Favorite Ramana Maharshi Quotes – 2

“You are not helping anybody else, but only yourself.” Sri Ramana

Sri Ramana says, “Till you reach the state of jnana and thus wake out of this maya, you must do social service by relieving suffering whenever you see it. But even then you must do it, as we are told, without ahamkara, i.e., without the sense “I am the doer,” but feeling, “I am the Lord’s tool.” Continue reading

Summit Of Mount Freedom: By Michael Langford

Once upon a time in the land of fictional characters created to illustrate certain valuable lessons, there lived a woman named Liberated Sage.

Liberated Sage was one of the few people in the world who had successfully climbed to the summit of the thirty thousand foot mountain called Mount Freedom.  She liked the summit so much she decided to stay there and live on the summit permanently.

Liberated Sage had read all of the books that had been written about how to climb Mount Freedom and she had read almost all of the books written about mountain climbing in general. Continue reading

Sita Sings The Blues — A phenomenal retelling of the epic Ramayana through animation, 1920s jazz songs, contemporary commentary and one woman’s inspiration

A few months ago, a friend of mine suggested I see an animated movie called Sita Sings The Blues — he even went so far as to bring a Netflix DVD over and leave it in the temple where I live.  “Just send it back once you’ve seen it,” he told me.

To be honest, I didn’t feel very attracted to watch the movie.  My friend had mumbled something about, “It’s really great, it’s the Ramayana with 1920s blues songs… and all the characters from the epic tale are there..!”  and somehow the description sounded lame, over all, so I passed on it.

I think we sent the DVD back to Netflix, unseen.

Sita, Rama, and Hanuman

A scene from Sita Sings The Blues

Continue reading

One Poem: By Rafael Stoneman

Your beauty is One beauty
it is not male or female
it is sexless, like love

Your wisdom is One wisdom
it is not simple or complex
it is thoughtless, like being

Your truth is One truth
it is not true or false
it is mindless, like heart

Your form is One form
it is not beginning or ending
it is infinite, like God

Your life is One life
it is not separate or individual
it is everywhere, like nature

Your ego is One ego
it is not mine or yours
it is the Divine, like everything

You Are What You Eat

cornucopia

 

by Swami Sadasivananda

Are we Really what we Eat?
The Need for a Vegetarian Diet!

Every one has heard the saying: “You are what you eat.” But according to the scriptures and saints of the major Eastern religions, as well as of early Christianity, a more precise reckoning of this euphemism is, in fact, a twofold statement: “You are what you think, and you think like what you eat!”

Science tells us that the food we eat is transformed into energy that fuels the physical body. Only in our recent times has science acknowledged that there is also another energy imbued within our food, of a far more subtle nature, that influences not only the physical sphere of our being, but more importantly, the mental realm of our existence. Although modern science holds the trophy for “The slowest learners on earth”, they are now admitting that the most profound and powerful effect food has on man occurs at the psychological plane of existence.

This fact is, of course, based on the Maxim of physics that all elements in existence are essentially energy, and that energy is constant. The constancy of energy is defined by its nature of being impervious to essential altercation. The energy in the beginning of a process is the same at the end of the said process. What goes in, stays in!

In terms of ingestion of digestible matter, the quality of the energy, scientifically and specifically the vibratory rate, that dominated the nature of the plant or animal that is being eaten, is directly transferred through the digestive process and into the mind of the consumer. Thus our mind, our perception, and finally our spirit become what we eat!

If the energy is heavy or inert, little can be done with it to produce the state of silence and clarity needed to reflect the truth of spirit. Certain actions darken the mind and make it thick or heavy, vibrating very slowly–sometimes seemingly not at all. On the other hand, some actions lighten the mind, making it fluid and subtle, vibrating at a very high level. It is this latter condition that is needed for attaining the state of liberation–or rather, the state that liberates the spirit from the illusion of bondage and suffering. It is really the mind that becomes liberated, but that liberation also affects the essentially ever-free spirit and sets it free from involvement with the mind. And to attain such liberation the mind must be purified and refined. Thus, vegetarian diet becomes one of the best and strongest means for its purification.

“When we realize that any physical object has all the levels which we do, namely, the physical, biomagnetic, sensory, intellectual and will bodies, we can understand the importance of the kind and quality of food we eat. For not only does the physical substance of the food become assimilated into our physical body, so also do the subtler energies become united to our inner levels. This is the teaching of the Chandogya Upanishad:

“Mind consists of food. That which is the subtle part of milk moves
upward when the milk is churned and becomes butter. In the same
manner, the subtle part of the food that is eaten moves upward and
becomes mind. Thus, mind consists of food.” 1

“It is obvious, then, that the food we eat is going to determine the quality and condition of all the levels of our being. Our food has the same levels we do, and the different energies of the food are absorbed into our corresponding levels. Therefore when we eat something, it not only affects us on all levels of our existence, it becomes those levels. In this very real sense we indeed are what we eat. In esoteric philosophy our various levels are looked upon as separate bodies through which our consciousness operates. Since those bodies are formed essentially from the food we eat, they will be conditioned by and function according to the kind of energy extracted from the food. We are very much like the child’s toy that is a series of colored rings stacked on a rod. That is, we are successive layers of subtler and subtler energy that are connected to the physical body. From these energy levels the different life  processes are empowered and administered. When the energies within us are positive, they produce harmonious states of mind and behavior. But when the energies are negative, they move in a random and chaotic manner and produce negative states of mind and, consequently, negative behavior. Moreover, these toxic energies can also manifest as physical illnesses or defects. Substances that are toxic to the body–such as meat, alcohol, nicotine, and drugs–are toxic on the inner levels as well, and their ingestion poisons all our bodies by putting into them negative energies which are going to manifest in the disrupting manner just described. On the other hand, fruits, vegetables, and grains are reservoirs of pure, basic life energies that are very light and malleable. These energies are easily assimilated into all our bodies and made to take on our specific, unique life vibrations and karmic patterns.” 2

Thus, we must accept, and can on no legitimate grounds refute the facts of the twofold statement: “You are what you think, and you think like what you eat!”  Therefore, it can be gleaned, from both the material as well as the spiritual viewpoint, why Sri Ramana Maharshi stressed a vegetarian diet.

Question: I have heard it said that the Maharshi set no rules of conduct or lifestyle within the Ashram that came up around him. Therefore, how can what is being said regarding a vegetarian diet be essential for spiritual attainment?

It is in fact openly stated, and recorded within several of the published core teachings at the Ashram that Bhagavan Ramana set forth only one regulation for the devotees living within the Ashram, as well as for those living outside that followed his teaching. This one rule of life regarded the maintaining of a sattvic (pure) diet.

Question: Did Bhagavan ever explain why maintaining purity of diet was important, and what constituted a sattvic or pure diet?

He did explain the reason why a vegetarian diet was, and is even to this day, maintained at all times. This discipline was central to his guidance of effective means of sublimating (uplifting) the mind and its direction towards reflection upon its True Nature. His guidance stressed an ever purer awareness or quality of mind, which paved the way towards awareness within the heart, the essential home of our Eternal Self.

Bhagavaneating

 In Bhagavan’s own words we find recorded:

Devotee: What diet is prescribed for a sadhak (one engaged in spiritual practices)?
Maharshi: Sattvic food in limited quantities.
D.: What is sattvic food?
M.: Bread, fruits, vegetables, milk, etc.
D.: Some people take fish in North India. May it be done?
(The Maharshi made no answer.)
D.: We Europeans are accustomed to a particular diet; change of diet affects health and weakens the mind. Is it not necessary to keep up physical health?
M.: Quite necessary. The weaker the body the stronger the mind grows.
D.: In the absence of our usual diet our health suffers and the mind loses strength.
M.: What do you mean by strength of mind?
D.: The power to eliminate worldly attachment.
M.: The quality of food influences the mind. The mind feeds on the food consumed.
D.: Really! How can the Europeans adjust themselves to sattvic food only?
M.: (Pointing to Mr. Evans-Wentz) You have been taking our food.
Do you feel uncomfortable on that account?
Mr. Evans-Wentz: No. Because I am accustomed to it.
D.: What about those not so accustomed?
M.: Habit is only adjustment to the environment. It is the mind that matters. The fact is that the mind has been trained to think certain foods tasty and good. The food material is to be had both in vegetarian and nonvegetarian diet equally well. But the mind desires such food as it is accustomed to and considers tasty.
D.: Are there restrictions for the realised man in a similar manner?
M.: No. He is steady and not influenced by the food he takes.
D.: Is it not killing life to prepare meat diet?
M.: Ahimsa stands foremost in the code of discipline for the yogis.
D.: Even plants have life.
M.: So too the slabs you sit on!
D.: May we gradually get ourselves accustomed to vegetarian food?
M.: Yes. That is the way. 3

In this example, and as is seen throughout the teachings of Sri Ramana Maharshi, Bhagavan is stressing: “It is the mind that matters.” Furthermore, “The mind feeds on the food consumed”, and “The weaker the body the stronger the mind grows.”

In the following story, we are being shown that a pure diet will not only elevate the quality of the mind, but will also keep the body free from illness: “One afternoon at 3 o’clock, a devotee who was going to Madras gave a small tin containing some ointment and said that if that medicine was applied to Bhagavan’s legs, the pain would decrease, and that if Bhagavan would continuously use it, he would bring a dozen tins of it from Madras. Bhagavan replied, saying: “Enough. The Karpura Thailam I am using now is adequate. Why do I require such costly medicines? If diet is properly regulated, no medicine will be required. When these medicines are used, the ailment apparently disappears, but it starts again. That is because of some irregularity in diet.” 4

One of the close disciples who lived with Bhagavan, Arthur Osborne, related what the Maharshi taught him: “It should be explained for non-Hindu readers, that the practice of vegetarianism is not only out of disinclination to take life or eat flesh, though that is one reason for it; it is also because unsattvic food tends to increase animal passions and impede spiritual effort.” 5

Although the Ashram food was strictly vegetarian, Alagammal, Bhagavan’s mother, like some very devout Brahmins, went still further and considered some vegetables (i.e. onions) also unsattvic (impure). When Bhagavan would sit with the devotees in the kitchen and peel onions, Alagammal would weep bitterly. In response, Bhagavan would retort while holding up an onion: “Behold the powers of this small bulb.” She would then weep all the more loudly. Bhagavan had the final word, and would say mockingly: “Mind that onion! It is a great obstacle to Moksha (Deliverance)! It should be said here that Sri Bhagavan did not disapprove of orthodoxy in general. In this case there was excessive attachment to the forms of orthodoxy and that was what he attacked. In general he laid stress on the importance of sattvic (pure) food. He did not often give any injunctions at all concerning outer activity; his usual method was to sow the spiritual seed in the heart and leave it to shape the outer life as it grew. The injunctions came from within.” 6

1 Chandogya Upanishad, 6.5.4, 6.6.1,2,5.
2 Spiritual Benefits of a Vegetarian Diet, Swami Nirmalananda, Atmajyoti Press.
3 Talks with Sri Ramana Maharshi, recorded by Sri Munagala Venkataramiah, Sri Ramanashramam 2006, Talk 22, p. 20.
4 Letters from Sri Ramanashramam, Suri Nagamma, Sri Ramanashramam 2006, Letter #266 December1949, p. 640.
5 Ramana Maharshi and the Path of Self-Knowledge, Arthur Osborne, Sri Ramanashramam 2006, p. 82.
6 Ibid. p. 81.

cornucopia - Copy

Reprinted  with permission of Swami Sadasivananda
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I am not this, I am not that; who am I? – Gururaj Ananda Yogi Satsang

-This is an edited and unpublished satsang of Gururaj Ananda Yogi. If you want to watch the video of the whole satsang you can get it in Gururaj’s channel at Vimeo

Question: I am that which causes awareness to flow from the grossness of the lower mind to the un‑differentiated bliss of the superconscious.  I am not mind, but upon me the mind rests.  I do not move, yet through me all things move.  I am neither this nor that.  What am I?

Gururaj Ananda: That you are.

Who am I if I am not the mind?  Who am I if I am not the body?  What makes you presume that you are not the body and not the mind. What point of reference have you to tell you that I am not the mind and neither the body?  Show me that point of reference.

When I say to myself, “I am that I am,” who is this that I am that I am?  Who is this Brahmas mi‑‑I am Brahma?  Who is this that could say, “I and my Father are one?”  Who is this that could say that I, as the mind and body, is non‑existent?

Then what part of you is existent to make you cognize your non‑existence?  You don’t know, that is for sure.

Your mind is a reality, your body is a reality, and the spiritual self within you is a reality, but it is only the mind that could cognize its own realness which is also, at the same time, erroneous.

Gururaj Ananda and Cansita
Gururaj Ananda and Cansita

You say I am this body.  Now this body has been changing so much.  I was an infant, then l grew up into adolescence, became an old man…

So this body is the same body, but over a period of time ‑‑ which you regard to be time ‑‑ has gone through various changes.  Who is that which perceives this particular form of reality?

The spirit that is within you, the Divinity that is within you, is non‑cognizable and neither would it cognize anything besides itself in its own cognition.

The mind says this is a handkerchief.  Why does the mind say this is a handkerchief?  Because my mind, or a certain recollection or experiences that has gone through me in this lifetime or even in past lifetimes, perhaps, make me cognize this to be a cloth, a piece of cloth to be used on my nose.

Now, where does this come from?  What tells you that this is a nose and that’s a handkerchief?  So you go further back to realize that my mind is saying that, then you will ask yourself what perpetuates this mind in this mold of having this particular kind of cognition?

And like that you go on and on and on until you reach a point which is zero.  Then only can you say, “I’m not the body.”  Then only can you say, “I’m not the mind.”

Look, I can touch, feel, smell, taste, go to bed and make love, go to the toilet.  Is the body then not functional?  Of course  it is functional.  Then why do I deny the body?

I deny the body because I feel within myself‑‑or rather some force is feeling within myself‑‑that I am far beyond the body and the mind.  Now, the greatest mistake that has been made‑‑or is being made by various theologies‑‑is the denial of the body and mind.  Let’s look at it from a different angle.  Do not deny this body.  Do not deny this mind.  And do not deny that which cognizes the body and the mind.

So how are you dealing with yourself, then?  We’re still going to come to the cognitive factor.  But at this moment how do you stand?  You stand in the position of saying, my body exists, my mind exists, and the cognitive factor also exists, so therefore I am existence and being existing I can deny nothing.  For I am that I am.

There is no differentation between your body and your mind and your cognitive self.  The I that cognizes the very existence of this body and this mind is thought forms which we can call the ego self that is forever trying to preserve itself in the cognitive factors of saying I am this handsome guru [comments and laughs from audience].   Who’s saying that?  That stupid ego self.

Now, what is the ego worth?  The ego is worth nothing, because it is just a formation of patterns which you have superimposed upon yourself through the various experiences that you have gone through, and that has left impressions.  And those impressions is that which we call the ego.

Now, I put my hand on this table and I remove this hand.  But an imprint is there.  The hand is not there anymore, but an impression or an imprint of the hand is existing on this table.  Get out your magnifying glass and you will see it.  What reality is there in this imprint?  Nil!

This very imprint that cognizes me as a body, this very imprint that cognizes me as a mind.  So my body and mind is totally dependent upon that imprint.  And yet, what is the reality of this imprint? Nil.  It’s an impression created through patternings of experiences.

So now if I deny this imprint, or if I do not attach value to this imprint in bringing about the recognitions of the existence of this body and this mind, then I am basing the existence of this body and this mind with something that has no substance but which has just created an impression there, presuming that this mind and this body is real.

So now, what have we done so far?  We are accepting the reality of the mind and the body, and, at the same time, we are denying the mind and the body.  Because both are true. You are not the body, yet the body; you are not the mind, yet the mind.  Then what is your reality?  And how are you going to prove this reality?

You can only prove it by inference.  Or by the very factor that reality requires no proof.  It exists because of its own existence.  The only time you can prove reality is when you have a reference point.  And where can there be any reference point as as far as Divinity is concerned.

There is consciousness and non‑consciousness.  Non‑ consciousness means you are not aware.  And conscious means that you are aware.  Now, what proof is there of awareness.  Does awareness require any proof?  Does the light burning there require any proof that it is burning?  Its very act of giving light is its own proof.

You do not need to prove anything.  Because when it comes to the highest level, you need a point of reference, and the highest level being the one, without a second, cannot have a reference point.

I exist, I exist, because I exist.  That’s all.  And because I, the real me to which I have no reference point exists, I can only refer it back to a grosser level of the mind and the body, which finds its existence in that which I cannot prove is existing.Gururaj Ananda

I’m taking the highest factor in life and bringing it down to the grossest factor and that is what I could compare things with.  But when we reach the point beyond comparison ‑‑ Beautiful word.  You’re pairing up things in comparison.  There have to be two to compare.  But what if I want to exist as I am in my full totality, then will I not lose the idea of comparing myself to anything else?  And the very moment I lose the idea of comparing myself to any subject or object, that is the very moment when I will lose the ego self, that imprint that is existing in my experience.  Or the impression of the experience.  Then where will I be?  I shall be incomparable.

I shall be the source of existence itself, which I am.  Not in reality, but in actuality.  For reality changes from day to day.  What is real to you today might be unreal to you tomorrow. You see.  But when I become actual, when I become the source and recognize that source within me, or the source recognizes itself, then I will say, let me enjoy this body.  Let me enjoy this mind, for it is a product of a collection of impressions.  And if they are there, let me make the best use of it.

Here we are fusing two factors.  The fusion lies in the fact that that which is created by impressions‑‑or maya or illusion‑‑, is brought into reality, and reality is converted into illusion.  So I make the best of both worlds.

For example, let’s see what example we can use.  Say I loved a woman very much, I was deeply involved with that woman.  Fine. And she has left me.  She has jilted me or died or whatever or jumped in the lake.  Now, is she there or is she not there?  She’s dead, we know.  But is she there or is she not there?  She is there because you think she is there.  What makes you think she is there is because those impressions, those experiences, and you are reliving something so far in the past which has no reality today, which has become an illusion.  Because she is not there.  I have developed a dependency upon her when she was there.  So what am I living on now?  On dependencies.

I am existing with a reality, which is my body and my mind.  Though in essence it is unreal, but for the moment of three score years and ten, let me do the best with it I can.  Why not. Who would deny me that right?  And why should it be denied to me? You think all these organs we have are there just for the fun of it or for the show of it?  You think I have ears and I must not hear?  Or I have eyes and I must not see?  Or a nose and not smell?  Or any other organ of my body that has been there created through an evolutionary process and not to be used.  Why should I not use every organ in this body of mine to its fullest value? Honestly and sincerely.

So these monks  say become celibate, become this and that, become this and I don’t know what all.  I say, “become yourself!”  Be yourself!

Be yourself.  How can I make myself be myself?  Ahh!  How can I make myself be myself?  And the answer to that riddle is so simple.  Do you know that beautiful hymn which I like very much, lead thou me on, kindly light, one step at a time is enough for me.  Don’t you know that beautiful hymn?

Firstly, I must admit to myself that  I’m living a fragmented life.  Part of my mind is pulling that way, part of my mind is pulling that way, part of my mind is floating up there in Chicago and another part somewhere in some heaven or some hell which has no existence in reality.

Admit to oneself that I’m fragmented.  Lead thou me on, kindly light to integration away from fragmentation.  Let me be whole.  Let me function in this life holistically.  Let me not find any more the discriminatory factors between body, mind, and spirit.  Let me regard it to be one continuum.  And this continuum, after finding through spiritual practices and meditation, when you find this continuum of yourself, mind, body, and spirit, this continuum will extend and extend and develop so much that the entire universe becomes you and you become the universe.

Existence and non‑existence, what am I going to do about it?  I’m both.  I am existing, and at the same time, the impressions which I’m existing upon is non‑existent.

So let me tell you this, that 99.999% of your problems in your mind are self‑created without any damn substance.  So that which you have created without substance… very easy way out of it‑‑pull the chain!

That is the secret of life.  Forget the past.  It is gone. Do not project yourself into the future, it might not be there. But live for this moment.  Live for this moment.  And then you’ll preserve your physical health, you’ll preserve your mental health, you’ll become integrated in mind, body and spirit, and you’ll enjoy life.  For life is joy.  So, as I always say, enjoy the joy.  Why deny yourself of that beautiful joy of this so‑ called existence when you can have fun.

What’s wrong with fun. Enjoy it.  But be honest and sincere, that’s important.

MEDITACION BARCELONA