Wednesday, June 1, 2016

From ‘Sri Ramana Maharshi. The Advent Centenary Souveneir 1896-1996’ by Sri Ramanasramam, Tiruvannamalai

“To teach without words and to be useful without action – few among men are capable of this.” Thus spoke LAOTSE

What a beautiful word the Hebrew language has for God: “Yahweh” which means “I AM”. Jehovah is the anglicized form of the word Yahweh. Sri Ramana said that the Old Testament’s “I AM that I AM” is even better than “Aham Brahmasmi” (“I AM Brahman”) as a description of the Self.

Sri Bhagavan has said, “Vichara is the process and the goal also. ‘I Am’ is the goal and final Reality. To hold to it with effort is vichara. When spontaneous and natural, it is Realization.””

I spoke to Bhagavan for some time; and then while taking leave of him said, “You have attained a great stage”. He replied ‘Distance lends enchantment to the view’. By this he meant, as I later learnt from many of his teachings directly and indirectly to me, that a householder’s life was as good as that of an ascetic, and could equally lead one to Jnana.

The Maharshi a master cook, calligraphist and caricaturist, and naturpath, raconteur, editor and engineer extraordinaire, spoke little and wrote even less. His poems in Tamil, Sanskrit, Telugu and Malayalam are not only mystic and magnificent mantras, but also potent seeds sown for the integration of a people who are presently so asleep as to consider as weakness the timeless strength inherent in the bewildering bewitching diversity of their culture.

Ramana says:
“If you have surrendered, you must be able to abide by the will of God and not make a grievance out of what may not please you.”

Ramana’s solution is to let the mind subside to the point where it disappears, and what remains when the mind has subsided is the simple, pure being that was always there.

Ramana says: “Your duty is to be, and not to be this or that….The method is summed up in ‘Be Still’”

When one attempts to practice this conviction by putting attention on the feeling of being that is within us, thoughts and desires will initially continue to flow at their normal rate, but if attention is maintained over a period of time, the density of thoughts decreases, and in the space between them, there emerges the clarity, the stillness and the peace of pure being. Occasionally this stillness and this peace will expand and intensify until a point is reached where no effort is needed to sustain the awareness of being, the attention merges imperceptibly with the being itself, and the occasional stray thoughts no longer have the power to distract.

In the case of surrender, the initial effort is the shifting of one’s attention from the world of thoughts to the feeling of being. When there is no attention to it, the mind subsides revealing the being from which it came, then in some mysterious way, the Self eliminates the residual ignorance and Realisation dawns.

“The purpose of self-enquiry is to focus the entire mind at its source.”

The mind is simply fattened by new thoughts rising up. Therefore it is foolish to attempt to kill the mind by means of the mind. The only way to do it is to find its source and hold on to it.

The precise method is simple and well known. When thoughts arise, one does not allow them to develop. One asks oneself the words, “To whom do these thoughts occur?” And the answer is “To me,” and then the question occurs, “Then who am I? What is this thing in me which I keep calling’I’?” By doing this practice one is shifting attention from the world of thoughts to the being from where the thought and the thinker first emerged. The transfer of attention is simply executed, because if one holds on to the feeling “I am” the initial thought of ‘I’ will gradually give way to a feeling of ‘I’, and then sooner or later, this feeling “I am” will merge into being itself, to a state where there is no longer either a thinker of the thought ‘I’, or a feeler of the feeling ‘I am’; there will only be being itself.

…Superior to loud praise of God and to inaudible japa is the purely mental process of meditation.
…Uninterrupted meditation, resembling the flow of water or of ghee, is superior to that which is discontinuous.
…If after stilling the mind by stilling the breath, the mind be fixed on one point, then the mind would be dissolved (and the Mindless State would be reached).
…Right Awareness of the Self is just the mind becoming aware of its own true Nature as Pure Consciousness, as the result of the mind being disentangled from (attachment to) outside objects.
…If the truth of the mind be persistently investigated (Keeping it away from all outside objects) in the end there will be no mind left. This is the Direct Path which is available to one and all.
…The mind is nothing but a series of thoughts. Of all the thoughts the root is the ‘I’ thought. Hence the ‘I’ – the ego – is the mind.
…When the source, wherefrom the ego arises is sought, the ego perishes. This is the method of Inquiry (Vichara), leading to Right Awareness (of the Real Self).
…Becoming aware of one’s Self apart from the vehicle (the five sheaths making up the body) is itself rightly Knowing God, because it is He that shines (in the Heart) as the Self.

When the breath is held, it is observed that the thoughts also decrease and finally when the breath-movement is brought to a stand-still the thoughts also completely subside.

There are several methods advocated as to the manner of breath control. The method the Maharshi teaches is a rare one; if it is merely watched, and no attempt at control is made, the breath, of itself, slows down almost to a vanishing point.

Normally, in ‘Hatha Yoga’ the nostrils are closed and opened with the fingers for definite intervals…..The sadhaka practicing in this way is fighting a battle, as it were, with the force of the breath; were this battle to be conducted on wrong lines, dangers or disaster might follow, particularly were it to be lost. Forced effort may end in various kinds of diseases; it may entail madness, and in some cases, if the kundalini or life-force rises uncontrolled, the body gets almost burnt up, and death results; this practice is to be done under the personal surveillance of the Master, with great care and circumspection adopting easy techniques from time to time, and under different restrictions as to diet, time and posture. The Maharshi bids us strictly to avoid this method of Hatha Yoga.
Do not fight with the natural flow of the breath; only watch it, as if you were a witness to a process. It is called the ‘sakshi bhava’ in philosophical terminology.
……Not for him are the emotional surges and fits of despair found in the bhakti marga. Nor are the anxieties of the karma marga present. The dangers of the yoga marga will never touch him; not even the troubles of the path of raja yoga will face him…

He says in “Upadesa Saram”, “Japa of mantras is better than hymnal praise; and the mental repetition of the mantra or the name is more effective thatn the utterance of either, aloud or in whisper.” And then he explains, “If you continue sticking to the sound or the idea, there will come a stage when there will be only a sound, undifferentiated even into various letters.” As you go deeper and deeper, even the sound dissolves, and that process he calls ‘dipping in’.

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