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Topics - Subramanian.R

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136
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.           
   

137
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.

             

138
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.                     

139
The above article giving some excerpts of the book Guru Ramana Prasadam, is available in
Mountain Path, April -June 2007)

*

5.  Through the joyous power of the true love, that took as its goal the feet of my Guru, a life
lived in the vast space of the Self that shines fearlessly within the heart burgeoned forth within me,
as the unfailing awareness that it is divine silence became ever more intense.  Birth's suffering was
abolished, and my eye became fearless, as I obtained the vision of Grace.

7. His true glance, the pellucid knowledge dispensed by the Guru's Grace, is the medicine to cure
the disease that is the illusion of worldly bondage, inflicted upon us by the vagaries of the objective ego
mind whose nature is to look at that which is alien to itself. How strange it is that we wander in this world
illusion,instead of availing ourselves of that glance to go and win salvation at the feet of the true Lord
who shines within the heart.

205. Destroying the dark void of base ignorance, the light of the grace-bestowing feet of my Guru
and Master, whose nature is of the form of shining self knowledge, revealed to me my true self,
driving out entirely the degrading confusion of that false, delusional state,in which I wandered weeping
and fretting over 'I' and 'mine'.

334. Reality, the Supreme and unique nature of the Self, is nothing other than the Heart in which the
power of the mind to generate its false creations has died.If the aggressive ego is eliminated as its
source, a joy will arise that the sorrows of the mind cannot touch.

contd.,

Arunachala Siva.               

140
General Discussion / Happy Sankranti - 2016:
« on: January 14, 2016, 10:36:55 AM »
I wish all the members of the Forum, a happy Sankaranti tomorrow. 15.01.2016.

Arunachala Siva.

141
General topics / The Past is Past, Now, be here:
« on: January 13, 2016, 03:30:34 PM »
(An article by john Grimes, in Mountain Path, Apr. - June 2015)


There is no Jnani, only Jnana.  There is only the Self, the Heart, The One pristine Self. Be still.
Find out who you are.

     -Bhagavan Ramana Maharshi.


Shortly after having moved back to Chennai,I paid a visit to Professor R.Balasubramanian, one of
my Vedanta professors at the University of Madras. He said, 'I can't seem to find someone to write
a volume on Sri Ramana Maharshi, for a series I am the General Editor of, The Builders of Indian
Philosophy Series.  Would you like to do it?  I would like the financial manuscript in nine months time.'

I Immediately said yes. Not only was I thinking about love and respect I have for Sri Ramana and
His teachings but, I felt something special would happen in the writing.  To be presented with the
opportunity to plunge deeply into Sri Ramana's teachings was too good to pass up.

contd.,

Arunachala Siva.           

142
General Discussion / Siddha - Siddhi.
« on: January 12, 2016, 03:19:16 PM »

(This appeared in Mountain Path, April - June 2015.  Author John Grimes.)

The word 'siddha' means complete, perfect, accomplished from the root 'sidh' - 'to attain'.  There
are two uses of this word.  One use refers to an accomplished one, a seer, a sage, a perfect being,
a Jnani, a Mukta.  The other use refers to a person who possesses one or miraculous powers (siddhi).
Bhagavan Ramana used the word in both of these ways.  Further, in this regard He said:

'There are two kinds of Siddhis and one kind may well be a stumbling block to Self Realization.  It is
said that by mantras, by some drug possessing occult virtues, by severe austerities, or by samadhi of
certain kind, powers can be acquired.  But these powers are not a means to Self Knowledge.... the other
kind are manifestations of power and knowledge which are quite natural to a person when the Self is realized.
They come of their own accord, they are God-given.'  (Sad Darsana Bhashya, Kapali Sastri.)

contd.,

Arunachala Siva.
         




143
General Discussion / Thank You God
« on: January 11, 2016, 12:31:25 PM »
(The above article appears in Mountain Path, Jan. - Mar. 2015. It is by Mithin Aatchi)

I am a Joint Replacement Surgeon by profession.  Having heard that Arunachala fulfills all desires
to those who circumambulate the It with devotion, I had circumambulated It once with fervor and
devotion praying for a good practice despite my young age.  I also took part in the rare seva of
Lord Venkateswara called Vastrabhishekam where the Lord is washed with scented oils over for an hour.
In my heart brimmed with the desire for a good income and practice.

By God's Will and a fulfillment of faith my practice picked up.  I was happy with my materialistic advancement
and life moved on.  By the good times did not last long.  Slowly the vagaries of Destiny caught up and my
practice floundered. I had put in more effort just to make  both ends meet. Day in and out I struggled
to achieve decent income.

I experienced a dull phase in my practice and was wondering when it will pick up.  I thought it is by
God's Will that I had good practice and now by His Will only my practice is down.

I decided to take solace in the presence of my Guru Sri Jinnuru Nannagaru.

One day when I went to meet him he was telling a devotee, 'Man thinks that by his effort he has become
successful.  But he does not know that it is by God's Will that everything happens."

contd.,

Arunachala Siva.       

144
General Discussion / The Finger Pointing to the Moon:
« on: January 07, 2016, 03:41:18 PM »
(This is an article by D. Samarender Reddy, appearing in the Mountain Path, Jan. -Mar. 2015.)

*

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 intellectu, quod prius non
fuerit in sensu.)

-  Empiricist Axiom.

*

The purpose of this article is to think through in what sense the above verse from Kena Upanishad is
true and 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 this article.

The question now arises, what is 'Brahman" that the Kena Upanishad is referring to. One encounters
references to Brahman (also called the Self) in the Upanishadic lore, which is nothing but the teachings
of various ancient sages who supposedly realized that their own true nature as being Brahman and not
merely the empirical psycho-physical 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 this realization of Brahman that the
Kena Upanishad is saying cannot be obtained by the mind.  To see why, we need to clarify for ourselves
how the mind 'knows' anything.               

contd.,

Arunachala Siva.

145
General Discussion / Narasinh Mehta: An Introduction:
« on: January 07, 2016, 03:23:29 PM »
(This is an article by Meena Devi, in Mountain Path,  Jan.-Mar. 2015:)

Narasinh Mehta lived during the 15th century in Junagadh in Saurashtra, the western peninsula of
Gujarat.  He was born into a Nagar Brahmin family , a sub-caste proud of serving society as administrators,
scholars, soldiers and educators.  Orphaned early, he lived with his brother in Talaja.  After being taunted
by his sister in law, for being still unemployed when to become a father for the second time, Mehta left
home and ended up praying in a ruined Siva temple for seven days.

According to the legend, Lord Siva granted him any boon, but Mehta insisted he only wanted what the god
loved best.  In his lyrics, he describes being taken to the court of Krishna to be the dark lord's servant
and seeing divine dancing in Vrindavan.  Mehta eventually returned home as a devotee desiring to sing
songs praising Krishna.

He settled in Junagadh, with Manek as his wife, Shamal his son and Kunwar his daughter.  There he
became popular for his kirtans of Krishna,  describing the joyous life in Vrindavan, especially Radha
and the gopis demonstrating self less love for the god.  His Nagar community found his amorous poetry
too explicit, and also publicly reviled him for singing bhajans to audiences of untouchables. Some life events,
as recorded in his own poems and later re-tellings, describe miracles that rescue him from social embarrassment.

For example, when Dixit, a visiting priest, chose Shamal to be betrothed to Ratan, the daughter of a
minister in the Kingdom of Vadnagar, Mehta suggested faith in Krishna in reply to Manek's concerns
about inequality in their status.  Their rag tag arrival for the marriage turned into a wealth-laden,
grand event at the wedding that overawed Kunwar's expectant mother ceremony was resolved
when he silenced her in laws with everything they asked for, including gold blocks  for the rocks that
her grand mother in law had presumed her father's gift would be.

contd.,

Arunachala Siva.                       

146
General topics / Sri Achuthanantha Adigal:
« on: January 04, 2016, 12:58:53 PM »
(An article by K.Achudananda and translated by S.V. Venkataraman, in Mountain Path,  July-Sept.  2015.)

Sri Achuthanantha Adigal, the noted musician saint visited Bhagavan, or Brahmana Swamigal, as he
was then known, while Bhagavan was in Gurumoortham.  He was a well known spiritual teacher at the     
time and it was said that he had more than a thousand disciples in the Polur area, just north of Tiruvannamalai, when he came to offer his respects to Bhagavan.  Though an important and respected swami, he personally massaged Bhagavan's legs.  When the disciples accompanying him attempted to touch Bhagavan, he warned them not to: 'Beware this is a Hill of Fire (the fire of eternal wisdom)'.

Sampath Giri Brahma Peedam Saint Achuthanantha Adigal was born in a Balija Naidu family in Polur in
North Arcot District.  Abbaju Naidu was his childhood name. Although details of his birth or his parent's
name could not be traced, at the time of the Nirvana or Videha Kaivalyam of Swamigal in 1903, one of
his relatives reported his age to be 53.  We may therefore conclude that he was born around 1850.

Abbaju lost his revered father during his boyhood, and was brought up by his mother. When he was
put to school, he was older than the other boys in the class. He was a bright child and surprised his
teachers by learning two languages, Tamizh and Telugu, exceptionally well to the level of an expert.
He grew to be a young man of good conduct, upright behavior and uninterrupted devotion to Lord Rama.
On seeing the qualities of her son, his mother was very pleased but did not live to see him flower into
a blissful Saint.  She died when he was still fairly young.  Being deeply attached to his mother, Abbaju
found her loss unbearable.  However, time healed this loss, and he eventually became a school teacher
in Polur, living a frugal life on a meagre salary.

During this period he reached out to various poets and pundits learned about literature and grammar
and developed his poetic skills.  He also acquired some knowledge of Sanskrit.  He became an expert
in music too, and left his position as a school teacher to start a Bhajan Mandir where he installed a small
idol of Lord Rama, and started to worship the Lord. He wrote hundreds of keerthanas  and stotras on
Lord Rama.  He also wrote Prahladha Charithram, Dhruva Charithram, and Sakkubai Charithram;
and gave musical discourses that won the hearts of his listeners.

contd.,

Arunachala Siva.             

 

147
General Discussion / Shadow and Substance -
« on: January 02, 2016, 11:14:30 AM »
(An article by I.S. Madugula in Oct. -Dec. 2015 issue of MShntain Path)

Out, out, brief candle!
Life's but a walking shadow, a poor player
That struts and frets his hour upon the stage
And then is heard no more.

- Macbeth, V.v. 24-27.


Shadow is the opposite of substance.  The longest life is yet insubstantial.  It is but a hallucination.
It is just as Shakespeare says:

All the world is a stage
And all the men and women merely players
They have their exits and their entrances
And one man in his time plays many parts.

(As You Like It, II, viii.)

But where there is shadow, there has got to be a substance in  some way, shape, or form --
or even in a totally formless manner.

The Shadow:

A definition of shadow is 'something insubstantial or fleeting.  Insubstantial means that it lacks
substance, reality, though it looks real in some ways.  Shadow also refers to something that attaches
itself to something real.  No matter how you look at it, shadow is unreal, with no existence of its own.
Thus it is not worth paying attention to because, if you do, then you are losing track of the substance
and wasting your time on a useless pursuit. 

Examples in life are aplenty. Just about every activity we engage in seems futile in an ultimate sense,
though there might appear to be an immediate justification.  Not only that, some activities could be
disastrous even in the short run.  As humans, we tend to follow a routine from the time we are born.
Education, marriage, children, job, retirement, -- then the end.  Things are never uniformly nice.
There is failure, disease, desperation.  Even when all goes well, what do we have to show for our lives?
Have we found the 'meaning of life', whatever it means?

contd.,

Arunachala Siva.         
           

148
General Discussion / Channels of Grace - A Tribute:
« on: January 02, 2016, 10:50:38 AM »
(This is an article by Neelam Dewan in Mountain Path,  April-June 2015.)

Introducing Baba and Amma:

I would like to pay tribute to my parents Air Marshall Gian Dev Sharma and Mrs.  Kamla Sharma, while
at least one of them is alive.  Amma passed on in 2012 at the age of 91.  In February 2012, we were
here at the Asramam as usual and by June she was gone.  Baba, my father completed 93 years in
September 2014  by His grace, and is still visiting the Asramam. 

They have been regular visitors to Sri Ramanasramam since 1950, arriving just a few months after
Maharshi left His body.  Their introduction to Arunachala are stories themselves.  It was Mr. Bose
- 'Dadu' - (of Bose Compound opposite the Asramam) who made them aware in Bangalore of His
Divine Presence.  Baba was posted there at the time.  Mr. Bose was a dear friend and through him
they read a lot of Maharshi Ramana's teachings and were greatly influenced.

contd.,

Arunachala Siva.     

149
General Discussion / The Law of Karma:
« on: December 31, 2015, 04:38:42 PM »
(The Editorial of Mountain Path, Jan. Mar.2015)


The law of karma should not be mistaken for retribution. The law in principle describes the impersonal
forces of action and their results.  Action is infinitely varied.  No two actions, no two moments in time
are the same.Each moment is unique.  What is consistent throughout each and every action is the indubitable
fact that there will be consequence, whether it is sooner or later is secondary to the primary act. The law is
meant to give us guidelines, not deliberately punish us.

The universe is a mixture of three catalysts called gunas, sattva, rajas and tamas which describe the
mechanics of karma.  Sattva uplifts our consciousness.

We have a choice between patterns of behavior and thought and feeling, between habits that lead to
happiness and understanding or misery and enslavement to the whims of an ignorant mind and heart.
Happiness is the result of a pure mind that cultivates peace and harmony, it lets go of negativity and
resentment.  Misery moves in the opposite direction. It nurtures antipathy and anger.  It corrupts the
mind and heart.

contd.,

Arunachala Siva.                 

150
General Discussion / The Written Word:
« on: December 31, 2015, 03:29:49 PM »
(Editorial - Mountain Path, April-June 2015)

Inevitably, over time, the initial impact and power of a written teaching in any tradition is diminished
by changes in the meaning of words.  Think of the Gospels about Jesus.  The hadiths attributed to
the prophet Mohammed.  Arthur Osborne once said that any religion starts to disintegrate from the
moment of its inception.  The high point is when the Master is there.

However, well meaning a commentator may be, there is still a diminution of the original content.
The situation is complex when enough without the added ingredient of translation into another language.
And there are the usual squabbles as to what the teacher really meant.  The history of the teachings
of Bhagavan Sri Ramana Maharshi is no different. 
 
Devotees  are faced with the challenge as to what Bhagavan meant and what are the implications and
consequences  of what He wrote and said.  Bhagavan was born and raised a south Indian  Tamizh
Brahmin. He grew up with all perspectives and persuasions that that involves.  Yet it would be a mistake
to think that if one acted like Tamizhian, spoke the language and wore a kaupina that one would understand
the teachings He gave.  Quite the contrary, it would be just as much an impediment as an advantage.
We are seeking the essence of what Bhagavan wrote and taught, not the package when it came.

contd.,

Arunachala Siva.         
     

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