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Messages - Nagaraj

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3016
General topics / Re: Discussion on the Quotes of Shankaracharya's
« on: October 04, 2012, 04:21:35 PM »
Sri Ravi, Thank you, for your kind words, they are blessing indeed, i receive your appreciation with great precaution (not to be deluded :) ), and express my gratitude to the Lord who is the Real Doer. When he is in the pillion, there is nothing to fear about. And i am confident, that through somebody, God will keep my conscience alive, when ever i getting engulfed in maya. I pray He reprimand me then and there and set me right and not drag me on in delusion.

You are very right and the same voice echoes within me as well. Infact, many, and i would say even myself in past, was under delusion, as well! Infact, we all only fall under those Neo-Advaitic School, here. Even though we profess to be sincere devotees of Bhagavan and practicing Self Enquiry. One cannot escape from building a foundation, roots. We ought to remember that Sri Bhagavan was born with loads and loads of Sadhana in his past life.

Infact, i feel, even with ego, one should go ahead and do Dharma, i feel it is still great deed, even if somebody does great deeds with huge ego, what matters, if at the cost of somebody's ego, some poor souls stomach or some needs are fulfilled, there can be no better Deed the egoistic person can aspire to do. some great soul, to whom, the help is offered may bring about a providential change may occur, and the egoistic person may become, a Tiruvalluvar or a Purandara Dasa. Who knows? Like a balloon, such a person who is doing great Dharmic activities, may expand, expand and expand and burst forth suddenly, some time into nothing!

I remembered this story, posted in past, with regard to the discussion in this thread, as told by Sri Ramakrishnar:

one thief goes to village with all bad intentions and when he tries to run away with gold, and, realises the futility of his running, he got an intelligent solution, he had long hair, he matted and tied them like a Sadhu, and he buried the jewelry and kept a towel upon it and sat below a tree as a sadhu, closing his eyes as though in deep meditation, with full of fear from within. Soon the chasing villagers came near him, obviously could not recognise him, asked him if he saw a thief running, to which he calmly responded saying, he was in deep meditation and could not take note of anything around him.

Slowly, the innocent villagers began to show immense respect towards this imposter and began to give him all food, fruits and jewelry out of sheer love towards a 'Guru' the imposter, now was full of joy as he contemplated that he was now earning much more than ever before and what a bonus, he felt, he was also getting all sorts of exotic food as well.

Many days passed like this, one fine day, the thief wondered, and felt very deeply, how much love the innocent villagers have been showing on to him, even though he was just an imposter, and thought, how much more love he could expect, if he were really a sadhu? discerning thus, the thief, became truly a great Sadhu.


3017
i'd like to express my pie,

Forgetfulness of Self is Mind, and its awareness is Self.

From its Forgetfulness, springs avidya (nescience), Adharma (Unrightiousness), Bandha (Bonding), Sukha & Dukha (Pains Pleasures), and Dvandvaas (dualities), ego, averice, jealousy and so on

From its Awareness springs, Vidya (knowledge), Dharma (Rightiousness), Mukta (Freeedom), Ananda (Bliss), and so on.


3018
General topics / Re: Discussion on the Quotes of Shankaracharya's
« on: October 04, 2012, 01:45:20 PM »
Dear Sri Atmavichar100,

You have done well to bring in to picture this subject, to discuss the doubts that are existing, about Dharma. yes it is important to discuss this in detailed. To begin with, i'd like to share my thoughts:

The questions about efficacy of Dharma only springs from ignorance, out of unknown belief from deep within, that, we are evolved now, and we have come to know, the Dharma Sukshma, the Subtlities of Dharmas and its true purport, so, these things do not anymore form a part of duties of somebody who is advanced in his Sadhana.

We are all no Sage like Ramana Maharshi, we should remember who we are first and foremost, i believe, our small minuscule insights of truths do not make us some Sage, no matter how wise we may be. I believe, we should be aware where we are. Our wisdom will last only one day, without food and water.

The Sage who said, doing Dharma with ego is no use, never said, not to do any Dharma and that its no use doing any Dharma.

Infact, it was Ramana Maharshi himself, who said, feed the people who come to Ashram, and when some skeptic questioned him the need, when already they were in ration, instead, they could contribute to building Hospitals and so on, the Sage said, if we feed one holy person, who may come in some form, all these big hospitals may come by themselves, automatically.

To say, doing Dharma with ego is no use, and therefore keeping away completely from doing any Dharma is as good as deciding, that I do not want to remove my ego, i am sure, if i do Dharma, i will be doing with ego.

There is a saying in Sanskrit, which was commonly used in houses, in those days, Dravyamoolani Paapaani, which means, All sins get expended and gained through money.

Sri Satya Sai Baba once said, Blooddum (blood) Duddum(money) should always be in circulation, meaning, the money and Blood should always be in circulation. otherwise, it will result in heart attack and soul attack. it will result in stagnation.

We talk so much in skepticism about Dharma. But we ourselves are are so keen in making a good living, many of us have been and still are in Foreign countries earning sufficient money, earning in dollors euros and pounds increasing bank balances. Investing in stocks, mutual funds, properties, and so on. It may be for various reasons, compulsions and so on. But it is not wisdom to bring to this platform today that are having to discuss about Dharma, it is unfortunate actually, it reflects the state of our Society. these are my thoughts.


3019
General Discussion / Re: Water - Arghya - Significance
« on: October 04, 2012, 11:52:41 AM »
Sri Tushnim, very happy to hear the earnestness from you in learning the procedure for Sandhyavandanam. Sure, will be most glad to share with you what i know. We will look in to slowly step by step.

Sri Ravi, yes, so very true, one has to experience the bhAva that this kriya instills one the performer, i feel rejuvenated, each time when it is performed, especially, the world around us in filled with so much negativity, and negative thoughts, and negative vibrations, ego, avarice, frustration, and so on. When this is performed with bhAva, there is a shield that is formed around the performer with good vibes.


3020
General Discussion / Water - Arghya - Significance
« on: October 04, 2012, 11:04:14 AM »
Indians specially have got all rituals mainly to do with Water and Fire. No rituals are possible without water, primarily. I happened to find a beautiful article with a video illustrating the effects with scientific tests, on how the elements respond to our thoughts and feelings.

I reproduce the following article from http://sanatanavenkat.blogspot.in/2010/06/significance-of-arghyam-in.html



This is my next post in the series 'SandhyAvandanam'. I believe most of my posts on this series have been well received. Over the past year, I gave a few lectures in the functions convened by 'Tamilnadu Brahmin Association' (Thambhraas) on these topics and was happy to see a sea change in the approach of Brahmins towards Sandhyavandanam. The message that Sandhya routine is a rejuvenator, spiritual builder, a personality enhancer and a health invigorator seems to have gone well with my brAhmaNa brothers.

In my first coverage I did not write about Arghyam, a very important kriya in Sandhya Vandanam. Arghyam literally means 'offering'. Like Achamanam, mArjanam, and prAsanam, this is also a water based one. Water is taken in the right palm of the sAdhaka and (slightly) thrown skyward after chanting the gAyatri mantra.This offering is thrice per session. Smartha sandhyAvandanam has one extra arghyam for any errors in the offering time- the kAlAtheetha prAyaschitta arghya pradhAnam.

I have known through many readings that the sandhyAvandanam , though done by the brAhmaNa, is in fact for the welfare of the humanity at large. This kriya, Arghyam, is no different. The sAdhaka's chanting of the gAyatri while holding the water in the palm is a selfless kriya and aimed at the world. The agent to which it is given is Surya (sun).

I will try to give the traditional, philosophical as well as scientific background for Arghyam.

Traditional Understanding

Garuda purANa states that a kind of asuras called mandeha , who originally reside in an island called aruNa are trying to destroy Surya in the day at daybreak and sunset. The arghyam given at these times serves as a weapon to destroy them.Look at the following slokas (1-213-62)

"A Brahmachirin shall bathe only once a day. Having performed the rite of Achamanam, and invoked the sacred pools therein, one shall take a bath in the river. Thirty million is the number of the malignant spirits, called Mandehas, who manifest a desire of devouring the sun at day break. He, who does not attend to his Sandhya rite at the meetings of the day and night, verily kills the sun, inasmuch
as the libations of consecrated water (offered unto the sun-god in the course of a SandhyA) tend to consume these monsters (Mandehas) like streams of liquid fire."

Philosophical Significance

The philosophical significance is in the symbolism. The Mandehas are nothing but the man- dehas or mind - body which are clouding the sun of resplendent atman in us. The gayatri purifies us by this offering so that the inner light can be perceived by us. Also, the sAdhaks , after the arghyam, say, 'asAvAdityo brahma, brahmaiva ahamasmi" (the sun is verily the brahman. Brahman is myself). In the adhyAtmic sense, arghyam is a reminder of the brahman in us and its honouring by the offer of mantra and water.

Scientific Significance

The scientific meaning is even more interesting. Only recently I chanced upon the work of Mr Masaru Emoto of Japan who did some critical experiments with water.He took a glass of water and spoke 'thank you' to it. He then freezed the water. When he magnified the crystallized water, he was amazed to see symmetric patterns.Curious, he then cursed a glass of water with , " I hate you" and crystallized it.This time the magnified image of crystals were ugly and random. He then used Tibetan Sutras and the resulting image was of a beautiful pattern.

To watch a video, please follow this link: http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=tAvzsjcBtx8&feature=player_embedded

Some Sample pictures:

You Make Me sick

Tibetian Sutra

Thank you

Before Prayer

After Prayer



It was here that I wondered at the wisdom of our Maharishis. All of our Sandhyavandanam is water based. We either partake or offer water while uttering sacred mantrams. Imagine the effect of these mantrams on the water ! During Arghyam, we chant the greatest of all mantrams- the Gayatri. Though Mr Emoto did not experiment with Gayatri mantra, we can guess what will happen. The thought waves generated by the Arghya Danam will  penetrate all the three worlds.
 
The same explanation will hold for our Achamanam , prokshanam, kalasa pooja, temple teertham etc.
 
I also would like to add a speculation here. Like water, all the pancha Bhootas must have memory. In our yagyas, Agni is called 'havya vahana' since it carries the havis to the devas.Soon, our scientists will declare that air, earth and space has memory !
 
I have heard that Rishis chant Gayatri ceaselessly. They do so for protecting the mankind and for preserving the Surya (sun) from extinguishing ! In Dhanur Vidya (Archery and missile warfare), only  the variants of Gayatri mantra were used for launching the sastras - right upto the most potent Brahmastra !
 
This is another great aspect of our Sandhya Vandanam. Arghyam is not a meaningless exercise  but a profoundly meaningful, spiritual Kriya that is also physically purifying. Arghyam later was adapted into daily upasana in Temples and homes. It is one of the 'sodasa' upachara (sixteen honours) to Paramatman.


3021
General topics / Significance of Dharma
« on: October 04, 2012, 10:42:57 AM »
Dharmo Rakshathi Rakshithaha

"If we protect Dharma, Dharma will protect us"

Protection of Dharma does not mean mere adoration of Dharma. It is the effort of putting the principles of Dharma into practice. Every one of us desires supreme happiness not only in this birth but also in subsequent births or Janmas. No one will wish to have sufferings or sorrow in any birth.

"Dharma grants happiness and peace. Adharma makes life miserable with agony and sorrow," says our Sastra.

What is the true meaning or significance of Dharma?

Dharma means: Helping the poor and the needy. Dharma means: Worshipping and obeying God. Dharma means: To be in the company of persons endowed with purity and virtues. Dharma means: Listening and understanding matters that reflect divine values and virtues. Dharma teaches us to avoid avarice and to eschew the desire to possess others' wealth. Dharma is Ahimsa. It is merciful nature not to harm anyone through word, deed or mind at any time. Humanity should imbibe and always remember this virtue: Just like me, others too feel joy and sorrow. If someone abuses or hurts me, it pains. It is in the same way the other person will also suffer, if I abuse him. Therefore what I do not wish to happen to me, should not happen to others also.

These values and virtues are universal.

"Athmanah prathikoolani pareshaam na samaachareth"


are the words of guidance from Sastras on these virtues.

"Don't do to others what is harmful to you" is the meaning of the above verse.

Violence is a great sin. Non-violence is the path of Dharma. If we wish to live in peace, happiness and harmony, we should live with love and faith.

Peace will not be there, where lust and anger dwells. Only when we drop our lust and anger, we would be able to live with true happiness and in peace.

We are all entering into a New Century and into a Millennium. The priority of our life should be to practice Dharma.

For ages, our sacred country India, has been in the task of teaching and preaching the message of peace or shanti to the world.

We should continue the task, with more commitment in the New Century spreading the message of Love, Peace and Harmony throughout the world.

We require God's grace in all our thoughts and deeds. Therefore we must pray to God with devotion, whenever we start any new activity.

Our Ego and selfishness should be totally dropped, as Ego is the root cause of our evil deeds. Hence everyone should function totally devoid of Ego or "Ahankara".

All the wisdom, capabilities and power that we possess are mercifully granted to us by God. Let us take an Oath "to use all our wisdom, capabilities and power in the service of God and in the service of humanity"

I bless one and all to follow Dharma and to prosper in life and to live with peace, progress, prosperity and happiness.

(Bharati Theertha Swamigal)


3022
General Discussion / Silence in daily life
« on: October 04, 2012, 10:29:31 AM »
Once, three persons were proceeding to heaven in a celestial vehicle which had come to collect them. On their way, they chanced to behold a snake that was just about to swallow its prey, a frog. One of the three commented, "O serpent! Do you not have any compassion for the frog? For heaven's sake, spare its life." The irritated snake cursed, "How dare you deny me my food? May you go to hell." Sad to say, the man went to hell.

The second man, who was bewildered on seeing this, supported the snake's stance and aid, "The frog is but your natural food. You can surely eat it." Now, the frog became wild and retorded, "How dare you suggest that I be eaten! You have no kindness. May you suffer the tortures of hell." The man fell from the celestial vehicle. The third man, who remained silent, reached heaven.


3023
Why does this feeling between brows arise when I do not focus concentration to it ?

I am not doing third eye meditation, I am in no way focusing on third eye or any eye. The only thing focus on is "I" and from where does it rise.

I just want to know why I feel the things I do and understand so I can further my practices, in no way do i speak of knowing more then anybody else. By asking these questions it is obvious I am seeking help from people with higher knowledge then that of my own. Please reply in good faith.

Dear Sri ivac_d,

If you observe, there is a break in your meditation, your concentration is hindered, as per the line of teachings of Sri Bhagavan, just ignore any experience you may encounter and just proceed, with who is it that is experiencing these sensations. Normally, it is common for every Sadhaka to get some experiences as Chitta Ekagratha - concentration occurs, but, Sri Bhagavan advises not to worry about these experiences and break your head as to what it could be, and why is it occuring and so on, and stick only to the source, that is the self. What is important, is it important to analyse about the sensation and your experiences or the goal? definitely it is the goal, that is the self.

Now that you are able to say that you are feeling some sensation between your eye brows, this is only happening because you have come out of your meditation. That sensation is only trying to pull you from your meditation. Bhagavan says in Sat Darshanam, Satyaya Pratyaya, Naham Udeti Tatra. Truth is that whence there is non emergence of I. Now, you are only able to say these things only because there is emergence of I. Therefore, Stick with the Experiencer and not worry about the experiecne. The Seer alone is important, the seen no matter how great it may be is not to be given much importance.

To one such question, a devotee had asked to Bhagavan, He responded, if it is troubling you in any way, in that case, bring focus of your attention to the heart, and continue your meditation. then it will subside.

When you dig deep into the earth, you are going to unearth some jewels, such as diamonds rubies and so on, if you give in to it, you are stuck half way in your journey.


3024
General topics / Re: Vishnu Sahasranamam and Self Enquiry
« on: October 03, 2012, 08:44:41 PM »
Subramanian Sir,

Thank you for sharing such a beautiful incident. Yes, For the Shloka to really take effect, Vaak Shuddhi is very much necessary, that it is chanted error free and according to its Chandas and in uniformity.

Another incident that i remember which i have heard is that, the Nanganallur Aanjaneyar temple, the Big Hanuman statue, while it was being made, a small crack was noticed somewhere around the hip area? am not sure and the temple committee members were very worried and also in a state of shock as the happening seemed as something not good, then went to Maha Periyaval and informed him of the crack. Periyaval, remained for sometime and then instructed them to keep the statue immersed in water for 21 days and perform  Vedaadhyanam for 21 days in prescribed manner and at the end of the 21 day, the crack had disappeared.

There is no greater shloka than Vishnu Sahasranama. Infact, Adi Shankaracharya wanted to first write Bhashyam for Lalita Sahasranamam and asked his disciple to bring the manuscript, and repeatedly somehow this disciple only got Vishnu Sahasranamam again and again, inspite of being instructed repeatedly, he took it as Lord's will that he write Bhashyam for Vishnu Sahasranamam and not Lalita Sahasranama.

It is said, Lalita Sahasranama Bhashya was reserved for Bhaskararaya who was one of the greatest exponent of Shakta sampradaya.


3025
General topics / Re: Vishnu Sahasranamam and Self Enquiry
« on: October 03, 2012, 06:09:24 PM »
Sri Nagaraj,
       Please continue this post! Its so very useful. Vishnu Sahasranamam is a simple yet profound chant. I am sure many would want to learn it.

Sri Tushmin,

When i began this topic, yes i was very excited, and wanted to systematically study the names of Sri Vishnu, but eventually, i realised, it is actually a very big responsibility and requires a lot of preparation and study and not going to be easy. hence, i stopped, hopefully, if not systematically, god willing lets study some verses occasionally.


3026
General Discussion / Guru Tatvam
« on: October 03, 2012, 03:36:40 PM »
The Guru at work

Every time we forget, the guru reminds us and repeatedly establishes us steadily in our true nature. We go to him with our problems and sorrows, and he reminds us that the cause of our misery is ajnanam (spiritual ignorance). There is no sorrow in our true swarupa. A lady went to Ramana Bhagavan, narrated all her sorrows and lamented that she had no peace of mind at all. Generally Maharshi would not answer immediately. He would be silent for a long time, till the person forgot even his own question. Maharshi would wait for the devotee to finish talking, and give enough time to let the thoughts in his mind settle down, so that the answer could sink in effectively. It was not enough to answer in a statement; he had to give them the beatific state itself! Sometimes silence would be the only answer. Sometimes the answer would come the next day, when the questioner was least prepared, had let go of his or her question. Bhagavan never answered the question, he always answered the questioner. He said to the lady, "Who is this 'I' that is suffering? Were these problems and sorrows there in your sleep?". “No," she said, “but the mind was not there in my sleep," she added. "Were you there in your sleep?" asked Maharshi. "Yes," she said. Sri Bhagavan continued: "All the problems are in the mind and not in you. Everything ends when the mind becomes quiet. They rise when the mind rises. Why don't you observe the place where the mind rises? You will find that mind is only an illusion. Self alone IS, remain as That." She sat for some more time and then left.

No one knew whether she understood Maharshi's words. But Maharshi knew that this is the only solution. The famous Kavyakanta Muni, who was greatly devoted to Maharshi, remarked: "You gave the highest upadesa to this peasant woman. If she had asked me, I would have told her to do some mantra japa or nama japa. How can she understand Brahmavidya?" Maharshi replied simply: "This is all I know. I tell what I know. Each person can teach only what he knows." After another half an hour he said, "Two persons were in a room. One of them was sleeping and dreaming that he was being robbed and he screamed in terror. Will the other man who was wide awake chase the robber? He will simply wake up the sleeper. In the same way, the jiva dreams that he has many problems. The basic element of dream is the jivahood itself, that itself being made of dream stuff. One dream cannot be an antidote to another dream. The only solution is to wake up and the problem is not only solved but it gets dissolved.

Mental Preparation of the Seeker

One can wake up only if one has the desire and the determination to wake up. When you go to sleep at night, deciding to get up at 4 o’clock you are mentally prepared to get up, but just in case you don't wake up, you tell someone else to wake you up. And when that person wakes you up in the morning, you get up immediately. However, someone who has not made that decision to get up, for example, a child during the school holidays, will refuse to get up even when someone wakes him up. There are instances of many who lived with the greatest of masters and remained crude. They were not ready to be awakened. They were enjoying their dreams.

There was an ascetic devotee of Sri Ramana Bhagavan who did a lot of penance. Once he lived in a cave in the Arunachala hill doing tremendous austerity (chaandraayana vrata) reducing his food intake gradually till it was barely a mouthful a day. After finishing the vrata he came to the Maharshi and expressed "Bhagavan, I have found that one could keep the body alive with only a mouthful a day". Bhagavan smiled and remarked "You can be alive even without the body. Bodilessness is your real nature. The self is asariram." The disciple stood struck by the power of those words.

Atma Vichara

The only sadhana for a true seeker is to revert back to his real nature every moment 'Pratibodha viditam matam' says Kena Upanishad .Moment by moment enquire into the nature of the 'I'. Ask yourself what is this 'I'. Pay attention. Hold on to this 'I','I'. When thoughts parade do not fall into them. Seek 'To whom these come?’ The answer will be 'to me'. Instantaneously stare at this 'me’, ‘me'. Who is this me? Whence this 'I' arise? If we seek, the 'I' will disappear. The assumed 'I' will not stand the light of enquiry. In its place the real 'I', the primordial truth will reveal itself as existence, awareness and peace. If one has reached this much one no more needs an external guru. Till that the guru and his teachings are the only antidote for the venomous effects of worldly contacts.

Brahmavidya according to Sankara is vastu tantra (the knowledge completely depends upon the object of knowledge) and Brahman is bhuta vastu (ever attained). Jnana alone is the means to attain it.It cannot be attained through any amount of effort (karma). When we hear this, Brahmajnana seems to be an impossible goal. But Sankara himself gives us the greatest relief in his bhashya.

'Baahyaakaara nivrutta budheenaam tu labdha gurvaatma prasaadaanaam
naatah param sukham suprasidham suvijneyam swaasannataram asti'.


'Nothing is more simple, ever attained, easily knowable and nearer than this for those who are introverted and who have got the grace of the guru and the Atman'.

Hence the Sruti says 'Gurumeva abhigachet srothriyam brahmanishtam'. Srothriyam means one who knows the Upanishadic truth. Brahmanishtam means one who is established in it. Hence a mere professor of Vedanta is not qualified. He must not only know but also BE. That is he should have the intuitive recognition of the undifferentiated consciousness and should be able to remain 'as it' all the time. Just as the Self remains without the body, the mind and the personal ego in the deep sleep so too it is, here and now. The appearance of body, mind and the ego do not affect the self in the least. 'Asangohi ayam purushaha'. The Self is not at all attached to anything. The appearance of body, mind, etc. are only like mirage in the desert. If you go and touch the water in a mirage you grab only the sand. So too if you investigate the body, mind or the ego minutely you will see them
dissolving in the Self. This is Sruti jnanam. This conviction must be there in a guru. Then only he will be able to save the disciple from avidya. The guru must be able to dehypnotise the seeker from Maya's hypnosis. You are qualified to seek such a Master only at the stage where you have completely lost the habit of fruit oriented effort, only when you are disillusioned with karma and objective knowledge-“Nirvedam aayaa'. Why? Because the process of Brahmavidya is entirely different from worldly education and the Vedic education. Here verbal knowledge (vaachyaartha) is only a pointer to recognise the ever attained
experience (lakshyaartha). So this sastra is known as 'siddhabodhaka'. In worldly knowledge and Vedic knowledge the seeker is searching a thing other than himself. Here the seeker himself is the 'thing in itself'. Here the knower, knowledge and the known are one. It is his own self, the Aham padaartha (the implied meaning of 'I am'). "You are not what you think yourself to be. Your personality is only assumed. Ignore all that you are not. Attend to the essence of your 'I'-sense. You will see the 'I' dissolving in the blue waters of infinity, existence, awareness, peace and bliss. You are that - Tat tvam asi”. This is the eternal song of Vedanta.

From this recognition of the Self the seeker will have the joy of complete security, intimation of immortality, experience of changeless awareness and above all a deep experience of quietude hitherto unknown. This inner quietude arises not from the mind but directly from the natural state (sahaja sthiti). This jnana samadhi unlike the yogic trance abides for ever. Let us finish this topic by quoting the famous Kabir's song

'Guru kripa anjana paayo mere bhaayi'

Dear brother seek the colliriyum of guru's grace. With that you will behold the ever attained freedom of the Self.


3027
General Discussion / Guru Tatvam
« on: October 03, 2012, 03:32:19 PM »


Guru Tatvam

Who is a Guru?

The literal meaning of the Sanskrit word 'Guru' is that which is heavy or that which is of profound impact. Etymologically Guru means remover of darkness. Infact gurutatva belongs to the profoundest of the five divine functions (pancakrityas) vis.Srishti (creation), Stithi (sustenance), Samhara (destruction or devolution), Tirodhana (veiling) and Anugraha (grace). Gurutatva belongs to the anugraha mandala. What does anugraha mean? It is the power which makes a mature soul to come in contact with an illumined master. Its operation is infallible and it confers the greatest blessing on the jiva by kindling the inherent jnana (self knowledge). Thus through bestowal of Brahmavidya it releases the jiva from the hypnosis of maya. In most of the cases this power of grace manifests through the personality of an external teacher. This contact is similar to the phenomenon of lighting a lamp. As we light a lamp only from an already burning one, so too the disciple gets illumined from the enlightened master. Usually the guru is compared with the legendary Chintamani which can convert any metal into gold. But Adi Sankara says in his Satasloki that Chintamani is an inferior simile. Chintamani can only convert the metal into gold. It cannot convert the metal into Chintamani itself. But guru does that alchemy. He transfigures the disciple into his own likeness through Atmajnana. The experience of the self deals a death blow to the disciple's ignorance and makes him transcend all dualistic perceptions; even the guru ceases to be an external phenomenon. "The infinite self alone shines forth, neither the guru nor the sishya, neither the teaching nor the scripture, neither you nor me, neither this world. Only that ever auspicious self remains! The one without a second! That alone am I!" (Dasasloki), roared Sankara that too right in front of Govinda Bhagavatpada.

Guru and Maya

Anything that takes the mind outward-away from the centre-is maya and the power which makes the mind 'turn back' and seek the source is guru. Any person, place or thing that effects this inward flow was considered by our Rishis as sacred. The extroverted mind gets caught in the grip of avidya and loses its touch with reality. It gets constantly deluded by the dualistic experiences. The matterpower-jadasakti-completely possesses the mind and makes it unfit for Atmajnana. To get released from this illusory grip one needs tremendous inpulling energy or rather 'source energy' which is called Sankarshana sakti. Guru is Sankarshana Murti-the embodiment of source energy. In the field of matter there are two powers viz. Akarshana and Vikarshana (attraction and repulsion). Sankarshana is the power which makes the mind transcend this dualistic plane of
attraction and repulsion. Duality belongs to mind while Sankarshana is the direct descendence of the inpulling power of the Atman. This force effects the inflow of the mind. Externally it takes the form of the guru and pushes the mind inward (guru kripa) and from within the same force arises from the heart which pulls and absorbs the inturned mind into the self (Atma kripa). So guru rescues the mind from the mire of ignorance and makes it inturned and receptive to the irresistible fascination of the Self. At this stage the quietude of the Self wafts around the seeker and inundates him with deep meditative poise.

The Attraction of the Guru

Only a genuine seeker will know what it is to get attracted to an enlightened master. When we get attracted to a real sage we will recognize a new center unveiling within us which is neither the mind nor the intellect. We will recognize something which is deeper, subtler and profounder than the mind opening within us like a bud. This center will awaken only in the presence of an illumined soul. Hence the contact is unmistakable. This is the spiritual heart (hrudayam), the treasure house of divine experience. The mind will get replenished from this center. The mind will be hushed to a natural quietude and that silence is the
greatest healing tonic. It heals all the hurts caused by self image. Hence Yoga Vasishta calls this silence born of sadhu sanga as the inner tonic -

rasayanamayi santih paramanandadayini
naanandayati kamnama sadhusangama chandrika


Here the presence of a sage is compared to the comely moonlight. Through such repeated dips in the inner stillness the seeker will awaken to the fact that the treasure sought by him is within. Not only that, he will know that no amount of personal effort could have given him even a slightest glimpse of this inner silence. Here the seeker recognizes the greatest phenomenon in spiritual life i.e. GRACE. In SivaAdvaita they give greatest importance to this insight. They call it Kripa Sakshatkara. From here starts a constant undercurrent of manana and nididhyasana. The seeker again and again recollects and ruminates over the inner revelation that he got through master's grace and gets established in it.

In Swami Chinmayanandaji's life something like this happened when he visited Ramana Maharshi as a young wanderer. In Ramana's presence Swamiji experienced this overpowering grace. It made him enter into a state which he was not able to recognize then as his real nature. Later when he was prepared mentally and intellectually in the guidance of Tapovan Maharaj he recognized and cherished the glimpse that he got in Ramana's presence. (Refer to 'The Journey Of A Master' by Nancy Patchen-pg.27&28)

It is this power of grace that fascinates the seeker. This was the maddening and intoxicating attraction the gopis had for Krishna. This attraction was not physical because it led them to recognize Krishna as the inner self - akhila dehinaam
antharaatmadrik. Even the emotions between them were transmuted as vehicles to carry grace. The writer had the rare good fortune of living with some great saints where he recognized that any emotion of a saint could become a vehicle to carry grace. Even scolding had the effect of erasing self image and infusing grace.

Guru is God

M.P.Pundit wrote about Ramana Maharshi as 'mighty impersonality'. So too is every jnani. Ramana himself used to remark that "Jnanam alone is, there are no Jnanis". When a person recognises his real nature he ceases to be a person. He is truth itself-Brahmavid brahmaiva bhavati. Such a person alone could be a guru. Through him Truth propagates itself. When Swami Rajeswarananda asked Ramana Maharshi how to propagate Brahmavidya, Maharshi retorted back with a question "Who wants to propagate?" The sage continued "Seek the 'I' which wants to propagate. Trace the 'I' thought to its source. It will disappear in the infinite Self. There you will find yourself one with all-atmaivedam sarvam. In that natural state-sahaja stiti-propagation will also happen naturally". So the first duty of a seeker is to remove his own ignorance. Once the avidya is removed, the individual sense or the personal 'I' also ceases to operate. Only in appearance the personality remains; experientially Brahman alone is.

Such a master remains in the world serving two purposes, one is to show that jivanmukti is possible and the other is to remind the seekers the greatest Upanishadic dictum 'Tat tvam Asi' (That you are). The world is constantly reminding us that we are the body. The entire society is built upon this foundation of misapprehension. A person of truth (jnani) is a walking danger to all that is falsehood. He keeps reminding us "You are not this body, you are the infinite truth. Body is only an illusion, a mere appearance in the screen of consciousness. Know that. 'Seek Who am I?' Investigate the 'I' thought. The localised 'I' will sink and disappear in the infinite bodhakasa. You are not this personality. You are the substratum on which this illusory personality appears.

Waking, dream and sleep are all illusory. These phenomena constantly appear in you. You alone are the truth. Remain as the infinite Self. Do not identify with this waking ego. It is as illusory as the dream ego. Wake up, wake up." Such clarion call alone will awaken us from this sleep of ignorance. Such verbal confirmation from a sage will make the vague experience of the self to flare up. By mere listening to such teaching a mature seeker instantaneously recognises the self. Such recognition is called 'Pratyabhijna'. (Kashmiri saivism defines pratyabhijna as akritrima aham vimarsha i.e. recollecting the real 'I' by transcending the ego-I).

Sraddha

Sraddha is the most important element in spiritual life. 'Sraddhaavaan labhate jnanam' says Bhagavat Gita. Infact it is the fuel for the inner 'takeoff'. It alone will give us the escape velocity to transcend the 'body mind field'. What is sraddha? Sankara defines it as conviction in the words of the sastras and the guru. He also adds 'yayaa vastu upalabhyate'-by which one attains the vastu (jnanam). By gurubhakti the mind gets refined. As the crude oil is refined and made more powerful as kerosene, diesel, petrol and the fuel for rockets to transcend the gravitational pull of the earth, the mind by constant association with a Brahmavid slowly gets refined and transmuted as sraddha. With this power of attention the paradigm shift from the personal self to the infinite Brahman happens. The external teacher is there only to point out to you that the light is within. You have
to behold. From here you are the teacher, taught and the teaching. Buddha said to Ananda , Atma deepo bhava (Be a lamp unto yourself ).

Paroksha bodhana

The need for constant association with a guru is a must for most of the seekers. Sankaracharya says in his Upanishad bhashya that the spiritual seeker must ignore all that is not the Self (anaatma pratyaya tiraskaarah) and remain established in the pure Self. But the world keeps hypnotising us in an indirect way. Infact this indirect (paroksha) way of putting it across is very powerful. If someone were to say directly, "you are the body", we will become alert immediately. But the way the wrong suggestion reaches us is insidious. People are very solicitous and enquire about your health; "How is your sugar level? Did you check your blood pressure? Eat well. Take care." Thus repeatedly they remind us that we are the body. They seem very affectionate and concerned about us. We are not aware of the virus of ignorance that has creped in. But after spending half an hour with them, when we leave, we have a feeling of insecurity, "Should I go to the doctor and get myself checked?" All our study of the Upanishads is negated in one stroke and we begin to identify with our body. This is Maya. It keeps drawing us outwards, from the Self to the non-self, from the centre to the periphery, from light to darkness! The duty of the guru is to dehypnotise you in the same indirect way (paroksha bodhana). He has to take you from darkness to light. He employs paroksha bodhana (indirect awakening) but it gives aparoksha anubhava (immediate experience of the self). He observes us carefully in our daily interactions and catches us during the right moment to strike home the highest truth. That is why constant association is a must. The Master sees you as perfection, as consciousness, as God. But you (the disciple) consider yourself as the puny ego. So you consider the Guru also as the body.You worship only his body, while his very vision of you is a worship of God in you. Ramana used to remark “If we teach them Tat Tvam Asi once they teach us back Atat Tvam Asi (you are the non Self) a thousand times”. But fortunately his vision is the Truth and it prevails! Hence his Mahavakya Updesha even uttered once completely awakens us from the illusion of misapprehension.

....Contd.

3028
General topics / Re: Ramana Maharshi and Mahatma Gandhi
« on: October 03, 2012, 02:48:54 PM »
Sanjay garu, yes, that was a beautiful meeting. I felt, it would be nice of us to address them as "Guru" instead of say "Jnani" coz, i felt, to address somebody as "Jnani" is not in our hands. Ever since the Vedas came over, in the glorious Guru Sishya Parampara, they are only addressed as Guru, Guru Prabhu, Gurugal, Periyaval, and like thats. that keeps us meek and humble. I personally feel, i am nobody, to substantiate who is a jnani and who is an ajnani, who is realised and who is unrealised. All that matters is Guru, and Guru Tatva. Where is He not? I strive to see Guru Tatva in Sportsmen, poets, enemies as well. each time, i come across some body, The Guru reveals new light. It is all in our attitude. As Sadhakas, we should keep ourselves out of any discussions, as to who is realised and who is not realised. how does it matter to us? just personal musings, others need not be compelled to imbibe the same spirit. just letting out my musings.


3029
General topics / Re: Ramana Maharshi and Mahatma Gandhi
« on: October 03, 2012, 12:08:05 PM »
Sri Ravi, you had either posted this article here or in David Godman's blog in the past. This article is about Ramanatha Brahmachari, whom Sri Bhagavan acknowledged as Self Realized. No other being did Bhagavan acknowledge as Self Realized excepting Cow Lakshmi, Mother Azhagammal, and maybe a couple of animals. Why i remembered is that, these great souls, did not even bother or care for realization, and they themselves do not know that they are Self Realized, and continued to be who they were, in such humility, which shatters our egos.

Another devotee who really blows me out completely is the humility of Muruganar, I have noticed Bhagavan used to simply pull his leg. tease him quite often only to enjoy his humility. he used to deliberately initiate a conversation with him, when he used to complete prostrate, Muruganar used to forget everything and look above as he was flat, and respond to Bhagavan, and forget even that he has to get up. They used to call him Lizard Devotee.



Bhagavan once said, ―I am afraid only of two people—one is Ramanatha Brahmachari and the other is Mudaliar Paati. He said this because these two people were ascetics who served Bhagavan with utterly selfless devotion.

Ramanatha Brahmachari was a student studying the Vedas in the Vedapatashala (school of the Vedas) in town. He met Bhagavan one day and his whole being was brought into silence. His Mind and Heart opened up to Bhagavan, so he decided to be with him for as long as possible. Though the Pataskala provided free food and lodging to its students, young Ramanatha preferred to stay with Bhagavan. He begged for food on the streets and took that food to Bhagavan in Virupaksha cave. Whatever Bhagavan shared with him, he ate willingly. Such was the beauty and surrender of this ascetic.

He served Bhagavan‘s Mother because he was a Brahmin boy, and Bhagavan‘s Mother was still following her orthodox ways. Ramanatha would help wash her vessels as well as her clothes, and she would shout his name, ―Ramanatha, Ramanatha, for every errand. Hearing her, Bhagavan would humorously remark, ―The japa of my Mother has started again!

One day, Bhagavan told Ramanatha that he had succeeded in realizing the Self. Ramanatha could not believe it. He wanted confirmation from Bhagavan again and again. Bhagavan reassured him many times, ―Yes Ramanatha, you have realized the Self! But Ramanatha was still incredulous. Bhagavan got up and rapped him on his head with his knuckles and repeated, ―Yes Ramanatha, you are realized. This simple devotee went into ecstasy and ran out of the room, telling everyone he met, ―This is the place where Bhagavan knuckled me! He did not care that he had attained self-realization. Bhagavan‘s knuckling him was greater than self-realization for him!

This innocent disciple was serving other devotees, too. When a man arrived at the Ashram with a calf, which Bhagavan named Lakshmi, there was nobody to look after her. With panthers and tigers lurking around, Bhagavan said, ―There is nobody to look after Lakshmi; else she could have been kept here. Then Ramanatha, who was only four-and-a-half feet in height, said, ―Bhagavan, I will look after Lakshmi. This was the beginning of the Ramanashram goshala.

All the visiting devotees would come in late at night, as the train arrived at eight-thirty. In Ramanashram, after dinner at seven, most everyone would go to sleep by seven-thirty. Bhagavan wanted the visitors to be attended to. Nobody offered to look after them. Ramanatha said, ―Bhagavan, I will look after them. Every night he would stay awake attending to the visitors. The next day, Bhagavan would beam him a big smile and affectionately say, Oh, so you looked.


3030
General topics / Re: Ramana Maharshi and Mahatma Gandhi
« on: October 03, 2012, 11:19:10 AM »
Sanjay garu, yes, very true, vanda velaya par, absolutely!

you were asking about tears of Bhagavan at the instance of GandhiJi's death, i can share my feelings, tears may have flowed at the loss the people experience, of such a Mahatma who was a light to millions. His own place was so similar to that of Mahatma, where so many simpletons come looking for him, for solace, for instance, Cow Lakshmi used to come and kiss him, when she was in some agony.

Its empathy. its natural for great souls, you cry with those who are in pain, you laugh and be happy with those who are in joyous mood. These great souls are verily like mirror, they reflect exactly what is before them. The nation was engulfed with heavy heart, Dukham, of loss of a great Soul, who was not just a freedom fighter, but had by then taught people, Karuna, Ahimsa, Dharma. He became the nation's conscience keeper. He had lit so many lamps, and that, when it has left, causes great heaviness within the heart.

I don't know, how many of you feel as i do. I still avoid looking at the Samadhi picture of Bhagavan.

Entire humanity resides in such a Souls heart. it verily reflects that.


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