Author Topic: Reflections on Talks - S.S. Cohen:  (Read 33910 times)

Subramanian.R

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Re: Reflections on Talks - S.S. Cohen:
« Reply #105 on: April 06, 2013, 10:19:10 AM »
HEART AND MIND:

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

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

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

contd.,

Arunachala Siva.           

Subramanian.R

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Re: Reflections on Talks - S.S. Cohen:
« Reply #106 on: April 07, 2013, 10:57:32 AM »
HEART AND MIND:


continues....

10. Notes - continue....

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

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Subramanian.R

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Re: Reflections on Talks - S.S. Cohen:
« Reply #107 on: April 08, 2013, 12:46:59 PM »

TRUE AND FALSE MOUNA:

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

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

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

contd.,

Arunachala Siva.         

Subramanian.R

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Re: Reflections on Talks - S.S. Cohen:
« Reply #108 on: April 09, 2013, 10:31:27 AM »
TRUE AND FALSE MOUNA:


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

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

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

Arunachala Siva.

Subramanian.R

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Re: Reflections on Talks - S.S. Cohen:
« Reply #109 on: April 10, 2013, 11:40:20 AM »
TRUE AND FALSE MOUNA:

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

                                                  - Talk No. 60.

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

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

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Re: Reflections on Talks - S.S. Cohen:
« Reply #110 on: April 11, 2013, 11:31:41 AM »


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

                                                         - Talk No. 60.

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

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

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Re: Reflections on Talks - S.S. Cohen:
« Reply #111 on: April 12, 2013, 01:33:32 PM »
True and False Mouna:

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

                                                              - Talk No. 130.

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

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Subramanian.R

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Re: Reflections on Talks - S.S. Cohen:
« Reply #112 on: April 13, 2013, 11:15:45 AM »

True and False Mouna:

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

                                                                 - Talk No. 231.

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

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

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Subramanian.R

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Re: Reflections on Talks - S.S. Cohen:
« Reply #113 on: April 14, 2013, 10:53:01 AM »

True and False Mouna:

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

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

                                                                     - Talk No. 371.

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

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

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

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Subramanian.R

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Re: Reflections on Talks - S.S. Cohen:
« Reply #114 on: April 15, 2013, 11:16:29 AM »

CHAPTER 12:

GRACE:

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

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


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

contd.,

Arunachala Siva.         
   

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Re: Reflections on Talks - S.S. Cohen:
« Reply #115 on: April 16, 2013, 11:14:02 AM »

GRACE:

1. continues.....

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

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

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Re: Reflections on Talks - S.S. Cohen:
« Reply #116 on: April 17, 2013, 10:54:41 AM »
GRACE:

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

                                                                        - Talk No. 29.


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

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Re: Reflections on Talks - S.S. Cohen:
« Reply #117 on: April 18, 2013, 01:45:50 PM »

GRACE:

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

                                                            - Talk No. 127.


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

continued....

Arunachala Siva. 

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Re: Reflections on Talks - S.S. Cohen:
« Reply #118 on: April 19, 2013, 10:40:27 AM »
GRACE:

3. Notes - continue.....

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

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Re: Reflections on Talks - S.S. Cohen:
« Reply #119 on: April 20, 2013, 12:40:44 PM »
GRACE:

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

                                   - Talk No. 251.

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

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

                                    - Talks No. 251.

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

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

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

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