Author Topic: Rough Notebook-Open Forum  (Read 269381 times)

Ravi.N

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Rough Notebook-Open Forum
« on: April 01, 2012, 10:53:02 AM »
Friends,I thought of initiating this 'Rough Notebook-Open Forum' taking a cue from David's Blog.With so many topics initiated by our friends in this Forum,I feel like a child wanting to know which notebook to write in;I presume that this would be a sort of Rough notebook where one can discuss/post freely with no subject in Focus,in free format.This would help me to avoid posting 'Off Topic' posts in other thematic ones initiated by other friends.If I have anything at all to say with regard to any post or query,I intend posting it in that very thread if that query or my response is in line with that Topic;if not,I intend reverting to this 'Rough Notebook' for posting my response.
Namaskar.

Ravi.N

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Re: Rough Notebook-Open Forum
« Reply #1 on: April 01, 2012, 12:16:28 PM »
Latha,
Quote
"I am facing a conflict between my worldly life and trying to practice Bhagavan's teachings. I trust Bhagavan when he says this world is just another dreamlike state and it is false identification that is leading to the suffering. I am trying to use the sakshi bhava and question who is affected when faced with a tough situation but sometimes all I am able to do is pray to Bhagavan because I am too upset. In some ways the teachings and small glimpses of peace are making it harder to accept both good and bad situations like before.

I was listening to Nochurji's Kurai Onrum Illai discourse. It is definitely Bhagavan's grace to even listen to such messages. In this discourse, he compares the delayed start of an airplane's engine to a person's heart opening. I can relate to this and recognize the call from the Self or Bhagavan. But there is frustration and some guilt when I get depressed and give in to my old habits and watch some comedy or eat some sweets. Probably mind needs more purification for these vasanas to reduce?"

Sri Ramakrishna says:"Man may be likened to grain. He has fallen between the millstones
and is about to be crushed. Only the few grains that stay near the peg escape. Therefore
men should take refuge at the peg, that is to say, in God. Call on Him. Sing His name. Then
you will be free."
The more and more we learn to stay centred the less and less we feel the grind.With patience and perseverance all difficulties can be overcome.I  see that you know this already,having had glimpses of peace,etc.
Wishing you all the very Best.
Namaskar.

Ravi.N

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Re: Rough Notebook-Open Forum
« Reply #2 on: April 01, 2012, 05:33:54 PM »
Ramana1359/Friends,
Brother Lawrence was born Nicolas Herman in Hériménil, near Lunéville in the region of Lorraine, located in modern day eastern France. Having felt he had received a revelation of the providence and power of God at the age of 18, within six years he joined the Discalced Carmelite Priory in Paris. In this intervening period he fought in the Thirty Years' War and later served as a valet.

Nicolas entered the priory in Paris as a lay brother, not having the education necessary to become a cleric, and took the religious name, "Lawrence of the Resurrection". He spent almost all of the rest of his life within the walls of the priory, working in the kitchen for most of his life and as a repairer of sandals in his later years.

Despite his lowly position in life and the priory, his character attracted many to him. He had a reputation for experiencing profound peace and visitors came to seek spiritual guidance from him. The wisdom he passed on to them, in conversations and in letters, would later become the basis for the book, The Practice of the Presence of God.
As a young man, Herman's poverty forced him into joining the army, which guaranteed him meals and a small stipend. During this period, Herman claimed an experience that set him on a unique spiritual journey. He considered it a supernatural clarity into a common sight, more so than as a supernatural vision.
During the winter, Herman looked at a barren tree, stripped of leaves and fruit, and realized it awaited the sure hope of a springtime revival and summer abundance. Gazing at the tree, Herman grasped deeply the extravagance of God's grace and the unfailing sovereignty of divine providence. Like the tree, he felt seemingly dead, but held hope that God had life waiting for him, and the turn of seasons would bring fullness. At that moment, he said, that leafless tree "first flashed in upon my soul the fact of God," and a love for God that never ceased. Shortly after, an injury forced his retirement from the army, and after a stint as a footman, he sought a place where he could suffer for his failures. He thus entered the Discalced Carmelite monastery in Paris as Brother Lawrence.
He was assigned to the monastery kitchen where, amidst the tedious chores of cooking and cleaning at the constant bidding of his superiors, he developed his rule of spirituality and work. In his Maxims, Lawrence writes, "Men invent means and methods of coming at God's love, they learn rules and set up devices to remind them of that love, and it seems like a world of trouble to bring oneself into the consciousness of God's presence. Yet it might be so simple. Is it not quicker and easier just to do our common business wholly for the love of him?"

For Brother Lawrence, "common business," no matter how mundane or routine, could be a medium of God's love. The sacredness or worldly status of a task mattered less than motivation behind it. "Nor is it needful that we should have great things to do. . . We can do little things for God; I turn the cake that is frying on the pan for love of him, and that done, if there is nothing else to call me, I prostrate myself in worship before him, who has given me grace to work; afterwards I rise happier than a king. It is enough for me to pick up but a straw from the ground for the love of God."

Brother Lawrence felt having a proper heart about tasks made every detail of his life possess surpassing value. "I began to live as if there were no one save God and me in the world." Brother Lawrence felt that he cooked meals, ran errands, scrubbed pots, and endured the scorn of the world alongside God. One of his most famous sayings refers to his kitchen:

"The time of business does not with me differ from the time of prayer; and in the noise and clatter of my kitchen, while several persons are at the same time calling for different things, I possess God in as great tranquility as if I were upon my knees at the blessed sacrament."
------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------
What a Great soul!You may download the wonderful 'Practice of The Presence of God' here:
http://www.ccel.org/ccel/lawrence/practice.html.
The Practice of the Presence of God is called 'Smarana' in Sanatana Dharma.No other Practice or Sadhana is needed-as all works,all feelings,all thoughts are done ,dwelling in God.
There is a Tale of Sri Ramakrishna which is similiar to what flashed through Brother Lawrence when he looked at the Barren Tree.Here it is:
A young sadhu, who had been a
Brahmachari from his boyhood, went out to beg. A young girl offered him alms. The sadhu
saw her breasts and thought she had abscesses. He asked about them. The elderly women of
the family explained that she would some day be a mother and that God had given her
breasts to give milk to her children; God had provided for all this beforehand. At these
words the sadhu was struck with wonder. He said: Then I don't need to beg. God must have
provided for me too."


Most aspirants have difficulty in what is called 'Worldly' Livelihood and 'Spiritual Living'.The Great ones do not admit this,as Brother Lawrence so beautifully brings out in his conversations.
Namaskar.

nonduel

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Re: Rough Notebook-Open Forum
« Reply #3 on: April 01, 2012, 06:44:03 PM »
Dear Raviji,

"Men invent means and methods of coming at God's love, they learn rules and set up devices to remind them of that love, and it seems like a world of trouble to bring oneself into the consciousness of God's presence. Yet it might be so simple. Is it not quicker and easier just to do our common business wholly for the love of him?"

"Wholly for the love of Him".....Surrender!

Otherwise, "men invent means and methods..."

Oh Arunachala, blazing fire of Jnana, in my heart I pray and think of Thee from afar, root out the ego, merging me in the Self.

Hari

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Re: Rough Notebook-Open Forum
« Reply #4 on: April 01, 2012, 07:13:35 PM »
Thank you for this quotes, Ravi. Very inspirational words!
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Ravi.N

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Re: Rough Notebook-Open Forum
« Reply #5 on: April 02, 2012, 09:02:13 PM »
uday,

you have said:

Quote
"that kind of total flexibility is possible only when i have that kind of a control over mind.
which is what , I think, Sri Ramakrishna exhibited by once expressing some emotions and again on the same situation he would remain totally aloof !! its just to show that those emotions are not at all real."

Are these Emotions feigned?No.They are genuine and this is what makes these Great ones intensely human.The Difference between a Sage and an ordinary human is that whereas the Sage does not linger on in the emotional state,the ordinary human is caught up in the emotion and this creates a corresponding imprint in the Chitta or mind substance.The Sage completely lives that emotion for that moment and it does not leave any trace or imprint.The Ordinary man is a victim of emotion sans awareness,whereas the sage's emotion is an overlay on the awareness.The awareness ever remains the same and the emotion is given its free play and complete expression.
In expressing these emotions ,the Great ones become accessible to ordinary mortals.This is the wonderful Humanity that is founded on selflessness.It is this beautiful Humanity based on the inherent Divinity that inspires one and all.

The beauty of sri Ramakrishna is in his making his teachings accessible to even the lowliest of humans-coming down to their level and yet without compromising anything.

Elsewhere you have mentioned about bhava,losing body consciousness,etc and how you gave it up for atma-Nishta. This may be your need of the moment but there is no such definitiveness that it is the only way to flower.

Sri Ramakrishna says:
"
Quote
Infinite are the
opinions and infinite are the ways
. But you must remember one thing. The injunction is that
the path of devotion described by Narada is best suited to the Kaliyuga. According to this
path, first comes bhakti; then bhava, when bhakti is mature. Higher than bhava are
mahabhava and prema. An ordinary mortal does not attain mahabhava and prema. He who
has achieved these has realized the goal, that is to say, has attained God.
"

More later.

Namaskar.



Ravi.N

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Re: Rough Notebook-Open Forum
« Reply #6 on: April 03, 2012, 07:33:28 AM »
Nonduel,

Quote
"Wholly for the love of Him".....Surrender!

Otherwise, "men invent means and methods..."

Yes indeed.Somehow the word surrender in English is not appropriate to what is implied.When there is Total Love,'I' and 'mine' loses its meaning.Love knows no boundary.

The word surrender is used in the sense of 'giving up ownership'.This is the approach the mind takes-and it approaches gingerly.It finds itself unable to give itself in toto and it invents what is called 'partial surrender' when it encounters any difficulty!
The Heart ,seat of Love gives itself freely.It is as natural for the Heart to 'give' of itself as it is for the mind to 'Take' or accumulate.

The word for surrender in Sanskrit is 'saranAgathi'-which implies simply dwelling at the lotus feet of god,and this has been interpreted by the mind in cunning ways.The mind  plans to go about surrendering and is perpetually caught in its own web.Self- enquiry gets to the root of this mind and leads to self abidance which is saranAgathi.

The path of mind or jnana is a way of Rejection,it rejects everything as unreal to arrive at Truth.
The Path of the heart(seat of Love) or Devotion accepts everything as coming from God to arrive at Truth.

Both are equally valid and it is a matter of temperament and predeliction of the aspirant as to the path through which he is lead.

This is what Sri Ramakrishna points out so wonderfully:
Quote
<b>Brahman and maya</b>
"Of Brahman and maya, the jnani rejects maya.
"Maya is like a veil. You see, I hold this towel between you and the lamp. You no longer
see the light of the lamp."
Sri Ramakrishna put the towel between himself and the devotees.
MASTER: "Now you cannot see my face any more. As Ramprasad said, 'Raise the curtain,
and behold!'
"The bhakta, however, does not ignore maya. He worships Mahamaya. Taking refuge in
Her, he says: 'O Mother, please stand aside from my path. Only if You step out of my way
shall I have the Knowledge of Brahman.' <i>The jnanis explain away all three states-waking,
dream, and deep sleep. But the bhaktas accept them all. As long as there is the ego,
everything else exists. So long as the 'I' exists, the bhakta sees that it is God who has
become maya, the universe, the living beings, and the twenty-four cosmic principles</i>."

Namaskar.



Hari

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Re: Rough Notebook-Open Forum
« Reply #7 on: April 06, 2012, 10:05:13 PM »
Quote
The path of mind or jnana is a way of Rejection,it rejects everything as unreal to arrive at Truth.
The Path of the heart(seat of Love) or Devotion accepts everything as coming from God to arrive at Truth.

I cannot agree more, Sri Ravi. :)

Quote
"Of Brahman and maya, the jnani rejects maya.
"Maya is like a veil. You see, I hold this towel between you and the lamp. You no longer
see the light of the lamp."
Sri Ramakrishna put the towel between himself and the devotees.
MASTER: "Now you cannot see my face any more. As Ramprasad said, 'Raise the curtain,
and behold!'
"The bhakta, however, does not ignore maya. He worships Mahamaya. Taking refuge in
Her, he says: 'O Mother, please stand aside from my path. Only if You step out of my way
shall I have the Knowledge of Brahman.' The jnanis explain away all three states-waking,
dream, and deep sleep. But the bhaktas accept them all. As long as there is the ego,
everything else exists. So long as the 'I' exists, the bhakta sees that it is God who has
become maya, the universe, the living beings, and the twenty-four cosmic principles.

Excellent explanation from Sri Ramakrishna!!!
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Ravi.N

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Re: Rough Notebook-Open Forum
« Reply #8 on: April 08, 2012, 09:23:13 AM »
Friends,
An excerpt from The Gospel of Sri Ramakrishna:
Quote
Dogmatism condemned
(To the goswami) "With sincerity and earnestness one can realize God through all religions.
The Vaishnavas will realize God, and so will the Saktas, the Vedantists, and the Brahmos.
The Mussalmans and Christians will realize Him too. All will certainly realize God if they
are earnest and sincere.
"Some people indulge in quarrels, saying, 'One cannot attain anything unless one worships
our Krishna', or, 'Nothing can be gained without the worship of Kali, our Divine Mother',
or, 'One cannot be saved without accepting the Christian religion.' This is pure dogmatism.
The dogmatist says, 'My religion alone is true, and the religions of others are false.' This is
a bad attitude. God can be reached by different paths.
"Further, some say that God has form and is not formless. Thus they start quarrelling. A
Vaishnava quarrels with a Vedantist.
"One can rightly speak of God only after one has seen Him. He who has seen God knows
really and truly that God has form and that He is formless as well. He has many other
aspects that cannot be described.
Parable of the elephant and the blind men
"Once some blind men chanced to come near an animal that someone told them was an
elephant. They were asked what the elephant was like. The blind men began to feel its
body. One of them said the elephant was like a pillar; he had touched only its leg. Another
said it was like a winnowing-fan; he had touched only its ear. In this way the others, having
touched its tail or belly, gave their different versions of the elephant. Just so, a man who has
seen only one aspect of God limits God to that alone. It is his conviction that God cannot be
anything else.

Namaskar.

Hari

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Re: Rough Notebook-Open Forum
« Reply #9 on: April 10, 2012, 12:09:13 AM »
Please, Sri Ravi, tell me everything that you know about what Ramakrisha has said and experienced until practicing Christianity. :)
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Ravi.N

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Re: Rough Notebook-Open Forum
« Reply #10 on: April 10, 2012, 09:15:11 AM »
Ramana/Friends,
Please excuse this pre-amble!Yes,I will post here about sri Ramakrishna.I can give a link and leave it for you to read.Will I be benefited by that!No.In recounting these stories and sharing here,I am benefited and may be others as well.I do not know!Interestingly I have this observation with regard to the path of Bhakti and JnAna(In the approach).Bhakti grows to the extent that stories are told and retold-This is why there is the Tradition of Story tellers and listeners of the stories about God ,Avatars,Sages and Saints.
It is said that the Great sage Veda vyasa who is considered the Guru of Gurus,after composing the Brahma Sutras that contain all the Truths in aphoristic form ,still felt a discontent in his heart.He was wondering what he should do for the preservation of Dharma and Spiritual well being in posterity;He could see far into the future ,when mankind would be plunged into materialistic views and would seriously lack spiritual guidance.All the upanishads,Brahma sutras,etc will be of no avail then.This is what he could see.It is then that he was moved by Divine inspiration to reveal the Bhagavatham to the world-this is a wonderful book.I find that Graham has mentioned about it somewhere.Till today,the Bhagavatham is recited and expounded by Great Devotees(Sri Nochur Venkatraman is a Great soul who expounds this like nobody else does.)

Unlike the way of Bhakti,where the more one talks about the stories of Saints and sages,the more the Love for them waxes,The way of JnAna is quite the opposite!The More one talks about how world is unreal,what Brahman is and what it is not,the less and less one tends to understand!The Way of jnAna is through silence,the more and more one becomes quiet,the more and more it helps the path of enquiry.
Bhakti grows through expressing it(in the Right way),while Jnana grows by withdrawal(in the right way) from outer expression!Both are complementary and at the end they are one and the same,two sides of the same coin.

It is in this spirit that I will share a few excerpts from the Life of Sri Ramakrishna.

Namaskar.

Ravi.N

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Re: Rough Notebook-Open Forum
« Reply #11 on: April 10, 2012, 09:44:32 AM »
Ramana/Friends,
I will not follow a chronological order on the life of Sri Ramakrishna.I will share snippets from his life that may perhaps enthuse us to read more about him and his teachings.I will share a few excerpts from The Gospel of Sri Ramakrishna.I will quickly get over that earlier part of Sri Ramakrishna's sadhana until he realized the Truth of Brahman ,the nondual truth.He practised Christianity and Islam after this realization!What more is there to learn after Nondual Truth is Realized?Sri Ramakrishna was unique in that he admits that although the essence of God is realized,the Extent of God is unknowable and inexhaustible.He expresses this through the 'Ant and the sugar Hill' parable.
Here is the excerpt from The Gospel of sri Ramakrishna:
Quote
The Knowledge of Brahman in nirvikalpa samadhi had convinced Sri Ramakrishna that the
gods of the different religions are but so many readings of the Absolute, and that the
Ultimate Reality could never be expressed by human tongue. He understood that all
religions lead their devotees by differing paths to one and the same goal. Now he became
eager to explore some of the alien religions; for with him understanding meant actual
experience.
Islam
Toward the end of 1866 he began to practise the disciplines of Islam. Under the direction of
his Mussalman guru he abandoned himself to his new sadhana. He dressed as a Mussalman
and repeated the name of Allah.
His prayers took the form of the Islamic devotions. He forgot the Hindu gods and
goddesses - even Kali - and gave up visiting the temples. He took up his residence outside
the temple precincts. After three days he saw the vision of a radiant figure, perhaps
Mohammed. This figure gently approached him and finally lost himself in Sri
Ramakrishna. Thus he realized the Mussalman God. Thence he passed into communion
with Brahman. The mighty river of Islam also led him back to the Ocean of the Absolute.
Christianity
Eight years later, some time in November 1874, Sri Ramakrishna was seized with an
irresistible desire to learn the truth of the Christian religion. He began to listen to readings
from the Bible, by Sambhu Charan Mallick, a gentleman of Calcutta and a devotee of the
Master. Sri Ramakrishna became fascinated by the life and teachings of Jesus. One day he
was seated in the parlour of Jadu Mallick's garden house at Dakshineswar, when his eyes
became fixed on a painting of the Madonna and Child. Intently watching it, he became
gradually overwhelmed with divine emotion. The figures in the picture took on life, and the
rays of light emanating from them entered his soul. The effect of this experience was
stronger than that of the vision of Mohammed. In dismay he cried out, "O Mother! What
are You doing to me?" And, breaking through the barriers of creed and religion, he entered
a new realm of ecstasy. Christ possessed his soul. For three days he did not set foot in the
Kali temple. On the fourth day, in the afternoon, as he was walking in the Panchavati, he
saw coming toward him a person with beautiful large eyes, serene countenance, and fair
skin. As the two faced each other, a voice rang out in the depths of Sri Ramakrishna's soul:
"Behold the Christ who shed His heart's blood for the redemption of the world, who
suffered a sea of anguish for love of men. It is He, the Master Yogi, who is in eternal union
with God. It is Jesus, Love Incarnate." The Son of Man embraced the Son of the Divine
Mother and merged in him. Sri Ramakrishna realized his identity with Christ, as he had
already realized his identity with Kali, Rama, Hanuman, Radha, Krishna, Brahman, and
Mohammed.
The Master went into samadhi and communed with the Brahman with
attributes. Thus he experienced the truth that Christianity, too, was a path leading to God-
Consciousness. Till the last moment of his life he believed that Christ was an Incarnation of
God. But Christ, for him, was not the only Incarnation; there were others - Buddha, for
instance, and Krishna."

Namaskar.

Ravi.N

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Re: Rough Notebook-Open Forum
« Reply #12 on: April 11, 2012, 07:14:35 AM »
Friends,
Sri Ramakrishna and Totapuri:
Quote
Totapuri arrived at the Dakshineswar temple garden toward the end of 1864. Perhaps born
in the Punjab, he was the head of a monastery in that province of India and claimed
leadership of seven hundred sannyasis. Trained from early youth in the disciplines of the
Advaita Vedanta, he looked upon the world as an illusion. The gods and goddesses of the
dualistic worship were to him mere fantasies of the deluded mind. Prayers, ceremonies,
rites, and rituals had nothing to do with true religion, and about these he was utterly
indifferent. Exercising self-exertion and unshakable will-power, he had liberated himself
from attachment to the sense-objects of the relative universe. For forty years he had
practised austere discipline on the bank of the sacred Narmada and had finally realized his
identity with the Absolute. Thenceforward he roamed in the world as an unfettered soul, a
lion free from the cage. Clad in a loin-cloth, he spent his days under the canopy of the sky
alike in storm and sunshine, feeding his body on the slender pittance of alms. He had been
visiting the estuary of the Ganges. On his return journey along the bank of the sacred river,
led by the inscrutable Divine Will, he stopped at Dakshineswar.
Totapuri, discovering at once that Sri Ramakrishna was prepared to be a student of
Vedanta, asked to initiate him into its mysteries. With the permission of the Divine Mother,
Sri Ramakrishna agreed to the proposal. But Totapuri explained that only a sannyasi could
receive the teaching of Vedanta. Sri Ramakrishna agreed to renounce the world, but with
the stipulation that the ceremony of his initiation into the monastic order be performed in
secret, to spare the feelings of his old mother, who had been living with him at
Dakshineswar.
In the burning flame before him Sri Ramakrishna performed the rituals of destroying his
attachment to relatives, friends, body, mind, sense-organs, ego, and the world. The leaping
flame swallowed it all, making the initiate free and pure. The sacred thread and the tuft of
hair were consigned to the fire, completing his severance from caste, sex, and society. Last
of all he burnt in that fire, with all that is holy as his witness, his desire for enjoyment here
and hereafter. He uttered the sacred mantras giving assurance of safety and fearlessness to
all beings, who were only manifestations of his own Self. The rites completed, the disciple
received from the guru the loincloth and ochre robe, the emblems of his new life.
The teacher and the disciple repaired to the meditation room near by. Totapuri began to
impart to Sri Ramakrishna the great truths of Vedanta. "Brahman", he said, "is the only
Reality, ever pure, ever illumined, ever free, beyond the limits of time, space, and
causation. Though apparently divided by names and forms through the inscrutable power of
maya, that enchantress who makes the impossible possible, Brahman is really One and
undivided. When a seeker merges in the beatitude of samadhi, he does not perceive time
and space or name and form, the offspring of maya. Whatever is within the domain of maya
is unreal. Give it up. Destroy the prison-house of name and form and rush out of it with the
strength of a lion. Dive deep in search of the Self and realize It through samadhi. You will
find the world of name and form vanishing into void, and the puny ego dissolving in
Brahman-Consciousness. You will realize your identity with Brahman, Existence-
Knowledge-Bliss Absolute." Quoting the Upanishad, Totapuri said "That knowledge is
shallow by which one sees or hears or knows another. What is shallow is worthless and can
never give real felicity. But the Knowledge by which one does not see another or hear
another or know another, which is beyond duality, is great, and through such Knowledge
one attains the Infinite Bliss. How can the mind and senses grasp That which shines in the
heart of all as the Eternal Subject?"

Continued....

Ravi.N

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Re: Rough Notebook-Open Forum
« Reply #13 on: April 12, 2012, 07:35:16 AM »
Friends,
The Story of Sri Ramakrishna and Totapuri is continued...It is worth Recalling one singular aspect of Sri Ramakrishna-that whatever sadhana that he used to undertake,he will be one with it and everything else however dear, would be jettisoned!If he practised devotion to Sri Rama,he would become Hanuman himself!If he Practised devotion to Sri Krishna,he would become Sri Radha!No wonder now that when he practices advaitic Sadhana,he jettisons the form of the Divine mother and not the Divine mother!We will see and understand later just what this means.

Quote
Totapuri asked the disciple to withdraw his mind from all objects of relative world,
including the gods and goddesses, and to concentrate on the Absolute. But the task was not
easy even for Sri Ramakrishna. He found it impossible to take his mind beyond Kali, the
Divine Mother of the Universe. "After the initiation", Sri Ramakrishna once said,
describing the event, "Nangta began to teach me the various conclusions of the Advaita
Vedanta and asked me to withdraw the mind completely from all objects and dive deep into
the Atman. But in spite of all my attempts I could not altogether cross the realm of name
and form and bring my mind to the unconditioned state. I had no difficulty in taking the
mind from all the objects of the world. But the radiant and too familiar figure of the Blissful
Mother, the Embodiment of the essence of Pure Consciousness, appeared before me as a
living reality. Her bewitching smile prevented me from passing into the Great Beyond.
Again and again I tried, but She stood in my way every time. In despair I said to Nangta: 'It
is hopeless. I cannot raise my mind to the unconditioned state and come face to face with
Atman.' He grew excited and sharply said: 'What? You can't do it? But you have to.' He
cast his eyes around. Finding a piece of glass he took it up and stuck it between my
eyebrows. 'Concentrate the mind on this point!' he thundered. Then with stern
determination I again sat to meditate. As soon as the gracious form of the Divine Mother
appeared before me, I used my discrimination as a sword and with it clove Her in two. The
last barrier fell. My spirit at once soared beyond the relative plane and I lost myself in
samadhi."
Sri Ramakrishna remained completely absorbed in samadhi for three days. "Is it really
true?" Totapuri cried out in astonishment. "Is it possible that he has attained in a single day
what it took me forty years of strenuous practice to achieve? Great God! It is nothing short
of a miracle!" With the help of Totapuri, Sri Ramakrishna's mind finally came down to the
relative Plane.
Totapuri, a monk of the most orthodox type, never stayed at a place more than three days.
But he remained at Dakshineswar eleven months. He too had something to learn.
Totapuri had no idea of the struggles of ordinary men in the toils of passion and desire.
Having maintained all through life the guilelessness of a child, he laughed at the idea of a
man's being led astray by the senses. He was convinced that the world, was maya and had
only to be denounced to vanish for ever. A born non-dualist, he had no faith in a Personal
God. He did not believe in the terrible aspect of Kali, much less in Her benign aspect.
Music and the chanting of God's holy name were to him only so much nonsense. He
ridiculed the spending of emotion on the worship of a Personal God
.

continued...

Ravi.N

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Re: Rough Notebook-Open Forum
« Reply #14 on: April 12, 2012, 07:43:41 AM »
The Story of Sri Ramakrishna and Totapuri continued...
Quote
Kali and Maya
Sri Ramakrishna, on the other hand, though fully aware, like his guru, that the world is an
illusory appearance, instead of slighting maya, like an orthodox monist, acknowledged its
power in the relative life. He was all love and reverence for maya, perceiving in it a
mysterious and majestic expression of Divinity.
To him maya itself was God, for
everything was God. It was one of the faces of Brahman. What he had realized on the
heights of the transcendental plane, he also found here below, everywhere about him, under
the mysterious garb of names and forms. And this garb was a perfectly transparent sheath,
through which he recognized the glory of the Divine Immanence. Maya, the mighty weaver
of the garb, is none other than Kali, the Divine Mother. She is the primordial Divine
Energy, Sakti, and She can no more be distinguished from the Supreme Brahman than can
the power of burning be distinguished from fire.
She projects the world and again
withdraws it. She spins it as the spider spins its web. She is the Mother of the Universe,
identical with the Brahman of Vedanta, and with the Atman of Yoga. As eternal Lawgiver,
She makes and unmakes laws; it is by Her imperious will that karma yields its fruit. She
ensnares men with illusion and again releases them from bondage with a look of Her
benign eyes. She is the supreme Mistress of the cosmic play, and all objects, animate and
inanimate, dance by Her will. Even those who realize the Absolute in nirvikalpa samadhi
are under Her jurisdiction as long as they still live on the relative plane.
Thus, after nirvikalpa samadhi, Sri Ramakrishna realized maya in an altogether new role.
The binding aspect of Kali vanished from before his vision. She no longer obscured his
understanding. The world became the glorious manifestation of the Divine Mother. Maya
became Brahman. The Transcendental Itself broke through the Immanent. Sri Ramakrishna
discovered that maya operates in the relative world in two ways, and he termed these
"avidyamaya" and "vidyamaya". Avidyamaya represents the dark forces of creation:
sensuous desires, evil passions, greed, lust, cruelty, and so on. It sustains the world system
on the lower planes. It is responsible for the round of man's birth and death. It must be
fought and vanquished. But vidyamaya is the higher force of creation: the spiritual virtues,
the enlightening qualities, kindness, purity, love, devotion. Vidyamaya elevates man to the
higher planes of consciousness. With the help of vidyamaya the devotee rids himself of
avidyamaya; he then becomes mayatita, free of maya. The two aspects of maya are the two
forces of creation, the two powers of Kali; and She stands beyond them both. She is like the
effulgent sun, bringing into existence and shining through and standing behind the clouds
of different colours and shapes, conjuring up wonderful forms in the blue autumn heaven.
The Divine Mother asked Sri Ramakrishna not to be lost in the featureless Absolute but to
remain in bhavamukha, on the threshold of relative consciousness, the border line between
the Absolute and the Relative
. He was to keep himself at the "sixth centre" of Tantra, from
which he could see not only the glory of the seventh, but also the divine manifestations of
the Kundalini in the lower centres. He gently oscillated back and forth across the dividing
line. Ecstatic devotion to the Divine Mother alternated with serene absorption in the Ocean
of Absolute Unity. He thus bridged the gulf between the Personal and the Impersonal, the
immanent and the transcendent aspects of Reality. This is a unique experience in the
recorded spiritual history of the world
.

continued...