Friend: Would you say Micheal Langford was a true jnani? Or that his books have been helpful to you?
Reinhard: I cannot say that i know who is a jnani and who's not because Ramana taught us that their behavior may be quite misleading. He said that only the peace we may feel in the vicinity of a sage can be taken as a sign. So it remains a subjective matter for each of us. After all, a jnani has transcended the mind. By using mental categories we again are bound by a mental frame.
The fact is that Michael Langford strove seriously for his whole life, giving up his girlfriend and sex at 17 but remaining friends with her. I read some of his books, also Manonasa, his autobiography. When he had the intuition about awareness being the path and goal he sat daily for 12 hours (!) for inquiry until, - so he says - his ego disappeared once and for all.
Some of his expressions, like 'awareness watching awareness' can be misleading. That is why i take the freedom to edit his texts a little, in this case, i often wrote, 'awareness becoming aware of itself'. Also other expressions i find a bit odd and peculiar.
But one thing is definitely true: it is awareness, the very first mode of consciousness, the primary attention which is hinted at by Bhagavan and other sages. Take Christ: his famous saying, 'I AM the path and the goal, no one can come to the Father but through Me'. Here he is not talking personally, as the church would have it but is pointing at the universal I AM directly. In another instance, Christ said, 'I AM before Abraham was.'
Michael Langford puts a lot of emphasis on the practical inquiry into awareness directly.
When we investigate in our own experience, what is it we call 'I'? Usually the body and the person, right? But when we look closely we cannot find any 'I' there at all, isn't it? The sense of identity in that field of body/mind is like a reflection of the sun on a lake. When we try to touch it we touch only water.
Ramana said that in investigating the 'I'-sense, we use the chit-aspect. Chit only means awareness.
So while i cannot vouch completely for Michael Langford i surely agree about the teaching on awareness. Therefore i add Guru Vachaka Kovai verses which are direct quotes from Bhagavan. They state the same message in beautiful verses and we know that Bhagavan edited each verse from Muruganar himself. This makes GVK one of the best and most authentic records of Sri Ramana's teachings.