Tuesday, November 18, 2014

Sri Ramana Maharshi on Brahman

Superficially, it might seem that the Maharshi’s statements about God were inconsistent, since he would sometimes enjoin complete faith and submission to God and sometimes speak of God as unreal; but actually there was no inconsistency. It must always be remembered that the purpose of his exposition was not to propound a philosophy but to give practical guidance on the spiritual path. Someone who could conceive of the non-dual Self could understand that it was his own Self and the Self of God and of the world also, whereas one who clung to the apparent reality of his ego could understand the

Self only as the God who had created him. According to their needs he explained. In this, as in other matters, he pointed out the uselessness of discussion. Following either path was useful; theorising about them was not.

All religions postulate the three fundamentals: the world, the soul and God; but it is the One Reality that manifests itself as these three. One can say: ‘The three are really three’ only so long as the ego lasts. Therefore to inhere in one’s own Being, when the ego is dead is the perfect state.

‘The world is real’, ‘No, it is mere illusory appearance’, ‘The world is conscious,’ ‘No’, ‘The world is happiness’, ‘No,’ – What use is it to argue thus? That state is agreeable to all wherein, having given up the objective outlook, one knows one’s Self and loses all notions either of unity or duality, of oneself and the ego.

If one has form oneself, the world and God will also appear to have form; but if one is formless, who is to see these forms, and how? Without the eye can any object be seen? The seeing Self is the Eye, and that Eye is the Eye of Infinity.

Brahman is not to be seen or known. It is beyond the three fold relationship of seer, sight and seen, or knower, knowledge and known. The Reality remains ever as it is. The existence of ignorance or the world is due to our illusion. Neither knowledge nor ignorance is real; what lies beyond them, as beyond all other pairs of opposites, is the Reality. It is neither light nor darkness but beyond both, though we sometimes speak of it as light and of ignorance as its shadow.

When there was genuine search for understanding, Bhagavan would explain in some details, always leading the seeker back to the doctrine of the One Self.

Mr. Thompson, a very quiet young gentleman who has been staying in India for some years and studying Hindu philosophy as an earnest student, asked: Srimad Bhagavad Gita says: ‘I am the prop for Brahman’. In another place it says: ‘I am in the Heart of each one’. Thus the different aspects of the Ultimate Principle are revealed. I take it that there are three aspects, namely: (1) the transcendental, (2) the immanent, and (3) the cosmic. Is Realisation to be in any of these or in all of them? Coming to the transcendental from the cosmic, Vedanta discards the names and forms as being maya. Again Vedanta also says that the whole is Brahman, as illustrated by gold and ornaments of gold. How are we to understand the truth?

B.: The Gita says: Brahmano hi pratishtaham. If that aham is known, the whole is known.

D.: That is the immanent aspect only.

B.: You now think that you are an individual; outside you there is the universe and beyond the universe is God. So there is the idea of separateness. The idea must go. For God is not separate from you or the cosmos. The Gita also says:

‘I am the Self, O Gudakesa, seated in the heart of all beings; I am the beginning and the middle and also the end of all beings.’ Thus God is not only in the heart of all, He is the prop of all. He is the source of all, their abiding place and their end. All proceed from Him, have their stay in Him, and finally resolve into Him. Therefore He is not separate. (Bhagavad Gita: X., 20.)

D.: How are we to understand the line in the Gita: ‘This whole cosmos forms a particle of me.’

B.: It does not mean that a small particle of God separates from Him and forms the universe. His shakti is acting; and as a result of one phase of such activity the cosmos has become manifest. Similarly the statement in Purusha Sukta: Padosya viswa bhutani (All beings form one of His parts) does not mean that

Brahman is in four parts.

D.: I understand that. Brahman is certainly not divisible.

B.: So the fact is that Brahman is all and remains indivisible. He is ever realised. However, man does not know this; and it is just what he has to know. Knowledge means overcoming the obstacles which obstruct the revelation of the

Eternal Truth that the Self is the same as Brahman. The obstacles taken altogether form your idea of separateness as an individual. Therefore the present attempt will result in the truth being revealed that the Self is not separate from Brahman.

Source: Teachings of Sri Ramana Maharshi in his own words – Arthur Osborne

Wednesday, November 12, 2014

Sri Ramakrishna's advice to Business Community

It was afternoon. Sri Ramakrishna was sitting in his room at Dakshineswar with M. and one or two other devotees. Several Marwari devotees arrived and saluted the Master. They requested Sri Ramakrishna to give them spiritual instruction. He smiled.

Sri Ramakrishna (to the Marwari devotees): "You see, the feeling of 'I' and 'mine' is the result of ignorance. But to say, 'O God, Thou art the Doer; all these belong to Thee' is the sign of Knowledge. How can you say such a thing as 'mine'? The superintendent of the garden says, This is my garden.' But if he is dismissed because of some misconduct, then he does not have the courage to take away even such a worthless thing as his mango-wood box. Anger and lust cannot be destroyed. Turn them toward God. If you must feel desire and temptation, then desire to realize God, feel tempted by Him. Discriminate and turn the passions away from worldly objects. When the elephant is about to devour a plaintain-tree in someone's garden, the mahut strikes it with his iron-tipped goad.

"You are merchants. You know how to improve your business gradually. Some of you start with a castor-oil factory. After making some money at that, you open a cloth shop. In the same way, one makes progress toward God. It may be that you go into solitude, now and then, and devote more time to prayer.

"But you must remember that nothing can be achieved except in its proper time. Some persons must pass through many experiences and perform many worldly duties before they can turn their attention to God; so they have to wait a long time. If an abscess is lanced before it is soft, the result is not good; the surgeon makes the opening when it is soft and has come to a head. Once a child said to its mother: 'Mother, I am going to sleep now. Please wake me up when I feel the call of nature.' 'My child,' said the mother, 'when it is time for that, you will wake up yourself. I shan't have to wake you.'"

The Marwari devotees generally brought offerings of fruit, candy, and other sweets for Sri Ramakrishna. But Sri Ramakrishna could hardly eat them. He would say: "They earn their money by falsehood. I can't eat their offerings." He said to the Marwaris: "You see, one can't strictly adhere to truth in business. There are ups and downs in business. Nanak once said, 'I was about to eat the food of unholy people, when I found it stained with blood.' A man should offer only pure things to holy men. He shouldn't give them food earned by dishonest means. God is realized bv following the path of truth. One should always chant His name. Even while one is performing one's duties, the mind should be left with God. Suppose I have a carbuncle on my back. I perform my duties, but the mind is drawn to the carbuncle. It is good to repeat the name of Rama. 'The same Rama who was the son of King Dasaratha has created this world. Again, as Spirit, He pervades all beings. He is very near us; He is both within us and outside.'"

Source: Gospel of Sri Ramakrishna

Sri Ramakrishna's first experience of Samadhi

"When I was ten or eleven years old and lived at Kamarpukur, I first experienced samadhi. As I was passing through a paddy-field, I saw something and was overwhelmed. There are certain characteristics of God-vision. One sees light, feels joy, and experiences the upsurge of a great current in one's chest, like the bursting of a rocket."

Source: Gospel of Sri Ramakrishna

Wednesday, November 5, 2014

Advice of Detachment and Vairagya by Sri Chandrashekhara Saraswati Swami to Sri Abhinava Vidyatheertha Swami of Shringeri Math

(1) No amount of learning, wealth or enjoyment can confer total freedom from sorrow and everlasting bliss. Only the realization of the Truth can do so. Kingship, divine weapons, heavenly damsels and the power to even create a new universe did not, for instance, free visvAmitra from all unhappiness. In the chAndogya upanishad, it is narrated that though versed in the Veda-s and various SAstra-s, nArada continued to experience sorrow; he transcended all sorrows only when he received enlightenment from sanatkumAra.

ल्भ्धा विद्या राजमन्या ततः किं
प्राप्ता संपत्प्राभवाढ्या ततः किम्‌ ।
भुक्ता नारी सुन्दराग्ङी ततः किं
येन स्वात्मा वैव सक्षात्कृतोऽभूत्‌ ॥

- अनात्मश्रीविगर्हणम्‌

So what if learning respected by the sovereign himself has been acquired? So what if unsurpassed affluence has been obtained? So what if a belle has been enjoyed? What is there for him who has not realized his own Atman?

Enlightenment dawns only in a very pure mind. Desires are impurities that sully the mind. To render the mind pure and fit for enlightenment, they must be assiduously eradicated

(ii) Sense objects are not the source of happiness. It is a mistake to think that they are. Were an object intrinsically a source of joy to a person, he ought not to ever find it to be a pain. However, it is well known that objects are sometimes liked and sometimes disliked. For instance, to a person who develops severe nausea during a meal, the very dishes he found delectable appear to be unappealing and a burden to consume. How can an object intrinsically be a source of happiness to a person when, though remaining just the same, it is at times a bane to the very same person?

When a desire for an object arises in the mind, the mind loses peace and the period of longing is not one of joy. When desired object is obtained, the desire that agitated the mind becomes temporarily quieted. With the calming of the mind, there is joy. Thus, calmness gives happiness and not desire or a sensory object. In deep sleep, when no sensory object whatsoever is apprehended and the mind is in a state of latency, there is very great happiness. The sage whose mind is very calm and focused on the Supreme has unsurpassed happiness.

Stable mental calmness can never be had by the gratification of longings. Though briefly quieting a desire, gratification only leads to the growth of the desire manifests again later, with increased strength. Desiring and striving for sense objects constitute, therefore, the wrong approach to obtain happiness, which is what all want. By discerning that sense objects are never the cause of happiness, one should develop detachment towards them. The dispassionate one is calm and happy.

(iii) There is great benefit in observing perfect brahmacharya. For this, complete control over the mind is important. To achieve such mastery, one should avoid thinking of sense objects. The reason is that as one thinks of sense objects, one gradually develops a degree of attachment to them. When attachment is allowed to grow, it becomes an intense desire. When a powerful longing is permitted to manifest, it becomes difficult to check and uproot. When a man strongly desires some object or honour and a person or situation thwarts the consummation of his longing, he becomes irritated.

When a man gives way to anger, he loses his power of proper discrimination between right and wrong. It is well known that an irritated man may be disrespectful even to his Guru. From delusion, the recollection of what one has been taught regarding righteous conduct is lost. This destruction of memory disrupts the functioning of the buddhi and the man in this state is as good as destroyed. The seed of all this evil is thus thinking about sensory objects. So, if you wish to control your mind, you must not allow your mind to cogitate upon the objects of the organs.

(iv) Married life is a big source of bondage. A householder has to cater not only to his own requirements but also to those of his family. Hence, he cannot devote himself entirely to meditation and such spiritual practices. Many are the people who get married and think that, that course of life is good for them. Actually, for a discriminating person, family life is so full of misery that it is better to stand on burning coal rather than to get married.

The body is made up of skin, blood, flesh, bones and so on. It contains within it unrine and faeces. The body of even the female whom the undiscriminating consider to be extremely beautiful is only of this kind. bhagavadpAda has taught:

नातीस्तनभरनाभीदेशं दृष्टा मा गा मोहावेशम्‌ ।
एतन्मांसवसादिविकार मनसि विचिन्त्य वारं वारम्‌ ॥

- मोहमुद्गर - ३

Seeing the breasts and the navel of a woman, do not fall a prey to delusion. The female form is but a modification of flesh, fat, etc. Reflect well thus in your mind, again and again.  - mohamudgara - 3

Such recourse to discrimination enables one to combat lust and be established in brahmacarya.

Source: Page 33-36, Yoga, Enlightenment and Perfection of His Holiness Jagadguru Sri Abhinava Vidyatheertha Mahaswamigal