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(*of Davanagere - in Karnataka):

(Mountain Path, Jan March 2016)

***

It is now way back - twenty five years ago -- that an intimate spiritual bond got established between us and Bhagavan Sri Ramana Maharshi.  We first visited Sri
Ramanasramam in the year 1990. Fifteen of us reached Tiruvannamalai from Davangere, Karnataka, by bus to have Bhagavan's darshan.  It was as if Bhagavan Himself had invited us to His abode.

I had had many divine experiences by then, and at the time my mind was always in an ethereal state.  These cosmic experiences were so new and strange that I felt like exclaiming 'What, what is it..?', just as Sri Ramakrishna Paramahamsa did when he first had divine experiences.  The differentiation between the real and the unreal (Isvara and Nashwara) was vivid in my being.  The quintessence of Sri Ramana Maharshi's sayings - the 'I' manifested everywhere;  and there nothing existing other than the divine 'I' - became part of my consciousness, leaving me in a permanent state of joyousness (ananda).

My Sadguru, Sri Sishunaala Sherief, was a mystic and divine master from a small village in Haveri district.  Through his spiritual songs and divinity, he made it a well known place in India.  His songs are always very dear to me and ever hover on my
tongue. Sri Shishunaala Sherief says, 'Know yourself' (Ninda nee thilako). Guru Ramana's philosphy begins with the same thought - 'Who am I?''

As I crossed the arch of Sri Ramanasramam, a deep silence enveloped me, in which I felt I ever abided, having been there many, many ages and that I would be there for ever.  I felt that the Asramam could give the true seeker the experience of being in Mount Kailash, the abode of Lord Siva, and perhaps an even better one.  A seeker like myself, who is still in the bondage of the physical body, would find it difficult to control mind and body in a challenging place such as Himalayas.  The cold and scarcity of food and water would distract me.                             

contd.,

Arunachala Siva,
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General Discussion / Re: Two Lovers, One Beloved - Margaret Laulor:
« Last post by Subramanian.R on March 23, 2017, 09:50:44 AM »
Unfortunately we do not have a biography of Rabi'a written from a writer close to her time. The details of her early life which were recorded more than four hundred years later, taken from sources such as chronicles of an earlier period and treatises on Sufism, may be seen more as legend than pure history.  Nevertheless, they give us an inkling of her personality and an estimation of the regard in which later generations held her.
(Smith, Margaret, Rabi'a, the Mystic and Her Fellow Saints.  Amsterdam, Philo Press, 1974.  This study first published in 1928, is a composite of many accounts Rabi'a not written in English.  It has become the source book for most writers in English who allude to Rabi'a, and so it is in this study.

Rabi'a's dates are given as circa 99/717 to 185/801.  Her birth into a poor but noble family of Basra was said to have been marked by certain miraculous events.  On the night she was born there was neither lamp nor swaddling clothes available. Her father was not at liberty to borrow from the neighbors because as a Sufi, he could not violate his vow of depending solely on God to provide his needs.  It is said that the Prophet Muhammad appeared to him in a dream that night and spoke these words:  'Do not be sorrowful, for this daughter who is born is a great saint, whose intercession will be desired by several thousand of my community.  (ibid.  Page 5-6).

contd.,

Arunachala Siva.                 
3
For the Juki, then, revelation is a two fold phenomenon, manifested in the Sacred Texts of great religions and the commentaries they inspire, but also in ancient tribal lore and
in an ardent love of life and virgin nature. For nature, herself, is an endless, ever varying theophany sent to man to guide him. Many views of such things are possible, however, Aunt Rihani offered us her own assessment when she said that 'our customs and ways connect us to the ever flowering, endless reality of life and how we are able to experience it anew, generation to generation.'  And she used the example of a Juki marriage, when the bride and groom face one another on bended knee.  A thin, crepe like bread, coated in honey and sprinkled with almonds, is placed on the right knee of the groom and the left knee of the bride.  Each one eats the bread of the other, indicating that their two lives are now more deeply intertwined, immersed in a greater totality that encompasses them both.  This part of the wedding must be observed in all times and places, or else it will be seen as an invalid and tainted union.

But it is not part of the intimate, unique process of spiritual discovery that is given to each soul in its turn, in the course of living an unrepeatable and therefore precious existence.  Man has learnt the latent capacity for inner renewal and discovery, for a 'knowledge'  which is itself an illumination of life, carrying the adept from one level of awareness to another, as he 'travels' on the spiritual path, learns that all creation is a kind of sacred lore, a mystical repast that honors life, sanctifies tradition, and in certain cases compromises a rapturous communion between God, man, and the cosmic tapestry spread out before us yesterday, today and always.

concluded.

Arunachala Siva.   
                         
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Chapter 36:

1. Ribhu: Listen, O chief of Brahmins, to the affirmation 'All is Brahman', by hearing which you shall at once attain liberation.

2.  'This', indeed, never is.  I am, indeed, alone.  The self is, indeed, ever non existent. The Self is indeed, the symbol of joy.

3.  The Self is, indeed, the supreme Reality.  The Self is, indeed, the cluster of worlds.
The Self is, indeed, of the form of space and the Self is, indeed, of the form of space and the Self is, indeed, constant.             

4.  The Self is, indeed, the truth, verily Brahman.  The Self is, indeed the sign of the Guru.  The Self is, indeed, pervaded by consciousness, ever.  The Self is, indeed the
non decaying and non diminishing.

5.  The Self is, indeed, of the form of the accomplished.  The Self is verily the Self.  There is no doubt of this.  The Self is, indeed, of the form of the universe.  The Self is verily the Self, itself by itself.

6.  The Self is, indeed, the measure of peace.  The Self is, indeed, the mind and space. The Self is, indeed, the all, whatever there is in the least.  The Self is, indeed, the highest state.

7.  The Self is, indeed, of the form of the universe.  The Self is, indeed, the immutable love.  Other than the Self there is nothing anywhere; neither anything which consists of mind outside the Self.

8.  The Self is, indeed, the whole of knowledge.  The Self is indeed, the prime treasure.  The Self is, indeed, of the form of the beings.  The Self is, indeed, the great cycle of birth and death.

9.  The Self is, indeed, the eternally pure.  The Self is, indeed, its own Guru.  The Self is, indeed, the disciple of itself.  The Self dissolves in itself.

10. The Self is, indeed, the target of meditation for itself.  The Self is, indeed, its own goal.  The Self is, indeed, the oblation to itself.  The Self is, indeed, the Japa of itself.

contd.,

Arunachala Siva.               

   
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A Quick Recap of Part One:

We saw in the last issue that Bhagavan constantly reiterated two principal insights:
Firstly, understand the nature of Realization to be the Essence of one's own Reality and secondly, devote yourself to the unremitting practice of Self Abidance as the very means to recognize that Reality as the Self.  These two strains of Bhagavan's teachings were then elucidated as the 'know why' and 'know how' stages in the practice of Self inquiry. The first strain of Bhagavan's teaching pertains to clarity in the understanding of Vichara Marga in its subtler aspects and therefore this would correspond to Paroksha Jnanam (as it is derived from a thorough analysis of the 'know why' stage.)

After successfully assimilating this, a Mumukshu is expected not to rest on mere comprehension of the path (and indulging in preaching to others) but is advised by Bhagavan to plunge sincerely into the second stage of actual practice of Atma Nishtaa (Self abidance), which is called Jagrat-Sushupti during the period of Abhyasa (which corresponds to the 'know how stage). (Talks 227). Bhagavan states that this alone can eventually bestow Aparoksha Jnanam (direct knowledge) that releases the seeker from the travails of Samsara. (Ulladu Narpadu, Verse 22 and Verse 27.).

Traditionally indirect mediated knowledge (Paroksha Jnanam) of the Self is derived from a study of Prasthana Trayam (the triple Vedantic scriptural canons viz., Upanishads, Bhagavad Gita and Brahma Sutras) and allied Prakarana Granthas written by later day Acharyas like Adi Sankara. This does not mean that everyone must necessarily plod through all these and master them before commencing the practice of Self abidance.  If you understand Bhagavan's teachings clearly (in line with scriptural reasoning) with full faith in His words, even one book will be enough viz.,Talks with Sri Ramana Maharshi for actual practice!  This is akin to the traditional saying that the Mandukya Upanishad (the shortest Upanishad containing only 12 mantras) alone is enough to achieve liberation. (Muktikopanishad, 'Mandukyam eva alam mumukshunaam vimuktaye'.)

Among the principal works of Bhagavan, Upadesa Saram, Ulladu Narpadu, Guru Vachaka Kovai were hailed as the Ramana Prasthaana Tryam by His direct disciples like Muruganar and Sadhu Om. Each of these texts and other works like Naan Yaar?
and Self Inquiry are complete in themselves and bestow invaluable insights on every other work of Bhagavan, just as the phenomenon of holography is described by the remarkable observation that 'Each is in All and All is in Each.'

contd.,

Arunachala Siva.           

       

   
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But, he insisted, 'It all depends on us, on our ability to accept what is offered.  We have learned lessons from the Cedars of Lebanon and the Sacred Oaks of Besan. The stones and the lanterns of the Western World are waiting for us now, like Hamra Street in Ras Beirut. Waiting to offer young, rapacious hearts new treasures of understanding, when they are ready to listen, grateful to these lands for what is given, as the snow that covers the Mount Cedars.'

Even he, however, insisted that such a worthy heritage cannot be understood from a perusal of mere dogma, but by absorbing the values of 'the ancient shades', or ancestors, and understanding that they express timeless and universal verities of our existence. And that it is life that validates religion and the quest for deeper, purer, more sublime meaning in all things.  It is not the proclamations of the 'authorities'
at second hand that validate life and renders it precious.  He added, as was customary, that many would stay in the East, 'where water of life and bread of life has been spread out before us, like the Feast for the Departed and Mass or Quddas called
'Remembrance of Christimas Eve', 'Dukhrana Laylat at Milad'."

My beloved old teachers conceded that authoritarianism in religion is a reality in terms of social practice.  But it is in the transmission of spiritual verities, and in the delicate process of elevating the attention of the spiritual novice, that Truth and Beauty are made living and whole.

contd.,

Arunachala Siva.                     
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General Discussion / Re: Two Lovers, One Beloved - Margaret Laulor:
« Last post by Subramanian.R on March 23, 2017, 02:13:00 AM »
Three years later when her older half sister was no longer at home, Teresa was placed
as a boarder in a convent.  She was twenty one years old when she became a novice in the Carmelite Convent of the Incarnation, Avila.

Due to laxity of the Carmelite orders at that time, she felt a call to restore a stricter rule. An unusually gifted woman, Teresa occupies a permanent place in the church's history for her successful efforts in advancing the monastic ideal.  She was an effective organizer and administrator, an insightful and independent thinker, an enduring writer, a compassionate and practical teacher and prioress, a superb judge of human characters and human nature.  She executed her many responsibilities in spite of serious and time consuming illness.  Teresa, who died in 1582, is revered rather for her innate gifts of spirit and authority.  She is considered by many to be the most popular Christian mystic and saint.   

It is held that Rabi'a al-Adawiyya, sometimes called 'a second spotless Mary', was the first saint of Islam.  It is a fact that hers is the first life from the history of Sufism to be introduced into European history.  In the thirteenth century the chancellor of Louis IX, Joinville brought a legend to Europe where her story has appeared in Western literature, with her as model of Divine Love. (Schimmel, Annamarie, Mystical Dimensions of Islam, Chapel Hill, University of North Carolina Press, 1975).

contd.,

Arunachala Siva.               
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Defining the One True Experience:

Such a phenomenon was observed in Bhagavan Ramana's Sannidhi (presence) too.
As Paul Brunton wrote with compelling beauty, words lost their narrow grip and relevance, and the mind lost its habitual infatuation with the thinking process in His Presence. All the profound questions Brunton carefully had gathered lost their urgency. This illustrates the power of Pratyabhijnaa and the spontaneous consequences of it as an Experiential Awakening. (see Ulladu Narpadu, Anubandham, Verse 29).

In the graphic, yet matter of fact description of His Death Experience, Bhagavan Ramana reveals the riveting attention brought upon the Self shining as the spiritual Heart, in the wake of His intense inquiry that lasted perhaps less than half an hour.
In the aftermath of this transformative Awakening, His life long dwelling on the witnessing Presence without a pause during all the external changes of His physical existence, bore testimony to the magnificence of Pratyabhijnaa, extolled as such in the sacred lore.         

Later Bhagavan defined such an abiding Self Awareness as the only True Experience,
(anubhava), being eternal, changeless and self luminous.  He averred that it is a misnomer to call all 'perceptions and feelings' in the empirical plane (that fall within the purview of sensory and mental domains, indriya-maanasa-pratyaksha) as 'experiences'.  (Talks No. 92 and 469).  For, they are entirely dependent on the Self which illuminates them by virtue of being pure consciousness.  Self Experience (Saakshi Pratyaksha) is truly the 'mother of all relative/empirical experiences', which are mere cognitions (Prateeti) and do not qualify as 'experience' per se.

contd.,

Arunachala Siva.             
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31.  I am, indeed, the eternal knowledge, pervaded by the Self.  I am, indeed, great, ever. This is the Self alone, nothing else.  I am the supreme Self, unbroken.

32.  By being of this disposition always, you shall quickly become free.  You are, indeed the form of Brahman.  You are, indeed, the embodiment of Brahman.

33.  This alone is the supreme bliss.  By meditating and meditating on this, be happy.  The whole world is only happiness.  The phenomenal world is only beloved.

34.  This world is only insentience.  This is just Brahman, always.  All of this is Brahman alone.  I am the supreme Self, the inexhaustible. 

35.  This is ever only One; the One without interstices.  The One alone is the supreme Brahman, the One alone the changeless consciousness.

36.The One alone is beyond qualities, the One alone joy bestowing. The One alone is the great Self, the One alone the unintermittent.

37. The One alone is the form of Consciousness, the One alone is the conclusion of the Self.  This is only Brahman, not another, the supreme Self, unbroken.

38.  I am nothing else but the supreme Self, the temple of supreme joy. Always be of this disposition; always brimming with consciousness alone.

39.  Suta:  Let us adore the punisher of Brahma,m (who spreads out the world), the killker of Manmatha bearing five fold arrows, the wearer of golden mount Meru as the bow and the chief of bandits. One who sprinkles a little water on the crown of the Linga even once, is instantly released from the sin.  There remains nothing behind.

Thus concluded Chapter 35 entitled 'Topic of instruction on the disposition in Brahman' in the sixth amsa called Sankara of Sri Siva Rahasyam.

concluded.

Arunachla Siva.                       
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General topics / Re: Saiva Canon 1 - Tiru Jnana Sambandhar.
« Last post by Subramanian.R on March 23, 2017, 01:19:34 AM »
Verse  11:

எந்தையெம்மான் இடம்எழில் கொள்சோலை யிரும்பைதனுள்
மந்தமாய பொழில்சூழ்ந் தழகாரு மாகாளத்தில்
அந்தமில்லா அனலாடு வானையணி ஞானசம்
பந்தன்சொன்ன தமிழ்பாட வல்லார்பழி போகுமே.


In Mākāḷam, which is beautiful being surrounded by gardens in which the southern breeze moves, in Irumpai which has beautiful gardens and which is the abode of our father and god. About Siva who dances in fire which does not extinguish, the reproach of those who can sing the Tamizh verses composed by beautiful Jnana Sambandhan, will take leave of them.

Padigam on Tiru Irumpai Makalam completed.

Arunachala Siva.
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