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THE PRACTICE OF SELF ENQUIRY

An explanation of the path of Self-enquiry taught by Sage Ramana for aspirants who want enlightenment itself and not a mere description of it. By Anil Sharma


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THE PRACTICE OF SELF ENQUIRY

By Anil Sharma “The supreme State of Self-awareness is never absent; It transcends the three states of the mind and death.”

Sage Sri Ramana Maharshi


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Š Sage Sri Ramana Maharshi Centre of Learning, Sydney, Australia Website - www.sageramana.org All rights reserved. No part of this publication may be reproduced, stored in a retrieval system, or transmitted in any form or by any means, electronic, mechanical, photocopying, recording or otherwise, without prior permission of the copyright owner. ISBN: 978-81-908170-1-1

Published by Aditya Prakashan Mandir 266/28, Jyoti Park, Lane No. 6 (Near Hansraj Model School), Gurgaon, Haryana, PIN 122001 Ph. +91- 09350330002, 09555730002 E-mail: trademediaindia@gmail.com Copies also available from Sri Ramanasramam Sri Ramanasramam Book Depot, Tiruvannamalai 606 603 Arul Books, 118 First N Block, 19 Main, 4 Cross, Rajajinagar, Bangalore Pin 560010


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PREFACE The time was 3 a.m. in the morning on 7th of October 2009. The author of the book woke up. The Maharishi Sage Ramana appeared in front of the author and instructed him to name this book ‘The Practice of Self enquiry’, and add the following words towards the bottom of the cover page ‘An explanation of the path of Self-enquiry taught by Sage Ramana for aspirants who want enlightenment itself and not a mere description of it’. The sage further advised that the book be divided into two parts, part one be called ‘Purpose of Man on earth’, and part two be called ‘Self-enquiry the Path Taught by Sage Ramana’. At 4 a.m. the author was instructed by the sage to wake up and write what now appears on this page. Prior to 7th of October 2009, the presence of the sage was there for the author almost everyday for a period of two weeks as the sage guided the author every morning just like a mother feeds her child, and assisted in the compiling of the section ‘The Practice of Self-enquiry’ paragraph by paragraph. The author was made to dig deep into the original sources of the teachings of Sage Ramana based on the exposition given by Sri Sadhu Om, as this section was put together. A very important point for spiritual aspirants to note is that it is the incessant practice of the method of Self-enquiry as described in this section which is to be undertaken by a truly inspired devotee or spiritual aspirant, which will eventually result in the ‘I’ - thought subsiding and thus awaking to the state of pure ‘Self-awareness’, as is evident from the personal experience of the author. The author himself an ardent follower of Sage Ramana, had aspired to understand ‘The Purpose of Man on earth’, and in spite of having fully experienced the rising of cosmic currents in his body for a period of 7 years from 1993-2000, and having read a great expanse of spiritual books, undertaking intense meditation, having written spiritual books himself, the quest of the realisation of Self-awareness remained unfulfilled. When in 2000 he came across the teachings of Sage Ramana, and having undertaken intense practice as described in the section ‘The Practice of Self-enquiry’ on 15 of May 2002, just prior to his daily evening meditation, he sat on the couch in the lounge room at his residence in Sydney and was deeply engrossed in reading page 26 of the book ‘The Mandukya Upanishad with Gaudapada’s Karika and Sankara’s Commentary translated by


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Swami Nikhilananda’, when suddenly his mind was drawn inwards and the following was experienced ‘Is this not the very source I’ve always been searching for’, meaning the mind was withdrawn to the very source of pure awareness (Self-awareness) in us; the presence of which is always there, because of which we carry on with our daily work, that because of which we are able to undertake whatever we want including the intense practice of Self-enquiry. We search for this source but never try and look at ‘What is this very source due to which we carry on with our search? What is this source which is so subtle that though forever it is present our entire attention is not drawn towards it?’ Following this, the author sat for about forty minutes in meditation totally absorbed and withdrawn in this awareness. The next morning on 16 of May 2002 as usual the author woke up for his morning meditation, as he sat down to meditate the attention of the author was again withdrawn and absorbed for about one hour and forty-five minutes in the same source of pure awareness (Self-awareness). The point to be noted here is that only after very strict and deep practice of Self-enquiry in which the author kept track of the ‘I’ - thought as described vividly by Sri Sadhu Om in his book ‘The Path of Sri Ramana - Part One’, and as per the exposition given in this book in the section ‘The Practice of Self-enquiry’, such an experience was possible. Following this experience in May 2002 up to the very end of 2007 under the auspicious guidance and presence of Sage Ramana, the author gained knowledge and experience of the teachings of Sage Ramana, which the author hopes to bring out in the form of writing and books if the sage so directs. It is hoped the contents of this book will prove to be useful to the seekers of Self-awareness. Anil Sharma Sage Sri Ramana Maharshi Centre of Learning 4QuailPlace Ingleburn, NSW2565 Sydney, Australia 10-10-2010


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FOREWORD On 7th October 2010 I received an interesting email from the author of this book which is reproduced as below Subject - Mighty presence of the Maharshi Respected Vasu Ji, It is 4:48 a.m. in the morning on 7/10/10 as I write this email. Today morning at 3 a.m., I was suddenly woken up. The Maharshi Sage Ramana was present in front of me while still on bed in his full resplendent glory. The sage gave very specific instructions about the book, what should be its title, what exactly is to be written on the cover page, how the book should appear in two parts....the instructions lasted for about 40 minutes. I wanted to lie back and rest, but was instructed to wake up at 3:56 a.m. and go to the lounge room. An interesting event happened, there was a blue ball point pen next to my pillow on the bed head, which I strangely touched by my hand before waking up in the dark. Normally I wash my mouth and comb my hair, but this time I was instructed to quickly comb my hair and go to the lounge room. As I sat on the couch in the lounge room, prior to which I searched for a pen to write some spiritual instructions, I was told to go and get a blue pen from the bedroom on my bed head. As I made my way back to the bedroom in the darkness, I quickly switched the light on and then switched it off, not wanting to disturb my wife sleeping in the room; to my surprise it was a blue ball point pen. Following this I sat for about 45 minutes in the lounge when the introduction to this book was written as per the line by line and paragraph by paragraph instruction given by the Sage. I hope to type the written transmission in a few days and send it to yourself for your perusal. Rest all is well. Thought I’ll share the above with you as it is still fresh in my mind. Regards, Anil Sharma


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As we journey through the course of our earthly life our primary and foremost goal is the fulfilment of our spiritual journey, the culmination of which is the experiencing and realisation of our true nature of Awareness. The author of this book has gained both experience and knowledge of our true nature under the guidance of Sage Ramana over a period of seven years from 2000 to 2007. This book takes a spiritual aspirant on a divine journey guiding one step by step from the very basic aspects one will confront at the beginning of one’s spiritual journey to the more advanced state resulting in the knowledge and experiencing of one’s true nature. As sage Ramana has stated, ‘All the texts say that in order to gain release one should render the mind quiescent; therefore their conclusive teaching is that the mind should be rendered quiescent; once this has been understood there is no need for endless reading. In order to quieten the mind one has only to inquire within oneself what one’s Self is….’ It is hoped that the reading of this book will assist in the fulfilment of such a quest. Vasuki Seshadri Bangalore, India 25 October 2010


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ACKNOWLEDGEMENTS – To Sage Sri Ramana Maharshi for the advice, guidance and encouragement given. – To Sri V.S.Ramanan President Board of Trustees Sri Ramanasramam for the advice given and permission to reprint extracts of the teachings and sayings of Sage Sri Ramana Maharshi from the books listed in the bibliography which is copyrighted by Sri Ramanasramam. – T o Sr i M i cha el J a me s f or t he a d vi c e an d pe r mi ssi on gi ve n t o r epr od uce some o f t he or i gi nal wr i t i n gs of Sr i S ad hu O m as ci t e d i n t h e bo o k – To Sri John Pater in compiling the section ‘The Technique of Self Enquiry’ in chapter six. – To Sri Vijay Gokaran for editing and writing of reflections in the section ‘Destiny and Free Will’ in chapter five. – To Sri Arjun Dev Nasa for his constructive advice during the final editing of the book and for undertaking all necessary activities towards its publication. – To Sri Thakor Patel, Sri Inder Aggarwal, Sri N. Sankaran, Dr Srinivasa Murthy, Sri Lajpatrai Sardana, Ms Anita Krishna, Sri Vasuki Seshadri and Sri Jaiprakash Margasahayam for the advice and assistance rendered in the preparation of the book. – To all the devotees of Sage Sri Ramana Maharshi who wish to remain unnamed for their assistance in bringing the publication of this book to fruition.


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CONTENTS Preface………………………………… ………………….....3 Foreword……………………………………………………….5 Acknowledgements……………………………………….…...7 Sri Ramana Maharshi - The Sage of Arunachala………… 10 Special Note by the Author …………………… …………24 About Sri S.S Cohen…………………………………….……24 About Sri Sadhu Om………………………………….…….. .26

Part 1 – PURPOSE OF MAN ON EARTH Chapter 1 29 - 42 PURPOSE OF OUR EXISTENCE The three aspects of the human personality and the effect of cosmic and magnetic vibrations on them Day to day interactions – The power of discrimination Chapter 2

43- 59

MEDITATION Is it necessary to meditate? Some simple but powerful methods of mediation to suit the modern way of life, for us to use whenever and wherever we have time. Purpose is to invoke the latent mental and spiritual powers within a being Chapter 3 THE POWER OF NUMBERS

60 - 83

An Overview of the Vibration Theory The Nine squares by Pythagoras – A simple but powerful key for a broad and general analysis of your personality Research your own life – your complete personality Experiences you will meet and Lesson you have to learn – There relation if any to past lives – Here is the method – your life and its attributes are its proof. Chapter 4 PAST – PRESENT – FUTURE

84-100

Lives of the past – The present life – Lives in the future – True or false some facts


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Some simple but powerful methods to solve our minor and major problems by regressing into our past and past lives. PART -2

SELF-ENQUIRY THE PATH TAUGHT BY SAGE RAMANA Chapter 5 101 – 142 REFLECTIONS ON CONVERSATIONS WITH SAGE RAMANA Destiny Fate and Freedom Destiny and Free Will Spiritual Practice, Meditation and Self-enquiry

Chapter 6 143 - 227 AN EXPOSITION OF THE TEACHINGS OF SAGE RAMANA The Technique of Self Enquiry The Practice of Self-enquiry Who am I? - Nan Yar? Ulladu Narpadu – Forty Verses on Reality Updesha Undiyar- The Essence of Instruction Spiritual Practice and Work Conclusion Glossary 228 Bibliography 233


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SRI RAMANA MAHARSHI THE SAGE OF ARUNACHALA There is a profound Truth in us, the truth of ourselves, the practical knowledge of which will make us free. However, this Truth is only realised when we start questioning the entity in us which wants to be free and be this Truth. So says the ancient lore Learn it by prostration, by enquiry, and by service. The wise, who have seen the truth, will teach you that knowledge. [The Bhagavad Gita, verse 4.34] [Notes: Prostration – The symbol of humility and reverence. Inquiry – The disciple should ask the teacher about bondage and liberation and about ignorance and knowledge. Who have seen the Truth – Only the person who has realised the Truth is entitled to give spiritual instructions. Mere theoretical knowledge, however perfect does not qualify one to be a spiritual teacher.]

This verse emphasises the need for a spiritual aspirant to resort to a living teacher of the Truth, if such a one can be found. The knowledge that comes by the study of the sacred lore is of little value; as one can learn more quickly, from the gaze and silence of an enlightened spiritual teacher than one can gather by a lifetime of the study of esoteric books. We are told by the great teacher Sri Ramakrishna Paramahamsa (a great Indian saint) that there are two kinds of sages, namely those who are born with the mission to teach and elevate others, and those who have no such mission; the former are from birth untainted by worldly desires; they win the state of deliverance about the time they cease to be boys; and they do so with little or no effort; the latter are born in subjection to worldly desires and weaknesses and have to go through a long period of sustained and well-directed efforts in order to reach the same goal. The former kind of sage is naturally very rare. Whenever such a one appears, multitudes of disciples and devotees are drawn to him, and they profit greatly in his presence. Bhagavan Sri Ramana is such a one. He is one of among lineage e of great sages, who have renewed and reconfirmed the teaching of the ancient revelation. He was born on 30th December 1879 in Tiruchchuzhi a small village situated in state of Tamil Nadu, in south India, thirty miles southeast of the city of


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Madurai famous for its temples. He received the name of Venkataraman. His father died when he was twelve years old and after that he was brought up by his mother and uncles. The boy was sent for education, first to Dindigul and then to Madurai, which is a great centre of pilgrimage. His guardians had no suspicion of what he was destined to become. They tried their best to fashion him after their own idea of what he should become; they sought to equip him for the normal worldly life by giving him a ‘good education.’ Though the boy had a clear and sharp intellect and a keen power of memory, it seems that he did not use them in his school work or to enhance his studies. The reason was that he had no ‘will to get on in the world,’ which every boy has, who is above the average. We now know that he was one of those rare beings who bring with them an endowment of spirituality. That perfection which was to make him the revered master of millions of people existed in him already in a latent state; and it is a law of nature that a spiritual endowment makes one indifferent to worldly gains. It is because the average person is poorly endowed in a spiritual sense, that one falls an easy prey to worldly desires; urged by these desires one takes great pains to achieve what one calls success in life. We know that Saint Sri Ramakrishna also had an incorrigible aversion to ‘this bread-winning education.’ Thus the boy Ramana gained hardly any knowledge while at school. But destiny put in his hands a copy of an ancient sacred book in Tamil language, which gives detailed narratives of the sixty-three Saints of the cult of Siva (the supreme Lord). He read it thoroughly with fervour. We have reasons to believe that he had already been a saint of the same high degree of excellence, and had passed this stage of spiritual evolution; he had in him the potentiality of something far higher, namely the status of a sage. One must be able to discern the difference between a saint and a sage. The sage differs from the saint as the ripe fruit does from the flower. Saintliness is no more than the promise of sagehood, which alone is perfection; when Jesus told his disciples: ‘Be ye perfect even as your Father in Heaven is perfect,’ he had in mind the sage, not the saint. Even as a little boy, Ramana was continually aware of something supremely holy, whose name was Arunachala; this we learn from a poem composed by the sage later for the use of his disciples. We see that he brought over from his past lives a fully ripe


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devotion to that mysterious Being, which most of us call God, but which may be more justly described as the Spiritual Centre of Life. This was seen on one occasion in his boyhood, when an uncle of his spoke to him harshly; he then went for consolation and peace, not to his earthly mother, but to the Divine Mother in the temple of the village. Sometimes also he would fall into what seemed to be an exceptionally profound sleep, a sleep from which nothing could awake him; if we may judge from the perfection which he attained later, and which he enjoyed in the waking state also, we may surmise that this seeming sleep was in fact a spiritual experience on an elevated plane of being. Thus continued his life, a double life on parallel lines, a life in the world which he led mechanically and without interest, as one that did not really belong to the world, and a life in the spirit, of which the people around him had not even the faintest suspicion. This lasted till the end of the sixteenth year of his life. He was then in the highest class in the high school course and it was expected that at the end of the course he would sit for the matriculation examination of the University of Madras; but this was not to be; for then something happened, which brought the boy’s schooling to an abrupt end. The age-period of sixteen and seventeen is a critical one for all. In an average person the mind is then overrun by imaginations and desires, which revolve round the sense of sex. But for a few exceptional souls it is the time of the awakening to the true life, the life that begins with the blossoming of the spiritual perfections which are already latent in them. This is found to be the case in the lives of all the saints and sages of the world. It is also a fact, appearing in the lives of the sages of the past, that this awakening begins as a rule with a sudden fear of death. It is true that the fear of death is not unfamiliar to common men; for it comes often enough to them; but there is a difference in the reaction to this fear; to the common person it makes very little difference; one is led to think of death when one sees a funeral procession; sometimes he begins to philosophise, more or less on traditional lines; but this mood lasts only until ones next meal; afterwards one becomes ‘normal’ again; the current of one’s life runs on the same lines as before.


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The born sage reacts differently to the thought of death. He begins to reflect coolly, but with all the force of his intelligence, on the problem of death; and this reflection is the starting point of a concentrated effort to transcend the realm of death. Thus it was in the case of Gautama Buddha (‘Buddha’ means ‘a sage’. The sage was also called Sugata which means one that has attained the State of Deliverance). Thus it was also in the case of Ramana. Thus he reflected: ‘Who or what is it that dies? It is this visible body that dies; the kinsmen come and take it away and burn it to ashes. But when this body dies, shall I also die? That depends on what I really am. If I be this body, then when it dies, I also would die; but if I be not this, then I would survive.’ Then there arose in his mind an overpowering desire to find out, then and there, whether he ‘the real Self of him’ would survive after death. And it occurred to him that the surest way to find it out would be to enact the process of death. This he did by imagining that the body was dead. A dead body does not speak nor breathe; nor has it any sensation; all this he imagined with such perfect realism, that his body became inert and rigid just like a corpse; his vital energies were withdrawn from it, and gathered into the mind, which now turned inwards, animated by the will to find the real Self, if any. At this moment a mysterious power rose up from the innermost core of his being and took complete possession of the mind and life; by that power he, that is to say, his mind and life, was taken inwards. What then happened is a mystery; but we can gather some idea of it from the teachings of the sage himself. We must take it that, possessed by this power, which is identical with what devotees’ call ‘grace’, the mind plunged deep into the Source of all life and was merged in It. All this happened while he was wide awake, and therefore he became aware of his own Real Self, free from all thought-movement; this Self was free from the bondage of desires and fears and therefore full of peace and happiness. The state which he now reached was the ‘Egoless State’, the state in which the Real Self reigns alone, and in serene calmness. Thus Ramana became a sage. We shall never know what that state is like, until we ourselves shall reach it and abide in it; but with the help of his revelation we shall be able to understand what it is not. From this we see that a sustained and one-pointed resolve to find the real Self, which is the highest and purest form of devotion, is


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the means of winning that Self. This is in accord with a text of the ancient revelation which says: ‘He alone shall find this Self, who is powerfully attracted to Him in complete devotion; to him that Self reveals Himself as He really is.’ (Katha Upanishad, 1.2.23). This is the highest truth of all religions; it was differently expressed by Jesus, who said, ‘Ask, and It shall be given; knock and It shall be opened.’ It is this very path that the Sage teaches in his answers to disciples and in his writings. In one of his writings he calls it ‘the Direct Path for all’ (Upadesa Saram – Essence of Instruction, verse 17) by which all the problems of life are transcended. The state that is won by pursuing this path is called the natural state (Sahajabhava). It is so called because therein the Self is manifest as Self really is, and not as it appears to the ignorant. It is also described as the egoless state and the mindless state. This natural state is the highest state attainable in human form, as one who has attained this state there is nothing else to be striven for. For such a person the pilgrimage of life comes to an end. Ramana had by this experience become a ‘Sage’, or rather the sage that was always in him became unveiled. For him, therefore, there could be no further evolution in spirituality. Mind and body are by this being an outcome of this ignorance; this great event is also called the destruction or dissolution of the mind. Hence it is strictly true that for the sage there is no mind nor body nor world. But that does not mean that body and mind are destroyed in the sense that other people will cease to see them; for them the sage’s body and mind will continue to appear, and they would appear to be affected by events, and hence there can be a further history of the sage. The sage himself may seemingly be active in diverse ways, though these actions are not really his. Hence the courses of events that occurred after this great event, some of which are narrated here, do not really belong to the sage; they do not affect him in any way. As Sri Ramana had never read about nor heard of the nameless, formless, indescribable known to the learned as Brahman (the Absolute), he had no doubts as to the nature of the state which he won by this event. Later, when he came to know that the sacred books described the state of deliverance as that in which the Self is experienced as identical with that Reality, he


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had not the least difficulty in understanding that he himself had attained that state. It is said of one of the sages of yore, namely Suka, the son of Vyasa, that the great event occurred for him without any effort on his part, but that a doubt arose in his mind afterwards as to whether the state that had thus come to him was or was not the final goal. He asked his father, who told him that it was. But seeing that the boy was not convinced, Vyasa advised him to go to Janaka (a selfrealized king), to get his doubt cleared. From Janaka the boy learnt that there was nothing more for him to strive for. It is noteworthy that in the case of Sage Ramana this doubt did not arise. Whatever occurred in the life of Sage Ramana after this great event concerns only the body and the mind that apparently survived the event, and not the sage himself. The divine qualities and powers which are inherent to the natural state became soon manifest, since their exercise was necessary for the fulfilment of the sage’s mission on earth. Thus it happened that immediately after this great event, in the intervals when his mind was not wholly absorbed in the natural state, it began to feel a need of some object to take hold of. The only object that was acceptable was God, in whose love the sixty-three saints had found their highest happiness. So Sage Ramana began to frequent the temple more often than before. And there, in the presence of God, he would stand, while floods of tears streamed from his eyes, such tears as can flow only from the eyes of the most ardent of devotees. It is ever the earnest prayer of all devotees that they may have such profound devotion as this; for they consider that a copious flow of tears is a manifestation of the highest devotion, which itself is the fruit of divine grace. We can understand this manifestation in Sage Ramana only if we suppose that in a previous life he had been such a great devotee. Also these floods of tears might have, in this case, fulfilled some divine purpose; for the tears of divine love are purifying and those that shed them are exalted thereby; the vehicles of consciousness are thereby transformed. So we may presume that in this way the body and the mind of Sage Ramana underwent changes which made them worthy to serve as the abode of a great teacher, a messenger of God. Along with these manifestations there was also at that time an acute sensation of heat in the body. All these manifestations


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continued until the sage arrived at Tiruvannamalai and found himself in the Presence in the temple there. We are told of a similar sensation of heat in the case of Saint Sri Ramakrishna. We saw that as a student Sage Ramana was annoyingly backward. Now he became worse than ever; for he was frequently lapsing into that mysterious state which he had won by his effortless quest of the real Self; when he was out of it, he had not the least inclination for studies. His elders could not understand what it was that had occurred to the boy. They had always been inclined to be angry with him for his aversion to study; and now they were provoked more than ever. His elder brother, who was himself a student then, was greatly irritated by these new ways of his. One day, about six weeks after his first experience of the egoless state, the brother saw him going into it, when he ought to have been learning his lessons; this provoked a stinging remark from the elder one, ‘What is the use of these things (books and other things that belong to a student) to one that is thus?’ The words went home. But the effect they produced was not what the speaker intended. At the time the boy just smiled and resumed his book. But inwardly he began to think, ‘Yes, he is right. What is the use of books and school for me now?’Immediately the idea took shape in his mind that he must leave his home and go and live far away, unknown to those that claimed him as their own. He had learned before this that his beloved ‘Arunachala’ is the same as Tiruvannamalai, a well-known place of pilgrimage. He had learned this from a relative; the latter on returning from a pilgrimage had told him in answer to his question that he had been to ‘Arunachala’. This was a great surprise for the lad, who had never imagined that Arunachala was a place on this earth; the relative then explained to him that Arunachala is only another name for Tiruvannamalai. [Note : ‘Arunachala’ is the Sanskrit name of the hill, which is itself regarded as God’s image; the Tamil form of it is ‘Annamalai’; ‘Tiru’ is prefixed to the name, to show that the place is holy; thus the Tamil name of the place is Tiru-Annamalai, which is pronounced as Tiruvannamalai.]

This place was far enough away from Madurai for his present purpose, but not too far for him to reach. So he decided to


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leave home secretly and go there, and thereafter do as he may be guided by the providence. Fortune favoured his enterprise; his elder brother’s school fee for the month had not yet been paid; and the latter gave him five rupees, which he was told to pay to the school. Out of this he took just three rupees, thinking that this would suffice for his journey by rail; the remainder he left with a letter expressing his decision to go away in quest of his Divine Father, and insisting that no search should be made for him. He purchased a ticket and got into the train at Madurai; but as soon as he had taken his seat, he fell into the egoless state, and was in it nearly all the time. He had hardly any appetite during the journey and ate next to nothing. He had made a mistake in planning his journey; but this was providentially set right; he had to walk a part of the way, because he did not have enough money left. But on the way he obtained some money by pledging his golden earornaments, and reached Tiruvannamalai by rail. At once he went to the Presence in the temple and cried in ecstasy, ‘Father, I have come just according to Thy command.’ And at once the burning heat in the body disappeared, and therewith the sense of something being lacking. Also, there was not any more flow of tears after this except once, when, much later, he was composing a devotional hymn for his disciples to use, which is one of his ‘Five Hymns to Arunachala.’ Going out of the temple he made a complete change in his externals: but this he did in a mechanical way, without thinking and making decisions. A barber’s services were offered; and the lad had a complete shave on his head. He reduced his dress to a kaupina or codpiece, and he threw on the steps of a water tank the remainder of the cash, clothes and whatever else he had brought with him from his last place of halt on the journey. All this was done with the conviction that the body was not HE and did not deserve to be treated as of any importance. He even omitted the bath that invariably follows a shave. But a sudden shower of rain drenched him on his way back to the temple. For long after this he had no fixed place of abode; he just sat in any place in which he could remain in the egoless state without disturbance from curious or mischievous people. For long periods he was totally unconscious of the body and its environment. The people who observed his ways took it that he was a recluse who had taken a vow of silence; and so they did not try to make him speak; and he did nothing to undeceive them; he remained silent. And this accidental


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silence continued for many years, so that in course of time he lost the ability to speak; later, when disciples came to him and he had to answer their questions, he had to write his answers; but with some effort he recovered his speech. He never lacked food; for the people recognised his exalted spirituality and were eager to supply his needs, so that they might gain the merit of serving a holy one. But he had, in the beginning, some trouble with mischievous boys, which however did not disturb his inner peace. Soon after coming to Tiruvannamalai, as a result of his continuous experience of the egoless state, he realised the truth of the highest of the ancient revelation: ‘I and my Father are one.’ Thus he became a perfect sage. Now he no longer needed to enter into himself in order to enjoy the happiness of the real Self; he had it all the time, whether he was aware of the world or not. He thus became able to fulfil his mission in the world as a messenger of God, or rather of the real Self, there being no God but that Self. It is this state of uninterrupted experience of the real Self, which is known as the natural state (Sahajabhava). The vigorous search for the missing boy that was made by his family proved a failure. But some years after his flight they came to know by mere accident that he was at Tiruvannamalai. First his uncle, and then his mother, came to him and importuned him to come back and live near them, if he would not live with them. But they could make no impression on him; it was as if he did not recognise their claims on him; such claims were founded on the assumption that his body was himself. Much later his mother and younger brother, at that time the sole surviving brother, came to live with him, and he let them do so. He took advantage of this opportunity to instruct and guide his mother on the path to spiritual perfection. On various occasions during the early part of his life at Tiruvannamalai the sage passed through many kinds of trials. But nothing could ruffle his peace of mind. He exemplifies in himself the truth expressed in the Gita and other sacred books, that the man who is firmly established in the egoless state will not be moved from it even by the severest trials (Bhagavad Gita, verse 6.22). The correct explanation seems to be that the events of the external world, including even what happens to the body, are not real to the sage; for he dwells in the state of unassailable happiness, a happiness which is so abundant, that it radiates around him, draws to him disciples and


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devotees and attaches them to him for life. Indeed many of them look upon him as God in human form. It is a curious fact about this sage that he had never had any book-knowledge concerning the real Self. The ancient lore, which reveals as much of the truth of that Self as can be expressed in words, never came his way; nor was he initiated by anyone into the secrets of that lore; nor did he even know that there was any such lore, till long after he had won the state which is their subject matter. But when disciples came to him, and some of them wanted light shed on the inner sense of certain obscure passages in the sacred lore, he had to read those books; and he understood their hidden meanings with perfect ease, because those books described just that very state, the egoless state, which he was constantly enjoying as his own; thus he was able to give out the correct sense of those passages, a sense that is beyond the grasp of the most diligent students of that lore. Thus it happens that this sage is an exception to the general rule of the ancient lore, that every aspirant to the state of deliverance must become a disciple of a competent teacher and be initiated by him into the mysteries. The competent teacher is termed a ‘Guru.’ Another instructive feature of the sage is that he taught more by silence than by word of mouth. Visitors come to him from far and near with bundles of questions; but when they took their seats in his presence after making due obeisance, they forgot to put their questions; and after a time they found that the questions had evaporated. The questioners in his presence either realised that the questions need no answers, or found the answers within themselves. The sage however quite readily answered any question that was not purely worldly; and when he did answer, his words were clear, but brief. And as a rule his teachings were free from the technical terms that are found in many sacred and esoteric books. And as he spoke, so he wrote. That may be taken as a proof that he spoke from his own experience, and not from knowledge of books. The learned person cannot talk without using the phraseology of the books one has studied; it may be said that the books master the man, and not man the books. The sage has written a few books, which are all very brief, but full of meaning. But these he wrote, not because he himself wanted to write books, but because he was importuned by certain disciples, who were eager to have a revelation from the sage himself, not being content with the extant sacred lore. He has also, at the request of disciples, translated some of the older sacred lore into


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Tamil language. The disciples of this sage are in a stronger position than those who have to rely on the sacred lore of the past because answers of several of questions from the sage have been recorded by disciples. Disciples came to the sage from all over the world, and they profited by his silent influence as well as by his teachings, according to the intensity of their desire for deliverance from bondage. Their impressions about him vary according to their mentality. But all recognise that he is a unique person, worthy of profound veneration. What is the secret of this power in him? The answer is that he has attained that state of deliverance which everyone aspires to, more or less earnestly; some also found in his presence a foretaste of that state of being. One particular trait that marks him out as unique is the fact that neither praise nor censure had any effect on him; he was neither pleased to hear praise of himself, nor pained by words of censure or detraction. This may not seem to be very important; but the fact is that other perfections of character are to be seen in varying degree in almost any good man, but not so this particular trait; indeed this is the one trait by which the sage can be recognised; it is pointed out that even the most saintly of men, if they have not won the egoless state they react just like common men to praise and blame. So long as even a trace of the ego or the ‘I’- thought remains, it is impossible not to be affected by either praise or blame; only the sage in the egoless state is not affected by them. As the ego or the ‘I’- thought had subsided the sage saw no distinction between himself and others, or between one person and another. For him neither sex, nor fortune, nor social status had any existence; his sense of equality was absolute; even animals like dogs, cats, birds and squirrels were treated by him as if they were human. As incredible it may seems, in his eyes no one is either ignorant or a sinner. Many maintain that a sage alone can recognise a sage, and that therefore no one can positively assert that this one is a sage. This is not altogether true; an aspirant who is earnest to find a competent guide, a Guru, on the path of deliverance has to decide somehow whether the person the aspirant elects is a sage or not; and if the aspirant is of a pure and devout mind, one will be aided by divine grace to make the right choice. It is also of great help for a true aspirant, to understand the profound truths taught in Sage Ramana’s revelations.


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The mission of a born sage or messenger of God is twofold. He renews and reconfirms the essentials of the old revelation. He also serves as a centre of divine grace to his disciples, especially to those who, intuitively or through understanding of the sacred teachings, recognise him as an embodiment of God, and therefore bear unto him the same devotion that they formerly bore to God, seeing no distinction between the two. This is in accordance with the spirit of the following verse. ‘No matter who they are, once they come to your feet, you know no difference. Sinners you save and make them pure. Ramana, God immaculate, Bright like Aruna hill that blesses, Ardent devotees with its grace, a well you are of infinite bliss, Permit me graciously to come near, bends down and drink.’ [Homage to the Presence of Sri Ramana, verse 222 by Sri Muruganar] It seems that for one who understands this truth and becomes a true disciple and devotee of the sage, one will attain to the state of pure Self-awareness while living in the physical body, as a result of the divine guidance of the sage. The sage transcends both time and space and is everywhere. In order to realise while in the physical body our True identity of Awareness which is the changeless witness of the changing world Sri Ramana has described two methods. The spiritual paths the sage taught were simple and direct. He would often say, “Ask yourself ‘Who am I?’ or submit.” These two paths both lead to the same goal. The one that he offered first was always Self-enquiry. It means concentrating on the pure sense of being, the pure ‘I-am-ness’ of me. And this, one discovers, is the same as pure consciousness, pure, formless awareness. His path is alluringly simple, but only to the really earnest and competent ones. There are many traversing the unique path of Sage Ramana and whenever their foothold slips, a gentle guidance of the sage reinstates them on their spiritual path. Sage Ramana is the Self within. It is that which pulsates in one as the life-force, as the very being as the very existence is Sage Ramana. Only for our sake he appeared outwardly as Guru (spiritual guide), bearing a comely human form. Once, he also joined the devotees in singing Ramana Sad-Guru. Seeing the look of astonishment in some faces he smiled,


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and pointing to his body, asked, ‘Do you think this is Ramana?’ Later he affirmed ‘In the recesses of the lotus-shaped Heart of all, there shines the Absolute Consciousness which is Arunachala Ramana.’ He is ever with us, within us. To many he said, ‘You are not the body.’ Yes he was not the body. Just before dropping the body he said, ‘People say, I am going’ but ‘where can I go? I am here.’ Not ‘I shall be here,’ but ‘I am’ ‘here’. The ‘I am’ and ‘here’ refer to each one of us; the former proclaiming the Truth of one’s own nondual, eternal Existence and the latter to the very individual entity. For one who turns to Sage Ramana, this assurance of his presence as a reality within is a tremendous boon. All urgencies and necessities to seek a spiritual guide outside get nullified. Sage Ramana ever IS! To realise this, is His Grace! So too it is with his guidance. His way of initiation was in silence and non-formal; the guidance was straight to the heart, bypassing words, concepts and all thoughts. It is so even now. ‘Be as you are’ is his only commandment. To remain as ONE and be fully aware of such pure being, to the exclusion of body, mind, scriptures, world and all. To this simple state of pure being the ‘I Am-ness’, Sage Ramana gave the name Self. Self is not an entity. It is the beholder of all that is. The one reality that ever IS. YOU are That! It is that simple, that direct, that natural. No mystery, no abstruse concept. Awaking oneself to this truth of one’s own Self, with total attention, is the message of the sage. ‘You have forgotten it. Now, wake up to the Truth that You are That.’ ‘Be the Self.’ This Self is what Sage Ramana is, was and will always be. This timeless nameless formless Truth lies unseen in all of time and in all names and forms. There is a strange reversal in the vision of the owl that renders it blind in broad daylight, but lets it see clearly in the darkness of night. So too does our intellect fail to see, not because the Truth is hidden, but because the instrument of perception has become perverted through persistent error. In Sage Ramana there is no limitation of ignorance. He is omniscient. Whereas normally one takes oneself to be this body-form which united with ones segmented conscious content and when this body has perished, one shall be a past event, though the hallowed body that was Sage Ramana to our gaze has long since been lost, should we say Sage Ramana was, or Sage Ramana is?


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Do not speak your answer my friend. ‘Was’ is not wrong, but not right. ‘Is’ is not right, but not wrong. Do not speak your answer. Step into silence and be the answer Arthur Osborne writes, ‘The power of his presence was overwhelming and his beauty indescribable, and yet, at the same time, he was utterly simple, utterly natural, unassuming, unpretentious, unaffected.’ He wrote some small treatises, his main work being Nan Yar? Who am I?, Ulladu Narpadu, Forty Verses on That which is, Upadesa Saram, Essence of Instructions and Five hymns on Arunachala, and translated some texts which he considered important and useful for those who were following his advice. On April 14th, 1950, the sage left his physical body. The site made holy by his presence is visited as a place of pilgrimage by spiritual seekers all over the world and the presence of the great sage is always felt there. Many spiritual aspirants have felt his presence there and attained enlightenment, to experience the truth behind these words one has to visit Sri Ramanasramam to experience it first – hand.


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SPECIAL NOTE BY THE AUTHOR When a sage of the stature of Sri Ramana Maharshi incarnates on earth for the benefit of all mankind, he also brings with himself his galaxy of enlightened human beings, so the exemplary life such a sage leads and his teachings may spread far and wide to all the corners of our globe and penetrate deep into the psyche of those aspirants who desire to advance to the very final stages of seeking, experiencing and living the very nature of our true reality known as Awareness. Sri S.S Cohen and Sri Sadhu Om are two such devotees of Sage Ramana. Their writings about the teachings of the sage, their personal experiences and the type of life they lead are an invaluable guide to the seekers of true knowledge. This book covers some of the writings of these two ardent followers of the sage. The following is a brief overview of the life of these two exemplary devotees of the sage.

About Sri S. S. Coh en Sr i S. S. Cohen was J ewi sh by r ace and Ir a qi by or i gi n. An account ant by profession, Cohen came to India in 1927 in his early youth in search of a key to the mystery of life, and settled down in India for the rest of his life. He worked in Bombay (now called Mumbai) as a professional accountant for a few years, then joined the Theosophical Society and lived at its headquarters in Adyar, Madras (now called Chennai) for five years. However, here he could not find the answer to the question regarding our ultimate purpose on earth and the method to fulfil the answer to this question. During this time Cohen heard of Sage Ramana, and came to Sri Ramanasramam with the intention of staying for a short period, but ended up staying for a period spanning more than fourteen years, from 1936 until the sage shed his physical body in 1950. Cohen was one among staunch devotees who lived at Palakottu, a colony of spiritual seekers near the ashram. Cohen was fortunate to have received the grace and blessings of Sage Ramana. Following is a small incident that showed the grace showered upon him by the sage. The builders had completed the finishing touches to Cohen’s small mud hut in Palakottu garden on April 4, 1936. Cohen had accordingly organised the final arrangements for the house warming ceremony, which was


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arranged for the next day. The invited devotees gathered in the hut, and about noon Sage Ramana himself strolled in, on his way back from his usual walk. Refusing the special chair that Cohen had placed for him, the sage squatted like others on the mat covered floor. The sage left after the ceremony, followed by Cohen at a distance. He waited until the devotees had dispersed and then approached the sage. He asked Sage Ramana, ‘You have given a home for my body, I now need your grace to grant the eternal home for my soul, for which I broke all my human ties and came.’ Sage Ramana stopped under the shade of a tree, gazed silently at the calm waters of a water tank for a few seconds and replied, ‘Your firm conviction brought you here; where is the room for doubt?’ ‘Where is the room for doubt, indeed?’ Cohen reflected. Actually, Cohen remained at Tiruvannamalai for some years after the passing away of Sage Ramana in 1950. Later, he retired to a quiet life in Vellore. During the last years of his life he lived at Ramanasramam. He died in May 1980 and his body was laid to rest within the ashram premises. Cohen’s wide knowledge of Sage Ramana’s teachings and steadfast devotion inspired him to write about his master. His reminiscences are sublime and his elucidations of the sage’s teachings are illuminating. His writings have inspired generations of devotees in their quest to gain both knowledge and experience of Self-awareness and Self-realisation. Cohen was a serious practitioner of the spiritual path taught by Sage Ramana and a fearless questioner. Thanks to these qualities of Cohen, we have Sage Ramana’s lucid illumination on many spiritual topics in reply to the questions put forward by Cohen. Cohen constantly reflected on conversations he had with Sage Ramana, and shared these with other devotees through the books ‘Reflections on Talks with Sri Ramana Maharshi’ and ‘Guru Ramana’. Some of these conversations and reflections on topics related to destiny and free will, meditation and Self-enquiry are covered in chapter five of this book. These conversations and reflections will assist spiritual aspirants to work harmoniously with both their personal work commitments and spiritual practice, as they gradually progress towards the stage of experiencing their true nature of Self-awareness and abiding in it. About Sri Sadhu Om


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Sri Sadhu Om lived in a remote house called ‘Sri Arunachala Ramana Nilayam’ located near Sri Ramanasramam, Tiruvannamalai for almost thirty years till he passed away in March 1985. His contribution and service in the form of writings for the devotees of Sage Ramana is exemplary and invaluable in terms of one’s spiritual progress. He compiled and edited Sri ‘Ramana Jnana Bodham’ in verses sung extempore by Sri Muruganar (an outstanding Tamil poet and devotee of the Sage Ramana) which ran to nine volumes in manuscript form. This was published by Sri Ramana Kendra, New Delhi with the great interest shown by the late Dr. K. Swaminathan. Sri Sadhu Om compiled and put together the book called ‘Sri Ramana Vazhi’ (The Path of Ramana) in four volumes, the first one on ‘Who am I?’ the second one on topic such as karma (actions), bhakti (devotion), the third one called ‘Sadhanai Saram (The Essence of Spiritual Practice)’; which has various clues for spiritual aspirants when following the spiritual path taught by Sage Ramana, the fourth volume is a compilation of his writings in a magazine called ‘Arul’ for which he was the editor. Various questions put to him by the followers of Sage Ramana and the answers given to them were available in manuscript form till 1965. They were then published for the benefit of such spiritual aspirants. Not only this, he also wrote commentaries on various teachings of Sage Ramana like ‘Upadesa Undiyar (The Essence of Instruction)’, ‘Ulladu Narpadu (Forty verses on Reality)’, and the ‘Five Hymns to Arunachala’. The only way one can pay tribute to this supremely benevolent human being, is by applying his practical hints in one’s practice of Self-enquiry. From a very young age Sri Sadhu Om was bent upon knowing the truth, and was in search of a Guru. He was born in a village near Tanjore in the state of Tamil Nadu in South India. He completed his schooling and joined as a clerk in Revenue Department. During one of his search for a spiritual master, he went to Sri Ramakrishna Math at Mylapore in Chennai the capital of the state of Tamil Nadu in South India and told the President that he was in search of truth and asked for guidance. The President advised him to pay a visit to Sage Ramana in Tiruvannamalai. Later when he was enquiring from some friends if they knew of any devotee of Sage Ramana who lived nearby, he was introduced to Janaki Matha an ardent devotee of the sage. She used to visit Sri Ramanasramam quite regularly with her friends. When Sri Sadhu Om went to her house, ‘Sri Arunachala


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Akshara Aksharamanamalai (The Marital Garland of Letters)’ was under recitation. Sri Sadhu Om was thrilled and his yearning became more to visit Tiruvannamalai. She said that they were leaving the very next week and he was also welcome to join them. It was in 1946; at the age of 24 Sri Sadhu Om had his first darshan (seeing a revered person) of Sage Ramana. Initially he used to come and go back to Tanjore. Then he resigned from his job and settled near Sri Ramanasramam. In 1950, when Sage Ramana left his physical body Sri Sadhu Om left Tiruvannamalai and stayed at ‘Janaki Nilayam’ for five years and managed a magazine published every month in Tamil language called ‘Arul’ (Grace). This magazine was published by Janaki Matha. In the second week of June, 1955, Sri Sadhu Om left ‘Janaki Nilayam’. During this period, Sri Sadhu Om as a result of having an intense longing for Sage Ramana started praying to the sage to come to him in the form of verses, as a result of which he started composing verses about the sage which were later named ‘Sri Ramana Varugai’ (The call to Sage Ramana to give Darshan). When he had composed the 172 verse, he had a vision of the sage. After sometime, the vision ceased. He went into a deep state of meditation, when he opened his eyes; he actually saw the physical form of the sage in front of him. Sage Ramana said to Sri Sadhu Om, ‘Why do you call me to you? Why can’t you come to me to my abode, Arunachala?” So Sri Sadhu Om said to Sage Ramana, ‘If I go back to Tiruvannamalai, how I will look after my daily needs and obtain food to feed myself?’ Following this he had a vision of the dining hall at Sri Ramanasramam, with lot of (plantain) leaves (for eating) spread on the floor, with no one in the vicinity. Now, Sage Ramana said to Sri Sadhu Om, ‘Why should you not serve food to yourself?’ After questioning thus, Sage Ramana’s vision disappeared. Immediately after this experience, Sri Sadhu Om left for Tiruvannamalai. He stayed there for about 30 years until he passed away in March 1985. He dedicated his entire life to the sage, silently spreading the teachings of Sage Ramana. After the sage cast off his mortal body in 1950, many of his devotees from both India and abroad gradually came to recognize Sri Sadhu Om, not only as one of the foremost disciples of the sage, but also as a person endowed with a rare gift to elucidate his teachings in


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a clear and simple manner which could easily be understood and followed in practice by all seekers of true knowledge. Thus many devotees used to approach Sri Sadhu Om seeking clarification from him about all aspects of Sage Ramana’s teachings, especially about the method of practicing Self-enquiry. Finding the lucid explanations given by Sri Sadhu Om in answers to their various questions to be of great help in their spiritual practice, some devotees used to make notes of the replies he gave orally, while others used to collect and preserve the letters which he wrote to them in answer to their doubts. In spite of his versatile genius as a Tamil poet of surpassing excellence, a talented musician, a melodious and sweet-voiced singer, a lucid writer of prose, and a brilliant philosopher endowed with a deep spiritual insight and a power of expressing the truth in a clear, simple and original manner, he never sought for himself recognition or appreciation from the world. In fact, his life was a perfect example of strict adherence to the principal precept of Selfenquiry taught by Sage Ramana.


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PART ONE

PURPOSE OF MAN ON EARTH Dear Reader, Like the rays of the morning Sun kiss you all over, so too may the rays of wisdom flowing from this book kiss your very being. Anil Sharma


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CHAPTER - 1

PURPOSE OF OUR EXISTENCE “I exist is the only permanent self-evident experience of everyone. Nothing else is so self-evident as ‘I am’. What people call self-evident, that is, the experience they get through the senses is far from self-evident. The Self alone is that. So to do self-enquiry and be that ‘I am’ is the only thing to do. ‘I am’ is reality. I am this or that is unreal. ‘I am’ is truth, another name for Self.” Sage Sri Ramana Maharshi A being is born - its purpose to live has begun. A being is dead - its purpose to live has come to an end. 

BIRTH (Life cycle begins)

LIFE (Life cycle continues)

DEATH (Life cycle ends).

As you read this passage this has, is happening and will happen with you - Birth (you were born) - your cycle of life began - Life (your cycle of life continues) - Death (the cycle of life will come to an end). When a being is born, its purpose to live has begun when the being dies; its purpose to live has come to an end. Two of the questions, which come to the mind - many times in life are - why I am here on earth? What is the purpose of existence, not only for you the reader but for all beings on earth?


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There is a purpose in everything. Beings cannot live without a purpose. We build a house – the purpose is to live in it. We go to work – the purpose is to earn our livelihood. We educate our children so that they may lead a better life. If a being puts on weight – goes for jogging or does some exercise – purpose is to take a few extra kilos off as the being is overweight. As it is very clear now, for everything we do there is a purpose. If we look around us in our environment (look around you now) – we will find certain objects, though these cannot be equated with human beings, they too have a purpose and some of these have a common purpose. The stars we see in the night have the same common purpose – they twinkle thus illuminating and dispelling some of the darkness of the night. Look at the trees – the plants, around us, one of their functions which can be equated to their common purpose is to give out oxygen – take in carbon dioxide. This is the very oxygen human beings breathe in, to live, to carry on with their passage of life. Look at the Sun, it too has a purpose – it creates and emits light, which is the very source of life on earth (are we not doomed to darkness without the Sun). When it rains the clouds have a purpose – raining in itself is a purpose for the clouds. Some of the benefits it gives are known to most beings. The purpose of the clouds here is pure, not selfish in nature. After reading up to this point, our understanding has definitely come closer to the answer of the common purpose for all beings. What is that common purpose? What do they all have to evolve to? Let us see if this common purpose can be made crystal clear by taking this example – Rivers flow from various places – mountains, valleys, plains. Streams at various points, join the rivers along the course of their flow. These rivers, no matter what direction they take, how or at what speed the water flows, however diverted their course of flow may be, they eventually find their way and flow into the ocean. These streams or rivers can be compared to the individual beings. Definition of a human being here is a soul manifested in a physical body with a mind. The ocean can be compared to that divine soul (our creator) from where all these souls have emanated


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and have to eventually flow into like the rivers flow into the ocean. To evolve towards perfection, to be united with the absolute (the divine soul) is the common purpose for all beings. This has been so from the present, to times immemorial in past, and will be so, from the present, to times immemorial in the distant future. However, like the river flows into the ocean, no matter what direction it takes, or what speed the water flows, however diverted the course of flow may be, how long it takes, it ends up in the ocean –so too for you and for all beings this is a reality. We have been born, our life is flowing from day-today, some of us know the course of our life, some of us are just flowing with the tide, some of us are being steered along the course by others, but yes the thing to note is all of us, all beings are flowing along the course, along the path of our life. . . . We have to flow, cannot stop the tide of time. So, coming to a conclusion, like the flowing of river into the ocean is a reality, we are alive is a reality, like the flow of life from year to year as we grow older is a reality, light of the Sun and darkness of the night around us is a reality, the air around us which we breathe is a reality, the two hands attached to the human body which allow for physical work to be done is a reality, the two eyes on the face by which we perceive and visualise our immediate physical environment (the very eyes which are enabling you to read this book) is a reality, our brain which enables us to think to analyse is a reality, our feet by whose mechanism we can walk is a reality – so too the common purpose of all beings should be a reality for us. No matter at what point in our life, what our purpose at that point is, we should keep this common purpose too in our mind, only than can we evolve towards it. The three aspects of the human personality and the effect of cosmic and magnetic vibrations on them – To understand the human personality, which appears to be complex, basically is made of three planes or areas as follows:


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The Three aspects

Spiritual Aspect or Spiritual Personality Physical Aspect or Physical Personality

Mental Aspect or Mental Personality

Having categorised the human personality into three basic areas - Mental, Physical and Spiritual let us define these areas further: The physical make up of our personality: – The Physical make up of the personality is related to all that is being carried out on a physical level or a physical plane. This includes – 1. Human Body 2. All physical activities carried out by a being. 3. Our interaction with our immediate physical environment. Interaction with our environment in the physical plane is carried out by the five senses namely to see, to touch, to taste, to hear and to smell. The physical environment virtually includes all the physical aspects a being goes through the passage of life – childhood, middle and then old age, friends, family, field of study


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or specialisation, area in which the being works, the place, city or town and the country in which one resides, also the planets, the Sun, the moon, the trees, the sky, the earth we walk on and all things of similar nature having a reflection of the physical plane, all fall in the physical plane, and are related directly to the physical aspect of a beings personality. Anything involving physical activity like yelling, talking, crying, etc. are all part of the physical personality of a being. The Mental make up of the human personality:– The mental make up of the human personality consists of the human brain. The basic functional unit of the brain is the nerve cell or neuron. There are billions of these neurons in the human brain. Communication to and fro our environment takes place via millions of interneuron pathways. Information is sent in the form of small pulses of electricity. Brain is the home of all mental processes carried out by beings. These include the ability to think, ability to imagine, ability to rationalise and seek logical answers to the many, varied and almost never ending problems of life. Like the ripples of waves in an ocean, so too are the thoughts in our brain, constantly rising and then falling and disappearing. Thoughts constantly flow, then disappear and die, then flow and again disappear like waves of the ocean. As a bridge connects the two sides of a river, similarly the physical and spiritual aspects are connected by a bridge, which is the mental aspect of the human personality. Thus the brain connects or bridges, the physical and spiritual aspects of the human personality. The Spiritual aspect of the human personality:– The spiritual aspect of the human personality is the real, pure and true personality of beings. It is the source of spiritual knowledge within a being. Spiritual knowledge includes all knowledge, of the known and the unknown within it.


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An understanding of the spiritual aspect of the personality, an understanding of this spiritual knowledge can lead to depth of wisdom, and a freedom which can only be experienced. The spiritual aspect of the human personality includes qualities like, feeling for other beings expressed in the form of positive emotions, ability to recognise the joy or sorrow of others in a flash, are actions directed straight from the spiritual plane, without the process of thought coming into play. Having defined and understood, the three aspects of the human personality, it is now important to look how these three aspects are interrelated or work in relation to each other, how we react and what effect they have on us, as we move through these three planes or aspects of the human personality. One of the smallest particles of matter is an atom. It consists of a central nucleus which is positively charged. The nucleus is surrounded by negatively charged electrons revolving round it. According to Neil Bohr, Danish physicist, electrons move in prescribed orbits round the nucleus. This is now a scientifically proven fact. When an electron gains energy, it jumps up to a higher orbit. Similar to the movement of the electron, at any given time, a being is either in the physical or mental or spiritual plane. Cosmic and magnetic vibrations and their effect on the human personality:– Exploring further two types of vibrations namely cosmic and magnetic vibrations affect these three aspects of the human personality. Our earth’s atmosphere is affected by vibrations from the planets from our solar system and the moon, which impact upon our personality, our attitude and the way we behave; these are the magnetic vibrations, named so as every cell in the human body is a magnetic cell which is affected by these vibrations, hence, impacting upon our behaviour. The white light of the Sun named as cosmic vibrations affects the spiritual aspect of human beings; note this is how in astrology calculations are made possible using the impact of the


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vibratory effect of planets on a human being and using one’s date of birth to determine the character, life path and future of an individual. Explaining this further using an example, individuals having date of birth as eight are said to be ruled by the planet Saturn, and astro-numerology gives a true account of their character and the way they conduct themselves in life. How is this brought about? Each cell in the human body is an electromagnetic cell, now the atmosphere surrounding the human being is constantly penetrated by vibrations from the planet Saturn; these vibrations are accordingly received and impacts more compared to other such vibrations upon the electromagnetic cells of individuals born on the date eight, and accordingly manipulate and impact upon the character and the way such individuals conduct themselves in life. Such vibrations as those of Saturn have been termed as magnetic vibrations in this chapter which impact on the physical and mental aspect of a human being. The atmosphere around us is being constantly penetrated and bombarded by magnetic vibrations from outer space or cosmos, in a pattern related to the position of the planets and heavenly bodies. In the same way, beings are surrounded by and our atmosphere is bombarded from outer space by cosmic rays, which correspond to the seven cosmic colours of the rainbow. The white light emitted from the Sun is composed of these seven cosmic colours. Like on a TV or radio we switch from a high frequency to a low frequency channel, or from a low frequency to a high frequency channel, similarly the spiritual plane can be considered to be the high frequency channel, which tunes to the cosmic vibrations, the mental and physical aspects of the human personality can be considered to be the lower frequency channels, which tune to the magnetic vibrations. Both cosmic and magnetic vibrations and energy levels are always present around us. Sometimes we suddenly have an urge to read a religious or spiritual book, an urge of great compassion and love for our friends or fellow beings. This is the effect of cosmic vibrations.


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Then the feeling or urge fades away and disappears, we return back to the magnetic vibration effect. In other words we tune back to the mental and physical planes We can summaries’ this in the form of a diagram: –

Spiritual Aspect

Mental & Physical Aspect

of the Human Personality

of the Human Personality

Interprets Cosmic Vibrations

Interprets Magnetic Vibrations ( H o w e ve r me n t a l & p h y s i c a l a s p e c t s c a n b e d i r e c t e d t o p e r c e i ve a n d i n t e r p r e t c o s mi c vi b r a t i o n s )

Cosmic Vibrations (The three aspects of the human personality unite and work in total harmony with each other. Thus the common purpose of life for all beings is achieved.) The spiritual wisdom of the spiritual plane, tuning to the cosmic vibrations by switching to the spiritual plane, is our flight to freedom. On the other hand, both the mental and the physical aspects of the human personality, have their limitations. As a dog chained to a post, can move around, but only in the limited area up to which the chain will stretch, so too, the magnetic vibrations of the mental and physical planes are limited, and keep a being within their limits. Only when a being tunes to the spiritual plane, one goes beyond the mental and physical planes. Thus a being is able to break his own boundaries and limitations, which the being has himself set, similar to the length of the chain of the dog, which does not allow for room greater than the length of the chain, for the dog to move.


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A being has to maintain a continuous, nonstop flow of exchange, between himself and the universe only to stay alive – to eat food is required, to drink water is required, to breathe air is required, to see light is required, to sleep darkness is required, absorbing heat and light from the Sun a being receives the effect of cosmic vibrations. Life would come to a stop, if the flow of exchange between the being and the universe were to be interrupted in any way. Most beings are unconscious of this fact, and instead of strengthening their ties with the spiritual plane, they spend their time destroying and cutting this relationship, and thus making it impossible for the spiritual knowledge of the spiritual plane to guide the being. A being may say, it is not possible to stay in the spiritual plane all the time. The question is do we sleep all the time, do we work all the time, do we eat all the time? The answer is no. So too, we must make it a habit, to tune in to the cosmic vibrations of the spiritual plane. This is the only real way, to improve and do better whatever we may be involved in doing in the mental and physical planes like our work, our desires and ambitions, our needs, our relationship with other beings, and so on the list is endless. Many beings just walk in and out of the spiritual plane, like walking in and out of a room, not realising what is to be achieved in the spiritual plane. There is no escaping the fact that as a being grows older, he has to realise the real purpose for which he is on earth. All work carried out by the mental and physical personality of a being, must be guided and directed by the spiritual aspect of the human personality. Only then will total calm and harmony exist for a being. For this to be achieved, all the traits of the spiritual plane have to be understood and a sincere effort made to practically put them into practice, in our everyday work or whatever activity we may carry out in the physical and mental planes. Failing which, peace and harmony within a being will never prevail.


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One question which can now be easily answered is why are all beings are different? Whenever you get the opportunity, look at the stars in the sky, they twinkle and this twinkling gives a message of love to each other. Look within yourself, as you have a soul, so do all beings have a soul. All these souls are similar in nature. Like the stars they too are twinkling, giving the same message to each other. Now look at the physical body and the mental plane which is the brain. It is only physically beings are different in look and in shape. As it is said the lines in the palm of no two beings are alike. The mental level of all beings is different. Hence we answer the question that beings are different, because the mental and physical aspects of all beings are different, but when we look at the spiritual plane, the soul it is the same, when the three aspects of the human personality integrate and unite, total harmony prevails and the common purpose for which a being is on earth is realised. DAY TO DAY INTERACTIONS:– The Power of Discrimination As every single being on earth, including you and me, move along the path of our life, from one day to another, we experience and interact basically with three types of experiences. What are they? They are: 

Positive, Negative and Neutral Experiences

Let us understand these three types of experiences a little bit more Neutral Cycle

Negative Cycle

Positive cycle


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The above figure represents electrical current. It has a positive cycle, negative cycle and let us define the straight line as the neutral line separating the positive and negative cycles. So too a being goes through only three types of experiences, positive which is pleasing and has a good effect on us, neutral which has no reaction or effect on us either good or bad, and finally a negative type of experience which has a bad effect on us. A being goes through a period of happiness, or sorrow, or partial happiness - partial sorrow, depending on the type of experience the being is going through. At midnight there is total darkness, at sunset and sunrise there is partial daylight partial darkness, at midday sunlight is at its peak, we are totally surrounded by light; so too is our present path of life: Period of Great sorrow = Midnight when there is total darkness. Period of partial sorrow or partial happiness = Sunset or sunrise when there is partial light and partial darkness. Period of great happiness = Afternoon Sun when we are totally surrounded by light. Stars dispel some of the darkness of the night; Sun completely dispels darkness of the night. Similarly every hardship, every problem we face is like the darkness of the night, the vital experience we gain from it is like the light of the stars, the ultimate benefit or peace we finally get is comparable to the light of the Sun. The questions to be answered now are – How can we maintain total calm and peace within ourselves? How can we live in total harmony with our surroundings, our environment, so that the common and the highest purpose for which all beings are on earth can be achieved? All beings possess a mind and a soul. That by means of which we think of everything, we become aware of everything and whose existence is revealed in every thought is the mind, the source of all knowledge, all wisdom and complete freedom is the soul.


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Mind relates to the mental, thinking aspect in an individual, the soul relates to the individual soul thorough which life expresses itself and is a part of the Universal Soul, this is very basic terminology used to describe the make-up of a human being. The mind operates through the brain, and the brain has the capability to analyse any type of situation. The soul operates through the free will. It is our power to use the free will of discrimination or the power of correct discrimination between good, bad, right or wrong which can guide us, grant us the power to have peace within ourselves, to live in harmony with our surroundings, our environment and bring every being closer to the common goal for which all beings are here on earth. This is that wonderful gift which all beings possess, but utilise only a small part of its infinite potential. Here is a simple way that can assist a being to put every problem, every situation behind him. Any situation we face either belongs to the physical plane, or mental plane or the spiritual plane. The brain can analyse this and put the problem or the situation in that plane. Using our power of discrimination anything which belongs to the physical or mental plane is a temporary impression and will die or dissolve after sometime, a worry or thought of today is not necessarily going to be a worry or thought of the distant future. There is no need to be attached to such thoughts and actions, let them pass. Anything belonging to the spiritual plane, however, will live forever. The effect spirituality has on beings is one of calmness, happiness and bliss. Last of all, let us try and analyse this infinite power of the free will, or this infinite power of the free will of correct discrimination. Free will is like the water of the sea or river, which assumes exactly the shape of the sea shore or the banks of the river when it touches them, no matter how curved or crooked is this sea shore or the bank of the river. Free will is like the wind which flows freely and fits itself according to the shape of its surrounding, like in a room, it fills it with air assuming the shape of the room, fill a balloon with air, the air takes the shape of the balloon and so on, yet the air continues to flow freely - such is the infinite power of free will. It will do exactly what you want it to do, but its power is still infinite.


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Whenever you get the opportunity look at a tree, observe how calmly and patiently it stands there, not at all disturbed by its surroundings, sometimes when it is very warm the tree withstands the heat, sometimes heavy winds blow, the tree may sway a little, then the winds pass and there is calm and peace again. Be like the tree, when a problem or a negative experience comes, it will shake you, but like the heavy winds it will pass, and there will be peace and calm again. This is only possible by using the infinite power of the free will to discriminate correctly. This free will and this power of discrimination are present in everything. It is so immense that if used correctly, it is capable of performing the following miracles: 

Transform sadness and sorrow into happiness.

A being can understand all his drawbacks and weak points. Thus ones character can be altered and changed accordingly.

A being will be able to alter and change ones environment or surroundings so that total harmony and peace prevails. We can alter and change the attitude of anyone we interact with.

Power of the free will to discriminate correctly, can only be realised, when a being is able to overcome hate and fear, the two common causes of all negative experiences and problems a being faces. Knowledge leads to wisdom and wisdom leads to freedom.


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CHAPTER – 2

MEDITATION “Meditation is your true state ... now. You call it meditation, because there are other thoughts distracting you. When these thoughts are dispelled, you remain alone, i.e., in the state of meditation free from thoughts; and that is your real nature which you are now attempting to gain by keeping away other thoughts. Such keeping away of other thoughts is now called meditation. When the practice becomes firm, the real nature shows itself as the true meditation.” Sage Sri Ramana Maharshi Your present cycle of Birth – Life – Death is true, as it is a reality. Your physical existence in universe, your present life is a living proof of this cycle. At this stage, if you can now, gently, innocently ask yourself this question - Does this cycle of Birth – Life – Death repeat itself again and again? Is it true? You may get a faint answer..... ‘Yes’. There may be no answer or the answer may even be no, even then (record this carefully in your mind), you are not sure. Does the cycle repeat itself – Is it true or is it an illusion? The truth is- it is both. The cycle repeats itself, but in the eyes of the divine soul our creator, it is only an illusion. Why? Because once you know the truth – the cycle will come to an end. You will be united with the absolute (the divine soul). You will go back to where your spirit originally came from.


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Coming back to the world of physical and mental reality, beings belong to either one of the following three groups based on what has been discussed so far – 

Those beings that believe in the cycle of repetition of BirthLife-Death.

Those beings that do not believe in the cycle of repetition of Birth – Life – Death.

Those beings that are not aware, or are aware to some extent, but never consciously bothered to think about it.

No matter which group you belong to, an honest attempt will be made using meditation, and the means of meditation to understand the reality, the truth, thus attempting to put an end to such a cycle. If in the end, dear reader, you achieve nothing by reading this chapter, you will definitely have learnt to live in peace and harmony, at least with yourself. A being that has learnt the purpose of its existence in this universe, has learnt the secret of creating new habits, and will be able to control that which controls life. One way or the other a being is a slave of his habits. Now, when habits become the slave of a being, the being evolves towards perfection – makes an effort to be united, to vibrate in harmony with the absolute, the divine soul or by whatever name you would like to call it, thus fulfilling the pure, the true, the common and the highest purpose for which the being is on earth. Dear reader, keep it in your mind as you come to the end of this chapter, you will make an attempt to form or you would have formed the very best of habits, a being can have - what habit? The habit of meditation! To evolve towards perfection - to be united with the absolute, the divine soul is the highest and the common purpose of all beings on this earth. This common purpose may be beyond human conception, may not be achieved by feeling alone, may not be achieved by knowledge alone, but it is not beyond meditation, and meditation alone is enough to achieve this common purpose. Dear reader, at this point we are actually going to start this chapter on meditation. So far, we were only attempting to evolve or direct our mind towards meditation, only to make us aware that meditation too exists in our world.


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It is purposeless, and nothing will be achieved in trying to analyse and understand - why it is necessary to meditate, or what method should be chosen by a being to take up meditation, until we have clearly understood - what is meditation? Before we make an attempt to understand the term meditation, dear readers, try and classify yourself in one of the following groups, based on meditation – 

Those beings, who have realised the absolute using meditation.

Those beings, who are on their way to realisation of the absolute using meditation.

Those beings, who are aware of meditation, but are still contemplating, how to take up meditation. What is the best form of meditation they should take up?

Don’t worry, no matter which category you belong to, in a very simple and logical way, let us first try and understand, what meditation is. Secondly, why is it necessary to meditate and finally we will look at some simple, but very powerful means to meditate, and dear reader you pick initially, that way of meditation which suits you best. Now what is meditation? Whatever we do read, write, walk etc. there is something which guides us, in very simple language, there is a hidden power which guides us. Everyday when you leave home, just observe this simple fact; something guides you to your destination, to the place where you intend to go. When you come back home, again there is something within you, guiding you back home. Is it or is it not? The answer has to be yes. Similar to this, meditation is that something which shows us our spiritual path, which lights up our spiritual path, which guides us on the way to becoming one with the absolute. That which helps to realise the common purpose for which all beings are on earth is Meditation, it is like a teacher, who gently holds us by the hand, and guides us along the path of spiritual enlightenment. Meditation unlocks the latent spiritual powers lying dormant within a being. This leads to realisation of the absolute, which leads to the breaking of the cycle of Birth – Life – Death for a being, at the


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same time resulting in freeing the incarnated soul from the body mind trap. Science of astronomy is the study of heavenly bodies, the study of stars. Astronomy tells us that our earth, our Sun, our solar system is part of galaxy, and this galaxy consists of about 10,000 millions stars (1 million = 1000 Ă— 1000 = 1,000,000). A galaxy consists of many thousands of millions of stars, held together by gravitation, and separated from other systems by great areas of space. Astronomy has revealed the existence of about 1000 million galaxies, which form our universe. Our universe is one of many, many.... universes, which we may call as the cosmos. Like you are the ruler, the king of your physical, mental and spiritual personality, your physical body and mental brain, so too, the absolute, the divine soul is the ruler of the cosmos. Meditation is the only way to transcend this and other universes, to be united with the absolute by means of our soul, the incarnated soul. How do we talk with our soul? Meditation is the means; meditation shows us the way of how to communicate with our soul. Beings may sit in a spaceship, go to the moon, and explore our universe. All this will improve the standard of human life on earth, but sitting in a spaceship will not take us across all those universes and unite us with the absolute soul. We have to sit in the spaceship provided by meditation to achieve the goal of our spiritual purpose. Meditation prepares us, and guides us on the path of our spiritual journey. The thinking of many beings is as tiny, as the physical size of a being compared to the size of the cosmos. Material and personal gains have made beings so blind; they have become totally ignorant of the real and common purpose of their existence. Dear being what you read in the rest of this paragraph, record it consciously in your mind. Related to material gain, it does not matter how much success a being achieves in life, the being will still feel a void, still be dissatisfied, the being will always want and desire for something more. The lower nature of beings, their physical and mental nature is very tough, very corrupt, and very stubborn, it will never be satisfied.


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Till a being understands this law, the being will forever be tossed to and fro, by his physical and mental nature, in the world of dissatisfaction. Meditation can change all this. The first direct effect meditation has on beings is a change of thinking, a change that will dispel the veil of darkness, the veil of ignorance, the veil of suffering surrounding a being, a change that will make the being aware of the common purpose for which all beings are on earth and all beings have a change as a result of which, the being will be guided by a higher wisdom, a higher knowledge, the wisdom and knowledge of the incarnated soul, so long as the being exists on earth. Thanks to the spiritual enlightenment, brought about by meditation, wherever such beings go, they will bring peace, harmony, bliss and happiness among others. Such a being will become as bright as the Sun, and just like the Sun changes all darkness around it into light, will transform, the darkness of the physical and mental nature of beings into spiritual light, spiritual wisdom and spiritual freedom for all beings. The question is are you ready yet or not? If not, then if so far you have understood what meditation is, rest assured, one day, you will be ready. A tree is a tree, whether it grows in America or Australia or England or India or anywhere on earth it is still a tree. A blade of grass is a blade of grass be it anywhere on earth, still it will grow into a blade of grass. A being is a being, a being born in India is called Indian, a being born in America is called American, a being born in Australia is called Australian and so on, but first the person is a being and then an American or Indian or Australian and so on. Similarly meditation is meditation, no matter what religion a being belongs to, religions also teach that a being must meditate, which in turn leads to the fulfilment of the common purpose for which all beings are on earth. Everything has a function to perform, sight is a function of the eyes, and thinking is a function of the brain, so too the function of meditation is realisation of the absolute.

Is it Necessary to Meditate?


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We will now try and understand why it is necessary for us to meditate? We shall try to understand this in a number of ways. It does not matter, how we are trying to understand, or what example we are looking at, as we read on, the conclusion is the same. Why we are looking at it from different ways, because when you have your lunch or dinner, greater and varied the variety of food, the more you enjoy it. Similarly as we explore and comprehend the different ways, to answer the question – why it is necessary to meditate, greater will be our understanding. As many people say, that they have experienced in meditation or otherwise, sometimes as a real experience, or in the form of a vision or dream, what is termed as ‘Near Death Experience’. They see as if they are travelling through a dark tunnel, at the end of which there is a glowing white luminous light all around – so too as the darkness of the night, goes into daylight, all beings on earth pass through this dark tunnel or passage (the night) into the beautiful luminous light of the Sun, comparable to the luminous light at end of the dark tunnel. As the breaking of dawn transforms the darkness of this tunnel into light, so too we need to meditate, meditation transforms the darkness around us and unites our soul with the Universal Soul. If a being is suffering from a sickness that can only be cured by a particular medicine, so too some problems of a physical and mental nature can only be cured by meditation. A being may have a problem or a worry for which an immediate solution is not there, one’s feelings may be hurt etc., meditation in the spiritual state rectifies these problems by giving peace to our mind, by restoring the harmony with our thoughts, by expanding the horizon of our thinking limited by our mental capability to think, to analyse rationally, by meditation a being becomes free of any cravings. Hence, as we resort to a particular medicine to cure a particular disease, we resort to meditation to restore this imbalance. Meditation helps us to observe and interpret at a spiritual level, as perceived by our soul, on the other hand most of the time; we observe and interpret only at a physical or mental level. The difference is interpreting at a spiritual level is true and pure, and interpreting at a physical or mental level is usually in the form of a reaction.


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Hence it is necessary to meditate, so that a being can interpret and observe at a spiritual level, this will gradually lead to a realisation, a confirmation – the glorious beauty of the absolute which words fall far short of to describe. Within each being there is a vast source of spiritual knowledge. This knowledge can be tapped using meditation as a means. When the absolute will let you tap this knowledge, it will be given to you dear being, not in the form of small drops of knowledge but you will be given the entire ocean of spiritual knowledge. So meditate and get what is rightfully yours to keep forever and ever. To understand further the need for us to meditate, let us now explore these three states or aspects. The first aspect is like you are talking to a fellow being, to someone in your immediate physical environment. The second aspect is your own thoughts, you within yourself, like you may be thinking of something you would like to do in the near future, you may be thinking of a past event, to bring a smile on your face if you fall in this category you may be thinking of your boyfriend or girlfriend, you may be thinking of a near or dear one and so on, this process of thinking is never ending.

Remember this is a state of consciousness but a lower one. The third aspect or state is when you think of the absolute, the divine soul. The creator actually talks to you, guides you. In this third state, you within yourself are tuning to a higher state of consciousness. In this state all thoughts subside, a silence is achieved, and in this silence you are in communication with the universal soul. Now you judge for yourself, how we will achieve this higher state if we do not meditate. It does not matter whether you call this a high state of consciousness or a high state of unconsciousness. What matter is that if you are not already into meditation, are you now ready to take up meditation or you needing more to convince. Beings must meditate to know the truth, once when the truth is known, everything will be known. When you go into a dark room you cannot see anything, the moment you switch on the light everything can be seen, so too when you meditate, meditation is similar to this switch, you switch on to


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your spiritual self where you are able to sort out the problems of your physical and mental world, when you switch off, you come back into the physical world to carry on with your day to day work. Why do you need light in a dark room? To see objects. Why do you need to sleep and why do you need to listen to the music? We sleep to regain our energy and listen to the music to relax. Why do you need to meditate? For your own bliss, peace and happiness, to go closer to the common purpose and achieve success in this purpose, which every being on earth has to fulfil. Do it now, or do it later, the choice is yours, but do remember it has to be done. When you sit in front of a computer, what do you do? You type on the keyboard to bring up on the screen, whatever information you are after. What is the action involved? You have to type otherwise nothing will be achieved. Our mouth, teeth, stomach and all those enzymes secreted to help in the process of digestion are there, but what do you do? You have to pick up the food, put it in your mouth and chew it, only then all other functions which assist in the process of digestion will start functioning. What is the action involved? You have to pick up the food with your hands and chew it in your mouth with your teeth, otherwise nothing will be achieved. Similarly churches, temples, mosques and other such places are there for a being to pray. Books are there to teach you how to meditate, like a bird uses wings to fly, a fish uses fins to swim, so too there are prayers and mantras for us to use in meditation – but how on earth can we comprehend and realise the power of meditation, till we start meditating. Hence as we need to type on the keyboard of the computer to get information on the screen, we need to pick up and chew the food for digestion to take place, we need to meditate to achieve perfection, to achieve harmony, to achieve bliss, to be united with the absolute (the divine soul), to get away from those ever increasing false and misleading thoughts, which lead to nowhere and result in absolutely nothing, but unhappiness and dissatisfaction, we need to meditate. Merely thinking and theorising about meditation is not good enough. Nothing worthwhile can be achieved until we have confidence in ourselves, until we firmly believe that we can achieve,


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whatever is our purpose or whatever we aim to achieve. Yes, this is the most difficult part to understand, yet the most essential and meditation can help us to fully understand this question. Don’t just believe that this is the truth. Make up your mind now and using meditation, experience the truth for yourself. Just the decision to meditate, guarantees that you will achieve bliss, you will fulfil the highest and the common purpose for which all beings are on earth. But alas! To start mediating is the hard part. No matter what you achieve in the physical world, how much success you achieve, you will still feel lonely, you will still feel a peculiar void. Once you have taken the decision to meditate, you need not exert, the rest will follow. Once you board the train of meditation, you will for sure, reach the destination. By now it must be clear – Why is it necessary to mediate? Some simple but powerful methods of meditation to suit the modern way of life, for us to use whenever and wherever we have time: Purpose is to invoke the latent spiritual powers within a being. Having understood the meaning of the term meditation and why it is necessary for beings to meditate; now we shall look at various ways or methods of mediation, so that using these methods we may fulfil the very purpose of meditation. It does not matter which method of meditation you choose, understand this and understand it well, the ultimate purpose of these methods of meditation is the same, which is the final realisation of the common purpose for which all beings are on earth. During meditation once you achieve bliss, once the real the pure truth is known, once you attain realisation, it may be in the form of a vision, it may or may not repeat itself, this effect of meditation will manifest and reside within you, rest assured its effect will be felt may be in a day or a week or month or even in a year, its effect will be felt. Whatever your purpose or whatever you do in your normal routine life, things will take a turn for the better, the so called intellectual doubts of the real and common purpose for which all beings are on earth will be erased, will be removed and redirection of practical activity, redirection of thinking will take place.


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Before we go too far, here are some simple but powerful methods of meditation to assist us on our journey of meditation to fulfil the common purpose for which all beings are on earth. 1. Meditation using dew-drops and if there is time continue meditating using the Sun as a means – Dear being would you like to see the absolute, the universal soul in one of its many forms, in one of its forms where you may get a glimpse of the true, pure, beauty of the absolute. Take a small mat with you. It should be big enough so that you can sit on it. Go to a park or wherever you can see some grass on the ground in the morning, around sunrise time, preferably if it is a morning after a clear night with not too many clouds in the sky. What do you see? Millions of small dew-drops deposited on the grass. These dew-drops represent the absolute in one of its pure and true forms. Walk barefoot for a couple of minutes on these dewdrops, mediate on their purity and their beauty, think of the wonderful creator who created these drops. Science can explain how these dew-drops are formed, but it cannot explain why they were to be formed that way. The simple answer is that it was the will of the universal soul that the dew-drops be formed that way. Now for that final tremendous experience of this type of meditation; wet your fingers couple of times with these dewdrops and gently apply this wetness on your forehead specifically on and around the area between the two eyes on the forehead. Sit in a comfortable posture on your mat, preferably cross legged, hands folded or unfolded resting on the thighs but keep your chest, spinal cord, neck and head erect. Close your eyes and repeat silently for about two minutes in your mind, the name of the absolute - Allah, OM, or Christ or by whatever name that has been given to the absolute by your religion. Recite the name when breathing outwards, close your lips and gently breathe in, repeat the process. After this with the


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eyes closed in the same posture, relax in silence for about three minutes. During the process you will find a stream of pulsations, call them cosmic pulsations will travel through you (particularly in the area of the forehead), complete bliss will takeover your entire being and you will vibrate in unison, in harmony with the universal soul, why is the effect so powerful of such a simple way of meditation? It generates the thought of the absolute in a way connects you to the absolute. When you go to someone’s house and knock on the front door, the person in the house listens to this knock opens the front door and you are allowed entry in the house. In the same way when we apply dew-drops between the eyebrows on the middle of the forehead, we actually knock on the door of bliss on the door of entry into the house of God, as it is written in the scriptures. The pulsations send a signal, the absolute soul listens and in a way you are connected with that very source of life or the absolute. Purpose of this simple meditation is to invoke your latent spiritual powers, to awaken them and to bring you closer to the common purpose for which all beings are on earth. Before we move on and explore other ways to meditate, always keep this in your mind, an ocean is made up of trillions of drops of water but they are all alike in nature, in the same way we cannot count how many dew-drops are deposited on the grass in the morning, but they have one thing in common, they are all alike in nature. Like these dew-drops are same in nature, the water drops of the ocean are same in nature so too the absolute, the universal soul is one only it is called by different names in different religions. To continue with our meditation provided you are willing and can spare more time, now we will use the Sun as a means of meditation. Sit on your mat facing directly east where the Sun is rising. Use the same posture as described above (the posture using dew-drops as a means of meditation) or sit yourself in a posture that suits you. Whatever postures you choose keep your chest, spinal cord, neck and head erect. Relax, enjoy and meditate on the


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wonderful pure white of the Sun reaching you. Close your eyes gazing towards the Sun, now slowly open them. What do you see? Of course it is the Sun, a big glowing white luminous object. Picture the image or symbol of the absolute (as depicted in your religion) in this object, if it is hard to form a picture or image in your mind, just think that it is all possible due to the absolute. Is it or is it not? Now again close your eyes, in the same posture, at least for a minute silently repeat the name of the universal soul, use the name given to the absolute by your religion. Repeat the name in the outward breath, close your lips and than breathe in. After these repeat these words - O MY LORD (substitute Lord by the name given to the absolute by your religion) may all beings find happiness, may all beings find peace, and may all beings find bliss. Open your eyes. Everyone knows that the Sun is the centre of our solar system and the planets with precision and very harmoniously revolve around it, so too we have to focus and try and find our own centre, the incarnated soul within us and all aspects of our personality and our entire being has to vibrate and work harmoniously with it, this is the centre from which we receive the wisdom, the peace, the harmony, not only to be successful in the physical world but also to fulfil the common purpose for which all beings are on earth. To take our meditation a little bit further if you can pour water from a jug facing the Sun you will find the pure white cosmic light of the Sun being scattered by the water, it is similar to the water pouring down a waterfall scattering the pure white cosmic light of the Sun. If you happen to visit a lake or a river or the sea, observe how the white light of the Sun is scattered by the rippling of the waves. Why are we trying to observe this scattering of white cosmos light? , So that we may often think of it in our normal day to day life. So that we may try and at least make an effort to be as pure as this cosmic light, so that we may involve towards perfection, so that we may fulfil the common purpose for which we are on earth.


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2. Our second method of meditation is called - Silent message of the twinkling stars and its practical application After you finish your evening meals, just go outside so that you can see the sky. Pick a bright star in the sky. What do you see? You see it blissfully twinkling. No matter what, you will always find this star blissfully twinkles. The message here is - God is silent and shines as the twinkling of this star. In this silence and in this twinkling the absolute talks to you through this star, the message of silence, the message of bliss are conveyed to you. In silence concentrate on the physical appearance of the star and achieve perfection and bliss by meditating on its twinkling. Be like the star, your soul is like the star, just blissfully twinkle your way through every situation in life. Practice this way of meditation for a couple of nights. In any negativ negative circumstances or situation think of this star, bliss will flood your entire being. You may say this is very hard and it is not possible. Constant and correct practice leads to perfection. So too practice here will lead to perfection. You will evolve towards rds perfection and achieve the common purpose for which all beings are on earth. 3. Meditate on God; meditate on the absolute - anytime, anywhere. This method of meditation may be simple but in its simplicity lies the perfection Whatever you may be doin doing, reading a book, working in your office, taking a nap and so on, spare a few minutes (not a few seconds); during these few minutes try and forget whatever you are doing, relax and empty your brain of all thoughts and desires. Now silently repeat the name of the absolute in your mind. Followers of Islam call the absolute by the name of ‘Allah’, All means the beginning beginning-less, La means the endless, Hindus use the word ‘OM’ meaning the absolute, use the name given to the absolute by your religion or use that nname of the absolute with which you are more familiar, that which draws you closer to the absolute. Whenever possible draw a symbol or write the name of the absolute like

is the symbol of OM, or just write Allah or


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Christ or Lord or use the symbol of Jesus Christ – use whatever draws you closer to the absolute. Look at the symbol and silently in your mind repeat the name of the absolute for a few minutes. Focus your attention on the name and symbol as a lens focuses the rays of the Sun onto a single spot. What are you trying to achieve? You are trying to connect to identify yourself with the absolute; you are trying to vibrate in harmony with the universal soul. As you continue to use this form of meditation ultimately some of you may unite with the absolute, some of you will reach a stage where new, creative and wonderful thoughts will flow within you, which have never flowed before. This is the power, the effect of so simple a way of meditation. It has to be pointed out and made clear that though this method is simple, but the key to success is that you have to persist with it, every time you do it, your latent spiritual powers increase and you gradually and consciously attain to higher and higher levels of spiritual knowledge. 4 . Meditate half-an-hour before and half-an-hour after sunrise for 40 days and achieve bliss This method is not simple. It has some conditions. It has been included so that, dear being, you may use it. This method of meditation will lead the incarnated soul to be united with the universal soul. Select a place like a room or a spot free from any type of disturbance, the environment must be peaceful so that the mind can stay calm. Sit cross-legged with the hands so folded that palm of right hand rests on the elbow of the left hand, and elbow of the right hand rests on the palm and fingers of the left hand. You must keep your chest, spinal cord, neck and head erect. Whatever religion you belong to or believe in keeping an image of the absolute or the deity in your mind, repeat in silence the name of the absolute (use the name OM, ALLAH, LORD, WAHE GURU or whatever name has been given to the absolute by your religion or the religion you believe in). Repeat the name in the outward breath, close your lips and breathe in. Practice this way of meditation for


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one hour daily for forty days, half-an-hour before and after sunrise. Do not allow any break. You will on the 40th day attain bliss. You have to practice to develop your concentration before this method of meditation can be used. It is like if you write in an exam, you have to read a lot of books, get the knowledge of the subject, than you will do well in the exam, get good marks and thus fulfil the purpose of doing well in the exam, so too by using other ways and means of meditation as described, you will develop concentration, and when you practice this method of meditation, you will fulfil or achieve the purpose of this method of meditation. Before you even start to practice this meditation, you have to be pure in your thoughts, pure in your actions, pure in whatever you do. To understand and to be pure, a being must first by research and study, understand the meaning of the term purity and then become or achieve purity by practical application. Let us look at an example to understand the term purity. Buddha which means ‘awakened one’ chose the lotus as the symbol or emblem of the religion he taught. He is always shown as sitting in the centre of the Lotus. Why did he choose the Lotus? From Botany, the science of plants, we know that the Lotus never become crossed with other species, it always retain its purity. A Lotus will always retain its originality its purity. A Lotus will always grow into a Lotus. Similarly before you practice this way of meditation, you have to try and become as pure as the Lotus. One last thing we have to understand. Everyone has seen a mountain. It slopes downward. It does not matter from which direction the wind is blowing towards the sloping mountain; it will touch the sloping mountain. If the sloping mountain is


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the creator, than the winds blowing from different directions are like the religions of the world. No matter from which directions the winds come they will touch the sloping mountain. Thus the religions of our world are like currents of air blowing from different directions around the mountain (the creator). Hence, it does not matter what religion, a being belongs to, this method of meditation can be used, and its purpose is to achieve bliss. As an alternative to this method to achieve purity and to be united with the absolute, a being can meditate in the same way as described above using the same method of repeating the name of the creator and the same posture may be used, but a being has to recite the name of the absolute 284,000 times at least three hours a day, 1½ hours before and 1½ hour after sunrise and can take 50 to 65 days. Using this method a being may not only achieve purity but may also be united with the absolute. You decide yourself whether you can do it or not or how long it will take you before you can do it, or you do not want to take up this form of meditation at all. Once bliss is attained 30 minutes of meditation in the morning is enough, but you have to continue to meditate. Thus we conclude this way of meditation. Whatever our purpose or whatever we want to do, first we think about it, then we make an effort to achieve it and finally we achieve it. If you decide to see a movie; what do you do? You go to a movie hall and buy the ticket, thus you make an effort to achieve your purpose or what you had thought. Finally you sit in the hall and see the movie. You achieve what you had intended to do. In the same way if you decide to see our creator, the universal soul or the absolute. What do you do? First you decide, then you meditate and finally achieve what you are aiming to achieve. Using our weapons of will power developed by day to day normal routine work and spiritual knowledge developed by research


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and study, we meditate to be finally united with the absolute the universal soul. Reading this chapter is not good enough, it does not serve much purpose. A being has to directly experience for himself the truth of whatever has been written in this chapter.


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CHAPTER – 3

THE POWER OF NUMBERS “One should act in the world like an actor on the stage. In all actions there is in the background the real Self as the underlying principle; remember that and action.” Sage Sri Ramana Maharshi An Overview of the Vibration Theory Our life is like a road. The starting point of this road is birth and the ending point of this road is physical death (when the soul leaves the body). Every living being on earth has to move along this road from the starting point to the ending point. As we move along this road we meet and interact with many beings. Some of these beings we love, some we hate, with some we develop love and affection or get along well, with some we don’t. Why? The answer lies in the theory of vibration. The vibration force or the vibrations of our personality match with some beings while with others they don’t. What is that one thing a being carries with him everywhere? What is that one thing which is reflected in every thought, every act or whatever we do in our life? It is our personality. In our entire life time very few of us realise the complete potential of our personality, very few of us really understand the full length and breadth of our personality. Whenever a being works against the vibrations of its personality the result is suffering and misery. Almost everything, weather, temperature etc. is predictable except human nature. This human nature or personality of ours is governed by the theory of vibration. The science of numbers or the power of numbers which has its origin from the vibration theory is a key to tune in, to understand our individual personality. When we understand our personality, we live in harmony with ourselves, our environment and


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our universe. Thus we evolve towards perfection so that we may be united with the absolute thus fulfilling the common purpose for which all beings are on earth. According to the vibration theory all things are in a state of vibration. Some common examples of these vibrations are the vibrations of sound, the vibrations of light waves, and the vibrations of heat and so on. When we hurl an abuse at someone it is converted into the vibrations of sound and the reaction can be observed on the facial expression of the being receiving this abuse. All energy is vibration. All thought, speech, colour, sound etc. are forms of energy which again is vibration. The primary source of energy on our earth is the Sun. Sun rays received by earth are again in the form of vibrations. No form of life on earth can exist without this energy which our earth receives from the Sun. When we walk along a river or a sea side we see a lot of rocks. What shapes these rocks? The movement of water shapes these rocks. What moves the water? The wind moves the water, and what moves the wind. The Sun moves the wind. The chemical energy of our world resources of coal, oil and gas originally came from plants and algae (plants growing in water or moist ground like sea weeds) which themselves acquire desire their energy from the sunlight. Many beings may say that they do not know about the origin of life, but yes we are all conscious of the fact that life exists. So too, the fact cannot be ignored that the vibrations being emitted from the Sun, the Moon, the planets and other heavenly bodies do effect us, one way or the other. It is a well known scientific fact that all matter is made up of tiny particles called atoms. The human skin, water and so on (all materials) come under matter. It is also a scientifically proven fact that tides are caused by the gravitational pull or magnetic vibrations of the Moon. Even in the deepest oceans its magnetic pull is so great that it causes thousands of kilos of dead weight of water to be drawn to such heights as 30 to 40 feet.


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The tides as high as 14.5 meters (47½ feet) have been recorded in the Bay of Fundy on the east coast of Canada. Surely human beings cannot escape the effects of such electromagnetic vibrations. Water itself accounts for app 60% of the human body. Every single cell in the human body is an electrical unit with a magnetic field of its own. The main functional units of the human brain are called nerve cells or neurons. At birth a human being’s brain has more than 100,000 million (1000 x 1000 = 1000,000 = 1 million) neurons. Every day we loose about 5000 neurons, and these are never replaced. Even at the age of 90 a being has more than 99,000 million neurons. The main function of the neurons is to send and receive information in the form of electrical impulses. The atmosphere around us is not only being constantly penetrated and bombarded by magnetic vibrations from outer space in a pattern related to the position of planets and heavenly bodies, but these vibrations are varying and changing every second. Our personality is not only programmed within the human brain by a complex field of magnetic vibrations at birth but also controlled and regulated throughout our life related to the ever changing position of the Sun, the Moon, the planets and other heavenly bodies. The neurons or nerve cells are magnificent receptors of these electro magnetic energies. Numbers have two meanings, quantitative and qualitative. The power of numbers or the science of numbers referred to in this chapter is the qualitative study of numbers. This study is the very key to unlock the vibrations of our unique personality, which every being brings at birth into the world. This science of numbers, developed and practiced by masters of the past, the sages of ancient times, was put together again by the famous Greek philosopher Pythagoras born in 682 BC. Among Pythagoras’ many contributions to our present world, was the first university established by him at Crotona, Greek colony in Southern Italy around 532 BC.


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This was the first co-educational university in the World. The concept of graduate learning in the various branches like science, philosophy, arts the very bases of our modern education system was first started in this university. The power of numbers or the science of numbers, we will read about in this Chapter, was put together or developed by Pythagoras. Qualities were assigned to numbers related to the human personality, which is the very key mentioned earlier to unfold and unlock the various traits of our personality.

The Nine Squares by Pythagoras: A simple but powerful key for a broad and general analysis of your personality The day a being is born is the day the soul of the being decided to physically incarnate into our world in the form of a human body.

3

6

Rational Understanding & Analysis, Mental Perception, Ability to conceive practical ideas

2

Domestic Responsibility, Creativity, Expressive, Personal Creativity like Love of Home, an expression of expressing beauty

5

Intuition and Feeling Cooperation, Consideration for others.

1

Intensity of Human Feeling. Freedom of expression, love, versatility, resourcefullness, interest in facing change or anything new.

4

Ability of Verbal SelfExpression (Outward Expression) other than expression of innermost feelings.

Practical and organised

9 Ambition Responsibility, Idealism, desire to pursue mental activity to the full

8 Spiritual Wisdom

7 Learning by Personal experiences thus leading towards knowledge and wisdom

Figure - 1: The Nine Squares by Pythagoras


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Lying buried in this full or complete date of birth is the entire personality of a being which includes all the unique traits, abilities and talents the negative qualities or aspects, and the lessons a being has to learn in the present course of its life. To evolve towards perfection is the law of life. To unite with the absolute soul is the law of God. In the following sections of this chapter we shall undertake the journey of completely understanding and knowing our personality. To know and understand our personality is one of the keys to understand what is within us. When we know the cosmos within us then we shall also know the cosmos outside us, and we shall know God. We shall not only know what perfection is, but we shall also achieve perfection. We shall achieve bliss, and when we achieve bliss, our soul shall be united with the absolute soul. The law of life and the law of our creator shall be united forever and ever. When we play a game of hockey or football, first we direct the ball to the goal, and then we kick the ball into the goal. In the same way under this heading, or this section of the chapter, we shall assess and analyse our personality in a broad and general base, we shall first assess whether our personality best expresses itself in the physical, mental or spiritual plane, and analyse or pinpoint or know some of the main traits or characteristics of our personality. In this way we shall start playing the game of football or hockey, which means by this general assessment of our personality, we shall direct the ball towards the goal. In the next section of this Chapter, under the heading – Research your own life – your complete personality, we shall completely dissect and analyse in a mathematical and systematic manner, the principal and secondary traits of our personality based on their level of merit and importance. Given below is Figure 2

3 2 1

6 5 4

9 8 7

Mental plane of Spirituality Spiritual plane of a personality Physical plane of a personality

Physical plane: Body – Practicality, Materiality, human activity (which is a physical activity) is governed by this plane. Physical


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plane is represented by the numbers 1, 4 & 7 and their equivalent qualitative meaning as given in Fig (1). Mental Plane: Mind – relating to, performed by and existing in the mind (definition of mind is that which makes us think of anything, that which makes us aware of anything and that which manifests and reveals its existence in every thought), logic, analysis, seasoning, memory, intellect or intellectual power, understanding. Mental plane is represented by the numbers 3, 6 & 9 and their equivalent qualitative meaning as given in Fig (1). Spiritual Plane: Spirit, Soul – Intuition, divine wisdom, feeling, inner guidance, to perceive happiness or sorrow of others directly (in a flash) independent of the functions of the mind i.e. any reasoning, intellectual or thought process. Spiritual plane is represented by the numbers 2, 5 & 8 and their equivalent qualitative meaning as given in Fig. (1). We shall now do a general personality analysis using a sample date of birth say 23 April 1963. This is written as 23-4-1963. The individual numbers from left to right are 2, 3, 4, 1, 9, 6 and 3. These individual numbers of the complete date of birth are placed in the appropriate squares according to the numbers as shown in Fig (2). The result so obtained by placing these numbers in the appropriate squares is shown below in Fig (3).

33 2 1

6

9

4 Figure 3

Greater or more or higher the concentration of numbers in a particular plane (Physical, mental or spiritual), accordingly the personality of a being expresses itself more or better in that plane. In Fig. (3) Maximum quantity of numbers is present in the mental plane, rest in order of quantity or degree of concentration of numbers is the physical plane, and the spiritual plane containing the least quantity (only single 2) or amount of numbers. Hence, the personality of a being having date of birth 23.4.1963, in order of merit, best expresses itself in the mental plane, then in the physical plane and least in the spiritual plane of expression. Hence by this


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simple analysis the plane or planes in which the personality of a being best expresses itself can be analysed. Now from Fig. (1) The equivalent meaning of the numbers present in the squares in Fig. (3) can be read. These signify or pinpoint some of the general traits or characteristics present in each plane of expression (physical, mental or spiritual). Thus we have completed a general analysis of the personality, by knowing which planes the personality expresses itself best in order of merit, and the general characteristics or traits present in each plane. Now using your full date of birth do a general analysis of your personality. When using this method the date of birth must be correct and according to the English calendar. When zero falls in a date of birth, it is not considered in the nine squares. Anything multiplied by zero is zero, meaning both the starting point is zero and the ending point is also zero. Anything divided by zero is infinity or endless. So too is our creator, everything starts and ends at our creator, but again our creator is endless. Zero or zeros in a birth date indicate the inherent high level of spirituality in a being. Due to the extremely high level of spirituality, the personality of such beings needs to be guided well, as it finds itself hard to adjust to the material or physical aspects of our earth. A last point to be noted is that more the amount of individual numbers present in a single square, greater is the vibratory force of that number in the personality of a being. For example, two or more fours indicate an extremely methodical and practical person, two or more sixes indicate the ability to assume much responsibility, and two or more threes indicate a very high level of mental perception, understanding and analysis. Thus having analysed the planes of expression, and some of the main traits of our personality in these planes, we are now ready to do a complete and systematic analysis of our entire personality.

Research your own life - your complete personality The food is now in the mouth, the ball is now in front of the goal, a broad and general picture of your personality is in front of you. We shall now chew this food and digest it, we shall now kick the ball into the goal, we shall now completely dissect and analyse


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our personality, and thus we shall fulfil the mission or journey we undertook to completely understand our personality. A systematic and complete analysis of personality is only achieved, when we know which is that one particular most powerful characteristic of our personality which we use in almost anything we do, what are the second most powerful characteristics of our personality which back this first most powerful characteristic of our personality, what other traits or characteristics we have, what are those characteristics of our personality we do not possess and what are the lessons we are here to learn in the present course of our life, so that our personality may evolve towards perfection. Understand the following steps, together with the previous section and the section to follow, your complete personality will unfold in front of you, just like the Sun transforms the darkness of the night into the light of the day.

(1) The characteristic which completely dominates and is the most powerful characteristic of a beings personality – When the heart permanently stops beating, it means physical life of a being has come to an end; similarly this characteristic bestowed by destiny is the heart of the personality of a being. This characteristic is the force behind almost all our thoughts, acts and deeds, whatever we do as we move along the path of our life. How do we assess or analyse this characteristic. Take a date of birth say 31 March 1958 which can be written as 31-3-1958. Add all the individual numbers and reduce to a single number between 1 and 9. Let us add the numbers of this date of birth - 3+1+3+1+9+5+8 = 30 = 3+0 = 3. This is the characteristic bestowed by destiny and is the most powerful, the most dominant characteristic of the personality of the being born on 31 March 1958. The equivalent meaning of this number 3 is read from Fig. (1). It means rational analysis mental perception. Hence practically all human action carried out by this being during the course of its life will emanate from and relate to mental thinking or rational analysis. Now analyse your most powerful characteristics in the same way. Upon careful analysis you will find that whatever you did in the past, whatever you are doing at present and whatever you shall do in the future, emanates from and relates to this characteristic. This


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characteristic is the most dominating, the most powerful, and the heart of your personality.

(2) The second most powerful and dominating traits or characteristics of a beings personality – When we run a race the winners are announced or classified in the order of first, second and third and the remaining runner who could not get a place. These characteristics we are going to discuss now come second in the race of traits or characteristics of the personality of a being. These characteristics provide a very strong support or backup for the most dominant or most powerful characteristic of a being as already discussed. The second most powerful characteristic in the personality of a being can be assessed by two ways. 1. First, whenever three numbers fall consecutively, one after another in a straight line, or diagonally, they form what we call as a special characteristic or a special trait. Say, for example the special characteristic formed by numbers 1, 5and 9 represents determination; it means that an individual possessing this special characteristic is very determined in whatever the being undertakes to do. These special characteristics are only formed by using the full date of birth and are discussed at the end of this heading. A total of eight such special characteristics can be formed. 2. Second, by reducing the date of the day of your birth to a number between1 and 9. For example, a person born on 21st of a month the equivalent single number is 21 = 2+1= 3. The equivalent qualitative meaning of this number can be read from Fig. (1). for a being born on the fourth of a month the equivalent number is 4, its meaning can be read from Fig. (1). To conclude in our present course of life whatever we think, do or undertake is directly related to the most powerful characteristic of our personality. These thoughts and actions are then supported or backed up or expressed or done in a manner related to the second most powerful characteristics of our personality, which are represented by either a special characteristic formed by three numbers and by the date of the day we were born. Something a special characteristic consisting of three numbers may not be present,


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and then the birthday date alone represents these second most powerful characteristic.

(3) The remaining characteristics of a beings personality – It is not an easy task to classify the organs of the human body in order of their importance, as each organ performs a particular and an important function. However we may say that the heart is the prime and the most important organ of the human body, if it does not function physical activity of the body will not function. Next in order of importance we may say is the human brain and lastly in order of importance are all other organs like the kidneys, lungs, eyes, etc. If the heart or brain does not function, physical life will not function at all. If one of the kidneys or an eye does not function physical life will continue to function but there will be some difficulty in the normal functioning of the body. The remaining characteristics of the human personality are represented by the individual numbers of the entire date of birth of a being. Say in a date of birth 12-2-1987 the individual number are 1, 2, 2, 1, 9, 8 and 7 these can be placed in the appropriate squares as per Fig. (2) And will look like Fig. (4).

9 22

8

11

7 Figure 4

The meaning of these numbers can be read from Fig (1). These represent the remaining characteristics of the personality of a being and come third in order of importance. As explained in the previous section, more the individual numbers in a square, like in this case there are two ones, and two twos, greater is the impact of the vibratory force felt by the personality of a being.


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Like two ones in this example means the individual possesses excelled verbal self expression, two twos mean the individual has well developed power of intuition, feeling, cooperation and consideration for others, the personality of such a being will completely understand the feeling of others and will also have a deep undertaking for others. Many a times these characteristics which form the remaining part of the personality of a being, lie dormant within the personality of a being. It is really up to the being to what extent these characteristics can be utilised as the being moves along the passage of its life.

The eight special characteristics in the personality of a being - How they are formed and what they mean – These eight special characteristics are formed only by the individual numbers of the complete date of birth of a being; these individual numbers are placed in the appropriate squares as per Fig. (2). The number formed by adding the full date of birth or the numbers formed by reducing the birth day date to a single number is not to be used while forming these special characteristics. Once again only the individual number of the entire birth date example 213-1958 the numbers are 2, 1, 3, 1, 9, 5 and 8 are to be used by placing them in the appropriate squares as per Fig. (2) In forming or trying to assess these special characteristics.

The special characteristics are – The special characteristic of determination formed by number 1, 5, 9 as in 2-5-1968

2

6

9

5

8

1 Figure 5 Beings who possess this special characteristic exhibit a very strong spirit of determination in almost anything they undertake.


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Such beings are very persistent and will wear down or overcome all obstacles, which come in the way of executing their plans. (2) The special characteristics of compassion and insight formed by the numbers 3, 5 and 7 as in 17-5-1983.

3

9 5

11

8 7

Figure6 Any being having this characteristic possesses great inner calmness, peace and sincerity. They possess enormous compassion and understanding for others, and the ease with which the personality of such beings accepts the hardships of life they are able to almost achieve what ever they want from life using this special characteristic. (3) The special characteristic of thought and planning formed by the numbers 1, 2 and 3 as in 12-3-1948.

3

9

2

8

11

4 Figure 7

Beings possessing this special characteristic have creative and original thoughts of their own and an excellent ability to conceive a set of ideas to act upon.


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Love of order & method characterize such conceived ideas, and a good degree of understanding characterizes such original thoughts. (4) The special characteristic of will power formed by the numbers 4, 5 and 6 as in 14-5-1969.

6

9

5 11

4 Figure 8

The personality of beings possessing this special characteristic has a very strong will power. This special characteristic reflects the strong will in a being to succeed in a conceived task or purpose. Such beings have so strong a will, that once they know they are right, they will not allow a person or a situation get the better of them. Such beings are very sincere straight forward and attempt to do everything as truthfully and honestly as they can, and if they are wrong, they will not be afraid to admit and take responsibility for their mistakes. (5) The special characteristic of activity formed by the members 7, 8 and 9 as in 17- 8 - 1965.

6

9

5

8

11

7 Figure 9


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Any being that possess this characteristic exhibit tremendous action or above average activity in all three spheres or levels i.e. physical, spiritual and mental. It signifies the ability to put into action whatever has been thought, conceived and planned. So high is the level of activity in a being that possess this special characteristic, that as soon as some work has been planned it is almost as good as done. The speed of thought of beings possessing this characteristic is lightning fast, and their level of activity is such that they will recognise and solve a problem in no time, sometimes even before they can recognise that there is a problem. (6) The special characteristic of practicality & orderliness formed by the numbers 1, 4 and 7 as in 4 - 7 - 1992.

99 2 1

4

7

Figure 10 Any being possessing this special characteristic is extremely practical methodical and exhibit a love of orderliness related to the physical world, the day to day work, related to materialism and worldly desires. Such being not only possess or exhibit great liking, but also find satisfaction in the practical things of life. (7) The special characteristic of spiritualism or the special characteristic of the feeling and emotional balance formed by the numbers 2, 5 and 8 as in 12-6 -1958.

2

6

9

5

8

11 Figure 11


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Any being that possess this special characteristic exhibit a very powerful control over their emotions, are very sensitive characterised by a very loving nature and exhibit in-depth spiritual understanding. They have the ability to readily (in a flash) perceive the happiness or sorrow, the needs or attitudes of others. Beings possessing this special characteristic have the extraordinary ability to adjust and mould themselves to almost all types of conditions, situations, state of affairs, and circumstances in life. (8) The special characteristics of intellect, mental ability and intelligence formed by the numbers 3, 6 and 9 as on 3 - 1 - 1967.

3

6

11

9

7

Figure 12 Beings possessing this special characteristic have a high degree of intelligence, increased analytical ability and a very good memory. The mood of beings possessing this special characteristic is dominated by mental activity, and by using rational analysis they will always seek logical answers to the many and varying problems of life. Such beings handle their responsibilities in life very well.

A brief analysis of why each number and each special characteristic represents a particular meaning – As the Sun is the centre of our solar system and sustains all life on the planets of our solar system, as our creator is the very centre of this cosmos and everything with or without life is sustained by him, so too the number 5 located in the central square of the nine squares represents love and freedom in every direction, it touches every other number in the nine squares, in other words it touches every other characteristic represented by the numbers in the other squares, and it is formed by the intersection of the four special characteristics – as shown below, these four spiritual characteristics in turn pass through each individual plane of expression (physical,


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spiritual and mental) like the arrow of determination formed by the numbers 1, 5, and 9. One belongs to the physical plane, 5 to the spiritual plane and 9 to the mental plane.

5

Figure13 Fig. (13) Represents number 5 formed by the intersection of the four special characteristics and touching the numbers in every other square. Hence we can now appropriate the equivalent meaning that number 5 represents. In the same way number 4 lying in the centre of the physical plane is formed by the intersection of the special characteristic of will power (form represented by the number 4, 5 and 6), and the special characteristic of practicality and orderliness (represented by numbers 1, 4 & 7), hence the equivalent meaning of - Practical and organised, has been given to number 4. In the same way the special characteristic of practicality and orderliness can be analysed as it is formed by the numbers 1, 4 and 7. One represents ability of verbal self expression (outer expression) other than the expression of innermost feelings, four represents the trait of practical and organised, and 7 represents learning by personal experience thus leading to knowledge and wisdom, hence this special characteristic formed by number 1, 4 and 7 is called the special characteristic of practicality and orderliness. In the same way all other special characteristics can be analysed. Hence now based on these examples, you may analyse for yourself that why each number and each special characteristic represents a particular meaning.


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Now at least we can appreciate the knowledge and wisdom of the ancient sages, and what Pythagoras put together and gave to the world in the form of these squares. A study and application of this power of numbers in our daily lives, can not only achieve perfection, but also unite us with our creator forever, thus fulfilling the common purpose for which all beings are on earth.

Experiences you will meet and Lessons you have to learn – Their relations, if any, to past lives – Here is the method – Your life and its attributes are its proofAs now we enter into the final stage of our journey of thorough analysis of our personality, we will now make an effort to understand those traits or those missing links of our personality, which to a large extent prevent us from achieving perfection, as we move along the course of our present life. Using our date of birth, as we fill the appropriate squares as per Fig (2) we find that some squares are empty. Sometimes three squares representing a special characteristic may be empty. An empty square representing a particular number or three empty squares representing a special characteristic are the missing links in our personality. These are directly related to our past incarnations and in the present course of our life, we will be presented with such opportunities, or experiences which directly relate to the meaning of these individual numbers or special characteristics. If we fail to learn from these experiences, we will continue to meet such experiences, till we learn and do not repeat such mistakes, and thus evolve towards perfection as far as the meaning of that particular missing number or special characteristic is concerned. To clarify further let us take an example using the full date of birth 16-5-1963. The principal characteristic of this date of birth is represented by the number = 1 + 6 + 5 + 1 + 9 + 6 + 3 = 31 = 3 + 1 = 4. The birthday date of 16 reduced to a single number = 1 + 6 = 7, represents one of the two second most powerful characteristic of the being. The individual numbers of the entire birth date of 16 5 1963 from left to right are 1, 6, 5, 1, 9, 6 and 3. These are placed in the appropriate squares as per Fig. 2.


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5 11 Figure 14 Figure 14 The squares with the missing numbers are 2, 4, 7 & 8. Number 4 and number 7 are present in the personality of this being, as they represent the most powerful characteristic and one of the second most powerful characteristics in the personality of the being. Hence in real terms the squares with missing numbers are numbers 2 and 8. The qualities represented by the meaning of numbers 2 and 8, as read from Fig. (1), are the qualities this being has to develop in its personality and are the lessons the being has to learn during its course of life, and will be presented with such opportunities and experiences, related to the meaning of those missing numbers, till the being is able to include the qualities of two numbers in its personality. The following are examples of full birth dates which show missing special characteristic.

3 22 4

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Figure 15 Special characteristic of determination formed by the number 1, 5 and 9 missing in a being to be born in say 24-72003 as shown in Fig. (15).


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1 Figure 16 Special characteristic of compassion and insight formed by the numbers 3, 5 and 7 missing in the personality of a being born in 22 9 - 1986 as shown in Fig. (16).

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7 Figure 17

Figure 17 The special characteristic of will power formed by the numbers 4, 5 and 6 missing in the personality of a being born on 12 9 - 1973 as shown in Fig. (17).

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1 Figure 18 The special characteristic of activity formed by the numbers 7, 8 and 9 missing in the personality of a being born on say 12 - 5 - 2003 as shown in Fig. (18).


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3 2

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Figure 19 The special characteristic of practicality and orderliness formed by the numbers 1, 4 and 7 missing in the personality of a being born on 8 - 5 - 2003 as shown in Fig. (19).

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Figure 20 The special characteristic of spiritualism or the special characteristic of feeling and emotional balance formed by the numbers 2, 5 and 8 missing in the personality of a being born on 13 - 6 - 1967 as shown in Fig. (20).

22 1

4 Figure 21

The special characteristic of the intellect, mental ability and intelligence formed by the number 3, 6 and 9 missing in the personality of a being born on say 12 - 4 - 2000 as shown in Fig. (21).


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The missing special characteristics represent the areas where further development of the personality of a being is required. If the number representing the most powerful characteristic of a being, or the number formed by reducing the birthday date of a being, falls in any of the empty spaces, which represent one of the three missing numbers forming a special characteristic, then practically very little development needs to be taken by the individual, to develop the qualities represented by that special characteristic, in the personality of a being, as this development which needs to be undertaken is already covered by the characteristic represented by the number of the most powerful characteristic, or the reduced birthday date number of the being. In a similar manner any empty square found, but is represented by the number of the most powerful characteristic of the being, or the reduced birthday date number of the being, then lessons to be learnt related to the meaning of the number of that square are no longer applicable. Now by using your complete date of birth find out any missing numbers or special characteristics in your personality. Use only the individual numbers of your complete birthday date, while assessing these missing numbers and special characteristics. The two other numbers, representing your most powerful characteristics formed by adding all the individual numbers of your entire birth date and reducing to a single number, and one of your second most powerful characteristic represented by the date of the day you were born reduced to a single number are to be treated separately; if these two numbers are different from any of the individual numbers of your entire birth date, then it is natural you do not lack the qualities or characteristic represented by these two numbers. Having concluded what missing numbers and special characteristics are there, these represent and reflect either the qualities which you lack or in which you are weak, as these missing qualities and characteristics hinder and hamper your way to success. These indicate the experiences or obligations you either avoided or managed to escape from in your past lives or incarnations. In your present course of life these now crop up as barriers or hindrances to your success, and represent the experiences you will meet which you have to master and conquer. The sooner you do this the quicker you will evolve towards perfection.


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You have to now very carefully analyse to what extent and in what areas of your life you are affected by these missing characteristic. It is very much possible that due to the characteristics you already have and the way you have tapped and used them, you may not be affected at all by some of these missing characteristics. When you undertake a very thorough analysis, you may find that there is really very little your personality lacks, and you are not far from achieving perfection, but constant hindrance from these missing characteristics in your present course of life, is preventing you from achieving perfection. Once you have analysed these drawbacks, and made a conscious effort to overcome them in whatever sphere or area of your life you lack these drawbacks, rest assured you will not only evolve towards perfection, you will achieve perfection. Let us now look at a few examples - say a being has a missing six, it means that the being had indicated an unwillingness to assume responsibility in certain areas in a past incarnation, the being has to analyse in what aspect or area of its present life is the being unwilling to take up responsibility, and consciously make an effort to overcome the drawback. Say a being has a missing four, it means that the being in a past incarnation disliked hard work and orderliness, in the present course of its life the being must analyse, what are those areas where the being avoids or dislikes doing hard work or does not use practicality or is not aware of orderliness, and try to overcome this limitation not by avoiding it but by trying to concentrate on the job and overcoming these drawbacks. Similarly beings that do not possess the special characteristic of will power, formed by the number 4, 5 and 6, exhibit or lack or do not have a very strong will power, and tend to give up a task or work they may be doing at the very first sign of opposition. Hence such beings have to try and develop their will power. A being to be born on say 23-5-2000 will lack the special characteristic of practicality and orderliness formed by the numbers 1, 4 and 7, hence such beings need to be very conscious of the fact that they need to implement their thoughts and plans in a very methodical, practical and orderly fashion, so that many of the things these beings do in their life materialise successfully and any disorderliness caused by the absence of this special characteristic is


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removed. In a similar manner beings who do not possess the special characteristics of the intellect, mental ability and intelligence , formed by the number 3, 6 and 9, does not mean that such beings need to develop or increase their level of mental activity, they must analyse and work hard towards not only keeping their memory active but use it consistently as they move along the path of their present life if these beings become mentally lazy for a while, their memory is sure to lose its sharpness and keenness. In the same way the meaning of all other numbers and special characteristics can be analysed. Thus we have reached our destination, and this concludes the journey we undertook to completely analyse our personality. One of the questions that may come to mind, and now can be answered is that, do all beings born on the same day month and year have the same personality. The answer to this is no, because though the individual numbers of the entire date of birth of these being are the same, the actual difference lies in the way these beings use the quality or trait represented by a particular number or special characteristic, whether they use it in a positive and constructive way, or they use it in a negative and destructive way, or they hardly use it at all, or what effort they make to develop that characteristic. Say a being possesses the special characteristic of thought and planning formed by the numbers 1, 2 and 3. Now the being may conceive constructive thoughts and plans, or destructive thoughts, ideas and plans. A constructive thought will result in positive action and a good deed, where as a destructive idea or plan or thought will result in a negative action and a bad deed. The hidden wisdom behind these power of numbers is, that the own individual potential within a being is many, many times greater than our personality. The question is when we are going to realise this potential and achieve perfection. We cannot escape, we have to learn and master all the drawbacks of our personality from the experiences we will meet in the present course of our life, we have to use all the traits and characteristics of our personality which we possess in a positive way. This was the wisdom of the power of numbers which


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Pythagoras and the ancient sages gave to the world, which beings in general hardly realise and will go through many, many repeated cycles of Life – Birth – Death till perfection is achieved and the common purpose for which all beings are on earth is fulfilled and our soul unites with our Creator the absolute.


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CHAPTER - 4

PAST –PRESENT –FUTURE ‘Among those, whose minds are possessed with forgetfulness of Self, those who are born will die and those who die will be born again. But know that those, whose minds are dead, having known the glorious supreme reality, will remain only there in that elevated state of reality, devoid of both birth and death. Forgetting Self, mistaking the body for Self, taking innumerable births, and at last knowing Self and being Self is just like waking from a dream of wandering all over the world.’ Sage Sri Ramana Maharshi Lives of the past – The present life – Lives in the future – True or false some facts Did you have a life before this life? Are you going to have a life after this life? Reincarnation – What is it? What for and why was it created? What is that great necessity for us to know about reincarnation? Can it be proved or is there any proof of reincarnation? What happens to us at the moment of death? What path or journey we undertake after death before rebirth? Are there any simple exercises of regressing into the past or past lives? The answers to this question will unfold one by one as you read this chapter. Even if the answers to these questions are known and by doing the simple exercises given at the end of this chapter, all this is proved to be correct. What purpose does it serve? It serves no purpose, until its true purpose is realized. The true purpose of reading this chapter is only realised if we can understand, extract and put to practical use, what we learn from this chapter. Thus achieving the common purpose for which all beings are on earth.


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To evolve towards perfection, to be one with the absolute (the divine soul), to break the chain of karma, to break the cycle of life-death-life, to achieve total bliss, to be in unison with our creator, so that this or that, yesterday, today and tomorrow, past present and future; past life present life future life are put to rest forever. This is the only true and real purpose of knowing about reincarnation. To help live more in harmony with ourselves and in unity with the world let us now explore and seek answers one by one, to all the questions put in front of us at the starting of this chapter. What is karma? What is reincarnation? Karma is the law of cause and effect. Reincarnation is the repetition of cycle of lifedeath-rebirth. Karma and reincarnation work side by side, hand in hand. The first thing that flows into our brain the thought is the cause, as a result of this thought we carry out action or deeds, which become the effect of this cause. The chain of cause and effect, thought and action is never ending. It starts when we come from our creator, because of our own free will given to us by our creator (every single person has a free will due to which we can do what we like to do), and will end when we achieve perfection, when we go back or are united with our creator again. A being is composed of an individual soul, a mind and a spirit. Our spirit knowing all is the pure and true part of our creator again. A being is composed of an individual soul, a mind and the spirit. Our spirit knowing all is the pure and true part of our creator. You may think at this stage this is all theory- read on and you will understand the truth will dawn gradually on you. So long as we (our individual soul and mind) consider themselves to be separate, and not a part of our creator, as long as our desires are attached or magnetised to pleasure and material glitter, we shall be subject to the law of Karma cause and effect, and the law of reincarnation – birth – death – rebirth. Physical life will come to an end without food. The body converts food into energy so that we may carry on with our work. Food is the cause, work is the effect. So too like food is to the body, our thoughts and actions are food for our soul. What we are today is a result of our past deeds; our future shall be shaped as a result of our present and past together. Our present life is the sum


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total result of our past lives. As we do not eat, sleep, drink, talk, ,walk, cry and so on all the time, they all have to come to an end, so too life comes to an end – we die, death also comes to an end – we are reborn This is the law of reincarnation. Sexual union brings two cells together which unite into a single germ and grow but examining carefully it does not create a new life. It is only a physical reality that a being is born as a result of this sexual union. The truth is it only creates a new condition in which an old life can express itself. The new life gives a new environment; it gives a new opportunity for the soul to carry on the path of achieving perfection and detaching itself from worldly desires. This path of perfection which a being takes in the present course of its life can be very hard, very testing at times for a being to bear. All previous deeds good or bad are contained in this new life when the soul is born. Reincarnation is all about remembering the past, so that past mistakes are not repeated, otherwise the law of karma, the law of cause and effect will follow us from life to life until harmony and balance is achieved, until the scales of our deeds, good or bad are balanced. Know the truth now or know it later (in some other life) you have a free will, the choice is yours, but you have to know the truth. What for and why did our creator create the law of Karma and the law of reincarnation? Why do we have to die? Why was the control of the power of death and rebirth not given to us? Why? The simple answer to all these questions is that Karma is an eternal, and universal law, it adjusts and harmonises the individual operation to the universal operation, thus maintaining equilibrium, a balance for the regularity of the cosmos. It makes sure that balance is maintained. The very thought of death makes us think, that when we die - are we only physically dead. Is there a life after death? Death is not a bitter enemy we all think, but the universal friend of mankind. If it ends our goals, our hopes or whatever we physically own in our physical life, it also ends our worst sufferings our worst diseases. To give a simple example, if a being is rich and uses the wealth to perform bad deeds, then if the being were to live forever, the bad deeds would never end. Death ends such deeds. Death not only gives us a new opportunity of being reborn and balances our Karmas in a new life, but it is that vital link which assists us to properly carry on with our journey of evolving towards


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perfection. These are the reasons why our creator created reincarnation and the law of Karma. Death is awakening, birth is sleeping - Why? After death, the body containing our physical personality is no longer with us, our five physical senses which prevent us, from knowing the truth during our physical life, do not hinder us any more. We see our true spiritual identity, our spirit. When we are reborn, we have to adjust to our new consciousness, our new ego, which is the sum total result of our past incarnations. Using our physical senses we have to dig deep into our memory, to search for the real meaning of our existence, to know what is our ultimate purpose on this earth?, to seek pleasure all the time, to satisfy the never ending whims and fancies of our ego or to evolve towards perfection. Hence, the concept we live only once or have only one life is questionable. If it were to be true then our existence has no purpose. Why it is so necessary for us to know about reincarnation? There are two answers to this question. First through externally we may look to be calm, but within us a great battle of thoughts is always raging; many habits we have, a lot of things we do are directly related to our past lives. When we regress into our past, if we cannot cure, we can at least know the cause or reason as to why we have such habits. Secondly simply eating, sleeping, working, thinking, quarrelling and so on is not the end of things. The human form of life is an opportunity given to us to achieve bliss and perfection while we are alive. After death, as we shall read later, we unite with our spirit or we see our true self or we unite completely for a while with our creator, if the same is achieved while we are physically alive, only then we are no longer reborn except to guide or lead other beings on the path of spiritual enlightenment; but most of the time as a result of our deeds we are reborn to carry on physically on the road to perfection. Having failed to achieve bliss in the physical life, we are cast on the wheel of life- death- rebirth again and again. Now we shall explore these two reasons a little more in detail, and see if they can be made crystal clear to us. Our present is the result of the way we shaped our past. Many peculiar habits we have are the result of our past free will, and


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many habits we are going to acquire in the future are going to be the result of our present free will. Some of these peculiar habits many of us have are like some eat a lot, some are not able to relate well to the opposite sex due to sexual feelings, shyness or other factors, some people are very lazy, etc., why? This is a habit they had from past lives and encouraged it to grow in the present life. You cut off its source of supply in your present life; it will come to an end. What do we mean by this? If you are too fat or in the habit of eating too much; stop giving too much food to your mouth; or whatever is the source of fatness in you. The problem will disappear. Let us look at another example – say you easily get angry why? This is a habit you encouraged and let it control you over many lives. Stop getting angry, cut off its supply, cut off those thoughts that make you angry, you will feel happy again. Modern medicine has still to find the answers for many problems, but is not the answers already present. Some people are eccentric, in the sense they start shouting loudly or getting angry or say false and misleading things without reason. Why? In their past lives they had done such deeds and encouraged such environmental factors to build around them; as a result of which the present suffering is taking place. Regressing into the past of our present life, or into our past lives; using the very simple methods given at the end of this chapter, we can know the reason, the cause, the circumstances due to which we have a lot of imperfect habits and problems. Regression is a very powerful tool we possess, that can lead us to greater wisdom and understanding of ourselves, even if we fail to change many of our habits, at least we can come to terms with many of our peculiar habits. It is very easy to say this, but it can be extremely difficult to achieve. However, the reality is, there is no magical solution to many of our problems. We have to start working positively to correct these imperfections. Now is the time, or that now will never come, unless we make a sincere persistent effort. It is true we have to move in the conditions and circumstances of the present, but it is equally true we are free to modify them. That, which makes us conscious of whatever our present life consists of – our present thoughts, actions, environment, circumstances, etc., is our conscious mind. Our mind is like a ocean where at surface there are restless waves but at bottom it is peaceful. Our subconscious mind is like a


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bottom of ocean that remembers all of our past experiences; all of our past lives are stored there. This too is a law of our creator that no being can bear or needs to know. There is a very good reason for this, if you were told that as a result of your past bad deeds, the harm you did to others, you will have to take rebirth a thousand times and suffer only to pay for these deeds- there will be no hope left for you. This is one of the many reasons why our newborn so called conscious mind never grows older in age and experience than our current body and current ego. However, our free will is immensely greater than our destiny. Using our free will, even if we do not know immediately about our past we can move or evolve towards perfection, but again the choice is ours. Looking at the other reason self realization, perfection and bliss has to be achieved while we are physically alive, in the physical world, we have our five senses to help us achieve perfection, we have our free will given to us by our creator to not only experience and enjoy the beauty of this world created for us (the very reason why we chose to come here in the first place), but to achieve perfection as well; it is in the physical world we find the appropriate physical and mental conditions required for us to achieve bliss, just like the explosion of a nuclear bomb sets up a massive chain reaction of energy, so too using our free will by constant positive search and positive thinking can lead to a similar explosion of spiritual wisdom within us leading to perfection, leading to bliss thus overriding the law of Karma and the law of reincarnation. In the physical body we are the master, the controls are in our hands, we can do what we like, the choice is ours we can if we like achieve bliss; for once we leave the physical body we do not have much choice. After death life is like the dreaming and deep sleep state we go through every night. The life after death before birth is unalterable. We do see our true self, we do see our creator (this will be explained later), but there is not much we can do. It is only when we achieve bliss while physically alive, we are not reborn, as beyond bliss there is nothing more our spirit, soul and mind want to know or experience on earth. Remember every single thought, deed whatever we do like mistreat our children, boyfriend, girlfriend, spouse and so on every single thing is recorded not only in our subconscious but in the subconscious of the other beings as well, as we have to be reborn


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we have to return to earth to compensate for that, in the end we are left with only two choices; either we continue making karmas good or bad and carry on with this repeated cycle of birth-deathrebirth or we realize the absolute and end this cycle. Can it be proved, or is there any proof of reincarnation? Yes there is proof and there are not one but many ways to prove reincarnation, but the only condition is that you must be willing to put in an honest effort to find out the truth; your desire to obtain proof and to know the truth must be a wholehearted effort, not mere human curiosity. Whenever you visit a painting exhibition, why is that you like a particular painting much more compared to the rest. You were one way or the other associated or had seen such a picture as depicted in the painting in one of your past lives. Whenever you go to watch a movie you like some particular thing shown in it, when you read a book of history some particular event appeals to you most than the rest, when you go on a picnic; certain spots or areas have a more romantic, magnetic, appearing touch to your eyes and inner harmony Why? You were associated with all these things one way or the other in your past lives. Whatever you have just read, sit back, think and ponder over it in your mind, the truth may dawn on you like a flash. One time or the other suddenly out of nowhere each one of us experiences flashes of past memories, it may happen while traveling in a train, looking at a painting, in the classroom while the teacher is teaching and so on. How do we account for these so called sudden flashes of past memories? They are no more than a mere proof of distant memories. As our curiosity makes us search or find proof of reincarnation while living physically in the physical body, we have to overcome a few hindrances preventing us all the time from knowing the truth. The misleading and limited powers of our five senses pose the biggest obstacle to us from getting true proof of reincarnation. One of the reasons why we need proof of reincarnation is that our senses need to be satisfied, but are they ever satisfied. False and misleading opinions prevent us from knowing the truth. The truth of life after life will only dawn on us when we directly experience it for ourselves in meditation or some such similar experience. Proof of reincarnation is within us, has to come from us not anywhere else. Proof of this mystery will not only bring to an end the search of our free will to know the truth but will help us


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to understand the reason of our existence in relation to the cosmos or our universe. The truth that each being has an individual purpose and we all have a common purpose shall dawn on us. Any amount of spoken words in any language spoken on earth; all the books and writings about reincarnation do not make us directly experience the truth or do not give direct proof of reincarnation; however, the more we speak and read about it the closer we come to knowing the truth about reincarnation. The proof of our past is always there, we only have to think about it. Within our brain there is a constant stream of thoughts, these are converted into images, now our brain cells or neurons store countless images of our past like places, friends etc. We only need to think or form a faded or part of the image we want to recollect, this will be matched with the stored image of the past in our brain cells and we shall recollect the past memory. This is how we can recall many instances or a particular place of whatever we may have seen or been familiar within our childhood or say 30 years ago. This phenomena goes on all the time day in and day out, however, still by using the methods of regression given at the end of this chapter we shall experience the truth about our past memory recall and past lives, only if we are prepared to have the patience to do these simple exercises. A simple conclusion can now be drawn that the truth shall dawn on us only when we directly, ourselves experience the truth. What truth? The truth of past lives, it is not a very important truth; the truth to know infinitely greater than this is the true and the common purpose for which we are on the earth. When we achieve bliss and unite with the absolute truths like past lives – present life – future lives become of secondary importance. A detailed exposition of this perspective as explained by Sage Sri Ramana Maharshi is given in the later chapters of this book. There is no need to seek proof of whether you will have a life after this life or you will be reborn. The simple answer to this is that if you do not achieve bliss in its totality, or if you do not achieve perfection in this life, you will be reborn, the imperfect personality will return to earth as surely as tomorrow’s Sun. For the same reason you come on earth and you are alive now as you did not achieve bliss


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in your past life. This explains why you have drawbacks or lacks or do not possess perfection in your personality. Beings, that after achieving bliss reincarnate, do so only to guide others onto the path of spiritual enlightenment. Is there a scale of directly knowing or measuring how far we have progressed on this road to perfection? Yes there is. The spiritual wisdom inherent within you, whom you have acquired as a result of the past or past lives, is a direct measure of how far you have progressed on this road of perfection, as you have continued your journey from one life to another right up to the present day of your present life. Whatever level of spiritual wisdom you attain in this life, you will carry it forward to your next reincarnation, and the level of spirituality in your next life of incarnation will tell you straightaway how far you have progressed on this road of perfection. It is that simple, only when you think about it. Going to sleep and waking up every morning has a striking resemblance or similarity to death and being born again! The moment we fall asleep, we pass from an awakened state to a state of dream and finally deep sleep, so too happens at the time of death. When we wake up, we again pass through a state of blank nothingness to an awakened state, and all our personal characteristics, our personality, our thoughts of yesterday are all intact. Rebirth is no more different than the state of waking up from sleep. Every night while in the state of sleep, we have virtually no control over what we can do or achieve, so too is the life after death and before rebirth. Once we are physically awake each morning, we can do what we desire using our free will, so too is the case every time we are reborn. We have to achieve bliss, achieve perfection while we are in the physical body; only then the cycle of birthdeath-rebirth will end as after death we have virtually no choice. We can now not only say but it’s a living proof, that today is the future of yesterday, and today will be the past of tomorrow. In the same way this life is the future of the life before this one, and this life will become the past of the life after this life. When the truth is known, when bliss is achieved we shall


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understand that past, present, and future are all one, they do not exist in reality and in relativity. We unite with the absolute; we shatter this dream of life-death-rebirth, and thus end our weary rounds of reincarnation. All beings possess a soul. The soul never dies, if it never dies how it does exists on earth, ever since eternity as from time immemorial, since the Sun, the Moon and the other heavenly bodies have been there. It existed in the physical form of a human body from one life to another, it’s the same soul. Like the Sun, the moon, the stars live on so too does our soul in the form of a physical body and mind from one life to another. The stars, the Sun, the moon are the witness as they were present, are present and will be present in the future. It is all locked away in our memory. Let us look deeper, explore further, and try and prove it. Go outside one clear night, you have to spare only a couple of minutes. Stand in a place where there is quietness, peace and there is no other being moving around you, so that your concentration is not disturbed. Stare at the many stars shining in the sky; watch them only for one minute. Now ask yourself this question – is this your first life you are staring at these stars or have you seen them in many other previous lives of yours. The answer to this will be a big – “Yes”; you have seen these stars in your previous lives. Hidden deep in your memory was the answer to this question; you have successfully tapped that part of your memory and got the answer. A being may go through many lives without even bothering to think or do this exercise. This exercise shall bring us closer to a simple truth of our life, so do this exercise now, do not postpone it for another life. Achieve spiritual awareness, achieve perfection, know the truth, achieve bliss now in this life, and do not postpone it for another tomorrow or another life. What happens at the moment of death – Whenever next you get the opportunity observe how a dry leaf of a tree separates and falls to the ground, so too at the time of death the lifeless physical body falls to one side and the soul departs. The departure can be sudden or one may go into a state of unconsciousness for a while before the departure takes place. The dying being gathers his senses


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about him, completely withdraws their powers, and descends into the point of the heart where the nerves join. The being does not see, does not smell, does not taste, does not speak, does not hear, and does not think. The being is now uniting with the subtle body. The point of the heart where nerves join, is lighted by the light of the absolute the spirit, and by this light the spirit together with the individual soul and mind containing all the deeds and impressions of this life departs through the eyes, centre of the skull or any other aperture of the body depending how far the being has achieved spiritual awareness, or the level of perfection the being has achieved in this life. When the spirit finally departs, life departs, the physical body falls to one side and physical life comes to an end. The speed of departure from the physical body is not comparable, it happens quicker than the speed of light, quicker than the speed of thought, think about it, you have gone through this experience many times, as you have journeyed from one life to another. At this point your own subconscious will tell you and describe it to you far better than what has just been written. A journey into the life after death before rebirth – Having left the physical body the being now dwells in the subtle body or the shining body. It is only the shining subtle body, which is the spirit containing the incarnated soul and the mind but they are all one, they are not separate parts. Immediately after death the being finds himself in his physical environment, views the lifeless dead physical body it has left, finds all relatives and friends gathered around the physical body and mourning. The being tries to comfort them, tries to communicate with them to tell them; though he is not in the physical body anymore but is unharmed. However, no one sees him or hears him, so he gives up. It is then he gradually realizes that he possesses this subtle or shining body. The being can travel through anything in its subtle body. Distance and time no longer pose any barrier to the being. The being experiences a sense of freedom never ever experienced before, he now can see his true identity. The being may visit other similar spirits, who will help the being onto the next stage of its journey.


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Now the being experiences the most dramatic moments of this journey. He sees a light of blinding brilliance, and becomes used to its brightness as it comes closer. This is the light of love, the light of wisdom, the light of everything, the light from which this cosmos ends the light of our creator. This light (or this being) will not shine brighter than the level of perfection the being has attained during his earthly life, nevertheless it shines and tells the being of truth, only the real truth. Next the being begins to drift away from earth, floating higher and higher, in physical terms the time of floating can be up to a couple of hours. After this the being travels a long way, at an incredible speed along a tunnel like space. The tunnel means actually traveling through space at an extremely or ultra high speed, one may see millions and millions of tiny lights, which are the very lights we see in outer space, the stars and other heavenly bodies. At the end of this travel along this space, what has been described as a tunnel, the being comes out into a very bright light, into another dimension or into another part of our cosmos. Here the being may be met by the same spirit or spirits, whom he had met just after leaving the physical body. In this place the being will now spend some more time, before returning back to earth and being reborn to continue on the road of perfection, or will not return back to the earth but unite with the creator and live and be a part of him forever. The place or dimension where the being lives in the life after death also has other beings similar to the departed spirit. These beings give off light, some very bright, some dim, some of one colour, some of number of colours. All these beings have attained the same level of perfection or vibrated up to the same level of perfection as the departed spirit. The being of light, the departed spirit encounters after death makes the spirit review the events and deeds of its past life, so that the being knows how far it had progressed during its earthly life on the road of perfection. The spirit also experiences or sees the life to come, whether it’s to go back to earth or to another dimension or to be united with the absolute. According to the Vibration theory the description is the same as what has just been described. At the time of death, we have a particular vibration rate. After death we vibrate to that level and


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dimension which has a similar vibration rate. We cannot withstand the higher intense vibrations of the other dimensions or levels. When we return to earth, and are reborn, we have the same vibration rate to carry on with our passage of life on the road to perfection. Whatever is our desire so is our destiny. After death when we live in this other dimension, after having reaped the harvest of our deeds we are reborn, but if our desire has only been to achieve bliss, to be united with the absolute, so too we reap the harvest of this desire after death, we live for a while in that other dimension or dimensions we vibrate to after death, and then instead of being reborn on earth, we unite with the absolute forever thus ending our weary round of incarnations. This brings to an end our journey of life after death and before rebirth. The truth of all this will dawn on you, only when you experience the truth yourself. So to experience the truth, we go on to following methods and exercise not only to improve our present course of life, to do better whatever we may be doing, but also to know the truth.

Some simple but powerful methods to solve our minor and major problems by regression into our past and past lives: Method - 1: To repeat the same mistakes we have repeated in the past is to bring greater suffering on us. To recollect and not to repeat our past mistakes is to evolve towards perfection, to move towards achieving bliss, to move towards leading a better, balanced, and a satisfied life. This method of regression into our past which is achieved in three stages has two purposes; to help to ease our day to day problems, and invoke that hidden power within us to regress or go into our past and past lives to search for the truth of our existence. Using patience and perseverance practice the method of each stage, one by one the results will be in front of you. To achieve anything you need to put in sincere efforts, not only will you be able to go into your past and past lives to solve your current problems, but you will also solve the mystery of your true identity. The three stages given in method 1 are to be practiced only in the night just before going to sleep. The reason for this is that the moment we fall asleep, we switch from the awake state to the state of


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sleep; so too at the moment of death we switch from the state of physical life to the state of life after death, hence just before falling asleep every night, during the moment just before that, you contain a latent power within yourself to switch your thoughts to the events of the past 24 hours, or the past of this life, or past lives, but this power has to be gradually focused on and increased as described in the following three stagesStage - 1: Recollecting events or regression into the past 24 hours. When settled in bed, before falling asleep, make yourself comfortable or relaxed, sit with your legs stretched out and not crossed. It is desirable to darken the room or the room may have a dim light, there may be a mirror in front of the bed in which a dim reflection of the light can be seen, use only those surroundings which you normally always have around you, prior to going to sleep. The aim is you should be relaxed so that recalling of past events or visualizations is easier. Now recall the events of the past 24 hours, work your way or thoughts slowly backwards starting from dinner time to evening, afternoon, morning, waking up, recall any dreams you had in the previous night, recall events from your memory up to the point you fell asleep the previous night. Focus your mind on the images as they pass by. There is no need to recall everything that has happened in the last 24 hours, recalling the major events would be sufficient, but should be done in a systematic sequence. Now arises the most important part of this exercise you have to distance yourself from these events, and treat these events and images as another part of you. You now become an impartial observer. You calmly survey these events, and quite impartially with total purity judge these thoughts, images and events. Without doubt you will be able to see where things could have been done better, or there was no need to say or do a particular thing. This extremely simple exercise not only increases your awareness of what is right what is wrong, not only educates your emotions, increases your will power and mental sharpness but above all enhances the power of your mind to recall the images of past events stored in your memory effectively and easily. Continue to recall events of the last 24 hours for 4 to 5 weeks continuously, and you will find that you will be able to


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observe the ever-changing stream of thoughts and images in your mind, with serenity and calmness you have never known of before. Each night when you recall the events, gradually increase and observe with greater sharpness, the thoughts and images that are being formed. `Vague, wandering or feeble recall will hinder your progress. However, little success you get, it will encourage you to continue this practice. To your amazement you will find that past events can be recalled with no inner struggle or opposition. Stage - 2: Recalling past events of the present life, having progressed successfully. In stage - 1, now in the night before falling asleep in the same way as stage - 1, we recall past major events of our present life. We have to think which events we have to recall, and of what age, childhood, or when you were say a student or whatever. We observe these events again as the impartial observer, and find out why and where we went wrong. Without putting any effort, we shall find that our habits or personality or whatever we do everyday is automatically improved. Though everyone of us recalls past memories of the present life one time or the other, but this particular method is systematic, powerful and there is a hidden purpose, as you can see behind it. Stage - 3: Recollection of events of your past lives. Having achieved success in stages 1 and 2, we have now progressed to the final stage of this method. Remember if you have bluffed your way through stages 1 and 2 without practicing, no success whatsoever will be achieved in stage 3. Stage - 3 is also practiced in exactly the same manner as Stage - 1, in the night before falling asleep. We need to have a definite question or questions in our mind, which we can think during the day. These questions, the answers to which we shall seek using Stage 3, must be related to some problem which we are facing in our daily life and cannot solve or come to terms with, for example – why do you get angry quickly or all the time? Why do you have a particular desire, which you cannot fulfill, or even when you fulfill it you are never satisfied‌ such problems are numerous and varied, you have to think yourself, what


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such problems or crisis you are facing in the present course of your life? Now in the night before going to sleep, settle down exactly the same way as described in Stage - 1, bring up or think of this problem; you will be taken back straight away to that particular past life or life of yours, to those very surrounding and environment of the very distant past, as a result of which you are facing this particular problem. Events and scenes will unfold in front of you in a systematic sequence, and effortlessly. You will be a silent spectator to these events, as you watch them unfold in front of you. Thus the cause of this problem is now known to you. You have to now make positive efforts to curb, ease or end this problem. No doubt your own curiosity, your very so called intelligence will try to divert your attention, as you regress or recall past events, as now you are making a dynamic effort to match your current images with the many millions of images stored in the neurons or nerve cells of your brain, but persist, go stage by stage; if you sincerely follow and do the exercise of stage 1, 2, and finally stage 3, you will not only achieve success, not only the knowledge of your past will filter down from your subconscious to your conscious mind in the form of thoughts and visual impressions, but you will be ready for the final journey, which you are going to read about in the second method. Method - 2: A journey through our past lives to our true identityHaving achieved success in the exercises of stages 1, 2 and 3 of method 1; we are now going to tap the memory of our past lives, so that we may travel to the very source from where all these thoughts are actually flowing. When we say – I am, it means that we are identifying ourselves with three things (i) The Physical body (ii) Our personal consciousness which is formed of our feelings, thoughts, desires, images and the characteristics of our personality. (iii) Pure consciousness, the source of all, the unseen the unknown within us, that which runs through everything but itself remains unchanged, the silent impersonal observer. All these combine to make up what we call – I am.


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This method is to be practiced in the morning about 30 to 40 minutes before sunrise. Select a place like a room or a spot free from any type of disturbance, the environment must be peaceful, so that the mind can stay calm. Sit cross-legged with the hands so folded that the palm of right hand rests on the elbow of the left hand, and the elbow of the right hand rests on the palm and fingers of the left hand. You must keep your chest, spinal chord, neck and head erect. Close your eyes. Let your thoughts and mind now glide into the past, the past lives, the purpose is to go back ultimately to what you actually were, what was your true identity, the very source of everything. Pictures and events of the past lives, in a sequence start unfolding in front of you, they will do so from your present to your so called past. Do not interrupt these images, do not make any effort to think or analyse, let the pictures or images unfold, one by one just silently observe them; finally a stage is reached(it will happen in 20 to 30 minutes and all of a sudden be prepared), when there is a great calm, a great stillness, a great peace, thoughts images flow no more, you will see not only what you are but what you have also been, the indescribable bliss of your indescribable creator is revealed to you. No amounts of words or written matter will ever be able to clearly express, or explain this it can only give you some description and make you aware that you too can have such an experience. The truth will only unfold when you experience this for yourself not until then. If your mind is unsteady and your heart is not pure the truth will not be revealed to you, on the other hand if your mind is steady, your heart, your actions, your deeds and your personality is pure, and you will experience the truth for yourself, what truth? The final truth of this method which you will see and experience in the final moments of this exercise is, everything . . . Everything has emerged from the creator, everything . . . Everything exists in the creator, Everything. ... Everything will return to the creator. Everything emanates from, exists in and returns to the creator.


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PART TWO

SELF ENQUIRY THE PATH TAUGHT By

SAGE RAMANA The radiance of consciousness-bliss, in the form of one awareness shining equally within and without, is the supreme and blissful primal reality. Its form is silence and it is declared by jnanis (Self-realise persons) to be the final and unobstructable state of true knowledge. RAMANA MAHARSHI


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CHAPTER - 5

REFLECTIONS ON CONVERSATION WITH SAGE RAMANA “You are awareness. Awareness is another name for you. Since you are awareness there is no need to attain or cultivate it. All that you have to do is to give up being aware of other things that are of the not-Self. If one gives up being aware of them then pure awareness alone remains and that is the Self.” Sage Sri Ramana Maharshi Destiny, Fate and Freedom The omission of the factor of fate in our life is due to ignorance. That is where spiritual knowledge has something to teach us. To put our head in the sand like an ostrich and refuse to see the existence of an element of predestination in most of the major events of our personal life does not cross out its existence. It is still there. Having said that, it has to be noted that the ‘omission’ or ‘acceptance’ of ‘fate’ in our life are both due to the cause of ignorance, as the question of ‘fate’ and its omission or acceptance would arise only when there is a concept of the individualised self as ‘I am so and so’. As far as the sage is concerned, this question does not arise as he transcended both the omission and acceptance of fate. We live a two-fold life, an outer material life and an inner emotional-mental life. Our outward deeds and actions are simply the result of our inner thoughts and feelings. They may take centuries to materialize, often not till a later birth, but ultimately they do. The world that we do not see, the unseen world of thoughts and feelings, is the real world of causes; the world that we see around is the world of effects.


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Because we tend to express our inner self by our outer actions, it may safely be said that our outer life corresponds to our inner life. The world as a whole in itself is nothing else but the expression of Divine Ideation, the very thought of God expressed. We, in our own little way, are also creators and create our own world, the world of our own experiences and the expression of these experiences in our lives. This chain of causal connection between our inner thoughts, our inner feelings and our outward experiences, is unseen. But it is there, and it is there by a subtle force, the law of destiny. Destiny is something entirely self-created, self-earned, whether it is for good or for evil. If we do not know that whatever we give out in life to the world is ultimately thrown back to us by destiny that does not excuse us. Nature never excuses ignorance. We are the builder of our own life, the creator of our own fate, both outward and inward. Destiny is not a blind force; it is one expression of that greater cosmic Intelligence which rules the universe. It has a purpose to fulfil, and that purpose, so far as we are concerned, is an educative one. Destiny is like a balance, if we depress one side of the scale we find the other side goes up in proportion. Destiny restores the balance in our life because she wishes us to understand ourselves, our powers and possibilities as well as the fact that we are here to fulfil the higher purpose of our incarnation. Destiny is quite impersonal and universal. It has no sense of retribution. There is no motive of punishment in that great force. As we create our own destiny by our thoughts and feelings and actions we get back unerringly from life sooner or later what we our self give to life. There is no escape. We are here to learn, to learn who and what we are. That is the purpose of our incarnation, and the experiences of life are the lessons which will ultimately teach us. Mostly we learn blindly and unconsciously, but still we are learning. It is unfortunate that most of us learn more from sufferings than from pleasures. We are unfortunate because we seldom learn enough from a single sorrow. It has to be repeated, perhaps getting worse with each repetition, until the lesson is etched into the heart and burned into the mind. Until we arrive at the real Self, we are distorted and warped; we cannot think truthfully and we cannot act truthfully.


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Go back and look at your past; you will see how, even in this birth, you have created much of the experience through which you have gone. Many of those very warping were present in former lives; they reappear in succeeding lives and they bring with them the destiny which is attached to them. The destiny which you have earned in former lives you are working out now in this life. From that kind there is not much hope of escape, but there is every hope that it can be modified or altered. There is a second kind of destiny, the fate which has been stored up for you in previous embodiments and which will be allotted to you in some future earth-life. That represents the greatest mass of destiny which is attached to any individual, because naturally one can work out only a little in a single life. That does not affect you now, but it will affect your next earth-life. I shall try to explain this in another way. If you shoot at an object in a jungle, believing it to be a tiger, and after the trigger has been pulled, and the bullet sped on its way, you see that the object is a man, a friend of yours, you cannot recall the bullet and lodge it in the gun again. The bullet must take its course. The body in which we are born in this particular incarnation, together with the circumstances and environments attached to it, is the bullet which was shot out from your past, and the past cannot call it back again. It must speed its course. All future shots, however, belonging to the lives that are to come, can be recalled, and can be stopped at their very source. That is, it is possible to stop creating any fresh destiny as well as to wipe out the possibility of all future incarnations, because they have not yet begun. So long as your body is here its destiny is attached to it. But you can alter your reaction to it. You can react to the misfortune of losing all that you love and possess by taking it calmly. You can say, ‘Another cycle of my life is finished and I must begin a new cycle; I will therefore readapt myself to the new cycle without fear. I will do everything that common sense counsels to mend matters and meet results.’ Or, in a state of deep depression,


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believing that you are finished, that life has no further hope for you, you can commit suicide. Both attitudes are the expression of your own choice, but the happening which you face is one and the same for the two moods. The best way to escape is to get to the region where forces do not work, to become fate-free. You can do that only by returning to your divine centre and staying there. If you do that whilst you are in the flesh, then that vast store of destiny which was awaiting you in future embodiments becomes dissolved and disappears. Why? Because it is the destiny of the personal ego the ‘I’thought, and when you have eliminated the tyranny of the latter you have eliminated the tyranny of the destiny attached to it; you are free, and with death that vast mass of accumulated stored-up destiny disappears completely. That is what Buddha meant when he said that you enter into Nirvana (liberation) to escape the terrifying cycle of unending rebirths. If you wish to avoid the misfortunes, the unpleasant experiences of life, you must learn to nullify the so-called evil destiny. If you live in the material world, then you must go through world experiences. But you can conquer your destiny inwardly. You can give up both pleasure and pain so that they do not touch you within your innermost being. You can stand aside from the processes of life inwardly, and although these experiences come to you, you can see them for what they are and realize them at their true value. To find yourself is to find perfect mental equilibrium. Even if the greatest sufferings come to you they cannot disturb your peace. Neither can the greatest pleasures disturb you. You remain rooted in your divine centre, which is the only place where peace can be found. There is no running away from yourself, except to run within. This is what happens to the adept. All the immense storehouse of destiny which has come down to him from the past and up to this particular incarnation in which he now lives is wiped out; but not that which belongs to the present body. He must endure it, and he does. But he will endure his destiny with a different attitude than would the average man. Sorrow does not mean sorrow to him; good fortune does not mean good fortune to him; he is detached. He looks upon both pleasure and pain with calm eyes. No matter what his personal self is passing through he enjoys perpetually the consciousness of eternal life, so he is happy within.


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He does not particularly seek good fortune. He will welcome it if it comes, and enjoy it; he is not incapable of enjoying it. But if pain and sorrow were allotted to the body he would not object. He does all that common sense would dictate to modify and alter, but that which cannot be modified or altered him accepts resignedly. The adept retires to be swept hither and thither by destiny, and neither the greatest pleasures nor the greatest misfortunes can break his wonderful calmness. You, too, must try to reproduce the same attitude by living as close to the Divine as you can get. You do not eliminate present destiny when you enter the eternal; but what you eliminate is the destiny which has been stored up through countless lives; not that of the earth-life you are now living. But remember always that it was within your power to modify and to alter your destiny. Life is not a cast-iron thing because fate is only one of the forces that are playing upon us. There is also the force of free will, and the stimuli resulting are a mixture of both. Your own free will once created your present destiny, so you can create something even now. Destiny sends the circumstances of your life; the major events are brought to you by destiny such as birth, death, marriage, the meeting with the spiritual teacher, all those come to you by its mysterious operation. Troubles also come, but it is in your power to make them better or worse. And so you should never fall into that fatal lethargy into which so many have fallen, when they sit down helpless and say, whatever the misfortune, ‘It is God’s will; we can do nothing. We must sit down and bear it to the bitter end.’ Thus they repudiate their own innate divine power. This has been their degradation. It explains why they have fallen into such a state of servitude, as so many of them are today. The abuse and misuse of the truth of destiny is the cause of many troubles. You cannot become weak through knowing truth; but you do become weak by ignorance. Be strong! In the face of adverse fate we have to learn two things: when to accept it and when to resist it. There are times when it is wise to resign yourself to overwhelming circumstances, learning their bitter lesson. But there are other times when it is wiser to fight them with the courage of a lion. You must find out for yourself which is the right time. Such wisdom comes only in its perfection to the adept. Why? That is


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because he has learned to stand aside from the purely personal. There are times when misfortunes are cups of blessing and they should be accepted. There are also times when good gifts are cups of poison, and they should be rejected. Only by becoming absolutely impersonal can we judge between them. The ‘I’- thought, the ego, is your enemy; it can become your friend. It is your enemy so long as it monopolizes your attention’; it becomes your friend when it stands aside and says, ‘Not my will, but Thy will be done.’ If you look for that which is behind your personal self, your personal life, your mind, your body, for that which is true reality and spirit, you will find peace. No one can rob you of it; no one can take it away from you. You will have found life eternal. Fate or Free-will, which determines one’s life! The person that puts this question expects a categorical answer; one wants to know, ‘which of these two is the decisive factor in life, fate or freewill. ‘ In his writings* Sage Ramana answers as follows:

‘The dispute as to which of the two - fate and the human will is more powerful interests only those that are without enlightenment about the true nature of the ego (the ‘I’thought), from which arise the two notions; he that has that enlightenment has transcended both and is no more interested in the question.’ *Ulladu Narpadu (Forty verses on Reality), verse 19 by Sage Ramana To a visitor that put him this question the sage replied, ‘The answer to this question, if given, will be rather difficult to understand. Yet almost everyone asks this question sometime or other in his life. One must know the truth of him that seems to be affected, or not affected, by fate’, here the Sage evidently means the ego or the ‘I’ - thought; since the distinction between fate and free-will exists only for the ego-mind or the ‘I’ - thought, the truth of it is inseparable from the truth of the ‘I’ - thought, which can be realised only by the Quest.


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Having said this- the sage went on explaining what fate really means; he said ‘Fate has a beginning - a cause and that is action; and that cannot be without a free-will; free-will being therefore the first cause, it is the predominant factor, and by cultivating free-will one can conquer fate.’ Cultivating free-will implies the process of inquiry and the Quest taught by the sage, or in the alternative, surrendering of oneself to God as the One Reality. “What is commonly known as self-reliance is nothing but ego-reliance and hence worsens bondage. Reliance on God is alone true Self-reliance, because He is the Self.”

Destiny and Free Will The following passages cover some of the conversations Sage Ramana had with spiritual aspirants in relation to destiny and free will as recorded by Sri S. S. Cohen. These conversations and the reflections on them, and the following section of ‘Practice, Meditation and Self enquiry’, will assist spiritual aspirants to build a bridge of understanding and balance in their personal life, utilising meditation as a tool to progress spiritually and also, practically put into practice the path of Self-enquiry as taught by Sage Ramana. 1. Devotee: ‘Can destiny (karma) ever come to an end?’ Sage Ramana: ‘Karmas carry in themselves the seeds of their own destruction.’ [Note: karma is the concept of ‘action’ or ‘deed’, understood as that which causes the entire cycle of cause and effect, i.e., the cycle of birth and death.]

Reflection – The above concise word Karma is the destiny created for oneself by one’s free actions. In actions are included thoughts and sensations, motives, good or bad emotions and so on. While working out old prarabdha karma (consequences of past actions presenting themselves as circumstances in the present) one is generally bound to create a seed for a new one by the manner in which one reacts to its operation. Herein lies the notion of free-will. We are not free to alter the trend of an old karma, for example, in the choice of our parents, country, the circumstances of our birth and environments, of our physical and mental fitness and abilities. These


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are forced on us, we cannot change them. What we can change is the manner in which we receive and work them out. We all agree that there are many related aspects of life for which the decision lies in our hands, the decision is ours, the action is ours, the motive behind the action is ours, and the mental attitude with which we do the action is ours too. This then is the field in which we are allowed freedom of will, and it contains the seeds of our future destiny. We can shape that destiny as we will, and if, like most people, we are not aware of this truth, we allow ourselves to be carried away by our impulses and eventually land in worse trouble than we are in already. Most often the new karma does not follow on the heel of the one which is being worked out now, so that we drag the chain of our slavery through several lives. Here the salutary precepts of the scriptures come to our rescue to make us rectify our views on life and our attitude towards others. These and the persistent knocks of destiny gradually soften our impulses, modify our outlook, sharpen our intellect, and slowly but surely turn us into seekers; then into yogis (aspirants who have achieved a high level of spiritual insight); and finally into one who has realised the Self. When karma ceases; knowledge of ‘Self’ totally annihilates the concept of karma. Let us not forget that all these improved changes or notional evolution take place not in the individual, but in the faculties which are superimposed on oneself, that is, in one’s views and actions. Knowledge of Self is thus brought about by a good karma, generated by a good free-will, which is the result of persistent suffering from a bad karma, generated by a bad free-will. Karma is like an inanimate machine, which yields up what you put into it. That is why the master begins his Upadesa Saram (A thirty verse Sanskrit poem composed by Sage Ramana) with the statement that karma is insentient, unintelligent. What makes it move and act as stern destiny is the energy generated by the exercise of our free will. It may be asked that if a persistently bad free-will caused by the embitterment resulting from a persistently bad karma brings about a worse karma, which drags us down further and further, where is the chance of our ever coming up to the surface again? We must not forget the saving grace of suffering and the inherent purity


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of our nature, which will not permit us to remain forever insensible to degradation and misery. We cannot forever remain sunken in bottomless ignorance without attempting to climb up to freedom. Suffering and the intense urge to return to ourselves act as floats and buoy us up from the depths of this vast ocean of the cycle of births and deaths. Thus the action of karma through suffering gives the impetus to knowledge of Self’ which destroys karma. This is what Sage Ramana means by ‘karma carries in itself the seeds of its own destruction.’ It goes without saying that karma takes effect only in a physical body; for a debt incurred in a physical body has to be paid also in such a body, either in this very body or in a future one. Vedanta does not believe in an after-death payment; hence rebirth is necessary. Vedanta is a philosophy taught by the Vedas, the most ancient scriptures of India. Its basic teaching is that our real nature is divine. God is our innermost Self, an underlying reality that exists in every being. Religion is therefore a search for ‘Self’, a search for God within. We don’t need to be ‘saved.’ At worst, we are unaware of our true nature. The above perspective is based on the concept and notion of an individual ‘I’-thought working out its destiny to transcend the bonds of limitation as a body-mind entity. We have to take the hint from Sage Ramana’s statement that ‘Karmas carry in themselves the seeds of their own destruction’, which indicates that karmas exist as long as the notion of ‘I’-thought and doership exist. Let us be of the firm understanding that the ‘I’thought and the working of destiny (karma) will continue to exist until the ‘I’-thought subsides. Initially this starts off as a concept, leading on to a conviction at the intellectual level, which will subsequently filter down to the very core of our being. When the flower and the thread are brought together, a third entity is formed which is termed as a garland. For all practical purposes, when the flowers are damaged or the thread is broken, it is said that the garland is broken. This entity called a garland is essentially only a name provided for the combination of constituents namely the thread and flowers. Similarly, this body is essentially a combination of the elements and consciousness. The moment that totality of pure awareness is notionally compartmentalised as an individual entity and the notion of ‘I’-thought arises, the final


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crystallisation down to ‘I am so and so’ follows suit, which starts off the chain reaction of a notional cause and effect. The word notional is used, primarily because, so long as one is caught up in the wheel of ‘I am this and that’ the flywheel of desire keeps spinning, leading on to the notion of cause and effect. The moment there is complete understanding and when one is free of the notion that ‘I am the doer’, the state of total freedom is experienced. Until then, knowledge has to be acquired and actions are to be undertaken in accordance with the understanding of the concept of karma. There is a fear among many an aspirant, that if the doership is not there, how will actions take place efficiently? This fear is a result of the notional. ‘I’-thought trying to maintain its imaginary hold on the unwary body mind entity, fearful of losing its hold and its so-called ‘Life’. In fact when the ‘I’-thought subsides and doership is absent, actions will be carried out far more efficiently, as these actions are anyway being carried out as part of Awareness playing through its manifested consciousness. The exploring and gathering of more knowledge is definitely a part of the process, but in the final analysis, all knowledge has to be discarded, for one to be established in one’s true state of pure Self-awareness. The succinct and beautifully crisp answer provided by Sage Ramana that,’ Karmas carry in themselves the seeds of their own destruction’, clearly indicates that when Self realisation is experienced, karma ceases to exist for that aspirant. This is the ultimate truth, but until the concept of ‘I’- thought is overcome by gaining the understanding that karma in its essence is a notion, one continues to traverse through the notional cycles of birth and death. 2. Devotee: ‘Even without any initial desires there are some strange experiences for us. Wherefrom do they arise?’ Sage Ramana: ‘The desires may not be there now. But they were once there. Though forgotten they are now bearing fruit. That is how the Jnani (sage) is said to have prarabdha (part of one’s karma to be worked out in this life). Of course this is so from the point of view of others who observe the Jnani (sage).’ Reflection – The questioner seems to think that people are or should be always conscious of their moral delinquencies, of their sins of omission and commission, of the effects of their actions


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upon others, as well as of their own desires. Excessive greed and lack of consideration for the feeling and interest of others are unfortunately a common malady, as we can witness politics, competition in business, and a hundred-and-one other deliberate and otherwise daily lapse in people’s conduct towards their neighbors. So to play the injured innocent for the troubles one accrues due to one’s own doing, can possibly lead one into a delusion of self-righteousness, which unfortunately does not fool providence. Unconsciousness or oblivion of old desires old sins and actions which affected oneself and others in this life or in previous lives do not cancel the poetic justice that is necessary to restore the disturbed balance. Even the sage brings his destiny from another life, but this works itself out without creating new karma for him, or a new birth, or causing him anguish, as do the same troubles to others. His mind, having totally sunk in the Self, has become, under all circumstances, as fresh and cool as summer moonlight. Others, seeing the suffering of his body, imagine the sage himself to be suffering. Prarabdha karma (consequences of past actions presenting themselves as circumstances in the present) is that portion of the past karma (action) which is responsible for the present body. That portion of the sanchita karma (the store of karmic debts accumulated from previous births) which influences human life in the present incarnation is called ‘prarabdha’. It is ripe for reaping. It cannot be avoided or changed. It is only exhausted by being experienced. One pays for one’s past debts. ‘Prarabdha karma’ is that which has begun and is actually bearing fruit. It is selected out of the mass of the ‘sanchita karmas’. Each ‘karma’ (action) and each thought leaves a residual impression or ‘vasana’ (subconscious inclination) in our mind, similar to the fragrance of food that is left in the cooking vessel even after it is washed. These residual impressions or vasanas of our actions become tendencies of our personality, impelling us to repeat the same action


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again and again, thus forming habits that become the typical characteristics of our personality. Latent mental tendencies and impressions, which are the root cause of all the desires and resultant actions, accumulated over many births form the stock of our karmas, both good and bad (and mixed) are the ‘sanchita’ karmas. Mental tendencies or vasanas are like the seeds that have to fructify or manifest according to favorable circumstances at the appropriate time. Each mental tendency and habit has to fructify itself, even if that requires a new body in some next birth. This is how the concept of reincarnation, the ‘cycle of birth and death’ and rebirth continues to flow. All mental tendencies and habits have to manifest themselves based on presentation of suitable opportunities. These tendencies are worked out in a particular birth from a given stock of karma (prarabdha karma) out of the total sanchita karma (the store of karmic debts accumulated from previous births). According to Sage Ramana karma is only applicable as long as one imagines oneself to be a separate entity from the Self. As long as one is associated with the ‘I’- thought one will pass through a series of pre-ordained activities and experiences, all of which are the consequences of previous acts and thoughts. He has also said that every act and experience in a person’s life is determined at birth and that the only freedom one has is to realise that there is no one acting and no one experiencing. However, when the ‘I’ thought subsides permanently and one realises one’s true nature of pure Selfawareness, then there is no one left to experience the consequences of actions and so the whole structure of personal karma becomes redundant. In relation to this Sage Ramana states, “If the agent, upon whom the karma depends, namely the ego (‘I’-thought), which has come into existence between the body and the Self, merges in its source and loses its form, how can the karma, which depends upon it, survive? When there is no ‘I’ there is no karma.” The last line in Sage Ramana’s answer is, “That is how the Jnani (sage) is said to have prarabdha (part of one’s karma to be worked out in this life). Of course this is so from the point of view of others who observe the Jnani (sage)”. This is a pointer towards the truth indicating that the karma to be worked out in the present life, which is apparently attributed to the sage is only from the limited


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viewpoint of the questioner, such aspirants currently consider themselves as ‘limited’ entities. When this limitation is accepted, the consequential pendulum of likes and dislikes swings into action, the notional ‘I’ – thought continues to sustain itself and the consequential cycle of death and rebirth continues to flow. However, as explained by Sage Ramana when the ‘I’- thought subsides and one’s true nature of pure Self-awareness is realised, then past impressions, mental tendencies and karmic residue do not play a role in the life of such an aspirant, as the ‘I’ thought and doership are now absent. 3. Sage Ramana: ‘As long as you feel yourself the doer of action so long you are bound to enjoy its fruits. But if you find out whose karma it is, you will see that you are not the doer. Then you will be free. This requires the Grace of God, for which you should pray to Him and meditate on Him.’ Reflection – Desires lie at the root of destiny. We desire and move to acquire an object of our desire. However, we never think of the identity of the actor, our whole attention being centered on the object till we secure it. The question of doership in the light of truth and untruth does not occur to us at the moment. Enjoyment of the object preoccupies us most, enjoyment which we tacitly accept as the reward for our action, for our endeavor to gain it. This is karma done with a sense of doership, the doer being the empirical ‘I’, even if the sense of doership is not actively in the mind, it is implied in the act itself, and thus binds us. Now, if we investigate into the cause and motive of the action and into the nature of the actor, we will find that one who has acted with the motive of enjoyment is not the real ‘I’, but an imitator, a false ‘I’, then we shall be automatically released from the responsibility of the action, and thus from the bondage of karma. Although we henceforth act, the sense that it is we who are acting drops from us, and with it also drops the power of karma to grip us; for the empirical ‘I’ will no longer be there to be gripped. But this discovery or realisation does not come without the help of God or Self. Sage Ramana asserts that for this Selfrealisation to fructify one requires to do intense worship and meditation, which culminates in and brings forth the grace of God.


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4. Sage Ramana: ‘Action without motive does not bind. Even a sage acts and there can be no action without effort and without sankalpas (motives). Therefore there are sankalpas (motives) for everyone. But these are of two kinds, the binding (bandha-hetu) and the liberating (mukti-hetu). The former must be given up and the latter cultivated.’ Reflection – Here is a way out of the karmic stream. Sage Ramana postulates action for all spiritual aspirants, and results for all action, yet repudiates the binding residue of action to apply equally to all actors. Action binds only to the extent that its motive element is of the binding type, and never if it is of the liberating type, where the material, selfish motive, is totally absent. Therefore, those who wish to jump out of the stream of bondage into that of liberation have to curb their binding motives and cultivate those that liberate. The question may now be asked – How are they to distinguish between the two, which is admittedly difficult to do? This text is mainly meant for the spiritual aspirant, who constantly worries whether a certain action is consistent with one’s method of spiritual practice or not. The sage dissipates this doubt by admitting action for all people and a motivated action too. For example, in olden days Sage Ramana himself used to work in the kitchen, and even once built a mud wall to his cave on the hill. He knew then why he did that work, and certainly aimed at the utility element in it, or else he would not have done it. But when the sage worked he was all along aware of his true being as the doer of the action, which has no desires. The motive of this action is thus not of the binding type. Hence, a spiritual aspirant should not worry about one’s actions, as long as they are not of the binding type (having desires in the background). Hence, giving up of motives that are the cause of bondage and cultivation of motives that are a cause of liberation is recommended by Sage Ramana. But, as observed in the previous discussion the sage has also advised praying to God and meditation. The cultivation of motives leading to liberation under the steam of doership is possible in a limited sense, as a finite amount of limited self effort is put in. This needs the benign and spontaneous grace of God to shower the boon of one-pointedness and the ability to


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cultivate the motiveless motives (mukti-hetu sankalpas), which are the causeless cause for liberation. As the intensity of the one-pointedness grows the cultivation of ‘motiveless motives’ grows. This leads to the showering of more and more grace, as one basks under the loving shelter of sages like Sage Ramana or God, and one is attuned synchronistical to the frequency of His grace. When the storehouse of karmic debts accumulated from previous births (sanchita karmas) and that part of one’s sanchita karma which must be worked out in the present life (prarabdha karmas) get depleted and close to exhaustion, and when the binding motives (bandha-hetu sankalpas) die into oblivion, the doership vanishes to transform the spiritual aspirant into a sage. The ‘so called’ actions of the sage are now non-binding and only liberating motives and actionless actions (mukti-hetu sankalpas) are in play, as the liberated body-mind entity of the sage until it is discarded at the time of death, still has to function and act within the earthly gross physical manifestation. 5. Sage Ramana: ‘Free-will and destiny are ever existent. Destiny is the result of past action; it concerns the body. Let the body act as may suit it: why are you concerned with it? Why do you pay attention to it? Free-will and destiny last as long as the body lasts. But jnana (knowledge of Self) transcends them both.’ Reflection – ‘Free-will and destiny are ever existent’ is a significant statement which belies the belief by some who attribute to Sage Ramana the self-contradictory theory that no free will exists, but only karma which predetermines every action and every experience through which we pass. It goes without saying that karma cannot exist without free-will. It is only free action which attracts rewards or punishments, i.e. karma, so that free-will and karma rise and fall together. That karma concerns the body and that we should therefore let the body act as it chooses, requires some explanation. Karma and free-will are, like the body, insentient, and can affect only the body, and never the intelligent being who operates it and who transcends them both. Therefore, so long as the body-‘I’ sense prevails, they continue to function and the individual continues to take one body after another for the working out of karma; but as soon as the knowledge of Self dawns they cease to bear fruit. Karma


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will end with the last body (of the sage) and free-will will no longer be the will of the individual (who usually decides on the body-’I’ basis) but that of Brahman (the Universal Self or the Absolute) into which the individual has now completely merged. Therefore, Sage Ramana advises the seeker to pay no attention to the working of karma on the limiting adjuncts or limitations imposed from outside due to space time or objects, but to dissociate oneself from them, when one will be free from the obligation of taking new bodies, and consequently from bondage. One has to understand that ‘Free will and destiny are ever existent’ is to be seen in conjunction with sage Ramana’s statement that ‘Free-will and destiny last as long as the body last’, i.e. as long as the sense of ‘body’ or ‘individuality’ lasts. Further, Sage Ramana mentions that though a realised person has removed all personal intentions, tendencies and attachments; however, the liberating motives (mukti-hetu sankalpas) continue to function as long as the body housed as-the-sage lasts. It can also be observed and inferred that ‘Free will and destiny are ever existent’ is in reference to the body and all corresponding bodies prevalent within the manifestation and ‘ever existent’ is in reference to the world (manifestation) only. Once the notion that ‘I am so and so’ is overcome, ‘Self-knowledge’ dawns, which transcends both free will and destiny, but the body continues to function and act. In the scriptures, reference is made to a cow tethered to a pole and tied with a rope enabling the cow to travel within a nominated radius in a circular motion. The cycle of birth and death is a similar cycle, allowing limited movement within a particular radius, as long as the ‘I’thought and free will to act in a limited manner are present, based on circumstances presented to the individuals. The obsession and identification with the body as the ‘I’-thought is so strong, that despite being told and reiterated again and again, the old habits compel one to move in the grooves of self-gratification. So the direction from Sage Ramana is to allow the free will to let the body act as may suit it, which essentially means to transcend the limited feeling of ‘I’-thought and overcome doership. The body is subject to its vagaries (destiny) as determined by a


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power, which one cannot fathom, when under the notional influence of the limitations of ‘I’-thought or the feeling ‘I am so and so’. Even when the sublimation has taken place to the extent where the sage has realized his true identity as all pervading awareness, the vagaries of the body continue to function in their own way, but the sage now experiences a freedom where he is no longer bound or disturbed by the happenings to the body. 6. Sage Ramana: ‘So long as there is individuality, one is the enjoyer and doer. But if it is lost, the Divine Will prevails and guides the course of events. ‘Free-will is implied in the scriptural injunctions to be good. It implies overcoming fate through wisdom. The fire of wisdom consumes all actions and wisdom is acquired through sat- sanga - the company of sages and its mental atmosphere.’ Reflection – All the Scriptures recommend good action, admitting by implication the freedom of the will; for if the will is not free, where is the point of asking us to be good? Man would then be like a machine or an animal which is not responsible for its action and thus cannot be punished. The fire of wisdom here means the power of discrimination which is stimulated by the company of the wise. Discrimination between good and evil, as a necessity induces us to choose good and shun evil, the ultimate results of which will be the cessation of doership and not the action itself, meaning the sense of ‘I’ - thought being the doers of the actions subsides, which implies the merging of the individual will in the Divine Will, and the merging of individuality or ‘I’ - thought itself in the Divine. From there on ‘the Divine Will will guide the course of action.’ The entire concept of free will and fate is based on the mental modifications of the mind that comprise the human individual. Free Will provides the capacity to experience Divine Will. This is so, because if free will is used to guide us to lose the sense of individuality, then the ‘I’-thought ceases to exist and only the Divine Will prevails and guides the course of events. That is how all the karmic debts (karmas) are exhausted by the unceasing use of free will to liberate us from the ‘I’- thought. Hence, free will is used by an aspirant to strive conscientiously on one’s spiritual path.


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Sage Ramana confirms that one will continue to function as the enjoyer and the doer, so long as the feeling of ‘I’thought prevails. Human beings have been provided with an intellect, which is a tool to be used as a means to discriminate (viveka). The practices of prayer and meditation carried out with pure love (bhava) will forge a path that is bound to culminate in the showering grace of discrimination (viveka). If acts are thus carried out in accordance and with the use of this discrimination (viveka), there will be a further showering of the grace of the sage or God. This grace will be accompanied with the blessings of dispassion (vairagya) and sustained relentless practice (abhyasa). Based upon the foundations of discrimination (viveka), dispassion (vairagya) and sustained relentless practice (abhyasa), there will be a resultant dawning of wisdom and knowledge of Selfawareness, which will overcome one’s personally motivated selfish actions. As Sage Ramana has stated, ‘The Divine Will will then guide the course of action.’ Free-will is limited to either the acceptance of doership as an individual body mind entity or it allows for the freedom of recognising ones true nature as being unbounded, free, resplendent, complete and full in the state of pure awareness. That is why free will implies overcoming the so called fate through wisdom, discrimination (viveka) and dispassion (vairagya). When this is fully recognised in complete wisdom, the totality of awareness as Divine Will functions in consciousness through the individual body; and events occur spontaneously as ‘happenings or events’. Sage Ramana advises us that this wisdom can be gained by the company of sages and their associated mental atmosphere (satsang). The word ‘mental atmosphere’ is used, because although truth is beyond the capacity of the five senses, as long as the feeling ‘I am so and so’ persists, one continues to function within the confines and limitations of the five senses. In this condition, utilising the option of free will, it is advisable to wean the mind away from sense gratification by using the weapons of strong resolve, spiritual inner purity, correct direction, firm determination, continuous and sustained practice, proper discrimination, deep dispassion,


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unwavering faith, unrelenting perseverance and continued association with seekers of truth and spiritually advanced individuals on one’s journey to Self-realisation. If this is not undertaken, functioning within the five senses as the limited individual is reinforced and further enhances the projected limited feeling and sense of ‘I’-thought as real. Hence, the recourse of association with spiritually advanced individuals along with their divine auras raises the mind and its associated mental atmosphere into the divine realms of pure awareness. This thins the association with the notion of the limited ‘I’-thought and establishes the truth of one’s true original nature, which is that of sublime, pure, unadulterated existence, consciousness and bliss. Once this occurs, the functioning takes place as a ‘happening’ through the divine will of pure awareness. Although the divine will is functioning at all times, it is only the limited feeling of ‘I’ thought which brings forth the notion of free will and destiny, which is prevalent only until the confines of the ‘I’-thought or the feeling ‘I am so and so’ are exhausted and one’s true nature is seen in all its true glory. 7. Sage Ramana: “When prarabdha karma (part of one’s karma to be worked out in this life) gets exhausted, the ego (‘I’-thought) completely dissolves without leaving any trace behind. This is final Liberation. Until then the ego (‘I’-thought) continues to rise up in its pure form even in the Jivanmukta (One who is liberated while living in a body).” Reflection – Liberation is a state in which one has direct experience of the Self where no differences are perceived. Sage Ramana advises that until the store house of prarabdha karmas (part of one’s karma to be worked out in this life) are exhausted, the body continues to function and it appears as an ego (‘I’ - thought) function in its purest form. This means that the storehouse of karmic debts (sanchita karma) is essentially empty, no new karmas are being generated (agami karma) and the final pending karmas are being exhausted in the present body. After these have been exhausted a new body cannot be generated as there are no karmas to live in another body. We also know that in many cases it lasted forty, fifty, or even more years after the attainment of natural state of absorption in


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the Self with no concepts. Sage Ramana’s own case is a shining example of it. He entered ‘liberation at the moment of death’ (videhamukti), the final disembodied liberation, after having attained ‘liberation while in the body’ (jivanmukti) and having remained for fifty-four years after that in unremitting nirvikalpa (a state in which no differences are perceived). Till then, Sage Ramana tells us, the ego (‘I’ - thought) continues to pop up, even for the one who is liberated while living in a body, but in its purest form, that is, without causing the sage ignorance of the reality and the suffering associated with such ignorance. [Note: This perspective has been further clarified in the section ‘Practice of Selfenquiry’ in chapter 6.]

8. Sage Ramana: ‘It is not enough that one thinks of God while doing karma (service, or worship), but one must continually and unceasingly think of Him. Only then will the mind become pure.’ Sage Ramana’s attendant then remarked: ‘Is it then not enough that I serve Bhagavan physically, but must also remember him constantly?’ To which the sage remarked: ‘I-am-the body’ idea must vanish through Self-enquiry (vichara).’ Reflection – The attendant is right in interpreting Sage Ramana’s remark. The physical appearance of the sage is incomparable to the mental contemplation of him. Yet, service to the sage has its great utility; the very close proximity to the sage has tremendous potentialities for the purification of the attendant’s vasanas (predispositions and tendencies of the mind due to experiences of former lives), due to the utter purity of the sage’s mind. But that is not sufficient to attain mukti (liberation). Purification processes are only a stage on the path, to make one fall in the line with the mental practices of dhyana and vichara (meditation and Self-enquiry), which alone can prepare the mind to experience Self in the last stages of the long journey. ‘I-am-the-body’ idea must vanish through vichara (Self enquiry),’ Sage Ramana asserts. The path of service is the path of surrender, which is not limited to time and space. The physical service to the guru (spiritual guide) or sage has to reach a stage where the service is a complete and a total offering of the individual’s limited self. In this offering, the individual free will is transcended to incorporate the sage’s will, which is effectively and in any case the divine will. When one’s


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practice continues in this manner for many years, the individual ego (‘I’ – thought) is replaced and the ‘I am the body’ idea starts vanishing upon the practice of Self-enquiry (vichara). While serving the sage, the purpose of repetition of a sacred word or syllable or a name of God either mentally or verbally, or devotion and love to God or the sage, is for the individual to lose oneself completely from the clutches of sense gratification. Sage Ramana advises that one should remember one’s spiritual guide or Self not only during the carrying out of karmas (service, worship), but unceasingly and continually, until the feeling and sense of ‘I’-thought subsides. Such practice will assist in the ‘I am the body’ idea to gradually dissolve and disappear through Selfenquiry (vichara). 9. Sage Ramana: ‘Your idea of will-power is success insured, whereas will-power should be understood as the strength of mind which meets success and failure with equanimity. It is not synonymous with certain success. Why should one’s attempts be always attended with success? Success develops arrogance and one’s spiritual progress is there by arrested. Failures on the other hand are beneficial, inasmuch as they open one’s eyes to one’s limitations and prepare him to surrender himself. Therefore one should try to gain equipoise of mind under all circumstances. That is will-power. Again success and failure are the results of prarabdha (part of one’s karma to be worked out in this life) and not of will-power. One man may be doing only good and yet prove a failure. Another may do otherwise and yet be uniformly successful. This does not mean that the will-power is absent in one and present in the other.’ Reflection – The context is the case of a man, who because of repeated failures in business, has lost confidence in himself, and is now trying to find a way of reversing it to success. He is confusing confidence with will-power. One may have abundant confidence in oneself and conducts one’s work to the best of one’s ability, yet the work may result in either success or failure. That depends on one’s destiny or prarabdha (part of one’s karma to be worked out in this life) as explained by Sage Ramana. Sage Ramana advises the questioner to develop an equal


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attitude to both success and failure, which after all depend on one’s destiny, at the same time he praises failure as more spiritually fruitful in the long run, rather than success, as it kills arrogance and promotes an attitude of non-attachment and absence of worldly desire (vairagya), which hastens one’s approach to the supreme goal. Most people live in ignorance of their glorious destiny; and are absorbed in their own weak points; of their dull, lazy (tamasic) and restless (rajasic) cravings and behaviour. Many people take the strongest objection or avoid the issues, sweeping them under the carpet of ignorance, when situations present themselves. How, then, can God open their eyes and save them from this self-intoxication? He gives them disasters and calamities to shake their airy castles and crack the thick crusts of their arrogance. Pride of wealth, position, fame, power, learning and lineage eventually destroy themselves on the platform of relentless spiritual practice (abhyasa) and divine, benign grace. The case of the swinging pendulum is a classic example of the vagaries of the mind. Success and failure, likes and dislikes, love and hate, joy and sorrow are the opposite ends of this swinging pendulum of life. When one is caught up in the senses and considers oneself as the doer, the mental conditioning is such that the mental swinging to and fro between the pair of opposites like love and hate, joy and sorrow, likes and dislikes and so on continues in an endless manner. Through various practices such as prayer, meditation and Self-enquiry the mind becomes calm and composed with the consequential reduction in the distances of swings of the mind between the two extremes of the pair of opposites like success and failure, joy and sorrow. As the spiritual aspirant dissociates or lets go of the results i.e. success and failure, and when the mental swinging reduces, it brings about a certain equanimity and one gets a glimpse of that equanimity every time the swinging goes past the centeredness (pictured as the centre of the pendulum’s swing). As the swinging of the mind reduces, the centeredness becomes more frequent, independent of the results between success or failure, until the mental swinging stops completely and the aspirant is centered at all times, whether in success or failure. This development of equanimity is ‘will power’ as explained by Sage Ramana and not the one sided gain of success, which is considered


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by many as will power. Success and failure are caused due to ‘prarabdha karma’ (part of one’s karma to be worked out in this life) and will power is independent of that, being essentially based in ‘spontaneous equanimity’. Sage Ramana has said that equality is the true sign of jnana (knowledge of the Self). The very term equality implies the existence of differences. It is a unity that the sage perceives in all differences, which he calls as equality. Equality does not mean ignorance of distinctions. When you have the realisation you can see that these differences are very superficial, that they are not at all substantial or permanent, and what is essential in all these appearances is the one truth, the real. That is what Sage Ramana terms as ‘unity’ or ‘spontaneous equanimity’. The sage (Jnani) appreciates the distinctions between sound, tastes, form, and smell and so on, but he always perceives and experiences the one reality in all of them. That is why he has no preferences. Whether he moves about, or talks, or acts, it is the entire one reality in which he acts or moves or talks. He is nothing apart from the one supreme truth of Self-awareness.

Spiritual Practice, Meditation and Self-enquiry In dealing with the teachings of Sage Ramana Maharshi, one occasionally comes across pieces of advice which seem to contradict each other. To recognise the real meaning of such apparent inconsistencies one has to keep in mind one main principle of the sage; he never discouraged the visitor in his own spiritual endeavor, whatever the outer form may be. As he knew that the sincere seeker after Truth is always guided from within, and that his inclinations to particular practices not only indicate the degree of his spiritual maturity, but at the same time, in most cases, are also the means best suited for the person concerned. He never advised a questioner to drop whatever practice he had followed up to that point; he only showed, if necessary, how to make it more effective. When he stressed again and again the superiority of investigation or Self-enquiry compared with all other methods, he was not motivated by a kind of bigotry, but did it because there is a


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very important reason behind it which is rocklike and insurmountable; all other methods of spiritual practice have to keep the personal ‘I’ to be practiced, Self-enquiry which is the investigation into this ‘I’, is the best possible method to remove it. According to Sage Ramana Self-enquiry is the only direct method; others are meant for those who cannot take to the investigation of the Self. This path is the highest of all and is suited only for advanced aspirants. Those who follow other paths will not be ripe for this until they are advanced on their own paths. Thus it is really by grace, whether Guru (spiritual guide) or Self-awareness, that they are brought to this highest path. Of course, they may have practiced the other paths in previous existences and thus may have been born ripe for this one; others try different methods and after progressing finally turn to Self-enquiry. But the last stages of all paths are the same; which pertains to surrender of the personal ‘I’. Meditation means many things to many individuals and ranges from quiet brooding on a concept or an ideal to the beatitude of the highest spiritual contemplation. But in the method of spiritual practice propounded by Sage Ramana it strictly means, whatever the method, the attempt is to still the thinking faculty, the perpetuallysurging waves of the mind, in order that the calm ocean of pure awareness, from which they rise and on which they move, may be experienced. To beginners this mind control appears to be a formidable feat, yet Sage Ramana encourages them to go ahead and practice, at all possible opportunities available in order to make a beginning. He constantly dins into us the inspiring notion that we are already Self-realised and that, if we are not aware of it, the obstruction to that awareness should be removed by investigation or Self-enquiry which is as logical as it is simple. To hear it direct from him this ‘Self-knowledge’, rather the way to Self-knowledge, is ‘the easiest thing there is’; but, judging from the questions constantly asked of him, and later of his disciples, there appears to be the need for much spade work before its central idea takes a firm hold on the seeker.


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Sage Ramana’s obvious meaning seems to be that, even apart from the psychological effectiveness of the method of Selfenquiry, preoccupying the mind with a single theme to the exclusion of all others, if doggedly practiced, will not fail to produce beneficial results. It will tend to reduce the oscillations of the thinking processes, and thus render the mind amenable to concentration on the supremely important work which is to follow, which by itself is a splendid achievement. Finding the answer to the query ‘Who am I?’ is not the immediate burden of the practice in the beginning. Stability and fixity of the restless, mercurial mind is the first aim, and this can be achieved by constant practice and by frequently pulling oneself back to the subject of the meditation whenever the mind strays away. When the mind has attained an appreciable degree of concentration it will be time to think of the answer. Some spiritual aspirant are fortunate enough to begin with a mind already accustomed to concentration, either naturally, or by training, or through intense fervour, so that they are able to go straight to the application of the Self-enquiry, and thus make a more or less rapid progress, according to the intensity of their determination, without much strain. For Sage Ramana tells us that mental calmness, that is, controlled mind, is essential for a successful meditation. The next idea in the Self-enquiry seems to be that wherever, and for however long, one may search for the answer in meditation, one will certainly not find it in the physical body; for no part of it is intelligent enough to stand the test of analysis or answer the call. Even if the meditator takes his body as a whole and confers on it his name, say, Krishna or Peter, sooner or later he will discover that it is only his mind which is responsible for this as well as all other thoughts and sensations. Thus diligent search and keen observation eventually lead to the mind as the perceiver, desirer and enjoyer of a world which is entirely its own thoughts; for the mind cognises naught but its own ideas. The final idea, one gathers, refers to the most vital stage of the Self-enquiry, when the foregoing fact has become a settled conviction and the seeker unabatingly continues his inquiry, this time no longer into the insentient body, but into the very nature of the mind, from which he has discovered the ‘I’ thought to have arisen. Meditation has by then taken a firm grip and has turned from an erstwhile painful and apparently fruitless effort to a joyful, eagerly


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and a looked forward to performance, which can no longer be abandoned or even slackened. The thinking processes have by now considerably slowed down and with it, naturally, the restlessness of the mind. Profound peace and inner joy impel more frequent and longer meditation, which in turn reduces thinking still further, till the moment of full maturity is reached, when all of a sudden all thoughts completely cease, and the meditator, the ‘I’, having nothing to disturb or preoccupy him, spontaneously finds himself in his pure Being, which is the Absolute State or substratum. And what is that Self in actual experience? Sage Ramana tells us that it is the Light which ever shines in the Cave of the Heart as the flame of the Consciousness ‘I’ ‘I’ – the eternal and the blissful Sat-chit-ananda (Truth-Consciousness-Bliss). This is the answer to a Self-enquiry and its fulfilment. The ‘I’ that has carried out a determined and protracted search into its own nature has at long last found itself to be not other than the Pure Mind, the immaculate Being, which is eternally wrapped in blissful stillness. This is Turiya (the fourth state beyond awake, dream and sleep) or Samadhi (the state of absorption in the Self). There remains nothing more for one to achieve but to consolidate this state into the permanent experience of Sahaja Nirvikalpa (natural state of absorption in the Self with no concepts), which is the Great Liberation. Spiritual aspirant are urged to take courage from the personal assurance of Sage Ramana and the testimony of those who have found the ultimate peace, and to relentlessly continue their efforts however sterile they may appear to be at the start, and have strong faith in the belief of the descent of divine grace in their endeavor to crown themselves with the greatest of all crowns, that of supreme enlightenment. Sage Ramana had delved deep on these topics to respond to the queries of spiritual aspirants. In the following pages some conversations with the sage in relation to spiritual practice, meditation and Self-enquiry as recorded by Sri S. S. Cohen and in other resources are reproduced. Disciple: What is the difference between meditation (dhyana) and investigation (vichara)?


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Maharshi: Both amount to the same. Those unfit for investigation must practice meditation. In meditation the aspirant forgetting himself meditates ‘I am Brahman’ or ‘I am Siva’ and by this method holds on to Brahman (the Absolute) or Siva. This will ultimately end with the residual awareness of Brahman (the Absolute) or Siva as being. He will then realise that this is pure being, that is, the Self. He who engages in investigation starts by holding on to himself, and by asking himself ‘Who am I?’ the Self becomes clear to him. Mentally imagining oneself to be the supreme reality, which shines as truth- consciousness-bliss, is meditation. Fixing the mind in the Self so that the unreal seed of delusion will die is enquiry. Whoever meditates upon the Self in whatever bhava (mental image) attains it only in that image. Those peaceful ones who remain quiet without any such bhava attain the noble and unqualified state of kaivalya, the formless state of the Self. D i s c i p l e : Meditation is more direct than investigation because the former holds on to the truth whereas the latter sifts the truth from the untruth. Mahars hi : For the beginner meditation on a form is more easy and agreeable. Practice of it leads to self-enquiry which consists in sifting the reality from unreality. What is the use of holding on to truth when you are filled with antagonistic factors? Self-enquiry directly leads to realization by removing the obstacles which make you think that the Self is not already realized. Meditation differs according to the degree of advancement of the seeker. If one is fit for it one might directly hold on to the thinker, on to Brahman (the Absolute) or Siva. This will ultimately end with the residual awareness of Brahman (the Absolute) or Siva as being. He will then realize that this is pure being, that is, the Self. He who engages in investigation starts by holding on to himself, and by asking himself ‘Who am I?’ the Self becomes clear to him. Mentally imagining oneself to be the supreme reality, which shines as truth consciousness-bliss, is meditation. Fixing the mind in the Self so that the unreal seed of delusion will die is enquiry. Whoever meditates upon the Self in whatever bhava (mental image) attains it only in that image. Those peaceful, who remain quiet without any such bhava (mental image) attain the noble and unqualified state of kaivalya (the state of oneness), the formless state of the Self.


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Disciple: Meditation is more direct than investigation because the former holds on to the truth whereas the latter sifts the truth from the untruth. Maharshi: For the beginner meditation on a form is more easy and agreeable. Practice of it leads to self-enquiry which consists in sifting the reality from unreality. What is the use of holding on to truth when you are filled with antagonistic factors? Self-enquiry directly leads to realisation by removing the obstacles which make you think that the Self is not already realised. Meditation differs according to the degree of advancement of the seeker. If one is fit for it one might directly hold on to the thinker, and the thinker will then automatically sink into his source, pure consciousness. If one cannot directly hold on to the thinker one must meditate on God and in due course the same individual will have become sufficiently pure to hold on to the thinker and to sink into absolute being. Meditation is possible only if the ego is kept up. There is the ego and the object meditated upon. The method is therefore indirect because the Self is only one. Seeking the ego, that is its source, the ego disappears. What is left over is the Self. This is the direct method. Disciple: There is no way found to go inward by means of meditation. Maharshi: Where else are we now? Our very being is that. Disciple: Being so, we are ignorant of it. Maharshi: Ignorant of what and whose is the ignorance? If ignorant of the Self are there two selves? Disciple: There are not two selves. The feeling of limitation cannot be denied. Due to limitations . . . Maharshi: Limitation is only in the mind. Did you feel it in deep sleep? You exist in sleep. You do not deny your existence then. The same ‘Self’ is here and now in the wakeful state. You are now saying that there are limitations. What has now happened is that there are these differences between the two states. The differences are due to the mind. There was no mind in sleep whereas it is now active. The Self exists in the absence of the mind also.


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Disciple: Although it is understood, it is not realized. Maharshi: It will be by and by, with meditation. Disciple: Meditation is with mind. How can it kill the mind in order to reveal the Self? Maharshi: Meditation is sticking to one thought. That single thought keeps away other thoughts. Distraction of mind is a sign of its weakness. By constant meditation it gains strength, that is to say, the weakness of fugitive thought gives place to the enduring background free from thought. This expanse devoid of thought is the Self. Mind in purity is the Self. Disciple: What is dhyana (meditation)? Maharshi: It is abiding as one’s Self without swerving in any way from one’s real nature and without feeling that one is meditating. Disciple: What is the difference between dhyana (meditation) and Samadhi (the state of absorption in the Self)? Maharshi: Dhyana (meditation) is achieved through deliberate mental effort. In Samadhi (the state of absorption in the Self) there is no such effort. Disciple: What are the factors to be kept in view in dhyana? Maharshi: It is important for one who is established in his Self (atmanishtha) to see that he does not swerve in the least from this absorption. By swerving from his true nature he may see before him bright effulgence’s, or hear unusual sounds, or regard as real the visions of gods appearing within or outside himself. He should not be deceived by these and forget himself. Disciple: How is meditation to be practiced? Maharshi: Meditation is, truly speaking, atmanishtha (to be fixed as the Self). But when thoughts cross the mind and an effort is made to eliminate them the effort is usually termed meditation. Atmanishtha (to abide in the Self) is your real nature. Remain as you are. That is the aim. Disciple: But thoughts come up. Is our effort meant to eliminate thoughts only?


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Maharshi: Yes. Meditation being on a single thought, the other thoughts is kept away. Meditation is only negative in effect in as much as thoughts are kept away. Disciple: If a form is given I can meditate on it and other thoughts are eliminated. But the Self is formless. Maharshi: Meditation on forms or concrete objects is said to be dhyana (meditation), whereas the enquiry into the Self is vichara (Self-enquiry) or nidhiyasana (uninterrupted awareness of being). Disciple: There is more pleasure in dhyana (meditation) than in sensual enjoyments. Yet the mind runs after the latter and does not seek the former. Why is it so? Maharshi: Pleasure or pain is aspects of the mind only. Our essential nature is happiness. But we have forgotten the Self and imagine that the body or the mind is the Self. It is that wrong identity that gives rise to misery. What is to be done? This mental tendency is very deep rooted and has continued for innumerable past births. Hence it has grown strong. That must go before the essential nature, happiness, asserts itself. Disciple: How is dhyana (meditation) practiced - with eyes open or closed? Maharshi: It may be done either way. The point is that the mind must be introverted and kept active in its pursuit. Sometimes it happens that when the eyes are closed the latent thoughts rush forth with great vigour. It may also be difficult to introvert the mind with the eyes open. It requires strength of mind to do so. The mind is contaminated when it takes in objects. Otherwise, it is pure. The main factor in dhyana (meditation) is to keep the mind active in its own pursuit without taking in external impressions or thinking of other matters. Disciple: Bhagavan, whenever I meditate, I feel great heat in the head and, if I persist, my whole body burns. What is the remedy? Maharshi: If concentration is made with the brain, sensations of heat and even headache ensue. Concentration has to be made in the Heart, which is cool and refreshing. Relax and your meditation will be easy. Keep your mind steady by gently warding off all intruding thoughts but without strain. Soon you will succeed.


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Disciple: How do I prevent myself falling asleep in meditation? Maharshi: If you try to prevent sleep it will mean thinking in meditation, which must be avoided. But if you slip into sleep while meditating, the meditation will continue even during and after sleep. Yet, being a thought, sleep must be got rid of, for the final natural state has to be obtained consciously in jagrat (the waking state) without the disturbing thought. Waking and sleeping are mere pictures on the screen of the native, thought-free state. Let them pass unnoticed. Disciple: What is to be meditated upon? Maharshi: Anything that you prefer. Disciple: How do I meditate? Maharshi: Concentrate on that one whom you like best. If a single thought prevails, all other thoughts are put off and finally eradicated. So long as diversity prevails there are bad thoughts. When the object of love prevails only good thoughts hold the field. Therefore hold on to one thought only. Dhyana (meditation) is the chief practice. Dhyana means fight. As soon as you begin meditation other thoughts will crowd together, gather force and try to sink the single thought to which you try to hold. The good thought must gradually gain strength with repeated practice. After it has grown strong the other thoughts will be put to flight. This is the battle always taking place in meditation. One wants to rid oneself of misery. It requires peace of mind, which means absence of perturbation owing to all kinds of thoughts. Peace of mind is brought about by dhyana (meditation) alone. Disciple: Is the practice of concentration between the eyebrows advisable? Maharshi: The final result of the practice of any kind of dhyana (meditation) is that the object on which the seeker fixes his mind ceases to exist as distinct and separate from the subject. They, the subject and object, become the One Self, and that is the Heart. Disciple: Why does not Sri Bhagavan direct us to practice concentration on some particular centre or chakra (subtle centers of energy in the body)?


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Maharshi: Yoga Sastra (Yoga scriptures) says that the Sahasrara (the chakra located in the brain) or the brain is the seat of the Self. Purusha Sukta (a part of Rig Veda which is the oldest Hindu scripture) declares that the Heart is its seat. To enable the sadhaka to steer clear of possible doubt, I tell him to take up the thread or the clue of ‘I’ness or ‘I am’ ness and follow it up to its source. Because, first, it is impossible for anybody to entertain any doubt about this ‘I’ notion. Second, whatever be the means adopted, the final goal is the realisation of the source of ‘I am’-ness which is the primary datum of your experience. If you therefore practice Self-enquiry, you will reach the Heart which is the Self. Disciple: I practice hatha yoga (the yoga of postures) and I also meditate ‘I am Brahman (the Absolute)’. After a few moments of this meditation, a blank prevails, the brain gets heated and a fear of death arises. What should I do? Maharshi: ‘I am Brahman (the Absolute)’ is only a thought. Who says it? Brahman (the Absolute) itself does not say so. What need is therefore it to say it? Nor can the real ‘I’ say so, for `I’ always abides as Brahman (the Absolute). To be saying it is only a thought. Whose thought is it? All thoughts are from the unreal ‘I’, that is the ‘I’thought. Remain without thinking. So long as there is thought there will be fear. Disciple: As I go on thinking of it there is forgetfulness, the brain becomes heated and I am afraid. Maharshi: Yes, the mind is concentrated in the brain and hence you get a hot sensation there. It is because of the ‘I’-thought. When the ‘I’- thought arises fear of death arises simultaneously. With regard to forgetfulness, so long as there is thought there will be forgetfulness. First there is the thought ‘I am Brahman (the Absolute)’, and then forgetfulness supervenes. Forgetfulness and thought are for the ‘I’ thought only. Hold on to it and it will disappear like a phantom. What remains over is the real `I’ and that is the Self. ‘I am Brahman (the Absolute)’ is an aid to concentration since it keeps off other thoughts. When that one thought alone persists, see whose thought it is. It will be found to be from `I’. From where is the ‘I’ thought? Probe into it, the ‘I’- thought will vanish, and the supreme Self will shine forth of itself.


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No further effort is needed. When the one real `I’ remains alone, it will not be saying ‘I am Brahman (the Absolute)’. Does a man go on repeating `I am a man’? Unless he is challenged, why should he declare himself a man? Does anyone mistake himself for an animal that he should say, ‘No, I am not an animal, I am a man’? Similarly, Brahman (the Absolute) or ‘I’ being the only existing reality, there is no one there to challenge it and so there is no need to be repeating ‘I am Brahman (the Absolute)’. Disciple: Why should one adopt this self-hypnotism by thinking on the unthinkable point? Why not adopt other methods like gazing into light, holding the breath, hearing music, hearing internal sounds, repetition of the sacred syllable Om or other mantras (sacred syllables repeated in meditation)? Maharshi: Light-gazing stupefies the mind and produces catalepsy of the will for the time being, but it secures no permanent benefit. Breath control temporarily benumbs the will but it is not permanent. It is the same with listening to sounds, unless the mantra (sacred syllables repeated in meditation) is sacred and secures the help of a higher power to purify and raise the thoughts. Disciple: We are advised to concentrate on the spot in the forehead between the eyebrows. Is this right? Maharshi: Everyone is aware - ‘I am’. Leaving aside that awareness one goes about in search of God. What is the use of fixing one’s attention between the eyebrows? It is mere folly to say that God is between the eyebrows. The aim of such advice is to help the mind to concentrate. It is one of the forcible methods to check the mind and prevent its dissipation. It is forcibly directed into one channel. It is a help to concentration. But the best means of realisation is the enquiry ‘Who am I?’ The present trouble is to the mind and it must be removed by the mind only. Disciple: I do not always concentrate on the same centre in the body. Sometimes I find it easier to concentrate on one centre and sometimes on another. And sometimes when I concentrate on one centre the thought of its own accord goes and fixes itself in another. Why is that?


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Maharshi: It may be because of past practices of yours. But in any case it is immaterial on which centre you concentrate since the real Heart is in every centre and even outside the body. On whatever part of the body you may concentrate or on whatever external object, the Heart is there. Disciple: Can one concentrate at one time on one centre and at another time on another or should one concentrate always consistently on the same centre? Maharshi: As I have just said, there can be no harm wherever you concentrate, because concentration is only a means of giving up thoughts. Whatever the centre or object on which one concentrates, he who concentrates is always the same. Disciple: Some say that one should practice meditation on gross objects only. It may be disastrous if one constantly seeks to kill the mind. Maharshi: For whom is it disastrous? Can there be disaster apart from the Self? Unbroken ‘I, I’ is the infinite ocean. The ego, the ‘I’thought, remains only a bubble on it and is called jiva or individual soul. The bubble too is water for when it bursts it only mixes in the ocean. When it remains a bubble it is still a part of the ocean. Ignorant of this simple truth, innumerable methods under different denominations, such as yoga, bhakti (devotion), karma, each again with many modifications, are being taught with great skill and in intricate detail only to entice the seekers and confuse their minds. So also are the religions and sects and dogmas. What are they all for? Only for knowing the Self. They are aids and practices required for knowing the Self. Objects perceived by the senses are spoken of as immediate knowledge. Can anything be as direct as the Self - always experienced without the aid of the senses? Sense-perceptions can only be indirect knowledge, and not direct knowledge. Only one’s own awareness is direct knowledge, and that is the common experience of one and all. No aids are needed to know one’s own Self. 18th June, 1936


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1. A retired District Superintendent of Police started thinking of the life contemplative after his 60th birthday. He found meditation a serious affair and approached a disciple for guidance; but the latter advised him to place his difficulties before the Master, which he did today. Visitor: Bhagavan, whenever I meditate, I feel great heat in the head and, if I persist, my whole body burns. What is the remedy? Maharshi: If concentration is made with the brain, sensations of heat and even headache ensue. Concentration has to be made in the heart, which is cool and refreshing. Relax and your meditation will be easy. Keep your mind steady by gently warding off all intruding thoughts, but without strain – soon you will succeed. 1st July, 1936 2. A visitor, long before he got attached to this Ashram, used off and on to fall into a sort of trance in which he saw not the Self but a sky-like blank, and told Sage Ramana about it. Maharshi: He who sees the blank is the Self. Visitor: Meditation is possible only with control of mind, which can be achieved only through meditation. Is this not a vicious circle? Maharshi: They are interdependent: in fact meditation includes mind control, the subtle watchfulness against intruding thoughts. In the beginning efforts for control are greater than for actual meditation, but in due course, meditation wins and becomes effortless. Visitor: Your Grace is needed for it. Maharshi: Practice is necessary, there is Grace. Visitor: In meditation are there words to be repeated mentally? Maharshi: What is meditation but mental repetitions of a concept? It is a mental Japam (repetition of the name of God or a sacred syllable either mentally or orally), which begins with words and ends in the silence of the Self. 3. A visitor is experiencing great difficulty in meditation when he fights with what he imagines to be his ego. He went to the Sage Ramana for verification. Visitor: In my meditation I try to eliminate the wrong ‘I’, but so far without success.


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Maharshi: How can ‘I’ eliminate itself? All you have to do is to find its source and abide in it as your real Self. Your efforts can extend thus far; the Beyond will take care of itself. Visitor: Bhagavan, you always say that the Self is ever present: if I am present then why do I not feel it? Maharshi: Do you not now feel that you exist? Your doubt is whether you will ever continue to exist. Why should you have any doubt? A little thinking will convince you that the destructible part of your being, the body, is a mere machine, a tool in the service of the indestructible, the mind, which is the all-in-all, the knower and the master – you yourself. Your doubts and difficulties arise from your thoughts, which perceive the body and mistake it for yourself. Stop the thoughts, which are your enemy (the ego or the ‘I’ thought), and the mind will remain as your pure being, the immortal ‘I’. That is the best way of eliminating the ego. 2n d January, 1937 4. A visitor asked: Visitor: I am taught that Mantra Japam (repetition of a sacred syllables either mentally or orally) is very potent in practice. Maharshi: The Self is the greatest of all mantras (sacred syllables repeated in meditation) and goes on automatically and eternally. If you are not aware of this internal mantra, you should take to do it consciously as Japam (repetition of the name of God or a sacred syllable either mentally or orally), which is attended with effort, to ward off all other thoughts. By constant attention to it, you will eventually become aware of the internal mantra (sacred syllable repeated in meditation), which is the state of Realisation and is effortless. Firmness in this awareness will keep you continually and effortlessly in the current, however much you may be engaged on other activities. Listening to Vedas (the great scriptures of the Hindus) chanting and mantras (sacred syllables repeated in meditation) has the same result as conscious repetitions of Japam – its rhythm is the Japam (repetition of the name of God or a sacred syllable either mentally or orally).


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5th July, 1936 5. A visitor asked: Visitor: How to prevent falling asleep in meditation? Maharshi: If you try to prevent sleep it will mean thinking in meditation, which must be avoided. But if you slip into sleep while meditating, the meditation will continue even during and after sleep. Yet, being a thought, sleep must be got rid of, for the native state has to be obtained consciously in jagrat (the waking state) without the disturbing thoughts. Waking and sleeping are mere pictures on the screen of the native, thought-free state. Let them pass unnoticed. 27th July, 1942 6. A Chief Engineer of Railways from North India stayed in the Ashram for over a month to have a firsthand guidance in meditation. Engineer: I am a beginner in meditation. I pray Bhagavan to guide me. You exhort us to go on enquiring ‘Who am I?’ May I know where it will lead me? Maharshi: It is not mere asking; you must go into the meaning of it. Many meditate on certain centers in the body till they merge in them, but sooner or later they will have to enquire into their own nature, which is unavoidable. Then why not straightaway concentrate on yourself till you merge in its source? Engineer : Yes, for twenty years I have been concentrating on certain chakras (subtle centers of energy in the body) and have been seeing things and hearing sounds, but I got nowhere nearer the Truth. Now shall I go on asking ‘Who am I’ as soon as a thought arises in my mind? Maharshi: Quite so. So long as you are not disturbed by outside thoughts dwell on its meaning. The aim is to reach the root of the ‘I’sense, through constant suppression of the mental processes... 10th November, 1936 7. A visitor asked: Visitor: As far as I can see it, it is impossible to realise the Self until one has completely succeeded in preventing the rushing thoughts. Am I right?


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Maharshi: Not exactly. You do not need to prevent other thoughts. In deep sleep you are entirely free from thoughts, because the ‘I’thought is absent. The moment the ‘I’-thought rises on waking, all other thoughts rush out spontaneously. The wisest thing for one to do is therefore to catch hold of this leading thought, the ‘I’-thought, and dissect it – who and what it is – giving thereby no chance to other thoughts to distract one. There lies the true value of the vichara (Self enquiry) and its efficacy in mind control. 19th February, 1937 8. A visitor asked: Visitor: What meditation (dhyana) is the best? Maharshi: The best meditation is that which continues in all the three states. It must be as intense as not to give room even to the thought ‘I am meditating’. As waking and dream states will thus be fully occupied by it, deep sleep may also be deemed to be an undifferentiated dhyana (meditation)… 12th February, 1936 9. In the evening Mr. C asked Sage Ramana: Mr. C: Bhagavan speaks of Samadhi (the state of absorption in the Self), trance. I take it to mean total loss of body consciousness. I am afraid I shall never be able to attain it. I find it hard to send myself to sleep even. Is it necessary before Self-realisation? Maharshi: (laughing) You have to take chloroform in that case. Samadhi (the state of absorption in the Self) is itself the state of the Self. What do you understand by total loss of body consciousness? You do not imagine it to be falling into a sort of catalepsy or deep sleep. In Samadhi (the state of absorption in the Self) the mind is in jagrat, but, being free from thoughts, it enjoys the bliss of sushupti (deep sleep), in which the mind is withdrawn. In Samadhi (the state of absorption in the Self) the mind is so alert that it experiences Brahman (the Absolute). If it were not so fully awake, how would it know Brahman (the Absolute)? In fact it itself becomes Brahman (the Absolute). Does trance convey that idea? If not, it is a wrong word for Samadhi (the state of absorption in the Self). Mr. C: Do Karma yogis (persons who are selflessly devoted to work)


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and Bhaktas (devotees) also pass through Samadhi (the state of absorption in the Self) Maharshi: Samadhi (the state of absorption in the Self) is merging in the Heart through concentration and mind control. Karma and bhakti (devotion) yogis also attain Samadhi (the state of absorption in the Self) if they practice. In fact most of them attain mukti (liberation) eventually by the vichara (Self-enquiry) method. 15th July, 1936 10. Mr. C. reads the “Forty Verses” of Sage Ramana to himself in the Hall. Verse 30 fascinates him. He reads it aloud and says: Mr. C: From this verse I understand that the quest must start with the mind and not the Heart, but Bhagavan always speaks of the Heart, perhaps as the last stage in the practice. Maharshi: Quite so: it has to begin with the mind turned inward to oppose the rushing thoughts and to understand the location of the ‘I’. When the mind eventually sinks in the Heart, undisturbed bliss is overwhelmingly felt. There is then feeling which is not divorced from pure awareness, i.e., head and heart become one and the same. Mr. C. : In verse 266 of Vivekachudamani (Spiritual text, ‘Crest Jewel of Spiritual Wisdom’ by Shankaracharya) Sri Shankaracharya says that Brahman (the Absolute) can be realised by Buddhi, the subtle intellect, which means that the intellect can be of great help; in fact indispensable for Realisation. Maharshi: The word ‘Buddhi’ is rightly translated as the subtle intellect, but here it means the cave of the Heart. Nevertheless the subtle intellect can also realise Brahman (the Absolute) and is therefore of utmost importance. (Reads aloud verse 266) “In the cave of the Buddhi (subtle intellect) there is the Brahman (the Absolute), distinct from gross and subtle, the Existence Absolute, Supreme, the One without a second. For one who lives in this cave as Brahman (the Absolute), O Beloved, there is no more entrance into a woman’s womb.” 30th July, 1936 11. Mr. C further muses: Mr. C: Vivekachudamani [Spiritual text, ‘Crest Jewel of Spiritual Wisdom’ by Shankaracharya] speaks of the ‘I’-‘I’ Consciousness as


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eternally shining in the Heart, but no one is aware of it. Maharshi : Yes, all men without exception have it, in whatever state they may be – the waking, dreaming and dreamless sleep, – and whether they are conscious of it or not. Mr. C. : In the Talks section of Sat-Darshana-Bhashya (Vashishta Ganapati Muni’s inspired Sanskrit translation of Sage Ramana Maharishi’s Ulladu Narpadu or Forty Verses on Reality) the ‘I’-‘I’ is referred to as the Absolute Consciousness, yet Sage Ramana once told me that any realisation before Sahaja Nirvikalpa (natural state of absorption in the Self with no concepts) is intellectual. Maharshi: Yes, the ‘I’-‘I’ Consciousness is the Absolute. Though it comes before Sahaja (one’s natural state), there is in it as in Sahaja (one’s natural state) itself the subtle intellect; the difference being that in the latter the sense of forms disappears, which is not the case in the former. Mr. C.: Bhagavan, you said yesterday that there exists in the human body a hole as small as a pinpoint, from which consciousness always bubbles out to the body. Is it open or shut? Maharshi : It is always shut, being the knot of ignorance which ties the body to consciousness. When the mind drops in the temporary Kevala Nirvikalpa (the state of remaining without concepts) it opens but shuts again. In Sahaja (one’s natural state) it remains always open. Mr. C.: How is it during the experience of ‘I’-‘I’ Consciousness? Maharshi: This Consciousness is the key which opens it permanently. 11. Mr. C does the enquiry: Mr. C.: “Who am I?” lead to any spot in the body? Maharshi: Evidently, self-consciousness is in relation to the individual himself and therefore has to be experienced in his being, with a centre in the body as the centre of experience. It resembles the dynamo of a machine, which gives rise to all sorts of electrical works. It not only maintains the life of the body and the activities of all its parts and organs, conscious and unconscious, but also the relation between the physical and the subtler planes, on which the individual functions.


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Also, like the dynamo, it vibrates and can be felt by the calm mind that pays attention to it. It is known to the yogis and sadhakas (spiritual aspirants) by the name of sphurana (throbbing, vibration or pulsation), which in Samadhi (the state of absorption in the Self) scintillates with consciousness. Mr. C.: How to reach that Centre, where what you call the Ultimate Consciousness – the ‘I’-‘I’ – arises? Is it by simply thinking ‘Who am I’? Maharshi: Yes, it will take you up. You must do it with a calm mind – mental calmness is essential.2 Mr. C.: How does that consciousness manifest itself when that centre – the Heart – is reached? Will I recognise it? Maharshi: Certainly, as pure consciousness, free from all thought. It is pure, unbroken awareness of your Self, rather of Being – there is no mistaking it when pure. Mr. C.: Is the vibratory movement of the Centre felt simultaneously with the experience of Pure Consciousness, or before, or after it? Maharshi: They are both one and the same. But sphurana (throbbing, vibration or pulsation) can be felt in a subtle way even when meditation has sufficiently stabilised and deepened, and the Ultimate Consciousness is very near, or during a sudden great fright or shock, when the mind comes to a standstill. It draws attention to itself, so that the mediator’s mind, rendered sensitive by calmness, may become aware of it, gravitate towards it, and finally plunge into it, the Self. Mr. C.: Is the ‘I’ ‘I’ Consciousness Self-Realisation? Maharshi: It is a prelude to it: when it becomes permanent (Sahaja), it is Self-realisation, liberation.


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CHAPTER - 6

AN EXPOSITION OF THE TEACHINGS OF SAGE RAMANA “The only enquiry leading to Self-realization is seeking the Source of the ‘I’ with in-turned mind and without uttering the word ‘I’. Meditation on ‘I am not this; I am That’ may be an aid to the enquiry but it cannot be the Sage Sri Ramana Maharshi enquiry.” The Technique of Self-Enquiry

[ Note :

This section closely follows all the explanations and quotations given by Sri Sadhu Om in ‘Self-Enquiry’ (chapter 7 of The Path of Sri Ramana Part One, 6th Edition, 2005, pages 122 to 138), and all the portions in this section are either directly quoted or paraphrased from his explanations in that chapter.]

On hearing the expression ‘Self-enquiry’, people generally take it to mean either inquiring into the Self or inquiring about the Self. How to do so? Who is to inquire into the Self, or who is to inquire about Self? What does inquiry actually mean? Such questions naturally arise, do they not? Self does not exist as an object to be known by us, as personalities, who seek to know it! Since self shines as the very nature of one who tries to know It, Self-enquiry does not mean inquiring into a second or third person object. It is in order to make us understand this from the very beginning that Sage Ramana called Self-enquiry ‘Who am I?’, thus drawing our awareness directly to the first person. In this question, ‘Who am I?’, ‘I am’ denotes the Self and ‘who’ stands for the inquiry. Who is it that is to inquire into the Self?


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For whom is this inquiry necessary? Is it for the Self? No. Since the Self is the ever-attained, ever-pure, ever-free and ever-blissful Whole, It will not do any inquiry, nor does it need to! All right, then it is only the personality that needs to do the inquiry. Can the personality know Self? The personality is a temporal appearance, having no true existence of its own. It provides a feeling of ‘I’- the I thought, which subsides and loses its form in sleep. So, can Self become an object that could be known by the personality? No, the personality cannot know Self! However the personality can have a vivid memory of transcending itself and becoming Self for even a short period of time and this memory can reverberate within the personality, bringing blessings and fruits, for a whole lifetime. Thus, when it turns out that Self-enquiry is unnecessary for Self, and Self-attention is not directly possible for the personality although it can remember abidance in Self, the question arises, ‘What then is the practical method of doing Selfenquiry?’ The inquiry ‘Who am I?’ taught by Sage Ramana should be taken to mean Self-attention (that is, attention by the personality to the first person, the feeling ‘I’). Whether we know it or not, Self, is verily our reality, the very nature of our (the Supreme Self’s) awareness itself is Grace. This means that whatever thing we attend to, witness, observe or look at, that thing is nourished and will flourish, being blessed by Grace. Have we not already said that all our thoughts are nothing but attention paid to second and third person objects? Accordingly, the more we attend to the mind, the thoughts which are the forms (the second and third person objects) of the world, the more they will multiply and be nourished. This is indeed an obstacle. If our awareness is directed only towards ourselves, our knowledge of existence alone is nourished. Instead of our attention being directed towards any second or third person, is not our power of attention, which was hitherto called mind or intellect, thus now directed only towards the first person? Although we formally refer to it as ‘directed’, in truth it becomes not of the nature of a ‘doing’ in the form of directing or being directed; it becomes, with practice, the nature of ‘being’ or ‘existing’. Because the second and third person’s (including thoughts) are external to us, our attention paid to them was of the nature of a ‘doing’. But this very act attention, when fixed on the


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non-alien first person feeling, ‘I’, loses the nature of ‘doing and remains in the form of ‘being’, and therefore it is of the nature of no doing or inaction. So long as our power of attention was dwelling upon second and third persons, it was called ‘the mind’ or ‘the intellect’, and its attending was called a doing or an action. Only that which is done by the mind is an action. But on the other hand, as soon as the attention is fixed on the first person (or Self), it loses its mean names such as mind, intellect or ego-sense. Moreover, that attention is no longer even an action, but becomes inaction or the state of ‘being still’. Therefore, the mind, which attends to Self, becomes no more the mind; it becomes the consciousness aspect of Self. Likewise, so long as it attends to the second and third persons (the world), it is not the awareness aspect of Self; it is the mind, the reflected form of consciousness. Hence, since Selfattention is not a doing, it is not an action. That is, Self alone realizes Self; the personality does not. The mind which has obtained a burning desire for Self attention, which is Self-enquiry, is said to be the fully mature one. Since it is not now inclined to attend to any second or third person, it can be said that it has reached the pinnacle of desire-less-ness. For, do not all sorts of desires and attachments pertain only to second and third persons? Since the mind, which has very well understood that the consciousness which shines as ‘I’ alone is the source of full and real happiness, now seeks Self because of its natural craving for happiness, this intense desire to attend to Self is indeed the highest form of devotion. It is exactly this Self-attention of the mind, which is thus fully mature through such devotion and desire-less-ness that is to be called the inquiry ‘Who am I?’ taught by Sage Ramana! Well, will not at least such a mature mind, which has come to the path of Sage Ramana, willingly agreeing to engage in Self-attention, realize Self? No, no, it has started for its doom! Agreeing to commit suicide, it places its neck (through Selfattention) on the scaffold where it is to be sacrificed! How? Only so long as it was attending to second and third persons did it have the name ‘mind’. But as soon as Self-attention is begun, its name and form (the name as mind and its form as thoughts) are lost. So we can no longer say that Self-attention or Self-enquiry is performed by the mind. Neither is it the mind that attends to Self, nor is the natural,


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spontaneous Self-attention of the consciousness aspect of Self, which is not the mind, an activity. The feeling ‘I am’ is the experience common to one and all. In this, ‘am’ is awareness. This awareness is not of anything external, it is the awareness of oneself. This is awareness. This awareness is ‘we’. “We are verily awareness”, says Sage Ramana in ‘Upadesa Undiyar (The Essence of Instruction)’ verse 23. This is our ‘being’ (that is, our true existence). This is called ‘that which is’. Thus in ‘I am’, ‘I’ is existence and ‘am’ is awareness. When Self, our nature of existence-consciousness, instead of shining only as the pure awareness ‘I am’, shines mixed with an adjunct as ‘I am a man, I am Rama, I am so-and-so, I am this or that’, then this mixed awareness is the personality. This mixed awareness can rise only by catching hold of a name and form. When we feel ‘I am a man, I am Rama, I am sitting, I am lying’, is it not clear that we have mistaken the body for ‘we’, and that we have thus assumed its name and postures as ‘I am this and I am thus’? The feeling ‘this and thus’ which has now risen mixed with the pure awareness ‘I am’ is what is called body awareness. The feeling ‘I am a man, I am so-and-so’ is only body awareness. But the awareness, ‘I am’ is not body awareness; it is the very nature of our ‘being’. The mixed awareness ‘I am this or that’ is body awareness that rises from our ‘being’. It is only after the rising of this body awareness, the mixed awareness (the first person), that all thoughts, which are the knowledge of second and third persons, rise into existence. ‘Only if the first person exists, will the second and third person exist...’ Ulladu Narpadu (Forty verses on Reality), Verse 14 by Sage Ramana This mixed awareness, the first person is called our ‘rising’ or the rising of the personality. This is the primal mentation! Hence:


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‘Thinking is a mentation; being is not a mentation!...’ Atma Vichara Patikam (Eleven verses on Self-enquiry), Verse 1 by Sri Sadhu Om The pure existence-awareness, ‘I am’ is not body awareness; this awareness is our nature. ‘I am a man’ is not our pure awareness; it is only awareness of our body. To understand thus the difference between our ‘being’ and our ‘rising’ (that is between existence and body awareness) first of all, it is essential for spiritual aspirants to take up the inquiry ‘Who am I?’ Sage Ramana has advised that Self-enquiry can be done either in the form ‘Who am I?’ or in the form ‘Whence am I?’ Hearing these two interrogative sentences, many aspirants have held various opinions about them and have become confused as to which of them is to be practiced and how. Even among those who consider that both are one and the same, many have only a superficial understanding and have not scrutinized deeply how they are the same. Some who try to follow the former one, ‘Who am I’? Simply begin either vocally or mentally the parrot-like repetition ‘Who am I? Who am I?’, as if it were a chanting. This is utterly wrong! Doing repetition of ‘Who am I?’ in this manner is just as bad as meditating upon or doing repetition of the Great Sayings such as ‘I am the Absolute’ and so on, thereby spoiling the very objective with which they were revealed. Sage Ramana himself has repeatedly said, ‘Who am I?’ is not meant for repetition. Some others, thinking that they are following the second interrogative form, ‘Whence am I?’ try to concentrate on the right side of the chest (where they imagine something as the spiritual heart), expecting a reply such as ‘I am from here’. This is in no way better than the ancient method of meditating upon any one of the six psychic centers in the body. For, is not thinking of any place in the body only a second person attention (an objective attention)? Before one can practice Selfenquiry, is it not of the utmost importance that all such


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misconceptions be removed? Let us see, therefore, how they may be removed. In Sanskrit, the terms ‘atman’ (Self) and ‘aham’ both mean ‘I’. Hence ‘atma-vichara’ (Self-enquiry) means an attention seeking ‘Who is this I?’ It may rather be called ‘I attention’, ‘Self-attention’ or ‘Self-abidance’. The awareness ‘I’ thus pointed out here is the first person feeling. But as we have already said, it is to be understood that the awareness mixed with adjuncts as ‘I am this’ or ‘I am that’ is the ego or the individual soul, whereas the unalloyed awareness, devoid of adjuncts and shining alone as ‘I-I’ (or ‘I am that I am’) is Self, the Absolute or God. Does it not amount to saying then that the first person awareness, ‘I’, can be either personality or Self? Since all people generally take the personality-feeling (‘I am the body’) to be ‘I’, the personality is also given the name ‘self’ and is called ‘individual self’ by some scriptures even now. The personality, the feeling of ‘I’ generally taken by people to be the first person awareness, is not the real first person awareness; ‘Self’ alone is the real first person awareness. The personality feeling, which is merely a shadow of it, is reflected first person awareness. When one inquires into this personality, what it is or who it is, it disappears because it is really nonexistent, and the inquirer, having nothing more to do, is established in Self as Self. Because it rises, springing up from Self, the reflected first person awareness mentioned above has to have a place and a time of rising. Therefore, the question ‘Whence am I?’ means only ‘Whence (from where) does the personality rise?’ A place of rising can only be for the personality. But for the Self, since it has no rising or setting, there can be no particular place or time. ‘When scrutinized, we - the ever-known existing Thing – alone are; then where is time and where is space? If we are (mistaken to be) the body, we shall be involved in time and space; but are we the body? Since we are the One, now, then and ever, that One in space, here there and everywhere, we – the timeless and space- less Self alone are!’ Ulladu Narpadu (Forty verses on Reality), Verse 16 by Sage Ramana


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Therefore, inquiring ‘Whence am I?’ is inquiring ‘Whence is the personality?’Only to the rising of the personality, which is conditioned by time and space, will the questions ‘Whence am I?’ be applicable. The meaning, which Sage Ramana expects us to understand from the term ‘Whence’ or ‘from where?’ is ‘From what?’When taken in this sense, instead of a place or time coming forth as a reply, Self-existence, ‘we’, the Thing, alone is experienced as the reply. Thus attending to oneself in the form ‘Whence am I?’ is inquiring into the personality, the ‘rising I’, but while inquiring ‘Who am I? There are some aspirants who take the feeling ‘I’ to be their ‘being’ (existence) and not their ‘rising I’. If it is taken thus, that is attention to the Self. The correct meaning of the term ‘Selfenquiry’ is here rightly explained to be ‘turning Self wards’ (or attending to self). In either of these two kinds of inquiry (‘Who am I? or ‘Whence am I?’), since the attention of the aspirant is focused only on oneself, nothing other than Self, which is the true import of the word ‘I’, will be finally experienced. Therefore, the ultimate result of the inquiries, ‘Whence am I?’ and ‘Who am I?’ are the same! How? One who seeks ‘Whence am I?’ is following the personality, the form of which is ‘I am so and-so’, and while doing so, the adjunct ‘so-and-so’, having no real existence, dies on the way, and thus one remains established in Self, the surviving ‘I am’. On the other hand, one who seeks ‘Who am I?’ reaches ones real natural ‘being’ (Self), which ever shines as ‘I am that I am.’ Therefore, whether done in the form ‘Whence am I?’, or ‘Who am I?’ what is absolutely essential is that Self attention should be pursued to the very end. Moreover, it is not necessary for sincere aspirants even to name beforehand the feeling ‘I’ either as personality or as Self. For, are there two persons in the aspirant, the personality and Self? This is said because, since every one of us has the experience ‘I am one only and not two’, we should not give room to an imaginary dual feeling – one ‘I’ seeking for another ‘I’ – by differentiating personality and Self as ‘lower self’ and ‘higher self’.


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“...Are there two selves, one to be an object known by the other? For, the true experience of all is ‘I am one’. “ Ulladu Narpadu (Forty verses on Reality), Verse 33 by Sage Ramana Thus it is sufficient if we cling to the feeling ‘I’ uninterruptedly till the very end. Such attention to the feeling ‘I’, the common daily experience of everyone, is what is meant by Selfattention. For those who accept as their basic knowledge the ‘I am the body’ – awareness, being unable to doubt its (the personality’s) existence, it is suitable to take to Self-attention (that is, to do Selfenquiry) in the form ‘Whence am I?’ On the other hand, for those who, instead of assuming that they have an individuality such as ‘I am so-and-so’ or ‘I am this’, attend thus, ‘What is this feeling which shines as I am?’ it is suitable to be fixed in Self-attention in the form ‘Who am I?’ What is important to be sure of during practice is that our attention is turned only towards ‘I’, the first person singular feeling.

The Practice of Self-enquiry [Note : This section closely follows all the explanations and quotations given by Sri Sadhu Om in ‘The Technique of Self-Enquiry’ (Chapter 8 of The Path of Sri Ramana Part - I, 6th Edition, 2005, pages 139 to 179), and all the portions marked here in bold are either directly quoted or paraphrased from his explanations in that chapter.]

When Sage Ramana realised the Self he had undergone no spiritual training and learnt nothing of spiritual philosophy. He was not even aware that the spiritual practice of Self enquiry directly bestows the experience of Self-realisation. On July 17, 1896 Sage Ramana who was a sixteen year-old schoolboy, was alone in an upstairs room of his uncle’s house in Madurai (near the southernmost of India) when he was suddenly gripped by an intense fear of death. In the following few minutes he went through a simulated death experience during which he became consciously aware for the first time that his real nature was imperishable and that it was unrelated to the body, the mind or the personality. It is of prime importance for spiritual aspirants to understand the technique of Self-enquiry performed by Sage


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Ramana. The sage has described in simple, picturesque language how the process of Self-enquiry initiated that day culminated, within a few minutes, in his own permanent awakening. “It was in 1896, about 6 weeks before I left Madurai for good (to go to Tiruvannamalai - Arunachala) that this great change in my life took place. I was sitting alone in a room on the first floor of my uncle’s house. I seldom had any sickness and on that day there was nothing wrong with my health, but a sudden violent fear of death overtook me. There was nothing in my state of health to account for it nor was there any urge in me to find out whether there was any account for the fear. I just felt I was going to die and began thinking what to do about it. It did not occur to me to consult a doctor or any elders or friends. I felt I had to solve the problem myself then and there. The shock of the fear of death drove my mind inwards and I said to myself mentally, without actually framing the words: ‘Now death has come; what does it mean? What is it that is dying? This body dies.’ And I at once dramatized the occurrence of death. I lay with my limbs stretched out stiff as though rigor mortis had set in and imitated a corpse so as to give greater reality to the enquiry. I held my breath and kept my lips tightly closed so that no sound could escape, so that neither the word ‘I’ nor any other word could be uttered. ‘Well then’, I said to me, ‘this body is dead. It will be carried stiff to the burning ground and there burnt and reduced to ashes. But with the death of this body, am I dead? Is the body I? It is silent and inert but I feel the full force of my personality and even the voice of the ‘I’ within me, apart from it. So I am Spirit transcending the body. The body dies but the Spirit that transcends it cannot be touched by death. That means, I am the deathless Spirit’. All this was not dull thought; it flashed through me vividly as living truth which I perceived directly, almost without any thought process. ‘I’ was something very real, the only real thing about my present state, and all the conscious activity connected with my body was centered on that ‘I’. From that moment onwards, the ‘I’, or Self, focused attention on itself by a powerful fascination. Fear of death had vanished once and for all. Absorption in the Self continued unbroken from that time on. Other thoughts might come and go like the various notes of music, but the ‘I’ continued like the fundamental sruti note that underlies and blends with all the other notes. Whether


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the body was engaged in talking, reading, or anything else, I was still centered on ‘I’. Previous to that crisis I had no clear perception of my ‘Self’ and was not consciously attracted to it. I felt no perceptible or direct interest in it, much less any inclination to dwell permanently in it.” An important point emphasised by the sage is that all this took place within a second as a direct experience, without the action of mind and speech. The sudden fear of death that overtook the sage at that moment drove his concentration to be fixed and immersed deeply in Self-attention – in order to find out ‘What is my existence? What is it that dies?’ Hence it is important for us to note that only such a firm fixing of our attention on ‘Self’ is Self-enquiry. The same perspective is expressed by the sage in the work ‘Who am I?’, where he states, “Always keeping the mind (the attention) fixed in the Self alone is called ‘Self-enquiry’ . . . remaining firmly in Self-abidance, without giving even the least room to the rising of any thought other than the thought of Self, is surrendering oneself to God.” When the sage was asked, “What is the means and techniques to hold constantly on to the ‘I’consciousness?”He revealed in a more detailed manner in his work ‘Self-enquiry’ stating: “Self is that which is self-luminous in the form ‘I am that I am’. One should not imagine it to be anything such as this or that (light or sound). Imagining or thinking thus is itself bondage. Since the ‘Self’ is the consciousness which is neither light nor darkness, let it not be imagined as a light of any kind. That thought itself would be bondage. The annihilation of the feeling ‘I am so and so’, alone is liberation. All the three bodies consisting of the five sheaths are contained in the feeling ‘I am the body’; therefore if, by the enquiry ‘Who is this I’? (That is, by Selfattention), the identification with (attachment to) the gross body alone is removed; the identification with the other two bodies will automatically cease to exist. As it is only by clinging to this that the identifications with the subtle and casual bodies live, there is no need to annihilate these identifications separately.” [Note: The five sheaths are classified into three bodies as follows: (i) the physical body that grows from the sheath of food and the sheath of breath or prana (the vital energy that sustains the body) forms the gross body; (ii) the sheath of mind and the sheath of intellect form the subtle body; and (iii) the nothingness of sleep where the sheath of happiness prevails forms the causal body.]


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“How we can enquire this? Can this body, which is insentient like a log, shine and function as ‘I’? It cannot.” The body cannot say ‘I’. Ulladu Narpadu (Forty verses on Reality), Verse 23 by Sage Ramana Therefore, discarding the corpse-like body as an actual corpse and remaining without even uttering the word ‘I’ vocally – “Discarding the body as a corpse, and without uttering the word ‘I’ by mouth, but seeking with the mind diving inwards ‘Where does (this feeling) ‘I’ rise?’ alone is the path of knowledge.” Ulladu Narpadu (Forty verses on Reality), Verse 29 by Sage Ramana If keenly observed what that feeling is which now shines as ‘I’, an experience of a sphurana (an experience of a new, clear and fresh knowledge of one’s existence) alone will be experienced without sound as ‘I-I’ in the heart. “When the mind reaches the Heart by inquiring within ‘Who am I?’ the individual ‘I’ (which rises in the form ‘I am the body’) falls down abashed, the One (the Reality) appears spontaneously as ‘II’ (I am that I am). Although it appears (seemingly anew)…it is the whole reality, the reality which is Self.” Ulladu Narpadu (Forty verses on Reality), Verse 30 by Sage Ramana “When one scrutinizes within thus, ‘What is the risingplace of ‘I’ (thought)?’ the ‘I’ (thought) will die. This is Self-enquiry.” Upadesa Undiyar (The Essence of Instruction), Verse 19 by Sage Ramana “In the place where ‘I’ (thought) merges, the one (existence-consciousness) appears spontaneously as ‘I-I’ (or ‘I am I’). That itself is the Whole.” Upadesa Undiyar (The Essence of Instruction), Verse 19 by Sage Ramana


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If one remains quiescent without abandoning that (experience), the individual sense of the form ‘I am the body’ . . . will be quenched like the fire that burns camphor. This alone is proclaimed to be liberation by sages and scriptures. Initially due to inherent mental tendencies towards senseobjects which have gained impetus and have been recurring down the ages, thoughts which rise in countless numbers like the waves of an ocean, agitate the mind. Nevertheless, they too subside with progressive practice or meditation on the Self. Without giving room even to the thought which occurs in the form of doubt, whether it is possible to stay merely as the very Self, whether all the mental tendencies can be made to subside, one should firmly and unceasingly carry on meditation on the Self. However sinful a person may be, one should stop wailing inconsolably ‘Alas! I am a sinner, how shall I attain liberation?’ and, casting away even the thought that one is a sinner, if one would concentrate keenly in meditation on the ‘Self’; then, one would surely succeed. Just as a pearl-diver, tying a stone to his waist, dives into the sea and takes the pearl lying at the bottom, so everyone, diving deep within oneself without any desires and non-attachment, can attain the pearl of Self. So long as tendencies towards sense objects continue to inhere in the mind, it is necessary to carry on the inquiry ‘Who Am I?’ As and when thoughts occur, they should, one and all, be made to subside then and there, at the very place of their origin, by the method of inquiry in quest of the self. What means should be employed so these rising thoughts may subside? When extraneous and other thoughts sprout forth and rise up during such an inquiry, instead of seeking to complete the rising thought, diligently inquire within, ‘To who has this thought occurred?’ It does not matter how many thoughts thus occur to oneself, if with acute vigilance one enquires immediately as and when each individual thought arises to who it has occurred, it will be known it is to ‘me’. If then one enquires ‘Who Am I?’ the mind gets introverted, turns back to its source the Self and the thought which had arisen will also subside. In this manner as one perseveres more and more in the practice of Self-enquiry the mind acquires more strength and power to abide in its source. When the mind thus abides


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in the Heart, the first thought, ‘I’ (‘I am the body’, the rising ‘I’), which is the root of all other thoughts, itself subsides, the self luminous ever existing Self (the being ‘I’) alone will shine. The place (or state) where even the slightest trace of the thought ‘I’ (‘I am this, that, the body, and so on’) does not exist, alone is Self. That alone is called Silence. For Rama to know himself to be Rama is a mirror necessary? One should know one’s Self with one’s own eyes of wisdom. The Self is within the five sheaths; but scriptures are outside them. Since the Self has to be inquired into by discarding the five sheaths, it is futile to search for it in scriptures. Hence, a time when scriptureenquiry is to be giving up and one has to take up Self-enquiry for Self to be realised. [Note: The above several paragraphs have been paraphrased from the first chapter o f ‘Self - Enquiry’ (‘Vichara Sangraham’ ) and from the whole of ‘Who am I?’ both by Sage Ramana.]

This technique of fixing one’s attention only on one’s true nature of pure Self-awareness can be further clarified by means of an example as described by Sage Ramana. However, one must understand that since the nature of pure Self-awareness is unique and beyond comparison, it cannot be explained fully and accurately by any example. The radiance of consciousness-bliss, in the form of one awareness shining equally within and without, is the supreme and blissful primal reality. Permanent and continuous Self-awareness is known as Selfrealisation. These verbal teachings flowed authoritatively from the sage based on his direct knowledge and experience that Selfawareness was the only existing reality. Few of his followers were capable of assimilating this truth in its highest and most undiluted form and so he often adapted his answers using examples. Even then, many people were not satisfied and they would continue to ask for advice about other methods or try to engage him in theoretical philosophical discussions. With such people Sage Ramana would temporarily abandon his absolute standpoint and give appropriate advice on whatever level it was asked.


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The following example of a reflected ray of light from a mirror is given solely from the perspective to clarify doubts readers may have, and to further enhance their understanding of the technique of Self-enquiry. A broken piece of mirror is lying on the ground in open space in full sunshine. The sunrays falling on the piece of mirror are reflected, and upon reflection the light enters a dark room nearby, and falls on its inner wall. The ray from the mirror to the inside wall of the dark room corresponds to a reflected ray of the Sun. By means of this reflected ray, a person in the dark room is able to see the objects inside that room. The reflected light, when seen on the wall, takes on the same shape as the piece of mirror (triangular, square or round). However, the original direct sunlight in the open space which is the source of the reflected rays shine with its original characteristics of being indivisible and allpervading, and it is not limited by any specific form or shape. Self awareness which is one’s true existence-consciousness is similar to the direct sunlight in the open space. The feeling or the knowledge ‘I am the body-consciousnesses’, is similar to the reflected ray of light stretching from the mirror to the inner wall of the room. Since Self-awareness is limitless like the all-pervading direct sunlight, it has no form limiting adjuncts. Just as the reflected rays take on the limitations and size of the piece of mirror, the limited ‘I-thought’ feeling experiences the size and form of a body as ‘I’, it has adjuncts. Just as objects in the dark room are observed by means of the reflected light, the body and world are observed only by the characteristics of knowing and perceiving undertaken by the mind. ‘Although the world and the mind rise and set together, it is by the mind alone that the world shines…’ Ulladu Narpadu (Forty verses on Reality), Verse 7 by Sage Ramana Let us suppose that the person in the dark room is no longer interested in observing the objects in the room, which were observed by means of the reflected light, instead the person now wants to know and observe the very source from where the light is coming. So the person walks to the very spot where the reflected beam of light


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strikes the wall, and follows the path of the reflected beam of light. What does one see? The Sun. But what the person observes is not the real Sun; it is only a reflection of it. It will also appear as if the Sun is lying at a certain spot on the ground outside the room. The particular spot where the Sun is seen lying outside the room can actually be measured and pointed out as being so many meters to the right or left of the room (like saying, ‘Two digits to the right from the centre of the chest is the heart’). However, the Sun does not lie on the ground at that spot. This spot is only the place where the sunlight is reflected. If the ultimate aim is to see the real Sun, the reflected Sun must first become visible. To achieve this a person’s eyes must be positioned on the straight line which the reflected beam of sunlight follows, thus as the persons eyesight follows the path of the reflected sunlight, at the end of the path the reflected Sun can be observed in the mirror lying on the ground. Just as the person in the dark room, had taken the decision to see the source of the beam of light which had been reflected into the dark room, by giving up the desire to either enjoy or to undertake further research about the objects present in the room which had been made visible by the reflected beam of light, so too a spiritual aspirant wanting to investigate, know and experience the light of Self-awareness must give up any efforts made towards the enjoyment or knowing about the various worldly objects, which shine and are known only by the functioning of the mind-light through the five senses. The knowledge and experience of Self-awareness cannot be gained either by desiring or by being engaged in the investigation of external objects. This giving up of attention towards external senseobjects is called non attachment and giving up of worldly desires or inward renunciation. The eagerness to observe the source from where the reflected ray of light comes into the room corresponds to the eagerness to see from where the ‘I’- thought or the mind-light arises. This eagerness represents the love the spiritual aspirant exhibits to know Self. Keeping the eyes positioned along the straight line of the reflected beam of light without straying to one side or the


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other corresponds to the one-pointed attention fixed unswervingly on the ‘I’-consciousness or Self awareness. The person is now moving along the straight line of the reflected beam of light, from the dark room towards the piece of mirror lying outside? This movement corresponds to diving within towards the Heart. Just as one would dive in order to find something that had fallen into the water, so one should dive within with a keen (introverted) mind, controlling breath and speech, and know the rising-place of the rising ego (‘I’- thought). Know thus!’ Ulladu Narpadu (Forty verses on Reality), Verse 28 by Sage Ramana Some spiritual aspirants taking into account only the words ‘should dive within controlling breath and speech’ set out to practice exercises of pranayama (breath-control). Although it is true that the breath does stop temporarily during the course of enquiry, but for breath to be stopped by going about the roundabout way of undertaking the practice of breath control exercises is not necessary. When the mind develops a tremendous longing to know and find the source which gives it light, by turning inwards, the breath stops temporarily automatically. ‘Therefore, by the practice of fixing the mind (the attention) in the Heart (Self), the pure consciousness, both the destruction of tendencies (vasanas) and the control of the breath are accomplished automatically.’ Ulladu Narpadu Anubandham (Supplement to Forty verses on Reality), Verse 24 by Sage Ramana If breath is exhaled at the point of time when the mind of the enquirer gives up knowing external sense-objects and begins to attend to Self-awareness its original form of light, Self, the breath automatically remains outside without being again drawn in. Similarly, if breath is inhaled at that point in time, it automatically remains within temporarily for sometime without being exhaled. These aspects are to be understood by the spiritual aspirant as being ‘external retention of breath’ (Bahya kumbhaka) and ‘internal retention of breath’ (antara kumbhaka) respectively which


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temporarily lead to stilling of the mind without inhalation or exhalation. Until there is a rising of thought as a result of nonvigilance in Self-attention, this temporary retention of breath (kumbhaka) will continue in an enquirer quite effortlessly. This perspective can be clearly understood from certain events in our dayto-day life, for example when some startling news is suddenly brought to us or when we try to recollect a forgotten thing with full concentration, the breath temporarily stops automatically due to the keenness of the mind and the intensity of concentration that takes place related to such events. Similarly, the breath temporarily stops automatically as soon as the mind develops and exhibits an intense longing to see its original source of light and with earnest one pointedness keenly begins to turn inwards and then remain in that state. In this state of temporary breath retention (kumbhaka), no matter how long it continues, the enquirer does not experience any suffocation, that is, the urge to either exhale or inhale breath. However, when practicing breath control exercises, if the units of time of the retention are increased, one does experience suffocation. If the enquirer’s attention is intensely fixed on Selfawareness to the extent one does not even bother to know whether the breath has stopped temporarily or not, then the state of temporary breath retention of the aspirant is involuntary and without struggle. However, there are some spiritual aspirants, who at that time try to know whether the breath has stopped temporarily or not. This is incorrect as the attention is now focused on one’s breath, as a result Self attention will be lost, and thus various thoughts will begin to shoot up, resulting in the flow of spiritual practice being interrupted. That is why Sage Ramana advised that ‘Control breath and speech with a keen (introverted) mind.’ It will be wise to understand this verse by adding the words ‘with a keen mind’ at all the three places in the verse so that it reads as ‘Control the breath with a keen mind, dive within with a keen mind, and know the rising place with a keen mind.’ It can be inferred that by moving along the path of the reflected beam of light towards the reflected image of the Sun in the mirror lying on the ground, the person is gradually reducing the length of the beam of light. Just as the length of the beam of light decreases as one advance, so also the mind’s tendency of expanding


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shrinks more and more as the aspirant perseveres in sincerely seeking its source. ‘When the attention goes deeper and deeper within along the (reflected) ray ‘I’, its length decreases more and more, and when the ray ‘I’ dies, that which shines as ‘I’ is Jnana (knowledge of the Self).’ Atma Vichara Patikam (Eleven verses on Self-enquiry), Verse 9 by Sri Sadhu Om When the person following the beam of light is very close to the piece of mirror, it can be said the aspirant has reached the very source of the reflected ray. This is similar to the aspirant diving within and reaching the source (Heart) from where the feeling and sense of ‘I’- thought arises. The spiritual seeker has now attained a state where the length of the reflected ray is reduced to nothing, a state where no reflection is possible as the aspirant is so close to the mirror. Similarly, when the aspirant, on account of diving deeper and deeper within due to an intense effort of Selfattention, comes very close to one’s source of Self-awareness that not even an iota of rising of ‘I’- thought is possible, the aspirant remains absorbed in the great dissolution of the ‘I am the body’-feeling (dehatma-buddhi), which the aspirant so far had as a target of attention. This dissolution is what Sage Ramana refers to when the sage states “When one scrutinizes within thus, ‘What is the rising-place of ‘I’ (thought)?’, the ‘I’(thought) will die. This is Selfenquiry.” Upadesa Undhiyar (The Essence of Instruction), Verse 19 by Sage Ramana As a result of the search for the source of the reflected ray of the sunlight, the person now leaves the dark room and stands in the open space in a state of void created due to the absence of the reflected ray of sunlight. This is the state of the aspirant who remains in the Heart-space (hridayakasa) in the state of the great void (maha sunya) created by Self-attention due to the absence of the feeling of ‘I’- thought. The person who has come out of the room into the open


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space is dazed and laments, ‘Alas! The Sun (referring to the reflected image of the Sun) that guided me so far is now lost.’ At that very moment, a friend who was standing in the open space offers the following words of solace, ‘Where were you all this time? Were you not in the dark room? Where are you now? Are you not in the open space? When you were in the dark room, that which guided you outside was just one thin reflected ray of light; but in this vast open space, presence of the rays of light is countless. What you observed previously was not even the direct sunlight, but only a reflected ray. But what you are experiencing now is the direct sunlight. The place where you are now is the unlimited space of light; can any darkness come into existence here due to the void created by the disappearance of the reflected ray of sunlight? Can its disappearance be a loss? Know that its disappearance itself is the true light; it is not darkness.’ Similarly, as a result of experiencing the great void (maha sunya), created due to the absence of the feeling of ‘I’- thought, the aspirant is somewhat taken aback and states, “Oh no! Even the ‘I’consciousness (the ‘I’- thought), which I was attending to in my spiritual practice as a guiding light is now lost! Then is there really no such thing at all as ‘Self awareness’?” At that very moment, the great spiritual master Sage Ramana, who is ever present in Self-awareness points out to the aspirant, “Can the absence of the feeling of ‘I’- thought, which only an infinitesimal reflected consciousness is, be really a loss? Are you not clearly aware of its former existence, but also of the present great void created by its disappearance? Therefore, know that you, who is now aware of both (the absence of ‘I’- thought and the void created by its absence), alone is the true knowledge; you are not a void.” As Sage Ramana has stated: ‘That alone is true Knowledge which is neither knowledge nor ignorance. What is known is not true Knowledge. Since the Self shines with nothing else to know or to make known, It alone is Knowledge. It is not a void.’ Ulladu Narpadu (Forty verses on Reality), Verse 12 by Sage Ramana


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Thus in an instant you get it as a direct experience of the shining of one’s own existence-consciousness. The aspirant who started the search ‘Where does this I come from?’ or ‘Who am I?’ now attains the non-dual Self knowledge, the true knowledge ‘I am that I am’, which is devoid of the limitations of a particular place or time. Clinging to the consciousness ‘I’ which assumes that it is responsible for the activities of the body and mind, and thus acquiring a greater and greater intensity of concentration upon it, is known as diving deep within oneself. Instead of thus diving within oneself, many aspirants, thinking that they are engaged in Self-enquiry, sit down for hours together simply repeating mentally or vocally ‘Who am I?’ or ‘Where does this I come from?’ Also there are others aspirants who, when they sit for enquiry, facing their thoughts they simply continue to repeat mentally the following questions taught by Sage Ramana ‘To whom do these thoughts arise? To me; who am I?’, or sometimes they wait for the next thought to come up, so they can fling these questions at it. Such practice is futile as we do not sit down to hold a court of enquiry, calling upon one thought after another. This does not constitute the practice of diving within oneself. Hence, one should not remain watching ‘What is the next thought?’ Merely to continue questioning in this manner is not Self-attention. Concerning those aspirants who thus merely continue to float on the surface of thought-waves, keeping their mind focused on such questions instead of diving within oneself by attending to the ‘I’- thought with a keen mind, thus controlling mind, breath and all the activities of the body and senses, Sage Ramana states: ’ ‘One who asks himself ‘Who am I?’ and ‘Where am I?’, though existing all the while as the Self, is like a drunken man who enquires about his own identity and whereabouts.’ Ekatama Panchakam (Five Verses on the Self), Verse 2 by Sage Ramana


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The state in which this ‘I’ (the ego or ‘I’- thought), which rises as if the first, does not rise, is the state in which ‘we are That’. Unless one scrutinizes the source (the real Self) from which ‘I’ rises, how to attain the destruction of the (individual) self (the state of egolessness), in which ‘I’ does not rise? (And) unless one attains (that non-rising of ‘I’), say, how to abide in one’s own (real) state (the natural state of Self), in which one is That? Ulladu Narpadu (Forty verses on Reality), Verse 27 by Sage Ramana {Note : In scriptures it is taught that, instead of feeling ‘I am this body’, we should experience ‘I am That’, in other words, ‘I am Brahman, the absolute Reality’. The state of experience which is thus referred to as ‘I am That’ or ‘I am Brahman’, is only one’s real and natural state, in which one abides as the pure adjunct less existence-consciousness ‘I am’ without rising as the adjunct-mixed feeling ‘I am this body’. Therefore, in order to experience the truth denoted by the words ‘I am That’, one must attain the state in which the ego (the feeling ‘I am this body’) does not rise. And in order to attain this state of egolessness, one must scrutinize the source of the ‘I’ - thought, for only when one scrutinizes its source (the real Self, the pure consciousness ‘I am’) will the ‘I’ - thought subside. Thus in this verse Sage Ramana clearly reveals the truth that the only means by which one can make the ‘I’ - thought to subside and thereby abide as Self, the absolute reality, is to scrutinise the source or rising-place of the ‘I’ - thought , in other words, to attend to Self, the mere consciousness ‘I am’.]

Hence, it is very important for aspirants who practice Selfenquiry to take note that during the period of practice one needs to be still (summa iruppadu), and fix one’s attention on the feeling of ‘I’ or the ‘I’- thought holding the feeling as long as possible. It is only when there is a slackness of vigilance during Self-attention that thoughts will arise. If thoughts arise it means that Self-attention has been lost. In order to win back Self-attention from thought-attention Sage Ramana advised aspirants to ask ‘To whom do these thoughts appear?’ The answer ‘To me’ is only an objective form of ‘I’, it will easily remind one of the subjective form of the feeling ‘I’. However, if one questions ‘Who thinks these thoughts?’ since the subjective form, the feeling ‘I’, is obtained as an answer, the Self-attention which had been unnoticed, is now regained directly? This regaining of Self-attention is actually being Self (that is, remaining or abiding as Self). Such ‘being’ alone is the correct practice.


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“What our Lord (Sage Ramana) firmly advises us to take to, as the greatest and most powerful tapas (austerity) is only this much, ‘Be still’ (summa iru), and not anything (such as meditation, yoga and so on) as the duty to be performed by the mind.” Guru Vachaka Kovai (The Collection of Guru’s Sayings), Verse 773 by Sri Muruganar In verse 4 of Atma Vidya Kirtanam (The Song of Self knowledge), Sage Ramana states, ‘. . . If we remain being still, without the least action of mind, speech and body, oh what a wonder, the Self-effulgence will be experienced …’ Hence, as indicated in the above verse, the only duty enjoined upon us by Sage Ramana is just to be. In the text ‘Maharshi’s Gospel’, Book I, Chapter 6, Sage Ramana states, ‘Your duty is TO BE.’ [Note : When thoughts arise the ‘I’-thought claims ownership of them ‘I think’, ‘I believe’, ‘I want’, ‘I am acting’ - but there is no separate ‘I’ thought that exists independently of the objects that it is identifying with. It only appears to exist as a real continuous entity because of the incessant flow of identifications. Sage Ramana maintained that this tendency towards self-limiting identifications could be checked by trying to separate the subject ‘I’ from the objects of thought which it identified with. Since the individual ‘I’-thought cannot exist without an object, if attention is focused on the subjective feeling of ‘I’ or ‘I am’ with such intensity that the thoughts ‘I am this’ or ‘I am that’ do not arise, then the individual ‘I’ will be unable to connect with objects. If this awareness of ‘I’ is sustained, the individual ‘I’ (the ‘I’-thought) will subside and in its place there will be a direct experience of the Self. This constant attention to the inner awareness of ‘ I ‘ or ‘I am’ was called Self-enquiry (vichara) by Sage Ramana]

Some aspirants complain that since the very rising of the ‘I’thought from sleep is so secretive and stealthy as to elude being noticed, how can one see from where it rises? It seems to be impossible. That is true as the mind’s effort of attention is absent in sleep, due to the absence of the ‘I’ thought. Many individuals are not acquainted with the knowledge of their ‘being’ but only with the knowledge of their ‘doing’ (that is, the knowledge of their making efforts), for such persons it is impossible to know and become consciously aware of the rising of ‘I’- thought from sleep. Since the effort to be made, which is considered as necessary by them is absent in sleep, it is no wonder that they are unable to commence the enquiry from sleep itself. Since, the whole of the


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waking state is a sportive play of the ‘I’- thought and one experiences the efforts made by the mind in this state, hence, at least in the waking state one can turn and attend to the pseudo ‘I’ shining in the form ‘I am so-and-so.’ ‘Turning inwards, daily see yourself with an introverted look and It (the Reality) will be known’ - thus did you tell me, O my Arunachala!’ Sri Arunachala Aksharamanamalai (The Marital Garland of Letters), Verse 44 by Sage Ramana The enquiry begins only during the leisure hours of the waking state when one sits down to practice. Just as an object is recalled by one’s memory when its name is thought of, similarly the first person feeling comes to one’s memory as soon as one’s name is thought of. Although this first person feeling is only the ‘I’- thought or the pseudo ‘I’ consciousness, it does not matter. To have one’s attention withdrawn from second and third persons and to cling to the first person is the correct method of practice. As soon as the attention turns towards the first person feeling, not only do other thoughts disappear, but also the first thought, the rising and expanding pseudo ‘I’ consciousness, itself starts contracting. “When the mind, the ego (‘I’- thought), which wanders outside knowing only other objects (second and third persons) begins to attend to its own nature, all other objects will disappear and, by experiencing its true nature (Self), the pseudo ‘I’ will also die.” Guru Vachaka Kovai (The Collection of Guru’s Sayings), Verse 193 by Sri Muruganar “If the fickle mind turns towards the first person, the first person (the ‘I’- thought) will become nonexistent and that which really exists will then shine forth.” Atma Vichara Patikam (Eleven verses on Self-enquiry), Verse 6 by Sri Sadhu Om This is the great revelation made by Sage Ramana and bestowed as a priceless boon for spiritual aspirants to


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practice, so that one’s true nature of Self-awareness is realised. As a rubber ball gains greater and greater momentum as it bounces down a staircase, similarly as one’s concentration in clinging to the first person consciousness is intensified, the faster it will result in the contraction of the ‘I’- thought until it finally merges in its source the pure Self-awareness. This ‘I’- thought is only a limiting association in the form of the feeling ‘I am so-and-so’, ‘I am this’ or ‘I am that’, which comes and mixes with the pure existence – consciousness or pure awareness at the moment of waking. Hence, the limiting association which mixes with the pure Self-awareness now slips away. All that an aspirant can experience at the beginning of one’s practice is only the slipping away (subsiding) of the ‘I’- thought. Since the aspirant is able to tracks down the ‘I’- thought from the waking state, where it is in full play, in the beginning it is possible for the aspirant to perceive only its slipping away, but at this stage it will be more difficult for the aspirant to perceive its rising. i.e., how the ‘I’- thought rises and holds on to ‘I am’ the pure Selfawareness from the moment of waking up from sleep. When passing from sleep to waking the ‘I’- thought must start; the mind comes into play; thoughts arise; and then the functions of the body come into operation; all these together make one say that one is awake. The absence of all this evolution is the characteristic of sleep and therefore it is said to be nearer to Selfawareness than the waking state. The sleep state is free from thoughts and their impression to the individual. Although nearer to Self- awareness or Pure Consciousness, it is not fit for efforts to realise the Self. The incentive to realise can arise only in the waking state and efforts can also be made only when one is awake. The thoughts in the waking state form the obstacle to gaining the stillness of sleep. So stillness is the aim of the seeker. “If the ego (‘I’ - thought), which is the embryo comes into existence, everything (the world, God, bondage and liberation, knowledge and ignorance, and so on) will come into existence. If the ego (‘I’- thought) does not exist, everything will not exist. (Hence) the ego (‘I’- thought) itself is everything. Therefore, know that scrutinizing ‘What is this


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(‘I’- thought))?’ is alone giving up (or renouncing) everything!” Ulladu Narpadu (Forty verses on Reality), Verse 26 by Sage Ramana When Self-attention is started from the waking consciousness ‘I am so-and-so’, since it is only a limiting association, the feeling ‘so-and-so’ slips away at this stage. Even though the limiting association ‘so-and-so’ has dropped off, the aspirant feels no loss to the consciousness ‘I am.’ The thoughts are stilled; so there is the peace of sleep gained. It is neither sleep nor waking but intermediate between the two. There is the awareness of the waking state and the stillness of sleep. This is called wakeful sleep (jagrat-sushupti). It is not the same as sleep or waking separately. It is beyond wakefulness or beyond sleep. It is the state of perfect awareness and of perfect stillness combined. It lies between sleep and waking; it is also the interval between two successive thoughts. It is the source from which thoughts spring. ‘Because there is consciousness, this is not sleep, and because there is the absence of thoughts, it is not the waking state; it is therefore the existence consciousness, the unbroken nature of the Auspicious One who destroys illusion. Without leaving it, abide in it with great love.’ Sadhanai Saram (The Essence of Spiritual Practice) by Sri Sadhu Om Aspirants who experience many times the subsiding of the ‘I’- thought through practice, are familiar with the experience of their pure existence-consciousness as ‘I am’ and are able to perceive at the moment of just waking up from sleep, how the limiting association ‘so-and-so’ rises and mixes with Self-awareness. Those who do not have such strength of practice cannot perceive this ‘I’- thought at its place of rising from sleep at the moment one wakes up. The only thing that is easy for them is to find the ‘I’- thought’s place of setting (which is also its place of rising) through the effort started from the waking state. In either case, the end and the achievement will be the same. When the attention is focused deeper and deeper within towards the feeling ‘I am’ and when the ‘I’- thought continues to shrink more and more into nothingness, one’s power of attention becomes subtler than the subtlest atom and thereby grows sharper


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and brighter. Hence, the strength of abidance will now achieve a status of remaining balanced between two states that is, in a state after the end of sleep and before waking up, in other words, before being possessed by the first thought. Through this strength, a skill will now be gained by the aspirant to experience and understand that the limiting association ‘so and so’, which comes and mixes with the pure consciousness ‘I-am’, is a mere second person (that is, although so far the ‘I’- thought had been appearing as if it were the first person, it will now be clearly seen to be a mere shadow or non-Self, or a thing alien to oneself). This is what Janaka (a self-realised king), meant when he said “I have found out the thief (the time of its coming the time and place of the ‘I’- thought’s rising) who has been ruining me all along; I will inflict the right punishment upon it.” Since the ‘I’- thought which was acting till now as if it were the first person, is found to be a second person alien to us, the right punishment is to make it subside at its very place of rising (just as the reflected ray is destroyed at its place of rising) by clinging steadfastly to the real first person (the real import of the word ‘I’), existence-consciousness, by the method of regaining Self-attention as taught by Sage Ramana (‘To whom? To me; who am I?’). ‘As you practice more and more abiding in this existenceconsciousness (that is, remaining in the state between sleep and waking), the ordinary sleep which had previously been taking possession of you will melt away, and the waking which was full of sense-knowledge will not creep in again. Therefore repeatedly and untiringly abide in it.’ Sadhanai Saram (The Essence of Spiritual Practice) by Sri Sadhu Om As a result of steadfast practice of abiding in one’s true nature of Self-awareness, one experience that this state seems to often come and take possession of the aspirant of its own accord, whenever one is free from one’s daily work. However, as this state of Self-awareness or existence-consciousness is one’s true nature and who one is, it is incorrect to think that such a state comes and takes possession of the aspirant. Just as the movement of clouds in one direction creates the illusion that the moon itself is moving in the opposite direction, similarly the coming and going of the mental


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tendencies causes the false perspective that one’s natural state of existence-consciousness is often coming and taking possession of the aspirant of its own accord, and then going away leaving oneself. While one is at work, one attends to other things; after the work or activity is over and before one attends to some other second or third person work or activity, one naturally abides in one’s real state of existence consciousness. Though this happens to one and all every day, it is only those aspirants who experience the state of Selfawareness using the practice as described, that the state of Selfabidance will be clearly discerned after leaving one second person thought and prior to catching another one (that is, between two thoughts). ‘Why has it been said (in the previous two verses of ‘Sadhanai Saram’) that one ought to make effort repeatedly to be in one’s state (of Self-awareness) and ought to abide in it with more and more love? Because, until all the mental tendencies (vasanas) which drive one out of it are completely exhausted, this state will seem to come and go. Hence the need for continued effort and love to abide in Self.’ ‘When, through this practice our state of existence consciousness is experienced always as inescapably natural, then there will be no harm even if waking dream and sleep pass across.’ “For those who are well established in the unending Selfconsciousness, which pervades and transcends all these three so-called states (waking, dream and sleep), there is but one state, the Whole, the All, and that alone is real! This state, which is devoid even of the feeling ‘I am making effort’, is your natural state of being! Be!!” Sadhanai Saram (The Essence of Spiritual Practice) by Sri Sadhu Om Just as the person came out into the open space from the dark room by following the path of the reflected ray of light, similarly the enquirer is able to reach the open space of Heart, and come out of the attachment to the body through the nerves (nadis), by attentively holding on to the feeling ‘I am.’ Let us now understand how this process takes place in the body of an advanced enquirer.


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Exactly at the moment of waking up from sleep, a consciousness ‘I’ swiftly shoots up like a flash of lightening from the Heart to the brain. From the brain it then spreads throughout the body along the nerves. This I-consciousness is like electrical energy. Its impetus or voltage is the force of attachment with which it identifies a body as ‘I’. This consciousness, which spreads with such a tremendous impetus and speed all over the body remains pure, having no limiting association attached to it, till it reaches the brain from the Heart. However, its force of attachment is so great, and the time taken by it to shoot up from the Heart to the brain is extremely short being less than one millionth of a second, ordinary people are unable to notice or perceive it in its pure condition, devoid of any limiting association. This pure condition of the rising ‘I’consciousness is what was pointed out by Sage Ramana when he stated, “In the space between two states or two thoughts, the pure ego (the pure condition or true nature of the ‘I’- thought) is experienced”, in ‘Maharishi’s Gospel’, Book One, chapter five, titled ‘Self and Individuality.’ This ‘I’-consciousness which spreads from the brain at a tremendous speed throughout the body, the nerves (nadis) act as the transmission lines, just like wires transmit electricity. The mixing of pure consciousness ‘I am’, after reaching the brain, with the limiting association of ‘I am this, I am so-and so, I am the body’ is what is called bondage or the knot. This knot has two forms, the knot of bondage to the nerves and the knot of attachment. The connection of this power, the ‘I’-consciousness, with the gross nervous system is called ‘the knot of bondage to the nerves’, and its connection with the causal body, having its form as the latent tendencies, is called ‘the knot of attachment’. The knot of bondage to the nerves pertains to the breath (prana), while the knot of attachment pertains to the mind. ‘Mind and breath, which have thought and action as their respective functions, are like two diverging branches of the trunk of a tree, but their root (the activating power) is one.’ Upadesa Undhiyar (The Essence of Instruction), Verse 12 by Sage Ramana


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As the source of both the mind and the breath (prana) is the same being the Heart, when the knot of attachment is severed as a result of the mind subsiding through Self-enquiry, the knot of bondage to the nerves is also severed. In raja yoga (the royal path of physical and mental control), when the knot of bondage to the nerves is made to subside by breath-control, the mind thus controlled is made to enter the Heart from the brain (sahasrara - the highest psychic centre located in the brain), since it reaches its source, this results in the knot of attachment also being severed. ‘When the mind which has been subdued by breath-control is led (to the Heart) through the only path (the path of knowing Self), its form will die.’ Upadesa Undhiyar (The Essence of Instruction), Verse 14 by Sage Ramana However, as the knot of attachment is the main one, unless it is made to subside by knowing Self, even when the knot of bondage to the nerves is temporarily removed in sleep, swoon, death or by the use of anesthetics, the knot of attachment remains unaffected in the form of tendencies, habits and predispositions, which constitute the causal body, these tendencies do not die even after the death of the physical body, and hence rebirths are inescapable. This is why Sage Ramana insisted that an aspirant reaching a stage where there is a temporary absorption of the ‘I’– thought, one should not stop there, but the mind or ‘I’– thought so absorbed should be led to the Heart in order to attain the state of natural and permanent absorption in the Self in which one sees no difference between oneself and the world and remains with full use of human faculties. In this state the aspirant also experiences a permanent subsidence of the ‘I’– thought and mental tendencies. In the body of such a Self-realised aspirant (sahaja jnani), the coursing of ‘I’-consciousness along the nerves, after the knot of attachment has subsided, is like the water on a lotus leaf or like a burnt rope, and thus it cannot cause any bondage. Hence, subsidence of the knot of attachment is indispensable for the attainment of the natural state, the state in which one’s tendencies subside completely. The nerves (nadis) are gross, but the current of awareness or the power of consciousness that courses through them is subtle. The connection of the ‘I ‘consciousness with the nerves is similar to the


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connection of electrical power with the wires; it is so unstable that it can be connected or disconnected in a second. It is an experience common to everyone that this connection is broken daily in sleep and reconnected in the waking state. When this connection is effected, body-consciousness rises, and when it is broken, body-consciousness is lost. Here one must understand that body-consciousness and world-consciousness are one and the same. Hence, just like one’s clothes and ornaments are daily removed and put on, so too this knot is a secondary and a transitory entity hanging loosely to an individual. This is what Sage Ramana referred to when he stated ‘We can detach our self from what we are not.’ Disconnecting the knot in such a way that it will not come into being is called by many names such as ‘the cutting of the knot’ or ‘subsiding the mind’, and so on. ‘In such a way that it will never again come into being’ means, attending to the ‘I’- thought using the enquiry ‘Does it in truth exist at present?’ in order to find out whether it has ever really come into being, there takes place the dawn of knowledge, the real waking, where it is clearly and firmly known that no such knot has ever come into being, and ‘that which exists’ alone ever exists, and that which was existing as ‘I am’ is ever existing as ‘I am.’ The attainment of this Self-knowledge and experience in which the knot or bondage subsides permanently and does not rise again is the permanent disconnection of the knot. The following story further illustrates the attainment of Self-knowledge. ‘Alas! I am imprisoned! I am caught within this triangular room! How to free myself?’ A man is thus sobbing and complaining. He is standing in a corner where the ends of two walls meet. Groping on the two walls in front of him with his hands, he is lamenting: ‘No doorway is available, nor even any kind of outlet for me to escape! How can I get out?’ Another person, a friend of his who is standing at a distance in the open, hears the lamenting. He turns in that direction and notices the state of his friend. There were only two walls in that open space. They were closing only two sides, one end of each wall meeting the other. The friend in the open quickly realises that the man, who was standing facing only the two walls in front of him, has concluded, due to the wrong notion that there was a third wall behind him, that he is imprisoned within a three-walled room.


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So he asks, ‘Why are you lamenting, groping on these walls?’ I am searching for a way through which to escape from the prison of this triangular room, but I cannot find any way out!’ replies the man. The friend: ‘Well, why don’t you search for a way out on the third wall behind you?’ The man (turns and looks behind): ‘Ah, here there is no obstacle! Let me run through this way.’ (So saying, he starts to run away). The friend: ‘What! Why do you run away? Is it necessary for you to do so? If you do not run away, will you remain in prison?” The man: ‘Oh! Yes, yes! I was not at all imprisoned! How could I have been imprisoned when there was no wall behind me? It was merely my own delusion that I was imprisoned. I was never imprisoned, nor am I now released! So I do not even need to run away from near these walls where I am now! The defect of not looking behind me was the reason for my so-called bondage; and the turning of my attention behind is really the method of spiritual practice for my so-called liberation! In reality, I am ever remaining as I am, without any imprisonment or release!’ Thus knowing the truth, he becomes quiet. The two walls in the story signify the second and third persons. The first person is the third wall described as being behind the man. There is no way at all to liberation by means of second and third person attention. Only by the first person attention ‘Who am I?’ will the right knowledge be gained that the ‘I’-thought, the first person, does not exist in reality, and only when the first person thus subsides will the truth be realized that bondage and liberation are false. “Only as long as one being a mad man (that is a person being devoid of true knowledge), feels ‘I am a bound one’, (will there exist) thoughts of bondage and liberation. (But) when one sees oneself (by enquiring) ‘Who is the bound one?’ (in other words, ‘Who am I?’) And when (thereby) the ever-liberated one (the real Self) alone remains as the established truth, since the thought of bondage cannot remain, can the thought of liberation remain?”


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Ulladu Narpadu (Forty verses on Reality), Verse 39 by Sage Ramana In the grammar of most languages, including Sanskrit, the first person, ‘I’, the second person, ‘you’, and the third person, ‘he, she, they and so on’, are each denominated as a person having a specific name. However in the grammar of Tamil language these three are termed respectively as the first place, second place and third place. Classifying them as places serves as a very helpful clue for spiritual aspirants. Such a classification assists sincere aspirants on the path to Self-realisation to transcend maya (transitory manifestation in time and space) and to reach the Universal Self. Time and place are the two foremost concepts projected by maya (transitory manifestation in time and space). Not even a single thought can be formed which is not bound by these two concepts of time and place. Every thought must involve a past and future time (as each thought is formed in a moment of time, and each moment of time is merely a change from past to future) and must also involve an attention to a second or third person. On the other hand, if one were to form a thought of either the present time or the first person (that is, if one attends to either of these), all thoughts will subside because the present out of the three times and the first person out of the three places are the rootconceptions, and the important characteristic of these two rootconceptions is that they will subside, losing their existence, if they are sought for by being attended to. Thus, when this primal time (the present) and primal place (the first person) subside, even their source maya (transitory manifestation in time and space) will also subside, since it has no true existence of its own. This is the state of transcending maya (transitory manifestation in time and space), and hence the everexisting, one, whole and unlimited Self alone then shines. Just as it was explained in the previous example that the three walls represented the three places, the first, second and third persons, similarly the three walls can be said to represent the three times, the present, past and future. Even by paying attention to the present, avoiding all thoughts of past and future, in order to know


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what is the truth of the present, all thoughts will subside and the ‘present’ itself will disappear. This process takes place in the following way. That which happened one moment before now is considered to be the past, and that which will happen one moment from now is considered to be the future. Hence, without paying any attention to any time which is one moment before or after the present moment, if one tries to know what this one moment is which exists now, then even one millionth of the so-called present moment will be found to be either past or future. If even such subtle past and future moments are also not attended to and if one tries to know what is in-between these two, the past and future, one will conclude that nothing can be found as an exact present. Thus the conception of present time will also subside, as it is found to be non-existent, and the Self-existence, which transcends time and place, alone will then survive. ‘The past and future stand (only by) depending upon the present, which remains always. While occurring they (the past and future) are both only the present. (Therefore) the present is the only one (time). (In other words, there are not three times, the past, present and future; there is only one time, the present.) (Hence) trying to know the past and future without knowing the truth of the present [that is, without knowing the truth that the present is non-existent as one of the three times, and that the sole reality underlying the sense of present time is the ever-existing self] is (like) trying to count without (knowing the value of the unit) one.’ Ulladu Narpadu (Forty verses on Reality), Verse 15 by Sage Ramana ‘When scrutinized, we – the ever-known existing Thing – alone are; then where is time and where is place? If we are (mistaken to be) the body, we shall be involved in time and place. But, are we the body? Since we are the One, now, then and ever, that One in space, here, there and everywhere, we – the timeless and spaceless Self – alone are!’ Ulladu Narpadu (Forty verses on Reality), Verse 16 by Sage Ramana


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Hence, attending to the first place (the first person) among the three places or attending to the present time among the three times, is the path to liberation. Even this, the path of Sage Ramana, is not really for the removal of bondage or the attainment of liberation. The path of Sage Ramana is paved solely for the purpose, so that one can abide for ever in one’s eternal state of pure bliss, by giving up even the thought of liberation as a result of the dawning of the right knowledge that one has never been in bondage. ‘Only the first place or the present time is advised to be attended to. If you keenly do so, you will enjoy the bliss of Self having completed all yogas (spiritual paths or practices) and having achieved the supreme accomplishment. Know and feast on it!’ Sadhanai Saram (The Essence of Spiritual Practice), by Sri Sadhu Om We continue now with further description of the original point. When the attention of an aspirant is turned towards second and third persons, the ‘I’-consciousness spreads from the brain to all over the body through the nerves in the form of the power of spreading; but when the same attention is focused on the first person, since it is used in an opposite direction, the ‘I’consciousness , instead of functioning in the form of the power of spreading, takes the form of the power of Self-attention (that is, the power of ‘doing’ is transformed into the power of ‘being’). This is what is called ‘the churning of the nerves. By the churning thus taking place in the nerves, the ‘I’-consciousness scattered throughout the nerves turns back, withdraws and collects in the brain, the starting point of its spreading, and from there it reaches the Heart-centre (The seat of Consciousness two digits or finger widths to the right from the centre of the chest), where it subsides and is established in the Heart, the pure consciousness, the source of its rising. In raja yoga (the royal path of physical and mental control), the ‘I’-consciousness pervading all the nerves is forcibly pushed back to the starting point of its spreading by the power generated through the pressure of breath-retention. However this is a severely forceful method. In relation to this Sage Ramana has stated ‘Forcibly pushing back the ‘I ‘consciousness by breath-retention, as is done in raja yoga (the royal path of physical and mental control), is a violent


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method, like chasing a run-away cow, beating it, catching hold of it, dragging it forcibly to the shed and finally tying it there. On the other hand, bringing back the ‘I’-consciousness to its source by enquiry is a gentle and peaceful method, like tempting the cow by showing it a handful of green grass, cajoling and fondling it, making it follow us of its own accord to the shed and finally tying it there.’ This is a safe and pleasant path. To bear the churning of the nerves effected through the method of breath-retention in raja yoga (the royal path of physical and mental control), the body must be young and strong. If such a churning is made to happen in a body which is weak or old, since the body does not have the strength to bear it, many troubles may occur such as nervous disorders, physical diseases, insanity and so on. But there is no room for any such dangers if the churning is made to take place through Self-enquiry. ‘To say that one who practised Self-abidance (nishtha) by clinging to the Lord, Self, the form of consciousness, lost his balance of mind and became insane, is just like saying that by drinking the nectar of immortality one died. Know thus.’ Guru Vachaka Kovai (The Collection of Guru’s Sayings), Verse 745 by Sri Muruganar In the path of enquiry, withdrawal from the nerves takes place without any strain and is as peaceful as the incoming of sleep. The rule found in some scriptures that the goal should be reached before the age of thirty is therefore applicable only in the path of raja yoga (the royal path of physical and mental control), and not in Selfenquiry, the path of Sage Ramana. A channel called Sushumna nadi is experienced when the ‘I’-consciousness, which has risen from the Heart-centre and has spread all over the body, is being withdrawn. Sushumna is a nerve embedded in the core of the spinal cord and runs from the base of the spine to the brain. Not taking into consideration the legs and arms, since they are only subsidiary limbs, Sushumna alone is the nerve or channel through which the ‘I’-consciousness is experienced in the trunk of the body along the spinal cord from the base of the spine to the top of the head. While the ‘I’-consciousness is withdrawing through the nerve Sushumna, an aspirant may have experiences of the locations


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of various nerve centers or energy centers also known as psychic centers on the way, or even without experiencing them may reach the Heart-centre directly. While travelling in a train to the city Delhi, it is not necessary that a person should see the stations and scenes on the way. One can also reach the city Delhi unmindful of them, if one is in the state of sleeping happily. However, due to the past devotional tendencies towards the different names and forms of God, which are bound by time and place, some aspirants may have experiences of these psychic centers and of divine visions, sounds and so on therein. However, for those aspirants who do not have such obstacles in the form of tendencies, the journey will be pleasant and without any distinguishing features. In the former case, these experiences are due to non-vigilance in Self-attention, as the experiences only relate to a second person attention taking place. Hence, the attention to Self is lost. Tremendously earnest aspirants who do not give any room at all to non-vigilance in Self attention, these objective experiences will not occur. The replies of Saint Sri Ramakrishna are worth being noted in this context. When Swami Vivekananda (the chief disciple of Sri Ramakrishna) reported to him ‘All say that they have had visions, but I have not seen any!’ the saint replied ‘That is good!’ On another occasion, when Swami Vivekananda reported that some occult powers such as clairvoyance seemed to have been gained by him in the course of his spiritual practice, Sri Ramakrishna his spiritual master warned him ‘Stop your spiritual practice for sometime. Let them leave you!’ Hence, it is quite clear that such experiences come only to those who delay their progress to Selfrealisation due to their lack of vigilance in Self-attention. Even though the ‘I’-consciousness while being withdrawn courses only along the nerve Sushumna, on account of its extreme brilliance it illumines the five sense organs, which are near to it, due to which the abovementioned experiences occur. When the light of ‘I ‘consciousness stationed in the nerve Sushumna illumines the eyes which is the organ of sight, there will be visions of Gods and many celestial worlds; when it illumines the ear which is the organ of hearing, celestial sounds will be heard such as the playing of divine instruments, the ringing of divine bells, sacred sounds and so on; when it illumines the organ of smell, delightful divine fragrances will be smelt; when it illumines the organ of taste, delicious celestial nectar will be tasted; and when it illumines the organ of touch, a


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feeling of extreme pleasure will permeate the entire body or a feeling of floating in an ocean of pleasantness will be experienced. These experiences appear to be clearer and of greater reality than the sense-experiences in the ordinary waking state, as the experiences of the present waking state are gained through the gross five senses, which are functioning by a relatively impure ‘I’consciousness scattered all over the body, whereas these experiences of celestial worlds are gained through the subtle five senses, which are functioning by the pure, focused ‘I’-consciousness. However, all these are only qualified mental experiences and not the unqualified Self-experience. The mind becomes very subtle and brilliant as it is withdrawn from all the other nerves into the nerve Sushumna, and it also becomes extremely pure as it is free from any worldly desires; it is now able to project through the subtle five senses only the past auspicious tendencies (vasanas) as described above. However, just because of these visions and similar experiences, one should not conclude that the mind has been transformed into Self. Even now the mind has not subsided. As it is still alive with auspicious tendencies, it creates and perceives subtler and more lustrous second and third person objects, and finds enjoyment in them. So this is not at all the unqualified experience of true knowledge, which is the cessation and disappearance of tendencies. Whatever is appearing and being experienced is only a second person knowledge, which results in the spiritual practice of first person attention being lost during that time. Many aspirants who take these particular and qualified experiences of taste, light, sound and so on to be the final attainment of Self-knowledge, and having undergone these experiences they think that liberation has been attained, but actually they have become more and more entangled in second and third persons attention, thus losing their foothold on Self attention. Such aspirants are called ‘those who have slipped from the spiritual path or practice’ (yoga-bhrashtas) This is similar to a person who is travelling to the city Delhi, but gets off from the train at some intermediate station, thinking ‘Verily, this is Delhi’, being deluded by its attractive grandeur. Even supernatural powers that may come during the course of spiritual practice are only a deception and hindrance which obstruct one’s progress to liberation and land the aspirant in some unknown place.


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Even in this difficult situation and to escape from falling into such dangers the clue given by Sage Ramana serves as the correct medicine. Whenever one is overtaken by such qualified experiences, the advice given by Sage Ramana ‘To whom do these experiences arise?’ is to be used. The feeling ‘To me’ will be the response. Following this, using the enquiry ‘Who am I?’, one can immediately regain the thread of Selfattention. When Self-attention is thus regained, those qualified experiences of second and third persons will disappear of their own accord because there is no one to attend to them. ‘The mind knowing its own form of light (its true form of mere consciousness, the real Self), having given up (knowing) external objects, alone is true knowledge.’ Upadesa Undiyar (The Essence of Instruction), Verse 16 by Sage Ramana When the mind gives up attending to and knowing any qualified external sense-objects, it then turns towards its form of light (pure Self-awareness), it will then sink into its source, the Heart, and thus subside. Hence, the enquiry ‘Who am I?’ is the best spiritual practice, which will guard and guide an aspirant to the very end until the goal of Self-realisation is achieved. It is the invincible supreme weapon bestowed by the grace of Sage Ramana. It is the guiding light, which safeguards us lest we should stray away from the path to eternal happiness, which is the ultimate aim of all humans on earth. It is the path of Sage Ramana, which can transforms us into Self, ‘I am that I am.’ As a result of the strength of practice gained so far during the course of one’s spiritual practice, an aspirant will now be able to perceive clearly, what is the state of the absorption of the ‘I’-thought and what exactly Self-consciousness is. Although the pure Selfexistence, devoid of body-consciousness or any other adjunct, will often be experienced by an aspirant, one is still in the stage of practice and this is not the final attainment. The reason being that still there are two alternating feelings, one of being sometimes extroverted and the other of being sometimes introverted, and since there is the feeling of making effort to become introverted and of losing such effort while becoming extroverted, this stage is not the final attainment. In relation to this


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Sage Ramana states ‘If the mind (the attention) is thus well fixed in sadhana (attending to Self), a power of divine grace will then rise from within, of its own accord, and, subjugating the mind, will take it to the Heart.’ This power of divine grace is nothing other than the perfect clarity of our existence the form of the Supreme Self, ever shining with abundant grace in the heart as ‘I-I’, the pure Selfawareness. The nature of a needle lying within a magnetic field is to be attracted and pulled only when its rust has been removed. However, one should not conclude from this that the magnetic power comes into existence only after the rust has been removed from the needle. The magnetic power always exists naturally in the magnetic field. Although the needle was lying in the magnetic field all the time, it is affected by the attraction of the magnet only to the extent that it loses its rust. All that an aspirant does by giving up second and third person attention and clinging to Self-attention is similar to scraping off the rust. Hence, the result of all the effort made by an aspirant is to make oneself fit, so that one can become a prey to the attraction of the magnetic field of pure consciousness, the Heart, which is ever shining and engulfing all with its spreading rays of Self-effulgence {refer Sri Arunachala Pancharatnam (Five Stanzas to Sri Arunachala) verse 1}. Mature aspirants will willingly and without rebelling submit themselves to this magnetic power of the grace of Self-effulgence. Others, on the other hand, will become extroverted (that is, they will turn their attention outwards) fearing the attraction of this power. Therefore, one should first make oneself fit by the intense love to know Self and by the tremendous detachment of having no desire to attend to any second or third person. Then, since the very ‘I’-thought acting as an aspirant, itself is swallowed up by that power, even the so-called effort of the aspirant is reduced to nothing. Thus, when the ‘I’-consciousness that was spread all over the body is made to sink into the Heart, the real waking, the dawn of knowledge takes place. This happens in a split second. “Death is a matter of a split second! The leaving off of sleep is a matter of a split second! Likewise, the removal of the delusion ‘I am an individual’ is also a matter of a split second! The dawn of true knowledge is not such that glimpses of it will be gained once and then lost! If an


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aspirant feels that it appears and disappears, it is only the stage of practice (sadhana); one cannot be said to have attained true knowledge. The perfect dawn of knowledge is a happening of a split second; its attainment is not a prolonged process. All the age long practices are meant only for attaining maturity. Let us give an example: it takes a long time to prepare a temple cannon-blast, first putting the gunpowder into the barrel, giving the wick, adding some stones and then ramming it, but when ignited it explodes as a thunder in a split second. Similarly, after an age long period of listening and reading, reflecting and practicing and weeping out in prayer (because of the inability to put what is heard into practice), when the mind is thus perfectly purified, then and then only does the dawn of Self-knowledge suddenly break forth in a split second as ‘I am that I am’! Since, as soon as this dawn breaks, the space of Selfconsciousness is found, through the clear knowledge of the Reality, to be beginning less, natural and eternal, even the effort of attending to Self ceases then! To abide thus, having nothing more to do and nothing further to achieve, is alone the real and supreme state.” Sadhanai Saram (The Essence of Spiritual Practice) by Sri Sadhu Om What one experiences everyday as the waking state is not the real waking state? This waking state is also a dream! There is no difference at all between this waking and dream. In both these states, the feeling ‘I am’ catches hold of a body as ‘I am this’ and, seeing external objects, involves itself in activities. To awaken as described above from the dream of this waking state is the dawn of knowledge, one’s real state, or the real waking. In relation to this some have raised the doubt that if it is stated that one has awakened from one dream and moved on to another dream, which is the present waking state, then after one awakes from this waking state, the new state will not be another dream like the present waking state. How can this be determined? The answer to this is that another awakening is no longer necessary; as this is the real waking. Whatever state it may be which one feels to be the waking state, so long as there is an experience of the existence of any second or third person, which is other than oneself, it is not at all the real waking state; it is only a dream. One’s real waking or one’s real state


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is that in which one’s existence alone (not attached to any kind of body) shines unaided and without perceiving anything other than one’s reality of Self-awareness. The definition of the correct waking is that state in which there is perfect Self-consciousness and singleness of Self-existence, without knowledge of the existence of anything apart from Self. From this one can determine the real waking. It is this waking that Sage Ramana refers to in the following verse: ‘Forgetting Self, mistaking the body for Self, taking innumerable births, and at last knowing Self and being Self is just like waking from a dream of wandering all over the world. Know thus.’ Ekatama Panchakam (Five Verses on the Self), Verse 1 by Sage Ramana Just as a single big hall is divided into three chambers when two walls are newly erected in it, so too the eternal, non-dual, natural and adjunct less existence-consciousness appears as the three states of waking, dream and deep dreamless sleep, when the two imaginary walls of waking and dream, which are due to the two body-adjuncts (the waking body and the dream body), apparently rise in the midst of it on account of tendencies (vasanas). If these two new imaginary risings of waking and dream are not there, then what remains is only the one state of Self-consciousness alone. It is only for the sake of those aspirants who think the three states of awake dream and sleep are real; the scriptures have named the ever present and unchanging state of witness consciousness which transcends the state of awake dream and sleep as the fourth state (turiya). However, as the other three states are transitory and unreal when compared to the real, continuous, ever-present and unchanging state (called the fourth state), it is in fact the only existing state, and so it need not be called ‘the fourth’ (turiya), and not even ‘a state’. It is therefore ‘that which transcends all states’; it is also called ‘that which transcends the fourth.’ It is one’s true nature of Selfawareness. Hence this state; which transcends the fourth state it should not be called a fifth state. This is clearly stated by Sage Ramana in the following verse:


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‘For those who experience (the three unreal states of) waking, dream and sleep, (the one real state of) wakeful sleep, which is beyond (those three states), is named turiya (the ‘fourth’). (However) since that turiya alone (truly) exists and since the seeming three (states) do not exist, know for certain that turiya is atita (the transcendent state known as turiyatita).’ Anubandham Ulladu Narpadu (Supplement to Forty verses on Reality), Verse32bySage Ramana ‘The difference between the first three dense states (waking, dream and sleep) and the fourth and fifth states (turiya and turiyatita) are (accepted in scriptures) only for those who are not able to tear away the dark ignorance of sleep and to immerse and abide firmly in the effulgent turiya (the state of Self).’ Guru Vachaka Kovai (The Collection of Guru’s Sayings), Verse 567 by Sri Muruganar As a result of practicing the Self-attention as discussed, when an aspirant becomes more and more firmly fixed in one’s true state of existence-consciousness, the tendencies (vasanas) will subside, as there will be no one to attend to them. Thus, the waking and dream states, which have been apparently created by these tendencies, will also subside. Then, the one state which survives, which is the unchanging state of Self-awareness should not be called anymore by the name sleep, as the state of ordinary sleep which was being experienced up till now, is only a temporary and transitory state like the states of awake and dream; and this state of sleep now merges into the permanent and unchanging state of Self-awareness. Hence, one’s natural state, the real waking, alone is the Supreme Reality. ‘When the beginning less, impure tendencies, which were the cause for waking and dream, are destroyed, then sleep, which was (considered to be) leading to bad results (i.e. tamas or ignorance) and which was said to be a void and ridiculed as nescience, will be found to be Turiyatitam (Absolute awareness) itself.’ Guru Vachaka Kovai (The Collection of Guru’s Sayings), Verse 460 by Sri Muruganar


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Since this real waking is not experienced as a state newly attained, by an aspirant who is Self-realised, this state of Selfrealisation does not become a thought. As bondage does not exist for such an aspirant, the thought of bondage does not arise in one who is Self-realised. The thought of bondage and liberation can arise only to the one, who thinks that one is bound. Hence, to remain in this state of Self, having attained the supreme bliss (the eternal happiness which is the ultimate aim of all human beings), which is devoid of both bondage and liberation, is truly to be in the service of the Lord as pointed out by Sage Ramana. This alone is one’s duty. This is the path of Sage Ramana. ‘To remain in this state (of Self), having attained the supreme bliss, which is devoid of both bondage and liberation, is truly to be in the service of the Lord.’ Upadesa Undiyar (The Essence of Instruction), Verse 29 by Sage Ramana


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WHO AM I? - NAN YAR? Introduction [Note: The following section closely follows all the explanations and quotations given by Sri Sadhu Om in ‘Who Am I?’ (Appendix 1 of The Path of Sri Ramana Part One, 6th Edition, 2005, pages 180 to 195), and all the portions in this section are either directly quoted or paraphrased from his explanations in that appendix.]

Nan Yar? – ‘Who am I?’, a treatise of twenty paragraphs that Sage Ramana wrote in the late 1920’s, is a collection of answers that he had given to a series of questions asked by Sri Sivaprakasam Pillai in the years 1901 to 1902. Along with Vicharasangraham (SelfEnquiry), Nan Yar (Who am I?) constitutes the first set of instructions in Sage Ramana’s own words. They clearly set forth the central teaching that the direct path to liberation is Self-enquiry. The following is an English translation by Sri Sadhu Om undertaken with the assistance of Sri Michael James. In the years 1901 to 1902, when Sage Ramana was living in Virupaksha cave on the Holy Hill Arunachala, a devotee by name Sri M. Sivaprakasam Pillai was attracted to Him and approached Him with a number of questions. Sage Ramana, who was at that time talking very little, not because of any vow but because He had no inclination to talk, answered most of the questions by writing either in the sand, on a plate or on scraps of paper. The teachings which Sri Sivaprakasam Pillai thus received were first published in 1923 in question and answer form under the title ‘Nan Yar? (Who am I?).’ Soon afterwards, Sage Ramana himself rearranged and rewrote these questions and answers in an essay form, thus making ‘Nan Yar? (Who am I?)’ into a connected and coherent exposition. In addition to the question and answer version containing twenty-eight questions, which is published as a separate booklet, there is another version containing only fourteen questions, which is printed in Sri Ramana Vijayam (a Tamil biography of Sage Ramana), and an English translation of which is given in Self-Realisation. However, it is only the essay version of this work that is included in Sri Ramana Nutrirattu (the Tamil collected works of Sri Ramana), and since this version was prepared by Sage Ramana himself, it is to be considered as the principal, authentic and authoritative version.


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The essay version was based largely upon the version containing twenty-eight questions and answers, but while preparing it Sage Ramana newly wrote and added some portions (such as the whole of the first paragraph), omitted other portions (such as the answers to questions 4 and 5, the first sentence of the answer to question 6, parts of the answer to question 20, and so on) and modified, expanded and improved other portions (such as the answer to question 27). However, most of the sentences He did not change at all, but simply rearranged the ideas and connected them in a more logical and coherent order. The first question asked by Sri Sivaprakasam Pillai was, ‘Nan Yar? (Who am I?)’, to which Sage Ramana replied, ‘Arive nan’, which means ‘Knowledge alone is I’, the Tamil word ‘arivu’ being approximately equivalent to the Sanskrit word ‘jnana’ or the English word ‘knowledge.’ Sivaprakasam Pillai then asked, ‘What is the nature of (this) knowledge?’, and Sage Ramana answered, ‘Arivin swarupam sat-chitanandam’ (The nature of this knowledge is truth consciousness bliss). Except these two answers, the whole of the second paragraph was not part of the replies actually given by Sage Ramana. Therefore, when the manuscript of this work was first brought to Him by Sri Manikkam Pillai, the disciple of Sri Sivaprakasam Pillai, Sage Ramana asked with wonder, ‘I did not give this portion, how did it find place here?’ (Refer to the note below). ‘When Sivaprakasam Pillai was copying Sage Ramana`s answers in his notebook, he added this portion thinking it would help him to understand that first answer more clearly’, explained Manikkam Pillai. “Oh yes, he was already familiar with the scriptural teaching ‘neti, neti (not this, not this)’, and for that reason he would have thought so”, remarked Sage Ramana. Later, while preparing the essay version, Sage Ramana did not, however, omit this added portion, but simply marked His own answers in bold type. [Note : Since the nature of Sage Ramana is to avoid using the obscure terminology of the scriptures (sastras) and thereby confusing the reader, He would not have liked to mention all the scriptural classifications of the non-Self given in this portion.]

Among all the prose works of Sage Ramana, ‘Nan Yar? (Who am I)’ holds a place of undisputed and unequalled prominence. Indeed, it may be regarded as the very cornerstone of Sage Ramana’s


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teachings, for within these twenty brief paragraphs all His basic teachings are summarized in a clear and undiluted fashion. Therefore, on account of the importance of this work, for which we owe a great debt of gratitude to Sri Sivaprakasam Pillai, an English translation is given here. (Refer to the note below). [Note : The reader may be interested to hear the following incident, which indicates that this sincere and whole-hearted disciple attained the goal for which he so earnestly sought. When, in 1948, a telegram was brought to Sage Ramana conveying the news of the passing away of Sri Sivaprakasam Pillai, He remarked, ‘Sivaprakasam sivaprakasamanar’, which means ‘Sivaprakasam has become Sivaprakasam, the light of Siva – the spiritual aspirant has attained Selfrealisation.’]

While preparing this translation, an attempt has been made to make it as precise and as faithful to the original Tamil as possible, even if at times this had to be at the expense of an elegant style of English. The division of the text into paragraphs and sentences, and the order of the sentences, corresponds exactly to the original, and as far as possible the structure of each sentence is of the same form as that in the original. All the portions which are printed in bold in the original are also in bold in this translation, while other key sentences which are not in bold in Tamil have here been printed in italics. In the whole of the original text, only one word is within brackets, namely, in the fourth paragraph, the word ‘shines’ (prakasikkum) after the word ‘Self appears’. All other portions which are within brackets and some of the words added not shown within brackets in this translation have been included either to indicate the exact Tamil or Sanskrit word used in the original, or to make the meaning of the text more clear, or to complete the sense of a sentence which, when literally translated, does not form a complete or distinctly intelligible sentence in English. Notes have similarly been added in the translation and none of them are in the original. While translating, all the other existing translations of this work have also been closely compared in order that none of their good points (such as appropriate words, formations of sentences, and so on) should be missed in this translation. Text


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Since all living beings (jivas) desire to be always happy, without any misery, since one loves oneself the most (parama priyam), and since one does so for the sake of happiness alone, therefore in order to obtain that happiness, which is one’s very nature and which is experienced daily in deep sleep, where there is no mind, it is necessary for one to know oneself. For that, enquiry (jnana vichara) in the form “Who am I?” alone is the principal means (mukhya sadhana). Who am I? The gross body, which is composed of the seven dhatus (chyle, blood, flesh, fat, marrow, bone and semen), is not ‘I’. The five sense organs (jnanendriyas), namely the ears, skin, eyes, tongue and nose, which individually and respectively know the five sense knowledge’s (vishayas), namely sound, touch, sight, taste and smell, are not ‘I’. The five organs of action (karmendriyas), namely the mouth, legs, hands, anus, and genitals, the functions of which are respectively speaking, walking, giving, excreting and enjoying, are not ‘I’. The five vital airs such as prana, which perform the five vital functions such as respiration, are not ‘I’. Even the mind, which thinks, is not ‘I’. Even the ignorance (of deep sleep), in which only the latent tendencies towards sense-knowledge’s (vishayas-vasanas) remain and which is devoid of all sense knowledge and all actions, is not “I”. After negating all that is mentioned above (as ‘not I, not I’), the knowledge which remains alone, itself is ‘I’. And most importantly the nature of this knowledge is truth-consciousnessbliss (sat-chit-ananda). If the mind, which is the cause and base of all knowledge (all objective knowledge) and all action, subsides, the perception of the world (jagat-drishti) will cease. Just as the knowledge of the rope, which is the base, will not be obtained unless the knowledge of the snake, the superimposition, goes, so the realization of the Self (swarupadarsanam), which is the base, will not be obtained unless the perception of the world (jagat-drishti) which is a superimposition ceases. What is called mind (manam) is a wondrous power existing in the Self (atma-swarupam). It projects all thoughts. If we set aside all thoughts and see, there will be no such things as mind remaining separate; therefore, thought itself is the nature or form of the mind. Other than thoughts, there is no such thing as the world, that is, all the things of this world are merely thoughts. In deep sleep there are


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no thoughts, and hence there is no world; in waking and dream there are thoughts, and hence there is the world also. Just as the spider spins out the thread from within itself and again withdraws it into itself, so the mind projects the world from within itself and again absorbs it into itself. When the mind comes out rises from the Self, the world appears. Therefore, when the world appears, Self will not appear; and when Self appears (shines), the world will not appear. If one goes on scrutinizing the nature of the mind, it will finally be found that ‘oneself’ alone is what is now mistaken to be the mind. What is here called ‘oneself’ (tan) is verily Self (atma-swarupam). The mind can exist only by always depending upon something gross (that is, only by always identifying a gross name-and-form, a body, as ‘I’); by itself it cannot stand. It is the mind alone that is called the subtle body (sukshma sarira) or soul (jiva). That which rises in this body as ‘I’ (‘I am this body’) is the mind. If one enquires “In which place in the body does the thought ‘I’ rise first?” it will be known to be in the heart (hridayam). (Refer to the note below). That is the source (literally, birth-place) of the mind. Even if one incessantly thinks “I, I”, it will lead to that place (our true state, Self). Of all the thoughts that rise in the mind, the thought ‘I’ (the feeling ‘I am the body’) is the first thought. It is only after the rising of this that all other thoughts rise. It is only after the rising of the first person (the subject, ‘I’, whose form is the feeling ‘I am this body’ or ‘I am so-and-so’) that the second and third persons (the objects, ‘you’, ‘he’, ‘she’, ‘it’, ‘this’, ‘that’, and so on) appear; without the first person, the second and third persons will not exist. {Note : As a general rule, whenever Sage Ramana uses the word ‘place’ (idam), He is referring to our true state, Self, rather than to any place limited by time and space. This is confirmed in the next paragraph of this work, where He says, “The place (idam) where even the slightest trace of the thought ‘I’ does not exist, alone is Self (swarupam)”. Therefore, when Sage Ramana says in this sentence, “If one enquires ‘In which place in the body….”, what He in fact expects us to do is to enquire ‘From what?’, in which case the answer will not be a place in the body, but only ‘we’, Self, the truly existing Thing. Hence, as Sage Ramana himself often explained, the true import of the word ‘heart’ (hridayam) is not a limited place in the body, but only the unlimited Self (refer to Upadesa Manjari, chapter two, answer to question 9). However, since the mind or ego (‘I’- thought) can rise only by identifying a body as ‘I’, a place for its rising can also be pointed out in the body, ‘two digits to the right


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from the centre of the chest’, though of course such a place can never be the absolute reality.}

The mind will subside only by means of the enquiry ‘Who am I?’ Because the mind as an entity by itself doesn’t really exist and therefore our enquiry will lead us only to what truly exists of its own accord, which is the Self. The thought ‘Who am I?’ which is but a means for turning our attention Self wards, destroying all other thoughts, will itself finally be destroyed like the stick used for stirring the funeral pyre. If other thoughts rise thereby indicating that Self attention is lost, one should, without attempting to complete them, enquire ‘To whom did they rise?’ What does it matter however many thoughts rise? The means to set aside thought attention and regain Self-attention is as follows - At the very moment that each though rises, if one vigilantly enquires “To whom did this rise?’ it will be known ‘To me’. If one then enquires ‘Who am I?’ the mind (our power of attention) will turn back from the thought to its source Self; then, since no one is there to attend to it the thought which had risen will also subside. By repeatedly practicing thus, the power of the mind to abide in its source increases. When the mind (the attention), which is subtle, goes out through the brain and senseorgans which are gross, the names-and-forms the objects of the world, which are gross, appear; when it abides in the heart its source, Self, the names-and-forms disappear. Keeping the mind in the heart through the above-described means of fixing our attention in Self, not allowing it to go out, alone is called ‘Self ward-ness’ (ahamkham) or ‘introversion’ (antarmukham). Allowing it to go out from the heart alone is called ‘extroversion’ (bahirmukham). When the mind thus abides in the heart, the ‘I’ (the thought ‘I’, the ego), which is the root of all thoughts, having vanished, the ever-existing Self alone will shine. The place (or state) where even the slightest trace of the thought ‘I’ does not exist, alone is Self (swarupam). That alone is called silence (maunam). To be still (summa iruppadu) in this manner alone is called ‘seeing through (the eye of) knowledge’ (jnana-drishti). To be still is to make the mind subside in Self (through Self-attention). Other than this, knowing the thoughts of others, knowing the three times (past, present and future), and knowing events in distant places – all these can never be jnanadrishti (seeing through true knowledge). What really exists is Self (atma-swarupam) alone. The world, soul and God are superimpositions in it like the silver in the


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mother-of-pearl; these three appear simultaneously and disappear simultaneously. Self itself is the world; Self itself is ‘I’ (the soul); Self itself is God; all is the Supreme Self (Siva-swarupam). To make the mind subside, there is no adequate means other than enquiry (vichara). If controlled by other means, the mind will remain as if subsided, but will rise again. Even by breath-control (Pranayamas) the mind will subside; however, the mind will remain subsided only so long as the breath (prana) remains subsided, and when the prana (breath) comes out the mind will also come out and wander under the sway of tendencies (vasanas). The source of the mind and of the prana (breath) is one and the same. Thought itself is the nature of the mind. The thought ‘I’ is indeed the first thought of the mind; that itself is the ego (‘I’ thought). From where the ego (‘I’ - thought) originates, from there alone the breath also rises. Therefore, when the mind subsides the prana (breath) will also subside, and when the prana (breath) subsides the mind will also subside. But in deep sleep (sushupti), although the mind subsides, the prana (breath) does not subside. It is arranged thus by God’s plan for the protection of the body and so that others may not mistake the body to be dead. When the mind subsides in the waking state and in Self-absorption (Samadhi), the prana subsides. The prana (breath) is the gross form of the mind. Till the time of death, the mind keeps the prana in the body, and when the body dies, the mind forcibly carries away the prana (breath). Therefore, Pranayamas (breath control) is a mere aid for controlling the mind, but will not bring about the destruction of the mind (mano-nasa). (Refer to the note below). [Note: Since the mind is able to carry away the prana (breath) forcibly at the time of death, we have to understand that the prana (breath) is less powerful than the mind. That is why Sage Ramana says that Pranayamas (breath control) is merely an aid for controlling the mind, but that it cannot make the mind subside. If, on the other hand, the mind is controlled (made to subside) through Self-enquiry (atma vichara) and right knowledge (jnana), that alone will be sufficient, and we need not then bother about controlling the prana (breath).]

Just like the Pranayamas (breath control), meditation upon a form of God (murti-dhyana), repetition of sacred words (mantrajapa) and regulation of diet (ahara-niyama) are mere aids for controlling the mind, but cannot by them make the mind subside. Through murti-dhyana (meditation upon a form of God) and through


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mantra-japa (repetition of sacred words), the mind gains onepointedness (ekagram). Just as when a chain is given to an elephant to hold in its trunk, which is always wandering (here and there trying to catch hold of things), that elephant will go along holding only the chain instead of trying to catch any other thing, so also when the mind, which is always wandering, is trained to hold on to any one name or form (of God), it will only cling to that. Because the mind branches out into innumerable thoughts, each thought becomes very weak. As thoughts subside more and more, one-pointedness is gained, and for the mind which has thereby gained strength, Selfenquiry (atma-vichara) will easily be attained. Through mita sattvika ahara-niyama (regulating one’s diet, refer to the note below), which is the best of all regulations, the sattvic (pure) quality of the mind, having been increased, becomes an aid to Self-enquiry. [Note: In relation to the practice of japa (repetition either mentally or verbally the name of God) and dhyana (meditation or contemplation) it is important to remember the following instruction from Sage Ramana ‘One should not use the name (or form) of God mechanically and superficially, without the feeling of devotion (bhakti). To use the name of God, one must call upon Him with yearning and unreservedly surrender to Him.’ (Maharishi’s Gospel, Book One, chapter four). Mita sattvika ahara-niyama means regulating one’s diet by taking only moderate quantities of food (mita ahara) and by strictly avoiding non-sattvic foods, that is, all non-vegetarian foods such as eggs, fish and meat, all intoxicants such as alcohol and tobacco, excessively pungent, sour and salty tastes, excess of onions and garlics, and so on. Furthermore, the Sanskrit word ‘ahara’ means ‘that which is taken in’, so in a broader sense ahara-niyama means not only regulation of diet, but also regulation of all that is taken in by the mind through the five senses.]

Although tendencies towards sense-objects (vishayavasanas), which have been recurring down the ages, rise in countless number like the waves of the ocean, they will all perish as Self-attention (swarupa-dhyana) becomes more and more intense. Without giving room even to the doubting thought, ‘Is it possible to destroy all these tendencies (vasanas) and to remain as Self alone?”, one should persistently cling fast to Self-attention. However great, a sinner one may be, if, not lamenting “Oh, I am a sinner! How can I attain salvation?’ but completely giving up even the thought that one is a sinner, and if one is steadfast in Self-attention, one will surely be saved. (Refer to the note below). [Note : The Tamil Word used here is ‘uruppaduvam’, which in an ordinary sense means ‘will be properly shaped’, ‘will be reformed’ or ‘will succeed in one’s endeavor’, but in a deeper sense means ‘will attain Self’ (uru = Self or swarupa; paduvam = will attain or will be establish in).]


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As long as there are tendencies towards sense-objects (vishayas-vasanas) in the mind, so long the enquiry “Who am I?” is necessary. As and when thoughts rise, one should annihilate all of them through enquiry then and there in their very place of origin. Not attending to what-is-other (anya, that is, to any second or third person object) is non-attachment (vairagya) or desire-less-ness (nirasa); not leaving Self is knowledge (jnana). In truth, these two desire-less-ness and knowledge are one and the same. Just as a pearldiver, tying a stone to his waist, dives into the sea and takes the pearl lying at the bottom, so everyone, diving deep within oneself with nonattachment (vairagya), can attain the pearl of Self. If one resorts uninterruptedly to Self-remembrance (swarupasmaranai, that is, remembrance of or attention to the mere feeling ‘I’) until one attains Self, that alone will be sufficient. As long as there are enemies within the fort, they will continue to come out. If one continues to cut all of them as and when they come, the fort will fall into our hands. God and Guru (spiritual guide) are in truth not different. Just as the prey that has fallen into the jaws of a tiger cannot escape, so those who have come under the glance of the Guru’s (spiritual guides) Grace will surely be saved and will never be forsaken; yet, one should follow without fail the path shown by the Guru (spiritual guide). Remaining firmly in Self-abidance (atma-nistha), without giving even the least room to the rising of any thought other than the thought of Self (atma-chintanai) (refer to the note below), is surrendering oneself to God. However much burden we throw on God, He bears all of it. Since the one Supreme Ruling Power (parameswara sakti) is performing all activities, why should we, instead of yielding our self to it, constantly think, ‘I should act in this way; I should act in that way?’ When we know the train is bearing all the burdens, why should we who travel in it, instead of placing even our small luggage in it and being happily at ease, suffer by bearing it (our luggage) on our own head? [‘The thought of Self’ (atma-chintanai) means only Self attention. Though Sage Ramana here uses the word ‘thought’ (chintanai) to denote Self-attention, it is to be understood that Self-attention is not a mental activity. Attending to Self is nothing but abiding as Self, and hence it is not a ‘doing’ but ‘being’, that is, it is not a mental


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activity but our natural state of mere existence. Refer to the first benedictory verse of Ulladu Narpadu (Forty verses on Reality), in which Sage Ramana has revealed that the correct way to ‘think of’ (meditate upon) Self is to abide in Self as Self.] What is called happiness (sukham) is but the nature of Self; happiness and Self are not different. Self-happiness (atma-sukham) alone exists; that alone is real. There is no happiness at all in even a single thing of the world. We think we derive happiness from them on account of our wrong discrimination (aviveka). When the mind comes out, it experiences misery (duhkam). In truth, whenever our thoughts (desires) are fulfilled, the mind, turning back to its source (Self), experiences Self-happiness alone. Similarly, during the time of sleep, Self-absorption (Samadhi) and swoon, and when the things that we like are obtained and when evil befalls the things that we dislike, the mind becomes introverted and experiences Self-happiness alone. In this way the mind wanders without rest, going out leaving the Self, and (then again) returning within. Under the tree, the shade is delightful. Outside, the Sun’s heat is scorching. A person who is wandering outside reaches the shade and is cooled. After a while he starts out, but, unable to bear the scorching of the heat, comes again under the tree. In this way, he is engaged in going from the shade into the hot sunshine, and coming back from the hot sunshine into the shade. He who acts in this manner is a person lacking discrimination (aviveki). But a person of discrimination (viveki) will never leave the shade. Similarly, the mind of the Sage (jnani) never leaves Brahman (that is, Self). But the mind of the ignorant one (ajnani) is such that wandering in the world it suffer, and turning back to Brahman (the Universal Self; the Absolute) for a while enjoys happiness. What is called the world is nothing but thought. When the world disappears, that is, when there is no thought, the mind experiences bliss (ananda); when the world appears, it experiences misery. Just as in the mere presence of the Sun, which rises without desire (ichcha), intention (sankalpa) or effort (yatnam), the sun-stone (the magnifying lens emits heat) emits fire, the lotus blossoms, water evaporates and people begin, perform and stop their work, and just as


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in front of a magnet the needle moves, so it is through the mere influence of the presence of God, who is without intention (sankalpa), that the souls (jivas), who are governed by the three divine functions (muttozhil) or five divine functions (panchakrityas) (refer to the note below), perform and stop their activities in accordance with their respective karmas (that is, in accordance not only with their prarabdha karma or destiny, but also with their purva karma-vasanas or former tendencies towards action). Nevertheless, He (God) is not one who has intention (sankalpa). Not even a single action (karma) will affect (literally, touch) Him. That is like the actions in the world not affecting the Sun, and like the good and bad qualities of the other four elements (namely earth, water, air and fire) not affecting the all-pervading space (the fifth element). [Note : According to the different classifications given in scriptures, the divine functions are said to be three, namely creation (srishti), sustenance (sthiri) and destruction (samhara), or five, namely these three plus veiling (tirodhana) and Grace (anugraha).]

Since it is said in all the scriptures that in order to attain liberation (mukti) one should control the mind, after coming to know that mind-control (mano-nigraha) (refer to the note A below) alone is the final decision (injunction) of the scriptures, to read the scriptures endlessly is fruitless. In order to control the mind, it is necessary to enquire within oneself who one is, and how, instead to enquire (and know who one is) in the scriptures? One should know oneself through one’s own eye of knowledge (jnana-kan). For Rama to know himself to be Rama is a mirror necessary? ‘Oneself’ (refer to the note B below) is within the five sheaths (pancha kosas); whereas the scriptures are outside them. Therefore, enquiring in the scriptures about oneself, who is to be enquired into (attended to) setting aside even the five sheaths, is futile. Enquiring ‘Who am I that am in bondage?’ and knowing one’s real nature (swarupam) alone is liberation (mukti). Always keeping the mind (the attention) fixed in Self (in the feeling ‘I’) alone is called ‘Self-enquiry’ (atma-vichara); whereas meditation (dhyana) is thinking oneself to be the Absolute (Brahman), which is truth-consciousness-bliss (sat-chit-ananda). All that one has learnt will at one time have to be forgotten. [Note (A) : The Tamil Word used here by Sage Ramana for ‘control’ is ‘adakku’, which literally means ‘make subside’ or ‘make cease from activity.’ Such control (adakkam) or subsidence (odukkam) may be either temporary (mano-laya or


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temporary subsidence of mind) or permanent (mano-nasa or complete subsidence of the mind), as said by Sage Ramana in verse 13 of Upadesa Undhiyar (The Essence of Instruction), In this context, however, the word “control” (adakku) means only ‘destroy’, for Sage Ramana has revealed in verse 40 of Ulladu Narpadu (Forty verses on Reality), that destruction of the ego (or mind or ‘I’ -thought) alone is liberation.}] [Note (B) : In this context, the word ‘oneself’ (tan) denotes the ego (‘I’ – thought), which identifies the five sheaths as ‘I’ and ‘my place’, rather than Self, which is beyond all limitations such as ‘in’ and ‘out’. Just as Rama does not need a mirror in order to know that the body called ‘Rama’ is himself, since the feeling ‘I am Rama, this body’ is within that body, so we do not need scriptures to know that we exist, since the feeling of our existence is not within the scriptures but only within the five sheaths, which are now felt to be ‘I’. Therefore, in order to know who we are, we must attend not to the scriptures, which are outside the five sheaths, but only to the feeling ‘I’, which is within the five sheaths. (The human being is organized in five sheaths or kosha: Annamaya kosha is the physical body; literally the food sheath; Pranamaya kosha is the energy sheath, made up of prana Manomaya kosha is the sheath or level of mind, as sensory-motor mind; Vijnanamaya kosha is the level of intellect, knowing, or mind in its witness form and Anandamaya kosha is the sheath of bliss or ananda, where mind and thoughts are still). Moreover, since the five sheaths are veiling our true nature, even they are to be set aside (left unattended to) when we thus enquire into (attend to) our self.}

Just as is fruitless for one to scrutinize the garbage which is to be collectively thrown away, so it is fruitless for one who is to know himself to count the number and scrutinize the properties of the tattvas (the principles that constitute the world, soul and God) which are veiling oneself, instead of collectively casting all of them aside (refer to the note below). One should consider the universe (one’s whole life in this world) to be like a dream. [Note: From the opinion of Sage Ramana expressed in this sentence, the reader can now understand why it was said in the first note of the introduction. ‘…He would not have liked to mention all the scriptural classifications of the non-Self (the tattvas meaning the primary principles, elements, states or categories of existence, which are veiling our true nature) given in this portion.’]

Except that waking is long and dream is short (refer to the note below), there is no difference (between the two). To the extent to which all the events which happen in waking appear to be real, to that same extent even the events which happen in dream appear at that time to be real. In dream, the mind assumes another body. In both waking and dream, thoughts and names-and-forms (objects) come into existence simultaneously (and hence there is no difference between these two states).


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[Note : Though Sage Ramana says that waking is long and dream is short, He reveals the actual truth in verse 560 of Guru Vachaka Kovai (The Collection of Guru’s Sayings), where He says “The answer ‘Waking is long and dream is short’ was given as a mere (formal) reply to the questioner. (In truth, however, no such difference exists, because, since time itself is a mental conception,) the conception of differences in time (such as ‘long’ and ‘short’) appears to be true only because of the deceitful play o f maya, the mind.”]

There are not two minds, a good mind and a bad mind. The mind is only one. Tendencies (vasanas) alone are of two kinds, auspicious (subha) and inauspicious (asubha). When the mind is under the influence of auspicious tendencies it is called a good mind, and when it is under the influence of inauspicious tendencies, a bad mind. However bad others may appear to be, one should not dislike them. Likes and dislikes are both to be disliked. One should not allow the mind to dwell much upon worldly matters. As far as possible, one should not interfere in the affairs of others. All that one gives to others, one gives only to oneself. If this truth is known, who indeed will not give to others? If oneself (the ego or ‘I’-thought) rises, all will rise; if one subsides, all will subside. To the extent to which we behave humbly, to that extent (and that extent only) will good result. If one can remain controlling the mind (keeping the mind subsided), one can live anywhere


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ULLADU NARPADU (FORTY VERSES ON REALITY) Introduction Ulladu Narpadu, the ‘Forty Verses on Reality’, is a Tamil poem that Sage Ramana composed in July and August 1928, when Sri Muruganar an outstanding Tamil poet and devotee of the sage, asked him to teach us the nature of the reality and the means by which we can attain it. In the title of this poem, the word (ulladu) means ‘that which is’ or ‘being’, and is an important term that is often used in spiritual or philosophical literature to denote ‘that which is real’ or ‘that which really is’. Hence in a spiritual context the meaning clearly implied by ulladu, is our true nature of Selfawareness. ‘So that we may be saved, (graciously) reveal to us the nature of reality and the means to attain (or experience) it.’ This is the prayer that Sri Muruganar made to Sage Ramana when requesting him to compose Ulladu Narpadu (Forty verses on Reality), and these are the words with which Sri Muruganar begins the first verse of his preface to this great work. In answer to this prayer Sage Ramana composed Ulladu Narpadu (Forty verses on Reality), and in accordance with it the sage thus revealed to us not only the nature of reality, but also the means by which we can attain direct experience of it. As the sage revealed, the only reality ulladu or ‘that which is’, is our own essential Self, and the only means by which we can experience it directly is just to ‘be as it is’ by turning our attention away from all otherness or duality towards our own essential thought-free Self-awareness being, ‘I am’.. The ‘Forty verses on Reality’, are the most comprehensive exposition of Sage Ramana’s teaching, and will strike a cord with the readers as being the most complete, the deepest, and the most tersely expressed writings of the sage. These verses have been published as separate books by Sri Ramanasramam (the hermitage of Sage Ramana at Tiruvannamalai in India) under the titles ‘Ulladu Narpadu’, ‘Sad Vidya’ and ‘Truth Revealed’. [Note : The following section closely follows all the explanations and quotations given by Sri Sadhu Om and Michael James in ‘Ulladu Narpadu’ (chapter 1 of Sri Ramanopadesa Noonmalai, 1 Edition, 2007, pages 1 to 85), and all the


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portions in this section are directly quoted from their translation and explanations in that chapter.]

Prefatory Verses 1. When Muruganar entreated, “(Graciously) reveal to us the nature of Reality and the means of attaining it so that we may be saved”, the noble Sri Ramana, being free from the delusion of the unreal world, joyously and authoritatively revealed Ulladu Narpadu (The Forty verses on Reality). 2. Know that Sri Ramana, aptly converted those Forty Verses on Reality, which He had sung to proclaim that the Reality is one, into one excellent Kalivenba and gave (it to the world) so that those who say that the Reality is not one, but many, may understand (the oneness of Reality). Benedictory Verses 1. If the Reality ‘I’ did not exist, could there exist the consciousness ‘am’ (the consciousness of one’s own existence)? Since (that) Reality exists in the heart devoid of thought, how to (or who can) meditate upon (that) Reality, which is called the Heart? Know that abiding in the Heart as it is (that is, without thought, as ‘I am’), alone is meditating (upon the Reality). 2. Mature souls who have intense inner fear of death cling to the Feet of the deathless and birth-less Great Lord as (their) refuge. By their clinging (thus to His Feet), they have died as individuals and have thereby become one with that deathless Lord. (Therefore) Can (such) deathless people (again) have the thought of death? (They are) eternal. 3. Thus we should understand from these two benedictory verses that though the paths of Self-enquiry and self surrender are described as though they were two different paths, they are in practice one and the same. Text 1. Because we, who are joined with sight, see the world, accepting one principle (or ‘first thing’) which has a manifold power is indispensable. The picture of names and forms, the seer, the co-existing screen and the pervading light – all these are He, who is Self. 2. Every religion first postulates three principles, the world, God and soul. ‘Arguing the one principle (mentioned in the


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previous verse) alone exists as, the three principles, (No), the three principles are always three principles’ is (possible) only so long as the ego (‘I’ - thought) exists. Abiding in one’s own state (the state of Self), ‘I’ (the ego or ‘I’ thought) having been annihilated, is the highest. 3. ‘The world is real’, ‘(No, it is) an unreal appearance’; ‘the world is sentient’, ‘It is not’; ‘the world is happiness’, ‘It is not’ – what is the use of arguing thus in vain? Having given up the world and having known oneself, both one and two (duality) having come to an end – that state in which ‘I’ has ceased to exist is agreeable to all. 4. If oneself is a form composed of flesh, the world and God will be likewise (that is, they will also be forms); if oneself is not a form, who can see their forms, and how? Can the sight (that which is seen) be otherwise than the eye (the seer)? Self, the (real) eye is the limitless eye (the eye which is devoid of the limitation of name and form). 5. If we scrutinize, the body is a form (composed) of five sheaths (pancha-kosas). Therefore, all the five (sheaths) are included in the term ‘body’ (that is, any of the five sheaths may be denoted when we use the term ‘body’). Without the body, does the world exist? (That is, in the absence of any of the five sheaths, does any world, subtle or gross, exist?) Say, is there anyone who, having given up the body, (that is, having given up identifying the body as ‘I’, as in sleep, death or Self-realization), has seen the world? [Note: The human being is organized in five sheaths or kosha: Annamaya kosha is the physical body; literally the food sheath; Pranamaya kosha is the energy sheath, made up of prana Manomaya kosha is the sheath or level of mind, as sensory-motor mind; Vijnanamaya kosha is the level of intellect, knowing, or mind in its witness form and Anandamaya kosha is the sheath of bliss or ananda, where mind and thoughts are still.]

6. The world which is seen is nothing other than the form of the five senses - knowledge (sight, sound, smell, taste and touch). Those five sense- knowledge are sensations (known) to the five sense-organs. Since the one mind (or the mind alone) knows the world through the five sense organs, say, without the mind does the world exist?


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[That is, in the absence of the mind which perceives it, does any such thing as a world exist? Hence the world depends for its seeming existence upon the mind.] 7. Although the world, which is (seen) in front (of us), and the mind (which sees it) rise (appear or come into existence) and subside (disappear or cease to exist) simultaneously, the world (exists and) shines (only) because of (or by) the mind. That which is the Whole (purna) and which shines without appearing and disappearing as the base for the appearance and disappearance of the world and mind alone is the Reality. 8. Whoever worships (the nameless and formless Reality) in whatever form giving (it) whatever name, that is the way to see that (nameless and formless) Reality in (that) name and form, (because) it is possible (to see it thus). However, becoming one (with the Reality), having known one’s own truth (that is, having known the truth that one is not the ego or the ‘I’ - thought, the individual who worships and sees names and forms, but only the real Self, who never sees names and forms) and having (thereby) subsided in the (nameless and formless) truth of that Reality, alone is seeing in truth (in other words, being the Reality is alone truly seeing the Reality). Know thus. 9. The dyads and the triads, (which are unreal appearances like) the blueness of the sky, exist by always clinging to the one (the ego or mind, the thought ‘I am the body’). If one looks within the mind ‘What is that one?’ (in other words, ‘who am I, the ego or the ‘I’ - thought upon whom these dyads and triads depend for their existence?’), they (the dyads and triads) will slip off. (Since their base the ego, (‘I’thought’) will be found to be non-existent) (That is, they will disappear, being found to be non-existent, because their support and base, the ego (‘I’-thought’), will itself be found to be non-existent). Only those who have (thus) seen the non-existence of the ego (‘I’-thought’) and of all its products, namely the dyads and triads are those who have seen the truth; (the real Self, which is the source and absolute base upon which the unreal ego (‘I’-thought’) seems to exist). (After seeing thus) they will not be perturbed (by the unreal appearance of the dyads and triads, because in


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their outlook those dyads and triads will be non-existent). See thus. 10. Without ignorance (about objects), which is dense like darkness, knowledge (about objects) does not exist; (similarly) without knowledge (about objects), that ignorance does not exist. Only the knowledge which knows the (non-existence of the individual) self (the ego or the ‘I’ thought), who is the base (of knowledge and ignorance about objects), (by enquiring ‘to whom are that knowledge and ignorance?’) is (true) Knowledge. 11. Knowing other things without knowing oneself (the ‘I’ thought), who knows the objects known, is (only) ignorance; can it instead be (true) knowledge? When (through the enquiry ‘Who am I’, the individual who knows the objects known) one knows (the non-existence of) oneself (the knowing ego or the ‘I’ - thought) the base for knowledge and the other (that is, the base of knowledge and ignorance about objects) will cease to exist. 12. That (state) which is completely devoid of knowledge and ignorance (about objects) is (true) knowledge. That which knows (anything as other than itself) is not true knowledge. Since Self shines without another (for it) to know or to make (it) known, it is (true) knowledge; it is not a void (though devoid of both knowledge and ignorance about objects). Know thus. 13. Self (‘I am’) which is (clear and) abundant knowledge (jnana), alone is real. Knowledge which is many (this is the knowledge which knows the many objects of this world) is ignorance (ajnana). Even (that) ignorance (the knowledge of the many objects of this world), which is unreal, does not exist apart from Self, which is only (real) knowledge. All the many ornaments are unreal; say, do they exist apart from the gold, which (alone) is real? Since the one non-dual Self alone is real, and since the many objects of this world (which are mere names and forms) are therefore unreal, the knowledge which knows those many objects is only ignorance and not real knowledge. Sage Ramana declares this ignorance (ajnana) to be unreal because, though it seems


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to exist in the deluded outlook of the individual who is under its sway it is completely non-existent in the true outlook of ‘Self.’’ However, just as the many unreal names and forms of the ornaments could not even seem to exist if there did not exist the one real substance, the gold, and just as the unreal snake could not even seem to exist if there did not exist the real rope, so this unreal ignorance, the knowledge which knows many-ness, could not even seem to exist if there did not exist the one real knowledge, the Self. 14. If that first person (the ego or subject, ‘I’) named ‘I am the body’ exists, the second and third persons (the objects, ‘you’, ‘he’, ‘she’, ‘it’, ‘this’, ‘that’ and so on) will exist. If the first person ceases to exist by one’s scrutinizing the truth of the first person, the second and third persons will cease to exist, and the state (which will then remain) shining as one (that is, as the one real Self and not as the unreal three persons), is indeed one’s own nature (the real nature or state of self). 15. The past and future stand (only by) depending upon the present, which remains always. While occurring they (the past and future) is both only the present. (Therefore) the present is the only one (time). (In other words, there are not three times, the past, present and future; there is only one time, the present). (Hence) trying to know the past and future without knowing the truth of the present (that is, without knowing the truth that the present is nonexistent as one of the three times, and that the sole reality underlying the sense of present time is the ever-existing Self) is (like) trying to count without (knowing the value of the unit) one. 16. When we scrutinize except ‘we’, the known existing reality (‘I am’) where is time and where is place? (That is, when we keenly scrutinize our self through the enquiry ‘Who am I?’, it will be found that there exists no such thing as time or place, but only ‘we’, the reality or Self.). If we are the body, (that is if we mistake oneself to be the body), we shall be caught in time and place; (But) are we the body? (If we enquire ‘If I am not the body, then who am I?’ we will realize that since we are the one (reality) now, then and always, the one (reality) here, there and everywhere, we – the ‘we’ (Self) who is devoid of time and place – (alone) exist (and time and place do not exist).


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17. To those who have not known Self and to those who have known (Self), this defective (or fleshy) body is ‘I’. (But) to those who have not known Self, ‘I’ is (limited to) only the measure of the body, (whereas) to those who have known Self within the body (that is, within the lifetime of the body), ‘I’, the Self, shines without limit. Know that this indeed is the difference between them. 18. To those who do not have knowledge (of Self) and to those who do have (knowledge of Self), the world which is seen in front (of them) is real. (But) to those who have not known (Self), the reality is (limited to) the measure of the world (that is, to its names and forms), (whereas) to those who have known (Self), the reality abides devoid of (name and) form as the substratum of the world. Know that this is the difference between them. 19. The dispute as to which prevails, fate or freewill, is only for those who do not have correct knowledge of the root of fate and freewill, which are different (from each other). (That is, this dispute arises only for those who do not know that the ego or the ‘I’ - thought, who experiencer of fate and the wielder of freewill, is truly non-existent). Those who have known the (non-existence of the individual) self (the ego or the ‘I’ - thought), who is the one (and only) base of fate and freewill, have discarded them. (That is, they have discarded fate and free will along with their root and base, the ego or the ‘I’ - thought). Say, will they again become entangled in them (in fate and free will, or in the dispute about them)? 20. Oneself seeing God leaving oneself (that is, oneself seeing God without seeing oneself, the ego or the ‘I’ thought), who sees what comes (in front of one), is (merely) seeing a mental vision (a manasika Darshana or imaginary appearance). He who (through the enquiry ’Who am I?’) sees the (real) Self, the source of the (individual) self, alone is he who has (truly) seen God, because the (real) Self – (which shines forth) after the base, the (individual) self, (the ego), has perished – is not other than God. 21. If it is asked, ‘what is the truth of the many scriptures which speak of oneself seeing oneself, whom one thinks to be an individual soul, and seeing God? (The reply will be as follows: since oneself (the first person feeling ‘I’) is one


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(and not two), how is oneself to see oneself? (Then) if it is impossible (for one) to see (one Self), how (is one) to see God (who is the substratum or Reality of oneself)? To become a prey (to God, who is the real Self) is seeing (God). 22. Except by turning the mind inwards (towards the feeling ‘I am’) and (thereby) sinking (it) in the Lord, who shines within that mind (as its substratum) giving light (the light of consciousness) to the mind, which sees everything (other than itself), how is it possible to know (or to meditate upon) the Lord by the mind? Consider thus. 23. Since it is not sentient, this body does not say ‘I’. (That is it does not itself have any inherent consciousness of its own existence). No one says, ‘In sleep (where the body does not exist) I do not exist.’ After an ‘I’ rises (from sleep as ‘I am the body’), everything (all the second and third person objects of the world) rises. When one scrutinizes with keen mind “Where does this ‘I’ rise?” it will slip away (being found to be non-existent). 24. The insentient body does not say (or feel) ‘I’. Truth consciousness (sat-chit, the real Self) does not rise (or subside). (But) in between (these two) an ‘I’ rises as the measure of the body that is in between the body and the real Self a limited ‘I’ – consciousness in the form ‘I am this body rises in waking and subsides again in sleep). Know that this (‘I am the body’ – consciousness) is (what is called by various names such as) the knot between consciousness and the insentient (chit-jada-granthi), bondage (bandha), the individual soul (jiva), subtle body (sukshma sarira), ego (ahantai), this mundane state of activity (samsara) and mind (manas). 25. What a wonder! (This) ghostly ego, which is devoid of form (that is, which has no form of its own), comes into existence by grasping a form (that is, by identifying the form of a body as ‘I’); it endures by grasping a form (that is, by continuing to cling to that body as ‘I’); it waxes more by grasping and feeding upon forms (that is, by attending to second and third person objects, which it perceives through the five senses); having left a form, it grasps a form (that is, having given up one body, it grasps another body as ‘I’); (but) if one searches (for it by enquiring ‘Who am I, this


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formless ego?’), it will take to flight (being found to be nonexistent)! Know thus. 26. If the ego (‘I’ – thought), which is the embryo comes into existence, everything (the world, God, bondage and liberation, knowledge and ignorance, and so on) will come into existence. If the ego does not exist, everything will not exist. (Hence) the ego (‘I’ – thought) itself is everything. Therefore, know that scrutinizing ‘what is this (ego or ‘I’ thought)?’ is alone giving up (or renouncing) everything! 27. The state in which this ‘I’ (the ego or the ‘I’ – thought), which rises as if the first, does not rise, is the state in which ‘we are that’. Unless one scrutinizes the source (the real Self) from which ‘I’ rises, how to attain the destruction of the (individual) self (the state of ego-less-ness), in which ‘I’ does not rise? (And) unless one attains (that non-rising of ‘I’), say, how to abide in one’s own (real) state (the natural state of Self), in which one is that? 28. Just as one would dive (restraining one’s speech and breath) in order to find a thing which has fallen into the water, one should dive within (oneself) restraining speech and breath with a keen mind (that is, with a keen and penetrating attention fixed on the feeling ‘I’), and know (the real Self, which is) the rising-place (or source) of the ego (‘I’ – thought), which rises first. Know thus. 29. Having discarded the body like a corpse and without uttering ‘I’ by mouth, scrutinizing with an inward-diving mind, “Where does (this feeling) ‘I’ rise?” is alone the path of knowledge (jnana-marga). Instead (of inwardly scrutinizing the feeling ‘I’ in this manner), (merely) thinking (or meditating), “I am not this (body composed of five sheaths), I am That (the absolute reality or Brahman)’, is (at first in a roundabout way) an aid (to the above said path of knowledge or enquiry) (but) is it enquiry (that is, is it the correct practice of Self-enquiry or Atma-vichara, which is the direct path of Knowledge)? 30. Therefore, when the mind reaches the Heart by inwardly scrutinizing ‘Who am I?’ in the above manner and when he, who is the ‘I’, (the ego or mind, which rises in the form ‘I am the body’) dies, the one (existence consciousness) appears spontaneously’ as ‘I-I’. Although it appears (seemingly anew), it is not ‘I’ (the rising ‘I’ or ego or ‘I’-


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thought’); it is the Whole Reality (purna vastu), the Reality which is Self. 31. When it (the Reality) surges forth and appears (as ‘I-I’), for Him (the Jnani or the Self-realised person) who enjoys the bliss of Self, which has (thus) risen by destroying the (individual) self (the ‘I’ - thought), what single thing exists to do? He does not know anything other than Self (which shines as the one reality); (therefore) how to (or who can) conceive what His state is? 32. When the holy scriptures proclaim, ‘You are That, which is declared to be the Supreme’, instead of oneself knowing and being oneself (by scrutinizing) ‘What (am I)?’, thinking, ‘I-AM-THAT (the supreme) and not this (the body composed of five sheaths)’, is due to the absence of strength (that is due to the absence of the maturity of the mind), because THAT indeed always exists as oneself (one’s own reality.) 33. Besides that, saying (either), ‘I do not know myself’, (or), ‘I have known myself’, is a wide ground for ridicule. Why? To make oneself an object known, are there two selves (one of which can be known by the other)? Because, being one is the truth of everyone’s experience (that is, whether they be a Self-realised person or one who is not Self realised), everyone experiences the truth ‘I am one’). 34. Instead of firmly abiding as the Reality, which always exists without even a single thought as the nature of everyone, by knowing (that Reality) in the Heart, where it exists (or by knowing it with the mind merging within), disputing, ‘It (the Reality) exists’, ‘It does not exist’, ‘(It has) form’, ‘(It is) formless’, ‘(It is) one (or non-dual)’, ‘(It is) two (or dual)’, ‘It is not (either one or two)’, is ignorance (born) of illusion (maya). Give up (all such disputes)! 35. The subsided mind having subsided, knowing and being the Reality, which is (always) attained, is the (true) attainment (siddhi). All other siddhis (supernatural powers or attainments) are merely (like) siddhis (attainments) acquired in dream; if one wakes up from sleep, will they be real? Will those who, by abiding in the real state (of Self-knowledge) have discarded the unreal state (of Self forgetfulness), be deluded (by those unreal siddhis or supernatural powers or attainments)? (Therefore) know and be (as) you (the Reality) are.


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36. If we think, having delusion, that we are the body, thinking, ‘No (we are not this body), we are That (the Reality)’, will be a good aid for (reminding and encouraging) us to abide as That. (However) since we (in truth ever) abide as That, why to think always, ‘We are That’? Does one (always) think, ‘I am a man’? (That is, in order to be a man, does a man always need to meditate, I am a man, I am a man?) 37. Even the argument which says, ‘Duality (dvaita) during practice (sadhana) – which one undertakes (due to) not knowing (the truth that one is always Brahman or the Absolute) – and non-duality (advaita) after attainment (that is, duality is true during the time of practice and non-duality becomes true only after the attainment of Self realization)’, is not true. Who else is one except the tenth man, both when one is anxiously searching (for the tenth man) and when one finds oneself (to be the tenth man). 38. If we are the doer of actions (karmas) which are like seeds, we shall experience the resulting fruits. (But) when one knows oneself by enquiring ‘Who is the doer of actions?’ (in other words) ‘Who am I?’, the sense of doership (kartritva) will disappear and (hence) all the three karmas {Vedanta and Yoga speak of three kinds of karma: (i) prarabdha, karma to be experienced during the present lifetime, (ii) sanchita, latent karma, or the store of karma which has yet to reach fruition, and (iii) agami karma sown in the present life which will be reaped in a future life} will slip away (since the ego, the doer of the actions and the experiencer of their fruits, will no longer exist). This (the resulting state which is devoid of the ego or the ‘I’ - thought and which is consequently devoid of the bondage of karma) indeed is the state of liberation, (which is eternal that is, which is our ever-existing and natural state). [Note: Karma is the concept of; action, understood as that which causes the entire cycle of cause and effect i.e., the cycle of birth and death.] 39. Only so long as one being a mad man (that is a person being devoid of true knowledge), feels ‘I am a bound one’, (will there exist) thoughts of bondage and liberation. (But)


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when one sees oneself (by enquiring) ‘Who is the bound one?’ (In other words, ‘Who am I?’) and when (thereby) the ever-liberated one (the real Self) alone remains as the established truth, since the thought of bondage cannot remain, can the thought of liberation remain? 40. If it is said, so as to suit (the maturity of) the mind, that the liberation which one will attain is (of) three (kinds), with form, without form, or with or without form, I will say that liberation is (in truth only) the destruction of the form of the ego (the ‘I’-thought’) which distinguishes (liberation as being of three kinds), with form, without form, or with or without form. Know thus. This kalivenba (which is) all the Forty Verses on Reality (Ulladu Narpadu) joined together (as one single verse) by the gracious Sage Ramana, is the Light which reveals, the Reality. UPDESHA UNDIYAR (THE ESSENCE OF INSTRUCTIONS) Introduction There is a legend that a group of sages once lived in the Daruka forest together, practicing rites by which they acquired supernatural powers. By the same means they hoped to attain final liberation. In this, however, they were mistaken, for action can only result in action, not in the cessation of action; rites can produce powers but not the peace of liberation which is beyond rites and powers and all forms of action. Siva (the supreme Lord) in order to convince them of their error and therefore appeared before them as a wandering sadhu (spiritual seeker). Together with him came Vishnu (God as preserver) in the form of a beautiful lady. All the sages were smitten with love for this lady and thereby their equilibrium was disturbed and their rites and powers were adversely affected. Moreover their wives, who were also living with them in the forest, all fell in love with the strange sadhu (spiritual seeker). Incensed at this, they conjured up an elephant and a tiger by magic rites and sent them against him. Siva,


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however, slew them easily and took the elephant’s skin for a robe and the tiger’s for a wrap. The sages then realized that they were up against one more powerful than themselves and they bowed down to him and asked for instruction. He then explained to them that it is not by action but by renunciation of action that one attains liberation. The poet Sri Muruganar an outstanding Tamil poet and devotee of Sage Ramana wanted to write a hundred verses on this theme but he could not readily proceed beyond seventy verses. It then occurred to him that Sage Ramana was the proper person to write the verses relating to Siva’s (the supreme Lord’s) instructions. He therefore begged Sage Ramana to compose them and the sage accordingly composed thirty Tamil verses in 1927 in answer to the request from Sri Muruganar. The sage himself later rendered them into Sanskrit. These thirty verses were subsequently translated by Sage Ramana into Telugu under the name of Anubhuti Saram first, and Upadesa Saram afterwards. The sage likewise rendered them into Malayalam. The Sanskrit version, Upadesa Saram, was chanted before him daily together with the Vedas and continues to be chanted before his shrine; that is to say, it is treated as a scripture. He refers to the various paths to liberation, grading them in order of efficiency and excellence, and showing that the best is Self-enquiry. Of all the works of the sage, Upadesa Undiyar (The Essence of Instruction) is considered the supreme legacy of his teaching. One may compare Ulladu Narpadu (Forty verses on Reality) as an equally revealing exposition, but the former was composed as one integrated work in a single sitting, without revision, while the other was a collection of different verses the sage wrote at various times and which were later assembled by Sri Muruganar This Supreme Teaching covers the traditional four paths of sadhana: karma, bhakti, raja and jnana yogas, or those of action, devotion, mind control and knowledge respectively. The sage explains all the main yogic practices (spiritual paths) culminating in jnana yoga, the yoga of knowledge its main method of Self-inquiry that he emphasized. He shows how aspirants grow and mature from preliminary practices into the higher knowledge and finally into Self-realization. The first half of the teaching consists of the foundational practices of the yogas (spiritual paths) of karma (action), bhakti (devotion), mantra (sacred syllables


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repeated in meditation), and prana (regulation of breath). The second half consists of a specific explication of jnana yoga (the path of knowledge) and its various methods. Some people, noting Sage Ramana’s emphasis on Self-inquiry, have come to the wrong conclusion that he did not approve of the other yogas (spiritual paths). In this teaching he shows their place and their stage by stage unfoldment. [Note : The following section closely follows all the explanations and quotations given by Sri Sadhu Om and Michael James in ‘Upadesa Undiyar of Bhagavan Sri Ramana – e-book ’ (1 Edition , e-book 2009, pages 1 to 27), and all the portions in this section are directly quoted from their translation and explanations in the e-book.]

Prefatory Verses Know that Upadesa Undiyar (The Essence of Instruction) is a light of knowledge (jnana) which our Father Ramana composed and bestowed upon Muruganar, who entreated, ‘(Graciously) reveal the secret of spiritual practice (sadhana) so that (the people of) the world may attain liberation and be saved by giving up the delusion of action (karma)’.

Introductory Verses 1. Those who were performing austerities (tapas) in the Daruka Forest, were heading for their ruin by (following the path of) Purvakarma (actions performed for the fulfilment of temporal desires). 2. Because of their deceptive self-conceit they became intoxicated with excessive pride, saying, ‘There is no God except karma’. 3. They saw the fruit of actions done spurning God (the karta or Ordainer), who gives fruit of actions (karmaphala), and (hence) they lost their pride. 4. When they wept (prayerfully), ‘Graciously save us,’ Siva (the supreme Lord) bestowed the glance of His Grace (upon them) and graciously gave these instructions (upadesa).


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5. (By one’s) imbibing and following (this) Upadesa Saram (The Essence of Spiritual Instructions), bliss will rise from within and the miseries within will be destroyed. 6. May the import (Saram) of Upadesa Saram enter our heart; may abundant joy be attained; may suffering cease, may it cease.

Text 1. Karma giving fruit is by the ordainment of God (the karta or Ordainer). Can karma be God, since karma is insentient (jada)? 2. The fruit of action having perished (by being experienced in the form of pleasure or pain), will make one fall into the ocean of action and (hence) will not give liberation. 3. Desire-less action (nishkamya karma) dedicated to God will purify the mind and it will show the path to liberation. 4. This is certain, puja (ceremonial worship), japa (repetition of a sacred word or syllable) and dhyana (meditation or contemplation) are actions of the body, speech and mind (respectively); rather than (each preceding) one, (the succeeding) one is superior. 5. Worship (any of the eight forms) thinking that all the eight forms are forms of God is good worship (puja) of God. [Note: The eight forms mentioned in this verse are earth, water, fire, air, space, sun, moon and living beings (jivas), all of which are forms of God, the one reality underlying the appearance of this whole world.]

6. Rather than praising (God), (japa - repetition of a sacred word or syllable is good); (rather than japa done in) a loud voice, (japa faintly whispered within the mouth is good); and rather than japa within the mouth, that which is done by mind is good; this (mental repetition or manasika japa) is what is called meditation (dhyana). [Note: We see here, as in the fourth verse, a scale of excellence. Again, Sage Ramana’s theme is that the quieter and more internal the devotional practice, the more effective it is. The sage is not rejecting the singing of hymns or the recitation of devotional poetry. His devotees sang his verses while begging for food or walking with him round the sacred Arunachala Hill. The sage also recommended to various people the chanting of mantras like OM and various Divine names.]


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7. Rather than meditation interrupted (by other thoughts), uninterrupted meditation (upon God), like a river or the falling of ghee, is excellent to do. 8. Rather than anya-bhava, ananya-bhava (done with the conviction) ‘He is I’ is indeed the best among all (the various kinds of meditation). [Note: Anya-bhava means meditation upon God as other than oneself, while Anaya-bhava means meditation upon Him as not other than oneself. In order to meditate upon God as not other than oneself, it is necessary to have the firm conviction that He is that which exists and shines within one as ‘I’. When an aspirant is endowed with such a firm conviction, he will clearly understand that the best way to meditate upon God is to meditate upon Him merely as ‘I’, the reality of the first person.}

9. By the strength of meditation (that is, by the strength of such ananya-bhava or Self-attention), abiding in the state of being, which transcends meditation, alone is the truth of supreme devotion (para-bhakti-tattva). 10. Abiding, having subsided in the place of rising (in one’s source, the real Self) – that is karma (desire-less action) and bhakti (devotion), that is yoga (union with God) and jnana (true knowledge). [Note: When, by attaining the above-said state which transcends meditation, the mind remains subsided in the source (the real Self) from which it had risen, that is the culminating point of karma yoga (the path of desire-less action) and bhakti yoga (the path of devotion); it is also the culminating point of raja yoga (the path which seeks union with God through various methods of mind-control) and Jnana yoga (the path o f knowledge).]

11. By restraining the breath within, the mind will also subside, like a bird caught in a net. This (practice of breath-restraint) is a device to restrain (the mind). 12. Mind and breath are two branches which have knowing and doing (as their respective functions); (but) their origin is one. [Note: The mind is a power of knowing or thinking (jnana-sakti) whereas the breath or life-force (prana) is a power of doing or action (kriya-sakti). But the original power which functions in the form of the mind and in the form of the prana (breath) is one, and is like the trunk of a tree having the mind and prana (breath) as its two branches.]

13. Subsidence (of mind) is of two kinds, abeyance (laya) and destruction (nasa). That which is in abeyance (laya) will rise. (But) if the form dies, it will not rise.


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[Note: The various states in which the mind (‘I’ – thought) may subside are of two kinds, namely abeyance of the mind and destruction of the mind. If the mind (‘I’ – thought) subsides in a state of abeyance or laya, it will rise again in due course, but if its form dies by subsiding in the state of destruction or nasa, it will never rise again.] 14. When one makes the mind, which has subsided by restraining the breath, go on the one path (of knowing and becoming one with Self), its form will die. 15. For the great yogi (one who practices yoga) who is established as the reality due to the death of the mind form, there is not any action (to do), (because) He has attained His nature (His natural state of Self-abidance). 16. The mind knowing its own form of light (its true form of mere consciousness, the real Self), having given up (knowing) external objects, alone is true knowledge. [Note : When, having given up attending to and knowing external objects, the mind attends to and knows Self (its own true form of consciousness, from which it was deriving light to know those external objects), that alone is true knowledge or Jnana.]

17. When one scrutinizes the form of the mind without forgetfulness (that is, without pramada or slackness of attention), (it will be found that) there is no such thing as mind; this is the direct path for all. [Note : In the previous verse Sage Ramana taught that the mind knowing its own form of light (or consciousness) is true knowledge, and in this verse he teaches how the mind is thus to know its own form of light. When one vigilantly scrutinizes the form of a snake (which is actually a rope lying on the ground) seen in the twilight, it will be found that there is no such thing as a snake at all, and that what was appearing as a snake is nothing but a rope. Similarly, when the mind scrutinizes its own form without forgetfulness, that is without pramada (slackness of attention) resulting either in the rising of thoughts or in sleep, it will be found that there is no such thing as mind at all, and that what was appearing as the mind is nothing but Self, the pure existence-consciousness ‘I am’. Just as the rope is the sole reality of the unreal snake, so this existence-consciousness, which is the form of light mentioned in the previous verse, is the sole reality of the unreal mind. What then is that unreal and non-existent entity which is now called mind? The answer to this question is given by Sage Ramana in the next verse.]

18. The mind is only (the multitude of) thoughts. Of all (these thoughts), the thought ‘I’ (the feeling ‘I am the body’) alone is the root. (Therefore) what is called mind is (this root-thought) ‘I’.


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19. When one scrutinizes within thus, ‘What is the rising-place of ‘I’?’ the ‘I’ will die. This is Self-enquiry (jnana-vichara). [Note : When one inwardly scrutinizes this root-thought, the feeling ‘I am the body’, in order to find out from where (or from what) it rises, it will subside and disappear because, like rope which appears as the snake, has no reality of its own and hence can appear to exist only when it is not keenly scrutinized. This vigilant inward scrutiny of the source of the thought ‘I’ alone is jnana-vichara, the enquiry which leads to true Selfknowledge.]

20. In the place where ‘I’ (the mind or ego) merges, the one (existence-consciousness) appears spontaneously as ‘I-I’ (or ‘I am I’). That itself is the Whole (purna). 21. That (‘I-I’, the whole) is always the import of the word ‘I’, because we exist (literally, because of the absence of our nonexistence) even in sleep, which is devoid of ‘I’ (the thought ‘I’, the mind). [Note : Since we do not become non-existent even in sleep, where the mind (the feeling ‘I am the body’) does not exist, and since we are conscious of our existence in sleep as ‘I am’, that one reality which shines forth as ‘I-I’ or ‘I am I’ when the mind merges in its source and dies, is always – in all the three states (waking, dream and sleep) and in all three times (past, present and future) – the true import of the word ‘I’.]

22. Since the body, mind, intellect, breath and the darkness (of ignorance which remains in sleep) are all insentient (jada) and unreal (asat), they are not ‘I’, which is the reality (sat). [Note: All the five sheaths or pancha kosas – namely the physical body (Annamaya- kosa), the breath or the life-force (Pranamaya-kosa), the mind (Manomaya-kosa), the intellect (vijnanamaya-kosa) and the darkness of ignorance (anandamaya-kosa) which is experienced in sleep due to the disappearance of the other four sheaths – are insentient and unreal, because they do not possess any inherent consciousness or existence of their own. Hence they cannot be ‘I’ the reality or Self-awareness which is both self-existing and self-shining.]

23. Because of the non-existence of another consciousness to know that which exists, that which exists (the reality or sat) is consciousness (or chit). (That) consciousness itself is ‘we’ (the real Self). [Note: That which truly exists is only ‘we’, the real Self or ‘I’ which shines forth spontaneously when the mind dies. Since this ‘we’ is the only true existence or reality, there cannot exist any consciousness other than it to know it, and hence it is itself the consciousness which knows itself. Therefore ‘we’, the reality (sat), are also consciousness (chit). In other words, our existence and the knowledge of our existence are not two different things, but are one and the same reality.]


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24. By existing nature (that is, in their real nature, which is existence or sat), God and souls are only one substance (or vastu). (Their) adjunct-knowledge (or adjunct consciousness) alone is different. [Note : The existence-consciousness ‘I am’ is the real nature both of God (Iswara) and of the souls (jivas).But on this ‘I am’ adjuncts or upadhis are superimposed, and these adjuncts, which are a form of wrong knowledge or ignorance, give rise to the seeming differences which exist between God and the soul. For example, the soul feels, ‘I possess little knowledge, but God is all-knowing; I am powerless, but God is all-powerful; I am limited, but God is all-pervading.’ Such feelings of the soul are what are here called the ‘adjunct-knowledge’ (upadhiunarvu in the Tamil version and vesha-dhi in the Sanskrit version). It is important to note here that this ‘adjunct-knowledge’ is an imagination which exists only in the outlook of the soul (jiva-drishti) and not in the outlook of God (Iswara-drishti).]

25. Knowing oneself having given up (one’s own) adjuncts (upadhis), is itself knowing God, because He shines as oneself (as one’s own reality, ‘I am’). [Note : Since that which exists and shines in one as ‘I am’ is the true nature of God, and since it is only one’s own adjunct-knowledge (upadhi-unarvu) that veils one’s knowledge of this ‘I am’, knowing this ‘I am’, which is one’s own real Self, without adjuncts (upadhis) is itself knowing God.]

26. Being Self is itself knowing Self, because Self is that which is not two. This is abidance as the reality (tanmaya-nishta). [Note : Since we do not have two selves, one self to be known by the other self, what is called Self-knowledge is nothing but the state of being Self – that is, the state of abiding as we really are, as the mere existence-consciousness ‘I am’, instead of rising as ‘I am this’ or ‘ I am that’. This state of being Self is what is called ‘Self-abidance’ (atma- nistha) or ‘abidance as the reality’ tanmayanishta).]

27. The knowledge which is devoid of both knowledge and ignorance (about objects), alone is (real) knowledge. This is the truth, (because in the state of Self-experience) there is nothing to know (other than oneself). [Note: The mere consciousness of one’s own existence, ‘I am’, which is devoid both of the feeling ‘I know’ and of the feeling ‘I do not know’, alone is true knowled ge.]

28. If one knows what one’s own nature is, then (what will remain and shine is only) the beginning less, endless and unbroken existence-consciousness-bliss (anadi ananta akhanda sat-chitananda).


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29. Abiding in this state (of Self), having attained the supreme bliss (mentioned in the previous verse), which is devoid of bondage and liberation, is abiding in the service of God (or is abiding as enjoined by God). [Note: Bondage and liberation are both mere thoughts, and hence they can exist only in the state of ignorance (ajnana) and not in the st at e o f true kno wl ed ge ( jnan a ) , th e st at e o f S el f- abid an c e.]

30. “What (is experienced) if one knows that which remains after ‘I’ (‘I’- thought) has ceased to exist, that alone is excellent tapas (austerity)” – thus said Lord Ramana, who is Self. [Note : The state which is experienced when one knows and abides as the real Self, which is that which remains after the individual ‘I’ or ego or the ‘I’ - thought has ceased to exist, that state of the non-rising of the ego or the ‘I’ - thought alone is real tapas (austerity). The so-called austerities or tapas which were performed by the ascetics in the Daruka Forest, were not at all true tapas, because they were performed only with the aim of gaining power, fulfilling desires and thereby enhancing the ego or the ‘I’- thought. True tapas or austerity as taught by the Lord Siva (the supreme Lord) to those ascetics and as defined by Sage Ramana in this work is nothing but the state of egolessness (the state of perfect self-denial), in which one knows and abides as the real Self instead of rising as an individual to do or to achieve anything.]

The Tamil version of this last verse was composed by Sri Muruganar. The five verses which follow are the final five verses of the first part of Sri Muruganar’s ‘Tiruvundiyar’, and they were appended by Sage Ramana to the main text of Upadesa Undiyar as concluding verses. [Note: in the year 1927, Sri Muruganar composed a song called ‘Tiruvundiyar’ in praise of Sage Ramana.]

1. Touching the Feet of God (Lord Siva), all the rishis (sages) (the ascetics in the Daruka Forest) paid obeisance (to Him) and sang His praises. 2. The supreme Guru who sang Upadesa Undiyar as an assurance to the devotees (who came to Him for salvation), is the auspicious Venkatan (Sage Ramana). 3. May He (Sage Ramana) shine gloriously on earth for many hundreds of thousand of years. 4. May those who sing, those who hear and those who flawlessly understand (this Upadesa Undiyar) shine gloriously for many aeons.


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5. May those who learn (this Upadesa Undiyar -The Essence of Instruction) and those who, having learnt and understood it, abide there (in Self), shine gloriously for long aeons.

Spiritual Practice and Work [Note : The following section closely follows all the explanations and quotations given by Sri Sadhu Om in ‘Sadhana and Work’ (Appendix 3 of The Path of Sri Ramana Part One, 6th Edition, 2005, pages 204 to 213), and all the portions in this section are either directly quoted or paraphrased from his explanations in that appendix.]

A question which will always arise in the mind of spiritual aspirants is ‘How is it possible in practice to maintain unceasing Self-attention when, in the course of a day, various activities demand some or all of one’s attention?’ This question was put to Sri Sadhu Om to which the following reply was given. (Note – this section has been adapted from a letter which Sri Sadhu Om wrote in reply to a devotee of Sage Ramana who had written to Sri Sadhu Om requesting clarification of this query). The charge made against humanity is that throughout their life all people attend only to second and third persons (the objects such as ‘you’, ‘he’, ‘she’, ‘it’, ‘this’, ‘that’ and so on) and they never turn their attention towards the first person (the subject ‘I’) in order to find out ‘Who am I?’ From the moment of waking till the moment of going to sleep, from birth till death, from creation till dissolution, all people-indeed all living beings-pay attention only to second and third persons. And what is the net result of such attention? Untold heaps of misery! Knowing that all misery arises only as a result of the fundamental error - the original sin - of attending to second and third persons instead of attending to and knowing the true nature of the first person, Sage Ramana graciously appeared on earth to advise humanity, “Throughout the waking and dream states you attend only to second and third persons, and in consequence you experience endless misery. But in sleep, when you do not attend to any second or third person, you do not experience any misery. Overlooking the peaceful happiness that you experienced while asleep, you search for happiness in the waking state by attending to innumerable external objects. However, does not the fact that you experienced happiness during sleep in the absence of those objects, indicate that happiness lies not in the objects but in you, the first person or subject?


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Therefore why don’t you try, even in the waking state, not to attend to second and third persons but to the first person ‘I’?” Being the perfect spiritual doctor that Sage Ramana is, he has diagnosed the exact cause of our sufferings, and has prescribed the perfect course of treatment – namely taking the medicine of Selfattention and observing the diet restriction of abstaining from attending to second and third persons. Those of us who pay heed to this advice of Sage Ramana and who therefore desire to follow the course of treatment prescribed by the sage are called mumukshus or aspirants for liberation. In order to qualify as an aspirant, one must have the absolute conviction that happiness, the sole aim of all living beings, can be obtained not from external objects but only from one’s true nature of Self-awareness. When one has this qualification, an intense yearning will arise in one’s heart to try to attend to and know Self. Indeed, for a true aspirant the desire and effort to know Self will become the most important part of his life and all other things will be regarded as being only of secondary importance. When such an intense yearning arises in one, success is assured, for ‘where there is a will there is a way’. On hearing this, however, some devotees wonder whether it is necessary then to withdraw from all activities in order to be able to practice Self-attention. Such aspirants ask “If we are to follow this sadhana (spiritual practice) of Self - attention in all earnestness, will not work prove to be an obstacle? But if we give up all work, how are we to provide the food, clothing and shelter required by the body?” However, whenever devotees asked Sage Ramana such questions, He used to reply that work need not be a hindrance to spiritual practice (sadhana). This does not mean, of course, that an aspirant should work in the same spirit as a worldly man or that he should work with the same aim in view. The spirit in which and the aim with which an aspirant should work in this world, is illustrated by the following example. Suppose a businessman rents a shop in the heart of a big city for Rs.1, 000- a month. If from his business he aims to make only sufficient money to pay the rent for the shop, then it will be a worthless business preposition? Shouldn’t his aim in renting the shop be to earn a profit of Rs. 10,000- a month? On the other hand, if he


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doesn’t make sufficient money even to pay the rent, will he be able to remain in the shop to earn any profit? Our body is like the shop rented by the businessman. The aim with which we rent this body is to realize Self, while the rent we have to pay for the body is food, clothing and shelter. In order to pay this rent, it is necessary for us to work, using the mind, speech and body as our instruments. If we do not pay the rent, we cannot live in the body and earn the great profit of Self-knowledge and Selfrealisation. However, we should not spend our whole life and all our time and effort in working to pay the rent. The mind, speech and body should work only for that amount of time and with that amount of effort which is required for paying the rent, to provide the food, clothing and shelter necessary for the body. If instead we devote all our time and effort towards accumulating comforts and conveniences for the body, as worldly people do, we would be just like the worthless businessman who works only to pay the rent and who never tries to make a profit. Therefore, a sincere aspirant should arrange his work in such a way that he will spend only a portion of his time and energy for maintaining the body, so that he can utilize the remaining time and energy in striving to earn the great profit of Self-knowledge and Selfrealisation. For some aspirants prarabdha (prarabdha is that portion of the fruit of one’s past actions or karmas which has been ordained by God to be experienced by one in this lifetime) will be arranged by God or Guru (spiritual guide) in such a way that they need to do little or no work to maintain their body, whereas for other aspirants it may be arranged in such a way that they have to spend most of their time in working for the maintenance of the body. But in whatever way the prarabdha is arranged, it is arranged only for the aspirant’s own good, that is, for his ultimate attainment of Self-knowledge. Moreover, since prarabdha (prarabdha is that portion of the fruit of one’s past actions or karmas which has been ordained by God to be experienced by one in this lifetime) determines only the outward activities of the body and mind, it can in no way obstruct the inward desire and yearning for Self-knowledge. If one has an intense yearning for Self-knowledge, the Guru’s Grace (grace of a saint, sage or spiritual guide) will


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certainly help one in all ways, both from within and without, to enable one to attend to Self. Some people complain, however, that throughout their life they are forced to be engaged in so many activities that they have no time to practice Self-attention. But even in the midst of so many other important activities, we do find time to eat, take bath, answer the calls of nature, and sleep and so on? Similarly, in the midst of all other activities, an earnest aspirant will find at least a few minutes each day to practice Self attention. In the beginning, if possible, at least ten minutes should be devoted in the morning and evening to practice Self-attention. Such regular daily practice is recommended by Sage Ramana in verse 44 of Sri Arunachala Aksharamanamalai (The Bridal Garland of Letters), the sage states, ‘Turning Self wards, daily see thyself with an introverted look and it (the reality) will be known - thus didst Thou tell me, O my Arunachala.’ If such regular practice is undertaken for sometime, one will become more and more familiar with Self-attention, and one will then find that it is possible to divert one’s attention from second and third persons to the first person even in the midst of one’s daily activities, whenever a few moments of leisure occur between the end of one activity and the beginning of the next one. If one thus tries to turn one’s attention towards the first person whenever one has a few moments of leisure, by the end of the day a great deal of time will have been devoted to Self-attention, though intermittently. Such intermittent Self-attention will in turn be found to be of great help to one when one sits for practice at the prescribed time (ten minutes to half-an-hour each morning and evening), when no outside hindrance will be there to obstruct one’s practice. At first one may not be able to maintain unbroken Self attention even for a few minutes. It is quite natural that initially the mind will start to think of some second or third person objects, due to its long ingrained habit of perceiving and associating itself with external objects and persons. Each time the attention thus turns outwards, the aspirant again tries to turn it back towards the first person. This process of slackening of Self attention and then trying to regain it, will repeat itself again and again. If the aspirant’s mind is weak due to deficiency in the love to know Self, the slackening of


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Self-attention will happen frequently, in which case a struggle will ensue and the mind will soon become tired. Instead of thus repeatedly struggling to regain Self-attention, one should relax the mind for a while as soon as the initial attempt to fix the attention on the first person becomes unsteady, and then again make a fresh attempt. If one thus makes intermittent attempts, each attempt will be found to have a fresh force and a more precise clarity of attention. If one presses one’s thumb on a pressure scale, the dial may at first indicate a pressure of ten kilograms. But if one tries to maintain that pressure for a long period of time, the dial will show that it is gradually slackening and decreasing. On the other hand, if one releases the pressure and after a brief rest presses again with fresh vigour, the dial will show a little more than ten kilograms. Similar is the case with Self-attention. If one struggles for a long time to maintain Self-attention, the intensity and clarity of one’s attention will gradually slacken and decrease. But if instead one relaxes as soon as one finds that one’s Self-attention is slackening, and if after a brief rest one makes a fresh attempt to fix one’s attention on Self, that fresh attempt will have a greater intensity and clarity. Therefore, what is important is not so much the length of time one spends trying to attend to Self, but the earnestness and intensity with which one makes each fresh attempt. During the time of practice (sadhana) our attention, which is now focused on second and third person objects, has to turn back 180 degrees, so to speak to focus itself on the first person. In the beginning, however, one’s attention may be able to turn only 5, 10 or 15 degrees. This is because one’s turning is resisted by a powerful spring which is the spring of one’s tendencies (vasanas) or subtle desires towards worldly objects. Every time one tries to turn towards the first person, this spring of one’s worldly tendencies will tend to pull one’s mind back again towards second and third persons. Therefore the number of degrees one is able to turn will depend upon the firmness of one’s desire-less-ness (vairagya) towards worldly objects and upon the strength of one’s longing (bhakti) to know Self. Such desire-less-ness and longing will be increased in one by regularly practicing Self-attention, by earnestly praying to Sage Ramana and by constantly associating with such persons or books which will repeatedly remind one, ‘Only by knowing Self can we attain. real and enduring happiness; so long as we do not know Self


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we will be endlessly courting and experiencing misery; therefore our first and foremost duty in life is to know Self; all other efforts will only end in vain.’ As one’s desire-less-ness and longing to know Self thus increase by prayer to the Guru (spiritual guide), by study of and reflection of Sage Ramana or the spiritual guides teachings, and by practice of Self-attention, one’s ability to turn one’s attention towards the first person will also increase, until one will be able to turn it 90, 120 or even 150 degrees at each fresh attempt. When one’s ability to turn one’s attention Self wards thus increases, one will be able to experience a tenuous current of Self-awareness even while engaged in activity; that is, one will be able to experience an awareness of one’s being which will not be disturbed by whatever one’s mind, speech or body may be doing, in other words, one will be able to remember the feeling ‘I am’ which always underlies all one’s activities. However, this tenuous current of Self-awareness should not be taken to be the state of unceasing Self-attention, because one will experience it only when one feels inclined to do so. How then can one experience the state of unceasing Selfattention, the state of unswerving Self-abidance? The Guru’s Grace (the grace of Sage Ramana) will assist more and more those aspirants who thus repeatedly practice Self attention with great love (bhakti) to know Self. When a glowing fire and a blowing wind join together, they play wonders. Likewise, when the glowing fire of love for Selfknowledge and the blowing wind of the Guru’s Grace join together, a great wonder takes place. During one of such fresh attempts, the aspirant will be able to turn his attention a complete 180 degrees towards Self (that is, one will be able to achieve a perfect clarity of Self-awareness, completely uncontaminated by even the least perception of any second or third person), thus one will feel a great change taking place spontaneously and without any immense effort. One’s power of attention, which the aspirant had previously tried so many times to turn towards Self and which had always slipped back towards second and third persons, will now be caught under the grip of a powerful clutch which will not allow it to turn again towards any second or third person. This clutch is the clutch of Grace. Though Grace has always been helping and guiding one, it is only when one is thus


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caught by its clutch that one becomes totally a prey to it. If one once turns one’s attention a full 180 degrees towards Self, one is sure to be caught by this clutch of Grace, which will then take one as its own and will forever protect one from again turning towards second and third person objects. This state, in which the mind is thus caught by the clutch of Grace and is thereby drowned forever in its source, is known as the experience of true knowledge (jnananubhuti), Selfrealization (atmasakshatkaram), liberation (moksha) and so on. This alone is called the state of unceasing Self-attention. Some people doubt, ‘If it is so, will the mind then remain drowned forever in Samadhi (absorption in the Self)? Will it not be able to come out again and know all the second and third person objects of this world? Is it not a fact that even Sage Ramana spent nearly fifty-four years in the state of Self-realization and that most of that time he was seen to be attending to second and third persons?’ Yes, it is true that though Sage Ramana always remained in the state of Self-realization, yet in the outlook of others He was seen to know the world. How can this be accounted for? To remain with the body and mind completely inert is not the only sign of Samadhi (absorption in the Self). Though after Selfrealization some Jnanis (one who has realised the Self) spend their entire lifetime completely oblivious of the body and world, not all Jnanis (one who has realised the Self) will necessarily remain thus. The return of body consciousness (and consequently worldconsciousness) after the attainment of Self-realization is according to the prarabdha (prarabdha is that portion of the fruit of one’s past actions or karmas which has been ordained by God to be experienced by one in this lifetime) of that body; in the case of some it might never return, while in the case of others it might return within a second or after a few hours or days. But even in such cases where it does return, it will not be experienced as knowledge of second or third persons! That is to say, the body and world are not experienced by the Jnani (one who has realised the Self) as second and third persons - objects other than himself, but as his own unlimited and undivided Self. So long as one is an aspirant one mistakes the limited form of one’s body to be oneself, and consequently the remaining portion of one’s unlimited real Self is experienced by one as the world, a collection of second and third person, objects. But after attaining


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Self-realization, since one experiences oneself to be the unlimited Whole, one discovers that all the second and third persons which one was previously feeling to be other than oneself, are truly nothing but one’s own Self. Therefore, even while a Jnani (one who has realised the Self) is (in the view of onlookers) attending to second and third person objects, he is (in his own view) attending only to Self. Hence, even though he may appear to be engaged in so many activities, both physical and mental, he is in fact ever abiding in the natural state of unceasing self—attention. Therefore, unceasing Self-attention is possible only in the state of Self-realization and not in the state of practice (sadhana). What one has to do during the period of sadhana (spiritual practice) is to cultivate ever-increasing love to attain Self-knowledge and to make intermittent but repeated attempts to turn one’s attention a full 180 degrees towards Self. If one once succeeds in doing this and continues to practice, then a stage will come when unceasing Selfattention will be found to be natural and effortless,

Conclusion The earth’s atmosphere has an ozone layer; ozone absorbs the dangerous and harmful ultraviolet radiations from the Sun thus protecting life on earth. The earth spins around its axis once in 24 hours resulting in the day – night cycle. Thus we on earth are able to carry on with our physical life systematically. The earth is making its way through space around the Sun at the tremendous speed of 29.8 kilometers/ second (or 107,280 kilometers per hour). These and many other such examples very clearly point out that all these heavenly bodies in our universe are vibrating in perfect harmony, unison and synchronization to each other. Why it is that such perfect harmony does not exist within us? The answer is – we have to achieve perfection, we have to achieve bliss and attain to the state of Self-realisation, only then we shall vibrate in harmony and unison with our universe, our cosmos, our creator and Brahman (the Absolute). When you achieve this harmony and bliss, you will talk, write, speak, discuss about that indescribable Universal soul or Self, and when you leave your physical body, you will be united with Him forever. So what do you do? You seek for the true answers, they


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have to come from within you, whether you go into past lives to really know from where you came, why you came and where you are going, you may seek for the true answers using meditation or power of numbers or Self-enquiry or whatever path or means you choose or take up, you must seek to find and know the truth and attain Selfrealisation Another question which arises is that, has this book achieved its purpose? Throughout the book it has been observed; that the authors’ spiritual guide Sage Ramana and another spiritual entity the author calls the Maharishi, took him on a journey where sometimes dewdrops were discussed, Sun was discussed, stars were discussed, the vibration theory was discussed, trees were discussed – why? By connecting to these we are actually connecting our-self to that very source, the ruler of the cosmos the Self. Hence the sole purpose the trees; the moon, the Sun, the tides, the oceans, the galaxies, the universes, and so on were discussed, so that we as beings may learn what these things have to teach us. The one lesson they teach and teach it quite clearly, which you may conclude if you have read this book, is that every being is on earth for a purpose of their own, and for a common purpose, which is to evolve towards perfection to be united with the Absolute. This common purpose has to be fulfilled, some have already done in the past, some are on their way to achieving it or have achieved it in the present course of their life and other beings will achieve it in the near future or the lives after this life. This was the purpose of this book, and this purpose has been achieved. Last of all the author bows in respect and in love for you dear reader, without your input in buying and reading this book, this project is not complete. May you find happiness, peace and bliss in whatever your purpose, whatever you do. Remember dear reader your spiritual wisdom, your spiritual knowledge, your individual potential, the divinity, the bliss in you is far beyond and immeasurable than the spiritual wisdom contained in this book. It is hoped that one day you will realize your complete potential and shine like the light of the Sun, so other beings may be guided by this spiritual wisdom of yours, so that we may live in a world where only peace, harmony, bliss, and love will prevail for all beings on earth. May happiness, peace and bliss be with you forever.


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GLOSSARY Abhyasa: Sustained relentless spiritual practice. Advaita: Non-duality Agami karma: Karma yet to come. Actions performed during this present life expected to bear fruit in future births. Aham: I, identity of the individual being. Ahamkham: Self-ward-ness. Ahantai: Ego. Ahara-niyama: Regulation of diet. Ajnana: Ignorance. Ajnani: Ignorant one. Ananda: Bliss. Antara kumbhaka: Internal retention of breath. Antarmukham: Introversion. Anya: Other, another person. Asubha: Inauspicious. Atman: The Self, the supreme reality. Atmanishtha: To abide in the Self. Atmanishtha: To be fixed as the Self. Aviveka: Wrong discrimination. Aviveki: Lacking discrimination. Bahirmukham: Extroversion. Bahya kumbhaka: External retention of breath. Bandha: Bondage. Bandha-hetu: Cause of Bondage. Bhakti: Devotion. Bhava: Feeling. Brahman: The Universal Self or the Absolute. Buddhi: Subtle intellect. Dhatma-buddhi: The ‘I am the body’-feeling. Dhyana: Meditation or contemplation. Duhkam: Misery. Dvaita: Duality. Guru: Spiritual guide. Hridayakasa: Heart-space Hridayam: Heart. Hatha yoga: The yoga of postures. Ichcha: Desire. Jagrat: The waking state. Jnana-drishti: Seeing through true knowledge.


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Jagrat-sushupti: Wakeful sleep. Jnana: Knowledge. Japam: Repetition of the name of God or a sacred syllable either mentally or orally. Jiva: The embodied soul. Jivanmukta: One who is liberated while living in a body. Jives: Living beings. Jnana: Knowledge of Self. Jnana-drishti: Seeing through true knowledge. Jnana-marga: Path of knowledge. Jnanendriyas: Five sense organs. Jnani: Sage. Kaivalya: The state of oneness. Karma: It is the concept of ‘action’ or ‘deed’, understood as that which causes the entire cycle of cause and effect, i.e., the cycle of birth and death. Karma-phala: Fruit of actions. Karma yogis: Persons who are selflessly devoted to work. Karta: Doer Kartritva: Sense of doership. Kriya-sakti: A power of doing or action. Kumbhaka: Temporary retention of breath. Maha sunya: Great void. Manam: Mind Manas: Mind, the faculty of discursive thinking, the faculty of doubt and volition, seat of desire and governor of sensory and motor organs. M a n o -n a s a : D es t r u ct i o n o f t h e mi n d . M a n t r a: Sa c r e d s yl l a bl e s r ep e at e d i n me d i t a t i o n. M a n t r a -j a p a: R e p et i t i o n o f sa cr e d w or d s . M a ya : T r a n si t or y ma n i f es t at i o n i n t i me a n d space. Maunam: Silence. Mukhya sadhana: The principal means. Mukti: Liberation. Mukti-hetu: Cause of Liberation. Mukti-hetu sankalpa: Liberating motive. Murti-dhyana: Meditation upon a form of God. Nadis: Nerves. Nan Yar: Who am I? About 1902, Sivaprakasam Pillai p u t several questions to Sage Ramana and got answers to them in writing. These answers form the quintessence of Sage Ramana’s teachings.


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The English translation of ‘Who am I?’ is by Dr T.M.P. Mahadevan. Neti neti: Means ‘Not this. Not this.’ In meditation, one gently dismisses thoughts, images, concepts, sounds, and distractions by applying the principle of neti-neti or telling oneself, ‘Not this. Not this.’ An expression meant to convey that the ultimate Reality is neither this nor that, that is, is beyond all description. Nididhyasana: Uninterrupted awareness of being. Nirasa: Desire-less-ness. Nishkamya karma: Desire less action. Nirvikalpa: The state of remaining without concepts, a state in which no differences are perceived. Pancha kosas: The five sheaths. Parameswara sakti: The one Supreme Ruling Power. Prana: Breath, Life-force. Pranayama: Breath-control. Prarabdha: Part of one’s karma to be worked out in this life. Puja: Ceremonial worship. Purna: The Whole. Purusha Sukta: A part of Rig Veda which is the oldest Hindu scripture. Purvakarma-vasana: Former tendencies towards action. Raja yoga: The royal path of physical and mental control. Rajasic: Restless. Sadhana: Attending to Self. Sahaja: One’s natural state. Sahaja jnani: Self-realized aspirant. Sahaja Nirvikalpa: Natural state of absorption in the Self with no concepts. Sahasrara: The highest psychic centre located in the brain. Samadhi: The state of absorption in the Self. Sankalpa: Intention. Sankalpas: Motives. Sanchita karma: The store of karmic debts accumulated from previous births. Sat-chit-ananda: Truth-Consciousness-Bliss. Satsang: Association with the wise. Siddhis: Supernatural powers or attainments.


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Siva: Auspicious one, the supreme Lord. Siva can also refer to God (Iswara) in His aspect of Dissolver and Liberator. Siva-swarupam: All is the Supreme Self. Sphurana: Throbbing, vibration or pulsation. Subha: auspicious. Sukshma sarira: Subtle body. Summa iruppadu: To be dormant Sushumna: It is a nerve embedded in the core of the spinal cord and runs from the base of the spine to the brain. Sushupti: Deep sleep. Swarupadarsanam: The realization of Self. Tamasic: Lazy Tapas: Austerity Turiya: The fourth state beyond awake, dream and sleep. Turiyatitam: Absolute awareness. Ulladu Narpadu: Forty Verses on Reality, is a Tamil poem that Sage Ramana composed in July and August 1928, when Sri Muruganar an outstanding Tamil poet and devotee of the sage, asked him to teach us the nature of the reality and the means by which we can attain it. Upadesa: Instructions. Upadesa Saram: A thirty verse Sanskrit poem composed b y Sage Ramana. Upadhis: Adjuncts. Vairagya: Non-attachment. Vairagya: Dispassion. Vasanas: Mental tendencies ,Subconscious i n c l i n a t i on s . Vastu: Substance. Vichara: Self-enquiry. V i d e h a mu kt i : L i b e r a t i o n a t t h e m o me n t o f d e a t h . V i s h a ya s - v a s a n a s : L a t e n t t e n d e n c i e s t o w a r d s s e n s e knowledge. Viveka: discriminate Yatnam: Effort. Yoga-bhrashtas: Those who have slipped from the spiritual path or practice.


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BIBLIOGRAPHY 1) Brunton, P (1952). The Inner Reality. London: Rider and Company. 2) Brunton, P. and Venkataramiah, M. (1998). Conscious Immortality.Tiruvannamalai: Sri Ramanasramam. 3) Cohen, S.S. (2006). Reflections on Talks with Sri Ramana Maharshi.Tiruvannamalai: Sri Ramanasramam. 4) Cohen, S.S. (2003). Guru Ramana. Tiruvannamalai : Sri Ramanasramam. 5) Cornelssen, L. (2003). Hunting the I. Tiruvannamalai : Sri Ramanasramam. 6) Ganesan, V. (No year of publication). I Am is Now. Tiruvannamalai : Ananda Ramana. 7) Kanvashrama Trust (Pub.) (1987). The Works of Bhagavan Sri Ramana Maharshi in His Own Handwriting. Tiruvannamalai. 8) Mudaliar, D. (1977). Day by Day with Bhagavan. Tiruvannamalai : Sri Ramanasramam. 9) Mudaliar, D. (1970). My Reminiscences. Tiruvannamalai: Sri Ramanasramam. 10) Muruganar (2005). Guru Vachaka Kovai. Tiruvannamalai : Sri Arunachala Ramana Nilayam. 11) Natanananda, S. (1974). Spiritual Instruction of Bhagavan Sri Ramana Maharshi. Tiruvannamalai : Sri Ramanasramam. 12) Nikhilananda, Swami. (1992). The Bhagavad Gita. New York :Ramakrishna-Vivekananda Center. Om, S. and James, M. (2007). Sri Ramanopadesa Noonmalai. 13) Tiruvannamalai : Kanvashrama Trust. Om, S. and James, M. (1986). Upadesa undiyar of Bhagavan Sri Ramana. 14) Tiruvannamalai : Kanvashrama Trust. Om, S. (2005). The Path of Sri Ramana, Part One. 15) Tiruvannamalai : Kanvashrama Trust. Osborne, A. (2004). The Collected Works of Sri Ramana Maharshi. 16) Tiruvannamalai : Sri Ramanasramam. Reddy. V.D. (2005). The Physics of Karma. Chittoor : Nutrine 17) T. N. Venkataraman (Pub.) (1994). Homage to the Presence of Sri Ramana. 18) Tiruvannamalai: Sri Ramanasramam. V. S. Ramanan (Pub.) (2002). Maharshi’s Gospel. 19) Tiruvannamalai : Sri Ramanasramam. V. S. Ramanan (Pub.) (2003). Talks With Sri Ramana Maharshi. 20) Tiruvannamalai : Sri Ramanasramam. V. S. Ramanan (Pub.) (2006). Who Am I? 21) Tiruvannamalai : Sri Ramanasramam. ‘Who’ (1984). Maha Yoga of Bhagavan Sri Ramana. Tiruvannamalai : Sri Ramanasramam.


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Ramana Maharshi " Self Enquiry"  

Purpose of life is to discover for oneself his own state of natural happiness and inherent peace of mind. I am sharing this Book showing us...

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