#3357 - Friday, November 21, 2008 - Editor: Jerry
In this issue, Greg Goode's regular Friday column. Also a
very nice step by step introductory teaching in Advaita.
Only the first 40 of the 1008 brief steps are given; you can visit the
link and read all of them.
Why it's OK not to be Ramana
There's Ramana, who passed away in 1950, and who is revered and
worshipped by more people every year. A quick google search yields over
230,000 hits for web pages with the search term "ramana maharshi".
then there's me. Ordinary joe.
Would the outcome of self
inquiry actually transform me into Ramana Maharshi? Would it make me
similar to Ramana? Would I attain a person-to-person comparative
similarity to him? What would that similarity consist of? The same
height, weight, eyes, accent? The same physical, mental or meditative
states? The same renown?
I've known people who seriously consider
these questions. Others have asked these questions about Jesus, Buddha or
other world-renowned teachers.
For myself, I do not have these
questions. Let Thine Eye/I Be Single. The "I" of Awareness is
unconditional, always and already. It is equally the being of Ramana,
Jesus and Buddha, as well as all ordinary joes and janes. Awareness is the
being of all. So "this joe" doesn't need to be "Ramana" because "I"
A step by
step first exposure to advaita
dialogue of 1008 entries
Important note: The
following rambling conversation has been composed as an attempt to bring to the
lay reader some truths of advaita, without venturing into long passages. So a
conscious effort has been made to reduce each bit of the conversation to a
single line (with just eight exceptions). It has turned out to be a
no-holds-barred dialogue, long and continuous. In the modern days
of desire to learn without tears, this perhaps would carry a message
to those of us who, inspite of their intelligence in everything pertaining to
the world, think of themselves as dummies in advaita. Incidentally I imposed on
myself another restriction, namely I will not exceed 1008 entries in this
conversation. And thus it has been a useful nidhidhyAsana (Contemplation
on what I have learnt) exercise for me. And one may notice, the whole treatment
goes in slow motion, step by step. Concepts are brought in, one step
at a time. I think this is good for a purposeful nidhidhyAsanA, especially for a
beginner on the spiritual path. I apologise for not breaking it into smaller
sections or chapters, because the continuous flow of thoughts would not admit
My PraNAms to all the
Great Gurus of the world and the Guru of Gurus, Shri
A step by step first
exposure to advaita
Through a dialogue of
1008 single lines
1. Shishhya: Om namo gurubhyaH
(Prostrations to The Guru)
2. Guru : JnAna-vairAgya-siddhir-astu (May you
achieve Wisdom and Dispassion)
3. S: I wish the painfulness in the world were
4. G: What makes you wish so?
5. S: Because I feel the
6. G: Who is this that feels the
7. S: I, myself.
8. G: Did you say yourself or your
9. S: What is the difference?
10. G: There is a lot
of difference. But please answer my question.
11. S: I dont
see any difference.
12. G: That is the
problem; in fact it is a disease called samsAra.
13. S: I dont see it
as a disease, but I see you are hinting at something. Can you
14. G: Your self is
different from yourself.
15. S: I see you are
referring to that something called my self, which is not myself
16. G: You may better
call it your Self, with a capital S.
17. S: Where is it? I
have not seen it or felt it.
18. G: You have never
seen it because it is you yourself.
19. S: Just now you
said there is a difference between myself and my Self.
20. G: But you said
you dont see any difference.
21. S: So what is
right? You are confusing me.
22. G: Good, that is
where you have to start. State your confusion clearly.
23. S: What is the
difference between myself and my Self?
24. G: One is
perishable, the other is not.
25. S: I see. Yes,
myself is perishable. But I am not clear why my Self is not
26. G: You are
jumping the line.You have not yet accepted there is a Self other than
27. S: I thought you
said that my Self is myself.
28. G: It depends
on what you mean by the words myself and my Self.
29. S: Are you
not playing with words?
30. G: No. yourself
is what you ordinarily think you are. your Self is what you
31. S: Then what I am
is my Self. Is that right?
32. G: Yes, that is
the final teaching of the Upanishads. Better to call it The
33. S: What
difference does it make to my daily life?
34. G: It makes this
difference; if you dont absorb this teaching, you are bound to
35. S: Are you
referring to me or , my Self which you are calling The
36. G: The Self will
never suffer; it is you who will suffer.
37. S: I am still not
clear why you are making this distinction between me and my
38. G: When I talk to
you as you I am only talking to you as a body, with mind &
39. S: And in the
40. G: I am referring
to the Self or the Atman that is permanently within you not the body,
mind or intellect.