Saturday, March 31, 2007

probing the mysterious I-sense

Except the path of Self-inquiry, probing the mysterious I-sense,
no other effort or action, however strenuously pursued,
can take one to the fount of bliss,
the treasure shining in the heart,
forever as the Self-Awareness.

~ Sri Muruganar, Garland of Guru's Sayings

real home

"There are two kinds of pilgrims on life’s journey: the one, like a tourist, is keen on sight-seeing, wandering from place to place, flitting from one experience to another for the fun of it.

The other treads the path that is consistent with man’s true being and leads to his real home, to Self-knowledge. Sorrow will of a certainty be encountered on the journey undertaken for the sake of sight-seeing and enjoyment. So long as one’s real home has not been found, suffering. is inevitable. The sense of separateness is the root cause of misery, because it is founded on error, on the conception of duality. This is why the world is called ‘du-niya’ (based on duality).

A man’s belief is greatly influenced by his environment; therefore he should choose the company of the Holy and Wise. Belief means to believe in one’s Self, disbelief to mistake the non-Self for one’s Self.

There are instances of Self-realization occurring by the Grace of God, whereas at other times it can be seen that He awakens in some a feverish yearning after Truth. In the first case attainment comes spontaneously, in the second it is brought about by trials. But all is wrought solely by His Mercy.

Man thinks he is the doer of his actions, while actually everything is managed from ‘There’; the connection is ‘There’, as well as the power-house - yet people say: ‘I do.’

How wonderful it is !"

~ Sri Anandamayi Ma

Arunachala: pure awareness in the form of a Hill

Dr. T. N. Krishnaswamy gives an account of his experiences as the `official photographer' of the Ashram. As confirmed by Sri Bhagavan, the Divine assumes a visible, physical form out of Grace to give solace and guidance to devotees. The importance of Sri Bhagavan's pictures is therefore obvious.

OWING TO MY busy life in Madras I could usually spend only a day or a part of a day at Tiruvannamalai when I went there. I always took my camera with me and I used to spend the whole time with the Maharshi and take as many photos of him as I could. I was afraid he would get annoyed at my persistence, but he never did. I have photographed him walking, sitting, eating, wiping his feet. I have caught him smiling and laughing, speaking and silent, and also in samadhi. Once he was going up the Hill when it started to rain and he was offered a home-made palm-leaf umbrella and I snapped him using it. I took another picture of him using an ordinary umbrella and smiling broadly as he did so.

Sometimes I used to wonder if it was not ridiculous of me to pay so much attention to photography when his teaching was that "I am not the body". Was I not chasing the shadow and even trying to perpetuate it? At the time I paid very little attention to his teaching. I was attracted only by the beauty and grace of his person. It gave me immense pleasure to take pictures of him. He was more important than, his teaching.

Later, when he was no longer bodily with us, I turned to his teaching; and then I found that the Grace of his Presence had prepared me for it. I had been attracted to him as a child is to its mother, without knowing why I had derived sustenance from him as a child does from its mother. I was glad afterwards that I had enjoyed his presence when he was bodily with us. The following little incident shows how he himself approved of people worshipping the physical form assumed by the Divine.

One day I was walking on Arunachala with the Maharshi when he picked up one small stone from the path and held it out to me saying, "Someone has written from abroad asking for a stone from the holiest part of the Hill. He does not know that the whole Hill is sacred. It is Siva himself. Just as we identify ourselves with a body, so Siva has chosen to identify with the Hill. Arunachala is pure Awareness in the form of a Hill. It is out of compassion to those who seek him that he has chosen to reveal himself in the form of a Hill visible to the eye. The seeker will obtain guidance and solace by staying near this Hill."

~ from Surpassing Love and Grace

(Permission to post this photo of Sri Bhagavan and Dr. T. N. Krishnaswamy was kindly given by Dr. T. N. Krishnaswamy's family.)

Thursday, March 29, 2007

Sri Bhagavan: Glowing Centre of Divine Radiance

the following is recounted by Visvanatha Swami in The Silent Power

All those who approached Bhagavan with spiritual
earnestness have had this experience of direct contact with the
Divine at the very first sight of Bhagavan. Ganapati Muni, the
great poet and tapaswin, saw an adept (a Siddha Purusha, a
Perfect Being) in Bhagavan, the moment he first beheld him by
chance on the Hill in the Ashram of Jataiswami. The scholar
became a disciple. Venkataramanier of Satyamangalam saw
Bhagavan as a clear manifestation of the all-pervading Supreme
Self and sang his five superb Hymns in Praise of Ramana.

Humphreys saw Bhagavan as a glowing centre of Divine
Radiance. Achyuta Dasa, Narayana Guru and so many others
seeing Bhagavan recognised his unique spiritual greatness.

Pascaline Mallet, a French lady, who stayed with Bhagavan for a
few months sang in a poem in praise of Bhagavan: "One Light,
One Life, One Love, shining through Thee, we see." And Grant
Duff (Douglas Ainslee), the cultured scholar and poet, says in
his preface to Bhagavan's Five Hymns to Arunachala: "I was in
direct contact with one who had passed beyond the boundaries
of the senses and was merged in the Absolute Self. I do not
need any proof of the divinity of Ramana Maharshi, just as I do
not need any to prove the existence of the Sun."

What is the secret behind the common experience of
Divine Glory which so many intelligent devotees have had in
the presence of Bhagavan? Here is the answer given by Ganapati
Muni in his remarkable hymn of Forty Verses in Praise of

"Bow down to the holy Guru Ramana who reaching
the hidden source of the ego within has effaced all differentiation
and shines forth as the One Self of all beings with various mental
propensities and who is resplendent as the One Reality
transcending the body and the entire world-manifestation."

"I bow to Sri Ramana, the Great Teacher, the remover of all sorrow,
who established in the Eternal Abode of Pure Awareness dispels
the ignorance of earnest seekers, who though seeing and moving
within the world stands as the Supreme Being transcending it."

From a relative standpoint, the proximity of such a Sage,
normally established in the Self under all circumstances of life,
serves as an eye-opener for those in the clutches of delusion and
as an invaluable aid supporting them in their spiritual quest.

The operation of the Spiritual Force of such enlightened Ones
is not limited to the lifetime of their physical body. It continues
for ever and those who think of them, surrender themselves to
them, study their life and teachings and try to follow them do
get into the ambit of their Grace, non-different from Supreme
Divine Grace. This is the experience of so many spiritual
aspirants who had not met Bhagavan during his lifetime but
devoted themselves to him on hearing of him or coming to
know of him somehow or other. The enlightened Ones who
are themselves timeless belong to all time and by their very
nature shed light on the path of seekers and help them in ever
so many ways.

Ultimately one sees that one has no existence apart from
Pure Awareness, that there is no world apart from it and that
there is no other God than Pure Awareness. Blissful Awareness
is the sole Reality. Manifestation as the Many is nothing but its
Lila. Every one, in manifestation, has to play his part knowing
at heart that it is all nothing but Lila, the only Reality being
Absolute Blissful Awareness.

to read the full chapter (Awareness Absolute) go to

more than anything else in this world

As you look at the world without interpretation, as you look at the world without attachment, what the world is will be revealed to you. The world will be revealed to you as no thing. As an image on the screen of Consciousness. You will become radiantly happy for no reason whatsoever. You will find the peace that you never dreamed existed.

You have to want this. You have to love this. You have to want this more than anything else in this world.

...Never allow yourself to believe that something's wrong in your life. Catch it before it starts. And say to yourself:"I am effortless, choiceless, Pure Awareness." Whatever comes up, say that. Know the truth about yourself. God has no problems. Neither do you. For you are That.

I know the teaching sounds absurd to most people. And yet this is the teaching that has been propagated by rishis, sages, since the beginning of time. This is it. This is your opportunity to awaken. Why not use it?

~ Robert Adams, Silence of the Heart

Tuesday, March 27, 2007

Like horses

Stephen Mitchell, in the preface to his translation of the Bhagavad Gita, on the topic of Emerson and Thoreau's joy at discovering this poem, writes:

"Souls who love God," a Sufi sheikh said a thousand years ago, "know one another by smell, like horses. Though one be in the East and the other in the West, they still feel joy and comfort in each other's talk, and one who lives in a later generation than the other is instructed and consoled by the words of his friend."

(Though Sri Bhagavan is so, so far beyond "friend," I cannot help but think of Him and those who love Him profoundly when I read this.)

Sunday, March 25, 2007

Realise with a still mind your own true nature

Hemalekha is addressing her husband Hemachuda in Tripura Rahasya:

92. "Therefore, Prince, realise with a still mind your own true nature which is the one pure, undivided Consciousness underlying the restless mind which is composed of the whole universe in all its diversity.

93. "If one is fixed in that fundamental basis of the universe (ie., the Self), one becomes the All-doer. I shall tell you how to inhere thus. I assure you - you will be That.

94. "Realise with a still mind the state between sleep and wakefulness, the interval between the recognition of one object after another or gap between two perceptions.

99. "Be also free from the thought 'I see'; remain still like a blind man seeing. What transcends sight and no sight that you are. Be quick."

100. Hemachuda did accordingly, and having gained that state referred to by his wife, he remained peaceful a long time, unaware of anything beside the Self.

To read the whole story, see

Saturday, March 24, 2007

after boarding the boat of His teachings

31. "Even now I understand nothing of the workings of the universe. Where does it rise from, in all its grandeur?"

32. "Where does it end? How does it exist? I find it to be altogether transient."

33. "But worldly happenings seem permanent; why should that be? Such happenings seem strangely enough to be unconsidered."

34. "How strange! They are on a par with the blind man led by the blind!"

35. "My own case furnishes an example in point. I do not even remember what happened in my childhood."

36. "I was different in my youth, again different in my manhood, still more so now; and in this way, my life is constantly changing."

37-38. "What fruits have been reaped as the result of these changes is not clear to me. The end justifies the means as adopted by individuals according to their temperaments in different climes and in different times. What have they gained thereby? Are they themselves happy?

39. "The gain is only that which is considered to be so by the unthinking public. I however cannot deem it so, seeing that even after gaining the so-called end, the attempts are repeated.

Note: - Since there is no abiding satisfaction in the gain, it is not worth having.

40-41. "Well, having gained one purpose, why does man look for another? Therefore, what the man is always after should be esteemed the only real purpose - be it accession of pleasure or removal of pain. There can be neither, so long as the incentive to effort lasts."

42. "The feeling of a need to work in order to gain happiness (being the index of misery) is the misery of miseries. How can there be pleasure or removal of pain so long as it continues?

43-45. "Such pleasure is like that of soothing unguents placed on a scalded limb, or of the embrace of one's beloved when one is lying pierced by an arrow in the breast; or of the sweet melodies of music heard by an advanced consumptive!

46. "Only those who need not engage in action, are happy; they are perfectly content, and self-contained, and they experience happiness which extends to all the pores of the body.

47. "Should there still be a few pleasurable moments for others, they are similar to those enjoyed by one who, while writhing with an abdominal pain, inhales the sweet odour of flowers.

48. "How silly of people with innumerable obligations ever to be busy seeking such moments of pleasure in this world!"

49. "What shall I say of the prowess of undiscriminating men? They propose to reach happiness after crossing interminable hurdles of efforts!"

50. "A beggar in the street labours as much for happiness as a mighty emperor."

51-52. "Each of them having gained his end feels happy and considers himself blessed as if he had reached the goal of life. I too have been unwittingly imitating them like a blind man following the blind. Enough of this folly! I will at once return to that ocean of mercy - my Master."

53. "Learning from him what is to be known, I will cross the ocean of doubts after boarding the boat of his teachings."

~ Tripura Rahasya, Translated by Swami Sri Ramanananda Saraswathi (Sri Munagala S. Venkataramaiah)

Thursday, March 22, 2007

Swami Ramdas at 40

How intense is the longing?

from The Mountain Path, January, 1965:

"Papa [Ramdas]," I [Dilip Kumar Roy] said, "would you mind telling us about your final Realization which they call 'Vishvarupa Darshan'?"

He readily acquiesced and gave a long description of his burning aspiration and yearning which had led him to Arunachala Hill, hallowed by the tapas of the peerless saint Bhagavan Ramana Maharshi. I can give here only the gist of his long narration ....

One day the kind Sadhuram took Ramdas for the darshan of a famous saint of the place named Sri Ramana Maharshi. His Ashram was at the foot of Arunachala. It was a thatched shed. Both the visitors entered the ashram and, meeting the saint, fell prostrate at his holy feet. It was really a blessed place where that great man lived. He was young but there was on his face a calmness and in his large eyes a passionless look of tenderness which cast a spell of peace and joy on all those who came to him. Ramdas was informed that the saint knew English, so he addressed him thus: "Maharaj, here stands before thee a humble slave. Have pity on him. His only prayer to thee is to give him thy blessing."

The Maharshi turned his beautiful eyes towards Ramdas and looked intently for a few minutes into his eyes as though he was pouring into Ramdas his blessing through those orbs, then shook his head to say he had blessed. A thrill of inexpressible joy coursed through the frame of Ramdas, his whole body quivering, like a leaf in the breeze ....

Now at the prompting of Ram, Ramdas desired to remain in solitude for some time ... The sadhuram was ever ready to fulfil his wishes. Losing no time, he took Ramdas up the mountain behind the great temple. Climbing high up he showed him many caves. Of these, one small cave was selected for Ramdas, which he occupied next day. In this cave he lived for nearly a month in deep meditation of Ram. This was the first time he was taken by Ram into solitude for his bhajan. Now he felt most blissful sensations since he could hold undisturbed communion with Ram. He was actually rolling in a sea of indescribable happiness. To fix the mind on that fountain of bliss, Ram, means, to experience pure joy ... He went on taking the Name in an ecstasy of longing when, lo, suddenly his Lord Rama ... appeared before him and danced and danced ...

"Did you see him with closed eyes or open?" I interjected,

"With open eyes, as Ramdas is seeing you," Papa answered. "But it was not this momentary vision that Ramdas's heart craved. For he knew that a vision like this, was unlikely to last and so, when the Lord would vanish, Ramdas would revert to his darkness. Therefore he prayed for the great darshan, the Vision of visions, which comes to stay for ever so there is no more parting, namely the Vishvarupa Darshan, longing to see Rama always in everything; that is nothing less would satisfy Ramdas."

Papa paused and then resumed with a beatific smile: "And it came one morning apocalyptically - when, lo, the entire landscape changed: All was Rama, nothing but Rama - wherever Ramdas looked! Everything was ensouled by Rama - vivid, marvellous, rapturous - the trees, the shrubs, the ants, the cows, the cats, the dogs - even inanimate things pulsated with the marvellous presence of the one Rama. And Ramdas danced in joy, like a boy who, when given a lovely present, can't help breaking out into a dance. And so it was with Ramdas: he danced with joy and rushed at a tree in front, which he embraced because it was not a tree but Rama Himself! A man was passing by, Ramdas ran towards him and embraced him, calling out: 'Rama, O Rama!' The man got scared and bolted. But Ramdas gave him chase and dragged him back to his cave. The man noted that Ramdas had not a tooth in his head and so felt a little reassured: at least the loony would not be able to bite him!" He laughed out and we swelled the chorus.

"And then?" I asked, after the laughter had subsided.

"The bliss and joy came to be permanent, like a torrent rushing downhill till it finds a placid level of limpid purling stream. This experience is called sahaja samadhi, in which you can never be cut off from the consciousness of being at one with the One who has become all, in which you feel you are one with all because you have perceived that all is He, the One-without-a-second."

Finally we end with a comment made by Swami Ramdas - In 'Vision', the monthly journal published by Anandashram, about forty years later.

Ramdas went to Ramana Maharshi in a state of complete obliviousness of the world. He felt thrills of ecstasy in his presence. The Maharshi made the awakening permanent in Ramdas.

Some people told Ramdas: "You went to Maharshi and you got illumination. Give us illumination like that." Ramdas said, You must come to Ramdas in the same spirit and in the same state as he went to Maharshi. Then you will also get it. Where was his heart? How intense was his longing? What was the world to him at that time ? If you come in that state it is all right."

(Swami Ramdas' early biography In Quest of God is available from Blue Dove Press.)

Tuesday, March 20, 2007

Our Bhagavan: view as vast as the sky, conduct as fine as barley flour

from an essay called A Hot Potato, by Philip Renard:

Padmasambhava, who was one of the masters that introduced in the 8th century with Dzogchen the most essential element into Tibetan Buddhism, had no doubts whatsoever about this subject. In a text (in which the expression ‘view’ - ltaba in Tibetan - refers to seeing from the recognition of one‘s true nature) he says:

“Do not lose the view in the conduct;
If you lose the view in the conduct, you will never
have the chance to be liberated.
Do not lose the conduct in the view;
If you lose the conduct in the view, you stray into black diffusion.”

He shows us the two poles of error. The first pole is the unending polishing of the person, the attitudes or conduct, leading to the fact that the ‘view’ of one‘s true nature stays hidden behind the horizon. The second pole - which the great 20th century Dzogchen teacher Tulku Urgyen calls even worse than the first pole - points to the fact that, because the view shows that good and bad do not exist, one thinks that in his conduct there is no good and bad either. That is the reason why Tulku Urgyen emphasizes that view and conduct should be clearly distinguished. The way one behaves should be in harmony with ordinary human ‘worldly’ values and distinctions.

Padmasambhava also said: “Though the view should be as vast as the sky, keep your conduct as fine as barley flour.” In other words, even someone like Padmasambhava, who is considered in Tibet a ‘second Buddha’, with his complete realisation of nonduality, kept emphasizing that every inch of our behavior is worth our attention.
"The thought 'who am I?' will destroy all other thoughts, and like the stick used for stirring the burning pyre, it will itself in the end get destroyed. Then, there will arise Self-realization."

~ Sri Bhagavan

Sunday, March 18, 2007

Find out who this 'I' is

Two Parsi ladies arrived from Ahmedabad and spoke with Bhagavan.

L.: Bhagavan, we have been spiritually inclined from childhood. We have read several books on philosophy and are attracted by Vedanta. So we read the Upanishads, Yoga Vasishta, Bhagavad Gita, etc. We try to meditate, but there is no progress in our meditation. We do not understand how to realise. Can you kindly help us towards realisation?

B.: How do you meditate?

L.: I begin by asking myself `Who am I?' and eliminate the body as not `I', the breath as not `I', the mind as not `I', but then I am unable to proceed further.

B.: Well, that is all right so far as the mind goes. Your process is only mental. Actually all the scriptures mention this process only in order to guide the seeker to the Truth. The Truth cannot be directly indicated; that is why this mental process is used. You see, he who eliminates all the `not-I' cannot eliminate the `I'. In order to be able to say `I am not this' or `I am That', there must be the `I' to say it. This `I' is only the ego, or the `I'-thought. After the rising up of this `I'-thought, all other thoughts arise. The `I'-thought is therefore the root thought. If the root is pulled out, all the rest is uprooted at the same time. Therefore seek the root `I'; question yourself: `Who am I?'; find out the source of the `I'. Then all these problems will vanish and the pure Self alone will remain.

L.: But how am I to do it?

B.: The `I' is always there, whether in deep sleep, in dream or in the waking state. The one who sleeps is the same as the one who is now speaking. There is always the feeling of `I'. If it were not so you would have to deny your existence. But you do not. You say: `I am'. Find out who is.

L.: I still do not understand. You say the `I' is now the false `I'. How am I to eliminate this wrong `I'?

B.: You need not eliminate any false `I'. How can `I' eliminate itself? All that you need do is to find out its origin and stay there. Your effort can extend only so far. Then the Beyond will take care of itself. You are helpless there. No effort can reach It.

L.: If `I' am always -- here and now -- why do I not feel so?

B.: Who says that you do not? Does the real `I' or the false `I'? Ask yourself and you will find that it is the false `I'. The false `I' is the obstruction which has to be removed in order that the true `I' may cease to be hidden. The feeling `I have not realised' is the obstruction to realisation. In fact, it is already realised. There is nothing more to be realised. If there were, realisation would be something new which did not yet exist, but was to come about in the future; but whatever is born will also die. If realisation is not eternal, it is not worth having. Therefore, what we seek is not something that must begin to exist but only that which is eternal but is veiled from us by obstructions. All that we need do is to remove the obstruction. What is eternal is not recognised as such, owing to ignorance. Ignorance is the obstruction. Get rid of it and all will be well. This ignorance is identical with the `I'-thought. Find its source and it will vanish.

The `I'-thought is like a spirit which, although not palpable, rises up simultaneously with the body, flourishes with it and disappears with it. The body-consciousness is the wrong `I'. Give it up. You can do so by seeking the source of `I'. The body does not say: `I am'. It is you who say `I am the body.' Find out who this `I' is. Seek its source and it will vanish.

~from The Teachings of Bhagavan in His Own Words

Saturday, March 17, 2007

Advaita within the Heart

This is taken from the end of an essay on David Godman's site in which he explains verse 39 from Ulladu Narpadu Anubandham:

Keep advaita within the Heart. Do not ever carry it into action. Even if you apply it to all the three worlds, O son, it is not to be applied to the Guru.

Extending this analogy into the spiritual realm, the disciple may have attained oneness with his or her Guru, but the behaviour he or she exhibits is always reverent and deferential. This is what Sadhu Om has to say on this point in his commentary on this verse:

When the Sadguru has destroyed the ajnana that is his disciple’s individual consciousness; when he has graciously bestowed upon him the experience of non-duality; and when he has made him one with himself in the state where duality is no more; even then, such a disciple will always serve his Sadguru and show for him a fitting respect, and will continue to venerate his name and form. Although, in an inner sense, it is not possible to show a reverence that is dualistic in the state of oneness where duality is not present, still, that disciple will show respect outwardly, just as a wife acts respectfully toward her husband.

... as long as the Guru and disciple appear in the perceptions of others as separate individuals, possessing individual minds and bodies, it will always appear to others that they are, in reality, separate from each other. Therefore, even when this perfected disciple who knows reality attains the non-dual state in which, in his Heart, he and his Guru are one, he will always conduct himself in a subservient and deferential manner toward his Sadguru, such that other disciples, taking him as an example, will follow him and behave in a fitting manner.

I have found this to be true with all the great teachers and enlightened beings I have been associated with. Nisargadatta Maharaj, for example, did an elaborate Guru puja every day of his life, long after he had realised the Self. One morning, just before he started, he paused to give an explanation of this daily ritual.

‘I don’t need to do this at all. There is nothing that I can gain from it because I know who and what I am, and what I am cannot be added to in any way. My Guru asked me to do bhajans and puja every day, and even though I no longer use them to attain a spiritual goal, I will continue to do them until the day I die because my Guru asked me to do them. In carrying out these orders I can show not only my respect for his words but also my continuous, undiminishing gratitude to the one who gave me the knowledge of who I really am.’

Muruganar wrote thousands of verses in which he thanked Bhagavan for bestowing the state of liberation on him, but he still did elaborate full-length prostrations whenever he came into Bhagavan’s presence. Sometimes he would remain lying on the floor after his namaskaram was completed and talk to Bhagavan while he was still prostrate at his feet. Viswanatha Swami used to make fun of Muruganar for this, calling the resulting conversations ‘lizard talk’.

Once, while I was sitting with Papaji, someone asked him if he had any regrets about his life. At first he answered ‘no,’ but after a few seconds’ reflection he added, ‘Actually, I do have one regret. Because my legs are now almost paralysed, I can no longer throw myself full length on the floor at the feet of my Master.’ In his later years he had to be content with a standing ‘namaste’ whenever he wanted to pay his respects to Bhagavan’s image.

And what about Bhagavan himself? His respect and veneration towards Arunachala, his Guru, were legendary. However, I will just mention one interesting point. When he composed his philosophical works such as Upadesa Undiyar and Ulladu Narpadu, his tone was non-dualistic. The verses were an uncompromising expression of what the Anubandham verse calls ‘advaita within the Heart’. However, when Bhagavan wrote about his Guru, Arunachala, in his devotional poems, he often adopted the pose of the loving, grateful devotee, a standpoint that enabled him show proper respect and veneration to the form and power of the mountain.

One final story about Bhagavan: when Arunachaleswara (the God Arunachala who is the principal deity in the Tiruvannamalai temple) was being taken in procession around the hill in the 1940s, it stopped outside the gate of Sri Ramanasramam. Bhagavan noticed it as he was taking a walk to the cowshed. He sat on a bench to watch, and when devotees brought him vibhuti as prasad, he applied it reverently to his forehead and remarked, ‘The son is beholden to the father’.

(for the whole essay, see

Iddilies and Sambar: Bhagavan's Compassion

Once Chinnaswami got very cross with me and I felt quite nervous about it. I could not eat my dinner and the next morning, feeling unreconciled and yet hungry, I told Bhagavan, who was preparing rice cakes, that I was in a hurry to go to town as some pupils were waiting for me.

"The cat is out of the bag," said Bhagavan. "Today is Sunday and there is no teaching work for you. Come, I have prepared a special sambar for breakfast and I shall make you taste it. Take your seat."

So saying, he brought a leaf, spread it before me, heaped it with iddilies and sambar and, sitting by my side, started cutting jokes and telling funny stories to make me forget my woes. How great was Bhagavan's compassion!

~ T. K. Sundaresa Iyer, from At The Feet of Bhagavan

Friday, March 16, 2007



20th September, 1949

The wife of the Zamindar of Peddapavani, a frequent visitor to the Ashram, came with her children last month. She stayed for a month and went away a couple of days ago. One evening, after Veda Parayana, she approached Bhagavan and said, "Sometime back Bhagavan gave me darshan in my dream and gave me upadesa. After that, I realised my Self, but it is not steady. What should I do?"

Bhagavan: (amused) "Where has it gone without being steady? Who is it that is not steady?"

Zamindarini: "That (realisation) is not steady."
Bhagavan: "Where has it gone without being steady?"
Zamindarini: "That experience which I had does not remain steady because of bodily ailment and family worries."

Bhagavan: "I see. Say so. Those that come, come. Those that go, go. We remain as we are."
Zamindarini: "You must bestow on me the strength to remain as I am."

Bhagavan: "You have realised the Self, have you not? If that is so, all the others disappear of their own accord."
Zamindarini: "But they have not disappeared."

Bhagavan (smiling): "I see. They will disappear. Vasanas have for a long time built their nests within. If we realise that they are there, they will disappear gradually."

Zamindarini: "Bhagavan must bestow on me the strength to make them disappear."

Bhagavan: "We will see."

The next day about the same time she stood humbly in the presence of Bhagavan and said, "Bhagavan, it is not
possible for a married woman to stay on in the presence of the Guru for any length of time, can she?"

Bhagavan: "The Guru is where one is."

Zamindarini: (still unconvinced) "Should one look upon the whole world as Brahman or should one look upon one's own Self as the most important?"
Bhagavan: "We exist. And the world is Brahman itself. What then is there to look upon as Brahman?"

She was taken aback and stood still. Whereupon Bhagavan looked at her compassionately and explained further: "As you know we undoubtedly exist. The world also exists as Brahman. That being so, what is there that one could see as Brahman? We should make our vision as the all-pervading Brahman. Ancients say, "Drishtim jnanamayim kritva pasyeth brahmamayam jagat". The world is as we see it. If we see it as material, it is material. If we see it as Brahman, it is Brahman. That is why we must change our outlook. Can you see the picture in a film without the screen? If we remain as we are, everything adjusts itself to that attitude."

Overjoyed at this and fully satisfied, she came out and sat on the step on the verandah which is opposite to Bhagavan's couch. Bhagavan was sitting on the couch in his characteristic pose, silent as usual and with a smile on his face. Looking at the radiant face of Bhagavan, she said involuntarily, "Ah! How beautiful Bhagavan is!"

A devotee who heard the exclamation approached Bhagavan and said, "She is saying how beautiful Bhagavan is."

With a slight nod of his head Bhagavan said, "Sivam-Sundaram"* See how pregnant with meaning that expression is?

*Sivam-Sundaram means that which is beautiful is the form of Atma.

~ from Letters from Sri Ramanasramam by Suri Nagamma

Wednesday, March 14, 2007

from Silence of The Heart by Robert Adams:

"A question I am commonly asked over the telephone or in person is this: "Robert, how do you see the world?"

How am I supposed to see the world?

Someone tells me, "I know you see Consciousness, you don't see us."

If I didn't see you, I would not be able to function. Of course I see you.

Someone else tells me, "You see bright lights and sacred images."

Again, if I see bright lights and sacred images, I'd get run over by a truck. I see exactly what you see. Nothing. The only difference is this: I look at the world and I laugh, for I realize I don't know or I don't think.

I realize that the world is none other than myself. The world is Consciousness. It is not the world as it appears, but it's still a superimposition. Therefore, a sage sees the world but realizes the world is Brahman, and is only an appearance. Whereas most people look at the world and they identify with the world. Therefore they have fears, frustrations, pains, arguments, wars, man's inhumanity to man. Only because they identify with the world."

Sunday, March 11, 2007

Enfold me body to body, limb to limb,
or I am lost,
Oh Arunachala!

O Undefiled, abide Thou in my Heart
so that there may be everlasting joy,
Oh Arunachala!

~ A.M.M.

Friday, March 9, 2007

The Rarest, Richest Treasure

The ever-present Self-Awareness,
the radiant gem, this is the rarest, richest treasure.
Look within, and find and hold it fast.
Your poverty, the grand illusion, source of every trouble on earth,
will vanish without delay.

~ Sri Muruganar, Garland of Guru's Sayings

Saturday, March 3, 2007

so certain of Love

Whenever the Footprint is found,
that handful of dust holds the oneness of worlds.

This earth, burnished by hearing the Name,
is so certain of Love
that the sky bends unceasingly down,
to greet its own light.

~ Ghalib

Thursday, March 1, 2007

Two Different Dream Worlds

This is from a talk given by Robert Adams. For the whole talk, go to

Last Sunday we were discussing the telephone calls I received in reference to voting. People call me with strange questions. Do Jnani's vote? Should I vote if I’m a Jnani? And my answer is usually the same to everybody, which was, as long as you ask the question, you should vote. As long as you inquire if you should or you shouldn't, then you're part of the system and you should.

After the election I continued to receive phone calls. One person asked me an interesting question. He called from Dusseldorf, Germany. Is there such a place as Dusseldorf? I asked him where he got my phone number. He said, "Ramana Ashram." I didn't realize they had my phone number. But anyway he asked me a pretty intelligent question, to an extent. He said, "Robert, if everything is a dream, why should we vote, or do anything, if it's all a dream?" We'll discuss this today.

We see that life is a dream. Everything is a dream. The world is unreal. Why should you do anything? The reason of course is you are involved in the dream. You are part of the dream. As long as you are part of the dream, you have to do what has to be done in this world of the dream, for you believe you are the body, the mind. Therefore you cannot fool yourself and imagine that you're somewhere else, when you're not. You come under the law of cause and effect. You come under the laws of karma. As long as you believe in this world, there is karma for you, there is cause and effect. You cannot say in one breath that there is no karma and no cause and effect, and then react to the world. You know whether or not you believe the world is real, by the way you react to it, consistently, constantly, how the world makes you feel. This shows you whether you believe the world is real or not.

When you think of your body all the time, when you respond to the world all the time, then you must do the things of this world. Remember the cliché, "Do unto Caesar that which is Caesar’s. And do unto God, that which is God's." Where do you belong? In the world or in heaven? You can tell by the way you react to life, by the way the world makes you feel, by the way you respond to your body. Yet it's all a dream, but you're caught up in the dream.

As an example, when you go to sleep and you're having a dream, you dream that thieves break into your home and shoot all of your family. Then you wake up. When you wake up, do you go looking for the people who shot your family? It was a dream and you laugh. But you forget you're living in another dream, which is this world, which is the mortal dream.

Do not connect both worlds. They're both two different states of consciousness. They're two different dreams. Yet when you're in your dream world, dreaming, when you go to sleep at night, you're doing all sorts of things in that dream, aren't you? You're acting and reacting, doing all kinds of things in that dream. Do you ever in a dream say, "This is a dream, and I'm not going to react to this world?" You don't. You continue doing things in your dream. That's how it is in this world also.

Most of us are stuck in a dream world. We're stuck in a dream world because it presses down on us. It appears so real. Things are happening every day. Yet, one day you will awaken. It’s the same as awakening from your dream at night. There is no difference. When you awaken to the dream at night, do you have any interest in the dream? You may for a while. If you're into dreams, you may try to decipher what the dream means, for a little bit. But after a while you forget all about the dream. So it is with this world. When a person awakens, or a person becomes liberated, they are able to see the dream, but they know they are not part of it. They merely observe everything, but they are not part of the dream. The world no longer has any power over them, over the awakened person, the liberated person. The world has no power whatsoever over you once you’re liberated.

This is the way you should think of it. Just as a dream that you were dreaming at night, you awaken and forget all about it, so when you awaken here, you forget all about this world also. Yet you're in a body, so it appears. As long as you're in a body, you'll see other bodies. You will see the world as everybody else sees the world. But you're a 100% sure that this is not a world of reality. You know this. You continue functioning in this world, but yet you are not doing anything.

To the Jnani there is no action being taken whatsoever. To the ajnani there is action being taken. And the ajnani sees the Jnani taking action also. But yet, to the Jnani, nothing is happening, nothing is going on, there’s no world, there’s no dream, there’s no karma, there’s no cause and effect.

When I tell you that cause and effect and karma do not exist, you have to be real careful with yourself. Do not take this as a license to do anything you like. Remember again, and I'll remind you again, and again, and again, as long as you are involved in this world and you believe the world to be real, then karma is also real. It's as real as the world, as real as your body. As you sow, so shall you reap. You have to deal with this. What you do to others, you are doing to yourself. You hurt someone, you hurt yourself. You love someone, you love yourself.

It's nice for me to come here and tell you that everything is absolute reality, everything is nirvana, sat-chit-ananda, pure awareness, pure intelligence. This is the ultimate truth. But how many of us are living from this standpoint? We have to work from where we are. The worst thing you can do is to fool yourself, and make believe you can get away with something. In this world you can't get away with anything. The lord of karma is always watching. You always get back what you put out. Nothing more, nothing less. This is what I mean when I tell you everything is in the right, place, unfolding the way it should, all is well, there’s absolutely nothing to be concerned about. But if you go around making a fool of yourself, by causing problems to other people, having all kinds of attitudes, anger, jealousy, fear, whatever, these are emotions that you're putting out in the karmic world, and the karmic world has to return to you what you put out.

So this is a dream world. Yes, this is all a dream. You are the dreamer, but you haven't discovered this for yourself. This is a very important point to remember. You have to awaken, become free. You cannot imagine that you're free, because you hear Advaita Vedanta lectures. You cannot imagine that you're free, if you feel yourself suffering somehow. If you feel hurt, or frustrated, disillusioned, or depressed, how can you possibly be free?

When you are free, you have unalloyed happiness all the time. Eternal happiness and eternal joy is always with you, regardless of conditions. For you are no longer conditioned. You are no longer looking for anything. Does it make sense for a enlightened person to look for a healthy body, or for a prosperous body, or for this or for that? Of course not. This is the fact that nobody’s left to look for these things. The ego who does this has been totally transcended.

... Why is it so hard for most people? Because you've been attached totally, solidly, to maya, to ignorance, to the belief in two powers, belief in separation. You feel in your ego that you're separate from the self, you're separate from your source. This is the only reason that you suffer. If you knew who you were, it would be virtually impossible for you to suffer in any way. But this is where it becomes paradoxical. For again you may appear to be going through some experiences, yet the enlightened one knows they’re not going through anything. This is why when the disciples saw Jesus hanging on the cross, they thought he was suffering. But Jesus, the Christ, never suffered. Yet Jesus, the man, appeared to be suffering, by all of his disciples, by the Roman guards.

... One of the best ways to let go of your emotions is by practicing self-inquiry. I know some of you have got tired of practicing this. Some of you believe nothing is happening, but all the same make it a habit. Think of the many habits you have now, destructive habits. Habits that do not help you whatsoever in your unfoldment to the self. But yet you do these things without thinking, the destructive habits. Develop a good habit, like practicing self-inquiry. Do not look for results. Do not look for anything to happen. Just do it.

Ask yourself, "Who feels depressed? Who feels human? Who feels there’s something wrong someplace? Who feels this illusion? To whom do these things come?" And of course you answer, "I do. I am feeling all these things." As soon as you say this to yourself, realize that the I is separate from you. The I who feels all this is not you. For if the I were you, you wouldn't use it all the time like you do. You wouldn't say, "I am this," and, "I am that." This shows you there’s an I and there’s a you. You say, "I am this, I am that, I feel sick, I feel discouraged, I feel depressed."

... Realize to yourself, "I is not Me." I is something by itself, and it doesn't exist, some form of hypnosis, some delusion, called an optical illusion, that makes me believe I am I. When you get that far, you can further inquire, "Then where did this I come from? If the I is not me, why do I keep saying I, I, referring to myself? Where did this I come from? What is the source of the I?" Everything has a source.

Just by thinking this way, you're thinking about God. People always ask me, "How shall I think about God? You always tell us Robert, to concentrate on God and forget about the world. How shall I think about God? Say anything about God?" By realizing the source is not I. Who am I? If I is not the source, what is the source of I? That's all you have to say. Don't go any further.

... Catch yourself. Day, after day, after day, catch yourself, and think along the lines we’ve discussed tonight. When you can do this, something will happen to you, something wonderful. I can assure you of this. A benevolent power will take over and bring you to your true home, which is absolute reality and total happiness.