Shiva and Parvati

The Maha Shivaratri Love Message

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!

The Visit of the Maharaja

When India was a British Colony, there were hundreds of kingdoms within India. The biggest kingdoms were Hyderabad and Mysore. The Maharaja (King) of Mysore had a devotional nature. 

One day, the Maharaja of Mysore came secretly in the middle of the night to see Bhagavan Ramana and stayed until early morning. He wanted a private audience with Bhagavan. But Bhagavan ate in public and slept in public in the Hall. People were always around. 

However, because it was the middle of the night, the Ashram management permitted the Maharaja to see Bhagavan in the eight by eight foot bathroom where Bhagavan bathed. Upon seeing Bhagavan, the Maharaja fell at his feet, and wept so profusely that his tears drenched Bhagavan’s feet.

The Maharaja then got up and said, “Bhagavan, they have made me king and forced me to sit on the throne. For this reason I am not able to come and stay with you and be in your presence. These few moments are most precious few in my whole life. After this, I will not be able to come. Please bless me.”

When Santhammal, a devotee, asked Bhagavan about the Maharaja’s visit, Bhagavan just said, “He is a ripe soul.”

Bhagavan never encouraged people to give up their worldly obligations or duties. His advice to visitors was that one can gain the required purity, strength, and awareness to advance on the path regardless of one’s station in life or geographical location.

Whatever one wants to practice, devotional prayer, meditation, chanting, some form of yoga, or self-inquiry, all of these are good. Bhagavan often said that it is the not physical contact with the Guru that is important, but the mental and spiritual contact. Even a person who is no longer in the body can serve as a Guru, if we become connected and influenced by their thoughts and vibrations.

Adapted from Ramana Periya Puranam (278 Santhammal)

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.

No Secret Methods

Sri Ramana Maharshi’s teaching is beautiful, unique, and direct. There is no encouragement of superstition, no secret mantras to be whispered in your ear, no fancy handshakes, no unusual postures or dance moves to learn, no dependence on rituals or outside forces. In Bhagavan’s teachings, there are no special requirements to meet, and no examinations by the Guru to test your worthiness.

Bhagavan says that you are the Self. Being the Self is nothing more than pure Being, Pure Existence. You have the power to discover the natural state of bliss inherent in you and abide as That.

The highest, the purest, the most sublime teaching that leads to Self-Realization is open to all. It is completely free. There are no initiation fees for special secret techniques and methods. That is why Bhagavan says, “No secret technique. It is all an open secret in this system in “Day by Day with Bhagavan” ~ (8-10-46).

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.”

Ramana Maharshi – Just Sitting There On The Rocks

Around the age of 31, Swami Lakshman Joo, the great yogi mystic philosopher, and exponent on Kashmiri Shaivism went to Tiruvannamalai to meet Bhagavan Ramana and spent a few weeks there. Speaking about his experiences with Sri Ramana, he later said, “I felt those golden days were indeed divine”. He is shown below in one of the pictures that were taken when he was there.

The greatest yogis of the day and Shankracharyas came and visited Bhagavan Ramana and saw an ordinary frail man, who had nothing, sitting there on the rocks. Although Bhagavan did not try to impress anyone, the highest adepts instantly saw that they were in the presence of the Eternal Presence ItSelf.

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.”