Annamalai Swami     40 posts


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CONVERSATIONS WITH ANNAMALAI SWAMI

Q: I went to Skandashram yesterday. As I sat there, for no reason at all, tears started to come. I cried and cried. I am a little puzzled by this. Why should something like this happen?
AS: A similar thing happened to me once. When I was very young I went to the town and the temple where Siva first appeared to Manikkavachagar. When I sat in the temple tears flowed down my face.
Tears like this are often a sign of grace. When your tears are for God rather than for worldly things, the mind and the heart are purified. If you want God so much that you cry when you call on Him, He will surely come to you. When a baby cries, its mother comes to feed it. When a devotee cries because he is hungry for grace. God sends the grace to nourish him.

— Living by the words of Bhagavan, p. 291

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ANNAMALAI SWAMI REMEMBERED
Building works, part 17

Chinnaswami's managerial style alienated a lot of devotees but as a matter of principle Bhagavan nearly always supported him if he got into any disputes with devotees. Bhagavan himself frequently criticized Chinnaswami but that was prerogative he alone had. The rest of us had to suffer in silence. I remember one incident which illustrates this very well.
A woman once came to have Bhagavan's darshan. Because she was a very shy woman who didn't like eating in the company of men, she ate alone in a separate hut near the dining room. Instead of sending some woman devotee like Sampurnammal to serve food to her, Chinnaswami himself decided to deliver her food and serve it to her. When Bhagavan discovered what was happening he publicly rebuked him: 'Why don't you send one of the women to serve her? Why are you taking her food? She is very shy. She is not accustomed to dealing with strange men.'
Several devotees who had witnessed this scene began to think 'If Bhagavan treats Chinnaswami like this, why should we treat him with any respect?'
In the succeeding days these devotees began to treat Chinnaswami rather badly. Bhagavan observed this in silence for a few days.
When he saw that the disgruntled devotees were not going to change their attitude unless he intervened, he restored the status quo by telling them, 'Do you think that Chinnaswami is a killuk-kiraiai [a small plant which can easily be pulled out of the ground with one's fingernails and thrown away]? Chinnaswami is the sarvadhikari here. You should respect his position and follow his instructions.'
When the work on the cowshed was finally over Chinnaswami wrote to Rangaswami Gounder, the man who had given the cowshed which had been turned into a storeroom.
'We have completed a big cowshed. You can come and yourself. Please don't be angry with us anymore.'
Rangaswami Gounder accepted the invitation and was delighted to see what a big cowshed we had built. He kept his original promise and donated several cows to the ashram.
As he was being shown around the cowshed he remarked.
'When I saw that Chinnaswami had spent my earlier donation on a storeroom instead of a cowshed, I quite naturally got angry with him. I thought that he had wasted all my money. Now that this new cowshed, which is much bigger than the one I had planned, has been built, I am happy and content. Everything has turned out well in the end.'
Chinnaswami was also a happy man. In the closing stages of the work the ashram had received so many donations for the cowshed that there was a lot of money to spare when the work was finally completed. This put Chinnaswami into an unusually exuberant mood.
'Whenever you work for the ashram in future,' he told me, 'get the work done by throwing money wherever it is needed. Bhagavan will provide whatever is needed.'

- Living by the Words of Bhagavan p. 57

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ANNAMALAI SWAMI – FINAL TALKS

'WHEN YOUR BODY IS THE WHOLE UNIVERSE ...'
During sleep, you have no likes and dislikes. Jnanis and babies manage this while they are awake. Baby mind is good; jnani mind is good; 'I am the body' mind is very, very bad.
Question: It's a poisonous thought!
Annamalai Swami: Yes, yes. The 'I am the body' thought is just as poisonous as a cobra. 'All is my Self.' 'All is the nectar of my own Self.' These are the great affirmations that counter the 'I am the body' thought.
Holding on to one of these sayings is the equal of millions of punyas. If we continuously meditate on the truth of these statements, if we hold on to the truth that they are pointing towards, countless punyas will accrue to us.
There are many other mantras, but none are as useful as these. Ribhu Gita says, 'All is one. All is the Self.'
This is the truth that you have to hold onto. To the real ‘I’ nothing is foreign in the entire universe. If you know you are everything, there will be no desire to pursue some things and not others. Do you like or desire your arm more than your foot? When your body is the whole universe, likes, dislikes and desires will be absent.

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ANNAMALAI SWAMI – FINAL TALKS

'YOU SEEM TO BE LACKING INTENSITY'

Q: Bhagavan wanted to know the answer to the question 'Who am I?' He seemed to find the answer straight away. When I ask the question when I try to find out what the Self is, I can reject thoughts that arise as being 'not me’, but nothing else happens. I don't get the answer that Bhagavan did, so I am beginning to wonder why I am asking the question.

Annamalai Swami: You say that you are not getting the right answer.
--- Who is this 'you'? Who is not getting the right answer? ---

Question: Why should I ask? Asking has not produced the right answer so far.

Annamalai Swami: You should persist and not give up so easily. When you intensely inquire 'Who am I?' the intensity of your inquiry takes you to the real Self. It is not that you are asking the wrong question.

You seem to be lacking intensity in your inquiry. You need a one-pointed determination to complete this inquiry properly. Your real Self is not the body or the mind. You will not reach the Self while thoughts are dwelling on anything that is connected with the body or the mind.

Question: So it is the intensity of the inquiry that determines whether I succeed or not.

Annamalai Swami: Yes. If the inquiry into the Self is not taking place thoughts will be on the body and the mind. And while those thoughts are habitually there, there will be an underlying identification: ‘I am the body; I am the mind.' This identification is something that happened at a particular point in time. It is not something that has always been there. And what comes in time also goes eventually, for nothing that exists in time is permanent.

The Self, on the other hand, has always been there. It existed before the ideas about the body and the mind arose, and it will be there when they finally vanish. The Self always remains as it is: as peace, without birth, without death.

Through the intensity of your inquiry, you can claim that state as your own.

Inquire into the nature of the mind by asking, with one-pointed determination, 'Who am I?' Mind is illusory and non-existent, just as the snake that appears on the rope is illusory and non-existent.

Dispel the illusion of the mind by intense inquiry and merge in the peace of the Self. That is what you are, and that is what you always have been.

LWB, p. 41

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'Just Be the Self and do not concern yourself with the Mind'
Q: I think that I am now beginning to grasp what the ‘I am' is. It seems that this is something behind the body, behind the mind, and behind the awareness of the body. I think that we don't automatically make a relationship with this 'I am' because we feel that we lack a conscious acquaintance with it. We are accustomed to direct our attention outwards rather than inwards. We think about people and things because we are attached to them and for no other reason. I am beginning to realize just how hard it is to give up this
habit.
AS: Let the mind go wherever it wants to go. You don't have to pay any attention to all its wanderings. Just be the Self and don't concern yourself with the activities of the mind. If you take this attitude, the activities and wanderings of the mind will become less and less.
The mind only wanders around all day because you identify with it and pay attention to all its activities. If you could establish yourself as consciousness alone, thoughts would no longer have any power to distract you.
When you have no interest in thoughts they fade away as soon as they appear. Instead of attaching themselves to other thoughts, which then spin off countless other thoughts and ideas, they just appear for a second or two and then vanish-
One's vasanas make thoughts arise. Once they have arisen, they will repeat themselves in regular chains and patterns again and again. If you have any desires or attachments, thoughts about will be constantly appearing in the mind. You cannot fight them because they thrive on the attention you give them. If you try to suppress them, you can only do it by giving them attention. And that means you are identifying with the mind. This method never works. You can only stop the flow of thoughts by refusing to have any interest in it.

— Living by the Words of Bhagavan, p. 348

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'DEATH CAN COME ANY TIME'
Q: When I first started meditating I had an intense desire for liberation. This period lasted for 3-4 years. In the last twelve months, my enthusiasm has been slipping. I now seem to be more and more content with my worldly life.
AS: The satisfaction, which comes from the outside world is transient. At death, it will all be lost.
Human life is given to you for the sole purpose of realizing the Self. If you die without realizing the Self your life has been wasted.
Death can come at any time. I am telling you this so that you will become aware of your own death. If you are constantly aware of the possibility that you may die at any moment, your enthusiasm will increase. Try to cultivate this awareness and see if it makes any difference to your sadhana.
LWB, p. 344

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Does Swami understand Jesus Christ to be a jnani like so many other jnanis, or was he something more than that?
AS: If the ego is destroyed, only non-dual consciousness remains.
There is no higher or lower in that state.
You cannot say that one jnani is in a different state from another. You cannot say that Jesus Christ is better than Bhagavan or vice versa. There is no higher state than that of the jnani and there is no jnani who is superior to any other jnani.
Although the inner state and experience of all jnanis is the same, their outer activities differ because each of them has a
different destiny to fulfill. Some will become teachers and some will not.
If there is water in a glass it will quench the thirst of one man; if there is water in a big pot it may quench the thirst of thirty or forty people; if there is water in a well it can quench the thirst of all the people in a village or a town.
Some spiritual aspirants have done tapas only for their own realization. After realization they may be able to help a few people. But some jnanis have done prolonged tapas not only for their own realization but also to help liberate others. The jnanis who have done this kind of tapas become world
famous masters and have many followers.

~ Living by the Words of Bhagavan

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SICKNESS OF JNANIS

Q: In order to have realized the Self, jnanis must have done a lot of punyas (merit) and tapas (practice) in their previous lives. If jnanis experience the fruits of all their previous punyas in their last life, they all ought to have very enjoyable last lives. This does not appear to be the case. Many of them get very sick. They often have to put up with a lot of body problems.

AS: There are several reasons for this. Sometimes Self-realization makes the body very weak. Bhagavan's body used to shake a lot. When he was asked about this he would sometimes say, 'If an elephant enters a weak hut, what will happen to the hut?' The elephant was Self-realization and the weak hut was his body.

Some jnanis take on the karma of some of their disciples and experience it themselves in the form of sickness. In such cases, the sickness cannot be attributed to anything that happened in the jnanis previous lives.

Most jnanis have got rid of most of their karma, both good and bad before they even start on their last life. They have all done tapas in their previous lives. By the time their last life starts they often have very little karma left. Only a few, like Vidyaranya Swami, have a lot of punya as left to enjoy.
Vidyaranya Swami lived several centuries ago. In one lifetime, when he was very poor and hungry, one of his gurus initiated him and told him to do upasana [meditation] on the Goddess Lakshmi [the goddess of wealth]. He did that upasana for years, hoping to get rich, but no wealth came to him in that lifetime.

In one of his subsequent births, he received initiation from a
jnani, did a lot of meditation and finally realized the Self. After realization, he was established in a state of total desirelessness. It was only after his realization that his previous upasana on Lakshmi started to bear fruit.
Sometime after his realization, gold started to fall from the sky into the city where he was living. Vidyaranya Swami realized that this was happening because of his previous meditations, but because he no longer had any desires, he no longer had any interest in accumulating money or gold. He told the king that the golden rain was falling on account of his previous tapas. He also made it clear that he didn't want any of gold for himself. The king announced that the people in the city could keep any gold which had fallen on their own property. He reserved the gold which had fallen on public property for his own use. The king later used his own share of the gold to build new temples and tanks.

The king took the gold which had fallen on the streets and made gold bricks out of it. In order to test whether Vidyaranya Swami was really desireless, the king put some of these bricks outside Vidyaranya Swami's house. Then he and his wife secretly watched to see what he would do with them. Vidyaranya Swami eventually came out of his house, saw the bricks and squatted on while he defecated. Because he no longer had any interest in money, that was the only useful thing he could do with them.

- Living by the Words of Bhagavan, p. 276

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ANNAMALAI SWAMI – FINAL TALKS

DOERSHIP

Thoughts will come as long as the potential for them is inside you. Good thoughts, bad thoughts, they will all keep coming.
There is nothing you can do about this flow, but at the same time, this flow of thoughts need not be a problem.

Be the Self, be the peace that is your real nature, and it will not matter what comes up. Walk, eat, drink, sleep, meditate, but never think that you are the one who is doing these things. The thought that you are doing something is the thought that is poisoning your life.

Because once you think that you are doing something, you will start to think that you need to be doing something else to put yourself in a better situation. You don't have to do anything to experience the nectar of the Self. All you need to do is drop the idea that you are doing anything at all.

p. 95

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ANNAMALAI SWAMI – FINAL TALKS

The Thought of Death

Annamalai Swami: You should trust the Guru because his interest is in showing you the truth. He may occasionally say things that are not true, but he will say them only because he knows his words will push you in the right direction.

I once heard a story that illustrates this. A rich man used to meditate once in a while. He had a Guru, an enlightened man, who used to tell him, 'You are not the mind or the body. You are the Self. Always abide as the Self.'

The man would listen attentively, but neither his meditation nor his Guru's words had much of an effect on him.

One day he approached his teacher and said, 'You have been telling me for years that I am not the mind and the body, and that I am the Self. I believe it and I meditate on this, but I don't see any changes in myself. This must be a very difficult technique because I don't seem to be making any progress with it.’

The Guru said, 'Let me look at your palm. I may be able to see something that is more suitable for you.’

After examining the disciple's palm, the Guru's face dropped. ‘This is very bad! You should have put in more effort earlier in your Iife; I can see that you only have about one week to live.
There's not much that can help you now.’

The disciple was shocked. He went home thinking, 'All my wealth and businesses are useless to me now. I put too much time into them, and not enough into my spiritual practice.
There's nothing I can do now, but I can at least my last few days meditating.’

He went home and told his wife, 'My life is coming to an end. My Guru has warned me that this is my final week. I am going to spend my last few days meditating alone. Please tell my friends and relatives that I don't want to be disturbed.' bed.'
After a few days, his Guru came to see how he was getting on. 'How's the meditation going?' he asked. 'Your wife tells me that you have done nothing else for days’

'Gurudev, there is no one left to meditate. I have found the
peace you have been talking about all these years.'

The Guru knew that this man would never focus full-time on realizing the Self because he was too caught up with his family and his business affairs. By making him think that his death was imminent, he made him concentrate on what was real and important. And it worked.

This is not just a story; it is a tactic that will work for anyone.
If you can withdraw energy from your worldly attachments and instead focus full-time on the Self, you will soon get results.

If you are having trouble with your enthusiasm for sadhana, just tell yourself, 'I may be dead in seven days'. Let go of all the things that you pretend are important in your daily life and instead focus on the Self for twenty-four hours a day.

Do it and see what happens.

- p. 86

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Bhagavan recommends a Diet

In the fourth year of my stay in Palakottu Bhagavan advised me to restrict my diet.

‘Each day,’ he said, ‘you should eat only one coconut, a handful of peanuts, one mango and a small lump of jaggery [brown sugar]. If fresh mangoes are not available you can eat dried ones.’

Bhagavan told me that this diet would purify the body and help to keep the mind stabilized in the Self.

He also warned me, ‘In the beginning you will get diarrhea but don’t worry, the problem will go away after a few days.’

At the same time, he told me that I should keep mauna [silence] and spend as much time as possible in meditation. The instruction to keep mauna was very usual: Bhagavan normally discouraged people from taking vows of silence by saying, ‘It is more important to control your mind than your tongue. What is the point in remaining silent if you cannot keep the mind still?’

Within a few weeks of adopting this new regime I became so thin that my bones started to protrude.

People would ask me, ‘Are you eating? Are you hungry? Do you need some money?’

To avoid such comments, I kept my whole body covered and only went to see Bhagavan at night. My body became so thin I didn’t even have the strength to lift a bucket of water. It wasn’t too hard to avoid people. As soon as the devotees discovered I was in mauna they left me alone.

I spent most of my time meditating on the idea ‘I am the Self; I am everything.’ During meditation I often felt like a kind of energy rise up to my head. I don’t know whether it was kundalini or some other kind of energy. Whatever it was it came by itself. I never tried to make it come, nor did I try to control it in any way. This meditation, combined with the diet and the mauna, produced one other interesting side effect: my forehead became very shiny and apparently my facial expression became radiant and full of light. Several people noticed these things and made comments about them.

- LWB

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Question: Bhagavan often told devotees to "Be still". Did he mean "Be mentally still"?

Annamalai Swami: Bhagavan's famous instruction "summa iru" [be still] is often misunderstood. It does not mean that you should be physically still; it means that you should always abide in the Self.

If there is too much physical stillness, tamoguna [a state of mental torpor] arises and predominates. In that state you will feel very sleepy and mentally dull. Rajoguna [a state of excessive mental activity], on the other hand, produces emotions and a mind which is restless.

In sattva guna [a state of mental quietness and clarity] there is stillness and harmony. If mental activity is necessary while one is in sattva guna it takes place. But for the rest of the time there is stillness. When tamoguna and rajoguna predominate, the Self cannot be felt.

If sattva guna predominates one experiences peace, bliss, clarity and an absence of wandering thoughts.

That is the stillness that Bhagavan was prescribing.

- LWB

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Q: There is another biblical statement which is very popular among Christians: 'No man comes to the Father except through me. ‘ How does Swami understand this statement of Jesus?

AS: When Jesus said 'Except through me' he was speaking of the Self, not the body, but people have misunderstood this.
On another occasion, Jesus said, ‘The kingdom of heaven is within you’. He did not mean that it is within the body. This 'you’ Jesus spoke of is the Self, infinite consciousness.

Although a sage who has stabilized in the Self may use the word 'me’ we should not make the mistake of thinking that he is the body. Whenever the jnani, who has become one with the infinite, pure consciousness, says 'me’ he is speaking not of the body, the form, but of the one consciousness.

In the absolute, single, formless, immanent consciousness, where is Jesus or any other jnani? All is one in consciousness. It is impossible to differentiate between people there.

The one who realizes this state beyond the mind expresses the truth in his own way. Those who are seeking to understand this truth always try to understand the message through the misleading medium of words. They misinterpret with their minds and misunderstand what the teacher is really trying to say.

Many Christians take that phrase 'No man comes to the Father except through me' to mean through the form of Jesus Christ alone. Because of this interpretation, they condemn all other concepts of God and all other religions.

In essence all religions are one. Bhagavan once told me: ‘If the ego is destroyed by proper self-enquiry, and if the non-dual consciousness is realized, that alone is truth. Then, in that non-dual consciousness, where are all the different religions and different masters? All are one in that state.

Q: Does Swami understand Jesus Christ to be a jnani like so many other jnanis, or was he something more than that?

AS: If the ego is destroyed, only non-dual consciousness remains.

There is no higher or lower in that state. You cannot say that one jnani is in a different state from another. You cannot say that Jesus Christ is better than Bhagavan or vice versa. There is no higher state than that of the jnani and there is no jnani who is superior to any other jnani.

Although the inner state and experience of all jnanis is the same, their outer activities differ because each of them has a different destiny to fulfill.

Living by the Words of Bhagavan, p. 309

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JNANA IS INDESTRUCTIBLE

I have a sister who believes that the world is about to end in a nuclear holocaust. Many other people feel the same. Does Swami have any views on this?

Annamalai Swami: I do not think that the world will be destroyed in the near future. But even if it is about to be destroyed it is not something that you should think about or worry about. Keep your attention in the present; keep it on the Self. If you establish yourself in the Self you need not worry about the future of the world. If you realize the Self, nothing can touch you. You can destroy a jnani’s body, you can destroy the world that he lives in, but you cannot touch or change his Self-awareness.

The disappearance of the entire universe will not affect the jnani because jnana is indestructible. Consciousness, the substratum of the universe, cannot be changed in any way. When the world appears in consciousness, consciousness doesn’t undergo any change. So, even when the universe disappears, consciousness is unaffected.

Everything that appears will one day disappear. There is no permanence in the world of forms. But that unchangeable consciousness in which all forms appear can never be diminished, destroyed or altered in any way. If you learn to be that consciousness you come to understand that nothing can touch or destroy you. …

Ignorance causes us to worry about the possible destruction of the body. If you make your well-being dependent on the well-being of the body, you will always be worrying and suffering. When you know, from direct experience, that you are the Self, you realize that there is no birth and death. You realize that you are deathless and immortal. Self-realization is sometimes called the immortal state because it never ends and because it is never destroyed or even altered. If you keep your attention on the Self you can attain this immortality. If you attain it, in that ultimate state of being you will find that there is no birth, no death, no desires, no fears, no worries, no mind and no world.

- Living by the Words of Bhagavan, p. 294

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Q: Does the Guru's grace burn up karma? Can the Guru take away some of our past bad karma?

AS: I served Bhagavan for many years. By doing a lot of service to Bhagavan with all my heart and my full mind, the karmas of my previous lives were erased easily. It was all through his grace.

When this period was over Bhagavan told me, 'Your karmas are finished'. I did not expect Bhagavan to give me such a great blessing.

Finding a great Guru like Bhagavan depends on one's karma.

One cannot hope to find such a Guru unless one has done tapas in previous lives.

The path of jnana is for those who only have a little karma left.

Those who still have many karmas to undergo cannot follow the path of jnana successfully because they don't have the capacity to be still and quiet. Only those who have learned how to be still can abide in the Self.

LWB, p. 330

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You are here because there is a desire in you to realise the Self. This desire does not arise randomly or accidentally in some people and not in others. It is there because of the punyas you have accumulated from previous births, punyas that may have come from meditation, charitable work, and so on. These punyas will manifest as a desire for freedom, a desire to do earnest sadhana, a desire to find a good teacher in whose presence the truth will be taught and revealed. If someone is destined to be a jnani in this life, it means that he had come to this final birth with a mountain of punyas to his credit. These punyas will take him to the real Guru, to a real satsang, and in this environment he will do sadhana and achieve the goal.
If one does not have this mountain of punyas from the past, there will be no desire for freedom, no desire to look for a Guru who can deliver it. Such a person may meet a Guru and that Guru may even give him good advice, but the determined resolve to put that advice in to effect will not be there. The fierce determination to succeed and discrimination that allows one to ignore worldly entanglements only arise in those who have accumulated these punyas. Other people may hear the worlds of truth, but although they accept that they are true, the inclination to act on them will not be there.

Source: Final talks

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THE IDEA OF PROGRESS

Q. 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 arise.

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. To 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.

Source: CONVERSATIONS WITH ANNAMALAI SWAMI, p. 277

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Q: I feel that Arunachala is like a mother who will go with me everywhere, even when I am in another country.

AS: Arunachala does not go anywhere. Arunachala is the Self, and the Self neither comes nor goes. The word ‘achala’ in Sanskrit means 'unmoving'.

Q: There is a verse in Arunachala Mahatmyam which says that all those who live within a thirty-mile radius of Arunachala attain liberation without any effort or initiation. What does Swami think of this verse?

AS: For liberation, there must be a continuous remembrance of Arunachala. One must also have faith in Arunachala and surrender to it. Arunachala is pure consciousness; it is not an inert lump of rock. If you have faith that Arunachala is a Guru who will guide you, it will respond with the appropriate guidance.

But to get this guidance one must surrender to the mountain and have strong faith in it.

Arunachala is like a fire; if you come near it you may get warm or even get burned. But if you wearing insulation, even though you are physically near, you may not feel the fire at all.

LWB, p. 33

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CONVERSATIONS WITH ANNAMALAI SWAMI

Q. Are there no breaks at all in the jnani's awareness of the Self? For example, if he is engrossed in reading a good book, will his full attention 'be always on the book? Will he simultaneously be aware that he is the Self?

AS: If there are breaks in his Self-awareness this means that he is not yet a jnani. Before one becomes established in this state without any breaks, without changes, one has to contact and enjoy this state many times. By steady meditation it finally becomes permanent.

It is very difficult to attain Self-abidance, but once it is attained it is retained effortlessly and never lost. It is a little like putting a rocket into space. A great effort and great energy are required to escape the earth's gravitational field. If the rocket is not going fast enough gravity will pull it back to earth. But once it has escaped the pull of gravity it can stay out in space quite effortlessly without
falling back to earth.

- LWB, p. 304

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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 organizing 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. Vasanas are habits of the mind. They are the mistaken identifications and the repeated thought patterns 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 outwards 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. .

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CONVERSATIONS WITH ANNAMALAI SWAMI

Q: Does satsang mean 'association with jnanis or can it also mean 'association with good people?

AS: The real sat, which is being, is within you. You associate with it and get satsang every time you turn your attention towards it.
You do not need a jnani for such satsang. You can get it anywhere.

On the other hand, worldly people who are living near jnanis are often not getting satsang because they are not tuning in to the jnanis Sat.

Some people who live near saints are just like little insects called 'unni' (cattle tick) which live on the udders of cows. They drink the blood there instead of the milk. Some people who were physically associated with Bhagavan ignored his teachings and failed to make contact with the grace he was radiating. They worked and ate at the ashram, but they got little benefit from being there. These people were not having satsang, they were just human unni.

There was a group of brahmins who were associated with Bhagavan who did not subscribe to the advaitic view, 'All is Brahman. All is the Self.' In those days we used to read a lot from the Ribhu Gita, a text which repeatedly says 'All is Brahman’.

These brahmins refused to join in because they didn't agree with the philosophy. 'Where is this Brahman you are talking about?' they would say. 'How can it be everything? How can you go on chanting "All is Brahman" when that is not your experience? Maybe these teachings are useful for people like Bhagavan, but why should people like us parrot these statements endlessly?’

Bhagavan himself encouraged us to recite this text regularly.
He said that constant and frequent repetition led to samadhi. In giving us this instruction Bhagavan was giving us a method of experiencing some of the sat that was his real nature. In effect, he was offering us a highly effective form of satsang. But these brahmins didn't want it. They wanted instead to complain about the contents of the book. When such people willfully turn down a method of associating with Bhagavan's Sat, how can it be said that they are having his satsang?

- Living by the Words of Bhagavan p. 326

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Q: Is it desirable to want to see God?

Annamalai Swami: Manikkavachagar said in one of his songs: 'God is not a person, nor is He any particular thing. Yet without God there is nothing because He alone is everything.'
To see one's Self and to see this same Self as all that is, that is seeing God.

Q: So is it better to want only the formless Self?

AS: I once heard Bhagavan say to Paul Brunton: 'If you do upasana [meditation] on the all-pervading Self, you will get infinite energy.' All beings, all things, all people in the world are your own Self. They are all indivisibly part of you. If you can see all as your Self, how can you do harm to anyone else? When you have that clear vision, whatever you do to others, you know that it is done to your Self only.
To like one thing instead of another is samsara: to like and love all things is wisdom. If one sees from this realisation that all are one's own Self, one enjoys the same peace that one enjoys in the deep-sleep state. The difference is, one enjoys it here and now while one is awake.

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Q: No matter how quiet I get or how still my mind is, I never get to see the world as an indivisible whole. Even when my mind is completely still, if I open my eyes I still see a world of separate objects.
AS: When the one who sees vanishes, the world of multiplicity goes with it.
… You don’t see the unity and indivisibility, you are it. You can never see the Self or Brahman, you can only be it. …
The Guru may tell his disciples a thousand times, ‘You are the Self, you are not what you imagine yourself to be’, but none of them ever believes him. They all keep asking the Guru for methods and routes to reach the place where they already are.
Q: Why don’t we give up our false ideas as soon as we are told that they are false?
AS: We have identified with our false ideas for many previous lifetimes. The habit is very strong. But not so strong that it cannot be dissolved through constant meditation.
Q: The seeker has many ideas: ‘I am a jiva (personality), I am bound and have to do sadhana to attain liberation’. Should we forget all these ideas? …
AS: Yes, forget them all! ‘I am the Self, I am all’. Hold onto this awareness. All other paths are roundabouts.
Q: Bhagavan said that repeating, ‘I am the Self’ or ‘I am not this body’ is an aid to enquiry but does not constitute the enquiry itself.
AS: The meditation, ‘I am not the body or the mind, I am the immanent Self’ is a great aid for as long as one is not able to do self-enquiry properly or constantly.
Bhagavan said, ‘Keeping the mind in the Heart is self-enquiry’. If you cannot do this by asking ‘Who am I?’ or by taking the I-thought back to its source, then meditation on the awareness ‘I am the all-pervasive Self’ is a great aid.
Bhagavan often said that we should read and study the Ribhu Gita regularly.
In the Ribhu Gita it is said: ‘That bhavana (mental attitude) ‘I am not the body, I am not the mind, I am Brahman, I am everything,’ is to be repeated again and again until this becomes the natural state.’
Bhagavan sat with us every day while we chanted extracts from the Ribhu Gita which affirm the reality of the Self. It is true that he said that these repetitions are only an aid to self-enquiry, but they are a very powerful aid.
By practicing this way the mind becomes more and more attuned with the reality. When the mind has become purified by this practice, it is easier to take it back to its source and keep it there. When one is able to abide in the Self directly, one doesn’t need aids like this. But if this is not possible these practices can definitely help one.
- Living by the Words of Bhagavan, pp. 293, 294

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4 minutes ago
Annamalai Swami: You only have one real choice (Final Talks, page 38):Question:Ramana Maharshi once remarked that free will is non-existent, that all our activities are predetermined and that our only real choice is either to identify with the body that is performing the actions or with the underlying Self in which the body appears.Someone once said to him: ‘If I drop this fan, will that be an act that has always been destined to happen in this moment?’And Bhagavan replied, ‘It will be a predestined act’.I assume that these predestined acts are all ordained by God, and that as a consequence, nothing happens that is not God’s will, because we, as individuals, have no power to deviate from God’s ordained script.A question arises out of this.If I remember the Self, is this God’s will?And if I forget to remember at a certain moment, is this also God’s will?Or, taking my own case, if I make an effort to listen to the sound ‘I-I, is this God’s will, or is it individual effort?Annamalai Swami:Forgetfulness of the Self happens because of non-enquiry.So I say, ‘Remove the forgetfulness through enquiry’.Forgetfulness or non-forgetfulness is not a part of your destiny.It is something you can choose from moment to moment.That is what Bhagavan said.He said that you have the freedom either to identify with the body and its activities, and in doing so forget the Self, or you can identify with the Self and have the understanding that the body is performing its predestined activities, animated and sustained by the power of the Self.If you have an oil lamp and you forget to put oil in it, the light goes out.It was your forgetfulness and your lack of vigilance that caused the light to go out. Your thoughts were elsewhere. They were not on tending the lamp.In every moment you only have one real choice:to be aware of the Self or to identify with the body and the mind.If you choose the latter course, don’t blame God or God’s will, or predestination. God did not make you forget the Self.You yourself are making that choice every second of your life.
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Annamalai Swami: You only have one real choice (Final Talks, page 38):

Question:
Ramana Maharshi once remarked that free will is non-existent, that all our activities are predetermined and that our only real choice is either to identify with the body that is performing the actions or with the underlying Self in which the body appears.

Someone once said to him: ‘If I drop this fan, will that be an act that has always been destined to happen in this moment?’
And Bhagavan replied, ‘It will be a predestined act’.

I assume that these predestined acts are all ordained by God, and that as a consequence, nothing happens that is not God’s will, because we, as individuals, have no power to deviate from God’s ordained script.
A question arises out of this.
If I remember the Self, is this God’s will?
And if I forget to remember at a certain moment, is this also God’s will?
Or, taking my own case, if I make an effort to listen to the sound ‘I-I, is this God’s will, or is it individual effort?

Annamalai Swami:
Forgetfulness of the Self happens because of non-enquiry.
So I say, ‘Remove the forgetfulness through enquiry’.
Forgetfulness or non-forgetfulness is not a part of your destiny.
It is something you can choose from moment to moment.

That is what Bhagavan said.
He said that you have the freedom either to identify with the body and its activities, and in doing so forget the Self, or you can identify with the Self and have the understanding that the body is performing its predestined activities, animated and sustained by the power of the Self.

If you have an oil lamp and you forget to put oil in it, the light goes out.
It was your forgetfulness and your lack of vigilance that caused the light to go out. Your thoughts were elsewhere. They were not on tending the lamp.

In every moment you only have one real choice:
to be aware of the Self or to identify with the body and the mind.
If you choose the latter course, don’t blame God or God’s will, or predestination. God did not make you forget the Self.
You yourself are making that choice every second of your life.

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What ever kind of thought arises,
have the same reaction: 'Not me, not my business'.
It can be a good thought or a bad thought.
Treat them the same way.
To whom are these thoughts arising ?
To You.
That means you are not the thought.
You are the Self.
Remain as the Self, and don't latch onto anything that is not the Self.

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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.

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