Q: Is there such a thing as free will?
A: Whose will is it? So long as there is the sense of doership, there is the sense of enjoyment and of individual will. But if this sense is lost through the practice of vichara [Self Enquiry], the divine will will act and guide the course of events. Fate is overcome by jnana, Self Knowledge, which is beyond will and fate
Q: ………..can it be that all the details of his life, down to the minutest, have already been determined? …………….
A: Certainly. Whatever this body is to do and whatever experiences it is to pass through was already decided when it came into existence
The New Man by Maurice Nicholl ……….There was one word in his book that completely opened my eyes. It was an interpretation of the word “repent”, which until then I had been taught to mean “be sorry for your sins”. But the word in Christ’s local language meant “to turn around and see everything anew.”
Tony [Parsons]…..The Open Secret ………Presence is our constant nature but most of the time we are interrupting it by living in a state of expectation, motivation or interpretation. We are hardly ever at home. In order to rediscover our freedom we need to let go of these projections and allow the possibility of presence. Its real discovery, or our access to it, can only be made within the essence of what is. This is where spontaneous aliveness resides and where we can openly welcome the unknown.
If a thought arises – what I call an abstract thought – then the watching just chops it off as it arises. It’s there for a moment but there isn’t anybody who owns it. In the gaze, it just evaporates.
Q: Why does not Bhagavan go about and preach the truth to the people at large?
A: How do you know I am not doing it? Does preaching consist in mounting a platform and haranguing the people around? Preaching is simple communication of knowledge; it can be done in silence only. What do you think of a man who listens to a sermon for an hour and goes away without having been impressed by it so as to change his life? Compare him with another, who sits in a holy presence and goes away after some time with his outlook on life totally changed. Which is better, to preach loudly without effect or to sit silently sending out inner force?
Again, how does speech arise? First there is abstract knowledge. Out of this arises the ego, which in turn gives rise to thought, and thought to the spoken word. So the word is the great-grandson of the original source. If the word can produce an effect, judge for yourself, how much more powerful must be the preaching through silence
There’s a lovely sentence that you [Vijai Shankar] sometimes use – ‘I’m not a human being having a spiritual experience. I’m a spiritual being having a human experience.’
….Ashtavakra Gita: ‘The awakened one is not distracted even in distraction.’
[Nisargadatta] Maharaj: Do what you feel like doing. Don’t bully yourself. Violence will make you hard and rigid. Do not fight with what you take to be obstacles on your way. Just be interested in them, watch them, observe, enquire. Let anything happen – good or bad. But don’t let yourself be submerged by what happens………The mind must learn that beyond the moving mind there is the background of awareness, which does not change. The mind must come to know the true Self and respect it and cease covering it up, like the moon which obscures the sun during solar eclipse.
Why is it in India everything seems to be so much more alive and real, so much more intense?
Legend has it that throughout the ages, Dakshinamurthi has been sitting on the north slope of Arunachala, underneath a banyan tree and that anyone who approaches him will attain Self-realization.
Ramana himself spoke of the differences in absorption in the Self, which can either be temporary or permanent. Nirvikalpa samadhi Ramana likened to a bucket lowered into a well; the water in the bucket merges with the water in the well but the rope and bucket (representing ego and its attachments) still exist, meaning that the bucket can always be pulled out from the well, ending the total absorption. Meanwhile sahaja samadhi he likened to a river flowing into an ocean, whose waters become inseperably merged. Ramana’s sahaja samadhi happened spontaneously at the age of 17 ……
We shall not cease from exploration
And the end of all our exploring
Will be to arrive where we started
And know the place for the first time
‘Little Gidding’, Four Quartets
T S Eliot
So, to turn to the teaching, in the West everybody thinks about philosophy as ‘I think, therefore I am.’ But in the East, it’s the other way round, ‘I am, therefore I think.’
[Ramesh Balsekar] Absolutely correct….. The West says, I believe it if I see it… In Eastern philosophy, believe it and then you will see it!