Knower, knowing and known are all ego | Self-Knowledge | Jnana

True Knowledge is Being devoid of knowledge as well as ignorance of objects. Knowledge of objects is not true knowledge.

~ Forty Verses on Reality, Verse 12, written by Sri Ramana Maharishi

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In Self-Knowledge, neither the knower, the knowing, or the known remain. If any of these three remain, that is ego, that is duality, that is suffering.

So how can this even be called ‘knowledge’? Know that the word ‘knowledge’ is just used to signify that thoughtless non-dual intuition of Reality that is Self.

It, the Self, is indescribable, so various words and phrases, all insufficient, are used, such as ‘knowledge’, ‘know thyself’, ‘be thyself’, etc, etc. None of these are quite right, but these words and phrases can convey something nonetheless, for you ‘know’ this already. You already fully know yourself, so these words can seemingly awaken you to that which you already know.

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To know the Self is just to, having severed the identity with body-mind-name-form-ego, it is just to BE the Self, that which you ARE.

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Self-knowledge is an inherent quality of the Self. Self and Self-Knowledge are one and the same. The Self always fully knows itself. You always fully know what you are. Not that the ego or mind knows – that is maya – but the Self, that which you are, always knows itself non-conceptually, without words, without any mediation by the body or mind.

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This can never be known by the mind-ego. That is why even brain-damage will not remove self-realisation – because self-realisation is not related to the body-mind! Realisation ‘takes’ one ‘beyond body-mind-world! If it didn’t, it would itself be temporary, and liberation is neither temporary nor is it affected by time!

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The Self is Self-Knowledge. But because there is no other that the Self, it cannot be said to be knowledge really, for there is no knower/knowing/known!

❤️🙏❤️

Q. Tom, what do you think of neo-advaita?

Questioner: Tom, what is your view on some of the Neo-Advaitists who do not seem to agree that there is a Self? All I hear from them is ‘there is only what is; there is no self’?

Tom: If you find these types of teaching helpful, meaning if they provide you with some kind of ease/happiness/peace/fulfilment/a sense of freedom, then that is good, and in that case I encourage you to engage with them as there is likely to be something of value there for you.

However my sense is that for the most part they are not truly liberating teachings but are predominantly spoken of from the mental/intellectual level. But what do I know! It is for you to decide what is right for you. What do you think?

Questioner: I’ll be totally honest with you. I can find some peace of mind with many ‘spiritual’ teachings. For instance I sometimes envy my Christian friends who seem so sure they will be spending eternity in heaven, but I left Catholicism and I can never believe that again. With Buddhism and nonduality I see different views within each, some saying there is a self, others denying self.

For me I can navigate life somewhat with some peace and happiness, but there always seems to be the ultimate fear of death no matter what. The neo-Advaitists say they have conquered death because they’ve died already, so to speak. But isn’t that throwing the baby out with the bathwater? So many contradictions.

In Buddhism some say the ‘self’ reincarnates, some, like Zen say there is no such thing. For Ramana is the Self immortal? What Self is there after death? Is it just silent and empty? You say it is found in deep sleep. But deep sleep is still ‘on this side’, in life. It is not the same as death. How can one know death while alive? How is one certain I AM is not also impermanent? Isn’t Ramana’s Self also an objectification? Like I doubt the truth of my Christian friends’ heaven, I always doubt that Self.

Tom: Yes, I had all these same doubts as you. My idea was to keep on searching until I found something that gave me all the answers I was looking for. The problem is that you will not find such a thing! There are always unanswered questions and problems with all spiritual systems and teachings on the conceptual level if you are intellectually probing/questioning enough.

However for me what then happened is that I unexpectedly fell in love with Sri Ramana Maharshi, and started to develop faith in his teachings (even though I perceived many ‘flaws’ and problems with his teachings). However, it was following his teachings with faith and love and devotion, despite the apparent problems with the teachings, that allowed all my doubts and questions to be answered and resolved so that now none remain. So this is what I share now.

Namaste

Spiritual, emotional and non-dual guidance & counselling with Tom Das

For the last seven years I have been actively guiding people in their spiritual, emotional and human journeys. From non-duality and spiritual experiences, to helping people through relationship and practical issues, I have met with hundreds of people and have pretty much seen it all!

It’s a deep honour and privilege for me to assist people in this way.

If you feel moved to, you can now book a 1 to 1 session with me directly using this link.

To find out more about what I offer, pricing, etc, please see this link here.

Namaste & best wishes

Tom

Sattvic, Rajasic and Tamasic Spirituality | Sri Ramakrishna Paramhamsa

(Understanding this can be a great help on the spiritual journey, my comments are in red)

Question. What is the difference between the Sattvic, the Rajasic and the Tamasic ways of worship?

Sri Ramakrishna:

The man who worships from the very depth of his heart without the least ostentation or vanity is a Sattvic worshipper.

Tom: the sattvic (peaceful) worshiper is the highest form of worshiper, pure of heart and of intent. They do not make a great grand show of their spirituality and care not for outer forms, unlike the rajasic one:

The man who gives much attention to decorating his house, makes much fuss about music and dancing, and makes all costly and elaborate arrangements for a rich feast when celebrating the worship of the Deity, is a Rajasic worshipper.

Tom: the rajasic (passionate) worshipper tends to be concerned more about appearances, pleasure and activity. They may pay great attention to decoration, dress, ceremony, outward appearance and what others think of them. They may tend to wear spiritual-looking clothes and have spiritual-looking paraphenalia and accesories and make a show of spiritual-looking rituals. They may look and sound more spiritual than they actually are. Still lower than them is the tamasic one:

The man who immolates hundreds of innocent goats and sheep on the altar, has dishes of meat and wine for offerings, and is absorbed only in dancing and singing while conducting worship, is a Tamasic worshipper.

Tom: The tamasic (dull) one here is essentially shows to be a hedonist, one who is interested in sense-pleasures and, for this end, they are willing to abuse their own body (eg. with excessive food and wine) and engage in immoral activity (eg. the unnecessary slaughtering of animals) in order to satisfy their wants and apetites.

~ Sayings of Sri Ramakrishna no. 239

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Tom: whilst the above may perhaps sound judgemental, I think it is better not to think of it in this way: we can instead see them as descriptions of stages of spiritual growth that many of us often go though, and each stage often has a role to play:

eg. in the tamasic stage, we are often dealing with supressed emotional pain and trauma, in the rajasic stage we are often developing self-esteem and self-worth, and in the sattvic stage we are learning to be more peaceful and pure, perhaps having already healed ourself of many of our psychological traumas and developed a healthy sense of self-esteem.

We can also use this as a way to guage where spiritual teachers/groups/teachings themselves are – are they sharing a tamasic, rajasic or sattvic type of spirituality?

These 3 (sattva, rajas and sattva) are known as the 3 energies of Maya or the 3 gunas.

Have you found this teaching to be helpful for you? Please leave a comment to let me know…

Also see:

The three energies (three Gunas)

A True Teacher Doesn’t Foster Dependence | The Three Gunas | Shedding Negative Self-Concepts

Q. I genuinely understand the teachings but still egoic tendencies arise. What can I do?

Ramana Maharshi: The path to Self Realisation (includes teachings on the Self, the mind, rajas and tamas, vasanas and Samadhi)

Pure sattva is the Self | Ramana Maharshi

Q. How to recognise a True Spiritual Teacher?

Tom: If we are honest with ourselves and earnest in our desire for freedom, we will only find the teacher/teaching that is right for us at any one particular time. We will only be able to discern the true teacher according to the wisdom that is flowing through us, which is inversely proportional to the strength of our ego-mind. However, more important than the teacher is the seeker – as long as your heart is pure and you are discerning, open and self-honest, then you will certainly find your way 🙏

Spend time in Reality, not in Illusion

(As much as you are able to)

Spend time in Reality,

Not in illusion.

_________________________

*Reality: Unchanging & Unmoving Silence, Stillness, Formless Objectless Consciousness-Being-Love-Bliss-Awareness devoid of body-mind-world. ie. Attending to the Subject-Self

*Illusion: Maya, the three states, name and form, identifying as a body-mind living in a world. ie. Attending to name & form & objects.

No body, no mind, no world

All that which is seen or perceived is an utter illusion. In reality there is no body, no mind and no world. There is only the One Formless Blissful Reality and You Are That. This must be discovered for oneself. The Reality, That which you ARE, which is unseen, is often overlooked, ignored.

When this is pointed out, those overly-attached to their individuality – ie. those overly attached to the notion of being a particular body-mind and their worldly life – they may cite this as being an offensive, impractical or life-denying teaching. In doing this they miss the Eternal Life of Unending Bliss!

But do not concern yourself with all of this: of course, this is all part of the illusion, the dream…Have faith in Bhagavan Sri Ramana and His Teachings and His Grace…press on with your Sadhana!

Piercing the veil of illusion

When the mind starts to become profoundly still, and starts to shake off the notion ‘I am a body-mind, I am a person’, then not only does deep Bliss-Oneness-Love start to arise and the sense of individuality wane, but the intuition-seeing occurs that all of these things we perceive – such as body, mind and world – all of these are intuited-seen-perceived to be just a mere dancing of thought, a mere projection of mind-stuff, like a dream: empty, unreal, illusory, nothing more.

As thoughts markedly and profoundly slow down, all this comes to be seen directly.

Q. Is it your view that Nirvikalpa Samadhi leads to Liberation? | Advaita Vedanta | The 108 Upanishads PDF Download

See below for the link to download the 108 Upanishads as a PDF file

Tom: note this is not my view, but the view of Vedanta, ie. the Upanishads, also known as Shruti. The Upanishads and Jnanis state this again and again in various ways. The highest authority in the Vedanta teachings are the Upanishads. In fact, strictly speaking, ‘Vedanta’ simply refers to the teachings found in the Upanishads. If we actually read the Upanishads for ourselves – there are 108* classical Upanishads – we will see this same teaching being given again and again.

eg.

The knot of ignorance in the heart is broken completely only when one sees his Self as secondless through Nirvikalpa Samadhi

~ Adhyatma Upanishad 1.17

Hasn’t Guru Bhagavan Sri Ramana Maharshi told us that all paths must end in Silence, also known as Nirvikalpa Samadhi, also known as Jnana, which is nothing other than the Pure Objectless Self!

However, to answer your question directly, it is also my own view. My views on this remain unchanged – what made you think otherwise?**

Namaste and Pranams 🙏

*There are classically 108 Upanishads, all of which are considered to be authoritative in Vedanta teachings. However 10-12 of the Upanishads have more recently been designated ‘Major Upanishads’ as these are the ones that Sri Shankara wrote commentaries upon, and the remaining 96-98 Upanishads are often referred to as ‘Minor Upanishads’. However strictly speaking the so-called Minor Upanishads are no less important than the so-called major ones, and traditionally many think the Minor Upanishads are for the more advanced students of Vedanta. Often the ‘Minor’ Upanishads teach a very clear and direct approach to Vedanta, so perhaps Shankara just commented on those Upanishads that were less easy to understand? Either way, read them for yourself if you get the chance. You can find them here:

**This reply was given to someone who thought my views on this matter had changed

Q. Why do the Upanishads repeatedly state the Self is located ‘within the body’ in the ‘Heart’ or ‘Cavern of the Heart’? | Advaita Vedanta

Tom: Why do the Upanishads constantly repeat and say the Self is located within the body, in the ‘heart’ or ‘cavern of the heart’ within the body? Why is this repeated time and time again? At the same time it is said the the Self is nothing to do with the body? And at the same time it is said the Self is All, everywhere?

Answer (also from Tom): It is because the Upanishads and vedanta scriptures again and again tell us to turn our attention away from objective phenomena and towards the Divine Within, which is nothing but Our True Self, the I Am, the Subject.

ie. It is only to help us turn within that the scriptures say ‘it is in the heart, located in the body, the size of a thumb’, etc, etc.

eg. from the Katha Upanishad:

2.1.12 The Puruṣa (Self), of the size of a thumb, resides in the middle of the body as the lord of the past and the future, (he who knows Him) fears no more. This verily is That.

and

2.3.17. The Purusha of the size of a thumb, the internal atman, is always seated in the heart of all living creatures; one should draw him out from one’s own body boldly, as stalk from grass; one should know him as pure and immortal; one should know him as pure and immortal.

See this post where Sri Ramana makes the teaching clear: Remove Nama-Rupa (Name & Form) to reveal Sat-Chit-Ananda (the Self)