Author Topic: The Human Gospel of Ramana Maharshi  (Read 18443 times)

Krishnan

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The Human Gospel of Ramana Maharshi
« on: May 15, 2016, 09:51:18 PM »
Om Namo Bhagavate Sri Ramanaya
------------------------------------

Palani Swami - I

Palani Swami (Nandi) was a reclusive ascetic. He religiously worshipped a stone image of Ganesa on the banks of a pool in Tiruvannamalai. Every day, he ate a simple single meal of boiled rice without salt or side dishes. This simple ascetic had but one aim, and that was to recognize the Truth. One day, one of his friends told him, ―What is the use of worshipping this stone image? This will not give you anything. There is a God in flesh and blood. Like the five-year-old Dhruva, who did penance standing on one leg during ancient Puranic times, there is this young ascetic totally absorbed in samadhi. Go and serve him. Your life?s purpose will be achieved. Palani Swami went to Gurumurtam. Young Bhagavan was totally immersed in samadhi. The very first look at him shook Palani Swami to his roots. He saw not just God, but his guru as well. From that Darshan onward, for Palani Swami, there existed no world other than this supreme ascetic. Being an ascetic himself, he could perceive the boy-saint?s depth of spiritual surrender. He vowed to himself, ―Until death, I will serve this saint.


He then began to serve Bhagavan at Gurumurtam and saw to it that the insects did not bother his Master. While Bhagavan was immersed in Nirvikalpa samadhi (deep body-less repose), people would shake the body, try to talk to him, and touch him. Palani Swami's duty was to protect this physical form and also ensure that this highest spiritual state remained undisturbed. He would feed Bhagavan one cup of whatever food was collected. This way, some food was offered regularly to Bhagavan. He even raised a fence around Bhagavan who remained inside. Whenever Palani Swami needed to go outside, he would lock the door so that nobody could bother Bhagavan.

In this manner he attended to Bhagavan for eighteen months, day and night. Sometime later, Bhagavan had to move out of these premises. In the next compound, there was a mango orchard. Its owner requested Bhagavan and Palani Swami to come and stay there. There was only a thatched hut made of coconut leaves. Palani Swami and Bhagavan stayed there for six months, undisturbed, because the owner of the orchard strictly prohibited visitors. This was the time when another facet of Bhagavan opened up. Palani Swami was thirty years older than Bhagavan and held a fatherly affection for him. Like a caring father, Palani Swami would go to the town library and get books for his adopted son to read. Palani Swami's mother tongue was Malayalam. The books he brought were, naturally, in Malayalam. But Bhagavan had no knowledge of Malayalam, as his native language was Tamil. So Bhagavan requested him, ―Palani Swami, teach me Malayalam. Within a few hours, Bhagavan had picked up the language and was able to read, write, and understand it. (Kunju Swami told me that Bhagavan was an ekagrahi, which in Sanskrit means ―the one with one-pointed observation. Like the negative of a photograph, which, when once exposed, remains imprinted with the image, there was no need for him to refer to anything again without mental distractions; he had a clear memory.
« Last Edit: May 15, 2016, 10:08:40 PM by Krishnan »

Krishnan

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Re: The Human Gospel of Ramana Maharshi
« Reply #1 on: May 16, 2016, 12:08:33 AM »
Om Namo Bhagavate Sri Ramanaya
-------------------------------------

Palani Swami - II

It was thus that Bhagavan first read Kaivalya Navaneetam, Adyatma Ramayanam, Yoga Vashistam, Prabhulinga Lilai, and many other works. When reading some of these advaitic and vedantic books, he recognized that what he had experienced at the age of sixteen until the present moment was being described in these books. This was where he learned words like samadhi, atma, Maya, Darshan, and samsara. It was ―after the spiritual conversion, and was an affirmation, not a prerequisite. Arunachala, the still, omniscient Self, had dominion over Ramana Maharshi to abide in his state of awareness and let it be approachable throughout humanity by revealing that it is the same nameless Self, existence, or Heart, of every being. In order to carry out this communication and sharing with theists, some theist education was indispensable. Bhagavan's fluency in scriptures and vedantic language had its roots in this phase of his life after his conversion.
Sometime later, the owner of the orchard wanted them to vacate the premises. They moved to the Arunaigirinathar temple. There, he told Palani Swami, ―You go begging this way, and I will go begging the other way. Bhagavan himself has described all this. He would go stand in front of a house, clap twice, and wait. If they gave something in his hands, he would eat it then and there. Without feeling the need to wash regularly, he would wipe his hand on his hair. Later, Bhagavan recalled, ―When I was doing that, I felt I was the single sovereign monarch of the world. That is why Bhagavan declares that true renunciation is not only to not embrace the notion of ownership, but also to not feel dependent on anyone or anything. He would not be a beggar a second time in the same house. Consequently, he ended up begging in almost all the streets and houses in Tiruvannamalai. In the Arunaigirinathar temple also, the crowd of people began to harass him. They could not understand why Bhagavan was seated in samadhi all the time. When Palani Swami wasn't present, they would disturb him.
Palani Swami noticed a small knoll called Pavalakundru, and moved Bhagavan there. Throughout Palani Swami's relationship with Bhagavan, he was always in the background because his duty was to preserve the physical vehicle of Bhagavan and see that his deep samadhi state was not disturbed. He never interfered with the other activities of Bhagavan. Gradually, word of Bhagavan spread throughout the town, and a few people started gathering at Pavalakundru, as well. Palaniswami went in search of another place and noticed the Virupaksha cave on the hill. Bhagavan later on said, ―When we went to Virupaksha cave for the first time, there was nothing there except an earthen pot.

A few years later, a few female devotees started serving food during daytime at Virupaksha cave. Other attendants like Perumal Swami, Ayya Swami, and Kandaswami also joined him in the course of the years, but Palani Swami always remained the primary attendant. One day, someone put a statue of Ganesa in a niche inside Virupaksha cave. Palani Swami was overwhelmed and requested Bhagavan, ―Why don't you make some offering to Lord Ganesa? Bhagavan's way of making an offering was not through food, garlands, or flowers, but through verse. This was the first composition by Bhagavan:

Lord residing in the niche with a big and fat belly, You who allowed your father to go around begging, at least now shower your glance of grace on me, Who too is the son of the Father.

Krishnan

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Re: The Human Gospel of Ramana Maharshi
« Reply #2 on: May 17, 2016, 12:31:14 AM »
Om Namo Bhagavate Sri Ramanaya
------------------------------------

Palani Swami - III

In the evenings, the people who served Bhagavan would beg in the streets to collect food. The traditional song sung to collect alms was one by Adi Shankara: ―Shamba Sadashiva Samba Sadashiva Samba Sadashiva Samba Shiva Om. When they heard this refrain, people in the town of Tiruvannamalai knew that Bhagavan's attendants were coming for alms, and they would be ready with food. Knowing this, some mischief maker began to go ahead of them and collect the food instead. So his attendants requested Bhagavan, ―Please compose a song, which we can sing exclusively to collect alms. Bhagavan, in his usual manner, did not respond. The very next day when they were going around the hill with the devotees, Palani Swami called Ayya Swami, the most literate among them, aside and said, ―Our Bhagavan is murmuring, so perhaps he is composing some verses. Take this paper and pencil. During that one circumambulation, one hundred and eight verses were compiled by Bhagavan. These were faithfully taken down by Ayya Swami. Titled Aksharamanamaalai, or The Marital Garland of Letters, it is one of the most spiritually moving, devotional hymns ever written.

After a while, Bhagavan moved further up the hill to Skandashram, the higher cave. Palani Swami spent a few days there. But due to old age, he became weak and could not climb up the hill to the Ashram. With Bhagavan's permission, he stayed on at Virupaksha cave. Every day, Bhagavan would come and spend time with Palani Swami. One day while in Skandashram, Bhagavan noticed a peacock flying up from Virupaksha cave, making abnormal noises. He immediately rushed, saying, ―This is the end of Palani Swami. When he reached Virupaksha cave, Palani Swami was already breathing very hard. Like a son, Bhagavan kept Palani Swami's head on his lap until he dropped the body. (In Hindu tradition, when the father dies, the son must keep the father's head on his lap as his final duty. According to the scriptures, if a father gets such an opportunity, he will go to heaven.)

For years, Palani Swami had selflessly served his Master. Now it was time for this ―Nandi to return to Arunachala, the silent abode of God.

Krishnan

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Re: The Human Gospel of Ramana Maharshi
« Reply #3 on: May 18, 2016, 12:06:26 AM »
Om Namo Bhagavate Sri Ramanaya
------------------------------------

Perumal Swami - I

Perumal Swami was a ruffian with a robust body and a rough demeanor. He came to Bhagavan in Virupaksha cave in 1914. He was well known in Tiruvannamalai town and had many wealthy friends. Perumal Swami could have lived very affluently, even as a sadhu, because his friends would have looked after him very well. The first meeting with Bhagavan left him awestruck. He accepted Bhagavan as his guru and chose to beg for him in the streets of Tiruvannamalai. At Virupaksha cave, he prevented many untoward things from happening to Bhagavan. Once, when he and Palani Swami were away in the town leaving Bhagavan alone in the cave, a group of fierce-looking bairagi sadhus arrived with swords and spears. They said, ―We are from the Vindhya hills, the kingdom of the Siddhas. The head of the Siddhas told us that at Arunachala, there is a ripe soul who needs the final initiation. He commanded us to bring him there. Whether you accept it or not, we are going to physically remove you to the Vindhya hills.

Bhagavan sat silently, unmoved. Some of the shepherd boys heard the commotion and felt that something troublesome was happening. They rushed to Perumal Swami. He ran back to Virupaksha cave, and in one look sized up the situation. He cleverly told the bairagis, ―I come from a nearby village. Last night I had a dream, in which the head Siddha of the Vindhya hills appeared and said, ―My disciples will be coming to Virupaksha cave tomorrow. You go there and ready a cauldron of oil, fry them in that cauldron, and bring their fried bodies to me. Then he ordered the shepherd boys, ―Hey! Go and bring the firewood. I will go into town and bring a cauldron and some tins of oil, so that we can fry these people. End of story!

Perumal Swami had managerial qualities, which Palani Swami did not have. However, his being a robust, forceful man had its drawbacks. When Bhagavan's mother came to stay at Virupaksha cave, Perumal Swami disliked it and shouted, ―You get out! You cannot stay here. Though deeply hurt, she obeyed. Tucking her one sari or so in a bundle under her arm, she walked out in sadness. Bhagavan, who was seated outside, got up, and with tender affection, took the bundle from her and said, ―Come, let us go away from where we are not needed. Perumal Swami fell at Bhagavan's feet and requested them to stay.

Krishnan

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Re: The Human Gospel of Ramana Maharshi
« Reply #4 on: May 19, 2016, 04:48:32 AM »
Om Namo Bhagavate Sri Ramanaya
------------------------------------

Perumal Swami - II

When Bhagavan went to Skandashram, Perumal Swami also went along with the others. Among the many attendants that gathered in the Ashram, there was one Yazhpani from Sri Lanka. (Sri Lanka was known as Yazhpanam. He was called Yazhpani.) He was a scrupulously clean person. He would sweep Skandashram daily and keep everything spotless. His reputation was equally spotless; whenever Bhagavan returned to the Ashram and leaves were scattered about, he would ask, ―Is Yazhpani not here?

Once, Yazhpani spread a paste of cow dung on the rough, soft earth of Skandashram, to make the ground smoother and harder. When Perumal Swami, who was somewhat like the manager of Skandashram, came and saw it while it was still wet and slippery, he became livid and shouted, ―Yazhpani, get out of Skandashram! Yazhpani was a very sincere devotee of Bhagavan. He could not leave Bhagavan, but also wanted to obey the orders of the manager. Being a clever man, he tried to find a way out. There was a tall coconut tree inside Skandashram that protruded outside the Ashram grounds. Quickly he got onto the tree, climbed to the top of it, and stayed there. Now he was technically ―out of the Ashram without leaving it! Everyone pleaded with him to come down, but he refused. At lunch, Bhagavan noticed that Yazhpani was missing. The other devotees then related what had happened. Bhagavan got up, went toward the coconut tree and gently said, ―Yazhpani, you may come and share the food. He spoke so softly that this man came down like a child, and started eating his food.

Another day, Bhagavan was heard saying, ―I had a notebook, in which I had written verses. A person from Uttarkasi took it, but has not returned it. It is several months now. I need that notebook. Yazhpani disappeared for many days. He went to Uttarkasi, found the particular sadhu and fetched the notebook. He came back one day and presented it to Bhagavan. Bhagavan was very happy. Yazhpani told the other devotees that it had taken him several days, without a minute's rest, to fulfill the guru's need. That was the one-pointed devotion he had.

There was a sadhu living at Skandashram who was called Sepoy Swami. (Sepoy means ―soldier, and he was called so because he was a retired army man.) He had a tendency toward military etiquette. Totally devoted to Bhagavan, he expressed his devotion by guarding Bhagavan, and felt it was his duty to be Bhagavan's guardian. Thus, whenever Bhagavan was seated at Skandashram, he would come with a long stick that was supposed to be his rifle, and stand in attention next to him. Every minute that Bhagavan was seated there, he would stand guard, silently, not looking at anybody else, completely immersed in meditation next to him.

Krishnan

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Re: The Human Gospel of Ramana Maharshi
« Reply #5 on: May 20, 2016, 07:34:16 AM »
Om Namo Bhagavate Sri Ramanaya
------------------------------------

Perumal Swami - III

One day, Perumal Swami got vexed with him and shouted, ―What are you doing? Are you enacting some drama here? Get out of Skandashram! This man wanted to obey, but could not go away from Bhagavan. So he stood outside Skandashram, guarding Bhagavan from outside, just like he had been doing from within its walls. One day, he felt that Bhagavan was not properly honored. To Sepoy Swami, his Master was the sovereign monarch of the whole universe, and he felt people were not honoring Bhagavan appropriately. His feeling of veneration led him to decide that a king must have horses. He went home, sold all his property, and bought many horses. He brought them to Skandashram, not knowing how to maintain them. In the course of time, one after the other, the horses all died. If you do not go into the logic of it, you will admire the devotion of poor Sepoy Swami.

Though Perumal Swami disliked Bhagavan's mother, when she passed away in 1922, it was he who, along with others, carried her body to the present site of Ramanashram. After putting the body down, he went into town and got all the ingredients necessary for creating her samadhi. However, Bhagavan, after a while, began staying in the present Ramanashram, which was then just a simple thatched grass shed over the grave of his Mother. When Bhagavan began staying there, Perumal Swami did not like it.

He also intensely loathed Bhagavan's brother Niranjanananda (Chinna Swami). Slowly, the management of Ramanashram was being handed over to Chinna Swami, which he stoutly opposed. He went to court and filed a suit against Bhagavan and tried to pull Bhagavan into court. He even created a statue of Bhagavan, started another Ramanashram in town and then proclaimed it as the real Ramanashram! Further, he declared himself the secretary of this institution! Chinna Swami was the secretary of the original Ramanashram. Whenever mail arrived, there was always a tug-of-war in the town post office. Then Bhagavan solved it very simply. He said, ―Let all the letters go to Perumal Swami. Whatever he wants to take let him take, and whatever he does not want, let us take. Where is the need to quarrel?

When Perumal Swami was thus frustrated and agitated, Bhagavan sent word through Kunju Swami: ―Tell Perumal Swami that he should not swerve away from spiritual sadhana. Perumal Swami did not listen, but Bhagavan never gave up on him. When he lost the court case and felt humbled, he fell ill. He sent word to Bhagavan: ―Bhagavan, I want to come and apologize. I have committed a sin. The rest of the people in the Ashram said, ―No! He is the person who went against you, Bhagavan. He should not be allowed to come inside the Ashram. When Bhagavan heard this, he said, ―Why do you say so? He is our Perumal Swami. Let him come. When Perumal Swami came, everyone looked at him with ―acid eyes. He broke down before Bhagavan and said, ―Bhagavan, I have committed such a terrible sin. I will surely go to hell. Bhagavan smiled at him and said, ―Perumal Swami, will I not be with you even there? That was a turning point for Perumal Swami. He chose a small cave near Seshadri Swami Ashram and started living there in meditation and contemplation. Even after Bhagavan dropped the body, he felt he must have prasad of Ramanashram. Hence, Kunju Swami came from Ramanashram with rice and rasam for Perumal Swami twice a day. That is how Bhagavan took care of him. He may have been rough-edged, but Bhagavan took care of him. So we can be sure that he, too, was absorbed back into Arunachala, the divine stillness.

Krishnan

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Re: The Human Gospel of Ramana Maharshi
« Reply #6 on: May 21, 2016, 08:45:31 AM »
Om Namo Bhagavate Sri Ramanaya
------------------------------------

Ramanatha Brahmachari - I

Bhagavan once said, ―I am afraid only of two people?one is Ramanatha Brahmachari and the other is Mudaliar Paati. He said this because these two people were ascetics who served Bhagavan with utterly selfless devotion. Ramanatha Brahmachari was a student studying the Vedas in the Vedapatashala (school of the Vedas) in town. He met Bhagavan one day and his whole being was brought into silence. His Mind and Heart opened up to Bhagavan, so he decided to be with him for as long as possible. Though the Patashala provided free food and lodging to its students, young Ramanatha preferred to stay with Bhagavan. He begged for food on the streets and took that food to Bhagavan in Virupaksha cave. Whatever Bhagavan shared with him, he ate willingly. Such was the beauty and surrender of this ascetic.
He served Bhagava'?s Mother because he was a Brahmin boy, and Bhagavan's Mother was still following her orthodox ways. Ramanatha would help wash her vessels as well as her clothes, and she would shout his name, ―Ramanatha, Ramanatha, for every errand. Hearing her, Bhagavan would humorously remark, ―The japa of my Mother has started again!

One day, Bhagavan told Ramanatha that he had succeeded in realizing the Self. Ramanatha could not believe it. He wanted confirmation from Bhagavan again and again. Bhagavan reassured him many times, ―Yes Ramanatha, you have realized the Self! But Ramanatha was still incredulous. Bhagavan got up and rapped him on his head with his knuckles and repeated, ―Yes Ramanatha, you are realized. This simple devotee went into ecstasy and ran out of the room, telling everyone he met, ―This is the place where Bhagavan knuckled me! He did not care that he had attained self-realization. Bhagavan's knuckling him was greater than self-realization for him!

This innocent disciple was serving other devotees, too. When a man arrived at the Ashram with a calf, which Bhagavan named Lakshmi, there was nobody to look after her. With panthers and tigers lurking around, Bhagavan said, ―There is nobody to look after Lakshmi; else she could have been kept here. Then Ramanatha, who was only four-and-a-half feet in height, said, ―Bhagavan, I will look after Lakshmi. This was the beginning of the Ramanashram goshala.

Krishnan

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Re: The Human Gospel of Ramana Maharshi
« Reply #7 on: May 22, 2016, 02:08:43 AM »
Om Namo Bhagavate Sri Ramanaya
------------------------------------

Ramanatha Brahmachari - II

All the visiting devotees would come in late at night, as the train arrived at eight-thirty. In Ramanashram, after dinner at seven, most everyone would go to sleep by seven-thirty. Bhagavan wanted the visitors to be attended to. Nobody offered to look after them. Ramanatha said, ―Bhagavan, I will look after them. Every night he would stay awake attending to the visitors. The next day, Bhagavan would beam him a big smile and affectionately say, ―Oh, so you looked after them and attended to their needs? Good, good, good!

Once, when Ramanatha was going around the hill with Bhagavan, each was asked to speak on a spiritual topic. Ramanatha, in an ecstatic state, compared Bhagavan with mythical Lord Shiva and the others with the bhutaganas, i.e. Shiva's attendants. Afterward, at the request of Bhagavan, he wrote it down in Tamil verses. The first verse means, ―I saw the Lord of Tiruchuzhi and got fixed without returning again meaning, ―I achieved realization, no more am I the body. My Lord bestowed on me this Self-realization.

In 1946, he fell sick. He was taken to Madras, which is now called Chennai, for treatment, but the body passed away. When the news reached Bhagavan, he observed total silence, which, in 1946, was very rare. Hundreds of people were around, but he was totally absorbed. One of the devotees of Bhagavan, my own mother, loved Ramanatha Brahmachari. I once asked my mother, ―Which song do you like of all the songs by Muruganar, Om Sadhu and Sivaprakasam Pillai? My mother replied, ―The song I like is the one composed by Ramanatha Brahmachari.

Devotees like Ramanatha Brahmachari show guidelines on how to follow and love a realized person, a jnani, and get liberation in this life itself.

Krishnan

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Re: The Human Gospel of Ramana Maharshi
« Reply #8 on: May 23, 2016, 05:35:49 AM »
Om Namo Bhagavate Sri Ramanaya
------------------------------------

Gambhiram Seshayya - I

In Hindu culture, the first aspect of the Lord is the formless, still, un-manifested Shiva, the Father. Second is the Shakti: sound, movement, creation, form, Mother Nature, and the World. To emerge thus, Arunachala Shiva, the formless, ―showed itself through the transparent form of an innocent egoless man, Ramana Maharshi. For the second aspect, preservation, destiny guides people like Palani Swami, Mother Alagammal, Ramanatha Brahmachari, and others to look after Bhagavan's body and maintain his environment. The third aspect of the Lord is dissolution, Kali. The Destruction of what, you might ask. It is the undoing of ignorance through the teaching of the highest wisdom that removes all obstacles, including the ―I am the body notion.

To bring about this function, the grace of Arunachala (God) attracted two intellectuals?Gambhiram Seshayya and Sivaprakasam Pillai. In fact, according to the Vedanta Choodamani, a Tamil book on Vedanta, which Bhagavan loved to quote, one of the most important functions of a devotee is the upholding of his or her Master's teachings in comprehension, practice, and sharing with others.

Gambhiram Seshayya gracefully found himself in Bhagavan's life for this function. Bhagavan once said, ―Gambhiram is not his name. Gambhiram is a title given to his family. His great grandfather was serving a king, and because of his uprightness, was given the title Gambhiram, which means majestic nobility. Therefore that became their family name. Coincidently, on the first or second day that Bhagavan went begging in Tiruvannamalai, he happened to stop in front of a house where four people were gambling and playing cards. When, as usual, he clapped his hands for alms, the house owner went in, and, shame-facedly, brought out some food for Bhagavan. This man was Gambhiram Seshayya's brother, Gambhiram Krishna Iyer, who never gambled again.

Gambhiram Seshayya was a government officer who was well-read in philosophy. In 1900 he was transferred to Tiruvannamalai, where he heard of a Brahmin boy, an ascetic, who lived in Virupaksha cave. Propelled by his own philosophical interests, he paid a visit to the ascetic, who was none other than Bhagavan. Just one glance from Bhagavan, and Gambhiram Seshayya was captivated. He saw before him in human form, all that he had studied in the scriptures, and a reflection of the very Truth he was seeking, his Self.

Krishnan

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Re: The Human Gospel of Ramana Maharshi
« Reply #9 on: May 24, 2016, 07:55:47 PM »
Om Namo Bhagavate Sri Ramanaya
------------------------------------

Gambhiram Seshayya - II

He had studied many books on yoga and philosophy?particularly those of Swami Vivekananda. He had many questions. He brought these books to Bhagavan and asked him to review them and answer his questions. And since he assumed that Bhagavan was in formal silence, he always wrote his doubts on a piece of paper. Bhagavan, after looking carefully at the scriptural texts, responded with answers in writing. Much later, Bhagavan humorously remarked, ―They said I was in silence; I never took a vow of silence. I never took a vow of fasting. Nobody shared with me food, so I was without food. They said, Our Swami is fasting. Nobody talked to me, so I kept quiet. And they said, Swami is in silence,do not disturb the silence.

Gambhiram Seshayya not only put forth excellent questions, but requested Bhagavan to condense some passages that he found difficult to grasp. ―Please simplify these big passages so that I can understand them, he would say. Bhagavan would do this, too. Many subjects were discussed, and everything was explained in the light and nomenclature of the Hindu scriptures. While some of these questions were based on Self-Enquiry, most were on different aspects of Hindu philosophy, including many forms of yoga, sadhana, concentration, meditation, God, World, ego, liberation, pranayama, and ashtanga yoga. Of these, Gambhiram Seshayya was most interested in ashtanga yoga.

While Bhagavan did explain the intricacies of other paths, including the path of ashtanga yoga, he never swerved from affirming the path of wisdom as the direct one. In fact, Bhagavan has remarked that while yoga is like taming the turbulent bull of the mind by forcibly yoking it, the path of wisdom is like gently taming the bull by calming it with some grass, and then yoking it.

Gambhiram Seshayya served Bhagavan with the opportunity to study books on yoga, philosophy, and other paths, so Bhagavan would be prepared with this information. Bhagavan became like a University of Philosophy. He was to review almost all the scriptures, as he was to meet and compare notes with intellectuals like Kavyakantha Ganapati Muni, a well-versed scholar in Hinduism. He was also to meet academics of other nations and religions such as Paul Brunton, Frank Humphreys, and Dr. Hafiz Sayed (the last, an authority on Islam).

Gambhiram Seshayya served as a means of helping him fulfill this function. Gambhiram Seshayya was also instrumental in taking those slips of paper and notebooks, with his questions and Bhagavan's answers, for future devotees. The information from these became the first book on the teachings of Bhagavan in Tamil, titled Vichara Sangraham. It was later translated in English and was first titled Catechism of Enquiry, which was then changed to Self-Enquiry.

Krishnan

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Re: The Human Gospel of Ramana Maharshi
« Reply #10 on: May 27, 2016, 09:04:04 PM »
Om Namo Bhagavate Sri Ramanaya
------------------------------------

Sivaprakasam Pillai - I

When Sivaprakasam Pillai came to Bhagavan in 1902, he was, like Gambhiram Seshayya, a government officer who had studied philosophy. Even while in college, he would practice introspection and ponder, ―Who am I? Sivaprakasam Pillai later said, ―I thought it was a fleeting thought.

He visited Bhagavan at the same Virupaksha cave. As with Gambhiram Seshayya, just one glance of pure grace from Bhagavan, and he was totally enthralled. He could see his God and guru in Bhagavan. Being a very practical and clear thinking person, his very first question was, ―Swami, who am I? This question opened the floodgates of the teachings, which are saturating all cultures throughout humanity and continue to do so.

His approach to Bhagavan's teachings was a practice-oriented one. Sivaprakasam Pillai posed fourteen questions to Bhagavan, who wrote the answers to thirteen of them on a slate and in the sand. The answers were erased eventually. Therefore Sivaprakasam Pillai wrote the answers to those questions from memory.

Sivaprakasam Pillai: ―Swami, who am I? And how is salvation to be attained?
Maharshi: ―By the incessant inward query, who am I? You will recognize your Self and thereby attain salvation.

Sivaprakasam Pillai: (again) ―Who am I?
Maharshi: ―The real I, or Self, is neither the body nor the five senses, nor sense objects, nor the organs of action, nor the prana (the breath or vital force), nor the mind. It is not even the deep state of sleep where there is no cognition of these.

Sivaprakasam Pillai: ―If I am none of these, what else am I?
Maharshi: ―After rejecting each of these and saying, This, I am not, that state, which alone remains, is I. That is consciousness.

Sivaprakasam Pillai: ―What is the nature of that consciousness?
Maharshi: ―It is Satchidananda, the consciousness of bliss, in which there is not even the slightest trace of the I thought. This is also called silence?silence or the atma?Self. That is that. If the trinity of the World, ego, and God are considered as separate entities, they become mere illusions?like the appearance of silver in the mother-of-pearl. God, ego, and the World are really atmaswaroopa, the infinite form of the Self.

Sivaprakasam Pillai: ―How are we to realize that real nature?
Maharshi: ―When the things seen disappear, the true nature of the seer appears.

Sivaprakasam Pillai: ―Is it not possible to realize this while still seeing external things?
Maharshi: ―No. This is because the seer and the seen are like a rope and the appearance of a serpent. You cannot see that what exists is only the rope.

Krishnan

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Re: The Human Gospel of Ramana Maharshi
« Reply #11 on: May 28, 2016, 01:11:20 AM »
Om Namo Bhagavate Sri Ramanaya
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Sivaprakasam Pillai - II

Sivaprakasam Pillai: ―When will external objects vanish?
Maharshi: ―If the mind, which is the cause of all thoughts and activities, vanishes, then external objects will also vanish.

Sivaprakasam Pillai: ―What is the nature of the mind?
Maharshi: ―The mind consists of only thoughts. It is a form of energy. It manifests itself as the world. When the mind sinks into the Self, then the Self is realized. When the mind focuses outwardly, the world appears, and the Self is not realized.

Sivaprakasam Pillai: ―How will the mind vanish?
Maharshi: ―Through the query, who am I? Though this inward probing is also a mental operation, it destroys all mental operations including the method?just as the stick with which the funeral pyre is stoked, is by itself reduced to ashes after the pyre and the corpse have been burned. Only then dawns the realization of the Self. The I-thought is destroyed. Breath and other signs of vitality subside. The ego and prana have a common source. Whatever you do, do it without egotism, i.e., without feeling doership. When a man reaches that state, even his own wife will appear to him as the Universal Mother. In true devotion, we surrender the ego to the Self.

Sivaprakasam Pillai: ―Are there no other ways of destroying the mind?
Maharshi: ―There is no other adequate method except Self-Enquiry. If the mind is lulled by other means, it stays quiet for a little while, but then springs up like a wave and resumes its former activity.

Sivaprakasam Pillai: ―But when will all the vasanas, tendencies, and instincts, such as that of self-preservation, are subdued within us?
Maharshi: ―The more you withdraw into the Self, the more these tendencies wither and finally drop off.

Sivaprakasam Pillai: ―Is it really possible to root out all these tendencies that have been soaked in our minds through many births?
Maharshi: ―Never yield room in your mind for such doubts. Instead, dive into the Self with a firm resolve. If the mind is constantly directed to the Self by Self-Enquiry, it is eventually dissolved and transformed into the Self. When you see any doubt, do not try to elucidate it. Instead try to recognize who it is and to whom the doubt occurs.

Sivaprakasam Pillai: ―How long should one go on with this Self-Enquiry?
Maharshi: ―As long as there is the least trace of an impulse in your mind-citadel, it will keep on making sorties. If you eradicate each one as it comes out, the citadel will fall to you. Similarly, each time a thought rears its head, crush it with Self-Enquiry. Stamping out all thoughts at their source is called vairagya or dispassion. Vichara or Self-Enquiry continues to be necessary until the Self is realized. What is required is continuous and uninterrupted remembrance of the Self.

Krishnan

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Re: The Human Gospel of Ramana Maharshi
« Reply #12 on: May 29, 2016, 02:48:50 AM »
Om Namo Bhagavate Sri Ramanaya
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Sivaprakasam Pillai - III

Sivaprakasam Pillai: ―Is not this World, and what takes place in it, a result of God's will? If so, why should God will thus?‖
Maharshi: ―God has no purpose. He is not bound by any action, and the World's activities cannot affect him. Take the analogy of the sun. The sun rises without desire, purpose, or effort, but as soon as it rises, numerous activities take place on earth. The lens placed in its rays produce fire, the lotus bud opens, water evaporates, and every living creature enters upon activity, maintains its activity, and finally drops it. However, the sun is not affected by any such activity, as it merely acts according to its nature by fixed laws, without any purpose. It is only a witness. So it is with God. Or take the analogy of space or the ether. Earth, Water, Fire, and Air are all in it, are modified in it, and yet none of this affects ether or space. It is the same with God. God has no desire or purpose in acts of creation, maintenance, destruction, withdrawal, and salvation, to which earthly beings are subjected. As beings reap the fruits of their action in accordance to natural laws, the responsibility is theirs, not God's. God is not bound by any actions.

Later, Sivaprakasam Pillai put forth fourteen other questions, to which also Bhagavan shared answers. These twenty-eight questions and answers make up the booklet, Who am I?, an essential guide to aspirants. It enables us to realize that we are the same Self, the same awareness that pervaded Sri Ramana Maharshi and still pervades all of creation as the pristine Self. The essence of the fourteen other questions is below:

That, which arises in the physical body as I, is the mind. The I feeling arises from the Heart or core of being. By enquiring, Who am I? the attention goes within, and is hence shuttled through transient thoughts. Perseverance in this practice gives strength to the mind to go to the source and be absorbed in the Self. Following Sattvic (pure) principles?eating simple nutritious food in moderate quantity and observing simple rules of good conduct?is most conducive to the development of pure qualities of the mind. This in turn helps one to pursue Self-Enquiry without hindrance, and without giving room to any form in the Self. All vasanas (tendencies) will be dissolved.

One should firmly and unceasingly focus on the one Self. One should unswervingly put the teachings of the Master into constant practice.

Self is bliss. Whenever the mind experiences happiness as in deep sleep, samadhi, or when a desired object is obtained, it is due to the mind relinquishing its desire and being the blissful Self. The relinquishment is the antithesis of effort. Like the wise man that never leaves the shade, thus avoiding the scorching sun, one may always be aware absorbed in the Self and free of doership. The Self is like the sun, which is unaffected by any activity of the forms of life which it sustains. To keep the mind constantly turned inward, and to be thus as the Self, alone is atma vichara, or Self-Enquiry. If the mind subsides, all else will subside. To be and to remain in the Self or one's true nature alone, is liberation or mukti.

Krishnan

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Re: The Human Gospel of Ramana Maharshi
« Reply #13 on: May 30, 2016, 09:14:12 PM »
Om Namo Bhagavate Sri Ramanaya
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Sivaprakasam Pillai - IV

Sivaprakasam Pillai exemplified these teachings. He showed how an aspirant should sustain himself in the Self after Self-Enquiry. He adored the Master, and he assimilated whatever Bhagavan said and put it into practice. However, a devotee, when putting Bhagavan's teachings into practice, may misunderstand.

For instance, when Bhagavan extolled renunciation, Sivaprakasam Pillai assumed that Bhagavan meant sanyasa. He went home and shaved his head and donned only a single piece of cloth. He even discarded the sacred thread that he wore daily. Bhagavan looked at him and asked, ―Why have you shaved your head? Go on, grow your hair and wear your sacred thread.

He then understood that Bhagavan did not want any public exhibition or trappings of putting his teachings into practice. Attachment to doership, the World or to its objects was to be relinquished?not displayed on the outside, but on the inside, silently, where spiritual pride would not fester.

He stayed with Bhagavan quite often at Virupaksha cave and also at Skandashram. He began to mature spiritually as a result of his proximity to the Master and imbibing his teachings. Sivaprakasam then wanted to give up his job and devote himself completely toward Self-realization. Bhagavan did not offer him permission to do so.

Sivaprakasam Pillai was an honest worker. However, three years later, when maturity had settled in, he told Bhagavan once again that he could not go to work because when he went to work, he was immersed in Self-Enquiry and could not attend to his office duties. Bhagavan offered him permission to resign, and asked him to go back to his village and practice Self-Enquiry. Sivaprakasam Pillai obeyed his Master's counsel and went to his native village.

He stayed alone in the outskirts of the village, in an old Ganesa temple or sometimes in nearby forests. He constantly practiced atma vichara or Self-Enquiry. During this period, his state of consciousness and behavior suddenly altered. He started laughing for no apparent reason, loudly chanted sacred hymns in Tamil, prostrated to all forms that he came across, and wore a long loin cloth with a sacred ash bag tucked into it. Bhagavan had offered him this sacred ash bag a few years earlier, asking him to smear its contents on his body. (This is the only case I have encountered where Bhagavan had specifically instructed a devotee to smear sacred ash.) Sivaprakasam Pillai covered his entire body with sacred ash, carried a small staff, forgot caste restrictions and started frequenting the cremation ground and other areas occupied by the so-called outcasts.

In this state, he also walked all the way to a temple town nearby, and back. He accepted gruel and sour food offered to him by anyone. When he returned to his village, he returned to his normal consciousness. Thereafter, he visited Bhagavan many times in a year, each time staying for about fifteen days. Through all this time, the outer guru was giving him a push while the inner guru in Sivaprakasam Pillai pulled him inward to Self-vichara for long periods of time. In the state of ecstasy, Sivaprakasam Pillai composed many poems. Bhagavan appreciated and approved them. He even included some of them in the daily parayana or recitation in the Ashram.

Krishnan

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Re: The Human Gospel of Ramana Maharshi
« Reply #14 on: May 31, 2016, 05:23:51 AM »
Om Namo Bhagavate Sri Ramanaya
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Sivaprakasam Pillai - V

Following are four of his poems:

From dawn to dusk I spend my day in vain talks,
Not even for a moment do I think Who am I? My Lord, you have told me if you speak one word it will multiply into many words.
Ramana Deva, I am only pretending to be your devotee and not conducting myself as one.
I am a sinner who wastes most of his time listening to others misdeeds and talking about them.

I have many defects myself, but if others mention them, my mind boils with rage.
Thinking that there is no harm in it, I do not hesitate to utter small lies. Oh! Ramana Deva, is it not high drama to fall at your feet as if I am your devotee?

Though I have become old and suffer from various diseases, I have not destroyed the desire for women.
The ghost of my mind desires to see their beautiful faces, converse with them, and listen to their honey-like speech.

Even though I give advice to the mind, it does not subside but wanders after them.
Ramana Deva, when will this delusion end and my mind become firm?

You know that my qualities and character are poor. You also know that among the ignorant full of defects, I am the worst.
Though you know all this, you still sort me and took possession of me. Ramana Deva, how can I explain this wonder?

One devotee asked Bhagavan, ―Bhagavan, Sivaprakasam Pillai was such a great ascetic. He unswervingly put your teachings into practice. Reading his poems, I wonder where I stand! If he is in this wretched state, what will happen to me? Bhagavan responded with a beautiful reply: ―When extolling God, Adi Shankara and other sages have berated their selves and said the same thing. This is how the sages guide others and warn aspiring aspirants.

Viswanatha Swami told me that once he asked Sri Bhagavan to show him who Sivaprakasam Pillai was, though he knew that he was seated in the Hall. The Hall was crowded with devotees; perhaps it was a festive day. Bhagavan pointed his finger toward the farthest corner of the Hall and said: ―There, you see! With both arms covering his bare chest and seated unobtrusively like a rustic villager. That is our Sivaprakasam Pillai. He sits here like a domesticated cat?one should see him at his office. There, he is like a wild lion. His uprightness, honesty, and hard work mark him out and cause everyone to approach him with awe and respect!

Coming to know that Sivaprakasam Pillai had become old, sick, and was unable to come out of his village, my father who had not seen him, urged Kunju Swami to take him to his village, which was near Chidambaram.

The austere appearance of Sivaprakasam Pillai and his humility were outstanding. His body was unblemished like molten gold with spiritual maturity. While introducing Sivaprakasam Pillai to my father, Kunju Swami wholeheartedly and reverentially lauded him as the most humble, scholar-devotee who brought out Sri Bhagavan's Direct Teaching.

Sivaprakasam Pillai, in all humility and with fervent love, held both the hands of Kunju Swami and put them on his eyes and on his head. Tears flowing from his eyes, he said: ―These sacred hands had the great good fortune of touching and serving the holy body of my Master. That merit I never had in my life. You are all very blessed and infinitely greater!

After narrating this incident, Kunju Swami said: ―This is how truly great people will put themselves down to enhance the glory of others. Where are the others for them? Every one is the same, single Self only!

When Sivaprakasam Pillai was to drop the body in 1948, the news was reported to Bhagavan. Bhagavan went into a very long silence. And when the news of his passing came, Bhagavan affirmed, ―Sivaprakasam Shiva prakasam anaar, which means, ―Sivaprakasam has merged with Shiva. Yes, this beautiful human being had returned to Arunachala.