Tuesday, June 10, 2008

Recent comments

The 'recent posts' column displayed itself a few minutes ago for the first time in about three days. There is probably a small gap between the last item on this list and the top item on the previous one:

On Jun 10 Praveen R. Bhat commented on andavan pichhai_09: “@David: Oh, don't bother of her photos for me. I was just thanking ya for the reference of John, Ramanashram, for Bhagavan's photos.@Arvind: What you…”

On Jun 10 Murali commented on bhagavans promises and declarations: “David told in an interview that Bhagavan is all things to all people. I think that every message Bhagavan gives is very personal and it can range…”

On Jun 10 Sonachala commented on bhagavans promises and declarations: “Thanks to Murali, Anonymous, David and Nandu for your comments.Muruganar is an exemplary devotee with the highest degree of attainment and I would…”

On Jun 10 Nandu Narasimhan commented on bhagavans promises and declarations: “Dear Sonachala,I would believe that they are indeed Bhagavan's statements. On other occasions, he has hinted at the same thing, for instance,…”

On Jun 09 arvind commented on andavan pichhai_09: “David, on Sri Ramakrishna’s curse and “punishment”:Even tho’ Sri Ramakrishna occupied Maragathamma’s very pure & holy body it still constituted…”

On Jun 09 David Godman commented on andavan pichhai_09: “Her first visit was only two and a half weeks before Bhagavan passed away. I think that the people who were recording stories at that time were more…”

On Jun 09 Anonymous commented on andavan pichhai_09: “that's one crazy story..i didn't believe manifestations of God were possible until I read Papaji's experiences in 'Nothing Ever Happened'. I have a…”

On Jun 09 Anonymous commented on andavan pichhai_09: “Hi David,Is there any indpendent mention of her visit to Ramana Maharishi in Ramana Maharishi's books/records around that time. It would be nice to…”

On Jun 09 David Godman commented on andavan pichhai_09: “PraveenI only managed to find one photo of her online, a tiny 12 kb picture that only displays well at the size of a postage stamp. There are some…”

On Jun 09 Jupes commented on andavan pichhai_09: “David, thank you for this utterly incredible story, so spellbinding and deeply engaging. There is one thing that I wondered about, when I reached the…”

On Jun 09 Praveen R. Bhat commented on andavan pichhai_09: “i) Thanks for the reference on photographs.ii) I think I left scope for misunderstanding my comment. I didn't particularly comment on exorcism, but…”

On Jun 09 Murali commented on summa iru: “David,This lack of "Recent Comments" is killing. Ofcourse you are patiently typing them occasionally but still it is not easy to keep track. I missed…”

On Jun 09 David Godman commented on andavan pichhai_09: “PraveenHere is the article I referred to. It's from Hinduism Today from 1992 (http://www.hinduismtoday.com/archives/1992/05/1992-05-04.shtml)I'll…”

On Jun 09 David Godman commented on andavan pichhai_09: “MuraliI also wondered what kind of 'punishment' this was. Ramakrishna acquired a very pure vehicle for himself, one that enabled him to have…”

On Jun 09 Praveen R. Bhat commented on andavan pichhai_09: “Hi David,I found your blog yesterday through your website and was happy to see that you blog almost daily.i) "Then he smiled, gave her back the photo…”

On Jun 09 Murali commented on andavan pichhai_09: “David,How do I setup the feature where I get a mail when you post something here?Regards Murali”

On Jun 09 Murali commented on andavan pichhai_09: “David,This whole story of Andavan Pichhai is a rollercoaster drive in the fairy land.1. The original premise why Ramakrishna took the body of…”

On Jun 09 David Godman commented on andavan pichhai_09: “Thanks for the advice. I do use the preview function, but it rarely gives an accurate picture of what the final post will look like. I think the…”

On Jun 09 indianspirituality commented on andavan pichhai_09: “Dear Sir,There is an option of scheduling the post. You can even preview the post before you can publish the same by going into edit posts. Just…”

On Jun 09 indianspirituality commented on disappearing post: “Dear Sir,There is an option of scheduling the post. You can even preview the post before you can publish the same by going into edit posts. Just…”

On Jun 08 Anonymous commented on robert adams on self enquiry: “"Individuals have to suffer their karmas but Iswara manages to make the best of their karmas for his purpose. God manipulates the fruits of karma but…”

On Jun 08 Sonachala commented on god scriptwriter: “Arvind,Thanks for posting the very interesting experiment by Libet . I was thrilled reading it!”

On Jun 08 Sonachala commented on god scriptwriter: “David,Greatly appreciate your posting on the views of Robert Adams, Annamalai Swami and Saradamma on predestination. Really interesting!”

On Jun 08 Murali commented on god scriptwriter: “I came across a brilliant material on this subject. This material is supposed to be a course material taught in Virginia University. Following is the…”

On Jun 08 Anonymous commented on god scriptwriter: “I don't know if what I'm going to write is going to be of much use, but I'm going to try anyway.In the language of bhakti or surrender, everything…”

18 comments:

Anonymous said...

David,

Is there any possibility you can share with us more details/anecdotes on the life of Annamalai Swami following the Mahasamadhi of Bhagavan? He was indeed a pinnacle of ideal disciple and so little is known about him except through your book which only increases the hunger to find out more about him!

David Godman said...

I asked Annamalai Swami about his life in Palakottu after Bhagavan died, but he didn't want to talk about it. He was only interested in talking about his association with Bhagavan.

Anonymous said...

Did he have a close disciple? How did he pass away? Were you there when he passed away?

Anything you can share based on your knowledge and interactions with him?

David Godman said...

I was in Lucknow when he passed away. Sundaram, his attendant, and Gabriel, a Swiss devotee were with him at the time. Gabriel was quite close to him in the last few months of his life. Sundaram was close to him for more than twenty years. He lived in Annamalai Swami's ashram from the mid-1970s onwards, and in the later years he acted as Annamalai Swami's translator when visitors came. He also looked after the ashram for a few years after Annamalai Swami passed away.

Annamalai Swami took his 'Don't visit people, don't ask for anything and don't socialise with others' upadesa from Bhagavan very seriously. He let visitors in for an hour or so in the afternoon, but only if they had some question about Bhagavan's life or teachings. If they just wanted to sit with him, or meditate with him, he would send them to Ramanasramam. He accepted that it was good to help visitors with their questions and problems, but he didn't want his ashram to be turned into a public space where people could come whenever they wanted to.

I know from a few things he said that following Bhagavan's 'Don't ask for anything' instruction made his life physically hard. There were occasions, Sundaram told me, when he had to forage for leaves on the mountain in order to eat to stay alive. He had been refused permission to go out as a begging sadhu by Bhagavan, and he was not allowed to tell anyone that he was hungry and in need of food.

He also told me once, 'I can't sit on a sofa all day with people staring at me. I have work to do.'

He was a self-sufficient man who liked to do work himself, rather than tell someone else to do it. I saw him for the last time at the end of 1994. I was on my way to Lucknow to carry on my work with Papaji, and I went to tell him I was leaving. I found him in his garden, chopping wood. He was in his late 80s at the time, but he was still strong enough to chop firewood. I got the feeling that he would much rather be doing jobs like this than be sitting in front of a group of people, answering their questions.

Incidentally, Sundaram read out to him the whole biographical account from Papaji Interviews, translating it into Tamil.

He told me afterwards, 'Swami was so happy to hear this account. He even said, "I thought that Bhagavan had passed away without leaving any sons. But now I know that he has one good son living in Lucknow."'

Jupes said...

David, thank you for these responses to the questions Anonymous asked about Annamalai Swami's life and final days. And thank you, Anonymous, for asking them. Ever since reading your two books on him I have felt something very special about Annamalai Swami. I don't know exactly why or what it is, but I feel it nonetheless.

As I opened Final Talks just now my eyes fell on two passages that I marked long ago. Here they are:

"In every moment you have only one real choice: to be aware of the Self or to identify with the body and the mind. If you choose the latter course, don't blame God or God's Will, or predestination. God did not make you forget the Self. You yourself are making that choice every second of your life." p.38

"There is no point worrying about the outer events of your life because you can exercise no control over these destined activities. Your responsibility in this life is to see who you are, not to rewrite your life script." p.39

David Godman said...

Jupes

Good quotes! Thanks for reminding us.

Anonymous said...

David,

concerning samadhi i understand Bhagavan' s presentation as a concentration independant from sitting practice. Are there any teachings concerning which place sitting meditation has?

David Godman said...

Bhagavan did not disapprove of sitting meditation. He did, however, want devotees to have the right meditative attitude throughout the day, irrespective of what they were doing or not doing. That meant doing enquiry or some other practice in the midst of worldly activities, and not just when one was sitting with one's eyes closed.

Anonymous said...

Thank you for your comment concerning sitting practice. This i have concluded too so far. My question was: are there any specific quotes on that?

David Godman said...

Somewhere in Search in Secret India Bhagavan remarks that sitting meditation is for spiritual novices only.

In The Power of the Presence, part one, there is quote from Bhagavan that was recorded by Sivaprakasam Pillai:

'Destruction of mind alone is tapas. This alone is one's duty. One who is doing his own work will not pay attention to anyone else's work. One should never give room for swerving from the thought of the Self. However many duties one may have, at all the other times not meant for performing duties, one must perform only self-enquiry. While standing, sitting and taking food one can do vichara, can one not? If the mind happens to forget the enquiry 'Who am I?' because of vasanas, when it remembers the enquiry, it should try not to lose hold of the enquiry again.'

Anonymous said...

Thanks, David. I admit this is not my experience yet. During sitting i experience a strong and stable silence which seems to be of a much higher quality and much more workable than average activity. Have not most saints like Annamalai, Lakshmana, Sarada gone through intense sitting sadhana?

Anonymous said...

PS.
This does not mean that i don't see the importance of an all-round awareness during every state of consciousness. Only the different quality of sitting seems so obvious and make it most apt for enquiry?

David Godman said...

I appreciate your point. Most devotees I have spoken to feel the same way that you do.

Annamalai Swami told me that Bhagavan was always telling him to incorporate his meditation with his work while he was at Ramanasramam, but he said that he could only concentrate properly on his sadhana when he had the time to sit quietly in Palakottu, with no rushing thoughts about building matters. That was after he stopped working all day.

If sitting quietly works for you, then do it. Pragmatism is the best policy. If you find something that keeps your mind quiet, then do it. However, make some effort to keep awareness during all your other activities as well. Bhagavan gave the analogy of the besieged fort in Who am I?, saying that if you can deprive the mind of new thoughts it will soon surrender. If you sit and meditate well and then go back into the world with a busy mind, the siege gets lifted and the mind gets a chance to restock its supply of thoughts.

Saradamma told me that she would do japa while she was walking to Gudur and back, a distance of several kilometres. As Bhagavan said in the quote I gave in an earlier post: whenever you are not doing duties that require some concentrated attention, put your mind on enquiry, or whatever else your practice might be.

Krishna said...

Regarding whether to do sitting meditations or meditating at all times I asked the same question to a very mature teacher of Advaita here and he said that first start with sitting and then involve in the world to see whether u are able to be peaceful and centered in midst of all activities and then again come back and do the sitting meditations and continue like this till the sitting meditations drops on its own accord and u are meditating ( i.e being aware of the self ) through out the entire day .

Krishnanand,
Chennai ,India

David Godman said...

Somewhere in Search in Secret India Bhagavan remarks that sitting meditation is for spiritual novices only.

In The Power of the Presence, part one, there is quote from Bhagavan that was recorded by Sivaprakasam Pillai:

'Destruction of mind alone is tapas. This alone is one's duty. One who is doing his own work will not pay attention to anyone else's work. One should never give room for swerving from the thought of the Self. However many duties one may have, at all the other times not meant for performing duties, one must perform only self-enquiry. While standing, sitting and taking food one can do vichara, can one not? If the mind happens to forget the enquiry 'Who am I?' because of vasanas, when it remembers the enquiry, it should try not to lose hold of the enquiry again.'

David Godman said...

Bhagavan did not disapprove of sitting meditation. He did, however, want devotees to have the right meditative attitude throughout the day, irrespective of what they were doing or not doing. That meant doing enquiry or some other practice in the midst of worldly activities, and not just when one was sitting with one's eyes closed.

Anonymous said...

PS.
This does not mean that i don't see the importance of an all-round awareness during every state of consciousness. Only the different quality of sitting seems so obvious and make it most apt for enquiry?

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