Author Topic: Reflections on Talks - S.S. Cohen:  (Read 35598 times)

Subramanian.R

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Re: Reflections on Talks - S.S. Cohen:
« Reply #120 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.

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Subramanian.R

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Re: Reflections on Talks - S.S. Cohen:
« Reply #121 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.             
 

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Re: Reflections on Talks - S.S. Cohen:
« Reply #122 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.   
           

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Re: Reflections on Talks - S.S. Cohen:
« Reply #123 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.                 

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Re: Reflections on Talks - S.S. Cohen:
« Reply #124 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.


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Re: Reflections on Talks - S.S. Cohen:
« Reply #125 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.

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Subramanian.R

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Re: Reflections on Talks - S.S. Cohen:
« Reply #126 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.

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Subramanian.R

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Re: Reflections on Talks - S.S. Cohen:
« Reply #127 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.
         
     
     

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Re: Reflections on Talks - S.S. Cohen:
« Reply #128 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.


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Re: Reflections on Talks - S.S. Cohen:
« Reply #129 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.'

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Subramanian.R

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Re: Reflections on Talks - S.S. Cohen:
« Reply #130 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.

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Re: Reflections on Talks - S.S. Cohen:
« Reply #131 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.               
     
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Re: Reflections on Talks - S.S. Cohen:
« Reply #132 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.

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Re: Reflections on Talks - S.S. Cohen:
« Reply #133 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."

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Re: Reflections on Talks - S.S. Cohen:
« Reply #134 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.