Wednesday, October 31, 2007

Bhagavan Tells of Kannappar the Saint

Bhagavan began to read the life of Kannappar, the great devotee-saint. He went on reading incidents in his early life, and how he went to the forest and found Kudumi Dever, the Sivalinga, his Lord, up the Kalahasti Hill in the Chittoor district (of Andhra State). Then he told how Kannappar worshipped the Sivalinga with water carried in his mouth, flowers taken from his own hair, and the well-cooked and tasted beef prepared from his own meal - knowing no better and having no better to offer his beloved Lord. The way in which the ordained priest, Siva Gochariar, resented the intruding defiler of the sacred Sivalinga was so characteristically brought out by Bhagavan, who with his own explanations of the rites and the meaning of the mantras used in the worship, that it enriched the recital greatly to the benefit and admiration of the devotees.

Then came the scene of scenes, when the Lord in that Sivalinga tested Kannappar and incidentally revealed to Siva Gochariar the intensity of the forest hunter's love. Lord had directed him to witness Kannappar's worship from a place of hiding. He saw the unexpected trickling of blood from one of the eyes on that Sivalinga; he saw Kannappar running to and fro for herbs, and treating the Lord's eye with them. Then he saw how, finding them all useless, Kannappar plucked out one of his eyes and applied it to that in the Sivalinga; then, seeing the treatment was effective, he ran into ecstasies of joyful dance.

When Bhagavan came to the story of how Kannappar was plucking out his second eye to heal the second of the Lord, and of how the Sivalinga extended a hand to stop him, saying "Stop, Kannappar!'' Bhagavan's voice choked, His body perspired profusely, His hairs stood on end, tears gushed out from his eyes;

He could hardly utter a word, and there was silence, pin-drop silence in the Hall. All there were dumbfounded that this great jnani could be so much overpowered by emotion and ecstasy at the great hunter-saint's devotion. After a while Sri Bhagavan quietly closed the book, dried his tears in His eyes with the ends of His towel, and laid aside the book, saying, "No, I can't go on any further.''

Then we could realise the import of His words in the Aksharamanamalai: "Having become silent, if one remains like a stone, can that be called real silence?'' His blossomed Heart had in it the perfect warmth of devotion, no less than the supreme light of Knowledge.

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

Tuesday, October 30, 2007

Is there any difference between this Ramana and that Ramana?

On one occasion, probably in 1939, Sri P.M.N. Swamy, a staunch devotee of Bhagavan and secretary of Sri Ramana Satchidananda Mandali, Matunga, went to the Ashram at Tiruvannamalai to have darshan of Bhagavan and stayed for the day there with his wife and nine month old child, Ramanan.

They had their breakfast in the common dining hall in the morning. After finishing they went to wash their hands at the tap outside, leaving the child in the hall. By this time Ramanan crawled away somewhere and could not be seen. The perturbed father called out to the child as `Ramana, Ramana'.

Bhagavan, who was then passing on his way to the meditation hall immediately responded to the call and the child also was found near the well in the Ashram compound. The response from Bhagavan naturally created a little puzzle in Sri P.M.N. Swamy's mind because he thought that the call `Ramana, Ramana' intended for his child might have been wrongly interpreted by Bhagavan.

Bhagavan was quick to read Sri Swamy's mind and told him, "Why do you feel puzzled when I responded to the call? Is there any difference between this Ramana (meaning himself ) and that Ramana (meaning the child)?"

~ The Silent Power

Monday, October 29, 2007

D.: What is unconditional surrender?

B.: If one surrenders completely, there will be no one left to ask questions or to be considered. Either the thoughts are eliminated by holding on to the root thought, `I', or one surrenders unconditionally to the Higher Power. These are the only two ways to Realisation.

Self-enquiry dissolves the ego by looking for it and finding it to be non-existent, whereas devotion surrenders it; therefore both come to the same ego-free goal, which is all that is required.

~ The Teaching of Bhagavan in His Own Words

Sunday, October 28, 2007

lost in your light

Help me to be aware of my selfishness,
but without undue shame or self-judgment.
Let me always feel you present,
in every atom of my life.
Let me keep surrendering my self
until I am utterly transparent.
Let my words be rooted in honesty
and my thoughts be lost in your light.
Unnamable* God, my essence,
my origin, my life-blood, my home.

~ from Psalm 19

*Really, Nameable Bhagavan Ramana

Saturday, October 27, 2007

The mind is destroyed only when it turns toward the first person!

~ Sri Sadhu Om, The Path of Sri Ramana -- Part One

Friday, October 26, 2007

Wisdom is seeing Guru's Holy Form
Wisdom is chanting Guru's Holy Name
Wisdom is listening to Guru's Holy Words
Wisdom is meditating on Guru's Holy Presence

~ Thirumular

Thursday, October 25, 2007

how often to practice self-enquiry

D.: Is it enough if I spend some time in the mornings and some time in the evenings for this atma-vichara? Or should I do it always - say, even when I am writing or walking?

M.: Now what is your real nature? Is it writing, walking, or being? The one unalterable reality is Being. Until you realise that state of pure being you should pursue the enquiry. If once you are established in it there will be no further worry. No one will enquire into the source of thoughts unless thoughts arise. So long as you think "I am walking," "I am writing," enquire who does it. These actions will however go on when one is firmly established in the Self. Does a man always say, "I am a man, I am a man, I am a man," every moment of his life? He does not say so and yet all his actions are going on.

~ Talks with Sri Ramana Maharshi

Wednesday, October 24, 2007


When Bhagavan Sri Ramana was staying in the Virupaksha Cave, a District Collector and a Deputy Collector went there for his darshan. After prostration to Sri Bhagavan, the Collector began to speak, narrating at length all that he had read and done by way of sadhana and at the end, confessed that in spite of all that, peace was as far from him as ever before. No sooner had he finished than the Deputy Collector started to tell his story and stopped only after saying all that he had to say. These two conversations took quite a long time, but Sri Bhagavan did not interrupt them even once, observing silence all throughout.

Seeing that neither of them got any reply from Sri Ramana, the Collector once again delivered a long harangue and stopped only when he was at the end of his resources. Yet Sri Ramana spoke not a word. The Collector was a little put out at this, and drawled out: "We have been speaking to you since long, but you don't open your lips at all! Will you please tell us something at least!"

Then, of course, Sri Bhagavan spoke: "All the while I have been speaking in my own language. What can I do, when you won't listen to it?"

The Collector was intelligent and he caught the meaning of Sri Ramana's cryptic reply. He was overpowered with devotion and fell down at the feet of Sri Bhagavan, chanting a Sanskrit verse.

Then both of them sat before Sri Bhagavan in silent meditation. They got the peace they were in search of and departed fully satisfied at the outcome of their visit.

~ Surpassing Love and Grace

Monday, October 22, 2007

If one gives the slightest room for the thought that the
mind exists, pure Awareness itself will vibrate as the ruffled mind,
which is the parent of all trouble and illusions. Therefore, one
should ever abide in the conviction that there is no mind, and
that the pure Awareness-Self is the sole Existence. This is the
easy way to conquer the mind with all its vagaries.

~ Ribhu Gita, Ch.15, v.12

Sunday, October 21, 2007

What are the marks of a real teacher (Sadguru)

Q: What are the marks of a real teacher (Sadguru)?

Steady abidance in the Self, looking at all with an equal eye, unshakeable courage at all times, in all places and circumstances, etc.

~ Spiritual Instruction of Bhagavan Sri Ramana Maharshi

Saturday, October 20, 2007

Leave it to God

Leave it to God. Surrender unreservedly. One of two things must be done. Either surrender because you admit your inability and require a higher power to help you, or investigate the cause of misery by going to the source and merging into the Self. Either way you will be free from misery. God never forsakes one who has surrendered.

~ Sri Ramana Maharshi, Talks

Friday, October 19, 2007

God and the Guru

God and the Guru are not really different: they are identical. He that has earned the Grace of the Guru shall undoubtedly be saved and never forsaken, just as the prey that has fallen into the tiger's jaws will never be allowed to escape. But the disciple, for his part, should unswervingly follow the path shown by the Master.

~ Nan Yar?

Thursday, October 18, 2007

Without heart-melting and all-consuming love for being, we will never agree to surrender ourself to it. So long as we desire to continue our present illusory and miserable existence as a finite individual, God will never force us to surrender ourself to him. However, by the supreme power of his own mere being, he will always be shaping our external life favourably and guiding us internally, gradually enkindling in us the clarity of true wisdom, which is the ability to discriminate and distinguish the real from the unreal, and thereby he steadily cultivates within us the true love to surrender ourself entirely to him ...

Through these verses Sri Bhagavan has taught us by example how we must depend entirely upon God both in our external life, when our mind is active, and in our internal life, when our mind is subsiding into the depth of our own true being. When our minds are turned outwards, we must depend upon God as the all-loving power of grace, which is constantly reminding us of the need to turn inwards. And when our minds are turned inwards, we must depend upon God as the same all-loving power of grace, which shines within us as the peace and joy of our own silent being, and which thereby draws our mind ever deeper within by its own natural power of irresistible attraction.

Whenever our natural state of peace is disturbed by the rising of thoughts, which are impelled by our deep-rooted desires, we can calm that agitation by praying to God or guru in the manner in which Sri Bhagavan has shown us in many of these verses, which are heart-melting prayers for his grace.

The importance of prayer as a tool in the practice of self-investigation and self-surrender is exemplified by Sri Bhagavan in these verses. God of course does not need to be told by us that we require his help, but that is not the true purpose of prayer. The purpose of prayer is to enkindle in our heart a sense of total dependence upon God. Since we cannot surrender ourself and attain the state of being merely by our own effort, we must learn to depend entirely upon God, because he alone can enable us to surrender ourself completely to him.

~ from Michael James' introduction to the English translation of Sri Arunachala Stuti Panchakam, the 'Five Hymns to Sri Arunachala' composed by Bhagavan Sri Ramana (translated by Michael James and Sri Sadhu Om)

to read the whole introduction: please see this.

Wednesday, October 17, 2007


After surrendering one's body and possessions to the jnana-Guru, to regard the body as 'I' and the possessions as 'mine' constitutes the sin of stealing back what has been given away as a gift. You should know that avoiding this fault is the impeccable worship of the Sadguru.

~ Guru Vachaka Kovai, verse 317

Tuesday, October 16, 2007

Eye of the eye you are, and without eyes you see. Who can see you, O Arunachala?

~ Sri Ramana Maharshi, Aksharamanamalai

Monday, October 15, 2007

unnecessary running

An invitation once came to Sri Swamigal [Sadhu Om] from an earnest seeker in the U.S.A., "Will you not come to the West and guide us?"

His attitude is shown clearly in his reply, which ran as follows:

"...It is therefore unnecessary for the Reality to run after the world. Moreover, according to the great truth discovered and revealed by Sri Ramana Bhagavan, a good person leading a simple yet highly spiritual life and passing away unknown to the world does far more good to the world than all the political and social reformers and all the platform-heroes of philosophy. A truly enlightened life will surely help earnest seekers even though they may be living in a remote corner of the world and even without any physical contact, communications, magazines or writings. This is Sri Ramana Maharshi's method of teaching the world through speech-transcending Mystic Silence, the greatest Power. Is it not up to us to follow the footsteps of our Guru, Sri Ramana? ... So why should I think of going anywhere? As He who has guided me to His home is the Father, Lord and inmost Self of one and all, does He not know best how to guide home earnest seekers, wherever they may be? Why then should an ego rise with the thought 'I should guide people'? If such an 'I' were to rise, would it not be a self-conceited attempt to belittle the Grace of Sri Ramana, the one reality? Therefore, the thought of going to the West or the East, or here, there or anywhere else, has never occurred to me and will never occur to me!"

~ from the Preface to the Fourth Edition of Sri Sadhu Om's The Path of Sri Ramana

Sunday, October 14, 2007

Like butter hidden in milk,
pure Consciousness abides in all beings.
It should be churned out, continually,
by the action of the churning stick of the mind.

~ Amritabindu Upanishad

Saturday, October 13, 2007

witnessing thoughts and events?

The practice of witnessing thoughts and events, which is much recommended nowadays by lecturers and writers, was never never even in the least recommended by Sri Bhagavan. Indeed, whenever He was asked what should be done when thoughts rise (that is, when attention is diverted toward second and third persons) during sadhana, He always replied in the same manner as He had done to Sivaprakasam Pillai in 'Who am I?' where He says:

"If other thoughts rise, one should, without attempting to complete them, enquire 'To whom did they rise?' What does it matter however many thoughts rise? At the very moment that each thought rises, if one vigilantly enquires 'To whom did this rise?', it will be known "To me'. If one then enquires 'Who am I?', the mind (our power of attention) will turn back (from the thought) to its source (Self)".

Moreover, when He says later in the same work, "Not attending to what-is-other (that is, to any second or third person) is non-attachment [vairagya] or desirelessness [nirasa]", we should clearly understand that attending to (witnessing, watching, observing or seeing) anything other than Self is itself attachment, and when we understand thus we will realize how meaningless and impractical are such instructions as 'Watch all thoughts and events with detachment' or 'Witness your thoughts, but be not attached to them', which are taught by the so-called gurus of the present day.

~ Sri Sadhu Om, The Path of Sri Ramana, chapter 7

Friday, October 12, 2007

only through his grace

Delighting my gaze, he showed me his feet which graciously bestow true knowledge. No one can reach and know them through the contentious ego with its endless convolutions, but only through his grace, when the mind is delivered up to be subdued by the power of those holy feet.

~ Sri Muruganar, Sri Ramana Anubuti

Thursday, October 11, 2007

true love

True love is shown by the certainty that the object of love is in the Self and that it can never become non-existent.

~ Sri Ramana Maharshi, Talk 203

Wednesday, October 10, 2007

Should this way prove too arduous, suppose
The ego-self exists. Such as it is,
And if it is, let it then dispose
Itself to worship, let its litanies
Ascend like incense smoke about the feet
Of God in Whom the whirling galaxies
And a wild rose, the sum of things complete,
Is a vast harmony to which He said
"Be!" and it is. He Whose Mercy-Seat
Is the incorporeal world about us spread.
Whichever way you turn, behold His Face!
His signs are in the pathways that you tread,
And in the skies; yet in the secret place
Of silence in your heart is His abode.

~ Arthur Osborne, My Life and Quest

Tuesday, October 9, 2007

Sound and form, smell, touch and taste,
these make up the world.
Upon these the senses let the light.
In mind's domain the senses move.
Hence the world is but the mind.

~ from Sat-Darshana Bhashya, by K (verse 8 of Sat-Darshan/ Ulladu Narpadu)

Monday, October 8, 2007

What is this power of divine Grace?

What Sri Bhagavan reveals in this connection is: “If the mind (the attention) is thus well fixed in sadhana (attending to Self), a power of divine Grace will then rise from within, of its own accord, and, subjugating the mind, will take it to the Heart”.

What is this power of divine Grace? It is nothing but the perfect clarity of our existence, the form of the Supreme Self, ever shining with abundant Grace in the heart as ‘I-I’!

~ Sri Sadhu Om, The Path of Sri Ramana -- Part One

The Technique of Self-enquiry
, from The Path of Sri Ramana -- Part One

Sunday, October 7, 2007

even a blade of grass

There was an almond tree opposite the hall. A servant had been instructed by the management to chop off the dry branches but he was hacking the green ones also. Bhagavan pulled him up, 'Why are you hurting the tree? Does it not have life? Get away. Must you keep hurting something or the other?'

One night Bhagavan caught someone plucking some fruits from a tree and chided the culprit, 'Won't you let the tree sleep in peace? Can you not pluck the fruits during the day time? Have a heart. Merely because the tree cannot express its woe should you be so cruel?'

To our eyes there are differences in attitudes towards fellow human beings, animals, insects and trees. For him there is only one yardstick, that no harm should befall even a blade of grass.

~ Krishna Bikshu, Unforgettable Years, Translated and Edited by A. R. Natarajan

No want

`No want' is the greatest bliss. It can be realized only by experience. Even an emperor is no match for a man with no wants.

~ Sri Ramana Maharshi, Gems from Bhagavan

Friday, October 5, 2007


One day a young man visited Sri Ramanasramam with some evil purpose. Entering the hall and taking his seat in front he began to put all sorts of questions to Sri Bhagavan. He wanted to extort hush-money from the ashram by exposing Sri Bhagavan as a hypocrite. He had already tried this trick successfully with some rich monks. By repeated practice he had cultivated this art into a paying profession. Having gained success elsewhere, he had come to Sri Ramanasramam to try his trick there.

Sri Ramana's own method of meeting insolence, malice, jealousy, misbehaviour, etc., of others, was the observance of complete silence. In fact, he preached and taught also by silence. His silence was very powerful. Such a powerful weapon of his battled and disarmed all aggressive and insolent persons.

Indeed, silence had become Sri Ramana's inherent nature.

It was his impregnable armour against attacks from people of all sorts. So, when the youth tried his best to draw Sri Ramana into a hot discussion or some talk or expression to catch him somewhere, Sri Ramana remained completely silent. Hence the poor youth's purpose was foiled. Though the youth was belching out foul language Sri Ramana did not utter a single word, and was all along calm and unperturbed. At last, after exhausting all his resources, the youth saw the impossibility of achieving his object, so he had to admit defeat and quit the ashram.

~ Surpassing Love and Grace

Thursday, October 4, 2007

Has God a form?

A Muslim came once to argue, but there must have been sincerity behind his challenge because Sri Bhagavan answered it patiently.

"Has God a form?" he asked. "Who says God has a form?" Sri Bhagavan retorted. The questioner persisted, "If God is formless is it not wrong to ascribe to Him the form of an idol and worship Him in it?"

He had understood the retort to mean, "Nobody says God has a form." But it meant exactly what it said and was now amplified, "Let God alone; tell me first whether you have a form."

"Of course I have a form, as you can see, but I am not God." "Are you then the physical body made of flesh and bones and blood and nicely dressed?"

"Yes, that must be so; I am aware of my existence in this bodily form."

"You call yourself that body because now you are aware of your body, but are you that body? Can it be yourself in deep sleep when you are quite unaware of its existence?"

"Yes, I must have remained in the same bodily form even in deep sleep because I am aware of it until I fall asleep, and as soon as I wake I see that I am just as I was when I went to sleep."

"And when death occurs?" The questioner stopped and thought a minute, "Well, then
I am considered dead and the body is buried."

"But you said your body is yourself. When it is being taken away to be buried why doesn't it protest and say: `No! no! don't take me away! This property I have acquired, these clothes I am wearing, these children I have begotten, they are all mine, I must remain with them'!"

The visitor then confessed that he had wrongly identified himself with the body and said, "I am the life in the body, not the body in itself."

Then Sri Bhagavan explained to him: "Till now you seriously considered yourself to be the body and to have a form. That is the primal ignorance which is the root cause of all trouble. Until that ignorance is got rid of, until you know your formless
nature, it is mere pedantry to argue about God and whether He has a form or is formless or whether it is right to worship God in the form of an idol when He is really formless. Until one sees the formless Self one cannot truly worship the formless God."

~ Arthur Osborne, Ramana Maharshi and The Path of Self-Knowledge

Wednesday, October 3, 2007

Can jnana be lost?

The same gentleman later, after quoting a verse from Kaivalya, asked: "Can jnana be lost after being once attained?"

M.: Jnana, once revealed, takes time to steady itself. The Self is certainly within the direct experience of everyone, but not as one imagines it to be. It is only as it is. This Experience is samadhi. Just as fire remains without scorching against incantations or other devices but scorches otherwise, so also the Self remains veiled by vasanas and reveals itself when there are no vasanas. Owing to the fluctuation of the vasanas, jnana takes time to steady itself. Unsteady jnana is not enough to check rebirths. Jnana cannot remain unshaken side by side with vasanas. True, that in the proximity of a great master, the vasanas will cease to be active, the mind becomes still and samadhi results, similar to fire not scorching because of other devices. Thus the disciple gains true knowledge and right experience in the presence of the master. To remain unshaken in it further efforts are necessary.
He will know it to be his real Being and thus be liberated even while alive. Samadhi with closed eyes is certainly good, but one must go further until it is realised that actionlessness and action are not hostile to each other. Fear of loss of samadhi while one is active is the sign of ignorance. Samadhi must be the natural life of everyone. There is a state beyond our efforts or effortlessness. Until it is realised effort is necessary. After tasting such Bliss, even once one will repeatedly try to regain it. Having once experienced the Bliss of Peace no one would like to be out of it or engaged himself otherwise. It is as difficult for a Jnani to engage in thoughts as it is for an ajnani to be free from thought. The common man says that he does not know himself; he thinks many thoughts and cannot remain without thinking. Any kind of activity does not affect a Jnani; his mind remains ever in eternal Peace.

~ Talk 141, Talks with Sri Ramana Maharshi

Tuesday, October 2, 2007

eye meeting eye

When I was allowed in the hall, my attention would always be on his face. I couldn't look at anything else. Sometimes his eyes would be half-open, but most of the time they would be wide-open and empty. I have never seen eyes like this in any other living being. On only one occasion during this period did he look directly at me. He looked straight into my eyes, eye meeting eye, like a lover looking into the eyes of his beloved. My whole body shook and vibrated. I did not feel the presence of the body at all. Tears were falling from my eyes, and my throat was choked. For hours I could not speak to anyone.

~ Papaji, Nothing Ever Happened, Volume One, by David Godman

Monday, October 1, 2007

"I would just stand lost in his beauty."

I had to come very early one morning. I was scared at the prospect of coming alone on a deserted path at that time. As if reading my thoughts, Bhagavan said, 'Why are you afraid? Am I not by your side?' Immediately my fear vanished.

~ Sampoornamma, from Unforgettable Years, translated and edited by A. R. Natarajan