authority about Truth in existence, and thus will have to be
treasured and ceaselessly meditated on by the earnest seekers.  Let him therefore, who listens to preachers who boldly
proclaim God's mercy and Grace to depend on God's whims and fancies, not fall in their trap.  For they are ignorant dogmatists.
They imagine God to be whimsical like their own selves or weak minded to listen to prayers.  Nor should he listen to those
who preach effortlessness; their words are belied by the experience and wisdom of the Maharshi and Rishis, who, for thousands
of years, gave the world its most valuable heritage -- the science of Yoga.

Bhagavan calls grace indispensable for Realization.  So it is.  Provident Fund, as it accumulates from day to day, year to year,
becomes in the end a substantial pile, which is far more valuable than wages, as it secures he ease and comforts of the subject
for the rest of his life.  In the case of the seeker, i hails in the Supreme guru and finally Jnana itself, as the cumulative reward of
many lives of aspiration and deliberate penance.  The next text makes Grace, Guru and God identically the same.

*****

Arunachala Siva.     
Title: Re: Reflections on Talks - S.S. Cohen:
Post by: Subramanian.R on April 17, 2013, 10:54:41 AM
GRACE:

2. 'Is not the Master's Grace (Guru Anugraha) is the result of God's Grace?' The disciple asks and the Master answers:
'Why distinguish between the two?  The Master is God (Isvara) Himself, and not different from Him.'

                                                                        - Talk No. 29.


Notes. Here the Grace is the Guru, who is not other than God Himself, which by implication, means that Grace cannot be
fully recognized till sometime after meeting the Guru, when its working becomes increasingly perceptible to the subject's
consciousness.  Although throughout life one may feel something of it, yet its fullness cannot be so patently borne out till
the inner transformation has taken place, due to the presence and guidance of the Guru and the practice of sadhana.       

****

Arunachala Siva.
Title: Re: Reflections on Talks - S.S. Cohen:
Post by: Subramanian.R on April 18, 2013, 01:45:50 PM

GRACE:

3. 'Does distance have any effect on Grace?'  asks the American visitor and Sri Bhagavan answers: 'Time and space are within
you.  You are always the Self you are seeking.  How do time and space affect it?'

                                                            - Talk No. 127.


Notes:  The visitor, a typical Westerner, follows the above question by the analogy of the radio broadcast, which, he says,
is clearer to the nearer receiving station and dimmer to the farther. He does not indicate where he holds the transmitting
station of the Grace, he has in mind to be located -- in the Pacific, the Atalantic, or in the Himalayas,or perhaps in Tiruvannamalai.
If he means the last,in the person of Bhagavan, then he is right to want to be sure on this point.  For the constant proximity of the
Sage makes a great difference to the rapid purification of the mind and its inclination towards meditation and concentration. The
opportunity to be in the proximity is an act of Grace.
       
If Bhagavan annihilates distance in the transmission of Grace, He means that the Self is above time and space.  Moreover,  Bhagavan
does not like to discourse the visitor, whose prarabdha keeps him at a distance.  Yet the Grace which visitor has in mind has a
definitely determined field of action.  To be always with the Master --- occasional absence excepted, --- I repeat, is due to a distinctly
high grade of Grace, for it quickens the maturity for Realization.

continued....

Arunachala Siva. 
Title: Re: Reflections on Talks - S.S. Cohen:
Post by: Subramanian.R on April 19, 2013, 10:40:27 AM
GRACE:

3. Notes - continue.....

There should be no mistake about that.  We have the evidence of the Srutis, of all Yogis, of Bhagavan Himself in many places
in this work, as for example, text 31 of the next chapter, and so on.  We read again in the Bhagavatam (XI, xii, 1-7) that when
Sri Krishna took leave of His foremost disciple Uddhava before leaving this world, one of the first messages He left with him,
was to seek always Sat Sangha, for He said, nothing pleases Him more and nothing produces quicker results on the Path than
the company of Sages.  The Guru is the greatest Sat Sangha.

*****

Arunachala Siva.
       
Title: Re: Reflections on Talks - S.S. Cohen:
Post by: Subramanian.R on April 20, 2013, 12:40:44 PM
GRACE:

4.  'Show me Grace.'
     Bhagavan: Grace always is, and is not given.

                                   - Talk No. 251.

5. 'There are disciples of Bhagavan who have had His Grace, and realized without any considerable difficulty. I too
     wish to have that Grace.'

    Bhagavan: 'Grace is within you.  If it is external it is useless. Grace is the Self. You are never out of its operation.  If you remember
    Bhagavan , you are prompted by the Self to do so.  Is that not Grace?  Is not Grace already there?  That is the stimulus, that is
    the response, that is Grace.'

                                    - Talks No. 251.

Notes:  The second questioner is a lady, probably a Highness on the gadi of some Central Indian State, who cannot retire to the
Asramam and be always near the Master. She assumes that some of Bhagavan's disciples had His Grace, 'without considerable
difficulty' and realized the Self, so that she too must have it without considerable difficulty, notwithstanding the distance of her
residence from Him.  It is seldom safe to rely on conjectures.  Hard exertion, as we have observed, is necessary to earn Grace, which
ever abounds, because it 'always is'.  Simple requests will not suffice, because Grace is 'not given'.

Grace, Bhagavan asserts, is not external, for 'it is external it is useless'.  It could then be purchased even without merits.  Grace
is internal and must therefore be secured by merits born of efforts. Those who cannot exert must be satisfied with crumbs or small
morsels.

Lack of time and of favorable circumstances are the enemies of Sadhana. They may be due to prarabdha, yet Bhagavan asserts
elsewhere that prarabdha cracks under the hammer strokes of the efforts.  Practice remains in the last analysis of paramount necessity
to the serious minded seekers.  (See also text 27 in the next chapter.)

*******

Arunachala Siva. 
             
Title: Re: Reflections on Talks - S.S. Cohen:
Post by: Subramanian.R on April 21, 2013, 01:37:56 PM

GRACE:

6. 'I am unable to concentrate and have peace by myself. I am in search of a force to help me,' asks the visitor,
and the Master replies: 'Yes, that is called Grace.  Individually we are incapable because the mind is weak. Grace
is necessary. Sadhu Seva (service of saints) is meant only for it.  Just as a weak man come easily under the stronger
one, so does the weak mind come easily under control in the presence of the stronger-minded Saint. There is, however,
nothing to get.. That which is, is only Grace, there is nothing else.'

                                                                              - Talk No. 287.

Notes: The questioner is in great mental distress, which by himself  he is unable to overcome. He had tried to meditate,
has read the Gita, the Upanishads and all the books of this Asramam, yet he remains restless, and so he needs Bhagavan's
help.  What medicine can cure such a mind?  You cannot teach him, for he has learnt everything that needs learning. You cannot
talk him out of distress by any means, for, we may be sure, he has talked to himself times without number about it.  The only
remedy left for him, Sri Bhagavan suggests, is service of saints, which implies a long residence in their company, which alone is
capable of normalizing a distraught mental state. That is why the scriptures advise Sat Sangha to soothe shattered nerves
and eliminate ignorance. There is really no other way. Even if one is a millionaire who can afford to take a round-the-world
trip and drown his worries in the seas he crosses, or in the wonders he meets abroad, on his return to his old environments
he will resume his old worries, as he will be the wearing of his old clothes.  This is only a temporary device, but the company
of saints transforms the inner vision for the better and for good.  By increasing the tendency to introversion one draws nearer
to the peace and bliss of the Self.  Meditation apart, the mere proximity of a Saint imparts happiness to all around.

*****

Arunachala Siva.             
     
Title: Re: Reflections on Talks - S.S. Cohen:
Post by: Subramanian.R on April 22, 2013, 01:51:30 PM
Grace:

7.  'Is not the Grace the gift of the Guru?'

Bhagavan:  God, Grace and Guru are synonymous terms.  They are eternal and immanent.  If a Guru thinks that he can bestow
the Self, which is already present, he does not deserve the name of a guru.  The books say that there are various kinds  of
dikshas or initiations - hasta, sparsa, chakshu, mano etc., The Guru makes some rites with fire, water, japa, mantras, etc.,
and calls these fantastic performances dikshas, as if the disciple becomes ripe only after them. 

What did Dakshinamurti, the Supreme Guru do?  He remained simply silent and the doubts of the disciples were dispelled. They
lost their individualities.  This is Jnana and not all the verbiage usually associated with it.

Silence is the most potent in its effects.  The Sastras, however voluminous and emphatic they may be, fall short in their
effect/  The Guru is quiet and peace pervades all.  His silence is vaster and more effective than all the Sastras put together.
These questions arise because of the feeling (among some) that, having been here for so long, heard so much, exerted so hard,
one has not gained anything.  The work proceeding within is not apparent, though Guru is always within you.

                                                          - Talks No.  398.

Notes: The three G's is a formula which can he always remembered as a trinity in unity -- the fount of Divine Mercy for the
redemption of erring man.  Thus Guru is Grace, so that to ask Grace from the external Guru is meaningless.  In our extroverted
vision we imagine the body of the Guru to be Guru Himself and Grace to be communicable, that is, coming from an external
vehicles of Grace as well as pseudo gurus, who claim the conferring of Grace orally through whispered mantras, fire and water.
Sri Bhagavan dubs these useless rites, termed 'initiations' as fantastic and very rightly too. 

contd.,

Arunachala Siva.             
 
Title: Re: Reflections on Talks - S.S. Cohen:
Post by: Subramanian.R on April 23, 2013, 11:29:27 AM
Grace:

7.

Notes - continue....

They are cheap stuff, which the man of purity and spiritual stamina summarily rejects. Those who claim ability and authority
to confer Grace, or, what is the same, the Self, do not know the Self -- 'they do not deserve the name of Gurus', says
Bhagavan.

When we seriously cogitate over these remarks of Sri Bhagavan in the light of our own experience and reason, we find them
to be true to the hilt. Spiritually loaded Mantras have been whispered in the ears of millions upon millions for ages and have
resulted in almost nothing, except perhaps in the temporary imaginary elation of the 'initiates' for which they have to pay in
money, service, etc.,  In the West, we have analogous rites which are supposed to work miracles on the millions of their
partaking devotees.  What is the result?  Adhikara (natural maturity) alone counts.  It comes to those who do not take part
in rites and 'initiations' as well as those who do.

Silence, Bhagavan continues, is far more helpful in the spiritual path than all the big tomes of the Sastras and scholarship,]
for the Self is the silent witness of all things, and is in everyone, and thus can be attained only through silence of the mind.
To be It we have to be silent like It.

Hence Bhagavan asserts that those who stay long in the Asramam must not imagine themselves in the least neglected.
Grace, as the Self, works silently and imperceptibly.  They are soaked in it, and are every minute steadily advancing towards
the glorious experience of It, which is the immediate goal of all genuine sadhakas.


Ch. 12 on Grace concluded.

Arunachala Siva.   
           
Title: Re: Reflections on Talks - S.S. Cohen:
Post by: Subramanian.R on April 24, 2013, 11:28:14 AM
Chapter 13 -

Dharana, Dhyana, and Samadhi:

1. 'How to transcend the mind?' The Master answers:  'Mind is by nature is restless.  Begin liberating it from restlessness.
Give it peace.  Make it free from distractions.  Train it to look inward. Make this a habit.  This is done by ignoring the
external world and removal of he obstacles to the peace of mind.

                                                       - Talk No. 26.

Notes: In the previous chapters, we discussed some of the ways of transcending the mind to reach the Self. Here
Bhagavan recommends tranquility to begin with.  For we cannot proceed with the Vichara when the turbulence of the
mind is at its height, any more than we can navigate our ship in a stormy sea.

We must first steer it to some shelter till calm prevails, when we can ply our oars and reach safely our destination.

People complain that the world is too storm-tossed to give them peace.  Bhagavan suggests to them to ignore the world,
so that if it is responsible for the restlessness of their minds, that latter will acquire calmness by degrees.  But if they will not,
it will prove that the storm is inside and not outside them.  Then they will have to look within.  This is vichara.

As meditation is of utmost importance in this yoga, this chapter contains an extensive selection of hints on it. It goes without
saying, that the working of men's minds differs one from the other, so that it is not possible to frame yogic rules which can
apply to all of them.

contd.,

Arunachala Siva.                 
Title: Re: Reflections on Talks - S.S. Cohen:
Post by: Subramanian.R on April 25, 2013, 11:32:35 AM

Dharana,  Dhyana, and Samadhi:

1. Notes - continue.....

A Guru is necessary to guide each disciple according to his peculiar circumstances.  At best only hints can be given
in general aspirants to light their path and instill in them the requisite confidence to tread it.  Such hints are found
here in adequate number.

As a first step, Bhagavan suggests mental quiescence, for it is not possible to come from the hectic activities of ordinary
life and plunge straight into meditation, and expect it to succeed.  Much preparation has to be made through study,
reflection, and sat sangha to transform the worldly vasanas into those of the sadhana, when the mind will, of its own
accord, be inclined 'to look inward.'

It is therefore to the advantage of the practitioners not to attempt meditation straightaway, but first to acquire mastery
of Sri Bhagavan's teachings and learn how to direct the meditation to attain its aim.  This time will not be wasted, for profound
study not only takes away the worldly vasanas but it is dharana (concentration) itself, the stepping stone to a successful
meditation (dhyana).

Bhagavan develops this subject later.


*****

Arunachala Siva.       
Title: Re: Reflections on Talks - S.S. Cohen:
Post by: Subramanian.R on April 26, 2013, 10:50:08 AM
Dharana, Dhyana and Samadhi:

continues.....

2. 'External contacts -- contacts with objects other than itself -- make the mind restless.  Loss of interests in the not-Self
(vairagya) is the first step.  Then the habits of introspection and concentration follow, ending in samadhi.'

                                                      - Talk No.  26.

Notes:  Sri Bhagavan here sheds light on the relation of the mental restlessness to the world.  He distinguishes between the
mind itself and the external objects, which he calls 'other than the mind'.  i.e. between the Self, which we are seeking, and
the not-Self, which we have to abandon, namely, the world of the sense-objects, which is ever restless.  He makes us see the
direct opposition of the latter to to the former -- the not-Self to the Self.  If we cleave to the not-Self, it stands to reason that
we cannot hope to get at the Self, and then we shall not be justified in grieving over our failure, or blaming it on God or on the
Guru.

Cleave to the world and you are lost to the Self, at lest for the period of your cleaving.  Cleave to the Self and you are lost to
the world, rather the world is lost to you.  We cannot hope to see the light if we stubbornly hold on to the darkness; the one
is repugnant to the other.  If we abandon the one we will enjoy (or suffer) the other to the full.  This is plain common sense.

But this may be misunderstood as advocating  the desertion of one's home, wife and children and other obligations.  Nothing
is farther from truth.  This sort of interpretation leads to perdition, making the bleakness of one's prospects more bleak. 
We have seen how Sri Bhagavan discourages escapism, which is, truly speaking, not vairagya but callous egotism.  Rational
seekers do not make this mistake, or argue that since the Self is alone real, all family and domestic encumbrances are mere
dream, which need not be taken seriously. 

This argument resembles that of the foolish disciples in the story, who dropped their Rishi in a deep pit to bring teaching of
Maya to ridicule.  They thought, the story thus repudiates Maya.  They called out to him from the top of the pit derisively:
'Welll Sir, now you can tell us if the world is an illusion; but please remember where you are.'   The Rishi undaunted feebly
answered from the abysmal darkness.  'The world is an illusion but not this pit.'  meaning thereby that although the world
is an illusion, the suffering in the pit is, like the dream suffering, real, while it lasts. So, although the world is the not-Self,
our family in this case, is genuine and becomes the cause of our own future suffering, for the Self is one.  Sri Krishna, the Self,
speaks to Arjuna of the deluded and arrogant people who cause trouble to others.  'These malignant ones hate Me in the bodies
of others and in their own.'  (Bhagavad Gita,   XVI, 18)

Sri Bhagavan in this text asks us, 'to lose interest in the not-Self', which implies detachment in the performance of the duty,
freedom from the clinging passion for the family and for possessions.  Giving up infatuation for the family is the one thing and
giving up the family itself is quite another.  Abjuring this passion, which is not the same as the negative escapism causes  mental
calmness.  This is the true significance of vairagya, which can be attained through the analysis of Vichara.

*****

Arunachala Siva.                         
Title: Re: Reflections on Talks - S.S. Cohen:
Post by: Subramanian.R on April 27, 2013, 11:18:01 AM
Dharana, Dhyana and Samadhi:

3. 'An examination of the ephemeral nature of the external phenomena leads to Vairagya.  Hence inquiry is the first and
foremost step to be taken, which will result in contempt of wealth, fame, ease, pleasure, etc., The 'I' thought becomes clearer
for inspection.'

                                    - Talk No. 27.

Notes: This is a clear direction for the attainment of Vairagya.  These two texts practically conclude as follows:  the 'I' has so
far been loaded with things that are not 'I' -- with wealth, fame, power, family relationships, social status, individual names
and titles, with various kosas (sheaths) etc., which are temporary - ephemeral.  Take away all this superfluous load by inquiry
and discrimination, and the 'I' will remain alone as the eternal Self.  This is true Vairagya.  Therefore the renunciation must be
with respect to this load, these useless trappings, which hide the true nature of the 'I' from our vision by their glamour and their
peculiar appeals.  Vichara unloads the 'I' and restores to us the fullness of the being and its eternal freedom, even though we may
retain the body and all human relationships.  We shall then become ourselves in the full sense of the term.  We will have then
proved to ourselves that in the long run the plus works out to minus -- the gain is actually a loss.  Wealth and possessions,
so long as we retain a passion for them, are if fact subtractions rather than additions.  This is the paradox of the life of the body
and the world.

****

Arunachala Siva.               
Title: Re: Reflections on Talks - S.S. Cohen:
Post by: Subramanian.R on April 28, 2013, 01:56:09 PM

Dharana, Dhyana and Samadhi:

4. 'If however, the aspirant is not temperamentally suited to the Vichara Marga, he must develop bhakti (devotion) to
an Ideal  --- may be God, Guru. Humanity in general, ethical laws, or even the idea of Beauty.  When one of these has
taken possession of the individual, other attachments grow weaker and dispassion  (Vairagya) develops.  Thus ekagrata
(concentration) grows simultaneously and inmperciptly.

'In the absence of Vichara and bhakti, control of breath (pranayama) may be tried. This is known as Yoga Marga. If the
breath is held in the mind cannot jump at its parts --- the objects.  Thus there is rest for the mind so long as the breath
is held.  The mind improves by practice and becomes finer, just as the razor's edge is sharpened by stropping.'

Notes: Vichara is not therefore the only method of ignorance to begin with.  There are some who do not know how to
inquire and how to analyze their thoughts and emotions.  They begin and end with the empirical 'I'.  How to find its root,
and how to follow up the 'I'-thought, is a problem to which they find no solution.  To such the Vichara Marga remains
infructuos -- an obstacle rather than a help.  Sri Bhagavan advises them to take to bhakti, that is to develop a devotion
to an Ideal, even though that Ideal may be as concrete as the service of humanity or a virtue for which they aspire.  If
bhakti is sufficiently developed, Vairagya and concentration follow as a matter of course.  If devotion to an Ideal is also
lacking, the seeker may resort to japa or pranayama, to arrest the restlessness of the mind.  All these practices specifically
aim at stopping the vritti - the ceaseless modification, the wanderings of the mind, so that the latter may be nailed to
itself and may eventually cognize its own native state.  Mental diffusiveness resembles a mixture of gold dust with sand,
earth, ashes and dirt of all sorts. Concentration (dharana) and meditation (dhyana) are the sieve which sifts the gold dust
from others. 

contd.,

Arunachala Siva.
         
     
     
Title: Re: Reflections on Talks - S.S. Cohen:
Post by: Subramanian.R on April 29, 2013, 12:54:22 PM
Dharana, Dhyana and Samadhi:

continues....

4. 

Notes continue:  They churn the nadis (nerves) along with consciousness, flows to the whole body, and track them down
to their source, the Heart.  Relaxation of the nervous system, takes place,  denoting the ebbing of the consciousness  from
the nadis back to the Heart.  The ebbs and flows of the consciousness, with constant practice renders increasingly perceptible
to the meditator, gradually loosen the consciousness from the body and end by separating them in Samadhi, so that the sadhaka
is enabled to perceive the consciousness alone and pure.  This is the Self, God the Absolute.

Hence concentration is recommended in every form of spiritual practice and in every school of yoga.  It is brought about by
bhakti, which starts and keeps going in the fire of tapas. Bhakti is thus all-inclusive and it is the highest in the complete
surrender which the Yogin achieves in the path of Jnana and Vichara.  Some practiciants find it easier to take to pranayama
to control the mind.  That is also an effective method of realization, provided they do not get involved in the Chakras but
end in the Heart.


*****

Arunachala Siva. 
 
 
       
Title: Re: Reflections on Talks - S.S. Cohen:
Post by: Subramanian.R on April 30, 2013, 10:50:43 AM
Dharana, Dhyana, and Samadhi:

5. 'What are the steps in the practical Sadhana?"

Maharshi:  They depend on the qualifications and the nature of the seeker.  If you are doing idol worship, you should
go on with it.  It will lead you to concentration.  Get one pointed and all will come out right.  People think that Liberation
is far away and should be sought out.  They are wrong.  It is only knowing the Self within oneself. Concentrate and you
will get it.  The mind is the cycle of births and deaths.  Go on practicing and concentration will be as easy as breathing.
That will be the crown of your achievements.

                                                                     - Talk No. 31.

Notes:  Spiritual practices are therefore purely individual, depending on one's temperament, intellectual abilities, modes
of thinking, peculiar circumstances and other emotional and spiritual factors.  But whatever these may be, a resort to
concentration, as we have seen above, is a sine qua non, for which any convenient instrument may be used.  Patanjali's
Yoga  Sutras and the Upanishads describe some of the methods without exhausting them; for they are as many as the
seekers themselves. 

Liberation, Bhagavan tells us, is not the acquisition of a new situation or qualification, but only of the most correct point of
view about oneself, which is already here and now.  We possess a false view of our identity, like the proverbial millionaire
who stubbornly imagined himself to be a miserable pauper, and acted as if he were truly such, and thus perpetuated his
wretchedness.  We are immortal, but imagine ourselves to be mortal, and act according to this belief.  We are nothing but the
Supreme Intelligence or Pure Knowledge, the knower of all things, thinker and feeler, conceiver, creator, and not mere chemical
compounds, mere flesh, blood, bones, bile and mucus, which hardly bear an aesthetic examination.  There is a pronounced
discrepancy, which escapes us, between the body-I belief and the revulsion we feel at the exposure of the body's internal
parts.  We love ourselves most, and if the body is us, how is it that we cannot tolerate this exhibition?  We hardly need a highly
developed analytical faculty to discover this patent incongruity.  Once we disentangle the intelligent in us from the unintelligible
body by practice, we are liberated that very instant.  So liberation is there for asking, completely at our disposal, if we but make
up our mind and act with resolute determination.  Self real-isation therefore simply means discovering to be 'real' that -- ourselves
-- which we have so far taken to be unreal and mortal.  "It is only knowing the Self within us.'

*****

Arunachala Siva.                     
Title: Re: Reflections on Talks - S.S. Cohen:
Post by: Subramanian.R on May 01, 2013, 11:22:23 AM
Dharana, Dhyana and Samadhi.

6.  'If you go the way of your thoughts, you will be carried away by them and will find yourself in an endless maze. 
But if you trace back the source of thoughts, these will disappear and the Self alone will remain.  In fact, there is
no inside or outside for the Self.  They are the projections of the ego.  The Self is Pure and Absolute.'

                                    - Talk No. 13.

Notes:  Thoughts include sensations, pet notions, all habits of the mind (vasanas), - the sense of 'I' and 'mine', etc.,  If
we thoughtlessly let ourselves go and yield to the promptings of these habits and instincts, we will be swamped, literally
involved in an 'endless maze', which will tend to keep the ego firmly fixed in avidya, suffering the consequences of its
ignorance.  'Slimming' becomes necessary.  Shed the vasanas; track them down to their source by investigation, and you
are bound to reach the Self.  You will never go astray, for all thoughts are rooted in the Self, as all the branches of a tree
are rooted in the earth.

****

Arunachala Siva.       
       
Title: Re: Reflections on Talks - S.S. Cohen:
Post by: Subramanian.R on May 02, 2013, 10:55:06 AM
Dharana, Dhyana and Samadhi:


7. 'If the origin is Sat only, why is it not felt?'

Bhagavan:  'The Salt in lump is visible, but invisible in  solution. Still it is cognized by its taste.  Similarly Sat (or Truth),
though not perceived by the intellect is still realizable in other ways.  How?  Just as a man who has been robbed and
blindfolded by robbers and thrown in a jungle inquires his way and returns home, so also the Ajnani who is blinded
by ignorance, inquires his way from the Jnani and returns to his source.'
                           
                                                                              -  Talk 108.


Notes: Sat 'in lump' is Brahman, the Self, alone and pure.  It is experienced as concentrated consciousness in Samadhi.
Once the senses are out again, the concentrated consciousness (in lump) spreads out to the whole body and becomes
a 'solution', and thus imperceptible. Yet the Jnani knows it 'by taste.'  This is a delightful metaphor.  What we want now
is to 'taste' it in its lumpiness, so that we may distinguish it from the body in which it in its lumpiness, so that we may
distinguish it from the body in which it is now in 'solution' --- in an indistinguishable state.  Bhagavan advises us to inquire
from him who tasted it in both the states, as the blindfolded man finds his way home with the help of those whose eyes]
are open.  Robbers (the senses) have stolen the knowledge of the Self from us by binding us with the world illusion. 
We have now to resort to the Master, who has found the Self, so that we too may see and 'taste' it again, as we used to do
before the cruel burglary had taken place.               
     
****

Arunachala Siva.
Title: Re: Reflections on Talks - S.S. Cohen:
Post by: Subramanian.R on May 03, 2013, 11:11:11 AM
Dharana, Dhyana and Samadhi.

8.  'Please help me to realize the Self.  It is no use reading books.'

Bhagavan answers:  'Quite so.  If the Self is found in books, it would have been realized long ago.  Is it not a wonder that
we should seek the Self in books?  Can it be found there?  Of course, books have impelled the question.'

Notes:  Bhagavan is, of course, right to be satirical about finding the Self in books.  To lose oneself and then search for it
in books, resembles the case of the proverbial princess, who all along carries her necklace round her neck but goes in
search of it everywhere, outside her person.  A single look in the mirror would have sufficed.  The mirror of the Self is the
'I', our own being.  How can books act as its mirror.  Sound books can only induce the search and suggest ways and means.
Even then we should have to act upon the suggestions in our own mind, which more often than not we do not.  Why?
We have no time, you know.

****

Arunachala Siva.             
Title: Re: Reflections on Talks - S.S. Cohen:
Post by: Subramanian.R on May 04, 2013, 11:39:13 AM
Dharana, Dhyana and Samadhi:

9.  'The Srutis speak of the Self as being the size of the thumb, the tip of the hair, a spark, subtler than the subtle etc., etc.,
They nave no foundation in fact.  It is only Being.  It is simply Being.   People desire to see it as a blazing light etc., How can
it be?  It is neither light nor darkness. It is only as it is.  It cannot be defined.  The best definition for it is: I am that I am.


                                                                              - Talk No. 122.

Notes:  That settles it.  We are not to take literally all the descriptions of the Self found here and there.  If we do, then we will
be giving form to the formless,  name to the nameless, and attributes to the attributeless.  All objective descriptions and
comparisons of the Self are meaningless, and must stop at a point not too far away.  Sri Bhagavan does not wish to slight the
Srutis, because He Himself very often quotes them.  What He decries is only lack of uniformity and cohesion which almost always
confound and confuse the casual student and biased theologian who finds them a vast field for advance propaganda.  The
beginner feels himself honestly lost in what appears to be a maze of inconsistencies and exaggerations, as witness these
descriptions of the Self.  The Jnani know how to tackle the Upanishads.  The veteran seeker likewise skims much of their cream,
according to his intuitive maturity.  The others take them literally and allow their imagination to run riot, or hold to their letter
tenaciously but allow the spirit to slip through their fingers.

Sri Bhagavan is keen that we should have a notion of the Self which is divested  of all analogies and sensuous descriptions.                 
The Self is pure Being. To be, by its very definition, means to exist which negates non existence.  Being therefore means eternal
existence, which can be said of only an indestructible substance.  But all objective things are destructible, being insentient.
Therefore eternal existence, can be only the BE-ing which is pure sentience.  This we call the Infinite Self  or Supreme Consciousness
which transcends all objectivity.  What description or analogy can therefore fit it?  Sri Bhagavan finds a single definition which
can do so, namely, I am that I am, that is, "the indefinable Being."

*****

Arunachala Siva.   
Title: Re: Reflections on Talks - S.S. Cohen:
Post by: Subramanian.R on May 05, 2013, 12:21:49 PM
Dharana, Dhyana and Samadhi:

10.  'One should not become content with mere discipleship, initiation, ceremony of surrender etc., These are external
phenomena.  Never forget, the Truth underlying all phenomena.'

                                                                            - Talk No. 133.

Notes:  This should be read side by side with the last note of the last chapter --- the chapter on Grace -- which also
refers to ceremonies and initiations.  Those who attach importance to these performances, are welcome to continue
them, but they should know that 'initiations' are not indispensable for spiritual progress.  They come nowhere, before
the direct investigation and meditation of the yoga sadhana.  Ceremonies are phenomena and thus have a magical value
to those who believe in the phenomena.  The seeker has to learn to do without them and concentrate on the eternal truth
which underlies all phenomena and which can be found nowhere but inside his own heart.  He who worships through ceremonies
and mantras, remains in illusion and under the influence of the devas who are supposed to preside over the mantras.

Sri Krishna says in the Gita that he who worships devas goes to the devas, but His devotee goes direct to Him, the Supreme
Atman.

If the mantras of initiation can give Liberation, even our 'dumb brethern' can secure it.  There is, of course, nothing against
a little ceremony, in certain phases of life, e.g, birth, marriage, death, taking sannyasa, to give an air of sanctity to the function
and impress the people concerned, but to believe that it has more in it than that, is to cross into the world of illusion.  But
the mantras which are used as japa in the spiritual practice are entirely different.  That is the sadhana proper and many sadhakas
are greatly helped by them.  They have no connection with any deva and lead eventually to the Self.

******

Arunachala Siva.     
Title: Re: Reflections on Talks - S.S. Cohen:
Post by: Subramanian.R on May 06, 2013, 11:15:58 AM
Dharana, Dhyana and Samadhi:

11.  'What is the difference between meditation and distraction?"

      Bhagavan:  'When there are thoughts it is distraction.  When thoughts are absent it is meditation.  However,
      meditation is only practice as distinguished from the real state of peace.'

Notes:  The last sentence means that although in meditation is expected to be free of thoughts, it is not Realization
itself, which is the state of Peace, but still the stage of practice for Realization.  Meditation means attempts to gain
freedom from thoughts, and distraction is the inability to gain that freedom.  Thinking, of whatever nature and quality,
is therefore distraction, ignorance and the cause of suffering.  But to imagine that in the advanced meditation there is
not peace is wrong, because as thoughts relax their pressure on mind, disturbance proportionately decreases, which is
what experienced as peace, repose, mental ease, and comfort, a foretaste of the peace absolute of the Self which will
follow.

*****

Arunachala Siva.     
Title: Re: Reflections on Talks - S.S. Cohen:
Post by: Subramanian.R on May 08, 2013, 11:15:17 AM

Dharana, Dhyana and Samadhi:

12.  'For whom is the blank?  Find out.  You cannot deny yourself at any time.  The Self is ever there and continues in
all states."

                                                                                -   Talk No. 13.

Notes:  This is an answer to an inquirer who either sees blank in mediation or goes to sleep.  It is the constant complaint
of beginners that when thoughts stop the substratum or the Self is not perceived.  One has not yet become firmly established
in the practice to be sensitive enough to intuit the substratum of thought.  To seek a blank is to think a blank, which is again,
a thought.  Thus the free mind has not yet been attained.  Instead of having an active thought one has then a passive one,
which is still a thought.  I call it a passive thought because it is not of a well defined conception, or sensuous perception,  --
of a sound, or smell or taste,  -- but a thought nevertheless, of which the mediator is well aware, otherwise he would not
speak of it.  At this point an occasion arises for a mildly increased alertness, which may have a successful result.  It is this:
the perception of the blank is obvious then, but there stands, as if in background, though in fact right in the center of, or
all about experience, the seer of the blank.  If this remembered at that moment and the attention switches off from blank on
to this seer -- oneself -- not the body of the seer, but the consciousness that sees the blank one stands a great chance of
perceiving It or at least beginning to apprehend Its nature.  By constant repetition direct perception  of It is bound to result.
This is Self Knowledge.

****

Arunachala Siva.
     
 
Title: Re: Reflections on Talks - S.S. Cohen:
Post by: Subramanian.R on May 09, 2013, 11:14:05 AM
Dharana, Dhyana and Samadhi.

13. "The mind must be introverted (in dhyana) and kept active in its pursuit.  Sometimes it happens when the eyes are closed,
latent thoughts rush forth with great vigor.  It may also be difficult to introvert the mind with the eyes open.  It requires strength
of mind to do so.  The mind is contaminated when it takes in objects.  Otherwise it is pure."

                                                          -  Talk No. 61.

NOTES:  Should the eyes be open or closed in meditation?  This text gives the answer, which means 'either way'.  Generally
the eyes are kept closed to prevent ocular experiences which are far more disturbing than those of other sensory organs.
The important thing to remember is that the mind should be kept preoccupied with the meditation, and never be allowed to
either sluggish or to stray at will without restraint.  It has to be tied to the focal point of the meditation.  Yet stray it will, it
must, which should not worry the meditator, who has simply be alert enough to be aware of this straying and to bridle it
back immediately, giving it no scope to go out of his control.  This last happens when the meditator gets involved in a subject
in which he is now, or was once, interested, so that he entirely forgets himself and the work on which he is now engaged. 
Memory is to blame for it. It should be carefully watched and firmly restrained.

*****

Arunachala Siva.         
Title: Re: Reflections on Talks - S.S. Cohen:
Post by: Subramanian.R on May 10, 2013, 01:49:47 PM
Dharana, Dhyana and Samadhi.

14. 'Sphurana is felt on several occasions, such as in fear, excitement, etc.,  Although it is always and all over, yet it is
felt at a particular center and on  particular occasions.  It is also associated with antecedent causes and confounded
with the body.  Whereas it is also alone and pure;  it is the Self. If the mind is fixed on the Sphurana and one senses
it continually and automatically, it is Realization.'
                                                                                                        -  Talk No. 62.

Notes:   This is a fascinating subject like the sensation of the Sphurana itself. Obviously the questioner has an experience
of it to impel him to seek elucidation about it.  There are those who look askance at it;  they are of course mistaken. 
Sphurana is defined (not here) as a 'kind of indescribable but palpable sensation in the Heart center.', which Bhagavan
tells us 'is felt on several occasions' and 'all over'.  Those who first sense it in meditation become thrilled by it and if they
happen to have read or known nothing about it, they get puzzled at what it all means. Bhagavan clarifies the position.     


The apparent discrepancy in its location as 'all over' and the 'Heart center' is, apart from the unpredictable psychological
occasions mentioned in the text, due to the degree of firmness in it, or proximity to the Self at the moment.  In the beginning
when the Heart has not yet revealed itself, it is felt 'all over', as it is always is, particularly on the right side of the body.

But with constant practice its diffusion gradually diminishes and fixes itself in the Heart, nay, it becomes the Heart Itself.
The diffusion  of consciousness 'all over' is the consciousness in 'solution' in text 7, in this chapter.  Between the first sensing
of the Sphurana and the discovery of the Heart, which is the Self proper --- the consciousness 'in lump'  -- there is only a short
lag of time, so that those who are so fortunate to begin to feel it, take the heart at the imminence of the Supreme Experience.
Thereafter, it continues to be felt -- it is then mukti itself,  Sri Bhagavan says,  which He confirms in the next text.

*****

Arunachala Siva.         
Title: Re: Reflections on Talks - S.S. Cohen:
Post by: Subramanian.R on May 11, 2013, 11:11:03 AM

Dharana, Dhyana and Samadhi.

15. Again, Sphurana is the foretaste of Realization.  It is pure.
 
                                 - Talk No. 62.

Notes:  This is encouraging to the followers of the path of Vichara to know that the Supreme Consciousness sends its
harbinger to welcome them a good time in advance -- a harbinger which in the end turns to be the Host Himself,
the Supreme Lord of the House, nay Host, Guest, and Home, all in one.  (see also text 32).

Arunachala Siva.     
Title: Re: Reflections on Talks - S.S. Cohen:
Post by: Subramanian.R on May 12, 2013, 01:35:23 PM
Dharana, Dhyana and Samadhi.

16.  'I have faith in murti dhyana (worship of form).  Will this help me to gain Jnana?'

        Bhagavan:  'Surely it will.  Upasana helps concentration of mind.  Then the mind is free from other thoughts and
        us full of meditated form.  The mind becomes it -- and thus quite pure.  Then think who is the worshipper.  The
        answer is 'I'-the Self.  So the Self is gained ultimately.'

                                               -  Talk No. 63.

Note: So long as the mind is amenable to control, the means of doing is immaterial.  Once the mental diffusion is restrained
the worship of form (upasana) will automatically change over to Vichara, that is, investigation into the identity of the worshipper
himself.  This is unavoidable,  for reason of the fact, that however dear the worshiped form may be, it cannot be dearer than
one's own Self, and secondly it is changeable, whereas the subject, the worshipper himself, is changeless, as the witness of all
change and all objects.  Complete satisfaction is never obtained till the knowledge of oneself as the changeless and absolute
conscious existence takes place, which will compel the Vichara by a natural necessity. 

It is granted that the worshipped form is Sattvic - ideally pure -- to be capable of inducing alike the purity in the worshipper's
mind.

*****

Arunachala Siva.         

             
Title: Re: Reflections on Talks - S.S. Cohen:
Post by: Subramanian.R on May 13, 2013, 11:37:53 AM
Dharana, Dhyana and Samadhi.

17.  'All are agreed that the Jiva is.  Let us find out the Jiva first.  Then there will be time to find out if it should merge in
the Supreme, is a part thereof, or remains different from it.  Let us not forestall the conclusion.  Keep an open mind, dive
within and find out the Self.  The truth will itself dawn on you.  Why should you determine beforehand if the finality is unity
or duality, absolute or qualified?' 

                                        -  Talk No. 63.

NOTE:  The context is the relation of Monism to Dualism  -- whether they interchange, whether one should begin with duality
and end with unity, etc.,  Sri Bhagavan argues that all that is unnecessary to know beforehand.  All schools, whether dualistic,
monistic,  or qualified monistic, agree that the basis of their creeds is the Jiva, whose existence all admit.  Since the Jiva is
undeniable, one should start with it which is what our monistic school does in its inquiry about the nature of the seeker's own
self.  The rest will of its own accord unfold itself till the end, when one will be in a position to judge for oneself which of the
three schools is right.  At the present stage, the question should be allowed to hang fire, for it is not capable of solution.

****

Arunachala Siva.       
Title: Re: Reflections on Talks - S.S. Cohen:
Post by: Subramanian.R on May 14, 2013, 11:18:42 AM
Dharana, Dhyana and Samadhi:

18.  "What if one meditates incessantly without karma (without any action)?" 

Bhagavan repllied:  'Try and see.  The vasanas will not let you.  Dhyana comes only step by step with the gradual weakening
of the vasanas by the Grace of the Master.'

                                                                      - Talk  80.

Note:  By vasanas is meant the habits of mind , which ceaselessly prop up as thoughts, like the ceaseless waves of the
ocean.  Memory is the storehouse of the vasanas and thus the worst enemy of a quiescent mind.

By action we are not able to understand manual work alone, but also thinking.  Action results only from thinking.  It is its
manifestation in the phenomenal world, the execution of its commands.  Thus in the last analysis work proves to be nothing
but vasanas.  The control of vasanas can be achieved by a slow process, through constant practice, helped by the presence
of the Master, which gradually files away the dirt of the mind and strengthens it. Guru Sanga is the greatest of all blessings
if accompanied by determined efforts.

Studying the tricks of memory is a very helpful practice, which will result in keeping one one one's guard, against its insidious
pressure, on the whole course of sadhana.  Retrospection, excepting as it has a direct bearing on the Vichara, is always a drawback
in this practice, for there is generally nothing uplifting in the experiences of a less mature age. More often than not it rouses
sorrowful memories, regrets and passion, which have to thrown into limbo, rather than be resuscitated in a mind which is looking                 
upwards, towards the light that never dims.

*****

Arunachala Siva.
Title: Re: Reflections on Talks - S.S. Cohen:
Post by: Subramanian.R on May 15, 2013, 01:46:08 PM
Dharana, Dhyana and Samadhi:

19.  "He who instructs an ardent devotee to do this or that (work) is not a true master.  The seeker is already afflicted by
his activities and wants peace and rest.  He wants cessation of his activities.  Instead he is told to do something in addition
to, or in place of, his other activities."

       "Activity is creation; activity is the destruction of one's inherent happiness.  If it is advocated , the adviser is not a master,
but a killer.  Either the Creator (Brahma) or Death (Yama) may be said to have come in the guise of such a master.  He cannot
liberate the aspirant but strengthen his fetters."

                                                                                          -  Talk No.  601.

Note:  No one can deny that Sri Bhagavan is very firm in decrying work by the aspirant, because of the reports he receives
from some of the meditating disciples, who have been asked to work as service to Him, the Guru.  Sri Bhagavan places meditation
on the highest level, as the noblest of work.  He discourages burdening ardent sadhakas, who stand in need of mental
quiescence, with extraneous work, in the name of service to the master.  Work is worldly and needs a certain amount of attention,
if it is to be well done, which can only take the aspirant's mind in a direction opposite to that of the sadhana.  Ashrams have,
no doubt, to run by devotees as honorary workers, but these must be selected from non meditating or less ardent residents.
Some such institutions go so far as to admit no non workers on their premises, for all must work, they insist, to promote the ideals
of their peculiar brand of Truth,  To Sri Bhagavan 'this adviser is not a master but a killer'.  One almost hears the voice of Vyasa
in the Bhagavata Purana condemning action for the devotee in four long chapters (10/13 Book XI). Sri Sankara adds his quota
in Verse 3 of Atma Bodham which says that 'action cannot destroy ignorance, for it is not hostile to it.   Knowledge alone can
destroy it, as light destroys darkness.' 

As for worldly action, Bhagavan is emphatic that it destroys happiness, for it is created, supported,m and perpetuated by
ignorance.  It is caused by desire, and ends in bondage, which is misery in essence.  Sri Bhagavan characterizes the preacher
of such action as the embodiment of Yama, the Lord of Death, which is the strongest language He can use against the promoters
of action.

****

Arunachala Siva.   
                   
           
 
Title: Re: Reflections on Talks - S.S. Cohen:
Post by: Subramanian.R on May 16, 2013, 11:17:17 AM
Dharana, Dhyana and Samadhi:

21.  'Who am I?' is the best japa.  What can be more concrete than the Self?  It is within each one's experience every
moment.  Why should he try to catch (as japa) an outside thing, leaving out the Self?  Let each one try to find out the
known Self, instead of searching for the unknown beyond.'

                                  - Talk No. 81.

Note: This is the answer to the demand of an American visitor for a concrete idea like japa, dhyana etc., to which one
can hold in the search of what he calls the 'Light', rather than being merely told that if thoughts cease the Self alone
remains.  The visitor does not seem to have understood the implication of the Self Inquiry.  In the first instance he does
not identify the Self or 'I' with the 'Light' or Reality which he is  seeking. Sri Bhagavan tells him hat the quest Who am I
is the best japa.  For the whole sadhana consists of nothing but knowing it, which once done, our work is at an end. 
The visitor has not yet learnt the fact that the 'I' is the only intelligence existing in the vast universe, and all else is as dead
as a door nail, incapable of making itself known by its own light.  The light of the 'I' alone can reveal it.  No object or world
can exist by itself apart from this 'I' (of which it is a thought) as its container as well as knower.  The 'I' is the only immanent
element in all our experiences whatever.  We know it most as our own Self, and because we do not perceive it as we perceive
all other things, we are now seeking to know it ABSOLUTELY in all these spiritual practices, through the guidance of the Master,
for it is pure spirit or pure knowledge.  What other japa can be more useful and more concrete than it ---  our 'I'  -- Sri
Bhagavan asks. 

The next few texts will shed more light on Sri Bhagavan's meaning of the quest Who am I?               
     

****

Arunachala Siva.
Title: Re: Reflections on Talks - S.S. Cohen:
Post by: Subramanian.R on May 17, 2013, 12:46:44 PM
Dharana, Dhyana and Samadhi:

22.  'Please tell how I shall realize the 'I'.  Am  I to make the japa 'Who am I?'

       Bhagavan:  No japa of the kind is meant.

       Visitor:  Am I to think 'Who am I?'

       Bhagavan:  Hold the 'I'-thought and find its moola (source).

                                                                          Talk No.  486.

23.   Inquiry 'Who am I?' means finding the source of 'I'.  When that is found, that which you seek is accomplished.

                                                                           Talk No. 67.

Notes:  The above two texts should leave no doubt in the mind of the practitioner  about Sri Bhagavan's use of the inquiry             
'Who am I?'  It is neither a slogan nor a mantra, but an intense inquiry into one's own nature.  That is why this method is
called Vichara.  Although sometimes He uses the epithet Japa for it,  (as in text 21 above), He does not mean to to be
mechanical incantation, but an actual investigation in the 'I''s real nature, which He further develops in the next text.

*****

Arunachala Siva.     
       
Title: Re: Reflections on Talks - S.S. Cohen:
Post by: Subramanian.R on May 18, 2013, 01:18:22 PM
Dharana, Dhyana and Samadhi:

24.  'The One Infinite Unbroken Whole becomes aware of itself as 'I'.  This is its original name.  All other names, e.g., OM etc.,
are later growths.  Liberation means only to remain aware of the Self.  The Mahavakya, 'I am Brahman' is its authority. 
Though the 'I' us always experienced, yet one's attention has to be drawn to it.  Then only knowledge dawns.  Hence is the
need for the teaching of the Upanishads and the Sages,'

                                       -  Talk No. 92.

Notes:  Sri Bhagavan takes us here to the genesis of the 'I', which is the very first self awareness of the Unbroken Whole. It
is the name of the Self gave itself and precedes all other names of the Absolute.  When it is realized, as such, by direct experience,
Liberation is said to have been achieved.  Yoga Vasishta calls this first self awareness by the Absolute as the first stir of thinking in
Brahman, like the first wave of a calm ocean within itself.

There are two ways of being self aware: objectively, and subjectively.  If I stand on one side and the other stand others and
the world - I in opposition to you -- then the 'I' is the objective body.  A part of the world of multiplicity.  But if I am aware of myself
as pure Awareness, it is subjective self awareness, when the world is totally absent.  The former 'I' being objective, is a mere
thought - an 'I'-thought  -- and should be destroyed, like all other thoughts, in order that the 'I' may ceased to be a thought and
may turn upon itself as the one who is aware of the thought, through the help of the Guru or Scriptures.  This is the meaning of
'one's attention has to be drawn to it.'.  In other words, the 'I' will cease to be a thought, and will remain only the Consciousness.
'I AM', which is the Mahavakya to which the text refers.  This is Liberation itself.

By 'its original name' and 'later growths' in the text above, we are not to understand that the 'I' has a beginning and a progress
towards an end.  Such an interpretation goes against absolutism of Advaita, and against all that we have so far studied. It
refers only to the genesis of this dream, which we call the Jiva, and the universe;  the genesis of the 'I' thought, of the 'I'
imagining itself as a part of the world of multiplicity.

*****

Arunachala Siva.                     
         
Title: Re: Reflections on Talks - S.S. Cohen:
Post by: Subramanian.R on May 19, 2013, 10:50:23 AM
Dharana, Dhyana, and Samadhi:

25.  'So long as there is a knower, there is knowledge  --- knowledge of all kinds, direct, inferential, intellectual, etc., Let
the knower vanish and they will all simultaneously vanish.  Their validity stands and falls with him.'

                                                                                           - Talk No.  93.

Notes:  The knower comes before his knowledge.  Knowledge of various kinds is nothing but the world's multiplicity.
Thus the world comes after, and depends on, the knower, with whom 'it stands and falls'.  Without the seer there can
be no seen, because the seen is a mere thought of the seer, who is not a thought at all.  For if he were, he would
disappear with his thoughts and there would remain no one to tell the tale.  No one to speak of yesterday or of last year's
events.  Our life consists mainly of memory, of remembered persons, scenes and events, which proves our fixity in a changeable
world.  we are the fixed observation post, as it were, and all things, from birth to death, march past us.  They come and go,
but we, the 'I' remains ever.  Even if the body is cut by operations and diminished by hand , leg or lung, the 'I' remains the
same -- undiminished.


******

Arunachala Siva.             
Title: Re: Reflections on Talks - S.S. Cohen:
Post by: Subramanian.R on May 20, 2013, 12:49:21 PM
Dharana, Dhyana and Samadhi:

26. 'Experience (of the Reality) is temporary or permanent.  The first experience is temporary and by concentration it can
become permanent.   In the former, the bondage is not completely destroyed.  It remains and asserts itself in due course.
But in the latter, it is destroyed root and branch.'


                                            -Talk No. 95.

Notes:  This is of considerable significance to those who have had an experience of the Self.  In the first instance,  it
distinguishes between the temporary and the permanent experience.  Secondly, it warns them that bondage will remain
round their necks and will cause their rebirth if they will discontinue the practice.  Bondage 'asserts' itself in due course',
if one is not careful to consolidate it into Sahaja.  There must be no room for complacency. 

****

Arunachala Siva.     
Title: Re: Reflections on Talks - S.S. Cohen:
Post by: Subramanian.R on May 21, 2013, 01:13:20 PM
Dharana, Dhyana and Samadhi:

27.  'Seekers are of two classes.  kritopasaka and akritopasaka.  The former has already overcome his predispositions
by steady devotion, so that the mind has become pure.  He has some kind of experience BUT DOES NOT COMPREHEND IT.
As soon as instructed by a competent Master, permanent experience results.  The other class of seekers need great efforts
to achieve this end.'

                                                      - Talk No. 95.

Notes:  I have capitalized 'but does not comprehend it' to draw attention to the great importance of Sahaja in the validation
of the Realization of the Self.  Perfect firmness to the Being, and thus competence to teach it, is achieved only in Sahaja,
so that any knowledge about it before then cannot but be partial, even though the Self is being daily experienced in Samadhi.
Practice and the presence of the Master hasten the maturity of the kritopasaka for Sahaja.

The other class of  seekers, namely, the akritopasaka, the immature worshippers, have to slog their weary way uphill.  They
have to push, pull and heave to gain the stage of the kritopasaka, and then on to the Great Liberation.

*****

Arunachala Siva.         
Title: Re: Reflections on Talks - S.S. Cohen:
Post by: Subramanian.R on May 22, 2013, 10:21:03 AM
Dharana, Dhyana and Samadhi:

28.  'Of what nature is the realization of Westerners who report flashes of Cosmic Consciousness?'

The Master answers:  It comes as a flash and disappears likewise in a flash.  That which has a beginning must also end.
Only when the ever-present consciousness is realized will it be permanent. 'Consciousness is indeed always with us.
Everyone knows himself as 'I am'.  No one can deny his own being,'

                                                     - Talk No. 96.

Notes:  The answer to this question is fully given by the question itself. The reality that lasts not longer than a split
second is as good as nothing.  In the previous notes we have observed that even the daily experience of pure consciousness
in nirvikalpa, which lasts much longer than a mere flash, cannot give complete satisfaction and complete apprehension of all
the ins and outs of the reality, but needs  years of incessant practice -- conscious and deliberate -- to be perfected.  That being
the case, what value can be attached to these flashes?  Moreover, who can tell whether they are the genuine stuff or mere
gossamer tricks of the mind?

As for the Cosmic Consciousness itself, is there such consciousness at all in the sense of the Westerners?  Sri Bhagavan
uses this term for Brahman, the Self or Chaitanya (pure consciousness).  But to the Western 'occultist'  it has an altogether
different flavor.  Ours is the creed of the Absolute, wherein neither the individual nor the Cosmos exists, whereas the
Western  religious mystic and clairvoyant are dualists, who find great mysteries in the Cosmos and the individual, and still
greater mysteries in the Cosmic Consciousness.  Students of the Cosmic Consciousness have therefore to distinguish between
the Advaitic meaning of it and that of its Western counterpart.  Probably this distinction has been in the mind of the questioner
to impel him to inquire about 'the nature of the one consciousness is the same for all men without any distinction.

*****

Arunachala Siva.                                 
 
Title: Re: Reflections on Talks - S.S. Cohen:
Post by: Subramanian.R on May 23, 2013, 11:42:10 AM
Dharana, Dhyana and Samadhi:

29.  'Samadhi transcends thought and speech and cannot be described.  As the state of deep sleep cannot be described,
        more so is Samadhi.  You know that you are unconscious in deep sleep.   But  consciousness and unconsciousness are
        only modes of the mind. Samadhi transcends them.  You know Samadhi only when you are in Samadhi.

                                               - Talk 110.

Notes: This is an answer to a request from an American lady to describe Samadhi.  It is obvious that no one can describe
a thing which cannot be even thought of.  Again, descriptions can be made only in terms of sensuous experience  - a
perception, feeling or idea.  But Samadhi is neither an idea nor an object which is cognized in time and space in terms of
shapes, colors, sounds, smells, etc., to be described.  Being the Pure Mind itself, of which the questioner has not the
remotest notion, description of it becomes impossible.  Moreover, 'You know what Samadhi is only when you are in Samadhi',
when all thoughts have vanished and you are aware of nothing but the pure mind or Consciousness -- and not when you are
out of it, at the time, for example,  when the question is made.  Thus the task of describing it becomes doubly difficult.

continued.

Arunachala Siva.               
Title: Re: Reflections on Talks - S.S. Cohen:
Post by: Subramanian.R on May 24, 2013, 09:16:05 AM
Dharana, Dhyana and Samadhi:

29.  continues...

'You know that you are unconscious in deep sleep,'   does not mean that the knowledge of this unconsciousness or
the unconsciousness itself actually prevails in that state, but that it only appears as such to the person who is in the
waking state. The unconsciousness of Sushupti is not unconsciousness in Sushupti itself.  The man in jagrat judges
things from his own state, which is that of the play of the senses and, therefore,, of objectivity.  When objectivity is
absent, the state appears to him to be one of blank unconsciousness.  Consciousness and unconsciousness mean
nothing else to him but perception and non perception of objects respectively, which is why the text speaks of them as
"only modes of the mind".  When viewed from inside the state of non perception, that is, of Sushupti, in this case, itself,
consciousness is ever present as the man himself, who is at no time nonexistent.  The state of Sushupti is therefore
not one of unconsciousness but of consciousness stripped of objective perceptions.  In other words, Sushupti is the state
of the man himself,  released from the infliction of the body and senses, which disturb his peace in Jagrat.  It is the same
as the state of Samadhi with the difference that in the latter he is aware of himself as this pure consciousness.  The
antahkarana, or the aggregate of psychical functions, including that of cognition, merge completely in this pure consciousness
in Sushupti, whereas in Samadhi they are present but quiescent, inoperative.

********       

Arunachala Siva.
Title: Re: Reflections on Talks - S.S. Cohen:
Post by: Subramanian.R on May 25, 2013, 01:48:39 PM
Dharana, Dhyana and Samadhi:

30.  'The Heart is formless.  Should we imagine it to have a shape and meditate on it?'
   
         Bhagavan: 'No. Only the quest 'Who am I?' is necessary.  Investigation of 'I' is the point, and not meditation on
         the Heart-Center.  There is nothing like within and without.  Both mean either the same thing or nothing.  Of
         course there is also the practice of meditation on the Heart-Center.  But it is only a practice and not investigation.
         Only the one who meditates on the Heart can remain aware when the mind ceases to be active and remains still.'
 
                                                                  - Talk No. 131.

Notes: It looks as though in the second half of this text, Sri Bhagavan retracts the statement in the first half not to
meditate on the Heart Center.  Actually, He does not.  Both statements are correct in their own contexts.  In the first
instance the question envisages the use of the imagination to give a form to the formless Heart, which is absurd.  After
all the Heart is naught but the Self, which is represented in our understanding by the principle 'I' (Aham).  Would it not
be therefore more logical and simpler to catch hold of this principle and inquire into it, rather than create an artificial image
of it --- the imageless -- and meditate on it?  This completely disposes the question in the form it is put.  (See also texts 9
in Chapter X and 23 in this chapter.).

Now we turn to the positive side of the question, whether the meditation on the Heart is possible.  Sri Bhagavan declares
it to be possible, but not in the form of investigation, as it is done when the 'I' is the subject.  Meditation on the Heart must
be a special meditation, provided the meditator takes the Heart to be pure consciousness and has at least, an intuitive
knowledge of what pure consciousness is.  Only that meditation succeeds which has this intuitive knowledge, and is
conducted with the greatest alertness, so that the moment thoughts cease, the mind perceives itself in its own home  --
the Heart itself.  This is certainly more difficult to do than to investigate into the source of the 'I', because it is a direct
assault on, or rather, direct contact with, the very source itself. It is no doubt the quickest method, but it exacts the
greatest alertness and the most concerned attention, denoting a greater adhikara (maturity).

*****

Arunachala Siva.             
Title: Re: Reflections on Talks - S.S. Cohen:
Post by: Subramanian.R on May 26, 2013, 11:26:51 AM
Dharana, Dhyana and Samadhi:

31.  'Jnana once revealed takes time to steady itself.  The Self is certainly within the direct experience of everyone, but
not as one imagines it to be.  It is only as it is. This experience is Samadhi.  Owing to the fluctuations of vasanas, Jnana
takes time to steady itself.  Unsteady Jnana is not enough to check rebirths. Jnana cannot remain unshaken side by side
with vasanas.  True that in the proximity of a great Master, the vasanas will cease to be active, the mind becomes still
and Samadhi results.  Thus the disciple gains true knowledge and right experience in the presence of the Master,  To   
remain unshaken in it further efforts are necessary.  He will know it to be his real Being, and thus be liberated  even
while alive.

                                         - Talk 141.

Notes:  This confirms text 26 in this chapter.  Those who have experienced the Self and puzzle as to why they do not
possess the Supreme Knowledge and Wisdom of Bhagavan are answered here.  Sri Bhagavan asks them to continue
the practice to attain firmness in Jnana and thus absolute perfection.

'Owing to the fluctuation of vasanas, jnana takes time to steady itself,,,,, Jnana cannot remain unshaken side by side
with vasanas...'  The senses are always active in the waking state even with the Jnani, and the habits of perception as
well as the outer peculiar mental habits continue to disturb the clear vision of the Self, if this is still of tender age.  The
birth in the Self resembles the birth in this world of Jagrat, which at first appears to the newborn incoherent and
unintelligible, but gradually the day-to-day experience gives it significance and coherence.  Infancy has to pass on to
youth, then to the adolescence, and finally to full adulthood.  It is the same with birth in the Self.  But this process is
quickened if the Sadhaka remains with the Guru till the end.  This is also a complete answer to those who believe that a
short stay with the Master, suffices for full fledged Jnana.  Note 3 of the last chapter has already stressed the necessity
of a long stay till Mukti is attained.

'The Self is not as one imagines it to be.  It is only as it is.'  This imagination of the Self is common to all.  We imagine   
ourselves having height, breadth, color, smell  - a body, in short, -- whereas in fact we are only 'I am", that is, the knower
of the smell, of the color, of the shape,  -- the principle of knowledge, in effect.   To know ourselves by direct experience
as this principle, pure and simple, is Samadhi.  Protracted practice ripens into an intuitive approximation of the Self,
otherwise, the Self remains but an imaginary conception even for Sadhakas.

****

Arunachala Siva.                     
Title: Re: Reflections on Talks - S.S. Cohen:
Post by: Subramanian.R on May 27, 2013, 11:33:08 AM

Dharana, Dhyana and Samadhi:

32.  'Heart and Sphurana are the same as the Self.  How can Sphurana be described?  It includes all these (light, movement, etc,)
-- it is the Self.  Fix your attention on it and do not let go the idea of its ultimate character.'

                                                        -  Talk No. 160.

Notes: This is one more affirmation on Sri Bhagavan's part of the identity of the Sphurana with the Self or Heart.  By 'do not
let go the idea of its ultimate character' He seems to advise concentration on the Pure Consciousness, which the meditator
on the Heart has always to keep in mind and to which Sri Bhagavan referred to in text 30 above.

****

Arunachala Siva.
   
Title: Re: Reflections on Talks - S.S. Cohen:
Post by: Subramanian.R on May 28, 2013, 11:16:40 AM

Dharana, Dhyana and Samadhi:

33.  'Be what you are.  There is nothing to come down or manifest itself.  What is needed is losing the ego.  That which
is, is ever present.  Even now you are It, and not apart from It.  The blank is seen by you.  You are always there.  What
do you wait for?  The expectation to see and the desire to get something are all the working of the ego.  You have fallen
into the snare of the ego, which says all this, Be Yourself and nothing more.'
                                 
                                                      - Talk No. 183.

Notes: This cannot be fully understood without its context.  The questioner had asked the Guru of an Ashram that although
he had kept his mind blank, as was required by the teaching of that Guru, awaiting God 'to show Himself in His true Being'
in it, he had so far experienced nothing, and the answer he had got from that Guru was to this effect:  'The attitude is right.
The Power will come down from the above.  It is a direct experience.'  Now he wants the opinion of Sri Bhagavan on this,
The above is Sri Bhagavan's answer.

As we well see Sri Bhagavan repudiates any such thing a descent of God, or of any Power.  If you seek the Reality, seek it
here, for it is always abiding -- it is here and now, fully manifested, or else it cannot be real.  Reality that ascends and descends,
that off and on absents itself is a dream.  The test of Reality is immutability, which implies eternal existence, eternal presence.
That being the case, is God absent from here that appeal may be made to Him to come down?  If He is, how could He be aware
of our appeal?  Secondly, does not this appeal expose our ignorance and the hollowness of our surrender?  As for the powers
of God, are they different from Him?  Such notions are the creation of the imagination, the self exaltation of the ego,  Sri Bhagavan
asserts.  Kill the ego and all these imaginations will cease.  The Reality will stand revealed.

*****

Arunachala Siva.       
                     
Title: Re: Reflections on Talks - S.S. Cohen:
Post by: Subramanian.R on May 29, 2013, 11:44:27 AM

Dharana, Dhyana and Samadhi:

35.   'Yes, control of mind and contemplation are inter dependent.  They must go on side by side.  Practice  (abhyasa) and
dispassion (vairagya) bring about the desired results by degrees.  Dispassion checks the mind from going outward.  Practice
keeps it turned inward.  The two processes go on constantly within.  Contemplation will in due course be successful.'

                                                     -  Talk No. 220.

Notes:  Efforts to meditate without the interference of thoughts which constantly harass the meditator is control.  Whereas
contemplation is the meditation proper, that is, freedom from extraneous thoughts.  Both processes have to go side by side
naturally.  But ability to control the mind does not come about on a sudden, or from the first day or first month.  Constant
practice is necessary, and this cannot be made except after one has sufficiently developed dispassion from the things of
the world. 

It all begins with Viveka - discrimination between real happiness and false happiness, between the really useful and the
fictitiously useful.  This advances to the renunciation of the fictitiously useful and aspiration for the really useful.  Seeking
the means of attaining the latter then begins, after which comes the practice of the means.,  This is Sadhana, which ends
in the complete success of the contemplation, right in Liberation itself.

******

Arunachala Siva.
       
Title: Re: Reflections on Talks - S.S. Cohen:
Post by: Subramanian.R on May 30, 2013, 02:10:05 PM
Dharana, Dhynana and Samadhi:

36. 'Grace is always there, but practice is necessary.'   

Notes:  In the chapter on Grace, Grace has been compared to Provident Fund which swells with the earnings -- it is not
a free gift.  To expect Grace without earning it, is a thoughtless expectation.   Moreover, there is no one to confer Grace:
neither God, nor Guru, nor anyone.   Grace confers ITSELF.  It is like an ocean which is ever full and ready to flow into all
rivers and canals that have access to it, that have no obstruction in its way.  Exertion removes the obstructions without
the necessity of praying for it. If the sluice gate of a canal, let us say, is closed, can any prayer helps the waters to flow into
the canal?  Prayer for Grace helps to the extent that it contains genuine bhakti, and if this increases to the point of turning
into a regular and continuous stream, it becomes the practice of which Sri Bhagavan speaks, which opens the sluice gate
and permits the flow of Grace in abundance.

******

Arunachala Siva.
             
Title: Re: Reflections on Talks - S.S. Cohen:
Post by: Subramanian.R on May 31, 2013, 01:24:46 PM

Dharana, Dhyana and Samadhi:

37.  'Why does not the mind sink into the Heart even while meditating?'

        The Master answers:  'A floating body does not readily sink unless some means are used for making it do so. 
        Breath control makes the mind quiescent.  The mind must be alert and meditation pursued unremittingly even
        when it is at peace.  Then it sinks into the Heart.  Association with the wise also makes the mind sink into the
        the Heart.

        'Such association is both mental and physical.  The external Guru pushes the mind inward.  The same Guru  is also
        in the Heart of the seekers.  And so he draws the latter's inward bent mind into the Heart.'

Notes:  We have had many occasions to discuss the supreme value of the Guru's physical company and Sat sangha.  Here
we have another clear and precise comment from Sri Bhagavan Himself on it --  mentally and physically.  The proximity of the
Guru is essential for rapid progress, and the more of it the better.  The evader cannot now so easily escape with his specious
plea to the contrary simply because it suits his worldly purpose.  The physical presence of the Master, to repeat, is of the
greatest help in this Sadhana.

'Why does not the mind sink into the Heart in meditation?  Because concentration has not been sufficiently heavy to 'sink'
it.  The mind, as all know, is restless by nature, and has to be quietened by incessant practice.  One of the methods,
Sri Bhagavan suggests, is breath control, if a direct assault cannot be made itself through Vichara and meditation.     
If you have not acquired mastery in marksmanship, your shots  will be sure to go astray --- they will never hit the target.
But by repeated attempts they will.

*****

Arunachala Siva.               
Title: Re: Reflections on Talks - S.S. Cohen:
Post by: Subramanian.R on June 01, 2013, 10:20:00 AM
Dharana, Dhyana and Samadhi:

38.  'The mind does not now sink into the Heart because the latent tendencies stand as obstacles.  They are removed by
breath control or association with the wise.  In fact, the mind is always in the Heart.  But it is restive and moves about on
account of latent tendencies.  When the tendencies are made ineffective, it will be restful and at peace.

'By breath control the mind will be only temporarily quiescent, because the tendencies are still there.  If the mind is
transformed into the Self, it will no longer give trouble.  That is done by meditation.'

                                                       -  Talk No. 223.

Notes:  This develops the previous text and very rightly declares meditation to be superior to pranayama or breath control,
in that the latter cannot destroy the Vasanas, which are purely mental.  Mental practices alone destroy them through
Vichara and Dhyana, which restore the mind to its pristine purity as the Self.  How?  Because the mind is itself the Self.
"it is always in the Heart" , nay, the Heart itself, but when thoughts or latent tendencies overwhelm it, they buoy it up to
the surface, so to say, away from the reality of itself.  That is why it strays into ajnana, it 'floats'.  What pranayama does
is simply to quieten the mind its restlessness by the temporary suspension of the breath, but does not teach it the truth
about its real nature, as does the Vichara.  Reflection reveals its relationship to the world on the one hand, and on the other
to the reality that is itself.  It shows it where the obstruction to the vision of its true self lies, and how it can be removed,
and dhyana actually removes the obstruction by stopping all thoughts and all vasanas.  Vichara and Dhyana are the reverse
and obverse of the Advaitic sadhana, whereas pranayama is a simple mechanical device --- in this line a mere crutch, for when
Sri Bhagavan suggests pranayama it is always in the understanding that it is combined with dhyana, which follows it up after
it (pranayama) has temporarily subdued the waves of the mind. Let us remember again that the transformation of the mind
into the Self is effected through dhyana alone or the right japa, which is as good as dhyana.

*****

Arunachala Siva.   
                 
                                       
 
Title: Re: Reflections on Talks - S.S. Cohen:
Post by: Subramanian.R on June 02, 2013, 02:21:53 PM


Dharana, Dhyana and Samadhi:

40.  'To realize the Self, effort is necessary.  Just as water is got by boring wells, so also you realize the Self by investigation.'

                                                                      Talks No.  249


     Notes:  As we have already observed,. efforts are absolutely indispensable, with due respect to the modern prophets
of effortlessness.  Efforts are made to reach the effortless state which is unalloyed bliss and eternal.

*****

Arunachala Siva. 
Title: Re: Reflections on Talks - S.S. Cohen:
Post by: Subramanian.R on June 03, 2013, 10:23:37 AM
Dharana, Dhyana and Samadhi:

41.  'Ravi Marga (the Path of the Sun) is Jnana.  Moon Marga is Yoga.  They think after purifying the 72,000 nadis in the body,
sushumna is entered and the mind passes up to the sahasrara and there is nectar trickling.  These are all mental concepts of
man who is already overwhelmed by the world concepts.  Other concepts are now added in the shape of this yoga.  The
object of all these is to rid the man of concepts and to make him inhere in the Pure Self, i.e. in the Absolute Consciousness,
which is free from thoughts.  Why not go straight to it?  Why add new encumbrances to the already existing ones?

                                          - Talks Nos. 251 & 252.

Notes:  The Path of the Sun is the Vichara and Dhyana, which rid one of all concepts and all thoughts, so that the pure
consciousness may be perceived.  The Path of Moon is indirect and leads not to the Heart but to the head.  The latter
passes through the sushumna where the breath is ultimately confined through the practice of pranayama, and then to
the sahasrara (brain center), where bliss or nectar is said to be stored up.  Sri Bhagavan avers that the Moon Path is
based on mere conjectures, 'concepts'  which have been magnified and diversified in all sorts of ways to make it appear
difficult and mysterious, particularly by the Hatha Yogis, and Kundalini Yogis.  'Clairvoyants' go even farther and write
special books on the Chakras  -- their shapes, their colors, their movements, the special siddhis they confer.  Yet all
these are of no use in search for the reality, which has neither shape nor color and is certainly devoid of mysteries.
Except the seekers of siddhis the professed aim of all these systems of Yoga is the reality.  That being the case,  Sri
Bhagavan asks, then why all these devious routes?  Why add new notions to the millions with which we are already
saddled and of which yogis have to rid themselves?  Why not go straight b the Path of the Sun and save much time and
trouble?

****

Arunachala Siva.                 
Title: Re: Reflections on Talks - S.S. Cohen:
Post by: Subramanian.R on June 04, 2013, 09:33:50 AM

Dharana, Dhyana and Samadhi:

42.  'Kevala Nirvikalpa takes place even in the tanumanasi stage.... The three classes of Jnanis, namely, the dull, middling and
superior are due to their prarabdha, according as it is strong, middling and weak respectively.  There is no difference in their
Samadhi or their Jnana.  The classification is only from the standpoint of the observer.  The seventh and the highest stage is
that of the Turiyaga which is beyond words.

'  There is no need to discuss these points.  Jivanmukti and Videhamukti are differently described by different authorities.
Videhamukti is also said to occur even to Jnanis who are still in a body.'

                                                            - Talk No. 256.

Notes: The text is of special interest to those who are very near the end of their spiritual journey.  It encourages them
to quicken their step that they may have a taste of nirvikalpa, which Sri Bhagavan says, can be experienced even in a
tenuous state of mind, before all the vrittis and vasanas have been completely destroyed, a taste which will consolidate
their faith in the glorious destiny which is soon to be fulfilled.

These three divisions of the Jnanis must not be taken too seriously, for they mean nothing to the Jnanis themselves.
The Jnani, whether he is of the first, second or third class, has attained liberation from the wheel of birth and death,
and does not care a straw how he and his attainments appear to others.  The third degree Jnani's prarabdha is still
'strong' on him, that is, on his worldly circumstances, and may not cause him even to be recognized as a Jnani.  It is
not 'strong' in his own perception, but in the treatment of him by others in this respect.  Those who have lived with
our Master, Sri Ramana Maharshi, who is taken to be the very highest, the Turiyaga, cannot be impressed by anyone
lesser than He.  Him alone they call Jnani and would ignore any claim of Jnana on behalf of another.  They pitch their
mark so high because of the sublimity of their Master's attainments that the three classes of Jnanis mentioned above
pass them unnoticed.   This does not mean that these Jnanis do not exist.

contd.,

Arunachala Siva.                       


     
Title: Re: Reflections on Talks - S.S. Cohen:
Post by: Subramanian.R on June 05, 2013, 11:47:35 AM

Dharana, Dhyana and Samadhi:

42. continues...

In fact, they do, and live their normal life unconcerned with what others think of them.  Some may have a large number of
followers, and some may have none at all.  A few may not even like to be recognized as Jnanis to spare themselves the
inconvenience of taking disciples, preferring to remain in obscurity to enjoy their individual freedom.  The recognition, however,
depends on the individual prarabdha, which affects the Jnani's external circumstances, as it has already been said, and not
the internal, which is the same for all Jnanis and all their classes and divisions.

On the contrary, there may be some people, who have developed a highly intuitive intellect and who, without being Jnanis,
shine out as great teachers with tremendous following, attracted by one trait of their intellectual or aesthetic abilities or
other.  Popularity and considerable reputation are thus not at all a criterion by which the Jnani and his spiritual greatness
should be apprised.  Prarabdha is responsible for all this worldly show.

As for Jivanmukti and Videhamukti, these are terms which usually indicate the states of the living Jnani and the one who has
discarded his physical body respectively.  Videha mukti means without body, so Videhamukti means the state of the liberated
man who is bodiless.  But the same term also applies to even the Jivanmukta, because, as far as his own perception  of himself
goes, he is bodiless, being Pure Brahman, the Pure Consciousness, though he is still in a body.  That is why Sri Bhagavan
avoids talking about this distinction, which is really non existent at His own level.  (See also text 56).

*****

Arunachala Siva.   
                   
Title: Re: Reflections on Talks - S.S. Cohen:
Post by: Subramanian.R on June 06, 2013, 11:11:39 AM
Dharana, Dhyana and Samadhi:

43.  'When thoughts cross the mind and effort is made to eliminate them, the effort is termed meditation.  Meditation
is only negative in as much as thoughts are kept away.'

                                                                      - Talk No. 294.

Notes:  Warding off thoughts is one of the negative functions of meditation.  Text 35 speaks of control  and contemplation
as if they were separate processes.  They are no more separate from each other than chewing from eating.  Control,
concentration, contemplation, meditation are parts of the one and the same process, which goes by the general name
dhyana, which in the last analysis proves to be a negative process.  The positive side of the practice is its aim, which
is Atma Nishta, fixation in the Self.  The latter cannot be achieved without the former, which clears the decks for it.  Unless
thoughts and feelings are swept away, the stable consciousness from which they rise and which underlies them cannot be
perceived.  In fact, even in the investigation there is nothing positive because it is only a process of elimination, not of
acquisition.  The ego and all the upadhis have to be liquidated for the reality to show itself from underneath them.  As the
ever shining Sun cannot be seen when it is covered by thick clouds., so is the pure consciousness hidden from perception
by these accretions and superimposition. 

*****

Arunachala Siva.

           
 
Title: Re: Reflections on Talks - S.S. Cohen:
Post by: Subramanian.R on June 07, 2013, 12:40:09 PM

Dharana, Dhyana and Samadhi:

44. 'Meditatioin is sticking to one thought. That single thought keeps away other thoughts.  Distraction of the mind is a
sign of its weakness.  By constant meditation it gains strength, i.e. weakness of fugitive thoughts gives place to the
background free from thoughts.  This expanse devoid of thoughts is the Self. Mind in purity is the Self.'

                                          - Talk No. 293.

NOTES:  The previous text defines meditation as the effort to eliminate thoughts, and this one as sticking to one thought.
Both definitions on examination prove to be the same. To stop all thoughts one thought should be chosen to tie the mind
with.  This will automatically exclude all other thoughts.  For there is no such thing as mind absolutely free from thoughts
in Jagrat.  The aim is to restrain the distractions which weaken it.  Practice reduces the distractions -- the mental waves
-- and thus strengthens the mind, till absolute mental stability is gained, which is not other than the Self, for stable -
waveless -- mind is the Pure Consciousness.  This is simple to understand, Sri Bhaavan often tells us, and easy to practice.

*****

Arunachala Siva.             
Title: Re: Reflections on Talks - S.S. Cohen:
Post by: Subramanian.R on June 08, 2013, 11:19:19 AM
Dharana, Dhyana, and Samadhi:

45.  "Trance is the natural state.  Although there are activities and phenomena, yet they do not affect the trance.  If these
are realized to be not apart from the Self, the Self is realized.  It is to be realized with the mind.  The Pure Mind, that is,
the mind free from thoughts is the Self. The Pure Mind is beyond the impure mind.'

                                                - Talk 317.

Notes:  The word Bhagavan uses is Samadhi and not trance, which is the traditional translation of Samadhi, and which the
recorder of the Journal has adopted.  The translation is, of course, not only inept but defective.  If we retain the word Samadhi
even in English, there will be less trouble for the reader to follow the idea.

In this text, Sri Bhagavan removes much of misapprehensions which hover round the term Samadhi and restores it to its
natural significance as being the natural state of all things.  Trance, far from conveying this idea, wraps it up in dark clouds
and darker associations.  It can now be observed how faulty translations of key words are dangerous.

In Sahaja Samadhi, the permanent state of the Jnani, as of Sri Bhagavan Himself, the world does not disappear, as it does
in Kevala Nirvikalpa Samadhi, but it is all there -- with its shape and colors, smells, tastes, and sounds; with its solids and liquids,
summers, springs and autumns; with its cinemas and music halls -- all fun and frolics, all its tragedies and comedies -- wholly
and vividly the same.  But these no longer stand as isolated or connected islands in an external boundless space;  no longer
as God's creation;  no longer as the rainbow beauties that had once enthralled his young imagination and dominated his youthful
heart.  They are now mere thoughts and sensations, mere wisps of his jagrat dreams, in which he, the dreamer, alone is real.
They longer cloud the perception of his own reality.  In another sense they are also real, because he, the perceiver, is real. 
They are 'the stuff of which dreams are made' and dreams rise only from the dreamer, who is their soul and substance; as the
substance is real, so they must be.

Here again, Sri Bhagavan identifies the pure mind with the Self.  Mind is therefore not manas -- another wrong translation by
the old scholars which has become traditional, sacrosanct in their eyes and which we repudiate.  Mind is mind. When it is covered
by thoughts it is called manas or impure mind.  When thoughts are arrested it is the pure mind or Self.

****

Arunachala Siva.       
             
     
Title: Re: Reflections on Talks - S.S. Cohen:
Post by: Subramanian.R on June 09, 2013, 12:21:27 PM
Dharana, Dhyana and Samadhi:

46.  "The Bible says, 'Be still and know that I am God.' Stillness is the sole requisite for the realization of the Self as God.
The whole Vedanta is contained in the two Biblical statements:  'I AM THAT I AM' and 'BE STILL AND KNOW THAT I AM GOD'."

                                   -Talk No. 338.

Notes: The questioner is an American lady who thinks that the affirmation of ' I am the Supreme Being' should be more
helpful than the quest 'Who am I?' The former, in her opinion, is positive, whereas the latter a negative or neutral approach.
It is obvious that she has completely missed the point of quest.  The quest is an investigation, not self hypnosis, nor Coue'ism,
which flourishes on 'positive auto suggestions.  Sri Bhagavan had answered that she should first find out who is the one
who affirms before she starts affirming, which wold compel her to inquire into the nature of the empirical 'I', the 'I' which she
thinks herself to be, and which has, at first sight, nothing of the "Supreme" in it.             

In any case to arrive at the Being of her suggestions the mind must be still, hence Sri Bhagavan twice quotes the Old
Testament to explain the meaning to her.  The first namely, I AM THAT I AM, conveys the nature of the Reality, as the Being,
or as she calls it the Supreme Being.  And the second, namely, Be still and know that I am God', the method of attaining It.
These two dicta, Sri Bhagavan opines, express the heart and essence of the Vedanta -- its Goal and Path at once.

****

Arunachala Siva.       
Title: Re: Reflections on Talks - S.S. Cohen:
Post by: Subramanian.R on June 10, 2013, 01:46:13 PM

Dharana, Dhyana and Samadhi:

47.  'While not actively conscious of any kind of selfhood, there is a deep quietness in the mind.  Is one at such times, ready
to dive into the Self?  Or is this condition, unhealthy, a sort of self hypnotism?'

Bhagavan:  'There is Consciousness along with the quietness in the mind.  This is exactly the state to be aimed at.  The fact
that there is a doubt on this point, shows that the state is not steady but casual.  When deep quietness prevails without
obstructing the consciousness, where is the need to dive?'

                                                                -  Talks No. 348. 

NOTES:   The experience of the questioner is interesting, in as much as, it is precursory to the great experience of the Self.
He is then just below the mental waves, and is feeling his way to the substratum.  He asks if he should then, 'dive' and
Sri Bhagavan answers that there is no need to do so, for the consciousness which is aware of the quiet is the Reality itself,
which means that the questioner has only to be aware of that consciousness. 

We have often observed that consciousness prevails at all times, for though it we are conscious of things.  To catch Consciousness
by itself, all we have to do is to drop the things, evidenced by the feeling of inner peace, which the thoughts, or things of the mind,
would not have otherwise permitted.  All he has now to do is to try to be aware of the consciousness that feels, or notices, the quiet,
which is already present and does not need to be dived for to be cognized.  A little shrewdness, so to say, a little more alertness
at that supreme moment will be sure to do the trick. 

*****

Arunachala Siva.           
Title: Re: Reflections on Talks - S.S. Cohen:
Post by: Subramanian.R on June 11, 2013, 01:56:16 PM

Dharana, Dhyana and Samadhi:

48.  'Just as by churning the curd, butter is extracted, and by friction, fire is kindled, even so by unswerving vigilant
constancy in the Self, ceaseless like the unbroken filamentary flow of oil, is generated the natural or changeless
nirvikalpa samadhi, which spontaneously yields that direct perception of Brahman, which is at once Knowledge and
Experience and which transcends time and space.  This is Self Realization, cutting asunder the hridaya granthi, or
the knot of the Heart which is constituted of delusions, of ignorance,, of the vicious and age-long tendencies of the
mind.  All doubts are then dispelled and the bondage of karma is severed.'

                                                                                                        -  Talk No. 349.

NOTES;  The churning of the curd and friction refer to the ceaseless churning of the inquiry.  The 'unswerving vigilant
constancy in the Self' is the holding on to the dhyanic current which resembles the unbroken flow of oil --- vigilant because
it is sufficiently alert to ward off digressions as well as sleep.  The last inclination is as troublesome as the inclination to
reminisce.  Success in this leads to nirvikalpa, where in the knot of ignorance, which is lodged in the Heart, of the jiva
snaps, opening wide the door of Self Realization, which is usually barred by this hridaya granthi.

Let it not be supposed that in samadhi thoughts stop like a snuffed out candle. For that is not at all possible.  Highly
tenuous thoughts  continue to hover all the time, and the alertness continues to be exercised against them at the same
time.  Yet peace supreme reigns, and the Self is clearly experienced.  The presence of thoughts in their subtlest form is due
to the presence of the senses in their quiescent state.  The senses - strictly speaking, the antahkarana (all the processes
of thoughts) -- merges in the Self only in sleep and in Videha Mukti.  They do not merge in Samadhi, or otherwise samadhi
would be nothing but sleep, where from nothing could be brought back to the waking state, and the Self would remain ever
unknown.  It is only because the antahkarana is present in samadhi, though quiescent -- or because quiescent -- that the
Self is cognized  and we have all the Srutis, Smritis, and everything that is known about the Self.  To this presence the Rishis
owe their Jnana and Liberation. In sushupti there is no cognition of the Self because the faculty of cognition is not present                         
but has merged in the Self, like all other faculties.

*****

Arunachala Siva.     
Title: Re: Reflections on Talks - S.S. Cohen:
Post by: Subramanian.R on June 12, 2013, 09:39:47 AM
Dharana, Dhyana and Samadhi:

49.  'The Sastras say that we must serve the Guru for twelve years for getting Self Realization.  What can the Guru do?
Can  he hand it over to the disciple?  Is not the Self always realized?  Confusing the body with the Self is due to ignorance.
If ignorance is wiped out the confusion will end and true Knowledge unfolded.  By remaining in contact with realized sages,
one gradually loses his ignorance till it disappears totally.  The eternal Self is thus revealed.

'Without understanding it aright, people think that the Guru teaches something like  TAT TVAM ASI and immediately the disciple
realizes 'I am Brahman'.  In their ignorance, they conceive Brahman to be something much bigger and far more powerful than
anything else.  With a limited 'I'  man is so stuck up and wild.  What will he be if the same is 'I'  increased  enormously?  He will
certainly be proportionately more ignorant and more foolish.  This false 'I' must perish.  Its annihilation is the fruit of service
to Guru.  Realization is eternal and is not granted by the Guru.  The Guru helps only the removal of ignorance --- that is all.'

                                                                        - Talks  No. 350.

NOTES: Sri Bhagavan is certainly frank in His attitude towards orthodoxy and the way people interpret the Sastras.  In ancient
days, as we read in the Mahabharata and elsewhere, lack of accuracy  was winked at and calculation of periods very lose.
The year particularly was not the same as our year, nor were the numerals of the same values, as their present namesakes,
so that when we read of a certain Rishi having remained in meditation or Samadhi for a thousands or a million years we will
be highly foolish if we take the figures or the years in their dictionary meanings.  Moreover, hyper-boles were the  very salt of
their poetic effusions. When they tell us, for example, that it is easier for a person to bring down the sun for one's child to play
with than to get at Paramatman, the Supreme Self, we should know how to take it.  Thousands upon thousands of seekers have
so far passed through the portals of Mukti, but not one has succeeded to bring down the sun to play ball with.  We are not to
take literally all that we read in Sastras: gold and dross are mixed together in them, either by accident or design to make the
strong minded pick up the valuable gold, leaving the dross to the weak ones who need them.

contd.,

Arunachala Siva.
         
           
Title: Re: Reflections on Talks - S.S. Cohen:
Post by: Subramanian.R on June 13, 2013, 12:59:16 PM
Dharana, Dhyana and Samadhi:

49.  continues....

Now the twelve year service to the Guru as the price of Mukti is patently absurd.  For not all servers are the same degree
of purity, nor of the same preparations, nor of the same surrender attitude, nor of the same spiritual culture.  How can all
succeed in passing the winning post, at one and the same time, at the tick of the twelfth year?  Secondly is Mukti a thing
which is in the hands of the Guru to grant or withhold?  The Self being ourselves, is it the gift of the external Guru that we
are now in existence, that we are what we are and where we are?  If not, how are we entitled to presume that the Guru
is the dispenser of the reality to his disciples?  All he can do is to help them perceiving it.  We are that Reality, but, owing to
the upadhic which are superimposed on us, we are unable to perceive ourselves as in truth we are.  The Guru gives us a helping
hand, which is all he can do. 

If the twelve year service means anything, it is to convey the idea of constancy of residence with the Guru. 

Again, the conception of a tremendous Brahman variously described by pseudo Self realized teachers precludes even veteran
Sadhakas from recognizing the Brahman in themselves or in those who have actually realized it; more so those who take
literally what they read in various scriptures about a personal Creator, who is full of actions and qualities and has infinite           
powers.  If the idea that one day they will be that Almighty God is allowed to go to their puny heads, they will have any
amount of trouble for their sins, and Sri Bhagavan's delightful tirade will be a good and timely warning, 'With a limited 'I'
He cautions, 'man is so stuck up and wild.  What will he be if the same 'I' increases enormously?  The false 'I' must perish.'

*****

Arunachala Siva. 
Title: Re: Reflections on Talks - S.S. Cohen:
Post by: Subramanian.R on June 14, 2013, 12:24:55 PM
Dharana, Dhyana and Samadhi:

50. 'How to meditate?  Concentrate on that God or mantra which you like best.  If  a single thought prevails, all the other
thoughts are put off and finally eradicated.  Dhyana is a fight. As soon as you begin meditation other thoughts will join
together and ry to sink the single thought to which you try to hold.  The good thought will gradually gain strength through
practice, and will put other the thoughts to flight. This is the battle royal constantly taking place in meditation. 

'One wants to rid oneself of misery for which he requires peace of mind.  Peace of mind, which means the clearing of the
mind from all thoughts, is brought about by dhyana.'

NOTES:  We meditate with the ultimate object of acquiring peace. For the mind has the tendency of forming votaries of thoughts
about one object or another, one problem or another, round which it circles ceaselessly.  We thus live in whirlpools of constant
worries, at one time present, at another time subdued, from which we find no escape except in meditation or mind control.

The single thought which Sri Bhagavan recommends us to take for meditation acts both as calming influence and as an anchor
to tie up the mind, to, to the exclusion of all other thoughts, including those which cause worries.  This thought may be chosen
ad libitum, from among the Gods, the mantras, the teachers, or from some lofty ideals, or even virtues, for which the meditator
has a special partiality.

At first the meditator will be astounded to find new thoughts swarming up in his mind, as soon as the latter has succeeded to
a degree of ridding itself from the surface waves which had been disturbing it.  These are memories of the experiences through
which he had passed in life;  they specifically choose moments of attenuated mind to escape from the confinement of the
subconscious, into which they have been stored up from a early stage, and come into prominence to divert the meditator's
attention to them.  Extreme alertness on the latter's part has thus to e exercised at every step in the meditation to oppose their
intrusion.  This 'battle royal' is finally won through perseverance in the practice. 

*****

Arunachala Siva. 
s                       
Title: Re: Reflections on Talks - S.S. Cohen:
Post by: Subramanian.R on June 15, 2013, 11:15:23 AM
Dharana, Dhyana and Samadhi:

51.  'When dhyana is well established it cannot be given up.  It will go on automatically even when you are engaged in work,
play or enjoyment.  It will persist in sleep too. Dhyana must become so deep rooted that it will be natural to one.'

                                                      -  Talk No. 371.

Notes:  When dhyana has taken a firm grip on the mind, it establishes a dhyanic current, which is ceaselessly directed
towards the Heart, like the magnetic needle which perennially points to the magnetic Pole, irrespective of one's
preoccupations with other matters.

By its 'persisting in sleep' it is not meant that meditation is then practiced deliberately and in one's full awareness, but that
flow of the dhyanic current persists as impressions in the same way as the impressions of jagrat exprience are carried over
to the dream state, whether one is aware of it, or not. It has been the experience of some sadhakas that after the first
experience of the Self in samadhi, and before they have attained firmness in it, they mechanically attempt to capture, and
sometimes do capture, the samadhi state in the dream also.  But once a substantial degree of firmness is achieved in
jagrat, such dreams no longer recur, except extremely seldom; for one has by then established oneself almost permanently
in the reality which prevails in the waking, dreaming and dreamless sleep.

*****

Arunachala Siva.           
Title: Re: Reflections on Talks - S.S. Cohen:
Post by: Subramanian.R on June 16, 2013, 01:08:38 PM

Dharana, Dhyana and Samadhi:

52.  'The difference between the external and the internal nirvikalpa is this.  The former is holding to the Reality  while
witnessing the world, without reacting to it from within.  There is the stillness of a waveless ocean.  The internal
nirvikalpa involves loss of body consciousness.'

NOTES:  In Samadhi the Self is witness in all its purity, and there is profound peace.  As we have already studied in Note
48, the world as most tenuous thoughts, like gossamer cloud that hangs about the orb of the sun at midday, continue to
hang about, but without dimming the perception of the Self.

'The stillness of a waveless ocean' is at once graphic and picturesque.  This is still vastness is the empirical space with which
we are familiar with, but what is actually the ether of the Heart, into which all things live,  move and have their being.

The internal nirvikalpa, the Kevala, wipses out all the thoughts, including that of the body.  This does not mean loss of
consciousness, as in sleep, for that will no longer be Samadhi, but  sushupti.  Samadhi must be in jagrat -- let us hold the
idea tight, and never forget it.  The various accounts we read in books about nirvikalpa, particularly by modern writers, are in
main based on imagination.  Some followers of Kundalini Yoga allow themselves to be carried away by the Kevala kumbhaka
and get trapped into laya, a state resembling deep sleep, which they mistake for nirvikalpa, although they remain unaware of
the Self, the basic requisite of Samadhi. 

Therefore by loss of body consciousness Sri Bhagavan does not mean swoon or laya, but loss of body idea or body thought,
which vaguely prevails in the external nirvikalpa.  Total loss of body and world consciousness, as in sleep, never takes place
in any Samadhi, at all events not in that of the dhyana yoga, for then the Self would no longer be cognized, which is a necessary
condition in the true samadhi.  Samadhi, I wish again to emphasize, is dwelling in the Self in the waking state, that is, when
the senses are all out but  quiescent -- rather rendered quiescent by meditation, -- and never when the senses are merged in
the Self and the world is totally extinguished, as it happens in deep sleep.  We must also not forget that it is the Jagrat mind
that seeks and makes efforts to attain the Reality, and that it is, therefore, in Jagrat that it has to be satisfied.

*****

Arunachala Siva.                 
Title: Re: Reflections on Talks - S.S. Cohen:
Post by: Subramanian.R on June 17, 2013, 09:39:04 AM


Dharana, Dhyana and Samadhi:

53. 'You say that the mind is like a cork and does not sink.  What does it matter if the mind is active?  It is only on the
substratum of the Self, Hold to the Self even during mental activities.'

                                                                -  Talks No.  406.

NOTES:  This requires some explanation, for it is likely to mislead new aspirants.  We have been repeatedly told that the
substratum cannot be witnessed so long as it is covered by mental activities, and in this text, Sri Bhagavan says just
the reverse, namely, that it would not matter if the activities were present.  The text here speaks to the person who has
experienced the Self but has not yet made it Sahaja.  For such a one mental activities no longer obstruct the Self, for he
has already experienced them as superimposition on it, so that he has only to hold to the Self always at the same time
as witnessing the activities much like remembering the canvas while enjoying the sight of the pictures painted on it.  When
this practice is perfected, it is then called Sahaja Samadhi, and the Sadhaka, a full fledged Jnani or jivanmukta.

******

Arunachala Siva.               
 
Title: Re: Reflections on Talks - S.S. Cohen:
Post by: Subramanian.R on June 18, 2013, 09:24:12 AM
Dharana, Dhyana and Samadhi:

54.  'Vrititi Jnana alone can destroy ajnana.  Absolute jnana is not inimical to ajnana.'

                                                                                       - Talk No. 629.

NOTES:  Merely being in the Self in kevala nirvikalpa does not dispel ignorance, although it brings Liberation from birth and
death if turned into Sahaja.  It is investigation into the nature of the Self and the world, and relating the one to another in
what is called argumentative meditation or Vichara, that results in the knowledge which destroys ignorance.  Absolute Jnana
or complete merging of the Jiva into the Absolute Consciousness in Turiyatita is devoid of all mental modifications (vritti)
to learn anything during meditation to destroy ignorance;  even the awareness 'I am this' is absent at the moment.  Sri
Bhagavan calls this Swarupa Jnana (Knowledge of one's very Self - in its purest state) and can also be gained through Virtti
Jnana. 

It must not be assumed that all yogis attain Jnana through Vichara, as Sri Bhagavan did, yet they are not precluded from
being Jivanmuktas of the highest order.

**** 

Arunachala Siva.     
Title: Re: Reflections on Talks - S.S. Cohen:
Post by: Subramanian.R on June 19, 2013, 01:34:18 PM
Dharana, Dhyana and Samadhi:


55.  'Deep sleep is nothing but the experience of pure Being.'

                                         - Talk No. 617.

NOTES;  The word 'experience' here may give the impression that the sleeper is aware of his being in dreamless sleep.
In fact, he is not, since all the faculties of cognition are then withdrawn into him.  In both dreamless sleep and videhamukti
no cognition is possible, which is the reason that the Bhagavata gives for taking a body by the Self and becoming a Jiva,
so that with the manifestation of the anatahkaranam (inner organ) -- manas, buddhi, ahamkara and chitta -- through the body
the jiva may perceive himself as he is by nature, as the pure Chit end enjoy the bliss of this realization.

****

Arunachala Siva.     
Title: Re: Reflections on Talks - S.S. Cohen:
Post by: Subramanian.R on June 20, 2013, 09:18:31 AM

Dharana, Dhyana and Samadhi:

56. "There are five states for the individua.  They are Jagrat, Svapna, Sushupti, Turiya, and Turiyatita.....If in Jagrat the Heart is
not relinquished, the mental activities are still and Brahman alone is contemplated, the state is called Turiyatia.  Again when
the individual merges in the supreme state is called Turiyatita. ...  The clear sighted yogi abides only in Turiya and the highest
yogi remains in Turiyatita alone."

                                                                            -  617


Notes:  Although many Upanishads do not speak of Turiyatita (beyond the Fourth), as, for example, the Mandukya, which
deals only with the four states, experience and a number of minor Upanishads prove its existence as a state deeper than
Turiya (the Fourth).  Yet, Turiya alone is sufficient to secure Sahaja and Liberation, which is all that the Yogi aims at achieving.
Long abidance in Turiya culminates in the experience of Turiyatita, which is the total merging of the individual in the Supreme
Being (Brahman).   Here the Jivanmukta is actually a Videhamukta, that is, while in life he dwells in, and is aware of, the very
state in which he will be after shedding the body.  This is the highest that is possible for any Jiva to attain.

*****

Arunachala Siva.                     
Title: Re: Reflections on Talks - S.S. Cohen:
Post by: Subramanian.R on June 21, 2013, 10:12:45 AM

The Jnani  or Jivanmukta:

1.  'A Child and a Jnani are similar in a way.  The interest of the child in things ends with the things.  These leave no impressions
in the child's mind.  The same is the case with the Jnani.'

                                                              - Talks No. 9.

NOTES: Desires are the cause of all our trouble.  We look around this magnificent world of diversity and desire the things
which impress us most, and so do our best to obtain them.  We sacrifice a lot and suffer any amount of inconvenience for the
sake of the desired object till we get it.  Yet our trouble does not end with this acquisition, for new aims and objects rise before
us and lure us into new desires and what we call new needs, for which we have again to exert and again to suffer; and so on
and on endlessly.  Thus we remain bound hand and foot to the world without rest and without satisfaction. But the Jnani,
having cultivated and achieved desirelessness, has not the least interest in the world around him, so that his perceptions
do not leave any impression on his mind.  Even if he evinces an interest in an object it is only one of curiosity, much like that
of a child in its surroundings, which passes away the moment in turns its back on them.

****

Arunachala Siva.             
Title: Re: Reflections on Talks - S.S. Cohen:
Post by: Subramanian.R on June 22, 2013, 10:26:59 AM

The Jnani or Jivamukta:

2. 'The look of the Jnani has a purifying effect.  Purification cannot be visualized.  Just a piece of coal takes long to be
ignited, a piece of charcoal takes a short time, and a mass of gunpowder is instantaoeusly ignited, so it is with grades
of men coming in contact with Mahatma.

                                                                          - Talks No. 155.

NOTES: This is an answer to a question by an English disciple -- one of the earliest - who has been staying in the Asramam
for three months and has yet been unaware of any spiritual benefit  to himself from it.   The 'grade' of the disciple in question
need not be inferred from this question or this answer.,  For Bhagavan assures us that the process and degree of purification
cannot be assessed easily.  It goes its own quiet way without the direct knowledge of the disciple concerned or anyone else.

This has been the experience of almost each and everyone in this Asramam.  Even on the very threshold of the Supreme
Experience one is likely to be almost unaware of its imminence.  It is small wonder therefore that this disciple's surface
consciousness was not aware of what was going on in depths.  The purification incessantly goes on in the presence of the Master,
irrespective of the degree of impurity which the disciple brings with him.  The difference in time  of attaining Jnana between
one disciple and another lies naturally in the difference in the degrees of impurity which they respectively bring with them,

***

Arunachala Siva.       
Title: Re: Reflections on Talks - S.S. Cohen:
Post by: Subramanian.R on June 23, 2013, 10:38:27 AM

The Jnani or Jivanmukta:

3. 'Is Maharshi's teaching same as Sankara's?'  The Master answers about Himself. 'Maharshi's teaching is only an expression
of His own experience and realization.  Other finds that it tallies with Sri Sankara's.  A realized man uses his own language.'

                                        - Talk No. 189.

NOTES; This is an autobiographical answer, which may be applicable to most Jnanis.  The peculiarities of Sri Bhagavan's
Realization consist in the unique fact that Realization came to Him when He was still in the prime life and had not yet had
any contact with philosophical or metaphysical elements, either through reading or through human guidance.  He had been
preoccupied with his studies for the Matriculation Examination, when the Realization knocked Him down and clean out of
His studies.  The result was that when later He recounted His experiences in the ordinary language, the learned among the
devotees found them to be identical with Sankara's philosophy.

contd.,

Arunachala Siva.   
Title: Re: Reflections on Talks - S.S. Cohen:
Post by: Subramanian.R on June 24, 2013, 09:22:43 AM

The Jnani or Jivanmukta:

4. "A Self realized being cannot help benefiting the word. His very existence is the highest good."

                                      - Talk No. 210.

NOTES: This should satisfy those who criticize the Jnani as a useless ascetic, should they be fortunate enough to read it.
The wisdom that flows from his lips and the purity of his life and conduct stand as shining ideals for humanity to emulate,
or aspire for, which no amount of preaching Socialism, Communism and philanthropy can do.  What has all this preaching
created except more antagonism, more divisions,, more jealousy, and thus more hatred in the world.  If these preachers
really mean well and sincere, they should turn into ascetics and become Saints themselves and see the difference between
their old preaching and the good they can do with their holiness and purity by their mere presence.   If they cannot do that,
they should mind their own business, and try to bring peace and good to themselves, before they can stand before the world
and boast of doing good to others.

*****

Arunachala Siva.   
     
Title: Re: Reflections on Talks - S.S. Cohen:
Post by: Subramanian.R on June 25, 2013, 10:46:28 AM


The Jnani or Jivanmukta:

5. Speaking of Jnanis who depart from the world without leaving the body behind, like Manikkavachagar, Sri Bhagavan said:
'The gross body is only the concrete form of the subtle stuff -- the mind.  When the mind melts away and blazes forth as light,
the body is consumed in that process.  Nandanar is another whose body disappeared in blazing light.'

An English disciple pointed out that the case of Biblical Elijah whose body disappeared in the same way and wanted to know
if Christ['s body did the same, The Master replied:  'No. Christ's body was left as a corpse, which was at first entombed, whereas
the others did not leave corpses behind.'

                                                                                                   - Talk No. 215.

NOTES: This text should be studied in the light of Sri Bhagavan's Advaitic teachings.

'When the mind melts away and blazes forth as light, the body consumed in that process', is the rationale of the disappearance
of the body of the Siddhanta Jnani at his Maha Samadhi  -- so called death.  This helps us to understand the relation of the mind
to the body on the one hand and o the light to which the quoted sentence refers to the other.  But first we have to observe that
the disintegration of he body takes only through a process of which some Jnanis knows as Siddhas -- no all Jnanis - whose
prarabdha entitles them to it, have the Key.  The benefits of such miraculous performances by some Siddhas consist of creating
tremendous psychological effects on the common people, increasing their faith.  But most Jnanis do not approve of them, because
while they increase the people's devotion, they tend to encourage credulity, superstitions, witchcraft and magic, which they are]
out to combat by teaching the Truth, the whole Truth, and nothing but the Truth.

****

Arunachala Siva.           
     
Title: Re: Reflections on Talks - S.S. Cohen:
Post by: Subramanian.R on June 26, 2013, 11:18:09 AM
The Jnani or Jivanmukta:


continues......

6. 'Is there no I-am-the-body' idea for the Jnani?  If, for instance, Sri Bhagavan is bitten by an insect, is there no sensation?'

    Bhagavan:  'There is the sensation and there is also the 'I-am-the-body' idea. The latter is common to both Jnani and the
    ajnani with this difference, that the ajnani thinks 'only body is myself' whereas the Jnani knows 'all this is Self'.  or 'all this
    is Brahman;  if there be pain, let it be. It is also the part of the Self. The Self is perfect.'

    'Now with regards to the actions of the Jnanis, they are only so called, because they are ineffective.  Generally the
    actions get embedded as samskaras in the individual.  That can only be so long as the mind is fertile, as is the case of
    the ajnani.  With a Jnani he mind is only surmised; he has already transcended the mind.  Because of his apparent
    activity the mind has to be inferred in his case, and the mind is not fertile like that of an ajnani.  Hence it is said that the
    Jnani's mind is Brahman.  Brahman is certainly no other than the Jnani's mind.  Vasanas cannot bear fruit in that soil.
    His mind is barren, free from the vasanas etc.,

    'However, since prarabdha is conceded in his case, vasanas also must be supposed to exist.  But they are only vasanas
    for enjoyment, leaving no impressions to be the seeds  for future karma.'
                                             
                                                             Talks No, 383.

NOTES: In this text, we have a full view of the Jnani's state: in pains, in action, in the working out of an old, and the generation
of a new karma, etc.,  It all amounts to this: his perceptions of pain and pleasure and of the world are exactly those of the
ajnani, as it has been discussed in Note 45 of the previous chapter.  He sees other bodies and his own exactly as others see
them, but unlike others, he knows the truth about them.  A peasant who, for the first time goes to a cinema show and sees
the fierce fire raging on the screen, starts screaming and tries to run out of the theatre, taking the fire to be real;  whereas
others sit back in their chairs unconcerned.  This is the exact difference between the Jnani and the ajnani in their perceptions.
Both see the very same sights, yet their knowledge of them vastly differs.

contd.,

Arunachala Siva.       
Title: Re: Reflections on Talks - S.S. Cohen:
Post by: Subramanian.R on June 27, 2013, 10:11:50 AM
The Jnani or Jivanmukta:

Notes for item 6 continues......

As for the actions of the Jnani they are equally productive  -- often even more so -- as those of the ajnani (the word 'ineffective
in the text is likely to be misinterpreted as qualifying actions, whereas it qualifies for the production of samskaras), but they
are without vasanas, although they appear as if they were.  They resemble Coleridge's wonderful pen picture of 'a painted
ship on a painted ocean', though ship and ocean are real.  The actual ship is there, the actual ocean is there, but there is no
movement in either on account of the curse.  The same are the vasanas of a Jnani which have no impressions on his mind.
The driving force in an action which produces Karma is its motive, which is absent in the Jnani's.  Hence there is no creation of
a new Karma for him.  The actor is there, the action is also there, but the diving force of the action is, in his case, automatic,
being impersonal and vasana-less.  The Srutis compare it to the fried seed which can no longer sprout.  That is why the action
of the Jnani is viewed as inaction.  The Jnani appears to act, and efficiently too, but he is not acting at all.  This is the significance
of inaction in action and action in inaction.  The motiveless mind is Brahman Itself.  This is one of the most revealing statements
of Sri Bhagavan.

*****

Arunachala Siva.         
Title: Re: Reflections on Talks - S.S. Cohen:
Post by: Subramanian.R on June 28, 2013, 11:08:02 AM
The Jnani or Jivanmukta:

7.  'The Sage is characterized by eternal and intense activity.  His stillness is like the apparent stillness of a fast rotating
top.  Its very speed cannot be followed by the eye, and so it appears to be still.  So is the apparent inaction of the Sage.
This must be explained because the people generally mistake his stillness to be inertness. It is not so.'

                                                        -  Talk No 599.

NOTES:  Sri Bhagavan has reasons to explain this truth about the Jnani to the critics of His 'inactive life'.  There is no activity
under the sun which is more intense than that of the Jnani, because he is the plenum, the pure Chaitanya which is the
storehouse of all the energy in the universe.  Thus the critics will do well to reflect before they pass a sentence on the
Jnani's activity or inactivity.

******

Arunachala Siva.       
Title: Re: Reflections on Talks - S.S. Cohen:
Post by: Subramanian.R on June 29, 2013, 12:41:06 PM

continues...

The Jnani or Jivanmukta:

8. 'The Jnani is fully aware that that the true state of Being remains fixed and stationary and that all actions go around  him.
His nature does not change and his state is not affected in the least.  He looks on everything with unconcern and remains
blissful.  He is the true state, the primal, natural state of Being.  There is no difference between the Jnani and the ajnani in
their conduct.  The difference lies only in their angles of vision.'

                                                                      - Talk No. 607.

NOTES: The previous text speaks of the intense activity of the Jnani and the first part of this text says the Being is "fixed."

Action appears as such only in the context of sense perceptions.  In order to perceive, energy is needed, more so if it is
followed by thinking and physical acting.  Where does this energy come from?  Certainly not from outside the pereciver,
thinker and actor, but from inside himself, from his very be-ing.  Thus the Being is the source of all energy, the fullness of
energy, nay, Energy itself.  Therefore the Jnani who is ever aware of this Being,  ever merged in the Being, is himself this
massive Energy.  The Being is said to be inactive, because it is ever changeless, though ever full.  And it is because it is ever
full as the Eternal Consciousness-Energy that the last text compares it to the intensively spinning top which appears  to be
standing stark still.  Thus the Jnani is inactive as the changeless Being, and active as the Infinite Energy itself.  The paradox
is thus resolved.  The activity of sense perceptions in the Jnani remains as an appearance in him, as we have already studied.

Therefore the Jnani is literally Brahman in a physical body, the "the mind is only surmised in a Jnani" (text above).  He
enjoys the senses without being imprisoned in them -- his being only "vasnas for enjoyment."  His life is pure light to his
disciples, an inspiring ideal to the ordinary admirers, a focus of wisdom and peace to the wisdom and peace seekers,
and a silent blessing to the whole world. 

Of Him, Sri Krishna spoke the lines:

'Flee unto Him for shelter with all thy being, O Bharata.  By His Grace thou shalt obtain supreme peace, the everlasting home.'

ending iwth:

'Thus hath wisdom, more secret than secrecy itself, been declared unto thee by Me.  Having reflected on it fully, then
act thou as thou listeth.

(Bhagavad Gita, XVIII, 62-63).


Reflections on Talks - concluded.

Sri Ramanarpanamastu.

Arunachala Siva.