Spiritual Heart and Self-Realization: By Dr. Harsh K. Luthar

Dear Harsha:

Arthur Osborne, a close devotee of Bhagavan Ramana said that while doing self-inquiry, he tried to focus on the spiritual Heart-center to the right of the chest. However, I have heard some scholars on Ramana’s teaching say that the Bhagavan did not recommend meditating on a specific location and that Arthur Osborne may have misunderstood the essential method and Bhagavan’s teaching.  Is it necessary to meditate on the Spiritual Heart center in order to become Self-Realized? Some well known people like Nisaragadatta Maharaj and Krishnamurthi never mention the Heart in the same way that Bhagavan Ramana does. What is the explanation for this?

Sincere Seekers (composite question)


Dear Sincere Seekers:

Scholars of Bhagavan Ramana’s teaching are not necessarily Self-Realized or have experience of the Heart. Without direct Realization, it is not possible to speak about the Heart in a meaningful way. To understand fully Bhagavan’s teaching we only need to look at Bhagavan’s own words and those of the devotees around him who imbibed Bhagavan’s teaching and made it their own.

As far as Nisargadatta Maharaj and Krishnamurti go, they have their own ways of explaining things which resonate with many people. Nisargadatta Maharaj’s essential teaching is to focus on the “I AM” and that is not different than Bhagavan Ramana’s teaching. The reason Nisargadatta Maharaj does not mention the Heart in a physical sense is that he did not have that experience. Similarly, Krishnmurthy talks about Enlightenment as  “Choiceless Awareness.” Essentially, spontaneous and choiceless awareness is the nature of the Heart as explained in Bhagavan Ramana’s teaching.

Sages emphasize the path that they walked and what worked for them. The experiences of sages differ due to differences in their mental and physical structures and the social/historical context they are embedded in.  They use the vocabulary that is available to them due to their personal and cultural conditioning which fits their needs and those of their students. It is not something we need to worry about. Our focus is on understanding Bhagavan Ramana’s teachings. The Heart is very central to one aspect of Bhagavan Ramana’s teaching.

Sri Ramana did not ever say that it was “necessary” to meditate on the “Heart-center” for Self-Realization. The key word here is “necessary”. It is not “necessary” to do Japa either! But Bhagavan told Kunju Swami to do Japa as part of his spiritual routine after Kunju Swami had served him for twelve years and knew Bhagavan’s teachings inside and out. Kunju Swami had even by then glimpsed the Self in Kevala Nirvikalpa Samadhi!

It is clear that whatever the mode of someone’s spiritual practice (Japa, Prayer, Nada, Kundalini, Devotion to a deity, various meditations, etc.), Bhagavan encouraged it in the context of Self Inquiry and was keen to make the devotees aware of the Heart.

To think that Self-Inquiry is somehow inconsistent with another spiritual practice like focusing on the Spiritual Heart is a mistake. To suggest that Arthur Osborne did not understand Self-Inquiry because he was focusing on the Heart-center is certainly quite a leap! The fact is that Bhagavan Ramana spoke of the Heart in both physical terms and at the same time explained how it transcends the physical upon Realization!

Bhagavan Ramana did explain many times that the Spiritual Heart he spoke of was not the major psychic center (Heart Center) of Kundalini Yoga which is experienced in the middle of the chest. The Spiritual Heart is the final center after Shakti has already ascended to the Sahasarara (the brain center). The Spiritual Heart is experienced slightly to the right and slightly below the Heart Center of Kundalini Yoga.

With reference to the location of the Spiritual Heart center on the right hand side of the human body, Sri Bhagavan said and I quote below:

“I had been saying all along that the Heart center was on the right, notwithstanding the refutation by some learned men that physiology taught them otherwise. I speak from experience. I knew it even in my home during my trances. Again during the incident related in the book “Self-Realization” I had a very clear vision and experience. All of a sudden a light came from one side erasing the world vision in its course until it spread all around when the vision of the world was completely cut out. I felt that the muscular organ on the left had stopped working; I could understand that the body was like a corpse, that the circulation of the blood had stopped and the body became blue and motionless. Vasudev Sastri embraced the body, wept over my death, but I could not speak. All the time I was feeling that the Heart center on the right was working as well as ever. This state continued for 15-20 minutes. Then suddenly something shot out from the right to the left resembling a rocket bursting in air. The blood circulation was resumed and normal condition restored. I then asked Vasudev Sastri to move along with me and we reached our residence.”

“The Upanishads say that 101 nadis terminate in the Heart and 72,000 originate from them and traverse the body. The Heart is thus the center of the body. It can be a center because we have been accustomed to think that we remain in the body. In fact the body and all else are in that center only.”

From “Talks with Ramana Maharshi”, Ninth Edition (1994), page 383.

7 thoughts on “Spiritual Heart and Self-Realization: By Dr. Harsh K. Luthar

  1. Pingback: Is Heart the Seat of the Self? | Luthar.Com: HarshaSatsangh

  2. The Spiritual Heart has been described by the ancient sages and references are found in the Hindu Upanishads which are thousand of years old. Sri Ramana spoke of the Heart as the seat of Self-Realization for 53 years in his time at Arunachala until 1950. To say that the Heart was “revealed” by some individual person 30-40 years ago shows a fundamental misunderstanding of the Transcendental Heart. The True Heart does not depend on any person to reveal it. The Heart is Self-Revealing.


  3. Any comments ? on the description given by Sant Kabir of the inner centres and Journey in his poetry “Behold the Lord in the Palace”


    Thy love behold with inward eye,
    Where in a mansion He doth lie.

    (1) Lust, av’rice and ire, and vanity repel,
    With continence, forgiveness, truth and contentment
    Intoxicants, flesh-eating; forswear thou mind cheating,
    And steed of knowledge mounting, off this false show

    (2) Dhoti, 1 Neti 2 and Basti 3 done,
    Squat duly thou in Padmaasan. 4
    When Kumbhak 5 is completed, let Rechak 6 be begun,
    And cleansing thus base-ganglion, be all thy task

    (3) Four-petalled lotus blossoms, in the Muladhar’s 7 bed,
    Where ‘kilyng’ sound arises and ruddy glow is spread.
    There form of God Ganesha, his might hath ‘stablished
    Through Ridhi Sidhi o’er him a whisk 8 is undulating.


    1 A small piece of cloth, about 4 inches wide and the length according to the capacity of the practitioner, which the yogis swallow and pull out through the mouth for cleansing the stomach.

    2 The cleansing of the humours by means of passing a waxed thread through the nostrils and bringing it out through the mouth.

    3 A sort of enema, but the water is drawn up through the rectum by means of muscle control, while the practitioner sits in the water.

    4 A sitting posture, cross-legged upon the ground.

    5 Holding the breath in the lungs.

    6 Slowly exhaling.

    7 The root ganglion in the human body; the rectal plexus.

    8 A flapper made from the hair of wild ox, used to drive off flies.

    (4) A lotus of six petals,
    In the sex ganglion lies
    Where Nagin 9 lives inverted,
    Crush her until she dies.
    There tunes of Onkara
    The Word’s for e’er repeating.

    (5) In the navel blooms a lotus, petals of which are eight,
    Where on a throne of white, Vishnu doth shine in state.
    Flow sonorous airs of “Hiryng” from lips o’ th’ god
    On whom are Shiv and Lakshmi, the twain, ever

    (6) Twelve-petalled lotus in the ganglion of heart is growing
    Where rapt in form of Shiva, Jung 10 and Gauri 11 are
    With strains of Shabd as “Sohang”, the land is overflowing
    And shouts of victory rise, that be to Ganas 12 owing.

    (7) A lotus with two petals,
    I’ the throat is situate,
    Which doth Avidya goddess
    With her being permeate.
    Brahma, Vishnu and Shiva, a whisk o’er her do ply
    And “Shiryng” is the carol emanating thereby.

    (8) And up above that, Brother,
    Lotus Ambrosial view,
    See two forms — white and the other
    That is sable in hue.
    At the back of the eyes is this domain,
    Where Nij Man 13 doth in glory reign.


    9 Also known as Kundalini. It is the latent physical energy lying in the sex ganglion in the form of a serpent. It is inverted through yogic processes for attaining miraculous powers.

    10 Devotee of Shiva who keeps in constant motion.

    11 Consort of Lord Shiva; also known as Parbati.

    12 Semi-divine beings.

    13 One’s real, innermost, causal or higher mind.

    (9) Thus hath revealed been
    The secret of the lotuses.
    Within the purview of the Pind [material realm],
    This whole creation is.
    Let satsang now invite,
    Find the preceptor right,
    Who Satnam will recite,
    And He will show the way.

    (10) Close eye and mouth and ear,
    Chirping of cricket hear,
    As Anhad Melody.
    The pupils twain, as one draw in.
    A flowering garden spy.

    (11) To a point bring both moon and sun:
    On Sukhman meditate.
    With the Word in Tribeni be one.
    Crossing to that land shalt thou illusion ever shun.

    (12) The gongs are struck, the conch shells blow.
    Thus doth divine music flow,
    From lotus of thousand petals
    Refulgent as the festivals
    Which are with lamps aglow.
    It harbours the creator
    O’erlord of all below
    Bunk tunnel enter now and penetrate across.

    (13) Dak’ni 14, Sak’ni 15 do loudly yell.
    Yama imps and messengers of Hell
    Do bawl and halloo all pell-mell.
    Hearing Sat Nam they all do flee,
    When Guru’s Word’s uttered by thee.

    (14) Within the orb of heaven,
    Inverted lies a well.
    The Gurumukh and the mystic, from that do drink
    their fill.
    But he who hath no Guru, bereft of spiritual leaven,
    Is parched and thirsty still.
    Gloom obfuscates his mind: he doth in darkness dwell.


    14 Satanic attributes.

    15 She-devils that are personifications of satanic attributes.

    (15) Trik’ti 16 is the demesne,
    The fountain-head of knowledge,
    Where peals of darksome clouds, the kettledrums
    A ruddy glow of sunset is scattering all its sheen.
    A lotus there’s with petals four,
    Where tunes of Onkara do rise evermore.

    (16) Whoso mounteth this aerie
    Truly a Sadh is he.
    The secrets of the nine doors,
    To him revealed be.
    Who now beyond the tenth soars,
    That’s locked perpetually.

    (17) Set Sunn’s 17 beyond this range.
    In Mansar 18 have a bathe,
    The hansas 19 meet; thyself to hansa change
    Live thou on nectar now, in drinking that engage.

    (18) The harp and mandolin, the lute — all these do play,
    Where Akshar 20 Brahm in Sunn, holdeth his court alway
    Light equal to twelve suns, each hansa radiates:
    Word from eight-petalled lotus “Rarankar” emanates.


    16 Three Prominences; appellation of the second Spiritual Region.

    17 A region above Brahm.

    18 Pool of nectar of Immortality.

    19 Literally, swans; fabulous birds reputed to live on pearls and to be able to separate milk from water; appellation of elevated spirits who reach Sat Lok; Saints are also called Hansas; so are devoted souls or Bhagats who dwell in Daswan Dwar or anywhere in Par Brahm; also applied to highly devoted and spiritually advanced persons.

    20 Not liable to Dissolution.

    (19) The ocean of Mahasunn, 21 a perilous pass is it,
    Without the Guru no one through it can find exit.
    The wolf and tiger prowl; the snakes are ever biting,
    There rolling plains of Sehaj Achint 22 do stretch
    and lie inviting.

    (20) In Par Brahm there’s, O Brother, lotus with petals eight,
    Twelve-petalled one’s to the right, where Achint is
    To th’ left ten-petalled Sehaj is,
    Such are details of lotuses.

    (21) The five Brahms, in eggs encased are all,
    And all the five, Neh-akshar 23 do we call.
    There regions four do lie hid,
    Where live internees whom the Punish 24 hath exiled.

    (22) Behold where mountains twain do meet,
    From Bhanwar Gupha the Saints do greet.
    The Hansas play in wondrous sport,
    There Satguru doth hold his court.

    (23) There islands eighty eight thousand did the Creator raise,
    And places lie studded, with jade and gem ablaze.
    There uninterrupted tunes of Flute and fiddle play,
    And reverberating word “Sohang” doth ever say.

    (24) When the frontiers of Sohang thou dost, O Brother, clear,
    Then the outskirts of Sat Lok anear.
    Where emanate sweet fragrances galore,
    Mysterious, ineff’ble evermore.


    21 Great void; the region of intense darkness, situated above Sunn or Daswan Dwar proper and below Bhanwargupha. It is really one of the six great spiritual regions, but is never referred to by the Saints because the disciples are not to dwell in it. It can be crossed only with the help of the Master. Hence, though there are six great spiritual regions, only five are named as such in Sant Mat literature, and this one is included in the five without mentioning it as a separate region. Therefore, Daswan Dwar is really Sunn and Mahasunn, respectively, from below upward.

    22 A region near Daswan Dwar.

    23 Beyond Akshar.

    24 Sat Purush — the Supreme Lord.

    (25) Each hansa there in the light of sixteen suns is bathed,
    And the wondrous music of the lute is e’er being played.
    The whisk do flourish hansas over the sovereign’s crown
    Such is the court of Him who as Sat Purush is known.

    (26) Ten million suns appearing,
    As many moons anearing,
    Their light in insignificance fades,
    Before refulgence that one hair of His pervades.
    Such is the glory of that Deity.

    (27) Alakh 25 Lok lies, Brother, further on,
    Where Alakh Purush hath his dominion.
    Billions of suns rival each hair in vain.
    Alakh, th’ invisible Lord doth here reign.

    (28) Above that a palace enveloped in splendour
    Agam 26 Purush inhabits and rules it in grandeur.
    Each pore of His essence refulgence doth shed,
    Before which is light of a trillion suns dead.
    Such light doth He possess,
    Ineffable, beyond access.

    (29) Above that there’s Akeh 27 Lok, Brother
    Inhabited by Anami 28 Purush, no other.
    Who reach that land know only they,
    For words can naught of that convey.

    (30) Thus of the form of man have I revealed the mystery.
    All this creation doth exist within this our body.
    Deliberately hath Maya thrown a snare,
    She is a skilled creator rare.

    (31) Primordial Maya did in cleverness create
    A false show which in Pind she did thus adumbrate.
    In Anda first a copy drew,
    Of which she here a shadow threw.

    (32) I fly as a bird, my wings the Word,
    Saith Kabir I’m free, my Satguru lib’rated me.
    My consciousness awoke
    Only the Word did resound,
    And then beyond the Pind and And, my true home I

    Liked by 1 person

  4. Still confused as to where attention be held. I practiced TM from 1973 till late 199x when switching to Self-Inquiry. Now sitting as the Awareness there is a glow, swelling, pull, throbbing on the right side of chest and at times exceptionally strong and remains in activity. Currently I just sit and observe all, simple let it all be, just simply experience.

    I look to further readings and find little. Any guidance would’ve appreciated.

    Liked by 1 person

Leave a Reply

Please log in using one of these methods to post your comment:

WordPress.com Logo

You are commenting using your WordPress.com account. Log Out /  Change )

Facebook photo

You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out /  Change )

Connecting to %s

This site uses Akismet to reduce spam. Learn how your comment data is processed.