Search & Read
Arulmani: Hello! I am a 37-year-old male from India. I wanted to express my profound gratitude to you for being the person who was instrumental in giving me an experience of myself. I wanted to share how this happened. Since I have benefitted immensely from reading your satsangas, I thought in case you deem fit, you can use mine too.
I have been after enlightenment for the last fifteen years, a path that started with J. Krishnamurti and went through Ken Wilber, Aurobindo, Advaita Vedanta and then finally ended with you.
It began with serious existential crisis resulting in start of a long process of self-enquiry and the birth of my kundalini. Fortunately, because Krishnamurti never gave too much emphasis to it, I did not do it either, which greatly prevented me from collecting trophies of samadhis. But because of all the literature, I was still hankering after enlightenment as a state of experience.
I have been through your autobiography, and I have profited immensely from all your written material you have at the website, and though I have been around your website for perhaps no more than a fortnight, it seems that I have known you for ages.
I credit you for three most fundamental insights you provided me with:
(1) that enlightenment is not an experience, it is knowledge of the self.
(2) that enlightenment is not for the self (which was always enlightened), but for the ego which arises due to the power of ignorance.
(3) Lastly, the fact that the self is nothing but ordinary, non-dual awareness.
The shift happened for me yesterday when I was reading your article on how akhandakara vritti causes liberation. Midway in the article I had an akhandakara vritti of my own, which went like, “If you think you are limited, you are. You are the self.” Soon after, I felt a shift take place within me. It was nothing profound, earth-shattering or magnanimous, just a very simple and subtle shift, but then I felt that my seeking come to an end. I was locked to the self as ordinary, non-dual awareness, a seeking that came to an end after 15 years.
However, I must admit that I still feel jittery. I am aware of an effort being put forth, but I am not being able to place who is putting an effort. There is a concomitant fear of losing this knowledge. On the other hand, I don’t quite understand how it can be when it is blazing all the time.
It was this perplexity that led me to your website again, and I went through the last passages of your book Meditation: Inquiry into the Self. I guess I found my answer there. I just wanted to share my understanding with you and know if I am correct.
You have mentioned that:
“When the discrimination between the self and the not-self destroys the ego’s belief in separateness, self-realization takes place and the practice of meditation becomes the state of meditation, effortless awareness. As time passes, the discrimination slowly moves from the forefront to the background of the mind where it operates constantly and effortlessly to keep the mind peaceful and happy, a situation similar to the knowledge of one’s name, which is not continually operating in the conscious mind, but which appears in consciousness at a moment’s notice should the need arise.
“The transition from the experience of the self to the knowledge that ‘I am the self’ is assured when self-realization takes place – although it may take time for the vestiges of dualistic thinking to fade away. As the purified, inquiring subtle body looks inward at the self and continually discriminates between the self and the not-self, the distinction between it and the self starts to fade, a realization often described as ego-death. And one day, without fanfare, a very subtle shift in vision occurs and the meditator realizes that he or she is no longer meditating on the self but has become the self observing the apparent meditator.”
Is the effort I am feeling the “vestiges” of dualistic thinking? Or is it the time being taken to move from the “foreground” to the “background”?
~ Much love, Arulmani
Ramji: Dear Arulmani, I am very happy for you. There is nothing like Vedanta. I love this email – concise and to the point, self to self. Moksa is a simple thing, just the removal of ignorance. Yes, you are correct. The way you describe what happened is the way it is. I say this because there is an absence of doership in your words. You did not claim to have realized anything. You just observed the shift that was brought about by the assimilation of the knowledge. This means that you are the self.
The jittery feeling is the ego – it may be doubtful because it expected more, some kind of big insight or amazing experience or it realizes what happened and is attached to the sense of freedom and does not want to lose it. Maybe it is not quite sure that there is nothing to lose, because it is you, awareness. You are never not aware. You are never not present. If you see the self as an “it” then you will be afraid of losing it. You observe it, so it is only an object and not-self. Or you can think of these feelings as you do – as vestiges of dualistic thinking. These feelings are quite natural. It is always easily treated with the akandakara vritti in any case. That is the beauty of knowledge. It is always good. If you feel like it, I would be interested to hear a bit about you, where you live, what you do, what your sadhana has been.
~ Om and prem, James