I am in a slightly bewildered state, having just come to the completion of two major projects; which, with my head down, had consumed much of my time and focus over the last two years. One of them is my new website, and the other is the submission of half my life’s work to a publishing company.* Continue reading
The spiritual path, or spiritual sadhana, or we could also call it path of unfoldment, because we just unfold to what is; at the beginning, requires of:
- Assuming one’s responsibility
- Accepting the state of affairs of our life as it stands today
- this brings us to a general sense of devotion to our lives
- which in turn brings about the surrender required to experience Unity Consciousness
Acceptance is one of the key qualities that we need to implement in our lives. Understanding that our particular form of life is the result of an evolutionary process brings us into terms with life, as it is experienced by our own particular individual mind. Karma is a very much misunderstood concept. Continue reading
Selected portion of A Devotee’s remembrance. Shantammal speaks of Bhagavan Sri Ramana Maharshi.
One of the visitors was leaving the Ashram. He stood before Bhagavan with folded hands and prayed: “I am going far away. I do not know when I shall be coming back, and if at all I shall be allowed to see your holy face again in this life. I am so much less fortunate than those who have the benefit of your constant presence. How can you help me, a sinner in a distant corner of the world, unless you think of me? I implore you, give me a place in your mind.” Continue reading
Paulo Coelho’s The Manual of the Warrior of Light begins with the following story:
‘Just off the beach to the west of the village lies an island, and on it is a vast temple with many bells,’ said the woman. The boy noticed that she was dressed strangely and had a veil covering her head. He had never seen her before. Continue reading
SURRENDER. What are you going to surrender? What are you going to let go of? What is in your grip that you are going to drop?
I remember Rinzai (Lin Chai) said “Just rid your mind of the principle from which action springs”.
The Principle of Action, your own inner conviction that you can act and do something to change anything or to reach anything. I do not mean action, in the material and physical sense, NO; action is Intention, action is having a Purpose, what is your Intention? What is your Purpose? That is why the Prophet Mohamed said “Actions are based on intentions, and each man will reap what he intends”. Intention, manifests as planning, scheming, devising, calculating and controlling, all these are expressions of intention. What makes you see the world as world, not as a Divine Manifestation, a Divine Existence, God’s Face, and the Kingdom of Heaven or the Garden of Eden? It is to have a purpose, to have an object in mind. Without your intention, without your purpose, you are THERE. Without intention the Kingdom of God is at hand.
Surrender your intention to Him, to the Lord, to God. Have no intention, simply be as a child. A child does not know. Intention means that you know what to do and you imagine that this is for your own good. The question is how am I going to live and function without this planning, scheming, controlling…etc.? Start with simple things; say to yourself, I am not going to plan -about any simple item in your life. Then observe carefully how this item will turn out. You experiment with life; you experiment with your world. It will be seen, that what you had left without any planning, scheming, controlling, turns up beautiful, better than what you have hoped for, if you planned it yourself. It cannot be better. That is how you start, cultivating your faith; from small things, going up to larger things, more important issues in life and so forth. Faith – in not having an intention, in not having a purpose, faith in abstinence from planning – will increase, till one day; you will say to yourself “What a burden to plan and scheme”. The Lord plans for me, devises for me and schemes for me. All I have to do is to stop planning and be attentive; Guidance will come, doors will open and opportunities will offer themselves to you.
Lao Tzu said:
As to the roaming of the sages,
They move in utter emptiness,
Let their minds meander in the great nothingness;
They run beyond convention
And go through where there is no gateway.
They listen to the soundless
And look at the formless,
They are not constrained by society
And not bound to its customs.
The sages roam; they have no self generated purposeful activities. Purpose for their actions is imposed on them from without, from the Kingdom of Heaven. Their rein is not in their own hands.
There is a great Sufi Master called Ibn Atta Allah the Alexanderian. This Sufi master composed a book called ” Become Enlightened; Just Stop Planning”. Another great Sufi Master called Ahmed Al Refaaie said:” When I was in Mecca during pilgrimage, I took an oath that I will have no purpose again as long as I live”
Planning for man constitutes his whole life, his whole existence; without planning, there is no man. Without a purpose, you do not exist. You become egoless. You drop your ego. You drop any purpose. Planning is what makes you an ego, an individual and a mortal. Stop planning, stop having a purpose and re-discover what you used to call your life, re-examine your world without planning. Secrets will become no secrets; the world will be transformed into the Kingdom of Heaven, into the Garden of Eden.
The following question was put to Sada-ji (Dr. Sadananda), an eminent scholar on Hindu metaphysics of Advaita-Vedanta (Feb. 12, 1999) on the Advaitin Sangha:
Please explain what is the place of surrender in an advaitin’s search for Self-knowledge?. What should he surrender to? What shall prompt him to surrender?
Editor’s Note: Dr. Sadananda’s answer is given below with minor edits by me. I am not a Sanskrit scholar and so if there are mistakes in my edits, please let me know and I will correct these quickly. Thanks.
Dr. Sadananda answers:
Bhagavan Ramana describes this beautifully in Updesh Sara:
ahami naashabaagyahamaham taayaa|
spurati hRit swayam param puurNa sat||
When the false I falls (ego is surrendered), then in that place aham, aham – I am – I am – swayam spurati – spontaneously rises.
This “I am” that rises is different from the previous “I am” (ego) with notions that I am this and that etc.
This pure and unconditional rising is paramam – supreme (there is nothing beyond it); It is puurnam – Infinite without limitations since limitations belong to “this” and “that”. It is Sat swaruupam – nature of pure existence with no qualifications attached to “I am”.
Where does it rise? Where else but in ones own inner core of personality where “I am” (ego) is currently rising along with notions that I am body, mind, or intellect etc. With the surrendering of ego, the false notions about my self are replaced by the true knowledge of my self. It becomes clear that as the self is in all, all are in myself.
sarva bhuutasta maatmaanam sarva bhuutanica aatmani –
What should I surrender to?
In pure Advaita Vedanta, the surrendering is not someone surrendering to another person.
Advaita teaches through negation of what I am not. In scriptures, this process is given as – neti – neti, etc. I am not this and not this and not this, etc.. Whatsoever can be objectified by me, I am not.
Through negation one ascertains who one is.
Realization of what I am searching for, I am searching with! Do you see the beauty of it?
Tat twam asi – neti neti is a part of the inquiry of who I am not, by negating what I am not. What is left after all negations is the subject who is negating. The subject cannot negate oneself. That I am!
This very inquiry is the surrendering of the ego. As J. Krishnamurthi puts it;
The very observation of ones conditioning releases one from his conditioning. Knowledge of who I am then rises.
In vishishhTaadvaita the knowledge of the Lord rises. There the Lord is different from me yet I am part of Him not independent of Him. The total is one – Creation is the gross manifestation of the subtle existence.
What prompts one to surrender?
There is a famous sloka in the Mundaka Upanishad –
pariiksha locaan karma chitaan brahmano
nirvedamaayaa naasch kRitah kRitena
tat viJNaanaartham sa guru mevaabhigachhet
samit paaNiH strotriyam brahman nishTaam||
At some stage in life – a question arises – what does all this means? One is looking for happiness in all pursuits and one is unable to get an everlasting happiness from the external world and relationships.
By examining ones’ owns action- prompted results, one realizes that by doing action one cannot gain any everlasting happiness. That is the time, the scripture advises the student to approach a proper teacher to guide one self. One should approach a teacher with full humility with an attitude of service to that teacher who is fully established in the truth and who can come down and communicate this knowledge to the student.
So what prompts one to surrender? The clear realization that all other means are not useful to secure what one is looking for – an eternal happiness.