Author Topic: A Devotee' Journey - Mountain Path - April - June 2009:  (Read 1179 times)

Subramanian.R

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A Devotee' Journey - Mountain Path - April - June 2009:
« on: July 06, 2013, 02:46:36 PM »

Muruganar's Guru Ramana Prasadam:  Robert Butler:

Muruganar's work, Sri Ramana Anubhuti, Part I, later renamed Sri Guru Ramana Prasadam, was written in the last period
of Sri Bhagavan's life when His health was failing, to such an extent that the majority of it was never shown to Him, although
it seems that He did see some of the verses.  With hindsight, it does seem, when reading this work, that Muruganar was
acutely aware that the sojourn of His beloved master on this earth was nearing its end, and was moved to express his profound
gratitude and love in a lyrical outpouring of praise rarely equaled in elsewhere in his writings.

In spite of this, as indicated by its original title, Sri Ramana Anubhuti, this work is not simply a work of praise o a beloved
guru.  Its aim also is to express the ways in which the realization, anubhuti, conveyed to Muruganar by Sri Bhagavan's grace,
transformed and indeed subsumed his entire existence. 

Despite is relatively loose structure, and the fact that it is preeminently a work of praise and devotion, the work so eloquently
evokes the experience of the devotee who embarks on the journey to discover his true nature.  The following article attempts
to illustrate this aspect of the work.

contd.,

Arunachala Siva.   



     

Subramanian.R

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Re: A Devotee' Journey - Mountain Path - April - June 2009:
« Reply #1 on: July 07, 2013, 11:18:16 AM »

continues.....

As with the vast majority of spiritual seekers, Muruganar's journey begins with a sense of dissatisfaction with his orientation
towards worldly goals and ideals:

I was a learned fool.  My flawed mind knew nothing until I came to dwell with Him whose glance filled my heart with the
light of awareness.  Dwelling in the gracious state of peace whose nature is mauna, so hard to gain and know, I entered into]
union with the deathless state of knowledge of reality.  (Verse  58). 

Indeed, as Muruganar was to discover, spiritual knowledge is as much, or more, a question of unlearning than it is of learning:

...Learned though I was, that unique nature wherein I appeared an untutored simpleton who uses a mark to sign his name,
became my own.  (Verse 387).

Lest anyone should assume that spiritual knowledge is a free good, dispensed at will by the guru, Muruganar makes it clear
that the disciple too must play his part in this process.  One may argue that realization is not possible without a teacher,
but there can be little doubt that the grace of even an enlightened guru cannot benefit one who is incapable or unwilling
to apply himself or herself to the task:

I nurtured the crop of divine love by enriching the field of my heart with the manure of firm resolution  and ploughing it well,
plucking out the weeds of false ideas as they arose, watering it with grace and erecting the fence of unflagging Self Inquiry.
Thus I came to taste the bliss of Lord Siva.  (Verse 500).

With spiritual practice come insights, and in this work Muruganar gives vivid expression to a number of these.  Here he explains
how the mind, when left of its own devices, operates as a self serving mechanism that will propagate its own existence by
identifying itself with the objects that it encounters through the senses:

The nature of Vasanas is such that we take them to be ourselves.  This propensity of the mind to identify with the objects
of habit and desire, is like that of bees that instinctively rise up and rush towards nectar the moment they see it.  (Verse 561).

contd.,

Arunachala Siva. 
           

   

Subramanian.R

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Re: A Devotee' Journey - Mountain Path - April - June 2009:
« Reply #2 on: July 08, 2013, 10:36:30 AM »

continues.....

To explain why this should occur,  Muruganar introduces the reader the concept of pramada, the act of forgetting one's
true nature, or put another way, the identification with the body-mind that is the result of that act of forgetting the Self:

Those who through the mental error of pramada -- the forgetting of one's true nature, -- go about talking that which is
other than consciousness to be the "I", will go mad and meet their ruin.  Locked in the prison of birth and death, engendered
by their deeds, their existence will be a sad and weary one.  (Verse 479).

Clearly the mind is not to be trusted.

To realize through investigation that the nature of Reality is beyond the reach of thought, and to slough off that treacherous
mental imagination, making the Heart our permanent place of abode, -- that indeed is the pellucid state of supreme Jnana.
(Verse 563)   

However, a question remains as to how this treacherous mental imagination is to be eliminated, if the mind cannot be trusted.
In the section entitled, The Enquiry that Leads to to True Jnana, Muruganar speaks of how this might be achieved, employing
the method of atma vichara as advocated by Sri Bhagavan  Himself.

The network of thoughts that fills the mind branches out from the perception "I am the body".  The proper course of action is
to ask the question, 'What is the place in which this " I am the body" idea has its source', and thus reach and become established
within the Heart.  (Verse 551).

contd.,

Arunachala Siva. 

Subramanian.R

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Re: A Devotee' Journey - Mountain Path - April - June 2009:
« Reply #3 on: July 09, 2013, 10:57:46 AM »

continues....

This section, containing many finely crafted and insightful verses, was published in its entirety in a previous edition of Mountain
Path, (No. 2 of 2008), to which the reader is referred for further reading. 

In Sri Bhagavan's radiant presence, however, Muruganar had no need of any such tools to accomplish the task of controlling
the mind and senses, as evidenced by the large number of verses that give us some idea of what it must have been like
simply to be in that presence:

He who nurtures all things within his own Self through the power of His consciousness eclipsed  my own self's firefly glimmer
with the blazing sun of His grace.  The illusory world of the senses, created by the lustful mind's teeming desires, disappeared
completely and as I came to dwell at my spiritual center, a state of equanimity reigned within my heart.  (Verse 116).

Muruganar's evocations of Sri Bhagavan as the living exemplar of the Supreme Reality -- That which alone is - are lavish in their
praise:

Through the joyous power of the true love that took as its goal the feet of my Guru, a life in the vast space of the Self that shines
fearlessly within the heart burgeoned forth within me, as the unfailing awareness that is mauna grew stronger and stronger.
Birth's suffering was abolished and my eye became fearless as I obtained the vision of grace.  (Verse 5).

He entered my heart, imparting the state of supreme bliss upon which it is delightful to dwell.  Grace flowed sweetly from Him
as He filled me with the richness of mauna, the beauteous life of Sivam that is the experience of the knowledge of the Self.  My
eye's jewel, He stood granting me the vision of the Real that was sweet to my sight.  (Verse 6).

He is fond of casting Himself in the role of the faithful wife, with Ramana Siva as her husband, echoing the conventions of
classical Tamizh love poetry:

I cannot remain separate from my Lord!  When His transcendent reality pursues me far and stands revealed as my own nature,
how can I leave and be separated from my lover, the Self, the consciousness that shines in the heart?  (Verse 33).

contd.,

Arunachala Siva.               

Subramanian.R

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Re: A Devotee' Journey - Mountain Path - April - June 2009:
« Reply #4 on: July 10, 2013, 10:44:46 AM »

continues......

These verses, though, are not in evidence of a blind devotion which absolves the devotee of any responsibility, for his own
salvation.  In Muruganar there is no question of a conflict between the paths of bhakti, devotion, and jnana, inquiry.  Sri
Guru Ramana Prasadam shows them to be entirely convergent and interchangeable, as evidenced by the following:

I show my deep gratitude to Him who brought about His victorious rule within my heart by maintaining self attention without
a break.  There is no other way than this.  Benedictions upon the glorious Self that shines alone within the Heart, through
the non dual truth of its Self nature!  (V. 409).

Thus Muruganar shows us how, through a combination of intense devotion and inquiry, the antics of the mind will finally come
to an end:

If the nature of the mind is closely investigated, the mind will be resolved into consciousness, and give way to the mauna of final
liberation in the unalloyed clarity of the Self. (V. 558).

This however, is a process that has a final twist.  It is the person making the journey that must end, not the journey itself:

I saw Him as the wise One with the power to destroy the effects of my deeds; little did I realize then that He would destroy
me as well!  With a love greater than even that of a mother, He put an end to me, deeming it most beneficial for me. (V.462).

The loss of ego-self is a terrifying prospect indeed for the unenlightened devotee.  Smt. T.R. Kanakamma records in her Tamizh
biography of Muruganar how, on the occasion of two of his early visits to the Asramam, he felt compelled to flee the presence
of Sri Bhagavan due to intense fear he felt, as Sri Bhagavan's physical form became incandescent with light and the world around
Muruganar and his own sense of identity melted away.  To step into the seeming void beyond the mind and senses requires
a leap of faith:

Know that those glorious feet which lie beyond the realm of thought are perceived differently according to the minds that
reflect upon them.  To those who affirm their reality, they are the light of the eternal, and to those who deny it, they are the
dark void of nothingness.  (Verse 595).

contd.,

Arunachala Siva.     
           

Subramanian.R

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Re: A Devotee' Journey - Mountain Path - April - June 2009:
« Reply #5 on: July 11, 2013, 12:22:42 PM »

continues....

Such Muruganar tells us, is the paradox of the devotee's arduous journey:

They are the feet that cannot be gained without the loss of the very self that set out to attain them in the first place
through its own efforts.

Murungar's verses show us how, having prepared himself through the assiduous application of Self Inquiry, he was able,
through he power of love and devotion, to make that final leap of faith, and allow the knot of the mind that bound him to his
physical body to be finally and irrevocably severed:

The Noble Lord, who dwells in the auspicious mauna that shines as the life of transcendent grace, took my very heart for His
temple.  As He cut through the knot (chit jada granthi) that heart grew and grew, expanding and blossoming to become pure
expanse of the Self.  (Verse 110).

The translator' note:  In late 1992, I was approached by the late A.R. Natarajan, to translate into English the long out of print
Tamizh text of Sri Ramana Anubhuti Part I.  This was eventually published in 1998, under the title Non Dual Consciousness -
The Flood Tide of Bliss, Sri Ramana Anubhuti.  Meanwhile, in 2004, Sri Ramanasramam republished the Tamizh text in the
revised format by Muruganar himself with the help of Sadhu Om, now re-titled Sri Guru Ramana Prasadam; this revision was
unpublished and unknown to me at the time of the original English translation. In 2006, therefore, I undertook the task of
re-translating the work in its new format, an undertaking which enabled me to remedy many of the shortcomings of the
original translation, and to bring to the work the fruits of what knowledge and experience of Tamizh and of the works of Sri
Bhagavan and Muruganar I had gained in the intervening years.  This task is now complete and I am proud to be able to offer
to devotees, this glowing portrait of Sri Bhagavan and His teachings as seen through the eyes of His most renowned devotee
Mukavi Kanna Muruganar.

concluded.

Arunachala Siva.