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I wish to open this thread on 'Atma Vicharam' where we could share our musings on this subject, as the ultimate pointer of Bhagavan's every words were only indicating that we have to realise our Atma Swaroopam. Therefore it is very important to contemplate on ones own Swarupa, no matter what ever path one choses.
I reproduce here, some highlights from Sri Bhagavan's Christmas Discourse, Prasanthi Nilayam, 25 December 2009 -
Where is God? God is everywhere. He is omnipresent — in you, above you, below you, and around you. He has no particular name or form. Neither has He birth and death. Only when there is birth will there be death also! Hence, God has no birth, no death! He is present in every living being as Atma Swarupa (Embodiment of Divine Atma). Man today is unable to realise that Atma Tattwa (Atma Principle).
When you say, “this is my body,” who are you? To whom are you referring? The expression “my body” connotes that you are separate from the body. When you say, “This is my mind,” the mind is separate from you. Similarly, when you say, “This is my buddhi (intellect),” it means the buddhi is separate from you. In all these expressions, what is that ‘my’? That ‘my’ is ‘I’. This ‘I’ is what was referred to by Jesus Christ as the ego, and it has to be cut. That is the real significance of the cross. You cut the ego.
You are bound by two things: ‘I’ and ‘mine’. That is the human bondage. If you can get released from these two bonds, what remains is ‘you’ only. Now you are with the body. Suppose you have to leave the body tomorrow. At that time, who are you and where are you? You do not know! The body is like a dress; a robe. Once you get rid of attachment to this dress, your true nature will be apparent.
The same truth has been explained in the phrase, “the one you think you are, the one others think you are, and the one you really are”. That is the true nature of a human being. When someone enquires who you are, you will answer, “I am so and so.” You will give your name. In fact, that name is given to you by your parents and not by God at the time of your birth.
Suppose you ask God, “Who are you?” He will reply, Aham Brahmasmi (I am Brahman). Every individual should remind themselves, “I am Brahman, I have no other name.” If someone asks, “What is your name?” you should reply, “My name is Brahman.” If you are constantly aware of your true nature thus, that is Atma Tattwa. You do not have to contemplate on anything else.
Whenever you come across a friend or acquaintance, you greet him with a namaskar. This implies that you are in fact paying obeisance to the Divinity immanent in the individual. Hence, do not entertain the feeling of ‘I’, ‘I’, ‘I’. All these physical bodies are like the roles played in a drama. They change. The world itself is a cosmic drama. You must constantly remind yourself that you are playing your role in the cosmic drama and your real nature is that you are an Embodiment of Divine Self (Atma Swarupa). You have any doubts in this regard? (Swami enquired turning to the audience …). If you are entertaining any doubts, you will be confused.
Unfortunately, today one does not know about one’s own true nature. How then can one know about God? Hence, first and foremost know thyself! Enquire into yourself, “Who am I? Who am I?” you will realise, “I am I, I am Atma”, “I am I, I am Atma”, “I am I, I am Atma.” If you forget this Divine Self, what remains is ‘deep wine’! Hence, you should become divine.
It is important for each and every one to meditate, contemplate, self examine, do self enquiry, atma vichara, and sow the seeds of Self Realisation.
There is a story, that i would like to relate here, on this context:
i remember here, one of Sri Ramana Maharshi's wonderful statements, where he says, "Sungachaavadi Thapaadu" meaning one cannot escape the tax posts. He went on to narrate how in villages, there are these tax collecting booths, where the villagers travel in bullock carts, and in one instance, one trader was fed up to pay taxes in his everyday journey, that he goes inside the jungles and found out a new route to by pass the tax post, but, in the course of the journey, he succumbs himself to sleep, and the bulls that pull the carts, themselves not knowing where to do, again, comes back to the original route it is accustomed to travel everyday, and, which led to the tax booth eventually! One cannot escape this, even if one may go any which ever way, in the maze of jungle, one will have to retrace back to this tax booth, where one cannot fail to ask this taxable question "Who am I"
This is very apt and a wonderful and fascinating story which teaches that if the Goal is Realisation of the Swarupa, one cannot escape asking the Ultimate Question ‘Who am I?
अंकोलं निज बीज सन्ततिरयस्कान्तोपलं सूचिका
साध्वी नैज विभुं लता क्षिति-रुहं सिन्धुस्सरिद् वल्लभम् ।
प्राप्नोतीह यथा तथा पशु-पतेः पादारविन्द-द्वयं
चेतो-वृत्तिरुपेत्य तिष्ठति सदा सा भक्तिरित्युच्यते (Sivananda Lahiri - Adi Shankaracharya)
ankOlaM nija bIja santatir-ayaskAntOpalaM sUcikA
sAdhvI naija vibhuM latA kshiti-ruhaM sindhuh-sarid-vallabham
prApnOtIha yathA tathA paSu-patEH pAdAravinda-dvayaM
cEtOvRttir-upEtya tishThati sadA sA bhaktir-iti-ucyatE
That state of mind is called Bhakti (Divine Love) wherein all movements of thought go automatically to the lotus feet of the Lord and stick to them for ever just as the seed of Ankola tree (on falling) gravitates to the parent tree, the iron needle to the magnetic stone the devoted wife to her husband, the creeper to the tree and the river to the ocean.
There was a beautiful story in one of the books I read recently. It is about an interview in heaven. It seems a person went to heaven and knocked at the gates.
The gatekeeper asked him - "Who are you?"
The person answered - "I am Mr. So-and-So."
Gatekeeper - "I do not want your name on earth. Who are you?"
Person - "You want to know my occupation? I was a businessman before I died."
Gatekeeper - "I did not want to know what you were doing. Who are you?"
Person - "Oh, I am Mrs. So-and-So's husband."
Gatekeeper - "I don't want whose husband you were. Who are you?
The dialogue continued for a long time. At last, the gatekeeper said - "So you do not know who you are? Then go back and know who you are."
Please take time to watch these very enlightening set of interviews with Sri Bhagavan, on the same topic of Self Enquiry:
अहिंसा प्रथमं पुष्पं पुष्पमिन्द्रियनिग्रहः।
सर्वपुष्पं दया भूते पुष्पं शान्तिर्विशिष्यते।
शमः पुष्पं तपः पुष्पं ध्यानं पुष्पं च सप्तमम्।
सत्यं चैवाष्टमं पुष्पमेतैस्तुष्यति केशवः॥
Ahimsa Prathamam Pushpam Pushpamindriyanigrahah
Sarvapushpam Dayaa Bhute Pushpam Shaantirvishishyate
Shama Pushpam Tapa Pushpam Dhyaanam Pushpam ca Saptamam
Satyam Chaivaashtamam Pushpametaistushyati Keshavah
1. ahimsa - non-violence first and foremost (prathamam) flower
2. indriya-nigraha: - control of the senses
3. sarva-bhUta-dayA - showing compassion to all living beings
4. kshamA - tolerance/patience
5. jnAnam - knowledge
6. tapas - austerity
7. dhyAnam - contemplative meditation
8. satyam - truth
These 8 flowers are very dear to Kesava.
Radha was very jealous of Krishna's flute. One day she asked it, how is it that you are so fortunate to always be in the the company of my beloved Krishna? even I also don't get to be with him as much as you do!
The Flute replied, O Radha, that is because, I am totally empty from inside and because of that Sri Krishna enters throughout me by his breath and he is the one who brings out all the beautiful sound from me - Himself!
Such a beautiful story! Being totally hollow from inside meaning totally ego-less, absolute surrender, no trace of I-ness. When we totally leave the "Kartrutvam" or "Doership" then the Lord takes over as he is all pervading. Then one abides as the Self, Aatma, Divya Chaitanya or abides as Sat-Chit-Ananda.
Ramana Maharshi used to joke, most people's Sharanagati is like that of offering Lord Ganesha a sugar piece picked up from the Ganesha murty or statue itself made by Sugar mould. Aatma Nivedhanam, one of the ways of Bhakti is total surrender of this Ego I-ness. That is Sharanagati. Is this not the spirit mentioned in our Puja Vidhi? before we commence any Puja, we chant this Shloka:
Deho Devayala Prokto Jivo-Deva Sanatanah
Tyajet Ajnana Nirmalyam Soham Bhavena Pujayet
The body is said to be a temple and the indweller is the eternal master.
Discard the withered flowers of ignorance and worship with the understanding “I am That.”
Sharanagati should be something like, when you are travelling in a Bus or a Plane, you totally leave everything into the hands of the Driver or the Pilot. It is his duty to take you to the destiny, you don't even think about the travel then. The spirit should be like this. Instead, most of our Sharanagati is like, even after knowing that it is only in the hands of the driver or the pilot, we begin to worry whether we would meet with some accident or some mishap could happen. Most of our lives is like this.
The stories of Radha and Krishna, each conversation between them is so precious, simple yet enlightening.
Radha is said to be Jeevatma and Krishna is said to be Paramatma and it is all about Radha merging with Krishna. Jeevatma becoming Paramatma. One should understand that there is no Becoming or Merging here because its just ignorance on part of Jeevatma that it is different from Paramatma. Like the rope mistaking itself as a snake.
One should constantly meditate of the Paramatma.
தெளிவு குருவின் திருமேனி காண்டல்
தெளிவு குருவின் திருநாமஞ் செப்பல்
தெளிவு குருவின் திருவார்த்தை கேட்டல்
தெளிவு குருவுருச் சிந்தித்தல் தானே.
theLivu guruvin thirumEni kANDal
theLivu guruvin thirunAmam ceppal
theLivu guruvin thiruvArththai kETTal
theLivu guruvuru cinthiththal thAnE.
Clarity is seeing the holy Body of guru;
Clarity is saying the holy Name of guru;
Clarity is listening to the holy Words of guru;
Clarity is contemplating on the holy Form of guru.
A wealthy merchant went on a business trip. A thief in the disguise of a businessman joined him, intent on robbing him at the earliest suitable occasion. Every morning, before leaving the inn which they happened to have put up for the night, the merchant would count his money quite openly and then put it into his pocket. At night the merchant went to sleep seemingly without suspicion. While he was asleep the thief would frantically search through all the belongings of the merchant without being able to find the money. After several nights of frustrating searching, the thief finally in resignation confessed to the merchant his true intention and pleaded with him to tell him how he was able to hide his money so successfully. The merchant replied casually: "I knew from the very beginning what you were up to. So, every night I placed the money under YOUR pillow. I could safely sleep, knowing full well that that would be the one place where you would never look. God is within everyone, but man goes out in search of Him. This is what constitutes God's Play and God's Creation. - Anandamayi Maa
You will fall sick, experience pain, and encounter many adverse circumstances. At such times do not think, 'Although I am practicing the Dharma, I have nothing but trouble. The Dharma cannot be so great. I have followed a teacher and done so much practice, and yet hard times still befall me.' Such thoughts are wrong views. You should realize that through the blessing and power of the practice, by experiencing sickness and other difficulties now, you are purifying and ridding yourself of negative actions.... By purifying them while you have the chance, you will later go from bliss to bliss. So do not think, 'I don't deserve this illness, these obstacles, these negative influences.' Experience your difficulties as blessings...when you do experience such difficulties, you should be very happy and avoid having adverse thoughts like, 'Why are such terrible things happening to me.
(Dilgo Khyentse Rinpoche)
From what is dear, grief is born,
from what is dear, fear is born.
For someone freed from what is dear
there is no grief
-- so why fear?
From what is loved, grief is born,
from what is loved, fear is born.
For someone freed from what is loved,
there is no grief
-- so why fear?
From delight, grief is born,
from delight, fear is born.
For someone freed from delight
there is no grief
-- so why fear?
From sensuality, grief is born,
from sensuality, fear is born.
For someone freed from sensuality
there is no grief
-- so why fear?
From craving, grief is born,
from craving, fear is born.
For someone freed from craving
there is no grief
-- so why fear?
Sai ram Ganesh
Thank you for this interesting topic !
tell me when i say : "my body ,my mind, my buddhi etc ... who is talking in me ? is it the Atma , the Pure Self ? i think no !
It is the ego through the mind who is speaking my and mine ...but when i say: " my body " this means that " my" ego and "my" body are separate ! i agree on that ! but we have no idea of the existence of my pure self (Atma) which is hidden by the ego! !
when i say "my body " the body is separate from" I " ok ?
there is I of the ego and the body ! they are distinct the two ! and where is the Atma in all that ?
if i cut the ego it remains the body ! whom is going to cut the I of the ego in me ? is the "I " can make hara kiri for itself ?
baghavan has once said that we just can reduce the ego till it became really tiny one ! but we can't cut it totally ! it is impossible ! that could be only done with the grace of God !
thank you for reading and meditating my question and triying to reply me if you can whith a true answer !
Your observation that that we have no idea on the existence of of Pure Self (Atma) is not true. For When the clouds hide the Sun, it is, yet again, with the Sun's own light, one is able to even see the coulds hiding the Sun. In the same way, when one says, Ego, My Ego, Atma is hidden by ones Ego, etc... similarly all these discernments is all made only with the help of the Divine wisdom of the light of the Pure Self, in the Sannidhi, presence of Atma Jyoti, that Ego, mind is hiding the Pure Self, Atma. The presence of Atma Jyoti is still seen even in ignorance. Only one needs to put attention on Bhagavat Tatva. Firmly holding onto and completely believing and trusting in the words of the Guru.
Therefore, Atma is ever Shining, Nithya Pratyakam, Ever Shining, There is no time, ones Atma is hidden anywhere.
If one puts ones attention on the Ego, there is only Ego, if one puts ones attention on the Self, there is only Self.
Again, to illustrate, in the Snake-Rope phenomenon, it is the Rope itself that is mistakenly seen as the Snake. There are no 2 entities there. There is only One.
You have quoted that it is impossible to to cut the Ego without the grace of God, but when is grace not present? One being born as a Human Being, endowed with discrimination, itself is first proof of grace. Grace is ever there, If one comes with a small cup, Bhagavan's grace can only fill that much, as the size of the cup, if one comes with a bigger and bigger one, Bhagavan's grace comes with the proportion of ones own submission to Him.