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Topics - Subramanian.R

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121
General Discussion / The Heart of Vedanta - John Grimes:
« on: February 05, 2016, 01:56:11 PM »
The heart of Vedanta is the nature of Brahman.  The Brahmasutras, which string together the central
concepts of the Upanishads, begin:  'Ahato brahma jijnasa', 'Now therefore, the inquiry into Brahman.'
(Brahmasutras 1.1.1.).  This inquiry is not only intellectual, but is also practical.  The trend of Advaitic
thought revolves around the theme, 'Atman is Brahman'.

Its approach to self inquiry. Its concern is for individuals, here and now.  Its goal is that which is
eternally present, immediate, and accessible.

To reveal the Self is the ultimate quest of Advaita.  This experience, Advaita claims, is within universal
reach although the same method does not suit everyone. Thus it is not really theory that Advaita
advocates, as much as experience. As S. Mayeda has said, 'Philosophy is not his (Sankaras's) aim
but is rather a vital weapon with which to fulfill this aim, which is to rescue people out of their transmigratory
existence.'  (Upadesa Sahasri 11-12).  Advaita means the truth of 'non duality'.  The prefix 'a' equates
with 'non' and applies not only to duality but also to 'isms' and 'system of thought'.  The goal of Advaita
is not so much to know about' the Self, as it is to 'personally experience' the Self.

contd.,

Arunachala Siva.               

122
(The said article appeared in Mountain Path, Aradhana, 2005)

*

Writing about my relationship with Bhagavan is like going through my entire spiritual search. There
have been many aspects and layers of this contact, which has taken many forms.  These have lead me
to a perhaps a different understanding of Bhagavan and His teachings than is apparent through the usual
examination of the books about Him.  Bhagavan has come to me in different ways and relative to many
teachings and practices in a manner I never expected.

My initial encounter with Ramana occurred through the books in the early days,the dawns of spiritual
seeking when I was nineteen, around 1970. There were so many books, teachers and groups, so many
different traditions, a number with much to offer, that naturally it was difficult to know where to concentrate.
After having done a general examination of the world's spiritual traditions it was clearly with Vedanta,
and Yoga, that my soul found the greatest resonance, that I felt the clearest presentation of the path
of Self Realization. In that domain  it was easy to discover the teachings of Bhagavan, which were like
their guiding star.

contd.,

Arunachala Siva.           

123
General topics / The Guiding Presence:
« on: February 01, 2016, 02:06:03 PM »
(This is the Editorial of Mountain Path, Aradhana issue, 2005)

The Mahanirvana of Sri Ramana Maharshi in 1950, left the devotees who surrounded Him bereft of the
comfort of audible instruction and also of immediate consolation whenever they were in distress.  All
they had was the published writings, their personal memories and instructions received from the Master
and the Asramam itself to remind them of Sri Ramana's Presence.   The light that illuminated their lives
had apparently vanished and, for a while, many thought they lived in darkness with little hope of recapturing
those blissful moments of being in Sri Ramana's actual physical radiance.

For those who understood Ramana best, such as Muruganar, the succeeding years were an opportunity
to actualize the teachings and keep alive the flame, not as though they were dealing with stale, fading
memories, but to show that they were capable of practicing what Bhagavan had spent His life teaching them.
For those who truly understood what Sri Ramana taught, His physical passing was, in the final analysis,
of no consequence.  In fact, those who truly understood realized that instead of being cut off they were now
much closer to the divine action named Sri Ramana.  Free of physical constraint this power we call
Ramana has by means we cannot understand, become much more freely available to us, albeit in a subtle             
form.

Over the succeeding years there has been a slow widening of the sphere of influence of this presence.
The Asramam has opened up, after years of hibernation when it adjusted to the fact that Ramana was
no longer their in physical form.

contd.,

Arunachala Siva.

124
General topics / And Another Thing...
« on: January 31, 2016, 02:56:20 PM »
(an article by Kitty Osborne in Mountain Path, Oct. -Dec. 2015)

Writing about the old days has jogged my memory tree and a lot of old pictures have come tumbling out.

Although there are endless stretches of running wild and free around the hill and over the fields, actually
our year was punctuated by dire days in school in Kodaikanal...  days which do not bring back such
vibrant, happy memories. But luckily the term had to end.

As soon as we arrived home from school we would rush over to say hello to Bhagavan. We never spoke
about school here and never spoke about home when we went there.... just as well really as we went
to a Catholic convent where our home life would definitely not have been appreciated. In  school we
had catechism class presided over by a nun.  First we got a little lecture about the poor heathens
who worshipped idols and how lucky we were to worship Jesus, and then from catechism question one..
Where is God?  Answer by a lot of little girls as we had been taught...God is everywhere.  Kitty Osborne
who is curious and likes a logical explanation, asks, 'Is God really everywhere?'  Nun with benign
expression, 'Yes dear, God is really everywhere?'  'Is God in the walls?'  Nun with slightly less benign
expression, 'Yes, dear, he is in the walls.'  Kitty, persistent, 'Is he in my pencil?'  Nun impatiently
'Yes, dear he is.' Kitty trying to visualize all this, 'Is he in my desk?'  Nun definitely running out of
patience, 'Yes., he is.'

Kitty, 'Is he in the idols that the poor heathens worship?'

contd.,

Arunachala Siva.                     

125
General Discussion / Mithya:
« on: January 31, 2016, 02:37:41 PM »
(an article in Mountain Path, Jan.-Mar. 2008)

In Sanskrit mithya means false appearance, illusion, dependent reality, phenomenal reality,
name and form.

*

The entire essence of Vedanta is contained in half a verse: Brahmam Satyam, Jagan mithya, Jivo
brahmaiva na aparah. (Brahma Jnanavali Verse 18). Thus the key to understanding Vedanta lies
in grasping the significance of the two terms, mithya vis-a-vis satyam. The word 'satyam' points to
'that which is not sublated or negated in all the three periods of time, i.e. past, present and future.'

Any illusory appearance needs a substratum on which it can be successfully projected.  It is this base
(adhishtanam) alone which qualifies to be termed as ultimately real, Satyam. The process of inadvertent
superimposition (adhysa) arises from the lack of right knowledge of an object 'as it is'.    Mithya refers
to the object wrongly superimposed upon the substratum, which effectively veils the latter from our vision.

Mithya has two meanings, which are interlinked. One is 'false or unreal' and the other is 'that which
is dependent on something else for its existence.'  In Vedanta, 'the rope-snake' analogy illustrates this.
On a dimly lit night, a rope is seen at a distance is mistaken for a snake, which triggers the consequent
panic reaction.  This is purely a subjective experience confined only to one person who, under the sway
of ignorance, commits the mistake.  In this example. the rope is the substratum required for superimposing
the illusory snake upon it and qualifies as Satyam. The 'snake' is called mithya as it is merely an erroneous
perception.  Without a Satyam basis, mithya cannot be experienced at all.

contd.,

Arunachala Siva. 

126
General topics / Guru Ramana Prasadam - (II)
« on: January 29, 2016, 01:11:12 PM »

(The following is an article on Sri Guru Ramana Prasadam of Muruganar. The translation is by Robert Butler.
This is available in Mountain Path issue Jan.-Mar. 2008)


*

The Glorious Power of His Feet:

188.  When I sought His holy feet within my own heart, I gained the true knowledge that is the experience
of the Self, the sea of grace in which it is delightful to bathe.  If we were to merge with them, the holy feet
of the Guru will become a boat to ferry us across the desolate void and bring us to salvation, the state
of the Real.

189:

Ocean of compassion, He took pity on this poor ignorant fool and through His Grace, cleansing the evil
from my heart, He established the supreme reality there.  Even the final cataclysm at the universe's
end could not dislodge His radiant feet from that place.

190:

When I see them shining in all their fullness as my eternal nature, manifesting inwardly as the enfolding
expanse of grace, that is the pure state of being awake, the victorious feet of reality, the form of
true knowledge that ruled me through their grace, will flourish as the truth that never fails and deserts  me.

191:

Shining as the supreme means for the removal of false understanding, as the inner awareness I-I, gained
through subsiding into the Heart,  and as the life that is free of the humiliating subjugation to the canker
of the ego, they are His noble feet, the trace of grace.

192:

Bringing me, His devotee, to salvation through His ambrosial being, so that even as I languished in the
dark night of my mind's deadly delusion, I was saved from death's annihilation, my holy Master's feet of
pure gold, bestowing grace in holy silence, shine out, irremovably established within my heart as true
spiritual practice.

contd.,

Arunachala Siva.       

127
General topics / A Sense of Peace -- K.C. Mohan:
« on: January 29, 2016, 11:17:29 AM »
(The article appeared in April- June 2007 issue of Mountain Path.)


It was in 1947, that my parents shifted from Mangalore to Madras and I began an engineering course at
Annamalai University. During the three years from 1947 to 1950, I had the opportunity of visiting
Sri Ramanasramam at Tiruvannamalai along with my mother K.K. Kalyani Amma,, who was a devotee
of Bhagavan Ramana Maharshi. My mother's elder brother, K.K. Nambiar,and elder sister K.K. Madhavi
Amma were ardent devotees of Ramana Maharshi from the early 1930s, ever since they chanced to live
in Tiruvannamalai for a few years. They influenced other members of our extended family to come and
pay their respects to Bhagavan.  My family seems to have had a connection to Bhagavan because another
uncle, Dr. P.C. Nambiar, was posted to Tiruvannamalai as the Government Doctor for the District at that
time, and as a part of his routine he looked after the medical needs of Sri Ramanasramam.

I distinctly remember my first visit to the Asramam in the company of my mother in 1947. There was
the arch over the front gate, then as now, which announced that we were entering the Asramam precincts.
I still remember vividly, even after a gap of fifty years, the old iluppai tree which greeted the visitor.

contd.,

Arunachala Siva.   

128
The title should read as :  The Yoga of the Uncontradictable:  Meditative Absorption Vs.  Ultra-mystic
Realization:   

(An article from Mountain Path, Jan.-Mar. 2016 issue)


Paul Brunton (1898-1981) presents the spiritual teachings of the East in a form that speaks clearly
to the mind and the heart of the 21st century spiritual quester.  During his youth in London, Paul
Brunton experienced profound mystical and occult development. An ardent seeker of Truth, he was
led to travel first to India and Egypt, and then around the world, to meet teachers and engage in spiritual
research.  In his books, Paul Brunton infuses traditional teachings wit wisdom and a broad perspective
gained through his inner inquiry and unfoldment. He offers guidebooks that lead the aspirant step by step
to the greatest of all treasures, the Higher Self or Overself.  The following discussions is adapted from
The Wisdom of the Overself, the chapter entitled 'The Mystical Phenomena of Meditation', where he explains
the difference between the exalted yogic stage of meditative absorption (nirvikalpa samadhi) and ultra
mystic realization (sahaja samadhi).

contd.,

Arunachala Siva.     

129
General Discussion / The Man on the Golden Horse:
« on: January 26, 2016, 01:03:51 PM »
(An article by Douglas Halebi, in the Mountain Path issue dated Jan.- Mar. 2015)

*

Many years ago, a horseman went clattering over the streets of Damascus, past the ancient settlements
of Akkad and Mohajirna, beyond the beautiful old houses of Salahiyya. Then he ascended a slope of
Mount Kasiyun that loomed over the city below. He paused, as man has done since time immemorial,
to feast his eyes on the great cosmopolitan city spread out before him, an ancient habitat said to be
'as old as stars' rivers and trees.  As old as the Earth itself'.  The rider appeared to be out of time,
out of place in the whole modern era, surrounded by automobiles, vendors, young couples in love.
food trucks and boys hawking watermelon seeds and roasted nuts. From his own teachers he had
learned that there were human settlements here 12,000 years ago. He lacked a formal, intimate,
knowledge of the ancient past, the stream of Sumerians, Akkadians, Assyrians, Canaanites, Phoenicians,
Greeks, and Romans that came wave after wave. But he could point to the hill where Cain is said to
have slain his brother, Abel.  And he remembered well the vestiges of a Byzantine Christian Empire,the
coming of Islam and the poem in stone called Umayyad Mosque.

contd.,

Arunachala Siva.       

130
General Discussion / Atyashrama - John Grimes:
« on: January 25, 2016, 11:54:01 AM »
(The article appeared in Oct.-Dec. 2015 issue of Mountain Path)

*

Bhagavan Krishna said, 'There was never a time when I did not exist, nor you, nor any of these kings.
Just as the dweller in this body passes through childhood, youth, and old age, so at the death he merely
passes into another kind of body.'  (Ch.2.12-13). Bodies pass through stages but the question is, 'Are
you the body?'  In addition, there is no restrictive rule that one must pass through all stages of life,
performing the duties incumbent on them or renounce all duties in order to know who they really are.

Strange is it not that upon birth virtually every human being accepts as true, as valid, the data that their
sense organs and mind perceive.  Even when informed that the sense organs are extremely limited in
their abilities, there are a few who inquire into this situation.  Humans have colored rods and cones in their
eyes. Thus the world full of color appears. Ears hear within a limited range,etc., Who stops to wonder what is
really 'out there'?  What would be the data appear as, if humans had infra red or ultra violet rods and cones
instead of their limited frequency range?  Why do so few inquire into the seer?  Who am I really?

contd.,

Arunachala Siva.         

131
General Discussion / Adhisthana - John Grimes:
« on: January 23, 2016, 04:39:32 PM »
(The above article appeared in July - Sept. 2015 issue of Mountain Path.)

The foundational Sanskrit word 'adhisthana' means: 'substratum, support, source, base'.  Bhagavan
Ramana spoke of the Self, Sat-Chit-Ananda, the Heart, Jnana, Svarupa, Sahaja Sthithi, and adhisthana -
all as synonyms designating the One Supreme Reality. Without the source, the foundation, all else would
cease to exist, whether one labels all else as a mere appearance or real.  'The world does not exist without
the body, the body never ceases without the mind, the mind never exists without consciousness, and
consciousness never exists without the Reality. (Muruganar - Guru Vachaka Kovai Verse 99.)

Bhagavan Ramana has given us a number of examples to elucidate, make crystal clear, the exact denotation
of the term 'substratum' (adhisthana).  It may also be noted that, for Advaitins and Sri Ramana, words,
concepts,can only point towards, indicate, that which is transcendent, formless, solely One, by
employing examples from worldly (vyavaharika) phenomena. From the Absolute (paramarthika)
perspective. the Self, Atman-Brahman, Consciousness, is the adhisthana, the Reality or Source and
Substratum of anything appears. He said, 'You won't find any of the names and forms of the world
separate from the Substratum.  When you try to get at name and form, you will find Consciousness only.'
(David Godman, The Power of The Presence,, Volume 1)

contd.,

Arunachala Siva.                 

132
General Discussion / Thai (Makara Month) Punarvasu day -
« on: January 23, 2016, 01:19:55 PM »
Today is Sri Bhagavan's birth star day, Punarvasu, day.  Bhagavan was born in the month of Margazhi
and today is Thai Punarvasu.  Every punarvasu day, the Asramam does special alankaram and arti
for Bhagavan's Lingam, Ramaneswara Maha Lingam.  Special food is given to the devotees/ visitors
with Payasam etc.,

Today is also Swami Nranjananda's liberation day.  Even though he was strict and was quarreling
with many devotees, he managed the Asramam very well.  He arranged for funds to construct Mother's
Temple.  He attained mukti today.  Special pujas will be done at the Lingam in front of the temple,
after the path for passage. 

Today is also Poornima day.  Thousands of people will be in Tiruvannamalai to do giri pradhakshina.

Arunachala Siva.   

133
General topics / The Finger Pointing to the Moon:
« on: January 21, 2016, 04:53:21 PM »
(An article by D. Samarender Reddy in the Jan.-Mar. 2015 issue of Mountain Path.)

*

That one which cannot be understood by the mind but because of which the mind is capable of understanding
something is Brahman.  Understand that alone to be Brahman.  All other things that are being defined as
'Brahman' and worshipped are not.

- Kena Upanishad.

There is nothing in the intellect that was not first in the senses (nihil est in intellelctu, guod prius non
fureit  in sensu.)

- Empiricist Axiom.

The purpose of this article is to think through in what sense the above verse from Kena Upanishad is
true or meaningful.  We can safely assume for our purposes that the empiricist axiom stated above is
true.  In doing so, we are side stepping the rationalist counter to it that there are certain innate truths
that the mind can 'know' merely by its own reflections, without recourse to any experience originating
from the world, for reasons which will become clear later on in this article.

The question now arises, what is 'Brahman' that the Kena Upanishad is referring  to.  One encounters
references to Brahman (also called as Self) in the Upanishadic lore, which is nothing but the teachings
of various ancient sages who supposedly realized their true nature as being Brahman and not merely
the empirical psychophysical body mind complex.  Brahman is the truth whose experiential understanding
one has, or the absolute reality or state one awakens to, upon Self Realization, as a culmination of meditative
contemplation of one's Being with a silent mind that is not thinking but absorbed in such meditative contemplation.  To 'know' Brahman is to be Brahman.  It is the realization  of Brahman that the Kena
Upanishad is saying cannot be obtained by the mind.  To see why, we need to clarify ourselves how the
mind 'knows' anything.


contd.,

Arunachala Siva.           
   

134
General topics / The Bliss of No Want - Vasko Kohlmayer:
« on: January 19, 2016, 03:27:15 PM »
(This article is from Mountain Path, Jan-Mar. 2016)

When you ask people what they want from life, most respond with something along the line, 'I just want to
be happy.'

Desire for happiness is without question a universal psychological instinct.  It is the most intensely felt
of all human aspirations.  Regardless of our culture, race, or gender, the ultimate goal of our lives is
fundamentally the same:  We all want to be happy.

This fact has been noted by some of the greatest thinkers across the ages. Some 2300 years ago, the
Greek thinker Aristotle stated, 'Happiness Theis the meaning and the purpose of life, the whole aim and end
of human existence.'  (Nicomachean Ethics, Book I).
More than two thousand years later,  the great German philosopher Immanuel Kant wrote, 'Happiness,
though an indefinite concept, is the goal of all rational beings.'  (The Cambridge Edition of the Works of
Immanuel Kant:  Practical Philosophy, 1996.)

The French scientist and mystic Blaise Pascal observed, 'All men are in search of happiness.   There is
no exception to this, whatever different methods are employed.'  (Blaise Pascal, Pensees and Other
Writings, 2008).

Happiness is the overriding aim of human existence and its attainment the central mission of our lives.
It is the desire for happiness that actuates most of our actions. Almost everything we do is intended
-- in one way or another -- to bring us closer to this goal.

contd.,

Arunachala Siva.

             

135
General Discussion / Everyday is a Good Day - Zen on Human Suffering
« on: January 18, 2016, 04:31:49 PM »
(The following is an article by Fr. Ama Samy, in the Mountain Path issue of Jan.-Mar. 2016.)

Case: Unmon giving instruction and said, 'I don't ask you about before fifteenth day; bring me a phrase
about AFTER the fifteenth day.'  (In Zen, the full moon, which always occurs on the '15th day', is a symbol
for the enlightened mind.( Unmon himself answered in the monks' stead, 'Everyday is a good day.'

                                       - Hekinganroku, case 6.

*

Master Unmon Bun'en belongs to the late 9th and the first half of the 10th century.  He came to awakening
under Master Bokushu (Muchou), who was a disciple of Obaku (Huang-po).  Bokushu was a severe master
and sent Unmon to Master Seppo Gigen, where Unmon matured and deepened his awakening.  Unmon
became one of the great masters of Ch'an, known for his eloquence and depth.  He established his own
lineage, which later merged with that of the Rinzai school.

Unmon's era in China was a troubled one, with revolts, revolutions and persecutions.  Unmon challenged
his students to go to the core of life's problem. For him, it is not that one has a problem, but that oneself
is the problem. 

The kernel of Hekiganroku case 6 is Unmon's phrase, 'Every day is a good day.'  Good refers to the transcendent dimension, the realm of Emptiness that is mystery that is graciousness.  But we have to
face the night of horrors, the night of hell and nihilism, before we are able to enter the mystery that is
graciousness.

In his book Night, the Holocaust survivor Elie Wiesel narrates an incident in the concentration camp when
three persons were hanged for minor offences, among them an innocent boy:

contd.,

Arunachala Siva.                     

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