Wednesday, August 31, 2016

What is the correct way to pursue self-enquiry?

AS: Bhagavan has said: 'When thoughts arise stop them from developing by enquiring, "To whom is this thought coming?" as soon as the thought appears. What does it matter if many thoughts keep coming up? Enquire into their origin or find out who has the thoughts and sooner or later the flow of thoughts will stop.'

This is how self-enquiry should be practised.

When Bhagavan spoke like this he sometimes used the analogy of a besieged fort. If one systematically closes off all the entrances to such a fort and then picks off the occupants one by one as they try to come out, sooner or later the fort will be empty. Bhagavan said that we should apply these same tactics to the mind. How to go about doing this? Seal off the entrances and exits to the mind by not reacting to rising thoughts or sense impressions. Don't let new ideas, judgements, likes, dislikes, etc. enter the mind, and don't let rising thoughts flourish and escape your attention. When you have sealed off the mind in this way, challenge each emerging thought as it appears by asking, 'Where have you come from?' or 'Who is the person who is having this thought?' If you can do this continuously , with full attention, new thoughts will appear momentarily and then disappear. If you can maintain the siege for long enough, a time will come when no more thoughts arise; or if they do, they will only be fleeting, undistracting images on the periphery of consciousness. In that thought-free state you will begin to experience yourself as consciousness, not as mind or body.

However, if you relax your vigilance even for a few seconds and allow new thoughts to escape and develop unchallenged, the siege will be lifted and the mind will regain some or all of its former strength. 

In a real fort the occupants need a continuous supply of food and water to hold out during a siege. When the supplies run out, the occupants must surrender or die. In the fort of the mind the occupants, which are thoughts, need a thinker to pay attention to them and indulge in them. If the thinker withholds his attention from rising thoughts or challenges them before they have a chance to develop, the thoughts will all die of starvation. You challenge them by repeatedly asking yourself 'Who am I?' 'Who is the person who is having these thoughts?' If the challenge is to be effective you must make it before the rising thought has had a chance to develop to a stream of thoughts.

Mind is only a collection of thoughts and the thinker who thinks them. The thinker is the 'I'-thought, the primal thought which rises from the Self before all others, which identifies with all other thoughts and says, 'I am this body'. when you have eradicated all thoughts except for the thinker himself by ceaseless enquiry or by refusing to give them any attention, the 'I' - thought sinks into the Heart and surrenders, leaving behind it only an awareness of consciousness. This surrender will only take place when the 'I' - thought has ceased to identify with rising thoughts. While there are still stray thoughts which attract or evade your attention, the 'I' - thought will always be directing its attention outwards rather than inwards. The purpose of self-enquiry is to make they 'I' - thought move inwards, towards the Self. This will happen automatically as soon as you cease to be interested in any of your rising thoughts. 

How am I to know if i am making any progress in my meditation?

AS: Those who meditate a lot often develop a subtle form of ego. They become pleased with the idea that they are making some progress; they become pleased with the states of peace and bliss that they enjoy; they become pleased that they have learned to exercise some control over their wayward minds.; or they may derive some satisfaction from the fact that they have found a good Guru or a good method of meditation. All these feelings are ego feelings. When ego feelings are present, awareness of the Self is absent. The thought 'I am meditating' is an ego thought. If real meditation is taking place, this thought cannot rise.

Don't worry about whether you are making progress or not. Just keep your attention on the Self twenty-four hours a day. Meditation is not something that should be done in a particular position at a particular time. It is an awareness and an attitude that must persist throughout the day. The be effective, meditation must be continuous.

If you want to water a field you dig a channel to the field and send water continuously along it for a lengthy period of time. If you send water for only ten seconds and then stop, the water sinks into the ground even before it reaches the field. You will not be able to reach the Self and stay there without a prolonged, continuous effort. Each time you give up trying, or get distracted, some of your previous effort goes to waste.

Continuous inhalation and exhalation are necessary for the continuance of life. Continuous meditation is necessary for all those who want to stay in the Self. 

Learn to recognise 'I am the body' - thoughts (I must eat now etc) and stay firmly in the Self. Don't allow the mind to identify with anything that the body does.

Tuesday, August 30, 2016

Don't be deluded by your thoughts and vasanas. They are always trying to trick you into believing that you are a real person, that the world is real, and that all your problems are real. Don't fight them; just ignore them. Don't accept delivery of all the wrong ideas that keep coming to you. Establish yourself in the conviction that you are the Self and that nothing can stick to you or affect you. Once you have that conviction you will find that you automatically ignore the habits of the mind. When the rejection of mental activities become continuous and automatic, you will begin to have the experience of the Self. 

If you see two strangers quarrelling in the distance you do not give much attention to them because you know that the dispute is none of your business. Treat the contents of your mind in the same way. Instead of filling your mind with thoughts and then organising fights between them, pay not attention to the mind at all. Rest quietly in the feeling of 'I am', which is consciousness, and cultivate the attitude that all thoughts, all perceptions are 'not me'. When you have learned to regard your mind as a distinct stranger, you will not pay any attention all the obstacles it keeps inventing for you.

Mental problems feed on the attention that you give them. The more you worry about them, the stronger they become. If you ignore them, they lose their power and finally vanish.

Why can't I see the Self clearly? Why is it hidden from me?

You say that everything is the Self, even maya. If this is so, why can't I see the Self clearly? Why is it hidden from me?

AS: Because you are looking in the wrong direction. You have the idea that the Self is something that you see or experience. This is not so. The Self is the awareness or the consciousness in which the seeing and the experiencing take place. 

Even if you don't see the Self, the Self is still there. Bhagavan sometimes remarked humorously: 'People just open a newspaper and glance through it. Then they say, "I have seen the paper". But really they haven't seen the paper, they have only seen the letters and pictures that are on it. There can be no words or pictures without the paper, but people always forget the paper while they are reading the words.'

Bhagavan would then use this analogy to show that while people see the names and forms that appear on the screen of consciousness, they ignore the scree itself. With this kind of partial vision it is easy to come to the conclusion that all forms are unconnected with each other and separate from the person who sees them. If people were to be aware of the consciousness instead of the forms that appear in it, they would realise that all forms are just appearances which manifest within the one indivisible consciousness.

That consciousness is the Self that you are looking for. You can be that consciousness but you can never see it because it is not something that is separate from you.

How does maya operate? How does it originate?

How does maya operate? How does it originate? Since nothing exists except the Self, how does the Self manage to conceal its own nature from itself?

AS: The self, which is infinite power and the source of all power, is indivisible. Yet within this indivisible Self there are five saktis or powers, with varying functions, which operate simultaneously. The five skates are creation, preservation, destruction, veiling (which is maya sakti) and grace. The fifth sakti, grace, counteracts and removes the fourth skate, which is maya.

When maya is totally inactive, that is, when the identity with the body and the mind has been dropped, there is an awareness of consciousness, of being. When one is established in that state there is no body, no mind and no world. These three things are just ideas which are brought into an apparent existence when maya is present and active.

When maya is active, the sole effective way to dissolve it is the path shown by Bhagavan: one must do self-enquire and discriminate between what is real and what is unreal. It is the power of maya which makes us believe in the reality of things which have no reality outside our imagination. If you ask, 'What are these imaginary things?' the answer is, 'Everything that is not the formless Self'. The Self alone is real; everything else is a figment of our imagination.

It is not helpful to enquire why there is maya and how it operates. If you are in a boat which is leaking, you don't waste time asking whether the hole was made by an Italian, a Frenchman or an Indian. You just plug the leak. Don't worry about where the maya comes from. Put all your energy into escaping from its effects. If you try to investigate the origin of maya with your mind you are doomed to fail because any answer you come up with will be a maya answer. If you want to understand how maya operates and originates you should establish yourself in the Self, the one place where you can be free of it, and then watch how it takes you over each time you fail to keep your attention there. 
Q: You talk a lot about vasanas. Could you please tell me exactly what they are and how they function?

AS: Vasanas are habits of the mind. They are mistaken identifications and the repeated thought patters that occur again and again. It is the vasanas which cover up the experience of the Self. Vasanas arise, catch your attention , and pull you toward towards the world rather than inwards towards the Self. This happens so often and so continuously that the mind never gets a chance to rest or to understand its real nature.

Cocks like to claw the ground. It is a perpetual habit with them. Even if they are standing on bare rock they still try to scratch the ground.

Vasanas function in much the same way. They are habits and patterns of thought that appear again and again even if they are not wanted. Most of our ideas and thoughts are incorrect. When they rise habitually as vasanas they brainwash us into thinking that they are true. The fundamental vasanas such as 'I am the body' or 'I am the mind' have appeared in us so many times that we automatically accept that they are true. Even our desire to transcend our vasanas is a vasana. When we think 'I must meditate' or 'I must make an effort' we are just organising a fight between two different vasanas. You can only escape the habits of the mind by abiding in consciousness as consciousness. 

Be who you are. Be as  you are. Just be still. Ignore all the vasanas that rise in the mind and instead fix your attention in the Self.

Q: How can one learn not to react when vasanas arise in the mind? Is there anything special that we should be looking out for?

AS: You must learn to recognise them when they arise. That is the only way. If you catch them early enough and frequently enough they will not cause you much trouble. If you want to pay attention to a special area of danger, watch how the five senses operate. It is the nature of mind to seek stimulation through the five senses. The mind catches hold of sense impressions and processes them in such a way that they produce long chains of uncontrolled thoughts. Learn to watch how your senses behave. Learn to watch how the mind reacts to sense impressions. If you can stop the mind from reacting to sense impressions you can eliminate a large number of your vasanas.

Saturday, August 27, 2016

Did God create the world in the beginning with as many differences as there are now? Or did these differences only come into being after some time?

Bhagavan: The answer to all these questions will shine forth of its own accord if you ask yourself, 'To whom did these questions occur?'

After knowing ourselves first, if we then look into the world created by God, we will understand the truth. To try to know God and the world without knowing oneself first is ignorance indeed. The opinions of a man who does not know himself are like those of a man suffering from jaundice who ells other people that the colour of everything is yellow. Who will agree with him?

A small seed contains a big banyan tree, but which came first, the tree or the seed? What can one say in answer to this question?

There is one real answer to such questions: 'If one knows oneself, there is no world'

Friday, August 26, 2016

The apparent dichotomy between meditation and worldly life prompted me to ask a question of my own.

Q: How is it that one gets the same happiness from worldly activities that one gets from meditation?

Bhagavan explained that contrasting emotions were all a product of the mind. 

'One's happiness and suffering are dependent on one's mental state. Happiness is our natural state. Suffering occurs when one leaves the Self and thinks that the body and the mind are 'I'. What to do about this? The thought 'I am this body' has been strengthened over many births. What remains after it has been destroyed is happiness'

Bhagavan had not directly answered my question about the different types of happiness but the matter was clarified later when another devotee asked a similar question:

Q: Bhagavan, the shastras talk about so many different kinds of ananda [happiness or bliss]. Are there really so many different types?

Bhagavan: No. Ananda is only one. That ananda is itself God. Our natural state is ananda. Because this is experienced externally through various sensual enjoyments, various names are given to it. However many varieties of happiness are enjoyed, many millions of varieties of miseries will also have to be experienced. But this is not so far a jnani. He enjoys all the happiness enjoyed by everyone in the world as his own Brahmananda [bliss of Brahman]. Brahmananda is like an ocean. The external type of happiness are like the waves, foam, bubbles and ripples. 

Ananda is common to all in sleep. All living things and all human beings from a pauper to an emperor experience ananda equally while they are asleep.
Q: Sometimes there is meditation, at other times there are worldly activities. What is the difference between the two?

Bhagavan: To be in meditation and to be in activity are both the same. It is like calling the same object by its name in two different languages; like the crow only having one eye but seeing in two different directions; like the elephant using the same trunk for the two activities of breathing and drinking water; like the cobra using its eyes for the two functions of seeing and hearing. 

He quoted verse 2.173 from Kaivalya Navanitam:

If you always remain aware that "I" am perfect consciousness, what does it matter how much you think, or what you do? All this is unreal, like dream visions after waking. 'I' am all bliss!

Bhagavan on mind

Someone once asked Bhagavan about the rupa [form] and arupa [formless] mind.

Bhagavan: Pure mind has the name manakasa [space mind or empty mind]. Immediately on waking from sleep a clarity of awareness [jnapti] arises, without exception, in all people. That is the formless mind. Thoughts such as, 'I am the body,' 'This is the world,' arise after that. This is the mind with form. In a cinema show the light appears first. The forms appear on the screen only after that. Likewise, the light of the Self comes first and provides the space for everything that follows. 

Q: What method should I use to make my mind steady and firm?

Bhagavan: It is sufficient to think always of one thing. If the mind does not obey, again start thinking of only one thing. In the course of time the mind will obey your orders.

Avoid sleep during meditation.

AS: What must I do to avoid sleep during my mediation?

Bhagavan: Meditators must not work too much, nor should they fill their stomachs with excessive food. The more one fills the stomach, the lower one's mental state becomes. If the stomach is mostly empty, one will go higher spiritually. One should not tighten the strings of Vina either to much or too little. The body must be kept like that.

Likewise with sleep. One third of the night has been allowed for sleep. That is, one must go to bed at 10 PM and wake up at 2 AM. One should not sleep during the day time. There is another system also. One should get up whenever one wakes up and one should sleep whenever sleep comes. But one should not think, "I slept" or "I woke up"

Then he quoted verse 33 of Devikalottara.

The mind often strays into reveries or falls asleep. Be vigilant and turn it into its pristine state again and again.
Question: What is the fruit of one's life?

Bhagavan: If a person thinks that he must conduct himself according to the true principles of life, that itself is the fruit of great tapas done in his previous life. Those who do not think in this way are wasting their time. 

Waking and dream states

Bhagavan once made the following remarks about the waking and dream states. 

'The world vision which appears in the waking state and the world vision which appears in the dream state are both the same. There is not even a trace of a difference. The dream state happens merely to prove the unreality of the world which we see in the waking state. This is one of the operations of God's grace'

'The world of the waking state changes in the same way as the world of the dream state. Both are equally insubstantial and equally unreal.'

'The world is always changing. It is not permanent. But we exist unchanged in all the three states of waking, dreaming and sleeping. Nobody can truthfully say, "I did not exist during these three states". Therefor we must conclude that this "I" is the permanent substance because everything else is in a state of perpetual flux. If you never forget this, this is liberation'.

'The world does not say that it was created in the collective mind or that it was created in the individual mind. It only appears in your small mind. If your mind gets destroyed, there will be no world'

'If we go beyond this waking dream and see only our real Self we will discover that there is no world and that there are no 'other people'. On the other hand, if we move away from the Self and see the world, we find that we are in bondage'

Bhagavan summarised these views a little later by saying, 'Every jiva is seeing a separate world but a jnani does not see anything other than himself. This is the state of truth'


Bhagavan often said that since there was no suffering in the Self, all suffering must inevitably be a product of the mind.

When I once asked him, "Is there no way to escape from worldly suffering?" he gave me a typical reply: 'The only remedy is to remain in the state of Self without losing awareness of it'

Question: How is it that so much suffering comes to people who behave virtuously?

Bhagavan: It is good if suffering comes to devotees. The dhobi, when washing clothes, beats them hard against a rock. But he does so only to remove the dirt from the clothes. Similarly, all the sufferings are given for the sole purpose of purifying the mind of the devotee. If we are patient, happiness will follow.

Question: When one person does good deeds, suffering comes to him. But another person who does many bad deeds may not suffer at all. Why is this?

Bhagavan: Everyone is getting happiness and suffering as a result of the karma which has been carried forward from previous births. Accepting both patiently and remaining in the Self, doing whatever actions one happens to be engaged in without seeking happiness or suffering in them, that alone is good.

The enquiry 'Who am I?' leads to the cessation of suffering and the acquisition of supreme bliss. 
Since Bhagavan was so frequently extolling the greatness of satsang and grace, I once asked him, 'It is said that moksha is attained easily only with the grace of the Guru. How is that so?'

Bhagavan replied, 'The house of moksha is not anywhere outside. It is within everyone. Whoever has a strong desire to attain moksha is being pulled by the Guru who is within. The Guru who is on the outside raises his hand and pushes him inwards. This is how the Guru's grace operates'

Bhagavan then quoted two of his favourite verses from Kaivalyla Navanitam in which the disciple thanks the Guru for giving him the grace, which enabled him to realise the Self.

1.86 'Lord, you are the reality remaining as my inmost Self, ruling me during all my countless incarnations! Glory to you who have put on an external form in order to instruct me! I do not see ho i can repay your grace for having liberated me. Glory! Glory to your holy feet!'

1.87: The Master beamed on him as he spoke, drew him near and said very lovingly: 'To stay fixed in the Self, without the three kinds of obstacles [ignorance, doubt and knowledge derived from false premises] obstructing your experience, is the highest return you can render me.'
A devotee asked Bhagavan, 'Why does a jnani appear to bestow his grace on some people and show anger to others? Why does the jnani not correct all those who come to him? What is it that jnanis work for?'

Bhagavan answered: 'The maturity and past karma of each sadhaka is different. Because of this janis must speak in different ways to different people'

The he quoted five verses from Kaivalyla Navanitam:

2.60 Disciple: 'O Master, who are bliss incarnate, how is it that God, who is impartial, advances a few and degrades others?'

Master: 'He is like the father who encourages his sons who are on the right path and who frowns on the other sons who are going in the wrong direction. Know that it is very merciful to punish the erring and turn them towards righteousness'

2.61: O son, whose fetters of worldly life are broken! The celestial wish-fulfilling tree, fire, and water protect those who seek them by fulfilling their desires, keeping them warm and quenching their thirst, So also Iswara is kind to his devotees and not so to others. Now think well and judge whose fault it is.'

2.50: Master: 'My son, the jivas are unlimited, and their actions are also similarly unlimited. In three sections [karma, upasana and jnana] the beneficent Vedas prescribe according to the aptitudes of seekers, with preliminary views succeeded by final conclusions, as flowers by fruits'

2.59: Those fools head for disaster who, in their ignorance, attribute to God the six evils [lust, anger, greed, delusion, conceit and jealously], which are of their own making, but the wise will gain untainted deliverance by recognising that the same evils are of their own making and not God's.

2.35: 'My good boy, hear me further. The activities of the sage are solely for the uplift of the world. He does not stand to lose or gain anything. The Almighty, who is the only store of grace for the world, is not affected by the merits or demerits of the beings in the world'

'Bhagavan says that to be still means to be ever active, and that to be silent means to be ever speaking. I don't understand how this can be so.'

'Is that so?' answered Bhagavan. 'Can you see that "I am"?'

'Yes, I can see,' I said.

'How do you see?' asked Bhagavan

I confessed that I do not know how it was seen.

Bhagavan gave me an explanation: 'Just like that, "to be still" means "to be ever working". Working does not mean working with a hoe in one's hand. Working means to shine always as "That" [the Self]. Only silence is ever speaking. Moreover, both are the same. This is just what the great sages have expressed as, "I am remembering without forgetting," "I am worshipping without becoming separate," "I am thinking without thinking," "I am telling without telling," "I am listening without listening," and so on. If you don't speak, God will come and speak. The greatest scripture is the silent exposition. Only if you read this scripture will all doubts cease. Otherwise, even if you read crores of books countless times, doubts will never cease'.

Bhagavan once gave a similar answer to a devotee who began by complaining, 'I do not know where this "I" is.'

Bhagavan answered him by saying, 'Be where the "I" is'.

The following day the same man told Bhagavan, 'I do not know whether to go back to my village and do my work or just keep quiet'.

Bhagavan said, 'Eating, bathing, going to the toilet, talking, thinking, and many other activities related to the body are all work. How is it that the performance of one particular act is alone work? To be still is to be always engaged in work. To be silent is to be always talking'

Thursday, August 25, 2016

Bhagavan to Annamalai Swami:

Do not cling to the form of the Guru, for this will perish; do not cling to his feet for his attendants will stop you. The true Bhagavan resides in your Heart as your own Self. This is who I truly am.
Bhagavan: If one has no faith in God one will commit a lot of sins and be miserable. But you, you are a mature devotee. When the mind has attained maturity, in that mature state, if one thinks that one is separate from God, one will fall into the same state as an atheist who has no belief in God.

You are a mature sadhaka. It is not necessary for you to come here any more. Stay in Palakottu and do your meditation there. Try to efface the notion that you are different from God.
My life with Bhagavan taught me the value of faith, obedience and surrender. When i obeyed Bhagavan's words, or had complete faith that he would look after all my spiritual and physical needs, everything went well. When i tried to mould my own destiny (such as the time I went to live in the cave and the time I ran away to Polur) things went badly. Life's lessons have thus taught me the value and necessity of complete surrender. If one surrenders completely to Bhagavan; if one lives by his words, ignoring all others; if one has enough faith in Bhagavan to stop making plans about the future; if one can banish all doubts and worries by having faith in Bhagavan's omnipotence - then, and only then, Bhagavan will bend and mould one's circumstances, transforming them in such a way that one's spiritual and physical needs are always satisfied. 
O God, you know my mind, you know my actions. If, in spite of this, you chase me away from you, I shall have my troubles - Thayumanavar
Bhagavan to Annamalai Swami:

You are not the body, you are not the mind. You are the pure consciousness, the Self. You are all-pervasive. Be aware of this at all times, even while you are working
Annamalai Swami: I have this desire to live in a place where nobody visits. I feel another desire to get food without any effort. I also want to meditate constantly with my eyes closed, without seeing the world at all. These desires often come to me. Are they good or bad?

'If you have desires such as these,' said Bhagavan, 'You will have to take another birth to fulfil them. What does it matter where you stay? Keep your mind always in the Self. There is no solitary place apart from the Self. Wherever the mind is, that place is always crowded.

'It is not necessary to close the eyes when you meditate. It will be sufficient if you merely close the mind's eye. There is no world outside you which is not in the mind.

'One who leads a righteous life will never make plans of this sort. Why? Because God has already decided what will happen to us even before sending us into this world.'

[Verse from Sivananda Lahiri which Bhagavan asked AS to memorise.]

One may practise austerities in a cave, or in a house, or in the open air, or in a forest, or on top of a mountain, or standing in water, or surrounded by fire, but what is the use? O Sambhu! Real yoga is the state in which one's mind constantly abides at your feet. One who has realised this sate is a true yogi. He alone enjoys bliss.

Wednesday, August 24, 2016

Bhagavan repeatedly told me, 'Don't forget your real nature. It is not necessary that you should sit and meditate. You should meditate all the time, even while you are working'

'This right-side Heart-centre is not the true Heart', he said. 'The real Heart is not located anywhere. It is all-pervasive'

'Stop meditating on the Heart-centre,' he continued. 'Find the source. That is the true Heart. Just as electricity comes not from the individual meter boxes in people's house but from a single source, so too the whole world has a single source, which is the Self or the Heart. Seek and enquire into this source of limitless energy. If the centre of the Self were really located in the body, the Self would die when the body dies.'
On another occasion, while he was giving me some building plans, he wrote out a verse from the Thirukkural and gave it to me:

"The state of oneness in which one is established in the Self is greater than a big mountain"

When Annamalai Swami went to Bhagavan for help to control his sexual desires.

Why should you always be thinking that an evil thought occurred at such and such a time in the past? If you instead meditate "To whom does this thought come?" it will fly away of its own accord. You are not the body or the mind, your are the Self. Meditate on this and all your desires will leave you.

Bhagavan on Greatness

[When Ganapathi Muni and Chinnaswami were arguing as to who is the greatest disciple, they came to Bhagavan for arbitration]

Bhagavan gave them a gentle reminder about the necessity of humility on the spiritual path.

Whatever effort is made by whichever person, that which is the reality will always remain. No one, however great, can give another person either moksha or bandha [bondage or liberation]

It is natural for a person to think that he should be well-known to the people of the world and be praised by them. But if this thought is present one cannot attain true greatness or happiness. God is not interested in those who promote their own claims to greatness. One who is not satisfactory to God is an inferior person, not a great one. If anyone dedicates both his mind and his body to God in every possible way, God will make him be famous and praised by people all over the world.

Bhagavan then supported his remarks by quoting a verse from Vairagya Satakam,

O mind, you are thinking how to make the people of the world regard you as great. The ever existing God alone is the one who bestows bondage and liberation. What is the use of others knowing your greatness? O mind, perform the rare tapas of surrendering to the holy golden feet of God. Then God will make you so great that the world will know your greatness and praise you. Know thus.

Those who suppress the though 'I am great' by not paying any attention to it, the Vedas will say that they are great.  Those who say 'I am great' are small people. Say, other than them, who will undergo misery in this world?

- Sivabhoga Saram, verse 96

[This incident is mentioned in Talk no: 544]

Tuesday, August 23, 2016

Angad decides to fast until death

Unable to find Sita, the monkey troop led by Angad becomes very dejected. Angad is convinced that Sugriva will take them to task if he reports failure. They are caught between the devil and the deep sea, Sugreeva and Indian Ocean, and resort to lay their lives by fasting unto death

Angad makes his conviction clear that his future in Kishkinta is bleak with Sugriva at the helm. Even though he was anointed the crown-prince, he still is suspicious of Sugriva


"We were sent out scheduling time calculating from the month of aashviiyuja nearly October. Even that time fixed for us has also lapsed. Thereby, what is to be done next? [4-53-9]

"As of now our mission is incomplete hence we are scheduled to die, and there is no doubt about it. Who can be complacent by keeping the directive of monkey's king incomplete? [4-53-12]

"But in this matter of course, as the time set by Sugreeva is lapsed, it is appropriate for all of us forest dwelling monkeys to voluntarily undertake fasting unto death. [4-53-13]

"Instinctively Sugreeva is a tormentor and now he is institutionalised in lordship, thus he will not condone any of us as we will be as good as transgressors if we were to return. [4-53-14]

"Sugreeva commits sin alone in our respect by killing all of us as we failed in the facts about Seetha, therefore it is pertinent to enter upon fasting unto, leaving off our sons, wives, riches and houses and homes, too. [4-53-15, 16a]

"That king Sugreeva definitely and freakishly tortures all of us on our going back futilely, hence suicide at this place is justifiable for all us. [4-53-16b, c]

Akampana rushes to Lanka to break the news of the death of Khara and Dushana

There are variations to this in other versions where Soorpanagai seems to break this news to Ravana. In Valmiki Ramayana, it is said that his spy Akampana informs this and suggests Ravana to abduct Seetha. Because parting with Seetha will cause intolerable grief to Rama leading to his death
Then on going hurriedly from Janasthaana and on speedily entering Lanka Akampana spoke these words to Ravana. [3-31-1]
"Oh, king, many demons positioned in Janasthaana are killed, Khara is also killed in war, and somehow I have come here. [3-31-2]

Bhagavan on Namaskaram.

When Bhagavan was going for a walk along the foot of the hill, an ashram worker saw him, stopped his work, and prostrated full length on the ground. 

Bhagavan told him, 'If you do your duty properly, that itself is a great namaskaram. If everyone did his own appointed duty [swadharma], without swerving from it, it would be easy to reach the Self'

A devotee once approached Bhagavan and asked him if he could prostrate to him and touch his feet.

Bhagavan replied: 'The real feet of Bhagavan exist only in the heart of the devotee. To hold onto these feet incessantly is true happiness. You will be disappointed if you hold onto my physical feet because one day this physical body will disappear. The greatest worship is worshipping the Guru's feet that are within oneself'

Bhagavan once defined the true nature of Nirvikalpa samadhi in the following way: 'The mere non-perception of differences [vikalpas] outside is not the real nature of firm Nirvikalpa. Know that the non-rising of differences in the dead mind alone is the true Nirvikalpa. 

Guru Vachaka Kovai, verse 893
When Annamalai Swami asked Bhagavan, 'What is Samadhi?'

Bhagavan replied by showing, 
25th verse, Chapter 45, Ribhu Gita. Nidaga explains to his Guru, Ribhu, how he attained Samadhi.

'I is forever Brahman and Brahman is indeed 'I'. This conviction, when firmly experienced, is known as unshaken Samadhi. That is samadhi when there is thought-free nirvikalpa [no differences] abidance, freed from all appearances of duality. My Lord, through these two types of samadhi I have attained the bliss of jivanmukta [liberation while still alive] and become the spotless Supreme.

One day I asked Bhagavan, "If one attains jnana, what indications will there be that one has reached the spiritual goal?"
Bhagavan replied by composing the following verse:
Know that the power of intellect and lustre will automatically increase in those who have know the reality, just as the trees on this earthshine forth with all qualities such as beauty as soon as spring comes
[Tamil translation of a verse book 5, 76.20 from Yoga Vasishta]

Monday, August 22, 2016

Rama issues a veiled threat to Sugriva.

Rama increasingly grows restless as time passes by without any indication of Sugriva launching the search of Sita on his own accord. 

After 4 months elapses, Rama becomes furious and asks Lakshmana to remind Sugriva of his duties and threaten him.

He spoke thus to Lakshmana, 

"Just like how i killed Vaali, let not the same fate befall on Sugriva. I killed only Vaali on that day. But today, i will end up killing Sugriva along with his kith and kin. Let Sugriva not get to meet Vaali in heaven"

Again, it's surprising that Rama speaks these words but later he mellows down and advises Lakshmana to talk placatingly and convey the message suitably.


"He computed the time for search of Seetha well, and entered into a treaty with me as well, but on achieving his means that base-minded one is unmindful of it. [4-30-69]

" 'He who promises the requesters that have come under his shelter, and especially those that have cooperated earlier, but breaks that promise, and even shatters their hope, he is the worst fellow in the world. [4-30-71]

" 'Whether it is good or bad, he who promises a word, and truthfully takes action for its accomplishment, indeed he is the champion and a best one among men. [4-30-72]

" 'Indeed, those that have achieved their means through their friends, but do not come to the rescue of the same friends whose means are still unachieved, the carrion-devourers will not devour even the flesh of those ingrates after their death. [4-30-73]

" 'You definitely aspire to see that facet of the gold-spined bow of mine which in simile will be like a cluster of electric-discharges when I fully stretch it in war. [4-30-74]

"But, oh, prince Lakshmana, Sugreeva is fully aware of my valour... be that as it may... oh, brave one, I am not alarmed as I have you as my associate. [4-30-76]

"But on promising to get back after rainy season that king of vanara-s is insensible to the slipping away of those four months time of rainy season, for he is wallowing in his pleasures. [4-30-78]

"Oh, great-mighty Lakshmana, you may proceed to Kishkindha and let Sugreeva know through you as to how my fury takes shape, and oh, brave one, he may be told this word also. [4-30-80]

" 'Oh, Sugreeva, abide by your commitment. The path by which slain Vali has gone is not tapered off, as such do not tread Vali's path. [4-30-81]

" 'In a clash Vali is slain singly with my arrow, but I wish to slay you along with your kith and kin since you have transgressed truthfulness. [4-30-82]

" 'Oh, king of monkeys, on apperceiving the perpetual virtuousness in what you have promised to me, render it as a reality. Otherwise, now driven by my arrows to death, and on going to Yama, the Time-god's Inferno, you will see Vali " Thus Rama appraised Lakshmana about his thinking of Sugreeva. [4-30-84]

"Unbearable is this anger that is tiding quickly, now I shall kill that unfaithful Sugreeva and the best braving monkeys shall search for that princess Seetha, remaining under the command of Vali's son, Angada." Thus said Lakshmana to Rama. [4-31-4]

"Lakshmana, as person with righteous conduct you are not supposed to understand this matter in this way, or undertake in this way, but you are supposed to adhere to those aspects of friendliness with Sugreeva and the affinity earlier existed in dealing with him. [4-31-7]

"It will be apt of you to speak to that reneger Sugreeva with placating words rather than with caustic remarks, as his sin is no more than flouting the timeframe." Thus Rama said to Lakshmana. [4-31-8]

That brave one and the slayer of braving enemies Lakshmana thus schooled expediently by his elder brother about the means of gainfulness, that best one among men proceeded to enter the city of Kishkindha. [4-31-9]

Sugriva's coronation happens at Kishkinta

Hanuman proposes that the coronation of Sugreeva is to be performed under the aegis of Rama. Rama suggests Angada be crowned as crown prince and Sugriva anointed as the king of Kishkinta. 

Rama explains his inability to participate in his coronation as he cannot enter a village or a city. Neither did Lakshmana participate in the proceedings


"And if you empower, this Sugreeva will enter the propitious city Kishkindha along with a group good-hearted friends, and he will get anointed procedurally with various essences and herbal-extracts as its king, and thus he can revamp all the administration. [4-26-5b, 6]

"He would like to honour you in a remarkable way with garlands and precious gems, hence it will be apt of you to enter this delightful mountain cave, namely Kishkindha, and you may kindly consolidate the congenial affinity between the governor and the governed for the very high exhilaration of Vanara-s." Hanuma appealed Rama in this way. [4-26-7, 8a]

When Hanuma said so, Rama the destroyer of valiant foes, an intellectual and an enunciator replied Hanuma in this way. [4-26-8b, 9a]

"As a conformist to the directives of my father, oh, gentle Hanuma, I am not supposed to enter either a village or a city. [4-26-9b, 10a]

"As and when the best one among Vanara-s valorous Sugreeva enters the highly flourishing and statuesquely Kishkindha, he shall be enthroned in the kingdom, immediately and procedurally. [4-26-10b, 11a]

"You may even crown this brave Angada as crown prince, he is the eldest son of your elder brother, his bravery is kindred to that of his father, and thus this enthusiastic Angada will be a well-chosen designee for the crown-princeship. [4-26-12b, 13]

Sugriva accepts Hanuman's advice

Seeing Sugriva indulge in worldly pleasures, forgetting totally about his word to Rama, Hanuman advises Sugriva to honour his words to Rama and their friendship. He reminds that it's imperative that Sugriva preempts before the soft spoken and well-mannered Rama confronts him and reminds his obligation -- at which point Sugriva would be considered to have failed in his duty.

To Sugriva's credit, he realises his folly and immediately orders all his army to be assembled by Neela. He even decrees that capital punishment will be handed over to any of his soldiers that fail to reach his capital within 15 days.

This happens before an enraged Lakshmana arrives at Sugriva's court.


"He fulfilled an exceptional cherish of yours without much doubting for the forfeiture of his own life, hence we search for his wife Vaidehi anywhere on earth or even on skies. [4-29-23]

"Therefore command us, oh, merited one, as you have more than ten million unchallengeable monkeys under your command, as to who should start from where and for which purpose, and as to how one should exert himself." Thus Hanuma appealed to Sugreeva. [4-29-27]

And the noble minded Sugreeva directed Nila, one of the commanders of vanara army, and who always strives to foregather vanara army, to foregather all of the monkey-forces available in all the directions. [4-29-29]

"You have to have organise that way as to how my army in its entirety and from all over, together with corps commanders, is to be marshalled to stay in the cutting edge of army. [4-29-30]

"Those that are the quickstepped, venturesome fly-jumpers who are the defenders on the perimeter of army, they shall be fetched quickly and speedily at my order, and oh, Niila, you on your own have to personally and closely monitor the military establishment without any heterogeneity. [4-29-31]

"And, the monkey who arrives here after fifteen nights, to him termination of life is the punishment, there is no business for further adjudication. [4-29-32]

"Associated with Angada you shall approach elderly monkeys like Jambavanta and others, according to my decision and authorised by my order." Thus, Sugreeva, the king of best monkeys on assigning the set-up, and ordering Niila, the Commander of Vanara Forces, that glorious Sugreeva re-entered his palace-chambers. [4-29-33]

Rama hides and kills Vaali

This has been a subject of numerous debates and character analysis of Rama. 

This one act does seem to cast a stain on otherwise spotless and virtuous character of Rama. Vaali himself fumes and rants at the apparent injustice in being killed while be engaged in a duel with another.

There's extensive analysis of the text and it's not very clear if Rama indeed killed Vaali by hiding. There is some small room for doubt that all might have not been fair in the duel between Rama and Vaali but nothing is conclusive.

Here's the analysis of all the events leading up to the fight with Sugriva, slaying of Vaali, conversation with Rama and finally Vaali's acceptance and repentance of his mistake.

First challenge

Rama's intention on being unable to distinguish between them is not clear here. It might be that he needed identification to shoot down Vaali while hiding. It should not be assumed that they were fighting next to each other. Valmiki says that they threw boulders and trees at each other and fought all over the forest. But still, why would Rama need the identification while he can challenge Vaali directly?

Since this attempt was unsuccessful it's difficult to gauge Rama's intention and we need to look at the second challenge by Sugriva in order to assess Rama's intentions

They all on quickly going to Kishkindha, the city of Vali, hedged themselves in the thickets of forest trees and waited. [4-12-14]

For which reason Raghava could not differentiate between Sugreeva or Vali, for the same reason did not make up his mind to release his arrow, otherwise it would have been a deadening arrow, as confusion is the only reason for Rama. [4-12-20]

Meanwhile Sugreeva is unable to spot out his benefactor Raghava as Vali whacked him down, and thereby he immediately fled to Mt. Rishyamuka. [4-12-21]

"Thereby, oh, great monkey, I have not released this great speeded and enemy annihilating arrow of mine as I was confused in the similarity of your personalities. [4-12-32]

"I was ambiguous by your similarities, as such I have not released this ghastly and life-taking arrow, otherwise the basic object of ours will be ruined, isn't it. [4-12-33]


Tara's advice to Vaali before he leaves for the second challenge by Sugriva.

"Those that are born in Ikshvaku dynasty, sons of the king of Ayodhya, valiant and unconquerable ones in war, called Rama and Lakshmana are there in this country. These two unassailable ones have chanced there at Sugreeva's place to fulfil the longing desire of Sugreeva. [4-15-17, 18a]

"He is an acclaimed one for his warfare, and like the fire flaring up at the end of era he shatters the strength of enemies, and he is Rama your brother's helpmate, they say so. [4-15-18b, 19a]

And he is said to the habitable tree for the polite, the ultimate course for the woebegone, a hospice for the agonised, and for grace Rama is the only abode. [4-15-19b, 20a]

By that reason, with that unconquerable on in conflicts, an imponderable one and a great-soul Rama, your enmity is inapposite. [4-15-21b, 22a]

Tara is cleary informing Vaali that Rama is unconquerable in conflicts, inspite of she being aware that Vali has that necklace which is supposed to make him invincible. Tara’s statements clearly indicate that “no necklace” and “nobody” can stop Rama in a war. So, the theory that Rama was hiding behind the tree otherwise Vali would have taken away half of Rama’s energy is untenable


Vaali is aware that Sugriva has Rama's support but thinks that he may not cause him harm as he thinks he hasn't done any mistake

"Also, you need not bother about Raghava's doing some harm to me, as I wonder how a diligent man and knower of virtue can commit sin. [4-16-5]


Similar to the first challenge, the following reference gives doubt if Rama was in hiding. But it's inconclusive as it's not said if they were in hiding or if they came out.

He that Sugreeva whose physique became effulgent by that creeper-garland is again emboldened by Rama's words, and he again advanced to Kishkindha with Rama, and reached it again. [4-12-42]

They all (including Sugriva, Hanuman, Nala and other vanaras along with Rama and Lakshmana) on quickly going to Kishkindha, the city of Vali, hedged themselves in the thickets of forest trees and waited. [4-14-1]


Following verses in Kishkinda Kanda clearly shows that Rama didn't hit him from behind as his arrow pierces Vaali in his chest. 

Rama raises his bow only after Sugriva was drained of all his energy and looks forlorn and doesn't know what to do. Not when their fight was in progress.

When Rama blasted his bowstring it made a tremendous noise and there was no way Vaali would not have been aware that someone is attacking him. 

Raghava has then seen the lord of monkeys Sugreeva who is repeatedly eyeing all sides for help and who is even deteriorating in his enterprise. [4-16-31]

On seeing the lord of monkeys Sugreeva in a forlornness, then the refulgent and fearless Rama scanned for an arrow aiming to eliminate Vali. [4-16-32]

Then on tautening a venomous serpent like arrow in the bow, Rama started to draw out bowstring, whereby that bow attained a similitude with the Time-disc of the Terminator. [4-16-33]

At the blast of bowstring the lordly birds and animals are panicked, like those that will be startled by the approach of ear ending, and they all fled. [4-16-34]

The arrow released by Raghava that has the boom of thunderbolt's thunderclap and the flashes of a lightning fell on the chest of Vali. [4-16-35]

Hit by the fleetness of that arrow then that highly magnificent and intrepid lord of monkeys Vali fell onto the plane of earth. [4-16-36]

Like the flag that will be raised in honour of Indra during the month of ashvin on a full-moon day, but thrown onto earth along with its flagstaff after the festival, Vali with depleted energy and dissipated vitality (Sattvo vichetana) slowly fell onto ground, and with tears blocking throat he moaned piteously. [4-16-37]

That best one among men Rama released a blazing and enemy subjugating arrow which in simile is like an Epoch-ender at the end of era, and that best arrow decorated in gold and silver looked like the glance from the Third-Eye of Rudra, emitting fire with smoke. [4-16-38]


Vaali, after being hit by Rama's arrow asked the following questions relating to his morality, propriety etc.,

"When you have not appeared before me when I confronted Sugreeva my concept was, 'it will be inapt of Rama to hurt me while I am combating with another combatant, besides, when I will be unvigilant in that fight...' [4-17-21]

1. By killing one who is facing away, what worth is achieved by you?2. You have not punished the wrongdoer
3. Killed one who is combating with another and an unvigilant one
4. In your country or city I did no misdeed
5. Non-guilty being is hurt
6. Fruits, tuber eating being is killed
7. No dispute of land, gold or silver
8. Your primary aspiration is to kill without probing into good or bad 9. How do you face criticism by scholars?
10. Unnecessary killers are hell-goers
11. Un-wearable is my skin uneatable is my flesh
12. Five kinds of five-nailed animals are usable by humans
13 I would have brought back Mythili in one day


In response to Vali's claim that Rama has no jurisdiction to enforce laws there, since they're not in Ayodhya, Rama says that the Ikshkvaku dynasty has authority over the entire earth
"This earth with its mountains, woods, and forests, even along with the authority to condone or condemn the animals, birds, and humans on it belongs to Ikshvaku-s. [4-18-6]


Rama says that in punishing evildoers, he is carrying out his brother Bharata's decree to enforce dharma (righteousness):

"He who is virtue-souled, truth-abiding, plain-speaking, and the knower of the import of probity, pleasures, and prosperity, and the one who is concerned in controlling or condoning his subjects, that Bharata is the ruler of earth. [4-18-7]

"In whom both scrupulousness and benignancy are there, truthfulness is firmed up, and valour as evinced by scriptures is evident, and he who is the knower of time and place is the king, namely Bharata. [4-18-8]

"Holding his virtuous decree desiring to keep up the continuum of righteousness, we and some other kings are wayfaring this earth in its entirety. [4-18-9]

"While that Bharata, the kingly-tiger and a patron of virtue, is ruling the earth in its entirety, who is there to conduct himself in an unacceptable way to morality on it? [4-18-10]

"Abiding in our own pre-eminent righteousness, and even abiding by the order of Bharata we punish him who deviated from the path of morality, according to custom. [4-18-11]


In response to Vali's claim that he did nothing wrong, Rama describes Vali's misconduct, engaging in actions quite inappropriate for a king:

"As for you, you brought virtue to a state of decadence, rendered yourself reprovable by your own decadent behaviour, for carnality alone has become your primary doctrine, and thus you have not abided by the conduct meetly to a king. [4-18-12]

"The probity practised by principled people is very subtle and highly imponderable, and the soul that abides in the hearts of all beings alone can differentiate between just and unjust. [4-18-15] 

"Like a blind by birth counselling with similarly blind, you being a vacillant, on your counselling only with frantic minded vacillant monkeys, what can you really fathom about right and wrong? [4-18-16]

"Realise this reason by which I have eliminated you... you misbehaved with your brother's wife, forsaking the perpetual tradition. [4-18-18]

"While the great-souled Sugreeva is still alive, you with your habit of sinful acts have lustily misbehaved with Sugreeva's wife Ruma, who should be counted as your daughter-in-law. [4-18-19]

"Thereby, oh, vanara, this punishment is imposed on you, for your dissolute sinning in abusing your brother's wife, thereby for your transgression of tradition and virtue. [4-18-20]


These verses seem to indicate Rama might have killed Vaali unfairly. But it could also be Rama's response to Vaali's wrong accusation, that either ways Rama's action was correct

"I have neither angst nor ire in this matter of my eliminating you, or, your reviling me, oh, best monkey, but listen to the other point I wish to make clear. People will be capturing several animals, either covertly or overtly, with snares, springes and even with numerous contrivances. [4-18-37, 38a]

"Meat eating people will undeniably kill animals, either they are speedily sprinting or standing steadily, fully dismayed or undismayed, vigilant or unvigilant, and even if they are facing away, in that there is no sacrilege. [4-18-38b, 39]

"In this world even the kingly sages well-versed in virtue will go on hunting, and hunting is no face to face game, as such, oh, vanara, therefore I felled you in combat with my arrow because you are a tree-branch animal, whether you are not combating with me or combating against me. [4-18-40]

Here Rama explains that he felled Vaali in a combat and Vaali doesn't refute it.


On seeing Rama and the great mighty Lakshmana as well, he who fell to ground flatly hurt by arrow, and whose energy and lives are trifling and vigour trivialised thereby, that Vali spoke these sarcastic words in his proper pride to Rama, who is taking pride in this conflict as a victor, which words at the same time have meaning, politeness, and self-righteousness. [4-17-14, 15]

"You are a renowned prince with pleasing looks.. but, which kind of death I am getting now, that too when I was in the commotion of conflict with another, alas, that ignoble death is owing to you, and what merit is achieved by you in this undertaking of yours to kill someone who is facing away from you... [4-17-16]

Valmiki clearly says that Vaali had lost his senses and he might well be rambling when he accuses Rama here. Later when he regains his senses, he accepts his mistake and says that he spoke wrongly. 

"Oh, lord, oh, tremendously braving one, oh, Rama, the lord of people, I blamed you when your arrow sweltered and rendered me imbecile, thus I blamed you unthinkingly for which I may please be pardoned, I appease you for the same. [4-18-66]

It's not clear what's wrong - his earlier tirade against Rama or his accusation that Rama killed him when he wasn't looking


Vali realizes that Rama acted properly and repents for his mistake:

That lord of vanara-s then replied Rama with adjoined palms, "oh, best one among men, what all you have said is that way proper, undoubtedly. [4-18-45]

"Indeed an ignoble cannot disprove a nobleman, Raghava, and with regards to the undesirable and improper words I have unwittingly spoken earlier, in that mater too it will be truly unapt of you to make me blameworthy, as I spoke them in anguish and ignorance. [4-18-46, 47a]

"You alone are the knower of recourses and their real nature, namely probity, prosperity, pleasure seeking, and emancipation; dharma, artha, kaama, moksha ; and you take delight in the welfare of subjects, and your faultless intellect is clear in accomplishing ends by judging the causes and effects. [4-18-47b, c]

"Oh, Rama, the knower of probity, I am the one who digressed from the rightness and a forerunner among such transgressors, such as I am, give absolution even to me with words abounded with rightness." Vali is thus saying to Rama. [4-18-48]


This is how the vanaras report the slaying of Vaali to Tara. It's important to note that they say that Rama shattered the trees and boulders thrown at Rama. Which means that they were engaged in a direct fight.

"Return, oh, lady with a living son, and safeguard Angada, for the Terminator in the form of Rama is taking away Vali on killing. [4-19-11]

"Shattering trees and massive boulders that Vali hurled at him with thunderbolt like arrows Rama felled Vali as if by thunderbolt. [4-19-12]


Finally, in Uttara Kandam, Narada and Agastya praise Rama's victory over Vaali. It's doubtful if they will do so if Rama won the battle unfairly.

Similarly, in Yuddha Kandam, Hanuman lectures Ravana about the impropriety of slaying someone when they weren't looking. Again, it's doubtful if Hanuman would have praised Rama for his valour over Vaali if it had been unfair


All these arguments have been extensively discussed and debated, but according to Valmiki's Ramayana it's inconclusive if Rama killed Vaali by not engaging in a face to face fight.