Devotee: How can any enquiry initiated by the ego reveal its own unreality?
Sri Ramana Maharshi: The ego’s phenomenal existence is transcended when you dive into the Source wherefrom arises the aham-vritti [I-concept].
D: But is not the aham-vritti only one of the three forms in which the ego manifests itself? Yoga Vasishtha and other ancient texts describe the ego as having a threefold form.
M: It is so. The ego is described as having three bodies, the gross, the subtle and the causal, but that is only for the purposes of analytical exposition. If the method of enquiry were to depend on the ego’s form, you may take it that any enquiry would become altogether impossible, because the forms the ego may assume are legion. Therefore, for purposes of jnana vichara, you have to proceed on the basis that the ego has but one form, namely that of aham-vritti.
D: But it may prove inadequate for realizing jnana.
M: Self-enquiry by following the clue of aham-vritti is just like the dog tracing its master by his scent. The master may be at some distant, unknown place, but that does not at all stand in the way of the dog tracing him. The master’s scent is an infallible clue for the animal, and nothing else, such as the dress he wears, or his build and stature etc, counts. The dog holds on to that scent undistractedly while searching for him, and finally it succeeds in tracing him.
The teachings of Sri Ramana Maharshi, Maharshi’s Gospel. Chapter VI ‘AHAM AND AHAM-VRITTI’
84. Because the true Self is eternally perfect awareness-love-bliss and eternally free of all suffering, some people think there is no need for spiritual practice. Such a notion is an ego preservation strategy. The purpose of practice is not to gain the true Self. The purpose of practice is to remove the illusion of a body, a world, suffering, etc. so that what remains is only the eternal experience of the True Self.
85. In other words, those who have let the ego trick them into thinking there is no need for spiritual practice, because the True Self is eternally free of suffering, etc., are still having the experience of suffering, a body, a world, etc. Thus their experience is not consistent with their concept that the True Self is eternally free of suffering and perfectly blissful. This is an example of intellectual ‘spirituality’. This is an example of people confusing a journey through concepts, ideas, beliefs and opinions with an authentic spiritual journey. Practice leads to the direct experience of Infinite-Eternal-Awareness-Love-Bliss
86. A journey through spiritual concepts, ideas, beliefs, teachings and opinions is a journey through illusions.
87. Practice is what is essential. It must not be a spiritual practice that is creaed by the ego for the purpose of preserving the ego.
88. With the Awareness Watching Awareness Method, the practice is the progress. The habit has been developed of always looking outward towards the seen. The Awareness Watching Awareness Method reverses this. Every time a thought arises, or the tendency to look outward, the attention is taken away from the thought and turned towards the seer.
89. Thus with the Awareness Watching Awareness Method a new habit is developed and the practice is the progress…
The above is an excerpt from the book The Most Direct Means to Eternal Bliss by Michael Langford. You can download a copy of the entire book here.
What you are is what you are. It can never be known by the mind. The thinking mind can never discover what you are. This is knowledge, supreme knowledge, supreme realisation as opposed to mundane or worldly knowledge. This knowledge is your Being. It is known by being what you are. So when this question is asked, ‘Who am I? What am I?’ The answer is not the words ‘I am’, the answer is what those words signify.
This video was recorded live during a Satsang meeting with Tom Das and put together by volunteers.
See https://tomdas.com/events for further information
Q. I want to see if I comprehend properly, between the terms self-effort and self-inquiry, because what comes into my mind is letting go, which seems to be somehow in contradiction to the term effort.”
Here are four quotes of Sri Nisargadatta Maharaj that conveys the essence of his teachings. They are all taken from the book I Am That. Read them several times, contemplate what he is trying to convey, and put the teachings into practice.
Q. Why turn within at all? Nonduality as I have experienced it is the actual disappearance of what is considered within and without. One seamless blending.
Tom: It’s fairly easy for many to realise there is no real within or without, ie. that what we consider inner, such as the mind and thoughts, are non-separate from the supposed outer world. It is all one movement. But it is usually the mind that realises this, in combination with some kind of a genuine seeing.
However these teachings I share here are to end suffering. Most people interested in non-duality do realise on some level the false dividing line between self and other (ie. inner and outer), but suffering still continues due to the habitual egoic tendencies (vasanas).
Basically, the false identity as the ego-mind entity remains intact at a deeper level, and the essential notion of individuality still survives and is believed in despite the ego-mind saying ‘all is one’ or ‘this is it’ or ‘there is already no ego’ or ‘there is already no duality’.
Without turning inward first, it ends up being the ego-mind proclaiming ‘there is no inner/outer’ or ‘all is one’, etc.
After turning inwards, it is then eventually seen that there is no inner/outer, but it is not the ego that sees this and co-opts this, but it is merely the absence of the ego which is itself the illusion of separation.
It is for this reason practice is almost always required – to end duality at its root and not just on a superficial level. Otherwise the ego-mind, and suffering, both continue.
For a more in-depth understanding of the path to liberation/moksha, please see here: The Path of Sri Ramana