Author Topic: Depression, despair and hopelessness in sadhana  (Read 11697 times)

Nagaraj

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Re: Depression, despair and hopelessness in sadhana
« Reply #30 on: September 09, 2013, 07:07:11 PM »
Self-Enquiry in essence is itself a prayer with longing, fine-grained in essence and directed inwards.

Just, such a beautiful observation!



“You cannot travel the path until
you have become the path itself”
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Ravi.N

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Re: Depression, despair and hopelessness in sadhana
« Reply #31 on: September 09, 2013, 10:41:10 PM »
Nagaraj/Silentgreen/Friends,
I thought of posting it in the Rough Note Book Thread but then decided that i will post it here.This is to emphasize that Prayer and devotional singing,chanting the Divine name with Faith and Devotion -all these have tremendous potency and cannot be overlooked by any devotee however advanced.For the simple ,childlike soul,nothing more is needed.Whatever has to unfold will happen.

Quote
so, in my little experience, it is the very same, instead of allowing the 'i' to persist, and again looking to the source of that 'i' the process is directed upon the very source itself.
why not sing a song and continue the enquiry? and at the same time, those who engage in just the prayer, are also practicing the very same enquiry.

Yes indeed.This is the Natural Progression or deepening that Sri Bhagavan has expounded in the Upadesa saram.Unfortunately it is misinterpreted by some-as if those are preparatory or auxiliary,indirect means- involving subject and Object and that only self-enquiry is the perfect Nondual approach and so on and so forth.I do not subscribe to this later view.I view it as a progressive inward turning of the mind,becoming subtler and subtler as it sheds its Gross aspect,until the attention is folded back  towards the source of the 'i' thought,where the 'i' is disassociated from objects-Like what sri Bhagavan has mentioned as tracing the scent of the Master.This Scent is known and yet unknown!If it is totally unknown,one  cannot seek it and find it;if it is totally known one need not seek it in the first place!

coming to what Nagaraj has mentioned in the above quote regarding singing a song and continuin enquiry,this is how Sri Ramakrishna explains it,as usual in his inimitable way.An excerpt from The Gospel of Sri Ramakrishna:

Quote
"What Brahman is cannot be described. Speech stops there. In the kirtan the singers at first sing: 'My Nitai dances like a mata hati.' As they become more and more ecstatic, they can hardly utter the whole sentence. They sing only: 'Hati! Hati!' As their mood deepens they sing only: 'Ha! Ha!' At last they cannot sing even that; they become completely unconscious."
As the Master spoke these words, he himself became transfixed in samadhi. He was standing.
Regaining consciousness of the world, he said, "That which is beyond both kshara and akshara cannot be described."
The devotees sat in silence.


Yes,I agree as silentgreen has rightly mentioned that Contemplating on Sri Ramakrishna(his life) is just the right thing to do to imbibe the spirit of that simple yet potent Prayer.This is the reason why we chant the Hymns of the Great ones.It carries the spirit and power of the Great one who composed it.We have Lord Jesus 'Lord's Prayer'.The simpler the Prayer,the easier it is for us to tune ourselves.

Namaskar.

Anand

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Re: Depression, despair and hopelessness in sadhana
« Reply #32 on: September 15, 2013, 06:30:13 PM »
Dear Graham Sir,
THis refers to your article on self enquiry .Else where I have asked some additional clarification and here I am requesting something additional.In the article ,you have mentioned various stages of self enquiry with particular importance given to the retaining of self attention even in the midst of different experiences during the practice.
What happens if in this lifetime we are unable to reach upto the last stage or for that matter ,what if we just about climb the ladder?Kindly revert on this.
Elsewhere we have agreed that the Lord always uplifts us and we commence from where we lift off?But it would be reassuring if there are some  words from Bhagavan also on this. Has someone asked Bhagavan about this and has he replied on this.
Thanks,Anand Sundaram.

Graham

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Re: Depression, despair and hopelessness in sadhana
« Reply #33 on: September 18, 2013, 05:12:26 AM »
Dear Anand,

Bhagavan did state that 'no effort in the pursuit of self-realization is wasted', but so far I have been unable to find the reference.

From the Uddhave Gita in the Srimad Bhagavatham

XXVIII

Truth is One Only

Recapitulating the teaching of the Absolute, Krishna affirms that considering the existence of only one substance - Paramatman or Supreme Self - manifesting as Purusha and Prakriti, the seeker must desist from praising or condemning the actions and dispositions of others, which will make him fall in the delusion of duality and thus defeat his own purpose of attaining the oneness of the Self. In the world of duality where everything is false, unreal like a mirage, an echo, a reflection, the discrimination between good and bad does not arise, although it somehow affects the jivas. The one substance is both the creator and the created, the protector and the protected, the destroyer and the destroyed. The triputi (triad of percipient, percept, and perception) is the product of illusion, and thus does not exist. The knower of this truth as taught by the Lord, neither extols nor reviles anyone, but goes about unattached like the sun.

Uddhava declares that only two principles are involved in the person who suffers transmigration, soul and body, neither of which is capable of rebirth. The latter, he argues, disintegrates at death, and stands no chance of revival; the former is deathless, and, therefore, likewise cannot be reborn. Yet births and deaths are real. Who is it, he asks Krishna, who undergoes them (if neither the body nor the soul is reborn)?

The Lord answers:

“Notwithstanding the fact that the phenomena do not at all exist, yet so long as the contact between the unillumined jiva and the senses continues, transmigration does not cease. So long as the dreamer continues to be deluded by the dream objects, he continues to suffer dream sorrow, although this does not exist (but as sensations in him), and ceases when he becomes enlightened on waking. Grief, fear, birth and death affect the deluded part of the dreamer, the ego, and not his being or Self. True knowledge consists in distinguishing the Self, which is real, from the not-Self, which is unreal. By the means spoken of before and by the Grace of a perfect Master, this distinction is clearly perceived, and the body is completely rejected as the non-Self. Just as space is not affected by the elements : fire, water, earth, etc., of which it is the container, so is the imperishable, all-containing Being not affected by the gunas. Efforts must be made to shun the not-Self until supreme bhakti cuts down rajas, the active qualities which are responsible for the illusion. Just as the disease that has not been radically cured is likely to recur again and again and afflicts its sufferer, so does the mind that teems with libidinous and karmic propensities bring about the fall of him who has not attained perfection in yoga (full Jnana). Imperfect yogis who fall from the path due to relationship with a family, disciples, etc., will in a future life, resume their yogic efforts at the point of interruption of their present endeavours, but will never take again to action. The unregenerate perform action till the last moment of their life, and are paid back in transient pleasure and pain, but the regenerate, though seated in a body remain actionless, their thirst for enjoyment having been slaked by the bliss of Self-realisation. Being permanently established in the Self, they take no heed of the actions of the body, nor do they take for real the objects that fall within the ranges of their perception, no more than an awakened man concedes reality to the objects he has perceived in a dream. The body which has so far been identified with one’s own Self, dear Uddhava, and which is actually the product of the gunas and karma, now completely disappears in the light of Self-knowledge : not so the Self which can be neither perceived nor rejected (for the repudiator would still be the sentient Self itself, which remains as the absolute residuum). Just as the light of the sun dispels the darkness from the eye and reveals what has already been present but unseen, so does the realisation of Me dispel the darkness of the mind and reveal the Self, which has all along been invisibly present as the source of all experiences, the senses and speech, and which is self-luminous, beyond the reach of reason, words, births, time and space. The notion of differences in the absolute Self is entirely a delusion, for none exists other than itself. The claim of an irrefutable duality made by some arrogant dualists is utterly senseless.

“There are those who practise sense-control and manage to keep the body strong and youthful and take to the practice of yoga with the view of acquiring siddhis. The wise look askance at them and at their futile endeavour to preserve a body which is as perishable as a fruit on a tree.


This is the reassurance for all of us who set out upon this path.

Graham

deepa

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Re: Depression, despair and hopelessness in sadhana
« Reply #34 on: September 18, 2013, 08:27:43 AM »

Sri. Graham and Anand,
There is a similar answer in BG chapter 6. (quoted below)

However, I think Bhagawan did not encourage thinking too much about this.. I am not able to find the actual quotes, sorry.
I think his response was something like "yes, nothing goes waste, but why start analyzing "if you fail"." I got the impression that Bhagawan did not want too much discussion on next births, etc.

Pls correct me if I have imagined this..
Deepa


BG chapter 6 (relevant shlokas) -

arjuna uvaacha
    ayatih shraddhayopeto  yogaacchalitamaanasah
    apraapya yogasamsiddhim kaam gatim  krishna gacchati  // 6.37 //

Arjuna  said
    He  who is endowed with faith, but not with self-control, and whose mind wanders  away from Yoga - to what end does he go, O Krishna, having failed to attain  perfection in Yoga?

kacchinnobhayavibhrashtash  chhinnaabhramiva nashyati
    apratishtho mahaabaaho vimoodho  brahmanah pathi  // 6.38 //

Fallen  from both, does he not, O Mighty Armed, perish like a rent cloud, supportless  and deluded in the path of Brahman?


sri bhagavaan uvaacha
    paartha naiveha naamutra vinaashastasya  vidyate
    nahi kalyaankrit kaschid durgatim taatagacchati  // 6.40 //

Sri  Bhagavan said
    O  Partha, there is no destruction for him either in this world, or in the next  world; none verily, who does good, O My Son, ever comes to grief.

praapya punyakritaam lokaanushitwaa  shaashwateeh samaah
    shucheenaam shreemataaam gehe  yogabhrashto'bhijaayate  // 6.41 //

He  who has fallen from Yoga goes to the world of the righteous and having lived there  for long years, he is born again in the house of the pure and the prosperous.

athavaa yoginaameva kule bhavati  dheemataam
    etaddhi durlabhataram loke janma yadeedrisham  // 6.42 //

Or  he is born in a family of yogis rich in wisdom; verily such a birth is very  difficult to obtain in this world.

tatra tam buddhisamyogam labhate  paurvadehikam
    yatate cha tato bhooyah samsiddhau  kurunandana // 6.43 //

There  he comes in touch with the knowledge acquired in his former body and strives  more than before for perfection, O Son of the Kurus.

poorvaabhyaasena tenaiva hriyate  hyavasho'pi sah
    jijnaasurapi yogasya  shabdabrahmaativartate  // 6.44 //

By  that former practice alone he is borne on in spite of himself.  Even he who merely wishes to know Yoga goes  beyond the world of Vedic rites.

prayatnaadyatamaanastu yogee  samshuddhakilbishah
    aneka janma samsiddhastato yaati paraam  gatim  // 6.45 //

But  the Yogi, who strives diligently, purified from sins and perfected through many  births, attains the Supreme Goal.

Anand

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Re: Depression, despair and hopelessness in sadhana
« Reply #35 on: January 19, 2014, 05:38:51 PM »
Dear friends,
While I would like Graham Sir to respond to this particularly, I would like others also to revert.
In all posts when any member expresses despondency on his method of sadhana or lack of progress , members particularly here say dont worry Bhagavan will take care.
This  wording of the assurance has always been a bit perplexing for  me ,since Bhagavan is no more in the flesh .I think this is to be understood as the supreme Brahman is overseeing our progress and the supreme is none other than and no different than the Bhagavan who was in the flesh from 1879 -1950.Or is it that ,Bhagavan who existed in the flesh from 1879 - 1950 is now bodiless but still exists as the Bhagavan of old blessing and guiding all those who take his name or remember him - whileat the same time being no different from the Supreme Brahman that makes all things move . I will be happy if you can revert  independently along with of course our beloved  Graham Sir as to how to understand this statement.
Thanks ,
Anand Sundaram.

drsundaram

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Re: Depression, despair and hopelessness in sadhana
« Reply #36 on: January 19, 2014, 07:15:12 PM »
mr graham
though very very belated i happened  to go thro your replies  for the topics mentioned in the subject column.i am really indebted to you to see th clarity  in your replies.
thank you so much

Graham

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Re: Depression, despair and hopelessness in sadhana
« Reply #37 on: January 21, 2014, 02:26:45 PM »
Dear Anand,

You are of course right, words are easy, actions are not so easy, especially when they fly in the face of worldly experiences, doubt and apparent obstacles.

As far as I can remember Bhagavan never told anyone to have faith in Him specifically, He told them to trust Bhagavan, meaning God, Brahman, Self. Primarily because He did not identify with the body and 'is the Self of all', exactly the same as you are in truth.

Having faith in something unknown is difficult to maintain and sometimes leads to fanaticism or failure in the absence of proof, but the Self is known to everyone and Bhagavan pointed everyone to that alone. There cannot be any absence of proof in That.

Let us take my own case; I pursued this course of sadhana because something inside me compelled it. Even when I faced obstacles and setbacks I still returned, perhaps a little bruised, but nevertheless I returned with more determination each time and easily overcame new obstacles as my strength and determination grew - this is the sole purpose of failure, to nurture strength.

Does this sound familiar? It is the case with the majority of persistent devotees.

Who is guiding/compelling this? The answer is the Self, the tiger wants its prey and won't let go until it succeeds.

Self is the guru and the goal. Bhagavan Ramana simply pointed the way - He said in reply to a devotee complaining about lack of progress "I have shown the way, the rest is up to you".

If you consider Bhagavan Ramana as a body, living or dead, then you have failed to understand Him. To honour Him and everything He exemplified you have to follow his teaching with trust and faith, and to understand that He was and is the Eternal Brahman.

He left behind instructions on how to realize the Self and all you have to do is to hold on to that awareness whenever possible until the goal is reached, but that is difficult because the mind does not want to remember.

I have read somewhere that all it takes is three minutes of absolute concentration on the Self to become self-realized - for the mind to merge into its source. Three minutes only - there are 1,440 in a day, 525,600 in a year and 36,792,000 in an average 70 year lifetime (excluding leap-years), yet we can't find three continuous minutes to concentrate on the self uninterruptedly.

I spent years practicing and getting nowhere until I accepted that I lacked the concentration required. So I took up the practice of concentration until I had the requisite ability and then pursued enquiry again.

I used a method recommended by Mouni Sadhu in his book Concentration. I created a device from a broken electric alarm clock. I mounted the tiny motor on the back of a piece of white mica 18 inches square, and fitted a white mica pointer to the second hand spindle. I put a black dot at the end of the pointer and used it to concentrate on until I succeeded in holding on to the black dot for minutes on end, not allowing any thought to enter my mind, not even that of watching the dot as it smoothly made its way around the face.

It took several months of effort to reach this goal, practicing for one hour per day. The strain at first was quite high, but I learned to do it without strain and from that point onwards there was daily progress.

Once I passed the one minute point it became easier and progress after that was rapid.


Just as a carpenter or engineer needs tools, so do we, and our tools are faith in God-Guru-Self, concentration and effort.

The alternative is to remain fully ego-realized by giving up the quest, but for genuine seekers that is not an option.

Graham

Ravi.N

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Re: Depression, despair and hopelessness in sadhana
« Reply #38 on: January 21, 2014, 09:35:47 PM »
Anand Sundaram,
What is your question?How do you view Bhagavan?As a Man?As Guru?As God?As Self?
One more question-How do you view Arunachala?As mere Rock?As God?As Self?
We will share our views later.
Namaskar.

Anand

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Re: Depression, despair and hopelessness in sadhana
« Reply #39 on: January 21, 2014, 10:07:27 PM »
Dear Graham Sir,
Thanks for reverting .
Dear Ravi Sir,
I view Arunachala as the physical manifestation of the supreme Brahman .
As far as Bhagavan is concerned ,I would like to view him as an  avatar of the supreme Brahman or Arunachala who wanted to demonstrate the path of self enquiry for the benefit of posterity by living and enacting the same as any human being.
Moreover I would like to believe that  Bhagavan out   of his infinite mercy and compassion in some mysterious way still exists within the realms of Brahman as a perfected Siddha who raises to emancipation those who turn to him and also shows the path of enquiry to souls who are ripe for that.
Thanks,
Anand Sundaram.

Ravi.N

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Re: Depression, despair and hopelessness in sadhana
« Reply #40 on: January 22, 2014, 03:56:15 AM »
Anand Sundaram,
Here is an excerpt from The Gospel of Sri Ramakrishna:

"Once Rama asked Hanuman, 'How do you look on Me?' And Hanuman replied: 'O Rama,as long as I have the feeling of "I", I see that Thou art the whole and I am a part; Thou art the Master and I am Thy servant. But when, O Rama, I have the knowledge of Truth, then I realize that Thou art I and I am Thou.'

"The relationship of master and servant is the proper one. Since this 'I' must remain, let the rascal be God's servant.

Evil of "I"and "mine"

"'I' and 'mine' - these constitute ignorance. 'My house', 'my wealth', 'my learning', 'my possessions' - the attitude that prompts one to say such things comes of ignorance. On the contrary, the attitude born of Knowledge is: 'O God, Thou art the Master, and all these things belong to Thee. House, family, children, attendants, friends, are Thine.'

The above teaching wraps up everything about how a devotee views his Ishta,Guru ,God,Self.Truth is one only.A devotee of Sri Bhagavan following the path of self Enquiry or surrender will have the faith that whatever Truth or Shakti that manifested as Sri Ramana Bhagavan is Eternal and the Presence(sannidhi)of the Guru is Eternal-and that this presence is available to all those who open their Heart in Trust ,Faith and a spirit of surrender.The Name and Form of Bhagavan is inseperable from that presence for such a one and he derives all the Guidance and power of the presence by worshipping the form and remembering the name.
A devotee of Shirdi Baba will feel the same thing about sai Baba.A devotee of Lord Sri Krishna will say the same thing about Lord Sri Krishna.All this is valid,as long as there is  genuine devotion.
This very thing becomes a problem when seized by the mind and its penchant for self Gratification,it is turned into fanaticism as Graham had mentioned.
Quote
Having faith in something unknown is difficult to maintain and sometimes leads to fanaticism or failure in the absence of proof
The Genuine Sadhaka knows that Guru is one and only one-Be it Sai Baba Or Ramana Bhagavan or Kanchi Mahaswami.He does not seek to elevate one over the other in a narrow sectarian way.It is quite understandable that one form appeals to him more than others but this is just on account of his own predeliction or disposition.

I wish to add that the Guru not only points to the Truth but he also gives the shakti to tread the path.Ofcourse the devotee has to put in the required self effort.

There is a wonderful chapted called 'Four aids' from Sri Aurobindo's 'Synthesis of Yoga' which covers all these aspects.You may like to look up this post:

http://www.arunachala-ramana.org/forum/index.php?topic=7216.msg32818#msg32818

Namaskar.
« Last Edit: January 22, 2014, 06:51:24 AM by Ravi.N »

Graham

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Re: Depression, despair and hopelessness in sadhana
« Reply #41 on: January 22, 2014, 06:35:45 AM »
Dear All,

I see that my previous response has caused some consternation. This is a difficult area and offence can easily be caused according to the perceptions of the reader. I was reluctant to reply for that very reason and now see some need for clarification of my statements regarding my perceptions.

There are three ways, karma-marga, bhakti-marga and jnana-marga.

Karma-marga requires maintenance of the idea of duality throughout life. Bhakti-marga requires it until the devotee surrenders fully and merges into the object of his devotion, whilst Jnana-marga starts with bhakti and duality, but in the end even that has to be given up.

There are innumerable methods of combining the three and each seeker will adapt according to their capabilities or needs.

The question arises whether Jnana-marga is disrespectful to the guru by discarding duality completely. My answer is that it is not, quite the reverse, because it is true surrender, viewing everything as only One, including the viewer - this does not remove the necessity of maintaining duality until the stage is reached when it can be discarded completely, nor does it imply disregarding the guru.

However, when pursuing jnana-marga I personally feel that it is very important not to confuse the satguru with the body or form, because that is a handle upon which the ego will seize and prevent any real progress on that particular path.

Bhagavan said, "when the devotee turns inwards the work of the outer guru is over and the inner guru (true guru) takes over" (paraphrased).

Yet even in the last stage of Jnana-marga there remains the final surrender to the highest power to make it complete.

So all three paths require surrender.

As to the efficacy of any method, I would recommend everyone to read and re-read the 'Vidya Gita' in Tripura Rahasya.

Graham

atmavichar100

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Re: Depression, despair and hopelessness in sadhana
« Reply #42 on: January 22, 2014, 09:21:26 AM »
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