Ramana on Psychic Powers: By Dr. Harsh K. Luthar

Today, we see that the New Age spiritual business is literally a circus. There are so many gurus and many different types of “spiritual masters” offering a variety of services and products including enlightenment, super natural miracles, healing, and so forth. This is nothing new and in every age there are such people.

The path of Yoga has many branches, and not all of them are the straight path to Self-Realization.

Bhagavan Ramana

I find amusing that many of the so called “spiritual masters” who claim affinity with Bhagavan Ramana (to  bolster their own status) actually teach things which are completely opposite of what the Sage of Arunachala taught.

There are a few “gurus” who even say that they are in touch with Bhagavan Ramana at the psychic level. Sri Ramana, in his own life time, explicitly pointed out the absurdity of such claims and dismissed such “gurus” as not worth paying attention to, if one’s goal was Self-Realization.

For those aspirants, whose sole focus is on Self-Realization, it is always best to rely on the authentic teachings of Sri Ramana from original sources.

I give below a short excerpt from Aurthur Osborne on Bhagavan’s view of psychic powers. Aruthur Osborne was a great Bhagavan Ramana devotee who spent time with the Sage of Arunachala and felt his grace.

From Aurthur Osborne:

Bhagavan Ramana sought to free us from psychic as well as physical desires, and he therefore disapproved of all freakishness and eccentricity and of all interest in visions and desire for powers of any type.

Bhagavan liked his devotees to behave in a normal and sane way, for he was guiding us towards the ultimate Reality where perceptions and powers which men call “higher” or “miraculous” are as illusory as those they call “physical”.

A visitor once related to us in Bhagavan’s presence how his Guru died and was buried and then, three years later, returned in tangible bodily form to give instructions. Bhagavan sat there completely indifferent and evidently unimpressed. It was as though he had not even heard.

The bell rang for lunch and Bhagavan rose to leave the hall. Only at the doorway Bhagavan turned and quoted:

“Though a man can enter ever so many bodies, does it mean that he has found his true Home?”

Bhagavan Ramana

In part from the Maharshi Jul / Aug 1992, Vol.2 No.4.

Please note that for the Aurthur Osborne excerpt, I took only a small part of the original  and edited it slightly and added pictures of Sri Ramana to make it more readable. HKL

12 thoughts on “Ramana on Psychic Powers: By Dr. Harsh K. Luthar

  1. So absolutely true!!
    My spiritual mentor called it ‘spiritual grazing’ – trying to dabble in all these variety of services and products! 🙂

    Wonderful example from Bhagwan, Harshji–“Though a man can enter ever so many bodies, does it mean that he has found his true Home?”

    Thank you so much for sharing.

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  2. That was Bhagavan’s attitude towards Siddhis. I will post more examples from Sri Ramana as time permits. Thank you for your appreciation Aparna-ji. I enjoyed your article on Sufism.

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  3. dear Harsh,

    it’s a long-established point in spirituality that display of siddhis doesn’t necessarily mean a soul is an enlightened soul. at the same time, many top enlightened saints displayed miracles during the course of their physical lives on this earth — in other words, display of siddhis doesn’t necessarily mean a soul is UNenlightened, either. depends on the circumstances, time period of their lives, region where they’re living their dharma, etc.

    it certainly doesn’t seem to me that the subject of siddhis and miraculous, supernatural works has anything much to do with the New Age mentality or interpretation of spirituality. far from it, in fact….

    Krishna performed many miracles. the sum total of his spiritual message wasn’t the Bhagavad Gita alone — it was the entire Maha Bharata and Sri Mad Bhagavatam, and other puranas. those texts are full of his interesting miracles — not performed as a flashy display but in the service of dharma.

    Jesus Christ performed many miracles. are we to take it that he was an unenlightened soul? even great divine souls like Sri Ramakrishna, who said that people shouldn’t look to the siddhis as anything important, displayed them.

    Yogananda’s master Sri Yukteshwar performed numerous miracles, including raising the dead — while instructing his students not to desire such powers.

    even Ramana Maharshi demonstrated miracles and healing (while discouraging people, rightly, from the idea that miracles would automatically indicate an enlightened soul). his liberation of his own mother’s soul, for example, as she was dying, or the agni darshan he gave some of his students, who perceived him as a pure fire, not a human being at all — these are part and parcel of the terrain of a supernatural soul, a sadguru, a pure avatar.

    it seems to me that this is an extremely ancient concept, not at all a new idea. I say this with deep respect, and I do think that spiritual people today need to read between the lines of the great souls, and recognize that their words and teachings exist on many levels, not just the stated surface meanings.

    it’s too easy, in this time of Kali Yuga, to dismiss aspects of the whole out of hand, only to discover later that there were indeed part of the adventure of enlightenment and spiritual evolution.

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  4. The truth will set you free. And Truth can guide and lead you to ultimate self-realization or enlightenment (Kingdom of God /Nirvi- Kalpa-Samadhi / Moksha / Nirvana /union with universal consciousness).

    The point of initiation, is that one shouldn’t *assume* — one should verify *through one’s own experience*

    Those who say high miracles (magical abilities /siddhis) are a distraction and do not prove one’s enlightenment are actually reducing Krishna, Buddha, Jesus and other adepts/Masters to the level of some mystic like Deepak Chopra, Osho and others. But adepts/Masters are on another higher level. And they can spontaneously perform high miracles without ever learning them. They are Omnipotence (All powerfulness) and Omniscience (All knowing).

    Adepts/Masters perform high miracles (magical abilities /siddhis) for few reasons;

    (1)To prove certain Hermetic Teachings like

    Genesis 1:27 God created man in his own image.
    “Do not think I have come to abolish the law or the prophets. I have come not to abolish but to fulfill” (Mt 5:17).

    (2) to teach the meaning of true faith.

    When the disciples saw Jesus walking on the lake, they were terrified, “It’s a ghost,” they said, and cried out in fear.’ But Jesus immediately said to them, “Take courage! It is I. Don’t be afraid.” “if it’s You,” Peter replied, “tell me to come to You on the water.” “Come,” He said. Then Peter got down out of the boat, walked on the water and came toward Jesus. But when he saw the wind, he was afraid and, beginning to sink, cried out, “Lord, save me!” Immediately Jesus reached out His hand and caught him. “You of little faith,” He said, “why did you doubt?”

    (3)to attract people and to draw them towards the Godward path.

    Adepts/Masters say “These miracles are merely baits with which I lure people towards me. Once their faith is firmly established, they begin to look beyond the miracles and slowly start stretching their hands out for what I have really come to give- Divine knowledge and Bliss.”

    Was Sri Ramana Maharshi equal to Jesus, Buddha, Krishna and other adepts/Masters? He was not known for miraculous abilities.
    True spiritual *initiation* is about developing one’s own faculties of perception. It’s *not* about relying upon what others tell you or what a book tells you, etc. It’s about discovering, exploring and perceiving for *yourself*. This does result in the development of personal intellectual knowledge but it is knowledge founded upon experiential understanding, not upon book learning.

    Sri Ramana Maharshi said : There are two kinds of Siddhis and one kind may well be a stumbling block to realisation. It is said that by Mantra by some drug possessing occult virtues, by severe austerities or by samadhi of a certain kind, powers can be acquired. But these powers are not a means to Self-knowledge, for even when you acquire them, you may quite well be in ignorance.
    I challenge anyone to try these methods to acquire high miracles (magical abilities /siddhis). It’s impossible hence the reason science does not accept high miracles (magical abilities /siddhis). What Ramana Maharshi is referring here is low siddhis like clairvoyance, telepathy etc And you might only acquire low ability of clairvoyance, telepathy etc. And only temporarily. Study the works of Patanjali’s and read Autobiography of a Yogi, by Paramhansa Yogananda .What the TM guys are trying master for over 40 years without any success are a distraction and waste of precious time. http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=Kelb5IGbLXM.

    Spiritual initiation is the process of reclaiming what it truly means to be a human being and all the magical faculties sages described are the *natural* powers inherent to humanity. Most animals have some of these abilities.

    Question: What is the other kind?

    Sri Ramana Maharshi: They are manifestations of power and knowledge, which are quite natural to you when you realise the Self. They are Siddhis, which are the products of the normal and natural Tapas (spiritual practice) of the man who has reached the Self. They come of their own accord, they are God given. They come according to one’s destiny but whether they come or not, the Jnani, who is settled in the supreme peace, is not disturbed by them. For he knows the Self and that is the unshakable Siddhi. But these Siddhis do not come by trying for them. When you are in the state of realisation, you will know what these powers are.

    Lets compare this with what other sages say;

    These miracles or siddhis come of themselves when the Sadhaka/initiate is progressing fairly on the path of self-realization; but the Sadhaka/initiate should take care to see that he is not lured away by them and that he continues his progress unimpeded.

    Jesus said, ‘Seek ye first the kingdom of God, and all these things shall be added unto you.’ Seek ye first the Giver of all gifts, and you shall receive from Him all His gifts of lesser fulfillment.
    Kingdom of God is the ultimate enlightenment / spiritual goal. Divine gifts are (1)Omnipotence (All powerfulness) (2)Omniscience (All knowing) (3)All-Love or Mercifulness (Divine benevolence) (4)Immortality (The same as Omnipresence in this case)

    Jesus said “I tell you the truth, anyone who has faith in me will do what I have been doing. He will do even greater things than these” John 14:12 Jesus did two thing: (1) teach the divine wisdom (2) perform lots of high miracles (magical abilities /siddhis) in his short 3 year divine mission. Those who reached the ultimate enlightenment should be able to perform high miracles (magical abilities /siddhis).

    Move from intellect to intuition—from the head to the heart, because the heart is closer to the Mysteries. – Osho

    The intuitive mind is a sacred gift and the rational mind is a faithful servant. We have created a society that honors the servant and has forgotten the gift.” ~Albert Einstein

    You would not be able to understand the secrets of high miracles (magical abilities /siddhis) with your mind. And you cannot go beyond the mind with your mind.

    Never be satisfied with blind faith. Use it as a launching point for exploration, but do not use it as your foundation and build yourself upon it. Hermetics is not satisfied with mere belief — it DEMANDS practice and the constant challenging of even our most precious beliefs.

    Spiritual initiation is a process of becoming the clearest expression of YOUR Self possible. Not the self someone else told you you should be. Nor only a portion of yourself. It will take your whole self to encompass infinity. Nothing less suffices.
    Your whole self is;
    (1)Omnipotence (All powerfulness) (2)Omniscience (All knowing) (3)All-Love or Mercifulness (Divine benevolence)
    (4)Immortal (The same as Omnipresence in this case)

    Few inspiring words from an adept/Master;

    My miracles are part of the unlimited power of God. My divine will bring the object in a moment. I am everywhere.

    My miracles are spontaneous and concomitant proofs of divine majesty.

    I am determined to correct you only after informing you of my credentials. That is why I am now and then announcing my nature by means of miracles, that is, acts which are beyond human capacity and human understanding. Not that I am anxious to show off my powers. The object is to draw you closer to me, to cement your hearts to me.

    There can be no limit for my Power, no hindrance, no opposition or obstacle. You may believe it or you may not, but, my Power can transform earth into sky, the sky into earth. only there is no call for that transformation. This is spontaneous manifestation, not those that are calculated to collect customers and exploit the ignorant.

    I use My Shakthi (power) to attract people and to draw them towards the Godward path. These miracles are merely baits with which I lure them towards Me. Once their faith is firmly established, they begin to look beyond the miracles and slowly start stretching their hands out for what I have really come to give- Divine knowledge and Bliss.

    They exaggerate the role of miracles, which are as trivial, when compared to my glory and majesty, as a mosquito is in size and strength to the elephant upon which it squats.

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  5. Sri Ramakrishna once asked swami Vivekananda if you wanted any siddhis as his body was ready to receive them . The young swami asked would they help me realize God ? Ramakrishna replied no , then i reject them was the reply of Vivekananda and Ramakrishna was overjoyed at his discrimination .

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  6. I was not aware of gurus being in touch with Bhagwan Ramana at a psychic level 🙂 I recall how on one occasion, in the past, I was at Ramanashramam and I was informed that a few holy personnel were in Tiru spreading Ramana’s word. I was also told that while they say they do, they add their bit to Ramana’s messages as well.

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