The Forum dedicated to Arunachala and Bhagavan Sri Ramana Maharshi

Ramana Maharshi => General topics => Topic started by: Subramanian.R on February 22, 2017, 12:40:18 PM

Title: Editorial - July - September -2016:
Post by: Subramanian.R on February 22, 2017, 12:40:18 PM

We all are in exile. It is the condition of our lives.  We are all seeking or waiting for the time when somewhere, somehow we can discover and rest secure in our own home,
the place where we instinctively know we belong, whatever or wherever it may be.
Although we may be unsure of its shape, size and location, every single one of us
is aware at some deep atavistic level that home exists and we are searching for it.

Though we pretend we know what we want, it is rare that we do truly know.  We indulge in babbles; we read books and think we understand; we distract ourselves with day dreams and wishful thinking.  Our vision is clouded as we seek for what we think is home. We are full of concepts as we seek for what we think is home.  We are full of concepts about enlightenment, bliss, glory, power and knowledge as if we are conversant with the potency of these ideas. 

The trenchant observer Kabir sang:

If parroting the name of Rama brought salvation,
Then saying Sugarcane should sweeten the mouth,
Saying Fire burns the feet,
Saying Water slake the thirst,
And saying Food would be good as a bletch.
If saying Money made everyone rich,
There would be no beggars on the street.

(Eating God, A Book of Bhakti Poetry, Penguin, 2014.)


Arunachala Siva.                     
Title: Re: Editorial - April - June 2016:
Post by: Subramanian.R on February 23, 2017, 10:31:06 AM
We will strive for that home where we may rest content, fulfilled, secure and loved.
It rarely happens, perhaps because what we are convinced is the answer to our prayers
is actually a vision cobbled together of all our various fantasies.  Our true yearning is for home, but that longing becomes diffused and degraded until we know we want, but we are less sure of what we are less sure of what is that we want.

Life is defined  by movement.  Nothing stands still for long, even the food we love best if eaten continuously would become repulsive just our sense of heavenly peace would turn unutterably dull.  The wheel turns and it does so usually when we become complacent with our fate. Then we tend to be thrown off our hard won balance into turmoil by a new invasive and unavoidable element.  It just tales a sharp word, rude
manners or slothful ignorance by others to turn our heads inside out with indignation or uncontrollable anger.  Life is prodding to move on. So in this normal sense, home as we desire is not a physical place, it is a state of mind.  Who has not returned to a childhood home and not felt a stranger?  All that made it home is the feeling of comfort and security and that now only exists as a memory.

Is home then a person or an emotion or a thriving ideal?  If a person or perhaps a family, is it because it is familiar or is it somewhere special where we feel most at ease?  Or possibly where we are intensely alive and fulfilled?  If it is a person then does it matter where we physically are as long as the other person or persons are there in our hearts and minds?  But people age and die.  So that it is not permanent.


Arunachala Siva.                     
Title: Re: Editorial - July - September -2016:
Post by: Subramanian.R on February 24, 2017, 10:12:56 AM
Is Bhagavan a person?  We would like to think so but tremble when we pull aside the veil that separates us from the fire of his eyes which see us all clearly.

It is said that home is where our heart is.  We expect home to be where everything is understandable and in its place.  For many of us, home is Arunachala and the Asramam, for there there is in that Hill and collection of buildings a sense of belonging we cannot fully articulate.  We feel that there is where we should be.  But unfortunately, more often than not, it is impossible for most of us to actually remain there due to family obligations, employment commitments, health considerations or even the fact that the very air we breathe is fighting us as though in summer one were being melted into an oven.  We envy those who have the good fortune tor reside there.  Many feel that being at Arunachala would be the ideal solution for their restlessness, for everything seems to stop in that sacred atmosphere and rest in a sense of harmony.  Our worries, our fears, our desires, pale in significance in the presence of that power.  We dream of being at Arunachala where everything will be perfect.

This is not so.  Firstly, Tiruvannamalai is far from an idyllic place to live for reasons anyone who has stayed for any length of time will whatever from it may assume, we are because that is the best place to learn.  Once we have established that Arunachala is our Sthala, our place, our home, it is our responsibility to keep it spotless. And by that, one means the heart and mind.  We are no longer careless tourists.


Arunachala Siva.                 
Title: Re: Editorial - July - September -2016:
Post by: Subramanian.R on February 26, 2017, 10:55:13 AM
When people came to Bhagavan either out of devotion or curiosity, they were treated with great courtesy.  Once someone has decided that Bhagavan is their Guru and is accepted on some mysterious level of existence invisible to others, then the obligation to behave correctly and meticulously follow instructions begins.  Bhagavan may be a benign grandfather who cares for his family, but he is also a strict master who expects, no, demands the very best from a Sadhaka.  There are no excuses, no evasions.  If we do our best, more cannot be expected and any weaknesses will be forgiven out of the bounty of His compassion. But try we must. Bhagavan knows us much better than we know ourselves and he also knows that we are capable of much more than we realize. If we were lost at sea and felt we could not swim another stroke so must drown, Bhagavan would give us the courage and endurance to carry on until we reached land;  we would however have to make the initial effort to reach the shore. (Sri Ramana Jnana Bodham, volume 8, verse 192, quoted in  Padamalai.)

Ananda Mayi Ma was asked why do we forget (pramada) what is good for us?  Why do we forget our higher purpose, God and Guru?  In an expansive gesture with arms wide open indicating this entire world that surrounds us she exclaimed, 'This is the kingdom of forgetfulness, that surrounds us she exclaimed, 'This is the kingdom of forgetfulness, therefore you forget!'  She was emphasizing the essential need for Sadhana as the remedy for the human condition of forgetfulness.


Arunachala Siva.       
Title: Re: Editorial - July - September -2016:
Post by: Subramanian.R on February 27, 2017, 10:57:09 AM
We are faced with a world full of distractions that our mind is only too willing to indulge
in if given the opportunity. After all, that is what the mind is composed of: a mass of thoughts and feelings with no fixed center.  Our task is to center our thoughts into one continuous flow of pure thought (Aham Vritti). If we our home as being exclusively Arunachala Ramana, well and good because we can easily focus our attention just by the remembrance of physically being there.

Memory is a powerful tool that can immediately make us watchful.  The senses of smell and sound are particularly strong in this respect, the waft of Agarbathi or Jasmine all mixed up with the sounds of peacocks calling or the notes of Vedic chanting or Tamizh Parayana takes us there. That is why in part we publish so many photos of the Asramam precincts in the magazine.

For in the mind there is no distance. In one leap we can transcend all barriers.  We use the energy of memory to fuel one pointedness.  In sadness, in joy, in any strong emotional expression we have a potent instrument to bridge the gap between where we are and where we would like to be.  Above all, is the heartache of longing for the Beloved.

The mind is like a smooth plate; its purpose is to contain things.  Thoughts are like
knives, forks and spoons.  They are knobby and generally unstable especially when you carry them on an empty, flat plate.  It requires concentration to keep them from tumbling off.  Have you ever noticed a skilled waiter who carries plates through a crowded restaurant?  He is mindful and his progress through the room is like a ballet of consistent, premeditated motion. We should be like that waiter: aware of where we are going and at the same time fully mindful of what we carry.


Arunachala Siva.                           
Title: Re: Editorial - July - September -2016:
Post by: Subramanian.R on February 28, 2017, 10:21:25 AM
Lalla the Kashmiri woman poet and mystic of the 14th century, wrote in one of her vakhs (sayings):

Whatever my hands did was worship,
Whatever my tongue shaped was prayer.
This was Shiva's secret teaching:
I wore it and it became my skin.

(Lalla Yogini. Trans. Ranjit Hoskote in Eating God, A Book of Bhakti Poetry.)

Our enemy is forgetfulness. Everything we do should be done consciously, here, now.
All our devotion, all our hours of silent meditation are for one purpose: to remember.
It is of the utmost importance to gather our thoughts into one continuous stream of unbroken awareness.  It is here Bhagavan's Grace is indispensable. 

Arthur Osborne wrote in his autobiography:

'The spacious theory that Bhagavan was not a Guru had simply evaporated in the radiance of His Grace. Moreover, I now perceived that, far from His teachings not being practical guidance, it was exclusively that. I observed that He shunned theoretical explanations and kept turning the questioner to practical considerations of
Sadhana, of the path to be followed. It was that and only that He was here to teach!'

(Arthur Osborne, My Life and Quest, 2008).


Arunachala Siva.             
Title: Re: Editorial - July - September -2016:
Post by: Subramanian.R on March 01, 2017, 10:34:45 AM
Our habitual indifference to anything but immediate gratification is the reason we are in
exile.  When death comes it will not be a pleasant experience if we are not ready.  In very blunt words:  we have a choice to either die unknowing like an animal, or in denial like someone who has gone through life and learnt nothing, or soar above on wings of discrimination and detachment, glad at last to be going home.  The answer is obvious.
May we too one day sing with Bhagavan:

What a wonder of your grace is this,
That you entered the home of my mind,
Dragged me from it by force,
And imprisoned me permanently
In the abode of your Heart,
Without any possibility of escape. 

(Verse 3. Arunachala Aksharamanamalai, a detailed commentary by Muhavai Kanna
Muruganar, Translated by Robert Butler,2015).


Arunachala Siva.