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Messages - atmavichar100

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General Discussion / Re: Rough Notebook-Open Forum
« on: January 28, 2014, 05:07:52 PM »
Dr. T. N. Krishnaswamy gives an account of his experiences as the `official photographer' of the Ashram. As confirmed by Sri Bhagavan, the Divine assumes a visible, physical form out of Grace to give solace and guidance to devotees. The importance of Sri Bhagavan's pictures is therefore obvious.

OWING TO MY busy life in Madras I could usually spend only a day or a part of a day at Tiruvannamalai when I went there. I always took my camera with me and I used to spend the whole time with the Maharshi and take as many photos of him as I could. I was afraid he would get annoyed at my persistence, but he never did. I have photographed him walking, sitting, eating, wiping his feet. I have caught him smiling and laughing, speaking and silent, and also in samadhi. Once he was going up the Hill when it started to rain and he was offered a home-made palm-leaf umbrella and I snapped him using it. I took another picture of him using an ordinary umbrella and smiling broadly as he did so.

Sometimes I used to wonder if it was not ridiculous of me to pay so much attention to photography when his teaching was that "I am not the body". Was I not chasing the shadow and even trying to perpetuate it? At the time I paid very little attention to his teaching. I was attracted only by the beauty and grace of his person. It gave me immense pleasure to take pictures of him. He was more important than, his teaching.

Later, when he was no longer bodily with us, I turned to his teaching; and then I found that the Grace of his Presence had prepared me for it. I had been attracted to him as a child is to its mother, without knowing why I had derived sustenance from him as a child does from its mother. I was glad afterwards that I had enjoyed his presence when he was bodily with us. The following little incident shows how he himself approved of people worshipping the physical form assumed by the Divine.

One day I was walking on Arunachala with the Maharshi when he picked up one small stone from the path and held it out to me saying, "Someone has written from abroad asking for a stone from the holiest part of the Hill. He does not know that the whole Hill is sacred. It is Siva himself. Just as we identify ourselves with a body, so Siva has chosen to identify with the Hill. Arunachala is pure Awareness in the form of a Hill. It is out of compassion to those who seek him that he has chosen to reveal himself in the form of a Hill visible to the eye. The seeker will obtain guidance and solace by staying near this Hill."

~ from Surpassing Love and Grace

General Discussion / Re: Rough Notebook-Open Forum
« on: January 28, 2014, 09:35:13 AM »
Q: Why is the concept of God necessary in spiritual life?
A: It is not necessary as long as one is willing to logically and truthfully investigate the body, mind and intellect and the perceiver, feeler, thinker in relation to the objects, emotions, and thoughts. Such an enquiry will lead to the Subject in us, and we will be forced to accept that something other than matter is expressing itself through matter. This spiritual essence is indicated by the word God.

– Page 6, In the Company of Sages (Q&A With Swami Chinmayananda & Swami Tejomayananda , Chinmaya Publications )

General Discussion / Re: Rough Notebook-Open Forum
« on: January 27, 2014, 05:16:09 PM »
Q : How is the ego to be destroyed?

SRI RAMANA MAHARSHI: Hold the ego first and then ask how it is to be destroyed. Who asks this question? It is the ego. Can the ego ever agree to kill itself? This question is a sure way to cherish the ego and not to kill it. If you seek the ego you will find it does not exist. That is the way to destroy it.

~ from Talk-615

General Discussion / Re: Rough Notebook-Open Forum
« on: January 27, 2014, 09:14:01 AM »

Q: Is it better to pray or not to pray when you do not understand the meaning of the chants?

A: If you compare and try to decide between praying and not praying, the one who prays is nobler than the one who cannot pray. One who regularly prays at least has the decency to accept the presence of a superior intelligence, guiding, protecting, helping and serving all beings. When such an individual prays, his mind’s attention is, at least for the time being, lifted in devotion to that mysterious, unknown, but ever-benevolent Supreme. In order to maintain the mind in that uplifted mood, chants, hymns, maṅtra and rhythms and special sanctified areas like temples or churches can all be great help.
The next best thing is to understand the meaning of what we are chanting. In itself the meaning has nothing to add to the seekers’ spiritual stature because there are many erudite scholars who can understand the meaning of a chant, but they have no devotion to lift their minds toward it. Even if you do not know the meaning, chanting is useful. A mother lovingly hugs the child, prattling and humming, and the child, who can understand nothing of words, becomes consoled and falls asleep. Practice chanting for six months; bring it within your own personal experience and you will know the truth of it.
A looter merely repeated the word “Ram, Ram” and reached the status of Valmiki; and a little innocent child, Dhruva, repeating the maṅtra “Om Namo Bhagavate Vāsudevāya,” attained enlightenment. It is not the meaning of the words that is important. They are a crutch for the mind to turn in the direction of the Self. In ardent faith, with true and deep devotion, and with the mind not running into sense objects, if we can turn our attention for a few moments a day to call out to Him, it will be the most effective prayer. The child may be in any part of the house; it need not know where the mother is, but the moment the child cries, “Ma, Ma,” the mother appears and gathers the child to her bosom.

– Page 64, In the Company of Sages

In this book, two visionaries: Swami Chinmayananda and Swami Tejomayananda address many questions that can arise in the minds of spiritual students. Their answers are thought provoking and immensely inspiring.

General Discussion / Re: The Significance of Ekadasi
« on: January 27, 2014, 07:40:53 AM »
Ekadashi Vrat 2014 Dates
Ekadashi tithi is considered auspicious and Lord Vishnu worshiped on this day. On this day, devotees wake up early in the morning, take ritual bath, worship the God and take vow for the fast. Each Hindu lunar month consists of two Ekadashi tithis - One is in Krishna paksha (Dark Fortnight) and another in Shukla paksha (Bright Fortnight).

Here we are providing Ekadashi dates for the year 2014. This may vary by a day according to your location.

11th January 2014 - Saturday - Pausha Putrada Ekadashi
27th January 2014 - Monday - Shattila Ekadashi

10th February 2014 - Monday - Jaya Ekadashi
25th February 2014 - Tuesday - Vijaya Ekadashi

12th March 2014 - Wednesday - Amalaki Ekadashi
27th March 2014 - Thursday - Papmochani Ekadashi

11th April 2014 - Friday - Kamada Ekadashi
25th April 2014 - Friday - Varuthini Ekadashi

10th May 2014 - Saturday - Mohini Ekadashi
24th May 2014 - Saturday - Apara Ekadashi

09th June 2014 - Monday - Nirjala Ekadashi
23rd June 2014 - Monday - Yogini Ekadashi

08th July 2014 - Tuesday - Devshayani Ekadashi
09th July 2014 - Wednesday - Devshayani Ekadashi
22nd July 2014 - Tuesday - Kamika Ekadashi

07th August 2014 - Thursday - Shravana Putrada Ekadashi
21st August 2014 - Thursday - Aja Ekadashi

05th September 2014 - Friday - Parsva Ekadashi
19th September 2014 - Friday - Indira Ekadashi

04th October 2014 - Saturday - Papankusha Ekadashi
05th October 2014 - Sunday - Papankusha Ekadashi
19th October 2014 - Sunday - Rama Ekadashi

03rd November 2014 - Monday - Devutthana Ekadashi
18th November 2014 - Tuesday - Utpanna Ekadashi

02nd December 2014 - Tuesday - Mokshada Ekadashi
18th December 2014 - Thursday - Saphala Ekadash

General Discussion / Re: The Significance of Ekadasi
« on: January 27, 2014, 07:35:59 AM »
27th January, 2014: Shat Tila Ekadashi

This ekadashi falls on the eleventh day of Krishnapaksh in the month of Paush.Til means sesame seeds and shat stands for six. The entire offering of six types of sesame seeds on Shat Tila Ekadasi is considered highly meritorious. Reciting the Vishnu Sahasra Nama Stotram (the thousand names of Vishnu) and worshipping Lord Vishnu is a must for devotees.

Please offer til-ladoos to Lord Vishnu, Ganesha, your family deity, the child form of Krishna or Lord Rama at home. As til is considered beneficial for the cold winter months, kindly give sesame seeds to needy students and the poor, this season.

General Discussion / Re: Rough Notebook-Open Forum
« on: January 26, 2014, 02:17:55 PM »
D.: Is intellectual knowledge enough?
M.: Unless intellectually known, how to practice it? Learn it
intellectually first, then do not stop with that. Practise it.
Maharshi then made certain remarks: “When you adhere to one
philosophical system (siddhanta) you are obliged to condemn
the others. That is the case with the heads of monasteries
All people cannot be expected to do the same kind of action.
Each one acts according to his temperament and past lives.
Wisdom, Devotion, Action (jnana, bhakti, karma) are all
interlocked. Meditation on forms is according to one’s own mind.
It is meant for ridding oneself of other forms and confining oneself
to one form. It leads to the goal. It is impossible to fix the mind
in the Heart to start with. So these aids are necessary. Krishna
says that there is no birth (janma) to you, me, etc., and later says
he was born before Aditya, etc. Arjuna disputes it. Therefore it is
certain that each one thinks of God according to his own degree
of advancement.
You say you are the body in wakeful state; not the body in sleep.
Bodies being several-fold for an individual, should not there be
infinite capacities for God? Whichever method one follows, that
method is encouraged by the Sages. For it leads to the goal like
any other method.

Talk 40

General Discussion / Re: Rough Notebook-Open Forum
« on: January 26, 2014, 02:14:20 PM »

One Venkatarama lyer questioned Ramana, in Skandasramam days, whether combining activities and Self-attention is possible.

Q: Whichever way one turns, one finds that the mind has to be subdued. We are told it has to be controlled. Can this really be done when on the one hand the mind is an entity not easily grasped and on the other one continues to have worldly worries?

Bhagavan: "A person who has never seen an ocean must take a trip to it to know about it. Standing there before the huge expanse of water, this person may wish to bathe in the sea. Of what use is it if, seeing the roaring and rolling of the waves, he were to just stand there thinking, 'I shall wait for all this to subside. When it does, I shall enter it for a quiet bath just inthe pond back home?’ He has to realize either by himself or by being told that the ocean is restless and that
it has been so from the moment of creation and will continue likewise till pralaya (destruction). He will then resolve to learn to bathe in it, as it is.

"He may wade into it and learn to duck under a wave and let it pass over him. He would naturally hold his breath while doing so. Soon he would be g skilled enough to duck at a stretch,wave after wave and thus achieve the purpose of bathing without coming to grief. The ocean may go on with its waves and though in it, he is free from
its grip. So too here."

Paul Brunton has also plied Sri Ramana with questions on this point.

Q: How is it possible to become selfless while leading a life of worldly activities?

A: "There is no conflict between work and wisdom."

Q: Do you mean to say that one can continue all old activities, in one’s profession for instance, and at the same time get enlightenment?

Bhagavan: “Why not? But in that case one will be centered on That, which is beyond the little self.”

The busiest hours will not be different from those earmarked for
meditation. The current generated by association with the energy source in the heart would be the continuous substratum with its overflowing peace and joy.

The habit of externalization of the mind is long ingrained. Till the experience of an inward way of life with its beauty and bliss grows upon one there is need tor steadfast practice. To use Ramana's words "Long cultivated tendencies can indeed be eradicated by long continued meditation". He asks, "Can a man become a high officer by merely seeing such an officer once?... Can a beggar become a king by merely visiting a king and declaring himself one?.... Gradually one should. by all possible means, try always to be aware of the Self. Everything is achieved if one succeeds in this." (S.E.)

During the practice of the Ramana Way one would be in and out of the experience of the natural state and its bliss. Knowledge and ignorance would be intermittent, and co-exist at this transition stage. But as the experience of the power of the Self grows, the mind's capacity to lure one away would weaken. Ramana's purpose would have been
done when all straying ceases, when the mind is merged in its source firmly, without a break, who can describe the joy of such a life?

A traveller on the spiritual journey may wander around on indirect paths, may take detours, but in the end he has to come to self-enquiry and the way of the heart. The individual separated from his roots, from his moorings, from his source, must inevitably get back to this
true home as surely as the restless rain drops rejoin their source, the wean, or the birds return to earth from which they have risen and for a while in the sky.

(Timeless in Time, A.R. Natarajan)

General Discussion / Re: Rough Notebook-Open Forum
« on: January 26, 2014, 12:47:29 PM »
The Ocean does not forget that it is a wave,
but the wave forgets that it is an Ocean.
This is "why" there is manifestation;
for sake of play this forgetfulness arises.
The world is only for celebration.
Manifestation is just a cosmic drama to be enjoyed.
There is only play and it is not existent,
and continues because whatever you think so it becomes.
This manifestation was created by you
and it will be destroyed by you.

The first thought is "I".
Then arises "my," which is ego,
and then comes all manifestation.
Time, mind, manifestation is projected out of "I"
which is itself the projection required to manifest the play.
Undress yourself of these things
and find where "I" rises from.

You are Shiva if you do not project "I",
and your Shakti is the projection by which to play.
Consciousness is the source of this play,
of the mind, and That is all.

~ Sri H. W. L. Poonja (Papaji)

...from "The Truth Is"

General topics / Re: Quotes from Shankaracharya's
« on: January 26, 2014, 07:53:05 AM »
Sage of Kanchi
Why do we have to do SAdhanA?
 The objective is to purify the mind completely to such an extent there is no mind left thereafter. What does it mean to say that there is no mind? Desire, the hankering after matter, should be absent. Eradication of desire and hankering after material things will happen at the stage of Realisation. In fact this statement itself has to be modified. Only if the Realisation of the Self happens, the taste for matter will vanish. In other words, Self–Realisation is first. Then only, - ‘then’ does not mean ‘after a time’ – immediately, though only after the Realisation, does the material hankering vanish completely. The Gita is very clear on this (II – 59). “For each sense, if the corresponding sense-object is denied to it, by that practice those sense-objects will go away (in other words, the concrete physical experience of them would have stopped); but the taste of that experience of it – as they say, ‘the cat that has had the taste’ (ruchi-kaNDa-poonai, in Tamil) – that taste of experience would linger on internally and it will vanish only when the Realisation of the Atman takes place”

Does anyone know the exact day on which Arunachala Akshara Mana Malai was composed in the year 1914 ?

Om Namo Bhagavate Sri Ramanaya
Akshara Mana Malai- 100 years

“Desirelessness is wisdom” teaches Sri Ramana Maharshi in the seminal work “Who am I”. Followers of Ramana Maharshi strive for desirelessness as a spiritual goal.
Even spiritual aspirants committed to “desirelessness” must engage in life sustaining acts like finding food and water. Renunciates in Hinduism are permitted to live on alms as a means of cultivating desirelessness and humility.

Some renunciates who associated with Ramana Maharshi lived on alms. They went to town collectively in a group singing praises of the Lord.

Before descending the Hill for alms, the sadhu would blow a conch shell, providing an initial notice to the pious residents of the town who provided them food. Once again, at the foot of the Hill they would blow the conch announcing their arrival at the town for alms. The town folks graciously offered them plenty of food out of respect for their association with Ramana Maharshi who was living on the Hill.

The arrangement worked well until men who were not followers of Ramana Maharshi found out the special generosity of householders towards devotees of Maharshi. They too formed a group, blew on a conch and walked the streets singing traditional praises of the Lord. Purposely, they started on the rounds to collect food a little earlier than the devotees of the Maharshi. The generous householders could not distinguish between Bhagavan’s real devotees and the imposters who were similarly clad and singing similar praises of the Lord. The devotees of Maharshi had to return with meager collections and accept hunger.

The devotees, victimized by identity theft, turned to their Savior, Ramana Maharshi who was personification of the infinite compassion of Arunachala with matchless power to change misfortune into good fortune. Perumal Swamy a disciple of Maharshi requested Him to compose a unique prayer that would secure for them the Presence of Ramana Maharshi and reveal to the world their true status as His genuine followers.

Normally those going out begging for food sing a song with the refrain “Samba SadaSiva, Samba SadaSiva, Samba SadaSiva Hara Hara”. At first, the Maharshi composed a few similar lines with the refrain “Arunachala” and stopped. Perumal was waiting for the next lines but was disappointed. One day, the Maharshi went for giri pradakshina(walking around the hill) alone. That day one hundred and eight verses invoking the grace of Lord Arunachala gushed forth like a perennial spring from the depths of Maharshi’s heart.

The very name of the song reveals its import (bhava); the bride was the Jiva (Maharshi himself) the bridegroom was Lord Arunachala. The Maharshi created situations where the bride pined for the bridegroom and thus composed the song.

Normally a pining lover’s words would be piteous but when they are accompanied by devotion the effect is perfect. The bride displays various feelings like self-pity, bashfulness, maturity and hurt at being spurned; all these make the poem exquisite with a remarkable co-mingling of bhakti(devotion) and sringara(romantic love). Like sugar in milk, the poem abounds in upadesa of wisdom also. In the original Tamil the words employed have more than one meaning, which makes a perfect translation impossible. Those who sing and listen to the song at the Ashram are overwhelmed with joy. When the bhava is sweet and the words are delicately balanced – this is only to be expected. This song has a soothing effect in the hearts of devotees.

The first effect of the sacred song was to solve the problem of food shortage. In “Day by Day with Bhagavan” it is recorded that Bhagavan says that Akshara Mana Malai fed the devotees for many years. The power of the song is far greater than simply vouching daily ration of food by the Grace of Arunachala. It assures for us the presence of Arunachala and Sri Ramana Maharshi wherever we may live.

Sri Ramana Maharshi poured His heart out and imparted His spiritual power into Akshara Mana Malai as a gift to His devotees so that they may easily invoke His gracious presence wherever they want.
The sacred poem if regularly chanted confers the protective umbrella of Aruanachala (Maha Guru Sri Ramana Maharshi). It has the power to remove the obstacles facing the devotee and to guide him in day-to-day life.

A hundred years have passed since the “Akshara mana Malai” came into existence. The centenary event will be observed by organizing daily chants of Akshara Mana Malai at the ashram and all the centers dedicated to Ramana Maharshi. May all devotees learn and chant Akshara Mana Malai with fervour! May they all emerge victorious in their endeavour to gain self-knowledge of which Arunachala and Ramana Maharshi are supreme symbols! May all benefit by the power of the presence of Ramana Maharshi revealed by his immortal composition “Akshara Mana Malai”.

The Asramam is going to celebrate the 100 years of Arunachala Akshara Manamalai this year.  There is a notice in this regard,
in the Asramam website, www.Sri Ramana

Thanks Subramaniam Sir for this reminder .  I have to get back to regular of  Chanting Arunachala Akshara Manamalai ( AAMM) again .Glad that the Ramana Ashram is celebrating the 100 years of AAMM in a special way this year .

Cautionary advice / Re: Depression, despair and hopelessness in sadhana
« on: January 22, 2014, 09:21:26 AM »

General Discussion / Re: Rough Notebook-Open Forum
« on: January 16, 2014, 01:10:16 PM »
From Spiritual Stories


While Bhagavan was perusing the monthly journal Grihalakshmi he began to laugh and handed the journal to Suri Nagamma as she was leaving the hall, saying, “The greatness of garlic is described in it. Please read it.”

The article contained recipes for making chutneys and pickles and in conclusion it stated that there is nothing equal to it in its greatness and its benefit to the body. When Suri Nagamma returned to the hall in the afternoon, Sri Bhagavan inquired if she had read the article and said, “People say it is very good for health. Really it is so. It cures rheumatism and gives strength to the body. For children it acts like amrit (nectar). Garlic is also known as amrit.”

A devotee asked how it got that name. Sri Bhagavan replied, “There is a curious story about it,” and began telling the following story.

AS IS WELL known, when gods (devas) and demons (rakshasas) churned the ocean, amrit came out of it. When the rakshasas were running away with the vessel containing amrit, the devas appealed to Vishnu. Vishnu came on to the scene in the shape of Mohini (enchantress), and offered to resolve their quarrel by serving amrit to them all. They agreed. While serving it to the gods first, it appeared that there might not be enough to go round for the demons. One of the latter got into the line of the gods, unobserved by Mohini, and was swallowing the amrit, when the Sun and Moon noticed it and gave her the hint. She threw the ladle, with which the amrit was being served, at the demon in such a way as to cut off his head. The ladle became the Chakra (an invincible lethal weapon of Vishnu) and cut off his head.

But as the amrit had already gone down his throat, the head became a graha (planet) and has since been taking vengeance on the Sun and Moon at the time of an eclipse.

That is the story. Now, when the head of the demon was severed, the trunk fell down, and in the process, a few drops of amrit fell on the ground. It is said that those drops became the garlic plant. That is why it is said that garlic has some of the properties of amrit. It is very good for the body. But since it also has the touch of the demon, it has tamasic qualities too, which when eaten affect the mind. Hence, it is forbidden for sadhakas.

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