Bhagavan Sri Ramana Maharshi     721 posts


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*What is meditation?*

This was a question haunting a small boy. His parents were at wit's end, as they could not explain it in a simple language the boy could comprehend.

Once the family went for a dharshan to Shri Ramana Maharishi. The boy put forward his question to Ramana Maharishi.

Shri Ramana laughed to himself. Then with smiling face, he asked his devotee to serve the boy dosa from the kitchen.

So, on a plain leaf, a dosa was served. Shri Ramana looked at the boy and said,

*" Now I will say "Hmm"* *Then only you should start eating. Then again I will say "hmm" After that no piece of dosa should be left on your plate."*

The boy agreed. He was so excited. Others were watching expectantly. Now the boy was eagerly waiting for the signal by looking at Shri Ramana's face. When he gave the signal "hmm" the boy started eating. Now his attention was on Shri Ramana. He wanted to finish dosa before the signal. The boy was eating dosa in a hurry , tearing big chunks of dosa, but, all the time keeping his attention on Shri Ramana. The dosa was reducing in size gradually. There was a small piece left. The boy was looking anxiously at Shri Ramana for the second signal. The moment he gave the signal, the boy immediately put the dosa in his mouth.

Now Shri Ramana asked him " where was your attention till now? On me or on Dosa?"

The boy replied " On both"

Shri Ramana said" Yes. You were actively involved in finishing dosa, with your attention on me. You were not distracted at all.
Like this when you do your daily activities with your attention or thoughts on God in the back ground, it is known as meditation."

The two signals "hmm" are birth & death. Within these two events, one can engage in meditation, as demonstrated by Shri Ramana Maharishi. But to understand this we all need divine grace to mellow & mature. We all differ from each other and hence take different time to comprehend this great truth.

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ASSOCIATION WITH SADHUS

The wise ones will shun the company of those inveterate disputants who babble empty and useless words because they have not subdued themselves through the knowledge of the path of dharma, and have not steadfastly focused on the ideal of life by cherishing it within.
Guru Vachaka Kovai v 328

Many are the evils [that arise] if one associates with crazy fools with confused minds who babble with their ‘holy’ mouths. Know that only association with those in whom the mind has died and pure mauna shines is excellent association.
Guru Vachaka Kovai v 329

O Mind! Sever quickly and completely the painful connection with the ignoble people who utter ruinous lies and who comfort themselves in an improper way. Reach and associate with those [jnanis] who are abiding in the state of tranquility, free of restlessness.
Guru Vachaka Kovai v 330

Muruganar : Sri Ramana has expressed similar sentiments about associating with worldly-minded people in Aksharamanamalai verse 20:
Saving me from the cruel power of those who are [like hunters] with their sharp swords and cunning snares, bestow your grace liberally, O Arunachala, and unite with me.

This is the natural mental state of those who have rejoiced, even briefly, in the light of the Self.

Those who have realized the truth are alone the possessors of faultless virtues. Apart from these, everyone else is only base of nature. Hence, he who longs for the fortune of liberation must redeem himself only by resorting to those of the aforementioned meritorious ones who shine as reality through the knowledge of reality that is devoid of the world-delusion.
Guru Vachaka Kovai v 332

Muruganar : All the rare virtues automatically seek and reach those who have realized the truth through purity of mind. Hence, in order to emphasize that only they deserve to be called virtuous who are naturally replete with all the noble traits, it has been said ‘Those who have realized the truth are alone the possessors of faultless virtues’. In those people who do not have true jnana, even though they may be extremely virtuous in the external conduct they observe, the ego that is the source of all evil traits remains in their hearts without perishing. Therefore it was said: ‘everyone else is only base of nature.’ While all other things may be obtained from [these unenlightened] people, the knowledge of reality – that which bestows the bliss of peace, the redemption that is free of the mind – can only be obtained from these meritorious ones. Those who are fit to be accepted as Gurus have [thus] been indicated.

Bhagavan: Humility and self-restraint are the marks of those transformed and radiant beings who embody the quality of virtue.
[Padamalai, p.130, v. 26]

Bhagavan: All good or daivic qualities are included in jnana and all bad asuric qualities are included in ajnana. When jnana comes all ajnana goes and all daivic qualities come automatically. If a man is a jnani he cannot utter a lie or do anything wrong. It is, no doubt, said in some books that one should cultivate one quality after another and thus prepare for ultimate moksha, but for those who follow the jnana or vichara marga their sadhana is itself quite enough for acquiring all daivic qualities; they need not do anything else.

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It is necessary by a courage-imbued intellect to gently gently [calmly and gradually] make the mind achieve motionlessness. Great charioteer, fix the mind [your attention] in [or on] ātman [yourself]; do not think even the slightest of anything else at all.

('Bhagavad Gītā Sāram': v. 27 [Bhagavan's translation of 'Bhagavad Gītā': 6.25])

___________________________________________________________

- Translated by Michael James.

தீரஞ்சேர் புத்தியினாற் சித்தத்தை மெல்லமெல்ல

நேரச் செயவேண்டு நிச்சலன — மாரதனே

சித்தத்தை யான்மாவிற் சேர்த்திடுக மற்றெதுவு

மித்தனையு மெண்ணிடா தே.

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At the end of about five months in the village, I was down with
severe malaria and had to be taken to Gudur, where the doctor declared
that I was likely to die. I, however, had a strong determination that I would
not die until I had seen my guru again. I placed a picture of Bhagavan by
my bedside and meditated on it throughout the ordeal. Whenever I looked
at the picture I felt as if Bhagavan was laughing or smiling at me. I am
convinced that it was the power and grace of Bhagavan that kept me alive
and enabled me to make a full recovery within two months.
I arrived at Sri Ramanasramam during the navaratri celebrations
of 1949. In the afternoon of the Vijayadasmi day, I stood in front of the
Mother’s shrine [See photograph no. 16 in the book], waiting for Bhagavan
to appear. He came accompanied by Swami Satyananda, entered the new
hall [Attached to the Mother’s shrine], and took his seat on the stone sofa.
I went up to him and made a full prostration. When I stood up, he looked
intently at me for a few moments. I withdrew and sat near a pillar outside
the hall where I could do Self-enquiry undisturbed.
Bhagavan could still see me from where he was sitting. Shortly
afterwards, I saw Muruganar taking a seat close to Bhagavan. After a
few minutes Muruganar came and sat down next to me. A few other
devotees came and sat near us. I closed my eyes and began meditation on
‘Who am I?’
Within a few minutes, the gracious smiling face of Bhagavan
appeared within me on the right side of the chest. There was something
like a lightning flash that resulted in a flood of divine light shining both
within and without. Bhagavan’s face was still smiling on the right side of
the chest. It seemed to be lit up with radiance that exceeded innumerable
lightning flashes rolled into one. The bliss and joy these experiences gave
brought tears to my eyes. Finally, the internal picture of Bhagavan
disappeared and the Self absorbed my whole being.
I remained in that state without body consciousness for about
three hours. The experience was so intense that even when I opened my
eyes I found myself incapable of either speaking or moving. I remained
where I was for another three hours because I was incapable of movement
of any kind. At about 9 p.m. I rose to my feet and very slowly made my
way back to my allotted place in the men’s dormitory of the Ashram.

Next day afternoon I went up to Sri Bhagavan, prostrated before
him and handed him a note via his attendant Venkataratnam. The note,
which I had written in Telugu said, “Bhagavan, in your presence and by
the quest [Who am I?] I have realised the Self.” He read the note, looked
at me for a moment, and then his face lit up in a radiant smile. For sometime
we looked at each other. Then he broke the silence by asking me where I
had come from. “Gudur”, I replied. “That is in Nellore district, isn’t it?”
Enquired Bhagavan. “Yes!” I answered. This was the only conversation
I ever had with Bhagavan. After giving him those two brief replies, I
didn’t speak again for another 13 years.

~ Face to Face with Sri Ramana Maharshi
p. 169

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The very fact that you are possessed of the quest for the Self is a manifestation of the divine grace.

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To the extent we behave with humility, to that extent good will result.

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HELPING OTHERS

Cast all claims, aspirations, desires to serve humanity and schemes to reform the world upon the Universal Power which sustains this universe. He is not a fool. He will do what is required. Lose the sense, 'I am doing this.' Get rid of egoism. ...

Have compassionate love for others but keep it secret; do not make a display of it or talk a out it. If your desires are fulfilled, do not be elated, and if you are frustrated, do not be disappointed. The elation may be deceptive; it should be checked, for initial joy may end in final grief. After all, whatever happens YOU remain unaffected, just as you are.

Q: But how can I help another with his problems?

M: What is this talk of another? there is only the One. Try to realize there is no 'I', no you, no he, only the ONE SELF which is all.If you believe in the problem of another, you are believing in something outside the Self. You will help him best by realizing the oneness of everything, rather than by outward activity.

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Correcting oneself is correcting the whole world. The Sun is simply bright. It does not correct anyone. Because it shines, the whole world is full of light. Transforming yourself is a means of giving light to the whole world.

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ALL VISIONS ARE MENTAL - REALITY IS ONE

Miss Umadevi, a Polish lady convert to Hinduism, asked Sri Bhagavan: I once before told Sri Bhagavan how I had a vision of Siva at about the time of my conversion to Hinduism. A similar experience recurred to me at Courtallam. These visions are momentary. But they are blissful. I want to know how they might be made permanent and continuous. Without Siva there is no life in what I see around me. I am so happy to think of Him. Please tell me how His vision may be everlasting to me.

M.: You speak of a vision of Siva. Vision is always of an object. That implies the existence of a subject. The value of the vision is the same as that of the seer. (That is to say, the nature of the vision is on the same plane as that of the seer.) Appearance implies disappearance also. Whatever appears must also disappear. A vision can never be eternal. But Siva is eternal The pratyaksha (vision) of Siva to the eye signifies the existence of the eyes to see; the buddhi (intellect) lying behind the sight; the seer behind the buddhi and the sight; and finally the Consciousness underlying the seer. This pratyaksha (vision) is not as real as one imagines it to be, because it is not intimate and inherent; it is not first-hand. It is the result of several successive phases of Consciousness. Of these, Consciousness alone does not vary. It is eternal. It is Siva. It is the Self.

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D.: The Gita was taught for action.

Maharshi.: What does the Gita say? Arjuna refused to fight. Krishna said, “So long as you refuse to fight, you have the sense of doership. Who are you to refrain or to act? Give up the notion of doership. Until that sense disappears you are bound to act. You are being manipulated by a Higher Power. You are admitting it by your own refusal to submit to it. Instead recognise the Power and submit as a tool. (Or to put it differently), if you refuse you will be forcibly drawn into it. Instead of being an unwilling worker, be a willing one.

“Rather, be fixed in the Self and act according to nature without the thought of doership. Then the results of action will not affect you. That is manliness and heroism.”

Thus, ‘inherence in the Self’ is the sum and substance of Gita teaching. Finally, the Master Himself added, “If a man be established in the Self these doubts would not arise. They arise only until he is established there.”

D.: Then of what use is such reply to the enquirer?

M.: The words still have force and will surely operate in due course.

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Do not suffer through chasing after the world and its ways, but attain peace by running along the straight path to the Heart.

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30th October 1945

Sri Dilip Kumar Roy of Sri Aurobindo Ashram this morning sang in the presence of Maharshi in the Hall and in the evening asked the following questions:
Dilip: Some people reported you to have said that there was no need for a guru. Others gave the opposite report. What does Maharshi say?
Bhagavan: I have never said that there is no need for a guru.

D: Sri Aurobindo and others refer to you as having had no guru.
Bhagavan: All depends on what you call guru. He need not be in a human form. Dattatreya had twenty-four gurus: the five elements – earth, water, etc., which means that every object in this world was his guru. Guru is absolutely necessary. The Upanishads say that none but a guru can take a man out of the jungle of intellect and sense- perceptions. So there must be a guru.

D: I mean a human guru – the Maharshi did not have one.

Bhagavan: I might have had one at one time or other. But did I not sing hymns to Arunachala? What is a guru? Guru is God or the Self. First a man prays to God to fulfill his desires. A time comes when he will no more pray for the fulfillment of material desires but for God Himself. God then appears to him in some form or other, human or non-human, to guide him to Himself in answer to his prayer and according to his needs.

- Guru Ramana

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* * * I am formless. * * *

One Raghavachari was an overseer at Tiruvannamalai from 1910 onwards. He had Bhagavan's darshan off and on but whenever he went, Bhagavan would be amidst a group of people and
so Raghavachari was reluctant to speak to Bhagavan Sri Ramana who was not alone.

Here is what happened once, in his own words:

One day, I went up with an intent to submit three questions or requests to Bhagavan Sri Ramana.

The questions were:
(i) Can you grant me a few minutes for a private personal talk-free from the presence of others?
(ii) I should like to have your opinion on the Theosophical society of which I am a member;
(iii) Will you please enable me to see your real form if I am eligible to see it?

When I went and prostrated (to Bhagavan Ramana) and sat,
there was a crowd of thirty persons,
but (on their own) they immediately dispersed.
So I was alone with him and my first query was thus answered
without my having to state it.
That struck me as noteworthy.

Then he asked me of his own accord
if the book in my hand was the Gita and
if I was a member of the T.S. and
remarked even before I attempted to answer his queries,
`It is doing good work.'
I answered his questions in the affirmative.

My second question also being thus anticipated,
I waited with an eager mind for the third answer.

After half an hour I said
`Just as Arjuna wished to see the form of Sri Krishna and
asked for darshan I wish to have a darshan of your real form,
if I am eligible.'

He was then seated on the pial with a picture of Dakshinamurthy painted on the wall next to him.
He silently gazed on as usual and I gazed into his eyes.
Then his body and also the picture of Dakshinamurthy disappeared from my view.
There was only empty space without even a wall, before my eyes.
Then a whitish cloud in the outline of the Maharshi and of Dakshinamurthy, formed before my eyes.

Gradually the outline (with silvery lines) of these figures appeared.
Then eyes, nose etc., and other details were outlined in lightning-like lines.
These gradually broadened till the whole figure of the Swami and Dakshinamurthy became ablaze with very strong and unendurable light.

I closed my eyes in consequence.
I waited a few minutes and
then saw him and Dakshinamurthy in the usual form.
I prostrated and came away.

For a month thereafter I did not dare go near him,
so great was the impression the above experience made on me.

After a month, I went up and saw him in front of Skandasramam.

I told him `I had put to you a question a month ago and I had this experience'
and narrated the above experience to him.
I requested him to explain it.

Then, after a pause he said
`You wanted to see my form.
You saw my disappearance.
I am formless.
So that experience might be the real truth.
The further visions may be according
to your own conceptions derived from the study of Bhagavad Gita.
But Ganapati Sastry had a similar experience and you may consult him.'

I did not in fact consult Sastri.

( Extracted from Narasimha Swami's Self)

~ Sri Ramana Leela, Chapter : 48

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MAYA IS THE REALITY

4th January 1937

A disciple remarks that Sri Bhagavan often says that Maya and Reality are the same. How can that be?

Bhagavan: Shankara was criticized for his views on Maya without understanding him. He said that

(1) Brahman is real,
(2) The universe is unreal, and
(3) Brahman is the universe.

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.

~ Guru Ramana

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The last words exchanged between Bhagavan Ramana Maharshi and Sri Annamalai Swamy form a very moving account of how a Guru attempts to break the discple's attachment to his form. Some excerpts:

"If one has no faith in God one will commit a lot of sins and be miserable. But you, you are a mature devotee. When the mind has attained maturity, in that mature state, if one thinks that one is separate from God, one will fall into the same state as an atheist who has no belief in God."

I left the ashram and never went back again, Although my room is only about 200 yards from the ashram gate, I have not visited the ashram once since that fateful day in the 1940's.

Though Bhagavan has asked me not to come to the ashram any more, I still thought that I had the freedom to talk to Him when He visited Palakottu. Bhagavan disabused me of this notion shortly afterwards, when I went to see Him while He was walking on the hill.

He turned to me and said, "You are happier than I. What you had to give, you have given. What I had to give I have given. Why are you still coming to me?"

These were His last words to me. I obeyed his instructions and never approached Him again.

Bhagavan had once told me: "Do not cling to the form of the Guru for this will perish; do not cling to His feet for His attendants will stop you. The true Bhagavan resides in your Heart as your true Self. This is who I truly am."

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DANGER OF PHILOSOPHY
10th April 1937

A highly learned visitor whose chief interest was man and his constitution, wanted Sri Bhagavan to explain from experience man’s various bodies, his koshas and their functions, his atma-buddhi-manas, etc.

Bhagavan: (after a brief explanation added) The intricate maze of philosophy of different schools claims to clarify matters and reveal the Truth, but in fact they create confusion where no confusion need exist.

To understand anything there needs to be the understanding Being. Why worry about his bodies, his ahankar, his buddhi, creation, God, Mahatmas, world – the not-Self – at all? Why not remain yourself and be in peace?

Take Vedanta, for instance: it speaks of the fifteen pranas, the names, and functions of which the student is asked to commit to memory. Will it not be sufficient if he is taught that only one prana does the whole work of maintaining life in the body? Again, the antahkarana is said to think, to desire, to will, to reason, etc. Why all these details?

Has anyone seen the antahkarana, or all these pranas? Do they really exist? They are all conceptual divisions invented by teachers of philosophy by their excessive analysis. Where do all these concepts end? Why should confusion be created and then explained away?

Fortunate is the man who does not lose himself in the labyrinths of philosophy, but goes straight to the Source from which they all rise.

- Guru Ramana

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R. Narayana Iyer did personal service to Sri Ramana. He wrote a number of articles in The Mountain Path under the pen name Vishnu. When he first went to Sri Ramana as a young man, he was a modernist and a freethinker.

In 1929, when employed as Sub-Registrar at Chetput, a town 30 miles from Tiruvannamalai, I was an out-and-out skeptic with no religion in me, scoffing in my references to sadhus, sannyasis and swamis, whom I considered impostors and parasites on society, who exploited the credulous folk for personal ends.

My only friend and constant companion was Dr. Ramakrishna Iyer, son of Lakshmi Ammal, a friend and playmate of Sri Bhagavan in his boyhood days at Tiruchuzhi.1 He was well acquainted with Bhagavan and an occasional visitor to the Ashram. He once asked me to accompany him to Tiruvannamalai during the festival of Karthikai Deepam.

The pomp and pageantry of the temple festival had no attraction for me, yet I agreed, not wishing to hurt my friend’s feelings. However, I requested him to let me stay with my parents, who had gone for the festival and were staying in the town. He agreed. But on seeing the number of persons huddled in a small house in the town, I consented to stay at the Ashram, which was less crowded. On the way, I repeated my opinion about the so-called holy men and said to Dr. Iyer, “I will not come in or join in any of your ‘foolish acts’. If by chance I meet your Swami, I will not prostrate before him. I mean no insult but I cannot do what is against my conviction.”

We walked in. A man in a white loincloth, a towel suspended on his shoulder, a kamandalu in one hand and a walking stick in another, stopped in his walk on seeing us. My friend hastened his steps and I slowly followed. He was greeted very kindly and was asked about the welfare of his mother and brother. Out of courtesy, I looked at the Maharshi. What a wonderful face and what a welcoming smile; bewitching, fascinating and a powerful look too!
In a moment I was at his feet on the gravel ground! I soon regained my self-possession and felt ashamed. With a pleasing smile, he said, “You have a couple of days’ leave, is it not so? You can stay in the Ashramam.”

I dared not say anything. I was dazed. Soon I recovered and wanted to find out if he had written any books. I got a copy of Reality in Forty Verses in Tamil. I tried to read the first stanza. I could not follow. The words seemed too closely packed and somehow jumbled together to form a stanza. I was flabbergasted. “What”, thought I, “can he not say what he has to say in some intelligible language?” Someone nearby said that it had been arranged that the Maharshi himself would explain to us the Forty Verses that night.

At night, the Maharshi sat on a dais inside a shed containing his mother’s samadhi. About half a dozen of us were seated on the ground before him. A solemn stillness pervaded the air. There was absolute silence. Maharshi read the first stanza. The mere reading of the stanza made the meaning as simple as simplicity itself! Stanza by stanza he read and explained in a voice that was so sweet and melodious and coming as though from ‘somewhere’. The climax came. Explaining one verse he said, “God cannot be seen with our eyes or known by our sense perceptions. This is what is meant by the saying: To see God is to become God.” A stalwart person with a severe expression named Dandapani Swami, interposed: “Is Bhagavan saying this out of personal experience?”

The question asked bluntly with such naivete was answered with equal candor: “Else would I dare to say so?” What takes so much time to think flashed upon me in a moment. God cannot be known by our sense faculties. The only way was to become God. If God were to appear before one in flesh and blood here He is. My body experienced a thrill from somewhere deep down in me. Again and again, thrill after thrill quivered and shook my frame. I went out to compose myself.

Well, I seemed caught in a net! The more I was with him; the more I wanted to be with him. But I was shortly transferred to Arni, another town within the same radius of thirty miles. Here I missed the company of the doctor friend. Losing all delight in all other things, I turned the monthly visits to the Ashram to weekly ones, coupling Sundays with other holidays. And I was always welcome at the Ashram.

Sri Bhagavan had his head shaved once a month on the full moon day. Natesan was the barber who used to do this service. Bhagavan sat on a stool and Natesan would stand and shave him. Once Sri Bhagavan suggested to Natesan in all seriousness that it would be more comfortable for the barber to sit on the stool while he himself would sit on the floor!

I used to translate from Tamil to English Bhagavan’s replies to letters received by him. I had made friends with the attendants, Madhavaswami, Satyanandaswami, Krishnaswami, Rangaswami, and others. They did not protest when I gradually introduced personal services to Sri Bhagavan, such as massaging his legs, fomentations, etc.

There were occasions when his muscles became rigid or painful. After his work like cutting vegetables and directing the task of the kitchen workers in the early hours of the morning, he would be on his couch in the hall sitting there or just reclining like a statue cut in alabaster or like one posing for a painter or sculptor. Sitting in this manner all day made his muscles hard and inflexible and so he required some massage. Thus, by slow degrees, a sort of familiarity and intimacy grew up between Bhagavan and me.

Once I asked, “Bhagavan, you left your home in Madurai where your relatives had been treating you with love and kindness and spending money upon your education. You misappropriated their money for your train fare to Tiruvannamalai. You sneaked your way to the railway station so as not to be noticed by anyone. You posed yourself as a pilgrim who had lost his kit. Was all this straightforward and proper?” He was silent for a while and then replied, “This can be explained. It is said in the Kural3 that even falsehood is akin to truth when it is unblemished good and harms none.”

I once told Bhagavan, “I have been here for many years. People meditate and get into samadhi. I close my eyes for a minute and the mind travels around the world ten times and so many long-forgotten things come up.” Upon this, he said, “Why do you concern yourself about others? They may meditate or sleep and snore. Look to yourself. Whenever the mind goes astray bring it back to the quest.”

Once a few very learned Sanskrit scholars were seated in the hall discussing portions of the Upanishads and other scriptural texts with Bhagavan. I felt in my heart, how great these people are and how fortunate they are to be so learned and to have such deep understanding and ability to discuss with our Bhagavan. I felt miserable. After the pandits had taken leave, Bhagavan turned to me and said, “What?” looking into my eyes and studying my thoughts, “This is only the husk! All this book learning and capacity to repeat the scriptures by memory is absolutely of no use. To know the Truth, you need not undergo all this torture of learning. Not by reading do you get the Truth. Be Quiet that is Truth. Be Still, that is God.”

Then very graciously he turned to me again, and there was an immediate change in his tone and attitude. He asked, “Do you shave yourself?”

Bewildered by this sudden change, I answered trembling that I did. “Ah”, he said, “For shaving, you use a mirror, don’t you? You look into the mirror and then shave your face; you don’t shave the image in the mirror. Similarly, all the scriptures are meant only to show you the way of Realization. They are meant for practice and attainment. Mere book learning and discussions are comparable to a man shaving the image in the mirror.” From that day onwards my long-standing sense of inferiority vanished once for all.

Once I cried and told the Maharshi that I knew nothing about Vedanta nor could I practice austerity, being a householder. I prayed to him to help me by showing the Reality or the way to it. I also frankly told him that his method of Self-enquiry was too hard for me. He then graciously said, “You know Ulladu Narpadu [Truth in Forty Verses]. It imparts Pure Truth, deals with it and explains it. Go on reading it verse by verse. The words of the verses will in course of time vanish and Pure Truth (sat) alone will shine, like the snake relinquishing its skin and coming out shining.”

One day I felt puzzled by the teaching that everything in the world is maya or illusion. I asked Bhagavan how with the physical existence before our eyes we can all be unreal and non-existent? Bhagavan laughed and asked me whether I had any dream the previous night. I replied that I saw several people lying asleep. He said, “Suppose now I ask you to go and wake up all those people in the dream and tell them they are not real, how absurd would it be! That is how it is to me. There is nothing but the dreamer, so where does the question of dream people, real or unreal, arise; still more of waking them up and telling them that they are not real. We are all unreal, why do you doubt it? That alone is real.” After this explanation, I never had any doubt about the unreality of the objective world.

About the jivanmukta, Bhagavan said, “The jivanmukta is one without any thoughts or sankalpas. The thought process ceases completely in him. Some Power makes him do things. So he is not the doer but the one who is made to do.”

Bhagavan’s compassion has graced my life many times – On the day my wife died, it rained in torrents. I was afraid that the cremation would be delayed. Bhagavan sent some Ashram workers to help me. When Bhagavan was told that the rain was too heavy for the funeral, he said, “Go on with it, never mind the rain.” When the body was taken to the cremation ground, the rain stopped, and after the body was burnt to white ashes, it started raining again.

In 1942, I wanted to get my daughter married. I had a suitable boy in mind but he raised some objections. Anxiously, I showed his letter to Bhagavan, who said, “Don’t worry, it will come off.” Soon afterwards the boy himself came and the marriage was celebrated.

It is our greatest fortune that the Supreme Consciousness appearing in the garb of a human body graciously undertook to come down to our level of understanding and bore the tremendous task of imparting to us the atma vidya. The contact and impact that I have had with Bhagavan have been such as to make me feel that knowingly or unknowingly I must have done something in the course of my lives to deserve this unique blessing.

- Face to Face

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Disparaging a Jnani
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Sri Bhagavan warned the hearers against the mistake of disparaging a Jnani for his apparent conduct and cited the story of Parikshit, the son of Abhimanyu and Uttara (story in the Mahabharath). He was a still born child. The ladies cried and appealed to Sri Krishna to save the child. The Sages round about wondered how Krishna was going to save the child from the effect of the arrow (apandavastra - to destroy the Panadava dynasty) of Ashwattama.

Sri Krishna said, “If the child be touched by one eternally celibate (nityabrahmachari) the child would be brought to life.” None of the Sages present dared to come forward. Even Suka (a celibate, son of Sage Vyasa) dared not touch the child.

Finding no one among the reputed saints bold enough to touch the child, Sri Krishna touched it, saying, “If I am eternally celibate may the child be brought to life.” The child began to breathe and later grew up to be Parakshit.

Just consider how Sri Krishna surrounded by gopis (girls who tend cows) is a brahmachari! Such is the mystery of Jivanmukti! A Jivanmukta is one who does not see anything separate from the Self.

- Bhagavan, Talk 449

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BHAGAVAN DISCUSSES AUROBINDO WITH SWAMI MADHAVATHIRTA

Sri Aurobindo believes that the human body is not the last on this earth. Establishment in the Self, according to him, is not perfectly attained in a human body, for Self-knowledge does not operate there in its natural way. Therefore the vijnanamaya sarira [the body made of pure knowledge] in which Self-knowledge can work naturally must be brought down on this earth.
M: Self-knowledge can shine very well in the human body, so there is no need of any other body.

Q: Sri Aurobindo believes that the vijnanamaya sarira will not be attacked by disease, will not grow old, and will not die without one’s desire.

M: The body itself is a disease. To wish for a long stay of that disease is not the aim of the jnani. Anyhow, one has to give up identification with the body. Just as the I-am-the-body consciousness prevents one from attaining Self-knowledge, in the same way, one who has got the conviction that he is not the body will become liberated even if he doesn’t desire it.

Q: Sri Aurobindo wants to bring the power of God into the human body.

M: If, after surrendering, one still has this desire, then surrender has not been successful. If one has the attitude, ‘If the higher power is to come down, it must come into my body’, this will only increase identification with the body. Truly speaking, there is no need of any such descent. After the destruction of the I-am-the-body idea, the individual becomes the form of the absolute. In that state, there is no above or below, front or back.

Q: If the individual becomes the form of the absolute, then who will enjoy the bliss of the absolute? To enjoy the bliss of the absolute, we must be slightly separate from it, like the fly that tastes sugar from a little distance.

M: The bliss of the absolute is the bliss of one’s own nature. It is not born, nor has it been created. Pleasure that is created is destroyed. Sugar, being insentient, cannot taste itself. The fly has to keep a little distance to taste it. But the absolute is awareness and consciousness. It can give its own bliss, but its nature cannot be understood without attaining that state.

Q: Sri Aurobindo wants to bring down to earth a new divine race.
M: Whatever is to be attained in the future is to be understood as impermanent. Learn to understand properly what you have now so that there will be no need of thinking about the future.

Q: Sri Aurobindo says that God has created various kinds of worlds and is still going to create a new world.

M: Our present world is not real. Each one sees a different imaginary world according to his imagination, so where is the guarantee that the new world will be real? The jiva [the individual person], the world and God, all of these are relative ideas. So long as there is the individual sense of ‘I’, these three are also there.
From this individual sense of ‘I’, from the mind, these three have arisen.

If you stop the mind, the three will not remain, but Brahman alone will remain, as it remains and abides even now. We see things because of an error. This misperception will be rectified by enquiring into the real nature of this jiva. Even if this jiva enters Supermind, it will remain in the mind, but after surrendering the mind, there will be nothing left but Brahman. Whether this world is real or unreal, consciousness or inert, a place of happiness or a place of misery, all these states arise in the state of ignorance. They are not useful after realization.

The state of Atmanishta [being fixed in the Self], devoid of the individual feeling of ‘I’, is the supreme state. In this state, there is no room for thinking of objects, nor this feeling of individual being. There is no doubt of any kind in this natural state of being-consciousness-bliss.

So long as there is the perception of name and form in oneself, God will appear with form, but when the vision of the formless reality is achieved there will be no modifications of seer, seeing and seen. That vision is the nature of consciousness itself, non-dual and undivided. It is limitless, infinite and perfect.

When the individual sense of ‘I’ arises in the body, the world is seen. If this sense is absent, who then will see the world?

- The Power of the Presence

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The mind is by nature restless.
Begin liberating it from its restlessness;
give it peace;
make it free from distractions;
train it to look inward;
make this a habit.

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Muruganar (C.K.Subramania Iyer) (1893-1973), an outstanding devotee of Sri Ramana and a great poet, composed thousands of poems praising Sri Ramana, or recording his teachings, or expressing gratitude to him for having established him in the Self. His poems are an ocean of devotion and veneration for the Maharshi. Muruganar was a well-respected Tamil scholar before visiting Sri Ramana. His father-in-law Dandapani Swami, an ardent devotee of Sri Ramana, once gave him a copy of Aksharamanamalai,1 a reading of which prompted him to go to Tiruvannamalai in 1923. He immediately recognized that the Maharshi was the Guru he had been actively seeking. He has described his visit and the background that led up to it in his poetical compositions translated below:

I heard from devotees who have redeemed themselves by the grace of one at Tiruvannamalai, who is the embodiment of true jnana and who shines as the flame of true tapas... Hearing them I was lost in admiration and unceasing joy... Like one suffering from thirst comes across a Ganges of cold water, I went to Ramana Maharshi with eleven verses and met the ocean of mauna, the bestower of jnana...On seeing him my mind dissolved in the same way as wax melts on encountering fire. The hair on my body stood on end. Devotion surged in me like an ocean that has seen the full moon.
I read the eleven verses with an unsteady and quivering voice. At that very moment, he graciously looked at me with his lotus eyes. From that day on, the praises given out by my impartial tongue belonged only to him...

From the way he bestowed his grace becoming my Lord and Master, I was completely convinced that he was Siva himself. As my new ‘owner’ he made my ‘I’ and ‘mine’ his own.

In the succeeding months, I came to visit him on many occasions. I was gradually influenced by him and my outlook on life was getting altered. Sometime after my mother’s death, I left my job in 1926 and came to Tiruvannamalai, making it my permanent residence.

The following extracts are from Muruganar’s Sri Ramana Anubhuti first published in 1948, more than twenty years after he had the experiences described below:

I was a learned fool. My flawed mind knew nothing till I came to dwell with him whose glance filled my heart with the light of awareness. I entered into union with the deathless state of knowledge of the Reality.

As the deadly delusion of a body-bound ego faded, a flower of pure light unfolded at his holy feet. That radiance grew ever brighter with my love until I realized the flawless knowledge of the Self, manifesting as the unbroken awareness ‘I-I’ within my heart.

I was wandering deluded in the mind’s labyrinth of dreams, rushing hither and thither, desiring one thing then another until the joy of union with the Lord welled up within me. My body merged into the infinite light of divine wisdom and my heart was filled with deep inner tranquility.

He is the teacher of the eternal law through whose glance the truth unfolded, filling my heart with the dazzling radiance of blissful consummate grace so that the body, ego, and intellect were all no more. I became merged in the divine silence, which is abiding knowledge of Lord Siva.

A noble lion, he fixed the victorious gaze of true knowledge upon the rutting elephant of my ego, which was drunk with self-conceit, filling me with the sweet nectar of union with Lord Siva, so that the inner experience of divine wisdom became my whole existence.

My poor helpless mind was swept along in the swirling torrent of objective phenomena until my Lord guided my deluded understanding into the broad calm of his holy silence so that the light of his majesty shined in my heart.
I read the scriptures but my mind could not grasp their meaning. It was only through the gracious intervention of my wise teacher and Master, working inwardly, that his own state of unbroken meditation became permanent within me and my heart was penetrated and held in Reality’s eternal grasp.
Languishing in the slough of my soul’s defilement, I knew not a single moment of clear understanding until my Lord revealed to me myself as Brahman. Transporting me into a realm of pure bliss, the vision of the authentic Self expanded within my heart and I attained the state of grace whose essence is love.

I, poor sinner, gripped by the bonds of excessive desire, I was deluded by my ruinous attachment to the pleasures of the senses. But when he conferred upon me the bliss of his true knowledge, all delusion was dispelled. Dwelling thus as one with Sri Ramana is nothing less than union with Lord Siva.
Setting me on the straight path of true knowledge he led me to the glorious goal of union with him in the one-pointed state of holy silence. My heart’s gracious jewel, true wisdom’s sun, he dissipated the dark clouds of the senses’ illusory world.

And now within my heart full of joy I made for him a home I can receive no other. Only he remains, the Supreme Self, manifesting as consciousness, pure light, empty and yet replete.

Gaining a new life, I spent it singing praises to the lofty truth of his glorious name, albeit in feeble words of little worth. But my Lord did not deem my hymns unworthy. Embracing me in the outpouring of his affection, with more than mother’s love, he banished my deadly delusion and made me his servant.

Beneath my Guru’s gaze, my heart was emptied of guile so that the false understanding that has usurped my heart disappeared completely, and there, in the silence of his holy feet, the pure ocean of the Self swept me into the deep bliss of the absolute Godhead.

Surrounded by desires that led me astray, my heart was hardened and my understanding was tricked by the illusion of a personal self. Hail to the Lord who through his love refreshed my heart, banishing my deluded attachment to land ownership, wealth and women.

In the late 1920s, Muruganar recorded the teachings of Sri Ramana in 1,254 Tamil verses. The Maharshi himself went through them, making innumerable changes and corrections, and also composed 28 new verses which were added at appropriate places in the text. These were published as Guruvachaka-Kovai (A collection of the Guru’s sayings). Sri Ramana Sannidhi Murai of 1851 verses gives further details of the circumstances that brought Muruganar to Sri Ramana and the later events. A few extracts from the latter collection are:

The Supreme Being Siva abides as the real nature of one’s own Self. It cannot be reached by those indulging in fallacious arguments. Tolerating my immature conduct and treating me as if I have attained freedom from impurities, [Siva] considered admitting me to the group of his companions.

He became the incomparable sage at Arunachala, which is praised even by the gods. Like the worm that becomes a wasp on being stung by a wasp, through his mere presence and glance my ‘I’ and ‘mine’ were destroyed. Seeing me as his own Self, he enabled me to experience Myself as enduring, pure being consciousness. With my body and mind absent, I became full of Self. This is how he bestowed his grace on this pitiable one.

You are the unmoving one; you are the compassionate one; you are the skillful Lord of true knowledge. To poor me, who was totally lost by not seeking consciousness, you are like the store laid down to be used in times of adversity. You are the god who saved me from the mouth of the crocodile, my past karma.

Human beings wallow in samsara regarding themselves as forms, without realizing the rarity of the grace-embodied form of the sadguru.
Through this form, he has manifested to destroy the mass of their dark vasanas. Those who are under the spell of the ‘I am the body’ delusion, through their simple-minded view, which is prompted by ignorance, extend the same notion [‘he is a body’] to the sadguru.

The Lord of Arunachala, which is solidified consciousness, is Ramana, a delight to my mind. It is difficult to say whether he has a form or is formless, whether he is masculine, feminine or neuter, one or many, atomic or cosmic, Self or non-Self, joy or misery. So it is extremely difficult to define his nature, his actions, his ways, and their propriety. In essence, Ramana’s real nature defies definition.

- Face to Face

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THE PATH OF LOVE (Letter 179)
This morning a Tamil youth approached Bhagavan and asked, “Swami, it is good to love God, is it not? Then why not follow the path of Love?”
“Who said you couldn’t follow it? You can do so. But when you talk of love, there is duality, is there not — the person who loves and the entity called God who is loved? The individual is not separate from God. Hence love means one has love towards one’s own Self. For this, i.e., loving one’s own Self, examples have been given in the 'Vasudevan Mananam', stage by stage. Man loves money most; but he loves his son more than money; his own body more than the son; his indriyas (the organs of the body) more than the body; the eye most among the organs; life more than the eye; and the self (atma) more than life. This is exemplified thus: If the son does something untoward and the government decides to punish him for it, the parents offer money and even bribes to set him free. Hence the love towards the son is more than money. If, however, the government does not accept money but say that they will let off the son if the father agrees to undergo the punishment himself instead, then the father will say, ‘Do whatever you like with the boy; I have nothing to do with him’. Hence the father loves his own body more than his son. If a man does something for which the powers that be say that his eyes must be plucked out, he tries to save his eyes by agreeing to bodily torture; so bodily torture is preferred to loss of an organ. If, however, they decide to take his life by beheading him, he would be prepared to lose his eyes or any other organ rather than lose his life; so life (prana) is loved more than the organs. In the same manner, a person who desires to have Atma-Anandam (bliss of the Self) would be prepared to lose his life even, if necessary; so the Self is loved more than life. Hence the idea of a person in loving God, is only with a view to being happy himself. He is, however, the embodiment of happiness and that happiness is God. Who else is to be loved? Love itself is God,” said Bhagavan.
“That is why I am asking you whether God could be worshipped through the path of love?” said the questioner.
“That is exactly what I have been saying. Love itself is the actual form of God. If by saying, ‘I do not love this; I do not love that’, you reject all things, that which remains is Swarupa, i.e., the innate Self. That is pure bliss. Call it pure bliss, God, atma or what you will. That is devotion; that is realization and that is everything,” said Bhagavan.
“The meaning of what you say now is that we should reject all outside things which are bad, and also all those which are good, and love God alone. Is it possible for anyone to reject everything, saying this is no good, that is no good, unless one experiences them?” said some other.
“That is true. To reject the bad, you must love the good. In due course that good also will appear to be an obstacle and will be rejected. Hence, you must necessarily first love what is good. That means you must first love and then reject the thing you love. If you thus reject everything, what remains is the Self alone. That is real love. One who knows the secret of that love finds the world itself full of universal love,” said Bhagavan and resumed silence.

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One day, while going up the Hill, Bhagavan referred to the misunderstanding between two prominent devotees and wanted me to convey to them the following message: “Whoever condemns us is our friend. For he condemns only our body, which is our enemy. The enemy’s enemy is the best friend. We should really beware of those who praise us.” The next morning, I met the two devotees to convey Bhagavan’s message. Even before I opened my mouth, they both expressed their eagerness to make up their quarrel.

- Prof Subbaramayya, Face to Face

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Devotion to Guru
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If Siva (God) is angry, the Guru will protect you, but if the Guru is angry, no one can save you. Therefore with all your efforts take refuge in Him.

Even Gods and Sages can not save one who has been cursed by the Guru. Such a wretch soon perishes, without the least shadow of doubt.

- Sri Guru Gita, v. 79 and 106

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If the longing is there, realization will be forced on you even if you do not want it. Long for it intensely so that the mind melts in devotion. After camphor burns away no residue is left. The mind is the camphor. When it has resolved itself into the Self without leaving even the slightest trace behind, it is realization of the Self.

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