Wednesday, November 17, 2010

Open Thread

Please continue all your 'Open Thread' discussions here. The thread I started in July has close to 600 comments and is loading very slowly with the new comments' system. I will renew the thread every time it it passes 200 comments to facilitate loading times.


1 – 200 of 906   Newer›   Newest»
Anonymous said...

Sai baba of Shirdi said: Always it is the the master who draws his followers, although it may appear to be their decision or to be mere chance that one is chosen and another not. Sai baba was explicit about this. 'I draw my people to me from long distances in many ways. It is I who seek them out and bring them to me; they do not come of their own accord. Even though they maybe thousands of miles away, I draw them to me like a bird with a string tied to its foot.'

Subramanian. R said...

A portion of conversation between
Dr. Syed and Sri Bhagavan:

Dr.: If Arunachala be the Self why should it be specifically picked out
among so many other hills? God is everywhere. Why do you specify Him as Arunachala?

Sri B: What has attracted you from
Allahabad to this place? What has attracted all these people around?

Dr.: Sri Bhagavan

Sri B: How was I attracted here?
By Arunachala. The Power cannot be denied. Again Arunachala is within and without. The Self is Arunachala.

The Upanishad says: Atma chooses

Atma = Arunachala = Sri Bhagavan

The Upanishad again says: Everyone loves others only for the sake of the Self.

The Self seeks the devotee who is again the Self.

Anonymous said...

I just came to know one of the well known devotees of Shirdi Sai Baba Sainathuni Sarath Babuji took samadhi on Nov 13th.

For readers that do not know him he was referrred to here on one of the posts by David

Anonymous said...

I went from God to God, until they cried from me in me, "O thou I!"

-Sufi Bayazid Bistami

posted by z

Broken Yogi said...

Too bad the new comments system didn't work out. I kind of liked it.

As for lost comments, I didn't save any of mine, but Discus did, and I happen to have an open window that preserved some of those posts which are now gone. I'll try to repost a few.

Broken Yogi said...

In response to a comment about mindfulness:

I have often wondered about this matter myself, and the relationship between Buddha's mindfulness meditation and self-enquiry. There's some very good and interesting teachings about mindfulness from Bhante Vimilaramsi that I found useful. I'm not sure if Sri Ramana ever commented much on this, other than to suggest that pranayama could be useful. But I'm not sure how he defined pranayama. The Buddha's teachings is simply one of being aware of the breath and using that awareness to allow the mind to still. Is that what Ramana meant? Or was he referring to the more calculating disciplines of breath control used in pranayama?

Broken Yogi said...

In response to a discussion of Vivekananda's questioning of Ramakrishna:

Yes, I'm aware of the verbal battles between Naren and Ramakrishna. I'm also aware that even while Ramakrishna freely criticized Naren for his questioning, he also encouraged and praised him for it. It was not some one-sided matter where Ramakrishna looked upon Naren's skepticism as only being a detriment. He merely wished to help Naren purify it and focus it into a powerful spiritual force that could cut through his own ego. So he helped Naren do that, without blunting the instrument but instead sharpening it with the purity of bhakta. And it helped Naren see that his questioning nature had to be turned upon himself, as the impulse to realization through jnana. That is why Naren became such an advocate of Advaita over the years, even though Ramakrishna was a bhakti. It was not that he abandoned his questioning, skeptical nature. He just purified it and turned it upon himself. But it remained the case that in social and political matters of culture and religion, he remained very discriminating and questioning and skeptical of much that he felt was unnecessary to sanatana dharma. He was blessed by Ramakrishna in this. And Ramakrishna himself was no slavish supporter of superstitions and caste and so forth.

Now, it's also true that the realizer is characterized by his silence, the complete cessation of mind. In Vivekananda's case, this did not fully occur until his Mahasamadhi, as prophesized by Ramakrishna, who told him that the final step would be withheld until he had completed his work in the world, after which he would leave the body. The point is that Naren's highly questioning mind proved extremely useful for that work, and as it became more deeply focused and pure, it produced a deeper spiritual maturity in him. The point is not to imitate silence so as to seem to be realized, but to use the instrument of the mind to penetrate through illusions of all kinds, especially the illusion of the ego.

Broken Yogi said...

A response to Ravi on caste:

I am not sure what you mean when you say we are not talking about social custom here. I certainly am. I am talking about the social customs of caste and how the lower castes are treated. Caste is a human creation, and even if one's karma is to be born into a particular caste, it is merely to say that it is one's karma to be born into a particular place in the social structure human beings have created. It is not a mark of one's actual spiritual maturity or purity. Being born into a higher caste is not a reward, and being born into a lower caste is not a punishment. They are simply karmic tests as to what we will identify with and exploit or react to. As human beings, it is important to discriminate between the true and the false, the harmful and the helpful, and to reject the false and harmful and embrace the true and helpful. What is true and helpful is not found in any caste, but in how we relate to one another. As Jesus said, we are judged by how we relate to the least among us. Even in India, there are innumerable stories of sages or gods taking on the form of some poor and indigent lower caste person, and testing others to see if they can recognize them and relate to them rightly. And that is merely a parable for how we are supposed to see the highest even in those of the lowest social status.

Now, I agree with you that vasanas and samskaras must be purified for the Self to shine through. But the vasanas and samskaras to be purified are not in others, but in our own mind. We cannot see untouchables as the Self so long as our mind is obscured by the samskara of caste. If we believe ourselves to be pure and higher, and the untouchable to be lowly and impure, we are blinded to the Self. The untouchable may not be so blind as we are, and actually be of a much more mature nature, but we will not see it, because of the samskaras of caste that we believe to be real and true rather than merely accretions of the mind. So the purification that must be accomplished is of our own minds and their vasanas and samskaras, not some outer change in those we perceive to be impure. As long as our mind is impure, we will see impurity all around us, projecting it onto others when it is actually in us. And so as long as we project that impurity on others, we will never actually purify ourselves of these vasanas and samskaras. We will not even recognize these things as our own vasanas and samskaras, we will think they are objectively existing outside us. And that makes real maturity almost impossible to accomplish. It is only when we see our minds as the source of impurity, and thus purify and renounce our own vasanas and samskaras and identification with these, that we have any path to real spiritual maturity open to us.

Broken Yogi said...

Another response to Ravi on caste:

I am not sure what kind of point you are trying to make by comparing untouchables to animals and suggesting that harsh treatment of either one is wrong. Whatever your arguments are about the true nature of "untouchability", you seem to think that it's a real spiritual phenomena, that there really are some people whose karma it is to be "untouchable", that there really is some psychic or spiritual truth to this matter, and that the caste system merely reflects this psychic reality. Is this true? I wish you would be clearer about it rather than always leaving it ambiguous.

Obviously whatever we are born into, that is our karma. If our parents are wonderful and loving people, that is our karma, if they are cruel and despicable, that is our karma as well. If they are rich or poor, that is our karma. If we are born deformed and stupid, that is our karma, if we are strong and smart, that is our karma. If we are born to the lowest of the low, or born to the Queen of England, that is our karma. We have to accept It as karma, and work with it. But doesn't mean that any of those karmas define us before God. Nor does God require us to accept these karmas as in any way immutable social structures.

A man born a black slave in the American South does not have to accept society's judgment that he is a lesser human being fit only for menial labor and all the tribulations of slavery. He is required to assert his equality and even to fight for his human dignity and rights. And those who oppose and suppress and exploit him are creating karmas in the process themselves. They have to see that their judgment of this black man was false, was created by human delusion and egoity, and that it must be abandoned and blacks recognized as free and equal men under God.

The same is true of "untouchables". They are not spiritually impure, regardless of what beliefs have formed about them. Their karma is not to be born as impure people, but to be born into a culture that is delusional and exploitive and in need of an awakening about the true nature of human beings. And people born as brahmins are not born as spiritually advanced and pure people who are the true mainstays of the ancient sanatana dharma. They simply have the karma of being born into a privileged position in their society where they can, if they wish to indulge themselves, take advantage of those privileges and suppress and exploit the lower classes. They have the karma of being given erroneous beliefs and delusional ideas about themselves and their caste, and they have the challenge of seeing through those delusions and not acting upon them in a way to exploit and hurt those of lower castes. There are many such worthy people in the upper castes, and many who have shown themselves unworthy. The same is true I'm sure in all classes. What karmas one is given to work with is not the measure of a man, but how he works with it, how identified he is with those karmas, and how willing he is to renounce them and be free of them. Those born to higher castes or classes, in India as well as in the west, need to renounce identification with these and recognize one another in God as equal in every respect.


Broken Yogi said...

continuation of response to Ravi:

This doesn't mean that "everything is the same" and we cannot be discriminating. I don't see Ramakrishna's recommendation to prepare one's own food some kind of bizarre superstition. It's a very practical matter that simply makes a lot of sense. I prepare my own food, and I seldom eat out because I value pure and clean food. And I have to say, if I lived in South India I would be more paranoid about my food and water than any Brahmin there! But my concern would not be "spiritual impurity" so much as bacteria, viruses, filth, and natural unprocessed food. Why would I care whether a brahmin or a dalit prepared my food, so long as it was clean? I guess my karmas are fortunate in that I live in a part of the world where it is possible to get very clean and pure food and water. I hardly think that makes me and my neighbors here of a superior caste to those living in South India. Do you?

None of this has anything to do with the actual caste problem in India, especially the untouchables' situation. There seems to be much superstition, greed, exploitation, and simple prejudice masquerading as some kind of genuine "psychic" concern going on over there. Everyone needs to be discriminating in their living, but their discrimination has to have a genuine basis, not merely superstitious traditions. Cutting through the ego means cutting away these needless obsessions.

Anonymous said...

Ombra mai fu.....never has there been. Never has there been one like Ramana Maharshi.
I still remember the pure joy I felt when I first saw his picture and read his words.
Have I made any progress since I first encountered him? I cannot say.

Anonymous said...

I think Arunachala is a meeting point for Ego suiciders just like California for technology, Paris for fashion or Benares for bairagis. To attach importance to Arunachala Hill any more than other places as Self is only from a practical standpoint. It is like the discussion of the physical Heart centre on the right side and the real Self.

T. said...


I’m not sure which comment you reply to re mindfulness, but the parallels between Ramana’s self-enquiry and mindfulness has consumed me somewhat. Here are my conclusions:

Ramana’s core teaching is “be quiet”. He advised questions such as “who am I” as a means of turning away from mental chatter, thereby allowing quiescence to reveal itself.

The theme, “be quiet”, parallels a school of practice refereed to as Shikantaza ( Shikantaza is a form of advanced mindfulness and has probably been in existence since the time of the Buddha; shikantaza i.e. resting in a state of brightly alert attention that is free of thoughts, directed to no object, and attached to no particular content.

Hence, I personally consider Ramana’s core teaching and Shikantaza to be the same. The only difference being that Shikantaza does not use questions of any kind to come back to quiescence, it just does it!

Regarding mindfulness of breath.

I know Ramana talked of breath control. I’m not sure if he talked about awareness of breath. These are two very different practices.

Nevertheless, in Who Am I, Ramana states breath control will not lead to liberation because, “Through the control of breath also, the mind will become quiescent; but it will be quiescent only so long as the breath remains controlled, and when the breath resumes the mind also will again start moving and will wander as impelled by residual impressions.”

However, the same occurs when self-enquiry is lost, forgotten or abandoned. So I do not follow the argument here.

Regarding mindfulness of breath: as this meditation goes deeper, so to the subject-object boundaries blur, (“I” who am aware of the “breath”), eventually merging, giving way to insight, a glimpse of the fundamental reality, “emptiness” (

Breath awareness can settle the mind. Then dropping mindfulness of breath, a spaciousness, a quiescence appears. Which carries on, all on its own, without any effort on behalf of the practitioner.

I personally find awareness of breath a powerful prelude to “just being”, Ramana’s core teaching.

Anonymous said...

Sufficiently Naked - Soren Kierkegaard

In order to swim one takes off all one's clothes -
in order to aspire to the truth one must undress
in a far more inward sense,
divest oneself of all one's inward clothes,
of thoughts, conceptions, selfishness, etc.,
before one is sufficiently naked.

Anonymous said...

The question, 'Who Am I?'
The answer, 'I am!'

Who is giving the answer?

Ravi said...

Broken Yogi,
I have not saved any of my responses.I am not sure whether I will be able to recapture what I have said earlier.
I will capture a couple of points -as this is from memory,it may not have the vitality with which it might have emerged in the First place.
1.I talked about how Love is all embracing and Love and Kindness to 'X' and not to 'Y' is a kind of mental weakness or aberration.A man who talks of love for his fellow beings but would not mind killing speechless Fowls and Animals for food!-this is what Sri Bhagavan had said in that post by Scott.
2.I talked about the karmic debts that an individual has to clear towards his parents,family,Society(Including the so called 'Untouchable')Environment,Ancestors.This is not just socio economic.It cannot be cleared if one simply provides monetary benefit and social comforts,and Provide clean mineral water treated with antibacterial treatment(shows how we are slaves to matter!).It is SERVING them with LOVE.A BLESSING comes from them and it is this BLESSING that has the power to clear the imprints.The opposite is true as well-a hurt or a curse is enough to weigh down upon our progress.This is because YOU ARE THE WORLD and there is no isolation possible.To discharge one's duities as well as one can and to offer all of it to the Divine is what is possible.You have said something about seeing the Divine in all-This is the culmination of this reverence towards all forms of Living.
2.You have said something about South India where you will be more careful than the Brahmins!This has nothing to do with the Brahmin's so called 'Touch -me-not'.It has nothing to do with just physical Hygiene and cleanliness alone,it also includes that of the psyche of the source-and the most orthodox do not eat food outside ,even in another Brahmin's house.It is said that he who eats the Food prepared by someone also imbibes the 'psyche' and mental makeup of the one who 'prepares' the Food and the one who 'serves' the Food.If that person is avaricious,that quality gets into the one who eats.It is on account of this,that the Sastras prescribe Food prepared by the Mother or even better,one has to cook one's Food,Chanting the Divine Name.
There is all the time the 'Subtle exchange' going on between oneself and the World.The more one progresses,the more one becomes aware of these things and learns to deal with these.
It is only when one is a Full blown Sage,established in the Self that one is free from this sort of a subtle influence.

Ravi said...

Broken Yogi,
3.I talked about the modern world where there is total confusion and where the individual aspiration is not at all in sync with the collective good.The Gap between the Haves and Have nots are only increasing;Only that the 'Have nots' have been told that are every bit anyone's Equal!!!
4. I mentioned how the Crux of the Problem is that everyone is talking about 'RIGHTS' and no one is conscious of 'DUTIES'.The Focus is thus on 'What do I get' than on 'What do I give'.This is the basis on which modern civilization is built.I talked about the Tyranny of the corporates with just greed as the prime motivator and how this exploitation is worse than the bonded Labour of early times.How an entire country and its population is wiped out in the name of Demo CRAZY -One solitary soldier(Aggressor)getting killed would involve a lot of serious debate and questioning in the House whereas any number of innocents killed will not get even a mention-Certainly this sort of Untouchability(or shall we say that they(the innocents) do not even exist!I was in Syria at this point of time)never ever existed in Sanatana Dharma.
5.I had talked about the Ancient Hindu Civilization founded on the Principles of Dharma and Peaceful coexistence and How the Varna Ashram Dharma not only exemplified this -nurturing Development in Science,Arts,Culture ,Refinement all based on the Spiritual Foundation-but also has been the Secret of its Longevity,based as it was on Duties than Rights of one and all.
6.I have also talked about how it is not possible to revert back to the earlier setup through an outer change-It was always the Inner that brought about such a system-one may only start with oneself and it is only a Life Affirming spirituality than a negating one that can bring this about.
7.Finally I had mentioned that since you wanted me very badly to see some 'Negative aspect' that I have been Ignoring all along-let me assure you that I am completely aware of this aspect,as any serious aspirant will be-and in dealing with the Strengths of the Varna Ashrama System,I have focussed on what has worked and produced the Goods-the Main theme and not wanting to be sidetracked.This aberration is not something 'intrinsic' and is only a result of lack of balance -The Kshatriya power waning,as I have mentioned.The Varna ashrama system in itself is quite sound with enough checks and balances.

I have no further inclination to continue.I am sure that the Divine will inspire what is appropriate in each and every individual and goad him onwards towards whatever he is destined.


Ravi said...

"Who is giving the answer?"
Both the question and the answer are from the mind only.
What motivates me to ask this 'question'.Is this borrowed from someone or it is something that is intrinsic and vital that moves me?
is this a sort of questioning or is it a sort of Seeing?

Anonymous said...

just the very name RAMANA is so beautiful and uttering it brings tears to the eyes. what more to say about the beauty and power of Bhagavan.

R p

Ravi said...

You are indeed blessed.This is quite precious and this alone will lead you to all the rest,whatever that be.

Ravi said...

The mahabharata is one of The Great epics that is the creation of the Great master Veda Vyasa-It covers the entire gamut of Life and captures the complex web of life in all its aspects,Physical,economic,social,cultural,Intellectual,psychic and spiritual and has a Grandiose bunyanesque architecture.
Please find the story of utanka and Takshaka-this is a fascinating story that has fascinating interactions-How utanka interacts with the king gives a typical picture.Not everything is Black or white but it has all the shades of Grey inbetween.How utanka's Guru advises him:'Do everything that is proper, and above all obey the orders of my wife, except when they would conflict with the path of truth'.
Those interested may read:

A good grasp and familiarity of the Ramayana and mahabharata is essential to understand and appreciate the Complex architecture of sanatana Dharma.

Anonymous said...

Ravi, The mind asks and the mind answers,whatever the answer it is not relevant. If one is quiet there is no mental activity only awareness.

Ravi said...

"If one is quiet there is no mental activity only awareness."
Why should there be no mental activity in Silence and what is the nature of this quietude if it is disturbed by mental activity?
This quietude is also of the mind and is only a preliminary first step.It is valuable to start with but only a small beginning.

Anonymous said...

Ravi, Yes it is a preliminary first step. No one said that it is enlightenment.

Anonymous said...

Was catching up on the long arguments in the open thread, and since David mentioned the Monty Pythons, cudn’t resist putting up the Bruce’s philosopher’s song (with apologies to S!). Just a reminder folks to lighten up.

“Immanuel Kant was a real piss-ant who was very rarely stable.
Heideggar, Heideggar was a boozy beggar who could think you under the table.
David Hume could out-consume Wilhelm Freidrich Hegel.
And Whittgenstein was a beery swine who was just as sloshed as Schlegel.
There's nothing Nieizsche couldn't teach 'ya 'bout the raising of the wrist.
Socrates, himself, was permanently pissed.
John Stewart Mill, of his own free will, after half a pint of shanty was particularly ill.
Plato, they say, could stick it away, half a crate of whiskey every day!
Aristotle, Aristotle was a bugger for the bottle,
And Hobbes was fond of his Dram.
And Rene Descartes was a drunken fart:
"I drink, therefore I am."
Yes, Socrates himself is particularly missed;
A lovely little thinker, but a bugger when he's pissed.”

Best wishes

“A” [hope this distinguishes the Bruces’!]

Ravi said...

Broken Yogi/Friends,
By had mentioned what Sri Ramakrishna had said about Naren-How the final step was kept in abeyance until his mahasamadhi-This is not easy to understand as Sri Ramakrishna has always maintained that a Snake is a snake whether coiled or in motion.
Here is an excerpt from the Gospel,where Sri Ramakrishna mentions about the Greatness of Naren(Swami Vivekananda).

"Parable of the homa bird
Pointing to Narendra, the Master said: "You all see this boy. He behaves that way here. A
naughty boy seems very gentle when with his father. But he is quite another person when
he plays in the chandni. Narendra and people of his type belong to the class of the everfree.
They are never entangled in the world. When they grow a little older they feel the
awakening of inner consciousness and go directly toward God. They come to the world
only to teach others. They never care for anything of the world. They are never attached to
'woman and gold'.
"The Vedas speak of the homa bird. It lives high up in the sky and there it lays its egg. As
soon as the egg is laid it begins to fall; but it is so high up that it continues to fall for many
days. As it falls it hatches, and the chick falls. As the chick falls its eyes open; it grows
wings. As soon as its eyes open, it realizes that it is falling and will be dashed to pieces on
touching the earth. Then it at once shoots up toward the mother bird high in the sky."
At this point Narendra left the room. Kedar, Prankrishna, M., and many others remained.
The Master has talked about the Nitya Siddhas as ever perfect-They are not born as a result of any Residual karma that has to be expiated.

Anonymous said...

As long as we follow a spiritual approach promising salvation, miracles,
liberation, then we are bound by the "golden chain of spirituality." Such a
chain might be beautiful to wear, with its inlaid jewels and intricate
carvings, but nevertheless, it imprisons us. People think they can wear the
golden chain for decoration without being imprisoned by it, but they are
deceiving themselves. As long as one's approach to spirituality is based
upon enriching ego, then it is spiritual materialism, a suicidal process
rather than a creative one.
Chogyam Trungpa

Anonymous said...

Om Namo Bhagavate Arunachala Siva Sadguru Ramanaaya Namaha

Azhagaa Ramana Sundara Ramana, my beloved Bhagavan

Deepam greetings to all fellow Ramana lovers :-)

R p

Anonymous said...

“I have a Q. Is there any difference between "awareness" and "consciousness" that we come across in the spiritual books? If yes, whats the difference? This is w.r.t. enquiry - as in, the existence that we feel, is it consciousness or awareness or both or neither... it probably doesnt matter what name we give it, but i just got curious.”

Thanks to a good friend for mentioning this query in the open thread, and also the extract from “I am That” following. The hair splitting as between “consciousness” & “awareness” is quite meaningless really, as the questioner herself alludes. And especially when the query is with respect to the English words, as contrasted with the possible Sanskrit terms. But just the portion, “the existence that we feel, is it consciousness …?” is a marvelous question indeed, esp when we take “consciousness” as the “Supreme Consciousness”

The question, of course, is enormously important, because its answer as “Yes” forms the basis of vichara. All of us who follow Bhagavan would know how vichara necessarily is based on this fundamental fact. And the logical reasoning for this derivation is easily possible if any one, well versed in Bhagavan’s teachings, spends a few minutes thinking about it.

But perhaps only a few might know of the basic connection to classical Advaita as well, and thus how Bhagavan’s vichara is actually fundamentally linked to it. For, one of the foundation stones of classical Advaita is that the “existence we feel” as Maneesha puts it, or “experience” as TMP Mahadevan calls it in “The Philosophy of Advaita” is actually the basic nature of the Self Itself. The logical proof of the same is given elaborately in the Vivarana Prameya Sangraha of Sri Vidyaranya Swami (extracts are quoted by TMPM in his aforementioned book).

The basic derivation then is: THE SELF IS OF THE NATURE OF “EXPERIENCE” or

And there is logical proof of the same. It is complex reasoning and may not interest many of the readers herein and thus have avoided putting it up. But if someone is interested further, either in the complex classical proof, or even in the simple reasoning as to how vichara is derived from this fact, one would be happy to put up the same.

Best wishes


Subramanian. R said...

Dear Anonymous,

Bhagavan Ramana has said: Arunachalam is more sublime than any other place. Arunacahla is the Heart
of the earth. It is the centre of
Heart. [Sri Arunachala Mahatmyam].
Bhagavan Ramana said: In all other
temples, Siva is only an idol or image in a temple. But, here the
Hill Itself is Arunachala. The
Mahatmyam further says: The concealed purport of Vedanta is the Truth that is more subtle than
subtlety. This Truth, the knowledge of Atman, which can never be attained even by the observance of arduous mental physical disciplnes [like the four-fold sadhana] can be acqured with ease by merely beholding Arunachala, the form of Grace, from a perceptible distance or by remembrance of It in the depth of the heart from afar. Siva said:
I, the Lord of all, ordain that those who dwell within a radius of three yojanas [30 miles] around this place, even in the absence of the traditional methods of initiation for the removal of the ego, will gain union with Siva [the
Supreme], freed of bondage.

Ravi said...

Good to see you surfacing after a while.Just to let you know that tommorow I am going to Karur on official Trip.Looking forward to a pilgrimage to Sri sadasiva Brahmam's Samadhi in Nerur,if time permits.I recall your writing about your visit quite a while back.I will recommend Sri Balamuralikrishna's rendering of the wonderful krithis of this Great sage-Pibare Ramarasam,Kelathi ma ma hridaye,Smara vAram vAram,sarvam Brahmam mayam,etc-all wonderfully rendered.

Ravi said...

"Bhagavan Ramana has said: Arunachalam is more sublime than any other place. Arunacahla is the Heart
of the earth. It is the centre of
Heart. [Sri Arunachala Mahatmyam].
Bhagavan Ramana said: In all other
temples, Siva is only an idol or image in a temple. But, here the
Hill Itself is Arunachala."

That Sri Bhagavan did not make a distinction between The Self and the Holy Hill speaks volumes about the Glory of this place.
Just to think of it from Afar will grant one Mukti(smaranath Arunachala)-such is the power and grace of Arunachala Siva.
R subramanian is absolutely right and spot on.
Today is Deepam day.We remember dear Nandu and his Love for Sri Bhagavan and arunachala.


Anonymous said...

Hi Ravi,

Thank you for remembering me. Wish you all the best on your trip to Nerur & Sri Sadasiva’s Samadhi. It remains as one of the most stunning spiritual experiences for me and one which I will always cherish. Hope it is so for you as well.

Of Sri Sadasiva’s krithis I only have one album (CD) rendered by the “Bombay Sisters”. Is Balamuralikrishnan’s album available on any of the common labels ?



Subramanian. R said...

The words Awareness and Consciousness
are interchangeably used by the
translators. But,I think what
Bhagavan meant by Consciousness
is Atma and he used 'to become aware'to indicate the process of realization. Muruganar used the
word Suttarivu to mean objective

Consciousness appears as everything. [Padamalai 2618]. That which exists is only one
Consciousness. The many conceptualized varieties of objectified consciousness are only imaginary notions in that which is. {Padamalai 2472}.

Bhagavan used Awareness to mean only sraddha [attention] and to mean only nididhyasana [contemplation.]

Clemens Vargas Ramos said...


In Yoga Vasistha, Part 3, ON CREATION appears the following explanation:

AKASA — Space or Dimension

Three important words occur in the text, which are: cidakasa, cittakasa and bhatakasa. Literally acasa means space and hence cidakasa means consciousness-space, cittakaga means mind-space and bhatakasa means the element space. These three concepts are thus beautifully explained by Bhagavan Ramana Maharsi:

"It is said that cidacasa itself is atma svarupa (image of atma) and that we can view it only with the help of the mind. How can we see it, if the mind has subsided?" someone asked. Bhagavan said: "If the sky is taken as an illustration it must be stated to be of three varieties, cidakasa, cittakasa and bhatakasa. The natural state is called cidakasa, the I feeling that is born from cidakasa cittakasa. As that cittakasa expands and takes the shape of all the bhatas (elements) this is all bhatakasa. When the cittakasa which is consciousness of the self (I) does not see the cidakasa but sees the bhatakasa it is said to be mano akasa and when when it leaves mano akasa and sees cidakasa it is said to be cinmaya (pure consciousness). The subsiding of the mind means, the idea of multiplicity of objects vanishes and the idea of oneness of objects appears. When that is achived everything appears natural."

Perhaps, a better translation for the word akasa is "dimension". The same infinite consciousness is known as cidakasa, cittakasa and bhatakasa viewed from the spiritual, mental (conceptual) and physical dimension respectively.

Soorya said...

He who has destroyed the ego is alone the true Sannyasin and the true Brahmin; but, hard indeed is the complete destruction of the heavy burden of the ego borne by those Sannyasins who feel “I belong to the highest ashrama” and by those brahmins who feel “I belong to the highest caste”.

- Guru Vachaka Kovai

Soorya said...

Here is Sadhu Om's explanation of the verse :

Sadhu Om: The true Sannyasa is the renunciation of the ego and the true Brahminhood is the realization of Brahman [i.e., the Self],and thus both the words Sannyasin and Brahmin mean one who has destroyed the ego. But as ashramas [orders of life] and varnas [castes] pertain only to the body, only those who identify themselves with their bodies can feel that they belong to the highest ashrama [known as Sannyasa] or to the highest varna[known as
Brahminhood]. Such feelings naturally create pride and strengthen the ego, and therefore the higher the ashrama or varna,the
heavier the burden of the ego, and the harder its eradication.

Anonymous said...

I happened to read the First Vol. of the book "Deivathin Kural" containing the speeches of the Sage of Kanchi few days back.

It is an excellent work (i think seven huge volumes) covering almost all aspects of Sanathana Dharma/Hinduism.

With regard to the current degraded state and the bad name for Sanathana Dharma, the Sage squarely puts the blame on the Brahmin caste friends for shifting to the western materialistic way of living after the arrival of Britishers in this country in the first vol. under the chapter titled "Porupaali Yaar? Parigaram Enna" [Who is responsible? What is the solution] (Page 223).

The Sage points out that even during the Islamic rule in India, the Brahmins held their Vedic dharma but when Britishers came to India, the Brahmin community were easily pulled away from their dharma by the materialistic maya of the Britishers setting a wrong precedent and disorder in the entire Sanathana dharma society.

It is a large chapter pointing out the reasons for caste problems etc.

According to the Sage, if there remains a chance for the revival of Sanathana Dharma to its old pristine state, the Brahmins have to lead and get back to their unselfish Vedic way of living pulling away from their current materialistic way of living.

Also can be read at (Tamil Font required),


Broken Yogi said...


I understand your desire to discontinue our discussion of caste. Just a few brief responses:

Psychic and spiritual purity is important, even in the preparation of food, but my point is that such purity is not a matter of caste, but of one's actual disposition. If one's disposition is that of bodily identification with caste, and the assertion of superiority and purity based on caste and caste practices and values, then this is actually an impurity that creates psychic and spiritual imbalance and corruption. I would not like having such a person prepare my food. I'd much prefer a Dalit who is humble and full of faith prepare my food than a Brahman who feels himself to be "high caste" and is full of all kinds of righteous ideas about himself.

I also agree that duties and responsibilities are more important than rights, but this is also where caste fails. Everyone has a duty and a responsibility to see others as equal in the Self, and to allow each individual to find their appropriate station in life, based on their actual abilities and maturity, and not on such artificial matters as caste. Even a true understanding of varna eliminates hereditary caste and recognizes the duties and responsibilities of each individual based on their actual varnic nature, not that of their parents or cultural background.

So the perpetual degeneration of India is not due to some failure to live up to the responsibilities of the caste system, it is due to the failure that is the caste system. That is not the fault of the British or even of those corrupted by the British. Why were they so easy to corrupt? Because the caste system had already corrupted them and hidden the real nature of human beings behind a false and corrupt social order. Likewise, the genuine spiritual renewal of India requires that this false system collapse even further until it is abandoned, just as other unjust class systems are collapsing.

Likewise, the spirituality of India requires genuine realization of its ideals, including the understanding that in reality we are all equal in the Self. Caste has always been an impediment to the creation of a culture based on genuine realization. I think modern sages like Sri Ramana who do not recognize or respect caste as having any spiritual or practical basis are pointing the way for the future of India's spirituality, and those who cling to the old values are going to have to let go of their superstitions and attachments. All such things are impermanent and changing in any case, and have to be allowed to die their natural death. What does not change is what is the basis for genuine spiritual culture, and that is not of any caste.

Broken Yogi said...

I must also add that Soorya's quotes from Guru Vachaka Kovai and Sadhu Om's commentary are simply perfect.

Ravi said...

"if there remains a chance for the revival of Sanathana Dharma to its old pristine state, the Brahmins have to lead and get back to their unselfish Vedic way of living pulling away from their current materialistic way of living."

Thanks very much TC.Yes,the onus is squarely on the Brahmins and I fully agree with this.
My own sadhana is not along these lines,yet I realize the importance of preserving the Glorious Vedas for posterity.This is a vast subject and one that cannot be easily appreciated.I do know a couple of sincere aspirants who follow this path and the efficacy and greatness of this cannot be underestimated,especially from the Collective perspective.

Anonymous said...

Broken Yogi, have you visited India?

R p

Ravi said...

Broken Yogi,
As I have said,the varna ashrama Dharma has to be understood from the collective perspective-and it is not easy to appreciate this from a purely theoretical knowledge,in the absence of how it actually works out in practice.One of the key consideration is to get inducted at an early age,to be born and brought up in whatever Varna-this gives the advantage of being steeped in whatever that varna is supposed to do.
The difficulty in understanding stems from considering one Varna as superior to the other.
If we think deeply on this subject,without being diverted by whatever superficial aberrations there appear to be,the soundness of this approach will be clear.One other key thing is that all have equal opportunities to manifest the Divine,yet the approach will be as is natural to that varna.
I have said all this before and I am aware and appreciate all that you are saying about the 'inner worth' as a key thing,etc.I have taken all that into account,and maintain that the Varna ashrama Dharma is not contradicting any of these.
I leave it at that.

Ravi said...

I am just back after a pilgrimage to Sri sadasiva Brahmam's samadhi at Nerur.The route from Karur to Nerur is still not all that motorable-what with the heavy rains that are lashing South India for the last few days.It was around 18:00 hrs when we reached this place after enquiring every now and then and following many a country mile,following many directions like go a mile to the south and then turn east,etc.People here are very clear about North,south,East and west!
The whole place presented a totally different view than what I had seen about 3 decades back.I understand that about 2 crores were spent to renovate this place ,with good floors and Roofs.The Kasi Viswanatha and Mother Visalakshi temple still looks ancient,built with Rocks-Quite serene and just no one except the three of us who visited at that point of time,with only a couple of Brahmin priests-the Archana fee was a mere 2 Rs!Behind the Siva linga which we are told was brought from kasi(Benares)by a person on the Tenth day of the Jiva Samadhi of Sri sadasiva Brahmam,we have the Swayambu Lingam atop sri Sadasiva's Samadhi.I found a person who after a few preliminary Pranayama plunged into meditation.I spent a few quiet minutes just sitting there.The temple closes at 19:30 hours.The whole atmosphere is steeped in Silence-such is the power of this Place.
We just trailed a few trucks that braved the Heavy rains and the mud Road on our way back to karur.
We are told that during full moon days,a big crowd gathers here(about a thousand people).

Coming to Sri balamurali Krishna's rendering,I consider this more soulful than the Bombay sisters rendering.This is available as a CD brought out by the Sangeetha -Koel Brand.I find it is listenable online(along with a few artefacts !).Please visit:
Tatvat jeevatvam is one of my favourites and beautifully rendered with a Folk style instrumental embelishment,although the singing is quite classical.

Anonymous said...

Sri Ravi,

How far is Nerur from Karur, and how frequently do buses ply from Karur to Nerur?


Anonymous said...

Hi Ravi,

Many thanks for writing about your visit. It brought back vivid memories of my own trip. Have mixed feelings about the renovation you mention. Sadly, temple trustees take renovation to be chintzy modernization usually, putting tiles, polished stones & stuff, rather than to actually restore the site to what it had originally been like. Hopefully, and from what you indicate, the renovation there is more sensible.

Actually, on that trip I had also visited Sri Shridhar Ayyaval Swami’s place in Tiruvisinaloor & Sri Bodhendra’s Samadhi (Tulsi Brindaban) in Govindapuram, both near Kumbhakonam. You probably have been to these places already. Both these were contemporaries of Sri Sadasiva of course, and it is quite astounding that such holy personages should have been in the same area at the same time more or less. Bodhendra Swami’s Samadhi is an amazing place too. The Brindaban pillar itself, open to the skies, is beautifully constructed inside the hall and there is a peculiar light effect inside, in that the place seems to be bathed in an aura of sorts. It is a very holy place indeed. And there is a small stream of the great Cauvery behind, a place to sit & ponder on what this is all about!

Thanks for the link to the B’M’Krishna’s site. They are beautiful renditions, & I will keep an eye open for the album around here to pick it up.

Apologies folks for this bit of “aside” from the main topics.

Best wishes


David Godman said...

I agree with Arvind that many modern temple renovations are little more than cultural vandalsim. I first experienced this in the 1970s when I gave money to a sadhu on the pradakshina road who was fund-raising to renovate an old shrine there. My donation went to helping remove a centuries-old oil painting (admittedly in poor condition) from the inner ceiling. After it was scrubbed off, it was replaced with whitewash.

When I spent time at Guhai Namasivaya temple in the 1980s the sandy courtyard on which Bhagavan had written some of the answers of 'Who am I?' was still there, as was the oil-stained figure at the bottom of a mantapam pillar that Mudaliar Patti used to worship when she lived there. Now the courtyard is covered with concrete and the figure on the pillar whitewashed. The concrete has made the place uninhabitable in summer; it retains and radiates too much heat.

And don't get me started about Pachaiamman Koil, another place where Bhagavan lived. It's truly hideous nowadays.

David Godman said...

I have just added a new feature to the Recent Comments sidebar. Contributors who post anonymously will no longer have their comments displayed there. The links to the various posts will still work, but the comments themselves will not be visible.

Anonymous contributors can still post comments anonymously on whatever thread they choose. I hope this will provide a little incentive for anonymous users to get some sort of identity. It doesn't have to be your real name - any pseudonym will do.

Anonymous said...

hello there

Broken Yogi said...

"Broken Yogi, have you visited India?"

Not in this lifetime.

Broken Yogi said...


"One of the key consideration is to get inducted at an early age,to be born and brought up in whatever Varna-this gives the advantage of being steeped in whatever that varna is supposed to do."

I think it is a good thing to end this dialog now, as everything that comes to mind when I read this sort of comment makes me want to scream out loud. I think that you will find that this kind of social practice does not produce a spiritual culture, however one might imagine it does. If you wish to volunteer to be raised and suitably trained in the lower varnas, or have your children so raised, I think that is fine. But for you or society in general to impose these "advantages" on others is an act of unspeakably offensive violence, and there is nothing spiritual about that.

Ravi said...

Yes I totally agree with what David has rightly mentioned as vandalism.Truth to tell,I did not 'see' much of what it looked like and was content to just be there.Since it did not catch my eye,I think that the renovation is done in a low profile fashion.The Temple was indeed wonderful and quite clean.The samadhi behind had a good flooring but none of those glitzy type and the roof was also quite simple and protected us from Rain.Yet,I do miss the original solitary grandeur that reigned once.Just to tread the ground here itself is a blessing.The Priests were also quite sincere and dedicated and just did not expect anything.
No,I have not been to the other places that you have mentioned-they are there in my wish list for a long time-and it is upto them to draw me there!
For those who know Tamil,there is the excellent biographical novel on the Life of Sr Bhagavan Nama Bodhendral by the great devotee Sri Ra Ganapathy-called kamakoti Ramakoti-published I think by vanathi Pathippakam.
Nerur is about 15 to 20 kms from Karur.Yes,Buses do ply from Karur but not so frequently.Better to go in the mornings and spend time in this serene place.Pls do not choose Full moon days.This is a village and you may not get Food;so pls carry something to fill the tummy and get on with the main business.
More later.

Ravi said...

A similiar thing has also happened at Sri Annamalai Swami's room and the samadhi,where on the walls he had Sri Bhagavan's works written.Now it is all white washed and I wonder whatver happened to the cot used by Swami.Once someone opened the room where swami lived and I did not find the cot anywhere.The adjacent room was used by someone who was helping the Ramanasramam to bring out Audio recordings of Old devotees.

I hope that the room used by Swami is preserved.


David Godman said...


It's much worse than you imagined. Sundaram, who looked after Annamalai Swami for many years, told me recently that a cupboard in Annamalai Swami's house was emptied and its contents thrown away. The contents included Annamalai Swami's diary which contained all the dialogues that Annamalai Swami recorded in the old hall in the 1930s. These dialogues were the single largest collection of conversations with Bhagavan that were recorded in Tamil. So far as I am aware, there is no other copy of these dialogues in existence.

Also thrown out were all his journals, several photo albums, and many of Annamalai Swami's personal effects such as his clothes.

I checked in the ashram archives to see if anything had ended up there, but it hadn't. I am guessing that someone who was working in Annamalai Swami's house, who didn't know the value of what was in the cupboard, emptied it to make space for some Ramanasramam work project. As you remarked,the place is now used as a kind of office.

It was somewhat foolish of Sundaram to leave all the stuff there after he moved out, but that doesn't exonerate whoever decided that these valuable records should be junked.

Sankar Ganesh said...

Right throughout the history of this country, precious things of historical importance of every kind were lost due to the ignorance of the people who handled them apart from the destruction due to wars, anger-jealousy or enmity.

Thanks, Sankar Ganesh.

Clemens Vargas Ramos said...

The contents included Annamalai Swami's diary which contained all the dialogues that Annamalai Swami recorded in the old hall in the 1930s.

Horrible! Really no copy of this dialogues exists? I can't believe it. Why wasn't it saved earlier?

Subramanian. R said...

1. All answers coming for Who am I?
question are only from the mind.
When there is no answer, then it means that the mind is quiescent in
the Self. The pulsating I-I is
called Chit Sakti Tiru Natanam.

2. Muruganar says in GVK, that the true renounication is internal renounciation - Aha ThuRavu in Tamizh.

3. One Tamizh book titled Sri Ramana NinaivugaL has been published by Sri Annamalai Swami Asram, Palakottu, in 1995. There is no reprint for this Tamizh book.
I do not know whether there were
any other diary notes of Sri
Annamalai Swami.

Subramanian. R said...

Dear David,

Regarding Guhai Namasivaya's
Arunagiri Maalai, Verse 18:

Malai eduttha soolam.... Finally
I have come to understand that Mal
here refers only Vishnu and not Maalai, a garland. Siva lifting
Vishnu with his trident, comes in this story. It is said that after
Varaha Avatara work was complete,
Vishnu simply continued as Varaha
enjoying a pig's life. The gods
went and told Siva to help out,
since Vaikuntam was empty without
Vishnu. Then Siva went to that place where Varaha was joyfully living as a pig and pierced the pig with his trident and lifted it. Then Vishnu realized his folly and returned to Vaikuntam,
laughing all the way. This story was told in Sri Sankara TV. I do not know the source, may be in Varaha Puranam. Here Siva pieced his trident and lifted the pig
alias Vishnu, {Malai eduthu....] suits here.

Subramanian. R said...

Cultural vandalism mentioned by
you in temples in the name of renovation is really painful. In
this connection, one cannot but recall, how UNESCO with the help of
experts relocated Ramesea II, a huge
structure, without any damage, while
widening the Suez Canal.

David Godman said...


I know that parts (most I think) of Annamalai Swami's diary were published in Tamil. So far as I am aware, though, I don't think anyone has a copy of the original notebook. I have made a few enquiries, but no one seems to have one.

Thanks for the information on the Varaha avatar. Ill see what I can find in the ashram library. Meanwhile, have you ever come across a biography of Guru Namasiva entitled 'Guru Namasivaya Charittira Kovai'? I would love to get hold of a copy if you know where one can be obtained.

S. said...

salutations to all
ravi/arvind/david & others:
whenever i keep hearing about the destruction that goes in the name of 'renovations' or the loss of some valuable resource owing to someone's indifference or ignorance, there does shoot a pain that can't be easily assuaged :-( but it's also true that almost as soon as the pain arises, it also seemingly gets nearly quelled by a potent countermeasure - these are perhaps strong reminders of the evanescence of all things; someday, with or without 'unesco' or any other agency, everything that we cherish will all go, either because of natural disasters or man-made catastrophes.

also, these incidents, pretty strongly, remind us, rather instigate us, to 'do' what bhagavAn asked us to do and get done with it. in a way, may be, whatever aruNAchalA deemed necessary to preserve got preserved, and the rest only aruNAchalA knows. leave aside the people who cast away aNNAmalai svAmi's priceless collections, after all, aruNAchalA was (& is) the 'direct' witness to this and all other 'vandalisms' that have occurred or will occur, isn't it? indeed, the void left by the unfathomable loss(es) can't be filled now or ever, but may the arising misery only direct us to the void within & draw our attention to the gravity of the 'task at hand'.

o aruNAchalA - your 'world-picture' (chitthiram) is toooooooo subtle for us to grapple with. relieve us ASAP!

hey jude said...

Panchaimman Koil has been changed, modernised and over painted.
The small, ancient temple on site has lost its mysterious quality which drew me and other seekers in the past.
Have these people no sense of the sacred?

Peter said...

I would like your thoughts on the topic of suffering.

The world is thick to over-flowing with it. So many people who don’t have access to human rights and the bare essentials: nutritious food, clean water, health, housing, personal safety, a peaceful environment/society, income, freedom of speech and thought etc etc, the list is vast and varied.

Personally, I grapple with all the “spiritual” explanations and possible solutions.

1] do good deeds: granted it is necessary, but this feels like a band-aid…….plug one hole and another appears. In fact, you’ll be lucky if you can even plug one.

2] it’s their karma: this doesn’t sit well with me, and trying to explain why it doesn’t gets very sticky; 1] how does one ‘self’ find themself being tortured and another ‘self’ find themself with a life of freedom? – and the “free will” argument, well that’s another topic, 2] given their may not even be an ‘I’ who is the recipient of karma?

3] God’s play: what sort of God creates such a play, an ocean of suffering?

4] Ramana Maharishi says something to the effect, “find out who you are first”; ……..and in the mean time? And what about those left in the nightmare should I happen to find out who I am?

5] just don’t think about it!, what good does it do?

Perhaps my contemplations are just another form of indulgence. Turn away from this, turn inward!?

But shifting attention away from the points I’ve made, I am interested as to how you make sense of suffering??

Ravi said...

There are two aspects to Living-1Everything matters and 2.Nothing matters-This is something that has been a experiential Truth for me.
I have found that the one is not at loggerheads with the other.perhaps what you are saying is quite similiar.
It is essential to preserve the things that we cherish for others;yet it may not be always possible for us to do this.
Expanding on this theme brings us to peter's post where he has asked some very fundamental questions.I will take that seperately,if time permits.

Ravi said...

you have raised some very fundamental questions(or question!).
I will only point to the 'motto' of Sri Ramakrishna mission,as expounded and lived by Swami Vivekananda-"Atmano mokshartham jagad hitaya cha,
"For one's own salvation, and for the welfare of the world".
This is a terse statement of what I have said in my post to s.This is a restatement of Vedic Dharma only,the very essence of it.
This has to be clearly understood -1.We need to aspire and strive for both Salvation(Freedom)as well as welfare of the world.In truth they are not two different things-as ONE IS THE WORLD.The Individual and collective are two aspects of the same Truth.To go after the good of the one and ignoring the other is aan exercise in illusion.
2.Both salvation and welfare of the world have to be striven for-not in a thoughtless way like,not as an outcome but in a deep thoughtful way as an expression of the Divine.This is the Gita's teaching where Sri Krishna asks Arjuna to rise above all physical,moral,social,psychological,intellectual dimensions into the spiritual dimension and operate from this standpoint.Yet,this rising above all has to happen through these dimensions as well.
In effect,it will imply doing all that one can and must do,knowing well that all one is doing is a 'service' to the Divinity latent or patent everwhere-To be aware of this central Truth in all that we do.This very 'awareness' may be said to be the 'Fruit' of all our thoughts and actions.The conventional 'outcome' may or may not be there.
This is the secret of Karma Yoga-to be 'aware' of all that we are doing,and we can be aware only if we put our whole heart and soul in whatever we may be doing,i.e when we are not deflected by the conventional 'outcome'.When we do this sort of 'work',the conventional 'outcome' is also bound to follow like a 'shadow' and helpful to Humanity.
To summarize,The Individual and collective are the two poles of existence and all spiritual teachings have to include both(for in Truth they are one!).The 'Suffering' of another is one's suffering only;the joy of 'another' is one's joy only.
The question of isolating oneself does not arise.To ask 'who am I' necessarily implies the breaking of this division between 'oneself' and 'others' and to see all as The Self.

Subramanian. R said...

In Pachaiamman Kovil, I saw a tall
and large idol where pujas were taking place. People bring flowers, fruits etc., But on inquiry, I found that Sri Ramanasramam is not managing it. Nor could I find the place where Bhagavan Ramana sat and
Kavyakanta Ganapti completed Uma
Sahasram, with 4 disciples and Bhagavan worked through the medium of KK dictating it. No body could guide me in the matter.

Subramanian. R said...

On Sunday I saw the deepam lighted
on the summit of the Hill at 5.59 PM.
From the next day, again rains had
played havoc. Only the Sunday was
somewhat a sunny day in T'malai.
Is there any history, where the deepam could not be lighted at all
on this day, due to torrential downpower? Because Bhagavan has not mentioned anything like that nor the devotees. No doubt rains were there during Kartikai festival in the past but I think deepam was always

Sankar Ganesh said...


We Humans, don't we kill or harm Plants, Animals, Insects and other creatures for our own survival, many times unjustly.

Humans alone are not special in this planet to be without suffering. Life is One irrespective of the form it takes.

Creation, Destruction and Sustenance are all happening in this Universe simultaneously.

Without doubt, One should always help our suffering fellow creatures to the extent possible with humility as the World is a huge place.

We struggle with our own bad qualities, so the reform of the World must start from ourselves only.

A reformed person i.e. a jnani does enormous good to the World. While living as well as after death, a jnani's life inspires countless people to reform themselves.

Spirituality and its practices are all about finding harmony, oneness and peace with the entire existence and not about shunning anything.

Whatever I have said above had been already said by Bhagavan Ramana to his devotees (in different wordings).

Thanks, Sankar Ganesh.

Anonymous said...

If no change is made in the ego, we may pray, lead a life of strict devotion, live in the monasteries, deserts and caves; but little good will be accomplished, for the reason that in all devotion, prayers and religious observances the ego is invariably self-conscious. "I am praying. I am coming closer to God." So far as God-realisation is concerned, the self assertion of the ego proves that a man has not attained it.
Hari Prasad Shastri

hey jude said...

Did my comment on Hari Prasad Shastri get through?

Clemens Vargas Ramos said...

Did my comment on Hari Prasad Shastri get through?

Yes, by clicking on REPLY TO COMMENT you will find it.

Arvind Lal said...

Peter, folks:

“ ……. I am interested as to how you make sense of suffering??”

Wonder if anyone has read the book “Mother Teresa: Come be my Light”. It is a book based on the hitherto unpublished correspondence of Mother Teresa, who epitomizes the life of a person lived for the “suffering humanity”, a life always synonymous with concern over the “suffering of others”. Here is an extract from a review of this book in Time magazine in its 23.8.2007 issue titled, “Mother Teresa’s crisis of Faith”:


“A new, innocuously titled book, Mother Teresa: Come Be My Light (Doubleday), consisting primarily of correspondence between Teresa and her confessors and superiors over a period of 66 years, provides the spiritual counterpoint to a life known mostly through its works. The letters, many of them preserved against her wishes (she had requested that they be destroyed but was overruled by her church), reveal that for the last nearly half-century of her life she felt no presence of God whatsoever — or, as the book's compiler and editor, the Rev. Brian Kolodiejchuk, writes, "neither in her heart or in the eucharist."

That absence seems to have started at almost precisely the time she began tending the poor and dying in Calcutta, and — except for a five-week break in 1959 — never abated. Although perpetually cheery in public, the Teresa of the letters lived in a state of deep and abiding spiritual pain. In more than 40 communications, many of which have never before been published, she bemoans the "dryness," "darkness," "loneliness" and "torture" she is undergoing. She compares the experience to hell and at one point says it has driven her to doubt the existence of heaven and even of God. She is acutely aware of the discrepancy between her inner state and her public demeanor. "The smile," she writes, is "a mask" or "a cloak that covers everything." Similarly, she wonders whether she is engaged in verbal deception. "I spoke as if my very heart was in love with God — tender, personal love," she remarks to an adviser. "If you were [there], you would have said, 'What hypocrisy.'"”


Arvind Lal said...

Well, there could be a lot of arguments on this one, and controversial ones at that. But one thing is clear. That this great & extraordinary person who had more concern for suffering humanity than probably the rest of the world put together, and went to extraordinary lengths to do something about it besides, still felt that God had turned His face from her. And felt so throughout the last 50 years of her unparalleled service to the poor & suffering, right till her death.

Why? Will not even begin to answer that one. Though I suspect that some very sincere followers of Bhagavan would know why.

The only point that I would like to make is that – a concern for suffering humanity is one thing and love for God, a search for Him, or a search for the Self another. The 2 necessarily may not coincide in the way we would like to believe.

Best wishes

TC said...


I read the mentioned Article on Mother Teresa (MT) at,,8599,1655415,00.html

One could observe from the article that MT's concept of God/Jesus is based on Visions (which are transient as we would be knowing from Pappaji's life) and these Visions did not happen during last nearly half-century of her life making her feel that there is no presence of God.

She was caught in a dogmatic religious setup. She did not have the opportunity/destiny to meet a Jnani like Ramana or Pappaji to get her doubts on God fixed.

Subramanian. R said...

As regards Mother Teresa's story,
yes, her millions of good karmas
towards suffering humanity, would
have given her loads of punya [merit], but not liberation. At
best, she might have reborn with
an intention to do self inquiry,
right from the young age. Sri
Sankara also says in the beginning
of Viveka Chudamani, even crores of
suhirta karmas shall not confer liberation.

She might have gone to heavens as
per Chrisitan theology and even
Hindu theology, but would not have
attained liberation.

S. said...

salutations to all:
subramanian: while i agree with arvind's central theme on mother teresa, i humbly surmise it's none of our business to say who has or hasn't, or who will or who wouldn't attain liberation. 'have we realised', that & that alone is "the" important question, not who has or hasn't! there can be nothing more improper than categorise people into 'liberated' and 'unliberated' buckets, for no such distinction may be there to begin with; it may be even more ridiculous to say what one will be in their so-called next birth. all this 'cycles of birth & death' are only for those who desire a justification for why things are the way they are! bhagavAn asks us to find 'whether we are born now' - what to talk of past deaths & future births? :-)

Anonymous said...


Do you know of any book or website
that details the lives of Western mystics and their teachings ?

Thank you,

Ravi said...

I agree with s.We cannot try to judge a soul like Mother Teresa.I am truly amused at some of the comments saying that mother Teresa could not meet with some Jnani,etc!Wonder What God is doing and whether he has been written off as a useless bloke,a Good for nothing fellow who has deliberately plotted to hide himself-and leave the others to finally ask 'Who am I' and voila ,he is no longer needed!
X,Y and z can aspire for self realization simply because they learnt 'who am I'and have heard something called Self,and only poor Mother Teresa was after some 'vision' of God,and wasting her time attending to the misery of 'others'.
The fact may be that most of us have not even began the journey-and have not felt the sort of emptiness and Dryness that a Great soul like Mother Teresa would have felt.One truly needs to be quite an advanced soul to have experienced these things.
Here is a beautiful verse from Thayumanavar:
Who was it that converted my heart
Into a chamber of darkness
And then shortened my reason
Into a tiny spark
And submerged that reason by desire?

Who was it that decreed that
As the writing of fate on my head?
Who was it that
Without caring for attainment of Jnana-Bliss-Trance
Made me believe in the permanency of the body bag
And so to indulge in eating and sleeping?

Was it my desire that gave me my father, mother
And all the rest of worldly ties?
Shall I blame my own self, or others?
Shall I blame the present bad actions
Or the past karma for all this worldly bondage?
Forsooth I know nothing of Truth
Oh! Thou who filleth all visible space
In unbroken continuity!
Thou, the Bliss that is Perfect Full!"


Ravi said...

One of my favourite saints is Brother Lawrence.Here is an excerpt:
The first time I saw Brother Lawrence was on the 3rd of August, 1666. He told me that God had done him a singular favor in his conversion at the age of eighteen. During that winter, upon seeing a tree stripped of its leaves and considering that, within a little time, the leaves would be renewed and, after that, the flowers and fruit appear; Brother Lawrence received a high view of the providence and power of God which has never since been effaced from his soul. This view had perfectly set him free from the world and kindled in him such a love for God, that he could not tell whether it had increased in the forty years that he had lived since. "
'The Practice of the presence of God' is truly one of the best books that I have ever read.Please visit:
"In the small book, 'The Practice Of The Presence Of God', Brother Lawrence beautifully explains, through letters and conversations, how to come to know God. His simple approach, a continuous, prayerful conversation with God, enables us to come to know Him - not from the head but from the heart; a way many of us have never known before. "
This is what Sri Ramakrishna has also said-his life exemplified this Truth.

Peter said...

Thank you Ravi, Sankar, Arvind, for your input re my reflections on suffering.

Contemplating yours and my own post, I conclude that I’m looking for the answer in the wrong place. The conceptual mind, the intellect, is the wrong place. It cannot make sense of the worlds suffering. It will of course try, but the answers it provides are superficial.

So where does this leave me? If the mind cannot make sense of suffering, perhaps I should try turning away from the mind. Maybe this resolves all!?

Ravi said...

It is not as if the mind is powerless-if it has the power to bind,it also has the power to free one.Here is a wonderful parable of Sri Ramakrishna-the Mahut narayana.
"Sri Ramakrishna was sitting on the small couch. The room was filled with devotees, who
had taken advantage of the holiday to come to see the Master. M. had not yet become
acquainted with any of them; so he took his seat in a corner. The Master smiled as he talked
with the devotees.
He addressed his words particularly to a young man of nineteen, named Narendranath, who
was a college student and frequented the Sadharan Brahmo Samaj. His eyes were bright, his
words were full of spirit, and he had the look of a lover of God.
How the spiritually minded should look upon the worldly
M. guessed that the conversation was about worldly men, who look down on those who
aspire to spiritual things. The Master was talking about the great number of such people in
the world, and about how to deal with them.
MASTER (to Narendra): "How do you feel about it? Worldly people say all kinds of things
about the spiritually minded. But look here! When an elephant moves along the street, any
number of curs and other small animals may bark and cry after it; but the elephant doesn't
even look back at them. If people speak ill of you, what will you think of them?"
NARENDRA: "I shall think that dogs are barking at me."
God in every being
MASTER (Smiling): "Oh, no! You mustn't go that far, my child! (Laughter). God dwells in
all beings. But you may be intimate only with good people; you must keep away from the
evil-minded. God is even in the tiger; but you cannot embrace the tiger on that account.
(Laughter). You may say, 'Why run away from a tiger, which is also a manifestation of
God?' The answer to that is: 'Those who tell you to run away are also manifestations of God
- and why shouldn't you listen to them?'
Parable of the "elephant God"
"Let me tell you a story. In a forest there lived a holy man who had many disciples. One
day he taught them to see God in all beings and, knowing this, to bow low before them all.
A disciple went to the forest to gather wood for the sacrificial fire. Suddenly he heard an
outcry: 'Get out of the way! A mad elephant is coming!' All but the disciple of the holy man
took to their heels. He reasoned that the elephant was also God in another form. Then why
should he run away from it? He stood still, bowed before the animal, and began to sing its
praises. The mahut of the elephant was shouting: 'Run away! Run away!' But the disciple
didn't move. The animal seized him with its trunk, cast him to one side, and went on its
way. Hurt and bruised, the disciple lay unconscious on the ground. Hearing what had
happened, his teacher and his brother disciples came to him and carried him to the
hermitage. With the help of some medicine he soon regained consciousness. Someone
asked him, 'You knew the elephant was coming - why didn't you leave the place?' 'But', he
said, 'our teacher has told us that God Himself has taken all these forms, of animals as well
as men. Therefore, thinking it was only the elephant God that was coming, I didn't run
away.' At this the teacher said: 'Yes, my child, it is true that the elephant God was coming;
but the mahut God forbade you to stay there. Since all are manifestations of God, why
didn't you trust the mahut's words? You should have heeded the words of the mahut God.'


Subramanian. R said...

Another way of looking at Mother
Teresa's role in Kolkata, as Bhagavan
Ramana said: "Reformers! Reform youself first and then reform others!" She had reformed herself
that is, she had perfect chitta-suddhi and she felt that the work
for her in this world is to help the
downtodden in Kolkata slums, paricularly, the leprosy affected
poor people. In the olden days,
mind you, leprosy was an ignoble
affliction, and even hotels had a board that such people are not permitted inside the hotel. Those where the days when hidden ailments
like AIDS were not known. Leprosy was an open ailment, causing annoyance to others and it was highly contagious through touch.
That way, it was destined by God to make Teresa do that help without bothering about self inquiry etc., "They also serve who stand and wait" says the Bible. Like this, some kings were ordained to build temples and some others were ordained to go for wars and plunder the enemy country's wealth and women. The roles are different as destined by God. Perhaps in another birth, she would have born as a young sannyasini to work out her self knowledge, with already acquired chitta suddhi.

Clemens Vargas Ramos said...

'The Practice of the presence of God'

For german readers/für deutsche Leser:

Die Übung der Gegenwärtigkeit Gottes

TC said...

Forgive me if had hurt readers' feelings with my comments/judgements on Mother Teresa's spiritual experiences.

Hope in the future, I don't pass ignorant judgements on great people as well as ordinary ones.

David could give us a new post on Sufferings reflecting Bhagavan's view on this subject.

hey jude said...

I believe this topic has been touched on before. Christopher Hitchens wrote a critical book on Mother Theresa 'The missionary position'
Personally I found her work quite inspirational. Nevertheless Hitchens book points out that the cult of suffering played a major role in the way Mother Theresa viewed the poor. She also accepted large donations from corrupt dictators. A fair amount of shameless proselyitising went on converting the poor and desperate to Christianity at the end of their lives.

Subramanian. R said...

I cannot quote readily on Bhagavan's
quotes on sufferings. But in Mountain Path, Asramam's quarterly
magazine, there is a 3 part article
ending with Oct-Dec 2010 quarter
which deals with the subject of Suffering [one's own suffering and
not merely helping the sufferers]
as a Spiritual Catalyst. This is
worth reading where the life of one
Jaishree Rajamani has been described. Last year too, I read one article on one Mahalakshmi Amma, [who was there during Bhagavan's times] which is also about suffering and how devotees of Bhagavan put up with their sufferings. She lost two of her male children, despite Bhagavan Ramana blessing with them by giving spoon of milk and applying vibhuti on the children's forehead. Mahalakshmi Amma did not lose faith in Bhagavan Ramana. She later, after becoming a widow stayed in the Asramam for a few years. "Dwell in the flame of sorrow" said J. Krishnamurty.

Ravi said...

Here is an excerpt from The Gospel of Sri Ramakrishna:
Sri Ramakrishna:"The rishis of old had timid natures. They were easily frightened. Do you know their
attitude? It was this: 'Let me somehow get my own salvation; who cares for others?' A
hollow piece of drift-wood somehow manages to float; but it sinks if even a bird sits on it.
But Narada and sages of his kind are like a huge log that not only can float across to the
other shore but can carry many animals and other creatures as well. A steamship itself
crosses the ocean and also carries people across.
The vijnani is fearless and joyous
"Teachers like Narada belong to the class of the vijnani. They were much more courageous
than the other rishis. They are like an expert satrancha-player. You must have noticed how
he shouts, as he throws the dice: 'What do I want? Six? No, five! Here is five!' And every
time he throws the dice he gets the number he wants. He is such a clever player! And while
playing he even twirls his moustaches.
"A mere jnani trembles with fear. He is like an amateur satrancha-player. He is anxious to
move his pieces somehow to the safety zone, where they won't be overtaken by his
opponent. But a vijnani isn't afraid of anything. He has realized both aspects of God:
Personal and Impersonal. He has talked with God. He has enjoyed the Bliss of God.
"It is a joy to merge the mind in the Indivisible Brahman through contemplation. And it is
also a joy to keep the mind on the Lila, the Relative, without dissolving it in the Absolute.
"A mere jnani is a monotonous person. He always analyses, saying: 'It is not this, not this.
The world is like a dream.' But I have 'raised both my hands'. Therefore I accept
Parable of the weaver woman
"Listen to a story. Once a woman went to see her weaver friend. The weaver, who had been
spinning different kinds of silk thread, was very happy to see her friend and said to her:
'Friend, I can't tell you how happy I am to see you. Let me get you some refreshments.' She
left the room. The woman looked at the threads of different colours and was tempted. She
hid a bundle of thread under one arm. The weaver returned presently with the refreshments
and began to feed her guest with great enthusiasm. But, looking at the thread, she realized
that her friend had taken a bundle. Hitting upon a plan to get it back, she said: 'Friend, it is
so long since I have seen you. This is a day of great joy for me. I feel very much like asking
you to dance with me.' The friend said, 'Sister, I am feeling very happy too.' So the two
friends began to dance together. When the weaver saw that her friend danced without
raising her hands, she said: 'Friend, let us dance with both hands raised. This is a day of
great joy.' But the guest pressed one arm to her side and danced raising only the other. The
weaver said: 'How is this, friend? Why should you dance with only one hand raised? Dance
with me raising both hands. Look at me. See how I dance with both hands raised.' But the
guest still pressed one arm to her side. She danced with the other hand raised and said with
a smile, 'This is all I know of dancing.' "
The Master continued: "I don't press my arm to my side. Both my hands are free. I am not
afraid of anything. I accept both the Nitya and the Lila, both the Absolute and the Relative.


Ravi said...

Sri Ramakrishna was also the inspiration for Swami Vivekananda's teachings regarding the worship of God in man. Swami Saradananda relates the following incident in his Book,Sri Ramakrishna,The Great Master: One day Sri Ramakrishna was explaining to a group of devotees the three main tenets of the Vaiava faith: nama ruchi -- a taste for the name of God; jive daya -- compassion for living beings; and vaiava seva -- service to devotees of the Lord.

As he was explaining the meaning of compassion to living beings, he suddenly went into an ecstatic mood. After he had regained normal consciousness to a certain extent, he continued, "Talk of compassion for beings! Will you, who are nothing but little insects, bestow compassion on beings? You wretch, who are you to bestow it? No, no; not compassion to Jivas, but service to them as Siva." (Sri Ramakrishna The Great Master, p. 817)

None but Narendra could see the far-reaching implications of Sri Ramakrishna's words that day. Later he remarked, "Ah, what a wonderful light have I got today from the Master's words! . . . If the Divine Lord ever grants me an opportunity, I'll preach everywhere in the world this wonderful truth I have heard today. I will preach this truth to the learned and the ignorant, to the rich and the poor, to the Brahmins and the Chandalas." (The Great Master, p. 817)

Swamiji was to give expression to this truth in a letter written many years later to his disciple Sharat Chandra Chakravarty. He wrote:

Here is a peculiarity: when you serve a Jiva with the idea that he is a Jiva, it is Daya (compassion) and not Prema (love); but when you serve him with the idea that he is Self, that is Prema. . . But for us Advaitins, this notion of Jiva as distinct from God is the cause of bondage. Our principle, therefore, should be love and not compassion. The application of the word compassion even to Jiva seems to me to be rash and vain. For us, it is not to pity but to serve. Ours is not the feeling of compassion but of love, and the feeling of Self in all. (Letters, pp. 410-11)

Swamiji's legacy to the world was a new vision of spiritual life and pursuit. As the motto for the Ramakrishna Math and Mission which he established, he chose the words atmano mokartha jagaddhitaya ca, "for one's own liberation and for the welfare of the world". However, for his nearest and dearest, his brother disciples and his own disciples, he had a higher message:

This is the test, he who is Ramakrishna's child does not seek his personal good. . . There is no time to care for name or fame, or Mukti, or Bhakti. (Letters, p. 102)
Seek the salvation of others if you want to reach the highest! Kill out the desire for personal Mukti. That is the greatest of all spiritual disciplines. (The Life, II. 426)

To say that sri Bhagavan advocated only 'self enquiry' and that should be doing only that is to behave like the disciple in the 'Mahut Narayana' story.Sri Bhagavan took for granted that all those who do 'self enquiry' are Human beings and are endowed with humane qualities,like he told echammal when she asked him about plucking leaves for the Laksha archana puja!

Anonymous said...

Dear Mr. Broken Yogi

I have very high regard for your seeing your intellectual articles in your own blog.

But the current discussion of you with Ravi on caste system is not very enjoyable.

I am a brahmin living in 21st century in India. Here things have changed a very lot and we brahmins are discriminated into education institution admissions in the name of SC/ST,OBC quota.

You told you searched some terms in google that showed atrocities against dalits. You also told that some of your SC/ST friends are settled in US. You also want some more time before the reforms reach their threshold.

I would say that all of the above comments are one sided infact without understanding how current situation in India is.

In the same google please search for the terms "Reservation policy" , "anti brahminism in Tamil Nadu", "Periyar, Dalit and Lord Rama abuse".

You will get plenty of articles also.

I am not supporting any sort of violence. But for a person of your calibre it is very unfortunate that you suddenly picked up a sensitive social theme and start arguing with Ravi and suddenly shifted your attention from self enquiry to taking sides with Indian Dalits.

Soorya said...

Wanted to share this beautiful song :


I beg this Blog comments writers not to get into/drawn into things like caste etc, highly divisive subjects. Whatever already written about that subject is more than enough. We are having only endless discussions. Let things happen according to whatever is destined by the Higher Power. Humbly requesting to focus on the things that will help ignorant individuals/readers like me turn towards Self and reform themselves.

Ravi said...

We have two 'anonymous' friends here and I appreciate your sentiments.However ,nothing need to distract us as long as we are earnest-and this includes the subject of Varna Ashrama Dharma which we discussed here.
I have explored this subject as one of the differentiating factors of Sanatana Dharma-one that has contributed in the preservation and continued Vitality of a tradition that has produced the unceasing procession of sages and saints down the Ages.I have undestood it as built on the sound value system of 'Duty' as opposed to the modern day zeitgeist of 'Rights'.
If someone like The Sage of Kanchi is expounding the Truth,I have to set aside the puny Intellect of mine to see what he has to say,even if at the outset I do not understand it or find seemingly overwhelming evidence against it.
It has been the excellence of Sanatana Dharma that it has unquestioned acceptance wedded to outstanding questioning spirit that dares everything.These two go hand in Hand.
This is applicable to the Guru-Disciple relationships as well-one may view it as a 'privilege' and another may view it as 'servile'.
Imagine a Guru asking a disciple to wash the clothes of his wife and washing the dishes and a thousand chores-In our modern outlook(which subconsciously we feel is 'superior' to the outmoded ways)this would be viewed as exploitation and unbecoming of a Guru to treat a disciple thus.
Yet,the method in itself is absolutely sound and has produced the Results.It is only a disciple who is willing to offer his 'Life' as an offering to the Guru that is fit for the Higher Truths.
Coloured as we are by our present ways of living and mode of thinking(To question anything is viewed as a 'privilege' and as 'a way to Truth' whereas earlier unquestioning acceptance was viewed as a virtue),it is not easy to come out of our paradigms and examine these things with the inner eye.


Peter said...

Thank you Soorya, beautiful.

Here's one for you,

Ravi said...

Friend ,Thanks very much for that wonderful link of the song-'man chalo nija Niketane'-Oh Mind,go back to your true abode-This was the song that Narendra sung when Sri Ramakrishna first heard him during his visit to Brahmo samaj-and this plunged the Master into deep samadhi.
Truly wonderful and invigorating pictures of Swamiji!What a Great soul!A Lilting song to go along with it-a real treat.Bengali is a sweet language and I have to say that they have the gift of soulful singing,perhaps due to the tradition of the Bauls,the singing wandering sadhus.

Ravi said...

Thanks for that link-You have posted it earlier.It is Hanuman chalisa.This is composed by the Great Saint Tulasidas who wrote the Ramcharit manas-Ramayana in Hindi.This is a meditation on the Great devotee of Lord Rama,Sri Hanuman-Truly there is no better exemplar of any Divine quality than this Great Hero of The Ramayana and whosoever contemplates on the Life and Divine Qualities of this Great one is bound to imbibe the same and invoke The Blessings.
you may refer this site for the translation of the song:

Peter said...

“The Rabbit in the Moon”

It took place in a world, long long ago they say:
A monkey, a rabbit, and a fox struck up a friendship, mornings frolicking in field and hill, evenings coming home to the forest, living thus while the years went by, when Indra, sovereign of the skies, hearing of this, curious to know if it was true, turned himself into an old man, tottering along, and made his way to where they were.

"You three," he said, "are of separate species, yet I'm told play together with a single heart.
If what I've heard is true, pray save an old man who's hungry!"
Then he set his staff aside, and sat down to rest.

Simple enough, they said, and presently the monkey appeared from the grove behind him bearing nuts he'd gathered there, and the fox returned from the rivulet in front of him, clamped in his jaws a fish he'd caught.
But the rabbit, though he hopped and hopped everywhere couldn't find anything at all, and the others cursed him because his heart was not like theirs.

Miserable me! he thought and then he said,
"Monkey, go cut me firewood!
Fox, build me a fire with it!"
and when they'd done what he asked, he flung himself into the midst of the flames, and made himself an offering for an unknown old man.

When the old man saw this, his heart withered.
He looked up to the sky, cried aloud, then sank to the ground, and in a while, beating his breast, said to the others, "Each of you three friends has done his best, but what the rabbit did touches me most!"
Then he made the rabbit whole again and gathering the dead body up in his arms, he took it and laid it to rest in the palace of the moon.

From that time till now the story's been told, this tale of how the rabbit came to be in the moon, and even I when I hear it find the tears soaking the sleeve of my robe.

(Ryokan: Zen Monk-Poet of Japan)

Soorya said...

Thanks Peter and Ravi :-)

Until now I had heard a Hindi version of "Chalo Man" when a friend shared the original Bengali version on facebook. After coming to Bhagavan the song makes full sense to me...of asking the mind to go back to it's original abode and not to roam in this tell-tale imaginary world...The music blends well with it's beautiful lyrics making it a real beauty...I guess it makes one's mind abide in the Self and enjoy the bliss..

Ravi said...

some of you may like to read this article by Stephen Knapp-Seeing spiritual India(also explore other articles by him)

Subramanian. R said...

The Varnasramam was initially stipulated for division of labour.
In course of time, its contours changed due some quarrel among among
four dharmas. Atma Jnanam can be attained by anyone in the four dharmas. Srimad Bhagavatam says:
In case you do not find a brahmajnani in the brahmins' street, go and search for him in chandala's [outcaste's] street.In Periya Puranam which speaks about 63+ saints only five or six were brahmins. A quote a good lot came from washermem, cobblers, traders, kings and agricultural labourers.

m said...


Ryokan's poetry is brilliant. Thanks for the story.

Dear Ravi,

I read a few articles of Stephen Knapp. Very informative. Thanks for the link. It even has a few jokes, some of which were hilarious. :)


Losing M. Mind said...

I don't know anything about Mother Theresa, much less things about her, that are my business, that would entitle me to judge what she has done, or why she has done it.

Ravi said...

Subramanaian's note on how atma jnana is not the monopoly of Brahmins is indeed the crux of the matter.The spiritual aspect is paramount and all other things are subservient to this.

Just to lighten up ,here are a couple of jokes from the leaf of Stephen-knapp(which incidentally relevant to the discussion!).

I was walking across a bridge one day and I saw a man standing on the edge, about to jump off. I immediately ran over and said, "Stop! Don't do it!"

"Why shouldn't I?" he asked.

I said, "Well, there's so much to live for."

"Like what?" he asked.

"Well... are you religious or atheist?"


"Me too! Are you Christian or Jewish?"


"Me too! Are you Catholic or Protestant?"


"Me too! Are you Episcopalian or Baptist?"


"Wow! Me too! Are you Baptist Church of God or Baptist Church of the Lord?"

"Baptist Church of God."

"Me too! Are you Original Baptist Church of God, or are you Reformed Baptist Church of God?"

"Reformed Baptist Church of God."

"Me too! Are you Reformed Baptist Church of God reformation of 1879, or Reformed Baptist Church of God, reformation of 1915?"

"Reformed Baptist Church of God, reformation of 1915."

To which I said, "Die, heretic scum!" and pushed him off.

{To some people, many similarities are outweighed by only one difference.}


An ingenious example of speech and politics occurred recently in the United Nations Assembly that made the world community smile.
A representative from India began: 'Before beginning my talk I want to tell you something about Rishi Kashyap of Kashmir, after whom Kashmir is named. When he struck a rock and it brought forth water, he thought, 'What a good opportunity to have a bath..' He removed his clothes, put them aside on the rock and entered the water... When he got out and wanted to dress, his clothes had vanished. A Pakistani had stolen them.'
The Pakistani representative jumped up furiously and shouted, 'What are you talking about? The Pakistanis weren't there then.'
The Indian representative smiled and said, 'And now that we have made that clear, I will begin my speech… And they say Kashmir belongs to them.'


Broken Yogi said...


I am not continuing the conversation with Ravi about caste, in that both of us have said as much as needs to be said I think.

But don't interpret my criticism of caste as "taking sides", or being unaware of the violent reactions some dalits have to the higher castes. I see this as merely another sign of how divisive and violent the caste system is in the real world, rather than the ideal one, and for all, not just brahmans but dalits and everyone who identifies with a particular varna or caste or jati, etc.

A true brahmin is one who does not see himself as a brahmin, and everyone is a dalit who identifies with the body and its qualities, regardless of caste. Obviously I feel more for the plight of the dalits, since it is so widespread and degrading, but I also feel for those of every caste who suffer the various violent and uncivilized attitudes that are brought out and reinforced by religion, even by the "highest" ideals of religion. Every culture has its own problems like this. India is just more extreme than most in its many facets. I am sorry if I give the impression of taking sides. That is the opposite of my intention. I would rather there be no sides at all.

Soorya said...

Posting here a story posted in an orkut community in Swami Vivekananda's name :

Sri Ramakrishna said that devotees of God formed a caste by themselves. Differences based on caste are not applicable to them. But social conventions die hard even in this 21st century, what to speak of the 7th and 9th centuries, when the following incident occurred!

This devoted sage hailed from an untouchable caste. He would stand at a distance on the banks of River Kaveri and pray to Lord Ranganatha of Srirangam. People like him were then denied entry to the temple. He was known later as kavisvara (’lord of poets’), an appellation pertaining to poets of excellence.

There was one Lokasaranga Muni in the temple, who fetched water from the river every day to bathe the iconic form of the deity during worship. One day he found the sage absorbed in the Lord near the place from where he had to fill his pot with water. It was his custom not to speak to anyone while in service of the Lord, which included this occasion. So he threw a small stone on the devotee to attract his attention. The stone struck the sage drawing blood from the wound. Awakened from trance, the sage quickly moved away from the spot. He felt sorry that he had committed a serious offence in standing at that place from where water was fetched for the Lord. After performing his ablutions and bath, Muni filled his vessel with water and proceeded to the temple.

That night Lord Ranganatha appeared to Muni in a dream and reprimanded him for the hurt and insult inflicted on His devotee. He ordered him to carry the devotee on his shoulders into His presence in the shrine. Next morning, Muni respectfully approached the sage and told him of his dream. The sage refused to be carried on his shoulders. Muni told him that since it was the Lord’s command there would be no pollution on that count.

On entering the shrine, the sage went into raptures at the Lord’s beauty. He beheld the auspicious form from feet up to crown. He burst into ten hymns in the Lord’s praise, describing the beatitude of the revelation. Part of the Divyaprabandham, these hymns are known for their adoration and poetic beauty. The tenth verse runs thus:

The cloud-hued cowherd with his mouth full of butter has truly stolen my heart! These eyes of mine, which have beheld Him—the transcendent Lord, my ambrosia, residing now in Srirangam—cannot see anything else!

Those were the sage’s last words and he merged into the image of the Lord! The sage was Tiruppan Azhwar—one of the twelve Azhwar. He was also known as Munivahana (’one who was carried by a Muni’).

Ravi said...

wonderful story of tiruppan azhwars-for those who may not be familiar,Azhwar-literally implies one who who has sunk deep.
There is also the wonderful story of nandanar,the pariah saint.
We may trace this sort of strain right upto Satyakama Jabala in the upanishad period.
This has to be viewed in a dispassionate way,to get to the heart of the matter.
All systems have their boundaries,and no system is perfect,yet they do serve their purpose.
What looks like a limitation may not be the limitation.A lukewarm devotee is not better off by being allowed entry and being 'privileged' nor is a true devotee at a disadvantage by being barred from entering the temple and branded as 'untouchable'.The pariahs used to live on the outskirts of town and they were the ones who used to supply the hides for making the percussion instruments for the temple.As they used to eat meat and were dealing with the carcasses of Fowls and animals and dealing with their skins,used to taking liquor ,etc,they were not allowed into temples.
Today,it is money power that gets one into the sanctum Sanctorum-so much for the 'Rights' to enter temples!That the Government should take charge of only the temples and not Churches or Mosques speaks volumes about the secular nature.Wonder how temples have survived without being taken care by the Government!What do we find today are scaffoldings everwhere with Boards put outside like 'Special darshan'(Pointing to where one should buy tickets)and Free Darshan leading to a landing furthest from the sanctum sanctorum(No one seems to be complaining because everyone other than the Rich have become Pariahs).


Soorya said...


I like your mention of "Special Darshan", this degraded practice of modern times(?) is not so prevalent in native state. But I recently faced it nowhere else but in the Arunachaleshwara temple itself...

Anyway caste system and all the different ways and institutions of dividing people can never stand in the way of a true devotee...for He is very much in oneself...than anywhere else.

Sri Narayana Guru once remarked "By the conventions of the world, a befitting description of the Absolute would be "He who is not at all" "

Anonymous said...

David and friends,

There is new book on Sri Ramana titled "The Children of Nature, The Life and Legacy of Ramana Maharshi".

The author's name is Susan Visvanathan.She is an anthropologist.

It seems the author was ill in 1984 when she an old gentleman appeared in her dream and smiled at her. The smile was the most amazing she had ever seen. She did not know then, who the old man was, but after he had smiled at her, there did not seem to be anything called fear left.

Years later, she saw a photo of Sri Ramana and recognized him to be the gentle old man who had smiled at her.

Later on, she visted Sri Ramana ashram and met other devotees.

The book also contains a lot of anthropological/sociological references/analyses with regard to Sri Ramana and religion/spirituality (which went clean over my head).

The best part of the book I liked was when people ask her "How does Ramana manifest himself in your life "? she replies "By giving me the courage to accept danger and distress and be calm about it".

The book also gives some stories about Sri Ramana and his devotees which I had not come across before. For example, it seems once Devaraja Mudaliar asked Sri Ramana "Bhagavan, what have you done for me ?". And Sri Ramana replied "Oh, with a veritable flood around, one seeks water. Is that not so with you ?"

Also according to Mrs. Talyerkhan when Major Chadwick was on his death-bed, he had a vision of Christ.

Overall, barring the sociological references (which I really coudn't understand), a good book.

The author also quotes from The Power of the Presence. However, she describes you as being reclusive and reticent. I am not sure why she should have formed such an impression. Possibly she is not aware of your blog and website where you are hardly reticent when it comes to discussing Sri Ramana and Arunachala.


Thank you for your input on Brother Lawrence. I have started reading the "The Practice of the Presence of God".

Since you are also a devotee of Sri Ramakrishna , here is a story about Sri Ramakrishna and his spiritual son Rakhal (Sw.Brahmananda).

The story goes as follows :

Once it so happend that Sri Ramakrishna asked Rakhal to press his legs. Now Rakhal came from a rich family and was not used to doing personal service for anyone. Hence, he demurred. But Sri Ramakrishna insisted and so Rakhal rather half-heartedly started pressing his legs while Sri Ramakrishna closed his eyes and appeared to have fallen asleep. A short while later Rakhal had a wonderful vision - He saw Bhavatarani Kali in the form of a young girl come running into the room, circle the bed of Sri Ramakrishna thrice and enter Sri Ramakrishna's body. While Rakhal looked on open-mouthed, Sri Ramakrishna opened his eyes, smiled and said "Now you understand the tangible benefits of serving a holy man"!

Thank you,

Thank you,

Ravi said...

Thanks very much for the Rakhal story.Here is an excerpt from an article,The Divine touch of Sri Ramakrishna:
The Wrestling Challenge

Swami Vijnanananda, a pre-monastic architect and engineer by trade,
designed the Ramakrishna Temple at Belur Math at the bidding of Swami
Vivekananda who gave him the idea. He had visited Sri Ramakrishna at
Dakshineswar as a young man. On one such visit Sri Ramakrishna was
talking with a group of devotees and visitors and gradually as they
departed Vijnananandaji, then Hari Prasanna Chaterjee, found that he
had been left alone with the Master. Suddenly, Sri Ramakrishna asked,
“Do you know wrestling?” Of course this question surprised young Hari
coming from a holy man, but in fact he had some wrestling experience
and answered affirmatively. “OK, let us wrestle then,” came the reply.
At this time Ramakrishna was in a rather weakened and emaciated
condition and Vijnananandaji was in his prime, but the young man
thought that if this man was intent on challenging him, he would
oblige. As his hands pushed the Master towards the wall he felt the
Master’s hand firmly on his shoulder and that his strength was leaving
him. At the same moment an intense feeling of joy began to swell and
overwhelm him. At this Sri Ramakrishna laughed, “So, I am defeated.
You have won.” Later on in recalling this incident Swami
Vijnananandaji would say that it was not he that had defeated Sri
Ramakrishna, but rather Sri Ramakrishna who had defeated him as he had
to accept Sri Ramakrishna as his mentor.

You may read the article here:


Subramanian. R said...

A few of select verses of Azhwars
can be read in English, an excellent
translation in free verses by A.K.
Ramanujan, formerly Prof. of Philosophy in Chicago University.
The title is Hymns for the Drowning,
published by Penguin. The great
bilingual brahmin, who was a Vaishnavite, died at a young age of
63. He had again translated Kannada poems of
of Veera Saiva saint-poets, under the title Speaking of Siva.
This again by Penguin. He has
translated a few songs of Kurunthogai a Tamizh Sangam classic, under the title Interior
Landscape. A segment of Akka
Mahadevi's song: [A veera saiva poetess]:

I want to cuckold my husband
And elope with Siva, late in the night.
I shall give a slip to my angry
mother in law and run away,
I shall marry Siva, the Lord of
the Golden Jasmine Creeper@,
Throw away all the human husbands,
[who want only my breasts and ****]
Into Kitchen fires!

[@ Chenna Mallikarjuna Siva of
Sri Sailam]
Akka Mahadevi was a spinster roaming naked, in Basavakalyan,
a town on the borders of Andhra
and Karnataka.

Subramanian. R said...

Once Akka Mahadevi, went to see
Desi Ramayya, another Veera Saiva
Saint, who was staying in a nearby
village. Before going there, she adorned herself with leaves of trees on her breasts and below the waist. Desi Rammayya asked her: What Akka! Have you not get become totlly Sivam? Why this body-consciousness still? Akka
Mahadevi replied: Brother! It is all not for my sake. It is for the sake of devotees like you!
Desi Ramayya became aahamed!

Ravi said...

Here is a moving account of Tiruppan Azhwar:
The Saint of Uraiyur, was born
into backward circumstances of life. He was from
"panchama" descent ...(what in those times used to be
called "chandAla" or "paraya" castes.) TiruppaN lived
on the southern banks of Kaveri and as a young boy
used to gaze from a distance across the river at the
northern banks stretching across Kolladam beyond the
temple of SriRangam. The sight of the temple bewitched
him and it strangely stirred his soul in a way that
nothing else in life did.

tiruppAn's father was low-caste street minstrel
("paNnar") who taught his son too early in life to
play the lute and sing folk and doggerel verse.
However, when father and son were not performing in
the streets and in the villages, they managed to eke
out a living by sweeping the outer "prAkAra-s"
(concourses) of the great temple of Ranganatha.

Thus from a very young age tiruppAn was engaged in
cleaning, clearing rubbish and debris from the temple
precincts at SriRangam.

One day tiruppAn while cleaning the temple outer areas
asked his father if they could also enter the inner
temple to clean. The father told him that they could

Young tiruppAn asked why.

"Because, my son, inside the temple there is no
rubbish to clean. It is the abode of our beautiful
King, SriRanganathan. He is mighty and good. There is
no need to clean anything in the Lord's presence for
he is Purity ("shudda-sattva") Himself. On the other
hand, if you and I enter the temple, far from clearing
out uncleanness, we might only end up defiling Lord
Ranga's sacred soil."

Little tiruppAn then began to wonder,"If there is such
a place on earth as Lord Ranga's which, as father
says, is Purity itself and needs no cleaning, one day
I must see it."

His father told tiruppAn,"Perhaps one day you will be
able to see Him, my lad. But for now let's get on with
our job of clearing Ranganatha's doorstep of any

For the next fifty years tiruppAn did nothing else but
what his father said he should do if he really wished
to one day "see" Ranganatha by entering into His
Presence.THUS, whenever he was not engaged otherwise
in the day-to-day occupation of his "pAnnar" caste,
the azhwAr took up a broom and kept cleaning the outer
"prAkAram-s" of the great Srirangam temple.


Ravi said...

Azhwar continued...

Fifty years of performing janitor service
("shuddhi-kainkaryam") to a temple did not go waste.
One day, the chief temple priest, Loka-sAranga-muni,
came up to him and told tiruppAn that Ranganatha
Himself was summoning him. THe azhwAr protested saying
that he could not enter the temple of Ranga as he
would never tread on the holy soil there for fear of
defiling it with his soul. Saranga-muni told him that
in that case Ranganatha had bade him carry the azhwar
on his shoulders into the Deity's presence.

tiruppAn thus placed his feet on the body of
Saranga-muni and climbed onto his shoulders. The chief
priest thus conveyed tiruppAn into the presence of
Lord Ranganatha inside the temple.

The azhwAr was so embarrassed and overwhelmed by all
these events. He closed his eyes. He did not open it
until Saranga-muni had carried him right into the
Presence of Ranganatha and then asked him to open his
eyes and behold the Lord of ALL creation.

tiruppAn opened his eyes and he saw God Almighty!

And the immortal verses of the "amalan-adi-pirAn"
burst forth from his lips in divine ecstasy.

tiruppAn lost himself in beatific contemplation. The
Universal Spirit embraced him.

what are the lessons in this story of Saint
TiruppAn? What are we to learn from the life of a
"panchama" who did little more in life to deserve
spiritual exaltation other than carry out the
caste-duties of a street-minstrel and to sweep the
floors clean in Ranganatha's temple exteriors? What
are we to understand of Rangantha's command to
Saranga-muni that he should let tiruppAn set foot on
his shoulders if that were the only way to convey the
azhwar into his presence in the temple? What are we to
gather from this event where a "chandAlA's" feet that
were considered unfit to set foot on the soil inside
the Lord's temple was however ultimately given the
privilege of using a "muni's" Vedic head-and-
shoulders as both foot-stool and palanquin?

Does it not all show us, that tiruppAn actually
showed us all a special pathway to Godhead... a very
special "upAyam"... by which we too can attain
"parama-gati"? Is "cleaning temples" not thus
tiruppAn's great gift of inspiration to us all?
The above is an excerpt from another site and the writer must indeed be a great devotee.Rather than giving the link,it was a joy for me to copy this article here.
What is key is what I have been striving to bring out-that despite differences in outward circumstances a true Brahmin will not hesitate to recognize and worship a chandala saint-the inner worth is what annuls all differences.Also,Humility is the hallmark of these 'backward' castes and they are thus naturally nearer to God and easily attain his presence-as the Life of nandanar,kannappa nayanar and other great devotees have exemplified.To think of these great devotees is to bask in their unparalleled love and devotion.

Subramanian. R said...

Dear Ravi,

ThirupaaNazhwar story is one among the many stories to prove that God
did not create any caste system. In
fact, there are parallels between
ThirupaaNazhwar and Thiru Neelakanta
Yaazhpaanar in Periya Puranam. Both were from "panchama" caste, both were playing musical instruments.
It is Tiru Jnana Sambandhar who proved to the world that Tiru Neelakanta was closer to Godhead than any one else. He took him inside a brahmin's house and when
he played the Yazh [violin like instrument], the three fires on the sacrificial pit, roared and glowed with more effulgence, as if they loved his music.

Once ThirupaaNaazhwar wanted Tiru
Jnana Sambandar to make a decad
of songs, which cannot be played
in Yazh. Then Sambandha sang his
famous Yaazh Moori Padigam, the decad that will break the strings of Yazh, if tried to be played.

David Godman said...

Here is an interesting article:

Does anyone know who the author might be?

Clemens Vargas Ramos said...

Unfortunately I don't know the author.

My impression of elaborations like that is that they sometimes sound too traditional. I doubt of the impacts on the seeker, especially the western seeker. Self enquiry certainly needs more detailled explanations like the giving up of all personal aspirations and the inner crisis this may evoke, and why it appears. Or think of this power of fear when we get nearer to the center of the inner being trying to make us stop. Fear is omnipresent - even and just in self enquiry.

We may read thousands of traditional elaborations of this kind and it still hasn't arrived. The power of self enquiry isn't revealed in elobarations like that. I found the explanations of Ramana in "Talks" to be much more profound, especially in the details.

The question of fear is mentioned by A. Chadwick in his memoirs.

Subramanian. R said...

Yes. Talks is a wonderful collection. Many many answers
of Bhagavan Ramana carry the same
undercurrent of Atma Jnana vichara.
Major Chadwick called it: Talks is
Pure Gold.

Arvind Lal said...

Hi David, folks,

Sorry people, but regretfully think that half the article is just someone’s imaginings as to how the process works. Esp the bit “When successful, awareness withdraws from the body into the crown of the head ….” and into the spine & so on. And certainly the other titbits about the withdrawal of body consciousness.

And just think folks, if body consciousness has already receded, how the heck are you aware of the top of your head or of the nape of the neck or the spine ?

And, certainly, cannot recall that Sri Bhagavan ever described the process thus anywhere.

And just to add my 2 pice worth. It is my humble belief that body consciousness withdraws in terms of the senses being lost. The sense of touch & thus awareness of the “body” as such, disappears all in one shot. The sense of smell is the hardest to lose and is the last to go, much later, and only for the blessed ones (even though there is already no awareness of the nose & how the smell is got). Those who practice may know that a whiff of an agarbatti (incense stick), can pop one out of the deepest meditation effortlessly.

(And sometimes, even sound of a particular type. Thus, even traditionally, to wake up a sage from deep samadhi, the disciples are said to chant the Vedas loudly, or indeed, wave agarbattis under his nose).

Best wishes

Ravi said...

I just cursorily went through the article referred by you.Here are a few lines from the same:
1."The steps to this attainment were clearly laid out by Bhagavan in words and by inner experience for some"
My response:?!!!
2."There is only one awareness, the one who is reading this article is the ego and the Self all in one, but the ego is the apparition covering the pure Self and that has to die to the real Self in order that self-realisation can take place. "
My Response:???
3."Bhagavan often made the comparison of the actor in a Play - during the Play the actor assumes a completely different role, yet retains his true nature and combines the two."
My Response:???
4." because the body is already perceived as a heavy, cold and totally lifeless thing, not ‘you’, but something alien to you, a burden that you do not want."
My Response:???. The body will be felt as very light.
5."To overcome the cycle of birth and death this latter state has to become permanent, and nothing less should be accepted by the true seeker."
My Response:???
6."He is the Supreme Itself, the only true Brahmin, beyond body and mind, yet using both like the craftsman uses his tools."
My Response:???
7."Everything that you need to know is written above, it is based upon my own experience and presented here for the benefit of sincere seekers, so that those who know only empty words will not misguide them."
My Response:???

8."It was written by someone who is and wishes to remain anonymous. "

Hope it is not written by one of the 'anonymous'friends out here!Just kidding.
Looks like this person has imagined the whole thing from reading some books on Self Enquiry, equated 'self enquiry' with physical death -body becoming heavy,cold,etc.He has also mixed up a little bit of reading about Kundalini yoga(something rising from the feet to the head).

I would recommend curd rice and nutritious food, little bit of service,prayer,nama Smaran,reading the lives of Great saints to this gentleman.If he visits Tiruvannamalai,he may do Giri Pradakshina.


Broken Yogi said...


I came across this description of self-enquiry a few months ago and found it interesting. The early parts of the essay seem good, and I felt some inspiration from them, but the latter descriptions are not easy to evaluate.

I suspect the author may be related to the AWA people. I think you must know of that website, the "Awareness Watching Awareness" website that quotes heavily from GVK and Nisargadatta, and that tries to promote a kind of secularized version of self-enquiry. At least the descriptions and arguments remind me of those people. I'm not sure who the guy is behind AWA, and I'm not sure if this essay is by the original AWA guy, or someone influenced by him. I've come across people who were into the AWA pretty heavily, and it seems to take a certain cult-like quality.

Their website is at:

I found this site useful at one time in its collection of quotes from Ramana, Muruganar, Sadhu Om, etc. But there's a certain dogmatism and viewpoint that I find somehow distasteful and presumptuous. Which says a lot coming from me.

Losing M. Mind said...

It reminds me of someone who talks about self-inquiry, I think incorrectly -lol. It doesn't sound correct to me at all.

It's so interesting where I am here. Consistently humbled. My ideas on the Self, and self-inquiry shown to be way smaller than the real thing. For sure, in the presence of a true jnani, no doubts about that. I sometimes want to relate what happens (because of how fascinating it is), but it can't be conveyed in ideas. So amazing, always surprising.

One thing I think I've learned, is that self-inquiry is not a method, or a topic. There is no "how" to inquire. It cannot be understood by the mind, because the one who would understand is what is false. In the presence of a sage, I get a glimpse, maybe even a reflected glimpse, that there is only the One, who the Guru is. That's something it seems to me that makes it impossible for a "practicer" to realize it. Because the "practicer" is left intact. So like in that article, when someone is explaining to us, what inquiry is, and how to do it (as an individual who will do what he/she perscribes), especially with the presumption that what Maharshi taught was somehow insufficient or incomplete, and needs their added explanation. That is humorous.

One really noteable thing to ajnani me, is that he's detailing out one level after another. I don't remember Maharshi, or any of his realized devotees ever doing that. Because, I'm guessing, it really does differ between different temperments, what the practice is going to look like, and it might involve other 'practices' such as worship, repeating of mantras (like Lakshmana Swami), or other things, in my case overcoming indolence and practicing non-attached action. A sage, a true jnani, being pure Consciousness alone, the right words come out to cause that disciple's mind to truly turn inward, which is not any repetative mental mode. I had so many ideas about what "inward" really meant. But for instance, I may have so many vasanas (and have and do) that I overlook, that are considered a part of who I am, my individual personality. I might keep those intact, on my own, and practice what I think is 'self-inquiry'. (while the essence of ego is overlooked) A sage (being pure Consciousness only) can show me naturally that all those self-definitions are ridiculous. Can show me the delusiveness of the tendencies I consider to be natural and who I am. It's so fascinating.

Broken Yogi said...

This is the book written by Michael Langford, who is the guy behind the AWA website:

The title of the book is "The Most Rapid and Direct Means to Eternal Bliss", which I guess only confirms the presumptuousness of it all.

It's not bad, at least in parts, and I somehow find myself able to be inspired by almost anything these days, regardless of its quality, as long as it has some kernel of truth to it. So I can't say this is wrong, and its certainly different from the usual western neo-Advaita, so it has that going for it also. Not sure it really matters. Obviously the fellow who wrote it felt it worked for him, and that's perhaps all that counts.

Anonymous said...


This article is a very humble attempt towards Gho Samraskhanam (not anything commercial). That is Prevention of Cow Slaughter.

Dear Sadhaks

There were much intellectual discussion on Karma yoga -- social service, chandala entering temples, their inclidnation etc. by some of our experienced devotees .

I have been visiting Arunahcala every fortnight or a month for few months now.

I read in scriptures that the Arunachala Shiva bestows his grace within a radious of around 40 KMs of the mountain constantly.

As I was travelling in the local bus from Bangalore, I saw this in a area called Uthankarai that is near Chengam. I saw a gory sight of a cow (pure white with black dots) lying dead in a pool of blood , its throat being cut afresh, yesterday at he morning hours. I carried this sight to Arunachala and very much got disturbed.

Scriptures adore cow's holiness to a great extent and warn about the sins one incur by slaughtering them.

While the action (a type of real social service) to prevent this may be a long way to go, I sincerely request all memebers in this forum to surrender your prayer to Ramana Maharishee and Arunachala to save the cows from the jaws of death.

You are all practising mind control, self enquiry, surrender and so many other things -- if all of you pray sincerely from the deepest of your mind daily, as sincerely, as concentratedly and as faithfully as possible to prevent this slaughter, I am sure the power of the Divine definitely will answer the call.

Until we live in this duality and enjoy a least pleasure say from drinking a water when thirst, we should take care of this great dharma -- Gho Samrakshanam.

If anybody is already into this in action by any Go Shala maintenance, they may contact me through David

Please dont mistake me but I literally beg -- requesting a bhiksha of your collective prayer to end this unruly practice at the vicinity of Arunachala in particular and in the whole universe in general.

Ravi said...

Broken Yogi/Friends,
"The Most Rapid and Direct Means to Eternal Bliss"

This sounds like 'Mastering UNIX in 30 days".
There is something intrinsically incorrect about this sort of an attitude-rooted as it is in egoism.
No sage or saint has said-"this is how it is done".
Spiritual progress is never linear and when one thinks that one is near the 'Goal' one may be farthest and vice versa,until one learns to do away with all goals and stops running after them.
Here is an excerpt from 'I am That':

Q: Sharada Devi, wife of Sri Ramakrishna Paramahamsa, used to scold his disciples for too much effort. She compared them to mangoes on the tree which are being plucked before they are ripe. 'Why hurry?' she used to say. 'Wait till you are fully ripe, mellow and sweet.'
M: How right she was! There are so many who take the dawn for the noon, a momentary experience for full realisation and destroy even the little they gain by excess of pride. Humility and silence are essential for a sadhaka, however advanced. Only a fully ripened jnani can allow himself complete spontaneity."


Anonymous said...

Dear all,

Recently I visited Thiruvannamalai from Bangalore this Sunday. I took journey in a normal semi town bus (there is no volvo bus available from Bangalore so one has to choose between hiring a cab or travelling by a normal bus)

Everytime I travel and see Arunachala, he will give a entirely different message from a different angle that will help me in my progress to some extent.

This time the lesson was a bit tough. The roads were damaged due to rain with so many pothholes. The bus was over crowded with poor rural villagers who were all shouting all the time in the bus. There was a speck of dust around the bus and the bus itself went in a speed of 30 KM / hour.

Ok now that I have given you the environment, I am coming to the actual point now.

I felt easy and comfortable to hear the accounts of devotees like Desuramma reading in the blog sitting in a AC room before the computer. For me Ramana Maharishee was about relaxation, mind and stress relief, aspiring to escape from cycles of birth and death and many more.

But after this hectic travel, this is what I am coming to understand. Self enquiry, Ramana Devotion and Arunachala surrender are not as easy as it seems. During that hectic journey even though I managed to chant my Guru's namas like Hare Ramana, Hare Lakshmana what I found was that body consciousness was at its threshold during the journey. There was a strange feeling of fear for what if one loses his luxury life in city. There was also a feeling of mild hatredness towards the poor villagers surrounding me in the bus. Suddenly I applied my knowledge and thought that these people are anyhow suffering. If I have to be in such an environment, I will rather start doing intense tapas because any way the mind will be stressed and put into inconveniences in such a rural village life. (I am not referring to a calm reclusive life in a village but I am talking about one who has to take birth, work there and suffer) So it is better to use such an environment solely for spiritualism. Even though my mind went into all kind of such thoughts, what I felt was that with the current way of devotion I am making in a Bangalore Software environment -- I cannot dare to call myself a devotee at all.

While it is very pleasant to hear the Ramana Maharishee stories and visualize a cave like enviroment with ready samadhi experience in the master's presence, the ground reality of the state of the affairs for devotees like Ramanatha Brahmachari, Desuramma etc should have been very tough, atleast from our standpoint.

I am not sure if I am expressing my thoughts in a right way here, but this is what I have to say.

All our devotion, self enquiry, nama japa are in a sort of convenient social environment.

And what if one loses his social position and gets pushed forcibly to a poor rural village by the Divine Power? I doubt peope like me can still withstand and win the test.

My body is very soft and so my mind -- the moment it is exposed to tough and rough places, it easily clings to its body consciousness and uses all sort of measures like drinking a fruit guice, wearing a sun glass, chewing some jellies, hearing to music etc to alleviate the pain of a simple tough journey. When such is the case for just 4 hours exposure to rough and tough places, I feel I am not at all eligible to call myself a sadhak.

This also inspires me to do lot of punya so that even if I have to re-born I can have atleast the same comforts which I have currently to carry on my practices peacefully.

This is not meant to hurt -- but all you devotees blogging please tell me openly, when you have to live a poor rural Indian village life with some physical labour, can you still be in the same state of mind as of now with regards to devotion?

I may fail such a test and pray the Supreme Mother not to give me that sort of test at all.

Arvind Lal said...


“I would recommend curd rice and nutritious food, little bit of service,prayer,nama Smaran,reading the lives of Great saints to this gentleman.If he visits Tiruvannamalai,he may do Giri Pradakshina.”


Made my day, really.

Best wishes

Broken Yogi said...


The way I look at it, no matter what circumstance we are in, pleasurable or painful, we have the same challenge before us, of transcending the apparent state of the body and moving to the heart. In reality, it is as difficult to do this when in a comfortable position as it is in a difficult one. We may prefer comfort, but real meditation in the heart is not made easier by it. Nor is painful circumstance actually harder to practice in. If you notice your practice for real, I think you will see that it doesn't really change regardless of where we are. We may inflate our spiritual self-image when we are in comfortable states, and deflate them in difficult states, but in reality we are probably equally mature or immature, as the case may be.

So the important thing is not to form a spiritual self-image based on the condition of the body-mind, but on the steadiness of our consciousness and heart. Then we will be paying attention to what really matters, rather than worrying about how we are responding to body conditions. The self-image isn't the focus of self-enquiry in any case. We are enquiring as to our real self, not the image we have of ourselves.

We each have karmas which determine what conditions we have to transcend. For some it is the conditions of being in a poor village, for others it's being in an air-conditioned office. What's important isn't how we change depending on those conditions, but what doesn't change. There's a basic consciousness that doesn't change, and even a basic maturity or lack thereof that doesn't change.

So it's pointless to worry about how well you would do in a poor village. A poor villager would probably be equally maladapted if you put them in an air-conditioned office. We have to accept the karmas and conditions destiny has delivered us to, and transcend them, not worry about them. We are being tested very effectively right now in whatever condition we are in, and if we need a different kind of test that will be given also. Self-enquiry is really always the same and has no levels and no conditions which make it harder or easier.

As Ramana always said, we have to put these kinds of concerns aside and give ourselves over to the business for which we have come.

Broken Yogi said...


Yes, I like that remark about mastering unix in 30 days. I agree with your criticism, but nonetheless I find that despite this fellow's presumptuousness, he at least seems sincere, and is trying in his own way to make a serious effort. So I can't really dismiss his ideas. At least he's not trying to make a buck off all this like so many westerners do. A you say, everyone who thinks they are on the fast track to enlightenment eventually finds out they are actually on the slow track, and I'm sure he'll find this out someday too. Until then, I wish him all the best and appreciate his efforts.

S. said...

salutations to all:
anonymous & others:

anonymous said All our devotion, self enquiry, nama japa are in a sort of convenient social environment...I feel I am not at all eligible to call myself a sadhak.

so very true! it's way too easy to talk about this or that in a comfortable environment. the issue is what if all this is just taken away? what then? just y'day, was sharing with a colleague - "imagine you had to travel to another town/city, say within India, not even to a foreign land. and then everything what you had gets stolen! no purse, no ID, no credit cards, not even a single rupee (say you had just emptied out all the change in the temple you visited before the theft). What Does One Do??? you have no money to call anybody; the police doesn't believe you and you can't ask money because you may get beaten up for being well-dressed and yet begging (many conmen are well-dressed these days!) :-)" - for almost all of us, the very imagination of being cast in such a predicament is enough to unsettle us throughly, in all likelihood, one may be gripped by an inexplicable consuming fear!

before svAmiji (vivEkAnanda) became famous, as an unknown wandering monk, he went all over the country, mostly alone. many were the days when he went totally hungry, and there were also days when he was treated with princely food. nothing but the grace of his great guru for guidance every step of the way. for me, that's ultimate courage - to walk away with nothing, not knowing where to go, no friends or companions, no money, just the lone dependence of the one who proclaimed 'yogakshEmam vahAmyaham'.

do we have an iota of that courage? at least am nowhere near. does doing some few minutes of sAdhana, or visiting aruNAchalA or reading david's blog, or writing smart comments to it [:-)] etc. make us sAdhakAs? part-part-part time sAdhanA, i presume (hahaha). O mind, why delude me with walking in the name of sAdhanA when i haven't even begun to crawl?

the point is not one 'should' do. good if one doesn't have to. but would we be able to if aruNAchalA flings us into this scene? would we have the courage? if all our so-called sAdhanA hasn't been able to take it head-on, then what sAdhanA are we talking about? it's one thing to read the lives of great men, and an entirely another thing to have the conviction to walk a little of the path trodden by mahAtmAs, isn't it so?

Subramanian. R said...

I agree with S. in the sense that
we are all reading about Bhagavan's
life and teachings, but when it comes
to "prayoha" - practice, it becomes
tough. I was struggling with Who am I? - [question and answers ad infinitum] but it did not really help. But some devotees of Bhagavan
were given some names to do japa.
Muruganar and an unknown Harijan were given to chant Siva, Siva. I
started this, slightly in variance,
Arunachala Siva, Arunachala Siva... After all, what is the purpose of Who am I?. The mind
should remain with the Self, if
not in permanent abidance, at least for quite a good time. This has happened for me, in case of chanting Arunachala Siva., Arunachala Siva., The mind is peaceful and there are no other thoughts. But it does not last long. I should continue this practice, till thoughts remain substantially low, if not totally
absent. After all, mind's gross form is thoughts. There is nothing like mind. Mano Nasam is, I trust, is only chintana-nasam.

hey jude said...

I thought anonymous was very honest but until you get a handle on your own situation, you will never be
truly useful to yourself.
We are all full of fear! Do we have the mental strength to just be? When our head is full of anxious thoughts do we just worry and brood? Is it possible to steel ourselves and quieten the mind? It takes one pointed effort and often we fail. We have to be vigilant.

Clemens Vargas Ramos said...

The mind should remain with the Self, if not in permanent abidance, at least for quite a good time.

That's true I believe. My understanding in addition is that to stay with the self means not to stay with the restlessness of the personal I, not to stay with thoughts and feelings of anxiety or fear, anger, indifference and to withdraw from the stream of mental images. It is a negative approach - not a positive one. The way is to watch the waves of the personal I coming and to step behind them where ever they appear. It is a way of constantly rejecting the flying birds of the unreal.I don't know whether that what remains after that is the self and it doesn't bother me. I just think that this is the only way to fight what advaita calls the "modifications of the self".

34. D.: How can the mind be extinguished?
M.: To forget everything is the ultimate means. But for thought, the world does not arise. Do not think and it will not arise. When nothing arises in the mind, the mind itself is lost. Therefore do not think of anything, forget all. This is the best way to kill the mind.
35-37.D.: Has anyone else said so before?
M.: Vasishta said so to Rama thus: ‘Efface thoughts of all kinds, of things enjoyed, not enjoyed, or otherwise. Like wood or stone, remain free from thoughts. Rama: Should I altogether forget everything? Vasishta: Exactly; altogether forget everything and remain like wood or stone.
Rama: The result will be dullness like that of stones or wood.
Vasishta: Not so. All this is only illusion. Forgetting the illusion, you are freed from it. Though seeming dull, you will be the Bliss Itself. Your intellect will be altogether clear and sharp. Without getting entangled in worldly life, but appearing active to others remain as the very Bliss of Brahman and be happy.


Clemens Vargas Ramos said...

How to forget the world? How may it be possible to CONSCIOUSLY forget something being the result of a dozend years long conditioning? A simple forgetting like in deep sleep or fainting is no solution. One must find a way not to believe what ever may appear before our eyes. That does not mean ignorance but the purity of mind and heart. The world is a stream of mental images in the mind. Stop the stream consciously by not believing in it any longer and it will dry up like a river in the summer, but it takes years over years.

Ravi said...

Broken Yogi,
My comments were on the Title of the Book and the idea that it engenders in one's mind.I have not read this article and do not know the author.
One basic observation that I have with regard to most of the practioners of Self Enquiry is that they seem to be caught up in Self fixation-something akin to how yoga used to be considered as tantamount to gazing on the tip of the nose.
Looks like if all the senses go kaput and the body consciousness is lost most of the practioners would be immensely satisfied at having arrived!
No one seems to be wanting to be a human being and instead are struggling to become incorporeal.
Anyone aspiring to be like Sri Bhagavan-adept at cooking in the kitchen or binding a book and keeping it neat and tidy-considerate to Trees,birds and animals?If this is not done, why ape his death experience as if that is the alpha and omega of self Enquiry?

Losing M. Mind said...

Ravi, well put. I think for me, that has been pretty much the motivation. And once I started being in contact with a realized sage, I realized that is the struggle, to become fully good at being human, while transcending my egoity. More selfless, more good, less shirking of responsibilities. It's pretty clear, you can't just be your "old self" and get enlightened. You have to give up a lot of garbage. the person, the ego, is just full up a lot of garbage. One can't become an enlightened garbage can, so to speak. I still have a lot of garbage to take out so to speak.

shiba said...


Owing to this blog and books about Bhagavan,I rather clearly understand the method of self-enquiry.That is to say,concentrating on I-thought leads to the source of I which is Atman.

But about surrender I can't clearly understand the way to practice.Can Always thinking 'I am helpless. etc' be the method?

thank you

Broken Yogi said...


I don't think it's a good idea to put all practitioners of self-enquiry into one basket. I'm sure your criticism applies to some, but probably not most and certainly not all. The truth is the senses and body will indeed someday go kaput, and what then? Best to find out long before that happens who we really are here and what our relationship is to the body and our humanity. If self-enquiry helps us with that, then great. If something else does, great. But we are here to take care of our own business and not worry about whether someone else is making mistakes in theirs. Self-enquiry is valid purely on an individual basis depending on the results one gets. There are no generalizations which override individual experience. Each must learn in their own way.

Broken Yogi said...


I've always been fascinated by the relationship between self-enquiry and surrender. I don't actually think they are separable, in that in doing self-enquiry one must surrender blindly to whatever we are, and see what is revealed to us. So one can't do self-enquiry without surrender.

It's not just the asking of the question "who am I?" that is self-enquiry, it's the disposition of surrendering to the self the question is directed towards. Since the question is directed towards oneself, one must surrender to oneself to find the answer. This is the same as surrendering to the Guru and awaiting his instruction and revelation. The Guru one surrenders to is found within, through self-enquiry, and this is the aim.

If self-enquiry and self-surrender were separate acts, the one leading to the other, then it would not be direct. It is because self-enquiry is simply surrender to the self in the heart that it is direct. It may at first seem to be about holding onto the "I"-thought, but since there is nothing there to hold onto, one simply surrenders to the unknown source of the "I"-thought. One must have faith that this source is alive and active as Guru, drawing one in through surrender. Self-enquiry merely means surrender to the self in the heart, rather than to the outer world of objects. a

Ravi said...

Broken Yogi,
"The truth is the senses and body will indeed someday go kaput, and what then?"
Sri Adi Sankara has answered this question in his Bhaja govindam.(This verse is attributed to Hastamalaka)
It says:
Angam Galitam Palitam Mundam
Dasanaviheenam Jaatam Tundam
Vriddho Yaati Griheetvaa Dandam
Tadapi Na Munchatyaasaapindam.


Angam - the body, Galitam - (has been) worn out, Palitam - has turned grey, Mundam - the hair (the head), Dasanaviheenam - toothless, Jaatam - has become, Tundam - mouth, Vriddhah - the old man, Yaati - moves (goes) about, Griheetvaa - having taken (leaning on), Dandam - (his) staff, Tadapi - even then, Na - never, Munchaty - leaves, Aasaapindam - the bundle of desires.

The body has become worn out. The head has become bald or turned grey. The mouth has become toothless. The old man moves about with the support of crutches. Even then the attachment is so strong that he clings firmly to the bundle of (fruitless) desires.
Friend,you are again slotting me as 'criticizing' people;I am pointing out something fundamentally wrong in the Approach.I have absolutely no intention of being a Don Quixote having a go at the windmill.

I am pointing simply that to assert one's divinity,one needs to fully come to grips with one's Humanity.This was part and parcel of the ancient wisdom.
Wish you the very best.Yes,it is a privilege to be with a Guru and grow in an organic way,bloom naturally.You are indeed blessed.


Ravi said...

Here is an excerpt from 'My Master',a talk by Swamiji(vivekananda):
In our country it is necessary for a man who becomes a Sannyasin to give up all worldly wealth and position, and this my Master carried out literally. There were many who would have felt themselves blest if he would have accepted a present from their hands, who would gladly have given him thousands of rupees if he would have taken them, but these were the only men from whom he would turn away. He was a triumphant example, a living realization of the complete conquest of lust and of desire for money. He was beyond all ideas of either, and such men are necessary for this century. Such renunciation is necessary in these days when men have begun to think that they cannot live a month without what they call their "necessities", and which they are increasing out of all proportion. It is necessary in a time like this that a man should arise to demonstrate to the skeptics of the world that there yet breathes a man who does not care a straw for all the gold or all the fame that is in the universe. Yet there are such men.

The other idea of his life was intense love for others. The first part of my Master's life was spent in acquiring spirituality, and the remaining years in distributing it. People in our country have not the same customs as you have in visiting a religious teacher or a Sannyasin. Somebody would come to ask him about something, some perhaps would come hundreds of miles, walking all the way, just to ask one question, to hear one word from him, "Tell me one word for my salvation." That is the way they come. They come in numbers, unceremoniously, to the place where he is mostly to be found; they may find him under a tree and question him; and before one set of people has gone, others have arrived. So if a man is greatly revered, he will sometimes have no rest day or night. He will have to talk constantly. For hours people will come pouring in, and this man will be teaching them.

So men came in crowds to hear him, and he would talk twenty hours in the twenty-four, and that not for one day, but for months and months until at last the body broke down under the pressure of this tremendous strain. His intense love for mankind would not let him refuse to help even the humblest of the thousands who sought his aid. Gradually, there developed a vital throat disorder, and yet he could not be persuaded to refrain from these exertions. As soon as he heard that people were asking to see him, he would insist upon having them admitted, and would answer all their questions. When expostulated with, he replied, "I do not care. I will give up twenty thousand such bodies to help one man. It is glorious to help even one man."
in Sri Bhagavan's life as well,it was Ditto-the same cancer,Sri Bhagavan insisting that all should be allowed to come into his presence despite being critically ill.

David Godman said...

Ravi and Broken Yogi

Here are three verses from Guhai Namasivaya on the necessity of completing one's sadhana before the body gets too frail:

Heart of mine, you great sinner!
Before the faculty of mind is ruined,
before consciousness is lost
before the hands and legs become weary,
and before one’s wife, stricken with intense grief,
wails loudly with streaming tears,
cry out, ‘Annamalaiya, be my Lord!’

O my stony heart!
Only those who have the strength
to cling to the feet of Arunai’s king
before their joints grow weak
and their sinews slacken,
before they cough and hack
and clutch a walking stick –
they are the virtuous of this earth.
Those who cannot,
they are miscreants indeed.

Heart of mine!
Before you drop the body
that staggers, falls and becomes feeble,
enshrine in your heart and ceaselessly pay obeisance to
the rider of the white bull,
the jnani of Sonagiri,
the One who wields the trident as a weapon.

S. said...

salutations to all:

ravi said - No one seems to be wanting to be a human being and instead are struggling to become incorporeal. Anyone aspiring to be like Sri Bhagavan-adept at cooking in the kitchen or binding a book and keeping it neat and tidy-considerate to Trees,birds and animals?

whatever bhagavAn was, cook or considerate etc., were all "after" self-realisation :-). there is always some basic level of goodness one could invariably take it for granted when it comes to those who seek the self, but that doesn't mean all have to put efforts to be 'good human beings' first. let all the goodness flow effortlessly as an incidental effect of either the richness of sAdhanA or realisation itself. for some people, it may well be necessary & efficient to proceed with the one-pointed goal of self-realisation, and being a good cook or warm to animals may or may not be relevant. those who practise vichAra may be keen to be in bhagavAn's state & certainly not looking towards some weird 'loss of body consciousness'! :-)
wanting to be a really 'good human being', for some people (not all), may genuinely be just another sophisticated dignified 'trap' of being wedded to their own conceptions of 'goodness'. for such people, quite rightly, to be good is to realise and be free, nothing more & nothing less.

Ravi said...

"whatever bhagavAn was, cook or considerate etc., were all "after" self-realisation"
Is this true?

Ravi said...

""More and more the true greatness seems to me that of the worm doing its duty silently, steadily, from moment to moment and from hour to hour."-Vivekananda.
Just to add when I referred to Sri Bhagavan's 'cooking n the Kitchen' and 'Binding Books'-I am not referring to the activities per se-but the attention to details and the thoroughness that is brought into play in the seemingly mundane of activities.This is an important part of Sadhana(although for someone like Sri Bhagavan it is effortless and no longer sadhana).
It is only when the flame of attention is trained in this manner ,that Self Enquiry or any other Practice may becme effective.

Sri Bhagavan's Appalam song brings out all the facets that are key and preparatory Self Realization.

To treat Self Enquiry as an 'exclusive' Practice,as a standalone method is what I have referred to-most writeups and books of present day authors deal with it in this way-and in this manner,it has become akin to what Pranayama may be for Yoga.To treat this as a Technique and not integrate this with Life-this is a wrong approach.
To treat 'Self Enquiry' as a process that needs to be pursued to reach 'Self Realzation'-and to say that all other aspects of Living will have to be 'somehow managed',is to have a myopic view.
We are not talking about 'being good',etc but to embrace the whole of Living and not compartmentalise as 'spiritual'(Divine) and 'temporal'(Human).This sort of a division is the basis for all illusion.

Subramanian. R said...

Yes. Whatever Bhagavan did, cooking or vegetable cutting, or making a nice stick from a tree-branch [for
the cowherd on the Hill] are not doubt, after self realization. But
why did Bhagavan do these? It is only to teach the devotees that one
should do nishkamya karma before moving into nishmarmya siddhi. Bhagavan's life should be read again and again along with His teachings. Both are essential to understand self enquiry. His life cannot be separated from His teachings.

Subramanian. R said...

Dear shiba,

Bhagavan by the phrase surrender,
meant only self-surrender. Atma
Parityagam says He in Who am I?
Surrender is started with a bloated ego, slowly the ego becomes thinner and thinner and ulitmately vanishes. This is Self surrender or Atma Samparpanam. Saint Manikkavachagar describes this in his Tiruvachakam, Kovil Tiupadigam, Verse 7. "O Lord of
Tiruperundurai! "You graced me and like the Sun removing the darkness, You stand. I am thinking you without thinking, about Your state of this. There is no other to me than only You. Approaching, approaching, you wore me down, more, to an atom's size, till I becoming less and less, become one with You. There is nothing other than You. There is nothing to know. Who can really know Your greatness?"

S. said...

salutations to all:

ravi & others:

don't you think so? almost everything what we think we know about bhagavAn is after that 'eventful' night at madurai, isn't it? why this doubt? also, if what you say about becoming a 'good human being' first were so important, then bhagavAn (& thAkur) would have emphasised the same, but is that what we find? :-) being good is purely incidental; extra-focusing on goodness is fraught with its own dangers!

S. said...

salutations to all:

ravi & others: ravi also said [It is only when the flame of attention is trained in this manner ,that Self Enquiry or any other Practice may become effective...To treat Self Enquiry as an 'exclusive' Practice,as a standalone method is what I have referred to...]

there is no need as such for any such prescription, and i beg to differ. based on my most limited practices, i can submit that vichAra is potent enough to bring about all that you talk of, in its own way, or surely what's necessary for that person (as long as the individuality lasts) to get going. as i said earlier, for some, it may be optimal to think of the method as a process - straight & simple :-) the process will do its work. honestly, i have no clue what is meant by 'embrace the whole of living' etc etc. these are nice words, no doubt, but at the ground level, for me, are by & large are of little meaning.

TC said...

Dear Subramanian,

Thanks for a moving and inspiring Verse from Tiruvachakam, Kovil Tiupadigam.

Also, people like Girish Chandra Ghosh eventually became Pure even with a disinterested surrender in the beginning through the force of love from Guru/God's side.

Ravi said...

" i have no clue what is meant by 'embrace the whole of living' etc etc. these are nice words, no doubt, but at the ground level, for me, are by & large are of little meaning."
Friend,please refer your post to anonymous yesterday.To embrace the whole of life means to let sadhana not be 'part time' activity.
As Sri Ramakrishna so beautifully puts it,like a man with toothache does all his work without forgetting the 'ache',so does a sadhaka has to do sadhana amidst all activities.One will not then talk only about 'losing Body consciousnss' and not recognizing 'the functioning of senses'etc.
The senses,the Body and the mind can be utilised in a natural way,only the mind is freed from the distortion of desire.This is all there to it.

Broken Yogi said...


I don't see how you have pointed out anything fundamental wrong about the approach of self-enquiry. Perhaps you could be more specific.

As for self-enquiry being a "stand alone" practice separate from ordinary living, I'm not sure how that's possible. Is there any moment of ordinary living in which "I am" is not present? Self-enquiry addresses the core of our every experience, the "I" that experiences, so it cannot be separate from life. It has nothing to do with some outer form of renunciation or separation, nor did Sri Ramana recommend such a life for those practicing self-enquiry. It cannot stand apart from life, any more than "I" can stand apart from my own self.

I think you have a mistaken understanding of what self-enquiry is, and how it is to be practiced. It is not a mental exercise apart from life. It addresses the fundamental issue of what every human being actually is, and what our real purpose is here. There is literally nothing that stands apart from it, or that it interferes with. To presume that it does is to confuse self-enquiry with some interior technique or meditative method, which it is not. In fact Sri Ramana generally disapproved of meditation, preferring instead that one practice self-enquiry throughout one's ordinary daily life without seeing it as set apart from any of it. That is how the best results are obtained.

Ravi said...

Broken Yogi,
"I don't see how you have pointed out anything fundamental wrong about the approach of self-enquiry."
Did I?Or have I talked about how it is understood and relayed by other writings in a narrow way?
Please go through my posts.

Subramanian. R said...

Dear T.C.

Okay, I have surrendered to him totally [or has done self inquiry],
and attained the blissful state. Then what will happen? You will thank him with profuse tears. Saint
Manikkavachagar says in Kovil Tirupadigam, Verse 10 [here, the union of jiva and Siva is complete**]:

What You have given is Yourself,
What You took in exchange, O Sankara, is this poor me,
Who is the cleverer of the two?
What I have gained is bliss that
has no end.
What single thing, have You taken from me?
O Lord who made my mind Your abode!
Saluations to Siva, dwelling in
Holy Peruntdurai!
For Your taking up residence in
my body,
I cannot my father, Iswara,
Offer you any fitting recompense!
[Tr. David Godman]

**Prof. K. Vanmikanathan

Saint VaLLalar Ramalingam says:
Tiruvachakam is like honey. It does not harm a person who drinks it. Nor does the fruit pieces
dropped into a pot of honey become

Sri said...

I found this video clip of an American advaita teacher being interviewed by a European interviewer. In the first five minutes, both of them relate their respective experiences with Sri Ramana. The interviewer's experience is particularly funny .... Bhagavan, after gentle suggestions, literally hits her over her head with his book!


Murali said...

Shiba said:

"But about surrender I can't clearly understand the way to practice.Can Always thinking 'I am helpless. etc' be the method?"

Please refer to the last question in the link below. This, appealed to me is the best definition

Regards Murali

Murali said...

Anonymous Said:

"Recently I visited Thiruvannamalai from Bangalore this Sunday. I took journey in a normal semi town bus (there is no volvo bus available from Bangalore so one has to choose between hiring a cab or travelling by a normal bus)"

There are two Volvo buses (Airavath) by KSRTC which go to Pondichery from Bangalore. Once starts at 830 AM and other one at 1030 PM. Both go via Arunachalam.

Regards Murali

Broken Yogi said...


"Did I?Or have I talked about how it is understood and relayed by other writings in a narrow way?"

What "other writings"? You said you didn't even read the book you were criticizing, just the title. Who is it that understands self-enquiry in the narrow way you describe? This sounds like a straw man.

Broken Yogi said...

I read the link provided to David's interview about surrender and gratitude. I had read this some years ago and very much liked it, and appreciate reading it again. I had first come across this teaching of Ramana's about gratitude somewhere else, in a direct quote from Ramana that I haven't been able to find since.

It goes something like, "The biggest mistake people make in their ordinary lives is to thank God when good things happen but never to thank him when bad things happen..."

I would really appreciate it if anyone know the full quote and where it comes from.

hey jude said...

Neem Karoli Baba: In Lucknow, Maharajji took some public works officials in a car to the poorest part of town where the officials do not take proper care of the roads and sanitation. From one of the shacks he called forth a Moslem (whom Maharajji called a "Musselman") and they embraced, and then Maharajji said
"I'm very hungry"
'But Maharajji, I have no food"
" You do! You have two rotis (flat bread) hidden in the roof!"
The man was surprised that Maharajji knew, and he got them. Even though Maharajji and the officials had just eaten, he ate one with relish and handed the other to the officials including the Hindu Brahmins, who would never eat food prepared by a Moslem, and said "Take prasad!"

My point being if the officials take the food , which they did, they have surrendered to the Guru.

Ravi said...

"Made my day, really."
yes,the humour is there.yet,it was also meant as a recommendation,something that I practice.
It is the plain 'Vanilla' type of Sadhana that leads to all the rest.Most often,this is given the go by in favour of highly fanciful exotic approach.
A hungry man will be satisfied with eating plain 'curd Rice.

Good that you enjoyed the Humour.


Ravi said...

"Bhagavan's life should be read again and again along with His teachings. Both are essential to understand self enquiry. His life cannot be separated from His teachings."
One Hundred percent pure Gold!This is it sir.
To latch onto 'words' and miss the deed-that would be a mistake.

Ravi said...

Thanks very much for those verses from Guhai namasivaya.
Sage Pattinathar had some very stark sayings on the evanescence of the Body.

காடோ? செடியோ? கடற்புறமோ? கனமேமிகுந்த
நாடோ? நகரோ? நகர்நடுவோ? நலமேமிகுந்த
வீடோ? புறத்திண்ணையோ? தமியேனுடல் வீழுமிடம்,
நீடோய் கழுக்குன்றி லீசா, உயிர்த்துணை நின்பதமே.

Forest?Bush?Seaside?Dense(populated)country?City?City centre?Dear(Transcreation-ravi) Home?Resting platform outside the house?-(which is)the place where my body shall fall?
Oh Isa atop tirukkazhikunram,
Your feet,Life's refuge.


S. said...

salutations to all:
ravi said [It is the plain 'Vanilla' type of Sadhana that leads to all the rest.Most often,this is given the go by in favour of highly fanciful exotic approach.]

:-) laughed out loud... as thAkur says 'everyone thinks his own watch is right'... hahaha. for me, nothing can be a more 'plainer vanilla' thing than vichAra; bit of service, nAma smaraNam, giri-pradakshiNa etc. are all, for me, more tougher & exotic than trying self-enquiry. :-)

Soorya said...

Broken Yogi,

Perhaps you are referring to the below article by Devaraja Mudaliar:

A lady Principal asked Bhagavan whether it was not better for people to work and do something for the betterment of the world than to sit in contemplation, aloof from the world, seeking for their own salvation. This was not by any means a new question and Bhagavan had given a very clear answer to it which has already been published in the Maharshi's Gospel. In brief, it is that one Jnani by his Self-realisation is doing much more for the world than all social workers put together and that his silence is more eloquent and effective than the words of orators and writers advocating any courses for man. On this occasion, however, Bhagavan remained silent. When the lady found that Bhagavan did not answer, she went on speaking for some ten minutes. Even then Bhagavan remained silent. The lady and her sister then left in chagrin.

After they had left Bhagavan said to me: "It is no use telling them anything. The only result would be that it would be published in the papers that such and such are the views of so and so and there will be endless dispute. The best thing is to keep quiet."

His view on the attempts, however well intentioned, by idealistic reformers, whether socialist or communist or whatever label they may wear, to make all people equally well-placed in life can be epitomized as follows: "There never was and never will be a time when all are equally happy or rich or wise or healthy. In fact none of these terms has any meaning except in so far as the opposite to it exists. But that does not mean that when you come across anyone who is less happy or more miserable than yourself, you are not to be moved to compassion or to seek to relieve him as best you can. On the contrary, you must love all and help all, since only in that way can you help yourself. When you seek to reduce the suffering of any fellow-man or fellow-creature, whether your efforts do succeed or not, you are yourself evolving spiritually thereby, especially if such service is rendered disinterestedly, not with the egoistic feeling 'I am doing this', but in the spirit 'God is making me the channel of this service; He is the doer and I the instrument'." On two successive days, in answer to questions from visitors, Bhagavan said in effect what I have summarised above.

Most of the time I lived with Bhagavan, I used to feel peaceful and absolutely free from care. That, as many can testify, was the outstanding effect of his presence. Nevertheless, it did occasionally happen that something disturbed the peace and happiness for a while. On one such occasion I asked Bhagavan: "Why do such interruptions come? Does it mean that we have ceased to have Bhagavan's grace then?"

With what graciousness did Bhagavan reply: "You crazy fellow! The trouble or want of peace comes only because of grace."

On other occasions also Bhagavan has similarly told me: "You people are glad and grateful to God when things you regard as good come to you. That is right, but you should be equally grateful when things you regard as bad come to you. That is where you fail."

Here I must say the only method I have adopted to achieve liberation or Self-realisation is simply to throw myself on Bhagavan, to surrender to him as completely as lies in my power, and to leave everything else to him. And Bhagavan's teaching, the last I ever got from him before he attained Mahasamadhi, was just this: "Your business is simply to surrender and leave everything to me. If one really surrenders completely, there is no room for him to complain that the Guru has not done this or that."

Arvind Lal said...

Broken Yogi,

Can try also “My Recollections of Bhagavan Sri Ramana” by Devaraja Mudaliar, Pg 114 (in the 1992 Edition with me). The article Soorya mentions draws from the book.

Sri Bhagavan said (quote repeated):

“The trouble or want of peace comes only because of Grace. You people are glad and grateful to God when things you regard as good come to you. That is right; but you should be equally grateful when things you regard as bad come to you. That is where you fail.”

Best wishes

Subramanian. R said...

Dear arvind,

I was searching for Day by Day and
Talks and ultimately it is in
Recollections of Devaraja Mudaliar.
Thank you very much.

Ravi said...

Please read my post to Arvind in the proper context.My comments are not on 'Sef Enquiry' per se.If you find that easy,it is very good.Nothing is exotic as long as it leads to Love and Peace.

Subramanian. R said...

Why self inquiry seems to be tough
or looks bland? Because you need
no outside implements and compliments, no tiring of the tongue, no specially prepared
food offerings, no flowers, no betel leaves, no coconuts and camphor. If one's temperament is in need of all these and if he can also mouth namas aloud, along with musical instruments, one can always do that. But Self inquiry or simple mantra japa within lips does not need any of these. In fact, it is not necessary to have lights on, and a special sitting posture or sofas. You need only yourself. One can, if his health could permit can simply squat on the floor, with back straight and do self inquiry and mantra japa inaudible to others. But human nature is to ask for complexity.
One would strain himself to read Brahma Sutra Bhashya but not Who am I? There is one story. Americans invented an ink pen in
late 1960s, which can be used in
space, where ink from such pens
in the ordinary course would not fall out from the nib, due to lack of gravitation. The Americans boasted to Japanese: See, we have made this pen. We have spent millions of dollars. If you want we can sell them to you, at a moderate price of say 10000 dollars per pen. The Japanese said: No, Thank you. We have got our graphite pencil.

Losing M. Mind said...

I wouldn't write off the rituals though. I did initially. But now, that I am in the Presence of someone I know experientially to be a true Brahma-Jnani, the rituals done here, really are part and parcel of the experience of the Self that is transcendent of it. I was thinking of mentioning here, how incorrect, how wrong, were my initial interpretations of inquiry, and now I see much deeper meaning. But the thing that was correct, was the interest in Maharshi, and his teachings, the desire to understand, the desire to be free of my self-created illusions and suffering, an open mind with the humility to suspect that I don't know. My teacher says, "the end manifests as the means". And I think those things somehow emanate from the Real. Or maybe more correctly, they are intuitions of the Real. And those things overtake the vasanas or tendencies. But I can point to things I thought, that were dead wrong. For instance, I thought that ceasing effort because Self-Realization is effortless would be fruitful. But really, it leads to a state of indolence. So just the opposite, an awake dilligent attitude or direction is more correct. I thought Self-inquiry was an activity of the mind. I now know Self-inquiry is not an activity of the instruments of body, speech or mind. I don't know what inquiry is, but my intuition is that it is a surrender, a merging with the Consciousness that is the Guru. I thought Surrender, was akin to giving up. Nome, the other day, was giving an excellent talk on the difference between the Surrender to God, and Surrender to Circumstance, or to the World. That was another mistake I had made.

Broken Yogi said...

Arvind and soorya,

Thanks for the quote reference. The funny thing is, this quote is a little different from what I remember, which leads me to suspect that Sri Ramana said this sort of thing a number of times, and it got recorded differently by different people. Clearly it was something he felt worth repeating.

I really appreciate this aspect of Sri Ramana's teaching. I'm very glad David made a point of relaying it in such a practical manner. A life lived in gratitude for whatever happens is a far greater transformation for us than merely having our desires fulfilled and boons granted.

Soorya said...

Losing M Mind,

May I request if you could share Nome's teachings on the difference between Surrender to God, and Surrender to Circumstance, or to the World?
I would me very much interested to hear, thank you.

Soorya said...

I found this beautiful reference to "Surrender" and effort in the book by S.S.Cohen - 'Reflections on Talks with Sri Ramana Maharshi'.

10. “Your nature is happiness. You say that this is not apparent. See what obstructs you from your true being.It is pointed out to you that the obstruction is the wrong identity. Eliminate the error. The patient himself must take the medicine to cure his illness. If, as you say, the patient is too weak to help himself, then he must remain quiet, giving a free hand to the doctor. That is effortlessness.” 295

Note[Cohen]: The first half of this text has already been dealt with. With reference to the patient and the medicine, the questioner had pleaded having “placed himself unconditionally in the hands of the doctor”. It stands to reason that the Guru cannot see the Self on behalf of the disciple, for he is always seeing it on his own behalf. It is the disciple’s mental outlook that has to change and himself to take the medicine prescribed by the Guru in order to remove the false identification. It will not do to plead weakness and go scot-free from the obligation of doing sadhana, for anyone can do the same and exempt oneself from making efforts.
Bhagavan suggests that if the disciple is “too weak” to make the effort [himself], then he must completely surrender to the Guru. This alternative seems to please most of these “weak” seekers, because it releases them from the necessity of straining themselves. The question now is whether this weak disciple is strong enough to surrender. If he is unable to make a little effort to concentrate his mind, whence will he have the strength to make the far greater effort of surrender, which necessitates constant remembrance?If the questioner has abandoned himself so “unconditionally”, as he thinks he has, he would not come to beg for Grace, but would himself be the one to confer Grace, namely, a Guru.
In the next dialogue we shall hear Bhagavan’s own view on this point. I am giving the whole dialogue as it is in the original to clarify the above points. Beginners must, however, take heart from the fact that whatever effort they make in this line, it is never wasted: everyone has to pass through all the stages on this path to become adhikari, as every man has to pass through infancy, childhood and adolescence to mature into adulthood.

Subramanian. R said...

Dear Soorya,

That is excellent.

Muruganar says in Padamalai:

V.2766: Offer yourself up unconditionally to the power that is your own source - adhara sakti.

V.2389: To attain the flourishing
immortal life in which death is no more, there is no means other than

V.1706: The hearts of those who have not united with the state of
the omnipotent Lord, which is grace, will never attain fullness.

V.683: How does a god benefit by worship directed to him? The benefit is only for the worshipper.

V.1785: The worship of divine forms will completely destroy the ego, the I am the body conceit.

V.510: Preventing the accumulation of dark tamas, Padam engenders bright sattva in the hearts of those whose righteous tongues sing the names of God.
[Tr. David Godman]

Sankar Ganesh said...

The below is from today's 'The Hindu' Newspaper

A Good Lesson
It is important to be respectful to gnanis, Suki Sivam said in a discourse.

Once, a king fell at the feet of a gnani. His minister asked the king how he could place his head at the foot of a gnani. After all, his was the head that wore a crown. The king replied that he would answer the question at a later time.

Some time later, the king asked the minister to procure a goat's head, a tiger's head and a human head. The minister was puzzled by the king's order. But since he could not question his orders, he had to carry them out. He sent out his men to get a goat's head.

That was easily obtained from a butcher, on payment of some money. The tiger's head was not so easy, for that wasn't something available in the market; the minister had to find capable hunters who would go out into the forest and hunt a tiger to get its head.

But this, too, was accomplished, when he found hunters, who killed a tiger and brought its head.

But what of the human head? That was the most difficult to obtain. No one who had a dead body awaiting burial was willing to dishonour the body by decapitating it. Finally, after a lot of efforts, the minister managed to get a human head too.

The king now told the minister to give away the three heads he had obtained. Giving the goat's head away was not difficult. The tiger's head was more difficult. No one wanted to take home a tiger's head. But with a bit of coaxing, someone was found to take the tiger's head. But no one was willing to take the human head.

Not even the offer of money and gifts induced anyone to accept the human head as a gift. So the minister went back to the king and said no one was willing to accept the human head. The king replied that even a goat's head and a tiger's head had some value after death. But no one would touch a human head. It was only such a worthless head that he, the king, had placed at the gnani's feet.

The minister was thus taught the uselessness of our worldly achievements, and the importance of paying respect to a gnani.

Subramanian. R said...

Dear Sankar Ganesh,

I also saw that article of Suki
Sivam. This is from Pattinathar's
life. Pattinathar, the saint poet
was sitting on the outer portal
[thinnai in Tamizh] one morning.
Everyone who was coming in that street, were prostrating before
him. The King who came on that street, was surprised and he asked him the reason for this. Pattinathar asked him: How much
treasure have you got? One million gold coins. I have none.
How big a palace have you got?
As big as this street. How many pair of clothes have you got? One hundred pairs. See you are having all these? Are you having peace within? The king said: No. Night and day, I am afraid that enemy army will come and take over this kingdom. I have no sleep I dream of robbers plundering away my wealth. I have no peace. Pattinathar smiled and said: See I have no other cloth than what I am wearing. I have not even a copper coin with me. I sleep peacefully. The king then immediately prostrated before the saint. The saint poet laughed and said: See, Peace has more value than all that you have. This Peace in my heart can never be robbed, no enemy army will over take it. No highway robbers can plunder it. That is why, even you, the King prostrate before me! Kingdom can be attained but Peace is not that easy to attain.

S. said...

salutations to all:
(all capitals are elongated sounds - 'a' is a but 'A' is aa)

arvind: it was very nice reading your comment on the mInAkshI kovil. many among you may know that madurai is also called 'thiruAlavAy' in tamizh. as i was reading your comment on bhagavAn and mInAkshI, these lines of jnAna sambandhar from a very beautiful short padhigam (திருஆலவாய் திருவிருக்குக்குறள் - verse 2):

ஞால மேழுமாம் ஆலவாயிலார்
சீல மேசொலீர் காலன் வீடவே
jnAlam EzhumAm AlavAyilAr
sIlamE solIr kAlan vIdavE

[death flees (or freedom from the fear of death) on talking/reciting the greatness of the lord of AlavAy, the one who rules the seven worlds]

since "death" for lovers of bhagavAn is rather special, i suppose the 'link' you referred to becomes even more clear :-)))

Arvind Lal said...

Hi S.

Your knowledge of the Thirumurai Padhigams is quite amazing! Are there many more relating to Meenakshi Amman or the Lord of Alavay?

The one you have put up is really marvellous, many thanks.

Incidently, amongst the names of the Lord of Alavay are also Sundareswara and Kalyana Sundarar, all similar to “Sundaram” which is, of course, the name of Bhagavan’s father. And thus Meenakshi Amman can be said to be the form of Bhagavan’s Divine Mother!

Best wishes

Maneesha said...


"This is not meant to hurt -- but all you devotees blogging please tell me openly, when you have to live a poor rural Indian village life with some physical labour, can you still be in the same state of mind as of now with regards to devotion? "

I agree with Broken Yogi on this. Even though we live in physically comfortable environment, the challenge of controlling the mind is same. While we are in physically comfortable sorroundings, for office goers like me, who also happens to be in a stress-related jobs, like IT-services, there is a lot of stress, lot of things where mental activity seems to be needed. When you are in such environment, applying your mond for more than 10 hrs in work, 8 hrs for sleep, its nearly becomes impossible to control the thoughts or do enquiry in the rest 6 hrs of the day, which would again for the rest of the things in life.

If I divide the sadhaks in above example into 3, they would be like this:
1. One is most of the times occupied by office-related thoughts, hence not able to meditate even when away from duty, technically.
2. The one that gets used to it and after good try becomes skilled at being able to cut off those thoughts in the 6 hrs and carry out meditation/ enquiry, and meditative current when at work, what is difficult for a novice will be easy for a pro.
3. For the one who is in betweena pro and novice, will be used to environment. In the sense, he will be able to concentrate under a set of given environmental condtions - say, like environment being noiseless, and at a particular chisen spot etc. For him, external factors still matter; but if they are provided, he will be able to carry out with his sadhana.

Amongst the above 3, the first type will face same kind of problems anywhere. Instead of office related thoughts, he will be occupied with other env. related thoughts, probably. The second, who has been able to continue with his sadhana under various conditions, will be able to do the same even when outward env. changes.
However, the third one will be disturbed a lot. I would like to quote from Talks on this:
"D.: How does a grihasta (householder) fare in the scheme of moksha
M.: Why do you think you are a grihasta? If you go out as a sanyasi,
a similar thought (that you are a sanyasi) will haunt you. Whether
you continue in the household, or renounce it and go to the forest,
your mind haunts you. The ego is the source of thoughts. It creates
the body and the world and makes you think you are a grihasta. If
you renounce the world, it will only substitute the thought sanyasi
for grihasta and the environments of the forest for those of the
household. But the mental obstacles are always there. They even increase in new surroundings. There is no help in the change of
environment. The obstacle is the mind. It must be got over whether
at home or in the forest. If you can do it in the forest, why not inthe home? Therefore why change the environment? Your efforts
can be made even now, in whatever environment you may be."

He says mental obstacles increase when there is change in enviroment. As long one becomes a pro, being able to as much reject outward disturbances, one will not be able to continue with enquiry. Obstacles will always be there. One only needs to learn how to ignore them.

Clemens Vargas Ramos said...

This picture of Arunachala is really nice

Other pictures

Subramanian. R said...

Meenakshi has got the following
names, as I know, and perhaps more.

1. Meenakshi.
2. Angayal KaNNi. - means the same
3. Thatadhakai Piratti - she had
three breasts and one in the middle
disappeared, when she saw Siva.
4. Matangi - a Sakta name, she is
said to the minister of Sri Lalita
Tirupura Sundari - Kamakshi. {Any
way all are one and the same)
5. Syamala - green hued.
6. Maragata Valli - she appears green like maragatm, green sapphire.

Siva has got several names. All that I know are:

1. Sundaramurthy or Sundareswara.

2. Chokka Nathan - Chokkan in
Tamizh is golden hued.

3. Somasundaran - having crescent moon on head.

4. Alavay Azhagan - the handsome lord of Alavay - Madurai.

5. Kalyana Sundaran - He married Meenkashi and remained house bound son in law with no work!

6. IRaiyanar - means simply god. This name came when he presided over the Tamizh Sangam in Madurai. He and Muruga were the first two poets of Tamizh Sangam. He wrote the first poem in Canon XI as a letter to Pandya King to help out one poor poet by name Banapattiran.

Tiripuram Eritha viri sadai kadavulum, KungRu eRintha Kumara VeLum says one Tamizh poem. The One with a large matted hair, who burnt Tripura and the one who had pierced his javelin on the demon who stood as a hill [Muruga] were the first two poets of Tamizh Sangam in Madurai.

Maneesha said...

I again agree completely with Broken Yogi's answer on surrender and Enquiry.

I am, at many times, at awe at the close replationship - or should I say oneness of "both". At one point one just does not get "ahead" and feel so helpless in not being to know the "obvious", not able to know oneself even thoguh one is there, one realises that he has to bow, has to depend on Him to know the Truth that its not in one's ability and hence He alone can reveal His nature... One has to feel as desperate, as helpless and as trusting in Him as Draupadi did as they tried to remove her saree in public. Only then one will have answer.

Wherever one is, one is in Arunachala. As David's article says, if one's ego is not humbled at Arunachala, where else can it get humbled?!!

@Sankar Ganesh,
Thanks for the article/story.

S. said...

salutations to all:
(capital E is 'ey', I is 'ee')

arvind: my awareness of the tEvAra padhikangaL is less than 1 basis point (1 bp is 0.01% in finance) hahahahaha

though only in tamizh, here is a link to all the tEvAram songs sung at thiruAlavAy (madurai)
all the songs are 'downloadable' and have been sung by 'Odhuvars' in a traditionally melodious way. even those who may not know tamizh can appreciate these beautiful compositions that almost always may have moved bhagavAn to tears :-)

also, for those who may be interested, the 'entire' tEvAram (all 12 thirumurai) comprising of tens of thousands of verses have been rendered by sri dharmapuram svAminAthan (a good music store at chennai or madras should have it). it's indeed a work of a lifetime!

David Godman said...

Arvind (and anyone else who is interested)

There is a Jnanasambandhar padikam about the Lord of Alavay that Bhagavan was particularly fond of. In Day by Day with Bhagavan (21st March 1946 morning) Bhagavan gave the background to the composition:

Bhagavan explained, ‘The Madura king Pandyan was inclined towards Jainism. His wife was the daughter of the Chola king and was attached to Saivism. When she heard of the great saint Jnanasambandhar and his doings and of his camping at Vedaranyam, the Pandyan queen, with the help of a minister who was also attached to Saivism, sent an invitation to the saint to visit Madura and convert the Pandya to Saivism. The saint came accordingly. But when the queen saw that he was a mere boy of about ten or even less, she had serious misgivings whether he could be a match for all the big Jain leaders surrounding the king and whether by inviting this child she had put him in jeopardy. When the saint noticed this, he sang these songs, addressed to the queen and assuring her, ‘I am not in any way inferior to these Jains. The Lord is within me. Don’t therefore, be afraid.’

‘The songs which follow mention the names of Jain leaders, referring to them in contempt and stating, ‘I am not inferior to all these as the Lord is within me.’ It is amusing to read those songs.’

Bhagavan added, ‘This was after the saint came to Madurai. When the invitation reached Vedaranyam and Jnanasambandhar wanted to start for Madura, Appar (Tirunavukkarasar) who was with Sambandhar said, ‘Do not start today. The day is not auspicious for you. They, the Jains, are terrible and powerful persons.’ Thereupon Jnanasambandhar sang the Kolaru Padhikam in which again he says ‘As the Lord is within me in my Heart, no days, no planets, can affect me adversely and every day of the week is equally auspicious.’

David Godman said...

(Continued 1)

This is the verse Bhagavan was referring to in the last paragraph of the previous post:

He shares his form with the goddess
whose shoulders curve gracefully like the bamboo.
He holds the ocean’s poison in his throat,
He plays the lute.
wearing the bright moon and the Ganga
on his crown of matted hair,
He has entered my heart and abides there.
So let my star be the sun or the moon,
Mars or Mercury or Jupiter,
let it be Venus or Saturn or the two snakes!
All the planets and stars are good stars for us,
all bring good luck to Siva’s devotees. (Tirumurai 2.85.1)

All the translations in this series of posts were done a few years ago by T. V. Venkatasubramanian, Robert Butler and myself.

These are the verses (Tirumurai 3.39) in which Jnanasambandhar sang that ‘Alavay’s Lord’ would inspire him to speak and defeat the Jains. We added the ‘within me’ to the verses because of comments Bhagavan himself gave. I will give them at the end of the verses. I have added some notes between the verses.

Listen, doe-eyed lady,
Great queen of the Pandyan king,
do not feel anxious,
thinking: ‘Here is a boy, barely weaned!’
Because holy Alavay’s Lord is [within me],
I am in no way inferior
to those degenerate ones,
who dwell on Elephant and other hills,
and practise bodily mortification pointlessly!

[The phrase ‘barely weaned’ may also mean ‘one whose mouth smells of milk’. Jnanasambandhar attained enlightenment after being suckled by Parvati when he was only three years old.]

With holy Alavay’s Lord [within me]
I am in no way inferior
to those filthy Jain monks,
who loudly declaim in the Prakrit tongue,
corrupting the pure Sanskrit
of the Agamas and Vedic mantras,
who wander about like great angry elephants,
and eat standing up, embarrassing the populace.

[The Prakrit tongues are the vernacular languages that are derived from Sanskrit.]

David Godman said...

(Continued 2)

Claiming that such and such a thing
both exists and does not exist,
they utter absurdities fit to terrify
those who stand by and listen.
They will lose the debate
and be destroyed by
the sword of my verses.
Their nakedness shames the populace.
With holy Alavay’s Lord [within me]
I am in no way inferior
to those Jains with their fanciful notions.

[This verse contains an attack on the Jain doctrine of ‘syad asti nasti’: a thing may or may not exist at the same time.]

With holy Alavay’s Lord [within me]
I am in no way inferior
to those blind fools with names like
Chandusena, Indusena, Dharmasena,
dark Kandusena and Kanakasena,
who roam about like apes,
not knowing the benefit of either pure Tamil
or the Aryan [Sanskrit] tongue.

[In My Recollections of Bhagavan Sri Ramana, pp. 53-4 Devaraja Mudaliar reported that Bhagavan burst out laughing when he read this list of made-up Jain names. There are more made-up names in the next-but-one verse.]

Like a congregation of parrots,
they recite rounds of verse,
proclaiming that the truth lies
in the edifice of noise
they create with their words.
Presenting themselves as performers
of good deeds to the outside world,
they are cheats who steal everything
that comes their way.
With holy Alavay’s Lord [within me]
I am in no way inferior
to these whose freakish behaviour
lacks any shred of humanity.

David Godman said...

(Continued 3)

These names they take:
Kanakanandi, Pushpanandi
Kunakanandi, Tivanandi.
Countless Nandis!
With holy Alavay’s Lord [within me]
I am in no way inferior
to those Jain monks
who, forswearing liquor,
essay to turn their debased plight
into austerities’ might.

With holy Alavay’s Lord [within me]
I am in no way inferior
to those who are adepts of these religions,
to those who wander around
proclaiming these Jain doctrines,
saying, ‘We have no attributes or relations,’
uttering many secret formulas,
not blameless in their conduct,
but observing unrighteous ways,
and for the Buddhists who go about
proclaiming: ‘This is the doctrine of our religion.’

They do not worship Him
whose body shines like fire,
destroyer of the arrogance of Ravana
who thought: ‘There is no one to oppose me
more powerful than myself.’
Instead, they practise false austerities,
taking up the water pot and peacock fan,
wrapping themselves in mats, and quaking,
as they walk in single file,
taking these to be holy disciplines.
With holy Alavay’s Lord [within me]
I am in no way inferior [to these Jains].

[The peacock fan is for brushing the ground the Jains are about to walk on so they don’t squash any insects. They are quaking because they are worried about treading on stray insects by mistake, and they walk in single file to minimize the damage to insect life.]

David Godman said...

(Continued 4)

The feet of the merit-bestowing Lord,
that lay beyond the understanding
of Vishnu and lotus-seated [Brahma] both,
they worship not at all.
They pluck out the hair from their heads,
suffering the pangs of the dying,
torturing their bodies through these false austerities.
With holy Alavay’s Lord [within me]
I am in no way inferior to these Jains
who pour dust over the bodies,
and whose mouths are like dirty pools.

[Some extreme sects of Jains don’t wash or clean their teeth so they have dust on their bodies and dirty mouths. They don’t ‘pour dust over’ themselves; they are simply dirty from not bathing.

The ninth verse of all Jnanasambandhar padikams always contains a reference to the story in which Brahma and Vishnu were unable to locate the ends of the column of light that later condensed into Arunachala.]

For these Jains, as for the Buddhists,
the lotus-red feet of our Lord
are impossible to attain.
Forswearing to worship Him,
they practise false austerities
that are replete with suffering.
Abandoning the lofty path
of the Vedas and Agamas,
they revile the wise and learned.
With holy Alavay’s Lord [within me]
I am in no way inferior
to those wicked abusers.

David Godman said...

(Continued 5)

There will be no suffering
for those who recite these ten verses,
harmoniously composed
by the Lord of the fair Tamil tongue,
Jnanasambandhar, Prince of Pukali,
before the Southern Pandyan King,
as he lay supine on his bed,
[in which he, Jnanasambandhar, proclaims:]
‘With the fair Lord of holy Alavay
dwelling within me,
I am in no way inferior
to those deceitful and arrogant Jains!’

I promised an explanation of the ‘within me’ interpolation. The final verse has ‘within me’ in the text; the earlier verses do not. In Day by Day with Bhagavan, 21st March 1946 morning, Bhagavan remarked:

‘When I explained the first stanza in the morning I gave the meaning as ‘Because the Lord is within me’ though the words only mean ‘Because there is the Lord’. I was wondering whether I was justified in my interpretation. I find in the last stanza it is clearly mentioned by the saint himself that what he meant was ‘Because the Lord was within me’.

Bhagavan’s conclusion that this was the correct interpretation for all the verses was repeated in My Recollections of Bhagavan Sri Ramana, pp. 53-4:

‘Why was Sambandar so bold and so fearless? Only because as he says in the last line of each stanza, God was within him.’

Ravi said...

Apropos your trip to Tiruvannamalai on a blessed rickety bus that inspired a reality check-that left you wondering whether devotion ,sadhana are at all sustainable when put to test under trying circumstances.
I refer you to the chapters in 'The autobiography of a Yogi':
Chapter 11-Two penniless Boys in Brindavan and Chapter 22-The Heart of a stone image.You can read them here:

It is indeed useful to do some reality check,rather than just assume things.Master Mahasaya,the disciple of Sri Ramakrishna used to go and sleep among the beggars of calcutta ,once a while.

"And so, after the passing away of our master, when most of the other disciples voluntarily renounced the world, adopted the yellow robe, and trained themselves to spread Rama- krishna's message through India, I did not give up my profession but carried on with my work in education. Nevertheless, such was my determination not to be of the world although I was in it, that on some nights I would retire at dead of night to the open veranda before the Senate House and sleep among the homeless beggars of the city, who usually collected there to spend the night. This used to make me feel, temporarily at least, that I was a man with no possessions."-Master Mahasaya(An excerpt from Paul Brunton's 'A Search in Secret India).
You have asked an earnest question-"This is not meant to hurt -- but all you devotees blogging please tell me openly, when you have to live a poor rural Indian village life with some physical labour, can you still be in the same state of mind as of now with regards to devotion?"

The answer to this is 'yes'.

The key thing is to develop a taste for Bhakti,Jnana,Viveka and vairagya.Here is what Master Mahasya tells Paul Brunton:
"I wonder what Ramakrishna would say to a man who cannot live by faith alone, who must satisfy reason and intellect?" I murmur questioningly.
"He would tell the man to pray. Prayer is a tremendous force. Ramakrishna himself prayed to God to send him spiritually inclined people, and soon after that those who later became his disciples or devotees began to appear."
"But if one has never prayed - what then?" "Prayer is the last resort. It is the ultimate resource left to man. Prayer will help a man where the intellect may fail." "But if someone came to you and said that prayer did not appeal to his temperament. What counsel would you give him?" I persist gently.
" Then let him associate frequently with truly holy men who have had real spiritual experience. Constant contact with them will assist him to bring out his latent spirituality. Higher men turn our minds and wills towards divine objects. Above all, they stimulate an intense longing for the spiritual life. Therefore, the society of such men is very important as the first step, and often it is also the last, as Ramakrishna himself used to say."
Thus we discourse of things high and holy, and how man can find no peace save in the Eternal Good. "
Wish you the very best.

Losing M. Mind said...

"May I request if you could share Nome's teachings on the difference between Surrender to God, and Surrender to Circumstance, or to the World?
I would me very much interested to hear, thank you."

One thing about being here, is I feel very hesitant to paraphrase the teachings of an actual jnani. (because they emanated from the Self, Parabrahman, not a mind, or intellectual understanding) But I can share what I took of it, which may not be an accurate take on such teachings.
What I got from it, was that surrendering to circumstances or giving up, is not true surrender. Surrender is to God. Even though he didn't express this, I felt it was the difference between dilligently fulfilling the will of the Lord, and indolence or sloth. I do remember him saying something along the lines of, that we do not know what our destiny actually is. So surrendering to what we think our destiny is, is not Surrender. If you want the actual discourse, you could go to the site, and go to the Store, and find CD's of Ramana Darshanam, where Nome discusses Talks, or even write Nome at, and ask if you could buy the CD from last Friday, one week ago. That was when he discussed it. It was part of him explaining dialogues from Talks with Ramana Maharshi.

Losing M. Mind said...

This is a really good vid of Nome discussing Ribhu Gita! from his and Ramamoorthy's translation.

Ravi said...

How did sri bhagavan come to read the periya puranam?Here is an excerpt from Sri Ramana leela:
ONE or two months later Venkataraman chanced upon Periapuranam borrowed by Subbu Iyer from some one. The epic was authored in the following circumstances.

The ruler of the Chola territory, Anapaya Chola was a Jain and a tormentor of Saivites. One of those thus tormented was the poet Sekkizhar. "Did not Tirunavukkarasar (Appar) give away in charity all his patrimony and take to Jainism? Did he not reconvert to Saivism due to the ministrations of his sister? Why did not some such thing happen to the king? This is Siva's territory and there are twelve kshetras, six kumarasthanas, five lingas each of an element and 1008 Sivasthanas. The great Nayanmars devoted their entire lives to the praise of Siva, they revelled in the very thought of the magnificent form of Siva, they looked upon themselves as just specks of dust at the feet of Siva and extolling Siva, sang songs which gave great joy to the common populace. Won't this king get converted on hearing the stories of these devotees? I shall enshrine them in a book," thought Sekkizhar and took up the work. But alas, no word came out of him. He wept bitterly and prayed to Siva in utter helplessness. Siva himself spelt out the first word — thereafter Sekkizhar's devotion poured out, as Siva's grace, and resulted in Periapuranam. The poet recited this to the Chola king in the presence of Nataraja and was blessed.

The first religious text that Venkataraman read was Periapuranam. It was as if he entered a new world altogether. The more he read the greater was his thirst. The Lord of Time was the monarch therein hence there was no fear of time. The subjects were all contented devotees of Siva. Devotion, love, peace, and bliss flooded all over as knowledge of Siva himself.

As he was progressing, Venkataraman's devotion and reverence for the devotees was increasing — he grieved at their travails and rejoiced in their triumphs. Venkataraman felt that Siva was glancing at him also just as he beheld the devotees. On completion of the book his emotional upsurge vanished, Venkataraman became his usual self. He seemed to have forgotten all those devotees and had given up all thought of following them.

Venkataraman's life was flowing like a deep unruffled stream — of course, there were occasional whirlpools. He was very sensitive and could bear no rebuke. When he was young, Sundaram Iyer reprimanded him once at Tiruchuzhi. The boy was deeply hurt. He did not turn up at mealtime. A prolonged search ensued. He was found in the Sahayamba shrine -- possibly, he went there seeking the comfort of the Mother's lap. Such incidents did occur."
Arvind has beautifully underscored how the Grace of Divine Mother was bestowed on Venkatraman.Sri Bhagavan retiring to sahayamba shrine is not without significance.As a child also venkatraman drank abundantly from his mother's breast milk.Not just this," He seldom spoke or quarrelled. There was a close relative, Meenakshi of his age. He would not suckle his mother's breast if Meenakshi did not also suckle milk; he was so indifferent about his feeding. He had a sweet and gentle smile but behind it was a determined nature."

From time to time,I come across comments that Sri bhagavan had given no indication of any inclination towards spiritual Living before the 'death experience'.This is not correct.

hey jude said...

Byron Katie: The Inquiry
1. Is it true?
2. Can you absolutely know that it's true?
3. How do you react when you think that thought?
4. Who or what would you be without the thought?
The above is interesting but seems to be a psychological formula to follow.
Shankaracharya's teaching is different. Man must rise from the plane of finiteness to the plane of infinity. Why? With what object? To go beyond sorrow.

Subramanian. R said...

David's verse in English comes under
KoLaRu Padigam, the decad that will
snap the evil propensities of the nine planets [moon's node and antinode included]. The decad is
considered propitious for daily singing for overcoming the evil
propensities of planets, if one
believes in astrology.
Saiva Siddhantam always considered
Siva-Sakti, as concorporate, single
tattvam which is the Self or Atman.
Saint Jnana Sambandhar starts his first song as Thodudaiya Chevian,
the one with the ear-stud in his ears. The thodu is the female ear ornament. By calling Siva so, he
obliquely refers to Siva as well
as Sakti, the Ardhanari, half woman and half man. This is also
the Arunachala Tattvam. Sakti got her share in Siva's body, by praying to him, in Tiruvannamalai, from Gautama Maharshi's Asramam.
Pagam PeN uru Aanai Potri, says
Saint Manikkavachagar in Tiruvachakam.

Subramanian. R said...

For those who want to have books
and do not want to access the computer and strain their eyes, I
recommend to buy the 8-volume [only
original verses] of 12 Saiva
Canons from the following address,
at an unbelievably low cost of
Rs 300 plus courier charges:

Siva Bhaktavatchalam,
43 Sannidhi Street,
Nallur Pettai
Gudiyatham 632 602
Tamizh Nadu.
Ph: 04171-222946

The gentleman is publishing this
with donations from well wishers
at the cost price. Two editions
have come.

As far understanding, Tiru MuRais,
ie. Tevaram, Tiruvachakam, Tiru Kovaiyar and other verses and also
Periya Puranam, one can do it so, only with fully knowing the Tamizh grammar and poetics. Even for them, Tirumandiram [Book X] and
Tiru Kovaiyar [Book VIII Part II] will be a tough nut to crack.

Subramanian. R said...

Only for Tirumandiram [Book X by
Tirumoolar, 3000 verses], which
deals with bhakti, yoga and jnana,
and karma, there is a good English
Versifcation by one B. Natarajan.
This was published by Sri Ramakrishna Math, Chennai. Only
one edition has come. This was
again subsidised and sponsored by
one N. Mahalingam, Industrialist,
Coimbatore. The price was Rs. 100/-

Arvind Lal said...

Hi David,

Many thanks for the absolutely marvellous padhigams and for taking the trouble to add the explanatory comments accompanying. Really enjoyed going through it all.

Interesting the sarcasm directed at the Jain names and Bhagavan’s laughing out loud at them. In the verse the names are probably symbolic of the seemingly pious accoutrements that we put on to show to the world, whilst our true character & nature is quite the opposite. So “Dharmasena” translated as “the army of Dharma”, represents a character who does everything contrary to true Dharma.

And particularly the sarcasm towards the “Nandis”.

Kanakanandi, Pushpanandi
Kunakanandi, Tivanandi.
Countless Nandis!

For those who may not be familiar with Indian mythic symbology, Nandi, otherwise the vahana of Lord Siva, is always symbolic of the bull-headed intransigent mind which refuses to extract itself from the world & its pleasures.

(Thus Nandi is shown gazing unblinkingly at the Siva-Lingam in Temples, a gentle reminder to all that, similarly, we have to focus our minds not on the world behind, but on the Siva-Lingam ahead, or the “I” within).

So Thirujnanasambandhar is essentially saying that their minds are focused on gold (Kanakanandi), rather than meaning the obvious “Nandi made of gold”; or that their minds are dwelling on flowers or beauteous things of the world (Pushpanandi), rather than the superficial “Nandi of flowers”; and so on.

Some subtle humor, then, is aesthetically woven into the verses!

Thanks too S. for the references to the Tirumurai songs and Subramanian for the names of the Lord & Mother Meenakshi.

Best wishes

Ravi said...

hey jude,
I am unable to understand the comparison between Sri Sankara's teachings and Byron katie's inquiry that you have referred.I just found this link:
Yes, you are right this is a typical psychiatrist's questionnaire.
This is like trying to reason out a child into giving up its tantrums for another chocolate bar.(when did you have the last chocolate?How many do you think you have eaten?How many more you would like to eat?Do you feel satiated?See if you can forget the chocolate,etc,etc)
The spiritual approach is to take the child out to play-and the child will forget the chocolate in toto.

Subramanian. R said...

Like Nandi is the common surname for Jains, Nambi is the commmon surname for ancient Saivites. Periyazhwar takes a dig at this Nambi, when he says: Do not name your son as Nambi and Pimbi. Name him as Narana or Narayana. This name Nambi Pimbi etc., will not come to your help when you die. When you call Narayana, then Narayana will come to your help. Nambi Andar Nambi is one such Saivite name.

But the comedy is one of Periyazhwar's disciples was Tiru
Kachi Nambi. Nambi only means a gentleman.

Tiru Navukkarasar was named
Dharmasena by Jains when he was in that religion.

Subramanian. R said...

Nevertheless, AndaL, the foster daughter of Periyazhwar calls Krishna
as Naranan Nambi in her song Varanam
Aayiram.... Naranan Nambi azhaikingran....

Subramanian. R said...

Here is one hard nut from Tirumandiram: [Tantra IV - v. 940]

MaRaiyavanaga mathitha piRavi
MaRaiyavanaga maththitak kaaNbar
MaRaiyavan anjezhutuL niRka petRa
MaRaiyavan anjezhuthaamathu vaahume.


He, the Lord of Vedas, gave us this birth,
That we might the Lord of Vedas
The Lord of Vedas stood within Letters-Five;
The Lord of Vedas is Himself Letter-Five.

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