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Highlights #696

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Sunday, April 29


Dear List,

I hope no one takes offense, but i thought I would post a
short wish for you all. For you my people would say: Grandfather, where
there is confusion may you smile kindly to ease a troubled heart. Where
there is sadness may your gentleness give comfort. Where there is pain
may you touch us lightly with a loving carress. and where there is
doubt may your light remove the shadows. He is here in the drop of rain
that ends the thirst of a wilting flower, in the ray of sunlight that
pulls you from sleep each morning, in the scream of an Eagle guiding an
elder home.



(originally posted to HarshaSatsangh)

The devotees at RamanaAshram could not imagine life without the Sage of
Arunachala. Neither can we here.

I can't remember when I heard of Ramana, but it seems like I have
always known Him!

I remember being literally thunderstruck upon hearing someone sing
Arunachala Shiva, Arunchala....Om Shakti, Om Shakti, Om Shakti Om, Om
Shakti, Jnana Shakti, Para Shakti Om! It was as if every atom in the
body danced with ecstasy without reason. As Pascal said, "The Heart has
its reasons, which reason cannot know."

I am grateful for the opportunity to speak of Ramana Maharshi and
consider it a privilege to make the forum (HarshaSatsangh) available
for the purest teachings on the Self.

Ramana's teachings are the purest teachings. Everything pales in
comparison. To each their own, but I have never been the least
attracted to any other philosophy, psychology, self help system, and
all that. They seem so utterly superficial to me. Yet no doubt, they
can be helpful to many, as people often testify.

Let others do as it pleases them. What have I to do with anything other
than Ramana's teaching of abiding in the Heart, the Self.

Ramana Maharshi in the innocence of his youth read about the life of 63
Saivite saints and became fascinated with their devotion and
intoxicated with Divine Love. The story is well known of how within a
few months of that he realized the nature of the Self and at the tender
age 16 left home to go to Arunachala.

There he sat in Samadhi as his body was eaten away by maggots. As Jan
pointed out, Sri Ramana literally treated his body as a corpse, and
without people to feed him and take care of him the first few years,
the body certainly would have died.

Ramana is utterly unique. His life was public and everyone had free
access. There was no hocus pocus and mystery which many so called
"masters" are famous for. Sri Ramana was an embodiment of Ahimsa and
compassion and one sees that in his words, his conversations, his

In the early years, when deadly plague afflicted the area and many
people had died or run away, everyone was afraid. There was no Ashram
and Ramana and his friends lived in caves. When one of Sri Ramana's
devotees came down with the plague, the other devotees advised that
they should all move to a different area away from this person. They
assured Ramana that the devotee who had come down with the disease
would be sent food periodically to the cave and thus taken care of. Sri
Ramana's answer was simple and beautiful and moving. The Sage refused
to leave. Ramana said that everyone was free to go but he would stay
with the afflicted devotee and some food should be sent for both of
them! Naturally after that no one left.

If we read the actual stories of Sri Ramana's life and conversations
with Sri Ramana, the immaculate purity, serenity, the overwhelming
beauty stand out. Sri Ramana life and actions exemplify his teachings.
The perfect ease and authority with which Ramana Maharshi spoke of the
Self was in total harmony with purity, beauty, and love that was
reflected in his actions and life.

Everyone, regardless of their path will benefit from the teachings of
the Sage of Arunachala. That is my view.

Love to all


MICHAEL JOHNSON (with responses)

"To consider that the world has no meaning or purpose is merely to say
that the world is not centered on humanity. Without his ideals and
motivations, an individual is frightened of being a nothing in the
nothingness of a purposeless world. In actuality, man's ideals of
"purpose" as the basis of life and nature are nothing but his own
conditioned concepts. Nature cannot be seen in terms of human thought,
logic or language. What appears cruel and unjust in nature seems so
only when the matter is considered from view point of a separated and
estranged individual human. But the rest of nature is totally
unconcerned because the rest of nature is not human-hearted.

RAMESH S. BALSEKAR http://www.advaita.org

This is a new concept for me.
How "does" the concept of
human hearted fit it with
Is it seen with unconcern as implied above?
When separation is no more is there still
the ideas connected with the human heart?
Is it these very ideas that cause pleasure
and pain and joy and suffering?

JAN BARENDRECHT (conversing with Michael)

Human-hearted, human interface, words denoting the conditioning that
interprets events from a human perspective. For instance, for a human,
there can exist holy cows whereas for a tiger, all cows are just
edible. And as with all conditioning, it can "burn out" which means no
longer being subjected to the (compelling) thought patterns and
behavior going with it.

ºDoes the human select this
º"burn out" of conditioning?

No, because it will happen anyway
but what can differ greatly is the speed.
That is a matter of energy and "how" it is used.
Hence the Buddha's advice
to rejoice feelings for householders
and the "fast burn out" option for
the monks.

ºOr does it just happen,
ºby divine grace say?

According to some, there is only grace -
sometimes (ab)used as a kind of aspirin to accept
suffering or to camouflage indifference.
Another view is that thoughts and feelings
"create" the conditions to their fulfillment.
The two compare like having to cross
the ocean (of samsara) in a raft or in a
boat equipped with sail and rudder. Crossing
is unavoidable though - only then the "thread
of life" will end

ºI realize there are different opinions
ºon this, but I would like to hear your
ºopinion, as well as any tips you can
ºgive to someone trapped in the
º(compelling) thought patterns and
ºbehavior that it creates.

Be aware of thoughts, feelings and the conditions
evoking them. So aware, that there is a delay between
conditions arising and the thoughts/feelings following.
When behavior follows, stay aware of "what happens".
Then, contemplate - all compelling thought patterns
have a "birth date". The stuff can be unraveled to
"mini traumas". When contemplation becomes habit,
it will unravel "stuff" by itself - effortlessly that is.

ºThis is meant as a serious question,
ºnot tongue in cheek.

I know - nothing is more serious than happiness :)
Only when happy, seriousness can become a disease...


Hi Michael,

Great question!

In the Tao Te Ching it is expressed
as "The Tao treats persons
as straw dogs [used in ancient
Chinese sacrificial rites]"
Yet does realization of this mean
indifference to people? Not at
all, for that would be separating
from one's humanness, and humanness
is as much an expression of Tao
as nonhumanness. One with Tao,
my humanness, and anyone's humanness,
isn't separate from the impersonal /transpersonal...

My perception is that "non-dual awareness"
can be used as a defense, as a way
to push away "humanness" including
"unintegrated feelings and relationship
patterns" ...

There is no separation, anywhere.

Working on integration doesn't cease
because there is no "identification"
as something separate, because
there is "nothing needing to be
integrated" ...

Instead, one can laugh about the
work on integration, knowing that
it proceeds non-volitionally, as
expression of "this" ...

In other words, love doesn't cease,
simply because one knows
there is no entity as lover and
nothing to love ... involvement
in the "human community"
doesn't cease because one
knows there are no separate
entities to form a community.

(Check out the ten ox-herding
pictures ;-)


There will be ideas about the human heart, as long as there are such
ideas. I think the question can be narrowed, though, to perceptions of
just how much sway, such ideas have upon those who hold them.

It is common, in my experience, to encounter people who base their
entire way of Being upon assumptions concerning the nature of the
'heart', as the word is being used here. There is, for these concerned
people, the assumption that there is evidence of mental or spiritual
health vs disease, as presumed to be revealed by the behaviour and
attitudes of others.

Seen from a distance, such behaviour usually can be relegated as
'reaction-formation', a species of 'ego response', or in other words,
'psychological defense mechanism'. Such automatic behaviour is
characteristically found among those who have somehow avoided vital
insight into the nature of the human; that is to say, that such
automatism (seeing evidence of health or disease in others, based upon
an uncritical use of oneself as the standard of health) is normal,
statistically speaking.

The 'nondual perspective' (NDP), which Ramesh struggles to present by
using such metaphors as above as 'teaching examples', actually finds no
difference between the human heart and anything else which is apparent
to perception. The NDP "is" based upon a different system of logic,
than is found to be operating as the 'statistical norm' in humans.

The system of logic found in NDP, is based upon actual experience,
rather than being constructed from diverse pieces and parts. This NDP
logic actually subsumes all other logical systems, because it it is not
based upon theory, but instead, upon experience. Specifically, it is
based upon the actual experience of:

_1 The perceiver is 'outside of time', and thus, IS NOT A HISTORICAL
CHARACTER. From this perception, is derived the (somewhat overused)
phrase; "There is no do-er".

_2 Being outside of time, the perceiver has no beginning and no
foreseeable end. Yet, the perceiver does actually perceive. Perceiving
ones own perceivership can be referred to as 'self-realization'.

_3 Seeing that the only 'real thing' is the ability to see, the ability
to see is itself enshrined and labeled as 'consciousness' and
'awareness'. Seeing is also termed as 'understanding'. A true admission
of this linguistic use of 'understanding' describes 'standing under' or
of being under the influence of seeing, itself.

Further, the human need to 'objectify' has led to the enigmatic
statement 'I Am That', which refers to seeing, the ability to see, the
faculty of seeing, and all derived talents, powers, etc. It has also
been stated; 'Seeing is Being'.

_4 Perception of all 'others' as being somehow or mysteriously,
'oneself out of phase with this phase of myself'; that is to say, that
the only real distinctive differences between apparent persons, is
essentially the degree to which self-realization is consciously

As to the 'why' of this apparent aphasic relationship between
individuals, many theories abound. Yet, the very ability to see (as I
am using the word here) potentially provides a perfectly flat playing
field for 'everyone' who is apparently incarnate. This fact is usually

_5 The futility of any defense of 'me', and by extension, of any ideas
which may occur to 'me'. Such behaviour is understood, immediately, as
being a huge waste of energy, and worse, a huge source of suffering.
Even so, it is statistically normal to find many defended castles,
built upon this level surface.

And from the ramparts of said castles, are fired shots designed to
disable any force capable of tearing down the defended bastion of
delusion of separateness. Because defense is the norm, such behaviour
flies 'under the radar' of those who lack the insight provided by the
experience of seeing what is seeing what is seeing; the modern 'cult of
Narcissus' tacitly, conspiratorially, denies any delusion whatsoever.
The defended castle of Narcissus is the biggest one, and fires the most

_6 Those gifted with the ability (and courage/weakness) to surrender to
Grace, do see, and thus are known as Seers.

_7 There exists among True Seers, no impulse to correct or deconstruct
anything of 'what is'. And this includes allowing the defended castles
to remain as necessary aspects of the whole process of the entire
Universe becoming 'self-aware'.

As baseless and causeless, the Seer does not attempt to erect standards
to direct the behaviour of others. The Seer understands perfectly, the
higher harmony which is 'what is', all inclusive. This harmony contains
and is in fact all of what is apparently disharmonious.

One 'symptom' of self-realization (and also of common manic states!) is
the disappearance of reaction to what has perhaps previously, triggered
automatic reaction (defense mechanisms such as 'reaction formation' and
'conversion reaction').

With the extinguishment of defense, also follows the extinguishment of
its compensation, called 'projection'.

With no reaction, and no projection, no deconstruction is called for;
the Universe is seen naked, as what it is.

Is it these very ideas that cause pleasure and pain and joy and

If you can see that such ideas are species of 'idealism', the answer is


'Nonduality' is neither personal nor impersonal. That means it is not
concerned with the personal, nor is it concerned with the impersonal.

Basically it is not concerned. This does not indicate "unconcern" in a
negative sense (like the difference between 'irrational' and
'unrational' -- 'nonduality' is 'unrational').

Nature takes care of herself when left alone. The grass makes no effort
to grow and doesn't care, it just grows... but humans are concerned
with "personal growth." Huh?

Pleasure, pain, and joy are just fine until "personalized," just "what
they are."

If personalized or impersonalized, pleasure becomes something to be
sought, pain something to be avoided, joy something to chase after...
all that causes suffering.

'Nonduality' is intensely focused in the moment, 'involved' with
'this'. When eating, eat. When sleeping, sleep. When cooking, cook.
When typing these words, type these words. That's all.



There is a tribal mentality that is sort of not taught but rather
ingrained growing up within a tribal unit. The good of the people
always out weighs the individual, so when you think to do something for
personal gain for only yourself, you feel selffish, that it is not the
"proper way". If I am asked by an Elder to do a thing, it is not
something you consider saying no to. If I am called before the tribal
council, it is unthinkable that I would not appear. If I am called and
they ask that my children take part in some activity, they will take
part. The mere asking is enough, it is considered an honor to do
something for the tribe, to give of yourself, to disregard such a
request is the highest dishonor. Among tribal units, honor is all
important, not money, or things or time. If i am needed it is my duty,
my obligation, my honor, my pleasure to be at their service. All men of
a certain age are my uncles, the women my aunts. When my mother died i
was 10 years old, these aunts and uncles rasied me with my father, it
is somewhat different from the outside world. so this is where my ideas
of selffishness stem.

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