The perfect awakening into Self-knowledge happens in just a split second | Ramana Maharshi

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.

Should I get married & have kids or renounce the world and concentrate on Liberation? Self-Realisation

In this video Tom responds to a question whether to get married and have kids or stay single and concentrate on attaining liberation. Tom warns us to beware of the mind racing towards liberation, which can be egoic.

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 meditation’ playlist see here: https://www.youtube.com/c/TomDasNonduality/playlist/

For recommended reading for liberation see here: https://tomdas.com/2020/10/19/recommended-reading-books-for-enlightenment-liberation-and-self-realisation/

To book a 1 to 1 session with Tom see here: https://tomdas.com/nondual-spiritual-counsellor/

Q. What is ego?

Q. What is ego?

Tom: if there is any sense of individuality whatsoever, then that is ego; if there is any sense or something apart or outside of you, then that is ego; if there is any sense of multiplicity, that is ego; if there is any notion ‘I am the body-mind’, then that is ego. The ego, no matter how refined, is suffering. The ego is the body-mind-world appearance.

In Reality, there has never been any ego, there has never been any duality or multiplicity, there has never been any suffering whatsoever. Reality is only Infinite Love & Bliss, Infinite Being-Consciousness, Formless-Spirit-Bliss.

To realise this one must turn within.

Furthermore:

To say ‘there is no ego’ without turning within and dissolving into Reality – that is merely the ego-mind saying ‘there is no ego’.

To say ‘all is One’ without venturing inwards and discovering the Self (by Being That) – that is merely the ego-mind saying ‘all is One’.

In this way (through not turning within, through not inquiring into the Subject-Self) ego-mind-suffering-duality continue.

Hence the instruction to turn within.

Furthermore:

The true teachings always emphasise the Subject (Reality or Self) and to turn towards and discover That, whereas false teachings emphasise objects, stating things like ‘all these objects are already That so no need to turn within’ and ‘there already is no ego so no need to turn within for what entity could even turn within?’. So egotism, duality and suffering are perpetuated.

Therefore turn within and discover what you truly are

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Advaita Vedanta – all thoughts must go! The need to still the mind and end all thinking according to the Upanishads and Shankara’s commentaries | Nirvikalpa Samadhi

There are so many verses both in the Upanishads and in Shankara’s commentaries which state that all thoughts must be extinguished for liberation to occur. Here are some of these verses (and there are many many more!):

(Note I have not included the numerous verses from Shankara’s text called Vivekachudamani which repeatedly advocates the thoughtless state of Nirvikalpa Samadhi which can be found in a separate post here)

When the five organs of perception become still, together with the mind, and the intellect ceases to be active: that is called the Supreme State [Brahma-Vidya or Self Knowledge]
~Katha Upanishad 2.3.10

Shankara’s commentary on this above verse (Katha Upanishad, verse 2.3.10) states the following:

‘At the time when the five senses…, together with the mind…, which is now no longer functioning and thinking, are at rest in the Self alone, after turning away from objects, and with the intellect…no longer engaging with its functioning, that they call the highest state [Brahma-Vidya or Self-Knowledge].’

This is reminiscent of the Amritabindu Upanishad and also of the Adhyatma Upanishad, both of which are considered to be traditional Upanishads in the Advaita Vedanta/ Jnana tradition:

The mind severed from all connection with sensual objects, and prevented from functioning out, awakes into the light of the heart, and finds the highest condition. The mind should be prevented from functioning, until it dissolves itself in the heart. This is Jnana, this is Dhyana, the rest is all mere concoction of untruth.
~ Amritabindu Upanishad

The knot of the ignorance in the heart is broken completely only when one sees his Self as secondless through Nirvikalpa Samadhi
~Adhyatama Upanishad 1.17

Gaudapada writes in verse 3.38 of his Mandukya Karika:

There can be no acceptance or rejection where all mentation stops. Then knowledge is established in the Self and is unborn, and it becomes homogenous

Shankara’s commentary on this verse 3.38 is as follows:

…therefore there is no rejection or acceptance in It, where thought does not exist. That is to say, how can there be rejection or acceptance where no mentation is possible in the absence of the mind? As soon as there comes the realisation of the Truth that is the Self, then, in the absence of any object, knowledge (Jnanam) is established in the Self, like the heat of fire in fire. It is then birthless (ajati) and becomes homogenous.

‘…when the mind becomes quiescent and does not give rise to appearances, it verily becomes Brahman
~ Gaudapada, Mandukya Upanishad Karika 3.46

Shankara clarifies this further in his commentary on Mandukya Karika 3.46:

‘When the mind brought under discipline by the above-mentioned methods, does not fall into the oblivion of deep sleep, nor is distracted by external objects, that is to say, when the mind becomes quiescent like the flame of a light kept in a windless place; or when the mind does not appear in the form of an object – when the mind is endowed with these characteristics, it verily becomes one with Brahman.’

Anandagiri, a 13th century commentator on Shankara’s works, confirms this in his comments on Karika 3.46:
‘The external objects are nothing but the activities of the mind itself.’

So we can see that mind activity and external objects are one and the same, and that samadhi is devoid of both

The knowers of Brahman say that absolute Jnanam, knowledge, which is akalpakam [devoid of thoughts], and is therefore ajam, birthless…
~ Shankara’s commentary on Gaudapada Karika 3.33

This duality as a whole, that is mano-drsyam, perceived by the mind; is nothing but the mind, which is itself imagined – this is the proposition [Tom: ie. meaning of the verse]. For duality endures so long as the mind does, and disappears with the disappearance of the mind.
~ Shankara’s commentary on Gaudapada Karika 3.31

It has been said that when the mind is divested of ideation by virtue of the realisation of Truth that is Brahman, and when there is an absence of external objects (of perception), it becomes tranquil, controlled, and withdrawn, like fire that has no fuel. And it has further been said that when the mind thus ceases to be mind, duality also disappears.
~ Shankara’s commentary on Gaudapada Karika 3.33

‘The controlled mind is verily the fearless Brahman
~Gaudapada Karika 3.35

On p.149 of The Method of Vedanta by SSS, SSS quotes from Chapter 6 of the Bhagavad Gita to explain in more detail the method of Nididhyasana, as follows:

‘That yoga should certainly be practised with resolute mind. Giving up without exception all desires that come from individual, will, restraining the sense-organs on every side through the mind, one should gradually withdraw from all activity, with will and intellect firmly controlled; keeping the mind fixed on the Self, one should not think of anything. Wherever the fickle mind wanders, one should bring it back and fix it on the Self alone, under firm control. Supreme joy comes to such a yogi, whose mind is at perfect peace, whose lusts have subsided, who is sinless and who has become the Absolute.’

I thought I would end with Bhagavan Sri Ramana Maharshi’s view of the scriptures and their purpose:

All the jnana scriptures that teach the way to redemption proclaim in unison that restraining and stilling the mind is the best means for liberation. This is also emphasised by jnanis. If, after a certain amount of study, one knows this to be the inner purport of the scriptures, one should then direct ones whole effort towards that [practice]. What is the use of continuously studying more and more scriptures without doing this?
~Sri Ramana Maharshi, Guru Vachaka Kovai verse 141

Also see:

How can the Jnani (sage) function with NO THOUGHTS? Sri Ramana Maharshi

Does stillness of mind lead to liberation?

The ‘ultimate means’ to liberation

A very useful teaching: Structural and Dynamic (or functional) aspects of the ego | Liberation

This is a very useful teaching for those seeking spiritual liberation. I also have written about this here in this article: Essential teachings for liberation: we need a ‘double teaching’ as we suffer from ‘double ignorance’| The ‘two wings’ of the teaching | Buddhism | Vedanta

A joyful spiritual practice for liberation: ‘Genuine Spiritual Feeling’

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.

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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

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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.

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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)

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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.

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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.

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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.

A key feature of a genuine teaching | Exporing false (non-liberating) teachings

This video describes a Key Feature of a Genuinely Liberating Teaching

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: https://tomdas.com/2020/10/19/recommended-reading-books-for-enlightenment-liberation-and-self-realisation/

To book a 1 to 1 session with Tom see here: https://tomdas.com/nondual-spiritual-counsellor/