Tuesday, March 2, 2010

Open Thread

The most recent 'Open Thread' seems to be misbehaving: comments made in the last few days are not displaying, and the number of comments is clearly wrong. The same thing happened a few months ago. I am starting a new thread. If the old 'Open Thread' continues to misbehave and not show your recent posts, feel free to add them to this newly opened thread.


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Jupes said...

I like this quote from Robert Adams, especially the image of a thread extending from the Source to what I'm thinking about.

"So, how would you handle it if you go to your work and they terminate you? Instead of worrying, you would ask the question to yourself, "To whom is this happening? Who's going through this experience? I am." Hold onto the I with all your might. Follow the I to the source. Look at the I as a thread that seems to be connected from the source to what you're thinking about. And all of your thoughts are attached to that thread, to the 'I' thread. All of your fears, all of your frustrations, all of your desires, everything is attached to the 'I' thread, and as you hold onto it tight, you follow it, follow it into the heart center. Then it will just seem to disappear. The reason I say it will seem to disappear is because it never existed to begin with. So it appears to disappear."

Anonymous said...

I suspect there are many who have spent a great deal of time thrashing out what the practice actually is. And I suspect that even if we did all agree on the theory, the inner practice from person to person will differ.

As part of my process, I’d like to share how I understand and apply the practice of self-enquiry. I have no idea if it is “right” or not. But that doesn’t bother me anymore, I just do my best.

My practice:

With attention I watch for that oftentimes illusive sense of “I” or “me”. And when I see it I ask, “who am I?” or any derivative of, that suits. I simply repeat this, gently, whenever I am able to catch a glimpse of the illusive “I” or “me”.

The effect of enquiry in this manner I find, is that it can cut off that self-absorbed I-ness. Restoring a stillness, a silence. From where I quietly watch for the “I” to reappear; which it always does,………….again and again and again.

And so I repeat the question. What else can I do!


Losing M. Mind said...

wonderfully, I'm starting to realize what robert adams is talking about. i recognize that experience lately as being my self-inquiry experiecne. There have been all sorts of things in my experiences over the last several yaers that have seemed extremely harrowing. But I realize lately, if I look at I, if I look into that I-notion, that is where my happiness is. Those who are really free, and standing above, and really free-spirited above great adversity. They are turned within. then all adversity is no adversity. Someone rejected me on facebook, maybe I was being annoying. I apologized if i had been annoying. But I looks for I, like a mirror, then all worries are no worries. Will I have a job? Will I get into grad school? Will I end up being homeless. Merged in the blissful Self will I as a jnani be anything but unhappy? No. There will only be bliss and empowerment like King Janaka with his palace burning down. but it will be found of course, that the responses to any situation are perefect, and harrowing situations will be revealed to be less then as harrowing as they woudl have been otherwise. I turn toward I, the sense of self to realize it is the effulgent Brahman Self. two youtube links. A band that I feel radiates with jnana, and wisdom. (loud and punk rock)

A clip of Barack Obama visiting a resturant in a state where he is not popular today:

Anonymous said...

Follow The Rabbit...

Just days after a discussion of Fake Gurus on this blog it is shocking how two of the most famous(by number of devotees and wealth) Gurus of South India were caught red handed involving drugs,money and sex with cinema actresses.One of them(Amma Bhagawan) is a very obvious case and was a previous convict as a fake swami. It is stunning how he could re-invent himself with literally no fear of law or of people recognizing his past.

The other one, Nithyananda(sex scandal with an actress),very young, claimed to be a staunch devotee of Arunachala Swami and narrated personal experiences with him and mentions Bhagawan a lot too and is from Thiruvannamalai. There are a lot of discourses by him including his first death experience on youtube.com.

One thing common to both was wealth and opulence of their palace like Ashrams and Menu prices for various services.One I remember is 5000 dollars to spend a week with swami.Both had extensive American presence and used the internet very well for propoganda.Both used white westerners to show off world wide acceptance.

Both could have been caught long back but for the gullible Indian religious sentiment along with rustic and corrupt Indian law enforcement. The saddest part is they will escape untouched and will come again in another avatar.But the emotional damage to the devotees is unthinkable but they probably deserve to be cheated and I am sure they will employ caution and rationality next time.

How many more are hiding?

Follow The Rabbit...

Anonymous said...

Follow The Rabbit...
Read Arunachala Swami as Annamalai Swami in my previous posting. This cheat even uses Annamalai Swami's photo on his website.
He also claims he has been initiated into sanyasa by Arunagiri swamy and was given his present name by Mahavatar Babaji while on stroll in the Himalayas.

Today he was caught on tape with a B-grade actress in bed on one hand and a beer bottle in another hand.The videos are all on youtube.

Follow The Rabbit...

Clemens Vargas Ramos said...

... recent comments gadget ...

If you like, David, you can contact me for a new and flawless "recent comments" gadget.

I got the sourcecode and adapted it to my needs.

You may have a look on this gadget on my blog Der Meister/Schüler-Dialog und andere Texte at "Letzte Kommentare".

I don't know now how this gadget would behave with the hundreds of comments on your blog.


Losing M. Mind said...

The Robert Adams quote is so true. And it needs to be exposed to that message again and again. Because when they terminate you, or something else goes wrong. Part of the reason I'm so intense on this, is I never really got in. With autistic spectrum tendencies, have had my parents paying my rent, and really have not become set up, or stable myself or other things. Just really I would look at myself as an utter failure if I let the I, and I do, so then it prompts me to inquire even harder, even more itnensely. But one mistake I made with the inquire is, it seems like when he is saying trace the I to hte Heart. I think he is saying hold on to the I, the self until there it completely dissapears as an individual I. The heart is not in the chest. If anything external to the I is traced, it is still duality. The only way to eliminate duality is to turn toward the self, the I, until the notion of 2 I's. I'm saying this... But I still end up as the individual I taken for granted and suffering a ton. though, I do think worldly problems such as mine can give me a leg up, in the sense that it is harder to get excited about something worldly. And if I was really successful so I could have everything I wanted, or alot of what I want (or tons of praise was lauded on me), then I might be more prone to fall for Maya.

Anonymous said...

Whose Beard?
Nasrudin dreamt that he had Satan's beard in his hand. Tugging the hair he cried: "The pain you feel is nothing compared to that which you inflict on the mortals you lead astray." And he gave the beard such a tug that he woke up yelling in agony. Only then did he realise that the beard he held in his hand was his own.

Ravi said...

An Excerpt from The Gospel of Sri Ramakrishna:
When the Master returned to his room, he found that other devotees had
arrived, among them Ram, Nityagopal, and Kedar. They all saluted the Master, who
greeted them cordially.
He asked Nityagopal, "Will you eat something now?" "Yes", the devotee answered.
Nityagopal, who was twenty-three or twenty-four years old and unmarried, was like
a child. His mind was always soaring in the spiritual realm. He visited the Master
sometimes alone and sometimes in Ram's company. The Master had observed the
spiritual state of his mind and had
become very fond of him. He remarked now and then that Nityagopal was in the
state of a paramahamsa.
Warning to monks
After Nityagopal had finished eating, the Master took him aside and gave him
various instructions.
A certain woman, about thirty-one years old and a great devotee, often visited
Sri Ramakrishna and held him in high respect. She had been much impressed by
Nityagopal's spiritual state and, looking upon him as her own son, often invited him
to her house.
MASTER (to Nityagopal): "Do you go there?"
NITYAGOPAL (like a child): "Yes, I do. She takes me".
MASTER: "Beware, holy man! Go there once in a great while, but not frequently;
otherwise you will slip from the ideal. Maya is nothing but 'woman and gold'. A holy
man must live away from woman. All sink there. 'Even Brahma and Vishnu struggle
for life in that whirlpool.' "
Nityagopal listened to these words attentively.
M. (to himself): "How strange! This young man has developed the state of a
paramahamsa. That is what the Master says now and then. Is there still a possibility
of his falling into danger in spite of his high spiritual state? What an austere rule is
laid down for a sadhu! He may slip from his ideal by associating intimately with
women. How can an ordinary man expect to attain liberation unless such a high ideal
is set by holy men? The woman in question is very devout; but still there is danger.
Now I understand why Chaitanya punished his disciple, the younger Haridas, so
severely. In spite of his teacher's prohibition, Haridas conversed with a widow
devotee. But he was a sannyasi. Therefore Chaitanya banished him. What a severe
punishment! How hard is the rule for one who has accepted the life of renunciation!
Again, what love the Master cherishes for this devotee! He is warning him even now,
lest he should run into danger in the future."
"Beware, holy man!" These words of the Master echoed in the hearts of the
devotees, like the distant rumbling of thunder.

Nandu Narasimhan said...

Jupes and LMM,

Robert Adams' and David's explanation of SE)on Self-Enquiry are my favourites, since both of them manage to split it up into nice, bite-sized chunks. Step by step, so to speak.

What I also found very useful was an incident involving Bhagavan (Who else!).

Someone had gone to Bhagavan with difficulties about SE. Bhagavan kept quiet.

Later on, the same person was in the ashram kitchen, in the middle of an argument with another ashram inmate.

The person who had earlier asked Bhagavan apparently said to the other man - 'You don't know about me. I'll show you'.

And as he said that he realised that Bhagavan had come up behind him. Amidst collective sheepishness, Bhagavan told him to catch the 'I' in that moment of anger, when it raised its head prominently.

I found that very useful, as the 'I' thought generally stays subdued and is difficult to hold on to.

But in moments of anger, or in instances when the ego is challenged by another person or a situation, it is easier to spot it.

Jupes said...

LMM, you said: " Just really I would look at myself as an utter failure if I let the I, and I do, so then it prompts me to inquire even harder, even more itnensely."
...and then later: "I do think worldly problems such as mine can give me a leg up, in the sense that it is harder to get excited about something worldly. And if I was really successful so I could have everything I wanted, or alot of what I want (or tons of praise was lauded on me), then I might be more prone to fall for Maya."

What you say rings true to my ear. It is often easy to forget what a blessing one's 'difficulties' or 'failures' can be, and I appreciate your being so open and honest in how you write about your challenges with yourself and the outer world. I do indeed think you have a 'leg up', not only because of your life circumstances but also because of your sensitivity and your passion for turning inward. As I said in an earlier post, it is inspiring to sense this passion and desire you have for sadhana.

Anonymous said...

Some of these guru's are false and the disciples immature.
People pretend they seek knowledge, they only want a social community, friendship, togetherness
and the like.
All these things are delightful: and all the more delightful when indulged in, rather then found by means of deception. Deception in this case is pretending to one's self that one is studying or meditating, when one is really seeking stimuli.

Jupes said...

Nandu, that's an interesting Bhagavan story; I don't recall hearing it before. Do you remember where you read it? For myself, when I'm angry, I'm usually too overwhelmed by emotion to even think to hold onto the I-thought. I find it easier to do that when my mind is clear and unobstructed. It would be nice to learn more about how to use emotion as an aid in Self-enquiry. Emotion has certainly been a useful tool for me in other ways.

Jupes said...

Ok, right after I left that last comment I realized the 'flaw' in it. My mind is hardly ever clear and unobstructed, and OF COURSE it's easier to feel the I-thought when the mind is clear. So, the whole point is how to hold onto the 'I' in the face of a cluttered mind and to use emotion to help one do that.

It seems like this is where Bhakti enters the picture, and this reminds me of the discussion Ravi and I had on this blog long ago in which he shared, with great love, what is deeply personal to him. Among other things, he used an analogy of listening to western classical music as a way of expressing his approach to Bhakti, how different emotions and feelings are stirred by different pieces of music. Maybe some of you remember this.

In any case, the point in bringing this up is to note the connection between one's emotional state and the closeness one feels to one's Guru. For myself, when I am going through an unusually emotional period, my connection with Bhagavan and Arunachala takes on a different kind of relationship than when my mind is clearer and free from heavy emotion. During the latter, it is easier to hold onto the 'I', whereas when heavy emotions take me over, I tend to look to Bhagavan and Arunachala for direct help, and this seems to strengthen the devotional connection.

Losing M. Mind said...

thank you so much Jupes

Losing M. Mind said...

Anonymous, I think sadhana is hard enough without worrying about all the wrong things other people are doing. As Maharshi said, "Correcting oneself is correcting the world".

Losing M. Mind said...

I agree, I think Robert Adams really expresses with alot of clarity. I mean, he says things in a way that is simple and easy to understand.

Ravi said...

An Excerpt from 'Surpassing Love and Grace':
T. P. R.
AN old devotee vividly relates how Major Chadwick once
resorted to a stratagem to induce Sri Bhagavan to improve
his health by taking a medicine.
It was some time during the early forties. Sri Bhagavan
showed symptoms of slight jaundice and was growing weaker
and weaker every day avoiding medication. Devotees implored
him to have some treatment but without success. Some of us
prayed and a few others were silently doing circumambulation
round the Hall in which Sri Bhagavan was seated. Major
Chadwick was prominent among those beseeching Sri Bhagavan
to take some medicine.
One day while I was just starting from home to my office
in Madras, the postman handed me a letter. It was from Mr.
Chadwick. The letter I recollect read like this: “Dear T. P. R. I
am sorry to tell you of the declining health of Sri Bhagavan
who is growing weaker day by day, and will do nothing to
alleviate it. He will not take any medicines, or heed our requests
and persuasions. It is misery to be seeing this. Today just a
thought came to me. You know that Sri Bhagavan always avoids
medicines, but all the same he does not reject ayurvedic
preparations like ‘black halwa’ (lehiyam) which if offered he
may be pleased to accept. So why don’t you go to some ayurvedic
expert or pharmacy and ask for something, mentioning the
symptoms and conditions and send it to him (to the Ashram).
If it is your good karma he may be pleased to take it. But don’t
say I wrote to you or expressed concern. You can say that by
chance you met so and so and found a lehiyam well prepared
which is good for many things and that it is only a tonic and
not a medicine, etc. I shall expect your immediate response.”
On reading this letter, I went straight to the Venkataramana
Dispensary in Mylapore before going to court, and meeting
the senior physician in charge there narrated the symptoms
without disclosing the identity of the person for whom it was
meant. I requested him to prescribe and give something helpful.
The doctor asked me if I could not bring the patient for
examination. I expressed my inability to do that and merely
gave the age and other details. He then wrote two items with
instructions to follow. The first was an ‘oil’ and the second was
a lehiyam, called jiragavilvadi lehiyam and he advised me how
to use them. I knew Sri Bhagavan was not usually given to
consuming any ‘oils’ internally and so left it out and purchased
one pound of the lehiyam and went to my office. Retaining a
small part with me, I packed the rest and sent it to Sri
Niranjananandaswami, the then sarvadhikari, with a letter
saying: “Dear Sri Chinnaswamigal, Today as I was passing
through Mylapore I peeped into the Venkataramana Dispensary
where a fresh lehiyam was being prepared and ready for sale,
called Jiragavilvadi lehiyam. I felt impelled to buy it and did so.
It is so sweet and good that retaining a portion for me, I have
sent the rest to you which I request you may place before Sri
Bhagavan as any other offering is done. This is not medicine
but belongs to the class of tonics generally taken by all.”


Ravi said...

....Chadwick's Devotion...
Chinnaswami accordingly appears to have placed both the parcel
and the letter before Sri Bhagavan.
That weekend, as was usual then with me, I left for
Tiruvannamalai. On arrival at the Ashram and in Sri Bhagavan’s
Hall as I rose up after obeisance Sri Bhagavan turned to me on
his couch with a small container in hand and remarked, “See!
This is the lehiyam you have sent. I am using it regularly four
times. Jeeraga and Bilva are very good for biliousness,” and all
that. I felt elated and happy at the success of Mr. Chadwick’s
scheme and sat down before Sri Bhagavan. Within half a minute
Sri Bhagavan asked, “What? Did anyone write to you to send
this?” I immediately admitted it and said: “Yes Bhagavan,
Chadwick wrote to me all that I have said in my letter, and my
expectations and hope also being the same, I did what he asked
me to do and faithfully wrote to Chinnaswamigal without even
mentioning his letter as if all this was my own initiative.” Sri
Bhagavan laughed graciously saying, “See that, see that!”
That evening Chadwick entered the hall at 4 p.m. as was
his routine, inwardly also elated and happy. But hardly did he
rise from his obeisance when Sri Bhagavan said: “Chadwick!
Did you write anything?” This was a moment of shock and
surprise for Chadwick and he having done all this out of his
extreme love and devotion to Sri Bhagavan, happily declared:
“Yes Bhagavan, I wrote all that to T. P. R. What can we do? Sri
Bhagavan never will take anything and it was miserable for us
devotees to be witnessing Sri Bhagavan growing weaker day by
day. So I did all that and I am happy now.”
He resumed his seat and began to meditate as usual. Such
was Chadwick’s devotion and love to Sri Bhagavan! He was
one among the many old devotees whose devotion to him
was boundless."

Losing M. Mind said...

I've come to the conclusion that inquiry is in essence investigating as to whether I am an individual, or if th sense of individuality is real. So it's looking into the notion of self. One problem, I have, is when I have thought of in terms of Realizing the Self. It seems like really inquiry is investigation into the self to see that I'm not an individual. In a way, the world being not real. It seems a way of letting the world not be real. Because the solidity of the world, requires the self. So in peering into the self, the world (and all the sensations) will lose it's solidity. As I peer into the self, and relinquish the individual-feeling by doing so, there will be no longer that sense of me being a person doing the actions. What will be found in doing so, is that the whole play kind of goes on of it's own accord. So inquiry is to look into the sense of self, to constantly probe into that. My understanding is that, that intensitfies until nothing else is allowed to be thought about. The mind is redirected into investigating itself. This is why, inquiry is not repression, it's not concentration, and really I guess is not effortful in the usual sense. I mean, it's effortful, but it doesn't require tiring mental effort. If any of htat goes on, notice that the I has escaped the hold and is now the doer of inquiry. Focus on that I. Keep attention on the one who is doing, knowing, thinking, who seems to be a person. by all means necessary it seems like.

Jupes said...

A while back someone brought up Robert Adams' four principles. I'd like to share an excerpt from one of his talks in which he says how to work with the first principle. I find this useful, especially the part about how to perceive problems.

Robert Adams¹ First Principle: Everything is a manifestation of my mind.

Robert: But it's the way you say it to yourself. As soon as you open your eyes in the morning (I'll speak in the first person) you have to say to yourself, "I feel, and realize, and understand, that everything, everything, say everything twice, is a projection of my mind." And think about what that means. Forget about the other three (principles). Work on that. "Everything! Everything! I feel that, I realize that, I understand that, that everything is a projection of my mind."

And then you may think of the problems you have, if you have any, and you say to yourself, "If everything is a projection of my mind, where do these problems come from?" You then realize, "Why, they came from me. I projected them. I created them." And then you say, "Who is this 'I' that created them?" See? Now you're getting to the meaty part, to the substance. "Who is the I that created all this illusion in my life? Where did the I come from? Who gave it birth? My mind. Where did my mind come from? The I. Why, they're both the same! The 'I' and my mind are the same." And it's all a revelation.

You think along these lines. "Where does the mind, the I, come from and to whom does it come?" And you follow it deep, deep within yourself. If you do it correctly you will realize there is no I, there is no mind, so there are no problems, and it'll be over, and you'll start laughing. You'll actually start laughing at yourself. You'll say, "To think I feared this and I feared that." And once you get into that consciousness, something will happen to actually physically relieve you of the problem, or what you think is a problem.

Spiritual Blogs said...

Thank you David for your "Remembering Nisargadatta Maharaj" interview. After studying Nisargadatta Maharaj for some time now, your insight makes him so much more "real"...

Subramanian. R said...

Regarding the fake swami, the press reports said that he was a
devotee of Sri Ramakrishna. Press
does not say about Annamalai Swami.
However, he had a centre in the girivalam route. He had a lot of
devotees/disciples, some of them are Westerners. I remember Tirumoolar, who says that it is like blind leading the blinds and all the blinds falling into a deep

Ravi said...

someone had asked about 'Mano Laya'-What it is?I also recall Arvind had posted about Maneesha being on the right track(with regard to Self Enquiry,to get past thought cessation),etc.
Jupes had mentioned how when the mind is turbulent she resorts to devotion and when it is clear it is easier to resort to Self Enquiry.

It is interesting and instructive to hear what the Sage Of Kanchi has said about this-From Volume 3 of 'Deivathin Kural'(Voice of Divinity)

"To Stop Thoughts. With silence of the mouth, everyday we should spend some time in blocking the thought waves, say the Saastraa-s. "...tooshneem kinchit a-chintayet..." which is difficult to achieve. Even when we sit down with that intention, the question remains as to how to stop the flow of thoughts? How not to think of anything? There remains a thought that, ‘we should not think of anything‘! It is said that in Tamil, "...sindayai adakkiye summaa irukkum tiram aridhu...".

27. However, the bright side of it is that, when you sit down with this intention, with regularity of practice, it becomes possible, with God's Grace of course! We can only make an effort. The 'Phala Dhaataa' is God Himself! As Tayumaanavar said, we have to sit down 'summa' and keep on trying to be without a thought. Leave the rest to Him to do the needful!

28. When we try to do this as a Sadhana, at some point in time, the mind will become blank without any thoughts. It will be a vacuum or zero experience of nothingness! It will not be 'Atma Anubhava'. There will be no brilliance or effulgence. The question will come to the mind as to whether, 'this is the experience that we have been waiting for?' Though we will be aware that the mind has come to a stand still, we will also be aware that, "This is not IT".

29. This is not the state of ultimate! I called it the 'Atma Jyoti'! So will it be in the form of a fire? In the English language too it is called the 'Enlightenment and or Illumination'! This is not the Gnaana that analyses and knows another. This is Knowledge itself! This is knowing without a second or another. But the state we are in, is yet another sleep only. Without a thought, there will be vacuum, for a period. Saint Arunagiri Naathar describes this state of affairs as, "...amma porul onrum arindilane...", meaning, '...mother, I did not know any meaning of it!...'. Aadi Sankara calls it 'mano laya:'. This is not yet, 'mano nigraha:'. Not to be afraid, because you are well on your way at the penultimate pause!"

Ravi said...

....Voice of Divinity....ctd..
"Right from the beginning, if we are careful to see that we should not get stuck at the all blank level of 'mano laya:', everything will be alright.
33. Between 'mano laya:' and mano nigraha:' I happened to have brought in Easwara. When the mind stops all its oscillations and empties out, if you bring in the 'Easwara Smaranam' it is again a seed thought for the ebbing of more thoughts, is it not so? Having started the effort to stop the flow of thoughts, when we reach a stage of thoughtlessness, instead of keeping quiet, if we think of the idea of a God, (who anyhow is beyond thoughts and speech!), would such action not be tantamount to opening the flood gates as though, for the influx of all sorts of thoughts again? We know how deceptive this mind of ours can be! So we may come to a decision that, even if we do not get total Gnaana, it does not matter. Let it be 'soonyatvam', as long as it does not end in running from pillar to post, dancing to every whim and fancy of the tyrannical mind!

34. Actually, we do not have to worry or fear about such possibility of falling back to square one! Once we have had some amount of practice to reign in the mind and have had some experience of the maturity of thoughtlessness, there can be no reversion. Once after much effort we have directed our mind towards God, He takes over the control. Then He will not let us slide down! Then our march towards perfect Mounam is inexorable!"


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

". For the fear of thugs and robbers, we call the help of God the Policeman. Once he chases away all the unwanted elements and saved us from peril, will He punish us also? No, never. He may just go on with his other calling. Similarly, having chased away all other thoughts, having fetched us to the destination of mindless Gnaana, He the God will not be 'He' anymore, as we would have merged into Him by then!
So also the co-operation with good people known as 'Sat Sang', that will take us to total dispassion. It is not possible at once to become totally delinked from all our attachments. First you get attached to good company to enable you to leave bad company. As a fruit when it becomes fully matured, it delinks from the mother plant on its own. Similarly the Sat Sang will one day lead you to dispassion. So does our Aachaaryal say in Bhaja Govindam, "...sat sangatve nis sangatvam...".
So also, from God-thought, no-thought will occur. This is not the Zero / Soonya level. This is the state of totality, filled with Gnaana. There is another meaning for 'Sat Sang'. This not just the company of good people only. For ever the true and only true being is the Self, that is the Atma. Oneness with the Atma is the SAT SANG! All other co-operation with good people leads to this finally. What is now beating the drum as I, me and mine, that Ahamkaara, Aham Bhava, Ego, goes away for ever. We from this detestable weakling metamorphose in to that mighty, venerable, omniscient, omnipotent being! Till we think of ourselves as different from that, me and mine ideas will persist. With oneness realized and experienced, the troublesome prone me and mine disappears forever! This final stepping across the Rubicon happens involuntarily.

For that to happen, we have to start with trying to keep quiet, with our mouths shut tight and our mind riveted on our Ishta Devata, may be Uma-Maheswara or Laxmi-Narayana or what ever! Then this thought will also go, by the Grace of God, when ever it has to happen. Till then Dhyana and Japa will continue. From mulling over all sorts of thoughts, one may directly get merged in God-thoughts or it may happen gradually, via a period of thoughtless blankness with a dose of powerful attachment to the divine!"
Devotion it is when 'God' seizes the 'individual self'.Even the initial faltering steps are only prompted by God-As Sri Aurobindo beautifully says-He who chooses the Infinte has been chosen by the Infinite. he has received the divine touch without which there is no awakening, no opening of the spirit; but once it is received, attainment is sure, whether conquered swiftly in the course of one human life or pursued patiently through many stadia of the cycle of existence in the manifested universe.


Ravi said...

Thayumanavar's song from 'mouna Guru':
Thou fashioned the Void of Voids
For the five elements and nada to contain.
Thou made me stand in impassivity
With thought uprooted
In that state of jnana
Of those who discern ignorance from knowledge.
Then Thou flooded me with waters of chinmayananda
And made me sport in it
Until ''I'' became ''It''.
Fine indeed is the beauteous miracle
Thou worked thus!
''Long, long may flourish, my Father,
Parama Guru of the wild banyan tree.
Long, long may flourish the line of Nandi
That blessed me with everlasting life.''

For the devotees thus to praise
In the rapture of their heart.
Oh! Guru that came to establish
That the conclusions of Vedas and Agamas
Are not two, but one.

O! Guru that imparted Divine Instruction
On the exalted
Sivananda Siddhi Path !
O! Mantra Guru! O, Yoga Tantra Guru
Mauna Guru that comes in the line of Mula the Holy!


Anonymous said...

When the creature ends, there God begins to be. God asks only that you get
out of his way, in so far as you are creature, and let him be God in you.
The least creaturely idea that ever entered your mind is as big as God. Why?
Because it will keep God out of you entirely. The moment you get ideas, God
fades out and the Godhead too. It is when the idea is gone that God gets

-- Meister Eckhart, sermon on The Love of God
Eckhart was born in 1260 and his mystical, inspirational sermons drew large crowds. Often the people were illiterate and still they came and understood.
The old saying "When a flower blooms the bees come uninvited" is a universal truth.

Anonymous said...


Thanks for your post on manolaya. Basically what I wanted to know was that, if anyone had been in that state and if it is actually something similar to sleep. I guess that state is to be just taken as sign of progress but not indulge in it.

Nandu Narasimhan said...

@ Jupes,

The story about Bhagavan and the angry devotee being told to catch the 'I' in that moment of anger is from a discourse by a gentleman called Nochur Venkataraman.

I listen to those CDs when driving to office - 'Keep your eyes on the road and your mind upon the Self', to improvise on an old song!

Nandu Narasimhan said...

I need some clarification on this - if you have experienced this personally and are willing to share, it would be perfect.

Has anyone experienced a 'barren period' where one is still engaged in daily prayers and reflection, but somehow, the 'magic' seems to be missing?

To put it another way, thoughts of Bhagavan and Arunachala are still there strongly, but the 'feeling' is fighting with a lot of work-related matters. With the result that one is 'missing' being in that wonderful space.

If anyone has been through this, it would be helpful to know how one should 'handle' or 'not handle' it.

Ravi said...

Good that you brought in this important aspect of sadhana-how to handle Dry Periods?
You may visit this site:

This is as good as any seeker would face.What Rakhal Maharaj(SwamiBrahmananda,spiritual son of Sri Ramakrishna)tells Girish Ghosh is the essence.The other sayings are also quite good.

I will share with you more on this a little later.


Nandu Narasimhan said...

@ Ravi,

Thank you so much! Am on the page now.

Others do share if you think it can help.

Ravi, my mail is nandunarasimhan@gmail.com

Clemens Vargas Ramos said...


Spiritual Dryness - two weblinks I came across:



There is no other chance then to watch the mind carefully and to wait until negative thoughts vanish the natural way.

Then again comes your chance to go deeper into the realm beyond all (negative) thoughts. It is like digging through a mountain or trying to lift up body and mind further and further into the sky.


Sriram said...


I happened to watch this youtube video. While the words of Prof. Swaminathan were fascinating to hear, I was equally fascinated by the song "Annamalai Ramanan" sung by MS at the start of the video. I have been trying for a long time to get this song but with no success. If anyone has this song in full, can you please let me know. I would be eternally grateful.

Ravi said...

"if you have experienced this personally and are willing to share, it would be perfect."

I will share from this perspective to the extent possible.
1.First thing to realise is that this is Natural and inevitable-All Seekers have to learn to cope with this period of Dryness;when one feels gounded.
2.Two possibilities present themselves-
a).One is caught again in the whirlwind of thoughts and emotions(This happens when one has not yet sufficiently purified the mind through protracted Sadhana)or
b)One is without any enthusiasm or Energy and is as dead as Wood;yet not caught in the whirlpool described above.

3.In both the cases,the best antidote is to seek the company of The Great ones-contemplating the wonderful life they lived and their conversations(Bhagavatham).Nandu,for you I will recommend 'Letters from Sri Ramanasramam'.It is so easy to read this wonderful book and immediately be transported to the Old Hall,sitting along with other devotees in front of Sri Bhagavan!This can be done irrespective of where one is physically located.

4.The above mentioned Sadhana will help to tame symptom 2a and may help alleviate 2b.

5.The other strategy is to take advantage of 2b!-is Prayer and Surrender-"Oh Divine Mother!(or father or Whatever!),I clearly realise now that I am a zero.Now I am able to clearly feel it."

6.Even if none of the above works,to remain Dogged and oriented in the Right direction-Like the Hereditary farmer in Sri Ramakrishna's parable-He will not give up farming despite season after season of 'No Rain'.He does not know any other work!

7.Whatever Sadhana one does in this 'Dry Period' is well invested as without our knowing ,the stone is dissolved ,little by little.As one progresses,the gaps are reduced as also the magnitude of the Obstacles.This should provide added incentive to face such periods cheerfully and go about one's business.One will find that the zeal and entusiasm,the Flame of aspiration returns after the period of Dryness.The 'Magic' as you call ,is never really lost!

8.'Mother Knows Best'.Is it not a Great Blessing to know that there is 'Mother' and one is not an orphan?This Very 'Remembrance' is Redeeming and a Sadhana that can be done irrespective of how busy one finds oneself.
As Saint Thyagaraja sang-'Smarane Sukamu,Rama nama'-'Oh Rama!To Remember your Name is Sukam,Happiness'.
Nandu,you have asked 'what should not be done'-One thing that should not be done is 'Temporarily abandoning' the Sadhana,hoping to continue when the 'inspiration' returns!
If one is not swimming against the current,one will be swept away-It will then take a long time to reorient oneself and readjust.
Faith,Patience,Devotion and Surrender,Doggedness if need be-All these are the essential Qualities and with steady Sadhana ,there will be Peace and Cheerfulness to see one through.


Anonymous said...

this may not be the mood you refer to, but your post reminded me of the metaphor "dark night of the soul", perhaps a cousin of "dryness"


Anonymous said...

I am reposting the following (with some additions) to this new open thread, as I was not previously aware that the prior thread was abandoned due to malfunction.

Losing M. Mind,

I don't know whether to laugh or cry reading your comments on one B.H.O. in this forum devoted to Sri Ramana. From what deep vat of Kool Aid have you been drinking? You have perhaps been thinking (and writing!) on non-dual matters so much that your capacity for critical analysis of more worldly matters has suffered a wee bit.

You might wish to read the following article for an update on what B.H.O. has been up to since being elected:


Many other articles at that site, as well as posts by Glenn Greenwald at salon.com, will help you form a clearer picture of "The Man who would be (or, perhaps more accurately, whom you would have be) Jnani."

Perhaps you are also of the opinion that Lloyd Blankfein, CEO of Goldman Sachs (the most generous Wall Steet contributor to B.H.O.'s campaign, and of whom one congressman has said "Frankly, they own the place [Congress]"), is also a jnani, as revealed in this recent comment (of startling--and, no doubt, utterly selfless--humility): "I'm just a banker doing God's work." (Thanks to God, no doubt, he is also, without any question, the most handsomely remunerated jnani on the planet!)

Precisely how, LMM, can speculations regarding the possible jnanihood of figures such as BHO, Lincoln, Jefferson, Kennedy, Einstein, and Freud, etc. be of use or benefit to those of us who come here for clarification and further pointers with regard to our enquiry into the nature of being? As good, saintly, intelligent, cleverly manipulative, or downright evil as any of these figures may be or have been, as far as I am aware none of them was or is concerned with (and offering instruction on) the enquiry into that which ever IS, beyond and prior to body, mind, and feeling. So, once again, of what use these speculations? To show that a so-called jnani can be a useful servant to powerful banking interests and can authorize the detention or even murder of innocent beings who just happened to be born with a specific racial/religious background and then happened to find themselves in the wrong place at the wrong time? Fine, we are aware that the jnani is Freedom itself, and is in no way defined or limited by the actions issuing from his apparent person, but how precisely is this supposed to be of value to us who are gathered here? I, for one, am not looking for ways to justify deviltry in the name of "crazy wisdom" or being beyond all codes of conduct, and I do not believe there are (m)any others here looking for such either.

Anonymous said...

Nandu, you wrote....."the result that one is 'missing' being in that wonderful space."

Is this what practice is about, being in a wonderful space? Dont get me wrong, like everyone, pleasant is my preference to. But being in a "wonderful space" is merely an occassional by-product of practice.

From what I have read, instead of trying to restore the "wonderful space", Ramana tends to respond to such concerns, "ask, who is it that has lost the 'wonderful space'?"

Once that is resolved, the former question is redundant.

........but not an easy practice i know!

Losing M. Mind said...

I've had some inquiry thoughts/revelations. Earlier I was thinking about how inquiry does bring up situations that are perhaps harrowing or difficult, or the situations one thinks one can't handle. Maybe it isn't the inquiry that brings it up. Regardless, things come up, and sometimes things get worse, and there is this struggle to hold the inquiry instead of reacting to it, like previously. And to look at I. There is this belief that there are certain situations I don't want to happen, and sometimes they do start to happen in the process of inquiry. But then keep looking at I, and then something wonderful happense, those tendencies clear in a real abiding way. And then, those things stop bothering one. Again, reiterating, that I think I have to a certain extent figured out inquiry. That thoughts happen, but thoughts, one doesn't do anything about them. One focuses looks resolutely at the individual giving up all else. Looks at the feeling of self, and keeps one's attention rapt to the feeling of self. Maybe what happens, is that one gives up the inquiry for tendencies because they seem so powerful. But then resumes the inquiry. Who has those tendencies? And looks resolutely at that one, that individual that I'm taking myself to be. Until there is no notion of individuality. Nothing needs to be done about, or changed about anything else. I don't need to worry abotu, or interfere with thought, or the world. Who has the thought? Who sees the world? And look resolutely at that one. To annihilate the duality.

Ravi said...

I have mentioned about Girish Ghosh,a disciple of Sri Ramakrishna.
Here is an excerpt from an article-
"one day Girish went to the house of a friend, who too was a devotee of Ramakrishna. He found the host cleaning rice. Now, the latter was a rich landlord with many servants, but nevertheless he was performing this unaccustomed job himself. Girish was amazed and enquired of the reason. The householder replied: " The master is coming today, and he will have his lunch here. So I am cleaning the rice myself."

Girish was touched by this extraordinary devotion. He reflected on his own ability to be of such service to Ramakrishna. He returned home and lay on the bed thinking, 'Indeed, god comes to the home of those who have devotion like my friend. I am a wretched drunkard. There is no one here who can receive the master in the proper manner and feed him.' Just then there was a knock on his door. Startled he jumped up. In front of him stood the master. "Girish I am hungry, could you give me something to eat?" There was no food in the house. Asking Sri Ramakrishna to wait, he rushed to a restaurant nearby and brought home some fried bread and potato curry. The food, coarse and hard, was much different from what the frail guru's constitution permitted. Nevertheless, he relished it with visible joy and delight"

For the complete article, you may read here:


David Godman said...

I am closing the discussion on the spiritual status of American politicians. No more comments on this topic please.

Losing M. Mind said...

I definitely leave it up to your masterful comment moderation to decide what and if, or when comments of mind should be posted.

Nandu Narasimhan said...

Ravi, Clemens and PeterE,

Much gratitude for your helpful posts. Each of the links provides an insight about how one should behave during such spells.

@Ravi, there is absolutely no question of suspending or abandoning sadhana. None whatsoever. One identifies with the farmer in the Ramakrishna story totally. I for one know of nothing other than Bhagavan and Arunachala.

The feeling is one of Bhagavan temporarily looking the other way. But I am firmly seated in front of Him. No other place to go.

@PeterE, yes, this is another opportunity for Self-Enquiry.

This morning, I picked up Volume II of 'Nothing Ever Happened' on impulse and started reading it.

Having linked my forefinger in Papaji's big hand, I am sure he will lead my mind back to Bhagavan and Arunachala.

And so, one more doubt begins to get washed away in this e-Big Hall.

Clemens Vargas Ramos said...


... "dark night of the soul", perhaps a cousin of "dryness" ...

Certainly this is the same. The "dark night of the soul" is a famous book of St. John of the Cross elaborating in great detail all kinds of spiritual dryness and despair.

But don't we forget - nothing else then this moment exists. What is spiritual dryness (as all else) if not a temporary state of consciousness? This states of consciousness appear in the time of a twinkle of the eye and so do the worlds within consciousness.

World is a prolonged state of consciousness - spiritual dryness is a prolonged state of consciousness. The best practice is to be aware of all temporary states of consciousness and to abandon them as soon as possible (or to watch them vanishing sooner or later).

There is no need to be concerned with something that is constantly coming and going. Let it be so - spiritual dry or spiritual fulfilled. It is not you caring of your spiritual status. Your duty is to be aware of the mind and its longings. The child observs the toy but the mother observs the child.


Srik said...

Dear Nandu,

I recollect the following from 'Sri Ramana Maharshi and the path of Self-Knowledge'. (It was also published in the Mountain Path edition of the '60s, authored by Louis Hartz himself.) You might have read it already.

A Dutch devotee, L. Hartz, being able to stay only a short time, and perhaps fearing that his determination might weaken when he left, asked for an assurance and was told, “Even if you let go of Bhagavan, Bhagavan will never let go of you.”

Two other devotees, a Czech diplomat and a Muslim professor, struck by the unusual force and directness of the assurance, asked whether it applied only to Hartz or to all the devotees and were told, “To all.”

When such a grand assurance is guaranteed by Bhagavan Himself, what else remains "to do" or "not to do"? This feeling of assurance gives me a lot of strength in continuing the sadhana (be it just remembering Him) during down-times.

Losing M. Mind said...

Anonymous, I would appreciate if in the future you would talk to me in a kinder way then your last couple messages, which I did find disrespectful and condescending. Regardless of your opinion on those matters. This forum benefits when we do treat eachother as equals and with kindness, I think.

Srik said...

Nandu Sir,

An account in chapter - 'Sri Ramana and our quest for Happiness', by B. C. Sengupta, from 'Golden jubilee souvenir':
Sri Ramakrishna also declared: “If you approach one step towards God, God moves ten steps towards you.” But we must move one step. With the firm conviction that Grace is ever present, the seeker must, on his part, earnestly strive to qualify himself for this Grace. This striving of the seeker is called Sadhana..

One more from Talks:

Talk 52.
A man from Cocanada asked: “My mind remains clear for two or three days and turns dull for the next two or three days; and so it alternates. What is it due to?”

M.: It is quite natural; it is the play of brightness (satva), activity (rajas) and darkness (tamas) alternating. Do not regret the tamas; but when satva comes into play, hold on to it fast and make the best of it.


Sankar Ganesh Chandrakumar said...

Ravi, thanks for continuing to provide really helpful, inspiring and elevating words of various jnanis from wide variety of sources.

And thanks to our dear David for providing such a great platform to share views by spiritual aspirants as in a family brought together by Ramana.

Thanks. Sankar Ganesh.

Losing M. Mind said...

More on inquiry: When I really inquire deeply. For instance an hour ago at a coffee shop. I guess at all times I try to do it. But I suddenly had one of those deep savikalpa samadhi-ish moments. What happens is I kept my focus on the sense of self as it morphed and changed, I looked at that, and gave up all else, gave up concentration, different things I gave up over time. (to focus exclusively on the sense of self, turn the light of awareness on that instead of worldly things) And I really felt this kind of power take over, and this happens. i guess the power could be considered grace. It is very warm and blissful. My vision often goes white. Part of that is that the eyes are still. But another part is I think that the nervous system is adjusting itself to the inquiry. Infact sometimes that is disconcerting, and I remember Lakshmana Swami saying teh shift to Realization can be very hard on the nervous system, even kill the person. (is that true? I'd like a second opinion. I could conceive that it is actually good for the nervous system) But I kept it up. I figured even if the body died, they said I'd get a good birth (laugh). Belying my selfish motives. But there was a powerful moment, where I was aware of things, but there was the feeling of the cars giong by outside the cafe windows almost like they were going through me. This was one of my deepest moments on self-effort with inquiry. The thing is though, as soon as I give it up. Oh I have things to do, I leave the cafe, I'm walking around, I'm back to mentally being the same self I was prior to the inquiry again. Though I think in ways that are not noticeable, it is good, and the power of the Self is more manifest in the life. From all i've listened to and read, all the satsang stuff that I've been exposed to, really, you can't let go of this, this effort has to be pretty much constant. I mean it's O.K that the ego/mind revives itself. But this attention on self has to keep resuming itself, and perhaps it weakens, and perhaps it often gets easier, and perhaps there is more awareness of what was actually inquiry, and what was unnecessary, building on previous efforts, and previous deeper experiences. Because the true power, the Self, doesn't need my help. I mean in a sense my efforts is required. But I think the positive gain in any of these experiences is that the power of the Self is more manifest in the life, the mind is subtler in relation to it, and the assertion of ego is not as gross as previously, but this may not be noticeable. It may feel like it did before the deep experience. Infact it did, same old ego. I also do my best to not be lazy in relation to worldly tasks. I even try to inquire in relation to them. I try to keep this up, full-time sadhaka. I shoudl also note, at my deepest point, I noticed someone sitting in the cafe who seemed exceedingly clear, she was staring off into space, but seemed totally aware, similarly.

Losing M. Mind said...

"Who am I? Where do I come from? I am Antonin Artaud and I say this as I know how to say this immediatly you will see my present body burst into fragments and remake itself under ten thousand notorious aspects a new body where you will never forget me" - Antonin Artaud. He is a famous theatre/playwrite, who ended up being institutionalized as mad.

It is noteable that he almost seems to be saying, that if he asks Who am I? correctly this will happen.

Murali said...

Dear All,

I came across in "The Power of the Presence" the advise of Bhagavan on Japa.

"Making the mind as mouth, repeat the Name continuosly like Vishnu Chakra"

Gave a fresh push for me. Thought of sharing this with you all.

Regards Murali

Ravi said...

An excerpt from The Gospel of Sri Ramakrishna:

"There are certain signs of God-realization. The man in whom longing
for God manifests its glories is not far from attaining Him. What are the glories of
that longing? They are discrimination, dispassion, compassion for living beings,
serving holy men, loving their company, chanting the name and glories of God, telling
the truth, and the like. When you see those signs of longing in an aspirant, you can
rightly say that for him the vision of God is not far to seek.
"The state of a servant's house will tell you unmistakably whether his master has
decided to visit it. First, the rubbish and jungle around the house are cleared up.
Second, the soot and dirt are removed from the rooms. Third, the courtyard,
floors, and other places are swept clean. Finally the master himself sends various
things to the house such as a carpet, a hubble-bubble for smoking, and the like.
When you see these things arriving, you conclude that the master will very soon
A DEVOTEE: "Sir, should one first practise discrimination to attain self-control?"
MASTER: "That is also a path. It is called the path of vichara, reasoning. But the
inner organs3 are brought under control naturally through the path of devotion as
well. It is rather easily accomplished that way. Sense pleasures appear more and
more tasteless as love for God grows. Can carnal pleasure attract a grief-stricken
man and woman the day their child has died?"
Efficacy of japa and prayer
DEVOTEE: "How can I develop love for God?"
MASTER: "Repeat His name, and sins will disappear. Thus you will destroy lust,
anger, the desire for creature comforts, and so on."
DEVOTEE: "How can I take delight in God's name?"
MASTER: "Pray to God with a yearning heart that you may take delight in His name.
He will certainly fulfil your heart's desire."

Anonymous said...

I'm Nobody! Who are you?
Are you - Nobody - Too?
Then there's a pair of us!
Don't tell! they'd advertise - you know!

~ Emily Dickinson

Anonymous said...

Nobody, too, am I!
An endless expanse
of All-Seeing sky
in a hole in your pants.

- Anonymous, 11 Mar 2010


Nandu Narasimhan said...

Clemens, Ravi, Srikantha, PeterE,

Thank you so much for the posts.

Just going over your posts again and again helped so much.

Clemens, totally agree with your 'state of consciousness' post. When one looks at it and begins to say, 'okay, so you are here, I'll wait till you go away', the feeling starts weakening.

Anonymous said...

June 22, 1935
A youth of twenty asked how to realize Self. He sat down in silence and
waited more than an hour and then was about to leave. While doing so, he
again asked: "How to realize Self?"

M. Whose Self? Find out
D. I do not know.

M. Think. Who is it that says "I do not know"? What is not known? In
that statement, who is the "I"?

D. Somebody in me.

M. Who is the somebody? In whom?

D. May be some power.

M. Find it.

D. How to realize Brahman?

M. Without knowing the Self, why do you seek to know Brahman?

D. The sastras say Brahman pervades all and me, too.

M. Find the "I" in me and then there will be time to think of Brahman.

D. Why was I born?

M. Who was born? The answer is the same for all your questions.

D. Who am I then?

M. (smiling) Have you come to examine me and ask me? You must say who
you are.

D. In deep sleep the soul leaves the body and remains elsewhere. When it
re-enters, I awake. Is it not so?

M. What is it that leaves the body?

D. The power, perhaps.

M. Find out the power.

D. The body is composed of five elements. What are the elements?

M. Without knowing the Self, how do you aim at knowing the elements?

(The young man sat awhile and left with permission.)

The Master remarked later: All right. It will work.

from "Talks With Ramana Maharshi"

Anonymous said...

fellow practitioners, can you tell me,

is there any place for prayer for the practitioner who takes self-enquiry as her/his core practice?

stated another way,
if i am a devoteed practitioner of self-enquiry, is it a contradiction to engage in prayer?

after-all, if one is devoted to self-enquiry, who is praying? and to whom?
.....or is this too extreme, a misunderstanding?

what are your thoughts?

and what did Ramana have to say, if anything, on the compatibility between self-enquiry and prayer?

thanks for your view

Clemens Vargas Ramos said...


... When one looks at it and begins to say, 'okay, so you are here, I'll wait till you go away', the feeling starts weakening. ...

That's it. To speak more exactly - the feeling wasn't even there before you "decided to feel it", what means that in some sense there was an unconsciousness desire to feel something like that or to interpret a feeling this way.

Simply see that there are feelings coming and going - some of them pleasant and others unpleasant - and watch them coming and going. Step behind all your feelings. The practice is to constantly withdraw yourself behind all your thoughts and emotions until you can see them like flowerpots on your window seat.

There is no other practice. It sounds easy, and therefore some people can't believe it and start looking for a more "complicate" = "demanding" practice. But in fact this is the most difficult practice. If someone feels not to be successful in this practice then this is because he needs more practice.

Thoughts are so mighty because their origin is of such a great subtleness and fineness that the untrained mind isn't able to detect them as a bundle of pure ideas. It misinterprets them as a danger, as the devils work, as an obscure power of the universe, as a dangerous defect of the personality, as a fate, as unconsciousness etc. As a result the mind starts to develop more fear and more mental conditioning.

Because of the forementioned subtleness and fineness the ancient scriptures point out that "the world appears in a moment and lasts a moment". Of course in this the seer of the world is included because a world without a seer doesn't exist.

You believed to be "spiritual dry", and that was your world and the seer of this world ("I" and "my dry world I live in"). But the truth was that your mind feeled dryness, not you; you simply noticed it. Of course "mind" is nothing else then another word for "thought" or "idea".


Clemens Vargas Ramos said...


... who is praying? and to whom? ...

If you are able to see it clearly this way then there is no other practise needed as to constantly dismiss all negative thoughts, feeling and doubts as products of the mind. This is the only practise, and someone who knows this knows the way - he needs no other practise and advise.

Yet experience shows that for most people doubts and ego thoughts are not that easy to overcome. In the meantime (until the rise of the forementioned understanding and practise) all valid means (prayer, self enquiry, devotion etc.) are allowed to subdue the enemy (I prefer to say: ...to bring the mind back home).

I recommend to all people in need of a clear description of this path the study of Advaita Bodha Deepika.


Ravi said...

"if i am a devoteed practitioner of self-enquiry, is it a contradiction to engage in prayer?

after-all, if one is devoted to self-enquiry, who is praying? and to whom?
.....or is this too extreme, a misunderstanding?"

Very Good Question peter.Here is what Sri Bhagavan says in Maharshi's Gospel in the chapter-Sadhana and Grace:

"D: Does knowing myself imply knowing God?

M: Yes, God is within you.

D: Then, what stands in the way of my knowing myself or God?

M: Your wandering mind and perverted ways.

D: I am a weak creature. But why does not the superior power of the Lord within remove the obstacles?

M: Yes, He will, if you have the aspiration.

D: Why should He not create the aspiration in me?

M: Then surrender yourself.

D: If I surrender myself, is no prayer to God necessary?

M: Surrender itself is a mighty prayer.

D: But is it not necessary to understand His nature before one surrenders oneself?

M: If you believe that God will do for you all the things
you want Him to do, then surrender yourself to Him. Otherwise let God alone and know yourself.

D: Has God or the Guru any solicitude for me?

M: If you seek either — they are not really two but one
and identical — rest assured that they are seeking you with a solicitude greater than you can ever imagine.
Prayer,aspiration,surrender-All these are only a manifestation of this-"seeking you with a solicitude greater than you can ever imagine."
This answers your question-Who is Praying to Whom?

As Sri Bhagavan in his wonderful Akshara mana Maalai says-"I came to feed on Thee, but Thou hast fed on me; now there is peace, Oh Arunachala!"
Peter,I do not follow the path of 'Self Enquiry'.
Is Self Enquiry an 'exercise'?Prayer is not.It wells up from within and one cannot manipulate it,cannot pick and choose,and be selective about it.It leads to self Awareness.I suppose 'self Enquiry' also leads to self Awareness.As such,I think that there should be no contradiction between Prayer and Self Enquiry.


Losing M. Mind said...

holy company. This sri ramana seva ashram sent me this, to read the messages, I found them really helpful.


Ravi said...

An Excerpt from The Talks of the Sage of Kanchi- 'Voice of Divinity'
'Annai Deivam', that is, 'Mother is God', in pages 746 to 748, of Deivathin Kural, Volume 1.

2. Avvai Patti has said, "Annaiyum Pithavum munnari deivam", meaning that, Mother and Father are the first known Gods. Amongst the two first known Gods also, she places Mother first. Thaithreeya Upanishad also says that, Mother, Father, Guru and Guest are to be treated, respected and known as Gods:-
"Mathru devo bhava; Pithru devo bhava;
Acharya devo bhava; Athithi devo bhava."

3. If we can think of our own Mother as God, in turn, we can also think of God as the Mother! The supreme intelligent power that is creating, nurturing and ruling all the worlds and the Universe, when thought of as the Mother, we call Her, 'Ambal'.

4. The Paramatma, who has become all the varieties of existance, can and does come to us, in whatever form we invite and pray, The Paramatma has that capability and grace. If we pray that the very Parabrhmam itself should come to us as our Mother and grant all our wishes, it comes accordingly. There is a special quality in thinking of God as the Mother and ourselves as Her children. You know that in nature, the mutual Mother - Child relationship is something special! So when we think of God as the Mother, the relationship is pure, happy and unconditional love. Anger and passion, disappear on their own. Our crookedness goes and we become child like. We are not doing any favour to God by thinking of Him as the Mother. In reality, He is like a Mother to all life forms!

5. If we have to consider our biological Mother in this life as God, God who is standing by us in all our life times, should be treated as the Mother, certainly. Our biological Mother is the 'amma' of two or three children. 'Ambal', is the Mother for all generations for all life times. She is the Mother for all life forms, from the micro to the macro level; to all birds, animals, humans, worms, insects, germs, grass, plants, trees, creepers and every thing animate and inanimate. When you think of God as the Mother, we will know that She is the only Mother and all of us are Her children. We will feel universal brotherhood towards all life forms and we will want to embrace all, with no exception."

Ravi said...

....The Sage of Kanchi ctd....
"6. Even Devatas(deities), Avatara Purushas(God incarnations), and great Mahatmas have approached God, from this perspective and obtained salvation. Adi Sankara, Kalidasa, Bana, Ramakrishna Paramahamsa and many more can be quoted, as examples. Kalidasa got his illustrious literary capability, by Her Grace only. Thiru Gnana Sambandar was breast-fed by Mother Herself and thus got the highest Gnana.

7. Mother who gives all health, wealth, name and fame; also gives Gnana and power of speech. The power of written and spoken expression is Hers because, She is 'Akshara Swaroopam', (ie.,of the form of Alphabets and Phonetics). We are made up of the five basic elements of Space, Air, Water, Fire and Earth, combining in various proportions; superimposed with Satva, Rajo and Tamo gunas; seemingly made of, blood, bones, flesh, nerves, mucus, hair etc. If we are scratched in the surface or deeper, what is revealed is a gory sight! But She is made of Alphabets and Phonetics. That is why, 'Devi Upasakars', (those devotees who approach God as a child would go to its Mother), are endowed with the gift of very powerful, spoken and written expressions!

8. The Mother of all Space and Time or in other words, The Mother of all worlds for all times; Her grace is capable of lifting up any body, however small or down-trodden he or she may be. To earn this Love, all that we have to do is to approach Her with Love. The Akshara Brhmam, should be adored with words. As a child adopts or copies the Mother in speech and style, we will imbibe Her ways and being. As we carry on doing this, we will become Her 'Swaroopa', that, we will become indistinguishable from Her. To this extent that, we will spontaneously be giving the same Love and Happiness, to all people at all times!"

Srik said...


>>if i am a devoteed practitioner of self-enquiry, is it a contradiction to engage in prayer?

This looks like Enquiry Vs Surrender. To add to Ravi's quotes from Maharshi's Gospel, some quotes from 'Gems from Bhagavan':

What the bhakta calls surrender, the man who does vichara calls jnana. Both are trying to take the ego back to the source from which it sprang and make it merge there.

Bhakti is not different from mukti. Bhakti is being as the Self. One is always That. He realizes It by the means he adopts.
What is bhakti? To think of God. That means only one thought prevails to the exclusion of all other thoughts. That thought is of God, which is the Self, or it is the self surrendered unto God. When He has taken you up, nothing else will assail you. The absence of thought is bhakti. It is also mukti. Bhakti is Jnana Mata, i.e., the mother of jnana.

kandhan said...

@Peter, AFAIK Ramana Maharishi had emphatically and categorically approved only two paths to salvation: self-enquiry and (COMPLETE)surrender. If one has completly surrendered his all to god, then does the need for prayer arise? The problem is with surrendering completely. We treat him as Karmic ATM from which to draw benefits by using the card of prayer.

Ravi said...

An excerpt from 'Gems from Bhagavan' by Devaraja Mudaliar,Chapter 5 called 'Surrender',page 19-20:

"A Maharani told Bhagavan, ‘I am blessed with everything
that a human being would like to have’. Her Highness’s voice
choked. Controlling herself she continued slowly, ‘I have all
that I want, a human being may want... but... but... I do not
have peace of mind. Something prevents it. Probably my
destiny’. There was silence for a while. Then Bhagavan spoke
in his usual sweet manner: ‘All right, you have said what you
wished to say. Well, what is destiny? There is no destiny.
Surrender, and all will be well. Throw all responsibility on
God and do not bear the burden yourself. What can destiny
do to you then?’
Devotee: Surrender is impossible.
Bhagavan: Yes, complete surrender is impossible. Partial
surrender is certainly possible for all. In course of time that
will lead to complete surrender. Well, if surrender is impossible
what can be done? There is no peace of mind. You are helpless
to bring it about. It can be done only by surrender.
D: Partial surrender — well, can it undo destiny?
B: Oh yes, it can.
D: Is not destiny due to past karma?
B: If one has surrendered to God, God will look to it.
D: That being God’s dispensation, how does God undo it?
B: All are in Him only.

To a devotee who was praying that she should have more
frequent visions of Siva, Bhagavan said, “Surrender to Him
and abide by His Will, whether He appears or disappears;
await His pleasure. If you ask Him to do as you like it is not
surrender but command to God. You cannot have Him obey
you and yet think you have surrendered. He knows what is
best and when and how to do it. His is the burden. You have
no longer any cares. All your cares are His. Such is surrender.
That is bhakti.”


Anonymous said...

Cowardly Devotee

I read this blog on and off, mainly for David's superb posts rather than the comments which i tend to skim through.

I post just to share some thoughts on Atma Vichara. My take on it is that working through with it means you ought expect an education from Reality itself.

It's why i've tried it in fits and starts without persevering, because while i engage in Atma Vichara - which ought to be persistantly, incessantly, i can and ought expect anything to happen in my life.

Some things given perhaps, more likely things taken away, exposure, ennobling suffering...you name it, A.V. is a dialogue with God, who will teach you good.

Furthermore the dilettante philosopher in me wonders about "The Self" and Buddha's non-self, not really relevant for a neophyte i suppose , but man wonders about ultimate things.

And the Christian in me wonders whether i am forsaking him, or finding him thought Atma Vichara

The only common metaphor i've seen shared among all spiritual traditions is "The Cave of the Heart"...hope to find you there

Losing M. Mind said...

Beautiful, anonymous, beautiful. I relate. I am a cowardly devotee too. Although admitting cowardice is maybe the beginning of showing signs of courage. I like how you described atma vichara as a dialogue with God. In my experience it has been, in just the way you described. I was also the same in that I didn't persevere for the same reason. I wanted really to get the treasure that comes from inquiry, and not do it incorrectly. Lately, sometimes I feel I'm getting a more natural experience of inquiry. And it goes in and out. But it is really focusing on the sense of self. And diving into that so to speak, not taking it for granted. And that inquiry, when I'm doing it in a profound, sincere, deep way, really seems to be with the external reality teaching me a lesson. And yes, Reality has taught me some intense lessons since i started attempting inquiry. It seems like both, the diving into the inquiry, or peering into the self, and the external learning experiences, and the wisdom gained, are all that dialogue with God. I guess ultimately, according to Maharshi they are one. But the thing I was going to comment on, was the whole deep sleep thing. I thought maybe I got an understanding of these teachings in relation to deep sleep. Deep sleep was used by Maharshi as "you were blissful then" But it is also I got the impression described as tamasic, it's not an illumined state, though the peace or bliss, and maybe the experience is identical to Realization. It occured to me that maybe that is because even though the experience of the Self and deep sleep are one. The reason one is spoken of as with awareness, is for one, the waking state is the only place Realization can be gained through inquiry. But also because if someone is anasthetized, they are in Bliss of the Self, because the ego is subdued. But there is no awareness. The state of Realization, or jnana, is full awareness, everything everybody is aware of, in Realization that awareness is still there, because if I'm aware of something, it is the Self that is aware, the ego is only this false identification, this mental illusion, so it's not aware of anything. It's just filled with irrelevent stories. So the awareness of anything, it is the Self that is aware. And so in Realization, awareness is not diminished even of the world. It's realized the world is an illusion, it's not that the jnani, or in jnana, my awareness of the world is supressed, or diminished, like in deep sleep, or anasthesia, or to a lesser extent in a stupor, or drunk. So even though the peaceful experience of deep sleep and Realization are identical. One is not permanent. The jnani, or my real Self, or my real nature is an awareness much bigger then the ego's dream. It's not less then it. That was kind of my understanding.

Anonymous said...

As I understand it Atma vichara is a question that there is no answer to. Consequently nothing the rational mind comes out with is of any use whatsoever.
Self enquiry is simply a ploy to quieten the mind and bring it back to peace and the hear and now.
"Do not meditate be
Do not think you are- be.
Don't think about being - you are."
If you can't just be and most of us can't, therefore self enquiry is used as a tool to still the turbulent mind.
Last but not least there is grace
and that is a delightful topic that Ravi and other friends may like to comment on.

Upekkha said...

Thank you Anonymous for your way of understanding Atma Vichara, which is helpful stopping this endless chase for results.

Sri said...

On reading your comment (and request), I was reminded of a Nisargadatta dialog excerpt I thought might be helpful, but was unsure if I'd be able to locate it. I picked up the book "I am That" (which I haven't read in a while) and the bookmark was on the page with the said excerpt! Here it is:
Q: I have been barren for the last two years, desolate and empty and often I was praying for death to come.
Maharaj: Well, with your coming here events have started rolling. Let things happen as they happen -- they will sort themselves out nicely at the end. You need not strain towards the future -- the future will come to you on its own. For some time longer, you will remain sleep-walking, as you do now, bereft of meaning and assurance; but this period will end and you will find your work both fruitful and easy. There are always moments when one feels empty and estranged. Such moments are most desirable for it means the soul had cast its moorings and is sailing for distant places. This is detachment -- when the old is over and the new has not come. If you are afraid, this state may be distressing. But there is really nothing to be afraid of. Remember the instruction -- whatever you come across, go beyond.
{Chapter 53; emphasis mine}
Best wishes,

Clemens Vargas Ramos said...

... comments on role of grace ...

We once had an interesting discussion here on grace, devotion, self enquiry and bhakti:

The Power to enlighten


Losing M. Mind said...

I have this friend on campus. And I always run into him when I'm really deep into the inquiry. And things have this kind of hallucenatory feeling, when the 'subdivisons' are starting to be relinquished. And I can tell this person is relatively without those 'subdivisions'. It's just an interesting effect. That in deep inquiry it seems to draw in people that already get it. I remember this person when I first talked to him, he said, "do you know what i have a problem with?" We were talking philosophy. I said, "what?" He said, "I". People saying "I'm doing this, or I have a problem". I then had told him about Maharshi's teachings. Today, I was talking about inquiry and he was talking about how, there is this one ineffable "it". When I talked about how I'm not fully there, he says, "neither am I." But this is someone who has never been exposed to Maharshi, the Vedas, but seems to grasp this. He brings it up first. He was talking about how there is the "infinite regress". On asking he meant how any endeavor such as science, is an infinite regress of the question "why?" with no answer. It's funny because when I talked about what inquiry is, he didn't quite understand, because he said there is only the One. He said when he refers to "I" he is referring to everything. I guess what I'm saying, is when the 'subdivisions' (his word) are starting to be relinquished, there is that samadhi-ish thing going on. And it was pretty clear that he was more there, then me. That is the best I can describe it. Sometimes, when I brought up things, I elaborated when he said I can tell there is a spectrum of people who are aware of this. But when I elaborated on this, he said, "ya know, I can already see that there is no spectrum". And that reminded me a little of Nisargadatta saying, immediately when there is a thought, or something, I can see that this is not me, or has nothing to do with me. I was noticing that with this person. But again, the only reason, I'm saying I don't think this person is a sage, is only because of what they articulated, that they still have anxieties. And also that they described some fear of this "it" experience, where there is no thing. But they mentioned how most of their life has been spent in awareness of this. I told him, that I'm only recently becoming aware of it, and have had to struggle.

Losing M. Mind said...

There was definitely a darshan look in his glance. I mean, it wasn't as powerful as with a certain other. But I mean, his present-ness, when I would look into "I" as we were talking, and experience a relatively "I"-less state of present-ness. This person was completely present. And it was even more obvious then previously. Like I had noticed it a little. But I've been getting 'deeper' sometimes, or understanding inquiry better. And it was clear this person really does get it to a large extent. Because he was right there with me, no boundaries. But honestly, I still had alot of subdivision cropping up, and anxieties.

Anonymous said...

Hello fellow practitioners

Thank you for taking the time to respond to my question re enquiry and prayer.


your post “if you are able to see it clearly this way then there is no other practise needed………”, these words ring true to me, and capture something of what I was contemplating when I asked the question.

Having said this, I think Ravi and Srikantha are on to something also. There probably need be no contradiction because there are many roads home. So one is left to gravitate towards the practice that she/he feels strongest towards.

Very nice words from Nisargadatta. Thank you for posting.

Clemens, where can I find instructions re how to: bold, italic, link etc when posting here. Thanks.

Clemens Vargas Ramos said...



The behavior of the "last comments" gadget is quite astonishing.

The last comment I can get to (by manual manipulation) is by ramanamayi, April 30th, 2008 at 10:29, bhagavan and politics of his day

The command to produce this result shows that this must be so far comment # 4887.

Command: http://sri-ramana-maharshi.blogspot.com/feeds/comments/default?start-index=4887&max-results=9


Clemens Vargas Ramos said...


Dear Peter,

allowed html tags here are as follows:

bold:    <b>bold</b>
italic:    <i>italic</i>
bold/italic:    <b><i>bold/italic</i></b>
Link:    <a href="http://your link">Link</a>


Anonymous said...


here is a blogger help article Best to try out some tags on your own test blog, in order to see the outcome. Good luck.

Anonymous said...

Nisargadatta's wisdom "You need not strain towards the future - the future will come to you on its own.
Maharajas's intuitive way of speaking to devotees is wonderful.

Ravi said...

". There probably need be no contradiction because there are many roads home. So one is left to gravitate towards the practice that she/he feels strongest towards."
Quite true peter.Just wish to add that even within the 'path' there is nothing straight jacketed that does not permit a mix of approaches.As Ralph Waldo Emerson says beautifully in his essay 'Self Reliance':
"It seems to be a rule of wisdom never to rely on your memory alone, scarcely even in acts of pure memory, but to bring the past for judgment into the thousand-eyed present, and live ever in a new day. In your metaphysics you have denied personality to the Deity, yet when the devout motions of the soul come, yield to them heart and life though they should clothe God with shape and color. Leave your theory, as Joseph his coat in the hand of the harlot, and flee."
Emerson's words above are not the words of a 'thinker' but of one who has been a genuine 'seeker'.
I recommend Paul Brunton's excellent 'Quest of the overself' that covers these topics and more;very useful to all aspirants.


Anonymous said...

This is part of a letter sent to the editor of the Mountain Path 1986.
"I would like you to read my story and give some advice or opinion, if you please."
I had been making every effort to understand the Maharshi's teaching for months. One day after hard contemplation and meditation, light dawned on my mind. I am not the body nor the mind. I am consciousness itself. I became contented but nothing special happened. Hours later, however unbearable joy attacked me. The explosion of joy was too mighty, it almost killed me. It faded away gradually, after the disappearence of the joy, strange silence as deep as possible and the most satisfying peace were left. That joy comes and goes from time to time but the quietness and peace never cease to be. That peace is above all happiness. When I am engaged in work or hard thinking, however peace tapers down. But as soon as I stop thinking there prevails perfect peace. What do you think about my experience?
Editorial reply:
We went through your letter with great joy and gladly confirm your experiences to be true and of a high order.
The letter was sent in by Teruyuki Uchikoshi a Japanese devotee.

Sri said...

You said "if i am a devoteed practitioner of self-enquiry, is it a contradiction to engage in prayer?".

Put another way, this is asking if jnana and bhakti are compatible? Ramana says not only they are compatible, they are, in the limit, one and the same. There must be a ton of references that David Godman could probably write a book (which, if we are lucky, he might yet do!). There are so many instances of Ramana being overcome by bhakti, his eyes brimming, his voice choking.

Osho says "Bhakti is the fragrance of a fully flowering Jnana." And in the words of Nisargadatta "Wisdom says 'I am nothing'. Love says 'I am everything'. Between these two banks, the river of life flows".

Best wishes,

Anonymous said...

I have some neemyth friends in my life.
They are so close to awakening.
Because they are so close they become frightened.

Some of them turn away.
Some of them turn petty.
Some of them just stop right where they are.
I love them all. They are me.
Only I know it.

Some of them parrot it back to me.
Some of them just can't understand me.
Some of them have rejected me.
I love them all. They are me.
Only I know it.

What a joyous mystery!
I am awake, they are not, yet.

They may never awaken.
Friends, children, lovers, enemies,
Strangers all to the awakened ones.
One may comprehend the other,
No matter.

Why are they asleep and I am awake?
This is the mystery of life.
I am no better than they.
I cannot awaken them.
I lost everything to gain everything,
I was ready, I had no choice, I had to see.

Why am I awake while they still sleep?
Life will have its mysteries.
They have spiritual riches to protect,
Property to own, positions to enjoy,
Senses and needs to satisfy.
Who can give all that up?

I see within them to the power and the glory
I see within them to the grace and the beauty
I gaze upon their personalities
I gaze upon their shells
It is all the game of the I AM.

Sweet mystery!


Murali said...

Dear All,

You said "if i am a devoteed practitioner of self-enquiry, is it a contradiction to engage in prayer?".

I was tormented by this question for sometime in the past. After much discussion (with David Godman and others), I came to the following conclusion.

While the analogy of many roads to the same goal is an appropriate one, it has one corollary which I feel is not very correct. That is, if you take one road, then, it necessarily means that you did not take the other road. I think this corollary has some limitations.

There is another analogy we can use. If we consider all paths as means of breaking the ego, we can assume that there are many instruments I have with me to break it. Sometimes, I use one instrument and sometimes another instrument. It is something like a sculptor trying to break a stone. He has many instruments. He alternates the usage of them based on the moment by moment situation. All the while, he has one main instrument and some side instruments which he uses upon necessity.

I think this analogy has some use. By our nature, we have one path ere-marked for us. While using that path, we might use the other instruments as and when needed. All of them designed to ultimately break the ego.

Bhagavan also told this to Kunju Swami. When Kunju Swami asked him what should he do the entire day, Bhagavan told that for sometime, he can do self-enquiry, sometime worship, sometime parayana etc., all the while remembering that Self-enquiry is the main goal.

This view is also collaborated by saints like Vivekananda, Sivananda et al.

Regards Murali

Ravi said...

'In the vision of God' is a wonderful autobiographical account of papa Ramdas.How a jivanmukta leads a carefree life, like a dry leaf blown by wind hither and thither!
Here is an amusing incident from this book(This happened in Mount Abu):
"Another day a sepoy of Raja Ram,a King Friend,took him out for a stroll.He asked the friend to lead him to a solitary place,away from the haunts of men.But being of an officious nature,the sepoy escorted him to a distant cave occupied by a sannyasi.In the midst of a jungle he found himself in front of a large wide open rock-cut cave.In it was seated a young sannyasi,clad in ochre-coloured cloth,clean shaven,with a number of books scattered beside him.
The kind friend whispered into Ramdas ears:"This is swami Kaivalyanand."Ramdas went up to the Sanyasi and prostrated before him.
With a look of surprise he asked:"To whom are you offering this salutation?"
"To Ram",Randas replied.
"Who are you?"
"Ramdas,Ramdas,funny ain't it?There is only one Truth.Why do you assume this false duality?"
"It is Ram himself,being one, has chosen to be many."
"Wrong.He is always one;many is false,is illusion,"he said.
"Truth has become God and his devotee for the sake of Lila or play."
"Why Play?"he asked.
"For love and bliss;so,when Ramdas prostrates before you,it is yourself who do it in the form of Ramdas,"Ramdas rejoined.
"Bosh,there is only one,never two."
"To whom are you talking then,Swamiji?"(This is papa's Brahmastra!-Ravi)
He reflected for a while and replied,"To myself".
"Exactly-you assume there are two,although in the light of absolute Truth there is only one."
"No,no-no realised man believes in duality."
"What of Tulasidas,Surdas,Kabir,Samarth Ramdas and many others?"
"Oh!"he laughed,"they had not attained jnana.They were struggling on a lower plane!"(There are many others who think like kaivalyananda-Ravi)
"But their teachings and works show that they possessed high illumination.They held out parabhakti as the highest realisation,"Ramdas rejoined.
"i maintain they were ignorant folk," and,taking a book from the pile near him,he added,"brush them all aside,here,take this book and read;you will understand things more clearly."
"Ramdas does not need to understand.Knowledge has been defined to him as that state in which you know that you know nothing."
"well,well,I say read this work;it is written by ME."
He pressed Ramdas hard to accept it.A glance at the book revealed its title and its author:"Will to Satchidanand by Swami Kaivalyananda,M.A."(M.A is Master of Arts,and refers to college Graduation degree!!!-Ravi).Ramdas took leave of him after his usual way of parting danawat at his feet.He carried the book with him.

Ravi said...

Papa's(Papa is the endearing way Swami Ramdas used to be addressed by devotees.No addition of a suffix- Ji,as in papaji-which is a respectful form of addressing) humour and graphic narration of events is a real Treat.Here is a typical papa's narration:
"About five o'clock he reached Pathankot.He saw a white tower of a temple on the road-side into which he entered.The moment the pujari of the temple saw him,he showed great delight,as though he had been long looking for Ramdas' coming.He embraced Ramdas with great love and made him sit beside him on a cot.He offered Ramdas a sweet drink and talked to him in a most friendly manner.The Night was drawing nearer.
"Maharaj,Ramdas desires to spend this night in a perfectly solitary room in your mandir.kindly provide him with such a place,"Ramdas pleaded.
The pujari at once said that there was a cave-like room underground,at the base of the main temple structure,a place free from the disturbing noises of external life.it had not been in use for a long time.Still it was fit for habitation.Ramdas agreed to occupy it for the night.Taking an old mat,the pujari led him down a flight of stone steps into the semi-dark room,about ten feet sqaure,in the bowels of the earth.Dust lay heavy on the floor which was perhaps unswept for years.He spread the mat on which Ramdas sat and bade the pujari good-night.The Pujari left.When night descended on the outside world,the room was merged in inky darkness.There was a single small window to the level of the outer ground.
For hours Ramdas sat on the mat in a state of complete oblivion of his body when he was brought down to the external consciousness by the sound of footsteps.He opened his eyes and saw three persons enter the cave.They had a lantern with them and also a Hand Harmonium and a Tabla.They were the pujari and his friends.The pujari had also brought with him a brass lota full of milk for Ramdas.At his pressure Ramdas drank the milk.
"Maharaj,"the pujari then said,"We intend to sing a few songs here.Hence we have come with musical instruments."
"All Right,"Ramdas replied,"Ramdas will only be too happy to listen to your music."
The light was placed in the centre of the room and the friends stationed themselves in a line to the left of Ramdas at the base of the staircase.The music commenced.The song was in Hindi composed by a well-known saint.They sang the first verse which meant:"He is a jivanmukta,or a liberated soul who has discovered the joy of having Ramnam on his tongue."When they finished the first verse,there was a sudden stoppage of their song.The musical instruments also ceased to function.Ramdas turned to them to see what the matter was.All the three of them with mouths wide open and frightened eyes were looking in the direction beyond the light on the right side of Ramdas.A venomous snake was observed slowly creeping towards Ramdas.


Ravi said...

....In the Vision of God ctd...
At one bound they stood up as one man and exhorted Ramdas to do the same.
"Let us leave this place,maharaj,I can find you accommodation elsewhere,"said the pujari."That snake is the worst of its kind.it is full of poison from tail to head.Do get up and follow us."
Ramdas was cool and quiet,and replied:"Ram,why are you so afraid of the snake?God himself has given us darshan in that form.He has come with so much love to hear music.He won't do any harm.Sit down and go on with the kirtan."
"Impossible,"cried out the pujari,"to sing when the messenger of yama himself is so close at hand!We are off.We advise you to come away with us".
"Don't give way to fear.The snake will do no harm.you need not sing,but don't run away.You will know that the snake means no ill,"urged Ramdas.
They would not sit down.As the serpent crept nearer and nearer to Ramdas,they turned like the hand of a clock and drew round at the tail-end of the serpent.The reptile came quite near Ramdas.He beckoned it and said "Beloved Ram,come on;don't hesitate."
He had a piece of jaggery tied to his cloth,which he untied and placed before the snake and said:"Beloved Ram,this is the only offering Ramdas can make you,please accept it."
The snake approached the lump of jaggery,and with its forked tongue licked it well for a few seconds and then came onwards.It was now only about two inches from him,but he was sitting stock-still.Somehow,it did not quite approach him,but turned its head outwards and took a circuitous path close behind him.As it emerged on the left,the friends moved round to the right side of Ramdas.They took care to see that they always maintained a distance of at least a yard from the tail-end of the snake.The snake now slowly made for the flight of steps and started creeping up from one corner of it.
"Maharaj,"cried out the pujari in a tone of anxiety,"there are about forty steps to ascend to reach the higher ground level.The snake goes so leisurely that it might take hours to gain the top.Till then we are caught up here.Also there is no knowing when it might take it into its head to turn back into the cave.We are done for."


Ravi said...

...Papa Ramdas ,continued....
"Have no fear.It is going up one corner of the steps.you may safely ascend by the other,"Ramdas suggested.
"Nothing of the kind,"quickly put in the pujari;"we dare not do it.we have no such trust in it as you have."
Ramdas then proposed to stand midway on the steps ,so that they might securely pass up between him and the wall,opposite to the course followed by the snake.They agreed and he took the position indicated by him.One by one,the friends went up the steps,leaping four steps at a time!Before going,they warned him again of the danger,appealing him to follow them out of the place.They took with them,besides the musical instruments,the lantern also.
Ramdas was again immersed in pitch darkness.He regained his seat on the mat.He groped in the darkness for the lump of jaggery tasted by the serpent,and after some search got it.Being the prasad left by the serpent,he threw it into his mouth and ate it with great delight.He remained in the sitting posture the whole night,absorbed in a blissful trance.
When the first glow of the morning was filtering through the translucent panes of the small window of the cave,he found a head peering into the room from a landing step at a sharp corner of the stone staircase.It was the pujari peeping to make sure that Ramdas was alive!Ramdas looked at him and smiled.He then entered the cave room with his friends of the previous night close at his heels.They sat down before him and gazed at him in wonder.Then the pujari's attention was drawn to the spot where the lump of jaggery had been.Not finding it there he questioned Ramdas as to what had become of it.He Replied that,being the Prasad of the snake,he had eaten it off.
"Good God!"he exclaimed,"You are a terrible man."
"Ramdas is not a terrible man," Ramdas returned."He is only a child and servant of God."
Then Ramdas left the cave room and temple,and proceeded on his journey.

Clemens Vargas Ramos said...


... "It is Ram himself,being one, has chosen to be many."
"Wrong. He is always one;many is false,is illusion," he said. ...

I know this dialogue very well. This "wrong" of Swami Kaivalyanand shows the basic misunderstanding of many disciples believing to understand Brahman by words (Ramakrishna often refers directly or indirectly to this). They don't understand the true meaning of "is" and "is not". The meaning of "is" and "is not" has to be realized in the heart - not in the mind.

Have you ever contemplated what you mean with "is" or "is not"?

The answer of Papa Ramdas is itself nothing else then an unpleasant stream of words and sheer nonsense. The difference between both is that Papa Ramdas must have known this.


Maneesha said...


I guess u can consider the bhakti marga as plan B and the enquiry as plan A. This way, there shouldnt be any contradiction as such. Afterall, what matters the most that you keep rolling with sadhana!

Ravi said...

"The meaning of "is" and "is not" has to be realized in the heart - not in the mind."
Here is an excerpt from The Gospel of Sri Ramakrishna:
God-vision- How does one attain it-Thursday, August 24, 1882.

MASTER: "According to the Vaishnavas the aspirants and the seers of God may be
divided into different groups. These are the pravartaka, the sadhaka, the siddha,
and the siddha of the siddha. He who has just set foot on the path may be called a
pravartaka. He may be called a sadhaka who has for some time been practising
spiritual disciplines, such as worship, japa, meditation, and the chanting of God's
name and glories. He may be called a siddha who has known from his inner
experience that God exists. An analogy is given in the Vedanta to explain this. The
master of the house is asleep in a dark room. Someone is groping in the darkness to
find him. He touches the couch and says, 'No, it is not he.' He touches the window and says, 'No, it is not he.' He touches the door and says, 'No, it is not he.' This is known in the Vedanta as the process of 'Neti, neti', 'Not this, not this'. At last his
hand touches the master's body and he exclaims, 'Here he is!' In other words, he is
now conscious of the 'existence' of the master. He has found him, but he doesn't
yet know him intimately.
"There is another type, known as the siddha of the siddha, the 'supremely
perfect'. It is quite a different thing when one talks to the master intimately, when
one knows God very intimately through love and devotion. A siddha
has undoubtedly attained God, but the 'supremely perfect' has known God very
The 'is ' and 'is not' belong to the world of 'many' only-be it of the 'mind' or 'Heart' or whatever.
Brahman is beyond 'is' and 'is not' and yet it 'is' and 'is not'!
This is the stage of parabhakti or Poorna Jnana.The words of papa will make sense if we get rid of all that we have read and all that we 'know'(be it of the 'mind' or the 'Heart').

Ravi said...

An excerpt from 'I am That' by Sri Nisargadatta Maharaj:
Q: Can there be happiness in unity? Does not all happiness imply necessarily contact, hence duality?
M: There is nothing wrong with duality as long as it does not create conflict. Multiplicity and variety without strife is joy. In pure consciousness there is light. For warmth, contact is needed.Above the unity of being is the union of love.Love is the meaning and purpose of duality.
Papa Ramdas statement has to be understood from this perspective.

Ravi said...

I wish to share a few more incidents from Papa Ramdas 'In the vision of God'.The only objective is to share my joy in reflecting on the wonderful Life of this 'child of Ram'(Great Saint,etc ,etc appear too pompous!).I got hold of this book after a long time!

"Narsobawadi is one of the most important shrines in maharashtra.It is situated on the banks of the river Krishna.On the bank on a higher level stands the temple of Dattareya-the Great Avadhuta whose life and teachings speak of the loftiest spiritual realisation.He is verily an avatar of God.The sadhus,washing their clothes in the river,bathed in its cool running waters.Next they visited the temple wherein they had the darshan of Dattatreya's image of white marble,dressed and decked with diadem and ornaments.They sat for some time on the outer platform.
It is a custom here that the sadhus and poor devotees usually obtain their food by Madhukari(Just like a bee gathers Madhu or ambrosia from various Flowers-Ravi)i.e by collecting doles of cooked food from four or more houses.At midday,along with others,Ramdas and his young companion also started for Madhukari.They visited four houses and collected in all eight balls of Rice and some dal(soup like preparation made from pulses-Ravi).They came with the meal to a clean spot under the shade of a large spreading tree.The rice and dal were mixed in an Aluminium plate which Ramcharandas carried with him.Often when alone,these sadhus would eat together from the same plate.So they started eating.Scarcely had they taken two or three mouthfuls when a huge kite from above swooped down and carried away in its talons two big lumps of mixed rice from the plate.
"This is very fine!" cried Ramdas."How kind of the kite to join us in this precious feast!" They went on with the meal and finished it.


Ravi said...

....In the vision of God ctd...

A little incident having a peculiar significance of its own deserves to be noted here.When the sadhus were jointly collecting the doles of madhukari from door to door,a critical devotee who was also one of the mendicants remarked:
"Ah!there go the guru and his chela-a funny pair," pointing to Ramdas and Ramcharandas.
Ramdas lost no time in assuring him that they were not guru and chela but they were Ram and his servant-Ramdas being the servant and the other Ram.
Soon after meals the sadhus left Narsobawadi and travelled via Sangli and Miraj towards Pandharpur.Their feet were getting from bad to worse.Still they tramped on breaking journey only for the nights.Thorny trees and bushes are the characteristics features of this part of maharashtra.The avenue trees on the road-side were full of thorns,bunches of which dropped on the way.In addition to the laceration and swelling of the feet,sharp thorns now found their lodging in them.Ramcharandas cried out with pain whenever a thorn pricked him.Every time Ramdas would prescribe only one remedy and that was ceaseless remembrance of God by repetition of His divine name which meant forgetfulness of the body and its pains.As they walked on Ramdas dilated upon the subject of complete dependence on God.
"Ram,you are carrying a bag containing cooking utensils and provisions.Now for cooking meals you have to go abegging for fuel,grains,etc.Ours is a life of Freedom which should not be hampered by these encumbrances.God feeds birds of the air and beasts of the Field.Would He not feed us also who have put ourselves entirely in His hands?Ours is to fill our mind with His remembrance,and have no care for anything else.So Ramdas suggests that the bag be given up and begging for food be also stopped.Then you will know how wonderfully God looks after us."
"What shall we do with the scrip and the things in it?" asked Ramcharandas.
"Wait,God will show the way."replied Ramdas.


Ravi said...

....In the vision of God,ctd....
Shortly after this talk they reached at noon a small grass hut on the road-side,occupied by a sadhu.Here,they halted to slake their thirst from a neighbouring well.The sadhu,owing to an attack of some eye disease,was short of sight.He was very hospitable and kind.He begged that they might stop with him for the midday meal.They agreed.With the help of Ramcharandas the old sadhu prepared meals.It was now discovered that the sadhu had only earthen pots for cooking.The meal being ready,the simple and devout sadhu first fed his guests,after actually worshipping them in the orthodox style.Then he dined upon the remnants of the food left by them.After some rest they prepared to start.
Ramdas turned to Ramcharandas and said:"Ram,God has not been slow in creating an opportunity for parting with the bag and utensils.He wills that we should hand over the bag to the sadhu here.The sadhu is in need of metal vessels.So leave the articles with him and also any money you possess."
Ramcharandas is a pure soul.He cheerfully resigned the bag to the sadhu.There yet remained with him a small bag which contained a black deerskin meant for Ramdas' use,which he would not give away,and a brass Lota with a cup which he carried in his hand.As for Ramdas,in addition to the cloth with which he covered himself,the long coat presented at Supa lay across his shoulder.
The sun was still hot.They continued their journey.Going over a mile they took shelter for a while under a Neem tree.Ramcharandas released the bag from his shoulder and laid it on the grassy ground.The Lota was still in his hand.Ramdas spread the cloak on the ground and sat on it.Now Ramdas went on expatiating on the Qualities of self-surrender.
"The sense of possession is a great obstacle to the realisation of God,"he started."The idea of 'I' and 'mine' must disappear entirely before the aspirant can find absolute freedom and peace in union with God.Verily,everything belongs to the Lord who dwells in the hearts of all creatures and things.Attachment to any external object narrows our vision,creates the ego and gives rise to the false notion that we are seperate from God,i.e from the universal life and spirit.So to reach the goal-eternal freedom and Bliss-we ought to surrender the ego,and behold all life and forms as the manifestation of the one underlying and in-dwelling Truth who is universal and eternal."

Ravi said...

....In the vision of God,ctd....
Ramcharandas listened to what Ramdas said with great concentration,and Ramdas was completely lost in the essential truth of what he was expounding.Then they got up and walked on.When they had walked about a mile and a half,it was discovered that Ramcharandas was not carrying the smaller bag.
"Ram,what became of your other bag?" asked Ramdas.
He looked surprised and retorted:"What became of your coat swamiji?"
The fact was both had forgotten to take the things from the place where they had rested beneath the tree.
"wait here,swamiji,"exclaimed Ramcharandas,"it is not a long run from here.i shall return to the spot and fetch the things."
"None of it,Ram" replied Ramdas."God thought that even those articles were unnecessary for us;so He has freed us from their possession.Then why go in for them again?"
How unerring are the ways of the Lord!It was clear that the Lord wanted them to be all for Himself.His grace descends on His devotees for dispelling the shadow of I-ness-the root of all ignorance,in order that we may realise our perfect union with him.

Anonymous said...

(from Sharing of the Heart)
There was a man who lived with lots of other people. Everyone there thought he was crazy, for all day long he would pry into everyone's affairs and ask all sorts of nonsensical questions. He pestered everyone unmercifully, thus they all wished he'd leave.

One day a young man came to the house and began asking lots of ridiculous questions; so one old man decided to speak up, for he felt they were generous to let one crazy man live among them, and they certainly didn't want another. So he said, "Look here young fellow, what are all these stupid questions you're asking; are you crazy like the other fellow?"

The young man replied, "Which person do you mean?"

"Why that loony over there wearing the fancy uniform," said the old man.

The young man laughed while saying, "You mean that you don't know that he is a doctor and that you are all patients in a sanitarium"

Nandu Narasimhan said...

@ Sri,

Thank you so much for the Nisargadatta Maharaj excerpt. I shall also try and look it up.


On your question regarding self-enquiry and prayer, there is a story about Bhagavan.

A devotee called Dilip Kumar Roy once told Bhagavan that he really did not know the path of wisdom, and all he knew was to sing devotional songs.

Bhagavan, who had gotten up and was leaving for the dining hall, turned around, eyes brimming with tears, and in a choked voice, said - Bhakti (devotion) is the mother of jnana (wisdom).

Ravi said...

Sri Krishna prem(Ronald Nixon)was a friend of Sri Dilip Kumar Roy .Sri Bhagavan described him as a rare combination of Bhakti and Jnana-an interesting description this!If Jnana and Bhakti are the same,then why Sri Bhagavan should talk about 'a rare combination'!
Please refer to this link to read about Sri Krishna Prem's encounter with Sri Bhagavan,the article,Beyond Nama-Rupa:


Losing M. Mind said...

It's true too, often the psychiatrists are mad then the inmates. I would say it's more often the case then not.

Losing M. Mind said...

I was reading Day by Day, and I might share some sometimes, because there are some gems I haven't seen in David Godman's posts. There is such a brilliant strong clarity in it. Even stronger than I experienced in Talks. It makes me understand clearer things like destiny and free-will, effort and grace. And because of that, there is a blissfulness that takes over very strongly. It is the best book I've ever read so far.

Anonymous said...

Dear LMM, I agree psychiatrists are often weird and some quite mad. But in this parable I think the doctor represents a mature soul or spiritual guide in a society of crazy people.

Losing M. Mind said...

Gotcha! Although using that analogy, not wanting to stretch it beyond it's usefulness. But psychiatrists in a mental institution are coercive toward inmates.(maybe people have different views on how valid that is) But that would be different then mature souls, or jnanis. If someone tells someone what to do that person would be (paraphrasing) 'not a master, but a killer.' In the analogy also, it seemed to me that the inmates actually were acting in the more mature way. Silence being (paraphrasing) the perennial flow of language. (laugh). So i took it in what seemed the most obvious way, given their behavior.

Losing M. Mind said...

I just printed out Maharshi's gospel from the free pdf at Ramanasramam. I'm excited to read it.

Losing M. Mind said...

Day by Day with Bhagavan and Maharshi's Gospel are amazing spiritual texts.

Losing M. Mind said...

This is a new video of Nome that I found really potent. I know reservations have been expressed about this particular guru. But he is my guru, and I find his darshan potent, and so I'm sharing this video. Not to proselytize, or convince that some one is a jnani. But because I find it helpful for losing the individual, objectified outlook.


Anonymous said...

I Am

As Popeye said so often and so wisely, "I Am what I Am and
that's all what I Am."

Anonymous said...

The marital garland of letters;
This verse is just too beautiful.
"If one's silent like a stone, without flowering.
Is this silence?"

Jonathan said...


in order to find out what the studying of holy books and their masters did to your own development, kindly click into this self - explaining - video clip


Anonymous said...

by Mahatma Gandhi
Restraint never ruins one's health. What ruins it, is not restraint but outward suppression. A really self-restrained person grows every day from strength to strength and from peace to more peace. The very first step in self-restraint is the restraint of thoughts.

It is my own firm belief that the strength of the soul grows in proportion as you subdue the flesh.

Losing M. Mind said...

In inquiry-land, there is the attempt to keep focus on I,and there is also the attempt to relinquish other things, and gradually that happens, it's interesting. I just kind of rest in myself more and more, I may meander and take care of things that need to be taken care of. Many activities may be given up. It seems to me one of the core principles of inquiry is as said by Maharshi and other sages, Existence, which seems maybe that means experience. I experience something. Experience is real,but the objective portion of my experience is based upon, dependent upon the substratum experience itself. That, I am. That I am-lol. And so that intention keeps going on to relinquish the attachments that cause confusion and suffering, and to inquire to know the self beyond attachments. Inquiring into the self. Focusing on the self.Since it's substratum is real, eventually it will be the only thing left, or I will exist, I will know I exist. The whole process is a relinquishing of all these things that hold me back. So the Master, the jnani has given it all up, relinquished it all, and rests in the natural state of Being, of experiencing Experience itself, knowing that to be the primary thing, not the world, the objects, the situations which are merely dependent upon, and are not seperate from Existence. Of course it's weird to speak of the jnani, since there is only that unitary experience, and the jnani is not something apart from myself, the jnani is more intimate then any other object, actually being the substratum.
Of note, the word verification is "bacti", which pronounced would be not different than bhakti.

Losing M. Mind said...

So the word verification is telling me what I was just reasoning out, that inquiry is bhakti. Because it's total merger in my own experience, which is That!

Anonymous said...

Maybe somebody can help me, I'm a bit befuddled by self-enquiry. I'm not a beginner, I understand the basics but I have some questions.

I practice self-enquiry a few different ways.

I'm either looking at an inner object which most feels like my "self" or I try to continuously know that I am or sometimes I lay down to go to sleep and hold on to a feeling of wakefulness as long as possible.

The I-thought is tricky it seems to have many layers and it shifts if you focus long enough. Can anyone relate? I think I'm just focusing on the I-thought on different levels which makes it seem complicated like I'm doing a few separate practices.

Should I just mess around until I see things straight or am I missing something?


David Godman said...

An Announcement

Clemens Vargas Ramos has recently supplied me with a much more sophisticated code for the 'Recent Comments' box. It has apparently been tested in all browsers, but I would like some feedback from readers here, particularly if you experience any problems in using it.

You can expand and contract individual comments by clicking the plus and minus signs. 'Unfold all' will expand them all.

The number of comments listed in the top right (total comments) is not correct. You can actually call up any of the close-to-5000 comments that have been made so far on this blog by typing in a number in that range and pressing 'OK'.

Clicking the name of the post takes you directly to that page, while clicking the diagonal yellow icon (some sort of writing implement?) takes you to the place where you can comment on that particular post.

The number in brackets shows how many comments have so been made on a particular post.

Thanks to Clemens Vargas Ramos for doing the work and for giving us a more versatile widget to play with.

Sebastian said...

great feature, gets u right there were the action is . . .

Upekkha said...

@ Mike

whatever books you read, whatever wise men you listen to, just hang on to the essence of all there is:

don’t argue – surrender – don’t try to get anything – be still – just let it be.

This will keep you bussy till the end of your days.

Losing M. Mind said...

I was reading the biography of Harriet Tubman. And reading it...I have this suspicion that atleast some of the great people of history, the people who have consistently evidenced great sacrifice, and great courage on the behalf of otehrs, and really inspired others, were fully Realized and egoless. Where else would such endless resevoire of courage come from? The Self is, I imagine, the fountain of virtues.

Anonymous said...

I came across an old Mountain Path and there were letters and replies by Lucia Osborne.
"It is quite correct to say that the method in practice becomes the process of watching and the enquiry should be resumed when any thought arises. When the urge to know becomes all-consuming it is a wordless questing alertness.
Some devotees find it easier to concentrate on the spiritual heart on the right side as a focussing point till it becomes all embracing, others use self enquiry as explained above. The mind need not be directed anywhere. It's nature is to wonder and self-enquiry brings it back to the source."

Nandu Narasimhan said...

Dear All,

I have recently had the good fortune of getting a chauffeur who seems to be highly sattvik in nature.

He reads stories from the Bhagavatam in his spare time, and now wants Bhagavan's books in Hindi. Can someone please help me with resources on the net?

There is always Ramana Kendra Delhi, but am not too confident about their Hindi book stocks.


David Godman said...

I was just doing a bit of research on Amazon when I found myself listed as co-authour of a book called 'Guru: The Guiding Light'.

I have never heard of this book before and have no idea what my contribution to it might be. Has anyone here come across it, and does anyone know what has appeared in it under my name?

Anonymous said...

Why do you study, or why do you work?
Why do you pursue whatever you're pursuing so actively?
To get a better job? To get a better mate? To get a better position besides just food and shelter?
Is this a pursuit of wanting fantasy that will beget fantasy, and fantasy again that will beget agony?
Or do you study or work to buy a better house, so that the house will own you, and then this house will stand to constantly remind you that you are locked in space and time....?

Anonymous said...


Just to remind you, you had said that you would put up a response on Swami Siddheswarananda's article in the Golden Jubilee Souvenir. Your post on this issue is still eagerly awaited.

Best wishes

Anonymous said...

"Has anyone here come across it, and does anyone know what has appeared in it under my name?"
I don't, but since it's available online, I could buy it and send it to you if you want. It's only right that a co-author of a book has a copy of it.


David Godman said...


Thanks for the offer but you don't need to go to the trouble. I expect a copy will come my way sooner or later.

And if you are the same anonymous from the previous post, I am still planning to finish that post on Swami Siddheswarananda's comments on Bhagavan. I made some notes on it a while back and then got distracted.

Anonymous said...

From the book: When everything changes." So it is that you can watch a scary movie and your mind accepts the data as real, instructing your body to respond accordingly. Your heart starts racing, your breath becomes short , you may even perspire. It's what your mind does with the data , not the data itself, that produces your reaction. The event and your reality about it are not the same.
Your mind really is a mechanism. It is like a computer. Your laptop doesn't "care" about things, it merely responds to input and to what has been put into it precisely. There is a famous acronym used by computer techs: GIGO. It means 'Garbage in, Garbage out."

Anonymous said...

THE DUALIST'S LAMENT (inspired by Hughes Mearns' famous verse)

As I was walking up the stair
I met a non-dualist who wasn't there.
He wasn't there again today—
I wish, I wish he'd go away.

He looked at me with eyes so clear,
And said, "I cannot disappear,
For I am THAT, the ALL IN ALL—
The stairs, the janitor, the wall…

I am the ocean and the drop,
I am the cleaner and the mop,
I am the bell-boy and the bell,
I am pussy and the well…

I am the toaster and the toast,
And though I do not like to boast—
I am the saucer and the Source
Of ALL THAT IS – right NOW, of course…

I hope I've made it very clear,
That you're the one who isn't here.
So when we meet along the way,
Don't even try to say G'day!"

Losing M. Mind said...

I had a deep experience today, that illumined some things for me today, that were interesting. I was having an anxious, paranoid day. My ego, looking for certainty and wanting answers in the world, which makes it feel uncertain, afraid, because there are no answers there in the world, lol. There were other negative thoughts/ emotions such as anger as well. I went to a coffee shop, got a nice cup of coffee, one of my favorite things, and the thing that happened in my mild anxiety, was that I remembered to try inquiry, even though I was having one of those phases, where it seems pointless becuase i don't know how -lol. But that almost worked to make it deeper. Becuase I actually questioned, where is I? Where is this I-thought I'm supposed to focus on. It's not there. I don't mean, in an illumined Realized-sense. I mean more in a frustrated giving up sense. Like how can I possibly inquire when there is nothing to hold onto. But then I realized that that is the essence of inquiry. Nome had said either in the satsang I was at, yeah, it was one I was at, he said the more you look for it, the less you find. He said that with a sense of humor. That wry sense of humor that I love. I think Bhagavan had that as well, I think it comes from really being fully established in Reality. And it kind of hit me, in a pleasent way, that the whole point of inquiry is to question this sense of I, to realize that it isn't there, the point is that it won't be found, that there is nothing to hold onto, that is the joke of inquiry. And so "I" had a much deeper experience, and I remember that briefly I felt like a jnani, because there was this power that seemed to be holding up, or moving all things, very warm, very pleasent. It was maybe a genuine nirvikalpa moment. Some thoughts that occured to me. In the anxiety/anger, I was a prisoner of fate. Moved by action/reaction. Not really in control. Percept, theory, reaction to it. Moved by egoic forces. When I questioned that whole mental mess dissolved, it's support being this "I", prisoner of fate. That's the thing that is reassuring, is that really the Reality is always waiting. It doesn't matter the circumstnace, the fate one is a prisoner of, it is waiting for a genuine questioning of entity/person-hood, it will reveal itself when the time is ripe, and until then, these maybe seemingly harrowing attempts are extremely beneficial, even if the life seems hard, confusing, scarey. They will pay-off. That was my most geniune attempt at inquiry, that actually I really experienced effortlessly and naturally a deeper peace. And the questioning while mental, happened at a point, when all other options were exhausted. I think that is the thing, all of it will push you to the point where you genuinely question. I may not have got it fully, but I felt like this was a really important thing that happened. The other more egoically interesting thing I was going to mention, is I do think in my early twenties or whatever happened, while maybe not Realized myself, I do notice something with jnanis, even footage of them, that I think I do pick up on something, as if some force is moving them unencumbered. I do notice that with Papaji for instance. And Maharshi, actually in the hour long archival footage of that, I would actually feel immense power and bliss overtaking me from Maharshi walking around the pristine setting of Arunachala. so, I do think maybe, just maybe, could be wrong, that I actually was given some ability to see that deeper power acting through someone. I was thinking about that, when I was in the deeper experience today, how it's amazing to me that jnanis can function like normal people, talk even. That that power, Self, doesn't need the ego to animate someone, is strange to me, but it doesn't.

Losing M. Mind said...

Questioning that there is even a person to inquire seems to be the essence of inquiry. When one really questions that they are indeed this person/individual/entity, where is it? What is it? Who is it? Looking for it, prodding into it, exploring it? Who am I? Who is I? What is I? Where is I? And doing that as much as possible no matter what else is going on in the life, eventually it seems what is really real, and not just imagined, or a mental creation will take over on it's own. It may have it's temporary moments where it is revealed, and then individual "I" reasserts itself, and has it's slew of problems, but eventually, I would guess, the Reality that always is will be the only thing experienced, and take over and do everything splendidly. We can just question.

Ravi said...

Mike had expressed a fundamental difficulty with 'self enquiry' and wondered-"Should I just mess around until I see things straight or am I missing something?"

Mike,I do not follow this path.I came across something which may be helpful.In his Biography on Sri Bhagavan-Ramana Maharshi and The Path of Self Knowledge,Arthur Osbourne throws Light on the Fundamentals:
All thought-forms are alien to this mode of meditation.
Sometimes a devotee would ask Sri Bhagavan if he could use a
theme such as ‘I am He’, or any other, during the enquiry but he
always forbade it. On one occasion when a devotee had suggested
one theme after another, he explained: “All thoughts are
inconsistent with Realization. The right thing to do is to exclude
thoughts of oneself and all other thoughts. Thought is one thing
and Realization is quite another.”
There is no answer to the Who-am-I question. There can be
no answer, for it is dissolving the I-thought, which is the parent of all other thoughts, and piercing beyond to the stillness where thought is not. “Suggestive replies to the enquiry, such as Sivoham (I am Siva) are not to be given to the mind during meditation. The true answer will come of itself. No answer the ego can give can be right.” The answer is the awakening current of awareness mentioned at the end of Chapter One, vibrating as the very essence of one’s being and yet impersonal. By constant practice this is to be made more and more frequent until it becomes continuous, not only during mediation but underlying speech and action also."
Mike,the key thing as I understand is Spiritual earnestness and not the 'technique'.It is Earnestness that has the potency to pierce thought disturnbances and touch the deep waters of the Spirit.Otherwise it will be the 'I' pretending to enquire into the 'I' ,like the dog endlessly chasing its tail.
A simple Prayer may be more potent than any 'technique'.This Prayer may grow and take the form of 'Self Enquiry'.

Anonymous said...

Mike, In self enquiry I don't think you need to worry about getting to the root of'I'. You have to forget the individual 'I' person. You have to 'let go' and be patient and persevere.
If you feel sometimes you are not making any progress, just pray, that is always helpful.

Clemens Vargas Ramos said...



"31. Among things conducive to Liberation, devotion (Bhakti) holds the supreme place. The seeking after one’s real nature is designated as devotion.
32. Others maintain that the inquiry into the truth of one’s own self is devotion."
Sankaras Viveka Chudamani (Crest-Juwel of Wisdom), translated by Swami Madhavananda

"31-32. Chief among the causes of Freedom is devotion, the intentness of the soul on its own nature. Or devotion may be called intentness on the reality of the Self."
Sankaras Viveka Chudamani (Crest-Juwel of Wisdom), translated by Charles Johnston


Anonymous said...

Ravi, Upekkha-

I shouldn't focus on form but rather stillness, thank you for pointing this out Ravi and Upekkha.

I now see that being still and practicing self-enquiry are the same, I was focusing on the different forms the I-thought seemed to be taking, rather than the essence, you find that essence by being still, not by trying to get stranglehold on it like I was. I needed a reminder.

Yes, I agree with you Ravi, earnestness is more important than technique and we need a way to express that earnestness to find the truth, which is why Bhagavan taught self-enquiry.


I think trying to forget the self actually brings the mind to focus on the self, which is good, I believe most would find it very hard to try to forget the individual self immediately however.


Anonymous said...

For LMM 'At the Coffee Shop"
When I walked into the coffee shop,
I saw God sitting at a small table
Sipping espresso and reading a newspaper.
She was about seventy years old.
I couldn't believe it.
No one else seemed to realize that God was in the room,
Closer than four tables away,
Closer than life itself.
I took a deep breath,
And watched God take another sip of coffee.
I wanted to stand up and shout in a loud voice,
"Listen, people; this is a very special coffee shop!
This is where God chooses to drink coffee
And read the newspaper.
This place is sacred."
But I remained silent.
No need to scare everybody.
Then, I looked at the sunlight coming through the front window,
And the way it lit up dust motes in the air—
Millions and millions of individual particles
From behind the counter came the tinkling sounds
Of silverware being dumped into a sink.
Small groups of people talked quietly at their tables,
And a cash register rang up a sale.
I suspected that this was the only morning in the history of all time
That it was going to happen just like this.
I thought to myself,
"It's a lucky thing I came here this morning."
After a while, I got up my courage and walked over to God's table.
I said, "Hi, what's your name?"
God said, "Jane Smith."
I said, "Really?"
She said, "No, not really."
We both smiled,
And then I walked out of the coffee shop and into the street.
Some people go to church to find God,
And you can find her there if you know how to look.
But you can also find her at the coffee shop.

Losing M. Mind said...

nice! Agreed! And relate. That is me excited that I see god at a coffee shop! (or a punk rock show) OMG, I want to tell everyone, but I also don't want to scare everyone away.

Ravi said...

An interesting Excerpt from Ramana maharshi and the Path of Self Knowledge:
The story of V. Venkatraman, who has already been referred
to, is illustrative. In his youth he was a great devotee of Sri
Ramakrishna, but he felt the need for a living Guru in flesh and
blood, so he prayed to him with the fervour of intense longing,
“Master, grant me a living Guru no less perfect than yourself.”
Very soon afterwards he heard of Sri Ramana, then but a few
years in the Ashram at the foot of the Hill. He went there with an
offering of flowers. It so happened (as would always happen when desirable) that there was no one else in the hall when he arrived.
Sri Bhagavan was reclining on the couch, behind him on the wall
the portrait of Sri Ramakrishna to which Venkatraman had prayed.
Sri Bhagavan cut the garland in half; one half he bade the attendant place upon his portrait and the other on the temple lingam.
Venkatraman had a feeling of lightness and ease. He was at home,
his purpose achieved. He told the story of his coming. Sri Bhagavan
asked him, “You know about Dakshinamurti?”
“I know that he gave silent upadesa,” he replied.
And Sri Bhagavan said, “That is the upadesa you will get here.”
This silent upadesa was in fact very varied. Sri Bhagavan
spoke and wrote most about the vichara or Self-enquiry, and
therefore the opinion arose that he prescribed only Jnana-marga,
the Path of Knowledge, which most people find too sheer in
this age. But in fact he was universal and provided guidance for
every temperament, by the path of Devotion no less than of
Knowledge. Love and devotion to him are a bridge across the
abyss to salvation. He had many devotees for whom he prescribed
no other path.
The same Venkatraman grew uneasy after some time at
being given no sadhana — that is no practice to perform —
and complained.
“And what brought you here?” Sri Bhagavan asked.
“Thinking of you, Swami.”
“Then that is also your sadhana. That is sufficient.” And
indeed, the thought or remembrance of Bhagavan began to
accompany him everywhere, to become inseparable from him.
This reminds me of Champaklal,a disciple of Sri Aurobindo.I will post it a little later.

Ravi said...

The Story of Champaklal,a Disciple of Sri Aurobindo is quite interesting:
Champaklal' s upbringing from early days sheds light on many traits of his character, especially his simple and deeply devotional nature. He was born in Patan on 2 February 1903. His father was Chhotalal and mother Umiya. He was the second of four sons and one daughter. Theirs was a Brahmin family serving the religious requirements of the Hindu community of the town, as the surname Purani indicates: Puranis were the traditional priests engaged in reading out Puranas before Hindu audiences and conducting religious rites for families and for the community at large.
From his childhood Champaklal showed a character and temperament quite out of the ordinary .He insisted on having the best whenever he needed something, but he always took good care of it. He was conscious in all he did, so that his work was flawless and perfect. He used to paint doors and windows and even helped his mother in household work, generally a prerogative of the daughter of the house. He was not interested in studies and did not go beyond the fifth class in school. Nor did he study the Puranas and other religious scriptures as demanded by family tradition and the priestly profession. What he learnt of the ancient lore was from the stories he heard from his father in his childhood. His father was a liberal man who did not impose anything on his children. He knew that his son was a simple boy and indulged him in his childish occupations.
Even as a child Champaklal aspired to live constantly in the presence of someone like Sri Ramakrishna. He was fascinated by Ramakrishna's life and the intensity of his devotion to Kali, the Divine Mother. Champaklal once observed: "I started my higher life after reading Sri Ramakrishna. I liked him very much and on reading him I lost all interest in ordinary life." His aspiration to live in the presence of someone spiritually great was, of course, later fulfilled.
At the age of fifteen Champaklal met a devotee of Sri Aurobindo who asked him to follow the path of Sri Aurobindo. His desire to see Sri Aurobindo grew very strong and in 1921 he got the opportunity to visit Pondicherry . On seeing Sri Aurobindo for the first time, Champaklal prostrated himself before him and remained in that condition for almost one hour. During his stay of eight days in Pondicherry , he met Sri Aurobindo every day. In one of their conversations, he told Sri Aurobindo that at times he felt peace and also saw light. Sri Aurobindo explained to him: "You see, the Peace which you feel shows that God is near you, and the Light shows that you can meet Him in that Peace and gradually you will be able to stay in This."
Champaklal's week-long stay in Pondicherry made a very favourable impression on Sri Aurobindo; he understood the young man's sincerity and dedication to the spiritual life. Later, when Champaklal wrote a beautiful letter to him, Sri Aurobindo instructed one of his disciples to bring Champaklal along when he visited Pondicherry again.
Champaklal as a boy came across a Picture of Sri Ramakrishna and very much wanted to possess one.He wrote to the Ramakrishna Mutt requesting for a copy.Somehow,there was no response!When he met Sri Aurobindo for the First time(Described above),he found the same photogrpah of Sri Ramakrishna in Sri Aurobindo's Room!Champaklal finally came and settled in Sri Aurobindo's ashram for good in 1923.He served as the personal attendant of Sri Aurobindo and The Mother.Thanks to Champaklal's importunity,whoever asked for a Picture of Sri Aurobindo or The Mother always had their request honoured!Champaklal never forgot his experience of not getting Sri Ramakrishna's Picture that he so badly desired!


Losing M. Mind said...

I was wondering what is good Ramana Maharshi music that was actually sung at Ramana Ashram. I would like to listen to some, preferably, it would be nice if it is on youtube. One of my concerns, is I would like to hear music from Ramana Maharshi's times, sung at the ashram in his presence, because if it's modern music it may not be as in touch with his grace. Ravi? Somehow I would think you might have the answer (laugh). There is sometimes devotional music that i'm not sure really captures the essence. I am really excited to hear some.

Losing M. Mind said...

"I now see that being still and practicing self-enquiry are the same, I was focusing on the different forms the I-thought seemed to be taking, rather than the essence, you find that essence by being still, not by trying to get stranglehold on it like I was. I needed a reminder."

The I-thought is this sense that there is an entity me, a person, an individual, I'm finding quite alot of success with questioning, is that me? Is it even real? Alot of what I'm realizing, or starting to understand, I think is something that is maybe kind of obvious, and stated again and again in the teachings. But, what I'm realizing is that inquiry is not doing something, and it's not stopping doing something. I remember really struggling with how? Papaji would say don't start a single thought, but also don't make any effort! How to do that? What I'm realizing I think (and it's easy and simple and not at all convoluted), is that it all hinges on literally, inquiring into the sense that there is a person, me, or that that feeling of there being a me, is me. I don't need to think, I don't need to stop thinking. I don't need to do something. I also don't need to stop action. I can take care of what needs to get taken care of. But all the while questioning the existence of an individual who is doing. Questioning. Inquiry is not related to action. It's not the person doing another thing. It's not the person, spiritually practicing. It's not me inquiring, it's not me spiritually practicing. It's not me quitting my job. Inquiry is questioning that there is a me, that is doing all that. It doesn't matter what is happening, and what I am doing, what needs to be taken care of. But questioning that the implied, supposed person I think I am, is real, is me. It's not stillness, or lack of stillness. If there is stillness, that I am aware of. If there is stillness that I am in, but I feel like I am an individual experiencing stillness. Who is that individual experiencing stillness? Is that individual real? Is that individual me? It doesn't matter if I forget to do it, it doesn't matter how much time passes, it doesn't matter how many lifetimes it takes. Those things are irrelevent, I'm finding. It doesn't matter if thought goes on, it doesn't matter if I react to something. It doesn't matter. What matters is to question that that person is real, is me. I found the whole thing confusing, when I thought about it as something I am doing, or trying to reach, or trying to understand. But is that person who is confused about that, when I say I am confused about it, I don't understand it. Is that person real? Is that person me? The whole point as I understand it, what Maharshi was saying is the only way to get free is to question the existence of the individual. Profound Bliss takes over when I do this, because, and I don't understand how this happens, but when the person is not questioned, when the me, the feeling of I, the feeling that I am a person, the person who is even saying this, when that person is not questioned as to whether it is real, or whether it is me, there is suffering, and the feeling of sorrow, of fear, of rage. So, my understanding is that the only thing that needs to be done, is to question the notion that I am this person that seems as if it is me, that seems as if it is real.

Anonymous said...

The wife of Muruganar, Meenakshi Ammal was once in the hall and longing for a cup of coffee. Ramana looked at her and said 'everyone is meditating on the self but Meenakshi is doing coffee meditation.'


Anonymous said...

I read an interesting article about Osho and the Mystic Rose.
Apparently the devotees had to laugh for seven days and then cry for seven days and lastly meditate silently for seven days.
It does sound full on.
Ramana Maharshi was kind to the devotees and didn't entangle them in all sorts of added ritualism. He realised that for most devotees meditation was hard enough and he kept it simple so all could grasp the concept of self enquiry or surrender.

Losing M. Mind said...

I remember recently looking at some of my early comments here, and that was a crucial I think error that I made early on. I had it all wrong. Because desire and fear were plaguing me. I interpreted maharshi's teachings as a repression or redirecting from this outward tendency, because it caused suffering. I interpreted things maharshi said about "keep away thoughts". But I think he meant that in light of the inquiry. In itself it's just repression. The thing, and it's funny to me now that I overlooked, it's so obvious, for some reason it escaped me. I interpreted all these things, look for the source, I started looking inside for a source. Ask Who am I? I obsessively asked Who am I? I thought that inquiry was involved with doing something about thinking, or thought, trying not to think. Interacting thoughts. Trying to acheive thoughtlessness. What it does is acheive a stupor, a highly tamasic state. oops. While I understood that Realization was supposedly individual-less, and that made sense to me on some level, I thought that through these 'practices', and individual-less state would happen, I would fall into Realization, that Realization was like an explosion or death of the ego that comes on suddenly. And it really all comes back to Maharshi's tenth man analogy. I forgot to count myself. I forgot myself, that it is me doing all those things. (laugh). Who am I? When I mentioned the repressive strategy around the first time I commented here to Nome. Nome said. "If the source of happiness is ascertained to be within you, dissolution of desire and fear is natural". It was this guidance that really took me beyond that. Inquiry, I'm realizing is questioning, focusing on, prodding, looking into, peering into this feeling of being an individual self. It's individual-less because it is the feeling of being as if an individual that is actually questioned. It's not some other practice. Inquiry is not doing something, because it's questioning that there is someone to do something, or to not do something. So I'm figuring it's best to go through the motions of the day, the things I need to take care of, don't interfere with that, don't repress that, no need to quit the job, but question as much as possible that there is someone to be doing the job, that there is someone at all. Look into self, count the self, instead of just the other nine people and saying one of them drowned. My problem, was taking for granted that there was an inquirer, and there was the feeling that I, the inquirer was going to do something, to acheive something, all the time leaving the inquirer, the feeling that I'm the person who for some reason is setting out on something intact. When inquiry is directly looking at that me. It makes total sense now. And I feel like even understanding this, and putting it into practice is so powerful, because what Maharshi is saying is very true, and you can't fail. Just that intention, well who am I? Who am I that is doing all these things? Who am I who is inquiring? Who am I that is worried about that? Who am I that is fighting desire and fear? That that one is unreal, and that is what has to be done, because there is no way to be free of the consequences of leaving it, and letting it be unexamined, besides actually inquiring directly into that sense of self. How wonderful!

Losing M. Mind said...

Maharshi said: "If you strengthen the mind that peace will continue for all time. Its duration is proportional to the strength of mind acquired by repeated practice. And such a mind is able to hold on to the current. In that case, engagement or no engagement in work, the current remains unaffected and uninterrupted. It is not the work that hinders but the idea that it is you who are doing it."

the questioner asks: Is meditation necessary for strengthening the mind?

Maharshi said: "Not if you keep the idea always before you that it is not your work. At first, effort is needed to remind yourself of it, but later on it becomes natural and continuous. The work will go on of it's own accord, and your peace will remain undisturbed. Meditation is your true nature. You call it meditating now, because there are other thoughts distracting you. When these thoughts are dispelled -- you remain alone -- that is, in the state of meditation free from thoughts; and that is your real nature, which you are are now trying to gain by keeping away other thoughts. Such keeping away of other thoughts is called meditation. But when the practice becomes firm, the real nature shows itself as true meditation.

The questioner asks: Other thoughts arise more forcibly when one attempts meditation!

Maharshi said: Yes, all kinds of thought arise in meditation. That is only right; for what lies hidden in you is brought out. Unless it rises up, how can it be destroyed? Thoughts rise up spontaneously, as it were, but only to be extinguished in due course, thus strengthening the mind.

The questioner asks: There are times when persons and things take a vague, almost a transparent form, as in a dream. Once ceases to observe them from as outside, but is passively concsious of their existence, while not actively conscious of any kind of selfhood. There is a deep quietness in the mind. Is it at such times that one is ready to dive into the Self? Or is this condition unhealthy, the result of self-hypnotism? Should it be encouraged as yielding temporary peace?

Maharshi said: " there is Consciousness along with quietness in the mind; this is exactly the state to be aimed at. the fact that the question has been framed on this point, without realizing that it is the Self, shows the state is not steady but casual. The word 'diving' is appropriate when there are outgoing tendencies, and when, therefore, the mind has to be directed and turned within, there is a dip below the surface of externalities. But when quietness prevails without obstructing the Consciousness, where is the need to dive? If that state has not been realized as the Self, the effort to do so may be called 'diving'. In this sense the state may be said to be suitable for realization or diving. Thus the last two questions you have put do not arise."

The questioner asks: The mind continues to feel partial towards children possibly because the form of a child is often used to personify the ideal. How can this preference be outgrown?

Maharshi said: "Hold on to the Self. Why think of children and of your reaction towards them?"

The questioner asks: "This third visit to Tiruvannamalai seems to have intensified the sense of egoism in me and made meditation less easy. Is this is an important passing phase or a sign that I should avoid such places hereafter?

Maharshi said: "It is imaginary. This place or another is within you. Such imaginations must end; for places as such have nothing to do with the activities of the mind. Also your surroundings are not merely a matter of your individual choice; they are there, as a matter of course; and you should rise above them and not get yourself entangled in them."

Losing M. Mind said...


This is the best I've found of Maharshi music. The music does seem to resonate somewhat with it. And for the first time, I've actually heard how jnani is pronounced. kind of like mnyani, or nyani!

Losing M. Mind said...

On false gurus: I was kind of thinking how it is ironic, that if someone is a false pseudo guru, for arguments sake, one who believes he is enlightened. He constantly extolls his own greatness. And that there are all these other 'fakes' around, and all the problems with his devotees and disciples. The irony is that, and what makes the false guru totally irrelevent, is that he still takes himself to be a person, a great person, and by definition is not enlightened, because he considers himself an individual self. He considers himself to be an enlightened individual, and is very proud of this accomplishment. The so-called person can never become enlightened, he can only question that he was ever born to even be a person. Laugh, therein lies the irony, and precisely why he is not enlightened, is because he takes himself to be an individual. As Muruganar pointed out, there are no jnanis, there is only jnana. A jnani, I would guess, is not someone, there is no misidentification as a supposed individual, seperate from the eternal substratum. That is what I was thinking about today, how, I was thinking specifically about science and it's objective outlook on the universe. Ultimately for there to be this universe that came into being, and may end at some point, or whatever physicists think about it now, there would need to be an unchanging substratum, background, or something that the universe apparently appeared upon, emerged from. If the changing universe which according to modern physics has a beginning, the Big Bang, is not resting upon some support, that exists (that never really changes, that is always), then how could the Universe itself exist? The only conclusion I could come to, is the Universe does not exist. So...for this universe to exist (which it evidently does), it has to have an unchanging substratum, that does indeed exist, cannot be altered, cannot be destroyed. In the subjective experience of self, which my understanding is that the whole teaching of advaita, is that the sense of I exist, or I am, is real, and eternal. That is the support for there to be anything. (i.e. the three states of waking, dreaming and deep sleep and everything in them rests upon the support, the substratum of Existence-Consciousness) Maharshi uses the analogy of silver on mother of pearl. Which makes sense, this whole apparent perceptual experience appears upon, the fact of Existence, which is unalterable. And the whole process of Inquiry, is to in a sense realize one's identity with Existence, that the apparent experiences are a mere appearance upon that Existence (i.e the cinema screen analogy). But I was thinking even in the empirical, scientific realm, the same must be true. The Universe must rest upon an unchanging substratum. That substratum I woudl think would have to be identical with the Self.

Ravi said...

"I was wondering what is good Ramana Maharshi music that was actually sung at Ramana Ashram."

Devotees were free to sing in the presence of Sri Bhagavan.There was no standarad repertoire.
The 'Parayana' or chanting however evolved into a definitive pattern with compositions of Sri Bhagavan and some select compositions on Sri Bhagavan(Tamil and Sanskrit);this apart from Vedic Chanting.
The subject of 'music' is a vast one-and perhaps one has to start with the 'Sama Veda',with its mellifluous yet sonorous sonic palette.The vedas are a repository of all Arts ,sciences,knowledge-that encompass the limitless spectrum of Living.
you made it easy for me in limiting the subject matter to 'Ramana Devotional'.I will recommend a couple of compositions on Sri Bhagavan from the Tamil Parayana-from the Saturday Parayana.you may try 'Kummi Pattu':
The meaning of this song is here:
The 'Kummi Pattu' is a folk form of music where the participants go around a Lighted Lamp or any other subject(not object!) of Devotion.You may get an idea from this video:
Instead of using 'Sticks' the participants may simply clap their hands as they go round and round singing-clapping inwards towards the Subject alternated with clapping outwards away from the subject in a rhythmic mannner.I could not find a better version than this on the youtube-I hope it will give a feel of 'Kummi Pattu'
This is one of my favourite Ramana Devotional.Hope you enjoy listening to the Saturday Parayana.
the other favourite song of mine(there are many more)is 'sri Ramana Sadguru' also from Saturday parayana.


Ravi said...

You may explore a wealth of Muruganar's compositions in the Sri Ramansramam site.The following is one of my favourite songs:
Choose 124 with music-Tirupallandu-
Pal(in tamil means Many),AAnDu(means Years)
Many Years(Long Live-transcreation)hail to the one who is Parapara;
Many years to that who is the embodiment of Para Swarupa.
Many years to the one who came to rule over us;
Many years to my King,Bhagavan Sri Ramana(Here this is wonderful Tamil poetry!The same line can be interpreted as -Whence is Many Years to Bhagavan Sri Ramana!!!as he is timeless!).


Ravi said...

Happen to find a Kummi Pattu here:
The tune is the same as the one on Sri Bhagavan.The pace here is more suited to dancing than the 'Recitation' chant on the Sri Ramanasramam website.

Ravi said...

I find this the most graphic description of what it feels to be in the Presence of Sri Bhagavan-By viswanatha swami,from 'Surpassing Love and Grace':

1. Reminiscences-I — Viswanatha Swami
MY first darshan of Bhagavan Sri Ramana was in January, 1921 at Skandashram, which is on the eastern slope of Arunachala and looks like the very heart of the majestic Hill. It is a beautiful quiet spot with a few coconut and other trees and a perennial crystal-clear spring. Bhagavan was there as the very core of such natural beauty.

I saw in him something quite arresting which clearly distinguished him from all others I had seen. He seemed to live apart from the physical frame, quite detached from it. His look and smile had remarkable spiritual charm. When he spoke, the words seemed to come out of an abyss. One could see immaculate purity and non-attachment in him and his movements. I sensed something very refined, lofty and sacred about him. In his vicinity the mind's distractions were overpowered by an austere and potent calmness and the unique bliss of peace was directly experienced. This I would call Ramana Lahari , `the blissful atmosphere of Ramana'. In this ecstasy of grace one loses one's sense of separate individuality and there remains something grand and all-pervading, all-devouring. This indeed is the spirit of Arunachala which swallows up the whole universe by its gracious effulgence.

Ravi said...

on the topic of Devotional singing in Sri Bhagavan's presence,here is a very interesting excerpt from Viswanatha swami's reminiscences:
There were about ten devotees living with him there, including his mother and younger brother. One of them was Vallimalai Murugar, who for a while every morning sang the Tamil songs of the Tirupugazh with great fervour. These well-known songs, the remarkable outpourings of the famous devotee, Sri Arunagirinathar, are songs in praise of Subrahmanya. When he sang, Bhagavan used to keep time (tala) by tapping with two small sticks on the two rings of an iron brazier of live coal kept in front of him. Fumes of incense spread out in rolls from the brazier, suffused with the subtle holy atmosphere of Bhagavan. While Bhagavan's hands were tapping at the brazier thus, his unfathomable look of grace gave one a glimpse of the `beyond' in silence. It was an unforgettable experience.

There was also a devotee from Chidambaram, Subrahmanya Iyer, who often sang with great fervour Tiruvachakam, hymns in praise of Arunachala by Bhagavan, and songs in praise of Bhagavan also. One morning when he began a song with the refrain "Ramana Sadguru, Ramana Sadguru, Ramana Sadguru Rayane," Bhagavan also joined in the singing. The devotee was amused and began to laugh at Bhagavan himself singing his own praise. He expressed his amusement, and Bhagavan replied, "What is extraordinary about it? Why should one limit Ramana to a form of six feet? Is it not the all-pervading Divinity that you adore when you sing `Ramana Sadguru, Ramana Sadguru'? Why should I not also join in the singing?'' We all felt lifted to Bhagavan's standpoint.
You may be interested in the complete article:


Losing M. Mind said...

thanx Ravi for the link. I could listen to Ramana sadguru over and over again. besides that, the other thing I really liked listening to so far was Chapter 8 Ribhu gita, about the jivanmukta.

Anonymous said...

A guy joins a monastery and takes a vow of silence:

He's allowed to say two words every seven years. After the first seven years, the elders bring him in and ask for his two words. "Cold floors," he says. Seven more years pass. They bring him back in and ask for his two words. "Bad food," he says. Seven more years pass. They bring him in for his two words. "I quit," he says. "That's fine," the elders say. "You have done nothing but complain since you got here."


Ravi said...

You may visit this website that has good information on Ramana Music.Looks like this site is work in progress-as some of the links are not functioning.

Ravi said...

Ramana stuti panchakam is composed by that great devotee satyamangalam Sri Venkatramier-The Kummi song 'Ramana guru padam Paadungadi' & the other wonderful 'Ramana sadguru' are from this gem of Five Hymns.The translation is available as download in scribd:
The foreword is by Sri T K Sundaresa iyer(what a devotee!)and he has truly captured the unique beauty of the Devotion of the composer and his compositions.Here is the excerpt:
"The author of these songs, Sri Ramana Stuti Panchakam, is
Satyamangalam Sri Venkataramier, who came to Bhagavan
when he was in the Virupaksha Cave. They are among the earliest
hymns in praise of Bhagavan. Apart from that, the hymns
themselves have an intrinsic freshness in them – being the
outpouring of a soul at the first blossoming of its heart. Even as
Saint Kannappar worshipped Siva only for a week and won
His grace, so too, the author of these songs, a ripe soul, stayed
with the Maharshi just a week, but with such intense love that
he earned the grace of Sri Maharshi and danced round him in
joy. He sang every day one of these five songs which express so
clearly the nature of Bhagavan, his being one with the Universal
Heart, Arunachalam, his all-filling transcendence, his being
beyond time-space causation, beyond the three states and three
bodies and so on. The grace that Sri Maharshi bestowed upon
him is well expressed in II-9 in these words:
By his [gracious] look he gave me a slap on the cheek as it
were and [seemed to] say, “Oh pious Venkataramana, what is
the use of prolonging wasteful speech? See for yourself (that is,
experience Realisation!)”
He finds Ramana, the universal being, in the sun, the moon
and the stars; in the shining light of the diamond sparkling in
the heart; Ramana is the Lord sporting in the merry-go-round
of the untainted Vedas; the perfect master leading to Liberation
on the Sona Hill. He says Sri Ramana and Arunachala are
identical and that Sri Ramana eluded the eager search of Brahma
and Vishnu. ‘Him, the devotees from all over the world seek’
(IV - 9), are prophetic words spoken as early as 1910-11 which
came later to be fulfilled at Sri Ramanasramam. Sri Maharshi’s
impersonality and personality are so beautifully portrayed in
Hymn V, Ramana Sat Guru. A reading of it would bring before
our delighted heart Sri Maharshi as He is. Of course, no
translation can convey in full the soul-stirring utterances of a
devotee in his mother tongue. The most striking thing about
this great devotee is, that having drunk deep the grace of
Bhagavan, he never felt the need to come back to his presence.
— T.K.S.

Maneesha said...

"I'm either looking at an inner object which most feels like my "self" "

Rings a bell to me. I pretty much enquire the same way. Though I would not really term "it" as "object"

Even though u say u dont folow the enquiry path, the quote u have quoted totally helps! Guess ur practise is the one that came handy in selecting the right quotes! Liked the the below quote in particular:
“All thoughts are
inconsistent with Realization. The right thing to do is to exclude
thoughts of oneself and all other thoughts. Thought is one thing
and Realization is quite another.”
And then ur talk about earnestness. So very true that its the earnestness that pierces thru the deep silince within us! Thanks a lot!

The THE DUALIST'S LAMENT is simply wonderful. I especially liked the last para. Thanks for the poem.

Jupes said...

This video came to me on Facebook and I think it's pretty good. I wasn't familiar with Charley Hayes, the guy in the video. He's a former race car driver who turned to spirituality in 1974. Lives in Washington D.C. Spent a lot of time studying Ramana's teachings and those of Maharaj and others. Maybe some of you will enjoy this:


Clemens Vargas Ramos said...

... The most striking thing about this great devotee is, that having drunk deep the grace of Bhagavan, he never felt the need to come back to his presence. ...

The most blessed soul has finally learned to stand on his own two feet, he dares to go alone. People fear this but in the end death will teach it to them.

Sebastian said...

@ Jupes

What this Mr. Hayes says is one thing, how he is contacting his biz another thing. He works more like a hawker (Definition by Online dictionary - One who sells goods aggressively, especially by calling out.

Anonymous said...

David and friends, I saw the Dvd Arunachela Siva trailer in which Premananda, David and Ram offered a few brief observations.
It's regretable Premananda didn't do his research thoroughly, stating that Ramana in his 16th year was living with his mother in Madurai.
Premananda thinks spiritual debate is helpful but really in the context of Ramana Maharshi endless
polemics are unnecessary.
I enjoyed seeing and listening to Ma Souris. I remember the story that she and her father arrived after the samadhi of Ramana just as the rest of the devotees were leaving. It's a wonderful tale.

Ravi said...

"The most blessed soul has finally learned to stand on his own two feet, he dares to go alone. People fear this but in the end death will teach it to them."

I am reminded of this joke. A chemistry teacher wanted to teach his 9th-grade class a lesson about the evils of alcohol, so he produced an experiment that involved a glass of water, a glass of beer, and two worms. "Now, class, observe the worms closely," said the teacher, as he put a worm into the water. The worm in the water floated about, happy as a worm in water could be.
Then the teacher put the second worm into the beer. It writhed painfully and quickly sank to the bottom, dead as a doornail.
"Now, what lesson can we derive from this experiment?" the teacher asked.
Scott, who naturally sits in back, raised his hand and wisely responded, "Drink beer and you won't get worms!"
Standing on one's feet is not incongruous with devotion to the Guru.The point in Sri T K Sundaraesa Iyer(who stayed with Sri Bhagavan for 40 Years!)is to say that Satymangalam Venkatramaiyer DRANK DEEP and ALWAYS was in the presence of Sri Bhagavan(The Self).THERE WAS NO NEED FOR SADHANA;hence no need to stand ONE'S feet or head.

Death has no rattles for the Devotee.He will accept it cheerfully.Death visits every single person born on this Earth;it does not follow that Death teaches all the ultimate Truth.He who learns his lessons from Life need not learn from Death.
In The Sandhya vandana done by every Brahmin boy (when he is invested with the sacred thread)he invokes Yama ,The God of Death EVERY SINGLE DAY as follows:
20. Yama vandanam
Prostration to the Lord of Death

Stand facing south, palms joined.

Yamaya namah
Yamaya dharmarajaya mrityave chantakaya cha
Vaivasvataya kalaya sarvabhuta kshayaya cha
Audumbaraya dadhnaya nilaya paramesthine
Vrikodaraya chitraya chitraguptaya vai namah
Chitraguptaya vai nama om nama iti

Obeisance to Yamah who controls everything, who is the Lord of dharma, who is death and who is Time, who disintegrates all beings, who is very powerful, who is called dadhna, who is black in complexion, who is worshipped by all, who has an ample stomach, who keeps secrets marvellously and who is a wonder himself. Obeisance again to Chitragupta."
Master TGN explains the significance!When DEATH finally arrives to claim the BODY,the Devotee simply tells him(Yama)-All these Years I have Called you and Invoked you and You have obliged me;Now That you have come calling on me,I WILL OBLIGE YOU!

Losing M. Mind said...


I thought this clip of Papaji was interesting. Evidently Gangaji is the questioner. It is noteable, how he responds, because I've never seen him respond like that on any video of him. He doesn't speak much, or with much force, almost like he doesn't need to. And also the immediate way he is swept up to attention when she speaks. In some of the other clips, he almost seems slow to respond. But here, he leaps to attention when Gangaji starts speaking. And the way he smiles, it seems like the connection of Self to Self as Self is strong. It reminds me of what Lakshmana Swami said about how around a devotee who surrenders their mind, the grace starts flowing. Notice the first thing she mentions is about surrendering to Papaji.

Losing M. Mind said...

It's interesting how in the New Testement, atleast the translations I've read, when Christ speaks, he always says "Me" with a capital M.
Example: For I was hungry, and you gave Me something to eat, I was thirsty, and you gave Me something to drink; I was a stranger, and you invited Me in; naked and you clothed Me; I was sick and you visited me; I was in prison, and you came to Me.' What I'm learning, I think, is that Self-inquiry hinges entirely on questioning the feeling that I'm a me, an individual entity. There is always this feeling of me. This sense that I'm this person with personality attributes, me. But that's not the Me Christ is talking about, and it's not the Self Maharshi is talking about. And infact, it seems like it is so simply questioned by asking is this sense of me, infact Me? But it can't be, because it is imaginary, vaporous, ghost-like, and most importantly objective to me, not 1st person, but 3rd person. That seems really straight-forward. And if it's not Me, well then the big question is as Maharshi pointed out, Who am I? Who am I really, if I'm not the person I think I am. If I'm not a person at all. Along with that, and I think maybe this has to do with the developement of ripeness. Ripeness being the willingness to relinquish attachments in favor of that inquiry, and infact the success of inquiry is correlated to the willingness to relinquish attachments. And samadhi, is when I realize I'm not the person, by simply questioning it, and that blissful power of peace envelopes me, and I'm completely still. Not physically still, not mentally inactive or sluggish, but clear as a bell still. Watching that clip of Papaji the one i just posted, in some way that I can't describe, I can almost see it, that he is without I. He is resting with out the false sense of person-hood, he is resting in perfect still clarity. I realize more and more, that understanding Maharshi's teachings, is in the realization that I'm not a me. Am I this me that I have hitherto taking myself to be? And then resting in that me-less Me!

David Godman said...

Anonymous, and everyone else.

Since you mentioned the DVD and the book that Premananda recently brought out, this is probably an appropriate place to issue a disclaimer.

Many years ago Premananda, or John David as he then was, arrived at Ramanasramam and asked me if I would talk to a group of Australians, who were travelling with him, about Bhagavan and his teachings. I agreed, and the interview was filmed. An edited transcript of this interview has appeared on my site for many years. We had an agreement that he could show the film in Australia and also publish the edited transcript if he wanted to, so long as it was not brought out with any other material.

The following year he reappeared in Tiruvannamalai and I again agreed to speak to him and the group that was travelling with him. That year he also interviewed an American, James Swartz, who gave his opinions on the philosophy expounded in Bhagavan's 'Who am I?' John David showed me this interview. I went through it and found its comments to be both ignorant and offensive. The full interview can be found here:


Although James had never read the text before, and seemed to know little of Bhagavan's teachings, he was very critical of many of the ideas that Bhagavan expressed. John David wanted to publish this attack on Bhagavan's philosophy in a book alongside the interview I had given. I refused, saying that I didn't want any of my opinions on Bhagavan to appear in a book that also contained material about Bhagavan which I thought was critical, ill-informed and offensive.

The year after that John David reappeared in Tiruvannamalai calling himself 'Premananda' and proclaiming that he was one of Papaji's appointed messengers. He most certainly was not. I spent the last four years of Papaji's life in his household, and I can say with absolute certainty that John David was never given permission to teach by Papaji.

That year he asked again for permission to print my interview alongside the James Swartz material, and I again refused. I subsequently refused every time the subject came up.

My refusals were ignored and the book was published sometime last year. It included both my interview and James' analysis of 'Who am I?'

I should like to state here that this was done without my permission. I also wish to state that I have no connection whatsoever with John David aka Premananda. Having watched his activities here in Tiruvannamalai over several years, I now believe that he is using Bhagavan (and other teachers and writers) to make money and to promote his own agenda of self-aggrandisement. I very much regret ever having had any dealings with him.

Premananda has been disowned by Ramanasramam, which has refused to cooperate with any of his publishing ventures. I should like to warn readers of this blog about this man and suggest that they too have nothing to do with either him or the products he is peddling.

Ravi said...

I viewed the clip and was delighted to see David and one other person with Sri Bhagavan's children-the monkeys!The DVD also has some very vivid scenes of Arunachala.I heard how David mentions about Sri Bhagavan cutting vegetables(I think this is the perfectly Right thing to say about Sri Bhagavan's Teachings!),etc.When the other gentlemen started talking about Sri Bhagavan's Teachings-it felt like the Blind men in Sri Ramakrishna's parable describing the Elephant.As for the music,I wondered whether these gentlemen ever heard Traditional Indian Music and devotional songs.Perhaps they thought that the Australian audience need not bother about this-Any Tibetan/chinese instrument would do the trick!

Coming to James swartz,I think his name came up when we were discussing swami Dayananda.I just went through the first few lines of that interview(in the link that David provided)and immediately sensed that this is the same muddle-James talks on the 'srutis' as a means of Knowledge(Pramana),how the 'smriti' to which the teachings of Sri Bhagavan belong to(???!)depends on 'personal' experience and hence cannot be relied upon,etc.
Does he realise that Traditional Advaita has the Adhikari beda(Determining the fitness)and he(James) will not qualify the preliminary round!(Most will not!)

Friends,David's warning is a genuine one .I recall what Sri Annamalai swami once said to me when one morning I visited him along with my cousin Siva.We had visited another well known yogi and told swami that we had been to that Yogi's place.
Swami Looked down and as if in a soliloquy said-'Have heard that he plays Siddhis.Have seen the 'Siddha of Siddhas'(Referring to Sri Bhagavan);No more seeing others'

Friends,I have to say this-most of the so called 'teachers' are glow worms and Sri Bhagavan is a Blazing Sun.
Sri Ramakrishna used to say this-"Vultures soar high but their eyes are fixed on the charnel pits below!"
-meaning even if the 'world' is unreal,Dollars are very real.
I recall how Swami Vivekananda was always uncomfortable to talk about Sri Ramakrishna-'Lest in drawing Lord Siva,one ends up drawing a monkey'.
To come to Arunachala and to 'teach'!To 'interpret' or even Sri Bhagavan's Teachings-as if they are restricted to the 'talks' of Sri Bhagavan!Utter stupidity!


Jupes said...

Sebastian, you said:
"What this Mr. Hayes says is one thing, how he is contacting his biz another thing. He works more like a hawker (Definition by Online dictionary - One who sells goods aggressively, especially by calling out."

Thanks for the warning on Charlie Hayes. I scrolled down his blog page and saw several books for sale but did not get the sense that he's a 'hawker'. However, I will keep this in mind if I look further at him and his message.

David, very interesting to read this about John David. That interview on your web site was one of the first things I read from your site when I first came to Bhagavan 6 years ago. I remember liking it a lot. In fact I think I printed a copy of it for my files. It's shocking to hear the direction he's gone since then.

Anonymous said...

Gangagi and her husband Eli have been embroiled in scandal and lawyers for the last couple of years. I have my doubts about her her setup and entourage.

Anonymous said...

Ram is very articulate but unfortunately he does not understand the beauty of Ramana nor the teaching. I remember reading one of his articles where he states Chinmayananda and the teaching of Vedanta were churning out enlightened people. I repeat churning out!!

Losing M. Mind said...

Out of curiosity I watched one of the pseudo-advaitins. Probably shouldn't have. And I got irritated. Really, the thing that I think it seems like makes someone do that. (laugh), is lack of discrimination. the discrimination this guy was speaking about was not very high, and not very profound. Where as Maharshi's dialogues are breathtakingly profound, and such a Supreme level of discrimination. This guy was saying some things, kind of reducing Maharshi's glorious teachings to a much less fantastic level, not impressive. It's kind of a big problem, I think maybe in Western culture right now, of thinking that conceptual understandings have more power then they actually do. And so then when exposed to Maharshi's teaching, fitting it into the existing framework of conceptualization. That's why in our culture, people feel that they do not need the spiritual. They don't need to worship something bigger then themselves. Because I as an individual can accomplish and understand. And so then when exposed to Maharshi's teachings, thinking that grasping it conceptually really has much meaning to it. Not seeing the depth, or grandeur, the reality of what Maharshi's teachings are, experientially, freedom from birth and death. I can say, well birth and death are mental, and understand that it is imaginary that I'm a person. But just having that intellectual understanding, doesn't make me enlightened, because I'm not free of birth and death, I'm not free of the fear, I'm not free of desire. I still take myself to be a mind that understands. Even though I'm not enlightened, I mean, even though I still am practicing, attempting, there are some things I'm starting to get more saavy about. If someone says "I understand", or they talk from the standpoint of being an individual that has got some understanding, and this person did, there was conceit and it showed right off when he said with a smirk, "I am not born, I am birthless, and deathless". But there was something about the way he said it, that betrayed that he considers himself a smart individual, smarter then the other people, because he can grasp the idea that he is not born. (yeah, such a difficult concept -lol) That's just kind of an example of the understanding not seeming very deep. I'm more and more saavy to it all hinging upon, whether I take myself to be this person. And if I don't take myself to be that, because I actually inquiry, who is there to be conceited? who is there to a spiritual teacher? Who is there to be a jnani? Who is there to play that farce? And what purpose would it serve? How would it help me get free of death, of suffering of loss, which is the whole point. I mean if I'm going to be worldly, I might as well be worldly, and not pretend to be spiritual. If I want wealth, sex, power, or whatever, why not just go for that, and not beat around the bush? (laugh) I guess, you know, I know that I'm not qualified to teach, because even the consideration of whether I am shows that I'm not. Jnanis, there is no longer a person there. Also this guy grasped conceptually that seperation causes suffering. But what I'm realizing is that all of that is just mental stuff, if I don't actually inquiry into the "I", the sense of self, because there can be no union, there cannot be the experience of one without a second, if the individual is left intact. And so the whole game must be that, that must be the only thing that matters.

Sebastian said...


when I see a pricelist for spiritual consultations i.e.
30 Minutes 50 USD - 60 Minutes 95 USD than my early warning system rings . . . and to top that, it is not tax-deductible since it creates personal income for him . . .

Ravi said...

To recall the Life of Sri Bhagavan is a Teaching and inspiration that no 'talk' or 'thought' however cogent,Logical,Lucid can match.This excerpt from 'Letters from Sri Ramanasramam' reveals the beauty and Frugality of Sri Bhagavan:
5th February, 1946
You know, off and on, Bhagavan has been going
through Sri Ramana Leela, which has recently been received
from the printers. In that connection, Rangaswami asked
yesterday, “Has the story about the towel been written in it?”
As it was not in the book, Bhagavan told us as follows:
“About forty years back — perhaps in 1906 — when I
was in Pachiamman Koil, I had with me only one Malayalam
towel. It was given to me by somebody. As the material was
flimsy it became worn out within two months and was torn in
several places. Palaniswami was not in town. I had therefore
to look after the cooking and all other domestic work. As I
used to dry my feet and hands with the towel every now and
then, it got all sorts of colours. Its condition would be seen if I
used it as a cover for the body. So I used to roll it and keep it
near at hand. What did it matter to me? It was enough if the
Letters from Sri Ramanasramam 63
required work gets done with its help. After bathing, I used to
dry myself with the towel, and then put it out to dry. I used to
guard it carefully so that no one else would know about it.
One day a mischievous little boy saw when I was drying it,
and said, ‘Swami, Swami, this towel is required by the
Governor. He has asked me to get it from you. Please give it
to me.’ So saying he mischievously stretched out his hand.
‘Oh, dear! This towel! No, I cannot give it. Go away!’ I said.
“As that towel gradually got torn more and more with a
thousand holes in it, I ceased to keep it with me lest it should
be seen by Sesha Iyer and others. I used it after my bath,
and then after drying it, hid it in a hole in the trunk of a tree
within the temple precincts. One day, when I went out
somewhere, Sesha Iyer and others, while searching for
something else, happened to search that hole in the tree
trunk, and found the towel. Seeing its condition and blaming
themselves for their neglect, they began offering profuse
apologies when I returned. ‘What is the matter?’ I asked. ‘Is
it this towel with a thousand holes that you are daily drying
your body with after your bath? Shame on our devotion to
you! We could not find out even this.’ So saying, they brought
several bundles of towels.


Ravi said...

'Letters from Sri Ramanasramam' -The story of Sri Bhagavan's Kowpinam,continued....
“Something else also happened before this. My kowpinam
(small piece of cloth, usually a small strip, worn over the
privities) got torn. I do not usually ask anyone for anything.
Bodily privacy has however to be maintained. Where could
I get a needle and thread available to mend the kowpinam?
At last, I got hold of a thorn, made a hole in it, took out a
thread from the kowpinam itself, put it into the hole and thus
mended the cloth, and, so as to hide the place where it was
mended, I used to fold it suitably before putting it on. Time
passed like that. What do we need? Such were those days!”
said Bhagavan.
Letters from Sri Ramanasramam 64
It was quite natural for him to tell us all this but we who
heard him felt deeply grieved. Having heard this incident
from Bhagavan some time back, Muruganar is reported to
have written a verse. The purport of that verse is:
“Oh, Venkata Ramana, who wore a kowpinam mended
by a thorn, and who was served by Indra as a towel with a
thousand eyes.”
Anyone who wishes to study the Teachings of Sri Bhagavan must necessarily contemplate on the way he lived that wonderful Life.This would lead to purification of the mind,and only then it can become fit to begin any Sadhana and to understand the true import of his verbal and nonverbal teaching.


Ravi said...

Lessons from the Life of Sri Bhagavan-Letters from Sri Ramanasramam.
19th August, 1946
Bhagavan told Rajagopala Iyer to bind into the form of
books the four copies of proofs of the Tamil work Chatvarimsat
which had been recently received from the printing press. By
the time I went there in the afternoon at 2-30 p.m. the books
were ready; only the outer cover had to be put on. Showing the
copies to the people around, Bhagavan said laughingly to
Vaikuntavas who was by his side, “See, if we make good use of
these proofs, we will have four more copies of the book. How
else could we get four copies? Who would give them to us? We
should have to buy them at the bookstall. Where would we get
the money?” We were all amused, and Vaikuntavas laughed.
“Why do you laugh? Am I doing a job and earning a salary of
several hundred every month? Or am I doing business and
earning lakhs? Where should I get money? What independence
have I? If I am thirsty, I must ask you for water. If I went to the
kitchen instead and asked, they would say, ‘Oh, this Swami has
started exercising authority over us’. I have to keep my mouth
shut. What independence have I,” said Bhagavan.
What other intention can he have than to administer a
mild rebuke to all when he talks like this, though he is
independent of everything in this world? Not only this. We
always act freely according to our wishes. We ask for this
and for that and become enslaved to desires. We achieve
our desires by asking or ordering. Bhagavan depreciates not
only the use of authority in such matters, but even obtaining
such things by asking.

Ravi said...

Letters from Sri Ramanasramam continued....
"There was another instance. Two or
three years ago, as I entered the hall one morning, Bhagavan
was saying as follows in reply to several questions which
Krishnaswami was asking:
“When I was in Virupaksha Cave, Sundaresa Iyer used
to go out into the town for bhiksha and bring us food. At
times, there used to be no curry or chutney. People to eat
were many while the food obtained was limited. What were
we to do? I used to mix it into a paste and pour hot water
over it to make it like gruel, and then give a glassful to each,
and take one myself. Sometimes we all used to feel that it
would be better if we had at least some salt to mix with it.
But where was the money to buy salt? We should have had
to ask someone for it. If once we begin to ask for salt, we
would feel like asking for dhal, and when we ask for dhal, we
would feel like asking for payasam and so on. So we felt that
we should not ask for anything, and swallowed the gruel as
it was. We used to feel extremely happy over such diet. As
the food was satvic, without spices of any kind, and there was
not even salt in it, not only was it healthy for this body, but
there was also great peace for the mind.”
“Is salt also one of those things that stimulates rajas,
(passion)?” I asked. “Yes. What doubt is there? Is it not said
so in one of the granthas (books)? Wait, I will look it up and
tell you,” said Bhagavan. “Isn’t it enough if Bhagavan says
so? Why a grantha?” I said.
Not only do we not give up salt, but we always feel that
chillies also are necessary for taste. That is how we have our
rules and regulations about our eating habits. Great souls
eat to live and serve the world, while we live to eat. That is
the difference. If we eat to live, there is no need to think of
taste. If we live to eat, the tastes are limitless. And for this
purpose, we undergo ever so many trials and tribulations."
This is our Bhagavan.Does it call for any 'interpreter' to explain his teachings!


Anonymous said...

Reading about all these so-called teachers, we are fortunate to have found Ramana Maharishi’s teachings, to have an affinity with them, and to have uncorrupted access to them via David’s writings.

As for the false "teachers", they cant see it, but they are being pulled further and further into the tangled web of samsara.

Losing M. Mind said...

I am sure that throughout history, there have been more people who did not understand spiritually, but thought they did, then those who really got it, so to speak. I'm sure, without even knowing an anecdote that at the time Shankara was around there were many people who didn't get it who thought they did and offered satsang and started maths, more so then people like Shankara. And at any other time. But who is remembered? Shankara. Who is rememberd? The Buddha. Who is remembered? Jesus. Because the Knowledge they Know is ever present, eternal, always. And just as profound today. That's partly why, I think the subject of false gurus is one best spent as little time thinking about. Because what we are looking for is our own spiritual deepening. The false gurus will not endure. What do I want, when I want a spiritual teacher? Association with a true jnani, why settle for less? I'm hesitant to judge anyone and say they aren't a jnani, because maybe I don't really know. And who knows, the crazy organizations, cult-like that may start around a jnani, I would think, could happen. And who knows the kinds of things a jnani may do, that I may not understand. So I just with-hold judgement. The guru, that I've corresponded with, his advice resonated much deeper than intellectual understanding. I would suddenly become aware of what I wasn't facing at a deeper level, and it would become unraveled. Others have looked at his website and said he was a fake guru. So, at the same time, I'd be hesistant to be sure who is and who isn't a jnani, I would be hesitant about it. People can be wrong, especially when using the mind as their tool, the very thing to be transcended. Nonetheless, yeah, there are some 'gurus' that I've looked at their stuff on youtube, or their website, and the thing is a true jnani, isn't going to care about anything worldly, money, status, really even bodily survival. Now, I would think that doesn't mean I can tell that. I might have mistaked Janaka as ajnani if I encountered him, thinking how can he be unattached and living such a boisterous lifestlye? But when his palace burned down, it was him, not the sadhus, who was profoundly unconcerned and joyful. Best to just be earnest, and encounter a jnani when deep in heart you know you have.

Losing M. Mind said...

Another thing is, I don't think a true jnani would let an institution get in the way of them and earnest devotees they can help. I really experienced that with Nome. He has Parkinsons, can barely type, shaking hands, and still he responded 143 pages of long typed out responses to my questions. And I can be absolutely certain that his responses glowed with true Knowledge of the Self, because they engendered such a beautiful flowering experience in me. And I don't think I'd understand even to the degree I understand now, without that contact, which was contact with my own Self. And I ended up in association with him, I was a skeptical anarchist who did not believe in any authority, let alone spiritual gurus. I detested the idea of a guru. But I realized a true guru, devotee relationship like those with Maharshi described in the Power of the Presence are in no way authoritarian relationships. It's an association with the eternal Reality, the Self we always are. The authority is that of our own true Self, omnipotent in comparison to the puny, unreal, irrelevent ego. The thing that led to me, in my assessment having an association with a true jnani, is earnestness, perseverence, even a desperation to escape my own mind's created problems. And knowing where I was at, when this encounter happened, there is no feeling that this was a coincidence. My encountering this jnani, was right at the correct moment.

Ravi said...

I was looking up what the scriptures had to say about 'Samadhi' and I came across an interesting thread.This is what sets the discussion rolling!one Sri br Vinayaka starts the discussion:
"Dear Advaitins,(It seems that easy!-Ravi)
I am hearing lectures of a very popular vedantic acharya. He has
studied scriptures for a considerable lenght of time and infact in
many aspect he is very clear and expounds sastras beautifully. But i
recently heard his comment that Nirvikalpa Samadhi is not a pre-
requisite for liberation. This state of his preplexed me a little. If
we see the lives of proponents of vedanta like Sri Shankaracharya,
Sri Ramakrishna, Sri Ramana Maharshi, Swami Vivekannada or Samartha
Ramadas we have to accept that they experiecned nirvikalpa samadhi
and after that only their teachings begun."
The discussion goes on and it reaches a point where sri Bhagavan's Talks are quoted and Sri Vinayaka cries halt to the discussion saying:
Dear Sir,
Sri Ramakrishna used to say if a watersnake catches a big frog and tries
to swollow there will be endless misery to both of them. The bull frog
will go on croaking in agony and the snake will desperately try in vain
to put the frog into its moth. Same is the case with unenlightened
teacher and student of his. But he says that if a cobra bites a frog it
will croak maximum for 3 times and dies. So is the case with the
competent guru who dispells the doubts of the diciple in no time.

Here king cobra has bitten us and therefore discussion stops :-))
Thanks for your quotes.
Those interested may read this here:
This is more for fun only.As Sri Bhagavan used to say 'Let us do Peanut Parayana before they start Veda Parayana' as he and his attendant roasted the peanuts in the coal brazier in the wee hours of the morning.Likewise,following this thread may induce 'Thread Samadhi'.


Losing M. Mind said...

Not enough can be sung in praise of having a beginner attitude. I was learning this martial art that was quite beautiful, I got into it serendipitously the same way I encountered Maharshi. It was the real deal, the founder was a genius and not ostentatious, cooked food for students. But he was one of the best masters in the world, a true master. I have no idea whether he is a jnani or not, may be.

clip of him:

But my point is, I started off with a beginner attitude, because I was a beginner, and knew nothing, so there was beginner humility. But later on, when I knew the basics, I still kept that beginner mentality, because I saw people who were masterful at a level above me, and it was so cool the weirding way, slight of hand they could pull off, I kept that blank slate, I'm a beginner, i've accomplished nothing attitude, so that I would master at greater and greater levels, so I would get as good as those people with astounding skill. Oh yeah, there were other students who didn't do that, they wanted to be able to say, "how good they were", and I would always look at them, and see how slow they were progressing, not getting good at all. They weren't in a fluid state of learning.

I've applied the same principle to inquiry, to understanding these teachings. And felt it has benefited me. On one hand, I have had the confidence that I can Realize the Self the same as other sages. Why not? That confidence seems important, but also bringing a beginner humility of not saying I understand, but finding out if I can understand deeper. Because I see Maharshi and his advanced devotees, or this guru I've corresponded with, and am astounded at their masterfulness. I want to learn their skills. So I keep an open mind, and a beginner mentality. Because that is the way to get good at something, to master it. Like that art, even here, I've heard people talk as if they understand the ins and outs of inquiry, and I've watched them, not progressing much, not deepening much, but staying pretty much stuck where they are, because they think they already know, they are already handing out advice. And I laugh. I understand so much deeper then when I started commenting here, because of not knowing, not understanding, and still having that beginner attitude.

Jupes said...

The subject of paying money for spiritual counseling or services is an interesting one. For me, although red flags often go up when I hear that someone is charging money for these things, at the same time it is not a cut and dried thing.

There have been times in my life when I paid money for spiritual services, starting in 1970 when I was taught TM. In the 1980s I paid for psychic readings, and in the 90s I paid to sit one-on-one with a spiritual teacher. None of these people were jnanis and I certainly did not consider any of them as 'gurus'. But, in all cases I was helped along my spiritual path and was happy to pay for what I received.

About 10 years ago my attitude toward this changed and I no longer require these kind of services, nor would I pay for them if I did. However, I do recognize that most people in this 'world' feel some need to have money for their survival. It's just the way it is. If a person has talents in the spiritual arena and can make a living off them, then so be it. If people are paying money to this person, then they must be benefiting somehow from those services.

So, I guess it's a matter of where one is at spiritually and who one is willing to accept as a teacher at points along the way. Most people on this blog are used to the highest of standards, since we are all here because of Bhagavan and Arunachala. Anything less than that begins to seem false or imperfect.

As for Charlie Hayes, I enjoyed the video of him very much, and whether he charges people for spiritual consultations or not is sort of irrelevant to me, since I will never be one of those people who consults with him. Some people may even regard him as a guru. His teachings are obviously benefiting those people somehow.

Losing M. Mind said...

It becomes clear that surrender and inquiry are the same thing. Surrender doesn't really work without inquiry, it seems. Because nothing can be surrendered if the person is not surrendered. And the person is surrendered by inquiry. Then there is surrender it seems, no longer feeling like I'm the statue holding up the tower.

Anonymous said...

Yama-uba, literally "the old woman of the mountains,"
represents the principle of love secretly moving in every
one of us. Usually we are not conscious of it and are
abusing it all the time. Most of us imagine that love is
something beautiful to look at, young, delicate and
charming. But in fact she is not, for she works hard,
unnoticed by us and yet ungrudgingly; what we notice is the
superficial result of her labor, and we think it beautiful
- which is natural, for the work of love ought to be
beautiful. But love herself, like a hard-working peasant
woman, looks rather worn out; from worrying about others
her face is full of wrinkles, her hair is white. She has so
many knotty problems presented for her solution. Her life
is a series of pains, which, however, she glady suffers.
She travels from one end of the world to another, knowing
no rest, no respite, no interruption. Love in this phase,
that is, from the point of view of her untiring labor, is
fitly represented as Yama-uba, the old lady of the
This reminds me of the beautiful old Mas that surrounded Ramana Maharshi: like Keerai Patti, Mudaliar Patti, the old woman (honey gatherer) who came to visit from far away and the list goes on.
Each story filled with love.

Ravi said...

" I do recognize that most people in this 'world' feel some need to have money for their survival. It's just the way it is. If a person has talents in the spiritual arena and can make a living off them, then so be it."

Indeed,there is nothing wrong in earning money to live in this world.However,one needs to be careful how this money is earned.Is money extracted money earned?
This needs to be pondered upon.What is spiritual?Is it a talent?can it be traded like other talents and used as a means of living?


Anonymous said...

I Am" neither here nor there,
Neither this nor that.

Make ME your search
And find only yourself

Make ME your prayer
And hear only your voice,

ME your goal
And all you achieve is

BE as you Are, without desires,
And here "I Am"

Lose sight of yourself!
Between seeker and sought

For an instant be mindless.
Forget ME and you.
The Heart holds the Secret -

Esther Veltheim

Anonymous said...


Ad reportedly placed in London newspapers circa 1914. Five thousand men replied according to one account. From "Character Is Destiny" by John McCain.

Losing M. Mind said...

Papaji's answer to Gangaji in that clip I posted, his answer was beautiful. I really agree with Jupes. I feel like in this practice, in this path, there is no room to be negative, or contemptful toward others. This is a path for ever spiritual deepening. Papaji at the end of the clip said something really clarifying, where Gangaji said that something about "this dream I'll keep" as if this blissful state was another dream. And Papaji said, (paraphrasing). "this isn't a dream, it is Reality". Because this Bliss, is the natural substratum. He was also it seemed like paraphrasing, that this Self, the Reality is not something you can own or not own.

Jupes said...

Ravi, you said:
"Indeed,there is nothing wrong in earning money to live in this world.However,one needs to be careful how this money is earned.Is money extracted money earned?
This needs to be pondered upon. What is spiritual? Is it a talent? can it be traded like other talents and used as a means of living?"

Ravi, thanks very much for your response to my post and for raising these important questions. Certainly these are things I have pondered and will ponder again. I can't say that I have answers to these questions, but I do have some thoughts that may further the discussion.

One of the biggest things that comes to mind is that as soon as one begins investigating the appropriateness of another's chosen livelihood, whether it be spiritually inclined or not, one becomes instantly very close if not right in the midst of judging another person. This is in line with what LMM was saying about keeping things in a positive light and not holding contempt for others. So, I personally feel very cautious about making these kinds of determinations.

The second thing I want to say is: where does one draw the line, then, if one if going to discuss how money is earned/extracted by spiritual means?

For instance, do David's (and others') books fall into the realm of being spiritual goods sold for money? Should David be GIVING his books away because they are about Bhagavan and his followers and teachings? Certainly I don't think so, but the question does arise when one begins pondering what spiritually related talents are valid for making a living.

And then the question arises: who is to draw the line? Personally, I think this is up to each person to decide for him or herself. Everyone has their own set of standards and abilities to discern. I suspect those would kick into gear for each person as situations arise when one must decide about offering or receiving spiritually related goods or services. If one is uncertain, one can always consult with someone s/he considers a higher authority than him/herself.

Finally, I would say that since everyone's level of discernment on this subject is inevitably a little different from anyone else's, one person may pay through the nose to jump on a spiritual bandwagon that another person considers grossly inferior or even demonic. This goes back to what I said in my previous post: "So, I guess it's a matter of where one is at spiritually and who one is willing to accept as a teacher at points along the way."

It really just seems like a 'personal choice' to me (i.e. following one's prarabdha), whether to engage in generating money from spiritual goods and services, or paying someone for these. And yes, doing this may lead some into what seems to others like 'dangerous' territory. But those who go there wouldn't be going there unless it was needed somehow for their own development and was part of their script in the first place.

Losing M. Mind said...

"Make ME your search
And find only yourself

"Make ME your prayer
And hear only your voice,

"ME your goal
And all you achieve is

I think the reward is much greater then the search itself. It's not true that you only find seeking. It's the effort to transcend illusion. Worship has a much more instant result, of the bliss of transcending oneself and one's petty concerns. When one prays, one knows that the Self is so much bigger and omnipotent then my little worried, self-concerned self. Making Him/Her the goal, and all I acheive is everything! When I pray, I don't acheive praying. When I worship, I don't acheive worshipping. I acheive being immersed in the real, established in the deepest peace, and contentment. As Papaji said, "This isn't a dream, it's reality". I'm worshipping, I'm making the goal, the omnipotent Self. It is real, and so does reveal itself.

Ravi said...

I came across this reminscence of Papa Ramdas-An Excerpt from this article:
"When we went into the
airport somehow I found myself sitting alone with Papa on
a bench. I shall always remember those moments. He sat
there looking for all the world like a little child. I reached
over and took hold of his hand and was thrilled when he
made no move to take it away. He just beamed at me and
started swinging one leg back and forth under the seat. A
few years later when I spent many months at Anandashram
I often saw him swinging his leg back and forth in this manner
or gleefully slapping his knees as his feet danced up and
down when either he or someone else had made a joke or
said something which stirred his sense of humour. His joy
was such that it was ready to bubble forth at a moment’s
Although the visions previously mentioned had seemed like
the veriest reality and some of them had already manifested
in the outer sense, still I had had great difficulty in accepting
the things which God had revealed to me about myself and
my own destiny. I thought surely that I must be suffering
from hallucination and my soul underwent great torture as a
result. Suddenly I felt a compulsion to lay the whole matter
before Papa that I might have the relief of knowing the truth
whatever it might be. When I described the vision to Papa
and asked him to help me either accept or reject it, he turned
and, looking directly at me, said, “Mother, every word that
God told you was true.” Then he said, “There are three
ways in which visions may be verified as Truth: First, that
they are confirmed by a saint, second, that they are verified
in the scriptures and third, that they actually manifest and
become prophecy fulfilled.”

For the complete article,please refer:


David Godman said...

'Should David be GIVING his books away because they are about Bhagavan and his followers and teachings? Certainly I don't think so,...'

I don't think so either. During Bhagavan's lifetime books were sold (not given away) in the Ramanasramam Book Store, and Bhagavan had no objection to that. Nor did he object (although Chinnaswami often did) to devotees who wrote and published their own accounts of Bhagavan's teachings, and then sold the books. All the books of Muruganar's writings composed before 1950 fall into this second category.

Bhagavan did, though, encourage the ashram office to subsidise key texts such as Who am I?, and to make them available in many languages so that visitors could have access to books that contained accurate presentations of his ideas. I think this is a nice idea, so much so that I have accepted subsidies from devotees for my last two books on Muruganar so that they can go on sale here in India at an affordable price. I actually sell copies of Guru Vachaka Kovai to the ashram bookstore for less than the cost of printing them.

None of the teachers I have been with and written about has charged for satsang. Indeed, many have spoken against the practice. Papaji said that once money is charged for entrance (even as a suggested donation) the focus subtly shifts from the dissemination of the teachings to the collection of money. He travelled a lot himself, but he never charged, even when he was went abroad for long periods. If people wanted to invite him, the rule was that the person giving the invitation had to pay for a return ticket, feed him while he was there, and pay for any expenses, such as renting a space in which meetings were to be held. Costs were never allowed to be passed on to people who attended his satsangs. He never asked for or took a fee for any of his talks. Nor did he ever seek opportunities to travel and teach.

At Ramanasramam Bhagavan said that devotees could offer donations to support the ashram and its activities, but no one was allowed to suggest to visitors that such donations would be welcome. They were most definitely not allowed to fund-raise in his name. There are several recorded incidents of Bhagavan telling off devotees or the ashram management for making pro-active attempts to collect money for the ashram. His general attitude was, 'We don't have to ask for anything. Arunachala gives us everything we need.'

Bhagavan himself never handled money and he most definitely would not have accepted any arrangement under which devotees were charged to see him. He was most insistent that everyone who wanted to should have access to him. A charging system would have excluded those unable to pay.

There is an ancient tradition in India of handing over a fee to one's Guru when one is accepted as a disciple. I think this was primarily done to defray the living expenses of being a permanent member of the Guru's household. None of the modern-day teachers I have been associated with have followed this tradition. As I said before, they never charged, and I know that all of them would have objected strongly had anyone suggested to them that charges be levied or donations solicited.

Ravi said...

"It really just seems like a 'personal choice' to me (i.e. following one's prarabdha), whether to engage in generating money from spiritual goods and services, or paying someone for these. And yes, doing this may lead some into what seems to others like 'dangerous' territory. But those who go there wouldn't be going there unless it was needed somehow for their own development and was part of their script in the first place."
Firstly,the subject of 'Earning' money has been raised not with a view to judge others;but to understand whether there are guiding principles for us.
Do we have to leave this to 'our judgement' or 'prarabda' or are there definitive principles or guidelines that are available?
The Answer to this is YES,there are definitive guidelines available.
This is where the Dharma,Artha,Kama and Moksha principles kick in.This sequence is important and detailed DO's and DON'Ts are laid out in the scriptures,which are the collective distilled wisdom of the Sages.we may see more of this later.
You have taken the good example of David selling Books on Bhagavan.It is not the act per se but the intention behind the act that is key.Is it based on need or Greed?where to draw the fineline?One only needs to ask oneself-Am I Exploiting another for my Greed?
Or am I only dependent on another for my need?This is 'conscience' based guideline,which is also advocated by the scriptures.However,this is not always reliable.Hence the scriptures have laid a clear guideline as to what a Brahmachari(Student),Grihasta(Householder) must follow.We may leave aside the stricter guidelines that it lays for the advanced aspirants.
The whole fabric of collective Living acknowledges this interdependency of Life and has evolved these principles:Ahimsa(Non Violence),Aparigraha(Non Covetousness),etc.
To Be continued.....

Ravi said...

"It really just seems like a 'personal choice' to me (i.e. following one's prarabdha), whether to engage in generating money from spiritual goods and services, or paying someone for these. And yes, doing this may lead some into what seems to others like 'dangerous' territory. But those who go there wouldn't be going there unless it was needed somehow for their own development and was part of their script in the first place."
Firstly,the subject of 'Earning' money has been raised not with a view to judge others;but to understand whether there are guiding principles for us.
Do we have to leave this to 'our judgement' or 'prarabda' or are there definitive principles or guidelines that are available?
The Answer to this is YES,there are definitive guidelines available.
This is where the Dharma,Artha,Kama and Moksha principles kick in.This sequence is important and detailed DO's and DON'Ts are laid out in the scriptures,which are the collective distilled wisdom of the Sages.we may see more of this later.
You have taken the good example of David selling Books on Bhagavan.It is not the act per se but the intention behind the act that is key.Is it based on need or Greed?where to draw the fineline?One only needs to ask oneself-Am I Exploiting another for my Greed?
Or am I only dependent on another for my need?This is 'conscience' based guideline,which is also advocated by the scriptures.However,this is not always reliable.Hence the scriptures have laid a clear guideline as to what a Brahmachari(Student),Grihasta(Householder) must follow.We may leave aside the stricter guidelines that it lays for the advanced aspirants.
The whole fabric of collective Living acknowledges this interdependency of Life and has evolved these principles:Ahimsa(Non Violence),Aparigraha(Non Covetousness),etc.
To Be continued.....

Losing M. Mind said...

With Nome, the spiritual teacher, I have corresponded with and attended satsang with. Money never seemed to be an issue. He answered my spiritual questions, to guide me and put my doubts to rest. Some of the books cost money, but almost the entirety is actually on Google Books previews. So on some of them, that I haven't been able to get, since I don't have my own income right now, I did that. So the thing that was striking to me, was how it seemed like the connection with the Self had first priority. Nothing would get in the way of that. When I went to Society of Abidance in Truth, the ashram/temple in Santa Cruz. There was a wooden donation box, but nobody seemed to care or mention it. And when I asked someone, a person Nome had asked to make sure that I was taken care of had food while I was there, gracefully smiling at me, saying "he needs to eat!" I am thin. When I mentioned donations, or cost, he just kind of gave me, a don't bother, satsangs are free. I did buy books, I did donate, affordably for me, it wasn't really about the money, but the intense reverence for the service that I have gotten, that I have benefited immensely from Nome's guidance, in terms of joy, happiness, wellbeing. And I have to say, as I've said, I guess I have no idea who is and who isn't a jnani, but there was something so blissfully not of this world about him, and as I said when he looked at me in satsang, I saw him radiating white light, and his responses me seemed to be very in tune with what was going on within me. He made a motion to me with his eyes clothes in satsang, the moment I was starting to lose grace, that put me back in it. I also have to say, taht waht is real, and what is not, took on a very different indescribable meaning when I was around him. Through the correspondence, and his wise guidance, sometimes lately, I've found myself in analogous states of Bliss to what I experienced around him, where I realize that the whole key to inquiry is the question of whether I am this individual person, I don't need to do, or not do, concentrate or not concentrate, think or not think. Do what I was doing, but is there a person who is doing it? Immediately puts me in what I think could be described as a high, intense state of grace. So if I had to label someone a jnani, given this experience, I would assume that the same thing happening with Nome, must have been the same thing happening with Maharshi and other perfectly established jnanis. I guess I don't know that, in the same way I don't know anything, only that Nome is the only in the flesh person I've encountered who seemed to be able to guide me beyond my suffering, limited mind-experience. Who seemed to say all the right things at all the right times. The phenomenal aspects of him or the temple, or how it is run (or it's supposed history) seem somehow very unimportant and trivial to me in comparison. The effulgent bliss of jnana, the Guru-nature of the Self and those who perfectly abide in it, seems to be what is crucial.

Clemens Vargas Ramos said...

... During Bhagavan's lifetime books were sold (not given away) in the Ramanasramam Book Store, and Bhagavan had no objection to that. ...

But He Himself has never sold anything - He only accepted this related to others. I find this point important.

Originally the whole of the creation was cost-free - therefore a ripe soul should give anything as a present. Things happening in the material world are of another kind.

For my own book translations I have kind of a license (in Germany every book needs to have it because it is legally impossible to abandon your copyright) saying that this book is absolutely free and that everyone can do with it what he wants, even earn money. If someone wants to earn money with it then he is asked to spent this money for charitable uses. But he has no obligation to do so.

A digital and free copy of the book is always available in the net - in the case of printed editions too.

Thus I free my mind completely of charging someone or prosecuting someone in the case of misuse or signing contracts I don't like and accept.

T E Gautham said...

From a buyer's perspective,

Be As you Are -
Price: Rs 245, Value: Priceless

Whatever the price of David's books, the value far outweighs the price.

Thank you, David.

Anonymous said...


You have written, “At Ramanasramam Bhagavan SAID that devotees could offer donations to support the ashram and its activities ………”

Would be very grateful if you could also give the exact reference and quote for this statement. Where & when exactly did Bhagavan SAY in so many words that devotees could offer donations to support the Ashram & its activities ?

Many thanks

Urdh Varetas

David Godman said...


I think you are right to imply that you don't think that Bhagavan ever said directly that unsolicited donations were acceptable. I can't recall any such occasion myself. The nearest I can come up with is his statement 'Arunachala gives us everything we need' when he refused permission to devotees who wanted to collect money for the construction of the Mother's temple. The implication is that whatever comes of its own accord can be accepted. I will post the full dialogue in the next post since it gives an interesting insight into Bhagavan's attitude towards fund-raising and begging in general.

The evidence for this statement in my previous post is therefore indirect. If devotees felt an urge, for example, to donate cash for the running of the ashram, provisions for the kitchen, or to give a bhiksha in the dining room, Bhagavan never made any objection. If he had not approved of these practices, I feel sure that he would have made his displeasure known. He only raised objections when it came to his attention that devotees or the ashram administration was being more pro-active in its fund raising by asking for funds or goods, or by hinting that donations would be appreciated.

Interestingly enough, Bhagavan had no objection to begging per se. He himself had begged for his own food in his early days at Arunachala. He spoke highly of this practice as a sadhana. Several of Bhagavan's devotees, with Bhagavan's approval, met their food needs in this way. What he seemed to object to was institutional begging: using his name or the name of the ashram to collect funds or materials the ashram management felt it needed.

As Chhaganal Yogi points out in the next post, Bhagavan did not object to going out with a begging bowl and accepting whatever was put into it. He did, though, draw the line at specific requests. If an item was in short supply in the ashram, he would not permit a request to go to a devotee to supply that particular object.

David Godman said...

Chhaganlal Yogi (1)

The following account, by Chhaganlal Yogi, comes from The Power of the Presence, part two. It illustrates, with concrete examples, many of the points I made in my earlier post:

As Sri Bhagavan’s fame began to spread, the number of visitors to the ashram increased. Many of them tried to offer him presents such as fancy sheets for his sofa, curtains for the doors and windows, embroidered carpets, etc. In order to satisfy the devotees who offered these things, Sri Bhagavan would usually allow his attendant to substitute, for a short period of time, the new offerings for the ones that were already in use. After a few hours they would be removed and sent away to the ashram storeroom, and the old, still-serviceable items would be brought back into use. Sri Bhagavan would briefly utilise these presents merely to strengthen the devotion of the donors. Left to himself, he would use cheap or old items, and never claim that they were his own. Devotees who tried to get him to use newer or better-made products could always count on resistance from Sri Bhagavan himself. I discovered this for myself when I tried to give him a new pen.

Sri Bhagavan generally used two fountain pens: one contained blue ink, the other, red. Both of these pens were quite old and looked, to me at least, worn out. One day the top cover of the red-ink pen cracked, so a devotee took it to town to have it repaired. It was gone for several days. During this period Sri Bhagavan reverted to an old-fashioned nib pen that had to be dipped in an inkpot of red ink. Since this seemed to cause him some inconvenience, I decided to get him a new pen. I wrote to a friend in Bombay and asked him to send one immediately. A few days later the pen arrived by post. I went straight to Sri Bhagavan and handed over the unopened parcel containing the pen.

Whenever a parcel or letter bore the name of the sender on the cover, Sri Bhagavan never failed to notice it. As soon as he received the packet from me, he turned it over and read the name of both the recipient and the sender. Having deduced that the parcel had been sent at my instigation, he took out the pen, carefully examined it, and put it back in the box. He then tried to hand the box to me.

Allowing it to remain in his hand, I explained, ‘It has been ordered from Bombay specially for Sri Bhagavan’s use’.

‘By whom?’ he asked.

‘By me,’ I said, not without some embarrassment because I was beginning to feel that Sri Bhagavan did not approve of my action.

‘What for?’ demanded Sri Bhagavan.

‘Sri Bhagavan’s red-ink pen was out of order,’ I said, ‘and I saw that it was inconvenient for him to write with a pen holder and nib.’

‘But what is wrong with this old pen?’ he asked, taking out the old red-ink pen that had by then been received back in good repair.

‘What is wrong with it?’ he repeated. He opened it up and wrote a few words to demonstrate that it had been restored to full working order.

‘Who asked you to send for a new pen?’ demanded Sri Bhagavan again. He was clearly annoyed that I had done this on his behalf.

‘No one asked me,’ I said, with faltering courage. ‘I sent for it on my own authority.’

Sri Bhagavan waved the old pen at me. ‘As you can see, the old pen has been repaired and writes very well. Where is the need for a new pen?’

Since I could not argue with him, I resorted to pleading and said, ‘I admit that it was my mistake, but now that it has come, why not use it anyway?’

My plea was turned down and the new pen went the way of all its forerunners. It was sent to the office to be used there.

David Godman said...

Chhaganlal Yogi (2)

Continued from the previous post:

Sri Bhagavan gave us an example of how to live simply by refusing to accumulate unnecessary things around him. He also refused to let anyone do any fund raising on behalf of the ashram. In this too he set an example. He taught us that if we maintain an inner silence and have faith in God’s providence, everything we need will come to us automatically. He demonstrated the practicality of this approach by refusing to let anyone collect money for the construction of the temple over his mother’s samadhi. Though large amounts of money were being spent on it every day, we had to rely on unsolicited donations to carry on the work. I knew this from direct experience because one day the ashram manager asked me to get permission from Sri Bhagavan to go to Ahmedabad to ask for a donation from a rich man I knew who lived there. Sri Bhagavan, as usual, flatly refused. No amount of persuasion could move him from his categorical ‘No’.

‘How is it,’ he complained, that you people have no faith?’

He pointed to the hill and told us, ‘This Arunachala gives us everything we want’.

In his early years on the hill Sri Bhagavan and his devotees lived on begged food. He had no objection to this form of begging. Indeed, as a teenager he had walked the streets of Tiruvannamalai, begging for his own food. What he objected to, when devotees went out to beg for their food, was asking for specific items. Devotees could only eat what was freely given.

In the period that Sri Bhagavan lived in Virupaksha Cave, visiting devotees would often leave food for the people who lived there. The resident devotees would beg for additional food if the donated amount was not enough. If the combined total was insufficient to make a good meal for everyone, Sri Bhagavan would mix all the food together, add hot water and make a kind of porridge that would then be shared equally among all those present.

Devotees who found this home-made gruel unappetising would sometimes request that at least some salt should be added to the mixture.

‘But where are we to get the salt?’ Sri Bhagavan would ask. ‘Who will give us salt unless we specifically ask for it? If once we relax our rule of non-begging in order to get salt, the palate that craves for salt today will next cry out for sambar, then for rasam, then for buttermilk and so on. Its cravings will thus grow endlessly. Because of this we should stick to our rule of non-begging.’

It was certainly no joke to live with Sri Bhagavan in those early days. Sometimes the devotees had to do without salt, at other times without a substantial meal. There were even days when there was no food at all.

When Sri Bhagavan’s mother came to stay with him, she insisted on starting a kitchen. Utensils were needed for it, but how to get them without asking or making the need known? Some things were acquired easily. When the word spread that a kitchen had been started, many of the necessary items of equipment arrived unasked from devotees who lived in town, but some useful utensils were not forthcoming.

Sri Bhagavan’s mother solved the problem merely by bringing it to his attention. It was well known that if Sri Bhagavan suddenly became aware that some needed item was not available in the ashram, it would often appear, unasked, soon afterwards. This happened far too often for it to be a coincidence.

David Godman said...

Chhaganlal Yogi (3)

One day, for example, a ladle was required. Instead of asking for it from some devotee, his mother told Sri Bhagavan about it.

He merely replied ‘We’ll see,’ but he didn’t ask anyone to bring one.

How could he, who had taken to non-begging, ask even for a ladle? But within a couple of days a devotee, of his own accord, brought half a dozen ladles and placed them at his mother’s feet. When other vessels or utensils were needed, she would inform Sri Bhagavan and he would give his usual reply: ‘We’ll see.’ Within a short space of time the required item would arrive. So, without breaking or relaxing Sri Bhagavan’s strict ‘no specific begging’ rule, the kitchen at Skandashram expanded and thrived.

This did not only happen with kitchen items. During his stay at Virupaksha Cave Sri Bhagavan often developed a severe cough. During one of these attacks he took bala harade [a small myrobalan or cherry plum] as a remedy, chewing it and swallowing its juice. This treatment lasted for a considerable amount of time, as a result of which the entire ashram stock of bala harade was consumed. When there were none left, the cough returned with more violence and vigour. Palaniswami, Sri Bhagavan’s attendant, asked for permission to buy more bala harade from the town. Of course, the permission was not granted.

A few minutes later Sri Bhagavan casually remarked, ‘Harade [big myrobalan] is better remedy than bala harade for coughing’.

Shortly afterwards a devotee entered the cave with a small bundle in his hand. He had come to pay homage to Sri Bhagavan.

Holding the bundle before him he said, ‘As I was coming here from my village, I saw a man sitting on the roadside, selling big myrobalans. It struck me that it was good for coughing, so I brought some for Sri Bhagavan’s use.’

He opened the bundle and placed it before Sri Bhagavan, who asked him with a smile on his face, ‘But why did you buy so much?’

The devotee replied, ‘It was quite cheap and the seller wouldn’t agree to sell me a small amount. I had to buy all of them. Let them be here. Since I don’t want any myself, let them stay here.’

The idea of buying and bringing harade to the ashram thus coincided with the utterance of Sri Bhagavan’s words. Can this coincidence be attributed to anything else than the strict observance of the rules of non-begging by Sri Bhagavan?

At times, also to cure his cough, Sri Bhagavan used to chew black raisins. These also ran out while Sri Bhagavan was still having coughing attacks.

Palaniswami again requested Sri Bhagavan to allow him to buy more from the town, but his request was summarily turned down with the remark, ‘Let’s see, where’s the hurry?’

A few minutes later Sri Gambiram Seshayya entered with a packet in his hand. ‘What have you brought?’ someone asked.

‘Raisins,’ was the reply.

‘Then you must have known about our talk here,’ said Sri Bhagavan with a laugh.

‘O Bhagavan!’ said Sri Gambiram, folding his hands in a namaskar, ‘How could I know in advance what was being talked about here? It just occurred to me when I started out from my house that I should bring something to offer here. When I went to the market, only one shop was open. In that shop only a small quantity of black raisins was available. There was nothing else there that could be useful here. So, I had to buy these black raisins. The thought of buying them never occurred to me before I entered the shop.’

If there is a moral in these stories it is that all things flow towards the person who adheres strictly to the resolve of non-begging. Or, one could say that if one abides as the Self with the conviction that there is a higher power that arranges for all the necessary things to be supplied, then one need not go looking for them because they will arrive unasked.

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