Thursday, June 19, 2008

never alone

Just as the stems, branches, leaves, flowers and fruit of a tree will continue sprouting so long as its root survives, so our vasanas, desires and thoughts will continue rising and distracting us away from our self-attentiveness so long as their root, our mind, survives. Therefore Sri Ramana begins the eleventh paragraph of Nan Yar? by saying:

As long as vishaya-vasanas exist in [our] mind, so long nanar ennum vicharanai [the investigation ‘who am I?’] is necessary. As and when thoughts arise, then and there it is necessary [for us] to annihilate them all by vicharanai [investigation, that is, self-investigation or keen and vigilant self-attentiveness] in the very place from which they arise. ...

Until we achieve by our persistent practice of atma-vicharanai — self-investigation, self-scrutiny or self-attentiveness — sufficient maturity to be willing and able to surrender our mind entirely in the absolute clarity of pure self-consciousness, we will continue to be distracted by our thoughts, which we form in our mind due to the driving force of our own vishaya-vasanas, our desires to think of and experience things that appear to be other than ourself. Therefore the struggle between our svatma-bhakti — our love just to be and to know only our own real self — and our vasanas or outward-going desires will continue in us until our mind is completely destroyed by the clear light of true self-knowledge.

Therefore, though we should always aim to maintain an unbroken continuity of self-attentiveness or self-remembrance, and thereby to sink deep into our own self-conscious being, ‘I am’, in practice our attempts to do so will often fail, and we will therefore repeatedly succumb to the powerful attraction of our desires and consequent thoughts. However, we should not be disheartened by our repeated failure to be constantly self-attentive, but should just calmly persevere in our efforts to restore our self-attentiveness whenever we find that we have lost our hold on it.

This constant struggle between self-attentiveness and pramada — self-negligence or self-forgetfulness — is the nature of true sadhana or spiritual practice, so calm, patient and steady perseverance is required to win this battle. However many times and however frequently we may fall from our natural state of serene self-conscious being, we should rise again and try our best to stand firm in it.

In this long inner warfare we are never alone, because the grace of our sadguru, Sri Ramana, is always shining peacefully in our heart as ‘I am’, giving us all the subtle help and support that we need in our earnest efforts to return to his real presence by sinking into the innermost depth of our own clearly self-conscious being, which is his own true form. As we strive to turn wholly selfwards, the powerful attraction of his grace is always drawing us inwards, waiting to consume us entirely whenever we are ready to yield ourself completely to him.

~ Michael James,

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