Wednesday, April 30, 2008

Delve down into That which only is

My dear friend Duraiswami, who knew [Bhagavan] for years as one of his inmates, told me this: once he was expressing his admiration for the sage's power of concentrating day and night on his sadhana, when the other cut in smiling, "Sadhana? Who did sadhana? What did I know of sadhana? I simply came and sat down in the temple or elsewhere in Arunachala and then lost all count of time."

To me he said the same thing in a slightly different way with his characteristic irony. "People call Him by different names, but He came to me with no name or introduction so I know not how to define Him. What happened was that my desires and ego left me, how and why I cannot tell, and that I lived thenceforward in the vastness of timeless peace. Sometimes," he added with a smile, "I stayed with closed eyes and then, when I opened them, people said that I had come out of my blessed meditation. But I never knew the difference between no-meditation and meditation, blessed or otherwise. I simply lived a tranquil witness to whatever happened around me, but was never called upon to interfere. I could never feel any urge to do anything except to be, just be. I see that all is done by him and him alone, though we, poor puppets of maya, feel ourselves important as the doers, authors and reformers of everything! It is the ineradicable ego, the I-ness in each of us, which is responsible for the perpetuation of this maya with all its attendant sufferings and disenchantments."

"What then is the remedy?" I asked.

"Just be" he answered. "Delve down into That which only is, for when you achieve this you find: 'That am I'; there is and can be nothing but That. When you see this, all the trappings of maya and make-believe fall off, even as the worn-out slough of the snake. So all that you have to do is get to this I, the real I behind your seeming I, for then you are rid forever of the illusive I-ness and all is attained, since you stay thenceforward at one with That which is you; that's all."

~ Forever is in the Now, edited and complied by A. R. Natarajan (account by Dilip Kumar Roy)

Tuesday, April 29, 2008

Bhagavan Ramana's Grace

I do not usually post any personal stories on this blog, but here goes ...

Yesterday, I took my children to a park beside the bay, and a few minutes after we arrived I saw a biggish sturdy boy using his greater size and strength to dominate a smaller tear-streaked boy. Their mothers did not seem to be around, so I felt I needed to help them resolve their struggle over a lightsaber.

To my great surprise, the bigger one suddenly let go of the saber and drove his fist into my mouth, hard. Twice. An almost overpowering urge arose to drop him to the ground very fast and pin him, and as I was struggling to resist this urge, he kicked me 3 or 4 times. At first there was a kind of bodily shock reaction and I had to fight back tears.

A few people witnessed this, and there was lots of consternation, and someone called the police because the child would not admit to having any parent or guardian at the park and though many people were asked, no one knew who he was. It did not seem right to just leave him running amok amidst lots of younger kids.

A polarization began to happen, in which I was cast in the role (in my own mind too) as the nice peaceful person, and the boy was cast in the role as the out of control bad one.

But then Bhagavan, whom I had temporarily lost awareness of, showed me the child's heart. At first it was just a glimmer, but enough of a glimmer that it became obvious that the child was not the ordinary looking, sturdy, red-haired body he was "in", nor the very confused and suffering mind through which our conventional reality was being filtered (he turned out to be autistic, though he had none of the usual traits).

Then Bhagavan turned up the dial and showed me the boy's heart so blazingly that I could no longer feel any difference between the child and Bhagavan himself.

An overwhelming sense of gratitude keeps flooding me, that the boy touched me in the way he did. It took exactly those two punches (and Bhagavan) to wake me up out of the trance I had been in, of imagining the child was just a troublesome individual on the loose and nothing to do with Bhagavan.

Bhagavan showed me so tangibly that what appeared to be the boy was not the boy at all ... and what WAS real about the boy was none other than our Beloved ... I cannot really put this into words, but I have tried.

Monday, April 28, 2008

A couple of days ago, I asked David Godman this question:

David, do you think these kinds of very specific heart/mind experiences such as Saradamma described (and the kind Papaji has described) always happen when Self-realisation takes place, and some people just never speak of them? When I first read that account in No Mind I am the Self, it struck me as so very precise and physiological that it almost seemed like if that is the doorway through which one ego makes its final exit, that would need to be the way they all go ... Yet Annamalai Swami, for example, does not mention anything like this (I don’t think), or speak of severed knots, and instead describes a more gradual process. I am thinking specifically of this exchange in Final Talks:

Question: I want to ask Swamiji about his own experience. Was his own experience a single event, an explosion of knowledge? Or did it happen more gradually, in a more subtle way?

Annamalai Swami: It was my experience that through continuous sadhana I gradually relaxed into the Self. It was a gradual process.

Question: So it is not necessarily something that happens with a big bang?

Annamalai Swami: It is not something new that suddenly comes. It is eternally there, but it is covered by so much. It has to be rediscovered.

I’d love to hear anything and everything that comes to you on this topic ... I have wondered a lot about this. Thanks!

David then gave this answer on his new blog

Sunday, April 27, 2008

No Expectations

A spirit that lives in this world
and does not wear the shirt of love,
such an existence is a deep disgrace.

Be foolishly in love,
because love is all there is.

There is no way into presence
except through a love exchange.

If someone asks, But what is love?
answer, Dissolving the will.

True freedom comes to those
who have escaped the questions
of freewill and fate.

Love is an emperor.
The two worlds play across him.
He barely notices their tumbling game.

Love and lover live in eternity.
Other desires are substitutes
for that way of being.

How long do you lie embracing a corpse?
Love rather the soul, which cannot be held.

Anything born in spring dies in the fall,
but love is not seasonal.

With wine pressed from grapes,
expect a hangover.

But this love path has no expectations.
You are uneasy riding the body?
Dismount. Travel lighter.
Wings will be given.

Be clear like a mirror
reflecting nothing.

Be clean of pictures and the worry
that comes with images.

Gaze into what is not ashamed
or afraid of any truth.

Contain all human faces in your own
without any judgment of them.

Be pure emptiness.
What is inside that? you ask.
Silence is all I can say.

Lovers have some secrets
that they keep.

~ Rumi: Bridge to the Soul, Coleman Barks

Saturday, April 26, 2008

"I try to shake off the body."

Maj. A. W. Chadwick: Of what nature is the realisation of Westerners who relate that they have had flashes of cosmic consciousness?

M.: It came as a flash and disappeared as such. That which has a beginning must also end. Only when the ever-present consciousness is realised will it be permanent. Consciousness is indeed always with us. Everyone knows `I am!' No one can deny his own being. The man in deep slumber is not aware; while awake he seems to be aware. But it is the same person. There is no change in the one who slept and the one who is now awake. In deep sleep he was not aware of his body; there was no body-consciousness. In the wakeful state he is aware of his body; there is body-consciousness. Therefore the difference lies in the emergence of body-consciousness and not in any change in the Real Consciousness. The body and body-consciousness arise together and sink together. All this amounts to saying that there are no limitations in deep sleep, whereas there are limitations in the waking state. These limitations are the bondage; the feeling `The body is I' is the error. This false sense of `I' must go. The real `I' is always there. It is here and now. It never appears anew and disappears again. That which is must also persist for ever. That which appears anew will also be lost. Compare deep sleep and waking. The body appears in one state but not in the other. Therefore the body will be lost. The consciousness was pre-existent and will survive the body. In fact, there is no one who does not say `I am'. The wrong knowledge of `I am the body' is the cause of all the mischief. This wrong knowledge must go. That is Realisation. Realisation is not acquisition of anything new nor it is a new faculty. It is only removal of all camouflage.

Maj. Chadwick: I try to shake off the body.

M.: A man shakes off his clothes and remains alone and free. The Self is unlimited and is not confined to the body. How can the body be shaken off? Where will he leave it? Wherever it is, it is his still.

Maj. Chadwick: (Laughter.)

~ from Talk 96, Talks with Sri Ramana Maharshi

Friday, April 25, 2008

one look

Bhagavan talked of many things on that walk [to the Samudram Lake] with us, but at this distance of time I remember only two topics that interested me.

At one place He pointed out a palmyra tree which had decayed in the embrace of a parasitic banyan tree. Some bird had dropped a banyan seed into the palmyra, and as it
began to grow the palmyra became cloven and stunted in its own growth. Drawing our attention to this phenomenon, Bhagavan remarked that this is just what the look of Grace from a Jnani does. One look into a soul, and the whole tree of past tendencies and prejudices (vasana), gathered up through long cycles of past births, is burned up and decays away. Then the reality of the Self is experienced. Thus He explained to us the effect of contact with the Great and He said the supreme Jnana obtained with the touch of the Saint can never be won through the study of any number of Scriptures, or by any store of good deeds, or by any other spiritual practices and efforts. Later, on return to the Ashram, I put this in verse form as below:

A bird drops seed upon a tree and causes its decay.
So Guru's grace rays knowledge into the seeking mind.
Replacing ego-shadows with resplendent Jnana's light.

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

Thursday, April 24, 2008

The whole of Vedanta is contained in the two Biblical statements `I am that I am' and `Be still and know that I am God'.

There is a state beyond our efforts or effortlessness. Until that is realized, 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 engage himself otherwise. It is as difficult for a Jnani to engage in thoughts, as it is for an ajnani to be free from thought.

Any kind of activity does not affect a Jnani. He remains ever in eternal peace.

Ishta Devata (deity of one's choice) and Guru are aids, very powerful aids on this path. But for an aid to be effective requires your effort also. Your effort is a sine qua non. It is you who should see the sun. Can spectacles and the sun see for you? You yourself have to see your True Nature. Not much aid is required for doing it.

First one sees the Self as objects, then one sees the Self as void, and then one sees the Self as the Self; only in this last case is there no seeing because seeing is becoming.

~ Gems from Bhagavan

Wednesday, April 23, 2008

To obtain his Sat-sanga, we have but to think of Him, pray to Him, read His teachings, reflect on them and practise them.

"Sri Bhagavan's help and guidance is never lacking or insufficient," Sri Sadhu Om used to tell people, "indeed, His Grace is the sole existing reality in this false world. There can never be any need of any devotee of Sri Bhagavan to go to any other God or Guru. No intermediary is necessary between Him and us. Of his own accord, He directly contacts the heart of each devotee who comes to Him, without the need for any intercession from others. To obtain his Sat-sanga, we have but to think of Him, pray to Him, read His teachings, reflect on them and practise them. Such mental contact with the Sadguru is the best Sat-sanga. And if at all we want Sat-sanga with His physical form, He is and ever will be standing here in the form of Arunachala. In his works Sri Bhagavan has revealed that Arunachala is Himself, and He has said that just as we identify our bodies as 'I', so Lord Siva, the Supreme Reality, who is none other than Sri Bhagavan, has chosen to identify this Hill as 'I' in order to guide us and give us solace. Arunachala is the foremost physical embodiment of the reality or Sat, so there is no better form of outward Sat-sanga than to live in Tiruvannamalai and to do Arunachala-pradakshina."

Sri Sadhu Om truly stood as a peerless example of perfect Guru-bhakti. Though there were some people who wished to take him as their Guru, he always steadfastly refused to accept for himself the position of Guru. He often used to point to the shining example of Sri Muruganar, who was the foremost disciple of Sri Bhagavan yet who never accepted for himself the position of Guru even after Sri Bhagavan had left the body. Sri Sadhu Om used to say that one of the most important signs of a true disciple of Sri Bhagavan is that he will never accept for himself the position of Guru but will always encourage all devotees to take Sri Bhagavan alone as their Guru. Occasionally people used to ask Sri Sadhu Om whether it is not necessary for an aspirant to have a living Guru, but he always replied, "The Guru alone is living, we are all dead. If by the term 'living Guru' you mean a Guru whose body is living, then such a living Guru will one day become a dead Guru. What is the use of such a Guru who will not be living forever? But if you take Sri Bhagavan alone as your Guru, then you will have an ever-living Guru, because Sri Bhagavan is the ever-existing Self shining in the hearts of all people.

~ Michael James, "Sri Sadhu Om: An Exemplary Devotee"

Tuesday, April 22, 2008

the secret underlying all sadhanas

Where there is a will, there is a way. That is, if a sincere liking to attain something arises in one's heart, a path whereby one can attain it will also be found, and because of that liking one's mind will unceasingly seek the goal until it is attained. Only when the liking to attain that goal does not truly arise in one's heart, will one experience difficulty in the sadhana or means adopted to attain it. Know that this is the secret underlying all sadhanas.

~ from Sadhu Om's Sadanai Saram, translated by Sadhu Om and Michael James

Monday, April 21, 2008

Do not vainly argue through the reasoning power of the intellect, which ignores the Self and clings to the non-Self, that ‘reality exists’; ‘it doesn’t exist’; ‘it is form’; ‘it is formless’; ‘it is dual’; ‘it is non-dual’. Only the mauna that shines forever as the unfailing experience of being-consciousness-bliss is true religion.

~ from a forthcoming new translation of Guru Vachaka Kovai by Dr T. V. Venakatasubramanian, Robert Butler and David Godman

Sunday, April 20, 2008

The soul purpose of spiritual life is to renounce all that is not ours and to become what we really are.

~ Amma Mata Amritanandamayi

Saturday, April 19, 2008

A visitor from the Punjab asked Bhagavan, "When I meditate I feel a certain bliss at times. On such occasions, should I ask myself `Who is it that experiences this bliss'?"

Bhagavan: If it is the real bliss of the Self that is experienced, i.e., if the mind has merged really in the Self, such a doubt will not arise at all. The question itself shows real bliss was not reached.

All doubts will cease only when the doubter and his source have been found. There is no use removing doubts. If we clear one doubt, another doubt will arise and there will be no end of doubts. But if the doubter is found to be really non-existent, by seeking for the source of the doubter, then all doubts will cease.

~ Day by Day with Bhagavan

Friday, April 18, 2008

You are mistaken.

(photo of Ratnamji and his great friend Avadbutendra Swamiji)

In those days there were four or five men attending Ramana in shifts. When Ratnamji joined the ashram, they asked him which shift he preferred. He replied that he would take whatever was remaining after they had all made their choices. Of course, nobody wanted the night shift from 10pm to 4am, as that meant no sleep. This shift was given to Ratnamji. He said that because he had put himself last and was ready to take the worst part, he actually got the best because at night ... he would be alone with Ramana in the hall. Ramana slept very little, and he taught Ratnamji many things. There was also no one else around. In a very short time Ratnamji learned more from Ramana than would be possible in many years.

By talking to me and sharing his experiences, Ratnamji made me feel that I was his own child or a younger brother. He also asked me about my past and suggested many things in matters of diet, yoga postures, and meditation. Gradually, our relationship deepened. It slowly dawned on me that Ratnamji was the answer to my prayer for a Guru. He had been meticulously trained by Ramana and was a wise man in his own right. I went to him one day and told him,

"I feel you are my Guru."

"You are mistaken," he said, "you and I have the same Guru. That is Ramana Maharshi. As far as I am concerned, you are my younger spiritual brother."

~ Neil Rosner (Swami Paramatmananda), On the Road to Freedom: A Pilgrimage in India

Thursday, April 17, 2008

How to control the wandering mind?

In the evening, after parayana, a visitor asked Bhagavan, "How to control the wandering mind?" He prefaced the question with the remark, "I want to ask Bhagavan a question which is troubling me."

Bhagavan replied, after laughing, "This is nothing peculiar to you. This is the question which is always asked by everybody and which is dealt with in all the books like the Gita. What way is there, except to draw in the mind as often as it strays or goes outward, and to fix it in the Self, as the Gita advises? Of course, it won't be easy to do it. It will come only with practice or sadhana."

The visitor said, "The mind goes after only what it desires and won't get fixed on the object we set before it."

Bhagavan said, "Everybody will go after only what gives happiness to him. Thinking that happiness comes from some object or other, you go after it. See from whence all happiness, including the happiness you regard as coming from sense objects, really comes. You will understand all happiness comes only from the Self, and then you will always abide in the Self."

~ Day by Day With Bhagavan

Wednesday, April 16, 2008

D.: How is the ego to be got rid of?

Sri Ramana Maharshi: The ego must be held in order to get rid of it. Hold it first and the rest will be easy.

D.: How is that to be held?

M.: Do you mean to say that there is one ego to hold another ego or to eliminate the other? Are there two egos?

D.: How shall I pray to God?

M.: There must be `I' who prays to God. `I' is certainly immediate and intimate, whereas God is not thought so. Find out that which is more intimate and then the other may be ascertained and prayed to if necessary.

~ Talk 580, Talks with Sri Ramana Maharshi

Tuesday, April 15, 2008

The deep heart's core,
All in one and one in all,
True seer in whom all truth is seen
Merciful, liberal giver of grace
Miraculously strong to save, yes,
He is Mother and Father too.

~ Muruganar, Sri Ramana Sannidhi Murai

Monday, April 14, 2008

He had immense compassion for those who grieved over the suffering and he sought to appease their grief, not the easy way by removing the suffering and postponing death for a few more years, but the fundamental way by making them realize that the body was not Bhagavan. "They take this body for Bhagavan and attribute suffering to him. What a pity! They are despondent that Bhagavan is going to leave them and go away -- where can he go, and how?" ....

... After darshan that evening the devotees did not disperse to their homes. Apprehension held them there. At about sunset Sri Bhagavan told the attendants to sit him up. They knew already that every movement, every touch was painful, but he told them not to worry about that. He sat with one of the attendants supporting his head. A doctor began to give him oxygen but with a wave of his right hand he motioned him away. There were about a dozen persons in the small room, doctors and attendants.

Two of the attendants were fanning him, and the devotees outside gazed spell-bound at the moving fans through the window, a sign that there was still a living body to fan. A reporter of a large American magazine moved about restlessly, uneasy at having been impressed despite himself and determined not to write his story till he got away from Tiruvannamalai to conditions that he considered normal. With him was a French press-photographer.

Unexpectedly, a group of devotees sitting on the veranda outside the hall began singing `Arunachala-Siva' (Aksharanamanamalai). On hearing it, Sri Bhagavan's eyes opened and shone. He gave a brief smile of indescribable tenderness. From the outer edges of his eyes tears of bliss rolled down. One more deep breath, and no more. There was no struggle, no spasm, no other sign of death: only that the next breath did not come.

For a few moments people stood bewildered. The singing continued. The French press-photographer came up to me and asked at what precise minute it had happened. Resenting it as journalistic callousness, I replied brusquely that I did not know, and then I suddenly recalled Sri Bhagavan's unfailing courtesy and answered precisely that it was 8.47. He said, and I could hear now that he was excited, that he had been pacing the road outside and at that very moment an enormous star had trailed slowly across the sky. Many had seen it, even as far away as Madras, and felt what it portended. It passed to the north-east towards the peak of Arunachala.

After the first numbness there was a wild burst of grief.

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

Sunday, April 13, 2008

the need for effort

While Ramana would always reassure one about the Guru's grace being as unfailing as the tiger's jaws, he would at the same time say, "nevertheless, the disciple, for his part, must unswervingly follow the path shown by the Master'. Human endeavour and the Satguru's grace act and react on each other. One cannot rest content with half-hearted, insipid and weak pursuit of effort to turn within but should "look within, ever seeking the Self with inner eye".

~ A. R. Natarajan, A Tide in the Affairs of Men

Saturday, April 12, 2008

This love which had been awakened was the kind which totally bypasses the physical and creates an awareness of a different kind of consciousness which can only be described as a mindless rapture, pure joy. It is an unlocated, pervasive state of being sparked off by some kind of recognition and it stays with you and you are never the same again.

~ Santha Rangachary's first visit to Sri Ramana Maharshi, The Mountain Path

Friday, April 11, 2008

Instead of condemning another’s [path], destroying your clarity, learn one method. Observe it and cherish it in your heart.

~ Padamalai, v. 10

Thursday, April 10, 2008

Deceiving others one becomes
One's own foe and hurts oneself.

Whatever one to "others" gives
Is well and truly given to oneself.
Who knowing this would fail to give
generous service to the world?

~ Verses 806 & 807, Guru Vachaka Kovai

Wednesday, April 9, 2008

When we concentrate our attention on the origin of thought, the thought process itself comes to an end; there is a hiatus, which is pleasant, and again the process starts. Turning from the external world and enjoying the objectless bliss, the mind feels that the world of objects is not for it. Prior to this experience the unsatiating sense-enjoyments constantly challenged the mind to satisfy them, but from the inward turn onwards its interest in them begins to fade. Once the internal bliss is enjoyed, the external happiness loses its charm.

One who has tasted the inward bliss is naturally loving and free from envy, contented and happy with others’ prosperity, friendly and innocent and free from deceit. He is full of the mystery and wonder of the bliss. One who has realized the Self can never inflict pain on other.

~ Sri Nisargadatta Maharaj, Self Knowledge and Self Realization

Tuesday, April 8, 2008

To say `I do not know myself' or `I have known
myself' is cause for laughter. What? Are there two selves,
one to be known by the other? There is but One, the Truth of
the experience of all.

~ Sri Ramana Maharshi, Reality in Forty Verses

Monday, April 7, 2008

How does the contemplation of 'I am" affect me?

Q: When asked about the means for Self-realization, you invariably stress the importance of the mind dwelling on the sense 'I am'. Where is the causal factor? Why should this particular thought result in self-realization? How does the contemplation of 'I am" affect me?

Sri Nisargadatta Maharaj: The very fact of observation alters the observer and the observed. After all, what prevents the insight into one's true nature is the weakness and obtuseness of the mind and its tendency to skip the subtle and focus the gross only. When you follow my advice and try to keep your mind on the notion of 'I am' only, you become fully aware of your mind and its vagaries. Awareness, being lucid harmony (sattva) in action, dissolves dullness and quietens the restlessness of the mind and gently, but steadily changes its very substance. This change need not be spectacular; it may be hardly noticeable; yet it is a deep and fundamental shift from darkness to light, from inadvertence to awareness.

~ I am That

Sunday, April 6, 2008

Q: Sri Bhagavan often says that maya [illusion] and reality are
the same. How can that be?

A: Sankara was criticised for his views on maya without being
understood. He said that

(1) Brahman is real,

(2) the universe is unreal, and

(3) The universe is Brahman.

He did not stop at the second, because the third explains the other
two. It signifies that the universe is real if perceived as the Self, and
unreal if perceived apart from the Self. Hence maya and reality are
one and the same.

Q: So the world is not really illusory?

A: At the level of the spiritual seeker you have got to say that the
world is an illusion. There is no other way. When a man forgets that
he is Brahman, who is real, permanent and omnipresent, and
deludes himself into thinking that he is a body in the universe which
is filled with bodies that are transitory, and labours under that
delusion, you have got to remind him that the world is unreal and a
delusion. Why? Because his vision which has forgotten its own
Self is dwelling in the external, material universe. It will not turn
inwards into introspection unless you impress on him that all this
external, material universe is unreal. When once he realizes his own
Self he will know that there is nothing other than his own Self and
he will come to look upon the whole universe as Brahman. There is
no universe without the Self. So long as a man does not see the Self
which is the origin of all, but looks only at the external world as
real and permanent, you have to tell him that all this external
universe is an illusion. You cannot help it. Take a paper. We see
only the script, and nobody notices the paper on which the script is
written. The paper is there whether the script on it is there or not.
To those who look upon the script as real, you have to say that it is
unreal, an illusion, since it rests upon the paper. The wise man
looks upon both the Paper and script as one. So also with Brahman
and the universe.

Q: So the world is real when it is experienced as the Self and
unreal when it is seen as separate names and forms?

A: Just as fire is obscured by smoke, the shining light of
consciousness is obscured by the assemblage of names and forms,
the world. When by compassionate divine grace the mind becomes
clear, the nature of the world will be known to be not the illusory
forms but only the reality.

Only those people whose minds are devoid of the evil power of
maya, having given up the knowledge of the world and being
unattached to it, and having thereby attained the knowledge of the
self-shining supreme reality, can correctly know the meaning of the
statement `The world is real.' If one's outlook has been transformed
to the nature of real knowledge, the world of the five elements
beginning with ether [akasa] will be real, being the supreme reality,
which is the nature of knowledge.

The original state of this empty world, which is bewildering and
crowded with many names and forms, is bliss, which is one, just as
the egg-yolk of a multi-coloured peacock is only one. Know this
truth by abiding in the state of Self.

~ from Creation theories and the reality of the world chapter, from Be As You Are: The Teachings of Sri Ramana Maharshi, edited by David Godman

Saturday, April 5, 2008

Question: Why does not Bhagavan go about and preach the truth to the people at large?

Sri Ramana Maharshi: How do you know I am not doing it? Does preaching consist in mounting a platform and haranguing the people around? Preaching is simple communication of knowledge; it can really be done in silence only. What do you think of a man who listens to a sermon for an hour and goes away without having been impressed by it so as to change his life? Compare him with another, who sits in a holy presence and goes away after some time with his outlook on life totally changed. Which is the better, to preach loudly without effect or to sit silently sending out inner force?

Again, how does speech arise? First there is abstract knowledge. Out of this arises the ego, which in turn gives rise to thought, and thought to the spoken word. So the word is the great grandson of the original source. If the word can produce an effect, judge for yourself how much more powerful must be the preaching through silence.

~ from Silence and sat-sanga chapter, Be As You Are: The Teachings of Sri Ramana Maharshi, edited by David Godman

Friday, April 4, 2008

Q: After self-realisation, does a man still have an ego?

Sri Nisargadatta Maharaj: He has no acquaintance whatsoever with the ego. So long as one identifies with form, the ego is there. Since a self-realised one no longer has any identification with the body form, the question simply does not arise.

~ The Nectar Of Immortality, Sri Nisargadatta Maharaj's Discourses on the Eternal, Edited by Robert Powell

Thursday, April 3, 2008

How many times will I have to be born?

I felt that I was not making spiritual progress, so I once asked Bhagavan, "How many times will I have to be born to get jnana?"

Bhagavan answered, "There are no factors like time and distance. In one hour we dream that many days and years have passed by. Don't you see in a cinema film mere shadows being transformed into great seas, mountains and buildings. The world is not outside you. The small world that is in the mind appears as a big world outside. The annihilation of the mind is jnana."

~ Rangan (from Face to Face with Sri Ramana Maharshi)

Wednesday, April 2, 2008

"... Bhagavan Himself was very active and did all sorts of work. He stitched leaves, He made kamandalams, He perfected staffs, He assisted in the kitchen, grinding, preparing pastes, cutting vegetables and actual cooking. He acted as a mid-wife to dogs and monkeys. And he did all this without the least attachment and did it all perfectly. The proof of one's doing the actions without attachment is that one feels that it is the Lord who uses one to get things done and done so well. His whole being says: 'The supreme has done these things through me'. Such humility is the mark of spiritual maturity."

~ Sri Sadhu Natanananda describing Sri Bhagavan's teachings to V. Ganesan (from "Beloved Ramana")

Tuesday, April 1, 2008

Non-dual infinite Awareness
Where the error of seeing, hearing, knowing
Various objects has been destroyed,
This is purest bliss serene.

verse 1006, Guru Vachaka Kovai