Author Topic: The Path of Sri Ramana Part One by Sadhu Om/some reflections from the book  (Read 9369 times)


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There is a difference between the yoga which has been taught by the sastras and the Self-enquiry taught by Sri Bhagavan. Accepting the wrong understanding of ordinary people, 'I am this body, I have a separate existence', as the base, the sastras teach the four yogas, namely karma yoga,bhakti yoga, raja yoga and jnana yoga:-

1. 'Act without attachment to the fruit thereof', says karma
2. 'Do not love any other thing; love God alone', says bhakti
3. 'By separating yourself from God, you have degraded
yourself into a petty individual soul (jiva); go and unite
with Him again', says raja yoga.
4. 'Know God', says jnana yoga.

In each of these four yogas, there must be an 'I': an 'I' to do action without attachment to the fruit thereof; an 'I' to love God; an 'I' that separated itself from God and that must now go back and unite with Him; and an 'I' which was so far ignorant of God and which is now trying to know Him. Thus, in all these four yogas the individual existence of an 'I'in the form of 'I am this' or ?I am so-and-so? is indispensable. Without this 'I', no yoga can be performed!Then, is it not necessary first of all to find out: 'Who is this I? Does he actually exist? Does he have a separate existence? Is he real?' Instead of frittering away one?s energy in attempting to attain the much cherished Godhood through the four yogas, it would be easier, more important and also best to know oneself first by scrutinizing 'Who am I ? what is my true nature or existence?'. Until and unless a doubt-free knowledge of oneself is obtained, however much one may know about God by reading about Him, hearing  about Him, or seeing visions of Him, doubts and miseries will be rising in one again and again ? because there is an 'I'. It is only after accepting the conception that this 'I' who is to perform the four yogas is a separate entity that the sastras have given us the teachings on them.

But Bhagavan Sri Ramana does not at all allow us to accept this conception!

 First set about to enquire and know yourself, and after knowing yourself, if 'you are still in need of anything (God, liberation, happiness, etc.), let us look to it then', advises Sri Bhagavan !
The 'I am   the body'-consciousness (dehatma-buddhi) is the individual soul (jiva); in other words, the nature of the individual soul is nothing but the wrong knowledge 'I am the body'.

Since the body is insentient, it has no 'I'-consciousness; hence this consciousness (which rises as'I am the body') cannot be said to be the body! Can we thencall it Self (atman), since it is an 'I'-consciousness? No, we cannot, for rising and setting is not the nature of Self. The nature of Self is existence-consciousness (sat-chit), shining ever as 'I am' without rising and setting. thus, this
consciousness 'I am the body', which has a rising and a setting, cannot be said to be Self either. It is neither Self,which is consciousness, nor the body, which is insentient! It is a ghost-like false appearance, taking the size of the body as its own size, being limited by time and space, being a mixure of the quality of the body (i.e. rising and setting) and the quality of Self (i.e. shining as an 'I'-consciousness), but at the same time alien to both of them, and rising as a knot (granthi) between Self (chit) and the insentient body (jada)? chit-jada-granthi. This is the ego, otherwise called  bondage, soul, subtle body, samsara (the mundane state of activity) mind and so on.

Presupposing the existence of a non-existent thing and then wanting to get salvation for that imaginary 'I', you have to start and try to do so through the above-said four paths of yoga. When your sadhanas themselves become a means of giving life to the non-existent ego, how can they destroy it? To do any sadhana except Self-enquiry (atmavichara), the existence of the mind (jiva) is indispensable.
For, how to perform those sadhanas without the mind? To try to destroy the ego by sadhanas other than Self-enquiry is to be just like a thief turning himself into a policeman to catch the thief who is none but himself. Only Self-enquiry can reveal the truth that the ego (mind or jiva) has no existence whatsoever!

So do not accept this ego, the truth of which you have not yet found out by scrutiny; deny it by giving no importance to its existence, root it out and burn it to extinction by attending to how or from what (whence) it rises! Instead of doing so, if you accept it as a real entity even before enquiring and finding out what it is (i.e. before finding out 'Who am I?'), it itself will be a fetter to you and will create many non-existent obstacles (such as lust, anger, etc.) for you, and will then involve you in the aforesaid unnecessary efforts to overcome them' ? thus says Sri Bhagavan.

Sri Bhagavan used to say that nishkamya karma (desireless action) cannot be done so long as there is a sense of doership while performing the action. Whether one wants the result of the action or
not, it will certainly give him the fruit since he remains as an entity, the doer. So it should be corrected to 'nishkartritva karma' (doershipless action) instead of nishkamya karma. Thus, the real defect in performing karmas is the doership and not the expectation.



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Re: The Path of Sri Ramana Part One by Sadhu Om/some reflections from the book
« Reply #1 on: February 14, 2015, 01:15:39 AM »

Bhagavan Sri Ramana starts His teaching, 'Who am I ?', taking Self, the state of true existence (sat bhava), to be our basic knowledge. Therefore, He does not at all
 allow us to accept the non-existent ego, the sense of individuality (Jiva bhava). But in other paths, that is, in yogas, instructions are given taking as our basic knowledge the sense of individuality (jiva bhava), a false existence which we have accepted with out prior scrutiny35. That is why in the sastras the process is named ?union? or ?yoga?. If so, some may doubt thus: ?Are all the Vedantic sastras wrong, and have they cheated the aspirants? Can sastraic statements be false? Or are we to conclude that Bhagavan Sri Ramana has condemned the sastras ?'
No, it is not so, Neither do the sastras tell lies, nor does Bhagavan Sri Ramana condemn the sastras !! The fact of the matter is this: the absolute truth (paramarthika sastya), which is the very life of the sastras, has been rendered as if lifeless in the course of time by the wrong explanations of mere bookworms, who have mastered only the letter but have not understood the true import of the sastras. The true import of the sastras cannot be learnt except from Jnanis, that is, those who have had and live in the direct experience of Reality; no one can understand the true spirit behind any of the sastras merely by his command over language or by his keenness and superiority of intellect. We can clarify this point with two examples.

Firstly: Let us take the mahavakya 'That thou art' (tat twam asi). We should note the difference between the decision of Sri Bhagavan and that of the learned pandits with regard to what an aspirant (mumukshu) should do as soon as he hears these divine and significant words. Having mastered the sastras, these scholars, who lecture on them with their peculiar interpretations to laymen, begin to do japa of (i.e. to repeat) the mahavakyas such as 'That thou art' (tat twam asi), 'I am Brahman' (aham brahmasmi) and 'I am He' (soham), or they begin to think (meditate) 'I am Brahman', They also instruct others to do japa and meditation in the same manner. In place of the former thought, 'I am a man or jiva', they now have, a different thought, 'I am Brahman'. This is nothing but replacing one thought by another! It is not the thought-free state of Selfabidance (nishtha)! Not knowing the correct practice which is to be done as soon as the mahavakyas are thus heard, repetition (japa) of them or meditation (dhyana) upon them are performed; but, being fully aware that such wrong practices would and could never bestow the experience of true knowledge (jnana), even though practised for years together, Sri Bhagavan at once puts the aspirant on the rightpath by instructing him thus:-

'Since the sastras proclaim, 'Thou art That which
is called the Supreme', and since That itself
always shines as Self, for one to meditate 'I am
That and not this (the body and so on)', instead of
knowing oneself through the enquiry 'What am I?'
and abiding as Self, is indeed due to lack of
strength (of mind) !'

As soon as the sastras declare, 'Thou art That', turning his attention Self wards, 'I am what? Who am I' should be the immediate reaction of an aspirant; it is not meant that he should meditate 'I am not this body, I am that Brahman.' The purpose of the sastras in saying 'That thou art' is to make the aspirant turn his attention towards Self, 'Who am I?'. On the other hand, by turning the mahavakyas' I am That', 'I am He? and 'I am Brahman' into japa and meditation, not only is the very purpose of the sastras defeated, but also the aspirants deprive themselves of the proper benefit they should have obtained from the sastras, do they not?
 Sri Bhagavan has neither condemned the sastras, nor shown them to be false; nor have the sastras stated untruths.

The one Supreme Thing (para vastu), assuming the form of various Veda-rishis, gave the sastras to the world according to the development of the people and their power of understanding at that time. Later on, that same Supreme Thing appears in the form of various Jnana-Gurus and makes clear ? through so many new methods which will suit the intellectual development of the people in that particular age ? its own supreme truth, which it had already revealed through the sastras, but which had been twisted and rendered lifeless by people of perverted intellect who did not properly understand it! (In this context, the reader may refer to the Bhagavad Gita, chapter four, verses 1 to 3.)

'Reason does not contradict, but fulfils. No Sage has
ever come to contradict'. Jesus Christ meant the very same
thing when He said, 'I am not come to destroy, but to fulfil'
(Sermon on the Mount) !

The revolutionary teachings of Bhagavan Sri Ramana,who steer clear of all the roundabout routes in the sastras and shows the aspirants the direct and easy path, will appear to be a condemnation only in the eyes of those pandits who are attracted and deluded by the darkness of the vast forest of the sastras, and who never had the benefit of their study but suffer from mere scriptural fanaticism, and who use their learning only to show off their skill in intellectual acrobatics on the platforms and to write commentaries in bombastic style on the sastras in order to earn name and fame; but those sincere aspirants who want to have the real benefit of the sastras will see the teachings of Bhagavan Sri Ramana as the crest-jewel adorning the crown of the sastras, imparting a new life and fresh glory to them !

There is a difference between the technique of the Self-enquiry revealed by Sri Bhagavan and that of the Self-enquiry which we have learnt from the sastras all this time. For ages past the sastras have been declaring, 'Who are you' ' You are not the body, prana, mind, intellect, ego or the like; you are Self (atman); you are consciousness, which is Self'. However, they do not go beyond telling us, 'Eliminate the five sheaths, which are non-Self, as 'not I' not I'(neti, neti)'. They do not explain who is to eliminate or the practical method how to eliminate, nor do they give in a precise and direct manner the proper clues to eliminate the non-Self. That is why even those who have made an extensive study of Vedanta are found to be devoid of the practical experience of jnana, which is the loss of the ego, the 'I am the body' ? consciousness (dehatma-buddhi). This is not only the case with those who study the sastras and yet are not given to practice, but it is also the case with those earnest seekers who are sincerely attempting to put into practice what they have learnt from the sastras; though they repeatedly struggle in their thwarted- attempts, they are not able to achieve the direct experience of the non-dual knowledge. On the other hand, jnanis, who art permanently established in the natural Self-consciousness, assert, 'That experience of Self is here, now and ever-attained'! The reason why Sri Bhagavan and those of His disciples who came to Him solely for the experience of Self-knowledge rejoice and exclaim, 'Ah ! Knowing Self is the easiest thing! Indeed, it is the easiest!', must be that on the path of Selfenquiry some new clue which is refined and easy to put into practice has been given by Sri Bhagavan.



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Re: The Path of Sri Ramana Part One by Sadhu Om/some reflections from the book
« Reply #2 on: February 14, 2015, 01:56:44 AM »
On hearing the expression 'Self-enquiry' (atmavichara), people generally take it to mean either enquiring into Self or enquiring about Self. But how to do so? Who is to enquire into Self, or who is to enquire about Self? What does enquiry actually mean? Such questions naturally arise, do they not?
As soon as we hear the terms 'Atma-vlchara' or 'Brahma--vichara', many of us naturally consider that there is some sort of effulgence or a formless power within our body and that we are going to find out what it is, where it is, and how it is. This idea is not correct. Because, Self (atman) does not exist as an object to be known by us who seek to know it ! Since Self shines as the very nature of him who tries to know it! Self-enquiry does not mean enquiring into a second or third person object. It is in order to make us understand this from the very beginning that Bhagavan Ramana named Self-enquiry as 'Who am I ?', thus drawing our attention directly to the first person. In this question, Who am I?', 'I am' denotes Self and 'who' stands for the enquiry.

Who is it that is to enquire into Self? For whom is this enquiry necessary? Is it for Self? No, Since Self is the everattained, ever-pure, ever-free and ever-blissful Whole, It will  not do any enquiry, nor does it need to ! All right, then it is only the ego that needs to do the enquiry. Can this ego know Self? As said in the previous chapters, this ego is a false appearance, having no existence of its own. It is a petty infinitesimal feeling of 'I' which subsides and loses its form in sleep. So, can Self become an object that could be known by the ego? No, the ego cannot know Self! Thus, when it turns out that Self-enquiry is unnecessary for Self and Selfknowledge is impossible for the ego, the questions arise: 'What then is the practical method of doing Self-enquiry? Why is this term 'Self-enquiry' found in the sastras ?'Are we not to scrutinize thus and find out? Let us do so.

There is a difference between the sense in which the term 'enquiry' is used by Sri Bhagavan and the way in
 which the sastras use it. The sastras advocate negating the five sheaths, namely the body, prana, mind, intellect and the darkness of ignorance, as 'not I, not I' (neti, neti). But who is to negate them, and how? If the mind (or the intellect) is to negate them, it can at best negate only the insentient physical body and the prana, which are objects seen by it. Beyond this, how can the mind negate itself, its own form? And when it cannot even negate itself, how can it negate the other two sheaths, the intellect (vijnana-maya kosa) and the darkness of ignorance (anandamaya kosa), which are beyond its range of perception? During the time of enquiry, therefore, what more can the mind do to remain as Self except to repeat mentally, 'I am not this body, I am not this prana'? From this, it is clear that 'enquiry' is not a process of one thing enquiring about another thing. That is why the enquiry 'Who am I?' taught by Sri Bhagavan should be taken to mean Self-attention (that is, attention merely to the first person, the feeling 'I').

The nature of the mind is to attend always to things other than itself, that is, to know only second and third persons. If the mind in this way attends to a thing, it means that it is clinging (attaching itself) to that thing. Attention itself is attachment! Since the mind is to think about the body and prana ? though with the intention of deciding 'this is not!, this is not!' such attention is only a means of becoming attached to them and it cannot be a means of negating them! This is what is experienced by any true aspirant in his practice. Then what is the secret hidden in this?

Since, whether we know it or not, Self, which is now wrongly considered by us to be unknown, is verily our reality, the very nature of our (the Supreme Self's) attention itself is Grace (anugraha). This means that whatever thing we attend to, witness, observe or look at, that thing is nourished and will flourish, being blessed by Grace. Though one now thinks that one is an individual soul, since one's power of attention is in fact nothing but a reflection of the 'knowing-power' (chit-sakti) of Self, that on which it falls or is fixed is nourished by Grace and flourishes more and more!

In Sanskrit, the terms 'atman' and 'aham' both mean 'I'. Hence, 'atma-vichara' means an attention seeking 'Who is this I?' It may rather be called 'I-attention', 'Self-attention' or 'Self-abidance'. The consciousness 'I' thus pointed out here is the first person feeling. But as we have already said, it is to be understood that the consciousness mixed with adjuncts as 'I am this' or 'I am that' is the ego (ahankara) or the individual soul (jiva), whereas the unalloyed consciousness devoid of adjuncts and shining alone as 'I-I' (or 'I am that I am') is Self (atman), the Absolute (brahman) or God (iswara). Does it not amount to saying then that the first person consciousness, ?I?, can be either the ego or Self? Since all people generally take the ego-feeling ('I am the body') to be 'I', the ego is also given the name 'self' (atman) and is called 'individual self' (jivatma) by some sastras even now. It is only for this reason that even the attention to the ego, 'What is it?' or 'Who is it?', is also named by the sastras as 'Self-enquiry' (atma-vichara). Is it not clear, however, that Self, the existence-consciousness, neither needs to do any enquiry nor can be subjected to any enquiry? It is just in order to rectify this defect that Bhagavan Ramana named it 'Who am 1?' rather than using the ancient term 'Self-enquiry' (atma-vichara)! The ego, the feeling of 'I', generally taken by people to be the first person consciousness, is not the real first person consciousness; Self alone is the real first person consciousness. The ego feeling, which is merely a shadow of it, is a false first person consciousness. When one enquires into this ego, what it is or who it is, it disappears because it is really nonexistent, and the enquirer, having nothing more to do, is established in Self as Self.

'After coming to know that the final decision of all the scriptures (sastras) is that such destruction of the mind alone is liberation (mukti), to read scriptures unlimitedly is fruitless. In order to destroy the mind, it is necessary to enquire who one is; then how, instead of enquiring thus within oneself, to enquire and know who one, is in  scriptures ? For Rama to know himself to be Rama, is a
mirror necessary ? (That is to say, for one to know oneself through Self-attention to be 'I am', are scriptures necessary ?) 'Oneself'is within the five sheaths, whereas the scriptures are outside them. Therefore, how can oneself, who is to be attended to within, setting aside even the five sheaths, be found in scriptures? Since scripture-enquiry is futile, one should give it up and take to Self-enquiry' ? thus says Bhagavan Sri Ramana.

By means of an example, let us make more clear this technique (sadhana) of fixing the attention only on Self, which has been described above in the words of Sri Bhagavan. But from the very outset it must be conceded that, since the nature of Self is unique and beyond comparison, it cannot be explained fully and accurately by anyone through any example whatsoever. Though most of
the examples which have been given in accordance with the intellectual development of the people and the different circumstances of their times may be appropriate to a great extent, these insentient (jada) examples can never fully explain Self, the sentient (chit). The example of a cinema projector often pointed out by Sri Bhagavan and the fallowing example of a reflected ray of the sun from a mirror are given solely with the view that they may remove many doubts of the readers and clarify their understanding. But one should not fall into the error of stretching the example too far, as did the blind man who concluded, 'My child swallowed a crane', when he was told, 'Milk is white'.

A broken piece of mirror is lying on the ground in the open space, in full sunshine. The sunlight that falls on that piece of mirror is, reflected, and the reflected light enters a nearby dark room and falls on its inner wall. The ray from he mirror to the inside wall of the dark room is a reflected ray of the sun. By means of this reflected ray, a man in the dark room is able to see the objects inside that room. The reflected light, when seen on the wall, is of the same form or shape as the piece of mirror (triangular, square or round). But the direct sunlight (the original light, the source of the reflected ray) in the open space shines indivisible, single, all-pervading and unlimited by any specific form or shape. Self, our existence-consciousness, is similar to the direct sunlight in the open space. The ego-feeling or mindknowledge, the 'I am the body' ? consciousness, is similar to the reflected ray stretching from the mirror to the inner wall of the room. Since Self-consciousness is limitless like
the vast, all-pervading direct sunlight, it has no formadjunct (rupa-upadhi). Since, just as the reflected ray takes on the limitations and size of the piece of mirror, the egofeeling experiences the size and form of a body as 'I', it has adjuncts. Just as the objects in the dark room are cognized by means of the reflected light, the body and world are cognized only by means of the mind knowledge.

'Although the world and the mind rise and set together,
it is by the mind alone that the world shines...'.

'Ulladhu Narpadhu', verse 7


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Re: The Path of Sri Ramana Part One by Sadhu Om/some reflections from the book
« Reply #3 on: February 14, 2015, 02:03:03 AM »
Dear Friends,

This is something which i like to read over and over again,and which is helping me to understand Bhagavan better,and even some of  difficulties i am facing. I think it is extremely helpful if it is read carefully and with proper attention. This is the only reason for my posting. Not to point that this teaching is the best,but just to show this simple thing i have read here. I personally think that there should be no 'paths',the way they are termed and divided these days.

With love and prayers,
« Last Edit: February 14, 2015, 02:57:41 AM by Jewell »

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simply stop telling the story of the self and see who you are without it