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Messages - srkudai

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General topics / Re: What is Self Inquiry ?
« on: October 25, 2017, 01:44:20 PM »
Self Inquiry is Not:

1. Intense Activity
2. Killing each thought as it arises [how will i kill a thought that is already dead the moment i recognize it arose ?]
3. killing ego [ego - its not there to be killed]
4. placing attention on heart [hrt is that into which everything dissolves. if you place anything there it dissolves too :) ... so its truely to remain without i]
5. placing attention on I AM [same as 4]

General topics / What is Self Inquiry ?
« on: October 25, 2017, 01:36:30 PM »
The best explanation on Self Inquiry I have ever read comes from Bhagavan Ramana Maharshi's Upadesha Saram where he says :
Manasantu kim, margane krite naiva manasam , marga arjavat...

This is the most direct path... what is it ? to look within as to whence mind [or equivalently I] arises and to discover there is no mind or I!

Self Inquiry is not yet another "doing"... its a means to resolve all doing to Just Be.
Thus, Self Inquiry should make us calm and not Tensed up. It is an instant movement towards effortlessness.

Lets observe this closely. This body of ours is like a room. The awareness is like space within the room and inbetween there are a few thoughts ... thoughts by nature are instantaneous. they come and vanish by themselves. we need not do anything about that. If you do not believe me on this, try to hold onto a thought without changing :) . They change. They pass away. Now ... lets ask an interesting question "Who am I ?"
if i am the body, the body does not have any worries about its aging, it does not have any worries whether ill pass or fail or what others think about me ... all these are not body's worries... thats why bhagavan says "deho na jaanati", the body does not know !
if i am the awareness, Awarenes is a mute spectator ... it does not care for anything. ever silent Self ... it is ever in just be state.

who else is there ? I cannot be a thought either since i see its coming and its going as well ! i live past its death ! so i cannot be the thought. then who is there ? The point here is , there is no one. Thus there is neither bondage nor liberation.

This is Self inquiry. We should not make it into another activity for this fictitious I to engage in. Even when i say "fix the attention on I AM" -- thats really making another activity ... to truely turn attention towards I AM is to dissolve the I in it and remain as I AM, what else can one be, since one is ever that I AM ? To turn attention towards awareness is to withdraw attention from the false I and nothing else.

This is transforming our entire life into meditation. There is nothing to do, no where to go. this is liberation. Bhagavan Ramana puts it beautifully : nashta manasotkrusta yoginah krityam asti kim ? sva stithim yathah ... for the one who has his mind dissolved, what is there to be done but to just remain as one is ? well ... mind is not even dissolved, it never was in the first place ... so this recognition is the dissolution of mind ...


General topics / Re: what is abidance
« on: October 25, 2017, 01:08:47 PM »
Dear Shivam ji,

Self Abidance is your natural state. you are the Self, where else can you abide ?
A person looked into a well and thought that he has fallen into the well. The solution is not to stop the reflection ["I"] from appearing. The solution is the understanding that it is a reflection and that he never fell in the well in the first place.


General topics / Re: What is truth? Who can know?
« on: October 24, 2017, 11:01:59 AM »
Dear Shivam ji,
         :) You have mistaken this knowledge. The knowledge is not about birthlessness or deathlessness of "someone" or "some-soul" !
This knowledge liberates here and now. its not some kind of delayed "hope"... nor is it an escape from suffering.
Immortality of "Self" does not help you either ... because what ever that Self is ... we seem mortal !

The objections you raise are due to wrong knowledge. Some information imagined to be knowledge. True Knowledge liberates here and now and your remaining life becomes a simple joy ride 24 7 ... evry moment. That is the use. It is not the immortality of a "Self" !!

Also Shivam ji, If you experience a kind of comfort when you explain that this is all real ... that is because of acceptance. i can pretty well understand that you do feel some kind of nice-ness or comfort when you say "this is how things are" ... because you "accepted" things as they are... and you feel nice... but the question is ... why does one feel nice when one accepts ?

BTW :D ... how to you know "no body can know beyond this " ? :P


The first verse really questions the cause effect relationship that we feel to be very real in our lives. We have seen that the cause effect relationship in a dream is no more than an imagination and the same thing holds for this life of ours. This is about the first verse, where the attention is shifted to the one who imagines the whole thing up - namely the dreamer.

The second verse goes on to describe the plight of a person who takes this world to be real and tries to achieve something here. The plight of such a person is like that of a person who tries to acquire something substantial by setting a dream world in order. The dream world shall never settle. We try to settle things in the world and then pursue our spiritual endeavors, and if we try this we shall find that this world never settles. We patch it up at one place and it begins to give away at another place. Its been compared to a dilapidated house. These things wont last and its futile to try to make them perfect. Before I can make my worldly life perfect, life itself slips off my hands unnoticed!

In our endless struggle to correct and set the things of the world right, we loose life and with that an opportunity to seek the Truth too ! This does not mean we should neglect the world, rather it means we need to approach the world with certain attitude and clarity that would help us purify our minds and thereby lead us to moksha or liberation !

Lets now proceed to study the second verse of upadesha saram...

General topics / Re: What is truth? Who can know?
« on: October 23, 2017, 03:03:45 PM »
Dear Shivam ji,

I see that there is no bigger truth than the ordinary life and living. There is this body of ours with life, there is birth and there is death, there is this world and real too! The people around us are very real and loving them is very real and when they suffer, it does make us suffer as well! There is pain and pleasure, very real, unlike the spiritual schools which preach and lure you that there is no death no birth, that there is a soul, which you truly are, that there is a self brahman, etc., which needs to be realised etc., that the world is just an illusion - The dream which is sold that there is a realisation upon which you cam transcend all these realities is a dream worth only a dream, actually!

There is no need to discard this "ordinary life" for liberation. But there is definitely a need to observe it more deeply.
A leaf drops off the tree and it becomes humus is that death of leaf or the birth of humus ? where is birth and where is death ?
There is body ?? What you call body is really a process. molecules move in and out of it continuously ... its like a river ... someone said no one can place his feet in the same river twice ! no one can have the same body any two moments of time !

and ..., who suffers ?

Lets look at this ordinary life deeply ... nay , clearly and properly as it is !!
This so called body , its solidarity , feeling of me and mine ... where are they ?
What you call body is only certain sensations , do we see this ?


Cutting the hair makes one mostly unrecognizable :)
that is all the reason. the idea is to get rid of pride in a certain form, in what ever possible way.
get rid of attachments to body and mind !

some people cut the hair completely
some others allow it to grow as it grows.

its just symbolic.

Ajahn Brahm

Ajahn Brahm's talks online are great source material for meditation and related practices..
He has a fantastic book called "The Art of Disappearing". That is a very nice book to possess.

He says meditation is :" being kind, being mindful and making peace"
I found this definition to be very useful.
while youtube is full of his videos which everyone can listen to and enjoy, A guided Meditation session by Ajahn Brahm...


Dear Anil,
       :) Thank you for the welcome and the nice words about my posts. I am doing it slowly due to lack of sufficient time and it also allows me to meditate on the verses a little deeply.

I have been reading some your recent posts and I am really happy to see some nice ideas and conversations flowing in. I would like to add the following comments to this, just in case someone finds them useful.

Self Inquiry is a method to call the bluff off the little-I.
This little-I is really an imposter acting like "me".
bhagavan said, whence does the feeling of "I" arise, please observe and that is like a dog following a scent, or we following a sound to find the source. Lets take a simple example, suppose someone criticizes me and I feel bad. Whence is this feeling that "I am unhappy" arising ? Please observe carefully within. This feeling is not the body's feeling, obviously. deho na janati, the body does not know. This cannot be the Awareness, Self. Because Awareness is ever a mute witness, unconcerned ! and then what else is there here ?

Please see ... There is Awareness, there "is" body [conditionally for now], nothing else is there here other than a few stray thoughts that are discontinuous. But the feeling of unhappiness is not of a discontinuous kind ... its some kind of continuous entity , not stray thoughts ?? when we observe carefully , we see that there is no person out here ... and so what else is there but to just be ? infact there is no other option. The body just is in the lap of the universe ... and the Awareness ever simply IS. so even to say "just be" is redundant. there is no one else here.

This body is like an empty boat!

This is liberated living !

Its beautifully compared to a flute ... the flute is empty within, the holes are the holes inour body [eyes, ears etc] and the wind that blows through it , is blown by the Lord!

Sri Ramakrishna says:
"If one analyses oneself, one doesn't find any such thing as 'I'.  Take an onion, for instance.  First of all you peel off the red outer skin; then you find thick white skins.  Peel these off one after the other, and you won't find anything inside."

This is liberated living here and now, one may wait for ages and own it up or live it here and now ! The choice is ours! The property is already given, we may take ownership after a few years or now! its our choice!


(Verse 1 : Continued ...)

The law of karma is a crude approximation based on a notion of causality. As long as we look from the lense of causality the law of karma appears to be very real. The moment we look deeply into the nature of things , more meditatively and with deeper insights the law of causality itself crumbles and along with it the law of karma crumbles too.

The Sristi-Dristi and Dristi-Sristi Vadas:

There are two approaches to looking at this creation. The first is called Sristi-Dristi vada, the world or creation is there (really out there) and therefore i see it, and the other is called dristi sristi vada : there is nothing out there  , i see whatever is imagined in my mind. These are very important stand points. There is a beautiful explanation about these two standpoints in the book : " yoga vasishta sarah ... Nectar of Supreme Knowledge , by swami Dhireshananda & translated by Swami Sarvadevananda, Ramakrishna mission" [This is a fantastic book, for all interested readers]

Let me quote the relevant portions from the book directly:

The world has a reality that is why it can be seen" - this is the view of aspirants of the lowest competence, who accept the absolute and the relative existence of the world and support the idea of creation and perception [sristi-dristi]. In this doctrine, the world is impermanent, but not unreal"

The world is observed, that is why it is there - this is the doctorine of perception and creation (Dristi-sristi). this is the practice of the aspirant of mediocre competence. According to this doctrine, the apparent existence of the world (pratibaasika) is accepted.

Again there is no world neither it can be Seen - The Brahman alone is there ... this is the doctrine of non-creation, ajata vada in the view of the aspirants of the best competence. In this doctrine even the reality of the apparent existence of the world is not accepted...

Then the book goes on to explain Dristi-Sristi Vada as follows :

According to this doctrine, the waking state is also a dream only. Therefore knowledge can be attained only by discrimination of two states. these two states are dream and deep sleep. Though in Vedanta,, the discrimination os three states is emphasized normmally, yet for the mediocre aspirants of competence, the discrimination between two states is enough.. It is one state (dream and waking) when the various scenes appear on the surface of the mind - this is the blossoming (unmesa) of the mind as it were. Another state of the mind (Deep sleep) when all visible objects are gone, is called the state of winking of mind (nimesa). Both these two states verily come and go. the Self remains undefiled and unchanged in all these conditions. This Self is verily the transcendental reality and nothing else.

Step By Step Guidance For Seekers

The vedantic teaching is a systematic approach to really go beyond and get rid  of all ignorance. So wherever we are, in what ever stage of life, we are  given an advice and a contemplation for that phase of life. It does not say "you should not have a certain feeling", instead it says "if you have such a feeling, this is what you are supposed to do" !! This is the reason why we have so many teachings. Lets see how a student is guided in a step by step fashion:

a) consider a materialist. Such a person looks at the world as totally real. so such a one is first taught the concept of a God who created the world. This is taught systematically and 5 elements etc are discussed.

b) now consider a person who accepts that there is a God who created the world. This person has already stopped treating the world as totally real, because there is God who can interfere and make things different. Such a person knows that if one is in trouble one may pray to God for help. This person is already prepared to see the world as a little unreal ... so such a one is taught the dristi sristi vada to get rid of the notion of reality of world altogether. This person learns to see the world as a dream now.

c) once a person can see the world as dream, its easy for such a one to see that there is no world in reality -- thus leaping into the ajata vada !

Thus a person is systematically lead into ajata vada. God Alone IS.

Linking Karma Phala To Karma : Materialistic View Vs Dristi-Sristi vs Sristi Dristi Views

Now lets see how a materialist links karma phala to karma ? For a pure materialist, the karma and karma phala are linked by laws of physics. There is no non-material object , nothing survives death. This is purely materialistic view.

The karma mimamsakas , for whom this verse introduces knowledge, are little better than pure materialists, because they agree there is a soul that transmigrates the body when we die but then they think there is a slightly modified law of karma that binds karma phala to karma.

The  Sristi Dristi vada would say, God links the karma phala with karma, not just some law. Even if the law is held, who ensures that it holds ? karma is insentient, how can it hold onto the person as he passes from birth to birth ? With this interpretation, the kartuh in the verse 1 is God.

The Dristi-Sristi Vada ,as we already discussed says its only a dream... its only because of our imagination and nothing more! there is no real world, no real doing nor any real result. when i involve in bad karma, the quality of my mind is impure and hence i fail to imagine a good life. when i purify my mind, the quality of my life also improves because all my imaginations improve. This is the position I have taken here for the verse.


Dear Anil,
           :) Hope your physical health has improved now.
Please take care.


Dear ksksat27,
            :) you ask some nice and practical questions. That is really nice. So here is my perspective:

First of all do not worry about this observing "I AM" when just out of bed. I would say forget it - no matter who gave you the suggestion.

Second you can improve your quality of sleep by practicing this guided meditation before going to sleep :
you can also try it twice a day or try a reduced version yourself once you become comfortable. but you should definitely try it just before going to bed. These days i am introducing this to every second person i meet ... my claim is that it is the easiest form of meditation and available for everyone.
[fun question: when i am observing sensations of the body, am i observing the body or the mind ? any further thoughts on observing body ? ]

Thirdly, from vedantic perspective: you still have three states waking, dream and deep sleep. you are simply not aware of the deep sleep state but do not need to worry about it. if a thought is like a wave, there has to be a low between two peaks of the waves. so that gap between thoughts has to be there in dream as well and what is that if it is not deep sleep ?

actually a dream is projected from a deep sleep state. you are seeing this ... then this entire world is dissolved ... and from that dissolution a new world is projected. projection always happens from deep sleep. so you have it.

Finally: Ajahn Brahm says : meditation is about being kind, being gentle and making peace.
We need to always get this point right. Someone said something , and that is fine, but what matters most is what is true for us, not who thinks what.


PS: physical condition is something for doctors to look into. if your frequent urination during nights is due to diabetes  or some physical situation , you need to definitely talk to a doctor and get the required checkups done. please do not ignore.

VERSE 1: (continued ... )

The story of Mind, From Yoga Vasishta:

There is a formidable and desolate forest in which there was a man. He was with a thousand hands and eyes. Apparently very confused, he would strike himself violently with iron bars and run about crying. Running about like that he fell in a dark well with a hidden way out.

It took him some time to find his way out and then he slowly got out of the well into a thorny forest. Then again, departing and beating himself often, running and laughing he managed to enter a cool forest of plantain trees.

but he did not remain there for long. There also he started beating himself and running, he fell into the same well again ! He was as though drunk or semi conscious!!

Vasishta ji says: Having seen this for a long time , i held him by force ... and jolted him to consciousness. I then asked him " What is this ? Who are you? Why do you run in vain ?", thus asked, he said:
"I am no body, i do nothing. You are my enemy. Having seen by you, i am lost! Then , laughing, he gave up his limbs all around"
Thus in that forest, many men like him dwell, wandering about. That forest is there even today.

Sri Rama: Sage! What is that great forest ? What is it that they are intent on doing ?

Vasishta replies:

In this great forest of worldly existence, minds indeed wander about. They are lead by me , by discrimination, to supreme tranquility. Some, by disregarding me, fall down into hells. The forest of plantains is heaven. the affliction by sorrow is the thorn. "I am lost", when he said this, it was the cry of ego ... the feeling of me and mine ! The beatings are the blows of fancies or imaginations. They are indeed caused by oneself. The mind is reduced to a state of bondage only by its own imaginations and impressions. Like a silk worm in the cocoon one binds oneself by one's own imaginations and super-impositions.

This story of mind has been narrated to you. Contemplate on it with the mind , using this discrimination observe the mind and reject the fancies or imaginations of mind.

prahaaraaH kalpanaaghaataaH kriyante svayameva hi |
sa.NkalpavaasanaajaalaiH svairevaayaati bandhanam|
mano liilaamayaiH bandhaiH koshakaarakR^imiryathaa ||

प्रहाराः कल्पनाघाताः क्रियन्ते स्वयमेव हि।
सँकल्पवासनाजालैः स्वैरेवायाति बन्धनम्।
मनो लीलामयैः बन्धैः कोशकारकृमिर्यथा॥

The beatings are the blows of fancies (or imaginations). They are indeed caused by oneself. The mind is reduced to the state of bondage only by its own net of impressions of imaginations, just as the silk worm in the cocoon confines itself by bonds with ease.


I related this story of yoga vasishta only to drive home the point that its mind which fancies all sort of events that happen in our lives !! There is no physical reality to all this that we see and live through. We imagine, imagine and finally land ourselves in all kinds of troubles.
This world that we live in is a dream. That is it ! Yoga Vasishta says :


dR^iDhabhaavanayaa ceto yadyathaa bhaavayatyalam|
tattatphala.N tadaakaara.N taavatkaala.N prapashyati ||
दृढभावनया चेतो यद्यथा भावयत्यलम्। ४-२१-५६
तत्तत्फलँ तदाकारँ तावत्कालँ प्रपश्यति॥ ४-२१-५७
(657 verse from : the vision of yoga vasishta, Sri Atreya)
what the mind imagines intensely with a firm conception and in what ever way, it perceives the corresponding result in that form and for that much period.

Please see the beauty of that verse. It says the results are experienced due to our firm conception, it does not say its due to karma. We give karma a lot of importance only because we think that karma is supreme - that is a very materialistic bent of mind ! Karma is really insignificant, its only the intelligence or the mind behind it that is causing the results. This is very important to understand.

Let me explain this a little more...
In a dream suppose I see that I have prepared very hard for an exam and I got good results. What links my good work with the good result and not a bad result ? The "Dreamer", i.e., me.Its me and my dream that ensures that "law" holds true. In my dream, the laws of the world that I have dreamt hold true only because of "me" the dreamer. In other words when I perform an action, its  really not the action that gave rise to the result, but my dreaming that gave rise to it. The order or the law is upheld by me... my dreaming. In my dream, I see myself preparing well for an exam and later getting good marks. These are merely distinct events, we see some connection only because we take it to be real. When we look at it as a dream, its really the "Dreamer's Order or Law" that ensured the result. Infact the law seems real and something unchanging because of our faith and firm conviction in its reality!

We will explore this a little more ...

Verse 1:

Verse 1:
karturaaGYayaa praapyate phalam |
karma ki.N para.N karma tajjaDam ||
कर्तुराज्ञया प्राप्यते फलम्।
कर्म किँ परँ कर्म तज्जडम्॥

kartuh -- The Lord's , phalam -- the results or fruits , karma -- Action, param -- supreme ?
jadam -- are inert., aajnaya -- by orders, prapyate -- is gained , kim -- is it ?,tat karma -- that action.

"By the Orders of the Lord one receives the fruits of actions, are the actions supreme in themselves ? Those actions are just inert."

We look at this world as something real and as a result we think that our results are dictated by our action. As I sow, so I reap, is the common way of presenting this truth. While this is not entirely false, Bhagavan Ramana Maharshi did not look at the world as real. He often said that this world is no more than a dream. This being so, can we still hold that my actions are giving me results ? If in a dream I do something and get a particular result, is it the action that's responsible for the result or is it purely the imagination [or order, in a way :)] of the dreamer that shows up as the action and the result ?
Once king Janaka called his ministers and asked them a very interesting question: "Yesterday I dreamt that I was the king of a kingdom which was famine affected. Having woken up now, I ask you a question: Am I the king of a famine affected kingdom dreaming that I am prosperous or vice versa ?"

There is a similar Zen story of a monk who said "Yesterday I dreamt that I am a butterfly. Now please tell me, am I a butterfly dreaming that I am a monk or am I a monk who dreamt that he was a butterfly"

Lets try a simple experiment :) :

Please take a look at the following image:

you can see either one of two versions of this cube. Just focus on the rear face  of the cube and the version of cube you currently see will flip. Do we see this ?

Ok, now lets ask a question : When we look at it, we see one of these two cubes. when we do not look at it , which of these cubes exists there ?

do we get this question ? Does it sound like he zen koan, if a tree falls in a forest where no one is there, is there a sound ? [infact is there falling of tree or a tree in the first place? ] ?

The point is, there is no cube on a flat surface. A cube is a 3d surface and on a 2d paper or surface there cannot be a cube. That cube is our imagination.

If you are with me till now, let me add one more fact. Our retina is a flat surface, can there be any 3d object there ? :) ! Please ponder. Physics says that we are living in a holographic world - and for once it seems to be close to truth .

This world is a mental world, there is nothing physical out there !
Our ideas of karma and the theory of karma are perpetuated by our belief in the reality of this  physical universe. Karma theory is a gross approximation , like the newton's laws of physics ... it falls apart the moment we delve a little deeper. Yoga Vasishta goes so far as to say that all our causal relationships are only kakataliyam - a crow sits on a tree and a coconut falls and we conclude that the crow dislodged the coconut. Karma theory is  a very gross approximation. The mistake of the ascetics is of taking such a gross approximation to be the truth ! Before getting deeper into the verse, lets study a story from yoga vasishta :


OM !


A few days ago I prepared a power-point presentation and showed it to my friend. It contained just pictures without any text. He saw that and was not sure what I was trying to convey. Later on as I explained each picture he understood the import. If someone else gave a totally different interpretation to those very same pictures he would probably get a totally different meaning from it.

In our lives too, various events take place and we look at them. They are like static pictures [or at best dynamic movies -- a movie is only a collection of pictures anyways] stored up in our memories with some "Interpretation" attached to each picture. When I was a kid if a dog had attacked me, there would be a picture of a dog with an associated interpretation "dogs bite" :). If as a kid I saw only a few cute dogs, then there would be "dogs are cute" interpretation. And these interpretations run into our subconscious mind. We surely don't know what all is there in the subconscious mind ... lot of interpretations and images stored in the memory and the subconscious. Totally unknown to us.

So when we look at the world and the various situations, we look at them with a certain interpretation which makes our world. The events "as they are" do not convey anything. Someone failed in an Exam, and he interpreted "I am not good for studies, I need to concentrate on sports where I am better". Another person failed in the same exam and concluded "I am a failure, fit for nothing". Yet another person may conclude "I need to work harder". So various interpretations, same event.

The world appears to us as it is, only because of our interpretation of the events. A person was chanting Srimad Ramayanam and a monkey came there , he interpreted it as Hanuman! Probably someone else might have interpreted the same monkey as a nuisance.

Its ultimately our interpretation that makes this world for us. Vedanta says that "God is everywhere"... and if for a few moments we take this to be true, then it means that we are constantly meeting this God every day, every moment. In fact there can be no moment we do not meet God, coz God is everywhere... right now... to our left, right , up , below, within and without !! As if embracing us ... now! But then we certainly "Miss" him all along, we think he is not here! We think he has to be found. So naturally it means we are missing God not because we lack his experience but because we interpret these experiences in our own ways. 

The same thing applies to ourselves too. Vedanta says "You are Ever Purna, Complete or Fulfilled". And we experience a sense of "emptiness", we feel we lack various things in life. We see that without some objects [or some people] our lives remain empty and unfulfilled. This is not what we experience ... this is really our interpretation of our experiences. The Events themselves, as we already saw, are dumb. The events do not come with a commentary. Right now if there is a huge calamity ... an earth quake or a tsunami ... it just happens. The nature does not say "This was bad", nor does it say "This is good"... its mute. The entire creation remains mute. Its only we who comment upon it and say "This is really a tragedy". Please note that I do not mean to say "this is not a tragedy". All I mean to say is that the events are not our experiences. Our experience is an "interpretation" along with the event. And that "interpretation" is our offering , our side of the story. Events are just dumb without our interpretation. So if Vedanta says we are ever fulfilled and lack nothing and we feel we lack lot of things ... where is the gap ? the gap is created by our interpretation of the events. The gap is in the way we look at the events and situations ... more particularly the gap is in the way we look at ourselves.So here is a question: What if we just "See", sans all interpretations / commentaries ? Just see ? We will return to this later...

in a simple poem called Kaupina panchakam,Sri Adi Shankaracharya paints a very nice picture of an enlightened saint. This picture is very much like Bhagavan Ramana's :). He says :
kaupinavantah kalu bhagya vantah ... a person with only a lion cloth is indeed blessed, he is indeed Lukcy. He has got bhagya, luck.
He is blessed not because he has a lion cloth :). Its indeed true that there are much richer people and more successful people ... but internally they remain unfulfilled while this person has nothing and yet is fulfilled.

Its also important to note that he is fulfilled not because he has only a lion cloth ... otherwise give him a nice dress and he would become unfulfilled. The simplicity is not in the external circumstances ... its within ... in the very way he appreciates or looks at himself. How does he look at himself ? What is his vision ? How does he look at the world ? what is it that makes such a person live a fulfilled life ? Shankara adds:
Vedanta vakyeshu sada ramayantah ... he always revels in the Truth revealed by the Vedanta. Which is not to say that he has memorized all the vedantic works and is therefore happy :). This is to say that he "Revels" as that which those words point to ! What is "That" ? Its his true nature -- its He as He truely IS, sans his "interpretations" and "conclusions" about himself. He therefore lives a blessed life. Shankara has presented us with a possibility ... we can remain extremely satisfied even when our possessions are minimal!This person is living a fulfilled life even when he has just a lion cloth while we have all the possessions in the world and yet we remain unfulfilled. Why ? Because we miss the truth revealed by Vedanta. The saint with a mere kaupina, lion cloth [Bhagavan Ramana Maharshi] has experiences very similar to ours. He too had tooth ache and various kinds of physical sufferings and yet he remained aloof and equanimous and we miss it not because we do not have some exotic experiences but because we have a tainted vision -- we see exactly what the saint sees but we miss the fulfillment which is our true nature and he does not. Thats the difference.

This gap can only be sealed through an upadesha - a teaching from a guru who has seen the Truth. This teaching is his vision, the vision that enabled him to remain untouched and aloof. This teaching is not yet another interpretation. This teaching simply dissolves all our interpretations about ourselves and the world , leaving us as we are. This text is an upadesha: its called upadesha saram ... meaning the "Essence of Teaching".In 30 verses Bhagavan Ramana Maharshi has consolidated the entire vedantic teaching.Upadesha Saram was written by Bhagavan Ramana Maharshi at the request of Sri Muruganar. Sri Muruganar was writing some puranic story about people who believed that Karma [Vedic Rituals, in the context] alone could lead to Moksha. In order to correct them, Lord Siva himself descends to earth. While writing this puranic story in poetic form, Sri Muruganar requested Bhagavan Ramana to write the part where Lord Siva taught the Truth to the rishis.


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