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Messages - Subramanian.R

The first opportunity for Bhagavan to see the distant peak of Arunachala was at the Atulyanatheswara Temple near Tirukoilur.
One wonders if in fact, He did so or whether the stae of His samadhi
was so deep that He was not aware of the fact.  In later years, He
spoke about this time as being like a speck carried along by a flood.
At this particular place, He could perhaps have had the first darshan
of His Guru, Arunachala.  It is said in the accounts of Bhagavan's
visit to the temple that it occurred by chance.  He had walked from Mambazhapattu railway station to Arayaninallur, a distance of 16 Kms.  As if by accident, He stopped at the temple doors to rest after the exhausting afternoon walk in the sun.  Soon an attendant came along to open the shrine for the evening rituals.  Bhagavan followed him and sat down in the pillared hall.  He immediately saw a brilliant light and thought it came from the image of the god in the inner sanctum.  He got up and walked to trace the source of this illumination but it disappeared as mysteriously as it had arrived.
He realized hat it was supernatural light He had seen.

He would perhaps have learnt from the poojari who performed the rituals about the significance of this place.  It was here, ages ago,
that one of the four great Tamil saints, Tiru Jnanasambandhar saw
the sacred peak of Arunachala for the first time. There are feet carved
in stone situated in the outer precincts to commomerate the spot.

Circumstances had conspired to bring Bhagavan to His beloved Arunachala, by the same route as Sambandhar whose pervasive influence has been so important in Tamil spirituality.  In later years,
Bhagavan Ramana would point out the value of a particular scripture
Sivabhakti Vilasam, which includes a poignant section about Tiru
Jnana Sambandhar's journey to Arunachala.  Bhagavan was aware of the rich heritage of Tamils and His knowledge of the scriptures both popular and obscure was substantial.

Our motives in today's world are similar that we regard Arunachala as panacea.  We come with hope, with anxiety, with faith.  We may ask ourselves what wild chase we have embarked upon without really knowing what has compelled us to do so.  We are all very human although it is fairly certain that we have been dissatisfied with our life in the material world.  Many, indeed most people, who set out on the spiritual quest are misfits in the ordinary world.  It stands to reason that if one fitted well with the neighbours and their designer clothes and newest cars, or could relate to the office and its heirarchy, if one craved and could enjoy all the forms of entertainment available, then there would be no need or desire to look any further for something else.  Seekers are rarely comfortable with what they already have.

Bhagavan Ramana has said:  "If the disciple takes one step towards the Guru, the Guru will take the other nine steps towards his disciple."

It is destiny if we seek Arunachala. 

The next morning (on 1.9.1896) set forth once more on His journey
to Tiruvannamalai.  When He left Madurai, He went ot to meet not only His destiny but ours too, for without Him, we would not be following those foot steps towards the beckoning light today.

(Source: Mountain Path, Jan-March 2003.)

Arunachala Siva.     

Dear Dr. Raju,

Yes. Surrender should be there at least for sometime or for more time,
depending upon the person, to reach self enquiry and merge in the Self.

Arunachala Siva.

Sri Guru Ramana Prasadam, is a collection of verses, by Muruganar.
This book came as Sri Ramana Anubhuti - Part I earlier.  The expanded
version has come out as publication of Sri Ramansramam, Tiruvannamalai, under the title Sri Guru Ramana Prasadam. Sri Robert Butler has translated this into English.  Earlier he had done the translation under the title Nondual Consciousness, Sri Ramana Anubhuti and the English version was published by Sri Ramana Maharshi Centre for Learning, Bangalore.  Now Sri Buter himself has re-written the translation and the book is titled as Sri Ramana Guru Prasadam.  This new book has been published by Sri Ramanasramam.

Some verses of Murugnar's book, have been furnished in Mountain
Path, Deepam, Jayanti, 2008 issue.

I give below Sri Robert Butler's translation of a few verses.

V.195: When I become united with the feet of the sadguru, my worldly ties were cut away through the practice of absorption in
his abiding Selfhood, with no longer any need to acquire empirical
knoweldge and the lofty knowledge of Sivam ripened within me
as the vast Supreme.

V.200:  As the clinging bondgs of false association fell away, I came
to dwell at Lord Siva's noble feet whose measure cannot be told.
Holding on with an unrelenting grip, neither grasping nor letting go,
I came to know the feet of my wise Master, that shine in my Heart.

V.204:  He caused a flower of light, to unfold in the state of pure
consciousness, so that the disastrous error of a body-bound ego faded.  That radiance grew ever brighter with my love until I realized the flawless knowledge of the Self manifesting as the unbroken awareness I-I, within my Heart.

(Source: Mountain Path, Jayanti, 2008)

Arunachala Siva.       

Guru Vachaka Kovai, (The Garland of Guru's Sayings), is a Tamil
work that contains 1,254 verses composed by Muruganar and a
further 28 verses that were written by Bhagavan Ramana.  The vast
majority of these verses contain the teachings made by Bhagavan
Ramana.  Taken together, they form a vast and comprehensive summary of Bhagavan's teachings.

In the 1920's Muruganar began to write down Bhagavan's teaching
statements, usually recording what he had heard in the form of a four line Tamil verses.  He showed them to Bhagavan and it is reported by both  Sri Sadhu Om and H. Vaidyanathan, that Bhagavan would occasionally make changes to these verses to make sure that His
teachings had been properly recorded.

On certain occasions, when Muruganar showed his verses to Bhagavan, He felt inspired to compose a verse of His own on the
same topic.  These verses were preserved and later incorporated into
Guru Vachaka Kovai.  Some of the verses intended for GVK ended up in Sad Darsanam, Supplement and some of the verses originally
intended for SD-S, ended up in GVK.

Sadhu Natananda first placed these verses in three broad categories, entitled  Investigation into Truth, Meditation on Truth and Experience of the Truth.  Sudivisions were later incorporated.   The first edition came in 1939, with 800 verses, and was published by Ramana Padananada.   When the first proof copy was brought to Bhagavan
Ramana, He made improvements in style of poetry, like more felicitious and euphonious rhymes.  He also changed the sequencing in several places. He even scored out part of some verses and substituted His words!   He also wrote 9 more verses of His own.
He also made changes in the Introduction written by Sadhu Natananda.  In summary, we can say Guru Vachaka Kovai is the summary of Bhagavan Ramana's teachings in one book.

Prof. K. Swaminathan translated them into English, as articulated by
Sri Sadhu Om.  This was published by Sri Ramanasramam, with the endorsement of T.N. Venkataraman, the former President. { David
Godman's translation with extensive commentary and hundreds of cross references, a mammoth work came in 2008.}

(Source:  David Godman's article in Mountain Path, Deepam, 2007)

Arunachala Siva.

Mother Azhagammal and Bhagavan Ramana's elder brother came
to Tiruvannamalai, some years after Bhagavan's return to the
Source, Arunachala.  They pleaded Him to return with them.  Bhagavan was unmoved and was not speaking.  Eventually, He wrote
down the following on a slip of paper.

"The Ordainer controls the fate of souls in accordance with their
destiny.  Whatever is destined not to happen will not happen, try
as you may.  Whatever is destined to happen will happen, do what
you may to prevent it.  This is certain.  The best course, of course,
is to remain silent."

Bhagavan had surrendered to a higher power he called Arunachala,
which transcended personal considerations.  He was not being intentionally cruel nor was He in denial.  He neither rejected nor
acceded to His mother's request.  Her plea was beside the point. He simply saw further and deeper that the forces at work in this world contained a higher purpose for Him.

Later in life, Bhagavan was often asked what alternative method was available for those who found self-enquiry too difficult.  He would reply that aside from self-enquiry, there is surrender.  When we reflected on Sri Ramana's life, we realize that He exemplified both paths to enlightenment.  On the fateful day that transformed His life in 1896, driven by the fear of death, He plunged deep within and discovered the sense of His own intrinsic being.  He realized that his so-called separate individuality was a phantom.  Freed of implicit demands as a member of a family, he remembered the call of Arunachala and surrendered to this Divine Power.  The attraction of Arunachala had been originally ignited by an uncle who had visited there several years earlier.  The young Venkataraman was awestruck at the very name of Arunachala and when the time came, like a mythic
hero, he stepped out of the familiar patterns and went in quest of His Father!

Surrender is not a feeble, vulnerable attitude of abject submission, nor is it a magic ticket which renders us free of any responsibility to
make an effort.  Right surrender is just as intense and subtle as self
enquiry.  The two approaches advised by Bhagavan Ramana, self enquiry and surrender, are actually two sides of the same coin.

(Source: Editorial, Mountain Path, Advent 2007)

Arunachala Siva.       

The teachings of Bhagavan Sri Ramana Maharshi / A Poem by Kevan Myers
« on: March 15, 2009, 10:25:01 AM »
This is one of the poems by Kevan Myers, in Jayanti issue of Moutain Path, 2007.

Learning to Say Goodbye

The other day
I stole my laptop from myself.
I don't know why,
or why I had to wear the clothes and flesh
of some Tibetan, teen-age dope-head,
as my own disguise.

Why did I do it?
Do I need this test
of my reactions
to this kind of stress?

Why, when I found the broken lock
and empty desk,
was I so calm,
when other times would have me
wail and beat my breast?

Was it because I know
the hand that carried out this crime
was just as truly mind
as this, which guides the pen
that writes these words,
or that, which grabs my arm,
and whines, "bhaksheesh",
which nmakes this other hand a fist,
to threaten this intruder
that has barged into its bliss?

My much beloved, expensive tool is gone,
and though I miss its music
and the satsanghs I would hear each day,
its pages of my poetry, its games,
and photos of my family and friends,
I do not think that anything is gone.

I cannot live without,
and anything that matters
can be found somewhere
inside my mind, if need is there,
And thus I carry on,

wiating to see the consequence and why,
I should have removed this precious toy from I.

Yet still I must confess
to feeling vexed and insecure,
not knowing when I'll come back next to steal more.

(Source: Mountain Path,  Jayanti, 2007.)   

Arunachala Siva.

Most of us who have got a copy of Who am I? in any language or
the Collected Works of Bhagavan Ramana, will know the first photo-
graph of Bhagavan Ramana.  You can see that young boy, Venkatraman, who became Brahmanaswamy and then later as
Bhagavan Sri Ramana Maharshi, is sitting "looking at you."  He has
got very thick hairs and longer finger nails. The intensity of His look
and his total non-attachment to anything in the world, are revealed in that photograph.

This photograph has a history.  It was taken by one Nalla Pillai of
Mutt Street, Kumbakonam, in the year 1896.  Nalla Pilai's fourth
generation is still running that studio Nalla Pillai Studio, in Kumbakonam.  Nalla Pillai is the disciple of one Mouna Swami in Kumbakonam.  He was commissioned by North Arcot Collector to take
photographs of prisoners in the district, for police files.  He came to
Arunachala Hills and having been impressed by Bhagavan Ramana, he took a photograph of Brahmana Swami.  He gave him a gift of Mouna
Swami's portrait as a gift to Bhagavan!  This incident is recorded in
Day by Day of Devaraja Mudaliar on 6.2.1946.

In those days, there were no elaborate arrangements for processing the negative which was on glass.  The studio itself travelled with the photographer in a bullock cat.  After taking the picture, the glass negative would be processed in sunlight with the positive paper below and the negative on top.  It would all be enclosed, then it would be exposed to the sunlight for a split second before being dipped in a chemical.  The photograph was then ready.

The glass negative of this first photograph of Bhagavan Ramana is still available at the Asramam and is safely perserved in the archives.

(Source: Mountain Path, Deepam, 2004. An article by M. Sivakumar,
who runs a technical institute and computer centre in Tiruvannamalai.)

Arunachala Siva.   

General topics / Re: Spiritual Practice : some guidelines
« on: March 15, 2009, 09:47:02 AM »
Dear silentgreen,

Yes.  Most of us are used to image worship, because it is ingrained
in our blood due to the religion that we adopt.  Bhagavan Ramana
never criticized image worship.  He only said that one has to go past
the names and forms.

Arunachala Siva.

Dear karthikeyan. M

SRK Math has given an English translation of Sri Ramanuja's
Brahma Sutra Bhashyam.  This is mainly to compare him with
Sri Sankara.  As otherwise, there are not any other books of
Sri Ramanuja from SRK Math.

Arunachala Siva.

Dear karthikeyan. M.

Sri Ramanuja was a versatile scholar both in Tamil and Sanskrit.
There a number of books by him.  He has commented on Brahma
Sutra Bhashyam.  These are either in Tamil or in Sanskrit.  In
Sri Rangam, there are a number of bookshops near the temple and
you may check up with them. 

Arunachala Siva.

Dear karthikeyan,

Sri Ramakrishna Maths books are authentic.  We do not have any
recorded history of Sri Ramanuja.  Even Sri Sankara's biography
by Madhva Vidranya has got many versions.  It may be out of pity
or anything that Sri Ramanuja got the mantra.  We may not know.
Bhagavan Ramana volunteered to go out the Old Hall and told an
unknown Harijan to chant Siva Siva.  Why? We do not know.  Is it
out of pity or that Harijan's service?  What service did the Harijan
do for Bhagavan Ramana?  It is called ahedu-karuna in Sanskrit.
Mercy without any tangible reasons!  Lalita Tripura Sundari is eulogzied in Sri Lalita Sahasranamam, like that.  The last verse in
the same book says:  Abala gopa viditha.... One who blesses even
the shepherds and cowherds!  Why?  The first "nama" answers this
point.  She is Srimata, the Mother of all.  The mother does not feed her child out pity or asking.  What can the newborn baby ask?  It is not
out of pity either.  The new babe is Her own, why need for a pity?
Saint Manikkavachagar says: " I am lowlier than a lowly dog, but you desired and took care of me..."  Nayir kadaiyai kidanthenai nayanthu neeye atkondai.....   

Arunachala Siva.

General topics / How much wealth you may need?
« on: March 14, 2009, 03:56:18 PM »
Man's desire for wealth is limitless.  Saint Tayumanavar says:  "Even
if one is given to rule the entire land, he would desire to conquer the oceans!"  Once a devotee prayed to Siva intently for wealth.  Siva
appeared before him and asked: What do you want?"  He answered.
Then Siva pointed his index finger towards the house.  The whole house turned into a golden palace!  The Siva entered his house.  What more do you want?"  The devotee grinned and showed the wooden cupboards, steel cupboards, stainless steel vessels, etc.,  Siva waved
his index finger towards these objects.  All turned into gold.  The
devotee was still grinning at him expectedly!  Siva was amused, and he asked him:  "Anything else?"  He said unashamedly:  "I want your index finger!"

Siva already lost half his body to Uma.  If someone asked him the index finger... What is the end?  He disappeared!

Arunachala Siva.

General topics / Speaking of Siva
« on: March 14, 2009, 02:48:51 PM »
Veera Saiva movement took birth in Karnataka.  Its founder Basvanna,
was a brahmin by birth, but took cudgels against the Brahmin orthodoxy and rituals and casteism in 18th Century and started the movement.  Their only god is Siva.  His followers assembled in Kudligi, a place in Northern Karnataka and had a hall for their meetings.  Their god is Kudala Sangama Deva, the Lord of the meeting rivers.  In Kudligi, two tributaries of Kaveri go round the town.  And there is a Siva temple.  His main followers are three, who have sung
Vachanas, free blank verses in Kannada.  They are Akka Mahadevi,
the Elder sister, and Desi Ramayya and Allmma Prabhu, the author on Prabhulinga Leela, which Bhagavan Ramana mentions many times.
They were praying to Siva of various temples.

Akkamahadevi was a revolutionary.  She was roaming around naked, with treebarks around waist and leaves around her breasts.  She often mentioned Mallikarjuna of Sri Sailam, the Lord of Jasmine Creeper.

She sings:

1. People
     male and female,
     blush when a cloth covering their shame
     comes lose.

      When the Lord of our lives,
      lives drowned without a face,
      in the world, how can you be modest?

       When all the world is the eye of the Lord,
       on looking everywhere, sixteen directions,
       What can you cover and conceal?

2.    I love the Handsome One,
        He has no death, decay or form
        No place, or side no end, no birthmarks,
        I love Him, O Mother, Listen!

         I love the Beautiful One,
         With no bond, nor fear, no clan, no land,
         No landmarks for His beauty,

         O My Lord, white as Jasmine, is my husband,

         O Mother, take away these husbands who die,
         Decay, and feed them to your kitchen fires!

Sri AK. Ramanujan, a bilingual, has translated some of the verses
into English. 

(Source: Speaking of Siva, AK. Ramanujan, Penguin.)

Arunachala Siva.             

General topics / What is there in Tirupavai?
« on: March 14, 2009, 02:13:13 PM »
Both Manikkavachagar's Tiruvembavai and AndaL's Tirupavai,
are having the undercurrent of Saranagati or surrender.  Bhagavan
Ramana used to say: "If you cannot do self enquriy, then you do
surrender and keep quiet."   But these two compositions are viewed
in various angles by devotees, as the six blind men seeing the elephant.

One day, a rasika of music came to a Sri Vaishanva scholar and said:
"What is there in Tirupavai, sir?  It is all splendid music.  I use to lie in bed at 6.30 AM (!) in Dhanur month and listen to M.L. Vasantakumari's rendering of Tirupavai, while I am half-asleep.
O What a music sir!  All thirty songs are in thirty different ragas!  Wonderful!" 

Next day, a great Tamil pandit came to that Sri Vaishnava scholar and told him:  "What is there in Tirupavai, sir?  It is all delightful
Tamil poetry.  AndaL herself says 'I am singing thirty songs in Sangam
Tamil.'  Wonderful!"

A third one came to the same Sri Vaishnava scholar and said:  "What is there in Tirupavai, sir?  AndaL delightfully explains how to prepare sweet pongal on the Dharnur month mornings.  Take best raw rice,
best jaggery, best cashews, cardamom, and dry grapes, nicely fry them in ghee.  And then pour generously pure cow's milk ghee.
It will be delightful like Brahmananda, sir,  "Mooda nei peythu muzhangai vazhi vara..."  She says, pour ghee as if a film of ghee
would spread on the sweet pongal and then take it shamelessly that
the overflowing ghee trickles down your elbow!"

So every one looks at Tirupavai in their own angle.  Like Brahman or
Siva or Narayana, Tirupavai or Tiruvembavai, is many faceted!

Arunachala Siva.   

We all know that Sri Ramana Ashottaram was written by Viswanatha Swami.  This is being chanted in the Asramam.  Once in 1943, a letter
was received from Nellore devotees, saying that they had been celebrating Ramana Jayanti and they wished to perform pooja for Bhagavan Ramana's portrait as part of the celebrations.  They would like to have procedural mantras prepared and sent.  Bhagavan Ramana passed on the letter to Jagadeeswara Sastri, who was a great Sanskrit scholar.  It appears that Sastri had composed a Sahasranamam, but this appeared to have been lost.  Since Nellore
devotees were reminding in the matter, Jagadeeswara Sastri did the whole thing again, together with necessary puja mantras, like anga pooja and anga nyasa.  On finishing the work, Sastri went straight to Bhagavan Ramana and said:  "O Bhagavan! I would like to do this sahasranamam along with puja formalities, for You first!  If You do not permit, I shall do it for your Pada atleast!"  Bhagavan Ramana hurriedly drew back His feet and said:  "Enough of this nonsense!"

The composition was promptly sent to Nellore. They were happy but they were asking whether they could have a Telugu version too.
Then Suri Nagamma was asked to take up writing Telugu version.  Bhagavan Ramana Himself perused it and corrected it and it was sent to Nellore devotees, and it made them very happy!

This Sanskrit-English version, is available in Sri Ramanasramam,
Tiruvannamalai.  The Sanskrit-Telugu version should also be available.

(Source:  My Life in Sri Ramanasramam.  Letters and Recollections
of Sri Ramanasramam, Tiruvannamalai.)

Arunachala Siva.