Unlike Budhhist, followers of Islam,christianity, Hinduism believe in individual soul but only Buddhist and Hindus believe reincarnation. For Buddhit it is essentially five elements of a individual personality that is reborn, but no soul. I do remember reading the sentence in which K clearly says no individual soul. But as you have suggested he may be referring to individual soul as belief.
It seems that it may all depend on frame of reference. As an outsider I may differentiate between fire and its heat, but as far as fire is concerned there is no separation between itself and heat.
It is similar to Ramana Maharishi telling his followers that when a thought arises ask to whom it arises and when answer is me, ask who am I and stay with this sense of I , which over period of time will collapse and Self alone shines. But at the same time he also said that, one being ignorant. asking who am I and struggling to discover is all illusion. Self alone is. So frame of reference seem to make a lot of difference when an enlightened one speaks.
For frame of reference you mean that it all depends on with who the “enlightened” speaks?
Yes, surely so. K. gave different answers to one topic depending on his interlocutor and this has sense to me. I read somewhere that Buddha too used to do the same thing.
Honestly I think that this problem of the soul is somthing we cannot grasp unless we pass through the same “experience” K. or the other few enlightened had. And with K. one can never be sure about things like God, soul or what happens after death. He purposely avoided to give explanations about all that in pubblic talks (but gave some hints here and there in private conversations). And this is another thing which makes him unique: he understood deeply the necessity not to create another religion with beliefs, etc.
About that passage you mention, there could be another interpretation. “To be lost in the clouds” could be just a metaphore or a poetic way to describe the loss of consciousness. But on the other way in Mary Lutyens biography we find a lot of strange mystical things that cannot be explained rationally. Do you remember when she tells of his boyhood, when her mother died and he continued to see her for several days… someone raised this topic about what happens when a person dies and K. said that, depending on the personality of the dead person, one could stay in the same room or house where the body is, and only after few days or even a month finally he/she went away. So again, is there a soul?
Remember reading all that you have pointed out. In Pupul Jayaker autobiography of K, it is mentioned that after assassination of ex Indian Priminister Mrs Indira Gandhi by her body guards in the morning, K met and talked to Indira Gandhi around 4 pm standing near the window of the room where all had gatheted. As you said he not only saw his mother after her death but also when she was alive, he used to go to garden hiding behind his mother and saw his dead elder sister talking to his mother.
Scientist say that of the total matter in universe only around 20% is visible matter but rest 80% is dark matter of which they know nothing about, except that its gravitational pull is what makes stars in galaxy and galaxies in a cluster remaining together. So it is possible that all these dead people may be manifesting through their dark matter body which in Hindu terminology is called astral body and beyond that a casual body that may be akin to dark energy of scientist.
So we do not know, and as K pointed out better to find out onself than persue these beliefs/conjectures.
Comming to this topic of after death and K’s teaching, I have this doubt.
Trying to live a life as per K’s teaching, have come to find the truth to some extent that I am not this body and also that I/me/ego is made up of conflicting layers of thought which is a structure in brain based on memory.
Now assuming that nothing survives after death, then ’ ’ I ’ as such which is based on memory in brain also ceases to survive when body is dead.
So for a person who is quite aged, nearing his end and very low on energy, what relevance K’s teaching of awarness/attention etc leading to discovery of Love/truth freedom from anger/jealousy etc has when ’ I ’ is going to be mud in short time and no existence after death. Is K’s teaching has relevance only for young?
Agree with that, an understanding of illusion as a part of reality solves the paradox. This indeed should also be considered as pointer for different degrees of consciousness or levels of understanding or states of mind, so to speak, where the truth of statements are relative to the state of mind from which it is spoken.
In general religious teachings for the serious minded, I would say the answer as NO. There is a kick starting of an attitude of observation, no matter what the age is, and that indeed will have it’s effect so long as it isn’t done with an end in view.
I don’t think so, on the contrary… I’m old, not too old but I’m sensing the end is aproaching. I often think about death, without fear and without expectations. Thanks to K. I think I have understood that death is not important. Things will go as nature or God intended. My concern is to understand life before I die, because there will be no chance afterwards. If I fail nothing will change, things will continue in the same pattern, the pattern of humanity. I don’t think that “nothing surivives” after death. The world, the universe continues to exist, is that nothing? Life will continue to exist, is that nothing? Our statement that nothing survives comes from our self-centered attitude and focus. That is the wrong attitude! We are humanity, we are the consciousness of humanity, and humanity will continue. I think the sense of the I will vanish, the identity we had, all the identifications we gathered throughout life perhaps will continue but without being related to an individual. That means that we will contribute to the disorder of humanity because our disorder will add to that already existing. I think that any amount of genuine attention we had for life will affect this collective consciousness, so our attempts or good will will be not in vain.
Why don’t we use the few remaining days of our lives to be aware? Thinking that everything is futile because in short time we will be mud shows that we are always thinking in terms of earning and loss (or paradise and hell). There is nothing to earn and nothing to lose. Earning or losing are always related to a self, to an individual, but we are not individuals.
You say world continues to exist even after say my death. Once I am gone the world as perceived by me also ceases as there is no subject as I to perceive the world as object. This leads to a philosophical question whether object exist if there is no subject to perceive it.
What I was trying to say about old age is, to be in a state of awarness/attention in which there is no centre as I, requires lot of energy, which is not available when one is old and nearing his end. If one comes across K’s teaching while young, it may be quite easy as brain has not yet formed solid neuron structures that defines the ego/the me, it will be easier to restructure the brain / remain in state of awarness . This I telling based on my own experience as I got exposed to K’s teaching while in my mid 40. By that time the habbit / ego had already formed and taken the deep roots. So say one comes across K’s teaching when one has only few weeks/month to live. He may find K’s teaching to be logical but to see the truth of it in awarness ,it will be quite difficult because of lack of energy. That is why I asked is K’s teaching is relevant only for young. It had nothing to do with gaining something.
Yes, you are right. I know what you mean. My energies are decreasing day after day… still the passion remains! ( I cannot say what it is but there is something in me which prevents me from throwing in the towel, from quitting. Maybe it’s my perception that life without awareness has no meaning.
I started reading K. at 24, then attened to his talks in Saanen and Brockwood from 26 to 32. The time when my energies, mental and phisical were at the top, and yet I didn’t have the insight. Perhaps just because I had too much energy and I was distracted by all the activities which I could not stop to do: hiking in the mountains, cyclying, swimming, travelling and sex (not to mention work!). I’m not sure it’s that, perhaps it’s just an excuse but that is what I felt. Now I’m retired and had to quit all those activities, so from this point of view I am in a favorable position.
Habits: yes! I know what you mean, I feel overwhelmed by my habits… still I cannot quit.
Now let’s see this “philosophical question” “Once I am gone the world as perceived by me also ceases as there is no subject as I to perceive the world as object.”
Yes, it’s an old question… It’s too big for me to solve it but it seems to me that this kind of reasoning comes from being focused on the “subject”, which is me. Without me there is no world… now look carefully in your mind: don’t you feel it like a loss? It IS a loss! We will lose everything we know or we have. No self, no loss. (
I know what you can say: to have no loss we must delete the looser! It seems a paradox. I cannot solve this paradox. I think instead we can accept the inevitable end of ourselves once we know we are nothing. And it’s since quite a few years that I live with a slight intuition that I am nothing. We are already dead, everything we can peceive inside or outside is not us. All the things, feelings which I valued most were something coming from outside. The only difficulty of seeing clearly that we are already dead is the sense of the “I am”, of the presence. I’m present now, it’s a strong feeling, isn’t it? How can I not be present tomorrow? But the sense of presence can be simply a product of the physical senses, we have the perception we are living… is there a perception when the body is no more alive? I don’t know.
Very much like your words " life without awarness has no meaning". Really great.
You are lucky to have come across K’s teaching when you were around 24. In my case, interest in spirituality arose when I was in my late teens and remained immersed in traditional way of meditation following different techniques. Came across K only in middle of 40. This is one of my great regret. I was in chennai and in Mumbai when K was there but had not heard of him. What a loss. May be I was not ready!
Comming back to awarness, it is a beautiful state with no centre but still unable to perceive why one switches back to state of thinking,. What is the trigger that makes one loose awarness. Is it lack of attention.
Or is it lack of passion for awarness. Still unable to see why this passion for freedom from the known ie. I/ego is missing inspite of seeing the havoc I/ego keeps creating in my day to day life. Unable to fathom what is the Factor which is missing.
As you pointed out, doubt also arises, is the sense of presence is physical. When one is aware, is it not because one or all senses are active. In a state of awarness with no thought and no centre, is it only brain that is active or is there is something non material also involved? I do feel that there is something else but seeing that awarness depends on senses, unable to be sure. If whole thing is just a material activity that will end with death of the body, is it worth pursuing especially when one’s days are running out. Or as you seem to suggest, better to try to live in state of awarness with a quite mind without further muddying the water.
Did hear about Nisaragadatta from a friend who had introduced me to K but have not read any book by him. From my limited understanding, it seems at core there is not much difference in teaching of K, Ramana, nisargadatta and also " Prapatti/absolute surrender philosophy of Vishnu followers.
There needs be an understanding of paradoxes, of what are seemingly opposites prima facie, they usually resolve when a unity of them is recognized at a higher plane of understanding or different levels of consciousness so to speak.
If I understand you correctly, you are saying, as long as I/me/ego is present, there will be duality of reality and illusion, Good and bad etc. When I/me/ego is gone, only that is left is 'What is". And what is this “What is”, only “What is” knows ( of course not as knoweldge).
Without seeking a closure like that, consider the duality of ‘what is’ and ‘not-what is (not necessarily I/me/ego, but generally what is caught in the movement of time and evolution)’, can that resolve in a higher unity? The larger point is we shouldn’t seek the resolution of mysteries in the intellectual plane.
I would also say that life with awareness has no meaning. To sum it up, life has no meaning with or without awareness. The meaning of life is life.
But really, the idea of life without awareness is rather feeble. For example, could either of you provide any evidence that there is such a thing as life without awareness? Could you give an example? I cannot. It seems to me that awareness is sewn into the essential fabric of life. The awareness of grass is not the same as the awareness of the cow that eats it but it is still awareness.
It is an error to divide life between that which is aware and that which is not. I suggest the reason for this error is human hubris. We can also see it in the discussion about souls and reincarnation. Most religions give man alone a soul. Animals are said to be soulless (except our favorites of course).
K was at least consistent in his dismissal of the idea of soul. No species were in possession of such a ridiculous thing. And if that is the case, where then is your ‘reincarnation?’ If there is no soul, what is it that you suppose reincarnates? Follow this to the end and you may come to understand that K totally rejected the idea of reincarnation.
Rather than saying so head on however, he asked the listener why s/he was interested at all in the subject. He pointed out that it is the ego that does not want to return to nothingness.