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Topics - Subramanian.R

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(The original of the Guru Ramana Vachana Mala is a Sanskrit rendering of selected verses from the Guru
Vachaka Kovai.  This is the English translation of that Sanskrit version.)


Introductory Verses:

1. Obeisance to the unique Being, the One Self in all, namely the serene and unfathomable Bhagavan
Ramana, who has no ego and possessiveness.

2. The compilation of the oral teachings of  Bhagavan Ramana, made by the saintly Muruganar, is here
rendered into Sanskrit.

3.  This work, named Paramartha Deepam, is the essence of Vedanta and is hence worthy to to be
studied many times over by the seekers of the State of Liberation.



4.  To become aware of the Real Self, since Hem is ever present within the Heart of everyone, would
be very easy if the notion that the body and the world are real should become utterly extinct.

5.  Oh man who, believing the world to be real, has been cheated of happiness, like the parrot that
expected to eat the ripe fruit of the silk cotton tree, what proof have you that the world really exists?

6.  If you think that this world is real because it appears, then conclude that the mirage water also
is real, because it also appears.  What material difference is there between the two?

7.  How can the world, which is diversified by space and time, mutable and transient, be real?
That alone is real, which is eternal, unchanging and beyond space and time.

8. All this appears whenever there is mental activity, that is, in the dream and waking states; not
only does it not appear in deep sleep, but it does not appear in the Transcendental State, where the
Self is alone, and the mind is at rest; therefore it is unreal.

9,  Revelation does describe creation in diverse ways (in different places); this must not be understood
literally;  the purpose of these passages is to indicate that which is the Source of the world and the individual
soul, not to enjoin a belief in he fact of creation. 

10. If the individual soul and the world be taken as real, then how can the Supreme Being be infinite
as He is declared to be by Revelation?  Unless His infiniteness be given up, how can this contention
that the soul and the world are real, be right?


Arunachala Siva.         

General Discussion / Maha Sivratri - 7th March 2016.
« on: March 07, 2016, 12:50:14 PM »
Today is Maha Sivaratri.  The day is celebrated in all Siva temples with abhishekam, alanakram, and prayers
to Siva Linga.  People bring curds, milk, oil, ghee, flowers, coconut water to the temple for abhishekam.

In Asramam they do elaborate abhishekam and alankaram and puja to Sri Ramaneswara Maha Linga.
Alankaram is done with flowers along with bhilva leaves, which are so dear to Siva.

After is the devotees go for food. Some devotees take up fasting through out the day.  And eat breakfast
only in the morning.  Some others take some fruits and milk and they eat some dosas or idlis at night   

What is more important is keeping awake throughout the night and they chant Siva namas, etc.
They take breakfast only in the morning after bath and puja to Siva.

Arunachala Siva.

(This article is by an 'Ashram Devotee', appearing Jan.- Mar. 2008 issue of Mountain Path):

One day at the Asramam noon time lunch we overheard a lady referring to Bhagavan saying, 'In
Forty Verses', Ramana tells us we should abide in the formless, but how do we actually go about
doing that?'  (This devotee was likely paraphrasing Verse 8 of Ulladu Narpadu.) Two of us inadvertently listening in chuckled to ourselves and pondered the imponderability of this statement.  What was
Bhagavan talking about?  And what could any of us say to this lady? Neither we nor she had any
idea what abiding in the formless would look like in practical terms. 

Bhagavan made statements like these with such casual certitude that one instinctively senses the truth
in them.  And yet, how extraordinary they are. To abide in the formless - What can that mean?  How can
one even begin to understand, much less implement, such a notion?

I took myself to task, perceiving there was something important here.  What could dwelling in formlessness
ever be?  For that matter, what is formlessness?  I bemoaned my ignorance and spoke to myself in this vein:
'All these years at Bhagavan's feet and I have yet to understand even basic, oft repeated pronouncements,
not to mention putting them into practice.  - how disheartening?     

In the days that followed, I took this phrase in the Old Hall and searched for the clues in Talks, Who am I?
Forty Verses and other of Bhagavan's works.  Almost immediately my search yielded fruit in the following
line from Self Inquiry:  The distinction between inner and outer is only with reference to the body; in
truth, there is neither inner nor outer.  (Vichara Sangraham of Sri Bhagavan Ramana Maharshi # 8)     


Arunachala Siva.

General topics / Mind and Consciousness - David Frawley:
« on: March 05, 2016, 12:54:03 PM »
(The above article appeared in Mountain Path, Jan.-March 2008)


What is the nature of the mind?  How is it related to our deeper consciousness?  And, above all, who are
in our real being?  What is our true identity or true Self behind the endless stream of thoughts going on
inside us?

These have always been the primary questions that we must ask in order to discover the ultimate
meaning and purpose of our existence. They are the basis of the seeking of liberation and Self Realization
in the Yoga tradition.  In Yoga, the Divine is defined mainly as the essence of consciousness.   The Yogic
spiritual quest is a practice of meditation in order to discover that.


Today, we usually look at the mind according to the approaches of modern psychology.  We focus 
on the subconscious mind, memory and past experiences as the measure of our mental state,
the ground out which our thought and emotion develops.  Examination of the mind usually consists
of trying to understand our personal history, including uncovering hidden or repressed traumatic
experiences that may inhibit our functioning in life.  In most current psychology, the personal mind
is our real consciousness and somewhere in it our true Self or identity can be found.


Arunachala Siva.         

General topics / Kaivalya -
« on: March 05, 2016, 12:40:22 PM »

(This article is from Mountain Path,  Aradhana 2005 issue.)


Sanskrit - aloofness; aloneness; isolation.

In the context of Bhagavan's teachings this means 'solitude' or the state of Self Realization where
nothing exists apart from the Self. According to the scriptures, it means complete detachment from
the material world.

The Yoga Darshana defines it thus:  'When the purity of contemplation equals the purity of the indivdual,
there is isolation'  The Sankhya Darshana sees it as an aloofness from primal Nature (Prakruti) and
all its transformations. There is no pain or pleasure in this state.  The immediate cause for this absolute
detachment is discriminating knowledge (Viveka).

When the Jeeva (the individual soul), merges in its source, Atman (Absolute Unconditioned Awareness,
the Self) in the Heart, and loses itself to become one with It, then That Alone Exists.  This state of
subtle experience is Kaivalya.  (See Preface to Ramana Jnana Bodham, by Muruganar, Volume 2).

In the classical example of a pot existing in Space, the pot-space is defined by the pot shell.  When the
pot is moved, the pot space appears to move. But is this the case?  Space is all pervasive and thus
exists everywhere, in and through the pot shell also.  The pot is a limited form. Therefore it can be
moved away from here to there.  But space is everywhere.  So how can space move and to where?


Arunachala Siva.     

General Discussion / What is Neo Advaita? James Swartz.
« on: March 05, 2016, 10:13:37 AM »
(This article appeared in Mountain Path, April - June 2007)


In Eighties, the Western spiritual world became reacquainted with Sri Ramana Maharshi, a great
Sage in Vedic tradition who had achieved international recognition, around the middle of the
20th century but, though greatly respected, did not have a significant following since His death
in the Fifties.  The rediscovery of Sri Ramana roughly coincided with the rise of  'Neo-Advaita',
a Satsangh based 'movement'  that has little in common with Sri Ramana except the idea of moksha,
freedom from the problems of Samsara.

What accounts for the popular of the Neo Advaita movement?  I think it would be fair to say that
the secret lies more in the Sang than the Sat.  The Sanskrit word Sat means 'what is', in other words
the non dual Self.  The word Sang from Sanga means an association or a company of like minded
people.  When Sat and Sanga are combined it means 'keeping the company of truth', the Self,
in other words an inquiring mind fixed on the Self.  Since only a mind that is properly prepared is
capable of achieving this condition and Neo Advaita has no techniques for producing this kind
of mind, we have to look elsewhere to understand its appeal.


Arunachala Siva.         

General topics / The Unexpected Feast- Smt. T. R. Kanammal
« on: March 02, 2016, 02:21:25 PM »
(The above article appeared in Mountain Path, April - June 2007.)


One day two destitute-looking Brahmins entered the Hall.  It was known that they earned their livelihood
by the wretched and socially demeaning occupation of bearing the dead to the cremation grounds.
Both were extremely hungry after having discharged their duties.

Custom demand that anyone entering a house recently visited by death should take a bath immediately
upon leaving.  This stricture applies particularly if one steps into the cremation ground, and more particularly
if one is involved in removing and physically transporting the departed to this place.

A heated argument had ensued between the two men about the propriety of coming to the Asramam to have
a meal without having bathed.  While one of them keenly felt the unseemliness of transgressing this hallowed
custom, the other dismissed it as impracticable in view of their acute hunger.  Assured of a meal in the
Asramam, which was on their way home, they thought they might appease their appetite.  They came to the
Hall and sat down.  One of them excitedly and abruptly said to Bhagavan:

'Swami,  I have been insisting on the customary bath before we sit for our meal.  Is that not but and prosper?'

Bhagavan responded in a very soft tone,'No one can say you are unjust.'  The other at once, is a greatly
agitated voice, burst forth:

'The pangs of hunger are so intense and our entrails are being devoured.  Is it wrong to eat when hunger
is so gnawing?'

Bhagavan quietly replied, 'Who says it is wrong? Not at all.'

Shocked, looking at one another, they asked in one voice, 'But then  who is wrong?'


Arunachala Siva.   

General topics / A Divine Hospital of Medication through Meditation.
« on: March 02, 2016, 01:02:06 PM »
(The above article is by Shilpi Virupakshi Davangere, a civil engineer, who gained solace at the
feet of his Master, Sri Ramana Maharshi.  The article appeared in Mountain Path, Jan - Mar. 2016)


It is now way back - twenty five years ago - than an intimate spiritual bond got established between us
and Bhagavan Sri Ramana Maharshi.  We visited Sri Ramanasramam in the year 1990.  Fifteen of us
reached Tiruvannamalai from Davangere, Karnataka, by bus to have Bhagavan's darshan.  It was as if
Bhagavan Himself had invited us to His abode.

I had had many divine experiences by then, and at the time my mind was always in an ethereal state.
These cosmic experiences were so new and strange that I felt like exclaiming 'What, what is it...?,
just as Sri Ramakrishna Paramahamsa did when he first had divine experiences.  The differentiation
between the real and the unreal (Ishvara and Nashwara) was vivid in my being.  The quintessence of
Sri Ramana Maharshi's sayings  -- the 'I' manifested everywhere; and there nothing existing other than
the divine 'I' - became part of my consciousness, leaving me in a permanent state of joyousness (ananda)

My Sadguru, Sri Shishunaala Sherief, was a mystic and divine master from a small village in Haveri
district. Through his spiritual songs and divinity, he made it well known place in India. His songs are
always very dear to me and ever hover on my tongue.  Sri Shishunaala Sherief says, 'Know yourself'
(Ninda nee thiluko).

Guru Ramana's philosophy begins with the same thought  - Who am I?


Arunachala Siva.             


Sanskrit - union of jivatma with paramatma, jiva-brahma aikya;  recognition of the oneness of the Self;
absorption of the mind in the Self;  self mastery; integration of personality; aligning of body, mind and
speech in purity and truthfulness.


Yoga is a most popular word these days but not necessarily completely understood in its full scope
and depth, partly because of its multiple limbs and partly because it carries many layers of meaning,
unlike Jnana, which has a single meaning, namely enlightenment.  At its highest level, Yoga has the
same connotation as Jnana because the the 'union of jivatma with paramatma' can be only in the form
of seeing the falsehood of individuality (Jiva bodha) in the wake of Self Knowledge, (Siva bodha).  For there are NO two selves to begin with and there is  really no lower self (jivatma) that exists independently, in order
to merge with the higher self (paramatma).   Jiva bodha is merely a spurious notion that has arisen mysteriously from causal ignorance (avidya), and it evaporates in the light of knowledge of one's true
identity following self inquiry.

Yoga comes from the root 'yuj' which means 'to unite'. The English word 'yoke' also derives from Yoga
meaning 'union';  therefore the word 'union' is a metaphor (aupachaarikam)  to represent that enlightenment
which bestows liberation from Samasara (transmigratory existence).


Arunachala Siva.         

General topics / Poems from Mountain Path, Jan.-Mar. 2016:
« on: March 01, 2016, 04:06:24 PM »
Notes to Self - by Upahar:

Inestimable form of things;
 time, and the whirling stars;
these dancing, dying bodies; children of earth,
 our clamor and cry;
river of thought in the shadow land of dream  --
 Love, none of this can veil you.

Invisible the root of this appearing,
 unthinkable the flower;
within, without; belonging still to no one,
 and yet most gladly, marvelously here.

Knowing, unknowing; the empty heart mysteriously
 abounding; a moon through clouds, a blossoming  -
 Love, all of this reveals You.             


Arunachala Siva.

General topics / Sundaram Iyer's Day - 2016:
« on: February 27, 2016, 03:01:40 PM »
Sundaram iyer, father of Sri Bhagavan was a pleader in a local court.  He was known for his honesty
and taking up only the rightful cases for pleading their cause.  He had a house in Tiruchuzhi where one
portion was kept vacant for the visitors. His wife Alagmmal was a nice lady serving all including the
visitors with good and tasty food.

The couple had three sons and a daughter.  Nagasami, aged 14; Venkararaman (Bhagavan was 12),
and Nagasundaram 6. The daughter Mangalam was still younger.  At this time, in 1892, Sundaram Iyer
attained Siva-padam. 

Once the kriyas for the father were over, Venkaraman and Nagasami lived with their uncle at Madurai.
The other brother, the daughter and mother Alagamma were living with another uncle.

At this juncture Venkataraman left for Tiruvannamalai.

Now the question is whether Sundaram Iyer attained Mukti.  Yes.


1. He himself was a great Siva bhakta and lived rightful life.

2. He son Venkatraman (Bhagavan) was also instrumental in Sundaram Iyer attaining Mukti.

The date is today, as per tithi:

Arunachala Siva.     

(The article has appeared in Mountain Path,  January - March 2016)

The original version of this article was written at the request of Alasdair Black, the editor of the newsletter
published by the Ramana Maharshi Foundation, UK and was published in their Autumn 2013, Newsletter.


In English books on the teachings of Bhagavan Sri Ramana, and also among many of His devotees and
followers, a lot of mystery and confusion seems to surround the Sanskrit word ' Sphurana', so
much so that some aspirants agonize over whether or when they are going to experience the mysterious
and elusive thing that this word is imagined to denote.  In this context, therefore, the first thing that needs
to be clarified is that what we are seeking to experience when we practice Atma Vichara or self investigation
is not anything mysterious or previously unknown, but is only 'I', ourself, with which we are already
more familiar than we are with any other thing.

We already experience this 'I', of course, but what we are now trying to experience other than it, but is
just the same 'I' but with a greater degree of clarity -- in fact, with absolute clarity.  At present the clarity
with which we experience  'I' is less than perfect, because we experience it mixed with other things that
we mistake to be 'I', such as our body and mind, and hence our current experience of 'I' is confused and
clouded by our experience of those extraneous adjuncts as 'I'.  Therefore, we clearly know that I am,
we do not clearly know what I am, so Sri Bhagavan advises us to investigate and find out who or what
we actually are.

What then is the meaning of this term 'Sphurana', and why did Sri Bhagavan occasionally uses it?
Unsurprisingly, all that this word  denotes in the context in which He used it is just to clarity of self
awareness  - the very clarity that He advises us to seek.  Therefore Sphurana is not anything other
than 'I', but is only the greater degree of clarity with which we are not trying to experience 'I'.


Arunachala Siva.               

General topics / Fool's Gold - Editorial - Mountain Path, Jan. - Mar. 2016:
« on: February 25, 2016, 11:04:03 AM »
Fool's Gold: any yellow metal, esp. pyrite or chalcopyrite; fig. something deceptively attractive,
profitable, etc., in appearance.


Suddenly, out of a daydream we may see a possibility that seems too good to be true.  Usually it is.
We must learn not to be taken in by glitter and we must recognize the true glow of gold.  Even though
superficially glitter sparkles and casts a deceptive lure, it actually has nothing to offer. Some people
sadly seek the glamour of superficiality without recognizing what it is they are seeking.  In fact, it is
fool's gold. We are so lucky to be in touch with Bhagavan Ramana who embodies the depth and worth
of true light.

Our foolishness lies in the false logic that we can get something for nothing.  It is not like that at all.
Bhagavan said that we are neck deep in Grace and it all depends on the size of our vessel.  If we bring
a pot to Him, we cannot receive more than that.  If we bring a cauldron we accept the the appropriate
amount.  In other words, we get what we put into it with interest!  Bhagavan is no miser or fussy
accountant;  He is beneficent beyond our wildest dreams.  The problem is we cling to our petty dreams
and ambitions as if these pretty pebbles are all we have or want.  The question is how to let go of our
small mindedness?

Deep down in our hearts we know that it is only by our own instruments of body, heart, mind, and labor
that we can obtain real gold.  We know nothing is free in this world and we learn from bitter experience
that anyone who tells otherwise is deluded.   


Arunachala Siva.           

General topics / My Reminiscences of Sri Bhagavan - Swami Ramanananda -
« on: February 25, 2016, 10:51:19 AM »
(The above article appeared in Mountain Path, Jan. - Mar. 2008)

(Sri Ramanananda is formerly known as T.N. Venkataraman, who was President of the Asramam.)

I was blessed with very first Upadesam (instruction) of Sri Bhagavan, when I was all of five years old.
That was in 1920, at Skandashram.  A plate of fruit and sweets had been put aside for the monkey,
'Nondi' but when nobody was looking I went to the plate, took a sweet and put it in my mouth. All
of a sudden a monkey appeared, limped towards me, slapped me and grabbed the plate.

My grandmother Alagammal pleaded with Nondy not to harm me.  Then Bhagavan Ramana came into the
room and said, 'This is a lesson for you;  now understand that we should not desire things which belong
to others.'  I fully understood the profound meaning of that Upadesam long afterwards when I was President
of Sri Ramanasramam.

My grandmother Alagammal also came to Bhagavan once and asked for His blessing on her daughter-in-
law Mangalam in order that she should have a son to continue the family line as none of her siblings
had borne any children.  Bhagavan smiled graciously and she took this as His blessing.  I was born a
year later and everyone was sure that it was due to Sri Bhagavan's grace.

My mother Mangalam passed away when I was not yet three and my father Nagasundaram, who later
became Swami Niranjananda and was called Chinnaswami by everybody in Sri Ramanasramam,
left me at the house of my aunt Alamelu and her husband Pichu Iyer at Kunrakudi and went away.
They brought me up with great love.


Arunachala Siva.             

(D.S. Sastri might have been related to Suri Nagamma, may be her brother or cousin.)

1. kartur-aajnayaa-praaptyate phalm
    karma kim param karma taj-jadam

By the will of of the Creator,  action bears fruit.  Is action, then, supreme?  No, it
is inert, unconscious.

This is the fundamental answer to the ultimate question.  We cannot perform actions and expect those
actions to result in the desired fruits.  The Creator, Isvara or Siva, is the Lord of Action and determines
what fruits and what subsequent actions will be forthcoming. We not only cannot control the fruits of our
behavior, we cannot even choose the actions themselves since these are influenced by an endless series of
past actions. So action, is, in itself, inert, unconscious.  It and its fruits are Isvara's.  Do we choose our
dream actions?  For the Maharshi, waking and dream have the same degree of reality. (Self Realization,
B.V. Narasimhaswami)

In the Yoga Vasishta, the crow-yogin, Bhusanda, was asked why he had survived for so many ages.
He replied, 'Who will be able to overstep the strict ordinances of Siva?  His will was that I should act
thus and other yogins should act in the way they did.  As every preordained event should work out
its results, such events will inevitably come to pass.  Such is the nature of the law.' (Yoga Vasistha,

The Sanskrit jada is translated as 'inert'.  Referring to this opening verse, the Maharshi said, 'There
is no truth in the insentient (jada). One whole Consciousness prevails over all alone.' (Talks)

Karta means Isvara.  He is the one who distributes the fruits of action to each person according to his
karma.  That means he is the manifest Brahman.  The real Brahman is unmanifest and without motion.
It is only the manifest Brahman that is named as Isvara. (David Godman, Be As You Are.)

Verse 1 is completed.


Arunachala Siva.                     

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