Author Topic: Need for a -living- master?  (Read 7208 times)

Om Hridayam

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Need for a -living- master?
« on: May 02, 2016, 10:20:43 AM »
Hello,
I have been a devotee/lover of Ramana's for several years now and have recently read a book by David Godman about Lakshmana Swamy No Mind I Am The Self... in it there are assertions that you need a living guru to receive grace, David even quotes Ramana and asserts that is what he meant. This question has bothered me since reading it. Have I been wrong in thinking Ramana is sufficient, that his grace can come to even me, who has never had the chance to meet him in person? That Ramana is my guru, my self my love I have had no doubt for a long time, but these assertions that it will not be as effective for my spiritual life as meeting a living guru.... what do you think?

Subramanian.R

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Re: Need for a -living- master?
« Reply #1 on: May 02, 2016, 10:48:25 AM »
Any living Guru may become dead one day.   Then what will you do?

Bhagavan is not dead.  He has left the body but He is ever present not only inside the Asramam but
everywhere, provided you keep that belief.

He is also in everybody's Heart, as one's Atma.

Arunachala Siva.   

Sadhak

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Re: Need for a -living- master?
« Reply #2 on: May 02, 2016, 11:11:34 AM »
Quote
in it there are assertions that you need a living guru to receive grace, David even quotes Ramana and asserts that is what he meant

Yes a living ISO certified guru is needed indeed! ;)   What will they think of next?

Though he is a good writer Godman has his own peculiar interpretations that are best ignored.   

Jewell

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Re: Need for a -living- master?
« Reply #3 on: May 02, 2016, 05:09:52 PM »
Dear Om Hridayam,


Guru,Bhagavan Ramana and Grace are one and the same. There is no such thing like receiving Grace. Our very Self Is the Grace.

Sure,i know You meant that in relative therm,quoting the book,etc.
..
Bhagavan teaching is based on this,that we are not bodies,and He is not the body,but ever shining Self,the Heart of the Hearts.

I think Mr. David really did not meant that in his book. Maybe it is said like something desirable,but not that it is impossible to be 'realized' without a living Guru. More,i believe it has something with that saying i had opportunity to find in many David's interviews,considering that final touch many seekers need,at the end of their sadhana. That last push. Which these Masters said it was Their experience (how i understood).
 
But i have read many biographies of Saints,and not all had this experience. Also,what is most important,that touch,if needed,can come from so unexpected sources,not necessary known man,or someone called Guru.

What is impossible for the God,for our own Atma! All we see is That!

So,do not worry about such thing. Bhagavan is closer to You than anything else. Your Heart is Bhagavan. Any living Guru is there only to point to that.

I am sure that to be in the presence of Bhagavan is of tremendous value,and of great help! But not as a must. If we are receptive our Very Heart and Soul,will lead us through everything. Every man,every experience,everything will be the messenger. If we are not,even the presence will not help much.
Beside,if we need such contact,it will be provided. Guru will find us.

But,as i said,true Guru,true Bhagavan is not he body,like You are not the body. It is our very Self.
So,yes,Bhagavan is sufficient.

Bhagavan is all there Is...


With love and prayers,


You say I am going away, but where can I go?
I am always here.

Bhagavan Sri Ramana Maharshi
« Last Edit: May 02, 2016, 05:12:58 PM by Jewell »

Om Hridayam

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Re: Need for a -living- master?
« Reply #4 on: May 04, 2016, 12:43:49 AM »
it seems like David got that idea from Lakshmana and Mathru directly. Even with something like Advaita there are going to be differences between teachers. Seems to me this is inevitable in maya. But what surprised me was David distorting Ramana's words. I know there are many quotes from Bhagavan that would repudiate this idea. I am keeping an eye out for them specifically now.

Ravi.N

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Re: Need for a -living- master?
« Reply #5 on: May 04, 2016, 07:19:59 AM »
8th August, 1946 (55) GURI (CONCENTRATION) ALONE IS THE GURU (THE PRECEPTOR)
Yesterday morning Yogi Ramiah questioned Bhagavan thus: "Swami, some disciples of Sai Baba worship a picture of him and say that it is their Guru: How could that be?
They can worship it as God, but what benefit could they get by worshipping it as their Guru?" Bhagavan replied, "They secure concentration by that." The Yogi said, "That is all very well, I agree. It may be to some extent a sadhana in concentration. But isn't a Guru required for that concentration?"
"Certainly, but after all, Guru only means guri, concentration" said Bhagavan. The Yogi said, "How can a lifeless picture help in developing deep concentration? It requires a living Guru who could show it in practice. It is possible perhaps for Bhagavan to attain perfection without a living Guru but is it possible for people like myself?"
"That is true. Even so, by worshipping a lifeless portrait the mind gets concentrated to a certain extent. That concentration will not remain constant unless one knows one's own Self by enquiring. For that enquiry, a Guru's help is necessary. That is why the ancients say that the enquiry should not stop with mere initiation. However, even if it does, the initiation will not be without benefit. It will bear fruit some time or other. But there should be no ostentation in this initiation. If the mind is pure, all this
will bear fruit; otherwise, it goes to waste like a seed sown in barren soil," said Bhagavan.
"I don't know, Swami. You may say that a hundred times or a thousand times. To be sure of one's own progress, a living Guru like you is required. How can we give the status of a Guru to a lifeless portrait?" he said. With a smile on his face, Bhagavan said, "Yes, yes," nodding his head and then kept silent. Brother, all I can say is that that smile and that silence were radiant with knowledge and wisdom. How can I describe it?

Letters from Sri Ramanasramam-Suri Nagamma
« Last Edit: May 04, 2016, 07:37:58 AM by Ravi.N »

Ravi.N

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Re: Need for a -living- master?
« Reply #6 on: May 04, 2016, 08:05:41 AM »
22nd October, 1947 (151) ON BEING THE MASTER
Bhagavan's body has become much reduced of late and some of the devotees have been saying that it is due to his not taking enough of nourishing food. Having heard this a Bengali lady brought some pieces of guava sprinkled with salt and chilly powder, and said beseechingly, "Bhagavan, you are getting very thin; it is good to eat fruit like this. Please accept my humble offering."
Bhagavan said with a smile, "Who is it that is thinner? You or I?" She said it was Bhagavan.
Bhagavan: "That is nice. Who exactly has grown thin will be known if the weight is taken. If you like, you may eat those fruits every day yourself. Why this for me? It is all
right; you have brought them to day, but please do not bring them again." So saying, Bhagavan took a few pieces and said to his attendants, "See how lean she is! Please give her several of these pieces and distribute the rest to the others."
One of those who could venture to talk to Bhagavan more freely said, "Bhagavan, you have recently very much reduced the amount of food you take daily. It's not good."
"Oho!" said Bhagavan. "Who told you that? I am taking whatever I require. What good would there be in my taking more food and getting fat? By getting fat, do you know how many ailments one suffers? The more you eat, the greater will grow the strength of the ailment. If you eat just what is necessary, ailments will be avoided."
"Why have you given up taking even pepper-water and buttermilk?" said another devotee.
"You enquire why?" said Bhagavan. "If you observe what is being done when the meals are served, you yourself will understand. Buttermilk is brought into the dining hall in big buckets with large ladles. When taking out the buttermilk for serving me, the ladle is full, but when the same is served to the very next person, the ladle is only half full. When I saw that, I got disgusted and felt that I myself should not take any more than half a ladle-full."
"Why not at least take fruit juice?" said the devotee. "So this has started again!" said Bhagavan. "Everyone says the same thing. How will all that be possible for me?"
"What do you mean, Bhagavan? We get quite a lot of fruit. Why say that it is impossible? You yourself have stated that what is offered voluntarily can be accepted."
"So that is it!" said Bhagavan. "If I did say that such offerings could be accepted, did that mean that the people around could be ignored?"
"True," said the devotee, "but quite a lot of fruit is received; it can be distributed to the others too."
"All is very well," said Bhagavan, "but where have we the wherewithal to give them all? The fruit is shown here to the Swami as an offering, a naivedya, and then taken away. It is kept locked in the store room. The keys are in the charge of the store-keeper. Who will go and ask him? In the same way, the various articles here are in the custody of someone or other; I have none. This is the result of being a spiritual preceptor!" said Bhagavan smiling.
It seems that some fifteen days back, someone brought some green pepper. Bhagavan had that pepper, some myrobalams, acetic acid, salt and other ingredients mixed,
ground and made into little pills. Today Sivanandan came in to enquire whether he could get the pills for Bhagavan, as they are supposed to be good against phlegm and Bhagavan had been using them now and then during the cold weather. As Sivanandan had not enquired about them all these fifteen days and is doing it only now, Bhagavan said with a laugh, "I see, you have now remembered about them. Yes, yes, you have been waiting to see whether I would ask for them, and thereby test me. Were I to ask, you would say, 'What is this? Swami has begun to ask about everything and is worrying us'. What am I to do? They feel that if they but salute me once, I should thereafter do everything they want. People say that spiritual preceptorship (swamitvam), is a matter for happiness. But see, this is what it is to be a spiritual preceptor. Would it not be good if a book is written on spiritual preceptorship?"
"Bhagavan is saying something unusual", said a devotee. Bhagavan replying with a smile, said, "What is there unusual about it? It is all true. 'Swami is seated on a sofa
with a soft mattress spread on it. What is there for him to worry about?' That is what people think. But do they know about our troubles? That is why I say that it would be good for a big book to be written on spiritual preceptorship. If all the things that have happened here during the last years had been written in the form of a book, it would be as big as the Mahabharatham! Anyone who cares to write it, may do so even now!"
he said.
"Who would write all that?" said a devotee.
"Why not?" said Bhagavan. "If a book recording these events is written, all people will then know that spiritual preceptorship consists in saying, 'Yes, yes,' and 'All right, all right'. What is the difficulty in writing about it?". So saying, Bhagavan looked at me and with a laugh said, "Why? If you like, you can write it!"

Letters from Sri Ramanasramam
« Last Edit: May 04, 2016, 08:15:08 AM by Ravi.N »

Ravi.N

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Re: Need for a -living- master?
« Reply #7 on: May 04, 2016, 08:22:25 AM »
Living with a satguru is a discipline that calls for a great degree of alertness and introspection and self abnegation and surrender.

Ravi.N

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Re: Need for a -living- master?
« Reply #8 on: May 04, 2016, 08:48:52 AM »
Once Sri Annamalai swami was distributing sweets to devotees as prasad after Sri Bhagavan had taken a piece......and as he turned a corner where no one was in sight,quietly he popped a sweet into his mouth and as he came into Sri Bhagavan's presence,Bhagavan asked him"What?you helped yourself with two shares?".Swami immediately understood that wherever he was physically,he was always under the watchful care and presence  of Bhagavan.....and this understanding is what is worthy of emulation by all aspirants......This is the significance of 'Living guru'.

Namaskar

 

Om Hridayam

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Re: Need for a -living- master?
« Reply #9 on: May 05, 2016, 04:44:51 PM »
Ravi, are these examples of your views or the general concensus among Bhagavans devotees?

Ravi.N

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Re: Need for a -living- master?
« Reply #10 on: May 06, 2016, 06:40:34 AM »
Om Hridayam,
Jewel has covered all aspects on this topic......I do not think we can look for a consensus here.In the Mahabharata,there is the wonderful story of Ekalavya who wished to learn archery from the Great teacher Dronacharya who taught it to to both pandavas like Arjuna and kauvravas like Duryodhana......Rejected admission by the teacher,Ekalavya set up a clay image of Dronacharya and worshipping him as such learnt archery on his own and through sheer practise he developed such a mastery that he rivalled Arjuna.....Dronacharya summoned him and sought Guru dakshina(fees) and Ekalvya was prepared to do anything by way of such an offering....Dronacharya asked for his right finger and Ekalavya without hesitation cut it and offered it to the preceptor.....fully knowing that he could never pursue archery for life......What  tremendous Guru Bhakti,what commitment.....we still recall that great character Ekalavya and remember his great sacrifice.
Ultimately what matters is whether one is a 'disciple' or not......but this in no way comes in the way to acknowledge the fact that if one is privileged to have a 'Living Master',it may well turn out to be a huge advantage.......the guidance and upliftment that this sort of a contact offers cannot be underestimated.......and it often plays a crucial role to turn one's whole future around its axis and put one on a solid track to spiritual progress.
We may say 'Sri Bhagavan is a living presence','He is the ever present Atman' etc,etc.....but can we say all this had Bhagavan be not born amidst us?.....The 'Self' or 'inner guru' ,so to say was there even before the advent of a Master,but then the birth of a great one does open up access for many others........and this simply cannot be denied.
Ultimately it is spiritual earnestness that brings in whatever is needed and this includes contact with a 'Living Master' if so ordained and with that sort of a 'touch'(not necessarily physical),the disciple is put on a fast forward mode(as far as vasana elimination is concerned) and is sure to Realize what he or she always was,the Self.
TGN,the master that I had the opportunity to be in touch used to mention that  contact with the Guru loosens up the sanchita karmas that are as if screwed tightly onto the bound soul........the energy field of the master,without any volition on his part loosens up the screws as it were and it eases the path for the disciple who still has to follow it up and reach the summum Bonum of Life,Self Realization.

Namaskar
« Last Edit: May 06, 2016, 09:48:15 AM by Ravi.N »

Om Hridayam

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Re: Need for a -living- master?
« Reply #11 on: May 07, 2016, 06:24:44 AM »
Thanks for responding. I live in America and I have loved Ramana for several decades I have always had the opinion he is all I need. In my journey I have met countless false teachers... I grew tired of the fact that none of them measured up to Ramana. Not even close. I think Ramana is the highest incarnation of several centuries and felt, like I said, that he is all I need. But since reading that book I have had doubts if the idea I have about this is accurate. This is why I am asking for views from those who are immersed in the culture. I can't tell if my opinion is one  I came up with -or- if Ramana himself made it known that his grace is available for generations past his incarnation. Did people have to be in his presence or does it carry on far after his bodies "passing". I have always felt this to be true, but I am not unaware of historically Vedic scripture has called for a living teacher....

Sadhak

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Re: Need for a -living- master?
« Reply #12 on: May 07, 2016, 07:23:46 AM »
Quote
if Ramana himself made it known that his grace is available for generations past his incarnation. Did people have to be in his presence or does it carry on far after his bodies "passing"

It may be worthwhile to ask

1. Is grace limited to any particular incarnation (meaning body)?
2. Is there anything such as less grace and more grace?
3. Is there any point (for a true sadhaka or seeker) in comparing different incarnations/jnanis and ranking them?

Many have said that there are no jnanis, only jnanam. If one accepts it, then the different teachings are only different manifestations of jnanam that has no limitations in time and space.


Om Hridayam

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Re: Need for a -living- master?
« Reply #13 on: May 07, 2016, 09:00:33 AM »
Yes, Sadhak. This is how I've seen it. I just want to make sure I'm clear on how those directly in Ramana's lineage see this.

Jewell

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Re: Need for a -living- master?
« Reply #14 on: May 08, 2016, 04:35:32 PM »
Dear Om Hridayam,

Quote
I grew tired of the fact that none of them measured up to Ramana. Not even close. I think Ramana is the highest incarnation of several centuries and felt, like I said, that he is all I need. But since reading that book I have had doubts if the idea I have about this is accurate. This is why I am asking for views from those who are immersed in the culture. I can't tell if my opinion is one  I came up with -or- if Ramana himself made it known that his grace is available for generations past his incarnation. Did people have to be in his presence or does it carry on far after his bodies "passing". I have always felt this to be true, but I am not unaware of historically Vedic scripture has called for a living teacher....

Like You and Sadhak said,there are indeed very few genuine Masters these days. And it seems to be very dangerous to trust just anyone,or even to look for a 'Living Guru'. I saw very charismatic people posing as Gurus,or even,not being aware of ignorance.

It is indeed the fact that Bhagavan presence while still 'in' the body mattered much to all who came to be in touch with Him,and humanity in general. He was truly the Giant among the Saints,true Sage. There is no Realized man who did not said that,and even we are aware of His Glory,like Sri Ravi said.
That is why i also think David's book was actually the story of Bhagavan Devotees,about the value and such Blessing of being with Bhagavan these days.
I cannot say for sure,coz i never read it,i know just some parts.

The need for a 'Living' Guru,well,it is all very individual. Bhagavan is All and everywhere at all times,and even more than that,and there are so many ways for us to learn and progress toward realization.

But Bhagavan was never just the body. His Presence will never cease. He is the Presence which made all this,all the world possible. That Absolute,God,that Power and Brilliance. And what is most important is that love toward Him,that same Love You mentioned,and our perseverance,devotion,and dedication to the Truth. I believe this is all that matters.

Because,that very fact that He is not limited to any type of body means,that other 'Living' Guru will be nobody else but Bhagavan Himself. He would come to aid if that is needed. With He i mean,God Supreme Himself.
What more,He is our Very Being,and there are so many ways for 'Him' to show to us what we need. He can sit in front of us and tell us all we need to hear.
But,where is the need for such thing,when Bhagavan teaching was always "Everything which comes and goes cannot be real.",any vision,any such transient thing?! So He always advised us to look into ourselves,to see who is the one who need all these answers... They all said to look into our hearts for answers...

So Love for Bhagavan is all we need. I strongly believe in this. If we need the presence of someone who is Realized and still among us,it will present itself.
But i would advise caution in these matters,having in mind current situation. I believe there are always Realized men,but not all love to teach,and not all love big attention and happenings around them. I have the feeling none of them loved this actually.  :) Sometimes i feel,i have such guidance of such Guru and Master,and i am not even aware of it. I just feel it,and almost sure in this. And that is actually Bhagavan,Maharaj,God Himself. Just in one more disguise...

So basically,we are aware of so little.

That is why i generally learned to avoid all types of spiritual organisations. They somehow cripple you,use this freedom... Sure,it is possible,not every organisations is like this,it is not same with everyone,and they can serve some part of the journey...coz we all need different approach. But it is very important to be open minded to the very end,so to say,not to enter into some sort of dogma,or fanaticism. To be open to learn every second of the journey. This is my experience so far.

Generally,i believe,pray to Bhagavan,love Bhagavan,and all else will fall in place without much effort.


With love and prayers,
« Last Edit: May 08, 2016, 06:07:26 PM by Jewell »