Thursday, October 12, 2017

THE BLISS IS ATTAINED BY A PURE MIND UNITED WITH BRAHMAN ~ Bhagavad Gita Ch. VI


THE BLISS IS ATTAINED BY A PURE MIND UNITED WITH BRAHMAN

 18. "When the perfectly controlled mind rests in the Self only, free from longing for the objects of desire, then it is said: “He is united, (Yogi)”

21. "When he (the Yogi) feels that infinite bliss which can be grasped by the (pure) intellect (Buddhi) and which transcends the senses, and, established wherein he never moves from the Reality. (Brahman)."

27. "Supreme bliss verily comes to this Yogi whose mind is quite peaceful, whose passion is quieted, who has become Brahman, and who is free from sin."

Bhagavad Gita Ch. VI

Friday, October 6, 2017

Know thy real Self and be ever free ~Swami Sivananda


Know thy real Self and be ever free 
~Swami Sivananda

Blessed householders! Remember that ignorance is always the root-cause of fear. Wherever there is duality, there is fear. In Advaita (non-duality) alone, there is no fear. Who is to be afraid of whom, when one beholds oneness everywhere? The spiritual journey is long and weary. There is much to be done by way of spiritual Sadhana. 

Life is very short. Time is fleeting. There are many obstacles on the spiritual path. One should apply oneself diligently in spiritual practices and discipline the senses (Indriyas), in the control of mind and lead the most regulated life. Concentration and meditation are the two essential wings of the spiritual Sadhak. With these, he can simply fly round the entire world. Realise this and rest in your Satchidananda (Existence-Consciousness-bliss) Swaroopa (nature). Know thy real Self and be ever free.

Tuesday, October 3, 2017

THE EGO ACCORDING THE GUNAS ~ Atman Nityanandaa


THE EGO ACCORDING THE GUNAS

The ego along with the gunas rajas y tamas causes identification with the body and make us forget our true Self (Atman, Consciousness). The rajasotamasic ego apparently covers our true Self, grounds the consciousness in the body and makes the mind extroverted, seeking sensory pleasures and mundane success.


The mind* in its totallity or Antahkarana* and the ego which is one of the four aspects of Antahkarana are made from the three gunas, which are the fundamental substances of everything that exists in the universe. The quality of mind’s functioning and the nature of ego depend on the guna that predominates in them. Each guna has specific characteristics. When sattva for example predominates in and the mind, it functions according the characteristics of sattva guna i.e. the mind is luminous, serene, content, harmonious; sattvic emotions and thoughts are manifested in us during sattvic periods.

ANTAHKARANA

Antachkarana is called the the fourfold internal organ, which is our psychological instrument. : The eastern spiritual traditions, Ayurveda and Yoga call the Mind in its totality Antahkarana. Although the Mind is single, it has several functions and aspects. They call it as fourfold internal organ, because the Mind or Antaharana has four main aspects.

The four aspects of Antachkarana (or the Mind in its totality) are:
1. Manas (external mind)
2. Buddhi (Intellect, Intelligence)
3. Ahamkara (Ego, the illusory identity)
4. Chita (subconscious mind, memory, general field of the mind, conditioned consciousness).


Each one of these four aspects of Antahakarana or Mind has specific functions and the quality of its functioning depends on the guna that is predominant*. The innate nature of mind is sattva that´s why the mind functions in its full potential when is free from rajas and tamas gunas. The rajas and tamas are like toxins for the mind.
 

 COMMENT : predominant guna*: The predominance of each guna has two aspects. 

FIRST ASPECT: Mind's gunic constitution. Each of the three gunas according the development of the mind have a certain percentage in the mind ´s constitution. For example, the mind of a tamasic preson can have in his mind 70% tamas, 25% rajas and 5% sattva. A sattvic person can have in his mind 75% sattva, 20% rajas and 5% tamas. A rajasic person 65% rajas, 25% tamas and 5% sattva. The goal of spirituality is to eliminate gradually the tamas guna (first of all) and the rajas and convert the mind 100% sattvic.

SECOND ASPECT: The gunas are constantly in motion in the mind. During the day for some time may predominate the tamas, after some time the rajas or the sattva. This  alternation of the gunas in the mind happens constantly and it is related to many things. (In order to understand it better is needed a greater analysis and also attentive bservation of the mind ).

Which guna predominates more often and for longer periods (when is manifested) depends on the gunic constitution of the mind (see first Aspect). It is obvious that in a mind that there is more sattva in its constitution, the sattva periods will last more time and will manifest more often than the rajasic and tamasic ones. Similarly, the rajasic mode of functioning and characteristics will manifest more to a rajasic constitution mind and the tamasic mode of functioning  and caracteristics to a tamasic one.



It is of great importance and a great help a good knowledge of the three gunas to understand and control the mind. The knowledge of gunas will help us as well to develop the various capabilities and virtues, to dissolve the various egoic defects and to develop our ability to remain self-aware, and practice successfully self-enquiry and meditation. Daily practice and a sattvic living is the fundamental background of our spiritual transformation and Self-realization.

ASPECTS OF THE EGO

 According the gunas the ego assumes three aspects, and we can speak about: the sattvic ego, the rajasic ego and the tamasic ego.

Personally I prefer to classify the ego in two categories. The sattvic ego and rajasotamasic ego. I prefer this classification because the rajasic and tamasic aspects of the ego are what impede us to live harmoniously and aware of our true nature, while the sattvic ego is what is helping us move from the darkness of materialism to the light of consciousness and the divine life..

Since we are identified with the
ego, and we function as the ego, it is certain that the ego is involved in our spiritual practice as well, in both ways, the positive and the negative way. The sattvic aspect of the ego and the mind as well are positively involved and the rajasotamasic one (with the tamasic far more strongly) negatively. The rajas combined with sattva is what will help us to dissolve the tamasic nature of ego and mind, and finally the sattva the rajasic one. The tamas and the rajas combined with tamas are the root cause of our suffering and psychological chaos. They cause identification with the lower aspects of our existence, distort and preserve the mind and lead us to misery and suffering.


The sattvic ego or I

The sattvic ego creates the individuality but not the identification with the body. The abstract sense ‘I am’ or ‘I exist’ is due to reflection of Consciousness on sattva. The identification with the body is created by the rajasotamasic ego. Due to tamas and rajas gunas and lack of discrimination the abstract ‘I am’ becomes ‘I am the body’.

The sattvic ego allows us to live a healthy harmonious life (at all levels) and in unity, love, happiness, peace and facilitates our journey towards enlightenment and liberation. The sattva is the purest aspect of the material creation (material not referring only to the gross material, but also on subtle levels, mental astral, causal) through which the Consciousness is expressed clearly in the creation. A pure sattvic mind reflects without distortions the light of Consciousness.


The sattvic ego as well as the whole Mind (Antahkarana) is the instrument of our Soul and helps us to walk successfully the spiritual path and attain self-realization (liberation or enlightenment, are synonymous terms). The foremost goal in the spiritual path and practice is to overcome and eliminate from the mind the tamas guna (primarily) and the rajas guna and be established in sattva, and finally through constant meditation and samadhi to overcome the sattva as well, and be established in our true nature (Atman, Consciousness) which is beyond the three gunas. That’s why the enlightened one is called gunannita, i.e. the one who has transcended the three gunas.

The rajasotamasic ego

‘Iness’


The rajasotamasic ego causes in us our illusory identity ('Iness' and 'mineness' as well) and is the fundamental ignorance. The rajasotamasic ego functions through identification, projection and imagination, and makes us identify with the body and everything that exists and happens in the body, i.e. mind, senses, vital energy, thoughts, emotions, sensations etc. Due to rajasotamasic ego we feel a strong sense of 'I am the body' or more accurately 'the body is me’.

This identification with the body creates the illusion that we are separate entities living as if we were separate from God and the universe and limited by the body and mind. On this fundamental illusion, are built all other illusions. The ego identifying with the characteristics of the body makes us think, I am tall, thin, blond, handsome, etc., identifying with the mind, I am smart, silly, erudite, learned, etc..identifying with collective organizations like religions ,I am Muslim, Christian, Buddist etc..  So, this lower ego make us identify with thoughts, feelings, fantasies, beliefs, memories, opinions as well as externally with objects, people, teams and situations. 

Mineness The ego makes us identify with the external objects and persons. Because of these identifications and the attachment we develop towards them, they become an extension of ourselves. So, we feel everything that we relate with (my car, my wife, my child, my garden, my phone, my tablet, my jacket, etc..) as a part of ourselves (more precisely a part of our ego). That’s why when we lose them we experience unnecessary pain or suffering. The intensity of suffering depends on how strong was our attachment to them.


The ego is the root-cause and creator of numerous identifications, projections, attachments and delusions, which cause suffering on a personal and collective level.

All the egoic tendencies or aspects  (in Christian terminology call them defects and passions), such as likes, dislikes, lust, desires (for money, fame, pleasure, power, possessions and comforts), anger, pride, anger , wrath, hatred, resentment, jealousy, envy, rancor, arrogance, vanity, greed and perversions  belong to the lower or rajasotamasic ego. This lower ego, I call it the ‘Vital ego’ as well, because the majority of the egoic tendencies are related to the vital body (energy body, specifically the psychic prana) and the emotional mind.

The rajasotamasic ego (and the rajasotamasic mind as well) it is not interested in spirituality, self-transformation, virtues and self-realization, but it is interested in sensory pleasures, comforts, possessions and ambitions. It is this vital ego that resists and reacts against our intentions and efforts to transform our mind and heart and advance spiritually. The vital ego wants to prevent us from doing practice and any serious effort for inner transformation and finally wants to make us abandon the sadhana altogether.

The rajasotamasic ego keeps us tied in the cycle of rebirths into physical bodies as well as the cycle of pleasure and pain (Samsara).

The rajasotamasic ego and the rajasotamasic mind is the cause of our bondage and our suffering and obviously it is what resists, reacts to our effort to realize Truth. The vital ego constantly creates obstacles, and uses various mechanisms to make us fail and abandon the spiritual practice (sadhana). The rajasotamasic ego knows that through practice, self-control and a spiritual way of living it will lose the pleasures that until now could enjoy freely as well as that it will eventually be eliminated. Thus it resists and reacts with all its strength in order to make us feel impotent, disheartened and abandon the spiritual life.

In the beginning of our spiritual journey and as long as the rajasotamasic ego is strong we cannot avoid inertia, resistance and all obstacles that the vital ego puts on us. The ego at the beginning of our spiritual path can easily fool us; it doesn’t need to try a lot in order to succeed in this, given we are already identified with it, as well as hypnotized and manipulated by it. But as we advance in self-knowledge, and we develop, self-awareness, concentration, attention, discernment, dispassionate observation and we dissolve more and more egoic patterns and tendencies, the ego uses gradually subtler ways to manipulate us, and thus becomes more difficult to identify and uncover them. It takes constant and intense vigilance, attention, self-awareness, inquiry, together with constant application of discrimination to expose the tricks of the ego.

Given that at the early years of our spiritual journey we are strongly identified with the ego and our intellect-intelligence (Buddhi) is hypnotized and manipulated by the egoic energies, our inner work  is difficult, our transformation and progress slow, with many ups and downs. We also pass through days and nights of inner work, i.e. periods that we have enthusiasm, inspiration, determination, aspiration for practice, we have luminous experiences etc. (day of work), and periods that we lose our determination, enthusiasm, there is inertia, discouragement, disappointment, resentment lack of motivation, lack of luminous experiences, cloudy mind etc.. (night of work). It is during of these nights of inner work that the majority of the spiritual seekers abandon the sadhana and return to their old way of living. That’s why many follow the spiritual path, but very few until now have reached the end, liberation (Self-realization or enlightenment).

During our spiritual journay the ego creates many illusory identifications, projections and superpositions in order to prevent the Buddhi (intellect, intelligence) to become aware of its tricks. It tries in every possible way to cloud our buddhi, because it is certain that if the ego’s identifications and the illusions are revealed by the power of discrimination (which is the ability of the buddhi) then the ego would lose the sovereignty over us. When the egoic patterns are revealed, then by proper means and methods we can dissolve them. By the force of spiritual practices and the divine powers and energies we invoke through prayer and the repetition of mantras, little by little the egoic tendencies, and the tamas and rajas will be eliminated from our psych.

The battle between the higher sattvic ego and the lower rajasotamasic ego

(between the sattvic mind and the rajasotamsic mind as well)

From all the above mentioned, it is clear that the sattvic e
go and mind as well, turns towards the divine, the harmony, the unity, love and the lower rajasotamasic one, that is full of contradictions, prejudices, ignorance, disharmony, passions, negativity etc. it moves towards pleasures, possessions, comforts, sensory experiences, success and mundane ambitions.



The sattvic ego (buddhi as well) are those who fight on the side of our Soul against the rajasotamasic me. The battle between the sattvic mind ago withe rajasotamsic one is the great battle between the light and the darkness that is happening inside each aspirant.


The purpose of spiritual practice in relation to the ego is: To disidentify from the ego and  dissolve or eliminate the ego in all its aspects (desire, anger, pride, envy, arrogance, greed etc.) and realize that we are not the body or the mind but the pure, eternal Consciousness, always peaceful, free and blissful.


The elimination of the ego is directly related to the purification of prana, emotional energy, the subconscious mind (chitta) because all aspects of the ego and desires are stored in the various subconscious levels of chitta (according Samael A.W. the number of the subconscious levels are 49)


It is certain that we cannot dissolve the ego (at least the vast majority) by fighting it directly. We need to practice systematically with various methods and techniques to dissolve gradually one by one its various aspects. Only one who has already eliminated the greater part of the egoic tendencies, who is very skillful in self-enquiry and meditation, who has control over his mind and senses, is established in self-awareness and alertness and has fully developed the capacity of discrimination could work directly with the dissolution of the ego as the sense 'I am the body'. 'I am the feeler'. 'I am the perceiver', 'I am the thinker' etc..



 Read about the gunas, ego and mind






In Bhagavad Gita are also two chapters devoted to the three gunas. Chapters 14 and 18. There are also references about the gunas in other chapters of Gita as well . 


Friday, September 15, 2017

The I or ego is not a thought or a word ~ Atman Nityananda

The I or ego is not a thought or a word

The I or me it is not a thought or a word but an energetic structure which grows due to identification and experiences.

According the gunas the ego (the mind as well) assumes three aspects, and we can speak about: the sattvic ego, the rajasic ego and the tamasic ego.

However I prefer to classify the ego in two categories. The sattvic ego and rajasotamasic ego. I prefer this classification because the rajasic and tamasic aspect of the ego are what obstruct us to live harmoniously and aware of our true nature, while the sattvic ego is what is helping us move from the darkness of materialism to the light of consciousness and the divine life.


What I am presenting in this text about the ego refers to the rajasotamasic aspect of the ego which is what the vast majority of humanity is identified with.

The ego makes us identify with the physical body although the ego itself is an energy and it is something different than the body. This ego-energy it is felt in the body as a strong sense, the sense "the body is me".

Thus we sense that we are the body (I am the body or the body is me) which has been born some years ago. Moreover we identify with the name that  our parents haven given to this body. 

The fundamental functions of the ego is to identify, to project. to desire. Thus the ego can identify with everything and projects it self to everything and is always desiring or seeking something. 

The ego by identifying with the body and everything that happens in the body, becomes the agent of our thoughts, perceptions, emotions, sensations, actions, i.e. becomes the perceiver, the fel;er, the thinker, the doer.  The ego identifying with the objects assumes the form of "Mineness" and also the attachment to them.

The ego projects its own qualities, emotions, thoughts, opinions on others and everything in this world and is unable to realize that what sees externally is its own projections.

The ego desires and seeks pleasure, happiness and fulfillment through sensory experiences and achievements.

The I or ego having at its center the above three fundamental functions expands and assumes many forms. Most fundamental aspects of the ego are: likes-dislikes, attraction-repulsion or aversion, greed, pride, lasciviousness, gluttony, avarice, arrogance, vanity, fear, anger, hatred, impatience, resentment, depression, charm- disappointment, jealousy, frustration, loneliness, boredom, discontentment, uneasiness, inferiority, superiority, insufficiency, incompleteness, etc.

All these egoistic tendencies are not different from the ego or I, but modifications of the I itself. The ego according the circumstances in the twinkling of an eye assumes some of the above mentioned forms creating in our mind and heart a continuous turmoil in a variety of intensity. The ego assumes these forms as the water which is H2O, can assume the form of water, cloud, steam, ice, snow etc.

Tuesday, August 22, 2017

The ego has its place ~ Atman Nityananda

   
The ego has its place

The ego* has its place for those who want to follow a worldly life, but not for those who want to achieve self-realization or liberation.

There are contemporary spiritual instructors who say that it is not necessary to eliminate or dissolve the ego ( me or I) in order to achieve liberation or Self-realization. They say that we simply have to put it in its place*.

This idea is false and it is not in accordance with the teachings of great masters like Swami Sivananda, Adi-Sankaracharya, Ramana Maharshi, Amma (Amritanandamayi Ma) and texts like Bhagavad Gita who declare very clearly that the dissolution of the ego is the very heart of liberation. The whole process of spirituality aims to the dissolution of the ego.

The ego is a virus that we have to eliminate it by an antivirus if we want to restore harmony and equilibrium in our psych and achieve Self-realization. A similar is an infected by virus computer. The virus makes the computer dysfunction. In order to disinfect the computer, we must use an anti-virus. The anti-virus is a kind of software that works on Windows which has the capacity to remove the virus (which is also a software that works on Windows). Similarly, we have to use a psycholgical anti-virus which is the superior sattvic qualities of the mind and intellect and the divines energies in order to dissolve the lower destructive tendencies of the egoic mind and the ego itself.
What place has a virus in our computer? None. The virus causes the dysfunctioning of the computer. What place have in our psychology the rajasotamsic ego and its various forms or expressions such as envy, hatred, anger, greed, lasciviousness, guilt, greed, greed, vanity, pride, and all other selfish tendencies? None. 
All the above mentioned egoistic tendencies that are forms of the ego itself, are like viruses in us and cause imbalance, disharmony, suffering and illness. So they have no place in our psychology, they are psychological parasites. That's why it is necessary to dissolve them with a suitable antivirus.

What is the best antivirus?

For each one is different. As there are many brands of antivirus for computer viruses, there are also different psychological antivirus.

However, there are some common qualities in all psychological antivirus.

These are: Self-awareness, dispassionate moment by moment self-observation, witnessing attitude, acceptance, discernment, detachment, self-inquiry, concentration, meditation, control of the mind and the senses and more than anything a intense yearning to realize the truth.

However, it is natural that in the beginning of our spiritual journey, we do the Sadhana (daily spiritual practices) from the perspective of the ego. The rajasotamasic ego is involved in sadhana, because at the beginning of the spiritual journey the ego is at the center of our life. We are fully identified with it (and due to the ego with the body), ego is strong and plays the role of agent for everything that happens in us and everything we do. So it is inevitable the involvement of ego in the sadhana. The situation changes (becomes better for us in any ways) as we advance spiritually, i.e., when our mind becomes quite purified, sattvic and the egoic energies and tendencies are weakened greatly and we are more connected with the inner silent space of consciousness.

The ego in its sattvic aspect is positively involved in the Sadhana, while the ego in its rajasotamasic aspect tries its best to prevent us from doing the Sadhana. The rajasotamasic ego creates many obstacles in order to make us abandon the practice and the spiritual path. And it does this because, following a spiritual life, the ego loses its pleasures that until now it had them freely, and because the ego knows that with the Sadhana it is going to disappear (die). Initially we cannot avoid the resistance that the ego opposes against our will to march on the spiritual path and we cannot avoid the illusions that the ego creates because we are strongly identified with the ego and our Buddhi (intellect, intelligence) is hypnotized and it is manipulated by the egoic tendencies and energies that originate from Tamas and Rajas gunas..

By following the daily Sadhana firmly and decisively the egoic energies and tendencies are eliminated, and after several years of practice the tamasorajasic ego becomes very thin and weak and predominates in us the Sattvic mind and ego which has nothing to do with the lower rajatomasic ego. The sattvic mind and ego is favorable to our efforts to realize the truth. It is the instrument of our Soul in this earthly life. When the sattva predominates the sadhana becomes natural and there is a flow in the way we live and the application of the practices. A sattvic mind is also the background to practice easily and effortlessly deep meditation and Samadhi.

Thus I want to clarify here that it is not the rajasotamasic ego that eliminates itself, but it is the sattvic mental energies and the divine energies that accomplish this task. We dissolve little by little the egoic tendencies and energies and the rajatomasic ego itself by using the higher-sattvic powers of the mind and the divine energies together with the appropriate mental attitude (which includes self-awareness, dispassionate self-observation moment by moment, witnessing attitude, acceptance, Discernment, and detachment). In order to cultivate the higher capacities of the mind and intellect there is a variety of practices and methods, such as japa mantra, japa nama, devotion, pranayama, meditation, contemplation, prayer, self-enquiry among others.

According my own experience, the most powerful weapon (and easiest for all) to destroy the ego with all its branches is the repetition of the name of God which is practice that can be done along with all other practices mentioned above.

NOTE:

Ego*: The ego is the set of all egoic tendencies along with the sensation 'the body is me'.

It is necessary to put it (ego) in its place*:
Some contemporary instructors hold this concept (ego must be put in its place) probably because of his idea that the sensation 'the body is me' which is the fundamental aspect of the ego or I, is something other than the various egoic tendencies such as envy, hatred, anger, gluttony, lasciviousness, guilt, greed, greed, vanity, pride, etc. But the truth is that these egoic tendencies and the sensation 'the body is me or I' are one thing, one energy that assumes different forms or aspects. A similarity to understand the relation of the ego or I itself and the egoic tendencies is the water. The water according the circumstances takes the form of ice, snow, rain, steam etc. It is one substance that change its form of expression. Similarly, the ego is one energy which assumes various aspects according the circumstances. The ego or I which has as fundamental form “I am the body”, “I am a separate body-mind individual” modifies (takes the form) as anger, jealousy, greed, desire, pride, gluttony, lasciviousness etc.. That’s why, when we eliminate the energy of the egoic tendencies, the fundamental aspect of ego “I am the body' is also diminished, and also when we eliminate the ego in its fundamental aspect, 'the body is me', all its aspects are weakened.

More essays about the nature of ego