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.” ]


( 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.” )


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.


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 !


Related posts:

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

V. Ganesan Bio


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


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


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.


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.’



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.