Bhagavan Sri Ramana Maharshi     1511 posts


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Devotee: “Are we to keep anything against a rainy day; or to live a precarious life for spiritual attainments?”

Maharshi: “God looks after everything.” *

Talk 377

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Talk 480 (22nd March, 1938).

A European lady, Mrs. Gasque, gave a slip of paper on which was written: We are thankful to Nature and the Infinite Intelligence for your Presence among us. We appreciate that your Wisdom is founded upon pure Truth and the basic principle of Life and Eternity. We are happy that you remind us to "Be still and Know THAT".

What do you consider the future of this Earth? Answer: The answer to this question is contained in the other sheet.

Be still and know that I AM GOD. "Stillness" here means "Being free from thoughts".

D.: This does not answer the question. The planet has a future - what is it to be?

M.: Time and space are functions of thoughts. If thoughts do not arise there will be no future or the Earth.

D.: Time and space will remain even if we do not think of them.
M.: Do they come and tell you that they are? Do you feel them in your sleep?

D.: I was not conscious in my sleep.
M.: And yet you were existing in your sleep.
D.: I was not in my body. I had gone out somewhere and jumped in here just before waking up.

M.: Your having been away in sleep and jumping in now are mere ideas. Where were you in sleep? You were only what you are, but with this difference that you were free from thoughts in sleep.

D.: Wars are going on in the world. If we do not think, do the wars cease?
M.: Can you stop the wars? He who made the world will take care of it.
D.: God made the world and He is not responsible for the present condition of the world. It is we who are responsible for the present state.

M.: Can you stop the wars or reform the world?
D.: No.
M.: Then why do you worry yourself about what is not possible for you? Take care of yourself and the world will take care of itself.

D.: We are pacifists. We want to bring about Peace.

M.: Peace is always present. Get rid of the disturbances to Peace.

This Peace is the Self. The thoughts are the disturbances. When free from them, you are Infinite Intelligence, i.e., the Self. There is Perfection and Peace.

D.: The world must have a future.
M.: Do you know what it is in the present? The world and all together are the same, now as well as in the future.

D.: The world was made by the operation of Intelligence on ether and atoms.

M.: All of them are reduced to Isvara and Sakti. You are not now apart from Them. They and you are one and the same Intelligence.

After a few minutes one lady asked: "Do you ever intend to go to America?"

M.: America is just where India is (i.e., in the plane of thought).

Another (Spanish) lady: They say that there is a shrine in the Himalayas entering which one gets some strange vibrations which heal all diseases. Is it possible?

M.: They speak of some shrine in Nepal and also in other parts of the Himalayas where the people are said to become unconscious on entering them.

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Death experience of Bhagawan:

The turning point in Venkataraman’s life came spontaneously in mid-July 1896. One afternoon, the youth for no apparent reason was overwhelmed by a sudden, violent fear of death. Years later, he narrated this experience as follows:
It was about six weeks before I left Madura for good that a great change in my life took place . It was quite sudden. I was sitting in a room on the first floor of my uncle’s house. I seldom had any sickness and on that day there was nothing wrong with my health, but a sudden, violent fear of death overtook me. There was nothing in my state of health to account for it; and I did not try to account for it or to find out whether there was any reason for the fear. I just felt, ‘I am going to die,’ and began thinking what to do about it. It did not occur to me to consult a doctor or my elders or friends. I felt that I had to solve the problem myself, then and there.
The shock of the fear of death drove my mind inwards and I said to myself mentally, without actually framing the words: ‘Now death has come; what does it mean? What is it that is dying? This body dies.’ And I at once dramatized the occurrence of death. I lay with my limbs stretched out stiff as though rigor mortis had set in and imitated a corpse so as to give greater reality to the enquiry. I held my breath and kept my lips tightly closed so that no sound could escape, so that neither the word ‘I’ or any other word could be uttered, ‘Well then,’ I said to myself, ‘this body is dead. It will be carried stiff to the burning ground and there burnt and reduced to ashes. But with the death of this body am I dead? Is the body ‘I’? It is silent and inert but I feel the full force of my personality and even the voice of the ‘I’ within me, apart from it. So I am Spirit transcending the body. The body dies but the Spirit that transcends it cannot be touched by death. This means I am the deathless Spirit.’ All this was not dull thought; it flashed through me vividly as living truth which I perceived directly, almost without thought-process. ‘I’ was something very real, the only real thing about my present state, and all the conscious activity connected with my body was centred on that ‘I’. From that moment onwards the ‘I’ or Self focused attention on itself by a powerful fascination. Fear of death had vanished once and for all. Absorption in the Self continued unbroken from that time on. Other thoughts might come and go like the various notes of music, but the ‘I’ continued like the fundamental sruti note that underlies and blends with all the other notes. Whether the body was engaged in talking, reading, or anything else, I was still centred on ‘I’. Previous to that crisis I had no clear perception of my Self and was not consciously attracted to it. I felt no perceptible or direct interest in it, much less any inclination to dwell permanently in it.

The effect of the death experience brought about a complete change in Venkataraman’s interests and outlook. He became meek and submissive without complaining or retaliating against unfair treatment. He later described his condition:
One of the features of my new state was my changed attitude to the Meenakshi Temple. Formerly I used to go there occasionally with friends to look at the images and put the sacred ash and vermillion on my brow and would return home almost unmoved. But after the awakening I went there almost every evening. I used to go alone and stand motionless for a long time before an image of Siva or Meenakshi or Nataraja and the sixty-three saints, and as I stood there waves of emotion overwhelmed me.

Source:Ashram web site

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What is it that exists now and troubles you? It is 'I'. Get rid of it and be happy.

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... not even uttering the word “I”, one should enquire keenly thus: “Now, what is it that rises as ‘I’”. Then, there would shine in the Heart a kind of wordless illumination of the form ‘I’ ‘I’. That is, there would shine of its own accord the pure consciousness which is unlimited and one, the limited and the many thoughts having disappeared. If one remains quiescent without abandoning that (experience), the egoity, the individual sense, of the form ‘I am the body’ will be totally destroyed, and at the end the final thought, viz. the ‘I’- form also will be quenched like the fire that burns camphor. The great sages and scriptures declare that this alone is release.

From 'Self-Enquiry'

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Siva shines within each jiva as a witness, [enabling] him [the jiva] to experience his prarabdha through his [Siva’s] presence. Whoever knows his nature to be mere being-consciousness, without imagining through ignorance that he is the experiencer of prarabdha, shines as that supreme person, Siva".- GVK, 151

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When the mind,
turning inward,
inquires,
"Who am I?"
and reaches the Heart,
that which is "I" (the ego/'I' thought)
sinks crestfallen,
and the One (Self)
appears of its own accord
as "I-I" (pulsating consciousness).
Though it appears thus,
it is not the ego;
it is the Whole.

Source:
The Essential Teachings of Ramana Maharshi: A Visual Journey

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Married or unmarried , a man can realise the Self, because that is here and now. If it were not so, but attainable by some efforts at some other time, and if it were new and something to be acquired, it would not be worthy of pursuit. Because what is not natural cannot be permanent either. But what I say is that the Self is here and now and alone ~ in Talk 17.

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The one, infinite, unbroken whole [plenum] became aware of itself as ''I''. This is its original name. All other names, for example Om, are later growths.' (Talks with Sri Ramana Maharshi, talk no. 9)

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PROFESSOR KRISHNAMURTI ABOUT BHAGAVAN

Prof Krishnamurti Aiyer, professor of physics said about Bhagavan:

" I observed the personal habits of Bhagavan and tried to follow his example. One noticed in Bhagavan's daily life, personal cleanliness, tidiness of dress, habitual wearing of vibhuti and kumkum on the forehead; equal sharing of all enjoyments with those around one; strict adherence to a time schedule; doing useful work however 'low' it be; never leaving a work unfinished; the pursuit of perfection in every action; ... never considering oneself superior to others; speaking the truth always, or strict silence if the expression of a truth would hurt or lower the reputation of others; perfect self-help, never asking another to do a piece of work which can be done by oneself; taking full responsibility for failure, if any, without shifting the blame on others; accepting success and failure with equanimity; never disturbing the peace of another; leaving the leaf-plate or plate clean after eating; complete non-interference in the affairs of others..."

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A person begins with dissatisfaction. Not content with the world he seeks satisfaction of desires by prayers to God; his mind is purified; he longs to know God more than to satisfy his carnal desires. Then God’s Grace begins to manifest. God takes the form of a Guru and appears to the devotee; teaches him the Truth; purifies the mind by his teachings and contact; the mind gains strength, is able to turn inward; with meditation it is purified yet further, and eventually remains still without the least ripple. That stillness is the Self.

The Guru is both exterior and interior. From the exterior he gives a push to the mind to turn inward; from the interior he pulls the mind towards the Self and helps the mind to achieve quietness. That is Grace.

Hence there is no difference between God, Guru and Self.

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“How am I to rise above my present animal existence? My own efforts in that direction have proved futile and I am convinced that it is only a superior might that could transform me. And that is what has brought me here.”
Bhagavan replied with great compassion: “Yes, you are right. It is only on the awakening of a power mightier than the senses and the mind that these can be subdued. If you awaken and nurture the growth of that power within you, everything else will be conquered. One should sustain the current of meditation uninterrupted. Moderation in food and similar restraints will be helpful in maintaining the inner poise.

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IN THE PROXIMITY OF BHAGAVAN

AFTER THE DEVOTEES who had gathered for the birthday celebration of Bhagavan left the Ashram, I approached him with my problem: “How am I to rise above my present animal existence? My own efforts in that direction have proved futile and I am convinced that it is only a superior might that could transform me. And that is what has brought me here.” Bhagavan replied with great compassion: “Yes, you are right. It is only on the awakening of a power mightier than the senses and the mind that these can be subdued. If you awaken and nurture the growth of that power within you, everything else will be conquered. One should sustain the current of meditation uninterrupted. Moderation in food and similar restraints will be helpful in maintaining the inner poise.” It was this grace of Bhagavan that gave a start to my spiritual career. A new faith was kindled within me and I found in Bhagavan the strength and support to guide me forever.
Another day, questioned about the problem of brahmacharya, Bhagavan replied: “To live and move in Brahman is real brahmacharya; continence, of course, is very helpful and indispensable to achieve that end. But so long as you identify yourself with the body, you can never escape sex-thought and distraction. It is only when you realise that you are formless Pure Awareness that sex distinction disappears for good and that is brahmacharya, effortless and spontaneous.”
As advised by Bhagavan I engaged myself in nonstop japa, day and night, except during hours of sleep.

Viswanatha Swami in 'Surpassing Love and Grace'

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PROF KRISHNAMURTI IYER ABOUT BHAGAVAN'S BOYHOOD

The following account was given by M.S. Venkataraman who was a clerk in the Health Department of the District Board in Madurai.
M.S. Venkataraman was then just about ten years old, too young to participate fully in the outdoor adventures of the company. Nevertheless he had his share in them. The members of his family were co-tenants of the house with Subbier’s family. Every night, when the whole house was silent in sleep, Nagasami and Ramana whose beds were in a remote corner of the house, would appropriately adjust their pillows and cover them up with their bedsheets so that it would create the impression of their presence in their beds. It was the duty of little Venkataraman to bolt the door of the house when the brothers went out at about 11 p.m., and to admit them on their return at about 4 a.m.

Now let us turn our attention to Suppiah Thevar. At the time the author saw Suppiah Thevar he was employed in a firewood depot. He also conducted during the cool hours of the morning and evening a physical training school in which young men had training in silambam in which Thevar was an adept. Silambam is a sort of quarterstaff, a very hard bamboo stick of about five feet, to be whirled about so that the wielder could knock out any opponent who dared to come near. The stick was an instrument of defence as well as of attack. Strength of body and muscle was also developed by physical training in the school. Suppiah Thevar was a master in this field.

The following account was obtained from Suppiah Thevar who was himself an active participant in those activities.
The venue of the activities, fixed well in advance, would be either the sandy river bed of the Vaigai or the Pillaiyarpaliam Kanmoi (rain fed tank) close to Aruppukottai road, the outskirts of Madurai city. Every member of the group would, while passing the house of Ramana, leave a pebble at the door step. Nagasami and Ramana, as leaders of the group, would be the last to sally forth from the house after a check of the pebbles showed that all their friends had gone to the place of the meeting. There was rarely a defaulter. Ramana and his playmates had a jolly time playing games on the sandy bed of the Vaigai river or engaging in swimming contests in the Pillaiyarpaliam tank. They would then return sufficiently early to their beds without exciting the least suspicion of their absence from home.

The next account was obtained from Narayanasami. When the author met him he was Librarian in the Town Hall of Madurai, known as Victoria Edward hall.
Usually, the terrace of the house and the small room in which the boy Venkataraman made his “Self-enquiry” were vacant and rarely used by the families in the ground floor. Here the youngsters played. One of the games they played was what they called ‘throw-ball’. Young Ramana would roll his body into something like a ball and the sturdy group of youngsters would throw him from one player to another.

Sometimes the human ball fell down when the player failed to catch it. The wonder of it was that for all this rough tossing and dropping, there was not the least scratch on the skin, let alone any muscular sprain or bone fracture!
Narayanasami said that he used to see his friend sitting still for long stretches of time in the small room on the first floor. Narayanasami asked Ramana whether he could also do likewise. Forthwith Ramana told his friend to squat on the floor with his legs crossed (as in the semi-padmasana posture) and pressed a pencil point midway between his eyebrows. Narayanasami lost sense of body and world and sat still in a trance for more than half an hour. When he came to himself he saw Ramana sitting, with his face wreathed in smiles. Narayanasami said that he failed when he tried to repeat the experience by himself.

Ramana Smriti

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A feeling of deficiency only arises because of the mind-deficiency. In truth no one has any kind of lack.

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The experience of Vedanta is possible only for those who have completely given up all desires. For the desirous it is far away, and they should therefore try to rid themselves of all other desires by the desire for God, who is free from desires.

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For a realised being the Self alone is the Reality, and actions are only phenomenal, not affecting the Self. Even when he acts he has no sense of being an agent. His actions are only involuntary and he remains a witness to them without any attachment.

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Abhyasa [spiritual practice] consists in withdrawal within the Self every time you are disturbed by thought. It is not concentration or destruction of the mind but withdrawal into the Self.

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Look. This little finger covers the eye and prevents the whole world from being seen. In the same way this small mind covers the whole universe and prevents Reality from being seen.

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The Self does not move. The world moves in it.
There is no reaching the Self. If the Self were to be reached, it would mean that the Self is not now and here, but that it should be got anew. What is got afresh, will also be lost. So it will be impermanent. What is not permanent is not worth striving for. So I say, the Self is not reached. You are the Self. You are already That. " ~ Talk 251
"Ignorance supervenes and draws a veil over the pure Bliss. Attempts are directed only to remove this ignorance. This ignorance consists in wrong knowledge. The wrong knowledge consists in the false identification of the Self with the body, the mind, etc. This false identity must go and there remains the Self." ~ Talk 251.

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DO NOT BE CARRIED AWAY BY THOUGHTS

D.: Can one remain without thoughts rising all the 24 hours of the day? Should I remain without meditation?

M.: What is ‘hours’ again? It is a concept. Each question of yours is prompted by a thought.

Your nature is Peace and Happiness. Thoughts are the obstacles to realization. One’s meditation or concentration is meant to get rid of obstacles and not to gain the Self. Does anyone remain apart from the Self? No! The true nature of the Self is declared to be Peace.

If the same peace is not found, the non-finding is only a thought which is alien to the Self. One practices meditation only to get rid of these alien fancies. So, then, a thought must be quelled as soon as it rises. Whenever a thought arises, do not be carried away by it. You become aware of the body when you forget the Self. But can you forget the Self? Being the Self how can you forget it? There must be two selves for one to forget the other. It is absurd. So the Self is not depressed; it is not imperfect: it is ever happy. The contrary feeling is a mere thought which has actually no stamina in it. Be rid of thoughts. Why should one attempt meditation? Being the Self one remains always realized, only be free from thoughts.

TALKS 462

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SELF-REMEMBRANCE

Remembering the Self, one’s real nature, without faltering even slightly,
is the eminent victory of true jnana.

With your consciousness hold fast to and never abandon the substratum, your real nature, the Supreme that can neither be held nor relinquished.

Is the Self something far away that you have to touch? The higher Self exists as one but it is only your thoughts that make you feel it is not.
You can neither think about it nor forget it.

Other than the thought of the Self, any other thought you ay associate with, is a mere mental construct, foreign to that Self.

Thinking of the Self is to abide as that tranquil consciousness. Padam, the true swarupa, can neither be remembered nor forgotten.

The Self is self-luminous without darkness and light, and is the reality which is self-manifest. Therefore, one should not think of it as this or that.
All such thoughts would only end in bondage. The purport of meditation on the Self is to make the mind take the ‘form’ of the Self. In the middle of the heart-cave is the pure Brahman directly manifest as the Self in the form of ‘I-I’. Can there be greater ignorance than to think of It in manifold ways, without knowing it as aforementioned?

-Padamalai p 76, 77

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CONDUCT FOR SADHAKAS

It is human nature to err. However, those strong ones who are mindful of their conduct should not, through overweening pride, cover up their faults but own up to them and correct themselves in an appropriate way. This is the proper course.
Guru Vachaka Kovai v 790

Since all the moral and religious observances that have been laid down protect the sadhaka for a long distance [along the path], they deserve to be fully observed, but if they obstruct the practice of the excellent vichara that bestows true jnana, then give them up as deficient.
Guru Vachaka Kovai v 791

Blessed be the feet of the yogi [Bhagavan] who says, ‘Discarding traditional rules of conduct will cause one’s ruin. Ponder [over them] and understand their [inner] significance.’
[Sri Ramana Pada Malai, v 37]

Lustrous Padam [Bhagavan] frequently speaks of the benefits of virtuous behavior [achara], advising devotees not to forsake traditional rules of conduct, but to cherish and observe them.
[Padamalai, p. 318, v 18]

When the sadhaka’s efforts result in failure, the benefit of this [effort] is to make him understand that Self-realisation can only be attained by the Guru’s grace, and not by personal exertion, thus preparing the sadhaka to seek the cool grace bestowed by the Guru.
Guru Vachaka Kovai v794

The Lord is impossible to attain by any stratagem.
Yet for those who in their minds are clearly convinced
That to attain Him is not within their power,
Who have become wearied by their efforts,
And in whom the mischievous antics of the ego
Have become thoroughly stilled,
He will easily fall into their grasp.
[Sri Ramana Sannidhi Murai, ‘Keerthi Tiruvahal’, lines 343-346]

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One can be free in a town and may yet be bound in jungle retreats. It is all in the mind

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There are only two ways in which to conquer destiny or be independent of it. One is to enquire who undergoes this destiny and discover that only the ego is bound by it and not the Self, and that the ego is non-existent. The other way is to kill the ego by completely surrendering to the Lord, by realising one’s helplessness and saying all the time: ‘Not I, but Thou, Oh, my Lord’, and giving up all sense of ‘I’ and ‘mine’ and leaving it to the Lord to do what he likes with you. Surrender can never be regarded as complete so long as the devotee wants this or that from the Lord. True surrender is love of God for the sake of love and for nothing else, not even for the sake of salvation. In other words, complete effacement of the ego is necessary to conquer destiny, whether you achieve this effacement through Self enquiry or through bhakti-marga.

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