Sometimes we see people debating the language and methodology of Sri Ramana’s teaching. The question is often raised, “What is the purest form of Ramana’s teaching”?
The answer is obvious. That form of the teaching is the purest, which works for you. What bring you to Self-Knowledge and Self-Realization is the highest teaching.
Sri Ramana’s teaching is very straight forward. Despite the volumes of books and hundreds of expert commentaries, the essential teaching is simple. It is all an open secret for everyone to see.
Sri Ramana always emphasized that our nature is that of pure, unstained consciousness. “Awareness is another name for you”, the Sage of Arunachala used to say. Our spirit is of the nature of unbroken awareness that continues regardless of what our physical makeup is or what mental state the mind is in (sleep, dreaming, waking). If we deeply understand this, we have arrived at the central truth of the teaching.
Sometimes the students of Advaita debate which words or terms best describe the process of inquiry. Those who know the nature of the Heart directly become indifferent to argumentation and do not quibble over trivialities.
All of these terms, self-attention, self-awareness, self-remembrance refer to the same process of the subject turning within to itself, the subject. Self-inquiry focuses the mind on its source and the result is clarity of awareness.
Awareness by its very nature is always aware of itself but it is not an object to itself. We cannot understand this except by being in the Heart of Awareness and being the Heart.
In the world of duality, Oneness can only be indicated, but it cannot be known. Oneness cannot be known in duality because it cannot be an object to itself. Oneness cannot be known in duality because it swallows up duality. To know the Oneness intimately, one has to become That and to recognize One Is That! Do you see the beauty of this paradox?
Sri Ramana used to say that there are not two selves where one self is aware of the second self. Similarly there are not two forms of awareness. However, through the duality and agency of the perceptual mind, we can say that awareness being aware of itself is a refined and a subtle form of atma vichara (Self-Inquiry).
Ultimately, even this duality, being that of the mind (that any method necessarily presumes), vanishes as One Awareness shines forth as the Self that is the Heart; that the ancients termed Sat-Chit-Ananda. Existence-Consciousness-Bliss. One whole mass without divisions.
Once Sri Ramana said the whole truth is contained in the words”Be Still”.
So if one is self-aware and still, one has grasped the method.
A quiet, peaceful, and content mind that is awake and turned within to its source has grasped the method and the process of Self-Inquiry. This process itself turns into the goal when the mind merges into the Heart for Self-Revelation.
This was posted many years ago in 1999 on the HarshaSatsangh yahoo group by a disciple of Poonja-ji (also known as Papa-ji). Poonja-ji received instructions from Sri Ramana in the 1930s and considered himself a disciple of Ramana.
Poonja-Ji, spoke the following words in the beginning of Satsang 26/11/1992.
OM. Let there be peace among all beings of the universe. Let there be peace. Let there be peace. Om shanti, shanti, shanti. Namaskar, namaskar.
Behold the inner flame, eternally ablaze within the cave of your own heart and in the hearts of all beings.
There are three prescribed methods for it:
Number 1: Absolute dedication to it.
Number 2: Complete abandonment of all the desires which you have hitherto opted for and which have not given you satisfaction.
Number 3: Enquiry into the nature of Self.
These are the three ways to know who you really are.
What is this shining in your own heart?
Call it Atman, call it enlightenment, call it freedom. Any one of these ways is quite enough. Without this you would not be attracted to it.
This is your own beauty, your own love, your own light.
Over two years ago, I had started using Windows Live Writer with my wordpress blog. I even complimented Microsoft on making the Live Writer open enough to interface with other services like Google’s Blogger and also WordPress.com.
I suggested that the strategy to be more compatible with blogging services other than simply Microsoft’s own was a way to create some goodwill in the technology community and remain competitive with Google.
For a while, Microsoft seemed to follow through on their open strategy. The Windows Live Writer was made compatible with not only other blogging services but also with the Firefox browser which competes directly with Microsoft’s Internet Explorer.
Unfortunately, Microsoft’s early largess proved to be unsustainable. Windows Live Writer stopped being compatible with Firefox 3. At least that has been my experience. So much for Microsoft’s brave new vision to be more open to open source.
Now, in order to use Windows Live Writer, I have to use the Internet Explorer. I have not been doing that and instead am using wordpress’s own native menu which I am not fully used to.
Recently I thought about giving up and going back to Windows Live Writer by simply using the Internet Explorer. I may do that but don’t like to have my option of which browser to use restricted by the availability of a blogging client.
So I am experimenting with ScribeFire as my new blogging client as it is made especially for Firefox. I hope the learning curve will not be too steep. This post is written using ScribeFire. So far so good!
Technorati Tags: ScribeFire, Windows Live Writer, Firefox, Internet Explorer
This posting is the second in a series in which I will show some of the experience of walking Arunachala’s ‘Inner Path.’
The first posting shows the start of the walk from Sri Ramanasramam.
This posting continues with the walk where the initial posting ended, from the path near the access point where Perumpakkam Road meets Bangalore Road. This is the place where many walkers enter onto the Inner Path. This part of the Inner Path goes by the path up to Aum Amma’s and Papaji’s caves, by the Sadhu Tank, and ends at the Arunachala Reforestation station.
Previous postings show areas that can be reached while on this part of the Inner Path. Postings about Papaji’s cave can be found here and here. Aum Amma cave is shown here. A posting about the ‘Holy Feet of God’, Tiruvadi, South of the Sadhu’s Tank, can be found here.
A map of Arunachala and the Outer Path is below. I have marked this map with a few landmarks we use, and with an approximate map of the first two sections of the Inner Path pradakshina (girivalam in Tamil) shown in this series.
The Southwest section of the path is in blue.
The path starts after you go through the stone ‘gate’ leaving the first section. There is a ditch you walk through on the other side where the path starts. If it is full of water, there is an alternate to the right.
Looking to Arunachala through the trees before we start walking on this section.
Most of these photos were taken on a Sunday, and there were a few other people walking the path, including an elderly Indian couple that have lived for the last 30 years in Saratoga California, near where I lived, and who have heard of my spiritual teacher, Nome.
Many times during the week we will not see another person walking the Inner Path.
The path start winding through an area where trees provide a canopy.
The path branches to the right here. Do no go straight here; you will go back to Bangalore road.
Arunachala, the peak enshrouded in clouds.
The path in gentle here, winding through trees towards the mountain.
Now the path has turned East. The tall trees on the right were planted I think 10 – 20 years ago. There were many of this kind of tree planted in this area, and on the Northeast side of the hill.
Winding through this countryside. The red and white paintings are trail markers painted on stones. These are found all the way around the mountain to mark the Inner Path. Following these one should not get lost – just keep Arunachala to your right and keep walking.
Now the path has turned back towards the mountain. It is more rocky here.
Carol walking ahead of me.
Arunachala from the Inner Path, clouds at the top.
Continuing along the Inner Path. Now Parvati Hill, the small hill on the East end of Arunachala, with its two small peaks, is visible.
Note the stones lining both sides of the path. These are common in this section of the path. You will see them in many of the photos.
Parvati Hill, looking of one of the several small lakes found in this section of the path. These are behind earth berms, and I think are intended to help bring water back into the underground water table. It is early monsoon season now, and there is some water in this tank, which has been dry for the summer months (starting in April).
Again Arunachala in the clouds. This is from the berm shown above. Part way up the mountain, on the left side of the photo, a big rock formation is visible. This is where Aum Amma’s and Papaji’s caves are found.
The path is pretty here, and lined with stones on both sides.
Now winding through more trees. When the sun is out, these trees are much appreciated. Any shade is welcome. White and red trail markers are visible in the distance.
Coming out of the trees, Parvati Hill is again visible.
Back into the trees.
Now to the right of the trail is a big rock. Often, in the tourist season, you will see groups, sitting on this rock.
Early in the morning, you also may see a Sadhu, meditating.
Walking through more trees.
And finally we come to the Sadhu’s tank. This tank is, I am told, spring fed. What I have seen is that it has water all through the year, while most other tanks will dry out.
It is early in the morning, and there are Sadhu’s bathing, washing their saffron cloths and spreading them out to dry.
On the other side of the tank, there is a picturesque masonry arch, and a falling-down building. This is where we saw the Sadhu bathing in the photo above.
Now we follow the path once more through some trees.
And we get to one of the Reforestation Project’s tree nurseries.
Here is another stone gate, which marks the end of this section on the Inner Path.
The next part of this series will start from here.
Realized Sages such as Bhagavan Sri Ramana have indicated the experience or the state of the Self. It is what it is.
It is the Heart of Existence, and Existence It Self. Sri Ramana used to say that It is only Being.
You can call it what you like. Self, No-Self, Shunya, Reality. What difference can it make? The ultimate Reality cannot be named. It has no name. There is no one outside of Reality to give it a name.
Ancient sages taught that the core of our being is pure Sat-Chit-Ananda which roughly translates from Sanskrit as Existence, Knowledge/Consciousness, Bliss as One.
It is devoid of thought or doubt or conflict, but utterly complete and supreme over its domain, its domain being no other than It Self.
It is the Eternal Reality which is not conscious of anything separate from it, being Pure Consciousness Itself.
It is beyond happiness and despair, destiny and free will, and beyond time and space.
It is beyond the different paths, philosophies, religions and conceptions of the Divine. All of these concepts are play of the mind which sees differences everywhere.
People with much confidence speak of their way, their path, and their religion. People speak of their God, their insights, their Realization, etc. This is all fine.
Self-Inquiry starts when an aspirant sincerely inquires with intensity, Who is this “I” which conceptualizes all such things.
The root question in Self-Inquiry is “Who Am I?” That is the method taught by Sri Ramana Maharshi for reflective Self-Inquiry.
Real introversion of the mind can only take place when we look directly for the source of our very existence.
The feeling and sense of “I” or “Me” that everyone has naturally, is the clue to resolving the mystery of Existence.
Where does this sense of “I Am” comes from. Looking within and following this sense to its source leads to the Knowledge of the Self.
Namaste and love to all
When the HarshaSatsangh yahoo group started in January 1999, about a hundred or so people joined in the first few months. Here is a post of introduction that came to the group from Mic about his going to India and meeting Poonja-ji (also known as Papa-ji). Poonja-ji visited Sri Ramana and considered Ramana his Sat-Guru.
I don’t know where Mic is now, but his letter has stayed with me over all these years and I wanted to share it with you. I have only made minor edits in his letter to retain the original flavor of Mic’s vital spirit that comes through his words.
A brief introduction. My name is Mic, though most of my friends here call me Mohan. Advaita found its way in my heart as my heart in the summer of 91.
While wandering India, by chance I encountered Sri Poonjaji, a disciple of Bhagavan Ramana Mahrishi. I stayed with Poonja-ji and the small gathering there for two months. It was a time of great joy, intensity, revelation, and incomprehensible silence.
I mostly recall the great stillness. The presence of this man, Poonja-ji. In this dirty town of swirling dust storms and buildings swimming in the heat before me.
At night candles cast a golden hue upon the Indian markets, dancing in the buzz of bicycle songs and branches of lush red lychees being sold on the dusty streets.
The silence. The torrential flow of humanity, pulsing through the hot polluted streets, watermelon stalls.
The astonishing passion of seekers at Poonja-ji’s house. It was like the sweetness of sugarcane juice. It was the end of seeking itself in the embrace of the always so.
Like many there with Poonja-ji, I had also walked other roads in my search.
I had come to India on a Buddhist yatra, with plans to finish the journey in a Thai monastery. Yet relaxing into this resplendent heart of being, the seeking and the struggle fell. The seeker and the story melted away as monsoon rains of India drenched me in joy.
And I finally saw the True heart of advaita, as my own.
Leaving India, with the blessings of the mountain, I felt almost drunk on the ringing clarity of these words from the Tripura Rahasya;
” Know yourself as Pure Consciousness, the unaffected witness of the phenomenal world.”
Integrating this with a world that demands commitment and authenticity, I meet with surrender and an open heart.
Some days I struggle, some days I sing. The devotion I feel to Shakti I know is but a reflection within consciousness of this love.
And it is in this love I am earthed in freedom, and can play out my role in the theater of this world in peace.
Ultimately the mystery of existence is tied to the mystery of perception. What is it that we are truly able to perceive just as it really is, without interpretation? Whatever must be given interpretation is necessarily going to be distorted.
And yet there are moments in life which require no interpretation until they are remembered.
When two lovers meet there comes a moment of pure being without interpretation. It may be in a simple embrace. When a child is held by his mother, a similar moment arises for the child.
Such moments point to or indicate the possibility which is always alive in us. Self-Realization is simply that. It is infinity caught in the moment and the moment expanded to infinity.
Whether one is sipping tea, playing chess, in meditation, with friends, family, etc., that moment is always there. It is just You.
You, yourself, are this present moment. Here and now, you are free.
Editor’s note: Pramoda-ji is the President of the Jain International Meditation Center in Mumbai (Bombay). She is also on the on the Board of Directors for PETA in India (People For Ethical Treatments of Animals). She works for the Reverence for Life Society and for Beauty without Cruelty which promote animal welfare and the vegetarian way of life worldwide. Promada-ji has also authored a number of books – Foods of Earth; Tastes of Heaven – Jain Symbols – To Light One Candle (co-authored with Clare Rosenfield) – The Book of Compassion (coauthored with Pravin K. Shah). More on Pramoda-ji can be found on the Jain Meditation website.
Milk: At What Cost?
Today all are aware that the global warming, ecological crisis and environmental pollution is threatening the entire human race making it a matter of graveconcern for all, especially for those who are conscientiously aware. For those who do not know that when one life is threatened all life is at risk.It is all very well to say that individuals must wrestle with their consciences–but only if their consciences are awake and informed. Industrial society, alas, hides animals’ suffering and does not allow the conscience to awake.
When we observe minutely around us we see that even nature sees the whole universe as a great cosmic mechanism with its own self-propelling force. We being part of that mechanism we are responsible for conducting ourselves in harmony and rhythm with the nature and rest of the living beings. It is important to know that each of us is a vital thread in another’s life tapestry and so our lives are woven together for a reason, reason to survive and to live in peace and help others live in peace.
It is with this view that the core teaching of Dharma (Religion) has remained to be Ahinsa since time immemorial. All its practitioners are vegetarians consuming neither meat, fish, fowl, poultry nor eggs. Now with increasing awareness and knowledge of the torturous lives the animals live in the factory farms, there are millions all over the world who have upgraded themselves to becoming VEGANS.
*They live on plant based food, so exclude flesh, fish, fowl, dairy products such as animal milk, butter, cheese, yogurt (curd), ice-cream, eggs, honey, animal gelatin and all other items of animal origin like leather, silk, wool, pearl etc.
*All those who practice Ahinsa Parmo Dharma (Ahinsa the supreme religion) would not take any life for food, fashion or sport.
*It is time we face the truth and see how much suffering is involved in one tall glass of milk. Each sip contains growth hormones, fat, cholesterol, allergenic proteins, blood, pus, antibiotic, bacteria and virus. Hence milk is a deadly poison.
* It is with the increased prosperity, people are consuming more and more amount of meat and dairy products every year. Global meat production is projected to more than double from 229 million tons in 1999/2001 to 465 million tons in 2050, while milk output is set to climb from 580 to 1043 million tons.( FAO Food and Agriculture Organisation of UN 2006 Report )
Do You Know :
*According to a new report published on Nov.29th 2006 by the United Nations Food and Agriculture Organization, the livestock sector generates more greenhouse gas emissions as measured in CO2 equivalent – 18 percent – than transport. It is also a major source of land and water degradation.
*Factory farms produce run-off that pollutes our streams and rivers, endangering not only the water supply for humans but also harming delicate eco-systems.
*Meat-based diets require 10-20 times as much land as plant-based diets – nearly half of the world’s grains & soybeans are fed to animals.
*Cows produce milk for the same reason that humans do-to nourish their young.
*Calves born on dairy farms are taken from their mothers when they are just one day old and fed milk replacers so that humans can have the milk instead.
*In order to keep a steady supply of milk, the cows are repeatedly impregnated.
*Several times a day, dairy cows are hooked by their udders to electronic milking machines, which can cause the cows to suffer electrical shocks, painful lesions, and mastitis. Their udders become sore and heavy with the milking machines and touch the floors.
*Some spend their entire lives standing on concrete floors; others are crammed into massive mud lots.
*Although cows would naturally make only enough milk to meet the needs of their calves (around 16 pounds a day), genetic manipulation, antibiotics, and hormones are used to force each cow to produce more than 18,000 pounds of milk a year (an average of 50 pounds a day)www.chooseveg.com ( National Agriculture Statistics Service.-2004Feb.17 Milk production. USA Department of Agriculture)
*In order to further increase profits, Bovine Growth Hormone (BGH), a synthetic hormone, is now being injected into cows to get them to produce even more milk. The hormones adversely affect the cows’ health and increase the rate of birth defects in their calves. BGH may also cause breast and prostate cancer in humans.
*Cows have a natural lifespan of about 25 years and can produce milk for eight or nine years and when their milk production drops they are sent to the slaughter house.
*The stress caused by factory farm conditions leads to disease, lameness, and reproductive problems that render cows worthless to the dairy industry by the time they are four or five years old, at which time they are sent to the slaughterhouse.
Cruelty to a Veal Calf in a Crate
*Few consumers realize that veal is a direct by-product of the dairy industry. In order for dairy cows to produce milk, they must be impregnated. While female calves are slaughtered or added to the dairy herd, many male calves are taken from their mothers when they are as young as one day old and chained in tiny stalls to be raised for veal.
*Confinement is so extreme that they cannot even turn around or lie down comfortably. As author John Robbins notes, “The veal calf would actually have morespace if, instead of chaining him in such a stall, you stuffed him into the trunk of a subcompact car and kept him there for his entire life.”
*Many veal calves are deliberately kept anemic in order to produce light-colored meat, which fetches higher prices in restaurants. Their liquid-based, iron-deficient diets cause numerous health problems.
*Motherless and alone, they suffer from ulcers, diarrhea, pneumonia, and lameness.
*After three to 18 weeks of this deprivation, they are trucked to the slaughterhouse, where their young lives are taken from them.
The above information is taken from WWW.chooseveg.com
Veal calves are chained by their necks in tiny crates & fed an anemia-inducing diet. (www.chooseveg.com)
|Cows are extremely gentle and affectionate animals, forming strong bonds with one another, particularly between mother and child. As Michael Klaper M.D. recalls “The very saddest sound in all my memory was burned into my awareness at age five on my uncle’s dairy farm in Wisconsin. A cow had given birth to a beautiful male calf…On the second day after birth, my uncle took the calf from the mother and placed him in the veal pen in the barn-only ten yards away, in plain view of his mother. The mother cow could see her infant, smell him, hear him, but could not touch him, comfort him, or nurse him. The heartrending bellows that she poured forth-minute after minute, hour after hour, for five long days-was excruciating to listen to. They are the most poignant and painful auditory memories I carry in my brain.”|
*Does the above facts and truth strike a chord in your heart, or is it another piece of information to read and forget about it? Think, ponder and then decide. It’s your life, it’s your choice.
*Today the dairy cows and buffaloes in India also go through the same fate as their counter parts in western countries, becoming milking machines for human beings.
*The cows and buffaloes are kept pregnant every year for a consecutive 6-7 years period by artificial insemination.
*As soon as she stops yielding milk, she is dragged to the slaughter house for beef meat. The life span of a cow is 20-25 years but she dies in 6-7 years.
*Poor calves are deprived of their mother’s milk that is rightfully theirs. They are fattened by hormone injections and kept in dark sheds away from sunlight in oppressed conditions, preparing them for veal meat.
*These cows’ milk is for their calves but now milked for human beings.
*Their calves go hungry without a drop of milk and we become the cause (Nimitta) for their hunger and slaughter, violating the first vow of Ahinsa.
*This also affects our longevity (Ayushya) Karma. Reducing the longevity of others we reduce our longevity.
*The Jains believe that to take anything without the permission of their owner is a theft (Adattadan).
*They also know that it is acquiring the Karma of Obstruction (Antaraya) causing the separation of mother and its baby.
*Mahavir has emphasized foregoing passion creating foods in daily life (Vigaya).
*All dairy products are passion creating food.
*Giving up dairy and becoming Vegan we incur minimum of negative karmas and thus purify ourselves.
*Knowing the facts and yet if we are not able to change our food habits and give up dairy products we have to question our beliefs and commitment to dharma.
*How can we be at peace if we are causing pain and suffering to innocent living beings?
*The law of nature – Dharma is nothing but cause and effect. What we sow that we grow. Whatever suffering is caused to animals comes back to us like a boomerang?
*So becoming VEGAN is one of the most important and effective actions we can take to ease the strain on our Earth’s limited resources, protect the planet from pollution, prevent global warming, and save countless species from extinct.
To sum this up, let me quote Mahavir who expressed it succinctly:
“One who neglects or disregards the existence
of earth, water, fire, air, vegetation and other living beings
Disregards his own existence
which is entwined with them.”
Pramoda Chitrabhanu, Chairperson of Jaina Jivadaya Committee
Federation of Jaina Associations in North America
Also see the following related article by Pramoda-ji on ecology and vegetarianism on this site on the following link.