Monday, February 7, 2011

Open Thread

The previous Open Thread is now reaching the point where new comments may start to disappear. I will pre-empt that moment by starting a new one . Please continue all your discussions here.

749 comments:

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Anonymous said...

David, no pressure, but do know that your blog posts are deeply appreciated and if you have the interest to do more there is an audience for them.

Subramanian. R said...

Dear David,

Yes. We also need one new post from
you, though our lingual diarrohea can go on and on. You may kindly inform us when Guhai Namasivaya's poems [translation] is coming out. When I checked up with Asramam, during my recent visit on 26th-29th Jan., they said that they have no idea. Your reprinted edition of BE AS YOU ARE, though read during book reading time, is not available in the shelf of the book depot.

You may also kindly take up prose translation of Devi Kalottaram and
Atma Sakshatkaram, in prose, with interleaved conversations/direct teachings of Sri Bhagavan.

Peter said...

Fellow travellers,

We are told that without earnestness,
We stay confined to the surface, paddling round-and-around.

I have often wondered, how does earnestness come?
Perhaps there are many ways. But my favourite is suffering.
Suffering within the context of practice.
………it burns the ego, the “I”.

This mind, hooking me and dragging me about,
Ten thousand times a day, so excruciating!
Fuel for the burning.

Subramanian. R said...

Dear Peter,

I very much agree with you. There is an article in MP Oct-Dec 2010,
which is titled Suffering as a Spiritual Catalyst. This speaks about one lady Jaishree Rajamani from
Delhi who metamorphosed into Ramana Kiran, due to insufferable sufferings.

The article is by one Vijaya Ramaswamy, Professor in JNU, Delhi, who can be contacted
at biyarangu@yahoo.com.

Subramanian. R said...

Dear Peter,

There is also a story of Mahalakshmi Amma. She was a housewife, with more than 5 children. Two male babies died, in spite of Sri Bhagavan applying Vibhuti on their foreheads. But she and her husband did not lose faith in Sri Bhagavan. In due course, their relatives cheated them of all their wealth, Mahalakshmi's husband died. She came to the Asramam and stayed there till she passed away. She must have been definitely taken to the Abode of Arunachala-Atma.

This article came about a year back in Mountain Path Quarterly journal of the Asramam. I shall let you know the details of that issue.

Sri Bhagavan is the ointment of the seekers who suffer and suffering acts as a spiritual catalyst in their run up to the
Abode.

Clemens Vargas Ramos said...

... God has given some sleep every night, other wise, entire humankind would have gone mad, by this time.

Sleep is a nectar. Without that one cannot even live with this ego for long. ...


Well, the problem is, dear Subramanian. R, that it helps not, isn't it? All spiritual teaching is for the waking one. It might have been better for the disciple to listen to the teaching of his master instantly...

If we can consciously live in the waking state like in the sleep state there won't be a problem.

Subramanian. R said...

SUFFERING AS A CATALYST TO ATTAIN
ATMA-ARUNACHALA.

Dear Peter,

I have picked up the details of Mahalakshmi Amma Story. It is available in July-Sep 2008 issue of the MP journal. This article is by Smt. T.R. Kanakammal. You may write to Asramam for both these issues and they will send you if available, the cost being Rs 60 plus courier charges.

I can also send you xerox copies, if you write to my e mail:
g337h4@yahoo.com, giving your postal address.

Subramanian. R said...

Dear Clemens Vargas Ramos,

Yes. Sleep is necessary to keep the
ever talking mind into suspended animation. But one needs to be awake,
to listen to the teachings of the guru and do sravanam, mananam, nididhyasanam etc.,

Ravi said...

R.Subramanian/Friends,
RS mentioned how Sri Ramakrishna wept with pain and attributed it to 'Body consciousness'.
This is one of the most endearing, childlike aspect of the Master,and this is clearly evident in the wonderful chapter,The Master and his Injured arm.We also can understand how the Jnana element is ever present!Sri Ramakrishna used to call this the state of VijnAnA fuller experience of God.Here is the excerpt:
THE MASTER AND HIS INJURED ARM
Saturday, February 2, 1884
IT WAS THREE O'CLOCK in the afternoon. Sri Ramakrisna had been conversing with
Rakhal, Mahimacharan, Hazra, and other devotees, when M. entered the room and saluted
him. He brought with him splint, pad, and lint to bandage the Master's injured arm.
Master's injured arm
One day, while going toward the pine-grove, Sri Ramakrishna had fallen near the railing
and dislocated a bone in his left arm. He had been in an ecstatic mood at the time and no
one had been with him.
MASTER (to M.): "Hello! What was ailing you? Are you quite well now?"
M: "Yes, sir, I am all right now."
MASTER (to Mahima): "Well, if I am the machine and God is its operator, then why
should this have happened to me?"...
The Master was in the mood of a child. Being hungry he said to M., "What have you
brought for me?" Looking at Rakhal he went into samadhi.
He was gradually coming down to the normal plane. To bring his mind back to the
consciousness of the body, he said: "I shall eat some jilipi. I shall drink some water."
Weeping like a child, he said to the Divine Mother: "O Brahmamayi! O Mother! Why hast
Thou done this to me? My arm is badly hurt. (To the devotees) Will I be all right again?"
They consoled him, as one would a child, and said: "Surely. You will be quite well again."
MASTER (to Rakhal): "You aren't to blame for it, though you are living here to look after
me; for even if you had accompanied me, you certainly wouldn't have gone up to the
railing."
The Master again went into a spiritual mood and said: "Om! Om! Om! Mother, what is this
that I am saying? Don't make me unconscious, Mother, with the Knowledge of Brahman.
Don't give me Brahmajnana. I am but Thy child. I am easily worried and frightened. I want
a Mother. A million salutations to the Knowledge of Brahman! Give it to those who seek it.
O Anandamayi! O Blissful Mother!"
Uttering loudly the word "Anandamayi", he burst into tears and said:
Mother, this is the grief that sorely grieves my heart.
That even with Thee for Mother, and though I am wide awake,
There should be robbery in my house.
Again he said to the Divine Mother: "What wrong have I done, Mother? Do I ever do
anything? It is Thou, Mother, who doest everything. I am the machine and Thou art its
Operator.
(To Rakhal, smiling) "See that you don't fall! Don't be piqued and cheat yourself."
Again addressing the Mother, Sri Ramakrishna said: "Do I weep because I am hurt? Not at
all:
Mother, this is the grief that sorely grieves my heart,
That even with Thee for Mother, and though I am wide awake,
There should be robbery in my house."
The Master was again talking and laughing, like a child who, though ailing, sometimes
forgets his illness and laughs and plays about.

Continued....

Ravi said...

R.Subramanian/Friends,
'The Master and his injured arm'continued...
MASTER (to the devotees): "It will avail you nothing unless you realize Satchidananda.
There is nothing like discrimination and renunciation. The worldly man's devotion to God
is momentary―like a drop of water on a redhot frying-pan. Perchance he looks at a flower
and exclaims, 'Ah, what a wonderful creation of God!'
Yearning for God
"One must be restless for God. If a son clamours persistently for his share of the property,
his parents consult with each other and give it to him even though he is a minor. God will
certainly listen to your prayers if you feel restless for Him. Since He has begotten us, surely
we can claim our inheritance from Him. He is our own Father, our own Mother. We can
force our demand on Him. We can say to him, 'Reveal Thyself to me or I shall cut my
throat with a knife!' "
Sri Ramakrishna taught the devotees how to call on the Divine Mother.
Master's prayer to the Divine Mother
MASTER: "I used to pray to Her in this way: 'O Mother! O Blissful One! Reveal Thyself to
me. Thou must!' Again, I would say to Her: 'O Lord of the lowly! O Lord of the universe!
Surely I am not outside Thy universe. I am bereft of knowledge. I am without discipline. I
have no devotion. I know nothing. Thou must be gracious and reveal Thyself to me.' "
Thus the Master taught the devotees how to pray. They were deeply touched. Tears filled
Mahimacharan's eyes.
Sri Ramakrishna looked at him and sang:
Cry to your Mother Syama with a real cry, O mind!
And how can She hold Herself from you?
How can Syama stay away?..
Several devotees arrived from Shibpur. Since they had come from a great distance the
Master could not disappoint them. He told them some of the essentials of spiritual life.
MASTER: "God alone is real, and all else illusory. The garden and its owner. God and His
splendour. But people look at the garden only. How few seek out the owner!"

Continued....

Ravi said...

R.Subramanian/Friends,
'The Master and his Injured arm' continued...
It was evening and the worship in the temples was over. A few minutes later Adhar arrived
from Calcutta to see the Master. Mahimacharan, Rakhal, and M. were in the room.
ADHAR: "How are you?"
MASTER (affectionately): "Look here. How my arm hurts! (Smiling) You don't have to
ask how I am!"
Adhar sat on the floor with the devotees. The Master said to him, "Please stroke here
gently." Adhar sat on the end of the couch and gently stroked Sri Ramakrishna's feet.
The Master conversed with Mahimacharan.
MASTER: "It will be very good if you can practise unselfish love for God. A man who has
such love says: 'O Lord, I do not seek salvation, fame, wealth, or cure of disease. None of
these do I seek. I want only Thee.'
Many are the people who come to a rich man with
various desires. But if someone comes to him simply out of love, not wanting any favour,
then the rich man feels attracted to him. Prahlada had this unselfish love, this pure love for
God without any worldly end."
Mahimacharan sat silent. The Master turned to him.
Ego separates one from Brahman
MASTER: "Now let me tell you something that will agree with your mood. According to
the Vedanta one has to know the real nature of one's own Self. But such knowledge is
impossible without the renunciation of ego. The ego is like a stick that seems to divide the
water in two. It makes you feel that you are one and I am another. When the ego disappears
in samadhi, then one knows Brahman to be one's own inner consciousness.
"One must renounce the 'I' that makes one feel, 'I am Mahima Chakravarty', 'I am a learned
man', and so on. But the 'ego of Knowledge' does not injure one. Sankaracharya retained
the 'ego of Knowledge' in order to teach mankind.
-----------------------------------
MahimAcharan was full of pride as he was pursuing the path of JnAna,which he thought was superior to Bhakti.This is the reason why Sri Ramakrishna is not just teachinghim but actually shws him what it is to lovegod in an intimate childlike manner,that a person like Mahimacharan is moved to tears!At the same time,the master clearly clarifies that he does not weep on account of the hurt!
Namaskar.

Ravi said...

R.Subramanian,
It is interesting to compare what Sri Ramakrishna says with a verse from Sri BhagavAn's Akshara maN mAlai(assuredly the best of Sri Bhagavan).
Sri Ramakrishna:
Again addressing the Mother, Sri Ramakrishna said: "Do I weep because I am hurt? Not at
all:
Mother, this is the grief that sorely grieves my heart,
That even with Thee for Mother, and though I am wide awake,
There should be robbery in my house."

The Master was again talking and laughing.

Sri BhagavAn's Akshara maNa mAlai,verse 11:
"Iympula kaLvar agathinir pugum pothu,
Agathu nee ilayO, Arunachala."
Even when the thieves of the five senses break in
upon me, art Thou not still in my Heart, Oh Arunachala?
-----------------------------------
This is parAbhakti.It can only be understood,appreciated by the heart of a devotee.
Namaskar.

Ravi said...

peter/Friends,
An excerpt from The gospel of Sri Ramakrishna:
Renunciation, true and false
Sri Ramakrishna had now regained full consciousness of the world, and he continued:
"There are many kinds of renunciation. One of them may be called 'markatavairagya',
'monkey renunciation'. It is a false renunciation stimulated by the afflictions of the world.
That renunciation doesn't last long. Then there is real renunciation. A man with everything
in the world, lacking nothing, feels all to be unreal.
"It is not possible to acquire renunciation all at once. The time factor must be taken into
account. But it is also true that a man should hear about it. When the right time comes, he
will say to himself, 'Oh yes, I heard about this.'
"You must also remember another thing. By constantly hearing about renunciation one's
desire for worldly objects gradually wears away. One should take rice-water in small doses
to get rid of the intoxication of liquor. Then one gradually becomes normal."
How to attain pure love of God
"How can a devotee attain such love? First, the company of holy men. That awakens
śraddhā, faith in God. Then comes nishtha, single-minded devotion to the Ideal. In that
stage the devotee does not like to hear anything but talk about God. He performs only those
acts that please God. After nishtha comes bhakti, devotion to God; then comes bhava. Next
mahabhava, then prema, and last of all the attainment of God Himself. Only for Isvarakotis,
such as the Incarnations, is it possible to have mahabhava or prema."

continued.....

Peter said...

RK:'monkey renunciation', it is a false renunciation stimulated by the afflictions of the world.

RM: Under the tree the shade is pleasant; out in the open the heat is scorching. A person who has been going about in the sun feels cool when he reaches the shade. Someone who keeps on going from the shade into the sun and then back into the shade is a fool. A wise man stays permanently in the shade.

Ravi, 2 greats diverge. But i am comfortable with that.

--------------------------------

Dear Subramanian,

thank you for the contacts and articles, i shall have a look. And no need for the xerox copies, but i appreciate your kind offer.

regards

Anonymous said...

David, Are you aware that there's a pirated copy of your book "No mind I am the self" being sold across the road from the ashram, next door to the supermarket?
With no mention of publisher or author.

Ravi said...

Peter,
The story goes that a budding aspirant approached Mozart and asked him-"How to compose a symphony?".Mozart suggested to him-'well,why don't you try your hand at some small pieces like divertimentos,serenades,etc.'
"You straightaway composed symphonies from the age of 6",said the aspirant.
"Yes.I did not ask 'How'",said Mozart.
-----------------------------------
Thanks very much for bringing in that saying of Sri Bhagavan.We see that they are saying the same thing!Sri Ramakrishna calls one a 'Monkey' and Sri Bhagavan calls him a 'Fool'.Both are emphasizing that Renunciation has to be total.
Now where Sri Ramakrishna extends the arguement is that even such feeble attempts of renunciation help eventually.This is like Sri Krishna's statement in the Gita-Even a little practise helps and nothing goes waste.
In the following excerpt from the Gospel of Sri Ramakrishna,the Master sings a different tune,to emphasize that Renunciation has to be total(and not gradual):
Master urges intense dispassion
MASTER: "If you want to realize God, then you must cultivate intense dispassion. You
must renounce immediately what you feel to be standing in your way. You should not put it
off till the future. 'Woman and gold' is the obstruction. The mind must be withdrawn from
it.
"One must not be slow and lazy. A man was going to bathe; he had his towel on his
shoulder. His wife said to him: 'You are worthless. You are getting old and still you cannot
give up some of your habits. You cannot live a single day without me. But look at that
man! What a renouncer he is!'
"HUSBAND: 'Why? What has he done?'
"WIFE: 'He has sixteen wives and he is renouncing them one by one. You will never be
able to renounce.'
HUSBAND: 'Renouncing his wives one by one! You are crazy. He won't be able to
renounce. If a man wants to renounce, does he do it little by little?'
WIFE (smiling): 'Still he is better than you.'
"HUSBAND: 'You are silly; you don't understand. He cannot renounce. But I can. See!
Here I go!' "
The Master continued: "That is called intense renunciation. No sooner did the man
discriminate than he renounced. He went away with the towel on his shoulder. He didn't
turn back to settle his worldly affairs. He didn't even look back at his home.
"He who wants to renounce needs great strength of mind. He must have a dare-devil
attitude like a dacoit's. Before looting a house, the dacoits shout: 'Kill! Murder! Loot!'
Namaskar.

Ravi said...

Peter/Friends,
The other important point that both Sri Ramakrishna and Sri Bhagavan are emphasizing is this:
MASTER: "How did you like what I said about renunciation a little while ago?"
M: "Very much, sir."
MASTER: "Tell me, what is the meaning of renunciation?"
M: "Renunciation does not mean simply dispassion for the world. It means dispassion for
the world and also longing for God."
It is important to deveop,be aware of the positiveelement,the Love and longing for God,or to be aware of the Shade of the Tree.It is not enough to be just in pain all the time.In fact,the pain will be when one forgets God or loses the awareness-and this is different from what is generally associated with the afflictions of pain that one experiences in the world-such as disease,old age,cares and worries.
Namaskar.

Ravi said...

Peter/Friends,
Here is a wonderful saying of Kabir:
Dukh me sumiran sab kare, sukh me kare na koi,
Jo sukh me sumiran kare, dukh kahe ko hoi..
We all remember God when we are beset by grief, none of us remember Him in our good times. Had we remembered Him in our good times, why should the days of grief have come!

The important thing is to acquire the taste for spiritual living.There is nothing like satsangh with the masters to develop this taste.Once this is there all the rest will follow.
this is just like a sick person,if he develops a taste for food,recovers quickly.Without this all medication is of no avail.
-----------------------------------
Peter,will you please post the link of that video on the Buddhist monks that you had done a while ago in this Blog.It will be useful for most aspirants to see how the monks emphasize something like karma yoga as part of sAdhana.
Thanks very much.
Namaskar.

Peter said...
This comment has been removed by the author.
Peter said...

yes Ravi, a wonderful doco

here's the trailer and the full movie here

PS can a post once submitted be edited??

Subramanian. R said...

Dear Peter,

Sri Bhagavan always insisted that there must be efforts on the part of
sadhaka to attain godhead.

Who am I?

Q No. 20: Is it not possible for God and the Guru to effect the release of a soul?

Answer: God and the Guru will only show the way to release. They will not themselves take the soul to the state of release. In
truth God and the Guru are not different. Just as the prey which has fallen into the jaws of a tiger has no escape, so those who have come within the ambit of Guru's gracious look will be saved by the Guru and will not get lost. Yet, each one should, by his own effort pursue the path shown by God or Guru and gain release. One can know oneself with one's own eye of knowledge, and not with someone else's. Does he who is Rama require the help of a mirror to know that he is Rama?

However, Muruganar mentions both the monkey way and cat way in his Guru Vachaka Kovai. The cat way will start operating, in complete surrender to the guru forsaking one's ego and holding guru's flower like feet as the only refuge.

Subramanian. R said...

Dear Ravi,

Yes. Sri Bhagavan also insisted on internal renunciation. As regards
desires, He said that desiring the Self is only the desire one can have.

arvind said...

Broken Yogi, folks,

Phew, there are so many comments now that it is quite impossible to keep up! Apologies then folks, for my limited focus in replying. This is based on Broken Yogi’s response to me of 6th Feb.

Broken Yogi, you know and I know that we are not talking about the Self as a “thing”, so no need to be hairsplitting this “thing” thing. I wanted to know your sources with respect to your claim that Bhagavan taught, actually, that there is nothing as the Self, nothing as an eternal ‘I’, an ever present substratum, call it what you will; and so when He spoke of the Self it was just as a convenient teaching prop, nothing more. Surely there must be substantial material on this that led you to this extraordinary conclusion. Please back up your words with some hard material, either from Bhagavan’s direct words, or His conversations, or even from the writings of David Godman, whom you love to quote so much.

I promise you, I could quote you 1000 pages if not more from Bhagavan’s original writings and conversations, including your favourite, the GVK, to present to you the counterpoint. I think you know this for yourself.

And, since when do the “Advaitists I know” have authority over the great Advaita texts? Have you considered that you may not know the right Advaitists!? Just because they “must have some foundation for this view”, you accept what they say as accurate? That, pardon me for saying so, is as flimsy an excuse as it gets. And dangerous too, in that one could end up with a pretty warped idea of things. I did quote you an authentic Advaita text which explicitly talks about “manonasa”. I hope you will read the English translation of this one to correct some of your views regarding Advaita. It is a Sri Ramanasramam publication actually and is available online on many websites. It was translated by the author of “Talks”, and done with Sri Bhagavan’s blessings.

Best wishes

Subramanian. R said...

Dear arvind,

Sri Bhagavan describes in Tamizh original version of Who am I? [Naan Yaar], two specific words, viz., Naan and Thaan. Under Qn.8, He says: "When one persistently inquires into the nature of the mind, the mind will end as Thaan. Thaan is only Atma Swarupam." This Naan and Thaan have been rendered in English as 'I' and 'I,I' or the Self. Sri Bhagavan in His initial teachings, uses only Naan and Thaan.

Since He has said "Swarupam will shine," we can conclude that Swarupam or Brahman or the Self or Atma is an effulgent entity.

Only under Qn: 27, He uses the word Brahman and Sat Chit Anandam.

He uses the word ULLadu in Sat Darsanam, Tamizh version.

Some writer has said that Sri Bhagavan is the only person who attained Brahman without even knowing the word Brahman.

Anonymous said...

Anonymous said: "David, Are you aware that there's a pirated copy of your book "No mind I am the self" being sold across the road from the ashram, next door to the supermarket?
With no mention of publisher or author."

The benefits from reading a pirated version of "No Mind I am the Self" probably far outweigh the bad-karma associated with encouraging piracy.

Ravi said...

Arvind/Friends,
"Broken Yogi, you know and I know that we are not talking about the Self as a “thing”, so no need to be hairsplitting this “thing” thing."
If not thing,it is substance- this is how not just Sri Bhagavan but other sages have referred to the Truth Substance.Truth is the only Substance,other than that,there is nothing substantial!

In the very first verse of uLLadu nARpadhu-Sri Bhagavan says uLLa poruL whose meaning is -Being Substance.

Similiarly Sri arunagiri nAdar in his Tiruupughazh says samayavadivAi ninra adhuvitamAna poruL-The Advaitic that stood in the form of religion(as Lord Muruga or kArthikeya).

Sage ThAyumAnavar in his para siva vanakkam,sings:
அத்துவித வத்துவைச் சொப்ரகா சத்தனியை
அருமறைகள் முரசறையவே
அறிவினுக் கறிவாகி ஆனந்த மயமான
ஆதியை
That which is Nondual substance(vastu is what thayumanavar calls),
That which is the unique Light of Word,
That which the scriptures loud proclaim:

As the Wisdom of Wisdom
As the Bliss that fills
As the Primal One.

In Tirukkural,Sage vaLLuvar calls it as Meipporul-Truth Substance.

It is amply clear that Brahman is the only one substanceto these sages.All objects are also this substance only ,to the jnanis!

One sage said(in tamil):
What Is IS,
What is NOT IS NOT
Know what is
Reject What is Not

Namaskar.

Subramanian. R said...

Dear Broken Yogi,

There is one Atma Vidya Kirtanam
by Sri Bhagavan. He describes in
many verses of this Kirtanam [totally six] the nature and features of the Self.

2. ....
When this delusion is destroyed
And not a speck remains,
The Sun of Self shines bright
and real
In the vast Heart-Expanse.
Darkness dies, afflictions
end,
And Bliss wells up.

3. .....
...And as "I-I" within the
Heart Cave
The Self shines of Its own
accord.

4. ......
Seeing the Self within
As Awareness' lighting flash
The play of Grace, of the
ego's death;
The Blossoming of Bliss.

5. ........
The effulgence of the Self
within;
The experience of Eternity;
absence
Of all fear; the ocean vast of
Bliss.

6. .....
When the mind free of thought
turns inward,
Annamalai appears as my own
Self.
True, Grace is needed, Love
is added
Bliss wells up.

[Tr. Prof. K. Swaminathan]

hey jude said...

Peter that's a long video to view, but how impressive, how wonderful! I urge you all to watch it.

Ravi said...

Peter,
Thanks very much for posting that video link.Yes,I enjoyed watching it when you had posted it earlier.Looking forward to watching it again.
Namaskar.

Subramanian. R said...

Devi Kalottaram describes the Niralamba Yoga, i.e. thoughtless state where mind does not move.
A Brahma Jnani who is ever in this
thoughtless state - Niralamba Yoga - will display the following qualities:

1. He will treat all equally without any partiality, will remain undisturbed and will have equanimity in both joy and sorrow. He will treat alike foes and friends as also clod and gold.

2. He always revels in his Self and never ponders to the longing of senses. He is bereft of all attachments and sense of possessions.

3. He is alike to abuse or praise. He treats all beings,
including animals and birds, equally like his own Self.

4. He is free from all polarities seeks solitude even in the midst of people. He is not at all bothered whether he has acquired any mystic powers or not.

[From Shantananda Puri's Notes on Devikalottara Jnana]

S. said...

salutations to all:

ravi/folks:
whenever ravi posts the 'extracts' from the kathAmrta, can't help but wonder at the nectar called thAkur! thAkur is my mother and bhagavAn is my father (this is the only certainty i honestly understand) - bhagavAn is the very embodiment of dignity & depth, poised & perfect and one knows to be before a great 'presence' (just like an ideal father); thAkur is just so lovable from whom sweetness simply flows out in overwhelming abundance; again a 'presence' that's so very tender enough for one to take even liberties with a one as him (just as with a mother)...

a simple example from chapter 36 of the kathAmrta:
Girish went out to have a smoke.
NARENDRA (to the Master): "I had a talk with Girish Ghosh. He is indeed a great man. We talked about you."
MASTER: "What did you say about me?"
NARENDRA: "That you are illiterate and we are scholars. Oh, we talked in that vein!" (Laughter.)
MANI MALLICK (to the Master): "You have become a pundit without reading a book."


to comprehend that one is before a master of the highest class and yet joyfully talk & make fun as if he were our best buddy is something so very unique with thAkur (of course, nobody will dare to tell bhagavAn even for fun that 'we are scholars and you are illiterate'!!!) hahahahahahahaha

have got a fabulous 'mother' and a 'fantastic 'father' - what more can i ever ask for? oh yes, with this kind of "parents", 'self-abidance'/ 'god-realisation' is a certainty and the last thing i will ever worry/ beg/ pray/ plead/ whatever else.........
:-)))))

Anonymous said...

Hi S,
Mother, Father.Yes that is how it appears; but I feel it is the opposite.It is Bhagawan who is utterly compassionate(comparitively ) and Thakur who comes across as a bit more strict and exacting.I feel it would be easier to hoodwink a favour from Bhagawan rather than Thakur.

-z

Broken Yogi said...

Arvind,

I think your question answers itself. If you agree that there is no "thingness" to the Self, then how can we talk of "the Self" as anything other than a convention of speech that points to - what exactly? A substratum? But a substratum is not only a thing, it's a part of a larger thing. So that can't be it. A Unity? But a Unity of what exactly? Any thorough examination of these for actual content leaves us with - nothing to point to but a direction - selfward.

Likewise, you keep insisting that I am saying that the Self is "nothing", which I do not. I referred you to Nagarjuna's fourfold negation, that Reality is neither existent nor non-existent, neither being nor non-being. I also quoted Ramana saying very much the same thing. But this does not seem to satisfy you, I gather because to you something that is neither existent nor non-existent must be unreal, when the opposite assertion is being made - that Reality is neither of these, but beyond all such notions and experiential referents.

The problem here is that even though you admit the Self is not a "thing", your conception of reality requires you to think of it as "real thing" anyway, and so you read Ramana speaking of the Self and translate that into terms that make sense to your mind. But that sense is simply not what Ramana intends by his use of the term "the Self". Which is why he preferred silence. When speaking, he certainly made reference to the Self, but not in the manner you seem intent on asserting. His "Self" is silent and indefinable, because it is not a "real thing". It is reality, to be sure, but the nature of reality is not a collection of things inside a really big infinite thing called the Self. That's a very crude conception that may be useful to some of us as a starting point, but it has to be grown out of if any real understanding is to evolve. Self-enquiry, for example, isn't about finding a "real thing" called the Self. It goes in the opposite direction, of finding out that everything we might refer to as "Self" has no basis in reality. When we have abandoned all such "things" and turned attention away from them and towards the Self, then we have the opportunity to awaken from all things and selves. That is not awakening to a "real thing" it is awakening from all illusions. What is realized is best described as perfect silence, the absence of all content. And every "thing" is then seen to without content or "thingness" also. Neither existent nor non-existent, neither with being nor without being. That perhaps makes no sense to the mind, but that's exactly the point. The mind can't wrap itself around this.

The point being that Buddhism's custom of speaking about all such concepts and things as "empty", including Brahman or the Self, is right on and helps steer us clear of this error. Calling that approach nihilistic is a not only a superficial error, it is a defense of superficiality itself. The depth of the practice of self-enquiry is not about affirming the Self as a real thing, it's about stripping away all illusions, even about the Self, and leaving nothing behind to hold onto.

As for spending a lot of time quote-mining, there's been plenty of quotes put up by myself and others to demonstrate this point. However, no amount of quotes is going to enable you to understand this issue if you choose not to. It requires some basic shift in perspective to appreciate the finer aspects of what Ramana taught, what Buddha taught, and so on. I would have thought you were capable of that, so I'm not quite sure what the problem is here. Enlighten me.

Losing M. Mind said...

Honestly, I don't think this can be sussed out logically or intellectually. That would be still using and taking oneself to be the mind, right? It's something else.

Ravi said...

s/z,
Both of you are Right.If pride raises its head,thAkur can deal a hammer blow or completely cold shoulder that can make one reel;one may still get away with that before Sri Bhagavan.Otherwise,one may get away with virtually every other infirmity before thAkur.
I agree more with s.No other master was so accessible,so indulgent,so jovial,so down to earth as thakur-sweetness personified and so utterly charming ,so beguiling and simple like a child.
I agree with both s and z on Sri Bhagavan.I absolutely concur with s,that with this sort of parents,Self abidance or God Realization is just inheritance!
Namaskar.

Broken Yogi said...

Ravi/Subramanian,

Thank you for the delicious quotes. However beautiful these kinds of references are, they are still essentially poetic. Meaning, mere metaphors, not literal descriptions of this "substance" called the Self.

Shall we take these words literally, and think of the Self as a "real substance" or a "real thing" that "shines in the heart-cave"? Is that the purpose of these kinds of literary devices? I say no, it is not. You are free to disagree, but I think it is clear from the greater context of both Ramana and Advaita that all such references are poetic metaphors meant to inspire and attract devotees into the devotional practice of self-investigation that leads to liberation not only from all bondage, but even the language and metaphors used to attract us to this project.

It's not my purpose here to destroy that attractiveness of these metaphors or to deny their beauty and appeal. If one likes to think of the Self as a substance, one should go right ahead. But one should be aware that these are just thoughts about the Self, limited by the utility of thought itself, and must be abandoned, as all thoughts must, if we are to actually realize the Self.

How does one enter the "heart cave"? By abandoning the mind, as well as the concept of a "heart cave". One cannot enter the heart-cave while yet holding onto the mind and the concept of a heart-cave. One cannot realize the Self while holding onto a concept of the Self. These things have their utility in the early stages of approach, but even then they should not be confused with Reality.

As Poonja Swami said, it's very important not to have an elaborate conceptual picture of what reality is or what the spiritual process is about, because then the mind will hold onto that an create experiences and thoughts which reinforce that concept, and then one will be locked into such things, and not be able to get past them. He said that many people who consider themselves advanced in spirituality are actually just locking their minds around spiritual concepts and then experiencing the fruits of those concepts, which creates an echo-chamber that can't easily be penetrated. I have much in my own mind and life that has been demonstrative of that error, so I'm not just pointing to some error that other people might fall into. I have fallen into it myself, and have tried mightily to climb out of it.

If that is not going on here, then please pardon me. But I think the intense reaction of some to this line of consideration demonstrates that there is, indeed, some serious attachment to concepts like "the Self" that need reminding of their essential "emptiness". The Buddhist approach is therefore a good remedy for that, and it's a shame that there's so much prejudice against Buddhism here that is unable to make use of its wisdom. But so it goes.

As mentioned before, this particular point about the Self is very much a part of Ramana's teaching. It didn't stop him from using the language of Advaita or referring to the Self, but it did color his every reference to the Self. The path he taught was not one of affirming or believing in the Self as a real thing at the end of one's journey, it was an investigation that holds nothing sacred or immune from questioning, including of course the Self. That is why he taught a question, "Who am I?" rather than an answer, such as "I am the Self". The Self that is realized through self-enquiry is not an answer to the question, it is not a substance of which all things are made, it is perfect emptiness, perfect freedom, which is also perfect fullness and perfect bliss. Poetry is not a bad way to refer to this, but that's all it is, a reference, a pointer, a signpost. All such things must be understood properly and followed, but also left behind. Hanging out at the roadsign, one never gets to the destination.

Broken Yogi said...

LMM,

"Honestly, I don't think this can be sussed out logically or intellectually. That would be still using and taking oneself to be the mind, right? It's something else."

Yes, absolutely correct. But we do take ourselves to be the mind, don't we? So we must at least come to the understanding that our minds are not capable of understanding this, and that all the sages who speak to our minds are only trying to get us to go beyond the mind, not to give us concepts which the mind can be satisfied with. That kind of understanding helps lead us to the only real alternative - self-enquiry and unconditional surrender to the unknown reality of what we are. So sometimes it takes some hashing out of the mind to really grasp this and take Ramana's approach seriously.

S. said...

salutations to all:

Broken Yogi:
you definitely have a 'gift' of writing with a flair but that aside, guess what arvind asked you was 'simple' - quote from bhagavAn's writings or any of the other voluminous secondary writings - that's all. nothing more, nothing less. your quotes or anybody's quotes simply doesn't matter; neither are we talking of nAgArjunA or poonjA svAmi :-) bhagavAn and bhagavAn alone matters here for this purpose. period... moreover, if this is what you believe is 'true' advaita, then it could imply that every advaitin has "missed" the point but you somehow have hit the nail on its head! unlikely, isn't it???

the basic issue: where does bhagavAn ever say that the 'self' is only a 'prop'/ a contraption devised to realise 'emptiness/ there is no 'substance'/ nothing like the 'source'? (please note we all understand, at least intellectually, that the self is not an 'object', not a 'thing'...). if you believe this is of vital importance, bhagavAn would have certainly said so...

sorry to say so - if you are able to, please quote otherwise please leave it at that...
in all matters regarding "what the self 'is'", the only recourse is to quote legitimate references, for you and i know nothing about it to say what it is/ isn't! :-)

Ravi said...

Broken Yogi,
Truth indeed is subtle,yet it is not a vacuum.It is something that is so intimate and is missed out on account of this very nearness or oneness.something that is all the time there ,yet ignored.
The silence is not a vacuum but a dense whole-and is of the nature of Substance only.It is not imagery that these sages refer to.

In his brahmajnAnAvalee Sri Sankara says in verse 12:

"pranjnAna ghana(dense mass)aevAham vinjnAna ghana aevA

I am a dense mass of consciousness;I am a dense mass of Knowledge too."

These are not concepts but anubhuti-spiritual experience.

Namaskar.

Ravi said...

Friends,
An excerpt from the Gospel of Sri Ramakrishna where the Master talks about the path of knowledge and devotion;Particularly where he warns about how too much of 'reasoning' can undo the bud of devotional fervour.This is a practical tip and I have encountered people who missed their way in not paying heed to this caution.Here is the excerpt:
DEVOTEE: "Has God form, or is He formless?"
MASTER:"Wait, wait! First of all you must go to Calcutta; then only will you know where
the Maidan, the Asiatic Society, and the Bengal Bank are located. If you want to go to the
brahmin quarter of Khardaha, you must first of all go to Khardaha.
"Why should it not be possible to practice the discipline of the formless God? But it is very
difficult to follow that path. One cannot follow it without renouncing 'woman and gold'.
There must be complete renunciation, both inner and outer. You cannot succeed in this
path if you have the slightest trace of worldliness.
"It is easy to worship God with form. But it is not easy as all that.
"One should not discuss the discipline of the Impersonal God or the path of knowledge with
a bhakta. Through great effort perhaps he is just cultivating a little devotion. You will
injure it if you explain away everything as a mere dream.
"Kabir was a worshipper of the Impersonal God. He did not believe in Siva, Kali, or
Krishna. He used to make fun of them and say that Kali lived on the offerings of rice and
banana, and that Krishna danced like a monkey when the gopis clapped their hands. (All
laugh).
"One who worships God without form perhaps sees at first the deity with ten arms, then the
deity with four arms, then the Baby Krishna with two arms. At last he sees the Indivissible
Light and merges in It.
"It is said that sages like Dattatreya and Jadabharata did not return to the relative plane after
having the visition of Brahman. According to some people Sukadeva tasted only a drop of
that Ocean of Brahman-Consciousness. He saw and heard the rumbling of the waves of
that Ocean, but did not dive into It."
continued....

Ravi said...

Friends,
The Gospel of Sri Ramakrishna continued....
""A brahmachari once said to me, 'One who goes beyond Kedar cannot keep his body alive.'
Likewise, a man cannot preserve his body after attaining Brahmajnana. The body drops off
in twenty-one days.
"There was an infinite field beyond a high wall. Four friends tried to find out what was
beyond the wall. Three of them, one after the other, climbed the wall, saw the field, burst
into loud laughter, and dropped to the other side. These three could not give any
information about the field. Only the fourth man came back and told people about it. He is
like those who retain their bodies, even after attaining Brahmajnana, in order to teach
others. Divine Incarnations belong to this class.
"Parvati was born as the daughter of King Himalaya. After Her birth She revealed to the
king Her various divine forms. The father said: 'Well, Daughter, You have shown me all
these forms. That is nice. But You have another aspect, which is Brahman. Please show me
that.' 'Father,' replied Parvati, 'if you seek the Knowledge of Brahman, then renounce the
world and live in the company of holy men.' But King Himalaya insisted. Thereupon
Parvati revealed Her Brahman-form, and immediately the king fell down unconscious.
"All that I have just said belongs to the realm of reasoning. Brahman alone is real and the
world illusory-that is reasoning. And everything but Brahman is like a dream. But this is an
extremely difficult path. To one who follows it even the divine play in the world becomes
like a dream and appears unreal; his 'I' also vanishes. The followers of this path do not
accept the Divine Incarnation. It is a very difficult path. The lovers of God should not hear
much of such reasoning."
continued....

Anonymous said...

To the Broken Yogi, "If Ramana appeared on these occasions to accept and endorse many of the misconceptions which his visitors had about themselves it was only to draw their attention to some aspect of his teachings that he felt would help them to better understand his real views.

Inevitably, this policy of modifying his teachings to meet the needs of different people led to many contradictions. He might, for example, tell one person that the individual self is non-existent and then turn to another person and give a detailed description of how the individual self functions, accumulates karma and reincarnates.

It is possible for an observer to say that such opposing statements may both be true when seen from different standpoints, but the former statement clearly has more validity when it is viewed from the absolute standpoint of Sri Ramana's own experience. This standpoint, summarized by his statement that consciousness alone exists, is ultimately the only yardstick by which one can realistically assess the relative truth of his widely differing and contradictory statements. To whatever extent his other statements deviate from this it may be assumed that to that extent they are dilutions of the truth"
D.Godman

Ravi said...

Friends,
The Gospel of Sri Ramakrishna continued....
"That is why God incarnates Himself as man and teaches people the path of devotion. He
exhorts people to cultivate self-surrender to God. Following the path of devotion, one
realizes everything through His grace both Knowledge and Supreme Wisdom.
"God sports in this world. He is under the control of His devotee. 'Syama, the Divine
Mother, is Herself tied by the cord of the love of Her devotee.'
"Sometimes God becomes the magnet and the devotee the needle, and sometimes the
devotee becomes the magnet and God the needle. The devotee attracts God to him. God is
the Beloved of His devotee and is under his control.
"According to one school, the gopis of Vrindavan, like Yasoda, had believed in the
formless God in their previous births; but they did not derive any satisfaction from this
belief. That is why later on they enjoyed so much bliss in the company of Sri Krishna in the
Vrindavan episode of His life. One day Krishna said to the gopis: 'Come along. I shall show
you the Abode of the Eternal. Let us go to the Jamuna for a bath.' As they dived into the
water of the river, they at once saw Goloka. Next they saw the Indivisible Light. Thereupon
Yasoda exclaimed: 'O Krishna, we don't care for these things any more. We would like to
see You in Your human form. I want to take You in my arms and feed You.'
God and His devotee
"So the greatest manifestation of God is through His Incarnations. The devotee should
worship and serve an Incarnation of God as long as He lives in a human body. 'At the break
of day He disappears into the secret chamber of His House.'
-----------------------------------
The master lets us in on a fundamental aspect of parAbhakti-this is even beyond jnAna.
The apparent dualitythat the vijnAni expresses comes after realization of Brahman,as the master so wonderfully,in his inimitable way mentions elsewhere-that contrary to the usual law where a plant flowers first and the fruit later,a pumpkin creeper fruits first and gives the flower later.This is the flower of parAbhakti.
This is why Sri Bhagavan's akshara maNa mAlai,a flower of parAbhakti is not only enchanting but something that defies the usual reasoning that dualitycannot form part of a jnAnis utterance of his experience.Even Sri Bhagavan did not dare to offer any explanation for these sublimely supreme words of inspiration-as he said that there was no mentation!They were not thought out!
Namaskar.

Broken Yogi said...

S.,

I already posted the following quote from Ramana in support of the arguments I have been making. It seems sufficient to me, but apparently some are not satisfied:

Q. As the Self is existence and consciousness, what is the reason for describing it as different from the existent and the non-existent, the sentient and the insentient?

Maharshi: Although the Self is real, as it comprises everything, it does not give room for the questions involving duality about its reality or unreality. Therefore it is said to be different from the real and the unreal. Similarly, even though it is consciousness, since there is nothing for it to know or make itself known to, it is said to be different from the sentient and the insentient.

This seems to affirm the view of the fourfold negation. Ramana is clearly stating that the Self simply can't be defined even by categories such as "real" or "unreal", "conscious" or "unconscious", that it is beyond all such dualities.

Are you in need of more confirmation?

Broken Yogi said...

Ravi,

"Truth indeed is subtle,yet it is not a vacuum.It is something that is so intimate and is missed out on account of this very nearness or oneness.something that is all the time there ,yet ignored.
The silence is not a vacuum but a dense whole-and is of the nature of Substance only.It is not imagery that these sages refer to."

If truth can be a substratum, why can't it be a vacuum? Why a special preference for the one and not the other? Yes, you can describe it as a mass of this or that. You can describe it as a fountain too. You can describe it as an ice-cream truck. There probably isn't anything you can't describe it as. Whatever helps get you through the night, as the immortal sage John Lennon once wrote. I'm sure at some point every possible metaphor or simile has helped someone, somewhere, sometime. That doesn't mean that truth is actually any of these things, or anything at all. In fact, that's why it's sometimes refered to as a void or vacuum. It has no fixed or permanent content or face. All its appearances come and go, hence none are real in that sense.

Contemplating the nature of reality will surely mess with our minds until we know neither up nor down, left or right, solid or liquid, existent or non-existent. That's the whole point. We are supposed to let go of all these notions eventually, and know truth as it is, and not as a mass of ice cream fountains in the glorious cave of the substratum. Though admittedly that might be sort of fun.

S. said...

salutations to all:

Broken Yogi:
the quote you gave is more to do with bhagavAn talking about the self being beyond dualistic opposites and not on whether the self is only a tool without any 'substance' to it... i.e., bhagavAn doesn't seem to say that the self is beyond self and not-self, does he? he is positively affirming a self that is neither this nor that. where does bhagavAn ever say that the 'source' is merely an aid to enquiry or surrender? bhagavAn's beautiful way of asking us to 'trace the source of the i-thought' doesn't appear to trace 'nothingness' to 'emptiness', does it???

Subramanian. R said...

Dear Anon., and S.,

Sri Bhagavan is my Mother-Father. I read SRK and others, but Sri Bhagavan
is my Guru who is my Mother-Father.
Sattrum poranthozha kaRpu.. says one Tamizh poem. In the olden days, the devout wife will pray only to her husband and not even to God. I am keeping Sri Bhagavan as my Guru-Mother-Father. I do not of course denigrate other gurus unless they are known for their frauds, like Swami Nityananda.

Neerellam Gangai - All waters are
Ganga.
Nilamellam Kasi - All lands are Kasi.
Oorellam Thillai - all towns are
Thillai, Chidambaram.
Malaiyellam Arunagiri - All hills
are Arunachala.
Guruvellam Ramana Guru - All gurus are only Guru Ramana.

Subramanian. R said...

Dear Broken Yogi,

At least one should accept the Self
as ULLa PoruL. That which Exists.
Grace, Bliss etc., are known only
if It is experienced and not otherwise. Otherwise, Self will also become, Maya, anirvachaneeyam,
that which cannot be described.

S. said...

salutations to all:

subramanian:
perhaps we shouldn't denigrate anyone! when we get to hear people as nityAnanda, it only helps us to appreciate our bhagavAn even better :-). svAmiji said - "She, my Saviour, she, whose street-walking is the cause of the chastity of other women! Think of that." the ganges is at times murky, at times clear, but it's all yet ganges - when murky, we humbly salute and pass by, when clear, we pause and drink :-) who knows, though they went astray, yet people like nityAnanda etc., may be much more evolved than any of us her! after all, if you or i give a 'sermon' nobody may pause to listen; there too is the power of the 'self' - after all, who knows what worse things we might have done if we had had access to such power!!

be it an argument, be it a not-good person, we have much to learn from how bhagavAn dealt with such things. :-)))

Ravi said...

Broken Yogi,
No one is satisfied with notions and concepts.So it needs to be understood that there is more to what one says.
Namaskar.

Subramanian. R said...

Dear S.,

I agree with you. But the indignation with N is that he has
been cheating so many thousands who had been going behind him. Of course, if I tell Sri Bhagavan: "Swami, Nityananda has been arrested," He would say: "O that
young man with an orange turban. He has got a pleasing face!" Such is Sr Bhagavan. He did the same thing with one man who issued pamphlets against Him, Perumal Swami and others. That is why He is on the summit of Arunachala, but we are still on the foot hill looking at that captivating Hill.

Subramanian. R said...

Dear Broken Yogi,

See how this description of Self is:

That in which all these worlds seem to exist steadily, that of which all these worlds are a possession, that from which all these worlds rise, for which all these exist, that by which all these worlds come into existence, and that which is indeed all these -- that alone is the Existing Reality. Let us cherish that Self, which is the Reality, in the Heart!

Sri Sadhu Om, Tr. of Benedictory Verse of ULLadu Narpadu, Anubandham.

Subramanian. R said...

Dear Broken Yogi:

Sri Ramana defined it by saying that the real Self or real 'I' is, contrary to perceptible experience, not an experience of individuality, but a non-personal, all-inclusive awareness. It is not to be confused with the individual self which He said was essentially non existent, being a fabrication of mind which obscures the true experience of the real Self. He maintained that the Real Self is always present [ULLadu] and always experienced but He emphasized that one is only consciously aware of it as it really is when the self limiting tendencies of the mind have ceased. Permanent and continuous Self awareness is known as Self Realization. [David Godman]

Subramanian. R said...

Dear Broken Yogi,

Sat Chit Ananada - which translates as Being - Consciousness - Bliss. Sri Bhagavan taught that the Self is Pure Being, a Subjective Awareness of 'I am' which is completely devoid of 'I am this' or 'I am that'. There are no subjects or objects in the Self, there is only an Awareness of Being. Because this awareness is conscious, it is also known as Consciousness, according to Sri Bhagavan, a state of unbroken happiness, and so the term Ananda or Bliss is also used to describe it. These three aspects, being, consciousness, and bliss, are experienced as a unitary whole and not as separate attributes of the Self. They are inseparable in the same way that wetness, transparency and liquidity are inseparable properties of water. [David Godman]

Subramanian. R said...

Dear Broken Yogi,

This description must be close to your heart:

The stupendous concept of the Supreme Self is Maha Soonya [Great Void] which comprises All and much more. In order to guide the aspirant to the higher Knowledge, all the various rituals and special methods of worship have been prescribed. But one has to abandon all such ritualistic activities and meditate on the Void, which is empty of all objects of the world. The mind has been conditioned to be naturally drawn towards external objects and it always flits from one object to another. When once the mind is established in the Void, when none of the objects appear, it is actually non state. It is however our Real Self. We come face to face with our real center. This center is immortality. It is the liberation. As the body is part of this world and thus we rid ourselves of all thoughts, the I-thought or ego where the body is considered as I, is also obliterated. Only the awareness of the Self exists. This is the seed of liberation, which enables one to unite with the Supreme. The one which fails to meditate on the Mega Void, which is all pervasive like the Space, wlll remain in worldliness. This Void is actually full as it comprises the Self which is Poorna. This complete wholeness pervades all creations but by itself is formless just like electricity which pervades all the bulbs and fans, itself remaining formless. This Self is all Bliss. Bliss is its form and bliss is something transcendental. The one who meditates on this bliss becomes full of bliss. Existence, Awareness and Bliss are the attributes which is again indefinable.

Clemens Vargas Ramos said...

Master of Self-Realization

PREFACE - Written by Shri Nisargadatta Maharaj

These are discourses, the words being those of my Master. I cannot explain His words and therefore I keep quiet about that. When ego, the "me," becomes silent, Soham, automatically starts functioning. Soham is endless, limitless, measureless, and is the messenger of Truth, who is Self-evident. The message and the messenger are not separate in Him. This messenger is himself the joy that is the enjoyment of the endless. The description of the enjoyment of the Self is called "discourse" in this world, which is really a commentary. The voice of the Master is also called the "Divine Word." His speech, the utterances are the word, sentences, and the sayings.

The sky is the space, and space is the vast expanse of speech that is the word. Word is the natural quality of the sky as is well known from the days of the Vedas. First there is vibration in the space that is sky (wind), then there is the sound, and then the words appear. The words then become the base of the subsistence of all creatures and things. The sky is the ocean of words of the measureless. That ocean sings in praise to the immeasurable. The purpose of singing in praise of anything is to shed all bad qualities. This Divine Speech is doing the work of discarding the duality, or sense of separateness from the essential unity of existence, through the medium of the mouth of the Master.

At the very moment and in the very place where all reverence towards the Master arises in our heart, the separateness disappears like an insignificant tiny insect. But alas, such things rarely happen! It is seldom that one among billions of people comes to the Realization that the Master is Truth itself, Parabrahman, the Ultimate Reality incarnate. When the teaching of the Master is dear to one, and totally acceptable, and when one understands that the feet of the Master are the source of the spontaneous experience of the Divine Self within, which directs and performs all the actions and functions of the body, when one holds fast to the feet of the Master within one's heart without a speck of doubt, then unfailingly the stream of the blessings and the bliss of the revered Master flow very naturally from within, which is the movement of the "Life All-Pervading." Where complete trust in the divine feet of the Master is active, there the Grace of the Bliss of the Master comes to reside in the nature of Spiritual Joy, called "Pralhad." Then the non-duality, without the blemish of the separateness of "You" and "I" in the Consciousness, flows unhindered. There is no satisfaction other than the Grace of the Master, which is total Self-Bliss, solid, and impenetrable.

Clemens Vargas Ramos said...

Teachings from Shri Siddharameshwar Maharaj, Shri Ranjit Maharaj, Shri Nisargadatta Maharaj, and Saint Shri Samartha Ramdas

Broken Yogi said...

Beautiful quotes, Subramanian and Clemens, and everyone else too.

What do I make of these descriptions? That they serve only as pointers for us to follow, rather than actual images of the goal and reality. As Ravi says, no one is satisfied by notions and concepts. But of course, that is what all these are, until we realize. Prior to realization, of what good are they? Only as goads and pointers that guide us to the source. If we worship them for their own sake, or confuse them for reality itself, we have substituted a concept and symbol for reality. The whole point of holy concepts and sacred symbols is that they point us to what is beyond the concept and symbol - the reality they try to signify. That reality is holy and sacred, and the signposts are holy and sacred only in that they point to reality.

All teachings are composed of concepts and notions. Reality is not a concept or a notion. So all teachings are unsatisfactory. Their unsatisfactoriness is their true point, since it serves as a goad to go beyond teachings and realize reality directly. One uses the teachings to go beyond the teachings, because that is where they point. If one does not go beyond them, one is not actually following these teachings, but turning them into idols, worshipping the signpost or map rather than the destination.

What one says is always ONLY a concept or a notion. Every experience is only a concept and a notion. A thought. Even the holiest and highest experience or teaching is only a concept and a notion. Knowing this, we are compelled to leave them behind and venture in the direction they point. The concept and notion of the Self is just such a directional pointer that tells us where we must look. If we turn it into an idol, rather than a signpost pointing to where we must go, we have not understood it even as a concept, much less realized what it points to.

Broken Yogi said...

S.,

I'm not sure how you can interpret an instruction to "trace the source of the I-thought" as anything but a directional pointer. Where do you think that instruction points? Clearly, to the self, the "I".

Why do you think the Self is called "Self"? It is because the very word names the location that attention is supposed to follow in order to find reality. It is not something called "Self" that is found. That name merely designates the place and direction one looks. We call it the "North Pole" because to find it, all you have to do is travel north from wherever you are. It's not as if there's an actual pole there sticking out of the ground. And it's not as if there's an actual "Self" at "the Self". What is to be found is simply indescribable. Ramana used the word "Self" simply because it is the best pointer, like "North Pole".

And yes, Ramana did frequently state that there is no actual "not-self". He defines "the Self" as inclusive of everything, and yet having no "things" within it. So there is no "not-Self" as far as he is concerned. It is only while approaching realization that the concept of Self and not-Self have any meaning, in that one is supposed to turn attention from all that is not-Self, and towards the Self. But when one actually follows this admonition and realizes the reality, there is no longer any Self and not-Self. The term Self no longer has any mean in that sense. It is understood that reality is not merely in the Self-ward direction, identified with our inner being, but that all is That, all is "the Self". Which sort of defeats the meaning of the term "Self".

So "Self" is a useful term for those seeking realization, but for those already realized, it has little meaning any more, because the Jnani no longer have to look inward towards their "Self" to find it. There is no longer any inner or outer, no Self or not-Self. Ramana makes this clear by saying that the Self is everywhere, but this is also tantamount to saying it is nowhere. Both are true in some sense, and neither is, at the same time.

But Ramana did not speak in order to explain his own position and realization to himself. He spoke in order to explain it to us, who are full of mind and seeking for objects, and who need a concept of reality that will point us in the right direction. So "Self" is a good teaching instrument for that purpose.

The word "Self" merely refers to "what you truly are". To turn that Self into an entity or person or being is to make the same mistake we make when we turn the ego into an entity, person, and being. We can say that Self is "pure Being" or "the One Person", but again, this is only a way of directing us to the source of our self-sense and feeling of being an existent, conscious entity. It is not meant to suggest that Reality is some kind of super Being or Person. That is merely how we can relate to the notion of knowing ourselves in consciousness. Yes, we can say "all is consciousness". But what is consciousness? The answer to that question is not "something a lot like what we think and feel ourselves to be". Even "being" or "existence" is merely a conceptual pointer to what is beyond what we have ever experienced our existence and being to be. These are concept that describe the mind's attempt to understand itself. They have little use once the mind is left for dead.

Subramanian. R said...

Dear Broken Yogi,

Yes. No concepts or descriptions would explain the Reality and the
Experience of Reality. It is like
the newly wed bride coming out of the nuptial room after spending the night, with her husband. What shall she say? What shall she describe? What shall she explain? Even to her anxious waiting mother, she would give a half smile and rush to the bath room for a quick bath.

"Who is the seer?" When I sought within, I watched the disappearance of the seer and what survived him. No thought of 'I saw' arose; how then could the thought 'I did not see' arise?
Who has the power to convey this in world when even Thou couldst do so in ancient days by silence only?.....[Sri Arunachala Ashtakam, Verse 2]

Broken Yogi said...

If you want quotes from Ramana, I refer you to the opening quotes from David's book "Be As You Are".

I won't quote at length, since most here have his book, but let me just point out a few phrases here:

"Reality is that which is."

"The radiance of consciousness-bliss, in the form of awareness shining equally within and without, is the supreme and blissful primal reality. Its form is silence and it is declared by jnanis to be the final and unobstructed state of true knowledge."

"You are awareness. Awareness is another name for you. Since you are awareness there is no need to attain or cultivate it. All that you have to do is give up being aware of other things, that is of the not-Self. If one gives up being aware of them then pure awareness alone remains, and that is the Self."

We can glean from this two things. First, reality is merely "awareness" within and without. Second, the "Self" is defined not as something in itself, but as this awareness. We are this awareness. Reality is this awareness. The Self is not something we are aware of, it is merely awareness. So Ramana's primal teaching about reality is that it is simply awareness, and the notion of "Self" follows from this. But the notion of "Self" does not come first. It is derived from an exposition of non-dual reality, rather than vice-versa.

What comes first? "What is" comes first. And from that, awareness comes next. And only after that does "Self" come into the picture.

"Call it by any name, God, Self, Heart or the seat of consciousness, it is all the same. The point to be grasped is this, that Heart means means the very core of one's being, the center, without which there is nothing whatever."

This is one example of Ramana reminding devotees that the point of referring to reality as Self or Heart is that it points to the very center of our being, and tells us where to meditate and enquire.

"The Self is pure consciousness...There is no duality in the state of pure consciousness."

Pure consciousness has no content. Likewise it is "empty" of any substance. Otherwise, it would not be pure. Otherwise, it would be dualistic. It cannot be said to be full, or empty, or being, or non-being, or existent, or non-existent, since all these are dualisms. Non-dual consciousness really is non-dual. It admits no duality of any kind, including all notions of substratum and self or not-self. The word "Self" is capitalized precisely to designate a higher-order concept of non-dual awareness that is our real identity, beyond all experience and dualistic referents. It is not capitalized to designate a super infinite entity we call the "Self" the way we might call a supreme deity "God". But that is what tends to occur when we think Ramana uses the Self as a synonymn for "God".

Of course, even calling the Self "awareness" can run into problems, in that we can always make an entity of some kind of out of awareness and think of it as a substance or being or substratum or what have you. Primarily because we tend to experience awareness as attention, which always requires an object. So we think of awareness as the living quality of a conscious entity, something we have rather than what we are. And that's where all the trouble begins.

Anonymous said...

Subramanain, "No concepts or descriptions would explain the Reality and the
Experience of Reality. It is like
the newly wed bride coming out of the nuptial room after spending the night, with her husband. What shall she say? What shall she describe? What shall she explain? Even to her anxious waiting mother, she would give a half smile and rush to the bath room for a quick bath"
I know you're fond of the above quote but it doesn't do it for me. Perhaps something more profound.
glow

Subramanian. R said...

Dear Anon., [glow]

I think I have repeated this for the second or third time. It is only to explain what is experiential cannot be described. And this has been said by a great ascetic, Tayumanavar, [or VaLLalar Ramalinga Swami]. I have therefore no qualms in giving this metaphor, since I am a householder. Perhaps more prudish statement will be to say that one eating a mouthful of sugar cannot describe it for onlookers who want to know the taste of sugar.
I am somehow interested in un-Bowdlarized version of metaphors to drive home the point,
at least once in a way.

Losing M. Mind said...

' But that is what tends to occur when we think Ramana uses the Self as a synonymn for "God".'

Ramana said repeatedly that God, Guru and Self are the same.

Subramanian. R said...

Dear LMM,

Sri Bhagavan maintained that the universe is sustained by the power
of the Self. Since theists normally
attribute this power to God, He often
used the word God as a synonym for the Self. He also used the words Brahman, the Supreme Being of Hinduism, and Siva, a Hindu name for God, in the same way. Sri Bhagavaan's God is not personal God, he is the formless being which sustains the universe, the universe is merely a manifestation of his inherent power. He is inseparabe from that power, Sakti. But he is not affected by its appearance or disappearance. Whenever the word Consciousness must be stressed, Muruganar used the word Sivam in his works, with the approval of Sri Bhagavan. He also used the word Hridayam to denote the Self which is the Source of from which all appearances manifested. For beginners, He showed it as Heart Centre on the right side of the chest, for the purpose of meditation.

arvind said...

Broken Yogi, folks,

Here are the actual opening lines from David Godman’s book, “Be as you are” (Penguin 1992 ed); copied verbatim from the start of the book, after the “Introduction”:

PART ONE

The Self

That in which all these worlds seem to exist steadily, that of which all these worlds are a possession, that from which all these worlds arise, that for which all these exist, that by which all these worlds come into existence and that which is indeed all these – that alone is the existing reality. Let us cherish that Self, which is the reality, in the Heart. [Ulladu Narpadu Anubandhan, Benedictory verse; actually taken unchanged from the Yoga Vasistha 5-8-12; now, is that a Hindu/Advaita text or is it a Buddhist text? I wonder!].

CHAPTER I

The Nature of the Self

The essence of Sri Ramana’s teachings is conveyed in his frequent assertions that there is a single immanent reality, directly experienced by everyone, which is simultaneously the source, the substance and the real nature of everything that exists. He gave it a number of different names, each one signifying a different aspect of the same indivisible reality. The following classification includes all of his more common synonyms and explains the implications of the various terms used. [Italics mine].

1. The Self ….
2. Sat-chit-ananda …
3. God ….
4. The Heart …
5. Jnana ….
6. Turiya and Turiyatita …
7. Other terms ….

------------------------------

Hmmm, forgive me Broken Yogi, but if I understand English, David is certainly saying that the Self, the Ultimate, is a Reality that always exists, though it is described variously. In the entire chapter, I don’t spot anything saying that the Ultimate is a “nothing”, a nullity, and so on, like you have been arguing all this while in line with Buddhist doctrine. Nor anything which says that the teaching is just a prop to point to an underlying “nothingness”. Nor do I find that even “void” or “nothingness” is given as one of the “synonyms”. In fact, I do not even find “void” or “nothingness” mentioned in the index of the book and thus probably the entire book has “nothing” of what you say, pardon the pun.

So, do go ahead, lets have you try and put a spin on the foregoing.

Best wishes

Clemens Vargas Ramos said...

... nothing, nullity ..

... perhaps it helps to replace 'void' by 'empty':

The original state of this empty world, which is bewildering and crowded with many names and forms, is bliss, which is one, just as the egg-yolk of a multi-coloured peacock is only one. Know this truth by abiding in the state of Seif.'
Be as you are

Pali said...

David,
How often do you go around the hill? What has your experience been in going around the hill? I'm unable to make any progress in my Sadhana and I'm wondering if I should at least make the physical effort of going around the hill as many times as possible.

Losing M. Mind said...

"Sri Bhagavaan's God is not personal God, he is the formless being which sustains the universe, the universe is merely a manifestation of his inherent power. He is inseparabe from that power, Sakti. But he is not affected by its appearance or disappearance."

Where exactly does Ramana say God is not a personal God? If as Ramana says God, Guru and Self are the same. That sounds quite personal.

Anonymous said...

I have been inspired by the teachings of R. Maharshi (collected by D. Godman) to help people get in touch with their own inner peace.

Maharshi's teaching that the inner peace is -already- there was a big help in my understanding.

And so perhaps visit www.youareworldpeace.com and see how the site works for you. (I would love feedback.)

So, this is a project for global enlightenment, you could say... one person at a time via the global communications network we humans have recently established.

cheers,
-j

j everett mcfeely said...

I have been inspired by the teachings of R. Maharshi (collected by D. Godman) to help people get in touch with their own inner peace.

Maharshi's teaching that the inner peace is -already- there was a big help in my understanding.

And so perhaps visit www.youareworldpeace.com and see how the site works for you. (I would love feedback.)

So, this is a project for global enlightenment, you could say... one person at a time via the global communications network we humans have recently established.

cheers,
-j

Ravi said...

Friends,
'Sri Bhagavan's God is not personal God'
Wonder who Sri Bhagavan's god is!Bhagavan means God,personal and impersonal god.
yes,I agree with Scott that God,Guru and Self are the same.
Namaskar.

Ravi said...

Friends,
s had refered to the sweetness and accessibility of Sri Ramakrishna.In this excerpt from the Gospel of Sri Ramakrishna,in that wonderful chapter-The master and his Broken arm,we find the accessibility and jovial nature of the master:
MASTER: "They took me to Keshab's house to see a performance of the Nimai-sannyās. I
heard, that day, someone speaking of Keshab and Pratap as Chaitanya and Nityananda.
Prasanna asked me, 'Who are you then?' Keshab looked at me to see what I would say. I
said to him, 'I am the servant of your servant, the dust of the dust of your feet.' Keshab said
with a smile, 'You can't catch him!'"
RAM: "Sometimes Keshab used to say you were John the Baptist."
A DEVOTEE: "But Keshab also said you were the Chaitanya of the nineteenth century
[said in English]."
MASTER: "What does that mean?"
DEVOTEE: "That Chaitanya has been incarnated again in the present century of the
Christian era, and that you are he."
MASTER (absent-mindedly): "What of it? Can you tell me now how my arm can be cured?
This arm is worrying me so much."
They talked about Trailokya's music. Trailokya sang devotional songs in Keshab's Brahmo
Samaj.
MASTER: "Ah! How nice his songs are!"
RAM: "Do you think they are genuine?"
MASTER: "Yes, they are. Otherwise, why should I be so drawn to them?"
RAM: "He has composed his songs by borrowing your ideas. While conducting the
worship Keshab Sen described your feelings and realizations, and Trailokya Babu
composed songs accordingly. Take this song, for instance:
There is an overflow of Joy in the market-place of Love;
See how the Lord sports with His own in the ecstasy of Bliss!
He saw you enjoying divine bliss in the company of devotees and wrote songs like this."
MASTER (with a smile): "Stop! Don't torment me any more. Why should I be involved in
all this?" (All laugh.)
GIRINDRA: "The Brahmos say that the Paramahamsadeva has no faculty for organization
[said in English]."
MASTER: "What does that mean?"
M: "That you don't know how to lead a sect; that your intellect is rather dull. They say
things like that." (All laugh.)
MASTER (to Ram): "Now tell me why my arm was hurt. Stand up and deliver a lecture on
that. (Laughter)
"The Brahmos insist that God is formless. Suppose they do. It is enough to call on Him
with sincerity of heart. If the devotee is sincere, then God, who is the Inner Guide of all,
will certainly reveal to the devotee His true nature."

Namaskar

Ravi said...

s/Friends,
Here is an excerpt from the Gospel,where we find the childlike Master asking the disciple M whether he should take the money that is pressed on him and how the disciple advises him not to do so!This is why he is bhakta vatsala.
At the mere mention of Krishna and Arjuna the Master went into samadhi. In the twinkling
of an eye his body became motionless and his eyeballs transfixed, while his breathing could
scarcely be noticed. At this sudden transformation Navadvip and his son and the other
devotees looked at the Master in mute wonder.
Regaining partial consciousness, he said to Navadvip: "Yoga and bhoga.
You goswamis have both. Now your only duty is to call on God and pray to Him sincerely:
'O God, I don't want the glories of Thy world-bewitching maya. I want Thee alone!' God
dwells in all beings, undoubtedly. That being the case, who may be called His devotee? He
who dwells in God, he who has merged his mind and life and innermost soul in God."
The Master returned to the sense plane. Referring to his samadhi, he said to Navadvip:
"Some say that this state of mine is a disease. I say to them, 'How can one become
unconscious by thinking of Him whose Consciousness has made the whole world
conscious?' "
Mani Sen said good-bye to the invited brahmins and Vaishnavas with suitable gifts of
money. He offered five rupees to Sri Ramakrishna. The latter said that he could not
possibly accept any money. But Mani insisted. The Master then asked him in the name of
his guru not to press him. Mani requested him again to accept the offering. Sri Ramakrishna
asked M., in a distressed voice, whether he should take the money. The disciple made a
vehement protest and said, "No, sir. By no means."
Friends of Mani Sen gave the money to Rakhal, requesting him to buy some mangoes and
sweets for the Master. Sri Ramakrishna said to M.: "I have definitely said to Mani that I
would not accept the money. I feel free now. But Rakhal has accepted it. His is now the
responsibility."
Sri Ramakrishna, accompanied by the devotees, took a carriage to return to Dakshineswar.
They were going to pass the temple garden of Mati Seal on the way. For a long time the
Master had been asking M. to take him to the reservoir in the garden in order that he might
teach him how to meditate on the formless God. There were tame fish in the reservoir.
Nobody harmed them. Visitors threw puffed rice and other bits of food into the water, and
the big fish came in swarms to eat the food. Fearlessly the fish swam in the water and
sported there joyously.
Coming to the reservoir, the Master said to M.: "Look at the fish. Meditating on the
formless God is like swimming joyfully like these fish, in the Ocean of Bliss and
Consciousness."
-----------------------------------
It was verily a mart of joy,with the Master going on a steamer ride,a visit to the circus,several visits to the theatre and what not.This way the Master endeared himself to the devotees.
Namaskar.

heyjude said...

JEverett, I had a look at your website and I believe your intentions are good but unless you change yourself, how are you going to change the world? Selling Tshirts and having pictures of happy/sad faces maybe a good marketing tool but really there's something amiss here.
It's like impatient kids in the back seat of a car nagging 'Are we there yet?'

Broken Yogi said...

Arvind,

My head is literally spinning from the straw man distortions of my arguments you are insistent on creating and arguing with:

"In the entire chapter, I don’t spot anything saying that the Ultimate is a “nothing”, a nullity, and so on, like you have been arguing all this while in line with Buddhist doctrine."

Well, that's probably because I haven't been arguing that the Ultimate is a "nothing", or a nullity, and so on. Nor does Buddhist doctrine argue that. It is you who keep insisting that this is what I or Buddhists say, and I keep patiently telling you that no, this isn't what I'm saying, or what Buddhism is saying, and you just ignore that and continue to insist that we do say this. Rather frustrating, really. Is this an episode of Seinfeld?

So rather than argue with straw men, why don't you simply listen to what I'm saying and respond to what I actually say? That might make this a little more grounded in reality rather than imagination.

Let's examine the basic issues we have in play here:

1) You have stated that Buddhism is inferior to Advaita and the whole of sanatana dharma, that it is incomplete, that it does not lead to realization or liberation, that it stops short in manolaya, and so forth.

2) You have stated that Buddhism is nihilistic, that it is fixated in a description of ultimate reality as "nothing" and "non-existent", that it sees the ultimate as "void", and that it denies the ultimate realization and reality referred to by Ramana as "the Self".

3) You have further accused me of asserting that there is no ultimate reality, that ultimate reality is "nothing", that it is void, non-existent, or insubstantial.

4) You have also asserted that the Self is "a real thing", and that it is the substratum from which the manifest worlds are derived.

cont.

Broken Yogi said...

Arvind, cont.

5) For my part, I have asserted that Buddhism is the equal of Advaita and sanatana dharma in most respects, even if it uses a different approach in its description of ultimate reality or the practice that leads to realization.

6) I have also asserted that parts of Buddhism are more compatible with Ramana's teaching than sanatana dharma (and vice-versa), particularly Buddhism's use of the four-fold negation approach to its description of ultimate reality, as well as its assertion that all teachings and concepts and experiential approaches to reality are "empty", and that ultimate reality is also "empty" of all such descriptors and elements, because reality is non-dual in nature.

7) I have also asserted that Ramana's use of the term "the Self" does not imply that it is "a real thing", but that is merely a directional pointer used for the purpose of directing seekers inward, to the source of attention, rather than outward, to the objects of attention. I have also asserted that Ramana's conception and description of what he calls "the Self" is compatible with Buddhist notions of the ultimate reality described by the four-fold negation and the concept of "emptiness".

8) The Self, I have asserted, is not "a real thing", but is devoid of all content or description, including that of reality or unreality, existence or non-existence, consciousness or unconsciousness, being or non-being, and all other dualisms we might imagine. This is NOT the same as suggesting that the Self is unreal, non-existent, or nothing, since the above description clearly states that it neither of these, nor is it the opposite of these, but is found only in the "middle way" between these dualistic assertions. That it is non-dual in nature, and not merely as a convention of speech.

So, if this is all clear to you, I invite you to make any kind of intelligent contribution to this conversation that actually addresses what I have said, or what I have criticized in what you have said, without just making things up and beating up straw men. I have no interest in "spinning" anything, but I won't respond to your own spin either, except to simply point it out.

Anonymous said...

Ramana said "Heaven is hidden in the depth of the heart" he would quote from the Mahanarayana Upanishad "That glorious place that is only found by those who renounce themselves"
glow

Broken Yogi said...

LMM,

"Where exactly does Ramana say God is not a personal God? If as Ramana says God, Guru and Self are the same. That sounds quite personal."

I believe that Ramana asserts that Iswara, which is perhaps the equivalent in sanatana dharma of a "personal God", does indeed exist, at least to the same degree that we ourselves exist, but that like our own conception of ourselves as entities, in the ultimate sense none of these Gods are real. I believe he once said that "God is the first illusion".

Subramanian recently posted some quotes to this effect that I've seen many times before. Ramana didn't mind referring to "God" for those accustomed to that usage, but it wasn't really his favorite term, since to him God actually falls short of ultimate reality, but is part of the basic illusory appearance of the cosmos.

Subramanian. R said...

Sri Bhagavan used the names both the Self and God depending upon the
maturity of devotees on various occasions.

Self - Non moving, eternal, everpresent Substance.

God is same as the Self.

Iswara - Personal God

Sakti - the manifesting power of
the Self or God.

Sat - the eternal Substance.

Chit - All-Knowledge

Anandam - Bliss

A Jnani who has realized the Self
is said to possess Sat Chit Anandam. So these qualities are attributed to the Self or God also,
though it has no form.

Subramanian. R said...

Dear Clemens Vargas Ramos,

Muruganar says the same thing in
GVK 57:

Just as the yolk of the egg of the many hued green peacock is only one
in color, the original state of this insubstantial world, which appears to be distorted into teeming multiplicity, is pure and unalloyed happiness. By abiding in the state of the Self, know this truth now, even while that Self appearing as an effect, takes the form of world manifesting through the power of maya.

Traveller said...

Can you guys help me understand this Talks with Bhagavan on 30th May, 1936, Talk 190.

How we could be affected in our daily lives. I feel we all have a bit of the person who appears in this talks!

There is a pet squirrel in the hall which usually retires into its cage before nightfall. Just as Maharshi was telling it to retire for the night a visitor who had announced that he had attained the transcendent
consciousness suggested that water might be offered to it, since it was likely to be thirsty on this hot evening. His presumption to understand animals evoked no response. He repeated it. After a few minutes’ silence Maharshi said, “You are probably thirsty after your
long meditation in the hot Sun on the hotter rocks and you would like to drink a jug of water.”

D.: Quite so. I have taken water.
M.: The squirrel is not so thirsty. Because you were practising austerities in the heat of the Sun you should feel thirsty. Why prescribe it for the squirrel? Maharshi added: I noticed him standing on the hot rocks facing the
Sun with eyes closed. I stood there for a while but did not want to disturb him and came away. These people do as they please.

D.: What I did, I did not intend beforehand. It was spontaneous.
M.: Oh! I see! Whatever we others do, we do with intention! You seem to have transcended all!

D.: This is not the first time I did so. You yourself inspire me and make me do all these things. Yet you ask me why I did it. How is it?
M.: I see. You are doing actions being controlled by me. Then the fruits also should be considered similarly to be mine and not yours.
D.: So they are undoubtedly. I act not of my free will but inspired by you. I have no will of my own.
M.: Enough of this rubbish! So did Duryodhana of old (in the Mahabharata) say:

janami dharmam nacha me pravrittih,
janamyadharmam nacha me nivrittih.
kenapi devana hridi sthitena
yatha niyuktosmitatha karomi.

What is the difference between you two?

D.: I see no difference. But I have no will and act without it.
M.: You have risen high above the common run. We others are acting with personal will.
D.: How, Sir? You have said in one of your works that action can be automatic.

M.: Enough! Enough! You and another visitor behave as transcendental beings! You are both fully learned. You need not learn more. I would not have said all this had you not been coming here frequently. Do
as you please. But these eccentricities of the beginner’s stage will become known in their true light after some time.

D.: But I have been in this state for such a long time.
M.: Enough!

Subramanian. R said...

Dear LMM,

Sri Bhagavan used the words Self and God interchangeably depending upon the seekers. He used Iswara to denote the personal god. Sakti and Maya are again interchangeably used by Him. It means only the manifesting power of God or the Self, since according to Him, both God and Self are non moving, eternal substances, unmanifest
and inert. M of Einstein's equation.

S. said...

salutations to all:

Traveller:
you said "...I feel we all have a bit of the person who appears in this talks!..." - so very true :-) as far as bhagavAn's reprimands in the said 'talk' are concerned, it's obviously directed at our "hypocrisy" - we all tend to project more than what may actually have happened; we all are inclined to reveal more than what truly may have transpired; we very often abuse the phrase 'it's god's will' (less out of any surrender and more to conceal our indiscretions); we are eager to weave a 'coat' around a 'button' and talk at length on the 'coat' when all that may have been to it was only a 'button'! unless & until one is ripened enough, all talk of 'it's all bhagavAn's will' is not only dishonest but also dangerous... not that we aren't sincere, just that our samskArAs to 'exhibit' our better side (more imagined than is the case) is potent enough to distort whatever happens & think/assume/share it as something else... it is said that 'truthfulness in this age alone is enough' - to be truly 'truthful' in thought, speech, deed is very very very tough - despite my unwillingness, i slip everyday :-(

Clemens Vargas Ramos said...

... Muruganar says the same thing in GVK 57: ...

Dear Subramanian R, yes. The nature of reality is beyond of 'emptiness', 'void' or 'effulgence'. These are all complementary terms. Our european philosopher Cusanus said: 'For the mind God is the highest beyond of that no higher exist.' Or: 'The mind sees the lower things as variety and the higher things als unity'.

Nevertheless we need to answer the question clearly: Does unity springs from variety or does variety springs from unity? Or: Is the bracelet made of gold or is gold made of the bracelet?

Many people believe that the higher things are made of the lower things. In western science it is quite normal to think that we can detect God by microscopes or telescopes.

Subramanian. R said...

Dear Ravi,

By personal god, Sri Bhagavan meant
Ishta Devata or Kula Devata, the god of a particular person. For Arunagiri Natha, Muruga was his personal god. God in general term, Sri Bhagavan used to mean the Self.

Iswara, god, the creator, the personal God - is the last of the unreal forms to go. Only the Absolute Being is real. Hence, not only the world, not only the ego, but also the personal god are of unreality. If individual is a form, even Self, the source, who is the Lord, will also appear to be a form. God assumes any form imagined by the devotee through repeated thinking in prolonged meditation. Though he thus assumes endless names, the real formless consciousness alone is God.

Traveller said...

Dear S,

Your words are so true, I feel the same! The fact is we don't know what surrender truly is! Well I certainly don't know! But there is just a recognition of this! Its quite tricky to the superfluous intellect of mine!

I feel at so many instances how much a hypocrite I am! The objective of trying to understand this particular talk was in a way an affirmation of my own recognition! What else is left after this recognition! I don't know to proceed or to be!

Subramanian. R said...

Dear Traveller,

We all try to transfer our needs,
our pleasures and pains, our happiness and sorrow upon others and also on God. The visitor was standing on the rock on the hot sun
as if it was a sadhana! Nothing is far from it. He says later, that he was acting as per will of Sri Bhagavan. This is what most of us do in our lives. Sri Lalita Sahasranamam says that Mothef is Payasanna priya. First of all, Mother is not specially in love with any food, leave alone,
Payasam, i.e sweet jaggery+dhal liquid, with spices like cardamom and dry grapes. Now we want this, so we say this, and we offer this to Mother in our puja. Nowadays, they offer Vada, a savory also to Her. Vada is of recent origin made of rice+dhall+chilli powder batter, fried in oil, with salt etc., Now who says that Mother wants Vada? It is not there even in original verse. And chillies came from Portugal in 15th century. Hindus were only using pepper. It is because we want it to go with Payasam, we offer Vada too, as beacon is taken with martini.

Sri Bhagavan never likes these statements of visitors who are half baked. Let them indulge in
any idiosynchrocies, but He did not want them to say that it was
Sri Bhagavan's Will.

Subramanian. R said...

Dear Clemens Vargas Ramos,

Variety springs from Unity. Branches, leaves, twigs, flowers and fruits spring from one seed. Sri
Abhirami Andati, a Tamizh composition of 100 verses says, She is One. Many things spring from Her
and spread to the whole world.
OnRai irunthu, palavai arumbi ulanehngumai nirpaaL.

Traveller said...

Dear Subramanian, your words are very clear.

It becomes an endless cycle in your last paragraph -

"Sri Bhagavan never likes these statements of visitors who are half baked. Let them indulge in
any idiosynchrocies, but He did not want them to say that it was
Sri Bhagavan's Will."


It becomes again another payasam and Vada! when we look within as to Who says Bhagavan never likes these statements... that Bhagavan never likes this is again myself!

This entire thing seems quite tricky! How does one Really get to know what is idiosynchrocies eventually in the end?

hey jude said...

Traveller, Our Hyena (human) nature is always plotting, conniving, chiseling, brooding always maneuvering for advantage. In this case pretending to be advanced in front of the Maharshi when they were not.
Nothings changed, many now pretend to be spiritually mature or Gurus when they are in reality only just taking baby steps.

S. said...

salutations to all:

traveller/subramanian:
subramanian said "...Sri Bhagavan never likes these statements of visitors who are half baked. Let them indulge in any idiosynchrocies, but He did not want them to say that it was Sri Bhagavan's Will..."

the issue is not about some visitor; before bhagavAn, we all are half-baked pots (or perhaps not even 'half'-baked! the baking has just started):-). why others, aren't we idiosyncratic? don't we pretend? isn't it the case that we hypocritically keep attributing things to bhagavAn's will? :-)

traveller: emphathise with you. though the handicaps are several, yet for all our debilitations, bhagavAn's remedy is simple - self-enquiry :-). have you tried vichAra? if no, read "only" the works of bhagavAn and please try it; if yes, please keep doing it. everything that's required for us to get better will come of its own :-)

Ravi said...

Friends,
Talking about pots,reminds of the poems of Harindranath chattpadhya that Sri Bhagavan enjoyed listening:
THE EARTHEN GOBLET
(A conversation between the poet and the goblet)
“O silent goblet! red from head to heel,
How did you feel
When you were being twirled
Upon the Potter’s wheel
Before the Potter gave you to the world?”
I felt a conscious impulse in my clay
To break away
From the great Potter’s hand
That burned so warm.
I felt a vast
Feeling of sorrow to be cast
Into my present form.
Before that fatal hour
That saw me captive on the Potter’s wheel
And cast into this crimson goblet-sleep,
I used to feel
The fragrant friendship of a little flower
Whose root was in my bosom buried deep.
The Potter has drawn out the living breath of me,
And given me a form which is the death of me;
My past unshapely natural state was best,
With just one flower flaming through my breast.

continued....

Ravi said...

Friends,
PITCHERS OF CLAY
Outside the Potter’s shop upon the way
In patient rows we stand, pitchers of clay —
Under a copper-clouded sky of gold
Expecting every moment to be sold.
Although we have no language, yet we feel
A bitterness towards the Potter’s wheel
10
Which moulded us, what though without a flaw,
To shape, which is against our being’s law.
Pitchers are beautiful and yet, indeed,
Even from beauty we would all be freed
And, slipping into Earth, secure escape
From the enchanted tyranny of shape.
Some of us pitchers, tired of being, drop
And break to pieces in the Potter’s shop.
Pathetic things! What does the Potter care
For the pale weariness of Earthenware?

continued....

Ravi said...

Friends,
SHAPER SHAPED
In days gone by I used to be
A potter who would feel
His fingers mould the yielding clay
To patterns on his wheel;
But now, through wisdom lately won,
That pride has died away,
I have ceased to be the potter
And have learned to be the clay.
In other days I used to be
A poet through whose pen
Innumerable songs would come
To win the hearts of men;
But now, through new-got knowledge
Which I hadn’t had so long,
I have ceased to be the poet
And have learned to be the song.
I was a fashioner of swords,
In days that now are gone,
Which on a hundred battle-fields
Glittered and gleamed and shone;
11
But now that I am brimming with
The silence of the Lord
I have ceased to be a sword-maker
And learned to be the sword.
In by-gone days I used to be
A dreamer who would hurl
On every side an insolence
Of emerald and pearl.
But now that I am kneeling
At the feet of the Supreme
I have ceased to be the dreamer
And have learned to be the dream.

Namaskar.

Ravi said...

Friends,
An excerpt from Day by Day with Bhagavan:
After this I asked H.C. to recite before Bhagavan (or rather
act as on the stage) a piece from a play of his in which a docklabourer
groaning under his work bursts out into a complaint.
H.C. did so and all saw how moving a good recitation can be.
After a while H.C. asked Bhagavan, “How is it, Bhagavan, we
sometimes feel choked with tears in Bhagavan’s Presence?”
Bhagavan smiled and kept quiet. I said, “It is a good thing if
one’s tears gush forth like that and even of Bhagavan it is
recorded that when he used to go and stand before the image in
the temple at Madura, before he came here, tears used to flow
involuntarily out of his eyes, not as the result of any joy or pain,
but purely out of bhakti.” Bhagavan was thereupon kind enough
to add, “Even after coming here such a thing has happened.
Even on reading or hearing touching passages from books such
a thing has happened. Apparently a stock of emotional tears is
latent in so many of us, so that at any opportune moment, or on
the slightest provocation, they well out without any control on
our part.”
Namaskar.

Ravi said...

Friends,
"Apparently a stock of emotional tears is
latent in so many of us, so that at any opportune moment, or on
the slightest provocation, they well out without any control on
our part.”
How Sri Bhagavan is so intensely human,and says'in so many of us' as if he is like anyone of us!
Namaskar.

Subramanian. R said...

Dear Traveller,

Idiosynchrocies eventually end up
in a deluded imagination that
-- I am self realized. This is
more dangerous than not having self realization at all.

Subramanian. R said...

Dear Ravi,

I think emotional tears are quite natural phenomenon. One cannot shed tears artificially. That is why cine actors use glycerin to irritate their eyes and bring tears. Whereas laughing can be artificial. We have seen enough of this from villains of Indian cinemas. But tears need not
come out for every body if they listen to Sri Bhagavan's words. Once there was a visitor who asked
Sri Bhagavan: Swami, how come the other man [he pointed out] in the Hall is constantly shedding tears at seeing you and listening to you? Sri Bhagavan said: Perhaps
he is having some problem in his eyes. He did not want to say something to the visitor lest he might think that he was not quite advanced like the tearful person.

Sri Bhagavan used to call such people who are shedding tears in
His Presence, as Azhugini Siddhar. There was one Siddhar who was weeping constantly chanting Siva's name. Hence he got that name. Sri Manikkavachagar has said:

I am falsity. My heart is falsity. But can I not get you if I weep?

Tears for God are a sure symbol for progress towards godhead. Sri Ramakrishna has also mentioned it and he used to call it as one of Maha Bhavas.

In another song, Saint Manikkavachagar says: one girl to another: Thenna, enna munnam, thee ser mezhugoppai.... Even some one says O Southerner, [Siva of Madurai], you become like wax on fire. That is the other girl melts in tears.

Sri Bhagavan has said: Like the ice that melts in water, let me melt in your form of Love. [Sri AAMM]

Traveller said...

Dear S,

Thank you. you have used the perfect possible word - "empathise" Thank you a lot!

Am exactly doing just the same! Have been only reading books on Bhagavan and I keep doing the enquiry, but... you see! I hate to use this word - "but", but I have no other option!

Sometimes I just laugh; perhaps I was much better off before this spiritual business, being blissfully ignorant!

If we look into the entire thing as a whole, first we are blissfully ignorant without being aware, then we learn (who learns?) that we have to go beyond the mundane and then when we jump into it, we lose ourselves and end up in cross-roads where we pause by and feel that we were much better off being blissfully ignorant without being aware rather than hoping to be fully aware of being blissfully ignorant!

There is a beautiful verse from Akshara Mana Malai which conveys my predicament -

With some magic powder, you stupefied me, robbed me of my jiva-hood revealed instead your Siva-hood. (73)

Just one change to my predicament -

With some magic powder, you stupefied me, robbed me of my jiva-hood with a promise and hope to reveal your Siva-hood as my Siva-hoot. (73)

Deep inside I am aware that the promise and hope is myself and there is none to blame than my very Self! Even the knowledge and recognition of the rope superimposed as snake is not enough, it is mere knowledge! How stupid can we be, if we don't know who we are, who I am?

He says, does any one say that I am a man? Why am I asking it then? I do not know the fruit of knowing myself, perhaps I can never know for there is no knowing of it at all! Then why the whole business? I must be kidding myself! What matter my understanding of it? It’s absolutely nothing and simply too insignificant!

what matters?

Oh, is there a freewill or not, who may know? Whose answer can satisfy this hunger whose hunger never satiates! Then what is the purpose of getting an answer!

Why do I want to know if there is freewill or not? Who knows? Who can know!

Bewilderment!

Traveller said...

Not trying to profess something here, but I felt that surrendering completely is recognising that it is absolutely impossible for one to even surrender completely!

Surrender then is simply a recognition of the fact of the impossibility of surrendering!

mere words! ha - at myself!!!

Subramanian. R said...

Speaking of emotional tears, one
Ms.Eleanor Pauline Noye of California, came to visit Sri Bhagavan in 1940 and stayed in the
Asramam for 10 months. While parting with Sri Bhagavan, she could not control her emotions, and shed profuse tears. Sri Bhagavan [very rarely He does] told her: " Do not despond. Wherever you go, I shall be with you!" Devaraja Mudaliar who was observing this told Sri Bhagavan: Ms. Noye has captured Sri Bhagavan with her tears. Immediately Sri Bhagavan asked Mudaliar: You know, don't you, the Tiruvachakam lines? Yane Poi, En Nenjum Poi, en anbum poi, Aanal adiyen azhuthal unnai peRalame.... Sri Bhagavan Himself had earlier shed tears on reading these lines and Mudaliar too had shed tears for these lines.

K.K. Nambiar later went to America and he met Ms. Noye there. K.K.
Nambiar and Ms.Noye and her sister
then had kept a picture of Sri Bhagavan and meditated and Nambiar found her profusely weeping!

Incidentally, Ms. Noye had taken the black and white short film [that run for a few minutes] through her cine camera and got it processed at Hollywood.

Subramanian. R said...

Dear Traveller,

Most of us are not able to do total surrender immediately. The ego is a tough nut to crack. It is a diabolic rapscallion. But Sri Bhagavan has assured: You do partial surrender at least now. It will evolve into total surrender in due course. Guru AruL will take care of the final killing of the ego. We should somehow start with partial surrender at least to begin with.

Subramanian. R said...

The famous Azhuthal unnai peralame...
line comes in Saint Manikkavachagar's
Tiru Chadakam, last verse, in Tiruvachakam.

Subramanian. R said...

Once a young man came to Sri Bhagavan and sang some patriotic song of Subrahmanya Bharati. The office sent word to stop it immediately. The young man stopped it but cried uncontrollably. Sri
Bhagavan intervened in the decision and asked him to sing it in full.
Whether it is patriotic song or some devotional song, tears bring one closer to godhead.

Ravi said...

R.subramanaian,
"The ego is a tough nut to crack. It is a diabolic rapscallion."

Is it better to say 'I am a tough nut to crack',rather than setting up the effigy of an 'ego' and belabouring it?

Namaskar.

arvind said...

Broken Yogi, folks,

The issue is very simple and only ONE:

A) Was Sri Bhagavan teaching that the Ultimate is the Self, an eternal Reality, that which exists, that which always is, the “I”, the permanence within, the Source, the eternal Substratum, Supreme Consciousness? Describe it as you will, but IT IS AN ETERNAL POSITIVE EXISTENCE. Which coincides with the Sanatana Dharma - Advaita position.

OR

B) Self is just a term used as a teaching prop by Bhagavan; what He otherwise meant was that there is actually “nothing” there as the Ultimate, no eternal permanence, no eternal source, no eternal substratum. That if you look within, THERE IS NOTHING AT ALL, A COMPLETE NULLITY. Which coincides with the Buddhist doctrine of the Void.

I had asked you these 2 options earlier and you categorically went with the latter. Though I think from point 8 in your last writeup you seem to be NOW veering around to the former view. Or are you holding on to the even more absurd notion of some sort of middle way between the 2 options above? Or perhaps we can drop the Advaita tag to (A) and the Buddhist tag to (B) if it makes you more comfortable. Which would you go with then?

Just as a reminder, previously this is what you had said, which put you in camp (B) above, triggering this debate:

Feb 1

Buddha examined everything, including especially himself, and found no “there” there. Everything is empty of selfness, thingness, or permanence. He emphasized this finding because he found that so many Vedantists had turned the Self into an actual “thing” or substance and so made the goal into a reified state of permanence. He thought this put people on the wrong track and led them to conclude that some state or object of bliss that they had realized was the true Self. He made it clear that all such things were empty and void, and that there was no permanent “Self”.

He tried to emphasize over and over again that there was no such thing, no gold, no rope, no “Brahman” there. All of that, was empty also. Mere concepts of the mind. The reality was emptiness.

Feb 2

Thus, though Ramana talked about an unchanging and eternal substratum, he also made it clear that not such "thing" exists. It is the very nature of the eternal substratum that it has no "content" and thus no permanence in any sense that we think of. He used the analogy of a screen on which a movie is projected. However, the screen itself is also an "image" that we project in our minds. So that is not really "it" either. Thus, even the notion of a screen or a substratum is just a project image, and not the real screen or substratum. And thus it goes endlessly. So one cannot find a "Self" even in the Self. There is no "substratum" as an existent phenomena.

arvind said...

Feb 3

Do I agree that a substratum exists? No, I don't. I think the concept of a substratum is a very useful teaching approach for many, but that's what it is – a teaching concept, a bridge to help us find reality. In reality, there is no such thing.

He made mention of various philosophical matters simply because people seemed to need some kind of conceptual understanding to practice self-enquiry consistently, and so he generally referred to the philosophical traditions of Advaita and sanathana dharma, since that was what was familiar to most of his devotees. So he talked about “substratums” and so on. It makes sense to most people familiar with vedanta. And it helps lead them to practice self-enquiry.

Feb 5

Yes, it is my understanding that there is "nothing at all" that can be spoken of or described as "the Self". It is my understanding that when asked why he used these terms, he explained that he used the verbal concept of "the Self" merely because it was a good directional pointer towards the ultimate reality - that it was in the direction of the self, meaning within, at least from the point of view of the unrealized jiva.

So this phrase "the Self" doesn't actually point to some real thing, a substratum or layer of things as we might like to believe. It merely gives us a clue as to where to turn out attention - back upon itself - in order to be liberated from any illusions we might have. He calls reality "the Self" merely because that is a useful directional pointer for those who wish to discover this reality.

And so he taught within the general language of the Advaitic tradition, because that is what most who came to him were familiar with and could make use of. He didn't do this because it was the only tradition that was in accord with his experience. He did it because it was the tradition that his devotees were familiar with.

Feb 6

Also, be aware that Ramana himself repeatedly denied that he was a Hindu. So that is already out there in the open. Let me repeat: Ramana was not a Hindu, did not follow sanatana dharma, and did not oppose Buddhism. So it is hardly a stretch to suggest that there were aspects of his teaching which went against the sanatana tradition, and which may even be more in line with some Buddhist teachings.

--------------------------------
Actually, your posts Feb 6 onwards seem to veer around indirectly to the position of point (A) above. You seem to admit that there IS an eternal reality, and then beat around the bush with respect to how it should be described.

So, again BY, just tell us where you stand, is it with point (A) or (B)? Really, there is no in-between, no “middle-way” between these 2 options. It can only be one or the other. And if it is option (B), quote me the hard material from Bhagavan’s works, or even David’s writings at least, to support that view.

Also, I missed this one earlier, “Ramana himself repeatedly denied that he was a Hindu”. So, do quote me the several “repeated” instances when Bhagavan denied being a Hindu.

Best wishes

Subramanian. R said...

Dear Ravi,

Yes. Ego is nothing but 'I thought'.
So I am a tough nut to crack. But
this ego i.e. in respect of my "I"
it is found to be slowly changing into a soft steam cooked nut, due to
Sri Bhagavan's grace. I am particularly having this feeling since 2007.

I am caught in the jaws of Sri Bhagavan. The tiger cannot leave me. AruNai enru eNNa naan un aruL kaNNi patten, nin aruL valai thappumo, Arunachala. Kodit ittu adiyaRi kol unnai kattik koNdu engu vaazhven Arunachala.
Nen eri eritthu enai neerakkidummen nin aruL mazhai pozhi Arunachala. Keez mel engum
nin kiLar oLi maNi en keezhamaiyai
pazh sei Arunachala.

What else can I pray?

S. said...

salutations to all:

folks: arvind's comment reminded me of another thing, which i frequently come across here (& elsewhere) - this is a 'blog' & not a scientific research paper, i agree. yet, as many people follow this blog for information and/or clarifications on their sAdhanA based on bhagavAn, i humbly opine that wherever you say "bhagavAn said...", either please give the 'actual' lines as they are available in any of the reliable books or clearly say that you are rephrasing/ restating bhagavAn's words from your memory to the extent you are able to recollect.
(of course, that one may not have the text in hand is understandable).

i think this is relevant because as long as we are in the sAdhanA stage, 'words' are significant and bhagavAn's words are of paramount importance. it's quite likely for any of us to get carried away due to a surge of emotion and thus we may unwittingly end-up clothing our own biased understanding using "bhagavAn said..."! this should be kept in check :-)

in this context, am thankful to ravi for actually quoting words of thAkur from the kathAmrta, and i request subramanian to do the same :-)

Ravi said...

Arvind/Broken Yogi,
“Ramana himself repeatedly denied that he was a Hindu”.
Broken Yogi has been making this silly(sorry!) statement once too often.I will post here an excellent article from Arthur osborne from 'Be still,it is the wind that sings':
The Maharshi’s Place in History
A new development has come about in Hinduism since
the time of Ramakrishna. Because, ancient as it is, Hinduism is still
capable of development. That means that it is still living, for
development is the quality of life, rigidity of death. It is surprising
how little this development has been noticed; it just seems to be
taken for granted. It is of fundamental importance.
In order to appreciate it one must see clearly what Hinduism is.
It is a fusion between an organization of life and worship on what
might be called the horizontal plane and paths to beatitude on the
vertical. Of course, not every Hindu takes a path to beatitude—he
can still be a Hindu without that. But he cannot be without the
horizontal affiliation, that is to say without either being integrated
into the Hindu social system or having renounced it, like a
sannyasin. And this horizontal modality of Hinduism is so complex
that it would be hard for an outsider to fit into it even if he tried. As
for his becoming a sannyasin, that would mean adopting the Hindu
pattern of life in order to renounce it, which seems rather absurd.
For this reason, Hinduism is not and cannot be a proselytising
religion. It is also not an intolerant religion. For those who do
follow a path to Beatitude there are a number to choose from,
and, for instance, one whose path is through the worship of
Rama will not condemn or try to convert another whose path
is through the worship of Krishna. Why should not this apply
also to one whose path is through the worship of Christ?
continued......

Ravi said...

Arvind/Broken Yogi/Friends,
Arthur Osbourne continued...
"What has been happening since the time of Ramakrishna is
that the path of Beatitude is being detached from the social
organization of life, so that people from outside the Hindu
community can receive spiritual guidance from its gurus without
needing to integrate themselves into that community. This is a
change of tremendous importance, since it enables the spiritual
34
influence to radiate out beyond the limits of the organization.
For anyone who is interested in drawing historical parallels, it is
not unlike the change which St. Paul brought about when,
revolting against the orthodoxy of St. Peter and St. James, he
decided that those who came to Christ from outside Judaeism
need not accept the Jewish law and ritual. However, the parallel
cannot be pushed too far. The circumstances were different, since
what then began as a new path to Beatitude for those who were
seeking soon developed into a religion for a whole community
with its own law and ritual and its own social organization.
What is similar is that, now as then, a materialistic world has
broken away from religion and many are looking around
desperately for guidance. People are giving up religion and,
even for those who seek, the paths to Beatitude are becoming
lost or inaccessible for the guidance is no longer reliable. Divine
Providence always meets the needs of its children, but not always
in the same way. In the time of St. Paul it did so through the
establishment of a new religion; today it does so by making
spiritual guidance available outside the formal structure of the
religions. This is happening in various ways; in the resurgence
of non-denominational Christian mysticism through inspired
teachers such as Joel Goldsmith, in the spread of Buddhism in
the West, not as a creed for the many but as a path for the few,
and in this new development in Hinduism, making the path to
Beatitude available outside the structure of Hindu orthodoxy."
continued....

Ravi said...

Arvind/Broken Yogi/Friends,
Arthur Osbourne continued...
"The proof that this new development in Hinduism is a valid
and not a heretical one is that it has been brought about from
above, by the masters themselves, beginning with Ramakrishna
and culminating in Ramana Maharshi.
It was Vivekananda who was the most spectacular in
introducing this new trend with the Vedanta Societies he
founded in the West; but it was not his innovation. Ramakrishna
was not mistaken in saying that Vivekananda would complete
his work. That work has two aspects; to restore Hinduism to
35
vigour and self-respect in India and to make it known as a
spiritual current in the West, a current available to Western
seekers. Both were carried to completion by Vivekananda.
Ramakrishna himself had no foreign disciples, but he
dreamed once that he was in a Western town of large, modern
buildings, surrounded by Westerners, and he interpreted it to
mean that he would have many disciples in the West. After his
Mahasamadhi, his wife, Sarada Devi, whom all the disciples
revered as the Holy Mother, quite naturally and without
argument initiated foreign disciples, even though she spoke only
Bengali, which they did not know. All the other disciples
approved of this, and of Vivekananda’s more spectacular action
in the West, and followed in the same direction.
Since then this has become the regular practice with Hindu
Gurus. All or almost all of them accept foreign disciples without
expecting them to integrate themselves into the Hindu social
system or practice Hindu religious ritual."
continued...

Ravi said...

Arvind/Broken Yogi/Friends,
Arthur Osborne continued....
"This practice culminated in Ramana Maharshi. There was
something mysterious about the initiation he gave—no laying
on of hands, no mantra, no outer form at all; only the mouna
diksha, the silent initiation. Although silent, this was a definite
event, not a gradual process. He himself confirmed this in various
oblique ways when necessary, asserting that, from the point of
view of the disciple, the Guru-disciple relationship is a necessity
and explaining that a spiritual practice (and he was constantly
enjoining one) only has potency for those who are initiated into
it. For those who experienced his initiation no conformation was
necessary. If they were in his presence it was given through a
penetrating look of terrific power; if at a distance perhaps through
a dream or vision, perhaps formlessly. In any case, the disciple
felt taken up, swept forward on a wave of power, thenceforward
guided and supported. And in any case there was nothing
specifically Hindu about it, nothing to make it available to
members of one community only and inaccessible to others.
36
That was one advantage of the silent initiation. Now that he is
no longer in the body we see another also—that it can still
continue, whereas formal initiation could not. He himself
indicated in various ways before leaving the body that his guidance
would continue; for instance, when some devotees complained
that he was leaving them without guidance and asked what they
were to do without him, he replied: “You attach too much
importance to the body.” The implication was obvious; the body
was going, he was not. And indeed, he said: “They say that I am
going, but where would I go? I am here.” Not “I shall be” but “I
am”. The body could go, but the formless Self, with which he
was in constant conscious identity, just is, eternally, here and now."
Continued....

Ravi said...

Arvind/Broken Yogi/Friends,
Arthur Osborne continued...
"This continued initiation and guidance is not just theory; it
happens. I will quote a case of it described quite recently in a
letter from a man in a Yorkshire village of whom we had no
previous knowledge, published in the January 1967 issue of
The Mountain Path.
“On August 13th (1966), without any shadow of doubt, Sri
Bhagavan bestowed his Grace on me. Instruction was also implicit
in his Grace. And further, even though I could not admit it to
myself at once (although I knew it to be so) it was initiation and
an indication that a Guru-disciple relationship had been created.”
This formless initiation and guidance of Bhagavan, spreading
invisibly through many countries, has not been institutionalised.
This also is in conformity with the needs of the age, when many
who respond to it would not be in a position to join an institution
and many also would not wish to be dependent on one. It is
supported outwardly by the books on or by the Maharshi and by
The Mountain Path, and in some towns the followers of the
Maharshi meet together in a society where they can meditate and
discuss and listen to talks. This is a great facility where it exists,
but it has nothing of the formality or compulsion of an institution;
and there are many for whom even membership of such a society
is not available. Many also, by temperament, do not desire it. We
see now the wisdom of Bhagavan in establishing a path which
can be followed in solitude and silence, without singing or
chanting, without the knowledge of any sacred language,
independent of the forms and ritual of any religion."
-----------------------------------
Whatever Osborne has described is in fact the very character of Sanatana dharma(leaving aside its collective social,cultural aspect).
Swami Vivekananda in his talk 'My Master' says:
"In the house of every man there is either a little chapel, or a room set apart, and there he goes morning and evening, sits down in a corner, and there does his worship. And this worship is entirely mental, for another man does not hear or know what he is doing. He sees him only sitting there, and perhaps moving his fingers in a peculiar fashion, or closing his nostrils and breathing in a peculiar manner. Beyond that, he does not know what is brother is doing; even his wife, perhaps, will not know. Thus, all worship is conducted in the privacy of his own home. Those who cannot afford to have a chapel go to banks of a river, or a lake, or the sea if they live at the seaside, but people sometimes go to worship in a temple by making salutation to the image."
Religion is thus always a private affair,and each one is free to pursue what appeals to him.
Namaskar.

Broken Yogi said...

Arvind,

Given your two options, I think it is obvious from the beginning of this thread of conversation that I have been arguing in favor of neither, seeing both as philosophically invalid, and favoring instead precisely the "middle way" that is found in both Nagarjuna's Madhyamika and the latter Advaita of Guadapada. You have mistakenly seen me as favoring your option B, simply because I do not affirm option A, which is a false logic trap that I have no intention of being cornered into.

As for Ramana's teaching, I have also made it clear that Ramana was simply not interested in philosophy, and couldn't really care about constructing a consistent philosophical position. He cared about guiding seekers in the best possible way, and not as a group, but individually. Thus, he tailored all his teachings and answers to questions according to what would best serve those who came to him. He often contradicted himself, in that he would tell one person one thing, and another person something quite different, because he responded to the needs of his devotees rather than to some foolish philosophical consistency.

I will remind you of his position on the ajata vada. He described the ajata vada as being most consistent with his own experience and realizaiton, but he rarely taught that perspective. Instead, he often taught from the Sristi-dristi vada, because so many ordinary people were only capable of understanding from that point of view. For those more capable of a deeper understanding, he also taught from the dristi-sristi vada. And only for the most advanced, he would teach from the ajata vada. One can come up with thousands of quotes which might seem to indicate that Ramana taught sristi-dristi and conclude that this was his "teaching". Or, one could come up with many other quotes affirming that his teaching was that of dristi-sristi. Relatively few quotes could be found that demonstrated the ajata viewpoint. And yet it is ajata that is closest to his own real experience.

I am merely suggesting that something similar occurs in Ramana's teaching on the Self. For many, he simply uses the conventional viewpoint of the Self, that it is an eternal substratum that is always there and so forth. This is something like a sristi-dristi point of view about the Self. For others, he teaches a subtler understanding of the Self that sees it as everywhere and everything, the root of the mind and when the mind is destroyed, the only genuine reality of pure awareness and consciousness. That would be closer to the dristi-sristi model of the Self. And beyond that, his own highest understanding would correspond to an ajata view of the Self, as not even remotely like a "real thing". As I showed in the quote I already posted twice, Ramana quite clearly acknowledges that the deepest truth of the Self is that it is neither real nor unreal, neither sentient (conscious) nor insentient (unconscious), but simply non-dual through and through. This would correspond to an ajata view of the Self.

Broken Yogi said...

cont.

This does not mean I am suggesting that much of Ramana's teaching is therefore "wrong" or invalid. His use of the concept of the Self, regardless of who he is talking to, is very much a valid teaching, precisely because it has proven so useful to many. As I have said, if you find the concept of a permanent, eternal substratum both necessary and useful, fine and well. Go with it. But let's not pretend that this is the limit of Ramana's understanding, and that anything else is some kind of heretical position. It is, in my opinion, the lowest of Ramana's views of the Self, and the highest of his views is found in the fourfold-like negations that he has sometimes engaged in. In between, we find a more fluid understanding of the Self which is very useful for most people seeking realization. But the description of realization that is useful to seekers is not necessarily the description most apt for those who have realized, like Ramana himself. Thus, a philosphical understanding of Ramana's teaching on the Self must take into account all these views and set them in order. And that is where I would say that the Buddhist madyamika philosophy would have something of an edge, in that it is able to structure Ramana's teaching from the start around this non-dual understanding, without feeling the necessity to simply affirm the lowest aspect of it.

Nagarjuna's Madhyamika is a wonderful and beautiful philosophical construct that was not only highly valued within Buddhism, but served as the inspiration for Guadapada's Advaita. And thus, it is even historically highly relevant to Ramana's own Advaitic teachings. One of his more famous teachings is:

(To say) "Is," is eternity-grasping; (to say) "Is not," is a nihilistic view.
Therefore, those of discerning vision would not have recourse to Is-ness and Is-not-ness
One of Buddhism's primary criticisms of sanatana dharma is its belief or assertion of an eternal and permanent Self or substratum, conceived of as a “living conscious substance” from which all things are made. Buddhism regards this as something of a “beginner's error”, but rather than merely negating that error and asserting the opposite to be true, it takes the “middle path” between the two extremes. It acknowledges, as you have yourself asserted, that the opposite position of “is not” would be a nihilistic view. So it does not take that route. That is why noble silence is the highest philosophical position to take, and if one must speak, the next highest would be the “middle way”, or in terms of sanatana dharma, the ajata vada. But since most people can't quite understand these high dharmas, one ends up settling for various “lower” versions of these that seem to affirm the more pedestrian viewpoint, because it is better to keep people motivated to practice than it is to maintain some kind of abstract doctrinal purity. So even within Buddhism, the high dharma of Nagarjuna is often presented in a humbler and even simplistic manner that enables ordinary people to grasp hold of the practice and grow.

Broken Yogi said...

cont.

So I've been suggesting that the same is true with Ramana. He had no concern for doctrinal purity. When he realized, he had no particular concept of “the Self”. He developed a teaching about the Self because of those who came to him for help, and in their language and tradition, the Self seemed the most apt concept to describe and point towards his realization in a manner that would help motivate them to practice. But it wasn't his only teaching. He also taught about the Heart, and about the pure non-dualism of ajata, and used whatever teaching constructs that were appropriate to those who came to him. Because his primary interest was in getting people to practice self-enquiry, the concept of “the Self” was the most useful, since the very word contained the directional pointer that guided the practice of self-enquiry. It's why he didn't use the concept of “God” very much, except of course for people who related best to that concept. So he would also talk about a “higher power” rather than the Self, when needed. And then he would affirm that all these concepts and words were really the same thing, just viewed from different perspectives, and that the truth was beyond all such concepts and perspectives.
None of that should be taken, I think, as an affirmation of the eternal verity of any particular viewpoint or teaching. The teachings of Buddhism should not be viewed as a “wrong” or nihilistic for not affirming any particular teaching in sanatana dharma. The opposite is the case. Buddhist teachings on emptiness in the context of madhyamika should be seen in a positive light as helping us get to the heart of the matter, and in that respect they are highly compatible with Ramana's teaching, often in a way that many versions of sanatana dharma are not.
When Ramana speaks of the substratum or the eternal nature of the Self, he is not reifing eternalism or a “real thing” called the Self. There are no “things” in Ramana's Self, and the Self is not itself a “real thing”. As he states himself, it is beyond real and unreal, beyond consciousness and unconsciousness. That kind of view of the Self is not only quite consistent with Buddhism, it is probably better understood with the help of Buddhist teachings such as the Madyamika. And let's not pretend that many Hindus weren't aware of this. That's why they started to develop the Advaitic teachings and the doctrine of Ajata. They were inspired by the Buddhists and also took its criticism of eternalism to heart. And Ramana is representative of an even further advancement in that tradition that has roots in both sanatana dharma and Buddhism. So it's important to understand Ramana in the context of both traditions and their teachings without resorting to petty sectarian politics that seeks to denigrate and make straw men of those one imagines oppose one's own camp. Genuine non-dualism is not opposed to anything, and that includes Buddhism.

Broken Yogi said...

Arvind,

And btw, I'm not really good at finding quotes, so forgive me if I don't have an immediate quote from Ramana to support every point I have made. For example, I don't know where to look for the quote that Ramana denied being a Hindu. I've read it numerous times, and I know that David has himself referred to it (that's where I heard it first), but I'm not a scholar and I don't keep notes and references handy, and I don't have the time to spend digging through all the books. If you have a quote where Ramana describes himself as a Hindu then please provide it. Maybe someone else here knows where such quotes can be found.

Ravi said...

Broken Yogi/Friends,
" If you have a quote where Ramana describes himself as a Hindu then please provide it."
Sri Bhagavan's attachment to Arunachala is enough proof regarding his 'Hindu' leanings.
He is obviously thus not a Christian,nor a Moslem,not a Zorastrian(all these do not permit Idol worship),not a Buddhist or a Jain(No such Hymns to Arunachala are permitted).If we consider his Life and actions,it is absolutely consistent with a 'Maharishi' of the days of Yore of sanatana Dharma.
In the Ramanasramam we have the pArAyana of the vedAs along with other compositions of various devotees besides Sri Bhagavan's own;you have a GOshAla where cows are tended with Great care,you have a Kitchen that feeds guests(athithi devO Bhava),you have the mAtruBhuteswarA temple where Traditional hindu ritualistic worship and KumbhAbisheka was also performed.You have a linga called Ramaneswara mahAlinga over Sri Bhagavan's samAdhi to which abhishekam is performed.
It is also on records that whenever any Jnani devotee of sri Bhagavan passed away(like Mastan Swami),he advised devotees to chant Tirumanthiram and build a samAdhi for them.
We can go on and on.Now the advaitic Realization,although it transcends all these forms and expressions is yet at synch with all these-There is no such schism for the jnAni;it is only the ajnAnis who see the schism and would like to set aside one and hold onto the other(Often ending up missing both!).
I have seen time and again western devotees at Sri Ramanasramam enjoying these rituals and chantings even more than the locals!This proves that sanAtana Dharma is truly universal and it is not something that needs to be limited by geography.
-----------------------------------
Broken Yogi-Why don't you make a trip to TiruvaNNAmalai and see for yourself-especially as you claim that you are not a scholar.It may help to clear your hazy views on Sri Bhagavan-now very much akin to the Blind men trying to describe an elephant.Do you expect Sri Bhagavan to carry a placard saying 'I am a Hindu' akin to what sri bhagavan said "Do you expect me to carry a placard 'I am a Maharishi?"

Namaskar.

Ravi said...

Broken Yogi,
Here is an excerpt from the very first chapter in Letters from Sriramansramam':
21st November, 1945
(1) THE SON IS BEHOLDEN
TO THE FATHER
Brother, you have asked me to write to you from time
to time whatever striking happens in Sri Bhagavan’s
presence and what Sri Bhagavan says on such occasions.
But am I capable of doing so? Anyway, I will make an
attempt and am beginning this very day. The attempt will
succeed only if Bhagavan’s Grace is on it.
The day before yesterday being full moon, the usual
Deepotsava (festival of lights) was celebrated on a grand scale.
This morning Sri Arunachaleswarar started for giri pradakshina
(going round the hill) with the usual retinue and devotees
and accompaniment of music. By the time the procession
reached the Ashram gate, Sri Niranjanananda Swami (the
Sarvadhikari) came out with Ashram devotees, offered coconuts
and camphor to Sri Arunachaleswarar, and paid homage when
the procession was stopped and the priests performed arati
(waving of the lights) to the God. Just then Sri Bhagavan
happened to be going towards the Gosala (cowshed) and seeing
the grandeur he sat down on the pial near the tap by the side
of the book depot. The arati plate offered to Arunachaleswarar
Letters from Sri Ramanasramam 2
was brought to Bhagavan by Ashram devotees and Sri
Bhagavan took a little Vibhuti (holy ashes) and applied it to his
forehead, saying in an undertone “Appakku Pillai Adakkam”
(The son is beholden to the father). His voice seemed choked
with emotion as he spoke. The expression on his face proved
the ancient saying “bhakti poornathaya Jnanam” (the culmination
of devotion is knowledge). Sri Bhagavan is Lord Siva’s son.
Sri Ganapati Muni’s saying that he is Skanda incarnate, was
confirmed. It struck us that Bhagavan was teaching us that
since all creatures are the children of Ishwara, even a Jnani
should be beholden to Ishwara."
-----------------------------------
Hope this settles once for all what Sri bhagavan felt about Arunachaleswara and himself.
Namaskar.

hey jude said...

Broken Yogi, An interesting exchange between Ramana Maharshi and Swami Tapasyananda.
Ramana's idea is that the advaitin has no position to state, no siddhanta (theories) to propound. He regrets that these days even advaita has become a siddhanta, whereas it is not really meant to be so. When I asked him about a book I had purchased in the depot there, how far the ideas stated therein are his teachings, he said, it was very difficult to state that, as he had no definate teaching.
I have got my own doubt whether people benefit from this teaching through silence. Yet people come from long distances to hear this dumb elequence and go back satisfied.
I found him seldom blinking and never yawning. I say this to show that I am sufficiently satisfied that the absence of activity in him is not due to inertness.
When I spoke to Ramana his thoughts are always clear, concise and free from all ideas of narrowness. I do believe that I have seen a unique personage - a jnani, a perfect sage.

Subramanian. R said...

Dear S.,

I agree with you.

Sri Bhagavan said: {Talks} p.80

Q: If grace is so important, what is the role of individual effort?

Sri B: Effort is necessary upto the sate of realization. Even then the Self should spontaneously become evident, otherwise, happiness will not be compelete.
Up to that state of spontaneity, there must be effort in some form of another.

Talks [a different No.] 124

Sri B: There is a state beyond our efforts or effortlessness. Until
it is realized, effort is necessary. After tasting such bliss, even once, one will repeatedly try to regain it. Having once experienced the bliss of peace, no one wants to be out of it or to engage in any other activity.

Talks [a different No.] p.33

Sri B: Divine grace is essential for realization. It leads one to God realization. But such a grace
is vouchsafed only to him who is a true devotee or a yogi. It is given only to those who have striven hard and ceaselessly on the path towards freedom.

Broken Yogi said...

Ravi,

Thank you so much for your invitation to come to Tiruvanamallai. I have wanted to make that trip all my life. I hope we can meet there and enjoy a long pradakshina around the sacred mountain.

As for Ramana being a Hindu because he was born in India and lived in peace with the culture there, I think you are mistaking Sri Ramana for his body-mind. Are you not aware that Sri Ramana is not his body-mind? Yes, it's true. I don't have any quotes at hand to prove that, but I think they should be easy to find.

Now, just because Ramana is not a Christian, a Moslem, a Jain, a Buddhist, or a Zoroastrian, does not make him a Hindu by default. He is none of these. He is free of all that. And yet, of course he is all of these also. He often said the best description of the Self is "I am that I am". Does that make him a Jew? At other times he said the best advice is "Be still and know that I am God". Does that make him a Christian? Yet you are saying that because he followed some Hindu customs that he is a Hindu? Have you asked him if that makes him a Hindu? You might be surprised at the answer.

Ramana was as much a Hindu as he was a Christian or a Zoroastrian. Which means both yes and no. To him, all religions are the same path, regardless of their outward appearance. It is you who think otherwise. Perhaps you should think more like Sri Ramana and less like a sectarian with an ax to grind?

Now, as to that quote, I can't recall where it is, but I can recall David mentioning this point in relation to the Wikipedia page about Ramana, which at one time was taken over by some Hindu fundamentalist types who rewrote it as though Ramana were a traditional Hindu. David was rather upset about this, and mentioned that Ramana didn't even consider himself a Hindu, much less a traditional one. So perhaps David could clarify this point and cite any references if he knows of them.

And I'm looking forward to that trip to Arunachula with you, Ravi! Leave the books behind!

Subramanian. R said...

Sri Siddeshwarananda's article:
[from the appendix of Maharshi's
Gospel]:

...But the Maharshi is above all a tattva jnani and the field of his search and experience is much greater than that of a mystic. The Sage transcends the limits of the three states. The Maharshi accepts the terminology sanctioned by tradition and always employed by the sages of India since the time of the Upanishads. The teachings of Maharshi are in perfect accord with the philosophical and spiritual scriptures of ancient India and proceeds directly from the great Sages of the past....I have seen him apparently plunged into himself, when everybody believed him to be absorbed in his own Self, but when at this moment someone at the end of the hall made a mistake in the recitation of certain Tamil verses, the Maharshi opened his eyes, corrected the mistake, then again closed his eyes and returned to the former state. I have already stated that one cannot say that the exterior world does not interest him. He has reached an extraordinary degree of concentration, and as that concentration perpetually rests on a habitual state of life in Jnana - Sahaja Stithi - he is neither an introvert nor an extrovert. Just simplhy, he IS. And by his knowledge of the Ultimate Reality he is one with That in its expression of multiplicity of manifestation, he is one with the Universe as a whole... A man like the Maharshi, who has transcended the ego, is considered by the Upanishads to be the Self of All...Like the great fire which burns on the Arunachala, is a veritable lighthouse for those who wish to find in modern India, the revivifying effects of the teachings of the Upanishads consecrated by time.

Broken Yogi said...

Ravi,

And for what it's worth, I don't think Jesus was a Christian either.

Broken Yogi said...

Put another way, the Self is not a Hindu.

Whatever one wants to call Ultimate Reality - God, the Self, Guru, the Unborn, Brahman, Perfect Emptiness, you name it - That does not belong to any sect or religion man has made or found.

And those who know themselves as such are not Hindus, Christians, Jews, Muslims, Taoists, Jains, or whatever. They are free of that.

This, I assume, is why Ramana sometimes reminded his devotees that he was not a Hindu. It was nothing against Hinduism. He didn't set himself apart from the culture he came from, but he didn't put himself within it either. In relation to Hinduism, he considered himself "atiashrama", meaning outside the traditional orders of life. I'm sure he felt the same way for all other religions as well - happily related to them, but not of them.

I suppose it is natural that you would see him as a Hindu, since he lived in India, but that is because you see him as a body-mind in a culture with other body-minds. Ramana did not see himself as a body-mind, and even with the world of body-minds, he did not consider himself to belong to any religion. He was quite happy to relate to Hindus however in a devotional manner, since he loved God and Self in all forms.

To say he was Skanda or Shiva or whatever is, again, to falsely identify him with some name or form, when the whole point of his life and teaching was to be free of such things. He loved Arunachula not because it was a mountain sacred to Hinduism, but because it was the Guru who set him free from all names and forms and identification. That is what is to be remembered and affirmed about Ramana's relationship to Arunachula, not some assumed identification with the mountain itself or some traditional Hindu imagery associated with its Gods or mythic figures.

If what you come away from Ramana with is that he was an Incarnation of some Hindu God, and that this means the Hindu system of worship is the one true path at the heart of all religions, you have sorely missed the central point of Sri Ramana's life and teaching. His work was aimed at freeing the mind from all associations, including that one, and all identification, including that one, and knowing That which is ever free and never identified with any name or form. So do not mistake his love and worship for identification with some name or form, even Arunachula, who is not a mountain at all, but the holy citadel of the heart. We should take a walk together around that holy place some time.

Are you up for it?

Subramanian. R said...

Whether Sri Bhagavan is a Hindu or not?

Michael James [Happiness and Art of Being] writes:

...In particular I felt that my writings might help people who were entirely unacquainted with the teachings of Sri Ramana and with the
philosophical, spiritual, religious and cultural background against which they were set, because not only have I studied them in the original Tamil in which He wrote them, but I am also able to rethink them in English, which is my own native language, as a result of which I am able to understand them from the perspectives of both a Hindu and a non-Hindu mindset.


ibid. p. 356:

Therefore, when it is said that the philosophy of Sri Ramana is a modern expression of the ancient philosophy of advaita vedanta, this does not mean either that His philosophy is derived from advaita vedanta, or that it is relevant only in the context of the Vedic religion and culture known as Hinduism. His philosophy expresses a truth that is beyond all religions and cultural differences, and that can be found expressed in some form or other in most of the major religions and cultures of this world.

ibid; p. 481:

This complete surrender of our mind or individual self in the innermost depth of our own being is what Sri Ramana describes in this verse [Benedictory Verse 2 of ULLadu NaRpadu] by words "will take refuge at the feet of God who is devoid of death and birth, as fortress." In Hindu devotional poetry and literature the adoration of God is often described as bowing to his feet, falling at his feet, clinging to his feet, taking refuge in or at his feet, and so on, because such actions imply humility, devotion and submission. Therefore in Indian languages the term 'feet' has come to be synonymous with God as the ultimate object of worship or adoration.....

Ravi said...

Brokn Yogi,
I agree with your latest post.This is what I mean by the s called 'Hindu' in its real sense-not the parochial slant some misguided people may give it.

"And I'm looking forward to that trip to Arunachula with you, Ravi! Leave the books behind! "
Yes,Friend.Please do let me know;I look forward to the privilege of doing Giripradakshina with you.It is ideal to plan it in December-January so that the weather will be more comfortable for you.

Namaskar.

Clemens Vargas Ramos said...

... not derived from advaita vedanta ...

Friends, 'advaita vedanta' is no system or philosophy but the conceptual expression of the experience of reality. There are more than only one expressions like that. 'Philosophy' in the traditional sense is a system of beliefs and opinions concerning reality. The advaitin never depends on words or even his own philosophy. Pure philosophy, perennial philosophy, is like singing and praying - it lets all concepts and words vanish into the experience of reality (and it knows that).

Perennial philosophy knows no 'God' - it is sheer knowledge of eternal reality.

Ravi said...

Broken Yogi,
"Put another way, the Self is not a Hindu. "
This is the very first lesson that Sri Ramakrishna gave his 14 year old wife,our Holy Mother Sri Sarada Devi:
"God is everybody's Beloved, just as the moon is dear to every child.
Everyone has the same right to pray to Him. Out of His grace He reveals Himself to all who
call upon Him. You too will see Him if you but pray to Him."
-----------------------------------
Just like we say that the mother tongue of Sri Bhagavan is Tamil,yet he spoke other languages as well;above all he spoke the language beyond all languages-Silence.Now just like Silence is not at loggerheads with languages,Advaitic Realization is not at loggerheads with the Religio-cultural framework which is Hindu,that Sri Bhagavan was born and frequently expressed himself.He did appreciate the words of other Great ones in other Religions as well.
Namaskar.

Ravi said...

Broken Yogi,
" but because it was the Guru who set him free from all names and forms and identification."
What do you think about Guru-Is it part of Tradition?Which Tradition?
Namaskar.

Broken Yogi said...

The word "Guru" is from sanatana dharma, but the concept is present in many other traditions, from Christianity to Judaism to Islam to Buddhism to Jainism to Taoism, etc. Or do you think the Hindus hold a copyright?

Subramanian. R said...

Sri Bhagavan was coming down the Hill
after His usual morning stroll. Suddenly, a dove fell down at His feet. He bent down and picked it up,
cradled the dove in His arm and gently soothed it by passing His arms lightly over its back. Then He turned around to see how the bird happened to fall down. A young hunter was hesitantly standing a little distance away with a catapult in his hand. Sri Bhagavan remarked: This is the poor boy's food, but two annas [13 paise in today's Indian currency] would do to satisfy his hunger. Rajagopala Iyer and an attendant had accompanied Sri Bhagavan and were standing by His side. One word from Sri Bhagavan, any one of them would have run down to office and brought the money in a minute. But did Sri Bhagavan ever consider the Asramam as His own? In his eagerness to carry out Sri Bhagavan's remark and desire to pay it from his pocket, Iyer ran down to the office without mentioning anything, borrowed the two annas for himself and went up, and paid the hunter boy. He immediately returned the money to the office, running to his home and fetching it. Sri Bhagavan returned to the Hall with the dove. The bird must have been seriously injured and was lying still. "A few drop of green grape juice, squeezed over its head, would cure this dove." As Sri Bhagavan was saying this, an out-station devotee entered the Hall with a few bunches of green grapes, as an offering to Sri Bhagavan! "Hey, look, we are just talking about green grapes and here they are.." exclaimed Sri Bhagavan. A few drops of green grape juice were applied to the dove's head. In a short while the bird stirred, raised its head and looked around. After a few tentative steps, it fluttered its wings as is to show Sri Bhagavan that it had recovered and took to its wings! Where and when and how did Sri Bhagavan know this simple herbal veterinary treatment?

Whether He was a Hindu or not, whether He was the Self or God,
whether He was a Substratum or
no-thing, He was human, all too human, Ecce Homo, as Nietszhe put it. But He was also a Sarvajna, all knowing and very embodiment of abundant compassion.

Ravi said...

Broken Yogi,
I do not think the word Guru has any equivalent in any other Religion,even as a concept.Sure there is no copyright,as is the same for anything in sanAtana Dharma.
Please show me one example where Guru is worshipped as God in any of the other traditions.
Namaskar.

Subramanian. R said...

One day in the Hall, a devotee, was
reading a newspaper to Sri Bhagavan.
There was an article in it about a team of doctors from Chennai coming to Tiruvannamalai to catch monkeys for taking them to various research laboratories. Upon hearing this news, Sri Bhagavan turned to monkey clan gathered at the window and warned them of the approaching danger, advising them to go and hide for three days.
Evidently they understood His words and heeded them as not one monkey was seen for several days thereafter!

As snow in water melts, let me dissolve as love in you who is all love, O Arunachala [Sri AAMM-101]

Saint Tirumoolar says:

The ignorant says that Love and Sivam are two.
Love itself becomes Sivam, no one knows,
Knowing Love itself becomes Sivam,
They remain as Love that is Sivam.

Ravi said...

R.Subramanian,
Wonderful story.Reminds me of King Sibi story in MahAbhArata.
Namaskar.

Subramanian. R said...

Talks No. 122:


D: What is Self, non self and Supreme
Self?

Sri B: Atman is Jivatman and the rest are plain.
The Self is ever present. Each one wants to know the Self. What kind of help does one require to know
oneself? People want to to see something new as the Self. But it
is eternal and remains the same all along. They desire to see it as blazing light, etc., How can it be so? It is not light, nor darkness [na tejo, na tamah]. It is only as it is. It cannot be defined. The best definition is
I AM THAT I AM. The Srutis speak of the Self as being the size of one's thumb, the tip of the hair,
an electric spark, vast, subtler
than the subtlest, etc., They have no foundation. It is only Being, but different from the real and the unreal. It is Knowledge, but different from knowledge and ignorance. How can it be defined at all. It is Being.

Again Sri Bhagavan said that in the whole Tayumanavar literature, He preferred one stanza, which says 'Ego disappearing, another "I-I" spontaneously manfiests in full glory." etc., Again He cites Skandar Anubhuti: "Not real, nor unreal, not darkness, nor light, it is."

.....After annihilation of the ego, that state is beyond light and darkness, but still it is called light since no other proper word could be found for it.

Clemens Vargas Ramos said...

Ravi, friend - do you or somebody else here know of a pdf version of Kathamrita Volume 4? (Html version is here: http://www.kathamrita.org/KathamritaMain.htm)

Clemens Vargas Ramos said...

... just found it:

http://www.scribd.com/doc/23586281/Sri-Ramakrishna-Kathamrita-Volume-IV

Ravi said...

Ramos,
Nowadays I notice Scribd is charging a small fee for downloads.
The English translation in this version of Kathamrita is not quite on the level of the one by Swami Nikhilananda.Yet it is faithful to the original bengali version by M.
Namaskar.

Clemens Vargas Ramos said...

... Ravi, Nowadays I notice Scribd is charging a small fee for downloads. ...

Dear Ravi,

yes, they now automatically archive documents. But I noticed as well that registered members of scribd (and registering is easy and costfree) can upload a document in compensation for a download. Afterwards you can immediately download the document.

... The English translation in this version of Kathamrita is not quite on the level of the one by Swami Nikhilananda. ...

I read somewhere that Nikhilanandas translation is too 'polished' and misses the 'spontaneity' of the original. Would you nevertheless recommend it?

Ravi said...

Ramos,
Yes,it appears that Swami Nikhilananda's version has left out certain aspects of the original Bengali.This version is also polished in that it has replaced kamini(Woman as an object of Desire;To translate it as woman is not correct-ravi)-Kanchana(Gold)as Lust and Gold.
Ofcourse none of the versions can match the Original Bengali,where the actual words of Master have been reproduced with stenogrpahic precision by M-Truly awesome.
What a Great soul Master Mahasaya was!When Sri Ramakrishna asked Subodh(later Swami Subodhananda)to meet and be in touch with M,he demurred saying -"oh!He is a householder.What does he know about spiritual Life?".
"Just visit him.You will see that he will only talk about this place"-said the Master.
S went to Mahendranath gupta and told him about this conversation with the Master.
M simply told him,"I am an insignificant person. But I live by the side of an ocean and I keep with me a few pitchers of sea water. When a visitor comes, I entertain him with that. What else can I speak of but his words."
Thanks to this ,we now have this Nectar of the Master's words and can bask in his presence(sannidhi).
Namaskar.

arvind said...

Broken Yogi, folks,

I obviously have no problem in your espousing Buddhist doctrine as fiercely as you do, except you also claim in the same breath, that Sri Bhagavan also espoused a similar view. And leave it at that without quoting me anything other than that single instance, which, as S. has pointed out, has a simpler and more logical explanation than what you presume. At least quote me a few verses from the GVK, which you yourself say is the most comprehensive work of Bhagavan’s teachings?

But leave that be.

A word on Nagarjuna, and his philosophy. Of interdependent origination, which sits at the base of the philosophy, and sunyatavada, which is its derivative. I don’t know what all you have read about it, but would believe that you have certainly not read any counterpoints. And I know that I could present the counter-arguments to you till I was blue in the face, and still not get anywhere.

But do consider, after all, it was precisely the defeat of these 2 key elements by simple logic by Adi Sankara and others, that lead to Buddhism’s demise in India. Else, do you think that we Indians were fools who simply gave up on a brilliant and great philosophy just like that? One which promised us a great “Nirvana”? After having invented it in the first place, and having espoused it throughout the length & breadth of the land for a 1000 years and more? What was it about Advaita that caused Buddhism to extinguish itself like “as if without air”, in the land of its origin and espousement; wherein great kings both from the north & south had made it their state religion?

And on the contrary, you seem to have even picked up the low-level scholarly chatter concerning the Mandukya & Karika with respect to Buddhism. You have put even Ajata-vada into a sort of Buddhist derivative of Sunyatavada! Whereas Ajata-vada, with its denial of causality is the exact opposite of the Nagarjuna’s madhyamika standpoint of the continuity of cause and effect.

[Stanzas of the Heart of Inderdependent Origination & Nagarjuna’s commentary thereof, From “Causality & Emptiness: The Wisdom of Nagarjuna by Dr. Peter Della Santina]:

IV. “The whole world is cause and effect; excluding this, there is no sentient being. From factors (which are) only empty, empty factors originate.”

“Entities are without self and that pertaining to a self, thus, afflictions and actions have become the causes. From these five factors (ignorance, craving, clinging, volitions and becoming)
which are empty, originate sufferings without self and that pertaining to a self. The seven empty factors (consciousness, name and form, the six sense spheres, contact, feeling, birth and old age
and death) are alleged to be effects. Such is the purport.”

You will forgive me a wry smile BY, when you say that Ajatavada originated from this.

arvind said...

Part II

But leave that be too.

I recall another big discussion we had in the past on “desire for the Self, for Liberation”. Wherein you argued that “desire for the Self” is the first and last requirement really for a Sadhaka even as per Bhagavan’s teachings. And I had said that it is one requirement amongst many, and only for a beginner; that Bhagavan taught that an advanced sadhaka has to give up even all desire for the Self Itself. We agreed to disagree then.

I hope you understand that “desire for the Self” is a term which would be an anathema in Nagarjuna’s system of interdependent origination and “No-Self”. His “Good Hearted Letter” text enumerates many times all the qualities need in a sadhaka. “Desire for the Self (or No-Self, or Nirvana, or Whatever)” is conspicuously absent in each list. In fact, “desire for the Self” is an impossibility in terms of a valid sadhana in Nagarjuna’s philosophy. And that can easily be proved by quotes from Nagarjuna’s texts.

And so, given that now you argue so strongly in favour of Nagarjuna’s philosophy, and say that Bhagavan’s teachings coincide with his take, I presume you have changed your stand on the “desire for the Self” thing. That you also now believe that Sri Bhagavan never taught that one should “desire the Self”, forget whether one is a beginner or an advanced sadhaka. And that now you have changed your own sadhana from “desiring the Self” to “mindfulness”, “accumulation of merit”, “wisdom”, “faith”, etc. as enumerated in the Nagarjuna texts. After all, how can you practice what is invalid as a spiritual practice in the system?


Best wishes

Anonymous said...

Arvind, "But do consider, after all, it was precisely the defeat of these 2 key elements by simple logic by Adi Sankara and others, that lead to Buddhism’s demise in India"
Please note this is not the full story. The demise of Buddhism in India was helped along by Moslem aggression and destruction of the great Buddhist meditation centers.
glow

Ravi said...

Glow,
"The demise of Buddhism in India was helped along by Moslem aggression and destruction of the great Buddhist meditation centers."
Why did not SanAtana Dharma meet with a similiar fate?Not that the proselytization did not continue subsequently and even dharmapAla who took part in the parliament of religions in Chicago 1893 did visit Calcutta and carried out his lectures there.
The Fact is that no religion succeeds without Exemplars-just philosophy will not do.People do not want philosophy but look up to the Great ones,be it from any religion.The Repertoire of Sanatana Dharma is simply unmatched in terms of the freedom that it allowed(despite the orthodoxy)and the great exemplars who manifested from time to time and revitalized it as a Living force and not as a dead relic.
If there is a Great one who lives a Selfless and compassionate Life,even if he does not profess any religion or philosophy,such a one is highly revered by the people.Such is the atmosphere sanAtana Dharma has engendered and nourished.This is the secret of its longevity and perpetual renewal.This is the secret behind all Arts and Sciences that it has fostered,all other forms of Social,Cultural and Political systems that it had helped to put in place.
Namaskar.

Ravi said...

Friends,
Here is an excerpt from the Talks of The Sage of Kanchi:
Chapter 7
Qualities of Religious Teachers
Today students of philosophy and seekers all over the world accept
Advaita or non-dualism as the supreme system of thought. Since you call
me a teacher of Advaita you will naturally expect me to say that it is
because of the excellence of this Vedantic system that it has so many
followers.
But, on reflection, the question arises as to whether all people do indeed
subscribe to non-dualism. The world over people follow so many different
religions, subscribe to so many different philosophical systems. People
belonging to the same country go from one faith to another. During the
time of the Buddha many adherents of the Vedic religion embraced his
system. In later centuries many Hindus became converts to Christianity or
Islam. Jainas have become Vaisnavas with the name of "Pustimargins".
During the time of Sri Ramanuja a number of people went over to the
Visistadvaita (qualified non-dualism) fold. Similarly, Sri Madhva's school
of Dvaita or dualism also gained many adherents. When Adi Sankara held
sway, non-Vedic religions like Buddhism and Jainism suffered a decline.
Those following the path of karma then- the karma marga is a part of the
Vedic religion- returned to Advaita, which indeed is a wholly Vedic
system.
Why did religions that had flourished at one time go under later? Do
people really follow a religion or subscribe to a philosophical system after
making a proper inquiry into the same? Perhaps only thinking people
embrace a religion after an assessment of its doctrines. The same cannot
be said about the generality of people who any faith. If it is claimed that
the common people accept a religion for its concepts, they must be able
to speak about them and tell us how these doctrines are superior to
those of other religions. The fact is that the vast majority of the followers
of any faith know precious little about the beliefs or doctrines on which it
is founded.

continued.....

Ravi said...

Friends,
...The Sage of kanchi continued....
I believe that the growth or expansion of a religion is in no way related to
its doctrines. The common people do not worry about questions of
philosophy. A great man of exemplary character and qualities appears on
the scene- a great man of compassion who creates serenity all round- and
people are drawn to him. They become converts to his religion in the firm
belief that the doctrines preached by him, whatever they be, must be
good. On the other hand, a religion will decline and decay if its
spokesmen, however eloquent they are in expounding its concepts, are
found to be guilty of lapses in character and conduct. It is difficult to give
an answer to the question why people flock to religions that have
contradictory beliefs. But if we examine the history of some religionshow
at one time people gloried in them and how these faiths later
perished- we shall be able to know the reason. At the same time, it would
be possible for us to find out how at the first place they attracted such a
large following. If you find out how a religion declined you will be able to
know how it had first grown and prospered.
The decay of a religion in any country could be attributed to the lack of
character of its leaders and of the people constituting the establishment
responsible for its growth.
When we listen to the story of the Buddha, when we see again and again
his images that seem to exude the milk of human kindness, compassion
and tranquility spring in our own hearts and we feel respectful towards
him. People must have been attracted to him thus during his time. How,
in later times, there was a moral decline in the Buddhist monastic
establishments will be seen from MattaVilasam written by Mahendra
Pallava. This work shows how Buddhism came to be on the decline and
demonstrates that the rise or fall of a religion is dependent on the quality
and character of its spokesmen.
...continued....

Ravi said...

Friends,
....The sage of kanchi continued..
After the Buddha came AdiSankara to whom people were drawn for his
incomparable goodness and greatness. Later appeared Ramanuja and
Madhva who, in their personal lives, stood out as men of lofty character.
They too were able to gather round them a large following and extend
the sway of their respective systems. Recently came Gandhiji as a man of
Hindu Dharma
49
peace and sacrifice. Millions of people accepted his teachings, which
indeed came to constitute religion, "Gandhism". If a system owes its
growth to the excellence of the philosophical principles on which it is
based, Gandhism ought to be at the peak of its glory today. But what do
we see in reality? The Gandhian way of life as practiced now is all too
obvious to need any comment.
The question here is not about the religions that try to draw people to
themselves either through force or the lure of money. It is but natural for
ignorant people to become converts to a new religion through rites like
baptism after receiving various inducements and "social rewards". It was
in this manner, they say, that Christianity extended its influence during
times of famine. It is also said that Islam was propagated with the sword,
that masses of people were forced to join it by force of arms. Here again
there is proof of the fact that that the common people do not adopt a
religion for the sake of any principle or out of any interest in its
philosophical system. There is one matter to consider. The padres
[Christian missionaries] converted mainly people living in the ceris [that is
people on the outskirts of a village or town]. Their usual procedure was to
tell these poor folk that they were kept suppressed in the religion of their
birth and offer them inducements in the form of free education and
medical treatment and the promise of a better status.
Not all, however, fell to such lures. However much they seemed to be
suppressed in the religion of their birth, many of them refused to be
converted, ignoring the advantages held out. Why? One reason was their
good nature and the second was respect for the great men who have
appeared in our religion from time to time. They told themselves: "Let us
continue to remain in the religion of our forefathers, the religion that has
produced so many great men."
......continued...

Ravi said...

Friends,
....The sage of kanchi contd...
We must not censure those who convert people to their faith. They
believe that their religion represents the highest truth. That is why they
practice conversion by compulsion or by placing various temptations
before people belonging to other faiths. Let us take it that they try to
bring others into their fold because they believe that that is the only
Hindu Dharma
50
means of a man's salvation. Let us also presume that they believe that
there is nothing wrong in carrying out conversion either by force or
through the offer of inducements because they think that they are doing
it for the well-being of the people they seek to convert.
If religions that resort neither to force nor to money power have grown, it
is solely because of the noble qualities of their teachers. Outwards guise
alone is not what constitutes the qualities of the representative or the
spokesman of a religion. Whatever the persuasion to which he belongs he
must be utterly selfless, bear ill-will towards none, in addition to being
morally blameless. He must live an austere life, and must be calm and
compassionate by nature. Such a man will be able to help those who
come to him by removing their shortcomings and dispelling the evil in
them.
Producing men of such noble qualities from amongst us is the way to
make our religion flourish. It is not necessary to carry on propaganda
against other religions. The need is for representatives, for preceptors,
capable of providing an example through their very life of the teachings
of our religion. It is through such men that, age after age, sanatana
dharma has been sustained as a living force. Hereafter too it will be
through them that it will continue to remain a living force.

...continued....

Ravi said...

Friends,
We now come to the concluding part,where the Sage says something that has to be etched forever in our hearts and has great relevance to what we are discussing-This goes into the very heart and soul of sanAtana Dharma and the secret of its vitality and longevity:
If a militant proselytizer appears on the scene, I shall not be able to
gather a force to combat him. Nor can I spend crores and crores like
those religious propagandists who build schools and hospitals to entice
people into their faith. Even if I were able to do so, conversions carried
out in such a manner would be neither true nor enduring. Suppose a
group comes up that has more muscle and money power; it will undo my
work with its superior force and greater monetary strength. We should
not, therefore, depend on such outward forces to promote our religion
but instead rely on our Atmic strength to raise ourselves. In this manner
our religion will flourish without any need for aggressive propaganda or
the offer of inducements.
At present many intellectuals abroad talk in glowing terms of Advaita,
may be because of its lofty character as a philosophical system. They
come to the school of Vedanta after examining it and after being inwardly
convinced of its truth. But the common people need the example of a
great soul, a great life [not abstract principles].
A man of peace and compassion, a man of wisdom and self-sacrifice,
must arise from our midst.

-----------------------------------
What utter Humility that the sage is without any thought that he himself is such a one!
Namaskar.

Anonymous said...

Ravi, The advent of British hegemony over Islamic rule on the sub continent brought to a halt the systematic destruction of Sanatana Dharma and Buddhism by the Mohommedan aggressors.

glow

Ravi said...

Glow,
It has to be said that Good and noble people have been there in all faiths,even among the so called 'Aggressors'.It was during the rule of emperor Akbar that the 'Hindu' Birbal and mia TAnesen flourished.
We should not forget that the Atmic force is much more mightier than the 'Pen' which is mightier than the 'sword'(and all atomic bombs included!).This Atmic Force is what is key to the survival of any religion.
Do we say that it was on account of Chadwick(who was British)that Sri Bhagavan escaped being dragged into the court?Or is it the other way around,that it is on account of the indomitable atmic Force of Sri Bhagavan that inspired everyone to simply play the roles?
Namaskar.

Anonymous said...

Ravi, The atmic force that operated through the relative tolerance of Akbar is far outweighed by the brutality of Aurangzeb.
glow

Ravi said...

Glow,
The akbar example is one such where the Emperor was secular.Coming to Aurangazeb,he imprisoned his father and by all accounts was not even a good moslem.Even in Hindu tradition,we had the like of hiranyaksha and hiranyakasipu-whose asuric reign was set to naught by someone like PrahalAda.
We may say that all this just story and not History.This is where examples like samartha rAmdas(with shivaji),and VidyAranya (with harihara and bukkha)and in recent times MahAtma gandhi exemplify this invincibility of soul force.
we have the examples of sri Ramakrishna and Sri Bhagavan,besides so many other Great ones who manifested this Atmic Shakti and helped stem the rot.
Namaskar.

Anonymous said...

I feel so lonely whenever i return here.

Few words about personal application, the trials and tribulations, of the teachings.

My apologies, but it's mostly a spiritless place in this regard.

Subramanian. R said...

Dear arvind,

I agree with you.

1, It has not been settled that Gaudapada flourished after the Buddhist philosophers, Asvaghosa,
Nagarjuana and others. Some researches reveal that he lived long before them. This is however, a point for study by students of history of literature.

2. There is no evidence in Karika to show that Gaudapada was possibly a Buddhist.

3. However, there is a positive proof to show that he was not a Buddhist. Gaudapada himself states in Karika IV.99 - This is not the view of Buddha.

4. Sri Sankara in his commentary on Karika says that the essence of the Ultimate Reality, which is non dual and which is free from multiplicity of the perceiver, perception and the perceived, has not been taught by Buddha. In its refutation of the reality of the external objects in asserting that all objects are mere acts of mind [manahspandanam], the Buddhist Vijnanavada, no doubt, approaches the non dual consciousness of the Upanishads, but the non dual Atman, which alone is the Ultimate Reality, can be found in Vedanta alone.

5. Buddhist metaphysical thought is the nearest to Gaudapada's Karika. Further corroboration can be found in Sri Sankara's commentary on Karikas IV. 28 and 29.

6. At the beginning of the fourth chapter of Karika - I bow to the best among bipeds - does not adore Buddha but Narayana who is worshipped in Badrikasrama through the symbol of Man.

7. Asparasa Yoga as the touch of the untouch does not convey any meaning directly. It is definitely not Nirvana of Buddha but freedom from relationship.

[Nikhilananda, SRK Math]

arvind said...

Broken Yogi, folks,

“And btw, I'm not really good at finding quotes, so forgive me if I don't have an immediate quote from Ramana to support every point I have made. For example, I don't know where to look for the quote that Ramana denied being a Hindu. I've read it numerous times, and I know that David has himself referred to it (that's where I heard it first) …..”

This is unacceptable BY in the context of your extraordinary remark that Bhagavan “repeatedly” denied being a Hindu. This remark, as you well know, is provocative and it is quite unfair that you make a loose statement of this importance from within your head, and then come up with excuses when you cannot back it up with hard material. Why make unsupported loose statements in the first place? We who come to the blog deserve some basic level of integrity from each other in terms of the factual accuracy of the averments made, is it not?

And then you sort of slip in that “David himself referred to it”, as if it is the same as Bhagavan Himself saying so in so many words. Sorry, that does not hold either. You should have clarified in your first post that, actually, “David had said that Bhagavan is not a Hindu”. Because then we know that it is David’s personal opinion picked up by you, and not really directly attributable to Bhagavan.

Please do be careful with these things in the future, will you BY?

Best wishes

arvind said...

Hi Ravi,

Well posted. The Paramacharya's words drip with wisdom and indeed who can doubt that his own personality too had an enormous influence in drawing people to spirituality in India.

Best wishes

hey jude said...

Dear Anonymous,"Ifeel so lonely whenever i return here.

Few words about personal application, the trials and tribulations, of the teachings.

My apologies, but it's mostly a spiritless place in this regard"

I'm sorry to hear that you feel so lonely but the path is essentially a solitary one.
Of course people do come to Tiruvannamalai in large family groups or with friends so perhaps that can make you feel excluded.
There are satsangs scattered at various locations around the hill but I could not vouch for any of them.
Sitting quietly at Ramana's samadhi, Skanda Ashram or perched on a rock at sunset can be beneficial.
A quote from the Ramana Gita " The whole universe is in the body is in the heart. Hence all the universe is contained in the heart. The universe is nothing but the mind and the mind is nothing but the heart. Thus the entire story of the universe culminates in the heart"
I hope someone wiser then me can give you some additional encouragement.
All the best

David Godman said...

The question of Bhagavan's 'Hinduness' is largely a matter of perspective. One can see him as the pinnacle of Hindu attainment, while at the same time one can also say that knowing himself to be Self and Self alone, he had transcended all possible categories of faith and practice.

So far as I am aware he never denied being a Hindu. When asked to position himself within the Hindu fold by a lawyer in the Perumal Swami case, he declared himself to be 'ativarnasrami', beyond all castes and asramas. One could take this to be a rarified subdivision of Hinduism, or one could take it to be a statement that no categories applied to him, including the category of Hinduism itself.

Once in the dining room, when there was a dispute about seating arrangements, he declared, 'I am the only one here who is neither a brahmin nor a non-brahmin'.

Does that place him inside or outside the Hindu fold? That again is a matter of perspective and opinion. I could well imagine him saying, 'I am the only one here who is neither a Hindu nor a non-Hindu,' although there is, of course, no record of any such statement.

Bhagavan could not even bring himself to write his or any other name as a signature after his realisation. He really did seem to have an deep aversion to labelling himself as one thing or another.

In the famous Arunachala-Ramana verse he was asked to identify himself with various Hindu entities. Instead, he declared himself to be the consciousness that shines in the Heart.

Personally, I am happy to view him as the crowning glory of Hinduism, even though I know he would make no such claim for himself.

Subramanian. R said...

Dear David,

In the Commision Inquiry, He said that He is an ati-varnasrami, beyond
the four varnas. The classification is there only in Hinduism. Secondly, He used to apply Vibhuti after His bath everyday. Even when Vibhuti and kumkum were brought from some temple by some devotees, He would gladly accept it. So one can
safely say that He lived in Hindu practices though He never claimed to be a Hindu or otherwise. When we are talking about Sri Bhagavan, we are talking mostly His embodied being, and so to say that Self has no Atma etc., is an argument to be put forth. When someone came from West and said whether he should
convert himself to a Hindu, He has said: Why? Atma is common to all. One can still be a good Christian and do atma vichara. He has transcended all faiths but these discussions so far, have been only about as His embodied life and whether in that, he was a Hindu or not?

Anonymous said...

Feeling sad and alone, you lie down on the
floor. Then you have a dream. In the dream you're visiting with a
friendly stranger. His face is pleasant, familiar. He explains
you've made this room of problems for yourself. You shut and
locked the door when you started pushing against these problems.
However, he says you can get to the spiritual root of your
problems. The door can be unlocked and opened from the inside - if
you know the secret.

"When you awaken, you see he is right. You unlock the door, pull it
toward you, and step out... "

Ravi said...

David/Friends,
Wonderful and balanced Response from David.
"Personally, I am happy to view him as the crowning glory of Hinduism, even though I know he would make no such claim for himself."
These words recall to my mind the closing words by Swami Vivekananda from his talk-'My Master:
"This is the message of Shri Ramakrishna to the modern world: "Do not care for doctrines, do not care for dogmas, or sects, or churches, or temples; they count for little compared with the essence of existence in each man, which is spirituality; and the more this is developed in a man, the more powerful is he for good. Earn that first, acquire that, and criticise no one, for all doctrines and creeds have some good in them. Show by your lives that religion does not mean words, or names, or sects, but that it means spiritual realization. Only those can understand who have felt. Only those who have attained to spirituality can communicate it to others, can be great teachers of mankind. They alone are the powers of light."

The more such men are produced in a country, the more that country will be raised; and that country where such men absolutely do not exist is simply doomed, nothing can save it. Therefore my Master's message to mankind is: "Be spiritual and realize truth for yourself." He would have you give up for the sake of your fellow-beings. He would have you cease talking about love for your brother, and set to work to prove your words. The time has come for renunciation, for realization; and then you will see the harmony in all the religions of the world. You will know that there is no need of any quarrel. And then only will you be ready to help humanity. To proclaim and make clear the fundamental unity underlying all religions was the mission of my Master. Other teachers have taught special religions which bear their names, but this great teacher of the nineteenth century made no claim for himself. He left every religion undisturbed because he had realized that in reality they are all part and parcel of the one eternal religion."

The Sage of kanchi has also said this very thing-about living a life steeped in spiritual wisdom.

Namaskar.

Subramanian. R said...

Satyamangalam Venkataramana Iyer,
says about Sri Bhagavan, that He
is in the form of the word Asi in
Tattvam Asi. He represents the Holy Feet of Pure Consciousness.

In Sri Ramana Darsanam, Swami Natananda writes:

Only the Supreme Self, which is ever shining in your Heart as the reality, is the Sadguru. The pure awareness, which is shining as the inward illumination 'I' is his gracious feet. The contact with these inner holy feet alone can give your true redemption. Joining the eye of reflected consciousness [Chidabhasa], which is your sense of individuality [jiva bodha], to those holy feet, which are the real consciousness, is the union of the feet and the head that is real significance of the word 'asi'. As these inner holy feet can be held naturally and unceasingly, hereafter, with an inward turned mind, cling to that inner awareness that is your own real nature. This alone is the proper way for removal of bondage and the attainment of the supreme truth.

While Padam is Source, Paadam is the guru's holy feet.

Subramanian. R said...

Dear David,

Once when Muruganar wanted to do annual ceremony for his parent, Sri
Bhagavan knew it earlier and said:
"You are looking for suitable brahmins. Here I am, one brahmin and then he pointed out to another devotee and said, 'He is another one,' and laughed. I think Muruganar left all ceremonies for parents after that incident.

Subramanian. R said...

In Tamizh bhakti literature, it was
a practice to sing songs in the early morning to wake up the gods.
This is called TirupaLLi Ezhucchi.
Saint Manikkavachagar has done one for Siva and it was when was in Tiruvannamlai or Thillai.
This is in Tiruvachakam. Thondar Adi Podi Azhwar has done a similar song in praise of Narayana of Sri Rangam. Muruganar has done it for Sri Bhagavan. Sri Venkatesa Suprabhatam, is of course quite famous.

Swami Shantananda Puri has written recently in 1990s one on Sri Ramana in Sanskrit. This is called Sri Ramana Suprabhatam.

A couple of stanzas from this:

18. Suprabhatam, Oh, Ramana, the Supreme Consciousness Bliss. Is it that the secret knowledge of the Self is taught by you in silence to those attracted to you
and are coming from far off countries? Even after months they are reluctant to leave your presence?

19. Suprabhatam, Oh, Bhagavan of
Arunachala! How many are capable of understanding your Reality, you have assumed a human body by sport. You have become the favorite child of Lord of Arunachala.

Satyamangalam Venkataramana Iyer has written in 1900 one Kalai Pattu which is like a suprabhatam.

Sri Ramana Suprabhatam has been rendered in music by Ms. Ambika Kameswar and the CD is available in the Asramam.

Subramanian. R said...

Sri Bhagavan rarely used to go out before midnight, for answering nature's call. One night, he had to go our due to a stomach disorder. The attendant, who was standing some distance away, noticed that Sri Bhagavan took an unusually longer time to return. So in the dark, he went nearer Sri Bhagavan. He heard a peculiar sound like "slop, slop, slop" - the vigorously licking sound of an animal. Sri Bhagavan was talking to someone, 'Enough, enough, are you not content?' The attendant saw Sri Bhagavan uncomfortably seated, in an odd position, and a dog most excitedly and vigorously licking Sri Bhagavan from top to bottom! The dog being thin and bony was stinking with sores, was full of disease and very ugly to look at. The attendant felt that he should drive the dog away immediately. Sri Bhagavan sensing this, pleadingly said: "He has been very keen in showering his affection on me all these days. Poor fellow! He was always driven away before he could do so. Today he caught me in the dark. He has conveyed to me his intense love by licking me to his heart's content! Sri Bhagavan got up, with tears in His eyes, took leave of the dog, saying: "Podumada? Isn't it enough? May I go now?"

The next morning the dog was dead. Was he dead? Or Liberated! [Bhagavan Ramana - A friend of All.]

Jnamaliyil kedai nan en uRuthial naadi nin uRuven Arunachala!

Worse than a dog, with my determination, I shall attain you, O Arunachala! [Sri AAMM]

Anonymous said...

Subramanian,
Thanks for the dog story.I also love your love for Bhagawan and Arunachala.Time and again we get to know how compassionate Ramana was and ofcourse how great is the love of that Great DOG.

Surely you are a good encouragement to us here.Thanks Subramanian.

-z

Broken Yogi said...

Arvind,

This “debate” is amusing, but it would be genuinely interesting if you would not attribute things to me that I haven't said and don't argue in favor of, and not distort the things I have said so as to argue with straw men. That would still leave room to disagree with what I've said, and yet make interesting counters.

For example, I only claim that Ramana espoused views that are compatible with some aspects of Buddhist doctrine, not the whole of it, such as the Buddhist teaching on emptiness – that the ultimate reality has no content, no thing-ness, and that all seemingly existent “things” also have no genuine “thing-ness” to them, no inner existent self or being. Both Buddhist mindfulness and Ramana's self-enquiry do indeed, come to this same conclusion about the ego-self – that it is a ghost, with no inherent existence in ultimate reality. Where they differ is that Ramana gives a name to the ultimate reality that is revealed when all its content is cut off at the root of the illusion of separate self – Ramana calls it “the Self”, by which capitalization it is differentiated from any concept of an ego self, a thing, a construct, an impermanent object, a metaphysical “reality”. The Self in Ramana's view is simply not any “thing” at all, it has no content, it is not itself content, it is neither real nor unreal, it is entirely non-dual in nature. This is indeed very much compatible with Buddhist views on the ultimate reality, regardless of the name given to it.

You crudely ignore this when you say, for example, that previous arguments I made about the importance of “desire for the Self” (which you inaccurately misrepresent me as calling the beginning and the end of Ramana's teaching – why introduce such distortions of my views on a long ago discussion here except out of bad faith and a desire to “win” this debate by discrediting me by ascribing extreme views to me?) must now be defunct since Buddhism doesn't acknowledge the importance of “desire for the Self”. Of course Buddhism doesn't do that, because it uses a different set of words and concepts to refer to the ultimate reality, not “the Self”. But Buddhism does indeed acknowledge the central need of the desire for liberation, which includes eventually the elimination even of the desire for liberation. Which is something I acknowledged in our earlier discussion, that the crude desire for the Self is purified to such a degree that only the Self's own impulse to know itself remains. That was my argument – that the desire for the Self is actually a sign of the Self's own nature breaking through our egoic illusion of self, consuming it until only Self remains. In Buddhism, it would be worded and conceived of differently. But it would amount to very much the same thing.

Now if you want a short quote from GVK, try this one on for size:

“...Golden Padam bestowed upon me, as an endowment within my heart, the blissful heaven of Sivam, which is both absolute emptiness and absolute fullness.”

This description of liberation as “absolute emptiness and absolute fullness” is very much a common Buddhist phrase denoting the nature of absolute reality. The meaning would be quite clear to any Buddhist. Why presume a conflict with Buddhism then?

As for Nagarjuna's Madhyamika, yes, I'm aware of the counter-arguments. But to suggest that Sankara “defeated” Buddhism with two simple logical points, and that it thus evaporated “into thin air”, is extremely duplicitous. Religions are not defeated by logical arguments, I hope you realize, nor are they created by them. Buddhism was a response to the corruptions of Hinduism, and it spread throughout northern India because it proved superior in practice to the sanatana dharma. It also proved itself just as capable, if not more so, of producing genuine realizers, saints, mystics, and logical philosophical arguments. But as a religion it was not dependent on logical arguments. And neither is sanatana dharma either.

cont.

Broken Yogi said...

cont.

So what “defeated” Buddhism in India? I thought I and others already made that clear. It was muslim swords that eliminated Buddhism, for the most part. The mogul invaders came into northern India, and because Buddhism is a pacifist religion, it was easily destroyed by the militant Islamic forces that took over northern India, where Buddhism had been dominant. The Hindus were more able to defend themselves from this kind of aggression, and so they were able to hold some of their ground. This had nothing to do with logical arguments or the superiority of Hinduism, other than as a culture which put an emphasis on the warrior class. Buddhism was not “defeated” in parts of the world where the muslim invasion did not reach, but where Hinduism was still in competition with it, such as in the Himalayas.

Nonetheless, my argument here is not an assertion that Buddhism is superior to sanatana dharma. I don't for a minute even believe that. I do think that each has some advantages over the other in various respects, and that the Buddhist teaching on emptiness is an advantage for it, whereas the Vedantic tendency to reify its descriptions of “the Self” into an eternally permanent substratum, while useful for some as a metaphor that can help inspire them to practice, must also be abandoned at a latter point in favor of an “empty” view of the Self. The Buddhist madhyamika handles this problem quite well from the beginning by making clear that the ultimate reality is not found in either the extremes of eternalism or nihilism, but in the non-dual “middle way” between the two.

I don't think Sankara's logical points either defeat or negate this insight, but I also don't think that Advaita in general as a tradition of genuine realizers, like Ramana, actually affirms that these kinds of metaphors for reality actually exist in reality. Ramana often used the metaphor of a movie screen to represent this “substratum”, for example. But this does not mean that there actually is a “screen” in reality, that the Self actually exists as a screen of some kind that we can find the world projected upon. It's a metaphor, not “a real thing”. The Self that Ramana refers to has no content, not even the content of being a screen. It's just a functional reference that helps some people form a picture in their minds to help get them past even cruder notions they might have of the ultimate reality. But ultimately, all such pictures in the mind have to go, because the Self simply isn't like that in reality. It really is more akin to the Buddhist description of “emptiness”, which is itself acknowledged to be “empty” rather than a reified “nothing”.

Now, as for cause and effect, that has almost nothing to do with the issues we have been discussing, so I don't know why you bring them up. For one, Buddhism uses “cause and effect” in a very different sense than Advaita, or even modern physics. It is not making an argument that the world of causes and effects is brought into being by its own causes and effects. Its argument is similar to Advaita, that it is ignorance that makes the illusion of the world of cause and effects come into seeming existence. But it also argues that because the world has no existential reality, no “thingness” to it, that it has never come into existence at all. It is thus merely an illusion that has seemingly come into being, and its only cause is the ignorance of those who believe in it. Therefore, the solution is not to bring the world or ego to an end, but to inspect it and see that it has no inherent existence. And yes, it is these very arguments of Buddhism, which long preceded Guadapada and Sankara, that helped inspire Advaita to come into being.

Broken Yogi said...

Cont.

In fact, Advaita was the “answer” sanatana dharma finally came up with to Buddhism's esoteric doctrines, and it answered them by actually incorporating some of their arguments into its own structure, and wedding them to Vedantic principles. Guadapada's “discovery” of these principles in the Mandukya Upanishad and Sankara's further “discovery” of them in the Brahma Sutras and other Vedic sources must be taken with a few grains of salt. As others in sanatana dharma, such as the dvaitists and qualified non-dualists have long argued, it's really a bit of a stretch. What is really going on here is that the Advaitists took a number of Buddhist arguments that were actually convincing to them, put them in Vedantic clothes, and pretended they came from Vedic sources, and then used them to argue against Buddhism. Philosophically, I think that's just fine, even if rather tricky and a bit of slight of hand. But all's fair in ultimate reality, I suppose, especially since the Buddhists had done similar things by stealing many sanatana dharma and tantric ideas and incorporating them into their own traditions.

Again, my arguments about the ajata vada are not meant to imply that there is some exact correspondence between that and Buddhism. It's just strongly influenced by Buddhist ideas. And in relation to the Self, my point about the various vadas is that there is a progressive hierarchy to the views of the Self even within these Vadas which needs to be understood. It's not just the view of “the world” which changes from the sristi-dristi to the dristi-sristi to the ajata, it's also the way in which the Self is undestood that changes. And so while metaphors like an eternal substratum might be useful in the earlier vadas for those less mature, they have to be abandoned in the latter vadas. The view of the Self that emerges by the time the ajata vada rolls in is radically different from a permanent eternal substratum, and it describes a “Self” that very much resembles the “emptiness” of the Buddhist descriptions of ultimate reality and its fourfold negations.

And just to make things clear, I am not a Buddhist and don't practice Buddhism. I am a devotee of Sri Ramana and practice self-enquiry. I don't base my practice or my views on books and doctrine, whether Buddhist or Hindu (or even, when it comes down to it, Ramana's own teaching. As he says in GVK “That trustworthy vichara exists neither in book learning not in learning from others, but only in one's own sense of 'I'.”) But I do like to stay informed about such matters, and I find many, many good and useful correspondences in every kind of religion with Sri Ramana's teaching and path. Buddhism's teaching on emptiness is one of the best correspondences, I find. And it's not just me who sees these, it's also many other devotees of Ramana, even realized ones like Poonja Swami, who was very enthusiastic about the Buddhist doctrine of emptiness and used it frequently in his own teachings.

Likewise, I find the general madyamika philosophy to be an excellent one, and provides an understanding of Sri Ramana's teaching that is a very good counterpoint to some of Advaita's limitations. I think it's a shame that Ramana was not much exposed to Buddhism or even, it seems, any Buddhists, because it would have made for a very illuminating exchange. The few remarks he did make about Buddhism displayed no criticism at all, however, and no charges of nihilism or error. In fact, he openly said that Buddhism was very much akin to Raja Yoga. So how is that possible if Buddhism is, as you claim, a nihilistic error that can't go beyond manolaya and that is vastly inferior to sanatana dharma? Are you saying that Raja Yoga is nihilistic or an inferior path? Do you not need to admit a serious error here in making those kinds of charges, which Ramana clearly disagrees with?

Broken Yogi said...

Ravi,

I think your quote from the sage of Kanchi fairly well answers your and Arvind's questions about other religions. The fact is, non-dualism is very rare around the world, regardless of the setting. It's rare in Hinduism, it's rare in Buddhism, it's rare in Christianity, and in Judaism, and Taoism, and Jainism.

I have to laugh at Arvind's suggestion that Sankara defeated Buddhism by his logical points. Who exactly back then was even listening to Sankara? Most people, whether Hindus or Buddhists, were just not interested in this sort of discussion. They were attracted to their religion by all kinds of fairly conventional customs and virtues, not generally by its abstruse philosophical arguments about the nature of ultimate reality.

Clearly, Buddhism thrived for 1500 years in India and converted much of northern India and Ceylon through the simple attractiveness of its practice and culture. The lack of a caste system was clearly a big factor. It was not converted by philosophical debate, however, nor did it die away by that. That was a factor I'm sure for some monks and sophisticated seekers, but not many fall into that category.

Likewise, the decline of Buddhism in India had most to do with cultural and political factors, not esoteric debates. Obviously the muslim invasion was the primary factor. THe Buddhists didn't have much the way of a military culture, unlike the Hindus, and thus couldn't mount a very good defense. The Muslims, for their part, seemed to harbor an especial hatred for Buddhism, something they didn't have to the same degree for Hinduism, and they very systematically went about wiping out Buddhism. This is evident even today, when the Taliban in Afghanistan went to great trouble to dynamite beautiful Buddhist stone carvings in the mountainsides. I'm not sure why the Muslims so despise Buddhists, but I'm sure they also feel that they have defeated Buddhism in debate as well.

I don't think much of these historical facts have much to do with any inherent superiority or inferiority of the existential philosophical verities of these religions, and a whole lot to do with culture and politics and the various trends of the world. Making too much of such things either way in discussing non-dualism gets us very much off track and makes politics of something that is simply apolitical by its very nature

Broken Yogi said...

David,

Thanks for your brief exposition on the issue of Ramana's "Hinduism".

I think you are basically correct on all counts. One can certainly look at Ramana as the "crowing glory of Hinduism", but I would find it more accurate to describe him as the "crowning glory of humanity", since he transcends even Hinduism, and his life and teachings are not limited to Hindus.

One of the reasons I think it is fairly easy to say that Ramana was not a Hindu (though also not a non-Hindu either), is that by his own admission, his teachings are derived solely from his own realization, and not from any cultural or exterior influence. He certainly found happy correspondences between his own realization and the teachings of Hinduism, but he also found correspondences with other religions as well, even if he didn't have much contact or knowledge of them.

It's important to also remember that Ramana did not realize the Self by following Hindu or Advaitic teachings. He had very little knowledge of these things. His realization came about spontaneously, through his own intuited practice of self-enquiry, and he based his teachings on that method and that experience, not on Advaitic or other Hindu tradition.

His understanding of reality was similarly not based on Hindu or Advaitic ideas, but on his own experience of realization. He often used Hindu and Advaitic ideas to convey his realization to those around him, but that only evolved over time, according to the needs of those who came to him. Originally he had no such ideas, only the stark realization itself, without content or culture.

His Guru was not a Hindu, but a mountain, Arunachula, that had been there for millions of years, one presumes, long before Hinduism came into being. And Arunachula did not teach him Hindu ideas, that required contact with others. Arunachula taught him in primordial silence.

So if one is to call Ramana a Hindu, it is only in an indirect and roundabout manner. One can claim Arunachula as a Hindu God or holy site, but that's all after the fact. Arunachula is no more a Hindu than the Self is - because they are of course the same One. So how can Ramana be considered a Hindu, if his teacher was not a Hindu? I suppose by human custom and location, and little more than that. But that defines Ramana as accurately as his clothes do. Which means, not much at all.

Ravi said...

Broken Yogi,
I do not know how much you know about Buddhism.I tend to get the impression that you know very little about sanAtana dharma;also not sure from where you got ideas about corruption of sanAtana Dharma that gave rise to Buddhism,etc.
Anyway,the impression that I get is that you are not receptive and seem to be holding on to arguement for arguement sake.
Perhaps you will be satisfied with this statement:Broken yogi is always Rightand even if you are wrong it is for the Right reason and hence you are Right.
The fact that you take so long to explain your position gives me this impression.
namaskar.

Ravi said...

Broken Yogi,
"His Guru was not a Hindu, but a mountain, Arunachula, that had been there for millions of years, one presumes"
Desperation(not necessity!) is the mother of all inventions like the one you have made above!
To worship Rivers,mountains ,Trees(vanaspati),etc is absolutely part of sanatana Dharma.So,it is pretty clear that your understanding of sanatana dharma is very limited(practically nothing).You say that Moslems destroyed Bahmian Buddha and concentrated more on the destruction of Buddhists than on Hindus!Firstly the tAlibans are not Good Muslims and they hardly make such fine distinctions between Hindus and buddhists.The Wonderful statues of the Bahmian Buddha had survived all these years and had the Muslims wanted to wipe out the same,they could have done it a long while ago.Did the Taliban leave out any Hindu temple that you can claim that they singled out the Buddhists and the Statue of Buddha for punishment?
In your recent post you seem to be now questioning David(while riding on an imaginary position that you claim that David had taken-that Sri bhagavan was not a hindu as per his own words spoken!)and trying to qualify what David had posted.
When I made it clear that Sri Bhagavan had a special relationship with arunAchala that clearly gave his Hindu roots,you said that it was not on account of ArunAchala viewed as God,but because it was like a guru.Now you are going to grotesque proportions and claiming"His Guru was not a Hindu, but a mountain, Arunachula, that had been there for millions of years, one presumes, long before Hinduism came into being."Are you saying that Bhagavan took a fancy for some ancient Mountain and imagined that it was his Guru?Why of all mountains ArunAchala should get this Distinction?Did Sri Bhagavan know that arunAchala was a mountain when it reverberated in his heart as a word?
Which Religion other than sanAtana Dharma admits of Gurus Like arunAchala or Mother like River Ganges?
-----------------------------------
I find your entire take on this absolutely kiddish,naive and lacking in basic common sense.If I were you I will take a time out for a few days or drop the topic,and clear myself of this dubious self assertion that seems to have clouded your vision at the moment.
You seem to be saying that Bhagavan may be anything else,even a pagan suckled in a creed outworn but certainly not a Hindu.
Namaskar.

Broken Yogi said...

Subramanian,

Regarding your quotes from Nikhilananda, I think it's been well established that Nagarjuna and other Buddhist non-dualists long preceded Gaudapada and Sankara. Gaudapada and Sankara lived around or after 700 CE, and Nagarjuna about 150-250 CE. I don't think anyone holds out any possibility that Gaudapada could possibly have preceded Nagarjuna.

As for Gaudapada being a Buddhist, I'm not even aware of anyone making that charge. I think it's only been suggested that his ideas were strongly influenced by Buddhism, and even his mentions in the Karika of Buddhism are either 1) necessary because otherwise his fellow Hindus might think he'd become a Buddhist, or 2) later interpolations by others to ensure a differentiation between Gaudapada and Buddhist views. In either case, the influence of Buddhism is quite obvious, and yes, it's clear that Buddhist non-dualism preceded Advaita (though of course even the earliest Upanishads have at least a form of nascient non-dualism in them.)

However, the claim N. makes that "the non dual Atman, which alone is the Ultimate Reality, can be found in Vedanta alone" comes across as pure sectarian political posturing. How does N. actually know this? Has he realized the Ultimate Reality? Obviously not. And I'd suggest one of the reasons he never realized the ultimate reality is that he's so attached to Hindu concepts and trying to aggrandize himself by association with them. And that's a lot of what I'm trying to address in this thread - the tendency of many Hindus to aggrandize their egos through association and identification with their tradition, and disparaging other traditions as inferior, all of which only forms vasanas and samskaras that further imbed them in maya and ego, and make genuine liberation even more difficult.

Sri Ramana was strongly against any such attitude and approach. He did not identify with Hinduism or consider the Advaitic teaching about the Self to be the only way to describe non-dual reality. He did not go around denigrating Buddhism as inferior because it didn't refer to the Self. He only had good words to say about Buddhism. If he really thought it was a nihilistic delusion incapable of guiding anyone to realization, don't you think he would have said so?

Unfortunately, some of Ramana's devotees were also Hindu nationalists and fundamentalists, or at least had tendencies in that direction. What's new? Many of Buddha's followers have had the same fault, and have clashed with Hindus accordingly. What a mess. At least no swords have been drawn, as with the Muslims. But let's no mistake either Buddha or Ramana with these kinds of folks. And let's not be these kinds of folks.

Broken Yogi said...

Arvind,

You know, you're actually quite right that I went too far in stating that Ramana repeatedly denied being a Hindu. It's more accurate to say that, offered the opportunity again and again to identify himself as a Hindu, he repeatedly declined. I definitely did state things too strongly, and I do think that inflamed the argument, so I apologise for that.

It's not my intention to suggest that Ramana rejected Hinduism or saw himself as a non-Hindu. But it's also clear that he was neither a Hindu, nor a non-Hindu. The four-fold negation applies even at this level, in other words.

S. said...

salutations to all:

folks: please don't get me wrong (maneesha - saying this honestly) :-)
a blog such as this one, besides serving the purpose of sharing information, could perhaps also be a forum for exchange of serious views - that we all understand. but many a time, these exchanges also tend to deteriorate to not-so-healthy squabbles, and then i wonder how come even serious practitioners of 'self-enquiry' or 'self-surrender' are reduced to cheap victims of our own limited selves!

to say it simply - given that all of us here seek the self, love bhagavAn, practise vichAra (or whatever else), why then this desperate attempt to 'have the last word' in a petty argument? why is it so hard to now & then say 'i could be mistaken/ biased/ ill-informed', or just 'i was wrong'? why is it so necessary to argue ad nauseam despite clearly observing the arguments whirling out-of-control and thus no more serving the intended purposes?

folks, nobody here is either an expert in advaita, much less bhagavAn, to say what it is or what it isn't! even the so-called 'intellectual' understanding of vedAnta, be it advaita/dvaita takes years of sincere study of sanskrit and the extant commentaries & treatises penned by men of vast learning in their respective fields...

Aano bhadrAH kratavo yantu vishvataH

Ramprax said...

"If he really thought it was a nihilistic delusion incapable of guiding anyone to realization, don't you think he would have said so?"

Most definitely not!
Bhagavan highlighted the good and only the good in everything & everyone.

Broken Yogi said...

"If he really thought it was a nihilistic delusion incapable of guiding anyone to realization, don't you think he would have said so?"

Most definitely not!
Bhagavan highlighted the good and only the good in everything & everyone.


Although there's certainly some truth to this, Sri Ramana certainly managed to criticize some aspects of Advaita even. He had critical things to say about neti-neti, for example, as has been quoted here recently. He said that it could not get rid of the "I" that practiced neti-neti. So it's not unlikely that he would have criticized Buddhism if he felt it had similar limitations in being able to transcend the ego. Of course, perhaps not many people presented Buddhist ideas to him in the first place for comment.

Ravi said...

Friends,
The Following composition of the Sage of Kanchi is a beauty.It was delivered as a message of the spirit of sanAtana Dharma ,sung by the inimitable and divinely inspired singer M S Subbulakshmi at the UN on October 23,1966.
Here is the transliteration and Translation:
Maithreem bhajatha akhila hrijjetrim;aathmavadeva parAnapi pasyatha;

yuddam tyajatha;spardham tyajatha;

dyajatha pareshwa kramamAkramanam;

janani pruthivi kAma dughasthe;

janako devaha sakala dayAluh;

dhamyatha daththa dayadhvam janatah;

shreyo bhooyath sakala janAnAm.

Free translation of this:
Translation:

cultivate friendship which will conquer all hearts;

Look upon others as thyself;

Renounce war;forswear competition;

Give up aggression on others which is wrong;

wide Mother Earth,our Mother is ready to fulfill all our desires;

May God compassionate Bless us ;

Ye Peoples of the World;Restrain yourselves,Give and be Kind;

May all people be happy and porsperous"

This was and is the message of sages down the ages.

You can watch a rendering of this Hymn by the inimitable M S Subbulakshmi here:
http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=z89rJXlNOFo&feature=related

Namaskar.

Ravi said...

Friends,
R.Subramanian has dwelt on the aspect of how the 'Head' of the Devotee should be at the 'Feet'of God-How this sort of a description recurs in the compositions of the Great ones.
I will share Master TGN's insight into this:
Spiritual Living is all about walking the Talk.The Great ones are they who have actually 'walked' the path-and the Feet of such a one represent this 'walking'-hence they are called 'adigalAr' or 'bhagavath pAda'.They are so to say the 'Feet' of the Lord-the way shown by God.The Footprints that they leave behind(their teachings)is the 'dust' of their feet.
For a devotee,God is unknown;all that he can know is only the 'Feet'(Great ones) and the 'Dust of feet' of the Great ones who have traversed the path and attained the supreme.
He has to understand the Teachings through his 'head'(Mind)and not stop there.He has to put the 'Head' at the 'Feet'-meaning that he has to internalize it such that he walks the path.Walking this path is 'surrender' at the feet of the Great ones.Walking thus ,he attains Self or God.

Namaskar.

Subramanian. R said...

Dear Broken Yogi,

Sri Ramana called Arunachala as His
Guru not without any specific reason.
The Hill may appear as insentient but it is the form of Siva. Even
earlier to Sri Bhagavan, saints like
Guhai Namasivaya, Guru Namasivaya and Arunagiri Natha have extolled
It as Siva. So one has to take that
Siva was the Guru of Sri Bhagavan too.

2. Moselms destroyed more of Hindu temples [Somnath] and insatllaed
mosques over Hindu shrines after
demolishing the latter [Ayodhya,
Mathura]. So Hindu faith was more disrespected by Moslems than those of Buddhist faith.

3. A philosophy cannot remain isolated without a ritualistic religion to back it up. That is why, Buddhism either got extinguished or took the form of
Hinayana Buddhisms where rituals are more, to survive. It is a living religion in Sri Lanka and
Cambodia but not in China and Japan, where Mahayana remains only in books and universities.

4. So long as no one has finally established who was prior Nagarjuna or Gaudapada, no one amongst us also cannot prove it as we do not do any special research on this.

5. Prof. Das Gupta says Nagarjuna is earlier, Nikhilananda says Gaudapada is earlier. The matter still stands there only. No one has reached the finality.

Subramanian. R said...

1. Every philosophical thought should be backed by a religious symbol. That is why there was terrible disturbance when a tooth said to be of Buddha was lost some years back.

2. Even Sri Bhagavan has to say some devotees [including Muruganar] to chant Siva, Siva. He permitted Samadhi Pujas for Mother's Samadhi. He even attended in person Seshadri Swamigal's Samadhi installation and even directed the organizer to go by Tirumoolar's Samadhi Rules in Tirumandiram.

3. Today in Sri Ramanasramam, rituals go hand in hand with meditation in Old Hall. I have seen David Godman circumambulating
Sri Bhagavan's Samadhi, innumerable times on an evening, when I was sitting in the Samadhi Hall.

4. Sri Bhagavan permitted a number of photographs to be taken of Him, so that these would be symbols
even for practitioners of self inquiry for the time to come.

Subramanian. R said...

Once a man brought two peacocks with their eyes covered. When let loose
in Sri Bhagavan's Presence, they flew
away. They were brought back but again they flew away. Sri Bhagavan then said: "It is no use trying to keep them here. They are not ripe in their mind as these dogs." However, much the man and the ashramites tried to keep the two peacocks in the Asramam, they would not remain there even a minute."

This is most interesting, and shows that all were not fit to remain in His Presence, and even animals came to Sri Bhagavan with a purpose. Sri Bhagavan also told us how, at times, people would reincarnate in the body of animals just for a chance to be near Him. There is of course, the famous example of Lakshmi, the Cow.

[Sri Bhagavan, A Friend of All]

This is true even with humans. Once when I was standing in the queue for lunch in the Asramam, I met Lucy Ma's daughter and we were speaking to her. She is the daughter of Lucy Cornellson the author of famous book Hunting the "I". The daughter is living here since more than 20 years. During our talk, two other ladies were talking from behind: "If they give lunch quickly it will be good. I am told that tomatoes and brinjals are quite cheap in Tiruvannamalai. We can buy them and drive back to Chennai before evening. Why is the door not still opened for lunch? It is very hot and it is difficult to stand here without sandals..."

Many come to Him,
But only a few are called,**
And still a fewer are chosen!
[** Definitely not the one who
come only to buy tomatoes and brinjals to Tiruvannamalai.

[Told by the Guru who never wore sandals for 54 years in the hot hot Tiruvannamalai]

Clemens Vargas Ramos said...

... Sri Bhagavan also told us how, at times, people would reincarnate in the body of animals just for a chance to be near Him. ...

That's true. I had a time where I had a subtil desire to live in the body of a small animal (to be nearer to what I looked for).

Subramanian. R said...

Dear Clemens Vargas Ramos,

There are people who express such
sentiments about Sri Bhagavan. Once
in Tiruvannamalai, one visitor who was talking to me said with emotion: 'Sir I think, to come here as often as possible, we should have been born at least as a lice on one of the monkeys that was fondled by Sri Bhagavan.' I said immediately 'Yes.'

Ravi said...

R.Subramanian/Ramos/Friends,
I enjoy all these wonderful stories that our friend Subramanaian narrates.Even animals and birds seem to know and recognize Sri Bhagavan as one of them.
During my visits to Ramanasramam,I have often wondered how I have always spotted the peacocks in Ramanasramam(in abundance)and did not spot a single one in the neighbourhood,even in Sri seshAdri swAmi's asramam.They seem to be recognizing that it is their home.How they sport around fearlessly.
Sri Bhagavan is absolutely unique in manifesting this equality for all beings-All is verily the Self.To have a look at any one of his photograph is to understand and feel the poise of the Self that reading books cannot give.Sri kavyakanta ganapathi muni used to chide his disciples for sitting with closed eyes in meditation before Sri Bhagavan.He used to say-"What you are meditating upon is verily before you!"
Such is the power of his presence.There was a wonderful reminiscence of swami RanganAthAnanda that i am unable to locate.If you have it ,I request you to post it.Therein the swAmi quotes Sri sankarA's verse on the glory of the Realized one-No army behind him,yet infinitely strong;
No one his Equal,yet he considers everyone his equal;
,etc,etc-that captures Sri Bhagavan's very essence.
I appreciate the sentiments of ramos-It is akin to the ones who wanted to be born as the cows to be tended by Lord Sri Krishna(and be free from the trappings of Learning!).Another devotee wanted to be born as a leaf of grass ,so that he can be Food to such a cow tended by Sri Krishna!
Namaskar.

Subramanian. R said...

Dear Ravi,

Once Sri V.S. Ramanan told me that there are about 27 peacocks and peahens that come regularly to the
Asramam. These include white peacocks also. As you correctly said, I am not able to say any peacocks in Seshadri Asramam. However, these come to the Morvi Guest House. Once when we were napping in the room, one peacock was heard moving outside the door.
We opened and found it. We had nothing readily to give for it to eat. My wife quickly broken the
biscuits into small pieces and placed them near the peacock. This wonderful bird with its beak made them into further small pieces and took them. The plume, and the feathers, it was a sight to watch it right at the entrance of our room. Then I said Muruganar's verse as to how one colorless yoke brings about a many colored peacock as Brahman manifests into multifarious things. Peacocks however prefer pori kadalai, fire - roasted dhal. We have also seen them dancing with spread out feathers in mornings on the terrace of Morvi guest house rooms.

Abhirami Bhattar says that Mother is like a koel in Kadamba Vanam, a peacock in Himalayas, a scorching sun in Akasa Ksehtram, and a white
Swan in Kamalalayam. If any one
of you could tell me that I had NOT earlier given the inner meaning of this verse, I shall send in a separate comment.

Clemens Vargas Ramos said...

Dear Ravi, R. Subramanian,

with the life of a spider or a squirrel my soul once associated a less complicate bodily/mental life. I hoped to be more free from worldly thoughts and to be nearer to what I experienced as 'stillness' or 'infinite space of consciousness'. Today I'm still convinced that many animals are nearer to or more immersed in That than many humans.

Ravi said...

Friends,
Here is the Reminiscence of swAmi RangAthananda from the compilation-Face to Face with Sri Ramana maharshi:
I had been twice to Sri Ramanasramam. The first visit was in
1936. Bhagavan was an extraordinary personality who could draw the
minds and hearts of the people from all over the world. A verse in the
Srimad Bhagavatam describes the nature of the holy person, attachment
to whom becomes a liberating force. It is meant for those who are
extremely tranquil, whose mind is like the calm ocean without waves, who
are filled with compassion – a friend of all embodied beings. Another
feature is that an enemy is yet to be born for such a person. This fine
description fits our Bhagavan most.
The Maharshi had condensed in himself the immortal, the
eternal. Hence the tremendous stature of his life. He lived amongst us
like a simple human being. You could not measure him, just as the column
of light of Siva which had once appeared in Arunachala. You could not see the height, you could not see the depth.
Those who had seen the human form of Bhagavan are blessed
indeed. His touch was the touch of the immortal, a touch which
elevates and makes you feel that you are also someone worthwhile.
In this age of physical verification, we find in Bhagavan, the
human form of that eternal truth.
...Continued....

Ravi said...

Friends,
...Reminiscences of Sri bhagavan continued...
"Bhagavan was constantly in the divine awareness – whether he
was sitting alone and radiating his silent presence, whether he was
correcting proofs, whether he was reading the newspaper, whether he
was cutting vegetables in the kitchen, he was brimming with joy. He
was the very personification of the infinite, of the divine. Every
word he spoke was charged with the wisdom of atma vidya. He
exemplified the great teaching ‘I am that.’ Bhagavan says that this
experience is easy to come by. It is easy. There are no gymnastics to go
through. It is just changing the centre of our awareness.
We have seen Ramana Maharshi; we read about Suka of the
Bhagavatam. There is so much similarity between the two. They found
delight in and were revelling in the Self-experiencing infinite joy, free from
the bondage and yet filled with motiveless love. It is the eternal message
manifesting in a human dimension whom we call Ramana the Maharshi.
There is a beautiful verse in Sankaracharya’s Vivekachudamani,
which is so apt for the Maharshi: ‘Absolutely poor but full of happiness,
no army behind but infinitely strong, no experience of sense satisfaction
but always happy, none equal to him but he feels all to be his equals.’ I
would like to refer to just one instance.
When I arrived I had told him that I would be staying for three
days and would leave by train on the evening of the third day. I had
forgotten. He looked at me at the right time and said, “Your tonga is
arranged, it is time for you to go.” How human – talking man-to-man, and
yet how gigantic.
What is said of Sri Krishna in the Bhagavatam applies equally to
Bhagavan.‘The more we hear, the more the desire arises to hear more
and more.’ May all of us be worthy of this tremendous spiritual dynamo
who enters our heart even without our knowing it."

Namaskar.

Subramanian. R said...

Dear Clemens Vargas Ramos,

I also think that animals/birds, though have a mind, are not having
any diabolic thoughts to cause harm to others, don't have envy and pride. Their activities are confined to appeasing hunger, for which they may harm other animals, sleep and procreation. They do not fight others excepting for their own safety. That way they have got a very small load of karmas. Their birth itself was due to sanchita karmas. They don't add up much to the carry bag of karmas. That is why Jadabharata and Cow Lakshmi, VaLLi, the deer, Jackie attained liberation. Umapati Sivam gave liberation to a thorn-bush. A civet cat and a horse [of Vajrangatha Pandyan] attained mukti by circumambulating the Hill only once.

Ravi said...

Friends,
Here is the Reminiscence of Swami DesikAnanda:
Swami Desikananda – a sannyasi of the Ramakrishna Order, was
head of the Vedanta College, Mysore, for many years.
It was divine grace that brought me to the presence of Sri Ramana
in 1927. Entering the Ashram I saw the Maharshi seated on a couch,
surrounded by devotees sitting at his feet. The whole scene was reminiscent
of sages of yore. The Maharshi looked at me casually and made kind
enquiries as to where I came from and about my stay.
Next morning, I went to the Ashram and sat before the Maharshi
in meditation. I found I could easily concentrate in his presence and had
progressively longer spells of undisturbed meditation such as I had never
been able to achieve before anywhere else. When I told the Maharshi
about it and how enjoyable it was, he asked me whether I was sleeping at
the time of meditation. On my replying in the negative, he laughed and
enquired about my mode of meditation, which was to concentrate on the
light in the heart and offer a flower to my ishta daivam (chosen god)
whenever the mind wavered, as instructed by Swami Sivanandji Maharaj,
second president of the Ramakrishna Math and Mission.The Maharshi
said it was all right for me and I could continue in that way.
Bhagavan’s routine was to sit on the couch mostly in silence
till noon and again after food, and a little rest. He used to look through
the mail twice a day and go for a short walk on the Hill. He said on one
occasion that since there was no mind at all, there was also no concept
of anything. All was one full expanse in peace and happiness. He quickly
added that we cannot even say one expanse, as there was no second.
He was always immersed in sat - chit - ananda (existence -
consciousness - bliss).
I told Bhagavan on the ninth day of my stay that I had to leave.
Kneeling before him, I wept profusely. Consoling me, he said, “You can stay
on. Nobody asked you to go.” However, I took leave of him the next day.
By Bhagavan’s grace not only was I drawn into the fold of a sage
who had the highest realisation, but was helped in every way to experience
periods of supreme peace and bliss. This indeed forms the sheet anchor of
my life that was, that is, and that will be.
The silent aid and relief provided by Bhagavan will indeed
remain an eternal spring of spiritual joy and peace.
In the end:
A Stanza in Sri Maharshi’s Praise
How gracious art Thou Lord Dakshinamurthi
To have blessed mankind by Thy ministrations in human form.
To Bhagavan who is but the form of Satyam, Sivam and Sundaram
I offer my salutations again and again."

Namaskar.

Ravi said...

R.Subramanian,
"If any one
of you could tell me that I had NOT earlier given the inner meaning of this verse, I shall send in a separate comment."
I have not read this.Even if I had , I would request you to post-for recounting such readings is beneficial to the narrator and the Listener.What the mind feels as a repetition,the Heart rejoices as a recalling.
Please post on the aspects of Divine Mother.
namaskar.

Subramanian. R said...

Swami Chinmayananda [formerly Balakrishna Menon] says:

..The Maharshi suddenly opened His eyes and looked straight into mine.
I looked into His. A mere look, that was all. I felt that the Maharshi was, in that split moment, looking deep into me - and I was sure
that He saw all my shallowness, confusion, faithlessness, imperfections and fears. I cannot explain what happened in that one split second. I felt opened, cleaned, healed, and emptied!...I knew that whatever I had later learnt in Uttarakasi for years, had been given to me before by the saint of Tiruvannamalai on that hot summer day - by a mere
look.
I can say now in 1982, that Sri
Ramana is not a theme for discussion. He is an experience.
He is in a state of Consciousness.
Sri Ramana is the highest reality and the cream of all scriptures of the world. ....He lived as the beauty and purity of the Infinite...

Swami Chinmayananda has written his own commentaries on Sad Darsanam and Upadesa Saram.

Clemens Vargas Ramos said...

... I also think that animals/birds, though have a mind, are not having
any diabolic thoughts ...


I see it a little bit different, dear R. Subramanian. All is coming out of the vast stillness of pure consciousness and returns to it after the ending of its activities. I believe that this is true for animals, plants, rocks and humans. The difference between the living beings is that some of them for some reason start to be active anew whereas others continue to live in this pure consciousness - even without intention to do so. I mean that a conscious return to the source is necessary for the spiritual seeker, but as soon as he returns he looses the consciousness of it. Then it depends on 'God' whether he has to return to worldly activity or not. I don't believe that there is any true 'advantage' of human over animal life (a favourite buddhistic concept). My feeling is that this is far more complex.

S. said...

salutations to all:

Clemens:
you said "...All is coming out of the vast stillness of pure consciousness and returns to it after the ending of its activities... I mean that a conscious return to the source is necessary for the spiritual seeker..."

do you do vichAra as part of your sAdhanA? if so, don't you think to try vichAra with the strong presumption of 'this is how it is' may be more of a disadvantage than be of any real help in sAdhanA, isn't it? such and other kinds of grandiose imaginations of the 'what/how' of the so-called darned 'source' are powerful distractions, at least as potent as the world around us... during vichAra even if bhagavAn himself were to appear, i may fail but i would try to banish that as well :-)))

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