The following is taken from Sadhana Saram, a wonderful text that explains the teachings of Sri Ramana Maharshi written by Sri Sadhu Om, a direct devotee of Sri Ramana’s:
48. The Manner of the Dawn of Knowledge (Janodaya Vidham)
268. Death happens in a split second. Awakening from sleep happens in a split second. Similarly, the destruction of the delusion of individuality happens in just a split second. True knowledge is not something that can be gained and then lost. If a person feels that true knowledge is coming and going, he is still only in the state of practice (or abhyasa). It cannot be said that such a person has attained true Self-knowledge.
The perfect awakening into the state of Self-knowledge happens in just a split second. That state is not attained gradually over a long period of time. All the sadhanas that are practiced over a period of many years are meant only for attaining blemishless maturity.
Listen to an apt illustration. After people have placed gunpowder in the iron barrel of a temple-cannon, after they have added broken pieces of brick, after they have packed it tight with a ramrod, after they have placed a wick in contact with the powder, and after they have plastered the open end of the barrel with clay, as soon as the charge is ignited it will explode in a split second with a blast that sounds like thunder.
Similarly, after one has learnt the truth about the real Self through hearing and reading, after one has practiced sadhana for a long time, after one has wept and prayed with heart-melting devotion, and after one has thereby attained purity of mind, the knowledge of the reality will instantaneously shine forth in a split second as “I am I”. As soon as the dawn of Self-knowledge thus takes place, due to the clear shining of the reality of this state, which is an empty space devoid of objective knowledge, will be spontaneously realized to be the state of true knowledge, which is our beginningless real nature.
This video is an excerpt from a longer video – for the full video see here: https://youtu.be/fnhHxwONihY
Just to have and allow ‘genuine spiritual feeling’, just this is enough. If attended to and nurtured, if allowed to naturally deepen of its own accord, it will, in its own time and own way, overcome you with Love, destroying you, revealing All to be Divine Oneness-Love-Happiness-Bliss, your Own True Nature.
Like a tiny mustard seed that grows to overcome great city walls, simply by nuturing this ‘spiritual feeling’ or ‘connection with the Divine’, the vast ocean of duality is transcended, in time, effortlessly and with joy, without one even caring for concepts such as Spiritual Practice, Spritual Progress, Liberation or Non-duality.
Beware to those who are stuck in the prison-house of concepts: those who cling to concepts of duality and non-duality, concepts doing and non-doing, concepts oneness and many – these people remain trapped in a prison of their own making, endlessly chattering to themselves, ignoring the Vast Open Fertile Pastures of Love that lie in their very midst.
That which perceives the limited body-mind is itself the Unlimited. Growing more and more still, feeling more and more Love, following your Heart within, Infinite Truth-Reality-Oneness-Bliss is gently revealed as your Own Being
To simply have ‘spritual feeling’ moment by moment, to have this ‘spiritual connection’ of joy and love every day, whenever we remember, and to allow it to deepen of its own accord – this is a wonderful, intuitive & joyful way of effacing the ego and allowing the Divine Within that is All-Emcompassing Love and our Own True Nature to blossom, flower and bloom.
Those overly reliant on intellectual arguments, scriptures and concepts will never connect to the true Spiritual Way which shines from Within* with Wholeness, Oneness and Love.
We must leave behind the barren field of words to discover the fertile pastures of the Divine that is All-Embracing Love.
(*’Within’ here just means you don’t have to go anywhere ‘outside’ to find it and that it is not dependent on any particular object of perception that arises or falls)
What is ‘Spiritual Feeling’? It is simply to feel good, wholesome, happy, connected. It is to connect with Presence. It is an Openness and Gentle Surrender to Life and Love and God and Self.
Question: But I thought the practice of Self-Enquiry is that of Self-Attention or Awareness Watching Awareness and for that we need to turn away from objects towards the Subject-Self. How does this fit in?
Tom: This simple practice of allowing Natural Spiritual Feeling to arise by itself will take you everywhere you need to go. It is the path of Love, the path of Surrender, the path of Bhakti. It will calm and purify the mind, filling it with joy and love, removing it of negative (tamasic) qualities. It will then quieten the mind, removing the passionate and anxious aspects of mind (Rajas). Thus far the practice has not turned away from the world – it is a Saguna or Savikalpa practice (ie. practice with objects being present). Then the practice, when it is ready, will naturally turn Nirvikalpa or Nirguna, ie. there will be a natural turning towards Source or Self, also known as God or Sri Ramana (the Guru Within). All will happen in good time. It may well happen quicker than you think!
For this to happen it is useful to have read and been aware of Bhagavan Ramana’s teachings, eg. as set out in The Path of Sri Ramana, and it can also be useful to adopt Vivarta Vada, which is the view that everything perceived (ie. mind, body and world) is actually an illusory projection of ignorance/ego/maya. Often if Bhagavan’s Teachings are not known, the mind will continue to cling to objects, taking them to be real and thinking objects will lead us to our goal.
Question. What is our Goal?
Tom: Our goal is One. It is simply to be Happy and Free, without any misery, as Sri Bhagavan states in the opening paragraph of Nan Yar? (Who am I?). We just want to feel good. There is nothing wrong with this. This desire for Happiness is an innocent desire and is the greatest of our desires. It is actually the Desire for Liberation, the Desire to Know and Be What We Truly Are. For this the only way is Self-Enquiry. The Path of Bhakti naturally and joyfully takes us to Self-Enquiry.
The only danger on this path is that we remain caught up in objects. Eventually we must ‘go Nirvikalpa’. But all in good time. Bhakti will turn us within when the time is right without us (the ego) having to worry about such things – practically speaking all we have to do is connect with ‘spiritual feeling’, have faith in it, and let this feeling grow and guide us.
In this video Tom answers questions like:
-How do you know you are free from suffering?
-How do you know that you have reached the absolute?
-Does the enlightened body still feel pain, hunger, cold and psychological discomforts?
-How to shed the believe that we are the body-mind?
This video was recorded live during a Satsang meeting with Tom Das and put together by volunteers.
To attend satsang, see here: https://tomdas.com/events
For guided meditations see the ‘guided meditation’ playlist here: https://www.youtube.com/c/TomDasNonduality/playlists
For recommended reading for liberation see here:
To book a 1 to 1 session with Tom see here:
The following is taken from The Sutra of Hui Neng (also known as the Platform Sutra), Chapter 2 entitled ‘On Prajna’. My comments are interspersed in italicised red:
The wisdom of Buddhas, past, present and future, as well as the teachings of the twelve sections of the canon are immanent in the mind, but in case we fail to enlighten ourselves, we have to seek the guidance of the pious and learned.
Tom: the essential teaching is within ourselves or ‘immanent in the mind’. Only if we do not enlighten ourselves with our own inner wisdom do we need the external teacher (‘the pious and the learned’)
On the other hand those who enlighten themselves need no extraneous help. It is wrong to insist upon the idea that we cannot obtain liberation without the assistance of the pious and learned. It is by our innate wisdom that we enlighten ourselves, and even the extraneous help and instruction of a pious and learned friend would be of no use so long as one is deluded by false doctrines and erroneous views.
Tom: ie. it is possible for illumination to occur without an outer teacher as the true wisdom of enlightenment is our very nature. How can this be done? All we have to do is realise our true nature, what Hui Neng here calls ‘Essence of Mind’, and we will certainly and immediately be Buddhas, let us see:
As we introspect our minds with Prajñā, all erroneous views will disappear of themselves, and just as soon as we realise Essence of Mind we will immediately arrive at the Buddha stage.
Tom: Hui Neng states that if we look within at our true nature or ‘minds’ with Prajna, all erroneous views or ignorance will disappear spontaneously, and this is realisation of Essence of Mind or True Nature, and this is also the same a Buddhahood or enlightenment. So, how ‘introspect with prajna’? Hui Neng will explain. Prajna means wisdom or insight:
When we use Prajñā for introspection we are illuminated within and without and are in position to know our own nature. To realise our own nature is to obtain fundamental liberation. To obtain liberation is to attain the Samadhi of Prajñā, which is ‘thoughtlessness’.
Tom: Hui Neng explains that realising our true nature is liberation. This is also known as ‘thoughtlessness’. What is this ‘thoughtlessness’? Let us see:
What is ‘thoughtlessness? ‘Thoughtlessness’ is to see and to realise all dharmas (things) with a mind free from attachment. In action Prajñā is everywhere present yet it “sticks” nowhere. What we have to do is to so purify the mind that the six vijnanas (aspects of consciousness sight, sound, smell, taste, touch, mentation) in passing through their six sense-gates will neither be defiled by nor attached to their six sense-objects. When our mind works freely without any hindrance and is at liberty “to come” or “to go, “then we have attained the intuitive insight of Prajñā, which is emancipation. To enable one to attain such a mental state of freedom is the function of intuitive insight.
Tom: In summary Hui Neng is stating that when the mind functions free from attachment to both gross and subtle objects, that is liberation. This non-attachment is also known as ‘thoughtlessness’. We can see this is in keeping with the Buddha’s more classical teachings which essentially state the same. We can also see this is in keeping with the Vedanta teachings in which lack of identification with and attachment to the body, mind and world is the same as Self-Realisation.
Sri Ramana Maharshi states the following in Maharshi’s Gospel, Chapter 3 entitled ‘Mind Control‘:
Questioner: Does Bhagavan condemn dvaita Philosophy?
Sri Ramana Maharshi :Dvaita can subsist only when you identify the Self with the not-Self. Advaita is non-identification.
Now Hui Neng will tell us what not to do:
To refrain from thinking of anything, in the sense that all mental activity is suppressed, is to be Dharma-ridden; this is an extremely erroneous view. (Discriminative thought which leads to desire and attachment, or to aversion and defilement, is to be controlled in the interests of intuitive thought which leads to self-realisation and freedom.)
Those who understand the way of ‘thoughtlessness’ will know everything; they will have the experience that all the Buddhas have had, and they will attain Buddhahood.
Tom: later on in the same chapter Hui Neng quotes a long verse that he composed himself for the benefit of those listening to him – here are a couple of excerpts I have chosen to quote here:
To illumine our gloomy tabernacle, which is stained by defilement,
We should constantly set up the Light of Wisdom.
Erroneous views keep us in defilement
While right views remove us from it,
But when we are in a position to discard both of them
We are then absolutely pure.
Right views are called ‘transcendental’;
Erroneous views are called ‘worldly’.
When all views, right or erroneous, are discarded
Then the essence of Bodhi appears.
This stanza is for the ‘Sudden’ School.