The Forum dedicated to Arunachala and Bhagavan Sri Ramana Maharshi

Ramana Maharshi => The teachings of Bhagavan Sri Ramana Maharshi => Topic started by: Subramanian.R on January 05, 2014, 12:54:09 PM

Title: The Paramount Importance of Self Attention - Sadhu Om:
Post by: Subramanian.R on January 05, 2014, 12:54:09 PM
Part Eight: (Mountain Path, Jan.-Mar. 2014.)

13th January 1978:

Sadhu Om:  There are no outward signs of distinguishing someone in the fifth standard (the state of non dual self love - svatma
bhakti) which is he highest stage in the school of bhakti described in Chapter 2 of the second part of The Path of Sri Ramana.
They will usually appear to behave like pukka devotees in the fourth standard - the stage of guru bhakti. 

The four gurus of Saiva Siddhanta, Tiru Navukkarasar, Jnana Sambandhar, Manikkavachagar and Sundaramurti Swami, were all
Jnanis from the time they started composing verses, but they spent all their lives like second standard students - devotees who
worship or pray to many different names and forms of God, visiting so many temples and writing verses in praise of the temple

Even Bhagavan behaved like a good devotee of Arunachala. He did giri pradakshina and encouraged others to do so.  He never
allowed anyone to walk round Him, garland Him or do puja to Him.  Instead, He always pointed out to Arunachala, as the form
of the Guru, saying that it is the true 'Ramana Sadguru', and he was often moved to tears on reading or hearing stotras. On His
last evening He had not opened His eyes for two hours but about 8 p.m. when we started singing Aksharamana malai with its
refrain 'Arunachala Siva',  He opened His eyes for a few moments, and then till 8.47 p.m. tears were pouring down His cheeks.
He left His body as we were singing Verse 72:

"Protect me, Arunachala, being the support for me to cling to, so that I may not droop down like a tender creeper without
anything to cling to."

Once, while walking round the Hill, Bhagavan did pradakshina of Durvasa's shrine as an example to others, saying jokingly,
'Even if we ignore other shrines, we would not ignore Durvasa because Durvasa was an ancient sage who was noted for his
hot temper.  However, He never prostrated to any deity or person.                   


Arunachala Siva.
Title: Re: The Paramount Importance of Self Attention - Sadhu Om:
Post by: Subramanian.R on January 06, 2014, 11:54:08 AM

Muruganar also exemplified fourth standard bhakti.  He always showed great reverence for Bhagavan in every possible way,
such as keeping His picture at a high level and never wearing sandals near any picture of Him.  At the mention of Bhagavan's
name, he would shed tears.  In doing so, he exemplified the teaching that Bhagavan gave in verse 39 of Ulladu Narpadu -

Always experience advaita in your heart, but do not ever put advaita in action.  O son, advaita is appropriate in the three
worlds, but know that with the guru, advaita is not appropriate, that is, even if one can claim a non dual status in the presence
of any of the three gods, Brahma, Vishnu and Siva, one should never claim a non dual status with the guru.

When people ask me why I do pradakshina and prostrate to Arunachala, I reply: 'If you see me as an ego, than it is right
that I do so, or if you see me as Self, then it is not I but only this body that does so.'  Advaita cannot be put into action, since
any action implies duality.  However, no action can alter the fact that non duality is the truth.

Some one said to Bhagavan, 'Bhagavan, this self inquiry is very difficult. Can I instead practice such and such yoga or meditation?'
to which He nodded in assent.  After that person left, some of the devotees were wondering why Bhagavan seemed to give
His consent to such practices, so He explained:

'He says Self inquiry is difficult', which means that he does not want to practice it, so what can I do?  Even if I tell him not to
practice this other yoga or meditation, he still won't practice Self Inquiry.  In a few months he will return and say that meditation
is difficult, and ask whether he can do japa instead.  And after practicing japa for some time, he will find his mind still wanders,
so he will then come and ask if he can sing stotras.  All this will mean that he is unfit to do anything.  If one is able to make even
a little effort to sing stotras or do japa or any other sadhana, one can make the same amount of effort to attend to the feeling
"I am".'

On another occasion, someone told Bhagavan that they were afraid that they would be wasting time if they practiced self inquiry,
because though they had tried to practice it, they found that they always became inattentive, and so asked whether it would not
therefore be better if they practiced some japa instead.  Bhagavan replied, 'You have nothing to fear. You are like a person who is
afraid to let go of a branch even though he standing on the ground.  Do you suppose that even when you lose your hold on Self,
Self can ever lose its hold on you?'


Arunachala Siva.   
Title: Re: The Paramount Importance of Self Attention - Sadhu Om:
Post by: Subramanian.R on January 07, 2014, 01:30:38 PM
14th January 1978:

Sadhu Om:  When Muruganar was once asked about the other gurus, he replied, 'I have been blinded by the sun (of Jnana, that is
Sri Bhagavan) so I cannot see anything else.'

As Bhagavan explains in verses 17 and 18 of Ulladu Narpadu, an ajnani limits 'I' to the extent (the form) of the body, and limits
reality to the extent of the world.  As a result, ajnanis do not take 'I' and the reality to be one and the same.  The Jnani, on the
other hand, sees that 'I' shines as the limitless self and that Reality shines as the formless substratum of the world, and therefore,
knows that the reality is 'I'. 

Because the Jnani knows that the Self alone really exists, He does not see anything as non-self, and hence He knows that even the body is 'I' and even the world is real.  However, we should take care not to misunderstand the jnani's statement that the world is
real.  What the jnani sees as real is just the 'is'-ness of the world.  Both a Jnani and an ajnani will say, 'This is a table.'  But the ajnani
sees only its form and therefore mistakes its 'is'-ness to be a property of that form.  Whereas in the view of the jnani only 'is'-ness
(being or Sat) is real, so the table is nothing other than that infinite, indivisible and hence the formless 'is'-ness. 


Arunachala Siva.               
Title: Re: The Paramount Importance of Self Attention - Sadhu Om:
Post by: Subramanian.R on January 08, 2014, 10:38:47 AM

Therefore, because the jnani experiences the body as 'I' and the world is real, he seems to behave just like ajnanis, but the
difference between them lies in their understanding of 'I' and of Reality.  Though this difference in their perspective is very
subtle, it is actually vast, like the difference between the mountain top and a valley.

During Sadhana, we have to reject everything other than 'I' as anatma (non-self or 'not myself'), but when we experience 'I'
as it really is, we will discover that nothing is other than it.  The practice of rejecting everything other than 'I' by not attending
to any such thing is sometimes called as an ascending process, whereas the state of true Self Knowledge, in which everything
is experienced as not other than 'I' is sometimes described as a descending process, though it is not actually a 'process'
but our natural state of being. 

Therefore, what Bhagavan describes in Verses 17 and 18 of Ulladu Narpadu is this 'descending process', the state of Sahaja
Samadhi, in which everything is embraced as 'I'.  This state is what is indicated in Sastras  by statements such as 'All this
is Brahman', but since pandits think of Brahman as if it were a third person, they fail to grasp the true meaning of such hints.

Brahman should always be regarded as the first person 'I', because it is our natural state of pure non-dual Self awareness.
Only when one thus understands Brahman to be only 'I' can we have the correct outlook that such scriptural statements were
intended to inculcate, which is the outlook required for the practice of Sahaja Samadhi.  This outlook is the attitude: 'All this is
only because I am' - that is firm conviction that everything that I experience, namely the mind, body and the world, and all that
happens in them, could not exist if I did not exist to experience them, so they are entirely dependent upon by my being-
consciousness, 'I am' .  By clinging firmly to this attitude, one can practice self attention even while engaged in outward


Arunachala Siva.                     
Title: Re: The Paramount Importance of Self Attention - Sadhu Om:
Post by: Subramanian.R on January 09, 2014, 12:18:25 PM
18th January 1978:

Sadhu Om:  The self attention we practice in the midst of other activities will not very deep or intense, so we should also set
aside time to practice it more intensely.  When we do so, our aim should be to turn our attention 180 degrees away from other
things towards Self.  If we once succeed in turning our attention 180 degrees towards the Self, we will experience perfect clarity
of Self awareness, unsullied by even the slightest awareness of any other thing.  This is the state of true Self Knowledge, which will
completely destroy the illusion that we are this mind, so after this, the illusion of experiencing other than 'I' can never return.

While trying to turn your attention 180 degrees to the Self, whenever you feel your self attention is becoming slack, do not try
to keep up the pressure. It is better to allow your attention to return to 0 degree for a while, and then to make a fresh attempt.
If you wish to punch something, it is best to draw your fist right back, because there then your punch will have the maximum
impact. Likewise, if you start you attempt to turn your attention selfwards from 0 degree, your effort will have maximum force.


Arunachala Siva.   
Title: Re: The Paramount Importance of Self Attention - Sadhu Om:
Post by: Subramanian.R on January 10, 2014, 12:39:04 PM

By incessantly repeating such fresh attempts, you will gradually be able to turn your attention further and further towards the
Self: 40 degrees, 60 degrees, 75 degrees and more.  In between each fresh attempt, you can usefully spend the time you
are resting at 0 degree, (that is, by attending to second and third persons) by doing manana, thinking about Sri Bhagavan's
teachings, or sravana, reading His teachings.  At all times between such attempts you should also take care to be indifferent
to whatever experiences may come, because you can then build a strong foundation of Vairagya, freedom from desire to
attend anything other than 'I', and bhakti, love to attend only to 'I', from which you will sooner or later be able to make your
final leap, turning to the full 180 degrees towards Self. 

Some ripe aspirants do not even to make such incessant efforts to turn selfwards.  Because they always remain vigilantly
aware of the Self, waiting for the moment whey they can take their final leap, the complete 180 degrees turn towards the
Self. Their practice is like the swinging of a shot putter preparing to throw his shot.

When I was first taught by Janaki Matha to practice dualistic forms of meditation such as murti-dhyana, I found that continuous
practice of such meditation caused me to have visions and other such divine experiences, but I soon understood that that was
not the way to experience the Self.  Only Swarupa Dhyana - meditation upon Self, which is another term Bhagavan used to describe
the practice of atma vichara - can enable one to experience Self as it really is.


Arunachala Siva.               
Title: Re: The Paramount Importance of Self Attention - Sadhu Om:
Post by: Subramanian.R on January 11, 2014, 11:54:17 AM
19th January 1978:

It is difficult for us to mix with sadhakas who have other thought currents.  Hearing their ideas and views about the other
gurus, we naturally feel lonely, since we love Bhagavan and like to think only of Him and His teachings.  But we should be
careful not to preach.  We should not express Bhagavan's views to anyone unless we are asked.

Other gurus like Buddha and Sankara went to the world to teach their ideas.  But Bhagavan has shown us that it is not
necessary.  The world is like your shadow, so if you go towards it to teach it, it will recede from your grasp, but if you withdraw
within yourself, it will follow you and subside there.  If you quietly keep the fire of devotion to 'I' which Bhagavan has kindled
within you, burning within your own heart by repeated sravana, manana, and nidhidhyasana, that is the best way to teach
the world to follow Him.

'Act without desire for the fruit' says the Bhagavad Gita. Self attention is not actually an action or karma, because it is a state
of just being, not doing anything, but so long as we consider it to be something that we must do, it is only 'doing' that will give
no fruit or karma phala.  Therefore self attention is the only true karma yoga. This is why Bhagavan says in Verse 10 of Upadesa
Undiyar and verse 14 of Ulladu Narpadu Anubandham:

Being, having subsided in the place from which we rose - that is karma and bhakti, that is the yoga and jnana.

Investigating to whom are these akarma, vibhakti, viyoga and ajnana, alone is karma, bhakti, yoga and jnana.  When one
investigates without 'I' those defects do not ever exist.  Remaining permanently as Self is the Reality.


Arunachala Siva.                   
Title: Re: The Paramount Importance of Self Attention - Sadhu Om:
Post by: Subramanian.R on January 12, 2014, 02:54:20 PM

If we rise as 'I', we will feel that we are entangled in action (karma), and in a state of vibhakti (non-devotion) or lack true
love for God, viyoga (separation) from God, and ajnana (ignorance) of our real nature.  Therefore, subsiding back in Self,
the source from which we rose, by investigating who am I who experience such karma, vibhakti, viyoga, and ajnana, is a
correct practice of the four yogas or means of reunion.  Nishkamya Karma (desireless action), bhakti (devotion), raja yoga
and jnana (Self Knowledge).  When we investigate thus, the false 'I' will subside and disappear and in its absence there
will be no one to experience any karma, vibhakti, viyoga or ajnana.  What will then remain is only the Reality, which is the
state in which we abide permanently as Self without ever rising to be or to experience anything else. 

Kunju Swami:  In later years, after all the court cases that were brought against the Asramam,  Perumal Swami came to
Bhagavan and complained, 'When I was a young man I came to you, for moksha. but you allowed me to be led astray
by my weak buddhi. Now I shall surely go to hell.' to which Bhagavan replied, 'Do you think I am not there also?'

On another occasion, having read Bhagavan's biography, a new devotee angrily asked Him, 'Who is this fellow Perumal
Swami?' but Bhagavan replied affectionately, 'That is namma Perumal - our Perumal,' and continued to praise him,
describing all the good service he had done.  Not only did Bhagavan not feel any enmity towards anyone, but also did not
allow us to feel enmity towards anyone.

(will be continued after the next issue of Mountain Path, is released).


Arunachala Siva.