Monday, February 26, 2007

I am not the body

The meditation "I am not the body, or the mind. I am the Self" is a great aid for as long as one is not able to do self-enquiry properly or constantly.

Bhagavan said, "Keeping the mind in the Heart is self-enquiry". If you cannot do this by asking "Who am I?" or by taking the "I"-thought back to its source, then meditation on the awareness "I am the all-pervasive Self" is a great aid.

Bhagavan often said that we should read and study the Ribhu Gita regularly. In the Ribhu Gita it is said, 'That bhavana (attitude) "I am not the body, I am not the mind, I am Brahman, I am everything" is to be repeated again and again until this becomes the natural state.'

It is true that He said that these repetitions are only an aid to self-enquiry, but they are a very powerful aid.

By practicing this way the mind becomes more and more attuned with reality. When the mind has become purified by this practice it is easier to take it back to its source and keep it there. When one is able to abide in the Seif directly, one doesn't need aids like this. But if it is not possible, these practices can definitely help one.
(Photo of Bhagavan and AS)

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Sunday, February 25, 2007

Cause of suffering (cont'd)

Those who do not know through Self-enquiry what is the truth of their natural state (Self) mistake the alien body to be "I" and see the world as different from themselves and hence suffer in delusion.

All other things except that ("I"), which shines as the one undeluded Existence-Consciousness-Bliss, are seen on account of the deceitful play of Maya.

-- (GVK 430)

Do not make any real and firm effort to annihilate the feeling "I am the body" (the ego). Know that the ego, "I am the body", is the sole cause of all samsara-dukkha (miseries of life)
-- (GVK 846)

Cause of suffering

It is only due to the delusion which is caused by not learning the Truth of the Self that jivas are suffering. Therefore, always take to the practice of Jnana -- the inward enquiry "Who am I that is suffering?"
-- (GVK 405)

Friday, February 23, 2007

Dream and waking state

There is not even a trace of difference between the dream state and the waking state. The dream state happens merely to prove the unreality of the world which we see in the waking state. This is one of the operation's of God's grace.
-- Sri Bhagavan

Making the mind steady

One devotee asked: What method should I use to make my mind steady and firm?

Bhagavan told him, "It is sufficient to think only of one thing. If the mind does not obey, again start thinking of only one thing. In the course of time the mind will obey your orders."

Thursday, February 22, 2007

Bhagavan is your true Self

(Photo of Sri Annamalai Swamy, 1906-1995)
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.
As told by Bhagavan to Sri Annamalai Swamy (more)

Following his departure from Sri Ramanasramam, Annanamalai took up a quiet, austere life in his own hut in Palakottu (Palakothu), an area that borders the western boundry adjacent to his master's home. He would occasionally meet the Maharshi on his walks, but never again in the fifty years that followed did he reenter Sri Ramanasramam nor engage in conversation with him. Even so, a few years later, acting on Bhagavan's instructions, he built the Sri Annamalai Swami Ashram. He lived there until his death on November 9, 1995.

A brief life-sketch of Sri Annamalai Swamy.

Complete Surrender

My life with Bhagavan taught me the value of faith, obedience and surrender. When i obeyed Bhagavan's words, or had complete faith that he would look after all my spiritual and physical needs, everything went well. When I tried to mould my own destiny, things went badly. Life's lessons have thus taught me the value and the necessity of complete surrender.

If one surrenders completely to Bhagavan; if one lives completely by His words, ignoring all others; if one has enough faith in Bhagavan to stop making plans about the future; if one can banish all doubts and worries by having faith in Bhagavan's omnipotence -- then and only then, Bhagavan will bend and mould one's circumstances, transforming them in such a way that one's spiritual and physical needs are always satisfied.

Tuesday, February 20, 2007

The Feet of the Guru

For those who have the good fortune of living a life in which they take the feet of the Guru, the Supreme, as the sole target of their attention, a longing to merge with Sivam will flourish.

That true devotion will itself become the fire of jnana that will scorch to destruction the desires for the false, the non-Self.

Please see this too.

Monday, February 19, 2007

Worshipping the Guru's Feet

For those who possess the quality of habitually meditating upon the feet of the Guru, the blazing flame of flawless true jnana,
their devotion, dispelling their suffering,
will elicit the grace of that Supreme One.
Through that grace their minds will become clear and they will attain true jnana.

One's sole refuge

If you want to attain liberation and redeem yourself by cutting asunder with the sword of jnana the false ignorance that has strongly bound you in the form of a jiva, let your mind spring up immediately with surging love and, without wasting a moment of your life, meditate constantly upon the golden lotus-like feet of the Lord who, in the form of the Guru, has taken you into his fold.

By taking the Sadguru as one’s sole refuge, one should know, through his grace, that the cause of the continuous and distressing confusion that nurtures births is the fragmented mind which regards itself as different from God, Atma-swarupa. One should also learn from him the means for ending it [the fragmented mind] and, adopting that means, one should steadfastly unite with the Self, the ego-free swarupa, and abide in mauna. This alone bestows eminence.

This state of being the best among the noble disciples is this: a constancy of mind whence gushes forth the feeling of supreme devotion [parabhakti] that manifests when the ‘I’ is lost in the radiance of the state of silence, the Supreme. Know and keep in your mind that this is itself the state of being the Guru.

Meditating in the way that one ought to meditate on the sweet and ineffable grace of the Supreme Guru, and remaining still without getting caught in illusion, the unreal and deceptive panorama that appears in front of us – this alone is bliss.

Remember the Guru

A thought about the Guru, just before any activity, brings the living presence of the Guru to preside over the activity or to illuminate the experience that follows.

The Garland of Guru's sayings

53. Guru's Grace

Those on whom the guru's glance
Of grace has fallen are like the deer
Caught in a tiger's jaw. They are bound
To have their wretched ego slain
And know the one supreme Awareness.
They will never be forsaken.

56. Reverence to the Guru

After surrendering to the Guru
Body, mind and all belongings,
To still regard these as "I'' and "mine''
Is taking back a gift once given.
Strict avoidance of this sin
Is pure worship of the Master.

68. Freedom from Bondage

The separate self is but the mind
Drunk with and reeling under the notion
That it is bound. This very mind
When it stands steady, still, desiring
Nothing and proud of nothing
Becomes the Self supreme.

71. Awareness

Is it not because of you and yourself
Awareness that you now perceive
This universe? If you observe
Awareness steadily, this awareness
Itself as Guru will reveal
The Truth.

80. Self Surrender

"Give yourself to God'', they say.
But is it ours to give, not His already?
Now at least let us repent
The theft and at His lotus Feet
Restore what we had stolen.

84. Meekness

Beholding in all beings but the Self,
Meeker than all and even meeker
Than His humblest devotees,
By virtue of such meekness the Supreme
Achieves supremacy.

The gracious light of Self one sees not
When looking for it as an object.
But when one looks not, then it shines.

65. Pure Being

What our Master clearly teaches
By way of great, good, powerful tapas
Is only this and nothing more
Apart from this, the mind has no
Task to do or thought to think.

Taken from Guru Vachaka Kovai

Translated by Prof. K. Swaminathan from the Tamil original of Sri Muruganar

Sunday, February 18, 2007

How is one to know the Self

D.: How is one to know the Self?

Maharshi: "Knowing the Self" means "Being the Self". Can you say that you do not know the Self?
Though you cannot see your own eyes and though not provided with a mirror to look in, do you deny the existence of your eyes? Similarly, you are aware of the Self even though the Self is not objectified. Or, do you deny your Self because it is not objectified?
When you say "I cannot know the Self" it means absence in terms of relative knowledge, because you have been so accustomed to relative knowledge that you identify yourself with it.

Such wrong identity has forged the difficulty of not knowing the obvious Self because it cannot be objectified; and you ask. "How is one to know the Self?" Your difficulty is centred in "How"? Who is to know the Self? Can the body know it? Let the body answer. Who says that the body is perceived now?

In order to meet this kind of ignorance the sastras formulate the theory of God's leela or krida (i.e., play). God is said to emanate as the mind, the senses and the body and to play. Who are you to say that this play is a trouble to you? Who are you to question the doings of God?

20th February, 1937

Words of Bhagavan Ramana

Thy Will Be Done

Talk 594 (15 December 1938)

The Spanish lady, Madam Mercedes De Acorta, has written a letter to Mr. Hague, the American mining engineer who is here as a temporary resident for the last two months. She has raised a few questions there: "If the individual Self merges into the universal Self, how can one pray to God for the uplift of humanity?" The question seems to be common among the thinkers of the West. Sri Bhagavan said: They pray to God and finish with "Thy Will be done!" If His Will be done why do they pray at all? It is true that the Divine Will prevails at all times and under all circumstances. The individuals cannot act of their own accord. Recognise the force of the Divine Will and keep quiet. Each one is looked after by God. He has created all. You are one among 2,000 millions. When He looks after so many will He omit you? Even common sense dictates that one should abide by His Will.

Again there is no need to let Him know your needs. He knows them Himself and will look after them. Still more, why do you pray? Because you are helpless yourself and you want the Higher Power to help you. Well, does not your Creator and Protector know your weakness? Should you parade your weakness in order to make Him know it?

Devotee: But God helps those who help themselves.
Maharshi: Certainly. Help yourself and that is itself according to God's Will.

Every action is prompted by Him only. As for prayer for the sake of others, it looks so unselfish on the surface of it. But analyse the feeling and you will detect selfishness there also. You desire others' happiness so that you may be happy. Or you want the credit for having interceded on others' behalf. God does not require an intermediary. Mind your business and all will be well.

D.: Does not God work His Will through some chosen person?
M.: God is in all and works through all. But His presence is better recognised in purified minds. The pure ones reflect God's actions more clearly than the impure minds. Therefore people say that they are the chosen ones. But the `chosen' man does not himself say so. If he thinks that he is the intermediary then it is clear that he retains his individuality and that there is no complete surrender.

D.: Are not the Brahmins considered to be the priests or intermediaries between God and others?

M.: Yes. But who is a Brahmin? A Brahmin is one who has realised Brahman. Such a one has no sense of individuality in him. He cannot think that he acts as an intermediary. Again, as for prayer, a realised man does not see others as different from oneself. How can he pray at all, and to whom and for what? His very presence is the consummation of happiness for all. So long as you think that there are others different from you, you pray for them. But the sense of separateness is ignorance. This ignorance is again the cause of feeling helplessness. You know that you are weak and helpless. How then can you help others? If you say, "By prayer to God", God knows His business and does not require your intercession for others.

Help yourself so that you may become strong. That is done by complete surrender. That means you offer yourself to Him. So you cannot retain your individuality after surrender. You then abide by His Will. Thus Silence is the Highest of all achievements. Silence is the ocean in which all the rivers of all the religions discharge themselves. So says Thayumanavar. He also adds that the Vedic religion is the only one which combines both philosophy and religion.

From: Talks with Sri Ramana Maharshi

Friday, February 16, 2007

Bhagavan on Progress

Talk 103.

The next day Sri Bhagavan said: These people want some japa, dhyana , or yoga or something similar. Without their saying what they have been doing so far what more can be said to them? Again, why japa , its phalasruti, etc.? Who is it that makes the japa? Who gets the fruits thereof? Can they not look to the Self? Or again, even if instructed by others to do japa or dhyana, they do it for some time, but are always looking to some results, e.g., visions, dreams, or thaumaturgic powers.

If they do not find them they say they are not progressing or the tapas is not effective. Visions, etc., are no signs of progress. Mere performance of tapas is its progress also. Steadiness is what is required. Moreover they must entrust themselves to their mantra [?] or their God and wait for its Grace. They don't do so. Japa [?] even once uttered has its own good effect, whether the individual is aware or not.

Words of Bhagavan Ramana

Getting rid of Maya

D.: Can you help me to get rid of Maya ?
M.: What is Maya ?
D.: Attachment to the world.

M.: What is it then that raises the question of Maya [?] just now?
D.: The mind was not in sleep. The world and the attachment to it are of the mind.

M.: That is it. The world and the attachment to it are of the mind , not of the Self.

D.: But I do not understand.
M.: Because you are identifying the Self with the body. Give up the wrong identity and the Self is revealed.
D.: But this does not answer my question to help me to get rid of Maya
, i.e., attachment.

M.: This attachment is not found in sleep. It is perceived and felt now.
It is not your real nature. On whom is this accretion? If the Real Nature is known these exist not. If you realise the Self the possessions are not perceived. That is getting rid of Maya.
Maya is not objective, that it could be got rid of in any other way.

[Ed: The above conversation (sadly) shows how often aspirants were either not listening to what the Maharshi was saying, or were asking for what they actually did not want]

Words of Bhagavan Ramana

Happy Mahashivaratri

We wish Arunachala Ramana and our readers a very happy Shivaratri.
Power of Arunachala

Wednesday, February 14, 2007

Announcing devotee blog

A devotee of Bhagavan has just started a blog about Bhagavan's teachings and topics related to Bhagavan. It is
Pop on over there for some gyaan (wisdom).

Writing about one's guru, or sharing His teachings is often a form of sadhanai for devotees. Poems to one's guru are a great sadhana, as Bhagavan and Saint Manickavachagara and many others have shown.

Best wishes to this new blog.

Long Live Arunachala Ramana.
Long Live .
Long live the devotees of Arunachala-Ramana.

Monday, February 12, 2007

Satsang of Arunachala

The greatest of all aids to Self-realisation is the presence of a Realised Man. This is called Sat Sang which means literally `fellowship with Being'. Even here Bhagavan would sometimes explain that the real `Being' is the Self and therefore no physical form is needed for Sat Sang. Nevertheless, he often dwelt on its benefits.

Association with Sages who have realised the Truth removes material attachments; on these attachments being removed, the attachments of the mind are also destroyed. Those whose attachments of mind are thus destroyed become one with That which is Motionless. They attain Liberation while yet alive. Cherish association with such Sages

Neither the holy waters of pilgrimage nor the images of gods made of earth and stone can stand comparison with the benign look of the Sage. These purify one only after countless days of grace, but no sooner does the Sage bestow his gracious glance than he purifies one.

From: In His Own Words (

Silent Upadesha

Natesa Mudaliar (Path of Self Knowledge)

Not all comers understood the silent upadesa (instruction) of Sri Bhagavan. Natesa Mudaliar did eventually but it took him a long time. He was an elementary school teacher when he read Vivekananda and became fired with eagerness to renounce the world and find a Guru. Friends told him of the Swami on Arunachala Hill but added that it was well-nigh hopeless to seek upadesa (guidance) of him. Nevertheless, Mudaliar decided to try. It was in 1918 and Sri Bhagavan was already at Skandashram. Mudaliar went there and sat before him, but Sri Bhagavan remained silent and Mudaliar, not presuming to speak first, came away disappointed.

Having failed in this attempt, he travelled about visiting other Swamis but found none in whom he felt the Divine Presence and to whom he could surrender. After two years' fruitless search he wrote a long letter to Sri Bhagavan imploring him not to be selfishly indifferent to the fate of longing souls and asking permission to come again, since his first visit had been ineffective. A month passed with no reply. Then he sent a registered letter, acknowledgement due, and this time he wrote: "However many rebirths I have to go through, I am determined to receive upadesa [?] from you and you alone. So you will have to be reborn for that purpose if you give me up in this life as too unprepared or immature to receive your upadesa. I swear to this."

A few days later Sri Bhagavan appeared to him in a dream and said: "Do not think continually of me. You must first obtain the Grace of God Maheswara, the Lord of the Bull. First meditate on him and secure his Grace. My help will follow as a matter of course." He had a picture in his house of God Maheswara riding upon a bull and he took this as a support for meditation. A few days later he received an answer to his letter, "The Maharshi does not reply to letters; you can come and see him in person."

He wrote once more to make sure that the letter was written at Sri Bhagavan's bidding and then set out for Tiruvannamalai. Following the course prescribed in his dream, he went first to the great temple in town, where he had darshan
(enjoyed the presence) of Lord Arunachaleswar and spent the night. A Brahmin whom he met there tried to dissuade him from his purpose. "Now listen, I have spent sixteen years near Ramana Maharshi trying in vain to obtain his Anugraham (Grace). He is indifferent to everything. Even if you break your head there, he will not be interested to ask why. Since it is impossible to obtain his Grace there is no point in your visiting him."

This is a remarkable illustration of the understanding that Sri Bhagavan required of his devotees. Where those whose hearts were open would find him more solicitous than a mother and some would tremble with awe, one who judged by outward signs would find none. Natesa Mudaliar was not the sort of man to be put off. Since he insisted on going, the other told him: "Anyhow, you can find out in this way whether you will have the good luck to obtain his Grace. There is a Swami on the Hill by the name of Seshadri who mixes with none and generally drives away people who try to approach him. It you can obtain some mark of favour from him it will be a good augury for success."

Next morning Mudaliar set out with J.V. Subrahmanya Iyer, a colleague in his profession, in quest of the elusive Seshadri Swami. After much searching they saw him and, to Mudaliar's relief and astonishment, he himself approached them. Without needing to be told their errand, he addressed Mudaliar: "My poor child! Why are you grieved and anxious? What is Jnana [?] (Knowledge)? After the mind rejects objects, one after another, as transient and unreal, That which survives this elimination is Jnana [?]. That is God. Everything is That and That alone. It is folly to run hither and thither in the belief that Jnana [?] can be attained only by going to a hill or a cave. Go without fear."

Thus did he give not his upadesa
[?] (instruction) but that of Sri Bhagavan, in the very words Bhagavan might have used.

Buoyed up by this propitious augury, they proceeded up the hillside to Skandashram. It was about noon when they arrived. For five or six hours Mudaliar sat before Sri Bhagavan and no word passed between them; then the evening meal was ready and Sri Bhagavan rose to go out. J.V.S. Iyer said to him, "This is the man who wrote those letters." Sri Bhagavan thereupon looked fixedly at him and then turned and went out, still without speaking.

Month after month Mudaliar came back for a day and sat there, mutely imploring, but Sri Bhagavan never spoke to him, nor did he presume to speak first. After a full year had elapsed in this way he could endure it no longer and at last he said, "I wish to learn and experience what your Grace is, as people differ in their accounts of it."

Sri Bhagavan replied: "I am always giving my Grace. If you can't apprehend it what am I to do?"

Even now Mudaliar did not understand the silent upadesa (guidance); he was still confused as to what path he should follow. Shortly afterwards Sri Bhagavan appeared to him in a dream and said: "Let your vision be unified and withdrawn from objects, both external and internal. Thus, as differences disappear you will progress." Mudaliar understood this to apply to his physical sight and replied: "This does not seem to me the right way. If such a superior person as you gives me advice like this who will give me true advice?" However, Sri Bhagavan assured him that it was the right way.

The next development Mudaliar himself has described: "I followed this dream upadesa [?] for a while, then I had another dream. This time Sri Bhagavan appeared to me while my father was standing by and asked, pointing to my father, "Who is this?" With some hesitation about the philosophical accuracy of the answer I replied, "My father". Maharshi smiled at me significantly and I added, "My
answer is in accordance with common parlance but not with philosophy", because I remembered that I was not the body. Maharshi drew me to him and placed his palm first on my head and then on my right breast, pressing his finger over the nipple. It was rather painful, but as it was his Grace I endured it quietly. I did not know then why he pressed the right breast instead of the left"1

Thus, having failed to receive the silent initiation, he was given, even though in a dream, the initiation by touch.

He was one of those whose eagerness and desire to make every effort drove them to the idea of renouncing home life and going forth as a penniless wanderer. As in other cases, Sri Bhagavan discouraged this. "Just as you avoid the cares of home life when you are here, go home and try to be equally unconcerned and unaffected there." Mudaliar still lacked the full reliance and conviction of a disciple towards his Guru and he made the renunciation despite Sri Bhagavan's clear injunction. He found, as Sri Bhagavan had predicted, that the difficulties on his path grew greater, not less, and after a few years returned to his family and took up work again. After this his devotion deepened. He composed Tamil poems in praise of Sri Bhagavan. And at last he received, more fully than most others, the verbal instructions that he had so longed for, for it was he who was the recipient of a large part of the expositions contained in A Catechism of Instruction in which is most beautifully set forth the doctrine of the Guru and his Grace.

Saturday, February 10, 2007

Outwitting Destiny

2. "I have no peace of mind. Something prevents it — probably my destiny."

Bhagavan answers: "What is destiny? There is no destiny. Surrender and all will be well. Throw all the responsibility on God. Do not bear the burden yourself. What can destiny do to you then?"
Talk 244

By "there is no destiny" Bhagavan does not mean that there is no prarabdha: we are all agreed that there is, but his meaning is that once we surrender genuinely and truly, prarabdha will pass us by unnoticed: it will work itself out while our mind is immersed in its thought of God. After all destiny is as insentient as the body and thus has no power over the mind unless the mind has fallen an abject prey to its own thoughts and emotions, like that of the common man.

For more, see Reflections on Talks with Sri Ramana Maharshi.

Happiness of Non-possession

3. "Siva made over all His possessions to Vishnu and went roaming about in forests, wildernesses and graveyards, living on begged food. He found non-possession to be higher in the scale of happiness than possessions. The higher happiness is freedom from anxiety — anxiety over how to protect the possessions and how to utilise them, etc."
  Talk 225
This topic is discussed in Reflections on Talks with Sri Ramana Maharshi in Chapter One.

Monday, February 05, 2007

Bhagavan on Surrender

on Him. All things are being carried on by the omnipotent
power of a Supreme God. Instead of submitting ourselves
to It, why should we always be planning, `We should do this
or that'. Knowing that the train carries all the load, why
should we, travelling therein, suffer by carrying our small
bundle on our heads, instead of leaving it on the train and
being happy.

The story of Ashtavakra teaches that in order to experience
Brahma Jnana
all that is necessary is to surrender yourself
completely to the Guru, to give up your notion of `I' and
`mine'. If these are surrendered, what remains is the Reality.

There are two ways of achieving surrender.
One is looking into the source of the `I' and merging into that source.
The other is feeling, `I am helpless myself, God alone is all
powerful, and except by throwing myself completely on Him,
there is no other means of safety for me '; and thus gradually
developing the conviction that God alone exists and the ego
does not count. Both methods lead to the same goal. Complete
surrender is another name for jnana [?] or liberation.

Bhakti is not different from mukti [?]. Bhakti is being as the Self.
One is always That. He realizes It by the means he adopts.
What is bhakti [?]? To think of God. That means only one thought
prevails to the exclusion of all other thoughts. That thought is
of God, which is the Self, or it is the self surrendered unto
God. When He has taken you up, nothing else will assail you.
The absence of thought is bhakti
[?]. It is also mukti [?].

Sunday, February 04, 2007

Atma Vichara Patikam

To think of second and third persons is sheer foolishness, for by thinking of second and third persons the mental activities (mano-vrittis) will wax.
Attending to the FIRST PERSON ("I") is equal to committing suicide, for only by enquiring into the first person will the ego itself die.

-- 'Atma Vichara Patikam', verse 7

Taken from The Path of Sri Ramana - Part One (p112) by Sadhu Om

The import of thinking of "second and third persons" implies meditating on the body, breath, or external objects, concepts, thoughts. "First person" indicated the "I" / the awareness / the consciousness.

(Incidentally the new Ramana Maharshi website is this address:

Meditating on the "I" is the direct path

 "The mind is destroyed only when it turns towards the first person!"

-- Sadhu Om, p111 The Path of Sri Ramana - Part One

 Cease all talk of `I' and search with inward diving
  mind whence the thought of `I' springs up. This is the way of
 wisdom. To think, instead, `I am not this, but That I am,' is
 helpful in the search, but it is not the search itself.

-- Reality in Forty Verses, v 29

All other forms of meditation (such as 'I am Brahman'), are not Self-enquiry and will not destroy the mind.

From Collected Works, Atma Satshatkara (a translation by Sri Bhagavan, from the Agamas)

1.     Guha! I shall tell you about a different way
To reach that Reality which pervades partless in all,
Too subtle, though, to be grasped (by the mind).

He who, everywhere, abides ever in the Self,
Shall see, in all things, in all bodies,
Only that Siva-self -- of this, there is no doubt.

24. To the Jiva drowning in the vast ocean of the birth-death cycle,
and seeking refuge,
What affords refuge is only that knowledge of the Self
Not anything else -- know this.

Ulladu Narpadu:
Atma Satshatkara: