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No sign of who


“The matrix cannot tell you who you are.”

– Trinity in The Matrix

“What you are is not established by your perception, and is not influenced by it at all.”


Dream on


Why go anywhere? Just realize that you are dreaming a dream you call the world, and stop looking for ways out. The dream is not your problem. Your problem is that you like one part of the dream and not another. When you have seen the dream as a dream, you have done all that needs be done.

– Nisargadatta Maharaj, I am That

Wei Wu Wei : Where is nothing?


Nothing in Something

To look upon the Void as an emptiness that exists somewhere in a cosmic fullness will never open the mind to its wholeness. Vision must start afresh by realising that a cosmic plenitude is an imaginary implication, and that the cosmos itself is not. The Void is not nothing somewhere within something: that something is nothing, there is nowhere within it, and the Void is that.

Something in Nothing

It is the basic notion, the fundamental conception that is erroneous. People start by assuming reality, a something, a positively existing continuum, and then seek to situate the Void somewhere therein. But it is the Void we have to take as the basic notion, the fundamental conception, the continuum that is a non-continuum – and then see that if there is anything apparent anywhere it can only be in that.

– Wei Wu Wei (Terence Gray), Ask the Awakened, ch.25



Sri Ramana Maharshi : versions of 1st Invocatory verse of Ulladu Narpadu


Here are a few translations of the first benedictory or invocatory verse of Sri Ramana Maharshi’s 40 Verses on Reality (Ulladu Narpadu):

T.V. Venkatasubramanian, R. Butler, D. Godman:

Could there be a being-consciousness existing apart from that which [eternally] is? Since that Reality exists in the Heart, free of thought, who could meditate upon that Reality, called the Heart? Know that to remain within the Heart, as it is, is truly to meditate [upon the Heart].

Prof. K. Swaminathan:

i. Without the Reality existing, can there be a knowledge of existence? Free from all thoughts, that Reality abides in the Heart, the Source of all thoughts. It is, therefore, called the Heart. How then to contemplate it? To be as it is in the Heart is its contemplation.

Prof. Swaminathan also provides this summary of the verse : (i) Reality is at once Being and Consciousness. To know That is to be That in the Heart, transcending thought.
(Cf. I AM THAT I AM — [Exodus] which implies the metaphysical dictum that the proof of existence is existence itself.)

S.S. Cohen:

i. “Awareness is the nature of Reality”
Without awareness of Reality, can Reality exist? Because this awareness-reality, itself free from thought, exists as the source of all thoughts, it is called Heart. How to know it? To be as it is (thought-free) in the Heart, is to know it.

Commentary: The literal translation of the first sentence of this verse reads: “Can there be awareness of that which is other than existence?” This makes knowledge or awareness the criterion of existence, because the non-existent cannot make itself known. The color, for example, that is not visible, or the sound that is not audible, amount to nothing.

[Note:  Cohen’s literal translation, should probably be read “Can there be awareness of that-which-is other than existence?” Robert Butler and others have said that a possible translation of the title is “40 Verses on That-which-is”.]

Major A.W. Chadwick:

Composed with the supervision of Sri Ramana, Sadhu Arunachala rendered the verse in this way:

Without Reality there cannot be
Relative knowledge of Reality,
Which, free from thoughts, doth dwell within the Heart,
That of all thought’s the source. Yea, verily,
The Heart it is. How can it be invoked?
To be it in the Heart is to invoke it!

Sadhu Om and Michael James:

If the Reality ‘I’ did not exist, could there exist the consciousness ‘am’ (the consciousness of one’s own existence)? Since (that) Reality exists in the heart devoid of thought, how to (or who can) meditate upon (that) Reality, which is called the Heart? Know that abiding in the Heart as it is (that is, without thought, as ‘I am’), alone is meditating (upon the Reality).
Rephrase thus : If the reality (one’s own existence, ‘I’) did not exist, could there exist the consciousness of Being (the consciousness of one’s existence ‘am’)?

Arthur Osborne:

i. If Reality did not exist, could there be any knowledge of existence? Free from all thoughts, Reality abides in the Heart, the Source of all thoughts. It is, therefore, called the Heart. How then is one to contemplate it? To be as It is in the Heart, is Its contemplation.

Berkeley : omitting to see the seer


Two versions of a passage from section 23 of George Berkeley’s Principles of Human Knowledge, where he refutes the idea that objects exist external to the perceiver.

When we do our utmost to conceive the Existence of external Bodies, we are all the while only contemplating our own Ideas. But the Mind taking no notice of it self, is deluded to think it can and doth conceive Bodies existing unthought of or without the Mind; though at the same time they are apprehended by or exist in it self.

(original version)

However hard we try to conceive the existence of external bodies, all we achieve is to contemplate our own ideas. The mind is misled into thinking that it can and does conceive bodies existing outside the mind or unthought-of because it pays no attention to itself, and so doesn’t notice that it contains or thinks of the things that it conceives.

(contemporary version by Jonathan Bennett)

“Contemplating our own ideas”. If we talk about the bare experience and then the interpretive-conceptual-verbal overlay, we ask which part of all that is our own idea? is there some aspect of experience beyond our idea? That seems to be just what Berkeley is denying. Which means that the totality of our experience is what Berkeley calls Ideas. The Greek word means form or pattern and is related to the root of “to see”. So Idea as used here has a different connotation from simply an idea that pops into the mind.

Contemplating our own Ideas is a way of looking at the world not as many external material things but as patterns in the mind.

Nothing secure


“Nothing is secure but life, transition, the energizing spirit.”

“People wish to be settled; only as far as they are unsettled is there any hope for them.”

– R.W. Emerson in the essay Circles, quoted here.