My dearest friends, even though prejudice, hatred, violence, and wars are embedded in world history, these have never been able to completely overshadow the enormous capacity many people have demonstrated in every age, to love, to nurture, to heal, to be peacemakers, and to forgive without reservation. Even when there is darkness all around, if one candle is lit, there is potential for other candles to be lit through it. That is the beauty of the Sangha. Be that Candle. Keep the flame of your love burning, so others can learn to love through you, and the light of wisdom and compassion will guide your way.
All of us come from different backgrounds, and we walk the path in our own unique way. Yet, we all have the same innermost longing to know the deepest mystery of our own nature and being. Reflectin…
Sri Ramana’s teaching is that the ego/mind merges in the Heart in two ways.
First, we can investigate the nature of the ego and examine the sense of “I” that we naturally feel and see where it arises. To do this, one needs to still the mind and with a purified and subtle intellect trace the “I” back to its source, the Heart. This is the yogic path of Jnana.
The second approach is to simply surrender the ego/mind without reservation to the Lord and accept that it is never our will but the Lord’s will as to what happens. If this attitude of “not my will but thine my Lord” penetrates deeply into our being, then we become accepting of everything. We see that worries and anxieties associated with ego/mind do not belong to us as we have surrendered our individual identity to the Lord. This is the approach of devotion and leads to the ego/mind merging into the Heart where the Lord sits as Eternal Existence.
“If ego rises, all will rise. If the ego merges, all will merge. The more we are humble, the better it is for us”. ~ Sri Ramana in “Gems”, Chapter XIII.
Photo art in this article is from Andreas Farasitis.
May all beings be healthy and happy and enjoy fullness without being too full.
Sri Ramana spent many years cooking for others at the Ashram and even gave precise instructions to those in the kitchen on cooking! He was a taskmaster and did not allow any food to be wasted.
The Upanishads remind us that food is sacred. “Food (anna) itself is Brahma” ~ Taittiriya Upanishad.
Bhagavan Ramana taught the devotees that food influences our body and mind, and should be selected with care, prepared well, and eaten in moderation.
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Dear Harsha: In many Eastern traditions it is believed that once a person is fully Self-Realized or Enlightened, he or she attains complete perfection and becomes omniscient and all knowing about three periods of time (past, present, and the future) anywhere in the entire universe. What would be Sri Ramana Maharshi’s view on this? Was Sri Ramana really all knowing and perfect in every way?
In many Eastern traditions it is believed that once a person is fully Self-Realized or Enlightened, he or she attains complete perfection and becomes omniscient and all knowing about three periods of time (past, present, and the future) anywhere in the entire universe. What would be Sri Ramana Maharshi’s view on this? Was Sri Ramana really all knowing and perfect in every way?
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Our very nature is that of presence. We are not in the present. We are the present.
Without a calm mind, one cannot experience the ultimate reality, the underlying oneness, as one’s own Self.
Spiritual practices (prayer, meditation, deep breathing, yoga) have value because they remove the agitation of the mind.
A peaceful mind, steady in awareness, can understand the purest teaching at the most subtle level.
Therefore the practical advice of the sages is to not bother anyone and not be bothered by others.
To reach the highest state and to know one’s own Heart as the Self, one has to become absolutely indifferent to both external and internal perceptions.
In this essay, I suggest that the philosophies and perspectives of the gradual or the direct path are not inherently meaningful. Their truth lies only in being teaching tools. Words and concepts such as the “direct path” and the “gradual path” are meant to point at the truth but they are not themselves the truth. The Truth must reveal itself to us in our own Heart.
A Popular Dichotomy
A popular dichotomy has emerged about Enlightenment in the West since the 1970s between the schools of “gradual enlightenment” and “instant enlightenment”. Some of this can probably be traced back to Poonja ji’s and Nisargadatta Maharaj’s disciples returning to the west in the 1970s and 1980s from India and bringing their understanding of Advaita Vedanta with them as given to them by their teachers. However, because many of these students deviate from traditional Advaita as taught in the classic lineage of Adi Shankracharya, they are referred to as neo-advaitins.
Given this thesis and antithesis between the gradual path and the direct path, I address the following question:
It is said that there are two approaches to the Truth of Being or Reality which some call Enlightenment or Self-Realization. A gradual path and a direct path. What is the truth of it? Are their really two paths? If…
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