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.”

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. ❤️

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?

Practice Sahaj Samadhi

When Paul Brunton asked Sri Ramana about when Sahaj Samadhi should be practiced, the sage said and I paraphrase….”right from the beginning….that which is the practice of the Sadhaka is the state of the Siddha.”

People are surprised when they hear this. How can we practice the highest state from the beginning?

But this is exactly what Sri Ramana meant. Practice being absolutely natural from the very start!

Recognition of our nature as pure awareness is the goal. Awareness scanning Awareness, Awareness being Aware of Awareness is the method. Awareness abiding in Itself is the essence of the nondual realization. Sri Ramana is clear on that point.

However, Sri Ramana gave the essential teachings in a variety of ways in his own words to suit the devotees. Sri Ramana’s words and sentiments that poured forth are imbued with a certain energy if one is in tune with the Sage of Arunachala.

Self-Realization is a matter of sincere effort and whatever method one is using gradually clarifies into Self-Awareness. I recall Sri Ramana saying one time to an obviously sincere devotee something like ..”Realization will be forced upon you in spite of yourself…”

Note the term, “Forced upon you, in spite of yourself.” It totally bypasses any loyalty to a particular approach or method. Ramana’s own realization, you may recall, was “forced” upon him. The Divine does not ask our permission before the Self-revelation.

It is the sincerity of aspirant’s effort which calls forth Grace that leads to Realization. Ramana knew this intimately as only a Self-Realized Sage can know. A variety of works by Sri Ramana, the ancient stories he used from scriptures, or recorded conversations or recollection of devotees may be (and are) useful.

What I sense in some Ramana devotees is a certain rigidity and adherence to a sanitized structure of Sri Ramana’s teaching. It is only the play of the mind which in its narrowness assumes that it knows the Truth. In fact, Truth is what swallows up the mind! Even a great teaching repeated often without sensitivity to others and without in-depth understanding that comes from being the Heart, becomes ineffective.

Sri Ramana used to say that the highest teaching he gave us was in Silence. How one comes to this Silence and Recognizes It as one’s own essence as Awareness, as Sat-Chit-Ananda, is unique to all.

Did Sri Muruganar not write in one of his poems that……..the path a sage takes to Self-Realization is like that of a bird that flies in the sky. It leaves no trace.