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Messages - Balaji

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After lunch, Bhagavan left for the hall where he normally sat on his sofa and gave darshan. I followed him. I offered my pranamas and asked him to let me know the easiest path. He looked 6 at me and gestured with his hand for me to sit down. In the mean time, many other devotees had arrived and the hall was full. Disappointed that he had not answered my question, I closed my eyes and began doing mental japa. After a while I heard him say to a devotee, This boy wants to know a shortcut! Then he continued, A shortcut to where One of my friends who was next to me nudged my leg and indicated that Bhagavan was talking to me. I opened my eyes and saw that he was smiling at me: he had only been waiting for other devotees to arrive so that they too could benefit form his answer to my question! Of course, I told him that I wanted a shortcut to atma-darshan  the revelation of the Self. He asked me what method I was presently practising. I replied that in my own humble way I was practising japasadhana. Hearing this, Bhagavan responded that japa was not only simple and direct, but the best method for progress in spiritual life. He quoted from the Gita  10.25: Yajnanam japayanosmi (Among the sacrifices, I am the sacrifice of japa).

Further elaborating, he said that of all the ways to offer oneself to paramatman, the easiest and the best method was the repetition of the mantra of one's own chosen deity. Japa promotes a constant flow of loving prayer from within for inner illumination. This wakes up a subtle thirst that steadily increases, leading to a strong current of continuous divine discontent known as vyakula. When this holy attitude developes into deep absorption (dhyana), the divinity reveals itself from within. This is atma-darshan.
When Bhagavan was explaining japa sadhana, an anxious devotee, who was seated a short distance away, loudly interrupted to ask a question about creation and its cause. He said that some scriptures mention that creation was due to the karma of Brahma, while other scriptures state that the creation occurred due to the karma of jivas. He wanted Bhagavan to resolve the difference of opinion.

The Maharshi just gave him a kind look, and continued to explain the subject of japa. The devotees in the packed hall lapped up his sacred words. Bhagavan explained that the aspirant first repeats the mantra out loud with diligence and devotion. Then, as his or her own loving attitude intensifies, the repetition gradually becomes internalized. As the body, senses and the mind get purified and become free from their selfish nature; the whole being gets attuned to the Divine. The power of the mantra enters every aspect of the individual. The aspirant becomes mantramaya (filled with spiritual power of the mantra), in and through all activities. One's life gets transformed into a continuous offering to the Lord, without any attachment to the results of one's actions. The impatient devotee repeated his question about creation.

This time Bhagavan graciously told him that if he would only try to understand the method he has just explained, answers to all his questions would arise within him. As one dives deep within, the mind dissolves into the Self, and all distinctions between bhakta (devotee), Bhagavan (the Lord) and Bhagavata (the sacred text) vanish in divine illumination.  Mountain Path, Oct.-Dec. 2009


Ashrams / Re: Ramana Ashram
« on: January 27, 2015, 03:50:47 PM »

 Yoga Sutra V.

'Manasa svam Chinvata.' Search for one's Self with the mind.


1. The self here is one's self; not the Atman. 'It's beyond search. One's self is a little entity; the search is to know whence that idea of 'I' arises; that is to say, who is this little self? In "Ullada Narpadu" Bhagavan says, "The real Self does not say I; the body cannot say I; in between the two arises this thought 'I, and firmly clings to the body; if you search for its nature which is like a phantom devil, it disappears." When thoughts disappear into their source, even this thought I should disappear. This 'I' thought is the primary thought, and the other thoughts can raise only after its raise.

2. This enquiry is sometimes based on the previous practice of watching the breath. Normally, we are not able to catch up with the speed with which one thought succeeds another. It is as if the photographs on the cinema-screen succeeding each other with such rapidity that we get the impression of one continuous action. Therefore, it is only when we can slow down this mental process, and are able to catch each single thought by itself, that we can enquire about it. In slowing down thoughts, we have used the process of watching the breath. (We can also take the illustration of a slow motion picture here, say, of horse-racing.)

3 When a thought by itself appears, Bhagavan asks us to enquire to whom it arises, obviously with one's searching mind, It is an intellectual enquiry, not as some others hold, a negation of all thought. We hold to the thought and try to follow it up by asking to whom it occurs. Obviously it occurs to the notional 'I', for the real 'I' has no thought. Bhagavan asks us to proceed and see whence that notion arises. It must necessarily be from the consciousness; that is to say, to the Atman, where even the I-thought does not exist. If one repeats this process continuously, without any break, the process must lead to the Atman. It is like a stick burning other sticks and finally being consumed by its own fire.

4. There is another slight modification. Instead of questioning ?to whom does the thought occur?, enquire whence the thought arises. We mean any thought, not the thought of 'I' only, all thoughts must arise from the consciousness, and they are directed towards the world and all our ideas connected with it. When we cut the connection with the world, only the consciousness remains; it is the Atman. In this process there is only one step; whence does this thought arise? In the previous paragraph we have talked of a process, where there are two steps; searching for the source of each thought, and searching for the source of the 'I'-thought.

5. These processes are called by Bhagavan the 'sarala-marga', or the straight and easy path. At any rate, they are easy for those who can turn their minds inward and away from the objects of the world. But if one, as a preliminary step, follows the first path of watching the breath, it becomes quite easy for everyone.

6. The point to note is, we do not negate a thought as does the Sankara-method. Sankara says, "When a thought occurs, dismiss it immediately. Here we do not do so; we retain the thought, and attempt to seek its source. I once asked Bhagavan, how it should be possible to trace the root of a tree all the while without remembering the trunk of the tree; how can we go to the source of the thought without holding on to the thought?" Bhagavan replied, "Practice and see."
Bhagavan compares this method to each enemy soldier coming out of the fort alone, when he can be easily killed; If one thought comes out, one can easily kill it. If all the warriors in the fort rally forth at once, it will be difficult to fight them. Therefore, slow down the speed of the thoughts first; catch each thought, and by seeking its source, destroy it.
In the supplement to "Ullada Narpadu" there is a verse which lends support to the idea that this Self-enquiry is performed without the mind. The matter will be elucidated in the explanation to come, of the next aphorism. In this aphorism it is clearly stated that it is the mind which carries on this Self-enquiry.

General topics / Re: Sangeetha Dhyana
« on: January 27, 2015, 03:39:19 PM »
Ramana Maharishi Song - Engal Ramana - Tamil

By Gudipati Venkatachalam**

Sri Ramana was unpredictable and beyond all understanding. The unexpected with him was inevitable...He seemed to be completely indifferent to whatever was going on in the Ashram and would give an immense amount of care to some apparently insignificant detail. He would be highly critical of the Ashram manager's passion for improvement and expansion and yet take personal interest in the work of the carpenters and masons. He would scold his younger brother [Sarvadhikari of the Ashram] soundly, but would rebuke anybody who came to him with some complaint against him. He did not even want to hear about the money coming to the Ashram, but would read carefully the incoming and outgoing letters. He would refuse his consent to a certain work, but if it were done against his wishes, he would earnestly cooperate.

He would deny all responsibility for starting and developing the Ashram, would refuse to claim it as his property, but signed a will creating a hereditary managership for the Ashram. He would refuse all treatment when asked, but would swallow any medicine that was given to him without asking. He would relish some rustic dish and would turn away from costly delicacies. A serious loss or damage would leave him unconcerned, while he may shout warnings lest a glass pane in a cupboard should break. Greatness, wealth, beauty, power, penance, fame, philanthropy  all these would make no impression on him, but a lame monkey would absorb him for days on end. He would ignore a man for a long time and then suddenly turn to him with a broad smile and start an animated discussion. To a question about life after death he would retort, Who is asking but to another man he would explain in great detail what death was and what the state of mind was after death. It was clear that all he did was rooted in some hidden centre to which none of us had any access. He was entirely self-directed, or rather Self-directed.
Arunachala's Ramana, Vol. IV


Yoga Sutra IV secrets of breath control.

'Satata Pratyavekshanaf.' By constant watch (of the breath). Notes ;

1. There are several methods advocated for breath control. The method the Maharshi teaches is a rare one; if it is merely watched, and no attempt at control is made, the breath, of itself, slows down almost to a vanishing point. This is a practical tip, and is the essence of several types of yoga practice,

2. Normally in 'Hatha yoga' the nostrils are closed and opened with the fingers for definite intervals. Some say that if the time taken for in-breathing is one unit, the retention of the breath should be for four units and breathing but for two units. To practice this is to fight a battle, as it were, with the force of the breath; were this battle to be conducted on wrong lines, dangers or disasters might follow, particularly were it to be lost. Forced effort may end in various kinds of diseases; it may entail madness, and in some cases, if the kundalini or life-force rises uncontrolled, the body gets almost burnt up, and death results; so that this practice is to be done under the personal surveillance of the Master, with great care and circumspection, adopting easy techniques from time to time, and under different restrictions as to diet, time and posture. The Maharshi bids us strictly to avoid this method of Hatha yoga.

3. Do not fight with the natural flow of the breath: only watch it, as if you were a witness to a process. It is called the 'saksni bhava' in philosophical terminology,

4.  The advantages of the Maharshi's method are many. It automatically turns the thoughts away from the ideas and objects of the world, effecting a severance between the world and one's self. The world of affairs will amount to zero for one practicing this method. All the tribulations that naturally follow any contact with the world cease; one becomes an untouchable for them, so that all disturbing factors are brought to an abrupt end. Not for him are the emotional surges and fits of despair found in the bhakti marga. Nor are the anxieties of the karma marga present. The dangers of the yoga marga will never touch him; not even the troubles of the path of raja yoga will face him: one is almost the Divine (the, kootastha, who is said to be the witness of the three states of consciousness, Waking, dream and sleep).

5. The result will be slowing down of the speed with which thoughts arise; they become slower, and at the end, a thought arises and sinks, an interval ensues, and only then another thought arises. That means, since the thoughts arise in consciousness (the ulterior Self), the thoughts sink again into the consciousness, and before another thought ensues, there is only the consciousness, and no thought; in reality one is the consciousness, and then there is no idea of the manifested world, either gross or subtle One is almost in the state of Divinity. It is the 'hrid' state of consciousness. which is thoughtless., One has reached the highest possible goal of individual effort, where the little self is not known; it is almost attainment of the Atman

6. The practice of this method need's no niyamas; differences in time, circumstances, clime, personality, sex, race and religion are all gone. The moment you begin this practice you are away and over the world's dualities. There, no more sastras(scriptural doubts), no more discussions trouble you. Others need not know that you are a sadhaka of this sort. Generally people praise a sadhaka for his consistency, good nature and high spiritual attainment. This praise is the greatest danger to a sadhaka In "Ullada Narpudu" (supplement) Bhagavan has clearly pointed out this danger. In this method, even the vanity of being a sadhka is given up.

7. We said, "almost the, Divine"; the reason for this reservation is, that the Self, even in this, state, is shrouded over by the avarana sakti of Maya(veiling power). None can remove this shroud by his own effort; For when one is in the state of 'hrid', there is no individual left to make any effort for the removal of this shroud. Then what is the way? Nothing but the Divine Grace can help you now. The state of hrid contains in itself the seeds of later manifestations. The force of those seeds must get weakened by efflux of time and experiences of their results in the various worlds, both subtle and gross. When the force of those seeds becomes negligible, the Atman of itself emerges in all Its glory. The state of 'hrid' is a negative experience. The state of the Atman is a positive experience, entirely dependent upon Its own grace. The Kathopanishad Upanishad says "To him whom It chooses, it reveals Itself".

23.   நானென்றித் தேக நவிலா துறக்கத்து
       நானின்றென் றாறு நவில்வதிலை -நானொன்
       றெழுந்தபி னெல்லா மெழுமிந்த நானெங்
       கெழுமென்று நுண்மதியா லெண்ண-நழுவும்

Since it is not sentient, this body does not say 'I'  ( that is it does not itself have any inherent consciousness of its own existence)  No one says," In sleep (where  the body does not exist) I do not exist".  After an 'I'  rises ( from sleep as ' I am the body')  everything ( all the second and third person  objects of the world) rises.  when one scrutinizes with keen mind " Where does this ' I' rise?", it will slip away 'being found to be non-existent).

Note:  In this  verse Sri Bhagavan speaks about three distinct things namely(1) the body, which being insentient,  has no 'I'-consciousness (2) the consciousness 'I' ( the real Self) which exists even in sleep; where the body and all else do not exist, and (3) another 'I' (the individual self) after whose rising all else rises.  Since this rising 'I' is clearly distinct from the body and from the real 'I' which exists in sleep,  Sri Bhagavan instructs us to scrutinize where it rises, for when we scrutinize thus it will be found to be non-existent.  Then in the next two verses He reveals more about the nature of this rising 'I', whose form is the feeling ' I am the body', and explains how it is distinct both from the body and from the real Self, and yet at the same time assumes the properties of both.

When Sri Bhagavan first composed this verse in venba metre.  He concluded it with the word 'en' which is an imperative meaning 'scrutinize' or enquire'.  But when He converted the verse into Kalivenba metre,  He changed the word ' en' into 'enna' which means when one scrutinizes' or ' when one enquires' and added the word ' nazhuvum', which means ' it will slip away'.

24.   சடவுடனா னென்னாது சச்சித் துதியா
       துடலளவா நானொன் றுதிக்கு -மிடையிலிது
       சிச்சடக்கி ரந்திபந்தஞ் சீவனுட்ப மெய்யகந்தை
       யிச்சமு சாரமன மெண்...

24. The insentient body does not say ( or feel) 'I'. Existence consciousness (sat-chit, the real Self) does not rise ( or subside).(But) in  between  (these two) an 'I' rises as the measure of the body that is in between the body and the real Self a limited 'I'-consciousness in the form ' I am this body rises in waking and subsides again in sleep)  Know  that this ( I am  body'-consciousness  is ( what is called by various names such as) the knot between consciousness  and the insentient  (chit-jada-granthi) bondage( bandha) the individual soul ( jiva), subtle body ( sukshma sarira) ego ( ahantai) this mundane state of activity ( samsara) and mind ( manas).

Note :   The rising ' I' is distinct from the body because the body is insentient and has no inherent feeling ' I' .   It is also distinct from the real Self, because the real Self neither rises nor subsides.   However, though it is neither the body nor the real self, it assumes the properties of both.   Like the body it rises and subsides ( or appears and disappears) and is limited by time and space and like the real Self, it shines as ' I' . Therefore this rising 'I' whose form is the feeling ' I am the body' is described as a Knot( granthi) between the real Self, which is consciousness ( chit), and the body; which is insentient ( jada) It is this knot alone which is called by various names such as bondage, the individual soul subtle body, ego, samsara and mind.

Ashrams / Re: Ramana Ashram
« on: January 18, 2015, 02:01:19 PM »
Mattu Pongal was celebrated on January 16th. Suri Nagamma writes in Letter from Sri Ramanasramam What a great day! I am writing to you, because I just could not contain my joy. On Mattu Pongal day, all over the country, domestic animals are decorated and fed with Pongal. In the Asramam also yesterday morning, several varieties of sweetmeats were prepared and, with garlands made of those sweetmeats, puja to Nandi was performed by drawing ornamental lines with lime powder(kolam) before the cowshed, by tying plantain trees around the pillars, by hanging garlands of green leaves, by bathing all the cows, by placing tilakam (vermilion marks) on their foreheads and garlands around their necks, and by feeding them with Pongal. Finally puja was performed to the chanting of mantras and the breaking of coconuts.
Lakshmi is the queen amongst the cows, is she not? You must see her grandeur! Her forehead was smeared with turmeric powder, and adorned with Kumkum. Around her neck and horns were hung garlands made of roses and several other flowers, as also those made of edibles, and sweets. Besides these, garlands made out of bananas, sugarcane pieces and coconut kernels, were put around her neck. When I saw Lakshmi thus decorated like Kamadhenu, I was overjoyed and felt extremely happy.

Bhagavan, who went out at 9-45 a.m., came to the Gosala (cow-shed) at 10 a.m., to shower his blessings on his children there. While he sat on a chair by the side of Lakshmi, enjoying the sight of the beautiful decorations on her, the devotees gave arati with camphor, chanting Vedic hymns such as Na Karmana etc. I was reminded of Lord Krishna in Repalle when I saw the grand spectacle of Bhagavan standing in the midst of the cows in the Gosala. Not only this, in Brahma Vaivartha Purana it is stated that Krishna is the Paramatma, the Lord of the cow world, and that Radha is Prakriti. The theory in that Purana is that Radha and Madhava are Prakriti and Purusha-the inseparable pair. Standing with his body bent slightly to the left, and with his left hand on Lakshmi, and with the walking stick in his right hand, looking as if it was a flute, with a sparkling smile on the face like the foam on the waves of the ocean of ananda, with a compassionate look towards the group of devotees that had gathered along with the herd of cows, Sri Ramana, the embodiment of grace, it is no surprise if one were reminded of Lord Krishna Himself standing with crossed legs, resting on his toes and playing exquisitely on the flute. If that Krishna is Ramana, what are we to say of our Lakshmi who appears to have been completely oblivious of this world with her ears hanging down, with her eyes closed and enjoying transcendental bliss caused by the touch of Bhagavan's hands on her body Shall I say that she is the embodiment of Prakriti in the shape of Radha Otherwise, how could she understand human language? You would perhaps laugh at my foolish fantasies but take it from me, that sight was so lovely.

Tiruvoodal Utsavam

According to a story in Skanda Purana, once, even Parvati and Parameswara succumbed to the quarrel-mongering of Narada. ?Lakshmi and Vishnu play dice, so why not you? said Narada, and egged them on to play. Parvati was enthusiastic over the idea and persuaded Siva to play dice with her. In the game, Siva lost and Parvati was puffed up with pride and spoke slightingly of him. That is the legend.
After reading it, Bhagavan, his heart full of bhakti, asked me, Have you read this story When I said, Yes, Bhagavan, he said with a voice choked with feeling, The holy festival which is annually performed here on Sankranti day, deals mainly with this quarrel between Uma and Maheswara.

You know, every year, the divine marriage festival is celebrated here and during those days, if anybody were to speak about the festival in Sri Bhagavan's presence, Bhagavan would usually remark with great feeling, This is the marriage festival of Father and Mother.
It is believed that those who participate in Tiruvoodal Utsvam will no longer have any quarrels in their married life.

Arunachala / Re: Photos of Bhagavan and Arunchala Temples
« on: January 16, 2015, 07:02:06 PM »
Sri Ramana Bhagavan

This reminds me of another coffee incident. One of the devotees nursed a grudge against the ashram management. He asserted loudly that distinctions were made between guests. He claimed he was not being given the same hospitality that others were. He brought his complaint to Bhagavan along with his cup of afternoon coffee. Just then a mug was served to Bhagavan.

The devotee exclaimed, You see, even Bhagavan is given special coffee! Look at mine, how thin it is!

Bhagavan said nothing, but took the man 's cup and exchanged it for his own mug. The disgruntled devotee tasted it. It was a bitter decoction of jungle herbs! Only Bhagavan had the courage to drink it. Nobody else could stand it. The poor man was in a quandary, for he had asked for it himself and got it from Bhagavan's own hands. To him, as a Hindu, it was prasad, a sacred offering. Never in his life did prasad taste so bitter!

- Krishna Bhikhshu

Arunachala / Re: Photos of Bhagavan and Arunchala Temples
« on: January 14, 2015, 07:48:44 PM »
Sri Ramana Bhagavan

Arunachala / Re: Photos of Bhagavan and Arunchala Temples
« on: January 14, 2015, 07:44:49 PM »
Arunachala Hill

Ashrams / Re: Ramana Ashram
« on: January 14, 2015, 07:36:58 PM »
 Ashram wishes you a very happy Pongal.

The sun, symbolizing wisdom, divine knowledge and spiritual light, which receded from you when you reveled in the darkness of ignorance, delusion and sensuality, now joyously turns on its northward course and moves towards you to shed its light and warmth in greater abundance, and to infuse into you more life and energy. Ashram wishes you a very happy Pongal, Makar Sankranti or Lohri. May you soar high in spiritual life and your life be full of vigor like the colorful kites that dot the sky.

Dazzling Sun that swallows up all the universe in your rays, open the lotus of my heart, I pray, O Arunachala!
In sunlight the lotus blossoms, how then could Thou, the Sun of suns hover before me like a flower bee saying Thou art not yet in blossom, O Arunachala

O Love in the shape of Arunachala! Now that by your Grace you have claimed me, what will become of me unless you reveal yourself to me, and I, seeking wistfully for you and harassed by the darkness of the world, am lost How can the lotus blossom without the sight of the sun Thou art the Sun of suns; you cause Grace to well up in abundance and pour forth as a stream!
Ocean of Nectar, Full of Grace, engulfing the universe in Thy Splendour! O Arunachala, the Supreme Itself! be Thou the Sun and open the lotus of my heart in Bliss!

Temples in Tamil Nadu including Sri Ramana Ashram perform special winter worship in the morning hours (pre-dawn 4/4:30 AM) in the month of Margazhi (December 16  January 14). Winter prayers concluded today (January 14) with the onset of Uttarayana or the northward movement of the sun after a period of darkness and cold. The day is celebrated variously as Pongal, Lohri or Makar Sankranti.

Ashrams / Re: Ramana Ashram
« on: January 12, 2015, 06:56:44 PM »
Sivapraksam Pillai's(1875 - 1948) Memorial Day was observed at the ashram on January 12th . He not only elicited the highly original teaching of Bhagavan contained in 'Who am I' but also wrote songs which are inspiring and give hope to men subject to weaknesses of desire. It is noteworthy that Bhagavan commented on his demise Sivaprakasm has merged into the light of Siva.
It was not Bhagavan's way to say, "Surrender and I will look after you." However, the following incident is significant in that regard. About a year before Bhagavan left the body I said to him one afternoon " I am going to sing Bhagavan three stanzas from a poem by Sivaprakasam Pillai because they express what I want to say better than I could." I then sang them. Their meaning is : " I have not followed your teaching or instructions ; but is it proper for a Guru to get disgusted with his devotee as an incorrigible beast and to give him up . If you let me go my own way like this, what is to happen to me ? I shall not reform and you will not correct or change me. Have I any other help in this or the other world except you, my Lord ? What, then, is your idea ? Is this right behavior for you ? " Bhagavan did not immediately reply, which caused me some disappointment. After a minute or two he said: " Whether I do anything or not, your business is only to surrender and keep still." we pay homage to his memory by sharing the book Who am I in many languages.

Arunachala / Re: Photos of Bhagavan and Arunchala Temples
« on: January 11, 2015, 12:06:21 AM »
Sri Ramana Bhagavan with Swami Ramanananda Saraswati

Ashrams / Re: Ramana Ashram
« on: January 11, 2015, 12:00:31 AM »
Aradhana of Swami Ramanananda Saraswati (May 26, 1914-December 26, 2007) was held on Thursday January 8th. He was born in answer to a prayer by Sri Azhagammal to Bhagavan for a child. His mother passed away when he was young while his father Sri Niranjananda Swamigal took Sannyas. Thus orphaned while very young the child was raised by his aunt Smt. Alamelu and her husband Pitchu Iyer. During childhood he was fortunate to occasionally receive baby-sitting care from Ramana Maharshi.

In Skandasaramam fruits, sweets, etc., gifted by visitors would be distributed to all equally. Nondi, the monkey, was also a beneficiary of this and his portion used to be set aside in a plate if he was not around. Once as baby Venkataraman ate from Nondi's plate the monkey suddenly arrived through the window and gave a blow on his face. While the child's reaction was predictable, Sri Bhagavan defended the monkey's action saying you deserve it. Why did you want his share? Be satisfied with your share.Unlike ordinary parents who would appease the beloved child by shooing away the monkey, Bhagavan gave him valuable instructions. The boy became silent and listened to Bhagavan. Swamiji once summarized the teachings he got from Bhagavan as Do not touch the property of others. Be content with what you have. Share equally what you have. Divide it with one and all around you. Help the needy. Be not blind when a wrong is committed before you. Correct it if possible, or at least speak out for the right.

The child grew up to be the second Sarvadhikari of the ashram. By his effort the ashram is flourishing today having grown into an internationally famed spiritual institution.

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