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Topics - Nagaraj

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1
General Discussion / Inspiring Stories
« on: March 15, 2013, 10:38:18 AM »
A Dull Brahmin Boy Becomes Learned

Shri Guru observed Chaturmas living under the Audumber tree near bhuvaneshwari secretly. Still his name and fame spread in all the quarters.

Namdharak-Why Shri Guru lived secretly? Why did he observe anushthan and asked for alms?

Siddha-Shri Shankar and Shri Guru Dattatraya like to beg alms. Shri Guru roamed through holy places for protecting his devotees. People came to him and harrassed him for trifles and hence he lived secretly. But though the Kasturi is hidden, its fragrance cannot be hidden, similarly brightness of Shri Guru could not be hidden.

There lived at Kavir a learned Brahmin who knew the Vedas. He had a dull foolish son. His parents died in his childhood. When he was seven, his thread ceremony was celebrated, but he could not do Sandhya and recitee `Gayatri' mantra. Local Brahmins abused him saying, `your father knew Vedas and shastras; but you have spoiled his name. Your life is worthless. Chintamani is best among the beads, so is the knowledge for a person. A man is honoured for his knowledge. A King is respected by his people; but even a king respects learned persons, as knowledge is wealth.'

The boy requested them to suggest means for his improvement. The Brahmins said, `you will have knowledge in the next birth. You should beg for your maintenance in this life.'

The boy being dejected, went to a forest. He was thinking of giving up his life. In the evening he reached Bhilavadi. He took darshan of Bhuvaneshwari and sat at the door of the temple. Next morning he cut his tongue and placed it at the feet of the goddess and said, `If you do not be kind with me. I shall even offer my head at your feet.'

That night he had a dream in which Devi appeared before him and said, "Oh Brahmachari, why are you getting angry with me? There is an Avatarik Purusha sitting under an Audumber tree on the bank of the Krishna. Go to him. He will fulfil your desires."

He woke up and at once ran and crossed the river. He rolled at the Guru's feet and started praising Him. Guru was pleased with him, blessed him and put his hand on his head aas Varad Hastha. At once the boy got kknowledge and enlightennment. He also got his tongue back.

If a crow has a dip in the Manasa-Sarovar it will become a Hamsa (swan). So also he who touches Guru's feet will acquire all knowledge. Guru is Almighty. His glory needs to be sung.

(From Guru Charitra)

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2
General Discussion / Quotable quotes of UG
« on: February 22, 2013, 03:18:35 PM »
i would like to present some quotable quotes of this controversial man in this thread, that were of quite meaningful in my own journey and felt it may benefit some of us. thank you.

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3
The teachings of Bhagavan Sri Ramana Maharshi / Being Still - Summa Iruthal
« on: February 20, 2013, 04:44:16 PM »
Dear Friends,

I am just opening this thread and leaving it to us to express ourselves whenever we feel any musings on the topic "Being Still" or "Summa Iruthal" Just for our own individual contemplation. Thank you.

4
General topics / True Knower - Ashtavakra
« on: February 17, 2013, 04:22:52 PM »
अष्टावक्र उवाच -

तेन ज्ञानफलं प्राप्तं योगाभ्यासफलं तथा।
तृप्तः स्वच्छेन्द्रियो नित्यं एकाकी रमते तु यः॥१७- १॥

न कदाचिज्जगत्यस्मिन् तत्त्वज्ञा हन्त खिद्यति।
यत एकेन तेनेदं पूर्णं ब्रह्माण्डमण्डलम्॥१७- २॥

न जातु विषयाः केऽपि स्वारामं हर्षयन्त्यमी।
सल्लकीपल्लवप्रीतमिवेभं निंबपल्लवाः॥१७- ३॥

यस्तु भोगेषु भुक्तेषु न भवत्यधिवासिता।
अभुक्तेषु निराकांक्षी तदृशो भवदुर्लभः॥१७- ४॥

बुभुक्षुरिह संसारे मुमुक्षुरपि दृश्यते।
भोगमोक्षनिराकांक्षी विरलो हि महाशयः॥१७- ५॥

धर्मार्थकाममोक्षेषु जीविते मरणे तथा।
कस्याप्युदारचित्तस्य हेयोपादेयता न हि॥१७- ६॥

वांछा न विश्वविलये न द्वेषस्तस्य च स्थितौ।
यथा जीविकया तस्माद् धन्य आस्ते यथा सुखम्॥१७- ७॥

कृतार्थोऽनेन ज्ञानेनेत्येवं गलितधीः कृती।
पश्यन् शृण्वन् स्पृशन् जिघ्रन्न् अश्नन्नस्ते यथा सुखम्॥१७- ८॥

शून्या दृष्टिर्वृथा चेष्टा विकलानीन्द्रियाणि च।
न स्पृहा न विरक्तिर्वा क्षीणसंसारसागरे॥१७- ९॥

न जगर्ति न निद्राति नोन्मीलति न मीलति।
अहो परदशा क्वापि वर्तते मुक्तचेतसः॥१७- १०॥

सर्वत्र दृश्यते स्वस्थः सर्वत्र विमलाशयः।
समस्तवासना मुक्तो मुक्तः सर्वत्र राजते॥१७- ११॥

पश्यन् शृण्वन् स्पृशन् जिघ्रन्न् अश्नन् गृण्हन् वदन् व्रजन्।
ईहितानीहितैर्मुक्तो मुक्त एव महाशयः॥१७- १२॥

न निन्दति न च स्तौति न हृष्यति न कुप्यति।
न ददाति न गृण्हाति मुक्तः सर्वत्र नीरसः॥१७- १३॥

सानुरागां स्त्रियं दृष्ट्वा मृत्युं वा समुपस्थितं।
अविह्वलमनाः स्वस्थो मुक्त एव महाशयः॥१७- १४॥

सुखे दुःखे नरे नार्यां संपत्सु विपत्सु च।
विशेषो नैव धीरस्य सर्वत्र समदर्शिनः॥१७- १५॥

न हिंसा नैव कारुण्यं नौद्धत्यं न च दीनता।
नाश्चर्यं नैव च क्षोभः क्षीणसंसरणे नरे॥१७- १६॥

न मुक्तो विषयद्वेष्टा न वा विषयलोलुपः।
असंसक्तमना नित्यं प्राप्ताप्राप्तमुपाश्नुते॥१७- १७॥

समाधानसमाधानहिताहितविकल्पनाः।
शून्यचित्तो न जानाति कैवल्यमिव संस्थितः॥१७- १८॥

निर्ममो निरहंकारो न किंचिदिति निश्चितः।
अन्तर्गलितसर्वाशः कुर्वन्नपि करोति न॥१७- १९॥

मनःप्रकाशसंमोहस्वप्नजाड्यविवर्जितः।
दशां कामपि संप्राप्तो भवेद् गलितमानसः॥१७- २०॥


  Ashtavakra says:

He has attained the fruits of Knowledge and Yoga both, who is content,
is of purified senses, and always enjoys his solitude.॥1॥

The knower of truth is never troubled by anything in this world, for the
whole world is completely pervaded by that Brahma(Lord) alone.॥2॥

None of the senses can please a man, who is established in Self,
just as Neem leaves do not please the elephant that likes Sallaki leaves.॥3॥

Such man is rare who is not attached to the pleasures enjoyed, and
does not desire pleasures which are unattained.॥4॥

People desirous of worldly pleasures are seen and people desirous of
liberation are also seen in this world. But one who is indifferent to both
of these desires is really rare.॥5॥

Only few great souls are free from attachment and repulsion to
righteousness, wealth, desires, liberation, life and death
. ॥6॥

He neither desires end of this world, nor despise its continued existence.
He lives the life as it is, feeling content and grateful.॥7॥

Blessed by this knowledge, subsiding intelligence in Self, they stay content
even in seeing, hearing, touching and eating.॥8॥

Keeping their gaze unoccupied, having stilled the tendency of their senses,
they have no attachment or aversion for this feeble world.॥9॥

Aha! in that supreme state, where there is no wakening, no sleep, no
opening or closing of eyes, rarely someone with liberated
consciousness stays.॥10॥

Always established in self, with stainless intent everywhere, free from all
the desires, such a liberated man always shines.॥11॥

Even in, seeing, hearing, feeling, smelling, eating, taking, speaking, walking,
desiring and not desiring such a great soul basically does nothing.॥12॥

He neither blames nor praises, he neither gives nor takes. Indifferent from
all these he is free in every way.॥13॥

One who remains unperturbed on seeing women with desire or death,
established in self, that noble man is liberated.॥14॥

For such a man with patience, pleasure and pain, men and women, success
and failure are alike. For him everything is equivalent.॥15॥

In a person free from attachment for this world, there is neither aggression
nor submissiveness, neither pride nor lowliness, neither surprise nor agitation
.॥16॥

Liberated man neither dislikes sense gratification nor likes them, hence he
remains unperturbed in their achievement and non-achievement.॥17॥

Beyond doubts and solutions, good and bad, a person with still mind,
remains established in self
.॥18॥

A man who is free from attachment, free of ego, with a definitive view of
non-existence of this visible world
, even while doing does not do anything.॥19॥

Having attained a state of mind which is devoid of delusion, dream and inertia
and full of light, one should discard all mental desires
.॥20॥


5
General topics / 'Yes, but what do I do?' - David Godman
« on: February 16, 2013, 10:56:19 AM »
About fifteen years ago, when I was collecting information for Nothing Ever Happened, I had the assistance of a group of people who were helping me by transcribing satsang tapes. Occasionally, the volunteers would make mistakes, especially if they did not know technical terms or the names of saints and gods that Papaji occasionally inserted in his stories. Sometimes, when non-native English speakers were involved, ignorance of English idioms occasionally caused errors. Usually, I could spot mistakes and correct them without ever needing to listen to the tapes, but I did occasionally get stuck, as when someone offered me a transcript in which Papaji had apparently said, ‘I don’t give people any goose or goats’. I thought for a few seconds, knowing that it was obviously wrong, but having no idea of what the original words might have been. I gave up, ran the tape, and heard Papaji say: ‘I don’t give people any do’s or don’ts’.

Last year I mentioned this story to a friend of mine, Aruna, who occasionally does graphic design and page making work for me. Since she was coordinating transcription work for another Guru, I thought she might appreciate the story. She supplied me with her own best example, taken from her own volunteer crew. One of them had sent her a transcript in which the Guru had apparently said: ‘I am neither a butler nor a nanny.’ After deciding that this was probably not what the Guru had said, she checked the tape and found he had said: ‘I am not a bhakta or a jnani.’

Mishearings such as these were nicely parodied in Monty Python’s Life of Brian, in the scene where a group of men find themselves slightly too far away to hear Jesus’ Sermon on the Mount. One of them asked the people in front what Jesus was saying, and the word came back, ‘Blessed are the cheese makers’. This confused most of the group, but one man, who considered himself to be a theological expert, started to give a talk on the religious significance of ‘Blessed are the cheese makers’. How many religious doctrines, I wonder, have emerged from misunderstandings such as these?

The last two paragraphs are just entertaining digressions. What I want to do today is elaborate a little on Papaji’s statement: ‘I don’t give people any do’s or don’ts.’

Many people go to the Guru with the idea that he should tell them to ‘do’ something in order to reach some goal or be relieved of some problem or other. We are all so addicted to ‘doing’, we believe that we have to ‘do something’ to attain whatever spiritual goal we are chasing.

When the Guru says, ‘You are the Self, you are Brahman,’ the disciple often responds by saying, ‘Yes, I understand, but what do I do to attain it? How do I discover this for myself?’

The asking of such a question means that the disciple thinks that Brahman is something he should become, through effort, rather than something that he already is. The assumption implicit in this world-view is the premise behind all sadhana.

With this in mind, read verse 271 of Guru Vachaka Kovai:

The Guru who instructs the disciple, who has taken complete refuge in him, by giving one more prescription for action, instead of directing him towards jnana, and who leads him into activities, saying ‘These should be done,’ is for the disciple [equivalent to] the coming of cruel Yama and Brahma. Only he who consummates them [the disciples], transforming them into those who have done all that needs to be done, enabling them to attain the true benefit of this birth, is the grace-bestowing, divine Guru.
Since Brahma is the god of birth and Yama the god of death, the verse is implying that gurus who get their disciples involved in unnecessary activities, physical or mental, instead of directing them towards jnana, will be responsible for them being reborn. Bhagavan gave similar advice to the following devotee when the latter came up with a ‘Yes I understand, but what do I do?’ query:

Question: Our grasp is only intellectual. If Sri Bhagavan be pleased to direct us with a few instructions we shall be highly benefited.

Bhagavan: He who instructs an ardent seeker to do this or that is not a true master. The seeker is already afflicted by his activities and wants peace and rest. In other words, he wants cessation of his activities. Instead of that he is told to do something in addition to, or in place of, his other activities. Can that be a help to the seeker?

Activity is creation; activity is the destruction of one’s inherent happiness. If activity be advocated the adviser is not a master but the killer. Either the Creator (Brahma) or Death (Yama) may be said to have come in the guise of such a master. He cannot liberate the aspirant but strengthens his fetters. (Talks with Sri Ramana Maharshi, talk no. 601.)

The same idea appears in Day by Day with Bhagavan, 27th March 1946, afternoon, where Bhagavan tells a questioner: ‘the truth is, all karma of whatever kind will lead to fresh bondage. That is why it is said in Ozhivil Odukkam that the Guru who prescribes fresh karma or action of any sort, i.e., rituals or sacrifices to one who after trying various karmas comes to him for peace, is both Brahma and Yama to the disciple i.e., he only creates fresh births and deaths.'


Ozhivil Odukkam is a Tamil philosophical text composed by Kannudaiya Vallalaar several centuries ago. It was one of Bhagavan’s favourite advaita texts, so much so that he asked Muruganar to make a Tamil prose rendering of it in order to make the meaning clearer and more accessible. The original Tamil is extremely difficult to follow, and most people gain an understanding of the work through a commentary that has appeared in all editions of the text. Unfortunately, the commentator incorporated a few interpretations of his own that are not present in the text, which is why Bhagavan thought that a new and clearer rendering of the original was desirable. Muruganar never found time to execute this commission, so the true meaning of the original verses remains inaccessible to all but the most learned Tamil scholars.

The idea that Gurus who tell disciples to do things are Yama and Brahma in disguise comes from verse 123 of this work:

Having exhausted themselves by activities, aspirants come to the Guru seeking jnana. He alone is the true jnana-bestowing Guru who, possessing the wealth of bliss, produces the crop of bliss in them so that they wander without volition and without doing anything. But the Guru who occasions the least rising of their ego through his instructions is both Brahma, he who possesses the ability to create the world, and Yama too, the god of death.

‘Without volition and without doing anything’ refers to the ego-free state in which there are no sankalpas (decisions or choices made by the mind) and no sense of being the performer of the actions that the body is doing.

Most people will read a verse like this and decide that it refers to physical activities alone.

‘My Guru is OK.’ they will say, ‘He doesn’t tell me to run around doing things; he tells me to meditate instead.’

That is not an acceptable response to this verse because it is also implying that keeping the mind busy – even with meditation – is no different from keeping the body busy. Anyone who prescribes either course keeps his followers on the wheel of birth and death. It would seem that Bhagavan accepted this position because, in the two citations from Talks and Day by Day that I have already given, he is introducing the ideas from this verse and endorsing them.

I began with a quote from Papaji. I will reintroduce him here because one of his often-repeated maxims is highly relevant to what I am endeavouring to say: ‘Physical activities produce physical results; mental activities produce mental results; since the Self is neither physical nor mental, an awareness of it cannot be brought about by either physical or mental activity.’

That’s a hard conclusion to accept for most people because it undercuts and negates all their mental activities that are optimistically geared towards realising the Self. The solution, as both Bhagavan and Papaji pointed out on many occasions is ‘being still’ (summa iruttal). When Bhagavan gives out the instruction ‘Summa iru’ (be still), he is not telling us to practise being still – that would just be more ‘doing’ – he is telling us desist from all mental activity, even meditation. ‘Being still’ is not something you accomplish by effort; it is what remains when all effort ceases.

Here is a Thayumanavar verse (‘Udal Poyyuravu’, verse 52) on this topic that Bhagavan was fond of quoting:

Bliss will arise if you remain still.
Why, little sir, this involvement still
with yoga, whose nature is delusion?
Will [this bliss] arise
through your own objective knowledge?
You need not reply,
you who are addicted to ‘doing’!
You little baby, you!

To which I will add verse 647 of Guru Vachaka Kovai, followed by another quote from Thayumanavar that comes from the same poem:

If you remain still, without paying attention to this, without paying attention to that, and without paying attention to anything at all, you will, simply through your powerful attention to being, become the reality, the vast eye, the unbounded space of consciousness.

If we truly see-without-seeing the inner light,
not investigating, not thinking at all,
will not the flood of bliss come,
spreading in all the ten directions,
rising up in surging waves to overflow its banks?
(‘Udal Poyyuravu’, verse 58)

There is a section in Padamalai that gives a broad summary of Bhagavan’s views on ‘being still’. I will conclude today’s offering by reproducing it. The verses are in bold, editorial comments in italics, and parallel quotations in roman.

25

Supreme liberation will shine as Atma-swarupa if one remains still.

This verse is introduced by the word ‘amma’, which indicates that Bhagavan is expressing surprise in this statement, possibly at the thought that anyone could think otherwise.

26

Through his gentle smile, radiant Padam joyfully declares: ‘Why this distress? Be happy by just remaining still.’

Bhagavan: Your duty is to be, and not to be this or that. ‘I am that I am’ sums up the whole truth; the method is summarised in ‘Be still’.

And what does stillness mean? It means ‘Destroy yourself’; because, every name and form is the cause of trouble. ‘I-I’ is the Self. ‘I am this’ is the ego. When the ‘I’ is kept up as the ‘I’ only, it is the Self. When it flies off at a tangent and says ‘I am this or that, I am such and such’, it is the ego.

Question: Who then is God?

Bhagavan: The Self is God. ‘I am’ is God. If God be apart from the Self, He must be a selfless God, which is absurd.

All that is required to realise the Self is to be still. What can be easier than that? Hence Atma-vidya [Self-knowledge] is the easiest to attain. (Maharshi’s Gospel, pp. 31-2)

27

Since becoming established in the state of the Self is both the means and the goal to be attained, remain still.

Though it was Bhagavan’s highest and simplest upadesa, he conceded that for many people, it was an impossible command to execute:

Question: What should one do in order to remain free from thoughts as advised by you? Is it only the enquiry ‘Who am I?’

Bhagavan: Only to remain still. Do it and see.

Question: It is impossible.

Bhagavan: Exactly. For the same reason the enquiry ‘Who am I?’ is advised. (Talks with Sri Ramana Maharshi, talk no. 322)

Bhagavan: All the age-long vasanas carry the mind outward and turn it to external objects. All such thoughts have to be given up and the mind turned inward. For that, effort is necessary for most people. Of course everybody, every book says, ‘Summa iru,’ i.e. ‘Be quiet or still’. But it is not easy. That is why all this effort is necessary. Even if we find one who has at once achieved the mauna or supreme state indicated by ‘Summa iru’ you may take it that the effort necessary has already been finished in a previous life. (Day by Day with Bhagavan, 11th January, 1946)

28

The wonderful meaning of the one supreme word [summa iru] is to know and rest in the Atma-swarupa through the enquiry ‘Who am I?’

29

Except by remaining still [summa iruttal] by what great tapas can the Atma-swarupa be attained in the Heart?

Bhagavan: People seem to think that by practising some elaborate sadhana the Self will one day descend upon them as something very big and with tremendous glory, giving them what is called sakshatkaram [direct experience]. The Self is sakshat [direct] all right, but there is no karam or kritam about it. [That is, there is no one who performs actions, and no actions being performed.] The word ‘karam’ implies doing something. But the Self is realised not by doing something but by refraining from doing anything, by remaining still and being simply what one really is. (The Power of the Presence, part three, pp. 131-3)

30

It will be impossible to merge with the feet of Lord Sonachala [Arunachala], unless one remains still, with the mind consumed and annihilated.

Bhagavan: Stillness is total surrender without a vestige of individuality. Stillness will prevail and there will be no agitation of mind. Agitation of mind is the cause of desire, the sense of doership and personality. If that is stopped there is quiet. (Talks with Sri Ramana Maharshi, talk no. 354)

31

By shining motionlessly, which is meditation on the Self, all manner of excellent benefits accrue.

32

To remain still, without thinking about that which is other than the Self, is to offer the mind to the Self.

33

Being still is the experience of swarupa jnana. Whatever is perceived by the senses is a false, illusory appearance.

34

To rest, remaining still as consciousness, is union [sayujya], the abundance of peace.

35

Knowing That is only abiding as That. Therefore, shine, remaining still without objectifying.

6
General Discussion / Subject of Marriage
« on: February 08, 2013, 03:20:21 PM »
Friends,

It just occurred to me to bring this topic in order to find out how many are already married and how many are unmarried and how many are thinking of remaining unmarried in-order to lead a spiritual life. May be, the above groups may be able to think and progress on the lines of the group they belong and discuss, maybe, on how to really go from here.

I know, we are all here and we do get some good satsang, but sometimes, it becomes a routine exercise as a part of our daily lives. its also perhaps we can say, an alarm for ourselves, are we really serious about our quest? and if so how to really proceed from where we are. i proposed to raise such topics from the results of this poll.

Your suggestions are welcome. Thank you. Expecting each one of you to exercise your vote.


7
The following is an article posted by Sri Michael James in his website, which i felt is an excellent share here:

A friend wrote to me recently asking:

How to start with atma vichara?? Some says, “look at your thoughts”, some says, “see from where it occurs”, some says “see who does all this” — what in this is to be followed??? doesnt the one sees is also mind???

Even though always the grace of guru is showered, why is that we cannot have atma vichara always???

Please kindly clarify me in the approach of atma vichara because I many times doubt whether the way of vichara that I do is right.
The following is the reply that I wrote:

Ātma-vichāra is not looking at any thought other than our primal thought ‘I’, which thinks all other thoughts.

All other thoughts are anātma (non-self), anya (other than ourself) and jaḍa (non-conscious), and hence we cannot know our real self by looking at them. We are constantly looking at our thoughts throughout our waking and dream states, but we do not thereby know our real self. In fact, our attention to thoughts is the obstacle that obscures our knowledge of ourself, because we can attend to thoughts only when we experience ourself as this thinking mind.

The only thought that we should look at in order to know ourself as we really are is our primal thought ‘I’, because unlike all other thoughts, none of which are conscious, this thinking thought ‘I’ is conscious, both of itself and of the thoughts that it is thinking. That is, this thinking thought ‘I’ is the knowing subject, whereas all other thoughts are just objects known by it.

This thinking thought ‘I’ is conscious because it is chit-jaḍa-granthi, the ‘knot’ that binds consciousness to the non-conscious. That is, it is an entangled mixture of our ever-conscious real self, ‘I am’, and this non-conscious body (which is only a thought or imagination) and other thoughts, which inevitably arise when we imagine ourself to be this body.

In this entangled mixture, ‘I am this body’, the only real element is our fundamental consciousness ‘I am’. The other element, ‘this body’, is merely an imagination, and hence it is created only by our act of thinking. When we do not think anything, as in deep sleep, this body does not exist, just as a dream-body does not exist when we are not dreaming.

Since that which exists in all our three states of consciousness, waking, dream and sleep, is only our fundamental consciousness of being, ‘I am’, it alone is real, and everything else is just a false figment of our imagination. Since we experience our present waking body only in waking and not in dream or sleep, and since we experience a dream-body only in a dream and not in waking or sleep, these bodies are mere transitory appearances, and hence they cannot be real but are just thoughts that arise along with our thinking mind.

Of all the things that we think or imagine, the root is only our thinking thought ‘I’, which is our mind, the ephemeral consciousness that always experiences itself as ‘I am this body, a person called so-and-so’. Thus this false experience ‘I am this body’ is our primal imagination, and because it obscures the real nature of ourself, our pure ‘I am’, it enables us to imagine all other thoughts.

Since the only reality in our thinking thought ‘I’, which is this primal imagination ‘I am this body’, is our essential consciousness of being, ‘I am’, if we look at it carefully we will see the reality that underlies its false appearance, just as if we look carefully at an imaginary snake we will see the rope, which is the reality that underlies its false appearance.

Since no other thought contains this essential element of self-consciousness, ‘I am’, by looking at any other thought we will not be able to recognise it the reality that underlies it, no matter how long and carefully we may look at it. Looking at other thoughts is like looking at the pictures on a cinema screen, whereas looking at our thinking thought ‘I’ is like looking back at the light that projects those pictures.

If we were to look directly at the light shining out of a cinema projector, we would see not only the rapidly moving film in front of the light, but would also see the bright unmoving light behind that moving film. At first the moving film may seem to obscure the unmoving light behind it, but if we continue to stare at it steadily, our eyes will be dazzled by the light and hence we will cease to see anything other than that.

Likewise, when we look directly into the core of our consciousness, ‘I am’, its true clarity may at first seem to be obscured by an unceasing flow of thoughts, but if we continue to keep our attention fixed steadily upon it, it will shine ever more brightly and clearly and will thereby gradually dissolve all the shadowy appearance of thoughts, until it finally shines alone in all its infinite splendour and non-dual glory.

You ask what is to be followed, ‘look at your thoughts’, ‘see from where it occurs’ or ‘see who does all this’. As I have explained above, ātma-vichāra is not looking at any thought other than our primal thought ‘I’, so we should not follow the advice of anyone who says ‘look at your thoughts’, but we can follow either or both of the other two instructions, ‘see from where it occurs’ and ‘see who does all this’, which both mean essentially the same thing.

From where do all thoughts occur? They occur, arise or appear only from ourself, the ‘I’ who think them, and not from anything else. Therefore ‘seeing from where thoughts occur’ means seeing ourself, the thinking ‘I’, in whose imagination and by whose imagination all thoughts are formed.

Likewise, who does all this? Everything — every thought, word and deed — is done only by this same thinking ‘I’. Even though physical actions may appear to be done by our body, and words may appear to be spoken by our voice, our body and voice are both only instruments by which our mind acts. All bodily actions and words originate from our thoughts, and those thoughts are all thought only by ‘I’, the primal thought, which is our thinking mind. Therefore ‘seeing who does all this’ means seeing ourself, the ‘I’ that feels ‘I am thinking’, ‘I am speaking’ and ‘I am doing’.

Since this thinking, speaking and doing ‘I’ appears in waking and dream but disappears in sleep, it is not our real ‘I’, but is only an impostor who poses as ‘I’. However, it could not pose as ‘I’ if it did not contain at least an element of our real consciousness ‘I’, so when we see it very carefully, we will come to see the real ‘I’ that underlies and supports it, enabling it to appear as ‘I’.

That is, when we look carefully at this false thinking ‘I’, concentrating our entire attention upon it, we will see beyond the body and other imaginary adjuncts that we have superimposed upon it and will thereby recognise the pure adjunct-free consciousness ‘I’ that underlies it, just as when we look very carefully at the imaginary snake, we will see beyond its superficial appearance and will recognise that it is actually only a rope.

Our real ‘I’ does not think or do anything, but just is. That is, its essential nature is just being, and it is ever untouched by any thought or action. The ‘I’ that thinks and does action is only a superficial and transitory appearance, an illusion that exists as such only in its own self-deceiving imagination, but that which seems to appear thus as this false thinking and doing ‘I’ is only our real being ‘I’. Therefore when we examine the appearance carefully, we will come to see it as it really is — that is, as the thought-free, action-free, non-dual being ‘I’.

You also asked, ‘doesnt the one sees is also mind?’ (by which I assume you meant, ‘isn’t the one who sees also mind?’). Yes, that which makes effort to see itself, the false thinking ‘I’, is only our mind, which is nothing other than this thinking ‘I’ itself.

Our real being ‘I’ always knows itself perfectly clearly, because its nature is absolutely pure self-consciousness, so it does not need to make any effort to practice ātma-vichāra. That which needs to make effort to know itself as it really is is only our mind, the false thinking ‘I’.

When this mind makes effort to know ‘who am I?’ by looking very carefully at itself, it automatically subsides and merges in its real state of clear thought-free self-conscious being, and thus it experiences itself as the real being ‘I’ that it always truly is. That is, this mind rises and is active only so long as it attends to other thoughts — that is, to anything other than itself — but when it tries instead to attend only to itself, it subsides and ceases to be active, because without the imaginary support of anything other than itself this mind cannot stand or appear to exist.

When the illusion of thinking and doing is superimposed upon our being ‘I’, it appears to be this thinking ‘I’, our mind or ego, so our mind depends upon its constant activity of thinking in order to sustain its seeming existence. Thinking is the activity of attending to something that appears to be other than ourself, so it will cease when we focus our entire attention exclusively upon ourself, and thus our thinking mind will subside in our natural state of clear self-conscious being, in which it will cease to be this thinking ‘I’ and will instead remain as the being ‘I’ that it always really is.

Finally you ask, ‘Even though always the grace of guru is showered, why is that we cannot have atma vichara always?’ Grace is always abundantly available in our heart, where it shines clearly as our real consciousness, ‘I am’, but to benefit from it fully we must surrender ourself to it entirely by making our attention ahamukham (turning it to face selfwards) and thereby subsiding within.

We can keep our attention fixed on ourself only to the extent to which we have genuine love to do so. So long as we still have desire to experience anything other than our real self, our desires will impel us to think of those things and thus we will repeatedly succumb to pramāda or self-negligence, slipping down from our natural state of vigilant self-attentiveness or clear self-consciousness.

Whatever love we now have to turn away from the objects of our desires and to attend only to our real self, ‘I am’, has been enkindled in our heart only by the grace of guru, and having once enkindled the flame of this love, grace will continue to protect it, nurture it and help it to flourish, just as a gardener would protect and nurture a beautiful plant that he has grown from seed.

Grace is certainly doing its part, as it always has and always will, so it is up to us to do our part by surrendering ourself to it, attending to it exclusively and thereby allowing it to swallow us in the perfect clarity of pure self-consciousness, which is its true form. The more we persevere in our effort to attend only to self, the more clearly the light of grace will shine in our heart as ‘I am’, and the more it will thereby enkindle our love to be ever self-attentive.

Our love to be self-attentive is true bhakti — svātma-bhakti or love for our own self — and its intensity is directly proportionate to the intensity of our vairāgya or freedom from desire to attend to anything other than ourself. We desire to attend to other things only because of our lack of true vivēka, discrimination or right judgement — the ability to distinguish between the real and the unreal, the eternal and the ephemeral, and to discern that true happiness exists only in our real self and not in any ephemeral appearance such as our mind or the objects of its desires.

True vivēka can arise only from the inner clarity of mind and heart that is enkindled in us by the clear light of grace, which always shines within us as ‘I am’. Therefore when we attend to our essential consciousness of being, ‘I am’, we are opening our heart to the influence of grace, allowing it to shine clearly within us and thereby to enkindle and nourish the clarity of true vivēka in our heart.

When we begin to practice ātma-vichāra — self-investigation or self-attentiveness — we are starting a process that will escalate with ever-increasing momentum, like a snowball rolling down a hill, because the more we attend to ‘I am’, the more clearly we will experience it, and the more clearly we experience it, the more brightly the clarity of true vivēka will shine in our heart, thereby enabling us to free ourself from our desires and to love to be self-attentive ever more intensely, until eventually our mind will be swallowed forever in the absolute clarity of pristinely pure self-consciousness.


8
General topics / Sri Ramana Vachana Saaram
« on: January 12, 2013, 06:34:51 PM »
On The sacred day of Sivaprakasam Pillai Day- January 12, 2013 - we present the English translation of a rare work by him.

Sri Ramana Vachana Saaram

Translation by Devotees

This is the essence; This is the essence!
This indeed is the essence of Ramana’s words!
Tell me who is the real You! Seek the real You!
You are not surely the putrid flesh.
The body is born, the body dies.
The body knows not itself in deep sleep.
You are Knowledge. Knowledge is You.
Knowledge-Eternal is never born nor dies.
In sleep is Awareness of Self, not of body
You alone witness absence of body-consciousness
Do not all know that body takes birth
Is there anybody who is aware of birth of Consciousness?
You are not the body as declared above.
Destroy the false notion that you are the body
Seek ceaselessly your real nature
Think no other thought.
If the root thought ‘I am the body’
Subside; then all other thoughts subside.
‘Who is aware of the body’ -This quest
Alone will eliminate ‘I am the body’ notion.
The deluded one who thinks ‘I am the body’
Will crave for food, clothes and desires thereon
He who is free from the delusion ‘I am the body’-
His mind will not crave for food, clothes and desires extensive
Even as the end draws nigh, get not perturbed
Be tranquil; it is all God’s work
Ponder not the body is one, two or three(gross, subtle or causal)
Vain is such pursuit.
If you observe attentively
There is no scope for body-consciousness at all
Reject all appearance that seems apart [from You]
Reject it as ‘Not I’
All other dogmas and tenets are garbage-like collections
Remove them all away.
Repeatedly questing ‘Who am I’
The I-thought alone stays
The rest will be ashes.
When I-thought gets burnt away
Know that ‘That is the Real You’; bereft of thought
That which neither rises nor sets is the Real You shinning effulgent
As the Self shines like the resplendent Sun
Be that, never falling back
This is the essence, this is the essence,
This indeed is the essence of Ramana’s Teaching.


(From Ashram Website)


9
General Discussion / Quotes of Satya Sai Baba
« on: January 06, 2013, 11:21:10 AM »
I dedicate this thread to present some deeply resonating quotes of Baba. Thank you.


10
General Discussion / Amazing darshan of Hanumanji
« on: December 30, 2012, 10:00:56 AM »
i received this wonderful mail from Sri Ramanaduliji, sharing the same joy with you all -

This happened in Kalika Mata temple in Ratlam,M.P., last month. Pictures tell the true story. The Saint was telling the story of Ramayana and "Hanumanji" appeared in the form of langur !! The langur first went and sat near the singers and listened to the kirtan, held the mic of the mahantji, got blessed by him, then "blessed" the saints and then sat in front of Shri Ramji's photo and took some of the flowers (note similar position to Shri Hanumanji in the framed picture) and left quietly.




11
Forum Upgrade / tamil font display
« on: December 29, 2012, 03:26:58 PM »
Friends,

while viewing the tamil fonts in default size that is 10, "கின்ற சாலையிடை வே" in the space between words there is [] kind of rectangle mark, are others as well facing the same problem? But i noticed when I increase the font size to 11, then it is fine. it would be nice if this can be sorted out. Thank you.




12
General Discussion / Buddha on Brahmana
« on: December 28, 2012, 06:33:44 PM »
Stop the stream valiantly, drive away the desires, O Brahmana! When you have understood the destruction of all that was made, you will understand that which was not made.

If the Brahmana has reached the other shore in both laws (in restraint and contemplation), all bonds vanish from him who has obtained knowledge.

He for whom there is neither this nor that shore, nor both, him, the fearless and unshackled, I call indeed a Brahmana.

He who is thoughtful, blameless, settled, dutiful, without passions, and who has attained the highest end, him I call indeed a Brahmana.

The sun is bright by day, the moon shines by night, the warrior is bright in his armour, the Brahmana is bright in his meditation; but Buddha, the Awakened, is bright with splendour day and night.

Because a man is rid of evil, therefore he is called Brahmana; because he walks quietly, therefore he is called Samana; because he has sent away his own impurities, therefore he is called Pravragita (Pabbagita, a pilgrim).

No one should attack a Brahmana, but no Brahmana (if attacked) should let himself fly at his aggressor! Woe to him who strikes a Brahmana, more woe to him who flies at his aggressor!

It advantages a Brahmana not a little if he holds his mind back from the pleasures of life; when all wish to injure has vanished, pain will cease.

Him I call indeed a Brahmana who does not offend by body, word, or thought, and is controlled on these three points.

After a man has once understood the law as taught by the Well-awakened (Buddha), let him worship it carefully, as the Brahmana worships the sacrificial fire.

A man does not become a Brahmana by his platted hair, by his family, or by birth; in whom there is truth and righteousness, he is blessed, he is a Brahmana.

What is the use of platted hair, O fool! what of the raiment of goat-skins? Within thee there is ravening, but the outside thou makest clean.

The man who wears dirty raiments, who is emaciated and covered with veins, who lives alone in the forest, and meditates, him I call indeed a Brahmana.

I do not call a man a Brahmana because of his origin or of his mother. He is indeed arrogant, and he is wealthy: but the poor, who is free from all attachments, him I call indeed a Brahmana.

Him I call indeed a Brahmana who has cut all fetters, who never trembles, is independent and unshackled.

Him I call indeed a Brahmana who has cut the strap and the thong, the chain with all that pertains to it, who has burst the bar, and is awakened.

Him I call indeed a Brahmana who, though he has committed no offence, endures reproach, bonds, and stripes, who has endurance for his force, and strength for his army.

Him I call indeed a Brahmana who is free from anger, dutiful, virtuous, without appetite, who is subdued, and has received his last body.

Him I call indeed a Brahmana who does not cling to pleasures, like water on a lotus leaf, like a mustard seed on the point of a needle.

Him I call indeed a Brahmana who, even here, knows the end of his suffering, has put down his burden, and is unshackled.

Him I call indeed a Brahmana whose knowledge is deep, who possesses wisdom, who knows the right way and the wrong, and has attained the highest end.

Him I call indeed a Brahmana who keeps aloof both from laymen and from mendicants, who frequents no houses, and has but few desires.

Him I call indeed a Brahmana who finds no fault with other beings, whether feeble or strong, and does not kill nor cause slaughter.

Him I call indeed a Brahmana who is tolerant with the intolerant, mild with fault-finders, and free from passion among the passionate.

Him I call indeed a Brahmana from whom anger and hatred, pride and envy have dropt like a mustard seed from the point of a needle.

Him I call indeed a Brahmana who utters true speech, instructive and free from harshness, so that he offend no one.

Him I call indeed a Brahmana who takes nothing in the world that is not given him, be it long or short, small or large, good or bad.

Him I call indeed a Brahmana who fosters no desires for this world or for the next, has no inclinations, and is unshackled.

Him I call indeed a Brahmana who has no interests, and when he has understood (the truth), does not say How, how? and who has reached the depth of the Immortal.

Him I call indeed a Brahmana who in this world is above good and evil, above the bondage of both, free from grief from sin, and from impurity.

Him I call indeed a Brahmana who is bright like the moon, pure, serene, undisturbed, and in whom all gaiety is extinct.

Him I call indeed a Brahmana who has traversed this miry road, the impassable world and its vanity, who has gone through, and reached the other shore, is thoughtful, guileless, free from doubts, free from attachment, and content.

Him I call indeed a Brahmana who in this world, leaving all desires, travels about without a home, and in whom all concupiscence is extinct.

Him I call indeed a Brahmana who, leaving all longings, travels about without a home, and in whom all covetousness is extinct.

Him I call indeed a Brahmana who, after leaving all bondage to men, has risen above all bondage to the gods, and is free from all and every bondage.

Him I call indeed a Brahmana who has left what gives pleasure and what gives pain, who is cold, and free from all germs (of renewed life), the hero who has conquered all the worlds.

Him I call indeed a Brahmana who knows the destruction and the return of beings everywhere, who is free from bondage, welfaring (Sugata), and awakened (Buddha).

Him I call indeed a Brahmana whose path the gods do not know, nor spirits (Gandharvas), nor men, whose passions are extinct, and who is an Arhat (venerable).

Him I call indeed a Brahmana who calls nothing his own, whether it be before, behind, or between, who is poor, and free from the love of the world.

Him I call indeed a Brahmana, the manly, the noble, the hero, the great sage, the conqueror, the impassible, the accomplished, the awakened.

Him I call indeed a Brahmana who knows his former abodes, who sees heaven and hell, has reached the end of births, is perfect in knowledge, a sage, and whose perfections are all perfect.


(Dhammapada)


13
General topics / What is this Ego?
« on: December 28, 2012, 04:28:46 PM »
The gross egoism is not so dangerous as the subtle egoism

Ego or Egoism or Egotism or Ahamkara in Sanskrit is the self-asserting principle or Tattva born of ignorance or Prakriti. Abhimana is egoism. Garva is egoism.

The seed of this ego is the differentiating intellect or Bheda Buddhi. It is the ego which has created the idea of separateness from God or the Atman. It is the ego which is the root cause for all human sufferings and births and deaths.

This ego identifies itself with the body, mind, Prana, the senses. Wherever there is ego, there are mineness, selfishness, likes and dislikes, lust, anger, greed, hypocrisy, pride, jealousy, delusion, arrogance, conceit, impertinence, Vasanas, Trishna or cravings and Vrittis or Sankalpa, clinging to this earth-life (Abhinivesha), agency, doer (Kartha) and enjoyer (Bhokta).

You must have very clear understanding of the nature of this ego, if you want to annihilate egoism. Killing of egoism is killing of mind only. Destruction of thought, desires, cravings, mineness, selfishness, jealousy, pride, lust is really destruction of mind or egoism. Control of senses also is annihilation of the mind or egoism.

This egoism assumes a subtle form. The gross egoism is not so dangerous as the subtle egoism. Institutional egoism is a subtle form of egoism. The man identifies himself with the institution and gets attached to the institution or cult. He has no broad-mindedness or catholicity.

The working of egoism is very mysterious. It is very difficult to detect its various ways of working. It needs a subtle and sharp intellect to find out its operation. If you practise introspection daily in silence you will be able to find out its mysterious ways of working.

This ego likes his own birth place and district, people of his district, own mother tongue, his own relations and friends, his own ways of eating, mode of dressing. He has his own predilections and preferences. He dislikes others' ways of eating, dressing etc.

This ego wants to exercise power and influence over others. He wants titles, prestige, status, respect, prosperity, house, wife, children. He wants self-aggrandisement. He wishes to domineer and rule over others. If anybody points out his defects, his vanity feels offended. If anyone praises him he is elated. This ego says, I know everything. He does not know anything. What I say is quite correct. What he says is quite incorrect. He is inferior to me. I am superior to him. He forces others to follow his ways and views.

This ego will lurk like a thief when you start introspection and self-analysis. It will elude your grasp and understanding. You must be ever alert and vigilant. If you obtain the grace of the Lord through Japa, Kirtan, prayer and devotion you can easily kill this ego. Through Lord's grace only your self-surrender will become Perfect.

When this ego melts in the cosmic ego you will attain communion with the Lord or Self-realisation.

May you realise the goal of life and attain everlasting Bliss through annihilation of this little ego!

(Swami Sivananda)


14
General topics / Azhwar Songs
« on: December 23, 2012, 08:09:02 PM »
I open a thread dedicated to the Azhwars.



Azhwar means one who is "immersed" in the experience of God. They really, deeply immersed themselves in their devotion and bhakti towards the Lord Sriman Narayanan. Tradition reckons 12 Azhwars. All these Azhwars are one of the Amsams of Lord Vishnu, ,namely, the weapons, the Vanamaali, the GarudA, et al. There is a view that even the great Rishis are no match to the greatness of the Azhwars because the Rishis got their 'jnAnam' ( wisdom) as a result of their own actions of 'spiritual merit' ( Punyam) whereas the wisdom of the Alwars was the direct result of the Lord's divine grace and therefore called ' Divyam'. It is because of this that the works of Azhwars are called ' Divya Prabandham'.

Out of these 12 Azhwars one was a woman and two were kings. The first three Azhwars,viz., Poigai Azhwar, Boothath Azhwar and Pei Azhwar were called as "Mudhal Azhwars" as they lived during the same period and were born in the same year, same month and contiguous stars (Thiruvonam, Avittam and Sadhayam).

The period of the Azhwars based on Indian Historians range from 500 A.D for Poigai Aazhvaar, Bhoothatthaazvaar, Peyaazhvaar and Thirumazhisai aazhvaar ; 550 A.D. for Nammaazhvaar and Madhurakavi aazhvaar ; 600 A.D. for Kulasekaraazhvaar and Periaazhvaar ; 650 A.D. for Sri Aandaal ; 700 A.D. for Thoddaradippodi aazhwarand ThiruppaaNaazhvaar and 750 A.D. for Thirumangai aazhvaar

There are about 3800 compositions (known as Paasurams) of the 12 Azhwars available now. The well known 30 songs of Thiruppaavai are among the 173 composed by Andal, probably the first female composer of the world. The style of the 1360 compositions of Thirumangai mannan (Thirumangai Azhwar) is believed to be specially suited for music and dance. Ariakkudi Ramanuja Iyengar is responsible for re-introducing Thiruppaavai into Classical Music of South India. Late Shri V.V. Sadagopan, Musicologist, Professor of Carnatic Music, Delhi University, dedicated his life to bringing back many more Azhvaar Pasurams into the Musical realm.


Pray to Him to take it over.


15
General Discussion / Gayathri Mantra
« on: December 23, 2012, 07:49:04 PM »
This may be of very great interesting information worth circulating to one and all!
 
Dr. Howard Steingeril, an american scientist, collected Mantras, Hymns and invocations from all over the world and tested their strength in his Physiology Laboratory.. Hindus' Gayathri Mantra produced 110,000 sound waves per second.. This was the highest and was found to be the most powerful hymn in the world. Though the combination of sound or sound waves of a particular frequency, the Mantra is claimed capable of developing specific  spiritual potentialities.  The Hamburg university initiated research into the efficacy of the Gayathri Mantra both on the mental and physical plane of CREATION... The GAYATHRI MANTRA is broadcast daily for 15 minutes from 7 P.M. on wards over Radio Paramaribo, Surinam, South America for the past two years, and in Amsterdam, Holland for the last six months....


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