Author Topic: Reflections on Talks - S.S. Cohen:  (Read 33945 times)

Subramanian.R

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Re: Reflections on Talks - S.S. Cohen:
« Reply #15 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.

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Arunachala Siva.               

Subramanian.R

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Re: Reflections on Talks - S.S. Cohen:
« Reply #16 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.

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Subramanian.R

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Re: Reflections on Talks - S.S. Cohen:
« Reply #17 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.     
         
     

Subramanian.R

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Re: Reflections on Talks - S.S. Cohen:
« Reply #18 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."

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Subramanian.R

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Re: Reflections on Talks - S.S. Cohen:
« Reply #19 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.

***

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sanjaya_ganesh

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Re: Reflections on Talks - S.S. Cohen:
« Reply #20 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.'
Salutations to Bhagawan

Subramanian.R

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Re: Reflections on Talks - S.S. Cohen:
« Reply #21 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.

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Subramanian.R

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Re: Reflections on Talks - S.S. Cohen:
« Reply #22 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.

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Subramanian.R

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Re: Reflections on Talks - S.S. Cohen:
« Reply #23 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.

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Subramanian.R

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Re: Reflections on Talks - S.S. Cohen:
« Reply #24 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.

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Subramanian.R

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Re: Reflections on Talks - S.S. Cohen:
« Reply #25 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.

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Subramanian.R

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Re: Reflections on Talks - S.S. Cohen:
« Reply #26 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...

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Subramanian.R

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Re: Reflections on Talks - S.S. Cohen:
« Reply #27 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.

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Re: Reflections on Talks - S.S. Cohen:
« Reply #28 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.

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Re: Reflections on Talks - S.S. Cohen:
« Reply #29 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.

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