Author Topic: PRAMADA - Mountain Path, Deepam, 2007:  (Read 1835 times)


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PRAMADA - Mountain Path, Deepam, 2007:
« on: February 08, 2013, 05:31:06 PM »
Pramada = Sanskrit = inattention; forgetfulness; non vigilance.

Sri Bhagavan says we are forgetful (pramada) of our true nature.  (Talks No. 95). Indeed pramada is death, the scriptures
assert (Vieveka Chudamani Verse 321- 329,) because even a slight lapse from watchfulness makes one forget his true natural
state, and instantly the mind becomes extroverted helplessly and enters into the world of objects, leaping from one thing to another
even as a ball that slips out of one hand rolls down a flight of stairs quickly. Mind, being, a product of prakriti (nature), naturally
gravitates towards matter and its manifestations. The sense organs invariably lure the mind, towards the latter, for, as the Upanishads
declare, the Creator 'injured' the senses at the outset by making them outward looking all the time. (Katha Upanishad 2.1.1.).

The functioning of the senses created with such a 'deliberate manufacturing defect' helps us to transact with the outer world.  Thus,
pramada is a natural phenomenon because the very constitution of the mind and the senses, but the wise man does not let the mind
or the senses linger outside for more than minimal duration necessary for transactional life (vyavahara). Whenever the external demands are fulfilled, he immediately withdraws the senses from the outer objects and brings with great alertness the mind back to the

There is another reason why pramada is inevitable in a seeker's life. Mind thrives on excitement and survives because of its fascination
for features. At the physical level, it loves sensations while at the level of thoughts, it rivets upon emotions or feelings and is attached to the ideas at the level of intellect. The enticing food for all these is available only in the external world of objects and never in Brahman  or the Self which is devoid of all attributes!  Hence the mind can have no taste for the featureless Self. Is there an alternative to the
natural inclination of the mind to stray away from its source?


Arunachala Siva.   


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Re: PRAMADA - Mountain Path, Deepam, 2007:
« Reply #1 on: February 09, 2013, 10:33:08 AM »


There are two antidotes, to the poison of pramada. Firstly, the mind must be educated to see clearly that the external world can
never give it lasting happiness (ananda), through constant discrimination and reflection on the defects of the world, (pratipaksha-
bhavana).  Secondly, repeated practice of meditation on the Self gives the mind a positive and deep experience of abiding peace.
By dipping into this ever available fountain of peace within, the mind eventually develops a taste for abiding as the Self and pramada
will cease to be a demon that derails sadhana.

Bhagavan gave us a tool which is remedy for our ignorant state, caused by pramada, namely atma vichara. How do we remember
this tool and pay attention when it is applied? Firstly, we should discriminate between self observation and self remembrance.
Self observation is dualistic. There is an observer and an observed. The observer is aware of his thoughts and if he closely scrutinizes
them he sees that they bubble up from a causal source which his mind cannot grasp. They come and go. Their transient nature
indicates they have no permanent reality. They are dependent on the observer for their existence. They are dependent on the observer
for their existence. It is similar to the vain person who peers into a mirror  and thinks the object of attention is himself. It is not, it is
just an inert image. Who is it who is aware of the mirror, the image and the act of gazing? Can words say?

Self remembrance is the higher step in the quest to know oneself, such as the remembrance of the import of tat tvam asi but still
there is an element of duality. There is the entity that remembers and forgets. "I am performing atma vichara", " I forgot to do
atma vichara",  and "I am one pointedly concentrating on the guru" --- all involve a doer, however noble the action.


Arunachala Siva.             


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Re: PRAMADA - Mountain Path, Deepam, 2007:
« Reply #2 on: February 10, 2013, 01:23:25 PM »


Whenever there is a thought, there will inevitably arise forgetfulness or veiling. Instead of trying to
'catch' ourselves as if we were an object of thought, we should remain still attentive. Bhagavan stated clearly
that pure consciousness cannot be grasped by the 'thinking' mind. It is not an 'object' of awareness. What is it in me
that is thinking, seeing, hearing? The intention of self inquiry is to bring us to the point where we who are perceiving,
wonder, who is asking the question? Keeping the attention of the mind focused on that feeling of 'I' is self inquiry.

It requires strength of mind to maintain our attention on this sense of 'I' and that is why we are advised to purify our minds
by right behavior, right diet, and right thinking. All these are aids to strengthen the mind's ability to focus its attention on the
'I', the gateway to the source of its existence. (Self Inquiry, Question No. 20).

There is a difference between the acquired knowledge and the application of that knowledge. One may read the instructions
on how to drive a car and mentally repeat them by rote interminably, but unless one sits behind the wheel, and drives the car,
the information already available lacks purpose. Our attention is necessary to apply the knowledge and with  experience one acquires
an understanding of the dynamics.  We concentrate our attention on the task until the function becomes natural and we can drive
automatically. It does not mean we stop paying attention but the occupation becomes natural and effortless.

Attention is of two kinds; concentration and diffuse awareness. By the latter, one means the ability to take in a wide range of
activity. To focus one's attention on the diverse strands and see their inter-connected nature. It is inclusive while concentration
is exclusive.

To begin any new task requires concentration. Once we have acquired the knack we can step up into another level of consciousness.
For example, the peripheral vision widens as we live at a higher rate of ability. We see and notice more details. The same applies to
intensity --- we see deeper and further. Prayer, yogic mental exercises, ritual devotions, reading of scriptures or uplifting texts, all
help to refine and deepen our attention and remind us of our purpose.


Arunachala Siva.       


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Re: PRAMADA - Mountain Path, Deepam, 2007:
« Reply #3 on: February 11, 2013, 01:40:34 PM »


What is our purpose? It is to reunite ourselves with that which resides in all our hearts, the one true 'thing' that is not
dependent on anything for its existence as it is ever present and is self illuminating. It is called the Self, I-I, or the Heart.

How do we focus our attention of this mysterious 'thing' we cannot locate in time or space? Let us allow for the moment that
this 'thing' has a name and form, then where does it reside and how do we get in contact with it?  Those who have intellectually
understood the advaita will say that you are really That, so such talk about achieving 'union' with this Reality is ignorance. True,
but that does not help us who think we are in ignorance. Unless we start with what we think we are and acknowledge our forgetfulness, --- pramada, we ill remain deluded.

The one self-evident clue we each have is that our sense of identity remains the same whatever circumstances. We should be
careful here and discriminate this sense of 'I' with the sensation or identification our minds and emotions create between our bodies
and the external world. We unconsciously accept various thoughts and emotions much like clothes. They become so familiar we never
take them off. Our faces become rigid repetitive grooves of action and reaction. In short, we become who we think we are - This is

Returning to the driving analogy, we should not be so fixated that we are blinkered nor so casual in our attention that the mind flies
off on tangents. We do not forget that we are driving and yet are aware of the changing road, and scenery, and adjust accordingly.
It calls for fluidity of attention. It requires us to be alert to the moment. It is a skill that, with practice, will slowly absorb us into the
pure sense of 'I".


Arunachala Siva.