Monday, December 17, 2007

In the lotus-shaped Heart of all ...

Among the many holy places in India, representing different modes of spirituality, Arunachala stands out as the centre of the most direct path, guided by the silent influence of the guru. It is the centre and the path where physical contact with the guru is not necessary. The silent teaching acts and speaks directly to the Heart. There was something essentially immutable and rocklike in Bhagavan, although he had a thousand faces.

He spoke and explained when asked, but his greatest and most inspiring teaching was, like the Hill, like Dakshinamurti, given in silence. Through Bhagavan, the immense potentiality for spiritual regeneration inherent in Arunachala, with which he identified himself, was brought to life and into focus.

The benedictory verse adopted as an auspicious introduction to the Five Hymns to Sri Arunachala was rather puzzling as it was not clear who actually wrote those words"the Paramatman, who is the same as Arunachala or Ramana." Sri T. P. Ramachandra Iyer, one of the oldest devotees, who gave up his practice as a lawyer to serve Bhagavan, was consulted and so was Sri Visvanatha Swami. Their account of the matter is that one day, when Bhagavan went out of Virupaksha Cave for his usual morning walk, one Amritanatha Yati put on Bhagavan's seat a piece of paper on which he told in a Malayalam verse, of his great longing to know who Bhagavan really was, "Are you the manifestation of Lord Vishnu, or Siva, or the great grammarian Vararuchi, or the greatest of yatis (renunciates)?"

His question was couched in classic form and script. When he returned a little later to the cave, he found Bhagavan already back from his walk. On the reverse of the piece of paper was Bhagavan's reply, also in verse and Malayalam script, rendered with mastery. On reading it, Amritanatha Yati felt shaken and in all humility fell at Bhagavan's feet "like a tall coconut tree cut even at the base", to use his own words.

The reply was as follows: `In the lotus-shaped Heart of all, beginning with Vishnu, there shines as absolute Consciousness the Paramatman who is the same as Arunachala-Ramana. When the mind melts with love of Him and reaches the inmost recess of the Heart wherein He dwells as the beloved, the subtle eye pure intellect opens and He reveals Himself as pure Consciousness."

~ Lucia Osborne, Arunachala, in The Silent Power

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