Thursday, August 7, 2008

The Greatness of the Guru

As I was going through the comments to the ‘Power to Enlighten’ post I noticed a tendency amongst a minority of contributors to minimise the role and importance of the Guru, particularly his transmitting power. Today, as a rejoinder, I am posting a section from Guru Vachaka Kovai on ‘The Greatness of the Guru’. The extract is from the new edition of the book that has been prepared by T. V. Venkatasubramanian, Robert Butler and myself. The book should be available early next month.

First, a word about the formatting:

The original chapter headings (in this case ‘57 The Greatness of the Guru’ ) are centered in bold type.

Verse numbers are centered in bold type.

Muruganar’s comments on the verses are flush with the margins and printed in roman.

Comments by the editors are in italics and are flush with both margins.

Additional quotations added by the editors to illustrate points made in the verses are indented and in italics. The indented quote in verse 326 is in roman because it is part of Muruganar’s own explanation. Verse 326, in which Bhagavan states that the jnani’s Self-abidance is the weapon that destroys the chit-jada knot, is highly relevant to the ‘Power to enlighten’ discussion that has been going on. This idea is similar to a comment Papaji made, which I included in the ‘Power to Enlighten’ post:

If you want freedom, find a man like this [Bhagavan] who has absolutely no desire, someone who sits unmoving like a mountain. Sit in his presence and see what happens.

You want to know who or what is doing the work when someone gets enlightened in the Guru’s presence. Nobody is doing the work. Enlightenment happens in these circumstances merely because the Guru is abiding in a state of absolute desirelessness.

At the end of the section I have added chapter 59, ‘The Greatness of Devotees’ since it complements the material in the ‘Greatness of the Guru’ verses.


57 The Greatness of the Guru


321


You may have acquired all the virtues and renounced all the vices; you may have renounced totally all your relationships and have no attachment; you may have completely performed all the many penances enjoined upon the virtuous by the scriptures; but however great you may be by virtue of your intellect and accomplishments, will you attain the experience, the state of kaivalyam [oneness] that is wholly bliss, until you obtain, as a result of meritorious karma, the good fortune of seeing the jnana-Guru?


322


Unless we first obtain the divine grace of a Guru, a jivanmukta in whose perspective the triputi-differences have ended and who shines as the undivided and single essence, it will be impossible to obtain the life of liberation and live illustriously under the shade of God’s twin feet, [a life] that is all bliss and the highest of all benefits.

Question: Is a Master necessary for realisation?

Bhagavan
: The realisation is the result of the Master’s grace more than teachings, lectures, meditation, etc. They are only secondary aids, whereas the former is the primary and the essential cause. (
Talks with Sri Ramana Maharshi, talk no. 13)

Muruganar: As it is difficult for ordinary jivas to get redeemed by directly knowing the limitation-free swarupa of the Supreme that shines unceasingly as ‘I-I’ in everyone’s Heart as their own Self, they should first worship the Guru’s form, destroy their delusion and attain redemption. This is the implication. Though the Guru appears to be like a human being in the perspective of ordinary people, through his experience he is indeed the supreme swarupa. Therefore, to imagine differences between him and swarupa is ignorance.

Question: Is it possible to gain knowledge without the blessings of a Guru? Even Rama, who was like a dullard in his early life became a realised soul only with the help of his Guru.

Bhagavan:
Yes, how can there be any doubts? The grace of the Guru is absolutely necessary. That is why Thayumanavar praised his Guru in his hymns, and another said, ‘O Gurudeva, your look falling upon it, a tiger becomes gentle like a goat, a snake like a squirrel, and a bad man becomes a good man. And what else may not happen? With your gracious look everything becomes good. How can I describe your greatness?’ The Guru’s grace is extraordinary. (
Letters from and Recollections of Sri Ramanasramam, p. 26)

Question:
What is Guru-kripa? [Guru’s grace] How does it lead to Self-realisation?

Bhagavan:
Guru is the Self.... Sometimes in his life a man becomes dissatisfied with it, and, not content with what he has, he seeks the satisfaction of his desires, through prayer to God, etc. His mind is gradually purified until he longs to know God, more to obtain his grace than to satisfy his worldly desires. Then, God’s grace begins to manifest. God takes the form of a Guru and appears to the devotee, teaches him the truth and, moreover, purifies his mind by association. The devotee’s mind gains strength and is then able to turn inward. By meditation it is further purified and it remains still without the least ripple. That calm expanse is the Self.

The Guru is both ‘external’ and ‘internal’. From the ‘exterior’ he gives a push to the mind to turn inward; from the ‘interior’ he pulls the mind towards the Self and helps in the quieting of the mind. That is
guru-kripa. There is no difference between God, Guru and the Self. (Maharshi’s Gospel, p. 33)


323


As the inner and the outer, as ‘I’ and ‘this’, as this world and the next, pervading all as the boundless radiance of consciousness, the Guru is the unmoving support, the jewel-like lamp that shines effortlessly and continuously in the Hearts of true devotees.

‘The jewel-like lamp that shines effortlessly and continuously’ is a translation of a term that denotes a lamp that is self-kindling and which maintains its light without any outside assistance.


324


Those who, through rare, intense and surging devotion, exist by trusting solely in the Guru’s piercing glance of grace will live in this world like Indra [the king of the gods]. There will be no suffering for them.

Generally, ‘live in this world like Indra’ would imply ‘enjoying the maximum amount of pleasure’, but Muruganar has appended a brief note to this verse that says, ‘They will live like Indra, rejoicing in the spiritual life’.


325


The manner in which the Guru sits majestically in state on the Heart-throne of his devotees whom he has taken up, destroying their egos, is lofty like a mountain, splendid and glorious. Those who have experienced this do not talk about it. Those who talk about it have not experienced it. The abundant utterances of devotees [jnanis], which are sacred like the Vedas, bear witness to this.

The phrase ‘The abundant utterances of devotees [jnanis]’ does not contradict the earlier statement, ‘Those who have experienced this do not talk about it’. The ‘abundant utterances’ are those remarks which state that the experience of the Self cannot be encapsulated in words.


326


The excellent sahaja nishtai – the natural abidance as Atma-swarupa – of the jnana-Guru who is freed of the ego impurity [anava mala] is the weapon that has the power to rapidly home in on, uproot and throw away the chit-jada knot of disciples who have, with rapturous delight, taken refuge in his feet.

Saiva Siddhanta teaches that there are three impurities, known as malas, that prevent one from experiencing Sivam: anava, which is the ego, karma and maya.

Muruganar: As the other two malas, karma and maya, exist by depending on the anava mala, the implication is that the Guru is freed from all the three impurities.

In Ulladu Narpadu, verse twenty-four, we learn about the characteristics and synonyms of the ego:

Bhagavan: The physical body does not say ‘I’. Being-consciousness does not arise [or disappear]. But in between the two something arises, the ‘I’, which is limited to the body. Understand that this is known as the ‘knot between consciousness and the insentient’ [chit-jada-granthi], as bondage, as the individual soul, as the subtle body, as the ego, as this worldly condition of existence, and as the mind.

This [Guru Vachaka Kovai] verse explains the power of natural Self-abidance. Because outwardly the Guru appears to be doing nothing, let no one think that he is not bestowing his grace. The very nature of his Self-abidance is grace. This truth will become clear to those who sit in his presence with a still mind, attained through inward attention.

Question: While sitting near you, what sort of mental state should we have so as to receive the transmission from your Self?

Bhagavan:
Keep your mind still. That is enough. You will get spiritual help sitting in this hall if you keep yourself still. The aim of all practices is to give up all practices. When the mind becomes still, the power of the Self will be experienced. The waves of the Self are pervading everywhere. If the mind is in peace, one begins to experience them. (The Power of the Presence
, part one, p. 230)


327


Know that the Heart-directed conduct in which one steadfastly holds onto jnana in the way one has been taught, and abides there firmly as being-consciousness, without letting the mind stray towards the ignoble sense objects, is alone the true teaching [of the Guru].

This verse may also give the meaning that when the Guru abides in the state of jnana, without being distracted, this itself is the teaching.


59 The Greatness of Devotees


333


Beyond the reach of both mind and speech is the glory of those who have the good fortune, earned through past tapas, of becoming the target of the grace-bestowing glance of the Guru, he who has ripened into the para-swarupa [the supreme or ultimate swarupa] through the excellence of the matchless experience of Self-knowledge.

Muruganar: The sole and excellent benefit of tapas is to become the target of the Guru’s glance of grace. As, from that very moment, they have entered the path of redemption, and as their ego-consciousness also gets destroyed, it is said that their greatness is beyond mind and speech.


334


Lord Siva, who loves to move intimately with his clear-minded devotees, conceals his real form, assumes another form [as a human being], enters the holy throng of those who have firm devotion, sports with them and rejoices in their great love.

Muruganar: This verse indicates that he who has assumed the form of the Sadguru is Lord Siva himself.


335


It is impossible to determine the greatness of devotees. Devotees are greater than even Siva and Vishnu since they [these gods] employ themselves as the servants of devotees. The greatness of devotees is that which the Vedas extol.

Bhagavan mentioned the following verses to Devaraja Mudaliar. The first is from Brahma Gita, and the second from Kurunthirattu.

To stay where a jnani, who is none else but the Supreme Self, stays, is mukti. He who serves a jnani is so great that I permanently bear on my head his feet. None can equal the spotless and supreme jnani, neither Siva, Vishnu nor I, Brahma. Who else then can equal him?

Vishnu will carry on his head all that a real jnani wants. Siva will follow him everywhere. While virtuous kings and all the devas do obeisance to the dust of such [a] jnani's feet, Brahma will beg that those feet may be placed on his head. (My Recollections of Bhagavan Sri Ramana, p. 32)


63 comments:

Clemens Vargas Ramos said...

There is a statement I don't remember exactly where I read it: "We can lead the cow to the watering place, but the cow itself has to drink."

That is what I tried to express with "At the end I can't see any direct link between the physical/mental/psychic presence of a Jnani and the disciple in relation to knowledge." in Power to Enlighten.

Knowledge = Realization of the Self

It is not meant as a minimizing of the role or power of the Guru - on the contrary - it emphasizes the role of the true Guru.

D.: Is not grace more effective than abhyasa?
M.: Guru simply helps you in the eradication of ignorance. Does he hand over Realisation to you? (...) Guru’s Grace is like a hand extended to help you out of water, or it makes your way easier for the removal of ignorance.
Talk 398.

No human Guru can give guaranties to devotees for the realization of the Self. It is a simple empirical fact.

"The Self reveals itself to itself. You cannot attain it by learning, nor by hearing about it from anyone; nor by yoga, not by concentration, not by charity, not by progeny. I reveal myself to him whom I choose."

David Godman said...

Clemens Vargas Ramos

Apologies if I misunderstood you on this one.

It's true that most devotees are not going to get enlightened, irrespective of how great their Guru might be, simply because they are not ready enough.

Still , for those who are ready enough for the Guru to make a difference, the power and presence of that Guru are essential components in the Self-realisation process.

In English the proverb is: 'You can lead a horse to water, but you can't make it drink.'

As Papaji remarked in the 'Power to Enlighten' post:

There are limits to what to what a Guru can accomplish. These limits are not in the Self, for the Self is limitless. The power of the Self cannot work on an unreceptive mind. If the soil is not fertile, no amount of rain falling on the ground can make it grow. The rain cannot make crops grow in a barren land.

Ravi said...

Ramos/David,
There simply is no single formula or rule in all this.
Essentially we are back to the classic query-SELF EFFORT OR GRACE!
My master emphasises Self Effort.He did not have any human Guru.He recalls how swami Ramatirtha used to consider Yoga Vasishta as his guru!
Master is also emphatic that we can consciously establish a link with the Great ones and benefit from this.

Considering that all is Grace,like broken yogi said-why prefix IMO,etc.Instead get on with the job- Self Effort is what is necessary while at the sametime being grateful to all the great ones who are a perennial source of inspiration.

Personally speaking ,I have a plethora of Gurus including master.I do not have any conflict in this.

Salutations!

Anonymous said...

Surely, your attention must not be on the argument whether a Guru is required or not, but on to whom these arguments appear.

Just be! The ripeness of a disciple, the necessity of a Guru, right or wrong, these arguments are nothing but the play of an active mind, and have nothing to do with what you really are.

Remember what you set out to seek, leave the rest to Sri Ramana, if you need a Guru to aid you in your search, he'll be there.

Mouna said...

David, greetings.

What would be the main difference of this new Guru Vachaka Kovai's version with the previous version translated and with commentaries by Sri Sadhu Om? What will be your comments on Sri Sadhu Om's version?

Thanks in advance,
Mouna

David Godman said...

Mouna

This is an extract from the introduction I wrote for Guru Vachaka Kovai. I hope it answers your questions:



Having described at some length the evolution of the Guru Vachaka Kovai text and the materials that were available to us to help with the translation, I can now address the question ‘Why is a new translation needed?’ This has been one of the most common responses from Bhagavan’s devotees when I mentioned that we were working on a new English version of the text. To answer this question I will briefly review the history of the text in English.

In the 1960s Prof. K. Swaminathan began to translate the work into English, and the results of his endeavours were serialised in The Mountain Path over many years. As befits a professor of English literature, his rendering was highly poetic, but it tended to omit or gloss over some of the more difficult phrases of the original Tamil. As we were working on our own translation, and comparing it to his, we were frequently compelled to admire his evocative and elegant phrasing, while simultaneously wondering what had happened to certain parts of the verse. We decided that, since most of the verses had originated in teaching statements that Bhagavan had uttered, in our own version we would aim for literalness and philosophical exactitude, but we realise that in adopting this course we have completely abandoned the poetry of the original text.

The only other full English translation in print is the version made by Sadhu Om and Michael James in the early 1980s. The translation was never finalised prior to the passing away of Sadhu Om in 1984. Michael James wanted to retranslate many of the verses, but other projects claimed his attention, and the original manuscript gathered dust for almost twenty years.

In 2004 I asked Michael James if I could post his version on my website since it did not seem that there was any prospect of the work being completed in the foreseeable future. Michael agreed, but asked me to mention in the introduction that this was a ‘work in progress’ and that he hoped one day to complete his revisions and bring out a final version. The following year Sri Sankaran, who now looks after the publication of Sadhu Om’s writings, decided to print this unfinished version.

Michael James informed me on several occasions that he was not happy with some of the translations in the first section of the book. These were the ones that he did first. At that point, he said, his limited understanding of Tamil meant that he could not do full justice to the text. As the work progressed and his understanding of both Tamil and Bhagavan’s teachings expanded, he felt more confident that he was making a proper English translation. It was always his intention to revisit the work and retranslate many of the early verses, but the opportunity never arose.

Sadhu Om had begun to give verbal explanations of the Guru Vachaka Kovai verses in the 1960s. These were initially written down by Prof. Subramanian, a Hindi professor who shared a house with him. When devotees approached Muruganar for explanations of certain verses in Guru Vachaka Kovai, Muruganar would occasionally send them to Sadhu Om for an explanation since he was satisfied that Sadhu Om had a proper understanding of the text. The Tamil prose renderings that had been recorded by Prof. Subramanian eventually came to the attention of Prof. Swaminathan, who was working on his own English translation of Guru Vachaka Kovai in New Delhi. Realising the value of these explanations, Prof. Swaminathan, who was then a senior official in the New Delhi Ramana Kendra, informed Sadhu Om that the New Delhi centre would be happy to publish these Tamil prose renderings once they were completed. Sadhu Om accepted the offer and asked if he could also include additional material from Muruganar’s prose renderings and commentaries. Prof Swaminathan was unwilling to incorporate these extra items in the book since he felt that they would make the text so lengthy, the New Delhi Kendra would be unable to afford the publication costs. He also believed that some of the additional material was in too literary a style and might put readers off the book. Although Sadhu Om used the extra material to get a better understanding of the verses’ meaning, when the book was finally published in 1980, it only contained his own prose renderings of each verse, a few of Muruganar’s explanations, and many explanations of his own.

When Michael James began to work with Sadhu Om on an English translation of Guru Vachaka Kovai in the late 1970s, these Tamil prose renderings formed the basis for much of their work. Although a few of Muruganar’s explanations were included in their English translation, along with explanatory annotations by Sadhu Om, the majority were not translated.
The two existing published English versions – the one by Prof. Swaminathan and the one jointly translated by Sadhu Om and Michael James – are therefore, for different reasons, incomplete. This in itself should be sufficient justification for embarking on a new translation that makes full use of all the available material.

There is one other reason why we feel that a new translation can be added to the existing ones. The original Tamil verses of Guru Vachaka Kovai were written in a poetical form of Tamil that is dense and occasionally impenetrable to those who are not familiar with both literary Tamil and Bhagavan’s teachings. I have encountered many well-educated devotees, whose native tongue is Tamil, who have confessed to me that the language of the original verses is far too complex for them to understand. It is not surprising, therefore, that there is room for disagreement about what some of the verses are actually saying. Sadhu Om, who worked closely with Muruganar for many years, was still sending notes to Muruganar right up to the day he died, asking for explanations of certain points in some of the Guru Vachaka Kovai verses. One of these notes was found, unanswered, among the papers in Muruganar’s room soon after he passed away.

Prof. Swaminathan, the first person to attempt an English translation, confessed to me in the early 1980s that he had made many mistakes in his early translations, and that it was not until Sadhu Om’s Tamil prose rendering of Guru Vachaka Kovai appeared that he realised how far he had gone wrong in some of his translations. I mention such details not with the aim of disparaging earlier English versions of Guru Vachaka Kovai, but merely to demonstrate that it is a difficult text which is occasionally open to different interpretations. We found ourselves stuck in a few places with phrases that seemed to resist any sensible translation, and we would be the first to admit that some of our English sentences represent ‘best guesses’ rather than expressions of scholarly certitude. The complexity of the text and the scope within it for alternative meanings and interpretations has meant that we differed from both Sadhu Om and Prof. Swaminathan on many occasions.

Bearing this in mind, I should like to make a brief list that summarises why we feel that there is room for a new edition of Guru Vachaka Kovai:

(a) It is a difficult text containing many verses that can be translated and interpreted in different ways. A new translation can identify and highlight some of these differences.

(b) For reasons outlined earlier, we feel that a completely new translation is justified since the two earlier published versions were incomplete.

(c) The discovery of the Anubhuti Venba material has meant that it is now possible to make a more accurate translation of some of the verses, one that better reflects Muruganar’s intentions when he composed them.

(d) We are including Muruganar’s expanded prose renderings and his explanatory comments on all the verses. Prof. Swaminathan did not include any of this material, while Sadhu Om and Michael James used it sparingly.

* * *

The Anubhuti Venba material mentioned in section (c) is a manuscript containing prose explanations by Muruganar of many of his verses. Ninety-five pertained to Guru Vachaka Kovai, the rest to other works. Although Sadhu Om and Michael were aware of this manuscript, they do not appear to have used it in their translation of the verses.

Clemens Vargas Ramos said...

... There are limits to what a Guru can accomplish. These limits are not in the Self, for the Self is limitless. The power of the Self cannot work on an unreceptive mind. If the soil is not fertile, no amount of rain falling on the ground can make it grow. The rain cannot make crops grow in a barren land. ...

I strongly disagree with this. The self is limitless, what means in other words: omnipotent and omnipresent. It CAN make infertile soil fertile, and it CAN transform a barren desert into a flower garden! This is the experience of many, many saints.

The Katha Upanishad tries to express exactly this fact.

I remember that the author of one of the holiest scriptures of vedanta (Badarayana?) was a three-time murderer and robber before he was enlightened.

The christian Saulus was a murderer too. He was on his way to kill even more christians, when the Holy Light struck him right on his way - he fell off his horse, got enlightenment immediately and became Paulus.

The self is able to transform the evil into holiness - without any preconditions. Its a fact. Papaji must have knew this. As a mean of human communication he prefered to express it the other way round.

If the self should be unable to transform the human mind - WHO ELSE would be able to do it? The logical consequence is, that the EGO is trying to become holy. And that can't be the truth.


Generally spoken:

Seeing the things from the worldly standpoint, we get a special kind of picture. This is the picture of the mind.

Seeing the things from the standpoint of the self, we get a completely different picture.

The sole reality is the reality of the self. We all know that, but we have to bend our mind towards this reality (do you say so in English?). None of our ideas of this reality are of any use when this One Reality decides to make things happen.

"I reveal to whom I choose." Point. Here nothing is said about "limits" related to this choice.

To see it the other way round is sheer atheism.

Clemens Vargas Ramos said...

As a reminder:

"When we enquire within ‘Who am I?’ the ‘I’ investigated is the ego. It is that which makes vichara (enquiry) also. The Self has no vichara. That which makes the enquiry is the ego. The ‘I’ about which the enquiry is made is also the ego. As the result of the enquiry the ego ceases to exist and only the Self is found to exist."
Gems from Bhagavan

Can the ego make himself disappear? Then why the ego of some people suddenly is disappearing? Without any visible preconditions? Because:

"I reveal to whom I choose."

Scott Fraundorf said...

Although I would love to have an enlightened guru to shed their grace upon me, and help me to realize the Self, I don't know of any I can turn to. Sure on the West Coast (of the U.S.) there are plenty of people who claim to be enlightened and charge large fees, I'm skeptical. If Ramana Maharshi was still around, I might make the trip. Since I don't have a guru, or know where I can find one that I can confidently say is a jnani, I'm taking the practice self-enquiry until that situation arises naturally approach, assuming it will in this life time even. I can see the necessity of a guru. On my own there are so many pitfalls, and although I might have a basic intellectual understanding when I read talks with ramana, or other books, when it comes to practice and experience, I can see that there are many places to go awry. Sometimes I've tried keeping the name and form of Lakshmana, or Saradamma in my mind since that is what they recommended in No mind, I am the Self. Surrendering my confusions, desires to them. Because I grew up Catholic, I even have an urge to do the same with Jesus or Mary. Laskshmana and Saradamma seemed to be of the 'opinion' that it is important that it is a living guru. Does that mean taht focusing on the name and form of Ramana is futile except for concentration since he is no longer living. Definitely Ramana Maharshi more then any other supposed jnani has resonated. I also wonder about watching Papaji on Youtube.com Since he is deceased. There seems to be some kind of grace in watching Papaji on Youtube.

Maneesha said...

Clemens Vargas Ramos,

I think what David is trying to say here is that our mind would unable to hold on to, or "grasp" the Self even though the Self is Omnipotent. This is something like Maharshi used to say about a mature sadhaka's ego getting destroyed listening only once to a great Master's teachings just like gun powder catching fire catching instantaneously by coming in contact with mere spark, while "immature" minds are compared to charcoal that needs time to catch fire. Of course, its the Self that should help us in our enquiry and make us mature to be able to grasp what a true Master says, when He says anyhing. Unless that point is reached, even the Self wouldn't choose us, to reveal itself (per your quote).

Below is a talk that talks about something similar to the quote "I reveal to whom I choose."
Talk 29:
...“Divine Grace is essential for Realisation. It leads one to
God-realisation. But such Grace is vouchsafed only to him who is
a true devotee or a yogin, who has striven hard and ceaselessly on
the path towards freedom.”...


By how I interpreted the above talk, like Maharshi said in "Marital garland of letters", He should help us ripen our minds and then reveal Himself to the "ripened" minds!

As I said before, this is my interpretation of what David has said. Rest, he will have to speak himself... :)

Mouna said...

David greetings,

Regarding my question for the new translation, thank you for your prompt response.

All the best,
Mouna

Ravi said...

Scott,
Your downright integrity is always something very refreshing and moving.In many ways your apparent'Helplessness ' is much more enviable than 'the CONFIDENT, I KNOW' attitude!
You have understood that Bhagavan 'resonates'!This is sufficient!Just continue your Practice.IT IS CERTAINLY advantageous to have the personal guidance of a Living Master!I WILL BE LYING IF I SAY otherwise!This is very helpful to clear the cobwebs that you hardly suspected existed in your 'UNDERSTANDING AND PRACTICE'.
As you have expressed so truly-" On my own there are so many pitfalls, and although I might have a basic intellectual understanding when I read talks with ramana, or other books, when it comes to practice and experience, I can see that there are many places to go awry. "

My Master IS FOND OF QUOTING cardinal Newman's -Lead Kindly Light!-ONE STEP IS ENOUGH!PLANT IT FIRMLY!THEN THE NEXT STEP!-Take heart.IF YOU ARE SINCERE AND PERESEVERING,THE GURU WILL COME IN SEARCH OF YOU.YOU DO NOT NEED TO FIND HIM!

DO ALL THE KNOWN THINGS PROPERLY and do not bother about what you do not know.This is what I do.Better to DRINK ONE's GRUEL than to HANKER AFTER SOME RICH FEAST!

The Other thing that MY MASTER has said that is most Heart Warming is this-that THE ENERGY FIELD of the Great ones is very much available and one can access it and attune oneself-THIS WAY,ONE CAN GET THE RIGHT GUIDANCE-Just like how David said that he talks to Bhagavan!IF SOME THEORETICIAN comes and tells you that this is Imagination,just quietly agree with him!DO CONTINUE YOUR WAY!just see what DAVID HAS SAID that not a day has passed without his saying-'Thank you' to God!THIS IS WHAT TRUE PRACTICE IS ALL ABOUT!You have asked whether to pray to Mother Mary!YES,WHY NOT?If you feel like praying to Bhagavan next day-FLOW WITH THAT.Do not let the ARROGANT INTELLECT come and judge what your HEART is doing.THE INTELLECT HAS TO DO ITS work and not MESS UP THE WITH FEELINGS of THE HEART.
There is not a single soul that have confined themselves to SELF ENQUIRY alone INCLUDING BHAGAVAN-Before BHAGAVAN'S DEATH EXPERIENCE,He had read the PERIYA PURANAM which contains the lives of GREAT SAINTS-and Bhagavan used to visit the temple and stand before the 63 saints whose LOVE for god was what moved Bhagavn.He used to be bathed in Tears!

Just continue your INTROSPECTION and weed out the NEGATIVES one at a time.NO FORCE IS REQUIRED.YOU ARE GIFTED WITH A SIMPLE AND STRAIGHT UNSOPHISTICATED view of things.Just see and drop what has to be dropped.
Parallely,read the lives of Great saints,THE BIBLE(I see you have interest here!KNOW THAT JESUS CHRIST IS one of the Great Gnanis!His SERMON ON THE MOUNT carries words of Great power.)

DO VICHARA with a Prayer to Bhagavan for guidance.

As David had said that he always that Bhagavan is beside him.THIS IS THE MOST USEFUL PRACTICAL TIP!THIS IS SUFFICIENT TO REMEMBER!THIS IS TO STAY IN AWARENESS.THIS IS WHAT SRI ANNAMALAI SWAMI also Practised.

WISHING YOU THE VERY BEST!

Salutations!

David Godman said...

Clemens Vargas Ramos said...

As a reminder:

"When we enquire within ‘Who am I?’ the ‘I’ investigated is the ego. It is that which makes vichara (enquiry) also. The Self has no vichara. That which makes the enquiry is the ego. The ‘I’ about which the enquiry is made is also the ego. As the result of the enquiry the ego ceases to exist and only the Self is found to exist."
Gems from Bhagavan

Can the ego make himself disappear? Then why the ego of some people suddenly is disappearing? Without any visible preconditions? Because:

"I reveal to whom I choose."


* * *

The ego co-operates in its own disappearance by turning to face its source and by allowing the power of the Self to pull it into Itself. The Self chooses for destruction those whose egos choose to look at the Self.

David Godman said...

Clemens Vargas Ramos

I remember that the author of one of the holiest scriptures of vedanta (Badarayana?) was a three-time murderer and robber before he was enlightened.

The christian Saulus was a murderer too. He was on his way to kill even more christians, when the Holy Light struck him right on his way - he fell off his horse, got enlightenment immediately and became Paulus.

* * *

Here is some information about Arunagirinatha's conversion which at first sight appears to support your position that God can instantly turn great sinners into great saints. It is from an article I wrote for The Mountain Path in 1990. The full article appears on my site in the 'Arunachala Saints' section.

* * *

Prior to the advent of Ramana Maharishi, Tiruvannamalai’s most famous saint was probably Arunagirinatha, a Murugan bhakta who lived at the foot of Arunachala in the fourteenth century. Reliable information about him is hard to come by for the earliest account of his life was not published until the nineteenth century, about 500 years after he died. This version, which has several variations, contains the following principal elements.

Arunagirinatha was born in Tiruvannamalai and spent the greater part of his life there. He was reputed to be the son of a courtesan called Muttammai. As he grew up he found the company of courtesans so attractive, he spent most of his time in their houses. When his mother died, all the properties he inherited from her were squandered to pay for his lust.

Arunagirinatha had a sister, Adi, who was very fond of him. Taking advantage of her affection, Arunagirinatha persuaded her to part with her jewels and all her other possessions so that he could continue to indulge his appetite for the local courtesans. He continued with this way of life for many years. As he became older, his body became diseased and the better class of courtesan began to jeer at him and avoid his company.

The major turning point in his life occurred when he had spent all his sister’s money. Not knowing that she was destitute, he approached her again in the hope of getting another hand-out. His sister, who had nothing left except the clothes she was wearing, told him that her funds were exhausted. Since she still loved her brother, and since she still wanted to be of assistance to him she offered him her own body, saying, ‘If your lust is so insatiable, you can use my body for your sexual satisfaction’.
These words deeply affected and shamed Arunagirinatha. He mentally reviewed the wasted years of his life and came to the conclusion that he had been committing crimes against God. As his sense of shame deepened, he decided to commit suicide by jumping off one of the gopurams in the Arunachaleswara Temple. He climbed the tower, but before he was able to jump, Lord Murugan manifested before him and held him back. In some versions of the story, Arunagirinatha actually jumped and Murugan had to catch him before he died on the paving stones below.

Murugan embraced him. Then, with his vel, (the spear that he always carries) he wrote a mantra on Arunagirinatha’s tongue, gave him a japa mala and commanded him to sing songs in praise of him.

Arunagirinatha was initially hesitant, claiming that he had no knowledge of Tamil prosody, but when Murugan encouraged him by giving him the first line of a song, Arunagirinatha found that he could effortlessly compose and sing the remainder. Murugan disappeared, leaving Arunagirinatha a totally transformed man. His diseases vanished and he became an ecstatic bhakta whose devotion manifested as a stream of new songs, all in praise of Murugan, his deliverer. He toured the town of Tiruvannamalai, composing and singing songs as he went. Later on, he travelled throughout India, still singing his songs, and visited many of the country’s famous pilgrimage centres. Traditional accounts say that he composed more than 16,000 songs in praise of Murugan. Most of them have been lost, but more than 1,300 of the surviving ones have been collected together in a work called Tiruppugazh (The Glory of God), which has now become one of the classics of Tamil devotional literature.

* * *

This is a classic 'sinner to saint' story, but I suspect that the passage of 500 years between Arunagirinatha's life and the first biography on him left ample room for mythic elements to be incorporated in the story. This is how I continued my narrative:


* * *


So much for the traditional account. If one turns from this to the historical evidence and the biographical and cultural references in Arunagirinatha’s poetry, one is likely to conclude that this account, though it contains a large germ of truth, has been greatly embellished and sensationalised.

From one reference in the Tiruppugazh it is clear that Arunagirinatha came from a Hindu family whose ancestral deity was Murugan:

'O Skanda [Murugan]! Glorious God of the hills! Pray bestow your blessings, accepting the ardent worship of this humble son to you, my ancestral deity.'

Though there is little doubt that the verses of the Tiruppugazh were brought into existence by divine inspiration, a study of their contents reveals that Arunagirinatha was a highly educated man. His songs exhibit a familiarity with the Tevarams, the Tirukkural and numerous other Tamil scriptural and philosophical works. His compositions are also sprinkled with Sanskrit words and expressions which indicate that he had studied the Itihasas, the Puranas, the Gita, the Upanishads, the Agamas and the Mantra and Tantra Sastras. Some commentators feel that the vast erudition he shows in his compositions indicates that he must have come from a family of brahmin pandits. It is not therefore likely that he was the son of a courtesan, for with such a background he would not have received a scholarly education.

It was the lot of many learned men in Arunagirinatha’s day to earn their living by composing poems in praise of rich men. Arunagirinatha himself admits that he took up this profession in order to be able to afford the fees of the local prostitutes:

'To me who seek the company of prostitutes all the time, spending on them whatever little money I earn by bestowing lavish praises on men who lack wisdom, who never pray to your holy feet, who are dunces, who indulge in devilish activities and who have no sense of gratitude – pray, Murugan, grant me moksha [from all this].'

One can deduce from this that he was already a reasonably competent poet before his encounter with Murugan and that Murugan merely enhanced his talent, enabling him to compose extempore verses that were both devotional and literary masterpieces.

Some references in the Tiruppugazh show that he was a married man and that his immoral behaviour outraged his family and made him the laughing stock of everyone in town:

'[I was] ridiculed and jeered at by my wife, by the people of the town, by the women of the place, by my father and my relatives. I was treated as a despicable person by the very people whom I have loved. With everyone scolding me or indulging in loose talk about me, my mind became confused and full of gloom. I thought within myself, "Is it for this that I strove to obtain this human body which is a treasure indeed?"'

This mention of his family seems to contradict the traditional story that casts him as an orphan who frittered away his inheritance on sensory indulgences.

Arunagirinatha was clearly aware that his immoral behaviour was sinful in the sight of God. In one of his verses he lamented: ‘Will I ever get to know how to attain your holy feet before becoming too old? I am wasting my youth by indulging in sinful and sexual pleasures.’
His life took a change for the better when he came into contact with an unknown mahatma who advised him to meditate on Lord Murugan. Arunagirinatha at first ignored the advice, but after some time he began to meditate in the manner prescribed by the mahatma. For several hours each day he sat in front of an image of Murugan, but his mind, weakened by years of dissipation, was unable to concentrate for any length of time. In despair Arunagirinatha decided to end his life. It was at this opportune moment that Lord Murugan appeared on a dancing peacock, halted him in the act and took possession of him. There is no support in any of Arunagirinatha’s verses for the well-known story that his suicide attempt was precipitated by his sister’s offer of her body, nor is it indicated anywhere that his chosen method of suicide was to jump off one of the gopurams. However, the attempted suicide and the divine intervention that prevented it are clearly documented:

'When I was about to shed life from my body, out of compassion for me and to elevate me to a better and praiseworthy status, you came upon the scene, dancing, accompanied by your celestial devotees and showered grace on me.'

* * *

So, 'sinner to saint' stories do occur, but a complete change of heart and a decision to focus on God rather than worldly things should not be equated with enlightenment. One should also remember that dramatic events such as these are often (as seems to be the case with Arunagirinatha) embroidered upon by biographers and made to seem a lot more black and white than they really are.

David Godman said...

Scott Fraundorf

'Definitely Ramana Maharshi more then any other supposed jnani has resonated.'

When Bhagavan was once asked about finding a Guru he repiled, 'Go that place where you find peace'.

That 'place' might be inside, or it might be an outer form. You should pursue whatever resonates with you and works for you, the bottom line being, 'Does it bring me peace and mental silence?'

Right now, for you, that place and that form seem to be Bhagavan.

David Godman said...

Maneesha and Clemens Vargas Ramos


Maneesha posted this comments and said I would have to say for myself whether or not I agreed with it. Yes, I do agree.

* * *

Below is a talk that talks about something similar to the quote "I reveal to whom I choose."
Talk 29:
...“Divine Grace is essential for Realisation. It leads one to
God-realisation. But such Grace is vouchsafed only to him who is
a true devotee or a yogin, who has striven hard and ceaselessly on
the path towards freedom.”...

By how I interpreted the above talk, like Maharshi said in "Marital garland of letters", He should help us ripen our minds and then reveal Himself to the "ripened" minds!

As I said before, this is my interpretation of what David has said. Rest, he will have to speak himself... :)

Clemens Vargas Ramos said...

Dear friends, I pondered on the meaning of "turning to the source" and "abiding in the aource", and this are some of my own poor thoughts and experiences on this difficult questions:

I try to express it the way I experience it, and it perhaps sounds rather strange: The search for the source of the ego in my feeling is to search for the source of restlessness. Because the ego is nothing else then restlessness and discontentment. And then to *feel* this restlessness. And to *abide* in this restlessness without being distracted and without leaving this hot spot of true fire. And then to experience how the restlessness drifts away and peace comes. And then to experience how restlessness is coming again. It's like a temperature curve.

And to learn to hold on this restlessness until the day when all vasanas (anxieties, restlessness, fears) hopefully are burned out. This feeling all this unpleasant mental and psychic movements going on in me is the experience of many, many seekers. Abiding in this means not necessarily resting in a pleasant feeling. This feeling perhaps comes afterwards (as a lasting experience).

The psychic and mental situation in the west differs from that in the east. We here have much more troubles in our mind and souls. Our feelings are more excited and "aggressive". But that has a benefit (as all extremes have its benefits): It's easier to understand what the problem is, i.e. the restlessness and the anxiety of the egoic personality.

What one needs in my eyes is not to come in contact with the true nature of God - what one needs is to come into contact with the true nature of the ego. Because the ego is the abode of all illusions and illnesses.

In Tibet they have a drastic approach to experience this, and I find this approach to be very useful: There lock themselves into a cave or a room in complet darkness for months. What happens then? In such a situation all vasanas (fears, hopes and anxieties) arise from subconsciousness into consciousness. And that is what is needed - because they are all hiding themselves in the darkness of subconsciousness. And as long all our vasanas are hidden in subconsciousness there is no chance that we can experience them consciousley - to overcome them.

I like to summarize that the quest is negative - not positive. We cannot positively search for the self but negatively, i.e. to search for what the Self is NOT. Our spiritual path has to be adopted to this teachig of vedanta and Sri Ramana. This way is very, very easy. One solely needs to look for the hindrances - not for something being unknown to the mind (like "God" or something like that).

I find it easy to understand that one cannot "find" peace - one can only find the hindrances of peace itself. "Peace" is nothing one can find somewhere - it would be like a mirage one tries to get hold on. When one of the attributes of the Self is peace, and when it is true that this is our true being - then how to become this?

David quoted this: ...and came to the conclusion that he had been committing crimes against God. As his sense of shame deepened, he decided to commit suicide by jumping off one of the gopurams in the Arunachaleswara Temple. He climbed the tower, but before he was able to jump, Lord Murugan manifested before him and held him back....

This is exactly what I tried to express: Surrender of the ego means complet willingness to die. Total hopelessness. And afterwards it is possible for the Self to stretch the hand.

Certainly this law of universe is true: If there is total surrender then all divine powers of the universe will descend to help. But the question ist: WHAT is total surrender? Could we call the longing of the ego to "find" God a "total surrender"? What is it the ego tries to find on his "quest for God"? We need to transform words into personal experience. Otherwise is a danger to produce merely mental images.

Don't we forget Sri Ramana explaining:

"M.: You need not eliminate the wrong ‘I’. How can ‘I’ eliminate itself? All that you need do is to find out its origin and abide there. Your efforts can extend only thus far. Then the Beyond will take care of itself. You are helpless there. No effort can reach it." (Talk 196)

Why did he say "helplessness"? This is the question for me.
Why didn't he say: "Find the origin, abide there, and all will be ok!"? Or "finding the source you will get eternal joy"?

What is the meaning of "the Beyond will take care of itself"? Obviously this is not so easy to understand because it is the result of His experience.

We speak of "true striving", "devotee", "yogin", "hard" and "ceaselessly" and "freedom". What does this mean to the individual SOUL? Obviously the meaning for each individual seeker is different. We produce a lot of mental images trying to understand this. This shows in my eyes what Sr Ramana tried to say with "No effort can reach it" - we can find the ego but not God. God itself has to stretch his hand, and this is His will. How can we find something we don't know? If we know what exactly what we are looking for - why looking at all? The quest for God/Self implies that we are definitely not know what to look for, isn't it?

Hopefull I was able to express things clearly to you, my friends. If not please comment on this.

Ravi said...

Ramos,
Your approach is BRILLIANT!whether it is the same Bhagavan has expounded and all that is secondary.YOU GOT HOLD OF THE MEAT OF THE PROBLEM!
"The search for the source of the ego in my feeling is to search for the source of restlessness. Because the ego is nothing else then restlessness and discontentment. And then to *feel* this restlessness. And to *abide* in this restlessness without being distracted and without leaving this hot spot of true fire. And then to experience how the restlessness drifts away and peace comes. And then to experience how restlessness is coming again. It's like a temperature curve."


THIS IS WHAT JK means by OBSERVING WHAT IS actually!

Yet it DEPENDS on how this observation takes place!Passive or active?ONE NEEDS TO JUST OBSERVE AND NOT ACT!

"The psychic and mental situation in the west differs from that in the east. We here have much more troubles in our mind and souls. Our feelings are more excited and "aggressive". But that has a benefit (as all extremes have its benefits): It's easier to understand what the problem is, i.e. the restlessness and the anxiety of the egoic personality."

Interesting!I need to tell you that it is the same in the EAST as well.It will be better to classify this not Geographically or culturally but on the Basis of STABLE RELATIONSHIPS!Wherever the stable family relationships are jeopardised,THERE IS A HUGE problem.Lack of Trust,cynicism,repressed emotional states-Truly they complicate ANY SORT OF APPROACH.one has to do a PURGING!Get back to normal relationships-Assuming that one is fortunate enough to find such a channel.TRULY COMPLEX!

The core thing in all this Ramos is-If There is a JUNK,makes sense not to EXAMINE it-Realise that it is JUNK and Just dump it.This is one possible danger in this sort of approach that ONE DEVELOPS A HABIT of OBSERVING the Junk!

I AM SURE WITH YOUR KEEN INTELLECT,YOU WOULD HAVE SEEN THESE PITFALLS.

The more sure way is the more direct and simple way of Childlike Trust and surrender that YOU APPRECIATE IN SUPER ABUNDANCE!No substitute for this in the face of what you define as a COMPLEX CULTURAL PROBLEMS!

I KNOW THAT YOU ARE LOOKING AT THE PROBLEM AND EXPLORING THE SOLUTION FROM ALL ANGLES.
However as Sri Ramakrishna used to say-When you are thirsty ,just gently take the water from the top without TOO MUCH of a stirring.THIS ADVICE seems to give the impression that OUTWARDLY WE REMAIN CALM BUT INWARDLY We REMAIN THE SAME!The answer is no-HE REFERS ONLT TO THE MIND!As The Heart develops in TRUST and surrender,THE MIND can be abandoned in TOTO!

Salutations to you and THANKS VERY MUCH for Bringing these points from different perspectives!

Clemens Vargas Ramos said...

... on the Basis of STABLE RELATIONSHIPS!Wherever the stable family relationships are jeopardised,THERE IS A HUGE problem.Lack of Trust,cynicism,repressed emotional states-Truly they complicate ANY SORT OF APPROACH.one has to do a PURGING!Get back to normal relationships...

Yes, it's catastrophic. That's why some teachers here say: Before we are trying to search for the true "I" we have to search for the little "i". You certainly know that the western devotees of Osho practiced kinds of "anti aggressive" treatments - they had special rooms where the people beat each other. Horrible, but what else could be a solution in a situation where people have had horrible experiences in their families and needed help to work with that?

... -If There is a JUNK,makes sense not to EXAMINE it-Realise that it is JUNK and Just dump it.This is one possible danger in this sort of approach that ONE DEVELOPS A HABIT of OBSERVING the Junk! ...

Really true. It is the ego with all his vasanas being the junk, isn't it? I remember one day talking to my wife of vasanas for the first time. I was astonished to see that she immediately could grasp the idea and the consequences of this approach to mind and soul. Because this kind of "true objectivity" is not that easy to understand. From that day on we never had any further problems in identifying and understanding this kind of problems. Really a wonderful example of a concept being the "thorn to remove the thorn".

Ravi said...

Ramos,
Osho!Catharsis!...Really do not know how valuable or effective these are.My opinion is that this cannot be done this way.Expressing violence to bring it out!Truly doubt the approach.LOVE ALONE heals the scars.Remember how Mahatma Gandhi handled these problems.Yet it did not work for all.

"I remember one day talking to my wife of vasanas for the first time. I was astonished to see that she immediately could grasp the idea and the consequences of this approach to mind and soul. Because this kind of "true objectivity" is not that easy to understand. From that day on we never had any further problems in identifying and understanding this kind of problems. Really a wonderful example of a concept being the "thorn to remove the thorn".

Your wife is a blessed soul.Thanks very much Ramos for sharing this.My master places great emphasis on Harmonious Relationship between couples.This is a great aid in spiritual living.In fact I was mentioning about you and your Name ending with your wife's name to my wife!She is very appreciative-'How Nice!'
May the Blessings of all the Great ones be with you!

Clemens Vargas Ramos said...

... My opinion is that this cannot be done this way.Expressing violence to bring it out!Truly doubt the approach.LOVE ALONE heals the scars. ...

That's true. It wasn't an approach but a therapy. We generally have a strong tendency here to treat the things mentally. The people here sometimes don't feel enough. They like to hear arguments. They are discussing things or trying to understand the things the mental way. I visited a so called "self enquiry seminar" and was astonished to see that the people tried to *analyze* each other - hunting the ego, you understand? In fact they made themselves to become angry. Horrible! I asked them about that and then they got angry on me! They said this to be none of my business. Thats true, but is this really the question? Perhaps it worked for them - this is definitely not my way.

...Your wife is a blessed soul....

Thank you. That is really true.

...in fact I was mentioning about you and your Name ending with your wife's name to my wife...

In latin america the last name is made up of two parts: the first part of the surname is the name of the male husband. And the second part is the maiden name of the female husband = VARGAS RAMOS. Clemens is the first name. In latin america this constellation (that the male husband got the name of the female husband) is impossible. In Colombia the people on hearing the names believe me to be the brother of my wife. It was in Germany where we got married and here the husbands can arrange their names like they want.

Ravi said...

Ramos,
"I visited a so called "self enquiry seminar" and was astonished to see that the people tried to *analyze* each other - hunting the ego, you understand? In fact they made themselves to become angry. Horrible! I asked them about that and then they got angry on me! "
I had a hearty laugh reading your experience!Looks like you got a therapy where osho and others failed!You could succeed in bringing out the Anger-The therapy has worked!may be they thought it is 'little self ' enquiry.Jokes apart,I really feel sorry for people who have to go through this sort of trauma.you are very right that 'mental'analysis only leads to paralysis.
Thanks for explaining the details of your name.Very Interesting.

Ravi said...

Jupes,
This is in continuation to where we left off,regarding Emotions-->Feelings---->Awareness.Please give me a day or two(I need to get into spontaneous Flow,and not use my mind!).Meantime,I will request you to view your Vichara experience in the light of our discussions.Here I am copying your first ever post:
"When I say 'I - I', I often notice tension moving out of my body, and my awareness moving from my head downward towards the heart. It's usually only a matter of seconds, or a split second, before thoughts begin piling in again. But if I can have a brief moment of simply being, I feel like I've accomplished something. And, if I don't have that, I try not to judge myself for not being able to do it. That part is very important: not judging myself. I know that Bhagavan wouldn't judge me, so why should I judge myself?

Speaking of Bhagavan, looking at a picture of him, especially into his eyes, really helps calm me and can bring me to vichara. "

Especially what you have said about looking at Sri Bhagavan's Picture,his Eyes,etc-This is the Key!
I am sure you would have got it already!Also the reson why I had recommended Letters from Sri Ramanashramam!

Salutations To You!

Ravi said...

Jupes,
In continuation of the Bhakti approach,Pl see what Sri Bhagavan has to say at the Beginning of the thread-I am copying it here!
"Question: What is Guru-kripa? [Guru’s grace] How does it lead to Self-realisation?

Bhagavan: Guru is the Self.... Sometimes in his life a man becomes dissatisfied with it, and, not content with what he has, he seeks the satisfaction of his desires, through prayer to God, etc. His mind is gradually purified until he longs to know God, more to obtain his grace than to satisfy his worldly desires. Then, God’s grace begins to manifest. God takes the form of a Guru and appears to the devotee, teaches him the truth and, moreover, purifies his mind by association. The devotee’s mind gains strength and is then able to turn inward. By meditation it is further purified and it remains still without the least ripple. That calm expanse is the Self.

The Guru is both ‘external’ and ‘internal’. From the ‘exterior’ he gives a push to the mind to turn inward; from the ‘interior’ he pulls the mind towards the Self and helps in the quieting of the mind. That is guru-kripa. There is no difference between God, Guru and the Self. "
(Maharshi’s Gospel, p. 33)

This is the direction we are headed!This is the Natural path.Otherwise Vichara will be a Mental Gymnastics only!

Salutations!

Jupes said...

Ravi,
Thanks for switching from the lengthy Vichara thread to this shorter, more accessible one. Most considerate of you! Also, thanks for the book tips and weblink that you left on the other thread. I will look for them when I can.

Interesting to re-read my initial comments on vichara at this juncture. Yes, the EYES are certainly the key. It was Bhagavan's eyes that first attracted me to Him and that sucked me in to this path I'm on now. There is a picture of Him facing me at my computer desk and I look at it frequently. The long loadtimes that I experience on this blog are often spent gazing into His eyes.

Regarding vichara as mental gymnastics, the more I do it the more natural it becomes and the less it feels like a mental drill. Sometimes it still does, but I'd rather be doing that than thinking about something else.

Thank you, Ravi, for all your efforts in going through this process with me. I am finding it extremely helpful and maybe it is for others too.

Best wishes to you and to everyone!

Ravi said...

Jupes,
You are a blessed soul.You have Sri Bhagavan himself guiding you!Leeser souls have to plod and wade!
I enjoyed reading about your waiting for the page to load LOOKING at Bhagavan's EYES!They are as powerful as they always have been-REASON MAY CALL THIS "IMAGINATION"-I am only reminded of what Swami Vivekananda(one of the greatest intellects!)said regarding this-'MAN YOU ARE ALREADY HYPNOTISED BY THE WORLD PROCESS!YOU ARE NOW DEHYPNOTISING YOURSELF"-This is the Truth and surely there is no better way to do 'Vichara' or any other path,THAN DEVOTION to the Guru.The Guru gives US back to US!

Salutations!

I am learning much .Thanks for all your help and encouragement.

DAVID,
Thanks for your silent DIVINE ACTIVITY in posting the comments as Mails to Jupes!You are a Blessed soul-a perfect Blend of Gnana and Bhakti.If I have read you correctly,you lean towards the Bhakti side !Some of us would like to show only the Tusks!As for me,I do not have TUSKS,may be short ones,so not much of a scope!

Jupes said...

Ravi,
'to plod and wade'.... must be part of Bhagavan's guidance because I seem to do a lot of that!

About the power of Bhagavan's EYES... I know just what you mean about the tendency for REASON to call this IMAGINATION. Often when I look at that picture, Bhagavan's face appears to be vibrating or somehow moving--an incredible sense of aliveness that you wouldn't expect from paper and ink. (I printed this photo on my computer several years ago. Never framed it. Has no backing or support. Just hangs from a clip on a nail and always remains in perfect shape. Have thought that if I framed it or somehow tried to make it more substantial that it would be ruined.) I have a fairly active imagination but I know that how I perceive this picture is not just about what I'm 'seeing.' And looking at it definitely helps with the 'dehypnotizing' you mentioned.

And, speaking of 'blessed souls' and silent DIVINE ACTIVITY... here's a little story for you. Last week when we were discussing the new blog formatting it was my computer that was (apparently) having the hardest time adjusting. (I left a comment to this effect.) I couldn't see about 40% of the text from left to right, had tried all the little 'tricks' that were mentioned and, because I know how limited my computer is, was resigning myself to just living with it that way. However, I was in touch with David about it, sent him some screen shots of how it looked, and he was talking to people at his end and making valuable suggestions.

Last Friday evening, out of the blue, I was loading the main blog page and for the first time EVER it looked absolutely beautiful. In fact, a problem I was having BEFORE the formatting changes had ALSO 'corrected' itself. In a state of elation and disbelief I emailed David to tell him the good news and to find out what he had done at his end to cause the changes. He wrote back and said he hadn't done ANYTHING and that something must have straightened itself out inside my computer. Well, apparently that is the case, but I know this computer well enough to know that the tendency is far more likely that things will GO SOUTH than to straighten themselves out.

Immediately I thought of Bhagavan and of David's long, deep and unflinching relationship with Him and somehow I just knew that my computer did not correct itself without Divine Intervention. David, you may not agree with this, but I do think that if you had not been there as a silent INTERCESSOR, I would still be looking at a messy, unsatisfying screen whenever I loaded your blog. I don't know how else to explain this. It seems so obvious.

So, I think you are right, Ravi. Bhagavan's guidance is very much with me, as it is with all of us. And I think that this is compounded greatly by the associations I have with all of you, through this blog. Thank you to EVERYONE for this great virtual community!!

Best wishes!

Ravi said...

Jupes,
Wonderful to read your post!I enjoyed every line of it and hence no need to cut and paste any specific word or line.Yes,Everything is Guru's Grace-the limited mind perceives it RETROSPECTIVELY!-as Sri Aurobindo puts it!
Coming to David-I recall what Bhagavan said when someone commented that he was partial to Westerners!I think the target was Grant Duff-Bhagavan said quite simply-"At this age that one should think of quitting all comfort and crossing half the Globe to trust and come to someone who wears a Loin cloth!If you have such a trust,then you will also get it!"-These are in my own words-but this is the essence.Blessed is he who can abandon everything and come to Bhagavan.Like Bhagavan says in his Akshara MaNa Maalai-"Did you not ask me to come!Now come and measure out my dole!"-David certainly CAN DEMAND his Dole and Arunachala has to GIVE it!

Salutations to You!

Clemens Vargas Ramos said...

.

Dear friends,

REMINDERS
==========

Realisation of Supreme Bliss is not possible without relative knowledge

Talk 204.

Maharshi on Self-Illumination: The ‘I’ concept is the ego. I-illumination is the Realisation of the Real Self. It is ever shining forth as ‘I-I’ in the intellectual sheath. It is pure Knowledge; relative knowledge is only a concept. The bliss of the blissful sheath is also but a concept. Unless there is the experience, however subtle it is, one cannot say “I slept happily”. From his intellect he speaks of his blissful sheath.

The bliss of sleep is but a concept to the person, the same as intellect. However, the concept of experience is exceedingly subtle in sleep. Experience is not possible without simultaneous knowledge of it (i.e. relative knowledge).

The inherent nature of the Self is Bliss. Some kind of knowledge has to be admitted, even in the realisation of Supreme Bliss. It may be said to be subtler than the subtlest.

.

Jupes said...

Ravi,
Thank you for your beautiful, moving comments. Here are some thoughts that came to me:

Blessed is he who can abandon everything and come to Bhagavan.
'abandoning everything and coming to Bhagavan' = being always (or mostly?) engaged in vichara OR being altogether realized in the Self.

the limited mind perceives Grace RETROSPECTIVELY.
True or false: If one is perfectly present, through Self-enquiry, then one is beyond the limited mind and can perceive Grace in the moment.
OR, is it even possible to 'perceive Grace in the moment', and would it be more accurate to say that Grace can't be perceived by anything BUT the limited mind, because the act of perceiving is accomplished by the ego?

Best regards to everyone!

Ravi said...

Jupes/Friends,
"the limited mind perceives Grace RETROSPECTIVELY.
True or false: If one is perfectly present, through Self-enquiry, then one is beyond the limited mind and can perceive Grace in the moment.
OR, is it even possible to 'perceive Grace in the moment', and would it be more accurate to say that Grace can't be perceived by anything BUT the limited mind, because the act of perceiving is accomplished by the ego?"

Thanks very much for raising this.The Nature of the Pure mind is NOT TO THINK but just perceive or observe!The Limited mind is the one caught up in thoughts-Like Knowing ABOUT the person is not the same as knowing the person.As long as the THOUGHTS are there,Present is absent!
Abandoning everything means-to drop the 'I' and 'Mine',including Doing vichara!Just BE!in a State of surrender.
The Bhakti way that we have discussed just shortcircuits this THINKING MIND that is the greatest obstacle and takes the direct route like the Dog(HMV and not the POLICE DOG-The Police one is after a reward!)following the scent of its Master.
Yes,for some people who are of the 'Thinking' type and who are impersonal in their dealings with others,the 'Vichara' way may be the only option!They live more in their thoughts than Feelings.
The Bhakta or the devotee abandons the 'I' and 'Mine' and is after the 'THOU' only.Finally only Bhagavan alone is!HE is the self.
HE is the world and HE is HE.

Now My Question-What was Bhagavan's approach in his all too brief 'sadhana'-SELF ENQUIRY or Surrender?

Namaskars!

Jupes said...

Ravi,
About your question as to whether Bhagavan's 'approach' to his 'sadhana' was Self-enquiry or surrender... first of all, I would use different words to characterize his experience, simply because, as stated, it implies that there was something deliberate about what he was doing and that he had some awareness that 'practicing' would lead to a particular outcome. (I imagine this is completely obvious and doesn't need to be said, but I said it anyway.) So, maybe just to say: Prior to Bhagavan's realizing the Self, did he do anything that seemed like Self-enquiry or surrender?

It seems clear that Self-enquiry was part of what he was doing. Here is an excerpt from David's post on Bhagavan's death experience from May 7th.

Bhagavan: ‘This body is going to die,’ I said to myself, referring to the gross physical body. I had no idea that there was any sukshma sarira [subtle body] in human beings. I did not even think of the mind. I thought of the gross physical body when I used the term body, and I came to the conclusion that when it was dead and rigid (then it seemed to me that my body had actually become rigid as I stretched myself like a corpse with rigor mortis upstairs, thinking this out) I was not dead. I was, on the other hand, conscious of being alive, in existence. So the question arose in me, ‘What was this “I”? Is it the body? Who called himself the “I”?’

So I held my mouth shut, determined not to allow it to pronounce ‘I’ or any other syllable. Still I felt within myself, the ‘I’ was there, and the thing calling or feeling itself to be ‘I’ was there. What was that? I felt that there was a force or current, a centre of energy playing on the body, continuing regardless of the rigidity or activity of the body, though existing in connection with it. It was that current, force or centre that constituted my Self, that kept me acting and moving, but this was the first time I came to know it. I had no idea of my Self before that. From that time on, I was spending my time absorbed in contemplation of that current.


As far as surrender goes, I do think that surrender was part of it also. From the description, it sounds like he was 'surrendered' to what was happening to him, thinking that he was dying and surrendering to what he (apparently) thought was the dying process, before realizing that he wasn't dead. He seems immersed in the unfolding of his experience in a way that is, perhaps, 'surrender'. This is a rather simplistic way of looking at it, but I'm honestly not sure what else to say. Maybe someone can help me with this one!

Best wishes!

Ravi said...

Jupes,
I had asked that question on Sri Bhagavan's 'Brief Sadhana'in the context of what I intend continuing-Ofcourse,Sri Bhagavan has given some hints regarding this aspect:
1.He was aware of some deep presecience(My own word-ravi)or feeling of 'Arunachala'-As something very 'Great'.
2.He had read the lives of 63 Saints of Periya Puranam and he used to visit the temle and stand before the statues of these saints,wishng that he should also be blessed with such a devotion as theirs.
3.When his uncle tells Bhagavan that he had come from Arunachalam,Sri Bhagavan wondered whether such a place existed on 'Earth'.
4.When he Left Madurai ,He wrote a letter stating that AT HIS FATHER's BEHEST(My Master emphasises that the Tamil Word 'THAGAPPANAR'-meaning Father-This shows the influence of the Bible,as Sri Bhagavan studied in a christian school-This word is used only by the Christians to mean 'Heavenly Father'.Hindus use the word 'APPAN'that Bhagavan used subsequently as mentioned by Suri Nagamma in the very first letter) he is leaving,etc.
5.Bhagavan proceeds straight to the Arunachaleswara temple as soon as he Reaches Tiruvannamalai,etc.

These are some of the Facts that are available as Hints-I would like to use these to explain The Bhakti way!This is my own understanding.

One of the Stronest Hints that Bhagavan has given is in his Akshara maNa Maalai-Where he says in an autobiographical vein-"Thous Dost Root out the Ego of those who Meditate on Thee!Oh Arunachala!"

I have often seen all the biographers of Sri Bhagavan focussing on the 'DEATH EXPERIENCE' as if that is the only Sadhana that Bhagavan ever did(Or Did Not Do!-It all happened!).Yes,That was the way it precipitated,but there is certainly more to Bhagavan's Reading the Periya Puranam,visiting the Temples,Shedding tears of Love,his strong presecience or Foreboding of 'Arunachala'-(This is the genesis of the Dog following the Master's Scent!)than is acknowledged!This is my opinion and this is part of what we are going to discuss in he Bhakti way.

Salutations!

Jupes said...

Ravi,
Thanks for clarifying on your purpose for the query on Bhagavan's sadhana. Since I understood (or misunderstood?) that one who has realized the Self does not, or can not, 'do' sadhana, I took your question as pointing to his 'death experience' and did not link it to our discussion on the Bhakti approach. Sorry about that.

Interestingly, around the time you asked that question I came to the next letter in Letters from Sri Ramanasramam and it happened to be on this very topic: sadhana, including Bhagavan speaking of his own sadhana. I will post it here.

_______
23rd August,1946
(68) SADHANA–SAKSHATKARAM
(PRACTICE–MANIFESTATION)

The day before yesterday a learned man who came from Madras, began at 3 p.m.to question Bhagavan thus: “Was there a period at any time when Bhagavan did sadhana?” Bhagavan said, “Sadhana? Sadhana for what? What is there to do sadhana for? Sitting like this is itself sadhana. I used to sit like this always. I used to close my eyes then; now I keep them open. That is the only difference. What is now, was then also. What was there then, is also here now. Sadhana is necessary only if there is a thing other than ‘I ’, Self. Sadhana is required only for one who does not look towards the Self which is permanent, but is deluded by looking at the body, etc., which are transitory and delusive; but not for one who sees the Self and so does not see anything else different. And what else is sadhana for?”

Someone asked, “Then why is it that many books say that no one can attain jnana without a Guru?” Bhagavan said, “Yes. For those who, because of the action of their minds, are deluded into believing that they are the bodies, a Guru and
sadhana are necessary to get rid of that delusion. ”Another person asked, “People say that those who have received upasana can attain the physical manifestation of their favourite God and other blessings by sadhana. What is the meaning?”

Bhagavan said, “That which is present at all times is sakshath (manifest). The person ‘I ’ is always present (sakshath ). Then what is karam? That which is the cause is karam, so sakshatkaram (manifestation) means the knowledge of that which is true, that which is permanent and that which is the cause of everything is one’s own Self. And they say that God will descend from somewhere and manifest Himself if the Self, which is ever existing, creates a shape according to its own desires, and meditates on it. You give up the Self ,which is existing at all times and at all places, and do sadhana with the hope that some God from somewhere will manifest Himself. They say that God just descends and again just disappears. You give up the Self which is always existent and strive for this transient vision, obtain boons and thus multiply the mental struggles and strivings. There will be no trouble at all if one simply remains as one is,” said Bhagavan.

Though Bhagavan was teaching us so clearly that sakshatkaram means only the good state and the good ideas beyond the owner’s thoughts, I felt it a great pity that we were not able to understand it. While I was thus thinking, someone asked, “That state of exalted thought and existence which is above the owner’s mental plane is natural and possible only for people like Bhagavan, but is it possible for ordinary people like us without sadhana?” Bhagavan said, “Certainly it is! Sadhana is necessary but for what purpose? His Self is there at all times and at all places. So there is no need to try and get it from somewhere else. Sadhana is only to get rid of the bodily and other illusions which are in the way of the self standing up as Self. This delusion arises only by thinking that this bodily world is real, instead of looking at the Self, which is real. Sadhana is only to get rid of this illusion. Otherwise, why should there be sadhana for the Self to attain its own Self? He who has realised his own Self does not recognize anything else.”
_______

Looking forward to your continuation on the Bhakti approach. All the VERY BEST to you, Ravi!

Greetings to ALL.

Ravi said...

Dear Jupes,
Thanks very much for your Best wishes and the beautiful post-Especially for The Guru's message-That the SELF is what you are and Realise it here and now!The Mind understands this yet the Realisation is not there!At the same time this(Bhagavan's simple pointer) is undeniable as well!
I tend to feel that most of the people who approached Bhagavan did so with their MINDS and did not put their HEART into their queries.The MIND asks for DETAILS,the HEART asks for the ESSENCE.I find that Sri Bhagavan consistently discourages the mind hankering for the details-its basic aim being to justify its own convictions and prolong the ordeal!Sri Bhagavan does not give any scope for this!
I find that it is Ms Noye who represents the Archetype of the HEART!How Bhagavan even accepted the rose and held it to his cheeks!

Just to continue some more Facts ignored by the Biographers-1.Sri Bhagavan was born in a Brahmin Family and has had his 'SACRED THREAD' ceremony-Surely he would have learnt performing the Sandhya and the GAYATHRI MANTRA.
2.It is unthinkable for me to understand that he had not heard the word BRAHMAN as it is even used for anyone sitting idle-"You are sitting like parabrahmam!".These are used by illiterates!One may understand that the SIGNIFICANCE of the word may not have been understood but with Bhagavan having this experience,he would have immediately connected to all that he had heard earlier.
3.Sri Bhagavan used to help out in the preparation of PRASAD(Food offerings)to the deity on festival days(these are too many for the Hindus,more so Brahmins!).
4.Sri Bhagavan's mother was an orthodox Brahmin Lady and even after her coming to Tiruvannamalai stuck to her ways!(Brahminical!).

I am just raising these points to highlight that Sri Bhagavan certainly had a PAST-Surely in the Face of Self Realization ,these things fade away-Like Sri Ramakrishna says-"When one looks from the Hill top everything looks Flat,The Tall Trees and the Lowly Shrub!All are EQUALLY FLAT!".

Now the important point that I wish to convey is that No one,including Bhagavan followed the 'SELF ENQUIRY' ALONE-In fact many did not follow it at all.They ARRIVED at a POINT when THIS HAPPENED.Now for some reason,These Great souls did not EMPHASISE the validity of their earlier RAMBLINGS IN WILDERNESS(as it appears,but I do not personally agree!.For me These are also part of GOD PLAYING THE FOOL AND UNMASKING HIMSELF TO REVEAL HIMSELF!)
It is something like a Jumbojet Flying in the sky,still requires a runway to launch itself.When it fies in the sky,the wheels are retracted and certainly are NOT REQUIRED FOR FLYING.As a Small Glider,I may require the assistance of a Jeep to tow me and launch me into whatever orbit is designed for me!I understand that I need to learn to Fly.

Namaskars!

Ravi said...

Jupes/Friends,
I am copying the excerpt of Ms Eleanour Pauline Noye as it appears in the Golden Jubilee souvenir(was available as a download from the Ramanashram site).
"The monsoon was on, the air was fresh and clean and
all the earth seemed radiant. Whenever it rained Bhagavan’s
attendants put a white cloth on His chest to protect His
body from the cold weather. He looked like a sweet child
wearing a bib, and with all His Wisdom and greatness one
is struck by His childlike nature. At other times He looks
like the King of kings; His poise and dignity are
outstanding. When some times at night He would throw a
shawl over His head, He looked like the Madonna, I would
stand outside in silent adoration. Again, at other times He
looked like a devoted father smiling upon His children. I
loved to watch Him as He walked up the hill, just when the
sun was setting. And it was my greatest delight when I could
go with Him.
One morning I picked a lovely rose; my first thought was
to give it to the Master. a devotee said: “What a beautiful rose!”
I replied, “Yes, it is for Bhagavan.” I sat in the hall, wondering if
I should give it to Him. After a few minutes I laid it on the
small footstool at His sofa, and he said: “What is that?” I replied,
“Only a rose.” He said, “Give it to me.” He took it and touched
with it His forehead and cheeks. I was so deeply touched, I
wept."
This is a totally different perspective about Sri Bhagavan-Very Intimate and human.Persons who did not approach with their MINDS filled with ideas experienced this wonderful aspect-The animals were more fortunate than the 'intelligent' Humans!

Ravi said...

Jupes,
Here is more of Ms Noye's wonderful reminiscence:
"As the time to leave drew near I was very sad; I knew this
time I would really go. It had been eight months since I returned
to the Ashram for the second time! Those last days I spent with
the Master were blissful. He was so kind and tender; and when
He smiled at me, tears would fill my yes. I wondered how I
could ever leave the place. When the day of parting came, I
could not stop crying. In the morning I walked on the Hill
with Bhagavan and some other devotees, then again in the
afternoon, when we had our pictures taken with Him. As I
walked down the Hill with Him for the last time He alone
knew what was in my heart.
The little monkeys were all lined up on either side of the
Hill-path. Bhagavan told them to come and say good-bye to
me. He knew I loved them also. When we reached the hall,
Bhagavan read a few comforting passages from Psalms, Chapter
139, verses 7, 8, 9, and 10.
* Self-Realisation, Page 286.
469
He invited me to have supper with Him, as ladies are not
allowed in the dining hall at night. It was Blessed joy to have
that last meal with the Master. I shall never forget it. Just before
I left I went to Him for His Blessing and wept at His feet as my
heart overflowed with adoration and love. He is dearer to me
than life itself. May I consecrate my life to Him! Then I said
good-bye to the devotees in the Ashram, who were invariably
kind to me.
I have tried in my humble way to tell about the
wonderful experience I had when I was at Sri
Ramanashramam with the Enlightened One, but mere words
can never express the peace and joy one feels in His Presence;
it must be experienced. There one truly has a glimpse of the
Eternal."

Salutations!

Subramanian. R said...

Dear David and others, the
greatness of a guru has always
emphasized in Hindu thought.
Take any great work, Vivka
Choodamani, Kaivalaym or
Upanishads, it is all guru-
disciple conversation and at
the end, the disciple thanks
guru for conferring the ways
to enlightenment. Incidentally,
to say that GVK is intellectual
and not with 'bhakti bhava'
is to belittle both Guru and
the disciple, because GVK
contains more than 20 verses
of Bhgavan Himself.

Subramanian. R said...

Dear David and others, the
greatness of a guru has always
emphasized in Hindu thought.
Take any great work, Vivka
Choodamani, Kaivalaym or
Upanishads, it is all guru-
disciple conversation and at
the end, the disciple thanks
guru for conferring the ways
to enlightenment. Incidentally,
to say that GVK is intellectual
and not with 'bhakti bhava'
is to belittle both Guru and
the disciple, because GVK
contains more than 20 verses
of Bhgavan Himself.

Ravi said...

Jupes,
“The Guru is both ‘external’ and ‘internal’. From the ‘exterior’ he gives a push to the mind to turn inward; from the ‘interior’ he pulls the mind towards the Self and helps in the quieting of the mind. That is guru-kripa.”
Aspiration is what sets us on our inward journey –piercing the envelope of smoky emotions, mixed feelings, it makes its presence felt in a soft and gentle way; Familiar yet new, distant yet near, a nostalgic tug. Often this may visit us when we are least prepared and despite repeated overlooking persists –This is the scent of the master within. Often this is identified as a distant Echo within, of what attracts us from the outside -A Deity, or a Guru who is the very embodiment of Love, Compassion and Knowledge supreme. It is only natural that these find expression in Human terms-one tends to look upon the Guru as one’s Mother, Father, Friend, Guide, and Master. We start at an emotional level, move to the feeling level and onto the Awareness level-Dwelling on the life of the Guru becomes the pastime and sharing it with others becomes a passion. The very Mention of the Name or seeing the Form of the Deity or Guru is enough to effect this shifting of the centre of consciousness to the deepest awareness level. This is the state of surrender. This is the objective of Vichara as well.
As one matures in sadhana, one gradually shifts the centre of Being from the emotional level to the Feeling Level and finally to the awareness level. The Disappearance of the ‘I’ cannot be willed. That has to happen through Grace only-All is Grace, yet the element of Effort that was present earlier will have to be dropped.

So, how do I actually go about this-I presume that you will be interested in this-I have already let the cat out of the Bag! You know how I like the Kathamrita-How I adore Sri Ramakrishna-He is more ‘me’ than myself! The Kathamrita is a book which abounds in Graphic descriptions and helps create a sort of Satsangh with the Master.’M’ who was a householder could visit Sri Ramakrishna only during weekends-How to spend the rest of the days away from the Master’s Magnetic pull?’M’ maintained a diary that recreated the complete scene of time spent with the Master. This helped him to stay connected with the Master and relish his presence. This is available to people like me-I do feel the presence and guidance of the Master.

How do I soak in the Presence? There are several enchanting scenes in the Kathamrita-I will just give one example-It is towards the end of the very first chapter.
“It was now late in the evening and time for M.'s departure; but he felt reluctant to go and instead went in search of Sri Ramakrishna. He had been fascinated by the Master's singing and wanted to hear more. At last he found the Master pacing alone in the natmandir in front of the Kali temple. A lamp was burning in the temple on either side of the image of the Divine Mother. The single lamp in the spacious natmandir blended light and darkness into a kind of mystic twilight, in which the figure of the Master could be dimly seen.

M. had been enchanted by the Master's sweet music. With some hesitation he asked him whether there would be any more singing that evening. "No, not tonight", said Sri Ramakrishna after a little reflection. Then, as if remembering something, he added: "But I'm going soon to Balaram Bose's house in Calcutta. Come there and you'll hear me sing." M. agreed to go.

MASTER: "Do you know Balaram Bose?"

M: "No, sir. I don't."

MASTER: "He lives in Bosepara."

M: "Well, sir, I shall find him."

As Sri Ramakrishna walked up and down the hall with M., he said to him: "Let me ask you something. What do you think of me?"

M. remained silent. Again Sri Ramakrishna asked: "What do you think of me? How many annas of knowledge of God have I?"

M: "I don't understand what you mean by 'annas'. But of this I am sure: I have never before seen such knowledge, ecstatic love, faith in God, renunciation, and catholicity anywhere."

The Master laughed.

M. bowed low before him and took his leave. He had gone as far as the main gate of the temple garden when he suddenly remembered something and came back to Sri Ramakrishna, who was still in the natmandir. In the dim light the Master, all alone, was pacing the hall, rejoicing in the Self — as the lion lives and roams alone in the forest.

In silent wonder M. surveyed that great soul.”


Just contemplate this wonderful scene of the Master Pacing the Hall- rejoicing in the Self — as the lion lives and roams alone in the forest. His presence is what fills me. This is what Sri Bhagavan meant in the quotation at the beginning of this post.

Jupes, I have suggested reading the Letters from Ramanashramam to you with this objective.

Thanks for your encouragement and patience in putting up with all this kid stuff.


Namaskars!

Jupes said...

Ravi,
Thanks so much for these incredibly beautiful and moving accounts from Eleanor Noye. I have read her writing before, maybe even these very passages, but have never been as moved as I am now. I am left with a sense of serenity, and also sadness and longing. What a great expression of deep devotion and love for the Guru!

Thanks also for your earlier comment stating more facts about Bhagavan's past and his exposure to things that would point to possible sadhana prior to Self-realization. I love your quote from Sri Ramakrishna about everything looking flat from atop the hill. So true, so true!

It does make sense that great souls who have advanced to a certain point might not relate much about how they got to where they are. I guess that when one is 'flying' one does not necessarily think about the wheels that helped get her/him off the ground!

I do get your point about Self-enquiry not being the only practice that Bhagavan and others did. Thanks for all the clarifying!

Best wishes!

PS. I just noticed your new comment as I was posting this. Haven't read it yet.

Jupes said...

Ravi,
As I was writing that other comment I had no idea that this gem from you was waiting in the wings. I had not refreshed the page in a while so didn't know it was there. I have read through it only once and am humbled and rather awestruck by it all. I will re-read and ponder it before saying anything more. But one thing I must say is how truly grateful I am to you for going through this with me. No 'kid stuff' at all. Absolutely right on.

In deepest gratitude, dear Ravi...

Jupes

Clemens Vargas Ramos said...

.

... In the dim light the Master, all alone, was pacing the hall, rejoicing in the Self — as the lion lives and roams alone in the forest. ...

Dear friends,

once I wrote into my diary:

"Roaming in the desert like a lion - enjoying myself - that for me is the ultimate!"

This female guru I told of said this to be "selfishness".

.

Jupes said...

Ravi,
There is a 'glow' about your final post that has been with me all day. I have read it several times and will continue reading and absorbing what you said. The scene from the Kathamrita is so beautiful. My only familiarity with this book is through this blog and I am tempted now to read more.

About this process we've been in, I want to say that I'm glad it was spread out the way it was and that there was no 'quick' or 'simple' answer to my question. In many ways I am a slow learner and it helps to be able to absorb things over time. You are an excellent teacher, Ravi, and I have great appreciation for your patience, your sensitivity, and your sense of knowing what's appropriate. I feel very lucky to have made this connection with you here.

So, thank you, my friend. God willing I will reap what is intended from your teachings.

All the VERY BEST to you!

Ravi said...

Jupes,
you are a Blessed soul.You have the Guru's guidance-your words of appreciation,I have placed at his Lotus Feet.
You may read the Kathamrita (1944 edition)from this site:
http://www.ramakrishnavivekananda.info/
'M' is a Great soul and we are deeply indebted to him for this wonderful work.
Thanks very much for your best wishes!They come from the Guru.

Namaskar!

Ravi said...

Ramos,
"Roaming in the desert like a lion - enjoying myself - that for me is the ultimate!"

Yes,you are a very fine combination of Head and Heart.

Wishing you the very Best!

Namaskar!

Anonymous said...

Scott Fraundorf:

Me and Nome's exchange
Dear Scott,
Om Namo Bhagavate Sri Ramanaya
Namaste. If you determine within yourself the real source of happiness, the results will be very far-reaching. You will thus find deep, unwavering peace, nonattachment toward all objects and situations, and the bliss of abidance at the very source of wisdom and love.

If guilty about past actions, be sure that you abide in a state in which those actions cannot recur and the very definitions of the personality that were the cause of such errors have been destroyed.

It is axiomatic that you should act (with body, speech, and mind) toward others as you would wish them to do toward you. Just steadfastly observing this much yields significant depth and lightness of heart. With inquiry, you come to realize others as the Self.

With faith in Bhagavan and his teachings, earnestly practice the best that you are able. Grace is ever present, and its joyful fullness is found by those who, hearts full of love, spiritually practice in this way.

Ever yours in Truth,
Nome

Me:Two more things... I'm not expecting a response and am grateful for the previous two which probably sum up most of what I need to know. But still I thought I'd throw it out there, two of the biggest worldly obstacles that come up, are 1. with some of the Asperger's symptoms of not picking up on nonverbal communication, it appears I may never have romantic involvement with other people, which when my mind projects outward can really bother me, I'm not sure if I should take action about it (or what action to take) or just quietly subside and leave it all to Bhagavan, god, etc, I suppose that is the answer.. and 2. Sometimes guilt for past actions comes up, and again I just attempt to surrender... Again, I think you're previous replies probably are all the verbal help I need, along with writings of Maharshi and company but if you see some other piece of advise that would be helpful not already given and want to give it, I'm all ears. Eternally grateful for helping me get a glimpse of the grace already present, which I attempted to surrender to. I will continue to trust Bhagavan's teachings, and attempt Enquiry faithfully. Ever yours in truth.

Dear Scott,
Om Namo Bhagavate Sri Ramanaya

Namaste. Thank you for your response message.

Turning within, you will find that you actually know more than you think. In how many ways do you seek for happiness, such as by the approval mentioned by you? It is an intuition of your natural state and an unknowing search for yourself.

As love is far more fulfilling than any amount of approval, and as true Knowledge is infinitely deeper than any kind of thinking, your true Self is far more expansive and substantial than the ego notion and it attendant tendencies that form the illusory personality.

Trust in Sri Bhagavan, follow his teaching, and, with his Grace, dive within. Thus you will be happy at heart.

May your earnest inquiry be deep so that your real nature of Being-Consciousness-Bliss is revealed within you.

Ever yours in Truth,
Nome

Me: Definitely what you wrote wasn't so much prattle. There is an element of being caught between a rock and a hard place. I was drawn to Enquiry, maybe even attended satsang at Society for Abidance in Truth not because I was drawn to spiritual practice, but because I wasn't even "remotely" functioning in the outside world, ended up getting a diagnosis of Asperger's (mild autism), the "illusory" person was horrible. Intellectually, I can say and even believe intellectually the words, "this is the illusory person". Wholehearted agreement.

What I don't understand intuitively in Bhagavan's words, I accept as true. I practice of Enquiry, I attempt Enquiry to the degree I understand. And there are things my mind, the ego, the illusory person, I definitely cannot understand about Enquiry. I guess, you said it, the ego is powerless to know anything. Anyway thank you so much for your reply, I did find it helpful, and not prattle. It's an odd irony, that the illusory person is all I know mentally. It is all the words I say, and think. I, my illusory person, noticed that you so gracefully ignored all the things I think I am, and spoke directly, through words, through e-mail to the me that wasn't looking for approval. I have illusions of ego-lessness that are really my ego sometimes, but that illusory person is so desperatlely looking for approval.

Dear Scott,
Om Namo Bhagavate Sri Ramanaya
Namaste. Thank you for your message. It is good that you are attempting to practice Self-inquiry.

As is explained in Bhagavad Gita and elsewhere, krodha (anger) is rooted in kama (desire), which is rooted in avidya (ignorance). One who knows this destroys the tendencies constituting the personality and its repetitive suffering.

If the source of happiness in ascertained to be within you, dissolution of desire and fear is natural. The root of duality is the ego-notion. None of this is truly you.

Grace transcends the ideas of inner and outer, of oneself and another, and its infinity is endlessly experienced by those who remain free of the ego.

In the inquiry “For whom is thought?” the objectifying outlook is abandoned, and the thought subsides, and, as one inquires “Who am I?” clear Knowledge of one’s true identity shines and the very sense of existence previously falsely associated with the thought returns to it origin, the Self. Therefore, question the definitions you imagine for yourself.

The ego, being an illusion, is powerless. It cannot know anything. The potency of spiritual practice derives from the Self, which is of the nature of Consciousness.

The consideration of whether or not Nome is a jnani is irrelevant to your inquiry. Sri Bhagavan has said that the realized can take care of themselves, and you should take care of yourself.

If you find what is said here helpful, make good use of it. If it is not understandable by you, you may discard it as so much prattle or set it aside to be picked up at a later time by you.

May the tendency to consider the illusory person as if real be relinquished by you, and, diving within, may you deeply inquire to know the true Self, of the nature of nondual Being-Consciousness-Bliss, and thereby abide in lasting peace and imperishable happiness.
Ever yours in Truth,
Nome







-----Original Message-----
From: Kassy HiroshimA [mailto:hiroshima11@graffiti.net]
Sent: Thursday, September 18, 2008 2:11 PM
To: sat@cruzio.com
Subject: To nome:



So I've been 'practicing' Enquiry for about a year. And over time it has definitely 'deepened' of course there are no words for it, and time is probably a misnomer.



I had an experience of experience dissolving in your presence about a year ago. At first the presentation of Society For Abidance In Truth caused a negative, angry reaction in my ego. A judgemental reaction. I think it was my egos reaction to your egoless state.



Everytime i watch a video of you on Youtube, I have this same experience of experience dissolving. My Enquiry, is just a process of trying to stop, going out toward objects of desire or fear, and also seeking the source which is finding the place where thought is actually occuring so duality can cease. It requires a good deal of trust. It gets easier with time, sometimes incredibly easy.



I do feel that it is not necessarily within the power of my ego to realize it's own nonexistance. So somehow I suppose grace has to come from outside. But there is no outside. Again, language can't convey. I guess i'll just keep quiet now. if you have any advise for what you can gather of my maturity from this e-mail, feel free to reply. Maybe if 'you' are totally Self-Realized, a jnani, you can find the proper words of encouragement.

Anonymous said...

Scott Fraundorf:

Nome of Society of Abidance in Truth in Santa Cruz is a Jnani(little doubt). An example of a Western devotee of Bhagavan who has realized the Self. I find his Ramana Maharshi 40 verses (on Youtube) helpful, and beautiful played with Adagio in G Minor. Open two Youtube windows...It's interesting to me how his verbal teachings flow perfectly with the music. Whether anyone agrees with my assessment does not matter to me, but I believe he could be helpful for others...

Anonymous said...

Scott Fraundorf:

It's as if we are so deluded, so misidentified that the Jnani appears as an archetype in our dream-waking but is really our true Self breaking through the veil of our misidentifications. Our true Self, I'm guessing, does not have form, and also the sage does not really have form. But since we are so immersed in our own creation, the waking state world of thought, our true self, the formless reality also appears in the dream-waking state as the Sage.

Anonymous said...

Scott Fraundorf:

The ripeness seems to be within the power of the devotee to increase immesurably by turning away from the objects of the mind, by turning inward. so the "readiness" can be increased by the mind focusing on itself, and turning away from the things that scare it, or the things it desires, the "readiness" increases then... Then the presence of the Jnani seems to work more and more, because in my experience, that grace, has to be helped, made accessible by Inquiring myself into myself. A huge ammount can be let go of by this...Then the Jnani who is really the true Self, and the grace is really the true Self, because the grace is the feeling of bliss that is inherent shines forth, when there are few obstacles. That's my current opinion. Since I still have a mind, I can't say whether this combo can by itself accomplish the extinction of the mind, but I imagine that it can. Because once there is a natural contact, association with a Jnani, who is really the true Self, or once someone is drawn to Inquiry and extincting the mind, that is the Self drawing the mind in more and more. Once a Jnani becomes apparent, that is the archetype of the true, formless, nondual, Self appearing in the waking dream, that in itself is an Awareness of the Self, still projected outward. And as David Godman has pointed out, his books seem to fall into the right hands. I know that in my own experience my introduction to the Maharshi, and my contact with Nome, happened when I was already starting to surrender, my mind was already starting to realize it was Powerless, and give in. And when I encountered Nome, my mind was temporarily stilled, and I saw a blur around him, again the archetype of my true sself projected outward. Maharshi's teachings, found their way into my hands, seemingly at the perfect moment. As I Inquire and know myself as I am, more and more, the events around me, in my life become mroe and more auspicious and dreamlike, proving to me more and more that all of this is truly me.

Anonymous said...

Scott Fraundorf:

It seems that when I start to suffer in some way, if I discern the motivation, what is it that I want, and then ask where is it? In the Self. And that causes the mind to go voluntarily inward, without struggle, and then blissful feelings of overwhelming grace are felt.

Anonymous said...

Scott Fraundorf:

I think Clemens Vargos Ramos makes an interesting point about a murderer being transformed into being Enlightened, and then David Godman's response was interesting, talking about a case that was embellished of a sinner becoming Enlightened.

I would imagine that it is possible, but some of the more truly "evil minded" people that I've encountered, seem really stuck in what they think is real, and true (aren't we all?), and so I would imagine that maybe some external experience that is humbling for them may be necessary. But I have no idea.

The Self has given me glimpses, stimulated my effort to see only the Self, but the Self is also not an object, a person, conceptualizable, for me it fits with bhagavan's cow analogy. I find that it is better to desist, when I pursue desire.

Then maybe a guru is conjured and they are not different then me, and they tell me that what I'm seeking is within, and that when thoughts arise, it's because it's seeking that that is within.

The glimpse of the Self I had the other day, was so beyond description, I can say that the I, or the sense of being an individual blended, like blurred, like something that was cohesive, and it kept trying to re-assert itself as a cohesive whole.

Rather then it just disappeared, or went anywhere, or there was something left over. Maybe or maybe it was or was not a glimpse of the Self, but the interesting thing was that in the most non-I state I experienced, I was still totally cognizant, and action-reaction still went on, I still saw the world, which Lakshmana Swami says someone wouldn't in Realization, what do these people mean in their esoteric bits of wisdom.

Obviously the Self is so beyond any of it's descriptions by any of these sages. The sense of happiness that resulted, it was like blushing happiness, like pure joy, pure love, nothing could scare me, it was happy ever after. I don't know if it has left me, but I have to Inquire now and then to make sure the mind doesn't get to active again, and then I would lose it. So I didn't Realize the SElf, but I did get to perhaps a deeper level of Inquiry then I was at previously, a level that is more joyous, ineffable.

That method for me, of when the mind wanders, discerning the motivation, and where is that? in the Self. Be it love, truth, identity, selflessness, kindness, courage, functioning, presentness, all of it is in the Self. And the question serves as a constant reminder. I think it less important to become Enlightened, then to become happy, and maybe at some point that joy will turn into eternal joy.

Losing M. Mind said...

I went to the SAT temple where Nome does Satsang, I had some interesting experiences. I've written about them on my blog. http://cephalopodmollusks.blogspot.com or click on my name and go to Precamrbian Corner. You're free to read them. Main points about Self-inquiry I learned is eliminate the non-eternal as not real and not me, then inquire to eliminate the small I, so that the real I, expansive consciousness is left. But I had some grace of the guru experiences that perhaps fit in this thread. Anything I've written about it is too long to fit in here.

Ravi said...

Scott,
Delighted to read your account of satsangh at SAT.
Wish you the Very Best.

Anonymous said...

David,
One of your comments here:
"The ego co-operates in its own disappearance by turning to face its source and by allowing the power of the Self to pull it into Itself. The Self chooses for destruction those whose egos choose to look at the Self."
When the ego does not know where its source is, how can it turn to face it? How does one 'look at' a non-objective Self? Please elaborate. Also, Michael James calls the mind/ego as the power of attention. Is that an accurate description? Thanks.

Clemens Vargas Ramos said...

.

... When the ego does not know where its source is, how can it turn to face it? ...

Very interesting question. "Trust in God", say the christians. We don't know what or who it is we get liberation from. But finally we know that which makes liberation impossible, isn't it?

.

Akira said...

Anonymous said:
When the ego does not know where its source is, how can it turn to face it?


You have a good point.

Anonymous said...

Scott Fraundorf:

It's as if we are so deluded, so misidentified that the Jnani appears as an archetype in our dream-waking but is really our true Self breaking through the veil of our misidentifications. Our true Self, I'm guessing, does not have form, and also the sage does not really have form. But since we are so immersed in our own creation, the waking state world of thought, our true self, the formless reality also appears in the dream-waking state as the Sage.

Ravi said...

Dear Jupes,
Thanks very much for your Best wishes and the beautiful post-Especially for The Guru's message-That the SELF is what you are and Realise it here and now!The Mind understands this yet the Realisation is not there!At the same time this(Bhagavan's simple pointer) is undeniable as well!
I tend to feel that most of the people who approached Bhagavan did so with their MINDS and did not put their HEART into their queries.The MIND asks for DETAILS,the HEART asks for the ESSENCE.I find that Sri Bhagavan consistently discourages the mind hankering for the details-its basic aim being to justify its own convictions and prolong the ordeal!Sri Bhagavan does not give any scope for this!
I find that it is Ms Noye who represents the Archetype of the HEART!How Bhagavan even accepted the rose and held it to his cheeks!

Just to continue some more Facts ignored by the Biographers-1.Sri Bhagavan was born in a Brahmin Family and has had his 'SACRED THREAD' ceremony-Surely he would have learnt performing the Sandhya and the GAYATHRI MANTRA.
2.It is unthinkable for me to understand that he had not heard the word BRAHMAN as it is even used for anyone sitting idle-"You are sitting like parabrahmam!".These are used by illiterates!One may understand that the SIGNIFICANCE of the word may not have been understood but with Bhagavan having this experience,he would have immediately connected to all that he had heard earlier.
3.Sri Bhagavan used to help out in the preparation of PRASAD(Food offerings)to the deity on festival days(these are too many for the Hindus,more so Brahmins!).
4.Sri Bhagavan's mother was an orthodox Brahmin Lady and even after her coming to Tiruvannamalai stuck to her ways!(Brahminical!).

I am just raising these points to highlight that Sri Bhagavan certainly had a PAST-Surely in the Face of Self Realization ,these things fade away-Like Sri Ramakrishna says-"When one looks from the Hill top everything looks Flat,The Tall Trees and the Lowly Shrub!All are EQUALLY FLAT!".

Now the important point that I wish to convey is that No one,including Bhagavan followed the 'SELF ENQUIRY' ALONE-In fact many did not follow it at all.They ARRIVED at a POINT when THIS HAPPENED.Now for some reason,These Great souls did not EMPHASISE the validity of their earlier RAMBLINGS IN WILDERNESS(as it appears,but I do not personally agree!.For me These are also part of GOD PLAYING THE FOOL AND UNMASKING HIMSELF TO REVEAL HIMSELF!)
It is something like a Jumbojet Flying in the sky,still requires a runway to launch itself.When it fies in the sky,the wheels are retracted and certainly are NOT REQUIRED FOR FLYING.As a Small Glider,I may require the assistance of a Jeep to tow me and launch me into whatever orbit is designed for me!I understand that I need to learn to Fly.

Namaskars!

Clemens Vargas Ramos said...

.

Dear friends,

REMINDERS
==========

Realisation of Supreme Bliss is not possible without relative knowledge

Talk 204.

Maharshi on Self-Illumination: The ‘I’ concept is the ego. I-illumination is the Realisation of the Real Self. It is ever shining forth as ‘I-I’ in the intellectual sheath. It is pure Knowledge; relative knowledge is only a concept. The bliss of the blissful sheath is also but a concept. Unless there is the experience, however subtle it is, one cannot say “I slept happily”. From his intellect he speaks of his blissful sheath.

The bliss of sleep is but a concept to the person, the same as intellect. However, the concept of experience is exceedingly subtle in sleep. Experience is not possible without simultaneous knowledge of it (i.e. relative knowledge).

The inherent nature of the Self is Bliss. Some kind of knowledge has to be admitted, even in the realisation of Supreme Bliss. It may be said to be subtler than the subtlest.

.

Clemens Vargas Ramos said...

... My opinion is that this cannot be done this way.Expressing violence to bring it out!Truly doubt the approach.LOVE ALONE heals the scars. ...

That's true. It wasn't an approach but a therapy. We generally have a strong tendency here to treat the things mentally. The people here sometimes don't feel enough. They like to hear arguments. They are discussing things or trying to understand the things the mental way. I visited a so called "self enquiry seminar" and was astonished to see that the people tried to *analyze* each other - hunting the ego, you understand? In fact they made themselves to become angry. Horrible! I asked them about that and then they got angry on me! They said this to be none of my business. Thats true, but is this really the question? Perhaps it worked for them - this is definitely not my way.

...Your wife is a blessed soul....

Thank you. That is really true.

...in fact I was mentioning about you and your Name ending with your wife's name to my wife...

In latin america the last name is made up of two parts: the first part of the surname is the name of the male husband. And the second part is the maiden name of the female husband = VARGAS RAMOS. Clemens is the first name. In latin america this constellation (that the male husband got the name of the female husband) is impossible. In Colombia the people on hearing the names believe me to be the brother of my wife. It was in Germany where we got married and here the husbands can arrange their names like they want.

Ravi said...

Scott,
Your downright integrity is always something very refreshing and moving.In many ways your apparent'Helplessness ' is much more enviable than 'the CONFIDENT, I KNOW' attitude!
You have understood that Bhagavan 'resonates'!This is sufficient!Just continue your Practice.IT IS CERTAINLY advantageous to have the personal guidance of a Living Master!I WILL BE LYING IF I SAY otherwise!This is very helpful to clear the cobwebs that you hardly suspected existed in your 'UNDERSTANDING AND PRACTICE'.
As you have expressed so truly-" On my own there are so many pitfalls, and although I might have a basic intellectual understanding when I read talks with ramana, or other books, when it comes to practice and experience, I can see that there are many places to go awry. "

My Master IS FOND OF QUOTING cardinal Newman's -Lead Kindly Light!-ONE STEP IS ENOUGH!PLANT IT FIRMLY!THEN THE NEXT STEP!-Take heart.IF YOU ARE SINCERE AND PERESEVERING,THE GURU WILL COME IN SEARCH OF YOU.YOU DO NOT NEED TO FIND HIM!

DO ALL THE KNOWN THINGS PROPERLY and do not bother about what you do not know.This is what I do.Better to DRINK ONE's GRUEL than to HANKER AFTER SOME RICH FEAST!

The Other thing that MY MASTER has said that is most Heart Warming is this-that THE ENERGY FIELD of the Great ones is very much available and one can access it and attune oneself-THIS WAY,ONE CAN GET THE RIGHT GUIDANCE-Just like how David said that he talks to Bhagavan!IF SOME THEORETICIAN comes and tells you that this is Imagination,just quietly agree with him!DO CONTINUE YOUR WAY!just see what DAVID HAS SAID that not a day has passed without his saying-'Thank you' to God!THIS IS WHAT TRUE PRACTICE IS ALL ABOUT!You have asked whether to pray to Mother Mary!YES,WHY NOT?If you feel like praying to Bhagavan next day-FLOW WITH THAT.Do not let the ARROGANT INTELLECT come and judge what your HEART is doing.THE INTELLECT HAS TO DO ITS work and not MESS UP THE WITH FEELINGS of THE HEART.
There is not a single soul that have confined themselves to SELF ENQUIRY alone INCLUDING BHAGAVAN-Before BHAGAVAN'S DEATH EXPERIENCE,He had read the PERIYA PURANAM which contains the lives of GREAT SAINTS-and Bhagavan used to visit the temple and stand before the 63 saints whose LOVE for god was what moved Bhagavn.He used to be bathed in Tears!

Just continue your INTROSPECTION and weed out the NEGATIVES one at a time.NO FORCE IS REQUIRED.YOU ARE GIFTED WITH A SIMPLE AND STRAIGHT UNSOPHISTICATED view of things.Just see and drop what has to be dropped.
Parallely,read the lives of Great saints,THE BIBLE(I see you have interest here!KNOW THAT JESUS CHRIST IS one of the Great Gnanis!His SERMON ON THE MOUNT carries words of Great power.)

DO VICHARA with a Prayer to Bhagavan for guidance.

As David had said that he always that Bhagavan is beside him.THIS IS THE MOST USEFUL PRACTICAL TIP!THIS IS SUFFICIENT TO REMEMBER!THIS IS TO STAY IN AWARENESS.THIS IS WHAT SRI ANNAMALAI SWAMI also Practised.

WISHING YOU THE VERY BEST!

Salutations!

David Godman said...

Clemens Vargas Ramos

Apologies if I misunderstood you on this one.

It's true that most devotees are not going to get enlightened, irrespective of how great their Guru might be, simply because they are not ready enough.

Still , for those who are ready enough for the Guru to make a difference, the power and presence of that Guru are essential components in the Self-realisation process.

In English the proverb is: 'You can lead a horse to water, but you can't make it drink.'

As Papaji remarked in the 'Power to Enlighten' post:

There are limits to what to what a Guru can accomplish. These limits are not in the Self, for the Self is limitless. The power of the Self cannot work on an unreceptive mind. If the soil is not fertile, no amount of rain falling on the ground can make it grow. The rain cannot make crops grow in a barren land.