Tuesday, February 27, 2007

To see Him is to be consumed by Him

17. To those who do not know the Self and to those who
do, the body is the `I'. But to those who do not know the Self
the `I' is bounded by the body; while to those who within the
body know the Self the `I' shines boundless. Such is the
difference between them.

18. To those who do not know and to those who do, the
world is real. But to those who do not know, Reality is bounded
by the world; while to those who know, Reality shines formless
as the ground of the world. Such is the difference between them.

19. The debate, `Does free will prevail or fate?' is only
for those who do not know the root of both. Those who have
known the Self, the common source of freewill and of fate,
have passed beyond them both and will not return to them.

20. To see God and not the Self that sees is only to see a
projection of the mind. It is said that God is seen by him
alone who sees the Self; but one who has lost the ego and
seen the Self is none other than God.

21. When scriptures speak of `seeing the Self' and `seeing
God', what is the truth they mean? How to see the Self? As
the Self is one without a second, it is impossible to see it.
How to see God? To see Him is to be consumed by Him.

~ from Reality in Forty Verses

Monday, February 26, 2007

That each one is Reality Itself,
Thou wilt of Thy nature show, Oh Arunachala!

`Look within,
ever seeking the Self with the inner eye,
then will (it) be found.'
Thus didst Thou direct me,
beloved Arunachala!

AMM, verses 43&44

What if one knows the subtle secret of manifold inscrutable mysteries?

The only true and full awareness is awareness of awareness.
Till awareness is awareness of itself, it knows no peace at all.

What if one knows the subtle secret of manifold inscrutable mysteries?
Until one knows the Awareness which reveals all other knowledge,
does one know the Truth?

Is it not because you are yourself awareness that you now perceive this universe?
If you observe awareness steadily,
this awareness itself as Guru (Teacher) will reveal the Truth.

None can confront and overcome the mind.
Ignore it, then, as something false, unreal.
Know the Self as the real ground and stand firm-rooted in it.
Then the mind’s movements will gradually subside.

~ from The Garland of Guru's Sayings by Sri Muruganar

Friday, February 23, 2007


Sri Ramana Maharshi: The experience of not forgetting consciousness, alone, is the state of devotion (Bhakti), which is the relationship of unfading real love, because the real knowledge of Self, which shines as the undivided supreme bliss itself, surges up as the nature of love.

Only if one knows the truth of love, which is the real nature of Self, will the strong entangled knot of life be untied. Only if one attains the height of love will liberation be attained. Such is the heart of all religions. The experience of Self is only love, which is seeing only love, hearing only love, feeling only love, tasting only love and smelling only love, which is bliss.

Questioner: I long for Bhakti. I want more of this longing. Even realization does not matter for me. Let me be strong in my longing.

Sri Ramana Maharshi: If the longing is there, realization will be forced on you even if you do not want it. Long for it intensely so that the mind melts in devotion. After camphor burns away no residue is left. The mind is the camphor. When it has resolved itself into the Self without leaving even the slightest trace behind, it is realization of the Self.

Clarifying words on Self-Enquiry from Sri Sadhu Om

from The Technique of Self-Enquiry chapter,

The Path of Sri Ramana, Part One by Sri Sadhu Om:

Just on waking up from sleep, a consciousness ‘I’ shoots up like a flash of lightening from the Heart to the brain. From the brain it then spreads throughout the body along the nerves. This I-consciousness is like electrical energy. Its impetus or voltage is the force of attachment with which it identifies a body as ‘I’. This consciousness, which spreads with such a tremendous impetus and speed all over the body as ‘I’, remains pure, having no adjunct attached to it, till it reaches the brain from the Heart.

Since its force of attachment is so great that the time taken by it to shoot up from the Heart to the brain is extremely short, one millionth of a second so to speak, ordinary people are unable to cognize it in its pure condition, devoid of any adjunct. This pure condition of the rising ‘I’-consciousness is what was pointed out by Sri Ramana when He said:

In the space between two states or two thoughts, the pure ego (the pure condition or true nature of the ego) is experienced. - Maharshi’s Gospel, Book One, chapter five, entitled ‘Self and Ego’.

For this ‘I’-consciousness that spreads from the brain at a tremendous speed throughout the body, the nerves are the transmission lines, like wires for electrical power. (How many they are is immaterial here). The mixing of the pure consciousness ‘I am’, after reaching the brain, with an adjunct as ‘I am this, I am so-and-so, I am the body’ is what is called bondage or the knot.

This knot has two forms: the knot of bondage to the nerves and the knot of attachment. The connection of this power, the ‘I’-consciousness, with the gross nervous system is called ‘the knot of bondage to the nerves’, and its connection with the causal body, whose form is the latent tendencies, is called ‘the knot of attachment’. The knot of bondage to the nerves pertains to the breath, while the knot of attachment pertains to the mind.

Mind and breath, which have thought and action as their respective functions, are like two diverging branches of the trunk of a tree, but their root (the activating power) is one. – The Essence of Instruction, verse 12 by Sri Ramana.

Since the source of the mind and the breath is one (the Heart), when the knot of attachment is severed by the annihilation of the mind through Self-inquiry, the knot of bondage to the nerves - is also severed. In raja yoga, after removing the knot of bondage to the nerves by means of breath-control, if the mind which is thus controlled is made to enter the Heart from the brain, since it reaches its source, then the knot of attachment is also severed.

When the mind which has been subdued by breath-control is led (to the Heart) through the only path (the path of knowing Self), its form will die. – The Essence of Instruction, verse 14 by Sri Ramana.

However, since the knot of attachment is the basic one, until and unless the destruction of attachment is effected by knowing Self, even when the knot of bondage to the nerves is temporarily removed in sleep, swoon, death or by the use of anesthetics, the knot of attachment remains unaffected in the form of tendencies-habits-predispositions, which constitute the causal body, and hence rebirths are inescapable.

This is why Sri Ramana insists that one reaching kashta-nirvikalpa-samadhi through raja yoga should not stop there (since it is only a temporary absorption of the mind), but that the mind so absorbed should be led to the Heart in order to attain sahaja-nirvikalpa-samadhi, which is the destruction of the mind and the destruction of the attachment to the body.

In the body of such a Self-realized One, the coursing of the ‘I’-consciousness along the nerves, even after the destruction of the knot of attachment, is like the water on a lotus leaf or like a burnt rope, and thus it cannot cause bondage. Therefore the destruction of the knot of attachment is anyway indispensable for the attainment of the natural state, the state of the destruction of the tendencies-habits-predispositions.

The nerves are gross, but the consciousness-power that courses through them is subtle. The connection of the ‘I-consciousness with the nerves is similar to that of the electrical power with the wires, that is, it is so unstable that it can be disconnected or connected in a second. Is it not an experience common to one and all that this connection is daily broken in sleep and effected in the waking state? When this connection is effected, body-consciousness rises, and when it is broken, body-consciousness is lost.

Here it is to be remembered what has already been stated, namely that body-consciousness and world-consciousness are one and the same. So, like our clothes and ornaments, which are daily removed and put on, this knot is alien to us, a transitory and false entity hanging loosely on us! This is what Sri Ramana referred to when He said:

“We can detach our self from what we are not”!

Disconnecting the knot in such a way that it will never again come into being is called by many names such as ‘the cutting of the knot’, ‘the destruction of the mind’, and so on. ‘In such a way that it will never again come into being’ means this: by attending to it (the ego) through the inquiry ‘Does it in truth exist at present?’ in order to find out whether it had ever really come into being, there takes place the dawn of knowledge, the real waking, where it is clearly and firmly known that no such knot has ever come into being, that no such ego has ever risen, that ‘that which exists’ alone ever exists, and that that which was existing as ‘I am’ is ever existing as ‘I am’!

The attainment of this knowledge (Self-knowledge), the knowledge that the knot or bondage is at all times non-existent and has never risen, is the permanent disconnecting of the knot. Let us explain this with a small story:

“Alas! I am imprisoned! I have been caught within this triangular room! How to free myself?” - thus was a man complaining and sobbing, standing in a corner where the ends of two walls joined. Groping on the two walls in front of him with his two hands, he was lamenting: “No doorway is available, nor even any kind of outlet for me to escape through! How can I get out?”

Another man, a friend of his who was standing at a distance in the open, heard the lamenting, turned in that direction and noticed the state of his friend. There were only two walls in that open space. They were closing only two sides, one end of each of them meeting the other. The friend in the open quickly realized that the man, who was standing facing only the two walls in front of him, had concluded, due to the wrong notion that there was a third wall behind him, that he was imprisoned within a three-walled room.

So he asked, ‘Why are you lamenting, groping on the walls?”

“I am searching for a way through which to escape from the prison of this triangular room, but I don’t find any way out!” replied the man.

The friend: “Well, why don’t you search for a way out on the third wall behind you!”

The man (turning and looking): “Ah, here there is no obstacle! Let me run through this way.” (So saying, he started to run away).

The friend: “What! Why do you run away? Is it necessary for you to do so? If you do not run away, will you remain in prison?”

The man: “Oh! yes, yes,! I was not at all imprisoned! How could I have been imprisoned when there was no wall behind me? It was merely my own delusion that I was imprisoned. I was never imprisoned, nor am I now released! So I do not even need to run away from near these walls where I am now! The defect of my not looking behind was the reason for my so-called bondage; and the turning of my attention behind is really the spiritual practice for my so-called liberation! In reality, I am ever remaining as I am, without any imprisonment or release!”

Thus knowing the truth, he remained quiet.

The two walls in the story signify the second and third persons. The first person is the third wall said to be behind the man. There is no way at all to liberation by means of second and third person attention.

Only by the first person attention ‘Who am I?’ will the right knowledge be gained that the ego, the first person, is ever non-existent, and only when the first person is thus annihilated will the truth be realized that bondage and liberation are false.

So long as one thinks like a madman ‘I am a bound one’, thoughts of bondage and liberation will last. When looking into oneself ‘Who is this bound one?’, the eternally free and ever-shining Self alone will (be found to) exist. Thus, where the thought of bondage no longer stands, can the thought of liberation still endure! - Forty verses, verse 39.

Wednesday, February 21, 2007

Embodiment of Compassion

from Letters from Sri Ramanasramam

by Suri Nagamma

15th June, 1948

As the summer has set in, Bhagavan has started staying all the time in the Jubilee Hall only. At midday, when it is hot, the attendants shift the sofa to the north where there is a bower with crotons on either side and sprinkle water on khus-khus tatties that are tied around. This afternoon I happened to go there at about 2 o'clock. Bhagavan was seated with a matty cloth over his body and his head. There was no one there except Krishnaswami. He was standing behind Bhagavan with a sprinkler in his hand, which appeared to be full of rose-water. He opened the screw cap.

From that sprinkler the rose-water was sprayed on to Bhagavan like a light shower of rain and Bhagavan was rubbing his body with evident satisfaction. When he saw me coming, he said, 'Look! They are doing abhishekam to me (sprinkling holy water).'  So saying he covered his face with that matty cloth and said, 'They have covered me with this wet cloth. They have tied tatties all round and are sprinkling water thereon. This place is now cool like Ootacamund.' I went a little closer to the sofa and found it was cool.

'Coming from the hot atmosphere outside, this seems very cool,' I said, and came back to my usual place.

After thinking for a while, Bhagavan in a reminiscent mood began to talk: 'When I was in the Virupaksha Cave, we used to change over to the Mango Cave during summer as there was no water in the former. At the Mango Cave, at midday, some women of the lower castes used to come there for water with heavy loads of grass on their heads and very tired. Poor people, they start from their homes early in the morning after taking a little gruel (kanji), go up the hill and secure a head load of grass. As soon as they come to the cave they throw down their bundles, bend down and say, 'Swami, Swami, first pour a full vessel of water down our spines.' I used to stand on the verandah there and when I poured water on them as desired, they used to recover from their exhaustion, saying, 'Oh, how good this is!' Then, making a cup of both the hands they used to drink water until their stomachs were full, wash their faces, take some rest in the shade of the trees and then depart. They alone could experience the happiness of it all. It is only when one experiences the oppressiveness of the heat that one knows the relief of the coolness of water.'

'Was it Bhagavan himself who poured the water?' I asked.

'Yes,' said Bhagavan. 'I knew they would be coming at that hour and so would wait there with the water ready. What could they do? They should not touch the water in the Mulaipal Thirtham (holy tank) and there is no water anywhere else. The heat is unbearable. They cannot have food unless they sell the grass and get some money. They have children at home. They must reach home quick to look after them. What can they do, poor people! They used to come to the cave with the hope that the Swami would supply water. We were not cooking at that time. If any day we did cook, we poured a lot of water into the rice when cooking, took out the gruel, poured it into a pot, mixed water with it liberally, and added salt. If dry ginger was available I would mix it in also. By the time they came, the gruel water would be quite cool. When a tumblerful of it was poured into their hands, they used to drink it like nectar and go away. The taste of that gruel and the happiness of drinking that water they alone could know.'

Filled with emotion, he assumed silence.

I was also unable to speak for some time and so sat still looking at that embodiment of compassion. After a while I said, 'This incident is not mentioned in Bhagavan's biography. Why?'

'No, it is not there. I did not think it worth mentioning,' said Bhagavan.

'How many more incidents like this must have occurred and left unrecorded!' I said.

Bhagavan merely nodded his head.

Tuesday, February 20, 2007

D: Has God or the Guru any solicitude for me?

M: If you seek either — they are not really two but one and identical — rest assured that they are seeking you with a solicitude greater than you can ever imagine.

Are we to call it a dream and remain unmoved ...?

Another visitor, who said that he was from Sri Aurobindo's Ashram, asked Bhagavan:

"But we see pain in the world. A man is hungry. It is a physical reality. It is very real to him. Are we to call it a dream and remain unmoved by his pain?"


From the point of view of jnana
or the reality, the pain you speak of is certainly a dream, as is the world of which the pain is an infinitesimal part. In the dream also you yourself feel hunger. You see others suffering hunger. You feed yourself and, moved by pity, feed the others that you find suffering from hunger.

So long as the dream lasted, all those pains were quite as real as you now think the pain you see in the world to be. It was only when you woke up that you discovered that the pain in the dream was unreal. You might have eaten to the full and gone to sleep. You dream that you work hard and long in the hot sun all day, are tired and hungry and want to eat a lot. Then you get up and find your stomach is full and you have not stirred out of your bed.

But all this is not to say that while you are in the dream you can act as if the pain you feel there is not real. The hunger in the dream has to be assuaged by the food in the dream. The fellow beings you found in the dream so hungry had to be provided with food in that dream.

You can never mix up the two states, the dream and the waking state. Till you reach the state of jnana and thus wake out of this maya, you must do social service by relieving suffering whenever you see it.

But even then you must do it, as we are told, without ahamkara, i.e., without the sense "I am the doer," but feeling, "I am the Lord's tool." Similarly one must not be conceited, "I am helping a man below me. He needs help. I am in a position to help. I am superior and he inferior."

But you must help the man as a means of worshipping God in that man. All such service too is for the Self, not for anybody else. You are not helping anybody else, but only yourself.

from Day by Day With Bhagavan
Question: I find surrender is easier. I want to adopt that path.

Bhagavan: By whatever path you go, you will have to lose yourself in the One. Surrender is complete only when you reach the stage `Thou art all' and `Thy will be done'.

Monday, February 19, 2007

The Guru's Look

"Since his glance transforms the rusty iron that is the jiva into the gold that is the taint-free jnana-swarupa, the grace-bestowing eyes of the Guru-Lord are the potent alchemical substance that transforms by a mere glance. Therefore, search thoroughly to eradicate your impurity, and worship him to obtain his glance.

With his twin eyes the Guru will instantaneously kill without killing the one who came into existence without actually existing in such a way that 'that which is not' vanishes as 'that which is not', leaving that which exists as the transcendental light shining as 'that which is'."

~ from Guru Vachaka Kovai, translated and edited by translated David Godman, T. V. Venkatasubramanian and Robert Butler

"I am, I am"

"Jnana is given neither from outside nor from another person. It can be realised by each and everyone in his own Heart. The jnana Guru of everyone is only the Supreme Self that is always revealing its own truth in every Heart through the being-conciousness 'I am, I am.' The granting of true knowledge by him is initiation into jnana. The grace of the Guru is only that Self-awareness that is one's own true nature. It is the inner conciousness by which he is unceasingly revealing his existence. This divine upadesa is always going on naturally in everyone."

-Sri Ramana Maharshi

Saturday, February 17, 2007

Renunciation (from Gems from Bhagavan)

WHEN ASKED: `HOW DOES A GRIHASTHA (householder) fare in the scheme of Moksha (liberation)?' Bhagavan said, `Why do you think you are a grihastha? If you go out as a sannyasi (ascetic), a similar thought that you are a sannyasi will haunt you. Whether you continue in the household or renounce it and go to the forest, your mind goes with you. The ego is the source of all thought. It creates the body and the world and makes you think you are a grihastha. If you renounce the world it will only substitute the thought sannyasi for grihastha, and the environments of the forest for those of the household. But the mental obstacles will still be there. They even increase in the new surroundings. There is no help in a change of environment. The obstacle is the mind. It must be got over whether at home or in the forest. If you can do it in the forest, why not at home? Therefore, why change your environment? Your efforts can be made even now - in whatever environment you are now. The environment will never change according to your desire'.

If objects have an independent existence, i.e., if they exist anywhere apart from you, then it may be possible for you to go away from them. But they do not exist apart from you; they owe their existence to you, your thoughts. So where can you go to escape them?

Where can you go, fleeing from the world or objects? They are like the shadow of man, which the man cannot flee from. There is a funny story of a man who wanted to bury his shadow. He dug a deep pit, and seeing his shadow at the bottom, was glad he could bury it so deep. He went on filling the pit, and when he had completely filled it up, he was surprised and disappointed to find the shadow on the top. Even so, the objects or thoughts of them will be always with you until you realize the Self.

Why should your occupation or duties in life interfere with your spiritual effort? For instance, there is a difference between your activities at home and in the office. In your office activities you are detached, and so long as you do your duty you do not care what happens, or whether it results in gain or loss to the employer. But your duties at home are performed with attachment and you are all the time anxious as to whether they will bring advantage or disadvantage to you and your family. It is possible to perform all the activities of life with detachment and regard only the Self as real. It is wrong to suppose that if one is fixed in the Self, one's duties in life will not be performed properly. It is like an actor. He dresses, acts and even feels the part he is playing, but he knows that he is really not that character but someone else in real life. In the same way, why should the body-consciousness or the feeling `I am the body' disturb you once you know for certain that you are not the body but the Self. Nothing that the body does should shake you from abidance in the Self. Such abidance will never interfere with the proper and effective discharge of whatever duties the body has, any more than the actor's being aware of his real status in life interferes with his acting a part on the stage.

Renunciation is always in the mind, not in going to the forest or solitary places, or giving up one's duties. The main thing is to see that the mind does not turn outward but inward.

It does not really rest with a man whether he goes to this place or that, or whether he gives up his duties or not. All that happens according to destiny.

All the activities that the body is to go through are determined when it first comes into existence. It does not rest with you to accept or reject them. The only freedom you have is to turn your mind inward and renounce activities there. Nobody can say why that freedom alone and no other freedom is left to man. That is the Divine scheme.

Giving up activities means giving up attachment to activities or the fruits thereof, giving up the notion `I am the doer'. The activities which this body is destined to perform will have to be gone through. There is no question of giving up such activities, whether one likes it or not.

If one remains fixed in the Self, the activities will still go on and their success will not be affected. One should not have the idea that one is the doer. The activities will still go on. That force, by whatever name you call it, which brought the body into existence will see to it that the activities which this body is meant to go through are brought about.

If the passions are something external to us, we can take arms and ammunition and conquer them. They all come from within us. If by looking into the source whence they come, we prevent their coming up and we shall conquer them. It is the world and the objects in it that arouse our passions. But the world and these objects are only created by our mind. They do not exist during our deep sleep.

The fact is that any amount of action can be performed, and performed quite well by the Jnani, without His identifying Himself with it in any way, or ever imagining that He is the doer. Some power acts through His body and uses His body to get the work done.

Thursday, February 15, 2007

"O Arunachala! You showed me that happiness lies in peaceful repose enjoyed when resting in the Self. What other recourse for happiness exists for me than this?"

verse 37, Akshara Mana Malai

Grace and Guru (from Gems from Bhagavan)

I HAVE NOT SAID THAT A GURU IS NOT NECESSARY. But a Guru need not always be in human form. First a person thinks that he is inferior and that there is a superior, all-knowing, all powerful God who controls his own and the world's destiny and worships him or does bhakti. When he reaches a certain stage and becomes fit for enlightenment, the same God whom he was worshipping comes as Guru and leads him onward. That Guru comes only to tell him, `That God is within yourself. Dive within and realize'. God, Guru and the Self are the same.

Realization is the result of the Master's (Guru's) grace, more than teachings, lectures, meditations, etc. They are only secondary aids, whereas the former is the primary and essential

Guru's grace is always there. You imagine it to be something somewhere high up in the sky, far away and which has to descend. It is really inside you in your Heart, and the moment, by any of the methods, you effect subsidence or merger of the mind into its source, the grace rushes forth,
spouting as from a spring from within you.

Contact with jnanis is good. They will work through silence. A Guru is not the physical form. Hence His contact remains even after the physical form of the Guru vanishes.

After your bhakti to God has matured you, God comes in the shape of a Guru and from outside pushes your mind inside, while being inside as Self He draws you there from within. Such a Guru is needed generally, though not for very rare and advanced souls.

One can go to another Guru after one's Guru passes away.

But after all, Gurus are one, as none of them are the form. Mental contact is always the best.

Satsangh means association with Sat or Reality. One who knows or has realized Sat is also regarded as Sat. Such association is absolutely necessary for all. Sankara has said, "In all the three worlds there is no boat like satsangh to carry one safely across the ocean of births and deaths."

Guru not being physical, His contact will continue after His form vanishes. If one Jnani exists in the world, His influence will be felt by or benefit all people in the world, and not simply His immediate disciples. As described in Vedanta Chudamani, all the people in the world can be put
under four categories: The Guru's disciples, bhaktas, those who are indifferent to Him and those who are hostile to Him. All these will be benefited by the existence of the Jnani — each in his own way and to various degrees.

From the book, Divine Grace Through Total Self-Surrender by D.C. Desai, Bhagavan read out the following quotations by Paul Brunton for our benefit:

Divine Grace is a manifestation of the cosmic free will in operation. It can alter the course of events in a mysterious manner through its own unknown laws, which are superior to all natural laws, and can modify the latter by interaction. It is the most powerful force in the universe. It descends and acts only when it is invoked by total self-surrender. It acts from within, because God resides in the Heart of all beings. Its whisper can be heard only in a mind purified by self-surrender and prayer.

Rationalists laugh at it, and atheists scorn it, but it exists. It is a descent of God into the soul's zone of awareness. It is a visitation of force unexpected and unpredictable. It is a voice spoken out of cosmic silence - It is `Cosmic Will which can perform authentic miracles under its own laws'. In truth, God and the Guru are not different. Just as the prey which has fallen into the jaws of a tiger has no escape, so those who have come within the ambit of the Guru's
gracious look will be saved by the Guru and will not get lost; yet, each one should by his own effort pursue the path shown by God or Guru and gain release.

Each seeker after God should be allowed to go his own way, the way for which he alone may be built (meant). It will not do to convert him to another path by violence. The Guru will go with the disciple in his own path and then gradually turn him onto the Supreme path at the ripe moment. Suppose a car is going at top speed. To stop it at once or to turn it at once would be attended with disastrous consequences.

Wednesday, February 14, 2007

Regard me graciously and dispel my illusion, if you don't, who in the world will plead with you, O Arunachala?

~ verse 65, Aksharamanamalai

Heart (from Gems from Bhagavan)

IN THE CENTRE OF THE CAVITY OF THE HEART the sole Brahman shines by itself as the Atman (Self) in the feeling of `I-I'. Reach the Heart by diving within yourself, either with control of breath, or with thought concentrated on the quest of the Self. You will thus get fixed in the Self.

I have been saying all along that the Heart Centre is on the right side, even when learned men differed from me. I speak from experience. I knew it even in my home during my trances (samadhi). Again during the incident recorded in Self-Realization, I had a very clear vision and experience. All of a sudden a light came from one side erasing the world-vision. I felt that the heart on the left had stopped and the body became blue and inert. Vasudeva Sastri embraced the body and wept over my death, but I could not speak. All the time I was feeling that the Heart Centre on the right was working as well as ever. This state lasted fifteen or twenty minutes. Then suddenly something shot out from the right to the left like a rocket bursting into the sky. The blood resumed circulation and the normal condition of the body was restored.

The entire universe is condensed in the body and the entire body in the Heart. Thus the Heart is the nucleus of the whole universe. This world is not other than the mind, the mind is not other than the Heart; that is the whole truth.

The source is a point without any dimensions. It expands as the cosmos on the one hand and as Infinite bliss on the other. That point is the pivot. From it a single vasana starts and expands as the experiencer (`I'), the experience and the experienced (the world).

To Rama who questioned Vasishta: `Which is that big mirror in which all these are mere reflections? What is the heart of all souls or creatures in this universe?' Vasishta replied: `All creatures in this universe have two kinds of hearts — one to be taken note of and the other ignored. Hear their respective traits: The one to be ignored is the physical organ called the heart which is situated in the chest as a part of the perishable body. The one to be taken note of is the Heart which is of the nature of consciousness. It is both inside and outside (us) and has neither an inside nor an outside.'

This is the really important Heart. It is the mirror which holds all reflections. It is the basis and source of all objects and all kinds of wealth. Therefore, it is only that Consciousness, which is the Heart of all, not that organ - a small part of the body, which is insentient like a stone, and perishable. So one can achieve the eradication of all desires and control of breath, by the practice of merging the mind in the Heart, which is Pure Consciousness.

Concentrating one's thoughts solely on the Self will lead to happiness or bliss. Drawing in the thoughts, restraining them and preventing them from going outwards is called vairagya
. Fixing them in the Self is sadhana or abhyasa (practice). Concentrating on the Heart is the same as concentrating on the Self. The Heart is another name for the Self.

The Self is the Heart. The Heart is Self-luminous. Light arises from the Heart and reaches the brain which is the seat of the mind. The world is seen with the mind, that is by the reflected light of the Self. It is perceived with the aid of the mind. When the mind is illumined it is aware of the world. When it is not itself so illumined, it is not aware of the world. If the mind is turned inward towards the source of light, objective knowledge ceases and the Self alone shines forth as the Heart.

The moon shines by the reflected light of the sun. When the sun has set, the moon is useful for revealing objects. When the sun has risen, no one needs the moon, although the pale disc of the moon is still visible in the sky. So it is with the mind and the Heart.

Tuesday, February 13, 2007

Only This Is Untrue?

A Story Told by Kunju Swami

There was a man from the state of Kerala who had written a biography of Sri Ramana Maharshi in Malayalam (that state’s regional language). Before sending the manuscript to press he decided to visit the Ashram and have it read aloud before Bhagavan.

Because Kunju Swami was born in Kerala and spoke fluent Malayalam, Bhagavan asked him to read the manuscript aloud, and also to look after the author’s needs during his visit. As Kunju Swami began reading, he could not believe what was written. The book stated that Maharshi was married and was the father of several children, and that one day, while living in the South Indian town of Madurai, he closed his eyes and was somehow magically transported to the Arunachala Hill. The book went on like this, containing many fictional accounts.

After the reading took place, the author had to leave quickly in order to catch a train back home. Maharshi was very gracious to him and asked Kunju Swami to be sure he had something to eat before leaving, and see to it that he reached the train station on time.

After seeing off the visitor, Kunju Swami hurried back to the Ashram, anxious to hear what Bhagavan thought of this highly exaggerated manuscript, which was about to go to press. Back at the Old Hall, he found Ramana Maharshi quietly attending to some small chore, completely unconcerned about anything else. Kunju Swami waited as patiently as he could, wondering if Maharshi might raise the subject. But he just quietly chatted with those present and sat silently.

Finally, Kunju Swami could not contain himself any longer and asked: “Bhagavan, how could you allow this book to get printed? It is full of inaccuracies. In fact, most of it is untrue.”
Bhagavan looked at Kunju Swami for a moment then replied: “Oh, I see. You mean only this is untrue, and everything else is true?”

The book was never printed!

--Matthew Greenblatt (Fall/Winter 2002). The Inner Directions Journal, p. 38.

Self Enquiry

from The Teachings of Bhagavan In His Own Words

D.: Why should Self-enquiry alone be considered the direct path to Realisation?

B.: Because every kind of path except Self-enquiry presupposes the retention of the mind as the instrument for following it, and cannot be followed without the mind. The ego may take different and more subtle forms at different stages of one's practice but it is never destroyed. The attempt to destroy the ego or the mind by methods other than Self-enquiry is like a thief turning policeman to catch the thief that is himself. Self-enquiry alone can reveal the truth that neither the ego nor the mind really exists and enable one to realise the pure, undifferentiated Being of the Self or the Absolute.

This statement that the mind is not used by the method of Self-enquiry was not always understood, and therefore Bhagavan, when asked, explained that it means that the mind is not taken for granted as a real entity but its very existence is questioned, and that this is the easiest way to dispel the illusion of its existence.

B.: To ask the mind to kill the mind is like making the thief the policeman. He will go with you and pretend to catch the thief, but nothing will be gained. So, you must turn inward and see where the mind rises from and then it will cease to exist. (In reference to this answer, Sri Thambi Thorai of Jaffna, who has been living as a sadhu in Pelakothu for over a year, asked me whether asking the mind to turn inward and seek its source is not also employing the mind. I put this doubt before Bhagavan.)

B.: Of course, we are employing the mind. It is well known and admitted that only with the help of the mind, can the mind be killed. But instead of setting about saying there is a mind and I want to kill it, you begin to seek its source, and then you find it does not exist at all. The mind turned outwards results in thoughts and objects. Turned inwards it becomes itself the Self.

It can be said that the mind ceases to exist or that it becomes transformed into the Self; the meaning is really the same. It does not mean that a person becomes mindless, like a stone, but that the Pure Consciousness of the Self is no longer confined within the narrow limits of an individualised mind and that he no longer sees through a glass darkly, but with clarity and radiant vision.