Author Topic: Sri Ramana's Wondrous Grace  (Read 4519 times)

silentgreen

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Sri Ramana's Wondrous Grace
« on: January 06, 2010, 01:09:41 PM »
Ramana Maharshi frequently said that if you practice self-inquiry successfully, you will feel the "I-I."

What does this strange term mean? What does the I-I feel like?

We recently found answers to these questions in a collection of reminiscences by Ramana's devotees that was published in 1946 to celebrate his 50th birthday. In the final chapter of that volume, an anonymous author describes his first experience of the I-I which occurred during a six-day visit to Ramana's ashram in 1939.

The following excerpt from that chapter begins two days before the I-I experience. We start there so you can see that the author was suffering from feelings of despair and humiliation when the I-I experience occurred. Perhaps those feelings helped cause the experience by weakening the author's attachment to his ego, or by reducing his propensity to act.

As the excerpt begins, the author has just handed a written question to Ramana.

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Maharshi read [my question] and smiled, and smiling he turned towards me. I was sitting there with folded hands and eyes filled with tears. As he looked at me I was overwhelmed and a violent emotion convulsed my body which set Maharshi laughing. He laughed merrily for some time and then silently folded the paper and left it on a bookshelf which stood nearby. He did not speak to me nor did he seem to pay any further attention to me. The mind cannot remain in a tense state for long; sheer exhaustion calms it down. My mind calmed down after some time. The bell rang summoning us to dinner and we followed Maharshi to the dining hall.

I had placed my case before Maharshi. He did not even speak to me; rather he laughed at me! There was nothing more to be done. I must return home and be a laughing-stock also to my friends and relatives. What could be done? He could not be forced to bestow Grace. With these thoughts the mind became resigned.

After the night meal they used to spend half an hour in meditation in the hall in Maharshi's presence. Mechanically I followed them and sat with them in the hall. A few minutes passed. Then suddenly I felt a pleasant coolness inundating me. It seemed to emanate from the very bones, cooling the whole being. Is this the spiritual fragrance spoken of as emanating from Maharshi? Whatever it might be, I had no doubt that it came from Maharshi and at his will.

This was on the night of the third day of my visit. On the next day, while sitting before Maharshi, I experienced a sudden pull in the region of the heart. I was astonished and, as I sought to observe it, it passed away. Nothing like the experience of the previous night was repeated. The remainder of the day passed in keen expectation, but nothing happened, even during the meditation period after the night meal. Perhaps expectation obstructed its manifestation.

Next morning, i.e., on the fifth day of my stay at the ashram, news came of further heavy bombing of the eastern coastline by the Japanese, and I naturally became anxious for my family. Moreover, as I did not experience anything unusual during the meditation periods of the previous night and of that morning, I thought that I had obtained what I deserved and that nothing more would be gained by a further stay at the ashram. So I decided to return home. In the afternoon I wrote out my intention to go home on a piece of paper and placed it before Maharshi. He read it, silently folded the paper, and left it on the shelf. He spoke nothing and did not even look at me. Another rebuff.

I made preparations for my departure, packed up my small belongings, and, after taking my evening meal, requested an inmate of the Ashram to kindly get a carriage for me; but I was told that no carriage would be available at that hour, that I should have informed him earlier so that one might have been fetched from the town. I was thus compelled to stay at the Ashram for another day.

Next morning I attended the usual prayers. I did not experience anything abnormal during the meditation period. Discussions generally take place when they assemble in the hall after breakfast. Maharshi also answers questions from earnest seekers. That morning also discussions were going on. As they were talking mostly in Tamil (a language not known to me) my attention was not attracted till I found some people turning their heads and laughing at me. On enquiry I learnt that they were discussing the subject-matter of my first letter to Maharshi. Evidently, he had spoken something to them regarding this letter. Though made a laughing-stock, I was still glad to find that he had at last taken notice of me. I took part in the discussions and, as I was in the back row, some distance away from them, they asked me to come nearer so that there might not be any difficulty in following each other, and I obeyed. I was thus brought very near Maharshi's seat. Our discussions over, I heard Maharshi say, "He is concentrating on the reflection and complains that he cannot see the original." It struck me forcefully. What did he mean by reflection and what was the original? I shut my eyes and tried to find out the meaning. Immediately after, I felt a pull in the region of the heart, similar to what I felt two days previously but much stronger in intensity. My mind was completely arrested -- stilled, but I was wide awake. Suddenly, without any break in my consciousness, the "I" flashed forth! It was self-awareness, pure and simple, steady, unbroken and intensely bright, as much brighter than ordinary consciousness as is sunlight brighter than the dim light of a lamp. In ordinary consciousness the "I"-sense dimly remains in the background -- as a matter of inference or intuition -- the whole of the consciousness being occupied by the object. Here, "I" came to the foreground, occupied, or rather became, the whole consciousness, and intensely existed as pure consciousness, displacing all objects. I was, but I was neither the subject nor the object of this consciousness. I WAS this consciousness, which alone existed. There were no objects. The world was not, neither the body nor the mind -- no thought, no motion; time also ceased to exist. I alone existed and that I was consciousness itself, self-luminous and alone, without a second... Suddenly, and again without any break in my consciousness, I was brought back to my normal, ordinary consciousness.

A great miracle had been performed in broad daylight in the presence of so many people, without their knowing it. No argument of the greatest philosophers and scientists of the world will now make me doubt the possibility of experiencing the "I" in its pure state or pure consciousness, without any subject-object relationship. Of course, I myself had not the least inkling of such a state even a second earlier, and I never expected to get such an experience. I, an insignificant creature, wallowing in the mud of mundane existence, and without any sadhana, being granted this supreme experience! -- an experience which is rarely obtained even by great yogis after austerest spiritual practices strenuously performed for ages together. Such is the wonder of His Grace! -- immeasurable and unfathomable Grace!

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Excerpted from Anonymous, "Sri Ramana's Wondrous Grace" in Golden Jubilee Souvenir: 1896-1946, 1946, Tiruvannamalai: Ramanasramam, 3rd ed, 1995, pp. 459-62. Copyright Sri Ramanasramam.
Homage to the Universal Being...Om Shanti ... Om Shanti ... Om Shanti ...

Vladimir

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Re: Sri Ramana's Wondrous Grace
« Reply #1 on: January 12, 2010, 11:53:46 PM »
Dear silentgreen,

Many thanks for placing this extract on the forum.
Namaskaram!

Subramanian.R

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Re: Sri Ramana's Wondrous Grace
« Reply #2 on: January 13, 2010, 09:31:25 AM »
Dear silentgreen,

Nice post.  Such glimpse of the Self has been conferred by Bhagavan
Ramana to many devotees, so that they could 'get a feel' of what
is this I-I business, how does it look, what does it do, when does
it happen, what is its nature etc.,

1. Devaraja Mudaliar had this once, when he was sitting very close
to the sofa and when suddenly Bhagavan Ramana, turned his gaze
from the Hill to him.  Mudaliar says it had lasted for more than
15 minutes.  Earlier Mudaliar had asked Him: What is That? 
Remembering this, Bhagavan Himself confirmed to him:  It is That!

2. Rangan (Bhagavan's boyhood friend had this 'experience' when
he was sitting near Bhagavan's sofa and was singing a song that
glorifies Bhagavan's feet by Muruganar.  During the singing, Bhagavan Ramana's feet touched him, (albeit voluntarily) and
Rangan had this elated experience of the Self, and he was singing
the same line of Muruganar's poem continuously for sometime that
others 'looked at him' in surprise.

3.  Muruganar had this exeprience when he met Him for the first
time, and was about to read the famous Desika Padigam, of
Sri Ramana Sanndihi Murai, which he had composed and brought
as a gift to Bhagavan.  Bhagavan looked at him and Muruganar could not go beyond the first line.  Bhagavan Ramana pulled away the
paper and He Himself read the remaining lines in good music.
Muruganar stood speechless with the feeling of "unebearable
lightness of Being."

Arunachala Siva.     

Nagaraj

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Re: Sri Ramana's Wondrous Grace
« Reply #3 on: January 13, 2010, 09:42:15 AM »
Dear I,

Excellent post. Felt very nice reading your article posted.

These are all experiences, experiences are thoughts. Still there is one that is experiencing all these experiences. We have to enquire, Who is the 'I' to whom these thoughts/experiences are arising.

Bhagawan always stressed not to stop with these experiences/feelings/thoughts. He always finally asked the devotees to enquire upon the 'I' to whom these experiences are arising!

Who am 'I'?

Salutations to Sri Ramana
॥ शांतमात्मनि तिष्ट ॥
Remain quietly in the Self.
~ Vasishta

Nagaraj

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Re: Sri Ramana's Wondrous Grace
« Reply #4 on: January 13, 2010, 10:43:26 AM »
Dear I,

So "Dont Stop with Experiences"
Who has an experience / non-experience is to be inquired. And that "Who" ;) is totally unaffected by any experience! 

How does the Mind, Ego knows that the Self is totally unaffected by any experience?

Salutations to Sri Ramana
॥ शांतमात्मनि तिष्ट ॥
Remain quietly in the Self.
~ Vasishta

silentgreen

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Re: Sri Ramana's Wondrous Grace
« Reply #5 on: January 13, 2010, 11:16:04 AM »
Dear Vladimir,

Those who have received the grace will only know how genuine they are.
And those who have genuine thirst for knowledge will appreciate such incidents.
What could not have been achieved by book reading and long practices is shown by Bhagavan from inside. Sages like Bhagavan are real books, scriptures are partial reflections of them.
In fact, these are not experiences but "lack of experiences" revealing the effulgence of the Self.

Dear Subramanian.R,

If you find more such incidents, please post.
Homage to the Universal Being...Om Shanti ... Om Shanti ... Om Shanti ...

Subramanian.R

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Re: Sri Ramana's Wondrous Grace
« Reply #6 on: January 13, 2010, 11:29:54 AM »
Marie Suzanne came from Germany (?)  She had spent all her savings, came by boat to England and from there to Bombay and then an arduous train journey, Bombay to Madras, Madras to Tindivanam, from Tindivanam, in an old rickety bus run in kerosene
that would break one's back.  She entered the Old Hall around 11 am.  She came and looked at Bhagavan Ramana.  Bhagavan Ramana gazed at her pointedly for a few minutes.  She said that "her body and mind had melted away....she became poornam, full...  She simply went near one of the walls and slided into a sitting position. Stretched her legs and lived in that glory of a thousand suns for an hour.  Someone asked her to come for lunch.  She said:  No, thanks... She sat like that till evening..... Someone asked her to vacate in the evening, since women were not allowed to stay inside beyond sunset.  She went out and came back in the morning.  No one could identify her to be a female.  She had tonsured her head, wore a cap, wore a pair of trousers and a shirt and sat with the male members!  The incomparable lightness of the Being!

Arunachala Siva.         

Subramanian.R

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Re: Sri Ramana's Wondrous Grace
« Reply #7 on: January 13, 2010, 01:45:45 PM »
Mastan Swami was a Muslim, also from Desur, a vilage near Tiiruvannamalai, like Ahilandamma. It is Akhilandamma who brought
Mastan Swami to Bhagavan Ramana.  From the young age, Mastan
Swami liked Saivism and was mixing with Sadhus and Sannyasis.
He used to tonsure his head, apply Vibhuti and also wear ochre robe.
He used to sing some songs of Tevaram right from his young age.
His parents surprisingly did not object, but only wanted him to marry!  He was a weaver by profession and he had woven and presented many koupinas to Bhagavan Ramana.

David Godman writes in his Power of Presence, Volume 1, page 81:-

Mastan Swami was one of those rare devotees, who experienced
the Self on his first meeting with Bhagavan. Mastan gave a brief
description of what happened on his first meeting when he later
spoke to Kunju Swami.

"When I came to Bhagavan, He was seated like a rock outside
the Virupaksha Cave.  His unwavering gaze was filled with grace,
compassion and steady wisdom.  After giving me a look, He opened
the gate of my Heart and I was also established in His state.  I
stood like that for 8 hours, absolutely without fatigue, but filled with total absorption and peace.  Bhagavan in those days, used to open
our Heart, with a simply gracious look and it transformed us.  There
was no need for any question since He made us, by His look, like
Himself. (Mountain Path 1979, p.154)

When Mastan Swami died, Bhagavan gave instructios that he should
be buried as a saint, using the rituals laid down in Tirumular's
Tirumantiram.

Jnanis have neither sankalpas nor thoughts.  In such a stste, the
Self makes the body behave in a particular way and makes it say whatever needs to be said, but there is no individual choice in any of these words and actions.*

* This paragraph also answers the point whether a Brahma Jnani
has thoughts and if there are no thoughts, how could he speak,
eat, drink, and write books etc.,

(There is a conversation between Narayana Iyer and Bhagavan
Ramana on this point (which is heatedly discussed in some topics
and I shall give it from Mountain Path, 1968, page 256, separately.)

Arunachala Siva.

     

silentgreen

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Re: Sri Ramana's Wondrous Grace
« Reply #8 on: January 13, 2010, 04:35:35 PM »
In 1938 a woman by the name of Mercedes De Acosta, was driven by an inner need to visit Sri Ramana. After she had been sitting in the meditation hall for several hours a fellow American, Guy Hague, who many people have said was the real life role model for the Larry Darrell character in William Somerset Maugham's The Razor's Edge, suggested she go and sit closer to the Maharshi.

He said, "You can never tell when Bhagavan will come out of Samadhi. When he does, I am sure he will be pleased to see you, and it will be beneficial for you, at this moment, to be sitting near him."

"I moved near Bhagavan, sitting at his feet and facing him. Not long after this Bhagavan opened his eyes. He moved his head and looked directly down at me, his eyes looking into mine. It would be impossible to describe this moment and I am not going to attempt it. I can only say that at this second I felt my inner being raised to a new level - as if, suddenly, my state of consciousness was lifted to a much higher degree. Perhaps in this split second I was no longer my human self but the Soul."
Homage to the Universal Being...Om Shanti ... Om Shanti ... Om Shanti ...

silentgreen

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Re: Sri Ramana's Wondrous Grace
« Reply #9 on: January 13, 2010, 04:36:37 PM »
It was in 1919 that I first came to Sri Bhagavan. He was then living at Skandasramam on the slope of the Hill Arunachala. His mother and brother lived with him. Palaniswami used to attend to his few personal wants. Plague had driven away most of the inhabitants of the town and consequently visitors to Sri Bhagavan were few. I was, therefore, left alone with Sri Bhagavan most of the time. I related to him all the spiritual practices I had been doing, what I had been studying, and what experiences I had. At that time I was very unhappy because in spite of all I had done I was unable to experience samadhi. After patiently hearing me out, Bhagavan quoted from Kaivalya Navaneet
"If you realize who you are, there is no cause for sorrow."
"So if you come to understand who you are, then there is peace," said Bhagavan.

Well, I did not know what was meant by "know who you are." Bhagavan went on to explain that the mind is only a bundle of thoughts and that if I seek the source of all thoughts I would be drawn into the Heart. He simultaneously pointed to his Heart. Bhagavan was looking at me intently and I focused my attention in the manner he instructed me and within a few minutes I was led into samadhi. I was thrilled. Coming to my senses we went for lunch. Then again, I sat before him and by a single look he put me into that blissful state. This experience occurred again and again-during all seventeen days that I stayed with Bhagavan. I was like one intoxicated. I was absolutely indifferent to everything. I had no curiosity to see anything, no desire whatsoever. What I did I did most mechanically. I would have continued to live in this state if it had not occurred to me that it was not proper to partake of the food that was offered to Sri Bhagavan by his devotees without paying anything.

I thought that he had initiated me into the experience of Brahman and that I had nothing more to gain by staying in his presence. I, therefore, returned to my native place and began to practise meditation in a room in my house all by myself. I could succeed to gain and retain that experience only for a few days; it started to diminish gradually and at last one day it was lost. I could not regain the experience. I decided to return to Sri Bhagavan. This I did, and great good fortune awaited me when I came.

Kunju Swami
Homage to the Universal Being...Om Shanti ... Om Shanti ... Om Shanti ...

Subramanian.R

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Re: Sri Ramana's Wondrous Grace
« Reply #10 on: January 15, 2010, 09:37:31 AM »
N.R. Krishanmurti Iyer writes:-

One evening (in Madurai), I went with Venkataramana Iyer to the
home of Suppiah Tevar.  Both of them were boyhood associates
of Bhagavan Ramana.  Tevar's home was like an Ashram.  He had
a meditation room in which the object of worship was only a
photo of Ramana that was surrounded by dumb-bells and other
implements that were used by Tevar as a physical education teacher
in the school. 

We all assembled in the room for meditation.  Iyer was reading the
18th chapter of Sri Ramana Gita.  The chapter sings the glories of
siddha purushas of whom Maharshi was the foremost, being Arunachala Himself. 

As I started listening with my eyes closed, a most amazing and
unusual experience overtook me when the stanza beginning with
the word Nilaravinda.... (Ch.13.13) was recited. 

I suddenly experienced a coiled luminous serpent moving upwards
from the base of my spinal column.  It flashed upwards to my
cranium, spreading out as a canopy of lightning streaks that were
gathered into a bright, roseate spot of light at the base of my nose,
between the eyebrows.  It returned immediately as a luminous coil
winding a reverse cycle around the spinal column down to its
starting poing at the base of the vertebrae.  The streaks were of
different colours.  One was roseate and the other was of a pale
blue colour.  At the same time, the broad based cone of Arunachala
appeared over my head.From its peak, an avalanche of nectar descended into my head and drenched my whole body with an
indescribable bliss.  I lost consciousness of my body for a brief
eternity, the luminosities alone remaining clear and bright.  A little
later, my body consciousness returned.  All the luminosities disappeared except the one between the eye brows, which continued
to persist until I had more experiences under the gaze of the Maharshi during the Sri Ramana Jayanti of 1935-35 in Sri Ramanasramam.

I did not breathe a word to my friends about my experience.  Of course, they knew that something unusual was happening to me,
but they merely thought that I was in a trance.  After meditation,
we wended our way to Adimulam Pillai Agraharam. As we walked
home, I was barel conscious.  Iyer and Tevar had to support me
by taking my arms on either side.  Although I was semi conscious, I distinctly recollect that the full moon was shining in all its glory.
As we approached Sri Ramana Mandiram and faced the terrace of
Meenakshi Temple, I saw an astonishing sight.  A queenly beautiful young woman of about eighteen years, decked in gold-spangled
saro amd glittering ornaments was standing.  She had rounded cheeks and glowed with the transparency of polished emerald
and lustrous eyes that shed the cool radiance of the moon.  It
was Goddess Meenakshi herself in human form!  I was overpowered with the vision and I became almost unconscious.  My friends lifted me up and delivered me to my anxious wife at about 11 PM.

Next morning I became normal.

(Source: David Godman, Part I, of the Power of the Presence.)

Arunachala Siva.