Tuesday, June 3, 2008

Silence in the Teachings of Sri Ramana Maharshi

About eighteen months ago I was approached in Ramanasramam by a woman who was the editor of a German magazine entitled Advaita. She said she wanted to do a special issue on ‘silence’ and asked if I would do an interview on this topic that would bring out Bhagavan’s teachings on this subject. I agreed, but since the editor was leaving the next day, she agreed to send me the questions by email.

The questions arrived and they sat in my in-tray for months and months, without inspiring me to do anything about them. Eventually, with the deadline approaching, I decided that I would let Bhagavan speak for himself. I threw away all the questions and instead put together a compilation of verses on ‘silence’ from our new translation of Guru Vachaka Kovai.

I emailed it to her and heard nothing for several months. I assumed that she didn’t want to use my offering, and was too polite to tell me so. A couple of weeks ago, though, I received an email from her saying that she was delighted with my change of plan. The verses had been translated, she said, and were due to appear in one of her forthcoming issues. I hope to post the German article on my site whenever it becomes available. Here, meanwhile is the English version.

I have left in the introduction I sent her. The verses that follow it have been arranged under various topics; I have added parallel quotes from Bhagavan after some of them. These extra quotes will also appear in the published version of Guru Vachaka Kovai. The verses are in roman type while the supplementary quotations and the introduction are in italics.

Silence in the Teachings of Sri Ramana Maharshi

Bhagavan Sri Ramana Maharshi, the mostly widely revered advaita teacher of the 20th century, always maintained that ‘silence’ was his primary and most direct teaching. Abiding in and as the Self, as the unmoving substratum of manifestation, he emanated a silent radiance that quietened the minds of those who were drawn to him. This silent presence resolved the doubts and problems of those who came to see him, and on occasions even gave them a direct glimpse of the Self. Sri Ramana did, of course, answer questions as well, but he frequently said that the silent force which spontaneously radiated from him was the highest and purest form of his teachings.

When Sri Ramana spoke on the subject of silence, he usually used the Sanskrit word ‘mauna’. In using this term he made it clear that he was not indicating a mere absence of sound; rather, he was referring to the unmoving, silent, peaceful state of the Self that is beyond and prior to the antonyms of noise and physical quietness.

For Sri Ramana mauna was both the state of the enlightened being and the medium through which an awareness of the Self is transmitted. He also maintained that those who could remain mentally silent in his presence were the ones who would be most able to take advantage of the silent spiritual energy that was flowing from him. Sri Ramana often spoke about how this process worked, and in this article I shall present some of his teachings on mauna that were recorded by Muruganar, one of his foremost disciples.

Muruganar began collecting Sri Ramana’s teaching statements in the 1920s. He generally recorded them on the day he heard them by composing short Tamil verses that encapsulated the teachings he had heard. These were all shown to Sri Ramana, who corrected and revised them whenever he felt it necessary. Eventually these verses came out in Tamil in a book entitled Guru Vachaka Kovai (Garland of the Guru’s Sayings). This book is the biggest collection of Sri Ramana’s teachings that was personally checked and revised by him during his lifetime. Along with two collaborators, T. V. Venkatasubramanian and Robert Butler, I have spent the last three years preparing a new annotated English translation of this work. It is due to appear in English in a few months’ time. For this article I have selected some of the Guru Vachaka Kovai verses that deal with mauna, and I have arranged them by subject.

I have left some of the technical terms in the original Sanskrit or Tamil. The following brief definitions should be useful for those who are not familiar with these words:

Swarupa: ‘one’s own true nature’, or ‘one’s own real form’.

Atma-swarupa: Self, one’s own true nature.

Jnana: ‘knowledge’, meaning direct unmediated knowledge of what is true and real, rather than knowledge of objects. Jnana is the state of irrevocable enlightenment.

Jnani: one who has attained jnana.

Brahman: a vedantic term used to denote the absolute, impersonal reality.

Heart: a translation of the Sanskrit ‘hridayam’ or the Tamil ‘ullam’, this is a synonym for the Self or Brahman. It is generally used to denote the Self as the source of the mind and manifestation.

Jiva: the individual self.

Sivam: Siva is the deity; Sivam is the consciousness of Siva. As such it can be regarded as another synonym for the Self.

Iswara: the personal God of Hinduism.

The Nature of Mauna

The mauna that is wholly and solely the Self is a state in which the consciousness that says ‘I’, being [revealed as] ignorance, dies away. This alone possesses excellence. If you ask why, the answer is: ‘The desire for objects is the true cause of sorrow, whereas mauna is the expanse of being wherein there are no objects to desire.’

Atma-swarupa, the primal essence that is wholly consciousness, is experienced directly through the state that is entirely mauna. It flourishes and shines as the real nature of the [unreal] reflected consciousness whose form is the false ‘I’, the ego. This pure transcendental swarupa, the fundamental substratum, is the ultimate reality.

It exists as the extremely subtle light of being-consciousness; it is without the rising of the ego that objectively knows alien [objects] as ‘this’. Trying to know it, the intellect, the individual consciousness, grows exhausted and laments, ‘I have not known it’. It is concentrated mauna. Such is the Self, being-consciousness.

The radiance of consciousness-bliss that blossoms identically as the form of consciousness, both within and without, is the primal entity whose nature is the mauna that is wholly transcendental bliss. It is established by jnanis as the summit of true jnana that can never be rejected.

The foundation of the transient world that associates with us, as if it is extremely real, is the ‘I am the body’ awareness. But the indestructible foundation for that ‘I am the body’ awareness is mauna, the ancient primal source.

Mauna as Swarupa

Realising clearly that the experience of the bliss of peace can only be had in swarupa and not in this worldly life that arises through mental delusion, destroy that attachment to the world and attain the experience of swarupa, the expanse of grace, the ultimate state of silence.

Those ripe in jnana will describe the state in which the thought ‘I’ does not arise at all as maunaswarupa. Swarupa, which is mauna, is indeed Iswara. Swarupa alone is the jiva and swarupa alone is this ancient world.

Bhagavan: The state where even the slightest trace of the thought ‘I’ does not exist alone is swarupa. That alone is called mauna… Self alone is the world; Self alone is ‘I’; Self alone is God; all is the supreme Self [Siva swarupa]. (Who am I? essay version, The Path of Sri Ramana Part One, p. 187)

Swarupa shines radiantly in the state of pure silence. Those who have experienced this swarupa, the ever-fresh ambrosia, and who thereby have bliss surging forth in their Heart, will not rot away in this world by paying attention to the defiled sense objects which yield the tiny intoxicating pleasures that arise through mental delusion.

To abide in swarupa is to cease to exist as a slave; it is to remain without even the rising of the thought ‘I am a slave’; it is egoless mauna, utterly still, having no mental movements. The unlimited consciousness that shines in this state is the [true] consciousness.

Because of the excellence of swarupa, the oneness in which the seer himself becomes the seeing, one’s real nature is the most exalted. The ‘I’-nature, the mauna-light in which the ego, the seer ‘I’, has completely died, is the Self, consciousness the supreme.

Mauna is the State of the Guru

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

The Guru, the benefactor of true jnana, who truly shines as the Self that possesses unlimited splendour, is the primal silence that puts to flight the perverse arguments that arise through the persistent stain of infatuation with the world.

Guru and disciple are only described as different through the imaginary feeling of being limited to a form. In the mauna union, the summit of jnana in which these two ideas [Guru and disciple] merge through the true experience of the Self, is there even a trace of speech and breath? As the ego, the cause that creates the sense of difference, is destroyed, the minds of the two become one through their real nature, pure being, and cease. In such a situation the talking and listening that consist of spoken words, which take place between the two, are of no use.

Abiding in Mauna through the Guru’s Grace

Those of perfect and mature wisdom will declare: ‘Reality, the consummation of jnana that shines in the perfectly pure state of mauna, the hard-to-attain vedantic experience, will, through the Guru’s grace, spontaneously flare up and shine as “I-I” within the Heart.’

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

Bear in mind that the true worship of the jnana Guru is only the Self-abidance in which the desire-free mauna surges once the disciple-consciousness that proclaimed itself as ‘I’ is destroyed by the raging fire of the consciousness of the jnana Guru, he who is God Himself.

To destroy the form of the mind, enquire into the ego, the delusion, and enter the Heart. Only this is the worship of the lotus feet of the Guru’s holy form, he who abides in the mauna that is beyond the mind.

Teaching Through Mauna

The abundant greatness of Brahman is that it cannot be made to shine by all the [various] utterances, expositions and lectures. Because that Brahman shines forth through the rare and precious silence of the Guru, that mauna-discourse is the most powerful exposition.

Youthful mauna Guru [Dakshinamurti], you who,

shining as the divine manifestation of God,

at the head of the lineage of Gurus,

reveal the supreme truth,

the unique speech of [mauna]

that is the mind’s source,

which is the mother of all language

but which, unlike the spoken word,

neither appears nor disappears.

All the ancient treatises on jnana

are merely an introductory preface,

enunciated by the learned,

to your book of mauna,

which confers true knowledge.

Are they not therefore alien to true understanding,

those who, even though they have studied all the others,

have lost their connection to that [book of] mauna?

(Ramana Puranam, lines 317-324)

The Dead Mind is Mauna

The mind that has died in one’s Heart, the ocean of jnana-swarupa, is eternal silence. The transcendental expanse, the true Heart, the rapturous sea of bliss supreme, is one’s true ‘I’ [aham], which is replete with love.

The ego that has reached the expanse of mauna and perished there shines as the space of jnana. Therefore, when the false ego reaches the source and perishes like a false dream, the real ‘I’ will rise up spontaneously.

To die [as an individual] in the unbounded silence and to be resurrected [as the Self] in this unbounded silence that is the non-dual reality is alone the attainment of liberation. The transcendent and authentic bliss that manifests in that state of jnana will flourish and remain forever as one’s own nature.

Many are the evils [that arise] if one associates with crazy fools with confused minds who babble with their ‘holy’ mouths. Know that only association with those in whom the mind has died and pure mauna shines is excellent association.

Mauna and Religion

Instead of merging in the clear state of mauna by enquiring and subtly experiencing in the Heart the reality, some people jump up angrily, mouthing arguments that refute other religions and substantiate their own creed, merely as a display of debating prowess.

Those who have learned the truth of the Supreme Self through scriptures alone, who have a high opinion of themselves because of their superior intellect, but who fail to attain quiet repose by enquiring into the one who has learned the scriptures, thereby immersing themselves in bliss – these people test those who are established in mauna. What can one say of their ignorance?

Since mauna, the culmination of jnana, is their common nature, all religions are acceptable as a means to advaitic truth, which shines unique and pure. They are therefore not opposed to the Vedanta that is the source of non-dual true knowledge of Brahman.

So long as mind survives, religion will also exist. No such religion can survive in the abundantly peaceful silence that results from the mind merging in the Heart as a result of turning within and scrutinising its own nature.

Do not vainly argue through the reasoning power of the intellect, which ignores the Self and clings to the non-Self, that ‘reality exists’; ‘it doesn’t exist’; ‘it is form’; ‘it is formless’; ‘it is dual’; ‘it is non-dual’. Only the mauna that shines forever as the unfailing experience of being-consciousness-bliss is true religion.

Bhagavan: The doctrines of all religions contradict each other. They wage war, collide with each other, and finally die.

On this battlefield all the religions retreat defeated when they stand before
mauna, which abides beneficently, sustaining them all.

The rare and wonderful power of
mauna is that it remains without enmity towards any of the religions. (Padamalai, p. 297, vv. 1-3)

When a person dives into the Heart [by] focusing his efforts on the method ‘Who is the “I” who perceives the differences in the doctrines [of the various religions]?’, the ego ‘I’ [which perceived the differences] dies, ceasing to exist. Only the ever-present Self survives. Can the feeling of difference be consistent with that state of mauna?

No Differences in Mauna

The arising and occurrence of questions and answers, which are inherently defective, is appropriate only in the fragmented, dualistic language of the world. But when one enquires, such questions and answers do not in the least find a place in the perfect language of mauna, which is transcendental speech, the non-dual experience.

The ignorant ego is the cause of the appearance of the utter delusion, the profitless feeling of difference. This [feeling of difference] makes you regard the non-dual supreme reality, the Atma-swarupa, the real nature of Guru and Siva, as split up into Guru-disciple, Siva-jiva, and so on. The true meaning of the prostration that you perform to them [Siva and the Guru], fully aware and in a fitting manner, is only the mauna in which the ignorant ego does not arise even slightly in the Heart.

The entire collection of knowledge that involves differences totally ceases and perishes in the mauna that is swarupa, pure consciousness. All the other divine states that appear to be many are only the sport of the power of consciousness, a mere appearance in one’s real state, which is grace-supreme, the nature of supreme happiness.

You should know that the many varieties of dualistic differences that exist through objective knowledge are only a superimposition on the one Self whose form is pure consciousness. They are not real. Therefore, only knowledge of your real nature, whose form is mauna, is true omniscience. All the other kinds of knowledge that involve the knowing, knower and known are disgusting and insignificant.

The vision of absolute oneness is only that which is free from the differences engendered by the ego, the great delusion that has contaminated you. The transcendental silence, the divine grace in which jnanis disport and which is consciousness the supreme, is the supreme abode that has been realised by them.

The Shining of Mauna in the Heart

This consciousness that is one’s true nature exists and shines motionless in the Heart, free from the pairs of opposites. It [this true nature] is mauna, the culmination of jnana that is not known by the ego-ridden mind, which is dull and demonic in nature.

The true vision of reality that is free from veiling ignorance is the state in which one shines in the Heart as the ocean of bliss, the inundation of grace. In the mauna experience that surges there as wholly Self, and which is impossible to think about, not a trace of grief or discontent exists for the jiva.

The Heart in which realisation, the wealth of God’s grace, mauna, shines profusely is the unique state of oneness. It alone conquers the hard-to-attain and diverse states of enjoyment, making them all pale into insignificance and cease.

The feet of Siva reside in the Heart as the Atma-swarupa; transcendental speech is the elegant and felicitous word that remains without rising up out of the Heart; ever-firm mauna is a worshipping-without-worshipping that is ceaselessly-flowing prayer to the feet of Siva through that transcendental speech. This [ever-firm mauna] alone is the natural and true worship that takes place in the Heart.

Those ripe in wisdom say that absorption in true jnana, which exists without the rising of the ‘I’, is alone the intense practice of mauna. For this mauna, which is free of obstructing thought, to flare up and shine naturally in the Heart, the primary means is to cling firmly to one’s swarupa, the Self, through the enquiry ‘Who am I?’

A person should not extrovert his attention through esteeming and knowing external objects. Instead, he should enquire and know his ever-present true state and abide in the Heart. By doing so, the individual-consciousness that says ‘I’ falls away, and pure mauna shines. This pure mauna is indeed the consummation of jnana.

The host of thoughts and intentions is extremely difficult to renounce. When, with these thoughts and intentions completely abandoned, the ego enters the Heart, mauna, the experience that has taken the form of the fullness, swarupa, shines in the Heart. Only this mauna is the excellent paravak [transcendental speech]. This you should know.

Attaining Mauna through self-enquiry

By turning towards the Self, a person should dive within and enquire, ‘Who is the bogus independent entity who says “I”?’ Through that enquiry he should die willingly in the Atma-swarupa, which is devoid of the ego, and which is the true form of God. The excellence of the state of mauna that then shines, and with which he is indistinguishably merged, is the consummation of the practice of surrender.

The thought ‘Who am I?’, destroying all the other multifarious thoughts, will itself, like the long and sturdy pole used to stir the funeral pyre, finally die, leaving the perfect silence of mauna.

The state of mauna, pure consciousness, is experienced after the eradication of veiling and mental restlessness. This state of mauna is indeed the state of happiness, one’s own swarupa, which should be attained in the Heart by the performance of enquiry, the practice of true knowledge.

Through the clear knowledge of reality, the target that is attained by the enquiry ‘Who is the ignorant “I” who experiences misery in profusion?’, the sun of jnana shines, causing the disappearance of the darkness of delusion. The consequent welling up of mauna is alone the bliss of peace.

Bhagavan: The most valuable thing in the ocean lies on its floor. The pearl is so small a thing, yet so valuable and so difficult to procure. Similarly, the Self is like the pearl: to find it you must dive deep down into the silence, deeper and ever deeper, until it is reached. (Conscious Immortality, 1st ed. p. 168)

You should redeem yourself by thinking-without-thought of the divine grace of God. How can this be accomplished by sprouting forth and rising up as ‘I’? To destroy the [outward-moving] attention of the ghost-like ego that proclaims itself as ‘I’ seek the ‘I’ and abide firmly in mauna, wherein you remain as That.

Bhagavan: Of course everybody, every book says, ‘Be quiet or still’. But it is not easy. That is why all this effort is necessary. Even if we find one who has at once achieved the mauna or supreme state indicated by ‘summa iru’ [‘be quiet’ or ‘be still’], you may take it that the effort necessary has already been finished in a previous life. (Day by Day with Bhagavan, 11th January, 1946)

Clinging to that pure state which remains without any attachments, is clinging to divine grace. This alone is one’s own state of mauna wherein naught else exists. To know and to merge in this state of silence through self-enquiry, and to remain always as That, is true mental worship. This you should know.

Attaining and Abiding as Mauna

That which is worth enquiring into and knowing is only the truth of oneself. Taking it as the target, it should be known in the Heart with a sharply focused attention. Only to an intellect that has subsided within, having attained a clear silence which is free from the turbidity and agitation of mind that sweats and suffers, will the means for realising this truth, which shines in an extremely subtle way, be known clearly.

Only mauna, the experience of Sivam that shines as consciousness, the supreme, is the true spiritual practice through which one becomes the reality, the supreme.

Since the reality, the perfect One, is completely established as wholly mauna, why suffer distress by continuously thinking ‘I am That’? When the mind has reached this state of mauna, this indeed is establishment in the supreme, which is abidance with the ‘I’ extinguished. Once the ‘I’ has completely died, there is absolutely no possibility of thinking ‘I am That’.

Being established in mauna, the clarity of peace devoid of the agitation of the mind, is the means for liberation. By focussed effort attain it, and by abiding as the peaceful being-consciousness that is heart-clarity, destroy the illusory agitation of mind.

The only thing that deserves to be attained is the vision of the mauna experience. In that fullness, the Self, nothing else arises. Therefore, for those who live in the state that is wholly Self, as the thought-free beauty, nothing that needs to be thought about exists.

Referring to mauna, Sri Bhagavan said, ‘Silence is of four kinds: silence of speech, silence of the eye, silence of the ear, and silence of the mind. Only the last is pure silence and is the most important. (Sri Ramana Reminiscences, p. 62)

One should shine as the extremely pure transcendental firmament, free from the concepts that are the creations of the villainous ego-mind. This is the way of attaining the non-dual experience of mauna, that which exists as the experience of unbounded true jnana.

Question: Is the state of ‘being still’ a state involving effort or effortless?

Bhagavan: It is not an effortless state of indolence. All mundane activities, which are ordinarily called effort, are performed with the aid of a portion of the mind and with frequent breaks. But the act of communion with the Self [
Atma vyavahara] or remaining still inwardly is intense activity which is performed with the entire mind and without break.

Maya [delusion or ignorance] which cannot be destroyed by any other act is completely destroyed by this intense activity which is called ‘silence’ [mauna]. (Upadesa Manjari, chapter two, question four. The Collected Works of Sri Ramana Maharshi, pp. 55-56.)

Since only mauna, the swarupa that shines through the pure mind, abides as the final doorway to liberation, whichever of the accepted paths a person may hold onto and advance along, that doorway [mauna] alone is the ultimate entry point and refuge.

This you should know: contemplating with the whole mind, and without a break, the non-dual supreme reality that is Atma-swarupa, is alone pure, transcendental silence. On the other hand, the mere lazy condition of a dull mind is only evil and intense delusion.

Enthroning the Lord upon the seat of the Heart and fixing the whole mind at his feet, worship him as your own Self, without a sense of difference, because he is your own swarupa. You should know that this true worship, performed naturally and without a break, is the fair nature of divine silence.

Mauna, the Unique Word

That which shines in mauna, the unique word, is the Supreme Brahman, the source that is devoid of names and forms which, like the azure blue of the sky, are all illusory and false. Contemplating that excellent and perfect Brahman through the transcendental speech that is uttered by the Heart when one remains still is alone praising it [Brahman] as it really is, without any attributes.

If one enquires, ‘What is that excellent language that possesses in abundance both truth and clarity, which is the source of all languages, and which possesses divine nature?’ [the answer is] ‘That unique language is mauna, which was taught by Dakshinamurti, who is jnana swarupa’.

Mauna is merely the state of grace that rises from the Heart as the unique word.

Question: What is mauna?

: That state which transcends speech and thought is
mauna; it is meditation without mental activity. Subjugation of the mind is meditation: deep meditation is eternal speech. Silence is ever-speaking; it is the perennial flow of ‘language’. It is interrupted by speaking; for words obstruct this mute ‘language’. Lectures may entertain individuals for hours without improving them. Silence, on the other hand, is permanent and benefits the whole of humanity. By silence, eloquence is meant. Oral lectures are not so eloquent as silence. Silence is unceasing eloquence. It is the best language.

There is a state when words cease and silence prevails. (
Maharshi’s Gospel, pp. 12-13)

Referring to
mauna, Sri Bhagavan said, ‘Silence is of four kinds: silence of speech, silence of the eye, silence of the ear, and silence of the mind. Only the last is pure silence and is the most important. The commentary of silence is the best commentary as illustrated in Lord Dakshinamurti. Only silence is the eternal speech, the one word, the heart-to-heart talk. Silence is like the even flow of electric current. Speech is like obstructing the current for lighting and other purposes.’ (Sri Ramana Reminiscences, p. 62)

Know that the essence of supreme truth that is churned [like butter from milk] from the four Vedas, which are pregnant with many ignorance-dispelling words, is the one unique word mauna [that denotes] the identity of the jiva with the supreme.

Physical Mauna

When the ego that takes the filthy and impermanent body to be ‘I’ ceases, mauna, ultimate truth, arises in the Heart. Is not the mere silence of the tongue observed by those who do not know this mauna, and who are without the self-enquiry that leads to jnana, just setting up a talking shop of the mind? Answer me!

Bhagavan always discouraged any devotee going mauna or taking a vow of silence. During the war I [Major Chadwick] decided that I would like to do so, chiefly to protect myself from the jibes of others. I went and asked Bhagavan’s permission. He was not enthusiastic and told me that it was useless to keep the tongue still but to continue to write messages on bits of paper which so many so called maunis [people observing a vow of silence] continue to do. In this way only the tongue had a rest but the mind continued just as before. I said that I had no intention of doing this but would throw my pencil and paper away. I felt that I had obtained a reluctant consent as Bhagavan agreed that people were worrying me. So I made the necessary arrangements, installed a bell from my room to the kitchen so I should not have to call my servant, and fixed a lucky day to begin. The night before I was to start, a friend of mine brought up the subject in the hall after the evening meal when only a few of us were present. Bhagavan immediately showed his disapproval and said it was unnecessary and in fact not a good thing at all. … Naturally after this talk I gave up the idea. (A Sadhu’s Reminiscences, pp. 91-2)

Mauna means abiding in the Self, doesn’t it?

Yes. That is so. Without abiding in the Self, how could it be

That is just what I am asking. Would it be
mauna if one were to completely refrain from speech without at the same time having an awareness of the Self and abiding therein?

How could real
mauna be achieved? Some people say that they are observing mauna by keeping their mouths shut but at the same time they go on writing something or other on bits of paper or on a slate. Is not that another form of activity of the mind?

Is there then no benefit at all in refraining from speech?

A person may refrain from speech in order to avoid the obstacles of the outer world, but he should not consider that to be an end in itself. True silence is really endless speech; there is no such thing as attaining it because it is always present. All you have to do is to remove the worldly cobwebs that enshroud it; there is no question of attaining it. (
Letters from Sri Ramanasramam, 3rd September, 1947)

Mauna is Sivam

Those who have seen the luxuriance of that expanse [of consciousness] will be consummated as Sivam, the supremely blissful silence. Their births – which waxed more and more through the delusion of ‘I am the body’, and the other delusion of regarding objects as ‘mine’ – will be uprooted.

Having experienced sorrow by wandering extensively in all directions in the world, it will be foolish to continue to remain fascinated by it [the world]. Merge with the feet of Supreme Siva, the mauna which is the eternal Sivam that destroys the sorrowful movements of the mind, which are engendered by the ego.

Only those who have realised their beingness in Sivam have drowned themselves in mauna, the state of perfect well being. Abandoning the feeling of ‘I’ in things that are alien to Sivam, abide in Sivam without any activity [of your own].

When the immaculate grace-mother illumines his swarupa, the jiva who remained in the chamber of darkness will sink in Siva-consciousness, the splendour of reality, and subside in the mauna that arises as his own real nature.

That which shines as the residue is the peace that is wholly consciousness. That indeed is the eternal Sivam. That residue, the consummate supreme, is [the real] ‘I’, the ego-free mauna that is the culmination of liberation.

Experiencing Mauna

Who is the one who shines as Siva swarupa, the Self, having lost his ego through true awareness of the Heart? Know that he alone is the one who is in the state of wisdom, who is established in perfect mauna, and who remains unmoved under all circumstances.

Those who have attained the life of jnana in their Heart will not at all desire the fragmented, transient and trivial life of the five senses. Is not that life of mauna the unsurpassed and never-ending experience of undivided Brahman?

The jnani who sleeps [consciously] in swarupa, remaining irrevocably immersed in the ocean of unsurpassed bliss, the silence of distinction-free swarupa, will not suffer in his mind and be ruined in the world.

Those who are united with the Self can only experience it. It is impossible, even for them, to think about the bliss of [this] union. Having lost the ego-consciousness in the state transcending bliss, they cannot even think of the means by which they settled in mauna.

He who is firmly established in the state of mauna that has taken the form of Brahman, and which rises and soars following the destruction of the ego, is a supreme enjoyer, revelling in true jnana. It is impossible for anyone to conceive of his experience of Brahman, which has the uniqueness of not knowing anything else.


Jupes said...

"Many are the evils [that arise] if one associates with crazy fools with confused minds who babble with their ‘holy’ mouths. Know that only association with those in whom the mind has died and pure mauna shines is excellent association."

It is with reservation that I bring up something a little negative, especially after reading all those beautiful verses on mauna from Guru Vachaks Kovai. But this one really stood out to me. I've read things with this tone in other Ramana literature and in other places in GVK, and it always throws me when I read something that sounds negative and judgmental towards people. Maybe I'm misunderstanding the sense of it. Can you explain this, David, where a verse like this comes from and why Bhagavan would approve it? It seems narrow and short-sighted to me, but maybe they're just trying to make a point.

David Godman said...

This is clearly a warning about spending time with people who, though they talk well, have deluded themselves into believing that they are enlightened. I don't think Bhagavan would ever make a comment like this about a specific teacher - to that extent he was non-judgemental. However, I think this is a reasonable but strong warning of the perils involved in associating with such people.

Anonymous said...

Thanks so much for this..i always love reading Muruganar's work..powerful!

Subramanian. R said...

Dear David, reg: "Silence", on a
Maha Sivaratri night, devotees sat before Him and asked for elucidation of Sri Dakshinamoorthy
Stotram. Bhagavan just gazed at
them. Minutes and hours passed and no one dared to repeat the
question. It was around 6 AM,
Bhagavan stood up and said: 'Okay, let us go for coffee!"
The devotees understood the
purport of 'mouna vakya'.

Anonymous said...

I just heard this very interesting interview of a neuroscientist who had a stroke. Her book is called stroke of insight.

Check these links -



Anonymous said...


What does Bhagavan mean by "ego" exactly?

Anonymous said...

David, what does Bhagavan mean by ego exactly?

Anonymous said...

Scott Fraundorf:

One interesting phenomenon that has been happening lately is interactions with, conversations with people, who seem to have some intuitive understanding of non-duality, when I say some, I mean completely agree with it, but like me, it's still partly theoretical. Today I was talking to this person, and we had a conversation that devolved into that pretty much all abstractions are not true, he was the one who brought up first that "I really have trouble with I", he said. everything starts with I, and then I has property, I has all these activities it's doing. he pretty much paraphrased Maharshi without me having even brought it up. and his face, eye contact was extremely peaceful. That happened on another recent occassion where someone in the punk subculture sat down next to me and was really quiet just like hte aforementioned person, and said that he tries to appreciate everything and before anything else it is importnat to die to oneself. Neither had heard of Maharshi. Anyway these conversations devolve to the point where there is nothing else to tlak about. I suspect if it isn't because I ruined it, that that is why so few people are commenting as much lately, and there are fewer debates. there are few things to say when one comes down to it.

Which brings me to a TOPIC SUGGESTION, Jnani-Jnani interactions interest me. Do Jnanis talk to each other? do they have a hang out? Do they like to be around fellow Jnanis?

And another topic, how would Ramana Ashram or Maharshi have resolved the Dispute between me and Broken yogi?

Bookworm said...


You ask:
'Jnani-Jnani interactions interest me. Do Jnanis talk to each other? do they have a hang out? Do they like to be around fellow Jnanis?'

Yes they do Scott.
They all meet up in a club somewhere in Mumbai/Bombay and hang around chatting whilst drinking a beer called jnani-juice.

There are no jnanis only Jnana.
A Jnani is always around fellow jnanis as to such a one all are jnanis.

Anonymous said...

Scott Fraundorf:

Very good point, and again I appreciate your humor

Anonymous said...

Scott Fraundorf:

I think I'm going to keep coming with the slightly ignorant comments, so that you can keep coming with the witty corrections, and then maybe we can start our own Arunachala-Ramana comedy show, complete with Jnanis R' Us, Lakshmana Swami action figures for the kids, and if you press the button on his back, he levitates. A Papaji doll that when you pull the string says, "Just be Quiet. That is what i'm telling you", and a Maharshi action figure that turns its head now and again, and stares off into space, sitting in the lotus position of course on tiger skin.

Anonymous said...

Scott Fraundorf:

Annamalai Swami putting the last brick into the mother's shrine, like He-Man on Castle Grey Skull. I don't know if you guys are familiar.

Bookworm said...


You say:

'Just that I have lost the habit of reading books.
I know this, Ravi. It will come back, I'm almost sure'

IT IS A sign of Spiritual maturity Ravi..one gets to a stage here there is no real need.

You also say:
'How could you abandon divine thoughts, and certain books are no other then that?'

THOUGHTS are of the mind. Books are just parts of trees with thoughts of the mind written on them.

You again say:
'Even when the mind knows: Now I'm myself the source of all this - it will come back. Bhagavan never lost his interest in studying books. And I neither.'

ARE YOU EQUATNG yourself with Ramana?... who had no need to study books and whose interest in them was only as tools to help those who came to Him.

Lastly You say:
'The realization of That is a never ending journey. It is Gods own joy to explore Himself.'

'THAT' IS ONLY AND JUST a word...used with reference to...or to point to...the location of Spiritual Heart on the right... as in..
I AM That...which is the Self, Tuth or Beingness and of which there is no 'place' 'It' is not located.
Does God wear trousers?
It is only the ego or mind that goes on journeys.

Bookworm said...


You say:

'Just that I have lost the habit of reading books.
I know this, Ravi. It will come back, I'm almost sure'

IT IS A sign of Spiritual maturity Ravi..one gets to a stage here there is no real need.

You also say:
'How could you abandon divine thoughts, and certain books are no other then that?'

THOUGHTS are of the mind. Books are just parts of trees with thoughts of the mind written on them.

You again say:
'Even when the mind knows: Now I'm myself the source of all this - it will come back. Bhagavan never lost his interest in studying books. And I neither.'

ARE YOU EQUATNG yourself with Ramana?... who had no need to study books and whose interest in them was only as tools to help those who came to Him.

Lastly You say:
'The realization of That is a never ending journey. It is Gods own joy to explore Himself.'

'THAT' IS ONLY AND JUST a word...used with reference to...or to point to...the location of Spiritual Heart on the right... as in..
I AM That...which is the Self, Tuth or Beingness and of which there is no 'place' 'It' is not located.
Does God wear trousers?
It is only the ego or mind that goes on journeys.

Bookworm said...


You ask:
'Jnani-Jnani interactions interest me. Do Jnanis talk to each other? do they have a hang out? Do they like to be around fellow Jnanis?'

Yes they do Scott.
They all meet up in a club somewhere in Mumbai/Bombay and hang around chatting whilst drinking a beer called jnani-juice.

There are no jnanis only Jnana.
A Jnani is always around fellow jnanis as to such a one all are jnanis.

Ravi K Adem said...

Satsangatve Nissangatvam
Nissangatve Nirmohatvam
Nirmoatvam Nishchalattvam
Nishcalattvam Jiivanmuktih

मतवाला said...

Thanks for valuable teachings!