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.”
Whether one is rich or poor, famous or unknown, bright or dull, wise or foolish, religious or an atheist, each experiences pleasures and pains, joys and sorrows, tears and laughter, victories and defeats in their life.
At some point, one may ask “What is all this?”
“Who am I that has all these experiences?”
Thus, as if compelled, the sages start to reflect on the nature of their existence and the mind.
The quest to know the nature of existence starts us on the journey to our own Heart, which is indeed the Universal Heart.
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.
We have come alone in this world.
We will leave alone.
Behind all the glamour and colors of this world, the great joys and laughter, and all the pain and horrific suffering, the fact of being alone is a constant for all beings.
Meditation on this fundamental truth serves as a gateway to Self-Realization.
Describing this state, Maharshi Patanjali (Patanjali’s Yoga Sutras) says in Book 1, the third verse, “The Seer now rests in His own nature.”
If we find the company of good people on our path, it enhances our life in every way.
In Sanskrit, we call this, Satsang (Spiritual Fellowship).
Sages emphasize the power of Satsang to transform our life.
The Satsang need not be physical or face to face. Coming into contact with the thoughts of great saints and yogis via books or other media also constitutes Satsang.
Sri Ramana used to say that physical contact with the Guru is not important. It is the mental and spiritual contact that is critical and central for our growth.