Ramana is a trail blazer of the simple and direct path to Self-knowledge. As early as 1907, the great saint Ganapati Muni declared Ramana to be the universal guru because of the timeless and life transforming character of his feavhing.
One might ask. “What is so special about Raman’s teaching?” The answerer is that it provide a very of combining work and wisdom, meditation and action. By focusing attention on the mind emphasizing the need for self-enquiry, Ramana has provided a clear cut and direct to the understanding of the mind. Such understanding will reveal the mind’s hidden power. It would also lead to perfection in action.
Since Raman’a method is based on his direct pertinence and oriented towards practice and experience his guidance on the path is a must.
This book covers many first person accounts of those who are receiving Ramana’s guidance and help, step by step, whenever needed, even today. The various articles in this book throw a dear light on Ramana’s teaching from different angles, to enable one to enjoy its fruits in daily life.
The ever increasing number of persons who are dram to the Ramana path all over the would and the translation of his original works and the translation of his original works into several languages is a sigh of the truth that Ramana is a living guru.
Ramana is the trail blazer of a simple and direct path to Self-knowledge. In 1907, the sage Ganapati Muni learnt the secret of penance from Ramana, at that time the Muni had a large following. He at once wrote to each of them that he had found his guru in Ramana. Not only guru but a universal guru. For his teaching had the timeless character of the Upanishads and Bhagavad-Gita Gita. Hence he christened Ramana as Bhagavan Sri Ramana Maharshi, meaning God, the one who revels revels in the self, and sage among sages. Ganapati Muni is not alone in his praise. In fact there has been and there is quite a chorus of praise for Ramana from different quarters. The would renowned psychologist Carl Jung says “We find that the life and teaching of Ramana is the purest of India. It is the chant of millennium.” We find the Dalai Lama writing that “Ramana Maharshi’s spiritual greatness is guiding millions of people”. Swami Sivananda, Swami Tappvan Maharaj, Swami Chinmayananda, Dr. Radhakrishna, Swami Ramdas, Swami Muktananda, to mention a few, declare in one voice the uniqueness of Ramana’s life and teachings. This raises the question, ‘What is so special about Ramana’s teaching.
This is the jet age. People are steeped in hectic activity, pushed and motivated by the competitive spirit to forge ahead towards materialistic goals. Old values of living the life of a monk or a sannyasi for the exclusive purpose of finding out the truth have by and large crumpled. One does not care enough to everything for the ultimate. The fascination of the immediate, the sensate attraction are blown up in a mind exposed to the printed media and visual media explosion. In such a situation it is imperative to restore the balance, to find a way which can combine work and wisdom. Can the two go hand in hand? “Yes says Ramana, in fact he labels as mere ignorance the idea that the two are separate and opposite. For meditation, the silence of the mind alone is enough. Work too is meditation! Can believe this? But it is true. For it one’s mind is understood, the busiest hour is also the quietest hour, For the mind is not identified with the work, with the action in which it is engaged. It is alert, like a panther stalking its prey. Yet totally detached from the action. The present binding character of action, attachment to its fruits, is not there, there is joy in it. If one job is over, it is fine. One does not have to seek another job awaking with fear about idleness or boredom. “No work” is as welcome as ‘work’. For the mind has been freed from its addiction to work, to thought. It experiences the joy of a thought-free mind.
One thing about Ramana is that he not only focuses on the importance of understanding the mind but also guides us, as the Guru, firmly along the path to enable an understanding.
The steps are clear, Stop one: Doubt the assumption that there is a separate entity called the is it not a mere series of thoughts which keep moving at a fast pace creating an illusion of continuity. If it exists what could have happened to it in deep sleep when thoughts too go to sleep.
Step two: Even though there are innumerable thoughts is there any common link. Between them. Is there a basic though which alone link the disparate thoughts. Such questions will show that there is only one common thought, the individual ‘I’ thought. All thoughts are for me, for the ‘I” So why not call the ‘I ‘. The subject, itself the mind.
Step three : Since the subject itself is the mind, its core, to understand the mind one must pay attention to it should one not? Are we doing so now? No. Why? Because we are taken in by the other thoughts, the unimportant, changing innumerable ones. Wisdom demands, does it not, that attention should be shifted to the subject from the objects?
Step four : How is this switching of attention to take place? The very recognition of the importance of the subject would have been a major step towards it. Next when thoughts arise, question as to whom they arise for and leave it at that. Such questioning will silence the thoughts. 'Steadfast attention to each thought, as it arises, would gradually reduce the number of thoughts and the distraction by way of intrusion of thoughts would cease.
Step five : If you are subject - focused, the separate subject would also merge into its source, the Self, into consciousness. This needs a little explaining. All that exists is the fullness of consciousness. The mind is only a wave in the sea of consciousness. The enquiry aforesaid is necessary till the conceptual superimposition of a separate mind lasts. When this idea is uprooted by self - enquiry consciousness alone exists.
Step six : What happens to the mind? It is seen to be a pure reflection of consciousness. Its hidden power would be revealed in action and inaction.
One can truthfully assert that it is Ramana's grace which has brought the seeker to his holy feet and the direct path to Self knowledge which he constantly focusses attention on. There is such arable of ideas on what indeed is the best and quickest path to Self - awareness. Hence, there can be little doubt that to come to this Ramana path is itself the fruit of a seeker's earlier efforts in the spiritual path. The previous practice would have done its work of purifying the mind. It would have made one ready to grasp the import and practice of the non - mental, holistic way to the Self. Again for all one's resolve steadfast practice of self - enquiry and self - attention often becomes impracticable because of the 'monkey - tricks of the truant mind'. Unless Ramana's grace ends this once and for all we cannot experience "the wondrous dance of true awareness in the heart". The power of the past, as tendencies externalizing the mind would block its 'home word' journey back to its source, the fullness of consciousness. Again it is Ramana as the inner and outer guru who bestows the true state of bliss. 'Bestows' connotes the idea of a gift. Yet it is the right word. For, but for the Sadguru's bounty our wayward mind would have surely denied us the steady experience of Self - awareness.
How does guru Ramana's grace operate? It is seen and unseen, a steady undercurrent which each one on his path would be feeling and experiencing. It may come from his works, from counsel of other earnest practitioners or just out of the blue. But it comes.
The question would still remain as to whether this firm grip of Ramana on our egos till the journey's end is continuing even after his Maha Nirvana in 1950. In some ways it is like asking a man who is having a gooseberry in his palm whether he can see it. The ever growing number of earnest seekers who swear by the efficacy of this path is there for everyone to see. It may not be an exaggeration to say that there are more Ramana disciples and devotees now than when he was in the body.
For this there are many reasons. Identification of a guru with his body is a mistake of the gravest order. It follows from our identification with our body. We superimpose it on the guru's body also. Consequently when he drops his body, when there is a physical ending of it, the delusion that he is no longer living would follow. But a 'jnani' who is ever abiding in the Self is not different from God. His body too is the temple of God.
Hence the scriptures elaborately set out the modalities of how his body should be interred in the samadhi and worshipped.
Still some may need the testimony of those on the path. For twenty five years the magazine 'The Mountain Path' has covered in each of its issues, individual, first person accounts of those who have written how exactly Ramana's guidance is being received. It is through dreams, visions, words of other seekers, and sometimes even by a strong physical presence.
Then of course we have his 'Collected Works'. The appropriate passage becomes pregnant with meaning at the right juncture. Words which one would have slurred over acquire a new meaning when Ramana's guidance is to be given through them. The 'Collected Works' of Ramana is like the 'Bhagavad Gita', 'Bible', 'Koran', 'Granth Sahib', 'Gospel of Sri Ramakrishna'. The inspiring and continuing presence of guru Ramana is felt through his words. The jnani's words are not really his. He simply puts them down under a divine compulsion. Hence their perennial power.
This year we are celebrating two epoch making events. The first is Bhagavan's Centenary of Enlightenment. It was on the 17th of July 1896 that the young student Venkataraman became enlightened through his 'death experience'. His role as the universal guru began on that day. Then we have the Centenary of his Advent at Tiruvannamalai on the 1st of September 1896. His spiritual ministration, while he was in the body, for fifty four years thereafter was from this one place. The best way to pay homage to Ramana would be to "wear his twin feet as the crown on our head" for it will light in us the lamp of guru Ramana's wisdom.
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