Sri Ramana

The Sage of Arunachala

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.

The True Master

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.”

Mother Divine: The Goddess Supreme

When I was very young, my meditations made me soar so high that I was afraid of falling from the heights and felt anxious. In those moments, the most gentle and angelic female presence firmly held me from behind and guided my flights over celestial regions like a mother showing a child how to ride a bicycle. It happened often.

This angel was always behind me at my back holding my shoulders in the most reassuring manner. Gliding over the heavenly realms of light with this divine companion was pure joy.  But I could never see her face and wondered who she was.

Who was this motherly angel who manifested in my meditations to protect me from fears? Who was this divine being that embraced me with such tenderness and silently guided and navigated the path? Although I practiced yoga since childhood, I had never formally worshipped any form of the Devi (Goddess). But probably the mantras I practiced evoked Her. Or perhaps the Goddess as the Divine Mother does not require an invitation to come. 

This went on for many years. She was my guardian angel. Where she came from, I don’t know. Yet, she was always there in my meditation in the background and when needed would manifest to silently reassure me. I would momentarily see her hazy form but never saw Her clearly. She held me tightly and firmly from the back when needed as I flew over the unknown realms.

The Goddess made HerSelf very real to me. She always seemed to be around, especially in contemplative and meditative states. Her form was that of a gentle motherly presence. It was absolutely unmistakable. Whenever she came, I knew it instantly just like a newborn knows his mother by smell. Her presence was the most reassuring and made me feel that everything  would be okay and go smoothly now.

As time went by and I got older, I felt her less and less often. It happened gradually. She seemed to have receded somewhere in the background of my mind. Perhaps I had spiritually matured in some ways and did not need Her anymore. I don’t know the psychology of it. Still, I did not forget Her. Who was she and where had she gone? I thought at times.

Many many years passed in meditation and in life. I was much older now. I was 39.  One midnight, I lay down for meditation. Without warning, suddenly, the Goddess appeared in full bloom right before me! For the first time, I saw Her with the utmost clarity. She was the epitome of purity and innocence and the very essence of beauty. Her Being radiated bright blessings.

Speechless, I gazed at Her face and spontaneously folded my hands in “Namaste” with reverence and bowed slightly. Through Her eternal and watchful eyes that see into the Heart, the Supreme Goddess looked at me intently with the utmost tenderness and smiled sweetly. Then she disappeared.

The Goddess did not look like any of the pictures that artists have drawn and are found in Hinduism.  I have chosen to describe Her by accurately stating, “She was the epitome of purity and innocence and the very essence of beauty.” Those words are the truth. 

Harsh K. Luthar

Authentic Sources of Ramana Maharshi’s Teachings

A few years ago, I wrote a short article on some good sources of Sri Ramana Maharshi’s teachings.

https://luthar.com/2014/05/25/recommended-books-for-teachings-of-sri-ramana-maharshi-by-dr-harsh-k-luthar/

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. ❤️

Attaining Peace is the Goal

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.

The Tao Is Not Real

The wise say that the Tao that can be talked about is not The True Tao. Still, Sages such as Ramana Maharshi manage to indicate the existence of the underlying Reality with words and without words. Self-Realized sages point to the Truth easily and spontaneously. Knowledge of Reality is not just their first-hand knowledge but their very Being.

Sri Ramana, through his silence, words, and actions, was always pointing at the highest reality, the Heart of existence, the Self. Even in minor things like giving instructions on cooking and eating food, cutting wood, or other matters, Bhagavan was doing that.  Sages like that are more than just Satsang givers, good public speakers, and charismatic orators.

I am often reminded of the words of Sri Ramana who used to say that the Supreme Reality, whatever it is, must Always be Real. It cannot be more real sometime in the future than it already is right now.

Therefore, the central truth to be grasped by a devotee of Bhagavan Ramana is that whatever is real, permanent, eternal, must be Here and Now also. In this very moment, it must be so!

If the Self is not Here and Now and is to be gained at some future time, then it must be subject to loss also. What can be gained can also be lost!

Therefore the sages declare that That which is Real, Absolute, Eternal cannot be gained. It is because you are already That!  What You already Are cannot be attained because it is your very nature, very being.

Can we Accept This?

What undermines the acceptance of our Own Natural State?

What is your deepest knowing here and now?

People of Intelligence Examine Their Minds

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.”