Author Topic: Reflections on Talks - S.S. Cohen:  (Read 23005 times)

Subramanian.R

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Reflections on Talks - S.S. Cohen:
« 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.

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Arunachala Siva.   

Subramanian.R

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Re: Reflections on Talks - S.S. Cohen:
« Reply #1 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.           


Subramanian.R

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Re: Reflections on Talks - S.S. Cohen:
« Reply #2 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.

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Re: Reflections on Talks - S.S. Cohen:
« Reply #3 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.

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Re: Reflections on Talks - S.S. Cohen:
« Reply #4 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.

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Re: Reflections on Talks - S.S. Cohen:
« Reply #5 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.

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Re: Reflections on Talks - S.S. Cohen:
« Reply #6 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.

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Re: Reflections on Talks - S.S. Cohen:
« Reply #7 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.

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Re: Reflections on Talks - S.S. Cohen:
« Reply #8 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.

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Subramanian.R

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Re: Reflections on Talks - S.S. Cohen:
« Reply #9 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.

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Re: Reflections on Talks - S.S. Cohen:
« Reply #10 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.

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Re: Reflections on Talks - S.S. Cohen:
« Reply #11 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.

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Subramanian.R

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Re: Reflections on Talks - S.S. Cohen:
« Reply #12 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.           

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Re: Reflections on Talks - S.S. Cohen:
« Reply #13 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.'

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Re: Reflections on Talks - S.S. Cohen:
« Reply #14 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.

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