Guard Your Mind: By Dr. Mourad Rashad

Chuang Tzu said: The beggar who guards his mind and fears the waywardness of his thoughts, burns through every bond with the fire of his vigilance. The beggar who guards his mind and fears his own confusion cannot fall. He has found the way to peace”.

In the above saying, a beggar is a man who has not considered himself rich in anything. Therefore he never thinks nor behaves as if he is superior to anyone. A beggar is a man who never claims anything to himself. A beggar is a man who receives everything that life offers and never considers that he is either the owner of what he receives, or that he deserves what he receives. With such a manner, with such a way of seeing and experiencing his earthly and worldly existence he transforms this earthly and worldly existence into Divine Graces. Divine Graces are by definition undeserved favors and unmerited assistance. That is why Jesus Christ said “Blessed are the poor in spirit for theirs is the Kingdom of Heaven” (Mathew 5:3)

The man who lives in such a manner is ego-less or nothing or a big fat zero or is no longer the center of life experiences. This man experiences genuine peace. A genuine peace, because he has experienced the Kingdom of Heaven, here and now on this earth.

This man has come to understand that there is no need of him to be at the center of any experience, he is always in the background, happy by just contemplating and watching. Even when he takes a role -either for himself or for others- he attributes nothing to himself, but only contemplates and watches the Majesty and Magnificence of the overall panorama of the experience. He is always submerged in the Divine Graces of the Kingdom of Heaven. This overall panorama will guide his actions. The Lord will guide his steps.

He has known that it is his own way of thinking -agreed upon by everyone- that convinces him that he is needed to live and function and all the rest of his “worldly” activities in a fixed particular way.

This beggar has discovered the simple truth that says “there is no Need of me, I am out of the way, I am no longer at the center in any way whatsoever and therefore the experience is Majestic, Magnificent and Peaceful”.

He needs nothing and he desires nothing and everything is fulfilled on its own accord. Perfection surrounds him, because he is in the Kingdom of Heaven. Whenever a need is created in the experience either for him or anyone else, he never worries or feels burdened, because he knows it will be fulfilled without anyone’s help -but does not know how. The Lord will fulfill it.

Nevertheless, he is not always in this state. Unless he guards his mind it might stray again in the old habitual way where it convinces him that he needs to do something. That is how he falls back again on his knees and is delivered into confusion once more as it was before, and returns to the center of the experience due to his old worldly mode of thinking.

Abu Bakr Al Shibly -the Sufi master- said:” I guarded my mind for twenty years, then my mind guarded me for another twenty, then a state came where my mind and I were guarded forever”.

Continuously guarding his mind and whenever he comes in contact with a worldly incident that might trigger the old habit, the beggar  immediately reminds himself of the fact that he is not needed and how Majestic, Magnificent and Peaceful the Experience is, for he is in the Kingdom of Heaven, where Perfection reigns.

When this happens, he takes a step or two back and leaves the panorama once more empty of him and become contented by just contemplating again the whole scene. Accordingly, everything takes care of everything, The Lord takes care.  Majesty, Magnificence and Peace are re-established once more. The Divine Graces shower again. That is how by being vigilant he faces life.

Therefore, he starts appreciating and cultivating Faith in the fact of not being needed, together with the concomitant Experience of the Majesty, Magnificence and Peace .Until one day he will cultivate enough Faith in the fact of not being needed for anything, then this Majestic, Magnificent and Peaceful experience will be Permanent as it was before he has created his ego and its world. Even the disappearance of his body by death will not touch this Majestic Experience. Why death will not affect this Experience? Because nothing of him is needed for this Magnificent Experience, not even his physical body. Hence Ramana Maharshi’s  last words: I am not going away. Where could I go? I am here.”

Wisdom and Action – No. 3 – by V. Ganesan

This is  from a series of ‘sharings’ from V. Ganesan in Tiruvannamalai in the winder of 2008/2009.

Today, we are going to share on the third and fourth principles of what we have been sharing for the past few sessions. They are :

3. Sri Bhagavan said :“If one identifies oneself with the body, ‘Karma ’ [destiny] is inevitable and unavoidable (which means, that one is bound, one is in ‘bondage’ ). If one’s attention is turned inwards, one is always ‘free’ . One is ever a ‘Free Man’ .”

4. When asked whether His Direct Teaching could be put in a single word, Sri Bhagavan answered : “ ATTENTION ” [ “Ulladunar ” in Tamil, meaning, “Attention paying attention to ATTENTION.” ]

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( 1. In 1936, Paul Brunton asked the Maharshi : “Can a man of the world, viz.,one who is involved in worldly activities, practice this Jnana Marga or this Wisdom Path ?”

Sri Bhagavan’s cryptic answer was : “There is no contradiction between work and Wisdom.”

2. On another occasion, Sri Bhagavan said : “The only purpose of life is to realize the SELF. All other activities are a waste of time.” )

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There are two stories – like the two sides of the same coin – to elaborate on the “third principle”. We are all children in one way – each one’s heart is that of a child – and hence, throughout our living span of existence we are always absorbingly interested in listening to stories !

The First story to affirm that “if one identified with a body, destiny is inevitable” :

Major A.W. Chadwick was the first Westerner to settle permanently as a resident at the Ashram from 1938, till he dropped the body in the 1960s. He had adopted himself in such a harmonious traditional Ashram-way that viewers wondered over his way of life ! Once a devotee who was amazed looking at Chadwick, asked Sri Bhagavan as how it was possible for Chadwick to adopt himself to such a pious Hindu way of living.

Bhagavan gave the following reply : “Chadwick was with us. He had a great fascination for the Westerner way of life that he is born in the West. Now, he has come back to us !”

Paying attention outward of oneself and getting involved with activities outside of oneself traps one into the octopus grip of the ‘Law of Karma’ , giving effect to the series of birth and deaths !

The Second story confirms : If one’s attention is turned inwards, one is always ‘free’ . One is ever a ‘Free Man’.

Once a stranger from North India came to Sri Bhagavan and was firmly seated in the Hall. When almost all had left the Hall, he approached Bhagavan and pleaded, thus : “Bhagavan ! I had committed four murders in my life. I had escaped uncaught; not even my wife knows about it. Yet, my conscience now pricks me, very deeply too. Is there a redemption for me, my Lord ?”

Bhagavan gave him a Glance of Grace. After a few moments, slowly yet most assuredly he replied : “ Yes, there is redemption. Yes, there is redemption !

Give up the thought that you had murdered !” There ruled absolute silence.

The stranger shed profuse tears of joy and gratitude. He prostrated to

Sri Bhagavan and left. Many years after that, an old devotee, H.C. Khanna of Kanpur, happened to travel in the Himalayas. Bhagavan had already dropped the body. Khanna met a Swami with impressive countenance seated in a cave.

He introduced himself as a devotee of Bhagavan Ramana. The Swami got up and touched the feet of Khanna, saying : “You have come from Arunachala ! My God and Guru is Bhagavan Ramana. How fortunate and how blessed I feel in the proximity of a fellow-devotee of the Supreme Master ! “ He, then, narrated the whole story of “his Four Murders” and how there was no trace of affectation left in him; and, how following the commandment of Bhagavan, instantly released him from the grips of ‘Karma’ . After narrating this wonderful story to me, Khanna added : “Once, Bhagavan told me in the Hall : ‘ If one accepted the ‘Prarabdha Karma’ , it will start operating. And, if one refused to identify oneself with ‘Prarabdha Karma’ , operation of ‘Prarabdha Karma’ is totally nullified.’

Is it not clear that a true seeker should ever be a “dheera” [ bold & courageous ] ? How to deny the ‘Karma’ ? This will be the obvious next question ! Only by turning within and surrendering oneself to the Inner Guru.

Silence is the Inner Guru.

The fourth principle is of supreme importance : “Attention paying attention to ATTENTION.” Sri Bhagavan repeatedly guided us : “ Go within, Plunge within, Dive inwards.” To take one’s attention inwardly, one has to have a correct grasp of Bhagavan’s ‘Direct Teaching’ of “Wisdom Realistion”.

Read the following verses from Bhagavan’s Forty Verses on Reality ” :

Though the world and mind rise and fade together, the world shines by the light of the mind. The ground whence the world and mind arise, and wherein they set, that State of Perfection does not either rise or set, but ever shines supreme.

That is Reality.

Under whatever name or form we worship IT, IT leads us on to Wisdom of the Nameless, Formless Absolute. Yet, to see one’s true SELF as the Absolute, to subside into IT and be one with IT – this is the True Wisdom of Absolute Reality.

‘Twos’ and ‘Threes’ ** depend upon one thing — the ego. If one asks in one’s Heart, ‘What is this ego ?’ and finds it, they slip away. Only those who have found this, know the Absolute Reality. And, they will never be perplexed.”

[** ‘Twos’ = names & forms; ‘Threes’ = God,World,Jivas (beings) ]

There is no Wisdom without ignorance and without Wisdom. ignorance cannot be. To ask, ‘Whose is this Wisdom ? ‘Whose is this ignorance ?’ and thus to realize the Primal SELF – this alone is True Wisdom.

FORTY VERSES ON REALITY “ , v. 7,8,9,10

Sri Bhagavan has sung : “Easy is Self-Wisdom; the easiest thing there is.”

Let us adhere to his guidance and boldly take a plunge ‘within’ NOW and be the SELF !

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Related posts:

Satsang with Ganesan
Self nature, Faith and Attention
Wisdom and Action (No. 1)
Wisdom and Action (No. 2)

V. Ganesan Bio

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Born in 1936, up to the age of 14 years old, Ganesan grew up in the presence and proximity of Bhagavan Sri Ramana Maharshi. His sacred memory of the Great Master is rich in its content; and, even at that tender age he could see Sri Ramana as the greatest compassionate human being.

On April 14, 1950 – the day the Great Master chose to leave the body – the adolescent Ganesan stood near the entrance to the room where Sri Ramana was lying and was fortunate to witness the brilliant flash of Light that later moved towards the top of the Holy Hill – Arunachala.

Ganesan obtained a Master’s Degree in Philosophy; and, then came to stay permanently at “Sri Ramanasramam, Tiruvannamalai” – the sacred abode of Sri Ramana Maharshi – taking care of the Old Devotees of Sri Ramana. He did it as his sole sadhana (spiritual practice). In that way, he collected the reminiscences of Sri Maharshi from those Old Devotees which have never before been recorded.

His close contacts with sages and saints, including Swami Ramdas, Mother Krishnabai, J. Krishnamurti, Nisargadatta Maharaj and Yogi Ramsuratkumar, he says, have deepened and widened his understanding of the ‘Direct Teaching’ of the Maharshi. However, he feels himself to be an insignificant ‘dust’ at the Holy Feet of Bhagavan Ramana.

He has traveled widely and spread the ‘Direct Teaching’ of Sri Ramana Maharshi, in its pristine purity, wherever he was invited to give talks.

He has authored a few books on the life and teaching of Bhagavan Ramana. Among others, “Purushothama Ramana”, “Be the Self”, “Moments Remembered”, “Direct Teaching of Bhagavan Ramana” and “Practising Self-Enquiry” , are very popular.

At the veranda of his cottage – “Ananda Ramana” – he meets earnest seekers, every Monday and Thursday, between 9.30 and 11 a.m., sharing with them the spiritual treasure entrusted with him by all these holy and sacred souls.

Radhe’s Tears

hindu_deity_qd15_l1

Hear this! I Am the One
You will dance with in the end.
Isn’t that what you told me?
Come…join with me, Anand

Come…join with me
Fill me until I burst with Thee
Shower me with your nectar,
So sweet, my sweet Beloved

Come…join with me
Whisper beauty into my mind
Only you, nothing else will do,
So soft, my soft Beloved

Come…join with me
Sacred the initiation
Sacred the revelation

Come…join with me
Dance the dance
which has no End
Eternally, my sweet Anand

Come…join with me
Replace my tears of longing
With tears of joy again
Now it is my turn to say…

Come…join with me
Please…let me love You
Lord of my Heart
Hold me in your sweet Embrace

Come…join with me
Drown me in your ocean
Lost in your Holy Grace

Come…join with me
Please…let me love You
Nothing else I want to do

Just Dance the Eternal Dance
With You…One…Never Two

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Today is a very special day for us. I will come to you in a way I have not come to you before, and you will be transformed. Radhe listened to these words with a mixture of anticipation and apprehension. While she longed for a return of the union with Him as she had known it before, that had not yet happened. There were reasons for this, and she knew she had to accept it and surrender to whatever He had in mind for her. So her feelings of anticipation stemmed from her hope that she would again know His love permeating her entire being, her entire physical body and soul and even beyond it, enveloping even the space around her physical presence.  Since He said He would come to her in a way that He had not come to her before, this prompted some apprehension that she, the nothing that she knew herself to be, would somehow fall short in His glorious presence. He assured her this would not be so.

And so, the day passed with little preparations, including a trip to the flower store where she bought her flowers. Get whatever you want today…this is a special day. So she wandered around the flower display several times, picking out bouquets to put together into vases, more than she would usually buy. There was a lovely and unusual bouquet of one dozen roses, which she passed up because the price was a little high compared to the others she had chosen. Radhe chatted with a woman who was also looking at the flowers, and took her to the bouquet, saying, “Isn’t this beautiful? But I am not going to buy it!” The other woman agreed that it was beautiful and they both continued their search.

Once Radhe had all the flowers she wanted, she carried her bouquets over to the produce section to look for the Italian bread with a nice and thick crust they had fresh everyday and which she loved.  As she stood in line, she saw the woman with whom she had been chatting and to whom she had shown the lovely roses, standing in line. She was looking inhto her wallet and declaring to Radhe that she had forgotten to bring enough money with her. Radhe had been in the same situation, having forgotten cash, or worse, not having any money to spend on such things as flowers. This place was cash and carry, so she offered to give her a few dollars to buy what she wanted from the flower section. The woman politely refused her offer.

Radhe came to the front of the line. One last loaf, and she grabbed it! As she walked away with it, He told her to get the roses which she had passed up.  So she went over and picked them up.  As she did so, she also realized that she had more flowers than she needed now and there was a reason for it. She looked into her bunch of bouquets and spotted a pretty bouquet of spray roses which were close in the crimson color to the roses she had just picked up, but not the lovely mix streaked with yellow that her large roses had. She went to the flower counter and bought all of her flowers.

She pulled the bouquet of crimson spray roses out from her collection, and ran over to the woman who was still standing in the line. First, she showed her the dozen roses she had just bought, all crimson with yellow streaks in them. “I lied” she laughed, as she and the other woman smiled at each other at her giving in and buying them anyway. Then she held out the crimson spray roses to the other woman and said, “These are for you.”  The other woman did not decline them, as a big smile crept across her face, and she exclaimed as she hugged her gift, “Thank you so much. Today is my birthday.” Radhe could not have felt better, having given this woman an unexpected gift, and on her birthday, from Him. “Happy Birthday!” she exclaimed and ran out the door with her purchases.

Later that day, she had scheduled a much needed massage for her achy muscles, which had been bothering even more recently. Even though there were things going on at the Temple that night, she had planned this massage because in her mind, she had a date with Him tonight, as He had already indicated to her earlier in the week that this was a day for them. Before the massage began, the woman who was about to massage her, named Tricia whom she had known for years, asked her what her intentions were for the massage that evening. Radhe hesitated a moment, and said., “Ask me when you come back in.” Her thought had been that she just wanted to be pampered and feel loved. He interrupted that thought to ask her to surrender to His request that her intention would be to allow Him to express His love for her through Tricia’s hands. So she made that her intention and the massage was especially beautiful, as she lost herself in the love that she envisioned coming her way from Him, a prelude to the evening ahead. After the massage, she said to Tricia, “You never asked me my intention.” Tricia looked surprised for a moment, and then said, “I forgot to ask you.” Radhe told her, “You do not have to ever ask me again as my intention will always be the same.” She then told her that her intention would always be to allow God to express His love through her (Tricia’s) hands.

She went home feeling content, but now the uncertainty resurfaced again, as the evening became night and now it was nearing the time. She took a bath, and placed the three yellow carnations He chose into the bath with her. When her bath was done, she took the carnations and placed them at her pujya to Him, offerings in anticipation.

When it was time to go to bed, He instructed her to just lay quietly, one of the yellow carnations in her hand, and wait for Him to come to her. Then He told her to place the carnation on the pillow next to hers. She waited, and she waited. Then He came to her, but not in any way near to what she might have hoped for.  How was this any different from what it had been since He returned?  Oh, yes, He talked to her in her head, but nothing happened as He witheld Himself from her in much the same way it had been since His return to her life only recently after years of realtive absence. Only now, there was even an element as if He were playing with her emotions, as He said, “Enjoy my divine yoga,” but nothing happened to her, not the overwhelming presence which had enveloped her entire being before, so long ago now it seemed. She lay there, tears now streaming down her face as she realized that this was just going to be another night of broken promises to come to her, something which had been happening since His return to her. She clutched the yellow carnation into her hand, and fell asleep.

The next morning she woke up to the realization of what had not happened, and began to cry again. As the tears flowed, so too did the anger which rose from her pain. “I do not ever want to see Him again,” she said to herself, knowing she did not mean it but needing to say it anyway. The pain of his betrayal of his promise is even worse than the pain of her longing for Him. “Why does He do this?”  He is supposed to be the keeper of his promises, yet he does not always keep His promise to come to her. She was not even asking for that in the first place.

All she wants is to love him. So as her tears flow, she cries to him, “I do not understand why you do this to me. It is MERCILESS! You are not merciless, so why do you act this way? This behavior of yours goes completely against everything I believe you to be. You are supposed to be karuna sagara…this is not karuna sagara… this is callous to my feelings and my tears.”  Stomping her foot to the ground in anger, she continues, “I am not asking for these things so why do you promise them to me in a way that makes me anticipate them because you promised it…then you do not keep your promise? Why do you make the promise in the first place? What purpose could it possibly serve when all is does is hurt me and make me cry? And if you do not keep this promise, how can I know you won’t also break your other promises to me? I so want to trust you and now I am afraid to trust you and let you hurt me again.” Her tears continue to flow as her heart is breaking from the pain she feels for Him, combined with her longing to not be angry with Him, and her feelings of abandonment, her whole world of devotion to Him falling apart. She runs downstairs without looking back.

And so He calls to her to come to Him, acting as if nothing is wrong and all should be forgotten. Well, she is not forgetting and turns away in her anger and pain. He calls to her to come to Him again, as she had been doing, to her pujya to Him, all she has of Him. But she refuses. He relents, giving her time to calm down. She busies herself in the kitchen and thinks about the evening which has just passed. She cannot stand the pain she feels and cries bitter tears of betrayal and feeling more separate from Him, when all she wants to do is to love Him. Conflicted by her feelings, she is even more distraught as she stands her ground in her refusal to go to Him as He waits quietly. But as always, her love for Him, grounded in the love He gave so freely to her in what seems now like an eternity ago, wins over her anger, and she thinks to herself that she has to eventually go back up to her pujya and to Him.

Then He jokes to her, “Well, maybe now I don’t want you to come to me since you do not want to.” In spite of herself, she has to laugh at his gentle humor and all her anger vanishes. In an effort to soothe her and make it all go away, He says, “ I would like to explain it to you, dear Radhe, if you will just listen.” So she goes upstairs and kneels before Him, tears streaming down her face yet again.

“It is not about my promises which are not kept. This is about teaching you so you understand and can explain to others by your own example, the forgiveness you show me is the same forgiveness I show the devotee, who claims to be mine in words, but in action never comes to me as promised. And sometimes, this happens again and again with the same devotee, making the promise, pledging life and love to me, and then returning to the material world, forgetting about me completely. The pain you feel matches the pain I feel when this happens. I do not want to hurt you and all the tears you cry pierce my heart like a knife and I cry with you for the pain I have caused you. But it is your dharma in service to me to be the eternal example of unselfish love and devotion to me. In that devotion, you indeed become me, now able to teach by your example, the devotion and love I feel for my devotees. That no matter how many times they tell me they are mine, yet walk away from the promise so many times, the pain I feel in that betrayal of the promise of devotion is like yours now.  But like you I cannot be angry with them and I will wait for them to keep the promise they make. After all, I have eternity to wait. Do you understand now?”

Radhe is silenced by His words to her, her anger completely drained. She never thought of Him this way before. She is almost dumfounded by what He had just said to her and needs to absorb it. He had indeed come to her in a way He had never done before. She had been transformed, but not in the way she had expected.

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Oh! Arjuna!
There is a way easier than all these paths that have been spoken by ME.
And that is surrendering unto ME!”
‘Surrender unto ME, totally!’
If you would only surrender unto ME totally
there is no need for dhyãna, karma, bhakti or Jnãna.’

http://www.madhuramurali.org/swamigal/essay/ji_sharanagati.html

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Author’s comments…Special thanks to Shri Vinodji for finding the image in this post, one which I had found and misplaced.  At my request, he went online and searched for me, finding this image and sending it to me.  More special thanks to him for posting the following article, one which helps explain the eternal RadhaKrishna.     http://www.stephen-knapp.com/radharani.htm

Dandavat pranams to you, Vinodji!

Hare Krishna, Hare Krishna,
Krishna Krishna, Hare Hare,
Hare Rama, Hare Rama,
Rama Rama, Hare Hare.

 

ULLADU NAARPADU (Reality in Forty Verses) – Verse #5

ULLADU NAARPADU
(Reality in Forty Verses)

The famous Vedantic poem in Tamil by Bhagavan Ramana Maharishi
(consisting of two preliminary verses called Mangalam, 40 verses which form the main text , and another 40 verses called the Appendix)

Detailed Commentary in Tamil by Lakshmana Sharma,
adapted into English by Profvk

(Continued from ULLADU NAARPADU – Verse No.4)

Introduction to Verse No.5

The world appears only under the canopy of the Ignorance in the form of the ‘I-am-the-body’-conviction. So this verse says ‘The world is not different in the nature of reality from that of the body; as the body is, so is the world.’

Verse #5

uDal pancha-kosha uru; adanAl aindum
uDal ennum sollil oDungum. uDal andRi
uNDO ulagam? uDal viTTu ulagattaik-
kaNDAr uLarO? kazhaRu.

Translation (Lakshmana Sharma)

Since every body in the world comprises five sheaths, all the five sheaths together answer to the name of ‘the body’. Such being the case, say, does the world really exist apart from the body? Say, is the world seen by any one without a body?

Translation (Prof. K. Swaminathan)

The body is made up of the five sheaths; in the term body all the five are included. Without the body the world is not. Has one without the body ever seen the world?

Translation (Osborne)

The body is a form composed of the five-fold sheath; therefore, all the five sheaths are implied in the term, body. Apart from the body does the world exist? Has anyone seen the world without the body?

Word by Word

uDal : the body
pancha-kOsha uru : a form of five sheaths.
adanAl : therefore
aindum: all the five
uDal ennum sollil : in the name of the word ‘the body’
oDungum: is encompassed; is included
uDal anDri: devoid of the body
uNDO? : is there (something)?
ulagam : (called) the world
uDal viTTu : without a body
ulagattai : the world
kaNDAr : those who have seen
uLarO? : Do they exist
kazharu : say

Commentary by Lakshmana Sharma

The truth mentioned here is contained in the latter two lines of the verse. Universes are many: the world of the waking state, the world of dreams, heaven, hell and so on, they say there are many worlds. Whatever world it may be the one who sees that world would also see himself as a body in that world. This is why it was said at the beginning of this chapter (Verse 1) that the seer is contained in the world of the spectacle seen by him. It is an established fact that it is impossible, without having a body, to see a world.

‘When the dream world is seen, the seer does not have a body; the body actually lies like an inert one on the bed’ – To meet this objection, the first part of the verse says the body comprises both the physical and the subtle one. The Vedantins say that the body has five sheaths (‘koshas’). The body comprises the five koshas: anna-mayam, prANa-mayam, mano-mayam, vijnAna-mayam and Ananda-mayam. Of these five even if one of them remains, correspondingly there will be a world-appearance for that. Only when none of the five are present – that is in the state of Self-Realisation – the world will not appear. The body is not the Self. Therefore it is clear that only in the state of Ignorance is the world seen. But the general opinion is that the world is seen and therefore it is real. This is not sufficient reason to conclude that the world is real.

The Anna-maya kosha (Food Sheath or Gross Sheath) is just flesh and bones. It is created by the food ingested and hence its name. Between this sheath and the mano-maya kosham (Mental sheath) there is the connecting link of prANa-maya kosham (the vital sheath), which is the second sheath. This second sheath consists of karmendriyas (senses of action). In the mano-maya-kosham, sankalpa (the state of decision to do something) and vikalpa (the state of indecision) and the vAsanAs consisting of desires and the like – all these are included in this third sheath. The fourth, vijnAna-maya-kosha (Intellectual Sheath) consists of the intellect, ego and the cognition-senses. Ananda-maya-kosham is full of Ignorance (ajnAnam). When the other four koshas are resting in sleep, this alone remains. It is called the Bliss sheath (Ananda-mayakosham) because sleep is blissful. It is because this remains active in sleep, we wake up from sleep with the ego and all other things waking up along with us and we resume the enjoyment of the experience of samsAra-bondage. The ego and all its gang lie dormant in the subtle form like a seed in the Ananda-maya-kosham and spring back (on our waking up) by the force of our karma. In other words, from the state of Ananda-maya sleep, where only the bliss sheath remains, nobody goes to the ultimate stage of mukti or the Self-Experience. Actually we have to go to the mukti (the state of jnAna) stage even while awake, by destroying the ego situated in vijnAna-maya through the sAdhanA of Self-Enquiry. Waking, dream and sleep all three occur in the state of ajnAna one by one. In these states, some sheath or other will keep the Atman in hiding. When one is devoid of all the five sheaths, that is the state of jnAna, called turiya (the fourth). Bhagavan explains in the Appendix that this is the Absolute Reality and the other three are unreal appearances.

[Note by VK: Shri A.R. Natarajan in his ‘Teachings of Ramana Maharishi – An Anthology’, quotes from ‘Sri Ramana Reminiscences’ p.18 as follows:
“An analogy for the five sheaths would be the scented kerchief. It has material, texture, dimension, colour, and scent corresponding to the five sheaths. But the five are not distinct from one another. They co-exist together in every fibre of the kerchief. Similarly the five sheaths are integrated together in the Self.”]

This is the only place where Bhagavan talks of these five sheaths. The Vedantins speak of these five sheaths as divided into three ‘bodies’. They are the physical body (sthUla-sharIra), the subtle body (sUkshma-sharIra) and the causal body (kAraNa-sharIra). The physical body consists of the annamaya-kosham of flesh and bones, the subtle body is the mind and the causal body is the ajnAnam or avidyA. The three koshas of prANa-maya, mano-maya and vijnAna-maya together constitute the subtle body. The causal body is the Ananda-maya-kosham. Later in this text Bhagavan will talk about the subtle body.

If while being alive, the JIva reaches the ‘sahaja-state’ of mukti by Self-Realisation, then the causal body vanishes and consequently all the three bodies vanish. So it is wrong to think that such a JIva is in the world with a body. But in the view of the rest of the world it will appear as if his physical body and subtle body are remaining. Of course this raises several questions. We shall take them up later.

(To be continued in Verse 6)

ULLADU NAARPADU (Reality in Forty Verses): Verse #4

ULLADU NAARPADU
(Reality in Forty Verses)

The famous Vedantic poem in Tamil by Bhagavan Ramana Maharishi
(consisting of two preliminary verses called Mangalam, 40 verses which form the main text , and another 40 verses called the Appendix)

Translation into English by Lakshmana Sharma
Detailed Commentary in Tamil by Lakshmana Sharma,
adapted into English by Profvk

(Continued from ULLADU NAARPADU – Verse No.3)

Introduction to Verse No.4

Besides the most eligible seekers (uttamAdhikAris), in order that for the other medium level seekers devotion to the Atma-svarUpa and dispassion for the material world may increase, — in other words, for them to get the detachment from the world, born out of conviction that the world is a myth and that it is impractical to expect happiness out of it –Bhagavan explains in the following verses how the world is only a mental construct and the mind also is unreal.

We have already said that the world is nothing but names and forms. This verse says those forms are not real, only mAyA.

Verse #4

uruvam tAn Ayin ulagu param aTru Am
uruvam tAn andREl uvatRin uruvattaik
kaNNuRudal yAvan? evan? kaN alAl kAtchi uNDO?
kaN adu tAN andam ilAk-kaN.

Translation (Lakshmana Sharma)

If the Self have form, then the world and God also would have form. But since the Self is formless, by whom and how are forms to be seen? Can what is seen be of a different nature from the seeing eye? The (real) Eye is just the Real Self, and that Eye is infinite, unconditioned worldless, without a second.

Translation (Prof. K. Swaminathan)

If Self has form, the world and God likewise have form. If Self is without form, by whom and how can form (of world and God) be seen? Without the eye, can there be sight or spectacle? The Self, the real Eye, is infinite.

Translation (Osborne)

If one has form oneself, the world and God also will appear to have form, but if one is formless, who is it that sees those forms, and how? Without the eye can any object be seen? The seeing Self is the Eye, and that Eye is the Eye of Infinity.

Word by word

uruvam : form
tAn : the Atman
Ayin : if it be
(uruvam tAn Ayin: if the Atman has form)
ulagu: the world
param: and the Supreme
atRu Am: will (also) be so.
uruvam : form
tAn : the Atman
andREl: if it be not
(uruvam tAn andRel : if the Atman is formless)
uvatRin : their
uruvattai : forms
kaNNurudal: the Seer
yAvan? : who is it?
evan? : how
kaN alAl : other than the eye (kaN = eye)
kAtchi : sight or spectacle
uNDO? : does there exist?
kaN adu: The (True) Eye
tAn : Atman
andam-ilA: without end; infinite
kaN: eye.

Commentary by Lakshmana Sharma

Whatever the quality of the eye so is that of the sight or spectacle. By this maxim, for those who are under the conviction that this body is the Self – that is, for the ajnAnis – the world will appear as distinct from them and as a conglomeration of forms. Not only that. They are prone to think that the Absolute also has a form and they would want to see it –which is but natural. But that does not anyhow prove that those forms are real. In Self-Realisation there are no forms.

For the words ‘kaN alAl kAtchi uNDO?’ of the text, besides the interpretation mentioned above, there is another. ‘Whatever is the nature of reality of the seer, that which is seen has no other distinct reality.’ Only when The JIva who is the seer appears does the seen world also appear. The substance of this is that in the Absolute state of experience there is only the Atman, no JIva, no world.

An ajnAni is one who lives with the conviction that he is this body. Here the ‘body’ includes both the physical and the subtle. The subtle body is the mind. He who lives with the conviction that he is ‘his’ mind is also an ajnAni. Both the bodies are only forms.

An ajnAni in addition to seeing himself as a form simultaneously sees also other forms; he integrates them all into one and calls it ‘the world’. With his physical eye that is only a part of his body he sees that body as well as all the other forms. That eye itself is a form. Bhagavan has said that of whatever nature is the eye so is what is seen. By that maxim, both the eye and all the spectacles are all forms.

This eye itself shines by another eye known as the mind. That is also a form, but subtle. Therefore whatever is seen by the mind-eye are also only subtle forms.

Mind is not self-effulgent. It shines because of the light of the Atman. This will be clear when we come to #22 (‘madikkoLi tandu’). Therefore it is the Atman that is the real Eye. It is an eye full of Knowledge (jnAnam). It has no form. Since the Atman-eye has no form whatever is ‘seen’ by it also has no form. Only forms create duality and differences. In the complete state of Self-Realisation that is formless there is no duality. The Atman is non-dual. In other words having vanquished the ego and the mind by the sAdhanAs that are to be mentioned hereafter, when we are in the Realised State of oneness with the Atman, the only thing that remains is the formless Atman. That Atman has been described as the Infinite Eye in this verse.

This tantamounts to saying that all the physical as well as subtle forms are only mental constructs, not real.

It is Brahman that is the pure Atman that we imagine as God. Brahman is the Absolute. We call God as the Absolute Person. And we think that this God is distinct from us. It is because of the ‘I am the body’ attitude that we consider Him as distinct and for the same reason we consider Him as having form. This form is a mental construct. Each one of us has our own imagination about Him and accordingly various forms of God are imagined. All of them are mental constructs and so not real. In truth, the Absolute Person is the same as Atman, not distinct. So long as we consider the Atman as having form, we have to consider Him also as having a form — as per the maxim already enunciated. In the state of Self Relisation the imagined form of the Absolute Person becomes unreal along with all the forms of the world and then what remains is only the Atman. That ‘Form’ (SvarUpa) of the Atman is the truth of the Absolute Person that is God. This has been emphatically reiterated by Bhagavan on several occasions.

This also explains why so long as the ‘I am the body’ conviction does not get eradicated, we ajnAni devotees cannot but think of the Absolute Person (God) except through a form. And Bhagavan says that will do only good; for then the devotees get to worship God.

Of course there are those who put forth the argument that in reality the Absolute God is formless and so it is wrong to worship Him with form. Here Bhagavan’s words ‘kaN alAl kAtchi uNDO?’ of the text should be noted. That they are only prattling without having understood the meaning of these words of the text, will be clear from the following conversation which Bhagavan had with a group from another religion, when they accosted him with the argument that when God is formless how anybody can worship Him in a particular imagined form.

Adherent of the Other Religion (AOR): Does God have a form?
Bhagavan (B): Who said He has?
AOR: In that case is it not wrong to worship Him in a form ?
B: Let that be. Do you have a form?
AOR: Certainly. See, here it shows.
B: Is this form which is of six feet, black colour and with a moustache and a beard, is this itself you?
AOR: Yes.
B: Even when you sleep, is this itself you?
AOR: Certainly. As soon as I wake up I notice that I am this only.
B: Even after the death of the body, is this itself you?
AOR. Yes.
B: In that case, when the relatives come and want to remove the body and take it out of the house for burial, will this body proclaim ‘Oh. This house is mine. I will stay here only. You should not take me out for burying me’?

That was the time when the adherent of the other religion realised where his argument was leading him. And so he claimed: “I am not at all this body. I am the life within.” And Bhagavan replied: “You see. So far you were holding on to the tenet that you are the body. This is the basic Ignorance. It is from this Ignorance (ajnAnam) all other ignorances spring forth. So long as this primal Ignorance is not vanquished, the other ignorances will continue to exist. But they are not so harmful. If this primal Ignorance is got rid of, the others will follow suit”.

Further the ‘I-am-the-body’ –minded person is mistaken if he thinks that he is meditating on the Impersonal Godhead. The Truth of God is He is the Atman; so He is not amenable to any meditation or thinking process. When one meditates, he has to imagine a subtle form and that is what he meditates on. Meditation on the Formless is an impossibility. But one should not under-estimate the value of meditation on the Form and should not therefore shirk from it. Some one asked Bhagavan: “Meditation on the Formless is not possible to accomplish. Meditation on the Form is of a lower value. So what should I do?” Bhagavan replied: “Who asked you to compare the two and distinguish them as higher and lower? By doing the meditation on the Form one can realise the Formless”.

The dialogue that Bhagavan had with the adherent of the other religion shows how from the innocuous question: ‘Does God have a form?’, one is led on to the more fundamental question: ‘Does the inquirer have a form?’. In the same manner whatever question arises, one will be led on to the question: ‘What is the truth of oneself?’. In fact it is that question which is at the bottom of all questions. This question is of the nature of Self-Enquiry, of the kind: ‘Who am I?’. That is what makes it possible to know the truth of oneself. He who does not experientially know this truth will not be able to know the truth of anything. Therefore every question that arises has the answer: ‘Find out who is asking this question’. If you pursue this both the questioner and the question will vanish.

To be continued in Verse #5.

How To Stop Arguing? – Part 3: By Dr. Ram Chandran

Resolving Arguments And Problems

Problems are best resolved when we agree to discuss these together in a creative capacity to find useful insights that can benefit all parties.

Creativity is only possible when we conduct our discussion that avoids escalating patterns of polarization. Arguments can only be effective if and when we force ourselves not to get caught up and trapped in the right/wrong paradigm.  An agreeable resolution will become feasible when the “right/wrong” paradigm gets transcended.  If this doesn’t happen within a reasonable time, we should be wise to put off our discussion and observe silence for few days until we cool down.

We should take this time to train our mind to agree to listen to each others’ points of view and look for a resolution that provides more insights.

How do we get out from the trap of the “right/wrong” paradigm?  This is not easy and we need the will-power to invoke the divine nature and open our mind to listen. We must determine to take a stand that our care for the others is much more important than the cheap payoff of winning the debate.

We must be willing to reach for something more fulfilling than the predictable mediocrity of proving ourselves right.  And we need to have the courage to be the one willing to make this change, even in the face of those who desperately want to prove us wrong!  When one of us rise above the right/wrong paradigm, the length of the pole will become smaller and ultimately the argument will likely end.

No matter how much someone else wants to “win,” if we refuse to enter into the world of right and wrong, we will not get trapped in any argument.  But we should recognize the fact that we cannot rise above this paradigm and avoid an argument if we entertain the thought that the person is wrong.   If we do, we will likely back in that right/wrong world again.  This is tricky and it is a bit of a paradox.  No amount of wanting an argument to stop will ever stop an argument, if our inner mind silently engages in judging the other person’s intentions.

We must take a stand that we will no longer participate in any endeavor that tears down others’ beliefs and thoughts.  When those who want to fight can’t find a willing partner, they will be left only to face themselves.  The argument will slowly disintegrate we will no longer be engaging in the losing game of arguing.

Let me conclude this with a prayer:

Sarve Bhavantu Sukinah,
Sarve Santu Niraamayaah
Sarve Bhadraani Pasyanthu,
Maa Kashchid Duhkha Bhak Bhave
Asatoma sadgamaya
Tamasoma jyotirgamaya
Mrityorma amrutamgamaya
OM Shanti Shanti Shantihi

Oh Lord! In Thee May all be Happy,
May All be Free From Misery
May All Realize Goodness,
May None Suffer Pain

Oh Lord! Lead Us From Untruth to Truth,
Lead Us From Darkness to Light
Lead Us From Death to Immortality,

OM PEACE!  PEACE!!  PEACE!!

How To Stop Arguing? – Part 2: By Dr. Ram Chandran

The Desire to “Win The Argument”

Our desire to win an argument is embedded in our survival instinct. For many people, losing in a situation is truly a traumatic event.  When life is viewed rigidly, options are seen as mutually exclusive. For someone to win, another has to lose.

In general, in an argument we like to take positions that are usually opposite to each other.  While engaging in an argument we tend to think that we are always more “right” than those who take a different position. Arguments arise when we are not willing to consider others’ position as potentially being valid.

This is what is known as the right/wrong paradigm. The right/wrong paradigm can produce three possible outcomes: (1) proven right, (2) proven wrong, or (3) avoiding to be wrong.

While there may be a short term feeling of satisfaction when we think that we have convinced someone else is wrong, arguments rarely will lead us to long term gratification.

Everyone in an argument wants to be “right” and tries hard to avoid being “wrong.” This may explain why no one is actually listening.

It is inevitable that we like to choose one of these two options: We either feel obligated to forfeit our position, or we refuse to give in and will fight harder and harder.

The first option leads to resentment because though we gave in, we are not totally convinced of the other position. The winner also feels at a loss because the winner also was not fully “convinced.”

The second option leads to “polarization,” where two opposing parties find themselves in an egoistic self-fulfilling vicious cycle and take shelter at opposite ends of the “pole.”  The more one party insists on a position, it encourages the other party to fight harder to be right and to resist being proven wrong.

After several cycles of this polarization, arguments escalate and can become hurtful. This is when people say and do things they later regret.  There is certainly no winner here.  In the world of “right/wrong,” there will be never any real winners.  And if there can be no real winner, then why should we choose to get involved in a losing game?

Ultimately, we need to reflect on our desire to win an argument. Sometimes we can win an argument but lose our harmony and peace of mind. What to do?

Read Part 3!