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Messages - Subramanian.R

The teachings of Bhagavan Sri Ramana Maharshi / What is my Self now?
« on: January 03, 2009, 12:09:20 PM »
Daivarata (Kapali  Sastri) asked Bhagavan Ramana:

I want to know what the Heart is and where is it and so forth.
But I want to have this doubt cleared first.  I am ignorant of
my own truth, my knowledge is limited, imperfect.  You say
"I" means the Self, Atman.  But the Atman is said to be always
Self-aware, whereas I am unaware.

Bhagavan Ramana:

People always fell into this confusion.  What you call your self
now is not the real Self, which is neither born nor dies.


Then you admit that I what I call my self is the body or part of the

Bhagavan Ramana:

But the body is matter, Jada. It never knows it is always the known.


Then, If I am neither the Atman, the Self nor the Anatman, the

Bhagavan Ramana:

I am coming to the rescue.  Between spirit and the matter, the Self
and the body, there is born something which is called ahamkara,
the ego-self,  jiva, the living being.  Now what you call your self is
this ego-self which is different from the ever conscious Self and from
the unconscious matter, but which at the same time partakes the
character of both the spirit and the matter, chetana and jada.


Then when you say 'know thyself", you want me to know this

Bhagavan Ramana:

But the moments the ego-self rises to know itself, it changes its
character.  It begins to partake less and less of jada, in which it
is absorbed, and more and more of the Consciousness of the Self,
the Atman.

(Source: Sad Darsana Bhashya.  Kapali Sastri. Sri Ramanasramam.

Arunachala Siva.


The teachings of Bhagavan Sri Ramana Maharshi / Vichara and the Grace
« on: January 03, 2009, 11:56:52 AM »
Daivarata (Kapali Sastri) asked:

"Then I can dispense with outside help and by my own effort get
into the deeper truth by myself."


True.  But the very fact that you are possessed of the quest of
the Self is a manifestation of the Divine Grace, (AruL - in Tamil).
It is effulgent in the Heart, the inner being, the Real Self.  It draws
you from without.  Your attempt is Vichara, (earnest quest), the
deep inner movement is Grace, AruL. This is why I say there is
no Vichara without Grace, nor is there Grace active for him who
is without Vichara.  Both are necessary.

(Source: Sad Darsana Bhashya. Kapali Sastri.  Sri Ramanasramam,

Arunachala Siva.

The teachings of Bhagavan Sri Ramana Maharshi / Vichara not intellectual
« on: January 03, 2009, 11:51:29 AM »
Daivarata, Kapali Sastri even prior to asking questions to Bhagavan
Ramana, in the group of Kavyakanta Ganapati Sastri, had some talks
with Bhagavan Ramana in the Hills.  These are also called 'Talks'.

Daivarata: If I go not rejecting thoughts can I call it Vichara?

Bhagavan: It may be a stepping stone.  But really Vichara begins
when you cling to your Self and are already off the mental movement,
the thought-waves.

Daivarata: Then Vichara is not intellectual.

Bhagavan: No. It is Anthara Vichara, inner quest.

Daivarata:  That is Dhyana?

Bhagavan: To stick to a position unassailed by thoughts is Abhyasa
or Sadhana.  You are watchful.  But the condition grows intenser
and deeper when your efforts and all responsibilites are taken away
from you, that is Aroodha, Siddhi state.

(Source: Sad Darsana Bhashya. Kapali Sastri. Sri Ramanaramam,

Arunachala Siva.

Translations and Commentaries by Forum Members / Zen Stories
« on: January 03, 2009, 11:35:54 AM »
Yui-e, an elder of the Soto school of Zen, came to Zen Master
Bankei and said:

"I was inspired when I was seventeen or eighteeen years old.
For over thirty years I sat for long periods without lying donw,
concentrating singlemindedly, but found errant thoughts and
false consciousness hard to erase. In recent years, my mind
and intellect have both become clear and I have attained peace.
How did you concentrate in the past?

Bankei replied:

"I too toiled over the occurrence of thoughts when I was young,
but suddenly I realized that our school is the school of enlightened
eye, and no one can help another without clear perception. From
the beginning I transcended all other concerns and concentrated
on working solely on attainment of this clear vision. For this reason,
I have mastered the ability to see whether other people have true

(Source: Zen antics. Thomas Cleary. Pub. Shambhala, Boston.)

Arunachala Siva.   

Translations and Commentaries by Forum Members / Zen Stories
« on: January 03, 2009, 11:28:45 AM »
Once Zen Master Bankei said to a group of people:  "When I was
first inspired to seek enlightenment, because I did not find an
enlightened teacher, I practised all sorts of austerities, wasting
my body away.

" Sometimes, I would cut off all human contact and live in isolation.
Sometimes, I would design a paper enclosure and sit inside it, or
I would set up screens and sit in a dark room, sitting in lotus positon
without lying down, until my thighs became ulcerated and festered,
leaving permanent scars.

" Then I would hear of the existence of a teacher at such and such
a place in such and such a province.  I would go there directly to meet
him. After several years like this, there were few places in all of
Japan, that my foot steps had not reached.

"All this was due to the fact that I had not met an enlightened teacher.
After my mind opened up one day, for the first time I realized how
useless my years of toil and pain had been, and I attained peace.

"Now I tell you all how to attain fulfillment in your present lives
without straining yourselves, but you don't completely believe in it.
This is because you are not really serious and you still think that
you have strain yourselves to attain enlightenement."

(Source: Zen antics. Thomas Cleary. Pub. Shambhala, Boston.)

Arunachala Siva.   

The teachings of Bhagavan Sri Ramana Maharshi / Miracles Do Happen
« on: January 03, 2009, 10:50:06 AM »
Ganapati Sastri came to Tiruvannamalai and was doing tapas in the
temple of Niruthi Lingam, on the route of circumambulation of Annamalai.
This was the time of Maha Deepa in Tiruvannamalai.  On 17th November
1907, the car procession had been arranged in Tiruvannamalai and the
people pulled the car with great enthusiasm.  When the car reached the
North eastern corner of the temple, it got struck and the car did not
move that evening onwards.  The people became said and left for home,
planning to come next morning.  That mid night, Ganapati Sastri,
while meditating had a call in the trance, wherein the priest of
Arunachaleswara Temple called him to come near the temple car and
see it once, to make it move again!  Ganapati Sastri rushed next morning
and stood before the car.  The car started moving, with a simple effort
by the people.  That afternoon, on 18th November 1907, Ganapati Sastri
remembered Bhagavan Ramana, Brahmana Swami and rushed to Him.
In Virupakshi Cave, he held Bhagavan's right leg with his right hand
and left leg with his left hand and prostrated.  Bhagavan Ramana saw
him intently for a few minutes.  Sastri told Him:  I have made a lot of
japa and penance so far.  But there is no peace in my mind. I have therefore surrendered to you.  Bhagavan Ramana told him: Please observe
wherefrom, the I, I, starts.  If you see its Source, your mind gets quelled
at that Source.  When you chant a mantra, please see the Source of
mantra dhvani, the sound of mantra.  The Source of this dhvani, is the
purport of all penance!  After hearing these divine words on 18th Noveember 1907, Sastri became immensely happy and peaceful.  He
prostrated before Bhagavan Ramana and asked Him for a place to do
the japa.  Bhagavan Ramana pointed out the Cave and he went inside.
When Pazhaniswami came after some time, Sastri, knew the name of
Bhagavan.  When told Venkatraman, he with great love called Him:
Ramana!  Bhagavan Ramana Maharshi!  He immediately composed 5
Sanskrit Slokas on Bhagavan Ramana.

Sastri started composing Uma Sahasram, on 26th November 1907.
After completing 700 verses, he could not proceed further.  Bhagavan
Ramana inspired him to complete the 300 remaining verses, in Mango
Tree Cave. (In some books, the place is mentioned as Pachaiamman
Kovil).  The work was read out to the devotees/scholars in Pachaiamman
Kovil.  When Sastri commenced with a Prayer to start the work, he
found a great light coming from sky, became six stars and touched
Bhagavan Ramana's head and disappeared.  He immediately understood
that Bhagavan Ramana was an avatara of Skanda.  He immediately
composed 8 verses on Bhagavan Ramana, submitted them to Bhagavan
Ramana and then started reading Uma Sahasram!

Sastri always called himself as Ganapati and called Bhagavan Ramana
as Skanda.  This is also mentioned in Sri Ramana Gita. Sastri is elder
to Bhagavan Ramana, by about 3 years.

(Source: Kavyakanta Ganapati Munivar. Tamil biography. Sri Kripanandan. Sri Ramanasramam, Tiruvannamalai.)

Arunachala Siva.           

There is a town called Kondumbaloor, in Tamil Nadu, which was ruled
by Aditya Chozhan.  This Chozha King was himself a great devotee of
Siva and it is he who constructed a golden roof for the Siva of
Chidambaram,  Nataraja, the Dancing Siva.  He is also called Anabhaya
Chozha and Kultothunga Chozha.  In that town, there was a local
chieftain by name Idangazhi.  He was also a great Siva devotee.  He
made it a point to feed at least one Siva devotee, everyday after his
return from the temple and before he sat for his food.  Soon he became
poor, due to his philanthrophy and serving Siva devotees with food.

One day there was no rice at home for the feeding of his own family
as also for a Siva devotee.  He became restless and he took his idangazhi,
a sharp iron rod and went to the King's treasure house.  He stealthily
went into the granery and pierced the large silo of grains to take out
some rice for food and feeding a Siva devotee for that day.  He was
immediately caught by the guards and brought before the king.  Idangazhi
narrated the reason for his stealing.  The King became very sad that there
was no rice even in a citizen's house who wanted to feed Siva devotees.
Soon, he opened the granary and asked the guards to drop all the grains
on the palace grounds for Siva devotees to take them.  He told Idangazhi
Nayanar that his riches were of no avail, if they were not used to the
purpose of filling the stomach of Siva devoteess, with rich food.

Idangazhi took some rice stocks to his house and started feeding more
devotees from that day.  Soon, constantly contemplating on Siva  and
reached Siva's Abode.

(Source: Periya Puranam. Sekkizhar. Tamil Verses. Book XII of Siva
Canons. Saiva Siddhanta Book Publishing House. Chennai. Translation
and prose rendering, my own.)

Arunachala Siva. 

The teachings of Bhagavan Sri Ramana Maharshi / Tiruvembavai - 19
« on: January 03, 2009, 10:15:54 AM »
The Verse 19 of Tiruvembavai, describes the thoughts of the girls
who for early morning darshan to Arunachaleswara go the temple,
after bath.  The Verse reads as under:

O girls, there is an old proverb which says that the son would tell his
mother:  O mother, I am ever subservient to you.  This proverb, we
are afraid has taken a new form.  We are telling Arunachaleswara:
O Master! There is a prayer to you.  We, shall marry only your true
devotees* and we shall always do service to you.  Let not our eyes
see anything that is not you.  Let us always think of merging at  your
holy feet.  If this happens, what do we care, even if the Sun rises
in any direction?

(* In Nayaki Nayaka bhava, unlike Vaishnava Saints, the Saiva Saints
always say that they should marry only Siva's devotees and not Siva
Himself, because Siva is married only to Uma and to no one else. While
Naryana may have 16000 wives as in case of Krishna, Siva is married
only to Uma.  Even Ganga was taken into his matted locks not as a
wife, but only to give her a place, lest she would cause deluge in the

Arunachala Siva. 

Kavyakanta Ganapati Sastri was a man of astounding scholarship
and learning.  He had learnt Rig Veda, Ayur Veda, Indian Astrology
and what not.  He composed Hara Sahasram when he reached Tiruvannamalai in the first few weeks.  This manuscript was taken
by his disciple and this has been lost for posterity.  He composed
Uma Sahasram, and the last 300 verses were inspired by Bhagavan
Ramana at Pachaiamman Kovil.  He defeated Ambika Datta in Nava
Dweepa suymposium and earned the title of Kavyakanta.  His wife
Visalakshi, who was initated into Tara Mantra by Ganapati Sastri,
was an authority of that mantra and the underlying philosphy.  His
son Mahadeva was one of the questioners in Sri Ramana Gita.  He
composed Sad Darsanam which is a Sanskrit rendering of Ulladu
Narpadu of Bhagavan Ramana.  Later many many scholars like
Kapali Sastri, Lakshmana Sarma and Dr. T.M.P. Mahadevan wrote
commentaries on Sad Darsanam.   

Bhagavan Ramana had a high regard for Kavyakanta and He used
to call him affectionately as Nayana.  Kavyakanta called Bhagavan
Ramana as his younger brother Subrahmanya!  Ganapati Muni had
a lot of sankalpas or wishes like making India as the centre of Jnana
bhoomi, obtaining independence through peaceful means of chanting
mantras etc., He started a group called Indra Sabha for this purpose.

After reaching Kharagpur, where he was staying during his last
months, he was in correspondence with Bhagavan Ramana.  These
letters used to be in Sanskrit.  And at the end of each letter, he used
to add a poem in praise of Bhagavan Ramana.  Such poems were
desgined to make a Ramana Satakam, but Kayakanta breathed his
last before its completion.  Bhagavan Ramana arranged the available
40 verses into Sri Ramana Chatvarimasat later.

Kavykanta Ganapati Muni also planned a detailed biography on Bhagavan
Ramana.  Even this remained incomplete with only three chapters written.
He used to extempore say some slokas and when disciples asked what
these were, he said that these sloaks would be a part of Maha Ramana
Gita, which he said, would be complete in a few years!  This Maha Ramana
Gita was also not completed. 

He wrote the famous Sri Soundaryamba Ashtakam, after Mother's
Maha Nirvana.  He only called the perennial well that is between
Bhagavan's Mahasamadhi and the dining hall, as Sri Soundarymba

We should always remember Sri Ganapati Sastri and Muruganar, for
their wonderful writings on Bhagavan Ramana.  They are the
Appayya Dikshita and Manikkavachagar for Ramana Siva.   

(Source:  Bhagavan and Nayana - S. Sankaranarayanan.
                  Kavya Kanta Ganapati Munivar - Kripanandan, (Tamil)
                  Sri Ramanasramam, Tiruvannamalai.)

Arunachala Siva.

Translations and Commentaries by Forum Members / Zen Stories
« on: January 02, 2009, 10:05:43 AM »
Honko was an unusually talented Zen Master, irrepressibly outstanding,
with a wide learning and powerful memory.  His own Zen teacher
Shigetsu had been one of the greatest scholarly masters. Honko
himself used to travel around lecturing on Zen at the invitation of centres
all over the country.

Among Honko's voluminous writings  is a commentary on parts of the
redoubtable Shobogenzo, which is the magnum opus of the great
thirteenth century Zen Master Dogen. The first and the only work
written in classical Japanese, Shobogenzo is one of the most difficult
works in the canon.

While Honko was working on his commentary on Shobogenzo, a monk
involved in the study of logic came to him requesting that he expound
the Surangama Sutra, a most abstruse and complex work in the
Chinese language.

At once the Zen Master placed the Surangama Sutra on the left side
of the desk, set the Shobogenzo on the right, and put a piece of paper
in the middle. Then he proceeded to lecture on the Surangama Sutra
while simultaneously reading  Shobogenzo and writing a commentary
on it!   He kept his attention on all the three tasks without confusion!

Those who observed this were astounded, and rumours began to
circulate that Honko was an incarnation of a spirit or a saint.

(Source: Zen antics. Thomas Cleary. Pub. Shambhala., Boston.)

Arunachala Siva.

The teachings of Bhagavan Sri Ramana Maharshi / Miracles Do Happen
« on: January 02, 2009, 09:52:29 AM »
Paul Brunton, (Raphael Hurst), was in Madras.  On the highway,
he met one Subramania Iyer, wearing a ochre rob.  Iyer came to
Paul Brunton, introduced himself and started the conversation.  Iyer
told Brunton, that he had met one great yogi in Arunachala and Brunton
should meet him, in case he wanted to know the meaning of life. Brunton
brushed aside and said that he was getting back to North India and there
was no time.  Iyer then told him, that if he did so, Brunton would be
losing a golden opportunity.

Brunton left him and went to his house in Madras.  In the evening,
one Venkatramani came to him, with plans to take him to Chingleput,
where Sri Kanchi Chandrasekara was camping.  They both went to
Kanchipuram and met Sri Chandrasekara.  Brunton had a good meeting
with him and told him that he would like to know the truth of life, by
being with him. Sri Chandrasekara then told him that he having been
a Head of Math, would have a lot of duties everyday and that he would
not be able to take him as a disciple for the search of truth.  He then
suggested Sri Ramana Maharshi, who he said, would impart him the
Truth, if he could spend some time with Him. 

Brunton apologetically said that he had got other plans.  Sri Chandrasekara then told him:  Please give a promise that you would not leave South India
without seeing the Maharshi.  Brunton reluctantly agreed.

He came back to the house.  Subramania Iyer was waiting at the gates
saying that he had come to take him to the Maharshi!

(Source:  A Search in Secret India. Paul Brunton. Random House. London.)

Arunachala Siva.     

Kazharchinga was a Pallava King, ruling from Kanchipuram.  He
was an ardent devotee of Siva and was having all prosperity due
to the grace of Siva, the Lord Ekamba of Kanchipuram, consort of
Kamakshi.  He used his wealth for feeding the Siva devotees and
giving them money for their livelihood.  He visited several Siva temples
in Tamil Nadu. 

Once he went to Tiruvarur, to pray to Siva, Lord Thyagaraja of the
town.  His queen also accompanied him.  While going round the temple,
with great devotion, the queen saw a flower garden inside the temple
precincts.  There were many beautiful flowers in the garden.  She
took one of the flowers from a plant and smelt it.  Seeing this, a devotee
Seruthunaiyar, cut off her nose with a sharp knife, as she had no business
to smell the flower intended for Siva.  The queen fell down, bleeding
profusely.  The King, Kazharchinga saw her on the floor, rushed to her
and said:  "You deserve this penalty and even more.  I shall cut your
hand too, that plucked the flower."  So saying, he cut her hand too!

Immeditately, flowers fell in a shower from the heavens.  Siva appeared
before him and took the king to His Abode!

(Source: Periya Puranam, Sekkizhar. Tamil Verses.  Book XII of Siva
Canons.  Saiva Siddhanta Book Publishing House, Chennai. Translation
and Prose rendering, my own.)

Arunachala Siva. 

The teachings of Bhagavan Sri Ramana Maharshi / Tiruvembavai - 18
« on: January 02, 2009, 09:30:50 AM »
The Verse 18 of Tiruvembavai, again extols the glory of Arunachala.

The girls sing:

The Sun is about to rise.  The red-dawn has already shown up.  The
first rays of Sun are getting visible.  This makes the stars lose their
lustre.  How does the whole thing look?  It is like the the diamond
studded head gears of devas losing their lustre, when they all bend
and prostrate before the lotus feet of Annamalai.  The glorious red
lotus feet of Annamalai make the diamond studded head gears of
devas lose their lustre!  The entire darkness of night is gone. Let us
sing His glory.  He is the man, the woman, the neuter, the Space and
the earth and is also beyond these!  He is the Nectar that fills our eyes.
Let us sing His glorious feet and bathe in the cool waters of the pond.

Arunachala Siva.

There may ups and downs in Sadhana.  These are due to the constant
flux of three gunas, sattva, rajas and tamas.  The seeker is advised
to make the best use of his time when sattva-guna is in the ascendant.
As time passes, depending upon the sincerity of the seeker, the sattva
guna will begin to preponderate. When distractions seem particularly
powerful, it might help to rehearse the principles of nitya-anitya-viveka,
Reality-unreality discrimination, inwardly in the mind.

During Meditational Enquiry, the seeker may have a variety of experiences,
like shedding tears, horripilation, photisms, twitching, numbness, heating
of the body, pain in body parts, titillation, rapture, visions of strange
scenes, persons and gods, weakness, drowsiness, sounds, a void, fear etc.,

During the day, we go through many which require little or no attention
from us. e.g -- waking, bathing, eating food, waiting for someone, going
to sleep, etc., Such occasions may be conveniently used for enquiry thereby
raising the number of hours of daily practice substantially.  The Concurrent
Enquiry may be attempted only after making some headway with Meditational Enquiry. 

When a foothold has been gained in Concurrent Enquiry in the above
manner, the practice can be extended to other periods wherein the
mind is actively engaged -- reading, writing, talking, shopping, cooking
etc., It may at first seen impossible to combine enquiry with such
activities, but Bhagavan Ramana assures us to the contrary.

Concurrent Enquriy ensures the commitment of the total personality
of the seeker to his goal of Self Realization.  It thereby greatly enhances
the efficacy of the Meditational Enquiry, which forms the inner core of

When the seeker senses that he is making some progress, he must
be extremely vigilant against becoming overconfident.  Else, his ego
can revert to its old ways, causing great setbacks to his sadhana.
Reading spiritual books, Sat Sangh, surrender to the Guru within
can be relied upon for support  when enquiry is seriously threatened
or hampered by maya, delusion.   When eventually, the sadhaka finds
himself able to contact the 'I consciousness' with some ease, he sees
new possibilities for mind control.   The seeker realizes that the purpose
of all action is only to return to the mind, at the end of action, to its
state of repose in itself and that he could as well accomplish this by not
allowing the mind to go after action in the first place.  The fruit of action
as well as action itself, then ceases to be of consequence, and the distraction ceases.  Karma Yoga thus gets sublimated in Self Enquiry.

As the enquiry progresses further, the seeker finds himself identified
with the 'I consciousness' almost throughout the waking state. From
this invariant centre, which is his waking ego, he witnesses the body
and worldly phenomena as if they are pictures projected on the 'screen'
of their ego. With further deepening of enquiry, the ego itself and all
that is sees appear as a mere projection on the screen of the Absolute
Self,* even as the ego goes thorugh its cycle of waking, dream and deep
sleep states.

(* Day by Day with Bhagavan, Devaraja Mudaliar. Entry of 17.10.1946.)

Thus Upadesa Saram combines the essence of discrimination, dispassion,
devotion, enquiry and Self knowledge. Its habitual recitation helps the
mind to stray turned to Self Enquiry, and provide all round protection
against the onslaughtss of maya.  With sadhana conducted under its
aegis, the mind is enabled to rise to the thereshold of cosmic-consciousness, and qualify for eventual trancendence.  Beyond, there
is only Light, and no seeking!

(Source: Mountain Path. April June 2008)

Arunachala Siva.     

There is an excellent article by Sri N.A. Mohan Rao, of Hyderabad,
on the practice of Self Enquiry.  It appeared in Mountain Path of
April - June 2008.  I am giving only the salient points from this

The author says that Upadesa Saram presents the Ultimate Reality as
non-dual in line with the highest traditions of advaita.  There are two
purposes for a scripture.  One is to enlighten us on the nature of Ultimate
Reality and the other one is to indicate some plausible way of verifying
the Reality in our own experience.  Upadesa Saram satisfies both the

A study of Upadesa Saram reveals two alternative methods of "sadhana".
The first one is Conventional Yoga method and the second is Self Enquiry.
These are dealt with in verses 1-15 and 16-22 of Upadesa Saram.  The
last eight verses, 23-30 present an insight into the nature of Reality or
the realized state.

The Conventional Yoga, viz., karma, bhakti and jnana yogas, are dealt
with in Verses 1-3, 4-7 and 8-15 respectively.  The raja yoga including
pranayama is taken as an additional option within the jnana yoga.
The overlapping role of pranayama in jnana yoga is covered in Verses
11-14. The method of Self Enquiry is summed up in its essence in Verses
16-20.  Some further elaboration is provided in Verses 21-22.

The author also says that the seeker can bank on Bhagavan's assurance
that Self Enquiry involves no secret technique or upadesa, and go ahead
with his practice with the help of information from published literature*
and through personal exchange.

(* These are:  1) Who am I? Anwers to Sivapraksam Pillai. 2) Gems from Bhagavan, Devaraja Mudaliar. 3) A comprehensive treatment can be seen
in Be as You are - by David Godman.)

Practice of Self Enquiry initially starts sitting in an "asana", posture,
inside the house or in agreeable location like a temple or an ashram.
This is, as per author, Meditational Enquiry.  In course of time, from
selected periods, the enquiry extends to other periods of waking state.  This is called Concurrent Enquiry.  These two steps together should, ideally speaking, cover the entire waking life of the seeker.   Meditational Enquiry counts as the cutting edge of sadhana, as the first rendezvous with the Self is expected to occur in it.

(Source: Mountain Path, April - June  2008.)   

Arunachala Siva.