Voruganti Krishnayya was a great devotee of Bhagavan Sri Ramana. He has narrated many incidents that he observed while in Bhagavan’s company. The following story is one of my favorite.
Bhagavan was most tender with people who thought themselves for some reason or other to be miserable sinners and who went to him torn by repentance.
During summer evenings we used to sit in the open space near the well. We would collect in the dining hall for dinner and come back to the well. Suddenly, one day, a visitor started weeping bitterly, “I am a horrible sinner. For a long time I have been coming to your feet, but there is no change in me. Can I become pure at last? How long am I to wait? When I am here near you I am good for a time, but when I leave this place I become a beast again. You cannot imagine how bad I can be – hardly a human being. Am I to remain a sinner forever?”
Bhagavan answered: “Why do you come to me? What have I to do with you? What is there between us that you should come here and weep and cry in front of me?”
The man started moaning and crying even more, as if his heart were breaking. “All my hopes of salvation are gone. You were my last refuge and you say you have nothing to do with me! To whom shall I turn now? What am I to do? To whom am I to go?”
Bhagavan watched him for some time and said, “Am I your guru that I should be responsible for your salvation? Have I ever said that I am your master?”
“If you are not my master, then who is? And who are you, if not my master? You are my guru, you are my guardian angel, you will pity me and release me from my sins!” He started sobbing and crying again.
We all sat silent, overcome with pity. Only Bhagavan looked alert and matter-of-fact.
Bh: “If I am your guru, what are my fees? Surely you should pay me for my services.”
D: “But you won’t take anything,” cried the visitor. “What can I give you?”
Bh: “Did I ever say that I don’t take anything? And did you ever ask me what you can give me?”
D: “If you would take, then ask me. There is nothing I would not give you.”
Bh: “All right. Now I am asking. Give me. What will you give me ?”
D: “Take anything, all is yours.”
Bh: “Then give me all the good you have done in this world.”
D: “What good could I have done? I have not a single virtue to my credit.”
Bh: “You have promised to give. Now give. Don’t talk of your credit. Just give away all the good you have done in your past.”
D: “Yes, I shall give. But how does one give? Tell me how the giving is done and I shall give.”
Bh: “Say like this: ‘All the good I have done in the past I am giving away entirely to my guru. Henceforth I have no merit from it nor have I any concern with it.’ Say it with your whole heart.”
D: “All right, Swami, I am giving away to you all the good I have done so far, if I have done any, and all its good effects. I am giving it to you gladly, for you are my master and you are asking me to give it all away to you.”
Bh: “But this is not enough,” said Bhagavan sternly.
D: “I gave you all I have and all you asked me to give. I have nothing more to give.”
Bh: “No, you have. Give me all your sins.”
D: The man looked wildly at Bhagavan, terror stricken. “You do not know, Swami, what you are asking for. If you knew, you would not ask me. If you take over my sins, your body will rot and burn. You do not know me, you do not know my sins. Please do not ask me for my sins.” And he wept bitterly.
Bh: “I shall look after myself, don’t you worry about me,” said Bhagavan. “All I want from you is your sins.”
For a long time the bargain would not go through. The man refused to part with his sins. But Bhagavan was adamant.
Bh: “Either give me your sins along with your merits, or keep both and don’t think of me as your master.”
In the end the visitor’s scruples broke down and he declared: “Whatever sins I have done, they are no longer mine. All of them and their results, too, belong to Ramana.”
Bhagavan seemed to be satisfied. “From now on there is no good nor bad in you. You are just pure. Go and do nothing, neither good nor bad. Remain yourself, remain what you are.”
A great peace fell over the man and over us all. No one knows what happened to the fortunate visitor; he was never seen in the Ashrama again. He might have been in no further need of coming.
I held the luscious kiwi in my hand,
as if I held an emerald,
a glorious gemstone —
a gift handed by the great Khans
in ancient China.
I like to call it by its many names:
actinidia arguta or tara vine,
zespr, yangtao or gooseberry
like the Chinese.
The tiny brown and golden ochre colored bristles
give the kiwi a distinct earthy look
from a glance.
Upon looking deeper,
beyond the greenish umber thatch
of bristle & peach-like fuzz,
beyond the hardy oval-shaped exterior
of the egg-like fruit,
beyond the rough, rugged skin
of the treasured gem
are non-kiwi elements too:
sunshine, rain, soil,
compost, air, and time.
a slight indent of the hairy skin;
a small patch
to the side of the kiwi
On one side, the kiwi has already begun
to decompose. On the other, the kiwi is ripe,
& resilient to every pull,
In the words of Thich Nhat Hahn
Both sides “inter-are.”
Measuring only 1 1/14 inches long
with 3/4 diameter,
the kiwi looks insignificant in size.
But its real beauty lies hidden
underneath the furry thatch,
underneath the mysterious disguise,
underneath the crowning of glory.
I take a sharp paring knife to slice off the top,
slowly peeling the ends and sides one at a time.
A delicate scissure reveals brilliant green flesh,
the color of lime green,
a beautiful green, the color of coriander,
the color of fresh mint.
On the surface, a colorless crystalline substance
coating the slick, velvet, malleable
hairless green flesh.
Digging deeper, a golden center
ringed by dark tiny purple seeds,
aligned in a row, all surrounding
an almond white core.
With a spoon, the fragrant innards are scooped,
eaten raw, like any citrus-flavored melon
first a sour, pungent, bitter taste,
then tangy, acidic and mouth-watering.
Allowing the lush whole melt into the mouth,
the tart candy, like compost,
transforms into delicacy.
Gururaj Ananda Yogi used to speak in his satsangs about the path of unfoldment, to emphasize the fact that there is no development, the soul is completely developed, there is just an unfolding. But in this path, that goes from Silence to Silence: What is traveling? Have we traveled a path or have we not traveled at all. And if it has been a journey: Who experiences this journey?
We “know” that the spirit of the human being, or the universal spirit, is omnipresent. It has nowhere to go and nowhere to come from. It just is. So what journeys? Is it really and experience, or is it an illusion? Even if it is an illusion, then how is illusion experienced? All illusion or delusion is just a counterpart of reality, as it’s own “non-existence” exists within that It that we call reality.
We come from nowhere and we are going nowhere, but just give a little space between the “w” and the “h”. You are now here and that is the important factor to recognize in practical life. Nevertheless, the mind has a habit of inquiring.
The mind is conditioned through the process of evolution into going through various stages whereby it gains these experiences. Who gains the experiences? The mind gains the experiences.
A HUMAN BEING HAS THE CAPACITY TO EXPERIENCE THE ENTIRETY OF THE UNIVERSE; THE SPIRIT CANNOT
So, the experiences having been gained by the mind, of the mind, and from the mind bring us to a simple idea: There is nothing outside the mind. The human mind is as vast as the entire universe, and if you individualize it, it only means that you are viewing one bubble in a vast pond. And that bubble has no separate existence from the pond. A human being has the capacity within himself to experience, with the mind, the entirety of the universe; while the spirit remains aloof, for the spirit cannot experience this journey. Therefore we say, “From Silence we proceed, and we return to Silence.” It means that the mind that has been manifested, as fragrance is from a flower, goes through this journey, be it illusion or not, and then finds itself at total “at-one-ment” with the spirit. That is the journey, so in reality there has been no journey.
But the mind assumes that this is a journey, that there is a journey. What are the reasons for this? The spirit just is, while the mind travels thinks it is traveling from here to there. From the beginning of the present cycle of this universe there is a manifestation, wrongly called creation, because creation requires a will behind, while manifestation is just an emanation. It is the nature of the manifestor to manifest, like it is the nature of a flower to give off fragrance, but there is no will involved. The powers in the manifestation are known in sanskrit as the three gunas, tamas rajas and satvas. It is this interaction between darkness and light that operates in the manifestation of this universe, which is the Universal Mind also.
THE MIND CREATES EXPERIENCE
The entire mind, or the universe, is nothing else but a propulsion which seemingly goes forth in our concept of linear time and space. In the third dimension that we exist in, we find this movement proceeding from A to B, while beyond the mind there is no space and no time. Like Blake said, “Eternity in an hour”, we would rather say, in a moment.
In this process put forth through manifestation in which the three gunas operate, the mind feels itself traveling. Why does it feel itself traveling; why does itself feel mixed up in the process of evolution? In this process of contraction and expansion generated by the three gunas, matter and it’s various atomic structures is always in motion. The mind enmeshed in this process of contraction and expansion thinks it is moving.
If you watch a wave in the ocean, you think the wave is coming from a distance and going to the shore. This is not so. There is a rhythm in the ocean created by currents where each wave is bobbing up and down where it is, and the next then bobs up and down, and so on so forth giving us the illusion that the wave is moving from that end to the shore. Likewise there is the flux of the universe, the perpetual motion that perpetuates itself, within itself, by itself, because its nature is motion. What we are trying to find is that which is silent behind all the motion: for that which is motion cannot be silent, and that which is silent can have no motion. Very simple.
The mind because it has the ability to act and interact within its own components, becomes more and more complex, and it is this very complexity that adds onto the motion of the mind. The mind creates the experience, and the mind itself is the experiencer, for the eternal spirit within humanity is beyond all experience of motion or anything else. It just is. Here it is a question of a superimposition.
Heat rises from the sun. The sun does not intentionally create the heat: it is the nature of the sun to give off heat. Similarly, that eternal energy, in its very silent form, first manifests itself as mind.
When mind assumes this motion, it also finds a direction, and this direction is what we term as will- Divine Will. Because there was Divine Will, all this you observe, including our individual wills, has come about.
This is very true from from the theological point of view and the philosophical point of view. But from the mystical point of view, this truth assumes a totally different approach: In the manifestation which one could call Divine Will , the Will itself becomes the individual mind. Here there is no differentiation between mind and will. Ordinarily it is the directed activity of an individual mind, which is self-created, that is called will.
When manifestation occurs, this divine force, in the process of manifestation, has to grossify itself in the form of matter, or grosser energies. From the subtlest level of that silent energy, ever inaccessible like in limits in mathematics, this divine force assumes the form of activated energy, and the more that energy is activated, the grosser and grosser it becomes. This is why science today can neither reach nor explain the entire structure of atoms. Scientists talk of sub atomic matter and sub-sub atomic matter, but when coming to experimental experience it will be impossible to capture the nature of that energy, as the very test-tube they are using is made of the same energy in which they are trying to trap it in.
What can be proven is only that which has motion. Yet motion is such that at the moment you view it, it changes, and viewer in it’s own changing cannot have a true picture of that motion at its most subtlest level. That is why we know so little, from laboratory experiments, of the mind. (to be continued…)