Q. Why does Advaita Vedanta more commonly refer to ‘Self’ rather than ‘no-self’?

Q. Why does Advaita Vedanta more commonly refer to ‘Self’ rather than ‘no-self’?

Tom: it is because the Non-Dual Reality that we Truly Are is only discovered when we turn towards the sense of ‘I’ or ‘I AM’, otherwise known as ‘Self’. This is the single factor that leads to realisation.

The language of the teaching is there to facilitate the method of discovery of the Self that we truly are, and this discovery is Total Liberation.

How so?

By stating that we are the Self, we are encouraged to discover this for our self in our own experience, and so turn our attention selfwards, ie. towards the Subject or ‘I AM’. When that Self that we are is discovered, only then do notions of Self or no-self themselves become obsolete.

For those who are interested this is explained in detail in the book The Path of Sri Ramana – Part 1, especially in Chapter 8

Here are 2 verses from Sri Ramana Maharshi (taken from the text Guru Vachaka Kovai):

393.One who has wisely chosen the straight path
Of self-enquiry can never go astray;
For like the bright, clear Sun, the Self
Reveals itself direct to whoso
Turns towards it.

391. Those who do not dive into the Heart
And there confront the Self in the five sheaths hid
Are only students answering out of books
Clever questions raised by books,
And not true seekers of the Self.

Many more verses like this can be found here.

Also see:

Q. Why turn within? Nonduality as I have experienced it is the actual disappearance of what is considered within and without, one seamless blending

Q. Isn’t it the ego that wants to turn within or end the ego? | Why we need to turn within | Advaita Paradox

Q. Isn’t it the ego that wants to turn within or end the ego?

Tom: yes, it is only the ego, also known as thought or mind, that requires a teaching or needs to turn within.

Because the ego-I is an unreal illusion and doesn’t really exist, when it turns within towards the Subject or I AM, the ego and all multiplicity/duality disappear and the (true) Self is revealed as Self by the Self.

Through (the ego) turning within, the Reality that is Eternal Timeless Thoughtless Bliss-Love is revealed. This Reality is what you are, what you have always been, and is beyond words, but the above words (…thoughtless bliss…) are just used as indicators.

Without turning within, it is merely the ego proclaiming ‘there is no ego’ or ‘all is already perfect’ or something similar, and the teaching remains on the superficial levels of concepts and words only, and the illusion of suffering and duality continue.

As long as ego-mind-thoughts persist, there is need for effort or spiritual practice (sadhana), for ego-mind-thought is duality, ego-mind-thought is suffering.

As long as separation or multiplicity is perceived in any way shape or form, there is need for effort or sadhana.

As long as identification with body-mind continues (and therefore desire, fear and suffering continue), there is need for effort or sadhana.

However the Self itself is beyond any such efforts!

Oh, the paradox! However, turn within towards your Self, towards I AM, towards the Subject, and all these paradoxes will be resolved and dissolved in the Reality-That-Is.

❤️

Except by the Lord’s Grace (Sri Ramana Maharshi | Tips for Self-Enquiry | Guru Vachaka Kovai)

‘Except by the Lord’s Grace, which begins to function when one surrenders oneself completely to His Feet with sincere devotion, It [The Reality] cannot be cognised merely by the skill of the mind of the jiva [the apparently individual person]. So subtle is the reality.’

~Sri Ramana Maharshi (Guru Vachaka Kovai, Verse 648, translated by Sri Sadhu Om and Michael James)


Here is the same verse 648 translated by T.V. Venkatasubramanian, Robert Butler and David Godman:

‘Know that reality is so extremely subtle, it cannot be known and realised through the exertions of the jiva‘s intellect, but only through the Grace of God, which manifests when you offer yourself up with love at His Feet’


Here is the next verse, verse 649 translated by T.V. Venkatasubramanian, Robert Butler and David Godman:

‘Do not wander and search, having failed to find the Abiding State in spite of receiving tuition in all the arts and sciences, and thoroughly mastering them. The Supreme State is to abide wholly as the Reality that remains enshrined as the form of Love’

Just through Being Still

Be still.

Just be still.

Gently,

Without force,

Allow all thoughts to subside,

In their own time,

So that only Stillness (Subject-Self-Consciousness) remains.


All doubts, confusions and questions

Will gently fade away effortlessly,

By themselves,

Just through Being Still.


Have faith in your Self-Nature

(Or Guru or God),

Know you are One and All,

And armed with this Knowing-Faith-Intuition,

Surrender,

And Be Still


Once one starts to gain experience in Being Still/turning within,

All teachings that do not encourage stillness or turning within

To discover the Pure Subject-Self/Divine Essence,

Are seen to be utterly superficial, egoic

And of the nature of delusion.


The Simple Being

That is your own True Self or True Nature

(Also known by more grandiose terms

Such as ‘Ultimate Truth’ or ‘Thoughtless Reality’ or ‘God’)

Will be revealed as simply your own Being

Or Isness

Devoid of objective arisings,

Just through Being Still.


‘You’ will discover your own True Self,

which is naturally devoid of arising objective phenomena,

just through Being Still.


Suffering will slips away of its own accord,

there being nowhere for it to attach itself to,

just through Being Still.


Bliss overflows
Infinity Dawns,
Eternity Rises,
Consuming all:
One is thrust into Eternal Life-Joy-Bliss,
One with Source (‘The Father’)

Just through Being Still


All duality is destroyed,
And with it suffering and egoity also disappear,
As the many waters of duality,
Flow into the Ocean of Unity,
(That is my Beloved Guru Bhagavan Sri Ramana,
Who is Grace,
Oneness itself)

Just through Being Still


Without Being Still,
(Also known as Self-Enquiry, Self-Surrender, Abiding as Self,
Being with God, Being with Guru, Residing in The Heart,
Turning Within, Awareness Watching Awareness, Self-Attention,
Parabhakti, Samadhi, Meditation,
Yoga, Devotion, Loving Self/God
Nididhyasana, Silence, Just Being),
Without this Sadhana (Spiritual Practice),
Know that ego-duality-confusion-suffering-samsara will continue potentially forever until the practice is undertaken.

Therefore,
Be Still.


For those who find themselves unable to practice thus,

Contemplate deeply upon this:

What will bring Eternal Joy-Peace-Happiness-Bliss?

Attending to/paying attention to that which changes (ie. various objects that arise and fall)

Or paying attention to that which never changes (the Subject-Consciousness-Self)?

Contemplating thus,

Know that attending to objects/maya simply leads to more objects/maya,

And thus more ego & suffering.

Contemplate this deeply.

Contemplating deeply, and knowing thus,
Discover what You Are:
Abide as the Self,
And Be Still.


Therefore

Be still.

Just be still.

Gently,

Without force,

Allow all thoughts to subside,

In their own time,

So that only Stillness (Subject-Self-Consciousness) remains.

❤️🙏❤️

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.

❤️

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.