Sunday, August 3, 2008

The Power to Enlighten

Apologies for my lengthy absence. Other activities have been demanding my attention over the last week or so.

Today’s topic is, ‘Why is it that some jnanis have the power to enlighten devotees, while others don’t? And how do those who have that power go about transmitting it to those who deserve it?’

It is a subject that has intermittently intrigued me over the years but I have not come to any definite conclusion since the people whose authority I respect – Ramana Maharshi and those direct disciples I have associated with and written about – have either not commented on these specific points, or they have come to differing conclusions.

I will start by giving two extracts from a dialogue that Annamalai Swami had with one of his visitors:

Question: Are there differences in the degree of realisation of the Self? For example, Ramana was widely acclaimed as a Sadguru. Is your understanding the same as Ramana’s?

Annamalai Swami: You see a big lamp before you. Your own lamp is unlit. So you bring your lamp to the lamp which is already burning. And when you go away from that lamp, you have your own lamp, your own light. Wherever you go, from that point on, the light is with you. The state of jnana is the same for all. Anyone who realises the Self is in the same state of peace, which is beyond the mind.

Though the experience of the Self is the same in all cases, it is true that some jnanis end up helping a lot of people, whereas others, who are equally enlightened, may help fewer people. Some jnanis do not teach at all. They live ordinary lives and are rarely, if ever, recognised for what they really are.

Water can be in a well or it can be in a lake. It is the same water, but one source can quench more thirsts than the other. A small lamp can light up a room, whereas a big one can light up a whole street. Bhagavan was one of those big, blazing lights that could light up a huge area. He guided and brought light to many people.

Question: Swamiji is saying that some jnanis are big lamps and that others are small. Do the small lamps become bigger, or do they always remain the same?

Annamalai Swami: Whichever light you go to, the light is always the same. This business of the lamps is just an example. What I am trying to say is, only a few people have the capacity to guide a large number of people towards the truth. Realising the truth is one thing, but guiding others towards it is something else. All jnanis are not equally capable when it comes to guiding others. (Annamalai Swami Final Talks, pp. 44-5, 2006 ed.)

Question: I read somewhere that Bhagavan said that jnanis have the power to link the individual mind to the supreme Self.

Annamalai Swami: Yes. A big ship can carry many people to the other side of the ocean, and a small ship can carry only a few people.

Question: And some jnanis don’t carry anyone at all.

Annamalai Swami: These jnanis who don’t have disciples don’t appear to be helping anyone, but their power, the power of their realisation, is having a beneficial effect on all beings. It is true, though, that some jnanis pass away without teaching anyone directly. Lakshmi the cow and Bhagavan’s mother are examples of this. (Annamalai Swami Final Talks, p. 48)

* * *

When I wrote my post ‘Who were you Ramana?’ some of the responses I received tried to make the case that some jnanis were superior to others simply because they attracted more disciples, lived saintly lives, enlightened some of their devotees, and so on. I took the position that Annamalai Swami confirms here: that all jnanis were equal in their jnana. However, it is true, as Annamalai Swami notes in these replies, that some have the power to enlighten, whereas others do not. This is not related to their state of abiding as the Self, since jnana is the same for all. Some other factor is involved.

In 1993 Papaji made the following remarks about J. Krishnamurti. The first paragraph is Papaji’s words. The subsequent two are my comments on them, taken from Nothing Ever Happened, volume two, p. 230:

I listened to Krishnamurti while I was in Switzerland. I liked him very much because I could find no fault in him. I am a hard person to satisfy but I will say that he was, no doubt, an enlightened man. But something was missing. The power to transmit that enlightenment to others was not there.

Papaji’s assessment, though it seems to be harsh, was shared by Krishnamurti himself. In a book commemorating his birth centenary Evelyne Blau, a long time associate of his, wrote: ‘For fifty years he had taught, spoken and travelled all over the world. Why was not a single person transformed? He [Krishnamurti] was certainly concerned with this problem.’

As Krishnamurti lay dying in California, a tape recorder was running to record his final words. Shortly before he died he said, ‘Where did I go wrong? No one got it?’

Apologies to those of you who are Krishnamurti fans, but I think his own words on this topic are hard to refute.

So far as I am aware Bhagavan never gave any explanation as to why some jnanis have the power to enlighten while others don’t. I called up Venkatasubramanian, my Tamil collaborator, while I was writing this piece to see if he could remember any such quotes, but he drew a blank as well. If there are any such references, I would love to see them posted in the ‘responses’ section.

With no guidelines from Bhagavan on this subject, I will review the ideas of what three of his devotees (Annamalai Swami, Lakshmana Swamy and Papaji) had to say. The first theory comes from Annamalai Swami:

Question: Does Swami understand Jesus Christ to be a jnani like so many other jnanis, or was he something more than that?

Annamalai Swami: If the ego is destroyed, only non-dual consciousness remains. There is no higher or lower in that state.

You cannot say that one jnani is in a different state from another. You cannot say that Jesus Christ is better than Bhagavan, or vice versa. There is no higher state than that of the jnani, and there is no jnani who is superior to any other jnani.

Although the inner state of all jnanis is the same, their outer activities differ because each of them has a different destiny to fulfill. Some will be teachers and some will not.

If there is water in a glass it will quench the thirst of one man; if there is water in a big pot, it may quench the thirst of thirty of forty people; if there is water in a well, it can quench the thirst of all the people in a village or a town. Some spiritual aspirants have done tapas only for their own realisation. After realisation they may be able to help a few people. But some jnanis have done prolonged tapas not only for their own realisation, but also to help liberate others. The jnanis who have done this kind of tapas become world famous masters and have many followers. (Living by the Words of Bhagavan, p. 310)

* * *

Since jnanis never do anything for a reason or for any particular goal, and since they see no one as different from themselves, or unenlightened, I am assuming that Annamalai Swami is referring to tapas done prior to the moment of realisation. His idea seems to be that tapas done with a strong desire that its fruits should benefit others results in a jnani who has the power and capacity to help and enlighten others. I am also assuming that this tapas can be spread over more than one lifetime. If one wants to include Bhagavan in a theory of this sort, then one would have to say that his tapas was done in some other incarnation.

More than twenty years ago I was sitting with Lakshmana Swamy on the lower slopes of Arunachala. We were speaking about the same topic. This is a summary of what I remember him saying that day:

‘If one sits quietly after realisation, a great power is accumulated. The longer one sits quietly, the stronger the power. This is the power that the Gurus use to enlighten others. You cannot make a choice to sit quietly or not sit quietly. That is just part of your destiny. If it is your destiny to sit quietly for years after your realisation, then that power will be available to help others later on.’

This is a somewhat different proposition from Annamalai Swami’s. There is no desire to help others; no tapas is done for the benefit of others. If there is a destined long period of quiet, Self-absorption, a reservoir of power will accumulate which can benefit devotees later on.

Bhagavan spent most of his first decade at Arunachala intensely absorbed in an inner Self-abidance that made it difficult or even impossible for him to extrovert his attention and lead a normal life in the world. Was this the source, or one of the sources, of his great power? I have no idea, but I do know from Bhagavan’s own comments that the power of the Self in him was so strong, it made his body shake and tremble. We are all familiar with Bhagavan’s comments that having the power of the Self in the body is like having an elephant entering a weak hut:

Annamalai Swami: Sometimes Self-realisation makes the body very weak. Bhagavan’s body used to shake a lot. When he was asked about this, he would sometimes say, ‘If an elephant enters a weak hut, what will happen to the body?’ The elephant was Self-realisation and the weak hut was his body. (Living by the Words of Bhagavan, p. 269)

Most of us have seen the film of Bhagavan with his head shaking as if he had a mild case of Parkinson’s disease. It wasn’t any kind of disease; it was simply the Self agitating the body. The slight oscillations of the head were there for most of the time, but whenever Bhagavan went into an inner Self-abidance in which he would be unaware of his body or the world, all the shaking would stop. The same thing would happen when he was transmitting power to a particular devotee, or just radiating it in general to people in his vicinity. T. M. P. Mahadevan has recorded the following observation:

Even when I first saw the Master [in 1928], his head had begun to nod. The shaking head seemed to me to be saying ‘neti’, ‘neti’ (not this, not this). And, all of a sudden the nodding would stop, the vision of the Master would become fixed, and the spirit of silence would envelop everyone present. (Philosophy of Existence, section three, Ramana experience)

Kunju Swami has also noted (sorry, can’t remember the exact reference) that Bhagavan’s use of a walking stick was not just for helping out his rheumatic knees: he apparently couldn’t balance very well when he was standing still. The walking stick gave him a tripod-like stability when he had to stop to speak to someone. This was probably another manifestation of the ‘elephant in the weak hut’.

If Bhagavan could mitigate the shaking of his body and lessen the effects of the ‘elephant’ by looking at devotees and transmitting power and grace to them why didn’t he do it more often and give his body a rest? Lakshmana Swamy gives his answer to this rather selfish question in the following interesting remarks:

Lakshmana Swamy: Although the power and grace of the Self are infinite, the Guru must use his body to transmit this power. The body could not stand the strain of giving so much grace to many people in such a short time. The body would weaken and die within a very short period. Instead of weakening his body by wasting his power on all the immature devotees who come to see him, the Guru saves his power and his health by only transmitting large amounts of grace to the good devotees who deserve it. [But] if the devotee’s mind is ready, the grace will automatically start to flow.

Ramana Maharshi used to give darshan to hundreds of people every day, but most of these people only received a brief glance or a smile. He was not transmitting power to most of these people.

When he was once asked if he would tour India and give darshan to all the thousands of devotees who could not come to Tiruvannamalai, he replied, ‘I cannot give darshan to everyone’. I don’t know what he meant by this. He may have been saying that it was physically impossible for him to meet all the thousands of people who wanted to see him, but he may also have been implying that it would have been too much of a strain on his body to give so much power and grace in such a short time. (No Mind – I am the Self, pp. 74-5)

* * *

So, there is a ‘damned if you do and damned if you don’t’ element to this: if the ‘power to enlighten’ builds up in the body, it becomes the elephant charging around in the weak hut, causing health problems; if it is transmitted outwards in large amounts, it also causes problems within the body. In the Gurus I have met and talked to, there always seems to be more power available than outlets through which it can be usefully and safely directed, and that means it stays in the body. Lakshmana Swamy told me once that having all this power made the body quite weak since it wasn’t designed to process these energies all the time. Just as thin wires cannot take a heavy electric current, it would seem that the nervous system of the body is ill-equipped to deal with major and continuous flows of sakti.

There is a third option that I briefly alluded to when I mentioned that Bhagavan would cease shaking his head when he went into samadhi. This seemed to ‘ground’ the energy in some way and, as Krishnamurti Iyer reported, instead of having a deleterious effect on his body, it was actually good for Bhagavan’s health:

N. R. Krishnamurti Iyer: It is clear that Bhagavan, out of his infinite mercy and grace, cures even the fatal diseases of his devotees. Does not Bhagavan’s body suffer on that account?

Bhagavan: (speaking in English) Yes and no.

N. R. Krishnamurti Iyer: Please, Bhagavan, explain in more detail.

Bhagavan: The mukta purusha [liberated being] does not need his body once he has realised the Self. However, so long as he stays alive, he has the power to drain off devotees’ illnesses into his own body. That is why his body suffers for the time being. That is what is meant by the answer ‘yes’.

If he retires into the solitude of a quiet corner and remains in kevala nirvikalpa samadhi, completely oblivious of the body-world complex, the disease received in the body gets dissipated. When he returns to his body consciousness the body is cured and restored to its original health. The duration of that samadhi should be in adequate proportion to the seriousness of the disease concerned.

Sri Sankara Bhagavatpada, who attained Self-realisation at a very young age with a very healthy and strong body, was engaged in ceaseless activity in the state of sahaja samadhi. Out of his infinite mercy he gave relief to hosts of suffering people who came to him with all sorts of serious diseases. He was continuously active, day and night, and never cared to recoup his health by retiring into the solitude of kevala nirvikalpa samadhi. As a result he gave up his body while he was in his early thirties. (The Power of the Presence, part one, pp. 172-3)

* * *

In The Power of the Presence I added the following three paragraphs of my own as a footnote to this story:

In the period that Bhagavan lived in Skandashram he went into a deep samadhi almost every day, usually during the daily evening chanting of Aksharamanamalai. He would be so deeply immersed in this state, the devotees would find it difficult to rouse him for the evening meal. In Enadu Ninaivugal Kunju Swami has related how devotees would shake him and blow a conch in his ear to bring him back to normal. When Bhagavan moved down the hill to Sri Ramanasramam, the frequency of these samadhis decreased, and devotees who were in regular contact with him at the end of the 1920s have reported that such instances were down to about two a week. In the 1930s they occurred more rarely. In the last fifteen years of his life such samadhis are not reported, though there are frequent mentions of Bhagavan going into a state of deep absorption in the Self. At these times he would sit with open unblinking eyes, utterly immobile.

Up till the mid-1930s Bhagavan appeared to be in vigorous, robust health. In film footage taken in 1935, the earliest available, he looks his age (mid-fifties) and appears to be in a good physical state. In films taken at the end of his life his body looks crippled and feeble, and he appears to be a man who is well into his eighties, rather than a man approaching seventy.

In the light of what Bhagavan told Krishnamurti Iyer in this conversation, it is tempting to relate Bhagavan’s good physical condition prior to 1935 to the samadhis that he regularly went into. However, it should also be remembered that visitors and devotees came to him in far fewer numbers during this period. It is possible that his accelerated aging between 1935 and 1950 was due to the far greater numbers of people he had to deal with every day.

One should also remember that this third course (going into samadhi) is not an ‘option’ for a jnani who wants to process energies of this kind. The jnani’s body has a prarabdha that may or may not include going into samadhi; it is not something the jnani himself can choose to do or avoid doing.

I should now like to introduce Papaji to this survey of opinions on ‘the power to enlighten’. At the beginning of this post I gave two quotations from Annamalai Swami and Lakshmana Swami that listed their differing views on how jnanis accumulated the power to become Gurus. Papaji did not subscribe to either of these viewpoints. He maintained that jnanis do not become Gurus with the power to enlighten by doing tapas that includes a desire to help others (Annamalai Swami) or by sitting quietly after realisation and accumulating a store of power that can be used to help devotees (Lakshmana Swamy). Papaji instead maintained that if the Self wants a jnani to become a Guru, it gives him the necessary power and authority to do the job. That power does not have to be earned by prior tapas. I had a dialogue with Papaji on this subject in the early 1990s. I knew that Papaji felt that Gurus are given power and authority by the Self, so I played ‘devil’s advocate’ by suggesting to him more than once that Gurus had to learn how to enlighten people by trial and error. I took this position because I wanted to introduce several incidents from Bhagavan’s own life into the conversation since it might be possible to interpret them in such a light. The following very interesting dialogue ensued:

David: Based on what I have read about Sri Ramana Maharshi, and based on what little I know about your own teaching career, it seems to me that one learns to be a Guru by trial and error. That is to say, enlightenment may be there, the power to wake others up may be there, but the effective use of this power requires some practice and experience. Do you agree?

Papaji: No, I don’t. A Guru does not need to practise. Gurus are born with the ability to teach. Take … Krishna, for example. He was sent to school at the age of six to be taught by his Guru, but his Guru soon discovered that Krishna already knew all the things that he wanted to teach him. In this case the creator of the universe arranged for all the necessary knowledge to be implanted into Krishna’s brain. It is said that the goddesses of knowledge, prosperity and physical energy gave him everything he needed. He didn’t need to learn how to be a teacher, or practise his teachings skills. All the necessary knowledge and skill were there within in him, right from the beginning.

If you are destined to be a Guru, the Self automatically bestows on you all the necessary knowledge and power. It doesn’t send you to school to learn these things; it gives them to you directly…. So I don’t agree that one has to learn or practise anything in order to be a Guru.

Practice is for other professions. If you want to be a political leader, for example, you attach yourself to some political leader and learn all the tricks of the trade from him. But this kind of apprenticeship is not necessary for Gurus.

David: I thought that you would say something like this. Since you feel that Gurus don’t need to practise their art, I want to tell you a few incidents from Sri Ramana Maharshi’s life that seem to indicate the contrary. Perhaps you could comment on them. Shortly after his enlightenment, when he was still sixteen years old, Sri Ramana was sitting quietly at home with his eyes closed. A school friend asked him what he was doing, and he replied, ‘Meditating’.

The friend asked, ‘Can you show me how to do it?’ and Sri Ramana replied, ‘Yes. Sit down, close your eyes and I will show you.’ When the boy had closed his eyes, Sri Ramana put the blunt end of a pencil on his friend’s forehead, between the eyes, and pressed lightly for a few seconds. The boy was suddenly engulfed by a wave of fear and panic.

He jumped up and shouted, ‘You’re trying to kill me! I felt that I was dying! Don’t ever do that to me again!’

Sri Ramana had tried to give him an experience of the Self, but because of the boy’s immaturity, he only induced fear and panic instead. At sixteen years of age Sri Ramana clearly had an instinctive knowledge of how to wake people up, but lacking experience in its use, he didn’t know how much power he could safely transmit. This is one possible interpretation. What’s yours?

Papaji: You say that this is a case of immaturity. I agree, but the immaturity was in the boy who wanted the experience, not in the Maharshi. The Maharshi had the power to enlighten others at this young age, thus proving that the power is innate and not learned, but he couldn’t use it effectively because this boy had too many doubts and fears in his mind. The Maharshi never had any doubts or fears when the Self gave him that direct experience when he was the same age as this boy. The Self revealed itself to him, and he had absolute trust in that revelation. He didn’t doubt it, fear it, or try to escape from it. He surrendered to it and fully accepted it. That showed his spiritual maturity. His school friend, though, showed his unreadiness and his immaturity by panicking and running away from the same experience.

Though the Maharshi showed that he had the power to enlighten even at the age of sixteen, he had not yet assumed the role of Sadguru. That came later when he moved to Arunachala. Arunachala, his own Sadguru, then empowered him and gave him the grace to be a Sadguru in his own right.

David: The next incident I want to tell you is a very well-known one. It took place nineteen years later, in 1915. Sri Ramana’s attendant, Palaniswami, was dying and Bhagavan was trying to give him enlightenment before he died, or at the moment of his death. He put one hand on his head and the other on Palaniswami’s Heart-centre and kept them there until he thought that the individual self had been extinguished. Then, thinking that Palaniswami had realised the Self, he took away his hands. A few seconds later the ‘I’-thought reappeared, left the body through the eyes and, according to Sri Ramana, took rebirth in one of the deva realms.

In this case too there seems to have been a misjudgment of the amount of power that was transmitted. However, Bhagavan learned from the experience. When he tried the same technique on his mother while she was dying six years later, he kept his hands in place for a much longer period.

Afterwards he remarked, ‘I thought that she was liberated but, remembering what had happened in Palaniswami’s case, I kept my hands there for a few minutes longer’.

Doesn’t this story, and Bhagavan’s own comments on it, indicate that Bhagavan learned how to use this technique effectively by trial and error? Didn’t his inexperience with Palaniswami cause him to make a mistake with Palaniswami, and didn’t his failure in this particular case give him the experience to enlighten his mother a few years later?

Papaji: I don’t think that there was a misjudgment or a mistake in this case either. It was not the fault of the Maharshi that Palaniswami failed to realise the Self in his dying moments. I would say instead that the jivatma [individual self] of Palaniswami would not admit any interference from the Maharshi because it was not yet ready for enlightenment. For freedom one needs the grace of the Paramatman [Supreme Self]. And if the jivatman is not worthy, the Paramatman will not bestow that grace. Palaniswami had, by faithfully serving a Sadguru, earned enough merit to go to some heavenly world, but he had not earned the ultimate liberating grace of the Paramatman. That is why the Maharshi could not succeed with him.

On a superficial level it might look as if a mistake was made, but the Paramatman never makes mistakes. If the worthiness is there, freedom automatically comes. If it is not there, no amount of interference by the Guru can bring it about….

The Maharshi was one of those rare beings who, by grace, could transmit complete liberation to others. His mother and the cow Lakshmi received this ultimate gift of grace, as did others both known and unknown. (Nothing Ever Happened, volume three, pp. 351-356)

* * *

The next aspect of this intriguing subject that I want to discuss is: ‘How does the Guru choose whom to direct his power at, and does not the act of choosing suitable targets imply some kind of sankalpa in the Guru?’ First, I will give three explanations from Lakshmana Swamy:

Lakshmana Swamy: Why did Ramakrishna love Vivekananda more than any of his other devotees? If the jnani sees only the Self everywhere, how can he appear to treat one devotee differently from another? The same thing happened at Ramanasramam when Ramana Maharshi was alive. In the late 1940s many people noticed that Sri Ramana appeared to give G. V. Subbaramayya more love and grace than anyone else. How can this be so?

It is true that the jnani sees the Self in all devotees, but when he looks into a devotee’s eyes he also sees the devotee’s mind. If the jnani sees that there is great devotion or a pure mind free from thoughts, then the love and grace will start to flow towards that particular devotee. Not all devotees have reached the same stage of development, and so the love and grace are not equally distributed. Because of this the jnani may ignore some people and shower his grace on others. The same grace is available for all, but it cannot be given until the devotee starts to surrender his mind to the Self.

Very advanced devotees who have reached the effortless thought-free state do not even have to go to the jnani. The jnani will come and sit at their feet and give them enough grace to realise the Self. Such is the power of self-surrender. (No Mind – I am the Self, pp. 77-8)

Lakshmana Swamy: The Self or the Guru is an infinite ocean of grace. Ramana Maharshi has said that if you approach this ocean with a cup, you can only take away a cupful; if you come with a bucket, you can only take away a bucketful. The amount of grace which one receives is proportional to the degree to which one surrenders. If you surrender completely, then you will receive enough grace to realise the Self.

When the Guru looks into a devotee’s eyes, he is looking into the devotee’s mind to see how far it is humbling and surrendering itself to the Self. If the Guru sees that the devotee’s mind is quiet and humble, then the grace will automatically flow. (No Mind – I am the Self, p. 74)

Question: Does the grace of the Guru flow automatically or does the Guru exercise some control over who receives it and who does not?

Lakshmana Swamy: Grace is always flowing from the form of the Guru. If your mind is quiet you will automatically receive it. But if a Guru sees that a particular devotee is full of devotion or free from thoughts, he may respond to the devotee’s state of mind by increasing the flow of grace towards him. So you can say that grace is always flowing, but that sometimes the flow is increased because the Guru is deliberately projecting it. (No Mind – I am the Self, p. 61)

* * *

These explanations, and other similar ones, indicate that the ‘picking and choosing’ are not arbitrary, nor do they indicate that the Guru has a personal preference for one devotee over another. The flows of grace – seemingly directed in one direction but not another – are actually natural and automatic responses to the states of mind of the people who have entered the Guru’s presence, either mentally or physically. Annamalai Swami, speaking about his own experiences of being in Bhagavan’s presence, came to similar conclusions:

Annamalai Swami: If you enter a dark place with a lamp, light falls on everyone who is near you. You don’t have to tell people, ‘I have a light,’ because they will all be aware of its presence. In the presence of a jnani like Bhagavan the spiritual darkness of devotees is put to flight by the radiant light of jnana. In Bhagavan’s case this light cleaned and calmed the minds of those who were near him. When mature devotees basked in this light, they sometimes had an experience of the Self. The radiation of this spiritual power was Bhagavan’s mauna diksha [initiation through silence]. He radiated this power quite effortlessly. It was not done by an act of volition; it was a natural consequence of his realisation. Bhagavan didn’t need to speak about the Self. He was the Self, and he radiated its power all the time. Those who were receptive to this power needed no verbal explanations from Bhagavan. The spoken teachings were only for those who were not able to tune into his silent radiation. (Living by the Words of Bhagavan, p. 335)

* * *

I spoke to Papaji about these occasions when the Guru seems deliberately to choose to give a devotee a transmission of grace. Though he often appeared to do this himself, he dismissed the suggestion that there was any partiality or personal preference involved:

David: I want to ask you a few questions about sankalpa [will, intention, volition]. Ramana Maharshi often said that the Guru, like the sun, has no sankalpa. That he shines equally on all. That those who are ready for realisation get it, and those who are not do not. According to this explanation, the Guru does not pick and choose the recipients of his grace, he simply radiates it indiscriminately, and those who are mature enough benefit from it. This is a very simple and satisfying explanation, but it only seems to be half the truth … When [T. K. Sundaresa Iyer] wrote … ‘Grace is flowing over the sentient and the insentient,’ Bhagavan made him change it to ‘Grace is directed…’. You have also said that on many occasions in the past you deliberately tried to give certain people a direct experience of the Self. If the Guru really has no sankalpa, what is the explanation for the occasions when the Guru appears to pick ands choose the recipients of his grace?

Papaji: The Guru never picks out one person to be the recipient of his grace, nor does he reject anyone. When one is ready, one is automatically attracted to the light of the indwelling Atman. The light does not choose: when one is attracted to it, one automatically moves towards it. It is like the moth and the flame. The moth is attracted to the flame by its nature, not by any sankalpa that it has. There is no sankalpa in either the moth or the flame. It is the nature of the flame to burn, and it is nature of the moth to fly towards the light. Each is behaving according to its inherent nature. The candle stays still and burns brightly. It does not call the moth, but the moth flies towards it. The moth offers its form to the light, burns, and becomes the candle itself. (Nothing Ever Happened, volume three, p. 330)

* * *

When I did the editing and page-making for Nothing Ever Happened, I included a facsimile of an entry that Papaji made in his journal in 1983. It seems to summarise his position on this topic very elegantly.

In fact I do nothing to anyone.
Every soul receives what it deserves.
Since I am the source of consciousness,
I allow its desires to be fulfilled.
(Nothing Ever Happened, volume three, p. 336)

It is the experience of just about everyone who has sat with a great Guru that experiences happen, and that they seem very clearly to be instigated and executed by the Guru himself. How then can the Guru say, as Papaji says here: ‘In fact I do nothing to anyone. Every soul receives what it deserves?’

The solution to this apparent paradox – that the Guru says he does nothing yet clearly is giving experiences to the people around him – lies in what Bhagavan called the ‘sannidhi’ or ‘presence’. The Guru himself does nothing, but by abiding steadfastly in the Self, an energy or a presence is created that takes care of the needs and desires of the devotees who approach him. This was well explained by Bhagavan in a reply he gave to Narayana Iyer:

One day when I was sitting by the side of Sri Bhagavan, I felt so miserable that I put the following question to him: ‘Is the sankalpa [wish] of the jnani not capable of warding off the destinies of the devotees?’

Bhagavan smiled and said: ‘Does the jnani have a sankalpa at all? The jivanmukta can have no sankalpas whatsoever. It is just impossible.’

I continued: ‘Then, what is the fate of all of us who pray to you to have grace on us and save us? Will we not be benefited or saved by sitting in front of you or coming to you? What use is there then for family men like me to gain by coming here to you?’

Bhagavan turned graciously to me and said: ‘Just as a trouble (or arrow) that comes to destroy the head goes away carrying with it only the turban, so a person’s bad karma will be considerably reduced while he is in the presence of a jnani. A jnani has no sankalpa but his sannidhi [presence] is the most powerful force. He need not have sankalpa but his presiding presence, the most powerful force, can do wonders, save souls, give peace of mind, even liberation to ripe souls. Your prayers are not answered by him but absorbed by his presence. His presence saves you, wards off the karma and gives you the boons as the case may be, involuntarily. The jnani does save the devotees, but not by sankalpa, which is non-existent in him, only through his presiding presence, sannidhi.’ (The Mountain Path, 1968 p. 236)

This reply has not, so far as I aware, been repeated anywhere else in the Ramana literature. It is undoubtedly a key passage on the nature of the Guru and the way that he functions and helps devotees. I once read out this statement by Bhagavan to Papaji and then asked him about the process by which desires are fulfilled in the Guru’s presence:

David: What about the statement that it is the sannidhi, the presence, that grants liberation, and not the Guru himself? When the Guru appears to wake someone up through a word or a look of grace, who or what is doing the work?

Papaji: … Whenever you go near a saint, whatever desire you have in your mind will be fulfilled. If your desire is for liberation, and if you have that desire in the sannidhi, the presence of the Guru, it has to be fulfilled. But it will only work if you are in the presence of a man who is himself completely desireless. There is nothing that cannot be fulfilled if you are in the presence of a man who himself has no desire.

When I was at Ramanasramam in the 1940s I used to spend hours looking at the Maharshi’s eyes. They would be open and staring, but not focused on anything. Though his eyes were open, they were not seeing anything. Those eyes were completely free of thoughts and desires. The mind is revealed very clearly in the eyes, but in those eyes there was nothing at all to see. In all the hours that I concentrated on those eyes I didn’t once even see a flicker of a thought or a desire. I have not seen utterly desireless eyes like his on any other face. I have seen many great saints during my life, but no one has impressed me as much as the Maharshi did.

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

You want to know who or what is doing the work when someone gets enlightened in the Guru’s presence. Nobody is doing the work. Enlightenment happens in these circumstances merely because the Guru is abiding in a state of absolute desirelessness. (Nothing Ever Happened, volume three, pp. 337-8)

* * *

Papaji had his own rather amusing variation on this ‘sannidhi takes care of everything’ story. This is how he once explained it to me:
I have a very efficient secretary. I call her ‘Miss Peace’. When people come to satsang, she inspects their minds as they sit there. She finds out what they want or need, and arranges for them to get it. Though she can help anyone with their desires, she is actually looking for pure minds to give herself to. If she finds worthy people, those people experience peace and even become peace itself. She doesn’t bother to tell me what she is doing. She doesn’t need to. She just gets on with her work.
Like a lot of employees, she tries to impress her boss by working hard when I am around. But when I am not there, she tends to slack off a bit. That’s why I have to turn up and sit in Satsang Bhavan [the place where Papaji gave satsang every morning] because if I didn’t come, she wouldn’t do so much. My physical presence is needed there to make her work properly. It doesn’t really matter what I do while I am there because she is actually doing all the work. I can answer questions, give people advice, tell them to do enquiry, or ask them to sing a song. It’s not important what I do. The important thing is that while I sit there, seemingly occupying myself with devotees’ affairs, Miss Peace is actually taking care of all their needs and desires.
This seeming activity that appeared on the substratum of actionless immobility was summed up in an elegantly phrased entry in Papaji’s 15th February 1983 journal: ‘He whose work has ceased with the dawn of knowledge does not find an opportunity to do or say anything, even though in ordinary people’s eyes he is doing work.’

I have not so far quoted much material from Bhagavan himself since he didn’t have a lot to say about the way that the Guru used power to help devotees and bring out their liberation. However, there is one key story in which Bhagavan does explain how the Guru uses his power, and what the limits of that power are. It is T. K. Sundaresa Iyer’s captivating narrative, entitled ‘A Walk to the Lake’, which appears in his memoir At the Feet of Bhagavan. Here is the story in full:

The Samudram Lake at the foot of Arunachala Hill near Sri Ramanasramam is very extensive; neither summer rains nor winter monsoons in Tiruvannamalai fill this lake save once in a way, when it overflows.

Thus it overflowed once long years ago. The sight of it was very grand, and the outflow was as wide as a river. The tank really seemed that day like the ocean of its name (Samudram). Bhagavan told us that it held this name because a certain local ruler had this tank constructed as a miniature sea to give his queen an idea of what a sea would look like; for she had never seen the sea and wished to do so.

People thronged to look at the overflowing lake, and then came to Bhagavan to talk about it. One morning the devotees in the hall expressed to Bhagavan a desire to visit the lake, and he was kind enough, human enough, to accept the suggestion; so we all went for a stroll to see it. The tank bund is about a mile long; we walked about a mile from the ashram to the tank, and then the whole length of the bund. The presence of Bhagavan with us, and his words, were more interesting to us than the brimming tank and the grand view of the wide waters at the foot of holy Arunachala.

Bhagavan talked of many things on that walk with us, but at this distance of time I remember only two topics that interested me.

At one place he pointed out a palmyra tree which had decayed in the embrace of a parasitic banyan tree. Some bird had dropped a banyan seed into the palmyra, and as it began to grow the palmyra became cloven and stunted in its own growth. Drawing our attention to this phenomenon, Bhagavan remarked that this is just what the look of grace from a jnani does. One look into a soul, and the whole tree of past tendencies and prejudices (vasanas), gathered up through long cycles of past births, is burned up and decays away. Then the reality of the Self is experienced. Thus he explained to us the effect of contact with the great and he said the supreme jnana obtained with the touch of the saint can never be won through the study of any number of scriptures, or by any store of good deeds, or by any other spiritual practices and efforts. Later, on return to the ashram, I put this in verse form as below:

A bird drops seed upon a tree and causes its decay. So Guru’s grace rays knowledge into the seeking mind. Replacing ego-shadows with resplendent jnana’s light.

The point of this verse, brought out fully in the Tamil, is that made by Bhagavan himself. The seed of the huge banyan tree, which grows to shelter hundreds, is one of the tiniest and represents unselfish benevolence. The seed of the palmyra which is so large, grows into a tree which can hardly shelter a single man from the sun, and so well represents the selfish ego. Yet this tiny seed can be dropped by a bird in its droppings, and while it grows it can demolish the palmyra tree itself. So the tiny seed of grace can destroy the great tree of egoism.

Then when we actually came to the overflowing outlet at the end of the lake, we all marvelled at its width. We stayed there for some time, and then returned.

On the return walk we happened to pass the sluice at the centre of the bund. Pointing to this, Bhagavan remarked: ‘Look at this small outlet, as compared with the big one at the end! But for this small hole, through which the stream of water trickles, the vast contents of the lake would not be helpful to vegetation. If the bund breaks it will be a regular deluge, and the entire crop will be destroyed. Only if the water be served under proper regulation through this sluice are the plants helped to grow. So too is it with the divine consciousness. Unless the bliss of this consciousness is gifted through the grace of the Guru in controlled outlets, the soul cannot be helped to the destruction of its tendencies of the past; for in this way the Self, abiding as such in its oneness with the divine, is established in the Guru’s state of being. Holding on to its being-consciousness, the work of destroying the past (vasanas) proceeds as and when thoughts arise to push the mind into action. This work becomes possible only in the proximity of the Guru. Hence the Guru is himself like the sluice and irrigates souls with grace from his ocean of kindness, needed so that the Self may abide and the old tendencies be withered away. But if the bund is broken, the full force of the whole lake rushes through and sweeps everything before it. This resembles a practitioner (sadhaka) receiving the full force of divine consciousness without the intervening and mitigating grace of Guru’s sluice; he dies without the benefit of having the tendencies destroyed.’

This idea too I later put down in the form of a Tamil verse to this effect:

Water flowing through a channel carries off great heaps of sand;

So mountain masses of the ego are washed away by grace.

* * *

Before I continue with a few comments on Bhagavan’s remarks, I will add a few pictures and photos to illustrate T. K. Sundaresa Iyer’s narrative. I live quite close to the end of the Samudram dam that Bhagavan walked along in 1931. This is a photo of the overflowing lake that one of my sisters took when she visited me in 2005. In the last eleven years (the time I have been in this neighbourhood) the lake has overflowed three times. Most years the winter rains fill the lake to about half or three-quarters of its capacity.

The trees in the background on the top of the dam are the palmyra trees that Bhagavan spoke about. They are native palm trees that thrive anywhere. Their trunks are used as roof beams. In Living by the Words of Bhagavan Annamalai Swami narrated an incident in which Bhagavan told him to use palmyra beams for his roof, adding that the roof in his own childhood house had been supported by them. The leaves of the palmyra are woven into a kind of thatch and used for roofing; there is also a juice that is secreted by the trunks that is used to make alcoholic drinks. Fermented for a day it turns into ‘toddy’, a beer-like beverage, and distilled it becomes ‘arrack’. The fruits (nongu) are also eaten. There a few stories in the ashram literature of people offering them to Bhagavan.

The next photo is of the banyan tree that Bhagavan pointed out. The Samudram Lake bed, seen to the left of the tree, is currently dry. In most years it starts to fill at the beginning of the winter monsoon season. By March or April it is usually dry again.

The following photo is of the same banyan tree, taken from the bottom of the bole, looking up. You can just make out the trunk of the original palmyra tree (the straight, long, cylindrical object) shooting vertically out of the centre. Its crown is obscured by the higher leaves of the banyan tree. The banyan tree would have been a lot smaller in 1931 when Bhagavan saw it and commented on it. When I first saw this tree about thirty years ago and realised that it must be the tree that Bhagavan commented on, the crown of the palmyra tree was still sticking out of the top of the banyan tree.

Samudram is, as I remarked earlier, currently empty. This is a photo of Arunachala and the dry lake bed I took about three days ago from a rock just next to the sluice gate. We are in the middle of a serious drought at the moment, so much so that water is only coming down the government taps for about an hour a day. The hydo-electric turbines in many of South India's dams have been turned off to save water, so we are not getting much electricity either.

Now I will go back to the ‘power of the Guru’ discussion.

Bhagavan’s statement that the power of the Guru would kill devotees, without enlightening them, if it was unleashed at full strength was echoed in a reply that Lakshmana Swamy once gave:

Many devotees ask, ‘Why can’t you give us all the infinite grace of the Self and give us all Self-realisation? This is not possible because the minds of such people are not pure or humble enough. If a Guru gives a large amount of grace to such people, the shock will kill them. Imagine a car going at top speed. If the car suddenly hits an obstacle and stops, the occupants will all be killed. The mind is like a car; to stop it suddenly is dangerous. Meditation applies the brakes to the mind. Unless he has purified and slowed his mind by meditation, the devotee cannot safely receive the full force of the Guru’s grace. (No Mind – I am the Self, pp. 74-5)

I mentioned the comments Bhagavan made on his walk to Samudram Lake to Papaji. An interesting dialogue ensued:

David: In 1931 Bhagavan was taken to see a local dam that was overflowing at one end… On his way back to the ashram Bhagavan pointed out the sluice gates and commented, ‘The grace of the Guru is like this large lake. If the water is given out in measured quantities, it can irrigate many fields and be of benefit to anyone.’

Then, pointing to the floodwaters, he added, ‘But if it goes out uncontrolled, it only causes destruction. The full force of the Guru’s grace would kill someone who was not ready for it. The body would die, but not the vasanas. The person would have to be born again. So, the Guru regulates the grace and only gives out what can be assimilated and used.’

Papaji: Yes, I agree with all this. The Guru can transmit an enormous amount of power and grace to a devotee, enough to kill the body, but not the latent tendencies in the mind. When the body dies, those pending latent tendencies will manifest in a new form…. There are limits to what a Guru can accomplish. These limits are not in the Self, for the Self is limitless. The power of the Self cannot work on an unreceptive mind. If the soil is not fertile, no amount of rain falling on the ground can make it grow. The rain cannot make crops grow in a barren land.

David: You yourself have experimented with this power and have found its limits. In one of the first conversations I had with you, you remarked, ‘I used to force people to have experiences of the Self, but I don’t do it any more’.

I said, ‘Why not? If you can see that someone is on the brink of getting it, don’t you want to give them a push?’

You replied, ‘I used to think like that, but not any more. I found that although I could give people these experiences, I couldn’t make them stick. When I stopped pushing, the mind just came back again. So now I don’t do it any more. I have come to realise that if the mind is not free from all vasanas, it will always reassert itself later.’

Papaji: Yes, this is true. I used to force some people to have experiences, but I don’t do it any more. I can give this experience to anyone for a short time, but it is not within my power to make the experience stay. One who has been granted this experience by the Guru has to guard it himself till the end of his life.

If one who is not free from vasanas is pushed into having a direct experience, that experience will not stay. The mind of such a person will eventually come back with all its former force.

David: Both you and Ramana Maharshi experimented with various types of transmission. The conversation I just mentioned, in which you said that you used to force people to have experiences, is an example of your own experimentation. My question is, why does the Self need to experiment with different techniques to wake people up? If the individual self vanishes completely after enlightenment, why doesn’t the Self take over and function perfectly, without apparent mistakes and failed experiments.

Papaji: The Self does not have any techniques to wake people up. There are no experiments taking place. From the standpoint of the Self there is no one who has awakened, and no one who is still asleep. I have already said, ‘The Self never makes mistakes because there is nothing with which it can make a mistake’. The Katha Upanishad says:
The Self reveals itself to itself. You cannot attain it by learning, nor by hearing about it from anyone; nor by yoga, not by concentration, not by charity, not by progeny. I reveal myself to him whom I choose.

If there are worthiness and holiness, the Self will reveal itself. If there are not, it will not. Experiments and mistakes belong to the mind, not the Self. (Nothing Ever Happened, volume three, pp. 358-60)

* * *

And that, I think, is the point at which I will stop my ruminations. When I started this blog I said that ‘I propose to use this blog primarily to air my occasional musings on any matters relating to the life and teachings of Ramana Maharshi’. Today was a classic ‘musing’ day in so far as I aired a lot of ideas and opinions, some of which contradicted each other, without coming to any definite conclusions. I welcome any feedback on any of the issues I have raised.


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Ravi said...

Here is more from The Gospel of Sri Ramakrishna:
""When the lamp is lighted the moths come in swarms. They don't have to be invited. In the same way, the preacher who has a commission from God need not invite people to hear him. He doesn't have to announce the time of his lectures. He possesses such irresistible attraction that people come to him of their own accord. People of all classes, even kings and aristocrats, gather around him. They say to him: 'Revered sir, what can we offer you? Here are mangoes, sweets, money, shawls, and other things. What will you be pleased to accept?' In that case I say to them: 'Go away. I don't care, for these. I don't want anything.'
"Does the magnet say to the iron, 'Come near me?' That is not necessary. Because of the attraction of the magnet, the iron rushes to it.
"Such a preacher may not be a scholarly person, but don't conclude from that that he has any lack of wisdom. Does book-learning make one wise? He who has a commission from God never runs short of wisdom. That wisdom comes from God; it is inexhaustible. At Kamarpukur I have seen people measuring grain. It lies in a heap. One man keeps pushing grain from the heap toward another man, who weighs it on a scales. So the man who weighs doesn't run short of grain. It is the same with the preacher who has received a commission from God. As he teaches people, the Divine Mother Herself supplies him with fresh knowledge from behind. That knowledge never comes to an end.
Can a preacher ever lack knowledge if but once he is favoured with a benign glance from the Divine Mother? " Page 466,Gospel of Sri Ramakrishna.

2." It was three or four o'clock in the afternoon. M. found Sri Ramakrishna seated on the couch in an abstracted mood. After some time he heard him talking to the Divine Mother. The Master said, "O Mother, why hast Thou given him only a particle?" Remaining silent a few moments, he added: "I understand it, Mother. That little bit will be enough for him and will serve Thy purpose. That little bit will enable him to teach people."-page 270,gospel of sri ramakrishna(M Later wrote the Gospel and most of the illustrious monks as well as lay devotees were disciples of 'M'.For further info on M,I suggest that you may read -1.A Search in Secret India -by Dr Paul Brunton and 2.Autobiography of a yogi-Paramahansa Yogananda).


Broken Yogi said...


"broken yogi said 'How can that process be part of the dream itself? It can't' - i dream and i am awake, but i have never been able to observe the transition from one state to the other because either am sleeping & dreaming or am in the waking state; to say 'it can't' obviously requires you to be in a state from which you could 'watch' these two this what people call 'turiya'?"

I should have addressed this. Keep in mind that I am using dream/awakening as a metaphor, not a literalism. What I have in mind is this: if someone is trying to wake you up from a deep sleep, maybe they shake you, make a loud noise, pour water on your face, etc. But you, still sleeping, do not see any of this. Instead, you incorporate these sensations in your dream. You perhaps dream that an earthquake is happening, then an explosion, then a flood. You interpret these efforts to awaken you to something happening inside your dream, when in reality they are being generated from outside the dream, and you have just interpreted them from the perspective of the dream because you don't know of any other kind.

So when we encounter the Guru and experience his awakening "pushes", perhaps we are simply incorporating the real process, which is occurring outside our dream, into the dream itself. So we dream of the human Guru, and his teachings, and his glance and touch and all his various siddhis and graces, and imagine that this is what is going on, when in fact something is happening outside the dream, shaking and prodding our real body to wake up, not the dream body we think we are while we dream. We have simply tried to make the process into something we can understand within the dream, which is really our way of prolonging the dream rather than allowing it to wake us up. Who is gracing us with all these teachings and blessing? It is not the one we see in the dream. It is the One who stands in the waking world and prods us to wake up with Him, to see Him in the world of reality, not the world of our dreams.

As for Turiya, yes, this is part of the process, but even in turiya we are still observing the dream. We are not actually fully awake. It is a half-way state that still does not know who the Witness is. A distinction remains that is real in the dream only, but not real in waking.

Also, I appreciate your efforts to instill humility in us all. I cannot say that my convictions are true, I can only say that I speak from my convictions. To me, that is the only way to confront and go beyond them. It is necessary to know what we are convinced of, and speak from that point of view with full conviction, if we are to be moved beyond the mind. Otherwise we never know what it is we have to transcend in ourselves. I am sure I am convinced of many things that are utterly false, I just don't know which are which. Maybe you can help point them out for me?

Ravi said...

Broken Yogi,
What you have mentioned is quite LOGICAL and what is more has the backing of Great Gnanis.
Yet,Equally Great Gnanis have maintained a diametrically opposite position(ULTIMATELY WE TAKE WHAT WE WANT!We come back to S.!)
I will give you a classic example.Here is Sri Ramakrishna Saying-"Mother ,Do not Give me BrahmaGnana!I Spit on BrahmaGnana!"-Sri Ramakrishna definitely knows what he is talking and this is defnitely not the raving of a delirium patient!

Again he says-"Why should I play only ONE NOTE-NEE-I want to play all the seven notes in the Octave!"

What is this 'I' he is referring to?Since he is referring to this 'I',does it imply that he is not a Gnani?(No Gnani has said anything to the contrary).

Again DAVID was mentioning that Gnani have no Sankalpa-These are assumptions.
1.Why did Sri Bhagavan decide not to eat one day and what was the result?(He ended up eating more than his usual Quota!)

2.Sri Ramakrishna often had to do a SANKALPA to DRINK water.His MIND was always Soaring to the Realm of the 6th Gnana Bhoomika-To stop it ,he had to GENERATE this Desire for DRINKING-This brought him back to the 5Th Gnana Bhoomika where he could recognize Others(as his self)and yet talk to them.HE NEVER DRANK THE WATER!It was just to bring the Mind down to the consciousness of the External World!

More of these later and with exact links in the Gospel!

The 5th Gnana Bhoomika is Called 'Asam Shakti' and Great souls like The Buddha,Sri Bhagavan,Adi Sankara,Vivekananda had operated from this plane.(Even here there is a big variety!).They come down from the 6th plane to this level and consequently a Tremendous Liberating Energy is unleashed!(Pls note that this list is not exhaustive!Imagine people trying to figure out whether their MASTER or Guru figures in this ELITE list!What confusion it may create!Can we understand why BHAGAVAN was DIPLOMATIC(borrowed from David)on this and just said that Gnani belongs to Plane no.4!)

This is just to say that this topic is worth a consideration.

As I have been repeatedly stating Every Thesis has an equally weighty Antithesis!

All that can be said is 'BRAHMAN ALONE IS!".Any further qualifications,additions,subtractions is opn for different standpoints!

SO THERE is a variety here!


Broken Yogi said...

As Ramana said, the true Guru is the Self, and the Self does not act, does not "transmit", and knows no separation at all between Guru and devotee. The problem with trying to figure these things out in relation to human beings - Gurus and their devotees - is that we tend to see ourselves and the Guru apart from the Self, and so introduce notions that are intrinsically false, even if seemingly inevitable and even obvious.

We identify with these human bodies, and we identify the Guru with the body of our human Guru. This is not wrong, in that so long as we are so humanly identified, as Ramana says, the Guru must also appear in human form, and we most relate to that human form as the Self alive. But that doesn't really tell us what is going on, and can even be misleading, in that we may still conceive of the Self as a great "Other".

If we could see this process of awakening in reality, we would likely see that nothing is going on at all. The human devotee and human Guru are dream appearances, whereas enlightenment means waking up from the dream. How can that process be part of the dream itself? It can't. The real process doesn't have anything to do with what we see or think is going on in the dream, or even with our speculations about it. It's one more thing to let go of.

This I think is why Ramana recommended we simply be still and do nothing. Awakening has nothing to do with what we do in the dream, or even how we relate to the Guru who appears in the dream. He is telling us to simply stop dreaming, stop engaging in the dream, and stop perpetuating the dream. He gives us nothing that we don't already have. He simply points us to the Self that always stands in the very place we are moving out from. The peace of the Self is something we relinquish in order to seek objects - even the object the Guru's human body represents. It is regained the instant we cease that game and stand still. The Guru does nothing in the process, and that is why it works.

Scott said...

David godman says: "One should also remember that this third course (going into samadhi) is not an ‘option’ for a jnani who wants to process energies of this kind. The jnani’s body has a prarabdha that may or may not include going into samadhi; it is not something the jnani himself can choose to do or avoid doing"

Isn't a jnani always in sahaja samadhi? Is there another kind of samadhi that a jnani goes in or out of. Or is this a reference to whether their body physically responds to their environment?

Zee said...

Another clever story by Rumi:

There was a popular preacher very subtle in his exegesis,
A huge crow gathered always when he spoke.

Juhi wanted to hear so he put on a long mantle,a woman's chaddar
and went in the mosque on the less-crowded women's side, undetected.

Someone handed a note discreetly to the preacher,
asking whether hair in the private reqions causes difficulty in ritual prayers.

The preacher replied openly,
If your hair is long in the public region, then you are not properly prepared for prayer.
You may wish to use a razor to remove those long hairs.

The questioner continued : But to what length should they be cut to make my praying right?
The preacher:As long as the length does not exceed the width of a grain of barley,O Asker of many Questions!

At once Juhi whispered to the woman beside him, "Sister, see if the hair in my public region is as it should be, pleasing to God.
Feel with your hand whether it's right.

The woman put her hand between his legs and touched his penis.She screamed out.
The preacher said :My discourse must hve touched her heart.

"It's not so much," replied Juhi, "her heart that's impressed as her hand, but
O if wise man like you could so touch a heart!"

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