Analysis Of The Mind Or Transcendence? By Dr. Harsh K. Luthar

Bhagavan Ramana’s teaching of self-inquiry is fundamentally different than the schools of thought which focus on self-improvement through a variety of motivational approaches. Sri Ramana used to say that when you are going to throw out the trash, you need not spend time analyzing its contents. He was referring to the mind.

For one who is fascinated by self-inquiry and focusing on the core of one’s being and existence, the need to endlessly brood over the mind and its activities evaporates. The mind is what it is.

In the short run people can benefit from positive thinking and various self-help methodologies.  Ultimately, the point of self-inquiry is not to improve the ego mind, but to fully transcend it and recognize our inherent perfection in the Heart of Being.

13 thoughts on “Analysis Of The Mind Or Transcendence? By Dr. Harsh K. Luthar

  1. Dear Harsha Luthar,
    What message for the samsari?He needs progress in the world,too.As I read on another site,”happiness and truth”. yours sincerely Srinivas Rau

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  2. I mean the distinctions of “agreeable/ not agreeable” ,”desirable/undesirable” occur in the layman’s mind. What way for him? Srinivas Rau

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  3. regarding “throw out the trash.. no need to analyze it’s contents”. Two short stories:

    Imagine yourself a Japanese samurai warrior. You are sitting in full regalia, helmet, armour, appropriate hairdo etc.. on a bench in front of a field of mud. The water has just drained away. You are watching this glistening field of mud with total complete focus and maximum intensity as if your life depends on it. And the instant that a worm pokes it’s head out of the mud…. you leap into action and lop off the worm with your sword: KEEEEAAAA!

    Well… this story is not the best for ahimsa vegans (or is it “vegan ahimsans?”). But you see the point: vigilantly watching… a thought arises… done with it. Then vigilantly watching for the next thought.

    But there is another story:
    You are vigilantly watching the space around you holding a hair pin in your hand. Clear air & space, no birds, no insects. But just then, a leaf falls from the tree and you are so quick that you pin it with your hair pin in mid air and examine it with great attention learning all that it might have to offer… till you let it go for good.

    Originally this story was told with a butterfly instead of a leaf… but I can’t bear to think of pinning a butterfly. 🙂

    But you see the point: totally cutting off thoughts is one way. Another way is to watch the thought with attention to see what it offers. Krishnamurti says something like: watch the thought with keen attention, this keeps other thoughts out, watch the thought flower, allow it to take whatever form it takes… and then the thought will end naturally perhaps forever. Then back to vigilantly watching.

    I’ve heard it said that with atma-vicara we “ignore thoughts” and that seems to be the rule. I have been taught this other alternative. Yes, it’s an option to “lop them off”. But also, giving a thought attention may help unravel entanglements more effectively both inwardly and in the world.

    But attention must be present to keep other thoughts from coming in and taking over which would lead to unconscious digressive thinking.

    Arising thoughts may bear gifts telling us what we have to do to “get our life in order” thus facilitating inward Realization. (quote paraphrased from Barry Long)

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    • May be ‘throw out the trash no need to analyze it’ statement of Bhagavan is not being understood correctly or is being wrongly understood as the only approach to the exclusion of everything else. In a different instance Bhagavan has described 3 approaches. I am reproducing them with my numbering added.

      1.” Destroy the power of the mind by seeking it. When the mind is examined its activities cease automatically.” Krishnamurti and many Buddhist approaches can be said to examine the mind.

      2. “Looking for the source of the mind is another method.” Who am I enquiry could fall under this category. Although Krishnamurti/Buddhists on a few occasions also took this approach and ended with ‘nothingness’ or ‘sunya’. Bhagavan said the mind would vanish when sought.

      3. “Concentrating on one thought, all other thoughts disappear; finally that thought also disappears. It is necessary to be aware while controlling thoughts, otherwise it will lead to sleep.” This approach stresses the importance of awareness which is a common theme across the teachings of all jnanis.

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      • The trouble with all this is our misunderstanding of any teaching. I suppose that is to be expected since Bhagavan has said the path of vichara or enquiry is only for advanced seekers. But it is also natural for a person to assume that he is advanced enough for vichara and something like ‘Who am I?’ sounds simple enough. ‘Don’t spend time analzying the trash’ also sounds very straightforward. But since the mind is trash, the entity asking the question ‘Who am I?’ is also part of the trash. This must lead to the understanding of ‘the observer is the observed’ a la Krishnamurti so that the mind can be still. Otherwise both approaches will be stuck in the noise of repetition either asking ‘Who am I?’ endlessly or analyzing with a divided ‘mind’ that is examining ‘its’ contents in trying to empty it. Sadly that is our situation which is why our minds are not still.

        Thanks for the electronic version of the book.

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      • Hi TwoPaisa,

        You say “the entity asking the question ‘who am i?’ is also part of the trash”.

        Rather surprisingly, Bhagavan’s fundamental teaching “Who am I?” is being misunderstood!! I have been studying this only recently, but I base the strength of my statement on the opinion of the translation expert Michael James who also studied deeply with Bhagavan’s successors.

        “Who am I?” is not at all about asking the question internally in any way. In fact, when understood, it seems the same as Krishnamurti’s “the observer is the observed” or Nisargadatta Maharaj’s “I AM”.

        To me, it is something like: have the attention rest internally in the sense of Being beyond digressive thought, and… when the attention wavers… bring it back. “Inquiry” in this sense seems to me like a passionate innate inner curiosity subtler than thought. I like the word “innate” because it is beyond any single school or teaching.

        This is an advanced teaching: to simply rest vigilantly aware inwardly beyond thought requires a considerable amount of inward stillness. I have benefitted from practicing other styles of meditation to get to this point.

        The following text is from Michael’s blog:
        To make it clear that what he meant by the term ātma-vicāra was only simple self-attentiveness, in the sixteenth paragraph of Nāṉ Yār he defined the meaning of this term in a clear and unequivocal manner:

        “The name ‘ātma-vicāra’ [refers] only to keeping the mind always in [or on] oneself (ātmā).”

        So what Bhagavan clearly implies by the clause (Tamil language omitted) which literally means ‘putting [or keeping] the mind always in oneself’, is always keeping one’s attention fixed firmly on oneself. Thus in this sentence he made it clear that ātma-vicāra does not entail mentally asking any question such as ‘who am I?’, because if we always keeping our attention fixed firmly on ourself, there will be no need or room for us to mentally articulate any such question.

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      • “The entity asking the question ‘who am i?’ is also part of the trash” is from the standpoint of those who try to conclude purely by logic. Who am I is not a mantra but an exercise or method (for lack of a better term) to trace the source of the mind that is restless. It requires relentless attention to the slightest reaction or response from the mind. In that sense it tallies with the teachings of Krishnamurti. I am amazed that there are people claiming to be successors of Bhagavan. He himself has made it very clear that he had no disciples or successors. He only asked for a family member to administer the daily operations of the ashram. Nothing more.

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  4. Reblogged this on mira prabhu and commented:
    I love this post…because, as usual, Ramana Maharshi cuts to the chase…yes, the mind is what it is! If we waste our precious time analyzing its contents, we will burrow deeper into what can be pretty mesmerizing muck…and will forget why we are really here – to become free of delusion. Thank you, Harsh Luthar!

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