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Messages - Graham

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31
Dear Friends,

Today (4th January 2014) I uploaded a new version of this website.

It has been completely redesigned and re-coded with a 'fluid' layout.

This will permit you to visit the site using any device with a screen resolution of 420 pixels or greater, and see it with exactly the same content as someone browsing from a desktop computer.

If you come across any broken links or problems, then please let me know.

Mobile themes for the forum

There are a few mobile themes available for this forum and I will add them as options in the next week. You will be able to access them through the 'Themes' link on your personal profile page.

Graham

32
Security Issues / Ransomeware - Cryptolocker
« on: December 25, 2013, 06:20:50 AM »
There is a new advanced form of malware called Cryptolocker that has so far infected approximately 250,000 computers (according to researchers) since September 2013.

This malware encrypts your hard drive/s and demands a ransom to decrypt them. It is very successful.

The malware arrives usually via email as an attachment.

You can read the full details of this malware and how it infects your machine at this link - this is a long article but is well worth the effort of reading it, and it is fairly simple to understand:

http://www.secureworks.com/cyber-threat-intelligence/threats/cryptolocker-ransomware/


The best way to protect your computer is to back up everything on a regular/daily basis on an external drive that is kept only for that purpose, and is disconnected immediately after backups are complete.

There are a number of recognised utilities that will do this for you and they usually cost up to a few thousand rupees after the trial period. In my opinion they are well worth the cost, when it is compared to the problems of reinstalling everything from scratch and recreating all the lost work.

Graham

33
Cautionary advice / Re: Depression, despair and hopelessness in sadhana
« on: September 18, 2013, 05:12:26 AM »
Dear Anand,

Bhagavan did state that 'no effort in the pursuit of self-realization is wasted', but so far I have been unable to find the reference.

From the Uddhave Gita in the Srimad Bhagavatham

XXVIII

Truth is One Only

Recapitulating the teaching of the Absolute, Krishna affirms that considering the existence of only one substance - Paramatman or Supreme Self - manifesting as Purusha and Prakriti, the seeker must desist from praising or condemning the actions and dispositions of others, which will make him fall in the delusion of duality and thus defeat his own purpose of attaining the oneness of the Self. In the world of duality where everything is false, unreal like a mirage, an echo, a reflection, the discrimination between good and bad does not arise, although it somehow affects the jivas. The one substance is both the creator and the created, the protector and the protected, the destroyer and the destroyed. The triputi (triad of percipient, percept, and perception) is the product of illusion, and thus does not exist. The knower of this truth as taught by the Lord, neither extols nor reviles anyone, but goes about unattached like the sun.

Uddhava declares that only two principles are involved in the person who suffers transmigration, soul and body, neither of which is capable of rebirth. The latter, he argues, disintegrates at death, and stands no chance of revival; the former is deathless, and, therefore, likewise cannot be reborn. Yet births and deaths are real. Who is it, he asks Krishna, who undergoes them (if neither the body nor the soul is reborn)?

The Lord answers:

“Notwithstanding the fact that the phenomena do not at all exist, yet so long as the contact between the unillumined jiva and the senses continues, transmigration does not cease. So long as the dreamer continues to be deluded by the dream objects, he continues to suffer dream sorrow, although this does not exist (but as sensations in him), and ceases when he becomes enlightened on waking. Grief, fear, birth and death affect the deluded part of the dreamer, the ego, and not his being or Self. True knowledge consists in distinguishing the Self, which is real, from the not-Self, which is unreal. By the means spoken of before and by the Grace of a perfect Master, this distinction is clearly perceived, and the body is completely rejected as the non-Self. Just as space is not affected by the elements : fire, water, earth, etc., of which it is the container, so is the imperishable, all-containing Being not affected by the gunas. Efforts must be made to shun the not-Self until supreme bhakti cuts down rajas, the active qualities which are responsible for the illusion. Just as the disease that has not been radically cured is likely to recur again and again and afflicts its sufferer, so does the mind that teems with libidinous and karmic propensities bring about the fall of him who has not attained perfection in yoga (full Jnana). Imperfect yogis who fall from the path due to relationship with a family, disciples, etc., will in a future life, resume their yogic efforts at the point of interruption of their present endeavours, but will never take again to action. The unregenerate perform action till the last moment of their life, and are paid back in transient pleasure and pain, but the regenerate, though seated in a body remain actionless, their thirst for enjoyment having been slaked by the bliss of Self-realisation. Being permanently established in the Self, they take no heed of the actions of the body, nor do they take for real the objects that fall within the ranges of their perception, no more than an awakened man concedes reality to the objects he has perceived in a dream. The body which has so far been identified with one’s own Self, dear Uddhava, and which is actually the product of the gunas and karma, now completely disappears in the light of Self-knowledge : not so the Self which can be neither perceived nor rejected (for the repudiator would still be the sentient Self itself, which remains as the absolute residuum). Just as the light of the sun dispels the darkness from the eye and reveals what has already been present but unseen, so does the realisation of Me dispel the darkness of the mind and reveal the Self, which has all along been invisibly present as the source of all experiences, the senses and speech, and which is self-luminous, beyond the reach of reason, words, births, time and space. The notion of differences in the absolute Self is entirely a delusion, for none exists other than itself. The claim of an irrefutable duality made by some arrogant dualists is utterly senseless.

“There are those who practise sense-control and manage to keep the body strong and youthful and take to the practice of yoga with the view of acquiring siddhis. The wise look askance at them and at their futile endeavour to preserve a body which is as perishable as a fruit on a tree.


This is the reassurance for all of us who set out upon this path.

Graham

34
Dear Anand,

I think that sometimes we all forget just how lucky we are.

We have been called and provided with the understanding and ability to attain the highest siddha. Few indeed have this privilege.

Do you think that having been called, that you would be left deserted and desolate - how is that even possible?

That which brought you to this point is carrying you right now, it will never desert you because it is your own Self.

My own life has been rather unusual and very difficult, but I can assure you that everything turns out right in the end - it cannot be otherwise.

Why are you worrying about things that you cannot control - it is the mind playing tricks, making mountains out of molehills in order to usurp your efforts to control it, and by reacting to such provocation you are in danger of making the very thing you fear come about.

Graham

35
Dear Anand,

I too went through this in the early days, but I learned to live two lives, the outer life (deception), where I was just as before, showing interest in things that did not really interest me at all, and the inner secret life that no-one outside my family knew about and even my family knew very little about.

One of the golden rules is to keep your sadhana secret, because people will attack you for being different - it is only natural because they are afraid of losing you.

Bhagavan read the newspapers, listened to the radio, took interest in the welfare of devotees, animals and plants. He was not aloof as many like to portray Him (except with those who were aloof with Him), but a perfectly natural person.

You are a householder and have duties because of that - attend to them. They are not inimical to sadhana, but conflict arising because of neglect IS inimical to sadhana.

Don't worry, all will be fine in the end.

Graham

36
Cautionary advice / Re: Depression, despair and hopelessness in sadhana
« on: September 09, 2013, 02:38:15 PM »
Dear All,

I gave up all practices except intense prayer during that period, because any failure would bring about a lack of confidence and undermine the purpose of the exercise.

The unchained mind is the enemy and also the only tool that you have for success. One step at a time is best.

Graham

37
Cautionary advice / Re: Depression, despair and hopelessness in sadhana
« on: September 09, 2013, 07:02:02 AM »
Dear Anand,

For the first few years of practice I made no progress (according to my perspective) and put it down to my inability to concentrate long enough to make any headway.

I read somewhere that just three minutes of absolute concentration is sufficient to perform self-enquiry successfully, so set about disciplining the mind.

To do this I dismantled a wall clock with a continuous smooth-running second hand and mounted the motor behind a 24 inch square of pure white laminate, I made a second hand from the same material, glued it on to the second hand spindle and put a black dot at the end of it.

I would then spend one hour per day focussing on the dot to the exclusion of all else, including the idea of focussing, until such time as I could concentrate for two minutes without any thought arising.

This took several months, but once progress was made past the 20 second period it accelerated.

The practice I then used for self-enquiry was to touch my forehead for a moment then concentrate on that spot, become aware of who was watching, then gently turn my attention to myself without thought of any kind and want to know who I am - this is the difficult part to understand, but can best be described like this:

If you look into the distance at some object that is not too clear and want to know what it is, you generally do not look at the object and keep repeating 'what is it', 'what is it' (though that might arise), what you do is to focus your attention on it in order to see it, accompanied by the silent desire to know. That is how you should perform self-enquiry.

As Bhagavan says, the moment you concentrate on the 'I' it disappears, but there is a witness to its disappearance and that it the one you concentrate on again (gently), and so on until seer and seen are one indivisible whole - there is no object/witness only Being.

I found that intense and sincere prayer (like that of a small child) was a great help in times of depression and despair. It is the mind which is the problem, it doesn't like being disciplined and doesn't want to surrender. It wants to become self-realized and all powerful, but it can never be that because it is the obstacle.

Don't worry, the mind rebelling is a sign of progress.

Graham

38
General Discussion / Re: world
« on: September 08, 2013, 03:24:44 PM »
Dear Krishnan,

Bhagavan clearly proposed the Drishti-Srishti Vada - that creation is according to the observer. I am certain that we can all testify to that from experience, where differences appear in peoples' interpretation of even the simplest of events.

This does not negate the reality of the creation as Brahman, nor does it give it reality apart from Brahman.

The scriptures and all Self-realized Sages clearly state that the world, etc. is unreal, meaning that it has no reality of its own, it is not independent of the mind/seer. Their purpose as we all know, is to turn the seeker away from his/her belief that the world has any reality independent of the seer, and to turn their attention to the seer alone.

We are taught that the one Self manifests as the countless jivas undergoing their respective karmas, which would also explain why it does not disappear when one jiva becomes Self-realized or the body dies.

From Talk 487

D.: Does not the realised man continue to live just like a non-realised being?

M.: Yes, with this difference that the realised being does not see the world as being apart from the Self, he possesses true knowledge and the internal happiness of being perfect, whereas the other person sees the world apart, feels imperfection and is miserable. Otherwise their physical actions are similar.



I cannot recommend enough that everyone reads the prose version of the Srimad Bhagavatham from the ashram, as this will remove all doubts and answer every question.

Graham

39
General Discussion / Re: world
« on: September 08, 2013, 01:03:11 PM »
From Talks with Sri Ramana Maharshi

33. A visitor: “The Supreme Spirit (Brahman) is Real. The world (jagat) is illusion,” is the stock phrase of Sri Sankaracharya. Yet others say, “The world is reality”. Which is true?
M.: Both statements are true. They refer to different stages of development and are spoken from different points of view. The aspirant (abhyasi) starts with the definition, that which is real exists always; then he eliminates the world as unreal because it is changing. It cannot be real; ‘not this, not this!’ The seeker ultimately reaches the Self and there finds unity as the prevailing note. Then, that which was originally rejected as being unreal is found to be a part of the unity. Being absorbed in the Reality, the world also is Real. There is only being in Self-Realisation, and nothing but being. Again Reality is used in a different sense and is applied loosely by some thinkers to objects. They say that the reflected (adhyasika) Reality admits of degrees which are named:
(1) Vyavaharika satya (everyday life) - this chair is seen by me and is real.
(2) Pratibhasika satya (illusory) - Illusion of a serpent in a coiled rope. The appearance is real to the man who thinks so. This phenomenon appears at a point of time and under certain circumstances.
(3) Paramartika satya (ultimate) - Reality is that which remains the same always and without change.
If Reality be used in the wider sense the world may be said to have the everyday life and illusory degrees (vyavaharika and pratibhasika satya). Some, however, deny even the reality of practical life - vyavaharika satya and consider it to be only projection of the mind. According to them it is only pratibhasika satya, i.e., an illusion.


From the Uddhava Gita in the Srimad Bhagavatham

XXIV

The Sankhya Doctrine

Sri Krishna now turns to expound the Sankhya system as taught by the ancient seers, which rids one of the delusion of happiness and misery consequent upon the notion of diversity. He says:

“Before the Satya yuga there was a single, undifferentiated, infinite, absolute Substance - Brahman - which can be neither conceived nor described. Brahman then assumed a dual form, namely, Maya (illusory existence), and that in which it is reflected (the jiva or intelligence that perceives it). The former is the well-known prakriti (matter or gunas), which consists of cause and effect, and the latter is pure consciousness, or Purusha (Person or Self). When I disturbed the equilibrium of prakriti the three groups of qualities emerged (sattva, rajas and tamas), giving rise, by their disproportionate combination among themselves, to Sutra (cosmic activity) and Mahat (cosmic intelligence). From the modification of the latter rose the deceptive ahankara (the cosmic ego) which caused the jivas to identify themselves with the bodies made available to them by their past actions and tendencies. Ahankara was of three types - sattvic, rajasic and tamasic - which together evolved all the gods who preside over them. Impelled by Me, the categories joined together and formed the Cosmic Ego, My playground, which I entered as Narayana the Second Person, as it lay on the primeval waters.

“The universe then sprang up as a lotus from My navel, and on it appeared the four-faced Brahma who, with the help of the active rajas and penance, created the three spheres (lokas), namely, Bhurloka, (the earth and the seven subterranean regions -  Atala, Vitala, Sutala, Talatala, Mahatala, Rasatala, and Patala), Bhuwarloka (the aerial region), and Swarloka (heaven, consisting of Swarloka, Maharloka, Janaloka, Tapoloka, and Satyaloka) with their presiding deities. In Swarloka, live the celestials, in Bhurloka humans and animals (in the earth), also asuras, nagas, etc., (in Atala and other subterranean regions), and in Bhuwarloka, siddhas (ancient great Rishis). All these three major spheres are the planes where the entities who are dominated by the gunas work out their destinies. The four higher sub-spheres of Swarloka, namely, Maharloka and above, are the abode of those who practise spiritual disciplines, according to the degrees of their attainments. The highest of them, Satyaloka, is the abode of Brahma, hence it is also called Brahmaloka. Beyond all these is My own sphere, Vaikuntha, which is exclusively reserved for My own devotees. From the highest to the lowest this creation is nothing but the product of the gunas and moves by Karma of which I, as time, am the Dispenser. As prakriti, I am the matter of all, and, as Purusha (spirit), I pervade all. As the beginning, the middle and the end of all, I alone am real. As in the creation each category emerges from the preceding one (Myself - Brahman - being the primal substance), so at the dissolution each merges back again into its predecessor until everything merges once again in the Unmanifest (prakriti), and then into Me. Investigations into these processes of involution and evolution bring the seeker indubitably to their Final Cause Myself Who will shine like the sun dispelling the darkness of ignorance.

40
General Discussion / Re: world
« on: September 08, 2013, 12:15:11 PM »
Bhagavan Sri Ramana Maharshi shattered the world-illusion upon Self-Realization, but the world did not end. We are still here 63 years after he dropped the body, following His teaching.

The world illusion will continue whilst the last scrap of ignorance remains to be conquered. When Self is realized it ends for the Self-Realized, but continues for everyone else.

Self is pure untainted (unmodified) consciousness in which the world-appearance does not manifest. But Self is also the source of the world-appearance, which makes it 'real'.

Whilst you sleep the universe keeps on functioning, the creatures of the night come out and live their lives, people at the opposite side of the world live their daytime lives, your body ages, it does not stop.

There is no contradiction, just lack of understanding.

41
General Discussion / Re: world
« on: September 08, 2013, 07:57:36 AM »
Dear Incameet,

The universe and all that it contains is a projection that arises from and is formed of the 'One Reality', which we call Brahman, God, etc.

It is therefore real, is subject to the laws of creation and karma, undergoes change/progress and remains before and after our passing until such time as the Supreme withdraws it.

The statement about its unreality is based upon its temporary nature as opposed to the permanence of its source - the One Self. Temporary in this case is an immense amount of time from the worldly perspective.

Anyone seeking to understand or explain the reality/unreality of creation from within that creation will always find only confusion. It is only by transcending it that perspective becomes clear and its unreality is apparent.

So yes, it continues during sleep, because when you waken it has progressed in some way or another.

Graham

42
Cautionary advice / Re: please educate on latest tips for precautions
« on: September 05, 2013, 07:44:48 AM »
For the majority of males it is generally safe to walk around the hill and visit the caves alone in daylight, particularly as there is always traffic and other people on the road. However there are now reports of robbery and harassment of males.

It is never safe for single women, especially vulnerable-looking foreign women to do the same, as these are considered fair-game by lots of locals for coercion, sexual harassment and robbery.

The inner path has been closed for several years now, but there are breaks in the fences that people still use.

If you fear monkeys then carry a stick or a few small stones to throw in their direction, the same with dogs. Do not smile at monkeys showing your teeth, as this is a sign of aggression in the monkey world and will bring aggressive responses.

Rape, robbery, violence and murder are not new to Tiruvannamalai. During Bhagavan's time, a lady devotee was subjected to a serious sexual assault inside the ashram just 50 feet away from where He was sitting and that led to ladies being required to leave the ashram before darkness fell and told not to go around the hill alone.

If Bhagavan saw fit to give this advice then it is clear that these situations can be avoided and that it is NOT karma, but dangerous practices that are to blame.

Whatever the case, caution should be practised by everyone, especially in relation with the hundreds of fake sadhus that proliferate here, the majority of whom are misfits and beggars who have been given orange robes by misguided devotees.

A simple case in point - several years ago I was told by local shopkeepers who operated across from the college ground, that three 'sadhus' had taken a mentally disturbed child of about thirteen years into the college grounds in broad daylight and raped her. The locals saw this and did nothing to help her, not even calling the police, because they said that they would only be tortured for money if they registered a complaint.

I asked why they didn't go to the girl's rescue themselves and they just shrugged their shoulders, saying 'what can we do?'

Personally I am certain that the police would have acted upon this, especially where a child is concerned, but local perception is different - or perhaps no-one really cares.

It is a sad fact of life that such things can happen here.

Graham

43
Cautionary advice / Re: Depression, despair and hopelessness in sadhana
« on: September 02, 2013, 09:10:35 PM »
Dear Alma,

Bhagavan was very clear on all these points, but sometimes the point is missed - I missed it for years during my early efforts, expecting something complex instead of simple. I have merely repeated what he said.

You might also want to read this page on the main site which offers more clarification on this subject.

http://www.arunachala-ramana.org/articles/article_self_enquiry.htm

Graham


44
Visa applications / Re: Changes to the Rules relating to tourist visas
« on: September 02, 2013, 08:01:22 PM »
Dear Jyoti,

In order to legally purchase property in India you have to follow the rules:

This is the basic question and answer page of the RBI, which covers who can and who cannot purchase immovable property in India

http://www.rbi.org.in/scripts/FAQView.aspx?Id=33

Go here for further clarification:

http://www.arunachala-property.com/law_3.htm

You can only obtain a resident's permit - extension of stay over the permitted duration stamped on your visa (usually 3-6 months), if you have an entry visa (called an 'X' visa), these are issued under strict rules - see the links on the edited first post on this topic (edited today).

Please be very careful if you want to purchase property and obey the laws of India, otherwise you can lose both your property and your money - as so many others have.

Graham

45
Cautionary advice / Re: Depression, despair and hopelessness in sadhana
« on: August 28, 2013, 07:20:25 AM »
Dear Alma,

It is a mistake because you are concentrating on an object - a product of the mind - and not on the subject 'You'.

The heart-centre is neither in nor out of the body, so how can you concentrate on it?

The atma-spurana is a sensation that appears in the body, it is witnessed by the mind, which is a projection of the Self that arises through that heart-centre.

Bhagavan was very clear about this and you have already detailed one of His responses in your reply - “He is concentrating on the reflection and complains that he cannot see the original.”

This really is the most simple of things, but the mind doesn't like simple, it wants to 'think' and confuse matters, and that is its power.

The 'reflection' is the mind/ego/body complex and the 'original' is the witness, the witness is 'you', the one who is concentrating.

Why go on this circuitous route to find yourself who are always present in the beginning, middle and end. You are always aware of 'you', but your awareness of 'you' is broken up continuously by thoughts about objects.

The heart-centre is 'you' and that is what you are to concentrate on at every possible moment, until such time as self-awareness becomes permanent.

There is nothing difficult about this, the difficult part is breaking the habit of countless lifetimes by turning your attention away from the world to the witness of the world.

Graham


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