A prey fallen into the claws of a tiger has no escape. A person come into the circle of Grace of a Sage is as sure to be saved as the prey which has no escape.
An express train had an unscheduled stop at a wayside station. A passenger on the platform was about to get in. The station master ran up to him and told him the train does not stop there. The passenger replied he is not getting in and then got in. Ramana never says he is a Guru and claims none as his chela, disciple. However, like the wise passenger, there were many who had accepted him as their Guru and they knew he had accepted them as his disciples. That secret understanding was there all along and holds good even today. Now, I look at him as my Guru and my hope and wish is he knows it. I have no qualification nor recommendation to deserve the honour except I have devotion to Him and that qualification is worth more than any other I feel.
Before proceeding further, it may recorded here that in the cases of Sages Who have transcended time, only present tense can be used. No past and no future tense.
Now how did I get into the claws of Ramana? Simple. Learned or illiterate, man or woman, human or animal and whosoever got into the boat, he willingly and gladly rowed across. No Japa, no Tapas, no Saadhanaa. I was drawn into the claws . And what a surprise. It was not the harsh tiger’s claw but that of a cat with nails withdrawn. I felt like a kitten, like a baby in mother’s arms. And what an assurance-Repeat God’s Name once and it will be added to your credit. Most insignificant effort is not lost.
Simple and transparent. He joins in the singing of Ramana Satguru. Devotees may feel amused, a person singing his own praise. He does not feel the burden of the body and a name is for the body. Double mirage. Mind you, he is not just a Satguru, he is THE Satguru.
A song in his heart and a smile on his face, he simply charms you. Simplicity in appearance. The only concession to the body is a loin cloth. Peaceful and graceful day in and day out, gaiety and twinkle in the eyes draw you to him. Sweetness and softness in speech, tenderness of touch take you in without your knowledge, so to say. His speech is clear, bereft of pedantic show, to the point, precise and sinks in without any effort on our part.
We are all an open book to him. He being within us knows us better than what we think we know of ourselves. And he is an open book too to all who would seek and see. Available 24/7, to borrow an American expression. 24 hours of the day and seven days of a week. And for months and years.
There is no dearth of miracles in his presence and miracles in his name. But he is unconcerned. When devotees report he would listen in wonder and tell others. He does not lay any claim but give all credit to the faith of the beneficiary. Cares a rap for Siddhis. In the Ashram you have a miracle on a pedestal, Lakshmi , the cow. Sant Jnaneshwar made a buffalo recite Vedas. Shree Ramakrushna made a buffalo of a man, illiterate Latu, explain the Vedas. And here a cow attained Mukti! Lakshmi is The Miracle.
In the Geetaa, the Lord declared- ye yathaa maam prapadyante, tansthathaive bhajaamyaham. Whichever way a devotee approaches me, I receive him to meet his faith. All are welcome in the Ramana fold. No force to change path. Each encouraged in his own path, in his own religion. Ruju maarga was indicated as a better way. No compulsion. Pure and simple Geetaa message. Naturally, because Ramana is the same Lord Who propounded Geetaa in the past.
New light is shed on all truths. Surrender actually means acceptance. You receive with open palms; everything is Prasad, sweet or ashes. Unconditional acceptance. You offer but never forget you only pinch a little of jaggery from Him to offer back to Him.
Doing your job well is true Namaskar, Ramana says. Duty and worship are not in two different water-tight compartments. See one in another, namely duty in worship and worship in duty. The motto of my college is – Work is Worship. Ramana has just changed it into– Work AS Worship.
You cannot see Him. Because of Him you see everything else. Difficult to understand this Upanishadic statement. I shall give divine sight to look at Me, the Lord says in Geetha. Undertstand a little. Purandaradaasa goes even simpler. What use are these eyes if you cannot see Him? It is clear now that purpose in life is to see God, but eyes cannot see Him. Ramana says eyes are useless as they cannot see God. They are useless. So, Ramana asks what good , of what use is from whatever that is seen by these eyes? Get detached from what is seen by the eyes and open the Real eyes of your mind.
Sin is in religion and not in spirituality. ( Christianity is stressing on sin and as such not really spiritual in approach!) Even sex is not a sin. Ask any animal. Man has made it sinful. It is God’s way for propagation and has to be wisely understood and practiced.
Ramana talks on essentials of scriptures, goes to the core and formulates practical methods from abstract principles. Vivifies, invigorates and energises you to push ahead. His masterly insight leaves you in no doubt. No intellectual peroration either to impress you or confuse you. In earlier days on the hill only recitation was enough to raise devotees to heights of spiritual wisdom! No dry discussions.
If God is brighter than a thousands suns how to see Him? Even one sun we cannot look full face. Ramana explains there is actually no seeing of God. Be God. To be aware of God is being God . Awareness is seeing, hearing and all other modes of remaining one with Him. Even in pitch darkness you are aware of yourself. Eyes and light do not come in.
Eye-witness is given top place. So we have Seers in the past: the present are not revealing themselves. They were aware ! Actually they were awareness personified.
Aham Brahmaasmi means “I”exists as Brahman. Ramana makes it clear- I am Brahman. But I cannot identify myself with my name Shrinivasa and say Shrinivasa is Brahman. Ramana says RAMANA is Brahman but he says he is not Brahman. That is how he joins in singing praise of Ramana. Ramana makes a clear distinction between Ramana and RAMANA. Ramana does not identifies himself with RAMANA.Of course he does not call himself Ramana either. Transcends form and name. For us, the devotees, Ramana and RAMANA are ABHEDA, Adwiteeya. Undifferentiated. Inseparable. Milk and whiteness. Water and coolness.
If you do not take to wings on pleasures , which come your way, then calamities will not pull you down when they befall you. Touch not both with the toes of your feet. Remain pure and happy.
Heaven is no more real than this blessed earth. Under Maya , we think that wakeful experience is real as compared to dreams, Life in heaven or hell appears more real compared to wakeful experience but a dream all the same. When the sun of jnaana rises all melt away- dream, earth, heaven and health. Even Gods in heaven and demons in hell will disappear, rather vanish in a trice.
Our limited mind confined to the identity of a physical body limits our vision. Get out of this body and see everything as within you as Existence Unlimited. I, the Infinite Eye,has nothing to see as nothing exists beyond It. I , as one human, can see you as another human but shorn of bodily sheath I cannot see you. But I am aware of your existence as one with you! Tattvamasi. Heaven, hell and this universe are very much in you. Where do you want to go where you are already not present?
All worldly knowledge, all worldly activities are illusionary. Self-knowledge is real. All saadhanaa to realise Self is real.
We can go to heaven earning enough punya. But heaven comes to Sages’ Ashramam. Gods, seen or unseen, stand to receive and obey a Sage’s orders.
Youth and beauty vanish. Love and friendship vanish.Life and death vanish. Name and fame vanish. Even the mighty Himalayas will be dust some day. Only virtue is indestructible. Purity is indestructible. Truth is indestructible. Hold on to TRUTH and become immortal yourself. Living a life of purity, practicing all virtues, hold on to Truth. Anubhooti, Self-realisation. Be brave. Be lion-hearted. You are a lion-soul, an Amruta-putra!
God has given you eyes. See but no force behind it: detachment. Hear with detachment. Tena tyaktena bhujeethah- Renounce and rejoice.
TAKE IT OR LEAVE IT. CHOICE IS YOURS
Ramana is SADGURU. Guru to disciples. Teacher to students. Guide to seekers and saadhakaas. Father and mother to devotees. And GOD to some. Playmates to the innocent children. A member of their groups for dogs, monkeys and other animals. Her own mother to Lakshmi. He met each at his own level.
He is Sowmya. He looks all as Sowmya like the sages who gave us Upanishads. Sweet voice. Tender words. Enchanting. What is missing is force. Table is laid full. You pick your choice.
A devotee asked: Does Bhagavan condemn Dwaita philosophy? Bhagavan replied- Dwaita can subsist only when you identify the Self with the non-self. Adwaita is non-identification. Condemnation is too severe a word that can be hurled at our Sage. Blasphemy! Unmindful of the wrong usage of the word, he quietly defined the duo of Dwaita and Adwaita and left it to the questioner to take his choice.He does not talk bad of others but he shows you the right approach. A person who had not many well-wishers in the Ashram died. Many had broad smiles on their faces. So all were awaiting Ramana’s reaction. When informed of the death, he said- One thing you must say of him. He always wore spotless clean clothes!
Why should one do Atmavichara?, he was asked. The reply was prompt delivered in calm tones- Lest you go on with Lokavichara! When a car is running at high speed, changing direction is dangerous. He is very patient and makes minimum changes so that the car moves smoothly towards recommended course.
No haste in change. Drop a pebble and let the waves grow bigger in due time and course. No hurrying of the pace. If a youth returned not fully convinced of his teaching, Ramana will say. The seed is sown. It will sprout in its own time. He did not expect instantaneous results and claim credit thereof!
A foreigner wanted to covert himself as a Hindu and approached Shankaraachaarya of Shrungeri. Your God is above the God of Bible, he said. Shankarachaarya advised him that our God in His wisdom hsads given him birth in a Christian family and expects him to approach HIM through Jesus. Thus conversion is not called for. Ramana never recommends conversion. He enables each to understand the religion he is born in and guides him by correct interpretations of his scriptures. A Christians returned a better Christian and a Muslim a better Muslim. An Engliushman settled in Rasamanashramam, but at his death bed Jesus came to take him to heaven.
Ramana never criticized nor questioned other religions or their leaders. He always defended them giving correct explanations to their scriptures and sayings of their leaders that appeared controversial or defective. He took pains to establish Buddha as a great believer in God , when the latter was accused as a Nihilist.
Apreciation,assimilation and acceptance -that is The Ramana Way.
He asks you to see God in all. Since you are included in that all you are also God. Being God yourself, why wonder if everybody is God?
God seen in a vision disappears. He is not the real eternal God, the GOD. Transcend God; merge with GOD.
Seeking self-realisation is no selfishness. It is the best help a person can render to brethren. Not that after realisation he is free from all miseries. He takes on all miseries of all as his own. That no selfishness.
Since all roads lead to God, he encourages all in their respective journeys. He may point out the direct road but would not shake his belief in his road. Energetic man may climb the steep steps. A weak man may take a bus. Both reach the feet of the Lord at Tirumala. Forcing a weak man up the steps, he may miss reaching the top. Forcing an energetic man into the bus may mean he will miss the bus as his mind will be restless if confined to a cage of a bus. Yoto moth toto poth- as many religions are there, so many paths will be there. That is Shree Ramakrushna. Ramana says there is no universal path. As many saadhakas are there, so many paths. He is guide to each in his own path. A dog follows its nose, smell is its strong point.
Pure consciousness is Awareness. Transcendental. Not in the realm of senses and their limited grasp. Know it in the depths of silence. Restless mind makes for effervescence. No substance there.
Peace of being with oneself is blissful and not to be measured in terms of money or any material possessions. Seek the peaceful Sage and savour it. No gain is more worthy. No gain is more lasting. No gain is more rewarding.
An Avataara is God descended on earth with a mission,say, to slay a Hiranyakashipu or a Ravana; to uphold Dharma and deliver the Sacred Message of Geetaa. A jnaani is God in human garb come with no specific purpose. He may set up educational institutions and medical facilities. He may remain secluded in deep forests and in a cave in the high mountains. Bothways it is for Janakalyaana, Lokakalyaana, bahujanahitaaya, bahujanasukhaaya. His very body is a vibrant temple propagating peace and bliss. That is why his body is not consigned to the flames but entombed. For centuries is remains a storehouse of energy and blesses people who seek its shelter.
A Jnaani is a stage even above an Avataara. In one of his unguarded moments Ramana made this rare revelation to a devotee. He had at once asked him not to go publishing it. However we have it in the Geetaa- Jnaanee tvaatmaiva , A Jnaaani is indeed Atmaa! Elsewhere the Lord has said a Bhakta is very dear to Him. But a Jnaani is not a separate identity. ,He is Atmaa , non-different.
His is the ever wakeful State, because he is Awake to the Self; his is the ever dreaming State, because to him the world is no better than a repeatedly presented phenomenon of dream; his is the ever-sleeping State , because he is at all times without the ‘ body-I-am’ sense. He is turiyaateeta. Transcending the fourth state beyond these three.
Jnaane mounam-Silence, golden silence , with knowledge supreme. This the first of the great virtues of Raghukula enumerated by Kaalidaasa. Tumbida koda tulukuvudillaa. A full pitcher does not make noise. The half-baked scholars make all noise and no impact. Read half a chapter of Geetaa and he is ready to find a sponsor to send him to USA and mint dollars. Simultaneously with the great Awakening, Ramana became repository of all knowledge. He began reading scriptures later and found the books only stated what he already knew and had experienced.His life and his talks are illuminating but his real teaching was in silence. Mouna is the state when you transcend speech and thought. He says–Silence is ever-speaking; it is perennial flow of ’language.’ It is interrupted by speaking, for words obstruct this mute language. By Silence eloquence, unceasing eloquence ,is meant. Language is for commutating of thoughts. In the absence of duality, language has no place.
“ Eli! Eli! Laamaa sabaktaani!”, cried Jesus in pain up on the cross. Shree Ramakrushna and Ramana Maharshi bore their crosses for not a day or a week, but for months. Cancer is more painful than the nails on the cross. Put your fingers in the door-frame and bang the door on the fingers. Cancer gives pain of this magnitude and is repeated every moment until the person dies. Ramakrushna cried in pain to his Mother. Ramana bore the cancer in silence and peace. To a devotee he explained it is like sitting on a live volcano! Taanstitikshaswha Bhaarata- bear it in silence. Pains, miseries come and go, brave them, Arjuna was told on the battlefield. Ramana lived every single virtue extolled by the Lord in the Geetaa.Geetaa was fully proved and authenticated by the Maharshi.
Shree Krushna staked His Brahmacharya to resurrect the baby in Uttara’s womb. And He had wives by the thousands. Sage Vyasa came to the banks of Yamunaa. The boatman had not come. A few milk-maids came. Waiting, Vyasa felt hungry and the maids obliged by feeding him in plenty. Still no sight of the boatman. If I had not eaten anything, let the river part and give us way to cross over. The river parted and all crossed over. Ramana says the Jesus would not have been aware of His bodily identity when He performed all the miracles. A Jnani is not a physical body. Ramana passed over miracles showing least interest in them except as to show up the faith of the devotees who caused the miracles to happen; yes, they happen as a matter of course when faith invokes the Divine to intercede and help. Seetaa staked Her Paativratya to come safe out of the fire. She again staked Her Paativratya and enetered Her mother’s womb rather than return to husband and home. She had a mission to come out of the fire and later when Her mission was over She had no attachment to stay back. A Jnaani that Mother Seetaa was!
To be truthful and honest, modern man must accept the statement-I cannot help breathing – as nearer to truth than the false assertive statement that he breathes. All actions are forced on him by nature!
Eating, sleeping,walking, running etc, etc I does none of these. I remains pure and untouched. That is drum-beat of Geetaa. The most advanced man cannot say he breathes because Science by which he swears has put breathing under involuntary actions. If I does not breathe WHO breathes for I? Look into Kenopanishad. Ramana says- A lotus blooms under sun-shine. Sun does not shine to make lotus bud bloom. Nor can it bloom by itself without sunlight. I does nothing; because of I everything gets done.
Jnaana is beyond reach of senses. Surrender your senses to a Jnaani , to RAMANA if you choose. Ramana will join you in praising RAMANA!
WHO IS RAMANA?
A male child was born to Alagammbal , wife of Sundaram Iyer ,in December , 1879. Named Venkatraman. At the age of 17, he turned transformed into an enlightened personality, rather lost his identity as Venkatraman. He left home and settled at his Father’s abode. Devotees gathered round him. One devotee shortened his name to Ramana with all love and regards and called him Bahagavan and gave an honorific title of Maharshi. We shall try to see who this Ramana is after all. The identity lost to him was the bodily presence and he had simultaneously become one with Universal Being.
An Englishman saw him as a colossal figure. An European lady saw him as a little baby. Some saw Shiva Himself in him. Some saw him disappear from vision altogether. So we start with the question as who Ramana is. And Ganapati Muni called him Subramanya.
God is a creation of man. This is what non-believers say deriding the blind faith of the gullible believers. The Unmanifest God is not created but the Manifest God is a creation, sometimes God’s own volition but mostly creation of devotees. The Unmanifest God permits man to mould HIM in the garb he imagines and in a form pleasing to him. Visions we have is our own mental creation and seen only by us and as such not the TRUE form of God. Let us believe we humans can create God. Actually it is the God residing in our hearts going with your mind in this mini-creation, so to say. God with a form and a name to go with it is very much man’s creation. To that extent the opening statement is correct although the non-believers would not understand it.
Ramana says it is not that God is high up in the heavens and rushes down every time His help is called for. And how many directions can be run simultaneously to heed to appeals from all over His creation. He is present in every atom of His creation and a devotee has only to surrender and He appears then and there. No supersonic travel is involved.
Reality of Vaikunta , Kailash and other abodes of Gods is as good as the reality you give to your world wherein you live. On the TV you see a picture superimposed on the main picture. The new does not prevent you seeing the main picture. A Japa-siddha or Mantra-siddha person sees the objects of his japa/mantra superimposed on the world which we all see.
Koran talks of seven heavens. Gods in Vaikunta, Kailash and seven heavens are as real as the places they reside in.
A Jnaani is the not the body you see and not responding to the name you have given to that body. But he identifies himself with every body responding to its name. He is None but he is All.
See everyone as Ramana. Everyone is no other than Ramana. Sarvam Ramanamayam jagat. That is real Jnaana-drushti. Krushna gave divya-drushti to Arjuna to see His Vishwa-roopa. If Arjuna was given Jnaana-drushti.he would not have seen whomsoever or whatsoever, Ramana had said. Therefore Ramanamayam vision is RAMANAmayam, the unmanifest RAMANA or BRAHMAN as you may like to think of HIM!
Last days. Devotees were sobbing at the imminence of Ramana’s departure. What did Ramana say- Where can I go? I AM here. Yes , where indeed can he go when he is here, there and everywhere? Where is the place where he is not already there? We say Ganapati’s wedding is tomorrow and that tomorrow remains tomorrow and Ganapati will never marry. Raamana says he is here and not that he will come. He will never go and there is no question of his coming back. He is no body. Bathe in the Holy Spirit that Ramana is! Eternal spring of Life!
He is ancient. He was there before creation. He will survive Pralaya. He will greet the new creation. He is with us in every step we take. He helps you. He guides you. He protects you. Tender lovesome heart of a mother. Understanding mind of a father.
He greets you with a smile wherever you go. He greets even the nihilist. All are His children. Will a mother hold back her love from an erring child?
A Jnaani that he is he is full-time fully aware of his bodiless all-pervasive eternal external Existence as we are aware of our puny bodily existence. Body consciousness is merely a nomad-like , miniature reflection of pure Consciousness with which the Jnaani has identified himself. For a Jnaani, body-consciousness is only a reflected ray, as it were, of the self-effulgent, infinite Consciousness which is he himself. It is in this limited sense he is aware of bodily existence.
DUTY AND WORSHIP
Ramana would not put the two in watertight compartments. A fine blend of the two gives fruit of both. Worshipful duty or duty-bound worship. Swakarmana tamabhyarchya , says the Lord in the Geetaa. Worship Him with whatever work you have in hand. Duty towards God is most important goal in life. Even if you offer all you have to Him, you will still fall short of full clearing your debt to Him. You are duty-bound to worship Him. Paativryattya was the most grand example of duty-cum-worship in olden days. Ladies were the gainers but with present day thinking , this virtue is wiped out.
The meaning of duty is given as -that which is due, what one is bound to do by some obligation. Job for which one gets paid is generally accepted as duty. As a family man you feel obliged to take care of family members. Duty towards family. Similarly you have duty towards society, nation. Love and devotion elevate the sense of duty. Something in return is generally expected. Wife to cook and children to return more love. Worship of God is also a duty although the returns are not sure with those with less faith. No time , you cut off that day’s prayer. Shortage of cash, cut of oil for lamp at the altar. No agarbatti.
Providing for wife and children, to elders is acceptable. But if you think of yourself as a Trustee God has appointed to take care of your family- both younger and older generations, duty blooms into almost worship. Enjoy this pleasure. After bidding farewell to Shakuntala, Sage Kanva says- How relieved I feel ?A daughter is indeed a trust given by God and having brought her up and sent her proper owner, I feel as if I have repaid a heavy loan. Well. In modern society, parents should feel relieved and happy after giving up their son to his wife. Give up the notion that son is the old man’s support. In Bengali, there is a nice couplet-Ghosts are my sons. Witches are my maid-servants. I have Rama and Lakshmana in my heart. Nobody holds any threat to me! Have God in your heart and do not wait for son to take care of your old age.
The tradition of servants for generations is gone. Such love, such devotion. Duty raised to sublime level. Ramakrushna tells of a maid servant. She talks of children of her master as her own and looks after them as her own. In her heart she knows her child at home is crying out of hunger. Have the same attitude in life. Serve the needy and hungry. But keep in mind that your “house”is somewhere else, nearer to God. Outward attachment. Deep detachment inside.
In office your sense of duty is satisfied if you do your job alright and not bothered whether the employer has made profit or loss. Whereas at home you are deeply worried about profit and loss. At home leave the results to God as you do in office. Feel the difference. Take full responsibility in any job you undertake. Put your heart in it. Put your shoulder the wheel. Lightness in heart in the benefit which is far more rewarding than a promotion.
Worship can be and actually should in the heart. That would be real saatvic. Have a separate room in the house and for still more energetic temples and some atop hills. Those who have the means- physical and monetary, may go on pilgrimages. Can all go as they wish for.? Narayan Guru wanted a temp0le for the downtrodden who were refused entry to the orthodox temples. The temple was built but nobody will give a Shivalinga. After a bath in the river one fine morning he picked up a stone and installed it in the temple calling it Ezhavu Shiva. Take a potsherd and worship with faith and love. Let me know if you don’t succeed, said Shirdi Baba . Go to the temples and on pilgrimages because they are charged with the power of devotion of thousands of earlier devotees. Ramakrushna brought dust from Brundaavan and sprinkled it in Dakshineshwar. They have their blessedness. Yet worshipping is personal and can be done sitting with closed eyes at home as well. Kabir was at his loom, Ravidas mending shoes,Khechar slaughtering sheep and selling meat. God was at their beck and call. Temples were where they prayed. Their work itself was great prayer.
Tasmatchaastram pramaanam te- Scriptures are authority, says the Lord in the Geetaa.Rituals, festivals are laid down. Perform the rituals.Observe the festivals. Not superficially and mechanically but with devotion and a joyous heart, says Ramana. Laziness and disregard should not come in. Or else you will be a dhobi’s dog-na ghar kaa, na ghaat kaa. Running hither and thither, aimlessly.
Devotee father, devotee child, devotee friend. All bonds are through God. All are related through God. Vasudhaiva kutumbakam- the whole world is one united family, living in happiness. All act and work for bahujana sukhaaya, bahujana hitaaya – for good of all.
God does not wait for you in the temples, in His glory of gold ornaments and flowers. He is eager to meet you and comes incognito to meet you as a hungry old beggar, poor mother with a sickly baby in arms or even as a dog. You have to be alert and recognise Him. He looks into your heart and not your outward show. Patram, pushpam , phalam, toyam. Easily available and cheap things He accepts/treasures.