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.
People are surprised when they hear this. How can we practice the highest state from the beginning?
But this is exactly what Sri Ramana meant. Practice being absolutely natural from the very start!
Recognition of our nature as pure awareness is the goal. Awareness scanning Awareness, Awareness being Aware of Awareness is the method. Awareness abiding in Itself is the essence of the nonudal realization. Sri Ramana is clear on that point.
However, Sri Ramana gave the essential teachings in a variety of ways in his own words to suit the devotees. Sri Ramana’s words and sentiments that poured forth are imbued with a certain energy if one is in tune with the Sage of.
Self-Realization is a matter of sincere effort and whatever method one is using gradually clarifies into Self-Awareness. I recall Sri Ramana saying one time to an obviously sincere devotee something like ..”Realization will be forced upon you in spite of yourself…”
Note the term, “Forced upon you, in spite of yourself.” It totally bypasses any loyalty to a particular approach or method. Ramana’s own realization, you may recall, was “forced” upon him. The Divine does not ask our permission before the Self-revelation.
It is the sincerity of aspirant’s effort which calls forth Grace that leads to Realization. Ramana knew this intimately as only a Self-Realized Sage can know. A variety of works by Sri Ramana, the ancient stories he used from scriptures, or recorded conversations or recollection of devotees may be (and are) useful.
What I sense in some Ramana devotees is a certain rigidity and adherence to a sanitized structure of Sri Ramana’s teaching. It is only the play of the mind which in its narrowness assumes that it knows the Truth. In fact, Truth is what swallows up the mind! Even a great teaching repeated often without sensitivity to others and without in-depth understanding that comes from being the Heart, becomes ineffective.
Sri Ramana used to say that the highest teaching he gave us was in Silence. How one comes to this Silence and Recognizes It as one’s own essence as Awareness, as Sat-Chit-Ananda, is unique to all.
Did Sri Muruganar not write in one of his poems that……..the path a sage takes to Self-Realization is like that of a bird that flies in the sky. It leaves no trace.
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.