Monday, April 30, 2007

The Self that is Awareness

Though the world and mind rise and fade together, the world shines by the light of the mind. The ground whence the world and mind arise, and wherein they set, that Perfection rises not nor sets but ever shines. That is Reality.

Under whatever name or form we worship It, It leads us on to knowledge of the nameless, formless Absolute. Yet, to see one's true Self in the Absolute, to subside into It and be one with It, this is the true Knowledge of the Truth.

`Twos' and `threes' depend upon one thing, the ego. If one asks in one's Heart, `What is this ego?' and finds it, they slip away. Only those who have found this know the Truth, and they will never be perplexed.

There is no knowledge without ignorance; and without knowledge ignorance cannot be. To ask, `Whose is this knowledge? Whose this ignorance?' and thus to know the primal Self, this alone is Knowledge.

Without knowing the Self that knows, to know all objects is not knowledge; it is only ignorance. Self, the ground of knowledge and the non-Self, being known, both knowledge and ignorance fall away.

True Knowledge is being devoid of knowledge as well as ignorance of objects. Knowledge of objects is not true knowledge. Since the Self shines self-luminous, with nothing else for It to know, with nothing else to know It, the Self is Knowledge. Nescience It is not.

The Self that is Awareness, that alone is true. The knowledge which is various is ignorance. And even ignorance, which is false, cannot exist apart from the Self. False are the many jewels, for apart from gold, which alone is true, they cannot exist.

`You' and `he' -- these appear only when `I' does. But when the nature of the `I' is sought and the ego is destroyed, `you' and `he' are at an end. What shines then as the One alone is the true Self.

Past and future are dependent on the present. The past was present in its time and the future will be present too. Ever-present is the present. To seek to know the future and the past, without knowing the truth of time today, is to try to count without the number `One'.

Without us there is no time nor space. If we are only bodies, we are caught up in time and space. But are we bodies? Now, then and always -- here, now and everywhere -- we are the same. We exist, timeless and spaceless we.

~ from Reality on Forty Verses by Sri Ramana Maharshi

I cannot see anything or anybody other than my Bhagavan

Once, a group of devotees made preparations for a pilgrimage. They came to Muruganar and asked him whether he would be interested in joining them.

Muruganar replied, "The moment I set eyes on Bhagavan, who is the Sun of Self-Awareness, my eyes became blinded by the brilliance of his Form. Now, I cannot see anything or anybody other than my Bhagavan. This being the case, of what use would a pilgrimage be, for me?"

~ from Cherished Memories by T.R. Kanakammal

Sunday, April 29, 2007

The Three Virtues

There are three main virtues that you have to acquire
in order to become liberated.
There are three virtues that are most important,
most important for you to achieve,
before enlightenment.

Every enlightened person on this earth,
everyone who's been liberated has had these virtues.
You cannot be liberated without them.

The first one is compassion.
The second one is humility.
And the third one is service.

~ Robert Adams, Silence of the Heart

Saturday, April 28, 2007

the prasad of the mind

The Necessity of self-enquiry

Unless you enquire, within yourself, through yourself, into yourself, it will be impossible for you to become one with your own Self.

Except for true jnana-vichara [self-enquiry], there is no other effective means of attaining the state of supreme bliss.

Until one enquires into and knows one's own real nature, the agitation experienced by the mind will not cease.

Those who do not realise their real nature by careful enquiry cannot gain bliss, the prasad of the mind.

For your true state to merge in your Heart as your own nature, you must enquire and know that true state. This is the only way.

Those who leave the path of self-enquiry, the way of liberation, and wander off along the myriad forest tracks, will encounter only confusion.

The state of the Self is reached by going back the way one came. Whichever other path one travels on, it has to take you here and take refuge here.

~ Padamalai: Teachings of Sri Ramana Maharshi Recorded by Muruganar

Friday, April 27, 2007

turn within

Annamalai Swami:

The outer Guru appears to tell us about the reality of the Self, who is the inner Guru. With our defective vision we cannot see or experience for ourselves that this is true. The inner Guru pulls us towards the Self and establishes us there. The inner Guru is waiting at all times to perform this function but he cannot begin until we turn our attention towards him.

It is the outer Guru who tells us, 'Turn within. Put your attention on the inner Guru and let him pull you back into your source.'

In addition to giving these instructions, the outer Guru transmits his grace to us, cleans our minds, and pushes them towards the inner Guru, the Self.

~ Living by the Words of Bhagavan by David Godman

Thursday, April 26, 2007

Anything seen as other than Brahman-Self is bound to cause fear and trouble

There is not an atom apart from the Self, which is the integral undifferentiated perfection of whole Being. Soul, world and Creator are inseparable from the Self. The reality of these is the reality of the Self only. (Ch. 10, v.34)

All ignorance and illusion, all objects inert and living, all beings and non-beings, all the five elements, all the diverse worlds, all bodies and the lives that arise in them, not being apart from Brahman-Self, are Brahman-Self only. Existence alone is, for even non-existence acquires meaning only in Existence. Simply put, everything exists always as Brahman-Self only. (Ch. 12, v.2)

All objective knowledge, all thought forms, all visible objects, all things heard, all questions and answers, all the food consumed and all other illusions, not being apart from the Self, should be regarded as Brahman-Self only. (Ch.13, v.2)

~ Essence of Ribhu Gita (translated by Prof. N. R. Krishnamoorthi Aiyer)

Wednesday, April 25, 2007

the often misunderstood self-enquiry

That everything is in the mind and that the mind itself is only a passing phenomenon was continually stressed by Bhagavan.

"Who is the one behind the mind?" he would ask repeatedly. "Find that one and the mind itself will automatically disappear."

To do this one must repeatedly seek out the source of the "I" by the enquiry "Who am I?".

This process has often been misunderstood, though actually Bhagavan's teaching is quite clear. In this search one is not to seek for some transcendental "I-Absolute", but the ego itself and the point where it arises. Find this, [and] the ego automatically drops away and one then knows there is nothing but the Self.

It is like following a stream to its source through the hills, and when one has reached that point whence it arises the stream itself will no longer exist.

~ Sadhu Arunachala, A Sadhu's Reminiscences

Dwelling on the Past

"Bhagavan never encouraged people who came and started to confess their sins. He would not allow them to continue but shut them up by telling them not to dwell on the past but to find out who they were now in the present. The point was not the act but attachment to it that mattered. Dwelling on it in retrospect was the worst thing they could possibly do. This itself was attachment."

~ Sadhu Arunachala (Major Chadwick), A Sadhu's Reminiscences

Tuesday, April 24, 2007

I said to the wanting-creature inside me

I said to the wanting-creature inside me:
What is this river you want to cross?
There are no travelers on the river-road, and no road.
Do you see anyone moving about on that bank, or nesting?

There is no river at all, and no boat, and no boatman.
There is no tow rope either, and no one to pull it.
There is no ground, no sky, no time, no bank, no ford!

And there is no body, and no mind!
Do you believe there is some place that will make the
soul less thirsty?
In that great absence you will find nothing.

Be strong then, and enter into your own body;
there you have a solid place for your feet.
Think about it carefully!
Don't go off somewhere else!

Kabir says this: just throw away all thoughts of
imaginary things,
and stand firm in that which you are.

~ Kabir (said by Annamalai Swami to be, without a doubt, a jnani)

Sunday, April 22, 2007

Let there be nothing but you

Beloved Guru,
draw us into the Heart with you.
Allow us to see
every face, tree, blade of grass
as you
and let every voice and rustle
be heard as your voice
saying “I am.”
Let every detail of this world
be nothing but a compelling invitation
to dive into you,
Beloved Heart of all.

Saturday, April 21, 2007

His sublime state of humility

One's greatness increases to the extent that one becomes humble. The reason why God is supreme to such an extent that the whole universe bows to Him is His sublime state of humility in which the deluded ego never rises unknowingly.

Is it not on account of His behaving so humbly, as one ever in the service of every creature, that God stands worthy of all the glorious worships ever performed by all the worlds? By seeing Himself in all, by being humble even to devotees who bow to everyone, and by naturally remaining at such a pinnacle of humility that nothing can be humbler than Himself, the state of being supreme has come to the Lord.

~ Sri Ramana Maharshi, Sri Ramana Darsanam

Friday, April 20, 2007

Self-enquiry: an active investigation, not a passive witnessing

A conversation between David Godman and John David:

jd: Is he [Sri Ramana Maharshi] on the record as saying that it [self-enquiry] is the quickest and most direct way?

DG: Yes. He mentioned this on many occasions, but it was not his style to force it on people. He wanted devotees to come to it when they were ready for it.

jd: So even though he accepted whatever practices people were involved in, he was quite clear the quickest and most direct tool would be self-enquiry?

DG: Yes, and he also said that you had to stick with it right up to the moment of realization.

For Bhagavan, it wasn't a technique that you practiced for an hour a day, sitting cross-legged on the floor. It is something you should do every waking moment, in combination with whatever actions the body is doing.

He said that beginners could start by doing it sitting, with closed eyes, but for everyone else, he expected it to be done during ordinary daily activities.

jd: With regard to the actual technique, would you say that it is to be aware, from moment to moment, what is going on in the mind?

DG: No, it's nothing to do with being aware of the contents of the mind. It's a very specific method that aims to find out where the individual sense of 'I' arises. Self-enquiry is an active investigation, not a passive witnessing.

For example, you may be thinking about what you had for breakfast, or you may be looking at a tree in the garden. In self-enquiry, you don't simply maintain an awareness of these thoughts, you put your attention on the thinker who has the thought, the perceiver who has the perception. There is an 'I' who thinks, an 'I' who perceives, and this 'I' is also a thought. Bhagavan's advice was to focus on this inner sense of 'I' in order to find out what it really is. In self-enquiry you are trying to find out where this 'I' feeling arises, to go back to that place and stay there. It is not simply watching, it's a kind of active scrutiny in which one is trying to find out how the sense of being an individual person comes into being.

You can investigate the nature of this 'I' by formally asking yourself, 'Who am I?' or 'Where does this ''I'' come from?' Alternatively, you can try to maintain a continuous awareness of this inner feeling of 'I'. Either approach would count as self-enquiry. You should not suggest answers to the question, such as 'I am consciousness' because any answer you give yourself is conceptual rather than experiential. The only correct answer is a direct experience of the Self.

jd: It's very clear what you just said, but almost impossible to accomplish. It sounds simple, but I know from my own experience that it's very hard.

DG: It needs practice and commitment. You have to keep at it and not give up. The practice slowly changes the habits of the mind. By doing this practice regularly and continuously, you remove your focus from superficial streams of thoughts and relocate it at the place where thought itself begins to manifest. In that latter place you begin to experience the peace and stillness of the Self, and that gives you the incentive to continue.

for the rest of this interview, see

Thursday, April 19, 2007

If 'I' also be an illusion, who then casts off the illusion?

Q: Is it not possible for God and the Guru to effect the release of a soul?

Sri Ramana Maharshi: God and Guru will only show the way to release; they will not by themselves take the soul to the state of release. Each one should by his own effort pursue the path shown by God or Guru and gain release.

Q: What is release?

Sri Ramana Maharshi: Inquiring into the nature of one's self that is in bondage, and realizing one's true nature is release.

Q: If 'I' also be an illusion, who then casts off the illusion?

Sri Ramana Maharshi: The 'I' casts off the illusion of 'I' and yet remains as 'I'. Such is the paradox of Self-Realization. The realized do not see any contradiction in it. You give up this and that of 'my' possessions. If you give up 'I' and 'Mine' instead, all are given up at a stroke. The very seed of possession is lost. Thus the evil is nipped in the bud or crushed in the germ itself. Dispassion (vairagya) must be very strong to do this. Eagerness to do it must be equal to that of a man kept under water trying to rise to the surface for his life.

Q: Cannot this trouble and difficulty be lessened with the aid of a Master or God chosen for worship? (Ishta Devata) Cannot they give the power to see our Self as it is to change us into themselves and take us to Self-Realization?

Sri Ramana Maharshi: Ishta Devata and Guru are very powerful aids on this path. But an aid to be effective requires your effort also.
Your effort is sine qua non (an indispensable or essential condition, element, or factor). It is you who should see the sun. Can spectacles and the sun see for you? You yourself have to see your true nature.

Wednesday, April 18, 2007

beyond form and death

Q: Bhagavan's body has gone now. I know intellectually that he is the Self and that he is everywhere but I still sometimes wish that I could have the good fortune of sitting in his physical presence. I know that the body is ultimately not important but I would feel so happy and secure if I knew that I could go and talk or just sit with Bhagavan every time I had a problem.

Annamalai Swami: Everything you see is Bhagavan's body. The guiding presence that you desire is shining through all these forms and animating them. Don't be attached to Bhagavan's form or body. The real Bhagavan is beyond form and beyond death.

Though water flows through the mouth of a stone tiger statue, everyone knows that it is not coming from the tiger; we all know that it is coming from the reservoir. Similarly, Bhagavan now speaks through everyone who knows and experiences him as he really is.

~ from Living by the Words of Bhagavan by David Godman

Tuesday, April 17, 2007

"One of us"

Major Chadwick (Sadhu Arunachala) came to Bhagavan in 1935 and stayed until Bhagavan's mahasamadhi in 1950.

On this day (April 17), in 1962, Sadhu Arunachala passed away.

“I felt the tremendous peace of his presence, his graciousness. It was not as though I were meeting him for the first time. It seemed that I had always known him, though I had not been conscious of it at the time. Now I know.” ~ Sadhu Arunachala

Sri Bhagavan has said, “Chadwick was with us before, he was one of us. He had some desire to be born in the West, and that he has now fulfilled.”

~ quotes from Bhagavan, A Pictorial Biography

(I could not find a photo of Sadhu Arunachala on the internet -- if anyone has one to post, please do!)

surrender all into the hands of the Beloved

Q: [Annamalai] Swami, I sometimes feel tremendous grace and have a great sense of well-being. This feeling is steady for a few days and then it goes away. Why is this?

AS: If the awareness of grace does not last it means that your surrender is only partial. Don't be attached to your problems and don't worry about them. Let all your problems go and put them in the hands of Bhagavan. Cultivate the feeling 'This is God's problem, not mine'.

When you surrender to Bhagavan you should not worry about any of your problems and needs. You should have faith that Bhagavan is going to take care of everything. If you still find yourself worrying about anything, you have not fully surrendered.

Tayumanuvar once asked Shiva to give him a boon:

You who carry all the troubles of the world, please take all my troubles too. Take from me all sense that I am the doer. You alone act; You do everything through me.

Surrender completely and accept that everything that happens to you and the world is God's will.

~ Living by the Words of Bhagavan

Monday, April 16, 2007

this thing called mind

'When the mind appears every morning don't jump to the usual conclusion, 'This is me; these thoughts are mine'. Instead, watch these thoughts come and go without identifying with them in any way. If you can resist the impulse to claim each and every thought as your own, you will come to a startling conclusion: you will discover that you are the consciousness in which the thoughts appear and disappear. You will discover that this thing called mind only exists when thoughts are allowed to run free. Like the snake which appears in the rope, you will discover that the mind is only an illusion which appears through ignorance or misperception.

You want some experience which will convince you that what I am saying is true. You can have that experience if you give up your life-long habit of inventing an 'I' which claims all thoughts as 'mine'. Be conscious of yourself as consciousness alone, watch the thoughts come and go. Come to the conclusion, by direct experience, that you are really consciousness itself, not its ephemeral contents.'

~ Annamalai Swami, Living by the Words of Bhagavan

Sunday, April 15, 2007

Bhagavan gave these verses he had selected from the Yoga Vasishta to a departing visitor, saying they contained the essence for the path of a pure life:

Steady in the state of fullness,
which shines when all desires are given up,
and peaceful in the state of freedom in life,
act playfully in the world, O Raghava!

Inwardly free from all desires,
dispassionate and detached, but outwardly active in all directions,
act playfully in the world, O Raghava!

Free from egoism, with mind detached as in sleep,
pure like the sky, ever untainted,
act playfully in the world, O Raghava!

Conducting yourself nobly with kindly tenderness,
outwardly conforming to conventions, but inwardly renouncing all,
act playfully in the world, O Raghava!

Quite unattached at heart but for all appearance acting as with attachment,
inwardly cool but outwardly full of fervour,
act playfully in the world, O Raghava!

Friday, April 13, 2007

the true Heart

Bhagavan frequently told me [Annamalai Swami] that I should be aware of the Self while I was working.

He repeatedly told me, 'Don't forget your real nature. It is not necessary that you should sit and meditate. You should meditate all the time, even while you are working.'

In the beginning, when I first came to Bhagavan, I asked him for a mantra. In response he told me to repeat 'Siva Siva' continuously. Later, Bhagavan advised me to keep my attention in the Heart while I was working. I had read that Bhagavan had spoken of a place called the Heart-centre which he located in the right side of the chest. I had assumed that Bhagavan wanted me to concentrate on this particular centre. However, when I started to practise in this way, Bhagavan stopped me and corrected me.

'This right-side Heart-centre is not the true Heart," he said. 'The real Heart is not located anywhere. It is all-pervasive.'

'Stop meditating on the Heart-centre,' he continued. 'Find the source. That is the true Heart. Just as electricity comes not from the individual meter boxes in people's houses but from a single source, so too the whole world has a single source, which is the Self or the Heart. Seek and enquire into this source of limitless energy. If the centre of the Self were really located in the body, the Self would die when the body dies."

~ from Living by the Words of Bhagavan

the direct path

Those who have entered the excellent, straight and direct path, the jnana-vichara 'Who am I?', never get confused and lose their way. The reason is this: that path possesses a straightness, like the light of the sun, that will reveal its straightness to those who have taken to it.

~ Guru Vachaka Kovai, verse 393

Wednesday, April 11, 2007

In the brightness of your Grace

‘As in the ocean salt Dissolves and disappears, so in the body lost I lay. But now I long to be absorbed In the brightness of your Grace. Eat me as food, O Lord, Digest both Me and Mine. Convert my being wholly Into your true body, Light.’

~ Sri Muruganar, Ramana Mandiram

Tuesday, April 10, 2007

'i am' itself is God

Q: Why has God made me as I am?

Sri Nisargadatta: Which God are you talking about? What is God? Is he not the very light by which you ask the question? ‘I am” itself is God. The seeking itself is God. In seeking you discover that you are neither the body nor the mind, and the love of the self in you is for the self in all. The two are one. The consciousness in you and the consciousness in me, apparently two, really one, seek unity and that is love.

Q: How am I to find that love?

Sri N: What do you love now? The ‘I am’. Give your heart and mind to it, think of nothing else. This, when effortless and natural, is the highest state. In it love itself is the lover and the beloved.

~ I Am That

the necessity of serious sadhana

In order that your mind should become firm, observe with full attention you duty, which is the practice of sadhana.

Instead of practicing sadhana superficially, follow it intensively in such a way that your mind is totally immersed in it.

Only the aspiration towards the fair firmament of supreme consciousness, which has no final goal other than mauna, is most worthy endeavour.

Grace will not combine with a bat-like mentality. Stick with intensity to one [path].

~ Padamalai

the fragrance of "I am He"

Swan, tell me your old story.

What country have you come from, swan, what shores are you
flying to?

Where do you rest at night, and what are you looking for?

It’s dawn, swan, wake up, soar into the air, follow me!

There is a land not governed by sadness and doubt, where the
Fear of death is unknown.

Spring forests bloom there and the wind is sweet with the flower

The bee of the heart dives into it and wants no other joy.

~ Kabir, translated by Czeslaw Milosz and Robert Hass

Monday, April 9, 2007

The natural eternal state

On another occasion, when I [Annamalai Swami] asked Bhagavan to select some reading material for me, he gave me a short-list of six books: Kaivalya Navanitam, Ribhu Gita, Ashtavakra Gita, Ellam Ondre, Swarupa Saram and Yoga Vasishta.

He laid particular stress on Ellam Ondre, telling me, 'If you want moksha write, read and practice the instructions in Ellam Ondre'.

~ from Living by The Words of Bhagavan

Here is Chapter II from Ellam Ondre:


1. Who are you? Are you this body? If so, why are you not aware of a serpent crawling on it when you are in deep sleep? So then can you be this body? No, certainly not. You must be other than this body.

2. Sometimes in sleep you dream. There you identify yourself with someone. Can you be that one? You cannot be. Otherwise, what becomes of that individual on your waking? You are not he. Furthermore, you are ashamed of having identified yourself with him. Clearly, you are not that particular person. You are the one that stands apart from him.

3. Recall the state of dreamless slumber. What is your state then? Can that be your true nature? Surely you will not subscribe to this belief. Why? Because you are not so foolish as to identify yourself with the massive darkness which obstructs you from knowing the state you are in. Discerned by the intellect from the things around, how can you admit yourself to be the same as ignorance or blank? Or, how can it truly be your real nature? It cannot be. You are the knower who knows that this state remains one of dense darkness veiling your true nature. How can you be that which you have experienced and condemned? Therefore you are not the dark ignorance of deep sleep. You stand apart from this too.

4. When it is said that even this gross body is not you, can you be any other thing which is yet farther away from you? In the same way that you are not this gross body, you are not anything farther from the body, nor the dream person, nor the ignorance of deep sleep. You are distinct from these three states and this world.

5. These three states can be reduced to two conditions only-namely, the one of the subject and object, and the other is the unawareness of the subject itself. The former includes the waking and dream states, whereas the latter represents deep slumber. All your experiences are comprised in these two conditions only. Both of them are foreign to you. Your true nature remains distinct from them.

6. If you ask what that is, it is called turiya, which means the fourth state. Why is this name used? This name is proper because it seems to say the three states of your experience-waking, dream and deep sleep-are foreign to you and your true state is the fourth, which is different from these three. Should the three states, waking, dream and deep sleep, be taken to form one long dream, the fourth state represents the waking from this dream. Thus it is more withdrawn than deep sleep, also more wakeful than the waking state. Therefore your true state is that fourth one which is distinguished from the waking, dream and deep sleep states. You are that only. What is this fourth state? It is knowledge which does not particularize anything. It is not unaware of itself. That is to say, the fourth state is Pure Knowledge which is not conscious of any object, but not unconscious itself. Only he who has realized it even for a trice, has realized the Truth. You are that only.

8. What is there more for him who has gained the fourth state? Practically, it is not possible for anyone to remain forever in that state, that is, the state of no particular knowledge. He who has realized the fourth state later wakes up in this world, but for him this world is not as before. He sees that what he realized as the fourth state, shines forth as all this. He will not imagine this world as distinct from that Pure Knowledge. Thus what he saw within, he now sees without in a different form. In the place of the differentiation of old, he is now established in the state of non-differentiation everywhere. Now, he is all. There is nothing distinct from himself. His eyes closed or open, howsoever the things may change, his state remains unchanged. This is the state of Brahman. This is the natural eternal state. You are that ever-true state.

9. There is nothing beyond this state. The words, 'inward' and 'outward' have no meaning for him. All is one. His body, speech and mind cannot function selfishly. Their workings will be grace for the good of all. The fragmentary "I" is lost forever. His ego can never revive. Therefore he is said to be liberated here and now. He does not live because his body lives, nor does he die because his body dies. He is eternal. There is nothing other than he. You are He.

10. Who is God? He is grace. What is Grace? Awareness without the fragmentary ego. How can one know that there is such a state? Only if one realizes it. The Vedas laud such a one as having realized God and become one with Him. Therefore the greatest good that one can derive from the world and the greatest good which one can render unto it, is to realize this state. In fact, there are no states besides this. They appear in the state of ignorance. For him who knows, there is one state only. You are that.

Sunday, April 8, 2007

Fiery Gem

Unmoving Hill, melting into a Sea of Grace,
have mercy on me I pray, Oh Arunachala!

Fiery Gem, shining in all directions, do Thou burn
up my dross, Oh Arunachala!

Shine as my Guru, making me free from faults and
worthy of Thy Grace, Oh Arunachala!

~ Akshara Mana Malai

Mount Arunachala's exalted Son

Since all praised him as one of unbounded liberality, I came to him expectantly, and with joy. The bounteous 'giver' looked at me and stealthily plundered my very self! Great indeed is the liberality of this bountiful giver!

Even as I grieved, thinking thoughts I should not think, he became my Lord, spreading his radiance within my Heart so that I tasted the sweet nectar of his bliss. He is the heavenly one who fills my sight with his form, which is pure consciousness. He is Mount Arunachala's exalted Guru Ramana.

~ from Padam's Grace Towards Muruganar in Padamalai (originally from Sri Ramana Jnana Bodham and Sri Ramana Anubhuti)

(May you plunder us completely,
Beloved Bhagavan,
leaving no trace of anything
that is not You. Drown us
in your nectar. Destroy us
with your love. Restore our eyes
so we can see
You alone.)

It is simply Being

Sri Bhagavan: The Self is ever-present [nityasiddha]. Each one wants to know the Self. What kind of help does one require to know oneself? People want to see the Self as something new. But it is eternal and remains the same all along. They desire to see it as a blazing light, etc. How can it be so? It is not light, not darkness (na tejo, na tamah). It is only as it is. It cannot be defined. The best definition is `I am that I AM.' The Srutis speak of the Self as being the size of one's thumb, the tip of the hair, an electric spark, vast, subtler than the subtlest, etc. They have no foundation in fact. It is only Being, but different from the real and the unreal; it is Knowledge, but different from knowledge and ignorance. How can it be defined at all? It is simply Being.

~ from talk 122, Talks With Sri Ramana Maharshi

Saturday, April 7, 2007

If there is a change, it is not realisation

Sri Bhagavan: They say that I gained realisation in twenty-eight minutes, or half an hour. How can they say that? It just took a moment. Why even a moment? Where is the question of time at all?"

I then asked Bhagavan if there was ever any change in his realisation after his experience in Madurai. He said, "No. If there is a change, it is not realisation."

~ from My Reminiscences by Balaram Reddy

Friday, April 6, 2007

the real surrender

"It is mere delusion to think of arpana (offering), so lightly. Arpana means that the mind gets merged in the self and becomes one with it. It means that it should become devoid of all vasanas. And that will not come about unless there is self-effort and God’s Grace. God’s force cannot get hold of you and drag you into itself unless you surrender completely.

But where is the question of our surrendering? The self itself is to be surrendered. Until one can accomplish that, one should go on struggling unceasingly. It is only after trying again and again that one may, finally, succeed in the effort.

Once you succeed, there is no going back. That is the proper course. What is the use of merely repeating the word arpana, arpana? How can there be arpana unless there is a thing called ‘I’? Complete surrender cannot come about unless one knows who one is.

If you come to know that, you will realise that what remains is only one thing. The mind which is the ‘I’ submits of its own accord. And that is the real arpana (surrender),” said Bhagavan.

~ from Letters from Sri Ramanasramam by Suri Nagamma

How to avoid misery?

About ten days after my arrival I [Annamalai Swami] asked Bhagavan, "How to avoid misery?"

This was the first spiritual question I had ever asked him.

Bhagavan replied, "Know and always hold onto the Self. Disregard the body and the mind. To identify with them is misery. Dive deep into the Heart, the source of being and peace, and establish yourself there."

I then asked him how I could attain Self-realisation and he gave me a similar answer: "If you give up identifying with the body and meditate on the Self, which you already are, you can attain Self-realisation."

As I was pondering these remarks Bhagavan surprised me by saying, "I was waiting for you. I was wondering when you would come."

As a newcomer I was still too afraid of him to follow this up by asking him how he knew, or how long he had been waiting. However, I was delighted to hear him speak like this because it seemed to indicate that it was my destiny to stay with him.

A few days later I asked another question: "Scientists have invented and produced aircraft which can traval at great speeds in the sky. Why do you not make and give us a spiritual aircraft in which we can quickly and easily cross over the sea of samsara?"

Samsara is the seemingly endless cycle of birth and death through different incarnations. It can also be taken to mean worldly illusion or entanglement in wordly affairs.

"The path of self-enquiry," replied Bhagavan, "is the aircraft you need. It is direct, fast, and easy to use. You are already travelling very quickly towards realisation. It is only because of your mind that it seems that there is no movement. In the old days, when people first rode on trains, some of them believed that the trees and the countryside were moving and that the train was standing still. It is the same with you now. Your mind is making you believe that you are not moving toward Self-realisation."

~ from Living by the Words of Bhagavan by David Godman

Thursday, April 5, 2007

Enter with love the temple that is your own Heart

Union with me (from Bhagavan's Promises and Declarations)

Seeking my true Nature in your Heart, discovering it and rejoicing
in it by bathing in the bliss of my jnana swarupa -- this is union.

Only bhakti sadhana performed continuously with love will
facilitate easily, in a gradual way, this union.

Enter with love the temple that is your own Heart and experience
the bliss of being absorbed in my swarupa, becoming one with it.

I myself will command and control a mind that has died by the
sacrifice of the ego.

from Padamalai, Teachings of Sri Ramana Maharshi Recorded by Muruganar
translated by Dr T. V. Venkatasubramanian, Robert Butler and David Godman
edited and annotated by David Godman

Tuesday, April 3, 2007

Siva Himself

Sri Bhagavan to Dr. T. N. Krishnaswamy:

The whole hill is sacred. It is Siva himself. Just as we identify ourselves with a body, so Siva has chosen to identify himself with his hill. Arunachala is pure wisdom (jnana) 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 the Ramana Pictorial Souvenir

(The family of Dr. T. N. Krishnaswamy kindly allowed me to post this photo of Sri Bhagavan and Dr. T. N. Krishnaswamy.)

home of blissful Awareness

The Self, the home of blissful Awareness,
is a vast ocean of serene peace.
He whose mind turns inward and dives deep within it,
gains the infinite treasure of its grace.

~ The Garland of Guru’s Sayings

If you persevere, there can be no failure

Questioner: "What is the course of training in self-awareness?"

Sri Nisargadatta: "There is no need of training. Awareness is always with you. The same attention that you give to the outer, you turn to the inner. No new, or special kind of awareness is needed.

What you need is to be aware of being aware. Don't be misled by the simplicity of the advice. Very few are those who have the courage to trust the innocent and the simple.

The all important word is 'try'. Allot enough time daily for sitting quietly and trying, just trying, to go beyond the personality, with its addictions and obsessions.

You just keep on trying until you succeed. If you persevere, there can be no failure.

It is not a matter of easy, or difficult. Either you try or you don't. It is up to you."

Monday, April 2, 2007

Treasure of benign and holy Grace

Treasure of benign and holy Grace,
found without seeking,
steady my wandering mind, Oh Arunachala!


Steady Remembrance

Sri Nisargadatta: … Find what is it that never sleeps and never wakes, and whose pale reflection is our sense of ‘I’.

Q: How am I to go about this finding out?

Sri N: How do you go about finding anything? By keeping your mind and heart on it. Interest there must be and steady remembrance. To remember what needs to be remembered is the secret of success. You come to it through earnestness.

Q: Do you mean to say that mere wanting to find out is enough? Surely, both qualifications and opportunities are needed?

Sri N: These will come with earnestness. What is supremely important is to be free from contradictions: the goal and the way must not be on different levels; life and light must not quarrel; behavior must not betray belief. Call it honesty, integrity, wholeness; you must not go back, undo, uproot, abandon the conquered ground. Tenacity of purpose and honesty in pursuit will bring you to your goal.

Q: Tenacity and honesty are endowments, surely! Not a trace of them I have.

Sri N: All will come as you go on. Take the first step first. All blessings come from within. Turn within. ‘I am” you know. Be with it all the time you can spare, until you revert to it spontaneously. There is no simpler and easier way.

from I AM That