Author Topic: What is Self Inquiry ?  (Read 237 times)

srkudai

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What is Self Inquiry ?
« on: October 25, 2017, 01:36:30 PM »
The best explanation on Self Inquiry I have ever read comes from Bhagavan Ramana Maharshi's Upadesha Saram where he says :
Manasantu kim, margane krite naiva manasam , marga arjavat...

This is the most direct path... what is it ? to look within as to whence mind [or equivalently I] arises and to discover there is no mind or I!

Self Inquiry is not yet another "doing"... its a means to resolve all doing to Just Be.
Thus, Self Inquiry should make us calm and not Tensed up. It is an instant movement towards effortlessness.

Lets observe this closely. This body of ours is like a room. The awareness is like space within the room and inbetween there are a few thoughts ... thoughts by nature are instantaneous. they come and vanish by themselves. we need not do anything about that. If you do not believe me on this, try to hold onto a thought without changing :) . They change. They pass away. Now ... lets ask an interesting question "Who am I ?"
if i am the body, the body does not have any worries about its aging, it does not have any worries whether ill pass or fail or what others think about me ... all these are not body's worries... thats why bhagavan says "deho na jaanati", the body does not know !
if i am the awareness, Awarenes is a mute spectator ... it does not care for anything. ever silent Self ... it is ever in just be state.

who else is there ? I cannot be a thought either since i see its coming and its going as well ! i live past its death ! so i cannot be the thought. then who is there ? The point here is , there is no one. Thus there is neither bondage nor liberation.

This is Self inquiry. We should not make it into another activity for this fictitious I to engage in. Even when i say "fix the attention on I AM" -- thats really making another activity ... to truely turn attention towards I AM is to dissolve the I in it and remain as I AM, what else can one be, since one is ever that I AM ? To turn attention towards awareness is to withdraw attention from the false I and nothing else.

This is transforming our entire life into meditation. There is nothing to do, no where to go. this is liberation. Bhagavan Ramana puts it beautifully : nashta manasotkrusta yoginah krityam asti kim ? sva stithim yathah ... for the one who has his mind dissolved, what is there to be done but to just remain as one is ? well ... mind is not even dissolved, it never was in the first place ... so this recognition is the dissolution of mind ...

Love!
Silence
« Last Edit: October 25, 2017, 01:50:25 PM by srkudai »

srkudai

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Re: What is Self Inquiry ?
« Reply #1 on: October 25, 2017, 01:44:20 PM »
Self Inquiry is Not:

1. Intense Activity
2. Killing each thought as it arises [how will i kill a thought that is already dead the moment i recognize it arose ?]
3. killing ego [ego - its not there to be killed]
4. placing attention on heart [hrt is that into which everything dissolves. if you place anything there it dissolves too :) ... so its truely to remain without i]
5. placing attention on I AM [same as 4]


atmavichar100

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Re: What is Self Inquiry ?
« Reply #2 on: October 25, 2017, 02:19:33 PM »
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thoughts by nature are instantaneous. they come and vanish by themselves. we need not do anything about that.

How does though originate ? What determines the difference in thoughts that emerge in various people's minds ? Is it past karma , present karma or is the whole thing just random ?
However many holy words you read, however many you speak, what good will they do you if you do not act on upon them? - Buddha

srkudai

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Re: What is Self Inquiry ?
« Reply #3 on: October 25, 2017, 02:53:14 PM »
Dear Atmavichar,
              :) That is an never-ending question. Fortunately we do not require an answer for that!

Let me explain this very carefully and systematically, please read this with care...
Please see this ...

When you ask "how does thought originate". what you are asking for is a "cause" for the thought. But then, if we have a cause, we can ask for a cause for it. and this chain of < cause->effect > needs to terminate somewhere and the best way is to leave it at thought -- because trying to associate something else as cause takes us no where and does no better !

We cannot even say Awareness is the cause for Thought because thought is mithya and awareness is SAT [Mandukya Upanishad, Gaudapada karika, alata shanti prakaranam] ... and so the best answer is there is no thought itself and therefore no possibility of its origin.

Please see one important point here ... Vedantic teaching only takes us from where we are and launches us beyond. The teaching itself is only geared towards that. The entire thing is only a negation without anything positive said. I see a kind of stabilty in the world, so the negation process starts by saying thoughts are not stable and so a world built on thoughts as basis cannot be stable.  so when we say thoughts are momentary, we are really talking to a person who sees thoughts as real and dismissing their reality. that negation is the teaching. but when we ask where have they originated , its going the reverse way to establish their presence :D ... which is meaningless endeavor. If you see carefully all creation theories are also negations alone... what IS , cannot and need not be described, because its Self Evident and by itself is the basis of all explanations. So what any vedantic theory states is only a negation. here we are negating the "stability" idea of thought and along with it goes the stability idea of the world. As i said, all creation theories explained in vedanta are actually negations. when i say that the world is made of 5 elements that came together ... i am really saying that we have 5 senses that is the basis of the world that we experience ... that is a negation of the world out there independent of the 5 senses ! this is the meaning in creation theories... thats why in gaudapada karikas we dismiss all creation theories as suited for the mediocre students --- the implication is that those theories only served to negate some ideas and having done that we throw them off... its like a thorn used to remove anotehr thorn and then both are thrown away.

Love!
Silence

atmavichar100

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Re: What is Self Inquiry ?
« Reply #4 on: October 25, 2017, 02:59:02 PM »
Dear udai

Thanks for your reply . My question on the origin of thoughts has a different reason might be can be taken up in a different thread and I do not want to the spoil this thread on "self enquiry " .I will articulate better my doubts in a separate thread either today or tomorrow .
However many holy words you read, however many you speak, what good will they do you if you do not act on upon them? - Buddha

ksksat27

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Re: What is Self Inquiry ?
« Reply #5 on: October 26, 2017, 11:12:45 AM »
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thoughts by nature are instantaneous. they come and vanish by themselves. we need not do anything about that.

How does though originate ? What determines the difference in thoughts that emerge in various people's minds ? Is it past karma , present karma or is the whole thing just random ?

I can tell this point from my experience.  The type of Thoughts and its nature emerge because of age old vasanas.  I exhibited Shiva devotion and knew intrinsic Kali puja details from my 5th age. it could not be explained by social circumstances or anything connected to in this present life.  more suprisingly, i kept my innate tantric knowledge as a secret . something within me even in that childhood knew that my present birth circumstance is not appropriate for these vasanas.

so thoughts are arising because of age old samksaras and vasanas that are long accumulated in the mind.  the golden opportunity comes when one set of good thoughts are manifesting in the present birth,  that is the time the accumulated bad thoughts will be exposed before sadguru.  the good samskaras that are manifesting in current life brings one to a sadguru. in his presence, the unmanifest hidden bad vasanas get a chance to come out, expose themselves and get destroyed.

so a life after associating with a saint is never the same as it was before.

sanchitha the storehouse of karma and the associated hidden vasanas are exposed in meditation. that is why so many thoughts arise.

srkudai

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Re: What is Self Inquiry ?
« Reply #6 on: November 19, 2017, 08:39:30 AM »
Bhagavan Ramana's ultimate teaching is : Just Be.
It is not Self Inquiry.
Just Be can also be due to complete Self Surrender to God.

But often what happens is , we tend to go into "doing" rather than simply being. The mind has a tendency to move out.
When we observe this, we immediately tend to say "mind should not go out, let me arrest it" ! This is the "doing approach" and this leads to further doing. We are caught in this world of "doing" ... we do not experience respite until we drop off from it and abide in being. This is the main point.


when i was a kid my father once playfully said that he was pushing the train. in my innocence i thought he really did it and that i could do it too and so would push the train very hard ... every now and then the train moved fast and i thought i was the cause for it, i was thrilled. and when it did not, i thought i needed to work harder at it. When the wisdom that i was not the one moving the Train arose in me ... that wisdom lead me to stop "doing". We often tend to stop doing by further doing because we approach it with will power rather than wisdom power. what we need is wisdom power.

We do not stop the mental tendency to move out  ["doing" ] by arresting it , focusing it etc. These are all still doings - and they are based on will power. The best way to resolve the mind is to make use of wisdom power rather than will power. it is wisdom power that enables one to just be. When bhagavan said inquire "who am i", its actually employing wisdom power ... he did not definitely mean that we should focus on something or somewhere and something shall happen. if we read upadesha saram carefully, we shall observe something fantastic about the way bhagavan presents it. the first two verses are all about "doings" ...
The third verse says "hence leave it all to God". Sri Ramakrishna said the same thing to Girish Chandra Gosh - he said give me the power of attorney and when he truely did it, he stood free not because sri ramakrishna gave him anything new but because he resolved into being rather than doing. In my opinion the third verse of upadesha saram is not merely karma yoga - leave it all to god means let things happen as they happen. for me to be able to say this i need to appreciate the first two verses of upadesha saram where bhagavan clearly explains that this world is a "kriti maha udau" [an ocean of doing that has no end, we will be caught in cycles ending no where]. this is wisdom. we need to understand this. This should not remain information. we need to take what bhagavan said and look into our own lives and situations in life... and clearly see that we have been moving in circles in the hope of finding some fulfillment. We need to contemplate life.

Bhagavan Ramana's teachings are to be used to contemplate on life. And when we contemplate life and see how things are really out of our control, how we are not really the drivers of this car :) ... we tend to disengage with the worldly life. disengagement with the worldly life born out of deep contemplation on the ways of the world is "wisdom" and self inquiry is really applying this wisdom again and again to move from doing to being. This is what self inquiry is. Self inquiry is really to see how there is no doer and thus leaving oneself as the Being.

When we observe that the world is totally out of control, and say "this is not my business" [as Annamalai Swami ji said], we automatically resolve. The world is totally out of control and it is therefore not our business. Having this attitude "its none of our business" is another name for self inquiry.

Self inquiry is not whether i ask "who am i" or "whence am i" or some other question . It is Self inquiry only when i move from doing to being again and again until the mind no more desires to go out ... and it is self inquiry only when this is done with wisdom power and not with will power as explained above. It , therefore, has to be accompanied by deep contemplation on the ways of the world and in its essence it is not different from self surrender.

Love!
Silence

atmavichar100

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Re: What is Self Inquiry ?
« Reply #7 on: November 20, 2017, 07:51:03 AM »
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When we observe that the world is totally out of control, and say "this is not my business" [as Annamalai Swami ji said], we automatically resolve. The world is totally out of control and it is therefore not our business. Having this attitude "its none of our business" is another name for self inquiry.

Thanks for the above quote Udai
Bhagavan always told people to mind their business and there is a funny incident to narrate this . Once a person came to the Ashram and he used to just eat well and then go to sleep snoring loudly . One devotee of Bhagavan ( I think Kanakammal ) was observing this for few days and was deeply disturbed by this and went and complained to Bhagvan saying "Look Bhgavan that man is just coming to the dining hall eating nicely and then going to sleep and he  has been doing this for the last few days " and Bhagavan slowly replied to her "He is attending to the work he came for ( i.,e eating and sleeping )  and you attend to the work you came for here ( i.e to do atma vichara )  i,e basically MIND YOUR BUSINESS . For me personally this is the most important teaching of Bhagavan especially when I end up frustrated judging people or situations in the world as why these things happen , why do these people behave this way and so whenever I get disturbed I used to remember this incident and then smile to myself .
However many holy words you read, however many you speak, what good will they do you if you do not act on upon them? - Buddha

Ravi.N

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Re: What is Self Inquiry ?
« Reply #8 on: November 20, 2017, 08:53:17 AM »
srkudai,

" Sri Ramakrishna said the same thing to Girish Chandra Gosh - he said give me the power of attorney and when he truly did it, he stood free not because sri ramakrishna gave him anything new but because he resolved into being rather than doing."

It was not as simple as that...slowly the implication of 'the power of attorney' dawned on him and with gentle reminders and corrections on the part of the master and later on as life unrolled the way it did for Girish...Often he found the going tough...was plagued by bouts of doubt and despondency...what he was in for slowly dawned on him and he learnt to cope up with that and began living that....it was not at all easy and cosy...all this is covered in the fine biography by Swami Chetanananda.
One day Girish said about a trifling matter, "Yes, I shall do this." "No, no!" the Master corrected him. "You must not speak in that egotistic manner. You should say, 'God willing, I shall do it.'....Girish had to begin at this level.
Namaskar


srkudai

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Re: What is Self Inquiry ?
« Reply #9 on: November 20, 2017, 11:11:40 AM »
Dear Ravi ji,
   :) True, i remember reading the corrections by sri ramakrishna in the gospel itself.

Quote
It was not as simple as that...slowly the implication of 'the power of attorney' dawned on him and with gentle reminders and corrections on the part of the master and later on as life unrolled the way it did for Girish...Often he found the going tough...was plagued by bouts of doubt and despondency...what he was in for slowly dawned on him and he learnt to cope up with that and began living that....it was not at all easy and cosy...all this is covered in the fine biography by Swami Chetanananda.

But do we see something here ? When he gave the power of attorney he was free... when he took it upon himself he felt doubt etc. then again he would let go and experience freedom ... isnt it ?
whenever he took it upon himself , became a doer ... he suffered.
when he "dropped off" even temporarily, he experienced his own being and abided as Self.

The complexity is because of not dropping off. not because of difficulty in the suggestion itself. we somehow cling and do not want to leave our hold on this world and so we suffer. not because leaving is difficult but because we do not want to leave. we believe its unwise to leave our hold on worldliness ... while the truth is , even when we think we are controlling the world we have really no control. and in these matters its useless to tell agian and again that one should leave worldliness ... instead its wisdom that works ... so when we contemplate on the world and see that whether we agree or disagree ... everything is out of control ... wow! at once we notice that beyond the lack of control is a freedom not explainable in words !

the problem is we think this world is our savior ... its going to provide us with fulfillment ...
the solution is to see the reality of the world. see it again and again until we no more mistake ... this is called self inquiry by bhagavan !

Love!
Silence

Ravi.N

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Re: What is Self Inquiry ?
« Reply #10 on: November 20, 2017, 11:29:03 AM »
Udai garu,
I have just made a statement of facts...When he gave the power of attorney he just did not have any wind of what it truly meant....He just thought that the responsibility is transferred to Sri Ramakrishna and he could do as it pleases him...slowly he came to realise that he had unwittingly surrendered his so called 'freedom' (doing as he wishes to)...and he had to work his way from there.


ha ha ...you are fond of teaching!
"even when we think we are controlling the world we have really no control".

Even if we have such control,it is not worth it...Remember Mahabali?...The Real thing has nothing to do with the world or whether we can control it..The Real worth is intrinsic to God or Self....There simply needs to be no reason to be devoted to Self/God.
This is why  Sri Ramakrishna says in the gospel:
MASTER: "Tell me, what is the meaning of renunciation?"
M: "Renunciation does not mean simply dispassion for the world. It means dispassion for the world and also longing for God."

namaskar
« Last Edit: November 21, 2017, 08:42:44 AM by Ravi.N »

srkudai

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Re: What is Self Inquiry ?
« Reply #11 on: November 20, 2017, 04:13:35 PM »
Dear Ravi ji,
      :) what you wrote is very true.

BTW :D as an aside and in a lighter vein ... i am not fond of teaching sir. atleast not anymore. used to be.
now do not have time to think of it !

Sri Ramakrishna used to say that when a person is spiritually minded god sends him ways to reduce activity or work.
i hope he does that for me some day soon so that i can spend a lot of time sitting in meditation

Love!
Silence