Thursday, October 19, 2006

More on Sri Matha

A kind reader sends us more details on the life of Sri Bhagavan. We discover, to our joy, a great devotee of Bhagavan Ramana Maharshi .

"Always nurture divine thoughts, obliterate likes and dislikes and passions, and surrender to the Guru"
From the biography of Sri Matha...

[Sri Matha was a Bhakta-Jnani, an incarnation who, according to the biography, Ramana considered a born Jnani and to whom he was just the Causal (Karana) Guru. Her enlightenment experience confirms Ramana's description and includes realization of the One, Universal, Transcendental Self as Heart-Light and Amrita Nadi as a "pillar of light", rising up to the sahasrara and above, as described by Ramana. It is noteworthy according to this biography that Sri Yatindra, who spent much time with Ramana early on, and whose questions which Ramana answered formed the basis of Chapter 18 of Ramana Gita, had wandered all over India and considered Sri Matha as one with great attainment, unequalled in Guru Bhakti. At the age of eight, she heard an old pious man speak of the Supreme Lord, and "enquired as to who God was and where he could be found". She was initiated into a mantra and within a few days was regularly visited with a divine vision of Lord Krishna from the nearby temple. Even as a child, she exhibited all the characteristics prerequisite for a successful sadhana, being peaceful, humble and having faith in God, desiring the life of a sadhu. Although having no physical guru before she met Ramana, she was served through grace in finding a husband who supported her spiritual endeavor, and through her spontaneous meditations and pujuas, and devotion to Sri Subrahymanya, who appeared to her and guided her in subtle form and in the guise of wandering ascetics who came to her. After one visit, she began to spend the night not in a sleep of ignorance but " a state of awakening, with glorious revelations of the manifold aspects of the Supreme Self. "...Once while meditating on the all-pervasive nature of the Creator, she saw a dried up plant, with no life in it. A voice was heard: "My ommipresent and all pervasive nature in the cosmos is like this." With these words, a jyoti in the form of a ray of lightning flashed into the dried up stem of the plant. In an instant [the plant] was full of fresh green and tender leaves radiant with life..." A whole night, she enjoyed the Eternal Dance of Sri Krishna and Radha. "...Sri Matha always says that the dance of Sri Krishna with Radha should not be looked upon in the earthly sense of the term. It symbolizes the merger of the purified Jivatma (individual soul) with Paramatma (The Universal Self)..."One day, Sri Subrahymanya appeared as an ascetic at her door and told her he was giving her guruhood (preceptorship) on a par with his. She asked him for a physical guru; "...however wonderful and marvelous our spiritual achievments may be, it is possible that before obtaining real perfection, we may be under a sort of hallucination and believe that Real Wisdom has dawned upon us, while we may actually be for from it..." and was told: "...Am I not your Guru? Anyhow, if that be your wish, there is a Mahatma by name Sri Ramana Maharshi in Tiruvannamalai. You may go and have his darshan..."

[October 1936] "...It was said that without the guidance of a Guru an aspirant could fall into mental disorder, and Bhagawan, who was God to her, was reported to have said that he was not a Guru and had no disciples...Probably in response to her thoughts, Bhagawan suddenly got up from the couch and went out of the hall, contrary to his daily routine. Considering this a gesture of the Grace of the Lord, Sri Matha also went out....Soon, she saw Bhagawan coming from the side of the cattle shed with an attendant and her heart throbbed with joy. In an instant, she lay prostrate at the Holy Feet of Bhagawan in obeisance, with tears of joy trickling down her cheeks. The attendant ordered her roughly to get up and not obstruct Bhagawan's path. Riled by this remark, Bhagawan told him curtly to stand aside. Mathaji quickly pour out her heart before him, telling him of her spiritual experiences and beseeching him for protection and removal of the obstacles in her quest for Liberation. She mentioned also her fear of becoming deranged through having no Guru to guide her on her quest. Bhagawan, whose compassion is infinite, replied: "Who told you that you have no Guru? Don't get disheartened. I am here as your Guru; nothing will upset your mind..."

[11th December 1937] "...While keeping wide awake, Sri Matha had a glorious vision of Lord Krisha, dazzling her eyes and pervading all things in the universe, animate and inanimate...The Holy Spirit of the Universal Lord was vibrating its unbounded radiance to her in an endless fashion...The grace of Bhagawan was flowing in its entirety toward her...The whole of the next day she saw the eternal dance of the Lord Krishna on the Kaliya, in her heart...According to Sri Matha the hideous hoods of the Snake King Kaliya represent egotism, lying dormant in the physical body, prarabdha karma, and birth and death...So an aspirant should, by all efforts at his command, strive to acquire the means for self-realization rather than aim at realization itself, which comes spontaneously when the means are acquired..."

"...[October 12, 1937, at about 11 p.m.] Sri Matha felt what seemed to her like a powerful explosion on the back of her head. She leapt up from bed, unable to bear the strain. There was a flare-up throughout the spinal cord from the muladahara right up to the sahasrara in the lightning all along the sushumna...It even tried to burst open the top of her skull and she had the impression that the force was trying to escape into the ether beyond...[After 26 days of ordeal she went to see Ramana]...Even before Sri Matha informed Bhagawan of her experience, in a mellifluent voice, Bhagawan spoke to her about a similar experience He had in his early [pre-enlightenment] days: "Look here. Don't get frightened. One day while I was lying in bed in Tiruchuli I felt as if I were being bombed from inside at the back of my head"..."

"...[11 January 1938]...Maha Maya appeared before Her, opened a window and pointing to the open expanse outside said "Look at the Void. For a week from now on I will keep myself away from you". This, according to Sri Matha, implied that Saguna Parashakti became one with Sir Matha in Nirguna (Formlessness)..."
(12th January 1938) [Sri Matha's Moment of Realization] "...In a few seconds she [Sri Matha] was drowned in meditation. Right from her feet, her limbs became rigid gradually and soon there was no sign of life in the body up to the stomach. She also could not stretch out her hands, With the torpidity slowly gaining ground, Sri Matha thought that she was nearing her end and that he life would soon be extinct. But as she was ever ready to shuffle off her physical body, there was no fear of death. Her mind withdrew itself from all thoughts of objectivity and was beholding Bhagawan Sri Ramana in her heart.

She could see the whole of her inside in an X-rayed fashion. Sri Krisha with his captivating looks was sitting in her sahasara padma (centre of illumination) as the 16 year old Shyama Sundara, shedding the radiance of divine beauty. With a wink of his eyes, he glanced invitingly at the muladhara nodding his head. Next moment, his glorious form slipped into the void; some mysterious power hurried down to the hridaya (heart, seat of consciousness) and at the same time, kundalini sakthi from muladhara rushed up in one jump with a banging noise, tearing open as it were, the confronting obstructions. All knots were untied and they met each other at the anahatha (the heart), lost their individualities and with the way made clear by knocking open the door in the cavity of the heart, there was a grand confluence in the form of a Blazing Pillar of Light (Transcendental Limitless Self), which made haste to the sahasrara. To put in a nutshell, the subtle dynamic force, representing sakthi lying dormant in the umbilical region which has thus been aroused, ascended up and the Paramatma (The Supreme Self) came forward to welcome and embrace it. It was the merging of the jivatma (finite soul) with the Paramatma (Universal Self). The Formless Eternal Blissful Self danced in the sahasrara. It was Existence-Consciousness-Bliss. By the limitless grace of Bhagawan Sir Ramana, Sri Matha became a Jivanmukta (a liberated soul will living in the body) even before she completed thirty two years of age. The highest knowledge had dawned upon her..."

"...[17th January 1938, right after enlightenment] In the final stage, all the diverse manifestations sank into the Void and there was the Transcendental Self shining with a fascinating brilliant radiance. It was the Sun of Knowledge, Bliss of the Atman, Supreme Self, Atma Jyoti and Sri Matha has been and is in constant awareness of Her identity with the Atma since then. Just as the flame of wick mixes with a blazing fire, just as a tumbler of water mixes with an infinite mass of water, Sri Matha merged into the Paramatma as one with it without any distinction..."

[Now what did Ramana have to say of all this...?]

"...She stepped into Ramanashram at 5-30 a.m. on 17th January, 1938, knelt at the feet of Bhagawan in obeisance and stood aside deferentially. Bhagawan, that dazzling Son of Jnana (Knowledge of the Absolute) cited the famous quotation from the Gita: ["Real Wisdom dawns on an aspirant after millions of births. Then realizing everything as permeated by Me, he surrenders to Me. Extremely rare is such a lofty soul to be found"]. He dwelt at length on the glorious nature of the Transcendental Self with Sri Matha was sporting at that moment...[later]...pointing at her, Bhagawan put a question and answered it himself: "Where is Vaikuntam (the abode of Vishnu)? The mind that draws no distinction between it and the Univeral Self is Vaikuntam. It is just here...[later Ramana said]..."Let This [referring to Sri Matha] sit here"...[later (19th January, 1938) Ramana said]..."Can one get this for the mere asking of it? It seeks after the heart where it wants to shine. This is a sequel to your last birth's attainment, I am just a Karana Guru (Causal Guru) to you."
[19 January 1938, when Sri Matha asked Ramana about becoming a renunciate] "Did I ask you to become a Sanyasini? Look at me: I have not taken sanyas and do not wear the ochre cloth. You have only one family, but I have to shoulder the burden of all these devotees and their families." It dawned on her then that rununciation must be in the heart and that inner purity is more important than outer renunciation..."

"...Though Bhagawan was sitting motionless, Sri Matha saw in him Shiva dancing in rapturous joy. Simultaneously Sakthi inside her joined him in the cosmic dance. It was the reveling of the Jivatma in the union of Paramatma..."

"Lord Krishna had revealed to here earlier how all things in the world, sentient and non-sentient, were permeated by him. Now he stood in her heart and said: "The whole world is a manifestation of Audi Sesha (on whose head he was standing)" He took her through hills and dales, dense forests and deep oceans and made them rotate around Him at jet speed and declared: "I am the indweller in all objects. The whole universe spins around me." His form was then drowned in the transcendental self. Sri Matha saw the whole universe in her head, and in each and every thing that consitute the universe, she saw her own self..."

When she left, Ramana said: "You doctors [her husband was a doctor] say that the heart is at the left side of the chest. Buth the whole body is the heart for yogis; Jnanis have their hearts both within and without. [Looking at Sri Matha] I am always with you."

"...Sri Matha wrote to Bhagawan about her ignorance of mantras, Sri Vidya, etc. Promptly came the reply: "When you are the source from which all the mantras have sprung up, where is the need for mantras?"

When devotees began to pour in, Sri Matha went to Sri Ramanashram, taking a few of them with Her. Passing through the gate, She saw Bhagawan coming down the sacred hill of Aruanchala, with some attendants. On seeing her Bhagawan exclaimed: "Here she is! Just now I was talking about you." Sri Matha was glad that Bhagawan had a loving remembrance of her.

Sri Matha: "All these people seek me as their guru. But I can not be indifferent to pleasure and pain, distress and delight like Bhagawan. I can rest contented only if those around me are happy and well. I shudder to think of their sufferings and miseries, as my heart starts sweltering under their heat. Moreover, I had never wished to be a Guru. I would request Bhagawan in all humility to kindly accept these devotees and Bhagawan's disciples."

Bhagawan: "When you are above likes and dislikes, desires and aversions, let things take their own shape. To the extent they believe in you, they will reap. I will protect those who, with full faith, put their trust in you."

"...Sri Matha maintains that mukti is not the result of karma (action and fruits), it can neither be bestowed on others nor can it be received from an external agency. The moment mind gets disentangled from the fetters of desires, worldly pleasures and wants, and seats itself steadfastly in the region of Eternal Peace, it gets lost in the Infinite and that is mukthi...To the few who have no option but mukthi, she preaches: " Always nurture divine thoughts, obliterate likes and dislikes and passions, and surrender to the Guru"..."

Sri Matha: "It is said that one has to work out, at all costs, his prarabdha in this world and that there can be no escape from it. Every disciple coming to me will have a weighty load of karma. Is it not possible to escape from the jaws of prarabdha by bhakthi?"

Ramana: "If there is so much bhakthi, it is possible."

"...With full faith in Bhagawan's words, Sri Matha postulates that the grace of the Satguru mitigates the potential force of the prarabdha. The Guru filters the major part of the disciples prarabdha by taking upon himself the full force of it and allowing them to experience and exhaust only traces of it. However, prarabdha has to be worked out by everyone during his lifetime, for every action has its own reaction...But the Guru's grace goes a long way in curtailing the aggressiveness of the vindictive force, ameliorates the punitive effects and protects the devotees from major calamaties..."

Sri Matha on liberation at death: "...Concentrate your thoughts on the Personal God you like most. You will abide in him the moment you leave your body...[For those drawn to her] "Meditate on Him [Ramana] in your heart. He will take you into his fold..."Imagine your body as a room and my heart as another just in front. At the last momement, come rushing to this room (my heart) [with as much joy and cheer as you did in life]..."

Sri Matha on Ramana: "...Behind every incarnation of God, there was a definite purpose. Each of them was for fulfilment of a particular objective. The recent incarnation of Bhagawan Sri Ramana was to establish the Dhyana Marga (The Path of Meditation) on this earth. This is not something new, but forms a part of Jnana Vasishta which is nothing but the upadesa of Sage Vasishta to Sri Rama....Such is the greatness and glory of the guru that even in the world of Gods, each manifestation mutually respects each other as its guru. Such a universal guru is Bhagawan..."

Ramanashram's Sarvadhikari on Sri Matha: "...Though big rivers are an asset to the country and account for its prosperity and fertility, it is indeed the tiny streams and brooks that go to irrigate the fields and give us crops. In the same way, Bhagawan is a perennial river and what is needed is streams and rivulets like Sri Matha, through which alone grace can flow and reach the scorched earth and needy millions..."

Her (deceased) Husband on Sri Matha in his last days: "...I have studied you for the past 36 years of my life. Your mercy and compassion are unparalleled and your readiness to grant boons and dispense divine blessings is something unheard of..."

Please also see Sri Mata