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.
Sages respect all spiritual paths, modes of prayer, contemplation, and meditation. Walking from any direction towards the Heart, ultimately leads to the Realization that All is One. One Love. One Heart.
Whoever you worship, and by whatever name you call the Divine Spirit, Her sweet light falls equally on everyone and is in everyone.
That One Light is in you as well.
It appears hidden behind the mind and personality, that you take to be your identity. But in truth, You, yourself are that One Light.
Understanding and intimately knowing our original and true identity as the light of consciousness is known as Self-Realization.
What is the secret of happiness?
Don’t bother anyone.
Don’t be bothered by anyone.
That is the path of joy and freedom.
Help those who come your way. Help where needed.
But don’t bother anyone. Don’t impose yourself and your views on others.
Stay with people and be part of the community devoted to universal love and peace.
Stay away from those who like to argue. Let them find their way.
Sri Ramana used to say that the best help we can give others is to transform ourself.
Be a person of peace and compassion, and this will reflect in your actions.
Be the light. That light will illumine your path and that of others and will be the best help you can give.
Quietly shine in your own pure nature of peace and radiance.
You will have done all you can.
Whether honored or tormented, in laughter or tears
the wise man, who is aware of his Self-Nature
does not see the body and mind as his own
and releases them to their natural ways.
Freedom from duality comes from Self-Knowledge
and reveals the joy that takes one beyond all sorrows.
Here are the original verses from the Asthavakra Gita 3.9-3.14
Whether feted or tormented, the wise man is always aware of his supreme self-nature and is neither pleased nor disappointed. 3.9
The great-souled person sees even his own body in action as if it were someone else’s, so how should he be disturbed by praise or blame? 3.10
Seeing this world as pure illusion, and devoid of any interest in it, how should the strong-minded person feel fear, even at the approach of death? 3.11
Who can be compared to the great-souled person whose mind is free from desire even in disappointment, and who has found satisfaction in self-knowledge? 3.12
How should a strong-minded person who knows that what he sees is by its very nature nothing, consider one thing to be grasped and another to be rejected? 3.13
An object of enjoyment that comes of itself is neither painful nor pleasurable for someone who has eliminated attachment, and who is free from dualism and from desire. 3.14
The search for true love is really the search for the ultimate reality of this universe.
It manifests outwardly as the search for that perfect person, the search for God, the search for the mystery of our existence.
Underlying all fears and anxieties is the fundamental agitation of not knowing who we are.
To solve this existential riddle, Sri Ramana advocates the sincere and keen inquiry that focuses on the question, “Who Am I?”
It is this inward focus with intent and intensity, that leads the mind to dive deep into the very heart of the unknown.
It is in the deepest core of our being, that we find the Heart, that is in reality the Self.
One never feels complete until one realizes that one who has been pursued and sought as one’s true love is one’s own Self.
In coming close to the Self, one is drawn to the Self, and then by Grace merges with the Self, the very Heart of Existence and becomes That.
Bhagavan Ramana used to say, “The Self is always there. It is you. There is nothing but you.”
The basic tenet of Advaita-Vedanta is that our original nature, the nature of the Self, is Sat-Chit-Ananda-Nityam-Purnum. Sat means Existence. Chit refers to Consciousness. Ananda means Bliss. Nityam mean Eternal. Purnum means whole or complete.
These are not qualities of the Self but its very nature as One monolithic whole. The Self is One without a second, A Mass of Conscious Bliss that is Eternal and Whole. When we experience the Self, we see that the ancient sages were very precise in describing our nature. It is unmistakable and leaves no room for any thought or doubt. Sages teach us that what comes and goes is not our true nature. What is transient has no permanent power or hold on us.
Although we view our personality as made up of mental traits and thoughts, Advaita teaches us that even our mind and thoughts are transient as they are constantly undergoing change. If our identity is based on mental fluctuations, suffering is the natural result.
Sri Ramana, the Sage of Arunachala, taught that through reflection, introspection, and self- inquiry, we can see through our mental conditioning, be free of it, and go beyond it.
Then we see that what comes and goes is not our nature.
Here is a conversation with Sri Ramana and a visitor to illustrate this point.
A visitor said: “I suffer from worries without end; there is no peace for me…” Sri Ramana asked: “Do these worries affect you in sleep?” The visitor admitted that they did not.
Sri Ramana asked him again: “Are you the very same man now, or are you different from him that slept without any worry?”
The visitor said, “Yes, I am the same person.”
Sri Ramana then said: “Then surely those worries do not belong to you. It is your own fault if you assume that they are yours.” (From Maha Yoga by K. Lakshmana Sarma).
Ramana Maharshi often spoke about the true nature of solitude. He has explained a number of times that silence, peace, and solitude are not a function of our environment but our mental state. Indeed solitude is in the mind and not to be found somewhere outside.
“You may go on reading any number of books on Vedanta. They can only tell you ‘Realize the Self’. The Self cannot be found in books. You have to find it for yourself in yourself.” Bhagavan Ramana in Gems ~ Chapter 8.
Sri Ramana here states the truth directly and unmistakably. No matter how many books one reads, one cannot gain Self-Realization.
Reading, thinking, and conceptualizing involve mental activity. Yet, it is this mental activity that distracts us and covers up the pure essence of being.
It is the mind itself that has to subside into the Heart and dissolve in it. Upon the merging of the mind in the Heart, the Self, recognition of our true nature is instantaneous. With the mind absent as the intermediary, the wordless Realization is immediate. One recognizes and says that “It has been Me all along. I am the Self.”
This recognition is beyond thoughts, words, and concepts. We use the words only to indicate that our real Self stands always Self-revealed.
Bhagavan Ramana teaches that once we become conscious of our power of attention to scan its own nature, we should focus on that.
in the classic quote given at the beginning of the article, Bhagavan Ramana emphasizes the role of deliberate and conscious introversion of the mind by shifting our attention from perceptions to the perceiver via self-inquiry.
Note: The featured picture is from Mirela Skerbic on Facebook