Mercedes De Acosta was asking Sri Ramana Maharshi about which religion, teacher, or guru she should follow that would be most helpful to her.
Bhagavan Ramana replied, “If they can help in the quest of the Self. But can they help? Can religion, which teaches you to look outside yourself, which promises a heaven and a reward outside yourself, can this help you? It is only by diving deep into the spiritual Heart that one can find the Self.”
The Sage of Arunachala, Sri Ramana Maharshi, gave us the purest teachings.
If we look at the devotees of Sri Ramana, we see that they were some of the greatest yogis and jnanis of their day.
Many of them were world class poets and scholars. But they led quiet, unpretentious, and humble lives fully content in the grace of Bhagavan Ramana.
In outward appearance, Sri Ramana appeared as an ordinary sadhu sitting quietly on the rocks of Arunachala, and wandering the holy hill at times.
The yogis of the highest wisdom upon meeting him recognized him instantly as the king of yogis, serene and content, whose very presence was the blessing they had been seeking.
The message of Sri Ramana is simple and echoes the Upanishads.
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!
Everyday, 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.”
Sri Ramana used to say that wherever we go, our mind follows. We cannot escape our troubled mind riddled with endless concerns, anxieties, and fears. Even if we run away to a forest or some holy place or sanctuary, the mind is still with us.
Truly, the conflicted and conditioned mind is like our shadow.
If one gains company of pure hearted, good people in life, one gains everything. In yogic psychology, such an association is known as “Satsang”.
At a practical level, Satsang refers to Spiritual Fellowship or company of others on the spiritual path. Satsang is a Sanskrit term and is made of two words, “Sat” and “Sang”.
Sat means “Truth”. Sat also means “Essence”. Sat also means “Existence”. Sang means to “Be With” or “Embraced By” or “In Company of”.
Combining Sat and Sang, we get Satsang, which means “In the company of or embraced by Truth or the Universal Existence”.
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.