The story of Samudra manthana (churning of the ocean) behind Maha Shivaratri is symbolic for churning of the ocean of consciousness by meditation and other yogic practices. In doing this tapas (spiritual practice) one becomes aware of both the Halāhala (poison of the ego) and Amrit (the nectar of immortality). Both are within us.
When Shiva, the great yogi, saw that the poison of the ego which had come out first from churning of the ocean would destroy the world, he immediately drank it so that others would be protected from harm. As Shiva suffered intense pain from the poison, his wife, the Goddess Parvati touched Shiva’s throat and by the power of her love neutralized the effect of the poison.
The story of Maha Shivratri teaches us that the ego is a powerful poison that can delude the mind and be cause of much destruction. However, pure love, as demonstrated by the Goddess Parvati is overwhelming and can neutralize that poison of the ego and lead to the nectar of immortality. Happy Maha Shivaratri!
Sri Ramana gave attention and showed affection to all beings who came within his orbit. He treated humans, animals, birds, bees, and plants with love, care, and the utmost courtesy. To those who showed him disrespect, he generally kept quiet. Sri Ramana understood human frailties and was not critical or judgmental of people. He forgave quickly and easily.
The Sage of Arunachala was fearless, self assured, and had a wonderful sense of humor. One time thieves broke into the Ashram in the middle of the night and started frightening and beating everyone. Bhagavan told the devotees to not fight back and let the thieves take what they wanted. One of the thieves hit Bhagavan on one of his legs with a stick. The sage offered the other leg as well and said to the thief, you can hit that one also. Later when the thieves left, a devotee commented on the marks on Bhagavan’s legs. Sri Ramana simply smiled and said that the thieves did “Puja” to him in their own way.
A sage gives the infinite treasure of wisdom and is never depleted or disappointed. Everything that comes to such a person; good or bad, painful or pleasant, is accepted as the divine will. There are many gurus and spiritual teachers. No doubt all are good in their own way. However, a truly Self-Realized sage is very rare indeed. Such was the Sage of Arunachala, Sri Ramana Maharshi.
A True Master does not tell you to do this or that. Already, you are anxious and bewildered reading self-help books, going to motivational speakers, Satsang teachers, visiting holy places, and going to one guru after another.
All of these things and various practices of yoga and meditation are helpful if they advance our quest for self-knowledge. However, Truth cannot be found in a place or a person outside of us. Truth must be known as our very own nature, our essence.
The real pilgrimage we make is not to some holy place but to the Temple of the Heart within. Sri Ramana Maharshi used to say that all deep thinking people are fascinated by the nature of consciousness.
This is the sacred quest in life. To know the mystery that reveals all other mysteries. In the words of the Upanishads, “Know That by which all else is known.”
A few years ago, I wrote a short article on some good sources of Sri Ramana Maharshi’s teachings.
A number of other scholars/practitioners, including David Godman and Michael James have done admirable work of researching and identifying authentic sources of Bhagavan Ramana’s words. This is important for obvious reasons. We see too many misquotes of Sri Ramana’s teachings by people who are not intimate with Bhagavan’s teachings and whose main interest seems to be in finding nice sounding feel-good quotes.
Having said that the need to identify authentic sources of Sri Ramana’s teaching is important, it still needs to be acknowledged that the teachings transmitted via language, no matter how authentic and genuine a source is, have built-in limitations. That is why Bhagavan often stated that the highest teaching is always given in silence.
Sri Ramana used to say that once the basic teaching/method of self-inquiry is grasped, the books are of little use to the aspirant. It is the practical application of the teaching that matters. He stated this again and again in a variety of ways and in many different contexts in order to emphasize the point.
Despite the volumes written on Sri Ramana’s teachings, the teachings are easy to understand for a sincere person who makes the effort. The reason for that is that we are already the Self. Bhagavan is simply reminding us by speaking directly to our essence. Whatever the limitation of the language and the source, these words are full of the force of grace. It is up to us to be open to this power of grace.
Hence we have the ability to “Hear” Bhagavan Ramana, no matter what the source. It does not matter if we do not “Hear” him perfectly at first. It is the practice that purifies the mind and makes it subtle. It is then the teaching/grace works spontaneously and guides the mind to enter the Heart and understand the true nature of silence.
Sri Ramana never approved of devotees getting entangled with intellectual debates and losing their focus from the main purpose of life. Self Recognition.
All love. ❤️
There is no end to self-improvement and learning my dear friends. If you want to reach the Heart, unburden yourself from the mind, and just be. That is essentially Sri Ramana’s teaching.
A peaceful mind has the capacity to surrender to its source, the Heart, where the individual consciousness merges with the Universal Being. It is That, which the ancient sages referred to as Sat-Chit-Ananda. Existence, Consciousness, Bliss.
All the various yogas and tantras have only one aim and that is to help the mind attain peace. All genuine spiritual teachings, without exception, are meant for making the mind peaceful.
We are elated and happy when things go our way. We are sad and depressed when reality unfolds differently than our expectations.
How pitiful is our lot my friends, thrown about here and there with the changing winds! Every day, the world, as perceived via the mind invites us to ride the roller coaster of emotions fueled by fear, anxiety, anger, and hatred. A Sage centered in the Heart of Love is always indifferent to such an invitation.
How truly fortunate to come into the orbit of Sages who give the purest teachings of Ahimsa (nonviolence) and Self-Realization. Bhagavan Ramana used to say, “Wise people examine their own minds.”
According to Advaitic/Yogic sages, all sins and atrocities which are committed by individuals and nations against each other are due to ignorance of the true nature of oneness of all life.
When we view “others” as separate from us and different, we are able to justify all types of ignoble acts against them. Sometimes, even the most heinous deeds are justified in the name of God, religion, or law.
People who are blinded by fear, greed, and ignorance are not able to see outside the cycle of violence that they are part of.
Fortunately, in the history of the world, there have always been good people as well and such noble souls still walk the earth today. I feel that due to their kindness, love, and compassionate influence, there is always a ray of sunshine and a hope to make this world a better place.